Officials will seek federal permission to kill wolves to protect Clearwater elk herd-
Story by Jason Kauffman. Idaho Mountain Express Staff Writer.
The story says this will be a multi-year effort because new wolves will quickly move in to replace the wolves killed. This raises the question, why would this happen if wolves have killed most of the elk? Wolves are not vegetarians.
I notice the story refers to “Idaho could be losing as much as $24 million annually in hunting-related revenue due to wolves’ killing deer and elk, the report states.”
This is only one part of Idaho. Earlier I wrote the following comments about the report mentioned above.
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This is the most simplistic analysis. Idaho Fish and Game assumes that every elk killed by a wolf is 1/5 fewer elk for hunters (they assume a 20% hunter success rate).1. Wolf predation can be both additive or compensatory. Idaho Fish and Game is assuming it is all additive. This is known to be false. Compensatory predation is when is wolf kills an animal that would have died regardless before spring calving.
2. It is also well known that in many areas wolves almost stop hunting on their own during human hunting season. The gut piles are much more attractive to them. Moreover, wolves take down the wounded animals. Most of these would die without predation.
3. With outfitters telling how wolves have killed all the elk, beginning in about 1998 when there were not very many wolves in Idaho, with Idaho Fish and Game now joining the poormouthing chorus, is it any wonder elk tag sales are down? The numbers in a state could actually be up, but if the outfitters and the state wildlife agency says, “the hunting in our state has gone to hell,” what do they expect?