Jackson Hole News&Guide on the anti-wolf protest

Most of the oufitters’ “facts” were discredited by the feds (Jimenez)-

Of course the facts don’t matter.

I can’t believe one outfitter said he’d be scared if alone at night on a broken down snowmobile in the Gros Ventre Wilderness if he didn’t have a weapon. Well, I guess I would be too — afraid of hypothermia if I didn’t do things right, but that’s not what he meant.

Wyoming Game and Fish shouldn’t, and can’t guarantee outfitters the number of elk they want in each hunting subunit. Wolves are not the reason for natural geographic drift and shift of game populations.  They happen regardless. Wolves just push the drift in a different direction.

32 Responses to “Jackson Hole News&Guide on the anti-wolf protest”

  1. Bob Says:

    I’ve been around North American hunting outfitters for 40 years and the bottom line is they are ALWAYS moaning about reduced elk numbers. In Wyoming not so long ago they blamed things on “resident hunters”. Like residents shouldn’t be killing their (the outfitters) elk! Then it was unguided nonresidents. Then road hunters and ATVs. Three years ago it was bears. Now wolves. Next… what?

    • Ralph Maughan Says:

      Bob,

      In Idaho, it has generally been the same way. What I noticed the most was blaming Idaho Fish and Game for not providing the numbers they wanted.

      One good thing they did. Some of the important outfitters did help conservation groups establish the biggest wilderness on national forests in the lower 48 — the River of No Return Wilderness (later renamed the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness). It is just short of 2.4 million acres, all in one piece, larger than Yellowstone Park.

      Even then, however, a pretty fair number could not see how protecting the huge backcountry area they were using from rampant road development and subsidized timbering was in their self-interest.

      There have always been some pretty good outfitters, however. I wish their numbers were growing.

    • ProWolf in WY Says:

      Illegal aliens? UFOs? Elk becoming celibate?🙂

  2. Rob Says:

    Three or four years ago a USFS ranger told me they were very concerned since the elk hunt had been resoundingly successful in the Gros Ventre (taking bull elk that is). He said driving the 30 miles of road, checking on hunting camps, there wasn’t a one that didn’t have a bull tagged and some had many! And G&F people felt the unusual harvest was a fluke, but they were worried about impact on the future of the herd and was going to cut the season back as well as the number of bull permits. Back then there was very little wolf presence along the Gros Ventre. The Gros Ventre pack had died off and only a few small groups of wolves were seen in the area.

    So who’s to blame for reduced numbers these days? Well for one thing there are a significantly more grizzlies in the area. I live here and can positively attest to many more bears in the Mt. Leidy, Gros Ventre area. Bears eat elk calves!

  3. jon Says:

    Ralph, just curious, have you ever met Jimenez before? Any thoughts on him as Wyoming’s wolf coordinator? Also, what are your thoughts on Wyoming’s wolf management plan?

    • Ralph Maughan Says:

      jon,

      I have talked with Jimenez many times privately and in person.

      When I used to do wolf updates back in late 1990s and early 2000 period, I’d talk with him almost every other week and we’d go over the latest wolf information.

      Later, after the feds moved toward what I thought was a poor delisting plan, I talked less and less with him.

      He’s pretty straight forward, but certainly made his peace with the powers that be in Wyoming He has, however, rejected the flat wrong factual views of the anti-wolf folks many times.

  4. jimbob Says:

    Since outfitters always try to hold up their business as some type of glorified economic savior to these areas as the reason wolves should be removed, why aren’t the wildlife tour guides screaming about the government possibly killing all of the wolves? I’m so sick of “the economy” being trumpeted for every stupid move that politicians know is wrong and against the people’s wishes! There are a million examples of those of us with “real” crappy jobs that are losing them everyday, for no other reason than a CEO’s bonus—-the government should protect outfitters by killing our wildlife??? What kind of socialism is that?

  5. Virginia Says:

    Outfitters in the Cody area have always cried poor. One of the worst is one who illegally shot a grizzly bear during a hunting trip and then tried to cover it all up. Most of the outfitters around here now have moved from other states and, I am sorry, they do not understand that our wildlife is not here in order to provide them a living – just as Yellowstone National Park does not exist to provide a living to the gateway towns (i.e. snowmobile rentals.)

    • Ralph Maughan Says:

      Gateway towns have always had a strong influence on Park management and management of other federal lands in the area.

      But it is more complicated than that. It is more certain important people in the towns have a lot of influence. West Yellowstone is a good example. A few rich families dominate the winter economic activities into the the Park, etc. Their view is generally represented as the town’s view, but it really isn’t.

      Cody seems to be very influential, but I’d bet it is a handful of prominent families. For example, former many-term senator/governor Alan Simpson is from Cody.

  6. Gina O. Says:

    These statements are akin to a rancher I saw from Afton, ID, crying on the news a few years ago. He was mourning the loss of ‘the good ole days’ when his kids could sleep outside on a trampoline without the fear of getting eaten by wolves. For men that champion themselves at being masters of the universe they sure do cry a lot!

    • Ralph Maughan Says:

      I always wonder if they really believe this, or if them are willing to appear so weak and scared before the public just so they will get their way.

  7. Gina O. Says:

    I have met Jimenez once or twice and actually liked him. He isn’t perfect, nor are all his ideas…but I think he is caught between a rock and a hard place. I think he does his best. With that said I don’t know him personally and this was just my first impression based on a few private conversations.

  8. Cindy Says:

    Had I known Mr. Jimenez was at the Rally I might have showed up! I have a couple of questions I’d love to ask in person. Two pages past the wolf article in the JH News is a 1/4 page ad paid for by “concerned citizens, Jackson Hole, Wyoming”. It has a large banner across the top with a Warning – graphic pictures. There are 9 color photos showing elk and 1 bison in different stages of being hunted, taken down and consumed and/or partial consumed by wolves, which of course is labeled “They don’t even finish eating this unborn calf”. None of the dead elk photos show the wolves on the animals, but heck, who cares about facts like that. Since I’ve turned a new leaf recently and I’m kinda broke I won’t waste my time and money buying an ad for next weeks paper with 9 color photos showing how most cattle, pigs and chickens come to their ultimate demise.

    • Ralph Maughan Says:

      Some years ago, the Greater Yellowstone Coalition had a director of their Wyoming office, who had at one time worked in a sheep slaughterhouse.

      When the sheepgrowers got going too much about the viciousness of coyotes, he upped them one and would tell about what they had done to the sheep in the slaughterhouse.

      He said it made the woolgrowers real quiet for a while

    • Chris Harbin Says:

      Of course the slaughterhouse is the way we “humanely” kill our food. Everyone should be required to read Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle or at least take a class trip to the one.

  9. Robert Hoskins Says:

    I’ve made a pdf copy of today’s Dubois Frontier story on the outfitter rally; it’s longer and more detailed than the story in the JHN&G. Whoever wants it, let me know. I’ve also sent a copy to Ralph.

    RH

    • Robert Hoskins Says:

      Outfitting has changed in the West. Back in the 1960s, for example, local Dubois, Wyoming outfitters led the charge on the Washakie Wilderness in the Shoshone National Forest. I’ve got copies of all the old newspaper clippings reporting their activism for wilderness. They were working with the Sierra Club. God’s truth.

      At the same time, the Wyoming Game & Fish Department supported wilderness to protect elk migration corridors. The Commission, against the wishes of Wyoming Governor Stan Hathaway, sent the Dubois big game biologist back to DC to testify in favor of the Washakie Wilderness. This independence of thought and action drove the Stockgrowers and the timber companies to apoplexy, and they began working in earnest to destroy the Commission’s independence–a policy they finally achieved in the early 1990s.

      I’ve also seen the letter from a new Outfitters Association executive director from the late 1970s that asserts outfitters need to be worried more about economics than conservation. The change in outlook towards land and wildlife was like flipping a switch.

      RH

    • bob jackson Says:

      Robert,

      Thanks for informing on the origins and formation of the Washaskie. It patroled its borders.

      And yes, the old time outfitters I just got in on the tail end of (starting 1972 with patrol on them). They were a lot more relaxed and easy going bunch. They may not have followed the law all the time but I didn’t have to keep on them after I got a case and conviction…like I did with the “newer” agressive ones like one sees mentioned at the Jackson Hole anti wolf rally.

      Most of these latest batch of outfitters are imports….one married the mid west widow…. and her compensation ….from her late husbands industrial death, another was a NJ no good, another a dairy farmer from Wisconsin…you name it, they came in bold and blustering.

      I’d like to have “fun” with their locality with dudes around..since these guys all pretended to be from the salt of the west origins. I’d ask the questions that got them in trouble before they could back out. I remmeber one who was guiding a bunch of dudes from Boston. I still think of the looks on the dudes faces when the chapped and silk kercheffed husband and wife finally said they grew up in the Boston also.

      I really don’t care where anyone grew up. It is just when they try to portray something they are not.

  10. Rob Says:

    From Planet Jackson Hole article. A quote by one of the rally “organizers” about who the attendees were/are. He is quoted saying, “They’re used to being on their own, making thier (sic) own decisions,” Rodenbough said, referring to the rural lifestyles led by many who would like to see the wolf population culled. “We’re all a bunch of loners who like to be in the mountains by ourselves. It’s kind of what we are.”

    They like to be alone in the woods? So they hire a dozen guides, cooks, wranglers, camp jacks. Set up a big cook tent and ten sleeping tents plus an outhouse. Bring in three dozen horses and build a corral. Hire themselves out to twenty or thirty dude hunters at seven grand per week and a half. Actually, all Fall the only time they are alone is while visiting the outhouse – provided it’s a “one seater”.

    THAT’S WHAT I CALL BEING A LOANER. A FIERCELY INDEPENDENT MOUNTANMAN – WHO LIKES THE MOUNTAINS BY THEMSELVES.

    This is just an example of how DELUSIONAL some folks can be. And, how they view themselves and the rest of the world!

  11. Rob Says:

    Whoops – here is a link to that Planet JH article:
    http://www.planetjh.com/news/A_105994.aspx

  12. Leslie Says:

    Surprised me that that outfitter was ‘afraid to be alone in the woods’!! Sounds like you’re right on, Rob. Its because they are never alone in the woods. I suppose that means they wouldn’t even camp out alone in Yellowstone, like so many ‘city folks’ do.

    Since i’ve been here, seems like the outfitters do a lot of crying. Since they know these mountains so well, they could be leading wildlife watching and photography tours all summer long and making bucks that way.
    JimBob your comments about the government protecting their business is right on spot.

  13. ProWolf in WY Says:

    Cindy, Ralph, and Chris, people expect that animals are kind to each other then they kill. They forget the fact that wolves kill with teeth and not with a gun several yards away. That is one fact that people who are pro-wolf fail to mention numerous times. Nature is not nice at all.

  14. Linda Hunter Says:

    Pro Wolf I don’t understand your last post. . . to me killing with teeth up close and personal is a lot less grisly than something being killed with a gun from far away by a human who doesn’t know much at all about what they are killing, sometimes not even what species it is. When a wolf or bear kills up close and personal it is after a stalk and I believe they have knowledge of their prey at least. Nature is not nice but sloppy hunting can be worse, much worse. (notice I said sloppy hunting not all hunting before you jump down my throat)

  15. jason Says:

    I am glad that you guys know all there is about the situation. I wonder do you care at all about any of the other animals or just the wolves. I have spent the last 8 years in the wilderness areas surrounding the park and I am amazed at how far and few between the elk are in that place. It is waste of my time to even go in there anymore. Last fall I went 26 days without seeing even an elk track. So tell me what is more important wolves or all wildlife.

    • Ralph Maughan Says:

      Jason,

      Are you really so stupid to ask this question? Here’s the answer. If there are no prey, there can be no predators. So if someone favors wolves or cougars, they automatically favor deer and elk. They probably know more about animals than you do. Did you think there could be wolves without prey?

  16. jason Says:

    My question is to you when was the last time you trooped into that wilderness looking for elk. I dont mean hunting them I mean just going to see them. Good luck finding one. I dont believe that every wolf should be shot but I also dont believe that we should let are elk herd disappear up there. I really want to know where you get all of your knowledge, I bet that it comes from pro wolf writers and not from an unbiased source.

    • Ralph Maughan Says:

      Jason,

      If you are going to comment here, you have to read the responses to your comments, and find out about the other folks who comment here.

      I was in the Frank Church Wilderness in early March looking for elk and other things. I saw about 50 elk near the Wilderness upstream in the Salmon River canyon not far from the Salmon River Road.

      Don’t think you are some mighty Wilderness traveler either. There are people here who know the wilderness areas around Yellowstone probably much better than you do, like maybe me, having written two backpacking guides to the Teton and Washakie Wildernesses.

      Lets hear some comment from you showing you read the blog and not just ask stupid questions or your commenting privileges will be taken away.

  17. bob jackson Says:

    Pointsweet,

    Have you ever seen a block of land in the middle of a housing development that has not been developed, that is still natural and the kids from all over go in there for solitude and daydreaming. These lands were perserved by its owners and they resisted its development and these lands have been the inspiration for many of those kids to either go into the resource field or avocationally support conservation for their entire lives.

    Some of these owners were not rich either but rather had a deep feeling for that land. You and your family have that option.

    Taxes will go out of sight? A lot of states have options that keeps taxes down for these kind of committments.

    Our family of five kids (3 with F&W degrees) sold some of the family farm in the estate process, a farm in the most agricultural heritage of 5 feet of black dirt in NC Iowa. Before we did we put a lot of it in longterm riparian and wetlands. Its Prairie Ck. hillsides had a bunch of Indian camps we had “explored” as kids. We went to the native prairies and railroad tracks around the farm and gathered seeds and transplanted to this too be protected land. No govt. non sustainable “prairie seed mix” for us. Plus the act of actually putting back a bit to this land with our own hands gives a deeper sense of satisfaction for us as brothers and sisters…..for our passed on father and mother and their farmer father and mother before that.

    None of us are rich and by so doing we locked in that land for sale at a lower price than if sold as agricultural land….and speculative (because a casino is going in closeby).

    I am not saying everyone has to have our commitment but you, pointsweet, do have a choice. just because “it will all be developed someday” doesn’t mean you have to give up and fall over. Now to wonder if you can get govt. money to put back what was there …. to me is honorable but to do so you can then sell the land at a higher price to put in houses is just working the system. Which is it?

  18. Leslie Says:

    Jason,
    “It is a waste of my time to even go there anymore”

    Wow, sounds like you have a very narrow view of nature and what you expect to see. The wolves do herd the elk and their patterns have changed. They are more vigilant and acting more like elk should, so maybe your tromping through the woods is scaring them.

    Drought, disease, predators, habitat loss, lack of fires…the study on calf/cow ratios going on in my valley in Sunlight Basin is showing that effects on elk are very complex. Simple minded people need simple answers, but nature is a complex web. If you devote some time to reading and studying, it will soon reveal how little you do or can know about the totality of the situation.

    Besides, wolves, bears, elk, and all the little critters and plants they depend on have been interacting for thousands of years here. Let’s not get so ’emotional’ to think that wolves are going to decimate all the elk. Only men can do such as thing (think Bison!) Look around and study more…books and nature itself.

  19. Cindy Says:

    ProWolf, back to last week’s comments, I believe most reasonable folks either side of the wolf issue understand the business of killing is grisly period, doesn’t matter who’s doin’ it. As a pro wolf person I’ve never thought wolves in our ecosystem would gently and quietly take down their prey. As a matter fact when given the opportunity to see a a take down, I stepped off my scope so as to not watch. Just my personal preference. I also look away on the television when they show violent acts. And I know no one cares, but watching owls tear the heads off voles is pretty nasty business. Now most don’t care about the lowly vole. I do, as I’ve come to hold it in high regard as a huge food source for the birds and animals I love to watch. Don’t scold me for comparing voles and elk, but to Ralph’s point, the dance between the prey-predator can be has been designed in a fashion I don’t think we even fully understand. But we know one does not exist in a healthy manner without the other.
    Jason – I participated in an Elk count here in Teton County last Spring. It was in partnership with the Fish and Game. We counted elk in the Gros Ventre area for a program to determine the impact o the road being open or closed has on elk numbers. The time I went out and hiked up to our viewing point, I alone counted “a ot” of elk. I know the exact number but that doesn’t seem to matter in this conversation, point is there the elk were plentiful. So it’s fair to say when I was in the mountains I saw an abundance of elk, which counters your point you saw none. In the area I was counting I belief there are at least 2 wolf packs, maybe 3. If you’re looking to just see elk, no antler hunting or otherwise, the Gros Ventre road this time of year is a great place.

  20. Leslie Says:

    Cindy and Jason,

    In Sunlight Basin WY where I live, the valley is at carrying capacity, around 1500, which is good. But UofW has been doing a 3 year study, ending this year, to find out why the cow to calf ratio is so low and pregnancy rates are down…these are elk that winter here, summer in Yellowstone and calf in the Lamar. There are two wolf packs here as well as wolves of course in Yellowstone.

    ALthough there are lots of elk here, most of them are older and in a few years, the numbers will start to reduce as less calves are born.

    In talking with the head of the study, the reasons are complicated. Bears take a lot of calves in the spring (6 out of every 10 calves die in the first 10 days, mostly to bears), wolves kill elk, but also there are the other factors: 10 years of drought, the last good fires here were in 1988, development and loss of habitat, poor nutrition…the list goes on and its almost impossible to put it all together and pin-point one thing.

    Swings in prey-predator numbers is normal, but throw in there all the mucking around that humans do–like fire prevention, cattle grazing on open lands, stressing elk out to get their antlers, subdivisions, you name it–and I believe it gets very messy.

  21. Cindy Says:

    Thanks Leslie. I’ve learned, to be an informed wolf advocate, knowing everything I possibly can about elk is half the story. Studies take me to a certain point, then I tend to turn to my own comfortable subjective opinions. Keeping up is a full time job.


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