Idaho’s Disappearing Deer & Elk

averagehunter

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Hey guys this article was just written by one of the staff here at Eastmans'. Give it a read.

"Wolves, these amazing predators claim headlines, article content, and conversation points often enough that it becomes overwhelming and even a point of contention for some. What started back in 1995 when 31 wolves were arguably “reintroduced” into Yellowstone National Park. Has turned into quite the wildlife conundrum, especially on the big game front. Ultimately what we thought we knew, what we were told would happen and the current statistics don’t match up. Not even close! Many of us knew that the reintroduction was a slippery slope and would likely have less than desirable consequences. But none of us knew what the following 25-30 years would bring. Elk herds in many places are a small fraction of what they once were, moose in certain regions are on the brink of no return, and deer numbers are dismal. For those of us living in the woods from August through December, the impacts are more than obvious, the hunting and outdoor experience has changed and much of it can be attributed to the ripple effects of wolves and their impressive yet disastrous predation effects. I don’t have enough space in this article to tackle the negative impacts wolves have had on wildlife in the West. So let’s grab some highlights and get to the meat and potatoes of what we can do about it!"... READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE
 

km10

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I’m not a resident of the west and have only visited, so I will readily admit that I don’t understand the struggles of those that have to live with wolves.

That being said, this seems less about wildlife management and more about wiping out wolves. Where’s the evidence that ungulate herds have been decimated by wolves? How many hounds are being killed by wolves each year, and is that actually contributing to an increase in other predators? Where’s the evidence that wolves chase lions off a significant amount of kills? Where’s the sources for the list of statistics listed at the end of the article? For someone that doesn’t bother to research this issue a bit, all this article does is give someone a bunch of reasons to hate wolves. Wildlife management is about maintaining sustainable wildlife populations, not blaming all of our problems on predators.

I don’t disagree that wolves should be managed, and I would gladly shoot a wolf if given the opportunity (legally). But we should be managing for sustainable populations of predators and prey. I’d rather see evidence that wolves need to be hunted harder instead of another article about how bad wolves are. The second response on the eastmans forum ends with “Wolves, big bears, etc. were killed off for a reason.” That’s a bigger issue than any number of wolves.
 

sneaky

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I’m not a resident of the west and have only visited, so I will readily admit that I don’t understand the struggles of those that have to live with wolves.

That being said, this seems less about wildlife management and more about wiping out wolves. Where’s the evidence that ungulate herds have been decimated by wolves? How many hounds are being killed by wolves each year, and is that actually contributing to an increase in other predators? Where’s the evidence that wolves chase lions off a significant amount of kills? Where’s the sources for the list of statistics listed at the end of the article? For someone that doesn’t bother to research this issue a bit, all this article does is give someone a bunch of reasons to hate wolves. Wildlife management is about maintaining sustainable wildlife populations, not blaming all of our problems on predators.

I don’t disagree that wolves should be managed, and I would gladly shoot a wolf if given the opportunity (legally). But we should be managing for sustainable populations of predators and prey. I’d rather see evidence that wolves need to be hunted harder instead of another article about how bad wolves are. The second response on the eastmans forum ends with “Wolves, big bears, etc. were killed off for a reason.” That’s a bigger issue than any number of wolves.
All you have to look at is the Clearwater elk herd, once considered one of the best in the country to get your answer. It's a shell of what it once was. Every outfitter has either lost hounds to wolves, or gotten lucky and shot wolves off their dogs before they were killed. The research numbers are there, and I don't need to read click baity articles for the info. I live in the middle of wolf country.

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Beckjhong

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Eastmans has been reliably click-bait lately. I would argue habitat loss and migration corridor loss due to development are bigger factors. To echo Randy Newberg, if we don’t come together on habitat, there won’t be any wolves, elk, deer or grizz to argue about.
 

Pocoloco

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We drove to the mountains today to check snow levels to see if we can get to our Turkey spot in 3 weeks. We climbed up a mountain and glassed another 2-3 miles away. The mountain was crawling with elk and we spotted 20 deer. One hour glassing, we spotted 200-250 elk.

The good news is the sky is not falling, plenty of elk out there. Last season we spotted 1 wolf, at 65 yards but no tag in pocket, we spotted a couple hundred elk and put one in the freezer. This year, I will have a wolf tag in my pocket. That black wolf pelt would have looked awesome on my office wall, always look for the silver lining… :)
 

Lee_R

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I’m not a resident of the west and have only visited, so I will readily admit that I don’t understand the struggles of those that have to live with wolves.

That being said, this seems less about wildlife management and more about wiping out wolves. Where’s the evidence that ungulate herds have been decimated by wolves? How many hounds are being killed by wolves each year, and is that actually contributing to an increase in other predators? Where’s the evidence that wolves chase lions off a significant amount of kills? Where’s the sources for the list of statistics listed at the end of the article? For someone that doesn’t bother to research this issue a bit, all this article does is give someone a bunch of reasons to hate wolves. Wildlife management is about maintaining sustainable wildlife populations, not blaming all of our problems on predators.

I don’t disagree that wolves should be managed, and I would gladly shoot a wolf if given the opportunity (legally). But we should be managing for sustainable populations of predators and prey. I’d rather see evidence that wolves need to be hunted harder instead of another article about how bad wolves are. The second response on the eastmans forum ends with “Wolves, big bears, etc. were killed off for a reason.” That’s a bigger issue than any number of wolves.
I was in yellowstone a few months ago. One of their own informational signs in the park said that since the re-introduction of wolves, the elk population is down nearly 75%. Tells you all you need to know about the effects of wolves vs hunters, management, etc.
 

Beckjhong

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I was in yellowstone a few months ago. One of their own informational signs in the park said that since the re-introduction of wolves, the elk population is down nearly 75%. Tells you all you need to know about the effects of wolves vs hunters, management, etc.
Check this out. I think you’ll find it valuable.

 

frank church guy

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I live in the frank. Watched lot of cows today, Down a bit from last year, but we had the fires last summer. not as much green. Shit town of whitetails hanging out. And I am on the river,
 

sneaky

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Eastmans has been reliably click-bait lately. I would argue habitat loss and migration corridor loss due to development are bigger factors. To echo Randy Newberg, if we don’t come together on habitat, there won’t be any wolves, elk, deer or grizz to argue about.
No development issues in the Clearwater, back up and try again. You think it's mere coincidence that elk numbers are down 80% in the same time frame that wolves were introduced? Bit of a stretch to blame that on climate change. Bet you believe that "wolves change rivers" too.

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Beckjhong

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No development issues in the Clearwater, back up and try again. You think it's mere coincidence that elk numbers are down 80% in the same time frame that wolves were introduced? Bit of a stretch to blame that on climate change. Bet you believe that "wolves change rivers" too.

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I don’t think this should be something that divides us. We both like hunting, and we’d both like to preserve good hunting opportunities into the future. Conservation and biology is far from a simple, black and white issue. It is complex and multifactorial. I urge you to be open to nuance and acknowledge our common ground rather than make absolute statements and assumptions.
 

sneaky

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We drove to the mountains today to check snow levels to see if we can get to our Turkey spot in 3 weeks. We climbed up a mountain and glassed another 2-3 miles away. The mountain was crawling with elk and we spotted 20 deer. One hour glassing, we spotted 200-250 elk.

The good news is the sky is not falling, plenty of elk out there. Last season we spotted 1 wolf, at 65 yards but no tag in pocket, we spotted a couple hundred elk and put one in the freezer. This year, I will have a wolf tag in my pocket. That black wolf pelt would have looked awesome on my office wall, always look for the silver lining… :)
Pretty hard to compare numbers of elk concentrated on winter range to density numbers during the rest of the year. I can count elk from my yard this time of year, and then go find their carcasses all summer from wolf, bear and lion kills. I could easily say "wow, elk are everywhere" on winter range, and know from first hand experiences that their numbers have taken a beating realistically. Enough to where these units are below objectives for elk.

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frank church guy

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Pretty hard to compare numbers of elk concentrated on winter range to density numbers during the rest of the year. I can count elk from my yard this time of year, and then go find their carcasses all summer from wolf, bear and lion kills. I could easily say "wow, elk are everywhere" on winter range, and know from first hand experiences that their numbers have taken a beating realistically. Enough to where these units are below objectives for elk.

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I respect everything you say, so I am just observing things where I live.
 

km10

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Pretty hard to compare numbers of elk concentrated on winter range to density numbers during the rest of the year. I can count elk from my yard this time of year, and then go find their carcasses all summer from wolf, bear and lion kills. I could easily say "wow, elk are everywhere" on winter range, and know from first hand experiences that their numbers have taken a beating realistically. Enough to where these units are below objectives for elk.

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Like I said before, you live there and observe the elk. I don’t. I respect your perspective on it.

Do you see predator control as the best option for management? Or something else? Do you think the elk could rebound on their own in the long term? Don’t mean to bombard you with questions just interested in your opinion on management
 

Pocoloco

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Pretty hard to compare numbers of elk concentrated on winter range to density numbers during the rest of the year. I can count elk from my yard this time of year, and then go find their carcasses all summer from wolf, bear and lion kills. I could easily say "wow, elk are everywhere" on winter range, and know from first hand experiences that their numbers have taken a beating realistically. Enough to where these units are below objectives for elk.

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True, but these elk were not in their winter range, they were in the mountains, snow levels are way lower than last year. It was a fun first day in the mountains this year, wish I had a spotting scope to get a better look.
 
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