Montana looking to create state sanctioned canned buffalo hunts

You too can hunt bison in fenced wildlife management areas.

The Montana Department of Fish Wildlife and Parks is floating a plan to move the last remaining quarantined bison to State owned wildlife management areas. Good thing right? Not so fast, they would be fenced in and not allowed to roam freely on the landscape. On top of that they would be hunted as well just like at those canned hunting places in Idaho and other states.

It sounds like a sick joke to me and I’m not the only one.

“FWP’s plan would further the disrespectful livestock model while adding the sickening twist of hunting buffalo on fenced-in public land after they have been raised in prison since they were calves stolen from the wild,” – Stephany Seay, Buffalo Field Campaign.

via FWP eyes state land for bison – The Bozeman Daily Chronicle: News.

“Putting them behind a fence and shooting them dead is too low of a bar. That’s not how we manage our wildlife species,” – Glenn Hockett – Gallatin Wildlife Association.

via State may put at least 50 bison on Spotted Dog land
Eve Byron – Helena Independent Record.

Bruskotter sets up Wildlife Conservation Policy blog

It is an academic blog dedicated to the social and political aspects–the so-called “human dimensions”–of wildlife management-

Wildlife Conservation Policy. Jeremy Bruskotter is an assistant professor in the School of Environment and Natural Resources at the Ohio State University. He regularly discusses wildlife conservation policy here on The Wildlife News.

Wolf management hot topic in D.C.

Controversy sparks various efforts to suppress wildlife management to favor extremists-

In addition to the effort by Montana Senators Jon Tester and Max Bacus to legalize Montana and Idaho’s wolf management plans by changing the law, a group of 8 far right Republicans has introduced legislation to give wolf management to the states.

Ersatz rancher U.S. Representative of Montana Rep. Denny Rehberg seems to be leader of this group of 8 Republicans. The report is in the Helena Independent Record by Eve Byron.  The Republicans are Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming; Dean Heller of Nevada; Rob Bishop of Utah; Mike Simpson of Idaho;* Trent Franks of Arizona; Wally Herger of California and Jason Chaffetz of Utah.

According to the I.R.,

Rehberg said. “After holding hearings in Montana and reading thousands of comments, it’s clear that folks in Western states like Montana are sick and tired of powerful environmental interest groups funded out of places like San Francisco and New York telling us how to manage our lands, resources and wildlife.”

These people love to say anything they disagree with comes from New York or San Francisco. That’s pretty irritating coming from a rich phony blowhard like Rehberg. How come the 3 webmasters of this blog all hail from Idaho or Montana? And why does it turn out that a lot of extreme anti-wolfers come from places like Chicago?

Hopefully this legislation will fail in the gridlock-as-usual in Washington.

– – – –
*Mike Simpson is my congressman here in Eastern Idaho. He hasn’t been an extremist, but he got a scare in the primary when 3 teabaggers challenged him.  He was renominated by more than 50% of the vote, however.

Beaver in our Midst

A guest article by Mike Settell

 

Beavers

Beavers

 

On June 26th, 2010, I inspected the South Fork of Mink Creek to document conditions of the Box Canyon road culvert that was being plugged by beaver.  Like many roads throughout the west, the South Fork Road parallels the creek and so problems with the road-creek interface are, at best, managed.  From its confluence with the West Fork of Mink Creek, the South Fork extends to its headwaters near the southern flank Scout Mountain in southwest Bannock County.  In the spring of 2010, I had seen no less than 25 beaver dams as far as the headwaters.   I was eager to see how the beaver were doing.

As I followed the South Fork upstream, I noticed that the dams I had seen the previous spring were failing, a sign that the beaver were no longer working in the area.  As I rode towards the Box Canyon Crossing, I observed more and more abandoned dams and receding water levels.  By the time I reached the end of the road, four out of five colonies were abandoned.

I continued riding through the canyon up to the gentle plateau that forms the upper South Fork drainage.   It was here that I hoped to see again the massive beaver ponds and the expanded willow acreage that ten years earlier was little more than dead sticks surrounding a marginal trampled, eroded stream.  Now, these colonies were also gone.   What once was a stream with approximately 35 potential cutthroat rearing ponds is now a silty, slithering stream, losing velocity and flowing muddily towards the Portneuf River.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Ethics of Killing Large Carnivores

Is “bagging a trophy” really an amoral choice?

This is a very interesting article that discusses the very core of issues we discuss on this blog.  I thoroughly recommend that you read it as I think it represents how I feel about wildlife, and more specifically large carnivore, management today.  The proponents of trophy hunting (and I think the North American Wildlife Management Model as well) claim that it is an amoral matter while, as the article points out, it is a moral matter.

In his paper, Environmental ethics and trophy hunting, Dr. Alastair Gunn states that “Nowhere in the (scientific) literature, so far as I am aware, is hunting for fun, for the enjoyment of killing, or for the acquisition of trophies defended.”

This passage is particularly relevant:

Unfortunately, jurisdictions in both Canada and the United States are saddled with a policy framework for wildlife conservation that is carried out within an artificial construct in which ethical considerations simply do not exist and management is driven largely by values, attitudes and deeply held beliefs that are ensconced in the anachronistic North American Wildlife Management Model that dates back to the early 1900’s. This narrow approach is primarily rooted in an agricultural mindset, as opposed to an ecological one.

The Ethics of Killing Large Carnivores.
Chris Genovali – Executive Director of Raincoast Conservation Foundation

Yellowstone workers to kill problem wolf

This would be the first incidence of a wolf being “removed” inside of Yellowstone.

From last weeks wolf report:

A young wolf dispersing probably from the Gibbon Meadows pack chased people on bicycles and a motorcycle on several occasions.  It is unclear how many times as it appears the wolf has been illegally fed and this and other incidences of habituation have gone unreported.  This wolf is considered a human safety threat and active measures to remove it have been ongoing since May 7 without success.  There is no plan at the moment to suspend activities to find and kill this animal because it is considered a threat to human safety.  Again, visitors are advised to not approach wolves or any other wildlife in YNP as it is unsafe and leads to habituated wildlife which ultimately will have to be removed.

Yellowstone workers to kill problem wolf
Bozeman Daily Chronicle

Update: Park officials kill nuisance wolf
Billings Gazette

Rare pelicans to be “managed” (killed) in Idaho

Notice: for those who want to comment on this, the comment period has been extended until noon on May 12, 2009.  You can also provide oral testimony to the Fish and Game Commission the evening or the 13th. The Fish and Game Commission meeting begins at 7:00PM in the ISU Student Union Bldg – Big Wood River Room.

-When the state of Idaho (and other western states) express the need to “manage” a wildlife species – that usually perks the ears of wildlife advocates in the state.  That’s because “manage” is so often a word used to soften the state’s real intention – i.e. the intent to ‘kill’ wildlife.  Ralph and many others note this is particularly true with wolves and we’ve seen it with bighorns and others.

White Pelicans Fishing

White Pelicans Fishing

So how about pelicans ?

F&G Seeks Comments On Pelican Management Plan

Pelicans are a “critically imperiled” species in Idaho occurring in two colonies located on Blackfoot Reservoir and the Minidoka National Wildlife Refuge.  Unfortunately :
2009 Draft Pelican Management Plan(page 1)

In some areas, pelicans predominately forage on abundant populations of nongame fish resulting in non-consequential or acceptable impacts. However, in some areas pelican predation is measurably impacting native trout populations and recreational fisheries resulting in resource conflicts.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tools That Leave Wildlife Unbothered Widen Research Horizons

Non-invasive techniques such as hair traps, camera traps, and scat samples can tell biologists a lot about habitat use and population size

Tools That Leave Wildlife Unbothered Widen Research Horizons. By Jim Robbins. New York Times

There has been a lot of discussion on this blog about radio collars and other invasive techniques used to get information about wildlife. After Macho B’s death this is a timely article.

I used to inject PIT tags into juvenile salmon and steelhead and the information gathered is valuable. The quandary with these methods comes from the fact that individuals will inevitably be killed and the wild nature of the animals can be affected.

Idaho Senate Resources and Environment committee meeting

Idaho Senate Resources & Environment committee meeting by BE.

Perhaps just my feeling, but this tells us so much about the players and their priorities.