There were 3 comments below the article at the time I read it.
Chris Rock has a suggested that instead of gun control maybe they should increase the price of ammunition to such an outrageous price that people might think about what they hate so much they will shoot at.
“Chris Rock has a suggested that instead of gun control maybe they should increase the price of ammunition to such an outrageous price that people might think about what they hate so much they will shoot at.”
I can load up 200 rounds of ammunition in an evening and I have enough supplies to last me a life time.
An outfitter just tried to kick me off of forest service land saying it was his land this morning — I was a bit unsure of myself. Due to my business I have maps that the pulbic does not have an they were wrong. I am pissed.
Good news from the Sequim meeting. I approve of the introduction into the Olympic National Park even though it may present some problems. I was a bit surprised at the comments by the person fearful of walking in the woods and the loss of spendy pets.
fear is such a funny emotion, that is only important to those who fear, to the rest of us, it is only a joke, I remember my first tour of duty, it was in Grenada, and I was so afraid of the dark, I forgot completely that there were guys running around with guns that wanted to kill me……..
I agree, there is nothing to fear from wolves, but making fun of those who do fear them, is probably not the best strategy to win the battle…
While I am not trying to make fun of these people, my point is that int his day and age I would think people would have some sense that the Little Red Riding Hood scenario is purely a work of fiction and that wolves are not like that in real life.
I was reading somewhere that people were opposed to California condor restoration because they were thought to prey on livestock. I always figured it was common knowledge vultures were scavengers. I guess the question is, how do you educate people about the truths of animals?
Well, how much does one have to wonder when those who choose not to listen to any other information than what they want to hear… it’s a choice to refuse to understand or even try to understand. “I know what I know and that’s that. You can’t tell me it isn’t so….”
I’ve heard so many varieties of this mindset for well over a decade ~ concerning opposition to wolves that is ~ that I have come to conclude that it’s ignorance by choice. On other topics, in many cases, it’s much longer.
Have to agree with Salle on this. There may be one case in NA of a wolf killing a person, whereas it has happened numerous times with bears and cougars, which are far more plentiful than wolves probably will ever be, yet these people that fear wolves don’t fear these species. It is completely unfathomable.
There’s a lady up here in North Idaho tha runs a day care out of her home in one of the many drainages not to far from town. Last sprng she woke up and saw three wolves right at her back yard fence. Do you really think she has nothing to fear from wolves. Should she just go about business as usual and let the kids go out and play in the yard, would you? I’m not afraid of the big bad wolf and most I know up here aren’t. 99 out of 100 times with any wild animal there’s nothing to fear, however that one time you don’t respect an animal may be the time you should have. People in Idaho aren’t scared of the wolves, I think their scared of what wolves may bring. Shortened hunting seasons, which have already happened, and lower populations of game animals that many people up here relie on to get through the winter and summer until the next season. I’ve seen an increase in wolves up here as others have. We also find quite a few wolf kills in the winter, and yes some surplus killing does happen. The wolves in the areas I hunt have not decimated any herds but they have changed the way the elk move, I just change the way I hunt, no biggie. Others I know that won’t change or have not figured out how are the most vocal about herds being wiped out etc., especially when they do find wolf kills in the winter and spring. We’re not scared of the wolves, mostly what they may bring in the future. Kind of like the health care that just passed. We’ve been told it’s what we need, but are you willing to stake your life on what other people tell you is best for you. How about your kids and grandkids lives. We’re relatively new to the wolf being in the area and only time will tell what happens in the end.
Do those kids ride in cars ever? Did they ever see those wolves at the back fence again? Have they ever seen a strange dog there? How about a deer? They are in much more danger from those threats than wolves, so why the hysteria about the latter? Hunting seasons have changed in the past for reasons other than wolves, and would have in the future even if they weren’t here, so that argument about shortened seasons holds no weight. The natual world is constantly changing despite N ID’s desire to have it remain the same.
What is the literacy rate out there? Such illogical remarks, and insane spelling! I don’t suppose any of you have read Farley Mowat’s famous book, “Never Cry Wolf.” Actually it was made into a movie for PBS. Are you OK with that? It is about a long term scientific study, but is presented in a context that is easy to understand. Give it a try.
No wolf has ever attacked a human. The wolf’s favorite food is rodents.
Then it’s ignorance by obstinence. Was in a discussion today at the barber shop about “those Canadian wolves” that were reintroduced. I patiently explained the genetics aspect and dispersal capabilities of wolves and got “I didn’t realize that” from the other person. But by the time we were wrapping up he was right back to the same tired old refrain about the bigger, meaner “Canadian gray wolves” that killed off the native ones we already had. As Salle said- you can present them with all the facts you want, but when they put their fingers in their ears and go “I can’t hear you” there’s no point. Got to target the kids, who have grown up with these wolves and hope that their parents and grandparents biases and refusal to confront reality doesn’t warp them in this regard.
Cobra, Yes, it would be beneficial for the day care provider to be cautious, buit as far as not letting the kids play outside, that may be taking it a bit far. With that many people around the wolves will probably not stay around. I also agree with the statement about cars and deer. The scary thing about this paranoia that people have, is that elected officials and potential candidates have it. Conrad Burns had said there would be a dead kid within a year of wolves being restored (15 years on this hasn’t happened) and Rex Rammell is using that as a part of his platform for his candidacy, Joe Balyeat has a bleeding heart approach to wildlife. How can people be educated with politicians like this? People are voting people in with this kind of ignorance.
Cobra, Yes, it would be beneficial for the day care provider to be cautious, buit as far as not letting the kids play outside, that may be taking it a bit far. With that many people around the wolves will probably not stay around. I also agree with the statement about cars and deer. The scary thing about this paranoia that people have, is that elected officials and potential candidates have it. Conrad Burns had said there would be a dead kid within a year of wolves being restored (15 years on this hasn’t happened) and Rex Rammell is using that as a part of his platform for his candidacy, Joe Balyeat has a bleeding heart approach to wildlife. How can people be educated with politicians like this?
I agree, they do, do that, which is why I target the youth and work with kids, it is amazing, working with kids, how much their parents actually learn!
And I found out a long time ago, adults only hear what they want to, on BOTH sides of an issue. and it really does not matter, where the ignorance comes from, be it by choice, by obstinence, it is still there and it is prevalent, you can deny it, you can make fun of it, but until you accept it, you will never get rid of it..
“. . . . I don’t suppose any of you have read Farley Mowat’s famous book, “Never Cry Wolf.” Actually it was made into a movie for PBS. Are you OK with that? It is about a long term scientific study, but is presented in a context that is easy to understand. Give it a try.
No wolf has ever attacked a human. The wolf’s favorite food is rodents.”
– – – – –
Marley, about 20 years ago I thought Mowat was right, but since I’ve learned he was almost entirely wrong. Wolves do mouse, but by far the greatest source of their nutrition is large ungulates, depending on what is in their territory. In Idaho that is deer and elk. Many studies have been done on this — looking at their diets in detail. It is not a matter of conjecture.
You have presented a fact that most cultural anthropologists understand, that parents learn from their children. As has been observed in linguistics ~ I use this as the example because it’s rather clear in this context ~ when non-English speaking people immigrate to the US (just as an example), the adults may learn some English but it is their children who become educated in the English-speaking schools who become proficient in the use, rules of grammar and vocabulary who each it to their parents, siblings and grandparents. This has been observed in every language realm, not just English. Teach children the facts and they will help you teach their families and friends who are then more willing to hear what their children have learned. It’s the most efficient way to teach a population about nearly anything and have the result of their adapting to incorporate that knowledge into their lives.
The great misfortune of our culture, here in the US, is that we have adapted to demonizing and violence to “teach” others, this is not a positive reinforcement technique but it seems to be what is most popular in this country. Just look at how we get ourselves into costly wars, it’s pretty much self explanatory on that level, little intellect is required.
As far as numbers of mice wolves eat, I’d have to say those “scientific” studies, showing it is small compared to big game chow down, are skewed. Those “scientists” have not taken into account what mouse populations were Pre Whiteman impact…and this effect on wolf eating habits.
Grazing by cattle has severely impacted numbers of small mammals and also the change in the way herds graze has probably affected wolf-coyote populations more than any one thing out there.
Plus, with the demise of bison, for one, there has been a lot of adverse change in small mammal shelter and quality nesting material available. Thus a lot less small mammals.
My brother, in getting one of his graduate level degrees, studied numbers of “mice” on my buffalo pastures as compared to across the fence where cattle grazed. He found 4-5 times the small mammal populations on my land even though amount of and type of graze was identical. He would see mice IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAY race across almost barren ground to grab tuffs of buffalo wool for their nests.
Our area of Iowa has a lot of hawks because of CRP lands and those ever present hawks are something every mouse has to consider in running this gaunlet. The wool was in all their nests…as well as our prairie song birds and squirrels nests. Loss of bison on the plains affected a lot of things including dropping numbers of mice dramatically.
But as I said earlier HOW grasslands are grazed is probably number one why wolves aren’t eating as many mice today. A lot of recorded history tells of wolves and coyotes following right BEHIND (not on the flanks where most predator hunting occurs) herds of bison and elk. Why, because functional families graze close together…thus disturb the small mammals underfoot. So much so that these choice morsels were a major resource for wolves.
In Yellowstone winters I would see coyotes follow the herds of 25-30 elk waiting for grazing to disturb these mice. You didn’t see coyotes following a couple of elk. Same for bison in Hayden Valley. Now imagine tight family groups of bison or elk moving inmass. It had to be quite a scene with wolves directly behind, raptors and ravens and crows in the air…then scavengers following the whole entourage.
Again, it all happened not because of all those wolves killing all those buffalo and elk but because of a very little mouse…a mouse that is not here today in numbers anything like it was.
It also happened because grazers were in family and extended family units…not dysfunctional as today because of european style animal husbandry and very stupid big game management where seasons and population objectives are set and met based on multiples of individuals.
The “scientists” you refer to as those who say large game is number one for wolves did not consider what their profession already screwed up. Just as wildlife and range science academics are locked in symptom management solutions so are its “scientists” coming up with symptom science findings. I consider most as being Simple Jack Morons …all because they have superiority of themselves as a species over all that surrounds them.
The grazer and the predator today is not the same animal as it was Pre Whiteman. Thus, these scientists need to be putting disclaimers to their findings. They should be saying this is what they find with what wolves eat TODAY as adversely influenced by modern day hunting and ag interest management.
They might as well liken the validity of their “research” to finding out how all families live based on how they study “families” living in refuge camps.
With all due respect, the wolf opponents mostly argue in present tense unless they think that calling up “historical” anecdotal theories seems like a way in which they might win the argument. In the “historical” argument, though, they haven’t got a clue either. And research doesn’t matter to them unless it favors their perception and validates their point(s) that are largely based on pretzel logic.
As for research, evidence available is usually in present tense as well because that’s what’s physically there to study. I don’t know of many peer review boards that will accept what a Native American relates in the historical/pre-European (before contact) context because it can’t be validated by other means acceptable in research methodologies, at least not in the physical sense.
We have what we have to work with in the present. I’m not discounting your brother’s research, it sounds like he has found a different explanation on what predators would eat, but it still won’t satisfy those who want to believe otherwise. And then there is the reality that scientific data is still only speculation, albeit probably closer to actual fact than anecdotal evidence. I wanted to be an archeologist until I started studying archeology in college and came to the realization that basically what they do is dig up dead people and their garbage and speculate about what their lives were like, e.i. making up stories to fit the “evidence” that was found. I wasn’t into that, especially when I started talking to and making friends with Native Americans who had their oral histories that differed form what researchers were claiming. I decided to study cultures ~ historical and current ~ instead, made more sense even though validation of long past information is difficult, if not impossible, to validate to the satisfaction of academic research methodologies. (I still have present-day information available and that is acceptable given the cultural aspects of present-day peoples in whom I hold interest.) That was my choice. Still, just because someone, even many, say something is so doesn’t make it true no matter what you’re talking about. Though one can successfully argue that an educated calculation is closer to that truth than sparsely informed, emotional conjecture. Given that is what we are dealing with here, historical realities aren’t likely to take much of a lead in this argument, even if you can show strong evidence in favor of them.
NRM wolves eat ungulates, mostly, in the present day and that’s what we see now. Those who argue against wolves’ presence on the landscape don’t care about any other possibilities.
While wolves may have eaten a larger percentage of rodents historically, it is highly doubtful that this type of prey was a significant part of the diet. Simple logic leads one to conclude that capturing enough mice to maintain an animal the size of a wolf would be energetically impossible. Sure, they may have supplemented with the semi-regular rodent, but it’s well accepted that wolves-ungulates is the true relationship.
You can calculate a ratio of energy used to capture prey to that of energy obtained from eating the prey.
We would expect that for every predator species there is an optimum kind of prey. Of course, if more energy is expended capturing than obtained by consumption, the predator is worse off than if it did nothing.
Several articles have shown that wolf behavior actually tends toward the optimum.
Although it is rare humans have been attacked by wolves and just about every other animal out there. Words like never or always do not applie when tallking about widlife. All animals can be and are unpredictable, domestic or wild. Terms like usually or most of time are probably more accurate when applied to how animals act and react to different situations.
The wolves behind the day care were seen one other time that I know of. Actually I would be more concerned about them being a pack of dogs or maybe a couple of moose. We have a cow an calf moose behind our house in the pasture and our neighbors fruit trees almost every night. Drives the dogs crazy and they seem to run the deer off. We’ve seen deer, elk, bear, wolves, cougars, coyotes and moose not 50 yards from the house and the moose seem to cause the most concern with the kids walking to and from the bus stop. Moose can get kind of cranky and I know of more than one person that as spent time in a tree to get away from a cow with a calf. Sorry in advance for mispelling and illitirate comments, didn’t know we were being graded on this subject.
From what I have read in the scientific literature, not as much is known about wolf diet in summer as in winter, when most of the research studies on ungulate kills are conducted. The standard research period for common ungulate studies is November thru April, where it is typical to see an ungulate kill rate of 8-23/wolf. They, of course eat ungulates throughout the year depending on availability and ease of kill – young of the year, rut and winter weakened bulls, scenescent cows, and injured. Ungulates are tougher to get in summer because they are in good shape, and risk of injury is higher to the wolf.
Nutritional requirements of wolves are also greater in winter than spring, summer and early fall, except for lactating females. Wolf diet, according to scat analysis, shows that summer diet includes an abundance of plant material (including grasses abundant in vitamins useful for eliminating intestinal parasites), small mammals, birds, inverebrates, as well as rodents. These elements may comprise over 25% of summer diet.
God, I hate to get into too much of this analytical science stuff …..when mostly it just makes for tunnel vision in me….but in this case to “talk” with all you “statisticans” I am going to consult with my wolf-bear biologist and partner Susan Chin (she worked in Yellowstone wolf studies ’99-01 and then with the Yellowstone bears ’01 to 05).
So right now she is preparing some great bison sirloins and ribeyes for me to put on the grill ..and I turns to here and asks, “tell me honey, about wolf shit and wolf summer diet studies”.
So straight from a Cornell grad (class of1990), where all those researchers come from, she says shit studies for wolves are pretty much “presence absence”. Ya, how do you like those scientific lingo words? In other words in sorting through wolf shit it is easier to quantify presence of species, than prevalence, or amount of animals, of that one species in this shit.
Oh, Susan says I should say “scat”.
Hair is the biggie in identifying the different species in SCAT. It stays all the way through. Bones get dissolved a lot by the HCL acid (don’t want those sharp points making everything a pain in the ass do we?)
So with those little bitty animals researchers can tell if it is the hair of meadow voles and other scurriers. But how many when there are other species hair coming out also?..Well this is harder to quantify. And since those little guys dissolve faster than big guys knowledge as to who is “sub-optimal” is harder to know.
The only real way is to do those old style field observations…which there is little money anywhere and little time from “higher” level researchers. Thus Salle’s anecdotal and hunter-gatherer observers probably have a better idea than Cornell grads.
Yellowstones summer studies of wolf diet mostly centered around GPS tracking…and this means when a wolf or pack killed one of the big guys they stopped long enough for the collar to send that stationary signal to the sky. With the little guys wolves keep on trucking and thus it doesn’t get recorded.
I agree with Chris that mice are in lot more of minority in the sterile mt. environment than fertile grasslands. even so the coyotes I saw in Yellowstone in the winter following the pawing snow elk herds or head sweeping bison evidently were converting enough energy that made it worth while to do so.
And Salle, I agree science is in the present but without a look to the past and all its historical “evidence” how can scientists know they are not just studying symtoms?. They can’t. Not a single researcher I’m sure has ever studied a functional herd of elk …….with wolves in natural predator-prey relationship. Thus we don’t know…except all those historical accounts of lots of wolves FOLLOWING functional tightly packed herds of ungulates….to see if wolves ate mice in “sub-optimal” or mega optimal proportions.
Time to put the steaks on…and thanks to Susan I can maybe add a bit to the threads of science bible advocates. “Presence- Absence” I must say I really like the ring of.
The first few sentences of “The Wolf as a Carnivore” by Rolf Peterson and Paolo Ciucci, Chapter 4 of Wolves: Behavior, Ecology and Conservation, edited by Dave Mech and Luigi Boitani:
“From the best-selling book and popular movie, “Never Cry Wolf” (Mowat 1963), millions of people gained the impression that wolves eat mice, rarely caribou. Author Farley Mowat later admitted fabricating much of the story (Goddard 1996), originally billed as true, to gain public sympathy for the wolf. Mowat succeeded enormously, and decades later the misconception remains. Wolves are flexible and opportunistic predators, but they usually rely on large ungulates for food…”
Mr. Jackson doesn’t seem to understand that even if the particular history of the Great Plains of the US has made changes in small mammal abundance, that’s a minor detail when compared to the less-manipulated habitats that most of the world’s wolves live in. The fact remains that wherever they have been studied, wolves rely on large mammals for the majority of their diet, except where they live on garbage.
“Presence-absence” analyses of scat contents will actually exaggerate the importance of smaller prey because they are consumed whole, so that all of the hair is eaten, and because of the higher surface to volume ratio of smaller bodies, and because the presence of a vole in a scat has a lot less implication for diet than the presence of a moose.
I would suggest that the real “tunnel vision” comes from scorning the work of specialists and assuming that your personal vision is more correct.
It has been my experience posting here that there is alot of sunshine pumped up the butts of readers by well-meaning, but often uninformed, wolf advocates whose passion exceeds their pursuit of good science and rational thought.
Now just wait for the petard of minority report criticisms of Peterson, Mech and Boitani that flow from your comment.
The simple fact is that wolves, and most everything else on the planet, will eat whatever is available. Granted there will always be the “preferred” meal, but when it comes right down to brass tacks when it is eat or starve………
In a earlier post I gave the example of coyotes following and eating mice behind herds of bison and elk. I can also tell you I watched a lot of wolves while glassing for poachers. The pack will spread out and where there is more grass than not they veer to these locations while on the move. It is not to make easier walking. As soon as they are in these areas concentration goes up, the heads move differently and then the small mammal chow downs commences.
I also had a wolf den within one mile of my main cabin in Thorofare. Yes, I had a lot of field observation with those wolves in Yellowstone grassed delta areas. I saw what they ate.
And I am not saying wolves eat more small animals than larger ungulates. The larger the land predator the more the larger prey. But just like my bison chow down on locust pods almost exclusively this time of year…they don’t even get out of the woods…..they eat a lot of grass and forbes during other times of year.
My hunch is volume of food is not as important for ANY animal as quality of food. If a wolf gets to eat the whole animal (mouse) he is going to get more nutrition pound for pound than if he just gets part of a lesser nutritious hind quarter of an elk. If there are enough salmon or mice then a wolves diet is going to be better than if it is restricted to just elk.
It is the multiples of food source that counts…and if wolves are being hunted by man they are going to be a lot more vulnerable to guns if they are restricted to following big game around. Thus without the option to going to pre whiteman small mammal populations these wolves will be at a large disadvantage.
The “science” studies are skewed today…but living conditions for wolves can be improved …and made a lot more tolerable to ranchers and elk hunters…. if only scientists recognized their research is limited in application.
Well it is off to some small islands off South America and the Caribbean. See you all in a month.
I have always wondered about the effect of trapping on wolf food. If they had more small animals to eat, it would be better for them. As well the poisoning of small rodents or squirrels everywhere you turn… this would be added food for a predator. Seems what they have left is that big easy cow…
++I have always wondered about the effect of trapping on wolf food. If they had more small animals to eat, it would be better for them. As well the poisoning of small rodents or squirrels everywhere you turn… this would be added food for a predator. Seems what they have left is that big easy cow…++
Let’s be a little smarter gline. The animals that a trapper traps are not wolf food, muskrat, mink, marten, fox, bobcat and coyote, etc. These are fur bearing animals and a wolf might eat one once in a while but if that was their diet then wolf would stave to death. Small animals are the diet of the above fur bearers
Small animals that a wolf might eat are gophers in the spring and summer and early fall. Cottontail and jackrabbits year around and a grouse or another type of bird. I would think that they would eat gophers, rabbits or mice most of the time. They poisoning very few small animals in wolf recovery areas. I can shot several hundred gophers in an afternoon and that does not and can not dent the gopher population in a small area.
~I can shot several hundred gophers in an afternoon and that does not and can not dent the gopher population in a small area.~
How small, an area? Is this activity engaged in on more than one day during a week, month or year? A “dent” would mean about what percent of the population?
Are we calling the same animal group gopher? The ones I am familiar with rarely come out of their tunnel systems. I understand that some people also call ground squirrels gophers. These spend a lot of time out of their burrows and would present a much easier target.
Rather than blasting them away I figure that it is better to leave them as food for hawks, snakes, coyotes, bobcats . . . .
Richardson’s ground squirrels are known by a variety of names, including gophers, prairie gophers, yellow gophers, picketpins, flickertails, and tawny American marmots. They are sometimes confused with their relatives the prairie dogs.
There are very few landowners who do not want them shot. My subdivision’s are homeowners associtation had them poisoned. One could shoot 100 these “gophers” where they are abundant in a 5 to 10 acre tract and return day after day in early June and never see a decrease in numbers. “Gophers” will destroy irrigatation ditches and row crop fields.
I can shot several hundred gophers in an afternoon and that does not and can not dent the gopher population in a small area.
I have seen gophers (if you are talking about Richardson’s ground squirrels anyway) that do not seem to decline in areas that people hunt it. But let’s not forget that the seemingly unlimited prairie dog has been poisoned, shot, and driven out of most of its range. I would be curious to see if that would happen with other ground squirrels.