This has been in the news the last two days. I didn’t put the story up early because I knew Brian Ertz was right there when this alleged incident took place, and had all the details. He told me about it the day after the wolf meeting. At the time, I thought “end of story” — a F & G commissioner ignores public comment and doesn’t like to be questioned.

What a surprise when 6 weeks later, Jon Marvel, who did insist on some answers from the commissioner, was accused of some sort of assault or improper touching of the commissioner!

My speculation is that IF & G’s action had nothing to do with the wolf hearing in Hailey, and everything to do with Western Watershed Projects legal efforts, media efforts, and administrative efforts to derail the attack of the woolgrowers on Idaho’s bighorn sheep herds. Idaho Fish and Game was recently accused by one prominent woolgrower of being in bed with WWP. I have a copy of his letter.

What better way for a politically weak department to protect itself from the powerful livestock operators who have the support of a very friendly governor than slap at a person who symbolizes the conservation effort to bring the woolgrowers to respect the existence of bighorn sheep in Idaho?

In terms of state livestock politics, the bighorn issue is as lot bigger than wolves, which are mostly just a way for expressing their resentment that they lost (temporarily) on the symbolic issue.

At the WWP blog, Brian gives the details. Wolf meeting altercation.

New. Feb. 2, 2008. Marvel Strikes back. By David Cooper. Magic Valley Times News. 

Notice: this post is open to comment, but no personal name calling, not of Marvel, Ertz, Commissioner Wayne Wright, Virgil Moore, etc.

About The Author

Ralph Maughan

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.

9 Responses to Idaho Fish and Game slaps at Jon Marvel. Is their account credible?

  1. Robert Hoskins says:

    Having read Brian and Lynn’s descriptions of what happened, and knowing the degree to which western wildlife agencies have nothing but contempt for those who disagree with them, I’d say that the claims out of the IDF&G about Jon Marvel are libelous and actionable. A libel lawsuit would certainly straighten out the facts.

  2. kt says:

    Last year, I had never heard of Wayne Wright. Until, that is, I called Fish and Game and asked if they were going to be commenting on an EA for the Bed-down of a portion of the Singapore Air Force at Mountain Home Air Force base – to use the airspace across southern Idaho and neighboring states. Pollute our air, terrorize our wildlife with sonic booms, drive roads spreading weeds to remote emitter sites in the Jarbidge and Bruneau country – the whole nine yards. With more Singapore, Israeli and other foreign military planes and personnel waiting in the wings to follow suit.

    You know what I was told by Fish and Game? Well, we don’t think so. Commissioner Wright’s brother is a Colonel or something in the Air Force in Southeast Asia, so we probably won’t be commenting. I said but this is a chance to get better mitigation for sage grouse, bighorn sheep, etc. and restoration $$$.

    The Final EA arrived in the mail. No evidence that Fish and Game had even wimpered about it.

    What kind of state agency is this if one of these Otter or Kempthorne Commissioners like Wright has them so cowed that they are too afraid to even raise a concern in a situation like this??? How can anyone believe they have the ability – or backbone to “manage” wolves?

  3. jimbob says:

    I believe this is typical if we allow these organizations to continue to use personal feeling and political difference to manage our wildlife instead of proven science! They will pit individual against individual in an effort to hide the poor science. It is easier to discredit the messenger than the message if it is valid! It has been posted here many times that IDF&G is in bed with most industries and does not represent the public well; I’d have to agree and say this is just another example of many!

  4. Jim says:

    Wasn’t Jon Marvel falsy accused of this same sort of thing several years ago? Maybe ID F&G is going wit the attitude that even false accusations will become true if you make them loud enough and enough times.

  5. kt says:

    There is another story here, too.

    It is that Fish and Game, cowering in fear of:

    Butch Otter and the ID Legislature

    These political appointee potentate Commissioners, including ones who appear to be speaking directly to some kind of Old Testament “thou shalt smite all wolves and render the earth scorched” God

    The one or two dozen Woolgrowers in all of Idaho

    Cattlemen from everywhere, but especially Larry Craig and Dirk Kempthorne’s buddies in the Jarbidge still seething that taxpayers did not spend tens of millions of dollars planting crested wheatgrass on BLM lands following the Murphy Complex and other fires this summer.

    —– and is conveniently throwing them all a Bone to chew on so they can save their own cowardly Game Dept. bureaucratic hides.

    Concocting a BIG distraction …

  6. kt says:

    One interesting thing about this, too, is that this Memo was signed by Assistant Director Virgil Moore, not IDFG Director Groen. I could be wrong, but I believe Groen can readily be fired by the Commission – if he was found to have LIED in a Memo like this (not that this Commission would do that – unless under extreme pressure to do something ) And you know, they may be scuttling to save their own sorry hides, once it is found out that they all – including this whole pack of anti-environmental wolf-hating Commissioners in a Closed Door Executive Session have conspired to concoct this tale).

    But Moore is a regular state employee – theoretically shielded from such retribution. Sure, they could ship him off to the Grace fish hatchery to clean fish screens or something, but he can’t be fired for lying once the Lie is revealed – wheeras Groen could be.

    I am betting as the days go by, more of the details of what is seeming to be a well-orchestrated conspiracy will unfold …

  7. Jay says:

    Kt, you’re not balancing beer bottles on your front door knob, are you?

  8. kt says:

    Don’t know what the balancing beer bottles is about – perhaps you’ve had one too many?

    But I sure do know, after having seen the pack of Kempthorne and Otter conniving Game Department Commissioners in action, I would put nothing past them.

    You see, they all were in Boise for a meeting mid-January or so, when it appears this all “got legs” – a month or more after the Hailey Wolf meeting when the incident is alleged to have happened.

    This link is to a video documentation of the Commissioners having talked about a lot of things – that, as Steve Nadeau I believe it was, said in warning them – You probably don’t want that in the public record. (Actually we need to get Who said What there – in the video transcribed – and Posted in the context of the history of it all).

    What was referred to in the Video was some plotting the Commissioners McDermott, Treavey (sp?, others ) had already done) about how to violate or circumvent the law so that Fish and Game biologists could be made to land helicopters inside the central Idaho Wilderness to radiocollar wolves during “routine” big game census flights. The more radios, the easier it is to count more packs inside the Wilderness away from livestock so you can kill all the packs outside the Wilderness that the ranchers want annihilated— and still magically maintain a minimum pack number with de-listing. AND if every pack inside Wilderness has a radio, the easier it is to kill packs inside the wilderness if whining outfitters or SFW wants them killed.

    Now, following the regular commission meeting, there is an “Executive Session” … where the public is not allowed and where perhaps no records may be kept. I wonder what the stuffed fish, moose head, and bearskin rug heard in the Trophy Room at Executive Session? “Director Groen, Mr. Moore, Mr. Parrish, whoever — make your stories fit the smear tale we want to tell …”.

    I am betting it went something like this:

    ‘Fellas, we got a problem here. The Woolgrowers want us to kill bighorns in the South Hills and across Idaho ‘cuz they are inconveniencin’ sheepmen and Butch Otter wants to solve their problem. That Jon Marvel is trying to let the public know about it”.

    Not to mention the chatting that likely went on over a good bloody beef steak or two at dinner …

    This is small town, small-minded ,mean people politics at its worse …

  9. Jay says:

    Pick up the movie “Conspiracy Theory”, you’ll see what I’m talking about.



‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey