Arctic grayling in Montana rivers to be reconsidered for endangered species protection

USFWS agrees to make this very rare and declining fish a candidate species for the list-

Court action by 4 conservation organizations are responsible for this late turn of events for this beautiful (former) sports fish now down to just one or two streams. This is another species earlier denied protection by the bullying tactics of disgraced former Bush Deputy Assistant Secretary of Fish, Wildlife and Parks Julie MacDonald.

This is a victory for those who want action over the collaborationists. Here is a recent article by a collaborationist. Can Conservation and Collaboration Save the Big Hole Grayling? By Jonathan Stumpf. New West. I would say the comments to the article by Larry Zuckerman, Western Watersheds Project, Salmon, ID are especially relevant given the events of yesterday.

Oct. 1, 2009. Fish and Wildlife Service to reconsider Montana’s arctic grayling status. By Eve Byron. Helena Independent Record.

News Release-

For Immediate Release, September 30, 2009


Noah Greenwald, Center for Biological Diversity, (503) 484-7495
Pat Munday, Grayling Restoration Alliance, (406) 496-4461
Leah Elwell, Federation of Fly Fishers, (406) 222-9369 x 102
Jon Marvel, Western Watersheds Project, (208) 788-2290

Montana Grayling to Be Reconsidered for Endangered Species Act Protection

Helena, Mont.— In response to a lawsuit brought by the Center for Biological Diversity, Federation of Fly Fishers, Western Watersheds Project, Dr. Pat Munday, and former Montana fishing guide George Wuerthner, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agreed today to reconsider the Montana fluvial arctic grayling for protection as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act. According to the court-approved settlement agreement, a decision on the grayling’s status will be made by August 30, 2010.

“The Montana fluvial arctic grayling is on the brink of extinction,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species program director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “We hope the Obama administration will put an end to the grayling’s 27-year wait for protection.” Read the rest of this entry »

Snake Valley water deal could kill Utahns, state’s top docs warn

Female Grizzly Relocated to Cabinet Mtns of NW Montana

The relocation is another in a series of transplants to bolster the weak grizzly population of the Cabinet-Yaak-

Bear managers have been releasing about one new grizzly each year into the Cabinet-Yaak grizzly bear recovery area of extreme NW Montana. This smallish recovery area has no connection to NW Montana’s Northern Continental Divide grizzly area (the country’s biggest population) or Idaho and Eastern Washington’s beleaguered Selkirk grizzly recovery area.

This transplant, like most of the others, came from the Northern Continental Divide bear population. She was trapped in the Whitefish Mountains just west of Glacier National Park to be released further west in the Cabinets.

Female Grizzly Relocated to Cabinet Mtns of NW Montana. Flathead Beacon. AP

Judge rejects U.S. management plan for California desert (West Mojave)

Complicated ruling was a victory of sorts for conservation-

Judge rejects U.S. management plan for California desert. By Louis Sahagun. LA Times.

This was a huge case over a big area and a BLM plan that took 15 years to develop. My view of it as a partial victory is based on private email from kt. Perhaps kt will want to comment on it here.

Here is the judge’s decision pdf

Bearpaw Bay fire in Grand Teton expected to have plenty wildlife benefits

Although it was plenty smoky, end of the fire season finds the Park’s largest fire of the year beneficial-

As snow suddenly replaces warm late September, the fires in Yellowstone, Grand Teton, and nearby are dying quickly. The Jackson Hole News and Guide reports the the 2800 acre lightning caused fire west of Jackson Lake (Bearpaw Bay fire) cooked things just right for good eating by wildlife next year and later.

Story by Cory Hatch. Light hand on the land: Bearpaw Bay firefighters use minimal tactics to contain fire in Grand Teton National Park.

Posted in national parks, public lands, Wildfires. Tags: , , . Comments Off on Bearpaw Bay fire in Grand Teton expected to have plenty wildlife benefits

Environmental groups sue BLM to get names of the holders of public grazing leases

Can you even imagine that these things are kept secret?

Western Watersheds Project and Wild Earth Guardians are suing to make public that which should open and free to all.

Story on Fox12Idaho News. Environmental groups sue BLM for grazing info. Associated Press

Yellowstone/Grand Teton fires having big final run before season ending change in weather

Arnica Creek (YNP) at 9300 acres; Bearpaw Bay (GTNP) 2500 acres; more in the Gros Ventre-

Fires consuming acres, but weather might turn. By Cory Hatch, Jackson Hole Daily

By Wednesday morning there might be snow and an end to the suddenly exciting late season burst of wildfires.

– – – – –

Photos of  and commentary9/28 on the Arnica Fire by Dusty Roads.

The photos were taken from boat on Yellowstone Lake. Sept. 27, 2009


Arnica Creek forest fire from Yellowstone Lake. Copyright Dusty Roads. Sept. 27, 2009

Read the rest of this entry »

Wolves add to awe of El Capitan hiking adventure

A brief encounter with a wolves makes climbing a major Bitterroot peak a perfect adventure-

Wolves add to awe of El Capitan hiking adventure. By Will Moss. The Ravalli Republic (in the Missoulian)

Scientists Find Successful Way To Reduce Bat Deaths At Wind Turbines

Solution is to restrain blades from turning at all during low wind periods-

Scientists Find Successful Way To Reduce Bat Deaths At Wind Turbines. ScienceDaily

Posted in energy, Wind. Tags: . 2 Comments »

12 – 15,000 birds dead of botulism near Pocatello, ID

Botulism outbreak at American Falls Reservoir is slowing down after a massive kill-

Die-offs due to botulism are often the result of standing, shallow, deoxygenated water on top of what are usually mud flats in late season. This is the indirect effect of the wet year in SE Idaho. Less water was needed from the reservoir. As a result it had more water in late season than for many years.

Bird die-off slows. Idaho State Journal.

A very unpleasant story. Perhaps different operation of the system of dams could have prevented the reservoir from being this full. This reservoir is not an isolated one, but part of a large system of reservoirs on the upper Snake River and its tributaries.

Latest wolf news from USFWS [Ed Bangs]

The interesting part is this — data on wolf control in Wyoming for the year to date: “Based on preliminary reports through September 2009, a total of 17 cattle and 177 sheep were recorded as confirmed wolf kills, and 28 wolves were killed in subsequent control actions in Wyoming.”

– – – – –




To:                   Regional Director, Region 6, Denver, Colorado

From:               USFWS Wyoming Wolf Recovery Project Leader, Jackson, WY

Subject:           Status of Gray Wolf Management in Wyoming and the NRM

WYOMING WOLF WEEKLY- Sept 21 through Sept 25, 2009

Web Address – USFWS reports (past weekly and annual reports) can be viewed at . Weekly reports for Montana and Idaho are produced by those States and can be viewed on the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks website and Idaho Department of Fish and Game website All weekly and annual reports are government property and can be used for any purpose.  Please distribute as you see fit.

Annual Reports

The Rocky Mountain Wolf Recovery 2008 Annual Report is available at: .

Delisting Litigation Status

A hearing of the preliminary injunction request was held in Federal Court in Missoula, MT on August 31. Oral arguments were heard from the plaintiffs, U.S. Department of Interior, Montana, and Idaho. On September 8, the Federal Court denied the preliminary injunction motion filed by Defenders of Wildlife and others to stop the 2009 regulated gray wolf hunts in Idaho and Montana.  However, in issuing his order, the judge indicated that his preliminary review of the overall delisting case raised questions about Service’s approach of conferring ESA protections to a “significant portion of the range” of a species, as opposed to designating the entire species as a threatened or endangered species. The Service will carefully evaluate the court’s order and confer with the Department of the Interior and the Department of Justice to determine any appropriate next steps.


Idaho: Wolf hunting season is open in parts of Idaho with a statewide quota of 220 wolves. The IDFG website that summarizes wolf hunting in Idaho can be viewed at

Montana: Wolf hunting season opened in parts of Montana on September 15 with a total quota of 75 wolves. FWP’s website that tracks wolf hunting in Montana can be viewed at

Read the rest of this entry »

What will putting Yellowstone grizzlies back on “the list” mean?

Agency officials downplay impact-

Agencies to allow for bear status. By Matthew Brown. Associated Press

Judge Molloy put the Yellowstone area bears back on the threatened species list because all their food sources are jeopardized.  Brian Kelly, Fish and Wildlife Service Wyoming field supervisor was quoted in the article above, “The basic message is that federal agencies need to evaluate their actions with respect to what effect they may have on grizzly bears.” [emphasis mine]

“Jim Magagna with the Wyoming Stockgrowers Association said few changes were expected for the livestock industry.” Excuse me, but I don’t think so.  There are all kinds of conflict between grizzlies and livestock. Did Magagna already forget the sheep/grizzly/sheepherder incident in Tosi Creek and all the others in the upper Green River year after year?

Chris Servheen was quoted as defending the delisting decision. Well the judge didn’t think the defense was a good one, and so he ruled against Servheen and crew. What good is it to reassert it?

I just got back from 4 days of hiking, driving, checking on things in low swampy area between the Tetons and Yellowstone Park. During a good part of the year this is heavy grizzly country. In September the grizzlies have abandoned the meadows because they are dry, but they are down in the riparian areas and up on the Tetons where the food is. I found that many of the riparian areas were full of cows, with some allotments very close to Yellowstone Park. Where the cows didn’t tromp, bear scat full of berries was usually abundant.

If the grizzlies need more food, the solution is not more meetings and documents like Brian Kelley of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said. Animals like livestock that eat the grass, forbs, sedges, that grizzlies eat; animals that tromp out the berry patches; livestock that eat what elk and deer could eat . . . these things have to stop. Furthermore the allowed range of the grizzly has got to increase because the area reserved for the grizzly under the delisting has become less productive due to many adverse changes.

The effects of the die-off of whitebark pine, whirling disease in trout, lake trout displacing cutthroat trout, the invasion of exotic species is not going to be solved by interagency cooperation meetings.

Incident page on Arnica Fire (Yellowstone Park)

From time to time, this only big fire of the year has cut off the remaining access to the north of Yellowstone Park-

Here is Arnica fire incident page. The fire grew from 4 to over 1600 acres in 4 days. When the fire blocks the road, due to the closure of the other road to the north of the Park — the closure between Madison Jct. and Norris, there is no easy access to the north of Yellowstone Park if you are to the south.

Next Tuesday could be a bad fire day but then also the end of the fire season as a strong and cold front with possible snow will blow in. Meanwhile warm weather.

Currently the southern half of Yellowstone and both sides of the Tetons and points south are filled with smoke. See my earlier post of Sept. 23 (and updated Sept. 26).


Arnica fire on Sept. 24. Source. Mt. Washburn web cam. Public domain

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Arizona Game and Fish sued over death of jaguar Macho B

Macho B after being collared

Macho B after being collared

When the last known jaguar to consistently roam in the U.S. died of kidney failure after being captured and collared,  many questions about the legality of the permit to collar Macho B were asked, including a call for a federal investigation.

Now, the Center for Biological Diversity is doing something about it, suing the Arizona Game and Fish in an attempt to get a judge to stop the Department from capturing and collaring imperilled jaguars again.

Arizona Game and Fish sued over death of jaguar Macho BArizona Daily Star

Posted in wildcats. Tags: . 29 Comments »

County commits $20,000 for predator control

Two Oregon counties commit $40,000 taxpayer dollars but ranchers want more.

Ranchers ask for more subsidies in Oregon and receive taxpayer dollars to kill wildlife. Rather than adapting to a changing circumstance by doing more to proactively protect their livestock from predators they ask for the Federal Government to step in with funding while two counties divert $40,000 to hire a wildlife executioner who will spend their days killing coyotes, bears and cougars until the comparatively rare wolf depredation occurs.

Witness the beginning of another welfare ranching subsidy which turns into a system that asks for more and more taxpayer dollars and kills more and more wildlife.

County commits $20,000 for predator control.
Baker City Herald

Wyoming Game & Fish investigates grizzly shooting in Ditch Creek

Hunting season for deer and elk is underway (partially) in Wyoming, and already the grizzlies are going down-

Ditch Creek is just east of the middle section of Grand Teton National Park.

Wyoming Game & Fish Department investigates grizzly shooting. Star Valley Independent

Pacific Gas and Electric quits Chamber of Commerce’s anti-Climate change lobby

Becomes another utility choosing realism over ideology-

The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, a “there ain’t no climate change” outfit organized by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is seeing a hemorrhage of support from utility corporations.

Utility Quits Alliance Over Climate Change. By Kate Galbraith. New York Times.

One year after large prescribed burn, vegetation flourishes in Gros Ventre

Prescribed fire east of Jackson Hole was big success; more planned-

Meanwhile late season fires break out amidst planned ignitions

Link Fixed. Plants healthier year after Gros Ventre burn. Prescribed fire improved forage for bighorns, other wildlife in Red Hills area. By Cory Hatch. Jackson Hole News and Guide.

For those unfamiliar with this common place name east of Jackson Hole, it is pronounced Grow Vont

Update 8:30 PM, Sept. 26. I found out in a big way, why they might have run this story in the News and Guide. Last Wednesday, Sept. 23, I went up to this general area. Phase 2 of this burn had been ignited and put up a huge cloud of smoke visible 50 miles away!  As this fire, several other “prescribed burns” and lighting fires began in Grand Teton and Yellowstone Parks, what were gloriously blue crystalline skies slowly turned to awful gray crud.


Smoke from the Arnica Fire in Yellowstone Park fills the sky upstream from Cave Falls. Sept. 24, 2009. Copyright Ralph Maughan

9-26. Here is the story on the second substantial fire in Yellowstone Park this year. Fire [the Arnica Fire] closes park’s Grand Loop. By Cory Hatch. Jackson Hole News and Guide

Late 9-26. Arnica Fire grows from 250 to 1600 acres. More growth expected. Billings Gazette.

Posted in winter range, Yellowstone, Yellowstone National Park. Tags: , , , . Comments Off on One year after large prescribed burn, vegetation flourishes in Gros Ventre

Obama avoids a ‘war on the West’

Rocky Baker points out that the Idaho Cattle Association is pleasantly surprised-

A lot of people I know worked hard to get Barack Obama elected President;  not just conservationists, but independents and Democrats who had sat on their hands for years.

As Barker points out, after the election the traditional Western resource users (who are often irritatingly called “The West”) expected the worst and were ready to fight against another “war on the West.” This is something they claim — a “war on the West” —  whenever some President doesn’t give them the deference and subsidies they think they are entitled to.

Now they are grinning. He has done nothing to disturb them. “Democrat” Walt Minnick, Idaho’s soon-to-be-defeated congressman in the state’s first district reportedly said “The Obama people have learned from Clinton’s first 90 days.”

I think they’ve learned the wrong lesson. Read the rest of this entry »

Spontaneous combustion of manure at ranch starts big California fire

These self-starting manure fires are apparently all too common Southern California when it gets hot-

Well . . . another negative side effect of ranching!  Oh, and the location of the ranch where the fire began was kept a secret.

Story in the LA Times.

Alberta grizzlies down to just 580 bears

Will they become a Canadian threatened species?

To many Americans, Canada is still the “great white north” where multitudes of wildlife live in wilderness and “tree huggers” silly enough to want to see a bear or a wolf can go a see one behind almost every tree.

The reality is massive development, and especially in Alberta which has become essentially a petro-state.

Alberta’s government seems to sort of be moving toward more protection such as a permanent cancellation of the annual grizzly bear hunt against the strong resistance of some hunting groups.

A recent 5-year study that included most of Alberta (not its far north or Jasper and Banff*) using the most effect method — DNA analysis of bear fur — found only 581 bears. They had expected about a thousand. This is fewer than Montana’s grizzly population in and around Glacier National Park and adjacent Wilderness areas and backcountry.

The Alberta grizzly might be put on the Canadian threatened species list.

Here are a couple stories from the last few days.

While many think of these two national parks as a stronghold of the grizzly, there are not large populations there because their rugged nature means most of the Parks are not good bear habitat. Moreover, the biologically production areas are often filled with highways, towns, resorts, and railroads.

Fed judge says Greater Yellowstone grizzlies must go back on list!

Grizzly feeding on elk © Ken Cole

Grizzly feeding on elk © Ken Cole

GYE grizzly bears go back on the threatened species list-

Molloy: Feds must restore protection for grizzly bears in Yellowstone National Park – By Matthew Brown. Associated Press. The successful plaintiff was the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. There is a second lawsuit filed in Idaho by a number of other conservation groups. It was assigned to Judge Lodge. No decision was been made by the court.

The headline in Brown’s story is misleading because the order to relist is not just for Yellowstone Park, but for the much larger area around the Park — the “greater” Yellowstone, and relisting’s effect for this area is where most of the controversy lies.

U.S. judge reverses Bush, puts grizzlies on endangered [threatened] list. By Rocky Barker. Idaho Statesman

Read the judge’s Order

Grizzly Bears had remained on the list in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem and the Cabinet-Yaak (both in NW Montana). They have also remained on the list in the Selkirk (Northern Idaho and NE Washington state), the Selway-Bitterroot in central Idaho where there are no bears, and the North Cascades where there are a handful of bears up in northwest Washington against the B.C. border.  However, the grizzlies of Yellowstone and the adjacent area are the best known population in the lower 48.

The numerous threats to grizzly bear food sources, especially whitebark pine, were a major factor in Judge Molloy’s decision.

Earthjustice’s Press Release :

Read the rest of this entry »

Merle Haggard, tell us how you really feel about your local ranchers!

Famous country and western singer Merle Haggard is no friend of his local cattle ranchers-

“The thing that bothers me the most is the recklessness and greed of the local ranchers, who run too many cattle back here, choking with waste the creek that runs through my property.  There’s certain times of day that the cowboys like to send them turds down the river.  Them fuckers piss me off.  if you gotta mess up the ecology of the world in order to raise a bunch of cows, well eat somethin else.  I’m not a fan of the cowboys.”   –  Merle Haggard,  Rolling Stone, 10/1/09

More of Obama’s weak salmon recovery plan

Obama’s “warmed-over-Dubya plan” for salmon is good enough to irritate Rep. Doc Hastings, however-

We posted on this earlier. Reaction continues to come.

Under Obama’s new salmon plan, breeching the dams on the Snake River in that state of Washington would be a last resort, rather than the plan salmon recovery advocates had hoped for and kind of expected. Under Bush breaching the dams wasn’t to be considered under any condition.

However, the new plan’s critics call it “warmed over Bush.” It isn’t so much salmon advocates that Obama has to please, however, it is federal judge Redden. Redden in the past has rejected five biOps (biological opinions from various Administrations) of how they can keep the dams and recovery the salmon too. The standard they have used is that their plan will keep the salmon “trended toward recovery.” This standard is not recognized by Endangered Species Act, but Obama, like Bush uses it.

Conservation groups hope the Redden rejects this plan and says he is out of patience. Tear down the dams. Redden has said in the past that he might do just that.

Nevertheless, the hint of breaching in the new plan has the local Republican representative “Doc Hastings” upset. It seems to me that this is another situation where the President could educate the Republicans that militant opposition to his policies has a cost.

Rocky Barker put up a video of Hastings cross examining the NOAA Administrator explaining the dam breaching possibility.

2009 Bear Spray Campaign Endangers Hunters, Grizzlies

David Smith urges IGBC to change its bear spray campaign slogan to “Carry bear spray and know when to use it.”

Smith urges what might seem to be subtle but very important change in the way the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee educates hunters about bear spray.  However, for 2009 the IGBC is using the same arguments as it has for years.

2009 Bear Spray Campaign Endangers Hunters, Grizzlies. Unfiltered By David Smith in New West.

Rancher fined for killing grizzly; reward now up to $6,000 in Dupuyer, Montana area shooting

The Dupuyer case is the one of the giant grizzly bear (posted earlier)-

Rancher fined for killing grizzly; reward now up to $6,000 in Dupuyer area shooting. By Karl Puckett. Great Falls Tribune Staff Writer

Rocky Mountain Front grizzlies are in the river bottoms

Hunters and hikers should take special note-

This time of year, many grizzlies take to forested river bottoms that lead eastward out from the Front,* such as the Teton River, Sun River, etc.

River bottom grizzlies spark warnings to hunters. By Karl Puckett. Great Falls Tribune.

– – – –

*The Front is the name given the abrupt rise of the Rocky Mountains out of the plains of northwest central Montana.

Posted in Bears, mountain ranges. Tags: , , . Comments Off on Rocky Mountain Front grizzlies are in the river bottoms

Grizzly bear decline alarms conservationists in Canada

Decline in salmon stocks is blamed for bears starving to death

The unsure fate of Grizzly bear populations might not be a concern that is limited to the lower 48 states.

Grizzly bear decline alarms conservationists in CanadaThe Guardian

A furious row has erupted in Canada with conservationists desperately lobbying the government to suspend the annual bear-hunting season following reports of a sudden drop in the numbers of wild bears spotted on salmon streams and key coastal areas where they would normally be feeding.

Posted in Bears, Fish. 8 Comments »

Disputed Solar Energy Project in California Desert Is Dropped

BrightSource Energy drops project in marvelous desert valley with bighorn sheep-

Disputed Solar Energy Project in California Desert Is Dropped. By Elisabeth Rosenthal. New York Times.

This had been a great Mohave Desert controversy, prompting Senator Feinstein to propose the area as a national monument instead. BrightSource says they are now looking for new site somewhere.

Of Wolves & Wilderness

Idaho Department of Fish & Game Moves to Collar Wolves in the Frank-Church Wilderness

A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.

On January 17, 2008 I attended an Idaho Department of Fish & Game Annual Commissioner Meeting in which Commissioner McDermott of Idaho’s Panhandle region expressed the commission’s desire to capture and collar wolves in the Frank-Church Wilderness.

Steve Nadeau explained to the commissioners that the IDFG had “beat that dog perty hard” but that the environmental analysis alone needed to land a helicopter in a wilderness area would cost as much as $250,000 to land once or twice.

McDermott expressed that the commission had an idea about how to deal with that, at which point Nadeau suggested the commission might not want that conversation on the public record.  The commissioners laughed, and the topic was dropped from the public record – until now.

The Salmon-Challis National Forest has announced scoping comments for its proposed NEPA analysis of the Idaho Department of Fish & Game’s requested permission to land a helicopter up to 20 times to support radio collaring of up to 12 wolves in the Frank-Church Wilderness :

Read the rest of this entry »

Utah: After 20 years, Red Rock Wilderness bill gets first hearing in Congress

Things are finally looking up a bit for the 9-million acre proposal to conserve some of Utah’s finest BLM canyonlands-

This bill has been wandering the wilderness for a long time, but now a supporter chairs the important House committee — Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz. The finally got a hearing. Odds against are long because Congress rarely passes wilderness legislation against the wishes of a state’s congressional delegation. However, consider Utah’s delegation . . . 4 noisy Republicans against everything the majority party proposes and one bluedog Democrat.

Passing this bill would teach them the merits of comity and compromise. I think Utah political leaders need to relearn the virtues of moderation.

After 20 years, Red Rock bill gets first hearing in Congress. Wilderness » Legislation to get first committee hearing. By Matt Canham. The Salt Lake Tribune.

The primary moving force behind this bill for all these years has been the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA)

First Montana wolf hunt kill recorded

Wolf was shot north of Yellowstone Park-

First wolf hunt kill recorded. By Eve Byron Helena Independent Record

Few details are available on-line so far.

How do burrs get spread?

Here’s a classic-

As I mentioned in an earlier comment, I got a new camera today. I headed to the mountains south of Pocatello to try it out and came back with a disgusting photo (as well as some attractive landscapes).


Pretty much all the cows looked more or less like this poor critter on the Caribou National Forest. Every year on this grazing allotment there are more burrs, and I think we see the explanation. Photo copyright Ralph Maughan, but permission to repost is granted with my credit

Bam Bam gets the boot: G&F relocates popular bighorn sheep over concern for his, public’s safety

Bam Bam gets the boot: G&F relocates popular bighorn sheep over concern for his, public’s safety .

Here’s a story that I missed.  Bam Bam was the last sheep in the group that was transplanted to this area. The rest of his heard was lost due to disease. He became a YouTube star this year.

Bighorns Shun Desert Water Tanks

This has been an ongoing controversy as wildlife managers have built giant water tanks within wilderness, allegedly to help Kofa bighorn sheep.  Instead, the bighorns avoid the water tanks.

The Kofa National Wildlife Refuge has also been planning to kill Kofa mountain lions to decrease predation on the bighorn sheep.  It’s a classic example of managers doing everything in their power to manipulate the natural world for a single-species – and getting it wrong anyway.

Bighorns Shun Desert Water TanksPEER News Release 9/15/09

(Tucson, AZ) Remote cameras installed to detect bighorn sheep use at two controversial man-made water developments constructed in the Kofa Wilderness in 2007 suggest the tanks have completely failed to provide water for bighorns. The cameras, installed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) at the McPherson and Yaqui Tanks, captured photos of mule deer, hawks, doves, vultures, coyotes and bobcats, but not a single bighorn drinking from the tanks in the two years since their construction.

“Building these artificial water developments in an attempt to artificially inflate bighorn sheep numbers was contrary to preserving the area as wilderness,” stated George Nickas, Executive Director of Wilderness Watch. “We’ve felt all along that the project was wrong from both a legal and ecological standpoint. The camera data bear that out and they completely undermine the USFWS’ argument that the tanks are necessary in Wilderness.”

Posted in Bighorn sheep. Tags: . 18 Comments »

Grizzly mauls sheepherder; kills dogs, sheep

Are the wilds of the Upper Green a place for sheep?

By Ken Cole and Ralph Maughan

Grizzly mauls sheepherder; kills dogs, sheep. By Joy Ufford with Derek Farr. Sublette Examiner

Domestic Sheep © Ken Cole

Domestic Sheep © Ken Cole

This is bad. A poor shepherd got seriously hurt. With all the media attention on sheep ranchers there is too little attention to the men who do most of the work, usually living lives of isolation in remote areas often far from their native lands. The article says that the injured herder, Marcello Tejeda, is from Rock Springs. We hope he was given health insurance as part of his contract.

The upper Green River country is some of  America’s scenic and wilderness wonderland. For twenty years now it has been in process of reclamation by the great bear and wolves. Grizzly bears were not moved into the area like the sheep’s owned was quoted. They gradually reinhabited the area completely on their own.

Cattle and sheep eat the forage that could support more elk. Livestock trample the banks of steams that splash thousands of feet down from glaciers of the Wind Rivers or the lingering snowspatches high in the Gros Ventre Mountains.

With all of the losses the owner claims to have had due to predators doesn’t it beg obvious questions? Why graze your sheep here and should taxpayers have to pay for predator control, and other subsidies so you can continue. Is this an appropriate place to graze sheep, a basically defenseless animal?

I think we know what will become to these now unattended and scattered sheep.


Late afternoon in Tosi Creek at the eastern edge of the Gros Ventre Wilderness. The attack was described to have taken place in this general area. The day after I took this photo, I saw 6 different black bears while I was backpacking. That was in the 1990s. Now grizzlies have replaced many of the big black bears. Photo copyright Ralph Maughan

Feces on elk feedgrounds could spread wasting disease. Officials call for phaseout of feeding elk herds

They read the article in Nature we posted last week!

Feces on feedgrounds could spread wasting disease. Officials call for phaseout of feeding elk herds. By Cory Hatch. Jackson Hole News and Guide.

At least we heard from some groups and officials about the direct implications of the study in Nature, but what about this quote from Wyoming Game and Fish, Kreeger* continued. ‘If this is the primary way that this disease is spread, nothing comes to my mind what we could do.’ ”

And maybe we could ask Bob Wharff of SFW Wyoming about this finding. Bob, do you want to comment, and in Idaho does elk ranch lobbyist Stan Boyd have anything to say?
– – –
Terry Kreeger is supervisor of the Veterinary Services Branch of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department!

Obama Repackages Bush Salmon Plan

Calls Dam Breaching a “Last Resort”

Chinook Salmon © Ken Cole

Chinook Salmon © Ken Cole

“The administration’s passing reference to dam breaching as a ‘contingency of last resort’ defers all necessary economic, infrastructure and other studies, making this ‘contingency’ an illusion,” said Samuel N. Penney, the chairman of the Nez Perce American Indian Tribe, which has traditionally fished the Columbia.

New Federal Plan for Fish-Dam Harmony
New York Times

Obama administration backs Columbia salmon and dam plan
Rocky Barker – Idaho Statesman

Six poachers in Idaho sentenced

24 misdemeanor counts put one Blackfoot, ID man in jail; others fined-

The men “involved in hunting in closed areas, transferring tags, purchasing resident licenses while residing outside of Idaho, hunting without the proper tag, killing elk in excess of the bag limits, and hunting with the use of motorized vehicles.”

Idaho Fish and Game news release.

Posted in Elk, Poaching. Tags: . 18 Comments »

More trouble for deer. Endocrine-disrupting compounds make weird genitals

Bitterroot Valley resident tracks growing deformities by examining road kill-

New West has a story today about the likely effects of endocrine-disrupting chemicals on deer.  Bitterroot Rebel With a Cause. Genetic, Genital Damage in Montana Wildlife? (bad link is now fixed). By Joan Melcher. New West.

Almost half of the bucks had structural abnormalities.

Montana wolf hunt: Hunters not obligated to eat wolf kills

Article on what do you do with a wolf you shoot this time of year-

Hunters not obligated to eat wolf kills. By Rob Chaney. The Missoulian.

Want more elk? Then take back the public grass that cattle eat

Elk numbers depend not just on birth minus mortality, but on square miles of area where they can find something to eat-

There are many places in the West where elk could live and thrive if they had something to eat, but they don’t. Livestock is the reason.

Aside from those areas of continuous forest with little for elk to eat and the hot desert, the typical case is where cattle and sheep eat up to 90% or more of the forage. Unlike with deer which are browsers, elk are more like cattle and sheep. Elk do browse many kinds of brush and trees. They are “mixed feeders,” and need grass and forbs as about 50% of their diet.

Most of the Forest Service and BLM public lands are broken into grazing allotments for cattle and sheep. Repeated visits and data collection by Western Watersheds Project and others show that livestock often eat 90% of  the grasses that elk could eat and sometimes more. In addition, this heavy grazing temporarily or permanently reduces the productivity of the grass and forbs by weakening them and allowing poorly edible and non-edible plants and shrubs to increase. This includes alien invaders like cheatgrass and medusa head. Cheatgrass changes the fire regime serving to create frequent fires eliminating other grasses and the browse, often creating a near mono-culture.

Where alien plant invasion has not been too severe, reduction or elimination of livestock can sometimes create a quick bounty for elk. Other places will take much longer to restore from abusive grazing by livestock.

But how about an example?

Twenty miles south of Pocatello, Idaho and just west of Malad City, Idaho are the Pleasantview Hills. The Pleasantview grazing allotment of about 60,000 acres has very few elk, and some deer. Every canyon bottom save two recently reclaimed from cattle is trashed, grazed down to dirt, with even the stream channels trampled out. The typical bad example below is of West Elkhorn Canyon in these hills (actually mountains).


West Elkhorn Canyon after cattle season. Sept. Pleasantview Hills. SE Idaho. PHOTO Ralph Maughan


Not much left for elk, although you can see it would be elk habitat if the canyon was lush with grass.
What could the canyon look like?  Don’t take my word as mere speculation.
Read the rest of this entry »

Wolf Advocates Seek to Expedite Request for Summary Judgement

Wolf Advocates filed this motion in Montana District Court today :

Plaintiffs’ Motion for Expedited Merits Briefing

Update. Newspaper story on this: Wolf advocates won’t appeal court decision allowing hunts in Idaho, Montana. By Rob Chaney. The Missoulian

Red Snow Warning: The End of Welfare Water and the Drying of the West

The long term effects of global warming, and desertification of the West examined. Exporting the water to the urban areas means exporting the rural areas’ soil to the East.

Livestock grazing, water mining, dams, all serving to desertify the West which ends up blowing, in the form of dust, to the East causing snow to melt faster and making less water available in the long run.

“After decades in which Easterners ritualistically visited the American West, the West may be traveling east.”

Red Snow Warning: The End of Welfare Water and the Drying of the West
by Chip Ward in the Huffington Post.

– – – –

Related article added on 9/15. New study shows river runoff decreases in driest years in Oregon, Northwest. By Joe Rojas-Burke, Oregonian.

Posted in Climate change, Dams, water issues. Tags: , , , . Comments Off on Red Snow Warning: The End of Welfare Water and the Drying of the West

Montana wolf hunt begins tomorrow, Sept. 15

Hunt will begin in four Montana Wilderness Areas and two more Idaho areas-

Although the Idaho wolf hunt has got all the attention, Montana’s hunt begins on a limited basis Sept. 15.  It will be in the Bob Marshall complex of Wilderness areas and the Beartooth Wilderness immediately north of Yellowstone Park.

Idaho’s hunt is currently open only in two hunting areas, but the Selway and Middle Fork hunting units open Sept. 15. The rest of Idaho will open on Oct. 1.

So far about 3500 wolf tags have been sold in Montana compared to about 11,000 in Idaho.

Alberta oil sand development is greatest single source of pollution in the world

Oilsands’ emissions surpass some countries-

Although the oilsands massive pollution has been posted on this blog before, including a video, the magnitude of pollution is amazing. If current trends continue, according the article below, in eleven years they will produce as much greenhouse gas as all the world’s volcanoes.

Oilsands’ emissions surpass some countries. By Mary Jo Laforest. The Canadian Press. Globe and Mail.

Ray Ring says Obama’s Admin loaded with environmentalists

We haven’t seen a lot of great names, but check out his column-

Sherman’s Nomination Brings Obama Enviros to 34
The latest is Harris Sherman, executive director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources. By Ray Ring, High Country News

Idaho man gets federal money to develop his idea of putting solar panels in highways

This would be a way to deploy solar power collectors without disrupting remote and pristine public lands-

It also seems to me that a way to use the electricity to power a new generation of vehicle might also be possible.

Idaho man gets federal money to develop his idea of putting solar panels in highways. By Rocky Barker. Idaho Statesman.

Tase me bro

Interior Releases New Rules for Disturbances to Bald and Golden Eagles

New rules will supposedly still protect eagles-

I also read the actual new regulations. One thing I didn’t know is that while bald eagle populations continue to grow, golden eagles might be in decline.

Interior Releases New Rules for Disturbances to Bald and Golden Eagles. By Allison Winter. New York Times.

Are Tigers ‘Brainier’ Than Lions?

For their body size, tigers have bigger brains than African lions-

Are tigers ‘brianier’ than lions? Science Daily

Cause of spread of “mad elk”, “mad deer” disease found

It’s in their droppings, and the infectious prions never go away!

Really, really bad news about chronic wasting disease.  Study Spells Out Spread of Brain Illness in Animals. By Sandra Blakeslee. New York Times.

“Dr. Aiken said prions tended to bind to clay in soil and to persist indefinitely. When deer graze on infected dirt, prions that are tightly bound to clay will persist for long periods in their intestinal regions. So there is no chance chronic wasting disease will be eradicated, he said. Outside the laboratory, nothing can inactivate prions bound to soil. They are also impervious to radiation.” [emphasis mine]

Update. Here is the link to the abstract in Nature

New Update: Wyoming boosts CWD survey. This season, more state and federal agents will take samples from hunters’ deer and elk. By Cory Hatch. Jackson Hole News and Guide.

White House to Nominate Colorado’s Harris Sherman to Head Forest Service

Another friend of Salazar to be Undersecretary of Agriculture for Natural Resources and Environment to oversee Forest Service and the NRCS-

White House to Nominate Colorado’s Harris Sherman to Head Forest Service. By Courtney Lowery, New West.

There might be some confusion because the Forest Service got a new Chief Forester about a month ago. It works this way. The Forest Service is directly managed by the Chief of the Forest Service. The Service itself is a classic example, almost the model of a bureaucracy (I am using the word “bureaucracy” in a neutral fashion here).  In turn, within the Dept. of Agriculture (not Interior), the Forest Service and the lesser known Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), formerly named the Soil Conservation Service, is overseen by the Undersecretary of Agriculture for Natural Resources and Environment. Harris Sherman will be the new Undersecretary if confirmed. The power of this position relative to the Forest Service Chief has, in my opinion, grown in recent years. Under George W. Bush the Undersecretary was Mark Rey, a good friend of former Idaho Senator Larry Craig. Rey was greated disliked by conservation groups.

This is Obama’s second nomination to this office. His first was Homer Wilkes from Mississippi. Wilkes suddenly withdrew his name after being nominated.

This nomination would seem to really consolidate the power of the current Secretary of Interior over Obama’s public lands policy because the Forest Service is the only major public lands administrator not in the Dept. of Interior. Politics of the early 1900s put the then-newly created Forest Service in the Department of Agriculture which was regarded as more innovative and less corrupt than the Dept. of Interior.

Enviros Blast Obama’s Choice for Office of Surface Mining

Another controversial Obama appointment

This time, environmentalists are angered with Obama’s choice for Office of Surface Mining Reclamation, and Enforcement.

Enviros Blast Obama’s Choice for Office of Surface MiningENS

For the past 17 years Pizarchik has been engaged in Pennsylvania’s mining program, first as legal counsel and then as the director of the Bureau of Mining and Reclamation.

During his tenure at Pennsylvania’s Bureau of Mining and Reclamation, says [Jeff] Ruch [Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility], “Pizarchik has hewn a solidly pro-industry line on topics such as acid mine drainage, subsidence from longwall mining and using mining slag as valley fill.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Rare sockeye salmon get boost at Redfish Lake, Idaho

450 sockeye salmon into the lake near Stanley, Idaho-

Rare salmon get boost at Redfish. Sockeye released into lake after second summer of high returns. By Jon Duval. Idaho Mountain Express Staff Writer.

“no one has seen a sight like this since 1956. . .”

I wish I could have been there. Wonderful! I hope every year from now on there will more spawners and smolt in the lake that bears their name.

Photo of Redfish Lake from nearby mountains before the mountain pine bark beetle epidemic.

Wind Turbines and Bird Kills

Federal Law Enforcement’s Double Standard on Bird Deaths

Robert Bryce writes about the enormous disparity in federal law enforcement between a bird killed in a wastewater tank versus the increasing number of birds falling victim to Wind Energy.

Wind Turbines and Bird Kills – via Counterpunch :

When it comes to protecting America’s wildlife, federal law enforcement officials have a double standard: one that’s enforced against the oil, gas, and electric utility sectors, and another that exempts the wind power sector from prosecution despite years of evidence involving hundreds, even thousands, of violations of two of America’s oldest wildlife-protection laws.

Carter Niemeyer: How many wolves will be killed in the hunt?

Wolf expert trapper, shooter, advocate, manager Carter Niemeyer writes special essay for this blog-

How many wolves will hunters kill in Idaho in the upcoming wolf season?

Copyright © Carter Niemeyer

We can all speculate on the number of wolves that hunters may kill if a wolf hunting season happens in Idaho, but the outcome will depend on a number of variables that are hard to predict. The quota for the state of Idaho is 220 wolves (I am not going to address the Tribal quota of an additional 35 wolves). I think that the full quota could be reached quickly if hunters start killing wolves early in the season with no consideration of age or size. Hunters who want to even the score for all of the elk that have been killed by wolves will probably be satisfied to kill any wolf they see. On the other hand, a real sportsman may wait until November when the the wolf pups have grown and all of the wolves have thick, prime winter pelts. Finding large, adult wolves that present themselves as easy targets will be a difficult task.

I predict that most wolves killed early in the season will be taken by hunters who have purchased a wolf tag and opportunistically encounter a wolf while hunting for other big game species. Many hunters report seeing wolves while on a deer or elk stand or bugling or cow-calling for elk. Hunters will be pre-positioned in a tree stand or other camouflaged situation and a wolf or wolves, hunting for their next meal, will come upon the hunter and be shot. I think this is how most of the wolves that are taken legally will die. Wolves’ encounters with people are often at very close range. With 10,000 or more hunters in the field carrying wolf tags the 220 quota could be attained in this manner. On the other hand, if hunters are more particular about the size and quality of wolf they want to kill, they may postpone killing one until they actually can kill a trophy. Wolf hunters are going to have to be very stealthy and surprise a wolf pack or they aren’t going to see them. Wolves, with their wary nature and keen senses, have the advantage over people.

Read the rest of this entry »

Snake Valley water split angers Utahns

Posted in Las Vegas. Tags: , , , . Comments Off on Snake Valley water split angers Utahns

Eagle man cited for poaching a wolf outside a designated hunting zone

Hunter reportedly shot the wolf from the road

Eagle man cited for poaching a wolf outside a designated hunting zone
Idaho Statesman

Federal judge says gray wolf hunts can continue

Judge also indicates that delisting opponents may prevail in larger case.

New Expanded story. Federal judge says gray wolf hunts can continue. Good chance plaintiffs may win in the end. By Matthew Brown. AP

Here is the judge’s actual ruling.pdf

Newer stories.

9/10. Wolf hunt will go on for now, court says. But the judge who made the decision hints the animals may eventually be returned to the endangered species list. By Rocky Barker. Idaho Statesman.

9/10. Views from Montana. Judge OKs wolf hunt, questions delisting. By Daniel Person. Bozeman Chronicle Staff Writer

Pot growers like Idaho wilds

Authorities are busting an increasing number of marijuana plots in remote areas-

My opinion. Maybe one good thing will come out of the recession . . . an end to the “war on drugs” and all the economic, social, and physical damage it has caused. I’m glad to see some drug users are now being released from prison because there isn’t enough money to keep them there.

In the meantime you do have to be careful in the backcountry in seldom traveled places where there is water,  not too high elevation, and soil deep enough to grow marijuana.  Pot plantations are a lot more common in places like  SW Oregon and northern California than Idaho. Essentially all public officials in the northern California counties have found they need to make peace with what has become a  significant part of their economy.

Pot growers in Idaho backcountry. By Kay Moeller. Idaho Statesman.

I do think the increase in backcountry growing is mostly due to the recession. Some people who can’t find a job or one they see as acceptable, probably see growing as a profitable alternative to the economic  system that threw them out of work.

The Butte Fire page (Druid Peak)

Earlier I posted an article and an update about the forest fire on top of Druid Peak.  Here is the Official page on the fire with current updates, maps and photos.

National Public Radio: Idaho Resumes Hunting Of Gray Wolves

Idaho Resumes Hunting Of Gray Wolves. by Doug Nadvornic. Part of “All things considered.”

Will grizzly bear deaths be so high again this year that Yellowstone grizzlies go back on the threatened species list?

Good vegetation conditions this year should keep grizzly deaths down, but it’s not clear that they are-

Another year like 2008  and the Greater Yellowstone grizzly bear population goes back on the threatened species list.

Federal, state wildlife agencies launch campaign to prevent grizzly bear killings. By Matthew Brown. Associated Press.

Fire on Druid Peak is the largest in Yellowstone this summer

The “Butte Fire” at 110 acres is largest in a slow forest fire season inside YNP-

Lightning-caused fire in park grows to 110 acres. Billings Gazette.

Update 9/8/2009. Fire on Druid Peak grows to 200 acres. AP

Update 9/10/2009. Bad news. It is burning whitebark pine, the endangered and incredibly valuable food source for grizzly bears.

Plan moves forward for giant desert refuge in Nevada

This is a new 15-year plan for the Desert National Wildlife Refuge and 3 others in southern Nevada-

Massive desert wildlife refuge effort nears OK. By Stephanie Tavares. Las Vegas Sun.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s plan for the largest national wildlife refuge in the lower 48 would regenerate springs in the desert, streamside areas and some upland over thousands of acres of the 1.6 million acre complex to benefit threatened and endangered species, non-threatened wildlife, including migratory birds. Illegal roads would be closed. There would also be a greater effort at halting and reversing the spread of alien plants and animals.

Here is a link to the plan, which is set to be final on Sept. 21, 2009

The largest portion of the Refuge was established primarily to conserve desert bighorn sheep.

The four refuges are the Desert National Wildlife Refuge, the Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, the Moapa Valley National Wildlife Refuge, and the Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge.

Are Hunters Stupid?–The Unintended Consequences of Wolf Hunting

George Wuerthner has written an essay exploring the reaction of many people to the wolf hunt.

Are Hunters Stupid?–The Unintended Consequences of Wolf Hunting . New West.

Idaho Wolf Hunt/”Custom & Culture” photo

This may be the beginning of a “Custom & Culture” series of photo-essays here on Ralph Maughan’s Wildlife News

photo take 9/1/09 © Western Watersheds Project 2009

Josephine's Pizza and RV between North Fork and Gibbonsville, Idaho, 9/1/09 © Western Watersheds Project 2009

Andrea Peacock: Bearly Making It

How Many Biologists Does It Take to Count a Dead Grizzly?

Grizzly cub near Pelican Valley © Ken Cole

Grizzly cub near Pelican Valley © Ken Cole

Adrea Peacock adapts an essay from In the Presence of Grizzlies: The Ancient Bond Between Men and Bears by Doug and Andrea Peacock, The Lyons Press 2009 :

Bearly Making Itvia CounterPunch

On December 17, 2004, Louisa Willcox of the Natural Resources Defense Council convened a collection of U.S. grizzly bear advocates in Bozeman, Montana, with a call to arms. Under threat of lawsuit from the governor of Wyoming, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service planned a fast-track removal of Yellowstone’s grizzly bears from the protections of the Endangered Species Act. Convinced that such a move—under the sorts of conditions proposed by the agency—could send the park’s grizzlies on a downward spiral toward extinction, Willcox figured the activists and lawyers gathered had about a year to either derail the process, or get ready to sue.

There is litigation contesting the US Fish & Wildlife’s delisting of grizzlies currently underway.

Salazar’s legacy: historical first state-sanctioned hunt of Northern Rockies gray wolves

Salazar is part of the West’s landed nobility-

Salazar’s legacy: historical first state-sanctioned hunt of Northern Rockies gray wolves. Seattle Environmental Policy Examiner. By Jean Williams

“The state’s [that is, Idaho] object is to reduce the current wolf population by half.  This is a species that was removed prematurely from ESA protection, under authority by Interior Secretary, Ken Salazar.  The Secretary is considered by many conservations, to have a personal bias, due to the fact that he is also a landowner, rancher, and member of the Cattlemen’s association.”

Government Leaves [Mexican] Wolf Pack in the Wild

Great news ! :
Government Leaves [Mexican] Wolf Pack in the Wild KUNM – FM radio

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will not remove a wolf pack from the wild in southwestern New Mexico. Regional Director Benjamin Tuggle ruled last week that the Middle Fork Pack is highly valuable genetically to the Mexican gray wolf reintroduction program.

Idaho Mountain Express’ news story on the wolf hunt

The Mountain Express is central Idaho’s major weekly newspaper. It is published in the Wood River Valley, where a fair number of fairly rich people live amongst the larger population. This makes the area a target for “populist conservatives” who think that wealth means liberalism.

At any rate, here is their local look at the hunt. As judge deliberates, wolf hunt begins. Hunting opens in Sawtooths; 11,000 tags sold in Idaho. By Jon Duval. Express Staff Writer

Idaho wolf hunting map and success

IDFG produces map to show wolf tag quota and zone, plus current tags filled-

The URL is

Unfortunately, so far they are not keeping it up to date. We expect that they will (meaning should be required to).

Sandpoint, Idaho protesters decry wolf hunt

Seems to have been a fairly successful demonstration in this far northern Idaho town-

Sandpoint, Idaho protesters decry wolf hunt. Bonner County Daily Bee

Monkeys Don’t Go For Music — Unless It’s Made for Them

I wonder if music could be composed that elk enjoy? More likely would be wolves-

Wired Magazine. Monkeys Don’t Go For Music — Unless It’s Made for Them. By Hadley Leggett

From the WWP blog. LDS Apostle Orson Hyde speaks in 1865 on the impact of Grazing on Rangeland

Any Utah Latter Day Saint knows the story how the Pioneers made the Utah desert “blossom as a rose,” but the real story is more complex-

Grass was so deep in the early years where Tooele, Utah (Ta WILL ah) now stands that livestock were frequently lost in it. It was named Grass Valley. Anyone been there lately or even a hundred years ago and seen any grass?

LDS Apostle Orson Hyde speaks in 1865 on the impact of Grazing on Rangeland. WWP blog.

Wolf hunt information and effects that need to be collected

Side-effects of policies are often the most interesting-

So the hunt is underway in part of Idaho. All of Idaho will be added in a month. Meanwhile Montana will begin a hunt. Most people will focus on whether somebody got a wolf, where, how?  There will be pleasure and outrage. Some basic statistics will be kept.

One of the most important and interesting things about new policies is what side-effects are there, including unanticipated ones?

So I am listing some possible side effects. Some are so obvious the various groups and governments are probably keeping track. Some entities might also not want them tracked. Some are not feasible to collect.

  • What happens to a disrupted wolf pack? Do they usually regroup or do they disperse? Will disrupted packs and orphaned wolves take more or less livestock per wolf, or in total, than before the hunt?
  • What percentage of wolves limp off wounded? And then, will wounded wolves resort to killing livestock?  Will wounded wolves be a danger to people?  Healthy wolves haven’t been.
  • How many coyotes will be shot? How many dogs?
  • Will the hunt serve to disperse wolves to new areas, including populated ones?
  • How fast will the wolves learn that they are now prey to humans?  If so or when, how will their behavior change?
  • Will disrupted packs kill fewer elk and deer or more?  We know that smaller packs and lone wolves lose more of their carcass to scavengers and so they might possibly hunt more often.
  • Will the hunt increase strife between wolves — more wolves killing each other?
  • Will it have effects on the genetic structure of the population of wolves in Idaho and Montana?
  • In the course of a year, or two and more if wolf hunts continue, what is observed degree of association between the percentage of wolves killed in an area and the deer and elk population? Actually this is a main effect — a stated intention of the hunt. So we expect Idaho Fish and Game to keep very good records if their rationale for the hunt is for real.
  • How much money is made (or lost) by the Departments on the hunts? This needs to also apply to the reestablishment of radio collars.
  • How many killed or wounded wolves were there in addition to those tagged?

Kill order placed on Ore. wolves killing livestock

This would be the first “control” of wolves in Oregon.

There are only two breeding packs in Oregon, one of them has been implicated in 5 incidents of livestock predation, two wolves are slated to be killed.

Kill order placed on Ore. wolves killing livestock
Associated Press

Kamiah hunter shoots wolf; may have been first of the season

Photos show what may be first wolf shot in Idaho’s wolf hunt

I am guessing this is not the only wolf shot today.

Kamiah hunter shoots wolf; may have been first of the season
Idaho Statesman

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation views the upcoming elk hunt

Elk outlook is great reading, especially when compared to views that wolves have killed most of the elk in Idaho, WY, and MT-

Elk hunters and all wildlife enthusiasts will find this fascinating reading for all the states and provinces.

2009 Elk Hunting Forecast.By Jack Ballard. Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

For the 3 western states with significant wolves, pay close attention, and compare with the data from RMEF’s 2008 forecast.

2008 Elk Hunt Forecast. By Justin Karnopp. Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

Estimated elk population for the 3 wolf states-


2008 95,000
2009 105,000

– – –

2008 150,000
2009 150,000

– – –

2008 115,000
2009 107,000

So elk population up in WY, stable in Montana, and down a bit in Idaho. This doesn’t mean wolves don’t have local population reduction effects, but in Montana and Wyoming they are offset by some other factors. It doesn’t mean that Idaho’s overall drop is the sole product of wolves.

Of course, when you compare other states with no wolves, there are similar stability or change figures.   C0lorado has by far the most elk, 280,000, but also shows a drop of 12,000 from 2008 to 2009. I think Nevada shows the largest percentage  gain of any state with a significantly large elk population.

Wolf Photos

We get quite a few requests for photos. Although we have some, the Wolf Recovery Foundation does not sell photographs of wolves, but the web sites below do. I have linked to photographers who have been generous enough to donate photos of wolves to us. Although these web sites may not have “wolf” in their name, they have images of wolves.

I can sell my photos too. Email me at


Bert Katzung Yellowstone National Park.

Daniel Stebbins Photography

Dave Stiles – Writer, Photographer, Dreamer

Mark Miller Photographer of Wild Places. Mark lives in Gardner, MT

Raptor’s Roost Wildlife Photography. R.J. Weselmann

Wise Nature Photos: Fine Art and Stock Photography by Cathy Wise.

Wonders of Nature. Tammy Shelton-Hall and Angie Savage

Yellowstone Experiences. Tim Springer

From me (Ralph Maughan). I’m not a serious seller of photographs, but I have thousands and thousands of high quality photos of Idaho, Western Montana, Utah, Western Wyoming some parts of Nevada, British Columbia, and Oregon. Most of the photos on our web page copyrighted by me are probably for sale. For the advancement of conservation news and education, I might donate a photo. If you are interested, contact me.

Posted in Wolves. Tags: . Comments Off on Wolf Photos