28 Oct 2010, 9:19am
Deer, Elk, Bison Wolves
by admin
3 comments

Stop the Wolf Madness

by Jeff Sayre

Note: The following letter is in response to an Oct. 24 opinion piece in the Lewiston Tribune by Marty Trillhaase [here].

Marty, Marty, Marty. Your opinion on elk and what the State of Idaho should do with them is wrong. The elk population in Idaho, which was the premiere place in the Pacific Northwest to hunt elk the past 75 year’s has gone from 300,000 to below 100,000. See any problems there, Marty? No, why would you. The Green Weenies say we have too many elk already and this is a natural balancing event to equal what the habitat can handle, right? The major problem the past 15 years with the elk population decline and some would call a population plummet is the Canadian wolves, not habitat.

Look up in your Webster’s dictionary on line or in the old book form, these two phrases. Experimental and non-essential. Let me help you here Marty. Non-essential means we really don’t need them, not needed, not essential. Experimental means an experiment done with FACTS/Science, not presupposed conclusions, just factual evidence. When an experiment goes bad you, the scientist or biologist re-evaluate the data and decide to continue the experiment or change the parameters or stop it all together. This social feel good experiment had gone terribly wrong. Our Idaho elk herds will never ever recover to the numbers they were when I moved here in the fall of 1987 and started hunting in the fall of 1988. They are all but gone in the Red River Valley. Gone in the Lolo. Gone in the Gospel Hump. Gone in the Frank Church. Behind Pierce the major herds are all but decimated by this invasive wolf from Canada. These are not the indigenous wolves that Idaho had, this killing machine killed those wolves by 1990. USFWS knew there were indigenous Idaho wolves here when they released these wolves in Idaho. Is USFSW guilty of a “take” for eliminating an existing distinct population of Idaho wolves? Should some zones have been closed to hunting this past fall or in the future? No elk, no need for a hunt.

Ask the guides and avid hunters what they see in all the old places they used to hunt and take elk every year. Most have quit the business of guiding, they can’t make a living anymore. No elk. Some locals have hunted in places for 28 years with success. Nothing but wolves this year. Game trails with elk and deer tracks are not wolf super highways. The Earthquake Basin Pack on the Southfork of the Clearwater River has over 25 wolves in the pack when last counted. 25! Is that normal, Marty? How far will this horrible governmental test go before someone sees the red light and stops the bus? When Marty? Too late already. You seem to have all the answers, what is your solution? Mine is shoot and release. They need to be culled. The ecosystem can’t handle the damage done already. If we have a hard winter what will be left of our once strong and populous ungulate herds? Bones. The Green Weenies are most to blame here because they know best that we need. 2,000 wolves. Heck if you do the math and count the numbers we are pretty darn close now. 5,000 is their ultimate goal. What is not known are the number of wolves not counted. Can you or any sane person imagine that number and what wildlife will be left in Idaho? It will be all be in the Boise Zoo!

Idaho needs to start and Elk Recovery Plan now and that includes the elimination of 90% of the present population of Idaho wolves who are all from the same or original packs or Canada wolves. They are genetically the same…….all 1,500 of them. The same in Alberta, same in Saskatchewan, same in B.C. They need to be eliminated for the same reasons our grandfathers and fathers eliminated them. Wild packs of hungry wolves destroy everything man tries make a living on his ranch with, cattle, horses, sheep, pigs and they reek havoc on local elk, moose, deer, cougars, bear, coyotes etc. Too many pressuring too few will lead to total destruction and a collapse of the once great Idaho ungulates and already has. We are a long way from the original 62 released and the 30 breeding pairs and 150 total. Way past! Help is needed now, not another law suit or decision made by a judge who is far removed from the reality on the ground. The facts are clear. This is a disaster only getting worse everyday they are allowed to bred and grow. Idaho never ever had this number of wolves, ever in recorded history, neither did Montana or Wyoming. Stop the madness. Listen and look at reality already in progress.

21 Sep 2010, 10:29pm
Wildlife Agencies Wolves
by admin
1 comment

F&G Commission: Open Letter to Hunters and Idahoans

Idaho Department Fish and Game. September 3, 2023 [here]

Wildlife managers and biologists agree that the wolf population in Idaho recovered years ago, and that wolf numbers now need to be controlled to reduce conflicts with people and wildlife.

The recent court decision bypassed science and put Idaho wolves back under the protection of the Endangered Species Act based on a legal technicality. Now we must deal with a difficult situation.

The Endangered Species Act severely limits Idaho’s abilities to manage wolves, and it is tempting to turn wolf management over to the federal government until wolves can be delisted again. But U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials have told us they wouldn’t manage wolves to protect Idaho elk herds, and they don’t share our motivation to protect the interests of our ranchers, pet owners, hunters and rural communities.

We looked carefully at our options and potential consequences. We decided that as long as we are making a difference, we must stay engaged in wolf management to protect Idaho’s interests and rights. Only as a last resort will we leave the fate of Idaho residents and wildlife entirely in the hands of the federal government.

Part of the reason we feel that way is because of how we got to where we are.

With the court decision to relist wolves for the second time, the federal system has failed us. Defenders of Wildlife and other special interest groups are using a parade of lawsuits to tie the federal government in knots, and the result is against common sense, responsible wildlife management, and the stated intent of the Endangered Species Act. While we will work within the rule of law; we will use all of our influence and authority to make this right and put wolf management back in Idaho’s hands where it belongs.

Idaho’s lawyers will ask a court of appeals to overturn U.S. District Court Judge Donald Molloy’s ruling, but we believe the best solution is to change the law directly. We will work with Idaho’s congressional delegation, Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter and other states to resolve this problem through federal legislation. Solutions will probably not be easy or quick. We will need all of the support we can get to make this happen, and we will keep you posted as to how you can best help these efforts.

While we are pursuing change in the courts and in Congress, we will make the most of the authorities available to us. We support Gov. Otter’s efforts to reach a new agreement with U.S. Fish and Wildlife to ensure as much flexibility as possible in managing wolves. The Idaho Fish and Game Commission recommended that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service be in charge of Endangered Species Act enforcement while Idaho focuses on protecting its elk herds and reducing wolf conflicts. It should also be the federal government’s role to fund wolf management, and we support restricting the use of hunters’ license dollars for wolf management as long as wolves are federally protected.

We will continue to insist on population control, particularly in areas where wolf predation is hurting our wildlife. The processes for getting federal agency approvals involve considerable paperwork and time and impose requirements that are an additional source of frustration. For example, because of federal legal requirements, Idaho Fish and Game managers have to use wolf population estimates that are “minimum,” so we know we are underestimating the number of wolves in Idaho.

Likewise, to control wolves to protect elk herds under the “10(j)” provision of the Endangered Species Act, Idaho must demonstrate wolf predation impacts based on data that takes time to collect. We must also have our proposals reviewed by at least five scientists outside our agencies. That means we end up a year or more behind the times, using data that often doesn’t match up with what you see in the woods today. We have gotten to the point where we will soon submit a “10(j)” proposal to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for wolf control actions in the Lolo Zone, and other proposals are being developed. When delisting occurred previously, we were poised with a proposal then, too.

As you can tell, we are in a tough struggle to regain state management, with scientific and legal battles on many fronts. We are concerned that some matters are dividing our community when we need to be united. For example, there are some who want to argue about what happened in Idaho politics when wolves were introduced in 1994. While we commit to learning from history, we do not want to waste our energy trying to attack, defend, or change the past.

We are fighting a national battle of perception. It is easy to paint an ideal world of nature from a desk far away from rural Idaho. We need your help to explain why it is important to manage Idaho’s wolf population, just like we manage other wildlife. Someone who wouldn’t think twice about calling animal control to pick up stray dogs in the city may not think about how wolves are affecting the lives of Idahoans in similar ways - unless we tell them.

National activist groups try to portray the average Idahoan as a wolf exterminator, lazy hunter or crazy extremist. We need your help to prove them wrong, just as Idahoans did when we participated responsibly in the first wolf hunting season in the lower 48 states. We need your help to support change through social networks across the country.

If state authorities are further undermined by court decisions or inaction at the federal level, there may come a time where we decide the best thing to do is to surrender and leave wolf management up to the federal government until wolves are delisted. But for now we believe the best place to fix the system and protect Idaho’s interests is by staying involved in management. We appreciate your support.

Idaho Fish and Game Commission

Idaho County Wolf Disaster Declaration

On Sept. 16 the Idaho County Board of Commissioners adopted a Resolution declaring a disaster as a result of the introduction of wolves (in 1995-1996 by the US Fish and Wildlife Service).

The Resolution is [here]. It declares that wolves are causing “vast devastation of the social culture, economy, and natural resources of Idaho County” and that “public safety is compromised, economic activity is disrupted and private and public property continues to be imperiled.”

The Idaho County Board of Commissioners requested that Governor Otter issue a Disaster Proclamation declaring wolves to be a “managed predator” to be controlled, and that the State contract with the USDA Wildlife Services to eradicate wolf packs near homes, ranches, livestock, and recreation areas “by any means necessary”.

The Idaho Statesman is reporting that the Resolution uses the words “shot on site”, but that is typical MSM hyperbole. That language does not appear in the resolution. The Idaho Statesman is a trashy rag (well, if it they like to dish out hyperbole, then they ought to be able to take it).

Idaho County declares disaster over wolves

By JESSIE L. BONNER and JOHN MILLER, The Idaho Statesman, 09/16/10 [here]

BOISE, Idaho — Officials in Idaho County want Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter to declare an ongoing disaster that will allow wolves to be shot on sight, citing attacks on livestock and wildlife.

County commissioners declared a local disaster Thursday. The governor’s office was aware of the county’s move but had not seen it and couldn’t immediately comment, said Otter spokesman Jon Hanian.

“We heard about it just at the close of business today,” Hanian said. “Beyond that, I don’t have a comment about it, until we’ve had a chance to read it, review it and make sure the governor has seen it.”

Last night in a 30-minute Idaho Public TV presentation Idaho Dept. of Fish and Game Director Cal Groen and State Wildlife Manager Jon Rachael were asked about this resolution. Groen said he hadn’t seen it. Rachael admitted massive elk declines and said, “That’s not socially acceptable.”

IDFG’s involvement in wolf introductions and the devastation of Idaho elk herds is well documented [here].

Wolf populations have burgeoned in Idaho and Montana since the USFWS illegally dumped exotic Canadian gray wolves there in 1995 with the full (and illegal) complicity of state wildlife agencies such as IDFG. Wolves are in no way endangered, despite the lunatic decisions by Federal Judge Donald “Genetic Exchange” Molloy.

It remains to be seen whether Gov. Otter will heed and side with the elected representatives of Idaho County residents, or with radical jingoists from urban enclaves thousands of miles away.

13 Sep 2010, 9:36pm
Deer, Elk, Bison Wildlife Agencies Wolves
by admin
1 comment

No Evidence Links Lolo Elk Loss to Habitat

Ed Note: This excellent essay appears in The Outdoorsman No. 40 June-Aug 2010. The entire issue is [here]. Some previous posts regarding elk in the Lolo Zone (upper Clearwater River watershed, Idaho) are [here]. Excerpts from other issues of The Outdoorsman are [here].

By George Dovel, editor/publisher The Outdoorsman

Shortly after World War II ended, the Washington, D.C. based Wildlife Management Institute recommended the Idaho F&G Commission invite thousands of out-of-state hunters to harvest “trophy” Idaho big game animals in remote backcountry areas allegedly to prevent damage to habitat. The result of similar recommendations to other western states is evident in the sudden big game harvest increases during the 1950s followed by eventual severe harvest declines during the mid-1960s and early 70s.

Elk Study Proves Habitat Did Not Cause Decline

By 1964, elk harvests in the Clearwater had declined dramatically so the “Clearwater Elk Ecology Study” was launched – with the first five years devoted to evaluating habitat quantity, quality and elk use. The next four years found high conception and calf birth rates but very poor survival during the first two weeks after birth.

The result of the first nine years of careful study was that 13 years of extended either-sex hunting seasons and too few surviving calves – not habitat – were responsible for the mid-1960s elk decline.

The next 10-years of study proved that reduced cow elk numbers could no longer provide enough newborn calves to feed the black bears during the brief calving period, plus feed other predators later and still provide replacements for the elk that die each year. Trapping and relocating 75 bears in 1976 tripled the number of surviving elk calves, and doubling the bear bag limit in year-around seasons restored the elk in a few years.

The 19-year study and a dozen similarly extensive peer-reviewed studies in Canada, Alaska and the Great Lakes all arrived at the same conclusion. Where multiple predators, including wolves, existed with alternate prey species, it was necessary to reduce the number of predators dramatically once prey populations were reduced – regardless of whether the prey reduction was natural or man-caused (as in excessive hunter harvests).

By 1985 even wolf expert David Mech admitted he was responsible for resurrecting the “balance of nature” myth as a graduate student and wrote “Far from being ‘balanced,’ ratios of wolves and prey animals can fluctuate wildly – and sometimes catastrophically.” He illustrated the necessity to dramatically reduce wolf numbers whenever their prey declined and F&G agencies in the Northern Rockies promised wolf numbers would be carefully monitored and controlled if they were introduced.

more »

Lolo Wolf Reductions

by Rod Halvorsen

The effort to reduce wolf populations in the Lolo zone is to be commended, but will represent a minor effort in controlling the game and stock depredations and destruction of jobs, businesses, general economic health, forced lifestyle changes and spread of disease caused by wolves and perpetrated on rural populations throughout the state by wolf recovery efforts.

History is repeating itself with the increase of wolf populations in the state. Prior to 1915, wolf populations suppressed healthy livestock industries and game populations throughout the state. Indeed, the livestock industry of the West teetered on the brink of bankruptcy. Then, after years of pleading from citizens, local governments, state and Federal agencies, on July 5, 1915, the US Congress appropriated funds for the removal and destruction of wolves and coyotes from Federal lands in Idaho and the West. It is no coincidence that elk were translocated into Idaho during the same year; 1915.

The concerted efforts of state, county and Federal governments, stockmen’s associations and the general public in removing wolves starting in 1915 was instrumental in establishing stable and healthy game populations and a thriving livestock industry in Idaho. Such efforts must now be reintroduced and hopefully the Lolo action will be the first step in what will eventually be the eradication of wolves from Idaho.

Wolves were not inadvertently, unintentionally or mistakenly eliminated from Idaho but were, rather, effectively extirpated at great cost and effort by residents, state and Federal agencies and private organizations as a response to the great damage wolves caused. The cost was worth the effort and the cost to extirpate the wolf will be considered wholly worthwhile if wolves are successfully eliminated from Idaho in the future. Wolf damage to the economy of the West was so severe that even in 1915, a day when Federal appropriations were severely limited by comparison to today, the Federal government responded to the cries of the people and rightly served to protect them by initiating action to eliminate wolves from Federal lands. Such a great effort must yet again be commenced.

The wolf is more akin to a disease organism than it is a big game animal and should be “managed” in precisely the same way small pox is managed; eradication from the free environment with small populations saved in captivity for research purposes. Wolves and people do not mix any better malarial mosquitoes and people do. No “specific number” of wolves is acceptable. The Federal government at present requires rural people to live with a specific number of wolves. This requirement is the moral equivalent of a Federal Government requirement for restaurant owners to maintain a certain number of rats in their kitchens, or hospitals to maintain a certain quantity of staph bacteria on the chairs in their waiting rooms. Introduction of wolves in the name of “biological diversity” is wholly, morally equivalent to the introduction of malarial, anopheles mosquitoes into the Deep South in the name of “biological diversity”. Wolf introduction was and is an immoral act of great oppression, an absurdity that our forefathers would scarce believe possible. If the US Army introduced wolves into Afghanistan or Iraq, no doubt the US would be charged, rightly, in international court, with crimes against humanity. Such moral bestiality has been perpetrated on the rural people of Idaho against their will. Wolves are, have been and always will be a scourge to rural people and rural pastoral and recreational lifestyles. Wolves are not protected under the Constitution but yet have gained ascendancy in the Courts by misplaced interpretation of the Endangered Species Act and now have gained a bizarre moral equivalency with and/or superiority over people in the courts. The rights of the citizens of this country are deprived in order to support wolf populations. The rights of the people are deprived in favor of a disease.

Some find wolves beautiful from the vantage point of a mountain top. Some also find fleas, typhus and small pox beautiful from the vantage point of a microscope. All are nevertheless organisms that should be eliminated from contact with people.

Indeed, wolves should be eliminated from the Lolo zone and from all other zones. Wolf extirpation was an essential factor in establishing healthy, sustainably-harvestable ungulate populations and still is. Wolves are significant threats to rural lifestyles and economic stability and have cost many jobs, the destruction of businesses and millions of dollars to the state and its citizens.

“Wolf Recovery” is a euphemism for the destruction of lifestyle, heritage, custom, culture and economic health in rural Idaho. New laws must be written to protect the rights, property, jobs, businesses, lifestyle and heritage of the people in the face of uncontrolled wolf populations. After such laws are established, the real work will begin, and it will be tough and at times very distasteful work. Efforts to eliminate wolves will be physically hard, done under tough outdoor conditions in all weather and temperatures, costly, and even at times, repulsive. Our forefathers shouldered this responsibility and we must also. As repulsive as this work may sometimes be, we have misinterpretations of the Endangered Species Act and the deviant behavior of radical environmentalists to thank for it. A surgeon’s work is messy, but the healed patient has great gratitude for the doctor’s efforts. So shall the rural people appreciate the efforts of lawmakers and wolf killers in the days to come.

Wolves must be eradicated throughout the state and expanded methods of take must be legalized and utilized by state and Federal agencies and the public to eliminate wolves from the landscape of Idaho. The theobromine/caffeine canid-specific toxicant delivery system should be approved by the USDA immediately and utilized throughout the state to eliminate wolves. It should be provided to stock owners free of charge with costs borne by revenue generated by wolf hunting tag sales, wildlife license plates and donations. Private and government aerial gunning and no-closed season hunting and trapping must be legalized and promoted by Idaho Fish and Game. IFG should seek out and employ experts in wolf trapping and hunting and seminars on wolf destruction should be provided to the public. Identification of wolf dens and the practice of wolf denning should be taught and promoted by Idaho Fish and Game. County and state bounties need to be established to encourage wolf killing throughout the year, especially during denning season when wolf populations can best be reduced.

Many of these operations are indeed distasteful and will be to those who engage in them. The elimination of an epidemic is never easy. The people never asked for this epidemic yet they must rise to the challenge and eradicate it with the support of the Governor, Legislature and local governments.

Boy Scouts, community groups, churches and schools should be provided materials identifying the economic, wildlife management, livestock depredation and disease threats wolves pose. The people must be educated to the facts of wolf behavior and impact on rural people and economy.

For roughly three quarters of a century, since the early 1930’s when wolves were effectively reduced to very low populations, Idaho reaped the benefit of a wolf-free environment. We now see exactly why wolves were removed from the landscape.

For all human history wolves have been despised as destroyers of health and economic welfare. They still are.

As pro-wolf organizations use the picture of the wolf to amass vast fortunes, wallowing in the revenue collected from uneducated, mostly urban donators, the wolf himself is proving to be the only honest member of that pro-wolf camp. No amount of polemic sugarcoating can change the facts of what the wolf does and what the wolf is. He was a wolf. He is a wolf. He always will be a wolf. He will continue to prove to the world why he is universally despised by those with whom he lives. Given a bit more time as the facts of his life-cycle and behavior amass, that proof will one day again be as self-evident as it was to our forefathers and as it is to the informed population now. By that time he will, unfortunately, destroy, infect and threaten with horrific effect.

It is far past the time necessary to solve this great problem. State, Federal and Local Governments must work in concert to change the laws that have caused the introduction of wolves and must now work in concert to change them into laws that protect the rights and serve the interests of the citizens of this state and region.

2 Aug 2010, 2:06pm
Deer, Elk, Bison Jackalopes Wolves
by admin
3 comments

Who Is Stupid?

The following very annoying piece of accusatory idiocy drained into the Internet last week:

When It Comes to Wolves, It’s the Habitat, Stupid

Leaders with the Montana Wildlife Federation argue increasing habitat functionality is the conservative, financially smart way to boost game herds where needed.

By Skip Kowalski and Tim Aldrich, New West, 7-30-10 [here]

We originally set out to write a piece about wolves and how hunters can manage all wildlife, even large carnivores, under the North American Model of Fish and Wildlife Conservation. We quickly realized that this topic has been “rode hard and put away wet” so to speak. What we discovered, through our own reflection, is that there seems to be an important lesson learned and not being adequately applied by those who hunt – the lesson of the importance of habitat. …

Whether it’s noxious weeds, loss of winter habitat due to fragmentation, or the loss of access that helps disperse wildlife across our public lands, it’s the habitat, stupid, as the saying goes. …

Skip Kowalski is chairman of the Wildlife and Wildlife Habitat Committee and Tim Aldrich is president of the Montana Wildlife Federation.

All of which demands a rejoinder.

*****

Dear Skip and Tim

No, it’s predator prey relations, you stupids, not “habitat”.

Population dynamics in animals is governed by predator-prey interactions [here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here].

That is true of elk, deer, sage grouse, spotted owls, you name it.

There is no shortage of habitat. The Feds own 30 percent of the land in the U.S., twice that much in some Western states [here].

In 1995 wolves were introduced into the Lolo Wildlife Management Zones 10 and 12 of the Clearwater River watershed in Idaho [here]. The elk cow count subsequently dropped 90%, and the calf count dropped 94 to 96%. Did 90% of the habitat suddenly disappear? You stupids blame that prey population crash on “habitat”, whereas every other analyst blames the wolves!

Is everybody stupid but you? Or is it the other way around?

In 1994 25 million acres were set-side into No Touch Zones for the Northern Spotted Owl. Since then the NSO population has crashed by 60 percent or more. Looks like your stupid “formula” didn’t work.

Nowhere has the “habitat” formula worked. Setting aside habitat has no effect of wildlife populations. Instead predator-prey relations govern population dynamics. Where predator control has been applied, prey population flourish. Where predators have been uncontrolled, prey populations crash. In every single case.

So-called “fragmentation” is eco-babble garbage, stupids. Animals move around through all kinds of “habitat” including cover habitat, foraging habitat, and “edge”. The same people who decry “fragmentation” swear by the vegetation “mosaic”, yet the mosaic and fragmentation are exactly the same thing. The latest eco-babble desire is to “diversify forest continuity” [here], which is fragmentation by holocaust. If “fragmentation” is such terrible thing, why do you promote it via catastrophic fire?

You stupids are not promoting wildlife conservation, you are promoting environmental destruction.

You stupids are perpetrating a war on the West [here]. You are war-mongers. You seek to drive humanity out of the West, by any means, including through the extirpation of prey populations by uncontrolled predators.

You regurgitate junk science and Big Lies in order to inflict suffering on your fellow human beings and wildlife. Your motivations are repulsive.

We are smart enough to realize that. We have you pegged. We know exactly what you are.

So go easy on the “stupid” remarks. You are not fooling anybody.

Mike

James Swan: the myth of the harmless wolf

James Swan, author of the book “In Defense of Hunting” [here] has written an excellent synopsis of wolf issues with emphasis on the dangers that uncontrolled wolves pose to wildlife and humans.

Selected excerpts:

Recent wolf attacks on humans raise calls for proper management

By James Swan, ESPNOutdoors.com, April 24, 2023 [here]

On March 9, 2010, Candice Berner, a 32 year-old special education teacher working in Chignik Lake, Alaska, went jogging at dusk on a road near town and was attacked and killed by wolves.

On October 28, 2009, Canadian folk singer Taylor Mitchell was hiking in a Provincial Park in Nova Scotia when she was attacked and killed by two coyotes, which were subsequently identified by park rangers as a wolf-coyote hybrid.

In November of 2005, college student Kenton Carnegie was hiking on a road near Points North Landing in northern Saskatchewan when he was attacked and killed by wolves. There was some dispute over whether Carnegie was killed by wolves or a bear, but a provincial inquest found that wolves were responsible.

The attacking wolves in these three incidents were not rabid.

Because more than 90 percent of the population lives in urban areas and relies heavily on electronic screens to get information, most people today form opinions based on books, films and what people say.

For decades we have been told and taught that wolves have never attacked people in North America. The Internet Movie Database lists over 150 film and TV titles with the words “wolf” or “wolves.” There was only one found about wolf attacks: “The Man-Eating Wolves of Gysinge” (2005), a TV drama based on the true story of a wolf that terrorized a rural Swedish community and kills 10 children.

PHOTO GALLERY [here]

http://sports.espn.go.com/outdoors/hunting/photogallery?id=5131655

We’ve also been told that children’s fairy tales about the “Big Bad Wolf” were created to keep children home at night, and do not paint a realistic portrait of wolves.

Some light on wolf-human encounters was shed in 2002 when Alaskan wildlife biologist Mark McNay published a report of a two-year study documenting 80 aggressive encounters between wolves and people in North America in the 20th century.

In only 12 of the attacks were the wolves rabid. Since McNay’s report came out there have been three fatal attacks by healthy wolves, and an unknown number of non-fatal aggressive encounters and attacks on people and their pets in the U.S. and Canada. So what’s up?

“In Wolves In Russia,” Will Graves reports on a long history of wolf attacks on people in Eurasia, especially Russia, Pakistan, India and Kazakhastan, including thousands of fatal ones. …

Not nearly as many people in Eurasia are armed. As Graves points out, in Russia the populace was kept unarmed to prevent revolutions and reports of wolf killings were also suppressed to keep people from demanding to be armed. Our perspective on wolves is based on our experience, which is different from people abroad. All three peopled recently killed by wolves were unarmed. …

There are at least 6,000 wolves in the Northern Rockies and Northern Great Lakes states, 40,000 to 50,000 wolves in Canada and 7,700 to 11,200 in Alaska — 65,000-70,000 wolves for all of North America.

Wolves live in wild places, where there are few people, at least until recently. In recent years, especially since Canadian wolves were released into the Northern Rockies in 1995, the North American wolf population has doubled. Elk and deer herds have been dramatically reduced in some areas.

In 1995, when wolves were first re-introduced to the Northern Rockies, there were 19,000 elk in the Northern Yellowstone herd. By 2008, the herd was reduced to 6,000. Current estimates place the herd at less than 5,000. The moose herd in that area has dropped below 1,000.

Similarly, in 1994 there were 9,729 elk in District 10 of the Lolo Basin in Idaho, and 3,832 in District 12. By 2010, the elk herd in District 10 had plummeted to 1,473, and in District 12 in 2010 there were 705.

Such dramatic declines have moved the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to move from a position of what RMEF President David Allen describes was “sitting on the fence about wolves,” to its present stance, which favors “managing wolves like other predators, because their population numbers have soared way over the benchmark goals of the re-introduction as elk herds have declined by 80 percent or more in certain areas of the Northern Rockies.”

A recent study by Mark Collinge of the USDA APHIS Wildlife Services office in Boise, Idaho, finds “that individual wolves are much more likely to prey on livestock than are individuals of any other predator species in Idaho.”

As wild prey declines, wolves will look for food elsewhere. Noted Canadian wildlife biologist Dr. Valerius Geist finds that wolves (and coyotes, too) constantly test boundaries as they look for their next meal.

When normal prey is scarce, and they aren’t challenged by people, both wild canids progressively move closer and closer — preying on livestock, pets, garbage, etc. until they experiment with humans as food. “Habituation,” it’s called. It spells “trouble.” …

Wolves enjoy killing. It’s well-documented that on occasion they will run amok among herds of livestock, deer and elk, killing as many as they can, not eating their prey.

David Allen of RMEF, Don Peay of Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife and Steve Alder from Idaho for Wildlife, all cite numerous examples of wolves attacking and killing large numbers of elk and livestock and not touching the carcasses as food. All three organizational leaders add that the elk killed by wolves are not just the sick, lame or aging, but very often healthy elk, especially calves and yearlings. …

Since wolves were introduced into the Northern Rockies in 1995, more than 1,000 have been killed by animal control. ….

David Mech recently has said that regulated hunting of wolves is not a threat to the species survival. Wolves no know political boundaries. They are here to stay.

Wolves are smart, prolific, and adapt quickly. Mech says that so long as there is adequate food and habitat it’s necessary to kill off between 28 and 53 percent in an area just to keep that wolf population stable. In 2009, hunters killed 22 percent of the wolves in Idaho and 14 percent of the wolves in Montana.

Cal Grown, Director of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, says that declining elk populations in the state could lead to more liberal wolf hunting seasons in 2010. This will cause some people to howl, but will it threaten the survival of wolves?

“If the animal rights folks were truly just concerned about wildlife diversity they would leave the sportsmen and the states alone to manage the wildlife, including wolves. The U.S. has had the most successful wildlife model in the world for a century and it is due in large part to the American sportsmen. But I don’t believe that wildlife diversity is really their agenda or end goal; anti-hunting is their agenda,” says David Allen.

There are efforts afoot to return wolves in the Northern Rockies to the Endangered Species list. If you would like to voice your support to continue delisting wolves, a new website has been established, www.biggameforever.org, that will have an online petition. The goal is getting 100,000 signatures. … [more]

3 Apr 2010, 12:30pm
Deer, Elk, Bison Wildlife Agencies Wolves
by admin
1 comment

Colorado Now Being Invaded By A Foreign Enemy!

News Release, LOBO WATCH, March 14, 2010  [here]

The state of Colorado is now under siege. That’s right, the Centennial State is now being invaded  by a foreign enemy that could destroy the state’s rural economy, and devastate native wildlife resources. Likewise, the residents of the state are most likely to be exposed to deadly parasites. And, aiding this destructive force is our very own U.S. Government, under the disguise of adhering to the Endangered Species Act.

While all of this kind of sounds like a science fiction novel gone bad, it’s true, and it’s happening right now. As much as this all may read like the plot for another doomsday blockbuster, such as “2012″ or “Independence Day”, when this one is written and produced, the demon will be the wolf. Not werewolves mind you, but the real thing, the gray wolf - Canis lupus.

Will Colorado officials allow the state to  become another willing victim, such as state officials did in Montana and Idaho, or will they fight the spread of what is truthfully an invasive species?

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2 Apr 2010, 12:24am
Deer, Elk, Bison Wildlife Agencies Wolves
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Wolf Hunt Accounting

A curious headline accompanied an article on the recently finished first-ever Idaho wolf hunt:

Successful wolf hunt may not be profitable

By Brad Iverson-Long, IdahoReporter.com, April 1st, 2010 [here]

Idaho’s first sanctioned wolf hunt ended March 31. Despite all the notoriety surrounding Idaho’s wolf hunt, it may not be a moneymaker for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG), according to a department spokesman. Ed Mitchell said it’s debatable whether the hunt that led to 186 hunters killing wolves paid for itself. More than 31,000 hunters bought tags to hunt wolves, which sold for $11.50 to Idaho residents and $186 to out-of-state hunters.

“We need that tag money for our wolf and other big game programs,” Mitchell told IdahoReporter.com. He said the cost of wolf management programs, including tracking and tagging wolves, and the loss of revenues on elk hunting tags due to elk being killed by wolves has offset the more than $400,000 raised from wolf tag sales. Mitchell said elk herds in several areas of the state have been declining, including the Lolo zone. “The Lolo’s been studied so thoroughly,” he said, adding that other areas, like the Selway zone, may also have had large depredation. “We just have more complete science on the Lolo.” Both the Lolo and Selway zones are located along the Montana-Idaho border.

How is $400K in wolf tag sales not profitable?

Mr. Mitchell offered up the word “debatable”. I accept the challenge.

The cost of wolf management is not an “offset” of the hunt. Wolf management is a burden accepted by the State, in effect forced on them (extortion is the appropriate word) by the Feds. The wolf management costs must be borne whether there is a wolf hunt or not. The tag sales offset the management costs, not the other way around.

The loss in elk tag revenues due to the wolves radically reducing the elk population is also not an offset of the wolf hunt. Again, it’s the other way around. The wolf hunt is a method to save the elk, so more elk tags might be sold, if there are any elk left.

The decline in elk tag revenues is another burden borne by the State courtesy the Feds. That burden is a cost to the State that has nothing to do with the wolf hunt. The wolf hunt might reduce that burden, if the State can sell more elk tags. In other words, the wolf hunt is a potential benefit to the State, over and above the $400K in wolf hunt tags.

The IR article continues:

Wolves that kill livestock can also harm ranchers’ bottom line. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently announced that Idaho will get a $140,000 grant to pay back livestock producers in cases of depredation. U.S. Sen. Jim Risch said in a news release that ranchers need this support. “Over the past year, I have heard repeatedly from ranchers who have been pushed to the brink of going out of business as a result of wolf predation,” Risch said. “This funding will help provide the resources to prevent future conflicts and provide compensation for losses. Idaho needs to continue active and aggressive management of the wolf population, just as it has successfully done with cats and bears over the last century.”

The wolf hunt will hopefully reduce livestock losses. That’s another benefit (opposite of a cost). The USFWS grants would not be required if there were no wolves, so technically killing all the wolves would eliminate the need for the grants. That would be an opportunity cost to the State, technically. But the economic effect of livestock loss is much greater than the USFWS reimburses for, so even considering the grant income, depredation is a net cost to the State. Reducing the livestock depredation is a net savings, even if as a result the grants are not necessary and not forthcoming. Hence reducing the number of livestock killed by wolves is another economic benefit of the wolf hunt.

As is well-known, the economic gain from any hunting program is vastly more than tag sales. Hunters buy equipment, rent motel rooms, and spend money like any tourist or recreationalist. The economic boost from hunting benefits businesses, causing them to hire more employees, and everybody pays more taxes on their enhanced incomes. Hence the State benefited from increased sales and income taxes.

All the wolves were not killed. In fact, the wolf population is expected to increase despite the hunt and removals of livestock depredating wolves. It is probable that elk populations will continue to decline. Hence it is difficult to accurately appraise many of the gains mentioned above. As I explained, they are not all gains per se, but reductions in costs, and possibly not much in the way of reductions either.

However, without the wolf hunt the costs probably would be even greater. The wolf hunt potentially provided a savings in costs as well as a boost in revenues. Both are economic benefits.

The State is not a private business. It is not the mission of State government to make a profit. It is their mission to provide services at a reasonable, affordable cost (that ought to be their mission at any rate). Hence the headline claim that the wolf hunt was not profitable is slightly off-kilter. A better headline would have been Wolf Hunt Enhances Economy, State Government Revenues and Reduces Costs to Taxpayers.

The wolf hunt was, in fact, a money maker. Maybe not as much as most citizens would like, but definitely an economic positive rather than a negative.

11 Mar 2010, 11:06am
Deer, Elk, Bison Wildlife Agencies Wolves
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Panel Roundtable: Canadian Gray Wolf Introduction into Yellowstone

by Tom Remington, Blackbear Blog, March 10, 2023 [here]

Following is no doubt the most candid discussion you will find anywhere in North America today about predators and their diseases. The discussion surrounds the introduction of the gray wolf to the Greater Yellowstone area and the impact this has had on not only the ecosystem but economically, socially and in the lives of private ranchers and citizens. This discussion not only covers the politics behind the introduction and the ongoing politics but also covers the diseases carried and transmitted by the wolf and the lack of comprehensive research to fully study the environmental, social and economic impacts to this region of the country. This discussion no doubt covers this topic to depths most Americans have never had the opportunity to experience and it is done by some of this continent’s most renowned scientists and researchers. This is a bit lengthy but is very much worth the time it takes to read it thoroughly. — Tom Remington

Republished by permission

Economic and physical dangers to Rural Americans and other unintended consequences

By Kelly Wood, All American Patriot, March 2010

There are significant economic, health and safety ramifications of the Gray Wolf Introduction Program in Yellowstone Park that have manifested themselves in the Western States along the Rocky Mountain Front. A distinguished panel joins The All American Patriot to discuss these critical issues. The guests assembled for this roundtable are:

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27 Feb 2010, 12:09pm
Deer, Elk, Bison Wildlife Agencies Wolves
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Lolo Elk Decline

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game has released the aerial elk counts for the Lolo Wildlife Management Zones 10 and 12 in the Clearwater River watershed in Idaho. The counts along with counts of prior years are graphed below:

Lolo Zone 10 aerial elk counts 1989-2010.

Lolo Zone 12 aerial elk counts 1989-2010.

Discussion

All aerial elk counts were made in January or February, although not in every year. The data I received did not include any estimates of the uncertainty (statistical error) associated with the counting method.

Total count and counts of cows and calves by year are displayed. The count of cows is particularly important. This is because in ungulates the number of cows, that is the number of females capable of bearing young, are critical to population dynamics. One bull can impregnate many cows, so the number of bulls can vary greatly and not affect the birth rate or population change trends. That is not true for cows, which can bear only one or two calves (twins are rare) per year. On average most cows will have their first calf at 3 years of age. The gestation for elk cows is 250 days, which means calves are generally born in May and June. Calves counted in winter are those which have survived for six to nine months.

Also included in the graphs are linear trend lines for the cow count. In Zone 10 the number of cows has declined from 7,692 in 1989 to 824 in 2010, or 89 percent. In Zone 12 the number of cows has declined from 3,059 in 1986 to 534 in 2010, or 83 percent.

In Zone 10 the number of calves has declined from 2,298 in 1989 to 144 in 2010, or 94 percent. In Zone 12 the number of calves has declined from 856 in 1985 to 38 in 2010, or 96 percent.

Clearly, the elk populations have crashed in these zones.

The reason is not a lack of fecundity: calf/cow ratios have varied from 6 per 100 to 30 per 100 and were reported to be 17 per 100 in Zone 10 and 7 per 100 in Zone 12 in 2010. A calf/cow ratio of 15-20 per 100 is considered to be sufficient to replace the population under normal circumstances, and no trend in calf/cow ratio was detected over the counting period. As recently as 2006 the calf/cow ratios were 29 per 100 in Zone 10 and 20 per 100 in Zone 12.

The reason for the elk population crash is not hunting. All the animals taken are bulls, and that does not affect population dynamics as explained above. Furthermore, Lolo zone elk harvest has also decline precipitously, from over 1,500 in 1989 to less than 150 in 2008 in Zone 10 and from nearly 600 in 1992 to less than 100 in 2008 in Zone 12. I do not have the exact harvest numbers at this time.

The principal reason for the crashing elk populations is undoubtedly the introduction of wolves in 1995, and the subsequent explosion of the wolf population.

Wildlife and People has reported on the wolf problem in the Lolo Wildlife Management zones many times [here, here, here, here, here]. These are just the posts that mention wolves in the Lolo zones. The posts regarding wolves and elk in the Northern Rockies are too numerous to list.

Upcoming IDFG Meetings

The IDFG is holding public meetings next week from 5 to 7 p.m. at the IDFG Clearwater Regional Office in Lewiston on Tuesday and at the Clearwater Hatchery in Orofino on Wednesday. I invite you to print out the graphs above and present them, and ask the IDFG experts why they think the Lolo elk populations have crashed.

9 Feb 2010, 3:11pm
Deer, Elk, Bison Wildlife Agencies Wolves
by admin
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Negligent or Naive About Wolves?

by Kelton Larson

Read the article below where Commissioner Randy Budge comes clean on what has really happened to our big game populations in Idaho.

Although the reality is not pleasant, it is certainly positive that the commission is coming clean by telling us the facts about Idaho big game populations. Hopefully this will bring positive changes for Idaho’s wildlife and sportsmen.

The real question is: why did the IDFG and Commission sit back and let our let our big game populations crash? Why wasn’t the 10j Rule used 5 to 7 years ago?

The 10j Rule was the rule that was used to introduce the Nonessential Experimental Population of wolves into central Idaho and YNP in January of 1995. It was rewritten in 2005 to allow Montana — and subsequently Idaho after the MOU was signed by Kempthorne in Jan 2006 — to allow both states to kill wolves that were having an unacceptable impact on ungulate populations. Although IDFG described it as “having to jump through a bunch of hoops,” IDFG only had to document a 25% decline in an ungulate population in five years and get a peer review of their wolf kill plan to be able to remove the wolves.

Instead the IDFG implemented the cow/calf collaring study that initially reported wrong numbers and failed to report the actual elk population decline. But even after the losses became evident in the Lolo and Sawtooth Zones, and Dr. Geist and other experts reviewed the IDFG plan, IDFG still has not controlled very many wolves to date.

I remember when Governor Kempthorne signed the 10j rule. We were all excited that IDFG could start controlling wolves. There is no excuse for what has happened to our big game populations. The IDFG and the commission have had their hands in their pockets for a long time. The IDFG and the Commission and many legislators have bought into this delisting myth. As Commissioner Budge points out in the article below, the 200 wolf hunt quota will not be enough to halt elk population decline.

The bottom line is the whole introduction of wolves has been a disaster for Idaho. The impact will be felt for many years to come. Outfitters have been put out of business. Revenue to Idaho’s economy and small business’s has been greatly reduced. Wolves have been a plague on Idaho’s ranchers and farmers. Now we find out that these wolves were probably introduced with diseases. And of course the IDFG will probably want residents to pick up the bill for nonresident hunters not coming to Idaho anymore.

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New Revelations About Reintroduced Wolves

By George Dovel, The Outdoorsman, Bulletin 34, April-June 2009

Full text [here]

Selected excerpts:

In the early 1980s the 197-page unpublished research report, “Wolves of Central Idaho,” surfaced. In it, co-authors Timm Kaminski and Jerome Hansen estimated that elk and deer populations in six of the nine national forests in the proposed Central Idaho Wolf Recovery Area could support a total of 219 wolves without decreasing existing deer and elk populations in those forests.

They based this on an estimated 16.6 deer or elk killed by each wolf annually, and on estimated increases in elk and/or deer populations from 1981-1985 in the two-thirds of forests where they had increased.

But even if their estimated prey numbers and calculations were accurate, their report said only 17 wolves could be maintained in the Salmon National Forest, five in the Challis NF, and none in the Panhandle, Sawtooth and Bitterroot Forests. Yet the obvious question of what to do when the number of wolves in any National Forest or game management unit exceeded the ability of the prey base to support them was not adequately addressed.

Relocating “Problem” Wolves in Idaho Wilderness

Although there were increased reports of sightings of single wolves or pairs in Idaho during the late 1970s and early 80s and credible reports of at least two wolf packs with pups, no confirmed wolf depredation on livestock had been recorded for nearly half a century. Realizing that livestock killing would occur as wolf numbers increased, Kaminski and Hansen recommended relocating livestock-killing wolves into the central Idaho wilderness areas.

That was written more than 25 years ago …

[Tweny-five years later] Tribal, FWS and State biologists [have] all ignored wolf expert David Mech’s warning that relocating wolves that killed livestock did not stop their killing livestock. Transplanting even more wolves into areas like the Selway and Lolo Zones, with inadequate elk calf survival to support any wolves, guaranteed an accelerated decline in the elk population and the exploitation of alternate prey.

At a Predator-Prey Symposium in Boise, Idaho on Jan. 8, 1999, the featured speaker – North America’s top wild ungulate authority Dr. Valerius Geist – spent two hours explaining to federal, state and university wildlife biologists why wolf populations must be carefully controlled to maintain a healthy population of their prey species. Idaho biologists and members of the Idaho Wolf Oversight Committee appeared to listen carefully – but later invented excuses not to follow his expert advice. …

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2 Jun 2009, 11:01am
Bears Homo sapiens
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Grizzly Bait and Switch Proposed

by RRS

Just some thoughts I wanted to pass along on a story I saw in a local paper. Evidently the USFS is looking for excuses to shut people out of our public forests. The latest game: lock out the public to allegedly save a growing population of not-really-endangered grizzly bears.

Here’s the article:

by Becky Kramer, Spokesman Review, May 5, 2023 [here]

Protecting grizzly bears across a 4,560-square-mile swath of the Selkirk and Cabinet mountains will require closing hundreds of miles of backcountry roads used by hunters and huckleberry pickers, the Forest Service says.

Grizzlies need secure areas to avoid contact with people, according to a new agency report. Despite 2-inch claws and a fierce reputation – the grizzly’s Latin name is Ursus arctos horribilis, or “horrible northern bear” – bears are typically the losers during encounters with humans.

Since 1982, people have killed 87 grizzlies in two grizzly bear recovery zones in the Selkirk and Cabinet-Yaak mountains of northeastern Washington, Idaho and Western Montana.

Seventy percent of the human-caused deaths occurred near roads. Poaching and mistaking a grizzly for a black bear were two frequent reasons grizzlies were shot and killed on Forest Service lands. Self-defense by hunters was also a factor, particularly during elk season.

“Grizzly bears kill relatively few people, yet every year, we hear about grizzly deaths in the Northern Rockies,” said Mike Petersen, executive director of the Spokane-based Lands Council. “These bear mortalities are taking place near roads.” …

My thoughts: I would like to see some numbers to go with these broad statements. How many bears were poached? Hit by vehicles? Killed in self defense? Mistaken by hunters? How are roads evil?  If 87 bears were killed in the last 26 years that would be about 3.3 bears per year.

How many people have been killed by grizzly bears in the last 26 years? What’s the score? Who’s ahead?

The article continues:

Over the past decade, environmental groups brought a series of lawsuits against the Forest Service, arguing that the agency needed to do more to keep people and bears apart by restricting motorized access to prime habitat areas. The litigation triggered forest plan revisions in the Idaho Panhandle, Kootenai and Lolo national forests.

The plan is out in draft form. Public comments will be accepted through June 22.

Closing roads to protect habitat is controversial, particularly when it halts people’s ability to drive or ride an ATV to well-established huckleberry picking sites or hunting areas, said Karl Dekome, the Forest Service’s team leader. An earlier draft attracted more than 300 public comments.

“People have their favorite places out there that they like to use,” he said. “When you’re talking about closing that off, it can become emotional.” …

My thoughts: I can see how the comments will go. A few locals will get fired up and write letters attempting to protect their rights with perfectly logical and sound reasons. The common sense letters will be drowned out by the mass of identical “letters” from well funded organizations that promote a dehumanized wilderness concept backed by people that have no concept of what is beyond their steel and concrete world.

More from the article:

The Forest Service reviewed two alternatives. Grizzlies would benefit most from barricading up to 1,800 miles of Forest Service roads; erecting gates on up to another 490 miles of roads; and eliminating motorized use on 57 miles of trails, according to the agency.

Forest Service officials, however, prefer a less restrictive plan that gates or barricades about 325 miles of road, while reopening other roads for motorized travel. About 30 miles of trail would close to motorized use. “It tries to strike a balance, providing sufficient habitat recovery for grizzly bears, but recognizing there are other issues and needs,” Dekome said. …

My thoughts: This is how the FS now operates. They come up with an outrageous plan, then an alternative that isn’t quite as restrictive so they can look good by “compromising”. What they are really doing is depriving people of their rights and forcing illegally conceived de facto wilderness upon the people.

More from the article:

Recreational activities would be hard-hit under the more restrictive plan, he said. Driving access to more than 22 developed recreation sites would be eliminated. The day-use area at Roman Nose, a 7,221-foot peak in Boundary County, is on the list. So are six campgrounds, three boat ramps and three picnic areas in the Kootenai National Forest.

Some hiking trails would effectively double in length. Snowmobile trails would be affected, because trail maintenance would be restricted during the summer months, Dekome said.

The ability to drive to the Lunch Peak lookout rental near Sandpoint is curtailed under both alternatives. But recreational impacts are much less severe in the Forest Service’s preferred plan, Dekome said.

The Alliance for the Wild Rockies, one of the groups that sued the Forest Service, questions whether the agency’s preferred alternative is scientifically sound. Opening roads for timber sales would be allowed, said Liz Sedler, who works for the alliance in Sandpoint. She also said the grizzlies need bigger, undisturbed areas than the preferred alternative creates. …

My thoughts: The mentality of locking it up and letting it burn is more detrimental to habitat than trying manage for a healthy forest. Locking out We the People is against our rights, and heavily discriminates against the poor and elderly. Its very selfish of these organizations to “save the wilderness” so they can be occasionally visited by the wealthy and fit.

22 Jan 2009, 1:43pm
Wolves
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Clearwater Wolves To Be Controlled?

In the latest twist to the Rocky Mountain wolf saga, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) has announced their intention to request wolf control authority from the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), specifically for the culling of wolves in the Clearwater River watershed.

Clearwater elk herds have been particularly hard hit by the burgeoning Idaho wolf population [here, here, here, here, here].

There are some legal/political clouds hanging over the request, however. The State of Idaho is not necessarily required to ask permission from the Federal government to control wolves. States have 10th amendment rights (and the obligation) to safeguard their own interests and those of their citizens. The USFWS has been on-again-off-again regarding the ESA status of Rocky Mountain wolves [here, here, here, here, here, and here among many other posts] which all parties agree are no longer in danger of going extinct, if in fact they ever were, which is hugely doubtful.

Idaho has an official approved wolf recovery plan (2002), and an unofficial unapproved one (2008), the latter currently a point of some contention [here, here]. And the IDFG has been playing games with their budget [here].

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