Today is the Boise wolf delisting hearing

Most folks who are planning to attend, no doubt already know it, but this is a reminder.You will only be allowed to talk for 2-3 minutes, but the most important thing is to let the media know there is wolf support in the crowd.

Here is the schedule of the remaining hearings.

March 6, 2007, at Boise Convention Center on the Grove, 850 W. Front Street, Boise, ID

March 7, 2007, at Pendleton Red Lion Inn, 304 S.E. Nye Street, Pendleton, OR

March 8, 2007, at Oxford Inns and Suites, 15015 East Indiana Avenue, Spokane Valley, WA

In each location, the public meetings will be from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. and the public hearings will be from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. A brief presentation on the Service’s proposal will be given during the public meetings at 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. and will be followed by a question-and-answer period. During the public hearing, formal oral testimony will be accepted. Written comments also will be accepted at the public meeting and the hearing.

Here are some talking points-

Today wolves are not ready to lose federal protection because:

-The Wyoming and Idaho plans will not protect wolves. Wolf management should not be turned over to states whose state wolf plans do not provide sufficient protections to ensure wolf populations will continue to exist.

-The FWS should not be including portions of adjacent states into the proposed area for delisting, especially where the adjacent states have asked not to be included. Washington State is just starting the development of its own wolf plan and does not want the FWS splitting off 1/3 of the state for differing levels of protection.

-Because wolves travel easily across state borders, protections in the Northern Rockies should not be lifted until all states (Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and Montana) have wolf plans that can provide the continued protections wolves need to survive.

The boundaries FWS drew for including parts of Oregon and Washington don’t make sense for any potential wolf recovery in these states. The FWS has said the areas where federal protections would be lifted would be high conflict areas for wolves, but these are also the very areas wolves must travel through to recolonize elsewhere in the state.

-Robust wolf populations in Idaho and Wyoming are essential to return wolves to Colorado, Oregon, Washington and Utah, which are all part of the gray wolf’s historic range.

-Wyoming would allow wolves to be shot on sight in most of the State, and the Fish and Wildlife Service has rejected Wyoming’s management plan.

-Idaho Governor Butch Otter has said the state will seek to kill 75% of the wolf population; Idaho’s official position (based on Idaho House Joint Memorial 5 which prefaces the Idaho wolf Management plan) calls for removing all wolves from Idaho “by any means necessary.” Idaho has never repealed HJM 5. It is still official state policy.

It is not clear that current wolf populations are adequate to ensure recovery in the region. Human population growth, habitat development and disease (such as mange and parvo-virus) present ongoing challenges to wolf recovery.







  1. Layton Avatar

    And of course don’t forget to mention that the wolves have exceeded the original terms for delisting – even the enhanced ones – by a factor of 5 or 6.

    Then there’s the FACT that the wolf population in Idaho – South of Interstate 90 is designated “experimental and non-essential”.

    Remember?? These were terms of the original agreement. Or has that agreement become “null and void” for the same reasons that the genetic science that was “good as gold” at the time of the introduction has conveniently become obsolete?

    See you at the meeting,


  2. Ralph Maughan Avatar
    Ralph Maughan


    It’s true that the wolf population has exceeded the minimum by somewhere between 200% and 500%.

    The population size was only one criterion of delisting.

    The talking points above deal with the rest of the matter.

    As far as a “deal” goes, the state of Idaho revoked their deal after the results of 1994 election. Thus, there was no “deal” with the state of Idaho upon wolf reintroduction, and Idaho’s official position remains HJM 5, no wolves whatsoever. Where’s the deal?

    The Idaho wolf restoration was accomplished by USFWS and the Nez Perce Tribe.

    Given Idaho’s official position, why would any proponent of wolf restoration believe the state would do a good job maintaining a viable population of wolves? Only a fool would believe the state government.

    In a way, I am very pleased at Governor Otter’s original position before SFW-Idaho. At the rally, he said what he felt and what he meant, and what he intends to do. No subsequent news release from his office can obscure that moment of truth.

  3. be Avatar

    the meeting will be webcast live HERE at 6PM.

  4. be Avatar

    the question period is on right now at that link…

    I’d didn’t seem to be able to get it to work . . . sorry. Webmaster

  5. kt Avatar

    I should have counted people in the Hearing Room at the Boise meeting, and am kicking myself that I didn’t – attendance at its height looked like well over 250 people.

    A diverse group of people spoke up in support of wolves, and opposed de-listing. Many young people, many women. Now that I think about it, women that spoke may have out-numbered men nearly two to one, yet there were not more women in the room than men. Speakers ranged from a ranger in Denali to a fellow who had worked with AZ Game and Fish capturing mexican wolves to an elderly lady who said she had seen the last of the wolves killed in the Stanley Basin area in the 1930s.

    The ratio of folks that testified (outside of 3 or 4 government officials and 2 tribal representatives) was roughly 4 or 5 or more people OPPOSED to de-listing, to every person in favor.

    Conservation group reps. that spoke against de-listing were: Defenders of Wildlife, Western Watersheds Project, NRDC, Boulder-White Clouds Council, Committee for Idaho’s High Desert. So a LOT of the public testimony was from ordinary concerned citizens.

    Most of those in favor of the de-listing proposal and turning wolves over to state management had an economic interest – a couple of ranchers, Outfitters and Guides Rep., I think an outiftter, a couple of hunter/local residents, Idaho Cattle Assoc’n Rep., a rep. of the Payette Cattle assoc’n, a Meridian high student rep.

    It will be interesting to see how the papers report this. All in all, it was a rout (on Otter’s home turf) for those who would relax federal protection for wolves under the current political atmosphere.

    AND – a couple of computer cognoscenti folks were streaming and live-blogging the hearing too!

    AND I noticed most government officials LEAVING at a break, after it became apparent they were very much on the losing side … it appears they weren’t interested in hearing ALL the public had to say.

  6. kt Avatar

    One clarification: In the preceding comment, the government officials leaving were the elected officials, Caswell, etc. NOT the FWS people who were at the meeting.

    Thanks for the report. I couldn’t get the live blog to work on my web site (technologically retarded maybe). Ralph

  7. Scott Swendsen Avatar
    Scott Swendsen

    I just got home from the hearing as well – very good turnout for those opposed to the delisting. I recently moved to Idaho from Minnesota so not as familiar yet with all of the issues, but why are the tribal groups supporting delisting? It seems as if this is part of their heritage (per their words) yet both tribes support the delisting.


    There are some really complex politics going on there. I won’t, or maybe shouldn’t, try to describe it. Webmaster.

  8. matt bullard Avatar
    matt bullard

    Was pleasantly surprised at the turnout, myself. kt’s description was right on and her comments were spoken well, even if I’m not in full agreement. Besides the government reps, I don’t think there was a single pro delisting person who spoke before the break (when I had to leave). Nice going to all those who had the courage to get up there!

  9. kt Avatar

    For those who are gluttons for punishment (and I like gluttons, especially the Gulo gulo kind), there is a public comment period at the Idaho Fish and Game Commission Meeting in Boise, tonight March 7, at 7 pm.

    If you feel so inclined, go to the meeting tonight, and say what you think about the State of Idaho’s, and the appointed IDFG Commission’s, attitude toward wolves. Cameron Wheeler, the head of the commission who made the sexist remark about “wolves not paying their way– like women’s sports”, that Ralph has a recording of Posted on this site, runs the meetings.

    This is the Commission that voted in early 2007 for 10 special Wolf Killing Permits called “Commissioners Tags” for Wolf Pelts to be handed over to pro-wolf killing “sportsmen” groups to auction off at fund-raising banquets. Besides the hope of pumping up attendance at banquets, the sportsmen groups even get to keep a small percentage of the auction proceeds.

    This is quintessential cronyism. Several of the commissioners are associated with the 2 or 3 groups that will get the Tags. The Commissioners themselves are all appointed by the Governor (the present group were Kempthorne -he who oversees wolf de-listing now -appointees). The way they they got appointed is lobbying by various interest groups or well-connected parties who champion their cause. So, the Tags are a way to bring home the bacon, and reward their supporters. I’m sure we’ll hear tonight, though, how an Oh So Unbiased a system will be set up to divvy out the Commissioners tags to the Sportsmen Groups …

    In my mind, too, it is part of the incremental privatization of wildlife underway in many western states right now. Essentially buying access, or personal or political cachet, with trophy and hunting tags.

    Pasted Here is a relevant part of a recent FG News Release about the meeting.

    Commission to Set Big Game Seasons

    The Idaho Fish and Game Commission is scheduled to set seasons for deer, elk, antelope, black bear and mountain lion during its Boise meeting, March 7-9, at Fish and Game headquarters, 600 S. Walnut.

    The three-day meeting kicks off with a public comment period at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 7, in the Trophy Room at Fish and Game headquarters.

    Thursday they’ll tackle the outfitter controlled tag allocation issue to accommodate legislative rejection of the previous rule, and proposed changes to big game seasons and rules.

    The first item they’ll tackle Friday will be the proposed Yellowstone cutthroat trout management plan, followed by action on the proposed 2007-2012 Fish Management Plan for the state.

    They also will consider four land acquisitions in northern Idaho and wind up the meeting with an update on wolf management. For agenda details see Fish and Game’s Website at

    Times on the agenda are approximate and subject to change.

    The Agenda at the Web Link says there will be a Wolf Update at 9:40 on Friday morning. No opportunity for comment then, I don’t believe, but likely some discussion of the cretinous Idaho legislature’s one-up-manship of even the current FG Commission in lowering the price of a wolf pelt tag from the $26.50 decided at the previous FG Commission meeting to $9.75.

  10. Layton Avatar


    “As far as a “deal” goes, the state of Idaho revoked their deal after the results of 1994 election. Thus, there was no “deal” with the state of Idaho upon wolf reintroduction, and Idaho’s official position remains HJM 5, no wolves whatsoever. Where’s the deal?”

    The “deal” that I am referring to is the original (10j?) ruling that got wolves back into the three state area.

    Didn’t the original agreement call for 30 breeding pairs for 4 years in the three state area? This was agreed to by the parties that drew it up. I don’t remember exactly what people were on that committee, but I suspect that you do. I do seem to recall that one of the Peak couple from the U of I that you folks are so fond of quoting was on it.

    Yes, it is only one of the criteria, but do you really think that the present situation, with wolves reproducing all over the map and at numbers that no one would have believed, is a desireable one?

    And, for my own clarification, what do you mean by “the state of Idaho revoked their deal after the results of 1994 election”. I don’t understand.

    I do understand what you say about the resolution, it’s not binding, it means nothing, but if I was arguing your side of this — I’d hang onto it just as you are doing. After all, if you can’t “dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with BS”.



  11. Bob Avatar

    Kt what was sexist about the Wheelers female sports comment….lets just take Boise State for example…look how much money the fiesta bowl brought to BSU…now add up all the womens sports ticket sales for the last 10 years and compare….not sexist just fact……when was the last time you watched a live womens volleyball game….thats what i thought!!!!

    Actually a pretty accurate comparison…

  12. kt Avatar


    You must know that getting rid of Title IX, that provides opportunities to women and some degree of gender equity in sports at colleges that receive federal funds has long been reviled by the far rightwing elements in this country. The AEI, Heritage Foundation, Federalist Society types have whined and maneuvered relentlessly to try to get rid of this equal opportunity program.

    Cameron Wheeler acts, in his capacity as head of the Fish and Game Commission, to oversee how all wildlife in Idaho is managed, and should set the tone, too, for how they are valued and how state managemnt of wildlife is viewed by the rest of the world. Wheeler, whose name is on theawful 2002 Wolf Plan, by the way, was appointed by Dirk Kempthorne.

    Wheeler’s remarks, recorded here, in a January 25 Post on Ralph’s site:

    embody the attitude of the privileged arch-conservative Good Old Boys that comprise the entire Commission and the government of Idaho. Wheeler’s remarks were preceded immediately by his fretting over the Idaho eventually losing federal funding to manage wolves if they are de-listed. Waaa-hh! As Butch Otter said in his recent Op Ed, we want to kill, kill, kill wolves, and Idaho will act to protect its “sovereign” nature. Yet, that same sovereign Idaho gloms onto every bit of federal funds or every possible subsidy that it can. Listen, too, to OSC head Jim Caswell in that tape, he’s not sure if he EVER wants to release the feds from keeping the federal tax dollars flowing to Idaho. That’s a big part of the reason Kempthorne, when he was Gov, set up Caswell’s Office of Species Extinction, to maximize federal dollars coming into Idaho to be given away to Good Old Boy ranchers and ag interests for new irrig systems or the like, to perpetuate the status quo, or to “mitigate” the damage their cows are doing to our public lands by building more cow contraptions on public lands.

    Plus, the venue where Wheeler made his remarks was the IDFG Wolf Pelt Tag Meeting, held in the Trophy Room in January 2007, surrounded by many stuffed big dead animal trophy heads including even a caribou (you might be familiar with the fate – near-extinction – of the native northern Idaho caribou), a bearskin plastered on a wall, etc. There was no public comment allowed at the meeting. All we could do was sit and view and listen to the esteemed Commissioners, and view an IDFG Powerpoint that had slides Of “Wolf Pelt Tag #1 Governor’s Tag” and “Commissioner’s Tags”.

    At the meeting there was gleeful discussion by the Commissioners about the 10 Commissioners Wolf Pelt Tags, which are to be handed over to “Sportsmen” Groups to sell at banquets, AND where the group even gets to keep some of the proceeds of the Wolf Pelt Tag sale. The way Wheeler and the rest of the Good Old Boy Commissioners, nearly every one with ties to the livestock industry, got appointed was through the lobbying efforts of various sportsmen and groups aimed at the Governor (Kempthorne). In my mind, this Commissioner Wolf Pelt Tag business: 1) is a step towards privatization of wildlife, 2) reeks of cronyism and a closed loop Good Old Boy system. Comm’r rewards Group who promoted him for Comm’r.

    SO for Wheeler in this context to make his sexist remarks is inexcusable. And since the newspapers have recently made a big deal about the wolf de-listing being an issue of “trust” – it provides a wonderful insight into the state system and state characters in Idaho that would control the fate of wolves if they are stripped of ESA protection.

    Maybe, if you want more of a feel of the ambiance at the meeting, someone should post some more of the recording of that discussion on-line??? Like the Commisisoner from northern Idaho gushing “I’ll take two” of the Wolf Pelt Tags. They were like little kids in the candy jar, thinking of rewarding their cronies in the “Sportsmen” groups with the death of wolves. A disgusting display by any governmental official at any time, and topped off by Wheeler comparing wolves “things” as he called them, to women’s sports not paying their way.

    Oh, and in the Comment string below the January Post, Ralph provides some insight into sports and funding at colleges.

  13. kt Avatar

    Correction: The first couple of sentences about in my Post should have said Title IX has long been reviled by the Heritage Fdtn, Federalist Soc, etc. and they have long wanted to get rid of it. Apologize for the run on sentence that makes it sound like they revile getting rid of Title IX, when the opposite is true.


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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Ralph Maughan