Wolves Top Concern for Idaho's New Elk Plan

2013-11-15T03:00:00Z Wolves Top Concern for Idaho's New Elk PlanBy BRIAN SMITH - bsmith@magicvalley.com Twin Falls Times-News
November 15, 2013 3:00 am  • 

JEROME, Idaho • Hunters overwhelmingly back more aggressive wolf population control measures, according to comments made on the Idaho Fish and Game Commission’s draft elk management plan.

The commission got its first glimpse of those 442 comments Thursday at its quarterly meeting in Jerome. Predation was far and away the top concern, outstripping other worries, including multiple zone and tags and habitat management.

Many hunters who testified to the commission Wednesday night said the reintroduction of wolves is the biggest threat to the elk herds.

Kimberly elk hunter Byrd Golay testified that the state’s wolf problem is becoming “epidemic."

“You’ve got to give those elk a chance,” he said.

The elk plan was last updated in 1999 — a time when game managers suspected wolves would influence future elk numbers, but were unsure of that impact, said Craig White, plan coordinator. In some areas, elk numbers have dropped significantly since the mid 2000s because of wolves’ presence.

“You knew it was coming, but until you see it play out on the ground, it’s tough to say,” White said.

The elk plan was viewed by 1,203 people during the comment period. Residents of the southwest and panhandle regions made up the majority of the 442 comments. More than 150 written comments called for bolstered wolf population control measures. Just 19 commentors wanted no wolf control measures.

Fish and Game is hoping for final adoption of the plan in early 2014. Commission members had little to say Thursday about the draft proposal.

White said the elk draft plan would more aggressively target predators.

“As far hunters go, I think they are seeing we are stepping up and talking about predation, which is on their minds,” he said.

The plan “dovetails” into an existing predation management policy that also covers bears and mountain lions.

White stressed predator control is not a one-size-fits-all solution to hunters’ gripes about elk populations. In some areas — such as the rugged, wilderness in the northern portions of the state — it’s a “no brainer” wolves have cut populations. But elk decline in other areas may be the result of overharvest or other factors.

“We don’t need aggressive wolf management here (in southern Idaho zones) outside of making sure it doesn’t cause damage to cow and sheep operations,” he said. “Our problem here is that we have so many elk that they are causing problems on the fields.“

And therein lies the other main goals of the elk plan — to balance predation with harvest opportunities, habitat changes and agricultural concerns.

White said Fish and Game initially sat down and considered elk population numbers and against hunters’ desires and preferences. For example, White said hunters were surveyed on if they had to choose between hunting elk every year, or being able to hunt mature, trophy bull elk every 10 years.

“People still want (those trophies) but by and large it is being able to hunt with family and friends and having over-the-counter tags,” he said.

The plan also addresses elk habitat and the damage growing elk populations have on crops. White said Fish and Game hopes to increase personnel time to work more closely with landowners.

“Even though we’ve lost elk in the backcountry, we’ve gained them in other areas and could potentially gain more, but we need to work with land owners because they support a lot of elk … and we want their support,” he said.

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(12) Comments

  1. Bruce Hemming
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    Bruce Hemming - December 26, 2013 10:39 pm
    Wolves are vermin pest equal to rats and cockroaches.

    Vermin ver·min (vûrmn) n. pl. vermin
    1. Various animals or insects, such as rats or cockroaches, that are destructive, annoying, or injurious to health.

    Pest; plural noun: pests

    1. a destructive insect or other animal that attacks crops, food, livestock, etc
  2. Bruce Hemming
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    Bruce Hemming - December 26, 2013 10:38 pm
    Here we go with love wolves anti science, anti human, anti common sense, anti livestock, anti hunter ranting of the brainwashed wolf cultist.

    No hunters want the wild elk back that the worthless vermin wolves destroyed. Anyone with common sense knows how to read the science report and learn wolves run in average pack size of 10 wolves. How many elk does wolves need in 5 years? Again straight from the science report we learn they kill 26 elk per wolf from November to April. So that pack of wolves killed 260 elk in 6 months. Now we have the elk calves being born and for the next 6 months we learn that wolves are slaughtering the calves off at a alarming rate bringing the calf total down to 14 per 100 cow elk. In 5 years that pack of 10 wolves will completely wipe out a herd of 1000 elk. That is counting the calves being born. That is not even counting the wolf puppies being added to the wolf pack each year. Again this is not made up but straight from the science study done on wolves.

    The wolf cultist could care a less about your wildlife. They feel entitled to have wolves destroy the elk and deer herd so hunting will be closed down.
    Globull warming OMG put on your tin foil hat here comes the UFO's Bigfoot, and Globull warming fairy tales. The arctic ice is fine and Al Gore said 2010 New York City would be under water. LMAO I guess I missed that news story. Globull warming is nothing but a big con and exposed lie.

    We heard all the so called wolf experts (wolf pimps) lie and lie and lie again when they are pimping wolves. We have witness the facts first hand, wolves destroy the eco system and only a fool not every going into the wilderness areas still believes these fairy tales.

    Wolves are worthless vermin pest that must be controlled. The facts, science and reality are in. Time to follow the law `100 wolves per state and not 1 more.
  3. Madravenspeak
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    Madravenspeak - November 19, 2013 12:34 am
    Until the general public realizes they are living in a killing totalitarian controlled country at the state agency level - and cares enough to ORGANIZE politically to claim their rights to pay and have a say - they will continue to live with the destruction of natural carnivores and trapping of mid-range predators and even prairie dogs and prairies misted out of existence to facilitate private profits of trappers and ranchers and serial killers to the maximum.

    ORGANIZE STATE BY STATE to replace killing license funding with general public funding. Wildlife watchers and appreciators - the 90-95% of us who do not kill wildlife - already bring 10-40 times the revenue of killing licenses state by state to the tax coffers of our states directly by helping wildlife. Check out the U.S. Fish and Wildlife state by state comparisons of revenue from hunting versus wildlife watching in their surveys.

    Go to the mass extinction underway web site and WEEP:
    http://www.mysterium.com/extinction.html Where you can see the warnings being issued. We cannot solve problems with the same people and mentality that created them:
    UN: ACCELERATING BIODIVERSITY LOSS A "FUNDAMENTAL THREAT" TO "SURVIVAL OF HUMANKIND" (U.N./IPBES-- 2013)

    UN: EARTH'S ENVIRONMENTAL SYSTEMS PUSHED TO BIOPHYSICAL LIMITS-- SUDDEN, IRREVERSIBLE, POTENTIALLY CATASTROPHIC CHANGES LOOMING (CBS/United Nations-- 2012)

    SCIENTISTS WARN EARTH'S ENTIRE BIOSPHERE NEARING CATASTROPHIC "TIPPING POINT" (Nature-- 2012)

    2012 RED LIST: 41% of amphibians, 25% of mammals, 13% of birds, 30% of conifers, 20% of all plants threatened (IUCN-- 2012)

    OCEAN ACIDIFICATION AT HIGHEST LEVELS IN 300 MILLION YEARS-- MASS EXTINCTION "MAY BE INEVITABLE" (U.K. Guardian-- 2013)

    ONE-FIFTH OF ALL INVERTEBRATE SPECIES FACING EXTINCTION: "EXTINCTION OF HUMANS COULD SOON FOLLOW" (IUCN/Zoological Society of London-- 2012)

    One-Third of U.K. Species Have Lost Half Their Population Since 1960 (U.K. Guardian-- 2013)

    WORLD'S ECOSYSTEMS AT RISK OF COLLAPSE-- TIPPING POINTS NEAR (United Nations-- 2010)

    IUCN RED LIST ANALYSIS: "LIFE ON EARTH IS UNDER SERIOUS THREAT" (IUCN-- 2009)

    2009 RED LIST RELEASED: "EXTINCTION CRISIS CONTINUES APACE" (IUCN--2009)

    2008 RED LIST RELEASED: 50% OF MAMMAL SPECIES IN DECLINE, UP TO 36% OF MAMMALS THREATENED WITH EXTINCTION; 40% OF ALL STUDIED SPECIES THREATENED (2008-- Agence France Presse/IUCN)

    WORLD'S OCEANS FACING MASS EXTINCTION WITHIN ONE HUMAN GENERATION (Oxford Univ., IUCN, IPSO-- 2011)

    Half Of All Species May Be Extinct In Our Lifetime (Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences-- 2008)
  4. Madravenspeak
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    Madravenspeak - November 18, 2013 11:59 pm
    Reality22 is a fraudulent TROLL who appears on every wolf article everywhere with disgusting wolf hating anti-scientific, anti-nature, anti-healthy relationships in nature - anti-predator garbage ENDLESSLY...evidently this troll has no job and plenty of time to spew wolf hatred ad nausea.

    We are far beyond the North America of 10,000 years ago and well into the sixth great extinction entirely caused by trophy killing, head-hunting serial killing cattle eating illiterates who understand nothing of natural predation and natural balance. They just want to kill all natural top predators for heads on walls and skins on their floors - and mid-range predators to produce more ground nesting birds to kill with dogs - and then FARM ELK AND DEER AND massive numbers of ungulates for MORE KILLING.

    Every year now the FISH and KILL state wildlife good ole boy corruption, funded on killing licenses which bias the democracy out of state agencies, works to get more killing and more killers signed up. They are working on enrollment of women and children into trapping and bow-hunting and destroying more. It is not enough that they have dropped wildlife populations 35 % in the past 35 years - plummeting natural carnivores worldwide. If they are not killing bears for the gallbladder trade in Asia, they are wiping out the last tigers for tiger bones and skins, or poaching or trophy-killing the last lions and elephants, cheetahs and rhinos out of Africa.

    They are massively destroying wolves all over the western and midwestern states - where wolves finally had attained about 5% of their former range - a mere toe-hold that took 40 years to manifest.

    The "great white hunter's" good ole boy "North American MODEL" of killing devastation is the testosterone-driven ( or lack thereof ) " lead standard " according to wolf biologists.

    Having just attended the International Wolf Symposium in Duluth, MN a few weeks ago, the obvious science is that WOLVES STRENGTHEN DEER HERDS AND ELK HERDS AND BIODIVERSITY. Nature actually does know what it is doing by creating trophic cascades and a balance of life - NOT respected by state agencies run by natural predator hating gun nuts who want more and more elk and deer and cattle and destruction on planet Earth.

    The entitlement of killers controlling our state agencies will only end when citizens demand their citizen rights to pay and have a say in general public funding of state agencies replacing the irresponsible and massively murderous bias of killing licenses as the major funding mechanism - disenfranchising 95% of us on our public lands and our commons in governing OUR WILDLIFE.

    55 billion "live"-stock raised for slaughterhouses are 51% of global warming. Check out the extensive studies at World Watch Institute. We do not need to be protecting cattle from wolves - we need to be protecting wolves from sicko profiteering ranchers who are emptying our ancient aquifers and destroying all that is wild to kill all that is tame for profit at the expense of biodiversity and life on planet earth.

    The wolf BIOLOGISTS at the International Wolf Symposium - who have worked with wolf reintroductions in Yellowstone, radio-collared wolves in Alaska, and studied wolves all over the world ( 39 countries with small populations of wolves trying to recover from human insanity, represented) - without exception talked of stronger and healthier elk and deer herds, stronger and healthier plant and wildlife communities, many ways that ranchers could protect their herds while respecting nature and wildlife and carnivores - and they have moved away from the godawful "predator control" that got them into wolf studies.

    Because they studied the animals and their families, they learned to respect the wolves and have become wolf ADVOCATES.

    Wake up and organize POLITICALLY TO CLAIM YOUR CITIZEN RIGHTS IN STATE NATURAL RESOURCE AGENCIES!

  5. RR
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    RR - November 18, 2013 10:22 pm
    Reality is a woman bear hounder from Wis who lost dogs (Neighbors) and wants all wolves killed she has a article on it on MSNBC
  6. Immer Treue
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    Immer Treue - November 18, 2013 4:39 pm
    And one more thing Reality,

    Your discontent is ripe with hypocrisy. You wanted wolf hunting, you got it, but its not enough. You write about "wolfpimps" and donate buttons. If your lupophobia ; faults; and inconstancies reflect that of all anti wolf folks, well what can be said. Lets do a bit of memory refreshment.


    reality22 said: Monday, February 28, 2011
    As far as I am concerned, William Hayward is a civlian wolf population control manager. Let me know where I can send my support dollars! Poacher is a term to be used for people taking game against the will of the majority of the local people!

    By reality22, 3-10-11
    “I find it totally amazing how global warming is only affecting game herds where the wolves are. Same thing here in Wisconsin....the clam lake elk herd & northern deer management zones are in trouble yet the rest of the state has herds that are doing fine. Minnesota can't seem to figure out why the moose population there is taking a dive..... Amazingly, global warming is very selective!

    Study must have been funded by Earth Justice or maybe Ralph Maughan
    Arthur Middleton”

    Arthur Middleton is a Ph.D. candidate in the Program in Ecology at the University of Wyoming, based in the Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit. Prior to starting his research, Arthur received a master’s degree in environmental management from Yale University and a bachelor’s degree in English and government from Bowdoin College. Before coming to Wyoming, most of Arthur’s experience was with raptors. As a falconer, he has trained a number of species for public education and for hunting, and as a field assistant, he has contributed to studies of the swallow-tailed kite in South Carolina and the harpy eagle in Panama. He was also responsible for the field component of a bald eagle restoration project in New York. Since coming to Wyoming in 2007, Arthur has coordinated the Absaroka Elk Ecology Project in collaboration with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, studying elk migration and elk-wolf interactions in the Absaroka Mountains. He has received a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, a Doris Duke Conservation Fellowship, and a Resident Fellowship at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming. He anticipates finishing his degree in spring 2012.


    Project Funders
    Wyoming Game & Fish Department · Wyoming Animal Damage Management Board · U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service · Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation · Wyoming Governor’s Big Game License Coalition · Sportsmen for Fish & Wildlife · U.S. Forest Service - Shoshone National Forest · Boone & Crocket Club · University of Wyoming - National Park Service Research Station · Bowhunters of Wyoming · Pope & Young Club · Wildlife Heritage Foundation of Wyoming · Safari Club International · Cody Country Outfitters & Guides Association

    The Safari Club, which at the time you remarked to be a dues paying member.


  7. Immer Treue
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    Immer Treue - November 18, 2013 3:20 pm
    Reality 22

    Lolo Zone.

    No doubt that wolves have had impact on Idaho elk, yet again, your reference to Lolo elk is disingenuous. So, let's look at some history of the area

    Specifically, historic fires of a century ago (known as the Great Burn) transformed the Lolo into optimal habitat for elk. Forests were destroyed and lush, verdant meadows and clearings were created. Elk prospered, and the Lolo, for the time being, became legendary elk hunting grounds, generating sizeable and dependable income for IDFG.

    Now that the historic fires in that area are a century behind us, the Lolo is transforming back to its natural, latent state of dense forest, as it was when Lewis and Clark first saw it, devoid of quantities of large game. As the forests filled in, the elk population of the Lolo was in steep decline, far before wolf packs lived in the area. Harsh winters in the mid-1990’s accelerated this decline. Once again, these facts are all well documented by IDFG.

    Neither wolves nor any other carnivores can be blamed for these changes in the landscape and the wildlife that inhabit it.

    To conclude this point, Lolo elk numbered ~ 16,000 in 1988 and about 13,000 at reintroduction time. Less than 8,000 after severe winter of mid nineties, and the slide continued.
    Also cow elk were over hunted here for years. IDFG at meetings ignored the hunters in attendance that wanted those hunts stopped or reduced. Yet, hunters continued to harvest cow elk.

    And IDFG has commented that it wasn't until 2005 that wolf depredation on elk herds and livestock began to rise sharply, when elk numbers were already near 5,000.


  8. skippa
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    skippa - November 18, 2013 9:03 am
    Elk numbers are up over 40% in the NRM since Wolves returned (89,000 in 1995 vs. over 149,000 in 2012 -source RMEF). The Lolo herds decline was shown to be caused primarily by weather, bears and coyotes per the 2012 study done by IDF&G. Even so, over 80% of the Wolves that called this area home were killed within 6 months of this study being released. Idaho currently kills Wolves 365 days a year in the state. Using bait, traps, electronic calls and guns, killing pregnant and nursing females and pups is just about as brutal and archaic as wild life management comes. Locals in Idaho and the surrounding states won't be happy until all of the Wolves are killed because local wild life management is based solely on social tolerance and politics and has nothing to do with science or biological carrying capacity. That is why predators are poisoned, trapped and shot while ungulates are fed in feed lots in the winter time. Wild life management policies right out of the Stone Age carried out and supported by brutal, archaic barstool biology barbarians.
  9. Reality22
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    Reality22 - November 17, 2013 8:00 pm
    What really upsets locals is when people like Chula talk about the old days...."wolves haven't recovered to the extent they existed in the 1800's" HOW in gods green earth are we going to recover them to that level? HOW? People live here now! Private lands that run livestock that help feeds this nation. You can not put wolves on the other side of every fence that now holds cattle and expect good things to happen. It's not the wolf that people have a distain for its the people that pimp them. And even more disgusting are the people that pimp them in order to get their "donate now" button pressed or the ones that pimp them in order to ascertain EAJA dollars or even the ones that are on the government dole in order to clean up after the vermin......... This is the reason bills like hb73 are passed UNANOUMOUSLY like early this last year in Montana.
  10. Chula
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    Chula - November 17, 2013 9:34 am
    Your sarcasm aside, aren't hunters responsible for killing a fair number of elk? FWS estimates show between 100,000 - 103,000 elk in state each year, with hunters harvesting 15,000 - 20,000 per year. How have wolves significantly lowered the overall elk population? As to whether or not a specific area can support a hypothetical number of elk, the same can be said of a specific area being able to support a much larger number (than is currently supported) of wolves. Wolf numbers certainly haven't recovered to the extent they existed in the 1800's, so the relatively minuscule number of wolves being blamed for all manner of killing seems irrational. Take into account that in any given current hunting season hunters kill an estimated 15-20% of elk, might not the wolf stories be spurious?
  11. Reality22
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    Reality22 - November 17, 2013 1:03 am
    The untenable argument by wolf pimps that the elk simply move to another area is absurd. The once 19000 Lolo elk herd did not just pack up and move leaving only 2000 behind. The Lolo elk range can easily sustain 12000 to 10000 elk and be NATURAL resource for the people of Idaho. MAN has been part of the ecosystems of North America for OVER 10000 years.... to think that Native Americans ate Tofu and wore polyester bonnet is just plain wrong. They were killing animals for food and clothing. A Lolo elk range with only 2000 elk is a predator pit plain and simple and UNNATURAL. Thank you sportsman for your efforts to return Lolo from being a predator pit.
  12. Chula
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    Chula - November 16, 2013 8:48 am
    I thought hunters went to where the elk are, not complain because the elk moved on to another area. It appears that wolves are doing their jobs - moving prey around so that habitat can recover. Aren't hunters concerned with good conservation measures? And please, don't respond if you only want to denigrate wolves for being wolves; I really want to know why hunters think the current situation is untenable, when it appears to be a natural event that should be worked with rather than against.

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