The report is pure fantasy. Page 48 regarding Predation Issues is absolutely mesmerizing. To read it discloses nothing of the near eradication of elk by the wolves that has already occurred. To read it suggests there’s still doubt the wolves have even really hurt the elk population … and in fact spin it to say the wolves keep the populations down to carrying capacity. I thought a major objective of IFG was to let hunters do that. Stepping off a back-country charter to one of the wilderness airfields you will undoubtedly cut a wolf track (that of a 200-pounder) before you cut an elk track. And coyotes – they don’t affect the elk – they have been eradicated by the wolves also.
The opening Summary suggests that access (man and all his activity) has the greatest effect on the elk populations. Keep man out of elk habitat is `the answer’. Though elk don’t like getting shot, and learn fast when getting shot at, they flourish around man. Look at the Palouse Zone and the Middle Fork Zone population objectives. They are roughly the same and for the same amounts of surface area. Yet the Palouse Zone is teeming with buildings, people, a state university, roads, joggers, students, loggers with chainsaws, 4-wheelers, and barking dogs. Elk are flourishing around people. In the MF zone, where there are no roads, no logging, only rafters, hunters, and occasional hikers, the area is comparatively void of wildlife.
I would agree that IFG has had its hands tied by FWS, but FWS didn't write this report - people inside IFG did. IFG is doomed as long as the policy makers are dreamers or are bowing to those in a dream world. Sportsman fund IFG. Page 48 should have at least been edited by sportsman who have hunted in there for decades.
I'm gonna hunt where there's lots of people and (hopefully) fewer wolves. That's where the elk are.
serious hunter is ABSOLUTELY correct!I live in blaine county which is the heart of wilderness and eco freak fantasyland,there was a article in last weeks commie rag about "the misinformation being spread about wolves and their habits" In this article they say that the elk are still here but the wolves have made them change their patterns and we just don't see them anymore.I have lived 47 years in this valley and hunted 35 of those and all I can say is unless the elk have learned to levitate and not even leave tracks THEY ARE JUST NOT HERE IN ANY NUMBERS ANYMORE!! ,)
When I was in Bozeman, we documented pretty well that elk do change their patterns with wolves. Rather than large numbers of small herds, the elk changed to small numbers of large herds. That and the herd went from 20,000 to 7,000.
Those large herds make for more difficult hunting. And concentrates pressure when they are found, if they are found.
But think about it, the wolves would die or move if the elk weren't there in the backcountry. The elk are still there and the calves are being eaten(that's included with low calf recruitment-calves are born, then eaten or die from other causes, but usually eaten in wolf country). The wolves won't concentrate on deer or moose until elk become so much less numerous that it isn't worth their time.
I didn't read the report, so I don't know when the survey was conducted, but typically they are done in the winter, so when they say calf recruitment or production fell, they mean calf recruitment to x# of months.
I might believe that to be the case here if it weren't for the fact that I'm an avid backpacker and hiker and spend large amounts of time in the forest.The fish and game can blow as much smoke up everyones ass as they want but I see the truth and they need to spend sometime on foot and not watching from the truck or pleasure crusing the chopper
Serious....I think that the report may be saying that wolves are having an impact but I think they are also saying they don't have the evidence to say difinitively.
On page 3 in the summary it says
"Calf:cow data collected during aerial surveys suggest declining recruitment ratios in many parts of Idaho. Declining recruiment rates can be explained by two possible hypotheses" 1)populations are at or near carrying capacity and density-dependant factors are regulating productivity, or 2) predation is playing a larger role in population dynamics than previously thought. Unforttunately, conclusive evidence does not exist as to which hypothesis is primarily affecting current population dynamics."
My only response to this is that the evidence does exist and they should go out and find it before they are in panic mode trying to recover. They sound like they are teeing up the wolf issue by making it look like they are looking at all options initially and will eventually come to the logical conclusion that wolves are killing a lot of calves which is a political tactic so they appear to be unbiased but I don't know if Idaho and neighboring states have that kind of time.
If calf:cow ratios are down based on hunter reports of wolf impacts I would say there needs to be a sense of urgency to understand what is driving that.
This word `recruitment' still has me dizzy. I am somewhat affiliated with a University here - and they do recruitment - both for students and for athletes. I understand the military does recruiting ... but what is `calf recruitment'? Do we need to set up a recruiting budget, a recruiting program, and hire recruiters? I just don't see how the word even belongs in the conversation of elk calves and wolves. Are calf elk falling victim to hungry wolves due to poor recruitment efforts, or a low recruitment budget? What we need is an army of recruiters in the wilderness, convincing the elk calves they should stand and be counted and not fall so victim to the appetite of their new neighbor. I am all for fancy words, but only when they have actual meaning (relevance).
Ask anyone who spends a fair amount of time on the ground: and the story is pretty clear, and pretty consistent, with little question remaining: intro of the wolf has near annihilated the elk in many areas. Obviously, surviving elk have changed their habits. And reduced elk populations have changed the large carnivor habits to include take of other large animals, wild and domestic.
"The mind collects evidence to support what the heart believes."
Those who (want to) believe that the wolf impact is only marginal ... will see just that! Those who believe it was a good idea, will see evidence to the same.
The first deer I shot, way back in 1958, was taken to the local meat shop and processed into steaks, roasts and some burger. Back then in that little Idaho town, when you took a deer into the butcher, you got the same deer back. Unfortunately, times have changed. The last time I took an animal to a butcher, in the mid 60's, I don't have a clue who's meat I got back, but I sure don't think it was mine. I ended up throwing the burger as it stunk the house up every time we...