Pitting Alaska - Killing Wolves and Grizzlies

Hehe, quite alright, and I just now realized that YOU were the OP, so here I was apologizing for hijacking the OP’s thread.

Boy am I observant. NOT! :smiley:

AT any rate, if you want to see the Prudhoe pics, I’ll see if I can hunt them back down. I have some of my own of various investigation sites in remote AK, including Prince William sound. I’ll see if I can find them.

Some are on the shoreline, and some are from overhead. You’d never know there’d been an Exxon. Veco and their ilk did a good job cleaning up. Mother nature’s done a pretty darn good job on the rest.

Before I got started in the environmental industry, I did a six week temp agency assignment at the Law offices that were the attorneys for one of the class action suits against Exxon.

Lots of stuff the public doesn’t know about that too. Such as that 3 minutes (according to the Coast Office Log included in the records it was my job to sort copy and distribute), the Exxon notified the Coast Guard of the incident.

The long response time to the actual spill wasn’t due to a lack on Exxon’s part, but in that most of Alaska isn’t accessible by road. Not to mention the fact that all of the spill response personnel had to be notified, mobilized and flown out to the various sites where the oil made it to the beach.

NOT that that excuses the idiocy of their actions in the first place. But you can see where lies and exaggerations from those who have no clue what actually went on in certain historical events can be skewed and made into ridiculous hype that folks who have no way of knowing the whole truth might buy into.

Feeding starving moose alfalfa in winter will not prevent them from starving to death, they will just die with a full stomach. The microbes in a moose’s gut change in the winter to digest woody, fibrous material such as willow. If you introduce foods like alfalfa, it will throw their microbial balance out of whack, and they will die no matter how much alfalfa they eat. They also suffer from protein poisoning when fed alfalfa at a time when they are stressed by starvation.

Umm, why not? Why shouldn’t they plan on moose meat as part of their diet? It’s legal, and in my opinion, putting food on the table is a perfectly valid and honorable reason to hunt.

It is completely valid and honorable. It’s using what you took and not wasting it. I doubt these “hermits” make much of an impact, since just one moose is a hell of a lot of meat, and one successful hunt sets you up with a lot of eats for quite a while. I bet those “hermits” are not running entire herds or packs of animals to exhaustion in a plane either.

With all due respect to SteveG1 and This Year’s Model, you guys are both missing my point. The issue isn’t that there’s anything wrong with killing moose purely for food; even though it wouldn’t be my choice as to a lifestyle, I wouldn’t presume to criticize it. The problem comes in when a large enough number of people want to do things this way (plus the aforementioned “trophy” hunters clamboring for kills also) that it is necessary to bloat the moose population beyond its natural level, and wipe out predators in order to do so. Read my full post, and you’ll see that those both seem to be the case here:

See the difference?

read’s PhDMetalhead’s post Wow … just wow.
Do you mind if I become your squealing fangirl?
… If I can stop hugging bunnies and trees for a few minutes. :smiley:

By the way, the Alaska Board of Game mentioned in the OP is appointed and is made up almost entirely of hunters and guides. That should answer some of your questions about their decisions.

I got the gist of your post, and we agree with each other. Bloating the population (if it is even possible) and wiping out the predators is a recipe for disaster. It will lead to more disease, starvation/winterkill. It will put an even greater load on the food available for the moose, and in turn effect any other animals that depend on moose for survival. I’m not against hunting, food or trophy whatever. I am against the idea that people should hunt an animal that is not able to “supply the demand”. I am against wiping out the predators that set controls on overgrazing, starvation and disease. I am also against dinking with the natural balance just to support a hunt that should have been called off. When the population rebounds on its own, then no problem. Nature has its own checks and balances. People just wreck it when they interfere.

I read your entire post, and most of it makes quite a bit of sense. However, you did criticize the hermit’s lifestyle, using them as a reason for the predator removal proposal. I just find it hard to believe that either in numbers or in political effect, these hermits can have that much of an effect.

Other than that, I have no problem with what you had to say.

Well, F& G started airdropping it, and the reason you give above is not the reason they gave us. They must have finally believed that it was better than nothing after all. Also, it’s been a long time, so my memory is shaky, but I don’t think alfalfa was the only feed they dropped, and IIRC, they included additives. Similar to ones you can buy for cattle or horses when their enzyme balance gets off track.

For the record, willow isn’t their only source of food. They eat grass, “goop” from the bottoms of ponds, lilacs, (ask any Alaskan gardener :D), and gardens (yes, entire gardens) as well. I lived on the Kenai during the starvation epidemic. A lot of us were feeding salad and veggie scraps to “our” moose. They must not have been “starving with full stomachs” because they kept coming back for more, until breakup.

Why the hell can’t they relocate some? It’s been done plenty of times - tranq them and release them in another area. More work, yes, but at least they get the chance to live.

And I consider “hunting” to mean tracking and killing an animal in order to utilize its body for food and other resources. This is something that takes skill and patience, and SHOULD take a certain amount of respect for said animal. Chasing animals in a plane with big guns till they are desperate and exhausted is nothing less than cruel. And you can bet it’s nobody else but the white man’s idea.

They did at one point. Chefguy probably knows or remembers way more abou this than I do, but IIRC, they relocated bunches of wolves (not grizzlies that I remember) to places like Montana, and I think (again, it’s been a while, please don’t quote me) to Yosmite NP.

Where, the wolf populaton went bonkers, and farmers in montana ended up killing them because they were killing too many sheep and so on. I don’t remember how they solved the problem in the NP.

They need to just leave it alone.

Every few years whales get trapped in some sort of ice cave in the ocean as the waters are freezing up for the year. Then starts a nationally televised circus as “environmentalists” come in from all over the world to save them.

I wish I could remember the name of the article, but a naturalist wrote about how stupid this really was, and explained about how, 'in the wild" (were the situation allowed to BE normal) the poor whales would end up in the cycle of hunter-prey etc. Likely they would feed hungry polar bear cubs, help native populations, and so on.

THAT is nature. It is cruel, but that is what happens sometimes. It’s all brave and noble and all to save them, but it’s not necesary. It’s survival of the fittest. So basically, what the rescuers have done, is save a pod of whales who don’t have good enough instincts regarding when to migrate, and sent them back out into the breeding pool. (DISCLAIMER, I am NOT a scientist, and don’t remember the article verbatim, so I’m not claiming that I have the exact perfect scientific reasons and hard data).

You DO understand how much territory you’re talking about here, don’t you? The expense of relocating animals is horrendous, even in accessible areas, let alone in the remote parts of the state.

I normally would agree with CanvasShoes: leave the critters alone and let nature take its course. However, in some areas the natural balance has already been tampered with by imposing foolish hunting/trapping limits and illogical game “management” ideas. If the wolves overhunt and kill indiscriminately (and they do; they’re not the fuzzy, noble creatures you may think), nature will retaliate by not repopulating and the wolf population will decline naturally.

If sport hunting is inserted into the equation, this solution is not acceptable to those who hunt because nature takes too damn long to get anything done. In addition, subsistence hunters, such as Native populations, are also competing for meat. If it comes down to wolves or people, the wolves lose. There is active resistance to culling of animals here, but sometimes the government just moves on its own without the consent of the governed.

It didn’t go bonkers. Some of the people in Montana (with guns and a vested interest( just didn’t want wolves there. Humans are notoriously bad at sharing territory with another predator. You’d think we’d have gotten past that point, but apparently not.

There is a fund set up to pay out whenever a wolf kills a rancher’s animal, so the ranchers do not suffer any economic loss. They just don’t want their grazing range reduced. Don’t you understand that wolves do not overprey? They take whatever they can get, and the pack size adjust accordingly (survival of the fittest I believe it’s called). The wolves don’t realize that they need to leave a ton of excess prey animals so human hunters can kill them. They also don’t realize the difference between farm animals and food animals, though they do try to avoid human contact of any kind.

I totally agree. That means letting wolves take care of the starving moose (that’s what they do, after all), letting them balance out with the prey population. That doesn’t mean tampering with the number of wolves to artificially inflate the prey population. JMO, and I like to hug bunnies, so YMMV.


Two quick points:

  1. Surely you’re not arguing that trying to save 1 whale from an accidental-but-natural entrapment is the same as trying to save hundreds of wolves from an intentional, unnecessary (by any natural definition of the word, at least) slaughter by humans? No sane person could possibly equate the annihilation of a healthy population of animals with “nature taking its course”; please tell me you can tell the difference…

  2. I would point out (though this is somewhat off-topic) that at least one of the big whale-entrapment cases a few years ago involved, IIRC, a species whose populations are already particularly depleted (I think it may have involved a Northern Right Whale, of which there are - as a result of human actions of course - only 300-400 left in the world). When a species’ numbers get that low, losing any single member (especially one of breeding age) is a big deal. Again, under normal circumstances, I’d agree with you, and nature shouldn’t be messed with, but not for a species which we’ve already pushed to the brink.

I’m assuming that you mean collective you? And not me, since I made it clear that I was only answering a question about IF they’d ever tried relocating, and added quite a disclaimer that I didn’t remember much about the circumstances?

Surely you’re right, I’m not trying to argue that at all, when I posted the whale example, I’m saying exactly the opposite, that man should stay OUT of it in most cases, including and ESPECIALLY by not using unfair methods such as aerial hunts and bear baiting.

As I said above, you DID notice my disclaimer right, that of that I wasn’t quotiing the article verbatim, but just sharing the gist of it? And had you read the rest of my posts, you’d see that I am AGAINST aerial hunting as well as bear baiting.

Sorry to get snarky, but how you could read my post, and glean the exact OPPOSITE of what I actually said, indicates to me that you’re not reading the whole thread, or the entirety of people’s posts.

This is unusual on the SDMB how?

::: Bawahahahahah ::::

Forgot where I was for a moment. :smiley:

Personally, I’d be against the wolf and bear culling programs. Moose populations are cyclic, if down now they’ll return in the future and my perception is that most times when man gets involved in the forced maintenance of nature all he does is fuck it up.

However, if they do decide to go through with this program I think hunts from a plane will be necessary to effectively reduce the wolf numbers. Is shooting them from an airplane a violation of the traditional hunting ethic? Who cares. This isn’t a movement to hunt them in the traditional sense… it’s an attempt to reduce their numbers and that’s the most effective way.

I was priviledged to travel over an enormous percentage of Alaska’s wilderness in the 80s and 90s, from the Canadian border on the west into ANWR, across the north slope and NPR to Point Barrow and down through the Brooks Range. My job took me into the most remote parts of the state and I’ve seen literally tens of thousands of square miles of it’s wilderness. The only way across much of that country is by air. There’s simply no roads to speak of. We were constantly on the lookout for wildlife because we’d land often to do field work and we didn’t want any unpleasant surprises. The only time we ever saw wolves was from the air. They’re elusive as all get out and don’t stick around if they know you’re there. If Fish & Game is really serious about reducing their numbers, air hunts are undoubtably going to have to be an integral part of their program.

Another consideration is the important part moose starvation plays in the circle of life. When brown bears come out of hibernation in the spring, carcasses of moose that have died over the winter are an important part of their diet. Salmon are not yet in the rivers, and it’s way to early for berries, so they depend on the carcasses of moose that have died over the winter. If we start tampering with the balance of nature by feeding moose, fewer moose will starve, yielding fewer carcasses. Now what are the bears going to eat? Are you going to feed the bears too?