Utah legislature likely to fund alternative education program using wolf fairy tales

Don Peay, Ryan Benson to receive 300K to spread fables-

Utah is dead last place in America in per-pupil spending on education. The state legislature does want to innovate, however. So for a second year it appears they will grant $300,000 to Don Peay, founder of Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife and the related anti-wolf group Big Game Forever, headed by Peay and Ryan Benson, to lead a story telling program using classic and new mythology and featuring the “vicious” wolf as an education device.

The grant, is spearheaded by Senate Majority Leader Ralph Okerlund, R-Monroe, UT, who was bought into the program after receiving campaign donations for $6500 from the two lobbyist wildlife educators.

Though no group, nor the federal government, is actually trying to reintroduce wolves to Utah, the men will use frightening folk tales to portray a world where this does happen. In this alternative universe, small, but deadly, Mexican wolves are brought to Utah where they wipe out all the big game and cost folks in nearby Idaho, Wyoming and Montana $100-million, all but destroying hunting and agriculture both.

There are those who say the telling of fairy tales is a lost art, but the legislature’s Republicans look bound to revive the time honored tradition of scaring children (adults too) so that they behave — not ask uncomfortable questions about what the Solons who gather at the capital building in Salt Lake City each winter do with their time and the citizen’s money.
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Salt Lake Tribune editorial cartoon about the issue. Bagley cartoon: The Legislature Who Cried Wolf







  1. Joseph C. Allen Avatar
    Joseph C. Allen

    Ecological bigotry at its best!

  2. Kirk Robinson Avatar
    Kirk Robinson

    Here’s one of the things Benson evidently does with his haul of Utah taxpayer fleece. His house (described below), Don Peay’s house and Miles Moretti’s House (head of the Mule Deer Foundation) are all within a half mile radius on the Lake Bonneville bench above Bountiful, Utah. All three men are undoubtedly members of the same LDS stake, and possibly the same LDS ward:

    4331 Hidden Hollow Dr.
    Zestimate: $713,606
    Rent Zestimate: $1,497/mo
    Est. Mortgage: $2,593/mo
    Single Family:4,458 sq ft
    Lot:46,609 sq ft
    Year Built:2006

    1. Josh Avatar

      Why would you assume they are members of the LDS religion? LOL

      They may well be, but it makes me laugh that you are trying to draw a connection between the LDS religion and SFW..

      1. Bob Ferris Avatar

        Peay is certainly LDS and Sportsmen for Romney shared an office address with Big Game Forever. Also Peay’s son works for Bain & Company and also contributed to Romney’s campaign and was one of those Bain employees who tweeted that Romney was not connected with Bain after he retired. I think it is safe to say that Mr. Peay’s religion is a strong influence on his life.

        1. SAP Avatar

          Reading Matthew Durrant’s very thoughtful and illuminating comments on LDS theology as it relates to the natural world, I think a more accurate statement might be “religion-based cronyism is a strong influence on Mr. Peay’s life.”

  3. J. Alfred Avatar

    This sort of thing makes me sick to my stomach. How can one group of hunters (man) disrespect and not want to learn from another group (predatory animals)? I’ll never understand it.

  4. WM Avatar

    Utahans, and many of their progentitors have been telling fairy tales for nearly 200 years, often to the benefit of the power circle at the top. Fairytale Central is currently located in a tall, white, multi-peaked building in Salt Lake City. What else is new? Tell me the legislature is NOT influenced by Fairytale Central.

    And to think I almost went to graduate school in Logan, many years ago.

    1. JB Avatar

      I found Utah State was a marvelous place to be a graduate student–especially in natural resources. By virtue of our belief in evolution by natural selection, most in natural resources and biological sciences were part of a small, closely knit counter culture. I think the isolation also contributed to faculty being more accessible and involved with graduate students.

      And then there is the proximity to some of the world’s best national parks, as well as a variety of national and state forests.

    2. Matthew Durrant Avatar
      Matthew Durrant

      Please don’t assume that all Mormons share the same views as the legislature. Our church teaches none of the garbage that flows from the state house. Those in the legislature who put forth trashy legislation like this not only have no understanding of how nature works but are also blatantly ignorant of church doctrine. I’m a Mormon and I, like many others, do not for one second support the nonsense the legislators throw out. It has much more to do with party politics than religion. This is a quote from Mormon.org, an official website of the LDS Church:

      Besides being citizens of a city and a country, we are all citizens of the earth. God created the beautiful world we live in, and we have a responsibility to respect it. We can show our gratitude for His amazing creation by being aware of the natural resources we consume and working to reduce, reuse, and recycle them—God gave us “dominion over all the beasts of the field,” but with that dominion comes the expectation to act responsibly (Moses 5:1). We are entrusted to take care of the earth, not only because it is a gift from God, but because we depend on it for sustenance. Not as many of us grow our own food now as people did before the industrial revolution, so it can be easy to forget how tied we are to the land we live on (All our food comes from the grocery store, right?). We would do well to remember where our bread comes from today. To show our gratitude to God, we try to work to preserve the sustainable use of the earth’s beauty and bounty for the generations that follow.

      1. Ralph Maughan Avatar
        Ralph Maughan

        Matthew Durrant,

        Thank you. I agree with much of this. There is no scriptural or theological reason why the Church should be tied to all of this, but I judge religion by their works much more than their faith or ritualistic practice. I believe the reference is “By their works, ye shall know them.” Many of the current members of the Utah legislature need to be judged not only by their adherence to LDS ritual, but by their deeds. They fall far short, IMO.

        1. Matthew Durrant Avatar
          Matthew Durrant

          I agree with you Ralph. Their works are certainly nothing to be proud of. However I still feel that it is more a matter of political ideology as opposed to religious adherence. Members of my religion are just as susceptible to corruption, greed, and ignorance as members of any other religion. This does not meant that the teachings of the church or its influence are to blame. It simply means they have made poor choices that reflect badly upon themselves and the rest of us who do not necessarily condone their actions. For these reasons and many more, I feel that the Utah legislature is completely out of touch with what most of the people of Utah actually want, and with reality in general. They are more interested in their personal agendas than what is actually good for our community, state, and nation.

          1. Ralph Maughan Avatar
            Ralph Maughan


            I think they are indeed out of touch with their constituents because of the closed primary election/convention system of nomination in Utah, a one-party state, the only constituents who count are those who attend the convention and/or vote in the Republican primary.

            Lawmakers in every solid “blue” or solid “red” state do not have to be responsible to the entire citizenry of their state, only to voters in their primary election. Historically in America (I mean over 125 years), one party rule has led to corruption.

            1. JEFF E Avatar
              JEFF E


          2. Nancy Avatar

            “God gave us “dominion over all the beasts of the field,” but with that dominion comes the expectation to act responsibly (Moses 5:1

            Matthew, What say you to those that don’t believe in the “dominion over all the beasts of the field?” mentality?

            Curious because I have a “live and let live” approach to life.

            1. Ida Lupine Avatar
              Ida Lupine

              God gave us “dominion over all the beasts of the field”.

              If he did, he made a big mistake, and one I’m sure he regrets daily. 🙁

            2. Barb Rupers Avatar
              Barb Rupers

              Trophy elk hunting in Utah

              Supposedly this trophy bull was at the end of his prime so it is OK to utilize him and scruff his noses on the ground as the hunter’s admire him and get all the data about the antler measurements that make them record makers in one way or another.

            3. Matthew Durrant Avatar
              Matthew Durrant

              Nancy, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. “Dominion over the beasts of the field” as I understand it does not mean we have free reign to do whatever we want without consequence. It means that we have been given a stewardship, to use and take care of what we have been given with wisdom and responsibility. Let me share two quotes with you. The first is from LDS scripture (the Doctrine and Covenants) D&C 59:18-20,
              18 Yea, all things which come of the earth, in the season thereof, are made for the benefit and the use of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart;

              19 Yea, for food and for raiment, for taste and for smell, to strengthen the body and to enliven the soul.

              20 And it pleaseth God that he hath given all these things unto man; for unto this end were they made to be used, with judgment, not to excess, neither by extortion.

              The second quote is from Joseph F. Smith, one of the early leaders of the Church. Here he is speaking of wildlife and needless hunting:

              “It is not only wicked to destroy them, it is abominable, in my opinion. I think that this principle should extend, not only to the bird life, but to the life of all animals. . . . I never could see why a man should be imbued with a blood-thirsty desire to kill and destroy animal life. I have known men—and they still exist among us—who enjoy what is, to them, the “sport” of hunting birds. . . . I think it is wicked for men to thirst in their souls to kill almost everything which possesses animal life. It is wrong, and I have been surprised at prominent men whom I have seen whose very souls seemed to be athirst for the shedding of animal blood. They go off hunting deer, antelope, elk, anything they can find, and what for? “Just for the fun of it.”

              To me “dominion over the beasts of the field” simply means that mankind has been given the responsibility to wisely care for the other creature we inhabit this world with. It means we should take only what we need to live (“used with judgement, and not to excess”) and make sure we respect all of God’s creatures as an important part of the world we’ve been given. As I mentioned I also believe that we cannot take this responsibility lightly and that we will one day be held accountable if we needlessly, and carelessly destroy life, or otherwise contribute to the destruction of the things God has given us. “With great power comes great responsibility”. I hope that answers your question….and I hope you all know that I read this blog because I agree with the points of view expressed in the articles.

              1. SAP Avatar

                Very interesting – much appreciated. My own evolving spirituality does not have God putting humans above all other life. That said, I sure enjoy a good elk steak, I’ve got a whole bunch of quality leather boots, and I am directly responsible for premature deaths of a pound of organic beets already this week. So in a very practical sense, I regularly appropriate other life “for food and for raiment, for taste and for smell, to strengthen the body . . .”

                The part about enlivening the soul — could that be taken, among other things, that we might value our fellow creatures purely for their own sake?

                Like I stated above, I’m not wholly on board with the whole “dominion” concept. But what you’ve laid out here appears to provide plenty of room for finding common ground. Thank you.

              2. Nancy Avatar

                Thank you Matthew.

                But, I live in Montana and sadly I’m very familiar with the term “stewardship” and the “we will one day be held accountable if we needlessly, and carelessly destroy life, or otherwise contribute to the destruction of the things God has given us” mentality 🙂

              3. SAP Avatar

                ps: I’m inclined to believe that, had Joseph Smith not been murdered in Illinois and survived to journey to the unsettled West, he might have joined in the wholesale removal of large carnivores. Not because I think he was evil or a hypocrite, but because that was the way things were back then. Remember that Aldo Leopold also started out as a true believer in predator control. But this is not 1847; we do not face the same constraints and survival imperatives that our ancestors did.

              4. Matthew Durrant Avatar
                Matthew Durrant

                SAP, Yes! We are speaking the same language here. I eat meat and vegetables too, and also own a couple pairs of sturdy leather boots, so naturally something must die so that I can live. All the material I quoted was saying was that we should take only what we need. The key words were “judgement” and “excess”. I don’t hunt anymore because I realized I don’t really need it (I was also a pretty lousy hunter anyways). That said I’m not opposed to hunting if people will use what they take and be grateful for it. However I know plenty of people whose sole purpose for hunting is not to provide for “food and raiment” but to shoot anything that moves and hang it on their wall for all to gawk at. Trophy hunting in my opinion is simply more about bragging rights than any real need. To me predator hunting (i.e. wolves) falls into the “excess” and “extortion” categories. It seems to be more about blood lust and ignorance than anything else. Killing just for the fun of killing is, in my opinion, wrong.

                As for “enlivening the soul” you hit the nail right on the head. That is exactly what that means. If you look a little further up in that quote it also says that the things in nature were also given to us to “please the eye and gladden the heart”. One of the many “uses” of wildlife and nature as a whole is simply for enjoyment. I don’t recall ever being outdoors in a beautiful pristine area and not feeling enlivened, pleased, and gladdened.

                Whatever our belief systems are there is much common ground to be had like you said.

              5. Matthew Durrant Avatar
                Matthew Durrant

                Nancy, not entirely sure what you mean by your last comment, other than that the term “stewardship” can be misused. (FYI, I’m from Idaho but currently live in Utah for grad school).

                SAP, You may be interested in this anecdote from church history about Joseph Smith. He was leading a group of members from Ohio to Missouri when, in his own words, the following happened:

                “We crossed the Embarras river and encamped on a small branch of the same about one mile west. In pitching my tent we found three massasaguas, or prairie rattlesnakes, which the brethren were about to kill, but I said, “Let them alone–don’t hurt them! How will the serpent ever lose his venom, while the servants of God possess the same disposition, and continue to make war upon it? Men must become harmless, before the brute creation; and when men lose their vicious dispositions and cease to destroy the animal race, the lion and the lamb can dwell together, and the suckling child can play with the serpent in safety.” The brethren took the serpents carefully on sticks and carried them across the creek. I exhorted the brethren not to kill a serpent, bird or an animal of any kind during my journey unless it became necessary in order to preserve ourselves from hunger.

                I had frequently spoken on this subject, when on a certain occasion I came up to the brethren who were watching a squirrel on a tree, and to prove them and to know if they would heed my counsel, I took one of their guns, shot the squirrel and passed on, leaving the squirrel on the ground. Brother Orson Hyde, who was just behind, picked up the squirrel, and said, “We will cook this that nothing may be lost.” I perceived that the brethren understood what I did it for, and in their practice gave more heed to my precept than to my example which was right.”

              6. Matthew Durrant Avatar
                Matthew Durrant

                SAP, speaking of “enlivening the soul” you may be interested to read the entire Joseph F. Smith quote that was paraphrased above:

                “I have just a few words to say in addition to those that have already been said, in relation to shedding blood and to the destruction of life. I think that every soul should be impressed by the sentiments that have been spoken, and not less with reference to the killing of our innocent birds, natives of our country, who live upon the vermin that are indeed enemies of the farmer and to mankind. It is not only wicked to destroy them, it is abominable in my opinion. I think that this principle should extend, not only to the bird life, but to life of all animals. When I visited, a few years ago, the Yellowstone National Park, and saw in the streams and the beautiful lakes, birds swimming quite fearless of man, allowing passers-by to approach them as closely almost as tame birds, and apprehending no fear of them, and when I saw droves of beautiful deer herding along the side of the road, as fearless of the presence of men as any domestic animal, it filled my heart with a degree of peace and joy that seemed to be almost a foretaste of that period hoped for when there shall be none to hunt and none to molest in all the land especially among all the inhabitants of Zion. These same birds, if they were to visit other regions inhabited by man, would, on account of their tameness, doubtless become more easily a prey to the gunner. The same may be said of those beautiful creatures–the deer and antelope. If they should wander out of the park, beyond the protection which is established there for these animals, they would become, of course, an easy prey to those who were seeking their lives. I never could see why a man should be imbued with a blood-thirsty desire to kill and destroy animal life. I have known men–and they still exist among us–who enjoy what is, to them, the “sport” of hunting birds and slaying them by the hundreds, and who will come in after a day’s sport, boasting of how many harmless birds they have had the skill to slaughter, and day after day, during the season when it is lawful for men to hunt and kill (the birds having had a season of protection and not apprehending danger) go out by scores or hundreds, and you may hear their guns early in the morning on the day of the opening, as if great armies had met in battle; and the terrible work of slaughtering the innocent birds goes on.

                I do not believe any man should kill animals or birds unless he needs them for food, and then he should not kill innocent little birds that are not intended for food for man. I think it is wicked for men to thirst in their souls to kill almost everything which possesses animal life. It is wrong. I have been surprised at prominent men whom I have seen whose very souls seemed to be athirst for the shedding of animal blood. They go off hunting deer, antelope, elk, anything they can find, and what for? “Just the fun of it!” Not that they are hungry and need the flesh of their prey, but just because they love to shoot and to destroy life. I am a firm believer, with reference to these things, in the simple words of one of the poets:

                “Take not way the life you cannot give,
                For all things have an equal right to live.”

                And it shall come to pass, that before they call I will answer; and while they are yet speaking I will hear.
                The wolf and the lamb shall feed together and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock; and dust shall be the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the Lord.

                Is it not an excellent time for man to set the example as the Prophet has said?”

              7. Ida Lupine Avatar
                Ida Lupine

                It means we should take only what we need to live (“used with judgement, and not to excess”) and make sure we respect all of God’s creatures as an important part of the world we’ve been given.

                Yes, I agree with you. I don’t like to see anyone’s beliefs singled out for criticism – I do have a problem with those who interpret biblical passages for their own self-serving means. It’s not religion that is the problem, but the ways in which some interpret it.

                to please the eye and to gladden the heart;

                Many forget this part also. Thank you for your post.

              8. Matthew Durrant Avatar
                Matthew Durrant

                Ida Lupine: I’m glad I was able to help clarify that. 🙂

              9. SAP Avatar

                Thanks again, Matthew.

                I grew up in Missouri, where we were taught next to nothing about the Mormon era there. I have come to view Joseph Smith as a visionary, a very special person who, like all of us, had his flaws. He was clearly a talented leader with a good heart.

                The last quote you posted (9:13 PM) confused me because it mentioned Yellowstone. Is that Smith or Young being quoted? Not important, as the sentiments are still quite germane and welcome. But Smith was murdered in 1844, whereas YNP was established in 1872.

              10. Matthew Durrant Avatar
                Matthew Durrant

                SAP, the quote you’re wondering about that mentions Yellowstone was Joseph F. Smith (nephew of Joseph Smith, Church founder) who was the leader of the church in the early 1900s. The anecdote with the squirrel was about Joseph Smith the Prophet. Confusing I know, but that should help clarify that.

              11. SAP Avatar

                Thanks for that clarification! And for your generosity and courage to wade into this discussion.

    3. Josh Avatar

      WM thanks for your insight! I appreciate it. Fairytale central huh? And I am now supposed to take you serious after that comment… 🙂

  5. Ralph Maughan Avatar
    Ralph Maughan

    And, of course, if folks haven’t seen it, they will want to read “Don Peay: the Man Who Would Be King … Baron” by Bob Ferris.

    Ferris spells out in the detail the long range goals of Peay, Benson and associated people, to take hunting and wildlife in general away from the people in the states and make it part of the emerging system of what I called feudal capitalism.

    In my mind, transfer of the public lands too is all part of this. The West’s open space will be owned mostly by several hundred of the superwealthy who will have all rights to wildlife and other resources. Access to all of this will be shut to the public, “the public” being a concept they want to abolish.

    The millions of acres of land to be owned by the billionaire new barons, lands formerly national forests and parks, will be patroled by a private army of miserable uneducated hirelings from the disempowered citizeny. The new barons will access their land and estates by air, untouched and unbothered by the dirty masses.

  6. Bob Ferris Avatar

    Thanks for posting my piece Ralph. In my effort to get this out before the vote in the Utah legislature, I likely left some issues out of my piece, but it gives a general sense of what these folks are about and what they are trying to accomplish. I would also say that I encouraged by the outpouring of support that I have received from writers in the hunting community who have been trying to get this story before the American public for quite some time. Key here is the collusion between the livestock industry and trophy hunters (i.e., Peay’s groups, Safari Club, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, etc.) to take control of wildlife and wildlands in the West. They are working hard in the legislatures and also on wildlife commissions to forward this privileged agenda and we need to work to protect our interests in the lands and wildlife that are owned by all of us. Thanks again for all you do.

    Bob Ferris
    Cascadia Wildlands

    1. WM Avatar


      What hard (verifiable) evidence do you have that RMEF is in this “collusion” group which would privatize wildife? While I have my issues with the organization, I am unaware of such activities. Please elaborate.

      1. Bob Ferris Avatar

        Since David Allen has come into control of RMEF the organization they have become increasingly tight with the livestock industry. Part of this comes from Mr. Allen’s ties with the Pro-Rodeo and western wear industry. The strongest evidence of this is that they say virtually nothing about the impact of cattle on elk in terms of competition. Taking the worse case scenario at this point for elk which is Idaho and seeing that there are roughly 2.2 million cattle, 100,000 elk and maybe 700 wolves, RMEF continues to take the position that wolves are the problem. This ignores the impacts of climate change, the importance and diminished conditions of summer ranges and the exacerbation of both by cattle grazing. Yet RMEF remains virtually silent about these issues as well as Brucellosis and the potential for elk control. Mr. Allen’s hesitancy to criticize the livestock industry or even raise these questions are strong indicators of where his loyalty resides.

        1. WM Avatar


          I do not disagree with what you state about affiliation with livestock interests. I expect the politics of wolf opposition results in strange bedfellows (not always the view of RMEF since they once had a wait and see policy up until a couple years ago when it became evident wolves were perceived to have unsatisfactory impacts on elk populations in some areas).

          You do not answer the question about supposed collusion by RMEF with these other yahoos who seek to privatize wildlife for an elite group. That is the part that needs the verifiable link. Do you have anything to make the case?

          1. Bob Ferris Avatar

            I think the key word in your first paragraph is “perception.” And RMEF has been one of the drivers in creating that perception in the absence of scientific evidence.

            As to the links with SFW and BGF that is a little more subtle and more guilt by association. RMEF has increasingly distanced itself from traditional, science-driven conservation groups in its stances on wolves, climate change, supplemental feeding, etc. and tightened its ties with ranchers and outfitters purposely or unconsciously creating conditions that favor outfitters offering exclusive hunts on limited access properties. Whether they mean to or not this creates the very same situation favored by Peay and his compatriots.

            1. mikepost Avatar

              Bob, I dont agree with where RMEF has gone with the wolf thing but I think you are overstating the case. To my knowledge, they are not in climate change denial, support supplemental feeding only as a way to mitigate winter damage to stored cattle forage and certainly are champions of public access.

              RMEF actually funded the study in Wyoming that showed that bears were a larger impact on elk calves than wolves.

              You sound a bit too much like the “black helicopter” nut cases you are trying to combat with the use of unsubstantiated assertions.

              1. Bob Ferris Avatar


                Yes RMEF funded the study but did not conduct the study nor have they promoted the findings or incorporated them into their messaging. They also followed this with a pledge to fund wolf control.


              2. JB Avatar

                So the implication is…they funded the study because they thought it would show wolves as the smoking gun?

              3. Bob Ferris Avatar

                JB–I’ll leave the implications up to you, but when I see studies they influence my narrative. This study and others that contradict RMEF’s a priori position have not influenced their narrative. I think this is problem for a group that purports to be guided by science.

              4. JB Avatar


                I’m just asking for your opinion. I agree with you: the results of scientific inquiry should influence a group’s rhetoric–that is, if they are using science to answer a question. Unfortunately, too often science is improperly used as a “tool” to support an existing agenda and subsequently ignored when the results do not support that agenda. I agree that RMEF is guilty on this account; of course, if we’re being fair the pro-wolf groups do the same thing.

              5. Bob Ferris Avatar

                Yes it is my opinion that they funded the study because they wanted to have a defensible paper looking at the worst elk population trends and have that pinned on the wolf. They have also pushed the Creel study on the cost to females elk of being around wolves without acknowledging that other studies of fecal pellets or using other technologies had contradictory findings.

                As to the sins of the pro-wolf crowd it is probably a mistake to think of them as monolithic. I am a wildlife biologist and I admit that I cringe at times when I hear what is being said by what I would consider wolf lovers. It is hard to sort all of this out.

              6. mikepost Avatar

                Bob, again, your rhetoric is opinion driven. I know for a fact that RMEF gave a group of high end RMEF donors a special briefing on this same study by its author in Cody, WY.

                They may not be getting this right but I think all this polarizing talk eliminates the ability to educate those who differ with you.

              7. WM Avatar

                Bob Ferris,

                You are thinking like the wildlife biologist you apparently are. RMEF is thinking like the interest group it is. RMEF is stuck on the simple science part where the caloric requirements of a wolf are in excess of 12-23 ungulates per year, which means some elk die to feed wolves; wolves change elk behavior making them even more difficult to hunt, and maybe go into winter with less fat reserve. Nuances to these mostly proven hypotheses or contradicting science doesn’t count.

                In addition, wolves have the ability to reproduce at rather dramatic rates in areas where prey is abundant (witness the YNP/central ID rapid expansion). Every live elk (especially calves) a wolf gets is one not available to a hunter, and the more wolves there are the more elk they eat (see paragraph 1).

                Then there is the political part, where the rubber meets the road. They are, like many, tired of the protracted litigation in whatever forum presents itself, for example the consolidated cases on the WY delisting plan pending in Cheyenne.

                RMEF leadership sings “This wolf population expansion thing needs to stop, now,” sung while holding hands with the livestock industry, outfitters, and the Peay like profiteers.

                It is a pretty simple message initially grounded in basic science which supports their view, with a prescribed course to meet an objective.

                And, as JB suggested earlier not alot different than some wolf advocates in their simplistic thinking, and way of addressing the topic.

              8. Bob Ferris Avatar

                WM, Except it is not grounded in science at all because it does not explore the concepts of additive versus compensatory predation. Certainly elk die and certainly wolves kill elk, but that does not always mean that wolves lower elk populations. If some elk did not die of natural causes and habitat was not a limiting factor, we would be up to asses in elk in no time because the population would grow exponentially. To ignore the need for these other factors is basing arguments on flawed assumptions not on science and an organization like RMEF should base their policies on sound science and if they do not they should come clean on it.

              9. JB Avatar

                “Nuances to these mostly proven hypotheses or contradicting science doesn’t count.”

                Except that the “nuances” suggest these “wolf effects” are not strong and indeed, in some cases maybe non-existant (I’m thinking of Mech here). Even where hunters think of wolves as the smoking gun, research suggests climate and human hunting adequately explain the elk population reduction.


                I agree with you about them acting like an interest group. Fear and propaganda work for fund-raising; and like it or not, RMEF is now part of the wolf hysteria machine. Oh well, there’s always DU… 🙂

            2. Bob Ferris Avatar


              “Wolf reintroduction is the worst ecological disaster since the decimation of bison herds,” Allen said recently, as he claimed that wolves are “decimating” and “annihilating” elk herds. “To keep wolf populations controlled, states will have to hold hunts, shoot wolves from the air and gas their dens,” he said

              1. JB Avatar

                Apparently Allen was not at that high level meeting.

    2. Ralph Maughan Avatar
      Ralph Maughan

      I am very glad you wrote it, Bob. You really tracked these guys down. Interestingly, almost all of the news stories about the $300,000 are very negative about what amounts to a payout.

      1. JEFF E Avatar
        JEFF E

        It is a payout. I have not read it, but I would bet that Ralph Okerlund of the Utah legislature, is a member of one or more of the orgs that is mentioned.
        Don Peay has nothing else but greed on the table. Scum, is what I call him.

        1. DLB Avatar

          I don’t know of a single person involved in these issues who is more deserving of being described as “scum” than Don Peay.

          I’ve seen that even a number of folks from the extreme anti-predator crowd are uncomfortable with supporting him.

  7. CodyCoyote Avatar

    How different the history of the American West would be had frontiersman Jim Bridger guided Brigham Young and his followers on their little exodus , taking them to the salt flat wastes and high desert of eastern Nevada , and proclaimed ” This is your place…”.

    Instead of Utah.

    Oh well. At least the state of Mississippi has something to look down on when eyeballing education…

  8. Snaildarter Avatar

    I heard they plan to plus hard for the delisting of the Big Bear next year.. Which makes the study about elk calves s little scary. A lot of endangered plants are not doing well with growing elk herd in Great Smokey mtn NP not enough room for red wolves there, its a growing problem.

    1. Mark L Avatar
      Mark L

      I’d be curious to see any studies on elk/red wolf interaction. Actually horse/red wolf also, for that matter. I could see them scavenging, or maybe taking a newborn, but that’s it.
      And if there’s not enough room for red wolves in the Great Smokey mtn NP, then a paradigm change may be needed.

    1. Bob Ferris Avatar

      Jeff, Thanks for posting this. You beat me to the draw. Bagley is great.


  9. YSNUT Avatar

    I can’t for the life of me understand why religion became part of this discussion. I live in Utah, am a Mormon and a republican and I am very pro-wolf. I have a friend of 5 years, lives in Utah, is a democrat, is not a Mormon and is even more pro-wolf than I am. In the time we have known each other I don’t think the word religion has even been spoken between us.

    Let’s keep the discussion on track. Scientific study shows that wolves are good for the environment. The claims that Mr. Peay makes are so outlandish that they hardly deserve a response. Look at the reports from the states themselves. In general elk are doing fine. The number of cattle killed by wolves is so small that it is almost not worth mentioning.

    Do wolves need to be controlled? Absolutely. Do they need to be hunted like they were in the 1930s. No they don’t.

    Somewhere in there is a compromise that everyone can live with.


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Ralph Maughan