May 15, 2013
MISSOULA, Mont.–A U.S. District Court in Washington D.C. granted the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s request to intervene in a lawsuit by animal rights groups seeking to return federal protection to Wyoming’s wolf population. That means the judge will consider RMEF’s arguments in the case. RMEF also filed to intervene in a similar lawsuit regarding Wyoming wolves based in a Cheyenne, Wyo., U.S District Court.
“This matter is no different than the current case in the Great Lakes or past legal cases in the northern Rocky Mountains,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “Individual states need to be given the opportunity to manage the wildlife species within their borders. These Wyoming lawsuits seek to frustrate the science-based management plan already laid out and approved by the federal government.”
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed Wyoming wolves from the federal list of threatened and endangered species in August 2012 with a minimum population estimate at that time of 328 wolves, including 48 packs and 27 breeding pairs. That total included 224 wolves, 36 packs and 19 breeding pairs outside Yellowstone National Park.
A subsequent hunting season led to the harvesting of 42 wolves in the trophy-hunting zone bordering Yellowstone with 26 taken as unprotected predators elsewhere in the state. Wyoming Game and Fish since proposed reducing wolf hunt quotas by half for the 2013 fall season. Wildlife managers must maintain at least 100 wolves, including 10 breeding pair, outside of the Wind River Reservation and Yellowstone.
Addressing the situation, a spokesman for Wyoming Governor Matt Mead, Renny MacKay, stated, “Wolves in Wyoming are clearly recovered. Our management plan is based on the best available science, committing to the sustainability of the wolf population and genetic connectivity in the Northern Rockies. More importantly, our wolf management since delisting has proven the state’s ability and commitment to responsibly manage wolves.”
RMEF has a rich heritage of 26 years of work in Wyoming that includes 514 projects that enhanced or protected more than one million acres. RMEF also made contributions of more than $3.7 million to protect and enhance habitat, manage wildlife, and support conservation and hunting heritage outreach programs in Wyoming.
“RMEF invested nearly $7 million in wildlife research efforts around the country to better understand elk habitat use, population dynamics, predation, habitat management and other such issues. We need to strongly consider and abide by these findings and not frustrate science-based management by allowing these lawsuits to go through. They could affect Wyoming’s elk, deer, moose, wild sheep and other big game species from here on out,” added Allen.
RMEF joins a combination of government and sportsmen organizations including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, State of Wyoming, Safari Club International and the National Rifle Association as defendants. RMEF recently received intervenor status in the Great Lakes region wolf lawsuit.
May 10, 2013
I guess it’s time to roll out another story about the insanity that seems to have infected so many concerning wolves and moose on Michigan’s Isle Royale. I’ll spare readers much of the details of the history but in a brief remark state that scientists have been “studying” the relationship between wolves and moose on the island for many years. At issue now is that the inbred wolves are all dying off and the cult of wolf worshipers are near flogging themselves over what to do; let “nature” take it’s course or bring in more wolves?
Perhaps the most important aspect of this so-called study, is the belief by those conducting the studies and the hundreds of thousands of brain dead followers, that somehow, wolves and moose isolated on an island in the midst of Lake Superior, resembles an “ecosystem” found just about anywhere else in the world. But then again, it is impossible to try to convince “The True Believers” that any of this matters.
Dr. Charles Kay, wildlife ecologist at Utah State University, in an email exchange, had this to say about Isle Royale and the wolf and moose studies.
The entire study has been a waste of time because it is a unique situation and the results are NOT APPLICABLE ANY PLACE ELSE IN NORTH AMERICA——and anyone who says it is applicable to other areas, is committing scientific fraud!
This is much like Dr. Valerius Geist’s title he bestows upon the believers of “balance of nature.” He calls it “intellectual garbage.”
To give you an example of the insanity behind Isle Royale, and all the clap trap that gets repeated and perpetuated, you are welcome to read a fairly recent article in The Chronicle of Higher Education (snicker), written by Paul Voosen.
There’s little worth repeating and bringing up in the article but I would like to point out a couple of things that were written, which I think is a reflection of the entire article’s inaccuracies and unbelievable commentary. The author writes:
The service [National Park Service] debated what to do [about an outbreak of parvovirus] then, as it wrangled with fears about interfering in a pristine wilderness. But given global warming, it’s hard today to see any wilderness as pristine. (emboldening added)
Pristine wilderness? Are you kidding me? And is this author intimating, or perhaps he’s just coming straight out and saying so, that there are no longer any “pristine wildernesses” because of global warming? When anyone writes this sort of stuff, doesn’t it give cause to question everything else written? It should!
It is fraud to claim Isle Royale as a “pristine wilderness”, in the 1980s or much of anytime prior to nearly 6,000 years ago. If you knew the history of the island and called it “pristine” that’s fraud. If you don’t know about the history then that’s a reflection of lazy ignorance and poor journalism. Perhaps I should blame that on global warming; something environmentalists can relate to.
Here’s what Wikipedia, that source even lazy people use for reference, has to say about the history of Isle Royale.
In prehistoric times, large quantities of copper were mined on Isle Royale and the nearby Keweenaw Peninsula. The region is scarred by ancient mine pits and trenches up to 20 feet deep. Carbon-14 testing of wood remains found in sockets of copper artifacts indicates that they are at least 5700 years old. In Prehistoric Copper Mining in the Lake Superior Region, published in 1961, Drier and Du Temple estimated that over 1.5 billion pounds of copper had been mined from the region. However, David Johnson and Susan Martin contend that their estimate was based on exaggerated and inaccurate assumptions……….
In the mid-1840s, a report by Douglass Houghton, Michigan’s first state geologist, set off a copper boom in the state, and the first modern copper mines were opened on the island. Evidence of the earlier mining efforts was everywhere, in the form of many stone hammers, some copper artifacts, and places where copper had been partially worked out of the rock but left in place. The ancient pits and trenches led to the discovery of many of the copper deposits that were mined in the 19th century. The remoteness of the island, combined with the small veins of copper, caused most of the 19th century mines to fail quickly. Between the miners and commercial loggers, much of the island was deforested during the late 19th century.
I think any idiot can plainly see that Isle Royale was no “pristine wilderness” nor was the reason for that caused by global warming.
In addition to the false claim that Isle Royale is or once was a “pristine wilderness”, according to Dr. Charles Kay, there were never any wolves or moose on the island.
…before Whites, Native Americans ran the entire island—-and there were NO MOOSE OR WOLVES only a few caribou.
The important thing to remember about the years of studies conducted on wolves and moose on Isle Royale; this information and knowledge gathered can then be used on all the other islands in North America that have wolves and moose on them, exactly like Isle Royale. Now that’s important stuff right there!
May 9, 2013
You can read the complete story on Powell Tribune.
May 1, 2013
This movie trailer introduces a movie that is scheduled to be released in the Fall of 2013. We are told it will contain information to prove that the effort, from the beginning, to introduce Canadian wolves to Yellowstone National Park and Central Idaho, was a criminal enterprise – criminal based on fraud, deception, theft and illegal acts. This should be be good.
April 26, 2013
The Oregon Senate should have invited the wolves and sheep both to testify. Same outcome.
April 25, 2013
Republished on this website with permission from the editor/author.
The Outdoorsman – Bulletin Number 51, Dec. 2012 – April 17, 2013 Pgs. 1-3.
In Spite of Directors’ Claims, Idaho Fish and Game Refuses to Control Wolves Decimating Elk Herds
by George Dovel
In January 1999 I attended a predator symposium in Boise co-sponsored by the Idaho Outfitters and Guides Assn., Idaho Dept. of Fish and Game and eight other groups. Like many of the 17 panel members whose unsupported testimony claimed wolves would have limited impact on deer, elk and moose numbers, Wolf Education Center’s David Langhorst claimed poachers kill 10 times as much game as wolves do.
But Wildlife Ecologist Dr. Charles Kay provided facts to support his testimony – that the wolves transplanted from Canada would eventually drive Idaho’s already declining big game populations into a predator pit.
Beginning with his August 1993 Petersen’s Hunting article titled, “Wolves in the West – what the government does not want you to know about wolf recovery,” Dr. Kay had published extensive research exposing federal and many state biologists’ false claim that protecting wolves would create healthy game populations.
Biologist Can’t Refute Facts – Attacks Messenger
Unable to refute any of Dr. Kay’s expert testimony, one biologist publicly confronted him and implied that his testimony was not valid because he was not a biologist.
But Dr. Kay snapped back at him, “I’d be ashamed to admit it if I was, the way you biologists have destroyed our wildlife.”
Pretending that a simple degree in wildlife biology bestows the wisdom, integrity and judgment needed to recommend real solutions ignores reality. And attacking the credibility of the messenger is a tactic used by those who lack facts to defend their position.
These two observations are based on half a century of working alongside and closely observing wildlife biologists. Deceiving the citizen hunters who pay their wages has become a specialty with most of them.
Geist – Wolves Caused ~90% Decline in Deer Harvest
But like Dr. Kay, Dr. Valerius Geist, the featured speaker at the 1999 Symposium, strived to enlighten rather than deceive. He spent a couple of hours patiently explaining to those in attendance how the return of wolves to Vancouver Island resulted in nearly a 90% decline in the number of black-tailed deer harvested each year by hunters.
He warned the audience that strict control of wolf numbers in Idaho must occur to prevent a similar decline in Idaho big game populations. IDFG Director Steve Mealy, who was the Symposium facilitator, summed up the consensus that wolf predation is largely additive and wolves must be limited to preserve healthy game populations.
Despite being provided ample opportunity to question Dr. Geist, Idaho biologists and Commissioners remained quiet. Yet a group of them confronted me a few minutes later and said, “He told us what was going to happen but he didn’t tell us what to do.”
Two months later, Mealey was fired by a 4-to-3 vote, and replaced with a series of pro-wolf Directors. But on Jan. 5 2006 Interior Secretary Gale Norton signed an agreement with Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne designating Idaho to act as its agent, and directing IDFG to “implement lethal control or translocation of wolves to reduce impacts on wild ungulates in accordance with the process outlined in the amended 10J Rule.” (emphasis added)
That was seven years ago and during those seven years, IDFG has had the authority and the duty to lethally control wolves to reduce their impact on elk, moose and deer – either using the 10J Rule with the 2002 Wolf Plan as a guide – or following the 2002 Wolf Plan during the two periods, including now, when the wolves were/are delisted.
So How Many Total Wolves Has Idaho Lethally Controlled to Reduce the Impact on Wild Ungulates During the Past Seven Years?
The answer is only nineteen – all in the Lolo Zone.
That 19, plus the few wolves harvested by hunters and outfitters in the Lolo Zone, failed to halt the dramatic annual decline in its elk population and harvest. Yet in the following exchange of communications dated Jan. 21, 2013, Moore tells Viola sportsman Jim Hagedorn that many people have simply not been exposed to the Department “science” on managing wolf predation on Idaho’s elk.
TV Interviewed Moore, Stone – Ignored Citizens
On Jan. 17, 2013 KTVB published interviews with IDFG Director Moore and Defenders of Wildlife wolf promoter Suzanne Stone at IDFG Headquarters in Boise. Moore said hunters have done a good job controlling wolves in farm and ranch areas, but said wolves are increasing and further reducing elk populations in back country areas “like the Clearwater, Lolo and Selway.”
He announced the F&G Commission had removed $50,000 from a research project and directed it to be spent killing and trapping wolves in remote areas like these. Of course Stone disagreed and said the $50,000 should be spent on non-lethal methods which she falsely claimed were more effective than lethal control.
As always happens in the urban media, KTVB ignored the majority of Idaho citizens who share ownership of the wildlife resource, and the multi-million dollar loss the exploitation of that resource by both Moore and Stone is costing them every year. This understandably upset Viola sportsman leader Jim Hagedorn who, along with many others, contributes a great deal of time and money seeking honest scientific wildlife management.
On Jan. 20, the following letter from Hagedorn to Director Moore appeared in the Forever Free Press:
A direct question for Virgil Moore:
“[IDFG's] job is actually to conserve wolves,” says Suzanne Stone with Defenders of Wildlife. “We propose that commission use the money for non-lethal tools that are more effective in reducing livestock losses, and certainly more effective in reducing the impact on wildlife, including wolves,” Stone said.
“Moore says he’s putting together opportunities for advocates like Stone to talk to Fish and Game biologists about their management techniques.”
Director Moore, would you please explain to me why you would waste your time, your IDFG employees’ time, and MY MONEY, by opening a channel of communication to your (or MY) employees so a clearly deranged individual (Stone) who can NEVER seem to get her facts straight with the media, or anyone else for that matter, can have ANYTHING to do with advising FISH and GAME management in Idaho?
The following day, Hagedorn emailed a copy to Moore and to several legislators, commissioners and other knowledgeable individuals. The subject line said simply, “How about an answer Virgil?
He quickly received the following response from Moore:
I decided to go over the science that wolves are important predators to elk. Based on the testimony at the Commission meeting last week by 16 individuals it is apparent to the Commission that many people simply have not been exposed to the Department science on managing predation on Idaho’s elk. The meeting with folks concerned about our wolf reduction efforts is to allow a more in-depth opportunity to present Department information and answer questions that could not be addressed at the public meeting.
Ms. Stone is looking for an opportunity to do more of the non-lethal management that has been tried in the Blain (sic) County area. It certainly will not work for wildlife depredation and does not work in most livestock grazing situations either. Her statements do not represent what we are trying to accomplish by providing the correct information on hunting, trapping and aerial methods of reducing wolf numbers.
Jim – I believe some of these folks can be moderated by the correct information based on my discussion with some of them at the Commission meeting- as they do not have the correct information to judge the Department program properly. I do not believe, as you do, that Defenders of Wildlife can be convinced though but the discussion of what we are planning is open to public discussion and public input and we do have an obligation to meet with folks when appropriate.
I hope this helps. Let me know if we need to talk and I’ll give you a call.
The Department “science” on managing wolf predation of elk is a myth.
Every authority on wolf-ungulate management – including L. David Mech – who has advised IDFG on this issue, has warned that 70-80% of wolves must be removed initially, and the reduced numbers maintained for at least five years in order to restore healthy ungulate populations.
When the Lolo elk herd was still estimated at about 4,000 animals, IDFG biologists carefully prepared a 10J Plan to lethally remove 75% of the wolves from the Lolo Zone the first year, and kill enough wolves for the next four years to maintain 20-30% of the original number. But instead of implementing the plan to rebuild the Lolo elk herd, the Commission voted to use it only as “leverage” (i.e. blackmail) to FWS to insure they would be allowed to manage wolves as game animals.
They got the “on again – off again” right to hold a wolf hunting season but hunters killed only 13 Lolo wolves and the Lolo elk population went down the tube. Anyone who takes the time to compare IDFG’s published annual elk harvest statistics will find that elk harvests have also nose-dived every year in all back country units since the Commission approved the 10J plan – but refused to use it.
And Moore’s promise to the Commissioners and the public when he was hired as Director two years ago that he would also implement wolf control in 2011 in the Selway and other units where wolves were also impacting elk – was never kept. Between 2006 and 2011, both of Moore’s predecessors, Steve Huffaker and Cal Groen, made similar promises that were also never kept.
It is worth noting that at the same time former Director Steve Mealey was telling a packed Commission Meeting audience that wolves were having a detrimental effect on Idaho elk herds, his Wildlife Bureau Chief Huffaker was standing in the back of that room telling a reporter that wolves had co-evolved with elk for ten thousand years and would “reach a balance” without man’s interference.
In February of 2006 when the IDFG plan to remove 75% of the Lolo Zone wolves was being “scoped” by the public, a letter writing campaign by radical pro-wolf groups supplied then Director Huffaker with the excuses he needed to convince the Commission not to control the wolves.
A Feb. 14, 2006 letter from Tami Williams of Wolf Haven International at Tenino, Washington, reminded Huffaker of the large cost of paying (Wildlife Services) to control 75% of the Lolo wolves. She speculated IDFG would get a hunting season if it waited and said, “With patience, wolf control could end up as a revenue generator rather than a revenue drain for IDFG.”
Instead of obeying Idaho Wildlife Policy in I.C. Sec. 36-103 (to preserve, protect, perpetuate and manage all wildlife), Huffaker and his biologists chose to listen to the wolf advocates and sacrifice the Lolo elk herd. Large Carnivore Coordinator Steve Nadeau prepared a 2006 10J wolf control plan claiming that declining habitat – not over-harvesting and later wolf predation – was the primary cause of the elk decline.
Nadeau’s lie ignored Clearwater elk research biologist George Pauley’s long-term and well documented research concluding that allowing hunters to kill too many bull elk was the cause of the steady decline in Lolo elk from 1986 – 2005. Read “IDFG – No Evidence Links Lolo Elk Loss to Habitat!” on Pages 6-8 of Outdoorsman No. 40.
Ignoring Pauley’s 1996 warning to stop over-harvesting bull elk, Clearwater Region Supervisor Herb Pollard increased the number of 1996 antlerless elk permits in the Lolo Zone from 350 to 1,900! In Dec. of 1996 when Steve Mealey was hired as IDFG Director, he replaced Pollard with Natural Resources Policy Director Cal Groen to halt the deliberate over-harvest.
But in 1997, Groen reduced the 1,900 antlerless permits by only 50 and changed 525 permits so hunts would end on Nov. 30 instead of Nov. 13. See results of Pollard’s and Groen’s mismanagement in harvest chart below:
The 2006 10J wolf control plan could easily have been corrected by replacing Nadeau’s false claims with Pauley’s facts, and then submitting it to FWS. But even two years later, in 2008, IDFG Director Groen and F&G Commissioner Gary Power told the Legislature and the media that IDFG had no intention of controlling wolves in Idaho’s wilderness areas.
The appointment of Groen to the Governor’s staff in 2007 was apparently seen as an opportunity for IDFG to ignore Idaho law and the Legislature. Groen’s direction to Nadeau, to write an IDFG Wolf Plan containing massive changes to the only wolf plan approved by the Legislature, and Groen’s failure to transmit that plan for legislative approval or rejection, reflects his willingness to ignore state law and the welfare of Idaho wildlife.
The IDFG conspiracy that bypassed the lawful process and resulted in Groen, Otter and Otter’s Office of Species Conservation telling FWS Director Dale Hall that IDFG will manage for five times as many wolves as agreed to in the FWS Recovery Plan, happened without public or legislative input.
Idaho’s 2002 wolf plan emphasizes several times on pages 21 and 23 how extremely important it is for IDFG to conduct an annual census of selected important prey species. The Lolo Zone elk met every criterion for annual monitoring – yet in the 11 years since that plan was approved by the Legislature – IDFG has conducted only two counts in Unit 10 and three counts in Unit 12!
And when Nadeau wrote the bastard wolf plan in 2007 – approved unanimously by the F&G Commission on March 6, 2008 – the “annual count” language was changed to once every three to five years, plus it allowed biologists to wait another three years before taking any action! On May 22, 2008 Groen gave Nadeau an “Employee of the Year” Award for “outstanding management/leadership.”
In February of 2009, Pauley met with Montana sportsmen and the media and said there were 130-150 wolves in the Lolo Zone. He advised that the State of Idaho was making a request to shoot about 80% (104-120) of them, and would leave a minimum of 25 wolves.
Although Pauley said the 10J proposal would be presented to FWS shortly and Unsworth confirmed it, neither had any intention of controlling wolves. This was simply designed to show hard core wolf advocates they had better not oppose delisting or IDFG would kill 100 wolves in one location.
Even after Senator Jeff Siddoway forced IDFG to commit to control Lolo Zone wolves during the 2011-2012 winter, Deputy Director Unsworth ordered the helicopter control halted on the third day despite ideal conditions. Only 14 wolves were taken in that brief control action and Wildlife Services told me I would have to talk to Unsworth to find out why. The wolf control figures Unsworth claimed would reduce big game predation in the Lolo Zone were far too low to have any measurable impact.
Note: This article and many more like it can be found in The Outdoorsman magazine. Please click this link to a PDF page where you can print out a form and subscribe to the magazine. The work of George Doval, editor of The Outdoorsman, is arguably the finest work to be found anywhere in print or online publications.
April 24, 2013
MISSOULA, Mont. – The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit by several animal rights groups seeking to return gray wolves in the Great Lakes region to the Endangered Species List. If granted, Judge Beryl A. Howell will consider RMEF positions in her U.S. District Court in Washington D.C.
“It is of paramount importance that everyone recognizes that states, not the federal government, are best qualified to manage a recovered species like the wolf,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “This suit, like so many previous frivolous filings, will frustrate science-based management and cause conservation damage into the future.”
Gray wolves recovered to more than 4,000 in the Great Lakes prior to delisting in January 2012.
Minnesota had an estimated population of 3,000, while Wisconsin and Michigan had about 850 and 700 respectively. The removal of wolves from federal protection happened after several years of litigation and returned responsibility for managing wolf populations to the states.
“These animal rights groups are crying wolf by claiming state management threatens to push populations to the brink of extinction,” added Allen. “There is no science that supports these claims and wolf experts like Dr. David Mech, founder of the International Wolf Center have already stated that regulated hunting by states will not negatively [effect?] the states’ wolf populations.”
Allen went on to say that, “In fact there is very recent credible evidence in both Idaho and Montana that regulated hunting and trapping of gray wolves is not harming the overall wolf population as both states have the autonomy to manage their wolf populations and they are using best science practices.”
In October 2012, the Minnesota Court of Appeals denied an attempt by environmental groups seeking to stop the state’s wolf hunting and trapping seasons stating the “petitioners failed to demonstrate the existence of irreparable harm.”
In response to the Great Lakes suit, the secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Cathy Stepp, issued grave concern over the legal maneuver stating that the wolf population in her state already grew to more than eight times the delisting goals.
“Our intent is to manage the wolf, now that it has recovered, as we do other species – informed by science and in balance with social needs. Relisting the wolf under the Endangered Species Act is neither informed by science nor in balance with Wisconsin’s needs,” said Stepp. “This has the potential to halt wolf hunting in Wisconsin and leave the state powerless to effectively address livestock depredations, and would end the state’s ability to actively manage our wolf population.”
“RMEF will vigorously defend the delisting because states need to manage wolves just as they do elk, deer, bears and all other wildlife. There is no real science that disputes the fact that gray wolves are recovered and expanding, and there is no compelling reason why states cannot manage wolf populations,” said Allen.
If successful as an intervener, RMEF will join the Hunter Conservation Coalition group comprised of Safari Club International, National Rifle Association, U.S. Sportsmen?s Alliance Foundation, Wisconsin Bowhunters Association, Upper Peninsula Bear Houndsmen Association, Michigan United Conservation Clubs, and the Michigan Hunting Dog Federation.
April 24, 2013
Dr. David Mech, the man who invented “balance of nature”, refutes his own claim. Says “Balance of Nature” a Myth.
Top Wolf Scientist Charges Wolf Researchers Have Become Advocates Rather Than Scientists
by George Dovel
The Outdoorsman – Bulletin Number 51 – Page 8
Republished on this website with permission from editor/author.
During a May 7, 2010 Boise State University Radio interview, Idaho Fish and Game Predator Biologist Dr. Hilary Cooley stated emphatically that wolves – not hunters – are necessary to manage elk herds.
Speaking with authority, as if she were part of a team of scientists whose research prompted her statements, Cooley stated:
“We saw this in Yellowstone – when we had tons and tons of elk they could change the entire landscape. We saw songbird densities changing, we saw beaver populations changing – everything responds to that and so while some people like to have high, high densities of ungulates, it’s not always good for the rest of the ecosystem.”
What Cooley was referring to are the alleged “trophic cascades” that many ecologists and most conservation biologists now claim are the stabilizing benefits provided to ecosystems by wolves and other top predators. The basic theory is that the top predator (wolf) reduces the number and/or alters the habits of its prey (elk), which provides more habitat for other species such as beaver, song birds and smaller predators.
This revival of the “Balance of Nature” myth promoted by Durward Allen and his graduate student David Mech in their 1963 National Geographic article, began when Robert Payne coined “keystone species” in 1969 and “trophic cascades” in 1980.
In 1985 Mech Admitted Balance-of-Nature is a Myth
Meanwhile after several more years of research with wolves and moose on Isle Royale and wolves and deer in Minnesota, Mech found that his “balance-of-nature claim had zero validity. Both wolves and their prey were in a constant state of changing from population peaks to radical declines, yet Mech waited until 1985 to publish the truth about what was occurring in both states but with different prey species.
And instead of publishing the correction in National Geographic or major news media – or at least in scientific journals – Mech’s startling confession that he was the cause of the balance-of-nature myth appeared only in National Wildlife Vol. 23, No. 1, and in the May 1985 Alaska Magazine. In that article titled, “How Delicate is the Balance of Nature,” Mech wrote, “Far from being ‘balanced,’ ratios of wolves and prey animals can fluctuate wildly – and sometimes catastrophically.”
Several years later, I photocopied the article, including its B&W and color photos, and sent it to the leadership of all 27 organizations in the Idaho Shooting Sports Alliance. But those groups were understandably still so upset with IDFG for letting half of Idaho’s mule deer and thousands of elk die from malnutrition during the 1992-93 winter, they failed to even consider what would happen with wolves 10-20 years down the road.
Misleading Headline: “Wolves Not Guilty”
Because the National Wildlife Federation was promoting wolf recovery, and Mech’s 1985 article emphasized the need to control wolves to prevent the radical swings in populations, his choice of magazines was perhaps understandable. Canadian wolf transplants into Idaho and Wyoming (YNP) would not happen for another 10 years, but the biologists promoting wolves were enlisting all the help they could get from environmental activists to lessen public resistance to restoring wolves.
Twenty years later, Mech’s team of student Yellowstone Park researchers (wolf advocates) issued a news release with the headline, “Wolves Not Guilty,” saying their unfinished research revealed that bears were the major predator of newborn elk and moose calves.
When the study was finally completed, Mech explained that bears killing most newborn elk or moose calves had been documented for several decades. But based on the volume of mail I received from Alaskans who read the “Not Guilty” article, it was too late to change their new opinion that wolves had been wrongly accused of killing elk and moose.
Mech 2008 Testimony Refuted DOW Claims
Mech has always recognized the necessity for state wildlife managers to control wolves that adversely impact either livestock or game populations. And when Defenders of Wildlife and 11 other preservationist groups sued FWS to shut down wolf hunting in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, Mech’s May 9, 2008 22-page testimony destroyed every one of their arguments.
The non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that federal and state wolf promoters have “been in bed with” for several decades, now oppose the same recovery plans they helped design during the early 1980s. They have parlayed wolf recovery into a never-ending billion-dollar enterprise, and used tainted science and activist judges to support their destructive agenda.
Mech realized that the states’ failure to control wolves to numbers that are biologically sustainable has generated extreme opposition to their very existence in the areas where they are causing problems. The difference between the make-believe world of indoctrinated biologists like Hilary Cooley, and the real world where wolves eventually destroy the wild prey necessary to sustain their numbers, caused Mech to take drastic action in 2011.
On Oct. 26, 2011, Mech submitted an article to the editor of Biological Conservation titled, “Is science in danger of sanctifying the wolf.” He also sent copies to eight wolf scientists for review and suggestions, and on Feb. 29, 2012, the slightly amended article was submitted to Biological Conservation and was accepted for publication on March 12, 2012.
In his article, just before he dropped his bombshell on wolf preservationists who falsely promote the image of the wolf as a saint, Mech mentioned that North America’s wildlife manager, Aldo Leopold, continued to recommend bounties on wolves in 1946 to increase abundance of big game populations. Leopold also warned that extermination of large predators could result in over-browsing.
Propaganda Changed Wolf Image from Devil to Saint
But in 1967 the wolf was listed as endangered and one of the most effective propaganda campaigns of all time began. Mech points out that the image of the wolf changed from a devil to a saint and wolf advocates began to claim that the wolves’ presence was vital to restore healthy “native” ecosystems.
He said that his library has more than 30 books written about wolves and that 27 NGOs have been formed to promote wolf preservation. One of Mech’s reviewers commented on the millions of dollars raised by these groups, and could have commented on the dollars many of them receive for reimbursement of legal fees from the feds each time they sue to halt delisting or hunting.
Mech also said that a large number of researchers have invaded Yellowstone Park with the intention of proving the existence of trophic cascades caused by wolves. Yet he asserts there is not even one YNP study with evidence proving that a cascade actually took place beyond the wolf and its prey.
For example he says the claim that wolves would kill most of the coyotes and replace them with smaller predators has not happened. Instead, after the initial coyote decline they have repopulated the Park with the same number of coyote packs.
Do Wolf Kills Really Benefit Scavengers?
According to Mech the claim that wolves benefit other scavengers by providing more kills ignores the fact that wolves consume most of the prey they kill. If the prey animal died from other causes, the scavengers would have 7-10 times as much meat as is available from a wolf kill.
And he reminds us that as the wolves kill more of the available prey, the scavengers have fewer – not more – animals available for food.
What Really Caused the Restoration of Beavers
Similarly, the claim that wolves killing the elk and/or creating a “landscape of fear” would reduce elk depredation on willows and aspen, which would cascade to restoring beavers, which would, in turn, raise the water table has been highly advertised – but it has never been proved according to Mech.
He points out the reality that there were no beavers in the Northern Range of YNP when wolves were introduced in 1995. He responded to recent unsupported claims that wolves caused beavers to return to the Northern Range and raise the water table with the following excerpt from a recent study:
“What has had little publicity, however, was that the rapid re-occupation of the Northern Range with persistent beaver colonies, especially along Slough Creek, occurred because Tyers of the Gallatin National Forest released 129 beavers in drainages north of the park.”
Mech referred to other research pointing out that the combination of these beaver colonizing in the Park and raising the water table, and a reported 27-day addition to the YNP growing season, were valid reasons for increased growth and height of willows, and aspen. “It should be clear from the above examples that sweeping, definitive claims about wolf effects on ecosystems are premature whether made by the public or by scientists” said Mech.
Mech continued, “Once findings claiming wolf-caused trophic cascades were published, scientists competed to find more. Teams from several universities and agencies swarmed National Parks and churned out masses of papers, most of them drawing conclusions that wolf advocates considered positive toward the wolf.”
He explained that after synthesizing 19 chapters of reviews relating to the ecological role of large carnivores in 2005, a research team concluded, “Scientists will likely never be able to reliably predict cascading impacts on bio-diversity other than prey.” Mech continued, “As one reviewer of this article put it, ecologists (and particularly conservation biologists) do seem obsessed to the point of blindness with predator-induced trophic cascades.”
The extreme bias of their studies is reflected in Mech’s comment that the only wolf study results he can recall that might be considered negative by the public is the 2003 Idaho study by Oakleaf et al who found that in central Idaho, ranchers discovered only one of eight calves that were killed by wolves. That study gained little popular press.
Although Mech candidly named several wolf scientists whose research reports are tainted by their “wolf is a saint” agenda, his closing comments reflect his own agenda. “National Parks are protected from most hunting and trapping, logging, grazing, agriculture, irrigation, predator control, pest management, human habitation, and mining, all of which wreak pervasive, long-term effects on ecosystems.” (emphasis added)
By the time tens of thousands of young biologists and journalists and a hundred million other youngsters have spent 80% of their lives being taught that all human activity destroys healthy ecosystems, they believe that starvation, cannibalism and widespread disease make up a “healthy” ecosystem. Is this the legacy you want to leave to future generations – or are you just too “busy” to care?
Note: This article and many more like it can be found in The Outdoorsman magazine. Please click this link to a PDF page where you can print out a form and subscribe to the magazine. The work of George Doval, editor of The Outdoorsman, is arguably the finest work to be found anywhere in print or online publications.
April 4, 2013
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.
March 28, 2013
Rep. Judy Boyle of Idaho has sponsored a bill that would add $4.00 to the purchase price of a wolf hunting permit and then take $8.00 from each wolf tag sold to be placed into a fund to help pay the cost of livestock losses to ranchers.
Are you kidding me?
Such a bill has to be either the most in-your-face, brassy and ballsy act a politician can muster against hunters or the complete opposite; a display of unselfish charity, the kind most seldom ever seen on this earth anymore!
In your face? In Idaho there is a situation that exists in which many, if not most, hunters are so angry about wolves, and many of the same consider the action taken in the mid-90s to (re)introduce wolves into the state a criminal enterprise, resulting in the greatest destructive act against wildlife and game hunting opportunities. And now, a bill proposes to tap hunters to pay for the destruction of the game animals they hunt. Isn’t this just about as ridiculous as you can get?
Charity? Perhaps I have been so angered and frustrated over the years of deliberate game destruction, the loss of hunting opportunities, threats of the harmful spread of deadly disease, reduced public safety and loss of property, all because of wolves, that it’s difficult to muster up a real Christian attitude and overlook all of this and direct my love and devotion to the losses having been suffered by the ranchers. I’m not Christ. I’m human!
I have nothing against ranchers and have certainly spent my share of time defending them and supporting the idea of reimbursing them for losses. But I fail to understand why this responsibility to pay ranchers for their losses should fall to the hands of those who want to buy a license to hunt a wolf. Surely the majority of hunters don’t hunt wolves out of the love of the sport. Isn’t it more out of a want to get rid of the damned animals in order to bring back elk, deer and moose populations in those areas where the wolf has had a field day? Why not tax every dollar donated to the environmental groups mostly responsible for wolf introduction? Isn’t that justice?
When you think about this bill, isn’t it akin to asking members of Mothers Against Drunk Driving to pay for property damage caused by drunks behind the wheel of a car? What am I failing to see here?
If my sense of charity is so terribly diminished that I can’t and should be eager to pay another $4.00, that I have little confidence the government isn’t going to steal for other purposes, then I pray to God He will show me that I am wrong.