Felice Pace argues that fear of predators in the rural West is real due to constant propaganda. Wolf Tales. Goat, a High Country News blog.

I think Pace is right. Based on my long experience in Idaho, while there are those who stand out in any community, faint-heartedness seems to be the norm in many “Old West” rural communities . It’s just pathetic! And it is these people who say they are tired of “Easterners” (who seem to be everyone outside their community) telling them what to do.

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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.

15 Responses to Wolf Tales (in the rural West)

  1. avatar Heather says:

    It’s interesting that it may be mostly those ‘easterners’ footing the bill for the environmental litigation to protect the last remaining wildlands in the west. And those from the east that have moved here because they want to live next to the wildlands. Wonder why? Because they know what it is like to lose everything? ‘Easterners’ (or Californians, or whatever…) have a different slant then someone who has more wilderness than those that dont have much at all. If you ever lived or been back east, you will know what I mean. The idea of putting a wolf in the backyards of the easterners is absurd. … there is no suitable land left to reintroduce wolves…but that is the point, to reintroduce them here, because there is suitable habitat.
    I think Pace is correct myself. Just listening to the rampant fear regarding wolves, “little red riding hood’ tales abound. Where is the biology? Where is the love for a magnificent species???

  2. I think most of the support for protecting the unspoiled outdoors is in fact well distributed across the United States, at least in per capita terms.

    The conflict is really between the more urban and the more rural and that includes states like Idaho where most support for protecting the outdoors come from its cities like Idaho Falls, Pocatello, and Boise (there are exceptions, of course).

    The incorrect notion that support for wilderness, parks, and real wildlife (not wildlife turned into livestock) comes only from the East developed in the late 19th and early 20th Century and has been handed down by this rural propaganda Pace talks about from generation to generation.

    Sixty years Bernard DeVoto made many of the same observations as Western conservationists make today. DeVoto grew up in Ogden, Utah, and in the late 1940s he almost single-handedly defeated a rancher public land grab of gigantic proportions by using his connections in the world of what was then called journalism.

  3. avatar cred says:

    Propaganda? Who’s kidding who?

    People here are telling the world about how the Mexican wolf program actually works *on the ground* while people “there” base their opinions on second and third hand info. What we who live here in Mexican wolf country are doing is providing actual findings based on real-life experience and examination by experts in many fields. How is that propaganda? The only propaganda comes from people who want the wolf program to work at any cost – as long a it is no cost to themselves.

    I wrote that on Pace’s blog and recommend you read my response in full.

  4. avatar Catbestland says:

    Cred,

    Propaganda? That “One Still Free” site of yours is the biggest load of hogwash propaganda I have ever seen.

    Under “Building wolfproof sheds for school children”

    “I lay awake at night listening to every sound for fear that it may be a wolf …… and …..fear when the dog is late for breakfast and I start wandering how I will tell the kids that it is never coming back.” and the rest of your nonsense. PLEASE cry me a river and duh.. bring the dog inside at night. This is propaganda in it’s most virulent form.

  5. avatar Jeff N. says:

    Cred –

    I’ve read your entry on Pace’s blog and have copied one of your comments:

    “When it’s their kids standing waiting for the bus with wolves in the area – not wild wolves, mind you, but the human habituated wolves released by the wolf program – the wolf program might not seem so wonderful.”

    Pathetic – For starters when will you people stop the “wolves staking out the bus stop” crap? The reason the children are so afraid is because pathetic adults like yourself keep using the same old “be afraid of the wolf” propaganda. In effect you are terrorizing the kids, the wolves aren’t. Pathetic, shameful behavior.

    Oh and one small detail. According to the USFWS Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery report dated 1/8/08 43 of the (then) 59 wolves in the population were born in the wild. Hardly the human raised, hand fed wolves in your pathetic world of wolf hysteria and terror.

  6. avatar April Clauson says:

    Hi Jeff N,

    are you a biologist by chance? Alpine AZ wolf mgmt/mexican wolf is hiring! it is to catch wolfs tag them, monitor etc…maybe you would, could take the job. I think you would be great for it! I would but no credentials of any kind. It would be a dream job for any wolf lover.

    Hey Cred, go get a real book on wolfs and read it, cause you don’t know squat! and you are spreading lies on your web site, shame on you!!!!

  7. avatar Jeff N. says:

    No I am not a biologist. However I do take my wife and young daughters camping and hiking in AZ/NM wolf country every chance I get. Hard to believe, but we’ve never been attacked by a wolf, but then we make it a habit not to camp near school bus stops as a precaution.

  8. avatar JEFF E says:

    cred,
    When you use the term “we” in your post are you referring to you and the four other people that has made comment on your blog over the last 8+ months?

  9. avatar Heather says:

    “The only propaganda comes from people who want the wolf program to work at any cost – as long a it is no cost to themselves.”
    Cred: there are thousands of people, some in the west, some not, that donate cold hard cash to Defenders of Wildlife, Natural Resource Council, Sierra Club etc to protect what is left-endangered species and wild forestland. Call Defenders and ask how many paying members they have. It is in the neighborhood of 900,000 I believe. I am a member and I live in Montana – 20+ yrs now.

  10. avatar Catbestland says:

    Not to mention the millions in tax dollars paid by all Americans to see that these wolves are reintroduced and protected.

  11. avatar Heather says:

    Yes, catbestland, as wolves are an endangered species… still on the ESA list. The reintroduction is one of our best success stories, yet at the same time, I dont see it ever working to its potential.

  12. avatar Heather says:

    just curious what does catbestland mean? very interesting name!

  13. avatar Catbestland says:

    Cathy Bestland

  14. avatar Heather says:

    oh thanks. had no idea. I was thinking you like cats!

  15. avatar Catbestland says:

    I do. I have three.

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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."

~ Edward Abbey

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