Wolf introduction/reintroduction and protectionism is all about control.
If the wolves are brought into an area and protected, then following the logic, human hunting must be reduced to prevent harming the wolves. Continuing that logic, there should be no hunting by humans nor any other activities that could potentially impact the wolves. If there is no hunting, then there is no need for guns. If there is no need for guns, there is no need for private ownership of guns.
A new tactic being used by the wolfies is to show how “beneficial” wolves are by reducing game animal populations and “restoring the natural order” as well as economic benefits from all the people that plan their vacations for wolf watching. This concept is being pushed to state legislators to bring wolves into areas that currently do not have them and to reduce hunting. It will have a profound impact on hunting in the USA.
Summary of the article (for those with internet attention spans):
Geist is an ungulate researcher who didn't have any issue with wolves during his career (when he had many encounters with wolves) and into retirement. Then, there was a pack on Vancouver island near his retirement farm/home that threatened livestock/people. That caused him to come up with this summary of when wolves are harmless and when "Under above conditions the chances of a lethal attack by wolves on humans is virtually unavoidable!"
Harmless (not going to be great formatting):
a) Wolves are absent or very rare – as they were in North America during much of the 20th century.
b) Wolves are hunted in an ongoing fashion, which abundant experience and a behavioral analysis leads us to believe makes them extremely shy of humans and, secondly, sick – but especially - habituating wolves are removed in an ongoing manner.
c) Wolves have an abundance of diverse, natural prey and there is no chance of opportunistic habituation to a human-made, rich food source such as kitchen wastes in open garbage dumps, or campsites where campers feed wolves.
d) Where wolves, after depleting natural prey, have access to abundant livestock and pets.
e) There is no opportunity of wolves contacting rabies, because rabies is not endemic to the land and where wolves have little opportunity to hybridize with dogs.
f) Where wildlife managers, game wardens or park wardens are aware of what constitute conditions to keep wolf attacks low, actively mange for such, and keep the affected humans alerted as to what constitute signals of danger.
g) Where persons meeting wolves avoid signs of weakness, fear, unsteadiness and illness, but act bold, calmly and resolute when confronting wolves. Withdraw facing the wolves and do not turn your back!
"Conversely, the chances of wolves attacking humans is very high or nearly certain where:"
h) Wolves are very abundant.
i) Wolves are protected de facto or de jure and do not experience humans as hunters.
j) Where natural prey populations are declining in abundance and diversity.
k) Where there are opportunities to feed regularly on a rich food source such as a garbage dump filled with kitchen wastes, or easily hunted alternatives to natural prey, such as pets and livestock.
l) Where populations of domestic livestock are sparse, and cannot maintain wolves for any length of time.
m) Where “experts” inform people that wolves are harmless and pose no danger, and are lulled into a false state of security.
n) Where wolves are emboldened to visit human habitations, approach humans closely in order to observe humans at leisure and get away with maiming and killing pets or livestock.
o) Where wolves are not deterred after attacking and being only temporarily dissuaded, while the victim is criticized and blamed and the misbehavior of wolves is explained away in some “scientific” fashion.
p) Where persons meeting wolves run away, look away, turn their back, show signs of fear, physical unsteadiness or illness.
The last set of points can be tested in northern MN fairly well. Wolves never left in this area and the population cycles of wolves follow closely the population cycles of deer. The points that are key up there are probably (k) (habituating food sources are now known to create problem wolves/bears/etc) and (n) (wolves that prey on livestock are killed).
My biggest issue during reading this is he keeps going back to the straw-man argument - saying that everyone agrees that wolves are harmless. Then proceeds to 'win' that argument with a lot of filler. Except for whoever are the wolf equivalents of Treadwell, I am not sure that anyone is arguing that wolves will never be harmful to humans. Most (me included) argue that the threat seems to be incredibly small based on the last 100 years of data in North America.
I think you just filled in the blank why he fills most say wolves are harmless.
Wolves are not as large of a problem as the associated politics.
I and most hunters would have been OK with small numbers kept in strict control but that is not what happens based on the Yellowstone example. Wolves were allowed to multiply and expand exponentially with no controls.
Moose, elk and deer populations have been devastated by wolves and the target “restoration” populations and range of wolves far exceeded before any management was allowed by the federal government. It was intentional and legal roadblocks were driven by the same groups that want to abolish hunting and guns in this country.
After seeing what happened in the GY, and being there firsthand enough to see the decimation caused by out of control wolves, my feeling now is that my grandfathers were absolutely correct to hunt wolves to extinction in the SW US.
He also debunks the “... let wolves maintain a natural balance.” theory. “Balance” always ends up being a swing between feast and famine.
Anyway, the article can only be useful if read in its entirety and I realize most wont bother.
Of course - you read the link. That is why I would be interested to see what he thinks of the last 12 years worth of data.
He gives a good summary of what conditions will lead to certain human death by wolves but doesn't give any sort of indication if these conditions are going to be more likely in the future (because they obviously aren't high now).
I didn't see Geist's recommendation for the strict controls (all season hunts). Is that from talking to him or did he publish something else on the subject?
WV - I didn't understand your argument.
And that is the reasoning that many use. Won't happen now because it didn't happen then. Geist explains that is because wolves have not been present for the last hundred years and any encounters were dealt with swiftly and permanently without fanfare. The opportunity for attacks were rare and were met with available and capable force. Ranchers, trappers, logger's and miner's, hunters and hikers of the day all had guns and were the most likely to have an encounter, so wolves learned fear of humans and avoided contact.
You could say that alligators are not dangerous according to data, NY has them, but recorded instances of attacks are very rare even in such a target rich environment.
If Geist is correct in his timeline, then Yellowstone will be the natural area for coming wolf attacks on humans. Over abundance of easy prey led to an over abundance of wolves (that's that "balance" at work) and now the prey numbers are crashing, which in turn will cause wolves to seek new prey in their territory and to travel out of it. Formerly wild wolves will come increasingly in contact with a type of person that sees them as harmless and will misinterpret the wolves tolerance of their close proximity as trust and friendliness. A pack of wolves playing "tag" with a hiker will likely be broadcast by wolf loving bloggers as a playful interaction. If you read the comments on wolf lover sites, the common theme is "...I desperately want to have a encounter with my Spirit Animal". People will flock to the park to encounter wolves and post it on their media pages. More people, more contact, more emboldened.
Thankfully it will be the right people getting chewed on when it happens.
Although it will be a tragedy when a wolf-hugging hiker gets ate, I will enjoy the media coverage.
The California wolf introductions could be very useful in cleaning up the streets. Seems to be an over abundance of homelessness in many areas that the wolves could certainly remedy.
Historically there were wolves all the way to the eastern coast so New York and other cities over there should be given their fair share as well...
Maybe, but he has given (h)-(p) that must be filled or he has an out. Furthermore, he came up with that list after a pretty specific instance on Vancouver island. Who knows - maybe that population had inbred enough to create a group that didn't have fear - and that isn't replicated in yellowstone or other places where the genetic pool is larger. Nature has an (almost) infinite amount of variables that it can introduce.
I brought up N MN because we have had at least 3 deer crashes because of multiple bad winters in a row since I have been hunting up there. After 3-4 years, the wolf population followed that with a crash of their own. Our population definitely had the hardships of some of Geist's criteria. For whatever reason, we haven't had attacks of the level that he predicted. We have a much bigger population of his Vancouver so this might add new data points to his theory.
Neat article - thanks for introducing it here. I agree that most on the site won't spend the time.
A couple of years ago, I was calling moose in the middle of a very large, over grown logging slash. Wolves lit up on three sides of me and continued to howl back and forth. I realized they thought they had a moose to hunt. I positioned myself on a weedy hump of dirt about fifteen feet off the over grown skid trail with about a thirty yard clear shot up the trail. I did a short cow call and a calf call and readied for a shot in the direction of the closest howls. About two minutes later I caught movement behind and to my right. A wolf had sneaked in from the only direction they hadn't howled from! When he saw me swing my bow toward him he took off hard up the trail and I let an arrow fly just as he hit the brush, missing clean. By the I time got another arrow on a different wolf came running straight in from much the same direction, but he moved so fast I couldn't keep on him.
Having made me as a human not a moose, they slowly moved off howling as they left. It never really occurred to me that I may have been in danger, but I do wish I'd had a gun as I would have killed at least one.
Have a great bowhunt. BB
The reintro of wolves is a genius idea by the antis. There are just enough quasi environmental hunters to think its a good idea created controversy in our ranks- fighting among ourselves...it was genius! [I'm not a Patriots fan either but you have to hand it to Belicheck]
The fact that humans NEVER LEARN from history.......never ceases to amaze me.
Looked like that one in BB’s picture. He stopped at about 20 yards and just stared at me. I was glad I was out in the open and he was alone. There was another silver wolf about a mile out in the sage brush. Would have loved to have been able to shoot them both!
They are coming from Oregon in a slow but steady migration. Going to suck for the Rocky Mountain elk in eastern California.
The biologists are down playing the phenomenon and you won’t find much on the CDFW webpage.