April 10, 2020

Elk Fence In Washington State Only "Proposed"

On January 23, 2007, one day after the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife sent out a press release, I ran a story about an article I found in the Seattle Times about the state of Washington’s plans to erect a million-dollar fence to corral the elk in the Dungeness Roosevelt Elk Herd out of Sequim.

It was brought to my attention that the way I presented the story was that the fence was a “done deal”. It is not. It is only one of other proposals to deal with the elk. One proposal that has not been popular with the local citizens, is to move some of the elk to another location.

The fence to contain this elk herd is only a proposal as it is defined in the press release by the WDFW.

Dungeness elk co-managers to explore fencing

SEQUIM – After reviewing public comments that overwhelmingly opposed moving the Dungeness Roosevelt Elk Herd out of Sequim, the herd’s co-managers have agreed to pursue efforts to fence the animals away from highways and residential areas.

The decision to explore fencing options was reached during a Tuesday meeting of the Dungeness-Sequim Elk Policy Group. The group includes the herd’s co-managers, the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, as well as area landowners, including the City of Sequim, Clallam and Jefferson counties, the Washington Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Forest Service.

The proposed fence would be designed to keep the elk on public land and prevent them from moving into Sequim’s urban areas.

The co-managers will investigate fencing routes and present the alternatives during the elk policy group’s meeting in early March. Past cost estimates have placed fencing at more than $1 million. The tribal and state co-managers are investigating funding options, including applying for grants.

If my article of January 23, 2007 caused confusion, I apologize. It was not my intent.

Tom Remington

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What Hunters Are Facing Everyday

I’m not going to embarrass the person who wrote this editorial in a newspaper somewhere in America by printing their name and location. All I will say is this. With this kind of ignorance about hunting, there must be more we can do to educate the public about what really goes on in the woods.

Dear Editor,

Just about every time I look through your paper, I see young kids with high-powered guns in their hands along with a dead deer or turkey.

I must say how much this bothers me. I think letting kids go into the woods with guns should be outlawed.

I can almost see it now, the headlines in your paper, an eight year old boy shot and killed his father, mistaken him for a deer or a ten your old boy shot and killed another hunter, mistaken him for a deer.

I would like for all adult hunters to think about this before they go into the woods again. A young kid might already be hidden with a gun in his hands waiting on a deer to come by.

They would probably shoot anything that moves because they want to kill a deer so bad. Adult hunters should think about this, once you are shot and killed your life is gone forever and parents should think about how their childs life would be ruined forever if he or she was to shoot and killed another hunter.

Is a deer or turkey worth such a risk?

Tom Remington

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Give 'Em An Inch And They'll Take A Mile

Greed and selfishness run rampant everywhere these days. Combine that with a society that believes lying, cheating and stealing are all very acceptable practices and what are we left with?

In the sometimes fantasy worlds where office dwellers live, they stare out the window envisioning the utopia of the lion laying beside the lamb. There’s probably a unicorn or two trotting around, while Gentle Ben, the massive grizzly cuddles up with mom in front of the log cabin’s fireplace and Bambi rules the forest. Time to get real.

Several years ago, many of these dreamers envisioned the lone and mysterious wolf once again dominating the landscape of the Rocky Mountains – the cry of the wild. So it was decided to bring in a species of wolf that was not indigenous to the area and see how it would go. Plans were made and goals were set. Was that a real problem?

Many thought so and even more knew that in time it would present an entire array of future problems. Welcome to the future. Here we are several years later and war has broken out. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced on Monday they plan to remove the gray wolf from the Endangered Species Act list and turn management over to Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. The move may be delayed in Wyoming because that state has yet to come up with a viable and suitable wolf management plan the Feds like.

This all sounds innocent enough but the opposing sides are bringing out bigger guns and the battle lines are being drawn. The posturing for position has the livestock growers, hunting groups and others using their facts and figures to show that the wolf is destroying everything in its path. On the other side you have preservationists, conservationists, animal rights groups and just plain old animal lovers, claiming that all of the information the other side is presenting is false. They provide their own biologists, list of talking points, rhetoric and data to show that the wolf is not harming anything and should be allowed to continue to populate all of the world.

This kind of bantering is expected and will go on probably forever. The debate will end up in court and the outcome really will depend on who the last judge or judges are that rule and where they stand on wolves’ rights, whatever that is.

Both sides use government statistics to support their positions. I think the wolf advocates have an advantage because typically the government will opt for the “politically correct” assessment on wolves. Governments incessantly state that the claims by hunting groups that the wolf is killing of game species is not supported by their data. The Government also says that livestock kills are not nearly as big as the livestock growers claim. The media prints this information without finding out all the facts and the public buys into it and it forms the basis for discussions at local coffee shops.

What isn’t being told is that the “official” data doesn’t really tell the truth. There is no way for either side in this debate to know what killed a calf elk for example. The same is often true with a sheep or a cow. Unless someone in a position of authority sees it happen, more times than not this is not listed as an official wolf kill. I’m sure someone can produce numbers that will show how many deaths of animals occur and how many are labeled official wolf kills and how many are not.

Often times when authorities show up to a kill scene, they will admit that they see evidence of wolves – i.e. tracks, scat, etc. but if there is no direct evidence proving the wolf killed the animal, the owner of the livestock is out of luck. The wolf, like a coyote, is a predator and they will eat whatever is available. They are not one of the kind of animals that will only eat what it kills. It will scavenge.

Defenders of Wildlife, one of the agencies that advocate for the wolf, reimburses ranchers for livestock loss but only for official wolf kills. Ask the ranchers how many animals they lose total and what percentage they get compensated for.

The same is true for wildlife killed by predators. Grizzly and black bears, along with the wolf and coyote will kill elk calves and deer calves as well as small or weakened adults. If hungry enough, they will kill any other animal they can. Wildlife biologists will “guess” as to what percentage of loss might be attributed to each predator species but they have no exact numbers on that, even though some would suggest they do.

It passes my mind at the moment who it was that made the statement that “statistic prove that statistics can prove anything”. This debate will rage on and both sides will continue to fling statistics they can get any so-called authority to claim to be fact and the bottom line will come down to whose statistics are proving what, what you want to believe and how it fits into your own personal beliefs.

The one key ingredient in this passioned debate is a very large fact that almost never makes it into the round table discussions. When it was decided that wolves would be released in these areas to prosper, federal wildlife biologists and just about every other Tom, Dick and Harry stated what would be the goals of considering the re-introduction a success. Success meaning a large enough and stable enough population of wolves so that the animal could be managed without realistic fears of it being eradicated again.

This information is readily available. The goal for Wyoming, Idaho and Montana regions, which include the Yellowstone National Park, was 300 wolves involved in at least 30 packs, which would include breeding pairs. At present, the estimated population of wolves in this same area is around 1,200 and at least 50 packs. I have read estimates much higher than this.

The question I have to ask is why is it that when the wolf was brought into this region 300 wolves and 30 packs was an acceptable goal? Many thought it wasn’t feasible and would never happen. Well, here we are in 2007 and the discussions have turned to an over population of wolves and those who fought to get the wolf here are saying 1,200 wolves aren’t enough. Why?

That answer is quite simple. It’s called greed and selfishness. The old cliche of “Give em an inch and they’ll take a mile”. It’s what turns people to not want to support these kinds of interests. There is nothing reasonable about their agendas. If hunters kept demanding more animals to hunt and kill without consideration of conserving for the future, soon the mass population of Americans would turn against hunting. Fortunately hunters don’t do that but almost never, do groups such as Defenders of Wildlife ever look to compromise or concede. For them some is ever enough.

Very few people want to completely kill off all the wolves. Most want them controlled better. Most sensible people, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, know there are now too many wolves. They are having too great a negative effect on livestock growers as well as the balance of wildlife. It’s time to act and do something about it.

I believe the vast majority of Americans believe that there is good enough science available to make sure that any species will not be allowed to go extinct if there is any way humanly possible. It’s time for the wolf lovers and animal rights groups to back off. They need to lose some of the greed and selfish attitudes and allow to take place what is necessary to control and maintain a population of wolves that is beneficial to everyone and everything.

Tom Remington

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Vermont Moose Permit Applications Available Now

Anyone wishing to apply for a Vermont moose hunting permit, can go online at the Vermont Fish and Wildlife website and get started. Application fees are $10 for residents and $25 for non-residents. If you are selected by lottery, a resident will pay $100 for a license and non-residents will have to cough up $350. If not successful with either of these attempts, you’ll have a chance to bid on 5 permits that will be auctioned off later. Details not yet available.

Vermont has an estimated moose population that now is around 5,000. Last year 1,115 permits were issued for moose. 647 moose were taken during a split season. Season dates have not been set yet but it is anticipated another split season will occur around the same dates. The number of permits to be issued this year also has not been determined. It is believed to be sometime in February all the details will be announced.

Permits will be awarded in this manner – 90% will go to Vermont residents and 10% to non-residents. Application deadline is June 1, 2007.

Tom Remington

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New Hampshire Has Funding Shortages. Special Meeting Scheduled

Next Wednesday, February 7, 2007, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Commission will hold a special meeting at the Fish and Game headquarters in Concord. The meeting is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. and is open to the public. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss upcoming legislative issues facing the department.

I e-mailed Liza Poinier of the New Hampshire Fish and Game to find out if there was a particular reason for scheduling a special meeting prior to the regular one set for February 21. This is what she said.

The special meeting is because there wasn’t enough time during the last regular monthly meeting to give these issues full consideration; and they didn’t want to wait for the February meeting, because things are moving so fast

Also with a little help in directions from Liza, I headed over to the NHFG website to take a look at some of the upcoming legislative proposals. Many of you already know that New Hampshire faces a shortfall in revenue to keep them afloat. They are looking at ways to better fund Fish and Game. I’ve addressed this issue before at the Black Bear Blog and have also contributed some ideas to the department of ways to deal with this.

One proposal deals with Fish and Game taking a portion of the lodging and meals tax revenue.

In New Hampshire, there is an 8% tax assessed upon patrons of hotels and restaurants. After the Department of Revenue Administration covers its costs, 40% of the revenue goes to municipalities and 60% goes to the General Fund. In 2005, the total Rooms and Meals tax revenue disbursed to the General Fund was $115 million. Based on the 2001 survey, 7.4% of this total, about $8.5 million, can be attributed to hunting, angling and wildlife-related recreation. Fish and Game is proposing to request a small portion — 4% of those dollars currently disbursed to the General Fund — for a total of $4.6 million dollars.

This would only seem a reasonable request however, greed is greed and when the general fund has been reaping the benefits of dollars generated through recreation, I have an idea Fish and Game is going to have a difficult time collecting any of that money.

Here’s another proposal.

Require a conservation decal to be displayed on canoe and kayaks used on inland and coastal waters, thereby broadening the base of people who would pay for maintaining access opportunities to all our public waters. Funds raised would also support wildlife management activities, wildlife viewing and education programs.

Pay to play, that’s what most of us do. What hurts with this proposal is that there is a lot of overlap. In other words many people who hunt, fish, trap and pay for the licenses, also use canoes and kayaks. Perhaps there would be a way of assessing a fee to those who only use specific areas and are currently paying nothing for the benefit – a difficult proposition at best.

Here are several more for you to look over.

Establish a saltwater license. This proposal would generate new license dollars, providing user funding for Fish and Game’s management of marine resources. In addition, it would help Fish and Game identify saltwater anglers, something now required by the federal Magnuson-Stevens Act. The proposal would be reciprocal in nature (any state saltwater recreational fishing license would be honored by adjoining states and federal waters) and address the concerns of party or charter boat owners. As with freshwater fishing licenses, marine recreational licenses could be purchased online, and a one-day license option is being considered.

Combine the black bear, moose, turkey and waterfowl fees into a single dedicated Game Management Account which would fund all current activities, reduce administrative overhead and contribute to the Fish and Game fund.

Create one fall and spring turkey license with a resident fee of $15 and $30 for nonresidents; and convert the migratory bird (waterfowl) stamp to a license, thereby eliminating a portion of the administrative costs associated with this program.

Authorize 5 moose permits to be auctioned annually, as is done in Maine and Vermont.

Provide $200,000 in General Fund dollars to fully pay program expenses for Search and Rescue operations. Fish and Game currently gets funds for search and rescue through a $1 surcharge on each private boat, OHRV and snowmobile registration. On average, this annual revenue is $190,000, but the cost of search and rescue is $220,000. 89% of the missions involve people who do not contribute to the search and rescue fund.

Increase the General Fund contribution for the Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Program from $50,000 to $350,000, to provide a required match for federal funds.

Return more of the unrefunded gas tax to support Fish and Game’s OHRV and snowmobile program. Currently, the unrefunded portion of the road toll from OHRVs and snowmobiles goes to the N.H. Department of Resources and Economic Development (DRED), based on average number of gallons of gas consumed of 50 gallons per year. We propose to increase the average number of gallons to 100 and to divide the unrefunded portion between Fish and Game and DRED.

While most of these ideas make sense, there is bound to be big opposition from special interests and those believing their budgets will be shrunk and/or power taken away. Looking down through the list pretty much plays into the ideas I have submitted in the past with the exception of one thing. I propose a major overhaul of not only New Hampshire’s but many states so-called fish and game budgets.

The Fish and Game Department has morphed into a giant too big for its own good with much of the burden of paying for it falling on the shoulders of license buyers. More and more responsibilities have also been dumped in their laps with little or no money to fund it. Fish and game departments need to go back to doing what they are supposed to do, managing fish and wildlife and providing for the public to be able to hunt, fish and trap.

Search and rescue as well as policing off-road vehicles needs to be a law enforcement issue and managed and enforced by state and local police departments. The list of all this goes on.

What has happened over time is there are more and more people hiking, biking, wildlife viewing, boating, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, bird watching, etc., etc. who are not paying their share. License buyers cannot provide the funding for all the rest of the outdoor enthusiasts. Their demands are too great with no funding to meet those demands. Most all of these pastimes should not be funded by fish and game.

Many of these proposals in New Hampshire would provide a temporary funding problem but in the long haul, I believe a restructuring of departments and interests is overdue.

Tom Remington

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Wyoming Wolf Management Bill Sent To House

In an effort to come up with some kind of effective wolf management plan, Wyoming House Travel committee members sent a bill to the full House for discussion. In the morning session, the bill did not have enough votes to pass committee but after lunch, two members changed their mind.

Rep. Kermit Brown, R-Laramie, was one of two House Travel Committee members who switched their votes to approve the bill, saying that when it comes to wolf management, something is better than nothing.

“If this committee kills the bill, then we extinguish any mechanism to approve a wolf settlement in the House of Representatives, and I don’t want to do that,” Brown said.

Rep. Pat Childers (R) Cody, sponsored the bill seeking $2.4 million and authorization to use GPS collars on wolves and hunting them by aircraft. The bill would also permit landowners to kill any wolves causing damage to their livestock.

This is all pending should at anytime in our lifetimes, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the state of Wyoming come up with an agreeable wolf management plan and the courts don’t continue to overrule any decisions made to de-list the wolf. Yesterday the Feds announced plans to begin the de-listing process which currently would include neighboring states, Montana and Idaho, but exclude Wyoming.

If all things went interrupted, the wolf could become de-listed within about a year but nobody expects that to happen as the animal rights groups and wolf advocates are lining up at the courthouses as we speak. This issue may take decades to resolve. In the meantime wolf populations are growing at an estimated 20% per year while other big game populations are shrinking due to predation.

It would be an understatement to say that this is ultimately going to come to a head.

Tom Remington

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Gov. Freudenthal Won't Preside Over Destruction Of State's Elk Herd

In the ongoing endless debate about the future de-listing of the gray wolf in Wyoming, Governor Dave Freudenthal last week declared he wasn’t prepared to sit idly by and do nothing while the state’s elk herd continues to be destroyed by wolves.

“If they retain the view that, no matter what we do, they’re not going to let us manage wolves for wildlife until after all the litigation around delisting is done, it’s just not going to happen,” Freudenthal said. “Because essentially, that’s kind of a death knell for some of the elk herds. Essentially that could be 2011 or 2012 by the time you get through with all that.”

“Frankly, if that remains their position, this thing isn’t going anywhere,” Freudenthal said of the federal proposal. “So we continue to negotiate with them, talk to them.”

There are rumors floating about, tempers flaring and an obvious sign of impatience growing on the part of many involved in this often passionate debate. Montana may be teaming up with the Friends of the Northern Yellowstone Elk Herd to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and force the de-listing of the wolf. Others are demanding that the state just institute their own plan now and let the matter get sorted out in the courts.

Groups like the Friends content that wolves are decimating the elk herds to such an extent that they fear by the time this issue is settled in court, there will be no more elk left to fight over.

Of course we can only speculate at this juncture as to what Freudenthal means when he says he is not prepared to preside over the destruction of the state’s elk herds while lawsuits drag on in court.

Tom Remington

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Friends Of Northern Yellowstone Elk Herd And State Of Montana To Sue Feds Over Wolf Delisting

Promises, promises, promises. That seems to be all Montana residents have gotten over the past 6 years from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Each time the USFWS has declared its intentions to de-list the wolf, it gets tied up in court and the last time in 2005, when the wolf was to be down-listed from endangered to threatened, an Oregon judge overruled the whole thing and consequently nothing happened.

Today, the Feds announced one more time their plans to remove the wolf from the endangered list. While many remain hopeful, the reality is that wolf advocate groups will tie this up in court for perhaps decades and many fear that the case will end up back in the court of the same judge who overruled the decision in 2005. Those who fear that the wolf is destroying other valuable game animals also fear by the time the courts are done deciding, it will be too late.

Enough is enough says the Friends of the Northern Yellowstone Elk Herd. They intend to bring a lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to force the de-listing and turn control of the wolf over to the state. In doing so, they have asked the state of Montana to join them in the lawsuit. Because of not completely following administrative details in previous actions, the state of Montana is not eligible to sue the Feds but Friends are and they’re asking the state to now join them, which they can do.

Friends’ Chairman & Founder, Robert T. Fanning, Jr. of Pray, Montana commented; “Ten years of political negotiations have failed miserably. Our lawsuit is now the only way left for Montana to force delisting – the only game in town. Without the ability to join our suit, Montana’s only alternative will be to wait patiently for the feds to do what they have promised to do since January 11, 2000, but haven’t done yet and may never do. Our suit is particularly important because any future moves by the feds to delist wolves will simply be overturned by the same Oregon judge who torpedoed the attempted down listing of wolves from endangered to threatened.”

HB 343(pdf file) is the bill introduced into the Montana legislature that would appropriate the money to join the suit. Originally the bill sought $150,000.

HOUSE BILL NO. 343
2 INTRODUCED BY D. RICE
3
4 A BILL FOR AN ACT ENTITLED: “AN ACT APPROPRIATING MONEY FROM THE GENERAL FUND TO THE
5 LEGISLATIVE SERVICES DIVISION TO FUND STATE PARTICIPATION IN A LAWSUIT AGAINST THE
6 FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CHALLENGING THE FAILURE OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO REMOVE
7 WOLVES FROM THE ENDANGERED SPECIES LIST; AND PROVIDING AN IMMEDIATE EFFECTIVE DATE.”

Since that bill was introduced, a new section was added to appropriate a total of $200,000 – $150,000 for legal services and an additional $50,000 for administrative costs. That bill is now in the Appropriations Committee awaiting action.

Tom Remington

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Concerned Sportsmen Of Idaho Sends Out A Message

This is a statement made by Pete Ellsworth, president of the Concerned Sportsmen of Idaho.

I thought I as; President of a responsible group of outdoorsmen, Concerned Sportsmen of Idaho (CSI) should send this on to all of you in hopes that sportsmen can keep well informed. Here is the latest status of one of the claims made against the Idaho elk ranchers. The claim that one of the elk that escaped from Rammel’s elk ranch, was or may have been an elk / red deer hybrid. I hope this new finding will be on the front page of the newspapers and, especially in the Outdoor sections, all around the Pacific Northwest. There has been so much misinformation spread about Idaho elk ranches it has almost been criminal.
One event where this and more misinformation was spread was the Idaho Sportsman’s Caucus Advisory Council (ISCAC) sponsored Camo Day. At this Boise rally at the Capital, ISCAC, stood along-side of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the largest ANTI-HUNTING group in the our country. They and a few other ‘sportsman?’ groups openly campaigned Idaho legislators to remove ALL domestic elk ranching operations from Idaho.
This was spear-headed by people like ISCAC representative, Senator David Langhorst, the former Ketchum based Wolf Education & Research director. This group claims to be the largest wolf advocacy group in the world. It has members of the Board, such as Ed Bangs and David Mech.
Is ISCAC and these type of groups really the legislative representative for Idaho sportsmen? It sure hasn’t been from the many thousands of Idaho sportsmen I have talked to.
Few sportsmen or Idaho residents period that I know even want the Canadian gray wolves in Idaho. [Please don’t sight the Boise State (BS) study that clam most Idaho residents want wolves in Idaho. The initials BS then will take on an entirely different meaning.] Most outdoorsmen, myself included, were much more comfortable with the ‘natural recovery’ of the native Idaho timber wolf that was going on well before the whole “we need to ‘help nature’ by bringing in an entirely different strain of wolves from Canada and we need to do it right now.”
Although I may seem to have gotten off track in reporting and passing along this information on that there were New test shows no hybrid elk escaped from the Rammel ranch. I don’t think it takes much to see the ties between this and the things we see happening under the guise of ‘representation of Idaho sportsmen’ to our legislators.
A few weeks ago I saw the headlines in newspapers that read something like ‘Test show escaped Rammel elk red deer hybrid’. You had to read well into the article to find that one of the elk tests had come back inconclusive. After I finished reading the article I made a bet ‘when all the smoke clears’ that elk will be found not to have any red deer genes.
My ‘gut feeling’ about inconclusive tests, my knowledge of animal husbandry and liability in inaccurate claims were right. If you buy a certified pure Yellowstone elk and breed to other certified Yellowstone elk all the genes will be Yellowstone elk. If that didn’t happen the certified elk testing lab that checked the animals before they came into Idaho and the certified out-of-state breeder would be in deep legal and financial trouble. To put it simply ‘that ain’t going to happen’ there would have been way too much to loose and way to little to gain.

Pete Ellsworth
33620 Winchester Grade
Culdesac, ID 83524
208 843 5178

Tom Remington

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Statements Made About The Impact Of Wolves On Elk

We all do it. We spin information to fit our theories and beliefs more times than not paying little regard to all the facts. Politics in Washington works the same way as it does in the tiniest of towns through this great land. In its most basic form, all parties have an objective. How to reach that goal is so diverse often it becomes insurmountable.

The majority of people want healthy wildlife. How to achieve that is debatable. In the inter-mountain west areas around Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, there are wolves, the animal Americans love to hate. Nearly all people, whether knowledgeable or not believe that wolves prey on other wildlife and domestic animals. When the debate turns toward how much effect the wolf has on certain species is where the road splits.

Today’s Casper Star-Tribune has a story that partially addresses the issues about the impact wolves have on elk populations. Whitney Royster’s article has comments made by influential people in this three-state area about wolves and elk. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says that a state needs to prove that wolves are having a detrimental effect on big game herds in order for them to grant authority to kill wolves.

The difficulty comes because nobody knows exactly what kind of impact wolves eating elk are having. It’s not black and white science and because of that personal perspectives play an important role in reaching conclusions – from both sides.

With that in mind, here are a few statements made by some officials about the elk/wolf political and scientific issues. Mitch King, regional director of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service –

“You can’t sort of offhand say, ‘I didn’t kill an elk this year, and therefore wolves are killing them,'” he said. There need to be population numbers for big game, objectives, knowledge of where wolf packs are, and public input. Proposals must also include analysis of other factors affecting big game herds, such as habitat loss, and methods to address those other problems as well.

Carolyn Sime, wolf coordinator for the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks said this –

wolves are one part of a complicated ecological system.

Factors affecting the number of big game also include drought, severe winters, hunting, and other predators. Elk herds in Montana, where wolves were never extirpated in the northern area of the state, are at or above objectives, she said.

“At this time our data do not support a statement that wolves are wiping everything out,” she said.

Montana is not looking to kill wolves to protect elk, because data do not demonstrate that wolves are having a significant impact, Sime said.

That does not mean hunters are not concerned.

The Yellowstone northern elk herd has seen reduced hunting. That herd, Sime said, is a migrant herd, and fewer elk are migrating out of Yellowstone National Park due to influences from drought, weather and predation.

“That herd comedown is due to many things,” she said. “It’s not a wolf-elk system in a vacuum.”

Ed Bangs, federal wolf recovery coordinator –

wolves eat elk and reduce the number of elk, but mountain lions eat about twice as much big game as do wolves. He said wolves stir up emotions that other large predators do not.

And wolf numbers are tied to the number of prey available. Lots of prey means lots of wolves.

“Wolves adjust themselves to the level of vulnerable prey,” he said. Wolf populations spiked upon reintroduction because there was a large prey base. Numbers will begin to level as habitat is taken up, he said.

Pat Crank, attorney general for Wyoming –

with 26 packs and about 400 wolves in Wyoming, the state is far beyond recovery goals. Any impacts already seen to big game are going to continue and increase unless the state can manage wolves like it does other wildlife species.

Terry Cleveland, director of Wyoming Game and Fish Department

wolves are having an impact on calf survival, particularly in the Clarks Fork area, where there used to be about 40 calves for every 100 cows. Now the ratio is less than 20.

“Over the long term it certainly appears that less (calf) recruitment due to wolf predation means less opportunities for hunters in some of those herd units,” he said. “We can’t say what percentage is due to wolves. We believe wolf predation in some areas is having an impact.”

He said wolves are likely having more than a 1 percent impact on calf losses, but it is not known how much of an impact.

So there you have it. Five people and five different opinions or positions taken by their perspective governmental organizations. These are the differing elk and wolf perspectives from state and federal agencies that are bound and restricted by the confines of political correctness. When you add to the mix, biologists who will give you reasons to eradicate the wolf again and scientists representing wolf advocacy groups showing reasons no wolves should be killed, there’s no telling what the general public will hear once the media is done adding their spin. And we need not forget the average Joe Hunter and Sally Civilian who will contribute the anecdotal evidence that conclusively proves that either wolves are our friends or they all must die.

Tom Remington

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