January 22, 2019

From Wyoming to the Alaskan Peninsula and Minnesota to Finland

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A Ph.D Wildlife Ecologist Colleague in Utah just sent the following:


Subject: WY Guide and outfitters Association official publication

For some unknown reason WYOGA sent me a copy of their fall 2018 publication, which is mostly advertising by their members. What I found most interesting was that some outfitters were selling the fact that their areas contained neither wolves or grizzlies !!!!!!!!!!!!!!——–recall that this past fall  a guide in Jackson Hole was killed by a grizzly when he and a client tried to retrieve a downed elk—-the hunter also was mauled——–Charles

As telling and interesting as this is concerning the real effects of wolves and grizzly bears that are both ignored and denied by bureaucrats, “scientists”, politicians, the media and other “Ne’er do wells”: it caused me to think about moose.

I live in Minnesota.  For many decades Minnesota had the only robust moose population in the North Central Lower 48 States.  Northern Minnesota woodlands, bogs and lakes are contiguous with the Manitoba/Ontario woodlands with moose and caribou that extend to James Bay.  Our neighbors are essentially moose-free: North Dakota is a plowed landscape, Wisconsin and Michigan are not sufficiently marshy woodlands for moose with one exception.  Isle Royale, a Michigan island about 15 miles from the Minnesota mainland on the North Shore of Lake Superior.  Moose that have found the island to be particularly hospitable were introduced onto Isle Royale over a century ago when native caribou were declining precipitously.

Wolves were probably clandestinely introduced or swam to Isle Royale about 70 years ago, shortly after (what a coincidence!) the rich owners took a tax break and “donated” it to the government as a National Park.  Since hunting was no longer allowed, moose over-populated the island and the arriving wolves ate lots of moose meat and made lots of puppies since moose are particularly vulnerable to wolves in forested areas and are agreatly preferred high-energy food by wolves.  Soon, the moose population crashed, and the wolves inter-bred and could not find sufficient caloric replacement for the moose in their diet.  So, the Park Service began importing wolves (their idea of “natural” ecosystem “management”) as moose began to increase after the wolf population crash. The non-native moose on the island and the non-native wolves have become characters in a federal government fantasy media favorite about “Nature”.

Up until the 1980’s, Minnesota maintained a reduced wolf population consistent with a robust moose population, profitable livestock operations, a safe environment for hunting dogs, and levels of public safety found comfortable by rural Minnesotans.  In the 1980’s Minnesota’s wolves were declared federal wards under Endangered Species Act provisions.  The state government and its residents no longer had any say in where, how many or what management provisions (actually none, no matter what the wolf is doing short of carrying off a child with tooth imprints already breaking the child’s skin) would apply.

Long story short; wolf populations and wolf range exploded and (among many other bad things) the statewide moose population plummeted.  Hunting for moose (a once-in-a-lifetime permit with tens of thousands applying for expensive permits that were an annual bonanza for the state wildlife agency) was eliminated never to return.  State bureaucrats and their allies like radical organizations and subsidized “scientists” blamed the moose disappearance on “climate change”, ticks and unknown maladies for which only “more” money and personnel was the answer.  Thus moose numbers in Minnesota have declined never to return without drastic wolf reductions that are about as likely as reducing house cats to increase bird populations that manage to avoid power windmills.  The urban populace still reveres the state and federal “bureaucrats” that caused and justified this wolf debacle here, in the West, in Canada and in Europe.

Gone are all the Minnesota children’s books about moose.  Gone are the sightings of moose on Northern highways or in cabin yards or from a canoe along the shore.  Wait a minute; it is true that no one ever sees them anymore but the books, knickknacks, pictures, coffee mugs, Travel signs, stationery, sweatshirts, t-shirts, caps, etc. are all still marketed with the “iconic” male moose logos are everywhere.  Other than a few old fogeys that once hoped to get a moose permit – no one cares that moose are a remnant on the verge of extinction in the state!  Try explaining the role of wolves in all this and you will be lucky if you get off with a silent stare or someone’s back as they walk away.

Simultaneously; wolves have killed all 450 caribou on Michipicoten Island, about 10 miles off the Ontario mainland in NE Lake Superior, in only 4 years.  Manitoba is reporting declining moose populations Province-wide.  Moose are all but extinct in Yellowstone Park for more than a decade since the wolves were introduced over 30 years ago and the elk herd plummeted from 20,000+ to less than 4,000.  Alaska has, despite fierce pressure from radicals and government extremists, conducted periodic and thorough aerial shooting of wolves to protect moose populations that Alaskans prize for winter meat in addition to seeing them.

Wolves are pushing moose in Minnesota into oblivion.  Moose in Manitoba are declining because they have too many wolves and there is little wolf control anymore either by government or (as was the case for centuries in the US) young hunters, trappers and other rural residents exercising their sensible right to minimize wolf numbers for their own benefits like protecting family members, dogs, livestock and their right to “domestic Tranquility”.

However, like the clear dog whistle about how rural America is being changed for the worse by the subtle selling point for hunters that, “some outfitters were selling the fact that their areas contained neither wolves or grizzlies !” who seems to care?  Who will say, “enough is enough”?  How can we reverse these travesties?  I do not know.

Jim Beers

16 December 2018

If you found this worthwhile, please share it with others.  Thanks.

Jim Beers is a retired US Fish & Wildlife Service Wildlife Biologist, Special Agent, Refuge Manager, Wetlands Biologist, and Congressional Fellow. He was stationed in North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York City, and Washington DC.  He also served as a US Navy Line Officer in the western Pacific and on Adak, Alaska in the Aleutian Islands.  He has worked for the Utah Fish & Game, Minneapolis Police Department, and as a Security Supervisor in Washington, DC.  He testified three times before Congress; twice regarding the theft by the US Fish & Wildlife Service of $45 to 60 Million from State fish and wildlife funds and once in opposition to expanding Federal Invasive Species authority.  He resides in Eagan, Minnesota with his wife of many decades.

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