Alaska national park wolf hunting boundary dispute continues

(Source: Gary Kramer / USFWS / CC BY 2.0).

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) – A group of Alaska advocates is petitioning for an end to wolf hunting in a national park boundary area.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported Monday that the group is concerned about a decrease in the number of wolf sightings in part of Denali National Park.

The group sent petitions about the Denali Park Road area to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game commissioner and the state Board of Game.

Members say hunting is impacting the number of wolves in packs that roam near the road corridor.

The National Park Service has submitted its own proposal to the game board requesting a partial closure to wolf hunting.

Wolf hunting in the area is scheduled to begin Aug. 10 while trapping season is scheduled to open Nov. 1.

Beloved Yellowstone Wolf ‘Spitfire’ Killed By Trophy Hunter

The wild wolf, also known as 926F, died the same way her famous mother did in 2012.

A wild wolf beloved by wolf watchers and biologists who visit Yellowstone National Park has been shot dead by a hunter.

The 7-year-old female wolf, known to scientists as Lamar Canyon Wolf Pack member 926F, had wandered just outside Yellowstone last weekend and was legally killed by a trophy hunter.

Nicknamed “Spitfire” by wolf enthusiasts, the slain she-wolf was the daughter of famous alpha female 824F, who inspired the book American Wolf: A True Story of Survival and Obsession in the West.

824F ― best known as “06” (a reference to the year she was born) ― was a tourist favorite at Yellowstone and the leader of the Lamar Canyon pack until she was killed by a hunter in 2012.

926F, also known as "Spitfire," was killed by a hunter last month after wandering just outside Yellowstone National Park.

MARK PERRY VIA GETTY IMAGES
926F, also known as “Spitfire,” was killed by a hunter last month after wandering just outside Yellowstone National Park.

“The 06 Legacy,” a Facebook group for wolf lovers, honored 926F’s life in a Facebook post Wednesday.

“926F showed incredible strength, courage and resilience in everything she did,” the Facebook post says. “She had a special bond with her daughter Little T and they stayed together all these years.”

The post continued: “We had so much to celebrate when we saw five strong and healthy pups this fall. And now it took just one bullet and 926F is gone. Just like her mother 06 and her uncle 754M before her. With current wolf management practices, the tragedy just doesn’t end. … Rest In Peace our beautiful Queen.”

The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks confirmed Spitfire was legally killed by a trophy hunter less than five miles from the northeast entrance of Yellowstone.

The beloved wolf’s death has reignited calls for a buffer around Yellowstone, a hunting-free zone, to protect animals who wander beyond the park’s invisible boundary.

“Perhaps Montana should take a closer look at the economics of wolf hunting,” the New York-based Wolf Conservation Center wrote in a blog post Wednesday. “Seems that Yellowstone wolves are worth a lot more alive than dead.”

Famous Alpha Wolf’s Daughter, Spitfire, Is Killed by a Hunter

 

The shooting of another Lamar Canyon pack member has renewed calls for a buffer between Yellowstone and nearby lands, to protect roaming wolves.

926F, a wild wolf in Yellowstone, in the late fall of 2016. Like her mother, she was killed by a hunter.CreditDeby Dixon
926F, a wild wolf in Yellowstone, in the late fall of 2016. Like her mother, she was killed by a hunter.CreditCreditDeby Dixon

HELENA, Mont. — A wild wolf known as 926F, dear to the hearts of wolf watchers who visit Yellowstone, was killed by a hunter as it wandered just outside the park last weekend.

A member of the Lamar Canyon pack in the national park’s northeast region, 926F was the daughter of 832F, an alpha female that had become a celebrity, famous for her hunting prowess and for her frequent appearances along the road traveled by tourists in the park’s Lamar Valley.

While wolf biologists called the mother 832F, the she-wolf was famously known as “06” for the year she was born. The subject of the book “American Wolf: A True Story of Survival and Obsession in the West,” she was killed by a hunter as well.

“Everybody’s mourning, everybody’s thinking about what to do to stop this madness,” said Karol Miller, who founded a group of wolf lovers on Facebook called The 06 Legacy. “People love the Lamar Canyon Pack and people know 06 from her New York Times obituary. These are the descendants of 06, her legacy. People love those wolves.”

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Wolf watchers called 06’s daughter Spitfire.

The shooting occurred near cabins and was within hunting laws; Montana has permitted hunting of wolves since 2011, and a few hundred are killed each year.

“A game warden checked with the hunter and everything about this harvest was legal,” said Abby Nelson, a wolf management specialist with the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

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But the killing has renewed calls for a buffer around the park so wolves that live within the safe harbor of Yellowstone and that have little fear of humans cannot be shot if they wander beyond the park’s invisible boundary.

Spitfire, or 926F, chased away a grizzly bear that was trying to steal her kill in 2013.CreditDeby Dixon
Image
Spitfire, or 926F, chased away a grizzly bear that was trying to steal her kill in 2013.CreditDeby Dixon

While Montana lawmakers have passed legislation forbidding creation of a buffer zone, there is a hunting limit of two wolves in each of two districts adjacent to the northern boundary of the park.

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Still, wolf hunting near Yellowstone has been extremely controversial, highlighting the clash between the New West’s ecotourism and the Old West’s hunting to protect game and livestock.

Wolves were restored to the park in the 1990s and quickly grew in number. About 100 wolves belong to 10 packs in Yellowstone, which is considered the ideal park for sightings of the animals as they hunt elk, feed on carcasses and play with their pups. Some 1,700 wolves live in the Northern Rocky Mountain states of Montana, Idaho and Wyoming.

Wolves being Booted Back to the Brink

Article posted by C.A.S.H. Committee To Abolish Sport Hunting

CLICK HERE for more from CASH COURIER NEWSLETTER, Winter/Spring 2018

By Jim Robertson

This article includes excerpts from Exposing the Big Game: Targets of a Dying Sport. Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2013. All Rights Reserved

wolf
Photo by Jim Robertson

Although “From the Brink of Oblivion and Back Again” was the title I gave to one of two chapters I devoted to the plight of wolves in my book Exposing the Big Game: Living Targets of a Dying Sport, I still hadn’t fully realized just how apt that title would soon be. At that time, wolves were federally protected and their removal from the Endangered Species List was just someone’s bad idea that had yet to see its dark day. Frankly, I thought we would be a little more evolved as a species by now.

But over and over states have proven themselves unworthy by declaring open seasons on wolves, without regard for the species’ future or for the welfare of individual wolves. Indeed, the ongoing warlike attack on wolves is anything but sporting or humane, with kill methods ranging from traps and snares to aerial hunting, running them down with dogs or luring them in and sniping at entire packs with semi-automatic rifles—depending on a given state’s predilection.

At the same time, many hunters and trappers go out of their way to express their hatred for wolves through horrific acts of overkill. Taking sick pleasure in further degrading their victims by glibly posing in morbid photos of trapped or bloodied wolves, they spread their snuff shots across the internet fishing for praise, while taunting wolf advocates.

For thousands of years, wolves played a central role as keepers of nature’s balance across the American landscape. Wolves are the personification of untamed wilderness; their presence is a sign of an ecosystem relatively intact.

But bigotry toward wolves has thrived across the country since colonial times and wolves have long been the object of unwarranted phobias. Today’s wolf-haters panic at the thought of natural predators competing for “their” trophy “game” animals and loath anything that might threaten their exploitive way of life. They view the federal government as the enemy in their ongoing combat against wilderness, and grasp for local control of species like wolves, who, until recently, were all but extinct in the continental U.S. Far from being their foe however, the federal government has actually been a fervent ally.

The contentious removal of wolves from the federal endangered species list—long before they were truly recovered—was a coldly calculated course set in motion by the Bush Administration, dutifully followed by the Obama Administration and rendered the law of the land through an underhanded act of Congress in 2011. This crooked covenant, conjured up for the sake of ranchers and trophy hunters, left the wolves’ fate in the custody of hostile western states…and fits right in with a centuries-old, historic norm.

In 1630, Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay Colony—known for holding the first Thanksgiving Day celebration…and Salem witch hunts—felt biblically impelled and duty-bound to “subdue the earth.” Hence, they were the first to establish a bounty on wolves. Soon the other colonies followed their example and set bounties of their own, and a systematic genocide of wolves in America spread west with the “settling” of the land.

In 1818, Ohio declared a “War of Extermination” against wolves and bears. Iowa began their wolf bounty in 1858; in 1865 and 1869 Wisconsin and Colorado followed suit. State by state wolves were shot, trapped and poisoned to extinction. As the demand for wolf pelts increased, “wolfers” began killing grazers like elk or bison and poisoning the meat as bait, decimating whole packs of unsuspecting canines in one fell swoop.

By 1872, the year President Grant created Yellowstone National Park, 100,000 wolves were being annihilated annually. 5,450 were killed in 1884 in Montana alone, after a wolf bounty was initiated there. By the end of 1886, a total of 10,261 wolves were offered up for bounty (sixteen times Montana’s 2011 population of 653 “recovered” wolves). Wyoming enacted their bounty in 1875 and in 1913 set a penalty of $300 for freeing a wolf from a trap.

Not to be outdone, the US government began a federal poisoning program in 1915 that would finish off the rest of the wolves in the region—including Yellowstone. By 1926 wolves had been completely extirpated from America’s premier national park.

Having no more regard for wolves than those who originally caused their extinctions, willfully-ignorant wolf-haters in the tri-state area of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming have not received their reintroduction with open arms but rather with loaded arms, hoping to turn the clock back to the dark ages of centuries past. The posture they assume on the subject of wolves is as warped and ill-informed as any Massachusetts witch hunter’s.

With the wolf population in the tri-state area at only a fraction of its historic sum, the federal government unceremoniously removed them from the endangered species list (and consequently from federal protection) in 2009, casting their “management” (read: re-eradication) into the clutches of eager states that wasted no time implementing wolf hunting seasons. Montana quickly sold 15,603 wolf permits, while their confederates in Idaho snatched up 14,000 permits to hunt the long-tormented canids.

For its part, Wyoming has stubbornly held to a policy mandating that wolves be shot on sight anytime they wander outside Yellowstone, allegedly to safeguard range cattle (who are actually 147 times more likely to fall prey to intestinal parasites). Wolves have killed a grand total of only 26 cows (out of 1.3 million head of cattle in the state). Still, the livestock industry is in control of their wolf management decisions. Though hunters there have killed 74 wolves this season, the state of Wyoming has expanded and extended its season indefinitely, declaring an open, year-round hunt on them. Winter, spring and summertime hunts are particularly harsh since this is when wolves are denning and raising their newborn pups.

wolf
Photo by Jim Robertson

On the other side of Yellowstone, the disingenuously but suitably named “Idaho Anti-Wolf Coalition,” backed by a well-funded trophy elk hunting industry, filed and circulated an initiative petition in 2008 calling for the removal of “all” wolves there “by whatever means necessary.” Fortunately, even in the state famous for potatoes, militias and neo-Nazi compounds, they failed to gain enough public support to move forward with their avaricious initiative. Even so, the Idaho government has been quietly carrying out the “whatever means” approach by adding aerial hunting, trapping, snaring and baiting to their wolf devastation arsenal. In just one season, 169 wolves were killed by trophy hunters in Idaho, while trappers there claimed the lives of 76.

It should come as no great jolt that Idaho hunters felt they could get away with asking for the renewed obliteration of an entire species—their governor, “Butch” Otter, publicly proclaimed he hoped to be the first to shoot a wolf as soon as they lost federal ESA protection. Failing that, Otter used his gubernatorial powers to declare his state a “wolf disaster area,” granting local sheriffs’ departments the power to destroy packs whenever they please.

“Meanwhile,” according to Defenders of Wildlife’s president, Jamie Rappaport Clark, “the federal government is sitting idly by as Idaho almost singlehandedly unravels one of our nation’s greatest wildlife conservation success stories. This is totally unheard of—never before has a species climbed its way back from near extinction only to be quickly decimated once again.”

Montana started out seeming to be the sensible state, appearing almost tolerant of wolves. But between their state legislature and their wildlife policy makers, they’ve made an about face and quickly caught up with their neighbors, displaying a total disregard for the public trust doctrine which holds that wildlife, having no owners, are res communes, belonging “in common to all of the citizens.” They’ve recently passed bills barring any protected zones outside Yellowstone Park, while legalizing silencers for wolf hunting and the use of recorded calls to attract wolves, as well as allowing five wolf tags per hunter, 12 years and older. (And a new state bill is proposing lowering the legal age of hunters to nine years old.) Legislators also proposed a cap of 250 on their state wolf population. Last year’s wolf hunt kill totals for Montana were 128 wolves shot to death and 97 killed in traps.

wolf

Since Congress stripped wolves of their Endangered Species status, an estimated 1,084 wolves have been killed in the Northern Rockies. Again, that’s ONE THOUSAND AND EIGHTY-FOUR living, breathing, social, intelligent wolves killed by scornful, fearful, vengeful and boastful hunters and trappers, often in the most hideous ways imaginable.

Thanks to a federal judge’s 2010 decision, the wolf was granted a one-year stay of execution. But in 2011 our federal legislators on Capitol Hill attached a rider to a budget bill circumventing that judgment. This serpentine, backbiting end-run around science and public opinion played right into the hands of anti-wolf fanatics in Idaho and Montana and cleared the way for the bloodiest butchery of wolves in almost a century. Case in point: the opening week of Montana’s nascent hunting season on wolves saw sportsmen set up just outside the park boundary gun down every adult in Yellowstone’s well-known and much-loved Cottonwood pack, leaving their dependent pups to starve. In just two years nearly 1,100 wolves have been ruthlessly murdered by hunters and trappers eager to relive the gory glory days of the 1800s.

All this is going on in spite of well-documented proof that wolves are beneficial to a given environment, and despite the fact that the majority of Americans, including most visitors to Yellowstone and the tri-state area, want to see wildlife unmolested. They are not there to hunt—the money they spend reflects their strong interest in the quiet enjoyment of nature.

Biologists studying the Yellowstone ecosystem have found that since their reintroduction to the park, wolves have kept elk herds on the move, thus allowing over-browsed streamside riparian habitats to regenerate. Among the species that rely on a healthy riparian zone—and therefore benefit from the presence of wolves—are moose, trumpeter swans, warblers, wrens, thrushes, beavers, muskrats and the Yellowstone cutthroat trout. Everywhere they’re found, wolves play an important role in maintaining the health of ungulate herds by preying primarily on infirm or diseased animals, ensuring a healthy gene pool. And the remains of their kills provide a welcome relief for hungry scavengers, from bears to ermine to wolverines to bald eagles.

But rather than stepping back and allowing wolves to solve their elk “problem,” “game” “managers” want to reduce the number of both elk and wolves. Their policies are not scientific; they’re downright kill-happy. As the late Canadian naturalist and author, R D Lawrence, stated in his book, In the Presence of Wolves: “Killing for sport, for fur, or to increase a hunter’s success by slaughtering predators is totally abhorrent to me. I deem such behavior to be barbaric…”

The 1996 reintroduction of wolves to the northern Rocky Mountains in Yellowstone and wilderness areas of Central Idaho as mandated by the Endangered Species Act–along with protections against hunting and trapping all too briefly afforded them under the ESA–gave the wolf a temporary reprieve and allowed Nature to reign again over some of her sovereign lands.

Yes, wolves are spreading out, but that doesn’t necessarily mean there are more of them; each time they find a given habitat hostile to them, they continue to branch out in search of someplace safer and more hospitable. The total wolf population of the tri-state area has fluctuated, reaching a high of around 2000 individuals. An impressive figure perhaps, unless you consider that 1,089 were killed this year (not including those killed by federal “Wildlife Services” agents); or that 10,261 wolves were destroyed between 1884 and 1886 in Montana alone; or even that 380,000 wolves once roamed the country.

While all this is going on, the Great Lakes states have been racking up a high wolf body count of their own. Wisconsin in particular seems to be bucking for a most merciless award—the cruelties they’ve unleashed on wolves are the stuff of nightmares. And even states, such as South Dakota, that don’t even have wolf populations are hastily re-classifying wolves from the status of protected to “varmint,” in the event that any lost wolf happens by.

With the return of widespread wolf hunting, it will take today’s anti-wolf bigots only a few years to boot this misunderstood embodiment of wilderness back to the brink of oblivion.


Jim Robertson is the President of C.A.S.H. and author of Exposing The Big Game.

CLICK HERE for more from CASH COURIER NEWSLETTER, Winter/Spring 2018

Wolves in Serbia: A Trophy of a Lifetime

Even a single wolf can devastate the hard work of farmers and ranchers. While wolf hunting is forbidden in most of Western Europe, it’s being allowed — for a short time — in Serbia’s southern forests . . .

Though much of the country is appalled by the “slaughter” of the illusive creatures, there are a few that hunt them with pride as Phys.Org reports.

Rifle fire rips through the silence of the forest and fields on the slopes of Jastrebac mountain in southern Serbia. Two wolves have just fallen victim to a legal hunt.

Forbidden in most of western Europe, the blood sport is allowed from July to April in this Balkan country, where wolves are not endangered.

Around 800 of them roam the wild and depopulated mountains of southern Serbia, a region of mostly poor farmers and herders. It is not uncommon for wolves to attack livestock, especially in winter.

Wolves aren’t seeking to make friends in rural country and they don’t discriminate when it comes to what or who they devour.

“Last year they slaughtered four of my sheep in just five minutes,” said farmer Ivan Milenkovic, who keeps around 60 sheep in the village of Dresnica.

“I installed spotlights that light up every night to deter them,” he told AFP.

Other mountain residents take up arms during the hunting season to counter the wolf attacks. Local hunting associations that monitor the wolf population set quotas.

On a recent cold winter’s dawn, more than 400 hunters gathered near Blace, a town of about 5,000 people between the mountains of Jastrebac and Kopaonik.

After swigging some rakija (local fruit brandy), the hunters split into two groups, the trackers and the watchers, and exchanged their traditional greeting: “Good vision and calm hand!”

The silent watchers spread out in a line through the woods, while the trackers form another line a couple of kilometres away and walk towards the watchers, squeezing the gap between them which holds their prey.

As they wait amid the trees, the watchers examine fresh wolf prints in the snow.

Six wolves in one season is hardly enough to make a dent in the population of wolves that can exist an a place where hunting them is forbidden.

According to regional hunting quotas, six wolves can be killed in the Blace area in one hunting season.

“You wait your whole life to kill a wolf,” said Dejan Pantelic, one of the hunters.

“It’s extremely rare, many never see it. I’ve been hunting for 24 years and I’ve not killed one.”

So clever that they can evade seasoned hunters and in most cases from even being seen at all.  Sounds like the perfect killing machine to me.

The wolf is smart with an exceptional sense of smell and hearing, the 42-year-old explained.

And few animals are more mobile—the wolf can easily travel between 50 and 100 kilometres (31 and 62 miles) a day.

“An isolated hunter has practically no chance of killing a wolf, only an organised hunt can yield results,” Pantelic said.

Call me crazy but I’d like to try. Well, OK, with a guide. You?

Woman urges more awareness after pet husky shot by hunter near Hinton

http://toronto.citynews.ca/2018/01/17/woman-urges-more-awareness-after-pet-husky-shot-by-hunter-near-hinton/

BY THE CANADIAN PRESS

POSTED JAN 17, 2018 8:21 PM EST

LAST UPDATED JAN 17, 2018 AT 9:00 PM EST

Meka the husky is shown in an undated handout photo. Meka was shot earlier this month when a hunter near Hinton, Alta., mistook her for a wolf. Her owner, Bethany Dyck, says she is now facing steep vet bills. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Bethany Dyck MANDATORY CREDIT

HINTON, Alta. – A western Alberta woman is urging hunters and hikers to be more aware of their surroundings after her pet husky was mistaken for a wolf and shot in the legs.

Bethany Dyck was walking with two friends on Saturday along a wooded trail near Hinton, Alta., that runs parallel to an old road. The group was on its way back, when her pooch, Meka, was playing in the forest with another dog.

“We were three women walking single file, talking pretty loudly,” Dyck said Wednesday. “The other dog that was with us had bells on and Meka was wearing a bright orange collar.”

They heard a gunshot and ran 30 metres through the bush toward the road, where they found Meka. Blood was seeping into the snow and the animal was screaming.

“It’s the worst sound I can imagine hearing coming from my pet,” Dyck recalled.

A hunter was in a clearing another 30 metres from where Meka was lying.

Hinton RCMP said in a news release that they were called to a rural area on Saturday where a husky had been shot.

“The adult male who had fired the shot was lawfully hunting in the area at the time and mistook the dog for a wolf,” the RCMP said. “The male has co-operated with the investigation.”

RCMP said no charges have been laid, but they’re asking anyone with information to contact them.

Dyck said one of her friends fashioned a tourniquet out of a sock to put on Meka’s leg and they set off for the vet. Throughout the 20-minute drive, Dyck said she was watching Meka’s chest rise and fall.

“She was very lucid the whole time. Her pupils never dilated. She was so clear and aware,” Dyck said.

The bullet went through Meka’s front right leg, hit bone, and then passed through her rear left leg.

She said the hunter stuck around and accompanied Dyck to the vet, but he told her he could only contribute $1,000 toward the bill.

Vet bills so far have totalled $4,000, Dyck said. If Meka needs surgery, which will be determined in another week or two, it could be another $4,000.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help ease some of the financial burden.

Dyck said she hopes her dog will be back to her usual self before too long.

“Meka’s happiest when she’s in the woods off leash going for a run. It’s so obvious when she’s running how happy she is,” she said.

“She has endless amounts of energy, especially when it’s -30 C. She loves people. She’s not a very affectionate dog, but she’s a really great sidekick to do any adventures.”

There was a similar case of mistaken identity near Whistler, B.C., in September. But that time, a four-year-old therapy dog that resembled a wolf died of its injuries after it was shot by a hunter.

Dyck said she hopes people will learn from her story.

“Just because you don’t hear or see them, you have to understand that there’s other people in the woods,” she said.

“So to assume that you’re by yourself on a Saturday afternoon, it’s a beautiful day outside, that there’s not going to be people walking their dogs, that’s wrong.”

She said she has nothing against hunting in general.

“But I’m not OK with them shooting my dog.”

— By Lauren Krugel in Calgary

Fish and Game Proposes Allowing Hunters to Bait Wolves

https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/idaho/articles/2017-07-17/fish-and-game-proposes-allowing-hunters-to-bait-wolves

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission is considering several changes to hunting rules, including allowing the use of bait to hunt wolves.

July 17, 2017, at 10:45 a.m.

 

KETCHUM, Idaho (AP) — The Idaho Fish and Game Commission is considering several changes to hunting rules, including allowing the use of bait to hunt wolves.

The Idaho Mountain Express (http://bit.ly/2vu18Qt ) reported Friday the department is proposing the rule change in response to requests from hunters who want to use bait for hunting wolves outside of the black bear seasons.

Under current rules, wolves can be killed by hunters when they are attracted to bait set out for black bears, where hunting seasons are open for both black bear and wolf, but big game rules do not allow use of bait specific to hunting wolves.

The Department of Fish and Game is seeking public comment on the proposed changes until July 26.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Even Idaho has laws against Wolf Hunting and Trapping



With Idaho Fish and Game winter feeding big game in areas of southern Idaho, hunters are reminded that mountain lions and gray wolves may not be hunted or pursued within one-half mile of any active Fish and Game big game feeding site.  In addition, wolves cannot be trapped within the same distance. 

Additional details on seasons and rules for wolf hunting and trapping, as well as mountain lion hunting rules can be found in the 2015 & 2016 Big Game Seasons and Rules brochure available at all Fish and Game license vendors and online at https://idfg.idaho.gov/hunt/rules/big-game.

copyrighted wolf argument settled