A Whackadoodle Response to the Wolf Decision

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation issues a press release.

I don’t post links to anti-wolf websites or give much credence to their clams but the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has, as with their previous news release on wolves, issued another hyperbolic press release in response to Judge Malloy’s decision to relist wolves as an endangered species.

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation used to be more realistic about the effects of wolves but with their new leadership they have lost credibility by making statements like these in reference to wolves:

  • “skyrocketing wolf populations”
  • “greatest wildlife management disaster in America since the wanton destruction of bison herds”
  • “federal statutes and judges actually endorse the annihilation of big game herds, livestock, rural and sporting lifestyles—and possibly even compromise human safety”

On top of the hyperbole, their press release contradicts their own data, and that of the IDFG, which says that elk populations have increased or remain stable in the presence of wolves.

There are places where elk are struggling, and that is true with any population, but habitat is the underlying cause of those declines. The IDFG even says that poor habitat likely contributes to the success of predators. Specifically, when discussing their plan to kill wolves in the Lolo and Selway Zones where elk are not meeting the IDFG’s objectives, they state:

“Not only did food become more limiting for elk during winter, but the extensively overgrown brush fields in calving areas may have allowed predators to be more effective.”

Killing wolves for the sake of elk populations, which I find reprehensible, in areas with poor habitat may result in small, short term increases in elk populations but unless the underlying habitat and weed issues are addressed the elk populations will never rebound in the Lolo and Selway Zones.

The underlying issues are primarily a mature, closed forest canopy, which inhibits the forage and habitat types that elk need to survive, and spotted knapweed, which releases chemicals which inhibit the growth of competing plants and can dominate the landscape, especially in disturbed conditions.

Logging and prescribed burns are not analogous to natural fire during the dry summer months and the high populations in these zones were the result of the record setting 1910 fires. Also, there is no guarantee that if similar fires burned in these areas there would be the same response because spotted knapweed may just take over the burned landscapes and global warming may have other implications.

RMEF Calls on Congress to Reform Endangered Species Act.
Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation press release

32 Responses to “A Whackadoodle Response to the Wolf Decision”

  1. jburnham Says:

    Either this is willful misinformation meant to rally the anti-wolf troops, or Allen is genuinely clueless about the ESA.

    “Judge Molloy said wolves in the northern Rockies are a single population that cannot be segmented based on political boundaries. But he essentially did that very thing himself, because he considered only the wolf population within the U.S. There are 75,000-plus gray wolves across Canada, yet Judge Molloy stopped at the border and did not consider the entire Rocky Mountain population. The gray wolf is simply not an endangered species,” said Allen.

    Of course, the ESA lists animals and their habitat where they’re endangered. The Northern Rockies DPS doesn’t include Canada or Alaska or Iowa. Malloy’s ruling couldn’t have been clearer on this issue.

    It’s too bad RMEF and Allen have taken on the language and reasoning of radicals. They’ve done a lot of good work in the past.

    • jon Says:

      I would go with Allen is clueless.

      Allen began his career as Media Director for the Pro Rodeo Cowboys Association and served as Director of Special Events for Wrangler Jeans. He went on to create his own sports marketing agency where he directed marketing and sponsorships for the Dale Earnhardt/Richard Childress race teams and other NASCAR teams until Dale’s death in 2001 at the Daytona 500. Allen has spent 33 years marketing pro rodeo, the Pro Bull Riders Tour and NASCAR, and served on the board of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation. Allen brings a profound admiration for the foundation’s 10,000 dedicated volunteers. “Serving on the RMEF’s Board of Directors, I came to recognize our volunteers as real-life heroes of wildlife conservation in this country,” he says. “For no payment other than satisfaction, they put on our Big Game Banquets, roll up old barbed-wire fence, build water guzzlers, seed and reseed lands after fires and a host of other work—all on behalf of elk and other wildlife. They are the kind of conservationists Theodore Roosevelt would brag about. My goal is to give them all the tools they need to make the greatest possible difference.” Born and raised in Deadwood, South Dakota, he studied journalism at the University of Wyoming and now makes his home with his wife and two sons in Billings, Montana.

    • Erin Barca Says:

      No, it couldn’t have been clearer. David Allen is being intentionally ignorant.

      Also 50,000 wolves in Canada are hard at work performing their ecological role in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming through telekinesis.

    • WM Says:

      Erin,

      Allen is trying to stir the pot. His background is marketing, and they don’t always tell the truth when the speak, with alot of puffing about an issue.

      The sad thing is that his organization loses credibility when he does that. Over-exaggeration and disrespecting a judge who is trying to interpret the law are probably not the smartest things to do.

      That being said, there are fairly pursuasive and common-sense arguments about getting the ESA changed. There are several things not to like about the law as applied to the facts of this RNM wolf DPS creation, listing, delisting and what to do with states like WY and their elected officials.

      The fact that there are not wolves in Iowa raises an issue for me, whether there should be? Can anyone give reason wolves should not be in the Midwest?

    • Maska Says:

      WM, I’m originally from Missouri, and although I’m not sure much of Iowa is suitable habitat for wolves (Though I could be persuaded.), I don’t see any reason why wolves (although in this case, probably red wolves) might not be restored in southern Missouri and parts of Arkansas, as well as parts of Kentucky, Tennessee, etc.

      Of course, wolves already live in the upper Midwest in fairly large numbers, i.e. in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan.

    • Alan (one L) Says:

      It’s funny how the elk on the other side of the river or in the next drainage don’t count, when they nitpick how a few small sub-populations are struggling here and there, as clear evidence that wolves are “decimating” elk herds; yet 75,000 wolves in Canada proves that wolves are doing just fine!
      You can’t have it both ways. If wolf numbers in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming don’t matter (because there are plenty in Canada), then how can elk numbers in the Lolo matter when there are plenty in other places in the Northern Rockies?
      Indeed, there is a special depredation hunt that was just approved near Helena, Mt. because of agricultural damage. Elk are obviously out of control and need to be reduced across the Rockies!

  2. bob jackson Says:

    WM,

    I say bring them on, bring them to Iowa. I have a lion that has been scratching on a cedar tree on my property for three years. Bob cats raise young in my fence post pile. I have flying squirrels in my 300 year old oak trees. And otters fishing in most all fifty of my farm ponds and seven streams. My county has several creeks listed on the maps titled wolf creek. And one of my very old neighbors actually saw a pack of wolves on Wolf creek….And they were still being killed in my county in the 20’s and thirties. I have seen the pictures of these wolves.

    Seven miles from my place there is the largest natural salt lick I have ever seen. The whole top of the hill is gone….15′ gone and for a distance more than a football field in length. The trails leading up to this lick from all directions are huge.

    Yes bring them on. And for those of you who say Iowa stands for IDIOTS OUT WANDERING AROUND….or I OWE the WORLD an APOLOGY I say it also stands for I OFTEN WHIP ASSHOLES!!!

    And as for my buffalo, i asked them and they concur. My bulls would be the best protectors there ever were.

    • WM Says:

      Bob,

      With the way you say “bring them on,” (twice in fact) that sounds like a defensive posture to protect your bison.

      It is definitely not like, “I would really like to have some, and I will hard work toward getting them.” I detect a difference. LOL

    • ProWolf in WY Says:

      Bob, that is nice that you have all those animals living near you. I’ve never seen any of those in Iowa. Better keep the lion a secret. I’ve read about people in Iowa being pretty reactionary with them. And lest you think I am making fun of Iowans I was born there and have family there so I have no disrespect for them.

    • bob jackson Says:

      WM

      I was doing a play on George Bush’s words. Thought I was giving a hint to that intent with my saying I “asked my buffalo….”. I don’t see wolves ever being a possibility in Iowa. At least not in my and my son’s life time.

      pro wolf
      And as for the lion, , some day it will be shot. I had another resident lion that was shot just below my property fence 10 years ago. Lions have enough deer here, and enough cover in the govt. land below me…with swamps and bayou’s (with lots of big bass that nobody but us fishes)… that hunters can’t get to some land…and these lions don’t have to move far to maintain a home range of just a couple miles…as compared to the more sterile West where some lions have a 75 mile home.

      So we’ll see how long this lion lasts. The info is out there, however. A lady from town walks the dirt road disecting my land and she has seen it twice…one time out with the buffalo.

    • Save bears Says:

      Bob,

      All I can say is LMFAO, you are enjoyable to read…

    • bob jackson Says:

      save bears,

      I didn’t know you were into Hip Hop music.

    • WM Says:

      Bob,

      Got it. I try my best not to remember anything about Bush and those miserable 8 years, even the memorable sad but humorous quotes. Though, now reminded, a couple of my favorite were “Brownie you’re doing a heck of a job (reference to the idiot FEMA guy heading the Katrina disaster).” Or, “I was jes’ talkin’ the other day to my ol’ buddy, Kenny Boy (reference to crook Ken Lay of Enron).”

  3. Cody Coyote Says:

    Hard to say if Dave Allen is saying this stuff of his own volition in the course of his percieved job description , or if he is being pushed from behind by his donors and Board . It’s possible if not downright probable that RMEF heavies are loading his mouth with rusty nails and broken glass to fire blunderbuss volleys at wild geese masquerading as wolves.

    Nevertheless, Rocky Mountain Elk seemed like a genuine wildlife conservation group not so long ago; folks who realized hunting is a tool and a point of informed discourse, not a blunt instrument to be used in street brawls . I’ve lost a lot of respect for RMEF since about the time Allen took over as Director, but I cannot speak to why they changed their tune or if Allen is cause or effect or being forced to say this stuff. He was one of the speakers at the big anti-Wolf rally in Cody WY back in May , and he gave a very odd presentation, to put it mildly.

    I think I lost a little more respect for RMEF when this release came out. It’s also the same basic ploy being promoted by Sportsmen for Fish & Wildlife of late …they realize they can’t win on wolves using existing law, so their new tack is to change the law. They are gunning for the ESA. If they could not do THAT back during Bush-Cheney days with the likes of California wingnut Richard Pombo leading the charge, they have even less chance reforming ESA now.

    Fine. I’ll let them aim their guns straight at their feet.

  4. Nancy Says:

    ++I say bring them on, bring them to Iowa. I have a lion that has been scratching on a cedar tree on my property for three years. Bob cats raise young in my fence post pile. I have flying squirrels in my 300 year old oak trees. And otters fishing in most all fifty of my farm ponds and seven streams. My county has several creeks listed on the maps titled wolf creek. And one of my very old neighbors actually saw a pack of wolves on Wolf creek….And they were still being killed in my county in the 20′s and thirties. I have seen the pictures of these wolves++

    Nice Bob!! I feel very fortunate in what wildlife I see around my place but it pales in comparison to what you enjoy!

  5. ProWolf in WY Says:

    Statements that use extremes like RMEF is using make a group lose credibility. This is also why I no longer read hunting magazines. They use that kind of language and lose credibility.

    • Save bears Says:

      Pro,

      what is so sad, is the groups don’t care if they loose credibility with people that post on these various blogs, in this day of anti government sentiment, they gain 10 for every 1 they loose. When people finally figure that out, then life will be a whole lot better and we might be able to get somewhere.

  6. Daniel Berg Says:

    Anaconda would have paid a guy like Allen a lot of money back in the day. He would have made a fabulous editor for one of their papers.

    The problem with hyprbole is you often end up chained to it.

  7. jburnham Says:

    The hyperbolic rhetoric goes beyond wolves as well. Allen sent this letter to the editor a couple weeks ago trying to convince people that Wilderness and National Monument designation is as a plot by those who want to “lock people out of land completely”.

    This language is designed to appeal to the radical right, as if we need more radical groups in the fray.

    • ProWolf in WY Says:

      Some of these groups are so paranoid it’s scary. They get so hung up on states’ rights they get a little crackpot.

    • JB Says:

      The more radical they get, the more they isolate themselves from independents.

    • JEFF E Says:

      there is one of these outfits out of New Mexico that has become so paranoid they don’t even let themselves post on their own website.
      8*}}}

  8. pointswest Says:

    I agree with Allen’s point but for, perhaps, slightly different reasons. If the public is not allowed to enjoy our wilderness and wildlife, they will lose interest in it.

    Chamberlain basin, in the River of No Return Wilderness, is more of an exclusive rich man’s playground than about anywhere else in the USA. This is because it is so large and so remote that the only practical way to experience it is to fly into one of the several landing strips within its bounds. Very few Americans can afford a fly-in campout to Chamberlain Basin. Very few even know what or where Chamberlain Basin is.

    I think Chamberlain Basin should remain as it is, but you cannot do this to vast areas of the West. The public will lose interest if they cannot experience it and private interests will win the day.

    Today may be the high point for ecology. After the baby boomers to age and die, interest in ecology my wane. People probably do not realize that interest in ecology may owe much of it existence to visits by young baby boomers to National Parks. National Parks welcomed visitors and built roads, trails, viewpoints, parking, facilities, and accommodations for them. I think it is a bit short sited and even childish to believe that the current high levels of interest in wildness and wildlife will last forever. Societies change over time. Interests and values change. Few listen to Big Band music anymore. Fewer still enjoy a good waltz.

    • Jay Barr Says:

      To pointswest:

      “If the public is not allowed to enjoy our wilderness and wildlife, they will lose interest in it.” What is preventing the public from accessing Wilderness and wildlife? Chamberlain Basin, though most readily accessed by airplane can be reached by foot or horseback for those that expend modest effort. The fact that it is remote and hard-to-reach is part of a true Wilderness experience. This country should be setting aside more Wilderness in order to preserve the genetic diversity of our flora/fauna against the incursions of “private interests.” I believe that Wilderness will become even more valuable as time progresses because, unfortunately, these areas (and those that are still relatively wild but not designated) will become very rare and be in danger of being overwhelmed by visitors; no matter how costly/difficult they are to reach.

  9. Cody Coyote Says:

    Thursday Aug 12 AM—- it isn’t just the nonprofits who’ve had a paranoid schizophrenic episode over Molloy’s wolf relisting. I awoke this morning to some bizarre news…

    The headline in the Casper Star Tribune of an AP story out of Billings MT : ” Wildlife officials mull ‘research hunts’ for wolves”

    And the lead sentence: “Wildlife officials in the Northern Rockies said Wednesday they are considering hunting wolves in the name of research to get around a recent court ruling that restored federal protections for the animals….” . A little further down the story , the Rocky Mountain Director of Defenders of Wildlife Mike Leahy was quoted: ” “They’re trying to be too clever by half.” That was polite. Myself, I would’ve called it what it is: state sanctioned zoocide. It puts our state leaders on the same plane as the government of Sudan when they send the janjuweed horsemen into Darfur to reduce the numbers of those illegal non-Arab refugees and rebels.

    This is in the same grain as Japanese whaling ships hunting and killing whales in the name of ” research” to protect that industry by devious means.

    If there is a silver lining to this, it will be worth pointing out to the virulent anti-Wolfers that no environmental organization would stoop as low to flaunt a court ruling or change the rules of the game.

    • Ryan Says:

      “If there is a silver lining to this, it will be worth pointing out to the virulent anti-Wolfers that no environmental organization would stoop as low to flaunt a court ruling or change the rules of the game.”

      Cody,

      Your joking right.

    • jburnham Says:

      Cody Coyote says “It puts our state leaders on the same plane as the government of Sudan when they send the janjuweed horsemen into Darfur to reduce the numbers of those illegal non-Arab refugees and rebels.”

      No, not even close. But I think you’ve got the hang of this hyperbole thing.

  10. Cody Coyote Says:

    No, I’m not, Ryan.

  11. Layton Says:

    “no environmental organization would stoop as low to flaunt a court ruling or change the rules of the game.”

    If you change the word “no” to “any” then your claim is pretty close. Otherwise you HAVE to be joking – or are you really JimT under another handle??

  12. mikepost Says:

    As a long time RMEF volunteer and donor, I must say that I am as disappointed and incrdulous as the rest of you re Allen’s statement. Please note that there is some substantial internal discension over this issue so don’t write all us RMEF’ers off.

    Allen was brought into RMEF to fix some severe financial issues and he has done well dealing with that. His background however, as previously noted, is not strong in the conservation field. Story is not over….

  13. Ken Cole Says:

    Hey, does anyone have a copy of the pdf that used to be here? It’s gone now and I didn’t save a copy.

    http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/wildlife/plans/loloSelwayPredPlan.pdf


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: