Paul Rogers had a good piece in the Mercury News over the weekend about the “cultural shift” in California as evidenced by the uproar over a Fish and Game official’s killing of a mountain lion in Idaho.

Rogers writes that the shift is a “profound change involving urban and rural, old and young, red and blue — in which the traditional political power of hunters and fishermen is in steady decline while environmentalists and animal rights groups have grown in influence.”

Rogers talked to Bill Gaines, president of the California Outdoor Heritage Alliance, a hunting advocacy group in Sacramento. “Today 80 percent of Californians live in urban areas,” said Gaines. “When I grew up north of Stockton in the 1960s and 70s, I was literally born with a BB gun in one hand and a fishing pole in another. All my friends were like that. Today, through no fault of their own, people are not raised in that lifestyle.”

If you’re looking for one illustration of the attitudinal difference between hunters and those made squeamish by their activities, take a look at this promotional video from the Flying B Ranch, where Fish and Game Commission President Dan Richards’ killing of a cougar has landed him in hot water with Democratic legislators and animal advocates. The Chronicle’s Politics Blog posted the video last week.

Animal lovers will most likely not appreciate the images of a treed mountain lion being shot and falling to the ground, where its teeth are displayed for the camera — all to the sounds of thrashing guitar music. Nor would they enjoy the next segment, in which three hunters excitedly discuss, in subtitles, their impending kill of a black bear, culminating with a “Shoot it now! Shoot it now!” Cut to the shot bear tumbling over, cut to vigorous handshakes among the men, and cut to the obligatory trophy photo.

This complete lack of sentimentality concerning some wild animals can also be seen in Lauren Sommer’s post about the lone wolf (called OR7) that has been hanging around the California-Oregon border, delighting some wildlife watchers but not necessarily all interested parties…

For several weeks…wildlife officials have attended a number of public meetings about California’s wolf. In the state’s northern counties, the reaction has been vocal.

“The protection afforded something that doesn’t belong here in the first place doesn’t make any sense,” says Susanville resident Len Grizwold. Says another resident: “Be cautious, folks. They’re here to tell you there’s nothing to worry about.”

The reception from county supervisor and rancher Bob Pyle isn’t any warmer. “I really don’t care what it is. If it’s killing my cattle, I’m gonna kill it,” he says.

Similarly, that post has been receiving a lot of comments like these (which seem to be coming from mostly out of state):

Haze that mutt back to Idaho….we’ll solve your wondering wolf problem. If you people let this thing back into your state, you’re nuts.
OR7 is a cattle killing machine…His litter mate OR9 was recently killed in Idaho near a feed lot. These wolves have a taste for cattle…I cannot understand why people are celebrating this wolf. We have LOTS of evidence of what this guy is capable of
My suggestion to those of you in the area this wolf is roaming, is to do whatever possible to stop the non native Yukon wolf from ever infecting your state. California hasn’t the wildlife buffer the other states had, and humans will bare the brunt of the impacts.
There was a reason why wolves where killed 80 years ago. When families had to live off ONE milk cow, one or two cattle for beef. Losing your livestock to wolves means starving. Who would you have chosen 80 years ago? Your food, or glorify the wolf…Talk to people who are affected by wolves instead of subscribing blindly to Non-Profit newsletters with a link to your Credit Card.
…if you hurt the FAKE ENDANGERED YUKON wolves you are going to jail cause we all know in todays American a worthless disease spreading predator is more important then working Americans

Is this an antipathy borne merely of economic interest? Or is it something else?

If you’ve ever seen Werner Herzog’s documentary Grizzly Man, chronicling the adventures of a guy who traveled to Alaska to interact closely with bears, only to be killed by one of them, you might assess the protagonist’s attitude as the most extreme kind of anthropomorphic folly.

But Ed Bangs, the recently retired wolf recovery coordinator for the US Fish and Wildlife Service, says that kind of projection of human attributes onto animals cuts the other way too:

“You have to remember wolves and wolf management has nothing to do with reality,” he told Lauren Sommer. “I mean we can give you facts, you know, all the biology stuff. That isn’t what people talk about. They’re talking about what wolves mean to them symbolically.”

By the way, Susan Moore of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service told Sommeer that if anyone kills the wolf, it’s “a $100,000 fine or a year in jail, or both.”

Promo Video of Ranch Where Dan Richards Killed Cougar Shows Split in Attitude Over Wild Animals 6 March,2012Jon Brooks

  • Lgrimes

    I am surprised you did point out the awful video that followed the killing of the bear and promotion of the lodge, where the coward with the high power scope shot that buck, that obviously suffered after being shot…I wonder how long it laid there in pain before the Jerk got to it to finish it off…what an A**. If you are going to hunt, at least make sure you know how to shoot, and you can did it from a sporting range, with out the help of what amounts to a sniper rifle..again, what a cowardly a**

  • KAOR

    “Is this an antipathy borne merely of economic interest? Or is it something else?”

    To ranchers it is within their economic interest to [supply] beef and beef-by products to the consumer.

    To wolf fanatics it is a matter of blindly believing in sleek leaflets and online propaganda for a “make you feel good” credit card donation. They don’t remember where their food comes from, and neither do they care.

    Their Hamburger comes from a replicator in the back room of a grocery
    store for the masses where no animals are hurt. There is an obvious and complete disconnect from reality not only in CA, where as the writer says, 80 percent of all people life in Urban settlements.

    When people believe that their Wheaties grow in a card board box, and no cow
    has to die for their yummy Hamburger on the BBQ grill there is undoubtedly something wrong with the urban society and not with rural America who
    produces their food.

    It is the urban society who has labeled farmers and ranchers as welfare recipients while enjoying a big ass steak at a fancy restaurant. It is the Urban society that has no problem threatening livestock producers with violence, arson and murder to accomplish their goal to rid this country of animal husbandry believing so called Non-Profit “experts” who have no background in food production or hands-on farm & Ag land management. Lemmings exhibit the same behavior… right down the cliff.

    Where does your food come from?

    • Anonymous

      I stopped eating meat just so that I would not be supporting ranchers who want to kill all wild animals and predators. There are some very good ranchers that are willing to stop blaming predators for all their problems and even learning that predator friendly meat can sell for more and be marketed to those who do not want to support willdlife killing enterprises. If we all don’t learn to live with wildlife we won;t have anything left but cattle and that would be a terrible place to be. 

      • KAOR

         Your Vegan industry has destroyed more wildlife habitat than the cattle industry. Vegetarian food grown on fields. It doesn’t grow at the store in card board boxes. Growing vegetables, soy, etc. etc. takes million and millions of acres that have been deforested just like your Urban settlements.

  •  Wolf Introduction: The big lie that is crushing the Western way of life!
    by Chandie Morse Bartell on Wednesday, November 16, 2011 at 12:49am ·
    years ago, a huge conglomerate of governmental power-brokers, radical
    environmentalists, and media manipulators forced the reintroduction of
    Wolves back into Yellowstone National Park. They did this against the
    wishes of the generations of families living in the immediate area and
    simply trying to earn a fair living, along with the folks in the
    bordering western states that would eventually/already are being
    affected by the reintroduction of the ravenous and ruthless wolves.The
    enviro-conglomerate won the battle and they introduced the wolf back
    into Yellowstone in 1995. This was a decades long battle that actually
    started back in 1966, when “certain” biologists became concerned with
    the unbalance of the ecosystem due to the eradication of the wolf, and
    it’s resulting Elk population explosion. In the tug of war that ensued,
    the public originally balked at the reintroduction plans, so the
    all-powerful and knowledgeable Congress, in conjunction with the
    National Fish and Wildlife {government-paid] agency, decided that they
    needed to poll the “visitors” to Yellowstone, to see if they wouldn’t
    mind the reintroduction of the wolf. ( Even though they will not suffer
    the consequences, city-dwellers and even people from other countries
    were allowed to vote to decide the fate of America’s ranchers out west)
    Through various media blitzes the enviro-conglomerate managed to
    persuade the public to the tune of 60% ( of visitors to Yellowstone, not
    those actually living in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho) as saying they
    favored the wolf plan. What they failed to tell the public, was that
    they were ignoring the very people who would bear the brunt of the wolf
    experiment in the end, the local people trying to eek out an honest
    living in the area. As a result, a whole sector of American culture and
    tradition is on the verge of being wiped out. The area economy is being
    crippled, and State’s rights have now been exterminated by the
    enviro-conglomerate that pushed the irresponsible decision to bring the
    wolf back into Yellowstone. And it just isn’t one state that is now
    suffering from this big government bullying either. The wolf is now in
    Idaho, Arizona and several other surrounding states with endless
    territory now in their sights.Forget the easily
    manipulated “Yellowstone visitor polls” and let’s hear from the actual
    people that the irresponsible reintroduction of the wolf is affecting
    so harshly today shall we? Watch the following free video, this film is
    about exposing the lies and proclaiming the truth about what the
    movement to bring back wolves to Yellowstone – and the rest of America –
    is really about. Crying Wolf.  Personally,
    I could care less what someone from say, Chicago wants to view when
    “visiting” my state, especially considering the fact that it is I who
    have to try to earn a living there long after tourists (from other
    states or even other countries) are long gone. Besides, what would
    assorted city-dwelling pencil-pushers, and government-dependent
    puppet-voters know about the independent, hard-working American western
    culture of hunting, fishing, grazing-land management, cattle and sheep
    ranching, outfitting, etc.? The answer? Not a dang thing, as is obvious
    in their irresponsible power-play of forcing the wolf reintroduction
    back into Yellowstone in 1995, against the very citizen’s wishes of the
    now widely-suffering bordering states area.The very real damage:
    Many businesses have already closed down due to the wolves devastation
    of the Elk population over just the past fifteen years alone. The
    government originally “promised” a managed wolf population of between
    78-100 (or 30 breeding pairs) when they forced this scheme onto the
    ranchers whom live in the area that the wolves would be released in.
    The current population? It is now approaching 1700 wolves or
    17 times the promised total by our government, just in the
    Montana/Idaho region alone. In 2006, the Yellowstone Elk population had
    already decreased by 50% from mid-90′s totals. If the Elk population
    was decreased by 50% in 10 short years with an original wolf population
    of around 100, think of what will happen now that the wolf population
    has swelled to around 1700. Wolves must eat, and as the Elk disappear,
    the moose populations also dwindle, which then leads to more predation
    on cattle and sheep. Those cattle and sheep just happen to be the
    property of the ranchers, not the darn government! Whatever happened to
    property rights in this country? What about the right to protect said
    property? In the end, the ranchers lose massive amounts of money, and
    eventually go out of business. Along with ranching, goes the hunting,
    outfitting, taxidermy, meat processing, and guide businesses associated
    with the Western culture of ranching and hunting. Elk-hunting permits
    in the region are now down a whopping 90% thanks to the
    enviro-conglomerate caused explosion in the wolf population in the
    west. Once again the U.S. Government has bowed down to radical
    environmentalists to create a massive problem for the people who
    actually live in the areas effected by their policies. It seems that
    when considering the effects of reintroducing the wolf to Yellowstone,
    the right to the Western culture and way of life was completely ignored,
    along with their perspective state’s rights. What kind of a country is
    it, that allows whole sectors of it’s population to be devastated by
    another sector that wants to put wolves, mother earth, trees, or even
    the ozone ahead or our citizens constitutional rights? It certainly can
    not be considered to be even close to a people’s Republic, as was
    established by our constitution.

  • Guard Dogs completely defenseless against wolves March 4, 2012 | Filed under: Livestock Predation,Montana,News,Wolves in the News | Posted by: LWW
    HELLE LIVESTOCK, DILLON, Montana — Montana’s livestock producers are
    trying to provide the public with healthy, affordable, locally grown
    food and fiber. The currant level of wolf population is having a huge
    impact on our ability to do so. The Rebish and Helle families have been raising sheep and cattle in Southwest Montana for 4 generations.
    During this time we have dealt with a variety of predators, mostly
    coyotes, bears, and mountain lions. These kills, while certainly not
    welcome, are done for the purpose of survival. Usually, only one animal
    is killed at a time and the carcass completely consumed. A wolf attack
    is completely different! Never before have we seen the type of
    senseless killing that a pack of wolves is capable of. Wolves leave
    behind a unbelievable trail of carnage. Rarely do they completely
    consume even one carcass; rather, they appear to kill for the sport of
    it, maiming and chewing up as many animals as they can. In a
    wolf attack you will find the sheep and cattle still alive with massive
    chunks of their bodies torn away. Such livestock obviously have to be
    euthanized. These are obvious losses but harder to see and measure are
    the costs of stress to the animals that survive – low weight gain,
    lowered conception rates, general spookiness and illness. We
    use guarding dogs and herders to protect our livestock. In addition to
    the livestock losses we have lost several guard dogs. While the dogs are very effective against coyotes, bears, and mountain lions, they are completely defenseless against wolves.
    They put up a heroic fight protecting their animals but they are no
    match for wolves and are found dead, usually torn to pieces and then
    finished off with their throat ripped out. Our sheep herders are very fearful of a wolf encounter while out watching the sheep knowing

    • Anonymous

      The big lie is the lie that wolves rip through cattle and livestock and kill for sport. The truth is that in 6 million acres of wilderness in three states you had close to 1200 wolves. The population of wolves in those three states went from 66 to 1200 but it took over 17 years to do so. Cattle and livestock losses are less than 1/10 of 1% from wolves. There are cattle depredation programs,special dogs that can be used and other non lethal means. Its a pretty sad state of affairs when your state can not find space for more than 150 of a natural predator in millions of acres. And you have several hundred thousand elk, thousands of black bears and cougars, and now only 400 or so wolves. Stop blaming the wolf for all the evils of the world. And stop believing all the fear mongering and hype about wolves.  The only animal that kills for sport and ruthlessly kills is men. 

      • KAOR

        Why don’t you visit to find out the truth how much wolves hunt for food and how much they hunt just because they can… But no, rather life at Disney World than learning just a little bit about the truth.

  • TT2Toes

    Richards shot the Mt Lion at the [hunting] ranch owners request. The lion was already marked for depredation under Idaho’s lion population management. The carcass was later prepared and the meat taken for consumption at the ranch. The lion appears a very healthy specimen – – no doubt due to the positive efforts by Idaho’s natural resource managers. They sell a limited number of Mt Lion hunting tags to the public to maintain populations within carrying capacity of the habitat. In California, we have foolishly outlawed lion hunting, so we pay wardens and biologists to go out and destroy lions when populations get too large for available habitat, or when nuisance complaints are received from the public about problem lions. Too large a population and they get diseased and starved, and more often nuisance complaints to come out and “remove” a lion. So the outspoken animals-rights advocates are against hunting these lions to ensure healthy population, but are OK about calling a warden to kill one when Fluffy or Pookey becomes a snack for a Mt Lion.  I’d wager that most hikers/runners in California have come surprisingly close to more than one Mt Lion without even knowing it. If you really want to help the Mt Lions, then quit taking away their habitat and trying to make pets of them. Get to know them – – don’t just swallow the made-for-TV nature programs’ pablum. Dan Richards is doing a great service for California’s Fish and GAME Commission.

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