Forum Index > Stewardship > Wolves need our help NOW!
Previous :: Next Topic  
Author Message
Joecreek
Member
Member


Joined: 07 Sep 2006
Posts: 114 | TRs

Joecreek
Member
PostThu Mar 22, 2007 2:14 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Silence, I'm simply pointing out that it's a distinction without a difference.

Wildlife depts manage game animals by killing. They do this for every species under management. Trapping, treeing, shooting, archery. I think the wolf shot from the ground feels just as dead. The issue is that the state's wildlife dept has determined that management objectives for wolves as they relate to objectives for moose in particular dictates a need to reduce population. To prefer a given method death over another becomes a hair splitter, the wolf won't have preference in how it ceases to exist.

Even if it's illegal for citizens to trap or  hound hunt, the states reserve those rigths to their departments and still employ them to remove specific animals, do you know why? Becuase those are the most effective means, both in terms of cost and quantified population reductions. In depredation situations for ungulates the dept may spot light at night and kill animals with a .22 mag to the head while sitting over bait peanuts or salt lick. In this case wolf number are most efficiently managed by arial gunning.

The real issue should be one of the relative merrits of the biology. If in fact removing X wolves is unsound biology OK, let's  hear that. If however that population can be managed within a given population and geographic range reasonably and the state choses to maximise other pops via a reduction in wolves that doesn't threaten wolves in general... then arguing about how they go about killing them is really not very important. If killing by gun is wrong then chosing the battle over wolves alone is disingenuous when millions of game animals will be shot this year.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
silence
Member
Member


Joined: 25 Apr 2005
Posts: 4210 | TRs

silence
Member
PostThu Mar 22, 2007 2:37 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
In the case of aerial wolf hunting I suspect it's more a case of ez disposal and economics (attracting more hunters to the great state - ergo the bounty - maybe sportsmen don't think it's much of a sport either???). Me thinks you might be giving the powers that be more credit than due (for thinkin' this out - ie, the McNeil River bears). Give me a break ... or better yet, give it to the wolves.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
Joecreek
Member
Member


Joined: 07 Sep 2006
Posts: 114 | TRs

Joecreek
Member
PostThu Mar 22, 2007 3:06 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
You attribute too much agenda/animosity on the part of wildlife depts. The reason they use a bounty is pretty simple. It isn't because they hate wolves, nor does it convey an "evil" or unwholsome quality upon them. They offer a bounty because wolves are very dificult and costly to locate and kill. If they set X objective for the population and have limited financial resources to acomplish that task, turning every hunter who is already in the woods into someone who can profit by helping the state acomplish it's population goals can be an efficient and cost effective means to accomplish the goal. Poisons would be inexpensive and productive but completely unacceptable. So they have limited tools, hunters on the ground/air with an incentive to reach that objective and arial shooting. Airplanes are expensive (edit: state owned/operated) compared to offering up a few bucks to hunters on a per head basis. This isn't about defining "sporting". States remove animals by paid cullers all the time in the most unsporting of ways without any hue and cry.

Again, the point remains. If they pay the hunter or a state employee to do the killing is irrelevant. If they kill from a plane vs on the ground is equally moot. If they kill via gun or leg trap (most would argue the gun is vastly superior) is also of no merit. Either reducing wolf numbers is or is not an acceptable goal and government function or it is not. Taking methods to task and leaving the basic wildlife biology uncontested is a recipe to have  your agument disregarded. If shooting wolves is bad not because the biology is bad then it's time to basically protest states having game management departments of any kind and allowing hunting of any kind. That is the logical conclusion of your argument.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
silence
Member
Member


Joined: 25 Apr 2005
Posts: 4210 | TRs

silence
Member
PostThu Mar 22, 2007 3:30 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Who said anything about their "animosity toward wolves" or being "evil?" Let's not resort to those tactics. And, sorry, I AM questioning their (Alaska F & W) field research, methods and decision-making.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
Joecreek
Member
Member


Joined: 07 Sep 2006
Posts: 114 | TRs

Joecreek
Member
PostThu Mar 22, 2007 3:56 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
" I AM questioning their (Alaska F & W) field research, methods and decision-making."

When were going to get around to doing it? Let's have it. What are you contending they are doing that is improper biologically and let's have your source work and refutations. If it's just that you "disagree" but you don't have a basis we're back to the begining. The methods (arial shooting) are a means to a management decision end (wolf population). I assume that you have a basis that suggests that reducing the wolf pop would be unwise so let's see it.

The problem with these discusions is that invariably it's about liking or disliking wolves rather than whether within a given range of biologically acceptable outcomes a decision to manage a population is reasonable. It's ok to say it's not acceptable to kill animals at all as long as you apply that logic to all animals. It's ok to say it's not acceptable to mange predators until and unless they produce a threat to the viability of prey animals rather than a huntable populatin of same. There are a number of reasonable, if ones a disagree with, arguments that support a position that removing wolves is unwise. I haven't read any yet.

If you are going to publicly ask people to take action I think you are burdened to present a compelling case why, rather than an emotional one.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
silence
Member
Member


Joined: 25 Apr 2005
Posts: 4210 | TRs

silence
Member
PostThu Mar 22, 2007 4:14 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
I'm not ashamed to admit I LOVE wolves. Sorry, but, I'm going to leave it up to the experts ... just not necessarily those at Alaska's F & W. Cop out? Maybe, but that's the breaks. Nice debating with you. Got to go now.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
silence
Member
Member


Joined: 25 Apr 2005
Posts: 4210 | TRs

silence
Member
PostThu Mar 22, 2007 7:19 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
I fear my post this morn might have gotten lost in the lively debate that followed -- please look back at my post: Thu Mar 22, 2007 12:03 pm
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
jenjen
Moderatrix



Joined: 30 Jun 2003
Posts: 7621 | TRs
Location: Sierra stylin
jenjen
Moderatrix
PostThu Mar 22, 2007 10:10 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
smile.gif  Your post didn't get lost.

Here in WA, and in the American Rockies, wolves are being encouraged to return.  I can't speak to any overabundance of them in Alaska, because I don't live there and don't know the ecology.  But here in the lower 48, we want them to return to be the apex predators they once where.  And I say that as one who owns livestock in the Cascade foothills.

--------------
If life gives you melons - you might be dyslexic
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
Joecreek
Member
Member


Joined: 07 Sep 2006
Posts: 114 | TRs

Joecreek
Member
PostFri Mar 23, 2007 6:34 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
The real question Jen is: what constitutes returned?

The plan calling for reintro set out guide numbers for a "success" and a pattern to delist. The numbers at present, much like grizzlies in yellowstone, are way above that plan ie they are "returned". Idaho/Mt may well allow more liberal take of wolves as a result of depredation and may manage wolves for a lower total actual head count within their systems. I've seen no suggestion by ID/MT that they would "eliminate" them. Nor would that be possible as they'd simply be federally re-re-introduced. And at this point there's far less to worry about in terms of losing localized diversity in the wolves as all of these wolves are Canadian transplants and don't represent a deep and varied sub sets of genetic diversity. I've yet to see anyone point to ID/MT's actual plans as evidence that the delist would be inappropriate. There's a lot of gnashing of teeth but little actual evidence that it would be a problem.

It isn't sufficient to use worry, concern, or some sort of animal ethnocentrism to justify a hands of of wolf management. They are above plan and can/should be managed with care to the minimum population threshold within the interests of the states in question. Most of this movement is dishonest. I wish they'd simply say, we don't ever want wolves managed. We think it's wrong to ever kill a wolf and we don't care if that is in complete disconcert with the entire history and science of state wildlife management. I'd disagree with them, but at least they'd be honest.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
Dirty Tough
Member
Member


Joined: 26 Aug 2005
Posts: 47 | TRs

Dirty Tough
Member
PostFri Mar 23, 2007 8:14 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
The Alaska aerial gunning is done by contractors, not by hunters. The bounty is only paid to the contractors. They also will not let the contractors use a helicopter which is a better way of meeting the ADFW goals. So since gas is so expensive the contractors are not meeting the goals set by ADFW so ADFW placed a bounty on a certain number of wolves. The reason for the reduction is because the moose population is plummeting.

In the lower 48 the wolves have came back remarkably well. IMHO they need to somehow keep the population in check a little better otherwise there are going to be no elk or deer left.

Since Yellowstone is a National Park and there is no human hunting allowed there it is a good example. Right when the wolves were introduced the Yellowstone elk herd numbered right at 18,000, about 10 years after the introduction the elk herd is below 7000 head. Somehow we have to use biology and not emotion to manage all the animals in the United States.

The management of wildlife should not be voted upon by the public since most of us don't have a degree in biology. There is a reason that biologists have to go to school. Branden
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
Dirty Tough
Member
Member


Joined: 26 Aug 2005
Posts: 47 | TRs

Dirty Tough
Member
PostFri Mar 23, 2007 8:17 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Here is a little more info.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007
State of Alaska to Pay Gunners Bounty on Wolves
State puts a bounty on wolves
$150 EACH: The official kill program is far behind in its effort to protect moose and other prey.
By ALEX deMARBAN
Anchorage Daily News

Published: March 21, 2007


State game managers will pay people to kill wolves in an effort to boost Alaska's predator- control program.

The 180 volunteer pilots and aerial gunners who are the backbone of the program can get $150 in cash for turning in legs of freshly killed wolves, Gov. Sarah Palin's office announced Tuesday.

Previously, the only reward was a wolf pelt they could sell, usually for somewhere between $200 and $300, said Bruce Bartley, Department of Fish and Game spokesman.

The state created its current wolf-kill program four years ago to protect the moose and caribou that wolves eat, and it's been controversial since day one. Animal-rights groups have sued unsuccessfully, sponsored "howl-ins" and urged tourists to boycott the state.

But the effort to boost moose numbers for subsistence-food gatherers and other hunters has its fans, particularly in parts of rural Alaska.

The Palin administration is anteing up cash because the number of wolf kills this winter is behind schedule, the state said Tuesday afternoon.

State biologists wanted 382 to 664 wolves killed by the time the snow that helps with tracking disappears this spring. The predator-control season ends April 30.

As of Tuesday morning, 98 wolves had been killed by aerial gunners, hunters and trappers.

Pilots have complained that fuel prices are too high to fly and there hasn't been enough snow on the ground to track the elusive animals, Matt Robus, Wildlife Conservation director, said in the release. There are also fewer wolves to kill now because of kills in past years, he said.

Robus could not be reached Tuesday evening.

Wolves reproduce quickly, with large litters, and the effort to boost moose and caribou populations could be set back if kill goals aren't met, he has said.

Volunteers gunners and trappers have done all the killing, eliminating 607 wolves since the program began four years ago. There are 7,000 to 11,000 wolves in Alaska, the state estimates.

The Board of Game, concerned about this year's low numbers, recently urged Palin to let state staff shoot wolves from helicopters. Shooting from helicopters that hover close to packs would be more deadly and humane than from the airplanes that are currently allowed, board members have said.

When the current program began, then-Gov. Frank Murkowski refused to let state staff and helicopters participate in the program, probably because of the backlash it might have caused from wildlife groups, Cliff Judkins, Game Board chair, said.

In response to the board's request, Palin asked Fish and Game officials more than a week ago to charter helicopters only as a last resort, said spokeswoman Sharon Leighow.

Palin prefers cash incentives because they are less expensive than renting helicopters and they help families where the wolf killing occurs, Leighow said.

In addition to paying cash, the department plans to:

Permit more people to kill wolves by contacting those who have applied but never won a permit.

Charter flights so state biologists can spot wolves from the air, then share the information with permitted volunteers.

If enough wolves aren't killed in two weeks, the state will consider renting helicopters and manning them with state gunners, said Denby Lloyd, state Fish and Game commissioner.

The state will use the left forelegs of wolves as biological specimens, which can help biologists determine wolf age and will assist the program in the future, Lloyd said.

The state has paid for wolf remains to use as biological specimens as recently as 2002 for wolves collected in the McGrath area, Lloyd said.

Bud Burris, a state biologist for 25 years before retiring in 1986, said the state ended its wolf bounty program in 1972, in part because wolf pelts had become so valuable there was no need to encourage kills.

The bounty program began before statehood in 1959, he said. Anyone anywhere in the state could earn the bounty and the program worked, improving moose and caribou numbers, he said.

State officials say the new cash incentive is not a bounty because it's being offered to a small group of people only this winter, and only in the five areas of the state -- mostly the Interior and Southcentral.

"It's definitely incentive, but we're viewing it as a surgical approach," said Lloyd. "It's not a widespread program and it's fairly well-controlled, so we don't consider it a bounty."

Hogwash, said Paul Joslin, a wildlife biologist with the conservation group Friends of McNeil River. If you're paying someone to encourage killing, that's a bounty, he said.

"They can sugar coat it, but that's what it is," he said. "What a shame. We've been marching backwards quite a while under this board and we need some change."

About 15 states had laws last year allowing governments to pay bounties for people who kill animals, though in many programs such bounties haven't been paid in years, according to Animal Protection Institute in Sacramento, Calif., which opposes lethal predator control.

States with active bounty programs often pay people to kill such animals as coyotes, which people blame for eating chickens or newborn sheep and cattle, said spokeswoman Zibby Wilder.

Judkins, the Game Board chair, said the cash will help get gunners in the air by reimbursing them for their fuel. But helicopters would be most effective because they offer stable shooting platforms that result in quick, multiple kills.


Wolf kill by the numbers

98: Number of wolves taken so far this season

664: Top limit state wants killed this season

7,000-11,000: Estimated number in Alaska

$150: New incentive for proof of a kill

1972: Last year state offered a bounty
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
Alan Bauer
Member
Member


Joined: 11 Jan 2002
Posts: 942 | TRs
Location: Fall City, Washington
Alan Bauer
Member
PostFri Mar 23, 2007 10:33 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Dirty Tough wrote:
.....In the lower 48 the wolves have came back remarkably well. IMHO they need to somehow keep the population in check a little better otherwise there are going to be no elk or deer left.

Since Yellowstone is a National Park and there is no human hunting allowed there it is a good example. Right when the wolves were introduced the Yellowstone elk herd numbered right at 18,000, about 10 years after the introduction the elk herd is below 7000 head. Somehow we have to use biology and not emotion to manage all the animals in the United States.

That is true indeed. However, there is so much more to that story that you need to also factor in and not just the elk or deer. Before the wolves were brought back to the Yellowstone ecosystem the elk numbers were three times what the herd size historically was it is estimated. With no true predators, elk herds were devastating areas of the ecosystem. The willow thickets and other brushy trees along the Lamar River and Hayden River areas were virtually destroyed by the elk during years of great growth in elk numbers from the 1950s-1980s. This in turn devastated the populations of song birds that used those trees for nesting in. In 10 short years of the elk population being brought back down naturally to what is used to be (before elk really exploded in that area) the willows are all back, the song bird populations have recovered.

Also in those 10 short years raptor populations have returned to historical normal levels after being devastated. Why? No ground squirrels and so on to eat? Why? Too many coyotes took over the ecosystem since they too had no predators. 10 years after the wolves returned the coyote population was cut by 50%! Hare, squirrel populations soared back to normal, and the raptor population bounced right back.

These are all just very tiny pieces of the ecosystem pie just in that area. Bringing back wolves shows the power of a balance in nature. Nature too will know how to balance the population of wolves, and deer and elk will not disappear. I'd argue in many ways that the remaining moose, elk, deer are a stronger species in time after weak or sick are most often those taken as prey.

You are very correct in how biologists need to be our experts here. But even they can be affected by the human impacts of what is economically correct vs. correct for the natural world. Everyone, from the hunters to the opposed sides to hunting, need to be sure not to let their wishes blind them from what is best overall.

By the way, the biologists and rangers that I got to speak with while in Yellowstone in 2005 were stunning people to learn from!! I highly recommend to anyone to take the time to appreciate any Dept of Wildlife biologist you might happen to meet, learn from them, and gain as much insight to what the issues are as possible.

No, I don't wish to see wolves killed off just because "there are too many running over the area" without fully understanding the impacts this has beyond just one main reason (be it to get more moose to hunt, to have a few less sheep/cattle taken in rare cases, etc...). I also don't oppose hunting. It all works hand in hand.....
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Visit poster's website Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
silence
Member
Member


Joined: 25 Apr 2005
Posts: 4210 | TRs

silence
Member
PostFri Mar 23, 2007 11:17 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
What's really contributing to the drop in prey populations in Alaska? Weather, disease, HUNTERS (contracted or otherwise) or wolves? Since there hasn't been any definitive scientifically-based studies done there in recent years and hunting is BIG business -- let's just blame the wolves.

And, no one's advocating no management, just sound management -- to maintain healthy wolf populations (and prey populations) and distribution in the Northern Rockies (hopefully spilling over to Washington), and for public safety and livestock protection. Scientists and conservationists have been working together effectively on wolf management for years; and some even praise Montana for their plan (in spite of lethal removal as an option in some instances). But, once wolves are delisted where's the protection? Wyoming's plan was actually deemed unacceptable by US F & W, and Idaho openly proposes to reduce their wolf population to just 10 breeding pairs (down 75%) regardless of any impact on ungulate herds (barely the minimum required to keep wolves from being re-listed on the endangered species list).
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
Joecreek
Member
Member


Joined: 07 Sep 2006
Posts: 114 | TRs

Joecreek
Member
PostFri Mar 23, 2007 11:23 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
I think it's imprtant to note a couple things. First that the very high elk densities (that you correctly note) in yellowstone are not a comparison to the numbers in other areas of the western states. Yellowstone has this one factor that made herd management much more difficult there and it wasn't wolves or bears. There's no hunting allowed in Yellowstone. Only those migrating beyond park boundaries came under human hunting pressure as a population regulator. At any time rules could have been changed to allow humans to reduce the elk population. The point being that while wolves had a positive benefit to certain aspects of the ecosystem, much of that benefit could have been obtained via a decision to reduce the elk via hunting/culling.

Outside the park no one can make a case for moose overpopulation.  Elk may be at or slightly above plan in some states but nothing like the yellowstone situation and in most states Mule deer are below plan. Wolves in ID and MT are above the plan for the point at whcih they could/should be delisted. Not doing so now is a matter of politics and special interests rather than one of biology.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
Ski
><((((>



Joined: 28 May 2005
Posts: 9249 | TRs
Location: tacoma
Ski
><((((>
PostFri Mar 23, 2007 12:15 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Quote:
The point being that while wolves had a positive benefit to certain aspects of the ecosystem, much of that benefit could have been obtained via a decision to reduce the elk via hunting/culling.

The wolf introduction in Yellowstone had a substantial effect on riparian zone health. Elk who formerly grazed unmolested along streambanks denuded vegetation, which resulted in streambank failures. When the wolf was reintroduced, the elk were continually harried by them and were no longer able to leisurely browse on the willow along streambanks. The willow ( and other flora ) was able to regain a foothold, and the native fish populations benefited.
I kind of doubt that would have occurred simply by allowing hunting or culling, unless hunters were allowed 24/7, 365-day-a-year access.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
  Display:     All times are GMT - 8 Hours
Forum Index > Stewardship > Wolves need our help NOW!
  Happy Birthday Creaky Knees, ryleymyers!
Jump to:   
Search this topic:

You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum
   Use Disclaimer Powered by phpBB Privacy Policy