July 11, 2020

Top Wolf Scientist Charges Wolf Researchers Have Become Advocates Rather Than Scientists

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.

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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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Idaho Bill Proposed Would Tap Hunters to Pay for Wolf Depredation

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.

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

*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 TomRemington.com, 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.

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The Reintroduction of Wolves in the Northern Rockies as a Method of Making Money Under the Guise of Ecological Restoration II

Read Part I

Wolves were extinct for decades and then Bruce Babbit and others “resurrected” them..

Really? From the Babylonian Looney bin;

“The reintroduction of the wolf after decades of extinction is an extraordinary statement for the American people. It reconnects our historical linkage with the wilderness that is so central to our national character. It admits to past errors and asserts our willingness to correct them” —Bruce Babbit

“Wolves were recovering and thriving under multi-use! That is the “main” objective the “greenies” in our IDFG and USFWS want to cover up, is the fact that both the wolves, and even more so the wolverines were making a “come-back” under multi-use.”—Tim Kemery

When we read about this history consider the human population of Idaho at the time compared to 1995-2013. Wolves were hardly extinct here in Idaho for decades as Bruce Babbit tried to claim. Lets look at a few forests the 1984 study “Wolves of Central Idaho” by Kaminsky and Hanson involved.

Study cooperators were; FWS, Endangered Species Program; Boise Field Office, Montana Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit, Univ. Montana. U.S. Forest Service, Region 1 and 4. Idaho Department of Fish and Game.

A hundred years ago, gray Wolves (Canis lupus) ranged over most of Idaho (Goldman 1944; Figure l). The last of these animals were believed to have been extirpated from the mountainous regions of the state by the late 1930s with the removal of wolves from elk and deer winter range near the Middle Fork of the Salmon River in 1938 (J.Harris, pers. caoum.). However, reports of wolves persisted, with observations varying from detailed descriptions of large gray canids to droppings consisting of ungulate hair and bone. Such reports, ranging in time from the early 1940s through the mid 1970s received little attention from state and federal resource agencies. Moreover, reports of wolves brought ridicule and cynicism from a doubting public, often peers or hunting companions of those reporting wolves.

In June 1978, an Idaho Department of Fish and Game research biologist observed and photographed a black wolf on the Clearwater National Forest in north central Idaho. During October 1978, a gray wolf was shot and killed 200 miles south on the Boise National Forest of west central Idaho. Newspaper accounts rewritten in review of wolves recent presence in Idaho, lending credibility to both past and present reports.

CHALLIS NATIONAL FOREST

1) STATUS

Twenty-two of 31 reports received since 1974 were rated probable on the Challis NF (Tables 20 and 21). Sixteen probable reports are received by resource agencies (regular reports) while 6 reports were received from elk hunters and none from outfitters during the course of this study. Twelve reports involved observations of wolves, 9 were of tracks and 1 report involved a scat.

DISTRIBUTION OF REPORTS

Wolf reports on the Challis NF have been consistent over the past 10 years. Except for 1981 when 7 probable reports of wolves were received, probable reports of wolves have ranged between 0 and 3 since 1974. During 1974, wolves were seen near Soldier Mountain Lookout in August and along Knapp Creek during late September. No wolves are again observed on the Challis NF until 1977 near ungulate winter range along Rapid River. Wolves were observed twice in 1978 near the confluence of Cold and Loon creeks during January, and again during November along Little Loon Creek. Three wolf reports were received during 1979 from Big Baldy Mountain and Loon and Mortar creeks. Wolves were reported 3 times in 1980 and 7 times in 1981. Sightings of wolves were reported near Loon Creek and Cape Creek Summit in 1982 and in the vicinity of Seafoam R.S. in 1983. Nineteen of 22 reports of wolves on the Challis NF since 1974 have involved single animals. Two wolves traveling together were observed during 3 consecutive years from 1980-1982. In 12 probable reports involving 15 wolves, 4 predominately gray, 1 black, and 1 buff colored wolf were reported. Based on color differences described in probable reports and the widespread existence of wolf observations including 3 recent reports of 2 wolves together (1980- 82), apparently 3 to 6 wolves have periodically ranged over the Challis NF during the past l0 years. [Read more…]

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Legislation to Protect Concealed Carry Permit Holders

A Maine lawmaker has proposed legislation that would make it impossible for the public to obtain the personal information of those people holding a valid Maine concealed weapons permit. Some favor this and some don’t. As the article points out Maine is only one of fourteen states that still allows public access to this information. Such legislation is not new nor is there any new arguments for or against limiting the public to information of this kind.

This Maine legislation was prompted by the incident in New York where a news agency decided to publish the names and addresses of concealed weapons permit holders in two counties. The arguments for and against this ignorant and violence-baiting move were the same old tired ones. Permit holders declared the list would give crooks a list of where to go to steal guns and some of the non permit holders said it provided crooks a list of homes NOT to go rob because they did have guns and that, they said, made them more vulnerable because robbers would know that. What was NOT readily discussed was the intent of the people publishing the list.

So, why would anyone, coming on the heels of the Newtown, Ct. school shootings and following a few days of emotionally charged debate on the right to keep and bear arms, publish to the public, a list of names and addresses of people who hold a legal right to carry permit? Is it because they want to let criminals know where and where not to find concealed carry holders? Perhaps! Was it to alert crooks as to which houses may not have any guns, therefore making it easier to rob? Doubtful! Or was it a malicious act to provide a targeted address for anyone emotionally worked up over their hatred of guns and gun owners that they would know where to target someone who owned a gun? Absolutely! And that’s the crime that’s not being talked about here.

This is nothing new. Put on your thinking caps or climb aboard the Wayback Machine with Mr. Peabody and Sherman, to a time when this nation was having a great debate about Freedom of Information Access and what should and should not be included in information to be made available to the public and why. If you will recall many stated that there would be abuses and that there would be some who would use this private information for things other than just needing to know. Little did we know back then that news journalists would publish names and address of people they hoped would somehow at least be embarrassed and worse would become specific targets of deranged and hateful people that are no better than the drugged up person who supposedly murdered 26 people at Sandy Hook.

It is the actions of such selfish, non thinking, hateful, unethical, power abusive people that have caused states to formulate legislation in order to stop this. In my mind, there is no other legitimate reason for a person or persons to expose people in this fashion other than to cause them harm, possibly death.

I recall in New Jersey, people who care more about animals than humans, harassed hunters enough that legislation had to be adopted to prevent these mentally ill people from going into the woods and doing harm to the bear hunters.

In Idaho, a man who holds the distinct honor of legally shooting the first gray wolf, during a state sanctioned hunting season, had his name and that of many other licensed Idaho wolf hunters published in order that they would become targets of people wanting to do harm to them. The poor guy received more death threats for killing a wolf than if he had threatened to kill a human. Such sick behavior has prompted the Idaho Congress to pass a law making it illegal to publish this information.

So, you can choose to debate the ins and outs of why its right or wrong to publish personal information about licensed gun owners, but let’s not forget to include in that debate the fact that the real reason anybody would do that is to cause another person harm. And that is wrong and should be dealt with.

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Extinguishing the North American Model

From the Outdoorsman – Bulletin Number 50 – Republished with permission from the author/editor.

Extinguishing the North American Model by George Dovel

There is a long history to wildlife management, especially in Europe, and one learns from its examination that periods in which “the public” had possession of and access to wildlife have been short. Invariably the rich and mighty abrogated wildlife for their own use and enjoyment, but also let “the public” bear the cost of keeping and maintaining wildlife.

There was always at least some rebellion against the mighty by the dispossessed and subservient who often elevated poachers to public heroes and celebrated such in stories, poems, songs, even operas (i.e Rainer Maria von Weber, Der Freischuetz (free-shooter = poacher). When rebellions broke out, “the public” took it upon themselves to emulate their superiors and mercilessly slaughtered the hated wildlife. Wildlife was hated as it stood as a symbol for the elite.

What we learn is that wildlife is highly desired and that the rich and mighty will stop at nothing to get it under control – till dispossessed by revolutions. The North American situation, in which wildlife is in the public domain and in which the public, until now, has possessed wildlife de facto and de jure, is a bright exception.

I warned years ago that this is an unstable situation, vulnerable to clever attacks by the rich trying to get control over wildlife. Looks like Utah is leading the way. Our model of wildlife conservation thrives only if there is a large participation in the harvest by the public, and such harvest can be reduced drastically by letting the private sector in on reducing public access while profiting from it.

Another factor is the scarcity of wildlife brought about by heavy predation by large predators. Put the two together, Utah’s embracing of privatizing wildlife and burgeoning predator population and there is preciously little to hunt for by the common man.

The economic miracle of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation is predicated on a very high rate of participation by the public in the wildlife harvest. That’s where the money lies! Studies in Wyoming long ago showed that the state got a lot more revenue from every elk killed by unguided hunters than by guided hunters.

Not the few rich, but the many average hunters generated the commerce retail giants in hunting and fishing make their money from. Conversely, you want a six-point bull? The cheapest way to get it in the long run is to hire a guide!

As to predators: hunters in British Columbia harvest about 8,000 moose annually. There are also 8500 wolves in British Columbia. The hunter harvest of moose in BC represents one week’s worth of feeding wolves. Please, do your arithmetic. Already in BC there are conflicts by native and non native hunters over the scarcity of moose. And BC has some 16,000 grizzly bears. Well, that’s another 32,000 moose worth annually.

Cheerful thoughts!

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The Reintroduction of Wolves in the Northern Rockies as a Method of Making Money Under the Guise of Ecological Restoration

Rattler Rider;

According to these excerpts below from the 1984 study of Wolves in Central Idaho by Kaminski and Hanson including involvement with IDFG questionnaire data, many Idahoans were telling the truth about Idaho already having wolves before the 1995 wolf reintroduction fraud which wolf advocates and some retired USFWS employees still profit from to this day. Tim Kemery who did a Wolverine Study locating 13 wolverines for the IDFG Department and Craig Groves then collared all 13 wolverines, Kemery also handed in data of wolves he located as well as six trapped wolves which had been turned over to IDFG for evidence. Tim documented the wolverines and indigenous wolves simultaneously. He recorded their travel patterns, within their territory. He also documented the number of individuals, and put this information on maps.

Wolves were recovering and thriving under multi-use! That is the “main” objective the “greenies” in our IDFG and USFWS want to cover up, is the fact that both the wolves, and even more so the wolverines were making a “come-back” under multi-use.—Tim Kemery

This wolf evidence was “lost”, and IDFG denied it existed. The truth is going to keep coming out, the truth always wins in the end. Many of the sightings were in areas I lived in as a boy where I also sighted wolves, near Goat Mountain, and Graham. The rest below are excerpts from the 1984 200 page study done by Timm Kaminski and Jerome Hanson, Wolves of Central Idaho.

Study cooperators were; FWS, Endangered Species Program; Boise Field Office, Montana Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit, Univ. Montana. U.S. Forest Service, Region 1 and 4. Idaho Department of Fish and Game.

A hundred years ago, gray Wolves (Canis lupus) ranged over most of Idaho (Goldman 1944; Figure l). The last of these animals were believed to have been extirpated from the mountainous regions of the state by the late 1930’s with the removal of wolves from elk and deer winter range near the Middle Fork of the Salmon River in 1938 (J.Harris, pers. caoum.). However, reports of wolves persisted, with observations varying from detailed descriptions of large gray canids to droppings consisting of ungulate hair and bone. Such reports, ranging in time from the early 1940’s through the mid 1970’s received little attention from state and federal resource agencies. Moreover, reports of wolves brought ridicule and cynicism from a doubting public, often peers or hunting companions of those reporting wolves.

In June 1978, an Idaho Department of Fish and Game research biologist observed and photographed a black wolf on the Clearwater National Forest in north central Idaho. During October 1978, a gray wolf was shot and killed 200 miles south on the Boise National Forest of west central Idaho. Newspaper- accounts rewritten in review of wolves recent presence in Idaho, lending credibility to both past and present reports.

Study Approach;

Past studies (Kaminski and Boss 1981~ Schlegel and Kaminski 1983) have indicated that 80% of all wolf reports in Idaho identify lone wolves and 13% pairs. Most (>70%) of these reports have occurred during the summer and fall.

Scattered wolf reports persisted throughout north and central Idaho since the 1940’s despite past control efforts and have indicated the presence of adult wolves, young wolves, and/or pups together (Kaminski and Boss 1981). Past field investigations have had little success in detecting the presence of pups, young wolves,or groups of wolves (~3) together. However, 6% of all wolf reports refer to groups of 3 or more wolves and 13% to pairs suggesting periodic recruitment may take place.

The occurrence of lone wolves and pairs during the summer and fall is not unusual for pack members (Mech 1970, Fritts and Mech 1981, Harrington and Mech 1982a). During this time, wolves frequently travel and hunt alone or in pairs while focusing their activities near pup rearing areas called rendezvous sites (murie 1944, Joslin 1966, Pimlott et al. 1969, mech 1970). Rutter and Pimlott (1968), and L. Garbyn (pers. cammun.) postulated that prey availability (e.g. calving areas, beaver) might play a role in the selection of pup rearing areas. Past studies have suggested similar relationships (Pimlott et al. 1969, Haber 1980, Oosenbrug and Carbyn 1982). With the approach of winter, pack members (pups and adults) begin traveling together and frequent ungulate wintering areas (VanBallenberghe 1972, Hoskinson and Mech 1976, Mech and Karns 1977, Nelson and Mech 1981) for pre~ (elk, deer, moose) that comprise the bulk {>90%) of the annual diet (Mech 1970, Gasaway -et al. 1983).

Wolves were reported consistently on the Boise NF from 1974 through 1977 and increased from 1978 to present. Nine of 10 reports received probable ratings from 1974 through 1977. Thirteen reports were received in 1978, 22 in 1979, and 15 in 1980. Wolves were reported 47 times during 1981 and 1982. Nine reports were received on the Forest in 1983, excluding some reports not yet received from the Boise NF.

Kaminski and Boss (1981) found 65% of all wolf reports on the Boise NF were concentrated in the Bear Valley – Warm Lake (BVWL) area. High mountain meadows used traditionally by ungulates for calving, available ungulate and secondary prey (beaver, ground squirrels)and habitat typical of that used by wolves during summer for rearing pups were suggestive of a possible relationship between wolves and ungulates in the BVWL area. Thirty reports of wolves in this area since 1974; 24 that were rated probable, supported this hypothesis.

Review of wolf reports from BVWL since 1 October 1980 suggested a possible bias toward probable ratings (Kaminski 1980-82) due to other reliable reports in the area. Re-evaluation of reports questioned the validity of those involving 3 or more wolves together and revealed a wider distribution of wolf reports on the Forest after 1981. Since 1 October 1980, 41 of 71 reports described wolves outside BVWL, including 12 of 19 (64%) probable reports during 1982 and 1983.

Most evidence of wolves on the Boise NF since 1974 was reported outside designated Wilderness, including 37 of 44 reports from 1 October 1980 to present.

In October 1980, Wolves were reported 15 times with 14 receiving probable ratings. Ten reports were located in BVWL but were distributed widely within the area. Live animals were reported 7,
times, including 3 reports from Dagger Creek north to Sulphur Creek, l from Park Creek, and 3 from Bear Valley.

Outside the BVWL, wolves were reported 4 times. A wolf was reported near the town of Graham in mid October followed by reports in November near Jackson Peak and Clear Creek. In July, a wolf was reported near Shafer Creek.

Eleven wolf reports were rated probable in 1981. Reports were distributed from Mores Creek south of the South Fork Payette River to Sulphur Creek.

Thirty-eight wolf reports from the Boise NF were received during 1982 and 1983. Nineteen •reports received probable ratings. Eleven reports were distributed outside BVWL, and 8 were located within the area. During 1982, wolves were reported during July near Archie Creek in the South Fork Payette River drainage and on 2 occasions 1 week apart near Fir Creek. Reports during September included wolves east of the North Fork Range near Scriver Creek, south of Stolle meadows in Yellowjacket Creek drainage, and near Fir Creek.

Wolves were seen 8 times in October with reports distributed widely over the Forest, probably as a result of increased backcountry visitation by hunters. Wolves were reported in the Deadwood River drainage near Goat Creek and black wolves were reported 4 times during a 2 week period from October 16 to October 30 between Thorn Creek and Troutdale on the Middle Fork Boise River. A buff colored wolf was reported near Warren pond on 22 October and a gray wolf was seen in the Middle Fork Boise River drainage near Dismal Swamp on 23 October. A wolf was reported near winter range along Danskin Creek in November.

Four of 9 wolf reports in 1983 were rated probable. Howling and tracks were reported south of Warm Lake in January. A wolf was reported howling near the Pine-Mack Creek divide in July and a gray wolf was reported by a hunter in Sulphur Creek in November.

Reports of wolves reviewed suggest wolves were distributed primarily in BVWL from 1974 through 1981 but became increasingly scattered on the Boise NF during 1982 and 1983.

ABUNDANCE OF WOLVES

Over 80% of reports from 1970 to 1 October 1980 involved lone .wolves on the Boise NF (Kaminiski and Boss 1981). Since 1 October 1980, 37 of 43 (86%) probable wolf reports on the Forest have also involved lone Wolves. More than 1 wolf was reported on the Boise NF 6 times since 1 October 1980. Three wolves, an adult and 2 pups, were reported during October and November of 1980. In January 1981, 2 wolves were reported near Lick Creek followed by a report of 6 wolves in the South Fork Deer Greek drainage in August. Pairs were reported twice during October 1982. Two wolves were observed near the South Fork Payette River drainage near Archie Creek and 2 black wolves were reported between Bald Mountain and Thorn Creek.

Twenty reports of lone wolves, 1 pair, and 3 reports of 3 or more wolves were used to estimate that 4 to 10 wolves inhabited the Boise NF and adjacent Forests fran 1980 through 1981. Nineteen of 33 reports, including 17 of lone wolves and 2 reports of a pair, were used to estimate that 4 to 9 wolves are presently scattered over the Boise NF and nearby Forests.

Despite a preponderance of reports involving lone wolves, Kaminski and Boss (1981) reported evidence to suggest wolves periodically produced pups near BVWL. Seven probable reports of more than 1 wolf since l October 1980 supported that supposition.

In October 1980, a creambuff colored adult and 2 pups, 1 similar to the adult and the other black, were reported in BVWL near Poker Meadows. An identical group was reported south of Stolle Meadows 3 weeks later. This group may have been responsible for 4-5″ tracks in snow of wolves along the SFSR road in late November.

In January 1981, tracks of 2 wolves Chasing a group of 5 or 6 elk near Lick Creek were reported by a lion hunter. In August, 6 wolves including 3 adults and 3 pups were observed by a FS employee in the South Fork Deer Creek drainage Where a wolf was killed in l978.

Evidence of wolves near Sulphur Creek including a silver-buff colored adult, a pup, and howling was reported during a 3 week period in September by outfitters. A rronth later, a black wolf was seen between the head of Sulphur and Whiskey creeks by a zoo director and – 2 hunting companions.

Outside the BVWL, pairs of wolves were reported twice in October 1982. Two medium gray wolves were reported along Archie Creek in the South Fork Payette River drainage, and 2 black wolves were reported between Thorn Butte and Bald Mountain. In each case, at least one additional probable report from these areas was reported in 1982.

INGRESS OF WOLVES

As on other Forests, ingress of wolves from contiguous and surrounding National Forests is believed partially responsible for wolves’ continued presence. The Boise NF lies at the southern most end of the CIA. It is unlikely that wolves would arrive on the Forest from anywhere but the north (Payette NF) and possibly east (Gballis NF) (Maps 1 & 2). Fran the north the rnost probable area of exchange of wolves between the Payette and Boise NF is the SF~lR and Johnson Creek.

In these areas, wolves are believed to follow ungulates (primarily elk) during spring and fall migrations. Fran the east, wolves may cross during sunrer through fall between the Sulphur and Boundary creek drainages, though wolves probably avoid the area during peaks in recreation use•. Consistent reports between Fir Creek and Cape Horn During the last 10 years also suggest this area as a potential movement corridor between forests. Two final areas include the Sawtooth Wilderness and the Middle Fork salmon River wolves historically were found in the Sawtooth Valley and during the past 2 decades have been reported in the Cape Horn area (Challis NF).

Wolves moving south could conceivably end up in roadless areas near Graham and the headwaters of the Middle and North Forks of the Boise River. Probable reports of wolves have increased in these areas during the past 5 years.

The Middle Fork Salmon River was mentioned previously as an area of mutual gathering for wintering ungulates migrating from summer range on the Boise, Payette, and Challis forests. the potential for the Middle Fork to act as a seasonal vector for wolves between forests in southcentral Idaho is worth noting. —Timm Kaminski and Jerome Hanson – Wolves of Central Idaho 1984 study.

So much for the theory of a few Canadian wolves just simply “passing” through.

Read Part II

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Cost to Hunt Rising Presence of Game Shrinking

*Editor’s Note* Below is an article, republished here by permission, from George Doval, editor of The Outdoorsman. While the focus of his article is on the state of Idaho, please read the piece and simply inject your state, your game, your license fees, your opportunities, etc., and you will soon discover that much of what Dovel writes, he could just as easily be writing about your state.

More Examples of State Officials Ignoring the Destruction of Our Rural Livelihood and Lifestyles

By George Doval (republished with permission)


Author and great-granddaughter, Tiana, returning from a ride observing antelope in the foothills above the Jerusalem Valley in September 2012.

When my great-granddaughter Tiana, now a multi-talented senior at Vallivue High School in Caldwell, turned 12, she was an enthusiastic graduate of IDFG Hunter Ed. Her mother gave me a call and asked if I would take her hunting on the mountain where most of my sons grew up and killed their mule deer on opening day.

I explained to her that my wife and I had recently hunted mule deer there, both on horseback – and afoot as my sons had. But the influx of wolves plus hordes of hunters cruising the mountainside on four-wheelers, prohibited the chance to enjoy a pleasant hunt – with a possibility of a standing shot on a mule deer at a reasonable range for a first time deer hunter.

Instead, I suggested she hunt with one of her uncles in a unit where taking her first deer would be easier. But as happens with most youngsters in Idaho, despite her abilities and desire, and hunting several years with experienced hunters, she has only shot one small yearling buck in Owyhee County three years ago.

On our recent ride, she described seeing the antelope up close as a really neat experience. Yet the odds of her applying for and receiving a coveted permit allowing her to hunt before experienced archery or rifle hunters have scattered the spooky mule deer are very remote.

How North American Model of Wildlife Conservation Was Quietly Destroyed by State Wildlife Managers

The three large Owyhee County units where IDFG offers 15 days of October general season mule deer hunting for two-point bucks only, had an estimated 2011 harvest of 928 two-points, plus 168 females by youth hunters*. With 28.5% hunter success, it required an average of 10.8 days of hunting for each two-point buck or female mule deer killed. (* youth general season for females ended in 2011)

Although these units are touted by IDFG as being one of the better opportunities for juveniles to harvest a mule deer, they are actually proof of the lousy odds for the average juvenile hunter. How does a youngster manage to miss school for up to 10 days in mid-October for three years in order to hunt the average of 11 days each year for the chance to kill just one small buck in 3-1/2 years?

When I pointed this out to an IDFG official, he responded that the real value of hunting these units was the special draw hunt for “big” bucks during the November rut. If you entered the lottery drawing for the 195 Unit 40 buck permits in 2005, there were 2,690 applicants and the odds of drawing were 1-in-14 (the average wait was 14 years before you drew a permit).

But seven years later, in 2012, there were 4,299 applicants for the same 195 permits and the average wait has increased to 22 years. If you started drawing in 1994 when Conley implemented the special late buck hunt in Unit 40, the odds are you probably won’t draw a permit until 2016.

But by 2016, as bucks become increasingly scarce, the drawing odds will be much higher and the only group that benefits from this will be IDFG. Discouraged young hunters, and others who do not support the IDFG scheme to charge still more money to harvest even fewer animals, will simply quit hunting.

In his widely circulated September 7, 2012 op-ed response to the Wildlife Summit criticisms published in the Idaho State Journal, F&G Commission Chairman Randy Budge wrote; “The purpose of the Wildlife Summit was not to change the (North) American Model of Wildlife Management (Conservation)…” Of course it wasn’t.

Wildlife Becoming “Playthings for the Wealthy”

Budge and his fellow Commissioners, including those who preceded them in recent years, have already destroyed several of the seven provisions of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation. As Canadian big game expert Dr. Valerius Geist so eloquently explained in a “Bugle” interview a decade ago:
“The miracle of North American conservation is that it is basically a blue-collar system, grounded in the political and financial support and the active participation of large numbers of middle-class citizens who bring their basic honesty and decency to bear on important issues. This is just the opposite of the elitist system that has existed throughout Europe for centuries and is spreading like cancer around the world today, even right here at home.

“There is a tendency afoot today in North America to follow the European pattern, where wildlife become playthings for the wealthy and powerful. Under such a system, game is protected from the public in favor of the privileged few.

“I personally can’t stomach the idea that my grandchildren might not be able to buy a license and go hunting on public land and enjoy the great privilege of putting wild meat on the table, as we have always done.”

“Liberal” Harvest Regulations Destroyed Idaho Deer

Although my grandchildren and their children can still buy a license and go hunting on public land in Idaho, putting wild meat on the table is no longer an option unless they are either wealthy or lucky. When IDFG changed to what I&E Chief Martel Morache called “liberal” harvest regulations in 1988 – F&G included multiple antlerless mule deer harvests – and hunters were told it was because there were too many deer for their natural food supply.

Yet six years later, general season antlerless mule deer hunting had been replaced with limited special draw antlerless permits, which continued to harvest fewer deer but generated several hundred thousand more dollars in extra application and license revenue. In 2001, juvenile hunters were given the opportunity to kill mule deer does or fawns during the general buck season in all but the outfitter units and that remains in most units today.

But hunting scarce deer that have been pursued by archery hunters for 32 days and by hordes of rifle hunters in the same October season, rarely offers a decent chance for a one-shot kill. Most youngsters with no experience at hunting small game or “varmints”, either miss a running or long range shot, or hit the animal outside of its vital areas.

IDFG’s Michele Beucler Objects to Widespread Recruitment and Retention of Hunters

In her presentation titled “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall; Reflections from a Non-hunter,” IDFG Human Dimensions Specialist Michele Beucler cites statistics from 2001 when only 57% of hunter ed. graduates bought a hunting license. And after that first year, the number who bought a license steadily declined.
Beucler cited a 2007 national study showing that declines in hunter recruitment or retention between 1990 and 2005 occurred only in the nearly half of Idaho households where family income was below $40,000. Some of the youths and parents she questioned said that IDFG should change seasons that intimidated them, and also make hunting cheaper.

But instead of recommending IDFG return to obeying Idaho Wildlife Policy in I.C. Sec. 36-103 (i.e. to provide continued supplies of wildlife for hunting, fishing and trapping) Beucler brazenly ignored the law and insisted this Policy had destroyed nongame species, damaged ecosystems and undermined Idaho’s Public Trust Doctrine.

“We think that some degree of recruiting citizens into hunting is good business. However, we also feel that it has become misdirected and overemphasized. As a result, recruitment and retention efforts may be ineffective and may be distracting state wildlife agencies from engaging non-hunters and broadening wildlife conservation.”

Her False Claim That Wildlife Values Have Shifted

Beucler then said that states should reduce recruitment and retention efforts because they are a symptom of the need for wildlife managers to adapt to changing public attitudes. She insisted wildlife values have shifted from wildlife use to wildlife protection.

That may be true in Washington, D.C. but it’s certainly not true in Idaho. After more than a dozen years of IDFG using one underhanded trick after another to stop the legislature from allowing Idaho citizens to vote on making it a Constitutional right to hunt, fish and trap, it was finally approved by both houses and placed on the ballot in 2012.

Despite environmental activist Rocky Barker’s Idaho Statesman article, quoting a retired IDFG employee falsely claiming that our right to hunt is not threatened, Idaho citizens passed it by an overwhelming 77% of those who voted! Following Barker’s effort, “Right to Hunt…” still received 66% of the vote in Ada County, and passed by 77% of the vote in neighboring Canyon County – the second highest county population in the state!

Predictably, the only Idaho County where it failed to pass was the wealthy population in Blaine County where it only received 47% of the vote. A media campaign to defeat it because it also protected trapping may have contributed to its defeat by the small margin.

Her False Claim That Hunters Are Declining

Beucler and her bedfellows in state fish and game agencies ignored recent industry surveys showing an increase in the number of hunters nationwide. After presenting her “Mirror, Mirror” attack on hunting to the Wildlife Management Institute Annual Workshop in Phoenix in 2008, and the Idaho Chapter of the Wildlife Society meeting in Moscow in 2009, Beucler authored an article in the Spring 2010 issue of Management Tracks titled, “The Death of Wildlife Management?”

Published by the Organization of Wildlife Planners with Beucler serving as its President, her article states:
“For some time now, I’ve heard the siren call of ‘declining participation in hunting and fishing’ and what it might mean to the future of fish and wildlife management. Yet, despite a plethora of recruitment and retention efforts, annual participation rates continue to decline across much of the nation, and state fish and wildlife agencies are struggling to address 21st century conservation challenges such as rapid growth and development in key habitats, climate change, and nature-deficit disorder.

“Hunting and fishing will remain important threads of the American tapestry regardless of how many people participate – it is too much a part of human DNA, too much a symbol of American freedom, bounty, and wildness to fade away. Are we courageous enough to say that traditional fish and wildlife management must die?

“…we can choose to consider this death as part of a natural evolutionary cycle, as transformation, and not something that disappears forever. Ultimately, state fish and wildlife agencies may not have a choice—the risk of inaction is death by ballot initiatives, lawsuits, and irrelevance.”


IDFG Project Manager for Idaho Wildlife Summit Michele Beucler wears many hats, claims managing wildlife to provide continued supplies of game for hunters, fishermen and trappers undermines the Idaho Public Trust Doctrine (Facebook photo).

IDFG leadership has been working closely with Michele Beucler for several years and Director Moore quietly appointed her as Project Manager for the recent Idaho Wildlife Summit. She and her co-conspirators have worked behind the scenes for years while reasonable harvest opportunity was removed from grassroots hunting families and given to wealthy hunters.

Wealthy Hunters versus “Second Class Hunters”

One of the schemes IDFG uses is selling lottery chances for what it calls “superhunts”, which permit the “lucky” few who draw the permits to hunt in any open hunt for that species in Idaho. When my three oldest sons began hunting, all they needed to hunt small game, upland birds, predators and deer anywhere in Idaho was a hunting license and a deer tag – total cost $5. If they also wanted an elk it cost $3 more.

IDFG presently charges both adults and youngsters $117.25 for a “Sportsman’s Package” to hunt the same animals they could hunt for $8 in 1969. That is more than double the total inflation since then and still does not allow the hunters to participate in hunts with better odds of harvesting. Instead, IDFG encourages big game hunters to buy multiple chances for the superhunt permits so the rich hunter can buy dozens or even several hundred chances to improve his odds of drawing a permit.

He can also afford to pay people to locate a trophy animal, monitor its movements with fixed-wing or helicopter, and pay the guide who arranges the opportunity to shoot it. If the antler score is high enough, he may pay tens of thousands of dollars total to the state F&G agency and all the people who helped him kill the illegal “trophy”.

And like the auction tags, sometimes referred to as “Governor’s Tags”, establishing such extreme values requires that the “second class” general season hunters be limited to mid-October seasons. Even for an experienced hunter, the “Indian Summer” seasons are usually the most difficult time to locate and outsmart an older male animal.

Trophy Hunts Cause Overcrowded Hunters

But even if you beat the superhunt lottery odds of up to 1-in-2000 and receive a permit, it is no guarantee that you will harvest an elk or a mule deer with a large rack – much less a bona fide trophy. Although the IDFG website shows elaborate color photos of two bucks and two bulls taken by hunters with superhunt tags in recent years, none of them scored high enough for listing in the Boone & Crockett “Records of North American Big Game.”

The move throughout Idaho to further restrict the ability to harvest an animal in general season hunts, and then add so-called late-season “trophy” hunts in one or more units in each region, is forcing thousands of hunters who don’t draw a permit to either move to other already overcrowded general season units – or else give up hunting. No wonder these exploited license buyers are referred to as “second class hunters.”

The 2012 Panhandle Region Crisis

For the first time in its history, predation has reduced elk calf survival in the Panhandle Region so much that the Region’s wildlife managers have eliminated all general season cow elk hunts. Shortening the “any elk” seasons dramatically did not stop the decline for the 18,880 A and B tag purchasers in 2011, so in 2012 it offered them the chance to compete for 900 either-sex elk tags in units 1, 2, 3 and 5, plus 50 late antlerless tags in a part of Unit 5.

That meant that only five percent of hunters who had some opportunity to kill antlerless elk in the Panhandle in 2011 had a similar chance this year. Each of the four units now include a limited-participation 25-day Sept. archery season, followed by a 15-day mid-Oct. rifle season, plus a Dec. cow/calf season for the portion of Unit 5.

Unlike the southern Idaho F&G employees who travel to the Panhandle to hunt either-sex elk and/or either-sex whitetails, my great-granddaughter Tiana and her cousins lack the wherewithal to make that trip. Yet by offering a reasonable chance to harvest in an area close to home only to those hunters who pay them extra money, F&G forces the youngsters to forget harvesting game.

The “Sacred Cow” in the State Sage Grouse Plans

Every legitimate scientific study of the multiple causes of sage grouse declines has implicated predation as a major factor causing the decline. Yet the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service sample Sage Grouse Plan does not include Predation as a direct cause of grouse decline and the plans approved by the various state governors do not address predator control.

Instead they blame human activity such as building roads, fences, windmills, transmission lines or other potential predator perches, operating landfills and clearing sagebrush to grow crops for the decline. Outdoorsman readers may remember when FWS Rocky Mountain Wolf Project Leader Ed Bangs published the claim in the Federal Register that wolves and other predators are never the primary cause of prey declines.

The article on Pages 13-14 of this issue titled, “The Introduction of Agriculture and its Impact on Sage Grouse,” is the second article I have published by Nevada Assemblyman Ira Hansen. It provides historical facts to counteract the unsupported claim by FWS and non-governmental groups that water development and livestock grazing are destroying sage grouse populations.

The article was provided to Reno Gazette-Journal reporter Jeff DeLong, who, in a July 18, 2012 article, said that some (people) insist ravens are causing sage grouse declines. He said the experts at Nevada Department of Wildlife admit ravens are an issue – but not a big one.

NDOW Sage Grouse expert Shawn Espinosa admitted the 500-600 percent increase in raven numbers throughout the West has created a problem but said the raven increase is caused by human activity. Wildlife Services is removing 2,000 ravens each year But Asm. Hansen reportedly said that is not enough to reverse the damage.

NDOW Director Ken Mayer was critical of Hansen, saying the Service (USFWS) has not identified predation as a threat and said, “Focusing on the predator issue now could be dangerous when attention must focus on the key issues such as the impact of wildfire and invading vegetation on habitat. Those issues are generally recognized as the most important ones when it comes to loss and fragmentation of sagebrush landscape in Nevada.

“The Carpenters of the world could actually facilitate the listing of the bird. We don’t have the time and the resources to focus on things that are not driving the listing process for the Fish and Wildlife Service.”

(Back when Idaho’s wolf oversight committee ignored reality and approved IDFG copying the FWS Wolf Plan without addressing predator control, Idaho Legislators refused to consider their plan for another 10 years. But now that the governors have adopted the FWS Sage Grouse Plan, which also fails to address predator control, the state legislators are silent and appropriate millions of dollars to implement a plan that will not restore sage grouse.-ED)

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In Idaho: McDermott Should Go, Summit a Waste of Tax Dollars

Let me make a few things clear for readers. I am an independent writer. I am owned by no one. I owe no one. My thoughts are my own. I am on nobody’s “side”, as use of such a definition may apply. I am neither republican nor democrat, libertarian, green, red, yellow or purple. I seek the truth and report news. In seeking the truth, it sometimes makes strange bedfellows. What I write on my blogs reflect my thoughts, exemplify the efforts of my research, educate and attempt to move issues forward. As readers have come to understand, under certain circumstances, I will publish guest columns and seek permission to republish information created by others.

Having cleared that issue up, let me also make sure readers understand the actions that took place that led up to the publication of a post regarding information in a letter written by Steve Alder of Idaho for Wildlife, to Scott Rockholm, founder of Save Western Wildlife.

I was made aware of this letter for the first time in a post on Facebook by Scott Rockholm at Wolf News Network. In that post Scott wrote: “Tom Remington you may want to see this.” I downloaded the letter read it and gave serious thought as to what I wanted to do about it.

Knowing if I decided to publish specific information in the letter, it would certainly result in demands for a response from those named in the letter, I felt that there was enough very serious information contained in the letter to bring it to public attention.

I did not contact anyone involved prior to the publication of that post. I also did not contact anyone about a rebuttal or a response. I was contacted by Steve Alder on the very same day the article was published. In our conversations (email and telephone), Mr. Alder asked if I would publish his response and I agreed. As I said before, I felt certain any mention of such a letter of this serious a nature would muster a response. I believe it to be the responsible and credible thing to do. As I have explained, I have no “side” in this issue but I do take issue with no fewer than two things that I wish to address.

What I will first address are the publications I have made about the Idaho Wildlife Summit. You can find all previous articles about the Wildlife Summit here.

As most know by now, some of Idaho’s sportsmen became divided over the Wildlife Summit; in essence whether they should fight to stop it from happening and/or boycott the event, or attend the event and participate. On the issue, I expressed that the Wildlife Summit would be a dog and pony show. I’ve studied about these public forums and personally find them an absolute waste of taxpayers’ money, along with the fact they are corruptly formulated to achieve desired results. I still believe that and stick by the statements I have made about it.

Some readers made the assumption that because of my stance on this issue, that I was “on the side” of Save Western Wildlife, who were fighting to get the Summit shut down. I have explained my personal opinion on this topic and provided enough information to support my reasons. That should be enough.

The second issue that is most imperative in my opinion, addresses the problems that have riddled Idaho Department of Fish and Game commissioner Tony McDermott. I do not know Mr. McDermott personally, but like most Idaho sportsmen, have read about and heard about some of his actions as a member of that commission.

I think the first crazy thing I remember reading and writing about was back in August of 2010. In an email response by Mr. McDermott, at the time involving certain sportsmen seeking the ouster of Commissioner Budge, McDermott wrote some unprofessional comments. You can read those here but here is what I wrote about his actions:

This kind of childish response from a man holding down a public position is sure to set off a firestorm, one that nobody really needs at this time……or anytime for that matter. The wolf debate is full of passion and opinion and words become sharp, cutting into the souls of individuals. However, calling others “idiot”, “lost cause”, begging guys to “come out of your rabbit hole” and then seeking a meeting in a manner resembling calling a drunk outside for a brawl, isn’t going to get the job done. His reference to asking the guys if they would like a “dose of the truth” only confirms the arrogance Idaho sportsmen have perceived from this Commission. That comment shows us he believes only he is the one holding truth.

And now, Idahoans find out that their fish and game commissioner, Tony McDermott, threatened to “take a .45 pistol and shoot him [Scott Rockholm] right between the eyes.” In Steve Alder’s response to this letter that tells of Mr. McDermott’s actions, he says that he doesn’t think Tony McDermott would actually carry through with his treat. Probably he wouldn’t. I don’t know and I am going to say that I doubt very many people do.

I suppose that until the cows come home, all of us can discuss context, intent, capabilities, etc. However, what is just as important as determining whether a threat to another human being is valid or not, is whether the citizens of Idaho want a man of these actions and reactions representing them on the fish and game commission. The governor must also decide. His staff are a reflection of him.

I have heard from some sportsmen that Mr. McDermott has done a great job and fights hard for them. McDermott’s unprofessional and short-fused actions and reactions to issues can only leave citizens wondering about his ability to make the best of decisions; after all, the decisions I’ve spoke of are not the best in judgement making.

These are two of my positions on this issue and I land on nobody’s “side.” If I have caused inflammation between two people or two organizations because of my writings, so be it. My intentions are not to hurt people. Perhaps, through the grace of God, these two groups and the many good people associated with them, can recognize they each have differences, recognize them and move on together toward the search for truth, while granting each other the space and respect each deserves.

In that search for truth, I have expressed my opinions that Idaho taxpayers should stop wasting money they don’t have on outcome-based summits and seriously consider the constitutional make up of who should serve the governor on the fish and game commission.

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