Why does Idaho government ignore the Minnesota wolf experience?

This is an editorial in the Idaho Mountain Express.

Clear thinking and biology should drive wolf management. View of the Idaho Mountain Express.

Idaho influential decision-makers are not alone in their self-centered thinking. Other Western States that have wolves, or may have migratiing wolves arrive, consistently make statements warning of disaster if wolves show up, or stating that their state has become an economic wasteland,  completely ignoring the years to experience in other states. Most of the time, the msm simply report these warnings without comment. They might even endorse them; so hat’s off of the Mountain Express.






  1. TallTrent Avatar

    I continue to be amazed by the numbers game when it comes to wolf management in the Northern Rockies. Minnesota alone has more wolves than Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming combined — yet we don’t see a management plan in Minnesota that seeks to drop the wolf numbers to extremely low level like we do in the Rockies, particularly in Wyoming and Idaho. Wolves came off the endangered species list in the Great Lakes and what did Minnesota do? The state wisely decided to wait five years before having a wolf hunt and had a management plan in place to support and grow the wild population of wolves in the state. Wolf management in Minnesota is to be admired and it lessons from Minnesota should definitely be applied elsewhere. Kudos to Minnesota and thanks to the Idaho Mountain Express for this article.

  2. Paul Avatar

    Minnesota decided to wait 5 years before even considering a wolf hunt, and yet the usual suspects still sued to block delisting. I like the 3 mountain state’s plans better, thank you. Delisting’s coming…..deal with it.

  3. Matt Avatar

    Minnesota is a much more forward-thinking state than Idaho, Wyoming, or Montana. Then again, their agricultural interests are farmers of private lands, not public lands welfare ranchers. Two VERY different groups of people, indeed!

  4. Concerned Avatar

    There is no real way to compare the wolf experience in Minnesota with the wolf experience in the tri-state area, different beliefs, different environment, different logistics, people like to compare the tow, but based on th environment and the land usage, it is difficult. And Minnesota never exterminated wolves to the extent the western areas did…government agencies has had a big hand, in setting the tone in the west from the day the first white man moved west…

  5. Jay Avatar

    As a follow-up to Concerned’s comments, Minnesota also needs all the help they can get from wolves to keep their deer population in check, and I’m sure their DNR recognizes that. I’m not implying that there’s a shortage of prey in ID/MT/WY, but elk–the most sought after big game species–certainly don’t have the reproductive rate that whitetails do, and as a result elk harvest has to be much more strictly regulated when compared to deer in the midwest. Case in point: some states implement a “buy a buck” program where you have to go out and kill upwards of 3 does before earning the priveledge of killing a buck.

  6. TallTrent Avatar

    There was a war on the wolf from the moment that Europeans set foot on the North American continent. This was in Minnesota and everywhere else. The wolf population in Minnesota was a remnant population that had just barely survived that war. To say that, as Concerned said above, that “Minnesota never exterminated wolves to the extent the western areas did” is simply incorrect. People just were not able to finish the job up there and a few wolves remained. Luckily there were enough wolves and wolves could come in from Canada that once there was protection for the species, it was able to expand back to a tiny percentage of its historic range.

    As for delisting, the Great Lakes and Rocky Mountains are different, but we can still learn lessons from the Great Lakes to apply to the Rocky Mountaing wolf situation. Waiting for five years before considering a wolf hunt in Minnesota was a very sound biological decision and should be applauded. What is more important to the whole issue of delisting is that Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan had sound management plans in place for the delisting. Those management plans were based on science, not just on the scare tactics that are being used to write the management plans here in the Rocky Mountains. Idaho’s wolf plan is a plan for extermination, though it is written better than Wyoming’s oh-so-blatant extermination plan. Delisting in the Rocky Mountains should NOT happen until there are decent management plans in place. If the US Fish & Wildlife Service was doing its job, as it is legally-obligated to do, the wolf management plans proposed by the states of Idaho and Wyoming should never have been approved. USFWS should have said to the state officials in Wyoming straight-out, “We will not approve any plan that legally classifies wolves as predators and until that designation is removed from your management plan, delisting is off-the-table.”

  7. TallTrent Avatar

    And as for Paul’s comment “usual suspects still sued to block delisting” — That’s great. That’s good. That’s wonderful. Particularly here in the Rocky Mountain States were the Bush/Kempthorne USFWS had refused to do its job, these organizations have to step up and use the legal system to force that agency to follow-through on its legal obligations to make sure that the state management plans are sound, solid, and scientific before delisting happens. Currently as written, only Montana’s plan comes close. Idaho and Wyoming should not be managing wolves until they can come up with better management plans.

  8. Jay Avatar

    Montana kills more wolves than Idaho–only Wyoming has them beat.

  9. Concerned Avatar


    You are so wrong, that it is not funny, I have my degree in Wildlife biology and have studied the issue for almost 20 years now…

    My self personally don’t care one way or another, but do have a very good understanding of the dynamics involved in wolves..and still feel that there will be a balance attained in the very near future..I have never seen so many, with so little understanding cry “Wolf” to paraphrase..

    You will never have smooth sailing until we use all of the education that is available, the west thinks they are pests, the east think they are king, come on, wolves are needed, and control is needed, there seems to be no middle of the road right now and probably won’t be for quite a while.

    Let the management plans go forward, and learn from out mistakes, because that is the ONLY way anything is going to work..

  10. Concerned Avatar

    Until people understand, that there will be wolves killed and the anti wolfer crowd understands, they can’t kill them all, there will not be a compromise that will please all.

    Get over it…wolves are going to be killed, wildlife and livestock are going to be killed and the anti-wolfer is NOT going to be able to kill them all, and the pro-wolfer is NOT going to be able to preserve them all, that is a fact of life, period.

  11. Concerned Avatar

    Anyway, I have said my piece, and I know for a fact, it does not jive with many others, so now will bow down..

  12. Paul Avatar


    Don’t worry, your comments jive with at least 80% of us “less forward thinking” Montanan’s.

  13. TallTrent Avatar

    Trust me, wolf hatred is alive and well in the Great Lakes so “the east think they are king” is not quite accurate. I am originally from Minnesota and have lived in the heart of wolf territory in Wisconsin (Bayfield County) and was living there when delisting was being discussed and went through. It was extremely contentious. The wolf-hatred in the Midwest just doesn’t seem as organized as the wolf-hatred in the Rocky Mountains, but its unfortunately still present. I’ve also lived in Wyoming and now live in Southwestern Montana. Certainly there are significant cultural differences between the Midwest and the West and that has to be factored into wolf management. That being said, there are lessons from wolf recovery in the Great Lakes that need to be applied to the Rocky Mountains. I agree with Concerned’s statement “wolves are needed, and control is needed.” What is important is what kind of control and what future for the wolf population that control will lead toward. Montana has a management plan that is written for a long-term, sustainable, and growing population of wolves. The plan calls for growing wolf populations in the parts of the state where that growth is appropriate. That is management and control in a sustainable and reasonable manner. The plans in Idaho and Wyoming do not call of growing wolves to areas where they could exist without conflicts. Idaho calls for managing wolves near or at the minimum number of breeding pairs to consider delisting (15 breeding pairs instead of the minimum 10). All signs point to wolves be pushed down to that level and staying at the level with this management plan. Wyoming’s plan calls for the same number of wolves but also has that dual status of trophy game in a small section of the state and predator status elsewhere. That dual-status is an issue of major concern. Animals classified legally as predators can be killed by anyone at anytime by any means and that makes the huge majority of Wyoming, under this plan, a free-for-all when it comes to killing wolves. Wolves that attack livestock need to be destroyed but under this plan wolves that are just wandering around, looking for mates, exploring new territories — doing what wolves do — can and will be killed for no other reason that they are wolves. That is a serious flaw in management and control.

    I disagree with Concerned’s statement, “there seems to be no middle of the road right now and probably won’t be for quite a while.” Long-term sustainable management plans like Montana’s are middle-of-the-road. Idaho and Wyoming have wolf management plans that are far from middle-of-the-road. I don’t think we should “Let the management plans go forward, and learn from out mistakes” when Idaho and Wyoming have such clearly flawed plans. No one is suggesting that we need to “preserve them all.” “Wolves are going to be killed, wildlife and livestock are going to be killed” is all true. Wolves that attack livestock are killed and there are places in all of these states that a wolf population does not make sense because of the potential for conflict. I don’t want to see wolves killed but I also understand the pragmatic necessities of wolf control. But taking that practical information and the necessity for control into consideration still does not make the wolf management plans in Idaho and Wyoming sound management plans.

    Oh, just to make sure everybody has easy access to things:

    Montana’s Wolf Management Plan:

    Idaho’s Wolf Management Plan:

    Wyoming’s Wolf Management Plan:

  14. Concerned Avatar


    See this is where we disagree, time will tell.

  15. Jay Avatar

    Montana’s plan might look good on paper, but if you look at their existing level of control, which as I said is greater than Idaho’s even though they have fewer wolves, you certainly can’t tell me Montana is a safe haven for wolves. You can bash Idaho’s plan–which I agree isn’t perfect–but actions speak louder than words, and they’ve been vastly more conservative in killing wolves than Wyoming, and more so than Montana too. So where’s this bloodlust that everyone claims Idaho has for wolves? They’ve got the authority to remove wolves for control as they see fit, and they’re doing it less heavy-handed than either of their neighbors.

  16. TallTrent Avatar

    Sorry Jay. I missed your earlier post. It sort of got lost in the discussion. I apologize for that.

    Yes, Montana practices wolf control on a very regular basis under current rules and systems. These management plans were written to reflect the future of wolf management in the Rocky Mountains. I’ve attended meetings and talked to personnel and I do think as soon as wolf management shifts to the states that Montana will be a safe haven for wolves — in comparison to Wyoming and Idaho.

    That being said, part of the reason criticism for Idaho’s plan is so sharp here is that Ralph is based out of Idaho and many of the articles that trigger blog postings are about Idaho. I personally really dislike Idaho’s plan but I hate Wyoming’s plan. As written, Montana’s plan is the best and I do get the impression that they will manage as the plan says.

    Part of the problem with wolf management in Montana is that some of the places wolves would love to go, and do go, like the Big Hole area have abundant cattle and conflicts arise quickly after the wolves move in the area. Idaho has lots of places that are for all practical purposes wilderness or something close to it and conflicts don’t arise in those areas as quickly and thus there is less lethal control.

  17. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    It’s not what Idaho is doing now that is the problem, it is what they seem determined to do in the near future, and the same for Wyoming.

  18. Brian Ertz Avatar

    i think it’s quite interesting to consider the term ‘middle-of-the-road’ in an atmosphere of management that has been bent so far to one interest as to skew the perspective.

    ‘middle-of-the-road’ initiatives would involve the whiners taking some remnant of responsibility for their own private interest. take oregon’s plan in effect regarding compensation. livestock producers must demonstrate the use of predator friendly ranching technique’s before being eligible for compensation. that’s give and take – “middle-of-the-road”.

    i’d say in Idaho – before an official complaint is taken into consideration about elk numbers – the complainer should have to provide photos that they got off their ass. that’s both parties taking responsibility.

    or in Idaho – a “conflict zone” which prescribes heavy handed “control” measures ought only be considered such when the “conflict” is persistent in areas where producers have taken a reasonable amount of effort. producers ought employ predator-friendly ranching techniques before the state employs rancher-friendly slaughter techniques. that’s a responsible use of state resources.

    mostly, i’d just toss in that before we can ever know what an appropriate “control” or management plan is that’s “middle-of-the-road” ~ a lot of things would have to change regarding Livestock & trophy game’s demonstrated ability to take responsibility for their own private interest — especially when the rest of ours is about to be gunned-down.

  19. Lynne Stone Avatar
    Lynne Stone

    Brian – your last sentence really hit home. Wolves can’t speak or vote, so everyone reading this blog who supports wolves, must saddle up. Let’s try and fight the battles that we can win for wolves and not waste energy and time on people who don’t get it, never will or have a NASTAR race to watch and can’t be bothered.

  20. Layton Avatar

    Trent — you live in a fool’s paradise.

    “No one is suggesting that we need to “preserve them all.””

    In a word or two — bullshit!! NEVER — NOT EVER — NO WAY — is this NOT the stance that the wolf lovers are taking here in the Northwest. To offer — in any way, shape or form, any plan that includes killing EVEN ONE wolf in Idaho, Wyoming, or Montana is to incite the ire of ALL the canis lupus lovers in the tri state area — delisting be damned!!.

    I’ve got a flash for you!! No, several of them!! Minnesota is NOT Idaho. Minnesota does NOT have elk herds!! There is a difference between the Great Lakes and the Northwest!!

    Those of us that do NOT see the wolves as the salvation of “everything green that is known” have been saying for years now that all plans to delist these PREDATORS would be fought by all the legal means available to those same “lupus lovers” — well folks —- here it is!! Of course, some people don’t even believe they should be classed as predators!!

    Take the latest estimate of wolf populations by the USFW folks, or —- take the (considerably smaller) estimates of Ms. Stone and company, it really doesn’t matter, they are BOTH way above what was proposed as a number to start the delisting process — same result — courts, lawyers, delays, increased wolf populations — SSDD (if you don’t know what I mean — ask someone!) fact is there will NEVER be an agreement from the “for”side to institute ANY KIND of population control!!

    Justify it in any way that you can, the FACT of the matter is that you will never be happy as long as there is any sort of controls on the population of gray wolves anywhere!!


  21. Lynne Stone Avatar
    Lynne Stone

    Layton – Am curious, what numbers does “Ms. Stone and company” state for Idaho wolves?

    And what’s the source of your quote that says wolves are the salvation of “everything green that is known”?

    You sound rather flustered, maybe time for a Coors, FOX TV or some blogging on SFW?

    If you don’t mind, please drop the “Ms Stone”. Just call me Lynne. If you’re ever in Stanley, let’s go have a microbrew.

  22. Chuck Avatar

    I have been looking for the original numbers that some are refering to, can someone point me in the right direction.

    “they are BOTH way above what was proposed as a number to start the delisting process ”
    This is the comment I am refering to-where do I find the numbers.

  23. Jay Avatar

    Chuck, in a nutshell, delisting requirements were 30 breeding pairs AND a minimum of 300 wolves across the 3 states for 3 consecutive years. That was achieved back in 2002.

    Trent, Ralph–Trent, you make the comment that there’s more wilderness, thus less control in Idaho…’07’s numbers aren’t out yet, but I’m willing to bet you that the livestock losses are comparable, or even greater in Idaho. Yet wolves killed is less. Ralph, I understand your point, but if Idaho was so hellbent on killing off wolves down to a minimum, any time a pack got into trouble, they’d have every opportunity to remove them entirely–they have that level of control. Yet they don’t, but across the border, Montana and Wyoming are doing just that. So maybe folks ought to think long and hard about who’s going to be “easier” on wolves?

  24. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    I think the argument is about the change in management in the near future, not about current management.

  25. TallTrent Avatar


    “The FACT of the matter is that you will never be happy as long as there is any sort of controls on the population of gray wolves anywhere” is not my viewpoint and it is clear that it is my not viewpoint just based on what I have said in the responses on this thread. Please don’t put words in my mouth as that is far from a “FACT”.

    “To offer — in any way, shape or form, any plan that includes killing EVEN ONE wolf in Idaho, Wyoming, or Montana is to incite the ire of ALL the canis lupus lovers in the tri state area” is all completely incorrect. I am a “canis lupus lover in the tri state area” and my problem with these plans isn’t that the kill “ONE” wolf, its that they kill lots of wolves and do not reasonable manage wolves in the areas that wolves can live without conflicts.

    I will be happy when there is a long-term sustainable wolf management plan for each of the states. Part of the management is going to be reasonable control of wolves. Again, I see Montana’s plan, which includes hunting and predation, as a reasonable plan. Guess what? That plan I am calling reasonable involves the killing of some wolves.

    The challenge to Wyoming’s and Idaho’s wolf management plans are not that they kill wolves. The challenge is that they aren’t long-term reasonable management plans. Delisting hinges on both population numbers and management plans. I am glad to see the population numbers have grown to where delisting can be seriously talked about, considered, and come close to happening. Before we delist wolves in the Northern Rockies there are changes in those management plans that need to take place.

  26. Catbestland Avatar


    You are Flat Out Wrong about wolf lovers, desiring to see that no wolves are killed under State Management plans. I am a wolf lover and I can certainly see that there might be a need for lethal control in some cases. The difference is that the conservationist’ view is that the management plans should be based on GOOD SCIENCE and not on the economic interest of one industry. And that is what the Idaho and Wyoming plans are based on. No one except the livestock industry is benefitted by these plans. Certainly not the environment nor the millions whose tax dollars have been invested in establishing viable wolf populations on the nation’s public lands in hopes that they will contribute a balancing effect on the ecosystems. The state wolf management plans are in fact wolf slaughter plans that remove all possibility for natural biological processes to occur. This is NOT in the best interest of the natural world nor the rest of the planet’s populations. The plans are designed specifically for the benefit the livestock industry. The plans MUST be based on GOOD SCIENCE and not the sole interest of the livestock industry.

  27. JB Avatar


    I don’t doubt that there are some people who never want ANY wolves killed and I agree that this position is not attainable. However, you’ve dramatically misrepresented the views that are expressed in this forum. Nearly everyone here supports reasonable harvest of wolves. What we disagree on is what is a reasonable harvest. I know you’re a hunter, so let me turn things around and ask you a question. If IDF&G proposed an elk management plan that called for elk to be managed at the absolute minimum for keeping the population viable, would you support it? Do you think other hunters would? I doubt it. People here are as interested in wolves as you are in elk, and they are voicing their concerns over plans that would drastically reduce the number of wolves. If IDF&G proposed managing elk in the same way they’re proposing managing wolves, I suspect you’d react more vehemently than most of the folks here. Enough of the double standards. People here are asking for fair, balanced, sustainable wolf management plans. There is nothing unreasonable about that request.

  28. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Let me add to what JB just wrote. Anyone who likes wolves has got to like elk just a much. I mean what do wolves eat?

    One of the major reasons why I supported wolf restoration was to improve the elk population. By “improve,” in my mind I mean make them more healthy as whole, make them more wild and more wily.

  29. JB Avatar

    Paul says: “Minnesota decided to wait 5 years before even considering a wolf hunt, and yet the usual suspects still sued to block delisting. I like the 3 mountain state’s plans better, thank you. Delisting’s coming…..deal with it.”

    Paul: You are misrepresenting why conservation groups filed suit. Conservation groups never had a problem with Minnesota’s management plan. They filed suit because FWS tried to delist the wolf from South Dakota to Maine based on the viability of populations in Northern Minnestoa, Michigan, and Wisconsin. In other words, they attempted to say that wolves were not endangered in several states that had no viable populations, but simply a few dispersers. Moreover, this was a blatant political move. In fact, if you read the decision, you’ll find that the court admonished FWS for attempting to use DPS policy as a “tool” for delisting wolves, pointing to such statements as, “I think this [reclassification] is the best and quickest way to get the policy and legal framework greased for delisiting,” which a coauthor of the Final Rule wrote.

    The “usual suspects” (I assume you mean DOW, NRDC, etc.) have filed lawsuits on behalf of lots of wildlife over this issue (not just big scary wolves), including the lynx, flat-tailed horned lizard, wolf, and most recently, the prebles meadow jumping mouse. So you see, it’s not a big conspiracy to delay the listing of wolves, but a concerted effort to make sure wildlife are protected according to the laws of the land, namely the ESA.

    Please go back and read the court’s decision in the law suit (Defenders of Wildlife v. Norton, 354 F.Supp. 2d 1156, 2005).

  30. Layton Avatar


    You said

    “You sound rather flustered, maybe time for a Coors, FOX TV or some blogging on SFW?

    If you don’t mind, please drop the “Ms Stone”. Just call me Lynne. If you’re ever in Stanley, let’s go have a microbrew.

    First of all, I don’t drink Coors, it gives me a headache, second, I don’t have much to do with SFW (as I have stated here previously) for the same reason.

    As for the micro brew — you mean you like wolves and still drink beer?? I thot’ you’d be a Pinot Noir drinker — and drink it with your pinky held up!!! 8^)

    Rather flustered is kind of an understatement — I usually come on here trying to discuss things — BUT, since my viewpoint differs from the majority here, I get ridiculed, insulted and mostly dis-regarded.

    Contrary to what some of the more radical folk here seem to think, I am fairly intelligent and I DO NOT think that because I’m from Idaho and I don’t think wolves are the salvation of the modern world as we know it that my IQ is automatically calculated behind a decimal point!

    Still wanna have that micro brew??


  31. Layton Avatar

    By the way, my opinion of Ron Gillette is probably a bit lower than your’s because I know the man — however, I think it’s kinda funny that some people seem to be afraid of him.


  32. Jay Avatar

    As a follow-up to the earlier post, you make the point that there’s more wilderness, or near-wilderness in Idaho, thus making Montana more prone to wolf depredations. Well here’s something to consider: in 2006, 21% of Montana-based packs were involved with depredations, compared to 29% in Idaho (from the NRM ’06 report). Thirty-two cattle and 4 sheep were confirmed killed by wolves, and as a result, 51 wolves were killed under Montana’s authorization (2 addition under 10j). Compare that to Idaho: 39 wolves controlled (6 more by private citizens under 10j) for 41 confirmed/probable cattle and 237 sheep(Montana only gives confirmed kills, so can’t break that out). So not only are there more depredations in Idaho, but more packs are involved with depredations. Montana, having fewer than half the wolves that Idaho has, with fewer depredations, and roughly half their wolves falling under the Endangered status (meaning much less flexibility in dealing with wolf-livestock issues) instead of experimental/non-essential, STILL managed to kill significantly more wolves than Idaho. So if you still think Montana is so wolf friendly, I think you’re sadly mistaken–their plan may sound better on paper, but their actions indicate they have no problem killing wolves.

  33. JB Avatar

    Jay: I think Ralph addressed this. Montana’s wolf PLAN is more friendly than Idaho’s wolf PLAN. As these plans have not yet been implemented, we will have to wait and see which is less “wolf-friendly.”

  34. Chuck Avatar

    Layton, everyone is entitled to their own opionions, thats why we live in this great country. As far as Ron Gillette goes, yes some people are affraid of him and they have every reason to be, they have had guns pulled on them and been verbally threatened. The one big problem is that most people up in Stanley are the good ole boys. So the good ole cops up there are not going to do anything to Ron Gillette. But one of these days Ron is going to threaten the wrong person and the outcome will not be in his favor. I think the man is the biggest idiot I have ever come accross.

  35. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    I want to affirm some of the things above. I have long been on record as supporting trophy game status throughout the state of Wyoming, which presumes a healthy wolf population well-distributed throughout the state, one that is sustainably managed, under a management regime that recognizes wolves as valuable for maintaining biodiversity as well as valuable for its pelt. I do not oppose regulated harvest of wolves, either hunting or trapping. During my time in northern Canada, I met a few wolf trappers, mostly First Nations but a few of European descent, and I can tell you they knew more about wolves than just about anyone else–especially so-called sport hunters, with whom I have become more and more dissatisfied over the years–especially those who can’t go anywhere without their ATVs and snowmobiles. Thank god for horses and roadless areas.

    On the other hand, as a subsistence hunter and a naturalist, I am far too aware of the complexities of wildlife and land ecology to support predator control. In every predator control action supposedly undertaken to improve ungulate populations that I have studied, at root bottom are problems of habitat–either poor habitat or fragmented habitat (e.g., haul/mining roads in the southern Yukon and central Alaska that feed off the Alaska Highway, which encourage overhunting) and climate. A close second level problem is overhunting. Killing wolves to boost ungulate herds does “work” in some cases, but the failure to deal with the underlying problems allows problems to return.

    Predator control, quite frankly, is just plain laziness.

    Predator control is little more than a way to blame the wolf and other predators for the failures of human beings to manage themselves and understand how nature works.

    The point JB makes above about the ignorance of managing ungulate herds at the absolute minimum is well taken–(although if the truth be told, it isn’t as if the livestock industry hasn’t tried to force state wildlife agencies to move in that direction to protect forage for cattle. Quite often they succeed). No hunter or conservationist in his right mind would support that. So why support it for predators?

  36. Jay Avatar

    JB, you can put their plan as high up on a pedestal as you want, but you’re missing the boat entirely–the same people authorizing all their controls are the ones that are going to be making recommendations for harvest. So go ahead and pat them all on the back for writing a pretty-sounding plan, and then watch as they conduct harvest exactly like Idaho will.

  37. Lynne Stone Avatar
    Lynne Stone

    Layton – Yup, let’s still have that beer. I do appreciate some of your posts here on this wolf-hugger network. With regards to Ron Gillett, am certain I’ve had a lot more encounters with him than you as he lives just a few miles down the road. You’ve probably seen the infamous wolf-Gillett-Stone tale that happened in May 06.

    Chuck – Stanley has changed a lot over the past several years. I would say that most people in this area either support wolves or are neutral. I can name on one hand those I know here who are in the anti-wolf extreme category. Also, the law enforcement has changed as well, but I won’t try and speak for them on the issue of wolves. Let’s just say things are better now.

    Isn’t living in Idaho great? Never a dull moment!

  38. Lynne Stone Avatar
    Lynne Stone

    For everyone – remember that the supposed depredations on livestock are based upon the findings of Wildlife Services – who would go out of business on the wolf front – if they didn’t blame every dead calf and sheep on a wolf.

    What is missing in the data re. depredations, is — what if anything were the “producers” or hobby ranchers doing to either bait/attract wolves, and/or what pro-active/non-lethal efforts were put into hazing wolves away.

  39. Heather Avatar

    Hello all: I am writing from Montana and have been reading everything I can on this wolf issue for the past few years. (Didn’t know how lucky I was at the time before delisting of this species was to take place…) I have come to see, from my brief knowledge, that there was and always has been a lack of tolerance for the wolf based on fear. When the wolf was ‘forcibly’ introduced (‘Feds put them here – we didn’t want them’) there could have been no way to build tolerance in the west -even with huge cash handouts from Defenders. So the experiement fails in that respect… the experiment of human species trying to preserve a valuable predator, at the wolfs’ expense. (I’m sure their not enjoying themselves!) But I want this to work. And I dont see the current 10J plan working toward tolerance…. just a thought.

  40. JB Avatar

    Jay: First, I hardly put Montana’s plan “on a pedestal.” If we we’re going to give out trophies for wolf management, the West would get blanked. Second, the recommendations for harvest you speak of will have to be made in accord with the PLANS–which is what we are talking about. I don’t care who’s in charge, they still have to follow the plan or risk relisting. Moreover, just because Montana has been more aggressive with control (I think that’s your argument) does not mean they will be more aggressive with the hunt. But, its a mute point anyway, because Idaho’s plan won’t make it through the courts.

  41. Jay Avatar

    Here’s my point: one of the major complaints I’ve seen on the Idaho’s plan is that it panders to the livestock industry, and that wolves will be slaughtered at behest of livestock producers. The Idaho plan says wolves will be allowed to persist where they don’t cause conflict, but will be managed in areas they do. So, based on the fact they’ve exhibited the least aggressive control out of any of the three states, I’d say that’s a pretty good indication they’re not out to wipe out wolves like everyone claims. You can refer back to the plans and how they’re written til the cows come home (bad pun), but if you’re going to completely ignore actual actions and management decisions that both states have made–a track record of wolf management–and rely on the fact that Montana’s plan is written more poltically correct, then I think you’re ignoring a huge part of the equation. As for Montana’s plan, I’ve read they’re talking about a 150-wolf quota–that’s out of a population of 350-400 wolves. And this from the MT FWP commission notes:
    “Actual harvest levels would be determined through the adoption of specific quotas or permits (i.e. the number allowed to be taken and where) by the FWP Commission at a later date and as appropriate relative to the population status and other factors.” So yes, the harvest recommendations will be made within the confines of the plans, which obviously they’re going to leave themselves the leeway to make the management decisions they feel are appropriate. That’s all I’ve got to say, I’ll drop it now.

  42. Brian Ertz Avatar

    the difference in Minnesota is tolerance – and not from Livestock. Minnesota’s activists are intolerant of slaughter – as they’re litigating even their relatively sane plan (compared to ours). So we see conditions/atmosphere in that part of the country vastly different to ours.

    I think the ‘tolerance’ described is how the bighorn issues remain so relevant to consideration of wolves. the ‘fear’ is that these people will loose control of their oligarchy – and has little to do with any financial consideration – as compensation demonstrates. That federal ‘imposition’ took place is a nice talking point – but again, when you look at what’s happening with bighorn – it deflates the legitimacy of that argument – because the same manage-by-domination & slaughter is happening to bighorn without the conditions that they blame re: wolves.

    It’s the oligarchy – these marginal interest groups (Livestock & big game – both wield the same visceral pathology/mentality of entitlement) have enjoyed both advocates’ and the government’s legitimization of their corrupt level of influence. advocates “tolerate” it. with every compensation – Livestock’s sense of entitlement is emboldened/enabled – just look at how they respond. if advocates are to take a dose of their own medicine – let reason and ‘science’ guide – then the lessons of the past will inform the decisions of the future. Anti-wolf ‘tolerance’ can only be achieved when the wolf-advocate’s interest is so diluted and subdued (just as the wild must be) as to be rendered irrelevant – they want to eliminate the wild from wolves with hyper-management, and undermine any semblance of a self-regulating population that i believe is necessary to engender any significant/meaningful ecological benefit.

    that ‘tolerance’ is such a sacred cow from everyone involved is a rigged condition – it infuses the anti-wolf crowd with a perception of legitimate hyper-influence that enables the entitlement complex – which is at the root of intolerance – to thrive. these state plans do the same for both antis’ interests.

    These marginal interest groups who refuse to be ‘tolerant’ ought be removed their positions of disproportionate influence – it ought not be tolerated. then, after a generation or two – the entitlement complex will have been drained of its source and an atmosphere conducive to ‘tolerance’ for a host of wildlife even beyond wolves will finally be possible.

    these plans don’t do that – they continue to disproportionately inflate these marginal interests’ hold of influence in relation to the public interest’s – and so, advocates’ efforts remain enslaved by the farcical notion that the anti-wolf ‘tolerance’ is an achievable standard – let alone a wise prize to be sought after.

    Livestock’s reaction to bighorn is an incredible illustration of the bankruptcy of their claims toward wolves – bighorn don’t have teeth and were not brought via federal ESA – AND don’t have a depredation problem. yet they’re going to slaughter them non-the-less. that’s indicative of the depth of advocates’ inability to achieve tolerance.

    build ‘tolerance’ in advocates’ willingness to confront the root – and fiercely take it on – that’s the tolerance wolves & wildlife need in the West – and once achieved, will emerge in these management plans. Build ‘intolerance’ for this oligarchy and internal ‘intolerance’ for that thing that makes advocates fear alienating the anti-wolf-industries so much that they tolerate the antis’ disregard for our interest. that’s the difference in Minnesota, there isn’t the disproportionate balance of power there – and advocates’ aren’t afraid of controversy – as is evidenced by their litigation of even their “reasonable” plan.

  43. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    I think Brian has really found the explanation — it’s about continued dominance by livestock. You see it not just with wolves, but the bighorn issue, as he indicaties.

    Looking to Montana, you see it with the bison, and to Wyoming with the insistence that they continue winter feeding of elk rather than purchase winter range.

  44. Heather Avatar

    I agree with Brian. And when I am in a room with livestockers or hunters, many of them see the wilderness as their ‘pastureland’. I have heard hunters refer to wild herds of Elk as their ‘stock’. Wolves, Cougars and Bears are wild, free beasts. they don’t fit the ‘livestock’ ownership model. Hence the dilemma… I want the wilderness to stay that – wild and natural. So, you are saying Brian, that advocates need to take on the livestock industry…?

  45. Heather Avatar

    There’s more to it than ‘tolerance’ though.. if you take a look at the Idaho Farm Bureau’s newsletter – search on the word ‘wolves’ you’ll find articles on the ‘Big Bad Wolf’ fear of eating humans because they have attacked pet dogs. Stories of people meeting wolves in the woods and being snarled at… just hype. No documented human/wolf kills. These are just outright lies to scare the public/farmers… how do you build tolerance with that in the way???

  46. Wendy Avatar

    I don’t post too often, I mostly lurk. I have found most of your posts to be intelligent and almost always rational, even if I rarely agree with your points. However your post above must have been made in a low moment, because you seem to have abandoned your usual reasonableness.

    You say:
    “To offer — in any way, shape or form, any plan that includes killing EVEN ONE wolf in Idaho, Wyoming, or Montana is to incite the ire of ALL the canis lupus lovers in the tri state area — delisting be damned!!”
    As a few others have already said, this is just not true. I will agree that there are some wolf-advocates who are opposed to any lethal control, but they are very, very few, and most of “us” do not consider them to be reasonable. I don’t like the idea of a wolf hunt personally, but I know it is going to happen and I understand it is a tool of modern wildlife management (as it currently is with bears, cougars, etc). I am opposed to using poison and I would be opposed to aerial hunting, except in certain emergency circumstances.

    You say: “Of course, some people don’t even believe they should be classed as predators!!”
    This is misrepresentation. Most wolf advocates would not deny that biologically and ecologically wolves are most certainly predators. The objection is to the legal classification (by Wyoming) which attaches an additional meaning of “worthless” allowing wolves to be shot/killed under any conditions, in any place, by any means. The classification enshrines a prejudicial attitude which clearly runs contrary to the notion of sustaining a population.

    You say: “Take the latest estimate of wolf populations…..
    they are…way above what was proposed as a number to start the delisting process…” Yes, that is true indeed. Delisting could have occurred earlier, except that the orginal “rules” for delisting included a proviso that each of the three states had to have a sound management plan that provided for sustainable populations going forward as well as whatever controls were necessary. While Wyoming dragged its feet, the numbers continued to grow. But there are still very few wolves in all those square miles.

    You say: “fact is there will NEVER be an agreement from the “for”side to institute ANY KIND of population control!!”
    Layton, there already IS agreement from the majority of the “for” side to some kinds of population control.

    You say: you will never be happy as long as there is any sort of controls on the population of gray wolves anywhere!!”
    You may be right that I will never be “happy” about human control of wolf populations, but that won’t stop me from
    accepting a degree of it. I have accepted it since USFW killed the first re-introduced wolf for livestock predation and have accepted it since then (all but the illegal killings). It will never make me happy, any more than it makes me happy when a bear is killed for mauling someone, but as a wolf advocate I am prepared to accept lethal control if it is reasonable, especially in defense of livestock or pets on private land.

    And don’t forget, Layton, that wolves practice their own method of control on their population. I am not “happy” when that happens, either, especially if it happens to a wolf I have gotten to know through my telescope, but that is the way it is with wildlife. Great beauty and great harshness.

  47. Brian Ertz Avatar

    Heather –

    absolutely i am saying that advocates ought take on Livestock. i would argue that building tolerance isn’t as important as agitating Livestock and making them fear for their political hold – at the federal level. i don’t think that most American’s are scared of wolves – nor that their level of tolerance is entirely relevant at this point. the general public is apathetic. i think that ultimately it is a matter of leveraging between the interested actors. and that the tone is set – to a very large degree – by those who find themselves at the helm of the political apparatus.

  48. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    big story on wolves in the Idaho Statesman today.

  49. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    I just put the story up. I good part of it is about Lynne Stone.

  50. Layton Avatar


    I’m just going to make a couple of (short, I promise) comments here and let this thing drop.

    First, you say:

    ” While Wyoming dragged its feet, the numbers continued to grow. But there are still very few wolves in all those square miles.”

    I’m sorry Wendy, but I see the thing about “Wyoming dragging it’s feet” as nothing more than a smoke screen. While IDAHO’s wolf population is booming and on the increase by ~ 20% a year, the “for” folks are using another state to stonewall any efforts to bring it under control.


    “Layton, there already IS agreement from the majority of the “for” side to some kinds of population control.”

    In a nutshell, where can I see this agreement, when did it happen??

    As far as my comment about the “for the wolf” side never agreeing to even one being killed —- well, you think that is a minority, I think it is an overwhelming majority, I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree on this one.

    By the way, thanks for words indicating that I might be capable of some thinking above the amoeba level. Are you saying that even if I don’t use the word “oligarchy” at least twice in a post?? 8^)


  51. Wendy Avatar

    Ok, Layton, well I tried. 8~)

    I believe you will find the “agreement” I mention in various comments from many, many wolf supporters on this blog – if you are looking for them objectively. Or you can trust me to be accurately reporting the opinions voiced during discussions among my circle of wolf-supporting friends. 8~)

    And as for Wyoming – no-one made Wyoming dig in its heels and continue to insist on the “predator” (worthless) classification. The time I’m talking about is when Montana and Idaho had “approved” plans and Wyo still didn’t… (2004? 2005?). When they started letting Montana kill wolves under the 10j rule, and the talk was that delisting would be allowed to go forward in Montana and Idaho, which in turn put pressure on Wyoming to “fix” its plan. Things have changed since then so the point is now moot but Wyoming did drag its own feet and the result was a delay in proceding towards delisting.

  52. Catbestland Avatar

    You continually have problems comprehending that there may be more than one application for a single word. In the example that Wendy provides the word “agreement” is a verb, indicating some form of action as in “Pro wolfers are IN agreement” or they agree. This should be obvious as “agreement” here is preceded by the intransitive verb “IS”. You apparently have this confused with the word “agreement” used as a noun, as a document of some sort. In that case the noun would be preceded by the preposition “an”.

    I notice you seem to have a similar problem comprehending the difference in the biological term “predator” and the legal classification in Wyoming of “Predator”. The former is a scientific definition, the latter holds dire consequences for anything that bears that title.

  53. Layton Avatar

    Gee whiz Cat,

    Thanks for the English lesson — how do you do at diagramming sentences??

    Yes, I guess I slipped a bit on the typing when I mentioned the “agreement” that pro-wolfers have for controlling wolves. I have not seen that sort of agreement on this board (the verb kind).

    However, the classification of wolves in Wyoming, IMNSHO, is pretty much correct — they ARE, in fact, predators (the scientific kind). I believe that it’s YOU that has a problem with that definition. I haven’t been able to find a definition anywhere that defines them as “cute and cuddly” as it seems you would prefer.


  54. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    I think it is pointless to try to explain anything, or discuss anything, with Layton. Why don’t folks just stop and ignore him?

    We spend too much time trying to educate the WILLFULLY ignorant and obtuse.


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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