Plan to delist wolves still faces obstacles

Plan to delist wolves still faces obstacles. Legal challenges could delay federal proposalto give control to Idaho and Montana by year’s end. By Rocky Barker – Idaho Statesman.

Here the story as told by Idaho’s largest newspaper







  1. Don George Avatar
    Don George

    The comment by Gov. Otter that he would like to be the first to kill a wolf in Idaho is typical of those who enjoy plundering the Earth for financial and political gain.

    Its because of people like Gov. Otter the wolves were first eliminated

    It also shows ignorance since I’m sure he represents people in the state of Idaho who don’t support his viewpoint.

    Wolf management may be necessary but his boistrous comments are not!

    Its people like this that pushed me over the line from a Republican to an Independent.

    Keep up the good work Gov. Otter!

  2. Alan Avatar

    10 breding pairs/100 individual wolves? And that population would be ecologically signficant? I’d like to read more about the ecological equation here. Anybody want to step in?

  3. Mike S. Avatar
    Mike S.

    Go back and read the EIS and the approved upon numbers for Wolf recovery.
    You had plenty of time to comment back then when the numbers were set.

  4. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Idaho’s wolf plan was not open to public comment. The livestock industry dominated group wrote it up, figured out the minimum they could get by USFWS and did it.

    Therefore, I think those who were left (everyone) has the right to criticize it if they want.

  5. matt bullard Avatar
    matt bullard

    I think what is interesting here is that those who advocate for a drastic reduction in numbers are using the 10/100 number which was originally designed as a target to *trigger* delisting as a rather arbitrary mandate/cap on the population. So 4 years later we are far beyond that number and still not delisted, so there has been some bizarre twist of logic used by the anti-wolf folks that the 10/100 would have been a cap even back in 2002 when the delisting criteria were met!

    In reality, the trigger number should have no bearing or significance on the number that we manage to, and if you read Idaho’s wolf management plan, there is no mention of managing to those numbers, rather emphasis on impact to game animals, livestock, etc. Unfortunately for wolf advocates, the tone of the debate has already been set using those numbers. We need to continue to harp on the impact part of the equation, as well as the non-game value we and others place on the wolf and illustrate that the 10/100 number is not a cap as they are twisting that to mean in public discourse!

  6. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    I think it’s Mike S. who needs to go back and reread the EIS. The 10 breeding pairs number was intended as a trigger for delisting, not a cap on wolf numbers.

    No one can point to any part of the EIS and show me that 10 breeding pairs is intended as a cap. The EIS clearly predicts larger numbers and a wider distribution as recovery proceeds. Read Chapter Two. That’s precisely why the entire State of Wyoming is designated part of the recovery area.

    There is no ecological or biological justification for artificially limiting the number of wolves in the recovery area. Certainly, not to 10 breeding pairs.

  7. kt Avatar

    And what really needs to be harped on is what Ralph brought up – the “Plan” was a closed process – ramrodded through by the livestock industry.

    Everyone is sick enough of the Bushies doing just that, that the more than can be done to link Good ‘Ol Boy Cronyism here with what is becoming more and more disgusting on the national level – the better.

    AND – with Kempthorne here in ID overseeing the rigged industry Plan, and now in DC doing the bidding of Industry to de-list wolves so they can be slaughtered under the “Plan” that makes it even easier.

    What I want to know – in the very poor Rocky Barker article on the De-listing and FG Press conference – why is an NWF person ok with the Idaho “plan”?

  8. be Avatar

    was there anything in the original EIS about territory that the wolves would need to cover? i’ve heard talk of that but am not sure. thanks ahead of time.

  9. Mike S. Avatar
    Mike S.

    “I think it’s Mike S. who needs to go back and reread the EIS. The 10 breeding pairs number was intended as a trigger for delisting, not a cap on wolf numbers.”

    I’ve read the EIS and I have yet to see read anywhere in it anything about 700+ Wolves 70+ packs and 57+ breeding pairs in Idaho alone.

    I read 10 and 100. I know rules and laws only apply to you people when they are in your best interests but it’s written there in stone.

    Sharpen up on your reading comprehension skills and give it another try.

  10. Rick Hammel Avatar
    Rick Hammel

    The ESA states that a species is recovered when it occupies “all or a significant portion of their former range.” FWS currently says that Canis lupis occupies 5% of its former range. Nowhere does the ESA says anything about packs or numbers. Where the ESA really counts is when this whole mess is litigated. Any judge worth his/her salt will look at the ESA and apply the law accordingly.

    So delisting may be a number of years down the line, after the surrounding states have viable wolf populations.

  11. matt bullard Avatar
    matt bullard

    Rick, I think that is different for the wolves reintroduced under the 10(j) rules. I may be wrong on that, but I think the germane rule here is the 10(j) rule that established the NRM experimental, non-essential population and defined the recovery area as portions of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. The trigger being the 30 breeding pairs/300 wolves well distributed over the recovery area, and the three states having Service approved management plans. Clearly, Wyoming does not have an approved management plan, and to delist without it would be in violation of those rules.

    I think you raise a good question, though regarding the traditional range of canis lupus. I believe, even IF the 10(j) population is delisted (the subject of all of this discussion), wolves that find themselves outside of that define recovery area (i.e. in Colorado, Washington, or Oregon) would remain endangered. Am I correct on this?

  12. matt bullard Avatar
    matt bullard

    Answered my own question. This is from a FAQ listed on the USFWS Gray Wolf Recovery web page:

    6) What happens to wolves outside the NRM wolf DPS if it is delisted?
    Answer: This proposal will not affect any wolves outside of the proposed northern Rocky Mountain wolf DPS. Wolves are listed by their location. Therefore, any wolf outside the northern Rocky Mountain wolf DPS would remain listed as they are currently. For example, if a wolf was found in Colorado, it would still be listed as endangered.

  13. JEFF E. Avatar
    JEFF E.

    so the question I have is if the 10j rule applies only to wolves in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming then why does th delisting proposel include parts of Washinton and Montana?

  14. JEFF E. Avatar
    JEFF E.

    excuse me , Utah?

  15. Ralph Maughan Avatar
    Ralph Maughan

    They haven’t said, but I’m almost sure that it’s because it is highly likely wolves will migrate there, and they don’t want to give them any ESA protection.

    In other words, those extra wide boundaries are to prevent wolf recolonization of Eastern Oregon and Washington and Northern Utah

  16. JEFF E. Avatar
    JEFF E.

    Ya, I think I smell a Kempthorne in the woodpile.

  17. Heard Enough Avatar
    Heard Enough

    We now have 60 days to comment on this proposal. But just exactly what are we commenting on? A DPS that includes WY? One that doesn’t? Based on what I read in the press release I’m not sure just what the FWS is actually proposing. Somebody bring me up to speed here.

  18. Rob-S Avatar


    I would like proof in comment #4 that the livestock industry dominated and wrote Idaho’s wolf plan. I know kt stated the same thing on another thread that idaho fish and game commission is dominated by livestock owners/ranchers yet of the six I find only 1 to be a land owner and one to deal in farm and ranch real estate. I guess that I just do not beleive all this stuff you all claim about the livestock industry as I have read too many varing sources.

  19. Vince Avatar

    HOLY COW People. I want to Know why EVERYONE didn’t have the opportunity to voice his/her opinion when they put wolves in the Rocky Mountains in the first place. I’m sick and tired of all you granola eaters crying now that your all important wolves with the same emotions and feelings and personalities that people have are finally not going to rule our lives. It shouldn’t even have come down to this HUGE controversy. It’s simple, put it to a statewide vote. If majority want wolves, keep them if they dont, get rid of the damned things. And tell the U.S. Fish and wildlife Services to get a real job. We shouldn’t have had the wolf shoved down our throat to begin with. They were exterminated for a reason. I know, I know you all want to throw this eco-shmeco system at me. Truth is I don’t think that after all the so-called scientific studies that have been done, that any of the tree huggin, granola eatin wolf lovers know what they are talking about. Do something worthwhile, help a human being, go to a church, shovel your neighbors sidewalk, fly to south africa for heaven sakes and put all the time and effort into making a difference in the world. We can all do without the wolf. There are far more important things to worry about.

  20. kt Avatar

    rob-S (#18)

    Read the names on THIS. Smells to high heaven of cow and sheep men, and is completely unrepresentative of the Idaho population

    In case folks didn’t find it, the committee was

    Jack Lavin, co-chair
    Stan Boyd, co-chair
    Ted Hoffman
    Jim Peek
    Bob Loucks
    Cameron Wheeler
    Laird Noh

    All cattle and sheep except for Prof. Peek. Ralph Maughan

  21. JEFF E. Avatar
    JEFF E.

    I agree, lets put it to a vote. I wonder why after nearly 12 years the respective goverments of the three states didn’t do just that. Could it be they, based on survey after survey which shows clear majority public backing for wolves in the wild, knew what the results could be and probably generate enough public intrest to change the political land scape. As far as public comment way back when, research it, the management plans were put together by boards almost entierly dominated by people with anti-wolf bias and accepted almost no public comment.

  22. be Avatar

    i agree though – there should be a ballot initiative reigning in this hot-head state gov.

  23. vince Avatar

    JEFF E.
    You research it, the U.S. fish and wildlife service started importing wolves before anyone had any idea. I happen to have a friend in Canada who personally knows the guy they hired to trap and transport them. His comments were “Stupid Yanks, I’ll take them all they want.” If the clear majority of idaho wants the wolves then I need to get around a little more since I only work around hundreds of people each day and have only met a couple wolf lovers. I believe you and all the other imports in this state would very surprised. I’d take that risk of having wolves screwing up my hunting any day ( I guess I have nothing to lose since I’m stuck with it anyway) to put it to a statewide vote. This used to be the wild west when people could and would use wildlife for their good and if there was a problem, they could take care of it. Too bad we can’t take care of the problem now because it is no longer the wild west, it is a bunch of Holywood influences and imports that screwed it up. Go back to Kansas Toto. If the boards were dominated with anti-wolf bias then maybe the public thought their interests were well represented. hmmmmm what a thought. Now the minority gets their way and the minority put very very little resources into any kind of wildlife management compared to hunters. Put your money where your mouth is.

  24. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    You are new here. You are talking to a lot of people who have just as much outdoor experience you do. There are hunters and war vets too.

    They just have different friends and different views than you do.

    And many have lived as long, or longer than you did in Idaho. So calm down a bit.

    Ralph — webmaster

  25. Rob-S Avatar


    just cause you post names does not provide evidence that these folks are cattle and sheep men. A couple of them are but until you can provide me their autobiography from a credible source then I just do not buy all this anti-livestock stuff that you all claim and I know a many livestock owners having lived in a ranching/farming community.

  26. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    Google there names. Or do a little research on your own.

  27. chris Avatar

    Does anyone know if, as the NWF spokesperson said in the article, it is in fact illegal to downlist a species in one neighboring state and not another? If they are part of the same population segment it wouldn’t make sense for it to be legal. Not that they wouldn’t try it anyway.

    I don’t think anyone knows for sure, but it is a likely legal argument in a lawsuit trying to stop the delisting. The wolves were not restored on the 3-state basis. Instead Idaho, Montana and Wyoming were put into 3-ecosystems that did not match state boundaries; (1) Central Idaho ecosystem that included about 1/2 of SW Montana too (2) Great Yellowstone Ecosystem which included all of Wyoming, part of Idaho and part of Montana and (3) Northern Montana which included the rest of Montana, not in (1) or (2).

    The Idaho/Wyoming border is a straight line, so different management plans on either side could complicate things.

    However, I don’t think this is a strong argument. Ralph

  28. GW Avatar

    Most of the anti-wolf folks I meet in Idaho are mostly fear-mongering bible thumpers from the Snake River plain area of this state. Basically, regions where you won’t find a single pack roaming the terriory..

  29. Mike S. Avatar
    Mike S.

    “However, I don’t think this is a strong argument.”

    I’m not so sure about that.
    I’m sure there will be a Judge in the 9th circuit who will find the two state delisting illegal in his views.
    Now if Wyoming were to somehow come on board with an approved plan prior to the announced delisting that would change everything.
    I hope I’m wrong but we will see.

  30. Rob-S Avatar

    kt and jeff,

    I did the google thing as you suggested and found Laird Noh, Stan Boyd, and Ted Hoffman to be the only cattle/sheep ranchers. The others are not so I still do not believe your opinion that the F&G is controlled, operated and run by sheep and cattle men. Just another scapegoat. Oh, and yes, be sure to convince me that livestock are destroying everything from public land, to the air we breath, global warming, etc. etc. Better yet, boycott the livestock industry and do not eat beef or lamb. If that is not enough then boycott the FS and BLM also by not visiting your public lands as them darn animals destroy everthing. This story gets better all the time. Before long I will be reading how the livestock industry will be causing the end of the world!

  31. JEFF E. Avatar
    JEFF E.

    Now go back to the archives of Ralphs previous web site and find the year 2000 then find the one where Bob Loucks had a meeting in Challis attended by such luminaries a Ron Gillett, etc. and make note of Bobs comments. Don’t worry Rob I’ll walk ya through this. Looks like your having a diffecult time.

  32. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    About four years ago Jon Marvel and I debated Loucks and Gillet in Pocatello about wolves. About 200 people attended. Carter Niemeyer was also on the panel.

    Loucks was clearly a livestock guy who thought livestock was the backbone of Lemhi and Custer County. We gave him a hard time about that claim.

  33. Rob-S Avatar

    I understand what you all claim that the whole f&G commision and Idaho’s wolf plan was dominated by stock men. Jeff, obviously I am having a difficult time because the data does not exist that states the majority of these folks are stock men so the burden of proof is for you to point to some autobiography as I have done the google thing.

  34. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    okay next assignment, Confirm that Jack Lavin owns Cameron real estate which specializes in RANCHES and FARMS out of Ririe and who’s bias for the livestock industry is well known.

  35. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    Rob- s
    \My bad, I meant Cameron Wheeler

  36. Rob-S Avatar

    Just cause someone owns a business that sells farms and ranches does not make this individual an anti-wolf, cattle/sheep loving individual. You folks are too quick to prejudge. Many cattle/sheep men do not mind the wolves so long as they do not loose too many animals to them.

  37. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    Next assignment, Check out Jack Lavin membership in the SOCIETY FOR RANGELAND MANAGEMENT, Look at that web site and make a wild guess which side of the wolf issue Jack comes down on. The last sentence of your last post is true however I will look a bit more for Mr. Wheelers stance.

  38. Rob-S Avatar

    Like I said, just he has membership in a society does not mean anything with respect to wolves. I am a member of several societies. My degree or practice is not even closely related. Once again, your letting your emotions control your opinion. Maybe he is a part of the society because he truly wants to improve rangeland. Who knows?

  39. matt bullard Avatar
    matt bullard

    Rob S. I happen to agree with your statement in post #37. I think that we must be careful about prejudice and assigning guilt by association in any group. We are talking about individuals, human beings, after all. I use my example of Senator Laird Noh to support this. From all that I have heard, he was a benefit to wolves, not a detriment, to have had him on the panel that created the wolf management plan. My own estimation of him was very positive based on my interactions with him. I don’t know the others. Individually, they may warrant attention of scrutiny, and I think that on balance, the assessment of the cattle/sheep industry as being anti wolf is probably accurate. But I still think that we must be careful about the prefudice we place in individual members of whatever group we are talking about. This goes for both sides of the issue. Same goes for those who use various derogatory terms/generalizations for the wolf advocates. Generally speaking, I think there’s just too much negativity, not enough actual *discussion*, and way too much name calling…

  40. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    While what you say is generally true, don’t you think that after a management plan that goes through some 14 rough drafts and starts out as a total rejection of the ESA, and then progress to where it is today only because of court rulings and the Federal Government enforcing the provisions of the ESA, and given that the majority of the board, appointed by a Governor who publicly stated that the government of Idaho did not want wolves,is dependent on the livestock industry by either being in the business or close working ties with, that what you end up with is an unbiased result not favoring the livestock industry. As far as belonging to a society, why would one join if one did not support it? Just curious


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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