(update) Judge says emergency closure by Montana wildlife commissioners with no public hearing might offend Montana’s  Constitution and might deprive the public of the legal right to harvest wolves-

In a shock to wolf conservationists and to people who think Yellowstone Park is a special place, an American icon, local Montana Nels Swandal  reopened hunting and trapping along the Yellowstone Park northern boundary. The hunt reopens on both sides of Gardiner, Montana, which sits right on the boundary. Judge Swandal  is a district court judge for the 6th District Court in Montana.

After hunters killed so many Park wolves it destroyed The Park’s winter research program, the Montana Commission of Fish, Wildlife and Parks closed hunting the Park boundary and prevented the placement of wolf traps on the boundary in Montana’s first wolf trapping season.  At the time the trapping season had not begun. The majority of the Park’s rapidly shrinking wolf population live in the northern part of the Park, only a few miles from the boundary.

The closure came because at least 7 Park wolves were killed in the Montana hunt, including 3 with expensive, sophisticated GPS collars and two with standard radio collars. It is possible more uncollared wolves were killed too when they stepped outside the Park for a brief or more extended time.

The closure led to a lawsuit by a local Montana legislator and the groups Montana Outfitters and Guides Association,  Citizens for Balanced Use, Montana Sportsman for Fish and Wildlife, and Big Game Forever.  A Jan. 14 hearing is scheduled in the case. Meanwhile hunting and trapping are now open all around Gardiner.

The northern boundary of the Park has always been controversial and extreme anger has dominated the area for years as Park bison were slaughtered or hauled to the slaughterhouse when they stepped over the invisible boundary. Now the killing controversy moves to wolves.

The killing of what were basically Park wolves and the resulting anger was predicted here in the Wildlife News when the state Fish and Wildlife Commission set up the hunt and trapping season on the Park boundary in an extremely well known wildlife migration corridor. See “Montana Fish, Wildlife, Parks points a dagger at Yellowstone Park wolves.

While many people focus on the wolves, to others the offense is the lack of respect for America’s greatest national park and by implication lack of respect for America itself.

It will be interesting to see if tomorrow trappers are setting traps in fields just outside Gardiner.

In writing about grizzly bear hunting yesterday in the News, naturalist George Wuerthner wrote: “The unnecessary and indiscriminate persecution of predators is what fuels public opposition against all hunting, not to mention it does not help grizzly or any other animal’s recovery.”

– – – – – –

Update (Jan. 3, 2013)

Here is some fascinating information about this judge. He will retire next week. This could be his parting shot and not a quality judicial decision. Judge Brenda Gilbert will be taking his seat as well as presiding over this case which will take place in Livingston on Jan 14 at 3pm.

Here is the text of the lawsuit as a pdf file: wolves-park-boundary-lawsuit


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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan's Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of "Hiking Idaho." He also wrote "Beyond the Tetons" and "Backpacking Wyoming's Teton and Washakie Wilderness." He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

107 Responses to Local judge reopens wolf hunting and trapping right next to Yellowstone Park

  1. Barb Rupers says:

    I don’t want to believe it, but I do.

    Where is the January 14th hearing to be held?

  2. Savebears says:

    I can’t say I am surprised. In fact after I heard about the lawsuit, I figured this would happen.

    • Kristi Lloyd says:

      Savebears, when did you hear about this “lawsuit”?

      • Savebears says:

        The day the area was closed, there were groups standing in line to file based on the public disclosure law in Montana. It was reported in our local news paper the day the decision was made by FWP.

        FWP stated they were going to take it under advisement, then they passed a rule without advising the public before hand and did not allow public comment for the required period of time.

        • Kristi Lloyd says:

          That last part is not true, Savebears.

          • Savebears says:


            I didn’t take a side, I simply answered your question. This is the information that was published in the news.

            As and former employee of FWP, I fully expected this and I knew that the outcome of this hearing was going to reverse the rule they passed.

            Montana law requires a certain amount of time for public comments, they did announce they were going to take it under advisement, they never said they were going to pass a rule.

            I am sorry you are unhappy about the outcome.

            I do think with a new governor taking office and a new head of FWP, we are going to see quite a few changes in the near future.

            • Kim Bean says:

              I agree, a lot of changes are going to take place.
              This is a user-enforced law, the state and these groups along with this judge are playing on the words a little bit. All that matters is, they lifted it,if even for a week — it has been lifted.

              • Ida Lupine says:

                Yes, I was going to say something similar. More killing of park wolves will take place between now and the hearing, and that I believe is the goal, eliminating the park wolves first, then the rest. Somebody correct me if I am wrong, please.

            • Kristi Lloyd says:

              I’m OK with you, Savebears, didn’t think you were taking sides. You are right,I think it was even the day that the closure was granted that it was said they’d check into a lawsuit to fight the closure. But MFWP had checked and what they did was legal. So, if what they did was deemed as legal, what is the basis for this injunction being granted? In MFWP’s schedule they said that the wolf and elk hunts would be discussed, and that was months ahead of this meeting on Dec. 10. I sure hope you are right about the new governor. Apparently Schweitzer was rather heavy-handed with MFWP, hopefully Steve Bullock will not be. I would like to know which, if any, hunting and/or ranching organizations backed him in the election. That is where much of the problem lies. Those orgs expect results that favor them when they support a candidate.

            • ramses09 says:

              WIll it be good outcomes or will it be more of the same?? (More killing)

  3. Ralph Maughan says:

    It turns out the judge is quite favorable to the tea party.

    Anyone can do a search and see.

    • Kristi Lloyd says:

      Already did and you are right, Ralph.

    • Ida Lupine says:

      Ha. I didn’t want to say anything until some of the facts started coming out – Why can’t they leave the area closed until after the hearing? I’m no expert, but it would appear the Commission acted within their authority. I’m mystified as to how it would threaten a guide’s livelihood especially where this concerns trapping in part, and are there real threats to livestock in that area – it sounds quite exaggerated that they had to have an emergency restraining order. What a joke. It is such a small concession to close this area. Shocking turn of events. It really does appear to threaten the park, I wonder if anything can be done by a higher authority. 🙁

      • Ida Lupine says:

        The delisting has got to be the dumbest decision that was ever let pass. Anybody could see this kind of free-for-all was going to happen. Yellowstone is threatened from all sides.

    • jon says:

      And he’s an NRA member.

      • Craig says:

        That makes a big difference jon! I’m a lifetime member and do not think this decision is right! The park wolves need extra protection for reasons of study! The Wolves in Idaho are fair game!

    • Salle says:

      But there’s no such thing as a RW “activist” judge… right? (sarcasm intended)

  4. Kristi Lloyd says:

    The basis that these groups used to get the closed areas open again is that they didn’t have enough time to prepare their comments before the Dec. 10 meeting. That is pure BS. On Nov. 29 Big Game Forever sent an email to its members advising them…”the wolf advocates are at it again”…and told them to email and call MFWP about what Benson termed as a “buffer zone.” RMEF also instructed their members to call and email (but they are not included in this group). Ken Kubista’s organization, Montana Sportsmen For Fish and Wildlife spoke at the meeting on Dec. 10. It seems that there was indeed enough time. IF memory serves, 15 people spoke at the meeting, 11 pro-wolf and 4 anti-wolf…these people had time to prepare. In two week’s time, we made many phone calls, got information, had meetings, traveled for some of those meetings, drew up a map designating the closure zones, wrote up a proposal, re-wrote it, tweaked it, came up with the final product. It seems there was more than enough time for people to come up with a 3-minute long comment. MFWP sought advice from their legal department to ensure this was legal, and it was deemed so. I will bet any amount of money that this injunction was filed purposely on the day this judge was sitting on the bench. As Marc pointed out, MT covers 140,000 sq. miles, the closure zones were 60 sq. miles, this seems a deliberate attempt to specifically target Yellowstone wolves since there are no established packs in this area, other than the ones in Yellowstone. These wolves also have the misfortune as being viewed as a symbol for the federal government, even though these wolves are generations away from the original reintroduced wolves. Some people are not fully mature intellectually to make this distinction…probably mostly because they don’t want to. This shows how twisted the wolf issue is. If politicians and special interest groups would just let wildlife departments, EVERYWHERE, do their jobs that they are hired to do, that would eliminate a lot of the controversy.
    I would think the hearing would be at the same courthouse where this injunction was filed, 6th District Court, Livingston I believe?
    Thank you, Ralph, for bringing attention to this.

    • WM says:


      I don’t think the basis of the suit was a literal interpretation of “we didn’t have enough time” to prepare comments. I have not seen the complaint or the judge’s ruling. I also do not know the specifics of Montana’s rulemaking statutes, but it would not be unreasonable to conclude the rulemaking violated an adminstrative procedures statute, which says how much time is required for input public hearing (as in how many days for notice and publication of the rule). Some states have emergency provisions, and maybe MT did not.

      An easy way to cure would have been to put into the original rules adopted for the hunt, a clear and cogent provison that allowed for emergency closure of certain areas, including around Yellowstone NP, or any other units. It wasn’t like the idea of a need for a buffer had not been identified, and even the original rulemaking hearing notice conceptually addressed the concept of needing to remain flexible for closures based on what a harvest produced as the season progressed, based on objective criteria. Seems to me whittling down the number of YNP based wolves, especially those that contribute to WY’s obligation under the ESA would be a compelling reason.

      That is that sad part, and one which the Commission apparently chose not to address with legal sufficiency – until it was simply too big and glaring an issue to ignore. The fact that a judge did not consider the pragmatism of the rule is stunning, in my view. Afterall, it was not like the hunt was stopped entirely.

      Has anyone actually seen the Judge’s order and opinion? Any possibility of posting it?

    • Ida Lupine says:

      Well written.

    • jon says:

      That is what it looks like to me. These hunters want to specifically target yellowstone wolves. Montana fwp made the right move, but they should have banned wolf hunting in these specific areas before the wolf season even started or kept the quota very low knowing that yellowstone wolves with collars would be killed.

      • Craig says:

        Well get of your ass and do something about it! All you do is point out facts that have been printed!

  5. Savebears says:


    I do agree, if special interests on both side of the issue, would actually let the departments do there job, there would be a lot less controversy.

    Unfortunately neither side is willing to do this, and we keep seeing the lawsuits fly.

  6. Filip Panusz says:

    I had enough time to prepare a public comment, which I presented on December 10th on behalf of our organization (Footloose Montana).

    • Kim Bean says:

      Agreed Filip – We had enough time to write a proposal, map out way points for a closure and quota zones, submit them AND make statements… Guess some people need more time to prepare!

  7. Ralph Maughan says:

    Update to the story. I have added the following to the story thanks to information send by Wolves of the Rockies.

    “Update (Jan. 3, 2013)

    Here is some fascinating information about this judge. He will retire next week. This could be his parting shot and not a quality judicial decision. Judge Brenda Gilbert will be taking his seat as well as presiding over this case which will take place in Livingston on Jan 14 at 3pm.”

    • Louise Kane says:

      what is known about Judge Gilbert?

      • Savebears says:

        Hard to know anything about her Louise, she was just elected to her first term as a Judge in the state of Montana:


        It looks like this may be one of her first cases, if not her first.

        • WM says:

          It appears Judge elect Gilbert has a pretty good legal education (U of Puget Sound 1987), smart, local, allegedly fair, and has pledged to treat people with respect in court. That said, she is local (again), held campaign stumping at ranches in the area. Park/Sweetwater counties are very rural, livestock/ranching economy based, and practicing law in anything but a sophisticated legal environment. Livingston, MT would not be considered a Mecca where legal skills would be tested much, but where local values would seem to get presumptive preference over legal doctrine on the close calls.

          Will Judge Gilbert be fair, and truly understand the issues in this case, or will she just bend to local will and follow a path which appears to be set by her seasoned predecessor judge, in one of her first public cases? Hope somebody can report back from the Jan. 14 hearing.

          And, is anybody keeping close count on YNP based wolves being taken in this area now? Seems like things have been pretty quiet recently.

          • WM says:


            It appears judge-elect Gilbert is from Judge Swandel’s old firm, actually only 1 of 2 lawyers in it, where she apparently has practiced most/all of her 24+ year career. Go figure. Is the baton being passed, or will she go her own judicial way?

            • Savebears says:

              As I said, it will be interesting to see how one of her first cases goes.

            • Louise Kane says:

              WM I just had a conversation about this judge and learned the same as you, not boding well for impartiality. I think she might consider recusing herself

              under rules USC Title 28 Part I Chapter 21 § 455
              28 USC § 455 – Disqualification of justice, judge, or magistrate judge
              (1) Where he has a personal bias or prejudice concerning a party, or personal knowledge of disputed evidentiary facts concerning the proceeding;
              (2) Where in private practice he served as lawyer in the matter in controversy, or a lawyer with whom he previously practiced law served during such association as a lawyer concerning the matter, or the judge or such lawyer has been a material witness concerning it;

              • Savebears says:

                Well Louise,

                I can say you are good at research, but I don’t believe she will recuse herself, there is no indication there is any conflict with you presiding over this hearing.

                It would be up to the Montana Judicial system to bring up points that may cause problems.

              • Savebears says:

                Opps, that was “Her” presiding over this hearing, if it was “You” I am sure there would be bias shown!


  8. WM says:

    Not having seen the ruling and the judge’s basis for restraining MTFWP from implementing a closure of only 60 sq. mi. adjacent to Yellowstone NP, it is difficult to see why he felt compelled as a matter of law, to rule as he did, with the timing he used (apparently with a judicial hearing on Jan 14 to hear more on the case – huh?).

    The really goofy and non-sensical aspect of this judge’s ruling is that it sends an odd, and maybe not so good, message if a state regulatory agency-any agency- screws up (as in not considering some damaging aspect of a rule it promulgates) it cannot correct the action on an emergency basis, and must allow the rule to continue until it is retracted/modified after due notice and a period of time for public input. That is in a word – stupid. This is especially egregious since FWP believed, on the basis of its legal counsel, that it was proceeding in accordance with law.

    Here, the mid-season closure rule adjacent to YNP PREVENTS an irreversible action (killing important YNP based research wolves, some of which may be collared or important to another state’s ESA obligation in a very small geographic area).

    My question is why he did not take one of two possible judicially prudent actions which would accomplish the same thing. He could have delayed his ruling for an appropriate time period for FWP to properly promulgate the rule OR he could have found the rule in violation of law, but issued a temporary injunction on hunting wolves in the area until a rule was properly considered (and maybe or maybe not promulgated) after due notice and public input (if FWP had even sought such an injunction – which it could still seek to do).

    This injunction restraining FWP from implementing the rule which is designed to preserve and protect the status quo just seems BACKWARDS (he could hold his Jan. 14 hearing and even rule from the bench with his reasoning already fleshed out). It is not like temporarily stopping hunting and trapping for a couple of weeks in this tiny area would have a material effect on the overall harvest (even if it has the small possibility of protecting a few YNP based wolves).

    This judge lost an election for a state Supreme Court Justice position in 2010, to an apparently less “conservative” opponent. Maybe MT residents should be thankful he is not an appellate judge, even though he still presides over a trial court.

    Is this good judicial reasoning…or just a continuation of his “conservative” politics?


    • Ralph Maughan says:


      Turns out he retires in a week. He won’t even be the judge at the hearing.

    • Jerry Black says:

      WM……The judge, from what I understand, based part of his ruling on Article 11, Sec 8 of the Montana Constitution (“Reasonale Opportunity”)
      You probably remember my suit against them 2 years ago concerning “reasonable opportunity” to comment.
      MFWP and their legal counsel are well aware of the law and I’m sure felt it would not be a problem, however…WHAT is reasonable? In this case they had plenty of time to comment.
      Kubista and SFW with their tea party ties are well represented within legal circles in Montana…thankfully, another judge will rule and hopefully overturn this asinine decision.

    • Nancy says:

      Another interesting read in the Mt. Pioneer (if it hasn’t been posted already)


    • Louise Kane says:

      Excellent questions WM …..irrepearable harm argument hard to swallow “My question is why he did not take one of two possible judicially prudent actions which would accomplish the same thing. He could have delayed his ruling for an appropriate time period for FWP to properly promulgate the rule OR he could have found the rule in violation of law, but issued a temporary injunction on hunting wolves in the area until a rule was properly considered (and maybe or maybe not promulgated) after due notice and public input (if FWP had even sought such an injunction – which it could still seek to do).

  9. Mtn Mamma says:

    They so easily and quickly flipped this decision to allow hunting/trapping but emergency efforts to halt killing have been denied are forced to wait a certain time period. I guess the anti crowd wont stop until every last drop of wolf blood has soaked the ground.

    • Salle says:

      That’s the basic premise, seems like this sour grapes judge decided to take one last swipe on his way out the door. Another of the temper-tantrum faction it appears. What a jerk.

      • Savebears says:

        He would be a jerk, that is unless he interpreted the constitution correctly, it will be interesting to see what a new judge on the bench decides and how she interprets the constitution of Montana.

      • Louise Kane says:

        Salle the last swipe out the door is not so unusual. When we were living in St Thomas the exiting governor pardoned a mass murderer who had gunned down some people in St Croix at a golf resort, it was his parting FU gesture to the constituents.

        • Gail says:

          Unbelievable. How long since you’ve lived there, Louise?

        • Salle says:


          I get what you’re saying, I recall a certain fprmer Gov. of TN releasing a few prisoners (I think it was pardons)many years ago and then more recently Former Gov. Haley Barbour of MS pardoned over 200 convicts, several were murderers many of whom killed their wives. And that was in the past three years. Different kind of wildlife I guess…

  10. Jon Way says:

    What a bunch of hypocrites Americans are. We go around and afford ESA listing to other countries’ animals like tigers, even lions, and tell them how to “manage” their wildlife… And then we have entrenched laws that allow maximum utilization of some of our most well known animals. PPl outside of the US must think we are disgusting and, quite frankly, a joke… Whenever Commissions have a public comment period, you know their minds are already made up (usually to increase hunting) – now that the opposite happens (ie, to decrease hunting), this happens…

    • Gail says:

      >>Whenever Commissions have a public comment period, you know their minds are already made up (usually to increase hunting)<<

      Jon, in NY it is apparently common for the state wildlife folks to mail out surveys upon which they supposedly make decisions. I wrote to them and asked if I could get my name on a survey list (like the hunters do). Not surprised that I received no response. When an "issue" arises, it always seems to be at the 11th hour which hardly gives anyone who opposes an opportunity to voice an opinion. Seems like it's part of the strategy – do you think? Is there anything that can be done about it? That's why I always say you can learn a lot from going to hunting websites if you want to know what regulations are forthcoming or about to be changed.

      • Elk275 says:

        Gail the simple thing to do is buy a hunting license then you will be on there list. You do not have to punch your tag.

        • Gail says:

          Thanks, Elk275. Do you think that’s the only way? I hesitate to add funding to their coffer. I will if I have to.

          • Savebears says:

            Right now Gail, that is pretty much the best way to get on the mailing list. Game depts are funded by those who buy hunting and fishing licenses and that is who they pay the most attention to when things come up.

            Despite the things you disagree with, no matter the state involved, the game depts do a lot of good work also, habitat restoration and acquisition is only one of them.

            • Gail says:

              I may have to resort to that, Savebears. Buying a license I mean.
              I’m hoping there will eventually be a way to funnel some of that money from the “viewers” expenditures into game departments so that their actions will become more representative of ALL who are concerned and interested in wildlife – more balanced. Clearly, viewers are spending more than the hunting community. So where is that money going? Seriously! http://www.doi.gov/news/pressreleases/upload/FWS-National-Preliminary-Report-2011.pdf

              • Elk275 says:

                Depending upon your age and the laws of New York you may need a hunter safety card.

        • Jon Way says:

          While you may be correct, Elk, that is a pretty undemocratic way to have to do something since wildlife is supposed to belong to all ppl. We seem to be “beating a dead horse” b.c ppl like me keep saying how undemocratic the system is given the declining role of hunting in American culture, and you and SB repeatedly mention that is who state game agencies listen to – b.c that is who funds them – which we all know, all too well…

          • Mark L says:

            Some on this site have a ‘state fetish’ that makes them unable to see past an imaginary border over land or water. It’s weird, but doesn’t seem to be spreading. I.e. Montana used to be Idaho territory.

            • Elk275 says:

              The law is the law. Each state controlls their resident wildlife, yes there are exceptions for waterfowl. I have never heard on this forum anyone mentioning Texas. No one cares about how Texas manages their wildlife. Instead of coyote contests in Texas you pay the rancher a set amount for each coyote, bobcat or fox one shoots.

              People only care about Montana, Wyoming and Idaho because of the diverse number of big game animals.

              Mark L

              Montana was created out of Idaho and Dakota Territory not only Idaho Territory in 1864.

              • Ida Lupine says:

                I am saddened by what I see going on with other states’ wildlife ‘management’, but I hesitate sometimes because I don’t want to appear to be judging or telling other states how to run their state! But ‘contests’ is not the proper frame for any control of wildlife that is needed, and sends the wrong message.

              • Gail says:

                Elk 275 and Louise,
                Killing “contests” are becoming popular – sadly – by so called “sport hunters”. It’s the wanton slaughter of wildlife, as you know. Some states do not permit “prizes” to be awarded but the sponsors of such circus hunts have found a loophole: They award “points” for the biggest, smallest, most killed, etc. They often include other species as well, such as fox and bobcat. Kill all you can. I guess killing coyotes is necessary for them since 5 months per year, day AND night, is just not enough bloodshed. How short-sighted of all of them, participants and sponsors alike. Studies are being conducted now regarding the importance of the wild canid’s role in preventing the spread of Lyme disease. In the meanwhile, apparently, human adults, children and pets are of little consequence.

          • Savebears says:


            I don’t believe the game depts were set up as a democratic way of doing things, they were set up by hunters for hunters funded by hunters.

  11. Elis Giaz says:

    Very bad news for wolves. I am a city guy, I live in Athens Greece, I can not believe why is so difficult for people in the US to live along side with the incredible American wildlife. Montana is huge and scarcely populated. It is bad news. Jaguars used to live in the Southern USA and they are gone. Unbelievable. It is the American way of life (Huge cars, huge areas for livestock graze etc). America be happy with less like Europe does.

    • Gail says:

      Elis, the big argument here is that for these so-called “sport hunters”….it is their “HERITAGE”! They like to sound patriotic but they are not.

      • Savebears says:

        No Gail,

        In Montana, it is their Constitutional Right to hunt.

        • Gail says:

          Yes, Savebears, I know they cling to that for “deer” life. But “Heritage” is making the rounds these days, too. It’s the hot new word.

          • Savebears says:

            Heritage has always been used in the talk about hunting and fishing, it is nothing new, as far as hunters being un-patriotic, I am going to strongly disagree with you on that one.

            Patriotism by many of these hunters is the reasons you still have the right to make such statements.

            • Gail says:

              Savebears, this is wide open for some debate, but for the purpose of staying on topic maybe we can just agree to disagree. However, I appreciate your input.

              • Savebears says:


                If you want to stay on topic, don’t make statements that take it off topic. Especially ones you seem to have no knowledge of.

            • JB says:

              Patriotism = 1 part unfounded arrogance + 1 part angry bluster + 2 parts cultural ignorance. Simmer and stir slowly for best results.

    • WM says:


      And, I can’t believe the Greek government and its citizens are so lax about paying and collecting taxes, and not being able to balance a budget on a grand scale. Of course, those flaws are so critical they have spilled over, and shaken financial markets in Europe to their very core in the last year. And, over the last several years have caused the Greek economy to collapse, dethroned a government and threatened the future of the Euro currency. Now that is some real bad news – and truly unbelievable.

      You could worry about what is going on in your own country, rather than opine on how Americans should live their lives and the welfare of wildlife here. I do agree with you, however.

      • Gail says:

        >>You could worry about what is going on in your own country, rather than opine on how Americans should live their lives and the welfare of wildlife here<<

        WM, maybe Elis DOES "worry" about the goings on in Greece. We don't know. But his opinion is still welcome on this forum – I hope!

        • WM says:


          Maybe I was a bit harsh, but I was not suggesting Elis’ opinion was not welcome. Just putting things in perspective. I never cease to be amazed about how some living in other countries sometimes chastize Americans, while looking past the cloudy water their own fouled fish bowl.

      • Peter Kiermeir says:

        He, bashing Greece is our German privilege ! And – by the way – isn´t there another country continuously sailing on the edge of a fiscal cliff……… :-))

        • WM says:


          Touche! Ooops, that was French.:)

        • Ralph Maughan says:

          Peter Kiermeir makes an important point. I doubt there has ever been a political party so stupid as to refuse to pay their country’s legally incurred debts when they easily could do so.

          I am talking about the Republican plan to hold us and the world hostage on the debt limit issue.

  12. Elli says:

    Stupid question from “another” country overseas with a growing wolf population:
    Wouldn’t it be possible, that hunters who are pro-wolf (I’m sure there are some out there) to buy out all the licenses and NOT go and shoot the wolves? Like buying out grazing permits.
    So the state gets his “hunting” money and we get to keep the wolves?

    • Nancy says:

      I think some non-hunters did that Elli first wolf season here in Montana.

      I’m curious as to where all the fines from hunting violations go – failure to gain permission from landowner, out of season, failure to tag, etc. Had a slew of them in the local paper just after hunting season (that added up to a tidy sum of money) and that was in just one county. Elk & SB?

    • Mark L says:

      yasou! Elli,
      it’s not a stupid question but it doesn’t work. In fact, some are arguing that this very thing was attempted in some states this past season and the higher numbers of wolf tag requests let to higher wolf quotas, due to demand. Imagine trying to pay money thinking you were helping wolves when all you did was get more killed…and you paid for others to hunt with the tag too. Economics and conservation are 2 wholly different animals. They don’t always play well together.

      • ma'iingan says:

        “…the higher numbers of wolf tag requests let to higher wolf quotas, due to demand.”

        You have it backward – in a limited-issue management plan, harvest quotas are established before kill tags are issued. Kill tags are then awarded based on an anticipated (or historical) success rate.

        If that success rate is driven lower than projected by unused tags, the danger is that in subsequent seasons the number of kill tags issued will be increased – and that could result in overharvest.

    • JEFF E says:

      there is no max number of tags. you buy them they will keep printing them.

  13. jon says:

    From an article that I read,

    “In July, however, when the wolf hunting and trapping seasons were adopted, in response to public comment the FWP Commission additionally directed FWP to conduct a review of the overall harvest prior to the Dec. 15 opening of the wolf trapping season to determine if season adjustments would be needed. At the time, FWP noted in press releases and on its website that the FWP Commission can close the wolf season at anytime. Montana’s wolf hunting regulations also identifies FWP Commission authority to close the wolf season.”

    Montana FWP should win this, but you just never know.

  14. Lisa Sears says:

    What a sad and disturbing update, but I certainly appreciate everyone sharing it.

  15. Elis Giaz says:

    WM, Americans should try to live as Europeans do. Smaller cars etc. The thing with America (I suppose) is, that it is not destructed as much as Europe has been. We are trying to bring some wildlife back but with very slow pace. America has great potential, you should adopt what Canada does. As far as the economy, we have still a huge public sector that needs modification-fixing. But all Southern European countries face financial problems. The austerity measures coming from EU (Germany) bring poverty. The Germans wanted us in the Euro in order to conquer us (and the rest of Europe). Do not be fooled by what you read in the newspapers. The Germans where always little dumb, they never had colonies so they can only govern themselves (not other nations).

    • Savebears says:


      We left Europe a long time ago, because we didn’t want to live the way Europeans do.

    • WM says:


      I agree Americans should “think smaller,” and live a bit lighter on the land. Unfortunately, it is not our history, and it is proving a difficult change in our culture – capitalism, free enterpise (religous freedom that some would say translates to certain economic theories) and all that.

      As for Canada, it appears you don’t know much about its resource extraction industries, whether it is precious minerals, coal, oil or timber. The fact is, some might say they are worse than Americans, generally, in their environmental record in most the Western Provinces and further north in their country. Think of Canada as the United States’ very close younger cousin, looking up to a marginal role model south of the 49th Parallel.

      I don’t think the Euro has much to do with Greece’s sole obligation to collect taxes (you guys are horrible at it, knew it but chose to ignore it, and it caught up with you) and spend within budget, so the bigger problem rests solely on the Greek citizens and its government. You guys made your own bed, that has put the European economy in a collective tailspin. Don’t pawn it off on the Germans, and claim they are responsible for a recent spate of poverty and unrest.

      Good luck with the wildlife restoration. That is something maybe most everyone can agree is needed wherever it occurs.

      • Ralph Maughan says:


        To some degree I have to side with Elis. It is not that the southern European countries ran up such incredible debt, but that the interest rates they borrowed at were far too high to make repayments if there was a recession. It was more like a mortgage with a bad interest rate rather than a huge mortgage. The private sector in Europe did the Greeks in as much as public sector taxation problems.

        The United States on the other hand can borrow money now almost for free because it is felt by those who lend the federal government money they we have the best credit in the world . . . surely able to repay.

        This is the really awful thing about House Republicans using the debt limit as hostage to their political goals. They can destroy the financial reputation of America just like that by refusing to finance the routine repayment of the national debt, even for a short time. Any deliberate default on the national debt caused by partisan political conflict could cost many trillions of dollars in borrowing costs.

        We are in no position to lecture to Greece, Italy or Spain. They were smart enough not to shoot themselves.

        • WM says:


          You may be right about the debt that S. Europea countries ran up at high interest rates. What I thought was interesting regarding the uncollected tax problem is that it approached $75 billion, which is almost 1.75 times as much as the EU bail out funding (at a level equal to 25% of Greece entire GDP), and guess who the biggest offenders are – the uber-rich. It has gone on so long statute of limitiations laws for collection prevent recovery, due to government complicity and corruption. I wonder if a US audit might also reveal such a story if one digs deep enough.

          My apologies for taking the thread off-topic.

          • Ralph Maughan says:


            We should keep things on topic, but I am so concerned about the clown caucus provoking a national default it is making it hard for me to think about wildlife.

    • JEFF E says:

      “Germans where always little dumb, they never had colonies ”

      Perhaps you should educate yourself a bit on the history of the African Continent.

  16. Nancy says:

    “I’m curious as to where all the fines from hunting violations go – failure to gain permission from landowner, out of season, failure to tag, etc.

    Had a slew of them in the local paper just after hunting season (that added up to a tidy sum of money) and that was in just one county. Elk & SB?”

    Still waiting for an answer because it seems to be a nice revenue, statewide, in addition to tags and licenses.

    • Elk275 says:

      I have been told that fish and game fines go into the county general fund. If there is restitution it goes to Fish, wildlife and parks. Where does finds go for speeding, DUI’s, underage drinking, no insurance good question. Fines are a source of revenue for the city, county and state.

  17. Elis Giaz says:

    WM I thought that Canada was better than USA (lower 48states) in conservation, because I see the distribution of animals (maps). Grizzlies, wolves, big ungulates etc live in Canada. Maybe it is because Canada is scarcely populated. Ok I am wrong. 3 Questions for you. 1) Where woodland caribous present ever (18th, 19th century) in the Yellowstone area(park)? 2) Are there plans to reintroduce woodland caribous and American Bison in Glacier National Park (Montana)? 3) Is it realistic for conservationists to create another “yellowstone” in the South Western USA (California, Arizona, New Mexico etc) where the flora and fauna of South America meets the flora and fauna of North America? (With bisons, jaguars, javalina etc).

    • Ralph Maughan says:

      Elis Giaz,

      It is mostly that Canada is sparsely populated I think. They could think of little way to exploit their far north until recently.

      The presence of oil and gas corrupts the political system. Canada is acting more and more like thugish petrostate.

    • JB says:

      WM is right about the Canadian system. They have no equivalent of our APA, which makes it much harder for conservation groups to challenge agency actions.


January 2013


‎"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