Elk vs. Wolves

88man

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Wolves will definitely disburse and push resident elk / moose around. If you've found your honey-hole, that may likely change and you will have to adapt as the wolf population increases and if your state is anything like Montana... example Colorado - figure yourself... far beyond our numbers and not able to hunt until... well, the eco - extremes had Montana Wyoming and Idaho strangled far too long. Now we (MT and ID) sit at 8-14x's the minimal # USFWS requires before a state flags on their radar. It's an f-d road that CO now must start their hell with eco-extremist attorneys who's pockets are lined by NYC, LA, Portland-ians....
They are not gonna push the moose around they are gonna eat them.
 

Sytes

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There will be roadblocks, but they will be local, New Jersey cat ladies don't have a say in CO wolves... boulder cat ladies though...
It was related towards the funding for woof protections/legal obstruction $$$, for NYC / Portland.

Have they announced the minimum between the woof lovers and State biologists fun managed population quota hunting, etc?

Wonder how that will work in Estes Park. Haha! :)
 

wllm1313

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It was related towards the funding for woof protections/legal obstruction $$$, for NYC / Portland.

Have they announced the minimum between the woof lovers and State biologists fun managed population quota hunting, etc?

Wonder how that will work in Estes Park. Haha! :)
The language in the bill was "self-sustaining population." Thye are a long ways off from figuring out quotas as far as I know.

To be honest given the nature of hunting in CO I'm less worried about lawsuits/quotas/hunting as methods of take. Most wolves in other states are taken via trapping, and there is no trapping in CO (mostly), plus CO has a ridiculously complicated season structure. I would not be surprised if the wolf season was set up in such a way as to make take very low.
 

bullbugle307

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Just wait to you see how the moose tags drop over the next 20 years. Don't worry it will be blamed on climate change and loose of habitat. Moose are gonna take a really big decrease in population in a short period of time.
Moose aren't even native to a number of states that have them, like Wyoming and Colorado. Wolves are. I think that's important to remember.

And moose aren't doing well in a hell of a lot of places that don't have wolves or grizzley bears, other than the rare young male that's out on a walkabout. There's a lot of reasons for this, including eating themselves out of food in some areas, increased overlap with whitetail deer and exposure to their parasites, ticks, habitat loss, predation by humans, black bears and mountain lions, and yes, climate change. Do I feel bad for the moose and want more of them, sure? But let's try to look at the whole issue here.

And before you consider a rebuttal and write me off as another dude who's never stepped foot out of doors or a classroom, please consider that, while I'm no moose expert, I have a 4 year degree in Wildlife Biology, I've pulled a brainworm out of a blinded and broken jawed moose during a necropsy, pulled teeth for aging, and been part of a group that darted a moose, hobbled it, and stuck a device inside of it to monitor its vitals while taking other measurements, tagging etc. I've packed out every single load of deboned meat from a bow killed shiras moose on my back. Not to mention bottle feeding a baby bighorn sheep, setting sonar units and gill nets in Alaska to monitor salmon runs, locating animals using radio telemetry, collecting and helping analyze data for doctoral level peer reviewed studies, capturing and handling more fish in a summer than most will in a lifetime etc... I tell you this not to brag, but because a lot of folks hear things they don't like and like and tend to write it off as coming from someone who has no clue. It appears to me that some of your statements fit that bill. Now, when you hear something you don't like from a biologist who knows their chit, keep in mind that they're experiences and knowledge often times makes mine look like child's play in comparison. You might wanna listen to them. Do they get it wrong sometimes, sure, but science is generally pretty self correcting over time. More often than not, when agencies screw up, its due to b.s. politics rather than the boots on the ground not knowing what they're talking about.

Apologies for ranting at you. I'll step off the soapbox now.
 
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88man

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Moose aren't even native to a number of states that have them, like Wyoming and Colorado. Wolves are. I think that's important to remember.

And moose aren't doing well in a hell of a lot of places that don't have wolves or grizzley bears, other than the rare young male that's out on a walkabout. There's a lot of reasons for this, including eating themselves out of food in some areas, increased overlap with whitetail deer and exposure to their parasites, ticks, habitat loss, predation by humans, black bears and mountain lions, and yes, climate change. Do I feel bad for the moose and want more of them, sure? But let's try to look at the whole issue here.

And before you consider a rebuttal and write me off as another dude who's never stepped foot out of doors or a classroom, please consider that, while I'm no moose expert, I have a 4 year degree in Wildlife Biology, I've pulled a brainworm out of a blinded and broken jawed moose during a necropsy, pulled teeth for aging, and been part of a group that darted a moose, hobbled it, and stuck a device inside of it to monitor its vitals while taking other measurements, tagging etc. I've packed out every single load of deboned meat from a bow killed shiras moose on my back. Not to mention bottle feeding a baby bighorn sheep, setting sonar units and gill nets in Alaska to monitor salmon runs, locating animals using radio telemetry, collecting and helping analyze data for doctoral level peer reviewed studies, capturing and handling more fish in a summer than most will in a lifetime etc... I tell you this not to brag, but because a lot of folks hear things they don't like and like and tend to write it off as coming from someone who has no clue. It appears to me that some of your statements fit that bill. Now, when you hear something you don't like from a biologist who knows their chit, keep in mind that they're experiences and knowledge often times makes mine look like child's play in comparison. You might wanna listen to them. Do they get it wrong sometimes, sure, but science is generally pretty self correcting over time. More often than not, when agencies screw up, its due to b.s. politics rather than the boots on the ground not knowing what they're talking about.

Apologies for ranting at you. I'll step off the soapbox now.
I have never touched a moose. I did get to see a bunch of them in the 1990s in Wy down southfork, wood river and in the sunlight basin. I bet you can't find a moose there today. They didn't die from the brain worm, they were eaten by wolves. We don't need a million dollar study by a biased hipster to prove it either way. Wy moose areas 6,7,8,9,11,15,32,37 how many moose tags were issued in those units in 1992 and how many today?? Carotid Artery worm wiped the moose out in those units " come on man". No way you believe that. Foxes don't eat chickens either.
Of course there are many issues with the moose decline but in North North West Wyoming the units I mentioned you gotta agree that wolves have been the biggest factor in the decline.
Colorado might have more Moose now than Wyoming does. Hum I wonder why? Lets talk about this in 20 years. I hope I am wrong.
 

bullbugle307

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I have never touched a moose. I did get to see a bunch of them in the 1990s in Wy down southfork, wood river and in the sunlight basin. I bet you can't find a moose there today. They didn't die from the brain worm, they were eaten by wolves. We don't need a million dollar study by a biased hipster to prove it either way. Wy moose areas 6,7,8,9,11,15,32,37 how many moose tags were issued in those units in 1992 and how many today?? Carotid Artery worm wiped the moose out in those units " come on man". No way you believe that. Foxes don't eat chickens either.
Of course there are many issues with the moose decline but in North North West Wyoming the units I mentioned you gotta agree that wolves have been the biggest factor in the decline.
Colorado might have more Moose now than Wyoming does. Hum I wonder why? Lets talk about this in 20 years. I hope I am wrong.
Never said anything about the wolves and moose in NW Wyoming other than the fact that moose are not native to Wyoming and wolves are.

Anyways, your beating the hell out of a straw man here. If you go back and actually read what I wrote, I never claimed brainworm wiped out all the moose in NW Wyo either. And I never claimed wolves didn't kill a lot of moose either. And frankly, neither did anyone else.

I did point out that moose aren't doing well, for a number of reasons, in areas where there is no wolf predation on moose.

But by all means, write anything you don't wanna hear off as some hipster shit, even though a ton of the research on these topics are done by folks that are much nearer to being boomers, or a tad younger.
 

Bowhunter999

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Lots of people go to Yellowstone to see the wolves. Brings money to WY, MY, and Idaho.
Let’s see who gets hurt worse, businesses that lose income from the lack of wolf viewers or those from the lack of hunters monies ! I will put my money on the lack of hunters, due to a lack of elk or other game animals, due to too many wolves !!!
 

bullbugle307

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Let’s see who gets hurt worse, businesses that lose income from the lack of wolf viewers or those from the lack of hunters monies ! I will put my money on the lack of hunters, due to a lack of elk or other game animals, due to too many wolves !!!
Maybe? One thing to consider is hunting seasons are pretty damn short. But people wanna go see wolves year round. And they stay in the same hotels, eat at the same restaurants etc
 

bullbugle307

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Let’s see who gets hurt worse, businesses that lose income from the lack of wolf viewers or those from the lack of hunters monies ! I will put my money on the lack of hunters, due to a lack of elk or other game animals, due to too many wolves !!!
And then there's that whole thing where we're killing record numbers of elk in Wyoming despite all those wolves.
 

wllm1313

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Maybe? One thing to consider is hunting seasons are pretty damn short. But people wanna go see wolves year round. And they stay in the same hotels, eat at the same restaurants etc
Outside of the Lamar Valley where do tourists regularly go to go to see wolves?

Read about RMNP and then tell me if that's where you think we should re-introduce wolves.

There will be little if any "wolf tourism" in CO. The idea that wolves will generate any income for anyone other than lawyers is pretty absurd. No one other than ranchers and hunters will see wolves.

To your moose point... maybe not native, same thing with goats, maybe. Does it really mater, we've dicked around with every system in the state, predator and prey... and if we are trying to get back to "before" when is before 1800?, 1700? 1000?.

Wildlife exists because people fight for it and/or it doesn't conflict with humans. Elk aren't in most of there historic range because people don't want them eating their crops.

Given that reality I'm not going to be excited about trashing 50 years of conservation work.

Wolves made it into CO on their own, they are a part of the landscape, managing them will be a burden for the agencies and a net revenue loss.

I'd like to see G-bears return to CO as well, and they would be an even bigger loss.

It's not all about the money, but you also need to be real about predators impact.
 
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88man

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And then there's that whole thing where we're killing record numbers of elk in Wyoming despite all those wolves.
Yes correct in the non core wolf areas but certainly not in the north west. Are you saying more elk were killed in 2020 in units 51,53,55,56,59,60,61,62 than in 1998?? I don't think so. Heck I bet just in unit 61 alone the the difference is over 500 maybe closer to 1000 elk. Used to be 1000's of reduced price cow tags in 61 with a generous season and tons of public ground to hunt.
Yes also record numbers on private. Wolves ate the elk/deer/moose on the north west public.
 

88man

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Outside of the Lamar Valley where do tourists regularly go to go to see wolves?

Read about RMNP and then tell me if that's where you think we should re-introduce wolves.

There will be little if any "wolf tourism" in CO. The idea that wolves will generate any income from anyone other than lawyers pretty absurd. No one other than ranchers and hunters will see wolves.

To your moose point... maybe not native, same thing with goats, maybe. Does it really mater, we've dicked around with every system in the state, predator and prey... and if we are trying to get back to "before" when is before 1800?, 1700? 1000?.

Wildlife exists because people fight for it and/or it doesn't conflict with humans. Elk aren't in most of there historic range because people don't want them eating their crops.

Given that reality I'm not going to be excited about trashing 50 years of conservation work.

Wolves made it into CO on their own, they are a part of the landscape, managing them will be a burden for the agencies and a net revenue loss.

I'd like to see G-bears return to CO as well, and they would be an even bigger loss.

It's not all about the money, but you also need to be real about predators impact.
Well said
 

bullbugle307

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Well said
I'm saying exactly what I said, and nothing else. Go back and read it and quit trying to put words in my mouth. If I wanted to argue that the elk harvest increased in NW Wyo, I would've. If I wanted to say I thought wolves should be reintroduced into RMNP, I would've. If I wanted moose removed from CO and WY, guess what, I would've said that too! I don't want wolves reintroduced in Colorado, let them do it on their own and manage the damn things.

Where was I not real about the impacts of predation? Go back and read what I wrote!
 
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bullbugle307

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Outside of the Lamar Valley where do tourists regularly go to go to see wolves?

Read about RMNP and then tell me if that's where you think we should re-introduce wolves.

There will be little if any "wolf tourism" in CO. The idea that wolves will generate any income for anyone other than lawyers is pretty absurd. No one other than ranchers and hunters will see wolves.

To your moose point... maybe not native, same thing with goats, maybe. Does it really mater, we've dicked around with every system in the state, predator and prey... and if we are trying to get back to "before" when is before 1800?, 1700? 1000?.

Wildlife exists because people fight for it and/or it doesn't conflict with humans. Elk aren't in most of there historic range because people don't want them eating their crops.

Given that reality I'm not going to be excited about trashing 50 years of conservation work.

Wolves made it into CO on their own, they are a part of the landscape, managing them will be a burden for the agencies and a net revenue loss.

I'd like to see G-bears return to CO as well, and they would be an even bigger loss.

It's not all about the money, but you also need to be real about predators impact.
Read about RMNP? I've only been going there for 3 decades.
 

Hydrophilic

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@bullbugle307 You are making good points and I appreciate your perspective.

Regarding economic value of wolves, I think there is more of an intrinsic value personally. The intrinsic value of wilderness areas do not have a price tag associated with them. For many, wolves represent wilderness. This has been romanticized for decades, see Aldo Leopold‘s writings and countless others.

Myself, a lifelong hunter, I do not feel like every unit in every state needs to be managed for maximum deer/elk output, and maximum opportunity. Of course that will be unpopular here but it’s my opinion.

Hunting is more/less a special interest group where conservation is put on the back burner if it’s in direct conflict with hunters interests.

There is a saying “Hunting is conservation.” Is hunting truly conservation when the monies from tags and taxes fund conservation, other than deer/elk, that hunters spend countless time and energy complaining about, and lobbying against because it doesn’t result in the maximum amount of huntable game possible? I suppose, ultimately so. But I think about that one a lot.
 

wllm1313

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Read about RMNP? I've only been going there for 3 decades.
Great so you already know that Rocky has 4.6MM visitors to Yellowstone 4.1MM while being 1/10th the size. You also know that Rocky is a park of rock and ice, not at all like Yellowstone, it has a tiny population of elk, with only 300-400 wintering in the park, 500-600 more winter in Estes. Compare that to Yellowstone which before wolves held 20,000 elk.

Both RMNP and GSNP did feasibility studies on wolves and both said that they were not a good fit, both parks were against reintroduction.

This leaves you with the Flat Tops and the San Juans as most likely sites for reintroduction. SJ ungulate herds are already in decline, the Flat Top elk herd is doing well and :rolleyes: already has wolves on it's doorstep.

Maybe I'm an idiot but I doubt the boulder crowd is going to be hiring outfitters to pack them into the Flat Tops to try and glimpse a wolf. You just don't have the dynamic of Yellowstone with wolves chasing elk next to the road anywhere else.

Further, unlike Yellowstone every other elk population in CO is hunted so elk won't act like they do in Yellowstone to begin with, wolves will hunt elk where they are, in the thick stuff or on huge private ranches.

This quote was brought up during the recent CPW wolf presentation and I think it's a great one.

"In any case, any such cascading effects of wolves found in National Parks would have little relevance to most of the wolf range because of overriding anthropogenic influences there on wolves, prey, vegetation, and other parts of the food web. The wolf is neither a saint nor a sinner except to those who want to make it so. " - David Mech
 

Panda Bear

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Further, unlike Yellowstone every other elk population in CO is hunted so elk won't act like they do in Yellowstone to begin with, wolves will hunt elk where they are, in the thick stuff or on huge private ranches.

This quote was brought up during the recent CPW wolf presentation and I think it's a great one.

"In any case, any such cascading effects of wolves found in National Parks would have little relevance to most of the wolf range because of overriding anthropogenic influences there on wolves, prey, vegetation, and other parts of the food web. The wolf is neither a saint nor a sinner except to those who want to make it so. " - David Mech
I dont respnd to these threads often as I dont have a wolf in the fight, so to speak---but

the two quotes above are good ones !

Another point that was mentioned was people paying to see the wolf in the wilderness . Nobody pays to drive or fly here just to see a wolf. Wolf tags are included in hunts for other animals, but many times you never see them. How do you keep them by the road ? Interesting, I will have to research this a bit as maybe I am misunderstanding that point about people paying to see wolfs in the wilderness . And if they dont see any, do they get their money back ?
 

bullbugle307

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Great so you already know that Rocky has 4.6MM visitors to Yellowstone 4.1MM while being 1/10th the size. You also know that Rocky is a park of rock and ice, not at all like Yellowstone, it has a tiny population of elk, with only 300-400 wintering in the park, 500-600 more winter in Estes. Compare that to Yellowstone which before wolves held 20,000 elk.

Both RMNP and GSNP did feasibility studies on wolves and both said that they were not a good fit, both parks were against reintroduction.

This leaves you with the Flat Tops and the San Juans as most likely sites for reintroduction. SJ ungulate herds are already in decline, the Flat Top elk herd is doing well and :rolleyes: already has wolves on it's doorstep.

Maybe I'm an idiot but I doubt the boulder crowd is going to be hiring outfitters to pack them into the Flat Tops to try and glimpse a wolf. You just don't have the dynamic of Yellowstone with wolves chasing elk next to the road anywhere else.

Further, unlike Yellowstone every other elk population in CO is hunted so elk won't act like they do in Yellowstone to begin with, wolves will hunt elk where they are, in the thick stuff or on huge private ranches.

This quote was brought up during the recent CPW wolf presentation and I think it's a great one.

"In any case, any such cascading effects of wolves found in National Parks would have little relevance to most of the wolf range because of overriding anthropogenic influences there on wolves, prey, vegetation, and other parts of the food web. The wolf is neither a saint nor a sinner except to those who want to make it so. " - David Mech
I don't think your an idiot. Based on your posts I know you're not. Sorry for being pissy, but I try to always pick my statements very carefully, and I hate it when someone puts words in my mouth and then goes the straw man route.

I think you bring up some very valid points about RMNP vs Yellowstone. I didn't make a definitive statement about wolf tourism, I just thought we should consider the fact that hunting seasons are much shorter than wolf viewing seasons. I made that statement based on Wyoming stuff, and your right that that isn't all that applicable to CO.
 
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Trap

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Lots of people go to Yellowstone to see the wolves. Brings money to WY, MY, and Idaho.
That’s a bullshit statement some people might be excited to see wolves in Yellowstone but they were going there anyway. Idaho lost tons of money on elk tags post wolves and actually discounted nr tags and passed a law allowing residents to buy nr tags as second tags at out of state prices. Many outfitters went broke. Multi generation family outfit businesses went broke. It was only after aggressive wolf hunting and trapping that nr elk and deer hunters came back. None of that money was replaced from someone getting their jollies seeing a wolf in Yellowstone. To the op wolves change elk behavior in a major way. Top three I experienced were elk almost completely stopped talking. Almost no bugling during archery if wolves have been in area. Second when wolves move in I have seen multiple large herds completely leave an area. Eventually when wolves move on they can come back. Third get ready for every elk to move on to private and right next to town. The wolves will push them out of the high country and right next to town. It’s been kind of a double whammy for Idaho elk the wolves pushed them out of the mountains and then Idaho fish and game went ballistic with cow tags and depredation tags because crop damage skyrocketed. Idaho elk are getting back in good shape but only after super aggressive hunting and trapping seasons. Our wilderness areas probably will never be what they once were it’s just too difficult to reliably trap back there and check every 72 hours. Wolves and healthy elk herds just don’t mix.
 

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