Hunters vent wolf concerns

Mountain Express story on the Hailey ID wolf meeting the other night-

“Hunters vent wolf concerns. Foes of Canis lupus threaten ‘grassroots uprising’ if delisting delayed.” By Jason Kauffman. Idaho Mountain Express Staff Writer

20 Responses to “Hunters vent wolf concerns”

  1. Tom Page Says:

    The idea that there are five or six wolfpacks living in the Wood River Valley is absurd…this isn’t great game country by any stretch, and my anecdotal evidence of 50+ days in the field (on foot, with good optics, at the proper time of day…) in 08 suggests that in many drainages the elk are unmolested for months at a time, particularly south of Ketchum.

    There might be two major wintering elk areas in the Valley that do not now have supplemental feeding (Deer Creek and the EF Wood) , thanks to poorly planned development on winter range. The concentrated populations on the sites in Warm Springs, Elkhorn, Greenhorn/Timber Gulch may be more vulnerable to predation, I don’t know.

    The feedgrounds in Timber Gulch, Greenhorn and Elkhorn need to be closed or at least moved farther back from the subdivisions. I went on the Timber Gulch site last week and it might as well be a barnyard. The hay is right up against the private fences, within a quarter mile of Hwy 75.

  2. Ralph Maughan Says:

    It’s interesting that Douthit thinks the wolves are hunting at night.

    Of course they are! Wolves do hunt at night, especially at the time of the full moon. That is right now. Incompetent wolves if they aren’t hunting at night!

    Haven’t these folks watched or read any of material about wolves and elk in Yellowstone?

    We saw the same uproar from some when wolves moved onto the fed elk at Stanley (Ron Gillett fed them there). The wolves chased the elk and every day or two killed one. They also fed off road kill.

    My impression from Lynne Stone’s reports was that as time went by, the wolves discovered more and more that road kill was the easiest and more assured source of meat. Of course that won’t happen in the Wood River Valley because the highway runs right down the middle with development on both sides most of the way, and carcasses are cleaned up. An exception might be where Tom Page says the private unlegal feeding is just a quarter mile from the highway.

  3. wayne Says:

    The part in the meeting I got a kick out of was there are 2 packs on each side of Bellevue, 1 pack west of Hailey and another up Quigley, 1 up East Fork and 1 up Greenhorn, 1 in Sun Valley, 3 north of Ketchum and 3 more in the Little Wood area. I love to ride ATV and I rode over 900 miles last year and never once have I seen a wolf. I rode in the Little Wood area, Slaughterhouse, Muldoon, Croy, Deer Creek, East Fork, Baker Creek, and Boulder City. the one speaker stated he sees them every day, in every part of the county. Last year while riding I stopped twice and spoke with sheephearders in the Little Wood area and Muldoon area and they had not seen a wolf. Now I was not riding pedal to the metal the whole time, there were times my wife and I would stop and smell the flowers and enjoy the scenary. alot of times after the 10 to 20 minutes and the sound of Atvs has stop, you would hear a lot of things moving around. So either I stink and they avoid me (wife says thats possible) or there is just a small pack running around.

  4. Ryan Says:

    “I love to ride ATV and I rode over 900 miles last year and never once have I seen a wolf”

    There is your problem, if your looking for wildlife having a 500lb motorized growth attached to your ass won’t help the chances. (antalope are the only exception I have seen to this rule so far)

  5. JEFF E Says:

    Tom Page, or anyone else with first person knowledge of the area, could you give an opinion on this purported statement by the mayor of Sun Valley as a follow up to his talk at the Saturday Meeting. I found his statement that the valley was the wintering ground for 100-150 elk especially interesting if in fact this is an accurate representation of his statements.
    Also was the cougar killed actually 100 yards from his house? I was under the impression that that happened some distance from town and any houses?
    “…. ………. as mayor I have a responsibility for the health safety and welfare of the citizens. Our city is right at the critical urban interface area. This has been a traditional wintering area for about 100 to 150 elk. For the last 30 years a private family and then our Community school has fed them on a what I call a “high ridge” location at the edge of town. Last year Fish and Game impressed on us a no feed regimen. Immediately the elk came down into the city and roamed all over. This year the same thing occurred however for some reason the wolves followed them in. Now we have had multiple incidents of wolf kills in back yards, golf courses, etc. The wolves also killed a cougar (mountain lion) about 100 yards from my house and the local citizenry thinks they should be armed when hiking up the trail.

    Our city has about $2.7 BILLION in assessed valuation. That’s right, B as in BILLION. We have other wildlife here, foxes, coyotes, black bear, and so far we have lived in peaceful coexistence. Introduction of the wolf element has changed the entire dynamic. We have no intention in turning this into some kind of weird wildlife sanctuary experiment.

    My message to the wildlife officials is this: the situation is entirely unsatisfactory and I want it fixed. I want them to step up to their responsibility and MANAGE the wildlife. ALL the wildlife.

    Best regards, Wayne Willich

    Mayor City of Sun Valley”

  6. JB Says:

    Can we drop the euphemisms? It’s pretty clear that by “manage” everybody means “kill”. If you want them to kill wolves then just say it. Alternatively, I’m thinking about adopting the position that we need wolves to “manage” the elk and deer populations.

  7. kim kaiser Says:

    “There is your problem, if your looking for wildlife having a 500lb motorized growth attached to your ass won’t help the chances. (antalope are the only exception I have seen to this rule so far)”

    Wolves and coyotes and bears will walk right by a car in Yellowstone, would nt you say more of a being at the right place at the right time is despite what is hangin off your ass. Your viewing pleasure may be limited and brief, saying it isnt gonna happen is just picking on and objecting to the manner in which the man gets around and belittling him for it..

  8. Tilly Says:

    How did Sun Valley elect such a kook? Are there many residents of SV or is it mostly the resort?

  9. Tom Page Says:

    Jeff-

    While I can’t speak to the exact location of the cougar kill (Lynne could probably tell you that), his statement is correct as far as the number of elk at this feedsite, the history of feeding at this location (Elkhorn subdivision) the decision not to feed last year, and the resulting elk invasion into the subdivisions. What ended up happening was that several private citizens started feeding the elk again in an effort to keep them off the shrubbery and keep starving cows from dying in the backyard.

    I think when he talks about the wolf changing the dynamic, he’s a little off-base. There are not many black bears in this arid country, and we’re inundated with foxes and coyotes. The big change is that this is the first year where the wolves have followed the elk in close to town. Relatively few people see the wolves (or elk) in the summertime, but winter is a different story, thanks to the feeding sites. As for citizens arming themselves…I’m out on these trails twice a day with my hounds and I’ve never seen anyone packing (or any wolves for that matter). If someone is that afraid, I feel sorry for them. Personally I’m much more nervous getting repeatedly accosted by panhandlers in Boise at night. I do worry a bit about my hounds though, as they are dogs who like to wander much more than most – the hunt instinct is pretty strong.

    And finally, I get a good laugh about his comment regarding assessed property values. The high-end home market here has been plummeting since the Lehman bankruptcy. It’s an interesting strategy to raise the spectre of the wolf as the villain when faced with crashing tax revenues!

  10. Ryan Says:

    Kim,

    Yellowstone and the rest of the west are 2 completely different places. A little time in the woods will help you understand that. I’ve spent a fair bit of time with a 500lb 4 wheeled growth attached to my ass, I ve spent a lot of time on with my boots on and in a car seat as well. ATV’s scare animals more than either boots or cars by a damn site. (there are several studies that back this up)

  11. Save bears Says:

    “I love to ride ATV and I rode over 900 miles last year and never once have I seen a wolf”

    REALLY, I can’t imagine WHY?

    LMFAO

    And don’t get me wrong, I like to ride my ATV as well, but cripes…

  12. Save bears Says:

    Kim,

    Comparing Yellowstone to anyplace else in the west where we can ride an ATV is comparing apples to oranges..come on…you know that!

  13. ProWolf in WY Says:

    “We’re going to run out of game in seven to eight years,” said Tony Mayer, co-founder of the Twin Falls-based group Save Our Elk, which calls for aggressive wolf management.

    Funny how the game herds survived wolves for thousands of years before people. I guess it was those miniature American wolves that didn’t kill much.

    This crackpot mentality in Idaho and Wyoming’s dual status will ensure that wolves remain on the endangered species list forever, regardless of population size and genetic exchange.

  14. John d. Says:

    “Funny how the game herds survived wolves for thousands of years before people. I guess it was those miniature American wolves that didn’t kill much.”

    Of course not ProWolf, the ones before only ate cattle, kiddies and grass!

  15. JB Says:

    “Funny how the game herds survived wolves for thousands of years before people. ”

    Actually, they survived for > 10,000 years with wolves, bears, cougars AND people; at a time when human hunting was almost entirely subsistence.

    However, these arguments simply fall on deaf ears. Information-based interventions simply WON’T WORK on these people. It’s akin to trying to convince a “believer” that natural selection is the process that drives speciation and adaption. They have decided that they are right–irrespective of all information to the contrary. Fortunately, events like this help to reveal their misplaced zealotry.

  16. Brian Ellway Says:

    “Funny how the game herds survived wolves for thousands of years before people. I guess it was those miniature American wolves that didn’t kill much.”

    You can’t be serious with this argument?? Do you think maybe they had a LOT more habitat with a LOT more carrying capacity BEFORE PEOPLE??

    Just shaking my head in disbelief at some of you guys… lmao

  17. JB Says:

    “You can’t be serious with this argument??”

    See my response (above): “Actually, they survived for > 10,000 years with wolves, bears, cougars AND people; at a time when human hunting was almost entirely subsistence.”

    “Do you think maybe they had a LOT more habitat with a LOT more carrying capacity BEFORE PEOPLE??”

    Depends on what you mean by “a lot”. But it’s telling that people existed alongside wolves, cougars, bears, deer, elk, moose, etc. for more than 10,000 years without issue, until (1) we introduced livestock, (2) killed off the bison, and knocked down native ungulate populations through unregulated, market hunting. It was the combination of the elimination of native ungulate populations and their replacement with livestock that led to predator extermination.

    I don’t know about you, but this suggests to me that competition with livestock is more of a problem for native ungulates than predation?

  18. Brian Ellway Says:

    “I don’t know about you, but this suggests to me that competition with livestock is more of a problem for native ungulates than predation?”

    This may be true in some areas but it doesn’t explain the decrease in native ungulates (elk & deer) where I hunt because there sure isn’t any livestock there (wilderness). There just just isn’t room for this many wolves thus some need to be managed…sorry, killed.

  19. ProWolf in WY Says:

    Brian, I am very serious with that argument. I will agree that they once had much more habitat available but there is still a lot of habitat available. While I will agree that wolves will not be able to live everywhere they once lived (most of the Midwest for example) there are areas that they can live, and yes, Idaho is one of them. I am also not against responsible management of wolves (which does include hunting), but I am against irresponsible killing like people want to do, especially in the name of “protecting” game herds that did evolve along with wolves. You also have to look at boom and bust cycles that occur with many different species. Predator and prey numbers will fluctuate. Google Isle Royale and look at the studies with moose and wolves that have been going on for decades. In a vast wilderness like in Idaho, it will probably not be nearly as drastic as on a much smaller island.

  20. Larry Thorngren Says:

    I find it interesting that a group interested in increasing mule deer numbers is so anti-wolf. When I started hunting deer in Idaho as a teenager(1955), you could legally kill up to 4 mule deer in a season. You could get a regular tag, an extra deer tag for some areas, a middle fork (Salmon River) tag and a middle fork tag for antlerless deer. There were deer everywhere. To hunt elk we had to go to the Selway or parts of the middlefork of the Salmon River.
    Elk started showing up in the Big Lost River area, where I lived, in the early sixties and continued to increase on into the 70s, 80s and 90s.. This increase in elk was accompanied by a large decrease in deer numbers. In Cherry Creek in Unit 50(Big Lost River) instead of seeing up to 100 deer a day when I hunted and no elk, I started seeing 20-50 elk or more (hundreds in the spring) and maybe 10 deer or less. It was the elk that caused the decrease in deer numbers. In the Rocky Canyon-Appendicitis Hill area near Moore, Idaho where I lived and hunted, the winter deer numbers decreased from well over a thousand to a few hundred or less and the elk numbers increased from none to hundreds. The elk browsed the mountain mahogany high enough that the deer couldn’t reach it and out competed the deer for spring grasses and bitter brush. It was the elk population explosion that caused the huge decline in mule deer numbers. There were no wolves in Idaho at this time. I am seeing more mule deer in Yellowstone now that the wolves are reducing the elk numbers. Deer and bighorns benefit from the presence of wolves. The wolves have only killed one bighorn in Yellowstone in the past 14 years. Deer and Bighorn hunters should support reducing the elk numbers that compete for forage with those species. They should also support getting the domestic sheep off of the public lands so that bighorns can expand into historical ranges where they once numbered in the tens of thousands.


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