Year of the wolf: 2007 could be decisive year in long-running debate

Year of the wolf: 2007 could be decisive year in long-running debate.” By Whitney Royster. Casper Star-Tribune environmental reporter.

It should be noted that Turnell, much quoted in the article, does not own the Pitchfork Ranch. He is the ranch manager. I understand the owners are out-of-state. The Pitchfork Ranch is not a typical ranch, but a very large and rich ranch that made its money off of oil. The ranch has wildlife all over it, and keeping wolves in the adjacent mountains is like keeping ants from crossing a line you draw on piece of paper.

There has been a big increase in wolves in the area in recent years, probably due to an overabundance of deer. This is a likely corridor for the introduction of chronic wasting disease into the Greater Yellowstone, and by killing weak deer, the wolves may be the only ones in  Wyoming doing anything on-the-ground to stop the dread disease.

Gillet trying again to get wolf removal initiative on Idaho ballot.

New effort to banish wolves from Idaho/ Sponsor of thwarted initiative to try again. By John Miller. AP

Anti-wolf activist Ron Gillet of Stanley, Idaho is going to try again to get enough signatures to put an anti-wolf initiative on the Idaho ballot. According to John Miller’s article, the proposed ballot initiative calls for the state to end all wolf recovery efforts and to remove “all wolves reintroduced into Idaho from Canada to the extent allowed by law.”

If passed, it would violate the Endangered Species Act, and wolf management would pass back to the federal government.

Gillet’s last attempt failed miserably due to lack of valid signatures. He has more time for this effort.

My view is that getting this on the ballot may be a good idea because Idahoans are never given a chance to show how they really feel about wolves. The politicians won’t let them. I think it would be defeated handily, and if not, the wolf would be relisted and the threat of a massive state run, helicopter-based, wolf population slaughter would end.

Biologist: Bison hurt National Elk Refuge at Jackson, WY

Doug Brimeyer, wildlife biologist for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department in Jackson, said there are “way too many” bison, and hunters can’t help thin the herd significantly.

This is from the Casper Star Tribune. Story by Whitney Royster.

There is a bison hunt every year on the Bridger-Teton National Forest, adjacent to Grand Teton National Park and the National Elk Refuge. However, few bison wander onto the forest. About 30 to 60 bison are killed in the hunt, but the Jackson Hole herd grows by about 150 each year. The size of the herd is approaching 1200.

Unlike the Yellowstone Park bison, the Jackson Hole bison herd is not limited in size by its winter range because they dine all winter on the National Elk Refuge. Also unlike the Yellowstone bison which are persecuted by the state of Montana because a small percentage are actively infected with brucellosis, almost all the bison at the National Elk Refuge are have been infected and many are infectious.

I think a bison reduction is needed in the Jackson Hole area, and preferably by hunting, not another damn helicopter gunship slaughter. If the numbers are not reduced, the bison will eventually be limited by the amount of summer range, a “solution” very damaging to the Grand Teton National Park and its other wildlife.

Idaho’s White Clouds Wilderness Debate to Air on PBS Friday

People are already debating it, the next go around in Congress for CIEDRA, the controversial White Clouds/Boulder Mountains Wilderness bill (with pay-offs to others).

Todd Wilkinson has a good story on the PBS program and the issue in New West.

Update Jan. 5. Given all the interest on this, I grabbed this from congressman Simpson’s web site. I see he has introduced a new version of CIERDA, but it doesn’t seem to be up yet.

Central Idaho Economic Development and Recreation Act (CIEDRA)