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Ending endangered species protection could give hunters a shot at predators

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Desertdog, Dec 22, 2006.

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  1. Desertdog

    Desertdog Member

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    Ending endangered species protection could give hunters a shot at predators by 2008

    By Rocky Barker and Roger Phillips
    Idaho Statesman
    http://www.idahostatesman.com/273/story/64355.html

    Idahoans could be hunting wolves within 12 months, when Gov. Jim Risch and state wildlife officials take over managing the state's wolves as federal officials proposed Tuesday.
    Federal wildlife officials told the Idaho Statesman Tuesday they plan to remove wolves from the endangered species list in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, turning over management of the predators to the states.

    The removal of the wolf from the endangered species list would be the culmination of one of the most heralded conservation success stories of the 20th century. But for many Idahoans, especially ranchers and hunters, it has forced a difficult transition.

    Wolves were re-introduced in a controversial program that began with 35 wolves in 1995-96.

    Idaho Fish and Game commissioners said they plan to establish regulations for hunting wolves that will be in place when delisting is final.

    Before that happens, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service must publish in the Federal Register its proposal to delist, which Dale Hall, the agency's director said would come by the end of January. The public will have at least 60 days to comment; a final decision is expected a year from the publication.

    Opponents of delisting, however, worry that Idaho and Wyoming will reduce wolf numbers to minimum levels allowed and are expected to try to halt the delisting in court. That could delay the day when the state takes over wolf management.

    Hall and Todd Willens, assistant Interior secretary for fish, wildlife and parks, told Risch Tuesday they will seek to delist in all three states if Wyoming agrees to expand the area where wolves are protected in that state.

    Hall and Willens had met earlier Tuesday with Wyoming Gov. Dave Freudenthal and other lawmakers, who indicated they would go along with the new federal plan.

    "We have every reason to believe they will," Willens said.

    But even if Wyoming doesn't agree, federal officials would go ahead with delisting in Idaho and Montana, Hall said.

    That's what Idaho officials have been demanding for several years as the wolf population has grown beyond all expectations since wolves were released in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness in 1995.

    Idaho has more than 650 wolves, twice the minimum number the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said was necessary for preserving the viability of the species in the Rocky Mountain region.

    "This is way overdue," Risch said Tuesday. "They have admitted that wolves are no longer endangered in Idaho."

    Fish and Wildlife officials have been negotiating with Wyoming for several months, seeking to bridge their differences over a Wyoming law that would allow wolves to be shot on sight outside a trophy-hunting zone.

    The federal agency decided Tuesday that if the state could expand the trophy area — where wolves would be managed as a game animal — it could allow unlimited wolf killing outside that zone.

    "It's not any different than what we are doing now," said Mitch King, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regional director from Denver. "What's the difference if someone else is shooting them?"

    Idaho would be able to approve similar shoot-on-sight rules once wolves are removed from endangered status, King said.

    But Idaho Fish and Game Commission Chairman Cameron Wheeler said Idaho plans to manage wolves as a game animal, just as it does mountain lions and black bears. Hunters have to buy a special tag before they can kill these big predators.

    "That's the template we would probably use," Wheeler said. "I envision it would be like big game seasons with maybe a little more time on each end."

    The state increases the limits on lions and bears when it seeks to reduce their numbers, such as to allow elk populations to grow or where the predators cause livestock depredation problems.

    Suzanne Stone, Rocky Mountain representative of the Defenders of Wildlife, worries that Idaho will seek to kill off as many wolves as possible — aiming for the minimum number of about 100 allowed in the state management plan.

    The Idaho Legislature advocated eradication of wolves and accepted responsibility to protect a minimum population only to delist wolves.

    "Under the current political climate, delisting will definitely lead to a great reduction of wolves in Idaho," Stone said.

    Nate Helm, executive director of Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife, said he would like to see wolf numbers greatly reduced

    "After delisting occurs, we have the autonomy to adjust to the reality of what we have today," Helm said.

    This year, wolves have killed more than 300 sheep and 100 cattle in the Council area alone, said Lloyd Knight, executive director of the Idaho Cattle Association. He asks opponents like Stone to consider his members' situation.

    "For those that don't think delisting is a good idea, if they would like me to break into their home and steal a couple thousand dollars worth of property, then maybe they might understand my folks' perspective on wolves," Knight said.

    Defenders of Wildlife pays compensation to ranchers for confirmed cases of livestock killed by wolves, Stone said.

    And Wheeler said state officials won't authorize a wolf slaughter. F&G won't necessarily open the season immediately after wolves are delisted, and would not, for example, open the first season while wolves are raising pups in the spring.

    Sen. David Langhorst, D-Boise, was among the people advocating wolf reintroduction in 1995. Delisting would prove Westerners are humble enough to allow the wild animals to return and smart enough to manage them so they don't destroy people's livelihoods and sports, he said.

    "I would see getting a tag and being able to hunt and stalk wolves with a bow and arrow as closing the circle," Langhorst said.

    Even if there's a legal challenge, Risch said he's hopeful a federal court will not issue an injunction stopping the decision to turn management of wolves back to the state.

    "If that's the case, we will have management in less than 12 months," Risch said.

    Contact reporter Rocky Barker at [email protected] or 377-6484.
     
  2. Axman

    Axman Member

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    Umm, these are wild animals that see anything as prey, correct? It's called instinct!
     
  3. Zoogster

    Zoogster Member

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    I don't necessarily think that is great news even if it does give someone more targets to shoot at. We used to have Grizzly bears from Near the border of Mexico, throughout CA and Rocky mountain states all the way up to thier current range. Or wolves all over, the natural predators hunt the weak, or the sick, naturaly increasing the health of the herds. this is the exact opposite of what hunters do who are trying to take the biggest nicest healthiest prize buck as a trophy, which makes the herds gene pool weaker.

    While I also think it is crazy to have laws where someone defending themselves or livestock from predators can be given years in prison for killing endangered animals, not having such restrictions in place lead to people killing most of them off under the pretense of defense or safety. People are just not responsible enough (on average) to preserve if you put the choice in thier hands.

    I support hunting, I support gun ownership, but I also highly value nature and wildlife. Most people exploit to the limit of the law anything that they are allowed to. We have seen the result. I would much rather have less laws and restrictions and more people in touch with the balance of nature, alas we know people and nature do not mix. Ask most people what nature is and they will describe trees, and the occasional rare sighting of one of the species barely surviving (not thriving as they natural would) with the destroyed cycle of life. Not anything as it was meant to be, healthy and vibrant with tons of animals balanced and controlled with natural predators. Yet at the same time I absolutely hate camping or visiting the most protected places in our country, the natonal parks and state parks because they don't allow any freedom because they cannot trust people to preserve if they have that freedom. :banghead:
     
  4. razorburn

    razorburn member

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    This is a beautiful view, although of a idealized history that has never been. It's just something that's painted by the disney and certain simplified preservationist types. Any quantitative ecology or natural history course will show otherwise, and that lion king circle of life has never existed. Environments are in constant flux and rarely stable for even short periods. Predator prey relationships are cyclic, characterized roughly by a logistic equation PFn = PF(n-1)- DF*PF(n-1).
     
  5. bg

    bg Member

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    When you find out, let me know..
    Now if they had just half as much concern with illegal
    aliens maybe something would get done. Though I will
    say it appears recently ICE is going after those here
    on illegal grounds according to the media..
     
  6. LAR-15

    LAR-15 Member

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    This is great.

    The wolves are doing so much better than anyone hoped
     
  7. Zoogster

    Zoogster Member

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    I disagree, just go diving someplace in the ocean where humans rarely disturb and you will see more life in 1 acre underwater than in 50 acres on land. I think on land was not quite as rich but pretty close before people disturbed migrations and interupted the cycle through exploiting for trophies, fur, or just protecting thier domestic animals by slaughtering all predators. Keep in mind that the first places people move and control and build up are near water sources. So the richest most ecologicly diverse locations were the first to go hundreds of years ago (thousands in some places in the world). Much of Europe is a good example of the change people make. Even the Romans decimated any predator populations for hundreds of miles around them for entertainment in the Arena. The majority of forests were cleared for farmland under the fuedal system, where a lord's wealth was proportional to how many crops they had. England and Ireland for example were covered in forests and bogs home to many animals. Now they are known for rolling green grassy hills, absent of almost any life besides birds. All that remain from the fuedal times when every inch was turned into a crop and exploited. Take the Middle East and nearby parts of Africa, much of which used to be rich fertile land, it was used for grazing for thousands of years and turned to desert. The grazing animals stripped every plant that would hold down the soil, leaving the topsoil vulnerable to being washed away or blown away in high winds which were unabatted by trees that naturaly act as wind breaks etc. This nutrient rich topsoil would then wash away and leech into places like the Dead Sea making such mineral rich water that it kills everything. Yes the longer man has existed in an area the worse off it is. The best places in the world are usualy those which were more recently settled or discovered.

    Pockets here and there of trees do not give the necessary space for healthy migration and ecology like large pockets of land. So little reserves here, with impassable barriers in between other pockets like freeways, barb wire, neighborhoods etc leave stagnant struggling pockets of life which are seen and experienced by the people who think that is the way it has always been, and that what they see and experience is nature as it has always existed.

    I know eventualy our world will just be cities and farmland for growing them food, but I think that attempts at preservation will stretch that eventual outcome past my lifetime :D
     
  8. Malone LaVeigh

    Malone LaVeigh Member

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    I think it's great that the wolf program has been such a success. Score another for the ESA!

    Now the tricky part is to manage the transition. I am also afraid the states will be pressured to manage for the minimum, rather than the optimum. Every industry has to operate under rules that keep them from screwing up things for the rest of us. That goes for ranchers, as well as for smokestack factories. They shouldn't be allowed to dictate the population levels of any wildlife. If the states can't be trusted to do this in a way that protects the public interest, then we'll just be back to having the ESA invoked again.
     
  9. longrifleman

    longrifleman Member

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    Next time one of your cuddly predators kills one of my calves, feel free to send me a check.






    :neener:
     
  10. TallPine

    TallPine Member

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    I wonder how folks would feel if they suddenly had a bunch of 100+ pound predators turned loose in their back yard? (and you are legally prevented from doing anything to protect your property and family) In the last ten years, the wolves have spread to something like a 400 mile radius of Yellowstone NP. That includes cities and a lot of farm and ranch land - it is not like the wolves just live in the national parks and the higher and more remote regions of national forests. As things are going, it is only a matter of time before a child is killed by wolves.

    They should declare Central Park in NYC a federal wildlife protection zone and turn loose a bunch of wolves there. :p

    That said, I like wolves (used to have some hybrids) and I can't imagine why anyone would want to hunt them for sport. I might shoot one to protect my livestock and family, but not for "sport" :(

    The wolves can have Jellystone, for all I care - but outside of that, they should be treated like coyotes and given a respect and fear for humans.
     
  11. Desertdog

    Desertdog Member

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  12. El Tejon

    El Tejon Member

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    Delisting? Mmmm, no, the state of Idaho should be offering bounties for a pair of ears. Predators need bullets, not hugs from men in sandals.

    I second Tall's motion to release thousands of wolves into New York City, Boston, Chicago, D.C. and L.A. We will be rid of environmentalists and socialistic poltroons.:)
     
  13. Kowboy

    Kowboy Member

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    When you ranchers are done letting your livestock feed at the trough of public grazing lands, your opinion will have more weight with me.

    A couple dead calfs a year is a pittance for your pennies-on-the-dollar use of OUR land.

    Kowboy
     
  14. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    Delisting would only mean that ranchers could protect their livestock from thieves of the four-legged variety. I don't think that "sport hunting" is part of the deal, unless the wildlife biologists are convinced there is a huntable surplus--which is no different from deer or elk or ducks or geese.

    Meat does not magically appear all cut and wrapped at the A&Poo Feed Store. There really is something behind all that. And behind the feedlots, for that matter. Mama cows gotta live somewhere with food and water so we can have the feeder steers to put in those feedlots.

    Folks seem to like leather shoes and jackets, too, I've noticed. And the "I hate oil companies!" types seem to dote on wool sweaters, ever noticed? Last I heard, wool comes from sheep.

    "Cabrito" is popular, I hear. Er, uh, goats, anybody?

    Nothing wrong with having wolves and grizzly bears around. The thing is, they gotta play second fiddle to the people who provide the food we eat. Or the clothes we wear. Not everybody gets all excited over Nylon and Nikes.

    Art
     
  15. MechAg94

    MechAg94 Member

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    BS. The ocean has its lively spots just like land. Just because you were sitting on top of the "rain forest" of the ocean does not mean it is representative of the entire ocean.

    Also, the Dead Sea has been that way for a long, long time. What makes you think it got that way due to human actions? On what evidence to you come up with that?

    There used to be around 2 billion buffalo (I read that somewhere, I forget) in the US. I guess, by your logic, the central US ought to be a vast desert. West Texas is still used for cattle as well and it has been used for grazing and by wild longhorns for a long time. It ain't all desert.
     
  16. MechAg94

    MechAg94 Member

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    I believe researchers have discovered that they have been unable to find a single place in the forests of South America where the forest wasn't cut or burned down more than once. The Incas prized something in the wood core of the common tree down that way at one time and cut a greater portion of the forests in their control at one time or another. Nature recovers and rebounds much faster and stronger than most people want to think.

    What I am trying to say is that there are few places on earth where man has not left his mark if not recently then a bit further back. I think I understand what you are trying to say, but I don't agree with your argument.
     
  17. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    There's more than one view of what's "best" as to a landscape. Staying away from the idiocies of overharvest of any resource by people, there is more biomass in areas rationally managed by people than in, say, a national park.

    Art

    Oh: Wikipedia has some good information about the rise and fall of the numbers of American bison in the 19th century...
     
  18. MechAg94

    MechAg94 Member

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    Okay, 100 million buffalo. :) Only a little off. :D
     
  19. TallPine

    TallPine Member

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    First of all, a lot of ranchers don't lease or use any public land at all. Land ownership in many parts of Montana is very "checkerboarded" and I seriously doubt that the wolves can tell the difference between public and private land. Heck, it is all that a 2-legged hunter from the city can do to figure out whether he/she is on public or private land. :p

    Secondly, what else would you suggest that state or federal governments do with grass and sagebrush to earn any sort of income at all...? :confused: Much of the public land leased for grazing in Montana is the stuff left over after the homesteaders took their pick - IOW, the places that nobody wanted (at least at that time): sagebrush, rimrocks, and non-productive scrub pine and juniper.

    Third, the leaseholders often improve the land by developing water sources that can also be used by wildlife, treating noxious weeds spread by city slickers on weekends, etc ......

    It is true that you can make a small fortune raising beef cattle - provided that you start out with a large fortune.;) :D
     
  20. Manedwolf

    Manedwolf member

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    I've seen what ends up in the water downstream of those hordes of methane-and-s**t-spewing, over-engineered, hormone-injected smelly monstrosities they call "cattle". now.

    It's not something humans OR wildlife would want to drink. :barf:

    And as for "improving the land", the biggest irony there has to be what cattle producers in South America do...slashing and burning the rain forests that produce OUR FREAKING AIR, to make more short-lived grassland for their mooing masses to munch across, leaving dead scrub and little else behind.

    Cattle ranchers are well ahead of any other industry on my list of "people doing their darndest to wreck the planet for good."

    As to wolves, IF they bother humans, which is incredibly unlikely and is based more on centuries of fear tales than fact, (they tend to run from humans, y'know!...prey behaves like prey, things that stare back at them aren't!)... if they do that, then yes, they need to be dealt with.

    But otherwise, they're an essential part of the working ecosystem that's millions of years older than humans, millions, and are needed to ensure that OTHER animal populations remain strong. They eat the sick and the weak, remember? They run down and eat the sickly and lagging members of deer populations and of other prey animals, not only ensuring that such animals' populations remain controlled, but protecting deer hunting humans from chronic wasting disease and other maladies that only arise in unchecked deer populations.

    They do far more good than harm. A person is lucky if they even SEE one, they tend to vanish like ghosts if they see a human.

    As for cattle, with the filthy bloated hordes of mooing beef munching across public lands...I could care less, as others have said.

    The wolves, correctly, see those overbloated monstrosties as "the sick and the weak", unfit to exist on the open plains of the country, and might go after them. A healthy, strong buffalo or steer would turn and see off the wolves by charging at them. Modern beef cattle, bred for maximum fatty meat and not much else, can do no such thing.

    So maybe they're right!
     
  21. GhostCat

    GhostCat Member

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  22. El Tejon

    El Tejon Member

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    Wolves should not be hunted, rather they should be exterminated.
     
  23. Manedwolf

    Manedwolf member

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    Don't even bother to feed the troll, just golf-clap, smile blankly at him and continue on. They love being fed. :rolleyes:
     
  24. cassandrasdaddy

    cassandrasdaddy Member

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    but

    doesn't objecting to the hunt interfere witht the right of the cattlemen to be objectivist? they do have that right don't they? or is it a street thing
     
  25. Manedwolf

    Manedwolf member

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    Cassanda, big-picture issue.

    Wolves are an essential part of the working ecosystem of the planet, keeping prey populations in check and ensuring that diseases don't spread among them. They're immune to most things that can cause prey animals (and other sorts we eat) to become sick and weak. They do far more good than harm on a purely logical level...more wolves means less deer slamming into cars on roads, less deer getting wasting disease that can sicken people hunting deer to eat. Wolves avoid humans in general, and seldom go stand stupidly in headlights to smash in the windshields of cars. Deer do. Wolves also, unlike coyotes, don't tend to sneak into suburbs and become dangerous...they're pack hunters, preferring to surround and run down large, obvious prey animals in open wild area. In fact, they can also help control the populations of things like coyotes, which rise in the absence of wolves, and get out of hand. Ergo, better.

    Modern beef cattle hordes are the OPPOSITE, wreaking havoc on the plains, on the slash-and-burned rain forests, all that.

    Picture yourself in a one-compartment spaceship. Now, if someone on the other side of it gets into a mind to start shooting holes in the hull, letting out all the air that YOU personally need to survive and enjoy living, too, you most certainly can object to what they're doing!

    Messing around with the only planet we've got, chancing wrecking it for everyone, including yourself, certainly affects the individual.
     
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