Wildlife officials respond to flurry of calls about problem bears around Missoula

Up to 30 calls a day about “bruin problems”

Wildlife officials respond to flurry of calls about problem bears around Missoula. By Rob Chaney. Missoulian

Abundant spring rains served to keep bears down low where vegetation was thick and nutritious rather than up in the mountains where summer sustenance is.

169 Responses to “Wildlife officials respond to flurry of calls about problem bears around Missoula”

  1. Mike Says:

    It seems many people consider any bear they see to be a problem bear.

    “Oh no! It came too close to my second home six miles down the national forest road in a drainage filled with with berries…what should I do?”

  2. Save bears Says:

    With all of the various organizations and agencies based in Missoula, it is amazing how many problem people there are in that area, there is a whole heck of a lot of people both government as well as private that do bear education programs and still the residents in that area refuse to clean up their acts…this is a people problem, not a bear problem..

  3. Elk275 Says:

    Save Bears

    Yes and No. Several weeks ago I had dinner with friends that live up the Rattlesnake ( an area of North of Missoula, Montana that has Rattlesnake Creek running through it and has had single family homes before 1900, also some of the most expensive single family homes in the state of Montana and that includes very small old homes). They have 2 young daughters in early elementary school, who like any children want to play in their back yard and visit the neighborhood kids on the block. At the time of the visit 5 different black bears had been through there yard in the last 2 last days. They both have graduate degrees and they put the garage in the garage and have never had any bear attractants on their property. I feel that 5 different bears wandering through yards in established subdivisions is eventually going to cause a bear inflected human injury.

    When I lived in Missoula in the early 70’s I never heard of any bears in town or if there was it was not the today’s numbers. I have seem more bears in the last several years out hiking and fishing than in all the years past, which is good.

    What do yo do?

    • Save bears Says:

      Elk,

      You do as your friends do, take all needed precautions and if it still is a problem, which sounds like it might be in your friends case, then Call FWP and talk with them to come up with a plan for action, of course the other factor that is not often mentioned is, what are your neighbors doing? FWP should be assessing all of the homes in the area, and I am talking like 5 miles around your friends home. Even without attractants on your friends grounds, there has to be something that is drawing bears in around that area..

      When you have bears frequenting a sub-division of this nature(I know where your talking about) then there is someone doing something wrong..

      Often times where the problem comes to a head, is not where the problem originated, communities have to work on the problem, not just homes..

    • Save bears Says:

      And to add, yes, there are a hell of a lot of bears around this year, and I expect there will be more in future years, they have done quite well…

    • Mike Says:

      The Rattlesnake drainage is prime bear habitat. Why move to the desert and complain about lack of water?

    • Save bears Says:

      Mike,

      That area has been occupied by humans for many decades now…and there has never been the amount of bears frequenting that area as there are now.

    • Mike Says:

      Sounds like hyperbole, Save Bears.

    • Ryan Says:

      “Sounds like hyperbole, Save Bears.”

      Mike,

      Your comment sounds like conjecture to me, but then again living in Chicago has so many similiarities to small western cities..

    • Save bears Says:

      Mike,

      I really don’t care what it sounds like to you, I know all of the guys and gals that work this particular region, and there is a drastic increase in the amount of bears in the area.

      You know, I try to make reasonable statements to you, despite knowing what is going to happen, and you still come up with the same Bullshit, telling us that live here and have worked in an official capacity we are full of it, don’t know what we are doing, have not idea of what is going on, etc.

      Same ole’ shit I guess!

    • timz Says:

      “They both have graduate degrees and they put the garage in the garage”

      You must have to have a graduate degree to do this?😉

    • jon Says:

      Elk, a little common sense will do the trick. No graduate degree necessary. It does not take someone with a graduate degree to understand to put their garbage in their garage.

    • Elk275 Says:

      Timz

      ++They both have graduate degrees and they put the garage in the garage”++

      I guess it takes more than a B.B.A. to spell garbage.

    • timz Says:

      Sorry Elk, coudn’t resist.

    • Mike Says:

      Ryan – I leave for 58 tent nights in the national forest and parks in two weeks. I’ve had bears sniff near my head at night. I’ve been to the woods. This isn’t rocket science.

      Try to remember that not everyone who lives near the woods spends time in the woods. Most people are content to sit in their places and watch the satellite. I’ve seen urbanites who are clueless about the woods, but I’ve also seen urbanites who are far more knowledgable than many rural residents.

      Where you live does not dictate a knoweldge of bears and woods, but rather how you spend time in such places and how much you spend learning about the ecosystem while not on the trail.

      Saying that “so and so lives in Chicago” or “so and so lives in Missoula” means nothing if “so and so” doesn’t care about the outdoors.

      I’ve met hunters in Montana who don’ even know what a marten is or a goshawk.

    • jon Says:

      Well put Mike. I saw earlier about some bringing up Chicago. What does your place of location have to do with someone’s knowledge of wildlife? Nothing. Shoot me an email sometime. The opposing side uses your location to try and discredit your knowledge of wildlife. I see it all the time.

      jonwilson33@yahoo.com

  4. Elk275 Says:

    Mike you are from the City of Chicago. If I lived in a peaceful neighborhood for a number of years, then suddenly gangs started to move in what would be the course of action? Live with the gangs or remove them. I know what I would do.

    • jon Says:

      You cannot compare gangsters to bears elk. Bears are animals who are just trying to find food.

    • Save bears Says:

      There is a two fold problem here, one, many people, are not paying attention, and they put those in jeopardy that do, and we have had a drastic increase in the bear population, first line of defence, teach the humans how to keep a clean environment around their homes, 2nd address the increased population of bears, the people are not going to move, and the bears are going to continue to try to find the easiest food source available..

      Jamie is a very smart individual in these types of situations, if you have problems, even after doing all of the needed steps, then he needs to be called…

  5. Mike Says:

    Elk –

    Bad analogy. Everyone who moves into Chicago knows the crime rate goes up, just like everyone who moves into the woods *should* know that wild animals live there.

  6. Elk275 Says:

    Mike

    The Rattlesnake is not the woods; it is a subdivision of Missoula, Montana a city that has been there since the 1870’s, a city of 70,000 people. Eventually someone is going to be hurt or killed and it very likely could be a child. If everyone in the neighborhood eliminated bird feeders, stored there garbage and grills in the garage until pick up date, there is still going to be bear attractants: gardens, orchards, berry bushes and other things. Is the next thing to restrict gardens, apple trees and raspberry bushes this is not acceptable. Excessive bears will be killed. This has nothing to do with federal lands, endangered species act or non residents who think that they know what is best for the locals. The corrective actions will from FW&Ps region 2 office in Missoula.

    The black bear population is increasing every year. I saw a sow and 2 cubs hiking last Sunday.

  7. pointswest Says:

    This sounds like a starvation event. I can remember one very similar to this in Albuquerque, NM (pop 850,000). It was due to the acorn crop being destroyed by an unusual spring storm (or something) so all the black bears up in the Sandia Mountains were starving. They could smell ripening fruit trees and food down in Albuquerque and were soon in the Northeast Heights prowling the alleys and snooping any backyards with fruit trees. There were at least 13 bears in the city at one time. It was actually very exciting. Everyone talked and joked about it and the news crews got lots of great video.
    These starvation events are common in nature. Imagine what would happen in some populated area that had an abundance of grizzlies or wolves and they entered a starvation event. Starvation events happen all the time and the weather, with global warming, expected to have more extremes.

    • pointswest Says:

      So jon…knowing that these starvation events are common, you would still like to see wolves and grizzlies populations at their maximum possible number adjacent to urban areas? What do you suppose wolves will do when starving to death? What do you suppose grizzlies will do when starving to death?

    • JB Says:

      A little overly dramatic, Pointswest? By your logic, the 15,000 black bears in Pennsylvania should have eaten the residents of all of its major cities by now (not to mention the bears and wolves of Europe).

      I don’t think anyone in their right mind believes that we should try to increase large carnivore populations in densely populated urban areas; however, there are many examples of carnivores living adjacent to urban areas without causing much of a fuss. To suggest that recovery of large carnivores in these areas necessarily means widespread attacks on humans is simply fear-mongering, and not the type of response I would expect from someone who is generally thoughtful about these issues.

    • howlcolorado Says:

      Interesting term “maximum possible number.”

      What exactly would that number be?

      Predators are the animals in nature most impacted by an improperly balanced equilibrium. If there is a number of predators which is too high for the current area, the first recourse is to move to a new area (see above bear story). If that proves impossible due to competition, then they will attempt to usurp the currently occupied area by killing the current resident predators of the same species. If they fail, they are killed and the number of animals reduces. IF they succeed, the opposing animals are killed and the total number of animals reduces.

      There is no armistice between wolves that they will not kill each other in order to maximize their packs survivability and the most common and easiest control is dispersal (reducing the number of animals in the same area) or competition and conflict which reduces the number of animals in the same area.

      I am just interested to know what the maximum number possible is and why for some strange reason natural instinct will be abandoned by these animals to instead harrass and begin eating humans (which is a pretty intimating prey animal if you look at it from the perspective of a wolf or a bear – we most closely ressemble bears and most certainly do not ressemble elk).

      When the wolves or bears are starving the first thing they will try and do is move to find food (i.e. food, not people. Bears don’t come in to towns and eat people, they eat trash, raid fridges or otherwise acquire FOOD – people get hurt but it’s not because the bear has any interest in eating them) if that doesn’t work, the next thing they will do is kill each other until there is a small enough population that the available food can sustain them.

      There WILL be occasional cases where starving animals – not just predators – will attack humans but we are talking about SEVERE conditions – often including injury to the anima, with no alternatives and given the opportunity. the highest risk to humans in any type of mass starvation situation is that they will be viewed as competition for food. Clearly that’s a risky position to be in, but getting educated on what to do when faced with a wild animal will certainly mitigate attacks.

    • JEFF E Says:

      I think most people would be amazed at the number and variety of animals that live and travel in and around urban areas. Happens mostly at night so there is a minimum of run-ins between humans and what ever is on four legs.
      SB has it right. Something is attracting these bears. and is the recipe for a tragic event
      Apparently this is not the only place
      http://www.trentonian.com/articles/2010/07/21/sports/doc4c47224397b7e272621082.txt

    • pointswest Says:

      ++I don’t think anyone in their right mind believes that we should try to increase large carnivore populations in densely populated urban areas;++

      Oh yeah…try some of the people on this blog. They believe wolves and grizzlies should be allowed to recover nearly all of their former range. The black bears in Pennsylvania are not much of a problem because black bears, in general, are not much of a problem. As mentioned in my post, the starvation event at Albuquerque was greeted with interest and excitement because they were just harmless black bears.

    • jon Says:

      Wolves belong in the WILD, not cities. I do believe wolves should be put back in their historic ranges, but wolves wouldn’t do so well in places like NYC. They belong in the wild. Wolves have to be put somewhere and no matter where you put them, you are always going to have complainers and whiners.

    • pointswest Says:

      ++I am just interested to know what the maximum number possible is and why for some strange reason natural instinct will be abandoned by these animals to instead harrass and begin eating humans (which is a pretty intimating prey animal if you look at it from the perspective of a wolf or a bear – we most closely ressemble bears and most certainly do not ressemble elk).++

      By maximum number I meant uncontrolled by hunting or game management. Wolves and grizzlies will abandon “natural instinct” the day after they begin to starve because they will kill and eat anything to stay alive. I am talking about a starvation event. I am not sure what might trigger a starvation event for grizzlies. For that matter, I did not know a failed acorn crop would trigger a starvation event for black bears in the Sandias, but it did. Some possible events for grizzlies might be a severe drought, a very late and large spring snow storm, a large wild fire, or some disease of an important food source. For wolves, anytime their prey animal has a population collapse, they will enter a starvation event. There is a documented case of the whitetail population collapsing in Wisconsin and the starving wolves formed very large packs an began attacking people. (I can provide the source but I am going to wait until someone demands it.)

    • jon Says:

      PW, that is not abandoning natural instinct. If they are indeed starving, they will eat whatever they can to stay alive and that might include people as well. natural instinct for them is to survive and eat whatever they can to stay alive. I would love to see many more wolves than the 6000 we have now in the us, but spread out evenly if possible. Don’t dump a lot of wolves into one state and not the others. That is how I feel. I don’t think this matters much because I feel wolves will repopulate on their own. Wolves are adaptable animals and will eat whatever they can.🙂

    • pointswest Says:

      ++Wolves belong in the WILD, not cities. I do believe wolves should be put back in their historic ranges, but wolves wouldn’t do so well in places like NYC. They belong in the wild. Wolves have to be put somewhere and no matter where you put them, you are always going to have complainers and whiners.++

      Jon…that sounds so romantic and soulful but the historic range is gone or has dramatically changed. In the east, the great forests have been cleared for agriculture. In the west, irrigation has turned vast areas of the desert green. The historic range is no more. What historic range? What does that mean? As I have mentioned, the deer and elk range in New Mexico and Arizona is much larger than it once was because of the stock tanks and windmills pumping water to the surface. There are more whitetail deer in the east and Midwest than their once was, but there is only a very small fraction of the bison that once lived on the plains. What historic range are you talking about? If you just let the large predators go where they will, the will end up adjacent to urban areas. It will never happen…at least not more than once, until the first large starvation hits and several people get killed.

    • jon Says:

      PW, there are other wilderness areas where wolves can be put in. Wolves are adaptable animals. This starvation theory of yours is just that, a theory. You know those non native cattle animals that are on public lands? they have a eat me sign attacked to their heads.

    • Save bears Says:

      Jon,

      Starvation events are not theory, they are proven phenomena that have been documented many times..and based on climate change, many well respected biologists think they will only increase in the future..

      Your so good at finding things, you would do yourself a favor by doing some research.

    • jon Says:

      sb, I said his. BTW, do you share the same opinion as others that wolves are going to wipe out the elk and starve to death? Somehow sb, I just don’t see this happening. sb, you said starvation events have happened. Are you saying that wolves wiped out their food source and started killing people?

    • jon Says:

      sb, I never said starvation events don’t happen. I am talking about wolves here. Some wolves will unfortunately starve to death and this should be expected, but not the whole wolf population.

    • Save bears Says:

      Jon,

      No, I did not say that, and you know that, I asked you once today, to stop telling me what I do, what I know or that I would be surprised.

      I do however, based on experience as well as study, believe a predator population can wipe out a prey species in areas, which in turn creates inter pack or inter pride strife which leads to higher than normal death rates in predator populations, it happens in Africa on a pretty normal basis. That said, I don’t find it to be an unusual event and it has been documented by many biologists over the years..

      In just Yellowstone we have seen increases in pack strife, due to growing populations, which has now lead to declining populations, of course various diseases have also contributed.

    • jon Says:

      Anywhere there are are decent deer and elk populations. PW, it does not matter what I think as I am sure you read this.

      https://wolves.wordpress.com/2010/07/20/petition-seeks-to-have-wolves-howl-across-us/

      Do not be surprised if you see wolves in other states down the line. Ofcourse, you will have those who oppose it.

    • jon Says:

      Alright, I agree with that that sometimes predators can wipe out a certain area of animals. This is perfectly normal and I don’t see anything wrong with it. This is how nature works.

    • Save bears Says:

      Jon,

      I am going to ask you a serious question here, and don’t take it wrong, so here goes….

      Have you ever been in the field and observed any of the stuff you are always talking about, or do you post, based on what you have read, without having any practical knowledge?

    • jon Says:

      sb, I take pictures of wild animals, but besides that, that’s it. I never ever claimed to be an expert on wildlife/nature, but I will give me my input. Most of the people on here are familiar with nature and wildlife, but are not wildlife biologists.

    • jon Says:

      sb, the problem with people like you is you think people who are not from the same state as you have no idea about nature or wildlife and that is wrong on your part. Get your last comment in and this will be done.

    • Save bears Says:

      Jon,

      I simply asked you a question, I didn’t ask if you were an expert or a biologist, I simply asked you if you have any practical experience in the field..

    • Save bears Says:

      Opps, Sorry Jon,

      I must have hit a sore spot, I never said anything about people who don’t live in these states at all, in fact I have never said, people who don’t live in these states don’t have a right to their opinion..

      As far as it being done, sure, right, until the next time it comes up..

    • jon Says:

      No, no sore spot sb. Now I know why you don’t work for the Montana fwp anymore. Later, I am done with you.

    • Save bears Says:

      Jon,

      No, you don’t know why I don’t work for FWP anylonger…but just to refresh your memory, it is because I would not doctor studies to put wolves in a bad light, going up against the top brass that did not want wolves in the state of Montana..

    • pointswest Says:

      jon…my answer is that we need some large areas set aside. I generally say we need to enlarge Yellowstone Park and to create a few other large Parks but I think the whole National Park concept needs to change.

      I would like to preserve as many wild and natural areas as possible but I believe that it is impossible to maintain large predators (specifically wolves and grizzlies) in all preserved natural areas. There are, however, a few large areas (such as an enlarged Yellowstone) where we can maintain them. A small piecemeal approach will not work nor will the “former range” approach work. We could have large National Parks at Yellowstone, Central Idaho, the San Juans in Colorados, the Gila/Mogollon Rim in New Mexico and Arizona, the Sierra Nevada in California, possible Adirondacks and maybe some area for the Red wolf although I do not know where. There may be other areas, but they need to be large. Some private land can remain along with human activities, including hunting, but there needs to be large areas designated and managed for this purpose. In fact, I predict that this is what will eventually be done.

    • Elk275 Says:

      I would rather have all the forest service roadless lands around Yellowstone made into wilderness — not national parks. National Parks by there nature attach people. Good Luck trying to create a large new national park when it has been over 30 years since the last wildernes was created in Montana.

    • JB Says:

      Elk:

      Again, wilderness designation occurs in National Parks–the two are not mutually exclusive. Isle Royal national park, for example, is all wilderness.

    • howlcolorado Says:

      Pointswest – yep would love to see documentation. I am aware of every documented wolf attack in north America.

      You are using terms such as “starvation event” rather loosely. Just because bears are entering urban areas doesn’t mean they are starving, it means that it’s easier to find food in an urban area (a learned behaviour) than it is to look for natural sources of food.

      And remember, more than anything else, humans are NOT prey to either of these animals. At worst case they are competition.

      I am not saying that dealing with hungry predators is safe but you are making it sound like a starving bear or wolf will decide that humans look tasty. That’s just not true. If it were, there would be FAR more fatal predator attacks in North America and right now there is about one every 100 years for wolves.

      I would be intrigued to know your theory behind why there are deer attacks and wild boar attacks.

    • Ralph Maughan Says:

      My impression of many of the comments is that some didn’t read the story closely.

      This is a one time event due to a very wet spring that put the food at an unusually low elevation.

      I read another story today saying that grizzly bears too are down low in Wyoming this summer because of the wet spring.

    • howlcolorado Says:

      Bears, much like any animal, folllow their food source, and in the meantime it comes across an easier/more readily accessible food source. Bam! Habituated bear learns humans provide easy food and low and behold “problem” bears.

      Those that live in areas frequented by bears should know to make their property unattractive to bears in how they lock up food, trash and other precautions. This may be a rare event, but it’s hardly a human-mauling bloody bear feast of homosapien delectables which some are painting it to be.

    • Save bears Says:

      Although I don’t believe this is a starvation event, I do know that once a bear has easy access to human food and rewards, they will continue to come back, even with a year spanning between visits, bears remember where the easy rewards are, and will teach their young as well.

      This may very well be a situation because of the climate this year, but those bears that get food rewards will be back again, I know that it has been successful to relocate in some cases and negative reinforcement has been successful in many cities..Bear Spray, Dogs, and such.

      But even with this being something that is speculated as a One time event, there is no reason to take the chance, people need to be policing their homes and working with FWP to ensure the least chance of it happening in the future…

      Just as with fire defence around your home, you need to make sure you have an unattractive home to bears…

  8. ProWolf in WY Says:

    Elk, I don’t think bears and gangs are even close to comparison. bears don’t steal your hubcaps, or your car, they don’t have drive-by shootings or gang warfare, and they don’t make your schools go downhill. I think the problem here is the mentality that people have that any time a bear is seen it is bad news. While we don’t want bears habituated, just seeing one is not a sign of the Apocalypse.

    • Save bears Says:

      Although,

      Not on the same level as a gangster, once a bear is habituated to an easy food source they can be and most of the time are very intimidating, up to and including attacking to get at that food source, as I said earlier, just because the bear didn’t get food at your house, does not mean they didn’t at another house, once they have got it, then all in that neighborhood can be in jeopardy…

    • ProWolf in WY Says:

      I did mention that we don’t want bears habituate because I agree that a habituated bear is dangerous. People shouldn’t just panic because they see a bear.

    • Save bears Says:

      In true media fashion,

      I think that the reporters are making more of this in a sensationalistic manner than it should be, although I know some people panic when they see a bear, but more most Montana residents, the appearance of a bear does not create an apocalyptic reaction..

      That said, if we have bears frequenting well established sub-divisions, then we need to address the reasons why and work to minimize this…

      As was stated in this article, much of the problem comes from not being educated or not paying attention to the education that is readily available..

    • howlcolorado Says:

      SB is right

      Habituation is the highest risk factor in any animal.

      Racoon, squirrel, coyote, wolf, bear, etc.

      People insist on feeding foxes, and then wonder why their cat disappeared. Or they feed coyotes and then they find their dog dead in the back yard.

      As much as SB is right, humans are often the reason animals become habituated. In the case of bears, they don’t tie up their food or contain it in airtight containers when they camp. Bears learn these things and suddenly a family goes camping and they are doing so on a bear’s territory…

      Whose fault is it when someone wakes up to find a bear in his tent ripping his pants apart looking for the chewing gum in his pocket because the 10 families beforehand left hotdogs and trash everywhere which the bear finds amazingly attractive?

    • jon Says:

      Most bear attacks on humans are human caused howl.

    • jon Says:

      People are responsible for bears dying without even knowing it. As sb said, the root of the problem needs to be addressed and that is people leaving food out and feeding wild animals. The fact is nothing ever happens to these idiots. They are never held accountable for their actions. Fines need to start being handed out if they haven’t already. Much higher fines need to be handed out to teach these people that them being responsible for the death of wildlife is unacceptable even though they may feel their intentions were good at heart.

    • jon Says:

      sb, you would be surprised. Some people in different states panic like you wouldn’t believe if they see a mt. lion or coyote in their neighborhood. If I ever saw one in mine, I would just let it be on its way and I would keep my mouth shut. I know if I would report it, there is a good chance the animal would be killed.

    • Save bears Says:

      Jon,

      I am pretty well versed in this subject, and no I would not be surprised, would you please stop trying to tell me what I would do, or be surprised at..

    • howlcolorado Says:

      remember, these aren’t starving bears we are talking about raiding campsites. They are bears who have learned an easy source of food. They aren’t necessarily without other more natural sources, they just don’t see the reason to work for food when it’s put right in front of them.

      The energy equation is the most important equation in nature – particularly for predators.

      If you have ever seen wolves walking around near elk or bison or whatever and neither side seemingly that interested in each other, it’s because the wolves don’t believe the energy equation is in their benefit to hunt. Either, they have fed recently (therefore it is excess energy spent to acquire unnecessary food), or the situation is such that the amount of energy needed outweighs the overall energy gained (daytime = too much running, massive herdsize = too much effort to break one apart from the herd, etc).

      Off course, the wolves aren’t sat there with notepad and pencil figuring out the numbers, it’s a natural instinct to them. But it is simplistic to blame bear behaviour on starvation. they likely aren’t starving. It’s just a near 0 cost energy investment to get a significant energy return to raid a campsite or return to a place of prior easy food gathering – such as Mrs. Ifeedbears who leaves an apple pie in the window to cool down, or whatever the case may be.

    • jon Says:

      Yes howl and that is what wolves do with cattle. Cattle are an easy source of food so why wouldn’t wolves take advantage of that? Keeping your cattle on public land is one way to make sure that wolves will never go hungry. They basically have an all you can eat buffet at their disposal when it comes to the non native cattle that inhabit our public lands.

    • howlcolorado Says:

      That somewhat highlights the solution for wildlife predation (which studies show makes up about 3% of a wolf diet – they really prefer deer and elk) – make the equation break in favour of the cows. I.e. putting up some form of barrier which costs energy to get through will cause a wolf to find the prey far less appealing.

      Making the entire experience scary (bangs, lights, whistles and lots of movement) doesn’t really increase the energy cost, but certainly makes it far less appealing.

      Using foreign wolf howls to indicate the presence of an opposing wolf pack most certainly does increase the energy costs because a possible pack conflict not only risks lots of spent energy for no calorie payoff, but risks significant injury. This has been used with some success in Europe.

      Or you could just put the cows on a treadmill for a few months and they could run away. But that would reduce the amount of meat produced per animal and make them far less profitable.

      Interestingly, the Texas Longhorn is pretty resistant to wolf predation, for a pretty obvious reason. They aren’t nearly as defenseless.

    • Ralph Maughan Says:

      Howlcolorado,

      They brought in soft livestock — weak breeds of cattle and, of course, sheep, the epitome of a defenseless creature. Then they want to turn the wilds of the West into a place where they can turn these weak creatures loose, expecting them to be just fine when they check on them a couple weeks or a couple months later.

  9. Nancy Says:

    Totally agree SB.
    If the human species is gonna continue to fringe and infringe on what’s left of wilderness areas (and its happening big time in my area) then humans need to be prepared for wildlife’s reaction to what they’ve always considered “their” neighborhood……..

    • jon Says:

      Also, another trend I see is when people take a trip into the wild and are attacked by a wild animal, there is a huge uproar as if the animal did something wrong. We humans are not exempt from the wild or nature. A few months ago a canadian singer was killed by a couple of coyotes I believe, so they went out and killed all of the coyotes in the area where the girl was killed. Coyotes who weren’t even responsible were killed just because of the actions of 2 coyotes I believe it was and this has to stop. We humans are not exempt from nature when it comes to wild animals attacking us because they may see us as a threat or whatever the case or reason may be. We encroach on their habitat, kill them for sport, kill the animals they need for survival and go out and kill a bunch of them when just one animal kills one of us.

    • Save bears Says:

      Nancy,

      The areas in question are not new infringements or expansion, these are areas that have been inhabited for well over 100 years, so I know for a fact, they will not be vacated by humans.

      Bears frequent an area for basically one reason, because they have received a reward, so finding the roots of this situation and educating the public is what needs to be done.

      Again the areas in question are not “Wild” areas, they are areas that have been inhabited by humans for a long time now..

  10. Nancy Says:

    Understood that SB, but how much outside of that area is now developed? I stopped making the trip to Missoula well over 10 years ago because I coudn’t take the traffic from Darby on.
    Same thing with Helena, could slide thru that city in 10 minutes less than 10 years ago, now its over to 30 minutes and thats if there’s no new road construction going on, one thing that stood out last time I drove thru Helena? Dead deer all over the main highway……. and Bozeman? Don’t recognize that little city anymore nor would I attempt to navigate it without a co-pilot.

  11. JerryBlack Says:

    Guess I’ll say a few words about the bears and the “Rattlesnake”, since I live smack-dab in the middle of it and am quite familiar with the wildlife here. (No, I don’t live in a mansion, nor do I have any academic credentials worth mentioning.)
    It is interesting reading the comments of the usual “experts” who frequent this blog and thrive on conjecture.
    Do I see lots of bears? Hell yes, because they’ve been habituated to human garbage by the ignorant, lazy, arrogant, 4th or 5th generation Montanans who put there garbage out early, leave it out continuously, and must have their bird feeders. AND, their response…..”I’m a 5th generation Montanan and nobody tells me what to do with my trash or to take my bird feeder down etc.”
    There are exceptions, but MOST of the offenders are long time “native montanans”. They’re wealthy and even though an ordinance goes into affect later in the year, a $25 fine won’t get their attention.
    New arrivals to the Rattlesnake have a much better attitude and are willing to be educated about the bears and other wildlife.
    Save Bears..I’m sure you’re lurking….got a case# yet?
    Also it seems you’ve become a legend on the internet. I received an email last night that’s been circulating with your “unedited” rants and threats against PETA members that were taken from this blog. Would think that a military officer and someone applying for a job would be more discrete.

    • jon Says:

      Jerry, are these people even given a small fine? It seems like they are getting away with “murder” and they aren’t being held accountable for the bear deaths they caused, but I doubt they really care.

    • Save bears Says:

      No, not for the likes of you…I have been asked by the owner of this blog to not discuss PETA or ALF any longer, and I will respect his wishes. I could care less if I am a so called legend..

      By the way, I am not to far from the Rattlesnake right now, and the application process is over, so I probably will be relocating to where I can work with a more reasonable type of people..but it won’t stop me from posting on here..and I won’t be selling my Montana property anytime soon..

      So you and your PETA/ALF buddies talk about me all you want..
      – – – – –

      Save Bears. I did not ask you to not to discuss PETA or ALF. It was the manner, and the same goes for anyone else regarding any group or individual. Ralph Maughan

    • Save bears Says:

      And by the way, if you will notice, I did say, there is obviously a problem in that area if bears are coming in, and it needs to be taken care of at the root of the problem, I hope they impose the fines and actually make them larger…

    • JerryBlack Says:

      So you and your PETA/ALF buddies talk about me all you want..

      I’m neither a PETA or ALF member. So you can put your weapons down.

    • JerryBlack Says:

      jon…….when the ordinance eventually goes into effect, to my best recollection they’ll get 2 warnings and then a $25 dollar fine.
      Will it make a difference? Not much in my opinion.

  12. Rita K. Sharpe Says:

    I’m going to stick my head out here and just ask a question.They say that that bear sense of smell is better than a dogs.Even if I put my garbage in the garage ,could’nt a bear still smell it?Making him hang around the area more?Try ,as I amy,my garbage can smell pretty ripe at times.

    • Save bears Says:

      Its way better than a dogs, but if it is secured and the bear can’t get a reward they will normally vacate and look elsewhere for that reward…

    • Save bears Says:

      That is the reason secure bear boxes in campgrounds are normally successful, because even if they smell it, if they can’t get to it, they will pursue other areas..

  13. Rita K. Sharpe Says:

    Thank you,Save bears.

  14. pointswest Says:

    Save Bears, it surprises me that you are such a controversial figure. You seem like one of the more level headed people on this blog. I’ve never read anything from you that I think would discourage an employer. Although I agree with many of their opinions, PETA and ALF are widely known to be extremist groups whose members might be emotionally disturbed and even antisocial.

    • Save bears Says:

      PW,

      It does not matter what I post or from what side I post.

      I guess, I should learn to “shoot from the hip” instead of straight on!

      LOL

  15. Angela Says:

    If they are afraid of bears, they need a Karelian bear dog.
    http://www.beardogs.org/
    http://www.karelianbeardog.us/kbd_library_tahoe.html

  16. mikepost Says:

    There are just too many friken California city folks in Missoula. Its the old “I love you, I moved here, now change” political mentality that we import all over the wilderness. You can take the Angeleno out of Los Angeles, but you can’t take the Los Angeles mentality out of the Angeleno.

    Help them, they are clueless and thus make these fusses about wildlife. Unfortunately they also vote.

    • JerryBlack Says:

      Mikepost….You seem to have some insight into the problem here in the Rattlesnake Valley but see it quite differently than I. Where in the valley do you live?
      From my previous post on the bear problem:

      JerryBlack Says:
      July 22, 2010 at 8:32 PM
      Guess I’ll say a few words about the bears and the “Rattlesnake”, since I live smack-dab in the middle of it and am quite familiar with the wildlife here. (No, I don’t live in a mansion, nor do I have any academic credentials worth mentioning.)
      It is interesting reading the comments of the usual “experts” who frequent this blog and thrive on conjecture.
      Do I see lots of bears? Hell yes, because they’ve been habituated to human garbage by the ignorant, lazy, arrogant, 4th or 5th generation Montanans who put there garbage out early, leave it out continuously, and must have their bird feeders. AND, their response…..”I’m a 5th generation Montanan and nobody tells me what to do with my trash or to take my bird feeder down etc.”
      There are exceptions, but MOST of the offenders are long time “native montanans”. They’re wealthy and even though an ordinance goes into affect later in the year, a $25 fine won’t get their attention.
      New arrivals to the Rattlesnake have a much better attitude and are willing to be educated about the bears and other wildlife

  17. pointswest Says:

    Starvation events are one time events that happen on a regular basis in the nature.

    Here is the documentaion for the wolf stavation event in Manitoba (I mistakenly said Wisconsin). There are others.

    http://udn.lib.utah.edu/cdm4/document.php?CISOROOT=/easternutah&CISOSHOW=15146&CISOPTR=15122

    Of course, there was no video tape in 1891 so those in denial can deny this too claiming that the word of a missionary is suspect as he is obviously a wolf-hater.

    • JB Says:

      Pointswest: Did you actually READ that missionary’s account? Supposedly these “indians” were visited by a band of wolves “numbering about 100”.

      A few points to consider: (1) There are no wolf packs in North America that number even half that amount; in fact, packs that number upwards of 20 are extremely rare. (2) It is extremely doubtful that any pack number 20+ (let alone 100) could exist close to urban populations; and it is even less likely that we would (as a society) tolerate such packs, even if they could find enough food. (3) Native Americans lived, worked, ate, shit, and performed nearly every task out of doors. Most people today go outside when they walk from their house to their car, and from their car to the supermarket/work/mall–meaning, unless wolves figure out how to open doors, the scenario described by the missionary is extremely unlikely (when I say “extremely” think worse than Super Lottery type odds). (4) Missionaries of those times said a lot of things that are not true; in fact, I’d say most of what missionaries utter these days is still highly suspect.😉

      This whole conversation was silly to begin with. If large carnivores exist anywhere near urban areas they will do so because of our tolerance–meaning we will know they exist. Even is some type of starvation event were to happen (extremely unlikely given our current inability to manage urban ungulate populations), wildlife management agencies would know about it and take action.

      Personally, I’m happy to engage in “academic” arguments about what-if scenarios, but this particular scenario was silly from the beginning. In my estimation you are peddling fear without cause.

    • JB Says:

      FYI:

      Here’s what happened when a single cougar–the most elusive large carnivore in North America–made it into the city of Chicago:

      Note: This animal hadn’t attempted to kill anybody; it was shot just for being in the city. Do you really think a pack of marauding wolves, hell bent on consuming humans would fair any better?

    • jon Says:

      I remember that story jb. I believe that particular mt. lion was roaming around the streets of Chicago for I believe a few weeks. I am sure it had chances to attack people if it wanted to, but it didn’t. It didn’t attack or attempt t attack anyone. Would have been much better of the animal was relocated, but situations like this, expect the worst for the animal.

    • pointswest Says:

      I do not mean to peddle fear but there are those in this blog who want to believe these large preditors will not harm people. They point out, correctly, that we humans are not natural prey and point out incident after incident when preditor attacks could have been avoided had the human victim ony had some basic insights to the preditors behavior. It all sounds great sitting in your highschool biology classroom. The Titantic was designed to be unsinkable too…in theory. The real world, however, is full of all kinds of upsets, singlualr events, freak accidents, unusual conditions, etc., etc., ect.

      I believe wolves will stay in the wilds and concentrait on their deer and elk all the time…almost. Things can happen however. If wolves are around people, someone is eventually going to get hurt or killed. The more wolves around more people increases the likely hood.

      I only point this out because I do not believe in the “former range” concept. I think they need some designated areas where people will need to take special precautions.

    • JB Says:

      Thanks for the clarification; that helps. I agree that some people underestimate the risk of attacks, essentially by asserting there is no risk at all. The problem is that most people greatly overestimate the risk (this propensity is not unique to large carnivores). As an example, I have a good friend who, upon hearing from some residents near a hiking trail that a cougar had been seen recently in the general area, refused to hike in that location at all. The cougar was only really a cause of excitement because it was Michigan and the state DNR denied (still denies, I believe?) the existence of cougars in the state.

      We had a long conversation on this blog several months ago concerning the risks associated with large carnivores and we went through a lot of the peer-reviewed material. I don’t care to revisit that task right now, but my recollection of the conversation can be summarized as follows…

      (1) Wolves are opportunistic carnivores with the capacity to kill people; given more wolves, there should be some corresponding increase in attacks.

      (2) However, the relative risk posed by wolves is extremely small, and the vast majority of recorded incidents in North America do not end in death or even serious injury.

      (3) Moreover, many if not most of these attacks are preventable by removing anthropogenic (human) food sources, and removing/killing any wolf (or any large carnivore, for that matter) that becomes food-conditioned.
      (As an aside, habituation is not the same as food-conditioning. Yellowstone wolves and bears are habituated but NOT food conditioned; that is they have learned that humans generally do not pose a threat (habituation) but have not learned to associate people with food (food-conditioning). Habituated wildlife is the reason YNP is such a great place to see a variety of species. Note: I’m not suggesting habituation can’t lead to problems outside of places like YNP; just noting that there is a difference that seems to escape some folks).

    • pointswest Says:

      JB…I understand and agree with all of your points. I agree we need areas like Yellowstone where animals are habituated to humans so humans can observe and appreciate them. I think this is critical if we really want to preserve wildlife in this country. You have to keep people interested and to maintain interest so it is best if they participate somehow.

      The problem is, that Yellowstone, even though it is the largest National Park (outside of Alaska) is not large enough to sustain a population of large predators. It is not even close for wolves or grizzlies. We need more area.

      Another problem is that we can’t just let large predators reoccupy their former range. It will never work. It is a fantasy to believe that it can. There is some possibility that acceptable risk might be attained by keeping the densities very low and the training and hardships on the people very high. Keeping large predators away anthropogenic (human) food sources 24/7 is not easy. It will only work, poorly, in the unpopulated regions of the West and North. Further, I think if densities are low, and they are hunted and fear humans, then people cannot view and appreciate wolves and they will lose interest in them. Observing them in Yellowstone Park may not be enough.

      I think we need to revamp the whole public lands issue and create a new type of park or wildlife reserve. We need specially managed areas for these large predators and the areas need to be large. This means incorporating some private land and having people live in these special areas. They could be managed more intelligently. There could be some hunting, some grazing, some agriculture and some no-hunting special wildlife observation areas where animals can be habituated to humans as they are in Yellowstone Park.

      Forget this exclusive access to mother nature over their former range fantasy. Rational decisions need to be made in the next couple of decades.

    • jon Says:

      Wolves are large carnivores. Like bears, cougars and domestic dogs, they should be regarded as potentially dangerous. This does not mean that wolves should be viewed with an unhealthy fear or that we must return to the days when wolves were regarded as demons. It only means that we should view wolves with the same healthy respect due any potentially dangerous animal. L David Mech

    • jon Says:

      pw, anyone can write an account of something that may have happened or didn’t. That is not proof in my eyes. Just because someone writes something, does not always mean it’s true. Things are sometimes blown of proportion and don’t tell the whole truth of what happened in whatever situation. Take these written accounts from 100 years ago with a grain of salt.

    • pointswest Says:

      jon…you live in a fantasy world.

    • jon Says:

      It works both ways pw. Don’t claim that ar folks don’t care if other lesser known species go extinct because that is simply not true. Just because wolves are talked about a lot by some, does not mean people do not care about other animal species. All animals are important.

    • jon Says:

      Not really pw, I live in reality. Written accounts 120 years ago should be taken with a grain of salt as I said. We were not there, so we really can’t say for sure what happened there.

    • JB Says:

      “I think we need to revamp the whole public lands issue and create a new type of park or wildlife reserve. We need specially managed areas for these large predators and the areas need to be large. This means incorporating some private land and having people live in these special areas. They could be managed more intelligently. There could be some hunting, some grazing, some agriculture and some no-hunting special wildlife observation areas where animals can be habituated to humans as they are in Yellowstone Park.”

      PW: You’ve just described a National Forest nearly perfectly. We already have plenty of space (federal lands) in the West that can and in many cases do support wolves and grizzlies. The problem is that we–as a society–are not in agreement concerning what “uses” our multiple-use, public lands should accommodate, nor whose use should prevail when they are in conflict. Personally, I think living with wolves in the neighborhood isn’t all that tough unless you’re running livestock on public lands. Like coyotes, cougars, and black bears (which have all expanded their range in recent decades), wolves have the potential to exist in more places than we currently allow. Will some conflicts occur? You bet. Same as they do with all wildlife. But the more wolves there are and the greater their range, the less valuable any single animal becomes, ecologically and economically speaking–thus, greater flexibility in management follows from larger populations and better distribution.

  18. jon Says:

    JB, you are right on the money. The second city folk discover large predators roaming their neighborhood, action is taken and the animals are either removed or relocated.

    • Layton Says:

      “JB, you are right on the money. The second city folk discover large predators roaming their neighborhood, action is taken and the animals are either removed or relocated.”

      Gee whiz jon — shouldn’t that be OK??

      You are quite fond of harping about people “invading the (whatever animal’s) home”, what about when animals invade people’s homes?? Or do people even have a right to a home??

    • ProWolf in WY Says:

      Layton, it’s kind of a double-edged sword. The animals were there first. So who is invading who? I’m not saying people have no right to a home but these things will happen, especially in places like Missoula with a fast-growing population.

    • Layton Says:

      That’s the point PW,

      Seems like one of the more prevailing outlooks here is that animals – endangered or not – have all the rights and people have none.

      Where is it that people were there first? I’m not sure that I know of a place. That said, I have a flash for those with that viewpoint. PEOPLE ARE NOT GOING TO JUST DISAPPEAR!! Some of us are not even interested in being second best to animals. Peaceful co-existence is a nice concept but in MOST cases it’s just not feasible.

    • pointswest Says:

      Layton…also note that you never hear animal rights folks making some home-invasion arguments about insects. There is an endangered burrowing bee here in So Cal and it received protection but people on this blog never make home invasion claims for insects or lizards or snakes. They only make claims about some furry mammal that has cute offspring that they can indentify with. They want to give an animal they can identify with exclusive rights to mother nature. That is, they are acting out their own trauma associated with an unresolved symbiosis with their mother…and there are lots of them.

      They do not care if they cause grief and hardship to millions of people. They do not care if other, less identifiable, species suffer or become extinct. They do not care if their wishes are total unattainable fantasy. The want to rant an rave and make all sorts of emotional appeals about their favorite identity mammal and draw attention to its plight in gaining exclusive access to mother nature. Or what they really want is to to draw attention to their own plight in gaining exclusive access to their own mother.

      They will never be satisfied and they will never be rational. You could work out some perfect solution and it will never even come close to being enough. They are going to spend their entire lives acting out their unresolved symbiosis trauama.

    • jon Says:

      PW, you said,

      …also note that you never hear animal rights folks making some home-invasion arguments about insects.

      there is no argument to be made. You cannot even compare an insect invading someone’s home to a strange who that is intended to do wrong. Sometimes, you are way way out there pw. I wouldn’t expect anything different from someone who admitted he has fed bears and thinks animals commit evil acts.

    • jon Says:

      Animals no not care about where they go. They will go wherever they want, but with that said, they don’t belong in neighborhoods. They belong in the wild and if they are found in neighborhoods, they should be relocated. You are making stuff up. No one has ever said people don’t have a right to their homes.

    • pointswest Says:

      ++I wouldn’t expect anything different from someone who admitted he has fed bears and thinks animals commit evil acts.++

      jon…you are intentionally distorting things I have written. This is inappropriate for this blog. It is unethical and is also very childish. Please stop.

    • jon Says:

      pw, the reason why so many people like wolves is because they resemble man’s best friend. I don’t believe wolves to be magical animals as some may. They are amazing animals, but so are mt. lions and wolverines, but these animals never get talked about. There are many more wolves than wolverines, but wolverines never ever get talked about it seems. People have a right to their homes. I wouldn’t like it if someone told me I didn’t have a right to my home. As I said, wolves don’t belong in neighborhoods. They belong in the wild, but we can expect them every now and then to venture into neighborhoods. When this happens, they should be relocated.

    • pointswest Says:

      jon…now you are saying people LIKE wolves. I thought the reason they were killed and are still being killed is because people did not like them You better quit before you dig yourself in any deeper.

      Your ol’ dada should have turned you over his knee paddled you hard!

    • jon Says:

      pw, use some common sense. Some people like wolves and some hate them. You must know this. Not everyone is going to like wolves just like not everyone is going to hate them.

  19. jon Says:

    pw,

    They do not care if they cause grief and hardship to millions of people. They do not care if other, less identifiable, species suffer or become extinct. They do not care if their wishes are total unattainable fantasy.

    That is a flat out lie and it’s untrue. I and others care about all species. Reason why wolves are talked about so much is because of the persecution they have faced throughout the years and the unique familiy structure they have. Frankly, at this point in time, I would rather talk about other animals besides wolves. Like wolverines for example whose population isn’t doing too good in my eyes. Wolves seem to be the topic on everyone’s minds these days. You are incorrect in that we don’t care about other species. All animals are IMPORTANT.

    • Elk275 Says:

      Jon have you ever seen a wolverine or mountain lion in the wild? I have been lucky enough to see 2 wolverines in the wild and one mountain lion.

    • jon Says:

      No, I haven’t elk. Someone seeing a wolverine in the wild is a rather rare event if you ask me and although mt lions are not endangered, seeing one is also a rare thing as you know, they are secretive and elusive. Wolverines and their population isn’t doing too good imo. I would like to see them discussed more than wolves at this point. They are amazing little animals which aren’t talked about enough.

  20. jon Says:

    ProWolf in WY Says:
    July 24, 2010 at 1:55 AM
    Layton, it’s kind of a double-edged sword. The animals were there first. So who is invading who? I’m not saying people have no right to a home but these things will happen, especially in places like Missoula with a fast-growing population.

    Pro wolf, you are indeed right. Things are very different now as humans rule the earth, but we are the invaders, not the animals. The animals will be here long after we are.

    • Save bears Says:

      ?????

      I am pretty sure that humans are part of the natural world! We just happened to rise to the top…

    • ProWolf in WY Says:

      Save bears I didn’t say we were not part of the natural world. However, one difference, especially as far as homes are concerned, humans do not NEED to live in “the sticks” but CHOOSE to. Humans can live in towns. Animals like bears and wolves cannot live in towns. So I think the invasion does have some factual merit. Humans are very far removed from the natural world and have been for a long time.

    • jon Says:

      sb, that is true, but animals were here long before we came. That is all I was trying to say. We are indeed at the top, but that doesn’t change that we are still the invaders.

      ps check your email if you haven’t already

      thanks

    • Save bears Says:

      PW,

      Yes, I NEED to live in the sticks, I cannot live in town, cities or any where of that nature, so yes, I NEED live live where I do..

      By the way, I was not addressing you, my post addressed Jon..

    • Save bears Says:

      Jon 4.2 Million years, the humans have been on the earth….that seems like a pretty long time to me?

    • Save bears Says:

      Jon,

      I checked my email, I don’t think I got your message

    • jon Says:

      When I talk about humans sb, I am referring to homosapiens. Depending on who you ask or talk to, we really haven’t been on the earth that long when compared to other animals.

    • Save bears Says:

      Jon,

      I disagree

  21. Elk275 Says:

    I am not afraid of any large Rocky Mountain carnivores: I am careful in there space. I am afraid of MOOSE and have been since I was a child.

    • jon Says:

      http://www.glacier-national-park-travel-guide.com/moose-attack.html

      Although they appear gentle, wild moose attack hikers and tourists every year in Glacier National Park, Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Alaska and throughout Canada.

      In fact, in the mandatory, park ranger introduction session I underwent as a Glacier National Park employee, the park rangers said wild moose are more dangerous than grizzly bears. I couldn’t believe it!

      Park rangers told us that a moose will attack you when they feel threatened and are trying to ensure that you are not dangerous. Since a moose weighs upwards of 1,500 pounds, ensuring you are not a threat can be the same as being hit by a car!

      Generally, a wild moose judges a human as threatening due to bad judgment on our part, which is why you must know the reasons why moose will attack before hiking through moose habitat.

      More often than not, predators are looked at as the dangerous animals and no attention is paid to animals like moose which can be at times far more dangerous than any predator can.

    • ProWolf in WY Says:

      Elk and Jon, I also have more of a fear of moose than bears. I have had two run-ins with a bull moose that were pretty sketchy. The second time I was worried my lack of climbing skills were going to be put to the test.

    • jon Says:

      There have been cases where drivers have almost slammed into a moose. Actually, I believe there have been instances where driver and elk collided. I cannot imagine what it would be like to slam into a big moose going at a fairly decent speed especially at night time.

    • jon Says:

      My mistake, I meant moose.

    • Elk275 Says:

      Hitting a moose is like hitting a small animal, one of my best friends in Bozeman is an old Rhodesian, a former game ranger,teacher and veteran of the Rhodesian war; he hit a giraffe with his Land Rover. It was during the Rhodesian War and the Land Rover was built to withstand mines. The giraffe went over the Land Rover landing on the roll bars and fell off the side. All vehicle occupants and the giraffe survived unhurt.

  22. pointswest Says:

    jon…I think these wildlife issues hold a special symbolic meaning to you and you are not capable of speaking about them rationally. Your comments are becoming more and more contradictory and far fetched and your are being condescending and insulting to any who might threaten your delusions. I have lost interest in any of your opinions and feel that reading your comments is a waste of time. I will no longer respond to your posts. I also hope you will stop trying to dominate this blog so I can read some more meaningful opinions.

    • Mike Says:

      Pointswest – You are wrong. Jon’s posts are valuable and help to offset the right wing/milita nuttery which has crept into this great website.

    • pointswest Says:

      No one is asking jon not to post. I just do not like him trying and dominate the site with a barrage emotional posts full of condescension and insults and short on facts or experience.

      I do not want to respond to him not only because of his extreme views that people are evil while all animal are totally and completely innocent and should be protected to the exclusion of all human rights, but because he evades difficult questions, he has intentionally distorted things I’ve written, he is very, very condescending, he is insulting, and he contradicts himself on a daily basis. More than anything else, I feel it is a waste of time to discuss things with someone who is as irrational as he is and who does not seem to understand the real world. I think he is emotionally disturbed and that he tries to dominate this blog with a blizzard of condescending and insulting posts that are fast an lose with the facts and often have no basis in reality.

      Go ahead…have your meaningful discussions with jon but l am bowing out, thank you very much.

    • Ryan Says:

      Mike,

      This site is pretty evenly split, if not more left leaning.

  23. pointswest Says:

    ++JB Writes: Personally, I think living with wolves in the neighborhood isn’t all that tough unless you’re running livestock on public lands.++

    JB…do you live in wolf country? I don’t either but my home town is now in wolf country and I have a pretty good idea of what it is like. Having wolves around is an added burden for most people in wolf country. Those who have the greatest added burden are those who have a house in the country. People who live in the country pay a premium for living in the country because small parcels of land in the country are not cheap and you need a well, rural electrical service, and a septic system. It also costs money to drive to town for groceries. Living in the country is a luxury of sorts. People often pay this premium because they love animals and are only allowed to keep them in the country. They might have a few dogs and cats. They might have several rabbits. They might have chinchillas. They might have chickens, or domesticated ducks or domesticated geese or turkeys or peacocks. They might have goats, or lamas, or sheep, or donkeys, mules, or horses. They might have a milk cow or two. So they have their home in the country with some of their favorite animals and everything is changing with wolves around.

    I hear the stories, some of them first hand. I heard about a woman whose family dog of 11 years was killed by wolves. I heard of the wolves that were in the coral harassing someone’s horses. I heard of another family dog that was killed by wolves. I hear of people having to lock up goats at night to protect them. I hear about people worrying about their kids in the back yard. Wolves are a great burden to many people. I think many on this blog want to gloss over this point…or worse, just don’t give a f*<k and have some pristine ideal of wolves having ascendancy over mother nature.

    I do think sacrifices for wolves should be made because I think we should protect wolves. But I do not believe every country dweller in the United States needs to carry this burden. What would be the point of this? How many wolves do we need? I think four or five or six very large National Parks or special wildlife preserves is enough. Why do people on this blog just want to stick it to all those people who live in the country and love their animals?

    • JB Says:

      Look, I am not sympathetic to the changes in behavior required to live around large carnivores, but to suggest that “people on this blog just want to stick it to all those people who live in the country and love their animals” is a bunch of horse shit.

      I live in white-tailed deer country. My home state averages about 65,000 deer-vehicle collisions EVERY YEAR. Average cost of these collisions is about $2,500 dollars and that’s just for the vehicle; there are also numerous injuries and a hand full of deaths EVERY YEAR because of deer. These accidents occur disproportionately in urban and suburban areas. (Note: My family once hit three deer in two days. I have been fortunate; I’ve only hit one, and the repairs were relatively minor (so I did them myself, which meant ~$500 out of pocket).

      The point is, to assert that the costs of having wolves are somehow unique and unfair is simply inaccurate. Your “not-in-my-backyard” logic would lead to the elimination of wildlife everywhere in order to reduce risks that are infinitesimally small.

      FYI: WT-deer are just one example of wildlife damage; numerous other species cause damage as well. Should we limit them all to wilderness zoos…uh..I mean “preserves”?

    • jon Says:

      JB Says:
      July 25, 2010 at 11:42 AM
      Look, I am not sympathetic to the changes in behavior required to live around large carnivores, but to suggest that “people on this blog just want to stick it to all those people who live in the country and love their animals” is a bunch of horse shit.

      You nailed it jb. I don’t know where he comes up with this stuff. No one that I know or any wolf supporter on here has ever said that they want to stick it to those that live in the country with wild predators.

    • Ralph Maughan Says:

      pointswest,

      It’s inconvenient all right, but of a very minor kind. It’s the kind of inconvenience where you think you have a clean shirt, but instead only have one worn a couple times. I make do.

    • pointswest Says:

      No matter how you slice it or how you dice it, wolves are an ADDED burden to country dwellers who want to own and care for their animals. Wolves change the game completely and the options for owning animals is greatly reduced. In wolf country, there is MUCH LESS free ranging of animals and they require wolf proof pens and shelters or protection of some kind. It is ADDED burden at ADDED cost and it is a constant worry. It is also a constant worry for kids or feeble adults.

      Now I think it is a worthwhile sacrifice in SOME areas, but it does not need to be a sacrifice for country dwellers in ALL areas.

    • Ralph Maughan Says:

      Pointsswest,

      I beg to differ. The added burden is almost entirely in their heads.

      This is an issue of cultural disagreement. It is not a matter of physical substance. It’s kind of like arguing about God.

    • pointswest Says:

      Ralph…I do not understand your point. In wolf country, unless you have wolf-proof pens, wolves will eventually get your geese or your pigs. If you let your dogs roam free, wolves will eventually get them. Unless you take special precautions, they might get any animals you own. It might not happen this year or next year but it will eventually happen…unless you take added precautions. I am unsure of what you are saying.

    • Jay Says:

      Its just an eventuality that wolves will kill any animal you own? Hogwash.

    • pointswest Says:

      OK JB…country dwellers need not worry about wolves killing their the pets and domesticated animals. All the stories I’ve heard from my home town are lies and all the stories you read about in the newspaper are a conspiracy. I have it from you now that the notion of wolves eventually killing pets or domesticated animals is “hogwash.” No one needs to take steps to protect them. I do not understand where all these crazy stories and reports come from or why people worry.

      You just cleared it all up. Thank you. If I move to wolf country, I will never worry about my pets or domesticated animals because I have it from you that they are safe.

      BTW, the following link is to a table of dogs injured or killed in Wisconsin by wolves so far this year (2010). It may not count cats or dogs “missing.” You need to write these folks and tell them these reports are, “hogwash”!

    • Ralph Maughan Says:

      pointswest,

      I’m sorry I haven’t made myself clear. The controversy over the restoration of wolves is a matter of conflict between people with different values, and all the talking or studies won’t make any difference. It isn’t really a matter of much economic consequence. The wolves are changing the ecology of some of the area, especially Yellowstone Park; but outside it, they are a minor factor. Substantive environmental issues are like what to do about the Gulf of Mexico?

      Both the benefits and burdens of wolves are being magnified to support positions of people that will not change.

      That is why I said it is like arguing about God (or one’s religion).

    • JB Says:

      PW:

      You are completely mischaracterizing my comments concerning this issue. You are adopting the most extreme positions, and then you seem defensive when people call you out on it. You have essentially asserted that all domestic animals are will “eventually” be killed in wolf country sans “wolf proof” pens. As Jay pointed out, this simply is not an accurate statement. Will some be killed? You bet. Will the risk of losing domestic pets and livestock increase when they are left to roam free? Absolutely. But to assert that ALL domestic animals in wolf country will be killed without these protections is, as Jay put it, “hogwash”.

      And by the way, you never addressed the fundamental point I made (above). Living any place exposes you to different types of risks, some of which can be controlled, while others can not. Many of these are associated with the natural world (e.g. earthquakes, flooding, blizzards) and some of these are specific to wildlife (e.g. raccoon rabies, deer-vehicle collisions, being stomped by a moose, or eaten by a grizzly). If you want to live in wolf country and keep domestic animals, then you should be aware of the risks and take precaution; same goes for cougars, which probably kill more domestic pets than wolves. Similarly, since I live in the city, I take precautions to ensure that my dog is not run over by a car.

      Finally, asserting that wolves are an “added” risk to living in a rural landscape completely ignores the fact that we exterminated wolves from these landscapes to begin with. Wolves are a part of the natural fauna of North America; they may be a recent “addition” to some places, but they were also pretty recently “subtracted” (i.e. exterminated) from those same places. Domestic cattle, however, are an addition to North America’s native fauna; and when left to roam free, do pose an “added” risk to people on the landscape.

    • JEFF E Says:

      PW,
      for what it’s worth you are choosing the wrong hill to fight your battle on.
      Where ever one lives, and has pets/livestock there is a risk of injury/ death from you name it.
      I am not aware of any sort of guarantee otherwise. Are you?
      As far as “added burden”, what is your baseline and criteria?

  24. Layton Says:

    “Why do people on this blog just want to stick it to all those people who live in the country and love their animals?”

    Good question — I’d really like to see some of the people that you reference try to answer it.

    • JB Says:

      “Good question — I’d really like to see some of the people that you reference try to answer it.”

      See above.

    • JB Says:

      “Why do people on this blog just want to stick it to all those people who live in the country and love their animals?”

      I live in a large metropolitan area and I have three animals (two cats and a German Shepherd). To reduce the impact on songbirds and because I don’t want them to become roadkill, they are limited the indoors. For similar reasons, I keep my dog inside, in a fenced back yard, or on a leash (or under voice command) at all times. I do these things because I care deeply about my animals. A woman that I work with rehabilitates injured wildlife (mostly ducks and other types of birds). She lives in a rural area, but keeps her backyard fenced because she’s lost some to coyotes.

      Maybe we should be asking why people living in wolf range think so little of their pets?

    • Save bears Says:

      JB,

      Come on, people that live in wolf country don’t not care about there pets, I live in wolf country and did take precautions to ensure their safety, but sometimes things do happen, I remember a pack rat getting a hold of one of my Golden’s and talk about a mess, but it was not because I didn’t care for her…that dog and me we as tight as could be…and I was devastated when she went down…

    • JB Says:

      Save Bears:

      You’re right, I responded to a loaded, overgeneralized bullshit question with one of my own. I get tired of the woe-is-me, wolves are such a burden, attitude of some on this blog. As if we don’t all have to take precautions to take care of our pets?

    • Save bears Says:

      JB,

      I agree, the only thing I will bring up is many people have never had to deal with the situation that is currently on the ground and takes time to learn the proper techniques to live with predators, I think we have a two pronged situation going on here, those who want wolves don’t understand what those living in this type of environment deal with day to day, and those that do live here don’t understand the feelings of those who don’t live here and feel like they have been thrown under the train…

    • JB Says:

      SB: We’re in complete agreement then.

  25. pointswest Says:

    Many things are burdens but you cannot deny that wolves are an ADDED burden when compared to areas where they are ALLOWED to be constantly hunted and killed or where they have been extricated.

    • Salle Says:

      Wolves were extricated for convenience so that the folks who were afraid of nature could live out in the country where all those scary wild animals live. The nerve of those wild animals being wild anyway, what’s up with that?

      So, I am also left wondering where “wolf country” is since they once inhabited the whole continent.

      The burden is on the taxpayers who unwittingly pay for the “wildlife service” to dispense with whatever wild animals are an inconvenience to someone who shouldn’t live in the country if they are so afraid of everything there. If you have animals, you should take care of them appropriately to avoid them being harmed by whatever may harm them including bad weather which, last time I checked, is another danger to be guarded against… especially for livestock.

      Your lack of knowledge about a lot of things and your insistence that because someone told you a story, that it is absolute fact, reveal that you haven’t got much going on in the field of understanding, about most things.~ or at the very least you lack the ability to think through what you are saying.

      I live in the country, I don’t have any acreage and I live where there are wolves. I love it when I can hear them at night and when I can actually see them. I think they are a blessing ~ in that they represent a healthy ecosystem. If you can’t understand that, I feel sorry for you.

    • pointswest Says:

      Salle writes: “If you have animals, you should take care of them appropriately to avoid them being harmed by whatever may harm them including bad weather which, last time I checked, is another danger to be guarded against… especially for livestock.”

      People who owned animals used to “take care of them appropriately” by shooting wolves on site to keep them back into the wilds or by extirpating them from an area completely. Up until recently, this was considered responsible care for domesticated animals and even for wildlife.

      I too believe wolves should be protected and that they should have very large areas reserved for them, but I do not believe they need to be everywhere in the USA.

  26. SEAK Mossback Says:

    I guess we’ve got the best of both worlds. We can hear wolves occasionally on the mainland across a mile of water, but there are none (usually) here on the island so we don’t have to worry letting our labrador out to pee — and the deer on this side are regulated simply by snow, habitat and hunting. We are only 45 minutes by foot or 10 minutes by skiff from a road system and major population center where waterfront property costs about 10 times as much and the mill rate is nearly double, but the people in that community are so urban in mindset that our neighborhood has shrunk from 4 full-time households when we moved here to only 2 – as the other two families moved back into town for door-to-automobile convenience. We provide our own basic utilities (water, sewer & power – micro-hydro plus a little solar and wind, plus mostly wood heat with a little oil during the coldest months) at next to nothing compared with utility charges in town and at relatively little hassle. They all think we live the worst of both worlds – too close to town for a real get-away but far enough to suffer unspeakable hardship — but we think its the best of both. The deer hunting effort drops by about 2/3rds after a hard winter as the urbanites only want to hunt when its easy and quickly switch to watching football and hunting at the supermarket meat counter, but they flock down here after sequential mild winters when the deer are approaching a precarious level and need to be controlled. I love urban folks!

    • pointswest Says:

      ++I guess we’ve got the best of both worlds. We can hear wolves occasionally on the mainland across a mile of water, but there are none (usually) here on the island so we don’t have to worry letting our labrador out to pee ++

      Seak…You do not need to worry about your labrador. JB says the notion of it eventually being killed by wolves is “hogwash.” We have from the authority now.

    • JB Says:

      Pointswest:

      To be factually correct, Jay responded to your claim that:

      “unless you have wolf-proof pens, wolves will eventually get your geese or your pigs. If you let your dogs roam free, wolves will eventually get them. Unless you take special precautions, they might get any animals you own.”

      He characterized your claim that all dogs left to roam free in wolf country will eventually be killed by wolves as “hogwash”. Those were his words, not mine. However, I do agree with him. You have adopted the most extreme position and you are being called on it.

  27. pointswest Says:

    SB wrote “I remember a pack rat getting a hold of one of my Golden’s and talk about a mess”

    SB…did you mean a wolf got your dog?

    • Save bears Says:

      No PW,

      I didn’t

      Are you drinking this evening?

    • pointswest Says:

      What do the quoted words mean then? I do not drink but do not understand about a pack rat making a mess of your Golden.

    • Save bears Says:

      37 stitches in her lower jaw, blood from the top of her head to the bottom of her chest, she was a mess, I can tell you, I tangled with one a couple of years ago, when I was under the house getting ready for winter, they are NOT nice animals, and they have really nasty teeth! She did kill it, but man, it didn’t go down without a fight!

    • SEAK Mossback Says:

      I remember watching the neighbors trying to kill one in their garage when I was a kid. It went down like Rasputin.

    • pointswest Says:

      I’ve had pack rats steal my stuff. I’ve had them in the tent. I’ve had them hop across my sleeping bag with me in it, but I’ve never had to fight one.

      Thanks for the warning.

    • Save bears Says:

      PW,

      I use a .22 to kill them when they are in the house, and my darn neighbor uses a .357 when they are in the basement, those buggers are MEAN and NASTY and very destructive

  28. Nancy Says:

    Pointswest, gathering from the last couple of posts, you’ve spent little time out here in this part of the country?

    • Salle Says:

      I guess he/she only points to the west, doesn’t actually go or live there.

    • pointswest Says:

      I grew up in Ashton, Idaho that is only 15 miles from Yellowstone Park. My father was president of the Rod & Gun Club. I killed my first deer the day I turned 12. I have killed many deer and elk and a couple of bears. I return to Idaho every year and several friends and family there. I read the local papers. I worked for the Targhee National Forest for three summers. I attened University of Idaho and Untiversity of New Mexico. I have a degree in Engineering. I have lived all over the West. I am an avid outdoorsman and have killed deer and elk in New Mexco and in all parts of Idaho. I have backpacked and camped all over the west.

      Let the games begin.

    • pointswest Says:

      Salle writes: “I guess he/she only points to the west, doesn’t actually go or live there.”

      If this is going to become a very childish contest of making mean and nasty personal comments, do not expect me to respond.

    • pointswest Says:

      I should add that while attending the U of I, I had one roommate for two years who was a Fisheries graduate student and another who was a Wildlife Biology graduate student and they would have their friends over smoking pot or drinking beer several nights a week. I, being a hard working engineering student, could not smoke pot and drink beer with them every night but I went camping, hunting and fishing with them on several occasions and we often discussed wildlife issues. It was a popular topic in college as this was the beginnings of the modern environmental movement.

      Many of the people I worked with when I worked for the Targhee National Forest were Wildlife Biologists (or students) or Foresters (or students). Working for the Forest Service gives one lots of free time to discuss wildlife issues.


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