The short answer is...count on it!
One thing is for certain, the residents of the Northern Rockies will make it forever more difficult for pro-wolf groups and organizations to continue doing business in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming. The efforts of so-called "environmental" organizations such as the Defenders of Wildlife and the Center for Biological Diversity have shown the world how little they really know about the wild world - and how their constant meddling can wreak havoc on wildlife populations which took decades to rebuild.
Through all of 2011, those who call the Northern Rockies home let it be known that they have had it when it comes to giving wolves precedence over all else. Sportsmen, ranchers, rural residents and real wildlife lovers marched in protest against wolves outside of federal courthouses, on the steps of state capitols, and wherever a crowd could gather. At one pro-wolf rally in Bozeman, MT, those who showed up to protest against wolves outnumbered the wolf supporters four to one.
Meetings to address an ever growing wolf problem, at state, county and local levels, became very heated as those angered by the 80-percent losses of many elk herds certainly did not hold back as they let elected officials and wildlife managers know exactly how they felt. At most of these gatherings, those calling for the dramatic reduction of the wolf population commonly outnumbered those desiring more wolves by 20 or more to 1 - and for the most part those desiring extremely stringent control of wolf numbers really didn't care how it was achieved.
At several Ravalli County, MT board of commissioners meetings, hunters who have seen the hunting in the famed Bitterroot Mountains go from some of the best in the world to the worse, along with livestock producers who are now suffering big losses to wolves, had absolutely no problem pointing a finger at state wildlife managers and calling them "Liars!" The residents of this county continue to pressure county commissioners to totally take over predator control from the state - and now several other counties in western Montana are also considering doing the same.
The sportsmen of Montana and Idaho have lost all respect for their state wildlife agencies. And when one goes back and takes a look at the misinformation Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game have given out since the first Canadian wolves were released into the Greater Yellowstone Area in 1995, it becomes easy to see why these agencies have lost the trust of those they are supposed to serve. Repeatedly, these two agencies lied about the impact wolves were having on elk, moose, deer and other big game - until the losses became too big to continue hiding. Even then, wildlife managers started claiming "other factors", such as global warming, were to blame. Likewise, these two agencies refused to admit that they could not actually count the number of wolves along the northern U.S. Rocky Mountain chain, and purposely down played the true number. And that has angered sportsmen even more. Those who spend a great deal of time in the outdoors know the real number of wolves to be three- or fourfold the bogus numbers being given by MT FWP and IDFG.
The pattern of lies and misinformation established by these sportsman funded agencies favor far more the anti-hunting agendas of radical environmental groups than the sportsmen who provide their funding. Just as these state wildlife agencies could no longer hide the high percentage of big game losses to wolves, or that there are far more wolves than they can honestly acknowledge, the residents of these two states are now learning how closely MT FWP and IDFG have worked hand-in-hand with the same anti-hunting organizations which have fully supported allowing wolves to destroy the past 75 years of wildlife conservation.
One pipedream of many such "environmental" groups is known as the "Wildlands Network", a spinoff of the United Nations "Agenda 21" push to drastically reduce Earth's human population. The goal for the U.S. is to return upwards of 50-percent of the Lower 48 back into wilderness - and to establish wild corridors which would allow large predators to freely move from one wilderness area to another. To accomplish this would mean moving many people off of the land and into the cities, along with destroying the roads, bridges, railroads and even communities that have taken more than a century to build. Likewise, it would also mean severely curtailing or totally eliminating human use of these lands.
One major push in this direction is known as the "Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative", a collaborative effort by the Defenders of Wildlife, chapters of the Sierra Club, the National Wildlife Federation, the Wilderness Society, and more than a hundred other such groups. Also listed among the long list of "collaborators" happens to be Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. Another Y2Y collaborator is the University of Montana, where many of today's new wave wildlife managers are now being taught management practices that go against the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation.
The Y2Y plan calls for turning an area three times the size of California into a near human-less wild corridor, stretching from Yellowstone National Park to the Yukon and Alaska. The goal of this grand scheme is to allow nature to balance itself, calling for free movement of major predators all along the northern Rocky Mountains of the U.S. and Canada.
One of the Y2Y policies reads, "The Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative neither endorses nor condones the hunting of carnivore species such as grizzly bears, black bears, wolves and cougars."
Perhaps this better explains why MT FWP and IDFG have worked so hard to thwart any true degree of wolf control - and why so much is now being done to hide the real number of grizzlies in the northern U.S. Rockies. For the past several years, MT FWP has claimed that about 900 of the big bears roam the state. Recently, under fire from a crowd of sportsmen angered over the loss of elk to major predators, one wildlife manager stated that there were more than 1,000 of the big bears in the northwest corner of the state alone.
One strong supporter of Agenda 21...the Wildlands Network...and Y2Y is billionaire Ted Turner. He has pumped millions into the environmental groups which want to see the Earth's human population decrease by about 95% by the end of the 21st Century. And as "Green" as Turner would like to envision himself, he's one of the worst offenders of "their code". Quick to support radical projects like Y2Y, he turns around and drills for oil and logs his own lands.
To insure that politics are on his side, Turner is known to be a strong supporter of candidates running for offices in states or regions of the country where he has invested heavily. Take Montana for example. Did you know that he has one of his very own executives holding a public office? That's right, MT State Representative Mike Phillips, of Bozeman, is also the Chairman of the Ted Turner Endangered Species Fund. Phillips is also a former USFWS biologists, who oversaw the transplanting of those Canadian wolves into Yellowstone.
The new wolf war battleground in 2012 will definitely be at the ballot box come next November. Northern Rockies voters who want to see control of wolf and other major predator populations, and rebounding big game numbers, really need to concentrate on the candidates running for office. In Montana, the number of sportsmen screaming for a complete overhaul of MT FWP has grown rapidly. And as out of control as this agency may have become, their directives come from several others - Dr. Robert Ream, who chairs the MT FWP Commission, and from Governor Brian Schweitzer.
Ream was the leader of the "wolf experts" team that compiled the Northern Rockies Wolf Recovery Plan - and was appointed chairman of the commission by Schweitzer. The stink that permeates the wolf issue in this state comes down from the very top. Before Montana sportsmen can ever hope to see change within a wildlife agency that collaborates with anti-hunting groups, a governor willing to tackle a FWP overhaul must be elected to office.
A half dozen or so individuals have now thrown their hat into the gubernatorial ring. Early on, several openly claimed that one of their priorities would be to turn MT FWP around, and get that agency back on track. All but one have gotten conspicuously quiet on this issue. And that candidate is Robert Fanning, of Pray, MT.
As the founder of the Friends of the Northern Yellowstone Elk Herd, who lives on a small ranch near the northern entrance to Yellowstone National Park, Fanning has watched firsthand the demise of what was this country's largest migrating elk herd. When USFWS first released wolves into the park area in 1995, that herd numbered close to 20,000. Slowly at first, the numbers began to dwindle, then as wolf numbers in the area reached 300 to 400, that elk population went into a downward spiral, due to both outright depredation and the loss of calf fetuses to stress, until this past winter and spring, only about 4,400 remained. During the mid 1990s, the average age of the herd was 4 to 5 years old. Today, the Northern Yellowstone elk herd has become extremely geriatric, now averaging 9 to 10 years of age.
To those who have also followed the destruction of this herd, and many others in western Montana, it comes as no surprise that of the 24 promises Bob Fanning lists as his campaign issues, taking care of the wolf problem is No. 1. He states, as Governor, he would, "Dramatically reduce wolf populations to restore big game hunting in Montana and to protect people, children, cattle, and pets."
Also on that list is to kick Agenda 21 efforts out of the state.
Between now and November 6th, the heat from the wolf issue will continue to scorch those elected officials and wildlife managers who foolishly continue to follow the same path that has allowed manipulative pro-wolf pseudo environmental groups bring so much devastation to the wildlife resources of the Northern Rockies. Before election day, all voters are encouraged to take the time to know exactly where their candidates stand on issues that so negatively affect an outdoor lifestyle - and that those candidates are exactly what they claim to be, and not seeking office to benefit the agenda of radical environmentalists who want you gone. - Toby Bridges, LOBO WATCH
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