Colorado bans hunting of denned bears

Outrage from killing 703-pound denned bear sparks new regulation-

Last November Richard Kendall of Craig shot a black bear that was a state record, but the bear was in its den. A lot of folks didn’t like they way he got the record bear. As a result, the Colorado Wildlife Commission unanimously approved a new rule last week to restore fair chase by banning hunting or harassment of black bears in their dens.

Colorado officials unanimously approve regulation banning the hunting of denned bears. LA Times.

Hunting versus animal rights

Editorial. By Ralph Maughan

I hate this argument.  It can’t be resolved and prevents people from discussing wildlife.  It just results in stereotyping and bad feelings. In the larger world, the argument is deliberately pushed by those who do not want to see any cooperation between hunters and those who don’t hunt.

There are many kinds of hunters and many kinds of people who don’t hunt.  Dividing them into just two groups distorts reality; so, of course, people get angry.

May I suggest that you ignore these discussions if they get started.  I’m going to shut them down if they do.  Those who persist will be asked to comment on another blog, not this one.

~Comments are closed~

Palin’s Hunting Trip To Feed Her Family Cost $42,400 for the caribou meat!

Article says it was not hunt to fill family freezer . . . a hunt for personal publicity-

There has been some discussion in our forum about Palin’s TV, caribou hunt. . . . questions about the rifle she used, her shooting ability, and so forth. Here’s one that goes to the heart of the thing — it wasn’t really a hunt to fill the Palin family freezer to get them through the winter.

Sarah Palin’s Hunting Trip To Feed Her Family Cost — $42,400 or $141.33 per lb. of Caribou Meat! By Bonnie Fuller in Hollywood Life

Veteran Hunter’s Take on MT Elk Season

Carter Niemeyer talks about the Montana elk hunt-

He is a long time elk hunter and former federal wolf recovery coordinator for Idaho. He worked in Montana for most of his career (Wildlife Services)

Veteran Hunter’s Take on MT Elk Season. Public News Service.

Posted in Elk, Montana, Wolves. Tags: . 61 Comments »

Major hunting groups’ statement against wolf poaching

Wolf poaching not supported-

Calling For Calm With Wolves. This statement was signed the Presidents/CEOs of the Boone and Crockett Club, Mule Deer Foundation, Pope and Young Club, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Safari Club, Wild Sheep Foundation, and Wildlife Management Institute.

Montana ballot initiative I-161 seeks to abolish 5,500 outfitter-sponsored big-game licenses.

“Outfitter set-asides” on the line. Will the average hunter benefit?

Is it a fairness issue? Will it serve to improve public access? Will it hurt or help the economy?

There has already been some discussion of I-161 here in this forum.

Is I-161 good for the future of hunting or just bad for business? By Michael Babcock. Great Falls Tribune.

Wyoming not apologetic for thwarting wolf plans

Though Wyoming caused relisting of the wolf twice, they have no plans to change-

The article interestingly enough says that Idaho’s Butch Otter and and Montana’s Brian Schweitzer haven’t bothered to ask Wyoming’s retiring Governor Freudenthal whether Wyoming intends to reconsider.” I’m not sure what to make of that.

Wyoming not apologetic for thwarting wolf plans. Ben Neary Associated Press

2010 Wyoming big game hunting prospects look great

Rocky Mountains Elk Foundation’s CEO David Allen’s annoying hysteria about wolves causing the “biggest wildlife management disaster since the 19 Century buffalo slaughter” is discredited-

2010 Big Game hunting forecast. By Christine Peterson. Casper Star-Tribune staff writer trib.com. Posted at the trib: Thursday, August 26

All Idahoans should shoulder costs of wildlife

Idaho Mountain Express says hunters and fishermen need to help in paying the expenses-

This editorial certainly makes sense to me. However, I think we will find opposition to this plan from two interesting forces — wildlife watchers and hunters.  The first is easiest to explain. An unknown number, but probably quite a few watchers, will want to watch without paying (the classic case of freeloading).  Some interest groups that say the represent hunters will oppose it because if watchers pay, they will have more of a say.

I expect the livestock interests will oppose it too because many of them fear the results of having more money for wildlife.  Still, I hope a majority can be built.

Idaho Mountains Express, “Our View: All Idahoans should shoulder costs of wildlife.”

Added. Conservation permit killed in House. By Dusti Hurst. Idaho Reporter. While opponents billed it as a new tax on families and children who want to enjoy Idaho’s great outdoors (how sweet of them!), the fact that Rep. Lenore Barrett of Challis led the charge against it suggests that’s not how the most anti-conservation members really saw it.  As I suggested, however, there was also opposition from those who probably think that wildlife watching should inherently be free even though the area was created to enhance wildlife (such as Democrat James Ruchti of Pocatello)

Is it legal to hunt Idaho wildlife by honing in on radio collars?

Yes, according to the IDFG.

Over on a popular, unnamed anti-wolf website there has been discussion of using radio receivers to track and hunt wolves and the frequencies of the radio collars on them so I asked the IDFG about this. I sent them the exchanges which have taken place there and, specifically, I asked “I would like to know if there is any language which prohibits the practice of hunting wolves, elk, or deer with the aid of radio tracking.”

The reply I received from Jon Heggen, Chief of the Enforcement Bureau for the Idaho Department of Fish & Game:

There is currently no prohibition against the use of radio tracking equipment for the taking of big game.

Radio collar frequencies are considered [just] a trade secret and therefore their disclosure is exempt from Idaho’s public records law.

The problem is that the radio collars frequencies are not a secret. A quick search of documents obtained through public records requests does reveal radio frequencies of wolves and it is common practice to give ranchers receivers with the frequencies of collared wolves. Are we to believe, that with the animosity towards wolves and, frankly, other wildlife, that this information will remain only in the hands of those with the authority to have it?

This is not only a problem with wolves. There are hundreds of elk, deer, bighorn sheep, grizzly bears, wolverines and many other species that are burdened by radio devices. It appears, based on my question and the answer given, that there is a gaping hole in wildlife protection that needs to be filled legislatively or through the commission. Is the state legislature or IDFG Commission going to fill this hole as quickly as they do when the profits of the livestock industry or outfitting industry are threatened or are they going to scoff it off because it might result in the death of a few more wolves and possibly other species?

Is the idea of “fair chase” a thing of the past?

Montana hunting initiative aims for access to wildlife

Outfitter-sponsored big game licenses for non-Montanans would been done away with by Initiative 161-

Hunting initiative aims for access to wildlife. By Michale Babcock. Great Falls Tribune Outdoor Editor.

The Urban Deerslayer

NYT says more urban folks learning to hunt for safe, low carbon-impact meat-

The Urban Deerslayer. By Sean Patrick Farrell. New York Times.

Fewer and fewer people have been learning to hunt, to the dismay of many. Hunting is generaly taught as part of a family tradition or with young friends while growing up.

The article writes of what might be an unexpected source of new hunters — urban adults who want a more honest connection to their food and/or worry about the hormones, fat, and other contaminants of factory farmed beef and pork.

My personal belief is that unless you have killed and eaten an animal, caught and gutted a fish, you don’t understand the value of meat. You don’t understand the difficulty getting high quality protein, nor what much of human history has been like.

Much of Eastern United States is overrun with whitetailed deer due to environmental changes that have lifted natural restraints on deer populations. Some urbanites are well situated to shoot a deer.

There should be a word of warning, however. First, if you can’t shoot your deer locally — if you travel many miles — your meat acquisition does not save a lot energy. Secondly, if the deer graze contaminated zones, the meat might not be safe. Third, bullets fragment. If you use lead bullets, there will be lead in your venison.  Use of ground venison maximizes the amount of lead. The type of bullet makes a big difference. Lead shotgun slugs and encased (jacketed) lead bullets leave the fewest fragments. If you hit large bone, there will be more fragmentation. Best, use copper bullets or go bowhunting.

More hunters now relying on mountain bikes

An environmental and hunt-friendly method of transport?

This article might well be read along with the one I posted, The confessions of an off-road-vehicle outlaw.

A horse is very useful hunting, especially for getting your kill out, but many people don’t have the means or the property to keep a horse. Rather than turn to an ATV, this might be a good solution.  Of course, for a raw and, I think, ethically satisfying hunting experience packing it on foot out is best. Having done this myself, however, it is misery.

The Human Body Is Built for Distance

Humans are built to run down prey over distance-

Most predators the size of humans are faster, so are the prey. This is not true over long distance, however. Primitive human hunters may well have simply run their prey to exhaustion. This is the idea in the article below.

The Human Body Is Built for Distance. By Tara Parker-Poper. New York Times.

I read this article about the same time I read about the crafty Montana ATV hunter getting his wolf. I immediately knew what I really didn’t like about his wolf hunt. His ATV! How we have fallen as hunters!

Because I’m 64, I do not jog anymore, but I walk and/or hike every day. After I read this and the ATV article, I went out, warmed up well and jogged a mile. I felt very good and not sore the next day.

As a people, too many of us need to get off our wheels and onto our feet.

Paradise Valley hunter mauled by grizzly bear

This one may not have serious injury to the hunter-

I want to note that JerryB posted a version this story as a comment earlier, but it isn’t good to post an entire story because they are copyrighted.

Paradise Valley hunter mauled by grizzly bear. By Ben Pierce. Bozeman Chronicle Staff Writer. One hunter seems to have been mauled briefly as the bear was running from the other hunter. Back in the days of good whitebark pine crops at this time of year grizzlies would be up very high, not down among the gut piles. At least I think this might be part of what is going on here.

2009 Bear Spray Campaign Endangers Hunters, Grizzlies

David Smith urges IGBC to change its bear spray campaign slogan to “Carry bear spray and know when to use it.”

Smith urges what might seem to be subtle but very important change in the way the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee educates hunters about bear spray.  However, for 2009 the IGBC is using the same arguments as it has for years.

2009 Bear Spray Campaign Endangers Hunters, Grizzlies. Unfiltered By David Smith in New West.

Rocky Mountain Front grizzlies are in the river bottoms

Hunters and hikers should take special note-

This time of year, many grizzlies take to forested river bottoms that lead eastward out from the Front,* such as the Teton River, Sun River, etc.

River bottom grizzlies spark warnings to hunters. By Karl Puckett. Great Falls Tribune.

– – – –

*The Front is the name given the abrupt rise of the Rocky Mountains out of the plains of northwest central Montana.

Posted in Bears, mountain ranges. Tags: , , . Comments Off on Rocky Mountain Front grizzlies are in the river bottoms

New York Times editorial: Elk Hunting in the Badlands

This may or may not be precedent setting, but it would allow public hunting in a national park. This is forbidden except in Grand Teton NP.

Editorial. New York Times. Elk Hunting in the Badlands

We shouldn’t manage Montana’s wildlife like a giant game farm

Marty Essen asks for balanced management of our forests and wildlife-

We shouldn’t manage Montana’s wildlife like a giant game farm

In response to some recent anti-wolf letters in local newspapers, I’d like to offer an alternative point of view.

Blaming the wolf for fewer elk, without considering other factors, is disingenuous at best. Here’s what scientists know as fact: wolves and elk have a history together that goes back to before humans entered their territory. If wolves were going to wipe out the elk, they would’ve done so long before humans arrived. In a natural ecosystem, wolves and elk exist to the mutual benefit of both species.

The real issue is whether it’s morally acceptable for humans to artificially manage our forests for the benefit of one special interest group: hunters. According to Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, 129,708 resident elk licenses were sold in 2008, and there are an estimated 193,484 total hunters in our state. Considering that Montana’s population is 967,440, hunters are a much smaller group than their political influence indicates (and not all hunters are anti-wolf).

On the other hand, many people, including conservation-minded hunters, won’t speak out in defense of wolves because they fear being threatened (I’ve been threatened more than once). That doesn’t mean their concerns should be ignored. Countless people head into the woods each day, hoping to spot a wolf. Yes, the reintroduction of wolves isn’t just for the animals—it’s for people too!

One anti-wolf writer suggested that we have a public vote on the “wolf problem.” In essence, we already had that vote when we banned game farms. If we manage Montana’s wildlife solely to favor human-hunted species, all we’re doing is turning our state into one giant game farm.

The best way to manage Montana’s wildlife is to strive for a natural balance. It’s good for animals; it’s good for non-hunters; and it’s good for hunters who believe in a fair chase.

Copyright ©

Marty Essen
Author of the multi-award-winning book, Cool Creatures, Hot Planet: Exploring the Seven Continents
www.CoolCreaturesHotPlanet.com

As hunters age, do they support allowing ATVs in more places?

White River National Forest, Colorado offers new travel plan that would restrict ATVs-

In interesting question is, is ATV use a generational thing or is it related to aging? If Bob Elderkin (in the article below) is in the majority, it is a generational thing, with older forest users, including hunters, being less, not more favorable to them.

Fight brewing over new national forest travel plan in Colorado. By Dennis Webb. The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel

Barstool Mountain Myths: Wolves & Elk Numbers Strong Despite Dire Predictions

Barstool Mountain Myths: Wolves & Elk Numbers Strong Despite Dire Predictions. By Tory and Meredith Taylor. Wyomingfile.com

The Taylors are longtime Wyoming outfitters. They recently retired after a long career.  It is fair to say they had a much stronger conservation viewpoint than most outfitters. Meredith, for example, joined with me and a number of other people to found the Greater Yellowstone Coalition.

Idaho senate committee approves Fish & Game fee hike

Looks like ID Fish & Game may get their tag fee increase-

Key Idaho Senate Committee approves increase 8-1. Idaho Statesman staff.

Hunters are abiding by lead bullet bans in condor country

Maybe Condors Can Survive Afterall

As many recall there was a vigorous discussion here last week about the possibility of reestablishing California Condors to the Columbia Basin and Hells Canyon based on historical accounts and recent biological evidence.

One of the issues brought up in the discussion was the lead bullet issue. When game is shot using lead bullets the bullets disintegrate and leave small fragments that are consumed by humans leading to health problems. This is also the case with condors which scavenge gut piles left by hunters or carcasses of animals that died from their wounds and weren’t retrieved by the hunters.

It appears that hunters are using lead to a lesser degree in condor country. Is that a possibility in more reactionary parts of the country like Idaho?

Hunters are abiding by lead bullet bans in condor country
Rocky Barker, Idaho Statesman.

Idaho Fish and Game submits revised fee increase proposal

Projected revenue increase revised from 20 down to 15%-

Under the proposal basic fish and hunting licenses would not change. Tags, however, would increase by varying percentage amounts.

Story in Idaho Statesman.

Posted in politics. Tags: , , , , . Comments Off on Idaho Fish and Game submits revised fee increase proposal

Poaching on the rise as the economy sinks

This is entirely predictable-

.  .  . and you can bet most state legislatures will do nothing about it.

Black-market meat – Illegal killing of animals on rise as economy sinks. By Tracie Cone. AP in the Missoulian.

Idaho Fish and Game needs more money, although they make me mad and I don’t think they deserve it. They are asking the legislature for a hunting and fish fee increase. I doubt they will get it.

IDFG does require more conservation officers in the field. The same is true in other states.

As folks have said many times in this forum, wildlife conservation and management needs sources of income that don’t depend on hunting and fishing license and tag fees.

Human fishing and hunting is accelerating evolution of species

Result is mostly toward smaller and shorter-lived individuals-

Human fishing and hunting accelerating evolution of species. Fishing and hunting by humans is accelerating the speed of evolution in some species as it removes whole generations of large adults who would otherwise reproduce. By Richard Alleyne, Science Correspondent. UK Telegraph.

Assuming that the prey does not become extinct, this finding is just what you’d predict when faced with heavy hunting, harvest, or whatever you call it. Heavy predation speeds up evolution, and the direction of the evolution is in the direction that makes the prey less desirable (such as smaller).  Therefore, more of the prey survive by evolving into something not so sought after by humans.

Montana Elk, deer prospects look good this year

This won’t impress most of that fraction of hunters who have decided that wolves have killed off the elk populations of Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming, but most years I have put up articles like this.

From the Missoulian. Montana Elk, deer prospects look good this year. By Michael Jamison.

Outrageous giveaway to public land ranchers in Utah proposed

Lead bullets taint game meat

Lead is toxic everywhere else, why would it be any different in bullets ? That’s not enough to keep some from being skeptical about the anti-lead people’s agenda :

Study: Lead bullets taint game meat – Rocky Barker Idaho Statesman

The side-bar has interesting information on lead spreading in deer

Posted in Deer, Elk. Tags: . 7 Comments »

Tight lines: Energized effort to protect wildlife

“The complacency of Utah anglers and hunters has always confounded me. Most organized group reactions to issues concerning wildlife are emotional outbursts that come too late in the game.” Read the rest in Tight lines: Energized effort to protect wildlife. Brett Prettyman. Salt Lake Tribune columnist.

– – – –
Then too there are those “sportsmen’s” group organized with the effect, and maybe the intention, of diverting anglers and hunters attention from these basic issues.

Posted in Fish, politics. Tags: , . Comments Off on Tight lines: Energized effort to protect wildlife

On Energy Development, Hunters and Anglers Push Back

On Energy Development, Hunters and Anglers Push Back. By Chris Hunt. New West.

Hunt also introduces us to a new group, Sportsmen for Responsible Energy Development.

Bush executive order to promote hunting might result in stricter rules on off-road vehicle use

Many Montana landowners trying to lock out public hunting, while private hunting continues.

I like this editorial in the Great Falls Tribune, namely that if you post your land “no hunting,” that should mean no hunting, period. It should not mean “no hunting for the general public, but hunting for those who pay the landowner.

Landowners absolutely do not own the wildlife that live on or cross their land.

“No hunting” should mean no hunting. Editorial. Great Falls Tribune.

Record number of grizzly bears were killed in British Columbia last year

Record number of grizzly bears were killed in British Columbia last year. By Mark Hume. The Globe and Mail.

Usually about 300 grizzlies are taken. In 2007 it was 430. Is this sustainable?

Wuerthner: Idaho’s wolf plan panders to hunters and ranchers

George Wuerthner writes his usual kind of essay — sustained argument based on, logic, and data from scientific papers — the kind of material politicians usually ignore 😦

Idaho’s wolf plan panders to hunters and ranchers. George Wuerthner. New West.

One thing Wuerthner doesn’t quite get right is that the plan is not a pander to hunters. It is a pander to outfitters, a subclass of hunters, whose interests are increasingly at odds with the average Idaho hunter. I will write more about this today. . . . here it is, see: Idaho “wolf viewing area” language is a menace to hunters and wildlife watchers.