Touchy???!? Na....down right fighting words....You have a point. It seems most of the posters on this forum are in the northeastern US.
Just curious, and this may be a touchy topic, how is the wolf situation at this point? I see that the Gem State now has a season for those exotics from Canada.
I used to do some varmint hunting out West during my summer vacations. I sort of envied the opportunity for hunting elk and other game that wasn't available to us in the East. That and the variety of small game and varmint hunting is what we do not have. As a teenager many dairy farms were still in operation in southern New England and most had an open door policy regarding the shooting of woodchucks. I loved it and miss it. We don't have the same opportunity as you do. In addition the vistas in the West are awe inspiring. As a rule you don't have that here since it is so heavily wooded. I recall driving near the Snake River canyon and as you gain in elevation you can look to the east and see the landscape.Again it is awe inspiring to say the least. There is so much more open land, so to speak, available. There are many places here but each year more and more is lost to development and posting of land. It is almost like a sand castle. Each wave takes a bit at a time.Touchy???!? Na....down right fighting words....
This might be a biased view you're going to get from me, as I still have a wolf tag in my pocket right now that I didn't fill this year. (albeit I didn't really pursue them that hard). And the fact that I am in natural resources, so...so naturally I have been slightly conflicted.
The large debate that started a few years ago and is still raging on is the subspecies debate related to the Bergmann's rule, larger members of species are found in more northern regions. And we brought down the northern cohorts to be in southern climates. I don't know where to stand on the issue so I sit neatly on the fence.
As far as how is the wolf situation? I've heard them in the woods before (WA and ID more northern areas though) and in Moscow I'm only about 20 minutes away from the greatest harvest unit this year http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/hunt/?getPage=121. I've heard reports that the wolves are killing a lot of Elk down in the southern units in and around the Sawtooth unit, but I have not yet heard that the claims have been substantiated (even within the student/graduate student community). Is it just frustration of low % elk harvest in the last couple years? I'm not sure. I've seen a couple herds in my turkey spots already this spring so I won't step into that tar pit. I will say this though, I've heard and seen wolf sign out in the woods, but the cougars worry me more.
I applied for my pronghorn hunt this year south east of McCall the area is beautiful. I know a lot of guys that climb up a bit to fish Cascade for the crappie bite down there, it's still on my to do list.
Any time you guys want to come out for a small game hunt and site seeing trip just let me know I can guide and or point ya in the right direction. I would say you should come out for elk but, with a $500 non-res tag it seems a bit ridiculous! The west is great over 60% of Idaho is open to hunting, so there is no shortage of opportunities, finding the game is the tough part.
I really enjoy your neck of the woods as well, there might be more population but. You guys have so many more opportunities for the traditional eastern hunting than we do, I can't even shoot a squirrel!!! Oh boy, how I miss poppin those tasty buggers. I thought I'd post a picture of the Lewiston grade right at the confluence of the Snake and Clearwater rivers. Lewiston, Idaho is under the cloud cover, that grade (about 7% for 6 miles) is one serious pain in the butt when you want to fish the Snake and you're towing a boat!!In addition the vistas in the West are awe inspiring. As a rule you don't have that here since it is so heavily wooded. I recall driving near the Snake River canyon and as you gain in elevation you can look to the east and see the landscape.Again it is awe inspiring to say the least.
I know where they are coming from. I've seen the videos and wolves are the apex predator and they do kill any anomaly near their rearing grounds even without the intention of consuming. They do significantly alter the elk and deer heard. As a NR manager I would like to see the wolves be a natural part of the landscape, but as a realist there are a few things to consider. Wolves are an apex predator, man is an apex predator. Both are extremely efficient predators. The reduction of wolves within the natural landscape can easily be traced to a necessity to remove them. Why introduce competition to an already dwindling natural resource (elk)? I can't answer that, but for me that's how I feel.I have talked with locals at some bars and restaurants as well as on the street so to speak about the wolf situation and all of them to a tee would like to see them gone completely. Also I chat with hunters and shooters from the West and I can't think of any of them that have a good thing to say about the Canadian wolves.
Man, I had no idea it was getting that bad everywhere. I know IL has a lot of big bucks but jezz $400!!!!! That to me is nuts, but I do pay $100 bucks a year to fish in Washington state as a non-resident..so I guess I'm a bit nuts too. I am used to the Wisconsin non-resident deer tag of $160 ( http://dnr.wi.gov/org/caer/cs/nonrestypes.asp ). I guess some other states have gotten on their high horse. The west is no better, if I want to travel the 20 miles to get into Washington high country bucks I have to pay $500 bucks too .Regarding the price of an elk tag, last year I got picked for a NH moose tag. The non resident permit cost me $500 plus $103 for the non resident hunting license. Look at the price of deer tags in the Midwest. I do believe an Illinois tag is somewhere above the $400 mark.