For many years I’ve heard rumors of photographs of a Wildlife Services plane stationed in Rexburg, Idaho with wolf footprint stickers on it for each wolf the crew had killed. Here they are. No other words needed.

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About The Author

Ken Cole

Ken Cole, Western Watershed Project’s National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Coordinator, is a 5th generation Idahoan, an avid fly fisherman, wildlife enthusiast, and photographer. He is also serves as a member of the board of directors for Buffalo Field Campaign and as a member of the Sierra Club Grazing Core Team.

118 Responses to The Professionalism of USDA Wildlife Services

  1. avatar Nancy says:

    And yet according to the Rules of Wildlife News recently posted, we should attempt to keep emotion out of a response to this obviously, blatant example of hatred on display?

    • avatar Ken Cole says:

      I hear you Nancy. That being said, I hope people can maintain some level of composure here and keep the discussion from becoming too vitriolic. I have a certain level of emotion about these photos and I have an agenda by posting them.

      I think, along with other photos and stories I’ve heard about Wildlife Services, that the discussion should revolve around whether this agency can be depended on to do its job with the professionalism it should or not. I honestly don’t think they are capable of doing so and I don’t think that the job they do with regard to predators is actually based on valid rationale. I think I have been on record for some time about this but I don’t think serves anyone’s argument against Wildlife Services to start calling people names.

      I hope people keep this discussion to the relevant issues rather than letting it devolve into name calling and an anti-hunting rant. This isn’t hunting, it is government sponsored killing of native wildlife.

      • avatar Daniel Berg says:

        Of course the wolf paws are indicative of a lack of professionalism.

        That’s the same thing pilots used to when shooting down ENEMY planes. One could possibly assume from these pictures that these WS employees are not just doing a job they were ordered to perform by their superiors, but relishing in the deaths of an animal they view as an enemy; that tracking the number of killings is a badge of honor and a source of pride.

    • Nancy,

      Just to clarify… The post I put up does not ask people to keep emotion from their responses; rather, that they avoid making personal attacks, and try to keep their responses to the subject of the original post.

    • Ken,

      This image is very emotional and I think using it in an upcoming direct mail package to our donors at Defenders of Wildlife would be very impactful. How did you go about getting the rights to use these 2 images? I would like to obtain the rights to print them in a direct mail letter to our donors at Defenders.

      Any information you have would be great.

  2. avatar KB540F says:

    Why am I not surprised… Oh, that’s right, it’s because their job is to kill as many predators as they can. We need to Occupy more than Wall Street!

  3. avatar Peter Kiermeir says:

    Ahmmm, excuse me (sarcasm mode “on”), but they do not kill wolves, they proudly serve the will and needs of the Idahoans…….(sarcasm mode “off”) and (switch to “on” again) it´s not unusual to have “kill” marks on a combat plane, excuse me again, not kill marks, of course they are “mission marks” !

    • avatar IDhiker says:

      This kind of behavior, putting wolf tracks on the plane, is totally unprofessional.

      I suppose that next police cars will put symbols on their doors representing DUI’s, assaults, or numbers of arrests? Perhaps highway patrolmen could put on stickers for the number of tickets they write? Maybe teachers could place stickers on theirs representing students they flunk?

      I surmise that these people pictured in the plane have psychopathic tendencies. Killing for them is obviously fun. When I’ve shot a crippled deer on the side of the road, I didn’t take pleasure in it, nor do I place a deer hoof sticker on the side of the patrol car.

      These individuals obviously are not properly supervised. It comes down to a failure of leadership in the agency. They all should be ashamed. But, then again, psychopathic people believe they are “normal.”

      • avatar Elk275 says:

        I am sure that the plane, a PA 18, is chartered on an hourly rate and is not used exclustively for wildlife services wolf hunting program. The owner which is most likely the pilot can do what he wants with his plane. I have never heard of an FHA regulation prohibiting putting wolf tracks on a airplane. The contracting agency could put a clause in the contract prohibiting wolf tracts.

        If Ken can get another picture of the plane with the tail numbers, it is easy to access the ownership of the aircraft.

        • avatar Peter Kiermeir says:

          It seems that these plane is envolved in some kind of crop dusting or mosquito control or whatever activity. Look at that device attached to the landing gear. Its an Automatic Flagman used in this type of activity. The guys in the plane could well have nothing to do with wolf shooting!

          • avatar IDhiker says:

            Peter,

            I remember another photograph on this site sometime ago where the same pilot was on the ground holding up a large dead wolf by the legs. It’s clearly a wolf hunting aircraft.

        • avatar IDhiker says:

          Elk,

          It doesn’t matter who owns the plane. The person who pays the bills can mandate what is or is not on the plane. Or, they can find another pilot and plane.

      • avatar Paul says:

        IDhiker,

        Speaking of police and having to “dispatch” an injured deer, I had to listen to one of my department’s officers bragging about doing just that on Saturday. This guy was bragging to co-workers about having to “administer lead therapy” to an injured deer on the side of the road. It was obvious that he got a thrill out of it and was gleefully explaining how he did it and was proud. Of course this is the same guy who brags about knowing the WI DNR schedule for where and when stocked pheasants are released so he can be waiting there with a shotgun. And this guy is a cop? How can someone gleefully brag about having to put down an injured and suffering animal?

        You are certainly right about how there should be no pleasure derived from killing an injured animal. The clown that I described above would be a perfect candidate for WS and their thrill killing adventures.

        • avatar IDhiker says:

          Paul,

          I’ve run into plenty of officers from various departments that have this same mentality. It, unfortunately, is too common. It does, however, make life easier when feelings of compassion and empathy are missing, but then again, life without them is less meaningful, in my opinion.

    • avatar Nancy says:

      I wonder if the hitman….oops, sorry……. contract marksman, has notches carved in his rifle?

      • avatar Salle says:

        After looking at how blatantly these guys display their kills (weenie-waving act there), I wouldn’t be “wondering”.

  4. avatar Ken Cole says:

    The plane is owned by Wildlife Services. They own several and just added more to their fleet this year.
    http://www.generalaviationnews.com/2010/11/30/wildlife-services-orders-three-more-top-cubs/

  5. avatar Ken Cole says:

    Note the antennae attached to the wing. It is a yagi antennae used for directional receivers. I’ve actually seen planes with these antennae attached very close up and this is the way that they are attached.

  6. avatar mtn mamma says:

    Read “Wolfer” by Carter Neimeyer if you want an inside perspective on Wildlife Service’s professionalism confirming wolf depredation.

    • avatar Salle says:

      Not to mention their funding methodology, internal attitude toward wildlife, and general “culture” of the agency.

  7. avatar CodyCoyote says:

    58 wolf paws emblazoned in the standard military kill nose art panel are hard to refute , whatever else this Piper Super Cub plane might be used for. The sh_t eatin’ grin on the bearded pilot says as much.

    The device on the portside strut is an Automatic Flagman Model 5a-112 disperser , for chemicals. I have no idea what the supplemental lines and black box nose art might represent . The tires are standard, not the oversized underinflated balloon tires used for rough field landings . A very versatile low cost plane dating from the early 1950′s and still popular among enthusiasts and one-man job shops. Super Cubs are a great plane for shooting from . In my case, Nikon cameras , not high powered rifles or shotguns.

    • avatar WM says:

      ++The device on the portside strut is an Automatic Flagman Model 5a-112 disperser , for chemicals. ++

      I thought that is a dispensing device for dropping high visibility weighted cardboard paper flags to mark a spot on the ground, at least that is what their website says. This one looks remarkably like a model 5A, according to photo. Hence the name Flagman, and I could find no reference whatsoever to chemicals.

      http://automaticflagman.com/Hardware.html

      Probably a handy device for a ground crew to locate a wolf that has been killed.

  8. avatar Mike says:

    Absolutely shameful.

    A real lack of professionalism.

    • avatar Salle says:

      Among those guys, in Idaho especially, they’re real perfeshun’ls and heeroes, I wonder how many of those who glorify and promote these people realize that they are the feds.

      …and I’ll bet the next thing you’re gonna tell us is the BLM’s been taken over by the federal gov’mint!” (Real comment made at a public hearing on the Roadless Initiative in Idaho Falls in 1999.)

      Can’t help but wonder.

  9. avatar Ken Cole says:

    USDSA Wildlife Services does spray chemicals to kill Mormon crickets. I don’t know whether the capacity of this plane would be large enough for that though. Maybe.

    • avatar Mike says:

      That’s another horrific topic for another time, I suppose. Let’s just say I wouldn’t want to breath that.

      • avatar Jon Way says:

        Mike, They need to reduce competition for the sacred cow… What’s wrong with poisoning our food chain and introducing probable things like birth defects and cancers. God forbid – it is a cow we are talking about! They need our grass

  10. avatar Angus says:

    One word: Karma.

  11. avatar william huard says:

    I’ve heard that Todd Grimm is a wonderful human being, complete with charm, intelligence, and an altruism toward animals that is unrivaled in the GRM. Would one of these two men in the photos be him?
    Now wasn’t that nice?

    • avatar Ken Cole says:

      I don’t think either of these people are TG. I think I know the name of the pilot but I think the more relevant point is whether the agency is capable of conducting its job in a professional manner. And, more importantly, are their “services” even justified?

      I don’t think so, but personalizing it doesn’t give me, or anyone else, any more legitimacy. I think that the facts themselves provide enough evidence to question whether they are trustworthy enough to conduct their functions in an unbiased fashion.

  12. avatar Barb Rupers says:

    A short time ago there was a post regarding the expenditures of Wildlife Services in Idaho for control of wolves and coyotes. I found a table that showed the number of wolves killed in from 2004 or so until 2009. I used the greatest number of wolves killed in one year and calculated the cost per wolf; a bit over $7000; for years in which fewer wolves were killed the price would be higher. So 58 wolf prints represents at least $412,000 of dead wolves. Quite a subsidy for the ranching community.

    • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

      Wildlife Services wolf depredation control program makes no economic sense, though they might say well if this wolf was not killed by us it would kill again and again. The trouble is they usually make little attempt or are not able to determine which wolf did some “dastardly deed.” Their killing probably makes political and cultural sense to those who are their supporters, however, because killing the wolf is more like a human execution for crimes committed against the baron.

  13. avatar Maska says:

    Having personally watched WS take four days and the services of two planes (spotter plane from the wolf project and gunner plane), four air crew, at least two trucks, and at least two ground crew to dispatch one two-year-old lobo tagged with killing three cows, I really resent the waste of my tax dollars. Oh, yeah. The cows lost were paid for by Defenders of Wildlife. (Incident north of the Gila Wilderness. Wolf killed was M1007, on March 16, 2007.)

  14. avatar Howl Basin says:

    There’s likely been 2 or 3 times as many wolves shot by this crew since the photo was taken. This plane is called the “Killer Bee” and according to agency documents is hangered in Rexburg. It’s the one seen flying around Salmon, Challis, all of Eastern Idaho and sometimes other places.

  15. avatar Howl Basin says:

    There is absolutely no incentive at all for ranchers to try and protect their livestock. Every time Wildlife Services goes to a ranch or goes on a killing mission, it’s money in the pocket of the agent, or the pilot, or the gunner.

  16. avatar Howl Basin says:

    Elk – WS owns at least three Super Cubs in Idaho – one in the North, one out of Boise and the one in Rexberg. It’s all in WS documents that anyone can request via FOIA. The only problem is – it might take a few years to get something in hand.

  17. avatar Chuck Newton says:

    I remember a couple years ago I was up in the Edna Creek area and saw one of the yellow planes flying around, they were actually flying pretty low too. That plane would have came from Boise.

  18. avatar Ken Cole says:

    I don’t think that a better metaphor for the the war on wolves that is being waged could be found.

  19. avatar Jerry Black says:

    Ken……I have pictures of WS agents, posing with dead wolves beside their plane, that I acquired in 2004 immediately after they killd a pack in the Grasshopper Valley west of Dillon Mt.
    If anyone is putting together a file to go after these bastards, I’ll get the pictures to you.
    I wrote the Director of WS (Gray) and complained and was told the pilot and gunner would be “reprimanded” and since at that time wolves were listed, it was illegal for them to pose with the dead wolves.

    • avatar Nancy says:

      Jerry – when word got out that this pack had been killed, quite a few people in the Grasshopper Valley came by to get their pictures taken with those dead wolves (6 wolves paid dearly for the death of 1 heifer)

      Heck, even the local school teacher at the time, brought the kids for a photo op and that pic has been floating around out there on the internet for awhile. Believe Howling for Justice had it posted on their site awhile back.

      One of the owners of a local establishment, had magnets made up of with a pic of a biologist (?) cutting these wolves up, looking for the evidence of depredation.

      Sick? Yes. But just another example of ignorance and hatred, when it comes to wolves.

      #1 killer of livestock, all across the west for decades? Coyotes. And “howl’s” that been going? What with the millions (of taxpayer funded $$) that have been pumped into controlling them…. to satisfy a few?

      • avatar Mike says:

        ++One of the owners of a local establishment, had magnets made up of with a pic of a biologist (?) cutting these wolves up, looking for the evidence of depredation. ++

        Are you kidding me? There is something very, very wrong going on over there.

        • avatar Nancy says:

          Yeah, I agree Mike. I have two of those magnets on my frig – a constant reminder of just how insensitive “over there/ here” is when it comes to wolves.

      • avatar Jerry Black says:

        Nancy…..I have the pictures and a couple of the magnets. Sadly, the school kids are in one of the pictures with 5 dead wolves laid out in front of them, the teacher holding a shotgun.
        No doubt it’s child abuse and I sent the pictures to the governor’s office….nothing!!
        They were killed on a ranch owned by one of our state legislators…..to hell with the kids I guess, the legislator got his revenge.

        • avatar Nancy says:

          Jerry – they were gunned down on state lease land and ferried by helicopter, back to the property where the heifer was killed. 6 wolves – 2 adults and 4 yearlings. I did hear that one wolf got away, whether it was from the litter or not, couldn’t say.

          There is a state rep. with property in the area but it did not happen near or on, his land.

          • avatar Jerry Black says:

            Nancy….I found more correspondence regarding this.
            Two contradicting letters…one from USFWS, the other from MFWP.(I had to F.O.I., then appeal to get any information.
            USFWS states..” The pack was lethally removed due to the livestock depredation and the LACK OF PREY IN THE BIG HOLE VALLEY IN THE WINTER. IN THE FALL THE VAST MAJORITY OF ELK MIGRATE WEST TO IDAHO. THERE ARE NO DEER IN THE VALLEY DURING THE WINTER.(This from Ed Bangs)
            Then from MFWP…” Hunting district 329 (Big Hole Divide) elk winter in the Grasshopper Valley. Hunting district 332 (West Pioneers) elk winter in the Grasshopper Valley. Hunting district 331 elk winter from Polaris east along the entire south, east and north faces of the range, ending just south of the Wise River. This info was sent to me by Graig Fager, wildlife biologist, from MFWP. Craig did the aerial count and also sent me maps of where the elk congregated in the Grasshoppr Valley during the winter. He also mentioned that because of elk numbers in the Grasshopper, they were trying to reduce the population to comply with the management plan.
            I went as far as I could with this and was finally told by USFWS that I’d have to take them to Federal Court to get any more information.

        • avatar william huard says:

          This is the “culture” of the west. The tragic aspect of this story is that the pack of wolves probably didn’t kill the heifer. Ranchers don’t want to accept the “costs” of ranching -period. The culture is to blame the wolves with no science, no proof that the wolves are responsible. And you wonder these kids grow up to hate wolves and other predators….it’s sickening
          I’m going to call Pete DeFazio’s office to find out the most effective way people can protest this FED goon squad.

  20. avatar Howl Basin says:

    Chuck – the Super Cub based in Boise may have been in for maintenance or retrofitting. These planes are also used in the aerial gunning of coyotes, killing done on behalf of the livestock industry and some bird hunters with friends in high places. Snowmobiles are used, too. Agency documents mention running down coyotes using a snowmachine and killing them with a handgun or shotgun. Our tax dollars at work. Idaho and the federal gov’t can’t afford social services for the elderly, mentally ill, kids at risk, or others in need – but money flows when it comes to killing predators.

    • avatar Paul says:

      There sure are a lot of “plane shot by gunner” incidents on this list. And these fools are allowed to shoot moving targets from moving aircraft? This is what our tax money funds? Come on! Maybe we should just let them continue. With all of these “plane shot by gunner” accidents they are bound to run out of pilots and aircraft eventually.

      • avatar WM says:

        Paul,

        Just to be fair to the statistics in the table, the time period covered is 1979 – 2011 (over 31 years); the incidents occurred across something like 10 or 11 different Western states; some mishaps were mechanical failures or pilot error (the serious or fatal ones especially), and had nothing to do with the shooter.

        This would probably be alot more meaningful if it were compared against flying hours logged. Strikes me as not all that dangerous when viewed with an objective eye (Just a guess, but probably more folks are injured felling trees or roofing per hour than this activity).

        As for the inadvertent shooting of the plane, it is likely the gunner following a line of sight on a target without considering structural features of the aircraft. They probably get instructions on that risk and try to avoid it, but are not always successful. Kind of like the risk on the old Lewis guns on WW1 fighter aircraft, except there the sight and firing mechanism were blocked and prevented shots which could damage the aircraft. Not so with a hand held shotgun.

        • avatar Paul says:

          My comment was partially a joke, but there should be zero tolerance when it comes to incidents involving firearms and so-called “professionals.” I just read a book about O-1 Birddog Forward Air Controllers in Vietnam. Aside from enemy fire the number one danger to the aircraft and crew was from ejected shell casing that were fired from within the aircraft getting lodged in various control mechanisms on the plane. This would cause the elevators and other moving parts to jam and the aircraft often crashed.

          As for these WS fools, I have no sympathy for them. If they cannot even give the illusion of being professionals with their childish stickers and reckless use of firearms they deserve what they get. They are nothing more than glorified “hit-men” who get their jollies off on our dime. This disgusting agency cannot be dissolved soon enough.

          • avatar ma'iingan says:

            “This disgusting agency cannot be dissolved soon enough.”

            Be careful what you wish for – Wildlife Services strings miles of fladry, installs RAG boxes, equips producers with deterrent devices, and otherwise assists with non-lethal wolf management in your own home state, as well as the other WGL states.

          • avatar Paul says:

            Okay, fair enough. Let me clarify. The airborne killing squads should be completely eliminated.

          • avatar Savebears says:

            This is of course part of the problem with these issues we face now a days, far to many shoot off with the knee jerk reactions, then have to clarify!

            Brother..

          • avatar Howl Basin says:

            ma – Where is WS stringing miles of fladry? Installing Rag Boxes? Equipping “producers” (the holy cow & sheep ranchers) with deterrent devices? Rick Williamson and DOW went over to Oregon and there was a flurry about non-lethal for a little bit. Where in Idaho, Montana or Wyoming is WS encouraging “producers” to do non lethal? The money is in control. Idaho wants to kill all but 150 wolves. WS exists because they trap, snare, call out & shoot, or aerial gun wolves or other predators. T

          • avatar ma'iingan says:

            “ma – Where is WS stringing miles of fladry? Installing Rag Boxes? Equipping “producers” (the holy cow & sheep ranchers) with deterrent devices?”

            As I stated in my post, the Western Great Lakes. We have around 5000 wolves in the region, and WS has been integral in implementing non-lethal control whenever possible.

            WS removes a couple of hundred depredating wolves in MN every year, without a lot of backlash, and without aerial gunning, but their emphasis in this region has always been to try non-lethal deterrents first.

          • A few important things to remember about USDA Wildlife Services:

            (1) The vast majority of their activities nationwide do not involve aerial removal of carnivores. Indeed, WS here in Ohio has been integral in leading the charge against the spread of rabies by distributing thousands of vaccine baits.
            (2) Wildlife Service (via the National Wildlife Research Center) has also lead the charge in developing the non-lethal control devices that so many here favor.
            (3) When evaluating any policy, it is important to consider the alternatives. Remove Wildlife Services and the job of “lethal control” will fall on private services and individual producers. Recall that these folks have no federal mandate to report their activities, nor will they be subject to FOI requests.
            (4) Finally, recall that Wildlife Services only has the authority to remove wolves because state agencies have granted that authority (witness the differences in priorities ma’iingan describes).

            With these considerations in mind, I suggest that people who plan to write their Congressperson regarding Wildlife Services be specific about what it is they object to. It would be a shame to toss the baby out with the bath water.

        • avatar Nancy says:

          +This would probably be alot more meaningful if it were compared against flying hours logged+

          And it would probably be even more meaningful WM to those that oppose this kind of waste of taxpayer money, to benefit a few.

        • avatar Elk275 says:

          Wendy’s chart is referring to the number incidents that occurred during predator control. How many incidents have occurred during wildlife surveys, I think that Montana has lost 2 or 3 biologist in the last years. How many engine failures or other mechanical malfunction have occurred that are not available to the public. The only way to compare the incident rate is by hours logged compared to hours flown by a similar plane doing similar work, such as biologist counting wildlife.

          Shawn Stewart is the wildlife biologist in Red Lodge, Montana who I have known for a number of years, told me this story. Years ago about 10 miles north of Red lodge every afternoon around 3 O’clock a low flying B-1 bomber would appear out of the southeast and would be visible for less than 30 seconds before it disappeared; I have seen the plane fly by many times. One afternoon he was with a pilot in a Super Cub counting mule deer; he looked to the southeast and right in front of them was a B-1 bomber on a collision course with the cub. The B-1 was pushing so much air in front of it that the Super Cub was pushed over the top of the bomber.

          • avatar WM says:

            Elk,

            I suspect most here probably don’t even know what a B-1 is.

          • avatar Savebears says:

            Hmmmmm……..

            B-1, let me see, what was that big, fast flying bird!? Hmm, I will have to think about that one for a while! I think it was the biggest raven I have ever seen!

            LOL

          • avatar Immer Treue says:

            Got to see one up close when I worked in St. Louis. Neat looking plane, even with the armed guard.

          • avatar Paul says:

            Last year, I visited Ellsworth AFB and got to watch their B-1s do numerous touch and gos while I was at the base museum. After the B-1s finally landed for good a couple of B-52s from Minot came in to do the same thing. Quite a sight. I felt like I was at my own personal airshow. When I first saw the B-52s I thought that one of the B-1s must have had an engine fire because of all of the smoke. Then I realized that it was a B-52. Those old birds still smoke like a chimney.

          • avatar Savebears says:

            I have seen far to many of them far to close, but I will say, they did save my ass more than once. I will be glad when the day comes we can retire them.

          • avatar IDhiker says:

            Well, I’ve watched B-1′s flying ow level training flights over the Selway-Bitterroot. They’re easy to recognize.

          • avatar IDhiker says:

            “Low level,” I mean.

          • avatar Salle says:

            But what if the activities were combined and only reported in one of those duties and not both for whatever reason? I can perceive a set of scenarios where that might be the case with regard to these reports.

        • avatar Paul says:

          Savebears,

          Call it a knee jerk reaction if you wish but I have no use or respect for the WS hit men, and this article shows one of the reasons why. I also have a problem with their gas chamber killing of “problem” geese often before non-lethal deterrents have been tried and exhausted. I am sure that some elements of Wildlife Services do perform some helpful non-lethal acts. I have no problem with this. I should have been more specific in my comments. At least my knee jerk reactions are just me shooting off my mouth. WS knee jerk reactions to suspected depredations usually result in killing whatever predator happens to be nearby, guilty or not. This “service” needs to be eliminated.

          • avatar Savebears says:

            That may very well be Paul, but if you continue to have to “clarify” your statements, it does set a pattern of not fully understanding the issue you are commenting on, and an over bearing bias to the emotional side. I would say that the number one problem with all of these issues on both sides, is emotion is ruling, which will never result in a solution to any of them.

          • avatar AintThatAmerica says:

            The guys that kill for WS have a personality that fits what they do and they know they have the backing of their rancher cronies. They no doubt think all wolves should be eliminated, to benefit their buddies. WS has been rightly vilified for decades. The only hope for change is legal action.

    • avatar Salle says:

      Thanks for that link, Wendy.

      You know, reading a number of these narratives, I find that they sound like “what happened to my homework that I don’t have” statements made by a ten-year-old.

      These guys are out of control and way out of line.

      The pilot looks like one the guys in those posing-with-a-dead-wolf photos.

    • avatar Salle says:

      Thanks for that link, Wendy.

      You know, reading a number of these narratives, I find that they sound like “what happened to my homework that I don’t have” statements made by a ten-year-old.

      These guys are out of control and way out of line.

      The pilot looks like one the guys in those posing-with-a-dead-wolf photos.

  21. avatar Craig says:

    I wonder how many Coyotes they have killed over the years and the cost, yet still they thrive! Taxpayer money well spent! It really is mind boggling to try to justify the shit they do and money wasted!

  22. avatar Howl Basin says:

    Here is an example of the “Professionalism of Wildlife Services”. According to data from IDFG obtained through state records requests, in late November 2008, a calf was killed in Morgan Creek, supposedly by wolves, some 12 miles from Challis ID. Whether the calf was killed by wolves or died from other causes and then was fed on by wolves, is not known. The WS agent in the area tends to blame wolves for all livestock deaths. WS put up an “aircrew” to kill two or more wolves. IDFG suggested they not kill the “collars”. But that is exactly what happened. The pack had ten wolves and the two with collars were shot by the WS sharpshooter in the Super Cub. One wolf died immediately. The other, B350, was wounded on Friday and her radio collar did not go on mortality mode until the following Thursday. This is a long time to suffer from the shotgun pellets fired into her by the gunner. This is but one of many lethal control actions where WS screwed up and IDFG shrugged. A civilized society doesn’t treat stray dogs like this.

    • avatar Kayt says:

      So how is this different from being eaten to the point of death.

      Until YOU have had to walk up and put a bullet between the eyes of a half eaten deer or elk, I don’t want to hear how wolves suffer.

      Hope they die a miserable death.

      • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

        Kayt,

        The whole flow of energy that drives life on this planet comes from the sun to single-celled organisms and then on up. Each level depends on those below it to feed on. Eating and being eating is perhaps the most basic thing about life on this planet.. I’d say no one who understands this can love wolves and not care about deer and elk. Even more to the point are those who are fond of just a few animals (like deer and elk) and don’t care about or hate the rest.

        Some religious views are that the Earth is a terrible place, a fallen place, because in the end it is eat and be eaten. Regardless, we live in it and while what you say might make emotional sense to you, it is perfectly natural for a fox to eat mice and chickens and for wolves to eat deer and elk. Why would you hope wolves die a miserable death for doing what they must do, and what we must do too. Humans consume more of the flow of life than any other large animal on the planet. If we didn’t, at our population size we would starve.

        And it is true that I don’t know wolves suffer any more than any other animal that gets killed slowly, including us. In fact, the idea that humans suffer more is at the root of we being able to eat meat with little or no guilt. We have been doing it to survive since our species came into being.

        • avatar Mal Adapted says:

          A couple of years ago, I came across this apparently well-thought-out proposal to engineer predation out of the biosphere.

          I’m still grappling with my own reaction to it. It’s hard to be indifferent to the evident suffering of animals as they are preyed upon, but OTOH I’m horrified at the idea of usurping evolution on that scale. I’d appreciate knowing what others on this blog think.

          • avatar Salle says:

            All I can say, after viewing the caption of the photo and the first paragraph of the body text is, Whoah, sportsfans!

            Re-engineering nature is not acceptable by any stretch of the imagination in my book of rules for existing on this planet.

            How arrogant of humans to assume they have more right to exist in their full natural form than any other species.

            I feel that the human species sealed its fate and turned toward its own rapid demise centuries ago with punctuated strides during the last seventy-five years. We seem to race blindly onward in the wrong direction guided by the ultimate in human control devices, belief systems based on fear and guilt. These sort of belief systems, be they religions or political zeal, always promise some kind of sublime reward for staying the course… heaven, the ultimate thrill… protection from something – usually ourselves. And they always promote the perception of human exceptionalism… the idea that humans are designated by some deity to “rule” or dominate the planet and its inhabitants which, in some interpretations, serves as a mandate to control the natural world by any means possible. That’s arrogance beyond my ability to grasp. I’d have to call it species-centrism. Humans have a bad case of it, perhaps terminal.

            And on second thought, my updated response is: Gong! A Utopian idea born of the assumption that pain is not a function of life/death cycles within the biosphere. Might be a nice thought but I don’t see it as really physically possible without destroying the natural order of life that is beyond humans’ ability to control no matter how big your guns are.

            It’s the biosphere, stupid.

            Is it truly or morally reasonable to pursue such an ideal? And for whom?

          • avatar JEFF E says:

            soylent green

          • avatar Adriana says:

            Can we reprogram certain humans to be more like Salle? ;) I agree with Salle, Re-engineering nature is not acceptable. We may as well take it further and replace all the trees with plastic replicas that way they won’t fall and we will have them forever YAY :)

          • avatar Nate Hobbs says:

            My take is that nature had some 4 billion years to phase out predators and didn’t. For good reasons of which we only know a few thanks to the endeavors of science.

        • avatar Adriana says:

          Ralph I just want to thank you for you unheated response to a heated remark. Sadly the only species that need to be regulated are humans. Our population is growing on the expense of other species that have lived here before homo erectus evolved into homo egocentric. The species so egocentric that it seemed fitting to us to call acts of benevolence and kindness “humane” even though we act this way only if it’s in our own interest. Given the fact that our numbers continue to rise, why is it that we impose death sentences on animals that are simply trying to survive while we spread like locus and destroy for mere profit? Aren’t we the intelligent species who are supposed to understand that we cannot manage nature without consequences, that wolves are simply trying to survive (only intelligent species like us are capable to inflict pain for mere profit and leasure), that we are all in it together or not at all? I ask myself this naive question because I hope that there are enough of us who care and who will stop this mindless killing and abuse of animals just as we stopped slavery at least here and in Europe. We have come a long way from worshiping animals as symbols of deities to mistreating them as lesser creations of the Almighty to studying them and understanding their place on this planet.

          • avatar Salle says:

            Well I have been arguing that, and other points, for a long time but it doesn’t seem to do much that I can see. Pretty discouraging.

        • avatar Virginia says:

          Thank you, Ralph. I think that is a great way to say what most of us feel who read this site about animals and their animal ways. Why would anyone hope that an animal suffers for doing what is instinctual and based on survival?

      • avatar JEFF E says:

        Kayt

        Can you name any predators on Earth that do not eat or start to eat their prey while it is still alive?

        • avatar CodyCoyote says:

          Komodo dragons, on occasion. They cripple the prey with a combination of mild venom and septic bacteria, then wait for the flesh to fester. Komodos prefer to eat rotten meat , where the protein is already broken down some. When I fed my 10 foot Photo-Dragon on the island of Rinca, I was tossing him chunks of dried fish from 20 feet away , like we used to feed Yellowstone Park bears on the roadside when I was a kid

          Then again , Komodos swallow goats whole. So it’s not much of an answer. Predators are nothing if not opportunistic.

          • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

            Quite possibly the meanest mammalian predator is the domestic cat, which, if it has access to the outdoors, does hunt when it is not hungry and it toys with its prey before killing it. It very often does not eat its prey, although part of its predatory habits might be due to living as a pet.

          • avatar timz says:

            I watched a show lasst night about Moountain Lions in MT, they are bad ass hunters and killers.

          • avatar JEFF E says:

            out of my very few encounters with mountain lions on stands out.

            A Few years ago I was out hunting a x-mas tree and about half way up a ridge,~500 yd form the road and stepped over a log, about 2 feet in diameter, which turned out to have a kill (deer) stuffed up under the other side.

            this was the middle of December so in about 1.5 seconds I came to the conclusion it had to be a cougar kill.
            So that was interesting. Decided that (s)he was 1. asleep some where within a 100 yd or so and was not hungry so therefore I was okay, or 2. I had been observed at least since I had started up the ridge and it was again not hungry and had moved off due to my presence.

            Fortunatly the common denomenator of “it was not hungry” existed.
            But that is what (((should))) be understood when one is going in the woods.

            Somthing might be looking for dinner.

        • avatar JEFF E says:

          What gets me (laughing) is the constant diatribe about how wolves conduct themselves as wolves and how shocking their feeding habits.
          Most of this type of drivel comes from the usual suspects who claim to be “real” outdoors types and know everything there is to know about animal ecology but wet there panties when confronted with raw nature.

        • avatar william huard says:

          While I was walking my Scottish Terrier this morning I saw a Coopers Hawk making short work of a pigeon in my field. They defeather their prey- it is not a pretty sight. Maybe we should kill all the hawks and other raptors for the way they kill their prey- just because as humans they don’t kill their prey the way we want them to.

      • avatar Paul says:

        Kayt,

        And how is this different than a deer being shot with an arrow and walking around with it sticking out of it’s head or body until it either dies of infection or is put down?

        Should the shooter die a miserable death as well? Should the driver of a car that strikes a deer and doesn’t kill it die a miserable death? Remember chances are a cop has to shoot it in the head to put it out of it’s misery? Stop trying to hold wild animals up to some type of “humane” standard that many of our own species seem to have no concept of themselves.

  23. avatar CodyCoyote says:

    Years ago I looked into the costs the state of Wyoming was racking up for Coyote control. This was separate from the federal Animal Damage Control ( now Wildlife (Dis) Services). The state funded and the individual counties co-funded their various predator control authorities, usually at the county level.

    All in all, at the end of the fiscal year, Wyoming predator agents spent $ 6 million eliminating about 6,000 coyotes. It penciled out to $ 1000 per coyote.

    These days, Wildlife (Dis)Services and those same county predator boards are full partners. I can still get state numbers and dollars, but WS ignores FOIA’s and runs from sunlight and inquisitive citizens asking for some accountability. If you are lucky to get numbers and dollars, it is almost impossible to parse out what is spent on each species for ” control “. Coyotes are lumped in with wolves and crows and feral cats as ‘ task orders’ .

    My best guess is in Wyoming, each Grey Wolf taken for ‘control’ has a median cost of maybe $ 4-5,000 apiece. It could be as high as $ 10k per , but likely no lower than $ 3k even with the most creative book cooking.

    Wildlife Services does some good work and provide a valuable service, if that is you need raccoons, red foxes, the occasional cougar or fearless black bear dealt with . ( All Grizzly bear calls are deferred to Wyo Game & Fish and / or USFWS)

    But wolves and coyotes ? Can you say genocide?

    Buried on the Wyoming Game & Fish website under ” Administration” then ” Commission Reports” is the GF budget info. Wyo G&F spent $ 1.9 million last year on Grizzly Bears, a specie not hunted but one which control was given over to the State years ago since the bear is merely ” threatened” and not “endangered”. Wyoming bear wranglers trapped and relocated about 75 bears this year , so assuming that is half the cost of the Ursus horribilis workload, it’s about $ 10,000 per game of Musical Bears. Excuse me if you don’t agree with my prognostication…G&F doesn’t speak to me much and I have to guess at this stuff.

    Wyoming G&F’s budget for FY 11 , concluded in July this year, showed an expenditure of $ 388,000 for Grey Wolf management. And remember, the wolf is still listed here and managed by Fish & Wildlife. Who knows what they spent it on ?

    Since Wyoming expects to be handed delisted wolves in the coming year, our wolf-hating Governor recently announced he is asking the Legislature for $ 800,000 in addition direct funding for wolves. I’m sure a LOT of that will go straight to Wildlife Services , similar to the proposal in Idaho for the state to take up any shortfall in federal budget cutbacks of WS. I’m sure Wyoming is also cognizant that the paid assassins of Wildlife Services will be begging for bullets and helicopter / Super Cub shooter plane time for wolf control in the current budget climate, and is more than willing to help out. The radical notion that ranchers should individually and collectively pay more for the 24/7/365 predator control they recieve for the price of a phone call does not seem to enter into the discussion.

    So in Wyoming it will be more of the same, only worse.

  24. avatar Ken Cole says:

    After examining the data associated with the pictures it appears they were taken exactly 5 years ago yesterday on 12/12/2006.

    Image Generated: 2006:12:12 20:31:17

    It is my understanding that the stickers have been removed after someone complained about them.

    What is notable about the timing is that this was when wolves were still listed under the ESA and after IDFG took over management of them.

    • avatar Salle says:

      Yes… professionalism, Butch Otter style.

    • avatar WM says:

      …and the rest of the story, Ken, is that the wolves marked as killed were apparently doing something someone in a democratically elected government thought warranted their lethal removal.

      Removal of problem wolves, of course, was agreed to in the play book (1987 NRM wolf recovery plan and the 1994 EIS), when the reintroduction of the NRM “non-essential experimental population” was contemplated, and then initiated.

      If I recall the protocol for removal during the time wolves are ESA listed, after the rancher(s) make complaints, investigations are conducted with conclusions based on the evidence, and the final decisions involve FWS, the state (ID,MT,WY) and the lethal removal “service provider” (WS).

      At least, that is the way it is supposed to work.

      • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

        WM,

        You wrote “At least, that is the way it is supposed to work.”

        If it really worked that way, there would be many fewer complaints from those who want to see real wolf recovery.

  25. avatar Janet says:

    Ken,
    Thanks again for exposing some of the crap that is going on in the West with native species, that are loved by many in this country. People should be up in arms about what has happened to our native wildlife. This article just shows once again how bad it really is in the West.

  26. avatar Nate Hobbs says:

    Are air-force pilots still allowed to paint symbols indicating ‘kills’ on the side of the craft they pilot in war?

    • avatar Paul says:

      As far as I know, yes. As they should because their kills are generally mutual combat in a war situation. This is obviously not the case when wolves are sniped from the air.

  27. avatar Richie G. says:

    TO wm and all opposed ;Why don’t you ask the mid west farmers who much they get from farming cattle and etc. They have a different mentality towards wolves. At the end of a pbs special on wolves in the mid west, a wife of a farmer, said something to the effect, wolves are a lot of work keeping them away from the livestock,but it is majestic to see one cross our lawn. How many people can say they see wolves cross in front of their house. Maybe all you anti-wolf people should watch this film,about the mid west and how they deal with the wolf problem.As for Ken, Pete De’fazio’s and Bernie of Vermont are the two best! Listen guys it is a government thing too, when Scott Walker tried to kill the unions,it sent a message,the right is going all out on all fronts.Obama somebody has to show him that the oil pipe line is not the only environmental issue. A great deaql of people love wolves and bears and other wildlife, some how we must form and let him know this,his base is diverse,many environmental issue, from Florida to the west, some way some how,write comments on his hot line, call

  28. avatar Richie G. says:

    Ralph I rescued two cats from work, and they learned the doggie door, so they do bring home things. Once I chased a chipmonk out of the house alive. But they do play with their prey ,…then kill, I cannot tell you how bad that akes me feel. AS for everything I said It still depends on our government and Obama to get Ken Salazar out,… period.The bill for insider trading was halted to be looked over via Eric Cantor,greed has taken over in the last twenty 25 years or so !!!!!!!!!

  29. avatar TLM says:

    These photos are from 2006, and the stickers removed in 2009. Were these photos posted just to rile people up?

    This is just as bad as people passing around photos of “giant wolves”.

    • avatar Salle says:

      The way I see it; this is confirmation of a “possible” sighting and is meant to expose the truth about it. Bogus wolf pics are something altogether different, and have only one thing in common with the truth… the fact that it is not the truth. This is something that is true, not photoshopped or anything of the sort. :?

      • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

        TLM,

        We had heard rumors about these stickers. Wildlife Services is supposed to be a group of professionals who approach their work in a dispassionate way. They are representing themselves that way even now as their budget is being considered by Congress.

        This shows they are not.

        Secondly, “mission” stickers on an aircraft are usually reserved for those who have performed a military mission, potentially or actually under fire. They are not passed out for high scores on video games, shooting fish in a barrel, or killing endangered species in an unequal contest just because they offended the local land baron.

        • avatar TLM says:

          To infer that the US FWS is “unprofessional” when its a contract plane is really stretching it. Especially since the stickers were removed THREE years ago.

          Should I infer that Wildlife News is unprofessional because of someone posting these old photos trying to “make” a story? How about credit to the photographer? Dating the photos? Doing some research for a real story?

          • avatar JEFF E says:

            the stickers are gone.
            the mindset remains, which is the issue that is being exposed and needs to be changed.

          • avatar TLM says:

            So Jeff, by using outdated photos of a couple of (contracted) local yokels you want to infer that an entire government agency is of a “mindset” that doesn’t agree with yours?

            I’ve been “living” with wolves for several years now, and most of the “info” from both sides of the issue is inflated and at times flat out wrong. There seems to be no middle ground for truth.

          • avatar JEFF E says:

            TLM,
            and your post is a perfect example of that.
            these two individuals are not contracted employees, the are employed by wildlife services.
            and yes I say that is the mindset of that agency in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. Do not forget it was actually the supervisor that authorised these stickers, also a still current employee of WS.

            From the agency:“The photos mentioned were taken about five years ago. The pilot and crew are Wildlife Services employees, operating in a leased fixed wing aircraft. At the time, Wildlife Services local management did approve the stickers being placed on the planes.”

            So lets try and get the story correct okay?

            As for living with wolves, don’t they shed a whole bunch?
            Must be frustrating having to sweep that up all the time.

  30. avatar Doryfun says:

    Too Funny…p,p,p,porkie pig

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey