Wolves on the Westside?

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

  1. Be Jofus G

    Be Jofus G Banned or Parked

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    hahahahaha, I just had a mental image of a caveman trying to headbutt an elk to death...

    that is all. :D
     
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  2. Olive bugger

    Olive bugger Active Member

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    I guess I a bit confused about this subject. What was the idea behind the reintroduction of the wolves in the first place? Nature seemed to be functioning well without them.

    I am aware that wolves are interesting and social animals among their own kind, but they are hell on livestock, which is a source of human food. In light of feeding a growing population, I question the wisdom of introducing a competitor to the food chain.
     
  3. Jason Rolfe

    Jason Rolfe Wanderer

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    Hey Charlie,

    I think part of it may lie in our definition of "nature functioning well." I think in the ideal situation, nature functioning well means an environment with a healthy number of all of it's "native" species, whether they are mammals, birds, fish, trees and plants, or whatever.

    So, although nature may seem to be doing alright on the surface (which I would argue it isn't, except in a few untouched wilderness areas here and there), the very fact that we have eliminated or reduced certain species from nature means that it is certainly not doing well.

    As far as wolves being a competitor to us in the food chain--I seriously doubt that will ever be a problem. I doubt wolves will ever kill enough sheep to put a dent in our supply of mutton (and honestly, how often do people eat sheep anyway?). And even when they do kill them, ranchers get reimbursed for that by the government (in the best scenario), which I would assume means there won't be higher costs for the consumer further down the line.

    Cheers,

    Jason
     
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  4. Olive bugger

    Olive bugger Active Member

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    Well, Jason there are a few points in there that I agree with you about, but I am going to differ on a couple. The human population has expanded at an alarming rate. We have been making more people for a long time and we seem to be getting good at it. The down side of that is that we have not learned to take care of our environment in the process. As a people, we have moved into the wilderness to make it into a not so wilderness. In doing so, we have reduced the habitat of our fellow critters. They have to go somewhere. Mostly the big and mean ones, go where we don't want them to go. Just because they can. I doubt that you can convince a sheep rancher that the loss of his income from his flock is just nature's way, and that nobody eats sheep anyway. Also the little child that has lost fluffy to a coyote or wolf.


    My statement about nature seems to be doing ok without the wolves is aimed at the idea that predation of animals in the wild does not seem to be suffering because of the lack of wolves. So why do we spend the time and money to reintroduce them?

    I hope that this statement is taken in the manner in which it is intended. I am not trying to be a smart a$$ or know it all, I just have a question, looking for a reasonable answer.
     
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  5. Jason Rolfe

    Jason Rolfe Wanderer

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    Hey Charlie,

    Totally agree with you. I think where we are differing ever so slightly is in the idea of where/how to solve the problem or make a change. Seems to come down to either accepting the problems we have caused and doing the best with what we've got (which might include keeping wolves out of these areas so as not to harm our resources--like sheep). Or, on the other hand, we can recognize the problems we've caused and work to correct them, which would include living a lifestyle--as a society--that is not so wasteful, which I believe would in turn mitigate a lot of the issues with over-population and any food shortages. We could do those things, and also have wolves.

    Also, as some folks noted above, I think there actually have been problems with exploding elk populations due to the lack of their primary predator, the wolf.

    And your last point leaves me with another question that I realize I don't realize understand or know the answer to: How much has the state/government actually spent on reintroducing these wolves, and how much is it a matter of the wolves just doing well and naturally expanding into new areas to create new packs. I'd be curious to learn more about that.

    Cheers,

    Jason
     
  6. bouface

    bouface Member

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    I don't have anything to contribute to the conversation, but I wanted to say thanks to everyone for such an informative, interesting, and civil discussion. I'm really enjoying this thread.
     
  7. ribka

    ribka Active Member

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    Define "easy ki"l" for elk. Elk harvest stats hunters in the Western states are maybe 18%. In WA much lower. So less than one of 5 hunters are successful.

    Like I stated if you want to return to natural state before man, the state should build pike minnow, white fish, cormorant, seal, spiney ray hatcheries and release them where trout salmon and steelhead reside. Expand the tribal netting program and an all fishing for spiney rays white fish and pike minnows to protect them like they do for wolves. End all of the trout, steelhead, salmon hatchery programs and and go to lottery system for fishing licenses and guides. Fishing would suddenly be challenging if you were lucky enough to draw a license. No more 5 hook ups a day for steelhead.

    This would be a win win for mother nature going back to the natural state before humen vermin and would cut down on global cooling/warming and climate change because less road traffic by fisherman and guides and their clients who emit poisonous carbon gasses from their internal combustion engines. A lot less errosion too by fisherman foot traffic on the banks of rivers.

    They are doing essentially the same where they introduced Candian grey wolves without a plan to control their populations. They decimated the moose, deer and elk herds in N and central ID, W Montana and NW WY. Mule deer herds are down around 40% from 20 years ago. Now the F and W service wants to expand wolf packs in WA, Oregon, UT Colorado, NM and Arizona. If they expand the packs in WA they will wipe out the Yakima elk herd.

    Elk cause forest fires and landslides?

    Funny elk hunting a long time and never saw this before

     
  8. Olive bugger

    Olive bugger Active Member

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    It is pleasant to have a civil conversation. I enjoy it also, Bouface.

    Jason, you bring up a very good point. How much money and research went into the reintroduction? Wolves are wild and ranging creatures for good reason. They were made that way.

    It is not a pretty sight to see dead prey animals that have starved to death because of overgrazing or over population. Generally speaking, wolves, bears and cougars, will harvest the old and the young. This serves to keep the population in check and also keeps the population of the predators in check.

    Now if we could only convince them to stay out of the feed lots...
     
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  9. Jason Rolfe

    Jason Rolfe Wanderer

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    So Ribka: What is your solution? You seem to have a lot to say, but aren't really contributing any ideas for what to do about it, other than this sarcastic rant. Are you saying we should get rid of wolves completely?

    I totally understand that there is no way to "go back to nature." But I do believe that we can probably find some middle ground to lessen the impacts on everyone involved in this, while at the same time recognizing that there will be impacts and we have to do our best with them.

    Making fun of others by calling yourself "Humen Vermin Pro Staff" doesn't seem to help.

    Jason
     
  10. Richard Olmstead

    Richard Olmstead BigDog

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    I think this is a mistaken perspective. Ecologists studying natural ecosystems had identified many ways in which nature was NOT "functioning well without them." Hence the interest in reintroducing them. In fact, "predation of animals in the wild" WAS suffering in the absence of wolves. Yes, elk were dying, but not from predation. As a consequence selection was acting in a very different way, and the elk populations had risen to a level that had a deleterious effect on many other aspects of the ecosystem. Wolves are not considered a keystone species in the northern Rockies for nothing. Their presence impacts virtually every level of community organization.

    In spite of ecologists best effort to estimate the effect of wolves in this setting, since there were no baseline studies before the wolves were extirpated a century ago (+/-), they discovered many things that they didn't anticipate. Included among them were the increase in raptor populations in Yellowstone after the introduction of wolves, because wolves reduced the coyote population and without coyotes, there was more small mammal prey for hawks and eagles. Another prominent example that is germane to our interests as fly fisherman, the presence of wolves reduced the amount of time that elk and moose spend in thickets along stream banks, where they can't keep an eye out for predators; as a result streams in YNP now have more woody vegetation along the streams, cooler water, and better fish habitat.


    D
     
  11. Roper

    Roper Idiot Savant

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    :rolleyes: gimme a frickin' break...
     
  12. Kent Lufkin

    Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

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    Don't start down the slippery slope of Darwinian selection or we'll soon see our Young Earth Creationist colleagues weighing in on how there were no wolves or elk at all just 6,000 years ago!

    <Sorta just kidding!>

    K
     
  13. freestoneangler

    freestoneangler Not to be confused with Freestone

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    I think we may have another possible solution to the Upper Sky car break-in thread...just sayin.
     
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  14. WonkyWapiti

    WonkyWapiti Active Member

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    This attitude seems a bit elitist to me. I think there is room for all of us in the outdoors be it a hunter, gear angler, or even one of those uppity fly fishermen. I'm sure that you've not met many hunters if this is your perspective. If ya decide to take up the bow give me a holler and I'll give ya hand getting started. I mainly bowhunt but also do some muzzleloading which is a blast ;).

     
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  15. obiwankanobi

    obiwankanobi Active Member

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    After talking to a Fish and Game crew in MT that were actively tracking wolf packs all across western MT, I certainly learned two things...wolves have been gaining confidence in getting closer to homes and people that exist in populated areas and due to their gain in numbers, cougars have been forced out their habitat and are needing to search further for food. This means that they too are coming into contact more frequently with humans.

    They should have never been re-introduced since like the F&G mentioned, there were already sustainable wolf populations in many regions across the Pacific NW. I even saw two of them when hiking in the Gospel Hump Wilderness as a young kid which was before their re-introduction was even considered.

    Given that I come from a ranching/farming community and that my step father and personal friends have lost livestock due to wolves, I believe that their numbers need to be reduced by those that have suffered the most from their existance.
     
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