“Wildlife Services agents no longer need FWP authorization to kill wolves at or near confirmed livestock depredation sites.”

Wolf © Ken Cole

Wolf © Ken Cole

This is about the worst scenario for wolves of Montana that could be concocted by the state, especially while the decision to delist them is being considered in the courts. This nudges wolves even closer to a condition where the killing by a Federal agency becomes entirely unregulated. These conditions resemble those in place when wolves were eradicated in the first place. For those who think that Montana has a better management plan than the other states, think again.

This sets up a situation whereby Wildlife Services may kill an entire pack of wolves for killing a single sick cow or sheep left out on the landscape, a circumstance often documented by those who are watching. This does, however, put a greater responsibility on the agency that has actually made the call on how these situations are handled. Wildlife Services can no longer claim that FWP made the call on how the situation was handled when things go awry.

At the same time, livestock producers who use public lands have no requirements to do anything to avoid such circumstances.  The removal of livestock carcasses that have died natural deaths, or the removal of sick animals, is not required as part of the authorization to graze on public lands.  Non-lethal methods which have been demonstrated to be effective deterrents against livestock depredations are not required.  These poor livestock husbandry practices will continue and be rewarded by livestock compensation programs in place and being proposed by the government.

Will this action influence Judge Malloy’s decision on whether to remand the decision to delist wolves back to the USFWS?  Will Ed Bangs see this as a reason to change his decision?  Time will tell.

Too many wolves: FWP gives wildlife agents more authority to kill problem predators
By EVE BYRON Helena Independent Record

Mont. giving more authority to kill problem wolves
Associated Press

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About The Author

Ken Cole

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

30 Responses to Montana Allows Unfettered Killing of Wolves by Wildlife Services

  1. avatar Jamie Archer says:

    How about let’s just stop livestock grazing on public lands altogether?

  2. avatar ProWolf in WY says:

    Jamie, that’s the only solution to this.

  3. avatar Salle says:

    Like I said, many times before, these welfare ranchers are not required to do anything. The continue to reap taxpayer dollars for failing continuously, year after year, with no job performance reviews or any oversight of any kind. Where else can you have it both ways, outside of Wall Street, and continue to whine about how you’re not getting enough and be compensated for whining and cheating?

  4. avatar Salle says:

    Someone should submit a FOIA on the ways and means through which WS is compensated by the states for their “services”. I’ll bet that info on the millions they spend on their joy-rides would raise some hackles when people find out how much they get paid and how little oversight there is from either the states or the fed.

  5. avatar spanglelakes says:

    Salle – Contact the Western Wolf Coalition – they received a six-figure grant a year or two ago to help wolves in the N Rockies, and certainly would have all the stats re. Wildlife Services and their role with the states of ID/WY/MT.

  6. avatar Elk275 says:

    Salle and Et al

    ++The continue to reap taxpayer dollars for failing continuously, year after year, with no job performance reviews or any oversight of any kind. ++

    First of all not all ranchers in wolf country are running cattle on public land or the public lands are interspersed with private land and in many cases those public lands have no public access or are available to public trespass. As a hunter looking for hunting lands, I know drill. Why should a rancher who is running cattle on his own property have a job performance review or any oversight of his or her operation. Who is going to perform the job review, wolf organizations? After we get them off of public lands are we going to force them off of private lands and return the land to the time of Lewis and Clark. I as well as all of us would have loved to see the country 200 years ago, but it is not going to happen.

    Case in point. I run my horses on a friends land in the Bangtail Mountains north of Bozeman during the summer months. This is not an ideal situation as access to my horses is iffy as they graze in 4 or 5 sections of mountainous private land and I do not always have access to them. They have become herd bound but the economics of the last years has limited my options. Several days ago, I purchase hay for all of the horses and my friend indicated that the last few times that he had snowmobiled to his cabin there where tracks of 7 or 8 wolves each time. We discuss the turning them loose this summer and he was a bit concerned and then said “I am very worry”. I said carry a rifle.

    There is no one who loves wildlife more than I do but private rights are being stepped on.

  7. avatar bob jackson says:

    elk 275,

    How far do we carry all this to justify any and everything? What if we put in the word, mosquito, instead of wolf? Our private rights have now been stepped …. or sucked on, right? So we now have the right to go onto anybodies place and wipe them all out?

    And as far as your poor horses, I had a wolf den less than a mile from my Thorofare cabin for four years. Every evening I rode back to this cabin I unpacked and then turned them loose. They ran and grazed all around this den area all night.

    And do you know what, my horses came back to my call from this high density wolf area every morning….just West of my cabin in the open flats of the Yellowstone Valley….. just as happy as can be.

    I know, the horrors of those who want to be sensationalized … you(?)…. “it must be more than you can bear” (paraphrased from a quote of Doc Holiday in the cult movie Tombstone).

  8. avatar Leonard Schultz says:

    The incestuous relationship between wildlife services and agriculture is dangerous. Wildlife services can only survive by serving agriculture and livestock people wolves on a platter. They would lose financial and political support if they said that wolves were not a problem. The states should assume management responsibility for predators like wolves, bears and lions. Coyote control should be privatized to independent control businesses. Private hunters and trappers could do the job just as good because coyotes have no legal protection now. Coyote killing is recreational for Wildlife Services because it doesn’t matter one bit how many they kill. Coyotes are going to be just as abundant next year. Wildlife services would do more good by leaving them alone than stimulating reproduction and higher litter rates from all the killing they do. Send them wildlife services boys to Texas and let um go hog hunting. That would keep um busy if they need something to kill. With all the anti-government feelings in this country, wildlife services would be a good choice for the first cuts of useless agencies wasting taxpayer’s money.

  9. avatar ProWolf in WY says:

    First of all not all ranchers in wolf country are running cattle on public land or the public lands are interspersed with private land and in many cases those public lands have no public access or are available to public trespass. As a hunter looking for hunting lands, I know drill. Why should a rancher who is running cattle on his own property have a job performance review or any oversight of his or her operation. Who is going to perform the job review, wolf organizations? After we get them off of public lands are we going to force them off of private lands and return the land to the time of Lewis and Clark.

    Elk275, people are just advocating no grazing on public lands. Nobody here is saying anything about driving ranchers off private lands or about returning anything to Lewis and Clark times. I don’t think people would have as much of a problem with predators being dealt with on private property.

  10. avatar Jamie Archer says:

    ProWolf is right, we would solve a lot of problems if ranchers were not allowed to run livestock on public lands. I don’t like to see any predator killed by man, but if it is on private land and in defense of life and property; well these things happen. In looking at some of the photos that Ralph has published on this website of public lands before and after livestock grazing it is just a shame that we are allowing livestock to devastate our public lands. After all, the land belongs to the American people, not just to ranchers.

  11. avatar JimT says:

    Let’s not perpetuate a lie here. The land DOES NOT belong to the public welfare, dare we say socialism-supporting ranchers. Never has, never will. They are given permission to use it under certain conditions, and those permits/leases are fully revocable if BLM and USFS had any spine over the years.

    BTW, wolves with full ESA protection enjoy that protection on private or public lands, TWB. It is up to the livestock person to manage the animals in safe and responsible manner, not let them loose for days on end in country that one can’t access, and then blame the wolf if a cow gets killed.

    We have to figure out some way to get rid of Wildlife Services. If grazing doesn’t exist on public lands, they go back to research which was their original mission. I think they are the most despicable Federal agency that exists today, and those who use their services enablers of the harm.

    • avatar Talks with Bears says:

      JimT – what did I miss above?

    • avatar Wilderness Muse says:

      JimT,

      ++We have to figure out some way to get rid of Wildlife Services. If grazing doesn’t exist on public lands, they go back to research which was their original mission.++

      I am curious, and I certainly do not know the answer, but at what time, did WS have a function that was “research” to the exclusion of the function(s) which we associate with them mostly today, managing human -wildlife conflicts?

    • avatar JimT says:

      Read the Center for Biological Diversity book. When it was first established, a large part of its mission was for research on wildlife and associated issues. Over the years, it has morphed into basically an exterminator agency at the behest of the ranching industry. Nice to have your own set of contract killers you can call up..and really, not even have to pay for.

  12. avatar ProWolf in WY says:

    After all, the land belongs to the American people, not just to ranchers.

    You are right Jamie, that land belongs to every single one of us. A rancher should not have preference over everyone else to allow their cattle or sheep to graze there and tear it up. If a wolf is preying on cattle or sheep on private land, while I would rather not see it be killed, I think it is a reasonable compromise to allow action to be taken on it.

  13. avatar william huard says:

    For people that don’t have this email, the contact person in Wash DC is the Deputy Administrator:Bill.Clay@aphis.usda.gov If 200 people email him and state how the american publc is watching how they are complicit with State Wildlife Agencies to exterminate wolves for ranching interests that would get their attention. Don’t forget that they have operated under the radar of any public scrutiny. If people start screaming for their funding to be stripped that is their biggest fear! Clay will email you back with the contact supervisor in the state that you have the issue- I just did it with Idaho and Mark Collinge. Never underestimate the power of activism!

    • avatar Jamie Archer says:

      For people that don’t have this email, the contact person in Wash DC is the Deputy Administrator:Bill.Clay@aphis.usda.gov If 200 people email him and state how the american publc is watching how they are complicit with State Wildlife Agencies to exterminate wolves for ranching interests that would get their attention.

      Thanks for the e-mail. I just sent 1, now we need 199 more people to do the same!

    • avatar spanglelakes says:

      Mark Collinge, Wildlife Services director in Idaho, has no problem giving the nod to killing wolves, anywhere, anyplace by any means. Don’t be fooled for a minute that anyone at Wildlife Services is going to be swayed by hearing from wolf supporters.

    • avatar spanglelakes says:

      Idaho Wildlife (killing) Services put out snares this past summer to catch and collar a wolf under order of IDFG. Instead, WS put out snares, and caught and strangled to death the alpha female of the Steel Mountain Pack north of Fairfield ID. Her pups were three months old. Her mate is a Yellowstone wolf, one of the few that has ever made it to Idaho. WS will kill him, too, if they have not already. All this because an irresponsible sheepman, grazes on our public lands on the Sawtooth and Boise National Forests.

  14. avatar Mike says:

    I will never understand this mentality that many westerners have towards the wolf – especially those getting a free lunch by having their cattlegraze public lands. There’s a real sense of entitlement deeply ingrained in the rural communities there that needs to be seriously addressed.

    They need to be cut off from Uncle Sam.

  15. avatar dewey says:

    The silver lining around Wyoming’s otherwise dark thunderhead cloud is that the paid assasins of Wildlife Services still need to get Fish & Wildlife’s OK to eradicate a wolf in Wyoming ( we also have state funded County Predator Control boards to do the same deed , but they are just B-squad Wildlife Service players). At least last I heard. But it’s not that bright a lining: USFWS ( in the personage of Mike Jimenez) almost always rubber stamps any request to do just that .

  16. avatar ProWolf in WY says:

    Mike, the entitlement factor is huge around here.

  17. avatar Leonard Schultz says:

    The target should be Wildlife Services. Shut them down, take them to court, go after their budgets and most of all, bring them into the limelight with the general public from east coast to west coast. If they want to engage in wolf killing on a grand scale, expose their organization every chance you get. They are a government subsidy program that could be cut with no affect to society in general. People who are anti-government should see them as a prime choice where cuts can be made. If fish and game wants wolves killed, make them do it at their own cost with their own staff. See how long they have the luxury to waste money like wildlife services does with federal tax dollars. At least they would decide that one dead wolf might be all they need instead of a dead pack. After all, killing wolves is like killing coyotes, there will be more next year, so why not solve the problem through better livestock husbandry especially on public range land. The Forest Service and BLM should insist on removal of dead and sick livestock before predator control occurs. The general public needs to know. We got to spread the word to a far bigger audience. Too many people don’t know what it going on in places like Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. Contacting this Bill Clay is a great idea. He needs to hear from you and thousands, not hundreds of others. This is where it should start

    • avatar william huard says:

      Well said Leonard, Wildlife Services has been a dirty little secret for too long. Public scrutiny does work, despite some of the posts here to the contrary. Pull the funding and the killing will go down. These ranchers are not held accountable for even the most basic animal husbandry. They have it so bad.

  18. avatar bob jackson says:

    Concerning “basic husbandry” I add the need for anyone grazing public lands be required to give the cattle and sheep the means to defend themselves. This translates first into leaving the horns on those animals, second not castrating the males, third, allow these animals to develop the need to protect others…in other words have blood related families of sheep and cattle present on these govt. lands and finally allowing a greater percentage of males from those families to live into adult hood…lets say 30% in ratio to females.

    To institute these actions would cut the need down tremendously for any prresent “predator control” action. And the ranchers would even gain by not having to employ sheep dogs, lama or herders and cattlemen wouldn’t have to worry about calves being killed by just about anything out there. Plus these herd animals disease and pneumonia numbers would go way down.

    Plus, they wouldn’t have to build fences to keep these grazers from trashing riparian areas because families stay away from heavy use areas…… except to get water and then get out of there.

    Plus their grazing animals would have better and more varied grazing since they now have the ancestoral training it requires to eat broadleaves or its seeds. As it is these animals are meer grassivores.

    Now doesn’t this sound like the deal of the century for both ranchers and environmentalists??? The only thing stopping it is agribusiness requires division of ages and sexs for processing. Uniform and consistent is there motto but this just translates into an excercise in compromise.

    Any of those supposed self proclaimed fierce, independent ranchers can fight this, can’t they and sell for a premium a nutritionally superior product on their own, right? But no both they and the “researchers (range scientists) that advises them follow that agribusiness lemming to the sea.

    Of course the biologists that scrutinize this range degradation are in the same tunnel vision loop. They say just get the domestics off while at the same time set big game seasons insuring dysfunctional families and the same style ecosystem collapse. Plus they blame the wolves for the decline in elk while giving them an animal with one leg cut off. Retards, all of them. Enough for now. Aj

  19. avatar Andy says:

    Wildlife Services or Preditor and Rodent Control, as they were formerly known… should be eliminated, not just renamed again. Public animals on public lands being exterminated with taxpayer dollars for the benefit of a private individual… WOW, how do I get the Gov”t to work like that for me?

    Want a good read? Try the Wildlife Services Wolf Activity Report for Idaho (Fiscal 2009 published Feb 9, 2010) It shows how many wolves they shot from aircraft(the majority), snared or simply shot… some things never change.

    http://www.pinedaleonline.com/news/2010/02/IdahoWildlifeService.htm

    IF a rancher wants to pay to graze on public lands… then let them assume the risk that comes with keeping those lands wild… and while we’re at it… lets hold them accountable for any damage to those public lands!!!

  20. avatar Kev says:

    Love reading Bob’s comments. When are ya going to write a book Bob?

  21. avatar bob jackson says:

    Kev,

    I’ve turned down on an offer to write a book for the Sierra Club. They wanted all rights to my material (can’t use in any other form until my book was out of print). Thus they have script writer connections who use my “story” of Yellowstone back country rangering and I don’t get a dime more than book royalties. screw that.

    As for the herd ecology stuff a well known environmental author wants this as his next book. Sounds good but we’ll see. In the mean time its good to “give em hell” on this site.

  22. avatar JimT says:

    Bob, try contacting Tim Egan’s agent and see if he has any advice about the smaller publishing houses who would want less control and less money.

  23. avatar tim gruver says:

    anywhere there are wolves and public land leased for grazing, the leasor should have to sign an agreement that they know their livestock is totally suseptable to course of
    nature and they are the “tresspassor” of record with out recourse to claim losses. leased public land gives these “ranchers” such a huge monetary advantge(very cheap grass,etc) that the few animals theymay lose is outweighed by the cost they miight occur having to bu feed. i cannot feel sorry for them one bit. i know from where i speak as there is none of this available in texas where we have to actually pay for our winter feed. may the wolves be left alone. i am no treehugger, but let mother nature takes its course.

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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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