Poachers kill more than wolves do, Idaho officials say

[Enough said? Now, how many do trophy hunters kill compared to wolves?]

Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson

Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson

>But he said if predators were killing as many game animals as poachers do, people would take action. “Holy buckets, we would be setting budgets aside,” Cummings said. “We would develop a group to figure out what it was and we would develop a plan to deal with it, but we won’t even talk about what impact this has on wildlife.”<


LEWISTON – Poachers are likely killing far more game animals than wolves are, state wildlife officials in North Idaho say.

Officials told the Lewiston Tribune that last year in North Idaho they confirmed poaching of 30 elk, four moose, 13 mule deer and 57 whitetail deer, the newspaper reported Friday.

Officials say a realistic detection rate is 5 percent, meaning poachers are likely killing about 600 elk, 80 moose, 260 mule deer and 1,000 whitetail annually.

“It’s real easy for people to blow a gasket about wolf predation,” said Idaho Fish and Game District Conservation Officer George Fischer. “They are very passionate about it, they are very irate about it and they are livid about it. Yet there is a two-legged wolf out there that is probably killing as many or more than wolves. Wolves are causing an impact, there is no doubt about it; I don’t want to downplay that at all, but two-legged wolves are probably killing more or stealing more game than wolves. That is the shock-and-awe message.”

Barry Cummings, an Idaho Fish and Game conservation officer, said many people don’t report wildlife crimes because they don’t consider it a crime against them. The fine in Idaho for illegally killing an elk is $750, while the fine for illegally killing a moose is $10,000.

But he said if predators were killing as many game animals as poachers do, people would take action.

Mark Hill, a senior conservation officer for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game at Lewiston, said it’s not completely clear why people who are aware of poaching don’t turn lawbreakers in.

“I don’t know if it’s because they almost look at themselves in the mirror and say, ‘If I turn in so and so, I’m going to be reflecting on some of the things I do and they will turn me in,’ ” Hill said.

Idaho Marmot-Killing Contest a Transference of Victimhood

While it’s too bad about Hannah losing her battle with cancer 6 years ago, why do hundreds of innocent yellow-bellied marmots (ignorantly referred to as “rock chucks”) have to pay with their lives for four years afterwards? The event already includes a motorcycle run, a walk/run and an auction, so why kill marmots at all? Hasn’t there been enough death?


Rock Chuck Derby in Bliss Raises $300,000

April 27, 2013


BLISS • Holding the lifeless rock chuck by the tail, Jeff Huber dumped the bundle of fur into a five-gallon bucket, put it on a scale and waited for the results.

Huber was hoping for a high number, but the weight failed short of the 16.8 pound world record.

“It’s OK, I’ll just go out again for another one,” he said. “It’s a three-day event. I have time to get a bigger one.”

Huber was one of the 300 hunters registered in the sixth annual Hannah Bates Memorial Rock Chuck Derby.

The event includes a motorcycle run, a walk/run and auction, but the main goal is to shoot the biggest rock chuck and bring it back to the saloon where it can be weighed by judges. The winner will be announced Sunday and will receive a gun as a prize.

Hunters gather from all over the nation to participate, said Sandee Bates, Hannah’s mom.

The derby became dedicated in Hannah’s honor after the 20-year-old lost her battle with cancer in 2008. Ever since, the event raised more than $300,000, Bates said.

The money has gone to school athletic programs, local nonprofits and children’s cancer support groups.

“Every year it amazes me how many people show up to show their support,” Bates said. “People are so generous every year.”

As the event continues to grow, more people get to learn Hannah’s story and leave knowing they are supporting a good cause, said Carol Wood, one of the event planners and who knew Hannah.

“A little bit of Hannah touches of them,” she said.

Huber said in years past, he normally just participates in the motorcycle ride. This year, he and his son, Kameron McGarity, 14, decided to try hunting.

“We’ll be back,” he said. “We can get a bigger one.”

Rockchuck Derby Starts In:
24 days



Five Day Hunt: Wednesday, May 14 – Sunday, May 18, 2014
Location: Outlaws & Angels

Registration Locations:
- Outlaws & Angels – Bliss, Idaho
- Cal’s Log Tavern** – Twin Falls, Idaho
- TJ’s Lounge** – Buhl, Idaho
*Registration at these locations ends May 10

Registration Fee:
Adults $30
Youth $20 14 and under

Winner Classes:
Adults: Top 5
Youth: Top 5
Archery: Top 3
Muzzleloader: Top 3

Weigh In Times:
Wednesday, May 14: 2PM – 7PM
Thursday, May 15: 2PM – 7PM
Friday, May 16: 2PM – 7PM
Saturday, May 17: 2PM – 7PM
Sunday, May 18: 10AM – 1PM

All State of Idaho Hunting Regulations will apply and hunters must have a valid hunting license, or hunter education number.


Wednesday, May 14
Registration: 10AM – 10PM
Rock Chuck Weigh In: 2PM – 7PM
Band: Jam Kitty 8PM

Thursday, May 15
Registration: 10AM – 10PM
Rock Chuck Weigh In: 2PM – 7PM
Band: Jam Kitty 8PM

Friday, May 16
Registration: 10AM – NOON *last day of registration
Rock Chuck Weigh In: 2PM – 7PM
Band: Dirty Johnny 8PM

Saturday, May 17
Rock Chuck Weigh In: 2PM – 7PM
Band: Dirty Johnny 8PM
Free Chili: 4PM – 7PM

Sunday, May 18
Rock Chuck Weigh In: 10AM – 1PM
Free BBQ: 2PM

Ontario spring bear hunt to face court challenge from animal rights groups


A black bear roams the forest A black bear roams the forest near Timmins, Ont., on Sunday, May 27, 2012. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Nathan Denette)

Allison Jones, The Canadian Press
Thursday, April 17, 2014

TORONTO — Two animal rights groups are taking the Ontario government to court in an attempt to stop a spring bear hunt pilot program before it begins, alleging it amounts to animal cruelty.

Animal Alliance of Canada and Zoocheck Canada say mother bears will be killed during the hunt, leaving their orphaned cubs to starve or be killed by predators.

“The babies at this time are very small,” said Julie Woodyer of Zoocheck Canada.

“This is the only large game species that are hunted when the young are still dependent on their mothers and it is inevitable that cubs will be orphaned.”

The animal rights groups have filed an application for judicial review and a notice of constitutional question, which are set to be heard in court on April 29, just days before the start of the program. They hope the court will at least delay the start of the hunt until it can rule on their legal actions.

The regulation would be contrary to animal cruelty laws in the Criminal Code, said the groups’ lawyer David Estrin.

“In our view, reinstituting this program would be tantamount to the minister and the Ministry of Natural Resources either wilfully permitting bear cubs to suffer or failing to exercise reasonable care or supervision of the bear cub population,” he said.

“The Criminal Code prohibits causing or allowing animals to suffer. This program of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources will cause black bears to suffer.”

The pilot project to reinstate the spring bear hunt will start May 1 and run for six weeks in eight wildlife areas known for having the most public safety incidents involving bears.

“In northern Ontario it is not responsible for a provincial government to ignore the concerns of thousands of residents who are concerned about their public safety,” said Natural Resources Minister David Orazietti.

“We have young children who can’t go out for recess at their schools, teachers wearing bear whistles because their children are threatened.”

Nearly 50 mayors and city councils across northern Ontario have passed resolutions calling for their participation in the program, Orazietti said. Out of 95 wildlife management units in Ontario, the pilot program will be in eight, he said.

“Some people who are completely unaffected by this issue and whose children may be perfectly safe in the schools that they attend have no understanding of the implications and the safety challenges in communities in northern Ontario,” Orazietti said.

The hunt was cancelled in 1999 and then-natural resources minister John Snobelen said it had left thousands of cubs orphaned since hunters too often mistakenly shoot mother bears.

“Really, the only answer we came up with was to end the spring bear hunt,” he said at the time. “It’s the only acceptable way.”

Orazietti said the government has learned over the past 15 years that other strategies to reduce human-bear incidents have met “fairly limited success.”

“This has been a very, very thoughtful and strategic approach,” he said Thursday. “We’re not suggesting a return of the spring bear hunt of yesteryear.”

The animal rights groups say the ministry’s own scientists have found no link between the end of the spring bear hunt and human-bear incidents. Orazietti said “that’s not completely true.”

“Our scientists do recognize that there are other scientists and other groups that have indicated that bear hunts do in fact have an impact on population,” he said.

Terry Quinney, the provincial manager of fish and wildlife services for the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, said the spring bear hunt was for decades a valuable wildlife population management tool.

“In reducing the density and distribution of bears in the spring, particularly those older male bears, it is absolutely reducing the probability of dangerous encounters with people,” he said.

Hunters target the male bears, Quinney said, and there are ways they can distinguish male and female bears, especially using suspended bait.

“It’s not hard to imagine that if a food source is placed, for example, hanging from a tree, a bear in order to reach that food source is going to stand on its hind legs, making its genitalia very visible to a hunter,” he said.

Quinney also said there would be economic and social benefits to re-establishing the spring bear hunt in northern communities.

“Prior to the cancellation of the spring bear hunt in Ontario there were approximately 600 family-based businesses in northern and central Ontario that were involved in the spring bear hunt, for example providing guiding services for hunters,” he said.

“Revenues to northern and central Ontario on an annual basis were in excess of $40 million a year. All of those economic benefits have disappeared from Ontario.”

Read more: http://kitchener.ctvnews.ca/ontario-spring-bear-hunt-to-face-court-challenge-from-animal-rights-groups-1.1780350#ixzz2zGxETLtP

VERY IMPORTANT! Please vote in the on line poll in the Toronto Sun to say NO to reviving the spring bear hunt in Ontario. The poll is on the bottom right of the home page here: http://www.torontosun.com/

Delta man dies in apparent hunting accident


by Amulya Raghuveer

Posted: 04.17.2014


DELTA, OHIO — Fulton County officials say a man who reportedly went out hunting for woodchucks Wednesday morning was found dead hours later.

According to the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office, authorities were called to the scene of a possible hunting accident in Fulton Township, Delta around 1:45 p.m. Wednesday.

An investigation revealed the body of 51-year-old Chad Spiess. The man’s body was found on his own property on County Road H.

Spiess had reportedly gone out woodchuck hunting earlier that day. He was later found dead with a gunshot wound to his chest.

The case remains under investigation by Fulton County sheriff’s deputies.

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

Hunter killed in Clay County identified

[Odd that all the hunters who get killed are always "tremendous" "happy" people, when so many you meet wouldn't fit that description.]

 911 call made after Clay County hunters shot released

 Hunter killed in Clay County identified [while the turkey is still anonymous.]

CLAY COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - A hunter is dead after he and another man were shot while turkey hunting in Clay County Thursday morning.

Officials with Kentucky State Police confirm to WKYT that Brian Griffin, [Wait, isn't that the dog from Family Guy?] 28, died from his injuries. Griffin and the other injured hunter were airlifted from the scene to UK Hospital.

The shooting happened in a rural area between Manchester and Fogertown in rural Clay County. Officials have been searching the area where it happened for most of the day with a K-9 unit while friends helped look for Griffin’s keys at the scene.

Police tell us three men were turkey hunting along Highway 638. That’s when their hunting trip was cut short while walking along a ridge line. They were shot by an unknown person, according to Clay County Sheriff Kevin Johnson. [Maybe it was Miss Kentucky.]

The third man in that group called for help, Johnson said.

“Two of the gentlemen were hit. The third individual was not hit, and he was able to call 911,” said Trooper Lloyd Cochran with Kentucky State Police.

Throughout the day, we’ve learned a bit about the man who was killed, Brian Griffin, from the Clay County High School basketball coach, who once played ball with Griffin.

“Brian’s a great friend of mine,” said Coach Robert Marcum. “He played at Clay County a few years back. And as a basketball coach at Clay County, I always welcome people into the gym that actually wore the Tiger jersey.”

Coach Robert Marcum also tells us he worked alongside Griffin at a prison for a few years as well.

“Just a tremendous person,” Marcum says. “Never heard of anybody saying anything negative about him [except that he hunted]. You know, he’s just so calm natured and just a happy person.”

As for the second victim, a family friend says that man is Jason Roberts of Clay County who was flown to UK Hospital. We have no word on his condition.

As of 11 p.m. on Thursday, state police and Sheriff Johnson were still looking for the shooter responsible for this. The sheriff also wants to clear up a rumor, saying this case is not connected to drug activity in the area. He’s calling this a hunting accident.

(Just in time for Earth Day) Distress Signals from Earth

A steady stream of reports on the deterioration of the environment is issued. There is a brief flurry of media coverage. The corporate-funded climate change deniers make counter claims. We wake briefly to the crisis then most of us lapse into a couch potato stupor. Neoliberal dogma and an almost mystical belief in capitalism makes almost certain that little will be done to avert coming calamities. Charades called climate summits offer nothing more than photo ops of smiling world leaders and vacuous press releases. We blithely turn our heads away from reality. As the ice caps melt it is not just penguins and polar bears that are in danger. The wider implications for the planet and humanity are profound. What level of catastrophe is it going to take for business as usual policies to change? Will we hear the distress signals from Earth?


Paul Ehrlich (click to view archive)

Paul Ehrlich is Bing Professor of Population Studies in the Department of Biology and president of the Center for Conservation Biology at Stanford University. He is a MacArthur Fellow, a member of the National Academy of Sciences and has received numerous honors including the Crafoord Prize of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, given in areas where the Nobel Prize is not awarded, the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, and the Blue Planet Prize.  He is active in the Millennium Alliance for Humanity and the Biosphere. He is author of over 40 books.


Program #EHRP001. Recorded in Fort Collins, CO on February 17, 2014.

Audio sample:

Please &amp;lt;a href=”http://enable-javascript.com/”&amp;gt;enable Javascript&amp;lt;/a&amp;gt; to use the audio player.


Parks investigates CP railway trash

I’ve seen grizzly bears following the tracks in Jasper NP.

By: Cathy Ellis, ROCKY MOUNTAIN OUTLOOK, Thursday, Apr 17, 2014

Garbage along the CP line.

Reports of toxic trash and garbage along the Canadian Pacific Railway line in Banff National Park have prompted a Parks Canada investigation.

A series of photos provided to the Outlook show items of toxic trash, including discarded bottles of anti-freeze, diesel fuel and motor oil, as well as plastic bottles and food containers, scattered along the tracks near Massive Siding just east of Hillsdale meadows. Several small oil spills were also present as well as the usual sprinkling of grain along the tracks, plus a few larger grain piles. One photo shows a large pile of grain-filled bear scat right by the line.

Grizzly bear 122, the large dominant male in the park, has been seen regularly feeding on grain along the train tracks this spring, primarily in the area near Massive Siding, about 1 6 kilometres west of Banff, and at Eldon Siding near Protection Mountain. Parks Canada officials say wardens went out to the site Monday morning (April 14), then contacted CPR and asked for the site to be cleaned up.

“It’s concerning, for sure. We don’t want to see anything toxic or unnatural food sources in the national park,” said Terry Willis, supervisor of Parks Canada’s law enforcement branch in Banff National Park. “Sometimes you find a juice box or bottle, and that’s nothing different than you would see on the side of highway, unfortunately. But when there’s pails of oil and things like that, we don’t want to see bears or other wildlife getting into that.”

Canadian Pacific Railway has been developing a big extension to its Massive siding, building another 4,600 feet of track to extend it to about 12,000 feet to allow larger trains on the same line to pass. Canadian Pacific Railway officials say the garbage was cleaned up Monday and Tuesday and that the vacuum truck was out on the tracks late last week, even before the railway giant was aware of the situation. Ed Greenberg, a spokesman for the company, said it was the company’s intention to clean up the mess within a few days and the incident has resulted in railway crews being reminded of proper cleanup protocols, particularly in the national park.

“Our railway acknowledges there was disconnect in the cleanup process and this refuse should have been taken away a lot sooner,” said Greenberg. “Since being alerted of this oversight, clean up crews were dispatched to the location on Monday where the refuse has been collected. We realize there were timing issues involved and the situation should have been resolved before this.”

Steve Michel, Banff’s human-wildlife conflict specialist, said Parks Canada continues to work closely with CPR to resolve the issue of spilled grain along the tracks, noting there have been improvements in the big picture, including a Parks Canada-CPR joint action plan and CP’s reinvestment in maintaining its fleet.

However, as a result of significant hauling because of a bumper grain crop, he said there’s currently grain spillage on the tracks that wildlife are actively feeding on, including bear 122.

Michel said bear 122 is frequenting the train tracks almost exclusively, primarily concentrating in areas near CPR siding locations such as Eldon and Massive, and is also travelling a bit further to the west. “It’s mid-April and we’re not seeing a lot of bear activity on the landscape, and bear 122 is the only one we’ve been seeing on a regular basis; in fact, we’re seeing him on a daily basis. He’s essentially just travelling the railway tracks,” he said.

Michel said other than winterkill carcasses, there’s no other major food source for bears at the moment. “Any time a grizzly bear is foraging on the railway tracks, it’s quite concerning for us,” he said. “We hope he avoids being struck by a train, but we recognize his current foraging patterns are putting him into a very risky situation.”

Meanwhile, Willis said it was his impression the garbage had been buried under snow throughout winter, and is now thawing out. He said he was not sure if it was related to regular railway work or the project to extend the siding. He said the next step is trying to find out who put it there. When asked if charges would be considered, Willis said it would likely result in a warning. “If it’s warranted, we certainly look at charges, but until we talk to CP and understand the circumstances of how it got there and who put it there… it’s hard to prove who put it there, right now,” he said.

Parks Canada asks that any suspicious activity be reported to 1-888-WARDENS .

Meanwhile, Parks Canada issued a warning on Tuesday (April 15) for the Great Divide Route (the old 1A Highway) because of a large grizzly bear frequenting the ski trail and adjacent railway.


Gray Wolves are Recovered; Next Up, the Mexican Wolf

What an Ashehole…

wolfWe are proposing to remove gray wolves from the list of threatened and endangered species throughout the United States and Mexico. Photo by Gary Kramer/USFWS

As many of you probably know, my dad had a great, 37-year career with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and he describes the outfit as a collection of people who get things done — doers.  Nowhere is that trait more proudly displayed than in our four decade effort to restore the gray wolf to the American landscape, bringing the species back from extirpation and exile from the contiguous United States.

I’m the 16th Director of the Service. It was the 10th, John Turner, a Wyoming rancher and outfitter, appointed by a Republican President, who signed the record of decision that set in motion this miraculous reintroduction and recovery. It’s never been easy. We’ve had critics, fair and unfair. We’ve had great partners. Sometimes they have been one in the same. But this organization and its people have been constant. Steadfast. Committed. Professional. Determined. Now add successful!

More information on the wolf recovery

This great predator again roams the range, ridges and remote spaces of the Northern Rocky Mountains and the Western Great Lakes in one of the spectacular successes of the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  These recovered populations are not just being tolerated, but are expanding under professional management by our state partners.

Today, for one reason, and one reason only, we are proposing to remove the gray wolf from the list of threatened and endangered species throughout the United States and Mexico — they are no longer in danger of extinction now or in the foreseeable future.



National Elk Refuge Biologist Eric Cole affixes a collar on a male black wolf pup. We have been working on gray wolf recovery for decades. Photo by Lori Iverson/USFWS

Due to our steadfast commitment, gray wolves in the Lower 48 now represent a 400-mile southern range extension of a vast contiguous wolf population that numbers more than 12,000 wolves in western Canada and about 65,000 wolves across all of Canada and Alaska. Canadian and U.S. wolves interact and move freely between the two nations.

Of course, the gray wolf is not everywhere it once was, nor can it be; think Denver, or Minneapolis, or Salt Lake City, or even the now grain- and livestock-dominated American Plains. It’s not everywhere it can be, but our work has created the potential that it may be one day.

One thing, though, is certain: It is no longer endangered or threatened with extinction.  The ESA has done its job. Broader restoration of wolves is now possible. Indeed, it is likely. As we propose to remove ESA protections, states like Washington and Oregon are managing expanding populations under protective state laws.

And as in almost every aspect of our work, there is vigorous debate.  Can a species be considered “recovered” if it exists in only a portion of its former range, or if significant habitat is yet unoccupied?  Our answer is “yes” and we don’t need to look far for other examples.


Bison on the National Bison Range in Montana. Photo by USFWS

Consider the plains bison, another magnificent, iconic animal that once roamed and ruled North American plains, coast to coast. We aren’t certain how many, but possibly 75 million. Today, there are about half a million, and they inhabit a fraction of their historical range.

But are they threatened or endangered?  No.  And in 2011, we denied a petition to give the bison Endangered Species Act protection. Wild populations are secure and growing. It doesn’t mean we don’t care about bison; it means they do not need the protections of the ESA.

Like the bison, the gray wolf no longer needs those protections.

Some say we’re abandoning wolf recovery before it is complete. That couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, we’re proposing to hand over the management of these keystone predators to the professionals at the state and tribal wildlife agencies. We’ve been working hand-in-glove with these folks to recover the gray wolf. Their skill helped bring gray wolves back, and now they’ll work to keep wolves as a part of the landscape for future generations.

I’ve always liked the analogy of the ESA as biodiversity’s emergency room.  We are given patient species that need intensive care.  We stabilize them; we get them through recovery.  Then we hand them to other providers who will ensure they get the long-term care that they need and deserve.

We have brought back this great icon of the American wilderness.  And as we face today’s seemingly insurmountable challenges, today’s critical voices, today’s political minefields, let this success be a reminder of what we can accomplish.  We can work conservation miracles, because we have.  The gray wolf is proof.

Mexican wolf

our 2012 count showed a record number of Mexican wolves in the wild. Photo by Jim Clark/USFWS

Now it’s time for us to focus our limited resources on Mexican wolf recovery and on other species that are immediately threatened with extinction.

That is why we also proposed today to continue federal protection and expand recovery efforts for the Mexican wolf, by designating it as an endangered subspecies under the ESA and proposing modifications to the regulations governing the existing nonessential experimental population.

We have received good news on the Mexican wolf recently – the 2012 population count showed a record high number of Mexican wolves in the wild.  We have a long way to go, but we are seeing success, and we will apply the same steadfast commitment, the same dedication and the same professionalism that has been the hallmark of our gray wolf success.

By employing the full protections of the ESA for the Mexican wolf, I am confident that one day we’ll be celebrating their full recovery just like we are, today, with the gray wolf.


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