The Montana Wolf Challenge
LIVING LARGE, Wolves, Bears, Cougars and Humans in North America
October 12-14 2015
I would like to thank the Humane Society of the United States for putting this together and for the invitation to attend.
Walking into a conference of such caliber is always, to say the least, humbling for a moment. But I quickly get over my awe and realize that without people like Wolves of the Rockies, only their fellow colleagues would be reading their words, and utilizing their data.
We had the pleasure of listening to some of the best biologists, professors, researchers, legal minds and advocates from around the world concerning predators and the perils they face.
As I sat through these speeches, all having to do with apex predators, I realized that it didn't matter the species, a predator is a predator is a predator to the powers that be. Whether we talked about wolves, cougars or bears, the Fish and Wildlife agency of each state, and at the federal level deemed the predator is doing fine in numbers and of course, the need to kill more is necessary.
Marc Bekoff stated that "more science isn't going to make people more compassionate", and when it comes to management, we need to look at problem locations vs problem animals. Marc is the co-founder with Jane Goodall of Ethologists for the ehtical treatment of animals and professor emeritus at the University of Colorado, Boulder.
John Shivik was a federal researcher and specialized in the development, testing, and application of non-lethal techniques for predation management. John was instrumental in this conference. He called out his fellow researchers and professors by telling them that they need to stand with the grassroots organizations to present their data to help us change these laws. As one of these organizations I applauded
John's speech. We utilize their data at state agency and senate meetings, and our arguments would have more meaning and substance if they were their to defend their work.
Stewart Beck with Wildlife Services (WS) was there in an attempt to shed good light on his employer Wildlife Services. He was met with some pretty strong arguments concerning Wildlife Services "good will". He stated that they work for their "Stakeholders"... I, along with many others reminded him
WE are all stakeholders - he apologize and said he made a mistake and used the wrong word (or did he) when saying that they have to answer to their constituents (livestock owners). I had a good conversation with Stewart and was told that if we want change with ranchers --- we need to make it happen. In other words, WS won't be sitting in our corner guiding us. It is up to us to make change with their "constituents".
The end of the conference was met with Dan Ashe, the Director of United States Fish and Wildlife Services (USFWS). Dan is a charismatic guy with a nice smile, and an answer for everything. Unfortunately Dan's answers were all pretty much the same. Dan believes that gray wolves are recovered and cougars are fine.
According to Dan, the grizzly bears will be fine -- regardless of the fact that their top three food sources are either gone or fading quickly due to climate change.
Concerning the Endangered Species Act (ESA) Dan said "It does not need fixing, it needs funding" and "it's not broken, it's starving".
The words that resinate the most with me from Mr Ashe is "wildlife is not compatible with human ecology", "we manage wildlife for human ecology".
As we have seen time and again, these agencies have a hard time seeing beyond the numbers. It is up to us, the grassroots organizations to bring them the information concerning sustainability and viability. To educate them on co-existence. We need to flood them with science and beyond that, we need to be present in helping with these changes. For every problem, there is a solution, and we need to bring that solution to the table.
Thank you once again to USHS for an amazing conference and all the amazing work you do for ALL animals that roam our lands.Thank you to all the speakers for their amazing work, words and insight. To Todd Wilkinson for his wonderful writings on wildlife issues and bringing us a new book about the perils of grizzly bears in your new book ìGrizzlies of Pilgrim CreekóAn Intimate Portrait of 399, the Most Famous Bear of Greater Yellowstone".
For Wolves of the Rockies
Kim Bean & Trish Marabillas
Mr. Dale Becker
Wildlife Program Manager, Confederated Sallish & Kootenai Tribes
Mr. Becker had the opening remarks welcoming everyone to the Wildlife Services non-lethal predator damage management workshop sponsored by the tribe.
Dr. Julie Young Supervisor Research Wildlife Biologist, USDA/APHIS/Wildlife Services / National Wildlife Research Center
The Role of Efficacy, Emotions & Economics in Developing Non Lethal Tools for Predator Management.
Improving Adaptive Deterrent Management Strategies
Kent Laudon, Wolf specialist, MT FWP
Update on NW Montana Wolf Management & Population Status
George Edward, Executive Secretary, Montana Livestock Loss Board
Montana Livestock Loss Board: Reimbursement and Grants
Tim Manley, Grizzly bear specialist, MTFWP
Current Grizzly Bear population status, conflicts, and activity in NW Montana.
Discussion of non-lethal methods
Bob Wiesner, Wildlife Management Specialist, MT FWP
FWP Region 2 mountain lion population trends, conflict issue and non lethal methods to keep mountain lions our of trouble.
We have been asked to return and participate in the wolf stamp discussion 2015. Stay tuned for updates!
Montana Wolf Stamp Discussion 2014
Sportsmen, wildlife advocates work toward nontraditional FWP funding
That was the essence of a challenging daylong discussion in Helena on alternative funding options for Montana's Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks.
More than two dozen people from FWP and interested organizations probed the agency's mission, how it might be redefined to reach out to other groups, and how that might translate into additional wildlife funding.
The meeting included sportsmen's groups, wildlife groups and livestock interests.
On October 28th Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks will hold its opening discussion on the wolf stamp process and "Finding Common Ground." We want your thoughts and opinions on the wolf stamp. What it means to you and your hopes and concerns on the stamp and finding common ground with all interested parties. Please leave a comment on Facebook or email us at Marc@Wolvesoftherockies.org
We are humbled to have been asked to participate and represent Montana wolves and you... our trusted and staunch followers and supporters.
FWP To Host Discussion On Fish And Wildlife Management Contributions
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks will host a day-long meeting in Helena on Oct. 28 to explore common interests in wildlife conservation and management.
The gathering will follow up on issues that emerged from public comment on a proposed rule that would have directed FWP to offer a $20 wolf management stamp. FWP reviewed more than 50,000 comments on the proposal over the course of a two-month long comment period. FWP decided not to adopt the rules due to different expectations surrounding financial contributions from citizens who don't hunt or fish.
The meeting is set for Tuesday, Oct. 28 at Montana WILD, at 2668 Broadwater Ave., next to Spring Meadow Lake State Park off Highway 12 West. The meeting will begin at 8:30 a.m., with a public comment segment set for 3 p.m.
WOLF COUNCIL SUMMARY
On April 12th, 2013 in Helena, Montana at MFWP Headquarters, the Wolf Advisory Council reconvened at the request of Governor Steve Bullock. Wolves of the Rockies had a seat at the table, and we discussed one topic with many components.Governor Bullock opened with a short statement about the importance of the Wolf Advisory Council Ken McDonald and George Pauley went over many of the wolf plan management components. They are concerned about new laws coming from the current Montana Legislative session.Right now in Montana there are approximately 50 collared wolves.
Researchis critical in helping the decision makers in making informed science based decisions. Humans have the greatest impact on elk herd sizes.There was great concern over the entire Yellowstone National Park wolf situation.
Wolves of the Rockies shared their concerns about Yellowstone wolves, and their value to the economy of local residents and businesses in Gardiner, and areas along the border of YNP. We emphasized research from the Yellowstone Wolf Program is priceless. Several members of the audience participated by reaffirming the importance of Yellowstone wolves.
Getting back to the council members, several encouraged the decision makers not to treat Yellowstone wolves any different than other wolves in Montana, as it would set a precedent that could snowball in the future.Other council members said Yellowstone wolves are indeed different. They have a research and economic value for the local people as well as FWP and hunters alike.Furthermore there should be no cap on the amount of wolves in Montana. This could only lead to further concern down the road. The wolves should be treated like any other predator here in Montana: no caps.It is hoped that house bills 73, which was signed by the governor in February, will give additional tools to help manage wolves, we need to be cautious of future legislation that will have an impact on wolf management. If wolf numbers drop to 200/250, this will trigger a revue with the Federal Government.Cause for concern with FWP is funding. 2015 will be the last year the federal government will provide FWP funding for the wolf program ie., depredation loss compensation et al.
Montana is very concerned about where this funding will come from starting in 2016.Caroline Sime, the former Wolf Management Coordinator for MT FWP, was asked to attend but declined.Toward the end of the meeting the Chairman of the advisory council, Chase Hibbard, conducted a round-table discussion; where do we go from here?Topics discussed:
We need to improve social tolerance and the use of non-lethal measures.
Several members suggested allowing things in Montana to evolve naturally.
Many members believe the wolf management plan is balanced but are concerned with the increase in extreme attitudes toward wolves.
Some members believe that with new science the plan needs to be “tweaked” because of too many wolves in Montana.
One member suggested we let wolves find their own place on the landscape, and that we should manage by location not by population.We need to let the public in on these plans and some advisory members believe that hunters and sportsmen have to give some.The Blackfeet reservation plan is working well.
Some believe there is still a role for the Wolf Advisory Council or something similar.Consensus was that the plan is going well but more aggressive outreach is needed.
We are moving from the recovery mode to the management mode and we need more public involvement, was not comfortable to having to do this but believe it to be essential.One member would like to have a bounty on wolves in the future, as people will lose the incentive to hunt them.
We need to be very careful on the boundary around Yellowstone National Park. This would increase (in the eyes of some members) the boundary of the park.
It should be considered to alter or combine some of hunting districts to accommodate various needs. This was a response that was directed towards YNP.Wolves of the Rockies will continue to work with hunters, livestock owners/managers, and all other parties to increase public acceptance of wolves on the landscape.
Wolves of the Rockies & Friends Talk Wolf With
Montana Governor Steve Bullock
Wolves of the Rockies & Friends recently met with Montana Governor Steve Bullock and his Environmental Adviser Tim Baker. From start to finish we defended and promoted the need to protect and defend wolves in Montana. We had the good fortune to have several friends and representatives of wolf advocate organizations. Native Montanan and Ranching Adviser for “Living With Wolves” Steve Clevidence, “The War for 754” Doug McLaughlin from Yellowstone NP, Good Friends and confidant Suzie & JD Love, Bill Stroud.We discussed in detail the critical research and revenue value of Yellowstone Wolves. The current declining population of wolves on the northern range within Yellowstone National Park.
Items that were discussed with the Governor ran the gauntlet. From wolf induced Trophic Cascade to the current Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks 2013-14 Wolf Hunting & Trapping Proposal which Wolves of the Rockies has outright rejected. WotR has offered a science based proposal that the Senior Management within MtFWP refuses to consider. We emphasized to Steve & Tim that the current MtFWP wolf proposal is nothing short of Intensive Management.At one point in the discussion WotR presented Governor Bullock a novel called “Running For Home” by Gail S. McDiarmid & Marilyn S. McGee. Thisnovel was meant for Governor Bullock's children. Steve Clevidence explained that there is no room for trapping within Montana and we need representation within MtFWP. We departed strongly encouraging the Governor and his adviser to provide a mechanism for wolf advocates to provide funding to support wolves in Montana. However… this future funding could in no way be used for lethal control actions!
Wolves of the Rockies wishes to thank Governor Bullock, Tim Baker, Steve Clevidence,Bill Stroud, Doug McLaughlin, Suzie & J.D. Love and you our followers and supporters.
Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks
Mr. Dale Becker
Wildlife Program Director Confederated Salish& Kootenai Tribe
Mr. John Steuber
Director Montana Wildlife Services
Dr. Julie Young
Wildlife Services Non Lethal Expert
Mr. Kent Laudon
Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks Wolf Specialist
Mr. George Edward
Montana Livestock Loss Board
Mr. Stacy Courville
Mr. Bob Wiesner
Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks Mountain Lion Expert
Mr. Matt Barnes
Questions and Answers panel discussion
Networking with other participants
Wolf Stamp Round Table September 2014
Montana Wolf Stamp Round Table Discussion 2014
Montana Wolf Stamp Round Table
What Wolves are UP Against
Montana Governor Steve Bullock opened the MtWAC
MtFWP George Pauley covered many topics
Retired Legal Council for MtFWP Bob Lane
L to R: Marc Cooke, Wolves of the Rockies, MtFWP Commissioner Dr. Bob Ream, Terry Beaver & Robin Hompesch
L to R: Marc Cooke, Vice President Kim Bean WotR and Ilona Popper from The Bear Creek Council discussing wolf advisory issues at a break.
MtFWP Director Jeff Hagener
MtWAC Chair Chase Hibbard
U.S.Fish & Wildlife Service NRM Wolf Recovery Program Coordinator Mike Jimenez
Justin Gude from MtFWP gave a brief lecture on research of predators and ungulates
Wolves of the Rockies & Friends Talks Wolf with Montana Governor Steve Bullock
L to R: Suzie Love, Doug McLaughlin, Marc Cooke, Kim Bean, J.D. Love, Bill Stroud and Steve Clevidence with Living With Wolves
Discussing policy and promoting education & a Buffer Around Yellowstone and Non Lethal Measures
Presenting the Governor "Running For Home."
J.D. wishing Governor Bullock well upon his departure.
Wolves of the Rockies is a 100 percent volunteer organization. We function on the generosity of our supporter & followers.
The Mighty Grizzly Bear
Top of the food chain and next to be hunted in Montana