A lot of folks had wondered whatever happened to the charges against now-convicted and sentenced would-be wolf poisoner Tim Sundles.

Here is the story from Reuters. Man sentenced for seeking to poison wolves. By Laura Zuckerman.

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

39 Responses to Sundles finally sentenced

  1. avatar Craig H. says:

    Am I the only one who thinks that this guy got off too light? 6 days should have been 1 year and he should have been banned from public lands for life!This reminds me of Virginia Tech where a guy acts mentally unbalanced and no one really does anything about it until its too late. —— result, a bunch of great kids get hurt or die. How many animals in the future are going to die because Sundles wasn’t really punished the first time.

  2. avatar kim says:

    i have partially relocated to the west to avoid the jesse jacksons and the al sharptons of the world, but reading the comments made by this sundles character,,, there is just no getting away from idiots,,

  3. avatar Steve says:

    No fines? I think if I went out and killed a cow because I want them off public lands I would face a harsher jail and monetary sentence than this…

  4. avatar heard enough says:

    Imagine how much public tax money went to develop this case; evidence gathering, trial preparation, etc. Minimally someone could have calculated those costs and made the punishment come out at an equivalent amount. This is so very disappointing. But this isn’t the first time- a few years ago a county commissioner’s hired hand illegally killed a wolf in ID and received only a $750 dollar fine, while a short while later a case was resolved where a man that illegally killed a wolf near Elk River, ID received a fine of over $21,000. Where’s the justice in a system where the same offense nets such wildly divergent penalities. And there are scores of other incidents where the fines for illegally killing a wolf (an ESA listed species) have been as paltry as $250. Sundles’ intent was to “take” a listed species, and he may have done so. I know he should only be held accountable for what his actions did do, not what they could have, but in his case the punishment falls short.

  5. avatar SAP says:

    Does anyone know the name of Sundles’ “custom ammunition” company?

    As a hunter, dog owner, and peaceable law-abiding citizen, I want to make sure that I never ever send a nickel his way. His behavior is not in the least bit admirable or tolerable.

    If he had poisoned my dog, I’d be after him with a team of rabid lawyers.

    You don’t have to even like wolves to be disgusted and disapprove of what he did. Say what you want about wolves, but they are the way God made them, and we can’t expect them to become vegetarians. Nor can we expect them to kill more “humanely,” since they’re not human and can’t be expected to have ethics.

    This Sundles character, on the other hand . . . well, he’s responsible for his actions. He had plenty of choices. He should have foreseen that his childish, LAZY, unconscionable plan of throwing out poison meatballs WASN’T EVEN GOING TO ACCOMPLISH HIS GOALS, and was more likely to harm “non-target” animals (I won’t say “innocent” because they’re ALL innocent).

    He’s a coward, a sadist, and I think he ought to be kept under surveillance just in case his tendencies lead him to start hurting innocent creatures again.

  6. avatar Moose says:

    SAP,

    Here is his webpage (Buffalo Bore Ammunition Co.):

    http://www.buffalobore.com/ammunition/photos.htm

    and email address:

    ammo@blackfoot.net

  7. avatar Moose says:

    He should at the very least been fined for court costs.

  8. avatar skyrim says:

    Sundles will be in the news again and it will likely be for violating his ban. He’s a hero now, a celeb, he must serve that position.

  9. avatar Jay says:

    He was fined, a paltry $1500, and will be expected to reimburse victims for vet costs, which I read was $128 bucks. Other than that, a slap on the wrist.

  10. avatar L.H. says:

    My dog had a fatal encounter with poison in the Salmon River drainage very near where the Sundles poisonings occurred. My dog died in my lap on the way home. It was just like the World Wildlife Fund’s description of a temec poisoning “…the twisting of guts while dying in agony.” We didn’t collect the proper forensic samples so we never proved definitively what happened. (It’s hard to think clearly when you have your dead dog in your lap). Later, through the Internet and discussions with Idaho Fish and Game that we were able to put together all the pieces and figure out what probably happened. Heart-broken – yes, but also disgusted and confused. If you really want to kill wolves why place poison at trailheads and recreation areas? It’s cowardly and shows a basic misunderstanding of wolf biology. Or maybe it’s just plain laziness.

    I drill myself into a hole if I think about it too much so I’ll just end by saying that yes, I lost a great dog who suffered a horrible death, but an equally tragic outcome of this has been my loss of the Salmon River country. Ever since I was a Midwestern teenager staring at a map I’ve been enthralled with that big chunk of road less country. Finally, as an adult, the place I dreamed about is in my own back yard. But now thanks to people like Sundles, it’s contaminated with poison and bad memories.

    And I didn’t even get my vet bills paid.

  11. avatar mikarooni says:

    I agree that he got off way too light; that, without stronger intervention, he is very likely to again cause trouble in the future; and that, without taking the analogy too far, there is a bit of similarity with the ignored mental illness that finally resulted in what happened at Virginia Tech and Columbine and other places where clearly sick people were simply allowed to fester and even advertise and promote their sickness. Unfortunately, I see the same sickness, in more or less covered forms, in the likes of Butch Otter and his rabid rhetoric and Cubin and Thomas and many others. Just take a look at some of the blog commentary on NewWest or the Billings Gazette. So, the problem, at least in my view, is facilitated and encouraged by a far wider range of maladjusted ne’er-do-wells that just this one sick creep and it’s going to need to be confronted much more widely, with much more savvy, and with much more courage than “our side” has shown recently.

  12. avatar mikarooni says:

    Yes, we recognize the difference and, I think, the similarities in people who want to kill things, without purpose, need, or thought, just because they believe they have a “special” right or cause.

  13. avatar Craig H. says:

    Chris, I’m sorry if I struck a nerve about using V.T as a metaphore for people not paying attention to individuals who are acting dangerously and that no one pays attention until it is too late. I hope, however, that you are aware the many murderers have started their road down the slippery slope by hurting or killing innocent animals first.(no, I’m not talking about legal hunters.). So as you can see I’m not a bit twisted as you suggested. Perhaps I’m just older and a bit wiser because I’ve been around for a long time.

  14. avatar elkhunter says:

    No overlander, its an activist trying to paint someone who poisoned a wolf to someone who killed 32 people. It has nothing to do with politics, its going to the extreme, which is something I expect from people like you. Activists/Extremist…..Very similar. So the next time I shoot a coyote in a coyote hunting contest, you could compare me to the VT incident also, gain some education no doubt, about someone killing a innocent coyote. Your right there is alot we can learn from this incident with the wolf, no doubt he will progress to a mass murderer very shortly.

  15. avatar Buffaloed says:

    Gee, I have heard of statements made by a certain individual about taking out a fed or other government employee when they go. The progression seems to moving right along if you ask me.

  16. avatar matt bullard says:

    elkhunter – what is so wrong with being an activist? are there not activists/extremists on both sides? And why is that negative?

  17. avatar Mike Wolf says:

    This punishment is far too little by any and all measures. The federal prosecutor should have gone after conspiracy charges related to Sundles’ website; which gave instructions on how to poison wolves.

    I really don’t understand why the prosecutors didn’t go for heavier charges. They are partially to blame for the repercussions this will have: that consipiring to violate a federal protection, a federal law; will result in the slap on the wrist as long as its a controversial species such as wolves. Not only that, but this justifies Otter’s statements, and Idaho’s sentiment. In short; this failure on the part of the prosecutor has fomented insurgency ideas – treasonous ideas in my mind.

    Of course, the judge is the one who enacts penalties. But one can hardly expect a judge in this part of the country to stand up for justice from a federal perspective…most of them agree with the insurgency sentiment.

  18. I think we’ve seen that federal prosecutor’s nowadays are being chosen for political reasons, such as which religious school did they graduate from and which Republican campaign did they work for?

  19. avatar Jay says:

    Elkhunter, can you tell me what you get out of a “coyote killing contest”? I mean seriously, do you know how messed up that sounds? A contest to see how many lives you can snuff out? That’s pretty sick, if you ask me, and I really don’t have a problem with killing things per se, if there’s some reason behind it: causing problems with livestock, you’re going to eat it, use its fur, whatever. But to just shoot stuff for the sake of shooting stuff, for a contest??! That’s just inherently wrong. What the f@#k is wrong with people? What sick thrill does that satisfy?

  20. avatar skyrim says:

    elkhunter claims to hunt cats on snowshoes from Howard Johnsons. He’s a troll that I gave up taking serious weeks ago.

  21. avatar jewel says:

    Actually Steve, cows are being shot on public and private land in Wyoming and the Sheriffs Dept. Says there is nothing they can do.

  22. avatar elkhunter says:

    Skyrim,
    Thanks for your amazing insight. Skyrim is someone who know nothing about everything, yet claims to know all. Traditional activitst. I might be wrong but if I remember you were the cat hunting expert who wanders out through the mountains and locates cats to disrupt hunting. Also someone who spent a couple summers in the mountains and learned everthing about cougar populations in UT.
    Jay,
    Coyote contests are held for many reasons. First they are fun to hunt, thats why we do it. And yes there is a purpose, we hunt coyotes to lower the populations because of the strain they put on deer fawn recruitment, and also proghorn fawn recruitment. We hunt them, so there are less of them to hunt deer/proghorn fawns. I know you will say that they dont hurt those species but alot of people feel otherwise. And I enjoy hunting so I do what I can. And believe it or not Jay, thier populations seem to do just fine. We have been hunting them for over 7 years, all year long. You would not believe it, but each year there seems to be more than the year before.

  23. avatar chris says:

    CraigH,
    Yes, I have heard about a connection between some kids or teenagers that hurt animals before hurting people at an older age. But Sundles is not kid or teenager, he’s a grown man. And nowhere in the postings I first responded to did anyone contend that Sundles presented a threat to people. The concern was that more animals would be cruelly killed. And overlander, I wasn’t being politically correct, I was differentiating between dogs dying and people dying. There are lessons to be learned from what happened at VT, but they don’t involve wolves.

    If we are to successfully deal with those hateful or cruel to animals we’ll need to enlighten more of society to the problem. I suspect you and mikarooni would lose most of the public if your comparisons went beyond this insular blog. Dogs and other animals dying a slow agonizing death is convincing enough without opportunisitically bringing up recent human tragedy.

  24. avatar Jay says:

    Elkhunter,

    I have no doubt there are more than the year before…studies of coyotes show that you have to kill off 50-70%, otherwise all you do is stimulate their growth by making more food available, thus increasing litter sizes and survival. So, while you say it’s for the good of the deer and antelope, you might actually be doing the opposite of what you intended.
    I guess I’ll never understand how someone can go out and take joy out of killing something, just because they’re “fun to hunt”…what do you do in your spare time when you’re not killing coyotes? Kick puppies and kittens?

  25. avatar elkhunter says:

    Jay,
    I work mostly in my spare time, and also play alot of golf. But in the summer my business keeps me very busy. We kill quite a few each year, if you count every one that hunts them, plus if you count the contests then we might get close to that %50 mark, but of course its very hard to know for sure. Jay, I guess if everyone that has ever killed something falls into your little category, I dont think that I will be very lonely, considering all the hunters in the world. And I do use the coyotes, I cut the ears off, and get $25. Which I then spend, so I guess you could say I am stimulating the economy! 🙂

  26. avatar elkhunter says:

    I like puppies, not a big fan of kittens though.

  27. avatar John says:

    SAP: “…did he “allocute” at his sentencing? That is, did he stand up and express his remorse and his comprehension that he had done something very wrong?”

    I don’t know, but considering he posted the following, and other comments, on the forums.kifaru.net board last month … well, decide for yourself. He posts as”Tim in Montana” there (previously as “Sundles”).

    The following quotes from this thread:

    http://forums.kifaru.net/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showthreaded&Number=102601&page=&PHPSESSID=5ad35db11bb504230f44287a7bb19f92

    “At first, a lot of wolves will get shot, but after a year or two, the wolves will learn that humans are a threat and wolves will get nocturnal and very smart, so shooting/hunting wont work, just like it didnt historically. I promise. It took poison and trapping historically.”

    ….

    “Further, there is one factor that no one is considering and that is that hundreds of wolves are currently being illegaly killed. Can you imagine the problem we would have on our hands if there wasnt illegal wolf control going on???? I kinda wish that every one would stop illegaly killing wolves and just let the wolves move into peoples back yards and kill thier pets. This would turn public sentiment towards the truth of what wolves are and do.”

  28. avatar Jay says:

    Elkhunter, like I said, I’m not opposed to hunting/killing, I’ve shot several deer and elk myself. There’s a big difference between hunting and just killing for the sake of killing–most hunters eat what they kill, rather than cut off a trophy and leave the carcass to rot. That’s absolutely disgusting, and it’s what gives real hunters a bad name. That’s the same kind of crap you see when some redneck moron decides to run down a coyote on his snowmobile and torment it for a while before running it over. It’s sadistic, cruel, and inhuman.

  29. avatar SAP says:

    John – thanks for the link to Kifaru. Assuming that IS Sundles (and if you follow that forum, then you probably know his writing style, and he sure seems ardent about poisoning), I’d have to say that any allocution at his sentencing was probably a sham.

    The writer in the post you linked to also is pretty cocksure that he knows WAY more about wolves than anybody else, especially people who “have a couple college degrees in wild life biology, taught by professors with no real world experience, blocking [their] view of what wolves are and do.”

    He sounds like a zealot, and sounds way too sure of his predictions of what the future will hold. Puts him in good company — apocalyptic evangelicals, radical Islamic clerics, and Marxists.

    I like how he goes on about how all of his predictions from 11 years ago came “true to the letter.” Hmm. Any documentation of either the predictions OR that they have come true?

    He also asserts “there are currently about 5 times more wolves than the officials are claiming.” Wow! So, if officials will own up to 600 wolves, there are really 3,000 in Idaho alone?

    I’m not bonkers over wolves, so this is not some big wolf lover saying this, but, come on! Where do people get the idea that they “know” something like that? He spends a few weeks, at most, in the field every year, and he knows the true number of wolves?

    I hear this kind of thing all the time, people claiming they KNOW there are way more wolves out there than “what they’re telling us.”

    He really ought to go to prison for a good long time so he can do some reading. Maybe a book on epistemology, some articles on cognitive neuroscience.

  30. avatar SAP says:

    Yep, that clinches it.

    Wish the federal prosecutors and the judge had looked at his writings to see whether he felt bad about what he did, whether he was likely to re-offend.

  31. avatar elkhunter says:

    Jay,
    The dead coyotes are gone by the next morning anyway. Plus Jay we do it for predator control. Thats why we do it. And I know you will say it does not help, but I have been told otherwise. So I dont know what else to tell you.

  32. avatar Mike Wolf says:

    elkhunter:

    Wolves are far better at controlling coyotes than humans are. There are many studies to support this, including a study in Yellowstone that showed that the coyote population was cut in half after wolves were reintroduced.

    Coyotes don’t need to be controlled, nor do other predators; except when they continue to go after livestock, and only then if livestock operators take preventative measures; rather than offering up feasts in the form of carcass dumps.

    Just a few thoughts…

  33. avatar Moose says:

    Mike,

    I agree predators don’t literally need to be controlled, but they will be as part of the ‘deal’ with hunters, farmers, livestockers, etc. – both sides have to compromise to make this work.

  34. A century of coyote control has only served to makes coyotes smarter, more fertile, and spread them across all of North America, where they used to be limited to the Western United States.

    I see coyote control by farmers and ranchers as primarily ritualistic behavior. They doubt it will do much good, but they do it anyway. Some, like “elkhunter,” who posts here, likes to “blow them away,” but most livestock producers probably see it as a time consuming, not very effective chore; and they are right.

    Effective coyote control targets the specific coyotes that kill livestock. Going after coyotes in general can be counterproductive.

  35. avatar elkhunter says:

    Ya, but they sure are alot of fun to hunt, and thats why I do it also, so whether or not it works, I enjoy the challenge of hunting them. And I am not worried about them killing livestock, more about deer and proghorn, which I also have studies that show that killing them does help. So I guess we both might be right, but I do enjoy hunting them, plus you can hunt them year round, deer and elk only a couple weeks out of the year.

  36. avatar elkhunter says:

    Ralph this website says they hav found fossils from eastern coyotes that are a million years old. So are u talking about a different coyote? Or the same one that has been there for over a million years? Here is the link. So maybe the hunting of coyotes did not push coyotes to eastern USA, maybe they just already lived there.

    http://www.pgc.state.pa.us/pgc/cwp/view.asp?a=458&q=150783

  37. avatar Jay says:

    John,

    Nice sleuthing…seems the scumbag still can’t keep his mouth shut, which is what got him in trouble in the first place. It cracks me up how he talks as if he’s some authority on wolves–David Mech could really learn a thing or two from little Timmy–things like how to beat up and intimidate your wife and kids.

  38. avatar hawk says:

    Tim Sundles is the perfect example of how ignorance and self centeredness can be used to deceive ones self that unacceptable behavior is somehow morally justified.

    Anyone who looks to this man as a hero should audition for deliverance. They would not have to act.

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

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