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Thread: Alaska isn't the only one with predator problems

  1. #1

    Default Alaska isn't the only one with predator problems

    Alaska isn't the only ones with predator control problems. This is a copy of an email from a friend who is a big game outfitter in British Columbia.



    Yes , I found guys are keen to kill wolves if they think
    they have a good chance.We also have a preditor problem.
    Mainly wolves , but also grizzlies. Outfitters are seeing
    Moose popultions declining in some managment units, but
    our bioligist manage on a larger scale(they say...)The
    Goverment did a large scale wolf control poisioning and
    helicoptor gunning. There is a book called "wolves and
    people" by David Hatler. His son is now our top Big game
    manager.

    We had record populations for years...We also hired the
    ungulate specialist from the Yukon. He was the guy who
    overseen the Yukon preditor management program.They also
    had record game populations in the Yukon. Once that
    program ended,it only took 3 years to have the Wolf
    population back to where it was.

    We were recently running 2 programs in BC

    1)Alternate prey reduction.This is where they reduce the
    Moose populations that wern't here 100 years ago.The
    Wolves will leave the area with no Moose.This is done to
    protect the Mountain caribou up top of the range.They are
    now protected under the SARA act...They say that this is
    working and the Caribou are up to 30 calves per hundred
    survival.Unfortunatly they wiped out a couple Guide
    Outfitters doing this... My thought s are the wolves will
    just run up the mountain and eat the Caribou with no
    Moose to eat.We are not in favor of this one!

    2)Lethal & Non Lethal sterilization program.This is where
    you fly over and identify the Alfa Male & female. You dart
    them and sterilize them.This is the Non Lethal part of
    it.By keeping them alive in the range, it keeps other
    packs out of that range and no increase in Wolf
    populations.
    The Lethal part is shooting the rest of the pack from the
    air!This was working in the North where they were eating
    the Stone sheep lol (worth $40,000 lol)The public found
    out and that was the end.

    Now our goverment is paying trappers to do agressive
    airial assisted snaring programs. They fly bait in from
    the railway kills and highway. Outfitters also haul
    bait.The trappers then use hundreds of snares to try to
    get the whole pack. Not working ! We have 1 trapper that
    is good at getting the whole pack ! 8 in one pass by. I
    have access to photos.

    What we have learned is taking a couple of Wolves doen't
    help at all. Although I agree that it is one less Wolf.

    Anyway I will stop there...unless you want to know
    more.lol

    Mark
    Chuck

  2. #2
    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Default

    I've never viewed predators as a "problem." They are as important to the overall dynamic as any other creature.

    Very strange note from your friend, Chuck. Bunch of mixed signals in there.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by bushrat View Post
    I've never viewed predators as a "problem." They are as important to the overall dynamic as any other creature.


    I felt the same way about the spruce bark beetle until the forest died.

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    Default wolves

    hiline i know some of the people involved in the programs you are talking about, predators might not be viewed as a "problem" for some but when your lively hood is being destroyed by predators you tend to view them as more than a problem. Here in the Yukon we have our own problems and are searching for a solution. bushrat doesnt AK have a predator control program ongoing now?? if so why?? Do the bioligists think AK has a predator "problem"?? Might it have somthing to do with some of the elders in the villages that i read about saying the wolf numbers are to high?? It seems if somone posts somthing you dont agree with your first response is always along the lines of "mixed up" or "all over with this issue". I get it that you dont agree with wolf control, this is a real "hot button" issue with a lot of people. I just dont know why? On one hand you will go to great lengths to explain studies done by bioligists but have never heard you agree with them when they call for wolf/predator control. Im not sure about AK but in Canada we have never done any wolf control without it being recomended by a bioligist.

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    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Dave (yukon254),

    In answer to your questions, yes Alaska currently has predator control programs going on in five different areas. We also have "moose control" going on in a few areas as well, though we don't call it that <grin>. Interestingly, the moose control is a result of predator control, go figure.

    I have no problem with good wolf management, including control efforts when warranted. Our state Intensive Management law in fact demands this. What I have a problem with is the population and harvest objectives in that law, created by politicians instead of biologists, and how those aspects of IM law can impact a lot of other things like hunter overcrowding, user conflicts, abuse etc. Keep in mind the original IM law wasn't even supported by ADFG, so I guess that should say something.

    As to the mixed signals I mentioned in the note Chuck posted, well it's the same ol' thang you often will hear that doesn't really add up. Stuff like "taking a couple wolves doesn't help at all" etc. Or that a program to actively trap wolves, with incentives from the government like a bounty or what have you, doesn't work either, cuz trappers aren't able to catch the "whole pack."

    I suppose if my livelihood was "being destroyed" by predators I'd take it upon myself to do something about it. I understand why so many guides and transporters take part in the aerial gunning programs, and I have a wealth of respect for them and know how expensive and dangerous that is. I don't see those guys asking for govt. assistance, and know what they end up making on wolf pelts doesn't come close to what they spend on fuel and aircraft costs etc.

    I like wolves. I like to trap them too and use their fur to make clothing, like to eat good fat wolf meat too. I don't go after whole packs, isn't the way I'm geared ethically, but that's just me. Some trappers I know in the control areas are pretty ticked that they aren't catching wolves any longer...they are being shot out by the aerial gunners. It's interesting how livelihoods are impacted in different ways.

    Some of the folks participating in the control efforts with wolves are starting to recognize as well that maybe the increase in moose numbers wasn't what they really wanted on the scale they are seeing, that the IM harvest numbers are so high that it is impacting their business of transporting and guiding in some negative ways. For example, in the 20E area north of Tok, one guy tells me that now he is having conflicts with ATV and ORV hunters who never before made it that far back where he had the more remote strips. Other tranpsorters are landing clients as well.

    Overall, a lot of what you'll see me posting here on this issue is about getting folks to see the overall big picture of what we're doing, and what some of the repercussions are. I think our IM law leans too much toward extremism in some areas, and needs to be reviewed as to sustainable populations and harvests that don't end up creating a whole slew of new problems.

    We manage moose and caribou, so it's just basic common sense that we should also manage wolves and bears. I think we should do it in ways that are moderate and that lead to long-term sustainable populations and harvests of all (pred and prey), for everyone. I also believe that these animals don't just belong to hunters, and that there is much value (both economically and aesthetically) as well in viewing the wildlife of Alaska.

    One final thought on what you said about village elders claiming predator numbers were too high: last year I think it was I criticized an editorial by Sidney Huntington that said that villagers could no longer afford to trap, in order to help themselves with what they said were too-high predator numbers. You will often see this kind of positon of late, that the state govt. needs to solve what hunters themselves are unwilling to solve, claiming they simply can't afford to do it themselves. Too that I say pshaw...give me a break, I'm still using dogteam and snowshoes only and I don't think I even break even trapping when you consider what we spend flying out dog food. I know a lot of other trappers who just barely break even too. I tire of the "govt. must help us" attitude when it comes to predator control. On top of that, we have huge problems in several areas of years upon years of illegal cow moose harvests that have brought on much of this, so it isn't always as black and white as it appears.

    I hope this clarifies my stance on predator management for ya a bit better. If not, lemme know.
    Best,

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    Default good stuff

    Mark very good stuff! I like what i heard in that post, thanks for clearing that up. we are on the same page, i to think we as hunters/trappers should do more, and if that means not hunting in an area im all for it as long as there is a sound management plan. Thanks Mark that really explained your pos. on this issue and it is sound. Dave

  7. #7

    Default Nice reply Mark

    Very well thought out. While I was asked this before the program began, I knew that I would be catching less wolves as the aerial gunners do their job. It is a fact as I don't see nearly the wolves that I had in the past, but that is okay for now. It is an interesting dilemma and I am constantly asking myself questions about the program. My biggest fear is that we will increase populations so much that the increased hunting/more hunters in the field will actually ruin the experience of hunting. I for one would rather go out and not harvest a moose versus seeing hundreds of people cruising all over the country. Surely a toss up, but I do applaud the predator control efforts and will continue to support it as there are many areas that certainly need it.

    As for more govt. intervention, I say BS! I say get off your duff and do your part in predator control!

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by bushrat View Post
    I've never viewed predators as a "problem." They are as important to the overall dynamic as any other creature.

    Very strange note from your friend, Chuck. Bunch of mixed signals in there.
    Any animal can become a problem when the overall dynamics thrown out of balance, for what ever reason, whether the problem animal is a prey animal or predator. If moose over populate an area seasons and harvest limits are more liberal so they don't destroy their habitat (read food source). I see no problem doing the same with wolves, bears, or any other predator.As far as aerial control if no one else is going to hunt or trap them I have no problem with it. If it was done in competition with trappers trying to make a living on furs I would be probably be against it. I don 't know the numbers but I'll almost bet the ratio of people hunting ungulates(moose, caribou, sheep,ect) as opposed those who trap fur today would weigh more toward the hunters than trappers. I would even go so far as to guess the number of trappers has declined significantly over the past couple of generations. If this is true and I believe it is there is bound to be more pressure on prey animals like moose and caribou. Ideally excess wolves and bears would be taken by consumptive users but the truth is they are not, because they aren't other measures have to be taken to protect ungulate populations. I think the biggest problem with wildlife management is how it has been politicized. We have law and rules made by uninformed legislatures and judges.
    When you have who knows how many user groups and almost as many managers you will never get the politics out of game management.
    There is nothing worse than an armchair quarterback who has never seen a football game.
    Wildlife management by science and common sense is getting to be a thing of the past.






    Chuck

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    Default trappers

    hiline most trappers in northern bc or yukon have no problem with somone doing predator control. unlike AK here in Canada our GOVT. will never sanction another wolf control program. Yes I do agree with bushrat we need to do more ourselves, but the reality is there are not enough trappers in the bush to make any difference in wolf numbers except in a very few spots. Some outfitters in BC are paying trappers upwards of 500 dollars per wolf, and that helps. I can understand concerns about higher hunter numbers but the reality is the fish/game are everyones. In a perfect world (for me) the residents would come first as far as allocation of tags ect. then nonresidents. And if predator control was needed it could be done.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by yukon254 View Post
    hiline most trappers in northern bc or yukon have no problem with somone doing predator control. unlike AK here in Canada our GOVT. will never sanction another wolf control program. Yes I do agree with bushrat we need to do more ourselves, but the reality is there are not enough trappers in the bush to make any difference in wolf numbers except in a very few spots. Some outfitters in BC are paying trappers upwards of 500 dollars per wolf, and that helps. I can understand concerns about higher hunter numbers but the reality is the fish/game are everyones. In a perfect world (for me) the residents would come first as far as allocation of tags ect. then nonresidents. And if predator control was needed it could be done.
    The comparison wasn't meet to disparage hunters or hunting the whole was point was the lopsided balance between hunters and trappers. When you have more hunters taking prey animals and less trappers taking predators you are bound to have an imbalance. I would much rather see more people trapping and predator hunting than see tax dollars go to helicopter time. But the fact is their are more people hunting moose and caribou for their freezers than are trapping wolf furs for the auction houses. There has to be a balance between predator and prey. Wolves are a fact of life they have to eat and contrary to Farley Mowat they don't live on mice alone. People also have to eat I value human life over a wolf or bear. Until the predator/prey balance is returned I will fully support Intensive Management programs.

    As far allocation of resources I to believe residents should have first shot while nonresidents should be allowed to take only the surplus. I am a guide every outfitter I work for have either had sport moose seasons in their guide areas closed or the population of trophy bulls is so bad they don't figure it is worth the effort to book moose hunts. I haven't taken a moose hunter out for six seasons all I do any more is bear and an occasional sheep hunt.
    Chuck

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    Default silver lining

    Chuck there might be a silver lining in all this, with all the new e callers and predator hunting shows on tv there seems to be more interest in predator hunting every year. I have been guiding for 23 years now in Northern Bc and Yukon and luckly we still have decent moose numbers in most areas with trophy quality pretty high. I dont want to sound like I think outfitters are doing anything wrong as i dont, they are useing a renewable resource that if managed properly will provide employment for many generations. I was lucky enough to work for Lynn Ross in the pink Mt country back in the early 80s and got to see what good wildlife management was all about. Since you hunt sheep you might find this interesting, I go down on the Turnagain every Feb. to feed horses and have seen what the elk are doing to the sheep (remember when they introduced them?) the elk push the sheep off the good feed in the winter, you can sit and watch it! I think this will become a big issue in the next few years. Just another example of F/G mismanagement , same thing with bison in the yukon now! This year tags are over the counter no draw they want 200 killed to date they have taken 26, on a good year they have barely got over 100, so what happens now?? they spent who knows how much introducing a problem!

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