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Old April 13, 2019, 10:37 PM   #1
big al hunter
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Wolves in Washington, what to expect?

As the title implies, I have some questions about wolves. I attended a department of fish and wildlife training today. One of the topics was the wolf packs of our state. The discussion brought out some very passionate and negative remarks. I would prefer that we keep this friendly, and not turn it into an argument. If you feel the need to to vent about state policies or laws you don't agree with, please don't respond. I want this to be about observed changes in wildlife.

My first question is how many of you have seen wolves in your hunting areas?

Second question, have you noticed a significant decline in deer and elk population?

Wolves have made an amazing recovery since the first few were released in Yellowstone Park. Wolves we're not released in Washington. All of our packs moved in from other areas or were born here. They are spreading rather rapidly here. The first successful breeding pair was documented in 2009. We now have at least 126 wolves. I am just wondering what to expect in my hunting area when the wolves start sharing my herds.
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Old April 14, 2019, 06:38 AM   #2
std7mag
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We have no wolves that i'm aware of in PA. Coyotes, yes.
And i've seen how deer react to them vs bear.
Looks like cockroaches with the lights go on when coyotes are around.
Bears, they keep a respectful distance.

As far as wolves out west, you may want to ask the people at Hunt Talk.
www.hunttalk.com

And i can probably tell you what their reaction will be.
Somewhere close to kill em all! Just say'n.
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Old April 14, 2019, 07:18 AM   #3
big al hunter
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[And i can probably tell you what their reaction will be.
Somewhere close to kill em all! Just say'n.
That is a fairly common theme in nearly all conversations I have been involved in, without a biologist present. But given current laws on endangered species that would risk prison time.
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Old April 14, 2019, 07:22 AM   #4
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There are states that have a wolf season. I do believe Idaho is 1 that is very close to you..
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Old April 14, 2019, 07:43 AM   #5
big al hunter
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Several Western States have seasons. Wolves recover quickly among large ungulate populations.

Wolves we're reintroduced to Yellowstone in the late 80's or early 90's. They were delisted from the endangered species a few years ago.

I am not particularly interested in hunting wolves in other states, as I figure it will not be long before I can get a tag locally. The east half of Washington is already delisted by the federal endangered species. The state has not yet determined that a need for population control exists, and has not removed them from the state endangered species list. But it won't take long with the current rate of expansion. In 10 years there are 15 times as many breeding pair of wolves. And went from 1 recognized pack to 26.
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Old April 14, 2019, 08:26 AM   #6
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I live Co.

https://denver.cbslocal.com/2015/05/...-grand-county/

Kremmling is about 80 miles south Wy border.

https://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/wy...ing-war-wolves

Any livestock here killed by predator is paid fair market value and money comes for DOW.
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Old April 14, 2019, 09:14 AM   #7
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I have had a horse severely mauled by wolves right on my land only 150 yards from my home. I saved the horse,but for the first week I was fairly sure I would not.
I see wolves nearly every time I go out in several areas where I hunt deer, elk and sometimes antelope.

The state and the federal governments are the ones cooperation to bring them to your area.

So the idea that you can go to them and ask them to help is parallel to a 1940 Jew asking the Gestapo to help counter the actions of the SS.

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Old April 14, 2019, 10:51 AM   #8
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Any livestock here killed by predator is paid fair market value and money comes for DOW.
I have seen ranchers in documentaries on that subject stating that the problem of getting reimbursed for live stock is that deceased livestock frequently are not discovered until scavengers have destroyed the evidence of a wolf kill and as such, they can not submit the required proof that it was in fact a wolf kill.

I do not have a dog in that fight...but it would seem that getting paid for loosing livestock to wolves may be problematic.
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Old April 14, 2019, 11:08 AM   #9
big al hunter
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Any livestock here killed by predator is paid fair market value and money comes for DOW.
Washington has a similar program. Currently cougars are more of a problem for livestock. But that will change as the wolf population increases. I don't ranch cattle or sheep, so that is not something I am concerned about. Though it will likely be a good reason for ranchers to allow hunting that didn't before. Land to hunt on is becoming more scarce every year.

Quote:
I see wolves nearly every time I go out in several areas where I hunt deer, elk and sometimes antelope.
Wyosmith, I am glad you're horse survived. I am guessing that wolves we're not there when you started hunting. Have you noticed a decline in deer or elk herds, or your hunting success rate? This is what was discussed heavily in our training. And it's what worries most of the hunting community here.

Quote:
I do not have a dog in that fight...but it would seem that getting paid for loosing livestock to wolves may be problematic
Washington has a few programs to help. Most of the wolf/livestock conflict is during summer months on free range grazing leases. The state hires riders to patrol the free range areas and monitor the herds. They also track wildlife caused injury and death of livestock. So early detection and reporting is possible. Many of the problem packs have a radio collared wolf. The range riders have a radio receiver that alarms when a wolf pack with a collar come close. If a pack starts hunting livestock the state collars a wolf from the pack to track movement. IIRC there are currently 16 collared wolves in 15 packs. The wolf division at Department of Fish and Wildlife is trying to keep ahead of the problems that other states are already experiencing.
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Old April 14, 2019, 01:18 PM   #10
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Livestock losses
Game animal numbers plummeting
Shorter hunting seasons
Prosecution of anyone "mistaking" a wolf for a large coyote
Animal rights people overwhelming the state game management decisions to favor the wolves
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Old April 14, 2019, 02:20 PM   #11
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Here in Mn the wolves are a huge problem.
We have well over 3000 in the state and are still protected by the endangered spiecies list. According to the original agreement they should have been delisted when the population got to 1400.
We had 2 seasons some years back and the anti hunters brought a suit and won and got them delisted again.
Last year the wolves killed 7 of my beef cows and calves. I farm on the open prairie east of Fargo, No Dak. About 150 miles from the wolf habitat of the northern forest. I am not even allowed to shoot a wolf if I see them eating my stock. There also is no depredation fund to even partially pay for my loss. We call a federal warden, they come out look at the dead cow, agree that it’s a wolf problem. They send the government trapper out with a live trap to catch a wolf.
The deer population has dropped considerably, the moose population is gone. Even the predators, coyotes, Fox, raccoon nothing left. It skunks.
As you deal with these wolves it won’t be long and you will learn that problem will not be the policy of your state FSU and game Dept. It will be the feds policy in Washington DC that the problems come from.
I am not an advocate on annialateing the wolf, they belong in a wilderness habitat and all animals need a place to live and exist. They should not be in populated areas and around livestock. They need to be controlled. The state of Minnesota has proven they can control the wolf. When they were delisted there were less than 500 in the state. They brought them back to the target population of 1400. The feds said no delisting. 5 years ago they finally delisted.We had 2 seasons and wanted to and did kill 250 wolves a year. We had almost 3500 wolves in the state. The packs would have had no problems regenerating there population. But anti- hunters and big money brought suit in Washington DC won and delisted them again and still being delisted. It gotten to be a terrible political issue.
When this all started, like you, I wanted to look at it positively. Now I can’t find anything positive about it. I hope it works out better for your situation. Good Luck and you are going to need a lot of it to keep it positive
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Old April 14, 2019, 06:31 PM   #12
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"Last year the wolves killed 7 of my beef cows and calves. I farm on the open prairie east of Fargo, No Dak. About 150 miles from the wolf habitat of the northern forest. I am not even allowed to shoot a wolf if I see them eating my stock. "

You're more tolerant than I would be.
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Old April 14, 2019, 11:21 PM   #13
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I live in WA as well. The first things you notice when wolves move in is a lower fawn-doe ratio. Not because the does are not having young, but the depredation rate for small animals increases dramatically whenever larger predators increase. Livestock depredation and small domestic animals are the next on the menu. Same as we've seen with coyote increasing.

Don't mean to sound like a "kill 'em all" kind of guy, but there is a reason wolves were eliminated in the 1800s. Pioneers had a hard enough time raising enough to feed and raise their families without feeding wolves as well. Sooner or later you have to eliminate the load on the people who raise food.
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Old April 15, 2019, 03:42 AM   #14
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I hunt in a wolf area in Northern Michigan. I didn't really notice much problems with small numbers. Back in the 90's I did shoot a deer with a bow and by the time I found it was just shredded hair. That was 2 hours later.

My dads a member of U.P. Whitetails and he said one of the guys 2 miles from where we hunt had 29 deer they were feeding and 22 were killed by wolves and left in the field. That was last week.

A few years ago my cousin watched a cow get killed by a wolf in the parking lot of the dairy farm. The DNR arrived but didn't do anything. Eventually that year the state issued tags to shoot a few in a specific areas.
http://www.timberwolfinformation.org...-still-swirls/
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Old April 15, 2019, 08:05 AM   #15
big al hunter
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When this all started, like you, I wanted to look at it positively.
I'm not really looking forward to wolves. And I wouldn't say I am feeling positive about their increased presence. But I would prefer that the thread stay focused on wildlife and habit changes, as opposed to an argument about laws and regulations.

My thoughts are that wolves will be somewhat more effective hunters than cougars. We have about 3,000 statewide. Each cat takes 1- 1.3 deer on average every week. That is the statistics from a radio collared study performed in Washington several years ago. I haven't heard what the actual rate is for wolves, but I have heard suggestions that they take 1 deer every 2 days per wolf. If we get to 3,000 wolves in the state, I believe our hunting seasons will disappear....

I am trying to get an idea how much of a difference wolves will make overall.
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Old April 15, 2019, 08:26 AM   #16
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Here in MN grays were introduced to this State back in the early 70s. DNR says currently 2600 Grays inhabit this state. Old school hunters and those folks whom live in the North woods I know. Most believe the count is near 8 thousand (some say even more.)
Seldom see big Northern County deer anymore. 6 pt average 8 pt trophy. A hunter these days has to work hard to harvest one because food plots are no longer promising.~ a waste of time & money now since MN wolves were again listed as endangered species.

Wolves eat everything and won't leave a area till everything warm blooded on the ground has been devoured or packs become over populated. "That's what they do"

Have I seen Grays up close? Oh Yes. Quite a few times walking in my woods. Had two 60 pound dogs stalking me & growling off to my side. I was partridge hunting at the time quietly walking down a old skidder road. Having enough. A shot from my 3" 410 w/ 7-1/2 shot to a ham at 20 yrds changed it's/ their bad behaviour.

When Still hunting late one misty afternoon. I had a pack of Grays pass close by me chasing a wounded deer just a snarling and snapping at its heels. Heard em coming someways away. First thing that came to mind? I knew I had 3 rounds in the rifle I quickly check the count of spare cartridges I had in my coat pocket. 2-only. No place to hide no tree to climb. "I stood my ground and said a Hail Mary as they passed by. When you hear those dogs chasing up close to you. I guarantee they'll cause a shiver and the hair on the back of one's neck to stand tall.
Many promote Grays are afraid of humans/ being introverted like.. From what I seen and/or encountered. I whole heartily disagree. One reason not. They'll come to your door so to steal or seduce your dog for their lunch no matter its size. That's how bold those animals are. I only know them to be a smart stone cold viscous killer of things having a heart beat. No human should ever turn his/her back too. Good luck to you big al hunter.
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Old April 15, 2019, 12:05 PM   #17
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Any decline in deer and elk population isn't caused by wolves. It's caused by habitat loss. Predators are proven to be good for deer populations.
https://www.conservationnw.org/our-w...ife/gray-wolf/
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Old April 15, 2019, 01:58 PM   #18
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The only good thing I have read about wolves lately is that they all died on Isle Royale and the DNR thought the preditor prey dynamic was upset with the 1500 moose. So they imported 4. During the recent government shut down one of the wolves decided to cross lake superior and go back home.

https://www.freep.com/story/news/loc...la/2790996002/
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Old April 16, 2019, 05:53 AM   #19
big al hunter
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Any decline in deer and elk population isn't caused by wolves. It's caused by habitat loss. Predators are proven to be good for deer populations.
Which article in your link had evidence to prove your statement? I have read several of them and can't find anything scientific that supports it. There was one article specific to deer and a scientific research regarding wolves. It never stated that wolves are good for the deer, just that it changed their habits or where they chose to live.
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Old April 16, 2019, 07:57 AM   #20
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In Wisconsin the biggest threat to the deer populations, especially in northern Wisconsin is black bear. Fawns are their number one food source in the spring. While I believe wolves have a place in any successful ecosystem, they, because of man and their domestic animals, need to have their numbers controlled. Problem without some form of control is before Ma Nature balances things out, the wolves will have to decimate their food supply. In areas where there is a high density of deer/elk and access for hunting is low or unavailable, wolves can be a boon to the local ecosystem. Allowed to get into numbers too high and allowed to loose their fear of man...they become a problem. Of course many hunters don't like wolves because they are in competition with them for game. When it was a matter of survival, eliminating wolves somewhat made sense. Now that it's a matter of sport hunting, most hunters have gotten so they don't enjoy a good difficult hunt. Read posts here. OMG! "Food plots and bait do not work as well anymore!"

I grew up in an area where deer populations were much lower and success rates were quite a bit lower. It was a thrill to get a deer back in the 50/60s, any deer. Now, iffin one don't home with a ten point in the back of the truck every time, they're disappointed. Mostly because we have artificially inflated the deer population. Not because it's healthy for the deer and the ecosystem, bit because it makes it much easier for everyone to shoot one.
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Old April 16, 2019, 09:40 AM   #21
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There are wolves in PA, btw...Golden Wolves. I was lucky enough to see one when backpacking at Kizua
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Old April 17, 2019, 02:19 AM   #22
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I had seen on several occassions, tracks that looked a fair bit larger than a coyote.
Wasn't till today that i had heard from co workers that we have wolves in the state.
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Old April 17, 2019, 02:44 PM   #23
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Problem without some form of control is before Ma Nature balances things out, the wolves will have to decimate their food supply. In areas where there is a high density of deer/elk and access for hunting is low or unavailable, wolves can be a boon to the local ecosystem.
This is my understanding of wolf behavior as well. What concerns me is that the current data from our state is based on packs with plenty of room to expand. There is nothing stopping expansion until they hit the coast. Then they will overpopulate the habitat, decimate the wild food supply and hit the domesticated livestock as well. Currently ranchers are allowed to kill wolves caught attacking livestock, so that may deter some depredation of livestock. But it does nothing for the wild game.

I would say we have a healthy population of game here, but not as abundant as some areas. We have a 1 deer per year limit, and about 1 in 6 hunters is successful annually. We are not overrun with deer. Cougar and bear already account for a large part of game mortality, so wolves would be cutting into the breeding stock or the surplus that hunters take. If the dept of fish and wildlife has anything to do with it, the breeding stock will be saved and hunting by people will be severely reduced.
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Old April 17, 2019, 05:07 PM   #24
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Predators are proven to be good for deer populations.
Only when the predator/prey ratio is balanced. Nature will always eventually regain the balance, but doing so can decimate the populations of both.

When there are too few predators the prey breed, and eat out their food supply, after which most starve to death, a few sick and weak may survive until the food supply recovers. Or, they may all die.

The same thing happens with predators, if there's too many, they eat all the food, and most starve and die. When prey numbers recover, then so do the predators. And so it swings back and forth, back and forth.

Nature is a stable state system, but that system is a series of peaks and valleys, NOT a steady straight line.,

Quote:
We have no wolves that i'm aware of in PA.
I don't know if they are still there (I hope so) but 50 years ago, the largest wolves in the US were in PA!

Buffalo wolves, the last remaining 40 or so (back then) in existence. Not in the wild, though, in a compound to ensure their survival.

Saw them when I was a small boy, big wolves, maybe taller than I was at the time. Can no longer remember the exactly where but I do remember it was in PA.
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Old April 17, 2019, 05:47 PM   #25
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The problem with wolves is all the research on them never includes human hunters as natural predators. I'm certain humans have been killing wolves since the discovered the means to do so, and when hunting seasons and bag limits are set a law suit comes down with an injunction to stop the hunts. This upsets the balance that could be established, instead of allowing wolves to breed unchecked and decimate local game pr drive them out.

I know as a ranching family on the plains of SE Colorado, it'll be awhile until wolves make it to my families ranch. However, I can tell you they won't be a welcome addition to the ecosystem if we can't protect our livestock without fear of the Federal or State slapping us with a fine or prison. If we are allowed to manage wolves at the local level, I think the outcome would be more harmonious than most of us would ever think possible.
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