Western Watersheds Project's comments on Idaho wolf population management plan

Many folks will like to read this, find a lot of good information and see how thoroughly political, rather than scientific the plan is. There is great information placing wolf caused livestock mortality into context with other kinds of losses.

The due date for comments was Dec. 31, 2007.

This  is an 8 page pdf document written by Debra Ellers, WWPs Western Idaho Director.
The comments.



  1. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    I would also link to Defender’s (Suzanne Stone’s) comments:


    Aside from differences in specific details between the Idaho and Wyoming plans, the same concerns apply to Wyoming. Wyoming’s dual status plan is more overtly illegal; Idaho’s plan is more vague but clearly the intent is to treat wolves as “predatory animals” in much of the state.

  2. Buffaloed Avatar

    I’ve made one of the links in WWP’s comments clickable. It is the link to the livestock deaths by cause and state. http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/usda/current/sgdl/sgdl-05-06-2005.pdf

    Interesting and valuable information.

  3. Lynne Stone Avatar
    Lynne Stone

    New Year’s greetings to all! A couple of things. The Idaho Dept of Fish & Game says that 11% of Idahoans buy a hunting license annually. Yet, 33% of the people receiving IDFG’s recent skewed survey re. wolves were hunters.

    Robert – I might add that the comments submitted by Defenders were a group effort and on behalf of the following: Defenders, Boulder-White Clouds Council, The Lands Council, Wolf Recovery Foundation, Wolf Education and Research Center and Western Watersheds Project. Some like WWP submitted separate comments as well.

    I just sent my personal letter to IDFG – what a way to spend New Year’s Eve. But then if it helps wolves, worth it. Earlier on this subzero day, I watched the beautiful black Phantom Hill wolves climbing up a ridge as the final sunrise of 2007 gave light to their path. Since this is Yellowstone and not Idaho, probably a hundred cars passed, mostly skiers hurrying by, while I sat pulled over on a hwy not that far from one of the world’s most famous ski resorts. I watched with spotting scope, the antics and travels of the Phantoms maybe 1/4 mile away, until they disappeared into rugged terrain.

    With the plans that the state of Idaho has for wolves, wolf watching here is likely going to have to continue to be cautious and discreet.

  4. Lynne Stone Avatar
    Lynne Stone

    Good grief! Correction! Too much New Year’s cheer — what I meant to say was — since this is Idaho and NOT Yellowstone, probably a hundred cars passed, as I was watching the wulfies, etc etc. Where’s my proof reader? Gone off to celebrate New Year’s.

  5. Todd Avatar

    Someone needs to ask IDFG who they represent. If they agree that their mission is stewardship of all wildlife in ID for all people in ID, then their plan falls apart pretty quickly. I guess we all know that already — but getting the commissioners to answer the question (and getting it on video) would be interesting. Todd

  6. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins


    I realize that the comments were a joint effort; sorry. It was a kind of shorthand so I could get to New Year’s Eve festivities.

    For Todd and others, the public trust duties for wildlife of the sovereign state–fiduciary duties of a trustee for beneficiaries–are for all citizens of the state, not just a few. Indeed, the thrust of the public trust is to protect the common property of all from the designs of a few special interests. This is the law of the public trust. Very simple, but dangerous to special interests. That’s why it’s hardly ever discussed.

    No doubt, the commissioners have no clear understanding of this, as the qualifications for wildlife commissioner in the West have nothing to do with knowledge or understanding of wildlife law, ecology, or biology. So citizens will have to explain it to the commissioners in no uncertain terms. Then sue.


  7. Mack P. Bray Avatar
    Mack P. Bray

    And therein lies the function of Wildlife Watchers – to represent wildlife watchers at the state and national levels; preserving our rights and values regarding wildlife and the management of OUR wildlife; educating public office holders about the cornerstone of our mission which is the Public Trust Doctrine.

    As an update, Wildlife Watchers has begun the slow process of incorporating and obtaining non-profit status.

    So bear with us; we will be up and running before too many months of 2008 pass…!

    Mack P. Bray
    My opinions are my own


  8. Salle Avatar

    And halleluyah on that, Mack.

    However, to comment on Robert’s last entry:

    Lest we forget…

    The IDFG Mission Statement:

    The mission statement for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game is found within the State of Idaho Wildlife Policy, which reads:
    “All wildlife, including all wild animals, wild birds, and fish, within the state of Idaho, is hereby declared to be the property of the state of Idaho. It shall be preserved, protected, perpetuated, and managed. It shall be only captured or taken at such times or places, under such conditions, or by such means, or in such manner, as will preserve, protect, and perpetuate such wildlife, and provide for the citizens of this state and, as by law permitted to others,

    {This is the troubling part for me}

    continued supplies of such wildlife for hunting, fishing and trapping.”

    So IDFG sees its mission based on harvest options only, watching for the sake of observation is not in the interest of the State of Idaho since it only has a mission to manage for harvest revenue.

    So, I guess, that means that the only wildlife of any value has a price tag on it, period. Anything other than that is not worth their time. It sounds like a stewardship interest that makes no sense in the real definition of “stewardship”. There is a strong idealogical influence here that smacks of some re-defining of the term to suit a particular special interest that deems itself superior to anything beyond their realm of interest.

    It’s what Idaho s ll about, politically speaking… Not that every citizen of the state agrees~only that those who see themselves as a part of the self-appointed idealogical stewards are the only ones that matter.

  9. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins


    I think your concern over the use aspect of the public trust is valid to some degree, in that it lends itself to commerce of one sort of another, but what you do not know is that operationally the public trust is fundamentally a common law doctrine; it assumes a nexus between changing public attitudes toward “natural resources” and judicial decisions that are made in line with those changes in social values.

    That is to a certain extent the public trust is malleable and certainly can be broadened to include the conservation of biodiversity, either judicially or legislatively.

    I would argue that our task is to push the public trust in the proper direction through legislation, primarily through ballot initiatives.



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