Wolf in the Rockies: Carnivore recovery or token effort?

Guest Opinion. Billings Gazette. Wolf in the Rockies: Carnivore recovery or token effort?

Finally, someone who doesn’t mention the “poor ranchers.” Of course, it’s a guest opinion.





  1. JB Avatar

    I can’t believe the comments that follow this article–I mean, I’ve heard them all before, but I can’t believe that they are all negative! I thought Bozeman was the last center of liberalism in Montana?

  2. Dave Avatar

    Don’t be too surprised by those comments. It’s as if there are two mutually-exclusive universes of thought out there when it comes to wolves, and they’ll never find a common meeting ground. Sadly, that’s just the way it is.

  3. skyrim Avatar

    These on line comment boards attract the uninformed. The anonymity factor plays big. As well, it is only representative of a few that read the article, not necessarily of that of Montanans. Marion is from the Cody area in Wyoming for example and her reasoning has been found to be archaic and never factual.

  4. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    I’ve noticed the comment sections at the major Western newspapers vary from paper to paper. The Billings Gazette consistently has perhaps the nastiest and most backward bunch of any I have read. The actual opinions of people in Montana tends to be less reactionary than Idaho or Wyoming.

  5. JB Avatar

    Ahh, I misread the Paper title! It was Billings and not Bozeman; that explains it!

    I was being somewhat facetious with my initial comment; however, I am a bit surprised–usually people who actually read the newspaper are a notch above the rest.

  6. catbestland Avatar

    The negative comments confirm the ignorance with which the anti wolf campain is being conducted. I was particularly incensed by the comment of Los Congriges stating “Nature (as apposed to man) selected them (wolves) to be exterminated.” I suppose “Nature” is responsible for every other atrocity commited by humans?

    I don’t believe it is the loss of livestock that have ranchers so angry with wolves. After all demestic dogs also kill large numbers of livestock. Rather, it is the perception that government issue environmentalists have invaded their “domain” and are trying to control their lives. The wolf is the symbol of this government interference. I don’t think you can fight this. I don’t think these ones can be reeducated. As George Weurthner wrote in his article on the WWP blog. There was local opposition to all of the National Parks. They saw the parks as the government’s attempt to control their lives in some way.

    As in the Civil Rights era south. The attempt to educate the local oligarchy to the properness of equality was abandoned as futile at some point, yet the movement went on and was successful. The one thing the local hierarchy did understand was that federal authorities were not going to tolerate disregard for federal law. I think the situation is similar in this case. We are never going to reeducate these people to the importance of the presence of the wolf, but they will comprehend the severity of stiffer sentencing for their illegal poaching. I have never seen anyone punished properly for their illegal actions in this regard. There simply is no incentive for them to obey the law. This issue must be addressed and stiffer sentencing must be imposed for their illegal actions.

  7. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    We need the imposition of strong legal requirements for conservation to give the culture a chance to change and for the oligarchies to fade away. I grew up in the Jim Crow South, with one foot in the 19th century as my grandfather owned a small tobacco plantation, with black people living in cabins on the property to work the tobacco, with no plumbing or electricity whatsoever; these people were serfs, little different from slaves by any practical definition.

    My daughter, who is 18, has also grown up in the South and the skin colors of her friends range across the rainbow. She is unable to conceive of what it was like in the rural south 40 and 50 years ago. And that is an improvement.

  8. catbestland Avatar

    I know from whence you come. I too, grew up in the south during this strife torn era. My grandfather owned cotton feilds. I remember well, the hatred directed towards the “government sent Civil Rights Workers” more so than the hatred of blacks themselves. I can easily draw a comparison to what is occurring in our time with environmentalism and especially with the wolf issue. The wolf simbolizes an unwelcome interference of the government upon one entity’s control over an entire section of the country. We need more severe penalties imposed upon the perpetrators of these federal crimes. The sentencing guidelings in place are fine but they are never implemented. There is no use trying to educate the opposition, they have exhibited no interest in doing what is right or wholesome for the environment. They had their chance. So “Damn the torpedoes. Full speed ahead!” The Civil Rights movement was not deterred by local opposition, nor should we be.

  9. Mike Lommler Avatar
    Mike Lommler

    That Billings comment section is dreadful. If you want substance in Montana I’m afraid you’ll have to check out the Missoula Independent. Best periodical in the state, if you ask me.

    Of course I live in Missoula, so I’m kind of biased.

    Oh, and to JB: Missoula is significantly more liberal than Bozeman. We’ve got more of that pernicious West Coast influence (I jest).

  10. be Avatar

    scanned copy of 2003 anti-wolf coalition donor list featuring then congressman butch otter

    here’s a webpage with all of the anti-wolf coalition program pages.

    we tend to think that these people are on the fringe – and they are – but they have politicians signaling support and we ought not pretend like now that they’re more shrewd and friendly to shake hands with that they won’t follow through.

  11. Mack P. Bray Avatar
    Mack P. Bray

    Then Congressional Representative, Butch Otter, now Governor of Idaho, not only made a financial donation in 2003 to the Idaho Anti-Wolf Coalition, ***Ron Gillett’s*** group, but was credited in the program with declaring:

    “In 1776, King George tried to impose his will on the 13 colonies by taxation without representation. Today the Federal Government is acting like King George by forcing the citizens of Idaho to live with Canadian Gray Wolves without their consent. Make no mistake, Canadian Gray Wolves are a clear and present danger to the rural Idaho economy and the big game herds that Idahoans love.

    Congressman Butch Otter”

    “…forcing the citizens of Idaho to live with Canadian Gray Wolves without their consent.”

    I doubt wolves would *ever* consent to live with some Idahoans…!

    When does the Idaho Revolutionary War start? Oh. I see. On wolves, it HAS started.

    Mack P. Bray



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