If a radio-collared wolf dies in Denali National Park and Preserve and no press release is written, does its death matter? Or are the deaths only of note when they come at the hands of humans?
Wolves die in the popular national park all winter long. Seventy-five percent of them are killed by nature, according to National Park Service research. A full third are the victims of other wolves. Fewer, about 25 percent, are killed by human trappers and hunters when they venture outside the park.
The 25 percent attract 100 percent of the attention.
A female wolf died just outside the park boundary on February 18. She was not killed by humans. She died, as many others do, in the fangs of another pack.
A member of the Comb pack, she appears to have been killed by the neighboring Riley Creek pack, though there is no way to know with absolutely certainty which of the park’s wolves did the killing, according to wildlife biologist Bridget Borg.
At the time, the wolf’s death went unnoticed.
A little over a month later, however, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game ordered an early closure to trapping in the area of her death near the park boundary, but outside of it. The agency at that time reported a human kill of eight dead wolves for the season, about twice the average seasonal total for the past five years.
An increased kill is often the sign of a growing population but Division of Wildlife Conservation Director Bruce Dale made no mention of that possibility in a press release, saying only that “current levels of wolf harvest do not cause a biological or conservation problem for wolves in (Game Management) Unit 20C, which includes a large portion of Denali National Park and Preserve.”
The sole stated reason for shortening the season was “an effort to manage harvest closer to the previous 5-year average.”
Dale did not mention it is an election year in Alaska and the number of people in the state who love wolves is significantly bigger than the number who trap or hunt the animals for their fur, which can save someone’s face from frostbite in the 40- to 50-degree-below-zero cold of the far north.
The closure was a political win for wolf advocates who’d earlier demanded the closure of a finger of state lands that juts into the popular, 6-million-acre national park, one of the state’s top tourist attractions.
Wolf lover Rick Steiner quickly praised Gov. Bill Walker and Fish and Game Commissioner Sam Cotten for the decision, the Associated Press reported, though Steiner complained the closure affected an area smaller than what he and others sought.
Steiner believes trapping and hunting near the park are interfering with wolf-viewing opportunities in the park. The belief rests on the idea that wolf kills outside the park decrease the number of wolves inside the park, though the data on that are not clear, and that wolves that learn to be wary of people outside the park are less likely to make themselves visible for viewing or photography inside the park.
Wolf population dynamics are complicated. Food availability in Alaska depends not only on the number of moose, caribou and Dall sheep available in a pack’s hunting-territory, but also the age and health of the animals being hunted, and weather conditions that can make hunting harder or easier.
On top of that, wolf packs are ever-changing entities. Young wolves often take off in search for mates or new territories. The park’s “2016 Annual Wolf Report” (the 2017 report has yet to be completed) noted that an East Fork Pack male collared in February a month later took off on a long trek north.
It was “shot in March…west of Fairbanks near the Chatanika River,” the report said. By then it was about 100 miles north of the park. Why the wolf left is unknown, but the report makes it clear life in the park wasn’t nirvana.
It reported one wolf dead from starvation, and two wolf packs at war:
“In December, the Riley Creek pack (the pack implicated in killing another wolf this year) and Grant Creek pack had an apparent run-in which began on December 10th when the packs encountered each other on Sable Pass. All of the pack members then ran towards the Stony River, where a violent skirmish near an old moose kill site resulted in the death of the Grant Creek females 1404GF and 1602GF on December 12th.”
Two males and a female from the pack took off across the Alaska Range to the south pursued by the Riley Creek wolves. One of the radio-collared males would later be spotted with “three other wolves that appeared to be pups,” the report said. “Prior to the skirmish, the Grant Creek pack numbered at least 11 wolves.”
Such wolf-pack fracturing, new pack formation, wolf deaths and most of what goes on in the lives of wolves in the park does not make the news. What’s makes the news is simple:
“Assault Rifle Slaughter of Denali Wolves” was what was bubbling up as news in the tubes on Wednesday. National Parks Traveler used a slightly tamer headline – “Hunting Decimating Wolf Populations At Denali National Park;” it saved the assault rifle accusation for the lead on the story:
“Wolf hunters, some possibly using AR-15 style semiautomatic rifles, have decimated wolf populations outside Denali National Park in Alaska….”
The story – complete with photos of dead wolves and someone holding a military-style rifle – arrived in the news courtesy of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), which bills itself as a national non-profit alliance of local, state and federal scientists, law enforcement officers, land managers and other professionals dedicated to upholding environmental laws and values.”
“The state of Alaska is scrambling to shut down hunting and trapping adjacent to Denali National Park over concerns that excessive kills may destabilize this iconic wolf population,” the press release said. “Photos posted today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) show a man armed with an AR15 semiautomatic rifle displaying ten wolf carcasses outside Denali.”
The wolf carcasses were indeed from outside of Denali, said Tony Kavalok, the deputy director for the state’s Division of Wildlife Conservation. They were from “outside of Denali” in the way that Milwaukee is outside of Chicago.
The wolves in the photo were killed about 70 miles from Denali Park in a different “Game Management Unit” – GMU 13 – on the south side of the Alaska Range. The area the state closed to wolf trapping and hunting is on the north side of the Alaska Range in GMU 20. The units are generally drawn to conform to the normal ranges of wildlife living therein.
Whether a rifle – semi-automatic or other – was used to kill the wolves is unknown, Kavalok said. The man in the photo, he agreed, is either a hunter or trapper posing with 10 dead wolves and a semi-automatic. But the wolves were killed and the hides sealed, as required by law in Alaska, by two individuals, he said.
State law blocks the disclosure of their names and other details.
“The (Alaska State) troopers did do an investigation,” Kavalok said, “and those wolves were taken in Unit 13 east of Denali Park. The wolf population there is growing. They’re doing well.”
The dead animals in the photo have no known connection to Denali Park other than that they are almost certain to be genetically related to the wolves in the park. As L. David Mech, the dean of U.S. wolf researchers noted after a lengthy study of 49th state wolves, the wolves of Denali are the wolves of Alaska.
The state is home to a large, healthy and constantly intermixing population of wolves, “but that doesn’t sell newspapers,” said Kavalok, who credited the PEER press release for playing well to the trending issues of the day with “assault rifle” at the top of the list.
“It looks evil,” he said.
Wolf trapper Travis Smith had an only slightly different assessment.
“People are so ridiculous,'” he messaged. “If they only had a clue.
“The tree huggers don’t give wolves the credit they deserve. They make (wolves) out to be a house pet. They’re a highly skilled and very adaptable killer. When one dies they are quickly replaced. Or when one is weak, they are killed and life goes on.”
Traumatic brain injury is a higher factor, that is. Among others.
So here are documentable facts if adequate research was done on ruffs versus helmets . Climbers usually avoid excessive bad weather as falls and injury are high risk they can’t afford to waste energy. I had a close freind almost killed on k-2 from a rock through helmet . Helleva trip getting medical care through Pakistan. Later he was killed while coming down from k-2 after successfully sumitting – helping a trapped Korean team he was swept away by Avalanche. His girlfriend is my wifes close friend so I’m pretty aware of different gear options. Not as upto date as some climbers But I follow the info . Climbers often Tent or quit summit attempt. I have used both goggles and ruffs . They both have their place . In combo they are even better. A ruff has advantages Bill spoke of . It’s an interesting thing . Wind can blow heavy and a ruff snorkel combo makes documentable dead air space . Frost or moisture buildup is manageable due to airspace and temperature buffer . In extreme weather – warm snow , freezing ice , or excessive cold goggles and helmet systems fog and ice up inside and outside. Ice fog is the worst . Helmets and goggles are hinder in these conditions. Even headlights that are high heat ice over . True pain. Helmets and goggles have their place but if I was to attempt a winter summit I would take a fur ruff . Blocks wind and light . Even when rolled down. Goggles with color lenses are huge benifit in bad light morning conditions. I think if a careful study were done you will find certain animal ruffs are irreplaceable. I have had to travel and work in 80 mph plus winds with blowing snow . Drifts high as house . Every one else holed up wasn’t a good deal . Only doable with special leaders . Ruff made it possible . So there must be a balance between old and new . If weather bad enough snowmobile and helicopter travel becomes to hazardous whereas a top lead dog fur ruff combo is doable. When I have been In truly bad conditions with snowmobile travel became impossible due to disorienting conditions. GPS would help but that’s truly life threatening. Due to obstacles. I had a leader who I could go without ever seeing a marker and end up at correct spot for 30 plus miles . In 94 I was a rookie we had bad stormy weather never saw a marker from white mountain to topkok shelter cabin. Never even saw a trail or even a hill . Thought it was flat . I only stopped when I got to Jerry Austin ketil reitan and Bruce lee holed up at shelter cabin topkok waiting for respit in wind . Stayed with them as they were expierenced . I could not have done that with any sno go or helicopter. They wreck in truly bad weather. Storm leaders are uncanny . Snow would have pasted a helmet inoperable. Both obviously have their place . That said my father quit trapping because he couldn’t handle finding alive animals suffering in traps .
Clearly some animals suffer unnecessarily IMO due to the use of foothold traps when they could be replaced with body traps. In fact, British Columbia (some years ago) require body traps for all members of weasel family and they also require offset jaws on foothold traps used for other furbearers.
I also found that body traps can pretty effectively take lynx. My experience is limited on fox and I suspect all canines are difficult to get with body traps. Snares do seem to work, though.
Those of us who are getting a full charge of oxygen to our brains are suffering immensely just having to put up with the mindless drivel from the Steiner’s and Ferals of the world…Silly Feral makes a ton of money off the contrived and non existent Wolf Problem!?Trapper’s monetary influx is but a trickle compared to Ms.Ferals intake. Commercial indeed Silly Feral.Hunters,Trappers and Fisherman are the reason there is wildlife in the #’s that it exists currently…And again Assault is a Behavior not a Weapon…
Are you positive your Oxygen saturation is within the accepted limits?
The Federal Government registered the term “assualt weapon” back in 1994.
I think you have a U.S Justice to thank for this.
Either way, this term is not getting wiped off of the books anytime soon.
Wolf biologist referred to Trapper Coke Wallace as a murderous savage and that’s its reputation most of verywhere. He even kills his poor horses to bait wolves on a snare line. Being vicious toward our animal advocacy efforts doesn’t concern me at all.
The proper management of hunting wolves will actually help keep a healthy wolf population.
Healthy means not having a body full of bullets. That morality escapes the shooters is no surprise.
Nor does it mean, being torn apart alive from stem to stern by your relitives.
I don’t know what you mean by ~relatives~ but wolves and other wildlife can’t be judged by any human standards of morality. We don’t have to kill others to simply live. We have choices.
priscilla: now you’re just being silly. we all kill to survive. that’s how nature works. we may kill less or we may kill more, depending on our lifestyles. we make kill directly, as hunters do, or we may kill indirectly by occupying space and rendering it unusable by some other life form. but we all kill. it’s ecology 101.
Nope you can conflate wolf-killing, moose shooting, all this deliberate carnage with my plant-based diet. Not at all.
So killing plants/vegetation is ok? Plants have feelings also.
Rick Steiner is a “wolf lover” in the way Stephen Hawking was a stargazer.
I don’t know what that means, but Rick Steiner gets a round of applause from me, and this column get s a wet towel — full of machismo about shooting wolves as though they’re objects that bounce back, while wondering why an assault rifle gets any notice. Posing with a weapon used to destroy people on a battle field, with ten bodies of wolves makes the gunner a deranged slob. That’s how 95% of U.S. residents feel who don’t have hunting licenses. Natural mortality of wolves and other native wildlife are not news stories; unbridled killing by hunters or trappers who think killing is a virility contest differs.
Priscilla, really now. i’d guess there is a possibility whoever took that photo got the reaction of out you he wanted. but i’m not sure because i don’t know who that is in the photo, and i’m confident you don’t; either.
so neither of us have a clue as to the motivation.
he could be some dude in a virility contest as you call it. he could be some dude killing wolves because he’s witnessed wolves killing a lot of moose calves and that pains him.
who knows. but it’s not about him.
the story is about a group of people using inaccurate information to inflame the masses. it’s no different, albeit opposite, from the people who used images of wolves with blood-dripping teeth to inflame earlier wars on wolves. neither further the discussion of wise use of a public resource.
Craig, The wolf from whom a skin was stolen didn’t give you the fur, so please stop thanking such persecuted animals. If someone is pained that a wolf ekes out its living by eating hares, salmon, moose, caribou, beavers and more, that’s called competition, not compassion for an animal considered another’s meal. To us, it’s grotesque that any wolves — much less 10 — were slaughtered like enemies on a battlefield. It’s obscene that most everyone who reads your columns lacks empathy for animals like wolves who are so much more impressive than the Coke Wallace-type pundits here who only see a commercial purpose in another animal. They’re not resources like rocks and rivers. They’re not yours to massacre for ruffs or whatever psychotic enjoyment one derives from blasting defenseless animals with a weapon of war. Your context is revolting.
priscilla: i have empathy for all living things. it makes the world complicated. your world is obviously simpler.
i’ve witnessed how wild predators kill many times. it’s not humane. when an animal dies, and we’re all going to die, i’d prefer to see it die as painless a death as possible. i accept what happens in nature because that is the way nature works, but as someone who feels compassion (do you even know what the word means?), i don’t like it.
i feel bad about the snowshoe hare the owl killed in my yard just the other night. he was such a nice little bunny. and then he was dead. i feel the same way for those wolves. but dying is how the world works.
you’re perfectly entitled to your strange, Western, white-man views of death, too, but i’ll stick to a far older belief that in the karma of the universe that wolf gave up his fur to help me. and i will continue to thank that wolf for doing so every time i pop up the hood to save my face.
Agreed, Craig. Natural mortality in nature is often violent, and it’s not our role to interfere or judge it; humans are different. You can accuse me of simplification, but you seem unable to see the gray matter. I’ve never been accused of “white man” views or jargon, and I don’t care for male domination in a patriarchal culture where gun violence is an epidemic. Males tend to fear so many things, and their reaction is violent to seize control. With AR-15s, shooters have military-style firearms, and that’s horrific in the hands of civilians who impose battlefield-level harm to victims. No wolves or anyone else on a U.S. street should be subject to such an assault, and if you can’t agree on that, humanity escapes you in spite of empathy you claim.
The AR-15 is not a “weapon of war” and is 1950’s technology first sold for hunting and every other lawful purpose in the 1960’s. Semi-auto rifles were first sold for hunting in the US in 1906 and have been continuously since, and the technology was commonly available in handguns even prior to the turn of the century.
This obsession with semi-autos of any type as somehow “new” or “more dangerous,” and “designed only to kill people,” is based on ignorance, not fact.
AR-15s are semi-automatic rifles which only functionally differ from the military’s M16 and M4 rifles with a “burst” mode, which allows three rounds to be fired with one trigger pull. The AR-15 killer has the same rifle firepower as a soldier using a standard infantry rifle. This weapon shouldn’t be used on U.S. streets, parks, or to mow down defenseless animals. Let’s hear the name of the Healy trapper/hunter here who is hiding since February and posed in the photo with his AR-15 like a macho fool.
pferal,the selector switch on the AR-15 is for semi auto and fully automatic. fully automatic it is not limited to a 3 round burst when the trigger is pulled..
The AR-15 as sold in stores since the ’60s does not have a selector switch for either burst or full auto. Thus it has the same “firepower” as the Remington Model 8, first sold in a similar caliber, in 1906. Semi-auto rifles have been sold, in pretty much every caliber, by pretty much every manufacturer, since. It is clearly an action type in very common use for a multitude of practical resasons.
The AR alone has tens of millions in use in the US for every lawful purpose and yet all rifles, not just semi-autos, all rifles are used in single digit percentages of homicides and a minority of mass shootings.
The AR is very ergonomic and, due to its 1950s, sorry, “high tech,” design, a single lower receiver can be fitted with uppers in a multitude of calibers suitable for hunting every species on the continent and for every other lawful purpose. It is the standard rifle for rifle sporting events and has been for thirty years.
It would be easier to take your complaints seriously if you demonstrated some knowledge of the topic rather than simply viscerally and emotionally reacting to something you don’t like.
You have the mistaken impression I find you credible; you just seem combative, defensive and cruel. Sexist, too, but I’m sure that escapes you. Let’s end it here.
You don’t have to find me credible. Those are easily researched facts. And you should try to avoid eisegesis, stating facts in response to falsehoods and emotionalism in no way makes me objectively combative, nor defensive, nor cruel. And how you get “sexist” out of statements that do not reference gender at all I have no idea.
You’ll note that the comments I responded to were written by pferal, I didn’t realize you were a woman until now. And on, that note, how am I somehow “combative” and “sexist” while not referencing gender at all, when your own comment ended with the combative and gendered, “Let’s hear the name of the Healy trapper/hunter here who is hiding since February and posed in the photo with his AR-15 like a macho fool.” Self-awareness is a good thing to cultivate.
Update: There are apparently two trappers, both from Wasilla. In the interest of chest thumping, or whatever bravado one attributes to taking an military-style rifle to a family of wolves minding their own business, let’s hear the names of these men no one has the courage to reveal.
Craig, New information surfaced indicates there were a couple of wolf shooters, both from Wasilla. Who will give up the names of these brave hunters?
Craig, since you asked, yes, I understand compassion. What you don’t comprehend is a belief system that’s not yours. No one has ever accused me of a White Man’s ~whatever~ and this feminist can’t be accused of a patriarchal anything. The stealing of a wolf’s skin was violent so insisting that its life was given might be poetic, but that’s it. I do agree that seeing a Cooper’s Hawk or owl carry off a favorite rabbit is horrifying. They’re killing to survive but humans have other choices and you should ponder that possibility once in a blue moon of which we just had two last month.
i fully comprehend other belief systems, Priscilla; i just don’t agree with all of them. some of them are badly flawed.
Did the Governor act outside a court ruling,when he had his commissioner enact an EO closesur?
For what its worth, here, my own ruff of choice is long hair wolverine but that’s just because my own wolf trapping only produced one toe (plan to have it mounted someday). While my experience is that temperatures didn’t really matter that much on whether/not that ruff was a necessity, throw in some wind and things change rapidly. Being on the back of a dogsled moving at 10 mph causes enough wind chill that it can be difficult to look into that wind at 30 below and colder but a good ruff makes it easier. And the most uncomfortable I’ve ever experienced was 22 below zero trying to boot up dogs (with tape) during a 40 mph blow. Exposed flesh just couldn’t handle much of those conditions. During a particularly long high pressure system I did spend a number of hours walking a trapline at 50 below and didn’t need my ruff but did use a beaver hat (that is normally too hot to wear).
As to wolves, for those interested, the book “Wolves of the Yukon” by Bob Hayes (published in 2010) is my authority on wolves and it deals much with the history of wolves and how they got here. What was only learned a couple of years before (in 2007), from DNA evidence, was that our wolves of today did not come from the wolves of the Beringia but came from the wolves of the lower 48 after those Beringia wolves died out. Another interesting tidbit is that our wolves tend to use denning sites for a long time, no doubt because they are successful. This book mentions an individual crawling into one such den finding a spear point embedded in the dirt that was found to be 600 years old-no doubt the spear long since deteriorated.
Your honesty is appreciated…
Many wolf trappers come back days later to only find toes or feet in their trap.
A healthy Alpha Wolf will chew it’s own leg off to return to it’s family…an obvious sign of the inhumane nature of trapping.
Steve i have caught hundreds of wolves. I have never seen evidences of a wolf chewing its foot off to free its self. That said, i have seen many times the portion of the foot caught in the trap,below the jaws, chewed on or missing. I have seen evidence when the wolf got trapped, it broke the leg bone and when that area was frozen and brittle the wolf broke free. Notably the wolverine is an animal that will chew it leg off to free it’s self.
Steve, I’ve never heard of a wolf chewing its leg off in a trap but it is possible. My experience is that some animals will chew their toes and even legs after they’ve frozen. Classic thing with wolverine if the trap allows them to get at their toes. The most extreme example I’ve learned of was a wolverine that chewed its leg off below a leg snare designed to live-trap it. It had to be killed, then.
My wolf was a young one, with a companion, that stepped into a lynx set and immediately laid down and chewed off its toe without even moving the 3 ft drag attached to the #4 trap. I’m still amazed it didn’t drag that trap all over the area. I suspect that one toe was the only thing caught.
Thank you for showing how 1 man can kill “hundreds of wolves” like you mention.
It proves the magnitude of decimation of this Apex Predator in our failing ecosystem.
You and guys like Glen Holt only think of the positive increases in ungulate populations….
I wonder if you are a commercial hunting guide as well and benifit from the moose population you are looking to control?
You do not think of how the ecosystem is loosing a keystone species or the secondary connections such as riparian vegitation along the streams.
Many smaller animals also benifit from the carcasses left by natural wolf kills.
Taking the “wolf factor” out of the ecosystem effects, bears, moose, birds, rodents, etc.
The trapping culture is very anthropocentric with their dogma.
Much like the bible many of these men preach…”domination of all species on Earth”!
Steve you for get i also provide a food source for all the other animals to scavenge after. At least 3 moose worth a year. You also forget most trappers are not trapping to protect ungulate population. They trap to keep “healthy” populations of predators. In order to make a living trapping you need to have healthy populations of predators. For that to happen annually, a trapper manages their efforts to take the surplus of these predators and leave the sustainable population for regrowth. many trappers know the caring capacity of their areas, and if you have to many predators in that range that can not support the predator’s needs those populations become unhealthy. ie; low reproduction,low body weights, larger ranges, and less effective to provide sustenance for themselves.
The take home point is; Trappers are protecting healthy predator population (all fur bearers are predators).
Allen, I’ve never considered beaver and muskrat predators. What is your reasoning?
I knew someone would point out musk rats, woodchucks and marmot. The point remains the same. Thanks Bill
Thanks for that Allen but it appears we will need to disagree on definition of reasoning.
It appears your biases as a trapper, commercial guide and tannery owner have guided your public opinions for quite some time.
It also appears back in 2010, that your 2 months on the board of F &G provided Parnell with the vote to “open up the buffer zone to trapping outside of the national park”.
I action that probably benefited you economically through tanning and hides.
So your views here are well established through practice and time.
I appreciate to hear your side of the wolf issue…
I just do not see you as a “conservationist” in any way, shape or terms.
You are correct on almost all comments Steve. But in the 26 years that i have been tanning furs I have only tanned one wolf hide from stampede area, Well after my short time on the BOG. Not much profit there. I believe i could be a poster child as a conservationist. Parnell did not appoint me to the BOG for my vote, but for my diligence and knowledge of managing wild resources. My vote on rescinding the the buffer zone.was not one of emotion, but of law and biology.
Thanks for your time in explaining your position on this issue.
It appears the wolf trapping issue and “buffer zones” will remain a topic of debate for years to come.
Have a good day.
Steve your probably right. But for now the Alaska Constitution and the state subsistence law will protect Alaskans right to fur trap. Don’t see either of those two things changing in the near future. I will enjoy my day,but tomorrow will be better as i will be exercising those rights this weekend looking for wolves.
Most everyone looks for them, but it’s a shrinking minority of mean-spirited lost men who entertain themselves by killing wolves, and calling it a walk in the woods.
As for myself and family. We absolutely love our life style, and all the opportunities Alaska provides for myself and family. my family and i didn’t choose it for entertainment,but as a lifestyle chose. our nights are quite gardens thrive, our wood pile is full, our nets are effective and our traps provide.,
You’ve been insulting earlier, and there’s no point of returning fire. Your traps and violent inclinations to dispatch wolves as though they were biting insects is sad and sadistic to me. And now I think we’ve covered it all. You’d be unfit to vote on whether there should be a buffer zone to benefit and protect wolves outside of Denali. You’re too compromised. Full stop.
Assault is a behavior not a weapon…Mt.McKinley National Park was brought to you by Sheep hunters for Sheep(Sheldon,Brown,Roosevelt et al…)The NPS quit managing for Sheep years ago and thus their new found Prized/Worshipped Wolf has to go elsewhere for sustenance…The fact that a few of these collared creatures were caught as far away as Dot Lake reiterates that the Protectionist won’t be happy till their buffer zone rubs up against Canada and Russia!The good old days when Park Rangers poisoned and shot wolves for the Sheep to flourish!Politicians and Wolves are both extremely Cannibalistic!
Steve Stine: Connecting wolf numbers to salmon health would be a stretch. You might have a better time trying to prove that if your grandma had a mustache she might be your grandpa…again, other factors would have to concur that assumption. Since wolves take more wolves than human hunters/trappers and all factors are additive in their mortality (known and unknown), it would be a more accurate assumption that habitat condition of their ungulate prey is a greater determinate of a healthy local (?) wolf population. A declining habitat reduces the carrying capacity of the land to support prey and thus too its ability to support wolves.
Wolves will kill each other and or leave the country entirely if their prey habitat remains consistently poor. It has long been noted that moose habitat in DNP has been declining for many years due to the lack of regenerative disturbances that produce winter browse. Wolves will be where their prey is and they will leave Denali NP due to poor habitat especially when snows are deep like this year.
Wilderness areas can be notoriously prone to many year gaps in prime habitat occurrences, which is usually between large fire events, because no other larger scale habitat regenerative event occurs on natural landscapes. DNP refuses to do any kind of proactive habitat management like controlled burning for habitat or fuels reduction. Thus they (and the people) get what they deserve, and declining habitat, fewer prey animals and fewer wolves to view in the NP.
Glad U brought up the Salmon 2 Wolf comnection.
I listed a video below that shows this connection to fish habit in streams with healthy wolf populations in the area.
If wolves are decimated in an area (like the dude with assualt rifle did in story), then the ungulate population settles around stream or river and eats all the vegitation on the banks.
When wolves push ungulates deeper into the forest for cover, then vegetation and trees along river bank rejuvenate giving salmon the shade and protection they need to lay their eggs.
So, bringing up my grandmother’s mustache will not help salmon habit, but allowing an Apex Predator like the wolf to do it’s job in our ecosystem can.
Sorry about your grandmother’s mustache, honest, I had no idea… Your take on salmon/trout habitat in the Yellowstone ecosystem is not equatable to salmon habitat conditions in DNP. I am not aware of any natural salmon runs in the Yellowstone system. There are several dozen wild salmon remaining in some western state ecosystems but they are obviously not being affected by over browsing more than dams and water diversion projects.
In the In DNP Preserve some salmon run up in those very wide open silt laden rivers and more closed canopy stream systems but your references to habitat would presuppose that DNP riverine systems have been over browsed. Look again, they have not. Glacial water temperatures which are low and often silt laden are little affected by shading from the sun.
I am glad you are keeping up with your scientific reading, just wish you had a bit more insight as to where and for what your “facts” are applicable. Those conditions in YSNP do not apply in DNP, at all.
Here are some studies from Washington State, showing how riparian vegitation does effect salmon health.
Just because agencies like the one you work for do not sanction the right academic work, it does not mean scientific data from Oregon and Washington is not relevant.
Remember those states lost their wolves and had their natural salmon runs decimated.
Now, over 75 percent of their salmon come from hatchery stock…that is where Alaska is headed if we continue to wipe out Apex Predators like Wolves and Brown Bears without a conservative ethic of understanding.
Here are some scientific studies that prove wolves repair riparian vegitation along streams and improve the health of degraded ecosystems.
Steve, first off, science is a dynamic process of looking for clues to describe situations that even after research remain largely inconclusive and plagued by many factors outside the scope of that research. Especially if that research is made to “prove” a theory the researcher already subscribes to.
These research papers, done in entirely different regions that have had an historic lack of wolves on the landscape for decades, do not apply conclusively to DNP conclusive evidence that that is what is happening here.
The habitats in Washington/Oregon/Idaho and those predator / prey dynamics do not apply in Denali National Park. No habitat in all of Alaska resembles those lower 48 areas. I certainly haven’t seen any thing of the kind, i.e.: over browsing that changes the riverine ecosystem dynamics, of places like Prince of Wales Island.
Furthermore, I am less concerned about what people wear for head gear here or anywhere else, whether from a renewable fur resource or from helmets made from petroleum products and polyester fabrics.
I am concerned that our options be maintained in Alaska to take fur in sustainable ways, using humane methods be preserved here. And I am tired of groups, individuals and agencies conjuring situations (and species of wildlife) that are used (the intent of) to change land use policy across the board.
Read those articles and scientific papers again, and note the huge differences on those situations compared to ours. Your real intent is to force others to do things the way YOU think they should be done. The reasons and citations you are using are not comparable in Alaska.
I never asked U to do anything.
U commented on my response.
I merely presented some studies to support my opinion.
I never said they were “conclusive” to DNP.
My only intent is to foster discussion and look for solutions…
I feel trapping for fur is “inhumane” and this upsets you.
The headgear debate was to show that there are modern warm options other than fur to wear…that is true!
Your responses are typical of AK bureaucratic officals.
Deny the issue at hand and make the argument personal.
Now that we know each other’s opinions, we can avoid wasting each other’s time in the future.
Have a good day.
Steve Stine….And as far as the fur thing goes…grab a balaclava and helmet while out on the trail, it is much warmer than a fur hat…..Actually, it is not…Wolf ruffs have saved a lot of face…
Do you have a date and time when a wolf ruff has “saved a face”?
I would like a documented scientific example of that.
With balaclava, helmet and googles, I can travel at 60 MPH on the Yentna for hours at a time (even in 20 below)…try that with your “wolf ruff” for cover.
Traveling on a snowmachine is entirely different than say dogsled. Remove your windshield and you will make the comparison a little more real IMO. I’ve done both and they are just not comparable.
I have a picture of Jim Lanier at the 44th Irod start, smiling in a helmet.
I think Brett Sass also recommended wearing helmets after his head injury.
And just so you know, only 1 of my summits has a windshield…it does help though on the river…better without windshield in deep powder or trees.
Again comparing apples to oranges, Steve.
Starting a race with 16 extreme race dogs could be measured differently than traveling by dogsled (say trapping or otherwise getting from point A to B).
Helmets are something that are getting their due and alpine skiing has almost everyone wearing them in the last 20 years (but not for warmth, by the way).
The nice thing about a fur ruff is that it’s not in the way until its needed. Granted that fur ruff won’t do much protecting in a serious crash or fall (something that’s very unusual for dogsled travel IMO).
and in a space suit just think what you could do, Steve?
i hate helmets. they remind me of my racerboy days. and i suffered a lot of injuries then. i think the helmets squeezed my head so hard my judgment was lost. i’ve generally tried to avoid the ever since and suffered no serious injuries.
do i have a date and time when a wolf ruff saved my face? roughly in the ’80s several times in rainy pass with the blowing 30 or more and the temperature below -20 and me on skis or on a Tundra rescuing some bobblehead bikers who probably should have died out there.
i can also remember frostbiting my nose on the snowgo at 40 below or so because i was kind of lax and stupid about not pulling that ruff around my fast well and was driving 70 friggin’ mph because i had good, hard, smooth trail.
as for fur ruffs on McKinley, have you ever heard of some guy named Fred Beckey? i think he was a climber. https://books.google.com/books?id=nXGOq8MhZYcC&pg=PA141&lpg=PA141&dq=mount+mckinley+winter+climb+%22fur+ruff%22&source=bl&ots=ra5uS7DBmE&sig=kH4p9M4hm1eIqA5uiZyA61JC9WM&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiV6NnD2qPaAhWLi1QKHe7xDiEQ6AEISTAI#v=onepage&q=mount%20mckinley%20winter%20climb%20%22fur%20ruff%22&f=false
and in general these days, from what i’ve seen on McKinley (sorry, Denali; old habits), there are a lot of very good climbers, superb climbers actually, who really don’t know diddly about living in extreme cold weather. one who does, of course, is lonnie dupre who climbed in winter. and on his parka, guess what?
and with that said, i can only ask why you would be concerned about a wolf harvest at a compensatory level anymore than a moose or caribou or sheep or any other harvest at a compensatory level? is there something somehow wrong with people continuing to function as part of nature and using wild animals for food and clothing?
if we’re talking about killing wolves, or any other species, at additive levels, i’m all with you. the state shouldn’t, except in some very special circumstances, be condoning the killing of any wildlife at non-sustainable issues. but prohibitions to save animals for the idea of saving animals when the reality is that nothing is actually saved, that’s simply illogical.
it’s the kill-them-all-as-if-tomorrow-doesn’t-matter philosophy taken to the exact opposite extreme.
Fred Beckey was on Denali’s summit in 1954.
Ok, Lonnie used fur on his winter climbs..
Good for him.
His sponsors probably required it for photo.
Every year over 1,000 climbers go out there, without fur.
Yes, we wait out storms in tents…which is the sensible thing to do when in a remote setting, but still extreme conditions are dealt with no fur required.
If you personally do not like helmets, then this is just another Medredism getting in the way of logic.
A climber I know was filming down in lower forty eight while on skis.
He also was not into helmets and suffered a near fatal head injury.
Brett Sass had a bad concussion while mushing in AK.
Lanier is wearing a helmet these days.
I wish more mushers would see Jim as a role model here and pass on the helmet culture to our youth.
Mine has saved my life on a mountain bike while competing in a downhill event back east.
I teach my son that a helmet is also his warmest option since it stops wind 100 percent.
We all deal with goggle issues in warm conditions, but switching pairs and using sunglasses when wind is not a concern helps a bunch.
And lastly, face masks work well too.
Look at Everest and Denali summit photos and you will see a lot of masks.
Steve: thanks. you favor shit made from petrochemicals. i’ll take a recyclable resources the first people here have been using for about 10,000 years with great success. neither’s right; neither’s wrong. at least in my view. if you feel differently, i’m sorry.
but please, you “believe” a helmet saved your life in a mountain-bike accident. many people believe that. it’s a belief. the science here isn’t very good at determining how many were really saved by helmets and how many weren’t in large part because this is a subject hard to test. http://thejns.org/doi/full/10.3171/2016.2.JNS151972
wearing a helmet certainly doesn’t hurt, if you think like you’re not wearing it. and certainly in some situations, like climbing, it makes a ton of sense. in places where rock can rain down on you, it’s not about judgment; it’s about fate. in most other situations, it’s about judgment.
it’s all certainly fodder for a lovely debate. one can make a very good argument for the idea we should all wear helmets most of the time, and especially when in the car. take suicide and falls by those under age 14 and over 65 out of the data pool for deaths caused by traumatic brain injury, and automobiles are the most significant killer left: https://www.cdc.gov/traumaticbraininjury/get_the_facts.html
and statistically, given that i’m now 65, i should probably put a helmet on before getting in the shower. but i’m not gonna.
You are right.
No reason to debate helmets…they are a lot like seatbelts that the car industry was against for years.
I also put petrochemicals in my truck for fuel.
That was not around 10,000 years ago, but it works well, just like my plastic face mask and helmet.
I laugh at the quintessential musher shots with frozen face and icy beard (even with ruffs).
This is all preventable.
As for the wolf as your “renewable resource”…
This argument would hold more water if the mushers and Alaskans made their ruffs from Husky pelts (of which there is a continual supply)…instead of free & sentient creatures roaming our forests with a highly structured social existence…many biologist consider wolves a keystone species.
It is not whether or not the fur “works” to some extent, it is that there is a non violently obtained option for headgear…
Which yes, personally I choose the head gear derived from extracted petrol resources.
Just like your laptop or smart phone…
Research and Development advance us as a race, citing past ways of consumption and dependence on other animals for our human safety only continues unnecessary killings and violence of wolves.
Had some time to fully read the helmet study that U linked to.
This paragraph stands out most:
“The neurosurgical and neurotrauma literature on helmets and TBI indicate that helmets provide effectual protection against moderate to severe head trauma resulting in severe disability or death. However, there is a dearth of scientific data on helmet efficacy against concussion in both civilian and military aspects.”
I will buy that conclusion.
So basically concussion or minor impact is up for debate, but other than that helmets are shown “effectual” for moderate to severe trauma.
That was my mechanism of impact years ago.
A friend just told a story of falling off of a cliff while skiing in Japan…
He fell back on his tails and wacked the back of his helmet on a rock ledge.
Said he cracked the plastic outer shell a bit, but he was overall fine.
Many pilots who have survived small plane crashes in Alaska also credit their helmets for the save.
These stories on helmets go back to the Roman Empire…
Swords crashed into their heads.
Sorry, I tried not to debate the helmets, but I am all for helmets…any and all types!
yup, and a helmet played a role in almost killing me this winter. so i look at the problem in a little different light.
it’s the damn speed problem: https://www.denverpost.com/2017/01/12/skier-fatalities-myths-who-dies-skiing-where-debunked/
Hi Steve . Couple interesting things . My mother’s nickname was crash medley. She often wore a helmet 70s and 80s . Wore for a reason . Wish I had that helmet as a keep sake . Amazing spiderweb cracks covered it . I deal with cold temps like the beach except my face witch gets cold on mild winter days . Biggest advantage of a ruff is it’s there attached full time . Very versatile for multiple different styles of work and travel. I struggle with anything that constricts me so I couldn’t use helmet much . Even if my life was in danger . Maybe in space . I do sincerely respect your anti fur concept though. On a base level it’s kinda gruesome to wear another creatures body part . It is our history though. We are only 50 years into a generation that could have effective alternative options. It could return to that point again. Sometimes I truly wish it would. A person must keep in mind that it’s not simple. Consider the fact of what it takes to process petrochemical items . Roads – road kill – insect and small animal disruption, plants – air concerns -factories and their ecological disruption, this just tip of iceberg. It’s a bummer that canids are killed during hunting but some are killed by trucking / shipping and ecosystem damage . I think that’s more of a long term danger to the wolf . You would be surprised how desperately most older hunters care about animal populations. To my understanding major hunters were primary pushers for large parks and animal reserves . That said there are some morons in the government who hunt,kill neuter with helicopters. A disaster for wolves genetics . And ecological unsound methods not to mention waste of public money. I think bill hit on an important aspect of trapping. Humane harvest . Much as that seams oxymoron. It’s a place to start . I have a soft place for wolves and personally feel a no harvest is appropriate if you don’t need it to survive then don’t kill it . That’s unrealistic in this era . So humane sustainable harvest should be the push . There has to be a balance. Just a thought .
I’m a proponent of human or animal power only for hunting or trapping . No machines. This would reduce pressure on animals. Possibly only using long bow ,spears and rocks . Yeah I know this will never come about but I feel it would be more fair and sportsman like plus reduce pressure. I mostly use a rifle but I would prefer we all went back to our roots on this . Just a thought that will never happen. At Least then you wouldn’t have picture of a man showboating his slaughter of multiple wolves pretending he’s a great hunter . Perhaps a little respect for lives taken ? A thought?
i totally agree with you, but damn it would be hard to go back to a bow and arrow. i’m still awfully good with a rifle.
Just to throw in another side . I’m not a proponent of fur trapping particularly as I don’t have stomach for it . Except small game . diversity in life paths is important. Same as in species . I would argue fur hats are shockingly warm . I can’t wear them . I get to hot , so they may be perfect for some people. Wolf and polar bear Fur ruffs are beyond special. No other substance can yet replace them to my knowledge. Same with down and wool . That is my experience based knowledge from lifetime of very harsh conditions while under weight restrictions. A big fancy ruff is unnecessary, yet little fur at end of a tunnel hood is amazing. We can’t all wear helmets. The tunnel hood , fur combo creates a dead air space that stops a storm yet allows sight when properly constructed. Goggles come close but don’t cover all the bases . I will teach my children to trap as a survival method. I feel those skills will make a difference if things get bad . Alaska is isolated . At a minimum learning to trap small game is needed for insurance. They say history repeats itself?
i’ve thanked the wolf that gave up his fur for my ruff a thousand times. my face would be really ugly without that fur.
Maybe your face is still ugly with the fur? That is a very subjective comment.
Honestly, how many climbers on Denali do you see wearing fur?
I have volunteered on the mtn and only see balaclava, hat and goggles these days.
Alaska is an armpit of “the old” ways in America.
Even Ramey cannot accept that snowmachines, airplanes and helicopters are what make up the “backbone” of today’s Irod race.
When Lanier and Jansen were trapped in the cold they did not send a dog team to the rescue….no, they sent a helicopter and the dogs were guided to Nome by snowmachine.
The Ludite culture of trapping, killing wolves and keeping dogs on chains for a sport is drawing Alaska deeper into PETA’s crosshairs and these environmental organisations have the multi million dollar budget to fight for the long haul.
Alaska will continue to loose outside support if this wolf decimating culture remains.
Great video. Really enjoyed it. But does the thesis hold up in Alaska? Doesn’t Alaska manage game so that human hunters replace wolves as the “predator” which controls ungulate numbers?
Everywhere it’s ungulates (prey) that control predators. Not the reverse. Without prey, predators disappear. Two-legged- human hunters don’t weed out the sick, lame, old and diseased animals as evolution has it…. They seek wolves and others in their prime, reversing survival of the fittest. And five natural mortality factors are in play. Removing a natural predator and replacing them with humans isn’t needed much less desired.
Nowhere in Alaska do human hunters replace wolves. And wolve populations are mostly healthy throughout the State.
Alaska Dept. of Game is not in the business of letting prey numbers crash to the point where no (or almost no) prey young are successful. There are some emergency situations whereby wolves are controlled to permit prey species to recover. These situations have usually resulted in cutbacks to human hunter limits prior to those emergency wolf control programs.
The above being said, wolf prey (for the most part) are also sought by human hunters and those human hunters have their say in Dept. of Game proposals. These proposals are dealt with by B. of Game regularly to keep both predator and prey healthy.
Alaska has never had a situation where wolves were eliminated and a situation like lower 48 experienced after their wolves were removed years ago.
Hard to say on Alaska.
Yes, humans do hunt ungulate members, but with federal parks and preserves, private land and a fairly limited bull harvest only in most areas, the wolf is by far a bigger factor in dispersing ungulates from river valleys.
I wonder how much of Alaska’s decline in natural salmon runs is due to over browsing along streams, which can effect spawning habitat?
Thanks for your reply.
With the recent king salmon issues (that are attributed to some sort of ocean survivability) there are no declines in natural salmon runs in Alaska. There are a few wild stocks near hatcheries that have experienced straying of those hatchery fish to their detriment. EXXON Valdez spill caused some serious problems with pink salmon spawning in brackish water but I believe those have all returned to normal.
Wolves take ungulates where they find them, not just in river valleys, just like human hunters. Most denning sites tend to be near water, and not just rivers, as there tends to be a supply of food for the litter.
I can’t say about Alaska but the Yukon has just about the same number of wolves today as ever even though they’ve been poisoned, and shot relentlessly for many years. Our situation is different in that our human population is more dense, probably pushing wolves back a bit from population centers but we clearly have lots of wolves mainly because we have healthy ungulate herds.
There are many declined salmon runs in Alaska (like in the Yukon Charley Preserve).
There are also natural runs that have now been replaced with hatchery stock (like Eklutna).
From my understanding biologist determined there is a decline (in smolt survival).
I do not believe there is enough data to prove the smolts all make it out to ocean.
Maybe it is habitat (like over browsing or mining tailings or a dam) which degrade the “natural system”.
Maybe it is trout and pike eating them?
I do not think we can say for sure, other than it is something in the “environment” causing a decrease in smolt survivability.
Personally; my experience is many wolves, foxes, and coyotes have been “removed” from the ecosystem through trapping and “sport” hunting.
I see a bunch of cows and their offspring feeding on brows along river shorelines all winter long.
Alaska needs outside PHD’s to come up and study & evaluate the salmon habitat situation.
Well Steve, you have your agenda and won’t let facts get in your way.
F & G has their smolt outmigration studies that gives them their facts on smolt survivability (at least in the river systems). As far as ocean survivability, nobody is yet sure its the smolts that are not making it (could be adults being removed or both).
Occasionally certain rivers get serious about their banks and how they are eroding, etc. (Kenai for example due to increased boat traffic). I’ve never heard a single biologist mention that grazers, due to loss of canines, are overbrowsing those banks and I believe its because we’ve never had said condition in Alaska IMO.
Fox numbers vary often due to food mostly, and Coyotes I believe have increased in Alaska. When I started trapping near Fbks. I was told that there were no coyotes on my side of Tanana River, but within 15 years several were trapped near the Minto dump. While I still never saw a coyote track on my trapline, clearly Tanana River was not what was keeping them out-what was?? Possibly wolves killed those that ventured there. Anyway, I believe that Alaska has as many wolves today as ever and that is due to our healthy ungulates (similar to Yukon T.). That belief is because of their (wolves) ability to increase their numbers quickly if their habitat allows it.
I suggest you hire Roland Maw (PHD biologist) to help you with your concern. I suspect he will give you whatever conclusion you want.
No agenda other than “brain storming” the salmon issue.
I have not read the F & G studies for frys / smolts moving down river out to ocean.
It is hypothetical that if vegitation coverage along spawning streams was decreased by over browsing, then the small fry would be easier targets for birds and other predators.
It would take quite a large amount of fieldwork to test a hypothesis like this, which I why I wonder how much data is available?
Maybe the F &G have fry on radar under a bridge, but it could be another 6 miles to silt water and another 30 or 60 miles to the ocean.
A lot of things can grab a tiny fish in 60 miles…
Just my opinion Steve, but such a hypothesis would never get the funding to study it because its plain absurd. AK has never been without its large predators, like say Montana, and I know of no streams where overbrowsing occurs, again like Montana had after going without wolves for many years. Another difference is that AKs main ungulate is moose where in Montana the ungulate responsible for that overbrowsing was mainly elk. Certainly caribou are important prey but they are not noted as being especially prevalent along streams. Moose are often found hanging around water and large numbers of them are harvested by human hunters from boats-I’ll grant that without this harvest its possible that some moose could be responsible for what you consider “overbrowsing.” Lower 48 parks would not have such hunting in its rivers and streams.
The above said, Alaska is not without its situations where its moose eat themselves out of feed-due mostly to the lack of fires that produce ideal feed areas. This was most recently noticed on Kenai when their moose populations dropped significantly, with wolves getting some blame in order to allow for increased human harvest, after their moose had feed problems. Southeast had a similar problem when moose populations near Gustavus (they were new to the area) grew too much for their available feed-cow permits allowed for increased harvest and I believe they have healthy numbers, now. And they have their wolves that soon followed those moose to that area of the mainland.
There is just no reason for any overbrowsing to occur IMO, so without evidence of it and no logical reason for it to occur there is also no reason to consider such a hypothetical situation. Nobody is saying it couldn’t occur, just that it hasn’t occurred so far (mainly due to our healthy numbers of wolves). Alaskans can disagree on the numbers of wolves that it takes to maintain healthy ungulates but my money is on F & G biologists.
There will always be problems inside parks where another management program conflicts with the rest of AK. We have a similar situation with marine mammals taking large numbers of prey without our ability to manage them. The result is oftentimes a disaster for certain species (and fishermen that want to harvest those species). We are pretty far from the subject of overbrowsing of streams but due to different management systems in areas of AK, its not always an easy solution for managers.
I also feel your responses are mostly absurd.
Do you really feel the salmon streams along parks hwy have a “healthy wolf population”.
If so, that is absurd.
There are virtually NO wolves until you get 60 to 80 miles west of Willow.
So, streams like Little Su, Fish Creek, Willow and Little Willow Creeks, (Nancy Creek once had salmon…no more) Montana Creek, Caswell Creek, Clear Creek in Talkeetna.
All the way out to Deshka river, Alexander Creek (whose fishery mostly collapsed), Lake Creek, 8 mile creek, Johnson Creek, Donkey Creek, Talichulitna River (which is the only stream that I actually saw a wolf or signs of wolf while fishing in S.C.)
So, a study of decrease wolves, ungulate overbrowsing and decreased salmon returns should get some attention.
Let’s not forget that most of these streams are already closed to king fishing this coming summer and NO wolves are anywhere near the park’s hwy these days?
I heard 25 percent of Chinook returning to the Susitna drainage go up the Deshka River.
Are we certain this habitat is secure?
I am not so certain that overbrowsing does not play a factor in allowing birds and other predators to eat fry/smolt.
Hunting decreases moose population, but it does not prevent cows and calfs from returning to river banks in winter and eating willows along shoreline.
When I look at the Little Willow and local creeks, I see the brush pushed back from a lot of shore and very small willow stock of trees along shoreline.
That is my observations…
No wolves in Willow.
Steve, king salmon survivability issues (Alaska wide) have been shown to be with ocean survivability. Hence “overbrowsing” just cannot be contributing, statewide (even if you could convince someone that its occurring somewhere near Willow).
Since you cannot admit that your theory is bullshit, then I suggest you contact local fishery biologists to get their take on their own outmigration studies. I don’t know their particular results for their studies but I have my own priority interests and am not interested in tilting at that particular windmill. You, on the other hand, have a particular interest, and just have no excuse for not looking into it.
If you can show that your Willow area streams are having “outmigration” issues then I’ll concede that there is obviously another issue (not necessarily overbrowsing). Hop to it!
Good comment panguinguecreek, my take on answering your question is that moose aren’t impacting stream side habitats in Alaska near as much as is being indicated in the Yellowstone National Park. Wolves have not been eradicated from the landscape and no one I know would wish them to be. As I indicated previously ungulates are not impacting stream side or riverside riparian habitats to any extent and in fact much of that habitat is composed of species like alder that moose seldom brows. Larger, broader, wider rivers like the Deshka may be warmer than 50 years ago but that would be situational and due to lack of snow fall and snow melt during spawning and egg hatch in the Deshka system. Right now the spruce beetle is impacting most of the white spruce trees larger than 6″ in diameter, those trees are dying and their loss will affect the land based habitat for certain species of birds (spruce grouse maybe) and wildlife (red & flying squirrels) but not salmon
spawning habitat. Spruce beetle infestations can be quite frequent and the last major event is about as long ago as the average age of the spruce forest minus the presence of wildfire.
It would be much healthier for moose populations if naturally occurring wildfire regenerated habitat for the moose. Since this is frowned upon by landowners trying to protect their homes, businesses and remote recreational cabins, fires are often put out as fast as possible before they get big enough to do habitat much good and before they become to big to control.
In the Houston area moose browse is on the decline due to too many moose for available winter browse. Up the road near the community of Willow, the Sockeye fire which occurred three years or so ago may be providing additional browse in the form of regenerating willow, birch, aspen and poplar. If and as browsing becomes more prevalent it might be a good idea to shoot more moose for local subsistence use than to let the habitat become over browsed and irreparably damaged.
I don’t agree with Steve Stines theory but ADF&G should look into the lose of our browse component due to excessive browsing in efforts to keep moose populations near the road system artificially high to support more moose hunting. Habitat should be created away from major road systems to protect people and moose from auto collisions, lose of life and property lose. If increased salmon habitat is desired then fix all the old culverts blocking stream passage along the Alaska Rail Road and the same for the Parks Highway. Salmon habitat will be significantly increased doing that.
Worry about excessive riparian browsing by too many moose and not enough wolves is a non-issue.
I don’t know why people continue to call that an assault rifle or even military style rifle? It’s just a semi-automatic rifle used a lot for hunting small game.
you know why, Will. because it’s a hot-button label.
Ummm………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. Did someone just advocate killing people instead of wolves………………………………………………………………………. cuz that would be wack.
yes, Jimmy; thanks for pointing it out. it’s wrong.
Trappers and hide hunters are clueless. It’s 2018, not 1918. Redneck bloodlust stupidity like trapping and wolf hunting is long overdue to be banned. If such people need to kill to make their dicks feel big, then go to work for a defense contractor in Syria or Afghanistan.
James: let’s reign it in. as Jimmy Taylor notes above, you just equated killing wolves with killing people. it’s not and shouldn’t be confused. not to mention that wolf fur serves an important and practical purpose in this part of the world. my face would be a lot worse from frostbite without it. i thank that wolf every time i pull that hood up around my head in a ground blizzard. i’m glad he gave himself up to somebody so he could come help me.
James may be on to a correlating factor in the wolf’s demise…
Many trappers are veterans and maybe they did “pull the trigger” while in service?
And as far as the fur thing goes…grab a balaclava and helmet while out on the trail, it is much warmer than a fur hat.
Looking at ADN’s comments on the wolf killings (suffering in traps), it appears the bulk of the community is over watching our Alaskan wolves die in traps…especially near Denali NP.
We are loosing a precious keystone species that may affect other aspects of the natural environment…say salmon health for instance.
You’re making some big unsourced and, in one case, insulting assumptions there.
You are saying that killing in military service leads to generalized bloodlust in later life? That’s a pretty bold claim. Any evidence other than “many veterans hunt, and (in your opinion and contrary to years of writing about the psychological and spiritual elements of hunting) hunting is solely or primarily driven by bloodlust?
You claim helmet and balaclava are warmer, at best that is your perception, and, from your other comments applies mostly to your snowmachining experience.
You say that the “bulk of the community is over watching our Alaskan wolves die in traps.” Is your claim most people have actually seen a wolf die in a trap, or are they “over” the descriptions fed to them by the press and activists?
And, finally, you make an affirmative claim that we are “losing a keystone species” with zero evidence in support of that claim, and with the bulk of the evidence pointing to human wolf kills being the smallest factor in said unproven decline.
Thanks for reading.
Many of my close family members are veterans or actively serving, so I do not wish to draw conclusions, only point to a fact that many trappers are veterans.
This is from personal meetings and discussions.
As for any data for the “bloodlust” later in life that you mention…
Here is a report linking 34 percent of “mass shooters” in America with milatary service.
My headgear experience comes from snowmachine, bike, ski, and general mountaineering in Alaska.
As for wolf statistics in AK…well, that is a lot like the salmon debate.
The state controls the resource for the greatest economic gains…not sustainability or over all ecosystem health.
I think you will see aerial counts in many areas are old and many wolf packs “well being” is uncertain.
My own experience is that I hear less and less howls each year in the Yenlo Hills…
Maybe the wolves are leaving to find salmon too, only I see many guides with AR 15 and Sno Go!
Found another report showing how 22 Serial Killers in U.S. all had prior milatary service.
From my studies on this subject in college, I found we had human killers in the U.S. from the time of native settlement, but we did not have mass murders or serial killers until we had our civil war.
Might just be collateral and not causative, many factors like childhood play into a person’s outcome…but the relationship between combat, PTSD and violence cannot be disputed or forgotten in this age of gun violence.
Take a look at Grant Duwe’s work on Mass Killings in the US. I’d be surprised if we had any decent data from the early part of the 19thC at all to make any meaningful judgments about serial or mass killing numbers, and, given the effect of anomie and other social effects on behavior I’d suspect that urbanization and immigration would track as well or better with any increases as the one-time event of the Civil War. In any event, the rate of mass killings has not effectively increased in any meaningful category (some transition of methods, which can also be largely accounted for by urbanization) since the turn of the 20thC.
Since most mass killers and serial killers are male, and 13% of the male population has served in the military, that a similar percentage have been mass or serial killers is unremarkable. Military service is not the most significant factor. Traumatic brain injury is, and that may have some increased correlation with military service due to IED’s and such, but we’d have to look at the individual cases to see.
Anyway, even granting a tie to mass or serial killing, it’s a stretch to claim any causal relationship with trapping, unless there’s data of statistically meaningful violations of limits showing “bloodlust” as opposed to simply “making a living” or “enjoying the ineffable aspects of being outdoors with a purpose and performing that task well” common to hunting, fishing, or other activities.