Wolfseeker News 3/1/03
- * Park Rangers Haze 223 Bison
* Return To Bison Hunting Gets Nod From Senate
* Freudenthal Vows To Press On With Wolf Plans
* OFWC To Hear Public Testimony On Plans
* Letter: Wildlife Don
Park rangers haze 223 bison into Yellowstone from Gardiner
By SCOTT McMILLION, Chronicle Staff Writer
Park rangers on horseback and in vehicles hazed a large group of bison about
10 miles Thursday, from the Gardiner area to the interior of Yellowstone
The herd included 223 animals of both sexes and various ages, said park
spokeswoman Marsha Karle, and is the largest such effort in some time.
"They were hazed from around the Gardiner School to the Blacktail Plateau,"
she said Friday.
This is the first time in a few years that such a large group of bison has
moved to the park's northern boundary.
In recent years, most bison movement has been along the west boundary, near
the gateway community of West Yellowstone.
An agreement between the state and federal government allows only very
limited tolerance for bison outside Yellowstone because of fears the bison
will spread brucellosis to Montana's cattle herds.
On the western boundary, the Montana Department of Livestock takes the lead
on handling bison. On the northern boundary, the National Park Service
assumes the lead role.
DOL has two traps outside the park north of West Yellowstone that are used
every winter to test animals and ship some to slaughter.
The Park Service has a trap west of Gardiner it has used for similar
purposes in the past, but it hasn't been active for several years.
Return to bison hunting gets nod from Senate
HELENA (AP) - Amid warnings that it could lead to a national embarrassment
for Montana, the Senate approved a bill to revive the use of public hunting
to help manage diseased bison that wander from Yellowstone National Park.
The proposal, endorsed 39-11, will not result in the kind of canned
shootings of the animals that caused an uproar when last used, said Sen.
Gary Perry, sponsor of the measure.
Public hunting would be a small part of the management scheme used by the
state and federal government to control the bison, the Manhattan Republican
They won't be chaperoned by game wardens and the hunting will help reach the
goal of eventually eliminating brucellosis from the Yellowstone herd so that
someday the disease-free animals can form a free-ranging herd outside the
park, Perry said.
Those objecting to Senate Bill 395 said they're worried that national
attention again would be focused on the sight of hunters shooting the
stationary bison in their tracks.
"Hunting them is like stalking a cow," said Sen. Ken Toole, D-Helena. "It's
not hunting and it's not fair chase. They're animals you just walk up to.
I'm concerned about the reputation of hunting."
Minority Leader Jon Tester, D-Big Sandy, supported the bill but agreed with
Toole that hunting isn't the correct word to describe what the bill will
"It's kind of like shooting beef," the farmer-rancher said. "It's just going
out, drawing a bead and pulling a trigger."
Backers said authorities need a new tool to cope with the growing number of
bison and the increasing problem of the animals leaving the park in search
of winter forage.
Many of the bison are infected with brucellosis, which can cause cows to
abort, and the livestock industry fears losing Montana's its
State and federal agencies use a combination of hazing, capture and shooting
to control the migrating bison. State wildlife and livestock officials
support the bill and have said hunters would have to stalk their own prey
without guidance from wardens, as was the case before.
Sen. Dan Harrington, D-Butte, predicted a recurrence of national media
attention if public hunting of bison resumes.
Sen. Jim Elliott, D-Trout Creek, said that will damage Montana's image among
tourists and provide a rallying point for the anti-hunting movement.
"I have a fear about the economy of the state of Montana and I have a fear
about the perception that doing this would give to hunting in America," he
Regardless of the embarrassment Montana had because of past bison hunting,
the current management plan isn't working and more pressure must be applied
to the National Park Service to do something about its overflowing bison
herd, said Sen. Emily Stonington, D-Bozeman.
Perry agreed. Doing nothing will result in no improvement, but adding
hunting to the management tools will lead to the kind of free-roaming bison
herd in southwestern Montana that will draw more tourists to the state, he
Freudenthal vows to press on with wolf plans
by The Associated Press - 02/28/03 04:21:23
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - Despite last-second misgivings from Washington,
Wyoming will proceed with its plans for eventually managing gray wolves in
the state, Gov. Dave Freudenthal said Friday.
Freudenthal said he would sign a bill passed Friday by the Wyoming
Legislature that sets the state's plans for managing the wolves.
House Bill 229 creates a dual classification for wolves. Within Yellowstone
and Grand Teton national parks, wolves would be classified as trophy game
and could not be hunted without state permission. However, the wolves would
be considered predators outside the parks and could be shot on sight. The
bill stipulates that Wyoming maintain 15 wolf packs _ eight inside the parks
and seven outside.
In order for the gray wolf to be removed from the Endangered Species List,
Wyoming, Montana and Idaho must develop acceptable plans to take over
management of the animals. Idaho has produced a plan, while Wyoming and
Montana are still developing their plans.
The U.S. Interior Department must approve each state wolf management plan
before the process of delisting the wolf can proceed.
However, Freudenthal said he has received word that Interior officials are
now concerned about the wording of Wyoming's plan.
Freudenthal said he was irritated that Interior officials had not voiced any
"There's a point at which they have to stop moving the target, and we're
past that point," he said.
He produced a Feb. 21 letter from Craig Manson, assistant secretary for Fish
and Wildlife and Parks, that notes how closely the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service has been working with the state and Legislature on its wolf
management plan and that the 15 packs "should satisfy" recovery levels.
Freudenthal said the state "operated off that response" and intends to
continue to proceed until he is advised in writing that the Manson letter is
no longer valid.
He said Wyoming has made "a great step forward on this issue, and I expect
Interior to honor their commitment and move with us."
He characterized Wyoming's efforts so far in dealing with the wolf issue as
"reasonable and rational" and that he and the Legislature both had worked in
"It's time for us to settle in and get this done," he said. "Fair is fair."
Two other wolf-related bills nearing final legislative approval would allow
the state to investigate whether it could recover damages caused by federal
wildlife management decisions and direct the state attorney general to
prepare a plan for potential litigation asserting the state's authority to
manage wildlife within its borders.
OFWC to hear public testimony on plans
The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission meets March 20-21.
PORTLAND - The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission will meet for two
days in Newport, March 20-21, to hear staff reports and public testimony on
wolf management, a draft hatchery policy and options for the 2003 ocean
The regular March meeting of the Commission was extended to two days
from one due to the volume of agenda items and expected public testimony.
The Commission is the rule-making body for the Oregon Department of Fish and
Wildlife. The seven-member panel meets monthly.
The Thursday agenda will include a staff report on items related to
wolf management. While wolves are not confirmed to live in Oregon at this
time, biologists working with wolves in Idaho expect wolves to eventually
establish themselves in Oregon. People seeking to speak on this agenda item
will be asked to limit their testimony to three minutes due to the expected
amount of public testimony.
``We really hope that the many Oregonians with a passion on this issue
take time to prepare a three-minute summary of their recommendations and, if
they havent already, provide us with written testimony that goes into more
detail,'' said John Esler, chairman of the Commission.
The two-day meeting is slated to begin at 8 a.m. both days in the
ballroom of the Embarcadero Hotel, 1000 SE Bay Boulevard, Newport.
The Commission also will host an informal reception for members of the
public on Thursday, 5:30 - 7 p.m., in the Embarcadero Hotels Fireside Room.
The following items are on the agenda for March 20:
Access and Habitat Projects: Approval of funding requests.
Wolf Management Alternatives: Informational briefing on options used
in other states.
Powerdale Hydroelectric Project: Approval of fish passage proposal.
Developmental Fisheries Board Appointments.
The following items are on the agenda for March 21:
Directors Report: Informational briefing on deferred maintenance,
regional activities and agency logo.
Fish Passage Exemption Approval Process: Rule adoption.
Other Business: Briefing on construction of new ODFW headquarters
building in Salem. Briefing will occur during Commission lunch around noon.
Public testimony is taken on each scheduled agenda item. Persons
seeking to testify must sign up in the back of the meeting room the day of
the meeting. Anyone wishing to provide written material to support their
testimony is asked to bring 20 copies.
Persons wishing to speak on items not on the formal agenda must call
Mike Lueck in the ODFW Directors Office at (503) 872-5272 by Tuesday, March
18. Unscheduled testimony will be heard about 1 p.m. on Friday, March 21.
More information on agenda items can be found at
dfw.state.or.us/ODFWhtml/commission-meeting.html as it becomes available.
"The Don of Wildlife" (Tribune, Feb. 17) paints an interesting
picture. It says a lot about an impotent Utah Department of Wildlife
Resources and an ethically challenged Legislature.
While Don Peay may be a "hero to hunters," he is hardly a "terror"
to foes. A more apt description would be "autocrat." Peay decided to thwart
majority rule when he pushed through Proposition 5 requiring a super
majority vote on all wildlife ballot issues.
Hunters in Utah are a minority that declines steadily every year.
Fewer than 5 percent of Utah hunters support bear-baiting or hunting cougars
with hounds, yet Peay spent nearly $1 million getting legislation passed to
make sure these despicable activities remain legal in Utah.
According to the DWR's own polling, the vast majority of Utah
citizens deplore these inhumane behaviors. Peay caters to a small minority
of trophy hunters who want to kill "certain" kinds of wildlife at any cost,
including our voting rights.
It's surprising The Tribune used so much ink glorifying a man who
has so little respect for wildlife. What motivates the Don is fear. He is
terrified of losing the "right" to persecute and kill wild animals. In 2001,
wildlife watchers spent $555 million in Utah, far more than hunters spent.
Peay knows that most people would rather have the experience of
seeing a living animal than a dead one, so he resorted to unconstitutional
methods to achieve his agenda. It's only a matter of time before Prop 5 is
overturned and his breed slowly dies out.
Utah Environmental Congress
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