Is there any point to having any further public comment on the blog?

I started this blog to try to present a reasonable view, neutral between hunters and non-hunters on wildlife. I do have a position against public lands livestock grazing, and I favor wolf recovery. For these positions some will think I’m wrong.

This blog has generated a lot of good discussion. Very important facts have come out. I think some wildlife policies have been modified. I know other news media get ideas for stories here.

Unfortunately, the level of hostility among those who comment on this blog and in public in Idaho in general on wildlife issues is rising so rapidly, I wonder if there is any point in continuing to allow comments or even to maintain the blog.

Anyway, that’s what I am thinking.

Feel free to discuss it for a while here in a civil tone.

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Thank you everyone for your expressions of support for continuing a blog and a blog with comments.  I have been digesting these, and I talked with Ken Cole, who has been helping me a lot over the last year.

I’m going to post my thoughts here rather than as a regular comment where they will soon get buried.

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1. Everyone’s full name.

There’s no doubt this would calm things down quickly. However, we would lose valuable comments from people who would quickly be in trouble with their boss, their customers, their government agency, their relatives, their personal lawsuit, so forth.  Some of these comments have given invaluable information.

I will encourage you to use your full name, and I can ferret out fake full names. No doubt it will give your remarks more authority. That’s just natural.

2. Folks who go over the edge.

Most everyone gets irritated and lets out a rant against someone (who might well deserve it).  About a dozen regulars have gotten email from me at one time or another, and I have suspended some and removed others permanently. Some have really gotten angry (it helps if my email is plenty nice); others come right around.

I think sometimes a person has had a bit too much to drink when they comment.

For just a while, I hope, I’m going to have to be more aggressive reminding people. Some are not going to like this. My apologies in advance. Some are going to go away real soon.  Another problem is “thread-breakers.”  Let’s say there is a good discussion of recreation fees going, and someone makes a good comment but it’s totally off the subject. Something needs to be done about that.

It helps if you are posting into an ongoing thread if you at least glance at the five or six comments before yours.

Do Ken or I need to create more “open forums” where people can write what they want to write about at the time?

3. I want to change the name of this blog.

“Ralph Maughan’s” Wildlife News might make me seem like an ego-maniac.  Actually it is just a historic accident. My old web site was created for me way back in 1995. The person who made that site named it after me. Soon it started to be picked up by the search engines, and I kept that name to maintain ranking.

This is no longer necessary. I’d like to get rid of the “Ralph Maughan” in the name. I don’t want personal attention. However, what should it be called?

More on the injustice of the tiny federal grazing fees

These are doubly unjust compared to what the rest of us pay-

These data are from the High Country News blog, Goat.  Cows vs. RATs. Jodi Peterson

Initial Estimates Indicate Idaho’s Wolf Population DECLINED

First Decline Since Reintroduction

In Testimony to the Senate Resource and Environment Committee on January 18th Jim Unsworth, Deputy Director of the Idaho Fish and Game, said that the Idaho wolf population is about 800 animals which is down from last year’s estimate of 846. This would be the first decline seen in the wolf population since they were re-introduced in 1995.

The population has seen lower growth rates in recent years even though it is commonly claimed that the population has grown by 20% each year. With this year’s hunt (135 in 2009 and 11 in 2010), control actions by Wildlife Services (87), known poaching (13), and other mortality (38) there have been 284 wolf mortalities which is the highest since the reintroduction occurred. Data from December 2009 Management Progress Report.

Here is the testimony:

Senator Stennett asked for a point of clarity regarding the number of wolves for the next hunting season and the number of tags. Mr. Unsworth said they haven’t done the estimates yet, but this year they had 95 packs (about 800 animals) and it is the Commission’s decision as to what the harvest will be for next year. Senator Stennett inquired about the study on elk in the Lolo area. Mr. Unsworth stated that he would provide her with that information.

January 18, 2010 – Minutes – Page 7

Other interesting information is also found in his testimony. “149 radio-marked wolves were monitored in Idaho during 2009” and “10 of 135 harvested wolves were wearing radio collars. Capturing and radio-collaring efforts will need to be increased to compensate for lost collars.”