Probe Clears Idaho elk rancher on disposal of remains from his elk shooting compound

This is from the Casper Star Tribune. I made a update on it last night, but it was way down to a past post on the matter, so I decided to move it to the top.

Probe Clears Elk Rancher. AP. Casper Star Tribune. Perhaps Ferguson, who owns the ranch, was obeying Idaho’s law, but it seems like an incredibly weak law, as has been the case in all respects about Idaho elk ranches and shooting pens.

This kind of burial would hardly deter a grizzly bear from digging up a great meal, and the bears will remember and likely just dig a little deeper. What happens now if the bears are cut off from food? The area is not great bear habitat, and they are hungry, getting ready to den in about a month or so.

It looks like local residents of the “Island Park area” are not convinced the problem has been abated and are undertaking some political action.

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Photos of Idaho’s Phantom Hill Wolf Pack

The Phantom Hill wolf pack is considered by some as Ketchum, Idaho’s own. First discovered this year, the pack has been around for more than a year, however, because it has yearlings.

Its range is in the Boulder and Smoky Mountains, bisected by scenic Idaho Highway 75, about 25 miles north of Ketchum. On one side of the Highway is the grazing allotment of Lava Lake Land and Livestock, a very wildlife friendly outfit that decided not to put its sheep in this year to help the wolf pack. On the Smoky Mountain side the rancher is not progressive.

Somehow they survived the summer with some help from a person hired by the Forest Service, or Idaho Fish and Game (not sure). This person’s job was to haze them away from livestock.

At any rate, a lot of folks have seen them crossing the road.

Lynne Stone of Stanley sent the photos below of the alpha female and a yearling. She caught them other day on her way through. They aren’t the greatest photos, but we don’t get many photos of Idaho wolves, despite there being 700 of them. Thanks Lynne!

The alpha female has a limp.

See photos: all copyrighted

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Montana ranch favored by conservation groups gets cited for upleasant kind of wolf killing

The email and phone lines have been buzzing about this one.

Last July a ranch hand at the Sun Ranch ran down and ran repeated ran over an injured female wolf, the alpha of the pack. The Sun Ranch on the east side of the Madison Valley has long been favored by many conservation groups as one place where they are trying to do it right. Because the wolf had not chased or attacked the cattle and was in fact moving away from them, they were cited for a violation, an “illegal wolf take” under the current 10j rule.

The 10j rule states that the wolf must be attacking, or actively molesting, harassing or chasing livestock before it can be killed. The method used stirred controversy. The ranch hand did not have a gun. Wolves can also be legally shot for molesting or attacking livestock guard or herding dogs.

Here is the most recent story about it in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. Sun Ranch issued citation for wolf killing. By Scott McMillion. Bozeman Chronicle Staff Writer.

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All-terrain vehicles restricted to only some terrain. Government limits off-road recreation

All-terrain vehicles restricted to only some terrain. Government limits off-road recreation. By Patrick O’Driscoll. USA Today.

The days of legal, recreational cross country travel on public lands of the United States (that is, off road or off trail) are just about over. Of course, there is little money to enforce it right now due to the failure of the Bush Administration to seek adequate funds for the agencies. On the other hand, the inexpensive way to write the rules if you have little money is to say “nothing off-trail” and a route is closed to motor vehicles unless a sign says it is open to them.

Related story in southern Idaho. Geared for conflict. Public land use evolves with high ATV traffic. By Matt Christensen. Times News.

Note: Congress actually appropriates the funds, but last year they could not produce a budget. So the government has been running for a year on a “continuing resolution,”or “CR.” which keeps the old budget figures intact (except for the “supplemental appropriations” Congress has since passed, mostly for the civil war in Iraq).

This year Congress has given the land management agencies a big increase, but Bush is threatening a veto and his stated that a CR might be OK for the second year a row.

Natural Resources Defense Council criticizes 10j rule; has TV ad

This AP story by Matthew Brown appeared in the Seattle Times and many other newspapers. Control plan labeled threat to survival of wolf population. It is about the proposed new 10j rule for state wolf management prior to total delisting.

The NRDC also has a national television ad running beginning today (not just a YouTube video). Here is a link to the ad via YouTube.

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