Two decisions from Judge Molloy today on the litigation brought by the coalition of conservation and animal rights groups against the federal government’s decision to delist the Northern Rocky Mountain Gray Wolf.

The first is Judge Molloy’s decision on a motion made by the federal government requesting an extension of two weeks to respond to wolf advocates’ request for an injunction :

Update 5/8:
Montana judge rejects bid to delay wolf lawsuit

Matthew Brown – AP

Judge Molloy’s OrderJudge Molloy\'s Order (pdf) :

Federal Defendants move for a two-week extension of time to file a brief opposing Plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary injunction. Federal Defendants assert additional time is necessary for them to prepare their brief, compile expert witness and agency program declarations, and obtain internal departmental review of their brief. Federal Defendants also assert an extension of time will allow the states of Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming to intervene in the action and participate in briefing on the motion for preliminary injunction. Plaintiffs oppose the motion.

Federal Defendants claim eleven days is insufficient to prepare a response to a motion for preliminary injunction. Federal Defendants, however, have been aware of Plaintiffs’ concerns about the delisting of the grey wolf since at least February 27, 2008, when Plaintiffs provided Federal Defendants with sixty-days notice of their claims pursuant to the Endangered Species Act. In this notice, Plaintiffs thoroughly explained the factual and legal bases for each of their challenges to the delisting. As a result of this notice, Federal Defendants have been aware of Plaintiffs’ claims for at least two-months—more than enough time to prepare a response to Plaintiffs’ assertions.

Federal Defendants also observe Plaintiffs will not be prejudiced if the Court grants an extension of time because the majority of wolves that have been killed since delisting would have died even if the grey wolf remained a listed species. This assertion is neither compelling nor comforting.

Additionally, Federal Defendants appear to agree that ten wolves have been killed in the month since delisting that probably would not have been killed absent delisting. The Court is unwilling to risk more deaths by delaying its decision on Plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary injunction beyond what is necessary.

Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Federal Defendants’ Motion for Extension of Time (dkt #6) is DENIED.

Dated this 7th day of May, 2008.

Donald W. Molloy, District Judge

United States District Court

The decision is uplifting. Does anyone honestly believe that this lawsuit has not been anticipated ? Of course not, but the government had the gall to suggest as much anyway. Judge Molloy will rule on the states’ motions to intervene separately.

Judge Molloy has set oral arguments regarding Advocates’ request for an injunction for May 29.

Added May 9. Here is the AP story by Matthew Brown. Federal judge in Montana rejects bid to delay wolf lawsuit.

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Brian Ertz

62 Responses to News From Judge Molloy's Court on Wolf Litigation – 5/7

  1. avatar Dave H says:

    Did the federal government honestly just use the “they would have died anyway” defense?

    This ruling is very minor and I would not hold on to this as any real victory. Although it gives me hope that Judge Molloy will think prior to ruling even if it is just about judicial process.

  2. avatar vicki says:

    It is reassuring that the judge has found the deaths disturbing. But it is so early in the game, that I remain cautiously optomistic.
    The pace of many law suits that I have followed has started out emotional. But the final outcome has been, as it should have , based on the laws in question.
    I have no coubt that the defendants will pull out all the stops. I wish this case would get the PR that criminal cases get. If it did, it would shed light on the politics of those involved. That woul give the world the view of Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana, that is needs to see. Beyond the beautiful secenery, and outside of the protection ofnational park boundaries there are ugly politics snuffing out what is loveable and admirable about the states, one wolf, one bison, one plateau, one oil field at a time.

  3. avatar Lynne Stone says:

    The denial to the feds for an extension is good news. But, I wonder how many more wolves will be shot including lactating females (leaving behind pups to starve) before May 29th and then however long it takes after that to get a decision.

  4. avatar vicki says:

    Lynne,
    Do you know much about the wolves/packs that lost lactating females? I may be hoping against odds here, but could there be another female in the pack that has had pups also?Would that female be likely to help with the orphans? At what point after the pups are whelped do the females leave the den? How many weeks old would the pups likely be?
    See, this is just another reason why the current pla is crapola. They say it will allow for killing based n the population predictions-bull-since they reduce, by killing one female, “exponential” numbers of wolves from living even passed a few months of age.
    Who the heck was the wise one who decided to have wolves shot during a time frame when their entire pack survival rate could depend on the death of one wolf? How ill-begotten, and how well planned out by the opposition.

  5. avatar Catbestland says:

    The Denial of the extension is excellent news. I have been involved in a few cases and know that extensions of this type are generally granted for very nearly any reason as long as the Request was filed within the allowed time. In fact I have never seen one denied.

  6. avatar Catbestland says:

    Lynne,
    The Decision on the Preliminary Injunction should occur at hearing. As a rule Injunctions are seen as emergency actions. That is why the date was set in May as apposed to some time later as is common with most other types of hearings. As soon as the Injunction is Granted, it will go into effect. I wonder what will happen to those who ignore it. There has been little consequence for those who have illegally killed wolves in the past. Lets see what happens if a Federal Court Order is dissobeyed while under the scrutiny of the entire nation.

  7. avatar Buffaloed says:

    Vicki, I don’t know which packs lost lactating females but generally wolves in Idaho do not have more than one breeding female in a pack. That is much more common in Yellowstone and it is due to the density of prey and the density of wolves. Since it is so easy for wolves to find each other on the landscape in Yellowstone it is more likely that they have multiple litters but I know of very few instances in Idaho where there have been multiple litters.

    I’m not saying that it isn’t possible but it is unlikely.

    We could think like Ron Gillett and say that each female in the pack will have 2 litters each year just like dogs do but that is absolutely not the case. 😉

  8. avatar April Clauson says:

    Fantastic news!!!! Thanks for posting

  9. avatar Rick Hammel says:

    The last two paragraphs tell it all. Judge Molloy did not find the Federal Defendants reason for extension “compelling nor comforting.” He further stated that he is unwilling to risk further lives of wolves to the extension of time.

    Ralph, hasen’t Judge Molloy had some major rulings in wolf issues in the past? I seem to remember one, but I can’t put my finger on it.

    From what I have read in this ruling, it seems that this judge will rule on the merits of the case, not the Bush politics.

    Rick

  10. I don’t recall any cases before Molloy on wolves.

  11. Lynne and/or Ralph

    Are there any Idaho wolf packs still available for viewing or photographing that you know of? I would like to get some photos at the dens if possible. I have three photos of Yellowstone wolves in Defenders Magazine and one in Bugle Magazine this month and it would be nice to get some Idaho wolf photos published. People protect what they know and we need to get more favorable publicity for our Idaho wolves.

  12. avatar Lynne Stone says:

    Larry – I agree with you re. people protect what they know … so, I’ll send you an e-mail. Have your card in my pickup truck somewhere that I got from you at the wolf delisting hearing in Boise last year. The “bad guys” monitor this site and so we need to talk the WWW. Ralph is on vacation right now.

  13. avatar Lynne Stone says:

    Larry – I don’t know what happened to the last line of my post … it was meant to say that we should talk away from the world wide web. I guess when one types three w’s that “http” automatically comes up. Amazing.

  14. avatar JB says:

    Rick,

    I dont’ see anything about Molloy and wolves, but he did rule in favor of the wolverine and he also threatened to hold the Undersecretary of Agriculture in Contempt for a slow response to a court order in another case (see below).

    http://www.missoulian.com/articles/2006/10/03/news/mtregional/news05.txt

    http://www.federalnewsradio.com/?nid=78&sid=1353716

  15. avatar Resource user says:

    Who are the “bad guys”? Emotions rule all the court cases today weather it’s timber, grazing, mining it’s all way too emotional. Take your feeling out and get to the facts of the case. The states have set up management plans, gone through public comments ect. Just because you don’t believe them and they do not see the world the way you do……it’s all wrong? There in lies the problem. No middle ground. Your way. Their way. No body wants to give and inch because of feelings. Sad. Malloy, HA! The stench from the bench is making me clenth! Nothing gets solved in the courts, no one wins but the judges ego and it just gets bigger and bigger as they continue to legislate from the bench. Lifetime jobs. Who made that rule? What a maroon!

  16. “Resource User” (Larry Craig staffperson). Your boss and you have done enough damage to our American western lands. We’re going to reclaim these lands for the American people.

    You’re on your way out!

    Public lands patriot.

  17. Lynne-
    You can reach me at larry@larrythorngren.com.
    I would really appreciate some info on wolf locations.

    Larry

  18. avatar timz says:

    “What a maroon!” Resource user could you explain why are you calling people a color?

  19. avatar Matt says:

    Yes, Resource User, why are you referring to someone as a runaway slave?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maroon_(people)

  20. avatar steve c says:

    This judge sounds promising! Resource user, better to have a judge legislating from the bench than a senator legislating from the stall in an airport bathroom…

  21. avatar Lynne Stone says:

    Larry and everyone – I wanted to say that it’s my strong belief to never reveal the locations of wolf dens or rendezvous sites – if indeed I would know of some.

  22. avatar Chuck says:

    I have been trying to photograph/watch some Idaho wolves for almost a year now, still no luck. Good luck Larry

  23. avatar Dan says:

    I don’t know who you are Lynne Stone, but you are my new hero.

  24. avatar Catbestland says:

    Resource User,
    So NOW you want to find a middle ground???

  25. avatar Matt says:

    Assuming “Resource user” is a Craig staffer, it amazes me how someone from the legislative branch is completely dismissive of the judicial branch. Thank goodness for checks and balances! This is a great example of our need for that.

  26. avatar Lynne Stone says:

    I guess Ralph isn’t on vacation after all, or is checking in via a laptop/cell phone hookup. So Ralph, hope you’re in a beautiful place this wonderful May evening, watching wolves.

  27. avatar Matt says:

    Ralph, I echo Lynne’s comments. I hope you are somewhere wonderful, watching the wolves you love. Few have done a better job for them.

  28. avatar JB says:

    Resource user opined: “Emotions rule all the court cases today weather it’s timber, grazing, mining it’s all way too emotional.”

    ..and then offered…

    “Sad. Malloy, HA! The stench from the bench is making me clenth! Nothing gets solved in the courts…Lifetime jobs. Who made that rule? What a maroon!”

    Hmm…it strikes me that you are the one who is emotional here. I don’t see anyone else engaged in name calling. If the states plans are sound, as you say, then they have nothing to worry about. However, as someone who has actually taken the time to read the ESA, I see some pretty gaping holes. Perhaps I’m wrong–it wouldn’t be the first time–but either way, you won’t catch me crying about it; nor insulting federal judges.

    And I thought I could be partisan. Sheesh!

  29. avatar Buffaloed says:

    If you ask me anyone associated with Larry Craig should go by the name or Resource Destroyer rather than Resource User.

  30. avatar Buffaloed says:

    How’s that for emotion and name calling?

  31. avatar Chuck says:

    Good luck on finding those elusive Idaho wolves Larry, I have been trying to photograph/watch Idaho wolves for about a year now and have yet to see one.

  32. avatar timz says:

    I have seen three in Idaho but none hung around long enough to pose for a picture.

  33. avatar timz says:

    “This judge sounds promising! Resource user, better to have a judge legislating from the bench than a senator legislating from the stall in an airport bathroom…”

    Ralph, you should start a classic post blog and this should be the first entry.

  34. avatar Nathan Hobbs says:

    Chuck, Driving home very late one night last fall from a full day of photography at Yellowstone as I was coming down the Ashton Hill a Grey colored Wolf walked right out in front of me….came closer than I would like to admit to hitting him, but no harm to either of us. We starred at each other in disbelief for a brief moment and on he went.

    the Idaho wolves are out there, best of luck.

    Lynne as much as I would LOVE to photograph a wolf den I appreciate your policy on silence as to geographical locations. Even if the information was only shared with those with no harm in mind eventually too much traffic in the area, a mispoken word ect would give there position away too someone with ill intentions, especially with Idahos current lack of any kind of protection for the animal… I am Not even mentioning the stress it would cause the animals themselves to have frequent visitors.

    P.s. I was not speeding 🙂

  35. avatar Nathan Hobbs says:

    Resource Abuser,
    Please do not use government computers or government email information to post anonymous posts on websites with a dissenting opinion as yours.

    Frankly its a waste of my tax dollars, either represent the office you work for and speak officially for them…or wait until you get home to post.
    – – – –

    Webmaster note. He used cableone.net and a valid email for his post this time.

  36. avatar JB says:

    Resource user:

    People object to the delisting of wolves for a number of reasons. I don’t have time to detail them all, but I will give you a few of mine, and then you can decide if I’m just being “emotional.”

    First, I can tell you that the average number of species listed per year under all other administrations was ~44, under G.W. Bush it is ~8, despite an ever increasing number of candidate species. Next, I would mention the political tampering with listing actions from appointees like Julie MacDonald, who changed biological findings and passed non-public government documents to interest groups opposed to the ESA; or perhaps I should bring up the case of the desert bald eagle, where FWS biologists were told that they could not list the eagle as a DPS and they needed to find an analysis that fit; or I might bring the last time this administration tried to delist the wolf with a faulty interpretation of the ESA and an agenda to get “the wheels greased for delisting.” Perhaps I should also point out that our current Vice President was one of the most vocal opponents to the initial reintroduction of wolves, and that after gaining office the administration appointed an attorney to head Interior who, in an amicus brief, once argued the ESA was unconstitutional (talk about a fox in a hen house).

    While these may not be legal reasons, these actions show this administration has never been interested in enforcing the ESA (yes that’s understatement). They show an agenda–from the very beginning–aimed at listing as few species as possible and delisting every species they can, in clear opposition to the law. If people like you actually took the time to read the Federal court cases the Bush administration lost, you would find an administration that has consistently shown contempt for the law and the courts. But perhaps you already knew these things, and your comments were simply designed to ignite a fire under the asses of those who agree with you? Perhaps you made them in order to provoke the same type of emotional response you claim to abhor?

    Rather than continue to defend the actions of Federal judges regarding the ESA, I’ll let them speak for themselves. Here’s a paragraph from the recent decision on the bald eagle (CBD v. Kempthorne):

    “… FWS biologist Chris Nolan asserted that whether or not a population qualifies as a DPS is “largely a policy call.” AR 1983, 1985. He informed the participants that “Ben [Tuggle, FWS Southwest Regional Director] and Ren [Loenhoffer, FWS Associate Director in the Washington, D.C. Office] have reached [a] policy call & we need to support [it].” AR 1985. Sarah Quamme then stated that the “[a]nswer has to be that its [sic] not a DPS . . . [w]e have marching orders.” AR 1985, 1987. Doug Krofta, of the Washington, D.C. Office, also stated that “[w]e’ve been given an answer now we need to find an analysis that works. . . . Need to fit argument in as defensible a fashion as we can.” AR 1986-87. These statements suggest that the FWS drew an irrational connection between the facts found and the choice made in the 90-day finding; they appear to exemplify an arbitrary and capricious agency action.”

    Still look like legislating from the bench to you?

  37. avatar Buffaloed says:

    That’s the M.O. of the Bush Administration. “Fit the facts to match the policy.” Reminds me of the “Downing Street Memo”

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article387374.ece

  38. avatar Layton says:

    JB

    You said:

    “Next, I would mention the political tampering with listing actions from appointees like Julie MacDonald, who changed biological findings and passed non-public government documents to interest groups opposed to the ESA;”

    I agree, she got busted! But wasn’t it just a few years ago that some (I don’t know how many – my memory isn’t that good) biologists in Washington (state) got caught falsifying some Lynx data?? Then wasn’t there a “stink” about some Grizzly Bear hair appearing where it shouldn’t have? Again, I don’t have the specifics, but I think you would remember. I believe that sword (falsifying data) cuts both ways.

    As far as the “current administration” opposing some of the attempts to list everything from the “jumping titmouse” to the ETERNAL protection of anything that ever makes the list —- well, I’m not sure that all of us agree that this is a bad deal.

    There are MANY abuses on both sides of these issues, I don’t think you can even argue with that.

  39. avatar JB says:

    Layton:

    I don’t know the specifics, but of course, there are always bad apples on both sides of the fence. My point was not that this administration opposes listing certain species; it’s that they’ve systematically attempted to list as few species as possible.

    Look, I can understand if you don’t like the law, that’s all well and fine. There are several on the books that I disagree with as well. But there’s a difference between you or me (citizens) opposing a particular law and the administration (who is charged with enforcing the laws of this country) refusing to uphold them. Interior’s actions under Bush have been nothing short of criminal–and these are just a few examples.

  40. avatar Brian Ertz says:

    ‘criminal’ is the right word JB

  41. avatar Rick Hammel says:

    Lynne,

    I agree that den locations should never be given to the public. Remember what happened with the Hayden Pack last spring when a couple skirted the closure and came into from a side road? Plus the females tend to abadon the dens when humans get too close. The less human intrusion, the better for the wolves.

    Rick

  42. avatar Lynne Stone says:

    Rick – And I agree with you.

  43. avatar Buffaloed says:

    Layton, no there wasn’t any falsification of the lynx data. The biologists were sending in samples that they knew were not lynx as control data to make sure the lab was not calling everything lynx fur. This is a common way of determining whether or not the samples are being processed correctly and I have done it myself and been encouraged to do it by the people who process the DNA samples.

    http://outside.away.com/outside/news/lynxgate_1.adp

    The problem Layton is you never have the specifics.

  44. avatar Layton says:

    Oh for chrissakes B’d,

    When I DON’T have the specifics, I admit it. When I DO have them folks that disagree simply say “that’s old science” or “was this peer reviewed” or “well that particular study wasn’t done right” or some such tripe! I don’t try to discredit EVERYTHING you say, why can’t you reciprocate??

    By the way “The biologists were sending in samples that they knew were not lynx as control data to make sure the lab was not calling everything lynx fur” That’s what you say, NOT what the article says.

    The article says “Wainwright and six other state and federal wildlife scientists in Washington State allegedly “planted” clumps of wild lynx fur in the Gifford Pinchot and Wenatchee national forests” Sometime later it points out that, in addition, ONE of the scientists sent in hair from “Harry the bobcat”.

    Give me a break — just because YOU don’t agree does NOT make it untrue!! If this is such a common practise why did this one make the news??

    “I have done it myself and been encouraged to do it by the people who process the DNA samples.”

    That’s interesting — how come you didn’t get prosecuted?? Seems that Julie McDonald did. Maybe the people that process the DNA samples should be too!!

  45. avatar Buffaloed says:

    I didn’t get prosecuted because it isn’t a crime… it’s science. You have to have controls to make sure that your data is correct.

    Essentially a sample from a different species was thrown in with a group of samples from the species we were taking samples. If the DNA analysis doesn’t show that it is obviously a different species then can you depend on the methods used for the DNA analysis?

    This is exactly why Wainwright added the samples. They were getting results which weren’t consistent with what was possible. There aren’t very many feral cats in the middle of a wilderness which is what the lab was calling the samples. They questioned the ability of the lab to know for sure whether they knew what they were doing or not.

    This story is a perfect example of how the original story is total B.S. but everyone who hears about it believes the crap they hear from idiots like Butch Otter who made political hay from it. Otter doesn’t know his ass from a hole in the ground on these issues but since he was a congressman he was in the position to make an issue of it and be a hero to the other dumb rednecks who will believe anything that spews forth from his fat mouth.

  46. avatar Layton says:

    This thread is getting to be a perfect example of how to end a discussion on a much less than positive note.

    You can look at the same words I do and get an entirely different meaning.

    You can read a report from F&G that specifically cites multiple causes for the decline of an elk herd — then you can, in all your wisdom, decide that only ONE of the reasons cited is the cause. I read the same report and see multiple causes, including the ones that you gloss over. I guess I’m just not as smart. Or maybe a little more willing to think??

    If one reads the FACTS of the story, these folks “stuffed” the samples, plain and simple. To you that’s OK, you can justify it in your own head using your own rules.

    You submit phony results, it’s science!! Someone that doesn’t agree with your viewpoint submits phony results — it’s a prosecutable offense! Go ahead and justify it if it flips your switch.

    Your own first sentence hangs you — “Layton, no there wasn’t any falsification of the lynx data.”

    In a couple of words — Horse Crap! The people that did it SAY they did it — the article that you posted a link to says they did it — now you try to justify it by some sort of a “spin”. If this is an example of the “specifics” that you treasure so much — I’ll abstain. Thanks!!

  47. avatar Heather says:

    This is the best news I’ve heard in a long time. Momentum is building…

  48. avatar Heather says:

    Pray for the wolves lives lets stick to the subject at hand shall we??? they are depending on us whether they know if or not!

  49. avatar vicki says:

    Layton,
    When you post, you are often confrontational. But you usually seem to have researched your position. You will never get most folks here to agree with it, but you might be able to shed some light on what makes those on the other side of issues tick.
    You seem to be very bright. So I am sure you would agree that there needs to be a middle ground. A lot of folks here recognize that.
    I would venture a guess that not one person here who wants wolves to exist in these three states thinks that current regulations meet their criteria for a viable solution. So, why don’t you with your opinion, try to promote a solution? It wouldn’t be YOUR solution, as it seems you’d rather stick to the current reg’s or wolves being exterminated again. But help find a solution that a majority of people could live with? Not your way, not their way…but a true compromise?
    I also challenge those here to step outside of their comfort zone, and realize the issues of wildlife will never be an all or nothing scenario. You can’t have everything you want, so what woud you be willing to do-or to give up, to get some of the things you want?
    We ask others to give up cows on public lands, we ask them to stop driving suv’s, use less electricity, less oil. Hunt fewer elk. What will we give up?
    This issue, like all environmental issues- is not about what we will demand, or what we must have. It is about what are willing to do to get as close to a goal as possible. (AS POSSIBLE IS THE KEY PHRASE)
    People often set unrealistic or unobtainable goals. That is because we are idealistic and selfish.
    We need to keep in mind that when this ruling comes in, no matter which side it favors, there are still problems that will need to be dealt with. Even if it is in favor of reversing state management, it will merely place a band-aid on a wound, not cure a desease.
    We should all be optomistic, and realistic too. There is still much compromising and work to be done.

  50. avatar JEFF E says:

    This is the revised mission statement from a recently formed anti organization. Does not look like much room for compromise here although if you have been paying attention to them the are getting slowly more sophisticated. However they are going to have to learn to spell and base there arguments on real science as opposed to barroom biology to gain much more headway.
    “Mission Statement

    Our mission is to become an advocate for our elk and other mountain ungulates, to inform and educate citizens about the depredation and carnage “reintroduced” Canadian gray wolves are inflicting upon our wildlife, and to develop a “grass-roots” following of informed citizens united in it’s effort to combat extremist pro-wolf environmentalist agendas and who are united in it’s opposition to government policies that support re-introduction and proliferation of wolves to the determent of the civil rights of our states citizens. Our charter is to garner overwhelming citizenry and legislative support for our cause, and to leverage this support and our coalition’s resources to force representative state and federal government agencies to implement the necessary wolf control measures to reduce and maintain wolf populations at the approved 2008 State Wolf Management Plan levels.

    We request all concerned citizens to join our “Save Our Elk” Coalition and become actively involved in promoting common sense wolf management practices. We are not opposed to the existence of wolves; however, wolves must coexist with other wildlife and should not be allowed to proliferate at the expense and determent of other wildlife. Our Coalition will propose legislation as necessary to ensure the existence of adequate laws that will guarantee state sovernty in the management and control of wildlife within the confines of each states borders. To guarantee states’ right to manage wolves, we propose to enact legislation granting each state sovernty in the enforcement and management of its wildlife, and to grant unencumbered immunity of such without threat of lawsuit. Consistent with the approved 2008 state wolf management plans, wolf population in the US Rocky Mountain corridor shall be maintained at levels not to exceed 150 wolves in Idaho, 150 in Montana and 150 wolves in Wyoming.

    Our goal is to garner “grass roots” support of a majority of each states citizens united behind our cause. The urgency of our cause cannot be understated, as without implementation of immediate strict wolf control measures, our prized Rocky Mountain Elk will soon become endangered as will other mountain ungulates. “

  51. avatar vicki says:

    Jeff E
    I wan’t referring to any organization, just to individuals. But this should show us all that the need for us to reach a common ground is becoming more vital by the minute.

  52. avatar JB says:

    Vicki,

    I submit that what we are doing here is arguing over where the middle ground should be. Most people who participate here are for some kind of management of wolves, although I’m sure there are a few who never want wolves killed for any reason, the same as there are a few who want them all killed.

    The state management programs (Idaho & Wyoming’s) are not based on the principles of wildlife management or biological conservation. They are designed to maintain as few wolves as legally possible. Ask yourself what would happen if, for example, Wyoming decided that the state must have a minimum of 2,500 elk and then let anyone kill an elk anywhere they wanted, anytime they wanted until the minimum was reached? This is how they are currently “managing” wolves. I would argue that this is nothing short of the deliberate eradication (outside the protected zone) of a species that we (the American taxpayers) spent a whole lot of money to re-establish.

    What we’re arguing about is whether the states should be allowed to re-eradicate wolves or whether they should have to manage them the same as other game species. My vote is for the latter.

  53. avatar Layton says:

    Vicki,

    You make a lot of sense here, as well as on the other thread — therefore most people won’t listen to your arguments 8).

    I’m not for any sort of a campaign to eradicate wolves like they did in the 30s and 40s — but at the same time I am SURELY not in favor of things as they are now IE: wolves just making babies and the population increasing.

    Why is it so hard to understand that the wolves should have to take their chances too?? People talk about balance and restoring the ecosystem and yet they want to give this particular predator the upper hand with complete protection — I just don’t get it.

    Idaho and Wyoming are getting beat up because of “eradication” plans, but the quotas that have been pointed out (in Idaho anyway) specify numbers far and away over the original terms of the ESA — sure, I know, it’s a big plot, they really want to kill them all, etc., etc. Yet Montana has killed more wolves than either of the other states over the years, what makes them so trustworthy? Is it because they have just shut up and done their own thing on the sly??

    Jeffy,

    Those kooks are getting hammered — even on the hunting oriented sites — people that really look into things think they are great — UNTIL they really see what they are up to. They steadfastly deny that they are connected to Mr. Gillet, then they “appear” with him at the next small town meeting. Most everybody has called BS once they really find out what is going on.

  54. avatar vicki says:

    JB,
    I absolutely agree that current management plans are unacceptable and scientifically unfounded.
    I also think, as of now, that the current reg’s will be over turned because of their disregard for science.
    So then what though? We will be right back where we started. That is when we should be seeking compromise.
    This is a rare opportunity to go back to the beginning of the management issue and start over with a reasonable and potentially obtainable goal in sight. If the current reg’s are over turned, that will be appealed. Between that time, and the now, we are left to try to find a better solution.
    It is unrealistic to think that we will ever have a majority of ranchers or ‘good ol’ boys’ feeling the need to have any wolves, let alone no hunting or management of them.
    It is also very true that there are a number of people who feel there is no reason at all to ever shoot a wolf.

    So, if we ask ourselves, what would a rancher ever agree to? Or fight less to stop? And vice-versa.
    Any ideas?
    I am inclined to think that there will be a wolf hunt. After all, we hunt nearly everything else.
    I am also inclined to think that the number of wolves hunted will be higher than some would hope, but not nearly as high as they are now.
    What do you think? How would you compromise from the current reg’s without going to the opposite extreme?

  55. avatar vicki says:

    Layton,
    Thanks.
    So then, we know we won’t have any peace between opposites with the current regulations. If you were in a position to make the compromise for your ‘side’, what would you be willing to do? How many wolves would you be willing to increase the numbers to? Would you be willing to reduce the size of the predator zone? By how much?
    Would you make a corridor for the wolves to move out of these states? Where would you put it then if you did?
    It is always easy to say what you disagree with, or what you don’t want to do. But it won’t change the fact that we have to do something. Obviously no one is getting all of what they want here.
    So what would you do? If you were in charge, and were told you had, uhm, 3 months, to meet in the middle or your side loses, what would you bend on to get some of the things you felt your side wanted?
    Likewise, what would the others be willing to do?
    I can’t speak for anyone else, but I would rather spend these millions on a solution, I am tiring of fighting about what the problem is….that is obvious and pointless at the same time.

  56. avatar JEFF E says:

    layton,
    I know they are getting hammered for any number of reasons, however one of the things that they have recently learned how to do is use copy and paste and are going around the whole country and spreading the same misinformation that we are seeing locally. All that does is continue to confuse an issue that the vast majority of people are already unclear about. As far as being associated with Gillette I hope they continue on with that as that will be the one sure way to destroy any credibility that may otherwise be present.

  57. avatar JEFF E says:

    Here is another, closer to mainstream, org. that relies on mostly mis-information to gain support. No middle ground evident here either. This one is actually claiming that they were in the lead of the fight to delist. This is an e-mail that was sent out. Notice money is the bottom line.
    “Here’s an e-mail I received from SFW. The following is an e-mail sent out from Don Peay (spelling?)….

    The Animal Rights Extremists (Ares) as predicted, filed for an emergency injunction to stop all management of wolves, and seek to overturn the delisting of wolves in the Rocky Mountains.

    SFW Utah, SFW Wyoming, SFW Idaho, SFW New Mexico and SFW Alaska collectively got together over a month ago, and decided to seek legal counsel and file for intervener status – which means if granted by the judge – SFW will have a seat at the litigation table and be a part of any negotiated settlements and make sure that sportsmen interests are protected in this most important issue.

    SFW is working with other conservation groups to see who else wants to step up and join the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and it appears some western states, who will collectively fight the Ares in court.

    SFW is very pleased with the legal counsel – we have one of the brightest attorney’s in the country, with US Supreme Court Experience if it goes that far.

    We will keep you posted but know that SFW who was a leader in getting wolves delisted, will do everything possible to make sure that western states have the right to manage all wildlife, including wolves.

    For this effort to be successful is going to require some substantial additional fundraising over this summer and the next couple of years. More on that latter. One of our HUGE supporters has stepped up with a $50,000 donation to get us out of the gate. “

  58. avatar JB says:

    Vicki, Layton:

    Personally, I was ready to downlist (and then delist) back in 2004. All I have ever wanted with respect to wolves is to have them treated/managed like other game species. I do not oppose hunting, and I do not oppose lethal control of problem wolves (on private land, after non-lethal techniques have been tried). I think this is a pretty reasonable compromise.

    With respect to how this might be done, there are any number of plans that I would find acceptable. IT IS NOT ABOUT THE NUMBER OF WOLVES–I cannot stress this enough. My whole point in the other thread was that populations naturally fluctuate, I refuse to get drawn into a debate about what number we should manage for. There should be a minimum number set based on what is needed to maintain a viable population (I don’t know, I’m not a geneticist), but keeping wolves at the minimum should NOT be the goal of the management plan. This is not how other game species are managed; it is not how we should manage wolves.

    From my perspective, I would like to see a plan where wolves are fully protected in a few, relatively small areas where they are visible to the public. I would also like to see harvest quotas for wolves set based on what’s best for the meta population (i.e. genetic exchange among the currently isolated populations) instead of what the ‘piss & moan’ crowd demands. Finally, I would like to see wolves treated the same as a game species throughout the states, with established hunting seasons. In my view, the predator/vermin classification is the single biggest hangup with the current plans, though Idaho’s ‘shoot a wolf if he looks at you funny’ law should also go. It simply is not unenforceable.

    (Anticipating Layton’s comments): These are by no means my demands. I can envision a number of plans that I would find reasonable. However, I think they are a reasonable compromise that the states could easily defend that allow for (1) lethal control, (2) legal hunting, (3) a viable population and, (4) places for tourists to observe and photograph wolves (Layton, you could direct the tourists to these locations in order to concentrate and minimize the ‘wolf-lovers’ impact on Idaho’s economy 😉 ). Moreover, such a plan (with perhaps some modification to the current DPS) would be LEGAL–which is really the minimum standard that the states need to meet.

  59. avatar vicki says:

    JB,
    When I asked how many wolves Layton would be okay with, it was not to specify numbers…it is to point out that at some level, the opposition will have to say okay, we can handle that number.
    You make an excellent point, that I have stated was a big factor for me before.
    How to determine the number should be based on scientific opinion. It should come from geneticists, biologists and economists too. Not from ranchers or wildlife watchers, but from experts in species management.
    I also think the vermin classification is about the worst thing in the plans.
    Wolves have a more delicate balancing act than some species. To classify them as vermin does not give them some key considerations other animals are given, like breeding, nursing, and winter survival.
    But I would disagree that other animals are not hunted based on their numbers.
    The number of tags issued for various species are based on counts of that animal.
    So, to some degree is is numbers based.
    I like the idea of securing a viable viewing population on public lands. I like it because it allows consideration to private land owners, and to public accessibility.
    I don’t want wolves on islands so to speak. They benefit the habitat that they are in. So I’d like them widely distributed. But do I want 900 in a small area? I don’t think that would be good for anyone, especially the wolves. They have to be allowed to disperse themselves and in doing so, thin their immediate presence as it is perceived a threat to certain communities.
    I really feel this type of dialogue is productive JB. Thanks for your input!

  60. avatar Layton says:

    Vicki, JB

    Vicki, you said

    “If you were in a position to make the compromise for your ’side’, what would you be willing to do? How many wolves would you be willing to increase the numbers to?”

    I’m not a genetic expert, but it seems to me that the current, announced populations in Idaho are probably something that we can live with — until it proves one way or the other to be unworkable. Unfortunately for one side that is not an increase in current populations, it is a decrease.

    “Would you be willing to reduce the size of the predator zone? By how much?”

    Honestly Vicki, I don’t know much about the “predator zone”. I assume that you are speaking about the Wyoming approach and I really haven’t looked into it much. Maybe I should.

    “Would you make a corridor for the wolves to move out of these states? Where would you put it then if you did?”

    It really doesn’t seem to me that there is a necessity for a “corridor(s)”. According to the folks that write the books, wolves have been able to move all over the west without having some sort of an interstate. Isn’t that one of the reasons that were given for there being no difference between the wolves that were in Idaho and the ones that were brought in?

    “It is always easy to say what you disagree with, or what you don’t want to do. But it won’t change the fact that we have to do something. Obviously no one is getting all of what they want here.”

    True!

    “So what would you do? If you were in charge, and were told you had, uhm, 3 months, to meet in the middle or your side loses, what would you bend on to get some of the things you felt your side wanted?”

    I guess if I was “king for quarter” I would implement things pretty much as they are proposed now. I think that I would look really hard at Wyoming to see if their plan has ANY merit compared to the others and, if it didn’t seem to be working out, I would probably sacrifice the number of wolves that were killed there to PROVE that their approach wouldn’t work. I would probably let the plans go for a couple of years in all the states to test their validity.

    “Likewise, what would the others be willing to do?
    I can’t speak for anyone else, but I would rather spend these millions on a solution, I am tiring of fighting about what the problem is….that is obvious and pointless at the same time.”

    I think that the other side should (isn’t that what you meant?) be willing to let things go for a couple of years to test their effectiveness. I think they should be willing to try something besides an absolute moratorium on any wolf fatalities. I think they should take the states at their word for enough time to prove things one way or another.

    Whew — AND I think that is enough typing for now!!

    Then here I go again.

    JB,

    “but keeping wolves at the minimum should NOT be the goal of the management plan. This is not how other game species are managed; it is not how we should manage wolves.”

    I disagree here partner, That IS the way current big game species are managed. They are managed to MAXIMIZE hunting opportunity (and harvest) while allowing enough remaining animals to keep the herds viable and reproducing — isn’t that what we are talking about with wolves??

    As far as “piss and moan” goes, I think that is VERY prevalent on BOTH sides, the biggest difference between the two seems to be the willingness to file more lawsuits!!

    “direct the tourists” — I’d rather have a job herding cats!!

    Other than those fairly small points, I think I could agree with most of what you say here. Now if we could only get 2000 other people on the same bandwagon.

  61. avatar JB says:

    Layton:

    Just one point.

    You said, “…That IS the way current big game species are managed. They are managed to MAXIMIZE hunting opportunity (and harvest) while allowing enough remaining animals to keep the herds viable and reproducing — isn’t that what we are talking about with wolves??”

    No it is not. Maximizing opportunities for harvest means growing populations to the maximum point sustainable (another practice I disagree with, but we will leave that discussion for another time). Wolves are specifically being targeted for population reductions–how does that maximize harvest opportunities?

    As I said before, all that needs to be done (in my view) to make the plan tenable is to (1) classify wolves as trophy game, not vermin/predators, (2) remove silly laws that allow anyone to kill wolves at any time, and (3) set scientifically defensible population objectives that will allow for a viable, and connected wolf population throughout the DPS. I’m not saying that someone won’t file suit, but if these conditions are met, they will almost assuredly lose.

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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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