It matters 
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Re: “Look Up for Gunners

So which is it?

"Most of the time when we confirm livestock predation, most of the time, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game gives us authorization to use lethal means," said Wildlife Services Assistant State Director George Graves.


"One criteria is if there is a long history of chronic depredation in an area, or with a particular pack, then that calls for removal," Mitchell said.

Confirmed livestock predation or a long history of chronic depredation?

Posted by It matters on 06/02/2010 at 10:23 AM

Re: “Wolf Hunt is On

According to USFWS, 12 dogs were killed in 2008. Is that really out of hand? Moose and cougars are both killing more dogs than that. Nobody wants to lose their dog, of course. We live in a state where we are proud of our wild spaces. Common sense and responsible actions can avert most conflicts with wildlife. That is our responsibility.

We, Idahoans, all of us, ranchers, hunters, hikers, bikers, fishermen, dog walkers, urbanites, students, environmentalists, conservationists, and the rest, all of us should be proud of our Idaho for the beautiful place that it is. Now the ecosystem is actually complete. As the wolf population expands it will contract as well. However, this time it will contract, unfortunately not naturally due to impatience of man. The population would find its own balance with the food sources around it. In Alaska and Canada there is plenty of wildlife, a huge source of pride for both places. Wolves have always been there and they haven't eaten everything as some would like you to believe. Wolves do eat. I know it is surprising for some.

Wolves in ID (fewer than 1,000 of them) are actually killing a very small percentage of cattle and sheep (also according to information anyone can get from the USFWS website). They kill a far smaller percentage than the percentages of sheep and cattle killed by either cougars or bears or yes even domestic dogs. Livestock losses are far less than they were predicted to be before reintroduction began. Margins are thin in the often-subsidized ranching industry. So the complaining can sometimes be quite loud. But not all ranchers are taking a complete anti-wolf position. There are several proactive ranchers such as Lava Lake over by Carey, that are implementing non-lethal methods for deterring wolf predation upon sheep. Last year they lost just one sheep to wolves. The programs have been quite successful. There are many other ranchers that deserve credit for their efforts as well.

The elk? The Idaho Fish and Game itself stated that of all hunting zones in the state (90+ of them I think) elk populations in only one zone (Lolo) is causing them concern. I have called IFG a few times in the past weeks and have been told that they are not concerned with elk numbers statewide, just in Lolo. Last year's elk harvest statewide was very close to the 10-year average. Half of those last ten years saw greater harvests, half saw fewer. Go to the Idaho Fish and Game website to read the harvest report statistics if you need proof.

Elk hunting is getting more difficult. That is a fact. But that is because they are more alert and more ready for hunters than before because wolf packs keep them alert and on the move. The ecology has responded amazingly well. This phenomenon is carefully documented it "The Decade of the Wolf" by Smith and Ferguson explaining the tremendous ecological benefits Yellowstone NP has witnessed since reintroduction. A complete ecosystem is a good thing.

For accurate and locally based information regarding wolves, go to peruse the site and sign up for their newsletter.

Posted by It matters on 08/19/2009 at 5:14 PM

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