Feb 28

MT: Hunters take home 222 wolves as season comes to an end

Written by Erin Madison
Tribune staff writer

Today marks the last day of wolf season, the first season in which Montana allowed wolf trapping as well as hunting.

As of Wednesday, a total of 222 wolves had been harvested this season, 131 through hunting and 91 through trapping.

Last year, 166 wolves were hunted, falling short of the quota of 220 wolves.

This year’s wolf season was expanded to allow trapping and there was no statewide quota.

“This year, with the addition of trapping, we met last year’s quota,” said Ty Smucker, wolf management specialist with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks in Great Falls.

About two weeks ago, the Montana Legislature approved a bill that further expanded this year’s wolf hunt and went into effect immediately.

That bill allows hunters to purchase up to three wolf licenses, rather than the one they were previously allowed and lowered the price of a nonresident wolf license from $350 to $50.

The new law also allows wolf hunters to use their license after 24-hours of purchase, instead of the previous five-day wait; authorizes the use of electronic calls; and removes the requirement for wolf hunters to wear hunter-orange clothing after the general deer and elk hunting seasons have ended.

Despite those changes, nothing changed dramatically in the last two weeks of the wolf season, Smucker said.


Feb 28

WA: Ranchers raise voices over wolf concerns

Capital Press

COLVILLE, Wash. — Passions ran high in northeast Washington Wednesday as ranchers asked state wildlife officials why they’d put wolves ahead of their livelihoods.

“Why are these wolves so special and what do they do that is so great that we have to have them?” asked Bud Sampson, a retired farmer in the Hunters, Wash., area. “If you could tell me one thing they do good except cost us millions of dollars, run down all of our game animals and get rid of them. … You people don’t have the foggiest clue how to manage these wolves, and it’s been proven.”

He was among roughly 300 people attending the second of a series of meetings put on by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to address wolf-livestock conflicts. The department holds another meeting in Okanogan, Wash., Feb. 28 and is planning to address wolf impacts on ungulates in late March.

Department game division manager Dave Ware and department carnivore section manager Donny Martorello said the wolves have value, helping to cut down on other predators, particularly smaller predators like coyotes.

“They can have a tremendous impact on the overall ecosystem,” Ware said.

“In terms of what they do, it’s intangible stuff, it’s hard to pin down in a meeting like this, but there is a value to it,” Martorello said.

Many of the ranchers in attendance expressed their frustration over the situation, which has mirrored the rapid wolf population increases in states like Idaho and Montana. Several voiced concern that the government was violating their rights as citizens by mandating the wolves’ presence.

“It took an act of Congress to get them here, and it would likely take an act of Congress to get remove them,” Martorello told the audience.

“Where’s the line in the sand?” asked another member of the audience. “Do they have to attack my kids? When do I get to shoot the wolf?”

“I can’t believe the insanity of putting people at risk for shooting an animal that’s killing their animals,” said Terry Foster of Colville.

“If personal safety is at stake, shoot a wolf,” Ware said.

When personal property is at risk, the answer is different, he said. Ware said ranchers need to obtain a permit to kill a wolf caught in the act of preying on livestock.

Diamond M Ranch owner Len McIrvin, who lost many cattle to wolves near Laurier, Wash., last summer, expressed concern that he and other ranchers would be run out of business if the problem continues.

“We’re not going to let that happen,” Martorello said. “We’re going to act much sooner.”

He said the department is working to get legislators and the public to understand that killing wolves is part of wolf management, particularly when wolves shift from natural prey to livestock.


Feb 28

CA: Changing minds about wolves

The Times-Standard

EUREKA — Long considered an icon of the wild, wolves capture the imagination and spark controversy. Their return to the mountains, old-growth forests and wild coastlines of the Pacific Northwest renews age-old questions about the value of wildlands and wildlife.

Join wildlife tracker and photographer David Moskowitz at the Sequoia Park Zoo at 6 p.m. Friday for an evening of photography and stories from wild landscapes across the Pacific Northwest about the life history, ecology and conservation of the region’s apex carnivore.

The free event will include a slide show, talk and book-signing. Moskowitz is the author of the newly published “Wolves in the Land of Salmon.” He will be signing books after the slide show, and signed copies will be available for purchase at the event.

”This book is the result of my close observation and exploration of these smart, complex creatures as they live, hunt and communicate across the vastness of the Pacific Northwest,” said Moskowitz.

”I’ll also discuss how I traced their biology and ecology through firsthand encounters and challenge assumptions about their role and the impact of even well-meaning human interventions.”

Moskowitz, a professional wildlife tracker, photographer and outdoor educator, has contributed his technical expertise to a wide variety of wildlife studies regionally and in the Canadian and U.S. Rocky Mountains, focusing on using tracking and other non-invasive methods to study wildlife ecology and promote conservation.He has worked on projects studying rare forest carnivores, wolves, elk, Caspian terns, desert plant ecology and trophic cascades (an ecological phenomenon triggered by the addition or removal of top predators).

He helped establish the Cascade Citizen Wildlife Monitoring Project, a citizen-science effort to search for and monitor rare and sensitive wildlife in the Cascade Mountains and other Northwest wildlands.

The talk will take place in the zoo’s classroom in the Secrets of the Forest building at 6 p.m. There is no charge to attend, and both zoo members and non-members are invited. Enter through the main zoo gates.

”We are pleased to host Mr. Moskowitz at the zoo and hear the stories from his new book firsthand,” said Zoo Manager Gretchen Ziegler. “The story of wolves and grizzly bears in California will play an important role in our upcoming ‘Native Predators’ exhibits.”

Sequoia Park Zoo inspires conservation of the natural world by instilling wonder, respect and passion for wildlife. Established in 1907, Sequoia Park Zoo is the oldest zoo in California and one of the smallest accredited zoos in the country. It is located at 3414 W St. in Eureka.

For more information, visit www.sequoiaparkzoo.net.