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Old 01-12-2007, 01:25 PM   #1
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The Idaho Governor is Insane!

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070112/...s/wolf_hunting

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Idaho gov calls for wolf kill By JESSE HARLAN ALDERMAN, Associated Press Writer
Thu Jan 11, 10:46 PM ET



BOISE, Idaho - Idaho's governor said Thursday he will support public hunts to kill all but 100 of the state's gray wolves after the federal government strips them of protection under the Endangered Species Act.

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Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter told The Associated Press that he wants hunters to kill about 550 gray wolves. That would leave about 100 wolves, or 10 packs, according to a population estimate by state wildlife officials.

The 100 surviving wolves would be the minimum before the animals could again be considered endangered.

"I'm prepared to bid for that first ticket to shoot a wolf myself," Otter said earlier Thursday during a rally of about 300 hunters.

Otter complained that wolves are rapidly killing elk and other animals essential to Idaho's multimillion-dollar hunting industry. The hunters, many wearing camouflage clothing and blaze-orange caps, applauded wildly during his comments.

Suzanne Stone, a spokeswoman for the advocacy group Defenders of Wildlife in Boise, said Otter's proposal would return wolves to the verge of eradication.

"Essentially he has confirmed our worst fears for the state of Idaho: That this would be a political rather than a biological management of the wolf population," Stone said. "There's no economic or ecological reason for maintaining such low numbers. It's simple persecution."

Wolves were reintroduced to the northern Rocky Mountains a decade ago after being hunted to near-extinction. More than 1,200 now live in the region.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plans to start removing federal protections from gray wolves in Montana and Idaho in the next few weeks.

A plan drafted by Idaho's wildlife agency calls for maintaining a minimum of 15 wolf packs — higher than Otter's proposal of 10 packs.

Jeff Allen, a policy adviser for the state Office of Species Conservation, said 15 wolf packs would allow "a cushion" between the surviving wolf population and the minimum number that federal biologists would allow before the animals are again considered endangered.

Allen said Otter and state wildlife officials agree on wolf strategy and will be able to reach a consensus on specific numbers.

"You don't want to be too close to 10 because all of a sudden when one (wolf) is hit by a car or taken in defense of property, you're back on the list," Allen said.
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Old 01-12-2007, 02:28 PM   #2
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Disgusting
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Old 01-12-2007, 03:16 PM   #3
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I'm such a softie for animals.

If I had to kill my own meat, I'd be a vegetarian.

The only way I could kill an animal is if it were threatening another person's life or the life of a pet.

Actually, the dog that used to live in the yard behind once killed another neighbor's dog, and I always told myself that if it killed any of my cats, I'd kill it. But I'm not sure I could bring myself to do that, unless I caught the dog in the act.
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Old 01-12-2007, 06:57 PM   #4
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I'm not necessarily anti-hunting, per se. I have no problem with meat-hunting of animals, be they plentiful enough to sustain it (deer for example).

Trophy/sport hunting is another story though. Killing for the fun of it is rather disgusting IMO. Not to mention what this will do to their herbivore population...you need apex predators (wolves, cougar, grizzly) to cull your game herds, eliminate the weak, old etc so you have healthy deer/elk populations. I know here we have no predators, save for the odd coyote & bobcat, and the deer pop has exploded.

Of course the guy's doing it to secure the hunter vote. Jackass.
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Old 01-12-2007, 07:27 PM   #5
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Yes, here in Germany and other parts of central Europe we also don't have predators anymore.
Some wolves came back, but only a few. There was one bear last summer that got killed because it killed some sheep.
The foxes aren't big enough to be a threat for the deer.
And so here hunters are necessary so that the population of deer, rabbits and wild pigs won't explode.

It's stupid as hell what the Governor of Idaho is saying there, and the hunters that only kill the animals for the fun of it, but don't fulfil their task of maintaining the population of animals should all lose their licenses and the right to kill any animal ever again.
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Old 01-12-2007, 07:51 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by CTU2fan
I'm not necessarily anti-hunting, per se. I have no problem with meat-hunting of animals, be they plentiful enough to sustain it (deer for example).

Trophy/sport hunting is another story though. Killing for the fun of it is rather disgusting IMO. Not to mention what this will do to their herbivore population...you need apex predators (wolves, cougar, grizzly) to cull your game herds, eliminate the weak, old etc so you have healthy deer/elk populations. I know here we have no predators, save for the odd coyote & bobcat, and the deer pop has exploded.

Of course the guy's doing it to secure the hunter vote. Jackass.
I agree with this. I have nothing against hunting, actually went hunting when I was younger but it just wasn't for me. But it is "needed" in some instances.

What bothers me about this is the bloodlust tone of the whole thing...
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Old 01-12-2007, 09:35 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by CTU2fan
I'm not necessarily anti-hunting, per se. I have no problem with meat-hunting of animals, be they plentiful enough to sustain it (deer for example).

Trophy/sport hunting is another story though. Killing for the fun of it is rather disgusting IMO. Not to mention what this will do to their herbivore population...you need apex predators (wolves, cougar, grizzly) to cull your game herds, eliminate the weak, old etc so you have healthy deer/elk populations. I know here we have no predators, save for the odd coyote & bobcat, and the deer pop has exploded.

Of course the guy's doing it to secure the hunter vote. Jackass.
I agree. My family hunts for deer meat (and yes we actually eat it several times a week). The guys have even stricter regulations than the local DNR to ensure the animals are protected, but right now there are so many deer in Michigan the DNR is begging more people to hunt. Since we have no more wolves (because of urban sprawl...the people that usually blame the hunters, funny how that works), the deer are out of control and are all getting chronic wasting disease. I think a lot of blanket anti-hunting people don't realize that you have to purchase permits from the DNR based on the age, gender, and location of the deer you intend to hunt. For example, Kent County may issue 50 doe permits and 25 buck permits while another county may double that, based on their population regulation. You don't just go off into whatever woods you please and start gunning down animals.

But anyway, I can't imagine only 100 wolves is the natural amount to sustain the food chain in the entire state. Their DNR needs to take a closer look.....
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Old 01-13-2007, 12:31 AM   #8
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I can understand hunting if you need the meat, but I'm against hunting for fun.
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Old 01-13-2007, 05:56 AM   #9
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Otter complained that wolves are rapidly killing elk and other animals essential to Idaho's multimillion-dollar hunting industry.
I noticed this same elk complaint, and also some complaints from sheep ranchers, in a few other articles I looked at about this, which made me curious, so I decided to check a few stats using Idaho Dep't of Fish and Game and US Dep't of Agriculture data.

According to IDFG, wolves account for only 7% of elk deaths in Idaho (compared to 52% for hunters). In 2005, the last year for which they had data, the elk harvest (for hunters) was actually higher than a decade earlier, just before the wolves were introduced. While the total elk population of Idaho (25,000) is down 3000 from that time, this is still well within IDFG targets and in fact still more than 1000 over their ideal estimated elk population.

As far as sheep deaths go, the USDA found that wolves accounted for about 900 of them in Idaho in 2004, compared to over 7000 sheep kills by coyotes (which wolves help to keep down) and 1400 by dogs. On top of that, the group "Defenders of Wildlife" mentioned in the article established a fund way back when the wolves were introduced, specifically for reimbursing sheep ranchers for sheep lost to wolves (in fact, this was apparently the only thing that persuaded ranchers to agree to reintroduction efforts in the first place). Since that time they've covered 90% of those losses ($700,000), with Idaho's Office of Species Conservation making up the rest.

So, I guess I don't see what either of these groups really have to complain about. Which leaves me a little puzzled as to why so many of them are apparently this gung-ho for a wolf hunt, especially when you're talking about killing--scheez!--85% of them, they only just came off the protected list and USFWS spent decades researching and developing a sound reintroduction plan and fought so hard to get it approved. Is it simply the "trophy hunt" excitement of how cool it would be to have a wolf pelt displayed in your living room, or is it that too many decades with no large predators around have made us unwilling take any lumps whatsoever in sharing the outdoors with them, or do we deep down still harbor some very old fears about marauding wily wolves snatching away the fruits of our labor, or what? I'm not some misty-eyed urbanite about all this, I could understand completely if the data supported that reintroduction has unleashed way more destruction than anticipated, but so far as I can tell that's not the case at all, so I guess I just don't get it. Like BVS and Lies I grew up in an area with lots of hunters, and I always got the impression most of them were actually quite sensitive to wildlife population management issues...but then to be fair, those folks never had to share their harvest with keystone predators like wolves.
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Old 01-13-2007, 06:00 AM   #10
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Just disgusting.
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Old 01-13-2007, 07:51 AM   #11
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Well they don't really have a complaint...they're just a bunch of buckaroos that want to bag a big bad wolf.

I wonder if there's a legitimate concern that the wolf could eventually become as tolerant of humans as the coyote has. I could see that being a problem eventually.

Not that it justifies gunning down all the wolves though...
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Old 01-13-2007, 10:33 AM   #12
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OK, guess I have to backtrack a little, because I was thinking some of my calculations didn't sound quite right and looking back at the reports, realized I was comparing data for the whole state with data that actually applies to only one wildlife management area. The total elk population is actually about 124,500, although "higher hunt harvest than a decade ago" (20,619, which is about 3000 kills higher) still applies. Unfortunately, though, at a statewide level that population is not within IDFG targets; they want to see more like 127,500 elk (roughly the same as pre-wolf levels, so that comparison still applies too), which will require a higher cow:calf ratio overall. And to that extent I can see where wolf impact might be a potential concern, because wolves do disproportionately prey on elk calves. According to the Idaho Office of Species Conservation, the wolves kill about 7800 elk per year, about half of which are calves. (Currently, about 25,500 calves are born per year.)

On the other hand, as of November IDFG's recommendation for how to deal with this was to kill...48 wolves. Pretty far cry from 550. They point out that low cow:calf ratios can't consistently be linked with the presence of wolf packs in a given area, as some areas with wolf packs have high cow:calf ratios, so it could just as easily be that elk overgrazing, insufficient planned burns, presence of other predators, or excessive human kills of prime reproductive-age bulls could be the "real" problem.

Doesn't really help clarify the "Why kill 550?!" question, but now I'm maybe a little more inclined to think unwillingness to tolerate any elk declines significant enough to disrupt the last decade's trend of steadily increasing hunt harvests might be the main issue. But then, why introduce wolves to begin with if you're unwilling to accept any dips in the elk population? I don't know much about wildlife management, but it doesn't make much sense to me to simultaneously introduce wolves and increase hunting unless you had a huge elk overpopulation problem originally, which it doesn't sound like they did since the numbers have only dropped a few thousand. Perhaps at the time they thought they did have an overpopulation problem, but now that hunts have picked up they're adjusting their definition of "overpopulation" at the wolves' expense?
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Old 01-13-2007, 05:34 PM   #13
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He just wants the votes of hunters. Disgusting.
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