No Charges Filed in Wolf Killing Near Ashton, Idaho. LocalNews8

Update: The first Man to Legally Shoot a Wolf Tells His Story. LocalNews8

What this means is that Idaho’s wolves are not much better protected than Wyoming’s. This all came from the law slippped through the Idaho legislature on the very day of delisting, Feb. 28. which allows any owner of any kind of domestic animal to kill a wolf if it is molesting the animals, but “molesting” is defined to broadly that they can almost always claim a wolf was molesting. Here is the definitions as stated in the new law: Molesting means “the actions of a wolf that are annoying, disturbing or persecuting, especially with hostile intent or injurious effect, or chasing, driving, flushing, worrying, following after or on the trail of, or stalking or lying in wait for, livestock or domestic animals.”

“Worrying?” How can a person tell? “Annoying?,” how can this be proven or disproven without interviewing the horse or lamb? “Lying in wait for?” People who dislike wolves generally feel that any wolf they see is thinking of eating them or one of their animals — lying in wait.

This might be one more stake through the heart of the delisting. Judges don’t like vauge, ambiguous laws, that is, hard-to-figure-out-how-to-obey-laws.

– – – – – – –
Idaho Department of Fish and Game
UPPER SNAKE REGION NEWS RELEASE
Idaho Falls, ID
Date: April 16, 2008
Contact: Gregg Losinski. 208-525-7290

No charges filed in wolf killing

No charges will be filed in a case involving the shooting of two wolves west of Ashton on April 1.
“In my opinion, there is ‘reasonable doubt’ whether the wolves were, or were not, molesting livestock or domestic animals,” said Karl H. Lewies, Fremont County prosecuting attorney, in a letter to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.

The case stems from the killing of two male wolves. It is the first reported case of wolves being shot in Idaho since they were removed from the endangered species list on March 28.

Idaho Fish and Game conservation officers and the Fremont County prosecutor’s office investigated the incident.

The first wolf shot was within view of the individual’s home and near the landowner’s horses. The second wolf was killed a little more than a mile from the man’s home and horses. After shooting the first wolf, the man had pursued the second wolf on a snowmobile.

“I have determined that no charges will be filed,” Lewies wrote.

Since delisting, wolves have been classified as big game animals in Idaho.

Owners of livestock and domestic animals are allowed to kill wolves in the act of attacking or molesting their animals. But wolves taken in this manner must be reported to Fish and Game within 72 hours.
People concerned about how to respond to wolves or to request assistance with wolves should contact the local Fish and Game office. The intent of Idaho wolf depredation law is to allow people to protect their private property, while ensuring the protection of wolves that are not causing problems, similar to existing state law for depredating black bears and mountain lions.

The livestock owner or agent has to decide whether the wolf is actively “molesting” or attacking livestock or domestic animals. [emphasis mine] Molesting means “the actions of a wolf that are annoying, disturbing or persecuting, especially with hostile intent or injurious effect, or chasing, driving, flushing, worrying, following after or on the trail of, or stalking or lying in wait for, livestock or domestic animals.”

The law allows anyone to protect their animals using any nonlethal method they deem necessary.
But it doesn’t allow a livestock owner, employee or agent to kill a wolf if it is merely in the vicinity of their animals but not molesting or attacking them.

It is also illegal for anyone to pursue and kill a wolf away from the site when the wolf no longer is molesting or attacking the livestock or domestic animals. The law requires livestock owners to get a permit from Fish and Game to kill wolves not actively molesting or attacking animals.

Both wolves were killed outside a hunting season, and the furs remain the property of the state and will be sold at the annual Fish and Game fur sale.

 
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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.

38 Responses to No Charges Filed in Wolf Killing Near Ashton, Idaho

  1. avatar Jon Way says:

    The article states “It is also illegal for anyone to pursue and kill a wolf away from the site when the wolf no longer is molesting or attacking the livestock or domestic animals.”

    So, I guess chasing the wolf for a mile on a snowmobile is legal even though the above quote indicates otherwise.
    Ralph is correct – the law is too vague, possibly purposefully so.

  2. avatar timz says:

    I’m shocked.

  3. avatar Brian Ertz says:

    yeah, this guy chased the second wolf down and killed it. there is no illegal kill of a wolf in idaho.

  4. avatar Lynne Stone says:

    These two wolves near Ashton are likely only the first of scores of wolves that will be killed under the guise of Idaho Code 36-1107, the “molesting wolf” law. Unless, a federal judge calls a stop to what some are referring to as the “Otter Slaughter” of wolves now on its way in Idaho.

    The wolves that manage to survive #1107 – the “molesting wolf” law, could be hunted this fall — baited, howled in and shot — during a lengthy hunting season.

    And, IDFG’s “incremental” removal of wolves that are accused of killing a calf, is now “take three”. Meaning Wildlife Services will kill three wolves, any three. Tough times for wolves. When I think a wolf slaughter won’t occur, then I remember what Montana is doing to its bison on behalf of the cattle industry.

  5. avatar Mack P. Bray says:

    “The second wolf was killed a little more than a mile from the man’s home and horses. After shooting the first wolf, the man had pursued the second wolf on a snowmobile.”

    “It is also illegal for anyone to pursue and kill a wolf away from the site when the wolf no longer is molesting or attacking the livestock or domestic animals.”

    “I have determined that no charges will be filed.” ~ Karl H. Lewies, Fremont County prosecuting attorney

    What the hell is going on here? The prosecuting attorney refuses to enforce the laws of the State of Idaho? I assume he’s an elected prosecutor?

    Which state has more asinine elected officials, Idaho or Wyoming? Damned if I know.

    Mack P. Bray
    Wildlife Watchers
    wildlifewatchers@bresnan.net

  6. avatar Mack P. Bray says:

    This incident should be used in the delisting lawsuit as further evidence that Idaho not only has a poor management plan, but even the poor management plan/laws are NOT being enforced.

    Mack P. Bray
    Wildlife Watchers
    wildlifewatchers@bresnan.net

  7. avatar Rod Gilstrap says:

    Come on guys! What are we suppose to do? Are we suppose to wait and see if a wolf is going to drag down livestock? I believe you take care of the problem before it occurs when it comes to wolves. This guy was protecting his livestock. I agree there should be no senseless killing of any animal, but these wolves were to close. KILL OR LET KILL!!!

  8. avatar Layton says:

    Lynne,

    You said:

    “And, IDFG’s “incremental” removal of wolves that are accused of killing a calf, is now “take three”. Meaning Wildlife Services will kill three wolves, any three.”

    Can you tell me what you are refering to here? Is this something that has been said, or written or what??

    thanx

  9. avatar Lynne Stone says:

    Layton – read the weekly wolf reports. Got to run.

  10. Rod Gilstrap,

    In the news media I have seen, there never has been a description of what the wolves were doing, if anything, to these horses.

    I suspect they might have just been standing nearby, their presence causing some agitation among the horses. Of course, in Idaho now, “worrying” a domestic animal can be cause for shooting a wolf.

    Wolves rarely attack horses. I can only think of one case where they supposedly attacked and ate a horse, and a former wolf manager told us he was a bit skeptical about the accuracy of that story.

  11. avatar Nathan says:

    The thing that bugs me the most is that the second wolf was shot over a mile away from the property and was chased down on a snowmobile to be shot.

    Sadly Idaho law dictates the first as a legal kill, but the second occuring over a mile away from this persons property SHOULD be an illegal and vindictive kill.

    sometimes I really hate caring about this issue because I feel there is nothing I can do but be upset about it. I hope change comes soon.

  12. avatar Layton says:

    Ralph,

    Wasn’t there a BUNCH of trouble with wolves and horses near Clayton a couple of years back??

    I seem to remember that the feds even came in a did away with several wolves — maybe a whole pack — after they tried several different ways (non-lethal) to keep the wolves away

  13. avatar Layton says:

    Lynne,

    Which weekly reports??

  14. avatar Lynne Stone says:

    Layton – here’s one. Reading this must make you want to do cartwheels – the great killing of Idaho wolves has begun. Legal, illegal, semi-legal – anything goes.

    USFWS Subject: Status of Gray Wolf Recovery, Week of 3/24/08 to 3/28/08

    Control

    On the 26th , ID WS confirmed that the Copper Basin pack killed a calf on a private ranch near Mackay. On the 27th, an ID WS f/w aircrew shot and killed an adult, gray male from the Copper Basin pack. On the 28th, the aircrew shot and killed an adult, gray female and an adult, black female. Control efforts are complete unless another depredation takes place.

    On the 26th, ID WS confirmed that a lone wolf killed a calf on private land near Ellis. Control efforts to remove the responsible wolf are ongoing.

    On the 27th, ID WS confirmed that a lone wolf killed a month-old calf on private land NE of Council. Efforts to remove the offending wolf are ongoing.

    WS confirmed one dead calf and one probable dead calf killed by wolves in the Sage creek area on 3/23. They have been three wolves hanging in the area amongst the cattle for the past couple of weeks one of the wolves is radio collared. It was decided to remove the three wolves based on the current activity and past depredations in this area in the past year.

  15. avatar Lynne Stone says:

    Layton – re. wolves and horses. If you think an entire pack was removed because of horses near Clayton, you know something I don’t. If horse owners are having “wolf problems”, then maybe they need to put a mule in the pasture who still has some wildness left in it. Or, adopt a mustang from the Challis wild horse herd that lives with wolves year around and knows how to kick.

  16. avatar drew says:

    Thumbs down to the pansy prosecuting attorney who would not try the case in a court of law. In my mind, to chase a wolf on a snowmachine one mile away and kill it from atop a snowmachine is HUNTING!!!! Period, plain and simple. It’s not defending life or property. It quickly turns to sport. At the minimum this guy should be charged with: 1) Hunting/taking a wolf closed season, and 2) hunting from a motorized vehicle. Where is the justice?

  17. avatar Layton says:

    Lynne,

    Cartwheels?? No, I think not — BUT did you really think that the day would never come when some wolves would be killed??

    Maybe you did, it seems that most of the folks that hang around here have that thought in mind. To indicate that a much smaller number of wolves would be a basis for a “recovered” population and then use that as the camel’s nose in the tent seems to be what the strategy was. Then keep the whole thing in court forever while the population grows. Some of us on the opposite side have been predicting this for years.

    All you have to do now is endure things (and sensationalize them) for the next how many days? Then the suits can be filed and the injunctions sought.

    As for the horse vs. wolf thing at Clayton — I don’t KNOW that a whole pack was taken out, I do know that there was some lethal control after other methods failed. I thought that my previous reply was pretty clear about that.

  18. avatar vicki says:

    Layton,
    Well you have one thing right, sensationalization has been the tactic of use for a while, but not by wolf advocates… we can give that credit to the opposition.

    I have to say that I disagree whole heartedly with your unfounded assumption that most advocates never thought the day would come when wolves would be hunted… most people who I speak with here knew it was an inevitability. They just want to assure a practical and scientific approach is used. That approach should include the judgement of people in professional positions that have nothing to lose or gain by wolves perceviering…biologists who have no connection to the wolves or the ranchers.

    You would also have to assume we were evil and heartless if you think we wanted wolves to reproduce as fast as possible before litigation mandated control. That would result in a larger mass slaughter of wolves when the legislature came around required limited numbers of wolves.
    What you state would result in, for example… in twenty or so years wolf advocates have enabled wolves in the tri-state Yellowstone corridor to reach 7000 (an exagerated number that will pacify the over blown/inaccurate ideas about their abilities to reproduce and then maintain huge numbers). Lets say there would be 2500 of those wolves in Wyoming, for argument sake. Then the advocates for wolves exhausted all their appeals, so the three states can now begin management which will lower those numbers to a number THE STATES?RANCHERS say is realistic and managable. SO let the shooting begin… now in the state of Wyoming we’re going to kill off all but 150 wolves outside the “Trophy” zone…shoot them like coyotes even though they don’t reproduce as quickly, and depend on packs to mainatin their existence. Now wolf advocates get to stand by -according to you-as planned and watch as the other 2250 wolves are killed… oh yeah! Yes, Layton, that makes so much sense.

    I can tell you for certain, I know wolves will be hunted. I also know that, I personally, believe they should be hunted with the reverance they deserve…as a trophy species in all regards. Then the tag price should be reflective of that, and raised. The funds in addition to those currently being charged in the states involved should be used as a fund to maintain habitat and funding to further conservation for wolves, and other valuable species under threat.

    But, that’s just me….

  19. avatar Layton says:

    Vicki,

    You said:

    “They just want to assure a practical and scientific approach is used. That approach should include the judgement of people in professional positions that have nothing to lose or gain by wolves perceviering…biologists who have no connection to the wolves or the ranchers.”

    I agree wholeheartedly!! But it seems that the ACCEPTED opinions here all come from some outfit that has more wolves as a motive!!

    You also said:

    “I personally, believe they should be hunted with the reverance they deserve…as a trophy species in all regards. Then the tag price should be reflective of that, and raised”

    Soooooo, it’s OK to hunt them IF you pay enough?? Isn’t that interesting!!

  20. avatar Lynne Stone says:

    Layton – I’m not aware of any lethal control done because some wolves supposedly killed horses near Clayton. What’s your source?

    As for your statement that I don’t know about wolves being killed, it’s way off the mark. In 2000, the White Cloud and Twin Peaks were destroyed. Then later in 2000 the Stanley Pack was in the cross hairs and history by Spring 2001. In Spring 2002, 10 Whitehawk Pack wolves that had been in the Sawtooth Valley the previous summer, were killed in the EFK Salmon.

    I lived a few miles from the demise of these packs. Laugh if you will. I cried a lot of tears over the injustice of these wolves being killed for no other reason but the dominance of the livestock industry over all other uses of land.

  21. avatar vicki says:

    Layton,
    To answer you… yes, EVENTUALLY, it will become necessary to HUNT (not just randomly shoot at any and all)wolves.
    If you pay enough? Well obviously what you and I find to be enough will be different. But if it costs millions to have wolves reintroduced, then it should stand to reason that tags for wolves should be compensatory and constructive from an ecological point.
    You assumed that everyone who wanted wolves back were secretly plotting that once here they would never be hunted. That is crap. I, for one, wanted wolves back, but knew from the get-go that if they got too populous (TOO being the key word) they would be hunted.
    You really like to try to twist things to fit your argument. I didn’t say anything about it being OKAY IF YOU PAY ENOUGH. I said that when they got to a point where hunting was necessary, the monetary costs of shooting a wolf should match the costs of reintroducing them!!!! The twisted way you put it was a misrepresentation of the obvious intended point.
    It doesn’t change the fact that your argument was innacurate… I am proof to the contrary.
    I find it disheartening how often anti-wolf people take great efforts to twist arguments against them, and never address what is wrong with their own arguments.
    You are right about one thing, the popular opinion here is in favor of more wolves. But that is the popular opinion of the majority of people, here or not. No big suprize there Layton. But what you fail to see is that one reason to want more wolves is that under the curent plans, the majority of the existing wolves will be gone rather quickly

  22. avatar Susan Rediger-Blackburn says:

    Hello everyone ,
    I am finally home after neck sx. The horses maybe the ones a couple of years ago in Bondurant. Thus I believe 2 were put down. Just FYI.

  23. avatar Heather says:

    I think the possibility of 2 horses (near Clayton or Bondurant? which?) being so injured by wolves they had to be put down a couple of years ago distracts from what is going on now… ie the illegal wolf state plans in place (trickle down effect from our president and secretary of the Interior, with no concern for the environment. Please read ESA), and henceforth the true illegal killing and murdering of wolves now and to come. …Think about the word ‘scapegoat’.

  24. avatar Layton says:

    Lynne,

    There seems to be a big misunderstanding here — you said

    “As for your statement that I don’t know about wolves being killed, it’s way off the mark”

    I was saing that it was ME that didn’t know for sure what wolves had been controlled and that YOU WOULD — sorry if I didn’t make that clear.

    As for a source about horses being killed at Clayton, I didn’t say that — I said

    “Wasn’t there a BUNCH of trouble with wolves and horses near Clayton a couple of years back??”

    Not sure how that got to be having horses killed. I’m sure I remember some problems but I really wasn’t into this wolf discussion that much then and didn’t take copious notes about when, where, etc. Now I know that I will face an inquisition if I mention anything concerning something bad about wolves, so I DO!!

    8^)

  25. avatar Lynne Stone says:

    Ralph – I watched the Channel 8 video. The man who shot the two wolves, running one of them down with his snowmobile and then killing it, obviously has no knowledge of wolves, nor from his demeanor, does he have any interest in learning.

    “I’d do it again”, he said, and he said he’d kill any wolf he saw near his place. Also, “They were howling,” he fearfully stated. (What did he expect, that wolves would be mooing?).

    There are missing pieces to this horse person’s story who killed the two wolves. What attracted the wolves to his property? Was their baiting going on?

    Sad, troubling. But I would wager that no one will ever be convicted of illegally killing a wolf in Idaho under Idaho’s current political climate.

  26. You’re right, no one with any animals at least, will ever be convicted of killing a wolf in Idaho. Because the average person can’t judge the mental state of a wolf or most other animals absent any overt behavior, the law cannot be followed by a reasonable person.

    I think a federal judge might use this last minute new law to reverse the delisting of the wolf, even without taking Wyoming’s wolf plan into account.

  27. avatar Heather says:

    baiting does not come up much …. and it should. We all know it is happening. Shooting a wolf from behind, and on snowmobile. … baiting, poisoning. come on. what kind of man/woman would do that?

  28. avatar Heather says:

    “I’d do it again”, he said, and he said he’d kill any wolf he saw near his place. Also, “They were howling,” he fearfully stated.”
    this is pure fear – however the wolves are howling because they just lost a family member… not because they are vampires waiting to kill the next human.. that would be Hollywood.

  29. avatar MAC says:

    Very interesting discussion. When wolves walk down main street in Ashton Idaho that’s where these local people of the land draw the line. Ten black bear, cougars and now wolves in the last 9 months walking through the streets of the town… Sure there MUST be reasons…

    Surely I could be wrong but many of you folks probably would rather see an unborn child killed than a dear and beloved wolf.

    MAC

  30. MAC,

    Were the wolves killed walking down main street in Ashton? That not what any of the stories wrote.

    I’m a bit skeptical of what you say, but for those who are not aware, Ashton is a small town set right on the edge of the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem. The presence of large wild animals on the edges, or even the center of Ashton, is to be expected.

    I grow up in part in Rexburg, a few miles to the south. I always liked to go to Ashton because it meant we were on our way to Yellowstone, or at least Island Park.

    I don’t know about you, but when I was just 5 years old I thought living in such a place was wonderful.

    I’d say count your blessings, and also drop your stereotypes about who cares or doesn’t care about “unborn children.”

  31. avatar Catbestland says:

    Mac,
    How is a wolf going to eat and UNBORN child? If a fetus dies in utero, it is normally due to some malformity, some irresponsible behavior of the mother or some trauma to the mother. The latter two cases being human caused. Have you EVER heard of a wolf eating an unborn child? This is just more hype talk trying to frighten and enrage the public against the presence of wolves. But this is too far. “Unborn children” c’mon.

  32. Cat,

    MAC is obviously someone who is strongly against abortion.

    His or her stereotypical view is that those who don’t agree with his or her views on abortion must also be strong wolf supporters . . . that common kind of thinking around the world that someone I don’t like for one reason must have all kinds of other bad qualities, therefore, justifying double dislike.

  33. avatar Catbestland says:

    Ralph,
    Yes, it’s funny how the right to life does not apply to all of the Creators creations like wildlife or the children of mid-eastern descent.

  34. avatar JB says:

    Okay, we could use some accountability here:

    “however the wolves are howling because they just lost a family member… not because they are vampires waiting to kill the next human.. that would be Hollywood.”

    –Let’s not pretend that we’re capable of divining the motives of a particular pack of wolves. I’m not saying you’re not right, simply that you’re stating your opinion as if it is a fact that should be obvious to all.

    and…

    “Surely I could be wrong but many of you folks probably would rather see an unborn child killed than a dear and beloved wolf.”

    –I think I can safely say that NOBODY wants to “see an unborn child killed.” What a ridiculous statement! I refuse to be drawn into a debate about abortion; however, I will say that there are many reasons why an individual would chose to support or oppose abortion NONE OF WHICH HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH WOLVES.

  35. avatar Heather says:

    Like I’ve said here before, the unleashed wolf hatred is a witch hunt… how do you stop a witch hunt? We have many examples in the past of how hatred and discrimination have killed thousands of people along with their animals. Women or “witches” and cats were killed… in the name of fear, but in my opinion, justified killing. That is why those of us who can see this hypocristy need to speak up now for wolves and stop the momentum of the hate.The old addage: there are more important/dire things going on, economy, war etc. that we need to pay attention to… rather than wolves …however, when does that ever stop? When is it a good enought time to devote attention to wildlife? To see a beautiful wild wolf in the woods makes the bad go go away.
    MAC: your comment scares the heck out of me

  36. avatar Heather says:

    sorry for typos: not much sleep last night!

  37. avatar Andy says:

    It seems to me that the wolf issue is sadly another problem where the extreme fringes of both sides dominate the debate. Each would have us think their position is the only correct one, and neither is willing to compromise to find middle ground.

    The “rednecks” who want to eradicate the wolves in the state again need to wake up and see that is never going to happen. Once wolf populations reach a certain low level the federal government and the ESA will intervene on behalf of the wolves and we start all over again. On the other hand “tree hugging hippies” who would prefer to see someone in jail rather than a dead wolf need to realize that the ranching and outdoorsman/sportsman tradition runs very wide and deep in the state. Every rancher or hunter that shoots a wolf is not bent on annihilating the species, and in fact many would no more like to see the wolves go away than they would the deer or elk.

    I believe there is a sensible middle ground in this issue; both sides need to accept the facts that there will always be a healthy wolf presence in the state and that the wolves will be hunted and killed. Let’s take a wait and see approach to the current IDFG management plan. If the plan works and the state can maintain a sustainable wolf population, that is fantastic. If it does not work the wolves have proven very resilient and will surely bounce back for us to find a better management plan.

  38. avatar MAC says:

    Andy, Amen to your words.

    MAC

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