The remaining quota might be adjusted or other changes made-

Montana wolf-hunt quota could change after 9 shot near Yellowstone. By Matthew Brown. AP

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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.

51 Responses to Montana wolf-hunt quota could change after 9 shot near Yellowstone

  1. avatar Devin says:

    I think this sums up the issue perfectly,

    “We’ve missed the mark a little this first year,” said Carolyn Sime.

    It really makes one question the supposed infallibility of western F&G departments and their agency studies. I think that if something like this had happened in Idaho, there wouldn’t be any responses from F&G similar to what Ms Sime said above. I applaud Montana for recognizing their error.

  2. avatar Layton says:

    And where, pray tell, did this “supposed infallibility” come from?? I hadn’t heard about it.

  3. avatar nabeki says:

    The Conference Call on Wolf quotas is being held at 3pm TODAY by FWP. 1-888-224-5889. There are twenty lines open so even though the Media and FWP Commissioners and Wildlife Managers are going to be clogging up the lines there’s a chance the public could get through.

    We need to lobby them for buffer zones around Yellowstone and Glacier after the Yellowstone Cottonwood Pack was wiped out after leaving the park. It wouldn’t hurt to lobby for reduced quotas in all districts but I don’t think that will happen.

    I think they’re plan is to raise the quota’s in WMU-3 and then adjust the quota number in the other two districts so it doesn’t go over 75 wolves.

    Hopefully we can get them to agree to buffer zones. Also it wouldn’t hurt to tell them how much we hate the hunts and not only are Park wolves getting killed but collared wolves that are part of ongoing research.

    http://howlingforjustice.wordpress.com

  4. avatar nabeki says:

    You can listen online to the FWP Wolf Quota Conference Call at 3pm TODAY. Here is the link:

    http://fwp.mt.gov/doingBusiness/insideFWP/commission/audio.html

    http://howlingforjustice.wordpress.com

  5. avatar Devin says:

    Layton, speaking with my many 20-30 yr old hunting friends here in Eastern Idaho (and yes, I hunt), many take report after report of from the IDF&G without questions and assume they are the only truth. My statement comes from listening to them time after time and from hearing it from countless conversations in university classrooms.

  6. avatar Save bears says:

    If you request buffer zones around the park, where does it end, there is always going to be wildlife leaving and entering the park..so how big should a buffer zone be?

    I am not against or for, but when it comes to the states that surround a park, how do you determine where a buffer zone should be as there is never going to a zone that is big enough.

    there is a couple of amendments that address state sovereignty, in fact there are lawsuits going on right now because of those amendments, where does federal control stop and state control begin?

  7. avatar JimT says:

    Save Bears,

    I don’t agree with your assumption that no buffer zone is big enough. I think grazing allotments near public lands that are critical habitat for ESA species restoration should be retired, FMV paid, and move on. Too much of the history of Federal lands has been spent in kowtowing to industries like mining, grazing and forestry, and it is time that the health of the ecosystem took precedence. Let’s start with that, and see how it goes.

    With regards to sovereignty, Federal jurisdiction is defined by the various laws and regulations. Much too extensive and complicated to be handled here. All of this has been litigated endlessly by the Sagebrush Rebellion folks, and each time they have lost in court on the issue of controlling what happens on Federal lands as well as wanting to pursue activities that have negative impacts on Federal lands and resources.

    It always seems the discussion ends up with the same conclusion. Get rid of the damned livestock on public lands, and see how it goes from there.

  8. avatar Save bears says:

    JimT,

    I agree, get rid of the damn cows on public lands, I have advocated for this for over 2 decades now and will continue to do so.

    But the question is still unanswered..How big of a buffer zone? And what happens when wolves cross that buffer zone and get killed in a legal hunting area? As they are now…

    I see a catch 22 situation here, wolves can’t be harassed in the park, so when they cross the “Line” they can get killed because Montana has a hunting season, so we institute a buffer zone, where they can’t be killed, and then they inhabit and cross that line… then they get killed, so we again, enlarge the buffer zone, and they cross that line….

    My only question, when is the buffer zone, being advocated, going to be big enough? That is all I am asking?

  9. avatar April Clauson says:

    Well they did not raise the quota, so only 3 more lives will be lost, and they are keeping the back country area closed to wolf hunting for the rest of the season. I think they know they screwed up royally on this one! To bad the YS wolves were killed, I think that collard wolves or any collard wild life should be exempt from hunting, and if shot a huge fine placed on the person that did it.

  10. avatar Save bears says:

    JimT,

    I have read many of your messages, that have been posted in great passion and I agree with a good many of them, I am just trying to figure out, when we go from the United States of America to the USSA, We saw how well the USSR worked out, and I don’t think the USSA will work out so well…

  11. avatar JimT says:

    Save Bears,

    Let’s not jump off the bridge here…LOL…States still have plenty of autonomy and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. That said, it is FEDERAL land we are talking about here, and as such, deserves different considerations, and answers not to a state legislature but a legislature and executive national in nature. Certain political and industry interests in the West have been chaffing at that for decades, and usually because they want the resources all for themselves. Perhaps Ralph can post a reading list on the Sagebrush Rebellion and its latest iterations, and maybe open a thread up, but with trepidation, I would suspect…VBG…

    And there is one easy answer to your question when is enough enough. Don’t have the hunt, let the wolves recover and fill their historic niche in the ecosystem, get rid of the damned cows and sheep who are like bait stations for the wolves, and then we can assess the situation then. Malloy can at least start the first part by relisting the wolf ,and getting the states out of the killing business…excuse me..”managing” business. ;*)

  12. avatar Save bears says:

    Jim,

    That is one of the problems I have with this whole situation..

    “Lets not jump off the bridge here”…there is much more that needs to be taken into consideration.

    I think the first step, is getting the ranchers off public land, then figure out the damage, from 150+ years of suppression by that group.

    I don’t think based on the original goals of the listing plan, that wolves are in danger and I don’t think legally we will be able to wipe them out again, to many people are aware of what is going on..

    But when we start talking about buffer zones, then we are talking about extending Federal control, which I am against and I don’t think you will see it be an easy fight, as we all know, Montana, Wyoming and Idaho, march to the beat of a different drummer..head up to Alaska and start talking butter zones…I don’t think it would go over.

  13. avatar Ryan says:

    “That said, it is FEDERAL land we are talking about here, and as such, deserves different considerations, and answers not to a state legislature but a legislature and executive national in nature”

    JimT,

    But its located within states and the last thing most would want to see is people with no knowledge of the landscape trying to manage it. Look at our current president for an example. I am not as radical as some and feel that well managed limited public lands ranching is not a bad thing. (there is science that backs this) But the current free for all is no bueno.

  14. Jim T and Save Bears,

    Traditional extractive interests on the public lands, including cattle, usually like to sing the “states rights tune” because they expect more favorable treatment there, but they can become part of the “federal choir” just like that if they state better treatment from the feds.

    . . . and one of the biggest benefits cattle operators on public lands get is absolute protection from other uses and users who would gladly pay a higher rental to use the land than the paltry $1.35 per cow or cow and calf cattle that their owners pay as grazing fees per month. You are not allowed to bid against them by federal law. They have sort of a fiefdom.

    So they hate the feds except when they don’t.

    I must confess I’m not different. I favor state control when that furthers my conservation interests and federal control when that does, and private control when that works best for me.

    So much for sagebrush rebellions.

  15. avatar JB says:

    “But its located within states and the last thing most would want to see is people with no knowledge of the landscape trying to manage it.”

    Ryan: Nobody said we should hire a bunch of New Yorkers to manage federal lands (though this might be better, in some cases). Many of the Feds that work the lands have local roots. The point is, local interests should not dominate the management of lands that belong to everyone.

    Go ahead, drill the hell out of your state parks and forests; just leave my parks, forests, refuges, and public lands alone.

  16. avatar JB says:

    Save bears:

    I think we could be moving toward federal management (or at least permanent federal oversight) of predators in the West. There is precedent (migratory birds, bald & golden eagles) and many people are tired of watching states cave to livestock interests.

  17. avatar Save bears says:

    JB,

    I think the cattle interests could be taken care of without federal involvement, we have seen strides in the last 20 years, without full federal take over, I mean for the most part, it has only been on the radar for about 20 years.. The Feds are the one that created this situation, do we really want them to be the ones that “Solve” it? Without the Federal Grazing leases, we would not be in this situation..if we are going to continue to allow the fed’s to take more and more, we might as well get rid of the USA…really think about it, how good have the feds been at managing what we currently have?

  18. avatar R.L. says:

    http://www.helenair.com/news/state-and-regional/article_a719083e-b84c-11de-801c-001cc4c03286.html

    “Montana won’t revisit its wolf hunting quota distribution this year, and will lift the suspension of the hunting in the southern management unit on big game opening day, where nine wolves were harvested in the past three weeks.

    However, no wolves can be taken from hunting district 316, which is adjacent to Yellowstone National Park.

    “This isn’t a change to the season. It’s just a slight adjustment in our management and is, more than anything else, a recognition that we want to be on top of the management of this animal,” Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission Chairman Shane Colton said during a conference call Tuesday.

    State wildlife officials had voiced concerns at their meeting last Thursday after learning that nine wolves, out of a quota of 12 for most of Montana south of Highway 200 and east of Dillon, already had been shot as part of the backcountry hunting season instead of during the general big game rifle season, which starts Oct. 25. The problem with that is hunters were taking wolves out of the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness, along the northern border of Yellowstone National Park, instead of on private property where they’ve been known to prey on livestock.

    State and federal officials say they want to use hunting to lessen livestock depredation, and were hoping hunters would take wolves off of ranches instead of going after those that are “behaving” themselves in the backcountry.

    Hunting also is being used to keep the wolf population in check, and of the estimated 1,300 wolves in Idaho and Montana, at least 57 have been killed by hunters since Sept. 1.”

  19. avatar Cris Waller says:

    “State and federal officials say they want to use hunting to lessen livestock depredation, and were hoping hunters would take wolves off of ranches instead of going after those that are “behaving” themselves in the backcountry.”

    So why the h*** even have a backcountry season, then? They keep making this excuse but never answer that question…

  20. avatar Sal_N says:

    Cris W.

    who the h*** still trusts what the state says about the wolf hunt anyway.

    some folks in MT killed wolves in a revenge type killing and they know the state and the feds will kill the ones in the valley that will interact with livestock. It is a no brainer, for some MT it is a win-win plan.

    Save bear, JB,

    in San Luis Obispo county, Kern county and a couple of others our federal tax dollars pay for Rangers patrolling BLM and forest lands so that cattle can graze without the threat of people poaching the cattle (nice fresh red meat….Yummm or should I say something else) and they truck in water to BLM land in the arid areas so that the cattle can have water to drink. Some of those areas are open for oil drilling and some are not as the fed deicdes what can and cannot be done and then the state and its regulations go on forever battling those drilling decisions (mostly change in level of polution control depending of the sitting president). You guys have it a bit easier in MT.

  21. avatar JB says:

    “…really think about it, how good have the feds been at managing what we currently have?”

    I know you’re not going to like this, but I would say they’ve been damn good. The problem isn’t management, it is the mission. As I’m sure you know, the BLM and Forest Service have multiple use mandates; the Park Service has the much-famed dual mandate (to both provide for the enjoyment of the people while at the same time protecting resources for future generations); and the Fish & Wildlife Service is required to first meet individual refuge’s missions before turning to the Refuge System mission (in some cases this means cattle come before native wildlife). The point is, managers are legally compelled to meet the mission, which often conflicts with our views about what constitutes the best kind of management. And yet, the wonderful thing about agency missions is that they can be changed with the stroke of a pen!

    In terms of federal successes: I would argue that the Migratory Bird Treaty and the ESA have been wildly successful, the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act much less so. Of course, states have had their share of successes too, but these are almost always tied to game species.

  22. avatar Save bears says:

    Like or dislike, has nothing to do with it, with few exceptions the system that is in place currently is a failure, we have to many foxes in the hen house drawing to many different ways..and to many special interest groups that are not willing to negotiate to come to a happy medium, which in this day and age, with out that happy medium, there will be no solutions.

  23. avatar JimT says:

    Ryan,

    Why is assumed that local control will always do the right thing by the resource in the West, and that ALL the folks in the East or DC are ignorant about ecosystems and not able to have cogent thoughts or suggestions about turning around the current local and regional practices that have done so much damage to the western landscape? I find that view just as limited as one exhibited by DC or East coast people who have never been West, or haven’t educated themselves about the tremendous diversity of ecosystems here making policies in isolation.

    The history of the mismanagement of the public lands by BLM and USFS is full of instances of breaking laws and regulations to try and serve the local interests..I hardly call that a great model to continue.

    For me, IF there was to be public land ranching, it would have to be bison only, and the whole permit system would have to be revamped so it didn’t become this “property right” some still contend it is, and administered with a strict mandate for maintaining ecosystem health, and enforcement/revocation of said permits. If that kind of responsible land use system would be unacceptable to the present and future welfare ranching community…well, tough beans..LOL.

  24. avatar JimT says:

    Ralph,

    The consistent theme in your three preferences is the health of the ecosystem. I would agree. The problem is I don’t trust the extractive industries; I don’t trust the land management agencies at the Federal level; I don’t trust the State land and animal management agencies either. Not at this point in time, not after 22 years of being involved in environmental/conservation/preservation activities. Unfortunately, those are the only three folks who seem to have the power to control these issues to some extent.

    Perhaps it is time to give the species a voice at the decision making table. Who would that representative be? Maybe we could get Muir to come back…

  25. avatar JimT says:

    And by the way, JB, the New Yorkers you so quickly dismiss have done just fine with the Adirondack Park area, THE largest park in the USA., as well as other areas such as the Hudson Valley. You should visit it sometime. I grew up camping, hiking, and canoeing its spaces.

    And, in case it needs to be said, not everyone lives in New York City. !S! I grew up a half mile down the road from Calhoun’s Dairy farm in upstate NY, and spent many an hour up there, working or just goofing around. How many folks here have grown up with milk and cream delivered fresh daily? I am just saying…don’t be so quick to dismiss the East…

    Maybe there are some folks in the West who have never been East who need to go there and get a more realistic idea of how big and diverse that landscape is….

  26. avatar Save bears says:

    Oh boy, now it is an east vs. west thing…

    Geeze, real solutions being presented…

    By the way, I have woke plenty of days, with fresh butter and milk on the door stoop and am really looking forward to the new dairy starting up in the area that I live, that is offering home delivery, it will just be one more reason for me NOT to go to town!

  27. avatar nabeki says:

    Save bears

    I’m only interested in a buffer zone for this hunt because I’m not anticipating there will be one next year.

    Montana FWP caved a little today by not re-opening 316 in Unit 3, which runs through four counties above the northern border of the park, so that is a buffer zone of sorts.

  28. avatar nabeki says:

    JimT

    “Get rid of the damned livestock on public lands, and see how it goes from there.”

    Amen. They can start by closing that Sheep Experiment Station, which runs through a major wildlife corridor and got the Sage Creek Pack killed.

    http://howlingforjustice.wordpress.com

  29. avatar Save bears says:

    nabeki,

    I agree there may not be one next year, but I believe if there is not, it will only be because of a technicality, because USFWS decided to split the recovery zones, the Judge has already ruled he didn’t believe that the hunt would present a risk to the population in the northern Rockies..so it will indeed be interesting to see what comes of all of this, there are conflicting rulings that have happened and now conflicting rules from the state of Montana, I suspect, I won’t see the ultimate results of all of this in my lifetime..

  30. avatar Save bears says:

    Just to add, being a biologist, what I really find sad in this whole issue, is it ultimately won’t be decided by science, I believe it will be decided by who has more time, more money or more tenacity and I don’t feel whoever we elect will ever have enough understanding of western issues to really make a difference, it is sad in this day and age, we still have more than one country within a country…

  31. avatar otto says:

    Is east v. west any more tiresome than states v. feds?

  32. avatar Save bears says:

    Otto,

    Nope, but it is what it is…

  33. avatar bob jackson says:

    SB,

    If it is science we are talking, I would have say this “science” needs to acknowledge the states have managed for the lowest form of elk species survival. You being a strong “independent” thinker, I would think ought to be the first to question the science being presented as fact.

  34. avatar JB says:

    JimT:

    I pulled “a bunch of New Yorkers” out of a hat. What I was trying to say is that I was not suggesting that we hire a homogeneous group of “outsiders”. It was not meant to denigrate New Yorkers.

    Frankly I agree with you. I don’t trust state or federal agencies and the reason is the same–powerful interest groups run the show, and these groups cater to extractive uses (cue Mark Gambling).

    Wolves are perhaps the best example of how local interests fail. [How close do you have to live to be a local, anyway?] If the locals had their way, we’d be shooting them back to 100. By the way, don’t get too high and mighty about New Yorkers, we might’ve had wolves in the Adirondack if it wasn’t for local opposition to reintroduction.

  35. A remark on the zone issue. I know many National Parks in Europe, Africa and Asia that consist of a core zone, where no or strictly limited human activities are allowed, a zone, where tourist (hiking/climbing) activity is allowed, with a buffer zone around both, where limited activities for timber industry, gathering fruits mushroom or honey, some grazing and sometimes (but not necessarily) even hunting is possible.
    So why should it not be possible to implement a buffer zone around American NPs also ? Maybe such an attempt is bound to fail because of all the usual lobbyists. Would it be legally possible in the US to include private land in such a buffer zone?

  36. avatar JimT says:

    JB…

    OK, truce on the New York thing. I grew up with it..”how come you don’t speak funny like other city folks do?”…LOL…

    As for the Adirondacks, yes, it is a HUGE space, but way way too many small towns and inholdings for it to be practical. If you think there are conflicts around Yellowstone…The better habitat, and one supported most strongly by DOW’s wolf advocate Nina F., was Baxter State Park in Maine, and a portion of what is known as the Northeast Kingdom in Northeast NH and Vermornt. Sparse population, lots of room and prey, no big livestock operations to contend with. But, the fear is just as big there, and just as baseless, and I think it was decided to take one wolf war on at a time..the Intermountain West.

    I would say the next big push, if there is one, for experimental population introduction, would be in the newly declared wilderness of Rocky Mountain NP. But frankly, I see our two newest Senators running to the middle suddenly on most issues, and once again, we are seeing the same old Dem pattern repeat itself. So, I don’t think they are willing to push it with Salazar. There is still a quiet rumor that Salazar, after he is done with DOI, is going to come back and make a run at Governor, and no one wants to risk ticking off the grazing or oil and gas folks who fund the campaigns. We shall see…

  37. avatar JW says:

    Save Bears,
    I think a reasonable buffer zone is how far an average pack from the park strays outside it. That might only be 10 miles or less. Geography could help determine that. It doesn’t have to be a lot. Maybe the WMU (like 316) could be closed for wolf hunting.
    I do agree with the statement that Fed Oversight of Predators is likely in the future and I hope that is nationwide, not just in the west. All states, even in the East, fail to recognize the importance of predators in their management plans… For example, all NE states allow unlimited killing of Coywolves for at least half the year (some year-round). What kind of management is that given the ecological importance of these animals?

  38. avatar JimT says:

    Save Eears,

    No, it isn’t an East vs. West thing. I was responding to a point I thought was inaccurate, and we got it straightened out. Because of life choices, I have had the good fortune to spend large sections of my life in the East, Southwest, Northwest, and now the Intermountain West. Each has its strong and weak points. I was interested in pointing out that concern about Western resources and its well being isn’t confined to “just locals” or natives. I went from a Northeast geographic region to the Southwest desert for graduate school and then work, and grew to LOVE the desert environs even thought is was so alien to what I had known.

    When I saw how Tempe decorated the palm trees for Christmas–Santa figures, but with sombreos, pistols and holsters, cartoon character large mustaches, and a little balloon that came out of Santa’s mouth saying “OLE!” , and the traditional lights, and watching people stroll the streets in those snorkel parkas in full blizzard mode when it was 60 degrees, I said to myself “This isn’t Kansas anymore”…LOL…But I also got to see the annual blooming of the desert that lasts for two days, and is one of the most spectacular flower shows you can ever witness, and the love affair was on. Similar experiences and love affairs with Oregon, Washington State, even the San Diego North County environs before it got swallowed up by development..all different, all special, and all teaching different things.

    I think it is more of a “conscious and aware” thing than it is a east vs west vs whatever thing..

  39. Peter Kiermeir and others about buffer zones. . . they are probably a good idea, but it isn’t a good name. There is a long tradition of anti-park, anti-wilderness, anti-conservation groups of scaring people by saying “the buffer zone they advocate will gradually be expanded until it interferes with your property.” Or to update the argument to today’s silly rhetoric, “they will expand the buffer zone until they steal your property and turn it over to UN Communists and Nazis, and make you a slave of the government.”

  40. avatar Save bears says:

    I think the idea of no hunt zones around the park, could possibly fly, but you would have to do it as a cooperative agreement between the states and the feds. I think if the fed just came along and arbitrarily said, this is a no hunting zone because, then you going to have the same type of backlash you have had with the reintroduction of wolves. As Ralph said, there are many anti groups out there that would push their anti government agenda.

    As far as the UN, I did run into this on another blog.

    gatewaypundit.blogspot.com/2009/10/obama-white-house-continues-its-attack.html

    AS I have not done a lot of research on the treaty situation, I don’t really know how much is rhetoric and how much is true..

  41. avatar Ryan says:

    “I think we could be moving toward federal management (or at least permanent federal oversight) of predators in the West. There is precedent (migratory birds, bald & golden eagles) and many people are tired of watching states cave to livestock interests.”

    JB,

    I doubt it and surely hope your wrong.. The precedent was set due to Eagles, waterfowl, and other birds having their populaitons threatened at best and endangered in many cases. No one could argue with a straight face that Coyotes, Black Bears, Cougars, etc are endangered. The animals that are endangered are ESA listed and already under federal oversite. The last thing we need is more goverment. I believe that the supreme court gave states oversight of thier game management in the USO vs Arizona lawsuit that included federal lands.

  42. avatar JimT says:

    OK, devils advocate here.

    Number one, is it just possible that walking on eggshells around these interest groups is just enabling them? No matter what happens, they will whine and complain and find fault. So, why not just do what is necessary to protect the wolves, or any other species, from unwanted hunting activities. I realize the poaching will go on, but it will go on anyway regardless of any cooperative agreement. The anti gov folks will always, as Ralph said, hold their hands out for Fed dollars, and preach sedition and lies and hatred for Fed presence at the same time. A few severe penalties for poaching…fines, jail time, whatever it takes…and maybe, just maybe, they will get the message–it ain’t the 1800s anymore.

  43. avatar dewey says:

    Posted Wednesday 10-14…Montana FWP voted unanimously on Tuesday to stop the wolf hunt north of Yellowstone Park, without altering the overall state quota of 75

    Here’s the text of the AP story I just poached at the Casper Star Tribune:

    BILLINGS, Mont. — Montana wildlife commissioners on [deleted by webmaster]
    ####

    Dewey and all. I deleted the story you “poached.” That could get us into trouble. It is much better to do a hyperlink. Ralph Maughan

  44. avatar gline says:

    “… a figure biologists contend could be doubled without any harm to the species.”

    which biologists? who are they ? who do they work for? How do we know this is a safe quota if this a “learning experience”?

  45. avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

    All – If anyone is still following this thread, there are three important issues I see in this discussion:
    1) Federal/State natural resource responsibiblities.
    Generally speaking, the federal land management agencies nexus with wildlife management is through their responsibilities for habitat management. That includes managing the impacts of resource extraction on wildlife habitat. The FS and BLM have essentially no authority for direct management of wildlife. The USFWS has responsibilities and oversight authority for specific federal legislation affecting wildlife population management, but only for those very specific exceptions to the North American system of wildlife management. The MBTA, ESA, some marine resources are examples. The states hold the broad constitutional authority for management of the wildlife resources within their respective borders. Even for those migratory species covered by the MBTA, the states and the federal government share management responsibilities and authority for management of those species. This is at the core of the North American Model and is backed by the Public Trust Doctrine and numerous Supreme Court decisions. The States have responsibilities to all US citizens but state residents hold a higher priority in the process of wildlife policy and management decision making and allocation of wildlife resources.
    2) Inappropriate management decisions forced by “politics”.
    Politics is inherent and fundamental to every process and institution of human society. The traditional wildlife management commission/board system that JB and I have discussed at length in previous threads is designed and intended to represent the desires of the public while relying on the best science to achieve responsible, sustainable wildlife management objectives. Setting aside past disagreements about how well this system works today, I suggest that the concept is sound and a good example of our democratic/republican system of government. The key question would be “are wildlife managment programs and objectives being influenced/driven by INAPPROPRIATE political demands that violate our democratic/republican principles of governance OR sound principles of sustainable wildlife conservation?
    3) “Threats” to species by hunting.
    The previous issue leads to this one. Whether it’s hunting of wolves or incidental/unintended grizzly mortality by hunters, the most important wildlife management question is “is hunting in each example compatible with sustainable wildlife conservation objectives OR the public desires for management of those wildlife resources? For wolves or grizzlies the answer is yes it is. The populations of both species in the geographic areas discussed in this blog continue to grow and expand their range.

  46. avatar JB says:

    (1) Mark, I think you’re stretching the state’s authority. Remember, there is nothing in the Constitution about states having the authority to manage wildlife; their authority exists in the absence of conflicting federal statutes. Numerous court decisions have made it clear that the states only have management authority where the federal government fails to assert their authority. Because of the multiple use mandate, the FS and BLM are less willing/likely to restrict hunting than the Park Service and FWS, but they certainly are capable of doing so.

    (2) I agree with you completely.

    (3) Mark says: “…is hunting in each example compatible with sustainable wildlife conservation objectives OR the public desires for management of those wildlife resources? For wolves or grizzlies the answer is yes it is.”

    I would say that answer depends upon the area and type of hunting in question, and how you define public. Where the GYE is concerned, grizzly bears have definitely been negatively impacted by hunting. I’m not suggesting that sustainable grizzly bear management and hunting are NECESSARILY “incompatible”, but they may be in some instances.

  47. avatar JB says:

    Mark, the National Forest Management Act of 1976 reads (in part)…

    “The Secretary shall…provide for multiple use and sustained yield of the products and services obtained there from in accordance with the Multiple-Use, Sustained-Yield Act of 1960, and in particular, include coordination of outdoor recreation, range, timber, watershed, wildlife and fish, and wilderness…”

    Don’t assume that because the Forest Service has been loathe to assert federal control over wildlife that it lacks the authority to do so. Forest Service lands belong to everyone in the U.S., and their enabling legislation clearly identifies “wildlife and fish” as one of the multiple uses for which it should manage Forests.

  48. avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

    JB – I’m not sure we’re addressing the same topic.
    You provide an argument for how state authority may be over-ridden by federal statutes. I explained why and how state authority has and continues to be recognized as foundation for wildlife management in the United States, under the North American Model. State authority for wildlife management has and continues to be the foundation for wildlife management is every corner of the country. There are numerous sound reasons for that reality that will continue for the forseeble future. The exceptions you note are the same I noted in my explanation – narrow exceptions that address specific needs Congress has identified. In the absence of those specific circumstances there is broad recognition and reliance on state authority.

  49. avatar JB says:

    Mark:

    This is the sentence I objected to:

    “The FS and BLM have essentially no authority for direct management of wildlife.”

    In the case of the FS, the NFMA gives the agency all of the authority it needs to directly manage wildlife. However, the FS has chosen to work with state wildlife management agencies (which, like you, I see as mostly positive).

    In my view, this distinction is important. When the interests of the nation and the states conflict, the FS (like other agencies) has the ability assert direct control over wildlife. Federal v. state control of wildlife on federal public lands could become an issue in the near future, especially where predators are concerned.

  50. avatar Sal_N says:

    Interesting article on the MT wolf hunt and what will happen next if the quota is not reached.

    http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/M/MT_HUNTING_WOLVES_MTOL-?SITE=MTBOZ&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

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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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