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Ravalli County (MT) Predator Management Policy

          The above photo was taken near what “used to be” one of my favorite camping spots, high in the Bitterroot Mountains of Ravalli County, MT.  My wife, our dogs, and I loved to camp here because of the rich wildlife population.  Every day, deer would walk in and out of our camp, and moose would be in a small nearby lake just about every evening…and come September, at night we could lay in the tent and listen to the elk cows call and the bulls bugle through much of the night.  That was before wolves moved in…or were dumped in!  Now, it’s all just a lot of pretty, and empty, real estate. 
          Following is an e-mail I sent to the Ravalli County Board of Commissioners, following a 2-9-12 meeting by that board to work out the details of a county predator management policy.  What are your thoughts on predator management/control being held on a country level?  –  Toby Bridges, LOBO WATCH
Ravalli County Board of Commissioners;
          First of all, I would like to thank the Ravalli County Board of Commissioners for taking a lead role in working toward a solution for the escalated loss of wildlife and damage being dealt to livestock producers by predators in your county.  While I am not a resident of Ravalli County, I have in the past spent a great deal of time recreating there, mostly camping, hiking, hunting and fishing in both the Bitterroot and Sapphire Mountains.  Last year was the first summer that my wife and I did not camp in Ravalli county, and that is due to the fact that there are no more moose where we camped in the Bitterroots or elk where we hiked in the Sapphires.  The place is not the same without the wildlife.
          Yesterday’s meeting made the fourth of the Ravalli County predator management meetings I have attended.  I actually video taped two of the meetings, which were shown on You Tube.
          I spend a great deal of time in the outdoors, most days at least 3 or more hours, walking with my dogs on closed Forest Service roads.  I have seen the damage predators have dealt our wildlife resources all along western Montana.  And despite the great efforts of this state’s wildlife managers and biologists to quickly blame mountain lions and bears for much of that loss, the truth is, that loss can be and should be mostly attributed to wolves.  One cannot walk anywhere without encountering piles of wolf scat…and without fail that wolf scat is always filled with elk, deer or moose hair.  And as pointed out several times at yesterday’s meeting, there is a direct correlation between growing wolf numbers and the precipitous crash of the elk population.  Yes, lions and bears have always had some impact on big game populations, but predator impact has been greatly escalated with the presence of wolves.
          One question asked by a County Commissioner yesterday, centered on “What is Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks’ goal for wolves, lions and bears?”
          If you have not already, educate yourself on the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative.  This is the collective effort of more than 100 collaborating environmental groups, organizations and agencies that seek to establish a 2,000 mile long wild corridor from Yellowstone National Parks, up through western Montana and much of Idaho, all along the Canadian Rockies, all the way to the Yukon.  This, for the most part would be a human-free wilderness corridor – and sitting smack dab inside the planned corridor are settled areas like Ravalli County.  Another goal is to greatly reduce human management of most everything inside this corridor, including the management of wildlife.  In essence, the carnivore predators which are now dealing a death blow to the County’s wildlife would become the managers of tomorrow’s big game populations, as those radical Y2Y collaborators seek a “natural balance” in the wild.  For more on Y2Y, go to – www.y2y.net
          One of those collaborators just happens to be Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.  Another is the University of Montana, where many of today’s new wave wildlife managers are being educated…or perhaps brainwashed.
          One policy of the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative 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.”  And our state Fish, Wildlife and Parks is an acknowledged partner in all of this.
          Ravalli County is now establishing a much needed precedence, and that is that we can no longer rely on MT FWP to do the right thing when it comes to controlling predators.  And that ‘s what it really has to be…CONTROLLING…not MANAGING.  Currently, we have way too many wolves, mountain lions and bears.  Before the Bitterroot’s elk herds can begin to pull out of the predator pit situation they’ve been thrown into, predator numbers must be reduced…by as much as 70-percent.  That cannot be done as long as FWP continues to treat these destructive carnivores as “big game animals”.  Current FWP regulations in regard to “methods of take” are far too restrictive to allow enough of the predators to be taken out of the equation.
          Until wolf numbers are brought to reasonable and KNOWN numbers, we need to have shoot-on-sight 365-days a year opportunities.  Quotas on mountain lions anywhere within Ravalli County need to be eliminated.  And bear hunters must be allowed to use baits, and to purchase two tags…plus establish a season for hunting bears with hounds.  Anything less is an undesirable compromise, and keeps the door open for predators to continue to destroy big game populations – and when there are no more elk, moose, deer, mountain goats and bighorn sheep, those predators will turn more and more on livestock, and present a far greater threat to residents.
          I will “Cc:” this to my good friend Will Graves, the author of the book “Wolves in Russia – Anxiety Through the Ages”.  Will spent several decades researching the past 150+ years of wolf control, and the damages and threats wolves have posed in Russia.  His book is a look at what lies ahead for the Northern Rockies unless we take control right now.  The statistics and documented research in this book is a far cry from the lies told to us by federal and state wildlife agencies, and agenda driven radical environmental groups.  If any of you have questions, please drop Will Graves an e-mail.  He and I discuss wolves at least once a week, and he has come far closer to establishing what we are now experiencing than anything that was included in the Northern Rockies Wolf Recovery Plan or the USFWS 1994 Environmental Impact Statement on the Wolf Recovery Project.   I will also “Cc:” a few other wildlife professionals who have remained true to their professions, and see the wolf for what it really is – a continued threat.
          MT FWP continues to be less than honest in their presentations to county commissioners – and to everyone else in this state.
Toby Bridges

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13 thoughts on “Ravalli County (MT) Predator Management Policy

  1. Steve nick on said:

    Very well said Toby,The More i get involved the more I see that this is a fight for Our freedom,Culture and Heritage …I Thank You for all that you are doing to restore that.
    Steve Nick

  2. Great to see you at the meeting yesterday Steve…I think county policies such as this are a sign of things to come…especially since MT FWP is now apparently working toward an agenda other than serving the sportsmen who have funded that agency all along.


    • Hi. this is a nice design! I am wondering why previous note says 6:42 pm today when it is early afternoon today? Made me look at my clocks and it is 11:30am PST here now. Is this a scenerio example of new lay-out design or did my computer go back to the future!? Let me know. Thanks, Jolene

    • Susan M Fleischman on said:

      I for one will not buy an out of state elk tag with the odds these days. And I for sure dont want to be back in 10 miles and run into a pack of wolves to fend off! Let the wolf lovers support the Dept. of Game! Like they would! They would find a way to tax the unwilling for their dirty work just as they have to get these filthy predators here in the first place.

      • Susan…You are exactly right. If there is one thing we really do know about the radical enviro greenie groups is that they not only expect a free ride…but that they also will search out every way in which to financially benefit. And, that’s because the management within groups like the Center for Biological Diversity…the Humane Society of the United States…Defenders of Wildlife…Alliance for the Wild Rockies…and most others…are lawyers. Money grubbing attorneys. And they have not spent one penny on real wildlife conservation.

        Toby Bridges
        LOBO WATCH

  3. Sorry about the time problem…should have it fixed.


  4. Looks like problem fixed as your time one hour ahead! Good job. Don’t know why that time caught my eye in first place, it just did. Knew it wasn’t pm hrs. yet! Now back to others for comments. Thank you.


  5. Susan M Fleischman on said:

    Toby, this is another problem that I have with the Montana fish game and parks. I cant eat wolf very well. I can eat Elk very well. Just in case anyone in the business community is listening. In the 80’s We would stay in motels for up to 2 weeks and eat out every night. We dont now and I wont for “wolf”.
    Our favorite area was Lo Lo pass, fish creek and White mountain. We would set up about 10 miles up a drainage with our horses and wall tents. If one of us would get an elk we would stay at the wall tent until we got the elk out. But we would always keep our motel room so we could shower and then have a fine meal and one of the good cafe’s in town.
    I bet that the small Mom Pop businesses could use our money now.

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