Call of the wild

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Alex MacDonald, Apr 17, 2013.

  1. Alosa, your comments seem more, shall we say, strident as we discuss this. I'm curious why-you seem to have something of a stake in this issue and write as if you know more than most of us. So I'm wondering what your background is?

    As I said, I approach this from an historian's perspective. I've taught history at a University (UC Davis) for almost 35 years, but also have a minor in paleoanthro, which requires a fair amount of geology in addition to the physical aspects of human evolution. I've been outside all my life, in every ecosystem except the Saharan, thank God. No interest in deserts or jungles whatsoever (but I know the jungles and highlands of Vietnam well enough).
  2. Your damn right my comments are strident, and that's because I've had quite enough of peoples opinions on biologically related issues being stated as factual, when they aren't. It can lead to misinformation and the shaping of public opinion on important issues that deviate from the truth. That misinformation can impact resource management, AND THAT PISSES ME OFF!

    As a current university educator and researcher in the conservation genetics of anadromous fishes, and whose primary research deals with invasive American shad (an ACTUAL invasive species), my ultimate goal is to provide my students with the tools necessary to distinquish fact from fiction. My frustration with this thread is that its comprised of more fiction than fact.

    As I've said before Alex, I agree with 75% of the things you say on here, but in this particular instance we couldn't be further apart. I appreciate the time you've spent in the woods and the anecdotal evidence you've provided based on your personal observations of wolves. But speaking as though you were some sort of authority figure on wolves and invasive species is like me saying I know what it's like to be a navy seal in combat because I've fired a gun a few times. It's offensive. I haven't spent the last 18 years of my life studying various aspects of biology and gaining a reputation as a solid Ph.D. level scientist to be insulted by those who think they know what they are talking about. The difference between me and most other biologists at this level is that I bother to spend the time responding to these issues in an effort to educate people. Most wouldn't give it the time of day.

    If I ever needed a vacation it's NOW!
  3. Questions...
    1. Other than Sasquatch, do wolves have a predator?
    2. Typically, how many pups in a wolf's litter?
    3. Do wolves ever kill, say, elk calves, and not eat the kill?
    ribka likes this.
  4. Well, its a good thing you didn't work as a Forester for the past 40 years!! From timber harvest levels, to saving the spotted owl, ORV vehicle use, grizzly bear recovery and now wolves. None of the facts mattered.

    Facts do not matter. People always act in their own self-interest and make up some interesting arguments to justify their positions. For entertainment, look at the city of San Francisco's position on restoring Hetch Hetchy.

    Yes, that misinformation can impact not only natural resources but people as well. The President's Forest owl that will go extinct and 30,000 high wage jobs lost. Wow, a twofer. Eliminated BOTH the owl and jobs that people said they cared about protecting.

    But notice nobody cares anymore.

    The one scientist that got it right is surfing off the Kona coast in retirement!! I even doubt that he cares anymore.
    Alex MacDonald and sopflyfisher like this.
  5. "Wolves are NOT an invasive species in Washington because the state constitutes a part of its natural historical range. It's just that simple folks...they are not a non-native species to the region. We may have eradicated thaem 100 years ago, but that DOES NOT MATTER. They hhave been RE-introduced, NOT introduced. These differences are not as subtle as they may seem."

    Wolves have been documented in the N Rockies (in the states) from as far back as the 1970's.... so why in the hell did we have to re-introduce a species that was already present from natural migration? Sounds a little subjective to me and based on a bullshit agenda.

    The fact is, decisions on the wolf introduction were more political than sound biological management. Things have drastically changed when the wolf use to walk around WA, unfortunately the decision makers didn't factor this into the equation. Lewis n Clark are dead, and so is the wild west. We have fractured segments of what we define as wilderness to accommodate the wolf with a limited supply of game.

    When the N.Pike Minnow is placed on the endangered list because some "biology expert" made a decision of these predators being harmful to the salmon population... I will drink your kool-aid.
    ribka likes this.
  6. I think what Alosa is trying to say, was best put into words often attributed to Daniel Patrick Moynihan: "Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but they are not entitled to their own facts."

    Some of the facts that seem to be twisted a bit (to be polite) in some of these posts include:

    1) "invasive species" (Alex et al.)

    Alosa has done a good job of clearing this up.

    2) "historically, no wolves have been zipping around the area for between 163 and 100 years. In anybody but a geologist's book, that's a lot of time." (Alex)

    To an evolutionary biologist, where time is best measured in generations, that is a very short time, indeed. Alex falls into the trap we all fall into at one time or another of gauging time by our own life span. I've relearned this most recently from my 7-yr old grandson.

    3) "pertaining to wolf re-population; Gray Wolf in comparison to the Canadian "MacKenzie" Wolf is a big swing." (Jersey)

    All wolves in North America are gray wolves. Mammalogists disagree on the taxonomic subdivisions within gray wolves; some distinguishing a subspecies that was extirpated from most of the western US from one found farther north (the Mackenzie wolf). All agree that, genetically, the most closely related wolves to those extirpated from the Rockies and the PNW are those found in southern Alberta and SW BC, the source of reintroduced wolves to Yellowstone and Idaho. I think most of the wolves in WA are naturally migrating wolves from BC, and not derived from the reintroduced Idaho wolves (although some may have come from there, as the Oregon wolves have).

    4) "a very small but very vocal minority can convince some government idiot that screwing around with the ecosystem is a good idea." (Alex)

    Reintroduction of wolves has been VERY popular in the US. Pockets of dissent from that generally favorable opinion exist primarily in areas where the wolves have become established and, even there, represent a relatively small, but vocal, group, consisting of some (not all) ranchers and some (not all) hunters, and some others. Chief among those who support the reintroduction of wolves are ecologists, who see the ecological changes as going a long way towards restoring healthy natural ecosystems, which had been altered by human-caused extirpation of wolves.

    The Endangered Species Act, along with the Clean Water and Clean Air acts, which were enacted at +/- the same time, all represent efforts to roll back the negative impacts of human alteration of natural ecosystems. If I recall the debates correctly from the 1970s, the human health advantages were only secondary to the environmental issues, which were very emotional and widespread, in influencing passage of the Clean Air and Clean Water acts.

    Okay, everyone, back to spouting your opinions...

  7. Trustfunder,
    While not a taxonomically accurate statement, the Northern Pikeminnow is a red herring, when raised in the context of the discussion here.
    SteveA, smallieFanatic and Krusty like this.
  8. If no one is an expert here and all we have is opinions and anecdotal data, what the hell are we arguing about?
    Krusty, sopflyfisher and Salmo_g like this.
  9. Pretty much the same way most everything on the internet, and barstools, is argued....but it's been conducted in a largely civil manner.
  10. There was an article in the newspaper the other day about a pair of wolves that showed up at a ranch just outside of Wenatchee. What caught my attention is that in the two weeks they had been there, they killed 14 deer, two bull elk, and one pregnant cow elk. And thats just two wolves. How many animals a week do a pack of ten wolves kill? The wolves that were here before traditionally only had packs of4-6. This new sub-species commonly have packs of8-12.
  11. From reading internet forum threads about wolves I've learned that wolves kill ALL the elk and livestock, regardless of the number of wolves in the pack. I also learned from these same sources that invasive wolves have been re-introduced into WA by WDFW and the USFS in black helicopters. The main problem with all the stuff I learn on the internet is having to sort out the facts from the fiction, as there is an abundance of the latter.

  12. Ahhhh, the peaceful sound of crickets chirping. The silence is deafening.
  13. Bitterroot,

    That depends on whether you require facts or fiction. In the interests of discussion I'll add the following:
    1. Generally no, but a wolf, a stupid one anyway, might be killed by a grizzly bear, and a really giant golden eagle might fly off with a wolf pup.
    2. 4 - 40, increasing incrementally with your dislike or hatred of wolves.
    3. Yes. Killing elk calves is so easy and fun, at least the first dozen or so. However, like veal, elk calves are so tasty they have to eat at least the first one or two.

    Hope this helps.

    bitterroot likes this.
  14. I really like where this thread is going in the last few posts.
  15. It's entertaining... and probably just as viable as debates in Congress... maybe more so.
    Alex MacDonald likes this.
  16. I hated it :D
  17. Thanks Roper, I'm walking just a little bit taller today.:)

  18. Never seen Beastmaster. Does it star wolves? Specifically McKenzie grey wolves?
  19. This is the best post I've read so far. I defer to the one who has seen the movie 4 times. I have only watched it three.
  20. Now...I hate to throw gasoline on the fire...but tomorrow is the full moon.

    Don't forget your wolfsbane and silver bullets!

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