26 Feb 2008, 1:59pm
Wolves
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Wolf Kill Coverup

Guest post by Shane McAfee

I have been an outfitter in Salmon, ID for over 30 years and I have seen the changes!

In 1996 our Unit 28 opening week saw ten hunters harvest nine bull elk (1-7×7, 6-6×6’s  and 2- 5×5’s). All mature bulls, all happy hunters! Eleven years later, after the wolves multiplied here, this season (2007) we harvested only one spike bull and four deer out of twenty total hunters. On my first three hunts last year I went 15 days horseback guiding and never saw an elk! Almost all of the hunters never wanted to see Idaho again; and yes, they were very upset!

I wonder what this is doing to the economy of our small towns in Idaho. I hear the same worries from my friends, locals, and pretty much everyone I talk to. I have yet to run into anyone on the trails, dirt roads, paved roads, or on Main street in Salmon that came into our county to see a wolf!

I guess most of the wolf lovers are in New York City watching them on TV, as I have yet to meet one here, much less seen them spend one dollar in our community. I know for a fact that there are hundreds, or possibly thousands, of elk hunters that will not return.

Wow, wolves really do impact the economy of small Idaho towns!

I have talked and pleaded with our Fish & Game Dept. in Salmon, Region 7, to no avail. They say basically nothing can be done.  A few wolves have been taken out by the Feds only because of beef kills. Not one wolf that I know of has been taken out because of elk kills.

About 5 years ago, while lion hunting in my area in winter on snowmobile, I found nine dead elk (8 cow elk and 1-6×6 bull) on Silver Creek Road (a 14-mile stretch) all killed within the previous week. All were killed by a pack of about eight wolves, basing my judgment on the tracks around the kills, the way the elk were killed, and the fact I seen plenty of sign that the pack was in the area. Wolf tracks were everywhere, some of the elk were eaten, some not, and most had intestines pulled out. All typical wolf kills that I have seen plenty of.

Not one killed elk was covered by snow or brush as lions tend to do. Almost all had their nose’s pulled off, as usual for wolf kills I have seen. A lion had never pulled a nose off an elk that I had ever  found. Lions had never killed over 2 to 3 deer ( hardly ever an elk ) on that 14-mile stretch of Silver Creek Road ever in a course of a winter the 20+ years I have been there! Also, no lion tracks were found by me and my lion hunters over a 2 week period in the area when the elk were found. It was obviously a case of binge killing by the wolf pack that was in there. I would swear to this on a stack of Bibles; the elk were killed by the wolf pack in the area!

On my way out on snowmachines with my hunter/client that day, I ran into Jason H., now the Idaho Fish & Game Wolf biologist in the Salmon office but then a guy doing a “wolf study” under Gary P. (now Idaho Fish & Game Commissioner, Salmon area). I told Jason about the nine dead elk on Silver Creek Road and that in my opinion, they were all killed by the pack of eight wolves in the area. He said he would check the kills, as he was doing the study on the impact of wolves on big game in the area.

A few days later I ran into him on snowmachines again.  I asked him if he had seen the elk kills on Silver Creek?  He said that he had. I asked him what he had written down in his study reports.  He said that he had determined that all nine elk were killed by lions! And that he wrote it down as such in his reports on the wolf study he was doing. I was floored, to say the least, and asked him if he was for the wolves or against them. He told me he was for the introduction of wolves and wanted them in Idaho.

The important thing to note is that if the nine wolf killed elk on Silver Creek Road that week were reported as lion kills, what about the rest of the study in the whole Salmon area that winter?

Today both these guys are pulling good wages and have been working for the Idaho Fish and Game Dept. for years. I hope that they are proud of their study. I just wanted them to know I didn’t forget about that special moment. Believe me I never will.

Thank you for the opportunity to tell my story. Feel free to send it to anyone you please.

24 Feb 2008, 11:20pm
Wolves
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Julie Smithson Reviews Undue Burden

No Popcorn Needed

by Julie Kay Smithson [here]

Undue Burden: The Real Cost of Living With Wolves is one documentary that will likely never garner a Cannes Film Festival award, but that is not its intent.

Its makers seek to save lives, restore peace of mind and reintroduce sanity to places like Reserve, New Mexico, the Upper Peninsula (”U.P.”) of Michigan and the vast sterilized landscape of Yellowstone National Park, and its surrounding rangelands, ranches and towns.

The argument that people are “encroaching” on wolf habitat doesn’t fly. Wolves are being captive bred, habituated to people and then loosed upon areas where it’s arguable their ancestors ever lived in the first place.

The evidence of what is happening in parts of rural America targeted for wolf “reintroduction” and “recovery” is etched in the pinched, drawn and stressed faces of those good folks who consented to be interviewed by filmmaker Bruce Hemming. Hemming simply could not stand idly by while rural children faced the fangs and inexorable, relentless threat from wolves — wolves that the juggernaut of federal agents and their partners are literally delivering almost to people’s doorsteps. Documenting such events has been a grueling and exhausting process, but one that must get and keep your attention.

Your children or those of your friends could be the next ones facing this “future.”

Schoolchildren are being watched and followed to their bus stops. They are being watched while they play on rural playgrounds. Shelters are being built for them to be safe from wolves. They and their parents and teachers are suffering post-traumatic stress disorder as they watch their livestock, horses and pets, plus ungulate wildlife, disemboweled and left to suffer horrible death from wolves sport killing. Is this what you think rural living should be?

Order your copy today: You can’t afford to miss this chance to save lives by learning the truth about the wolf “reintroduction” and “recovery” agenda.

Order copies for all your rural friends and family members, because this nightmare will soon be at their doors, if it isn’t already.

Order copies for your local feed store, farm supply, libraries, county commissioners, emergency medical technicians, and veterinarians.

Invite a group to your home to view this one-hour riveting time of truth. Tell them it isn’t pretty, but it is true. Prepare to be riveted to your seat, unable to deny the truth you watch. They, like you, need to know the truth about wolves and those siccing them and other large predators upon rural America.

This is the best twenty-five dollars (postage paid) you will spend this year. Don’t delay; order several copies today! CLICK HERE

Caution: Contains graphic photos that may not be suitable for young children.

19 Feb 2008, 10:17pm
Endangered Specious
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And What’s Wrong With The Endangered Species Act?

by Tom Remington at Black Bear Blog [here]

It’s getting worse before, if ever, it will get better. Abuse of the Endangered Species Act is at an all-time high and rising like a rocket. Something must be done! (Scroll to bottom to find links to related articles)

Can it get any worse? Millions of dollars are being spent on lawsuits aimed at preserving habitat and some species of wildlife needlessly, with no end in sight. The ESA is being used as a lethal weapon that will destroy our property rights and further sink us into economic recession. It’s out of control.

In yesterday’s Tucson Citizen, B. Poole has an article that focuses the most of its attention on one such over the top environmental group called the Center for Biological Diversity. This is how Poole describes the efforts of this group.

The Center for Biological Diversity staff brandishes the Endangered Species Act like a blunt-force instrument. Leverage from its petitions and lawsuits - more than 500 in 18 years - helped gain protection for nearly a fourth of the 1,351 endangered or threatened plants and animals in the United States.

This has been much of my argument in the past about why we need to do something about the ESA. A piece of legislation that was created to insure that we humans wouldn’t knowingly wipe out a species of animal or plant, has now become a “blunt-force instrument”, costing taxpayers billions of dollars… [more]

Note: the comments following Tom Remington’s essay are quite good and very much worth reading, as is the rest of his essay.

18 Feb 2008, 8:34pm
Wolves
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10 comments

Undue Burden: The real cost of living with wolves

There is brand new documentary film about the plight of Americans beset by government-dumped wolves, Undue Burden. It tells the story of regular, law-abiding citizens powerless to halt government-protected wolves from killing their livestock and pets, stalking their children, and destroying the livability of their communities and private properties.

Undue Burden is a shocking, gritty, graphic, and real. Not a Hollywood production, Undue Burden is short on glitter, long on honesty. The folks interviewed are just like you and me, shy in front of the camera, but they convey a story of oppression and hurt that is medieval and absolutely unconscionable in our modern society.

The villains are the radical anti-humanist urban eco-elite and a despicable US Fish and Wildlife Service. They are not interviewed, refusing all offers and requests to present their twisted side.

The victims sit in plain dress in their own homes and tell a harrowing tale of a government gone mad with malice and greed.

Numerous wolves are filmed, and it is readily apparent that the animals are not pure wolves but hybridized wolf-dogs, though just as vicious and deadly as the real thing. The wolf-dogs kill for sport. They are human-habituated. They do not fear man; instead they stalk to kill men, women, and especially children. They also sport-kill elk, and are extirpating local herds.

No one in America should have to endure attacks by killer wolf-dogs in their yards, at their school bus stops, in their school playgrounds. Children as young as 3 years old are suffering nightmares and other symptoms of clinical Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The role of government should be to protect the citizenry from deadly predators, not to breed and release killers in our midst.

Undue Burden tells the story of real people, nice people, our neighbors, suffering relentless depredations at the hands of an insane, belligerent, and hate-filled Federal government.

It is a very powerful documentary, and must viewing for everyone who cares about this country, about wildlife, and about our fellow human beings.

Undue Burden was written, produced, and directed by Mr. Bruce Hemming, a hunter, fisherman, and rural resident of North Dakota. The documentary is filmed largely in New Mexico. Mr. Hemming did his homework, and found historical records of over 100 people killed by wolves in the U.S. His anger leaks in here and there, but it is more than justified.

Undue Burden may be purchased [here]. A DVD costs $25, a small amount to defray the costs of production. Additional donations are welcome.

Pictures tell a thousand words. No writer can express the emotion and reality of the situation better than this film does. Undue Burden is a very important documentary. Get a copy and show it to your friends.

17 Feb 2008, 12:34pm
Wolves
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Wolves Are Targeting Humans As Prey

by Valerius Geist, PhD., Professional Biologist, Professor Emeritus of Environmental Science, the University of Calgary

Note: The following essay was originally sent to the Saskatoon Star Phoenix on Feb. 9th, but they have not printed it as yet. However, it was posted at Wolf Crossing today [here].

I am one of two scientists asked by the Carnegie family to independently investigate the death of Kenton, their son. The coroner’s inquest into this matter was narrowly focused on who killed Kenton Carnegie, to which the correct answer is: a wolf pack. It did not address wider policy issues such as conservation legislation, for the tragedy would almost certainly not have happened in British Columbia despite that province’s share of wolf attacks on humans, nor failures in scholarship that led to the wide and dogmatic acceptance of the view that wolves are not dangerous to humans. That myth has killed at least three persons in North America in the past decade, two of which were highly educated young people. Nor did it dwell on what circumstances lead to the habituation of wolves to humans, one of which is scarcity of natural prey, which could be due to risen wolf populations. In short, there is more to the story than has been addressed by the court or the press.

Nobody involved in the tragedy, including the wolf specialist working on behalf of the coroner’s office, noticed that the habituated wolves had been targeting humans. However, students of urban coyotes described a stepwise progression of behavior, which is shown by coyotes that are targeting children in urban parks. This pattern of increasing familiarization with potential prey is identical in wolves and coyotes. In short, the situation at Camp North Landing was a disaster waiting to happen. Ironically, while biologists studying coyotes affirmed that coyotes targeted humans as prey, wolf biologists denied that wolves were dangerous to people.

The view that – in the absence of rabies - wolves do not attack people has taken so solid a grip in current times, that even after an exploratory attack by two wolves on two camp personnel at Camp North Landing, the threat posed by wolves was not fully recognized. A captive pack of wolves destroyed their new keeper, a biologist with a master’s degree, within three days, a tragedy traceable to the belief that wolves do not attack people. A similar fate befell a lady keeping a pack of wolf hybrids for similar reasons. The view of the harmless wolf may have prevented North American wolf specialists from developing an understanding of the circumstances when wolves are very dangerous to people and when they are not. In North America, unlike in some European and Asiatic countries, the circumstances when wolves pose a danger to humans is rare, but is not absent.

The most important sign that wolves are targeting humans as prey is wolves patiently observing humans. Such wolves may be short of natural prey or they many be well fed on garbage and already habituated to humans. Wolves patiently observing humans have begun the process of slow and steady familiarization with humans, that finally leads to an attack on humans. Such wolves need to be taken out. In British Columbia any licensed hunter can do that. The limit on wolves is three and the season long. It’s a safety valve. Healthy free-living wolves are virtually unhuntable, and the most likely candidates to be taken out are wolves disadvantaged by age or condition or rejected by their pack.

A historical review of wolves and humans shows that nobody has as yet succeeded living in peace with packs of wolves, unless there was a buffer between wolves and humans of livestock and pets, especially dogs, and the wolves were hunted and shunned people. Nor have we paid attention to the experiences of native people with wolves, who pointed out correctly that wolves eat and disperse the evidence of wolf-killed humans. Wolf packs attacking dogs pulling sleds were not uncommon in the north or in Greenland. The Danish explorer of Greenland, Peter Freuchen lost one companion to wolves, shot one of two wolves advancing on his children, had some harrowing experiences himself with wolves and describes how he could not be provisioned because every dog team send his way was halted by wolf attacks.

The fairytale by the brothers Grimm of Little Red Riding Hood is, alas not based on myths, ignorance or a misunderstanding of wolves, but on very and terrible experiences with wolves throughout the centuries. The “modern” view that wolves are harmless is based not on science, but on flawed scholarship and politics too long to discuss in a letter to the editor. The philosopher Kant’s quip that we learn from history that we do not learn from history has again been validated.

Valerius Geist, PhD.

16 Feb 2008, 10:09am
Deer, Elk, Bison
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The Truth About Predators and Nevada Deer

by Mike Laughlin of Hunter’s Alert [here]

Note: the essay is in rebuttal to an article which appeared in the Reno Gazette Journal [see here]

I read with interest the article in the Reno Gazette Journal, January 25, 2008, concerning Nevada’s declining deer population.

I do not know whom the NDOW expert, Biologist Mike Cox is, but he is a long way from knowing or telling the “real story” of what went on during the big deer years in Nevada. If he thinks that the main reason for the decline of Nevada deer herds is the overall condition of habitat, he either does not know what he is talking about or he is creating “smoke and mirrors” for NDOW.

I ran the operational Predatory Animal Control program throughout the State of Nevada for the U. S Fish & Wildlife Program, during the 1970s and 80s, as the Assistant State Supervisor. I believe I have on-the-ground and in-the-air understanding of what went on during the big deer years in Nevada. There were three full-time Government Mountain Lion Hunters employed year-around hunting lions. Coyote and mountain lion numbers were kept under control. Deer tags, for Nevada hunters, were unlimited in number and were available for over-the-counter purchase at hunting-license dealers statewide.

In 1972, a big change occurred in the Animal Damage Control business throughout the west. President Richard Nixon banned the use of toxicants in the government control program by executive order (he was soliciting the environmental vote that was just starting to emerge). With the loss of toxicants and nothing to replace it with but a few trappers, coyote numbers began to rise dramatically. Throughout the state of Nevada, deer numbers fell to 96,000 by 1976. Predation upon livestock by predators was a serious problem. In the late 70s, political pressure by the livestock industry and their representatives in Washington, D.C. brought about a dramatic increase in the Federal budget for Animal Damage Control.

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11 Feb 2008, 4:01pm
Endangered Specious Wolves
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Friends of the Northern Yellowstone Elk Herd Invite Ranchers to Fight for Wolf Delisting

By Tami Arvik Blake, Agri-News editor

(Posted at the Otero Residents Forum, Otero County, NM [here])

It’s not too late: ranchers can still take the Rocky Mountain gray wolf to court.

Though the federal government has promised to remove the wolf from the Endangered Species List in February of this year, experts agree that lawsuits brought by environmental groups will likely tie the issue up for some ten years.

That means ten more years of wolf protection - and ranchers, livestock, and wildlife paying the price.

There is one way to avoid that scenario, though. What if somebody can beat the environmentalists to the punch by suing the federal government to immediately delist wolves before the official announcement comes next month?

The groundwork for just that sort of action is already finished.

Of course, there’s a certain procedure that must be followed when taking legal action against the Endangered Species Act. Complaints must be filed before deadlines, and as far as wolves are concerned, those deadlines are long past.

The state of Montana does not have legal standing right now to fight for immediate wolf delisting.

But Bob Fanning does, and he’s hoping that ranchers will team up with him to remove federal protections from wolves.

Fanning is the founder of Friends of the Northern Yellowstone Elk Herd, a small organization based out of Fanning’s home deep in the mountains north of Yellowstone Park. FOTNYEH is the only entity in the states of Montana and Idaho that has legal standing to sue the federal government to delist wolves… [more]

7 Feb 2008, 11:00pm
Salmon and other fish
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Artificial Salmon Runs in the Willamette Basin

The Chinook salmon in the Willamette River system are considered one of the most threatened “Distinct Population Segments” in the Pacific Northwest. Yet historically, there were very few salmon in the Willamette. The reason: Willamette Falls, 26 miles upstream the confluence with the Columbia, was mostly impassable to upstream-bound fish.

Willamette Falls is 42 feet high and flows over a sheer natural rock formation. It was a natural barrier to fish passage. Only in spring flood, and not every year, could a few Chinook salmon make the leap. From PGE (who runs the power dam there today) [here]:

In 1885 the first fish ladder was excavated out of the solid rock. Though primitive, this ladder did help fish move above the falls. Technology and knowledge of fisheries advanced over time, and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife designed the current fish ladder, which was completed in 1971.

In the early 1900’s seven Willamette Basin salmon hatcheries were established: McKenzie River, Marion Forks/North Fork Santiam River, South Santiam in the South Fork Santiam River, South Santiam in the Calapooia River, South Santiam in the Mollala River, Willamette, and Clackamas hatcheries. Salmon returning to the hatcheries to breed after their oceanic sojourns swam up through the fish ladder at Willamette Falls.

In 1999 the artificial Willamette River salmon population was declared an endangered species [here].

UPPER WILLAMETTE RIVER CHINOOK ESU THREATENED

ESU STATUS AND DESCRIPTION: Listed as threatened on March 24, 1999; threatened status reaffirmed on June 28, 2005. The ESU includes all naturally spawned populations of spring-run Chinook salmon in the Clackamas River and in the Willamette River, and its tributaries, above Willamette Falls, Oregon, as well as seven artificial propagation programs…

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