A Bull Ek, A Buck Deer and a Huge Black Wolf

Mustangs Rule

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A Bull Elk, A Buck Deer and a Huge Black Wolf



Some years ago I took a position teaching field biology at a rural high school near what once could have been the largest elk herd in the mountain west.



The core summer feeding ground was a meadow system that was many tens of thousands of acres and did not dry out during the hot summers. By virtue of a natural hydrology system from surrounding mountains it was so well watered. It was a grazing goldmine, borderline marshland.



How many thousands of elk and deer must have once been there can only be imagined. Add to that the surrounding higher ground, offered the best imaginable elk wintering ground with endless bitter brush. This was once "An Elk Serengeti” .



The ground was so well watered naturally that much of it was too moist, too soft for the heavy equipment needed for harvesting hay. In the spring the caravans of trucks towing cattle trailers came, and came and came. The cattle numbered not in the hundreds but in the several thousands. They were hauled away fat in the fall. The winter temps there could get to 30 below and the land covered with four feet of snow.



To the best of my knowledge the main elk herd was reduced to between 150 and 200. I actually did winter count on snowshoes and verified that number myself. There were other scattered pockets of elk, but still a pittance compared to the number that were once there.



Near the meadow system there was a huge chunk of forest dark and deep. I roamed, I scouted, I tracked and in the middle of two roaring mountain creeks there was some country opened up by a fire decades ago. I hunted deer there, and would take a nice buck, up close and personal with my .308 Sako Finnlight Carbine. I quartered it out, and carried it out, over a roaring creek. So great it was to be so young and strong.



While there, I came across what was surely the hugest pile of wolf scat I had ever seen, jet black, blue black, shiny full of processed protein.



It was from a huge lone male timber wolf. This remote open space deep in the forest was his home.



There were not supposed to be any wolves here at all. I checked and later I called those state and federal biologists in charge of such information. Once I identified myself as a biologist, they verified that, they flooded me with info and asked that I give them anything I could. Hair samples for DNA identification would be great.



Getting those would prove easy. On the edge of the national forest was part of that great grassland and this big male wolf would go there about every week to eat a calf or yearling cow, and he would cross a barbed wire fence and leave a small bundle of hair,,,all black like his dung.



Considering how much the cattle industry had taken from that land, the loss of critical habitat for thousands of elk, as many deer for sure, it seemed like what he was taking was nothing, but I am sure the ranchers would disagree, but I am not a rancher.



I am a biologist and big game hunter and could only wish those tens of thousands of acres of grassland were still covered with deer, elk and wolves. Wolves which following an ancient relationship were keeping the big game herds cleansed of the prions that have always been there and cause Chronic Wasting Disease. CWD has now reached epidemic level in many areas. All it does it does is spread and get worse. We lost the clean up crew that pulled it out of the general herd population and condensed it, in the wolves and their dung and pee which herbivores want nothing to do with.



Every year who knows how many tens of thousands of hunters and their families are eating meat with an unpredictable disease causing agent in it. The dieases caused by prions have incredibley long incubations periods,,,years.

I only hunt deer and elk where there are wolves.

Making tracking the big wolf easy, there was a gravel forest service road running parallel to the meadow land and during light fall snow after I took my deer when later hunting grouse I saw his tracks and did the measurements. They were staggering just a few inches less center of hip joint to center of shoulder joint than a fully mature bull elk who also lived in that dark timber but went out daily to graze in the grassland.



Often I would see where this big wolf peed and pooped and I would offer my own to match. I followed him, he followed me, I never saw him but he saw me. Once I tracked him in a small half circle and saw where he sat under a pine tree and watched me walk right by.



One day I saw that there were two wolves, a female wolf had found him. Their tracks showed a new playful pattern of running on fallen logs, under them, big and small circles chasing each other,,,all play.



After the cattle were hauled away for the winter, the wolves hung around for a bit. Then one day a big snow fell. I snowshoed out to where I saw their tracks so often.



There were huge drifts and snow so deep the females belly was dragging in the snow. They were heading straight for the higher rolling hills that were covered with bitter brush and the wintering ground for elk.



I bear those wolves no ill will. Actually I wish them well, keeping the elk herd clean during a time when the elk are bunched up together and can spread disease.



MR



 

Mustangs Rule

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I just noticed I misspelled Elk in the title,,,wrote Ek instead. No spell check there,,,I was the mercy of what is called "unconscious auto correct" A writer can look right at something that is spelled wrong and our mind will see it as we want to see it. Kinda spooky, happens all the time. Leave it for a second and the error will become obvious. We do this all the time not just in writing, we see things as we want or expect to see them. Lots of mule deer does get shot seeing the white lines around their ears as antlers, or does in brush with hunters imaginng the sticks are antlers.

Great book titled "Deep Survival" covers all this well.

MR
 

Mustangs Rule

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I juat went global researching the connection between CWD and wolves.

Alaska with lots of wolves has no CWD.

Canada which has waged a war against wolves is loaded with CWD.

Norway went to war with wolves only has 33 which came in from Sweden and has CWD, but Sweden which srictly protects it wolves, has over 250 and growing has no CWD.

Korea wiped out it's wolves and has CWD.

And here is the big one, Russia, a huge country is the wolf capitol of the world, has many hunters and so many big game animals but has has no CWD.

The data supporting that wolves and CWD don't mix just keeps coming in all around the world.
 

Mustangs Rule

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Here are a few more things to consider. Then it is time for me to get on with my day.



Idaho is loaded with wolves and has no CWD. From what I read Idaho plans to go to war wiping out most of their wolves.



Washington and Oregon do not have CWD, but if Idaho does wipe out it’s wolves it will be likely get it and spread it to Oregon and Washington over time.



Migrating elk can really move CWD around fast and far



Utah is seeing the La Sal Mountains on the Colorado border as it’s new CWD capitol. I used to hunt elk in central Utah regularly at a ranch which I had a cow tags for every year



One very warm winter they did not come down. I was taken on a ride up to a sister ranch at higher elevation. I could not hunt there but got to see a herd of 1,200 elk, all in one group.



Such large groups are very prone to spreading disease. One of the other functions of wolves is to keep breaking up larger groups.



I looked at that group of 1,200 elk, looked to east where CWD was firmly established and spreading and there was not one wolf standing in the way of that disease spreading west.

Such short sighted anti science foolishness
 

Gerald Martin

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Montana didn’t have widespread CWD until well after wolves were well established… so there’s that going for the Wolf/CWD theory.
 

Mustangs Rule

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Minnesota is loaded with wolves and CWD is spreading every year. Coming from deer farms which should made illegal.
You are right. But the locations are opposite. The wolves are in the remote northern areas. The CWD in the central mass then it spread. As always CWD seems associated with game farms where animals are confined to tight quaters
 

URHO

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You are right. But the locations are opposite. The wolves are in the remote northern areas. The CWD in the central mass then it spread. As always CWD seems associated with game farms where animals are confined to tight quaters
Wrong! I live 90 miles straight east of Fargo ND. Lots of wolves around here. Been seeing them for more than 15 years. They're way more distributed than the "official" maps say they are.
 

Mustangs Rule

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Montana didn’t have widespread CWD until well after wolves were well established… so there’s that going for the Wolf/CWD theory.
I recall when Montana was CWD free and yes it had wolves too Then the very first outbreak came in the cetral part of the state near a canned hunt operation. There was a rush to close them down, but they are big money and very powerful.

We have two scenarios going on at once. An ancient one where game animmals and wolves have been interacting togther in balance. In that scenario, where there are wolves you do not have CWD. The CWD cat did not get out of the bag. Sweden, Russia and Alaska are opperating with that old scenario.

Then we have a newer scenario. Prions have always been around, in the ground, undead like vampires. The canned hunt operations have created terrible situations for infection.

New bursts of infection can come from other sources. I knew hunters. many of them, who lived in non-CWD states, then hunted in CWD states, and did not follow the rules. They just came home with quarters, spinal tissue, and the head.

All it takes is one transfer.

Deer urine scents can have CWD prions in it. Another means of transfer.

Just recently plant uptake has been recognized as a source of CWD transfer.

Look at all these hay trucks driving everwhere. If an animal with CWD prions dies there, then with time the prions will be in the alfalfa which is hauled everywhere and eaten by animals in the field like deer or elk.

In our modern world the greed of canned hunt operations and a whole group of other factors have really messed up a mess even more.

But our wilderness areas still offer a safer harbor if they have wolves playing the same role they have played for eons.

I only hunt where there are wolves. I have friend of 30 years who lives and hunts in a part of Wyoming with plenty of wolves and no CWD.

He takes an elk every year, always gets it tested and it always is negative.

Whenever he takes an elk, he leaves some cuts behind, even some backstrap as a thank you for the wolves which will be there soon. to thank them for keeping the animals he hunts and feeds to his family clean and free of CWD.

Trying to argue this point with me is futile. On my side is the wisdom of the ancient natural world and study after study coming out from one university after another.

All you have is old ideas about how bad wolves are from the cattle industry. Since when have been hunter friends anyway.

Did you know that in 1905 the cattle industry used its political power to have vetennarians intentionally release sarcoptic mange in the Rocky mountains. The intent was toliterally torture to death any wolf of other small predators.

Look up "psychedelic wolves". Wolves lose up to 40% of their hair from this mange. then they need to eat more.

I have no issue cleanly killing a animals as a hunter, but what they did was literally biological warfare. Enjoy your hamburger.
 

NDcoyote

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Aww... I get it now! The moose and elk that are killed by wolves for the thrill and left lay without eating have cwd or some other disease!!!
 

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