|The old belief that wolves only kill the sick and the weak is a bunch of bunk, wolves will kill just about anything they can sink their teeth into. (NPS photo)|
Recently, I sent out e-mails to more than 300 individuals working in the shooting and hunting industry, or who are members of the outdoor media, along with quite a few hunters who support both that industry and the publications, websites and television or radio programming these industry experts and communicators rely on for a living. Hunting is their passion. In that e-mail, I asked them to name a single individual or organizations they personally felt posed the greatest threat to hunting today. The majority of the more than a hundred responses I received named people and organizations which are associated with the damage wolves are now doing to our big game resources.
I had to sit down and give some serious thought to what such a dubious recognition should be called, and after a bit of brainstorming with a few other concerned sportsmen, who have grown sick and tired of seeing big game numbers and hunting opportunities disappear right before their eyes, we settled on “Wildlife Eco-Terrorist of The Year”. Following is a look at some of the top contenders.
|Wolves are skilled hunters, and when they hunt as a group, not much in this country is too large for them to bring down. Due to being constantly pursued by wolves, cow elk and doe deer are often so stressed that they abort fetuses, adding even more to the wildlife loss. (NPS photo)|
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Ed Bangs This agency and this individual were just about equally named. And that is because Bangs has headed the “Western Wolf Reintroduction Project” for USFWS since it was kicked off, with the idiotic release of 14 Canadian gray wolves into Yellowstone Park in 1995, and another 17 the following year. What followed has been the destruction of the elk and other big game herds in and around Yellowstone, and now that damage continues to spread, like cancer, throughout the Northern Rockies.
A new report, released this past December, now reveals that 2/3rds, or more than 60-percent, of the wolves that have been examined in Montana and Idaho carry a deadly parasite, known as the Echinococcosis granulosus tapeworm. And this parasite is the cause of hydatid disease. Thanks to the piles of wolf scat that now dot the landscape of the Northern Rockies, billions of this tapeworm’s eggs are thriving, ready to hitch a ride with a new host. These eggs, invisible to the human eye, are easily consumed by grazing animals, including elk, deer, moose, and even cattle. Once inside, they commonly cause cysts on the lungs, and often on the liver, which can prove fatal to the new host. Perhaps their biggest impact on these animals is the poor condition that follows, making them more susceptible to harsh winter weather.
This disease did not exist in Montana or Idaho prior to the release of the Canadian wolves in 1995-1996. They are known to be the primary carrier of the E. granulosus tapeworm. Some of the wolves examined in these two states were found to have thousands of these parasitic worms living in their digestive systems. Dogs, also being a canine, are extremely susceptible to carrying the parasite. And in the Northern Rockies, those people who truly enjoy hiking backcountry trails in the summer very often take along their pet dog or dogs. And every time one of those dogs sniffs a pile of wolf crap, there is the chance of the animal becoming a new host. Likewise, humans can also contract hydatid disease, breathing in airborne eggs that may have been kicked up by a misplaced foot step that came down on wolf scat, or perhaps by another hiker, or even a pack horse or mule. It is even possible to pick up the disease from eggs that are hitching a ride on your dog’s hair. In humans, hydatid disease commonly forms a cyst on the brain, which can be fatal if not surgically removed.
|Wolves are destroying big game numbers at an alarming rate on a yearly basis. Each average typical wolf of the Northern Rockies kills between 30 and 36 elk and deer each and every year for food. Unfortunately, wolves simply enjoy killing for the fun of killing, and each may kill just as many elk and deer for sport. (NPS photo)|
Other renowned wildlife researchers, either working with the wolf reintroduction fiasco or closely following the project, have claimed that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the coordinator of the wolf project, Ed Bangs, knew of this danger when releasing those Canadian wolves into the U.S. Northern Rocky Mountain Ecosystem. Still, they did not let that danger keep them from releasing those deadly parasite carrying hosts into such a wildlife rich region of the world.
Environmental Groups Intervening In The Wolf Delisting The original goal of the Wolf Reintroduction Project was to establish a minimum of 300 wolves in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming. This is a number that most sportsmen, ranchers and the average American citizen could have lived with, provided these apex predators were closely managed at that level – to prevent excessive losses of big game and livestock. And the project successfully reached that “proposed minimum number” of wolves back in 2001 – at which time the management of the wolf was to have been turned over to the wildlife agencies in those three states.
|This bull bison may have been pursued for several days. Now, severely hamstrung by the wolves, he’ll probably die within a few yards of where it is standing. But, before that happens they will continue to run in and tear out chunks of flesh from it’s hind quarters…and when it does finally go down, they’ll eat it alive. (NPS photo)|
However, the anti-hunting so-called environmental groups and organizations had realized that due to the killing efficiency of wolves, they had found a way to replace the human hunters role in managing wildlife numbers. And since, the Defenders of Wildlife, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, Humane Society of the United States, Center for Biological Diversity, Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance, Friends of the Clearwater, Alliance for the Wild Rockies, Oregon Wild, Cascadia Wildlands Project, Western Watershed Project, and Wildlands Project have repeatedly intervened into the delisting process to remove and keep the gray wolf of the Northern Rockies off of the Endangered Species List. And due to their legal actions to keep this issue in U.S. District Court (Missoula, MT), we have witnessed a tremendous decline in big game numbers in areas with high wolf numbers – which is now most of western Montana and northern Idaho.
The damage to wildlife resources and livestock production caused by the intervention of these phony wildlife organizations now annually tops $100-million.
|Just a few days before snowmobilers came across the remains of this wolf killed cow elk in Idaho, that state’s Fish and Game department had captured the elk and attached the radio-transmitter collar. They were good enough to return the $4,000 collar to IDFG.(Courtesy of Steve Alder, Idaho For Wildlife)|
And that’s just in the Northern Rockies. In Montana alone, through 2009, the monetary value of the big game and livestock lost to wolves topped $60-million. And that number does not include the negative impact on the economies of communities that rely heavily on the money sportsmen spend to pursue big game. Unfortunately, the realization of it all is that even if wolves could be shot back to the 300 originally proposed, it would take at least 20 to 30 years to restore wildlife populations back to where they were before the larger, non-native Canadian wolf was unleashed and left unmanaged for far too long.
The above named plaintiffs in earlier delisting hearings (and another later this spring or summer) keep all of this tied up in court for one main reason – they like to milk this “Cash Cow”. And they are doing so to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars each year. Did you know that during one four-year period, these and a number of other similar self-serving wildlife/environmental organizations filed some 1,500 lawsuits – from which they banked right at $4-BILLION of taxpayer money? That’s right $4-BILLION! And a big chunk of that money goes to pay the $300,000 to $400,000 (or more) annual salaries of the executives at the head of each organization. The only thing these groups are out to conserve is their own bank accounts and exorbitant lifestyles.
|When a pack of wolves have gone for several days without eating, they can make an average sized whitetail disappear very quickly. Each wolf can easily consume 20 or more pounds during a single feeding. (Photo courtesy of Steve Alder, Idaho For Wildlife)|
U.S. District Court Judge Donald Malloy (Missoula) Many I have heard from feel that this judge should be removed from the bench, that he does not serve the best interest of the people or the environment of the Northern Rockies. This is a settled community, with no place for thousands of wolves (or 1,000 or so grizzly bears). Still, Malloy tends to swing in favor of the environmental groups who are hell bent to destroy the past hundred years of wildlife conservation – which took billions of sportsman provided dollars to fund. More and more, those I hear from feel that Donald Malloy has been bought off by these well financed anti-hunting environmental groups – and can no longer be objective with his decisions regarding the welfare of wildlife, or the environment for that matter.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and Idaho Department of Fish and Game When it comes to standing up to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, these two state wildlife agencies have been pretty gutless. And that’s probably due to the fact that neither of these agencies want to jeopardize the “easy” federal dollars they receive annually from the U.S. Department of the Interior/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. And we’re talking about tens of millions going to each. To insure that money keeps rolling in, it seems that many of the “wildlife professionals” in these two states have sold their souls to the Devil! They will say and claim whatever best fits the federal agenda. (And Ed Bangs has been quoted to say that it is alright to lie to the American public if it is in the best interest of the wolf reintroduction project!)
|This could very easily be the work of a single wolf, or maybe a pair of wolves. Either way, it is the loss of three deer – with extremely little eaten. The wolf is the most wasteful predator of all, calling for extremely intense management to keep numbers as low as possible – in the case of the “Wolf Reintroduction Project”, as close to the Northern Rockies original goal of 300 as possible. (Photo courtesy of Tony Mayer, SaveElk.com)|
The big game hunters, and livestock producers, in these states easily realize that there are a lot more wolves than what these agencies are claiming. MT FWP has been stuck on the number “500” for quite some time. However, if they are correct, and there are just “500” wolves in this state, it means that to achieve the estimated $60-million in wildlife and livestock losses to wolves last year, each and every one of those wolves would have had to do $120,000 in damages. Early last month, MT FWP was called to stand on the carpet in front of the state’s Environmental Quality Committee, and were told that at the next meeting they would have to testify to the true number of wolves in the state – and the methods they use to arrive at that number.
Idaho Department of Fish and Game estimates there are around 850 wolves in that state. However, I have repeatedly heard from small town residents who have complained about wolf problems, and the IDFG contends that they are wrong – since there are no recognized wolves in that area. And, that’s the problem. When it comes to the real number of wolves in Montana and Idaho, the state wildlife agencies are cooking the books to portray far fewer than there really are – in an attempt to minimize the perceived impact wolves are having on big game and livestock. Fortunately, the smoke and mirrors used by these two agencies don’t seem to be working so great any more. Sportsmen and ranchers aren’t stupid, and can quickly size up what’s missing – like all the game that used to be there, and maybe the loss of a few dozen head of cattle here and there.
|So much for wolves killing only the sick, injurred and weak. This healthy young spike bull was taken down not far from Helena, MT. (Photo courtesy of Ron Andriolo)”|
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources – Now, this wildlife agency could have been easily listed with the agencies of Montana and Idaho, if it weren’t for the fact that the MN DNR allows the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to screw them over even worse. Minnesota is now home to between 3,000 and 3,500 wolves. This is as many wolves as Montana, Idaho and Wyoming more than likely ACTUALLY have combined. However, these are more the true “Timber Wolf” that was native to the U.S.
At maturity, these wolves weigh in at around 70 to 90 pounds, while the behemoth Canadian gray wolves released in the Northern Rockies very often top out at 140-150 pounds – and take more to keep fed. Still, the wolves found in Minnesota are known to kill 20 to 22 deer (each) on the average annually for feed. That in itself means the loss of between 60,000 and 77,000 deer every year – depending on the real number of wolves inhabiting the northern regions of this state. And if these wolves are anything like their cousins “Out West”, they probably kill nearly that many deer as well just for sport. One thing is for certain, these out of control carnivores are now destroying northern Minnesota’s deer and moose herds rapidly. Likewise, efforts to reestablish elk in Minnesota have reached a stalemate – the wolves are killing off elk calves almost as quickly as they are born, and the herd is just buying time as it gets older and older.
|Sportsmen are losing on the wolf issue in more ways than one. These two mountain lion hounds had treed a cat, but before the hunters could get to them, wolves were drawn to the baying hounds and killed this pair, actually eating on one as the hunters approached.(Courtesy of Ken Miller)|
Still, the MN DNR refers to their growing wolf population as a “conservation success story” – when in reality, it’s just another wolf related disaster. And, like fools, MN DNR wildlife officials just keep on protecting these destructive predators. Why does the state need so many wolves? It doesn’t, but USFWS does. Northern Minnesota is simply their “wolf incubator”, a source for all those wolves the agency will need for
the transplants into just about every other state. Keep in mind, their ultimate goal is to reintroduce wolves back into all of its historic range – which means back into the wildlife rich areas of Illinois, Kentucky., Colorado, Maine, Nebraska, Tennessee or wherever there is enough deer and other wildlife to support this meat eating wildlife virus.
Any of the individuals or agencies named here are prime candidates to receive the distinction of being named “Wildlife Eco-Terrorist of the Year”.
|How many newborn deer fawns and elk calves do we have to sacrifice each spring so wolf numbers can grow by 300 to 400 in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan combined? The number of big game young of the year lost to those apex predators is very likely close to 100,000. (WI DNR photo)|
Note: If you have a favorite, or would like to nominate another, just send it to me at the e-mail address at the bottom of this page.