Hunters and Trappers call for fewer wolves

Gerald Martin

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Key being along open roads vs closed/gated roads. As I understand it will only allow the setbacks to decrease on roads closed to vehicle travel. By the time wolf trapping commences, most other hunting with dogs other than hounds has ceased.

In the case of the dog in the bobcat cubby, that was already illegal and would remain so.
 

Gerald Martin

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I'm not a wolf hater, but the reality of NW MT is we have been seeing a decline in the amount of elk in the mountains. Total numbers are slightly down overall in my home unit of 121, but the distribution of elk is heavily slanted towards the lower elevations where they don't have extensive winter time predation from wolves. The herds in the valley are increasing, the herds that generally wintered in the mountains on south facing ridges are decreasing. This is an area that the elk do not migrate long ranges to winter range. Many elk only move a couple miles or less to south facing slopes.
Our bull/cow ratios have dropped from 18-20 bulls/ 100 cows in the early 2000's to 10-12/ 100 now. I think hunting pressure is not helping our elk either, but the bulls and bucks have always wintered higher than cow/does and I think that predation on the winter range has an undeniable impact since wolves have increased.
 

Gerald Martin

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I agree that longer seasons and night hunting isn't going do anything but cause problems. One thing that could help is an early start time for wolf trapping to help with the challenging conditions of snow/freezing/thawing with keeping traps working. That raises potential problems of not yet hibernating bears being unintentially caught so don't know if that will go anywhere.

The idea that more hunters/trappers getting licenses with longers seasons will reduce numbers is a non-starter. The incindental take of wolves from deer and elk hunters is not going to increase substantially with more hunters. The couple of guys who dedicate serious time to hunting/trapping wolves and really learn the game end up helping reduce the populations the most.

The vast majority of "wolf hunters" think that driving around the roads on a snowy winter day and looking at hours old tracks is getting them in the game. I spend a lot of time hunting lions and have seen hundreds of fresh wolf tracks, but never once a live wolf running in some of the highest densities of wolves in the state. It's a whole different program and the guy who wants to kill a wolf had better be prepared to spend a lot of time and put a lot of boot tracks on the ground. Very few have that desire.

JCS 271, you are one of the few that has killed multiple wolves and that is an incredible accomplishment.
 

Sytes

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2017, Hunters killed 65% of the 250 wolves. 35% taken by trappers.
http://fwp.mt.gov/news/newsReleases/fishAndWildlife/nr_1093.html

In the NW, seems Sterling (as an example) does very well. I've heard the cheers and the jeers for him though in the end, he gets it done. I would value a co-op, as used in Idaho, as a means to assist the financial aspects hunting and trapping wolves. I believe Idaho's program is specific to the trappers though if it expanded to hunters, it would be an incentive for wolf hunters such as Sterling.

My most recent "road hunt" was a snow plowing episode... several miles. I imagine I was a bit counter productive as I likely trained the wolves I was hunting with my superb wolf howls though they certainly make one work for it... no response throughout. I believe I came across two separate wolf tracks though the prior night snow filled them in a bit.

Also, if it is quota based... why not year round, etc? <serious question>

wolfhunt6.jpg
 
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tjones

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Year round?

Hunting wolves with pups in a den is one of many reasons.
 

Sytes

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Year round?

Hunting wolves with pups in a den is one of many reasons.
We hunt bears and must use our best judgement whether they are with young one(s) during spring. Same setting, no?
 

Ben Lamb

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Everyone I've talked who supports this freely admits they don't even kill one wolf per year.

If you have 6 months of opportunity and 5 tags, but you can't get it done, then don't blame anyone other than yourself. And quit seeking to erode the North American Model because you don't like wolves.
 

Sytes

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Everyone I've talked who supports this freely admits they don't even kill one wolf per year.

If you have 6 months of opportunity and 5 tags, but you can't get it done, then don't blame anyone other than yourself. And quit seeking to erode the North American Model because you don't like wolves.
It's odd to think that 65% are taken by hunters. I sure as heck know they are a royal challenge to hunt. I've spoken with several successful hunters and trappers and it's a royal B.

Not sure where you are going with your comment, Ben. Are you suggesting because there are discussions that hold bill proposals for season changes and support options for trappers on the table that somehow people who do not like wolves are (Or in my case - I appreciate the wolves as part of our ecosystem though believe we need to reduce their numbers), "[eroding] the North American Model"? If so, a bit crass coming from the involved aspect of public comment and support for various wolf proposals...

Sytes said:
Also, if it is quota based... why not year round, etc? <serious question>
TJones said:
Year round?

Hunting wolves with pups in a den is one of many reasons.
Sytes said:
We hunt bears and must use our best judgement whether they are with young one(s) during spring. Same setting, no?
TJones said:
Sytes said:
The difference?
Again, regarding year round hunting to fulfill quotas - what is the difference between the Spring hunt of Black Bears and the illegal harvest of a sow with cubs vs the same for hunting year round wolves and making it equally illegal to take a female wolf with pups? Seems relative and more opportunity and seasons of the year to fulfill quotas... That is one of the points of quotas.
 

phutch30

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One bill in the queue that I do support is changing the setback rules for traps on seasonally closed roads. In areas of high road density the wolves habitually travel gated roads. Current rules do not allow for the setting of traps close to the roads. (I think it is currently 150'.) I don't know the exact language but if a buffer zone were maintained beyond the gated points of entry and the setbacks were eliminated beyond that it would be helpful for trappers trying to catch wolves in their natural travel patterns with scent post sets.
As a trapper, I gotta disagree with you on this one. Unless they close that road to everyone but the trapper. In most cases it wouldn't be an issue, but if a dog got in a trap, which is why we have the setbacks, 99% of pet owners would not be able to release their dog from the trap.
 
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elker

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There are many issues with the wolf problems, one being that these wolves in the Greater YNP that have expanded their range, are not native to this area. They are the larger predators from Canada. It's disappointing to me see areas that I hunt moose, deer and elk to have diminishing populations of these animals, so that mostly what I see are predators in these areas. I view it as similar to non native grasses, weeds, and trees that are either intentionally or non intentionally introduced to an new area. These non native weeds/trees quickly take over areas and become problems. Moose hunting in central Idaho, I spoke with a National Forest person about how she had observed declining moose populations from depredation from wolves. I say, open the states for year long hunting/trapping to get the wolf population under control, with aerial control if warranted, and allow the elk, deer, and moose populations to return to the local biologist recommended populations. Then, determine a more structured season to maintain a smaller wolf population in these wolf decimated areas. IMO
 

tjones

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Bears and wolves are apples and carrots. You seem to be able to find internet links on just about anything Charles, I am sure this is no different.
 

Sytes

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Bears and wolves are apples and carrots. You seem to be able to find internet links on just about anything Charles, I am sure this is no different.
Tony, I find value in researching information beyond forum discussions. Often forum discussions lead to areas of interest and occasions of value that may be researched further. If you have a link that presents the difference between a hunter's identification of the legalities to shoot / don't shoot a sow with a cub(s) and a psychological difference of a wolf with a pup(s), I would be interested to read it.

Take for instance - I've read this 2012 article that held some interesting perspectives when we were trying to get the State rolling with the Wolves down in the bitterroot;

https://missoulian.com/news/state-and-regional/bitterroot-sportsmen-ravalli-county-should-work-within-state-predator-laws/article_a5b5a484-4d55-11e1-b76b-0019bb2963f4.html
 

FI460

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Tony, I find value in researching information beyond forum discussions. Often forum discussions lead to areas of interest and occasions of value that may be researched further. If you have a link that presents the difference between a hunter's identification of the legalities to shoot / don't shoot a sow with a cub(s) and a psychological difference of a wolf with a pup(s), I would be interested to read it.

Take for instance - I've read this 2012 article that held some interesting perspectives when we were trying to get the State rolling with the Wolves down in the bitterroot;

https://missoulian.com/news/state-and-regional/bitterroot-sportsmen-ravalli-county-should-work-within-state-predator-laws/article_a5b5a484-4d55-11e1-b76b-0019bb2963f4.html
Total guess but I would wager that the pack/ alpha behavior of the breeding pair would be more dramatically impacted than the loss of a sow bear.
 

Sytes

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Total guess but I would wager that the pack/ alpha behavior of the breeding pair would be more dramatically impacted than the loss of a sow bear.
Hint: Tony, if your interested.

I followed up on your thought, FI460, to see how it was examined by those, "in the know". It held something worth digging into as it seemed possible. This is what I found:

Bear sow and cub(s). Shoot sow and cub(s) are likely to die depending on how far along they are. The cubs, if they survive for a time, will likely be on their own and may be killed by other bears and other predators.

Shoot female wolf and pack immediately assumes care of pups. Even more interesting, other female wolves create milk that pups will suck from. Initially, while in the den, the primary female stays and other wolves bring food... This, after the primary eats the placentas from the pups, etc. She actually eats the excrements to keep the den clean as well.

After reviewing write-ups on both bear and wolves, the bears are more impacted by the loss of the sow than the loss of the "she-wolf"/ female wolf.
For more: http://www.wolfcountry.net/information/WolfPup.html

Edit: quick quotes from article:
Pups are born completely blind and deaf (but have a keen sense if smell), depending on the their mother and other members of the pack. The whole pack takes care and raises the pups (non-breeding females produce milk and males compete to baby sit).
All the wolves in a pack help take care of the pups. When the pups are very small, other pack members bring food to the mother so she does not have to leave the den. When the pups are a little bigger, pack members "take turns" bringing them food, playing with them and even "baby sitting."
 
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