I want to
thank you for carefully considering the Washington Wolf Plan
before you adopt it. While I understand many urban residents
want to think there are playful wolves bounding through
Washington’s mountain forests, I want to remind you that rural
residents, ranchers, and hunters all over Washington will have
to live with the plan that you adopt. Big game herds will have
to survive an additional predator on the landscape, so wolf
numbers must be very carefully managed.
read the March 2010 Wolf Plan Peer Review,
amazed, it sounds like a pro-wolf political statement from
Defenders of Wildlife, rather than a professional analysis of a
wildlife management plan by experienced wildlife professionals.
The Peer Review insults the intelligence of Washington residents
and is a disgrace to sound wildlife management. Key issues are
avoided such as Hydatid Disease
and Neospora Caninum
(62%-63% of Idaho and Montana wolves are
confirmed infected with hydatid causing tapeworms) which
threaten the public health and safety as well as the health of
livestock and game herds. Throughout the document, facts and
figures are used in a way to downplay wolf impacts on people,
livestock, and game herds.
wild game herds have been conserved and managed with sports
dollars. One reviewer practically suggests that game herds be
dedicated as a new wolf feeding project. The reviewers do not
adequately address the impacts of reduced hunting opportunities
and increased livestock depredation on
Washington lifestyles, rural economies, or losses to wildlife
management funding due to an inevitable reduction in hunting and
license sales. The impacts on rural residents are nearly
overlooked all together.
suggests that winter feeding of ungulates should be abandoned.
This comment in itself reflects the lack of knowledge this
reviewer has of modern game management and modern ecosystems.
The year is not 1492, it’s the 21st century and human
encroachment on winter ranges has consumed much ungulate winter
range, as a result Washington has an unnatural modern
environment. There is plenty of summer range; in fact summer
range is underutilized. But many game herds, especially elk,
need winter feeding to make up for the lack of winter range....(read
the full letter)
torn apart by Wolves in WA
Valley, Summer 2009
Washington is smaller in size yet has a much higher human density than the Rocky
Mountain States. Washington does not have as
large of elk and deer herds as Idaho, Montana, or Wyoming,
so far fewer
wolves can be supported. A lack of
responsible management could easily allow wolves to over
populate and destroy game herds faster than in the other states.
Then as a result of diminished big game herds, hungry wolves
may be forced to invade ranches
and towns to prey on domestic animals and pets for food and
because wolves carry a variety of diseases and
parasites, the likelihood of disease transmission to livestock,
pets, and humans is greatly increased. For obvious reasons wolf
numbers must be carefully managed and wolves
must be encouraged to stay in remote areas away from human
populated areas. If managed in a responsible manner, wolves may fit into Washington's modern environment.
Washington's citizens cannot afford for wolves to reduce big game herds, attack livestock,
or spread disease. Rural economies depend on
ranching income and on the annual
dollars spent by visiting hunters.
Wolves Need Hunted
Washington Draft Wolf Plan
does not include language
specifying "Hunting" as an eventual management tool
Within a few short years wolves will obviously multiply and
problems associated with wolves will most assuredly increase as they have elsewhere. If
"hunting" is not included in the wolf plan
language as an eventual management tool,
it will be unlikely that "hunting" could be used
as a management tool without court
challenges from anti-hunting groups like "Defenders of
strategies involving "Hunting" have worked well for
game species and other predators in North America and are
now working for Idaho and Montana. America's hunted species are
actually some of America's most abundant wildlife species, in fact, it's
many of the un-hunted species who's existence is the most
threatened. Hunters are good wildlife stewards with an interest
in maintaining healthy wildlife populations and hunters provide the funding
needed to accomplish that goal.
Washington taxpayers want to pay the cost for professional
hunters to remove depredating wolves and controlling wolf
numbers after wolf population objectives are reached?
Expensive predator removal programs have had to be implemented
in many other states. Professional wolf
hunters in Idaho reportedly have been paid $1500.00 plus
helicopter flight time for each wolf removal. Why not let
hunters pay the cost of wolf management with license sales
and ease the burden on taxpayers?
How Many Wolves
Washington Draft Wolf Plan
a minimum of 15 breeding pairs
for 3 consecutive years
distribution, see page 50) before delisting can occur. Data from
studies in Idaho and Montana indicate that 15 breeding pairs
translates into as many as 360 actual wolves.
A major flaw in the plan is that until there are the appropriate
number of breeding pairs in every one of Washington's Wolf
Areas, it doesn't matter how many wolves are living in some areas, wolves will not be delisted
and management can not occur anywhere in Washington.
Another major flaw,
these breeding pairs must exist for three years, in all
areas. Data from Idaho indicates a wolf population increases
20% to 24% each year. Perhaps there will be 30 or 40
breeding pairs in central and eastern Washington before
there are any breeding pairs on the Olympic Peninsula. Under
this plan 40 or more breeding pairs (could be as many as 1000 or more
actual wolves) might exist in eastern Washington before the
has any breeding pairs. Wolves could easily overpopulate in many areas before
population goals are met in all areas.
Would it not be wiser to delist when half that many wolves
are confirmed (6 to 8 breeding pairs, which translates into
approximately 100 or more wolves) and then manage the wolf
population at that level for a test period of 3 years. At
the end of the 3 year test period review the impacts that wolves
have had on Washington to determine if wolf numbers should
be allowed to increase.
Translocation Of Wolves In
be used under the wolf plan in the event
livestock killing wolves need moved since they can not be
killed under the plan,
see page 52.
WDFW estimated wolf habitat in Washington, how will this affect
What Wolves Eat
Studies have indicated
that 1 wolf eats 17 elk or 44 deer per year (page 73 wolf
that rate the target population of 361 wolves in Washington could eat as
many as 6,137 elk or 15,884 deer. Under the current draft
wolf plan if wolves do not populate
all wolf zones at the same time, wolves will likely
overpopulate in some areas of Washington before any
management can occur. Eastern Washington could end up with 1000+ wolves
and that many
wolves could eat as many as 17,000 elk or 44,000 deer per
year in Washington before any breeding pairs are established
in the Olympic Peninsula so that delisting and subsequent
management can occur.
an average of 8,000 elk and 38,000 deer in all areas of
Washington (page 78, page 83). If wolves overpopulate, it is
very possible that there would not be enough elk and deer to
allow any hunting seasons. This would dramatically effect
local economies and lifestyles. This is already occurring in
Idaho, 8 elk areas are below goals, and IDFG is concerned.
Wolves also eat
livestock (see page 63) and even though there are reimbursement
programs, a big problem is that many wolf predations on livestock
are currently being classified as "non-conclusive".
Another problem is that increased predation is exhausting
these programs. Either scenario could result in ranchers not
getting reimbursed for their loss and this
effects ranch incomes and local economies.
Washington Draft Wolf Plan places too
many wolves in Washington. If game herds are
reduced, it's very likely predation on livestock and pets,
and increased exposure to wolf diseases will occur.
Idaho Wildlife Services
wolf advocacy groups have pointed out that, in relative terms,
only a very small proportion of livestock losses (<1% for cattle
and <2.5% for sheep) nationwide are typically caused by wolves,
and that other predators, such as coyotes, are responsible for
many more livestock deaths than are wolves (Defenders of
determining the average number of livestock killed per each
individual predator on the landscape, and comparing these
figures among the four species, it turns out that individual
wolves in Idaho are about 170 times more likely to kill cattle
than are individual coyotes or black bears.
Individual wolves were determined to be about 21 times more
likely to kill cattle than were individual mountain lions....(read
the full story)
We are "unable to live with" the proposed numbers in the WWG
Draft Plan. We believe the numbers are too high and will
result in direct conflict with the Livestock and Sportsman
Therefore we feel that the WWG’s desired number of BP’s is
unrealistic given the lack of suitable habitat and the much
higher human population density of this state and that the
requirement of 15 BP’s for 3 years (50% Higher that the USFW
criteria for recovery in WY, MT, and ID,) defies common sense.
We therefore propose the following numbers of BP’s statewide:
3 BP’s to down list to Threatened, 6 BP’s to down list to State
Sensitive, and 8 BP’s to change to a Big Game Animal. And we
would eliminate the 3 year period since the state was not
considered essential for recovery of wolves in the NRM (p.6119
Federal Register). This total number of 8 BP’s or approximately
80 wolves would fit in the states economic analysis as outlined
in Chapter 14, "Economics" which states "Wolf numbers between 50
and 100 animals should pose little detriment to the states
livestock industry as a whole…As wolf populations become larger
and more widely distributed, financial impacts are likely to
accrue to more producers" (p.126). "Populations of 50 to 100
wolves should not have negative effects on big game hunting in
The "Draft Wolf Plan" may have
the "Minority Position" if the group had not been stacked with pro-wolf
members by the WDFW. Because the group had more pro-wolf members
the final plan represents the pro-wolf intent to saturate
Washington with breeding pairs of wolves.
Twisp in Okanogan County
cam, Methow Valley
Your Help Is Needed
Washington's residents, ranchers, hunters, and
game herds are not properly considered in the proposed wolf plan.
Write and request that the wolf plan be revised to protect the lifestyle, livelihood,
health, and safety of rural residents,
ranchers, livestock, and
wildlife populations in Washington.