The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community banner

1 - 19 of 19 Posts

·
Banned
Joined
·
26,979 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Federal wildlife officials have drafted plans to lift protections for gray wolves across the Lower 48 states, a move that could end a decades-long recovery effort that has restored the animals but only in parts of their historic range.

The draft U.S. Department of Interior rule obtained by The Associated Press contends the roughly 6,000 wolves now living in the Northern Rockies and Great Lakes are enough to prevent the species' extinction. The agency says having gray wolves elsewhere — such as the West Coast, parts of New England and elsewhere in the Rockies — is unnecessary for their long-term survival.

A small population of Mexican wolves in the Southwest would continue to receive federal protections, as a distinct subspecies of the gray wolf.

The loss of federal protections would be welcomed by ranchers and others in the agriculture industry, whose stock at times become prey for hungry wolf packs. Yet wildlife advocates say the proposal threatens to cut short the gray wolf's dramatic recovery from widespread extermination.

The proposal was first reported by the Los Angeles Times.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Friday the rule was under review and would be published in the Federal Register and opened to public comment before a final decision is made.

If the rule is enacted, it would transfer control of wolves to state wildlife agencies by removing them from the federal list of endangered species. The government has been considering such a move since at least 2011, but previously held off given concerns among scientists and wildlife advocates who warn it could effectively halt the species' expansion.

John Vucetich, a wolf specialist and biologist at Michigan Tech University, said suitable habitat remains in large sections of the Rockies, the nation's midsection and the Northeast. Wolves presently occupy only about 15 percent of their historical range, but that could be greatly expanded if humans allow it, he said.

"It ends up being a political question more than a biological one," Vucetich said. "It's very unlikely the wolves will make it to places like the Dakotas and the Northeast unless the federal government provides some kind of leadership."

Meanwhile, increasing wolf numbers in parts of the country have stirred a backlash from agricultural and hunting groups upset by the predator's attacks on livestock and big game herds such as elk. Their complaints spurred Western lawmakers two years ago to remove wolves from the endangered list in five states by force, after the issue got bogged down by environmentalists' lawsuits.

Paul Schlegel with the American Farm Bureau Federation said any step toward dropping wolves from the endangered list would be welcome to ranchers who have lost cattle, sheep and other animals to wolves or fear they might if the predators enlarge their territory.

"There's a lot of anxiety when a listed species attacks your livestock and you have no way of protecting them," he said.

The National Cattlemen's Beef Association said the government also should remove protections for wolves in the Southwest, where agencies have struggled to re-establish wolves in parts of New Mexico and Arizona. That population is believed to number only about 75 animals.

"Repeated failed attempts to achieve unnaturally high population levels in that region have put undue strain on livestock producers" and government resources, spokesman Chase Adams said.

Some biologists have argued wolves will continue spreading regardless of their legal status. The animals are prolific breeders, known to journey hundreds of miles in search of new territory. They were wiped out across most of the U.S. early last century following a government sponsored poisoning and trapping campaign.

In an emailed statement, the Fish and Wildlife Service pointed to "robust" populations of the animals in the Northern Rockies and Great Lakes as evidence that gray wolf recovery "is one of the world's great conservation successes."

Wolves in those two areas lost protections under the Endangered Species Act over the last two years. Advocacy groups have filed federal suits challenging decisions to lift protected status from wolves in Wyoming, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

"The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is evaluating the appropriate management status of the gray wolf under the Endangered Species Act outside of these recovered population areas," the agency said in its Friday statement. "This is a matter still under internal review and discussion."

In some states where wolves have recovered, regulated hunting and trapping already has been used to drive down their populations, largely in response to wolf attacks on livestock and big game herds. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently released data showing wolf numbers dropped 7 percent last year in the face of newly-expanded hunting and trapping seasons in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. That's the most significant decrease since they were reintroduced in the mid-1990s.

"There's a race to the bottom to see who can be more anti-wolf," said Don Barry, a former Interior Department assistant secretary under President Bill Clinton and now a vice president at Defenders of Wildlife. "They're basically giving up on wolf recovery before the job is done."

Federal officials have said they are monitoring the states' actions, but see no immediate threat to the gray wolf's survival.

In Oregon and Washington, which have small but rapidly growing wolf populations, the animals remained protected under state laws even after federal protections were lifted in portions of the two states.

Between 1991 and 2011, the federal government spent $102 million on gray wolf recovery programs and state agencies chipped in $15.6 million. Federal spending likely would drop if the proposal to lift protections goes through, while state spending would increase.

——

Flesher reported from Traverse City, Mich.

Associated Press
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,138 Posts
Too many people don't realize that the original range included places like downtown Chicago. When they extended throughout their original range, there were 90% fewer people and few million fewer ranches and farms.

I'm glad for a come back, but there's a gotta be a balance.

Bison once roamed Pennsylvania. Imagine the chaos if a few hundred were just restocked to the ANF. Go back 12 to 20 thousand years and Mammoths still roamed Pennsylvania. I don't think the public would stand for restocking.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,712 Posts
This is a long time coming. The state that is effected by the wolves should be able to control them, not some tree hugger in SoCal or Colorado.

We finally can hunt them here, as it was becoming a huge problem. Next step is Grizzlies. They are not afraid of humans, and often come to a gun shot for an easy meal.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,144 Posts
matt75bronco said:
Next step is Grizzlies. They are not afraid of humans, and often come to a gun shot for an easy meal.
My bet is that grizzlies are smelling the animal shot and coming in to that, not the shot of a rifle like it was some kind of dinner bell. Bears have a tremendous nose for smelling carcasses.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
26,979 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Nope, the bears have learned to associate the sound of a gun shot as, in your words, the sound of a dinner bell, shots equals a carcass. Just like deer come to the sound of a chain saw.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,318 Posts
Nobody seems to point out that the wolves that were introduced out West are Canadian Gray Wolves which are larger than the original wolves that inhabited the Lower 48. They are stronger, larger and eat more and more often than the original strain of wolf found in the U.S.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,138 Posts
There are some who theorize that Canadian Grays would have spread southward under the protections of the endangered species acts eventually anyway. At least into border states.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,144 Posts
John S said:
Nope, the bears have learned to associate the sound of a gun shot as, in your words, the sound of a dinner bell, shots equals a carcass. Just like deer come to the sound of a chain saw.
Beyond your personal opinion, anything to back up that statement?

Just like training a dog with repetitions of a behavior, it takes many repetitions to instill an association between a gun shot and an easy meal. On the other hand, their instinctive sense of smell is pretty much second to none for large land mammals. Once downwind they will zig zag back and forth, keeping that scent trail until they come across the carcass. I have seen it quite a few times watching bears come across wide open valleys out west traversing a mile to the carcass. Pretty amazing to watch.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
26,979 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Yes, people from Alaska who told me they never hunt alone because they need a partner to watch their back while they are gutting their game. Not long after the shot, bears appear.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
26,979 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
You keep believing that. There are many ways the wind can blow that will not bring scent to bears but if that thought makes you happy fine. The fact is bears get habituated to gun fire and learn it means a carcass to eat, could thery smell it if it was down wind, but they wouldn't smell an animal that was just killed they were up wind. Gunfire can be heard 360 degrees, bears can hear well too.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,144 Posts
Thanks Frank. I was looking but was not coming across anything that said either way.

From the link "Although this likely orientation towards sound has not been conclusively demonstrated, it remains an intriguing possibility worthy of further study. "

Where can I apply for that job!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,712 Posts
TPlank said:
John S said:
Nope, the bears have learned to associate the sound of a gun shot as, in your words, the sound of a dinner bell, shots equals a carcass. Just like deer come to the sound of a chain saw.
Beyond your personal opinion, anything to back up that statement?

Just like training a dog with repetitions of a behavior, it takes many repetitions to instill an association between a gun shot and an easy meal. On the other hand, their instinctive sense of smell is pretty much second to none for large land mammals. Once downwind they will zig zag back and forth, keeping that scent trail until they come across the carcass. I have seen it quite a few times watching bears come across wide open valleys out west traversing a mile to the carcass. Pretty amazing to watch.
Well I happen to bait bears in grizzly country. From what you are saying all I have to do is throw some meat on the ground and they will come running in minutes. Sound reasonable?

NOT!
It typically takes 1-2 weeks for a bear to find your bait.

They are reacting to someone ringing the dinner bell, with a large easy meal lying on the ground that requires no effort on their part.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,712 Posts
TPlank said:
Why waste the time baiting then??
Just go out and shoot into the air and wait for them to come running.....
The areas I bait do not have large numbers of grizzlys....yet. Nor do I want Griz on my bait. Whenever you are hit by a Griz, the Fish and Game will come in and remove your bait, which has happened multiple times in the area we hunt. Additionally we bait in the spring, not your typical big game season.

But I have never heard of anyone being confronted by a grizzly putting in their bear bait. But I have heard of people having grizzly encounters after firing a rifle.

My point is that just because bears smell something, doesnt mean they take off right to the smell. Like I said typical 1-2 weeks for a bear to start hitting a baitsite.

They have great noses, but that is not why they go directly to a kill.

The Montana State Fish, Wildlife and Park Agree>>>>> LINK
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,249 Posts
Don't mean to get back on topic


This battle needs fought like the anti-s fight. The only ones FOR wolf management are the locals who's lives are affected by wolves. Anti's from all over the nation are in the battle against the locals.

So pro-hunting groups need to join the fight. Have they already?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
473 Posts
I'm inclined to think that the bears are not restricting themselves to one sense or the other. I would assume if a bear associated a gun shot with a possible meal, he would still circle downwind to check it out before he just charged in.
 
1 - 19 of 19 Posts
Top