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Rick Lamplugh
1,205 followers -
I write to protect wildlife and preserve wildlands
I write to protect wildlife and preserve wildlands

1,205 followers
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Happy Holidays! If you’re thinking about ordering a signed copy of my best sellers, Deep into Yellowstone or In the Temple of Wolves, please order soon. Thursday, 12/14/17, is the last day I'll ship signed books. After that I'll be away from the office, visiting family. I apologize for any inconvenience. Deep into Yellowstone is available signed at http://bit.ly/2tIEt62. In the Temple of Wolves is available signed at http://bit.ly/1gYghB4. You can order the pair signed (with FREE shipping) at http://bit.ly/2uYTtsU. Of course, you can order the books unsigned at anytime on Amazon.
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Empty-Handed Elk Hunters Can Learn from Wolves
By Rick Lamplugh, author and wildlife advocate

I once attended a Montana Fish and Wildlife commission meeting to comment against a proposal to increase the number of wolves that could be killed once they stepped out of Yellowstone National Park. I wasn’t alone, others stood against the proposal. But there were many people who supported it, wanted more wolves killed. A comment I heard from that side went like this: We should kill more wolves because wolves are killing so many elk that it’s harder for me to find elk to kill.

[To listen to this post on Wolfdog Radio: http://bit.ly/2z4HTC0]

For days that comment plagued me. There’s no doubt wolves kill elk. They were reintroduced into Yellowstone in 1995 to help reduce the out-of-control elk population. From Yellowstone they spread into Montana. But are wolves killing so many elk that hunters come up empty handed?

Montana’s wildlife agency keeps thorough records on elk hunts and wolf populations, and I dug through both.

Ten years after that 1995 reintroduction, Montana had 256 wolves and hunters took more than 26,000 elk in Montana.

Twenty years after that reintroduction, Montana had 536 wolves and hunters took more than 30,000 elk.

In other words, while Montana’s wolf population doubled, hunters took more—not less—elk.

I don’t doubt that some hunters are having a harder time bringing down elk. And I also don’t doubt that those empty-handed hunters can learn from wolves, the vey animals they want to blame and kill.

Yellowstone has a wolf pack named Molliie’s pack, in honor of Mollie Beattie, the late director of the US Fish and Wildlife Service. She was instrumental in the reintroduction of wolves.

I’ve been lucky enough to watch that pack hunt bison. I saw them sort and sift through a herd, looking and listening and smelling for any sign of a vulnerable animal, a possible meal.

Bison are only part of the Mollie’s diet, which varies by season. In summer and fall elk make up most of the pack’s diet. But once winter arrives and elk become scarce in the pack’s Pelican Valley home, the wolves have two choices.

First, they can switch to eating bison that winter in Pelican Valley. A bison is ten to fifteen times heavier than a wolf and armed with sharp horns and deadly hooves. Bringing down a bison is dangerous and may take days. But the pack hunts smarter and succeeds.

The Mollie’s second option is to leave Pelican Valley and go where the easier-to-hunt elk go. That’s why they travel to the Lamar Valley and hunt elk each winter.

Empty-handed hunters have the same options as the Mollie’s. First, hunters can stay in their preferred elk hunting unit but hunt smarter. Second, they can go where the elk are and join the large number of hunters who take elk even as more wolves roam Montana.

Instead of blaming and killing wolves, elk hunters can learn from them. After all, wolves have survived on their hunting skills far longer than we humans have.

Rick’s new best seller, Deep into Yellowstone: A Year’s Immersion in Grandeur and Controversy, is available signed from Rick at http://bit.ly/2tIEt62, or unsigned on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2tgPU3E. His other best seller, In the Temple of Wolves, is available signed at http://bit.ly/1gYghB4, or unsigned on Amazon at http://amzn.to/Jpea9Q. A signed set of both books is available with FREE shipping at http://bit.ly/2uYTtsU.
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To conclude my 5th annual tribute to 06, the late leader of the Lamar Canyon wolf pack, I'd like to read to you "The Kill." This short chapter from my best selling book In the Temple of Wolves tells the story of how 06 and her pack battled with a strong and smart bull elk. Part of the story is told from the viewpoint of the elk. The reading is enhanced by an original piano score by composer Suzannah Doyle.

Indie author Rick Lamplugh writes to protect wildlife and preserve wildlands. His new book, Deep into Yellowstone: A Year’s Immersion in Grandeur and Controversy, is available signed from Rick at http://bit.ly/2tIEt62, or unsigned on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2tgPU3E. His best seller, In the Temple of Wolves, is available signed at http://bit.ly/1gYghB4, or unsigned on Amazon at http://amzn.to/Jpea9Q.

photo by NPS
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Now an Amazon Best Seller

I’m pleased to announce that my new book, Deep into Yellowstone, has become a best seller on Amazon. And I want to thank you for helping it get there. As an indie author I don’t have the muscle of a publishing house to promote my book. There’s just me and you. Well, we did it! I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that Deep into Yellowstone makes a great gift and is available signed from me at http://bit.ly/2tIEt62, or unsigned on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2tgPU3E. My other best seller, In the Temple of Wolves, is available signed at http://bit.ly/1gYghB4, or unsigned on Amazon at http://amzn.to/Jpea9Q.
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A Tribute to 06, the Late Leader of the Lamar Canyon pack
by Rick Lamplugh, author and wildlife advocate

This is my fifth annual tribute to this smart and strong alpha wolf. I had the pleasure to observe and appreciate 06 (OH-six) during the first winter I lived and volunteered at Yellowstone’s Lamar Buffalo Ranch, in the heart of her territory. Not long after that she was shot in a wolf hunt in Wyoming. That senseless killing of a wolf I respected was one of the reasons I started advocating for wolves. I hope you enjoy the tribute and share it.

To read the tribute: http://bit.ly/2imUEOV

To listen to the tribute: http://bit.ly/2AeK9ZD

Indie author Rick Lamplugh writes to protect wildlife and preserve wildlands. His new book, Deep into Yellowstone: A Year’s Immersion in Grandeur and Controversy, is available signed from Rick at http://bit.ly/2tIEt62, or unsigned on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2tgPU3E. His best seller, In the Temple of Wolves, is available signed at http://bit.ly/1gYghB4, or unsigned on Amazon at http://amzn.to/Jpea9Q.
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HELP PROTECT YELLOWSTONE
A Call to Action by Rick Lamplugh, author and wildlands advocate

We’re down to the wire. I’m asking for five minutes of time in this battle between those who want to mine on Yellowstone’s border and those who want to protect our national treasure. One of Montana’s senators, Jon Tester, has introduced the Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act (YGPA). This bill would permanently prohibit industrial-sized mining on Yellowstone’s border and in nearby Paradise Valley.

The YGPA is supported by 400 businesses in the Yellowstone Gateway Business Coalition, local lawmakers, the county commissioners, and many residents. But the YGPA needs the support of Montana’s entire delegation to pass.

Montana’s other Senator, Steve Daines, does not support the YGPA. He says he’ll only protect Yellowstone from mining in exchange for abolishing protection of 500,000 acres of Montana’s wildest public lands. Instead of doing what thousands of Montanans have asked him to do, he’s holding Yellowstone ransom so he can open up pristine public lands to development.

Greg Gianforte, Montana’s lone representative in the US House says he wants permanent protection against mining, but has not presented a bill in the House.

We can permanently end the threat to Yellowstone and the public lands around it, if Montana’s entire delegation pushes the Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act across the finish line this year.

HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN DO:

Since Yellowstone is a NATIONAL park and the wild lands that Daines wants to open to development are public lands, if you live in the US your opinion matters on this issue. The actions needed are simple and quick.

Step 1: CONTACT SENATOR STEVE DAINES.
You can email (https://www.daines.senate.gov/connect/email-steve) or call his Washington office at 202-224-2651.

Tell him you don’t want to open 500,000 acres of pristine public land to development. Ask him to work with Senator Tester and push the Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act (S.941) through the Senate this year. Tell him the YGPA is a clean bill that permanently protects our public lands, water, local economy and way of life. Tell him if Montana’s delegation stands together, this bill will pass.

Step 2: CONTACT CONGRESSMAN GREG GIANFORTE.
You can email (https://gianforte.house.gov/contact/email) or call his Washington office at 202-225-3211.

Tell him it’s time for action. Ask him to help by introducing identical companion legislation for the Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act in the House of Representatives ASAP. Tell him the YGPA is a simple bill that permanently protects our public lands, water, local economy and way of life. If Montana’s delegation stands together, this bill will pass.

Thank You!

You can learn more about this mining controversy in Rick Lamplugh’s new book, Deep into Yellowstone: A Year’s Immersion in Grandeur and Controversy. The books is available signed from Rick at http://bit.ly/2tIEt62, or unsigned on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2tgPU3E. His best seller, In the Temple of Wolves, is available signed at http://bit.ly/1gYghB4, or unsigned on Amazon at http://amzn.to/Jpea9Q.
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How Wolves and Humans Are Alike
By Rick Lamplugh, author & wildlife advocate

While some people see wolves as vicious killers to be feared, hated, and eradicated, I see wolves as essential predators that we have much in common with. Unfortunately, some of those commonalities lead to conflict. Our similar preferences in habitat create clashes. Wolves can live most everywhere we do: forests, prairies, tundra, mountains, deserts, and swamps. They can even thrive in Europe and Asia, areas crowded with humans.

[I’m pleased to announced that this post can be listened to as an audio commentary on Wolfdog Radio. http://bit.ly/2iB2ad0 ]

Our similar tastes in food create conflict. While wolves and humans both enjoy dining on sheep, cattle, deer, and elk, we would rather kill wolves than share with them.

Wolves and humans are both territorial, but our human need to claim territory causes trouble. We humans string barbed wire and draw lines on maps and kill thousands of wolves in our misguided attempt to protect “our” territory.

But other commonalities—if we acknowledge them—can forge stronger bonds between wolves and humans.

Both species evolved in families, found strength in numbers. Members of any healthy family—human or wolf—assume specific roles. Similar to human parents, alpha wolves makes decisions and control the pack. Other members contribute to the pack’s survival. In their families, wolves play, show affection, feed and discipline their young, and mourn their dead.

Like humans, wolves have different personalities: some are loners; some are lovers; some are leaders. Their postures and facial displays express joy and sadness, aggression and fear, dominance and submission. In humans we call this non-verbal communication.

While animals may experience some emotions that humans can't understand, we can understand many of their feelings, according to evolutionary biologist Marc Bekoff. In his book, The Emotional Lives of Animals, Bekoff writes that observing is the key. He has observed, for example, that wolves "have more varied facial expressions, and that they use these expressions to communicate their emotional states to others. Wolf tails are more expressive, and wolves use more tail positions than do dogs or coyotes to express their emotions."

Bekoff describes how such body language revealed the grief a pack of wolves felt after losing a low-ranking female. The grieving animals lost their spirit and playfulness. They no longer howled as a group. Instead, they sang alone in a slow mournful cry. They held their heads and tails low and walked softly and slowly when they came to the place where a mountain lion had killed their pack mate. I’m struck by how those changes are similar to the changes a human family may experience after losing a loved one.

The similarity between wolves and humans goes even deeper. Both are moral creatures. Several years ago, a group of prominent scientists signed the Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness. The scientists declared that rapidly evolving scientific evidence shows that many animals are conscious and aware in the same way humans are. And that animals act with intention. Consciousness, awareness, and intention are keystones of morality.

When Bekoff and bioethicist Jessica Pierce wrote their book Wild Justice: The Moral Lives of Animals a few years ago, they reported that the “staggering amount of information that we have about animal intelligence and animal emotions” now leads more scientists to say that animals can act with compassion, altruism, forgiveness, trust, and empathy.

I don’t always associate the words compassion and empathy with wolves and coyotes. Sometimes, when I observe these animals in Yellowstone, I see a dog-kill-dog world: an alpha puts an upstart in its place, two packs battle over territory, a coyote dies trying to share in a wolf pack’s feast.

But wolves and coyotes live in tight social groups built on a network of relationships that depends on trust, reciprocity, and flexibility, just as human relationships do. Animals in such groups, say Bekoff and Pierce, live according to a code of conduct that discourages some behaviors and encourages others. And that fosters cooperation and coexistence.

The ability to coexist, in fact, may determine the ultimate size of a wolf pack. For a long time scientists thought that available food regulated pack size. But Bekoff and Pierce point to research by wolf expert David Mech that shows pack size may be regulated by social factors and not just food. Here’s my interpretation of Mech’s findings: pack size is governed by the number of wolves in the pack that can bond versus the number of wolves viewed as competition. When those numbers are out of balance—not enough bonders, too many competitors—packs splinter.

If we believe that animals can act morally, can experience emotions such as joy and grief, then we must make sure that our actions match our beliefs. We must treat these other beings with respect, appreciation, compassion, and love. As Bekoff writes, “There's no doubt whatsoever that, when it comes to what we can and cannot do to other animals, it's their emotions that should inform our actions on their behalf, and we can always do more for them.”

Yes, we can always do more for wolves. And we should do less to them. We are far too similar to wolves to fear and hate and kill them. If we respect ourselves, we should also respect wolves.

You can learn more about wolves and our relationship with them in both my best selling books. My new book, Deep into Yellowstone: A Year’s Immersion in Grandeur and Controversy, is available signed from me at http://bit.ly/2tIEt62, or unsigned on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2tgPU3E. My previous book, In the Temple of Wolves, is available signed at http://bit.ly/1gYghB4, or unsigned on Amazon at http://amzn.to/Jpea9Q.

Photo collage by Rick Lamplugh (photos public domain)
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Yellowstone’s Wapiti Lake Pack
A Photo Essay by Rick Lamplugh, author & wildlife advocate

The Wapiti Lake pack is twenty strong and usually roams Hayden Valley, but recently they travelled north to where they could be observed as they hunted, played, and rested. I was lucky enough to have two days where I could watch this pack of beautiful wolves. I hope you enjoy this photo essay with music, text, and original photos of the Wapitis. Here’s the link: http://bit.ly/2i0HqqM

You can learn more about Yellowstone and our relationship with its wild lands and wildlife in my two Amazon best sellers. My new book, Deep into Yellowstone: A Year’s Immersion in Grandeur and Controversy, is available signed from me at http://bit.ly/2tIEt62, or unsigned on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2tgPU3E. My best seller, In the Temple of Wolves, is available signed at http://bit.ly/1gYghB4, or unsigned on Amazon at http://amzn.to/Jpea9Q.
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A Glimpse of Yellowstone Wolf Country
by Rick Lamplugh, author and wildlife advocate

Mary and I came upon the first set of wolf tracks within minutes of leaving the trailhead. In the shallow snow that frosted the trail, the wolf’s prints looked as fresh as ours. They had not been melted by yesterday’s sun or frozen by last night’s chill. We studied, debated, and eventually agreed that the tracks were from a small wolf ambling in the same direction we were heading—toward Swan Lake Flat, four miles farther along this portion of Yellowstone’s Howard Eaton Trail, near Mammoth Hot Springs.

A wolf! Buoyed by this discovery, we laughed and chattered, placed our hands by the tracks and took pictures. Hoping we would be lucky enough to see this—or any—wolf, we followed the tracks for about a half-mile until we reached a stand of naked aspen, their light trunks a pleasing contrast to dark conifers. Across from the aspen, the wolf’s tracks veered off trail and into a draw…

To read the rest of this story based on a chapter of my new book, Deep into Yellowstone: http://bit.ly/2iPWhW5

Indie author Rick Lamplugh writes to protect wildlife and preserve wildlands. His new book, Deep into Yellowstone: A Year’s Immersion in Grandeur and Controversy, is available signed from Rick at http://bit.ly/2tIEt62, or unsigned on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2tgPU3E. His best seller, In the Temple of Wolves, is available signed at http://bit.ly/1gYghB4, or unsigned on Amazon at http://amzn.to/Jpea9Q.
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Deep into Yellowstone is a new Amazon best seller. My first book about Yellowstone, In the Temple of Wolves, has been an Amazon best seller for 3 years. The books make a great set. For a limited time, you can order a signed set and save $7.90 with FREE SHIPPING. Books with personalized inscriptions make treasured gifts for yourself or other special people. I'll help you make sure the inscriptions are just right. To learn about this special offer: http://bit.ly/2uYTtsU

What others say about my books:

"Eminent naturalist and wildlife advocate Rick Lamplugh draws from a deep personal wellspring of experience and knowledge to take readers into Yellowstone’s wild heart." Cristina Eisenberg, PhD, Chief Scientist, Earthwatch Institute

“Lamplugh is a word artist; Yellowstone is his palette." Julianne Baker, Yellowstone Instructor

"A touch of Bill Bryson’s whimsy, a dose of Edward Abbey’s insight, and the story-telling charm of John McPhee." John Gillespie, Geologist

To order the set today and save $7.90 with FREE SHIPPING: http://bit.ly/2uYTtsU

Rick Lamplugh lives near Yellowstone's north gate and writes to protect wildlife and preserve wildlands. Deep into Yellowstone is available unsigned on Amazon at http://amzn.to/2tgPU3E. In the Temple of Wolves, is available unsigned on Amazon at http://amzn.to/Jpea9Q.
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