Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Idaho Wolves and F&S Blog

© 2010 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
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Ok, I occasionally go to the Field & Streams blogs. I like posting there now and again and touching base with a lot of folks I don't normally communicate with.

The one thing that bugs the living daylights out of me is the amount of SPAM comments on the blog. I mean really, will nobody moderate them nightly?

Well I guess all the complaints finally got someone to do something. Of course it was overboard. So now whenever I try to post a link to something related, or my blog's link, it kicks me out, the SPAM filter will not allow the post to be published. What a PITA! Guys, you're a big corporation, that's what you get interns for. They physically go through the blogs and clean them up! Jeez...

Now to the meat and potatos.

Seems like some Idaho Sheriff is telling folks that It's OK to break the law and shoot wolves. He says he's not.

From this story in the Spokesman-Review:
A northern Idaho sheriff said he is not advocating the illegal shooting of federally protected wolves by offering a hunting rifle and a shovel as the prize in a raffle called “.308 SSS Wolf Pack Raffle” in a region where SSS commonly stands for “shoot, shovel and shut up.” Idaho County Sheriff Doug Giddings said the SSS in the raffle stands for “safety, security and survival.” “We knew that this would stir up some interest,” Giddings told the Lewiston Tribune.


I believe him like I believe in the tooth fairy.

And of course there was the usual diatribe against the Federal Government, the US Fish and Wildlife, the New World Order, and asorted and sundry other things. Almost sounded like a fringe element of the Tea Party had gathered in one place. One fellow tongue in cheek (maybe...) said we ought to let some wolves loose in Central Park, while another wondered why common birds in one place couldn't be shot at, after all there are a lot of them here! So I had to respond:

How many of you are wildlife biologists?

Just saying...

But this smacks of two things.... ok several.

1) Laws are laws. If we pick and choose which ones we will follow, then we are essentially lawless. I believe Socrates spoke at length on the subject as did Benjamin Franklin.

2) Sometimes, and I mean sometimes, we as a people need to see the bigger picture. That's were a Federal Gov't comes into play. Yes, the rancher in Idaho may not like wolves eating his livestock, but the wildlife manager sees a halt to CCD. So which is more important?

Releasing (hungry) wolves in Central Park, while amusing and certainly something I would enjoy, would not change the equation. Wild menacing wolves howling at night and striking fear into grown mens' hearts, eating poodles, cats, homeless people, and the occasional child does not constitute an issue over livelyhood. It's just a animal niusance issue. Still it would be entertaining.

The Spaniards use the Spanish Mastif to protect their flocks and herds. Very effective. But I doubt many American ranchers want to go through the trouble of following their herds around and penning them up nightly. All together too much trouble for the subsidized industry now isn't it. Much easier to minimize threats and leave it at that. It would be too expensive to spend his or her valuable time out there. What! You can't pass the cost to the consumer?

Now how much is that Dollar Whopper again? Should it really only be a dollar?

And one more thing, just because something is plentiful here, doesn't necessarily make it so way over there! If we as sportsmen, can't even be trusted to clean out the bilges of our boats to stop the spread of invasive species, how can you be trusted to decide what should or shouldn't be hunted? Seriously.

Now I would like to hear some common sense approaches to this.

Best Regards,
Albert A Rasch
Member: Shindand Tent Club
Member: Hunting Sportsmen of the United States HSUS (Let 'em sue me.)
The Hunt Continues...

The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles


NorCal Cazadora said...

Albert, I'm so glad you posted this. When I saw the comments on F&S, there was no way I was going to dive into that pool of crazies - I don't enjoy being attacked.

But I do agree 100 percent that laws are laws, and having officials openly (hint-hint-wink-wink) suggest breaking them does nothing but make us look bad. And ya know what? Most people don't understand wolf hunting anyway, because no one eats wolves. The public knows this is truly killing for sport and trophy, and so even when/where wolf killing is legal, this practice starts at a huge PR disadvantage.

Bravo, Albert.

And don't get me started on their system at F&S. I'm still irked that their new system won't allow link-backs to blogs - totally defies the well-known Internet truism that linking to others is good for you, and doesn't cost you readers.

hodgeman said...

I think the wolf issue is completely overblown by sensationalists...wolves are a part of a functioning ecosystem and while I recognize the rancher's plight I don't think highly of eradicating wolves. An ecosystem without a top level predator just won't work well for long.

Predation losses are part and parcel of the ranching business and always have been. Mega ranches with thousands of head of largely untended cattle is kind of a new wrinkle though.

Even in AK where we have a healthy wolf population there is a lot of pressure to eliminate or reduce them severely in the interest of moose and carribou numbers.

So no one thinks I'm romanticizing wolves- they are deadly and efficient predators and as often given "human" qualities as bears. I've watched wolves take down a moose calf and while it was a vicious event I've got to respect an animal that can run down a moose and drag it down with its teeth. I still hunt wolves (fair chase with a rifle) and I think anyone who can't see the logic of a wolf pelt on the wall (where the numbers for harvest exist) AND the logic of wolves in the woods hasn't got a very good head on their shoulders...

OK...rant off.

Albert A Rasch said...

Thank you guys!

After I posted my comment, a couple of folks came up to the plate and added comments in support of what I said.

I think all too often, some folks just hop on the band wagon and run in the same direction. Being an acknowledged contrarian, I of course, had to look at it carefully and holler, WHOA!

As I have mentioned many times, I have no objection to "Trophy Hunting." When done ethically, it is still hunting; and that is what I do - hunt.

The issue that brought this up is all about economics. Each steer is worth about $650 to $850 let's say. Every heifer two to three times as much. So if I was a rancher I would pitch a major fit each time I had loses! I get it.

But to turn it on its head, and blame wolves for every woe including a dirth of game, is wrong headed at best. That's where the wildlife biologists come into play. There is right, and there is wrong, and to extirpate a species for economic reasons is wrong.

Biologists can and do determine what the appropriate capacity for a given area is, and make policy reflecting such data. And science should be what we go by, not feelings! (Or your pocket book...)

Boy what fun!


Jamie Cameron said...

Thanks Albert for putting the subsidized American agricultural system and its unintended consequences in print that people can understand. I couldn't agree more with your essay.

Albert A Rasch said...


I just call it like it is. I have been studying 17th and 18th century America lately, and though I recognize the prevalence of famine, pestilence, and warfare, I also see many of the consequences of our more destructive policies. Most of them are borne of ignorance. What looks good now, ma not be very good tomorrow.

I think most rational peole would be hard pressed to argue that that things are great, modern America is on the right track in all ways. I would counter that America is has the greatest ability to influence the course of mankind, but that we still have much to learn, much to undo, and much to fix!

As a people we are unbelievably spoiled and desirous of more than we could possibly appreciate - or deserve for that matter! It is well past time that we took stock of ourselves and started to make do with less, and learn that we really do have more.

If you doubt what I say, you ought to come to Afghanistan...

The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
Big Snake Hunting in the Everglades

Nebraska Hunting Company said...


You're right. We are rich beyond belief, and still we, as a people want more.

Keep up the good work and helping open eyes!

your friend,
Scott Croner and
Nebraska Hunting Company™