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Wolves and the mess in the woods

By TIM RYAN, Daily Interlake, 11/26/11

Itís almost another hunting season behind us. Are sportsmen a bit disappointed in what they are seeing in game numbers? I want to respond to data given by one of our wildlife biologists mentioning the percentage of deer that have been checked through the Olney stop.

The information that was given was compared to last yearís harvest (at this time last season). What I would like to see are the stats compared to when the wolf was introduced to our area. The stats would be most likely astounding. Another stat I would like to see is age comparison from 1992 to 2011. Comparing this yearís harvest to last is information like the price of fish is to me.

For the past 20 years, walking numerous miles each season, I have seen a devastating decline in our whitetail and mule deer population. I am absolutely disgusted with what I am seeing in the decline of our deer population in our national forests. Many sportsman are noticing more elk numbers in the Tobacco Valley in the past couple years. Hate to pop anyoneís bubble; these are Canadian elk. Donít pat the Montana Fish & Game on the back for the numbers you are seeing.

From what I have been informed, the elk in the Kootenai drainage in British Columbia had expectations of 22,000; they figure that these numbers could be closer to 32,000. At least the Canadian game commission knows how to manage their game. They also know how to make money by selling wolves to the U.S. Soon you may see us buying whitetail from Alberta and Saskatchewan.

In the early 1990s I attended a meeting in Trego held by the Dept. of Interior. This meeting was for cattleman that held range leases on government land. In 1991 they stated that the cost of transplanting a problem wolf was $90,000. What is it costing us now to monitor wolves and grizzlies, plus the wages of these government employees? What was the cost of transplanting the grizzly from Flathead Lake to Elk Mountain? When are they going to get their heads out of the sand and notice the great imbalance they are creating?

In the mid-1990s, I was working in the high country of north Idaho. Every morning there was a caravan of government employees heading up the mountain above me. One morning I asked one of the fellows what they were doing. He said: Weíre counting rabbit pellets to determine if there are enough rabbits for the lynx. Look out folks, coming to a neighborhood near you soon, counting deer poop will probably be the next venture for our government because there wonít be enough food for these precious predators (grizzlies, cats and wolves).

Whatís ironic is that private lands winter the percentage of game and the Fish and Game feeds them to these tyrant predators. What is it going to take? Maybe private enterprise to manage our game and also to manage our forests? This would save taxpayers from paying wages, retirements and the building and maintenance of facilities. Our licensing should give us a stand on how our game is being managed, although Fish and Game is in the business of selling tags, arenít they? Donít be fooled on the game you see on private ground. Take a hike in our national forests and witness for yourselves the devastation of our game. Can these government employees actually be proud of the agencies they work for?

Sportsman, get involved. It is our responsibility to demand change to our politicians so we can keep this resource available for future generations. Donít forget they work for us! If we donít do something soon, the only item on the menu for the sportsman will be pig, dog and cat.

Lastly, I wonder what the stats of the Ural sheep are in the Ten Mile area. Are they about gone too? Be careful, folks. Game is gone, next our guns. When is enough, enough? It sure is wrong that one judge, Judge Molloy, can make decisions on our resources based on appeals from California and elsewhere. Do you think it can be possible at all that Judge Molloy has ever seen the mess our forest is in and a calf elk eaten out of a live cow elk?

Maybe we should petition that some grizzlies, lions and wolves be sent into the hills of San Francisco and Hollywood. Bet the jogging and mountain bike traffic in the area would come to a standstill. The folks down there would have something to say about their precious critters then. Someone would most likely make a fortune making a movie about that anyway and would give their money to some activist outfit they actually know nothing about, or pad the pockets of some judge. Take a stand, sportsmen.

Ryan is a resident of Eureka.

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