Writers, not scientists

Rick Rogers’ Aug. 18 column on wolves ends with the recommendation to fire Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game biologists that work on wolf management. Since agency people are not able to defend themselves against such suggestions, it might be worthwhile to address his column, and add to Leonard Ross’ comments.

First, the researchers Will Graves and Steve McLaughlin that Rick quotes are writers who survey the literature and write from what they read. They are not field biologists who trap and survey wolf packs, examine kills and other sites, study their behavior and ecology.

McLaughlin is a retired Navy officer who works on northeastern Washington ranches and publishes in agricultural publications. He is familiar with wolf depredations in the area and undoubtedly has seen the effects of wolves on cattle in that area.

Graves has written on comparisons of Russian wolves with North American wolves, with a highly informative book published in 2007 called “Wolves in Russia.”

They paint a worst-case scenario of the effects of wolves on their prey.

They are writers, not scientists. ...

Rogers’ “crap detector” focused on the irrelevant issue of cougar and wolf population estimates. The studies he refers to used radio-collared elk calves and on-site inspections to determine the cause of death and the predator involved. There was no effort to determine population sizes for those predators because they weren’t needed. The data in these studies is presented without use of statistical estimates. ...

Jim Peek


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