An example of a Policy Cycle: Too many or too few elk? One of the points I make in my Wildlife Politics book is how goals of society can change entirely in direction through time. A good example concerns elk. One of the major reasons for hunters dislike for wolves and grizzlies is the contention that they take too many game so they are reducing the population of game for hunters. (A related but different point is that the existence of these wildlife predators make the game more wary and thus harder for hunters to shoot regardless of whether their numbers are reduced or not). It is interesting to note that the State of Montana is now trying to deal with an OVERABUNDANCE OF ELK! Indeed, they cite the growing numbers of elk from 65,000 in 1990 to 160,000 in 2015 DESPITE the reintroduction of WOLVES! According to an article by Eve Byron in High Country News, hunting of elk has not kept up with the increasing numbers, many people prefer to WATCH elk and other wildlife rather than SHOOT them. One other significant factor cited by Byron is that elk seek out ‘SAFE HAVENS” where they won’t be shot and they are “sensitive to predation” (which shows some intelligence on their part!) Another factor concerns the “warmer-than-average winters” that have characterized the last 30 years. Overall, the article reinforces the complexity of causation of changes in game populations—they are affected by many factors including climate. However, when "shortages" of game animals occur, hunters and "game managers" focus entirely on predators such as wolves. The key from public policy perspective is how goals can change direction entirely. It also helps to destroy the arguments about how wolves are a major factor behind the lowering of game numbers. The article by Byron is available at: http://www.hcn.org/issues/49.3/montana-game-managers-try-to-outsmart-elk
To make the story even more curious and potent, neighboring state Idaho is still trying to boost elk numbers and, of course, blaming wolves so they plan to kill them. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) installed on 60 elk and four wolves in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness. They plan on killing 60 percent of the wolf population to inflate elk game numbers. See the following article: Preso, Tim. IDFG wolf collaring operation was outside management mainstream. Idaho Statesman, February 6. Accessed 2/7/17 from http://www.idahostatesman.com/opinion/readers-opinion/article131167419.html
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During my research for the book, I noticed that there was no blog available for sharing informaton on wildlife conservation and thus I set up this blog to accomplish this purpose. Please share any informaticoncerning issues related to wildife policy and politics. I welcome feedback from users concerning this blog and website.