Wisconsin Fails to Consult Tribes

 

protect the wolves, protect Wisconsin wolves. native american religious rights,

Wisconsin Law Makers need to get a huge Wake Up Call. They need to learn that 1 they can not ignore Federal Law, 2 they can not choose not to prosecute those that Poach. 3 they need to get called out for discriminating against Native American Religious Rights!

 

“The Wisconsin legislators who sponsored this bill have embarrassed the citizens of Wisconsin to the world.” ~ Bob Boucher, citizen who testified against bill

Rep. Joel Kleefisch, chair of the state Assembly’s Committee on Natural Resources and Sporting Heritage, held a hearing Jan. 10 on AB712, a bill sponsored by Rep. Adam Jarchow in the state Assembly, which has a companion bill sponsored by Tom Tiffany in the state Senate (SB602). The text says: “This bill prohibits a law enforcement officer from enforcing a federal or state law that relates to the management of the wolf population in this state or that prohibits the killing of wolf in this state.” It also prohibits the expenditure of funds to enforce protection of wolves, undermining the Endangered Species Act, while retaining payments for livestock damage and bear hounders’ dogs injured by wolves.

Many believe the purpose of this bill is to force the hand of the federal government to delist Wisconsin’s gray wolves from the federal Endangered Species List so the state can OK the resumption of wolf hunting, which has been blocked by the federal government since 2014. The law would be moot if wolves were removed from the Endangered Species List, but kick in again if the wolves were re-listed, even if there was just one wolf left in Wisconsin.

The hearing was well attended. The bear hunters, bow hunters, NRA, and Conservation Congress each sent representatives supporting AB712, including Wisconsin Bear Hunters’ Association and U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance lobbyist Bob Welch.

The Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, which represents 205 hunting, trapping and hounding groups, strongly supports federal delisting, but questioned whether this bill would expose them to the public as willing to do anything to kill wolves. Their focus was on rallying hunters and trappers to call Paul Ryan and push him to forward delisting our wolves.

One citizen speaking against the bills said, “I am against Senator Tiffany in general. Every time you speak about ‘management’ you mean ‘kill.’ Table the bill.”

There were equally as many attending who sought to educate the committee that wolf populations are self-limiting and there is no “need” to hunt wolves. There is no CWD where wolves live.

Many who testified were simmering with outrage.

Bob Boucher (UW-Madison, MS in water resource management) has had a hunting and fishing license in Wisconsin for 50 years: “This bill proves to the entire world that the Wisconsin Legislature is populated with individuals who have violated their oath of office, the code of ethics for government service and the public trust. It also shows the world that the Legislature is populated with unprincipled law breakers who encourage poaching in direct defiance of upholding the laws of this country and the Endangered Species Act. Wolves play a critical role in maintaining biological land health. As a keystone species, wolves create a trophic cascade that supports healthy forests in Wisconsin.”

The state Department of Natural Resources claims that there are over 900 wolves in the state now, a miraculous four-year recovery after 1,100 were killed in three years of hunts. (It took 38 years of protection to get to 850 wolves prior to the hunts that began in 2012.)

Other bill opponents pointed out that the much-referenced “goal” of 350 wolves in the Wisconsin wolf management plan was never a “goal” but a minimum number of wolves for the state — and that it was a number picked out of the rifle butts of hunters and trappers with zero scientific backing. It was floated in 1999, and is outdated by 20 years. Management plans are supposed to reflect new science and be updated every five years.

AB712 even prohibits law enforcement and wardens from communicating incidents of poaching to USFWS federal law enforcement. It would enable free-for-all poaching, poisoning, trapping and killing — and not only of wolves. Those who poach wolves will likely poach other species.

Jodi Habush Sinykin, an attorney who represents Midwest Environmental Advocates, spoke against the bills. She testified: “AB712 takes us back 100 years to a time when fear and ignorance determined our approach to wildlife.” She predicted it would “open a Pandora’s box of widespread poaching, public safety concerns, and costly litigation.”

The bills’ authors want wolves back under state control to enable annual killing sprees. It is just a matter of how to get there. One argument that might be persuasive to wolf-haters is Sinykin’s legal assessment that this bill will actually delay delisting by the federal government: “It will cost untold dollars in litigation that will go on for years,” she said.

Mary Anderson of Spooner raises horses in wolf country. She sees wolves, but has had no problem. She called it a foolish bill with no sense.

Stephen Anderson of Hartford said, “This is one step short of returning to bounty years. … Illegal killing is the second highest cause of wolf deaths.” He added that the question should be whether to kill wolves at all.

Wisconsin’s Indian tribes, who have important cultural attachment to the wolves as their brothers, were not consulted in the development of the bill. Law enforcement was not consulted either.

One citizen joked: “How do we know if there are any wolves in Wisconsin? Wait to see if three little pigs are threatened with home eviction? Or ask a little girl in a red cape (if she has encountered the ‘big bad wolf’)?”

AB712 proves that returning the stewardship of wolves to the state of Wisconsin would be irresponsible, since the wolf-haters in the state Legislature and beyond appear to be in power and looking for a way to destroy the wolf population. This bill also demonstrates that our wildlife, even the most endangered, which weave the world together and protect our health, are not granted the appropriate respect and treatment they deserve as a public trust. 

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Jeff Flake wants to remove federal protections for Mexican gray wolves

protect the wolves, protect mexican gray wolves, phoenix

 

Flake is a fitting name. We need to get these types of officials into court soon while we still have wolves left.

Sen. Jeff Flake is seeking to remove federal Endangered Species Act protections from the Mexican gray wolves roaming Arizona and New Mexico.

Flake, R-Ariz., last week introduced a bill to lift the animals’ endangered status if the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determines there are at least 100 wolves in the Blue Range recovery area overlapping the two states’ boundary.

At last count a year ago there were 113.

Shaking off federal protections would place wolves solely under state management. It’s an idea that Arizona ranchers have advocated to limit wolf kills of animals in livestock herds and to end federal regulation complications.

“This is the clear way to get out of the (federal) program and yet still have wolves on the ground,” said Patrick Bray, executive vice president of the Arizona Cattle Growers’ Association.

Wolf advocates say such a low population would doom the wolves to extinction, as they already suffer in-breeding and illegal killings.

The 100-wolf threshold grew out of a 1982 recovery plan that the Fish and Wildlife Service wrote when there were no Mexican gray wolves living in the wild. The wolves, a smaller subspecies of the gray wolves roaming Yellowstone National Park and other northern regions, had disappeared from the Southwest and biologists had gathered the last handful from Mexico to start a captive breeding program.

Reintroduction began in 1998, when former Arizona Gov. Bruce Babbitt was U.S. Interior secretary.

Last November the federal agency updated its recovery goal to 320 wolves in the U.S. At that time Flake called the plan “another federal regulatory nightmare” for ranchers.

Bray commended the senator for trying to rein in the program before the predator’s numbers explode.

“If (100 wolves) was good enough in 1982, it should be good enough in 2018,” Bray said.

SEE ALSO: Gray wolf recovery plan met with criticism

Wolf advocates have long argued that the old 100-wolf goal was just a first benchmark to keep reintroduction expectations realistic, and had no scientific basis. Since then the science — including the biological basis for last year’s plan update — has indicated that 100 wolves cannot be self-sustaining, said Bryan Bird, Southwest program manager for Defenders of Wildlife.

Conservationists thought the new 320-wolf goal too low, he said, but the states supported it. Now, he argued, Flake wants to undo the agency’s experts and their compromises with the states.

“It’s politics instead of science,” Bird said. If protections are removed now, “The species would be virtually guaranteed to go extinct in the wild.”

 

 

Source: Jeff Flake wants to remove federal protections for Mexican gray wolves http://protectthewolves.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/electedofficials-750×498-750×498-750×498-750×498.jpg #EndangeredSpeciesList #OpposeWelfareRanchingNotWolves #ProtectTheWolves #WolvesInNewMexico #WolvesInTheNews

Western Montana hunters enjoy good elk, whitetail season contrary to their fairytales

It gets old listening to hunters cry that there are no Elk or deer left because of Wolves. They are as bad as ranchers.

Wake Up  Government, it is the Hunters that are decimating the Wildlife not our Native Predators!

Despite uncooperative weather in the final days, the 2017 big game season closed with the highest tallies in four years in Fish, Wildlife & Parks Region 2.

Despite uncooperative weather in the final days, the 2017 big game season closed with the highest tallies in four years in Fish, Wildlife & Parks Region 2.

Montana’s five-week big game hunting season ended Sunday with unseasonably warm winds and patchy snow for tracking. Nevertheless, those who went out in west-central Montana did better than average.

Most of the elk came through the Darby station, where 159 elk amounted to a 14 percent increase over last year. The Bonner station recorded its best success since 2011 with 95 elk. That was also 64 percent better than the 2016 season. Anaconda hunters brought in 46 elk, 59 percent more than last year.

Rebecca Mowry, an FWP wildlife biologist in the Bitterroot Valley, said the numbers here were “pretty average.”

“We had such a strong opening weekend, and then it kind of backed off,” Mowry said. “We need a lot of snow and cold weather to keep the elk moving around, and that didn’t happen.”

Hunters told her they saw elk they couldn’t shoot on private property; a lot of people drove around but didn’t get out of their vehicles; and other hunters reported they shot and missed.

“But there are people who brought out elk they took on public lands,” Mowry said. “For the most part, the harder you hunt the more success you’ll have.”

Deer hunters brought 607 whitetails through check stations at Bonner, Darby and Anaconda. That was 3 percent higher than last year and the highest whitetail count since 2008, according to FWP spokeswoman Vivaca Crowser. All but 100 of those came through the Bonner station.

“We’ve seen a steady climb in whitetail harvest since 2014, which correlates with our sense of a growing population,” said Mike Thompson, FWP Region 2 wildlife manager. “This information is a good check on our thoughts of restoring some antlerless harvest opportunities for the 2018 hunting season.”

Mowry said new regulations in the Bitteroot that only allowed youth hunters to take whitetail does  probably led to fewer successes coming through the game check station in Darby. Only 68 were checked, a steady decrease from 110 taken in 2014.

Mule deer harvest in Region 2 came in 35 percent below last year, with just 77 muleys through all three stations. That’s also the lowest recorded in the past four years. FWP imposed special permit requirements in order to boost mule deer numbers throughout the region.

Overall hunter numbers were down about 8 percent compared to last year. Nevertheless, the 11,115 hunters interviewed during the five weekends of check-station operation tagged 999 animals, which was up 6 percent in 2017 and the best Region 2 success rate in the past four years. FWP game wardens also recorded nine black bears, one moose, three bighorn sheep and two wolves through the Region 2 stations.

None of the wolves passed through the Darby station.

Across the Rocky Mountains, FWP Region 4’s solo check station at Augusta saw normal elk numbers and variable deer success.

“The total elk harvest was 5 percent below the 10-year average,” said Brent Lonner, FWP wildlife biologist. “Similar to other years, the elk harvest this year peaked during the second and third week of the season when snow and cold arrived.”

But mule deer numbers were about 15 percent below the 10-year average. Whitetails were 14 percent above average. All told, the Augusta station recorded 315 elk, 253 mule deer and 341 whitetails.

In northwest Montana’s FWP Region 1, hunter success overall was up to 8.6 percent for 2017, compared to 10.1 percent last year. The six game check stations in the region logged 16,269 hunters.

“The percentage of hunters with white-tailed deer varied greatly depending on where you were hunting,” said Neil Anderson, FWP Region 1 Wildlife Manager. “Overall, hunters seemed to be enjoying themselves despite some challenging conditions. Most of the hunters I spoke to, including those who did not harvest an animal, stated they were having a good and enjoyable season.”

Overall, Region 1 hunters took 1,275 whitetails, 78 elk and 51 mule deer.

 That’s the lowest number of mule deer since records were first kept in 1985, Anderson said.

“We don’t know why the numbers were so low,” Anderson said. “Fortunately, we are initiating a mule deer study in the Fisher River and Whitefish Range in Region 1 this winter. We hope to get valuable information on habitat use, nutrition, and some data on mortality rates.”

Source: Western Montana hunters enjoy good elk, whitetail season | Local News | ravallirepublic.com http://protectthewolves.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Yellowstone_Wolves-750×509-750×509-1.jpg #EndangeredSpeciesList #OpposeWelfareRanchingNotWolves #RestoreWolvesToESL #WolvesInTheNews #WolvesInYellowstone

 Are Washington State’s wolves  on the move?

protect the wolves

NATIVE TO THE Olympic Mountain range — how else would there be a Grey Wolf River or the Sequim Wolves sports teams — wolves are showing an ability to range further than many previously thought.

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife has produced new maps that show the state’s grey wolf population has moved further west than officials previously thought — although it appears no wolves have reached the I-5 corridor or made any other moves in the direction of the North Olympic Peninsula.

Data is taken from GPS collars Fish and Wildlife has strapped to various breeding males and females and other pack members around the state since 2008.

More wolves haven’t been collared than have, so it wouldn’t be correct to completely rule out the possibility of wolves venturing deeper into Western Washington.

The maps represent “the most complete dataset currently available of wolf telemetry in Washington State,” according to Fish and Wildlife, although GPS data is unavailable for the Colville and Spokane Indian reservations in the heart of wolf territory in Northeast Washington.

Donny Martorello, Fish and Wildlife’s wolf policy adviser, presented the new information at a meeting of the state Fish and Wildlife Commission earlier this month and that presentation can be accessed at tinyurl.com/PDN-WolfInfo.

They show Loup Loup pack wolves, named for the Eastern Washington mountain pass on state Highway 20, moving further north through state and federal land to the Okanogan and Chewuch valleys.

The map also shows the Marblemount wolf, a wolf captured and collared in Western Washington last spring near North Cascades National Park, seemingly enjoys the scenery and hasn’t made much, if any, of a journey since.

One animal really made a trek, leaving Washington north of Spokane, following I-90 as it moves east into western Montana, then heading southwest over Lolo Pass to the Clearwater River. The wolf continued its travels into southern Idaho, making its way near Boise, before crossing all the way to Yellowstone National Park and heading to the middle of Wyoming.

I hope the animal found whatever it was looking for.

Citizen sightings

Citizen-submitted wolf sightings, some with commentary on just what was seen, are available at tinyurl.com/PDN-WolfSightings.

North Olympic Peninsula sightings are few and far between — but there have been some.

In October, a report was made of a wolf on the Shi-Shi Beach Trail.

“One lone adolescent grey wolf observed directly on the Shi Shi Beach Trail from approximately 5 to 10 yards. Gray with white outer fur layer. It spooked into the brush, but remained clearly visible up close for several minutes.”

Many of these “sightings” are large paw prints found in sand on area beaches, like one in 2016 at Adelma Beach near Port Townsend, and another series of prints along the Dungeness River near the Olympic Game Farm.

The only area with multiple sightings, two in total, comes along state Highway 104 between Hood Canal Bridge and the Center Road exit. One of the reports in 2012 was based off of a paw print. Another from last August, describes a witnessed animal as “Large. Dark brown-black. White markings.”

Off the Peninsula, many sightings come from the Seattle-Everett-Tacoma metroplex, some found walking through parking lots at apartment complexes, one in the brush behind the Lake Stevens Target store and one that was “cornered in my driveway on my way to work this morning.”

I tend to think these are all signs of coyotes or cougars but after seeing the winding path that lone wolf took through Washington, Idaho, Montana and back through Idaho to Wyoming, I can’t be sure.

Be careful out there, the wolves may be closing in.

 

Source: OUTDOORS: State’s wolves are on the move | Peninsula Daily News http://protectthewolves.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/blueswolf-750×420.jpg #EndangeredSpeciesList #OpposeWelfareRanchingNotWolves #WolvesInTheNews #WolvesInWashington

PEER respectfully submits this complaint about USDAS Data Quality

protect the wolves, sacred resource protection zone

It is past Time that We begin to hold  USDA Accountable and rein in their squandering of Taxpayer Funds!

December 20, 2017
VIA EMAIL AND U.S. MAIL

Connie Williams, Chief, Program Evaluation and Decision Support
Quality of Information Officer
USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
4700 River Road, Unit 120
Riverdale, MD 20737
[email protected]
(301) 851-3087

RE: COMPLAINT ABOUT INFORMATION QUALITY

Dear Ms. Williams,

PEER respectfully submits this complaint about Data Quality.
Pursuant to Section (b)(2)(B) of the Data Quality Act of 2000 (“DQA”), Section 515 of
Public Law 106-554, and the Correction of Information mechanism of the U.S. Department of
Agriculture Information Quality Guidelines, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility
(“PEER”) hereby challenges data manipulation and conclusions drawn therefrom by the U.S. Department
of Agriculture (“USDA”), as detailed infra. PEER is especially concerned about the government’s
dissemination of faulty research that has been erroneously used to justify harmful, commonplace,
and excessive coyote control and extermination policies throughout federal lands despite more
recent, thorough, and peer-reviewed scientific studies demonstrating the importance of large
mammalian carnivores contributing to ecological health and stability. Specifically,
PEER challenges the government’s continued reliance upon the USDA-funded study Connolly, G.E., and
W.M. Longhurst, 1975, The effects of control on coyote populations: A simulation model, University
of California, Division of Agricultural Sciences Bulletin, Volume 1872, 37 pp. (hereinafter
“Connolly and Longhurst study”).

The USDA has consistently used this study for over 40 years, despite its established
flaws and disputed findings, to justify large-scale coyote extermination efforts – even though the
study’s own findings stated that eradication efforts were not an effective means of preventing
depredation. In addition to being used to justify large-scale coyote control (i.e., killing
2
programs), this obscure (i.e., a small agricultural bulletin) and non-peer reviewed study has been
cited and utilized in a variety of USDA documents over the years to justify a variety of agency
actions related to coyote management. See, e.g., Paul L. Hegdal et al., Hazards to Wildlife
Associated with 1080 Baiting for California Ground Squirrels, USDA National Wildlife
Research Center – Staff Publications (1979); Guy E. Connolly, The Effects of Control on Coyote
Populations: Another Look, Symposium Proceedings—Coyotes in the Southwest: A Compendium of Our
Knowledge 23 (1995); Kathleen A. Fagerstone and Gail Keirn, Wildlife Services—A Leader in
Developing Tools and Techniques for Managing Carnivores, USDA National Wildlife Research Center –
Staff Publications (2012); Eric Gese, Demographic and Spatial Responses of Coyotes to Changes in
Food and Exploitation, Wildlife Damage Management Conferences—Proceedings 131 (2005); John L.
Gittleman et al., “References” for Carnivore Conservation, USDA National Wildlife Research Center –
Staff Publications (2001); Gary Lee Nunley, Present and Historical Bobcat Population Trends in New
Mexico and the
West, Proceedings of the 8th Vertebrate Pest Conference 177, 180 (1978); Stewart W. Breck et al.,
Evaluating Lethal and Non-Lethal Management Options for Urban Coyotes (2016); William C. Pitt et
al., An Individual-Based Model of Canid Populations: Modelling Territoriality and Social Structure
(2003); USDA, 5 Year Environmental Monitoring Review for Predator Damage Management in Montana: FY
2002 through FY 2006 (2007).

Furthermore, USDA has relied upon this study for justification of coyote eradication efforts or
large scale control (i.e., killing) programs in numerous Environmental Assessments
and Findings of No Significant Impact under the National Environmental Policy Act, 42 U.S.C. §
4321, et seq (“NEPA”). This includes, but is not by any means limited to, Final EA: Predator Damage
and Conflict Management in Idaho (2016); Final EA: Reducing Coyote Damage to Livestock and Other
Resources in Louisiana (2016); EA: Mammal Damage Management in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
(2015); EA: Reducing Mammal Damage in the State of North Carolina (2015); EA: Mammal Damage
Management in the State of Rhode Island (2014); EA: Mammal Damage Management in Arkansas (2013);
Decision and Finding of No Significant Impact: Reducing Mammal Damage through an Integrated
Wildlife Damage Management Program in the State of New Jersey (2004); Decision and Finding of No
Significant Impact for Management of Coyote, Dog, and Red Fox on Livestock in the Commonwealth of
Virginia (2002); Environmental Assessment and Decision/Finding of No Significant Impact for
Predator Damage Management in the College Station Animal Damage Control District Texas (1997).
While USDA guidelines limit challenge of material used in NEPA documents to the public comment
period for each NEPA document, it is evident from the recent and continued use of this study in
justifying coyote eradication and control efforts that the study is being disseminated by the USDA
and is clearly influential in both state and federal wildlife agency decision and policy-
making, despite its faulty nature.

 

[gview file=”http://protectthewolves.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/12_20_17_PEER_DQA_Complaint.pdf”]

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Thank You Capital Press for pointing out the Cost of Welfare Ranchers

oppose welfare ranching, protect the wolves

Thank You Capital Press for pointing out the

Cost of Welfare Ranchers

It is beyond time that we wean Welfare Ranchers from the teet, and keep them out of our National Forests.

In 2014, $143.6 million was directly appropriated to the grazing program (an amount that’s been consistent over the last 10 years). Some quick math reveals that, on average, public lands ranchers paid just $376 for what cost taxpayers $6,838 last year.

Please Consider Joining Protect The Wolves™ Movement to end Welfare Ranchers receiving Taxpayer subsidies.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife spent $15,097 to kill a wolf last summer in the Sherman pack, about one-tenth the amount that was invested in keeping the pack from attacking livestock, according to a department report released Dec. 15.

WDFW paid $134,170 for range-riders and other preventive measures in the pack’s territory in northeast Washington. Conservation Northwest, an environmental group, contributed another $12,880 for range-riders.

The report does not tally costs or losses incurred by ranchers, but some of the state’s spending was dependent on producers employing additional safeguards.

WDFW might have spent more on deterrence, but it ran out to money to enter into cost-sharing agreements with ranchers, according to the report.

WDFW wolf policy coordinator Donny Martorello said Monday that there is no way to know whether more spending could have prevented the pack from killing calves.

“Certainly, we’d like to be able to help as many individuals with the uptake of those non-lethal tools,” Martorello said. “The demand is starting to exceed the resources.”

Washington has a growing wolf population, particularly in northeast Washington. The report details efforts to safeguard up to 1,300 cow-calf pairs on 10 grazing allotments that overlapped the Sherman pack’s territory in Ferry County. Chronic depredations led the WDFW to shoot one of two wolves in the pack Sept. 1.

The pack formed in 2016 when a female left the Profanity Peak pack and paired with a male wolf. The female was hit and killed by a vehicle March 20, 2017. By the time the grazing season neared, the surviving male, who was wearing a radio collar, was traveling with another wolf.

The two wolves moved into territory occupied the summer before by the Profanity Peak pack, which was linked to 15 depredations in 2016. The department responded by shooting seven of the pack’s wolves. The lone surviving adult left the territory last spring, according to WDFW.

Before the grazing season began, five range-riders hired by WDFW began patrolling the grazing allotments to look for wolves. Patrols increased after WDFW determined June 12 that the Sherman pack had attacked a calf.

The pack attacked three more calves between July 12 and Aug. 23.

WDFW Director Jim Unsworth authorized killing one wolf Aug. 25. Initially, the department hoped to trap and euthanize a wolf. But the pack attacked a fifth calf Aug. 28 several miles from where WDFW was trapping.

WDFW shot the male wolf from a helicopter Sept. 1. The helicopter cost $9,868. WDFW staff time and travel made up the rest of the operation’s cost.

Martorello said the department believes wolves are still overlapping the grazing allotments.

“We have had reports of wolves in the area. I would fully expect there to be wolf activity,” he said.

In addition to hiring range-riders, WDFW spent $35,000 to help four producers pay for preventive measures. At least four other producers were interested in the cost-sharing agreements, but the department had exhausted the funds, according to the report.

WDFW also killed two wolves last summer in the Smackout pack in Stevens County. WDFW policy allows for possibly culling a pack after three depredations within 30 days or four depredations within 10 months.

Source: Washington spent $15,000 to shoot wolf, much more to avoid it – Washington – Capital Press http://protectthewolves.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/howlingpup-1-1.jpg #OpposeWelfareRanchingNotWolves #ProtectTheWolves #WolvesInTheNews

Tongass in Transition: Wolves and logging both cut into Prince of Wales deer

 

We have to question With only 89 wolves living in the unit — less than half of what was there 20 years before, would seem impossible to a prudent Individual to blame Wolves for the depletion of Deer! Hunters are the cause of the depletion. When will people wake up to the truth?

This deer season has been the worst in recent memory for a lot of hunters on Prince of Wales Island. In the past, large-scale industrial logging damaged important winter habitat, and some locals believe there’s another reason there’s so few deer on the island: too many wolves.

Go anywhere in Craig and you’re likely to overhear bits of conversation about the deer season.

That includes the local diner, the kind of place that displays its homemade pies behind glass. Mike Douville has just returned from a long day of hunting.

Over sips of coffee, he explains how he bagged one deer today. But it’s taken him longer to fill his freezer this year. He remembers more plentiful seasons, and that’s not the only change he’s seen on the island during his lifetime.

Douville says nearly all the big trees were standing when he was young. The first logging camps were just getting started.

“The island was pristine. There was no clear cuts on it,” he says. “So I’ve watched it turn from what it is today.”

Large swaths of trees have been logged here since the 1960s. It’s left poor habitat for deer and the other wildlife. Without a canopy of old growth, snow can easily fall to the ground — obscuring important feeding spots.

Douville serves on the regional advisory council that makes recommendations to the federal subsistence board and the state.

He says finding fewer deer on the island is affecting people’s livelihood.

“This is rural Alaska. It’s bush Alaska,” Douville says. “We don’t like to buy meat. It’s eight or nine bucks a pound.”

Still, he says logging is just one factor. The other is a rapidly growing wolf population. The wolves are devouring the deer.

A wolf on Prince of Wales Island, as captured by a trail camera. (Photo courtesy of the Alaska Department of Fish & Game)

“If you’re going to harvest deer, you have to harvest wolves,” Douville says.

But not everyone agrees killing wolves is a good idea.

In 2011, conservation groups petitioned the feds to protect the Alexander Archipelago wolf under the Endangered Species Act. Around that time, it was estimated there were about 89 wolves living in the unit — less than half of what was there 20 years before. But the wolves didn’t wind up receiving additional federal protections.

Instead, there have been joint-efforts with the state to stabilize the population, and the numbers of wolves has been increasing. Estimates from 2016 suggest there are 231 wolves in the unit.

Still, it’s not easy getting a handle on how many wolves there are.

Mike Kampnich is driving his pickup truck to the top of a snowy ridge. He makes this rough ride regularly to collect hair samples from the Alexander Archipelago wolf.

Kampnich used to be a logger when he arrived on the island more than 30 years ago. But now, he works for the The Nature Conservancy.

“You know, some of the guys I worked for in the past. They’re like, you work for who?” he says with a chuckle.

We stop at one of the hair board sights. Essentially, a piece of plywood nailed to the ground and rigged with barbed wire. A stinky goo is placed on top. The wolves like to rub up against it, so it’s the perfect comb for capturing their fur.

Kampnich is careful to cover his tracks as we walk over to it.

He puts on his glasses to get a better look. But there are no strands tangled in the barbwire. This is just one of 21 locations he’ll check on the island over the course of two days. When he does hit the jackpot, the hair is sent off to a lab to be analyzed by the state.

Mike Kampnich from the Nature Conservancy setting up wolf lures to get population estimates. (Photo by Elizabeth Jenkins/Alaska's Energy Desk

Mike Kampnich from the Nature Conservancy says he likes working at the local-level to bring people together. (Photo by Elizabeth Jenkins/Alaska’s Energy Desk)

The Alaska Department of Fish & Game uses the individual animal’s DNA to calculate the wolf population, and a percentage of that becomes the wolf quota — the number of wolves that can be trapped or hunted each year.

Kampnich says it can be a touchy subject, locally. On a couple of occasions, he’s seen hair boards vandalized and trail cams disappear.

“It’s really frustrating,” Kampnich says. “But you know, some people will mess with your stuff.”

He doesn’t think it’s all related to tensions over the wolf population. Sometimes it looks like petty crime.

“It’s probably a little of both,” he says.

But Kampnich says wolf hunters have helped him, too. They’ve shown him good spots to place the hairboards.

“I’ve helped him quite a bit because I’ve lived here. I’ve trapped wolves,” Mike Douville says.

Douville wants there to be accurate wolf population estimates. And although he’s helped Kampnich in the past, he thinks using just the hairboards misses the mark.

The wolf population, he says, is bigger than the science alone suggests. So the wolf quota should reflect that.

Douville thinks anything above 175 wolves should be a harvestable surplus. Below that, hunters should be able to take up to 20 percent of the population.

“I don’t think anybody here is interested in wiping them out,” Douville says. “We’ve always got one or two that might think that way. But for the most part, they’re OK with wolves. Just not so many.”

Douville would like to see more traditional knowledge factored in to how the state gauges the number of wolves. But he says getting the wolf population figured out isn’t the only step to securing a future for the island’s deer.

He thinks big timber sales on Prince of Wales should become a thing of the past — even if that means the last remaining sawmill dries up.

“I’m not willing to sacrifice this island to keep it running,” Douville says. “I think there’s a limit on how much you donate to the cause and I think that we’re there.”

Douville says he wants to live on the island from his childhood. It includes a healthy forest for humans, deer and wolves.

Tongass in Transition is a series about trees told through the stories of people. Reporting for this was made possible by an award from the Institute for Journalism and Natural Resources.

Logging from the Big Thorne Timber Sale. (Photo by Elizabeth Jenkin/Alaska's Energy Desk) 12/18/17

Logging from the Big Thorne timber sale. (Photo by Elizabeth Jenkins/Alaska’s Energy Desk)

Source: Tongass in Transition: Wolves and logging both cut into Prince of Wales deer http://protectthewolves.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/MFDC1014-830×467.jpg #OpposeWelfareRanchingNotWolves #ProtectTheWolves #WolvesInTheNews

Dr. Robert Wielgus Man of Integrity

Published on: Aug 31, 2016

After Listening to Dr. Rob Weilgus WSU Associate Professors videos, it is in fact our belief that he is a Man of Great Integrity. Please watch this video to completion and we will leave you to your own conclusions based on facts before us.

Protect The Wolves® in their phone conversation with Dr. Rob Weilgus, invited him to sit on our Board of Directors.

Dr. Rob Weilgus that invitation still stands!!

Dr. Wielgus is an associate professor and director of the Large Carnivore Conservation Lab at Washington State University in Pullman. His research has focused on the population, behavioral and habitat ecology of large carnivores, including cougars and wolves, and their prey. Dr. Wielgus’ current research is looking at livestock mortality rates in the wolf-occupied areas of Washington over a 15-year period, as well as the effects of non-lethal interventions on reducing wolf depredations and indirect effects on livestock in Washington. http://img.youtube.com/vi/ZfY4MoMCJcU/0.jpg #CutOffUSDAWildlifeServicesFunding #ProfanityPeakWolfPack #ProtectWolvesInWashington #WolvesInTheNews #WolvesInWashington