[Blaine County] Locals denounce [Idaho] state’s wolf plan

Last night, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game held it’s Idaho Wolf Population Management “Open House” followed by a hearing conducted by Blaine County commissioners in Hailey Idaho. For wolf advocates in attendance this night proved to be a remarkably uplifting experience. A diverse group of wolf advocates, hunters, and citizens of Blaine County joined in overwhelmingly condemning the plan and in giving wolves in Idaho a robust advocacy.

Idaho Mountain Express’s take

and my take below the fold…

I attended and documented three of the IDFG’s “open house” forums in Idaho for WWP. The initial forum in Jerome conducted by IDFG’s Big Carnivore director Steve Nadeau, the forum in Boise conducted by Jon Rachael, and last night’s forum conducted by Regan Berkley.

The first two open houses were administered with a peculiar urgency that held public participation to the occasional brief question. Attendees were shown a slideshow, questions were held to a brief amount of time after the slideshow, then the room was opened for public to browse around and speak individually with IDFG employees. Most of the employees were unable to do much more than recite that “wolves are here to stay” and “hunting probably won’t kill that many wolves.”

Hailey’s meeting was conducted with Blaine County commissioners in attendance, a variable/oversight that must have contributed to the markedly more significant public participation than previous meetings’ format.

Regan Berkley, who braved the crowd with admirable effort and good-faith, barely got through the first slide before responding to a question from the public, opening a critical can of worms that would not be contained throughout the evening:

‘Why did the Department survey 2/3 (1/3 livestock, 1/3 hunters) anti-wolf interests? Why did the 1/3 “Public survey” find more hunter respondents than non-hunter despite little more than 1/10th of Idahoans purchase of a hunter’s license last year? And how can you take these biased numbers then claim in good-faith that “everyone supports hunting wolves in Idaho” ?’

‘What is the biological basis for the plan? What is the biological basis for the acceptable number of wolves? Why will hunting and other controls only be restricted when wolves are reduced to near extinction? Is there a single member of IDFG hired to manage who has spent time with wolves learning from wolves ?’ etc. etc. etc. No good answers despite the effort.

One of my favorite questions was, ‘How do you determine “low conflict”, “moderate conflict”, and “high conflict” ? ‘ There was no real answer, let alone a scientifically informed response by anyone from IDFG. This question was particularly apt after having listened to a representative of Sportsmen for Fish & Wildlife (sic) at the Jerome open-house mention that the anti-predator group was actively lobbying IDFG to raise each conflict level across the state a full conflict level (i.e. “low” to “moderate” and “moderate” to “high”), a move which would mean even more aggressive measures to kill wolves in Idaho.

The outcry continued through the Blaine County commissioners hearing held after IDFG’s presentation. The format of the commissioners’ hearing was perhaps more like folk are used to. Each member of the public was given a few minutes to comment in a format where everyone in the room was obliged to listen and in which everyone had the opportunity to contribute. This exchange demonstrated the thoughtful concern of a community of Idahoans whose voice about the plan’s inadequate representation of their interests, inadequate application of science based management, and a strong suspicion of politically charged development was next to universal.

Most importantly the county commissioners learned of an Idahoan hunter who appreciated the added dynamic of wolves as enhancing the experience of his hunt. Several people voiced their experiences of encountering wolves in Idaho as memories that they will never forget, that they value, and that they hope to pass on. Some suggested the economic contribution that wolves could have to communities in rural Idaho was worthy of consideration. Others noted that we were just beginning to learn the extent of the critical role that these top-predators contribute to Idaho’s vibrant ecologies.

The room was charged with reason, critical concern for the lack of science-based development, and a genuine value for wolves in the wild of Idaho – left alone in places – to be wolves.

Just before the last person left, a member of the public asked the IDFG commissioner in attendance, Wayne Wright, whether he would still support killing 600 wolves and what he thought of the public’s concern.

Idaho Deparment of Fish and Game’s commissioner Wayne Wright, representing the Magic Valley Region, responded:

“God gave us the ability to manage wildlife.”

Just like that ~ Blaine county’s concern sloughed off the back of the commissioner’s conscience.



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  1. skyrim Avatar

    “God gave us the ability to manage wildlife.”
    Who will step up and give us the ability to manage wildlife managers, extractive industry goons, outfitters and the ranching mafia?

  2. Brian Ertz Avatar

    i know of a couple …


  3. skyrim Avatar

    would they both be of Sicilian heritage be, ’cause I think that’s what we need here?
    (My sister in law is Sicilian so I’m allowed wiggle room on the political incorrectness angle. 😉 )

  4. kt Avatar

    Well, with a response like that of Idaho Fish and Game Commissioner Wayne Wright, we all can look forward to many enlightened wildlife MANagement decisions in Idaho.

    Geez – and maybe Wright wants a little rehearsal for the End Times by MANaging the Wolf Apocalypse for in Idaho.

    Or maybe he wants to make sure that none of them thar wolves follow him to Planet Colob (sp?), or wherever …

  5. Jordan Avatar

    Regarding the quote from Commissioner Wright about whether he supports killing 600 wolves or not, are you sure he didn’t say that “God gave us the Wright to manage wildlife?”

    It’s always good to know who the snakes are in the pit … . Wasn’t blondie Wright, a retired doctor, the one at the IDFG wolf tag meeting who advocated for wolf tags being reserved for himself and other commissioners?

  6. catbestland Avatar

    I think perhaps God may take issue with Mr. Wright’s claims. God also gave us the ability and command to protect his creation. Having the “ability” is a completely different concept than having the “right” to do something. After all mankind has the ability to destroy the world, but does that give him the right?. Also Mr. Wright should think twice about “God’s” approval of hunting as a means to “Manage wolves” Things did not go so well for “Nimrod, the mighty hunter in opposition to God”.

  7. Larry Thorngren Avatar

    If you go to http://www.fishandgameIdaho.gov/ and click: about fish and game, then click: commission,then click: members; you will find photos of the IDFG Commissioners and a short biography and contact information.
    Mr. Wright has an e-mail address posted and it sounds like
    like he could use some enlightening e-mail.

  8. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    One of things about commissioner Wright’s statement that sticks in my mind is that he merely said “manage” as though it should be apparent to everyone what this rather boring and abstract verb means.

    It must have a definite meaning to him (probably “kill”), but not to the average person. The fact that everyone in F & G goes around saying we must “manage” wolves, rather than some other verb, indicates these people have all been reading or listening to the same thing from some person(s) or group(s)

  9. catbestland Avatar

    I am trying that link, but I can’t get it to work. Will you double check it. It might be my computer. I would love to e-mail Mr. Wrong, I mean Wright.

  10. catbestland Avatar

    “Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul”…Edward Abbey. We all know that at some point we are going to have to take some sort of affirmative action against those who would return our wolves to the brink of extinction for a second time by hunting. Yet we also know we must act within the limits of the law. My question is; Is it illegal for people other than hunters to be on public lands during hunting season where hunting occurs? If not, why don’t we (wolf advocates) show up en mass in these areas with our own hunting parties. I’m sure we could cause enough noise and commotion to keep the wolves in their dens until the danger has passed. Much in the same way volunteers came between the dolphins and those who slaughtered them in Japan recently. We would remain within our rights and still be disruptive enough to limit the number of wolves that are killed. It would require effort from volunteers across the country but I’m sure they would come.

  11. Chuck Avatar

    You will also notice that Mr Wrights appointment ends June 30,2008

  12. Chuck Avatar

    If you protest it they will come. This is a little off base here, but I remember one time that members of green peace were hanging off the Astoria megler bridge protesting one of the nuke capable battle ships coming into the Columbia river. It got alot of attention.

  13. Chuck Avatar

    Ok bear with me here again, a thought just popped into my head, we need to get the word out …right…..what about looking towards the younger generation?????
    The price is right…FREE
    We could make a wolf my space page, look at the numbers of people that are on my space????? any comments?????

  14. April Clauson Avatar
    April Clauson

    catbestland, I thought the same thing, found out it is illegal to disrupt a hunters hunting, you can be fined and or arrested, or worse shot by a hunter (I would not put it past some of them). Also buying to wolf lottery permits won’t work either, if not enough are killed they will re-issue new ones till they feel the numbers are low enough. I feel that what is needed is people to picket in front of the outfitters places of business, also hunting places, ranch’s etc… no laws against that and it will bring lots of attention. and even some media news, word needs to get out, letters written etc. I have written letter to Idaho, New Mexico, Wyoming and Montana, and e-mailed them too. Even though it is big companies and elected officials we are up against if the public screams loud enough they have to listen!! And making noise may just do the opposite, wolves do not hide in their dens, they abandon them when they are disturbed. Good ideas, but legal stuff overrides them.

  15. catbestland Avatar

    That link worked. Thanks. Comments yes. A my space page sounds great. It would be easy to get the word out for a “wolf hunting” protest there. We have to remain above board with the law so we need to make sure there are no laws against gathering in hunting areas during hunting seasons. This is one time that I think the use of ATV’s and snowmobiles mignt be called for. The more noise we can make the better.

  16. catbestland Avatar

    I just checked with IDFG Hunter Education program. Apparently there are no laws, rules or regulations to prevent anyone from doing whatever they want on public lands during hunting seasons including snowmobiling or ATVing or partying as long as it is not considered “Harrassing Wildlife” I was told there are no laws regarding “Disrupting Hunters” as long as it is not harrassing wildlife. So if anyone is game or our own pro-wolf “hunting party” so am I. I also like your idea of picketing outfitters and ranching businesses as well.

  17. Brian Ertz Avatar

    Jordan says: “Wasn’t blondie Wright, a retired doctor, the one at the IDFG wolf tag meeting who advocated for wolf tags being reserved for himself and other commissioners? ”

    That’s the one ~ and yes ~ during a commissioners meeting about a year ago, upon a proposal the IDFG Commission was to send to the legislature regarding “Governor’s tags” and “Commissioners tags” (wolf tags to be distributed among commissioners to take back to their respective regions and distribute to whomever they wished – i.e. preferred outfitters etc.) commissioner Wright suggested that the one or 2 per region was not enough “Why restrict ourselves off the bat like this” i believe is the quote. i’ll have to look through my tapes and see whether I still have that ~

  18. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Private tags for commissioners and fee payments to outfitters so you can watch wildlife.

    What a bunch of privatizers! — stealers of what belongs to the public.

  19. April Clauson Avatar
    April Clauson

    Thanks for letting me know I was incorrect, I was told this by a forest service person in AZ, I told him what I wanted to do,(ride my ATV and make lots of noise when they are hunting) and he told me it was against the law, Now that is in AZ, not sure about anywhere else. I wish I could join you all in Idaho cause I would be there for sure! I may not be there in body but I will cheer ya all on in spirit!!!

  20. catbestland Avatar

    Thanks April,

    If this actually comes to fruition, we will need all the cheering on we can get. Don’t let Marion get to you, she is always smearing the same hogwash around.

  21. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    You can’t legally harass a hunt, and suggest you don’t.

    Ironically, many hunters today inadvertantly harass their own hunt and those of others by riding around on noisy ATVs hoping to find a deaf deer, elk (and suppose soon, wolf).

  22. catbestland Avatar

    That is all that I am suggesting doing. Just have enough people riding around on ATVs or snowmobiles to ensure that nobody gets a good shot off at a wolf. Or as few as possible.

  23. Jordan Avatar

    In Idaho it’s legal to target practice on public lands (there are a few exceptions). Idaho is 66 percent public land, so there’s lots of area in which you can shoot with your pistol, shotgun or rifle. You don’t even need a hunting license for target practice. There are regulations about not shooting from your vehicle or roadway, or across a road, or near houses, campgrounds, etc.

    If you buy a hunting license, then you can shoot “for fun” at a coyote, rabbit, squirrel, skunk, porcupine or other “varmints” at anytime of the year.

    It’s illegal to interfere with a hunter trying to take “game”. In other words you can’t verbally harass, or try to get between hunter and whatever they are trying to “harvest”.

    But it’s legal to walk into a canyon or onto a mountain and target practice on tin cans or paper targets. Idaho backroads, gravel pits and dispersed camping areas are littered with spent ammunition that “sportsmen” leave behind.

    Canines do not like loud noise. Get my drift?

  24. d. Bailey Hill Avatar

    Ya’ know with the warmer winters, ALLERGIES will probably effect more people year round…….watery ichy eyes, excessive SNEEZING, and sometimes a dry COUGH.

  25. catbestland Avatar

    I have all of those symptoms come hunting season and I really need some taget practice.

  26. Lynne Stone Avatar
    Lynne Stone

    Here are some more details re. the proposed wolf hunt in Idaho as I have read and heard them in the past couple of weeks. (If others have different info, please jump in!)

    It’s important to remember that delisting has to occur first, a fact that seems to have escaped IDFG. They have plunged ahead with their wolf hunting plan and fully intend that it will start in Fall 2008. Kinda reminds me of the Titanic captain going full speed ahead despite warnings of Northern Atlantic icebergs.

    The Idaho wolf hunting season would start August 30 when most archery seasons begin and continue for seven months until March 31st. (Ending about the time the alpha female is seeking her denning site.)

    Any Idaho resident who has a hunting license could buy a wolf tag for $9.75. Note that of Idaho’s 1.4 million citizens, 11% annually buy a hunting license or about 154,000 people. We have about 700 to 800 wolves. Of course, not all hunters want to kill a wolf. Out of state resident wolf tags would cost around $150.00.

    One official I spoke to said the wolf hunting season would likely end Dec. 31st. But I think that unlikely because the 600 trappers in Idaho are going to be pushing for a winter season when pelts are prime. Traps, by the way, only have to be checked every 48 hrs in Idaho. IDFG is very keen on having wolves hunted and trapped on private land and would urge access for this.

    At the two meetings on the draft 2007 Wolf Population Mgt (control) Plan that I attended, it was clear that IDFG wants at least 20 packs, because then there would be more “opportunity” for hunting and trapping. And when I asked about the consequences about removing alphas and adults from the pack structure, I was told over and over “we manage for the overall population, not individuals”.

    Am hoping that a large iceberg in the form of a federal judge will say no to delisting and tell the state to go back to port and develop a plan based on science and biology and not politics.

    It’s essential that wolf supporters comment on the draft plan to IDFG and I’ll put some suggestions on how to best do that in another posting.

  27. catbestland Avatar


    I anxiously await your suggestions on commenting to the IDFG. I have made some comments to them already but will happily follow through with your suggestions.

  28. Jay Avatar

    Traps are required to be check at least every 72 hours, not 48. It should be every 24 hours, if you ask me…

  29. Lynne Stone Avatar
    Lynne Stone

    Jay – correction noted. Are there any states where leghold traps and snares have been banned? Last winter I found a skinned bobcat carcass along Hwy 75 at Redfish Lake Rd near Stanley. Was surprised that trapping was going on in the area because both the Galena and Basin Butte Wolf packs were around. Reported it to IDFG only to be told that our new local Game Warden was a trapper himself. Surprising news, but not illegal.

    The regs say that trappers are supposed to avoid wolf areas. Obviously they are not. The USFWS weekly wolf update reported last winter that several wolves were caught in coyote traps. Does anyone know how long before a paw freezes and becomes permanently damaged so that the wolf is crippled? As difficult as it is to think about this, there are purposes for which the info can be used. The secret brotherhood of trappers needs a spotlight on them. Trappers are going to push for a winter season on wolves.

  30. jerry b Avatar
    jerry b

    Trapping will be another tool besides hunting to eliminate wolves when the wolf season begins here in Montana.
    Trappers in this state have NO mandatory trap check times, in fact a wolf was caught in a coyote trap near Helmville for 5 days before FWP released him. Needless to say, he died soon after of “stress”.
    There’s no enforcement in Montana when it comes to “incidental take” of endangered or protected species. This applies to Lynx, wolves, grizzlies, and eagles. Hopefully soon the wolverine will be listed because Montana is the only state, in the lower 48, that allows trapping for them even though there are less than 200 in the state.
    And please don’t let the rhetoric out of MFWP fool you. The livestock industry and outfitters will have the final say when it comes to number of wolves killed. This year alone there were more killed here than Wyoming or Idaho.
    Check out “Footloosemontana.org” for more anti-trapping info. This non-profit is all about banning traps on public lands.

  31. jerry b Avatar
    jerry b

    Lynne….Yes there are 8 states that have trapping bans. Including Arizona, Colorado, Washington, and California.

  32. Lynne Stone Avatar
    Lynne Stone

    Thanks, Jerry. A couple of weeks ago I happened upon our local game warden who had just shot a red fox that had been in a trap for four days. He was looking for the trapper that had ignored his traps. The site was near Stanley and in an area where people like to walk, snowshoe and ski. I was warned to keep my dog close as we walked up the trail. Have been told that wild animals will leave a trap alone if they smell human scent on it, like urine. I’ll check out the footloosemontana site.

  33. jerry b Avatar
    jerry b

    Lynne……yes, I do believe the urine works. So it’s important to drink lots of water when hiking in trapping country!
    Another group that a friend started….”trapfreeoregon.org”
    Lots of pets caught in traps in Montana…that was the original motivating factor in starting “footloose”.

  34. catbestland Avatar


    I stand corrected. Idaho 2007 Big Game Regulations page 16, ” It is Unlawful to Intentionally interfere with the lawful taking of wildlife or lawful predator control by another”
    Apparently I was missinformed by “Donna” from the IDFG. Back to the drawing table.

  35. Chuck Avatar

    Ok, can someone please help me out here, I am trying to find the numbers for mountain lions and bears in the state of Idaho…saw it somewhere….but can’t find it now.

  36. TFO Avatar

    I was at the wolf de-listing hearing in Pendleton, Or. last March, and there too the citizen comments were strongly against de-listing, 18 to 5. As far as federal or state wildlife hearings are concerned, all are speakers, none are hearers. The officials do not hear.

    At this meeting the USFW representative said that livestock loss due to predation was about 3% of the total losses, and of that, “a very small part” was due to wolves (this in the Rocky Mountain Region).

    It is very hard to move F&W Commissioners. Does Idaho allow voter initiatives?

    Now that wolves have made it into NE Oregon, we at TrapFree Oregon hope to get even stronger support to outlaw wildlife trapping. To us and many many others, a wolf in a trap is a grim thought.

  37. Lynne Stone Avatar
    Lynne Stone

    Wolf supporters might also enjoy reading the Wood River Journal’s article “In defense of wolves – Hailey audience demands answers” by Lynea Newcomber. It was the paper’s top story in its Dec. 19th issue. The Wood River Journal and Idaho Mt Express are the two free weekly newspapers in the Hailey/Ketchum/Sun Valley area.

    Here’s the link: http://www.woodriverjournal.com/articles/2007/12/20/news/top_story/astory.txt

  38. Mack P. Bray Avatar
    Mack P. Bray

    Lynne’s right: “The secret brotherhood of trappers needs a spotlight on them.”

    I hate trapping with a vengeance – trapping’s filthy underbelly needs to be EXPOSED.

    Thank you jerry b, for the footloosemontana.org and trapfreeoregon.org links. We need a public lands trap-free organization here in Wyoming!

    Mack P. Bray
    My opinions are my own


  39. Monty Avatar

    thanks Stone for the excellent article of the wolf hearing in Haliey. It gives one hope.

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