March 21, 2023

It’s Easy To Pin Down The Intangibles of Overpopulated Wolves

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*Editor’s Note* The below was a comment, left at a related article on this blog, by a reader and part time writer and contributor to, by “Rattler Rider.” I felt it was worthy of front page coverage. I also took the liberty to make slight edits.

It’s easy to pin down the intangibles of over populated wolves if you lived in the region prior to wolves becoming over populated, out of control, and afterwards. Prior to the over population of wolves I’d see cougar and wolverine in winter. I’d see many elk and deer in winter; the ones that migrated, and the ones that toughed it out in the high country. I’d see moose in creek bottoms toughing out the winter. I’d see foxes and coyotes, and rabbits, marten, and mink. I’d see cow elk and calves in spring at the calving grounds and surrounding forests as they moved out for summer. I’d see pick up loads of shed antlers and gathered a few myself.

Through the summer and fall I’d see plentiful wildlife and I’d gather some fish, elk and deer for myself. That changed drastically starting for me in 2003. Wolves became the dominant wildlife every where I traveled. The trail systems I used looked like wolf highways. The meadows and usual elk feeding grounds were vacant, tracks were scarce. I’ve enjoyed three hunting interruptions by wolves that showed up at the prefect moment and chased off my opportunity while I sat and watched. I’ve found more dead elk and deer and bone piles in the past ten years than I’ve seen in the previous thirty years. I’ve observed drastic cuts in the hunting opportunities here; the Sawtooth Zone for example is pushing 7 million acres, and last fall general tags for elk were reduced again from 1526 tags to 1200.

No more do I find abundant cougar sign, no more do I find 15 wolverines in the Seafoam drainages. No more wolverine tracks crossing the trail from Archie Mountain to Swanholme Peak; an eighty-mile round trip ride that used to produce wildlife tracks of all kinds. A friend is riding a sixty-mile loop through Seafoam placing out beef rib cage halves. Where in the past he’d find 10-14 wolverines, in three months now not even a coyote or fox has been into those sites for a chew. I’ve seen the before and after results of protecting wolves when protection was necessary, and the results of protection becoming unnecessary. If wolverines make the ESA [Endangered Species Act] it will be because of the environmentalists numerous lawsuits delaying wolf control measures, based on lies and deceptions, and their continued smear campaign against those of us who have observed first hand the truth here in these forests of Idaho.

We’re going to keep telling it like it is. Obviously the wolf protectors are going to keep telling lies. Meanwhile, we will keep using snow machine, snow shoes, skis, dirt bike, and horse with mule and our boots on the ridges, and eyes pressed to binoculars to get the truth out to those who really care.