Denny Rehberg (R-MT) has introduced the first wolf bill of the new congress into the House of Representatives which would hand over management authority of wolves to the states of Montana and Idaho.

Here is the bill

Update 1/27/11: Apparently there are two bills.  The second one would remove all protections from wolves nationwide.

Here is the other bill

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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.

55 Responses to Denny Rehberg introduces wolf legislation.

  1. avatar Dude, the bagman says:

    It’s short.

    I hope this effort appeases his base. He tried. What a brave symbolic gesture.

  2. avatar Doryfun says:

    What good is a federal endangered species act, if states can make up their own politically influenced bent of exclusions/exemptions from the rules that apply to all wildlife across the nation?

    Wouldn’t it be better to collaboratively hammer out the most scientifically agreed upon number at which the endangered level threshold is crossed, then let each state manage in such a way to assure not letting animals breach that critical level? And, when new evidence warrants changing that threshold number, apply it and adjust management respectively? Since science is not an absolute, and all things are dynamic rather than static. After all, who’s welfare is the endangered species act pointed at, people or wildlife?

    • avatar Salle says:

      It would appear that your rational thoughts on this are not shared by those who are only interested in themselves and their personal gain at the expense of any who might not see how reasonable the anti-science crowd is, which is how they see themselves.

      It would be nice if the educated folks of the region could gain some voice in order to put this argument – basically aimed at proudly showing off and perpetuating a general level of ignorance – out into the national realm for the rest of the educated public to ponder. In this region, such ignorance is sacred, especially to the politicians who are only interested in protecting their base of financial contributors, everybody else can go screw themselves as far as they are concerned. (Note the fact that education is always the first area of funding cuts, especially in Idaho.)

      Yest indeed, the best democracy money can buy….

    • avatar JB says:

      Doryfun:

      The problem with your rational approach is that the generic estimate for a minimum viable population is ~500 animals. Thus, if each of the three states wanted to manage wolves independently then they would each commit to managing for a minimum of 500–(or a bit less/more depending upon specific estimates for wolves). This # seems pretty reasonable, especially given (1) how many cougars are currently living in the same region and (2) the fact that the northern 1/3 of MN alone contains >3,000 wolves (and don’t even get me started on Canada and Alaska); however, state politicians are not interested in wolf population viability but population minimization. Thus, we go round and round…

      • avatar Immer Treue says:

        Doryfun,

        I think you would find a good number of the anti’s would find this number of wolves agreeable, then again…

        I would agree the population minimization/not management as potential big game is what all the anti’s are looking at. Let’s get the numbers down so the elk numbers go up. In northern MN, with wolves all over, there is no shortage of deer.

      • avatar Bob says:

        I love the Minnesota numbers of wolves you throw out all the time. Point is look at total number of predators, they have no grizzly and few lions. Again look at the whole picture and then look the wolf population with out man made lines on the map. This animal is in no danger.

      • avatar Immer Treue says:

        Bob,

        You hear the same story in MN from all the anti-wolf folks there. The wolves are killing all the deer; the wolves are killing all the moose; the wolves have to be delisted. People who hate wolves, hate wolves, no matter where the wolves are. I could go on about this, but at this time, time does not allow.

      • avatar jon says:

        Bob, hunters in both MI and MN both infact kill many more deer than wolves.

      • avatar JB says:

        “Point is look at total number of predators, they have no grizzly and few lions. Again look at the whole picture and then look the wolf population with out man made lines on the map. This animal is in no danger.”

        Bob:

        I agree, let’s look at the total population of predators. You’ll find most western states have between 2,000 and 6,000 cougars–animals that have similar caloric requirements as wolves. Talk to anyone who manages these critters and they will tell you they start to get nervous about sustainability when the populations dip under 1,000. (This was the exact conversation I had with the big game manager of one western state at the wildlife society’s annual meeting this year).

        Anyway, back to your original comment… If there are too many predators taking elk or deer, and you have 4,000 cougars and 500 wolves, which species does it make sense to reduce? (Now remember that not only do you have more cougars, but you also have the flexibility to manage them).

        This desire to minimize wolf populations is what is getting in the way. F&G agencies keep saying they want to manage wolves “like any other species”. Great. I’m all for it. The management of any other species starts with a MVP–that is how it works under the North American Model.

      • avatar jon says:

        Let’s kill wolves and other predators so us hunters can kill more deer and elk for ourselves, right Bob?

      • jon,

        With all respect to your opinions, I think your automatic hostility to hunters is not helpful to cause of helping our wildlife.

        You sound like the stereotype anti-hunter that the radicals who have captured so many hunters like to point at.

      • avatar jon says:

        Ralph, I do not like the attitudes that some hunters have with regards to predators killing deer and elk. If you look at the #s of the amount of deer wolves take in MI and MN, it’s clearly obvious that hunters kill many more deer than wolves, so why are some of them whining that wolves are killing all of the deer when infact they are the ones that are responsible for taking more deer? it makes no sense to me.

      • avatar jon says:

        And honestly, I see nothing radical with my comment to Bob Ralph. I’m just stating the obvious here. it’s clear that some hunters want to kill wolves, so there are more deer for them to kill.

      • avatar jon says:

        With regards to Minnesota’s deer population.

        http://host.madison.com/sports/recreation/outdoors/article_f73b599a-16b4-11df-8963-001cc4c002e0.html

        “”Winter severity, hunter harvest and a change in the forest (habitat) – all of those things factor in whether a deer population increases or decreases,” said Dan Stark, Department of Natural Resources wolf specialist. “Wolves are a component of that, but not a driving factor.”
        Among the scientific evidence, he said:
        — Research indicates each wolf eats 15 to 19 adult-sized deer yearly, and with about 3,000 wolves, that would be 45,000 to 57,000 deer yearly. An estimated 450,000 deer populate the state’s forested wolf range, meaning wolves are killing 10 to 13 percent, Stark says. Hunters kill about 100,000 deer in that region.”

        So the main question one should ask why are some blaming the wolves for the lower deer #s? it’s clear who kills the most deer, but yet some are acting like the wolves are the ones responsible.

      • jon,

        I just thought I should make a comment on your general stance. Of course, it’s true that some hunters believe they are protecting their hunt by militant hatred of wolves. What I am saying is that those who egg them on love to say the only people who want wolves as part of our wildlife are “anti-hunters.”

      • avatar jon says:

        Fair enough Ralph.

      • avatar Bob says:

        Sorry I missed the discussion it was a great day and had to get out. I did not say kill all the wolves. I did’t say any thing about hunting. Point was just because Minnesota has 3000 wolves does not mean that Montana can support that many. Doesn’t mean it can’t but right now the predator population is growing faster than its food source, and unless we slow this thing down there will be a wreck and you beloved wolf will pay a price.

      • avatar Bob says:

        JB
        Always like your points but on the lion thing. Look at the cattle depredation numbers for lions and wolves. Both predators but different habits. Also a lion kills its food before eating. Yes we need time to adjust our management plans. AS for my view of wolves, not as extreme as you all guess.

      • avatar JB says:

        Bob:

        Okay, you’ve got three different issues going now. (1) Predators are what they are, they don’t have a choice in how they kill, and that doesn’t really have population-level implications anyway (though I recognize it enrages some people that wolves don’t always make “clean” kills). (2) Cattle depredations are quite low by any measure, but that really doesn’t matter–livestock producers have opposed wolves from the very beginning (and if there were no wolves, they would complain about the cougars and bears). (3) The pertinent question from a endangerment perspective is: Does the population in question have sufficient numbers to withstand the proposed management? In this case, the states’ rhetoric suggests they will manage BELOW an MVP. I am not aware of any other case of states purposefully reducing the population of a species on the brink of endangerment to below what geneticists would consider an MVP. These actions conflict directly with the NA Model. Moreover, the rhetoric that some hunters are uttering are making all hunters look selfish and petty–and that does not serve the interest of conservation.

      • avatar JEFF E says:

        Just want to comment on a small part of this conversation.
        Bob, think about this for a minuet or two and then tell us how many predators do not eat their prey, or start to, when it is still alive? and what is the point of making that a point anyway?

      • avatar Immer Treue says:

        Bob,
        Where did I suggest Montana should or could support 3,000 wolves just because Minnesota does. It’s not there, nor is it even implied that Montana should have that many. I simply supported the ~500 wolves per state Doryfun’s as a minimum number for each of the three NRM states as a number that quite a few folks who aren’t really crazy about wolves could possibly accept, as per conversation with a few of them.

        Nothing but fact reflecting on Doryfun’s MN wolf numbers, there is no shortage of deer, but the mantra of too many wolves continually resonates. MN might be closer in philosophy to true management of their wolf population, but Doryfun is on target again with NRM states, its not about a viable sustainable wolf population, but to just get the numbers down to a bare minimum level

      • avatar cobra says:

        Not to mention deer numbers in Minn. and Wisconsin far exceed deer and elk numbers in Idaho. More prey for fewer overall predators in Minn. and Wisconsin make it hard to compare them to the RMS. where there are wolves, lions black and Grizzly bears.

  3. Doryfun,

    That is what many wolf advocates suggested, more or less, but few in power where willing to consider it, so they resisted in the area where they had the most influence — the interpretation of the law by the court systems.

  4. avatar Cody Coyote says:

    If only wildlife management bills were about wildlife… (sigh).

    In Cody WY where I live, the state management of Grizzly Bears outside Yellowstone has been an everyday things for years now. Wyoming Game & Fish does the chores; traps the bears ; moves the bears; tries to educate, but in the end it’s not abut the bears at all.

    It’s about ranchers and outfitters and hunters and campers and landowners and tourists and extractive industries and arbitrary boundaries on a political map and moving goalposts.

    I have no reason to think that state management of wolves will be any different. It certainly won’t be any better for the animal being ” managed”.

    I watched the Billings TV news last night for this Rehberg-Tester wolf usurpment story. I don;t know how Sen. Tester managed to keep a straight face on camera .

  5. avatar Daniel Berg says:

    Why the second one to delist them nationwide? Does Rehberg have ambitions outside of his own house district?

    • avatar Elk275 says:

      Rehberg’s house district is the State of Montana. There is only one representative for the State. I am sure that Rehberg’s interest in John Tester’s senate seat in 2010. I think that the Republicans are underestimating Senator Tester.

  6. avatar Mike says:

    Crazy.

  7. avatar Doryfun says:

    Thanks Salle and Ralph for catching me up on some past history I might have been unaware of here. Sorry, but I am a bit inundated with this vast instant information age. So trying to read backwards to catch up, then jump back on the boat heading again for new water, is daunting.. Also, I don’t visit these blogs on a daily basis, partially because I spend more time outside smelling the roses, rather than intellectualizing about them from the inside.

    But, I’m pretty sure, it won’t matter much, as the same old problems will keep recycling, so shouldn’t take too long to catch up.

    Got a kick out of Salles comments about ignorance, so couldn’t resist adding to that. I recall that the human brain is not fully developed in kids until a little past high school age. Unfortunately, some brains never get fully developed at any age.
    And often those type of brains seem to have a declivity for politics.

    But hey, I really don’t have anything against dumb people. I like them, too. I just wouldn’t trust any of them to row the same boat I am riding in.

    However, there is a difference between ignorance and stupidity. One can be cured with education. However, the dire jeopardy we face on many fronts isn’t because of ignorance. Collectively it comes from the result of a lot of folks with fancy titles: BA, BS, MS , PhDs, etc. The perpetrators of the Holocaust were highly educated people. So education alone does not prevent barbarism. And corruption.

    The rising disparity between the have and have-nots (predator/prey) and following dollar tracks on the money trail will lead to those on top of the giant green mound ($$$) where greed and power sits. From there they gain control over people by sucking them into belief systems centered around supernatural gods lording over all, teaching followers to fear the “wolf”. Better for the band of sheep to cast their eyes on the wolf, rather than the puppet master (corporate/politics) at the top controlling the strings. Diversion perpetuates perversion.

    Ah yes, CC & Salle, indeed, it always is about people management centered around the best democracy money can buy. Like it or not, we all must gravitate to the only game in town – politics. At least it is nice to know in reading these blogs – there are quite a few “Davids” still out slinging stones at the “Goliathes.”

  8. avatar SEAK Mossback says:

    Interesting that Arizona Game and Fish is getting on the congressional wolf delisting bandwagon. However, given the difficulty in arguing that recovery has been accomplished for Mexican Gray wolves, they have constructed their rationale around affordability, efficiency and effectiveness.

    “The vote reflects the fact that we do not want to get out of the wolf conservation business; rather, we want to get in deeper but more affordably, efficiently and effectively,” stated the letter.

    Reducing or eliminating litigation seems to be their main projected cost savings.
    http://www.wmicentral.com/news/latest_news/game-and-fish-asks-congress-to-delist-the-mexican-wolf/article_7d672276-2a62-11e0-8dff-001cc4c03286.html

    • avatar william huard says:

      Gee with their track record and the whole Macho B debacle do they really expect us to take them seriously this time?

  9. avatar SEAK Mossback says:

    On another note, it sounds from a Lewiston Tribune article yesterday like Judge Molloy from his line of questioning may be maneuvering to declare there are no longer any wolves eligible for classification under requirements for 10(j) status which would not only discard out the window Idaho’s request to conduct predator control in the Lolo, but might also clip Wildlife Services’ wings too. I wonder what kind of new electric charge that would apply to the whole NRM wolf issue?!!!

    • avatar Save bears says:

      I will be interested to see how this one goes, as part of his reasoning is that the NRM wolves are “Interbreeding” with the Canadian wolves, of course that is where all of the wolves came from, interbreeding implies two species interbreeding, but where in your talking about the same species…

      And NO I am not saying Non-native, I am simply saying interbreeding is not the correct terminology..

      • avatar SEAK Mossback says:

        If he goes that way, I’m sure we’ll see your point up in banners that it is just one more nonsensical “technicality” of a deeply flawed ESA.

      • avatar Save bears says:

        SEAK,

        After all of these years, I do agree, the ESA needs some tweaking that involves common sense..

      • avatar WM says:

        I have not seen the Judges’ papers on this, but there does seem to be a bit of non-sense linked to the idea that is at the heart of it, flowing from the ESA and the regulation promulgated under it. I keep wondering why the hell we just can’t get back to the biology of whether the wolves have recovered sufficiently in the NRM to remove them, and allow states to manage under reasonable management planning numbers (say +/- 500 each) and range.

        I guess this is one more aspect of the legal and institutional complexity of managing wolves in the NRM that escaped reveiw in the 1994 EIS that was supposed to guide this introduced “non-essential experimental population” that was represented as having “flexibility” in management to avoid undesireable impacts to state ungulate populations.

        JB, you monitoring this discussion? You can add this developing twist to my growing list of deficiencies of the EIS analysis.

  10. avatar mikarooni says:

    I read so many of the comments from the rightwingers and the “common-sense conservationists” and, so often, they include a veiled threat. They include a veiled threat that, if the rest of us don’t change our tune and voluntarily give them what they want with regard to what would essentially be a “states’ rights” dissection of the ESA, then we’ll really be sorry because, if we don’t stop struggling and do as they say, they’ll do much worse things to us and the ESA just to teach us a lesson. I guess my take on this kind of bullying is that it’s kind of like a rapist telling the victim that they’ll get a much worse beating if they keep fighting. It really is disgusting.

    • avatar Elk275 says:

      Mikarooni

      An elected Congress enacted the ESA and that same Congress can change the ESA. The ESA, nor are any laws enacted by congress written in stone, they can be changed, amended or omitted. It takes a majority of both the senate and the house of representatives and the president’s signature. We all know that.

      ++I guess my take on this kind of bullying is that it’s kind of like a rapist telling the victim that they’ll get a much worse beating if they keep fighting. It really is disgusting.++ The only beating is that the minority was beaten by the majority on election day — the people spoke and you others are pissed.

      From reading this forum, I am starting to see that individuals and NGO’s want to use the ESA to gain some control over state fish and wildlife commissions and the department.

      • I think the effect and the intent of Judge Molloy’s ruling might be quite different than the news article says. I mean it might actually be a way to legally clear the track to delist the wolf. Judge Molloy’s earlier controversial ruling relisting the wolf was based on the wording of the 10j rule. If no 10j population really exists anymore, then Wyoming’s wolf management plan would seem to me to be legally irrelevant.

      • avatar Salle says:

        Actually we just want them to honor and obey the ESA. F&G agencies are there at the pleasure of their state’s governor and that implies a dictated agenda… doesn’t make sense when that agenda is based on an temper-tantrum mentality instead of science – based reasoning. And especially when you’re talking about something that belongs to all citizens, whether state or nation, should not be left to an extreme faction regardless of size.

        It would be nice if those who oppose protecting wildlife and their habitat could see that this is for their benefit as well, even as many of their opponents don’t like them or what they stand for the advocates are looking out for all not just a few who feel entitled to special consideration.

      • It’s hard to say what this all means until we get to read the opinion for ourselves.

  11. avatar Elk275 says:

    Mikarooni

    ++Why are you on this website if the views of conservationists annoy you so much?++

    There is a difference between conservationists and preservationists. I am a conservationist and I want to perserve are last wild places, but we never going to develope complete eco systems in the 48 states, there are to many people, to much private land and others who think different.

  12. avatar IDhiker says:

    Well, it is obvious that fish and game commissions are currently controlled by politicians who are controlled by various private enterprises, such as the livestock industry. Many of their decisions are based on the desires of such groups and thus do not necessarily benefit wildlife as a top priority.

    Saying some groups want to use the ESA to gain control over commissions and fish and game departments overlooks the fact that these same commissions and departments are already controlled.

  13. avatar IDhiker says:

    I do agree that we will never have complete ecosystems in the lower 48. There are just too many people and the population will continue to get larger, with the result less and less wilderness. Witness the struggle in Montana to get any new wilderness designated, and the cries for more “resource development.”

    • avatar Salle says:

      Montana is looking and sounding more like Idaho every day.

      • avatar Elk275 says:

        ++Montana is looking and sounding more like Idaho every day.++

        What should Montana look like? The Northeastern States or California. I hope not. Each state has it’s own history and each state does things differently which is the beauty of the United States. We do need more wilderness protection for our remaining roadless areas, but that is going to be a tuff one in today’s political environment.

        I am afraid the wolf introduction has had some effect on some people’s zeal for additional wilderness areas.

      • avatar IDhiker says:

        Many of the really anti-wolf people in Montana that make the news often, such as Dennis Rehberg, are very “right-wing” and have always vehemently opposed wilderness designation. These same people will cause Montana to lose it’s wildness and then it will be like most other states. There does not seem to be any realization that what we have is special, and that most states don’t have any true wild country at all.

      • avatar IDhiker says:

        Most of the really vocal wolf opponents in Montana are of the Republican persuasion. I don’t think that the wolf turned them against wilderness designations. In my estimation, most of them were always anti-wilderness and always will be.

        Those that turn to the far-right because of anger over wolves are sort of cutting off their noses to spite their faces. Wolves may eat elk, but the loss of our last roadless areas and the habitat they hold will be devastating to future big game populations. The wolf is a short term problem – lost of wilderness is permanent.

      • avatar jon says:

        I don’t think there is any doubt about that. Most people in Montana that hate wolves or wildlife in general are most likely republicans. Republicans are know for being anti-wildlife. Although some democrats in recent years haven’t impressed me at all when it comes to wildlife issues.

      • avatar jon says:

        I mean anti-PREDATOR.

      • avatar jon says:

        With the way some dems are today on wildlife issues, you’d think dems and republicans are one in the same. It’s really sad. The dems used to be the ones fighting for wildlife and wildlife issues. Now some of the are as bad as the republicans.

    • avatar Save bears says:

      Crimany Sakes, what a bunch of Bull Jon…I don’t understand how somebody can have such a handle of things, when they have NEVER even visited the area!

    • avatar jon says:

      Sadly, I will have to agree. The fact is there are far too many people and not enough habitat anymore for wildlife. What habitat is left for wildlife isn’t as large as it used to be. I fear wildlife will continue to suffer and suffer as our population just continues to grow and grow with no population control in sight.

  14. avatar IDhiker says:

    And that is not a good thing…

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