Wolves killed on behalf of John Peavey and Diane Josephy Peavey

One of the wolves killed by Wildlife Services. Photo courtesy Natalie Ertz

John Peavey, a former Idaho politician, and Diane Josephy Peavey, a former commentator on Boise State Public Radio, who’s Flat Top Ranch near Carey, Idaho has reportedly received payments totaling $970,139 from 1995 through 2010 according to the Environmental Working Group’s Farm Subsidy Database, has received another subsidy in the form of 3 dead wolves.

On Wednesday , USDA Wildlife Services swooped in with their airplane, which was formerly decorated with stickers commemorating each wolf it killed, and shot down 3 wolves accused of killing a calf on John and Diane’s property. The scene was witnessed by wolf activist Natalie Ertz who related the story to the Idaho Mountain Express.

The alpha female has survived three kill orders and coyote traps over the last several years and six pups from her pack were found dead in 2009.  Their cause of death was never determined but a poison such as compound 1080, which may not have been detectable after a certain period of decomposition, remains a possible cause.

See our earlier stories on this incident:
Idaho Fish and Game Investigating the Death of Six Wolves
August 25, 2009
Investigation of cause of death of Idaho wolf pack ends
December 8, 2009

Full disclosure, Natalie is the sister of Brian Ertz.

3 wolves killed on Carey-area ranch.
Idaho Mountain Express


  1. Maska Avatar

    One calf is dead. Three wolves are “accused” of killing it. So all three wolves are shot. This response more closely resembles warfare than justice.

    1. willam huard Avatar
      willam huard

      Todd Grimm has plenty of “political payback” killing from his goon squad to keep him busy. After all killing is what they do best

    2. Tamara Gregg Avatar
      Tamara Gregg

      I don’t agree with it either. It seems the desire to extirpate the wolf still runs deep. Apparently I’ve read from another site the rancher doesn’t believe in non-lethal methods of control although he did seem to have some. Apparently he assumed the wolves got past the electric fence and the guard dogs but could not confirm that it was definitely wolves.


      At least its better than Wyomings shoot-on-site policy I’m guessing without any suspected predation.

  2. Larry Thorngren Avatar

    This is a prime example of where cuts should be made to the federal budget. The subsidies that the Peavys and other ranchers receive should be cut. If they can’t make it on their own. TS
    We should not be footing the bill for Wildlife Services to gun down predators everytime a calf or sheep gets killed.

  3. CodyCoyote Avatar

    The Napoleonic Code of Justice: presumption of guilt at the time of arrest , with the defendant required to prove innocence beyond a reasonable doubt. Still used in Mexico, Turkey ” Midnight Express” , Thailand and elsewhere . And apparently , in America, towards wolves. All of them.

    This presumption of guilt toward predators is one of the major flaws in state’s wolf plans. Especially since few kills of livestock attributed to wolves by their owners and others who should know better are not wolfkilled at all ( Niemeyer, ” Wolfer” , 2010 )

  4. Mike Avatar

    This hillbilly bullshit needs to come to an end.

  5. Larry Thorngren Avatar

    The taxpayers of the United States would be ahead to purchase these ranches like the Peavey’s that are surrounded by public lands. We pay these welfare cowboys more than their operation is worth over a period of twenty years.
    This sheep ranch and some others in the Little Wood River drainage in Idaho prevent the reintroduction of Bighorn Sheep to the Pioneer Mountains. This area once supported thousands of Bighorns. I found old Bighorn Ram skulls in the Mountains near Iron Bog Lake, just over the ridge from the Little Wood River.

  6. Nota Avatar

    1080 kills people, too. Idiots. Shame on Rammell, Rockhtaard, and Billihillbillybob for their support of this poison. Deport Rockhtaard back to his native California where he belongs.

    1. Salle Avatar

      I don’t think they would let him back in state… probably nobody wants him, maybe Ms. Palin would like him.

  7. Howl Basin Avatar
    Howl Basin

    Some friends were fishing along the Little Wood River above the campground and came across two “sheep wagons” with gov’t plates. Seems these belong to Wildlife Services and used by the local trapper who stays in the area killing predators on behalf of nearby Flat Top Ranch and Muldoon Ranch. After asking around, locals told them the trapper was always there in the summer and fall killing wildlife for Peavey and others. Wonder why Diane Peavey doesn’t mention this in her popular
    book “Bitterbrush Country”.

    1. wolf moderate Avatar
      wolf moderate

      There is a ws wagon that is always at the trailhead that leads into French Creek, which is just north of Upper Payette lake also. Nice guy, but rarely there. His area of responsibility is everything south of hwy 12 all the way to the MT border. I camped next to him for a couple weeks and he never killed anything. he did take off for a few days to kill some wolves near Elk City, but wasn’t able to kill any of them either. He has a degree in biology and a very smart guy…

      1. Mike Avatar

        He’s not too bright if he’s killing wolves. Sorry.

  8. Catbestland Avatar

    .” He has a degree in biology and a very smart guy…”

    He can’t be smart. He kills wolves. Smart people know how important wolves are to their ecosystems. ergo, good for the earth our home. Stupid people kill wolves.

    1. willam huard Avatar
      willam huard

      Wolf Moderate trolls on this site to give the appearance of being “moderate”. He’s a teabag in wolf’s clothing……
      If you said it was a nice sunny day he would argue with you how it could be viewed as overcast

    2. Judianna Dakota Avatar
      Judianna Dakota

      My thoughts exactly..I believe the more intelligent a person is they know, realize the importance of wolves.
      For these “ranchers” to get subsidies to help run their ranch and to get government to kill wolves for them is completely insane!! The numbers of cattle wolf kills vs. OTHER cattle depredation are almost laughable to think the government sides with these people when it comes to killing the wolves. What a corrupted world our government exist in…and this kind of action is proof!!!

  9. Alpha Female Avatar
    Alpha Female

    How can these two (and others) get all that subsidy money AND still get to kill wolves? Isn’t that double dipping?

    Yeah, I can see somewhere we should do budget cuts! And I know these aren’t the only people who get government subsidies. Wonder, if truth be told, just how much money the government is actually paying out to people like this.

    All of this stinks of lies. When things stop making sense and you feel like all you’re getting is a circular argument meant to confuse, you can usually assume you’re being lied to. This is one of those times.

  10. Larry Thorngren Avatar

    The Mountain Express Peavey/Wolf article made the national news on Yahoo a few minutes ago. Getting national attention on wolf kills like this will go a long way to getting it stopped.

    1. ProWolf in WY Avatar
      ProWolf in WY

      Larry, you are right that this does need national attention.

    2. Immer Treue Avatar
      Immer Treue

      Been searching for it but can’t find it.

    3. Judianna Dakota Avatar
      Judianna Dakota


  11. Howl Basin Avatar
    Howl Basin


    A short video showing a sleek, young black wolf a day before he was shot running up a hillside on the Flat Top Ranch, trying to escape a Wildlife Service gunner.

  12. Roadrunner Avatar

    The solution to this problem, as I see it, is a matter of cutting off the money supply to the politicians responsible – without funding, the fuel to energize the error of their ways will come to a hault!

  13. wolf moderate Avatar
    wolf moderate

    That is one way to look at it Brian.

    But another way of looking at it is if we cut off funding to ranchers such as these people, then what happens? Do they have to sell off there ranches in 20 acre parcels and make ranchettes out of valuable winter range habitat? Not sure what to do, but I do know I don’t want to see more houses. Too bad organizations like RMEF or others couldn’t buy the ranch out.

    Also, boycotting Idaho by environmentalists could/will just make it easier for the natural resource extraction lobbies to make an argument for jobs. If people can’t find work due to loss of potato 🙂 and tourist dollars, the people will demand jobs in other industries…Natural gas, mining, forestry etc…

    Just something to think about. Not that I believe a boycott would negatively affect any of the NRM states economies by much anyways, but ya never know.

  14. Kaylynn Wilson Avatar
    Kaylynn Wilson

    They are just going to close there empty minds and go right ahead and kill our future. Stop using our government to justify your unhidden desire to mutilate beautiful wildlife. EVOLVE!

  15. nabeki Avatar

    Idaho Non-predation Cattle Losses: 86,900 (2010 NASS)
    Idaho Cattle Loses To Wolves: 75 (USFWS 2010)


    “Biologists confirmed the deaths of 144 wolves in Idaho during 2010; two of those were of wolves that dispersed from Montana packs. Of known wolf mortalities, harvest accounted for 46 deaths and agency control and legal landowner take in response to wolf-livestock depredation,
    and IDFG-authorized outfitter take, accounted for 80 deaths. Five wolf mortalities were attributed to other human causes (including illegal take), the cause of 11 wolf mortalities could not be determined and were listed as unknown, and 2 wolves died of natural causes.”
    OK Mark…I’d like you to explain how the loss of 75 cows to wolves warranted the killing of 80 wolves, while ranchers lost 86,900 cows to non-predation.


    1. Immer Treue Avatar
      Immer Treue

      less than 1% of total loss, understanding that the % goes up a bit in “wolf” country.

  16. nabeki Avatar

    @Immer…wolves are dispersed throughout Idaho. There are 2,200,000 cows in the state. 75 cow losses is so tiny,so miniscule, it would be laughable if wolves weren’t losing their lives over this “non crisis”.

    Ok here’s the crisis. Ranchers in Idaho lost almost 87,000 cows to non-predation yet WS is running around the state…killing wolves. 80 wolves blown away in 2010.. between ranchers and WS. That’s practically one wolf per cow.

    Ranchers get paid for wolf predation, they don’t get paid for weather, disease or reproductive losses, which are the MAIN cause of cattle deaths.So what do they do? Cry Wolf? End of story.

  17. Immer Treue Avatar
    Immer Treue


    read my posts. We are on the same side of the fence.

  18. nabeki Avatar

    Oh I know…I was just on a rant…lol.

  19. Brian Ertz Avatar

    @Wolf Moderate (sic),
    The cows/condo argument is a farce – the economics don’t jive with it … especially now – but even so when real estate was white hot & especially in this country. The landscape is trashed by livestock, & not just the private land – but the public allotments associated with it. A myriad of wildlife is diminished by Livestock, including carrying capacity for big game. Even with a philanthropic hobby ranch like Lava Lake that’s able to leave grass on their private and donate red ink on their bottom-line, Larry’s assessment of the loss of bighorn is spot on in the Pioneers – the same is even more true of for the rest who forego any pretense of a conservation ethic.

    Livestock = conflict for the public’s wildlife – or, a business model that’s bankrupt – all-to-often it’s both. Either way – the public could do a lot better for wildlife and habitat with the same dime if it were to get out of the Livestock business.

  20. Alan Gregory Avatar

    The phrase “welfare ranching” again comes to mind. Yet another spot for those vaunted “Green Scissors” to cut.

  21. Larry Thorngren Avatar

    I think it was effective to name the rancher(Peavey)who was responsible for the wolf kill. Showing photos of damaged rangeland without naming the ranchers responsible doesn’t make much of an impact. I would pay more attention to some of the comments on this blog if the writers were brave enough to put their real names on their opinions. It is cowardly to shoot wolf pups and it is also cowardly to hide behind cute little names when commenting.

    1. ma'iingan Avatar

      The outcry over the killing of these three wolves is surprising, given that there were something like 265 wolves removed in wolf-tolerant Minnesota in 2010.

      1. Ralph Maughan Avatar
        Ralph Maughan


        I’ll venture to say the outrage was less about the wolves than the perception that certain classes of people enjoy enormous benefits from the various governments while the average person has less and less influence.

      2. wolf moderate Avatar
        wolf moderate

        It was a strange video. The lady talking was saying it was a wilderness area, but then they panned out and there were fences, cattle, and a home! Those wolves were too close to the ranch imo…

    2. Salle Avatar

      Some of us won’t due to concern for our personally safety. Many of us receive threats and even complaining to US Senators does no good to relieve the threats. I think the western legislators, including the feds, aren’t interested in your safety, they want to get those donation $$ and that requires sleeping with the devil who appears to be a high-maintenance lover.

      Our personal safety is a bargaining chip in this cult of anti-environmental ideology.

      1. Salle Avatar

        The above was meant as a reply to LT’s issue with pseudonyms on the blog.

  22. Salle Avatar

    And unwilling to lift a finger working at.


Ken Cole is a 5th generation Idahoan, an avid fly fisherman, wildlife enthusiast, and photographer. He is the interim Idaho Director for Western Watersheds Project.

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