8 Jul 2009, 8:16pm
Wildlife Agencies Wolves
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Montana Institutes Wolf Hunting Season

First wolf licenses go on sale Aug. 17; $19 for Montanans

From the Clark Fork Chronicle, July 08 2009 [here]

Montana’s Fish, Wildlife & Parks Commission set the state’s first regulated wolf hunting season quota at 75 wolves today, leading officials to say the historic decision represents a victory for wildlife conservation in Montana and for the often maligned federal Endangered Species Act.

“Today, we can celebrate the fact that Montana manages elk, deer, bears, mountain lions, ducks, bighorn sheep, and wolves in balance with their habitats, other species, and in balance with the people who live here,” said FWP Director Joe Maurier. “Montanans have worked hard to recover the Rocky Mountain wolf and to integrate wolves into Montana’s wildlife management programs. That’s always been the promise of the Endangered Species Act and we’re pleased so see it fulfilled here in Montana.”

Commissioners approved a harvest quota of 75 wolves across three wolf management units. For northwestern Montana, the commission approved a quota of 41, with a subquota of two in the North Fork of the Flathead River area; a quota of 22 was approved for western Montana; and a quota of 12 in southwestern Montana.

“Montana’s approach is by definition open, balanced, scientific and cautious,” Maurier said. “The quota of 75 wolves is conservative and respectful because it limits the total number of wolves that can be taken by hunters and it ensures that FWP can carefully monitor the population before, during, and after the hunting season to examine how the population responds.”

Wolf hunting-season dates correspond to Montana’s early back-country big game hunting season, which runs Sept. 15 through Nov. 29; and the big game rifle season set for Oct. 25 through Nov. 29. Hunting licenses will cost $19 for residents and $350 for nonresidents. License sales are set to begin Aug 17.

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18 Jun 2009, 11:09am
Deer, Elk, Bison Wildlife Agencies Wolves
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Elk Population Plunges in Montana

For a long time wildlife experts outside the Montana Dept. of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks have been pointing out the effects of uncontrolled wolf predation on Northern Rocky Mountain elk herds.

This week the MFWP reached the same conclusion. Department biologists tracking elk numbers have noticed an alarming decline in the cow-calf ratio, a sign of imminent population crash.

As a result, the MFWP is reducing hunting permits, although over-hunting by humans is not the problem. The exploding wolf population is — wolves have been mass slaughtering elk at an unsustainable rate.

There is no plan to limit wolf numbers. The USFWS has twice attempted to delist wolves, and been rebuffed both times by federal judges pretending to be wolf biologists. A third attempt to delist wolves will reach litigation status this month. Despite a consensus among government, university, and private wolf experts that the Canadian gray wolf is fully “recovered” and not in any danger of extinction (it never was), the courts have stymied realistic wildlife management at every turn.

From the Missoulian Online:

FWP may lower number of elk permits in Bitterroot, Lower Clark Fork basin

By ROB CHANEY of the Missoulian, June 17, 2009 [here]

Elk numbers in some parts of western Montana are so low, state Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials may dial back the number of hunting permits they release this summer.

“Something of this magnitude does not happen every year,” said Mike Thompson, wildlife manager for the FWP Region 2 office in Missoula. “If you’d asked me about this two months ago, I’ve have said ‘no problem.’ But we’ve never seen such a low proportion of calves to cows across such a broad landscape as we did this year in the Bitterroot.”

In February (which was more than two months ago) we noted the crashing elk population in Montana [here]. Glad to see MFWP is catching the clue, finally.

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Alaskans Feed Themselves from Nature’s Abundance

By Craig L. Fleenor, posted with permission from THE OUTDOORSMAN, Feb-Mar 2009

Craig Fleenor is Director of the Subsistence Division of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

Once again Alaska predator management is in the national spotlight. With all of the hype, a very important perspective is often overlooked during this heated debate – that of the subsistence family.

As a young Gwich’in man I grew up in Fort Yukon, depending on wild resources for survival. This life was not a choice but an inter-generational way of life practiced by my family for thousands of years. Like many Alaskans, I was taught that we must manage wolves and bears to protect the local food supply, for safety and to meet other subsistence needs.

Most Alaskans know politics and clever ad campaigns are not what is important. For the subsistence family, acquiring enough food from the land is paramount.

Take the Fort Yukon fisherman who faithfully checks his fish-wheel twice daily, the Anaktuvuk caribou hunter who hopes the herd comes close to the village this year and the Haines moose hunter who spends 12 days hunting. Call it food security, subsistence or even barbarism, but to thousands of Alaskans who live subsistence, it’s about survival.

It’s the fundamental human right of access to high quality, renewable, locally grown, sustainable, affordable food. These needs can only be met if that food is managed for abundance.

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23 Mar 2009, 3:37pm
Homo sapiens Wildlife Agencies
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Three Basic Problems, One 3-Part Solution

By George Dovel, editor and publisher, THE OUTDOORSMAN, Feb-Mar 2009

Problem #1 – Beneficiaries of Expanding Non-Hunting Programs Will Not Support Them Financially

For more than 100 years, North American hunters and fishermen have been footing the bill for wildlife conservation. But for the past 29 years the lobbying group for North American wildlife agencies has been trying to get taxpayers to fund separate management of species that are not normally harvested and used as food by hunters and fishermen.

The term “management” is hardly appropriate as the limited nongame funding that has been made available has been spent to catalog the species and help provide facilities for people to view them, while claiming they are managed. With game and non-game species increasing during the 1980s, wildlife agencies sought funding to hire nongame biologists “to help all citizens enjoy the species that were not sought by hunters and fishermen.”

Back then, everyone recognized that enhancing habitat for deer, ducks, pheasants and rainbow trout provided similar benefits to non-game species. Although Congress passed the “Nongame Act” in 1980, authorizing $5 million in total annual funding, it failed to appropriate any money to fund it.

Bird Watching Usurped Hunting, Fishing

In 1990 the (International) Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies hired bird watcher Naomi Edelson as its “Biodiversity Director” to sell bird watching and other non-game activities to the American people and their elected officials. In the USFS 2005 technical publication, “Finding Our Wings: The Payoff of a Decade of Determination,” (originally presented to a group of bird watchers in 2002) she details how bird watchers have gotten their “agenda to become someone else’s agenda.”

Edelson explained that in 1990, “The States, through IAFWA, made nongame their biggest priority, as it has remained through the decade.” Since 1990 “Partners in Flight” (PIF), with help from high profile bird watchers (including former TNC Chairman - Goldman Sachs Chair - Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson), has substituted its agenda for the “sustained yield of wild game” agenda at every level of government.

Edelson continued, “Now Audubon is back in the bird business in a big way through their Important Bird Areas program (IBA), in part because of all of this bird conservation activity (by [I]AFWA and PIF). If there is one thing we should have learned from our duck friends in all of these years: be part of the movement that gets the money, then you can be part of spending of the money.”

By 1998 IAFWA’s “Teaming With Wildlife” (TWW) biodiversity funding group claimed 3,000 member organizations. Yet its proposal to have Congress fund nongame with a federal excise tax on recreation equipment failed to generate even lukewarm support from either manufacturers or the bird watchers it would have benefited.

TWW then joined forces with parks, historical preservation groups and coastal states’ interests in an intense lobbying campaign for Congress to pass the Conservation and Reinvestment Act (CARA). Finally the 2000 version, which passed the House but failed in the Senate, would have provided ~$3.1 billion in annual funding – with $350 million of that going to FWS for state nongame wildlife conservation, and up to $900 million appropriated to condemn and acquire private lands.

This massive “pork” bill, which would have used oil and natural gas royalties and monies from offshore oil exploration for funding, had numerous flaws. According to opponents, these included violation of 5th Amendment Property Rights and using money needed to maintain existing federal lands to instead condemn and acquire new lands from private citizens.

The highly watered-down version (substitute) that finally passed as “State Wildlife Grants” allowed the non-governmental wildlife lobby, including bird watchers and an anti-hunting advisor (i.e. Defenders of Wildlife), to determine the criteria for each state to receive a share of the money. Virtually the only federal government criteria is that sportsman dollars, as in P-R and D-J excise taxes, may not lawfully be used as any part of the mandatory 100% state match for the federal SWG funds for nongame and “at risk” species.

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