Photos of Wyoming Range

Protection of the Wyoming Range was one of the big achievements of 2009-

B. Henrie, who posts here under another name, provided the blog with some fine photos of these splendid mountains. He took them on a Sept. deer hunt. No doubt they are now covered with snow.

A million acres was withdrawn from oil and gas development by Congress in the Omnibus public lands bill supported by the Wyoming delegation.  Believe me these steep mountains so full of deer and elk would have been all slashed up. Thanks!

coffinmt1

Toward Mt. Coffin from Wyoming Peak. View is to the north. Copyright B. Henrie

West from Wyoming Peak

West across the Greys River and Salt River Range from Wyoming Peak. Copyright B. Henrie

 

Ten wolves shot in Montana on opening day!

Montana’s wolf hunt did not have a slow start like Idaho’s-

Out of the quota of 75, already 23 wolves have been killed. In total eleven wolves were shot over the weekend.

The entire state was open to hunting for just 3 days. Southern Montana’s quota was filled on Sunday with the hunt ending at sunset today (Monday). Nine wolves in southern Montana had already been killed near Yellowstone Park before the general wolf, deer and elk season opened this weekend, so it took just 3 dead wolves to fill the quota for district 3, which takes in most of southern Montana. Note: district 2  which is still open includes SW Montana, a much smaller area than district 3. See map.

Story: Ten wolves in Montana shot on opening day. Great Falls Tribune.

Mont. shuts down wolf hunting in one of three districts

Remainder of the wolf quota was filled on the first day of the general hunt in district 3 (southern Montana)-

Mont. shuts down wolf hunting in one of three districts. By The Montana Standard News Services – 10/26/2009

Tracking science: Biologist’s findings show forest diversity, health influenced by wolves

Strong evidence that aspen groves are becoming healthier with presence of wolves.

Healthier aspen groves support more bird species, which may in turn help the overall health of forests. One thing mentioned in the article is that the pine beetle infestations seen throughout the west could be impacted with greater diversity and larger populations of birds. This has been well documented in Yellowstone Park, but it is interesting to see it happening in other wolf range too.

Discussion about wolves often focuses on how wolves impact elk populations and behavior and how that affects hunting.  Should wildlife management agencies focus solely on this or should they focus on the ecological benefits of wolves as well?  One could argue that the focus on wolf management is too narrow and that people should look beyond their narrow interests and look at systems as a whole.

Here is another question to ponder.  Can these benefits be realized on public lands impacted by heavy livestock grazing?

Aspen grove with new growth © Ken Cole

Aspen grove with new growth © Ken Cole

“Her findings: Wolves increase biodiversity; wolves affect elk behavior more than elk populations; and aspen growth in elk winter range is directly related to wolves.”

Tracking science: Biologist’s findings show forest diversity, health influenced by wolves. By Michael Jamison. Missoulian.

Most wolf occupied country, however, shows such a great impact from cattle, it is probably hard to sort out indirect effects of wolves on the vegetation. Cattle eat from half to 90% of the forage on most grazing allotments, leaving little for the elk, deer, pronghorn. As a result, the effect of changed elk behavior due to the wolves will probably be hard to document.