Look who’s stalking: a new cougar killer. Another cub is killed. Was it the usual suspect or a newcomer?

An interesting, lengthy cougar story from the Santa Monica Mountains near L.A. appeared the other day in the LA Times (By Amanda Covarrubias)

Wild Bill: The greatest hunting controversy of them all [wolf hunting]

At New West, Bill Schneider wrote an interesting column on the likihood of wolf hunting in the future in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming.

There have been a lot of thoughtful responses, especially from Robert Hoskins, who is a regular poster here.

 The Greatest Hunting Controversy of Them All. New West by Bill Schneider.

Cody wary of pass closure [to snowmobiles in the winter]

It’s no surprise that some merchants in Cody are opposed to the Park’s Service’ proposal to close the East Entrance to Yellowstone (and Sylvan Pass) to snowmobiles in the winter, but what is most interesting in the article below is the information that avalanche control alone near Sylvan Pass has amounted to a subsidy of $200 per snowmobile on the average.

In addition, only about 12 people a day take this route, hardly a number that will impact Cody.

Read Cody wary of pass closure in the Jackson Hole Daily by Cory Hatch.

Posted in public lands, public lands management. Comments Off on Cody wary of pass closure [to snowmobiles in the winter]

Nature programs’ goal: No child left inside

There was a story in the LA Times today by Julie Cart (no link, it’s a link unfriendly newspaper) that visits to national parks are dropping and there seems to be a general ignorance of actual outdoors by today’s children due to lack of experience.

Here is a story on at least a beginning at changing that.

Nature programs’ goal: No child left inside. USA Today. By Wendy Koch,

Idaho’s federal district court judge stops more heli-ski use of the Palisades Wilderness Study area

U.S. District Court Judge Lynn Winmill has overturned a 2005 Forest Service decision that granted High Mountain Heli-Skiing vastly increased use of Palisades roadless area in the Snake River Range. The 1984 Wyoming Wilderness stated that the wilderness characteristics of this area, which is on the Idaho/Wyoming border were to be protected. Winmill, chief judge of the Idaho federal district, concluded that this meant that motorized use in the area was not to increase, a point conservationists have long argued for the Palisades and other areas protected by the “wilderness study area” category by Congress.

Story in the Jackson Hole News. By Corey Hatch.

My page on the Palisades backcountry.

In the upper reaches of the South Fork of Indian Creek. Palisades wilderness study area, Bridger-Teton National Forest, Wyoming. Photo copyright Ralph Maughan

WyDOT, others try new ways to reduce roadkill

Teton County and other NW Wyoming areas have a tremendous problem with vehicles hitting wildlife and even vice versa, and a lot of it is larger than deer. The article below says “256 elk, moose and mule deer have been killed on roads. In addition, nine bison and one black bear were killed by cars.”

New measures are being tried such as lighted warning bulletins on the roadside and sensing devicies. One problem with the latter is false positives–a warning when no wildlife are at the roadside.

Article by Whitney Royster in the Casper Star Tribune.

Idaho Bow Hunter Has Close Call with Wolf Pack [very doubtful as described]

Channel 2 news in Boise, which seems to be staking out as a leader in reporting doubtful wolf stories, now has a news story about an Idaho bow hunter who claims wolves followed him and surrounded his tent for “14 to 15 hours” in a central Idaho location.

Idaho Bow Hunter Has Close Call with Wolf Pack. KCBI. Boise. They have a video on-line of the news. The tone of the reporter is one of sensationalization.

I learned of this about a week ago. It seemed odd, but perhaps some details would flesh out an interesting story because hunters have run into a lot of wolves in central Idaho.

I posted to the bowhunters board to get some details, but Richard Besendorfer, the hunter in question, refused. I thought he could certainly provide a lot more information than. . . “I spent the next 14 to 15 hours in my small mountaineering tent unable to draw my bow as I was circled by the wolves the entire night. There were 7 wolves as close as 3 feet at times and all I could do is wait them out, banging on the wall of the tent in a feabile [sic] attempt to keep them at bay.”

His fellow webboarders didn’t like seeing him questioned and repeatedly testified that he was a truthful and fine fellow and he ought not to be questioned.

I think he probably had a wolf encounter, but could not really provide credible details about what may have been an exaggeration.

I suggested that such aggressive wolf behavior, if it happened, was intolerable, and that he was not just allowed, but had a duty to shoot one of the wolves with his bow and arrow. He said that they were too close.

From the news story, especially listening to it, my judgment is that Idaho’s large carnivore manger, Steve Nadeau, didn’t buy the story. Instead Nadeau gave a general run down on Idaho wolves and hunters seeing them.

The story also predicted wolves would soon show up in the Boise foothills, which is a pretty good prediction because it already happened and some time ago. That’s the nice thing about covering this issue for eleven years now, I can remember wolf news from back when the reporter was a pre-teen.

I think folks should carry pepper spray, as they do for other dangerous wildife. It will give them peace of mind.