Ken Cole finds ID Fish & Game, wolves, coughing bighorn

Coughing bighorn. That is so ominous!

So our editor, Ken Cole, just got out of the Frank and the Salmon River Mountains. Very interesting news.

An ID Fish and Game helicopter was getting fueled at Corn Creek Bar. The two people in the chopper said they had seen some wolves but none collared. On the trail, Cole found a freshly-killed elk wolves had nailed. The next day he found it had been pretty much all eaten during the night.  He said there’s no way they could collar wolves in the steep country where he was.

Next week Fish and Game is moving into the Middle Fork. Heads up to all the spotters there.

Ken saw lots of deer and elk and bighorn, but one very scary thing about the bighorn — four of them were coughing badly. That was on the slope near the confluence with the Middle Fork.   Has the Montana plague spread into central Idaho? Does anything other than pneumonia cause them to cough?  What a dismal development? He reported his observations to the ID Fish and Game office in Salmon.

Coughing Bighorn Sheep © Ken Cole

Coughing Bighorn Sheep © Ken Cole

Helicopter doing game surveys in Frank Church Wilderness © Ken Cole

Helicopter doing game surveys in Frank Church Wilderness © Ken Cole

Grizzly Bear hunters target B.C. provincial parks, highways

I’m not sure if this report is about all human caused mortality or legal hunting. The existence of nearby paved road access makes a big difference regardless.

Grizzly Bear hunters target B.C. provincial parks, highways. Globe and Mail. Mark Hume

Montana FWP to let pneumonia take course with Rock Creek bighorn sheep

Culling sick bighorn just too tough in their rugged home-

More bad news about the pneumonia in the big, bighorn population east and southeast of Missoula, MT.

FWP to let pneumonia take course with Rock Creek bighorn sheep
By Rob Chaney
Missoulian |

Posted in Bighorn sheep, wildlife disease. Tags: , . Comments Off on Montana FWP to let pneumonia take course with Rock Creek bighorn sheep

Grizzlies move into Canadian polar bear territory

Will there be more “pizzlies”/” grolar bears”?

Someone put up a version of this on our “have you run across any interesting news page.” Now for a full post.

Grizzlies encroach on polar bear territory
By Doreen Walton
Science reporter, BBC News

Seems like I read polar bears are a more recently evolved species than the big brown grizzly bear (called by other names in Asia and Europe)

Fish and Wildlife director’s death prompts week delay in sage grouse decision

Huge sage grouse listing decision delayed by the death of Sam Hamilton-

Don’t know how many caught the article posted on the sudden heart disease death of Obama’s director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service? Anyway, the decision whether to put the sage grouse on the list has been delayed briefly. It was to come this Friday.

A year ago federal judge Lynn Winmill ordered USFWS to reevaluate their earlier denial to list this bird.

Sage grouse are “sagebrush obligate”. I learned this word a couple years ago. It means “depends on, cannot exist without” — the bird needs sagebrush absolutely for sure.

This shrubby emblem of the West isn’t doing well, at least in healthy continuous stands with the right kind of open spots, called “leks.”

Judge Winmill responded in favor of a suit by Western Watersheds project and Advocates for West because former assistant secretary of interior Julie MacDonald (under Bush) had admitted manipulating  the findings of DOI scientists — changing their recommendations on a whole  bunch of species. She admitted it herself. Many species have since gotten a new look by USFWS. The real biggie though is the sage grouse. That’s because it involves so much public land. Putting the bird on the list will impact off-road vehicles, grazing, oil and gas, geothermal, wind power development, electric transmission lines, and road building.

Livestock grazing is probably the biggest on-going problem. To public land grazers the colorful bird must seem like a strutting version of the devil.

Range fires fueled by cheatgrass and BLM plantings of non-native crested wheatgrass have destroyed several million ares of good habitat in the last 5 years.

Whatever outcome, this is major stuff.

Fish and Wildlife director’s death prompts week delay in sage grouse decision. By Rocky Barker. Idaho Statesman.

This map gives you an idea of magnitude of land affected.