Judge appears to tip his hand in wolf lawsuit. Letters from the West. Idaho Statesman.

Barker speculates that the death of wolf 253 could play a key role in the great delisting lawsuit. In way of correction or perhaps addition, there were many stories about 253 before and after the piece by Louisa Willcox. I think there may even be more to come.

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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.

68 Responses to Rocky Barker: Judge appears to tip his hand in wolf lawsuit

  1. avatar Lynne Stone says:

    I hope Rocky’s speculation is correct, that Judge Molloy is going to issue an injunction on delisting

    Here in Idaho, one of the first items that should be struck down, is the “Wolf Molestor” Law 36-1107, which allows anyone to kill a wolf if its “worrying” their pet or livestock. This law was passed by the Idaho legislature in April.

    Another important step would be to take Wildlife Services completely out of wolf management. Unfortunately, if delisting is stayed by the Court, then Wildlife Services will step up its already extensive wolf killing efforts. Wildlife Services (a misnomer), with a few exceptions, kills wolves without regard to the pack structure when wolves are aerial gunned from WS’ fixed-wing aircraft, or shot at point blank in the case of a trapped wolf .

  2. avatar Layton says:

    Lynne,

    First of all I have to say that I hope Rocky is wrong – I doubt it, you folks have obviously chosen a “pet” judge that probably has his mind already made up.

    But, I’d also like to point out that you were wrong on another of your points – on another thread (I can’t find it now, I think it was on one that got cut off) you said something to the effect that you would “bet that Idaho F&G wouldn’t decrease the number of elk tags available in Unit 36.

    The 2008 regs about controlled hunts point to: First a decrease in the antlered elk tags available for draw in those units (36, 36A and 36B) in 2007 from 215 to 161 – about a 25% decrease. Second, available either sex tags went from 1200 to 335 – about a 75% decrease, with NO tags available in 36B – isn’t that where a lot of the wolves are?

    I’ll take that microbrew that we’ve spoken about now — you buy!! 8)

    And I’ll quit hijacking this thread.

  3. avatar TPageCO says:

    Layton-

    Did you get a chance to talk with the big game biologist for Region 7 to ask him why they dropped tag #’s? As of last year, 36 was an open unit (I had a tag for it), so a drop in bull tags likely means (at least in part) overkill on branch-antlered bulls during the open season. This is why the draw tag #s went down here in the Magic Valley – too much archery kill on 6×6 bulls.

    What was winterkill like for this year? When did IDFG fly it last? A huge drop in either-sex tags in one year usually means something significant happened, or the flights hadn’t taken place in awhile…how many either-sex tags have been filled with cow elk? What direction are bull/cow ratios moving in the White Cloud units?

  4. avatar C. Walton says:

    Great questions TPageCO. I find it bewildering that anti-wolf people always assume that if there is a noticeable drop in ungulate numbers in a certain area that it must be due to wolves.

    Doesn’t Layton realize that elk populations have always fluctuated, long before the wolf was restored to the area?

    If a ungulate population dips in an area not inhabited by wolves there is no outrage. After all, we all know that there are many reasons why a population will vary in number from year to year. But if wolves are found in the area, the naive anti-wolf people always shout “the wolves are killing all our elk”!

  5. avatar Redjeep says:

    I have to admit I am from Tennessee and have only visited the Montana, Wyoming, Idaho area a few times but I keep reading about wolf and Elk numbers. My question – statement is: Before Lewis and Clark were there no Elk in the area at all? Surely the large amount of Wolves made it impossible for Elk to flourish. You know what with the wolves just killing for fun and all. Or did we re-establish Elk after we killed off all the wolves?

  6. avatar Heather says:

    Layton:The Dire wolf has been here since prehistoric times. So was the Buffalo wolf, now extinct because of European manifest destiny and colonization of the early 20th century. But the wolves had lived alongside elk, deer, other animals which they did not wipe out. There was a balance. Wolves dont have it easy. There is a high mortality rate when hunting, and they have a low life expectancy in the west now because they have been delisted. Wolves are a part of the ecological landscape. Before wolf REintroduction, Elk overgrazed riparian areas so much so that Aspen were disappearing. A trophic cascade effect began to happen which included negative effects for many animals dependent upon the wolf. Read William J Ripple’s and Robert J Bescheta’s research on the good wolves have done for Yellowstone Park, which you could extrapolate to the west in general. I think this controversy owes much to greed…. the wolf has a place and it will remain that way.

  7. avatar Layton says:

    Stereotype, stereotype, stereotype!!

    You folks have me in a nice little box — another “anti” person that can’t read, can’t think and doesn’t do any research.

    But how about this for some stereotypical behavior on the “for” side?

    TpageCo

    “so a drop in bull tags likely means (at least in part) overkill on branch-antlered bulls during the open season”

    HOW is it “likely”? Did YOU talk to a biologist, or is it just that “wolves would NEVER hurt a population?? My comment to Lynne was in response to a posting she made “betting” that F&G wouldn’t reduce tag numbers in Unit 36 — no more, no less.

    C. Walton,

    “If a ungulate population dips in an area not inhabited by wolves there is no outrage”

    First of all, where would that area be?? There doesn’t seem to be many areas left in the state that don’t have wolves. Second, look up figures on calf recruitment — pre and post wolves — the numbers certainly tell you something.

    “Naive anti-wolf people”?? Not really, several years of following this whole business, reading, etc., have left me far from “naive”.

    Redjeep,

    “Before Lewis and Clark were there no Elk in the area at all? Surely the large amount of Wolves made it impossible for Elk to flourish. You know what with the wolves just killing for fun and all. Or did we re-establish Elk after we killed off all the wolves?”

    Lewis and Clark damn near starved to death when coming thru Idaho and Montana on their expedition. No, there were NOT many (any?) elk. Yes, elk in much of Idaho WERE re-established — if memory serves me right (don’t have a cow at the use of the “m” word B’d) it was in the 1920’s with a shipment of elk from Yellowstone Park — see “naive” above.

    Heather,

    I thought the Dire wolf was extinct, it’s news to me that it’s still here. Where could I read about it??

    If you are willing to substitute a bunch of Aspen trees and a “trophic cascade” for a viable elk herd — well, our minds just work differently. No, please don’t try to tell me about how wolves just take the sick and lame and how they are keeping CWD out of the elk herds and that was one of the reasons for their introduction — I don’t buy it.

  8. avatar TPageCO says:

    Hello Layton-

    Actually yes, I did talk to one of the biologists there…that’s why I’m asking if you did. I’m interested to hear what they told you.

    Also, notice that I said “likely, at least in part”. This means that there are lots of reasons why tag numbers get reduced – not that the only reason was overkill during the open season. Wolf kill, winterkill are parts of the equation too. I’ve never said that wolves couldn’t hurt the population. I’m more curious to know the bull/cow ratios, the cow/calf ratios, and the age-classes of all the elk killed during the open and draw seasons, as I’ve considered putting in for 36A, since the tags in 49 have been reduced for the reasons I noted earlier. That’s why I asked you those questions.

  9. avatar Rick Hammel says:

    Layton,

    I don’t generally get into these peeing matches, of which you are an expert. but you made a statement to Heather of wich I found interesting:”If you are willing to substitute a bunch of Aspen trees and a “trophic cascade” for a viable elk herd — well, our minds just work differently.” The big picture here is we are beginning to see a properly functioning ecosystem, with addition of wolves.

    Why didn’t Lewis and Clarke see elk? Because, apparently, elk were not a part of the ecosystem at the time. There were a lot of places in the Rocky Mountain West that elk are an introduced species. I know that in Moffat County, Colorado, there were no elk until Charley Sparks imported 6 from Yellowstone. Now Moffat County touts itself as the “Elk Hunting Capital of the World.”

    The point here is that an ecosystem, if left alone, will seek a balance. Therer may be wolves, there may be elk. The ecosystem will determine what lives in that area. But Man, for his own reasons, keeps tinkering with Mother Nature. And Man is usually wrong.

    Rick

  10. avatar TPageCO says:

    As for what Lewis and Clark saw…go read the journals – the Moulton version put out by Nebraska Press. There was lots and lots of game including elk, probably historic highs, until they ran into the Bitterroot Range and came down the Lochsa where they were hard-pressed to find anything, as Layton points out. But the whole time they were going up the Missouri, across present-day MT they had no problems finding game at all.

    Elk can move far and are highly adaptable. How often they were “reintroduced” or just moved off the rich plains into the less-fertile peaks to escape human predation is something we’ll probably never know for certain.

  11. avatar Lynne Stone says:

    Layton – I’ll get back to you re. Unit 36. After six months of winter , the sun is shining, the snow is melting, water is running everywhere, birds and wildlife viewing a plenty, hardly anyone around — it’s the mostly glorious time to be in the Sawtooth Country. Heck, probably the best time to be anywhere in the West.

  12. avatar Save bears says:

    Well this is probably, not going to be real popular, but I have to wonder….And yes, I am a wildlife biologist, that used to work for various agencies in the west…But I keep hearing this Eco-system balance talk…Now, I really want to pose a question, and NO, I am not against wolves, or any wildlife, but How do people propose, that we actually restore balance? There is over 100 million people living in the western US, there are towns, on most of the areas that were wild when the Europeans came to America..Do we have wild places? Yes, because we have the vision to preserve areas, but please, we will never restore, natural balance, at the most, we will have islands, that are not developed by man, but there will never be a “natural” balance again, not as long as human are on the landscape like they are now..

  13. avatar Layton says:

    Rick,

    “The point here is that an ecosystem, if left alone, will seek a balance. Therer may be wolves, there may be elk. The ecosystem will determine what lives in that area. But Man, for his own reasons, keeps tinkering with Mother Nature. And Man is usually wrong.”

    Can’t disagree with much of anything here — BUT, the FACT of the matter is that MAN IS HERE NOW — the ecosystem will NEVER be the same! What are we supposed to do — disappear?? Doesn’t this “balance” that you speak about have to include old homo sapien??

    I submit that it was no more right to purposely bring an additional apex predator to our current environment than it was to let the existing wolves (yes, there WERE wolves here before the intro. of the current bunch) come back — as they were doing. It was meddling by man that got us into a mess and it is ADDITIONAL meddling that has us where we are now.

  14. avatar Layton says:

    Sorry SaveBears,

    I guess we were typing at the same time.

    great minds run in the same channels it guess — sometimes anyway 8)

  15. avatar JB says:

    Okay, since we’re throwing out unpopular ideas, I am really getting tired of the myth of balance. Ecosystems are constantly in a state of flux–of push and pull. A hard winter favors the wolf over the elk, then a fire and the subsequent “green-up” favors the ungulates, and so it goes on and on for eternity. The idea that there is some optimum number where wolves and elk (or ANY predator and its prey) will achieve “balance” is a myth; there is no balance only flux (there is no Dana only Zool 🙂 ). This is why all the crying about elk increasing/decreasing since wolves is such bullshit. Who cares? We put wolves back in Yellowstone because we (human beings, or at least most of us anyway) wanted them there. If you don’t like it, tough shit. I don’t like people blasting coyotes, but I live with it; you can learn to live with wolves.

  16. avatar Save bears says:

    JB,

    I live with wolves everyday, I was just posing a simple question…that is all, I don’t blast coyotes, and I only hunt when I need to put food in the freezer, again, I was just posing a question, because we can’t achieve anything like we had 20 years ago, let alone 200 years ago!

  17. avatar Layton says:

    JB.

    “This is why all the crying about elk increasing/decreasing since wolves is such bullshit. Who cares?”

    Lots of us care!! We don’t see the rationale for putting a top of the line predator in with elk herds that have been built up with money and a lot of effort from — gasp, hunters – in order that some people from New Jersey can come out here — maybe, and hear them howl!!

    “We put wolves back in Yellowstone because we (human beings, or at least most of us anyway) wanted them there. If you don’t like it, tough shit.”

    And that sir is the bottom line. The damn things were put, not just in Yellowstone, but in three states, by some sort of an edict that overruled the wishes of a WHOLE LOT (I don’t know if it was a majority, we didn’t get a vote) of people that live here. If we (the people that don’t like them) adopted that same attitude, just how long would the present population levels last?? It isn’t the people from New Jersey that drive around in the woods of Montana, Wyoming and Idaho with rifles in the vehicle.

    JB, if the whole thing comes to a real live confrontation, it is NOT the wolves that will win. There are a lot of people here on this blog that think the way to do the best for the most wolves is to sit on their asses and file lawsuits — if push really comes to shove I don’t think that they will prevail. So far “Joe Redneck” has been pretty patient!!

    Layton, there has always been an illegal hunting season on wolves outside Yellowstone Park. If the lawsuit wins, no doubt it will increase, but, as we have seen with wolf 253 and the suddenly legal killing of wolves in most of Wyoming, there will be a backlash. I suspect it might produce robust protection for the wolf and other wildlife from poachers on the ground. There are not enough Idaho Fish and Game COs, and far too few law enforcement agents in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Ralph Maughan

  18. avatar Buffaloed says:

    waaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

  19. avatar JB says:

    Save bears, sorry I was using “you” in a general sense, not to refer to you specifically or your post. In fact, I’ll apologize for ranting in general. It becomes very frustrating to see the same arguments recycled over and over in many different forms when in fact it comes down to very basic interests–which few of us seem willing to admit. So here goes…

    I (admittedly) am more interested in going to YNP and the surrounding area to see wolves and what I would call the “drama” that plays out between wolves and their prey; livestock producers are interested in protecting their bottom line and their ‘way of life’–whatever the Hell that is; and SOME hunters want as many elk (and more) that the land can sustain so that hunting elk remains easy. That’s it. It’s that simple. Basic selfishness rules the day, and we’re all equally guilty. But for my part, I’d rather be guilty of supporting increased ecological diversity than the domestication of elk for SOME hunters.

  20. avatar JB says:

    Layton, my point is that populations naturally fluctuate. The notion that we can/should maintain a consistent number of a particular harvestable species is BS; it’s wildlife management circa 1930. Populations are naturally in flux. What is unnatural is constantly attempting to maximize harvestable game to the exclusion of non-game species.

    You and I have already taken positions based on our interests. I suspect neither one of us is going to convince the other that he’s wrong. I’ve already expressed why I believe the current delisting lawsuit (in the West) will win, I won’t go through it again. I’ve also noted that I’m for management of wolves, but Wyoming and Idaho’s plans are not based on any scientific principles of game management. They are wolf reduction programs designed to maintain populations at whatever FWS considers to be a legal minimum. Ask yourself this question, how would you feel if Idaho managed elk the same way they are managing wolves? I suspect you’d be looking for an attorney?

  21. avatar vicki says:

    Gents,
    Perhaps we can’t have a perfect balance in the world, no naturally perfect balance.
    But, what if we could have balance within certain areas? Maybe we could let nature take it’s course on public lands?
    I am really doubting it.
    There are humans, and no,we can’t just vanish. What we can do is manage OUR behaviour. That is the primary difference between us and other mammals. We have the opposable thumbs and deductive thought. We can reason.

    Why can’t we balance ourselves, that would be more advantageous to the environment everywhere? We need to realize that the animal kingdom has a natural balance because it needs to do that to survive. Humans do everything with a largely artificial existence, and we leave irreversible damages in our wake. We have learned to survive in a very counter productive way to every other living thing on this planet. We need to change how we effect things.
    My son told me the other day that we(humans) are like the evil aliens on the movie Independence Day. He is right. We rape the earth of everything good, and we will leave a desolate trash heap behind. Eventually our disragerd will lead to our demise.
    There has to be some give here guys. We need wolves, because there are things in the natural world that the do which benefits it. (they can cull sick ungulates far before humans know they are sick. Humans hunt the huge healthy animals anyhow, not the sick, old or weak.)
    We also need to hunt animals now, in my rather unpopular opinion, because we have placed artificial obstacles into their world that they can not balance naturally.
    How WE do that, and with what effect to nature is the issue. What management do we place on our own interference, and how do we limit that interference so it is most beneficial to the majority of people AND animals.

    Just my two cents. Take it, or leave it. I am hoping you will try to find some middle ground. Spend less time hating eachothers opinion, and more time trying to see what you can live with in what the other guy says. No one can have it all.

  22. avatar Layton says:

    Buffaloed,

    Recess is over now — give the computer back to the nice lady and go back to your finger painting class.

  23. avatar JB says:

    Vicki said: “We also need to hunt animals now, in my rather unpopular opinion, because we have placed artificial obstacles into their world that they can not balance naturally.”

    Vicki, I’m trying to understand this comment. In my view, we do not “need” to hunt any animal. Hunting is done for (1) pleasure, and (2) to maintain populations of species at socially-desirable levels.

    I don’t understand how the insertion of “artificial obstacles” (do you mean like highways and cities) would necessitate hunting? If anything, we have removed natural obstacles (predators) and manipulated landscapes such that they favor certain species. These species are killed (sometimes via hunting, other times through different means) when either (1) their is a constituent base interested in hunting them or (2) their populations surpass levels that are desirable for some group (e.g. coyotes/ranchers, blackbirds/farmers, Canada geese/golf course owners, beavers/streamside homeowners etc.).

  24. avatar vicki says:

    JB,
    Yes I did mean highways, buildings, large populations of people.
    I agree we unaturally removed predators. But we also placed humans far into the mix. Like it or not, we could make the argument that the overwhelming presence of people and their overwhelming effect on the environment is also evolution.
    But even if we put a bunch of predators back in the mix, it will not fix what has been done. It will better it-I give you that-and lessen what , in my opinion is a need for human interaction in management.
    We have gone too far to just say, ‘put predators back and all will be right with the natural world, in my opinion.
    I have seen what the effect of mismanagement can be. It is not pretty, as I am sure you would agree.
    And, yes, the numbers allowable are largely socially determined. But to do away with that, you’d have to remove society from the picture. Are you ready to irradicate humans? I know it is a bit of an extreme question, but it is a real one. The only way to get away from managing and hunting animals, is to erase people from the equation.

  25. avatar vicki says:

    JB,
    Again though, this is not a hunting verses non-hunting issue right now. It is a compromise now while you still can issue.

  26. avatar JB says:

    Vicki,

    I think you mistook my comments. I didn’t intend to suggest that humans should be removed from the management picture; quite the opposite! I was suggesting that, in fact, the ONLY reason we manage wildlife populations is to meet human objectives. I was responding to your suggestion that wildlife needs to be managed. In my view, wildlife will take care of itself one way or another; we don’t manage wildlife to meet their needs, we manage them to meet ours. The idea of ‘balance’ is a myth. Populations naturally are in flux.

    I agree that the issue should not be about hunting (in fact, it never has been in my mind). I explained (on the other post) my position on the management of wolves. I won’t go through it again except to say that I have never opposed hunting nor the control of problem wolves. If you’re looking to talk compromise, you’re preaching to the choir. In fact, I would argue that my position is about as close as you’ll come to a ‘middle ground’ on this issue.

    Manage wolves like any other game species, that’s all I ask.

  27. avatar Save bears says:

    JB,

    Hunting is NOT always done just for pleasure, I hunt to put food in my freezer, it is a substantial part of my diet over the winter, over 80% of our winter diet is wildmeat, being an unemployed biologist does not lend itself to being able to buy a lot of meat at the local market!

  28. avatar vicki says:

    JB
    I do agree that we manage animals to meet human objectives. I was suggesting that the only wayto end that would be remove humans from the planet. We (being so supreme-sarcasm intended), will never allow it to be otherwise.
    You are definitely one of the folks I’d say had a good middle ground.
    I really enjoy reading your comments because they often lend support to a true need for both sides to give a bit.
    I am not on one side or the other. Like you, I consider myself quite middle of the road. I agree whole heartedly that wolves belong in the landscape, and should be managed like every other species (trophy). I don’t think that is being approached much. I think the majority of what we read about is one extreme or the other. I don’t agree with extremes.
    I am also a willing compromiser-so long as it serves some purpose. We should elect more folks like that (not meaning myself-I am far too hot headed! Ha.)
    Too bad Ralph doesn’t run for office. Or that folks like Raplh are not appointed to positions within the government that oversee public opinion being applied to environmental policies.
    I did not mean to suggest that you’d support removing people, I was just stating that people are here, we have to realize any managing to be done will be effected by their presence and their preference.

  29. avatar C. Walton says:

    Layton said,
    “if the whole thing comes to a real live confrontation, it is NOT the wolves that will win. There are a lot of people here on this blog that think the way to do the best for the most wolves is to sit on their asses and file lawsuits — if push really comes to shove I don’t think that they will prevail. So far “Joe Redneck” has been pretty patient!!”

    You know Layton I am getting pretty tired of veiled threats like these from the ranching/anti-wolf crowd. I see comments like these all over the net and it really reveals the character of the average anti-wolf person. Talk about the “dregs of society”.

    You know, if you guys have no respect for the laws of this country and are willing to resort to criminal activity to get your way, don’t be surprised if people begin to make all-out war on you in return. Don’t be surprised if you start to see anti-wolf people getting rocks through their windows, slashed tires, and other attacks against their property.

    To be clear, I do not advocate such actions. I am just saying that you shouldn’t make threats like the one above under the naive assumption that there will not be any consequences.

  30. avatar TPageCO says:

    JB-

    Ordinarily I wouldn’t get into discussion about hunting/nonhunting here, as I prefer to take people into the woods with me, but I can’t let your comment about “pleasure” and game population management go by without a response.

    I do not feel pleasure when I watch an elk die in front of me because I shot it. I do not feel pleasure packing out meat from some steep deadfall jungle, or sitting alone in my tent for three days during a storm. Hunting at its best is about a whole range of things, most of which are not easily described in words, and too many people (hunters included) fall back on the lame excuses related to “surplus animal harvest”. It is not sport. It is a window to self-recognition as a top predator, and the best way I’ve ever found in a lifetime in the woods doing all sorts of activities, to be fully alive in the world.

  31. avatar JB says:

    TPageCo-

    Some people would say that the theory of psychology that I subscribe to is quite pessimistic. I believe people take actions that they believe are in their own self-interest. When it comes to recreation, we engage in activities that bring us pleasure or provide us with some benefit. Some might call this a “hedonistic” (or pleasure-seeking) model of recreation. By “pleasure” I do not mean to insinuate that hunters in general take pleasure in the actual killing act or in watching an animal die–although I suspect some do. Rather, I mean to suggest that the experience of hunting, when weighed against other activities in which one might engage in the leisure time, is perceived as pleasurable and so becomes a sought after experience.

    I believe your last statement confirms this: “[hunting] is …the best way I’ve ever found in a lifetime in the woods doing all sorts of activities, to be fully alive in the world.” Assuming, of course, that feeling “fully alive” is perceived as pleasurable?

    To be clear, I’m not making any sort of judgment about hunting or hunters. I only make the assumption that people choose to engage in activities in their leisure time that they enjoy (i.e. that are pleasurable). In fact, I would say that a lifetime of running road races is similar (for me) to hunting, as you describe it. I have felt some of the greatest pain in my life while running races, yet the activity as a whole brings me great pleasure, and so I persist. Sorry if I caused offense.

  32. avatar C. Walton says:

    TPageCO said,
    “I do not feel pleasure when I watch an elk die in front of me because I shot it.”

    I hunt very occasionally and I certainly don’t take any pleasure from the actual act of killing. And I believe you are sincere when you say the same.

    However, I have worked with many, many hunter types over the years and have seen the way they think. Unfortunately, I haven’t liked what I have seen. In fact, it is downright scary the way many of them think.

    Most of the guys I have worked with here in rural eastern Arizona would brag about intentionally swerving to hit a jackrabbit, for no other reason than to feel the satisfaction of killing something. These were the kind of guys who would carry their rifles in their trucks and if they saw a coyote on the way home from work, they would pull over and try to shoot it.

    One day a wood rat ran out from under some boards we were moving and the damn SOBs had to kill it with their shovels. “Why the hell’d you do that”?, I said. One guy responded simply, “why not”?

    Two of the guys that worked in my department both bragged about abducting their neighbor’s cats and taking them out and using them for target practice. I was completely dumb-founded that anybody could be that sadistic and even more dumb-founded that anybody would be so stupid as to believe that such actions were something to brag about. But then again, most of the people in this area do talk about things like that and they ARE impressed by stories such as those.

    All these events and a lifetime of things similar have made it pretty obvious to me the mentality of most hunters. I wish I could say it were just a minority of hunters in my area that think this way but unfortunately that isn’t the case. I have spent my entire life enmeshed within this rural ranching/hunting culture and I am sad to report that I think a great many hunters do kill in large part “because they take pleasure in killing”. I tell you, many of these guys aren’t right in the head.

    Hunters like you and I are in the minority.

  33. avatar Save bears says:

    C. Walton,

    If what you say is true, then, I am glad to be in the minority..

  34. avatar vicki says:

    C. Walton,
    I am lad to be in the minority as well. However, I can honestly say I haven’t experienced such barbaric behavior. I don’t think those people are a true majority. I’d say those people are in need of psychological help.
    I live in Colorado, and although I know there are such extreme behaviors, I don’t know of any people who are that deprived here. I come from a large hunting community.
    I am afraid to know what you do for a living-you seem to be surrounded by a bunch of scarey degenerates. I am glad you are among the majority in your area.

  35. avatar Catbestland says:

    Vicki,
    You must live in a more progressive thinking part of Colorado than do I. Here, in southwest Colorado the type described by CWalton are the majority. In fact, Norwood is the home of the famous “Annual Prarie Dog Shoot”. What fun. I was so disturbed to learn that an entire family of Red Foxes were shot from a den in a hillside along a nearby country road because “they were there”. I don’t believe there is a single road sign in the County of Montrose that hasn’t been blasted for target practice. My property borders BLM and when hiking one day, I was disgusted to find and elk carcas minus the head and neck rotting in the sun. Out of season of course. Several years back, eight elk were shot out of season and left lying on the Black Canyon Road. It was assumed that a local rancher had his hands do it because the elk were eating his hay crop. The case was never solved though. These type of people are everywhere. I know there are honorable hunters out there but the unethical minority sure make it hard to imagine.

  36. avatar vicki says:

    Yes, they sure do Cat. It stinks, but as a rule, the bad stuff gets far more PR.
    I have also seen some pretty gruesome carcasses. So I know these type of toonies (luney) definitely are out there. I just don’t know of any personally. It might be a blessing because I might get my outspoken butt shot at!

  37. avatar Catbestland says:

    Vicki,
    Winston Churchill said, “So you have enemies. That means you’ve done something good in your life.”

  38. avatar vicki says:

    Cat,
    I think Wnston would approve! I have sure managed to make a few. No one I am not equipped to handle. I am sure you have managed a few good things too.
    I’d say the enemy of progress is ignorance. I am trying to wipe my enemy off the map. You and others here help me do that. Thanks.

  39. avatar Rick Hammel says:

    We have some loonies in Moffat Countty, also. We have two ranchers that were caught wit 16 and 14 elk carcasses respectively. They claim they are innocent of any wrongdoing. I come up for jury duty soon. (Hope, hope)

    Rick

  40. avatar vicki says:

    Rick,
    I am headed to YNP in less than two weeks. After that I spend 3-4 nights a week in the North Park area. I may have to hit you up for some fishing tips.
    Now, don’t contaminate the jury pool. Ha, lol. Those guys may have been the vicitims of the same people who set the guys up who shot all the buffalo a few months back.

  41. If there not are some people who rejoice when they hear you died, you did not live a worthwhile life.

  42. avatar vicki says:

    Not to be completley off subject here, but who would have thought that republican John Mccain would be taking shots at GHWB and his dealings with global warming? Maybe it is just propaganda, but he says it needs dealt with.
    Also, why can’t YNP’s Centennial Challenge have included a beautified bison herd? Why couldn’t the park have designated bison a project worth matching funds?

  43. avatar dbaileyhill says:

    I wrote letters to the appropriate persons about the Centennial Celebration. I kept it brief and to the point. I have never received a reply.
    Unless something changes, i will not be celebrating anything to do with that, because the park service has turned into a big joke. They have failed in their mission and so there is nothing to celebrate. Yellowstone’s park DIS-service may be the most disgraceful of all. It is shameful.

  44. avatar dbaileyhill says:

    Vicki,
    The email network in my town has crashed. And they are not answering the phone…. As soon as it is fixed i will send you an email. If it is not fixed, i will give you a call.
    See ya’ soon!!

  45. avatar vicki says:

    Hi DBH,
    I think I will write too.
    I was glad to see some funds going towards educating kids. But I found it a stretch that the money will go toward kids in the area around YNP. Not that those kids do not deserve to go, I just think that there are at risk and shut in youth everywhere. So I don’t see the logic in spending all the funds on kids who already live close by.
    It breaks my heart to think of all the kids in really urban areas never knowing what they are missing. I may be politically unpopular here, but the kids that need the most help getting to know nature probably don’t live a short drive away.
    I am also digusted about the lack of attention and regard given to what is vanishing and irreplacable, the bison in the park.
    These hypocrits are probably pushing youth education as a way to brain wash them into believing what they fail to do to protect the bison is somehow justified.
    Con a kid, manipulate the future vote.
    Looking forward to seeing ya, drive safe!

  46. avatar Catbestland says:

    Wasn’t it Hitler who said, “Give me your children and I’ll give you a nation.” ?

  47. avatar vicki says:

    Cat,
    Yep, it was.
    I hope that isn’t what this program will end up being about, twisting the votes of the future.
    I wonder what the crieria will be for kids getting to go. I also wonder if folks like you and I can volunteer to help, and to inform these children?
    Time will tell.
    It is so darn sad that what has transpired has created such an environment of distrust.

  48. avatar Layton says:

    C. Walton,

    “You know, if you guys have no respect for the laws of this country and are willing to resort to criminal activity to get your way, don’t be surprised if people begin to make all-out war on you in return. Don’t be surprised if you start to see anti-wolf people getting rocks through their windows, slashed tires, and other attacks against their property.”

    First of all — you don’t know ONE THING about me, except that I am NOT a “worship the wolf” person.

    Don’t EVEN presume that I am someone that “has no respect for the laws of this country”. That is a stupid, untrue assumption and I take a lot of offense to it.

    If you knew your butt from third base you would realize that a LOT of the people that you call the “dregs of society” because they don’t worship wolves are, in fact, the people MOST responsible for defending the rights you have in this country to make an ass of yourself on internet forums like this. They usually don’t just sit on their fannies and make witty remarks, they actually DO something.

    I pointed out what could happen — nothing more, nothing less — you, on the other hand had to make it personal. What a moron!!

    Sorry Ralph and other blog users, things/accusations like this just piss me off!!

  49. avatar HAL 9000 says:

    Layton,

    I don’t “worship” wolves… or any other particular creature, for that matter. What I do have is a very deep reverence for the environment.. and the ecyosystem as a complete, functional whole.

    And wolves are part of that. I know it’s a complex issue, and no one side has a monopoly on the truth. But I find an ignorance of/hostility toward big-picture, whole-ecosystem environmentalism I sense in many of my fellow hunters to be both troubling and disheartening.

    Many of them seem to think there can never be “too many” elk (or insert name of your favorite species to hunt here)… and should anybody dare to question that or suggest a compromise to allow room for something like another predator — then they get accused of being a “tree-hugger” or a”radical environmentalist.”

    As a hunter… and old-school sportsman raised by old-school sportsman… I can’t wrap my mind around taking the approach of veiwing nature as my personal game farm.. and damn any other interest or species that might interfere with that.

    Increasingly, I think the hunting community is losing touch with its roots of big-picture ecology.. and becoming more of an outlet for a “sport” in which wild game is there for our entertainment and gratification… and the “value” of the land is judged by how many 180-plus buck and 380-plus bulls we can harvest and brag to one another about.
    I really think that’s what much of this anti-wolf sentiment among the hunting crowd is coming from.

    To rip off JFK — we quit asking what we could do for nature… and started asking what nature could do for us.

    I think we have lost/are losing touch for the real reasons men began to hunt in the first place. And I think that’s sad.

    I do agree with you that there’s no reason to make this personal and resort to insults.

  50. avatar Catbestland says:

    Layton,

    I’m not a “wolf worshiper” either, but I see them as a necessary part of the whole. No one wishes to protect them for any sort of profit. Whereas, on the other hand, the livestock and outfitter industries wish to destroy them to “protect their Profits” and for no other reason.

    Reasons to protect are:
    1. Maintain a ballance among wildlife species.
    2. Maintain healthy ecosystems.
    3. Contribute to biodiversity for posterity sake.
    4. Insure that wild places remain to be enjoyed by
    future generations.
    5. To serve as inspiration and educational opportunities
    for now and future generations.
    That list goes on and on. There is every reason to conserve our wildlife heritage.

    Reasons to remove:
    1. To protect profits of livestock and outfitter
    industries.

    That is not to say that at some point SOME wolves may have to be removed for obvious reasons. But not for greed and profits.

  51. avatar C. Walton says:

    Layton said,
    “First of all — you don’t know ONE THING about me, except that I am NOT a “worship the wolf” person.

    Don’t EVEN presume that I am someone that “has no respect for the laws of this country”. That is a stupid, untrue assumption and I take a lot of offense to it.

    If you knew your butt from third base you would realize that a LOT of the people that you call the “dregs of society” because they don’t worship wolves are, in fact, the people MOST responsible for defending the rights you have in this country to make an ass of yourself on internet forums like this. They usually don’t just sit on their fannies and make witty remarks, they actually DO something.

    I pointed out what could happen — nothing more, nothing less — you, on the other hand had to make it personal. What a moron!!

    Sorry Ralph and other blog users, things/accusations like this just piss me off!!”

    What a hypocrite you are Layton. You make all kinds of stupid assumptions. But I guess it’s o.k. if you do it.

    You said,
    “There are a lot of people here on this blog that think the way to do the best for the most wolves is to sit on their asses and file lawsuits”.

    Talk about making it personal and insulting. You’re a hypocrite! What do you know about the personal lives of people on this blog? In any case, when ranching or hunting groups file lawsuits, I guess it’s o.k. then huh?

    The fact is you don’t know anything about me either. You assume I worship the wolf because I don’t agree with your extreme view. Well, BS!

    That bit about the people I called the dregs of society being the “most responsible for defending the rights you have in this country to make an ass of yourself on internet forums” was laughably ignorant. What the hell do you know about me or what I do? You think all I do is sit on the internet and make “witty remarks”? Well, you’re wrong. Then again, you are here writing “witty remarks” too, now aren’t you? Should I assume that is all you do?

    In regard to my original comments about the veiled threats, well you can get all righteously indignant if you want. I am well aware of your views on this issue (unless you have misrepresented yourself on this blog) and I have seen you repeat comments like these several times:
    “if the whole thing comes to a real live confrontation, it is NOT the wolves that will win”.

    You want me to believe that isn’t a veiled threat, given your views on this issue? Get real. I have seen comments like these from hunters and ranchers all over the internet and that is exactly what they are meant to be taken as– a threat!

    In any case, your comments really pissed me off, so I guess it is only fair that my comments pissed you off.

    You lay off the veiled threats and I will not assume that you “have no respect for the laws of this country and are willing to resort to criminal activity to get your way”, O.K? Then we can get back to civilized discourse.

    BTW Layton, if you didn’t want us to believe that you personally are in favor of the actions you were describing, the normal way to get that across would be to say something like “I don’t personally condone such actions, but I believe they are likely”, or something to that effect.

  52. avatar Layton says:

    C. Walton,

    When you lump me, personally in with the lawbreakers of whom you speak you are being an ass — Period!!

    When you characterize the “average anti wolf person” as being part of the “dregs of society” you are being an ignorant moron — Period!!

    There is no way to cut it, paste it, spin it or wiggle out of it in any way — Period!!

    You say “Talk about making it personal and insulting. You’re a hypocrite! What do you know about the personal lives of people on this blog? In any case, when ranching or hunting groups file lawsuits, I guess it’s o.k. then huh?”

    As a matter of fact at LEAST two people on this blog have SAID that they think the best way they can help the wolf cause is to file lawsuits!! Are they lying?? Don’t you read much??

    I don’t like to stoop to name calling on the internet, my personal belief is that most people that do it wouldn’t have the nerve to do it in person. I still believe that. I also believe that anything I say over the internet is something that I would say in person.

  53. avatar Catbestland says:

    Layton,

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with filing lawsuits to insure the rights of many over the profit of a few. Lawsuits have guaranteed the rights of many in our democratic society. Civil rights, equal rights for women, consumer rights, workplace safety, the list goes on and on, have been established because of lawsuits. When one interest profits from an exploitive practice they simply are not going to stop that practice unless they are forced to. Thank God for the law and the right to sue.

  54. avatar Buffaloed says:

    Three branches of government:

    Executive
    Legislative
    Judicial

    Does one have more value than the other?

    Should only the Legislative and Executive branches be heard in this? This anger over the Judicial Branch seems a little bit like sour grapes to me. The Constitution spells out the right of people to file a grievance with the government. This country is not based solely on majority rule, if it were there would still be segregation, slavery and many other injustices because they were not popular with the “majority” who were in power at the time.

    The Constitution is not a static document either.

    Democracy is a long and complicated process. We aren’t in the 19th or even the 20th Century anymore and these issues have very complex law associated with them. The courts are involved and BOTH sides will be heard.

    I am not sure how this lawsuit will be decided but there are some serious issues with the delisting of wolves. They concern me because these issues apply to many other species that are listed. The ESA does not say that a species is recovered if they exist in only a part of their historical range. If this concept is allowed to stand then many other species could be delisted just because they have one tiny population even though their historical range may have been in every part of the country. The courts will decide and they have decided these issues in the past. It’s part of the system.

  55. avatar Ryan says:

    CBL,

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with filing lawsuits to insure the rights of many over the profit of a few. Lawsuits have guaranteed the rights of many in our democratic society. Civil rights, equal rights for women, consumer rights, workplace safety, the list goes on and on, have been established because of lawsuits. When one interest profits from an exploitive practice they simply are not going to stop that practice unless they are forced to. Thank God for the law and the right to sue.

    Thats great, tell that to all of the OBGYN’s that can’t start there own practice or end consumer that pays more for goods due to increased liability insurance policies. Or the rest of the biologists that don’t have money to study important wildlife issues because there money goes to fight lawsuits. Typical mindset I guess. If half the money wasted on lawsuits was spent on preserving habitat, the west would be a better place.

  56. avatar Brian Ertz says:

    Ryan says:

    If half the money wasted on lawsuits was spent on preserving habitat, the west would be a better place.

    Ryan, how much does the lawsuit cost ? How much land would that money purchase ?

  57. avatar Robert Hoskins says:

    As it is right now, the judicial branch is the only one of the three branches in the United States government that has any legitimacy and objectivity at all–which is why the right is working so hard to pack the court with wingnut ideologues to turn the entire government into a collection of fascist thugs. It the right suceeds, and it appears to be doing so, if the addition of John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the Scalia/Thomas team at the Supreme Court is any indication, then a lot of us are going to have to wonder whether there will be a need for fundamental change.

  58. avatar JB says:

    Ryan said: “Or the rest of the biologists that don’t have money to study important wildlife issues because there money goes to fight lawsuits”

    Ryan, you are fundamentally misconstruing what has happened with regards to the ESA. The Bush Administration has never liked the Act nor had any desire to enforce it, so they decided to implement a very narrow definition of endangered species, knowing full well that it would invite lawsuits. These lawsuits actually benefit the administration in at least three ways: (1) they reduce the number of species listed or substantially delay listings (FYI: listings have gone from ~44 species/year under all administrations to just 8/year under Bush II); (2) the delay/reduction appeases the property rights advocates, a key component of the conservative coalition; and (3) the resulting lawsuits allow the Bush administration to claim that the ESA isn’t working and push for further reforms.

    In short, the actions of this administration with regard to endangered species were (in my view) designed to delay and/or reduce listings, and invite lawsuits, which is win/win for Bush/Cheney.

    If you need more evidence that the suits are valid, you need only consider that Republican presidents have appointed judges in 27 of the past 39 years–and yet the vast majority of ESA-related cases are still won by conservation groups. The notion that these decisions are the work of “activist judges” is total horse shit. The Government loses because their actions are illegal….period.

  59. avatar Layton says:

    “The ESA does not say that a species is recovered if they exist in only a part of their historical range.”

    Doesn’t (and I’m asking here — not arguing) the ESA take into account “distinct population segments” or something like that??

  60. avatar Buffaloed says:

    Yes, the ESA does take into account DPS’ but those DPS’ may refer to something like a run of salmon which may be distinct from one of the same species in the same river or a nearby river. Spring, Summer, and Fall Chinook may spawn in the same river but each are distinct population segments.

    With wolves and other wide-ranging, interbreeding, populations the lines are more fuzzy and the historical range can be much more widespread. In other words, the DPS for a wolf may include an area which includes ID, MT, WA, WY, CO, UT, CA, and OR when the DPS for Summer Chinook includes the South Fork of the Salmon and another in the Pahsimeroi River. Each are treated separately.

  61. avatar RE Chizmar says:

    Ryan, as a lawyer who has represented both insurance companies and those injured by medical malpractice, your understanding of insurance premiums and displaced costs arising from lawsuits is a typical anti-lawsuit talking point / misinformation having little real merit (for example, every state argues its Drs. are leaving b/c of malpractice premiums, if that is so, where are they going? – Canada?) — these issues, which are quite complex, have no relevancy to the topic of this delisting lawsuit. As most persons I’ve seen over the last 15 years, civil law is generally disdained until one is actually him/herself seriously aggrieved or injured as a result of the negligence of another — then his/her tune greatly changes and his/her indignant stance remarkably differs — and usually to a degree where he/she thinks he/she is entitled to more than what is fair and reasonable. BTW – many a book will be written about how this Administration has stripped the legal rights of the common man.

  62. avatar JB says:

    Layton:

    The ESA defines a species as a recognized species or subspecies of plant or animal or a distinct population segment of vertebrates. Unfortunately, it does not define DPS, so in 1996 FWS devised its own interpretation. For a population to be a DPS under this policy, it must be “distinct” and “significant” to the species as a whole. These terms are defined as well, so don’t take them at face value. You can look up DPS policy on the federal register if you want to do some reading (it’s not too long).

    There is no question that wolves qualify as a DPS–the administration, FWS, and conservation groups agree on this point (at least to my knowledge). The question with regard to wolves (at least in my mind) is, are they threatened or endangered by the current policies of the states in a significant portion of their range within the DPS?

    You see, by defining wolves as a DPS, FWS can delist them without recovering them across all of their historic range (which makes sense). However, they must ensure that they are not in danger in a significant portion of there range within the DPS; if the states policies render them threatened or endangered in the DPS, then they need to be listed. This is why I’ve said that all the states (really just WY and ID) need do is change their laws such that they ensure that wolves do not meet this definition, but they haven’t been willing to compromise the eradication agenda. I seriously doubt the court will look at Wyoming, see that 80+% of the state is in the predator zone, and then determine that (1) this area is not significant, and (2) the wolf is not threatened in this area.

  63. avatar JB says:

    PS. The other way they could get around the problem is by shrinking the size of the DPS, but then wolves outside of the DPS would be considered endangered/threatened and the states would have no management authority at all.

  64. avatar vicki says:

    Okay guys, I am not an expert at much, but this time…I get to chime in.
    Ryan,
    I manage a medical clinic in Colorado. The way people are charged for services is based on two things:
    1. Reasonable and customary charges,
    which means that doctors are given contracted rates from insurance companies and charge cash paying patients set fees based on what the industry standard fee in their location is (their competition for compensation is the doc next door and how much he charges)
    2. The contracted rates for insurance companies are also based on the rates didctated by good old Uncle Sam. The government determines Medicare payment rates. These rates are falling at present. The only way to change that is to change the government.
    I am all for a plan that would revise the insurance structure for health care-maybe the government should provide the malpractice insurance and cap the amount of liability docs can be sued for?
    But you are right that there is a growing shortage of health care-hence the current influx of PA’s and FNP’s. It is mid level healthcare. There is a shortage of OB/GYN’s in WYOMING. It is not a nation wide issue yet. But the cost of malpratcie insurance iis higher for specialties. The lack of OB/GYN’s in Wyoming likely comes about as a result of low paying insurance contracts and a larger instance of complications during pregnancy and delivery due to sub-par availability of prenatal care, and longer distances between adequate hospitals for complicated births.

    How is this at all relevant to the current issue? Easy, the problems with the health care system as it pertains to Wyoming is that the economy has dictated the value and availability of a product…insurance. Rural employers can’t afford it. So people don’t have it.
    Likewise-these same people who can not afford health care can’t afford to fight the good fight for the environment. They have a lack of funds and availability. Cattle ranchers however, have organization and money to pay for legal services. So, the rest of Wyoming is likely under-represented due to the social economics dictated by the government.
    How does the government begin to repair the shoddy health care availability? Subsidies. Medicaid, grants….much the same as is done for the ranchers. It is a band aid on an infected wound, it does nothing to treat the real problem. The government has got to start fixing what is broken, and stop treating a symptom.
    Stop subsidizing businesses and policies that are detramental to a large sector of society as a whole. Stop enabling those with money to dictate the laws in this country because they are a minority, and we sacrafice the rights of the many to satisfy the bank accounts of the few.
    It is already happening in many ways. The government has failed to do what needed done, and businesses that were effected are failing or reforming.
    Prescription drugs for example. The USA has an inflated rate of costs, thus people forego treatment. Now companies lure folks in by charging far less for generic drugs. Then folks will actually pay for branded drugs not yet available in a generic form. So businesses make no money on generics, but will continue to profit because people are more likely able to afford branded drugs if they don’t over pay for generics.
    Same thing with beef. Soo, people will start to demand that the beef they eat not be grazed on public lands. Will that mean prices will go up? Temporarily. Then the market will adjust because the corporate beef manufacturers will meet demands, and have less competition to do that.
    How does this have any impact outside the supermarket? Well, we average joe’s will have more open space and preserved public lands to enjoy free of the manure the ranchers spread, literally and figuratively.

  65. avatar vicki says:

    p.s.
    The single biggest issue the clinic I manage has with financial viability is getting people to do the right thing, and pay their co-payment/co-insurance. That account for @1/4 of the income of the office. People don’t feel they should have to pay because doctors make money. They are quite simply dishonest and feel a false sense of entitlement. Welcome to the American code of ethics. The rules of ethics bend as it applies to personal finances. Same applies to ranchers, oil/energy companies, etc.

  66. avatar Buffaloed says:

    Here’s what Bush says about the topic of OBGYN’s:

  67. avatar Catbestland says:

    Buff,

    That’s hysterical!!! I like the one from the Pope’s recent visit where Bush congratulates him saying, “Ausome speach.” I thought he was going to slap the pontiff on the back.

  68. avatar Catbestland says:

    “Awesome speach” I mean, it was early.

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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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