[Idaho] Sportsman For Fish & Wildlife To Announce Petition Drive To Delist Wolves

For Immediate Release
Contact: Nate Helm, 208-899-3122 December 6, 2006

Media Advisory


(Boise) Sportsman for Fish and Wildlife – Idaho will hold a press conference Thursday, December 7th at 1:30pm to announce the details of a petition drive to delist wolves protected under the Endangered Species Act in the Gold Room on the 4th Floor of the Idaho Capitol Building.

Marv Hagedorn, Vice Chairman of the group, will announce the petition drive details. Governor Jim Risch, the Idaho Congressional Delegation and members of the Idaho Legislature have been invited to comment.

For more information, contact Nate Helm at 208-899-3122 or nhelm@spro.net.




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  1. matt bullard Avatar
    matt bullard

    Well, I happen to agree that we need to get to delisting for the simple reason that the government did what it said it would do (recover wolves). I think it will only lead to greater acceptance in the long run. It is unfortunate but not surprising that Wyoming took to the position that is preventing the delisting. I’m not terribly comfortable with SFW leading this charge, because I know well their motivation – I’d rather this come from the FWS – but they are hamstrung by the nature of the law under which they operate which says delisting can occur when the three states have an acceptable management plan. I am concerned that this petition press release will turn into an anti-wolf circus that will just serve to raise the hackles of the environmental community (Defenders among others) who of course will oppose SWF on general principles. This will be an interesting one to follow…

  2. Robert Hoskins Avatar

    In Wyoming, SFW is strictly a front for the livestock industry, and you never see SFW take a position contrary to that of the Wyoming Stockgrowers Association. I wonder how close SFW Idaho is to the livestock indusdtry in Idaho. It’s something worth looking into.

  3. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    If Idaho hunters want to have more elk, they need to see fewer cattle and sheep and better managed livestock.

    Idaho Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife is a division of the same group as Wyoming. They are all the stepchildren of Don Peay, of Utah–an interest group entrepreneur (a technical term from political science).

    They serve the same function in Idaho as in Wyoming, namely to divert hunter interest in more big game into channels harmless to the dominant industries.

    In Wyoming they work with livestock and the oil industry. In Idaho they work with livestock, and likely timber, real estate, etc. (although the latter two needs to be investigated). I also wonder where they stand on the matter of shooting elk up against a fence in an enclosure as a form of “hunting?”

  4. AmatureNaturalist Avatar

    Delisting the wolves? Are they going to allow hunting them as well? Just becuase it seems like these creatures are doing well at this time, is no reason to stop doing what we are doing. In a year’s time, the few wolves that are out there could be gone.

  5. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    After delisting and a number of year pass, wolves could be hunted. More immediately, however, the state could hire Wildlife Services (a federal agency) to just go out and in a direct kill, gun wolves down.

    The real strategy behind SFW is to raise a high profile, contentious issue to gain members and to keep hunters split from other conservationists and to prevent hunters from seeing their true interests.

  6. AmatureNaturalist Avatar

    Is there someone we could contact to show our dissapproval of these measures? Killing for the sake of killing is not hunting, it is MURDER…

    People do not eat wolves, wolves do not eat people…Just let it be.

  7. Robert Hoskins Avatar

    SFW Wyoming and the parent organization in Utah have shown considerable “tolerance” for the privatization of big game animals for profit, and I have yet to hear any condemnation of “canned hunting” from either organization.

    The livestock industry as a whole has shown considerable support and action for privatization schemes, such as the diversion of hunting licenses to landowners that can be sold on the open market for thousands of dollars. These schemes are usually proferred as a form of “incentive” to landowners to protect habitat.

    However, incentives are incentives only for more incentives. One of the unfortunate side effects of the collaboration/consensus building fad among so-called conservation groups is that they have als bought into the claim that landowners need incentives to protect wildlife habitat. What ends up happening is that funds that go to landowners for the protection of wildlife habitat end up becoming a capital investment in profit making ventures by the landowner, for which the public gains nothing (e.g., access).

    I agree with Ralph; these organizations like SFW use high profile issues like wolves and bears to divert unsophisticated hunters into membership, even though any form of wildlife privatization is contrary to hunters’ interests.

  8. Rich McCrea Avatar
    Rich McCrea

    I cannot support delisting of wolves. The Idaho Fish and Game Commission (IFGC) proposed the killing of 43 wolves in the Lolo River Country, supposedly to increase elk. This proposal which was not approved by the US Fish and Wildlife Service nor supported by the majority of people in Idaho. The IFGC proposal is based on pure snake oil science. I view that IFGC action as reckless and as long as they continue with their bogus plans I oppose delisting of wolves.

    On a side note IDFGC has been aggressively reducing the numbers of bear and mountain lions, since 1999, in the same region..Lochsa River. It hasnt worked, which is not big suprise if you understand the science behind this. In fact one of the hunting units where they have not increased the killing of bears and lions and guess what?..elk numbers increased.!!!!!

    If the elk hunters in Idaho think the IDFGC and the some of the higher level politicians in the State of Idaho are on their side they had better take a better look at what is happening. If you look at where the highest elk populations are located in Idaho there are several common elements..wilderness or few roads, very little domestic livestock and wolf packs. Our current govenor wants to increase road building and development is roadless areas on federal lands..that will decrease elk populations. Do the elk hunter think the politicos in Idaho would try to stop the building of a huge mine on some prime elk wintering area?……you have got to be kidding me if you believe that.

  9. Robert Wharff Avatar
    Robert Wharff

    It is interesting to see how some view SFW WY. As the Executive Director for SFW WY, I can tell you that I work with any group which shares my common goals. Some have leveled charges that SFW WY is in league with livestock producers, etc. It is because of our efforts that the Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust was established.

    Anyone that has followed the wolf issue in Wyoming can recall that SFW and the Foundation for North American Wild Sheep (FNAWS) were the only groups which stood up in favor of Wyoming’s wolf management plan and Wyoming associated legislation. Why is it then that over 25 diverse groups joined a law suit against the USFWS for rejecting Wyoming’s plan after being approved by 10 out of the 11 experts? It is because SFW was able to talk with the leadership in the AG communities about our shared desires; that of seeing wolves delisted under a plan that Wyoming wants. Since it will be us Wyoming residents living with these introduced animals it is only logical that we should want to manage them in a manner consistent with our lifestyles. Now that the USFWS has officially taken final agency action and rejected Wyoming’s plan which overwhelmingly passed the peer review process only to be rejected by King Edward. The best available science concluded that Wyoming’s plan would work.

    SFW will continue to work with those groups/individuals which share our common goals, etc. For those that want to trash talk our efforts, thanks. I take that too mean that we are beginning to stem the tide and you are starting to learn that Sportsmen are no longer absent. We are engaged in the political process.

    For the record, SFW WY would also like to see wolves delisted so they can be MANAGED by state agencies rather then the USFWS. We still believe that Wyoming’s plan should have been approved, as did the peer review group, and that wolves within our state should be managed they way we determined. Our obligation to the United States and the ESA has always been 10 breeding pairs of introduced gray wolves.

    On a side note, I never hear anyone talking about the native wolves which were wiped out by this forced introduction of a non-native species of wolf. Could this be something that you are willing to acknowledge happened because of the zeal to force wolves upon the west?

    Things that make you go hmmmm!

  10. Robert Hoskins Avatar

    As someone who knows quite a bit about wildlife and wildlife issues in Wyoming, I found Bob Wharff’s comment above quite in character with the propaganda SFW has been spreading since its inception.

    What native wolves? No one, but no one, has demonstrated the existence of resident wolves in the Greater Yellowstone and central Idaho before reintroduction. Where’s the scientific evidence? Having studied wolves on the ground rather extensively both in Canada and here, I know it’s real hard to hide pack activity where it actually exists.

    The claim that 10 of 11 commenters in the FWS commissioned peer reviews of the three state plans approved Wyoming’s wolf plan is simply false, and it is one of the more blatant falsehoods promulgated by the Wyoming G&F Fish Department, the State of Wyoming, and the Wolf Coalition in their lawsuit against the FWS over the rejection of Wyoming’s plan. As one of the very few people anywhere who has actually read and studied the peer reviews, I can say that there was considerable concern with Wyoming’s plan among the reviewers, both with the science and the management obstacles, especially the costs of trying to manage wolves to such a precise number of packs, which is operationally impossible.

    What the majority of the reviewers concluded was not that Wyoming’s plan was a good plan in and of itself; they concluded rather that all three plans in conjunction would conserve wolves, relying primarily on the quality of Montana’s plan, also finding problems with Idaho’s plan.

    There are good scientific and management reasons to disagree with this conclusion, particularly regarding the impact of Wyoming’s plan on the metapopulation of wolves, but in any case, it is clear from the reviews that the Wyoming plan was considered the worst, not to mention the most complicated and most unlikely to be properly implemented, even on its own terms, of the three state plans.

    Another point; the detail of Wyoming’s plan is dictated by Wyoming law, and I don’t know any practioner of wildlife management that would approve the inclusion of such detailed level of management prescription in the law itself.

    In short, the best available science and good wildlife management principles don’t have much good to say about Wyoming’s plan, which, outside the wildnerness areas contiguous to the two national parks, isn’t a management plan at all.

    I will compliment SFW on its grass roots work; it is the only group involved in these issues that is working the grass roots. The conservation groups–especially the Wyoming Wildlife Federation, which is scared to death of SFW and is losing members to it–have completely abandoned the grass roots to SFW. That is a shame, because SFW isn’t telling hunters the truth, either about wolves or elk feedgrounds, for that matter. SFW certainly isn’t working for sportsmens interests, but the interests of the Stockgrowers, the Woolgrowers, the Farm Bureau, etc.

    Perhaps Bob could tell us SFW’s position on set aside licenses for landowners, which Wyoming hunters almost universally oppose as contrary to hunters’ interests.

    And oh, by the way, without the ability to purchase land and dedicate it to wildlife habitat, the Wildlife Trust Fund is little more than another subsidy to ag.

    Sportsmens’ group, indeed.

    Nice try Bob, but no cigar. I’m sure the SFW Board will like it though.

  11. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    To Robert Wharff,

    While this blog has been critical of SFW (WY and ID), I’m pleased you commented.

    You raise issues that are being discussed and now will be discussed furthered. I like this blog to be a source of information for those on the web.

    So I hope folks will discuss they things you wrote as Robert Hoskins has just done

  12. Robert Wharff Avatar
    Robert Wharff

    Ralph Maughan,

    Thanks for the welcome. I am always glad to discuss wildlife, hunting, and fishing issues. I look forward to honest and open debate.

    Even though some have taken shots at SFW I will refrain from calling individuals names, etc.

    Most can probably tell by now that Mr. Hoskins and I do not agree. However, it is important for any good debate to have both sides of an issue presented. In this purpose, I am responding to some statements made by Mr. Hoskins.

    First; the reference is to data I read supplied by the WY G&F Department which stated that although wolves had been extripated around 1937, confirmed sighting continued to occur clear up into the early 1990’s (prior to the introduction of the non-native, much larger Canadian wolf). They then go on to state that although they were able to confirm the wolf sighting of native wolves, they could not confirm that reproduction was taking place. If wolves had indeed been extripated in 1937 where were these wolves coming from? I doubt any of the public would believe that an extripated population of wolves would still be around in the 1990’s. Most wildlife biologist will admit that wildlife is not an exact science. Some would have the public believe otherwise. The basis for my earlier statement is just that. If wolves were present and wolf advocates were genuinely concerned about wolves then the logical conclusion to derive is that someone would have looked for an existing population prior to introduction.

    Second; most would agree that knowingly introducing a larger, non-native population of wolves into this hallowed region, thelr first action would have been to remove any remnant populations of the native wolf. How much effort was devoted to determining whether or not any native wolves were in the area prior to the introduction of the non-ative wolves?

    As far as the peer review, I can tell you that I have also read it. For those of you that haven’t all I ask is that you go and read it. Mr. Hoskins has interjected his opinion into this document as have many others. I did not say that there were not issues or concerns expressed by the hand chosen wolf experts which performed the peer review. There were issues which were raised but only one did not approve of the three plans. Initially, this was suppose to be a concerted effort for all three states to share in the management process. The peer review document also states rather plainly and clearly that Wyoming, having the majority of the “wolf nursery” warranted a different management approach. Although some of the experts expresssed their concerns, just as I stated, 10 out of the 11 approved all three wolf management plans as they were instructed to review them. They looked at the complete picture, not whether or not each states management plan was exactly similar to the others plan. It is very clear that only one individual did not ultimately approve of Wyoming’s plan.

    While it may be operationally impossible to manage for a precise number of wolves/packs; that is exactly what the non-essential experiment dictated. Wyoming didn’t make that element up, nor does Wyoming believe that it is possible. Especially when you consider that Yellowstone National Park is managed by another whole set of rules (?) with sometimes quite different goals from their managers. None-the-less, it was concluded that it was much easier to simply count the number of wolves travelling together ran then following the exactness of the experiment.

    Of course Wyoming’s plan is supported by Legislation. What else could you expect when many did not want a non-native wolf to be introduced. Once again, this seems only logical to me that a state would want to protect its rights as well as the rights of its citizens. Had the USFWS not continued to move the goal, perhaps Wyoming’s Legislatures would not have felt the need to craft legislation to protect the interests of Wyoming’s citizens. It is pretty obvious that Wyoming believes that its plan was in fact correct and that there was no justification to warrant its rejections.

    As far as whether or not Wyoming had it right one only needs to look at where lethal actions are taking palce. The USFWS through Wildlife Services is removing wolves that have gotten in trouble with livestock. Every pack within Wyoming’s control has killed livestock. Wolves that are depredating livestock can and should be removed, as per the terms of the non-essential experimental status of the wolves. It is too bad that sportsmen weren’t given the same ability to protect the resource that we have built with our personal monies paid into the management of wildlife. Idaho, even under their approved plan and with the 10(j) rule, has been unable to protect wildlife (big game) populations from unmanaged wolves. The wolf experts explained to Wyoming’s Travel, Recreation, and Wildilfe Committee that wolf impacts are localized; yet, they claimed that the peer review looked simply at ungulate/predator relationships. With this knowledge,who knows best, the scientists looking at ungulate/predator relationships or the guys experiencing the local impacts. I personally put more stock into what the locals are saying then an expert panel looking a models, theories, etc.

    I appreciate the compliment on our grass roots efforts. SFW is working hard to represent the concerns and issues of our members. The fact that we now have a Wildlife Trust is proof enough of the success of SFW. The model that Don Peay came up with does in fact work. Empower the local sportsmen and sportswomen to address their issues. The arrogance of some was to assume that in order for the Trust to be effective, it needed to allow for fee title acquistion. The two prior attempts led to past defeats of the wildlife trust. We now have a wildlife trust that does everything short of allowing us out right purchase the property. I for one, believe that with 50% of Wyoming belonging to the governement is enough. When everyone owns something it belongs to no one. This is the tragedy of the commons. How did it limit us in accomplishing our goals by removing fee title acquistion? We can still have perpetual easements or time limited easements. Let the people decide whether they want to lease it for how long they would like the easement to exist. Seems better then owning something that you can not manage. Once again, that is simply my opinion.

    SFW is truly a sportsmen’s group. If you don’t believe me just ask someone that belongs to this organization. In a short order you will be talking about hunting/fishing. Many livestock producers, oil and gas employees, banlers, lawyers, etc hunt and fish. SFW is for them. People that want to abandon the tried and proven American system of wildlife management need only look at other countries and their wildlife to determine which system they would prefer. Simply put, America’s system has done more for conservation of wildlife then any other system in the world. If this is so, why are so many people bent on pushing towards natural system that doesn’t work? That is the real question.

    As far as SFW WY’s position on set aside licenses for landowners, we have not supported or endorsed set aside licenses. However, they already exist. This is one of the greatest lies being told to Wyoming’s Sportsmen and Sportswomen. Landowners and Outiftters have already figured this out. The average guy in Wyoming is still trying to figure it out. There are many different ways to even the playing field but no one has been willing to go there yet. This is probably a discussion for an entirely different blog though. I am assuming that they try to keep the blog focused on the original topic.

    Wolves should be delisted before they destroy themselves. Many do not understand that wolves are now killing themselves because they are exceeding the amount the area can biologically sustain.

    Thanks for the opportunity to give my side.

  13. Nathan Helm Avatar
    Nathan Helm

    It is with great hesitancy that I enter this discussion. I am always a willing participant when someone questions an actual position our organization takes. However, I feel great reservation when I enter the discussion between folks who haven’t done much to understand who and what SFW-Idaho represents. You know it is going to be bad when my having worked for Senator Craig is used to categorize the organization I now contract with.

    Nevertheless, here are my two cents.

    The spinning of truth and propogation of misinformation by host Ralph Maughan and others regarding SFW is most inspiring for our members. However, for the minority working with the uninformed, a campaign based on emotion and discrediting lies could gain footing. I am sure an introductory lesson from political science will manifest this to be true.

    Any argument suggesting that wolves in Idaho do not qualify for delisting is done without supporting evidence. So why the trouble with the whole petition? I find it telling that the arguments in this thread contort to criticism of the messenger. It really has little to do with the delisting proposal or its justification. It is all about SFW and their assumed purpose. “The real strategy behind SFW is to raise a high profile, contentious issue to gain members and to keep hunters split from other conservationists and to prevent hunters from seeing their true interests.”

    I have no problem supporting the fact that increased membership is an organizational goal. As noted in the string we are a grass roots organization with political intentions. The organization is run by Idaho residents elected by their various chapters across the state who all want to effect the future of hunting and fishing we value so highly. Our effectiveness is directly related to our ability to capture and reflect the interests of our constituency. The success we have with this petition will reflect the general feeling of sportsmen regarding wolf management. In fact, contrary to Ralph’s announcement of the “real” purpose behind SFW’s petition, I propose there will be a bonding between hunters and other conservationists. We have already witnessed the telling lining up of conservation organizations who support delisting and state management.

    Finally, I will attempt to answer a few of the other SFW “facts” proported by those who disagree with the founding principles of the organization.

    SFW-Idaho published a letter which outlined our concerns regarding domestic cervidae in Idaho and suggested that the principles of fair chase and “canned” hunts are inconsistent. Idaho landowner tags have recently been on the sportsman’s mind. SFW-Idaho has made numerous statements supporting the Commission’s effort to find incentives that will motivate landowners to host more game and not have a net “cost” to sportsmen. We have not ruled out any incentive but cautioned that sportsmen must find value in the returns.

    Some day we should host a tour of the property we have purchased to protect from a high fence operation. We could also include a demonstration of the use of our Sage Grouse grant money for improving their habitat. We have numerous projects with similar purposes in the works. We have built miles of fence, improved or built ponds, improved wildlife tracts, protected springs, planted bitter brush, and much more. We do not expect everyone to agree with everything we do. But we put our dollars generated back on the ground in Idaho. That is why we are so successful.

    SFW-Idaho – growing stronger through common interests like proposing wolves in Idaho be delisted.

  14. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Well both the SFW Wyoming and SFW Idaho are commenting on this tread, which is excellent.

    I have some questions for Nathan and.or Robert Wharff.

    1. I have always heard that Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife really means “just for some fish and wildlife,” namely the most popular hunted species only.

    2. In line with that, I have heard that SFW Idaho is opposing the wildlife license plates because some of that money could end up benefiting wolves or non-hunted species.

    3. For Robert in Wyoming, why do you support continued feeding of elk at winter feedlots when the incidence of brucellosis is clearly higher there than those elk that winter out?
    And, of course, the spread of chronic wasting disease gravely threatens deer, elk, it even seems, moose. The disease seems to be passed on in close quarters.

    Regarding the so-called “non-native” Canadian wolves that some have said were reintroduced, we have thoroughly hashed that out on this blog, but I think some of the folks will be happy to argue it again.

    If SFW Wildlife Idaho is in favor of ending canned hunts behind tall fences and is willing to use its influence in the state legislature to that end, it is to your credit

  15. Jeff Empey Avatar
    Jeff Empey

    Mr. Wharff,
    After reading your post I would like to make a few observations about honest discussion. I still wonder why groups that are opposed to re-establishing the native wolf populations in the westren United States continue to try to create a brand new spieces of Wolf called the Canadian Wolf. (By the way, it all started with laws signed by President Reagan , but that is another discussion) Sir, as the border between Canada and the United States was established over a number of years, that purely human line on a map did not create new spiecies of any thing. May hap some basic biological instruction is in order. Should your busy schedule allow, and you could see your way clear, pick up a copy of the book “Wolves Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation” which represents 300 years of combined knowledge by various contributors from around the world. Chapter Eight in this book is called Molecular Genetic Studies of Wolves. Some qoutes; ” wolves disperse over great distances and across topographic barriers…………….. as a result rates of gene flow are high, so wolf populations are rarely isolated long enough to produce reciprocal monophyly in their mitochondrial sequences.” Read that as few or no sub-spieces. Also “the division of wolves into discrete subspecies and other genetic units may be somewhat arbitrary and overly typological” and ” because most wolf populations are not strongly differentiated genetically and gene flow is high among populations, reintroduction need not include only the nearest extant populations” read that as any wolves that may have been in the intemountain west at the time of , should I say this, supplementation, were probably dispersers or off- spring of dispersers of the northern rocky mountains of what in now canada. The short story is that all political hyperbole, and llivestock industry knashing of teeth and flailing of arms aside, the wolf population in the intermountain west is the same spieces as was present 80-100 years ago, is not significantly affecting any ungulate populations, especially when you compare it with human caused factors such as habitat loss due to devlopment, livestock damage, and the biggest of all poaching. Now if we really want to talk about exotic invasive spieces, let discuss cows.

  16. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    A question for Nate Helm, I might grant that the wolf is biologically recovered in Montana, Idaho, and Northwestern Wyoming.

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has given over all wolf operations in Idaho to Idaho Fish and Game Dept, and so wolves are effectively delisted in fact, if not by law.

    Why would your organization undertake a petition campaign to complete delisting? Yes, one might argue it is the right
    think to do, but why a high organizational priority?

    That’s why I suggested it was mostly for membership building. That makes sense to me.

  17. Nathan Helm Avatar
    Nathan Helm

    Easiest ones first.

    “The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has given over all wolf operations in Idaho to Idaho Fish and Game Dept, and so wolves are effectively delisted in fact, if not by law.”

    I completely disagree with your assessment. If that were in fact the case we would have seen a reduction in the number of wolves in the Lolo Zone. That action would have, as you know, been based on the State’s determination that wolves were having an unacceptable impact on the depressed elk herd. No need to discuss the reason for depression, the reality is that the State cannot manage wolves as they choose under the approved management plan – period.

    It then makes perfect sense to ask the feds to take that all so necessary step and cut the remaining strings puppeting our every move. It will remain a high organizational priority until relief is actually felt by sportsmen.

    To your sportsmen for “some” fish and wildlife. I know we have taken criticism for focusing on some species. I also know that others have done the same because they are concerned about that species and the current management and its affects on them. It is not so different for us. However, SFW is a recreational organization that wants all wildlife but loves to hunt. Hunting is managed for some species. We could not continue this recreational activity if it were not sustainable. We look at our relationship as a stewardship where wildlife is to be used but not abused. Additionally, in our view, management is a critical component in this relationship we have with our environment. So, the caveat included at the end of your statement, “the most popular hunted species only” is not true. We do not care only about the most popular hunted species and no other. In fact, we recognize that our Mule Deer projects have broad reaching benefits for many sage brush obligate species. But make no mistake we are sportsmen – hunters, conservationists, recreationalists, naturalists, outdoorsmen, cooks, campers, hikers, bikers, horseback enthusiasts, fishermen, floaters, climbers, loggers, and more. We are not any one individual or any one idea.

    Wildlife license plate issue….
    As a new organization in Idaho we asked questions about the use of the dollars collected by the license plate. We found out that nearly without exception, every sportsmen with an elk license plate did not know where the money went but guessed it was going to help elk. I think you can see where it went from there. It was the Idaho Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the Department who came out in a very defensive fashion because there was concern that the legislature would earmark dollars and harm the revenue for the non-game programs under the Department. It was likely a presentation by the Governor’s office that protected those dollars and kept things under the radar from the legislature. We still have members with very strong feelings about what they perceive to be a disingenuous presentation by the Department. I will note that they have more clarity on their web site and other locations about the use of those dollars.

    I appreciate the kind words regarding our canned hunt statements. But, I would caution that our Board has not indicated a position requesting complete elimination but rather suggested that we need to do something to change our current situation. Their top concern is the potential impacts to our State’s game. That is why we spent most of our time dealing with domestic cervidae ranches. While we find the canned hunt not reflective of fair chase we have not indicated we want them outlawed. I will allow the board to make their own decision. I just did not want anyone to suggest we had made a final determination.

  18. Robert Wharff Avatar
    Robert Wharff


    I believe Nate did an excellent job responding to your first question. He nailed it down pretty well. As I stated earlier, it has always been the hunter and angler that has been conserving America’s wildlife. It use to be a fair statement that more emphasis was give to those species which were hunted or fished. That being said, no group, organization or individual has done more for the preservation of wildlife then have hunters and anglers. Many set back and criticize hunting/fishing yet they contribute little or no money to the management of wildlife.

    Nate also answered your second question as it directly related to SFW ID.

    Question three asked “why do you support continued feeding of elk at winter feedlots when the incidence of brucellosis is clearly higher there than those elk that winter out?”

    Quite simply because brucellosis is a livestock issue not a wildlife issue. So much for being in league with the evil livestock producers, as per Mr. Hoskins belief. For those that are not aware, I was appointed by Wyoming’s Governor Freudenthal to serve on Wyoming’s Brucellosis Task Force. SFW WY commissioned a retired G&F employee to research impacts of closing feedgrounds in and around the Jackson area. His research concluded that elk populations would be reduced by a minimum of 60% but reductions could also exceed 80%. Several G&F biologists have said that winter range for elk is a bale of hay. This is another issue that we could probably devote an entire section to. In short, the reason we supported continued feed ground operations for elk is because for the last 30 years it has worked.

    CWD is being used as a potential threat to feed grounds because those which seek to end feeding assumed that the uninformed public could be scared into supporting their agenda of closing feed grounds. Elk are naturally a herding animal. They will feed and travel in close quarters. While elk in captive settings have shown little defense against the disease, no where have we witnessed the devastation that some would have the public believe is knocking on our door. In fact, Wyoming recently had a herd of elk on native range that died from eating a lichen. Almost 400 animals died from this. I would argue (and I have) that we are better off ensuring that these animals that are dependant upon us during the winter period are adequately taken care of and receive the care that is warranted. We have a moral and ethical duty to care for these animals because we are charged with their stewardship. If you are truly concerned about disease issues you should support doing it correct rather then simply going through the motions. Just as you and I can keep “bugs” at bay when we are healthy, so do wildlife. We become susceptible when we are stressed or weakened, so do they. If you want them healthy, ensure that they receive adequate and proper supplement or full diet feed if conditions warrant. Ask the public in general if they believe it is okay for animals to starve to death because too many of them are on a refuge. I doubt any of the public would agree that it is okay. Feeding was initiated to stop the starvation of animals (elk) during the winter months. We have laws on the books which enforce private starvation of livestock but nothing which addresses public resources such as wildlife.

    As far as my comments relating to the Canadian wolf being introduced, I stand by it. Yes, both are gray wolves; however, animals from Northern climates are larger then those which are closer to the equator. So you are correct in that a wolf is a wolf, is a wolf. But then again, if that was really the issue then we would not have needed to introduce an experimental, non-essential population of Canadian gray wolves into the Greater Yellowstone area either? I still believe it was never about wolves but rather a land control issue and a veiled attempt to end hunting and turn to natural regulation as our new form of wildlife management.

    Note I want to discuss the responses by Nate and Robert fully. Thank you both for responding in detail. So I am cutting off comment on this thread, I will start a reply with a new post. This will go up this evening because I have some final examination business to take up the rest of the day and early evening. Ralph Maughan

  19. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    No further comments on this thread. See the explanation above.

    This will move to a post


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.

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