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We found a domestic sheep kill on the Lick Creek Summit Road on 9/23 which we reported to seemingly disinterested IFG in McCall. It appeared one wolf held the sheep by haunch while other removed lower jaw and jugular, then they left it (very dead, but otherwise untouched). Seems to be fewer deer in area. Fresh wolf tracks on road over Profile Summit out of Yellowpine. We are hunting the Middle Fork and Big Creek drainages of the Salmon River this year (central Idaho). I'm frustrated. In the wilderness we have seen NO calf elk, though bulls and cows. Seems the only deer and elk are the ones at various city limits where wolves have not yet ventured. I don't live in the backcountry - I only visit - but it appears pretty bleak. Help me as a hunter have better feelings about this whole wolf situation.
Jeff if you feel negatively about wolves in a strong way you'll never feel better about them.
I used to be anti-wolf as a hunter before I knew much about them. But I always try and have an open mind and look at the facts in every situation before sitting on a position and defending it.
My view? Wolves will impact herds but all the long-term research I've done does not show any evidence that wolves have the ability to "wipe-out" species or even have a big impact unless a species is already struggling. I know others will probably pipe in and a long debate will insue. But that is just what I've found.
The facts I gathered showed that lack of knowledge has led to a lot of misconceptions. One thing I found interesting was numerous reports of sport killings. What I found is wolves are opportunistic killers. Collared and observed wolves show a hunt success rate of only 8%. That means anytime they have an opportunity to kill they will, hungry or not. But what most people don't realize is that if a wolf or kill is left undisturbed (by humans of course) they will nearly always come back to the kill and eventually consume it. If they don't and the kill is left undisturbed, another predator will eventually consume it saving a deer that say a cougar would have killed to take it's place. Eventually nature balances out and wolves become a part of a healthy functioning eco-system with one condition in my opinion.
That is they are managed properly. Wolves cannot be allowed to spread unchecked. Numbers need to be kept relatively low and problem animals should be erradicated. I have been working on a "compromise" list. Tell me what you think:
1. Wolves should be removed from the protected species list immediately and states should be given power to manage wolves (not erradicate) any way they see fit.
2. Areas should be managed for ungulates first. Meaning the population objective for wolves in an area should be determined by a minimal, healthy impact on elk and deer herds.
3. Hunting seasons on wolves should be used to keep populations in check and the season only closes when the targeted number of animals have been harvested.
4. Ranchers should have the right to shoot on sight any wolf caught hazing livestock.
5. Some areas where elk and or deer herds are struggling the area should be deemed a "no wolf" area. Any wolves seen in those areas may be shot on sight. Efforts would also be made by the state to trap any wolves there.
6. Most of the environment impact studies on wolves could piggy back off the work already done for elk and deer. Meaning to be able to manage elk you have to know what the predators are doing so you've killed 2 birds with one stone. The rest of the funding would come from wolf tags of course.
Thats what I have so far.
Dear Rather be ...
I like your thoughts. I REALLY like your thoughts. They show perspective and balance. Can they be implemented? I welcome wolves in a balanced environment. What has been frustrating has been the seeming inbalance at which they have been thrust back at us. I'm actually a lot less anti-wolf than I was (a year or so ago). In fact, I guess I'm anti-mismanagement, not anti-wolf. Let's see where this goes. I'm willing to be a part of the solution - in addition to complain about mismanagement. Meanwhile, we go back into the wilderness this week to fill a bighorn sheep and elk tag, maybe some deer.
My `mismanagement' comment is not directed to IFG. I think IFG is doing a GREAT job.
ahhh the big creek area hunted that alot . i really like the head of smith creek , drop down from the relay tower on couger pass along the wolf fang and you will see a big shelf that runs half way up . there is a big water hole there as well as another just off the basin road , allways has been a good bull hanghing in that area .
would you be able to tell me if the have open the road that comes from warren down into the salmon and over the top , or is the only way in still through yellow pine ?
as to the wolves , they have been in the area you are hunting for as long as i can remeber , the only thing thats changed is the numbers and I would doubt that thats changes in that area all that much eather thats a big area and i dont think packs overlap in territory that much
. also a note keep your eyes out for grizz in there as there are a few that have been placed in smith and chambeline bu the IFH in the 80s from yellow stone
I think you are referring to the Elk Summit / Logan Creek / Edwardsburg road ... as far as I know it's been open. We come in thru Yellowpine `cause it seems shorter. We took the Elk Summit road a zillion years ago, but I think my dad has taken it more recently. We just flew over that area this morning ... no snow except for a very few tiny patches that haven't melted from several weeks ago. Road(s) (to Relay Tower? and Pilot Peak?) appeared open from the air.
we had a friend who owned a gold mine down on the salmon with a couple shacks on it so we would camp there many times and drive over the top . spme years back there was i big mud slide and I was told that the USFS was not going to re open the road over the top from the salmon side . sence then we have use the yellowpine exspress to get back in however i think a person is missing most of the view that way .
your flying in,,, are you landing at big creek, anderson creek or chamberlin . when we first started flying into chamberlin you would many times have to buz the strip to chase the elk off before landing . the last time i went in there , it has so many planes and people on it I thought we had landed in Mccall. LMAO
havnt flown back in years
We flew into Cabin Creek ... on my sheep hunt in Unit 27 aug/sep we flew out of the Indian Creek strip. During rafting season there are 50 planes a day coming in (scary) ... while we were there it had slowed down to about 5 per day on Saturday ... one or two during the week.
I'll ask my Dad about the Elk Summit road ... he's been in there since I have been. We took a drive on the Logan Creek side of the summit hunting deer - and I assumed it was open, but we didn't cross over. I'll ask my dad.
I think that we as hunters have a far greater impact on elk and deer populations than wolves ever could. They have just as much right to hunt elk as we do. But, I do believe that they should be managed. Besides, a big wolf mount would be perfect for my den.
I struggle with the idea of wildlife, animals, etc. having `rights' ... How can it be implemented, how does it play out? Do we allow them to draft and pass laws, conduct business, bear arms, or exercise religious freedom? Are they capable? - if so, then, yeah. Instead, a more practical approach is to embrace our role to care for and manage wildlife in a comprehensive fashion - and not to the expense of other wildlife or the rights of outfitters, ranchers, hunters, and others. Is it their (wolves) right to slaughter 150 sheep, as they recently did near McCall, Idaho? If wolves have rights that need to be protected, what about the rights of cow elk to get their calves past 12 months old before becoming wolve meal. I just came from the central Idaho wilderness. Parts of it are like a carnivour zoo. See how far up the flagpole the wolf rights thing makes it around the outfitters in the area. Nothin' against wolves, but the thing has gone past crisis to tragedy, and we now have some patches of elk-less Idaho and jobless outfitters.
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