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Rocky Mtn. Elk Foundation "Calls Out" Wolf Groups

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Rocky Mtn. Elk Foundation "Calls Out" Wolf Groups

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Re: Rocky Mtn. Elk Foundation "Calls Out" Wolf Groups

The RMEF should have been "calling out" these wolf groups a long time ago. They should have been much more vocal from the start of the wolf re-introductions.

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Re: Rocky Mtn. Elk Foundation "Calls Out" Wolf Groups

I'll probably tick some folks off by saying this, but I see wrong on both sides.

I live where there are plenty of wolves. Wolves and elk coexisted for millenia before people came around. Predators and prey are cyclical. When prey becomes too abundant, they're plagued with disease and the predator population increases -- drawing the prey population down. When the prey population is low, there's not enough to feed the predators -- and the predators decline. Without a lot of predation, the prey numbers increase again -- and the cycle repeats.

Groups like RMEF want lots of elk, and point to dropping numbers as a reason to go after wolves. Wildlife activists, on the other hand, want to protect wolves at all costs. Both cherry pick data to back their positions.

As for me, I think the truth is somewhere in the middle. Diseases tend to run rampant when animals overpopulate and herds intermingle. Who survives? Small groups isolated from the rest. Wolves cull the sick and weak and draw numbers down -- breaking the disease cycle. On the other hand, they can overdo it -- and packs will die down as a result. Nature has a way of keeping itself balanced, and wolves strengthen elk by culling the sick and weak.

The bottom line is that both groups need to move beyond the partisan protection of their species at all costs. Wolves can't be absolutely protected and propped up artificially, because too much protection keeps packs active beyond the point where they'd naturally collapse. But on the other hand, wolves do benefit elk in a lot of ways.

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Re: Rocky Mtn. Elk Foundation "Calls Out" Wolf Groups

I agree 100 % expatriate.

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Re: Rocky Mtn. Elk Foundation "Calls Out" Wolf Groups

Leave the Wolves alone. Hammer

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Re: Rocky Mtn. Elk Foundation "Calls Out" Wolf Groups

I disagree!

Expatriate, you live in an area that has vast amounts of open space, so it's not the same as most areas of the lower 48. Even in Alaska they have to thin the wolf packs due to their impact on moose and caribou. Its a known fact that their depredation on those 2 species in particular has been very detrimental. In certain areas hunting has been shut down to the low numbers of moose and caribou.

And about nature keeping things in balance, that in my opinion is long gone - man stepped in to manage the wildlife. The wildlife has been pushed out of their native habitat in many areas of the country. Dumping wolves into the mix is not a good thing. The antis would love to see the wolves take over, reduce the big game to low numbers & then declare that hunting cannot continue due to dwindling big game numbers. Yes, I believe their motives are that blatant.

The introduced wolves are not native wolves. These are not shy wolves by any means, and they're quite a bit larger. Wolves also travel great distances and as their packs grow and their food supply is exhausted, they move on to new territory. Right now it's suspected that we have at least one wolf pack in Colorado.
http://www.biggamehunt.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=25699
We do not want them here! Jtapia, we'll send them to you!

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Re: Rocky Mtn. Elk Foundation "Calls Out" Wolf Groups

Cowgal, efforts to control wolves up here have more to do with people like the RMEF than the health of moose and caribou herds. People point to declining herd numbers and blame wolves. When herd numbers decline, there are always hunting groups that will demand a return of the days when herd numbers were at their peak -- which may not have been a balanced state. Wolf control up here has everything to do with those people -- not threats to herds.

Environmentalists do the same thing by finding a species on the declining side of a natural cycle and blaming it on some human event in order to shut down an activity they don't like.

Yes, Alaska has enormous amount of space. But it amazes me to see people screaming about wolves when for the most part our wilderness is the same as it was for millenia -- and wolves have never destroyed a species. Ever.

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Re: Rocky Mtn. Elk Foundation "Calls Out" Wolf Groups

Expatriate you simply cannot compare Alaska (and northern Canada) to the lower 48 states. Wolves are not staying in the areas they were introduced in and are moving into areas that they were never intended to be in.

Wolves may not have destroyed a species, but they sure have wiped out herds of elk and deer in certain areas. Just look at Idaho and Montana. Do you know the average age of the elk in Yellowstone? The mortality rate of elk calves is extremely high. In fact it's so bad, that the herds are mostly geriatric. Wolves aren't stupid, they're going to go for the easy pickings.

Don't forget that there are other predators in the lower 48; mountain lion, bear, and even coyote can impact young elk calves and fawns. So they do have natural predators already.

So if wolves are such a wonderful thing, why aren't they being introduced into the heavily populated areas of the midwest and east, that is overrun with whitetail deer?

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Re: Rocky Mtn. Elk Foundation "Calls Out" Wolf Groups
cowgal wrote:
We do not want them here! Jtapia, we'll send them to you!

Ship em on over !!!
The Wolves would, however, have a natural predator here. These gators love the taste of canine meat!!!
Think Wolves would take out the pesky Black Bears? Evil!

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Re: Rocky Mtn. Elk Foundation "Calls Out" Wolf Groups

I don't mind having wolves in CO as long as they are managed at a reasonable population level. The art is defining "reasonable", which sometimes has little to do with predator/prey relations and more to do with people/wolf relations.

I also don't like the idea of using wolves only to bring the elk herd in RMNP in line. I tend to think hunters should be allowed as well. Although I think probably wolves are going to get the nod and hunters will not.

Left to there own devices I think wolves (like people) can bring a prey population to near collapse. I linked to this article awhile back:

http://www.gi.alaska.edu/ScienceForum/ASF16/1684.html

Anyway I think if wolves return to CO, then CA should be required to reintroduce the mammal borne on their state flag. Its a pet-peeve, but the land of all that is enviro-politico-leftist-correctness operates under a state flag with a species they kicked out sometime ago.

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Re: Rocky Mtn. Elk Foundation "Calls Out" Wolf Groups

Cowgal, I'll admit that Yellowstone's northern herd dropped dramatically from the 20,000 animals it once was in 1988. However, in 1968 the herd was only around 4,000 animals -- well before wolves were reintroduced. There's a strong argument to say that 1988's numbers were high.

Granted, they've declined wince wolf introduction. The key question is if they've declined BECAUSE of wolf reintroduction. Wolves could naturally be expected to reduce the population, but how much of the decline is attributable to wolves? You're crediting wolves with all of it, when other factors may be at work as well. Have the elk overgrazed? Have summers been dryer and reduced browse? Are cows producing fewer calves? If so, why? Elk herds have grown and shrunk throughout history, both with and without wolves. My point is that I think it's unfair to latch onto wolves as the factor that explains everything. In that regard, some groups tend to view wolves like global warming -- the boogeyman to hang an agenda on.

It's also true that you can't compare Alaska to the L48. Whereas wolves have been reintroduced down there, they've always been abundant up here. They're not moving around -- they're everywhere. So no population is unpressured. We also have plenty of grizzlies and black bears to prey on our moose and caribou herds. But I've also lived in Southwest Montana and Idaho enough know that elk range down there is far from urban.

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