Wolves and moose in Jackson Hole Wyoming

Buckdog

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the greenies turned loose a apex predator and as I remember promised they would stay just in Yellowstone and what a great day it was BS!! now there are wolves in many states and by the thousands and they are a carnivore they kill deer, elk and moose. So quote me all the studies you want and how its forage or environment that's causing elk, deer and moose decline. Why do you think our ancestors wiped their ass out(n)
 

lwaters

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Wolves and mountain lions are both showing up here in Kansas. Deer population is down. They say because of disease.
 

375 Ruger Fan

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I'm hoping all the moose left the Jackson Hole area and headed south to the Pinedale area. I've got a deposit down to hunt moose in 2018, if I draw a tag. I've been buying preference points for 15 years. I'll hunt with Bald Mountain Outfitters. They went 12 for 12 with moose hunters in 2016, so there's a few moose around, or at least there were. Here's a link to some of there photos from last season. http://www.baldmountainoutfitters.com/photos/4/moose
 

Shootist43

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The post by 'thi9elsp" is crucial to this discussion. We all want game managed by a data driven DNR vs an emotionally driven public. In this instance the wolf looks guilty, just like the Dentist that shot Cecil. However when the truth finally prevailed, the Dentist wasn't guilty of any wrongdoing. As reasonable people should, we need to look at all the facts, factors, concerns, data etc. that is available before passing judgement or rendering a verdict. Deep down, we all know that predators in balance are necessary in any sustainable ecosystem.

As a Hunter Education Instructor I'm reminded of a picture in the Student Handbook showing a tank of water that represents a balanced ecosystem. The spout filling the tank represents the animal's reproductive capability and the leaks represent the loss / removal of animals via predators, disease, accidents, hunting etc. By a wide margin the biggest balancing factor is starvation. Predation on the other hand plays a vary limited role.
 

gillettehunter

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I'm not a rabid kill them all kinda guy. The studies can sometimes be understated. They are blaming the fire of 88 for cover loss. Why did it take 8 yrs before we started seeing significant population losses? Dry years and habitat degredation are apparently significant factors. I will not buy that moose are as small of a part of the wolves diet as they claim. They show 7-10% unknown. Moose calves are a portion of that number IMHO. They tracked kill data for 3-4 months. That is a snapshot and not necessarily the whole picture. In the first 60 days after calving that rate could be significant. That may not of been covered adequitely.
At any rate we have 75-90% reduction in moose in less than 20 yrs. Happens to coincide with wolf re-introduction and lack of management. Coincides with poor habitat and and crappy weather patterns. We are seeing the results of that. It appears that lots of things are hurting moose in general.
375 Ruger. I hope your moose hunt goes well. Hope we read a report on here about it. Pinedale is South of the area we are talking about. Best of luck. Bruce
 

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Gillettehunter: Pinedale's elevation is almost 7200 ft and that's the starting point to get even higher, up in the mountains. I'm getting winded just thinking about it. Should be a good hunt and fun week of being a cowboy and a moose hunter.
 

curtism1234

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I am all for managing ecosystems that we as humans have impacted. I think that is the root of conservation. I am all for hunting. However, I get concerned when the easy target (predators) are blamed when other factors have as substantial or even greater impact to the prey herds.

Well said

I had the rare honor of seeing a Yellowstone wolfpack for several hours last summer in the Lamar Valley; it was one of several nature encounters I've had that really affects you deeply and changes the way you look at the world. Wolves in the Lower 48 deserve to coexist with all species, us included in my opinion.
 

BRICKBURN

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................ Wolves in the Lower 48 deserve to coexist with all species, us included in my opinion.

No issues with that notion at all.
We, us humans, just have to be paying attention to the impact of the changes we introduce.
"Management" is the key word.
 

thi9elsp

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@Shootist43 I like the water tank analogy. I'm curios as to opinions on the following scenario.

Let's say hole #1 is everything that reduces a prey's population without including predators and hunters. We now have a new, lower level in the tank. Of the remaining off-take of the prey population, how does one allocate to predators vs. hunters? How big are each of their holes? 100% vs 0% or 0% vs 100%?

I think the answer to that question is the job of wildlife management. Me, I'm not selfish enough to say the predators get zero. But, I don't want to get zero either.
 
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BRICKBURN

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It is strange to watch this type of debate from the outside, having never lived in a circumstance where competing predators were not present.
Hunters pay a portions of fees into a fund to help compensate ranchers for predation of stock by the other predators. We accept the fact the critters with big teeth are here.
 

curtism1234

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I think the answer to that question is the job of wildlife management. Me, I'm not selfish enough to say the predators get zero. But, I don't want to get zero either.

I think there is the center of the debate. Certainly the economic livelihood of ranchers is at stake, and I sympathize with their losses. What I hear an awful lot of though is "if the wolves kill an elk, that's one less elk I can kill". I think some of that argument has merit because the economy in the rural west is overall not that strong. Elk is a cheap and large source of meat for some people. Overall though, from a pure economic play, beef usually comes out cheaper than hunted venison. So I think we have a viable meat alternative that meets the need and economy of most people.

So it goes back to your allocation question of what is "fair".
 

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this is a part of a swedish dissertation about the influnece of wolves on moose in Sweden.
I know, the swedish moose hunter are groaning about the wolves.
Foxi
 

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jeff

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In Idaho we have numerous units that have no moose tags now. Wolves have had the major impact. Elk will stay in rougher country and run to escape, many moose just bay up and try to fight and that's a losing battle.
 

gillettehunter

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I go to Northern Idaho to steelhead fish yearly. Usually about now. In the last couple of years I have seen elk on cliffs that look like Mtn Goats should be living there and not elk. They are there to avoid the wolves. 2 times in the last 5 yrs. Never there in the 25 yrs prior. Wolves are changing how they act.... Bruce
 

jeff

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I go to Northern Idaho to steelhead fish yearly. Usually about now. In the last couple of years I have seen elk on cliffs that look like Mtn Goats should be living there and not elk. They are there to avoid the wolves. 2 times in the last 5 yrs. Never there in the 25 yrs prior. Wolves are changing how they act.... Bruce
You are absolutely right!
 

Husker-in-WA

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Guys, please take a look at what the effect of wolves had on the moose population of Isle Royal National Park. One pack of wolves came across the ice during the winter well over 50 years ago. Since that time the number of wolf packs has increased to two. The Alpha male and female kill off any lesser pair that try to mate. The number of moose on the island has stayed constant at around 600 animals. They simply are not wanton killers as some might suggest.

Don't know about Isle Royal situation but know sheep and cattle ranchers in north eastern WA and south western MT that would disagree with the wonton killer comment.
 

Scott CWO

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Interesting info. Wonder why the difference in Jackson Hole area and Isle Royal?
In Rocky Mountain National Park, I have heard the elk population was so high the Feds brought in shooters to take 600 out. Haven't seen this documented though.
Actually, RMNP never had an overpopulation of elk but it did and does have areas where they congregate too much. The carrying capacity is not overpopulated. The NPS never killed anything close to 600 elk. It was actually less than a dozen. Instead, high fences were erected in riparian areas where the elk sometimes gathered. In 2000, the elk licenses to the east of the park were increased too much and this caused part of the problem with the elk not migrating. They learn where they are safe. The licenses were reduced and now things are better. There never was an over population - that was a mischaracterization of the issue.
 

Newboomer

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But wolfs are sooo much cuter than a silly Moose.....

I wish greenies would just start thinking logically. Its not that difficult.

Roan,
They don't think. They run on emotion. One of their reasons being they are against hunting and guns. A good way to eliminate both is to introduce an animal that is protected and will kill off game animals, thereby eliminating the game hunters seek. No game equals no hunting and in their sick minds, no guns. According to an SCI report, the new Interior Dept. is wising up to this and considering delisting wolves, much to the chagrin of the antis.

The sad thing about the introduction of wolves is that the scheme was carried out by the very people who were supposed to be managing the game populations.
 

IdaRam

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Another very interesting case study is the Lolo Zone Elk herd in Idaho. At the time of wolf introduction into Idaho, 1995, the Lolo Elk herd numbered in excess of 16,000 animals and the population had been stable or increasing since the 1970’s. 20 years later in 2015 the herd numbered less than 1,000 animals according to IDF&G surveys and it continues to dwindle. Calf recruitment has been well below sustainable for a decade or more.
One of my favorite wilderness units, Unit 26, had a healthy and increasing moose population until about 2000. You will not find a moose in Unit 26 today.
As has been mentioned, there are a number of other factors that affect game numbers and wolves are not the sole factor in the decline of game numbers anywhere. However, when there is already a heavy predator load and then wolves are added to the mix, it is inevitable that game numbers are going to decrease. At least until the new equilibrium is reached. In addition, when the inevitable hard winters arrive and with them increased game animal mortality, herds are much slower to rebound compared to what they once were. We are experiencing this currently. 3 of the last 5 winters have been hard on game.
I have seen the Isle Royale study and YNP info tossed around in abundance. They are about as applicable to the Idaho wolf situation as comparing elephant in India to elephant in Botswana. Chalk and cheese.
 

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