250 to 300 Idaho wolves could be killed if delisting occurs.

On May 2nd wolves will be delisted leaving a window of at least 30 days before the decision could be enjoined by a judge. During this time, assuming an injunction, a number of things could happen at the hands of the Idaho Fish and Game Department and Wildlife Services.

Based on what is in the written record it appears that anywhere from 250 to 300 wolves could be killed in a very short period of time through means other than hunting by individual hunters. Earlier I reported that Wildlife Services was seeking the flexibility to kill 26 packs for “chronic” depredations and now it appears that Idaho Fish and Game is on board with this plan. In the event of delisting, these plans will likely go forward and the result will be the death of 30% to 35% of Idaho’s 846 wolves.

From: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/about/commission/2009/jan27.pdf

To develop and aggressively utilize all available tools and methods to control wolf-caused depredation of domestic livestock.

• Staff have worked with Wildlife Services to identify 25 wolf pack territories with chronic livestock conflicts (>3 occurrences in 2008)

• Staff will implement aggressive and efficient control measures, including entire pack removal, for wolf packs with chronic histories of livestock depredation

• Staff will work with the Office of Species Conservation to request a Department of Interior Solicitor’s opinion on the 45-day window

Idaho Fish and Game Department commonly states that it will manage wolves in the same way that it manages bears and mountain lions but this seems to be a falsehood. There are no plans underway to reduce the number of Idaho’s 3000 mountain lions or 20,000 bears by a third nor is there the hysteria surrounding those species. The State legislature has not stepped in with crazy legislation regarding bears and mountain lions either, and the director of the Idaho Fish and Game has not attended meetings where illegal activities are promoted to exterminate wolves from the state as happened this weekend.

The Idaho Fish and Game also continues to perpetuate false information. In this video you will see that IDFG claims that the growth rate of the wolf population in Idaho is 20%. This is incorrect. Their own report shows that the rate is actually 16%, which is higher than last year’s 9%, but in line with trends showing that the growth rate is declining. This is a strong indication that wolves have filled the available habitat and natural regulation is taking place as anyone with a biology background would expect.

Year
MT
MT Growth Rate
WY
WY Growth Rate
ID
ID Growth Rate
Combined
Combined Growth Rate
1979
2
0%
0
0%
0
0%
2
0%
1980
1
-50%
0
0%
0
0%
1
-50%
1981
2
100%
0
0%
0
0%
2
100%
1982
8
300%
0
0%
0
0%
8
300%
1983
6
-25%
0
0%
0
0%
6
-25%
1984
6
0%
0
0%
0
0%
6
0%
1985
13
117%
0
0%
0
0%
13
117%
1986
15
15%
0
0%
0
0%
15
15%
1987
10
-33%
0
0%
0
0%
10
-33%
1988
14
40%
0
0%
0
0%
14
40%
1989
12
-14%
0
0%
0
0%
12
-14%
1990
33
175%
0
0%
0
0%
33
175%
1991
29
-12%
0
0%
0
0%
29
-12%
1992
41
41%
0
0%
0
0%
41
41%
1993
55
34%
0
0%
0
0%
55
34%
1994
48
-13%
0
0%
0
0%
48
-13%
1995
66
38%
21
0%
14
0%
101
110%
1996
70
6%
40
90%
42
200%
152
50%
1997
56
-20%
86
115%
71
69%
213
40%
1998
49
-13%
112
30%
114
61%
275
29%
1999
74
51%
107
-4%
156
37%
337
23%
2000
97
31%
153
43%
187
20%
437
30%
2001
123
27%
189
24%
251
34%
563
29%
2002
183
49%
217
15%
263
5%
663
18%
2003
182
-1%
234
8%
345
31%
761
15%
2004
152
-16%
272
16%
422
22%
846
11%
2005
256
68%
252
-7%
512
21%
1020
21%
2006
316
23%
311
23%
673
31%
1300
27%
2007
422
34%
359
15%
732
9%
1513
16%
2008
497
18%
302
-16%
846
16%
1645
9%

As you can see there is a decline in the growth rate seen in the wolf population. You will notice that I have removed the first two years of data for Idaho wolves which decreases the slope of the trend line showing the decline.

idaho.jpg

Here is a graph showing the growth rate of wolves across all three states dating back to 1979 when wolves were first documented in northwest Montana.

northern-rockies.jpg

Here are the IDFG Commissioners Meeting notes from January 27-29 about wolves. You can see that there is great attention given to killing large numbers of wolves and ways to do it under the 10(j) rule if delisting does not occur:

REPORT

Wolf Update

Deputy Director Unsworth provided a wolf update packet to the Commission (Appendix 42, Exhibit 5). Mr. Unsworth’s report covered the Commission Directives to the Department given November 2008 followed by a status report.

To review and update the underlying data which support our Wolf Management Plan to include current data, review of conflict levels, population status, and harvest objectives need to hunt wolves in the fall of 2009, assuming de-listing occurs.

• Preliminary estimate of 824 wolves, 88 packs, 38 breeding pairs

• Final estimates available in February

• Staff will recommend 2009 wolf hunting season frame work in March

• Staff will recommend harvest quotas in July or August

• Wildlife Services has compiled the FY08 wolf conflict report

To develop and implement plans and methods to obtain methods to obtain census information on wolves within federally classified wilderness areas utilizing the “Minimum Tools Analysis” process.

• Staff will follow a similar analysis and decision making process as was used for bighorn sheep in the South Fork Salmon river drainage

• Staff have not attempted extensive ground-based efforts with limited success

• Wolf capture will coincide with scheduled elk surveys

• Middle Fork Zone – winter 2009/10

Selway Zone – winter 2010/11

• Department continues to support Dave Ausband’s (University of Montana) research to develop non-invasive and cost-effective population estimation tools using congressional appropriations

To develop and aggressively utilize all available tools and methods to control wolf-caused depredation of domestic livestock.

• Staff have worked with Wildlife Services to identify 25 wolf pack territories with chronic livestock conflicts (>3 occurrences in 2008)

• Staff will implement aggressive and efficient control measures, including entire pack removal, for wolf packs with chronic histories of livestock depredation

• Staff will work with the Office of Species Conservation to request a Department of Interior Solicitor’s opinion on the 45-day window

To develop and aggressively utilize all tools and methods available under the new 10(j) Rule to control wolves in critical areas that are impacting ungulates starting with the Lolo Zone and progressing to other critical areas, in the event de-listing does not occur.

• Staff have developed a 10(j) proposal for the Lolo Zone and submitted it for formal peer review following federal guidelines

To continue to develop, implement and utilize wolf monitoring and estimation techniques and modeling.

• Department continues to support Dave Ausband’s (University of Montana) research to develop non-invasive and cost-effective population estimation tools using congressional appropriations

• Patch-occupancy modeling using

o Observational data

o DNA analysis of scat

o Howl boxes

o Rub pads

To assemble and disseminate accurate factual information to inform and educate the public on wolf biology and successful wolf recovery.

• Staff continue to update the Department website to provide new information on wolf delisting; state perspective; management activities; and elk population status; survival, and cause-specific mortality

• Staff continues to coordinate and disseminate a bi-weekly email update

Commissioner Trevey reported that the Commission wolf subcommittee met on Tuesday. The subcommittee includes Commissioners Trevey, Power and McDermott. The committee looked at the delisting process and the potential 10(j) rule and the existing plans relationship to current situation. Misinformation is all over the place on wolves. The committee feels that providing current and educational information to the public is the key. Chairman Wright stated that the subcommittee was formed with direction from Director Groen to be the liaison between the Department and the Commission and to keep abreast of all the latest issues on wolves. The committee will provide reports to the Commission as the subject requires.

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About The Author

Ken Cole

Ken Cole, Buffalo Field Campaign‘s Executive Director, is a 5th generation Idahoan, an avid fly fisherman, wildlife enthusiast, and photographer. He was formerly the Idaho Director for Western Watersheds Project.

53 Responses to IDFG's plans to manage wolves includes killing 26 packs as well as 80% or 100 wolves in the Lolo

  1. avatar John d. says:

    This won’t have any impact on quelling the hatred around wolves or accepting them, the -real- problem has not been addressed.

  2. avatar Jay-k says:

    My simple calculations using numbers leaving out the first three years of growth in Idaho show an increase of 22% per year average growth.

  3. Maybe not, but it sure is some good data for news reporters or undecided citizens.

    For a couple years, I’d meant to pull these data on population growth together, but hadn’t.

    Thanks for taking the time, Ken!

  4. avatar Jay-k says:

    Even If Kens trend is right, it will take about ten more years before the wolf rate stops growing.

  5. avatar Ken Cole says:

    John d

    How do you mean? I agree that this information won’t impact the quelling the hatred around wolves or accepting them but what is the “real” problem?

    One of the things that I have tried to portray here is that:
    1. IDFG says they want to “manage” wolves the same way that they do bears and mountain lions but I don’t think that they are really planning to do so. The employees and staff biologists, which I see as generally level headed and understanding of these issues, are not the people who are driving the policies here, it is the politically appointed commission and the politicians who are driving the policy. There is no guarantee that the IDFG will manage wolves the way they say they will at this time because pressure from the Governor and the legislature can change that in a heartbeat. We’ve all seen the mass hysteria in the legislature and at these meetings.

    2. The graphs show that the growth rate is declining and that things change over time. If you take the average growth rate you get a much higher number than the present growth rate but that doesn’t matter. It is the present growth rate as compared to what has happened in the past that is the most informative. You could take a much smaller system such as Yellowstone and see that the same numbers have reached zero and declines in population have being seen. Wolves in Yellowstone are fluctuating up and down now. Wolf populations don’t expand forever because of several factors that we all know about.

  6. avatar JB says:

    Ralph, Ken:

    Thanks for posting these! The figures with the linear trend in growth rates are particularly compelling. FYI: My guess is that IDF&G is using a five-year moving average in its growth rate estimates. Based on these data, here’s the 5-year moving average for 1998 – 2006:

    1998 77%
    1999 44%
    2000 31%
    2001 25%
    2002 22%
    2003 23%
    2004 22%
    2005 23%
    2006 20%

    Note, the current trend clearly shows a continued reduction in the rate of growth; however, in looking at these data, I can see why IDF&G would say the “current” growth rate is 20%.

  7. avatar Jay-k says:

    If you base theories on graphs and charts it will take you forty years to see if averages work unimpeded by wolf control measures.

  8. avatar JB says:

    FYI: Here’s a 3-year moving average, just for comparison:

    1997 110%
    1998 56%
    1999 39%
    2000 30%
    2001 20%
    2002 23%
    2003 19%
    2004 25%
    2005 25%
    2006 20%
    2007 19%

  9. avatar matt bullard says:

    I think that video is a pretty spectacular bit of propaganda. Got to admit it’s kind of cool to see IDFG stepping into the 21st century, though I suppose one could make the argument that hunting fees paid for that slick vid – at the expense of wildlife “management.”

  10. avatar Steve c says:

    I just emailed whitehouse.gov about this and informed Obama that i wont be voting for him in the Dem primary if he doesnt start changing things at the dept of the interior or with wildlife services.

  11. avatar kt says:

    Or more likely some of those federal tax dollars that they long have been getting for wolves and that all the state officials make sure they want to keep getting as long as they possibly can. Like Jim Caswell at the outset of this IDFG wolf slaughtering propaganda campaign by IDFG over 2 years ago now. At the same meeting where Head of the Fish and Game Commission Cameron Wheller compared wiolves to women’s sports in not being able to pay their way, Caswell (then head of the Idaho Office of Species Extinction) talked about how Butch Otter’s welfare state of Idaho expected the feds to keep forking over cash for wolf “management” long after any de-listing occurs. What do you bet that is where the funding came from?

    Steve c: THANK YOU. I think that is a very good idea. Did you tell him to Boot Salazar. The man is a disaster, there is no direction at Interior, and Salazar is alienating Obama supporters. Of course, no leadership – except puffy Salazar Press Releases – is EXACTLY what the livestock, energy and mining folks like …

  12. avatar Jay-k says:

    I am by no means a wildlife expert, but basic math and graphing shows that you could likely remove 20% of the wolves right now and the trend would still show the numbers growing in a 10 year period, with no other factor of course.

  13. avatar jburnham says:

    Many of the wolves in this kill zone den in Idaho, then spend the rest of the year over the border in Montana. I wonder how MT FWP feels about this plan.

  14. avatar Save bears says:

    MT FWP does not care one bit about the Idaho plan, FWP worries and only cares about what happens in their borders, believe me, I used to work for them..and on the other side, Idaho could not take kill actions on them if they are on the MT side of the border..

  15. avatar John d. says:

    Ken

    I agree.

    Let me expound further on my previous statement:
    The 300 or more wolves IDFG wants dead will die for nothing. No one learns to accept or respect wolves [role in the ecosystem], particularly when it comes to the most likely scenario of increased depredations, and you can be sure that it certainly won’t change any feelings about them, instead it will perpetuate the ‘only good wolf is a dead one’ or ‘I saved elk/deer/moose/cows/calves/bulls today by shooting a wolf pack’ lines so common in Alaska and Canada. So its basically allowing the old ways to continue: blame a critter that isn’t the problem because its easier.
    The real problem is the hate issue. It is abound in many hunters as well as livestock producers.

  16. avatar Jay-k says:

    I am a hunter! I work for an opportunituy to live. I think, I evaluate, and I act. Read back as my comments are allowed please

  17. avatar Jason says:

    This may be a little off topic, but it seems like an appropriate response to the uneducated rhetoric and scare tactics that took place Hailey the other night. I live in Portland now, but still spend a lot of time in Idaho’s backcountry. I preface this only to validate the fact that I still choose to travel to and spend money in Idaho, long after moving out of the state. Tonight I had the fortunate opportunity to hear a lecture given by David Suzuki. His lecture focused on global climate change and the tough decisions that we are currently facing and unfortunately are not tackling very well. However, many of the points he made during the course of his lecture are illustrated time and time again in the controversy that is wolves.
    To begin, society in its current form provides us unlimited amounts of information, too the point where if you believe something or want to believe something, you can find validation of your beliefs within a few key strokes and the ability to read text on a computer screen. As a middle school teacher, my job goes beyond just teaching content, but also involves giving my students the skills and knowledge necessary to navigate through this vast network of information, much of it false and highly inaccurate. Worrisome is the fact that we continue to shift away from science and research, but instead can, and quite often do think and believe what we want based on pure emotion and desire. Not on any solid, data based evidence. Case in point, read the blog directly following the wolf meeting article in the Mountain Express. There is so much inaccurate information being thrown out there that discussing it would be to validate it.
    I just wish we would get to the point that the controversy over wolves has a lot more to do with economics and what is now a quickly changing West. Gone are the days of people who live in rural areas getting to do what they want to do in terms of land management ( in a lot of cases they have mismanaged). Decisions made effect all of us and the sooner we become more humble and try to understand this interconnectedness, the sooner we can start to manage our resources, (wolves, water or timber) in a more sustainable way. The traditional economic model has failed and small communities will be the first and hardest areas hit.
    The greatest example of the hypocrisy that is IDFG, hunting groups and the state is the situation with wild bighorn sheep. If wolves are so devastating to elk and the wilds of Idaho, then why the hell are we allowing big horn sheep to be killed for the right to graze domestic sheep on public lands? Money and power. The same reason people like Ron Gillet hates wolves. Wolves have become the scapegoat of years of frustration in small communities. Some of it local frustrations as ways and ideas of how to manage systems change and frustration with the feds for managing OUR public lands. Wolves could not have been reintroduced during a more awkward time for many still clinging to the mythical West.
    Why is it that in the discussion of wolves no one ever talks about the benefits that wolves have had on Idaho’s forest and ecosystems? If the Ron Gillet’s are afraid of what wolves are doing to elk, wait and see what CWD will do, and it just may end up being a natural predator like the wolf that saves the elk.

  18. avatar ProWolf in WY says:

    I mentioned this in a previous post but I will say it again, this mentality (and Wyoming’s dual status) is what will keep wolves on the endangered species list forever, regardless of population size and genetic exchange.

  19. avatar Narcissus says:

    How necessary is this, I mean…call me stupid but what benefit is there to killing all of these animals?

  20. avatar ProWolf in WY says:

    The mentality is that it will make livestock completely safe and hunters will have more game to shoot at.

  21. Jason,

    Thanks for your comment asking “Why is it that in the discussion of wolves no one ever talks about the benefits that wolves have had on Idaho’s forest and ecosystems?”

    This is the major reason I supported bringing them back in larger than a token population — why Yellowstone Park and NW Wyoming are not enough.

    It was for the ecological benefits.

    I think you are probably right, although it is an untested hypothesis as yet, that wolves are holding chronic wasting disease at bay in Wyoming and probably Idaho and Montana too. If I am correct, that is a major reason to introduce them to Colorado where there is a lot of CWD.

    I don’t think wolves ruin the elk herds. They make them stronger and healthier. Perhaps wolves are to elk and deer as border collies are to domestic sheep.

  22. In Hailey Saturday night, Ron Gillette used exerpts from papers by Canadian Biologist Valerius Geist to support his contention that wolves are dangerous to humans. He forgot to mention that Geist said they only do so when their regular prey is gone and that the lack of wolves in Colorado probably allowed CWD to get established in the first place.

  23. avatar Narcissus says:

    It’s not like they’re cutting out invasive plants or killing bugs that are destroying crops! It’s a living, breathing being…people have absolutely no respect for life.

  24. avatar ProWolf in WY says:

    Larry, do you happen to have a link to some of those papers by Valerius Geist?

  25. avatar Jason says:

    I agree Ralph, anyone with a foundation in biology will understand the importance of predators and the role they play in an ecosystem. It’s unfortunate because for the most part, the anger and frustration directed towards wolves really doesn’t have a lot to do with them and their niche in nature. If this was all about elk, then Idaho would be more proactive when people feed elk and they would not allow the elk farms. In my humble opinion it’s more about not having control over things, especially for groups of people (cattleman’s association, hunters, the sagebrush rebels) that are very use to getting their ways. The models and data are their to support the fact that wolves and elk populations will eventually become cyclical based on their relationship with each other. I recently spent time in Stanley and between Garden Valley and Grand Jean, there were literally hundreds of elk, bulls included. My issue is that more needs to be done to recognize the importance of wolves to the ecosystems in Idaho.
    Finally it’s important to not underestimate the influence that people like Ron Gillet can have, especially in these economic times when people our disparate to lay blame. I’m amazed by the similarities between the scare tactics being used by Gillet and his cronies and that of the Bush administration during the so called “terrorist threats.” Hell, many refer to wolves as terrorist.
    I am all for management of wolves, when Idaho shows that they can do it in a sustainable way. Their current plan does not indicate they will do so.

  26. avatar Ryan says:

    I’m suprised WY, MT, ID and others haven’t sued using the 10th amendment as a basis for managing wolves.

  27. avatar kim kaiser says:

    This little tidbit just came to my email soliciting donations for a lawsuit that was begun to fight the Re de-listing of wolves by the new administration, but trying to pin it on the old admin with NOT ONE WORD OF BARACK HUSSEIEN OBAMA or any combintation of the those words.

    only this

    FROM DOW:
    “just last month, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced that the Bush-era wolf delisting rule would go ahead. Starting May 4th, more than 1,000 wolves in the region — 2/3 of the current population — could be killed.”

    let me know if i am wrong here,

    1. Secretary Salazar is the Interior Secretary to who?? the former bush era administration or THE CURRENT PRESIDENT HUSSEIN OBAMA.

    If that is the case, why do they still infer all this anger to bush, if my memory serves me correctly, a federal judge Molloy reversed delisting BEFORE bush left office AND, it was Hussein Obama who said he would put SCIENCE ABOVE POLITICS, and yet, it is his SECRETARY OF INTERIOR SALAZAR of the OBAMA ADMINISTRATION that has relisted the wolves and the subject of at least 3-4 topics on this blog that have garnered gobs of disgust and disdain over dellisting, clandestine wolfhater meetings, wild stories about who said what at these so called meeteing and yet, the money raisers are still putting the load on the prior administration..

    Now i guess one could argue that old hussein is just too busy, but he did promise us in the campaign he could multi task big things,, or the secondly, that his lackeys just arent in line with his science over politics or they are just not paying attention to him, either way, he screwed the pooch, or better yet, the wolf. it appears these lawsuits to fight this delisting reversal ARE GOING TO COST MONEY, or DOW and others wouldnt be looking for addl cash to fight the suit..money that could be used to help griz or fish or what ever.

    I find the attempts to continue to saddle the prior admin with the current delisting problems very tiresome and an inability to admit you could fleeced so they and you are looking for another scpapegoat. WHY WONT ANY OF YOU STAND UP AND SAY, ITS THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION…Its not longer bush, ITS OBAMAS BABY NOW… HOLD HIM ACCOUNTABLE, NOT BUSH!! Bush is gone,, you have only one person to blame for all this agony and misery.

    Remember this, the first wolf that gets shot due to delisting, will be under the OBAMA ADMINISTRATION, and the gov of Idaho can thank only one person for that, THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION.

    If yall would hold this chump accountable instead of relying on the old blame bush tactics that are getting quite tiresome, maybe you could get some fresh money into your lawsuit coffers, hell, maybe even get some hussein haters in there just to fight the fight!! Time for a new strategy, put the blame where it belongs,, ON THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION. I for one wont send anymoney to them until they put the right text in the request, Salazar of the obama administration, instead of the bush era delising. otherwise its misleading, and not the truth as it exist now, wonder what else they could be misleading you on,

  28. avatar Ken Cole says:

    Well Kim,
    Ask Wyoming Stock Growers Association, Wyoming Wool Growers Association, Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife Wyoming, Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation, and the Wyoming Outfitters and Guides Association among others about their lawsuit.

  29. avatar Ken Cole says:

    Also Kim,

    This is the same rule that the Bush Administration wrote.
    And, yes, I will hold President Obama accountable for this flawed delisting rule.

  30. avatar ProWolf in WY says:

    I’m amazed by the similarities between the scare tactics being used by Gillet and his cronies and that of the Bush administration during the so called “terrorist threats.” Hell, many refer to wolves as terrorist.

    That is probably why some people bought into Gillett so willingly. Now, that the Bush administration is over, he may lose some credibility without that kind of rhetoric at the White House.

  31. I think wolves are the only large wildlife that hasn’t attacked anyone in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming over the last 14 years.

    Coyotes have attacked people, also cougar, bison, deer, moose, black and grizzly bears.

    A person was stomped to death by a moose in Montana several years back.

  32. avatar Jay-k says:

    I watch this blog and see many wildlife people profess that Idaho fish and game are a bunch of nincompoops, but as of yet I dont see with all of the knowledge here an alternative to what Idaho has planned. Maybe someone will, so that it can be criticized too?

  33. avatar Brian Ertz says:

    livestock attack people too, and spread disease to people.

  34. avatar Save bears says:

    Brian Said”

    “livestock attack people too, and spread disease to people.”

    NO SH*T been there done that, when I was doing studies on elk in Washington, I ran into a Bull that had a REAL bad attitude, man that sucker was MEAN!!!!!!

  35. avatar ProWolf in WY says:

    Jay-k, I know I am speaking for myself here, but the alternative is responsible management of wolves. This idea of just killing a huge percentage of the population, especially in the name of “protecting” game herds is not responsible. Classifying wolves as big game and hunting them with bag limits like all other species is responsible. I am also not saying that wolves which are chronically killing livestock should not be dealt with, but there should be some proactive non-lethal methods used or at least experimented with. Ranchers do also need compensation for livestock lost. Also, I think when ranchers graze on public lands near the wilderness areas they are asking for trouble and that practice should be stopped.

  36. avatar Jay-k says:

    ProWo, Research that I have done as I try to develop an opinion, and educate myself indicate that the hunting of wolves will not be an effective tool to manage them. In order to control wolf numbers it will require more elaborate means to have an impact such as shooting them from the air or baiting and trapping, which I find to be a no win situation again.

  37. avatar ProWolf in WY says:

    Why do you say that? Just curious.

  38. avatar Jay-k says:

    The Alaska control measures, have as much popularity with Wolf advocates as polish sausage at an all you can eat Chinese retaurant. The vast wilderness areas of Montana and Idaho access limited and similar in terrain in many areas will not be wolf hunting friendly. Tracking them like an elk is not going to be viable when they are likely on the move most of the time. Snowmobile hunting is frowned upon, baiting any animal in Montana is not legal now. Chance encounters in the woods is not very likely. Sport hunting will be constricted and therefore ineffective.

  39. Wolf hunting will not be like elk or deer hunting, that is true.

    I imagine most will be shot in course of the deer and elk seasons.

  40. avatar Ken Cole says:

    The anti-wolf crowd make it sound like wolves are behind every tree and that there is plenty of opportunity to kill them with a rifle. I’m not sure that hunting them using fair chase, especially with all of the animosity towards wolves, will not result in high mortality. As I understand it there is a lot of illegal killing now during hunting seasons.

    With all of the stories/complaints about how every time someone calls elk a wolf comes in you’d think there would be plenty of opportunity to kill wolves that way.

    I don’t like the idea of killing wolves but as part of a responsible management plan I think that would be acceptable to me. I don’t think the wholesale slaughter of wolves that is planned is responsible or acceptable and I don’t trust that IDFG will be allowed to manage wolves in a responsible or acceptable way.

    Fair chase is not how wolves are going to be managed in Idaho. It will be primarily done with the use of aircraft by government agents and I’m betting there will many wolves killed before any hunting season is even started.

  41. avatar Jay-k says:

    I think if fish and game feel the need to thin the herd then no hunting should be allowed the first year. Management will have to evolve I feel, but lack of management is not the waive of the future. Why cant a structure be blueprinted and built over time. You cant get away from the poaching that is likely to happen but chance killing hasnt wiped out coyotes either. Common sense and faith that ethics will prevail is all that will ever work

  42. avatar ProWolf in WY says:

    Would trapping be a viable alternative? Are there many people who trap any more? i know you don’t make much money from it like you used to.

  43. avatar Dawn says:

    I live in Wyoming and live near the two national parks, and when you ask any tourist what they want to see is wolves . Teton and Yellowstone understand now that wolves bring money in , not the elk or buffalo but wolves . So we can try to control wildlife again but the dollar speaks louder .

  44. avatar John d. says:

    Aerial gunning? Don’t get me started.

    Poisoning – not good. You’d have to be out of your tree to want that, lots of other animals die from it and it just keeps on killing. Trapping again takes more animals than those targeted.
    Not to mention the cruelty involved in both practices.

  45. avatar ProWolf in WY says:

    I’m not sure how humane trapping is but it does help with populations of fur bearers. I agree that poisoning would be bad. Aerial gunning is not even close to fair chase and to me is extremely unethical and cruel. I know wolves are secretive but I guess I am not entirely sold on the idea that people would not be able to harvest them just like other big game, even if it was a chance encounter, since that is how bears and mountain lions are often harvested. In Canada and Alaska, are there decent success rates with wolves (not including aerial gunning).

  46. avatar John d. says:

    Decent. I would say superfluous.

  47. avatar John d. says:

    No offence intended.
    With the number of ‘fur bearers’ (a sickening title in my opinion) caught numbering in several thousand every year and the fur industry now lesser than it was. Catching something just to rub your feet on it’s carcass hardly seems like a viable ‘resource’ more than it is a luxury and the result of which can not truly be seen as benefiting the ecosystem. Many of the persons involved in this activity either believe that they are saving game from wolves or continuing an archaic ‘tradition’. Let us not forget that Canada can very well classify its wolves as ‘vermin’ with the way it approaches the ‘management’ of the species.

  48. avatar Brian Ertz says:

    if it were just a question of a hunt – that’d be one thing. it’s not. IDFG & Idaho politicians have an itch to “solve” a “problem” – that’s the wrong premise to start management of a species, and it’s exactly why Jim Caswell et al are flat out liars when they pretend on camera that killing wolves won’t be any different than bears or cougars. Bears & cougars aren’t stigmatized the way wolves are – and there aren’t wars armed with gun-ships aimed at eradicated entire populations from regions.

    there’s no need to kill wolves – the visceral impulse that fuels any suggestion otherwise is the problem – the Livestock Culture of Death – it’s the threat identified in the original recovery plan as the chief problem that has yet to be diminished – it’s ok that people feel this urge – there’s no stopping it, it’d be ok to delist wolves – but so long as that threat, its impulse, is the guiding principle that eclipses reason and science as premises of management with those political decision-makers who would be enfranchised with management should the feds cede control – then there will be the need to push to maintain current protections. The states have failed to demonstrate a reasonable framework – policies under which wolves’ viable persistence in populations ecologically meaningful will be assured. Trapping, poisoning, shooting, etc. – as sick as they are and as much as I object to them – none of these means would be cause to presuppose delisting should those fundamental regulatory mechanisms to ensure viability exist. they don’t – and there is more than enough objective evidence to suggest that the hate for wolves that exists right now has a reasonable political likelihood – given the regulatory inadequacies that exist – of undermining viability into the future.

    it’d be one thing if it was reasonable to believe that the states would be deterred from excessively aggressive “control” that would threaten wolf viability by the threat of federal ‘re-intervention’ – but clearly the policies being considered now demonstrate otherwise. In addition, we can consider Ralph’s very apt consideration of the bighorn sheep controversy in the state of Idaho — bighorn sheep are hardly stigmatized the way wolves are – in fact, quite to the contrary – they are among the most prized and valued wildlife species in the state – by the very people IDFG claim to represent, sportsmen. But even as there are so few bighorn sheep in the state, Idaho legislators are pushing legislation and brow-beating the IDFG to maintain Livestock supremacy of federal land use – an attempt that if they had it their way would fundamentally undermine the viability of one of the most valued – even to hunters/sportsmen – wildlife species in the state. If the state is willing to ride that line and spite the feds with bighorns, is it reasonable to suggest that the state will be deterred from more aggressive tactics into the future with a species as despised by Livestock as are wolves ? Is it honest for Jim Caswell to pretend like his department will be more insulated from the legislature regarding wolves than it has been for bighorn sheep “management” ?

    The regulatory mechanisms are inadequate – the IDFG is a spineless, impotent agency. Relinquishing federal protections to these people is not a responsible or reasonable prospect at this point in time.

  49. avatar Barb says:

    The underlying problem is that the government bodies do not properly represent public opinion, which is overall very favorable to wolves (it should never have been a question though!).

    State’s Division of Wildlife are mostly funded by hunters and “sportsmen” — (term used loosely!).

    Not all hunters and “sportsmen” hate predators but the agency should be funded by general tax payers, who are more equally represented. And now the Dept of Interior is headed by a rancher and has been headed by people who want to drill, house cattle, use and abuse the land, instead of preserving it for native animals or for appropriate “recreation.”

  50. avatar mikarooni says:

    Barb, you make a good point, a point that is central to practically all modern wildlife debates. Wildlife conservation should not be handled as a sideline in agencies funded for and dedicated to ensuring preservation of “killable” numbers of a limited number of “game” species. It’s an obvious conflict of interest and the rightwingers want it that way to ensure they get the controlling vote at the table; “collaborators'” have helped them in many cases. A number of states have tried to convert both the funding mechanisms and the mission of their “game” and fish departments into wildlife departments and the efforts have, so far, pretty much always been overturned or internally undermined. It’s a disgrace.

  51. avatar jimbob says:

    I’ve been thinking very hard about this, trying to understand the Idaho Legislature’s positions from any public service perspective——but there is none. Special interests plain and simple. It is also criminal the way that these politician/ ranchers serve their own interests and not the public interest. These types of legislators should be locked up—–how do you justify your own special interest legislation that goes against the public will? Especially when it is removing public property like Bighorn sheep and wolves? Maybe some grassroots political groups can begin going after these criminals one at a time.

  52. avatar Ann Grewe says:

    Several national organizations are working actively to stop wolf delisting:
    *National Resource Defense Council*
    employs the power of citizen activism to take on and prevail over corporate interests. Each year, hundreds of thousands of concerned citizens take action via the Internet, bringing overwhelming pressure to bear http://www.nrdconline.org/campaign/biogems_wolves_bighowl4

    *Defenders of Wildlife*
    is dedicated to the protection of all native wild animals and plants in their natural communities. We work with local communities, land owners and government leaders to encourage common-sense solutions that protect the interests of wildlife and people. http://www.defenders.org/

    Read Rodger Schlickeisen (President of Defenders of Wildlife) letter to U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar about the decision to delist wolves. Lawsuit in the wings will be filed if letters & emails do not stop the Salazar decision.

    I believe we can make a difference by getting involved through organizations like these and by writing to our own elected representatives.

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Quote

‎"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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