November 21, 2019

Historically Wolves Have Killed Man on Regular Basis

VargensEuropaDespite historic documents that show to the contrary, all too often defenders of large predators, particularly the wolf, go out of their way to deny facts in order that their prized wild dog goes without blame for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people worldwide.

There are even knee-jerk responses from wolf lovers to somehow justify the killing of a person by a wolf because the wolf may have had rabies or some other disease, dishonestly causing people to think this event somehow disqualifies the wolf as a killer. Perhaps it is the same demented notion people have about insanity, that it presents a justifiable cause to kill.

Regardless of how anyone chooses to look at killing, whether a wolf is healthy or sick, under the right circumstances, they will kill and kill repeatedly. This fact does not justify the wanton destruction of wolves, or other large predators. It does, however, call for responsible management and control. As much as some people loathe that man exists and thus interferes with their precious wolves, the same historic documents readily show that wolves, forced into man-settled landscapes, is a formula for disaster – for both man and wolf.

Recently I was reading the “Abstract” of a study about, “Predators that Kill Humans: Myth, Reality, Context and the Politics of Wolf Attacks on People,” John D.C. Linnell, Julien Alleau. The Abstract reads as follows:

Seventeen species of large mammalian carnivore have been documented to kill people, although of these only five or six seem to do it on a regular basis. Predatory attacks on humans are generally rare, which combined with very variable and inconsistent reporting makes it hard to identify the mechanisms and patterns explaining spatial and temporal variation in attacks. In contrast to other species, the extent of wolf attacks on people has been subject to intense controversy in recent decades. Competing myths have been advanced by advocates and opponents of wolves, and the issue has become politically intertwined with a diversity of social conflicts associated with the changing nature of rural life and wildlife conservation in general. Examination of both the historical record and recent reports provides a massive body of evidence that wolves have been involved in many cases of attacks on humans. Although many of these cases are linked with rabid wolves, there is also plenty of evidence of recurring cases of predatory attacks. Because these have been associated with a special set of environmental circumstances (absence of wild prey, heavily modified landscapes, high density of humans engaged in vulnerable activities) that are no longer present in most areas the risks of wolf attacks are currently very low in most of wolf distribution. An emerging situation in North America and Europe concerns the appearance of fearless and habituated wolves, which requires careful study to develop appropriate threat assessments, mitigation measures and reaction responses.

The key elements here to pay attention to are “historical records,” “recurring cases of …attacks,” and “a special set of environmental circumstances.” Denying any and all of these serves no purpose other than to influence public opinion that might run contrary to the agendas of those intent of having large predators in everyone’s back yard.

While it is one thing to deny historic documentation, working feverishly to enhance the “special set of environmental circumstances” will accelerate the onset of human/wolf attacks. It would be of an extremely perverse intention that anybody would want for killing of humans by wolves. But, we do live in extremely perverse times.

In Will Graves book, “Wolves in Russia: Anxiety Through the Ages,” his travels and research to Russia provided clear documentation of the hundreds of thousands of attacks on man and property throughout Russian history.

Chapter 6 of Grave’s book reveals what seems an unending documentation of wolf attacks on humans. It becomes clear as you read the accounts that the number of attacks on humans is directly proportional to the wolf population. There are, of course, other environmental circumstances that influence this event. None of these circumstances should be ignored or denied.

Chapter 3 of “The Real Wolf,” co-author Ted B. Lyon writes:

“Save the Wolf” dogma indicates that wolves are not dangerous to humans, despite centuries of historical evidence to the contrary. This willingness to ignore historical records accompanies a propensity to rewrite the wolf’s history and habits, leaving people unprepared.

Centuries of historical evidence clearly and specifically recounts fatal wolf attacks. Wolves hunt in packs, thereby making them very dangerous to the relatively defenseless human. Unless wolves are routinely hunted, trapped, or shot at, they do not recognize or fear humans as the dominant species and instead view them as potential prey. Wolves are dangerous predators and should be viewed as such.

Once again, we are told not to ignore or deny historical evidence. Even if wolf attacks on humans are a “rare” event (this is a value-based adjective), educating oneself to the facts of wolf habits and those environmental circumstances that drive a wolf to want to attack and kill man, might, one day, save a life and that of a wolf.

In my own book, “Wolf: What’s to Misunderstand?,” beginning around page 18, I spend several pages dealing with wolf history, including world wide events of wolf attacks on humans. These attacks were a regular event and people had to learn how to deal with it or die. Often wolf advocates ridicule any occasion that might involve human fear of wild wolves. It is quite unfortunate because it sets an improper stage of learning how to deal with these animals. It’s easy to sit back and snicker, when you have never had to deal with an attacking wolf. Why is history so much denied?”

Throughout the First Chapter of, Wolf: What’s to Misunderstand?, I shared parts of documents from written accounts of wolves and human encounters from many parts of the world. These accounts are fascinating and full of information all of us can learn from. But will we?

The other day, I received a document that comes from Page 130 of Kaj Granlund’s book, “Vargens Europa.” This book (no English translated version available yet) documents the wolf and its history – how wolves for thousands of years have terrorized the world’s rural populations.

Please find a pdf of Page 130 here.

This document shows nearly 180 confirmed human deaths, caused by wolves, in Finland from 1710 – 1881. What is also remarkable in this document is how it shows that once wolves attack and kill one person, it is followed by more attacks. The author told me, “It is obvious from the table that when a wolf (pack) discovers humans as potential prey, it turns focus on humans instead of traditional pray.”

It is also important to point out some of the “environmental circumstances” surrounding this table. From the “Abstract” above, we are told that within each region where wolves exist, circumstances drive the habits of wolves. Readers of this website should, by now, have a pretty good understanding about how to recognize many of those circumstances by reading Dr. Valerius Geist’s, “When Do Wolves Become Dangerous to Humans?

Author Granlund writes in an email to me, “You have to know a bit about our history to understand variations. In fact the only thing we know is that these people were killed by wolves. We don’t know how many others were killed as the resident registration was kept by the local vicars. The vicars only registered important events as marriages, births and deaths. Births were registered on the parent’s, not on the born child.

If the body was found the vicar wrote in his diary name, date when killed, age and COD. If someone simply disappears in the forest nothing was written in the books. They knew the different diseases. If someone was attached by rabid wolves and he/she was infected then the COD would have been “wolf + rabies”. If a rabid wolf simply kills its victim and escapes, the COD would probably be “killed by wolf”.

There are some events in our history that needs some attention. During the Great Northern War (1700 – 1721) many events were never recognized because whole families disappeared from their homes without notice. Some were simply killed, others taken as slaves and brought to Russia.

After 1809 Finland was ruled by the Russian emperor (tsar). The welfare began to rise and the statistics were more accurate. Several events affected human-wolf relationship during 1860’s and after. Without digging too deep into history, one law that came into force was the dog licence fee (read tax). There was an annual fee on each dog which rapidly reduced the number of guarding dogs thus making it easier for wolves to roam without notice in inhabited areas.

The wolves were practically exterminated by Russian wolf hunters in the 1880’s and the wolf attacks came to an end.

As I have said, it is easy to lay claim that wolves don’t attack people, when one’s sphere of reality is limited to local surroundings and never having to encounter of deal with wolves. With self-imposed limitations of wolf history, how can anyone be expected to responsibly deal with the reality of wolves?

At the most elemental level of understanding, if wolf populations continue to rise in the United States and spread throughout greater geographical regions, it only stands to reason that the envelope of certain attacks will also increase.

Use some logical understanding and reason. We know that in places where many wolves roam and few people live, accounts of wolf attacks is quite rare. What then happens if many wolves are forced into man-inhabited areas?

If one was to honestly evaluate all the possible environmental circumstances that can and will drive a wolf, or any large predator, including an increase in numbers of wolves and numbers of humans, it makes little sense to deliberately increase the chances that someone is going to get killed.

Stop ignoring history. Examine the evidence. Understand the variables that changes habits of wolves and large predators. Let people live in peace.

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Costco to Sell “The Real Wolf” in Montana and Idaho

From Ted Lyon, coauthor of “The Real Wolf”:

Costco Wholesale Corporation has ordered The Real Wolf for their warehouses located in the states of Montana and Idaho. This is great news as Costco sells more books in their stores than any other wholesale chain. The book has ONLY one week to perform in Costco’s warehouses. If sales do not meet Costco’s expectations they will be pulled and returned to the publisher. The books are scheduled to arrive in their warehouses this weekend. If you know anyone who has not picked up their copy of The Real Wolf and lives in the area, please let them know that Costco should have the book in stock next week, the week of July 21. Below I have provided the addresses and phone numbers of the 10 Costco warehouses in Montana and Idaho:

Montana:

2290 King Avenue West
Billings, MT 59102
(406) 652-8765

2505 Catron Street
Bozeman, MT 59718
(406) 585-0383

2195 E. Custer Avenue
Helena, MT 59602
(406) 495-7040

2330 US Highway 93 N
Kalispell, MT 59901
(406) 758-2500

3220 Northern Pacific Avenue 59808-1338
(406) 543-6445

Idaho:

2051 S. Cole Road
Boise, ID
(208) 321-8703

355 East Neider Avenue
Coeur d’Alene, ID
(208) 676-7350

16700 N. Marketplace Blvd.
Nampa, ID 83687
(208) 465-3810

305 West Quinn Road
Pocatello, ID 83201
(208) 238-4040

731 Pole Line Road
Twin Falls, ID 83301
(208) 736-1550

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The Outdoorsman Book Review: The Real Wolf

*Editor’s Note* – The below article appears in the Outdoorsman, Bulletin Number 54, Oct.-Dec. 2013. It is republished here with express permission from the author. Please honor the protection of intellectual property and copyright. The Outdoorsman is the leading publication of truth concerning outdoor issues. To the right on this webpage is a link to follow in which readers are encouraged to subscribe to the print publication. Money is necessary for the continued publication of this important work. Thank you.

The Real Wolf
The Science, Politics and Economics of Co-Existing with Wolves in Modern Times
Book Review by George Dovel

When Will Graves asked me if I would consider writing a chapter for The Real Wolf, which he co-authored along with Ted Lyon, my first reaction was that it would be a wonderful opportunity to provide factual information to countless people who have been bombarded with fairy tales about living with wolves.

But after learning the names of several bona fide experts from various fields who, like Graves, had already agreed to provide their facts, I felt that anything I added to the book would be coming from a researcher rather than an expert.

In late November of 2013, Ted Lyon sent me a manuscript of The Real Wolf and asked me to write a review in The Outdoorsman. When I took the time to read the manuscript thoroughly, I was amazed by the straightforward collection of facts presented without anger, apology or attempts at political correctness.

I agree with comments by Tom Remington in his “Foreword” that The Real Wolf is loaded with resources from several of the most renowned scientists, researchers, investigators, and historians the world has to offer. I also share Tom’s confidence that this book is destined to become the encyclopedia of wolf facts for readers who have never had the opportunity to read the whole truth.

Ted Lyon Did Not Believe Horror Stories at First

After briefly sharing his outstanding 37-year career as an attorney representing clients in more then 150 jury trials, Lyon said he always relied on the truth. Then he confided that he did not fully believe the horror stories he kept hearing about wolves until after he bought a second home in Montana and experienced that reality himself.

His background as an avid hunter, including a period long ago as an outfitter and guide, probably influenced the amount of time he spent researching and verifying the information he has collected. The fact that he reported FWS biologists providing false information about wolves, and later, state biologists in Idaho and Montana lying to support what FWS said, reflects his intent to report all of the facts.

The Real Wolf also includes documentation by experts other than scientists of frequent radical changes in what was considered the legitimate wolf species to be protected. For example, Jim and Cat Urbigkit documented the existence of the original Northern Rocky Mountain Wolf, Canus lupus irremotus, on their sheep range in Wyoming before the larger Canadian wolves were introduced.

Cat Urbigkit reminds us that they presented their information through the courts, and Federal Judge William Downes finally ruled that introduction of Canadian wolves was illegal. He also ordered immediate removal of all Canadian wolves that had been introduced two years earlier, along with their offspring.

But several days later he put a stay on the removal order until it was appealed. And several months later the new court held that FWS had authority to change the subspecies that was being preserved, and the charade continued.

Chapters by Arizona’s Laura Schneberger and Catron County New Mexico Wildlife Investigator Jess Carey are vital to explain why wolves that are crossbred with dogs and raised in captivity represent a special threat to livestock and humans. The calculated non-reimbursed losses for livestock in both locations should end efforts to continue the wolf transplants – but they haven’t.

Epilogue

On November 1, 2013, Idaho Gov. Butch Otter wrote the “Epilogue” to The Real Wolf. Part of that document follows:

“There have been few issues during my 40 years in public life that have provoked the raw passions of so many people from around the world as the debate over wolves. I was deluged with some of the nastiest, most disparaging, and truly hateful letters, emails and phone calls from well-meaning but badly misinformed folks, who saw wolves only as big beautiful dogs harmlessly pursuing their majestic lives in the trackless wild. Wolves are an essential and misunderstood part of the Rocky Mountain ecosystem, many argued, and we owe it to our Western heritage to enable wolves to once again roam freely in the Idaho wilderness.

“The problem is that wolves don’t stay put. Their enormous range, high reproductive rate and insatiable hunger for ungulates inevitably draw them out of the woods to interface with man. As their numbers spiraled far beyond expectations, so did the conflicts, and so did my determination to manage wolves as we do any other species – with an eye toward the bigger picture of a balanced ecosystem that includes man.

“I’m grateful to Ted and the many good people who feel a strong affinity for Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and the other states where wolves were another government-imposed challenge to overcome. It was a problem created by “conservationists” who speak floridly about the primal necessity of having wolves in our midst, but for whom the real goal is raising money and disrupting or shutting down such traditional multiple uses of public lands as grazing, logging, mining, and especially hunting. It was a problem created by “conservationists” who consistently move the recovery targets, forum-shopped for
a sympathetic judge, collected millions of taxpayer dollars to pay their lawyers, and looked for any opportunity to abandon their commitment to pay for our ranchers’ losses to wolves released in Idaho.

“Ted, and many others who recognize that reality, fought tough odds to turn the tide on the wolf issue. Now Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming are managing wolves – wolves that never should have been here in the first place. But since they are, the happy ending to this story is that the people most affected by their presence now are managing them in a way that’s far more balanced and reflective of the realities of today’s West. They will never be “our wolves,” but at least now we have a primary role in controlling their population and impacts.

“It’s my sincere hope that The Real Wolf will help open some eyes to the bigger problems with the Endangered Species Act – a once well-intentioned but incredibly flawed law that undermines the real interests and values of conservation by placing the well-being of humans and their livelihoods far down the food chain.”

Idaho Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter
November 1, 2013
(NOTE: The Epilogue that Governor Otter has supplied tells it ‘like’ it is in my opinion. Yet I remain concerned at his repeating our Fish and Game biologists’ standard phrase that they intend to manage wolves as we do any

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other species. I’ve been very close to this for a lot of years and I know of no place in the world that has ever been able to manage wolves as our wildlife managers do with other species.

When the ratio of wolves to elk – their primary prey species in Idaho – got higher than it is in any other place in North America, we needed to lethally remove at least 75%-80% of the wolves in those high density areas. Maintaining very few, if any, wolves for five years until recovery occurred was essential.

But now that our primary elk populations are in a predator pit from which they cannot recover, and wolves soon find them and drive them down each time they produce a few calves, we must initiate really aggressive control until elk numbers have reached the desired goal in each depleted area.
I am pleased that Gov. Otter has taken this step which will allow recovery IF he selects the proper individuals with the sole motive to lethally remove wolves with all of the tools at their disposal until our elk and deer populations have recovered.

I believe anything else would be a serious mistake at this point in time. – ED)

Dear hunter,

No matter what state you live in, I urge you to visit http://www.farcountrypress.com/details.php?id=575 – then read about The Real Wolf and order at least one copy.

The price is $21 for the Soft Cover or $30 for the Hard Cover and I know of no book of this quality for sale anywhere near this low price. Once you have had the opportunity to read it, I urge you to get a copy into the hands of your resource committee members, or at the very least, to the state legislators who represent you.

Thank you,
George Dovel

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Idaho Wolf Management a Proven Failure

It was January 21, 2009 when I wrote: “….for hunting wolves, should the day ever come to pass, will be inadequate to control wolf populations.” I was no prophet at that time. My conclusions were based on scores of studies, real life accounts, books, research and common sense.

It first must be said that many, if not all, of the problems Idaho has had and continue to have with wolf management, can be easily attributed to the fact that the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) officials, along with their partners in crime at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), ignored warnings from those who knew what the future would hold with introduced wolves. They ignored historical facts.

Aside from some far fetched dream of bringing those who introduced wolves to justice, that fact that wolves were dumped into the Northern Rockies is history and little can be done now to change that. How to manage those wolves, as predicted, is becoming a problem……well, becoming a problem to those that have to deal with the varmints. I guess the question should be asked if IDFG is in the middle of a learning curve on wolf management or are they playing wolf protection games in attempts to play both sides of the aisle?

Idaho citizens were told that wolves would be considered “recovered” as a species when the state had about 100-150 wolves, depending on the number of breeding pairs. Once that milestone was reached, another failed promise was that wolf “management” would be turned over to the state. One thousand wolves later, the state is still trying to gain authority to take over management.

It was part of my article that I wrote in 2009, that I explained that the IDFG had decided to go ahead with plans on how to conduct a wolf hunt, if and when the day ever came they could do that. In that same article I wrote in depth about efforts by George Dovel, editor of the Outdoorsman, to stop the runaway IDFG who, according to his information, had illegally devised wolf management plans, including the plans to formulate a hunting season without Idaho legislative approval as is mandated in Idaho Code.

The illegal activities have continued, unchecked, and IDFG made their plans and laid out guidelines to administer a wolf hunt. The rules of the hunt were simple: sell as many tags as they could (a money-making scheme) and then restrict hunters to a rifle, a bow or a muzzleloader, nothing else.

Anyone with any knowledge of wolves would know that such a hunt would do nothing to “manage” the overgrown wolf packs. Again, one must ask the question as to whether IDFG knew this kind of hunt would do nothing to control wolf population numbers, were they protecting the wolves in their own way by pretending to placate the sportsmen, or is IDFG ignorant of facts and are innocently in the midst of a learning experience? One in which it seems they were not willing to listen to knowledgeable people about wolves and wolf habits.

Me and many others knew this kind of wolf hunt would be a waste of time, at least as it pertained to wolf population reductions or even population maintenance.

Will N. Graves, author of Wolves in Russia: Anxiety Through the Ages, learned through his research in Russia about wolves, that every method imaginable to control wolf populations were ineffective, in part because Russian authorities refused or did not have the resources to sustain a continuous wolf control program.

C. Gordon Hewitt wrote over 100 years ago in The Conservation of Wildlife in Canada:

The most successful method of destroying coyotes, wolves and other predatory animals is by the organization of systematic hunting by paid hunters, receiving no bounties and working under government control. This policy is giving excellent results in the United States, as will be shown presently.

Any rational system of wild-life protection must take into account the control of the predatory species of mammals and birds. And while the complete extermination of such predatory species is not possible, desirable, or necessary, a degree of control must be exercised to prevent such an increase in numbers as would affect the abundance of the non-predatory species. In the treatment of predatory animals it is necessary to determine whether the species concerned are responsible for more harm than good in a particular region.

Some might argue about the effectiveness of a bounty system but that’s another debate.

During the times of this debate about effective ways to control wolf population, I spent several hours researching historic documents in hopes of finding accounts of how wolves were dealt with worldwide. When I say “dealt with” I’m referring to the need of people to reduce wolf populations for reasons of lessening livestock depredation, protecting people and property from attacks and spreading of diseases. The result of my research culminated in a multi-part series, To Catch a Wolf. For your convenience I took the time to put the parts together into one downloadable publication.

It shouldn’t take anyone very long to discover that wolves cannot be managed as a big game species. IDFG and Governor Otter, lay claim that Idaho will manage gray wolves just like any other big game species. And therein lies a huge problem. Every historic account about wolves laments the need to control wolves and they have shared their frustrations and the difficulties they encountered in order to do that. The notion that a person would have to pay the government money to help in undertaking predator control is absurd.

Initially, IDFG, sent their sportsmen into the field with a rifle, or a bow, or a muzzleloader, to control wolves. I and many others knew two things: 1.) The rules of the hunt were such that too few wolves would be taken to amount to anything that would resemble wolf control, and 2.) The first year would probably see the best results for a couple of reasons; initial excitement of killing wolves and wolves had not yet learned to stay away from humans with guns and bows. This would result in a continued growth of wolves and a reduction, over time, of wolf harvest.

In time, IDFG was willing to concede that they were not providing the sportsmen with enough tools to harvest more wolves. They loosened their grip and in time even allowed for trapping. Both hunting and trapping, still being conducted with the ignorant notion that wolves can be treated as a big game species, still were not getting the results needed.

In some areas, like the Lolo area, wolves had reduced the elk herd there from 16,000 to 2,000. Efforts to get wolf hunters and trappers into that region provided no desirable results. Believe it or not, IDFG was forced to hire aircraft to fly into that region and shoot wolves to save the elk population. Isn’t this insanity?

So, what is IDFG doing about reducing wolf numbers necessary to save elk, moose, deer and other species of prey that helps to make for a healthy ecosystem? Statistics seem to be showing that not enough is being done and the present plans, illegal or not, are not working.

Below are some graphs that show the last three seasons of wolf hunting and trapping in Idaho. The charts were sent to me by Scott Rockholm of Rockholm Media and Save Western Wildlife. What I see that is very telling is that over the last 3 wolf hunting/trapping seasons, the total take of wolves has shrunk. When it is considered that restrictions for hunting wolves have been eased and trapping added, any hope of reducing wolf populations has vanished. This is a failure of a plan and needs to be changed.

WolfHarvestCharts

Trend chart prepared by Todd Hoffman (These numbers can be verified at the IDFG website.)

Rockholm provided this comment in his email:

Tom,

The attached graphic illustrates the failed notion, that we will ever “Manage” wolf populations. This visual aid will show that not only are we paying department personnel to know this, but we are paying them in spite of their incompetence. We have calculated that successful wolf hunters/trappers have spent at least $1000.00 in expenses, and an enormous amount of time, just to hunt/trap one wolf. The current narrative, from game agencies, to hunting organizations, is that we as hunters and trappers can continue doing business as usual. We couldn’t be more opposed to this thinking. Wolf populations are growing exponentially, and at the current rate, and diminishing interests of hunters/trappers, we believe that we will never stop the decimation of our wildlife. We need to do something different, and we need to do it now. Wolf hunting and trapping need to be continuous, with open season year around for both hunting and trapping, with the addition of other measures, such as aerial gunning, bounties, and poisons specifically targeted to Canids. Canada has proven these methods to be the only means to control wolf populations.

I can add nothing to this.

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New Book Release: The Real Wolf

RealWolfThe Real Wolf
The Science, Politics, and Economics of Co-Existing with Wolves in Modern Times

by Ted B. Lyon
and Will N. Graves

edited by Linda Grosskopf and Nancy Morrison

foreword by Tom Remington

published by Ted B. Lyon

How have thriving elk populations of thousands dwindled to mere hundreds in just a matter of years? Author Ted B. Lyon asserts the wolf is at fault. He also blames the wolf for the rampant spread of infectious diseases among livestock populations and the decimation of wild deer, moose, sheep, and domestic animals alike. A trial lawyer with over 37 years of litigation experience, Lyon proves his case in The Real Wolf: The Science, Politics, and Economics of Co-Existing with Wolves in Modern Times. In this detailed yet easy-to-read essay collection, authors Ted B. Lyon and Will N. Graves investigate the majesty and myths surrounding wolves in the United States and offer a new, true picture of the wolf in contemporary America. The Real Wolf is an in-depth study of the impact wolves as a federally protected species have had on big game and livestock populations. Each chapter in the book is meticulously researched and written by authors and scientists who have spent years studying wolves and wolf behavior. Contributing authors Rob Arnaud, Dr. Arthur Bergerud, Karen Budd-Falen, Jess Carey, Dr. Matthew A. Cronin, Dr. Valerius Geist, Don Peay, Laura Schneberger, Heather Smith-Thomas, and Cat Urbigkit each describe a unique aspect of the wolf in the United States. The Real Wolf does not call for the eradication of wolves from the United States, but rather advocates a new system of species “management” that would allow wolves, game animals, and farmers to live in harmony. <<<More Information and to Purchase>>>

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Hydatid Disease: Man Has Gotten This Disease Since the Domestication of Dogs

Recently, Prof. Dr. P. R. Torgerson, PhD, VetMB, DipECVPH, Professor of Veterinary Epidemiology Vetsuisse Faculty, published an article titled, “Frequency Distributions of Helminths of Wolves in Kazakhstan.”

The Summary reads as follows:

Summary of “Frequency distributions of helminths of wolves in Kazakhstan.”

Between 2001 and 2008 a total of 41 wolves (Canis lupus) were necropsied in southern Kazakhstan and their intestinal parasite fauna evaluated. Of these animals 8 (19.5%) were infected with Echinococcus granulosus, 15 (36%) with Taenia spp, 13 (31.7%) with Dypilidium caninum, 5 (12.2%) with Mesocestoides lineatus, 15 (36.6%) with Toxocara canis, 16 (39%) with Toxascaris leonina, 8 (19.5%) with Trichuris vulpis, 9 (22%) with Macracanthorhynchus catulinus and 1 (2.4%) with Moniliformis moniliformis. All parasites had an aggregated distribution which followed a zero inflated or hurdle model. Although a small convenience sample of wolves, the results indicate a high prevalence of infection with E. granulosus. The mean abundance (1275 E. granulosus per wolf) was high with individual infected wolves carrying intensities of several thousand parasites. As wolves are common in Kazakhstan they may act as an important host in the transmission of this zoonotic parasite. The wolves were sampled from an area of Kazakhstan where there is a high prevalence of hydatid cysts in livestock and where echinococcosis has been observed in wild ungulates.

Affiliation

Kazakh State Veterinary Research Institute, Almaty, Kazakhstan.
Journal Details

This article was published in the following journal.

Name: Veterinary parasitology
ISSN: 1873-2550
Pages: 348-51
Links

PubMed Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21962968
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vetpar.2011.09.004

Will Graves, author of “Wolves in Russia: Anxiety Through the Ages” and co-author of a new book soon to be released about wolves in the United States, having read Dr. Torgerson’s article, sent him an email seeking more information.

He wrote:

I am not a biologist but would like to exchange ideas with you about wolves. I am interested in Echinococcus granulosus and Neospora caninum.

Dr. Togerson replied to Will Graves, Torgerson says:

Dear Mr Graves
Thank you for your interest in our article. However I know little about wolves, other than there are lots of them in Kazakhstan. The primary interest was really in the parasites – especially Echinococcus granulosus. E. granulosus is a very serious zoonosis and in rural areas of Kazakhstan infects about 20% of dogs. It then transmits to people through close contact with dogs causing hydatid disease which is a large cystic lesion in your liver of lungs. The parasite naturally circulates between sheep and dogs. However the parasite almost certainly originated in wild life, probably circulating between wolves and wild ungulates. Man has been getting this disease ever since dogs were domesticated. I work with several scientists in Kazakhstan and the material for the manuscript was supplied by local hunters. In many areas wolves are considered a pest and a danger to livestock, especially as there are so many in Kazakhstan. (emboldening added)

Scientists that have knowledge of Echinococcus granulosus, i.e. Dr. Delane Kritsky, Dr. Valerius Geist, among others, have been trying to educate the public about where the real risk to humans comes from contracting human hydatid disease. Here we have Dr. Torgerson, in a region of the world where historically wolves have always been present, telling us that, “Man has been getting this disease ever since dogs were domesticated.”

The threat comes from free ranging dogs in rural settings that come in contact with the E.G. eggs through multiple sources. The dogs bring those eggs home with them running the risk of humans ingesting the tiny eggs.

But there exist some alarming figures that need to be shared. Dr. Torgerson says that of the 41 wolves he tested, 19.5%, or 8 of the wolves, tested positive for Echinococcus granulosus. As a result, Dr. Torgerson says that about 20% of domestic dogs become infected. Those numbers are startling enough. However, consider these numbers from Idaho.

According to Steve Alder of Idaho for Wildlife, in a recent email sent out, nearly 100% of recent necropsied wolves were infected with Echinococcus granulosus. If nearly 20% of infected wolf populations in Kazakhstan translates into about 20% of infected domestic dogs, what does this mean for Idaho?

This is a difficult thing to determine as certainly we don’t know the similarities in geography and population demographics of wolves and humans between Idaho and Kazakhstan. Nor do we know what kind of veterinary care exists between the two populations.

It is often said in this country that Echinococcus granulosus has never been a problem. That may be true but does the United States, particularly the lower 48 states, where denser human populations are exposed to wolf populations, have any real history of wolves and humans sharing the landscape?

This is why information that comes to us from areas around the world where that history is long can be helpful to us…..if only we would listen closely and learn. Dr. Torgerson says that hydatid disease in humans has existed since the domestication of dogs and yet people in this country refuse to except that fact, even though there now are thousands of wolves roaming the forests in parts of this nation.

The sooner doctors, scientists and canine lovers recognize this disease, along with many others carried by the wolf, the sooner we can all learn how best to protect ourselves, our children, pets and livestock. What’s wrong with that?

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Shucks! Idaho Isn’t Controlling Wolves Enough

On January 21, 2009 I wrote that when and if the gray wolf in the Northern Rocky Mountains were ever taken off the Endangered Species Act list of protected species and put in the hands of the states, the states would be clueless as how to “manage” the animal. It seems I can rest my case and say, “I told you so.”

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) believed themselves to be ahead of the curve by laying out rules and regulations that would govern a wolf hunt should there ever be one. It became clear that IDFG was more interested in seeing how much money they could make selling wolf hunting tags than managing and controlling the large predators so that other game species, i.e. elk, moose and deer, wouldn’t be destroyed from an overgrown and out of control wolf population. They failed! In addition the rules set aside for wolf hunting were so restrictive to the hunter, the odds on harvest success were reduced considerably. Essentially that first hunt provided for a man and gun and a short period of time to tag his harvest; nothing else to assist him.

Some argued that erring on the side of caution would be the prudent thing to do out of fear that too many wolves would be killed and the wolf would be put back under federal protections. This showed the real ignorance of game managers who both had no idea of how to control this creature nor did they seem interested in learning how to do it from countries that have had to deal more with savage and disease-ridden wolves than Idaho.

In my January 2009 writing I even took the time and listed out the methods that had been implemented by the Russians to control wolves, as was written down in Will Graves’ outstanding book, “Wolves in Russia: Anxiety Through the Ages.” The list includes 14 items including hunting over bait, organized drives, poison, falconry, hunting hounds, helicopters, airplanes and snowmobiles, and yet Russia could not keep the wolves under control. And Idaho knows better?

We are now just over 4 years since that writing and Idaho is just beginning to figure out that maybe the tools they are allowing to control wolves isn’t going to be enough to meet their objectives. And of course the downside of all this “erring on the side of caution” is that in those areas where wolves need thinning, elk, moose and deer populations are suffering. Time is of the essence.

IDFG has grown from man and gun to approving the use of electronic calling devices and trapping but as is being reported in the Spokesman Review, “….the overall effort has barely made a dent in a wolf population that federal and state experts agree is too large for its own good.”

All of this talk of hunting, managing and controlling wolves, also prompted me back in February of 2009 to write a five-part series on the difficulties that confronted people around the globe for centuries on just how to control these wily predators. The series is entitled, “To Catch a Wolf.”

But is the problem really about whether IDFG is allowing for the implementation of the necessary tools to reduce wolf populations? Or is it about a contrary fish and game department unwilling to abide by the laws created by the Idaho Legislature in 2002 to manage wolves to a maximum of 100? Even if one was to concur with the illegally crafted Idaho Wolf Population Management Plan of 2008, the hunting and trapping seasons aren’t getting the job done as they stand. This 2008 plan calls for 500-700 wolves. The official “low ball” estimate of wolves in Idaho stands at around 700, meaning 900-1,000 is probably closer. (This is easy to conclude as we hear every day of the discovery of wolves and wolf packs in Idaho that officials had no idea existed.)

With a fish and game department brazen enough to turn it’s back on the Idaho Legislature, it doesn’t take a genius to conclude that there’s nobody at IDFG seriously concerned with a 900-1,000 individual gray wolf population and probably there are no plans to further implement the use of necessary tools to begin cutting into that destructive population.

You see, in 2002 the Idaho Legislature approved the wolf management plan and in that plan it stated that the IDFG could not alter or create any other wolf management plan(s) without Legislative approval. The 2008 plan was not approved by the Idaho Legislature. So, when you have the anti fish and game department crafting the plan that calls for 500-700 wolves, the same anti fish and game department will post wolf populations always at 500-700 regardless of what they really are. In 2002 the Idaho Legislature understood this problem. Evidently today they do not.

Business as usual as I see it. It appears as though the rules are dictated by the one who holds the ball.

But the rubber swan is mine.”

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Wolves: An Emergency Situation

By Will Graves, author of Wolves in Russia: Anxiety Through the Ages and a soon to be new release about wolves in the United States.

sakha republic

Early this January an emergency situation has been declared in the republic by the Sakha leader Yegor Borisov due to an overpopulation of wolves. He has had his fill of wolves. The wolves are prowling at the edge of villages frightening the people. There are an estimated 3,500 wolves in the republic, and Mr. Borisov said the ideal number of wolves should be 500. In 2012 the wolves killed 16,111 reindeer and 313 horses. The estimated value of one reindeer is about $328.00, which adds up to an approximate loss of $5,000,000 dollars to reindeer herders. Although 750 wolves had been recently culled, the damage done in 2012 compared to damage in 2011 went up by a 4.3 %. To reduce the predation by wolves in any given area, it usually takes a culling of from 80 to 90% of the wolves for about 8 to 10 years. Reducing the population by 10 to 50% one year will have negligible effect. (Observations by Will Graves, author of “Wolves in Russia.”)

Mr. Borisov will initiate a culling program on the 15th of January 2013, the goal of which is to reduce the wolf population from 3,500 to 500. As an incentive for hunters and herders to cull wolves, he has placed a bounty of $629 or $680 per each wolf pelt. The difference in the amount of the bounty is because of fluctuations in the currency exchange rates. Additionally, the first three hunters who cull the most wolves will receive awards mounting to more than $3000 each. (Source. “Russian Region Declares State of Emergency Due to Wolf Attacks,” Internet Radio Free Europe, January 11, 2013.

“Wolves at the Door in Siberia,”, Internet article by Andrew Kramer, January 10, 2013.)

Vladimir Krever, the Russian World Wildlife Federation’s Head of the State Committee Biodiversity Program, said, “When wolves start attacking deer and livestock they have to be killed and the population controlled. This is the right policy.” He made this statement when talking about Khakassia, a republic located about 1,000 miles southwest of Sakha (Yakutiya). He added, “Even if they were able to kill 3,000 wolves the population would recover quickly…”
(Source. “Second Russian Republic Declares Open Season on Wolves,” Internet Outdoor Hub Reporters, January 11, 2013.)

In addition to heavy predation on reindeer, the wolves carry and spread around parasites and diseases. The parasite Echinococcus granulosus is particularly damaging and threatening, including being a threat to humans. A resident of the city of Yakutsk send me a notice that the Yakutian (Sakha) Scientific Research Institute of Agricultural Science sent out to residents of Yakutiya in 2010. The notice warned people about the threat of Echinococcus granulosus and Echinococcus multilocularis. On 3 March 2010 I sent a cover letter and a translation of that report to the Montana Environmental Quality Control Committee.

In 1962 it was reported that E. g. occurred widely in wolves in the Soviet Union. (Source.“Cystic Echinococcosis in the Arctic and Sub-Arctic, Robert L. Rausch, 2003, page 877, by Petrov and Delianova 1962.)
Three of four wolves examined in the Novosibusk Oblast were found by Lukashenko in 1975 to be infected with E. multilocularis, and the fourth with E. g. (Ibed, page 876.).

In my opinion, the bottom line is that wolf numbers need to be controlled.

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Montana Wolf Hunt Season Closes – Fails to Meet Kill Quota

In my selfish gloating I am proud to state: “I told you so!“. Over three years ago I predicted that with the wolf hunt plans being discussed for Montana and Idaho, the fish and game departments would fail miserably in any quest to control wolf populations.

We find out today that as Montana closes this year’s wolf hunting season, they failed to reach the quota of killing 220 wolves. What they recorded was 162 wolves tagged, even after extending the season. This equates to a success rate of less than 1% according to KFBB.com.

And of course the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (MFWP) have all the excuses why the quota wasn’t met.

Officials say the hunt has been slow for a variety of reasons. Wolves naturally try to avoid humans and they are so widespread across the region. With the lack of snow, they can be harder to track.

While these excuses hold some truth, hunters are restricted in tools necessary to kill wolves, and they’ll never accomplish the task of “control” this way. Readers should be reminded that last spring, Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) put helicopters in the sky to kill wolves in the Lolo Region. Lack of snow made spotting wolves difficult and officials only killed 5 wolves.

C. Gordon Hewitt in, “The Conservation of the Wild Life of Canada“, over one hundred years ago told us what was the most effectual way to kill coyotes and wolves.

The most successful method of destroying coyotes, wolves and other predatory animals is by the organization of systematic hunting by paid hunters, receiving no bounties and working under government control. This policy is giving excellent results in the United States, as will be shown presently.

The problem is by no means a local one, nor even a provincial one; it is both interprovincial and international in character, and it is only by organization along these lines that ultimate success will be obtained. What we need is co-operation among all concerned: individuals, live-stock organizations, and governments; all of them should contribute to the funds that are needed to carry out the work after a broad policy has been formulated.

Will Graves, author of “Wolves in Russia: Anxiety Through the Ages“, gave his readers a laundry list of all the methods, tactics and tools the Russian Government used in an attempt to control wolf populations.

1. Drive Hunting with Flags – Large squares of cloth tied a couple feet apart and strung by rope was used to force wolves to specified areas where hunters waited in ambush.
2. Drive Hunting Without Flags
3. Hunting Over Bait
4. Call Hunting – Use of man made calls that imitate sounds that will lure wolves.
5. Scouting for and Finding Dens – This is a method used by natives in Alaska and other parts of the world. Wolves often return to the same denning areas each year. Hunters would locate these dens, remove the cubs and kill them.
6. Hunting With Russian Wolfhounds
7. Hunting on Skis
8. Hunting From Horseback
9. Trapping
10. Using Poison
11. Hunting with Eagles and Falcons
12. Hunting From Light Aircraft
13. Hunting From Helicopters
14. Hunting From Snowmobiles and Vehicles

While employment of all these methods yielded good results, Graves points out to readers that without a sustained wolf control effort, problems would persist.

Dealing with wolves worldwide over the years has always been a struggle. In my series “To Catch a Wolf“, there are numerous accounts of the ways in which people crafted tools and tactics to kill wolves.

So, what is it that wildlife officials expect? They themselves, with the assistance of helicopters can’t kill enough wolves to make it worth the effort. We have read often of efforts by game biologists trying to trap and collar/tag wolves and can’t get the job done. Yet even with that knowledge and their choice not to seek historical facts on the difficulties in controlling wolves, they somehow think a hunter, willing to contribute a few dollars, is going to take his gun and be successful in killing him a wolf? I remind readers of the less than 1% success rate.

As long as states insist that wolves and coyotes will be “big game” animals, hunted for sport by one man and one gun, citizens can expect no changes in the reduction of wolf/human encounters or any increases of game animals in areas where wolves have destroyed them.

One has to question the real goals behind wolf hunting. It certainly doesn’t appear to be population reduction to protect private property and salvage other game animals, such as deer, elk and moose.

Perhaps officials are waiting for Nature to balance itself out! Yeah, that must be what it is. Now, how does that work?

Tom Remington

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To Catch A Wolf – Part I

Link to Part II
Link to Part III
Link to Part IV
Link to Part V

To be frank, there exists today very few people who have first hand knowledge on how to hunt a wolf. Wolf hunting many years ago became quite popular for a myriad of reasons, from the thrill of the adrenaline pumping danger to a matter of survival.

Today in America we talk of when the day comes, if ever, that the wolf we be taken off the list of protected species and man will once again be able to hunt this animal. We, including myself, often speak of the “Disneyesque” perception people today have of the wolf. I think the same can be said, at least to some degree, about how sportsmen are going to “hunt” the wolf when the time comes.

As a game management tool, specifically a population control measure, hunting has been a socially acceptable and scientifically viable means of accomplishing that task, however, I’m not so sure that we understand the difficulties we will be presented with in hunting this intelligent and highly adaptable beast.

I have been spending a considerable amount of time lately reading many accounts of methods used to hunt and kill wolves. Some of those I have already shared with you and other I’ve not. In a multi-part series I would like to take a little time and share with you some of the ingenious methods and sometimes comical tactics (you have to have a sense of humor) employed by hunters and trappers over the years.

In a book written by Will N. Graves, “Wolves in Russia: Anxiety Through the Ages“, the author shares with readers an entire chapter on successful and not so successful methods used in Russia for centuries to hunt and or capture wolves. In an article I wrote last month, I told of those methods and how they might compare to the rules the state of Idaho has laid out for wolf hunting as being effective.

In short, Idaho will prohibit using any method to trap a wolf. There are restrictions on weapons that will be allowed, no electronic calls, no baiting and no use of hounds. In other words, it is man against beast.

Teddy Roosevelt wrote quite extensively about his experiences with wolves in the U.S. during the late 1800s. He tells of the difficulties in being able to hunt the wolf. He also sheds light on the fact that the Indians and the old hunters bred dogs, often with wolves, in order to create a mean wolf fighting/hunting machine.

The true way to kill wolves, however, is to hunt them with greyhounds on the great plains. Nothing more exciting than this sport can possibly be imagined. It is not always necessary that the greyhounds should be of absolutely pure blood. Prize-winning dogs of high pedigree often prove useless for the purposes. If by careful choice, however, a ranchman can get together a pack composed both of the smooth-haired greyhound and the rough-haired Scotch deer-hound, he can have excellent sport. The greyhounds sometimes do best if they have a slight cross of bulldog in their veins; but this is not necessary. If once a greyhound can be fairly entered to the sport and acquires confidence, then its wonderful agility, its sinewy strength and speed, and the terrible snap with which its jaws come together, render it a most formidable assailant. Nothing can possibly exceed the gallantry with which good greyhounds, when their blood is up, fling themselves on a wolf or any other foe. There does not exist, and there never has existed on the wide earth, a more perfect type of dauntless courage than such a hound. Not Cushing when he steered his little launch through the black night against the great ram Albemarle, not Custer dashing into the valley of the Rosebud to die with all his men, not Farragut himself lashed in the rigging of the Hartford as she forged past the forts to encounter her iron-clad foe, can stand as a more perfect type of dauntless valor.

I have written more about Teddy Roosevelt’s experiences with wolves. You can follow this link to read. However, if you would like to read Roosevelt’s accounts in “Wolves and Wolf-Hounds“, this link will take you there. I will warn you though that some of his accounts of hunts with these dogs might be a bit gruesome, however factual.

In Russia, as well as many other places in Europe, I am discovering, for centuries they have had to learn to deal with wolves. The peasants, or common folk, couldn’t hunt for wolves because either guns were prohibited or they couldn’t afford a gun or the ammunition to use in it. Centuries of wolf encounters gave the Russians ample time to devise ways of controlling the animal.

I would like to point out however that even though I am going to share accounts of some of these methods, Russia for the most part did a lousy job of controlling wolves. In places there were too many causing the ungodly loss of life and property as historic documents now available from that country are more readily available, point out.

Sketches of Russian Life Before and During the Emancipation of the Serfs” By Henry Morley, gives us a couple accounts of how Russians dealt with wolves. Take note that in these writings, the “barons” end up utilizing the crafty ingenuity of the peasants in order to bag their “trophies”.

The first method utilizes a pig as a decoy. What I have discovered is that this was common across much of Europe as well, as I will relate in later articles. In this case, the hunters took a pig and transported it in a “strong canvas sack” on a horse drawn sleigh.

Upon reaching their hunting destination, the pig, kept in the canvas bag, was made to squeal hoping to attract the attention of wolves. Hunters would wait at a distance to shoot the wolves when they came out after the pig. (I assume that using the “strong canvas sack” not only prohibited the pig from running away, it also protected the pig from the hungry wolves. The wolves approached the bag with a squealing pig in it but didn’t know quite what to make of it.)

Two wolves emerged from the forest and after having both been killed by the hunters, the remainder of the entire pack – about 15 wolves – came out of the woods. Dragging the two dead wolves behind the sleigh and retrieving the pig and canvas bag, the hunters took off down the road luring the wolves behind.

Much as one might suspect how the aerial shooting of wolves today is done, the horses, driver and hunters coordinated their efforts and managed kill a few more of the pack.

As you can see in this case there were few restrictions placed on the hunters.

But the ingenuity gets quite interesting. Being the idea of the sleigh driver, it is decided to send the hunters ahead to a filthy retreat of many crusty trappers, where a palisade has been built to trap wolves. The palisade is a construction of poles, staves and whatever of quite large size. If wolves, or any other animal for that matter, can be lured or tricked into entering the palisade, it is then trapped. The method is almost laughable.

In a short time all was quiet and every necessary preparation made. Then came the howling of wolves and the screaming as of a pig (the driver of the sleigh, Mattvic, now riding the horse and being chased by wolves, is howling like a pig), the gallop of a horse over the hard crisp snow, the rush of many small feet. The outer door in the palisade was dashed open, and Mattvic, followed in half a minute by the whole pack, rushed in. The half-minute was just sufficient to enable Mattvic to vanish through the outer door into the trap. Then, as the last pressure on the door was removed, it closed with a loud sharp sound, and some five-and-twenty wolves were snared in a space not larger than twelve feet by twenty. We did not at first close the inner gateway, but, levelling our pieces at the mass of wolves now huddling themselves up in a corner, poured in two volleys in rapid succession, then closed the gate, and reloaded for another charge. The change from the air of ferocious savage daring which the wolves had displayed in pursuit of a single horseman, to abject terror when they found themselves caught in the narrow trap, was instantaneous. They were like sheep in a pen, crushing up in a corner, riding on the top of one another, lying down on their bellies, crouching and shivering with fear. It is not necessary to describe the scene of mere slaughter. Two staves were chopped out of the gateway, that -we might fire through. The drop-panels were opened, and two or three were admitted at a time to the next division; there dogs were let in on them through the adjoining trap, or they were killed by men with great hars of wood or axes; and at length, when only six or seven remained, three of the men went in amongst them, and with perfect safety despatched them. They say that a worm will turn on the heel that treads on it, but wolves caught in a trap like this, from which there is no escape, have less courage than a worm. They crouch, shiver, and die, as I saw, without one effort at self-defence or one snap of retaliation.

I am not suggesting in this article or any of the others that will follow, that I am advocating for this kind of wolf slaughter in Idaho or any other state that may in the future hunt wolves. But please don’t miss the point that I’m trying to make.

We don’t know how to hunt wolves. Even the experiences Americans have had in dealing with wolves dates back several decades now and it seems the only talk of these wolves involves only the fact that the wolf was driven to near extinction for several reasons, the biggest finger being pointed at man. We have been taught that the wolf is “misunderstood” and needs protecting.

With wolves growing at a rate of as high as 30% a year in some places and no indications that wolves will be removed from protection anytime soon, should that day come, we may need at our disposal more methods of hunting wolves other than one man and one rifle, lest we be forced into mass killings.

Using Russia as an example, there appeared to never be any consistency in wolf population control measures. Efforts would go out to reduce wolves in some areas and then left alone only to allow the regrowth of wolves to overgrown numbers again. When culling was needed, maybe that is what triggered the creation of ways to mass kill wolves. Better management might have prohibited this kind of action.

In future parts, I will examine other methods used in the U.S., France and Scandinavia.

Tom Remington

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