Wolves on the Westside?

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by scottr, Aug 19, 2012.

  1. Little chance of that happening.. These debates are like aurgueing with the wife, in a short amount of time its hard to tell what the topic is!!!!!!
  2. Seeing any doves? Hope the cooler nights don't push them south.
  3. Hey wait? are you talking about the hair brained efforts to reestablish wild salmonids in the NW? Seems like you could swap the word wolves for salmon, in this paragraph. Salmon aren't endangered in Canada or AK so why do we need 'em in the lower 48? I mean what the hell... why go to the expense of tearing out the Elwha Dams for salmon and steelhead? The rainbow in the upper river were doing fine without them... that's a "new" kind of wild, right?

    I have been asked that by lots of folks in the past... why does the BPA spend 800 million + a year on salmon mitigation?

    The reason society encourages the re-introduction (support and enhancement) of things like wild salmon and steelhead and wolves is that they all have value in a functional ecosystem. The west without wolves is like coastal rivers without steelhead. Why is that "stupid"?
    Bill Aubrey likes this.
  4. Last time I checked, none of our neighboring states have or ever will declare salmon an emergency.

    Salmon are not an apex predator like the wolf is. Lastly, The wolf introduced down here is not indigenous to this area. It is a larger species of Canadian wolf.

  5. You're not thinking this through: No, you can't swap wolves for salmon (while wolf fur would look great on a parka, I don't think I'd eat one under most circumstances). First, Salmon haven't been completely absent from the rivers and streams here-everybody knows that! It's not that the species is gone, but that their numbers are diminished. So it's not anything like a reintroduction. This should be self evident. Second, as you know, salmon usually don't go round killing anything that moves, where packs of wolves in Montana and Idaho have been documented to go through a sheep herd like a hot knife through butter. Third, since salmon haven't been absent from the ecosystem at all, everybody in their habitat knows what it takes to deal with them

    No ecosystem is "enhanced" or "diminished" by the addition or subtraction of anything: the ecosystem simply IS. What's going on is a value judgement placed upon the system by-in this case-a small but very noisy bunch of "activists", who've managed to use the ESA to further their demands. Everywhere man tries to "enhance" the ecosystem, he screws it up

    You know as well as I do, that the BPA spends so much money on salmon mitigation because it was required to by some idiot in a black robe, who was NEVER satisfied with anything that all the agencies involved, in coordination with the tribes involved, came up with to satisfy his demands! This man was completely unreasonable, and good riddance that he's retired. Reasonable solutions for supporting salmon were presented to him every time this came to court, but he trashed each and every one of them.

    It's a very important point that everyone understand the wolf is now NOT NATIVE to the ecosystem, nor has it been for a century.
  6. I would say that is an accurate statement.
  7. this has been a great dialogue. lovin it.
  8. Me too! Thanks to the mods for lettin' it play out.

  9. 50 years ago a hunter,rancher would of put a bullet in any wolf and left it for rot, just like they do for coyotes today. Nobody would have noticed, cared or given a shit. IMO this is natural balance.

    We do the same thing today, there just USFWS flying around in helicopters thinning out the pack.... and somewhere along the line we now call this "Wildlife Management". Has it really improved?
  10. I think this is another highly emotional, but untrue, statement.

    The ESA is a very popular law. Reintroductions of locally extirpated species is a fundamental management practice used for many species of plants and animals managed under the law (think of the success of the Golden Paintbrush here in Washington and the California Condor in the SW US). Many runs of steelhead and salmon also have been extirpated from rivers/streams along the west coast; many others would have been, if not for expensive mitigation efforts.

    The noisy "activists" seem mostly to be on the side of re-extirpation of the successful human-assisted (eg, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming) and naturally-occurring (eg, Washington) returning wolves. Most of us who favor a management plan for wolves, which returns them to their historical place as an apex predator and keystone species, do so in quiet admiration of both the wolves and the state/federal wildlife managers for their remarkable resilience in the face of vituperative and lethal opposition.

    An irrational fear of wolves (and snakes and spiders) runs deep in the human psyche, however, and it is not something that is going to go away any time soon.

  11. It's not reintroduction.... ITs INTRODUCTION of a non native non indigenous species.

    IF WDFW cannot manage our fish species successfully, what makes anyone think they will follow and carry out a successful management "plan" for the wolves? Lets look to idaho for our example of a successful wolf "plan". NOT!
    ribka and Alex MacDonald like this.
  12. i think by now even the very uninitiated to this topic (like me) understand this technicality - that the wolves entering the state are not the original specie of wolf indigenous to washington. i notice that a couple of people have pointed out that these "immigrant" wolves are larger and capable of taking down larger and more prey. can the more informed chime in on this point? can the delta between the impact of a canadian wolf and an indigenous washington wolf really be wide enough to make a material difference in the ecosystem? are we talking about the difference between me and another guy who is two inches taller than me, or are we talking about a race of philistine giants who eat the share of 3 normal men at every meal? i'd love to hear both sides of that from those who have been able, so far, to defend their view intelligently and civilly.

  13. Tim Kemery who was involved from the mid-1980 to the mid-1990s, in tracking and mapping native wolves in Idaho. He claims that his work was delivered to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service before introduction of Canadian wolves. Here is what he said was the differences...

    * Highly secretive behavior. Very sensitive to roads and highways. Largely nocturnal.
    * Usually found either as dispersed individuals or pairs.
    * Packing activity was very rare except during the months of January-February.
    * Pack size at breeding time was usually 4-7 individuals.
    * Females (breeding bitches) retained pups for an average of 18 months.
    * Pack dispersal was very consistent after breeding season.
    * Litter size consistently was 1-3 pups. Bitch bred at 2-year old stage.
    * Extremely selective as to food source. Rarely fed on old carcasses or kills of other species, except in the most harsh winter conditions.
    * Very much an opportunist when different prey was available. Spent great percentage of hunting effort on rodent acquisition, (moles to rabbits).
    * Sport-Reflex Killing almost negligible. Most ungulate depredation was consumptive, not surplus. Typical kill had hams and shoulders consumed.
    * Territory of individual or pairs was quite large. Average 2 week return cycle.
    * Wolf body size: Female 55 lbs.-70 lbs. Male 85 lbs.-105 lbs.
    * Competition with other predator species including coyote and fox was low. Other canine species co-existed and thrived in presence of Resident Wolves.
    * Habitat utilized consistently: Mid to high elevation, with forest and mixed forest. Resident Wolves were very resistive to utilizing large areas of open range land with grass or sagebrush cover.
    * Older mature males almost always solitary except at breeding intervals.
    * Conflict with domestic dogs very minimal except in rare cases.
    * Livestock depredations extremely rare but do occur in remote areas.
    * Consistent avoidance of man made structures, roads, vehicles, and humans.

    These are the characteristics he found in non native canadian grey wolves....

    NON NATIVE WOLF Observed Criterion: Introduced Canadian Grey Wolf, 1996 to present.
    * Exhibits low level of fear of humans. Non-secretive behavior. Minimal avoidance of humans, vehicles, domestic animals. Will cross large open terrain at will even when other options for cover are available.
    * Canadian Grey Wolf is found in small to very large pack sizes. Small packs of 5 individuals are common as are large packs with over 20 members.
    * Pack merging, the condition of 2 or more packs combining is being observed in many areas in the west and is not uncommon. Merged packs of over 40 wolves have been observed in the Central Idaho Wilderness.
    * Females (breeding bitches) can be bred even at 1-year of age, and produce from 5-9 pups per season. The pups usually remain with the pack but can disperse or be driven off by other pack members.
    * All females of breeding potential in the pack are usually bred. There is absolutely no indication that any females are kept from breeding by the theoretical “Alpha-female.” Large packs are quickly produced and can disperse and merge several times within a week.
    * Canadian Grey Wolves show a diet preference for elk but will switch at will to a secondary prey species. Low preference is shown for rodent species, but wolves do sporadically hunt rodents.
    * Sport-Reflex Killing is highly developed in Canadian Grey packs. From observations in the field, 3-5 ungulates are killed for each ungulate consumed. This surplus killing is greatly increased if the pack size is large or packs have merged. Often small wintering herds of deer or elk are completely extirpated in one hunting event.
    * Body Size: Females 60 lbs.-85 lbs. Males 90 lbs.-120 lbs.
    * Competition with other predatory species is extreme and often fatal. Both mountain lion and bear have been impacted by attacks and from reduced available prey. Other Canines such as Coyotes and Fox have been severely impacted in most of their habitats. Fox are only able to survive in habitats that include lots of willow or dense underbrush. Coyote populations have been reduced by are persisting at lower than historic levels.
    * Canadian Grey Wolves have been found to utilize all available habitats, from high elevation alpine to sagebrush deserts. This has allowed this variety of wolf to be opportunistic in all ecosystems available to it.
    * Large mature male wolves remain with the pack threw out the year, sometimes dispersing for short periods of time.
    * The Canadian Grey Wolf is highly predatory on all domestic canines. Hunting hounds are especially vulnerable to attacks and are usually killed outright in a confrontation by wolves.
    * Canadian Grey Wolves have shown a preference for predating on domestic livestock even with abundant natural prey present. Beef calves are the most common victims of wolf depredation.
    * Canadian Grey Wolves show a high level of habituation to humans, and man-made structures. It is not uncommon to find Canadian Grey Wolves in very remote areas eating out of dog dishes and coming onto porches of homes when the owners are present.

  14. "Within the last several months, using newly available genetic information in addition to existing morphometric data, research biologists (Steven M. Chambers, Steven R. Fain, Bud Fazio, and Michael Amaral) with the US Fish and Wildlife Service completed an extensive review of wolves in North America – the third comprehensive review since 1944. These researchers support the view that only three subspecies of wolves should be recognized in western North America and that a single subspecies (Canis lupus nubilus) inhabited all of the western states north of Arizona and New Mexico, and southern Alberta, southern British Columbia and Southeast Alaska. The original common name for this relatively small wolf was “plains” wolf because it was first encountered by Europeans on the Great Plains. Although it was completely eliminated from the western United States by the late 1920s (except for a handful in the Cascades until the early 1940s), it continued to exist in healthy numbers in southwestern Canada and southeastern Alaska.
    A considerably larger northwestern wolf (Canis lupus occidentalis) occupied northern Alberta, British Columbia, Yukon, and the rest of Alaska. This wolf has always been common and its distribution has never been appreciably affected by human activity. The northwestern wolf evolved in northeast Asia and Beringia during the Wisconsin Glaciation, while smaller subspecies of wolves developed south of the ice sheets.
    ... The original wolf of the western states was 20-25% smaller, with large males seldom exceeding 110 pounds and the largest recorded being 125 pounds. The skull size of the northwestern wolf is also about 4-6% larger than that of the plains wolf. The evidence is pretty clear that the subspecies of wolf brought to the western states for reintroductionis not the same wolf that historically lived here."

  15. For anyone who's waded through the 11 pages of posts in this thread and still counting, this statement probably comes as close as any to summing it up.

    For me, two other statements also come pretty close: "Don't confuse me with facts - I know what I want to believe"; and "We have met the enemy and he is us."

    Bill Aubrey and Jason Rolfe like this.
  16. Great information right there, with a source as well!
  17. "Exhibits low level of fear of humans. Non-secretive behavior. Minimal avoidance of humans, vehicles, domestic animals. Will cross large open terrain at will even when other options for cover are available."

    this, and many of the other behavioral differences listed, seem like they would surely be adapted when this wolf finds itself in a smaller space with 10X the number of human beings present. are you suggesting this is how they are behaving in washington, just running around in the open, exactly like they would in northern alberta where there's like 400 people living, just because that's their genetic disposition?

    and what wolf, or any predator, wouldn't prefer a defenseless beef calf to chasing down a wild deer?
  18. I'm not saying anything, a field biologist said it. Did you read the post or just pick one item in the list to debate? DNA tests as well as many biologists and evidence support the fact that these wolves are non-native. Seeing wolves out on the flats around leadore Idaho as well as many other hunters who run into these wolves while hunting support this point. Just watch a few videos about how fearless these wolves are around elk hunters.
    ribka likes this.
  19. i read both posts, and i picked two points, not to debate, but to ask further questions about. it's understood that the wolves are a different species, and it's assumed in many posts here that this drives differences in behavior. but what analysis has gone into the differences in behavior driven by the demographics of their habitat? there are 103 people per square mile in washington, idaho has 19, british columbia has 12, alberta has 15. this wouldn't be a factor in the science?
  20. Let's be sure we are clear about this. ALL wolves in North America (indeed, in the world, if you don't count the occasional use of the word 'wolf' to describe something unrelated, such as the "Tasmanian wolf") are the same species - Canis lupus. Various taxonomic treatments recognize different numbers of subspecies. One authoritative compilation is in the "Mammal Species of the World" database (go here for a list: http://www.bucknell.edu/msw3/browse.asp?s=y&id=14000696). There is still debate among mammalogists about how many subspecies to recognize in North America and some disagreement about how to circumscribe subspecies (both in general, and with respect to Canis lupus).

    Okay, back to our assertions and arguments...

    Ed Call and dflett68 like this.

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