Let’s set the standard for this article right out of the starting gate. It is my opinion that poaching (defined as illegal taking) of game is a crime. I do not endorse or make excuses for poaching for anyone. And as much as I would condemn a poacher for their actions, I will equally condemn an ignorant, emotionally intoxicated fool who, especially in a position of authority, opens their mouth and makes statements that are so ignorant they should never be allowed to speak in any official capacity.
Found in The Republic, is a quote from Idaho Department of Fish and Game conservation officer George Fischer about poaching. He says:
“It’s real easy for people to blow a gasket about wolf predation,” said Idaho Fish and Game District Conservation Officer George Fischer. “They are very passionate about it, they are very irate about it and they are livid about it. Yet there is a two-legged wolf out there that is probably killing as many or more than wolves. Wolves are causing an impact, there is no doubt about it; I don’t want to downplay that at all, but two-legged wolves are probably killing more or stealing more game than wolves. That is the shock-and-awe message.”
According to this same article “officials” are estimating that in all of Idaho in one year, 600 elk, 80 moose, 260 mule deer and 1,000 whitetail deer are taken illegally. That’s 1,940 wild ungulates. So, let’s use “official” claims to see if Fischer’s statement that humans are poaching more animals than wolves is true.
It’s difficult to shoot a moving target, as that is the case with trying to determine how many wolves are in Idaho. However, continuing to use “official” data, according to the 2013 “official” Status of Elk and Wolves Reports, July 2013, at the end of year 2012 Idaho had nearly 1,600 wolves (that figure is officially declared as a minimum estimate).
According to the Final Environmental Impact Statement – 1994, Page 38 – Chapter 3, “Environmental Consequences”, Cumulative Effects Analysis, the FEIS states that: “One hundred wolves are predicted to kill about 1,650 ungulates per year.” Since 1994, I have never laid eyes on any official report of that number decreasing but I have seen several that places the number of ungulates killed per year, per wolf higher than 16.5.
So, for the sake of argument and to substantiate or disprove claims that poachers do more damage than wolves, let’s stick with “official” data and claims. Let’s take the “nearly 1,600 wolves” in Idaho estimate and round it down to 1,500. Let’s keep the number of ungulates killed by wolves per year at 16.5. Doing the math we easily see that wolves kill an estimated 24,750 ungulates per year in Idaho.
Let’s look at that again. George Fischer, of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, who appears to love wolves more than he hates humans, said that poachers illegally kill 1,940 ungulates a year in Idaho. My math is a bit fuzzy here but I think that’s like less than one tenth of one percent.
There are so many sayings about what people should do before they open their mouths. The one that quickly comes to mind is the one about it being better to make people wonder how stupid you are than to speak and remove all doubt.
It’s a shame really, because nobody approves of poaching game. What’s sad is an official with Idaho Department of Fish and Game, exemplifying such anger and hatred toward the human species in an attempt to protect a wild animal.
Damn we got our priorities all screwed up!