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Archive for the month “June, 2012”

Is There More To Yellowstone Wolf Attack Than Park Officials Are Admitting?

Above – Yellowstone wolves have severely hamstrung this moose…and now await it to bleed out and go down.  Then, in normal wolf fashion, the pack will feed on the still alive moose, often eating out the meaty rear portions – and leaving the animal to suffer a lingering death.  To bring down a sizeable animal such as this can take several days, and the hungry pack will aggressively defend their food source.

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It’s no secret among the residents of the Greater Yellowstone Area that the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have been less than honest about the impact wolves have had on the park and the area in general, or how those involved with the Northern Rockies Wolf Recovery Project have manipulated science to achieve a fast track to a successful wolf recovery.  Likewise, from the very start of the project, the likes of former project coordinator Ed Bangs and Yellowstone wolf biologist Doug Smith have thumbed their noses at any claims in regard to the health or safety threats wolves pose humans, especially when it comes to an outright attack on a human.

So, are wolves a threat to humans, will they attack a person?

One Yellowstone National Park tourist can probably answer that question better than anyone working at the park.  The man was hiking in the Hayden Valley, along the Yellowstone River, in early June (2012) when he encountered wolves, or a wolf, which he claimed became aggressive and threatening.  And this is where the story goes in two directions.

One story is that, to ward off the attack, the hiker sprayed the wolves with pepper spray bear repellant, but they did not back off.  The man then ran to the river and jumped in, while the pack of five wolves continued to pursue him, running along the bank, for nearly a mile.  The other story, being told by Yellowstone National Park officials, is that the hiker encountered a lone female wolf, which was guarding its den, and that there was not an attack, so there was no reason for the man to jump into the Yellowstone River.

Park spokesman Al Nash said, “There was no wolf attack, however, a visitor apparently had some sort of encounter with a wolf. The wolf did not attack him.   This gentleman encountered a wolf, just as many visitors encounter bears, elk or sheep.  I don’t know what his decision-making process was. He chose to get away from the animal. Why he chose to go into the Yellowstone River, I just don’t know.”

            When rumors of the “encounter” began to circulate a week after the incident took place, Scott Rockholm, the founder of Save Western Wildlife, called the Yellowstone offices and spoke with the head of the park’s wolf project, biologist Doug Smith.  Smith also stressed that the man was not attacked by the wolf.  Rather, he had gotten too close to the wolf’s den, and the wolf was simply doing what it took to get him away from the area.

According to Rockholm, Smith commented, “The female wolf escorted the man away from the den, and the man overreacted”.

A short story on the incident that ran in the Billings Gazette on June 12 shared – “The wolf allegedly gave a warning bark, which the man interpreted as a growl. He sprayed the wolf with pepper spray — a deterrent most often used in bear encounters. The hiker heard the wolf yipping as a result of the spray as he fled.  Park officials said the man jumped into the Yellowstone River, believing the wolf might pursue him. He apparently lost his backpack as he was washed downriver and was treated by park rangers for hypothermia.”

            Dr. Valerius Geist, a professor of wildlife ecology with the University of Calgary, in Alberta, Canada says, “The position taken by the park is a classical one:  Blame the victim!    No wolf gets within pepper-spray distance without intent.  On the positive side, the wolf sprayed is unlikely to try getting close    again. This is good negative conditioning.”

During the month of June, the Yellowstone River typically sees its highest water mark as the mountain snowpack recedes quickly.  The runoff is swift, and the stretch of river where the hiker took the plunge is at just over 7,000 feet elevation, and the water runs cold.  Mid day water temperatures in early to mid June run around 47 or 48 degrees, accounting for the hiker’s case of hypothermia.

Will Graves, the author of the book “Wolves in Russia – Anxiety Through the Ages”, doesn’t buy YNP’s claim that the frightened hiker jumped into the river for no reason at all.  He points out,  “Anyone who jumps into the Yellowstone River in June, during high water, must be under a great deal of stress.”

Yellowstone National Park did not release the man’s name, but has stated that an investigation would continue to learn more.  Until then, they’re likely sticking with their story, and claim that there was not an attack.  Still, the other story, claiming that it was a pack of wolves, not a single female wolf, that pursued the hiker supposedly has a witness.  Looks like the best of either story could be yet to come.  –  Toby Bridges, LOBO WATCH

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Phony Montana Sportsman Organizations Taint 2012 Elections!

Per capita, Montana has more hunters and fishermen than any other Lower 48 state.

Last November, LOBO WATCH exposed a very phony “sportsman based” organization – a group that called itself “Montana Hunters and Anglers Action”. See release published at…

http://www.lobowatch.org/adminclient/Legislation9/go.

Simply put, it was the goal of this “organization” to discredit those elected officials who are fighting the continued spread of wolves in this state, or who stand tall against the closure of public lands or access to those public lands (i.e. road closures). The efforts of Montana Hunters and Anglers Action were financed by radical environmental groups. In fact, according to one source of information, some $250,000 was spent on tv commercials that vehemently attacked Denny Rehberg. Surely many of you remember those…which went off the air later the same week we circulated the release to the media of Montana…and to real sportsmen and sportsmen groups/organizations.

Well, it seems we have another equally phony sportsman group in our midst again, calling itself the Montana Sportsman Alliance. And it’s pretty much made up of the same folks who ran or financially supported Montana Hunters and Anglers Action.

Montana Sportsman Alliance is equally lame, and has the same radical environmental purpose – and that is to disrupt the 2012 election in an attempt to prevent a few burrs under their saddle from being re-elected…or elected. Their sorry excuse for a website shares exactly who they are…if one takes the time to scrutinize the information they have published. One post is an all out attack against one true statewide sportsman-based organization – Montana Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife. That Editorial Opinion which appeared in the Missoulian was written by Montana Sportsman Alliance co-founder Vito Quatraro, and attacks MT SFW for one reason and one reason only – the staunch stand SFW has on achieving more stringent control of wolves in this state. I know for a fact that MT SFW president Keith Kubista wrote a rebutal to that piece, but to the best of my knowledge, the Missoulian has never published it. But, that newspaper is now gaining an extremely bad reputation for publishing one-sided journalism.

At the May 2012 MT FWP Commission meeting, MT Sportsman Alliance had several representatives comment – all of which stood in favor of the proposed wolf season presented by the commission – which would extend the season, allow electronic calls, and would allow trapping…without the use of more effective snares. The vast majority of sportsmen who commented at that meeting told the FWP Commission that the proposed season and methods of take DID NOT go far enough.

The truth is, Montana Sportsman Alliance is too closely associated with the Montana Wildlife Federation to truly represent the real sportsmen of Montana. As much as MWF tries to paint itself as a “sportsman friendly” organization…they are still a State Chapter of the National Wildlife Federation…which favors having MORE WOLVESMORE GRIZZLY BEARS…and MORE PREDATORS in general on the Montana landscape. And these are the very reason why our big game populations are now in serious decline.

Today, with the primary elections underway, seemed a fitting day to write and circulate this. Beginning tomorrow, the heat will really be on those who carry the ball all the way to November 6. Starting tomorrow morning, it’s time for the sportsmen of this state to unite and fight together…and the Montana Sportsmen Alliance banner IS NOT the battle flag we need to be waving.

Toby Bridges

LOBO WATCH

www.lobowatch.com

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