July 22. 2014


Governor Otter's program begins: A government trapper in the Sawtooth Valley, specifically in the areas of Hell Roaring Lake, Fischer Creek, and in the surrounding areas east of Stanley, setting Leghold Traps and Snares.
PLEASE BE VERY CAREFUL where you hike, and pay close attention, if you have pets with you. Warning signs are seldom posted. This information was verified 07/18/2014 by the Stanley Ranger Station.
For information on how to release a pet from a trap, go to

Note: This action will result in the painful trapping and death of either three month old puppies or their parents - which will also cause the slow starvation death of the puppies.

June 29. 2014


So. You love Gray wolves?
Many folks do. We call ourselves “Wolves”…those who advocate for the well being and continued recovery of the species driven into extinction in the U.S.A. by the hands of reckless wolf hunters.
We know better now.
We have many effective methods of non lethal predator controls to allow both gray wolves and cattle and sheep to co-exist on the same western U.S.A. landscape.
We are gaining ground with working to build peaceful, diplomatic relationships with ranching business owners whose livelihood is dependent on bringing their livestock to market without great loss due to wolf predation.
Wolves, though, are responsible for less than 2% of livestock loss.
But we pro wolves have to go the extra mile, and work beyond that margin, to ensure that our wild wolf packs are not wildlife service management statistics.
Is it fair?
Does that matter?
You want to save our wolves?
Then suck it up, and deal with injustice.
The U.S.A. government has a rather interesting stance concerning the recovery of our gray wolves. I don’t agree with them, but I know that I have to work WITH them.

Which brings us to this baloney protest planned for July 1st in Boise, Idaho.
These are the names these folks go by.
WWAG ~ Wolf and Wildlife Action Group
Peter Souza
Clarrisa Damron
Katsumi Watanabe

Here is what they did they last time they gathered in Boise, Idaho:

Now, it appears that Mr.Souza is vocally in opposition to Defenders of Wildlife, who has been the forerunner in developing non lethal predator control methods, in order to bring about an end to the ranching/livestock/wolf conflicts.

Ya got some stones there, Souza, will say that much.
But, it appears though, that you do not have a better plan to save wolves.

Radical “Wolves”, like those in WWAG, who wish to scream about direct action being the only solution for saving wolves, and dismiss or denigrate the peaceful and productive efforts of wolf advocates such as Defenders of Wildlife, or their supporters, should be ashamed. 

Best we can do at this point is to continue to promote rational solutions to wolf conflict, and to call out the irrational wolf advocates, and distance ourselves from them.

Wish they would buy a clue.

That might actually save our wolves in the wild, not doom them, because of irrational wolf activism. 


If you want to do something SANE for wolves, please sign and share this. Thank you.




Nearly 20 years ago, I served on the team that carefully captured and released the first wolves in Idaho and Yellowstone National Park. Though this reintroduction effort was heralded internationally as a significant American achievement in the recovery of endangered species, we’re in a far different place today, and especially in Idaho.

The state has been working to undermine this conservation success story by proclaiming its intentions to kill most of its 659 wolves. Starting in 2011, when the federal government granted Idaho authority over wolves, breeding pairs began declining and are now down by 50 percent. Overall, since 2011, the state’s aggressive tactics have led to the deaths of 1,000 wolves.

Wolves, it turns out, are surprisingly easy to kill, though that should not come as a surprise. For decades, stockmen, bounty hunters and government trappers killed thousands of wolves using traps and poison. Today, wolves are chased down and killed from government helicopters by shooters using high-tech weapons, GPS and radio telemetry devices, and infrared scopes.

Since last December, Idaho state officials have authorized concealed aerial-gunning programs, paid contractors to attempt to kill entire wolf packs in designated wilderness areas, allowed competitive wolf-killing derbies to take place and liberalized hunting and trapping regulations. The state’s goal is to kill as many wolves as possible as fast as possible. As Brad Corkill, a commissioner for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, said, “If every wolf in Idaho disappeared, I wouldn’t have a problem with it.”

And state officials are just getting started. Idaho Gov. “Butch” Otter’s recently established “Wolf Control Fund and State Board” is charged with killing hundreds more wolves, with funding coming from state taxpayers. Recently, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game adopted a new predation management plan that calls for killing up to 60 percent of the wolves living in the heart of the federally protected Frank Church Wilderness. This is the largest forested wilderness in the continental United States, named in honor of one of Idaho’s greatest political leaders, the late U.S. Sen. Frank Church. Wilderness is defined as a special place set aside for wildlife, and visitors are expected to leave no trace. Now, Idaho is going to fill this wild place with traps and snares to kill wolves in hopes of increasing the number of elk for the few hunters who go there.

What is truly destructive is that state officials seem bent on perpetuating a culture of fear and loathing toward wolves. They repeat gruesome tales from mythology and fail to tell the true, full story about successful ranching in the presence of wolves, or the many reasons why the elk population has declined. And counter to the media hype over wolf attacks, livestock losses to wolves have always ranked among the lowest causes of livestock loss in the West.

I know that not everyone in Idaho hates wolves. I grew up in Idaho, and I’ve found that most Idahoans don’t know many of the facts behind the wolf conflict. I also don’t believe that rural residents are fooled by the propaganda from campaigners against the wolf.

In central Idaho’s Sawtooth National Forest -- a sheep superhighway that is also wolf territory -- Blaine County ranchers, county, state and federal agencies, and local wolf advocates have been working together to resolve conflicts using non-lethal wolf management and livestock husbandry methods. These methods include deterrents like livestock guard dogs and electric fencing that dramatically reduce or eliminate livestock losses while also building social acceptance for wolves. The solid results are undeniable.

For the last six years, more than 100,000 sheep and lambs have grazed across this area amid wolf packs. Yet fewer than 30 sheep have been killed in the project area during that time, and no wolves have been killed by government agencies in the project area.

Nonlethal control methods are cheaper than killing wolves, and Blaine County has the lowest rate of livestock losses in the state. Why doesn’t the state of Idaho and Idaho USDA Wildlife Services save us all some money and goodwill and make peace with wolves when such reasonable alternatives are available?

After being persecuted for centuries, wolves deserve a better future in this country -- and in Idaho in particular. We need to demand that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service initiate a status review of wolves in the region and examine how wolves have fared since being stripped of Endangered Species Act protection. Wolves in Idaho need our support to stay alive.

Suzanne Stone is a contributor to Writers on the Range, a service of High Country News ( She is Northern Rockies representative for Defenders of Wildlife in Boise, Idaho.


June 4. 2014
Reposted from The Timber Wolf Information Network

“The biggest resource mistake Idaho has ever made was the reintroduction of wolves,” McDermott said. “Idaho didn’t want wolves, but we didn’t have a choice. We got them stuffed down our throats by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and that was not a very good decision.”

Posted on June 4, 2014 by TWIN Observer
by Erik Fink/Staff writer
The Silver Valley Sportsmen’s Association met Saturday morning for its annual Sportsmen’s Breakfast to discuss wolf harvesting in the Idaho Panhandle area.

Brad Corkill, Panhandle Commissioner for Fish and Game, started the conversation with an update of dates for the opening of trapping season. He said trapping season will run from Oct. 10 to March 15. He emphasized the need to regulate grey wolf populations to ensure elk populations stay healthy.

“It’s a good move,” Corkill said. “I was assured by several trappers that if the season was opened earlier, they would go in there and attempt to take some wolves out.”

Corkill wanted to make sure people know that he wants the elk herd in the area to keep its numbers high. He said he will do everything he can as commissioner to handle the wolf problem.

He also addressed the misconception that the elk population is fine because they are frequently seen by locals. Many times he said this is because the wolf population is forcing elk out of the forests and into the towns.

Tony McDermott, Director of Fundraising and Promotion of the Foundation for Wildlife Management, spoke further on the subject, saying he remembers hearing Corkill saying that he would be fine if every wolf in Idaho was gone.
McDermott said he appreciates the sentiment.

“The biggest resource mistake Idaho has ever made was the reintroduction of wolves,” McDermott said. “Idaho didn’t want wolves, but we didn’t have a choice. We got them stuffed down our throats by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and that was not a very good decision.”

McDermott said in the past there has been little incentive to get into trapping wolves because the reward for their pelts is considerably less than the resources required to catch them. He said eventually the foundation just started paying people to go out and trap so the work would get done. This strategy has proven successful, yielding a significant increase in wolf trappings, McDermott said.

Jack Hammock, member of the board for the Foundation for Wildlife Management, ended the discussion with a presentation of maps showing wolf population in the area. He said the panhandle area has harvested 42 males and 51 females, numbers considerably larger than anywhere else in the state. This is mainly due to the foundation reimbursing trappers more per wolf, Hammock said.



So, you love wolves and you hate Idaho?
I don't want to hear about it.
May 9. 2014

I hope this is the very last post I feel compelled to write about Idaho wolf policies and how some pro wolf advocates feel a need to respond with vitriolic, reactionary messages concerning the news that is posted about IDFG, Governor Butch Otter, and the Wolf Control Board.

I get it Wolves, none of us are happy with how many wolves are dying in Idaho. 

Instead of telling me what you think of Idaho wolf hunters or politicians setting harmful wolf control policies , how about taking constructive action? 

If we want to help end the illogical wolf slaughter in Idaho, get behind Defenders of Wildlife, and sign the petition to USFWS to review Idaho wolf status. 

How about remembering that we have quite a few pro wolves in Idaho that could use our support, instead of suggesting that we cause more harm to their state's standing right now, either by boycott, or hints of harm and vilification to anyone anti-wolf living in Idaho. 

The hateful speech? Knock it off. 

"Hating Idaho" is a ridiculous approach to pro wolf activism.

Photo courtesy


Frankly, I don't have the one correct answer. But I do know what I vehemently oppose, and that is a statewide boycott of Idaho. At one time it sounded like boycotting Idaho tourism wouldn't hurt, right? 

There are so many innocent people who are affected by boycotts. Some of these folks in Idaho are incredibly intelligent pro wolf, pro wildlife advocates that are the ones responsible for bringing us updates on the situation for wolves in Idaho. 
They write for The Wildlife News :

Our pro wolf friends, Jim and Jamie Dutcher, who have done an amazing job of bringing the reality of wolves into mainstream awareness, through Living With Wolves, would also be affected by a statewide boycott of Idaho.

I refuse to back a boycott of the state of Idaho, thinking that it will stop the Gray Wolf bloodshed. It more than likely will not achieve that goal, but what it will do is serve to vilify the entire state of Idaho, including these brilliant wildlife advocates. 

That's not the goal.

If we want to help end the illogical wolf slaughter in Idaho, get behind Defenders of Wildlife, and sign the petition to USFWS to review Idaho wolf status.

This is one of the reasons why Defenders has now requested that Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell initiate an immediate status review
 of gray wolves in the Northern Rockies as a first step to determine whether the species should be relisted under the Endangered Species Act in that region.


Reposted from Timber Wolf Information:



Posted on May 2, 2014 by TWIN Observer
By John O’Connell
Capital Press

LAVA HOT SPRINGS, Idaho — The chairman of Idaho’s House Agricultural Affairs Committee is promoting construction of a durable, chain-link fence around all of Yellowstone National Park to prevent wolf depredation of livestock in surrounding states.

Rep. Ken Andrus, R-Lava Hot Springs, said he needs to research the cost and logistics before committing to legislative action, such as backing an advisory vote expressing Idaho’s sentiments to the federal government that a fence should be built.

Andrus first suggested the fence tongue-in-cheek while debating a bill authorizing state funding for lethal wolf control.
Since then, Andrus said, “The more I think about it, the more I think we ought to look at the feasibility.”

Andrus, a sheep and cattle rancher, believes relocating wolves and isolating them to the park would also facilitate research into how wolves impact big game and other wildlife. He acknowledges it would be costly to build and maintain such an expansive fence — and to fortify its base to prevent wolves from digging beneath it. But he suspects eastern wolf lovers would gladly finance the effort with their donations.

Andrus admits few others have embraced his idea thus far.

Ralph Maughan, vice president of Hailey-based Western Watersheds Project and founder of the online newspaper Wildlife News, disagrees that wolf advocates would contribute toward a fence. Along much of the park’s border, he emphasized a fence would pass through wilderness and require an act of Congress to approve.

“You can imagine a fence would just break up a splendid amount of wild country,” said Maughan, who suspects wolf-caused livestock mortality is overestimated, anyway.

Yellowstone National Park spokesman Al Nash said the park’s perimeter is roughly 63 miles north to south and 54 miles east to west, covering 2.2 million acres — more than a couple of eastern states combined. Nonetheless, he’s heard citizens advocate during many public meetings to fence at least portions of the park to stop bison from spreading brucellosis to adjacent cattle herds.

Nash said the park’s wolf population has stabilized at around 100 animals, and a fence would also disrupt migrations of other wildlife species.

“Our approach to managing wildlife is to allow nature to work with as limited human impact as reasonably possible,” Nash said.

Wyatt Prescott, executive vice president of Idaho Cattle Association, declined to comment about the fence issue but said his organization is optimistic about $600,000 in combined funding recently provided by the state, the livestock industry and sportsmen for lethal control of wolves.

Sen. Bert Brackett, R-Twin Falls, considers the fence proposal to be unrealistic.
“It will never happen. Let’s be honest,” said Brackett, who is also a rancher.

Brackett would rather have Idaho pursue wolf predator zones, as Wyoming has done, where wolves could be hunted with little restriction, as with other common predators.
“Keep wolves inside of their zone and you can tolerate it,” Brackett said.

If his fence idea fails to catch on, Andrus said he would support wolf predator zones, payments of wolf bounties to hunters, a continuous wolf hunting season and continued funding for lethal control efforts.


April 29. 2014
Reposted from Defenders of Wildlife Blog


Posted by: Jamie Rappaport Clark        

What’s wrong with Idaho? The state demanded from the federal government the opportunity to manage wolves within their borders and they are now completely blowing it. Instead of continued recovery, what we’re seeing is no less than a war on wolves.

Make no mistake: its Idaho’s elected officials who are leading the charge against wolves. By implementing ever escalating wolf killing programs and ramping up the anti-wolf rhetoric to new heights, they are being successful in creating a destructive culture of wolf hatred and fear in the state based on myth and hype.

Killer Bee plane, © Lynne Stone
Wildlife Services agents fly the “killer bee” airplane over Flat Top ranch looking for coyotes and wolves to kill in response to sheep losses.

A prime example is Governor Otter’s recently established “wolf control board” to implement widespread wolf killing throughout the state. Apparently the zeal with which the Idaho Department of Fish and Game was killing wolves was not near good enough for the Governor, so he and the state legislature created an independent entity whose sole focus is the killing of wolves.  This sounds like a predator “management” strategy from the 1800’s, not the 21st century. The five-member control board is charged with killing hundreds of Idaho’s wolves, driving Idaho’s current estimated wolf population of 659 down to as low as 150 animals. If any other wildlife population dropped as low as Idaho is planning to drop its wolf population, it would be a prime candidate for federal protection under the Endangered Species Act. With this latest move, Governor Otter is showing that he will stop at nothing to bring the wolf population down as low as possible in his state.

But Governor Otter’s wolf control board is just one arrow in the state’s quiver of wolf killing programs. Since December, Idaho state officials have authorized concealed aerial gunning programs, paid contractors to attempt to kill entire wolf packs in designated wilderness areas, allowed competitive wolf killing derbies to take place and liberalized  hunting and trapping regulations to kill as many wolves as possible as fast as they can. According to Idaho Department of Fish and Game’s annual population count released last week, a total of 473 wolves were killed by people in 2013, resulting in a 9 percent decline in the population. Since wolves were delisted in 2009 by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Idaho has seen a 23 percent decline in its wolf population, and the reported number of successful breeding pairs in Idaho has declined by 59 percent.

Gibbon wolf pack, © NPS
Gibbon pack in Yellowstone.

Idaho is just getting started. The full effect of their new wolf-killing policies — like Governor Otter’s wolf control board or Idaho Department of Fish and Game’s new predation management plan – which calls for killing up to 60 percent of the wolves living in the heart of the federally designated Frank Church Wilderness area – have yet to be felt. With these aggressive tactics in place, Idaho state officials are openly predicting a dramatic decline in Idaho’s wolf population.

This is one of the reasons why Defenders has now requested that Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell initiate an immediate status review  of gray wolves in the Northern Rockies as a first step to determine whether the species should be relisted under the Endangered Species Act in that region.

Idaho’s continued acceleration of wolf killing as a management strategy is institutionalizing a culture of wolf hatred and irresponsible wildlife management.  And it clearly raises serious concerns about the state’s ability to sustainably manage the species amidst such a climate of hostility. Acts that normally would fall well outside the bounds of fair chase and responsible  hunting ethics are now being touted  as justified and routine.  First, it was county employees who began taking matters into their own hands. A sheriff and his staff created the “shoot, shovel and shut up”!/photo.php?fbid=206905805992824&set=a.206905799326158.60674.178393728844032&type=1&theater raffle publicly condoning vigilante killing of wolves at a time when they were still protected under federal law. Next, a Forest Service employee posted pictures of himself  posed in front of a leg hold trapped and injured wolf in a circle of snow soaked in blood before he killed it. After these acts were met with resounding silence from state and federal wildlife managers, the floodgates opened. It is truly unfortunate to now see the  number of social media sites promoting brutal wolf killing, for example: 

Kill the Wolves 
Kill all the wolves (every last worthless vermin wolf!)

And this vigilante attitude is spreading across wolf country. In Wyoming, wolf extremists are posting pictures of themselves in white hoods with dead wolves, earning them shockingly favorable comparisons to the KKK. Another strapped a dead wolf carcass to the top of his car and parked it in a local town square, then called the press, to attract more attention.

We must combat the notion that what Idaho is resorting to is traditional or responsible “wildlife management” before other states follow their lead. Washington, Oregon and hopefully, California have an important opportunity to manage wolves in a more principled, ethical and sustainable manner. These states should continue to focus on wolf management solutions that promote proven methods for people and predators to coexist, instead of archaic strategies that focus exclusively on killing as many wolves as possible.

Wood River team, © Defenders of Wildlife
Last year’s Wood River field crew.

Thankfully, there are programs in place that do just this, even in Idaho. For example, working with ranchers and local officials in Idaho’s Blaine County, Defenders has pioneered practical solutions to reduce livestock losses to wolves and other predators. Using non-lethal deterrents like fladry, range riders and electric fencing, we have developed programs that dramatically reduce or eliminate livestock losses and build social acceptance for wolves. We have proven that non-lethal wolf management strategies work better over the long term in reducing wolf/livestock conflicts than simply killing wolves.

Idaho is demonstrating to us all  that in the end, they are not capable of or interested in managing wolves responsibly. It would be an enormous tragedy if we saw this type of behavior move beyond Idaho to other states if this war on wolves is allowed to persist. It doesn’t speak well of us at all if this is how we want to be seen as stewards of our natural resources legacy.

After being persecuted for centuries, wolves deserve a better future in this country, and in Idaho in particular.

By Jamie Rappaport Clark, President and CEO of Defenders of Wildlife

This blog post was originally published in the Huffington Post.

Toby April 29th, 2014
Idaho you are disgusting…use your common sense and look at history

Luca April 29th, 2014
Wolfs are nature… Se have to preserve them and nature. It s fondamentale for US about the world. We must save the nature the wild animals the enviroment totally. We have no other way.

Valeria April 29th, 2014
Every link that is taken out or “controlled” by us leads to disaster in the food chain. How simple that is!

Natalie Kruse April 29th, 2014
The reason they are doing this is because the wolf symbolizes everything they hate. For centuries, the politicians have been able to get a small faction of very right-wing extremists to be on their side. I’ll bet if you took a vote, and every person in the state of Idaho had a chance to say if they wanted wolves to thrive or not, the majority would say “yes”. And in defense of Idahoans, a lot of the extremists are moving here from other states. They heard that Idaho is very liberal when it comes to allowing people to do what they want to. Idaho is a state that is known for being ‘lax’ when it comes to infringing on individual’s rights to do as they choose. So, we get weirdos and extremists from all over moving to Idaho. Governor Otter is a right-wing extremist who happens, unfortunately, to be our governor. We need to vote him out. He does not represent the majority of Idahoan’s.

Mary Morris April 29th, 2014
Idaho is a great state, it’s the polititions that are ruling a beautiful state.

Kathy King April 29th, 2014
Are you characters in Idaho insane? I don’t understand your logic here in destroying this beautiful creature. Load them up and ship them to Georgia if you don’t want them. We aren’t such cruel human beings here!!! You should be trying to protect not destroy Nature’s beauty. SHAME ON YOU !!!

Denise Aldrete April 29th, 2014
Yes Governor Butch is an all around animal hater of all kinds.When Mercy for Animals caught workers at Bettencourt dairy commiting bestiality(sexual abuse) on dairy cows as well as torturing and maiming them on video he passed a law that gives a huge fine and prison time to anyone caught documenting this abuse.What is he hiding?Also in 2007 when he was elected he proclaimed that he wanted to shoot thee first Idaho wolf after federal protection stopped.Yes he is very comfortable living at 1009 S. Star Rd. in Star Idaho 83669 and as well at 364 N. Pine Meadows Cir. in Mountain Home Idaho 83647 and will probably welcome any letters that one would be so inclined to write in regard to his wolf killing frenzy.

Ina April 29th, 2014
I fully agree with this article. What Idaho, and now other states, are allowing is frightening, inexcusable. Is this what will happen with continued, condoned ignorance and an old-world attitude that the Earth and its life is here for humans to use up and destroy? If so, we are all doomed.



The state's political leadership is determined to oppose anything, even a native species, with the taint of the federal government on it.

Grey Wolves (Photo: Reuters)
Reposted from Take Part 

April 26, 2014 By Richard Conniff

Richard Conniff is the author of 'The Species Seekers: Heroes, Fools, and the Mad Pursuit of Life on Earth' and other books.
Follow on Twitter @RichardConniff

Something is loose in Idaho. Possibly a screw. The state’s ranchers and politicians, including the governor and the commissioner of Idaho Fish and Game, have somehow convinced themselves that they are at the mercy of roaming bands of savage sheep- and baby-snatching monsters, also known as wolves. 

This notion has made Idaho anti-wolf activists so fearful and belligerent that they sound at times like New Jersey suburbanites in a gated community fretting about urban youth. Only more deadly.

Last month, Gov. C. L. “Butch” Otter signed a law 
creating a wolf control board with the explicit purpose of killing all but 150 of the state’s remaining 650 wolves. State officials would have preferred total extermination: “If every wolf in Idaho disappeared I wouldn’t have a problem with it,” the new fish and game commissioner declared at his confirmation hearing in January. 
But when the federal government, which reintroduced wolves to Idaho in 1995, agreed to turn over management of the wolf population to the state, it stipulated 150 as the rock-bottom number of wolves the state needed to maintain. Idaho has apparently chosen to honor the letter rather than the spirit of that agreement. One anti-wolf group spokesman has even proposed radio-collaring 150 wolves to ensure that the state does not fall below that minimum and “trigger the feds coming back in.” 

The newly authorized slaughter follows the killing of more than 1,000 wolves in Idaho since 2009, when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service first removed wolves from the endangered species list. This February alone, Idaho Fish and Game, together with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services, used helicopters to gun down 23 wolves. 
In December, it sent a hired gun to kill nine wolves in the federally protected Frank Church–River of No Return Wilderness Area. (The U.S. Forest Service, never a profile in political courage, pretended not to notice what was going on in an area Congress directed it to keep “untrammeled by man.”) Also that month, in the nearby town of Salmon, an Idaho hunting and gun rights group sponsored a wolf-killing derby.  

“I’ve been doing wildlife work for a long time, and I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Jamie Rappoport Clark, a former director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and now president of Defenders of Wildlife. “There is a vendetta against wolves that is not only unseemly, it’s reckless” and “bordering on a vigilante movement.” Instead of seeking to moderate it, political officials have been egging it on. “This is politics gone rogue, and in the gun sights are wolves, who don’t deserve it,” she said.

In one remarkable example of institutionalized lawlessness, Idaho County Sheriff Doug Giddings in 2011 sponsored what he called the “308 SSS Idaho County Sheriff's Wolf Raffle.” He claimed that the abbreviation SSS stood for “safety, security, and survival.” 
But in rancher parlance, “SSS” means “shoot, shovel, and shut up”—that is, kill the wolves, bury the evidence, and never mind what the law says. To drive home the point, Giddings posed with a Winchester .308, a shovel, and a smile.  

Since then, much of Idaho seems to have turned to shooting, shoveling, and shouting about it. The decision to abet this process with $400,000 a year in taxpayer funds comes in response to confirmed killings by Idaho wolves of 46 cattle and 413 sheep in 2013. Even taking top market rates of $900 for cattle and $150 for sheep, that adds up to just $103,350 in losses, for which the federal government now provides compensation funding. In the 25 years from 1987 to 2011, compensation paid to ranchers in Idaho for wolf losses totaled $1.4 million—less than the state now plans to spend in the first four years of its new killing program. So much for fiscal responsibility for Idaho Republicans like Otter.

The vendetta against wolves is particularly odd because wolves are vastly outnumbered in Idaho by other predators, including 30 grizzly bears, 3,000 mountain lions, 2,000 black bears, and 50,000 coyotes. The coyotes alone kill up to 10,000 sheep annually, said Suzanne Stone, a Boise resident and the wolf specialist at Defenders of Wildlife. That’s up to two dozen times as many as wolves kill. While ranchers with their .308s certainly fight back, their animosity toward these other predators doesn’t come anywhere close to the irrational hatred and spite they feel toward wolves. The policy also ignores what science is learning about the outsize role wolves play in maintaining healthy ecosystems.

Instead of exterminating wolves 
or paying compensation, Stone argued that it would be far cheaper to prevent killings in the first place. At the Wood River Valley Project, on 1,000 square miles of federal land in the Sawtooth Mountains, sheep grazers, government agencies, and Defenders of Wildlife collaborate to keep wolves away from livestock with nonlethal methods, including guarding dogs, sound devices, lighting, and flagging. One participant, Lava Lake Land and Livestock, boasts of “grazing a band of 1,000 sheep for a month in the immediate daily presence of a wolf pack with no losses of sheep or wolves.” Over six years, according to Stone, the program has lost just 30 sheep—about 1 percent of herds grazing there—without killing a single wolf.

Why not invest in that success? Or why not make wolves the basis for new jobs in the tourism economy, as has happened at Yellowstone National Park? Idaho’s political leadership, caught up in fairy-tale notions about wolves and a fanatic determination to oppose anything, even a native species, with the taint of the federal government on it, seems determined instead to drive this magnificent state down in a self-destructive cycle of hatred and killing.  

For Idaho’s many wildlife-friendly residents, this may bring ruefully to mind a recent remark by comedian Stephen Colbert: “Idaho has just raised its speed limit to 80 miles an hour. Now you can get out of there even faster.” Instead, state residents should sign a Defenders of Wildlife petition demanding that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service begin an immediate status review of Idaho’s wolves. (So far, the nation’s premier wildlife management agency has been timidly looking in almost any other direction.) Then state residents should get to work electing a government that enacts policies that accurately reflect their conservatism.

Op-Ed: Why Uncle Sam Must Not Kick Gray Wolves Off the Endangered Species List

When wolves were given federal protection in 1974, there was no mention of bringing them back in just a handful of states and then walking away.

Photo: Courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

November 06, 2013 By Mitch Merry
Mitch Merry is the Online Organizer for the Endangered Species Coalition.
Follow on Twitter @endangered

If your employer asked you to complete a very important 50-part project and you came back to her with six parts achieved, would you call that a success?

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service seemingly would, as they are attempting to declare virtually all of the nation’s gray wolves recovered and strip them of Endangered Species Act protections. When wolves were placed on the Endangered Species List in 1974, there was no mention of bringing them back in just a handful of states and then walking away.

Still, that’s just what the FWS is purporting to do. The agency is currently accepting public comments through December 17 on a proposed rule that would remove existing Endangered Species Act protections from virtually all gray wolves in the lower 48 states.

Wolves once roamed much of the continental U.S., but in the late nineteenth century they were driven from their native habitats by westward expansion. Ranchers and the governments that supported them employed sometimes-barbaric methods to kill wolves to free up space for grazing livestock.

As the decades passed, naturalists and conservationists began to see the effects that the removal of keystone species has on landscapes. Ungulate herds became less healthy and vegetation was over-grazed. Even streams in areas once occupied by wolves felt the impact of their disappearance. Where there were once trees giving these waters shade, clearings emerged causing water temperatures to rise.

In the 1990’s an effort was finally made to begin to correct the damage our forefathers had unknowingly done when wolves were reintroduced to the Northern Rockies. This was the beginning of one of our nation’s proudest conservation success stories. This amazing story of nature’s ability to right itself if we let it is at real risk of failure if this proposal to abandon wolves becomes a reality.

Wolves are desperately trying to expand, with one recently wandering south from Minnesota, through Iowa, eventually finding his way into Missouri. Once there, he found himself in the sights of a hunter who claims he thought he’d stumbled on a very large coyote and shot him dead. 
A similar story played out not long after in Kentucky.

or “Journey” by his ardent fan base, was fitted with a radio collar after being born into an Oregon wolf pack. He traveled across the state, into California, and back. His epic trek made him the first wolf in the state of California in nearly a century. But without Endangered Species Act protections, Journey could have been shot, trapped, or even clubbed to death without any legal recourse.

Expansion of wolves depends completely on their ability to have safe passage into new habitats. Removing the very protections that allowed wolves in Yellowstone and the Western Great Lakes to recover would nearly guarantee that wolves never get a foothold in the rest of the nation.

Alarmingly, that may be what the FWS would prefer. The Service’s proposal is clearly not being driven by science—scores of experts in carnivorous species have spoken out opposing this rule. Several were even barred from participation on a federally-mandated peer review for having voiced their concern. 
The FWS later reversed course and is now reviewing its own review process, but the underlying reality remains—the science does not support walking away from wolves.

Sally Jewel, the current Secretary of the Department of the Interior, the department that houses FWS, has spoken frequently of her desire to see children enjoying our country’s wilderness areas. It’s in these areas, though, that the continued absence of keystone species like wolves is being felt the most. If Secretary Jewell truly wishes to see healthy landscapes for future generations, she will listen to the rising chorus of scientists and hundreds of thousands of wildlife advocates that have urged that she and FWS leave existing Endangered Species Act protections in place.

In short, the FWS needs to finish the job before declaring “mission accomplished” and moving on.



After you read the articles , please sign and share this petition, so we can help Defenders of Wildlife to help Idaho's Gray Wolves. Thank you!

April 23. 2014

“It’s real easy for people to blow a gasket about wolf predation. They are very passionate about it, they are very irate about it and they are livid about it,” Fischer said. “Yet there is a two-legged wolf out there that is probably killing as many or more than wolves. Wolves are causing an impact, there is no doubt about it; I don’t want to downplay that at all, but two-legged wolves are probably killing more or stealing more game than wolves. That is the shock-and-awe message.”

Posted on April 23, 2014 by TWIN Observer
By Eric Barker/Lewiston Tribune

Nobody knows just how many animals are killed by poachers, but game wardens say the number is likely shocking.

That’s because they know they only learn about a small percentage of illegal kills.

“Game wardens forever have often wondered how many animals are being taken unlawfully. It’s a question we want to answer,” said Mark Hill, a senior conservation officer for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game at Lewiston. “We know the amount we detect, the raw amount, but we don’t know what our violation detection rate is.”

For illustrative purposes, he and his colleagues Barry Cummings, who patrols the Moscow area, and George Fischer, who works in the Grangeville area, placed their detection rate at 10 percent, a number they say would be fantastic.

“Ten percent is impossible,” Hill said while Cummings and Fischer guffawed. “There is no way it’s 10 percent.”

Last year, they know of 30 elk, four moose, 13 mule deer and 57 whitetail deer that were poached in one fashion or another in the Clearwater Region. If those cases represent 10 percent of all big game violations, it would mean about 300 elk, 40 moose, 130 mule deer and 570 whitetail deer were taken unlawfully.

The officers want people to think about those numbers and to be as outraged as many hunters are about the effect wolves and other predators have on big game populations.

“It’s real easy for people to blow a gasket about wolf predation. They are very passionate about it, they are very irate about it and they are livid about it,” Fischer said. “Yet there is a two-legged wolf out there that is probably killing as many or more than wolves. Wolves are causing an impact, there is no doubt about it; I don’t want to downplay that at all, but two-legged wolves are probably killing more or stealing more game than wolves. That is the shock-and-awe message.”

If their detection rate is 5 percent, something they say is much more realistic, then the numbers rise to 600 elk, 80 moose, 260 mule deer and more than 1,000 whitetail. If those numbers were attributed to predators, Cummings said, people would take action.

“Holy buckets, we would be setting budgets aside. We would develop a group to figure out what it was and we would develop a plan to deal with it, but we won’t even talk about what impact this has on wildlife,” Cummings said. “Why not?”

The reason, they say, is too many people don’t look at wildlife crimes as a crime against them. For example, Cummings said there is a $10,000 civil penalty in Idaho for poaching a moose, and a $750 fine for illegally killing an elk. He often makes that point to hunter education classes he speaks to. He asks the students if they would call the police if someone stole $750 from them or from a friend or neighbor. The answer is an overwhelming yes.

“So why wouldn’t you be that upset if somebody took an elk unlawfully, because essentially they stole $750 from the sportsmen of Idaho, including the opportunity to harvest that animal.”

Poaching means different things to different people. Some see it as the criminals who shoot game and leave it to waste, or greedily take any animal they see. Hill said his definition is simple: anyone who violates hunting rules to take an animal. It includes things like trespassing, shooting from a road, hunting over salt and party hunting, — where hunters combine efforts and allow hunting partners to shoot animals for them or to use their tags.

Too often, Hill said, people are not willing to report those sorts of crimes.

“I don’t know if it’s because they almost look at themselves in the mirror and say, ‘If I turn in so and so, I’m going to be reflecting on some of the things I do and they will turn me in.’ ”

There have been a limited number of studies trying to determine the poaching detection rate. More than 40 years ago, a University of Idaho graduate student replicated poaching by placing road kill deer in highly visible fields near roads and then shot a gun to see how many people would report it. He got responses less than 2 percent of the time.

A study by Anthony Novack of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife used anonymous surveys to ask hunters if they had broken hunting laws. The study isn’t finished and is expected to be published later this year, but intial findings indicate about 12 percent of people admitted to driving on closed roads while deer or elk hunting. About 9 percent admitted they trespassed while hunting, and 7 percent said they had allowed someone else to use their tag, tagged a deer or elk killed by somebody else or failed to tag a deer or elk.

Novack said figuring out how many people cheat is a difficult task.

“It’s that moral question, the true test is what you do when nobody is looking and when you are out hunting there is hardly anybody looking,” he said.

Hill pointed to an Oregon study on mule deer mortality. Officials at the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife placed radio collars on 500 mule deer and followed them between 2005 and 2010. When one died, they tried to get to it as quickly as possible to determine the cause of death. They found of those shot, 19 were killed illegally and 21 were killed legally. Hill said the study only measured illegal kills as those that were out of season or the wrong gender for an open season. It didn’t cover things like party hunting, trespassing or hunting over bait.

The officers hope that more people will speak up when they see or learn of a hunting violation.

“What we need to do is get more people to make the call and report violators that they know of and more people need to say enough is enough,” he said. “Those activities that have been going on for decades— road hunting, party hunting, trespassing — they should not be tolerated.”

This entry was posted in Northwest US, Wolves in the News by TWIN Observer. Bookmark the permalink.

April 18. 2014


LEWISTON, Idaho (AP) — Poachers are likely killing far more game animals than wolves are, state wildlife officials in northern Idaho say.

Officials tell the Lewiston Tribune in a story on Friday that last year in northern Idaho they confirmed poaching of 30 elk, four moose, 13 mule deer and 57 whitetail deer.

Officials say a realistic detection rate is 5 percent, meaning poachers are likely killing about 600 elk, 80 moose, 260 mule deer and 1,000 whitetail annually.

"It's real easy for people to blow a gasket about wolf predation," said Idaho Fish and Game District Conservation Officer George Fischer. "They are very passionate about it, they are very irate about it and they are livid about it. Yet there is a two-legged wolf out there that is probably killing as many or more than wolves. Wolves are causing an impact, there is no doubt about it; I don't want to downplay that at all, but two-legged wolves are probably killing more or stealing more game than wolves. That is the shock-and-awe message."

Barry Cummings, also an Idaho Fish and Game conservation officer, said many people don't report wildlife crimes because they don't consider it a crime against them. The fine in Idaho for illegally killing an elk is $750, while the fine for illegally killing a moose is $10,000.

But he said if predators were killing as many game animals as poachers, people would take action.

"Holy buckets, we would be setting budgets aside," Cummings said. "We would develop a group to figure out what it was and we would develop a plan to deal with it, but we won't even talk about what impact this has on wildlife."

Mark Hill, a senior conservation officer for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game at Lewiston, said it's not completely clear why people who are aware of poaching don't turn lawbreakers in.

"I don't know if it's because they almost look at themselves in the mirror and say, 'If I turn in so and so, I'm going to be reflecting on some of the things I do and they will turn me in,'" Hill said.

After you read the news about Idaho Congressman Simpson, it will be clear as to why we need for you to please sign and share this petition from Defenders of Wildlife.

Posted: Friday, April 11, 2014 2:02 pm

Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson talked sage-grouse and wolves this week during hearings on the budget request for the Department of Interior. During the hearing, Simpson, a member of the House Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee, responded harshly to criticisms by Democrats of the decision to remove wolves from the endangered species list and Idaho’s management of wolf populations.

“You have got to remember that these wolves were reintroduced as a nonessential, experimental population. Idaho, Montana and Wyoming have complied with the requirements when they were reintroduced and it has now gone over to state management,” Simpson said. “Anyone that believed that we were actually going to reintroduce wolves into this environment and they weren’t going to explode in numbers and that we weren’t going it have to manage them like we do other species, was living in a fantasy world.”

To stress the impact wolves have on ranchers and families in Idaho Simpson told the Committee, “I’ll bring you a picture … and it’s of the 200 sheep that were killed,

the five dogs and the horse that were killed in one night, by wolves in Idaho.”

Simpson also criticized proposals in the BLM’s budget to dramatically increase fees for grazing on public lands, pointing out that the issue needs to be discussed holistically and not just focused on the fact that fees may be lower on BLM lands than on some state lands.  “Just comparing the prices of what we charge for AUMs on federal lands versus state lands isn’t really a good comparison,” he admonished. “I talk to ranchers who have allotments on both state and federal lands and they prefer to graze on state lands even though they may cost more because of the headache of dealing with federal agencies and issues on federal lands.”

The rest of Simpson’s comments focused on the approaching September 15 deadline for determining whether the sage-grouse warrants listing as an endangered species. Both BLM Deputy Director Neil Kornze and Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe praised the State of Idaho’s efforts in crafting a good state management plan. Simpson pushed the agencies to continue listening to state and local officials.

“You say that the BLM and the Forest Service sit down with the Fish and Wildlife Service regularly in Idaho,” he said, “But are they coordinating with the state people? There is concern that there is agreement in the state but that it gets screwed up when it gets back to DC.”

The House Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee oversees the budget for public lands agencies, including the Forest Service, the BLM and the Fish and Wildlife Service.


Thank you Jim Robertson

Posted on April 3, 2014
A couple of weeks ago, I came across a small news article explaining that the Idaho Department of Fish and Game had received a permit from the United State Dept. of Agriculture (I think it was Ag) to kill 4000 ravens. This is proposed under the guise of protecting the sage-grouse, which, I believe, is being added to the endangered species list. The sage-grouse does need protection but here’s the problem. There are 19 factors that have caused their populations to decline, most the result of human activity. Predation by other creatures is #12 and ravens are the only ones that have been singled out, although there are many. Killing ravens will do little if anything at all to mitigate the problems the sage-grouse face.

I was so upset that I took it on myself to create a petition and I hope some of you will consider signing it.

There is a bias among many people against ravens and crows–their voices are not lyrical and some people see them as bullies or as symbols of evil. But recent studies show that they are among the most intelligent creatures on earth and actually may be the most intelligent. They have complex societies, young stay with their parents for years and they even have a ritual that humans would call a funeral when one of their own dies. Killing 4000 of these remarkable birds will reverberate through their community for generations.

And just so you know, I have NO financial or professional interest in this. It is a simple act of love. I have long adored ravens and crows. And Edgar Allen Poe, too.

Big huge thanks to all who take the time to sign.




A gray wolf

Dawn Villella~ Associated Press file

By Rocky Barker
April 2, 2014 

Two federal laws - the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act and the Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Act - require that state hunting and fishing license dollars be used solely to administer state fish and wildlife agencies.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is looking into whether a new law creating the Idaho Wolf Depredation Control Board violates the federal acts by transferring hunting and fishing license dollars to a fund used for the killing of wolves.

The bill, signed into law last week by Gov. Butch Otter, requires the Idaho Department of Fish and Game to transfer $110,000 annually to the fund, which will be overseen by a board appointed by the governor.

Fish and Game officials are confident the law meets the federal requirements because it was written to ensure that any money be used according to Fish and Game guidance, said Mike Keckler, the department's communications director.

"While it is transferred, there are strings attached that have to be followed," Keckler said. "The Fish and Wildlife Service has accepted this language in the past, and we believe they will in this instance, too."

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service chose last week not to comment on the law, saying that wolves are under the management of state officials since Congress voted to remove them from the Endangered Species List in 2011.

But the federal agency did say in an email that is it is working with Fish and Game to make sure that funds provided to the state through the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program meet the federal criteria.

If the new law does not meet federal approval, Idaho risks losing millions of dollars in excise taxes on sporting gear, guns and ammunition that come to the state through the federal program. The two acts and federal regulations contain provisions and guidelines on eligible costs and allow the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to reimburse states for up to 75 percent.

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced last week that Idaho's share of the excise tax revenues would be $20.2 million in 2014.

"The service looks forward to continuing its 75-year-long collaboration with the state in delivering the benefits of WSFR funds to Idaho's anglers, boaters, shooters and hunters," said Gavin Shire, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service acting deputy chief of public affairs.

The control board was proposed by the governor and approved by the Legislature to provide money to kill wolves that attack livestock and eat more elk than Fish and Game would like. The dollars from Idaho licenses will be matched with money from special taxes collected on livestock producers; in 2014, the board will get $400,000 from taxpayers.

Supporters say the new plan makes up for cuts to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services, the agency that has trappers and agents who work with ranchers and others to reduce livestock depredation by animals ranging from wolves to ravens.

Its agents have been contracted by Fish and Game to kill wolves in the North Fork of the Clearwater River watershed. They killed 23 wolves earlier this month from a helicopter, using an estimated $30,000 in sportsmen dollars - with approval as required by the two federal laws.

Republican Sen. Bert Brackett, a Rogerson rancher who was one of the sponsors of the wolf control bill, told the Legislature that nonlethal control measures to prevent livestock losses also could be financed with the $110,000 that comes from Fish and Game.

Wolves are managed as a big-game species in Idaho, but the population has declined by as much as 40 percent since its 2009 peak of about 850, due to increased hunting and trapping, as well as federal control actions.

Editor's note: This story has been corrected from its original published version. Wolves are managed as a big-game species in Idaho, not as a trophy species.

Rocky Barker: 377-6484

Read more here:


RePosted from Wolves and Writing
APRIL 1, 2014
Living with Wolves Speaks Up

Living with Wolves photo

I find writing about the Idaho wolf situation a challenge. There is rarely anything but bad news coming from that state and I don’t want to innundate you with that. And I feel, as many do, an immense frustration about how Idaho fails to appreciate the great wealth of natural resources it holds, especially wolves. It reminds me of my days in Alaska, so much wilderness and wildlife, yet also so much ignorance.

I’m grateful we have strong forces in Idaho speaking up for wolves. Garrick Dutcher, program director for Living with Wolves, is one such individual. He and his Idaho based organization are a primary source for educating the world about wolves. They are active politically, supporting science based decisions in the management of wolves. Their website is one of the best places to visit to stay informed on what’s going on in wolfdom.  And if you haven’t had a chance yet, be sure and read The Hidden Life of Wolves by Jim and Jamie Dutcher. Truly an amazing book.

Today, Garrick’s extremely informative editorial appeared in the Idaho Statesman.  I’ve copied it here to share with you. Thanks, Garrick and Living with Wolves, for standing in the front line in the ever difficult battle to protect Idaho wolves.

Living with Wolves photo


By Garrick Dutcher
April 1, 2014 
Updated 11 hours ago

Year after year, Idaho demonstrates its intolerance for wolves. Idaho Department of Fish and Game, while tasked with preserving all of Idaho’s wildlife, continues to ratchet up hunting, trapping and snaring pressure on Idaho’s diminishing wolf population.

Around 600 wolves live in Idaho, which is also home to 83 times more coyotes, 33 times more bears, and four-to-five times more mountain lions than wolves. All of these species eat other animals to survive and all sometimes attack livestock. But Idaho reserves its special treatment for wolves alone.

Idaho’s wolf population has fallen consistently since 2009. Every year wolves have been under state management, Idaho has expanded, extended and loosened wolf hunting and trapping regulations. It’s an indefensible notion that “adequate regulatory mechanisms” are in place, as mandated by the Endangered Species Act for the oversight period under state management.

Idaho claimed it would manage wolves like any other species. No Idaho wildlife management authority can honestly defend this position.

Actions by Gov. Butch Otter and the state Legislature indicate they believe IDFG isn’t effective enough in killing wolves. The Wolf Control Board bill, “the wolf-kill bill,” was a priority the governor chose for his January State of the State address. Now, 400,000 taxpayer dollars for killing wolves is likely to be a recurring expense. Legislative sponsors and supporters repeatedly stated their intent to reduce Idaho’s wolf population to 150 wolves and 15 breeding pairs, the federal minimum.

As the state of Idaho and IDFG reach to further extremes to kill more and more wolves, these actions aren’t going unnoticed.

Far beyond the scope of wildlife management, these practices are quickly giving a black eye to Idaho’s reputation across the country. Idaho is not an island. It does not exist in a vacuum. If the state walks far enough out on a limb, the limb will break, bringing Idaho back to earth under an increasingly focused spotlight.

As fewer people take up hunting, those who enjoy Idaho’s nature in a nonconsumptive way steadily increase. IDFG’s one-dimensional revenue stream from hunting and fishing licenses and tag sales cannot keep pace with fiscal challenges. It’s time to realign economic realities with income-generating constituencies.

Recognizing the increasing difficulty of remaining solvent with growing bills, Director Virgil Moore commendably organized the 2012 IDFG Wildlife Summit to modernize the agency. Unfortunately, necessary innovations are still not forthcoming. Instead, the agency continues pursuing scientifically unsupportable programs, such as excessive and expensive lethal wolf removal and expanding trapping.

Recently, IDFG conducted its sixth costly wolf eradication action in the Lolo, killing 23 wolves from a helicopter, to artificially bolster a declining elk herd, even though IDFG has acknowledged the decline was precipitated by dramatic changes to habitat and vegetation that support elk.

This spring, IDFG hired a professional hunter/trapper to kill wolf packs in the same designated wilderness where wolves were originally reintroduced. IDFG has also declared another goal – reducing wolf populations by 60 percent in the same wilderness.

Remarkably, as this continues, Idaho’s statewide elk population of 107,000 has been growing since 2010. The presence of wolves equating to poor hunting opportunity is a fallacy. Wyoming, with the third largest wolf population in the West, reported their three largest elk harvests on record in the past four years, with 45 percent success in 2013. Hunters can coexist with wolves while maintaining a robust hunting tradition.

Efforts to kill wolves on Idaho’s wild landscapes, especially in designated wilderness – where wolves belong – will never yield the long-term results the agency desires. IDFG continues burning precious dollars on failing programs, while gaining increasingly widespread negative publicity as the black sheep of the nation. For the sake of our beautiful state and all of its wildlife, let’s hope that Idaho soon corrects course.

Garrick Dutcher is the program director for the Idaho-based national nonprofit organization Living With Wolves.


Huckleberries Online
Top Story: 
Posted by DFO
April 1, 2014 4:47 p.m.  •  24 comments
Today's Top Story (w/18 comments):

You have to wonder when Idaho will finally get its fill of killing wolves. The most likely answer is never, mostly because the state will probably be stopped short of its ultimate goal and back off its eradication efforts when the species' population dips down to about 150 or 10 breeding pairs - anything below that, officials fear, may encourage the federal government to step back in.To put that population number in perspective, just five short years ago the predator's numbers in Idaho were believed to be around 1,000. Many groups estimate the current population to be in the neighborhood of 500. You have to give Idaho some credit for that feat. While the Legislature and Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter are incapable of adequately funding a proper education system or attracting business and shedding Idaho of the distinction of having the nation's highest number of minimum-wage workers per capita, they certainly know how to slaughter wolves/Devin Rokyta, Moscow-Pullman Daily News. 
More here. 

lamdunk • 11 hours ago
The only wolves residing in Idaho are in the legislature. Good thing they raised the speed limit to 80 in that state. People can get out of there faster.
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Turnipseed • 9 hours ago
Here's the latest report on Idaho wolves.
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Duane Rasmussen • 11 hours ago
Setting aside the intangeables such as spiritual loss to people who worship nature, the loss of pleasure derived by distant wolf lovers and the personal fear generated in the hearts of Idaho's residents, concerned for their safety, I wonder what the economic impact, caused by the introduction of wolves, has been on Idaho.

I know of little economic increase for Idaho caused by wolf introduction. Nevertheless, there has certainly been an economic downturn in some Idaho industries because of the wolves. There has been a loss of income formerly generated by those who hunt elk. There has been loss to those who raise animals subject to predation. Perhaps, the loss to teachers really comes from the loss of taxes generated prior to the introduction of wolves.
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Doctor_Watson  Duane Rasmussen • 11 hours ago
Economic downturn due to wolves? Huh?

My dad still gets an elk every year, but he actually hikes in to hunt as compared to the "hunters" who want to do it without ever leaving the seat of their ATV. And my dad (a farmer and rancher and die-hard Republican) says the deaths due to predation from wolves are no more serious than deaths due to illness. (My dad has never lost a calf to wolves, but he says the ranchers complaining about losing calves to wolves are usually grazing on public lands and should figure the risk into their business plans since they're already getting a great deal on cheap grazing lands).

Do you REALLY believe that the economic losses due to wolves in any way is responsible for the state under-funding education for the past decade? Seriously? Could you please share the dope you've been smoking? It must be amazing stuff to make you so creative, but it also might explain your amazing levels of paranoia.
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Duane Rasmussen  Doctor_Watson • 9 hours ago
There have been substantial monetary loses to both our State's economy and to Idaho Fish and Game. I personally spoke to the the number two guy at Fish and Game some time ago and he mentioned a large elk herd that was down eighty percent because of wolf predation. This sort of loss has had a direct effect on our economy.

Some of you Democrats need to take your heads out of the sand. I am just afraid though that the sand has turned to cement and your condition is permanent.
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Doctor_Watson  Duane Rasmussen • 9 hours ago
Who ever said I was a Democrat? I do not belong to any political party.

I do, however, have some education in ecology and know that, since the introduction of wolves, the quality of Idaho's riparian areas has improved, as has small stream water quality.

I know this might come as some surprise to someone who only sees the world in terms of dichotomous political battles or in monetary terms, but the primary function of Idaho's elk herds isn't to drive the state economy.

Taking a reductionist approach to wildlife management and the environment is what causes disaster and imbalance. You have to actually understand how the component parts relate to one another in order to understand the big picture. The introduction of wolves was good for wildlife, good for vegetation, and good for water quality and fish stocks.

There's no scientific basis for the knee-jerk hatred of wolves or the Federal government responsible for their introduction. It's all about distrust and fear. I have yet to meet a scientist -- conservative, moderate, or liberal -- who thinks that wolf reintroduction was a bad idea. If elk herds are down by 80%, how do you know they weren't 80% overpopulated? What's the carrying capacity of their habitat? How has diversity of species improved/increased?

I know wolves frighten you, Duane, but there are a lot more stakeholders on this issue than just unambitious elk hunters.
see more
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Dennis  Doctor_Watson • 9 hours ago
Haven't you heard?
If you "DON'T MARCH" in lock-step (Goose-Step???) with a "Conservatives" point of view, you are a "DEMOCRATE"!
Sheesh :-)
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reality8070  Doctor_Watson • an hour ago
Any improvement in riparian areas has happened in Yellowstone where hunting was not allowed or limited to elk wandering out of the park late winter.... These areas and any areas ARE managed to carrying capacity & remote areas with saturated wolves are well below these set goals. Why is it that the only state of the environment that is acceptable to you is the predator pit? As far as ecology and ecologist goes you need to get re-educated. In Emma Marris book Rambunctious Gardens... see touches on what will be needed in the environment in order to sustain people. Rampant unmanaged wolves WILL not be a tool for any respectable ecologist outside of extremely remote areas and limited human habitation. An educated public will not feed this organic cherished resources to the wolves.... The bigoted anti-hunting and anti-ranching "supposed" environmentalist will be exposed for what they are! Wolves have never "lived in harmony" with people.....NEVER long or short history NEVER! Saturated wolves around people creating predator pits is NOT natural and never has been!
see more
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Doctor_Watson  reality8070 • an hour ago
Please don't put words in my mouth or ascribe positions that I never said I believe. I never said I was against managing wolves, nor did I say I believed wolves lived in harmony with humans. I was merely responding to Duane's silly claim that wolf reintroduction has caused major harm to Idaho's economy and a reduction of taxes available to pay teachers.

Quite frankly, I don't understand the hysterical rhetoric at the end of your post, which goes a long way towards undermining your entire message. If you want to have a discussion about differences in opinion about wolf management (especially when based on actual science), that's fine. But yelling at me in ALL CAPS is no way to conduct a debate among reasonable adults.
1  • Reply•Share › 
Duane Rasmussen  Doctor_Watson • 9 hours ago
If it is true, as you say that:

"I have yet to meet a scientist -- conservative, moderate, or liberal -- who thinks that wolf reintroduction was a bad idea."

Then you have not talked to many experts.

Nice condescending tone you have developed. I would recommend it to more of your ilk. It adds to your credibility.
1  • Reply•Share › 
Doctor_Watson  Duane Rasmussen • 9 hours ago
This from the master of condescension, who calls everyone he disagrees with a "Democrat" or "Liberal" with absolutely no evidence other than his myopic viewpoint?

That's pretty rich, Duane.

Now I understand why you were championing the UI's loss of high-quality faculty due to our state's neglect of higher education. If we lose all of our real scientists (and not the amateurs in the KCRCC), you won't have any actual scientific evidence to contradict your worldview. It all makes sense now.

I hope you have a wonderful afternoon. It's beautiful outside, and chances are you won't be attacked by wolves.
3  • Reply•Share › 
Duane Rasmussen  Doctor_Watson • 8 hours ago
Once again held hostage by the power of some unknown professors intellect. The cult of the elitists remains I see. Have a nice day.
1  • Reply•Share › 
unclebob  Duane Rasmussen • 8 hours ago
When you use the phrase, "of your ilk" in a sentence discussing the condescending tone of others, you pretty much come accross sounding less than intellectually up to the task of debating. Just a thought.
1  • Reply•Share › 
Duane Rasmussen  unclebob • 7 hours ago
I was not really seeking your approval unclebob. You can call me stupid if you like. My use of the term was intentional. I chose to embrace the irony and match arrogance with arrogance.

I am not trying to impress anyone here. If I was wanting to impress the majority of the people on this blog I would have to pretend to be a Liberal.
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reality8070  Doctor_Watson • 38 minutes ago
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Joker  Duane Rasmussen • 8 hours ago
Dude, you're stretching hard on this one. What did the legislature do to promote jobs, lower taxes for individuals? Woof.
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Duane Rasmussen  Joker • 8 hours ago
I am not so sure it is the government's job to provide jobs for you or anyone else. You expect a lot from your government.

I know it is in fashion to expect the government to redistribute other people's wealth through taxes into your pocket, but that is something I also disagree with. Frankly I don't like you that much to want to give my money to you. Forcing charity is not my idea of a role government should play.

So yes I want taxes lowered.
1  • Reply•Share › 
Joker  Duane Rasmussen • 7 hours ago
Yet you advocate government assisting the economy by killing wolves. How ironic. BTW, I said promote jobs, not provide. You're taking some big leaps based on what I said. Assume much?
3  • Reply•Share › 
reality8070  Joker • an hour ago
Wolves are the epitome of wasted tax dollars.... It makes my skin crawl when people that pimped this animal to the point that the Governor had to tell the ranchers to shoot the vermin on the spot and telling state employees not to cooperate with the Feds and it took an act of congress to finally get the job done. The only abuse of the wolf was by the people that pimped them WAY past what was in the states wolf plan & in the process abused the endangered species act!
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Doctor_Watson  reality8070 • 44 minutes ago
Oh brother. Right, the governor's move wasn't political; it was ecological. Give me a break.
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powderfarmer  Duane Rasmussen • 4 hours ago
My effective federal tax rate was 6.6% on an AGI of just barely above 6 figures. That seems pretty reasonable to me.
1  • Reply•Share › 
Sam_Crawford  Duane Rasmussen • 10 hours ago
I thought it was Obama's fault Duane. Now you're blaming it on the wolves?
3  • Reply•Share › 
Duane Rasmussen  Sam_Crawford • 10 hours ago
I would prefer to blame "it" on you, however, then I would not be telling the truth and might lose a friend. ;-)
3  • Reply•Share › 
Doctor_Watson • 11 hours ago
Absolutely fair comparison.
1  • Reply•



The following essays are from the Taijilist blog~ which was created in hopes of helping to stop the annual Taiji dolphin slaughter.

I had no idea what I signed up for when entering the realm of online animal rights activism. Being involved with fighting the Taiji dolphin slaughter campaign rewrote my life script. It made me sick then, and it continues to do so.
So, most folks don't want to feel badly, and we will reach for a solution, almost any approach to stop the pain.
"Boycott Japan" was not that solution, irregardless of how much we wanted the cessation of cetacean slaughter.

We can do a lot of harm folks, when we call for or create a boycott, thinking that it is the last resort to help our buddies. Please think about what we ask for and what we say online.
Innocent people and animals can be hurt if we are not careful.

We have pro wolf activists, journalists, and organizations in Idaho. If we call for a boycott for Idaho, are we not hurting the very allies we need to be supporting?
In calling for an Idaho boycott, we could alienate those who were basically indifferent to the wolf issue - pushing them from "indifferent" to "anti-wolf". Calling for a statewide boycott would be unproductive for the goal of saving wolves, and counterproductive to the cause of educating people about the role that wolves play in maintaining a healthy eco-system 
( or environment ), in Idaho and beyond.

Are we calling for a boycott on a business in Idaho that supports anti wolf rhetoric? Then make sure you have proof and can verify that, so that you are not slandering or defaming character of folks who may not be responsible.

Idaho Fish and Game has made some horrendous decisions for Idaho wolves, no doubt there. But what are we doing when we initiate "boycott Idaho", and punish the pro wolf folks in Idaho who are trying to convince IDFG that they are misguided?

We just hurt our friends. 
And frankly? 
If you are a pro wolf in Idaho?
I want you for my friend, because you have spine!

Boycott with utmost caution, folks.
We are responsible for every action we set into motion.
Thank you.

Taiji is not all of Japan.
Not all Japanese folks are even AWARE of Taiji dolphin hunting, nor are they themselves the hunters, nor would they condone this if they DID know.
We cannot afford to demonize the Japanese activists who will help to end the Taiji dolphin massacres by referring to them in terms of racist naming and slurs. We need to show them support and the same applied to all of the Cove Guardians who are there to witness.
Anything less will ENDANGER their safety, and then WHO will end this hell for Taiji dolphins?


The following does represent my personal point of view concerning ending the Taiji cetacean hunts by peaceful means. Please place your support and your praise with Save Japan Dolphins and Sea Shepherd. These powerful advocacy groups do not condone violence or racial hatred.

The Weight of a Snowflake 

"Tell me the weight of a snowflake," a coalmouse asked a wild dove. 

"Nothing more than nothing," the dove answered. 

"In that case I must tell you a marvelous story," the coalmouse said. "I sat on a fir branch close to the trunk when it began to snow. Not heavily, not in a raging blizzard. No, just like in a dream, without any violence at all. Since I didn't have anything better to do, I counted the snowflakes settling on the twigs and needles of my branch. Their number was exactly 3,471,952. When the next snowflake dropped onto the branch--nothing more than nothing -- as you say -- the branch broke off."

Having said that, the coalmouse ran away. 

The dove, since Noah's time an authority on peace, thought about the story for a while. Finally, she said to herself, "Perhaps there is only one person's voice lacking for peace to come to the world."
- Source unknown
February 11, 2013
Why I do not support a boycott of Japan
Taiji Dolphin Slaughter
by Sandy McElhaney

Dolphin Activist Ric O’Barry: Boycotting Japan Is ‘Racist’
‘Cove’ star sounds off on the Solomon Islands slaughter, a Spanish dolphin named Marcos, rereleasing wild-caught orcas—and more.

Why Boycotting Japan is a Bad Idea
An article by Ric O'Barry

Regarding a boycott on Japan....
An article by Lotus

Taiji and dolphins: would boycotting Japan solve anything?
An article by Charlie Moores

Eloquent, Intelligent, Spot On!
Article explaining the effectiveness of the peaceful activist solution for Taiji dolphin hunt


March 27.2014


The amended bill places the new board within the governor’s office to fund wolf management with $400,000 from general tax dollars, and additional funds from hunting and fishing licenses and taxes on livestock. Supporters say the board simply will replace funding lost by cuts to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services Agency.

But critics say it’s a part of a targeted attack on wolves that breaks the state’s commitment to manage the predators like it does other game animals. Jamie Rappaport Clark, a former U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service director and now president of Defenders of Wildlife, told the Idaho Statesman Thursday the state’s wolf management program was “irresponsible.”

“This is not about hunting,” Clark said. “This is an issue of extermination as fast as they can.”

Idaho’s wolf population has steadily decreased since 2009 when they were first removed from the protection of the Endangered Species Act. Lawsuits by wildlife groups, including Defenders, convinced a federal judge to order the animal back on the list in 2010.

Congress took the unprecedented action of removing them from the list again in 2011. Today, a minimum of 480 wolves remain after a high of more than 850.

Under the Endangered Species Act, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is required to monitor the wolf population for five years. The Center for Biological Diversity said this month the dramatic population drop and the state’s unwillingness to protect wolves in the Frank Church-River of No Return wilderness violates commitments Idaho made. CBD said it was preparing a lawsuit to require the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service step in and either relist the wolf or extend the monitoring period another five years.

I asked to interview U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe but was told he would be unavailable. His spokesman, Gavin Shire in Washington, referred me to the state, which controls wolves as long as they are above the recovery level of 150 wolves.

“Should wolf numbers drop below that threshold, the Service can re-list either or both populations of the gray wolf under the Endangered Species Act and re-assume responsibility for wolf management,” he said.

Interior officials are troubled by Idaho’s actions, Clark said, but they have not carried out the leadership through their monitoring responsibilities she expects. “Instead they seemed to have turned a blind eye to what has happened in the Northern Rockies,” Clark said.

Steve Alder represents Idaho for Wildlife, a Lewiston-based hunters group that has lobbied for more wolf killing. He said he hopes the control board’s funds are used to quickly radio-collar 150 wolves to ensure Idaho can prove it's meeting the recovery goal.

“We have to make sure we have a cushion and a threshold with that 150,” he said. “We don’t want to trigger the feds coming back in."

Clark said she supports the Center for Biological Diversity’s goal to get her old agency to intervene with Idaho.

“I don’t think they are at a point where they will be able to involve the (Endangered Species Act),” Clark said. “But this is not what success looked like when we put these wolves in Idaho.”




Center for Biological Diversity 
March 21, 2014 9:44 am 


The wolf population in Idaho is under serious threat of dropping near—or even below—minimal recovery levels that Idaho promised to maintain in 2011. 

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

The Idaho Legislature yesterday passed House Bill 470, a bill to create a new lethal “Wolf Depredation Control Board” to administer a fund for widespread killing of wolves in the state. The bill, expected to be signed into law by Gov. Otter (R-ID), sets aside $400,000 in state funds to kill roughly 500 wolves, leaving just 150 in the entire state.

The new board will consist of members appointed and overseen by Gov. Otter, who said in 2007 that he wanted to be the first to kill an Idaho wolf after federal protections were taken away. The board will be made up of representatives of the agricultural, livestock and hunting communities. The bill does not require any members of the board to represent the wolf conservation community.

“Political leaders in Idaho would love nothing more than to eradicate Idaho’s wolves and return to a century-old mindset where big predators are viewed as evil and expendable,” said Amaroq Weiss, West Coast wolf organizer at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The new state wolf board, sadly, reflects that attitude. The legislature couldn’t even bring itself to put a single conservationist on the board, so the outcome is predictable: many more wolves will die.”

Congress in 2011 stripped Endangered Species Act protection from wolves in Idaho and Montana. Since then, 1,592 wolves have been killed in those states.

The bill is the latest in a series of anti-wolf actions in Idaho that could ultimately backfire and force the return Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains. Other commitments made by Idaho, including promises to maintain refugia for wolves in remote areas and wilderness, have been rolled back. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game sent a hunter-trapper into the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness this winter to eliminate two wolf packs. It recently announced a new predator-management plan designed to kill 60 percent of the wolf population in the Middle Fork area over the next several years, and contracted with USDA’s Wildlife Services to gun down 23 wolves in the Lolo management zone in February.

“Yet again, Idaho has put a black eye on decades of tireless work to return wolves to the American landscape,” said Weiss. “This bill sets aside $400,000 in state funds to wipe out as many wolves as legally possible in Idaho. Reducing these wolf populations to below even the absolute bare minimum sets a dangerous precedent and ensures that true wolf recovery will be little more than a pipedream in Idaho.”

In combination with mortality from annual hunting and trapping seasons, the wolf population in Idaho is under serious threat of dropping near—or even below—minimal recovery levels that Idaho promised to maintain when wolves in the northern Rockies lost federal protections in 2011. The sponsor of H.B. 470, Rep. Marc Gibbs (R-Dist. 32), says the intent of the bill is to reduce Idaho’s wolf population to as few as 10 packs.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is required by its own delisting criteria to review the population if changes in Idaho law or management objectives significantly increase the threat to the population. It must then decide whether to reinstate federal Endangered Species Act protections or extend the post-delisting period for federal oversight.

Visit EcoWatch’s BIODIVERSITY page for more related news on this topic. 



Friday, March 21, 2014

By Greg Moore
Express Staff Writer
Beginning this fall, wolf trapping will be allowed in areas surrounding the Wood River Valley, though not in the Wood River drainage itself.
During a meeting Thursday, the Idaho Fish and Game Commission approved numerous changes to big-game hunting and wolf-trapping seasons in various hunting units, including a proposal to open trapping seasons in eight big-game units in the local Sawtooth and Southern Mountains zones. Trapping for wolves has been prohibited in most of the southern half of the state, including throughout the local zones. Hunting wolves is permitted in all of Idaho’s game units.
The changes open trapping seasons in units west of the Warm Springs Creek drainage, east of Trail Creek Summit, in the East Fork of the Salmon drainage and in parts of Unit 36, which surrounds and includes the Sawtooth Valley. A season was not instituted for Units 47 and 48, which cover the Wood River Valley.
Garrick Dutcher, program manager for the Ketchum-based nonprofit Living With Wolves, contended that the initiation of trapping in the area will be a hazard to dogs.
     “People should realize that as soon as you step over a divide, it’s open to wolf trapping,” Dutcher said.
     Dutcher testified against the changes during a public hearing Wednesday. He said he told the commission that their decisions are being made in response to social pressure rather than on the basis of scientific management.    

The commission also approved allowing hunters to buy up to five wolf tags for hunting units throughout the state. Previously, the number of tags available to hunters varied by unit, and was set at a maximum of five.
An additional change was to extend the end of the wolf-hunting season in the Salmon Zone from March 31 to June 30. That coincides with the end of the season in the Middle Fork Zone to the west and the Selway Zone to the northwest.
Other changes increased hunting opportunities for black bears and mountain lions in various hunting units.
Though Fish and Game commissioners and many elected officials have made it clear that they want to reduce the wolf population in order to increase the elk population, an increasing number of elk in the Mountain Home area has posed a problem to farmers there. The commission voted Thursday to increase the number of antlerless elk tags available in four hunting units in that vicinity to reduce crop depredation.
The wolf hunting season in the Sawtooth and Southern Mountains zones runs from Aug. 31 to March 31. The Sawtooth Zone has a quota of 60 wolves killed and the Southern Mountains Zone has a quota of 40. As of March 18, hunters had killed 13 wolves and in the Sawtooth Zone and 25 in the Southern Mountains Zone.

Throughout the state this season, 177 wolves have been killed by hunters and 87 by trappers. Fish and Game estimated in 2012 that Idaho had about 680 wolves.


Please take action with 
Center For Biological Diversity


Center for Biological Diversity

More gruesome news out of Idaho: Sharpshooters in helicopters just gunned down 23 wolves over the Clearwater National Forest. 

If we're going to end this brutality, we need your help. Idaho wolves lost federal protections in 2011, and since then 954 wolves have been killed in the state by recreational hunters and trappers. 

Earlier this year Idaho officials hired a gunman to mow down two entire packs in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness. Now it appears they've taken to the skies, sending sharpshooters from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services. 

Making matters worse, the Idaho legislature is poised to pass a bill that will allocate $2 million of taxpayer money to kill hundreds of wolves and drive the state wolf population down to only 150 animals. 

Once driven to the brink of extinction in the lower 48 states, wolves in recent years have made a remarkable comeback. But their recovery will be tragically undercut if state and federal officials continue to insist on barbaric management that relies on hired killers and gunners in helicopters.

Act now to send a letter to the U.S. Forest Service, Idaho agency heads and elected officials to demand an end to this ruthless, wolf-killing campaign.

Your letter will be sent to the following recipient(s):
Bob Barowsky, Chairman
Idaho Department of Fish and Game
Rick Brazell, Forest Supervisor
Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests

I am writing to express my shock and outrage over wolf management in the state of Idaho. And I demand that Idaho officials with decision-making authority rescind the war on wolves that is currently taking place.

When wolves were federally delisted in Idaho in 2011, the state agreed to manage wolves responsibly to ensure a sustainable wolf population for the long-term future. Instead Idaho is engaged in a wolf-eradication campaign.

Idaho's wolf-management policies and practices are designed to please elk hunters who would rather see all of Idaho's wolves dead, even though most of the state's elk populations are meeting agency objectives. The decline of elk herds in limited areas, like the Lolo district of Clearwater National Forest, has been scientifically attributed to changed habitat conditions, and elk herds there were in steep decline before wolves reestablished in the area. Some people are blaming wolves, and shamefully Idaho Department of Fish and Game is following in lockstep, killing wolves to satisfy the people whose license and permit fees pay the salaries of agency staff.

Following federal delisting in 2011, aggressive state-sanctioned wolf hunting and trapping seasons have caused the deaths of more than 950 wolves, reducing the population by 30 percent from 2009 levels.

Yet the state of Idaho continues to dream up and enact even more severe actions against wolves that have no scientific justification, are unethical, and are a throwback to a century ago, when no one yet understood how important wolves are for healthy, wild ecosystems.

In January IDFG resurrected a ghastly horror of the past by hiring a killer to annihilate two wolf packs in the federally designated Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness. When sued by conservation organizations, the state pulled its hired gunman out but soon afterward contracted with USDA/Wildlife Services' sharpshooters to eliminate 23 wolves in the Lolo district of Clearwater National Forest. Further, a bill pending in the Idaho legislature would authorize $2 million to cut Idaho's wolf population down to 150 animals, the bare minimum the state can have before the federal government can relist. Idaho officials stood by in December while private parties conducted a wolf and coyote killing contest, and have done nothing to shut down a private foundation's $500 bounty for each dead wolf brought in.

From the 1600s through the 1900s, wolves were nearly eradicated from the lower 48 states, with many of them slaughtered by government-hired wolf-killers. Is that what we want to happen again? Idaho's present treatment of wolves is a regression to primitive tactics used a hundred years ago.

In short, I urge you to end the large-scale killing of wolves in Idaho and instead focus on policies that promote sustainable wolf populations that are in line with modern wildlife-management science. The IDFG is a taxpayer-funded agency that serves all citizens -- not just one constituency.




Update March 29. 2014
This petition accepts Idaho resident signatures only.
Seeing that HB 470 has been given the green light, 
seems the petition will not be able to reach its target.
It remains up here because someone did care enough to get it going, so hats off to her.


Defeat HB 470

Petition by Andrea Blomquist

To be delivered to The Idaho State Senate and Governor Butch Otter

Stop the Funding of the Wolf Control Board! This is a purely politically motivated and wasteful bill. We urge you to use the $2.2 million dollars alloted to this unnecessary board ($4000 per wolf), and put it towards schools, raises for state employees and teachers, and infrastructure.

There are currently 264 signatures. NEW goal - We need 300 signatures!


There are 20,000 bear in Idaho and 3,000 cougars, all successfully managed and studied by Idaho Fish and Game department. Yet, 600 wolves have been the focus of a ridiculous amount of resources and debate. HB470, which forms a Wolf Control Board (likely made up of the governors buddies, all getting paid $1500 of taxpayer money per board meeting), is a culmination of this outrageous, politically motivated hype. All the while, Idaho lags behind most other states in wages, education, state employees pay, and teacher pay. It's time to come up with a real solution and a reasonable compromise between ranchers, hunters and conservationists- at a fraction of the cost. Seek accurate and honest recommendations from wildlife biologists, not from a politically motivated governor.



Posted on March 1, 2014 by TWIN Observer
Managers say numbers are sustainable now, but cutting more population could be very expensive.


Hunters and trappers have reduced Idaho’s wolf population by more than 20 percent, to a level that wildlife officials say they can handle.

But as the federal government backs out of paying to monitor and control wolves, the state will have to step in, helping livestock owners reduce losses, keeping tabs on the prolific predators and balancing their numbers with other wildlife.

That’s the impetus behind a bill that would create an Idaho Wolf Control Board; it has passed the House and is before the Senate.

Lawmakers are debating whether to allocate $2 million of one-time state funds along with $200,000 that would be raised annually by livestock growers and hunters. Wolf advocates want the bill to pay not just for the killing of wolves, but also for nonlethal measures to keep them from livestock. Advocates argue that nonlethal methods are more effective and less costly.

At its heart, the bill is a recognition that 19 years after the federal government reintroduced wolves into Idaho, the predator is now the state’s responsibility.

“This is preferable to the situation we are in, to have limited funds to control our wolves,” said Republican Sen. Bert Brackett, a Rogerson rancher and one of the authors of the bill that passed the House.

Opponents are skeptical. They hear lawmakers and other state leaders call for cutting the wolf population— now estimated at a minimum of 650 — to about 300.

They have noted the testimony of new Fish and Game Commissioner Brad Corkill. At his Jan. 15 confirmation hearing, he said: “If every wolf in Idaho disappeared, I wouldn’t have a problem with it.”


Two men who have spent their careers controlling wolves and other wildlife say Idaho’s current population is about right for cost-effective management.

U.S. Agriculture Wildlife Services Idaho Director Todd Grimm said that when the wolf population peaked at 843 in 2009, “it was chaos,” with his agency unable to keep up with complaints about livestock being killed.

Today, hunters and trappers have made the depredations manageable. Since August, Idaho hunters and trappers have killed 251 wolves. In 2013, Idaho had 78 confirmed or probable cases of wolves killing cattle and 565 sheep, down about 25 percent from 2011.

If the state seeks to reduce the population to 300, Grimm said, “I don’t think we can do it with $2 million.”


Carter Niemeyer, who retired as U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Idaho wolf manager in 2006, agrees.

“I don’t think it’s achievable,” he said. “They’re going to go broke.”

Neither expert offered an estimate for how much it would cost the state to get to 300. Generally, as the population gets smaller, the cost of killing each wolf rises. The tools of choice would be aerial gunning and trapping. Poison, which effectively drove wolves into extinction, is not under consideration, Grimm said.

Congress has cut about $750,000 in funding for wildlife services in Idaho since 2010, reducing its budget to $2.1 million. Congress ordered the wolf off the Endangered Species List in 2011; in 2016, all federal monitoring money is scheduled to end.

Niemeyer doesn’t oppose Idaho putting away $2 million for wolves. “That money could serve them for 20 years if they used this for handling real problems,” he said.

If it is simply to be used to kill wolves, he doesn’t think it will be effective.

“We have poured millions of dollars into eradicating coyotes,” Niemeyer said, yet coyotes are widespread.


That Idahoans have to even spend a dime to manage wolves irks many of the leaders who fought wolf reintroduction.

“We never wanted our sportsmen or livestock growers to pay for shoving them down our throats,” said Republican Rep. JoAn Wood of Rigby.

Niemeyer spent 25 years controlling wolves and other predators for the federal government and soon will go to work in Washington state to help them manage their growing wolf population. He argues that “saber-rattling” and calls to kill more wolves serve mainly to agitate national wildlife groups. Those groups then support more campaigns protesting Idaho and its policies and overwhelm agencies with Freedom of Information Act requests and lawsuits.

Blaine County Commissioner Larry Schoen unsuccessfully urged the Idaho House to allow the funding to be used for nonlethal wolf measures, such as guard dogs, noisemakers and other techniques that ranchers have used in Blaine County. But the bill the House passed allows the funds to be used only for wildlife officers to kill wolves.

“I think it’s a 19th century solution to the 21st century problem,” Schoen said.


Grimm said he supports nonlethal measures. But with just 20 employees statewide, he’s limited in how much he can work with ranchers. Since he arrived in Idaho a decade ago, 316 different ranchers have reported livestock killings by wolves.

Other funds for wolf prevention are available through the University of Idaho Extension, federal grants and Defenders of Wildlife.

Defenders is a staunch opponent of the Idaho Control Board and state efforts to cut the wolf population. Suzanne Asha Stone, head of its Idaho office, was at Corn Creek when the first wolves were released in Idaho in 1995. She has watched the ebb and flow of Idaho opinion about wolves and has reached out to ranchers to find common ground.

Adding nonlethal measures to the control board’s funding “would be a step in the right direction,” she said. But she won’t support the bill or the board if it targets killing more wolves for doing what they do naturally: eating elk.

The hunter dollars devoted to the control board would go to reduce wolf populations where they are keeping game populations from recovering. That’s a proposal that is controversial not just among Stone’s supporters, but other Idahoans as well.

Fish and Game’s Corkill heard many people, including some hunters, criticize the agency in January for hiring a hunter/trapper to kill wolves in the Middle Fork of the Salmon River area. The commission’s predator policy calls for reducing the population there by half — to 35 to 40 wolves.

Many hunters also testified in favor of the reductions to boost the elk population.

In February, Wildlife Services killed 23 wolves in north-central Idaho using shooting from a helicopter.

As Brackett said, these are now “our wolves.”

Idahoans will decide how to balance the costs, the numbers and the locations, said Idaho Fish and Game Director Virgil Moore.

And pick up the bill for all of that.

“It really comes down to what the people of Idaho want for their elk and deer, wolves, bears and lions,” he said.


This entry was posted in Northwest US, Wolves in the News by TWIN Observer. Bookmark the permalink.


March 1. 2014

Posted on March 1, 2014 by TWIN Observer
Posted by Rich
Feb. 28, 2014 3:36 p.m.

PREDATORS — Idaho Fish and Game, in cooperation with the USDA Wildlife Services, killed 23 gray wolves from a helicopter near the Idaho-Montana border during February in an effort to relieve predation on the struggling elk herds in the remote Lolo Zone.

The agency said in a just-issued media release that the wolf-control effort has been completed.

“The action is consistent with Idaho’s predation management plan for the Lolo elk zone, where predation is the major reason elk population numbers are considerably below management objectives,” the agency said in the release.

In addition to the animals killed in this control action, 17 wolves have been taken by hunters and trappers in the Lolo zone during the 2013-14 season – 7 by hunting and 10 by trapping, officials said.

The trapping season ends March 31, the hunting season ends June 30.

Fish and Game estimates there were 75 -100 wolves in the Lolo zone at the start of the 2013 hunting season with additional animals crossing back and forth between Idaho and Montana and from other Idaho elk zones.  Officials said their goal is to reduce that Lolo zone wolf population by 70 percent.

The Lolo elk population has declined from 16,000 elk in 1989 to roughly 2,100 elk in 2010, when Fish and Game last surveyed the zone.

The Lolo predation management plan is posted on the Fish and Game website. 

This is the sixth agency control action taken in Lolo zone during the last four years.  A total of 25 wolves were taken in the previous five actions.

Fish and Game officials say they authorize control actions where wolves are causing conflicts with people or domestic animals, or are a significant factor in prey population declines.  Such control actions are consistent with Idaho’s 2002 Wolf Conservation and Management Plan approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Idaho Legislature, they say.

More from IFG:

Fish and Game prefers to manage wolf populations using hunters and trappers and only authorizes control actions where harvest has been insufficient to meet management goals.  The Lolo zone is steep, rugged country that is difficult to access, especially in winter.

Restoring the Lolo elk population will require liberal bear, mountain lion, and wolf harvest through hunting and trapping (in the case of wolves), and control actions in addition to improving elk habitat.  The short-term goals in Fish and Game’s 2014 Elk Plan are to stabilize the elk population and begin to help it grow.

Helicopter crews are now capturing and placing radio collars on elk, moose, and wolves in the Lolo zone in order to continue monitoring to see whether prey populations increase in response to regulated wolf hunting, trapping and control actions.

This entry was posted in Northwest US, Wolves in the News by TWIN Observer. Bookmark the permalink.

Reposted from Timber Wolf Information Network. 



by Exposing the Big Game
by Justin King
Wildlife Photography © Jim Robertson

Boise - Ranchers in Idaho are asking the state government to help eliminate some of the state's elk population. The state is halfway through the wolf season, which was said to have been introduced to stop the wolves from attacking elk.

A group from Mayfield claims that Idaho’s Department of Fish and Game has been unable to protect their livelihoods from elk herds which they say are trampling their fences, crops, and causing other problems. The department currently allows a small group of hunters to participate in “depredation hunts,” in which the hunters are allowed to kill animals while hoping to drive the herds away.
Elk hunters have actively encouraged thinning the wolf population. Some have established co-ops to shoulder the cost of trapping wolves that are eating the prized trophy animals. Wolf trappers are paid up to $500 per kill.

Conservationists unsuccessfully attempted to stop the wolf hunts and predicted an explosion in the elk population if the wolf, an apex predator, was hunted. Tim Preso, an attorney representing the conservationists said of the wolf hunting efforts last week:

There is every reason to believe that this is not going to be a one-off, they have set a goal of inflating the elk population by removing wolves. According to their own plan that's a multi-year undertaking. So I see every reason to believe that this is going to be a recurring activity.

According to the Center for Biological Diversity, almost 900 wolves have been killed since they lost federal protection.
One of the proposed solutions to Mayfield’s problem is to move the herds closer to the areas where wolves roam.


By Justin King
Jan 18, 2014  

Salmon - A federal judge denied conservationist efforts to stop the trapping and killing of two wolf packs in Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness in Idaho.
The judge ruled that since federal officials have not yet determined if killing the wolves is in violation of the Wilderness Act, state officials could kill them. The wolves were targeted for extermination because they were preying on wild elk in the federally protected wilderness area. Idaho Fish and Game contracted the trapper in 2013 claiming concerns over dwindling Elk populations. However, the agency has not stopped Elk hunting in the area.
Previously, wolves were hunted to the brink of extinction in the area. In the mid-1990s wolves had to be brought from Canada to reintroduce them to the area.

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) stated in a press release that it supports the efforts of Fish and Game to eliminate the wolves. While the RMEF sounds like an environmental organization, it should be noted that the organization’s website is almost entirely dedicated to hunting Elk. There is an interactive map to plan an Elk hunting expedition, tips on how to use antlers to attract elk, and much more.
Judge Edward Lodge sided with Idaho and the U.S. Forest Service after he found that federal land managers had not determined if the eradication program violated the Wilderness Act. He said in his ruling
No final agency action has been taken in regards to the Wilderness Act,
The fact that the U.S. Forest Service and federal land managers do not have clear guidelines shows an institutional ineptitude that spans decades. The Wilderness Act was signed into law in 1964. Apparently after fifty years, federal agencies are still unable to determine if the eradication of a recently recovered species in a wilderness area is against its own regulations.

Jonathon Proctor, of Defender of Wildlife said "We don’t believe that killing wolves to artificially increase elk herds for hunters is a legitimate way to manage a wilderness, which is not an elk game farm. "
Conservationists are appealing the decision.
It seems evident that, once again, a state Fish and Game agency is using wilderness areas as game farms and is bowing to the pressures by pro-hunting lobbying efforts.

This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of



by Ken Cole on February 21. 2014

Today the Idaho Legislature held its final hearing on Governor Otter’s “Wolf Control Board” bill HB470 which establishes a board which would be composed solely of people appointed by the Governor that would oversee wolf control in Idaho. The board would be funded using $2 million in general funds, $110,000 from the livestock industry, and $110,000 from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. The bill passed the House with a 49-16 vote and will be sent to the Senate.

The membership of the board shall consist at all times of members representing the following executive agencies and interests:
(a) The director of the department of agriculture;
(b) The director of the department of fish and game;
(c) A member representative of sportsmen’s interests;
(d) A member representative of the livestock industry; and
(e) A member of the public at large, not to exclude any person who may have sportsmen or livestock interests.

The debate of the bill was lively and, after Representative Gibbs (R) District-32, Grace, introduced the bill to the floor, Ilana Rubel (D) District-19, Boise, took the floor to argue against the bill.

Every bit of data that we got from Fish and Game shows that the number of wolves is actually dropping based on those measures, and dropping substantially now already without spending two million dollars. The number of wolves has dropped by 30% and has dropped every single year since 2009 based on the hunting and control measures we have right now. The number of breeding pairs in this state, which is the best predictor of whether there will be more wolves in the future — are they breeding? are there breeding pairs? — that’s dropped by 40% in the last five years.

So really the numbers are on a downward trajectory and in light of that data I don’t see any reason to give five times the amount requested when we have 39 school districts that can’t keep the lights on five days a week. This money is going to come out of the other pots. It’s going to come at the expense of roads and schools, teachers and every other priority that we have and I don’t see any rationale for an expenditure of this magnitude at this time in light of the data we’ve been provided.

Representative Mat Erpelding (D) District-18, Boise.

Forty-three thousand hunters raised $380,000 a year buying hunting tags. … The reality is that sportsmen are already doing their part, $380,000 a year is already doing their part. And to take $2 million, to ask JFAC for $2 million for this, which is what was originally in this bill, seems to me to be fiscally irresponsible. That’s basically two teachers per school district in Idaho that could be paid for, or we can use it to eradicate somewhere between 300 and 400 wolves.

Representative Phylis King (D) District-19, Boise.

This bill is a reckless use of taxpayers’ money. I think it’s also an ill-conceived and non-scientific way to manage the state’s wolf population. By singling out one species of animal to slaughter and using general funds, we are setting precedent. First, that we are not using scientifically based plan to manage wildlife. Second, we are using general funds in a program in Fish and Game and Fish and Game is not generally an agency that uses general fund dollars.

Representative Gibbs later, in his remarks closing the debate, responded to Ilana Rubel:

The good lady from 19 mentioned that the population has decreased slightly and that the decreased pairs have decreased slightly. That may be true but the problem is that counting wolves is not an exact science. These are known, absolutely known numbers, not speculative, not the ones that have been seen but not confirmed.

Representative Gibbs is correct when he claims that counting wolves is not an exact science but he is incorrect in his assertion that only confirmed wolves are counted. This can be seen when you read through the methodology used to calculate the year end estimate in the 2012 Idaho Department of Fish and Game wolf report.

From 1996 until 2005, wolf populations were counted using a total count technique that was quite accurate when wolf numbers were low and most had radiocollars. Since then, we have used an estimation technique that is more applicable to a larger population that is more difficult to monitor. In 2006, we began using an estimation technique that has been peer reviewed by the University of Idaho and northern Rocky Mountain wolf managers. This technique relies on our documented packs, mean or median pack size (mean or median of the sample pool of packs where counts were considered complete), number of wolves documented in small groups not considered packs, and a percentage of the population presumed to be lone wolves. We have modified this technique slightly since first adoption. In recent years we have used a total count of wolves for those packs where we have a high degree of confidence that we observed all pack members and have applied the mean or median pack size to the remaining packs with incomplete counts. We previously used the mean pack size for all packs. We use the statistical mean when number of packs with complete year-end counts is ≥20, otherwise median pack size is applied to the remaining packs.

In other words, it is an estimate that depends on getting complete counts of enough packs to make their estimate statistically valuable. In addition, because the methodology is based on research conducted on the Northern Rockies wolf population while the population was increasing and there wasn’t hunting, the estimates may sway either way meaning that they could as easily be higher than the actual number of wolves.

Gibbs went on to assert:

The delisting criteria and the state control plan calls for Idaho to maintain ten, ten, ten packs, not a hundred and eighteen, ten packs.

This assertion is incorrect. The 2002 Idaho Wolf Management Plan and the 2009 delisting rule requires the state to maintain a minimum of 15 “breeding pairs” not “ten packs”. There is a big difference in definition between these two terms and the definition of breeding pairs is very specific.

The 2009 Delisting Rule, which is the rule that the USFWS was required to publish in the Federal Register when Congress delisted wolves in the Northern Rockies outside of Wyoming, contains triggers for a status review.

Three scenarios could lead us to initiate a status review and analysis of threats to determine if relisting is warranted including: (1) If the State wolf population falls below the minimum NRM wolf population recovery level of 10 breeding pairs of wolves and 100 wolves in either Montana or Idaho at the end of the year; (2) if the wolf population segment in Montana or Idaho falls below 15 breeding pairs or 150 wolves at the end of the year in either of those States for 3 consecutive years; or (3) if a change in State law or management objectives would significantly increase the threat to the wolf population. All such reviews would be made available for public review and comment, including peer review by select species experts. Additionally, if any of these scenarios occurred during the mandatory 5-year post-delisting monitoring period, the post-delisting monitoring period would be extended 5 additional years from that point.

Gibbs also made an assertion that hunting and trapping has not killed greater than 35% of the wolf population in any of the previous years.

Biologically, we have been told numerous times in committee that harvest of 35% is necessary just to maintain the population.   We have never achieved a sustained harvest of 35%-40% on the grey wolf since we started harvesting them in 2011.

This is untrue as well. Based on Idaho Department of Fish and Game numbers the mortality has ranged from from 42-48% when calculated from the beginning of April each year to the end of March. I use these time periods because wolves only have pups once each year in April and the population only declines from this time until they have pups the following year. In this period from 2011-2012 the total documented mortality was 47%, from 2012-2013 42%, and from 2013-2014 – if the mortality trajectory remains the same and is similar to last year – it will be 48%. If you remove all types of control, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Wildlife Services, and public control — this leaves leaves hunting, trapping, natural, illegal, vehicle, and unknown mortalities — the mortality was 39%, 37%, and 37% respective to the time periods above.

I assembled some numbers to address other specific points below. The population has declined by 30% since Idaho took over management of the species in 2009. The end of the year estimates are the measure referred to in the annual reports and at the end of 2009 there were an estimated 856 wolves. Presently the end of year population, based on the preliminary estimate given to the legislature by Idaho Department of Fish and Game biologist Jeff Gould, is “less than 600″ and about 75 wolves have been killed since then. The Mortality records obtained through public records requests and published on the Idaho Department of Fish and Game website indicate that the population is likely to fall to around 460 animals by the end of March 2014 just before female wolves begin denning activities.

During the period from April 1, 2011 to the present 1,236 wolf mortalities have been documented by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.  98.5% (n=1,213) of those mortalities were human caused, 1.4%, (n=17) were unknown, and 0.5% (n=6) were natural.

Idaho Wolf Mortality-Population April 1, 2011 - March 31, 2014

Tagged with: Idaho politics • Idaho Wolves • Politics • wolf mortality • Wolves

Ken Cole
Ken Cole, Western Watershed Project’s National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Coordinator, is a 5th generation Idahoan, an avid fly fisherman, wildlife enthusiast, and photographer. He is also serves as a member of the board of directors for Buffalo Field Campaign. He can be reached via email at:

29 Responses to idaho “wolf control board” passes the house.
avatar Ken Cole says:
February 21, 2014 at 8:31 pm
And once again Idaho is making wolf policy based on false information.

avatarGail says:
February 21, 2014 at 10:00 pm
What a wonderful dissection of political nonsense. Thanks for bringing this to light. I don’t live in ID, but i do try to follow the plight of the wolves. Can’t these people just get a life!?

avatarhp says:
February 21, 2014 at 10:26 pm
Ken- thank you for a responsible, articulate and balanced assessment of the recent vote. I am deeply interested in this issue as an Idaho property owner and wildlife advocate. I believe the Idaho economy will suffer unintended consequences as this battle goes before the state senate and becomes even more widely known, and I intend to do my part in making it known. I am reminded of the recent post characterizing this ‘war’ as a class war:

Sorry, But Wolf Slaughter Is Not American | Latest News | Earth Island Journal | Earth Island Institute.

avatarSue Philley says:
February 21, 2014 at 10:33 pm
Thank you for the thorough analysis and for your on going efforts. Best wishes, Sue

avatar Ken Cole says:
February 22, 2014 at 6:39 am
That means a lot coming from you. Thanks for all of the work you do too.

avatar Larry Thorngren says:
February 22, 2014 at 8:25 am
Ken- I was the last one to testify at the wolf meeting last Monday. I had to leave for about ten minutes to feed my parking meter, so maybe I missed your testimony. Did you present this info to the house commitee? This seems like something they should have heard and seen.

avatarapril lane says:
February 22, 2014 at 8:44 am
So my question is, when will someone petition for a review from the federal government? Doesn’t this policy represent a significant threat (change of mgmt.) to the population? Please tell me this is going to be pursued…

avatarCodyCoyote says:
February 22, 2014 at 9:15 am
I just heard a report on NPR that there is a nationwide shortage of Clowns. No talk yet of placing Clowns on the Endangered Species list , but there are great concerns that a valuable creature mat be heading for extinction. I cannot imagine an America without an abundance of Clowns ? Where have they gone?

Has anyone thought to look in the Idaho legislature ?

Ah-ha! I see fifty Clowns. So using the same statistical multiplier methodology that certain Idaho Legislators employ to determine wolf numbers, there must be at least 150 Clowns hanging around government habitat in Boise, somewhere.

That’s too many. We need to thin the Clown population down to acceptable numbers. Hunt and trap and bushwhack till there are only 20 Clowns total. The management plan calls for only 10 breeding age adult Clowns, so idaho game managers are nstructed to do their best to keep the total population at no more than 20 Clowns in government to avoid relisting them. Those 20 clowns must all have red rubber noses with GPS transmitters installed so we can track them and learn about their behavior , and released back into the wilds of exurban Idaho. We must carefully monitor them to see there is no knowledge depredation when they come close to people , structures, and private property. Wild Knowledge Services will have blanket authority to trap and /or eradicate an Clowns seen to be indoctrinating our impressionable youth outside of the Clown Trophy Zone, a/k/a state capitol and a select list of saloons.

That should do it. We all agree that Clowns are necessary in the ecosystem , but only in the proper habitat zones and carefully controlled. We simply cannot have Clowns where they might inflame the public’s Coulrophobia . ( Look it up )

No more than 10 Clowns in the Idaho state house, OK ?

avatarNancy says:
February 22, 2014 at 9:20 am
:o) :o)

avatar Ken Cole says:
February 22, 2014 at 10:13 am
You win the best comment ever award

avatarMark L says:
February 22, 2014 at 10:30 am
unfortunately, I think the only solution is for non-Clowns to run for office to displace said dominant sub-species. You up for it? Somebody’s gottta sit in that crappy clownsmelling seat and pass legislation along with their gas and time. I know, you’re afraid of getting infected with the infamous ‘Bozo fever’ like many others, but somebody in your state has to risk it. Who’s it gonna be?

avatarWM says:
February 22, 2014 at 10:43 am
++No more clowns…++

I think author Steven King might agree, as would Boston Legal actor (the 2005 TV show character), Alan Shore. Not everyone likes clowns (in fiction or in person)…or maybe even wolves. <;o)

avatarwolf moderate says:
February 22, 2014 at 11:04 am
That was awesome. Well done.

avatarImmer Treue says:
February 22, 2014 at 11:44 am
Great use if satire/sarcasm to get a point across without calling anyone names. Perhaps only clowns would be insulted.

avatar Yvette says:
February 22, 2014 at 12:09 pm
CodyCoyote, please, please write your comment in a letter and snail mail it the Idaho legislature. Every single one of them.

avatarMark L says:
February 22, 2014 at 4:03 pm
If we see 2 of these clowns together in the capital area, can we confidently identify them as a ‘breeding pair’?

Out Loud?

avatarChris Harbin says:
February 22, 2014 at 9:41 am
There seems to be an abundance of clowns in Arizona and New Mexico in regards to wolves (and a lot of other things). Here in Kentucky we have no wolves but at least 2 clowns too many.

avatarChris Harbin says:
February 22, 2014 at 9:44 am
On a more serious note, it was a bad week for wolves in Idaho and Arizona. Hopefully one day those big floppy shoes that clowns wear will come back and kick those clowns in the patoot.

avatarWyoWolfFan says:
February 22, 2014 at 12:40 pm
Interesting to see that a few legislators are reasonable. Too bad not the majority.

avatarRalph Maughan says:
February 22, 2014 at 2:56 pm
I’ve learned this week that the Republican legislators in Idaho are, or at least tell Democrats, that they are terrified of being primaried. Many of them are facing even more right wing opponents. So, I conclude they are so awful because they do not want to fight off a crazy tea party challenge. They will abandon their previous Republican principles for a pragmatically adopted new set.

avatarNancy says:
February 22, 2014 at 3:45 pm
“If he is good enough for Ted Nugent, he is good enough for me,” Palin wrote”

Geez, no reason to get alarmed just yet but hoping there are still a few free thinking minds left in Idaho

avatarcda says:
February 22, 2014 at 11:57 pm
I’m also wondering if the Governor’s latest move triggered the 5 year post delisting monitoring period. I didn’t see an answer.

avatar Ken Cole says:
February 23, 2014 at 8:36 am
There is no “trigger”. The Endangered Species Act has a 5-year post monitoring requirement for every species and we are in the third year.

avatarcda says:
February 23, 2014 at 8:52 am
Sorry to be dense Ken. In the article above is states’ Three scenarios could lead us to initiate a status review and analysis of threats to determine if relisting is warranted including; (3) If a change in the stat law or management objectives would significantly increase the threat to the wolf population.

Isn’t killing off most members of most packs fragmenting the functionality of the remainer to the point it becomes a threat to the program?

avatar Ken Cole says:
February 23, 2014 at 10:00 am
Sorry, I wasn’t clear what you were referring to. That is left to the USFWS and they are under intense political pressure so it it unlikely that they are going to extend the monitoring period. They should but it is not an automatic thing.

avatarPamela W says:
February 23, 2014 at 8:17 pm
Actually, I think that’s too reasonable an explanation. If you look at the bios of many of the Idaho legislators, you’ll find they are ranchers and farmers, as they do on virtually all the ag-related issues. They are voting in their own interests. They are proudly showing their true colors, demonstrating how ignorant, bloodthirsty, and repulsive they are.

avatarLouise Kane says:
February 22, 2014 at 5:16 pm

not everyone in Idaho is happy with this…
read comments
at least some are against it, for economic considerations but a few are speaking out against it as they object to the killing.

avatarjon says:
February 22, 2014 at 6:13 pm

very very bad news for wolves. It’s very clear that Idaho fish and game wants to exterminate wolves from Idaho.

avatarCodyCoyote says:
February 23, 2014 at 10:29 am
Jon Stewart was also thinking ” IDAHO ” when he did this sendup of American state legislatures on The Daily Show last Thursday. Alas, he was only able to keylight Kansas and Arizona’s statehouse lunacy. It’s too hard to squeeze all the lunatics-in-charge-of-the- asylum statehouses into a single 22 -minute show. Maybe a sequel segment on Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming ? They’ve earned it…

Among other colorful metaphors Stewart called out some state legislatures for being ” the Meth Labs of Democracy “.





Updated 3:07 pm, Monday, February 17, 2014

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho's House will get to consider a measure seeking to shift $2 million in taxpayer money toward a panel that will oversee the killing of wolves that prey on livestock and elk herds.

Republicans on the House Resources Committee voted Monday 14-4 for the disputed bill.

It's being pushed by Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter, over objections labeling this a "funding mechanism for a war on wolves."

With this cash infusion, Otter wants to target wolf packs blamed for killing too many cattle, sheep and elk.

Backers including the cattle and sheep industry pledged not to reduce Idaho's wolf population, now roughly 680 animals, to levels triggering a renewed federal Endangered Species Act listing.

But foes branded it a "thinly veiled proposal aimed at the second extirpation of wolves in Idaho."



Posted on February 19, 2014 
by TWIN Observer
By Kimberlee Kruesi

BOISE • A bill requesting $2 million to kill up to 500 Idaho wolves now moves to the House floor, despite protests from lawmakers and wolf activists that the money could be better spent on education.

“This is not a wolf extermination bill,” said the bill’s co-sponsor state Sen. Bert Brackett, R-Rogerson, during the bill’s full hearing Thursday in front of the House Resources and Conservation Committee. “The top priority is to continue the delisted status of wolves.”

The committee passed the bill 14-4 after discussing the bill for more than an hour and listening to almost two hours of testimony.

The proposed legislation – which includes a sunset clause to retire in 2019 — calls for a five-member oversight board made up of directors from the state’s Department of Fish and Game and Department of Agriculture as well representatives from livestock industry, public at large and sportsmen.

The bill requests $2 million of one-time appropriation, with the livestock industry and hunting license fees contributing $110,000 each year. The money will only be spent on lethal action to control wolves.

“If I didn’t know that the federal government was essentially bankrupt, I would be angry enough to go after the federal government for this,” said state Rep. JoAn Wood, R-Rigby. “In the first place, we never wanted our sportsmen or our livestock people ever have to pay for shoving those wolves down our throat.”

Idaho’s wolves were taken off the endangered species list in 2011. Today, the state’s wolf population is estimated to be around 680 animals, according to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. If it falls below 150, the species will be once more classified as endangered by federal regulators.

Hunters, ranchers and wolf activists packed the committee room, filling every seat, standing up against the walls and spilling into an overflow room. Nearly 50 people signed up to speak, with testimony split 50-50 on those who opposed and favored the bill.

“Lethal control is ineffective and it’s expensive,” said Suzanne Stone with the Defenders of Wildlife. “Simply killing wolves does not address the issue.”

Stone said lawmakers should support non-lethal options like providing ranchers and farmers with blinking flashlights to scare away wolves at night.

Bill Chisholm, of Buhl, said lawmakers should kill the bill and instead find a better wolf management goal.

“This bill sounds like it’s a funding mechanism for war on wolves,” Chisholm said. “I think we need to go back to square one.”

Other opponents of the bill asked that the money be spent on education.

Several of the ranchers who showed up to testify said the bill was needed to protect their livestock.

“In order to raise beef and feed the rest of the country, this is an issue that must be addressed,” said Scott Rigby of Rexburg. “We cannot keep kicking the can down the road.”

Matt Thompson, who ranches in Bonneville County, said 40 calves were killed by wolves. Federal officials were soon called onto his property, Thompson said, where they killed seven wolves.

The problem stopped but the experience took a toll on him and his family, Thompson said.

“Not only financially but it was emotionally damaging to see those wolf kills,” Thompson said, speaking in favor of the bill.

Lawmakers spent most of their discussion on the merits of setting aside $2 million when Idaho already has a predator control board.

Idaho has already spent millions over the past 10 years to kill wolves but over the past 10 years, the amount of depredation has gone up even though wolf deaths are also up, said state Rep. Steven Miller, R-Fairfield, who was the only Republican to vote against the bill.

“My concern is that we get to the end of five years and we have more depredations and more wolves,” Miller said. “I don’t see an end game in this. … How do we ever get to where we want to be?”

“I don’t know if there is an end game,” Brackett said. “Wolves are part of the landscape in Idaho now.”

State Rep. Ilana Rubel, D-Boise, said she questioned if the state’s limited funds should be spent on killing wolves rather than Idaho’s education system, which compares poorly to other states.

“We only have one pot of money,” said state Rep. Ilana Rubel, D-Boise. “If we have a surplus this year, is this the best way to spend that surplus?”

Nearing the end of the discussion, state Rep. Ken Andrus, R-Lava Hot Springs, said he didn’t think there would ever be an end to Idaho’s wolf debate.

“I would rather see this money go toward building a predator-type fence around Yellowstone National and have a predator fence clear around the park,” Andrus said. “Put the wolves in there and let the nature lovers, and the people who love wolves, let them do their thing. And I don’t care what happens.”


New plan aims to reduce population 
by 60% to please elk hunters

by KEN COLE on FEBRUARY 12, 2014 

POCATELLO, Idaho – In an effort to inflate elk populations for commercial outfitters and hunters, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) hopes to kill 60 percent of the wolves in the Middle Fork area of central Idaho’s Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, according to a predator management plan for the area released this week.

IDFG’s plan calls for an intensive program of wolf killing in the largest forested wilderness area in the lower-48 states through several successive years of professional hunting and trapping efforts designed to boost the local elk population beyond the level that can be sustained through natural predator-prey interactions. It comes just weeks after a hunter-trapper hired by the state wildlife agency killed nine wolves in an effort to exterminate two wolf packs in the Middle Fork area. State officials terminated the program in the midst of an emergency court proceeding to halt the program.

Earthjustice is in court to stop the professional extermination of wolves in central Idaho’s Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness. Last month, Earthjustice 
filed an emergency motion asking the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to preserve the wolves and their vital contribution to the wilderness character of the . Rather than presenting its legal defense to Earthjustice’s argument, IDFG temporarily halted the program until the end of June 2014. Earthjustice will be filing its opening brief later this week in the Ninth Circuit proceeding. Earthjustice is representing long-time Idaho wilderness advocate Ralph Maughan, 
along with Defenders of Wildlife, 
Western Watersheds Project, 
Wilderness Watch, 
and Center for Biological Diversity in the case.

Statement from attorney Tim Preso of the Northern Rockies office of Earthjustice.

“The state of Idaho has made clear that it intends to double down on its plan to transform the Middle Fork area of the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness from a naturally regulated wilderness to an elk farm benefiting commercial outfitters and recreational hunters. The only thing that is not clear is whether the U.S. Forest Service will step up to defend the wilderness character of this landscape on behalf of all the American people or instead will, as it has done to date, let Idaho effectively run the area to advance its own narrow interest in elk production. For our part, we intend to do everything we can to obtain a federal court ruling that will require the Forest Service to protect this special place and its wildlife.”

Statement from Idaho resident and long-time conservationist Ralph Maughan:

“By implication our lawsuit aims to protect the entire nationwide Wilderness Preservation System from similar efforts to transform the wild into a bland farm for a few kinds of common animals.”

Statement from Idaho resident and Defenders of Wildlife representative Suzanne Stone:

“It’s clear that IDFG isn’t interested in sustainable wolf recovery. Instead, they’re focused on doing anything they can to kill as many wolves as possible in the state. That’s not responsible state wildlife management any way you look at it. Idaho committed to responsibly managing wolves when federal protections were removed just a few short years ago. Actions like this just further demonstrate that they’re failing to uphold their end of the agreement.”

Statement from Ken Cole of Western Watersheds Project:

“For the idea of wilderness to have any meaning at all, wildlife must be allowed to self-regulate, to seek its own balance, to be wild. Instead, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game insists on heavy handed management of wolves in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness to benefit a tiny minority of the people who use and enjoy the area. The nation’s premier wilderness is not just a recreation area of rocks and ice, it is a thriving ecosystem that should be treated as the treasure it is.”

Statement from George Nickas, executive director of Wilderness Watch:

“The State of Idaho has shown once again it is incapable of being a responsible partner in wilderness administration. It’s high time the Forest Service exert its authority and obligation to protect the public’s interest in Wilderness and wildlife protection.”

Statement from Noah Greenwald, endangered species director at the Center for Biological Diversity:

“This outrageous plan to slaughter wolves in the lower 48’s largest wilderness in an ill-conceived attempt to increase elk numbers is only the latest example of just how backwards wildlife management has become in Idaho. Already more than 900 wolves have been killed in Idaho during state-sanctioned hunting and trapping seasons. And this unnecessary slaughter will continue unless the courts step in and stop the senseless killing.”

Ken Cole
Ken Cole, Western Watershed Project’s National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) 
is a 5th generation Idahoan, an avid fly fisherman, wildlife enthusiast, and photographer. He is also serves as a member of the board of directors for Buffalo Field Campaign. 
He can be reached via email at:

Visit Authors Website →
4 Responses to idaho intent on killing wolves in the wilderness
avatarjon says:
February 12, 2014 at 5:15 pm
They are allowing hunters to kill pregnant wolves and wolf pups in the middle fork. These disgusting people who want Idaho turned into an elk farm need to be stopped. Keep them lawsuits coming.

avatar Ken Fischman, Ph.D. says:
February 12, 2014 at 7:50 pm
The state of Idaho has consistently claimed that it wants to regulate wolves, not exterminate them. Since the Idaho wolf hunts started in 2009, many of us have publically challenged the sincerity of these statements, We have pointed to the unprecedented rules, severity, and results of these hunts as evidence of their true intent.

Last year, Idaho sent professional trappers into the Clearwater NF to kill more wolves than the hunters had been able to. This year they sent a professional trapper into the Frank Church Wilderness with orders to kill off two whole wolf packs,and were financially and materially abetted by the US Forest Service in doing so. They only stopped when he had accomplished most of their goal, and a law suit was filed by environmental groups.

Now, they have announced a plan to kill off 60% of the wolves in the “Frank,” once again with the aid of professional trappers and hunters. Even our federally designated wildernesses and national parks are no longer safe for wolves. Hunters have killed many wolves that wander over the Yellowstone boundaries. So many Yellowstone wolves have been killed that entire packs have been destroyed and the scientific studies of wolves that have yielded extremely valuable information in the ten years since their reintroduction there, is perhaps fatally compromised.

This latest plan by the Idaho state administration and their minions should leave no doubt in any reasonable person’s mind that they are attempting to kill as many wolves as possible. They doubtless intend to leave only a remnant of 150 wolves, the legal minimum number to avoid a review of the animals’ status and trigger another process, putting the wolves once again on the ESA protected list.

I take no pleasure in reminding the rest of you that I predicted this outcome several years ago. I know that most of you were as concerned as I was at all of these events. We have individually and sometimes collectively tried many ways of stopping or at least slowing down this inexorable process. We have signed petitions, written letters to the editors and Op Eds, attended rallies and protests, and contributed to environmental organizations that oppose this slaughter, all with little or no discernable effect.
Now that we have seen the handwriting on the wall, what shall our response be? Will we hold more intellectual discussions and make further erudite comments among ourselves? I am open to any ethical action that you may come up with. I look forward to hearing your ideas on this.
I personally believe, as I have previously stated, that organizing a boycott of Idaho tourism and products may be the only effective way of getting the attention of Idaho state authorities and business people. Money may be the only language to which they respond.
I am engaged in writing a book, which in part, covers the wolf crisis, but I fear that I may end up merely chronicling Idaho’s second extinction of the wolf.

avatarLarry says:
February 12, 2014 at 9:44 pm
In support of Dr. Fischman: The courts and the color of money is the only way to the meager brains of the officials in Idaho. Letters to the editor of every newspaper in Idaho; notices in many venues that the beef that people eat cost the lives of wolf pups, changes the true ecosystem of wilderness and misappropriates funds that should benefit all wildlife instead of using public wildlife management funds for special interest groups. We need a list of “green” businesses in Idaho.

avatarAG says:
February 12, 2014 at 9:46 pm
They got their hunting season, i thought it would end there. I was wrong, really wrong. The impossible has gone possible and now i think we shouldn’t expect anything from this state anymore. 2014 – 200… This is what it looks like in Idaho.

“Money may be the only language to which they respond.”
Yes, exactly!




But they say something similar is inevitable

Posted on February 11, 2014 by TWIN Observer

During a town hall meeting Friday, all three local state legislative representatives said they were inclined to vote against a bill that would establish a wolf-control board. However, none expressed opposition to the concept of state-sponsored wolf killing, and they said some sort of control mechanism is inevitable.

“We almost have to have a management plan since [the federal government] turned it over to us,” said Rep. Donna Pence, D-Gooding. “We’ve got to manage them somehow.”

The issue elicited the most heated discussion of the dozen or so topics addressed during a more than two-hour meeting in an almost packed Ketchum City Council room.

House Bill 470, which is expected to be heard next week in the House Resources and Conservation Committee, would establish a five-member board and a wolf-control fund with annual payments of $110,000 from the livestock industry and $110,000 from the state’s fish and game fund. Gov. Butch Otter has proposed an additional $2 million appropriation for the fund in fiscal 2015.

The bill’s sponsors have said they would like the state to kill about 500 wolves, leaving only a few more than the 150-wolf minimum established by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to keep the animals off the endangered species list in Idaho.

Several members of the public spoke up loudly when the issue was raised Friday, asking, “How can we stop this?” They did not receive a concrete answer.

The District 26 representatives expressed concerns about the cost of the proposal. Sen. Michelle Stennett, D-Ketchum, pointed out that $2 million spent on 500 dead wolves equals $4,000 per wolf, which she compared to the $6,000 spent annually by the state on each school child.

“Is this the best use of our money?” she asked.

Rep. Steven Miller, R-Fairfield, said he would probably vote against the bill unless it is changed to specify how and where the money would be spent.

“I think there are a lot of holes in it,” he said.


February 1. 2014
Updated tally for IDFG Wolf Management
totals from date of delisting from E.S.A. in 2009 to 2014.
(Reported. Quota set at 255 )
Total tally of USA gray wolves residing in Idaho that have been killed by Idaho wolf hunters, via Idaho Fish and Game since delisting from E.S.A. endangered status in 2009:


January 23. 2014.

Thank you Predator Defense

Wolves slaughtered in recent licensed Rocky Mountain Wolf hunts
IDAHO : 214
Total loss  :
422 Dead Gray Wolves

The social and biological implications of management are becoming more clear

Jeremy Bruskotter
With wolf management back in the news in Idaho, we asked Bruskotter to provide some national perspective on the long process of reintroduction and delisting that is still underway, focusing on  popular opinion in Idaho and in the rest of the country and the psychological factors behind management.  
— Eds.
TBR Blog is a space for commentary, opinion and reports on research in progress.

Wolf management in the United States is contentious — and it seems especially so in Idaho. One need only read the comments section following any news story about wolves to learn how much opponents and advocates differ on wolf management policy. On one side are people who oppose lethal harvest of wolves; on the other are those who oppose any restrictions on hunting and trapping. Yet, while there is little question that debate about wolves is polarized, less is known regarding how widespread these conflicting attitudes are, how Idaho residents’ attitudes compare with the rest of the nation or how people come to hold these attitudes. Empirical data on these topics is sparse, but enough exists for us to begin to address some of the questions people raise regarding wolves and wolf management policy.

Research on attitudes toward wolves in the northern Rockies emerged in the late 1980s, as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service considered whether to restore wolves to the greater Yellowstone ecosystem. A 1987 study that assessed attitudes toward wolves and their restoration across the Northern Rockies found that more than half of Idaho residents exhibited positive attitudes toward wolves (53 percent positive, 12 percent negative) and wolf reintroduction (57 percent supported, 27 percent opposed). Attitudes toward wolf reintroduction were slightly more favorable among Idaho residents than those expressed by residents of adjacent Wyoming (49 percent supported, 35 percent opposed) and Montana (44 percent supported, 40 percent opposed).
This result mirrors the findings of a national study conducted a few years prior that found that 50 percent of residents of the Rocky Mountains expressed positive attitudes toward wolves, while 30 percent disliked wolves. However, in contrast with widespread public perception, the same study also found that attitudes toward wolves were more positive among residents of Rocky Mountain states (50 percent) than the country in general (42 percent).
These studies indicate that wolves were controversial and attitudes polarized before the reintroduction began. So what about now? Just how polarized is the wolf issue? A 2007 survey of 421 Idaho, Montana and Wyoming residents living within wolf range found that one in four non-hunters opposed all hunting of wolves, while roughly one in six opposed any limitations on the hunting of wolves. Among hunters, one in 15 opposed all hunting of wolves, while more than half (55 percent) opposed any restrictions on wolf hunts. Such polarization creates problems for wildlife managers.
Under prevailing legal doctrine, states claim ownership of wildlife on behalf of their citizens and are supposed to manage wildlife populations for all of their citizens. How is the state to implement acceptable wolf management policy when there is such disagreement about what policies are acceptable?


There is little data to directly address the question of whether/how attitudes in Idaho have changed, as researchers failed to replicate study questions and methods from prior studies. Researchers who have examined attitude change regarding wolves in the U.S. have come to mixed conclusions. A meta-analysis of studies conducted through 2000 concluded that attitudes toward wolves had remained relatively stable and (slightly) positive. For a summary of survey data on wolves from 1972-2000, see Williams, et al, in Wildlife Society Bulletin 30(2). That study found that, across the U.S. West roughly 57 percent of people were positive towards wolves or wolf reintroduction. Likewise, a study of Utahans that I helped conduct found attitudes were consistent over a roughly 10-year time period (from 1994-2003); that study found 70 to 74 percent of Utah residents expressed positive attitudes toward wolves. Moreover, attitudes in Utah were stable among both urban and rural residents as well as hunters.
This finding is not universal, however. Research from Sweden indicates that hunters’ attitudes toward wolves became more negative after roughly a quarter century of living with wolves. Similarly, research from Wisconsin found that people who resided in wolf range became more negative toward wolves over a 5 to 8 year time period. While the bulk of the existing data suggest that attitudes toward wolves have remained stable across recent decades, they also suggest that the attitudes of those people living among wolves and those who feel they are negatively impacted by wolves (e.g., hunters) can become more negative.

Theory and research on risk perception provides a convenient lens through which to interpret research on attitudes toward wolves. Research on a variety of hazards indicates that perceptions of risks and benefits associated with hazards tend to drive acceptance of hazards. See work by Michael Siegrist, a psychologist with the Western Institute for Social Research at Western Washington University in Bellingham. Thus, people who perceive high risks (or costs) associated with wolves and low benefits would be expected to show little tolerance for the species. While this research suggests that people make such decisions through a kind of rational, cost-benefit analysis, the weighing of risk/cost and benefit is not equal — that is, perceptions of benefits tend to have a greater influence on the acceptability of a hazard than perceptions of risk/cost.
A recent study I co-authored that investigated acceptance (or tolerance) of wolves found exactly this — people’s intentions to take actions for and against wolf recovery were largely explained by the benefits — not the risks associated with those species. K. M. Slagle, J. T. Bruskotter, R. S. Wilson, The Role of Affect in Public Support and Opposition to Wolf Management. Human Dimensions of Wildlife 17, 44 (2012). As the perceived benefits associated with wolves increased, people expressed a greater willingness to take supportive action; as they decreased, people showed a greater willingness to take intolerant actions.
But does this represent a “rational” weighing of the evidence? The data suggests not. Perceptions of both risks and benefits associated with wolves were strongly associated with one’s emotional reaction toward wolves; as people reacted more negatively, perceptions of benefits decreased and perceptions of risks increased (and vice-versa). And interestingly, this relationship held true whether one opposed wolves or supported them. Thus, while the data supports the notion that wolf supporters (to paraphrase) “base their judgments on emotion,” the same holds for wolf opponents.

Recently, Idaho Fish and Game (IDFG) Director Virgil Moore observed that the department’s decision to kill two packs of wolves in the Frank Church wilderness was “more a philosophical and social issue” as opposed to a biological issue. I would agree with that statement with just a slight amendment: The question of how to manage wolves is philosophical (insomuch as there is no objectively “correct” answer), but how one answers the question has both social and biological implications.
On the social side, how we choose to manage wolves is an expression of the value we associate with this species. The IDFG’s aggressive approach to wolf management, paired with consistent disparaging rhetoric from state politicians, suggests that those with authority over wildlife do not value wolves in the least. These actions call into question Idaho’s intentions regarding wolves and their commitment to long-term conservation of the species, as I argued recently in the Wildlife Society Bulletin.
Collectively, their actions appear designed to appease the most vocal opponents of wolves. While this may be a good short-term strategy for politicians, it comes with a substantial long-term risk — specifically, the potential of alienating “non-consumptive” wildlife stakeholders (i.e., those who do not hunt or fish, but are passionate about conservation). Long-term trends suggest participation in hunting is declining, while participation in non-consumptive activities, such as birding, is exploding. It is likely that long-term conservation of our wildlife resources will require the concerted efforts of both hunting and non-hunting conservationists (whom agencies are desperately courting), yet Idaho’s aggressive pursuit of lethal wolf management is likely to keep these interests apart, and could sow distrust for decades to come.
On the biological side, research has demonstrated a myriad of beneficial ecological impacts associated with the presence of top carnivores, including wolves (see especially research by William J. Ripple and Robert L. Beschta at Oregon State University’s Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society). Their  recent review article suggests that the very industries often thought to be hurt by the presence of large carnivores, can be positively impacted as well:
“Large carnivores help reduce disease prevalence in ungulate prey populations, thereby mitigating agricultural costs because of spillover effects on domestic livestock… counter intuitively, large carnivores may also provide crucial services for the very industry they are perceived to be at most in conflict with: pastoralism. By limiting the density of wild herbivores and promoting productivity, large carnivores may enable pastoral activities that are sustainable…” — W.J. Ripple, et al., “Status and Ecological Effects of the World’s Largest Carnivores,” Science 343 (January 10, 2014).
This brings us back around to the idea of benefits, and in particular, how the ecological effects of large carnivores are perceived by different individuals. To ecologists and many supporters of wolves, the effects associated with large carnivores amount to important ecological benefits that are not monetized in any existing industry. But to some hunters, the idea that elected officials should allow predators to limit the number of elk and deer is tantamount to treason; any limitation on ungulate hunting opportunity is perceived as a cost. Correction (1/23/14): An earlier version of this post misidentified Virgil Moore. He is the director of IDFG.
These differences in perception help explain why wolf management — including the current issue regarding shooting wolves in the wilderness — is so controversial. Elk hunting opportunities in Idaho abound, and those benefits are accrued by hunters across the state and beyond. But accruing the ecological “benefits” associated with wolves will require people to allow them to reach densities where they can provide that function. Idaho’s approach to wolf management sends a message that such benefits are unwelcome — even in a federally-designated wilderness.
Jeremy Bruskotter is associate professor in the School of Environment and Natural Resources at The Ohio State University. His research interests emphasize the application of social and psychological theory and methods to the study of fisheries and wildlife management.
The views and opinions expressed here are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of Boise State University or the College of Social Sciences and Public Affairs.

Tags: Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Michael Siegrist, Rober L. Beschta, Virgil Moore, William J. Ripple, wolves
About The Blue Review:

The Blue Review is a journal of popular scholarship published by the Boise State University College of Social Sciences and Public Affairs.


It's an election year, so expect our leaders in Boise to avoid the most important issues while tackling the ones that score the most political points
by Mary Lou Reed

Idaho's 105 legislators are back in their comfortable seats under the capitol dome in Boise, intent on carrying out the state's important and urgent business.

Well, maybe not so important. And maybe not so urgent. And maybe not even so comfortable.

This year, you see, is an election year, and concern for primary elections trumps most everything for the Republicans, who are in charge. For chomping at the bit back in the legislators' home districts are even more conservative candidates, eager to run against any RINO (Republican In Name Only) who shows a weakness for cooperating with the moderate middle in order to get things done.

As always, the most important and largest bill the legislature must pay will cover the cost of running Idaho's public schools. This responsibility is required to assure Idaho's 287,000 students are getting off to an educated start in life.

The schools have taken a hit ever since the Great Recession messed up the economy, big time. In his budget presented to this year's Legislature, Republican Governor Butch Otter suggested the Legislature restore $35 million to the public schools budget for the coming year. This number still falls $60 million short of 2009 expenditures, without allowing for inflation.

The Governor's recommendation doesn't signal that a crusade has been launched to improve Idaho's financial investment in its public schools: Idaho ranks 50th in the amount of money it pays to educate its children.

The public school appropriation is in the hands of the 20 members of JFAC, the Joint Finance and Appropriation Committee. But the public school appropriation bill is almost the last bill the Legislature acts upon in any session, which, even in an election year, is a couple of months down the legislative calendar.

Meanwhile, everybody agrees that Medicaid expansion will not even be debated in the 2014 legislative session, which will leave 100,000 or more Idahoans without health insurance. The state will walk away from $90 million in federal funds while keeping the wildly extravagant current indigent-care system in place at a cost of $60 million in state and county funds. This is inexcusable, irresponsible behavior on the part of the state's leaders. It's a no-brainer gone sour.

If the education budget is in JFAC's custody and Medicaid expansion is off the table, what hot topics will the legislators address? My prediction: Guns and wolves will attract a fair amount of attention.

According to the Fish and Game Department, Idaho now has around 680 wolves throughout the state. In 2009, wolf hunting became legal, and the governor announced he wanted to shoot the first one.

Idaho and its predators caught the attention of the New York Times this past December, when a planned coyote and wolf shoot-to-kill derby was scheduled in Salmon. Organizers offered $2,000 to the participants who killed the most animals. The event fell flat when no wolves and only 21 coyotes were bagged by the 230 registered contestants.

Not everyone is happy with Governor Otter's $2 million budget request to establish a special wolf control board, separate from the Department of Fish and Game. "Control" is another word for "kill." I, for one, would rather put the $2 million in the public school pot.

The Fish and Game Commission is already actively "controlling" wolves by hiring a lone gunman to eliminate wolves in the 2,367-acre Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. The Idaho Conservation League has been remarkably tolerant on the wolf issue. But recently its Executive Director Rick Johnson asked, " If they can't live in the backcountry, where can they live?"

When 35 gray wolves were released in central Idaho in 1995, schoolchildren gave them names and followed their radio-relayed paths through the wilderness. As they thrived, their names disappeared and the wolves became numbers. As they multiplied, they became pests. Wolves, like coyotes, have always been pests to Idaho ranchers — and to the Idaho legislature.

It's refreshing to learn about Oregon's approach to a burgeoning wolf population. Oregon has developed a policy that calls for sheep and cattle outfits to use nonlethal methods to prevent wolves from snatching baby animals, especially lambs. These include simple measures such as keeping herds away from known wolf dens, employing loud noise alarms and scare devices, enlisting protective dogs and human herders, constructing barriers and building fences. Such items add costs but also avoid conflicts.

Consumers could be wooed to pay a little bit more for lambs raised in a certified, nonlethal-to-wolves environment.

The questions the reintroduction of wolves into Idaho has presented are worth pondering. Do we believe game hunting should include animals that we don't plan to eat? Is there room in our hearts, minds and geographical space for predators other than our own species? If so, are we willing to cover their costs? ♦

Tags: Comment, Comment, Idaho

I live in constant hope that the good people of Idaho are going to get fed up with Butch Otter and elect a governor that wants to do something other than kill every wolf, coyote, mountain lion, grizzly and black bear in the state. To know that Idaho ranks 50th in the amount of money it pays to educate its children should make every parent start demanding funds for their children's education take precedent over killing wolves!



OutdoorHub Reporters Daniel Xu 
January 21, 2014 

Wildlife experts say that wildfires and wolves have changed how elk populations behave.
Wildlife experts say that wildfires and wolves have changed how elk populations behave.

Idaho ranchers are calling the movement of elk into the southwest part of the state an “invasion.” Wildlife officials agree that the elk population is behaving and moving differently than before, and it is southern Idaho’s agricultural and ranching industry that is now under siege.

“The numbers are continuously growing out there,” rancher Mike Grimmett told The Times-News.

Grimmett says that over 1,500 elk trampled his property in Mayfield, consuming everything in sight. What they do not eat, the elk stomp into the ground. Elsewhere in Elmore County the situation is the same. According to the Capital Press, more than 4,000 elk have entered the Mayfield area alone. For the ranchers that own land there, it is a problem that is threatening their livelihood. On January 15, a group of landowners from Elmore County visited Boise and asked state legislators and wildlife officials for help.

“If we can’t solve this problem, we need to be compensated,” said rancher Jeff Lord. “I don’t want to be a winter elk feed provider. I want to be a rancher.”

Idaho Fish and Game experts believe that the elk moved into the area due to a series of wildfires and pressure from wolves.

“One of the things that has changed is elk distribution,” Fish and Game program coordinator Toby Boudreau told Boise State Public Radio. “Over the past 15 years we’ve seen elk populations increase in places that we really didn’t have elk in the mid to late 90s.”

Last year marked a number of devastating wildfires in elk habitat, including more than 280,600 acres burned in the Sawtooth and Boise national forests. Wolves also played a part in driving the elk south, notably along the Salmon River where Fish and Game biologists recorded a 40 percent drop in elk numbers since 2002. The problem was pressing enough for the state to hire a professional hunter to eliminate two packs in central Idaho last year.

While the ranchers just want the elk gone, Fish and Game officials say it is a delicate situation. The agency is working on a new 10-year elk management plan that will increase cooperation between wildlife officials, ranchers, and farmers.

“Management of wildlife is our job, and I think we’ll continue to do that,” Boudreau said. “And in places where we’ve seen declines in elk numbers, we will take actions to make things better for elk and find that balance.”

File image courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Any views or opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect those of OutdoorHub. Comments on this article reflect the sole opinions of their writers.



Reposted from The Wildlife News. 
Please read Mr. Cole's articles linked beneath this. We benefit from his diligent and thorough attention to Idaho wolf policy history.
by Ken Cole on January 13, 2014 · 30 

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is using a new definition for “breeding pair” that differs from the definition used in the USFWS delisting rule of 2009.
This definition is important because it is the primary marker used to determine whether wolves should remain delisted from protections of the Endangered Species Act or not. The state of Idaho seems committed to only maintain the absolute minimum number of breeding pairs it can to keep them from being relisted but Idaho Department of Fish and Game is having a difficult time monitoring wolves and documenting the minimum required number of breeding pairs because there has been such high mortality among collared wolves. This high mortality has caused them to lose contact with many of the packs they are trying to intensively monitor, in turn, it has led to them loosen the criteria they use to determine what constitutes a breeding pair. With the increased effort exhibited by Governor Otter to reduce the population even further, it may become even more difficult for Idaho Department of Fish and Game to conclusively document the minimum required number of breeding pairs.

There is a legal definition for what a wolf “breeding pair” is that is very specific and this definition has undergone changes over the years to make it even more specific. When the reintroduction of wolves was being contemplated during the 1980′s, the USFWS determined that it needed to define what a wolf breeding pair was so that they could accurately define the recovery goals.  The 1987 recovery plan
“specified a recovery criterion of a minimum of 10 breeding pairs of wolves (defined as 2 wolves of opposite sex and adequate age, capable of producing offspring) for a minimum of 3 successive years in each of 3 distinct recovery areas…”

The 1994 Wolf Recovery Plan
changed this definition in the 2009 Wolf Delisting Rule as they explain below. 

We were particularly concerned about the 1987 definition of a breeding pair, since any male and female wolf are ‘capable’ of producing offspring and lone wolves may not have territories. […] Based on our analysis, we redefined a breeding pair as an adult male and an adult female wolf that have produced at least 2 pups that survived until December 31 of the year of their birth, during the previous breeding season.

As described in the 2009 Rule, this definition was intentionally changed to be very specific and implicitly requires that the Idaho Department of Fish and Game identify the two breeding adults by sex and their pups at the end of each year now that they are tasked with management authority.  Instead, Idaho Department of Fish and Game has been cutting corners and classifying any two adult wolves, regardless of sex, and two pups, regardless of their relation to those specific adult wolves, as a “breeding pair”.  This allows the Idaho Department of Fish and Game to pad the books in their favor.  There are several scenarios where this could be true.  For example, two male adults and two pups could be classified as a breeding pair under their revised criteria.  And that requires the ability to distinguish between pups and adults.

This is important because“[a]fter delisting, if in any 1 of the 3 recovery areas the wolf population fell below the minimum of 10 breeding pairs for 2 consecutive years, then wolves in that recovery area would be considered for protective status under the [Endangered Species] Act.” -see 2009 Delisting Rule

The 2009 Delisting Rule,
which is the rule that the USFWS was required to publish in the Federal Register when Congress delisted wolves in the Northern Rockies outside of Wyoming, contains triggers for a status review.

Three scenarios could lead us to initiate a status review and analysis of threats to determine if relisting is warranted including: (1) If the State wolf population falls below the minimum NRM wolf population recovery level of 10 breeding pairs of wolves and 100 wolves in either Montana or Idaho at the end of the year; (2) if the wolf population segment in Montana or Idaho falls below 15 breeding pairs or 150 wolves at the end of the year in either of those States for 3 consecutive years; or (3) if a change in State law or management objectives would significantly increase the threat to the wolf population. All such reviews would be made available for public review and comment, including peer review by select species experts. Additionally, if any of these scenarios occurred during the mandatory 5-year post-delisting monitoring period, the post-delisting monitoring period would be extended 5 additional years from that point.

The 2012 IDFG Report
changes what is considered a breeding pair. Instead of identifying the adults in a breeding pair as “an adult male and an adult female wolf”, the IDFG changed that to “≥2 adults” with no specification of sex.  Because it is difficult to identify the sex of the adults, without a close observation, it appears that IDFG is sidestepping this requirement.  Similarly, it is virtually impossible to differentiate a pup from an adult after December 31 while observing them from an airplane, which is how the end-of-year monitoring is conducted.  To underscore this, in Yellowstone they routinely capture wolves in January by darting them from a helicopter and they have caught a number of sub-yearling pups that weigh as much as 90 pounds. When you compare this to the average weight of adults, 86 lbs for adult females and 101 lbs for adult males, you can see the the difficulty of differentiating between adults and pups at this time of year from the air.

Here is how the 2012 IDFG Report 
determined what constituted a “breeding pair” in 2012:

Breeding pair status was evaluated considering all data collected for a pack from spring through winter. Breeding pairs were determined by either: harvest or capture of ≥2 pups after December 31, 2012 from a documented pack with ≥2 adults known present at end of year, or summer verification (via visual/aural/remote camera observations or DNA analysis) of ≥2 pups and 2 adults and one or more of the following: late fall/winter aerial, ground, or trail camera observations by IDFG/NPT or cooperating agency biologists consistent with the persistence of ≥2 pups and 2 adults; late fall/winter verified public observations consistent with existing pack information and indicating the persistence of ≥2 pups and 2 adults; and/or no documented mortality indicating <2 pups or <2 adults at end of year.

Using this method, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game determined that at the end of 2012 there were 35 breeding pairs.

The State of Idaho and Nez Perce Tribe (NPT) monitored wolves cooperatively in 2012 in Idaho through a Memorandum of Agreement signed in 2005. Biologists documented 117 packs extant within the state at the end of 2012. The year-end population was estimated at 683 wolves (Appendix A), an 11% decline since 2011. In addition, there were 23 documented border packs counted by Montana, Wyoming, and Washington that had established territories overlapping the Idaho state boundary at the end of 2012. Of the 66 Idaho packs known to have reproduced, 35 packs qualified as breeding pairs at the end of the year. These reproductive packs produced a minimum of 187 pups.

The obvious question is, how many of these breeding pairs actually met the USFWS definition? The bigger question is, can Idaho Department of Fish and Game conclusively document the minimum number of breeding pairs in the future when the population gets closer to the apparent 15 breeding pair goal of the Idaho political elite? I’m sure that Idaho Department of Fish and Game will start throwing around statistics to counter this but the paper that they cite in their reports each year
only evaluated that the probability of different sized groups of wolves would contain a “breeding pair” under circumstances where there wasn’t heavy hunting, trapping, and control pressure that takes approximately 40% of the population each year. The study was conducted pre-delisting when the only real pressure on wolf populations was killing by Wildlife Services or natural deaths by other wolves, during a time when populations were growing.  Clearly these are not the existing conditions.

Currently the Idaho Department of Fish and Game is attempting to address this monitoring problem by placing more collars on wolves and focusing intensive monitoring on a certain number of wolf packs. They are trying to identify the breeding adults and get good pup counts but they were having problems because so many of the collared wolves were being killed and contact was lost with many packs. This seems to explain the fudging of the definition and adds uncertainty to whether the state can conclusively show that they meet the minimum numbers as required by the delisting rule when populations get closer to the objectives set out by the Legislature.

You can add even more uncertainty to this problem when you factor in Governor Otter’s proposal to create a “wolf control board”
or factor in the new strategy developed by private groups who have created a private bounty program
that reimburses wolf trappers $500 dollars for each dead wolf. Additionally, you might want to factor in the Idaho Department of Fish and Game killing of wolves in wilderness, or the likelihood of more wolf derbies.

One form of growth we don’t want to encourage is in the wolf population that was imposed on us almost twenty years ago. With your unflinching support we were able to fight through the opposition of those who would make Idaho a restricted use wildlife refuge and take back control of these predators from our federal landlords. Now we’re managing them now, and they’re a trophy hunting species (sic), and the population is still growing, and our resources remain at risk.  So I’m calling for the establishment of a wolf control fund and a state board to direct and manage it. My budget recommendation that calls for a one-time allocation of two-million dollars to get the fund started. That base could be… would be augmented with continuing annual contributions of at least a hundred-and-ten-thousand dollars from the livestock industry and a matching amount from the Idaho sportsmen. This three-pronged approach will provide the revenues needed to effectively control Idaho’s burgeoning wolf population and ease the impact on our livestock and our wildlife. - Governor Clement Leroy “Butch” Otter at his January 6, 2014 State of the State Address

Contrary to the assertion by Governor Otter that the wolf population has increased, the population of wolves has actually declined from its high of 856 by about 20% to 683 as of the end of 2012. In addition, since we’ve had another year of hunting, trapping, and agency killing, the population has probably declined further this year.  By my tally there have been 464 wolves killed this year, 39 more than the 425 documented deaths last year.  He should probably get his facts straight before setting wolf policy but I guess it’s a long standing tradition in Idaho to set wolf policy based on inaccurate information.

I question whether there are adequate regulatory mechanisms in place to protect wolves in Idaho now that Idaho has taken over management of them. You should too.

For more information see these past articles on The Wildlife News:
Who’s not willing to compromise on wolves? on OCTOBER 11, 2010 by KEN COLE

Wolf mortality in Idaho, a final toll. 48 – 59 percent of Idaho wolves killed in one year. on MAY 7, 2012 by KEN COLE

State Public Records Request Shows Widespread Capture and Mortality of Non-Target Animals Related to Idaho Wolf Trapping During 2011/2012 Trapping Season on FEBRUARY 14, 2013 by KEN COLE

Idaho Year-End Wolf Population Declines 11% to 683. Livestock Losses Increase.  on APRIL 2, 2013 by KEN COLE

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By Leonard Hitchcock

Where in Idaho can a wolf find a friend? Obviously not among the cattlemen, or the sheep men, and certainly not among the hunters and outfitters, whose credo seems to be: If humans enjoy killing another species, like elk, then they have the right to eliminate any non-human predator that reduces their chances of doing so.

And then there are all those Idahoans who may not feel any particular animosity toward wolves, but for whom wolves symbolize the big, bad federal government’s unwelcome interference in Idaho’s affairs. These are the same people who eagerly help themselves to federal agricultural support payments and tax subsidies and cheap grazing fees for public lands, and snatch at dollars flowing into the state from innumerable other federal programs, but who feel that only Idahoans have a right to control that land within the state that legally belongs to all the citizens of the nation.

When the U.S. Congress – which is to say, the people of this country – passed the Wilderness Act, in 1964, its intentions were perfectly clear. The country was in danger of losing all those areas in which nature alone shaped the landscape and the living things within it: areas that could still remind us of the America that Europeans found several hundred years ago when they appropriated it and began the inexorable process of transforming it to suit their needs and desires; areas in which we can now find solitude and rejuvenation; where we can reestablish contact with the daily rhythms and activities of a living world independent of us, a world in which we are now, of necessity, only visitors, yet one to which we are still attuned because it is akin to the world in which our species evolved.

The Wilderness Act was intended to preserve such areas as these by protecting them from further alteration by human activity, and to thereby “secure for the American people of present and future generations the benefits of an enduring resource of wilderness.” A Wilderness area was to be “an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man.” It was to be managed “so as to preserve [its] natural conditions” and “wilderness character.” Humans could enter Wilderness areas, but only for a short time. They could study, backpack, hunt and fish, but their impact on the area had to be minimal, and they could leave behind nothing but footprints.

The state of Idaho has clearly violated both the spirit and letter of the Wilderness Act. It has hired a hunter to exterminate two wolf packs within the boundaries of the Frank Church – River of No Return Wilderness (FCRNRW). The agents of this violation are primarily the Idaho Fish and Game department (IDFG) and the National Forest Service, which aided and abetted the extermination project by allowing the use of its landing strip and cabin.

The target of this killing project is not a visitor to the FCRNRW, it is a resident. It lived there before Asian peoples crossed the Bering Strait, before the Europeans came. It is a true, native Idahoan. It was, regrettably, absent from that wilderness for many years because humans exterminated it. When the area was being considered for wilderness status, the only serious shortcoming of the region, apart from that cabin and two airstrips, was the human-caused absence of wolves. But now the wolf has been restored to its home, and it is now, as it was before, an integral and vital element in the ecology of that wilderness.

Idaho has betrayed the spirit of the Wilderness Act because, in areas so designated, nature must be allowed to take its course. Governments are required to insure that humans do not interfere with the natural forces which shape life in those areas, and must not manipulate the ecosystem to serve their own purposes. It has violated the letter of the law because, while the management regulations for wilderness areas do allow for certain interventions by man, those interventions must be narrowly restricted to actions that make no major or long-lasting alteration in the dominance of those natural forces. And any actions which threaten to make such changes must go through a careful review process before they can be approved.

The reasons for the Idaho wolf extermination project are obvious and largely acknowledged by the government. Wolves prey upon elk and deer. Hunters like to kill elk and deer. Killing two wolf packs will reduce predation on those animals, making them more abundant. IDFG profits from hunters killing elk and deer, as do outfitters, who are parasitic on the hunting community. The state, in other words, is intentionally altering the ecosystem in the FCRNRW in order to create profit for itself and the hunting industry.

The illegal actions of Idaho and the Forest Service have now been challenged in a suit brought by Dr. Ralph Maughan and three conservation organizations: Defenders of Wildlife, Western Watersheds Project, and Wilderness Watch. They charge the defendants with failing to submit their extermination plan for the required evaluations and violating the Wilderness Act, the National Forest Management Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act. The details of their indictment are available at:

The government of Idaho apparently listens attentively to those of its citizens who believe that land only has value if it can be physically exploited, i.e. to those citizens who would say “If you can’t grow something on a piece of land, or harvest what already grows there, or mine it, or build on it, or kill what lives there, either for sport or food, then what good is it?” These are not people to whom one can entrust the protection of wilderness areas. It’s time for the rest of us to be heard.

Leonard Hitchcock of Pocatello is a professor emeritus at Idaho State University.

c. R. Stucki says:
January 10, 2014 at 2:10 pm
Another bleeding-heart type whose liberal ideology far exceeds his understanding of the history of the area of central Idaho that we characterize as “wilderness”.

There is abundant historical evidence that wolves are not and never were native to the “Frank Church” wilderness.

Wolves are predators, and cannot exist in the absence of large big-game prey animals. Hitchcock, and millions of others who intuitively but incorrectly believe that all wild creatures chose the most rugged places in which to live prior to the European settlement of North America, are simply manifesting their egregious ignorance of historical fact.

Wolves were never exterminated from the FCRNRW, because they never were present until they were introduced (NOT “re-introduced”) from animals re-introduced to Yellowstone from Canada.

redneck says:
January 12, 2014 at 9:04 am
I think people should get to gather round up a lot of wolfs and grizzly bears, put them in inclosed trailers, we do not want the public to see them all caged up now do we.

Haul some to the liberal state of California and to the liberal established Washington D.C., you have to arrive at night and turn the animals in the city’s and parks.

I’m sure before they become large cities wolves and grizzly’s roamed the area’s

mostlymike says:
January 13, 2014 at 1:01 am

I guess you show why you call yourself “redneck.” You repeat the old story about California liberals and how they should get the wolves and bears.

I hate to have to help you, but you are also supposed to say “and put some wolves in Central Park in New York.” You can even do the cliches correctly.

mostlymike says:
January 13, 2014 at 10:50 am
c. R. Stucki said “Wolves were never exterminated from the FCRNRW, because they never were present until they were introduced (NOT “re-introduced”) from animals re-introduced to Yellowstone from Canada.”

It is true there were 3 or so wolves in central Idaho when the wolves from Alberta were introduced. There is no reason to think that these 3 were somehow descended from the wolves of Central Idaho from 90 years earlier. They migrated down from Canada themselves (or from Montana). All 3 wolves were male, not likely to sustain a population on their own.

c. R. Stucki says:
January 13, 2014 at 12:12 pm
Wolves have no choice. They do not do well on a grass diet, they have to live where the prey animals (large ungulates) live. That is currently the Rocky Mountains, because the white man crowded them off their natural habitat, which was mainly the great plains.

There is MUCH historical documentation of the fact that neither large ungulates nor the animals that prey upon them, were present in the Idaho wilderness areas.

Doubters should read the explorer’s journals.

Disgusted Reader says:
January 13, 2014 at 3:27 pm

Central Park already has wolves of the human variety.



Pragmatic conservationists say they can support wolf hunting, but not treating the restored species like vermin, especially in the wilderness.

By Rocky Barker
January 14, 2014 Updated 1 hour ago

Director Virgil Moore’s two goals for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game — to bring hunters and other wildlife advocates together and to increase elk numbers — have collided in the middle of the largest wilderness in the lower 48 states.

His agency’s hiring of a hunter-trapper to exterminate two packs of wolves in the 2.4 million-acre Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness has angered many of the people who had previously stayed out of the polarizing wolf debate. It’s also alienating some of the people who are critical to Moore’s efforts to expand funding for his department.

Gov. Butch Otter has proposed spending $2 million to create a separate Wolf Control Board, taking more money from declining license revenues to kill more wolves that prey on livestock and the elk Moore wants to grow.

Moore has been director of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game since 2011. In 2012, he hosted a wildlife summit designed to bring together hunters and nonhunters to support their common love of the elk, deer, bears, birds and other critters. And throughout his term he has sought to rebuild elk populations that have declined in some areas where elk habitat has diminished.

In both cases, the polarization sparked by the 1995 reintroduction of wolves into the Northern Rockies has blocked his way.

Wolf advocates in Idaho and nationally are angry with Idaho’s aggressive efforts to reduce wolf numbers. But many conservation groups had supported Moore and the department, hopeful that he can bring the same respect to state wolf management that Fish and Game brought to mountain lions in the early 1970s.

Deciding to hire staff to eliminate entire packs of wolves is more than they can tolerate.

“It’s a product of not respecting the existence of that creature,” said Jim Akenson, a wildlife biologist and hunter who spent 18 of the past 29 years at the University of Idaho’s Taylor Ranch in the wilderness residents affectionately call “the Frank.” “It’s the same thing Maurice Hornocker encountered when he pushed to protect cougars as game animals.”

Hornocker, a legendary wildlife biologist who lives in Hailey, did the research on lions 50 years ago in the same area where Fish and Game’s hunter is seeking to kill wolves. His research was the foundation for the agency policy that elevated cougars from varmint to trophy animals.

Moore has stressed that the department doesn’t want to eliminate wolves, just manage their numbers — like it does cougars. Idaho has more than 700 wolves and about 100 packs or breeding pairs.

As much as it is about numbers of wolves, for conservationists the issue also is how they are treated. A hired gun in the wilderness goes beyond Fish and Game’s traditional means of reducing trophy animal numbers through public hunting and trapping.

For Moore, however, the issue is numbers. Elk populations have dropped in the Middle Fork of the Salmon River drainage as hunters and six packs of wolves have killed enough elk to keep the population from responding to the growth of new food sources after 20 years of fire. Hunter elk harvests have dropped in recent years, but wolf predation remains high.

Hunting wolves is a method that Akenson and other conservationists can accept. But because “the Frank” is remote and hard to get to, hunters have not been a factor in reducing wolf numbers.

Fish and Game’s draft elk plan calls for culling two of the six wolf packs, Moore said, and hiring a hunter-trapper to do it is the only tool the agency has.

“This is more a philosophical and social issue, not a biological issue,” Moore said. “I think we’re going to have to sit down and take some time and have some dialogue on it.”

The Idaho Conservation League is one of the conservation groups that has stayed away from the polarizing edge of the wolf debate. It is not among the groups that sued in U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge’s court to halt the extermination of the two packs in the Middle Fork drainage. Executive Director Rick Johnson said he’s heard from many members disappointed that the Idaho group hasn’t fought harder against wolf killings.

But other ICL members, including hunters, support its middle-of-the-road approach.

ICL staff helped write the Idaho wolf management plan in 2002, a plan that allowed wolves to expand in areas where they don’t cause problems. It set goals for 10 to 15 packs statewide. Today, that seems low; at the time, the plan met the federal expectations for recovering the species, 150 wolves.

“We certainly recognize that success for wolf recovery means state management and we believe it’s a success,” Johnson said.

The carrying capacity for wolves and elk is not simply biological numbers, he said. There is a social carrying capacity as well.

“I get that, in the front country, there is going to be robust management for a bunch of different reasons,” Johnson said. “One of them is it keeps the wolves focused on the real backcountry.

“If they can’t live there,” he asks, “where can they live?”

Fish and Game’s own agency culture more closely aligns with this pragmatic conservationist view that supports hunting but also values wildlife such as wolves, bluebirds and otters, said John Freemuth, a political science professor at Boise State University who follows wildlife and federal management issues. But Idaho’s political structure places elk and deer, along with livestock, above predators.

“Virgil is walking a balance beam here,” Freemuth said. “He’s much more attuned, and his agency is culturally, to moving to other wildlife concerns, but they are constantly yanked back by the politicians.”

Among the most prominent voices calling for more wolf control is Republican Sen. Jeff Siddoway, a sheep grower from Terreton. He is Otter’s main legislative supporter for the Wolf Control Board, which he said needs to focus on reducing the wolf population that has cost sheep businesses such as his. He said he’s had $30,000 to $50,000 in losses annually over the past eight years.

State records show that 337 sheep were killed in 2012, the latest number available, compared to 147 in 2011. Cattle ranchers lost about 90 head in both years.

But already some legislators are skeptical about spending $2 million to kill wolves. With a total population of about 700 wolves, that’s $2,800 for every wolf in Idaho, living or dead.

Rep. Lawerence Denney, chairman of the House Resources and Conservation Committee, said Fish and Game needs to be free to do its job, protecting the game animals that encourage hunters to buy licenses.

“It’s impacting their bottom line as well, because there’s not the game populations there once was and they’re trying to protect their major base,” Denney said.

Polls by Boise State University through the 1990s showed a plurality or a majority of Idahoans support having wolves in Idaho when the animals are in the wilderness or the state’s roadless areas. That support is why this issue remains a source of tension.

“I’d rather have some wolves around and see a few less elk so I can hear some wolves, and I think there’s a lot of silent hunters in Idaho who share that view,” said Akenson, who now lives in Enterprise, Ore.

Siddoway, a former Idaho Fish and Game commissioner, worries about the effect of wolves on elk and deer as well as livestock. But he’s as tired of the polarization as anyone.

He doesn’t think this is the year the two sides can find common ground, especially about a control board. But he thinks ranchers, hunters and wolf advocates are going to have to sit down and talk eventually.

“We’ve got to find agreement,” Siddoway said.

Rocky Barker: 377-6484

LinkElk Zone Management
LinkWolf B2 changed Idaho

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission will vote Jan. 16 on the state elk management plan that includes the Middle Fork of the Salmon River zone and calls for hiring a hunter-trapper to eliminate two of six packs of wolves.

A public hearing is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Washington Group Plaza at 720 Park Blvd.

Idaho Wolves and Elk

 1995-96: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reintroduced 35 wolves into Idaho, augmenting several lone wolves living in the state.

 2002: Idaho had 300 wolves and the number was growing; the Legislature approved a state management plan.

 2011: Congress removed wolves in Idaho, Montana, eastern Oregon, eastern Washington and northern Utah from the threatened species list.

 2012: Idaho Fish and Game sold 80,577 elk tags, and hunters killed 16,418 elk — a 20 percent success rate. In 1996, 100,527 hunters had a 25 percent success rate.



Betsy Z. Russell 
The Spokesman-Review
January 12, 2014 in Idaho
BOISE – Sen. Russ Fulcher is ripping Gov. Butch Otter’s proposal for a new $2 million wolf control fund. “I don’t know what we need to spend $2 million for,” Fulcher said on a Boise talk radio show this past week, after Otter announced the new fund in his State of the State message. Fulcher, who is challenging Otter in the GOP primary, said Otter’s plan would “create another bureaucracy in order to manage this.”

Otter’s proposed state budget for next year calls for spending $2 million in state general funds to start up the new fund, and then adding contributions each year of $110,000 from hunting license fees and the livestock industry to sustain the fund. “This three-pronged approach will provide the revenue needed to more effectively control Idaho’s burgeoning wolf population and ease the impact on our livestock and wildlife,” Otter said to applause.

Wolf control is a touchy subject; Idaho currently is being sued over its move to hire a professional hunter to exterminate two wolf packs in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness, and federal wildlife agencies have lost a chunk of their funding for such efforts to federal budget cuts in recent years.

Fulcher, R-Meridian, said, “Why wouldn’t we just increase the number of (wolf hunting) tags and let one predator take care of another? … This is an emotional issue in this state. I don’t know why we need another bureaucracy.”

Jana Jones, a Democrat who narrowly lost to Tom Luna in 2006, is making another run for state superintendent of public instruction. “I’ve spent the last 40 years in education in the classroom, in school districts, at the state level, and in both the public and private sectors and I know what it takes to bring everyone to the table to do what’s best for Idaho’s kids,” Jones said in her announcement.

Jones, who holds a bachelor’s degree in special education and a doctorate in educational leadership, taught public school and holds state endorsements to serve as a principal, superintendent and special education director. She also founded a prominent early childhood education center in Idaho Falls, headed Gov. Cecil Andrus’ Office for Children, worked at the state Department of Education under three superintendents and was chief deputy superintendent to then-Superintendent Marilyn Howard. In the 2006 election, Luna defeated Jones 51 percent to 49 percent; Luna had lost to Howard four years earlier.

Jones said, “There’s lots of work to do. Budgets and programs have been cut, classrooms are overcrowded, local control has been diminished and trust has been lost. You have to ask yourself: Do you feel better about our schools today than you did a few years ago? Probably not. I want us to start feeling good about our schools again.”

Luna, a Republican, has not yet announced whether he’ll seek a third term as superintendent. He was re-elected in 2010 with 60.5 percent of the vote, but his signature school reform laws were repealed by voters last year, with one drawing a 66.7 percent “no” vote.

Nearly 2,000 people traveled to Boise from all parts of the state in 2011 and 2012 to have their say on the state budget at big public hearings, a first for the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee. Until then, it had been the only committee in the Legislature that didn’t take public testimony, though it writes the entire state budget.

That ended last year, when two hearings were scheduled but then legislative leaders canceled them, saying they didn’t want the budget committee to get out ahead of the House and Senate education committees as they considered the results of voters’ rejection of the Students Come First school reform referendums.

Now, the public hearings are back. This year, the Health and Welfare and Education committees will host public hearings, and then JFAC will have one, too – on Valentine’s Day.

“I think it’s important,” said JFAC Co-Chair Dean Cameron, R-Rupert. Past hearings came during big budget cuts. Times are different now, but there’s still not enough state revenue to cover all the identified needs, Cameron said. “It’s important to help us prioritize the money that we have.”

Fulcher issued a video response to Otter’s State of the State message decrying Otter’s “tepid leadership” and saying the two-term governor’s address “offers more evidence that he is out of touch with Idaho’s problems.” His campaign acknowledged, however, that the video was prerecorded – before Fulcher saw the speech.

Tags:2014 Idaho LegislatureButch OtterIdaho politicsRuss Fulcher


Eye On Boise

Posted by Betsy
Jan. 8, 2014 9:17 a.m.  
Here's a news item from the Associated Press: 
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — An Idaho senator who ranches sheep is promoting Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter's proposed wolf population control panel, saying the $2 million the Republican governor has set aside will boost livestock and elk herds. Sen. Jeff Siddoway of Terreton told the Idaho Falls Post Register Tuesday ( “anything that reduces the wolf population is good.” Siddoway has been behind many of the recent wolf control measures the Legislature has considered. In 2012, he pushed a failed measure to let livestock owners pursue problem wolves from powered parachutes or even use their own pets to lure predators into a rifle's scope. Otter's proposal foresees a five-member state board, including state agriculture and wildlife officials, along with ranching, hunting and wolf advocacy representatives, to help manage wolves, which now number 680 in Idaho.


Sportsmen, livestock industry would annually provide matching 
dollars for fund in future years.

By Christina Lords
(Idaho Falls) Post Register 
January 8, 2014 

Sen. Jeff Siddoway may have been the happiest man in the Idaho House of Representative’s chambers on Monday as Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter rolled out a proposal for $2 million in start-up funds for wolf population control in Idaho.

That’s because controlling Idaho’s wolf population doesn’t hit quite as close to home for many legislators as it does for the longtime Terreton Republican and sheep rancher.

In August, the Siddoway Sheep Co. herders said they came across a gruesome scene: a pile of 176 sheep carcasses killed in a wolf attack. It’s the greatest one-time loss from wolves the company has ever had. Siddoway said he hopes the Wolf Control Fund will help prevent losses like that from happening to other Idaho livestock owners.

“Anything that reduces the wolf population is a good thing,” Siddoway said. “I don’t think there’s a person in the state that could give you an accurate estimate about how many wolves we have. All we’re hoping is that if we get a reduction in numbers, that our losses are ultimately going to be less.”

Otter proposed the establishment of the fund along with a five-member state board to manage it during the governor’s State of the State address. The money will go to further efforts to reduce the wolf population. It will not be used to reimburse ranchers for livestock killed by wolves.

“With your unflinching support,” Otter told legislators, “we were able to fight through the opposition of those who would make Idaho into a restricted-use wildlife refuge and take back control of these predators from our federal landlords.”

But wolf advocates, such as the Northern Idaho Wolf Alliance publicly decried the proposal, citing concerns over the Idaho Department of Fish and Game’s recent decision to hire a hunter to control wolf populations around the Middle Fork of the Salmon River.

Siddoway said the board will be co-chaired by Fish and Game’s director and the director of the Idaho Department of Agriculture. The remaining membership will be appointed by Otter and will include a representative of Idaho sportsmen, a representative of livestock owners and a member at-large. That at-large member will likely represent the interests of wolf advocates, Siddoway said.

Otter’s budget recommendation calls for a one-time general fund allocation of $2 million to start the fund for fiscal year 2015, with annual contributions of $110,000 from members of the livestock industry and a match from Idaho sportsmen thereafter. Some of that funding will come from hunting licensing in the state, Siddoway said.

“This three-pronged approach will provide the revenue needed to more effectively control Idaho’s burgeoning wolf population and ease the impact on our livestock and wildlife,” Otter said.

Siddoway agreed.

“It’ll allow more people to go out and actually do the hunting and trapping,” he said. “It’ll finance that. Some of the work may be done aerially either by fixed-wing (aircraft) or helicopter, depending on the terrain.”

Idaho law stipulates only agencies can kill wolves aerially, not members of the public.

According to Fish and Game, 192 wolves have been harvested so far during the 2013-2014 season. Two hundred and two wolves were killed during the 2011-12 season and 270 were harvested during the 2010-2011 season.

In 2012, the agency reported 122 confirmed depredation incidents, including 90 cows, 251 sheep and four dogs for a total of 345 animals killed by a wolf attack.

Sharon Kiefer, Fish and Game’s deputy director for programs and policy, said the pending legislation to establish the fund was overseen by representatives of the governor’s office, Fish and Game and the Idaho Department of Agriculture.

She stressed the funding would go toward wolf depredation — not toward compensation to ranchers who lose livestock to wolves. “This has nothing to do with compensation; this has everything to do with depredation,” Kiefer said.

Sen. Steve Bair, R-Blackfoot, said sportsmen and other constituents are as concerned about controlling wolves as ranchers. “Hunting opportunities have just disappeared in some areas because of the depredation (and loss of) some of the elk,” Bair said.


Updated January 9. 2014


Seven Wolves Killed In Idaho’s Frank Church Wilderness by Government Hired Trapper
Plaintiffs in the case against the wolf killing plan for the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness in Idaho have learned that at least 7 wolves have been killed by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game hired trapper as of January 2nd.  It is possible that more have been killed but communication with the trapper is conducted only when the trapper calls out using a satellite phone which is kept turned off most of the time.

From the court filing:

Plaintiffs learned from counsel for defendant Virgil Moore that, as of January 2, 2014, IDFG’s hired hunter-trapper had killed seven wolves within the targeted wolf packs, six by trapping and one by hunting, and that more wolves may have been killed as of today. Defendant Moore’s counsel further advised that IDFG’s only means of communication with the hunter-trapper is a satellite telephone in the hunter-trapper’s possession, and that, to preserve the phone’s batteries, the hunter-trapper turns on the phone only when he places a call.

In response, the plaintiffs have filed a second motion for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) with an expedited briefing schedule.

Read Second Motion for TRO

Plaintiffs, represented by Tim Preso of Earthjustice, include Ralph Maughan and three conservation groups—Defenders of Wildlife, Western Watersheds Project, Wilderness Watch, and Center for Biological Diversity.  The case, which was filed yesterday, challenges US Forest Service’s approval of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game’s plan to exterminate two wolf packs in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness on the grounds that it violates several laws, management plans, and policies which are meant to protect wilderness characteristics, wildlife, and natural processes within wilderness. 



By Eric Barker / Lewiston Tribune
Updated Jan 8, 2014 at 12:01AM - Published Jan 7, 2014 at 10:54PM

The hunters behind the little-known Foundation For Wildlife Management know three things about trapping wolves.

First, it is a much more effective wolf-management tool than hunting. Wolf hunters have a success rate of less than 1 percent, while trappers enjoy a success rate near 25 percent.

Second, wolf trapping is time consuming and expensive. Traps need to be checked at least once every three days, and that can involve driving hundreds of miles.

“It costs me $48 a day on an average day, and I have to go every 72 hours,” said Jack Hammack, of Sandpoint, Idaho, a founding member of the group. “It’s typically between a 10- and a 13-hour day.”

It takes so much time and money to be a serious wolf trapper that group members feared many hunters, even those like themselves who desperately want to see wolf populations thinned, would either not take up trapping or not stick with it. So they formed the foundation, a sort of wolf-trapping cooperative that essentially pays regular- joe trappers to kill wolves.

People can join the group for $35. Those who join and then successfully trap a wolf can submit their expenses and be reimbursed up to $500 per wolf.

Hammack said it has increased the number of active trappers in the Panhandle Region, and the idea is ripe for export to other areas of the state and perhaps even to Montana.

That leads to the third thing they know about wolf trapping and wolves in general: It is an extremely controversial and emotional issue.

“We haven’t had a whole lot of publicity to this point. We have avoided it and been able to be successful without it,” Hammack said. “It’s so easy to get unwanted publicity. All we are trying to do is help the department reach its objectives.”

They saw what happened in Salmon recently when the group Idaho For Wildlife held a wolf and coyote hunting derby. Environmental groups filed a lawsuit in an unsuccessful attempt to stop the derby, which eventually resulted in 21 dead coyotes and no dead wolves.

They no doubt recall the uproar two years ago when a trapper near Elk City paused and posed for a photograph in front of a trapped wolf before dispatching the animal. They are aware an Idaho Fish and Game program that is paying a trapper to kill wolves in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness Area has drawn attention from environmental groups. They also know some will label their program a bounty.

But as they look to expand their reach, they know publicity is coming and probably necessary. The group will hold a meeting at 7 p.m. Jan. 23 at the department’s Clearwater regional headquarters in Lewiston. The group is also scheduled to give a report Jan. 16 at the Idaho Fish and Game Commission meeting in Boise.




Thank you for your article, “Wolves suspected of killing 8 sheep in Wyoming” (Missoulian, Aug. 30). Does anyone else find it awfully strange that sheep at yet another ranch owned by Idaho state Sen. Jeff Siddoway have allegedly been killed by wolves? Has a nationwide wolf alert gone out to attack all things Siddoway? Or could something else be going on here?

Jeff Siddoway hates wolves. That is no secret to anyone in the country at this point. When the sheep died at his Idaho ranch after trampling on each other (and not from being killed by wolves), Wildlife Services, a federal agency constantly in the news due to their widespread slaughter of wildlife, came in and 13 wolves lost their lives. Nine of these were pups, who clearly were not attacking sheep. And the sheep were left there for days to rot and and send out a smelly message to wolves and other predators that there was a free meal to be had. Trying to attract more wolves to kill, perhaps? It was certainly irresponsible, at the very least.

So forgive me if I am not willing to condemn wolves in this latest incident. Because something really stinks here. Is it the smell of rotting sheep? Whatever it is, it’s enough to keep me, and others who come to the Rocky Mountain states to see wolves, from visiting. I, and my hard-earned money, can find other places to visit.

Janet Hoben,
Burbank, Calif.

Here is the news from the Missoulian about Mr. Siddoway's report of sheep deaths by wolves.


August 30, 2013 3:24 pm  •  Associated Press
JACKSON, Wyo. — Officials with an Idaho company say wolves are suspected of killing eight of its sheep on a public land grazing allotment in Wyoming during the past 10 days.

The sheep are owned by the Siddoway Sheep Co., which is based in Terreton, Idaho. It is the same company that reported losing 176 sheep nearby in Idaho two weeks ago after wolves caused the herd to stampede and crush each other.

The eight sheep killed in Wyoming were located on a grazing allotment in the Bridger-Teton National Forest south of Hoback Junction.

J.C. Siddoway says that the company has had wolf problems there for about five years.

Wyoming Game and Fish Department officials are investigating.

Wolf, Wyoming Wolves, Wolf Depredation, Sheep Kills, Siddoway Sheep Company, Terreton, Idaho, Hoback Junction, Wyoming Wolf Kills

Photo credit: Wolves suspected in 8 sheep deaths in Wyoming | News - Home 

by RALPH MAUGHAN on AUGUST 25, 2013 

We now know the true story of the recently deceased 176 sheep near Fogg Hill in Eastern Idaho — frightened into stampede, but not killed by wolves.  

We have to ask ourselves, have past wolf “massacre of sheep” stories been similarly misreported?

Back in 2009 near Dillon, Montana, there was much outrage, but few facts ever established when 120 ”purebred Rambouillet bucks” all turned up dead on a private pasture. They were  thought  to have been killed by the Centennial wolf pack which previously had no record of livestock depredations, although there had been previous depredations by other wolves in the area.

The exact location of the pasture was not given, nor its topography. We know that topography is critical when sheep panic.  We do know the sheep were left alone in the Blacktail Mountains, though they were reported to have been checked on every couple days. All the information the public received came from an article by Nick Gevock in the Montana Standard and another by Eve Byron in the Helena Independent Record.

When the “federal trapper” arrived to investigate, he found the “total included 82 confirmed kills and 40 carcasses that were classified as probable kills, including some that had been eaten by bears.”  Given what we have learned about Wildlife Services in the years since, there is an open question how accurate this determination was.

The wolves indeed might have gone into a frenzy and killed and killed for some reason. We even editorialized that that wolf pack had to be terminated, and a bunch of wolves were killed.

On the other hand, additional facts were impossible to come by. We were especially interested in the exact location. Now hard experience tells us to be open-minded about what really happened.  Other sporadic large kills of sheep ought to be reconsidered as well.

< O >

Idaho Senator Jeff Siddoway 
is in the spotlight again.
Maybe he will do the right thing here?
He IS a Senator in Idaho.
Isn't that what Senators in Idaho do?

From WolfWatcher:

"Don’t train wolves to eat sheep" -
~Dr. Chris Albert, Letter-to-the-Editor committee participant

For those who would like some background and the issue of grazing livestock on public lands, we suggest reading The Wildlife News's article -

Again, many orgs are doing fabulous work to foster peaceful coexistence with wolves and wildlife. We reported about them on Aug. 23rd (

Kudos to conservationists and ranchers who are working together to save stock and save wolves. Isn't it time some farmers and ranchers who are stuck in the past join the rest of modern America? We say yes...what say you?

The letter from Chris Albert, DVM ~ Lebanon Junction, KY:

As we learn to live with predators, the first and most important rule is not to feed them. It's the reason we don't feed bears National Parks - and now they leave us along.
What does the Siddoway sheep farm do when 175 sheep are killed in a stampede? They blame the wolves and then leave those 175 carcasses in place so the predators will come and eat them. They claim that "wolves are devastating to sheep ranching" and will incur even more sheep loss to wolves, since, in effect, the wolves are being trained to eat his sheep.
Mr.Siddoway, you are an Idaho senator. Please show some responsibility and remove those carcasses. The wolf recovery was welcomed by the nation and funded with all of our tax dollars. Many Americans feel vested in this venture and want to see it succeed.
Chris Albert. DVM
Lebanon Junction, KY


A Big Sheep Pile Up in Idaho  
and Some Wolves in Idaho 
and A Senator in Idaho 
and A Family in Idaho 
that Raises Sheep


Juniper Mountain Ranch
"A Great Place to Sit Back, Relax and Kill Everything."

Senator Jeff C. Siddoway's Biography & Contact info:

1. Idaho State Senator Jeff Siddoway owns Siddoway Sheep Company.

2. Senator Jeff Siddoway authors bill to kill wolves by any means possible.

3. The United States Congress shoots it down.

4. Senator Jeff Siddoway leaks story of 176 sheep killed. By two wolves.
Results in the Fed hunters killing 13 members of Idaho wolf pack. 

The sheep here belong to Senator Jeff Siddoway, and Cindy Siddoway. 
They both deal with raising sheep for money, both live in Idaho, and both have a connection to the "freak incident" that saw two lone wolves responsible for killing 176 sheep. 

"Freak incident". The words used in the news report, not mine.

5. U.S. Forest Service prohibits public from site of sheep massacre.
Claims danger to public.

6. And ALL of this comes on the heels of the news of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service catches it for meddling with the wolf delisting peer review processUSFWS

Makes you wonder, doesn't it?

Art credit: Wolf in Sheep's Clothing, Gustave Dore art print www~dot~artsycraftsy~dot~com - 

SO. What is that Senator in Idaho REALLY doing with those sheep?



Senator Jeff Siddoway also pushes amendment to turn Land Owner Appreciation bill into a no access gravy train.
Idaho rancher and State Senator Jeff Siddoway has introduced a bill (S1305) in the Idaho statehouse that would authorize the slaughter of wolves involved in molesting or killing livestock by any number of creative ways.

Idaho State Senator Siddoway
Posted: Tuesday, February 28, 2012 4:48 PM


BOISE, Idaho (AP) -- A bill that would allow Idaho ranchers to use powered parachutes, helicopters and live-bait traps to hunt problem wolves has died in the Senate.
Senators agreed Tuesday to send the controversial legislation back to the Resources and Environment Committee -- a move that likely ends the bill's chances this year.
Republican Sen. Jeff Siddoway of Terreton is a sheep rancher and the bill's lead sponsor. Siddoway gave an impassioned speech defending his legislation and decrying the impact wolves are causing on livestock producers statewide.
But he also acknowledged how his bill could risk putting wolves back on the federal Endangered Species List, and he urged his colleagues to send it back to committee.
The legislation would let ranchers track and kill wolves for 36 hours after an attack.
Copyright 2012 The AP.

Senator Siddoway seems to have some sort of fetish for killing wolves via extravagant means.  You may remember back in 2009 when Siddoway apparently authorized the private aerial gunning with – if I remember correctly a motorized parachute, to kill a wolf on his property in violation of the Airborne Hunting Act of 1956.  Idaho authorities refused to cite the senator for the incident. ed. note. Idaho’s prisons are overflowing with the less well connected.

Of the proposed legislation Siddoway says:

“You can basically go after them [wolves] by any means available,” Siddoway said. “And when I say ‘get ‘em’ I mean kill ‘em.”

The bill would allow aerial hunting, use of any weapon, including artificial light night scopes on rifles. Live bait also would be permitted to lure wolves to traps. In Siddoway’s case, the bait would be several of his sheep, corralled behind a temporary fence. Others might use dogs as bait, he said.

The bill does not require a livestock owner with a permit to protect his live bait, or limit what it could be.  It would allow use of a child (though other laws would prevent that).

The Siddoway Sheep Company Incorporated, which is partially owned by the Senator, received $865,952 in agricultural subsidies between the years 1995-2006. Siddoway has been president of the Idaho Woolgrowers, an Idaho Fish and Game Commissioner, but never a friend of wildlife or hunters, except the rich ones.

A few years back, Siddoway also fenced off 8 of his private square miles of his huge landholdings, which also include public land grazing permits. and carved out the “Juniper Mountain Ranch,” an elk farm where anyone can hunt elk behind a fence without a license or tag if they have a big wallet.  A 231-285 size bull will cost-$4,4954, however a big 400″ is $12,000.  Even larger bulls ares available . . .  prices on request.  So he has a sagebrush and juniper covered elk hunting farm, but he has more private property than that.  For that,  and presumably for other big Idaho land barons, he has introduced another piece of legislation that has already passed the Senate Committee — senate bill 1283.

If passed into law, Senator Siddoway’s proposal would amend fish and game code 36-104: 4-B 24-26 to read:

“any landowner issued a landowner appreciation program (LAP) controlled hunt tag may sell the tag to another person at any price upon which the parties mutually agree”.

According to the Idaho Wildlife Federation the purpose of the LAP program was to create a preferred  tag draw for landowners to ensure a tag to those whose property lay in controlled hunt units in deference for them providing wildlife habitat and sportsmen’s access. These tags were designed for use by the landowner and family members only, not for selling the tags for personal profit. Senate Bill S1283 destroys the original intent of the LAP program and allows landowners to sell hunting tags off to the highest bidder and keep the proceeds, and its appears without providing access.

This is so typical of Idaho’s land barons, and it shows why the Idaho Fish and Game Commission with its tradition of land baron, or kin of baron representation, doesn’t represent the public interest or the more narrow interest of hunters.

Back to bill s. 1305, the wolf baiting bill.  Every year the governor’s wolf compensation committee meets  and hands out “reimbursement” for “wolf-killed” livestock for which there is no hard proof.  Siddoway had some claims, and this year he complained there was not enough money in the fund. After the meeting ended he introduced the bill.

While Siddoway is doing all this, he is also sponsoring a constitutional amendment to guarantee the “right to hunt and trap.”
Folks ought to be able to see a diversion here.  If there are few to no tags for you and public land is blocked off, what use is a right to hunt?
< O >

August 19, 2013 
By Angela Montana

The first sentence of an article posted today on read “U.S. Forest Service officials are asking people to stay out of an area where a large sheep kill was reported over the weekend.”  Wolves have been confirmed responsible for the death of 176 sheep, approximately 5 1/2 hours from Missoula.

If you are a Montana wolf hunter/trapper, and you want to hunt/trap in Idaho, out-of-state tags can be picked up over the counter.  You can get more information on their wolf season dates and quotas by clicking HERE.

Check out the article:

Billie Siddoway, whose brother, J.C. Siddoway, runs sheep near Fogg Hill, posted this warning about the wolf kill Saturday at the trailheads of Pole Canyon and Fourth of July trails.

U.S. Forest Service officials are asking people to stay out of an area where a large sheep kill was reported over the weekend.

Jay Pence, Teton Basin District ranger, said the sheep kill could attract a lot of people hoping to see predators coming to feed on the carcasses.

Ranchers and others are trying to deal with the situation, and visitors can hamper their activities.

“There are a lot more fun things to look at than dead sheep,” said Pence.

Idaho Wildlife Services confirmed Monday that 176 sheep were killed during a wolf attack near Fogg Hill and the Pole Canyon area early Saturday morning.

The animals belonged to the Siddoway Sheep Company and were grazing in the area about six miles south of Victor, according to a release from Siddoway. The attack, they said, occurred around 1 a.m.

Todd Grimm, director of the Wildlife Services Program, said his office confirmed the depredation Sunday. Many of the animals died from suffocation, since some apparently fell in front of the rest, resulting in a large pile-up.

“This was a rather unique situation,” said Grimm. “Most of the time they don’t pile up like this, but the wolves got them running.”

Only one animal seems to have been eaten in the attack, according to the Siddoway release.

“The sheep are not fenced,” said Billie Siddoway, in an email interview. “They move every few days to a new pasture within a designated area. The sheep are herded and monitored by two full-time herders, four herding dogs and at least four guard dogs.”

Grimm said there is already a “control action” in the area. Since July 3, 12 wolves have been lethally trapped, including nine pups. The goal is to take them all, he said.

“We expect that bears and other scavengers will soon locate the kill site,” said Billie Siddoway.

< O >


Credit: Idaho Wildlife Services
by Associated Press
Posted on August 20, 2013 at 10:48 AM
Updated yesterday at 3:59 PM

176 sheep killed by wolves in 'freak' incident

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho -- A southeastern Idaho ranch lost 176 sheep as the animals ran in fear from two wolves that chased through a herd of about 2,400 animals south of Victor.
Sheepherders for the Siddoway Sheep Co. heard the wolves at about 1 a.m. Saturday, but didn't know the extent of the damage until they saw the sheep piled up on each other at daybreak.
J.C. Siddoway of Terreton says almost all of the sheep died from asphyxiation. About 10 died of bite wounds and one was partially consumed.
Idaho Wildlife Services State Director Todd Grimm says it's the greatest loss by wolves ever recorded in one instance in the state. About nine years ago, wolves killed 105 sheep on one night.
Grimm says a dozen wolves have been removed from the Pine Creek area this year.
< O >

by Matt Standal
Follow: @KTVBMatt
Posted on August 21, 2013 at 3:31 PM
Updated yesterday at 4:22 PM

VICTOR, Idaho -- Cindy Siddoway's family has raised sheep on the western slope of the Teton Mountains for more than 100 years.
In that time, the Siddoway Ranch has dealt with a variety of predators, including grizzlies and black bears, secretive mountain lions, and more recently -- wolves.
Siddoway says it's the reintroduction of wolves to the Tetons that has resulted in the largest mass sheep kill recorded in Idaho. The deaths happened early Friday morning.
That's when 176 of the family's sheep -- mostly lambs -- died in a frightened mass on a notch in a rocky ridge line south of Victor, Idaho. The animals were grazing on public land in the Caribou-Targhee National Forest.
Officials with the USDA say most of the sheep suffocated, while others were trampled to death as they piled on each other while trying to escape the wolves. Less than 10 were bitten. Only one was partially consumed.
Two gray wolves spotted by Peruvian shepherds the next day are the suspected culprits.
"We're putting out thousands of animals that are just sitting ducks," Siddoway told KTVB, as she tallied up the wolf kills from the 2013 season.
The numbers are startling for the Siddoways.
With more than 19,000 sheep, the family's livestock operation is big business. So far, they've had hundreds of sheep, several Great Pyrenees guard dogs, and even a horse killed by wolves in the last few months.

Each sheep is roughly valued at $200 a head, when it comes to USDA loss compensation. That means the Siddoways loss is on the scale of $35,000.
For Cindy -- whose husband is an Idaho senator and whose son manages the operation -- the killings are a continued financial drain.

"My husband and I have been fighting this whole issue our entire lives," she told KTVB


Todd Grimm is the director of Wildlife Services for the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Boise. He's charged with investigating wolf depredation in Idaho and documenting the findings. 
Grimm says the mass sheep kill isn't anything he's seen before.

"I would consider this a freak incident," Grimm said. "We have had some pile ups from time-to-time, and most of those are because of black bears, and even [mountain] lions" Grimm said.
The reason: Grimm says wolves typically attack in packs, and tend to scatter sheep, not cause them to pile up and suffocate.

Grimm says he's absolutely confident that wolves were responsible for the Siddoway's loss. His reasoning: "We had an eyewitness account -- which is rare -- we had evidence at the scene, tracks and scat, bite marks on the sheep."
"The big question is, how many did they actually bite?" Grimm told KTVB.

Another big question: Will the Siddoway ranch get any compensation for the claims?
Grimm says he's not certain.
No herders have been compensated for wolf losses through Idaho's state-run distribution program in the last two years.
Grimm says although money is made available through the Department of the Interior, it's not always immediately distributed to the state, and has been lately delayed by the sequestration.

< O >


At the scene of the sheep stampede, bodies were piled where the animals were crushed or suffocated after being chased by the wolves. COURTESY PHOTO

By Mike Koshmrl, Jackson Hole, Wyo.
August 21, 2013

A wolf pack that roams the south end of Teton Valley, Idaho, has been all but wiped out after a bizarre sheep stampede that’s been blamed on the wild canines.

U.S. Department of Agriculture officials have killed 13 wolves from the Pine Creek Pack, which occasionally ventures into western Wyoming in the area of Teton Pass, said Todd Grimm, Idaho director of the federal Wildlife Services program, which kills predators that cause damage.

“We had already removed 12 by the time this incident had taken place,” Grimm said. “And we’ve got another one since then.”

“I can’t believe how many wolves we’ve got in there,” he said.

Of the 13 trapped and euthanized wolves, four were adults or sub-adults, Grimm said. Nine of the wolves killed were pups, he said.

The pack’s demise was already underway when two wolves thought to be Pine Creek members ventured into a 2,400-head sheep herd early Saturday morning. The herd, owned by the Siddoway Sheep Company of St. Anthony, Idaho, was bedding down on Caribou-Targhee National Forest land between Pole Canyon and Fogg Hill, about 5 miles south of Victor.

Running downhill in a panic, about 165 sheep from the Siddoway herd were  killed, trampled and smothered in their terror. Two wolves, which were witnessed by a herder at the scene, killed about another dozen sheep. The final tally: 119 lambs and 57 ewes dead. Price tag: $20,000.

In the weeks leading to the sheep pileup, the Pine Creek Pack had been actively preying on the Siddoway sheep, Grimm said.

“We’ve confirmed 10 other kills in that area this year,” Grimm said.

“They’ve had a huge amount of problems over the years,” he said of the Siddoway Sheep Company. “It looks like about 15 to 20 depredations since 2006 that are confirmed.”

A press release sent out by company following last weekend’s fatal wolf encounter alleges much higher losses to predators.

“Siddoway Sheep Company has lost about 250 head of livestock to wolf, bear and coyote depredation since June,” the release said, adding that Great Pyrenees guard dogs and horses also have been killed.

At least one Idaho conservation group argues that the Siddoway Sheep Company should not be grazing in the Caribou-Targhee in such a predator-dense area.

“The problem is not the wolves, but subsidized domestic sheep grazing,” said Travis Bruner, public lands director for the Western Watersheds Project.

“It costs less than one penny per sheep per day to graze public land,” Bruner said.

The Caribou-Targhee’s Burbank allotment, where the sheep crush occurred, cost the Siddoway Sheep Company $866.70 for a three-month grazing permit, for example.

Ranchers are more willing to take risks with predators, Bruner said, because the government is “almost giving away public forage to wealthy ranchers.”

The loss of federal Endangered Species Act protections also indirectly helps ranchers graze livestock on predator-heavy public allotments, he said. Suspected livestock eaters now can be removed with a phone call.

“Given the de-listing of wolves, [public lands grazing] poses more of a threat to wolves today because there’s much less regulation over when wolves can be killed in response to depredation,” Bruner said.

According to the latest Idaho Wolf Monitoring Progress report, 73 wolves were killed in Idaho last year either by “agency removal” or from livestock producers who held legal take permits. Those wolves were suspected of killing 73 cattle, 312 sheep and two dogs.

Depredation and removal numbers are lower in Wyoming, where the wolf population is about half of Idaho’s.

Last year, 43 Equality State wolves were killed in response to killing 44 cattle, 112 sheep, three dogs and a horse. So far in 2013 another 14 wolves have been killed in response to the loss of 33 livestock.

The extreme loss of sheep last weekend was the largest livestock loss from one incident in Grimm’s 22 years on the job.

The “pileup” phenomenon is not a new one to sheep ranchers, said Stan Boyd, executive director of the Idaho Woolgrowers Association.

“It’s the first time I’ve heard of wolves causing it,” Boyd said. “Every two, three, four years, it’ll happen from black bears.”

The answer to controlling livestock depredation on public lands grazing allotments, he said, is managing the predators.

“The wolves are here to stay,” Boyd said. “What we hope is that we can manage these populations.

“When you get severe depredation like that, the wolves need to be removed,” he said, “and by removed, I mean killed. You got to take them out.”

In the case of the Pine Creek pack, wildlife officials did just that.

The Pine Creek Pack numbered six adult animals at the end of 2012, according to Idaho’s wolf monitoring report.

With nine pups and four of the six Pine Creek adults eliminated, the pack’s future is in question. That leaves two adult wolves — potentially enough to form a new pack — still standing.



Although there's a year round season for wolves on private lands in the Idaho Panhandle, the 2013-2014 wolf hunting season for the rest of the state opens on Friday.

The season runs through March 31, except in the Lolo, Selway and Middle Fork zones and in that portion of Unit 16 in the Dworshak-Elk City Zone north of the Selway River where the season closes June 30.

An individual may buy up to five wolf hunting tags a calendar year, but hunters may use only two wolf tags in some parts of the state in a calendar year.

No more than two gray wolf hunting tags may be used in the Salmon, McCall Weiser, Sawtooth, Southern Mountains, Beaverhead, Island Park and Southern Idaho zone. No more than five tags may be used in the Panhandle, Palouse-Hells Canyon, Lolo, Dworshak-Elk City, Selway and Middle Fork zones.

Harvest limits have been set in five zones:
45 in the Salmon Zone, 60 in the Sawtooth Zone, 40 in the Southern Mountains, 10 in the Beaverhead and 30 in the Island Park Zone.There is no statewide harvest limit.

The wolf trapping season opens November 15 in all but four wolf zones, and Unit 10A of the Dworshak-Elk City Zone opens to trapping Feb. 1.

January 2. 2013

The group named Idaho for Wildlife advertised and sponsored a Coyote and Wolf Derby on December 28 & 29.2013, to take place in Salmon, Idaho.
Within days there were no less than 6 petitions to protest this event.

Wild Earth Guardians filed for a restraining order to halt the derby from occurring on public land on December 23. 2013. Days later, a federal judge ruled that the derby would be permitted to proceed.

Within this week threats of violence and vitriolic conversations took place online between the pro wolfs and the anti wolfs. 
A vehicle was vandalized during the Derby, 21 Coyotes were killed, and no one in Idaho slaughtered a wolf.
The news of this event was covered in the Chicago Tribune, the New York Times, and I've been told picked up by the BBC, although I can't find it.
Think it is safe to say that this event put Salmon, Idaho front and center of the ongoing pro and anti wolf controversy. No need to post every article that was published, a Google search will provide that.

Yesterday I posted this article about the aftermath of the derby in Salmon, Idaho. It was well worth reading as it allowed us to see what happened from a Salmon citizen's point of view.

Aftermath of Idaho Wolf Derby For Residents
Posted on January 1, 2014

Immediately after posting it, there was a comment from a pro wolf on Google plus saying that someone should "kill the hunters", followed by another pro wolf saying "I agree." 

Seeing that I had just posted a request asking folks to seriously consider the effect of their words online, and that it was ignored, I became frustrated and deleted the news in order to remove the threat comments. 

Last night I found this on a Wisconsin wolf hunting Facebook page .



The following editorial is written by a someone asking us to understand life in Salmon, Idaho, and her view on the War on Wolves. 

It is not a view I share, but thought that she should be heard.

Reposted on December 31.2013 via:




Petitioning Mr. Tom Tidwell 





Here is the official page for U.S.Department of the Interior

List of Congress members, state by state. 

You will find your Senators and your Representatives here:

Find your United States Senators here:

Find your United States House of Representatives here:

From Center for Biological Diversity
Just two years ago, gray wolves lost federal protection in Idaho. Since then 859 of these beautiful animals have been killed in aggressive, sometimes brutal hunting and trapping seasons. And now the state wants to take the carnage a step further: This holiday season Idaho is allowing a privately sponsored wolf and coyote "derby."

Just after Christmas, on Dec. 28 and 29, Idaho will host a cruel contest where hunters will compete to see who can kill the biggest wolf and bag the most wolves and coyotes over the weekend. This derby is hosted by an Idaho sportsmen's group and approved by the state.

As if these disgusting contests weren't bad enough, a hired gunman's being paid to hole up in a taxpayer-funded cabin until he slaughters two entire wolf families residing in the national forest. The U.S. Forest Service gave him permission to be on public lands for the hunt, and he's funded by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game ostensibly because killing these wolves could boost the elk population for human hunters.

Take urgent action now to contact Idaho agency heads, elected officials and business leaders to express your outrage over the planned wolf- and coyote-killing contest and oppose the hired wolf-killing gunman in Idaho's wilderness area.


From Defenders of Wildlife
On behalf of Defenders of Wildlife and our more than one million members and supporters, 6,175 of which reside in Idaho, I urge you to take action to prevent the "first annual coyote and wolf derby" scheduled to take place in Salmon on December 28th and 29th. This event, boasting cash prizes for killing wildlife, would set a dangerous precedent and recalls the extermination practices that led to the extirpation and listing of the gray wolf.

This event promotes unethical hunting practices with regard to wolves, and sets precedence for future killing contests.  The Salmon Zone has a quota of 45, with 40 wolves remaining. This type of event could lead to harvest levels over the quota, and it may be impossible to properly monitor and enforce hunting regulations during this activity. A competitive derby-style hunt is a clear sign of anti-wolf bias and extremism and is exactly what the conservation community feared would happen when wolves were delisted in the Northern Rockies. 

Idaho Fish and Game should strive for excellence in wildlife management by enforcing a predator management policy that it adopted 13 years ago which stated that it "will not support any contests or similar activities involving the taking of predators which may portray hunting in an unethical fashion, devalue the predator, and which may be offensive to the general public." I ask that you apply this policy to the fullest extent and take all necessary steps to stop this contest. Choosing not to support this derby is not enough; it is up to your agency to act to prevent it.

In particular, we ask you to implement an emergency closure of the Salmon Zone and other proximal units to prevent this derby.  Idaho for Wildlife is using this contest to demonize predators and it is based upon hate and disrespect for the targeted species.  As such, it flies in the face of Idaho Fish and Game's professed vision of ethical hunting and should be strongly opposed by the agency.  

According to Idaho Fish and Game officials this is believed to be the "first competitive wolf shoot to be held in the continental United States since 1974" when gray wolves became listed as endangered. I urge you to act in a manner that is consistent with your agency's past stated opposition to derby hunts and end this and future contests before they begin.



Thank you Windswept 23 !

by Alicia Graef
December 18, 2013 ~ 7:00 pm  
This year while most people will be enjoying a holiday break and winding down after Christmas, a hunters’ rights group in Idaho has something special planned to bring people together: It will be hosting the first predator killing contest in decades to take out wolves and coyotes the weekend of December 28-29.

The event is being sponsored by Idaho for Wildlife, which is calling the contest “an incredible opportunity to team up with your son or daughter during Christmas break and spend some quality time in the gorgeous Salmon, Idaho Country!”

The group will be awarding trophies and prize money for killing the largest wolf and most coyotes, among other things, and is offering special prizes for a youth category for children between the ages of 10 and 14.
The group states on its website that its mission is to protect the state’s hunting heritage and “to fight against all legal and legislative attempts by the animal rights and anti-gun organizations” to take it away. It also claims the contest is to keep wolves in check and raise awareness about diseases.

Environmentalists and animal lovers, however, have a different take on things and are condemning the contest for what it really is: an offensive, indefensible and reckless waste of life. It isn’t even about wildlife management, or hunting, but is about glorifying killing for fun and personal gain. Even many hunters agree that killing for prizes is unethical and violates fair chase.

According to Defenders of Wildlife:

“Organizers of this so-called wolf derby admit that one purpose of the event is to show the world that no one can stop them from killing wolves – not you, not me, and especially not the federal government. It’s a horrific demonstration of what happens when wolves are prematurely stripped of Endangered Species Act protection.”

Ironically, the contest is set to start on the 40th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act. Idaho opened season on wolves two years ago after they lost federal protection. Since the season opened this year on August 30, 154 wolves have already been killed.

Camilla Fox, executive director of Project Coyote, said about that contest that, “it is abundantly clear that the very practices that sent wolves to the brink of extinction still endanger their persistence.”

Regardless of the species involved in these types of contests, these alleged hunters are overlooking the inherent value of the wild animals they’re so determined to destroy. It’s been well established that coyotes and wolves play an important role in maintaining healthy ecosystems as apex predators.  If this group were really interested in working towards balancing wildlife or protecting livestock, then this contest and the mass killing that will ensue would not be taking place.

Hopefully the people that support this type of massacre will one day realize that they are part of a world where all species, even dreaded predators, have a role to play so that all life can continue. Hopefully they will recognize the importance of fostering compassion toward all life around us.

On a brighter note, according to a press release from WildEarth Guardians, approximately one million Americans came forward to oppose stripping endangered species protections from wolves before the public comment period closed yesterday, which is the largest number of comments ever submitted on a federal decision involving an endangered species.
Idaho’s little contest just continues to prove that prematurely delisting wolves and turning management over to the states that are clearly hostile towards them will turn what could be a great conservation success story into a complete disaster.


Petitions to #StopIdahoWolfHunts







Tell the U.S. Forest Service to fulfill their responsibility to "Keep Wilderness Wild" by removing Idaho's wolf-trapper from its ranger cabins.

Recently, we learned that the Idaho Department of Fish and Game had hired a trapper to go into the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness Area to kill every member of the Golden and Monumental wolf packs.

Astoundingly, the United States Forest Service (USFS) is acquiescing‎ to Idaho and letting that state's hired trapper stay in its ranger cabins and use its federally-funded airfield. This appalling betrayal of public trust must be immediately rectified and not repeated.

Take action! Tell the USFS to remove the trapper from publicly-funded ranger cabins and deny future access to USFS airfields.

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game contends it needs to kill all of the wolves from these two packs in order to bolster elk herds for recreational hunting. The shocking arrogance of the state of Idaho even requesting to access a U.S. Wilderness Area to destroy two wolf packs entirely is staggering. The capitulation by the US Forest Service is disappointing and not in keeping with the proud history of the agency. It is in complete contrast to the slogan of the National Wilderness Preservation System to "Keep Wilderness Wild".

Ironically, the area that the Idaho Department of Fish and Game have sent their hired trapper is named after one of the original sponsors of the Wilderness Act, Senator Frank Church. Undoubtedly, Senator Church would look unkindly upon the abandonment of responsibility by USFS Chief Thomas Tidwell in granting nearly unrestrained access to what is little more than a freelance wildlife exterminator.

Demand that USFS Chief Tidwell and Payette National Forest Supervisor Keith Lannom protect wolves in the Frank Church Wilderness from Idaho's extreme anti-wolf policies.

We have very little time to right this wrong--Idaho's trapper is already on the ground. Please take action right now and share with a friend on Facebook, by email or on Twitter.

Thank you for your commitment to wildlife and wild places.



December 17, 2013 

By Rocky Barker 
Idaho's Department of Fish and Game has hired a hunter to eliminate two wolf packs.

The agency previously hired hunter-trappers to kill wolves in the Panhandle Region and the Lolo area in north-central Idaho. But this is the first time it has hired someone to reduce wolf numbers in the land encompassing the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. The decision has a prominent backcountry filmmaker and wolf researcher raising questions about why federal resources are employed to promote predator control in the wilderness.

"I can understand a reasonable hunting season on wolves, they are considered a game animal in Idaho," said Isaac Babcock, of McCall. "But when Fish and Game hires a bounty hunter to go live in designated wilderness in a Forest Service cabin with the goal of eliminating entire wolf packs — something seems terribly wrong with that."

The killing is necessary because wolves and other predators are eating too many elk calves, and the population has not recovered to the agency's goals, said Jeff Gould, Idaho Fish and Game wildlife bureau chief.
Sport hunters have a hard time getting into the area, Gould said. They hired hunter-trapper Gus Thoreson, of Salmon, to see if he can be a cost-effective method of population control.

"The whole goal is to alleviate some of the impacts wolves are having on the elk herds," Gould said.

Fish and Game has an official memorandum of understanding with the U.S. Forest Service to use each other's facilities in the wilderness when carrying out their missions. So, Fish and Game asked for permission for Thoreson to use the Cabin Creek administrative site and airstrip on Big Creek in the Payette National Forest. The University of Idaho turned down a similar request for use of its airstrip at Taylor Ranch because that facility is used only for research and education, a U of I spokesman said.

District Ranger Anthony Botello Krassel said he authorized the use of the Forest Service sites "strictly for the purposes of managing wildlife." "All of their management has to abide by wilderness management rules like we do," he said. "Usually we don't get involved in the management of wildlife, that's up to them."

Thoreson arrived there late last week — flying into the airstrip on Cabin Creek, then flying into the Flying B, where he picked up a horse and three mules to ride into Cabin Creek. Babcock, who was caretaking at Taylor Ranch on Big Creek, met him and rode part of the way to Cabin Creek with him. Thoreson told Babcock he was to focus on the Golden Pack that lives in the lower Big Creek/Middle Fork area, as well as the Monumental Pack that lives 11 miles upstream from Cabin Creek, Babcock said.

Babcock was a biologist for the Nez Perce tribe for 13 years, spending much of that time in Idaho's wilderness as he monitored and collared wolves. He and his wife, Bjornen, were featured in a 2012 PBS Nature program called "River of No Return," which they filmed and produced.

"I've followed these wolves through the re-introduction, delisting and becoming a game animal — and now I'm watching us step back 100 years to see wolves viewed as vermin predators," he said. Fish and Game paid $22,500 for aerial killing in 2012 in the Lolo area that resulted in the killing of 14 wolves. Gould did not know offhand Monday how much the agency would eventually pay for Thoreson's salary and expenses. Fish and Game prefers that sport hunters kill enough wolves to allow the elk population to be productive.

"If you're looking for cost benefits you remove an entire pack," Gould said. "It's going to have a longer-term benefit than removing members of the pack." "We're trying to stabilize the trend here with the long-term goal of (elk) recovery," he said.

In January, Fish and Game estimated Idaho's wolf population at 683, an 11 percent drop from the year before. The highest was in 2009 when it estimated 859 wolves were in the state, also the highest in the northern Rockies.

Rocky Barker: 377-6484





Wildlife advocates are condemning a wolf/coyote killing “Derby”, scheduled this Saturday, January 9, at Twin Falls, organized by the Idaho Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife (SFW).
“This event has no place in the 21st Century", says Rich Hurry of the Boulder-White Clouds Council, a conservation group based in Central Idaho. We are urging citizens to contact event sponsors to protest this barbaric event."
Last November, a coalition of groups including Boulder-White Clouds Council and individuals asked Nikon to withdraw their sponsorship of a SWF predator derby in Pocatello. Nikon agreed. The company's name no longer appears on the Idaho SFW website. Among the businesses sponsoring the Twin Falls SFW Predator Derby are Sportsman's Warehouse, Cabela's and a local restaurant, the Grubbin' BBQ.
Grubbin’ BBQ owner Sean Cluff is listed on SFW’s site as an event contact person. Another contact is SFW Executive Director, Nate Helms, an outspoken opponent of wolves in Idaho.
For the first time, wolves will be included as one of the moving targets sought after by hunters paying $50 each to enter the event. According to the SFW website, there will be points and prizes awarded to participants for shooting the most predators. A wolf is worth three points, while coyote, fox and bobcat are worth two points. When contacted about the fact that wolves were now part of SFW's Idaho predator derby, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game said they had not heard this, but it was not illegal.
Hunters displaying dead coyotes with a Sportsman's Warehouse banner behind them, are shown of the SFW website.
"Predator killing tournaments are ecologically unsound, ethically indefensible and antithetical to conservation biology and ecosystem-based science," states Camilla Fox, Founding Director of Project Coyote and Wildlife Consultant for the Animal Welfare Institute.
Jerry Black, a member of Wildlife Watchers says: "There's no fair chase in trapping or calling in wolves or coyotes, and nobody's feeding their family with wolf or coyote meat. This is a blatant example of animal cruelty, indecency and shows a total lack of respect for life. I'm surprised and disappointed that any businesses would sponsor an event that celebrates the needless pain and suffering of an animal."
Black adds, "I won’t be shopping at Cabela's or Sportsman's Warehouse again, until they stop sponsoring predator contests. And, I certainly won't be eating ribs at the Grubbin' BBQ." Hurry agrees and is urging his friends and relatives to do the same.
 “Coyote killing contest are a totally ineffective management strategy given the species’ resiliency and ability to biologically rebound,” said Fox.
The groups opposing the contest say that while coyotes will prey on larger mammals, their diet consists mainly of small mammals including mice, voles, rats, ground squirrels and rabbits -- providing free rodent control services to ranchers. They also point out that progressive cattle and sheep ranchers are living with coyotes using non-lethal methods.
Hurry, a deer hunter adds: “Predator hunters might believe they are helping deer numbers to increase, but in reality there are many factors that impact deer survival. These include weather, winter range, starvation, quality of summer habitat, disease, poaching, hunting mortality, wounding and roadkill.”
He goes on to say that predators help keep elk and deer herds genetically robust  by culling the weak, sick and diseased, unlike hunters who seek out the largest “trophy” bulls or bucks. 

Much like wolves, generally, unexploited coyotes may live in social family groups, with only the alpha pair breeding once a year in mid-February and giving birth 63 days later. Other females, though physiologically capable of reproducing, are "behaviorally sterile." Coyotes respond to lethal control with a number of biological mechanisms, which can result in increased pup survival.
In a predator “contest”, so-called hunters slaughter coyotes (or wolves) using various techniques to attract the coyote into rifle range, including a distress call that sounds like an injured animal. Wolves and coyotes, who generally mate for life, feel a strong bond to other members of their species, and when they hear a cry for help, may come to investigate.
Coyote and wolf hunters have also been known to bait in coyotes and wolves for "sport" shooting, using livestock that have died from old age, illness, or injury.
Coyotes have no protection whatsoever under current Idaho law. Coyotes can be run over with a vehicle, including being chased to exhaustion and flattened with a snowmobile. When this happened in the Sawtooth Valley near Stanley in 1999, a photo of the pancaked coyote received widespread negative press for the state of Idaho.
Predator killing contests are being protested all over the United States, most recently in Maine, and in Fallon NV this weekend.
Read more about the Twin Falls "Derby" at:

 2013 Idaho State Journal.

BLOG: Wildlife Activists Oppose Wolf Killing Competition




Petitions to #StopIdahoWolfHunts


November 14, 2013

That will make a lot of wolves haters happy… right ? Because they are most than likely looking forward to end the life of an innocent wolf roaming at the wrong place at the wrong moment. Hopefully not too many if not at all will get caught as winter is coming, and it’s getting cold. Days are shorter… Be safe beloved wolves. 

Jerome, Idaho
Wolf trapping season begins November 15th.

Some hunters are looking to try their hand at wolf trapping this season, but Idaho Fish and Game says, “not so fast”. Before wolf tags are bought, a mandatory wolf trapping class must be completed.

Says Steve Roberts, a senior conservation officer with the department, “we felt it was very important if people were trapping the wolves that they would start off on the right path. It gets their mandatory requirement out of the way and gives them a starting point where to do.”

Jeff Ashmead, wolf trapper instructor, “we’re teaching ethics and responsibility of trapping these animals and the difference between these species and others they may have trapped before.”

Instructors insist that trapping these animals does not come easy.

Ashmead explains, “it’s a very challenging species to catch up with because they range hundreds of square miles…the size and strength of the animal, their movement and how far they move. They’re a pack species so there are some traits different.”

Trapping the wolves isn’t the only difficulty for Magic Valley trappers. Says Ashmead, “there are certain areas open for trapping, mostly in central and northern Idaho. Southern does not have any trapping areas open for wolves.”

Still, experts insist the sport is worth giving a shot. Mike Werner, class participant, notes, “there’s less and less trappers all the time. I think it’s a good tradition to pass on and this is one way to approach the issue to get educated.”


Updated January 14. 2014. This was the blog for this post, and it has been removed from the web :


Reposted from Exposing the Big Game

Posted on November 14, 2013

Associated Press, January 11, 2007: 
“Idaho’s governor [Butch Otter] said Tuesday he will support public hunts to kill all but 100 of the state’s gray wolves after the federal government strips them of protection under the Endangered Species Act…. ‘I’m prepared to bid for that first ticket to shoot a wolf myself,’ Otter said earlier Thursday during a rally of about 300 hunters…copyrighted wolf in waterThe hunters, many wearing camouflage clothing and blaze-orange caps, applauded wildly during his comments.”

Since 2009, 887 Idaho wolves have been killed by licensed hunters, with many hundreds more killed in official “control” operations.  It is estimated that there were fewer than 500 wolves remaining in the state by August, 2013. The 2013-2014 Idaho wolf season began August 30 and will continue in most of 13 state zones until the end of June 2014. The current 2013-2014 wolf season will constitute a mop-up operation by the state’s ferocious anti-wolf mob.

The Idaho political apparatus, controlled absolutely by the hunting and agricultural lobbies, is a vigorous proponent of trap-torture for Idaho wildlife. It has thus encouraged, trained and deployed an army of trappers, both amateur and professional, to prolong the suffering of Idaho wolves since 2011.

Idaho wolf trapping season opened November 15, 2013, and will continue across nine game zones until March 31, 2014.  Thus, Idaho wolves continue to be subjected to the terror and cruelty of steel foothold traps and choking snares. Many of these animals, including the youngest of pups, are routinely forced to await their violent death for up to 72 hours while suffering terror, pain, hunger and dehydration.

Zone 1–Idaho Panhandle Zone:  (12) Idaho wolves gunned with rifles or hand guns.  One animal shot with a handgun was a tiny black pup so young that it had no teeth visible.  A bow hunter in this zone also arrowed a gray puppy, a particularly painful way for a canine to die.  Two others wolves were killed on private property in August before the season officially began. Licensed wolf kill is legal year round in the Panhandle zone as long as the carnage takes place on private property.  These two pre-season wolves were seen together and shot at the same time.  Their bodies were retrieved days later, indicating that they were able to run while wounded and therefore suffered for an unknown number of hours or days before dying.

Note: One of our three selected wolf packs for adoption, the Bumblebee Pack, resides in Zone 1. Adoption bracelets are available [link]. Your donations will help sustain our website so that volunteers can monitor and report activities by state, federal and private interests bent on reducing wolves to a genetically unsustainable population. Adoption bracelets are available.

Zone 2–Palouse-Hells Canyon Zone: (1)  wolf  arrowed. This was a gray animal listed as a pup.

Zone 3–Lolo Zone:  (1) Idaho wolf gunned.

Note:  One of our three packs selected for adoption is the Kelly Creek Pack, which undoubtedly lives a perilous existence in the Lolo “hot” zone. Lolo wolves have been among the hardest hit in the great Idaho wolf purge. Government agents in helicopters gunned-down some of the wolves killed in this zone during 2011-2012. Adoption bracelets for survivors are available. Adoption bracelets for survivors are available.

Zone 4–Dworshak-Elk City Zone:   (3)  wolves gunned, one wolf arrowed.  One of the wolves, listed as a puppy, was blasted with a hand gun.  The arrowed animal was listed as a yearling.

Zone 5–Selway Zone:   (3)  wolves gunned.  Two of the three were listed as pups.

Zone 6–Middle Fork Zone:   (3) wolves gunned.   Two of the three were listed as pups.

Zone 7–Salmon Zone:   (2)   gunned.  One animal was listed as a pup, the other a yearling.

Zone 8–McCall-Weiser Zone:  (3)  wolves gunned.  One animal was listed as a young of year pup.

Zone 9–Sawtooth Zone:   (1)  wolf arrowed.

Zone 10–Southern Mountain Zone:  (5) wolves gunned. Three of these animals  were listed as yearlings.  Another was listed as a  pup terminated by a hand gun.

Note:  One of our three packs up for adoption is the Red Warrior Pack, located in the Sawtooth Mountains within this zone. Adoption bracelets are available. Adoption bracelets are available.

Zone 11–Beaverhead Zone:   (0)  wolves gunned.

Zone 12—Island Park Zone:  (3)  wolves gunned.

Zone 13—Southern Idaho Zone:  (0) wolves gunned.

Of the 38 wolves obliterated during this time period, 15  (39%) were listed as puppies or yearlings.


That is not recent news, but it is a similar situation to this recent news:


There are a couple other articles covering this incident here:


There are better ways to control North America's wolf populations than removing wildlife protections and permitting hunting

Joseph Mayton, Wednesday 14 August 2013 07.30 EDT
Snarling Gray Wolf Photograph: 
Jeff Vanuga/Corbis

Decades after its near-extinction, the wolf of Montana is back in numbers. 

They encroach on natural habitats, kill wildlife and destroy native landscapes.

While this is, in many ways, the modus operendi of human populations, it is the excuse now being given by the US Fish and Wildlife Services (FWS) in its call on the federal government to remove the gray wolf from endangered species lists. All for the purpose of using human "ingenuity" (read: guns) to help reduce the population to a more "manageable" level.

Activists are beginning to take to the social media networks in calling for the government to not slaughter wolves. One petition, began last week, has already garnered several thousand signatures en route to its 10,000 goal.

With thousands of wolves across the country struggling to survive after decades of reintroduction since humans slaughtered nearly the entire population, it seems odd that calls have grown stronger to remove them from the Endangered Species Act (ESA). According to the FWS, in the Great Lakes region, there are roughly 4,000 wolves; in the Northern Rocky Mountains around 1,700; Washington State has nine total; the southwest about 60 wolves. In Alaska, where wolves are not protected by the ESA, there live about 10,000.

So, why have the calls for "culling" wolves increased so dramatically over the past five years, in a plan to reduce the populations which the FWS terms "control"?

The modern wolf story largely begins in 1995, in Idaho (my home state), when the state reintroduced a number of gray wolves into the state as part of the "experimental, non-essential" clause of the ESA. From there, the animals developed and grew in numbers across the state as wildlife biologists helped support the small ecosystems that were developed for the animals' use. And in the United States Pacific northwest, the Nez Perce Native American tribe also started their own project, which enabled a pack of wolves to live and create familial ties in a large fenced area.

Not everyone was pleased that hills covered in snow and jagged mountains – the difficult terrain of Idaho's mountains – are now home to wolves: some government officials and ordinary citizens claim the species has now overpopulated the wilderness areas and is a threat to "human activity".

As one family friend, a hunter, told me recently, the wolves are "killing livestock, attacking people in the natural parks and without action could overrun our landscape". Although he is right that wolves do attack livestock (and wild prey), there is little evidence that people are being attacked. Wolves rarely are aggressive toward humans unless threatened.

The problem is rather with the continued development on what had, historically, been remote areas; there, wolves are simply attempting to survive. With calls for removing wolves from the protection of the ESA, however, it could soon be open season for hunters – in what officials argue are "conservation" efforts to ensure the wolves' survival.

I spoke with an Idaho biologist who has worked with both the FWS and the wolf reintroduction program. He argues that human populations continue to "overuse" hunting in the name of sport and this has reduced deer and elk populations, not just in Idaho, but in the Great Lakes and Alaska. The result?

Wolves have been forced to look elsewhere for food and sustenance. This results in cattle being attacked because the regular food chain has been disrupted. Hunting wolves won't stop this problem unless all the wolves are killed.

He also pointed out that during such culls – which we have seen in Idaho and other areas – it is the adult wolves that are killed, often leaving cubs unprotected and unable to fend for themselves. "It is sad that this sort of thing continues," he added.

Activists have called for a blanket ban on wolf-killing, but there is a need to work with the FWS and those who feel threatened by wolves. We must understand that the issue of wolves is a nuanced controversy in which those directly affected by the encroaching wolf populations must be heard. There needs to be compromise that does not threaten the whole wolf population and finds sustainable solutions in the specific environments where the reintroduction process has occurred.

At the same time, we can't afford to reverse the good work of reintroduction programs and go back to the days when wolves were seen as a deadly menace to humans and their livestock – and had to be exterminated because of that perception.



June 26, 2013 11:55 am  •  By Brian Smith -

2009: 76 cattle, 259 sheep
2010: 75 cattle, 148 sheep
2011: 71 cattle, 121 sheep
2012: 90 cattle, 251 sheep


2009: 135 taken by hunters, 
93 STATE control
2010: 46 taken by hunters, 
80 state control
2011: 200 taken by hunters, 
63 state control
2012: 330 taken by hunters, 
73 state control

TWIN FALLS, Idaho • 

As the federal government seeks to pull the gray wolf off the endangered species list, conflicts between ranchers and gray wolves in south-central Idaho are on the rise, with record livestock losses last year.

Gray wolves killed 34 cattle and 79 sheep last year in the Southern Mountain region of the Sawtooth Range, which includes Camas and Blaine counties.

Statewide, they destroyed 90 cattle and 251 sheep, said Todd Grimm, state wildlife services director for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In turn, hunters killed 330 wolves in Idaho in 2012, up from 200 the year before.

While other states could be affected if the wolf loses its endangered species status, Idaho has been managing its own wolf population since 2009, said Craig White, staff biologist for the state Department of Fish and Game.

Idaho had 683 wolves and at least 117 packs last year, far more than the 150 wolves and 15 breeding pairs required to avoid a federal relisting of the species in the state.

Still, the wolf population was down from its 2009 peak of 856.

“Our goal, as mandated, is to keep wolves on the landscape,” White said. “We’ve just got to balance it with other interests. That doesn’t mean everyone is going to be happy with that balance.”

The record number of livestock losses, with the highest death toll in south-central Idaho, “may just be an anomaly,” Grimm said. “Sometimes things happen. We just don’t know. It’ll be interesting to see what this year’s numbers point out.”

Packs that attack livestock are removed on a case-by-case basis, he said. Last year, 73 wolves were killed as a state control measure, up from 63 in 2011. Nine of those 73 wolves were in the Southern Mountain region.

The ranchers who sustained livestock losses last year have yet to be compensated, however.

Getting By

It’s been a rough two years, said Carey-area sheep rancher John Peavey.

Wolves come at least every other night during lambing season, kill six or eight lambs but “don’t eat a thing,” destroying 50 lambs so far this year, he said.

It’s a tragic situation for ranchers, said Peavey, who owns Flat Top Sheep Co.

“We’re going to get by,” said fellow sheep rancher John Faulkner, “but we are going to kill some of them. That’s all there is to it.”
He said wolves have preyed on his sheep every year since they were reintroduced in the mid-1990s.

Grimm said officials are working to reduce wolf-livestock encounters by promoting non-lethal options, but some of those can cost more than the loss of sheep.

Peavey said he and others patrol the flock nightly using flashing lights. They do their best, but it often is not enough, he said.

Preventive measures are effective, though, said Suzanne Stone, Northern Rockies representative for the Defenders of Wildlife. In western Blaine County, in a preventive project area with 27,000 sheep, only four were lost to wolves in 2012.

Ranchers can use several methods, she said, including guard dogs, human herders, lighting, electric fencing and corrals bedecked with flags that flap in the wind.

Ranchers also can keep their livestock away from areas where wolves have established dens. They also can remove attractants such as carcass pits or use higher-tech devices such as “rag boxes” that make loud noises when wolves with a tracking collar come near.

Adjusting ranching methods also would help, Stone said. Shed lambing offers more protection than range lambing, where pregnant ewes are allowed to roam and raise their lambs in clusters vulnerable to prey.

Peavey said shed lambing is too expensive and range lambing is a “beautiful process” that lets sheep “do what they’re supposed to.”

Easing the Pain

Although he’s lost many sheep to wolves, Peavey hasn’t been paid through the state’s compensation program for two years, he said.

A lamb is worth $150 to $200, but he said death costs go beyond what he can count. Any reimbursement is a “small part of easing the pain.”

“The carcasses are just part of the problem,” he said. “You’ve got moms killed, and their babies are out there waiting to be fed and they’re going to die. But that’s not part of the depredation (reimbursement).“

The Defenders of Wildlife had compensated ranchers for wolf attacks on livestock, but that program ended in the fall of 2010, said Dustin Miller, administrator of the Governor’s Office of Species Conservation.

A five-year federal program was developed to pay compensation nationwide, but that funding recently fizzled because of federal sequestration efforts, Miller said. In 2011, the program paid Idaho ranchers about $100,000 for livestock losses.

Miller said his office is applying for federal funds to cover livestock losses in 2012. But money will be tight, with $850,000 up for grabs between several states and Indian tribes. The money must be split between compensation and proactive deterrent efforts, he said.

“Unfortunately, we usually have the highest level of depredations in the country, and if it’s competitive, we may receive more funding than other states. But we can’t be sure,” Miller said. “We have no idea what we are going to receive, and I can’t guarantee producers who lost livestock … will be compensated at market rates.”

Helping or Hurting?

Stone is concerned by the declining Idaho wolf population since the state started managing the predator. She said the state’s treatment of wolves is more severe and aggressive than that used for other predators.

The wolf population will continue to decline as other states look to Idaho for examples of prudent management, Stone said.

Early this month, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed removing the gray wolf from the threatened and endangered species list, citing a successful recovery. Some environmental groups have claimed the proposal is premature, as the species hasn’t been returned to its historic range. A 90-day comment period on the proposal is open through Sept. 11.

At least 6,100 gray wolves are in the U.S., with about 625 in Montana, 277 in Wyoming, and 4,432 in the Western Great Lakes region, including Minnesota and Wisconsin, U.S. Fish and Wildlife says.

“This traditional way of managing wildlife, where you just kill animals that (pose) a threat to livestock, it just doesn’t work,” she said. “It’s expensive, it requires a lot of helicopter time, airplane time, trapping, you lose livestock to begin with … and then you end up losing the wildlife and predators as well.”

State officials said wolf hunting would take pressure off livestock, but the opposite is true, Stone said. Hunting disrupts wolf packs, and juvenile wolves without a family are more likely to get into livestock as the pack can’t teach them how to hunt other prey, such as elk or deer.

“You’ve then got basically a bunch of teenagers running around, and they are the ones who tend to get in trouble more with people because they are not very savvy at hunting,” she said.

White disputed that claim. Wolves always will look for the “biggest bang for their buck” with the least risk, he said.

“I think that’s a little simplistic to say that a sub-adult wolf who didn’t have an adult model mentor became a thug … because there was no mentor to teach them the right way to hunt naturally,” he said.

Evidence indicates 80 to 90 percent of packs stay intact if one member is killed, White said. Moreover, where wolves have been removed after livestock depredation, new packs move in and cause the same problems, he said.

Without hunting, wolf populations would grow, and so would livestock depredation, Peavey said. When it’s a rancher’s livelihood being eaten, “you worry about today’s wolves, not next year’s wolves.”

Faulkner agreed, saying he has had less trouble as a result of hunting and packs being fractured.

“You’re only dealing with three or four wolves, whereas before you were dealing with up to 22,” he said. “Those big packs are way more vicious than the small ones.”

Open Spaces

Hunting and trapping efforts influence wolf pack movement, said Regan Berkley, a Jerome-based wildlife biologist for Fish and Game. But predators migrate largely to follow prey and to claim territory in open space.

On a state map of wolf pack locations, southern Idaho is noticeably void of the predator. While sightings occur, a resident wolf pack south of the Snake River has never been documented, Berkley said.

Opinions vary on whether wolves could establish a presence there.

Berkley said it’s a slim chance. The area has space, elk and deer, but wolf encounters likely would be met with swift control.

Also, she said, the environment isn’t quite suitable. Wolves can live in a variety of habitats, but southern Idaho and the Magic Valley don’t provide areas where they can hide or establish dens.

“It’s not a place that has some of the classic habitat characteristics that are typically associated with wolves,” she said.

White wasn’t as quick to dismiss the notion. Wolves have been known to travel long distances across state lines to establish packs, the biologist said.

“Certainly a wolf could take a little walkabout and end up in the mountains on the Idaho -Nevada border south of you,” he said. “… Anything’s possible, but there’s not a lot down there to hold ’em and a lot of potential for conflicts that would get them in trouble.”

Peavey said the foothills south of the Twin Falls area look like wolf habitat to him.

“I suspect when we have a large winter with lots of cold and snow, the elk will migrate into the desert area south of Carey and the Snake River plain,” he said. “They’ll be down there killing elk and livestock.”

Faulkner agreed, saying he once saw four wolves south of Glenns Ferry.

“Don’t worry — they’ll be down into Utah,” the rancher said. “You don’t need to worry about those wolves surviving.

Photo credit: howlingforjustice.wordpress(dot)com

Photo (c) Alison Mazur



Idaho Governor @ButchOtter  
Senator Mike Crapo @MikeCrapo 
Senator Chuck Winder @ChuckWinderID 
Congressman Mike Simpson @CongMikeSimpson




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