Archive for the Predators Category

Archery Recurve-The primitive challenge

Posted in Bear, Big Game, caribou, North America on March 26, 2010 by thegreatwhitehunter

Many sportsmen who are involved in hunting have a favorite weapon.  Some are long range hunters who choose to challenge themselves by finding the perfect long range opportunity.  Other hunters relish the old smoke pole.  Famous hunter Jim Shockey was the first to harvest record book quality animals of the 27 North American big game species using a muzzleloader.  I personally, have hunted with a firearm (an ancient Winchester Model 70), muzzleloader, and compound bow.  One group who prides themselves in the ultimate handicap when it comes to weaponry are recurve archery hunters.

Most recurve hunters will tell you that their weapon has about a 20 yard effective range.  Compare that to a 40-60 yard effective range with a compound bow, and you can see the challenge.  Add the primitive and instinctive draw motion and colorful wood construction of many recurve bows, and you do feel a certain primitive connection with ancient hunter gatherers.

This old tom was dropped by a persistent recurve enthusiast.

While I was researching this post, I came across one amazing archery site

These guys hunt giant bears using recurve bows.

This 950 pound grizzly was shot as it charged.  The old boar scored into the Boone and Crocket records books.  Congratulations to hunter Pat Lefemine.

This giant brown bear was harvested by hunter Tom Huebner in Alaska at less than 10 yards.  What an amazing challenge on one truly dangerous animal.

I loved this quote from the site, “I shared this hunt with my uncle, an Alaska resident, stalking this dry, 8’4″ sow (the only lone bear we observed in 14 days) while she hunted red salmon on a lake shore. Shot her three times from 25 to 35 yards and she feel in sight. It was all over in a matter of 20 seconds. All arrows hanging by the fletching on the far right side, grouped tight through the lungs.”

Another Monster Cat out of Utah

Posted in Cougar, North America, Predators on March 16, 2010 by thegreatwhitehunter

Congratulations to huntress Deb Cunningham on a beautiful mountain lion.  The tail on this monster cat looks longer than Deb is tall.  It almost looks like the cat has stopped to pose for the picture.

The photo of the skinned hide gives you a sense of the dimensions of this tremendous cat.  My guess is this cat is over 8 feet nose to tail.

Thanks to legendary cat guide Wade Lemon for the photos of this exceptional cat.  Visit Wade online at

Never Cry Wolf-ESPN article on Wolves in Russia

Posted in Big Game, North America, Wolf on March 3, 2010 by thegreatwhitehunter

ESPN just published a very interesting article on Will Graves research on wolves in Russia.  For those of you who remember the old Movie Never Cry Wolf, this article is a must read.

A few quotes from the article: 

In the heat of media frenzy about the environment, one must always remember to think critically and be on alert for romanticism, exaggeration and what Teddy Roosevelt called “nature fakers.”

 In the U.S., we have been led to believe that wolves are not dangerous to people. In books and movies like Farley Mowat’s “Never Cry Wolf”, Michael Blake’s “Dances With Wolves,” and Barry Lopez’s “Of Wolves and Men”, wolves are “nature’s sanitarians” who prefer eating lemmings more than larger mammals. They are presented as secretive, adverse to attacking humans and may even friendly to people, like dogs…

…A pack of 3-5 wolves will kill an average of two reindeer or caribou every three days. They can eat 6-7 pounds of meat per day; over 10 pounds if they have not eaten for awhile. That translates into 1.5 tons of meat per wolf per year.

Contrary to some authors, Graves asserts that Russian wolves prefer healthy prey, not sick or diseased animals. They seem to enjoy indulging in “surplus killing,” running havoc through herbs of animals, or even through villages, killing more than they can eat and leaving the surplus carcasses for scavengers…

…There are many, many accounts of wolves attacking people in Russia. As many as 80% of the attacks are by rabid wolves, but at least 20% are perfectly healthy wolves. The worst attacks on humans tend to come from wolf-dog hybrids, as well as wolves that have lost all fear of people.

…A healthy, athletic man may beat off an attack by one wolf, but he will always lose to a pack, unless he is well-armed. One reason why we have not had as many wolf attacks on people in North America is that the populace is armed.

Wolves in North America are not supposed to attack people, but the reality of fatal wolf attacks in North America became real on November 8, 2005: 22-year-old Kenton Carnegie, while walking through the woods of Saskatchewan, was killed by a pack of four wolves that had become habituated to a garbage dump…

James Swan’s entire article is well worth a read

22 Wolves in Wyoming

Posted in Big Game, North America, Wolf on March 2, 2010 by thegreatwhitehunter

One pack with 22 wolves.  I guess seeing is believing.

One of my good friends has hunted with three generations of his family in this area.  His 14 year-old son took a 32 inch mule deer in 2009 in this very area.  As a hunter and a big game expert he estimates that 2009 will be the last year they harvest trophy class mule deer in the area.  22 wolves just do too much damage to the ungulate infrastructure to have any other result.  His 10 year-old has been dreaming of harvesting his own old muley.  He told his dad, “Dad, I don’t care if you have to work 24 hours a day…you have to fix this wolf problem.”

10 Things you probably did not know about wolves

1. Each wolf will eat 1.5 tons a year of wild game.

2. Wolves are vectors of diseases that further impact wild game and humans

3. Wolf Populations in US already exceed recovery targets many times over and extend beyond recommended boundaries

4. Wolves Prefer Bigger game, healthy animals, disproportionally females and young, and seem to enjoy surplus killing (not lemmings and the old and sick big game as was so nicely fictionalized by the movie Never Cry Wolf)

5. Wolves Kill Humans-period (even in current times in North America).  Even a healthy grown man will always be killed by a pack of wolves-unless he is well armed.

6.  Wolves in the US have already effectively wiped out entire subpopulations of ungulates.

7.  Wolves have done hundreds of millions of dollars of economic damage to ungulate populations.

8.  Wolves reduce biodiversity-Shiras Moose, Elk, Bears, Big horn sheep, Mountain Lions etc.- all delicate populations at risk from wolves. 

9. Wolves are anything but endangered.  In North America and Asia, wolves are overpopulated.  There are no threats to loss of the species-in fact studies show wolves are overpopulated in many areas.

9.  Constitutionally States have the right to regulate wildlife (and are required to pay basically the entire bill)  Activist judges and out-of-state special interest are using expensive litigation to stop wolf management by states.  Even after those same special interests assured states and local conservation groups that they would not oppose returning wolf managment to the states once population recovery objectives were met.


Big picture

Special interest groups are what Theodore Roosevelt referred to as “Nature Fakers.”  They don’t like our version of conservation which is firmly rooted in scientific abundance principles.  We are the original conservationists.  We have invested hundreds of millions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of man hours to rebuild big game herds which were decimated by the 1980s.  The nature fakers haven’t provided their money or their time (unless you count some unproductive litigation). 

Most of us don’t mind wolves, we just want them regulated like every other species of big game.  Big game abundance is a more fragile thing than many people realize. Those who have invested their lives to fix big game in the west understand this.  We have sweated and invested to fix problems in the west.  We have reintroduced big game species including mountain goats, wild sheep, elk and bison to many areas where they had been lost.  We reduced tag allocations, reduced overgrazing and rehabilitated habitat.  Overpopulation of wolves is erasing much of the investment.  The natives are restless.  We are the original conservationists. 

The anti-huning groups have an imperialist mentality.  They want to dictate to the states decisions that are constitutionally state decisions.  While the nature fakers run a primarily anti–hunting agenda, the truth is that the states are really good at producing and protecting big game abundance.  The litigation is hurting big game numbers and true biodiversity.  In the process, they are making the sportsmen the enemy of wolf conservation.

Wolf Depradation Numbers-The Real Story

Posted in Big Game, North America, Wolf on February 28, 2010 by thegreatwhitehunter

When wolves were reintroduced into Idaho, Montana and Wyoming the agreement with the states, sportsmen, the Federal Government and the tree huggers was simple.  300 wolves.  The prowolf people asked for 450 wolves with at least 150 and 15 breeding pairs in each state.  This 50%margin, they reasoned was needed so the number wouldn’t fall below 300.  It would take YEARS they argued, probably DECADES with a slow 5% population growth rate.  The 450 would represent wolf repopulation recovery and then management would be returned to the states.

2010 Numbers

Idaho-850 + wolves

Montana-600 + wolves

Wyoming-300 + wolves

We are at 1200 wolves more than the 450 requested.  Biologists agree that 1 wolf kills 20 elk each year.  2,000 wolves x 20 dead elk = 40,000 dead elk each year.

Tom Bergerud top wolf expert from British Columbia told the Idaho Department of Fish and Game  the following:  

“I predict that you´re going to have major impacts from wolves in this state,” (Idaho) he said. I predict a major elk decline. 

He said that he saw wolves “repeatedly depress moose, caribou and elk populations while studying them throughout Canada and in some cases they wiped out local populations of caribou.” 

“I’ve watched herd after herd (of caribou) go EXTINCT across Canada,” he said. The problem: wolves have no known predators to keep them in balance with the ecosystem..”


The Idaho Fish and Game predator expert disagreed with Tom Bergerud

“We really don’t fear wolves or other predators are going to drive any populations of big game animals to extinction,” says Steve Nadeau, who heads the Idaho Fish and Game Department’s wolf, bear and mountain lion management effort at Boise.

“They will cause some level of predation within those populations that may or may not affect the status of that population.”

The department and tribe are monitoring elk and wolf populations. If it’s determined wolves are having too severe an impact on elk, he says, new rules proposed by the Fish and Wildlife Service would allow some wolves to be removed. ……… Steve Nadeau

So who was right, the guy who had seen it all, or the guy who thought he knew it all?

Here is the bottom line, the Lolo herd had 9,729 elk before wolves were reintroduced, that number is now down to 1,473.  Of that number cow elk, the producers of the next generation, are down from 3,832 to 705.  Calves are down from 669 to just 144.   You need 25 calves per 100 elk just to sustain a population.  In the Lolo unit, the number is below 10 percent.  Simple math Folks, looks like Tom was right and Steve was wrong.  Wolves are just as good as killing big game as was predicted.

Here is the news article from 2010 on the Elk Populations in the once mighty Lolo Herd.   

February 25th, 2010

By Eric Barker of the Tribune

Lolo Zone also could see fewer hunters after notching a large decline in elk numbers

…Depressed numbers of elk in the Lolo Zone could lead to fewer tags being sold there. Tags are already capped in the zone.

“We are seeing continued declines of elk numbers in the Lolo Zone,” Crenshaw said. “Data is indicating a 50 percent decline from 2006.”

The total number of elk counted during recently completed aerial surveys dropped from 3,452 four years ago to 1,473 this year. Cow elk dropped from 2,276 to 824 and calves from 669 to 144. Bulls are doing a bit better. They went from 504 to 461. But Crenshaw said bull numbers won’t stay at that level if few young elk survive to replace them.

“With such poor recruitment anticipated we expect them to be affected in the next couple of years as well,” Crenshaw said.

He said tag sales for the zone could be further capped, but hunters are already abandoning the zone and the restrictions might not be necessary.

“Around half of the resident tags were left unsold last year and about two-thirds of outfitter tags were left unsold…

Warning Graphic Photos!

We were told that Wolves only kill the sick, old and infirm.

This pregnant cow was killed by wolves.  They only ate the fetus, leaving the cow unused.

This one too…

This one too…

They didn’t even finish eating this unborn calf.

Mountain Lion Killed By Wolves in Sun Valley

Posted in Big Game, Cougar, North America, Wolf on February 27, 2010 by thegreatwhitehunter

Go to to read the full story of this adult mountain lion killed by wolves in Idaho.  The wrecking ball is out and wiping out everything in its path. Time to wake up to what uncontrolled wolf populations are doing in the lower 48 people.

Ear Tag identifies Lion as an adult relocated by Idaho Fish and Game earlier in the year.

Look in the background and you will see the residential community of Parker Idaho.  Only 1/4 mile from the cougar kill site.

Audience members at a meeting called by Sun Valley Mayor Wayne Willich saw many pictures of wildlife in the city, including this cougar that was killed by wolves. Willich is concerned about predators within city limits.(ARIEL HANSEN/Times-News)

SUN VALLEY — A large audience Wednesday heard Sun Valley Mayor Wayne Willich do some howling about community concerns of wildlife within city limits.

Willich called for the Wood River Elk Trust II to quickly come up with a plan to feed elk on a ridge above the Elkhorn neighborhood of Sun Valley next winter, hoping they won’t then attract predators into the city.

The elk have not been fed by an organized group in three years, and last year wolves hunted them as they wandered through town. The wolves have not been present in the city this winter, which is attributed to the wolf hunting season launched last year.

Following a self-described “lecture” about the wildlife situation in Sun Valley, Willich took questions, but refused to take comments, on his proposal to have the elk trust present its plan to the Sun Valley City Council in two weeks.

“I’m finished with these town hall meetings, we’re moving to a solution,” Willich said. “The time for discussion is over.”

He said if the elk trust can’t resume feeding, or if the council fails to approve a resolution in support of their feeding, he will demand that Idaho Department of Fish and Game be more proactive. Several Fish and Game agents were in the audience.

“We’ll put you on notice that whenever there’s a predator around, you need to use whatever techniques to get the predators out of town,” Willich said, calling Sun Valley a “no-predator zone.”

Fish and Game Regional Supervisor Jerome Hansen said that’s already the department’s policy.

“We’ve got a document specifically developed to deal with urban large-animal conflicts. This is all about public safety,” he said. “Our guys are Johnny-on-the-spot.”

The department’s policy is to avoid feeding programs whenever possible, although they maintain feeding sites in other areas of the state, including nearby Warm Springs.

“Their plan to start up a feeding program (in Elkhorn) is an easy short-term solution, maybe, but I don’t think it’s the long-term solution,” Hansen said. “It takes a while (for the elk) to develop new patterns. It takes longer than we’ve had.”

He said he would prefer to find other solutions to keep the elk out of town, such as reducing the size of the herd and enhancing habitat in areas to attract the elk to areas not as close to homes, such as Parker and Independence gulches.

Willich said the City Council will take comments on March 11 on the elk trust’s plan. He said the council would likely offer moral, not monetary, support for a feeding plan.

Posted in Local, Wood-river on Friday, February 26, 2010 1:00 am Updated: 11:08 pm.

High Water Bears and the Drowned Truck

Posted in Bear, Big Game, Guides and Outfitters, North America, Other cool stuff on February 21, 2010 by thegreatwhitehunter

Thanks to Cory from Got Hunts for forwarding this amazing post.  Talk about bear hunting guides who go beyond the call of duty.

To see video of the first truck river crossing visit

Here is what the Got Hunts website says about this amazing photo. 

Bear hunting this spring was quite an adventure. We had above average snow pack this winter and the creeks were raging. As you can see, it ended up getting us in some trouble. If you haven’t yet, watch the video before you read further.

Close call huh? Normally this stream is only a few feet wide and maybe a foot deep. Pretty incredible. That evening, we attempted the crossing again (we know we’re not too smart… hindsight is 20/20) in George’s Dodge diesel pickup and it got stuck too. Cory was able to winch him out with his Jeep again, but the pickup sucked water through the engine and the insurance company totaled it. This was an expensive hunt to say the least. We’re just glad nobody was hurt.

Fortunately, both hunters harvested beautiful color phase black bear.

Thanks Cory for the forward to this great story.  Be careful out there!  Congratulations to both of these hunters on amazing color phase bears and to the guides for going above and beyond the call of duty.

Phenomenal Mountain Lion Harvest

Posted in Big Game, Cougar, Guides and Outfitters, North America on February 18, 2010 by thegreatwhitehunter

I was recently sent these photos from legendary mountain lion guide Wade Lemon.  Not only is this an exceptional cat, the scenery is otherwordly.  Judge for yourself, but the charred background moonscape almost would fit into a sci-fi movie.  Congratulations to Mark Morse on an exceptional harvest.

Thanks again Wade for the forward.  Visit Wade Lemon Hunting

On a more personal note, I did a mountain lion hunt a few years ago.  I did not harvest.   A bit disappointing, but as they say…that is hunting.  I should also mention that I wasn’t hunting with Wade who has a 99% harvest rate.

At the Western Hunting and Conservation Expo this last weekend, I got talking with Matt Wanner who books hunts with Wade Lemon’s outfit.  As we talked, I realized it was time to go do another cougar hunt.  Things are a bit tight for us all, but what better cause than supporting some of the guys who have given so much to hunting and conservation.  Matt and Wade, I can’t wait for my 2011 mountain lion hunt.   The hunt will be filmed for the outdoor show Hooked on Utah and will show locally on KSL television and nationally on the Sportsman Channel.

Huge Brownie-Truth or Legend

Posted in Bear, Big Game, North America with tags on February 16, 2010 by thegreatwhitehunter

Todd thanks for the forward of this exceptional (probably largely fictitious) story of one giant brown bear.  It’s not that I don’t love a good tall tale.  But for some reason, people want to exagerate the truth of these stories.  Stories that probably stand just fine on their own.  Let us know if any of you know more about this monster bear.

Here is the story: The downloaded pictures are of a man who works for the US Forest Service in Alaska and the bear he had to kill  (in self defense).  He was out deer hunting last week when a large grizzly bear charged him from about 50 yards away.  The guy emptied his 7mm Magnum semi-automatic rifle into the bear and it dropped a few feet away from him.  The big bear was still alive so he reloaded and shot it several times in the head.

The bear was just over one thousand six hundred pounds.  It stood 12’6″ at the shoulder, 14′ to the top of his head.  It’s  the largest grizzly bear ever recorded in the world.  Of course, the Alaska Fish and Wildlife Commission did not let him keep it as a trophy, but the bear will be stuffed and mounted, and placed on display at the Anchorage airport to remind tourists of the risks involved when in the wild.

Based on the contents of the bear’s stomach, the Fish and Wildlife Commission established the bear had killed at least two humans in the past 72 hours including a missing hiker.  The US Forest Service, back tracking from where the bear had originated, found the hiker’s 38-caliber pistol emptied.  Not far fromt the pistol were the remains of the hiker.  The other body has not been found.

Although the hiker fired six shots and managed to hit the grizzly with four shots (the Service ultimately found four 38 caliber slubs along with twelver 7mm slugs inside the bear’s dead body), it only wounded the bear and probably angered it immensely.  The bear killed the hiker an estimated two days prior to the bear’s own death by the gun of the Forest Service worker.

Think about this-If you are an average sized man, You would be level with the bear’s navel when he stood upright.  The bear would look you in the eye when it walked on all fours!  To give additional perspective, consider that this particular bear, standing on its hind legs, could walk up to an average single story house and look over the roof, or walk up to a two story house and look in the bedroom windows.

Interesting post.  I will note that it is not uncommon for a large brown bear to square over 10 feet tall and weigh upwards of 1600 lbs.  This bear is clearly a very large specimen, judging by the paw.  I have read a true story of a giant bear that killed and ate two campers.  Fish and Game went to investigate and ended up killing the bear as it charged.  Human remains were found in that bear and at the campsite. 

When it comes to true bear attack stories, few are as compelling as the story of Doug who is the father of one of our good friends.  Doug survived the grizzly attack, the bear did not. 

To read Doug’s bear attack story, click here

Bear Hug

Posted in Bear, Big Game, North America, Other cool stuff with tags on January 29, 2010 by thegreatwhitehunter

I received this email from a friend.  I can’t attest to the full story, but the photos seem to speak for themselves.  Here is the text of the email:

I come in peace, unbelievable piece of photo journalism-real life events…

Norbert Rosing’s striking images of a wild polar bear coming upon tethered sled dogs in the wilds of Canada’s Hudson Bay.

The photographer was sure he was going to see the end of his dogs when the wild polar bear wandered in.

It’s hard to believe the bear only wanted to hug someone.

The bear returned every night that week to play with the dogs.

Thanks to chuck for forwarding this additional montage of this amazing encounter.