The Still-in-Danger Gray Wolf (NYT editorial)

The New York Times continues to be excellent in cutting through the propaganda issued by the government about it’s new 10j rule on wolves, as well as the forthcoming delisting.

The Still-in-Danger Gray Wolf. Opinion of the New York Times. 







  1. Rick Hammel Avatar
    Rick Hammel

    For an eastern metropolitan newspaper, thie opinion is outstanding. It is sad that the midsized papers in the West can’t be as progressive in their opinions.


  2. SmokyMtMan Avatar

    Well, Rick, the NYT has no economic interest in the region, so it can afford to be more objective in its analysis.

    The papers that are regional, have many more ties to the issue economically and politically so their viewpoints are more biased and self-serving.

    Like the political saying goes “where you stand depends on where you sit.”

  3. HAL 9000 Avatar
    HAL 9000

    Or, from a more cynical P.O.V., one could say it’s quite easy for the NYT editorial board to armchair quarterback this issue, because it’s not their family ranch or the spots their family has hunted for generations being effected by the wolves.
    Hey, I’m sure I could wax philosophical about many goings-on in NYC.

    I think there’s been more than plenty of grand-standing on both sides of this issue. Yes, as a hunter, I get tired of hearing fellow hunters whine about wolves “decimating” elk herds. (Gee, maybe if you got off your ATV for more than five minutes, you would notice the elk aren’t all ate up by the wolves, they just moved into the timber.)

    But at the same time, many outside critics, such as the NYT, don’t seem to grasp that outside the GYE, much of the land in the three states in quesion really isn’t good wolf habitat, hasn’t been for decades and never will be again…unless we want them slinking around the Idaho Falls suburbs or dodging traffic next to Little America. Full protection for wolves outside the GYE just doesn’t make sense. Look, NYT, if about a quarter of your state and half of California wasn’t trying to move out here to build trophy mansions, then maybe the vision of free-ranging wolves all across the Rocky Mountain West would be practical… and you sure wouldn’t see me complain about it. But, that just ain’t the reality we live with.

    IMO, the states do need to throttle back from “Kill ’em all!!” But the “hands off at all cost” approach the NYT seems trying to endorse would be equally stupid.

  4. Catbestland Avatar

    A very good article to help those back east to understand the issue. The comments blog is a little hard to locate but well worth reading those too. You can see how much more progressively thinking the rest of the country is. It’s a great place to make some imformative comments so that they will know what is happening with their tax dollars and their wildlife.

  5. HAL 9000 Avatar
    HAL 9000

    Okay, I’m stumped… how do you get to the comments blog?

  6. Catbestland Avatar

    There is a box below the title and the 1st paraqgraph that says something about the “Board” or “Board Blog”. Click on this then scroll down the aritcles. They don’t have this one up yet but there is another that discusses Bush’s environmental plan for the Polar bears and Sage Grouse. People are making comments about this article on that one. I assume they will add this article to the list soon.

  7. HAL 9000 Avatar
    HAL 9000


    Thanks! 🙂

  8. Howard Avatar

    I can only speak for myself, of course, but I do know that many other wolf advocates agree with me on this: I am NOT advocating protection of wolves by which no wolf can be killed by any person for any reason at any time.

    I personally don’t care for the idea of wolf hunting, but a state wolf hunting and trapping season, based on traditional game management of surplus harvest (and NOT based on massive and permanent population reduction), would not threaten gray wolf numbers, and therefore, I would not fight against it. I also don’t take issue with individual wolves being killed in direct defense of property (assuming that the damage being done is real and unavoidable). Now that between 1,300-1,500 wolves roam the Northern Rockies, the loss of individual animals is not a conservation issue, so I would not bring litigation against plans for a sustainable wolf season or the legality of shooting a wolf that has someone’s pet dog between its jaws.

    My problem with delisting (and the new 10j rule) is that Wyoming and Idaho are not prepared to manage wolves as wildlife, but want to treat them as vermin. Federal law requires a minimum wolf population in these states, and the fact that Idaho and Wyoming will not kill every single last wolf is not a “compromise”.

    As a conservationist (I am not an animal rights advocate), I’m fine with wolves being sustainably hunted and trapped (provided they are killed humanely), and with problem individuals being removed, but the massive wolf reduction planned by Wyoming (and indicated by Idaho) is completely inappropriate. My problem is emphatically not delisting in of itself, but the fact that the policy makers in Wyoming and Idaho are actively hostile to wolves and do not want to manage them as “regular” wildlife.

    There was no purpose in recovering the wolf if that recovery is going to be reversed the moment the states take control. Furthermore, the language of the new 10j rule and the state management plans of Wyoming and Idaho have enormous loopholes through which massive numbers of wolves could be slaughtered. In fact, the language of many of these documents make it difficult to imagine a situation in which a wolf could not be legally killed! I made a comment above that I am okay with someone shooting a wolf that is attacking their dog…but only if they are truly acting in good faith. It should NOT be legal to kill a wolf for looking at a dog, being in proximity of a dog, or attacking a dog that is being used as “bait” for a wolf. The language of delisting and new 10j however would make it possible for wolves to be killed under these conditions, with the perpetrator simply claiming he killed the wolf in defense of his/her dog… again, it is hard to conceive of a situation in which the wolf-killer could not claim the action was legal.

    The bigger threat though is that the states themselves may conduct massive systematic wolf reductions (possibly even aerial gunning)… Wyoming blatantly proclaims it will do so, and Idaho’s legislature still maintains they oppose the presence of wolves in Idaho (Idaho’s wolf management plan actually states this!). Even if the wolf were not delisted, if the new 10j rule stands, states can essentially kill large numbers of wolves simply on whim, as the new rule does not even require that wolves be implicated as the major source of ungulate decline…essentially, the states can begin wolf control if wolves are shown to to any way “affect” game animals… again, difficult to imagine a scenario by which the states couldn’t implement wolf-kill programs. Wolves need to be managed as wildlife…not like gods, and not like vermin.

    Unfortuantely, the states want to manage them as vermin, and as a response, wolf people (myself included) oppose delisting. This of course, further polarizes the “wolf debate”, forces conservationists to take uncompromising positions, and provides grist for both sides of the propaganda mill. Many Westerners who support delisting do not hate wolves and believe the states should manage their own wildlife and that reasonable wolf management requires that individuals and the state be given more flexibility and less red tape than exists in dealing with a federally endangered species. I hope someday soon these people will make their voices heard loud enough in their states that the policy makers drop the “wolf is vermin and destroying life as we know it” crap, and treat it as a valuable wildlife resource that is managed like any wild animal.

    As a wolf advocate, I look forward to the day when the wolf will be an animal, not an issue, and the wolf can be declared a success story and delisted in the states it has been recovered. Sadly, all signs point to at least two out of three states drastically reducing wolf numbers and range and eliminating the possibility of natural dispersion of wolves to adjacent states in which wolf recovery is still needed.

  9. HAL 9000 Avatar
    HAL 9000


    Good post, pretty much reflects what I’ve thought on the issue since day one.

    Perhaps the single biggest thing that’s set my teeth on edge about this issue is the reaction (okay, let’s be honest… cry-baby temper-tantrum-throwing) that I’ve seen coming from the hunting fraternity — of which I am part. Well, I guess I am, because I love to hunt and always have. But gee wizz, to hear many hunters talk, you’d think the wolves were like the aliens from “The War of the Worlds.”
    I really, deeply wish more hunters would educate themselves on this issue before just entrenching themselves and buying bumper stickers or T-shirts with incredibly dumb-assed quips on them like “Save 100 elk, shoot a wolf” or “Why do they howl? Because they feel the bullets.”
    Jaysus.. if you hate the true face of nature (which possibly no other animal represents better than the wolf) THAT much… why the hell are you out hunting in the first place? Damn, stay home and watch football or something.
    Ahem, okay I’m getting emotional about this.. but it’s hugely frustrating to me.. .and has been since 1995.

  10. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    could not have said it better myself.

  11. Mark W. Avatar
    Mark W.


    I live in Arizona where the wolf has been reintroduced but is struggling, I second your thoughts, well said!

    Long live the great wolves of our geat Country!