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April 5, 2012     The Adams County Record
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April 5, 2012

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The Adams County Record Wednesday, April 4, 2012 Page 11 Do Wolves Benefit the Eco System Continued from front page before that, "so a few wolves killing an abun- dance of elk that had not been exposed to wolves for over 50 years was exactly like letting your German Shepherd loose in a sheep pasture for a month or two." He added, "Is anyone really surprised that elk have 'arthritis, dis- ease, injuries, or severely depleted fat reserves' at any time? Does anyone really think that, unlike all other animals including man, there are elk that are 'perfect' specimens, much less that there herds of such animals?" About the age of the ani- mals, Beers said, "Those elk were being 'managed' on a sustainable basis by adjoining states for bulls that were sought by hunt- ers. I am supposed to be surprised that the first cows killed were '14 years of age' o r that the bulls were '5.4 years old'? Dr. Craig White said cows start declining in their ability to get preg- nant as they age. So to some extent, wolves kill- ing older cows might, in thebry, leave the healthier, younger cows to breed. HbWever, this is probably made up for of calves killed by wolves. Jim Beers: Wolves kill healthy 00nimals. They ften avoid animals that appear sick(do you think that might be a time-test- ed way to survive?) While we are on this, like the rest of us, wolves like veal and will kill pregnant cows and eat the fetus only. Wolves will kill a lot of animals at once (winter yards, pas- tures, peninsulas, etc.) given the opportunity and eat only a mouthful or two. Wolves no more 'prey on the weakest ani- mals; than they 'never attack humans' or stop killing prey at some imagi- nary point when they real- ize that 'overpopulation' is suddenly eliminated." Assumption #2 On the second assump- tion, that killing the weak, sick and old animals in a herd benefits the herd, some people argue that wolf predation differs from human hunting because wolves primarily take the young, sick and old, rather than the larg- est and healthiest animals that hunters kill. Jim Beers says this whole line of thinking is nonsense: "Wolves take what they can, given the opportunity. Hunting takes a predetermined number of certain kinds of individuals from certain areas to attain a specific goal determined by the consensus of local com- munities based on experi- ence and human benefits. Comparing the two is like comparing the take of salmon by seals and sea lions with the sport-fish- )ng take of salmon. One is chaos, with only losses for humans, while the other is stability with only ben- efits for humans. I leave it to you to decide which is which or which is 'health- ier:' I asked Beers why it might be good to kill off the older animals, and how does it hurt a herd to have sick or weak ani- mals? His reply: "You tell me. What is 'good'? Do you want more of the ani- mals or less? Do you want hunting? Do you want to minimize depredation? Do you want to maximize 'viewing'? What is 'sick bers, obviously that herd or weak? Sick with what? is composed of healthier Weak, as in young or preg- members. But what exact- nant females? what does it mean to 'hurt a herd'? Wild animals, like domes- tic animals, can and do serve many purposes. Human owners and local communities supported by state governments are the place for such decisions in the overall context of the U. S. Constitution. This time-tested and national system has been turned on its head and, when thought through, is being used to further jeopar- dize our national con- struct, especially in rural America." Hunting does one thing that wolves don't, and that is that Hunting dol- lars are a major source of money for habitat improvement and biologi- cal studies, which in turn help maintain healthier herds Hunter harvest can be limited through num- bers of tags issued, bag limits, length of seasons, and specification of sex of the animal harvested. In this way, only the surplus of an ungulate population is generally hunted. If the need arises that a popu- lation needs reduction, it is easilyaccomplished by allowing an 'any sex' hunt and increasing tag num- bers. Wolves do none of the above. Personally, I just can't make the "wolves help herd health" argument make any sense, lust for the sake of argument, let's say it's true that wolves kill off the weak, sick and otherwise dysfunctional members of a population. If you have a group of animals without any sick or old or injured mem- ly is the point of having all healthy members? How does that benefit the herd or make it function any better? It's absurd to say killing the babies helps. It's hard to see how killing the older animals helps. Elk and deer don't generally stand around and wait for a dysfunctional mem- ber of the herd to keep up; they don't go out of their way to help a sick or injured herd member. If all the sick, injured, arthrit- ic and old members of human society were elimi- nated, the human race would be "healthier" but would we benefit? (It's not a fair comparison because, unlike elk or deer, we help and care for each other.) The one and only aspect of this argument that I see as having any merit, is the chance that a herd member has a contagious disease that could spread through the herd. And that will be the subject of next week's article. q-he wolf hunting sea- Wildlife, said, "It's very son ended March 31 in clear, becoming increas- Idaho, with 372 wolves ingly clear that Idaho's killed in the state since going to just simply the season opened ion reduce wolf numbers August 30, 2011. In the down to the very bare McCall-Weiser Zone, bones. You can't manage hunters killed 29. This a species down to a few reduces the number of hundred and expect it wolves in Idaho by about to be ecologically func- half. tional" Wolf advocates are More than 43,000 alarmed at the number Idaho wolf tags were of wolves killed, saying purchased by hunters it threatens the ecologi- from both in and out cal role of wolves in the of the state. The success ecosystem. However rate for individual hunt- the goal population of ers was not high (rough- wolves in the Northwest , ly one out of every 115 states was achieved in hunters), but Idaho 2002. Since then, wolf wildlife manager, Jon numbers have increased Rachael, says the hunt steadily. Suzanne Stone met the state's goals. with Defenders of "We're pretty pleased Wolf Hunting Season Ends Frank Glaser spent 40 years roam- ing the remote areas of Alaska from 1915 to 1955, hunting and trapping for a living. He hunted, trapped and studied wolves all those years, and came to understand them about as well as any human ever could.The following is from Alaska's Wolf Man by Jim Rearden-the story of Frank Glaser. "Balance of nature" idealists (there is no such thing a the balance of nature; there is a see-saw of nature) love to claim that wolves take main- ly the sick, halt and lame, and they are beneficial to the health of their prey species. I don't see it that way. Caribou cows heavy with calf--ar- guably the most valuable to the spe- des- are more vulnerable to wolves than barren cows. Caribou calves, the future of the species, are even more vulnerable. And then there are the old bulls, important for breed- ing. ., In the Alaska Range the caribou  rut ends in late October. By mid- December the antlers of the adult caribou bulls are shed. These old bulls are very thin at this time, almost walking skeletons. In late December, January, and into February they are easy prey for wolves. ! have often found seven or eight skinny old bull caribou in one place where wolves killed them, with only a little meat eaten out of a few of the hindquarters. Often it seems as if it is the fun of killing that entices the wolves. The wolves weren't really hungry; they simply with the progress hunt- ers and trappers made. The intention was to reduce the wolf popula- tion and results of this year's harvest season suggest we are mov- ing in that direction; Rachael stated. The Idaho Fish and Game Commission recently decided to expand wolf hunting in the next season, starting this fall. Trapping will be allowed in more areas. And in the north, hunt- ers will be allowed to take up five wolves each. Wolf Contest In Grangeville, the Idaho County Sportsmen Club is holding a Largest Wolf killed because the tired old skinny bulls were vulnerable, easy prey. In extreme cold, when a caribou runs at full speed for any distance, its tongue hangs way out, wag- ging back and forth at every bound. When a wolf manages to catch up to a caribou when its tongue dangles, it may leap and grab the tongue. One quick bite and the tongue is gone. The caribou hemorrhages, and eventually dies. Several times as I watched winter chases I observed a wolf biting a caribou's tongue off, then ignoring that caribou to chase another. Seemingly, the predator realized that the tongueless caribou was done for. Young moose and caribou calves are especially vulnerable to wolf pre- dation. These are not "sick" or "mis- fig" animals needing to be weeded from the population. It takes a large number of wolves to pull down a mature hard-antlered bull moose in good condition, with good footing. * But two or three wolves can finish off the biggest bull that ever lived if he's antlerless and bogged down in deep and crusted snow. Mature moose or caribou herd bulls with- out antlers and tired and weakened from a long, vigorous breeding sea- son can be killed easily by wolves; they aren't "sick" or "misfit" either. The wolf's cruelty is not exag- gerated, although that's viewing it from the human perspective. The wolf isn't intentionally cruel; he's just being a wolf. by Dale Hsk Contest, with prizes for largest male and female ($200 each), best pelt ($100), longest tooth (backpack) and largest paw (knife). To enter, contact Larry Hatter at Special Effects Taxidermy or bring your wolf pelt to Rae Brothers Sporting Goods in Main Street in Grangeville between 10:00 AM and 12:00 noon on Saturday, April 14th. Prizes will be awarded at noon. For more information, contact John Gaither, Presidentof the Idaho County Sportsmen Club, PO Box 171, Grangeville, ID 83530--(208) 983- 1685 or George Casted (208) 983-1538 Council Valley Free Library Book Shelf New Books at the Council Library Adult Fiction Sun Dance by S. W. Brouwer Death Benefit by Robin Cook Rainshadow Road by Lisa Kleypas Lover's Leap by Emily March Lone Wolf by Jodi Picoult Warrior Woman by lames Thom Non Fiction At Home by Bill Bryson Duck Cop by Terry Gbsz Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers by Stephen Buhner Almost Honemade byTaste of Home Tales ofthe Moun Laip" " Men by Lamar Underwood Everlasting Hatred iy.Hall dsey Fire Season by Phili Connors Wilderness Brothers- b G. Marshall luvenih Fiction The Tar Man by Archer by Linda Buckley-Archer The Time Quake by Linda Buckley-Archer Bark, George by Iules Feiffer, The Doll in the Garden by Mary Hahn Observations from an Expert