“But is it really ‘bringing back the wolf’ when the wolves wear radio collars and generate better genealogical records than most humans do, and when their whereabouts at any time can be ascertained with GIS coordinates?” . . . from “What we’re really doing by reintroducing wolves.” Writers on the Range. George Sibley.  Missoula Independent.

Sibley writes a clever article/essay regarding all the information that has been generated about wolves, even down to the individual  wolf, and whether such well observed wolves can be properly called “wild.”

I don’t know because “the wild” is a human mental construct of outdoor things unmodified by humans. If the radio collar is placed by Wildlife Services so the wolf can be easily located and killed (this accounts for the largest number of collars), I’d say “no. It isn’t wild.”  If it is a Yellowstone Park wolf where the collar only modifies the animal’s behavior slightly, then maybe “yes” or “it depends.”

Sibley also argues that while the polls in Washington State show a lot of generalized support for wolves, anti-wolf people show up and dominate the public meetings. Apparently this is not true, but some might believe is so based on a couple unrepresentative newspaper articles. Here is some email objecting and giving some facts.

Mr. Sibley is mistaken when he writes about the Washington hearings: “one frazzled wildlife official noted, ‘The 80 percent of the people in this state who are supposedly for the wolves coming back are not the ones coming to the meetings.” The people showing up are mostly the grandchildren of those who eradicated the wolf from the West 70 years ago.”
Yes, there have been meetings (Yakima, Colville and a few others) that were dominated by the ant-wolf crowd. But there was Spokane, Seattle, Mt. Vernon, Sequim, and Vancouver that had more wolf supporters (in the case of at least Seattle and Sequim, it was 97% pro-wolf, 3% anti-wolf) than anti-wolf people. All in all, I feel the hearings were balanced and that was the opinion I heard from Harriet Allen, who has been at every meeting, when she reported back to the Fish and Wildlife Commission.
David
David G. Graves
Northwest Field Representative
National Parks Conservation Association
Protecting Our National Parks for Future Generations

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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.

77 Responses to Wild cards: What we’re really doing by reintroducing wolves

  1. avatar ProWolf in WY says:

    ‘The 80 percent of the people in this state who are supposedly for the wolves coming back are not the ones coming to the meetings.” The people showing up are mostly the grandchildren of those who eradicated the wolf from the West 70 years ago.”

    This is what happens most places. I’ve never quite understood it, unless it is because anti-wolf people (at least in the Northern Rockies) tend to be louder.

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

  2. avatar JW says:

    I for one tend to think that the wolves I see in Yellowstone, collared or not, are truly wild. They are doing the exact same thing that they would do with or without people tracking and watching them and are truly wild – especially since many peole see them without the use of radio-telemetry (eg, while hiking) … As Ralph says, the collared wolves by WS outside of the park is a diff’t story.

  3. avatar JimT says:

    Perhaps the key to the collaring issue is WHO has access to the data. If it is only scientists like Doug Smith whose agenda, presumably from my talks and witnessing his presentations, is to have a restored, gene-diverse, healthy wolf population in its traditional habitat to the greatest extent practicable, I think the collars are valuable. If the various FG folks have access to get them easier and quicker access to killing, no, I think that is not a “wild” use of the collars.

    Frankly, I think the issue of the reduced protections for introduced wolf packs is the larger and thornier issue. Would I advocate for the reintroduction of wolves in Baxter State Park, for example, if I knew they would be subject to the same kind of demonization, “management policies”, etc….I don’t know…I would love to have that conversation with the wolf decision makers over single malt some day..off the record.

    Ralph, at least here in Colorado, it seems as if when there are wildlife hearings, they are usually held in the traditional ranching areas of the state, and not in places like Denver or Boulder, so in essence, they are cherry picking the likely audience and the reactions.

  4. avatar JB says:

    I believe the collaring “issue” is a joke. Right now ~80% of wolf mortality in the NR is human-caused (I suppose this will go up with human hunting). Even with extremely high mortality wolf populations have continued to rise. Collars and collaring has and will cause mortality in some instances, but this is so low as to be considered trivial. *Most* people who don’t like collars are really upset about Wildlife Services’ use of them for killing so-called “problem” packs.

    As for the issue of what makes an animal “wild”. That’s a lot more complicated and deserves more time than I have at the moment. I’ll try to revisit later when I have more time.

  5. avatar Layton says:

    Two things — and this it the kind of a discussion that I usually stay out of because it is (IMHO) so loaded toward one side.

    First — could the reason that the meetings are “held in the traditional ranching areas of the state” be because those are the area most affected by the wolves?? People in large urban areas, while thinking they want all sorts of introductions or re-introductions, are largely not affected one way or another by them.

    Second — concerning the collars. They are damned by allowing WS to find a pack easily, but don’t they also make sure that the pack that is “targeted” or “controlled” or “slaughtered” (pick the word you want) is the one that is found?? Not just another pack that happens to be in the neighborhood that day??

  6. avatar JimT says:

    The re-introduction issues, Layton, or the predator habitat issues usually involve exclusively or largely FEDERAL lands, which means that someone’s voice in Denver is just as important to hear as someone’s voice in Crestone or Grand Junction. This whole”locals run public lands” stuff has had a large influence on the mess the public lands find themselves in…think grazing, timber, mining, etc. Local voices should be heard, but not part of any agency campaign to skew the comments, and that is what often happens.

    Two, WS behaviors are well documented to be in the direction of killing, not finding THE problem wolf or wolves,and the issue of “problem” is often in the eye of the beholder, but we won’t go into the whole responsible ranching thing here. . I think that agency needs to go, permanently. Its record is horrible and unbalanced in the direction of killing predators at the behest of industry.

  7. avatar Layton says:

    I guess I get it.

    ” Local voices should be heard, but not part of any agency campaign to skew the comments”

    In other words, locals shouldn’t be able to skew the comments — but the dwellers of large cities should be heard cuz’ that WON’T skew the comments.

    Sorry, it just seems to me that the people that are affected the most should be listened to the most.

    I guess I forgot that WS has a whole ……… nope, never mind. I should have known better than to ask that question.

    JimT,

    I don’t know if you live in an urban area or not. BUT, if you do what would you think of someone – rural farmers particularly, re-introducing, say, skunks, maybe feral cats, they could live on the local mouse population?? Skunks obviously lived there before your subdivision was built and feral cats lived everywhere.

    Skunks/cats that would live under your house, maybe eat your pet hampster and obviously be a problem in your day to day living. They’ll just be introduced in the city parks and in those little patches of public ground that lay around interspersed with private houses.

    Wouldn’t you be upset if they (whoever “they” is) held the meetings concerning this in little bitty rural towns a couple of hundred miles away — where the skunks/cats wouldn’t affect them — of course you could have mail and email inputs …..

    Maybe not a really good analogy but I think you can see my point.

  8. avatar JW says:

    Layton,
    skunks, cats, raccoons, and coyotes (and cougars in much of the west) live throughout urban areas through the United States so I guess millions have to live with the “problem”. Personally I protect my pets and my kids so coyotes aren’t a problem. I live in a subdivision and actually love when I hear them howl at night. More and more people seem to recognize this as a good thing (healthy ecosystem… blah, blah, blah) too.

  9. avatar JimT says:

    Layton,

    Your feelings about local folks having weighted opinions is understandable, but I don’t agree that a decision making process about lands we all own should be skewed one way or another. Validity of opinions about how lands and resources should be managed should be based on science and fact when it comes to public lands, not proximity or sweetheart grazing or mining or forest deals. We disagree.

    What kind of ticks me off is your assumption that “us liberals” who disagree with you all live in urban areas all of lives, never go out and have a wilderness experience, or camp, or hike, or fish, or….You don’t know me, you don’t know where I have lived, or how, or what my level of willingness to live with non-domesticated animals is, but you sure assume alot. People who do know me and my feelings and values would be laughing at your not so subtle attempts to paint me as an urbanite who only deals with the wild places via the Discovery Channel…~S~

    I have no problem with skunks so long as they are not in my house, or rabid. Same with any other wild creature that is trying to survive. As far as folks living hundreds of miles away having say about what happens here, we all deal with that every day. It is called DC; it is called state legislatures. You may not like it, which is your perogative.

    Have a good thanksgiving; watch out for those urban-authorized skunks, though…;*)

  10. avatar JB says:

    Layton:

    I’ll add my voice to those urbanites who support wildlife. I have seen raccoons, skunks, opossum, and fox in our area. Coyotes are here as well, though I’ve never seen one. Personally, I support people who want to remove these species from their property when they are destructive, the same way I support people who want to remove wolves or cougars from their own lands out west. As Jim pointed out, the issue is public land. I don’t expect Metro parks to kill coyotes in the parks for my benefit; then again, I also don’t presume to allow my animals to run free in the Metro parks. 😉

  11. avatar Elk275 says:

    JB
    ++I support people who want to remove wolves or cougars from their own lands out west. As Jim pointed out, the issue is public land.++

    The problem is when land is checker boarded. One minute an animal is on private land and ten minutes later it is on pulic land. This is the result of the rail roads getting every other section.

  12. avatar JB says:

    As an aside, the only animals I’ve ever “removed” from our home/property are mice. I generally catch them alive, and dump them in the nearby woods as feed for the raptors and domestic cats. I did live trap a raccoon out of my mother’s attic once when I was in college. I’d be happy to share its fate sometime if we ever get to chat over a beer.

  13. avatar Rich Hurry says:

    Darn it. Sorry for partial post. Please disregard.

    Just a personal observation about Idaho Fish and Game Commission’s quarterly meetings’ locations: November 2008 they met at Cabela’s in Post Falls, where commissioners reported no pro-wolf advocacy comments in Public Comments period. August 2009 they met in Idaho Falls to adopt wolf hunting season quotas, and lone wolf advocate (me, who was not wearing camo or other hunting attire) was outnumbered 125:1 in audience, even though no Public Comment period was allowed. November 2009 Commission met at Hagadone’s Resort in Coeur d’Alene and during Public Comment period, wolf advocacy (anti-wolf hunting) speakers outnumbered pro-wolf hunting comments by 3:1 ratio. Commissioners afterward spoke openly about 180 degree turn around in public comments in just 12 months in Kootenai County.

    Lesson: with a little grassroots organization and hard work by some activists, even seemingly “friendly” state wildlife management agency territory can be changed.

  14. Rich,

    You are brave person. I know that many people don’t go to these because they feel intimidated. When a large portion of the audience is armed and the elected and appointed officials are hostile, a person can kind of feel like a Black person in the Old South speaking out for racial justice.

  15. avatar Rich Hurry says:

    Thanks, Ralph. There are a growing number of wolf advocates here in Idaho and we’re getting stronger every day by networking on blogs like yours and Facebook!

  16. avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

    The issues of local/rural vs remote/urban priorities and public lands conveying common interests and stakeholder interests in wildlife management considerations are fundamental to the increasing conflicts we are experiencing with wolf and other wildlife management controversies. Each needs to be considered in their proper context. Within each state, local or rural residencies are relevant to individual stakeholder priority in the resource management process only by the the degree of participation in resource use, how those individuals are affected by resource issues and how those individuals participate in the resource management process with state managers. But clearly, a Boise resident has just as much ownership of Idaho public wildlife resources as does an Idaho resident who lives on a remote ranch.
    Public lands are critical to conservation and public trust issues involving wildlife but are not a nexus for stakeholder interest and representation in wildlife management – i.e. residents of Chicago or Erie, PA do not share the same stake for representation in wildlife management prioritization with an Idaho resident for elk or wolves that inhabit the Boise or Targhee or Panhandle National Forest.
    Public ownership and management of widlife in the United States has always been and will continue to be founded on principles of state constitutional ownership of and management authority for the wildlife resources within state boundaries.
    States have consistently considered the interests and desires of non-residents in matters of wildlife management, but wildlife management decisions are appropriately based primarily on the needs and desires of state residents, ahead of the desires of non-residents. The relevance of federal public lands is strongest for habitat management issues and for those narrow exceptions to state management authority standard that occur when federal statutes (ESA, CWA e.g.) supercede state authority.

  17. avatar Layton says:

    JimT,

    “What kind of ticks me off is your assumption that “us liberals” who disagree with you all live in urban areas all of lives, never go out and have a wilderness experience, or camp, or hike, or fish, or….You don’t know me, you don’t know where I have lived, or how, or what my level of willingness to live with non-domesticated animals is, but you sure assume alot”

    First of all, I don’t have any idea where the “us liberals” line comes from, second, let me quote myself —

    “I don’t know if you live in an urban area or not. BUT, if you do what would you think of someone ”

    That’s most of the first sentence of my post. I think I covered that which “ticks you off”. I didn’t say you were a liberal and I specifically pointed out that I didn’t know where you live.

    ” People who do know me and my feelings and values would be laughing at your not so subtle attempts to paint me as an urbanite who only deals with the wild places via the Discovery Channel…~S~”

    I don’t think I painted you anywhere, I simply posed a scenario. Sorry if you took it another way.

  18. avatar frank says:

    “I don’t know if you live in an urban area or not. BUT, if you do what would you think of someone – rural farmers particularly, re-introducing, say, skunks, maybe feral cats, they could live on the local mouse population?? Skunks obviously lived there before your subdivision was built and feral cats lived everywhere.

    Skunks/cats that would live under your house, maybe eat your pet hampster and obviously be a problem in your day to day living. They’ll just be introduced in the city parks and in those little patches of public ground that lay around interspersed with private houses.

    Wouldn’t you be upset if they (whoever “they” is) held the meetings concerning this in little bitty rural towns a couple of hundred miles away — where the skunks/cats wouldn’t affect them — of course you could have mail and email inputs …..”

    That has to be the silliest analogy that I have read in years. Do you actually think before you post?

  19. avatar JB says:

    “States have consistently considered the interests and desires of non-residents in matters of wildlife management, but wildlife management decisions are appropriately based primarily on the needs and desires of state residents, ahead of the desires of non-residents.”

    Mark: I disagree with your assertion that states consider the interests and desires of non-residents. I don’t think your game commission gives two shits about what someone from outside Idaho thinks. When was the last time a western state F&G agency took pains to gather information from people outside of its borders? The data gathered for wolf planning in Idaho, for instance, included samples of (a) Idaho livestock producers, (b) Idaho hunters, and (c) Idaho state residents. Idaho didn’t even consider the desires of residents of adjacent states, let alone the desires of the nation as a whole.

    I’ve been involved in many surveys conducted by state agencies and the only one that considered the desires of non-residents was a survey of non-resident waterfowl hunters. In fact, our data on public attitudes regarding wildlife policy and management is piecemeal (state specific) for this very reason. States don’t care what people from outside of their borders think, and the public trust doctrine essentially formalizes non-residents’ disenfranchisement.

    And that brings us to the crux of the problem, at least insofar as wolves in the West are concerned. When the majority (or at least a large proportion) of lands inside a state’s borders belong to everyone in the country and decisions about the management of the wildlife that reside therein are made for the benefit of locals, we have an issue.

    I submit that if western states keep heading in the direction they’ve been heading with respect to large carnivores, you may find other “narrow exceptions to state management authority” that remove the problem of their management from your purview.

  20. avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

    JB –
    The issue(s) of state authority for wildlife management and the stakes of residents and non-residents in that process have importance greater than the attention generated in the threads I’ve followed on this blog.

    We agree that non-residents don’t have the same standing in state wildlife management process. I think we may disagree on the degree and quality of the difference. Putting that aside for now, how would you change the process to “correct” resident/non-resident roles in wildlife management?

  21. avatar william huard says:

    Mark- with all due respect, before you can change the process to correct resident- non resident roles in wildlife management you need to change the makeup of the current legislature/ commission representation to include interests other than livestock and hunting interests. These people have a stranglehold on the power and are not likely to give it up. There are too many conflicts of interest in Idaho politics. I remember I was horrified in 2004 when one of the two deferment twins(george w Bush) tried to appoint Matthew Hogan to the USFWS, an appointment that was reviled by environmentalists because of Hogan’s affiliation with the Safari Club International. Some conflicts of interest are extremely damaging to the overall process of all the people being represented.

  22. avatar kt says:

    Hey Mark Gamblin: Here’s IDFG’s attitude under the Otter/Farm Bureau Commission regime: You all ain’t part of the Idaho Woolgrower’s, C’boys and Sportsmen for Coyote Killing Contests or an ex-Larry Craig staffer:

    Go to the back of the bus.

    Until people demand that public lands and wildlife belong to them, not just ranchers, miners/developers, trophy hunters and predator haters …

    http://www.guavaleaf.com/video/4192/Neville-Brothers–Sister-Rosa

    And that will only come about by people understanding what is going on (and that sure will never happen with what passes for environmental reporting at the Statesman, for instance – that is shallow pablum). BUT the Otter regime/livestock industry/predator haters do know enough to know that the public having more knowledge about what, really, belongs to us all is dangerous for those in Power.

    That is why IDFG is so sensitive about this Blog andwhy they have Gamblin bloviating/keeping an eye on it – to try to diffuse and distract … and interject state propaganda whenever possible.

  23. avatar william huard says:

    Mark- those pictures of coyotes with those “sportsmen” who are in need of both a shower and a psych med are helping our cause- and the connection that some of your commissioners have to this sportsmen group don’t help the state image much. The question is – Do you care? It is not rocket science mark that indescriminate killing of any animal for sport, contest, or whatever motivates these deviants to behave in that fashion is becoming less favorable with regular people.

  24. avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

    Respecting the values and frustrations of those who don’t agree with/approve of state wildlife management policies, programs or objectives – the process is squarely rooted in the American representative democracy system of government. State wildlife management programs do/should represent the values and desires of state residents – in who’s interest the state wildlife resources are held in trust. If those programs do not serve and adequately represent the needs and desires of state residents and the legitimate, constitutionally and legally founded needs and desires of non-residents – our system of government provides numerous opportunities for correction: public involvement in the process of wildlife management program development and implementation; election of state leaders who make the appointments to decision making commissions, participate in state wildlife policies, control funding of wildlife management agencies, etc.; and the legal branch of our government.

    Wildlife management agencies have neither the authority or responsibility to determine what is socially or legally acceptable for public use of our wildlife resources. That ultimately belongs to the citizens of the state. The predator derby of note is a legal contest. If Idahoans do not approve of that or other similar contests – our government provides multiple avenues (described above) of recourse to express those desires and preferences. If those preferences do not prevail in our system of governance for wildlife management, those avenues remain open to anyone who continues to disagree with state policy or programs. That someone is dissatisfied with a wildlife management program or action does not mean that person has not been heard or had his/her opinions sincerely considered and evaluated – together with other diverse desires and expectations.

    I made this point many threads ago. Many hunters are frequently frustrated and angry because their preferred wildlife management option is not selected. In that respect, those who disagree with, are angry with state predator management policies and programs are participating in and experiencing the same frustrations that those with differing philosophies and preferences have experienced throught the history of our state governments. This in no way devalues those unsatisfied preferences. It simply means that those preferences were not selected to meet/satisfy the needs and desires of state society as a whole.

  25. avatar Layton says:

    frank,

    “That has to be the silliest analogy that I have read in years. Do you actually think before you post?”

    Yes I do — evidently a lot more than you do before you bitch about one. the analogy is actually pretty good now that I look at it again — just different critters and different people be affected.

  26. avatar Layton says:

    kt,

    “Until people demand that public lands and wildlife belong to them, not just ranchers, miners/developers, trophy hunters and predator haters ”

    Maybe you should also bear in mind that there are ALSO a LOT of people out there that are NOT fire breathing, hate spewing greennecks.

    Every time (it seems) that something about “public lands” comes up the point is made that “these lands belong to ALL of us”. As far as that goes it’s true. However “all of us” do not agree with some of the policies advocated here. Some of “us” have a different viewpoint.

  27. avatar JimT says:

    As far as that goes it’s true. However “all of us” do not agree with some of the policies advocated here. Some of “us” have a different viewpoint.
    Layton,
    Exactly, hence my point about getting points of views at wildlife issues at more places than just the specific geographic area’s communities affected by the State or Federal decision-makers. We just underwent a long overdue overhaul of oil and gas regs to be more protective of wildlife and ecoystems, and there were not just hearings in southern or western Colorado. The hearing or rules comment process should be as neutral as possible, focused on gathering information relevant to the subject. Then, make the decision.

    I still hope you have a good Thanksgiving…~S~

  28. avatar Barb Rupers says:

    JB mentioned “The data gathered for wolf planning in Idaho, for instance, included samples of (a) Idaho livestock producers, (b) Idaho hunters, and (c) Idaho state residents.” We all know that in general groups (a) and (b) are against wolf management at anything other than a bare minimum level (many would in fact like to see them completely gone) and group (c) is mixed. That looks like a pretty slanted data base to me!

  29. avatar JB says:

    “Wildlife management agencies have neither the authority or responsibility to determine what is socially or legally acceptable for public use of our wildlife resources. That ultimately belongs to the citizens of the state…If Idahoans do not approve of that or other similar contests[predator derbies] – our government provides multiple avenues (described above) of recourse to express those desires and preferences.”

    Mark: It’s not just Idahoans that have the ability to demand such changes in law. In fact, this is the point I was trying to make above. The federal government can and has passed such legislation before (e.g. the bald and golden eagle protection act).

    “…how would you change the process to “correct” resident/non-resident roles in wildlife management?”

    This is a real problem. States have no incentive (except maybe to avoid being sued) to listen to outside interests. Yet, such interests are supposed to be considered under current law on Federal lands. Personally, I would like to see federal agencies (e.g. FS, BLM, FWS) “step up” and actually represent national interests when it comes to the management of our public lands instead of continually caving to local interests.

    Regarding IDF&G; I would be content to see the agency actually take pains to represent a diverse group of stakeholders, instead of simply claiming that their voices were heard and their preferences “not selected” to meet the needs of the state as a whole.

    You pointed out in one of our first conversations that F&G commissions are called upon to make the tough policy decisions; in effect, buffering agencies against accusations of improper influence/decision-making. I agree, and I understand why agencies find such a buffer desirable. However, this brings me back to my initial assertion. The process of making these policy decisions (I’m referring specifically to decisions not based upon science but the desires of various stakeholders) absolutely MUST be perceived as fair. In the case of wolves in Idaho, I see two possible solutions: (1) change the make-up of commissions to be inclusive instead of exclusive (probably not going to happen), or (2) use some form of participatory process (e.g. collaborative learning) that does not exclude ANY stakeholders who wish to participate in the decision. This latter piece would require the ID F&G commission to share decision authority.

  30. avatar Richie,NJ says:

    To JimT;
    Years ago I hiked the knife edge and that night at dinner at a place in the cove in Millinocket Maine best place in the area, a bed and breakfast. I had a talk with a resident of the area and he was totally against bringing wolves in Baxter. In fact they hate coyote’s their are a great deal of coyote’s in fact one ran past my car on the highway, right about Lincoln.

  31. avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

    JB –
    “States don’t care what people from outside of their borders think, and the public trust doctrine essentially formalizes non-residents’ disenfranchisement.”

    Disenfranchisement carries a very specific and important conotation (the revocation of suffrage – voting rights) – in the context you use it JB. I’ll interpret your intent to be that state wildlife management authority, backed by the Public Trust Doctrine, somehow prevents non-residents from exercising or enjoying rights or priviledges they hold for the use of public wildlife in those states they are no residents of. That is clearly not correct. One cannot be disenfranshised of a right/prividlege one never had – in this case in the history of our country and the evoluction of our system of government. The division of state/federal authorities has always recognized state trusteeship of public wildlife resources on behalf of state residents. There are multiple state and federal court decisions and multiple MOU’s between the states and federal agencies that afirm that state authority.
    To say that states don’t care what non-residents think/desire regarding wildlife is an overstatement. It would be more accurate to say that states defer first to the concerns and desires of their residents, before those of non-residents. Every state has practical and legal reasons to listen to and consider the wishes of non-residents.

    “When the majority (or at least a large proportion) of lands inside a state’s borders belong to everyone in the country and decisions about the management of the wildlife that reside therein are made for the benefit of locals, we have an issue.”

    Federal public lands do “belong” to every American. Wildlife on those federal public lands do not “belong” to every American. Those wildlife, within each state, are held in trust for the residents of that state. There is a distinct and very important difference between land and wildlife management authority and trusteeship in this example. There is indeed an issue/controversy, but it is largely based on misunderstanding or misinformation.

    “The federal government can and has passed such legislation before (e.g. the bald and golden eagle protection act).”

    Yes, of course it can, but that implies that state wildlife management authority is conveyed to the states by the federal government which ultimately holds that authrority. That would be a profound mischaracterization. State have and continue to hold trusteeship and management authority for wildlife within their respective borders unless and until the federal government deems it to be in the national interest to supercede that state authority. That is a very significant distinction. It may be reasurring or frustrating to a non-resident in Chicago who disagrees with Idaho or Montana wildlife management policies or programs and believes that somehow he or she is an equal stakeholder (trustee) of public wildlife in those states and that the federal government has temporarily delegated it’s fundamental authority for the management of those public resources – but of course that is a fallacious assumption.

    “States have no incentive (except maybe to avoid being sued) to listen to outside interests. Yet, such interests are supposed to be considered under current law on Federal lands. Personally, I would like to see federal agencies (e.g. FS, BLM, FWS) “step up” and actually represent national interests when it comes to the management of our public lands instead of continually caving to local interests.”

    With respect to the management of federal lands, the states share a position that is similar to the Chicago non-resident. The issue is management of the LAND not management of the wildlife. You imply that the federal agencies have a responsibility to manage the wildlife on those lands. They do not. They have specific responsibilities to consider the conservation requirements of those public resources (wildlife) affected by their management of the LAND, but they (federal agencies) do not have the responsibility or authority to directly management those public wildlife resources.
    I hope this doesn’t come across as argumentative or combative. That is not my intent. You raised very important questions that are central to much of the dialog and debate between blog participants in this and previous threads. It’s very important that all understand the context and foundation of widlife management authority as well as science and principles.

    I understand that many (most?) participating in these ongoing wolf management discussions do not/cannot agree that western states care about or in fact listen to input from non-residents and specifically wolf advocates. But in fact they do. I agree with you that the perception is the opposite and perception is important. The participatory process of wildlife management is very dynamic and will be responsive to the needs and demands of stakeholders. Who those stakeholders are and the appropriate participatory involvement they hold in the process will continue to be a source of frustration and controversy for many. I also agree with you that participation and collaborative learning is always beneficial to sound governence and good resource management. That does not, however, argue for a fundamental change in the current system of state widlife management through Commissions or Boards, within our democratic-republican system of government.

  32. avatar gline says:

    “… argue for a fundamental change in the current system of state wildlife management through Commissions or Boards, within our democratic-republican system of government.”

    ? you’ve been waiting for wolves to be delisted so that you can do this – wolf hunt, predator derby on wolves, aerial gunning (!) of a valuable predator in your beautiful state. Why are you on here saying these valueless words! It is truly truly disheartening Mark.

    10 paragraph reply of what?? do you understand the abuse here?

  33. avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

    gline –
    There is no reason to be disheartened if your primary concern and priority is for the conservation of a healthy, robust Idaho wolf population. Nothing in the Idaho wolf management plan or the discussed actions will jeapardize that management committment. If, likely I think, you are disheartened because the plan and current management actions conflict with your personal values then I can understand and respect that.

  34. Mr. Gamblin,

    Again, I ask you to define precisely what you mean by a “healthy, robust Idaho wolf population”. Also, please precisely define what comprises a “healthy, robust NRM metapopulation.”

    Thank you.

  35. avatar Cobra says:

    Here we go again.

  36. Cobra,

    I deleted the posts and booted some people

  37. avatar gline says:

    Ralph do you email people to let them know they are booted?

  38. Sometimes. Sometimes I’ve made a mistake too.

  39. avatar JEFF E says:

    Robust and healthy? Let’s see
    Idaho covers 83,570 sq. mi.
    that is 53484800 acres.
    If only half of that is suitable wolf habitat (conservative IMO) that equals 26742400 acres
    Divide that by the ~500 wolves that the State has so graciously said that will be allowed and you get 1(one) wolf for every 53485 ( fifty-three thousand four hundred eighty five) acres.
    Robust??? –Healthy only until you decide otherwise Mark.
    I don’t know who ass you think you’re blowing smoke up or why you think it’s working but you are making apparent that you and the state have no intention whatsoever of doing more than what the livestock industry commands you to do. Pathetic
    (Think of one acre as what would cover a football field from sideline to sideline and from one goal line to the opposite end to the 10 yard line. Go by a school and look at a football field then imagine 53000 of them.
    See the wolf?)

  40. avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

    Valerie Bittner, Jeff E –

    I use the adjectives “healthy” and “robust” as biological terms applicable to ESA criteria and guidelines. I am describing a population that is reasonably and reliably expected to persist within the range of expected environmental advantages and stresses. I am simply describing an Idaho wolf population that society can expect to thrive into the foreseeable future.

  41. avatar JB says:

    Mark:

    You are overstating state authority to regulate wildlife on Federal lands. Yes, the courts have firmly established the public trust doctrine in which the state acts as a trustee (similar to a financial investor), managing a resource for the owner (in this case, the state’s citizens). However, your continued assertions that the public trust doctrine preempts federal powers is a gross distortion of the way the courts have interpreted state powers.

    Let me direct you to two recent cases (a) Wyoming v. United States, 279 F.3d 1214 (10th Circuit, 2002) and (b) National Audobon Society v. Davis, 307 F.3d 835 (9th Circuit 2002). In the former, the court concluded that Wyoming agencies had no authority to enter the National Elk Range to vaccinate elk. Regarding authority, the court concluded that federal regulations generally preempt state regulations “to the extent the two conflict, or where state management and regulaiton stand as an obstacle to…objectives of the Federal Government.” In the latter case, despite a ban on the use of some control measures in California (prop 4), the court found that while in general state laws apply to federal lands such as refuges, state laws can not restrict federal agents in the exercise of normal management activities. In sum, the courts have consistently concluded that where the two conflict, the Federal Government’s objectives preempt state management.

    Regarding the BLM and FS… The issue is complex. Both operate under federal statutes that demand multiple use (including wildlife) and require public participation in planning. Both also have language that authorizes the BLM to take action regarding wildlife, but encourage deference to state agencies. Freyfogle and Goble (2007) suggest that the ultimate question of who has authority is still somewhat unclear. However, they note that while “…both the Forest Service and the BLM defer to states…both agencies retain control over the management of wildlife habitat.” Perhaps more importantly, both clearly retain control over the management of recreation on federal lands. Ultimately, hunting wolves is a form of recreation. To the extent to which this form of recreation conflicts with other types of recreation or with the multiple use directives of the agency, I would argue that it is well within the agency’s authority to prohibit it–especially if the agency has zoned an area for a particular type of activity (which they often do). Note: This is where national interests could and should be considered.

    Likewise, to the extent that the use of aerial gunning conflicts with other FS/BLM objectives (i.e. recreation, safety) in an area, the agency is well within its authority to prohibit its use in these areas.

    On the other hand, Congress could simply pass a law banning these practices on Federal lands.

  42. avatar JW says:

    Mark,
    I appreciate your comments and braveness to speak up on this dialogue. However, I just don’t quite get how state fish and game agencies, including yourself, think that wildlife management is remotely democratic. Hunters are a minority of most states, esp. urban ones, yet just about every person from every state wildlife board is a hunter. It is like having a group of smokers determine the Surgeon General warning for Smoking. It is absolutely fundamental non-democratic where a minority have more say in the matter than the majority. And the funniest thing is that wildlife watching makes much more $ than hunting, it just goes to the general economy rather than a state fish and game agency. That is not fair and you can’t tell us that there are mechanisms to change that. You know there are many measures in place to resist the change and make change difficult.

  43. avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

    JB –
    Interesting. We seem to agree on specifics but you continue to miss or deny the fundamental reality. I agree that the federal government has the authority (power) to over-rule states on matters of wildlife management, as the federal government can on a wide variety of other issues. I noted that reality in my previous post – with this key proviso: the federal government has subsumed state authority only for narrow and explicit exceptions to the affirmed (Supreme Court) standard of state wildlife trusteeship and management authority in the division of state/federal responsibilities and authorities. Those narrow exceptions include the examples you provided in your previous posts – ESA, Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the system of NWR’s and federal authority to share with the states management of the wildlife resources on those specific parcels of federal public lands. Nowhere in those exceptions has the federal government argued that it is the trustee of wildlife on behalf of the American public or that it holds or reserves broad authority for wildlife management to the exclusion of constitutional state authority. States have always held and will continue to hold the trusteeship of public wildlife resources for state citizens, with the broad management authority for those resources. That is an inherent, fundamental precept in our system of government and laws. There may be additional federal over-rides to those state authorities, but if so those will only occur under compelling national interest considerations (similar to those that lead to the ESA, MBTA, etc.) that have broad support from the public and the states. Potential new federal interventions in state management authority that have been suggested by you and others – federal predator management oversight for example, do not have the national interest conservation imperatives or necessary state support that the MBTA or ESA enjoyed.
    The fantasy of a broad revision of the national standard of state trusteeship and management authority for public wildlife resources, to be replaced by some federal system of management is just that – a fantasy. We – the conservation community – would be better served by focusing limited resources on the real challenges to healthy, sustainable wildlife resources. Smart and balanced energy policies, smart and balanced public and private land management policies, continued commitment to clean air and clear water, MUCH more attention to the looming water crisis and the biggest challenge – climate change and how to adapt our society and it’s institutions to those challenges in the future.

  44. avatar JB says:

    “Yes, of course it can, but that implies that state wildlife management authority is conveyed to the states by the federal government which ultimately holds that authrority. That would be a profound mischaracterization.”

    This is where we disagree. Ultimately, all governments in the U.S. operate under federal authority (the constitution). Moreover, the public trust doctrine, while firmly established as case law, operates in the absence of conflicting federal statutes. Time and time again the courts have held that the Federal Government has the power to pass legislation that restricts state authority over wildlife (e.g. the bald and golden eagle protection act, the migratory bird treaty act, the endangered species act, the free-roaming wild horse & burro act). Is it really so hard for you to imagine a parallel law for the protection of large carnivores? I submit to you that the more Western states dig in their heels in their unending quest to pacify SOME hunters, the greater the likelihood that such a statute becomes a reality.

  45. avatar JB says:

    “The fantasy of a broad revision of the national standard of state trusteeship and management authority for public wildlife resources, to be replaced by some federal system of management is just that – a fantasy.”

    I think you have profoundly misinterpreted by comments. I never suggested that a “broad revision of the…state trusteeship” was imminent, nor desirable. To be clear, what I’m suggesting is: (a) Congress has the authority to pass legislation that restricts the states ability to “manage” wildlife, (b) the excessive killing of large carnivores in the West is extremely unpopular outside the west (exhibit A: Defenders fund-raising), and (c) should state F&G agencies continue to promote policies regarding large carnivores that clearly cater only to livestock producers and big game hunters (which constitute very small proportions of the population), the likelihood that people call for such legislation increases.

  46. avatar gline says:

    We – the conservation community –

    how do you even begin to call yourselves that? Aerial shooting wildlife constitutes conservation? or are the Just wolves?

  47. avatar JB says:

    Sorry, hit the re “submit” button too quickly…

    With respect to Mark’s original question regarding how states can balance the interests of residents and non-residents…

    States could use participatory processes, but these are costly and time-consuming and I really don’t see where they have a strong incentive to do so. Rather, putting pressure on federal land management agencies would likely yield better results for conservationists. Existing statutes demand broad public participation in these agencies’ (e.g. BLM, FS) planning processes, and the courts have established that federal agencies have the authority to regulate wildlife when state management conflicts with their objectives (at the very least, they have the authority to regulate what types of recreation take place therein).

    Thus, rather than complain to IDF&G officials, who are only concerned with residents (and lean heavily toward livestock producers and hunters at that), I think conservationists who wish to change policies on federal lands would be better served by focusing on particular Forest Management Plans that are up for revision and putting strong pressure on agencies to change policies with respect to the recreational hunting and the lethal control of large carnivores. These agencies regularly establish zoning to provide for various types of recreational “experience opportunities”. One such opportunity is wildlife viewing. If agencies perceive a strong demand for large carnivore viewing opportunities, then it is within their authority to restrict harvest and lethal control in these areas in order to better provide for this type of opportunity.

  48. avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

    JB –
    “To be clear, what I’m suggesting is: (a) Congress has the authority to pass legislation that restricts the states ability to “manage” wildlife, (b) the excessive killing of large carnivores in the West is extremely unpopular outside the west (exhibit A: Defenders fund-raising), and (c) should state F&G agencies continue to promote policies regarding large carnivores that clearly cater only to livestock producers and big game hunters (which constitute very small proportions of the population), the likelihood that people call for such legislation increases.”

    OK, my first thought was this discussion is making no progress. But, I think maybe we are. Again, you repeat examples that I agree with, but miss the fundamental reality. OF COURSE the federal government has the authority to supercede/intervene in the national standard of state wildlife management authority. We have agreed on several very narrow examples that have occured. The reality is: in the United States, wildlife trusteeship and management authority fundamentally belongs to the states.
    The question is not COULD the federal government supercede state authority but WOULD it do so and if so, under what circumstances and based on what national interest reasoning/justification? The examples you suggest would be a departure from the urgent conservation objectives (conservation of migratory waterfowl, eagle and prevention of extinction of species) existing interventions are based on. The passionate objection to predator derbies, aerial shooting of predators as a management tool, wolf hunting, wolf management objectives – in the context of the discussions in this blog are social controversies (value based preferences for wildlife management objectives and means to achieve those objectives), not biologically based conservation issues. The appropriate avenue for the resolution of allocative wildlife management conflicts is within the framework of state management authority – where the public interest responsibility is founded.
    You make an argument for federal intervention to redress a right or priviledge that does not exist – a recognized right or priviledge by non-residents to equal access to and participation in the management of state wildlife resources. Nothing in the F.S. or BLM statutorily established responsibilities for recreation management suggests that those responsibilities include oversight of state wildlife management planning, programs or activities. In fact, numerous Memorandum of Understandings formally recognize and emphasize state wildlife management authority and trusteeship. Suggesting otherwise is the misinformation and mischaracterization of constitutional and political realities I referred to earlier. Certainly, federal and state agencies have crucial public involvement responsibilities in the formulation of public resource planning and program implementation. The public does have the opportunity to ask or insist that the Forest Service or BLM inappropriately and illegally intervene in state management of wildlife and wildlife recreation on those federal lands – but that would be an unprecedented departure from the established state/federal roles and divisions of authority and responsibilities for public natural resource management.
    As I said, a fantasy, without a legitimate need or justification – the pursuit of which would come at the expense of unity and cohesion in the conservation community when that unity and cohesion is increasingly needed. Communication, as we have on this blog, and pursuit of common ground within the polarized community of wildlife advocates (yes, those who advocate wolf population management are wildlife advocates) IS essential. Thanks again for your calm and thoughtful responses JB.

  49. avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

    JW –
    “I just don’t quite get how state fish and game agencies, including yourself, think that wildlife management is remotely democratic. Hunters are a minority of most states, esp. urban ones, yet just about every person from every state wildlife board is a hunter.”

    Thanks for your thoughtful responses also JW. I submit that wildlife management is democratic because the state (and in some cases federal) agencies responsible for wildlife management, the process is ultimately responsible to the electorate. State fish and game/wildlife boards or commissions are extensions of the state executive branch of government – the Governor’s Office. The Governor is selected by the state electorate. Federal wildlife agencies are also an extension of the federal executive branch of government, with the President and his/her staff resonsible to the national electorate.
    I understand that there are many who disagree – passionately – with may wildlife management policies and programs. That is an inherent for any government program. Our system of wildlife management is in fact participatory. You do have access to and responsibilities to that process if you want your views considered. You believe that hunters have a disproportionate influence on wildlife management in your state and other states. Your recourse is to involve yourself in your state’s wildlife management process. Make your preferences known to your state wildlife management agency and it’s staff and to your appointed policy board or commission. You will be more effective if your input, comments, preferences are backed by facts and recognize the legitimate needs and desires of other citizens. If you are not satisfied with the accomodation of your concerns and preferences, you have access to the electorate process to replace key elected officials or lobby for policy change.

    I think it should be obvious that one reason “hunters” have strong influence in the wildlife management process, across the United States, is that traditionally, they represent state and local community values, traditional desires for wildlife resource management and have been the driving force behind wildlife conservation success in North America. There is no un-democratic alliance between hunters and “the powers that be”. Contemporary North American wildlife management simply reflects contemporary societal values and desires in the respective states. If those values and desires change, the system of wildlife management will reflect that change in wildlife management policies and programs.

  50. avatar JB says:

    Mark: Yes, I agree that we are making process. While I doubt that we will agree on the specifics of a solution, agreement on the problem definition is the fundamental first step.

    “The question is not COULD the federal government supercede state authority but WOULD it do so and if so, under what circumstances and based on what national interest reasoning/justification?”

    –Agreed

    “…in the context of the discussions in this blog are social controversies (value based preferences for wildlife management objectives and means to achieve those objectives), not biologically based conservation issues.”

    –I submit that ALL supposedly “biological issues” are actually social issues; that is, they are only issues to the extent that people define them as such. We could have let the bald eagle go extinct in the lower 48 (like so many other species), but Congress chose not to. Why? Because people made an issue of their likely extinction. In fact, the bald eagle is a great example: Congress passed legislation to protect the bald eagle precisely because of its symbolic value to the country (not its biological importance; though this was clearly acknowledged). The exact same logic can be applied to the wolf issue; that is, wolves rarity and symbolic value demand protective action on their behalf and state agencies unwillingness to recognize those values leave advocates with few alternatives.

    You argue that, “[t]he appropriate avenue for the resolution of allocative wildlife management conflicts is within the framework of state management authority – where the public interest responsibility is founded.”

    — Your argument seems to rest on the proposition that wildlife belong to states and thus non-residents have no (in your own words) “right” to seek recourse regarding their management. Arguments about the ownership language aside, I agree that states have primary management authority. However, I disagree with your assertion that “[n]othing in the F.S. or BLM statutorily established responsibilities for recreation management suggests that those responsibilities include oversight of state wildlife management planning…” In fact, in the NFMA, Congress specifically directs that the Secretary of Agriculture SHALL “…provide for the multiple use and sustained yield of…outdoor recreation, range, timber, watershed, [and] wildlife and fish…” FLPMA contains similar language.

    I would argue that to the extent to which agencies determine state wildlife management objectives conflict with their ability to provide for the above (including outdoor recreation/wildlife viewing) then they are not only authorized, but compelled to act to fulfill that mandate. As I already noted, public participation mandated by the same legislation provides for the opportunity for nonresidents to make their voices heard regarding the management of federal forests and public lands. I would think that you would prefer this alternative over Federal legislation?

    You conclude that my assertions are a gross mischaracterization of “of constitutional and political realities”. I would suggest to you that just because federal agencies have always bowed to the wishes of state agencies with respect to wildlife does not mean that they lack the authority to intervene on the behalf of broader public interests. I believe the recent court cases I have cited make this clear. I will, however, acknowledge that such an intervention represents a substantial (though not unprecedented) shift in policy.

  51. avatar Salle says:

    You know what, I have a problem with state F&G agencies managing wildlife on federally administered public land. And since Idaho has little initiative to take all citizens’ values into account in their management programs, I think the federal management agencies should take that job away from the state. They obviously lack the respect for the wildlife that most Americans have. that is a serious conflict of values and since federally administered public lands are so designated for the entire citizenry of the nation, Idaho shouldn’t be allowed to make erroneous decisions in our stead. They certainly haven’t got a clue about what the rest of the nation perceives as valuable.

    Therefore, the federal supercedes the state, period.

  52. avatar JB says:

    Mark:

    As a follow-up, and in an effort to discover the root of our disagreement…

    I would add that the fundamental problem is that (a) states have traditionally managed wildlife on federal public lands with little (if any) thought to national interests (let alone the interests of non-hunters), and (b) federal agencies have made little effort to correct state agencies’ actions when they conflict with national interests (the management of National Parks and Refuges provide exceptions).

    You suggested that, “the question is not COULD the federal government supercede state authority but WOULD it do so and if so, under what circumstances…”

    Again, I agree. I would argue that Congress will do so if and when there is adequate pressure from their constituents. Similarly, Federal land management agencies will modify their management plans when national interest groups shout loud enough.

    Note: If local interests dominated, wolves would never have been reintroduced in the West to begin with. Recall (then Senator) Dick Cheney’s fervent opposition to wolves was only overcome when a first-term Senator from Utah redressed him for treating Yellowstone National Park as the property of Wyoming. Unfortunately, the same mentality still exists today.

  53. avatar Salle says:

    “Note: If local interests dominated, wolves would never have been reintroduced in the West to begin with… Unfortunately, the same mentality still exists today.”

    Another case in point, look no further than D. Kempthorne.

  54. avatar Wyo Native says:

    JB, or Salle

    I know you want federal control of wildlife, but short of an Executive Order, or placing all species on the the Endangered Species List how can it get done.

    Especially when you have one of the more Liberal Senators in DC passing legislation that ends up meaning:

    “Respecting the traditional authority of individual states. The regulation of wildlife has traditionally been within a state’s purview. It is in the best interest of the state and federal governments to ensure that states retain the authority to regulate wildlife.”

    http://www.nodc.us/gametags.htm

  55. avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

    This is a good point in the discussion for me to take a break and let others contribute. I want to see less of my words, more from other participants. Thanks, more from me after a bit.

  56. avatar JB says:

    Wyoming Native:

    Actually, I don’t really care who regulates wildlife; my only interest is in seeing that wildlife is regulated in a manner that best meets the public’s interest. When it comes to federal public lands, “the public” includes people beyond the borders of the states.

    The North American model has been incredibly successful at conserving game species, as well as many other species that have similar habitat requirements. However, many non-game species have been poorly served by the NA model. Although they are sometimes hunted and classified as game, I would include large terrestrial carnivores in this latter category.

    Frankly, there are many avenues to improve large carnivore management. I would be happy if the states were to step up and truly manage wolves and grizzlies “like other species”. I believe Minnesota’s proposed management plan is a good model (not because of the number of wolves, but because of the restraint shown in their management plan). In lieu of better state management, advocates can pressure federal land management agencies or push for Federal legislation. I’m not sure how else we can get there?

  57. avatar Salle says:

    And which “more liberal” senator would that be?

    I’m not sure that I want all wildlife under federal management, I think you’re adding that notion to my comments.

    However, I do think that Idaho needs to be subjected to a serious review when it comes to the management of wildlife and national forests and anything that is considered “public” because that state’s officials seem to think that the only Americans in the description of ‘the public” means their ranching and extractive industry buddies who fund their campaigns and that’s it. Whatever their buddies say they want, they get and the rest of the citizens of the state and the nation be damned. The number one incentive of Idaho politicians is to comfort the robber barons who fund them and the second is to collect the millions they get in retirement funds regardless of how long they were in office. (IMO ~ They should only receive retirement amounts in proportion to the amount of “good” they did while in office, if they were chumps and made life worse for their constituents, they should receive an amount commensurate to that level/lack of good.)

  58. avatar Wyo Native says:

    JB said:

    “Actually, I don’t really care who regulates wildlife; my only interest is in seeing that wildlife is regulated in a manner that best meets the public’s interest. When it comes to federal public lands, “the public” includes people beyond the borders of the states.”

    Jb, that is why I asked the question I did, because the bill that passed in 2005 takes away the say of “the public” outside of a state’s borders even on federal public lands.

  59. avatar Wyo Native says:

    Salle,

    If you don’t want federal control of wildlife what do you mean by these statements that you have made while mentioning “wildlife” and not a particular species?

    “I think the federal management agencies should take that job away from the state.”

    “Therefore, the federal supercedes the state, period.”

  60. avatar JB says:

    Wyoming Native:

    I’m afraid you will have to be more specific. Are you referring to the regulatory (rule) changes made by the Forest Service in 2005, or some specific law?

  61. avatar Salle says:

    In the first comment I specifically meant the state of Idaho for the reasons stated in my last comment.

    The second was in reference to Mark Gamblin and JB’s conversation about how and when the federal government supercedes the state’s authority.

    Idaho’s government is such a mess, it may be just a matter of time before the fed takes over the entire state because those in office are completely out of control (over themselves and with regard to their fiduciary responsibilities).

  62. avatar Wyo Native says:

    JB,

    I am referring to Senate Bill 339 that was introduced by Harry Reid in the 109th Congress in 2005, that eventually became law.

    http://www.nodc.us/gametags.htm

    This bill was written to override the 9th Circuit decision on a lawsuit against the state of Arizona brought by Safari Club International. SCI sued to gain more access to Non-Resident hunting licenses. Their claim was that wildlife on federal public lands belonged the feds and the states did not have the authority to regulate nonresident licenses.

    Reid’s bill solidified the fact that it was in the best interest of both the federal and state governments to have the states retain authority to regulate wildlife within their borders, even on federal public lands.

  63. avatar Salle says:

    Harry Reid is NOT one of the “more liberals” senators. And in my opinion, he’s also wrong.

  64. avatar JB says:

    Wyoming Native:

    Yes, someone brought up this bill before. The important part of the text is section 3, which defines the limitations. Pay particularly close attention to #2.

    This is classic Harry Reid; he’s appeasing his largely conservative constituency with a bill that has no teeth.

    JB

    “Nothing in this Act shall be construed–

    (1) to limit the applicability or effect of any Federal law related to the protection or management of fish or wildlife or to the regulation of commerce;

    (2) to limit the authority of the United States to prohibit hunting or fishing on any portion of the lands owned by the United States; or

    (3) to abrogate, abridge, affect, modify, supersede or alter any treaty-reserved right or other right of any Indian tribe as recognized by any other means, including, but not limited to, agreements with the United States, Executive Orders, statutes, and judicial decrees, and by Federal law.”

  65. avatar JEFF E says:

    …if I remember correctly this bill was aimed in support of the States right to limit the number of Non-resident licence and tag sales. When this was going down it caused quite a stir as states were worried about unregulated numbers of non-residents descending on the respective states. Some basis when considering SCI (Clem belongs to this outfit, or did).

  66. avatar Wyo Native says:

    JB,

    I am of the opinion that limitation #2 is meant more for National Parks, Refuges, etc, and not National Forest or BLM lands.

  67. avatar JB says:

    Wyoming Native:

    Laws don’t work that way. Courts read the “letter” of the text first and then, where the text is ambiguous, attempt to interpret Congress’ intent. In this case their is no ambiguity. The statute specifically refers to “lands owned by the United States”. Clearly, all FS, BLM, NPS, ACE, and DOE lands belong to the United States; at least, that is the way any court will see it.

  68. avatar JB says:

    Whoops, I missed FWS/NWR lands!

  69. avatar Wyo Native says:

    So how do you get federal control of wildlife?

    You don’t have the political will and most likely never will.

  70. avatar Wyo Native says:

    JB,

    Let me reword this.

    How do you get federal control of wildlife or even a single species that is not considered endangered, or part of an existing law or treaty?

    The wolf would have been a prime opportunity for this to happen give the current political climate of this country, and it still did not get done.

    There are very few politicians or bureaucrats willing to take the right of management away from the individual states, even on federal lands.

    In my opinion other than an Executive Order, the only way would be for congress to pass a law giving it control of individual species. I just don’t see that happening.

  71. avatar JB says:

    Let’s get a couple of things straight: First, I do not desire “federal control of wildlife”, nor even federal control of any single species. There are many things that the federal government can do that do not constitute full control (management authority) that would make the situation with respect to large carnivores, more tolerable. For example, Congress could pass legislation banning the use of aerial gunning to kill large carnivores. This would greatly reduce the efficiency of Wildlife Services and effectively increase the size of wolf populations. Congress need not be heavy-handed.

    I do not think such legislation is out of the question, so long as Congress can pull its head from its ass and actually pass health care legislation. Until that time, they appear to be blind to everything else. Regardless, such legislation has happened before and could happen again, given the right political climate.

  72. avatar Cris Waller says:

    JB-

    The Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros act set a precedent, I think. So did the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Lacey Act and the various acts concerning eagles, migratory birds and waterfowl. So there is no doubt, in my mind, that carnivores (I wouldn’t restrict it to the large carnivores- the charismatic megafauna- the small ones are just as important) could be protected by such a “heritage” act. And I would love to see the day it happens.

  73. avatar JB says:

    Cris:

    As far as I know, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (1916) was the first federal law to specifically forbid the “taking” of particular species. Although the Lacey Act predates it (1900), it really just reinforced existing state laws.

    The Wild Free-Roaming Horse & Burro Act (1971) is notable insomuch as it provides for the protection of non-native species specifically because they hold symbolic value:

    “…Congress finds and declares that wild free-roaming horses and burros are living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West…”

    Although many people now question the wisdom of protecting a non-native species on public lands, the Wild Free-Roaming Horse & Burro Act does provides a great illustration of how people can make protective legislation happen.

    If Robert Hoskins is “listening”, I’d love to hear his views on this matter.

  74. avatar Jon Way says:

    I for one vote for a Wild Canid Protection/Conservation Act to stop the slaughter of wolves and coyotes nationwide:
    http://easterncoyoteresearch.com/CoyoteManagement.html
    &
    http://easterncoyoteresearch.com/NationalCanidProtectionAct.html

  75. avatar cc says:

    Jon Way,
    Do I understand correctly that the Wild Canid Conservation Act would still allow for regulated hunting along the lines of most other wildlife?

    Thanks

  76. avatar ProWolf in WY says:

    Nice to be back home after my Thanksgiving break. Hope everyone else had a good one.

    Jon, is there any word about progress on the Wild Canid Conservation Act? I would love to see something like that be put into law.

  77. avatar JB says:

    Jon:

    I’m interested in hearing what types of provisions you believe would be effective for conserving and protecting wild canids? I saw the recommendations regarding coyotes you advocate on your website; do you believe the same would be appropriate for wolves?

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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."

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