Friday, July 1, 2011

At The Heart Of The Northern Rockies Wolf Problem Is USFWS & State Wildlife Agencies

Following is some correspondence I received from one of our state senators here in Montana. That senator had requested some info on how neighboring Idaho would attempt to get a handle on an out of control wolf population, and this is what was sent.

"I was finally able to speak with Idaho Fish and Game today about their current wolf management efforts. Here's what they've been doing under the most recent delisting:

1) Ungulate protection: use of control activities in the Lolo game management unit. This includes:

a) aerial control -- which was used for less than a month after delisting in the Lolo unit due to the weather and a change in wolf movement. The wolves moved into the timber, making aerial control unfeasible. 5 or 6 wolves were killed in the effort, but that's far less than the goal, which sounds like it was 20-30 wolves.

b) authorization for licensed outfitters to shoot wolves on site in the Lolo game unit during the spring black bear season which runs through June 30. None is believed to have been taken this way yet.

2) Hunting: the Idaho Commission is expected to adopt its hunting proposal in July. The details of the proposal are expected to be released in the next week or so for review. The commission is expected to be more agressive than the 2009 hunt, authorizing trapping as well as rifle and perhaps use of more liberal quotas and issuance of multiple tags to individual hunters.

3) Designation of sheriff's officers as special agents in Idaho County, specifically in the Elk City area. Elk City apparently has traditionally had elk within its boundaries and the wolves have followed the elk in. The agreement between the county and Idaho Fish and Game delineates the circumstances under which sheriff's officers may shoot wolves. Apparently, the first wolf was just taken in the city limits.

The person I spoke with promised to send me some written materials related to Idaho's efforts via email next week. I'll be happy to forward them to you if you like.

Please let me know if I can be of further assistance."

One concern this elected official has centers on the liklihood that Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks will, once again, adopt a quota that will accomplish nothing in the way of controlling wolf numbers...or the damage wolves deal the state's wildlife resources and the ranching community. Following is some of what I sent back...

"The biggest obstacle we face here in Montana is the false image of just 566 wolves in this state.

I have personally now seen 16 wolves in the state over the course of the past 12 months. If one person can physically see that many wolves while travelling a state the size of Montana...there are a heck of a lot more wolves here than the "at least" number that Fish, Wildlife and Parks is now touting.

If we use the math that wolf biologist Dr. L. David Mech used in his 2008 delisting declaration, Montana now surely has "at least" 1,500 to 1,600 wolves (possibly as many as 2,000). If FWP sticks with their 566 population count, and fills a quota of 220...that means there will still be 1,280 to 1,380 wolves in this state.

And with the birthing of pups next spring, at a 25% reproduction increase, the number of wolves will jump right back to anywhere from 1,536 to 1,656 wolves - more than the number we truly have now.

The wolves we already have here are already decimating game populations, and putting an ever bigger dent into livestock production. Still, FWP is hell bent to insure that with each new year, we will have more wolves than the year before. And that will mean still greater depredation losses."

This morning, the senator sent a link to an article in today's Idaho Statesman newspaper, headlined "Idaho To Offer Looser Wolf Hunt Rules As Tag Sales Lag". The only comment made was... "The gap between Idaho and Montana management just grows and grows!"

To which LOBO WATCH responded...

"Here is how the majority of sportsmen now see this issue. USFWS and state wildlife agencies (MT FWP and IDFG) have created the problem, this bona fide wildlife disaster, by "managing" wolves to insure that their numbers rapidly increases year after year. And now that this not-so-grand experiment has gone terribly wrong, with excessive wildlife resources lost and growing livestock depredation, these agencies now expect the sportsmen to step up to the plate and save wildlife in this country once again. The real fallacy of all this, at this point, has been any talks of quotas...and selling "wolf hunting permits".

Those agencies created the problem, now they want sportsmen to pay to fix the problem they created. And that is pure hogwash.

MT FWP's extremely low "at least" wolf number is part of the junk science that plagues this failed project. What FWP needs to do this year, is to allow any hunter with any valid hunting license/permit to shoot a wolf (or wolves)...and to keep a count of the number killed...those wolves need to be checked in. No "wolf" "wolf" "wolf" season. When, say 400 wolves are killed, then close down the hunt, and then make an all out honest effort (through the winter) to get a feel for how many wolves are still here. Rest assured, there will still be far more wolves than what was culled.

Over the weekend, I will be putting together a July LOBO WATCH news/editorial release that looks at the junk science behind the Northern Rockies Wolf Recovery Plan, and in the crosshairs will be state wildlife biologists and wildlife managers, the greenie academic type professors now teaching wildlife ecology (and their new agenda), the lack of technology and manpower to adequately research and account for wolf numbers and the damages caused by wolves, and how the radical environmental groups are now buying off "scientists" (and probably a few politicians, wildlife department heads, educators, etc.) for them to support their environment/wildlife cause or agenda.

Hope you don't mind, but I want to share this with a few others...some of which I do believe have been enticed (or ordered) to outright lie to or misslead the public when it comes to wolf numbers, wolf impact, what it will take to get a handle on this problem, and other threats and dangers of allowing wolves to spread basically unchecked across a settled land (i.e. - physical harm and the more than 30 infectious diseases wolves carry and spread)."

What are your thoughts?

Toby Bridges

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