Critics hate Idaho hunting ranch’s guts

In an exclusive story today, the Idaho Falls Post Register (subscription only) revealed that one of those controversial elk shooting farms in Eastern Idaho (this time one really close to Yellowstone) was dumping the remains over the fence and attracting a large number of grizzly bears, one of which may have recently mauled a real hunter. It is the Velvet Elk Ranch.

Island Park (in Idaho adjacent to Yellowstone) has always been marginal grizzly country except for a few good pockets of habitat. This year, however, and last too, there have been grizzlies all over the place there. Recently a sow and two cubs that had no fear of humans were removed.

B.E. and I have posted stories reminding local folks and/or complaining how they don’t put away the bird feeders, leave out the trash, etc. However, this game farm, adjacent to Henry’s Lake Flat, might be the real culprit. Idaho Fish and Game said there might be 7 grizzlies were in the nearby area. There are many summer homes and much recreation, especially fishing, nearby.

Actually, I head a rumor about this place about a 1 1/2 years ago. I reported it to a low level Fish and Game person because I thought the guts would attract wolves who would then be condemned for hanging around.  I heard nothing more.

Here is a short version of the story from AP.

Bison hunt begins in National Elk Refuge

This new bison hunt is controversial, but I see as necessary in the short run because of the continued winter feeding of elk in Wyoming, which by default also means feeding bison in the winter. It is controversial because it is hardly a hunt. It is a herd reduction measure.

The Yellowstone bison are not fed and leave the Park looking for food, and the herd is largely self-regulating. The Jackson Hole bison are limited only by summer range, having plenty of artificial feed during the winter. As a result, Grand Teton National Park has an excess of bison, and the herd just keeps on growing. The Jackson Hole bison have little winter mortality, and they are increasingly taking over the valley floor in Jackson Hole and damaging wildlife habitat.

Everyone should note that while Montana livestock politicians are seemingly always in a panic if bison leave Yellowstone Park, suposedly because of the brucellosis infection in the herds, Wyoming livestock politicians are much more interested in keeping the winter feedlots open even though that perpetuates a brucellosis disease rate far higher than in Yellowstone Park.

Once again, the bison issue and problems are really problems spawned by the livestock industry’s insistence on being first in line in the Yellowstone region.

Here is the story in the Jackson Hole News and Guide. By Corey Hatch.