Lot of difference between 80lb and 180lb animals.
the wolves did not come from alaska. I have heard that fairy tale, to many times.
I live in part of the state of idaho, that is always at the top or near the top for hunters killing wolfs. Last night, my wife made the comment, that elk are every where, she looks. And she is right. Granted still winter big time in the high country, so lots of elk down low. but there are alot of elk out there.
tim is right, the wolves were imported from Canada, not Alaska. (Insert joke about them ending their howl with "eh"!)
It's good that you have lots of elk around too, but wolves effect the elk. They may not decimate them while you have healthy populations of elk, deer, whatever, but they sure can keep them down, or worse, when trying to recover from a bad winter or die-off of some sort.
These wolves are apex predators and do a lot of killing all year long and it make all other species adapt to them. Up here, you'll find moose doing more calving in urban areas when they get overrun by predators in their traditional calving areas. That may be a reason that you see lots of elk around.
I happen to love seeing wolves and am glad they are here. I see lots of them. But they need to be actively managed if we are to have healthy populations of all wildlife.
There was a article in the Billings Gazette a few days ago regarding two wolves killing 5 ewes and 8 lambs on a ranch north of Gardiner. The rancher was given two permits to kill the wolves, but only if they are on his property.
Another problem people don't realize is that it is very hard to manage a predator species. Ever try hunting one? Also they reproduce at a faster rate than their prey and while yes at some point things will balance out there will be a lot of damage inflicted. Here's a little news flash to the wolf lovers out there, we ARE an apex predator. In fact we are the #1 apex predator on the entire planet. We have enough hunters out there to manage wildlife populations without getting extra "help" from wolves. I'm a southerner from Louisiana and before you say what could I possibly know about this subject I will say I have read a great deal about the subject and can tell you first hand a scenario that I believe can be compared to the wolf problem. In just the last few years I've seen the turkey population and now beginning to see the deer population decline in one of the areas I hunt in southern Mississippi. Coyotes are the culprit here. We did not introduce them but they are here nonetheless. The damage inflicted on our turkey population is undeniable. The birds that are left are much more quiet also. Makes sense? I'm pretty sure an elk can put two and two together if a turkey can. I think the reintroduction of the wolf was a major screw up. They should be considered a predator and hunted year round just like we do with our worthless coyotes. If you feel I am being too hard, sorry that's how I feel. God made us stewards over wildlife. I don't believe in hunting to extinction but I believe where humans and wolves are competing for the same game animals we should not cater to the frickin' wolf and give them precedence or even protection.
I have been torn on this subject for years. I like the idea of having them, and I think some people want to manage elk and deer like a food crop. We have seen the positive impact when the elk heards are not allowed to lay around and eat the aspen all day. I am not educated enough on the subject to get into a debate, but it seems like the wolf population has quickly gotten away from the managers, and that was where it went to pieces. I do believe that opening year round hunting on them with no limits would take us right back where we started. There are enough people who want them "gone" to likely get the job done.
Those were my thoughts..............now I learn that these wolves aren't even from here to begin with?? WTF
Now I am more torn than before, but you can rest assured that I will be buying at least 1 wolf tag for idaho this year and try to help "manage" the population.
We (and I say we humans collectively) have depended upon our fish & game for survival for all time. We definately "manage" them today as a "crop". We limit the take, the size and the methods used in this "harvest". If we didn't it would be like the early 1900's when our fish and game here in the US was basically harvested almost out of existance. If it wasn't for the sporthunters and fisherman, we would not have what we have today.
The real problem with the wolf introduction into Yellowstone NP was that no sport hunting is allowed there and the game was allowed to overpopulate. A similiar situation is evident in Rocky Mt. NP. IMHO introducing a species that was not native to the area to control the game animals and classifying them as endangered, borders on criminal. It is surely not what Congress intended when they enacted the ESA. Pretty sad deal.What they should have done is put a 10" fence around the NP so the wolves could not get out and let them eat to their hearts content. Instead we all have to deal with them in our own way.
Sorry for my rant, but its not right and I have been and still am pretty ticked of about whats happened.