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View Diary: Two years after hunting was legalized half the wolves are gone (263 comments)

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  •  Sure (5+ / 0-)

    Here's one from the Oregonian. Also google Craig White, a fish and game biologist in Idaho. He reports that the population in the Lolo zone alone is down from 16,000 to 5,000. This article is in pdf or I would link it as well.

    There are two types of republicans, the rich and the stupid. The rich ones strive to keep the stupid ones stupid and the stupid ones strive to keep the rich ones rich.

    by frankzappatista on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 07:20:47 PM PST

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    •  maybe that's what the elk population is (5+ / 0-)

      supposed to be.

      I doubt I'm right as habitat destruction has obviously taken it's toll, but obviously with a normal predator population the "normal" elk population would be lower than we would probably think.

      there'll never be enough elk for trigger happy hunters.

      as usual, too many people and guns, not enough wildlife and habitat.

      but of course it's all the wolves fault.

      big badda boom : GRB 090423

      by squarewheel on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 09:33:00 PM PST

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      •  Good point... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Onomastic, Kevskos

        but with elk, it's not so much about habitat destruction as lack of natural disturbance, such as periodic fire, that creates forest openings and foraging areas. Eighty+ years of fire suppression has stagnated the rejuvenation of our western forests. But forest succession just doesn't raise hackles or boil blood like the sight of a wolf to an elk hunter.

      •  Here's your tradeoff (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        giddy thing

        If elk populations drop to the point where hunting is not sustainable (as has already happened in some hunting zones) then the democrats can kiss off Idaho pretty much forever. Its hard enough to elect democrats at the local level. When elk hunting is shelved it will be damn near impossible. A lot of out-of-staters feel like thats a fair tradeoff for wolves but when Idaho becomes a GOP political monoculture all wildlife and all wilderness will be at risk. That's just a fact of life and not a tradeoff I'm willing to risk. I know that puts me in the minority but there it is.

        There are two types of republicans, the rich and the stupid. The rich ones strive to keep the stupid ones stupid and the stupid ones strive to keep the rich ones rich.

        by frankzappatista on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 12:03:53 AM PST

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        •  Isn't there some way (4+ / 0-)

          to manage controlled burns and other ecosystem management a little better?  I'm pretty strongly in the pro-wolf corner, but I am sympathetic to what you are saying and don't reject it out of hand.  

          Also, can we look at Minnesota?  They seem to be doing a much better job at management, with losses of something like 10% of their wolf population annually to hunting not >50%.  It seems in Idaho, the extremes are so wildly excessive.  Even if there is a need to manage the land for surplus elk (and not ecosystem health), isn't there a way to do this that doesn't always come down to eliminating predators?  Idaho was going to try that in 2001 for a while with mountain lions in one district.  They backed away because going in and shooting 50% or 70% of the mountain lions doesn't really solve the problem except by destabilizing the mt lion population - when the real constraints are not enough forage due in large part to the legacy of fire control.  

          But now, a decade later - in an extremely polarized political environment - the solution again seems to be eliminate the predators.  In reality, land management needs to change - even with some limited controlled burns.  Maybe political realities require putting a thumb on the scale so that hunters get to shoot more elk... but seriously, 50% mortality of a major predator?  That's just out of balance.

          “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

          by ivorybill on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 01:26:41 AM PST

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          •  Ah but it's complicated (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Kevskos, frankzappatista

            Forest Service is deep into ecosystem restoration projects right now supported by state legislatures and municipalities - because of wildfire risk. Collaborative groups have sprung up to expedite these projects and mitigate concerns/litigation from environmental groups. Its a painful and slow process - and seems to be outcompeted by huge wildfires (200,000+ acres!), which ironically will set the ecological clock back and benefit elk, wolves, and many other species.  

            I agree, we seem to be lurching backward to the bad old days of bounty hunting...it is very disheartening.

          •  It's difficult to compare with Minnesota (0+ / 0-)

            Minnesota has a vastly smaller elk population than Idaho and in elk season they are taken by the dozen rather than the thousands, so the wolves there are sustained more by deer and forage creatures rather than elk.

            Controlled burns could be an answer, but how do you keep wolves from preying on elk in burn areas? This would seem to be somewhat of a bandaid solution methinks.

            There are two types of republicans, the rich and the stupid. The rich ones strive to keep the stupid ones stupid and the stupid ones strive to keep the rich ones rich.

            by frankzappatista on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 12:32:44 PM PST

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            •  My understanding (0+ / 0-)

              at least in the Boundary Waters and areas of N MN, is that the wolves prey largely on moose... They kill deer too, but the main prey item on the north side of Lake Superior are moose.

              And w/r/t Idaho, you don't keep wolves from preying on elk in burned areas... but theoretically by increasing the elk population by increasing habitat, there will be more elk - so hunters are not so threatened by a stable wolf population.  I recognize the political necessity of having enough elk for people to shoot, but the issue is also having enough elk that there is a stable wolf population.   I think you might be coming at it from the perspective that the fewer wolves, the better.

              “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

              by ivorybill on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 10:30:01 PM PST

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        •  But (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          giddy thing

          this fishing guides should be doing great.  Since the wolves keep the elk out of the streams the water is cooler and the fish do much better.  

          I don't think political elections should play any part in wise management situations.  Out current Wildlife departments are run by hunters for hunters.  This needs to change but they are well funded because of ammo taxes.  I wanted to link to the feds site on this but their page is not working.  It is the FAET and it has been collected since 1919.  Most state game departments started or greatly expanded shortly after that.

          •  There's nowhere in Idaho that has (0+ / 0-)

            an elk population nearly that heavy. The elk in Idaho are scattered throughout the mountains and get their water in seclusion, mainly from small creeks too small to hold fish. I've fished Idaho streams for ages and have seen far more bear near streams than elk.

            There are two types of republicans, the rich and the stupid. The rich ones strive to keep the stupid ones stupid and the stupid ones strive to keep the rich ones rich.

            by frankzappatista on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 12:20:42 PM PST

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