Wyoming writes new wolf legislation, now it's even worse than their orginal rejected plan.

Once the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service indicated they would negotiate with  Wyoming and maybe accept some version of the state’s wolf management plan, Wyoming politicians began to quibble, and now the Wyoming State Senate has written a wolf plan that wouldn’t even protect wolves in designated Wilderness areas next to Yellowstone. It’s Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, the prisons for nature that Wyoming’s backward politicians have always wanted.

Of course, I have generally thought Wyoming never wanted to really mange wolves. They want wolves to be a continuous contentious issue to stir folks up and blind them while somebody robs the store.

Here is the story in the Jackson Hole News and Guide.

Bill stalks wolf packs. Legislation could lead to animal being considered a predator in wilderness. By Noah Brenne. Jackson Hole News and Guide.



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  1. Jeff Avatar

    I’m starting to believe that Wyoming officials really don’t want to manage wolves, purely for financial reasons. Now that delisting is actually a possibility lawmakers are ensuring that their plan is unaccetable so that the USFWS will continue to pick up the cost of management. Given our state’s political attitudes and beliefs, this is probably a good thing.

  2. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    I have long believed that the State and the Stockgrowers have decided that leaving wolves in the feds’ hands had political benefits that outweighed the value of having state management. I do know G&F doesn’t want wolf management responsibilities, for the costs and the political headaches it would bring.

    If this line of thinking is correct, it sheds additional light on the constant public claims that wolves are wiping out our elk and devastating livestock. That is, playing politics is a clear indicator that wolves are doing nothing of the sort, aside from the science that tells us that wolves are doing nothing of the sort.

    However, I also know the feds want to dump wolves on the states ASAP.

    How will it end? Tune in next week folks … and next year, and the next decade …

  3. Dave Collins Avatar
    Dave Collins

    Are the people of Wyoming as much of wolf haters as the folk in Idaho?

  4. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    My own view is that the general public in Wyoming is far more moderate toward wolves–as it is toward grizzly bears–than the loud minority that constantly climbs into the press with more and more absurd claims or demands.

    This is all public theater, at which Wyoming politicians are the best in the country. It’s far better than Broadway.

    It’s when you don’t see them doing this kind of thing that you have to watch out.

    Of the people involved in the Wyoming legislature with this current legislation, only one is certifiably stupid and really thinks that this bill will fly. Unfortunately, he’s the chairman of the House Travel, Recreation, and Wildlife Committee. The Republican leadership must have thought it a great joke to appoint this guy as chairman of the committee. It also lets you know just how much the Republican leadership cares about wildlife and wildlife issues in Wyoming.

  5. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    In both Idaho and Wyoming, they ought to let the public vote on these matters. I think wolves and grizzly bears would win.

    In Idaho they take pains to never have a clean vote in the legislature on the issue

    I just don’t think folks in Idaho are as scared of the outdoors as some of folks who post about the dangers of wolves.

    I never run into anyone on the street who says anything negative, and they know I keep this blog.

  6. Dave Collins Avatar
    Dave Collins

    Its really ashame that the states such as Wy. Id. Mt. that has all of the most scenic country in the US is so screwed up when it come to wildlife management. I live in Ca. and we wish we could have the wildlife that they have up there. Its really depressing to see what idiots run those states. Something has to be done before they kill everything.

  7. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    In response to Dave, it is a common saying here in Wyoming that Republicans eat their young on lottery and the Democrats offer up theirs for free. I have never seen such political knife work done as it is in Cheyenne during the Legislative session. Much good comes from the fact that these politicoes are: greedy, arrogant, and power hungry, and because of these three characteristics they so stumble over themselves that they don’t do as much damage as they could do if they were a unified oligarchy.

    In every sense of the term, it is a 19th century legislature; they wear their corruption and their hatreds on their sleeves.

    The intelligent progressive allows these people to do themselves in.

    That’s the zen of Wyoming politics.

  8. Tom H Avatar
    Tom H

    I have been following the articles and postings about the wolf delisting for quite a while and just don’t get it. Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin have figured out how to deal with the whole wolf issue, but Wyoming and Idaho can’t. Maybe the people in those states ought to find some politicians who can make the system work. If they are screwing up the wolves, what makes you think they aren’t doing the same thing with the oil and gas.

    It is a real shame that they are “spitting in the eye” of science. Who elected these guys?

    Sorry, I just neeeded to vent.

  9. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Wyoming and Idaho are quite different politically even though they are traditional Republican states.

    Note that the big troublemaker in Wyoming, however, is Democratic Governor Freudenthal.

    It’s the power of party loyalty in Idaho. It often lags changes in folks’ political interests by ten or twenty years.

    Idaho votes Republican, so the winner of the Republican primary election is as good as elected. Some pretty poor candidates from the standpoint of wildlife won the Republican primary election in May 2006. Both of them, Otter, the new governor, and Bill Sali, the new first district US Representative had to struggle to beat their moderate Democratic opponents, but they did win.

    Ada County (Boise), the fastest growing part of Idaho is changing and electing Democrats. Ironically the replacement of moderate Republicans by Democrats in Ada County (Boise) resulted in an increase in state legislative power by rural interests because Republicans are still the large majority. That is with fewer urban moderately conservative Republicans in the Republican caucus, the rural Republican interests were strengthened in 2006.

  10. Tim Z Avatar
    Tim Z

    Tom H.

    Having grown up in Minnesota I can tell you the people there seem to have a whole different prospective and a much greater respect for wildlife. While hunting and fishing are very popular in the state they do not allow things like baiting and the use of dogs. When you hunt you have to really hunt. And remember they never exterminated their wolves. I’ll never forget when I was about 10 years old fishing with my father in northern Minnesota, as we trolled by a dead tree that had fallen into the lake two very young wolf pups were playing on and around that tree. As we would near they would scamper off into the bushes and poke their little heads out and watch us go by, it was almost cartoonish looking. this went on for at least an hour as we trolled that shoreline. Several years ago I spent some time at the International Wolf center in northern MN. while taking a wolf ethology course and never heard a single local complaining about the wolves. It’s that background that leaves me shaking my head as to the attitude of many here in Idaho toward wildlife, especially wolves.

  11. Tom H Avatar
    Tom H

    Ralph, thanks for the political perspective. It puts a some framework around what is going on. I just needed to vent a little. It seems like after all the time and effort people have put into wolf recovery…..every step of the way is a battle, often with government officials.

    Tim Z, I have been to The International Wolf Center in Ely a number of times and it is a great place that shows some of the outstanding work being done.

    Ralph, you provide information people just couldn’t find anywhere else. Thanks for all your work and dedication.

  12. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Well if elk became almost became extinct and then were nursed back to 1200 elk in the 3 state area, they wouldn’t declare a hunt and cut the population down to 300 elk.

    The purpose, and actual language, of the Endangered Species act is that recovery of a species does not mean the maintenance of a token population.

    A recovered species certainly can be legally hunted, but the Idaho governor’s plan is not a hunt (for real hunts endeavor to keep sustained populations from year to year). His plan is a reduction to a token level, and I think it will be found illegal. The 10 packs of wolves was the absolute floor, not the celing. The Idaho wolf management plan was approved by the federal government, but its content has not been litigated, and I think it will be if they go forward with the great reduction disguised as a “hunt.”

  13. Rob-S Avatar

    What politicians verbalize are not necessarily what is intended. I sent an email to the Governor about this very issue and he (at least in the letter I received) recognizes that reducing levels to 10 packs would most likely place the wolves back on the endangered species list which is what Idaho does not want. His plans are to maintain at least 15 packs and probably more like 20 packs so there will be a cushion for natural deaths.

  14. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Thank you for reporting this, Rob.

    Yes, indeed wise words about politician’s words.

    I wonder what’s really behind this intense anti-wolf blast, and I’m to write a piece on it soon (or drop a word with some other conservation writers)

  15. matt bullard Avatar
    matt bullard

    Is it realistic to expect a reduction to 15-20 packs by hunting alone? This does not seem probable given what I have heard from those who have actually stalked wolves in Idaho: getting near them is hard enough, getting close enough to shoot one is even more difficult, which is why the vast majority of control actions are performed either from the air or by trapping. I remember reading one of the weekly wolf reports where Bangs lauded Carter Niemeyer for darting a wolf from the ground – he said it was the first instance of this happening in the three state recovery zone. So does the Governor plan to also initiate a massive cull and/or allow trapping of wolves? I think there would be a massive backlash over both, not to mention litigation.

  16. Warren Avatar

    Ralph, the reason this state is Republicon is because of the rich LDS. They don’t care about anything but their money agenda.

  17. Rob-S Avatar

    Warren, are you sure you live in Idaho. I have lived here all my life and am practically surrounded by LDS folks. Just like any other religion, these folks are polite, help out their neighbors regardless of religion and I believe donate their money to welfare services to help those in need regardless of religion.

  18. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    I’d appreciate it if folks would not bash religions on this web site.

    Of course,substantive discussion cannot be legitimately ruled out if it is relevant to wildlife.

    I’m LDS (a Mormon) myself. Ralph (webmaster)


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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