The April 22 edition of the Ravalli Republic had an editorial praising the FWP for increasing the numbers of Mountain Lions that can be killed. They wrote that “It is good to see the FWP following the science instead of reacting to anecdotal assertions that wolves are the sole cause of declining elk numbers.” I am one who is not enamored by science and scientists. Have you ever studied the history of the use of soap in surgeries to prevent deaths of infants born in hospitals? Do you know that the scientist that suggested it was drummed out of his country and it was decades before they started using soap and washing hands before surgery which saved enumerable mothers and infants? Science has brought us such things as a claim that a human fetus is not a human even though we were all fetuses (fertilized egg) at some time in our lives. They say that the unborn cannot feel pain among many other lies that contradict scripture and common sense.
I would propose to you that the “science” the FWP is working with is incomplete and totally flawed and has to do with fetuses and nature and the way wolves kill to feed their young and themselves. I have lived in the Bitterroot most of the years since I moved here in 1952 and can tell you that the only thing new about the valley and the game and the numbers is that we have wolves in great numbers. You don’t have to be a “scientist” to know that wolves kill differently than mountain lions. Wolves kill in packs by running their prey down and wearing them out to total exhaustion and then eating them alive. Of course, if it is a young calf the running is less, or if it is a sick or injured elk the running is less. All these indications may (may not) show up in the “science” that is being practiced in the Southern Bitterroot. However, if the elk herd they are running consists of some healthy pregnant cows the wolves may likely not be successful in downing one of the cows after running them for hours and hours. That constant running and exhaustion and stress would most likely cause either an abortion (not determined in the science practiced in the Bitterroot) or the death of the fetus (again not determined by the present studies). That is the most likely cause of death between wolves and elk and moose and deer. According to their “science” and studies being conducted, this most likely cause of death of elk and deer will not be recorded. Could it possibly be that abortions and death of the elk and deer fetus is the reason that there is such a low cow/calf ratio?
Ranchers experience that with their cattle when wolves are present and of course are not reimbursed by the goofy scientists that thought wolves should be restored to the Bitterroot but not in other places they used to roam such as in Central Park.
Now since 1952 I have never seen any big animated signs warning about game crossing highway 93 until recently. What has changed since then? We have always had lots of mountain lions, we have always had a good number of elk and deer and moose. We have never had hundreds of wolves who have extreme appetites and food needs and are huge animals to be kept fed. I don’t know about you, but it is only common sense what is causing the problem here and my bet would be that if you killed all the wolves and move back to what our predecessors knew would be necessary to have big game and a good cattle raising area you would see a dramatic increase in the big game numbers. Why don’t we try that “science” again and we will quickly learn how smart our parents were.
Having been raised on a horse ranch east of Corvallis I can tell you there was a time when the deer and elk would come and graze on the benches by the hundreds. We had lots of mountain lions and lots of coyotes and had to have government trackers come in to track them and kill them. But the elk herds were increasing in great numbers and so were the deer (especially mule deer) and very plentiful.
It is very evident now (when the numbers are so low) that the elk and deer are coming into the residential areas and the river bottom to get away from predators. It isn’t because they needed the feed because the numbers are not there.
I pray that the “scientists” will come to the facts on what is happening (don’t have much faith they will) before it is too late. We camp at a high mountain lake every year and in the past have seen up to 22 moose on that lake at one time. In the years since the wolves from Canada were brought in, those numbers have declined drastically and now we are really blessed if we see one moose in the same time frame. Thinking about it one will realize that moose are extremely vulnerable to wolves and the way they kill. Will they go extinct in this area before the “scientists” can figure it all out?
Let us use a little common sense instead of our science that in recent years has been used by the Forest Service to let the forests burn and kill all the animals and creatures in its path so we will have “healthier forests.” Our fathers and mothers knew better and knew how to put fires out before they got to a stage where they could not be controlled.
Dallas D Erickson