Public Lands Tag Sale

Diary of a Mad Voter: Joan McCarter. Public Lands Tag Sale. By Joan McCarter. New West.

While media talks about the horse race for President, it’s going to be a year of plunder on the public lands, and most it will not be covered. McCarter writes about what is going on, starting with the Bush Administration’s cynical ploy on the polar bears.

The President has given his last State of the Union Address; now for the last year of the ravaging of the countryside.

Pinedale, WY area elk avoid Game and Fish traps

Jan. 29, 2008

We’ve covered this pointless plan to trap elk and test them for brucellosis antibodies before they go onto the Muddy Creek winter feedlot. Those that test positive are killed and the rest left to act like cattle for the rest of the winter.

Regarding the slaughtered elk, most of which really don’t have brucellosis although they test positive for antibodies, where is “Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife – Wyoming.” Is this OK with them?

The elk haven’t cooperated and continue not to act like cattle. Now, if only some of the doomed wolves in the area would appear and chase the elk well away from the feedlot.

Elk avoid traps. By Cat Urbigkit. Casper Star Tribune.

Note: the Muddy Creek feedlot was the indirect source of the brucellosis infection that caused Wyoming to lose its class 1, “brucellosis-free” status several years ago.

Jan. 30, 2008. Pinedale elk trap themselves. By Cat Urbigkit. Casper Star Tribune.
Screwups continue in this misbegotten program.

Feb. 1, 2008. 20 elk are finally tested for brucellosis antibodies, but operation continues to be messy. By Cat Urbigkit. Casper Star Tribune.

Idaho Fish and Game news release on wolves

I just got this. “Buffaloed” posted part of it as a comment. I am putting all of it up.

The “control” of the Buffalo Ridge Pack is a total outrage and a preface to what we will see with total state control. This has been one of Idaho’s most visible wolf packs, and one that has stayed out of trouble.

The dead calves were no more than a day or two old and might have been stillborn. The owner, and apparently some others nearby, has them on rented pasture, he his cattle calve in late December and early January. Temperatures in the area have been -20 degrees F.

For these small calves four wolves were killed by Wildlife Services. I have heard that Curt Hurless (recall the recent article on him and Lynne Stone?) knows that the Buffalo Ridge Pack was not even in the area when these calves were supposedly killed.

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Boise, ID

January 28, 2008

Ed Mitchell

Wolf report: wolves spreading?

Another Idaho wolf has wandered into eastern Oregon – this one a radio-collared female wolf from the Timberline Pack.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife biologists just found the two- to three-year-old wolf in the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest near the Eagle Cap Wilderness Area. The biologists had received reports of wolf activity in that area and were searching for missing wolf radio-collars from Idaho.

Idaho Fish and Game biologists had put a radio-collar on the wolf – identified as B-300 – northeast of Boise in August 2006.

Oregon biologists observed only a single wolf. But it was the fifth confirmed wolf to be found in Oregon.

In March 1999, a radio-collared female was captured near John Day and returned to Idaho. In 2000, a collared wolf was found dead along Interstate 84 south of Baker City, and a wolf without a radio collar was found shot between Ukiah and Pendleton. In July 2007, a mature female wolf was found dead from a gunshot wound in Union County.

All four wolves were from Idaho.

Wolves in the Eagle Cap Wilderness and other parts of eastern Oregon and Washington are included in the northern Rocky Mountain wolf population. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced its intention to remove this population from the endangered species list. A final rule is expected on February 29 and would take effect March 29.

Wolves would remain on the list in the rest of the two states.

In Idaho, four wolves from a pack that has killed at least two calves have been shot. This pack has been implicated in several depredations on cattle over the last few months.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services confirmed the Buffalo Ridge pack killed two calves in December on private land near Clayton.

Aircrews killed three gray wolves in December. In January, they shot a fourth wolf from the pack along the East Fork of the Salmon River near Clayton.

Wolf biologists estimate the wolf population at the end of 2007 is about 730 wolves in 82 packs with 43 breeding pairs. Federal agents confirmed wolves killed 52 cattle, 170 sheep and six dogs. A total of 76 wolves were confirmed dead – 43 killed by federal predator control actions, seven by ranchers, and 26 died of other causes.

Meanwhile, research in Yellowstone National Park shows that early winter wolf predation fell back into its typical pattern of nearly all elk. Kills were about 40 percent calves, 40 percent bulls, and 20 percent old cows. The composition of prey varies from year-to-year and is probably related to relative vulnerability because of environmental variables, such as drought, forage quality, snow depth and time of year.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service considers the wolf recovered in the northern Rocky Mountains and has started the process to remove the wolf from the federal endangered species list. The Fish and Wildlife Service’s weekly wolf reports as well as annual reports, can be viewed at

Groups file lawsuit against the new 10j rule

As expected, a number of conservation groups have filed a lawsuit in the Montana federal district court to set aside the new 10j rule on wolves in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming that was just published.

They are Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance, Defenders of Wildlife, Natural Resources Defense Council,  Sierra Club, Center for Biological Diversity, Humane Society of the United States, and Friends of the Clearwater. They are represented by Earthjustice, a conservation law firm.

Story in the Missoulian. By John Cramer.

This rule states how the federal government will let the states manage wolves prior to delisting. The delisting statement is expected very soon, but most of us see the 10j rule as a backstop by the USFWS to make sure the states have authority to kill a lot of wolves even if delisting is overturned in a yet-to-be filed lawsuit.