January 18, 2022

Wolf Management and Hunter Manipulation_ The Cause of the Destruction of Our Herds.

The following video clip is from a work in production by Rockholm Media, “Ghosts of the Rockies.” Whether intended by the author or not, what I find inexplicable is the contrasting care and attention being given to a nasty, disease ridden, useless wild dog, and that of the elk, what’s left of them, left to rot and be destroyed. The elk is a useful creature for many things including a food source to thousands of people and human beings. With mixed-up priorities, valuable money and resources are being spent to protect a useless creature, where life existed just fine for many, many years without it, allowing for the destruction of the elk, deer and moose.

Talk about screwed up in the head.

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RMEF Opens 13,000 Acres of Oregon Elk Country, Secures Public Access to Public Lands

MISSOULA, Mont.–The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation headed up a successful collaborative effort to permanently protect and open access to 13,082 acres in the Headwaters of the John Day River in northeast Oregon. By purchasing the land and conveying it to the United States at a bargain sale price, the transaction also secures and improves access to tens of thousands of acres of publicly-owned National Forest System lands.

“This is a victory for hunter-conservationists, anglers, hikers and anyone who wants public access to more than 13,000 acres of what was previously inaccessible private land in the heart of Oregon’s elk country,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “We are grateful to a family that understands the importance of conserving crucial elk habitat and wildlife management while also providing a way for improved access to a landscape loaded with numerous vital resource values.”

“My husband loved the outdoors and hunting,” said JoAnne Johnson, wife of D.R. Johnson and co-owner of D.R. Johnson Lumber Company. “Don always felt that ultimately blocking up our sections with the Forest Service property made the most sense. It is the family’s hope and desire that now this beautiful and unique area will remain accessible for hunters, fishermen, and all outdoorsmen, and that it will receive some much needed forest management as well. It is a bittersweet moment for us, but we believe Don would want the citizens of Grant County to be able to enjoy this amazing property for generations to come.”

The acreage, which was a vast checkerboard ownership pattern of alternating private and public sections south of Prairie City, is now consolidated into one mass block of public ownership under management of the U.S. Forest Service (see map in link below). It is located in the Strawberry Mountains on the Malheur National Forest.

“This is wonderful news,” said Pacific Northwest Regional Forester Kent Connaughton. “It’s a huge present for the people of Oregon and the nation. The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is to be congratulated for inspiring and leading this key project.”

“The project area covers a 40-mile landscape around the origin and main stem of the John Day River as it flows north to the Columbia River and provides crucial linkage with existing public lands and all-important wildlife corridors,” said Blake Henning, RMEF vice president of Lands and Conservation.

The Headwaters not only provide first-class habitat for elk but also for mule deer, black bears, pronghorn, mountain goats, grouse, quail and a host of other wildlife. Four federally listed birds and four federally listed mammal species of concern inhabit the property. The area is also of critical importance to salmon, steelhead, bull trout, redband and westslope cutthroat trout due to the cold water inputs the headwater tributaries provide to the John Day River.

“The most important aspect of this transaction is the entire project area is no longer threatened by development,” said Allen. “And not only is new land available to the public, but public access to existing federal land will be improved and new links can be made to existing trails.”

RMEF partners include the D.R. Johnson family, the U.S. Forest Service and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

For a look at a detailed map of the acquisition, visit the URL below: http://rmefblog.blogspot.com/2013/12/rmef-opens-13000-acres-of-oregon-elk.html

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Idaho To Conduct Study About What Everybody Already Knows About Elk and Wolves

Can you say waste of money among other foolish things?

Ok, here’s what you do. I one word, in the comments section below, describe the action being taken by the Idaho fish and game department to spend money to collar elk to find out if it’s snow or wolves killing off all the elk.

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RMEF Conserves 3,329 acres of ‘Best of the Best’ Wyoming Elk Country

MISSOULA, Mont.–The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation worked with conservation-minded landowners, who are also long-time RMEF members, to permanently protect 3,329 acres of critical elk habitat along the eastern front of Wyoming’s Laramie Range.

“This transaction not only protects high wildlife habitat values and thwarts the potential threat of increasing development, but it’s also the first conservation easement in Platte County,” said Blake Henning, RMEF vice president of Lands and Conservation. “The location is significant since subdivisions are in the works less than five miles away. This action may encourage nearby landowners to consider conservation over development as they go forward.”

“Conservation easements can play a key role with willing landowners in conserving the ‘best of the best,’” said Ryan Amundson, habitat extension biologist for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. “This property is one of those key properties.”

Located adjacent to the Medicine Bow National Forest, Bureau of Land Management land and State land, the acreage also provides vital year-round forage, water and shelter for mule and white-tailed deer, pronghorn and other wildlife. The easement also provides connectivity of the public lands and contiguous habitat between summer and winter ranges.

Cottonwood Creek and its tributaries meander through the property creating riparian corridors with cottonwood galleries transitioning to mixed grass prairie and shrub-steppe habitat.

“The open ridges, in combination with the Wheatland area’s famous winds, provide open foraging areas in winter months for all these mentioned species,” added Amundson. “Thank you to RMEF for your efforts in keeping agricultural lands and important wildlife habitats intact in southeastern Wyoming.”

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RMEF Grants Aid Elk, Elk Habitat in South Dakota

MISSOULA, Mont.–The extensive monitoring of elk to deal with chronic wasting disease, prescribed burning to improve habitat, and various projects to enhance wildlife water supplies and promote hunting heritage are among 2013 efforts funded by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation in South Dakota.

The RMEF grants total $71,232 and directly affect Aurora, Brule, Butte, Charles Mix, Custer, Douglas, Fall River, Lawrence, Lincoln, Meade and Pennington Counties. There are also several projects of statewide interest.

“Chronic wasting disease can have a devastating impact on elk populations in South Dakota so it’s important we remain committed to an intensive program at Wind Cave National Park designed to monitor and remove those that appear infected,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “Funding a prescribed burn will also improve elk habitat in the same region.”

Allen thanked dedicated RMEF volunteers in South Dakota who conducted fundraising projects at their banquets and via membership drives to generate the funding. He also thanked volunteers and members around the nation for their dedication to conservation, elk and elk country.

RMEF grants will help fund the following 2013 projects, listed by county:

Butte County–Provide RMEF volunteer manpower to help install 3/8-inch aluminum cable along a 1/4-mile stretch of fencing on private land to ease movement for the Red Water elk herd and minimize fence damage.

Charles Mix County–Provide funding for a wildlife display at the Cecil and Phyllis Melcher Museum in Platte (also affects Aurora, Brule and Douglas counties).

Custer County–Prescribed burning for 1,986 acres in the southwest corner of Custer State Park, northwest corner of Wind Cave National Park, a portion of Black Hills National Forest lands and a small portion of private land to improve elk habitat by treating encroaching ponderosa pine and cleaning up down and dead woody debris; monitor elk movement in and out of Wind Cave National Park, conduct cow-calf counts to assist management decisions, and take part in CWD monitoring and removal of suspect animals to safeguard the herd; monitor and repair wildlife guzzlers across the Black Hills National Forest by utilizing RMEF volunteers (also affects Pennington, Lawrence, Fall River and Meade counties); provide funding for a high quality interactive display in Custer State Park focusing on game management and conservation featuring elk, bison, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, antelope and other species to be seen by nearly 2 million visitors annually; and provide funding for the South Dakota Wildlife Federation Conservation Camp that focuses on introducing high school age girls and boys to wildlife, conservation, and other subjects that provide background for careers in wildlife, biology and similar fields.

Lawrence County–Replace and maintain 10 wildlife guzzlers on the Northern Hills Ranger District of the Black Hills National Forest by using RMEF volunteer manpower while also monitoring 14 additional guzzlers (also affects Meade County); and provide RMEF volunteers labor to assist with the clean-up and recycling of scrap metal on an RMEF-held conservation easement.

Lincoln County–Provide the Harrisburg School District with an elk education trunk which contains lesson plans, activities, books, antlers, fur, skulls and other hands-on instructional tools used to offer wildlife and conservation education for educators teaching grades five through eight. (Funding from RMEF’s Torstenson Family Endowment covered this project.)

Pennington County–Enhance and protect three developed springs used by elk, deer and other species by improving fencing while still providing water for wildlife and livestock on the Black Hills National Forest; provide funding to assist members of the South Dakota Senate and House Agriculture and Natural Resource Committees in a tour of South Dakota West River counties to view completed and proposed conservation and outreach projects; provide sponsorship of South Dakota Youth Hunting Adventures, a non-profit organization that pairs youth age 12-16 from the Rapid City area, who do not have the opportunity to hunt, with mentors to learn shooting, conservation education, landowner relations, fishing, camping and other outdoor skills as they head into the field for an antlerless deer hunt; and provide funding for an RMEF sign capping a $10,000 donation to finance an elk display at Outdoor Campus West in Rapid City, an educational facility that serves approximately 10,000 visitors every year.

Statewide–Provide sponsorship of the South Dakota Division of Wildlife Conference, a gathering that offers training, team building and professional development of staff; and replace South Dakota’s RMEF State Leadership Team elk education trunk.

Conservation projects are selected for grants using science-based criteria and a committee of RMEF volunteers and staff along with representatives from partnering agencies and universities. RMEF volunteers and staff select hunting heritage projects to receive funding.

Partners for 2013 projects in South Dakota include South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks, the Black Hills National Forest, Wind Cave National Park, local businesses, private landowners, and various sportsmen, wildlife, civic and government organizations.

RMEF’s mission is to enhance the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage. Since 1985, RMEF and its partners completed 196 different conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in South Dakota with a combined value of more than $32.3 million.

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The First and Only Elk Hunt in New Hampshire

elkqueensFew people even know that once wild elk roamed a small area of southwestern New Hampshire. Even fewer know that for two days in 1941, 293 special elk hunting permits were issued, at $5.00 each and 46 elk were harvested.

Wild elk? Perhaps we have come to use the terms wild and pure a bit freely, dumbing down the definitions in order to better fit a narrative or an agenda. Nevertheless, New Hampshire had elk and the numbers got out of hand.

Austin Corbin, a self-proclaimed wildlife conservationist, bought up large parcels of land in the southwestern corner of the state, fenced it in with 36 miles of fencing and began importing wild and various exotic animals; wild boar, moose, bison, bighorn sheep, elk, Chinese pheasant. It is reported that 60 elk were imported from northern Minnesota and placed on Corbin’s preserve.

Corbin only allowed hunting on his preserve when he felt the need to reduce populations of certain species.

Perhaps some readers may be familiar with Austin Corbin as the person who owned the bison that was used to rebuild bison herds in the West.

It was in 1903 that Austin Corbin III, Corbin’s son, gifted the State of New Hampshire with a dozen elk; 8 cows and 4 bulls. The elk were let free by the Andover Fish and Game Club around Ragged Mountain. The elk flourished until reports of anywhere between 60 and 200 or more elk roamed the area and creating great angst among farmers and other landowners because of crop damages and personal property destruction.

On December 17 and 18, 1941, 293 elk-permitted hunters ambushed the area where the elk where amassed and killed 46 wapiti. It was quite the spectacle and a miracle no humans were injured or killed.

So, what happened to the elk? It seems that even after the hunt, where some believed that the most of the elk had been killed, much because there was no good way of actually knowing how many elk there really were, the elk continued to flourish again causing great property damage.

In the early 1950s, New Hampshire passed a piece of legislation stating, “The director of fish and game is hereby directed to reduce the elk herd in the state to a population that will no longer present a potential threat to agricultural interests. The reduction of this herd shall be started at once and carried to completion without unnecessary delay.”

It was also proposed that the elk be relocated to areas in the northern part of the state where human populations were much smaller than in the south. That never happened.

By the mid-1950s officials estimated that free ranging elk in New Hampshire numbered anywhere between 20 and 30 animals. It is assumed that the remaining elk were poached and/or killed by farmers to protect their property.

Officially, there are no longer any wild elk roaming the New Hampshire countryside, although, as one might expect, claims are made on occasion of spotting an elk in the woods of the Granite State.

Sources:

Sports Illustrated Vault
Soo Nipi Magazine

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Hydatid Cysts in Elk and Unexplained Worms

The information for this article came to me from various sources of emails. In an email sent to Idaho for Wildlife, pictures of hydatid cysts infecting a recently harvested elk and a brief story are shared.

“Greeting Steve, my name is XXXXX XXXXX[Feb. 3, 2014 – name was removed per request of the person.]. I live in Cascade, Idaho. I saw the flyer on the hytadid elk disease on a flyer at a store in Donnelly, Idaho.

The attached pics are from a cow elk my wife shot last week a few miles north of Donnelly in Valley County. Lesions look the same. The entire elk was infested with tiny white worms. Every part of it. They were entirely thoughout all the meat. If you look in the pics closely the worms are kinda straight but wiggly shaped. I had a IDFG Officer inspect it. He got on the phone with the biologists at headquarters in Caldwell and they requested a sample and condemned the elk. They requested I bury it which I did. I looked over your groups website and thought I should forward this to you. Call me if you would like to discuss.”

XXXXX XXXXXX[Feb. 3, 2014, Name was removed per request of the person.]

All photos can be enlarged to full size for more precise viewing. Just click on the image and then click again on the following page.

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The following is information sent to me by Lynn Stuter pertaining to the photos above.

“Like many of you, I received the following e-mail,

The attached pics are from a cow elk my wife shot last week a few miles north of Donnelly in Valley County. Lesions look the same. The entire elk was infested with tiny white worms. Every part of it. They were entirely thoughout all the meat. If you look in the pics closely the worms are kinda straight but wiggly shaped. I had a IDFG Officer inspect it. He got on the phone with the biologists at headquarters in Caldwell and they requested a sample and condemned the elk. They requested I bury it which I did. I looked over your groups website and thought I should forward this to you. Call me if you would like to discuss.

For those who don’t have ready access to a map, Donnelly is a ways south of McCall in Idaho. In looking at the attached pictures, at least some of the cysts, in the lungs, appear to be Hydatid cysts, ungulates being the intermediate host to the Echinococcus granulosus tapeworm.

I sent the pictures to Dr Valerius Geist. In part he responded, “please spread the word to open suspicious cysts, cut it with your knife, to expose the hydatid sand.” The “Hydatid sand” Dr Geist speaks of is the tapeworm heads that look like sand in the fluid that exists inside the cyst. If the cyst is full of tapeworm heads, you know the animal had Hydatid.

While some may fear contracting Hydatid by doing this, know that the tapeworm heads must be ingested by a canine (wolf, coyote, dog) to become adult tapeworms capable of producing eggs. The tapeworm heads are not a threat to humans, only the eggs of the Echinococcus granulosus tapeworm that causes Hydatid are a threat to humans. If ingested by a human, the eggs hatch in the intestines, burrow through the intestinal wall, enter the vascular system, and usually travel to the liver or lungs, where Hydatid cysts are formed.

Of course, if gutting an infected animal at the residence, be sure to secure and remove the guts (offal) so the family dog does not get into them, ingest the tapeworm heads, and become infected with the Echinococcus granulosus tapeworm, thereby spreading the eggs in its feces around and in the home, eggs that are a threat to humans and especially to small children who play in the grass and on the floor in the home.

The worms in the meat of this elk would not be Echinococcus granulosus as the tapeworm heads, found in the Hydatid cyst, must be ingested by a canine (wolf, coyote, dog) to develop into mature tapeworms. If a cyst is ruptured, inside the host animal, the result is most often anaphylactic shock followed by death. This is also true with humans. There is always an exception to the rule, however. If a cyst is ruptured, and the host does not go into anaphylactic shock and die, the tapeworm heads do not infect the meat and become mature tapeworms; the tapeworm heads that survive form new cysts inside the host.

What the worms are, in the meat of this elk, is yet to be determined.”

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The 2013 Elk Plan – IDFG Biologists Continue to Blame Gross Mismanagement on Declining Habitat

*Editor’s Note* – This article from the Outdoorsman is being republished only with the permission of the author/editor of The Outdoorsman. Please click on the brand and icon to the right of this article and subscribe to the printed addition of The Outdoorsman. The magazine cannot remain in publication without your support. Thank you.

The 2013 Elk Plan – IDFG Biologists Continue to Blame Gross Mismanagement on Declining Habitat

By George Dovel

My Introduction to Idaho Fish and Game Biologists

Discharged from the U.S. Army late in 1956, I established Gem Helicopter Service in Boise and put on an informal one-helicopter air show at Gowen Field.

The plastic “bubble” of my new Bell helicopter was painted with a clown face and topped with a cowboy hat. I demonstrated vertical and horizontal capabilities of the machine with simulated forward and backward loops, followed by forward flight with rapid stops and then hovering motionless at various altitudes.

I still have several 35 mm color slides of me lifting a cowgirl from a speeding convertible using a two-rung rope ladder that I dropped to her shortly before I deposited her gently on the tarmac near the tower. And my final demonstration involved placing a dime on the concrete near the tower, taking off and climbing to 1,000 feet, and then cutting the throttle and executing a 360-degree autorotation with a “dead-stick” landing straddling the dime.

Following the demonstration, I was approached by Idaho Power engineers, surveyors and wildlife biologists
who envisioned a saving of time and money by hiring our service. Idaho National Guard Brig. Gen. George Bennet, a decorated combat veteran, eagerly questioned me about my experiences in Korea and revealed his interest in acquiring Army fixed wing and helicopter proficiency.

Wildlife Biologists Claimed North Idaho Shrubfields No Longer Provide Adequate Forage and Cover for Elk

That was 57 years ago and Idaho was still a game paradise. Yet the biologists, who had quietly taken over all aspects of game management, insisted there was not enough winter habitat to feed the deer and elk in Idaho’s roadless backcountry areas – but offered no evidence in support of that claim provided by the Wildlife Management Institute.

They said the north Idaho shrubfields created by large, hot destructive fires in 1910, 1919 and 1934 had
matured and no longer provided the winter forage and escape cover needed by elk and deer. Now, 57 years later, a new crop of biologists claim habitat is still deficient in Idaho’s 2014-2024 elk plan – again with no proof offered.

The Clearwater Region in North Central Idaho provided more than 45% of Idaho’s total elk harvest for
nearly half a century. But by 1956, a decade after IDFG biologists began implementing WMI President Ira
Gabrielson’s recommendation to radically increase the back country elk and deer harvest by non-resident hunters, the famous Clearwater elk herd had already taken a nose dive.

Instead of blaming their own doubling the either sex back country deer and elk hunting season lengths,
adding multiple deer harvests, and radically increasing nonresident elk and deer hunters; IDFG biologists continued to blame the transition from seral stage (temporary) increases in shrubfields back to the climax stage of conifers that they claim existed when the 1910 fires hit.

Despite Biologists’ Claims, Abundant Forage Existed

Finally in 1963, IDFG initiated the first five years of the 22-year Clearwater Elk Ecology Study to determine the best method of rejuvenating the shrubfields to provide adequate forage and escape cover for elk. According to the research reports, the area studied was representative of the areas in which more than half of Idaho’s elk were harvested.

But in the five years, researchers found utilization of winter forage by elk and deer in the study area never exceeded 25% of the forage that was available to elk during the winters! Yet the elk population in the study area declined another 85% during those five years!

More research from 1968-1972 revealed high conception and calf birth rates but very poor post-hunting
season calf survival. In 1973 an intensive study began to determine the cause of all elk calf deaths in that study area during the first six months of life.

Predators – Not Poor Habitat – Destroyed the Elk

Over the next five years, average calf birth weights exceeded the minimum required for 90% survival by 6%
and the newborn calves gained about two pounds per day. But two-thirds of the calves were killed by predators – 84% of those during the first two weeks after birth when they are most vulnerable.

Five different predators killed those elk calves, but 75% were killed by black bears, so in 1976 the researchers temporarily relocated many of the bears, which numbered two per square mile in the study area. This jumped post hunting season elk calf survival from the three-year average of 21-calves-per-100-cows to 61:100 in 1977!

Battle to Restore Sound Management Took Its Toll

Meanwhile, after 13 years of working with our Fish and Game biologists and watching them continue to
destroy the big game herds that had taken half a century to rebuild, it was obvious to me that someone had to stop it. I put together a team of volunteers and, with one full-time and several part time employees, we began publishing The Outdoorsman in May of 1969.

A legislative audit found that IDFG knowingly exaggerated published population and harvest statistics to
cover up its destruction of Idaho deer and elk herds. In May of 1971 F&G Director Dick Woodworth was forced to resign and his replacement, Joe Greenley, ordered 10 years of inflated harvest data replaced with just the number of animals hunters had actually reported killing each year.

Then, as now, IDFG had developed supporters in the legislature and in selected sportsman organizations, and they fought every effort to restore honest management. The Outdoorsman achieved a 30,000 circulation, but the cost to my family, to Rob Donley and others who stood with me, and to state and federal govt. employees who dared to tell the truth was extremely high.

Greenley Plan Halted Cow Elk Hunting, Shortened allSeason Lengths and Dramatically Reduced Predators

When Idaho outdoorsmen finally won the battle, Joe Greenley implemented a plan that promised to restore
Idaho deer and elk herds by 1985. His plan involved dramatically shortened deer and elk seasons with limited female deer harvest and no female elk harvest except for short either-sex seasons in the Panhandle Region.

Units where even a 3-day bulls-only season might result in excessive harvests were closed to elk hunting, and most controlled deer and all controlled elk hunts were eliminated except for a small number of bull elk permits in some of the closed units.

Both residents and non-residents were allowed to take two bear in Units 8, 8A, 9A, 10, 10A, 12, 15, 16, 16A, 17, 19, 20, 20A, 23, 24, 25, 26, 34 and 39, using a regular and extra bear tag. In Units 19A, 33, 35, 43 and 44 a resident hunter could kill two bears without a bear tag, and could kill one bear without a tag in all the units that now make up the Southeast and Upper Snake Regions.

When Greenley retired in 1980, he was replaced by Jerry Conley who began to increase back country season
lengths and sell a few antlerless permits. But when both Greenley’s Elk and Deer Restoration Plan and the 22-year Clearwater Elk Ecology Study ended in 1985, elk populations were at or near record highs in many units.

Hansen and Kaminski Used Record-High 1985 Elk Data to Support 219 Wolves in Central Idaho PAA

Graduate students and former Montana Wolf Biologists Timmothy Kaminski and Jerome Hansen dated the end of their Idaho wolf-prey study as 1984. But then they identified and added Idaho’s 1985 elk population data,
and used it to justify adding 219 wolves that could be supported in the 20,700 square mile “Central Idaho
Primary Analysis Area.”

For example, in 1985, Units 10 and 12 (now the Lolo Zone) had a post hunting season elk population of
20,115, a harvest of 1,430, and the elk were increasing at the rate of 805 per year. Dividing the 805 elk by an estimated kill of ~17 elk or deer per wolf per year, showed the area could support about 45 of the 219 total wolves – if management remained the same.

But by 1989, F&G increased the annual Lolo Zone elk harvest by 38% and eliminated bear control resulting in a decline of 24% in the Lolo elk population – which now totaled only 15,270. The loss of 4,845 elk averaged over the four years reflected an annual loss of 1,211 elk instead of the annual gain of 805.

Biologists Hide Massive Prey Declines From Citizens

This meant Units 10 and 12 could no longer support any wolves! Yet Hansen, who was now employed by Idaho F&G to provide accurate wolf prey data to FWS for its 1993 Draft Wolf Environmental Impact Statement,
made no effort to change the 1985 figures he provided to FWS Wolf Team Leader Ed Bangs.

Kaminski assisted Bangs for the next nine years, and then served as Congressional staff for the next two
years when transplanting Canadian wolves was approved and the wolves were relocated in Central Idaho and
Yellowstone Park. Yet he kept pretending the 10-year-old elk figures were still accurate.

By 1989 IDFG biologists had added 14,665 bonus elk permits statewide but only 9% were for bulls only!
Another 20% allowed the killing of either-sex and a whopping 71% allowed only a cow or calf to be taken!
Three years later, in 1992, money-hungry IDFG biologists increased the number of Idaho limited draw elk
permits to 20,400 – with 80% only allowed to kill a cow or calf! In just three years The Lolo Zone elk population had dropped another 4,073 to only 11,197 yet IDFG still pretended nothing was wrong.

State Officials Supported F&G, FWS Lying To Public

In my 1993 written testimony to FWS Wolf Team Leader Ed Bangs, I included three pages of proof that the
Central Idaho ungulate populations claimed in the Wolf EIS were exaggerated by as much as 600%. Bangs never responded.

In a September 24, 1993 draft letter to Wolf Project Leader Ed Bangs, IDFG Director Jerry Conley
admitted that IDFG personnel had provided the data and the analysis in the Wolf EIS concerning the limited impact of introducing 100 wolves into central Idaho. He added, “We believe these analyses provide a realistic picture of the probable environmental consequences of a recovered wolf population…based on the best available data.”

I pointed out to Wolf Oversight Committee Co-Chairman Bennett that “the best available data” had changed dramatically since 1985 and it was doubtful that depleted elk and deer populations in Central Idaho could
support any wolves – much less the 100 Conley’s letter claimed. He said they would correct Conley’s letter and I thanked him.

But the final letter was sent to Bangs on Oct. 12, 1993, and the only change was replacing the words
“realistic picture” with the vague “reasonable estimate.” Deer hunters were already complaining about the massive starvation loss of more than half of Idaho’s mule deer during the 1992-93 winter, and despite the loss of thousands of elk to starvation from eight years of drought followed by the worst winter in 40 years, IDFG increased the number of special draw elk hunts to 23,995 in 1993!

In a February 17 1994 meeting with Sandy Donley and me, Wolf Oversight Committee member Don Clower told us the WOC knew the prey population figures were highly inflated when they were given to FWS but said that
was necessary to support the rapid build-up of wolves that would occur in the Nonessential Experimental Recovery option. Then he said he saw nothing wrong with lying to the public to accomplish that goal.

In a March 19, 1994 letter to Bangs, signed by Co-Chair Jack Lavin, the Wolf Oversight Committee endorsed
the 10J Nonessential Wolf Recovery option instead of the Natural Recovery of wolves that already existed.

The supporters of transplanting Canadian wolves were obviously afraid Congress would learn that depleted
mule deer and elk herds in Central Idaho would no longer support wolves and not approve the introduction. So in the August 16, 1994 Federal Register Ed Bangs wrote: “Millions of acres of public lands contain hundreds of thousands of wild ungulates (Service 1994) and currently provide more than enough habitat to support a recovered wolf population in central Idaho.” (emphasis added).

Four WOC Members Say 10J Plan Illegal

On Sept. 27, 1994 in Boise, Bangs held the final hearing on FWS transplanting Canadian wolves into
Central Idaho. My testimony and exhibits clearly proved there were now far fewer wild ungulates than were
claimed in the EIS and I spent an intermission alone with Bangs asking why he had made such an absurd claim to Congress.

He admitted that the deer and elk numbers were “probably exaggerated,” but said if Congress didn’t approve the transplant and funding quickly it would probably never happen. On that same day IDFG’s Director approved the FWS plans in writing and issued a permit for FWS to transplant up to 15 wolves per year into Idaho.

These secret actions by Conley directly violated Idaho Code Sec. 36-715 and should have been rejected by
WOC members. But regardless of who did or did not approve his illegal acts, nearly three weeks later four
members of the Wolf Oversight Committee sent a signed letter to Bangs’ FWS office in Helena, Montana stating that the FWS 10J wolf plan was illegal.

Their 4-page letter, dated October 17, 1994, listed the provisions of Sec. 6 of the ESA and Sec. 17 50 CFR
that were not complied with. It also listed consequences not addressed in the FWS plan, including allowing Idaho’s ungulate herds to be plundered with no certain controls on the result; making no provision to reduce wolf populations should they exceed the stated population goals; failure to address the wolves’ impact on private property rights including livestock; and preventing similar problems in
other states as a result of wolves migrating outside of Idaho Montana and Wyoming.

Finally, the letter stated that unless FWS corrected these deficiencies, it was the group’s intention to urge the State Legislature to retain the Code language prohibiting IDFG from participating in any wolf recovery activities – and to further prevent any state agency from any activity that would support the federal wolf recovery effort.

Neither Bangs nor anyone else in FWS responded to – or even acknowledged receiving the letter. The state
agency’s unrestricted approval of the FWS 10J plan – which threatened a stiff fine and/or serving time in a federal penitentiary for even throwing a rock at a wolf attacking livestock on private land – opened the door for FWS to do anything it wanted.

Congress Approved FWS Plan But Failed to Fund It

During the Joint Legislative Resource Committee Hearings, the WOC members who had refused to endorse the plan testified that it was basically an invitation to the feds to turn wolves loose in Idaho without adequate protection for game herds, livestock or private property rights. Legislators were also understandably upset with all Idaho F&G Commissioners, who had endorsed the 10J plan unanimously at their December 1994 meeting, and approved publication of statements claiming wolf recovery would not have a negative impact on Idaho’s economy.

The end result was that Congress approved the FWS 10J Plan to start transplanting about 15 wolves per
year into both Idaho and Yellowstone Park in January of 1995. But Congress failed to appropriate any funding for the project.

The FWS solution was to steal $45-$60 million from dedicated excise taxes that were scheduled to be
apportioned among the states, and spend a large portion of that stolen money on their wolf recovery project. As wolves began to multiply for the next seven years, no evidence was offered that they were having any impact on Idaho’s deer and elk populations.

Pauley’s Warning to Halt Excessive Harvests Ignored

When the Deer and Elk Teams were formed in 1996 to find solutions to declining mule deer and elk populations, I was an observer who received all minutes, memos etc. I received a copy of Clearwater Research Biologist George Pauley’s April 30, 1996 memo to Clearwater Wildlife Manager Jay Crenshaw warning him they must stop overharvesting elk in 10 of the 11 Clearwater general season elk units.

Pauley’s two-page memo compared Clearwater elk population surveys from 1987-1992 with those from 1993-
1996. In 10 of the 11 general elk season units, cow numbers had remained fairly stable but bull numbers had declined 25% in the four years and calf recruitment had declined 34% causing a 41% decline in yearling bull numbers.

Pauley’s memo commented, “We obviously are not experiencing an increase in bull survival, and I would not call a 25% decline an acceptable management situation.” Then he explained that while the situation
resulted in a higher ratio of mature bulls to yearling elk in the hunter harvest (which IDFG officials claimed indicated a healthy herd that could support increased bull harvest), continuing to harvest even the same number of elk would continue to destroy the population.

Biologists Exploited Clearwater Region Wildlife

But instead of heeding Pauley’s warning to harvest fewer elk, Crenshaw left the same bull seasons as 1995 but increased the number of Clearwater cow/calf permits from 1,550 in 1995 to 3,675 in 1996! This included a change from 350 cow/calf permits in Units 10 and 12 to 1,900!

The extreme 1996-97 winter caused severe death losses in elk and deer in the Clearwater Region. As the
snow began melting along the Lochsa River in Unit 12 local residents saw dozens of elk carcasses exposed and asked Crenshaw to drop the 400 Unit 12 antlerless permits to save some breeding stock to help restore the elk herd.

Instead, Crenshaw responded in a May 29, 1997 Lewiston Tribune article with the claim that IDFG biologists had been monitoring the Lolo Zone elk since January 1997 and said total losses did not exceed the normal 5-10% winter loss. He increased the 400 permits in Unit 12 to 450 beginning Oct. 20 and ending Nov. 24, and kept the same 1,500 permits in Unit 10, with 375 of them good through Nov. 30.

The following chart illustrates how F&G biologists – not wolves – destroyed the Lolo Zone elk herd. When the few elk left produce a few calves, more wolves return.

53tablegeorge

In the early 1900s, what is now the Lolo Zone was grazed by herds of domestic sheep whose herders constantly controlled the bears to prevent predation losses to their sheep. When the sheep were finally removed in the 1940s, bears began to multiply.

Extended Hunting Seasons and Excessive Ratios of Predators to Prey Destroyed Famous Elk Herds

Overharvesting the elk without controlling their major predators resulted in the Lolo elk calf-to-cow ratio declining dramatically by the late 1950s. This excessive ratio of predators to prey is exactly what happened during the late 1800s and it was corrected by killing predators and establishing short deer and elk hunting seasons until the game species recovered.

Yet it took 22 years of research to prove once again that excessive harvests and predator imbalance was
causing the elk decline. Pauley’s additional elk research through 2007 provided ample evidence that habitat was not a significant factor in the decline of any elk population in Idaho and that should have ended the debate – but it didn’t.

In fact the 10J Wolf Control Plan for 2010 and 2011, repeated the claim that habitat was not a factor in the elk decline in any elk herd in Idaho. Written by IDFG biologists, including Pauley, and submitted to FWS, it contained multiple proof of that statement (see Pages 6-8 in Outdoorsman Bulletin No. 40).

Biologists Continue to Repeat the Habitat Lie In Order to Conceal Their Real Agenda from Urban Residents

At the same time the Aug. 2010 Lolo Wolf Control Proposal on the IDFG website showed the world there was
no evidence habitat reduced the number of elk in the Lolo Zone, page 3 of their August 2010 Idaho Fish and Game News on the same website said “In the Lolo Zone deteriorating habitat and other factors contributed to a long population decline, dropping from about 16,000 in 1988 to fewer than 8,000 elk in 1998.”

Why didn’t the IDFG report compare its 1985 Lolo Zone elk count of 20,115 with its Feb 2010 count of only
2,178 – which reflected an elk decline of 89%? And why did it claim deteriorating habitat contributed to the decline when it was caused by years of excessive harvests?

The answer is that under our unique form of citizen controlled government the power rests with the citizens to make changes by contacting their elected representatives and giving them the facts. If F&G agencies can convince urban citizens – who far outnumber rural dwellers – that poor habitat is the cause of their mismanagement, the urban representatives will outvote the rural minority and give the wildlife agencies a free ride to promote their own agenda.

While it is true that subdivisions and intensive farming practices have reduced wild game populations in
many populated areas, thousands of square miles of public lands in Western states can still produce healthy wildlife populations where extended seasons and unhealthy ratios of protected predators have not taken their toll.

Exposure to the IDFG Agenda Was a Real Shocker

As a member of the Big Game Emergency Feeding Advisory Committee and an observer on the Deer and Elk Teams formed in 1996, I was shocked to learn the real IDFG agenda. There were two private citizens serving on each Team and those who had not already subscribed to the Wildlands/U.N. Biodiversity agenda were told their Team was not going to use anything that was in the Idaho Fish and Game Code.

When Upper Snake Region Wildlife Manager Ted Chu suggested one of their purposes was increasing elk
numbers to provide feed for bears, his suggestion was enthusiastically approved. But when Citizen Team Member Dr. Bill Chetwood suggested their purpose was also to provide deer and elk for hunters to hunt, he was instantly reminded that his suggestion was not appropriate.

As the Elk Team agenda evolved, they still did not recommend using any of their arsenal of biological tools that were available to restore elk and mule deer populations. Their sole effort was directed at placing severe restrictions on rifle hunters while giving archery hunters virtually unlimited opportunity to hunt elk during the rut and kill either sex.

Because Colorado’s elk herd had been increasing, along with more nonresident elk hunters than Idaho’s total of all elk hunters, Colorado researcher David Freddy was invited to come to Idaho and share their secret to success. Freddy told the Team it was closing all antlerless hunting and not shooting any bull that was less than 2-1/2 years old.

Colorado Expert’s Warning Ignored

When asked about Colorado’s A-B-C tag system, Freddy said it had nothing to do with restoring elk herds. He explained it was designed solely to accommodate up to an additional 200,000 nonresident elk hunters and split them up into three elk/deer seasons so resident hunters could choose one and not complain about overcrowding.

Freddy warned that this stratified hunt scheme was strictly designed to increase income from nonresident
hunters and urged the Elk Team not to adopt it. Yet they ignored his advice and chose it to provide extra income.

When they presented five management options to the F&G Commission, they were instructed to scope those
with hunters and return with the two preferred choices. Instead, they manipulated scoping and returned with the two worst choices – A-B Zone Tags and Limited Controlled Hunts – which were both approved.

Although hunters in the Panhandle Zone and most outfitters supported the A-B Zone Tag because they
believed it would stop other hunters from hunting in their area, it has been a costly nightmare to administer and has not increased elk numbers – even with 50%-67% caps.

The only time capping tags or selling limited controlled hunt tags are justified biologically is when there is not a huntable population in an area, or rarely to distribute hunters. Both are schemes to raise extra income for F&G.

More about North Idaho Seral Shrubfields

The role of fire in establishing and subsequently rejuvenating seral shrubfields in north Idaho was thoroughly studied and the results published by IDFG Researcher Thomas Leeds from 1968-1979. Assisted by Mike Schlegel and others during the Lochsa Elk Study, Leeds documented that fires beginning in 1860, including severe fires in 1888, 1889, 1910, 1919 and 1934, re-established the shrubfields in 67% of the Clearwater National Forest.

One-fourth of that forest was impacted by severe burns that occurred at least once every 30 years during the past century and a half. In the Cook Mountain area of the Clearwater, researcher Barrett documented a history of severe burns dating back at least 350 years.

Leeds’ research revealed the need for controlled burns in the shrubfields once every 10-15* years to
maintain their role of providing optimum food and cover for wildlife. (* Burning at five-year intervals decreases the vigor of most shrubs)

The Big Question

So why hasn’t the Clearwater National Forest been conducting realistic controlled burns on its shrubfields for the past 34 years?

The Truthful Answer

It’s because the Forest Service has also adopted the wildlifers’ hands-off utopian philosophy of ecosystem
perfection absent of all human activity, which Dr. Val Geist refers to as “Intellectual rubbish that raises the hackles on my neck!”

For the past 23 years I have watched state wildlife biologists pretend they are managing our wildlife while they continue to destroy it. In this lengthy article I have attempted to point out the radically reduced seasons and the massive control of predators that was required to rebuild game populations in the early 1900s and again in the 1970s and 1980s.

Even if the Forest Service did its job and burned the tens of thousands of acres of shrubfields to restore the quality elk habitat in the Clearwater Forest, it would be a waste of time and money without conducting the long term predator control to allow the depleted elk herds to escape the predator pit they are in.

What disturbs me the most are the hunters who enjoyed the wonderful hunting that resulted from those of
us who spent our time and money demanding the short seasons, an end to female harvests, and statewide predator control – yet too many of those same hunters now insist that killing predators to restore balance is not necessary.

One ray of hope on the horizon are the copies of several letters I have received from hunters concerning the 2014-2024 Elk Plan, which address the criminal activities Fish and Game employees are engaging in while attempting to float another fee increase to support those activities. I believe the following letter from Ed Lindahl fairly represents the comments from the other letter writers.

2014-2024 Elk Plan Input
By Ed Lindahl

Dear Commissioners:

The 2014-2024 Elk Plan is heavy on habitat analysis (excuses), tag sales, antlerless harvest opportunity,
long seasons (August-December), and light on predator management/control and accountable/realistic objective targets for elk units and zones.

The Conleyesque “blame the habitat or lack of it” boilerplate has been around since the 1980s and continues today. Likewise, the Conleyesque sale of the resource continues so that an excessively generous department payroll is met in spite of declining elk herds. Nothing new there including never-ending seasons, excessive antlerless harvest and the full array of super hunts, governor’s tags, etc.

The last review of the late 1990’s Elk Plan contained unit objectives which were so broadly ranging that units with declining herds were considered as continuing to meet objectives. That concept generally continues today. Low expectations breed subpar results.

The management for the payroll bottom line philosophy of the department has been a priority for every department director since Director Conley, with the brief exception of Director Mealey. Non-game and non-essential programs have bled the cash cow of resident and non-resident hunter, angler and trapper license, tag and related fee dollars to the point that elk management-related aerial elk herd counts
have not been adequately conducted. Until recently, the department hid from sportsmen non-game and nonessential program siphoning of their revenues.

The fraud of the reputed, broad support for The Compass and its implications increased the need to divert
sportsmen’s dollars from 2005 to the recent Wildlife Summit and beyond.

Recommendations.

1. Sell significantly fewer tags for antlerless elk harvest statewide. Sell antlerless tags only for units which have agricultural depredation. Do not allow selling second elk tags for hunting in another zone/unit.

2. Dramatically reduce season lengths for archers, black powder and rifle hunters. Eliminate rut and early winter hunts for all categories of hunting weapon choice.

3. Implement the Predator Policy and forget the part related to habitat. Manage and control wolves with generous tags for hunting and trapping wolves twelve months per year. Control wolf pups with gas in dens and seek safe and appropriate poisons for limited applications for additional take by professionals.

4. Increase bear and lion hunting opportunity. Explore limited bear and lion trapping as a method of take.

5. Accurately and completely count elk by aerial or other means on a repetitive basis.

6. Pay department personnel a hazard bonus to those performing aerial counts for all species requiring such counting.

7. Report with honesty the amount of sportsmen’s dollars supporting non-game and non-essential programs.

8. Narrow the range of “meeting objectives” for elk zones so that hunters can have confidence in the department’s successes and learn from failures related to elk management.

Thank you for this opportunity to comment.

Ed Lindahl
Sagle

(NOTE: I have not discussed these issues with Ed Lindahl and several other letter writers for some time and it is encouraging to read their frank comments to the Idaho F&G Commission.

Although I do not believe the Commission has the knowledge and the courage to properly address these
issues, especially Commissioner Budge who parrots the so-called “conservation science” agenda, letters such as this one from Ed Lindahl will hopefully encourage other knowledgeable outdoorsmen and women to expose the corruption that is destroying our once valuable wildlife resource along with our newly acquired Constitutional right to hunt.

Until the ecosystem worshipers who presently draw IDFG wages are purged from this agency, it behooves all of us to publicly expose their efforts to destroy our heritage and our formerly abundant wild game.

As the hunting seasons wind down, make notes of your observations and discuss them with the legislators you elected. A paragraph or two in your local paper – or in all the papers in Idaho – will start the process of informing others with facts. – ED)

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RMEF Grants to Benefit Idaho’s Elk Population, Habitat and Wolf Management

MISSOULA, Mont.–Grants and funding provided by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation will go toward the reestablishment of healthy elk habitat and populations, and directly bolster wolf management practices in Idaho.

The RMEF grants and additional funding total $223,943 and directly affect Bear Lake, Blaine, Bonneville, Boundary, Caribou, Clearwater, Idaho, Latah and Shoshone Counties. There are also several projects of statewide interest.

“It’s no secret elk populations and habitat declined over the last few decades in north-central Idaho. RMEF is stepping up funding and research efforts and working with our partners to address improvements,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “We are also increasing our efforts to assist and strengthen the state’s wolf management program.”

Allen also thanked RMEF’s Idaho volunteers for their dedication with banquet activities and membership fundraising drives for raising the grant funding which stays on the ground in their home state.

RMEF grants will help fund the following 2013 projects, listed by county:

Bear Lake—Treatments to prevent the expansion of noxious weeds within two areas covering 150 acres on the Montpelier and Soda Springs Ranger Districts of the Caribou National Forest (also affects Caribou and Bonneville counties).

Blaine County—Prescribed burning on 2,400 acres in the Upper Little Wood River area of the Sawtooth National Forest to improve elk winter range by reducing the density and competition from smaller trees and promoting the growth of large Douglas fir trees, expanding and regenerating aspen stands, and providing a more diverse sagebrush community.

Bonneville County—Provide funding for a video highlighting the importance of the Tex Creek Wildlife Management Area (TCWMA) for elk and other species that will be used as part of effort to secure a TCWMA mitigation trust fund in perpetuity. To see the video, visit the URL below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=byuLuyhThV4

Boundary County—Prescribed burning on 800 acres within the Deer Creek drainage, a tributary of the Moyle River, on the Idaho Panhandle National Forest to improve habitat and winter and summer elk range as part of a multi-year project that also benefits mule and whitetail deer, moose and grizzly bears.

Clearwater County—Provide extensive landscape restoration of early-seral habitat in north-central Idaho’s Clearwater Basin to restore healthy forage and elk populations (also affects Idaho County); and implementation of a monitoring program in the Clearwater Basin to increase habitat and elk populations by establishing a land use habitat matrix to be used as the foundation for management and monitoring of elk, applying the new OR-WA elk nutrition and habitat models, and capturing and collaring wild elk (also affects Idaho County). The project includes funding from the Torstenson Family Endowment, which is used solely to further RMEF’s core mission programs of permanent land protection, habitat stewardship, elk restoration and hunting heritage.

Idaho County—Prescribed burning to improve forage quality on 800 acres of Bureau of Land Management land within the Bally Mountain Vegetation Management Project area; and provide funding for noxious weed treatment on 160 acres to enhance forage for elk on private land protected with an RMEF-held conservation easement above Clear Creek.

Latah County—Provide funding for the RMEF Palouse Whitepine Chapter to host an Outdoor Dream Foundation moose hunt for a 12-year-old boy from Utah born without a left ventricle in his heart.

Shoshone County—Prescribed burning to create or enhance 2,000 acres of winter and summer habitat in the Upper Coeur d’Alene River Basin on the Idaho Panhandle National Forest as part of a multi-year effort positively affecting nearly 13,000 acres.

Statewide—Provide funding to the Idaho Sportsmen’s Caucus Advisory Council –an association of approximately 30 hunting, fishing and trapping organizations in Idaho– which reviews issues in the legislature, Idaho Game and Fish, IDGF Commission and other agencies that affect sportsmen and women while dealing with Chronic Wasting Disease, game farms, habitat concerns, fishing and hunting access, big game tag availability and other issues; offer $50,000 in funding assistance to IDGF for Idaho’s wolf management efforts, and provide funding for the Idaho Coalition of Land Trusts which is a group of 19 separate nonprofit land trust organizations and two local and state government-sponsored programs working on private land conservation and voluntary conservation agreements throughout Idaho.

Conservation projects are selected for grants using science-based criteria and a committee of RMEF volunteers and staff along with representatives from partnering agencies.

Partners for the 2013 projects include the Caribou, Idaho Panhandle and Sawtooth national forests, as well as the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Bureau of Land Management, US Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station, Nez Perce Tribe, Idaho Coalition of Land Trusts, various sportsmen’s organizations and a private landowner.

Since 1985, RMEF and its partners completed 425 different conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Idaho with a combined value of more than $52 million.

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Elk Chasing Motorcycle Gunned Down by the Law

VIDEO: I’m not sure who has more intelligence in this event – the elk, the people, or the killers. What do you think? Comment below.

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