August 15, 2020

Gray Wolves to be Hunted Again

The Secretary of the Interior is expected to sign an agreement next week that would place control over management of the gray wolf into the hands of the states and out of the control of the Federal Government. When this happens states like Idaho, Montana and Wyoming intend to allow the animal to be hunted.
Gray Wolf
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

This of course has raised objections from mostly animal rights groups and in particular those that are focused on the gray wolves. Carter Niemeyer a self proclaimed educator, peacemaker, moderator and referee for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Boise, Idaho stands up for the wolf.

In contrast, Ron Gillett of the Idaho Anti-Wolf Coalition, wants to see all the wolves gone completely. He says this about the gray wolf.

“…immediately remove them by whatever means are necessary.”

“They kill everything, all of the game first, then the predators, then each other,” he said, adding that they are outsiders.

“These are Canadian wolves,” Gillett said. “The only place they belong in Idaho is in a zoo, neutered.”

I’m not a rocket scientist but I think I know where Mr. Gillett stands on the gray wolf issues.

On the other hand, Niemeyer says that the gray wolf roamed the landscape in these areas long before man arrived and hunted them to near extinction. He also downplays the fact that the gray wolf preys on cattle owned by ranchers in the region. He says this about those who would disagree with him.

“But I know they don’t want to let facts get in their way,” he said of anti-wolf activists.

This is no new story. There has been a war brewing over the gray wolf for many years. Ranchers want them gone for the simple reason that wolves kill their cattle. Mr. Niemeyer states facts (his own) about the insignificant impact wolves have on cattle. As a rancher, losing one cattle is a substantial lost – at least from my perspective.

The agreement that has been reached with the Department of the Interior with the states, namely Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, is to allow ranchers the chance to kill wolves that are regularly preying on their cattle – or harassing them as was reported by MSNBC. It would also allow game officials to eliminate wolf numbers that are threatening a healthy population of deer and elk.

I don’t have a copy of the agreement to know exactly what it says but who and what determines when a wolf or pack of wolves regularly preys on cattle.

Idaho and Montana have approved plans in controlling the wolf but Wyoming is suing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife agency over the rejection of its plan, which would allow unregulated hunting of wolves outside of national parks and designated wilderness areas.

And so the posturing goes with the one side wanting to kill all wolves and the other side wanting wolves to have free rein. Stuck in the middle of this debate are the Wildlife Departments of each state feeling like an incompetent child. Does anyone believe that the states powers in this matter want to control and not eliminate the gray wolf?

When looking at other species of animals that were once placed on the endangered list, like the Canada lynx, and removed, behind it you will find a very competent game department that probably doesn’t get enough credit for making the change possible.

With the extremes of both sides warring, generally, consensus is reached and a sensible solution is put into place. Man must live with animals and animals must live with man – that, is a fact that isn’t going to change.

Tom Remington


Public Comment Sought on Montana 2006 Big Game Hunting Proposals

The Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is seeking your input on proposed changes to the 2006 big game hunting regulations. You have until January 21, 2006 to do so. Here are some highlights of the changes being considered:

1. Changes to regulations would be in effect for two years.

2. Place a limit on the number of antlerless deer and antelope licenses that can be bought in one season.

3. Freeing up aspects of the elk hunt to better reach management goals.

4. Set new restrictions on importing carcasses from neighboring states where CWD is present.

5. Revision of the trophy elk definition.

6. Extend aspects of the youth hunt from 12-14 to include 12-17.

7. There are numerous changes to the management of deer and elk.

8. Create a fall archery season on mountain lion.

There are many proposals being looked at for next season on every kind of big game species. You can get a complete detailed report of all the proposals here. This site can also give you details of how you can offer input.

Tom Remington


Montana Elk Getting Older

The elk population in the Northern Yellowstone herd is getting older. Ten years ago, the average age of the elk in that herd was about 6 years. Today that average has climbed to just under nine years (average ages vary by animal sex).

This data is collected by examining the teeth of deer harvested during the annual elk hunt. They look at the teeth in a similar way that one would examine a tree. Each ring on a tree represents a year of growth. The same holds true with an elk’s tooth.

What concerns scientists with this trend is the older the herd becomes the more difficult it is to reproduce and sustain a healthy population. The numbers that have been collected do not reflect the same trends in other elk herds. For example, other herds have an average age of 4-5 years and more calves are born each year than with the Northern Yellowstone herd.

Adjustments have been made to the number of antlerless hunting permits issued in this region. In 2000, 2,880 permits were issued. For the late season hunt scheduled for this January 6-30, 2006, 100 permits were issued. This is an attempt by officials to increase the number of calves to be born next spring which in turn should increase the population and with more young elk born, the average age should begin to decrease back toward more normal ranges.

You can go to the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks web site and read the entire report.

Tom Remington