Wyoming ranchers outside wolf zone say they'll only target offending animals
Wyoming ranchers outside wolf zone say they’ll only target offending animals. By Chris Merrill. Casper Star Tribune.
The ranchers in article say the Wyoming wolves in their new “vermin” zone come Friday won’t be immediately indiscriminately killed. It would cost too much.
These predator control boards that have been set up are in fact rolling in money given to them by the Wyoming legislature. They got $6-million from the legislature. This is many times what federal Wildlife Services now spends in Wyoming “controlling” wolves, which they have done even in the state’s small to-be protected or “trophy game zone” with increasing severity.
Related. Wolves trapped by shift in status. Salt Lake Tribune. Decision to delist animals allows them to be killed in most of Wyoming, stirs confusion in Utah. By Patty Henetz
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.
37 Responses to Wyoming ranchers outside wolf zone say they'll only target offending animals
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The Wyoming Legislature appropriated $6 million two years ago for predator control, and $5.6 million for the next biennium, for dispersal through the Wyoming Animal Damage Management Board. Also, the Sublette County Commission has agreed to allocate funds, as yet undetermined, to the county predator control board for wolf control.
That strikes me as a lot of money in the coffers for killing wolves.
There have been several stories about how G&F etc., are going to go slow with wolf management. Seems staged to me.
G&F is still in the process of hiring its wolf management team–four individuals who’ll do nothing but “manage” wolves. It appears that they’ll be supervised out of Cheyenne, which is not a good thing. Interestingly, Dave Moody, the Depts. Trophy Game Coordinator, will have nothing to do with wolves under the new management scheme. His duties will include only bears and lions.
I’ll be attending the annual season setting meeting tonight in Dubois and I’ll try to pin down issues of wolf hunting, but my impression is that the Regions (Lander, Cody, Jackson, Pinedale) don’t know what the plans are for hunting wolves in the trophy animal zone. It appears to be strictly run out of Cheyenne.
Until the mindset of the ranchers and politicians in states such as Wyoming changes drastically — that predatory animals are intrinsically valuable, not vermin to be gotten rid of — policies will not change.
It’s the mentality of some families (not all — some are open minded to using non lethal methods to control predatory animals) who have been raising livestock for generations. They don’t consider predatory animals “wildlife!”
Of course do they care about facts — that domestic dogs are more dangerous and kill more livestock than wolves? And killing coyotes is a futile way to “protect” their livestock?
The un-natural thing is raising livestock in open lands in predator habitat. It’s criminal to use lethal means to control these animals who are only trying to live unharrassed in their own homes!
There are strong forces at work to totally clear the most of Wyoming of all wolves – PERIOD! Forget the party about “only if they harm stock”!
Don’t expect to see anything resembling “wildlife management”. Do expect to see lots of killing!
They are going to start a trophy season this fall in Wyoming’s trophy area. I’m curious as to the number of tags and length of season.
Oh they are so full of shit! It isn’t just about whether or not Wildlife Services will be flying and killing them (which I guarantee they will), but what about the people who hate wolves–and go out this weekend with guns, poison, clubs, ATV’s, and whatever else in hand to kill wolves. Ooooh, fun. Wildlife Services flies OFTEN to look for random coyotes and shoot them and I am sure will shoot any wolves they happen to see. Ever met any WS guys? I have met lots of them–some of whom are good people, but the majority of them love to kill things. Why would you work for WS unless you loved to kill things?
And what about radio collared wolves in the predator area? WS obviously has all their frequencies, so why not look for them and shoot everything they see? I don’t buy for one second that they are not going to seek them out to shoot them–starting this weekend.
Whoa there Sally, the sky isn’t falling yet. I seriously doubt there will be a frenzy of killing this weekend, and if there is, it will only strengthen the lawsuits that are waiting in the wings.
Also, there are lots of reasons to work for WS if you don’t like to kill things. Most notably, doing research to learn how to avoid killing things. Take a look at Aphis/WS website; you’ll find more there than simply guys in helicopters with guns.
I think you might have gone off a bit there, I seriously doubt you are going to see, people roaming the hillsides of Wyoming killing every wolf they see this weekend..when you lash out like this, you look almost as kooky as those who oppose wolves! Yikes, no wonder things are so polarized and people are starting to get hurt!
I don’t have much to report after attending the season setting meeting this evening in Dubois. I pushed the Wyoming G&F reps to discuss what the plans for hunting and trapping wolves would be in the trophy game zone and got very little detail. The four-man wolf crew that I mentioned above has yet to be hired. They will be stationed somewhere in northwest Wyoming, but it appears that they will be supervised out of Cheyenne. The Regions will not have control over wolf hunting, which is not a good sign.
G&F will put out draft regulations for public comment for hunting and trapping wolves sometime in late April or early-mid May. The regulation will be approved at the G&F Commission meeting in July, which will be held in Dubois, so I’ll plan to attend–not that it’ll do any good. All the anti-wolfers will show up from all over western Wyoming to attend this meeting, no doubt. I’ll take my pepper spray along.
The biologists I talked to did not know or would not discuss details–seasons, bag limits, quotas, etc. Given the fact that there is a population floor that legally cannot be crossed, there most certainly will have to be restrictions in the trophy game zone, but how they will be enforced is beyond me.
It will be an interesting process.
People may not be roaming the hills today or this weekend for wolves to shoot, but they will be soon. I find it repulsive that the government can’t cough up the 1+million to honor their agreement to provide more land for bison to range, but have millions to toss at the guys.
For the time being there aren’t enough wolves(and won’t likely ever be under this plan) for there to be much need for that large of a budget. Some of it should have been earmarked for non lethal control.
Don’t assume that just because these folks say they won’t shoot wolves unless they are a problem means they won’t shoot every wolf they see. It just means they are going to say every wolf they see IS a problem. A wolf was passing through on the way to Colorado or Utah, oops, a problem. I saw him by my pasture, he could have thought of eating a goat, problem. She had a den, and since I haven’t seen any elk lately, she would have had to of eaten my cows to feed her babies…PROBLEM.
They will be shot, in large numbers porportionately speaking. And these ‘upstanding people’ will count on their dollars to drag out the relisting, when it is a shame that they will need to be placed back on the list…but my gut says, they will.
From an article in the CST:
“Personally, I’m sure going to be active in pursuing them wherever they’re at,” said Todd Stevie, owner of Thomson Outfitters in Cora. “I’d be happy to kill about 10 of them. Friday I have a meeting, but you can rest assured, Saturday morning I’ll be wolf hunting.”
I am guessing this guy is THE ONLY ONE with these thoughts and ideas…….
The SFW folks will no doubt kill a few wolves, but they truly don’t represent much of a threat. It takes a really good hunter to hunt wolves successfully, and there are fewer and fewer of those in Wyoming, on top of the fact that really good hunters don’t resent the presence of wolves the way the bad or indifferent hunters do, of which I’m seeing more and more as the years go by.
The true threat to wolves in Wyoming will come from agency directed aerial gunning and other government sponsored lethal control actions to “protect” elk and other big game as well as to take out wolves that depredate on livestock.
Wolves will be especially vulnerable to lethal control actions around elk feedgrounds or on big game winter range.
Remember, when wolves were driven to extinction the first time, it took a concerted government effort led by the Biological Survey (predecessor of the Fish and Wildlife Service). Individual hunters and trappers couldn’t do it. That’s why the government took over.
Is that a challenge?
Chicken little is about to be exposed. The sky really is not falling as soo many from your camp are claiming.
You guys should look at what the Animal Damage Management Board (ADMB) and the local Predator Management Boards are doing with the money they received from Wyoming’s legislators. You might even be able to learn something from them, oh all knowing one……
BW, also known as Bob Wharff, Executive Director for Some Sportsmen for Some Fish and All The Big Game and Predators We Can Legally Kill of Wyoming, was recently seen lurking on Ralph Maughan’s blog.
Hey, Bob, any truth to the rumor that Some Sportsmen for Some Fish and All The Big Game and Predators We Can Legally Kill of Wyoming is planning wolf quilting parties in Wyoming? You know, kill some wolves, not necessarily by shooting, but by any means, skin ’em, dry ’em and sew ’em up into quilts?
Can you give us a yes or no to the above question?
Mack P. Bray
My opinions are my own
Most here don’t think the sky is falling, we think THE LAW WAS BROKEN. We will soon find out if the courts agree.
Why don’t you TELL us what the ADMB and the county boards are doing? I’m all ears.
I still dont see the logic of removing an endangered species off the list only to turn to hunt it it -where some people seemingly are “chomping at the bit”. Where is the science that says we have TOO many wolves to require a hunt? There IS science that says we dont have enough to sustain viable populations. Seems as if we only protect the species to kill them in the end. A drawn out process depending on which regime is in place at the time. This is why I think the gray wolf should have never been delisted. I’m sure many agree, but some still see the delisting as a success. I don’t.
Wolves are not going to be hard to hunt and kill. Rather, many, many wolves are going to die while state and federal wolf managers are swilling beer and celebrating the victory of “delisting”.
Wolves will be killed because they can be lured to an easy meal. There are many unwanted horses around for wolf haters/hunters to use for bait. Old and sick cows are plentiful, too, and what with the “downer cow” issue, there could well be a market created by anti-wolfers to offer dollars for cattle that previously would have been “shipped” for slaughter. The same with “canner” horses.
It’s probably hard for many people to understand the mindset of those who see wildlife or livestock only for their commodity value, or for the use and abuse of man.
Also, there’s Wildlife Service that has to its federal and state funding for airplanes and choppers to kill wolves in order to justify its miserable, wildlife killing existence.
Here in central Idaho, already in the past few days, according to the USFWS weekly wolf report, Idaho’s IDFG Steve Nadeau has ordered the killing of three wolves in the Copper Basin Pack near Mackay. Three more wolves in another pack hanging around cattle have been ordered executed by Nadeau as well. No mention of any attempts to be proactive or try nonlethal to keep wolves from cattle. Eight Buffalo Ridge wolves were shot in February by Wildlife Service.
This isn’t wolf management, this is an all out war on wolves. If anyone can find any press where the Idaho Dept. of Fish and Game and/or Idaho political leaders have anything positive to say about wolves rather than they will be “Managed” (killed”), “harvested” (killed”), please advise.
I’m looking at the calendar and it still says March 2008, but the powers that control and rule with an iron fist the fate of wolves in the Northern Rockies, are barely different than those who exterminated them in the 19th century. Only this time a small number of wolves have to be alive in order to keep the feds from listing the “vermin” under the ESA.
IDFG claims their wolf hunting plan will “eliminate conflict”. What they mean to say is that the killing of hundreds of wolves will appease trophy hunters, outfitters, Governor Otter, the legislature and the cattle and sheep ranchers who refuse to learn to live with wolves. There are things that can be done to save wolves. But more about that later.
Clarification – 4th paragraph in my post above – Wildlife Services has to justify its funding for its gunners, airplanes and helicopters. That means killing a lot of wolves. Not to mention thousands of other animals, mostly coyotes, on behalf of the cattle and sheep industry.
Gary Power, who is the intelligent Idaho F and G commissioner, and actually had a career in wildlife management, thinks a hunt will cause this issue to fade away like the cougar issue did back in the 1970s when Idaho moved it from vermin to big game.
At the time there was much controversy, with statements that the big game herds would be ruined, people would die, etc. — somewhat like the wolf.
Power did a lot to defuse this issue in the Salmon, Idaho area, and he obviously sees it as a model. The issue died down a great deal, despite occasional eruptions.
I hope he’s right, but times change. I lived in Idaho in the 1970s. Idaho’s political climate has deteriorated greatly since then.
One party states, wherever they may be, tend to become unequal, discriminatory, and corrupt. When Idaho lost its 2-party system in the mid-90s, most things took a turn for the worst, in my opinion. This accelerated after 2001.
At the present, Idaho is not a place you want to live in if you are young and need education (or are “too educated”), in financial trouble, lose your job, are in need of medical care and have poor health insurance, are retired and not very comfortable financially, or are part of a minority group (except for in enclaves like Pocatello). It’s good not to be an Indian anywhere in Idaho.
The modal Idahoan is a women in her 30s with a poorly paying job, the modal state legislator is a Republican with a background in real estate or agriculture and in his or 50s or older.
Idaho did have a period of openness in government and concern for protecting the outdoors from about 1968 to 1980. I hate to think what the Idaho backcountry would look like now if it wasn’t for this period of enlightenment.
This has been replaced by political and religious extremism, and self serving by old line groups that contribute little to the economy but have inordinate political power.
When people think about Idaho wildlife, they have to think about the context these decisions are made in.
RH, you finally said something I agree with in regards to true threats to wolves.
“I’m looking at the calendar and it still says March 2008, but the powers that control and rule with an iron fist the fate of wolves in the Northern Rockies, are barely different than those who exterminated them in the 19th century.”
I agree wholeheartedly with this statement. I have thought this before and it makes rational sense. Why would those people change? Its like poor genes…
the best thing that ever happended for the gray wolf since its extirpation, is the ESA. With those poor genes out there, federal protection should stay. Poor genes in the White house as well….
RH, who is going to count the wolves to determine if the population floor is in danger of being met or has been destroyed? I have very serious reservations about WYGF even making pubic “predator” type wolf kills, They don’t even have to be reported to G&F for 10 days.
Ralph – Gary Powers has told me the same thing re. mountain lions. I can’t accept the logic that only by heavy “harvest” (killing) is an animal like mountain lion (or wolf) acceptable. Acceptable by whom? Outfitters? Trophy hunters? It’s only when an animal can be hunted or trapped that it has worth?
Powers told me that killing female breeding mountain lions is a good thing as it allows other younger females the chance to breed …
I’m not buying it.
So few places left on earth for animals like wolves and mountain lions to exist. Yet the only worth placed upon these animals by state and federal managers is how many can be “harvested”.
So what to do? Don’t eat beef or lamb. Boycott outfitters who guide hunts for predators. Write letters to media. Stand up to your local bully.
will there be any areas in Idaho where wolves will be allowed to exist undisturbed ? where their populations will be self-regulated/self-determined, their contribution to the ecosystems will be allowed to ‘cascade’ into more diverse/’natural’ constitutions as has been seen in Yellowstone ? or is it going to be ‘managed’ to the point where we won’t be able to say that ‘this is what a complete ecosystem looks like’ in Idaho ? it seems like this aggressive ‘management’ is going to skew their niche. if this is the case, it seems like this delisting will be the death of one of the significant hopes for recovery.
what’s the story with the copper basin pack ?
I too would be interested in the copper basin population of wolves, as I have read much about the area. What part of the area is this pack, where they are being considered for this, there are no cattle grazing at this time, correct? Or is it near an area where cattle are pastured? It isn’t understandable to me…
Don et al.
Now that wolves are delisted, and until such time as we are able to secure an injunction against delisting, all monitoring of wolves to assess numbers and population trends is now the province of the state agencies–Wyoming Game and Fish Dept., Idaho Dept. of Fish and Game, and the Montana Fish Wildlife and Park.
The only places where wolves will be able to function relatively undisturbed will be in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, and in the John D. Rockefeller corridor between these two Parks. Outside these areas, wolves are either trophy game or predatory animals and are open to hunting and control actions.
No penalty has been proscribed for failing to report wolf take either in the trophy game or predatory animal zone, even though the law and regulations require such reporting. I doubt very seriously that this provision will be obeyed in Wyoming.
Unless the Fish & Game Commission does not permit hunting in an area in their May meeting, then hunting will be allowed in the numbers and rules they establish for that area. There are no national parks like Yellowstone in Idaho.
Their wolf population management plan says the rules will be established to emphasize hunting wolves in areas according to the amount of “conflict” the wolves produce by killing elk or other big game and with livestock.
Brian – IDFG/Steve Nadeau are the only entity that could answer what is happening with the Copper Basin wolves. At this time there are probably few wolves left in that pack. You might drop by Nadeau’s Boise office for a visit and ask.
Beth – During the winter months, snow forces elk and deer out of the White Cloud, Boulder and Pioneer Mountains and wolves follow them. There are cattle ranches around Mackay and the Big Lost River valley. The calving season attracts predators. We are having snow and cold weather still in late March and that adds to livestock mortality. It’s difficult for a member of the public to know how a cow or calf dies when it’s on private land. Regardless, it’s an excuse for IDFG/WS to kill wolves. There only has to be 104 wolves in Idaho in order to meet the Idaho Wolf Mgt Plan that was accepted by USFWS.
Hard to believe, isn’t it.
What are you going to do and/or say when this great slaughter of wolves doesn’t occur?
I firmly believe that WY G&F will responsibly manage, yes kill, wolves. The USFWS has been removing wolves from outside of the trophy zone for quite some time and wolf numbers have not only been sustained but they have increased as well.
Which species was managed to extinction by the WY G&F? It seems most on this site imply that WY G&F seeks to destroy all of the wolves within the state. I can assure you that the G&F is quite capable of managing and maintaining wolves at recovery levels. Those of you which desire to see wolves stage from Wyoming and filter into Utah and Colorado fail to acknowledge that this has already occurred several times even with the USFWS taking lethal actions against most wolves which have moved south of their nursery.
Hey, BW, also known as Bob Wharff, Executive Director for Some Sportsmen for Some Fish and All The Big Game and Predators We Can Legally Kill of Wyoming, we’re aware that Wyoming Game & Fish and USFWS are taking marching orders.
How about posting something on behalf of Some Sportsmen for Some Fish and All The Big Game and Predators We Can Legally Kill of Wyoming.
Hey, Bob, what is Some Sportsmen for Some Fish and All The Big Game and Predators We Can Legally Kill of Wyomings official position on the wolf situation. As director, you should know and should be able to post it here on Ralph’s blog.
Hey, Bob, any truth to the rumor that Some Sportsmen for Some Fish and All The Big Game and Predators We Can Legally Kill of Wyoming is planning wolf quilting parties in Wyoming? You know, kill some wolves, not necessarily by shooting, but by any means, skin ‘em, dry ‘em and sew ‘em up into quilts?
Can you give us a yes or no to the above question?
Mack P. Bray
My opinions are my own
a member of the copper basin pack is the first that my boys have seen. it was beautiful.
You should already know our position on wolves. Seems like you know so much about Sportsmen for Fish & Wildlife, I thought you were a member.
WY SFW fully supports Wyoming’s wolf management plan. We have supported it since it was first presented. This shouldn’t be new news to anyone that follows SFW. As I stated earlier, name one species which the WY G&F has managed to extinction. Just one!
I have noticed that you like people to answer your questions but you seldom provide an answer of your own. I’ll ask it one more time, specifically to Mr. PBrayn, What are you going to do and/or say when this great slaughter of wolves doesn’t occur? Care to provide a response? Didn’t think so.
I don’t know what kind of sportsmen you are but I don’t know much about quilting. Frankly, none of the camps I have attended did anyone discuss wolves and/or quilting in the same sentence. May be there is a joke there that I am not getting.
As far as SFW having or hosting any kind of organized wolf hunt(s), I have not heard of anything yet. With only 30-35 wolves available (due to predator status) in 88% of the state I would think this would be kind of like looking for the proverbial needle in a hay stack. I am certain that enough of my members get out enough that they will encounter wolves within the predator zone. Some may even be able to kill one or two but I doubt many of the available wolves will be killed anytime soon. I am always looking out for ideas though, may be you, Hoskins, or some others can come up with a clever way for SFW to accomplish this feat. I am really struggling to vision how you put a wolf into a quilt.
On a different note, we have talked about having a wolf dinner as a fundraiser. What do you think we should charge per plate?
The Copper Basin Pack inhabits an area with many cattle in the summer. It’s almost all public land — very scenic, but badly overgrazed. Here is scenic http://www.panoramio.com/photo/2703130
There is a wide variety of wildlife, but their numbers are suppressed because cows eat most of the forage. With the cattle gone instead of the wolves, this could be one of the most scenic and premier wildlife areas in America.
See http://www.panoramio.com/photo/2155041 and
Some of the livestock operators on these public lands seem to be the governor’s pals, and Governor Otter said in 2007 that getting rid of wolves in the area would be a priority.
The original G&F wolf plan as Dave Moody et al. wrote it originally considered wolves as trophy game throughout the entire state, as required by the legally established criteria for delisting. This plan, which I supported, but perhaps you don’t know about since you weren’t here at the time, was then overruled by the politicians at the demand of the Stockgrowers and Outfitters, and Dave was ordered to rewrite the plan. Afterward, he told folks at the Chico Wolf Conference that the rewrite was a bad plan, both biologically and from the standpoint of good wildlife management, and got hammered for it by his “superiors” in G&F and Gov Dave.
So we got dual status, which is blatantly illegal. Further, we got an unworkable, unenforceable plan that when you put all the influences on it together, means a lot of dead wolves and re-listing, particularly when you look at the stated intent, with General Fund dollars behind it, to take out wolves that are allegedly negatively impacting elk, especially on the feedgrounds. Wildlife Services is very efficient at killing wolves, I’ll grant them that, and it won’t take much to push wolves down below the established floor. Wyoming politicians, being the ignoramuses that they are, are counting on the impossibility of getting wolves back on the list. I most certainly wouldn’t count on that.
As far as the SFW dinner, I wouldn’t charge much for a wolf plate. Wolf is notoriously inedible–considered starvation food by First Nations up North. I’ve tasted boiled wolf offered to me by a wolf trapper with a sense of humor. Better have some strong coffee on hand to wipe out the taste.
As for a wolf quilt, didn’t you ever pay attention to your grandmother? All you need to do is cut wolf pelts into squares and sew them into the quilt in whatever pattern you so desire. Check out the enormous fur quilt that the Russians gave to Buffalo Bill. It’s on display in the museum in Cody.
BW, also known as Bob Wharff, Executive Director of Some Sportsmen for Some Fish and All The Big Game and Predators We Can Legally Kill of Wyoming, says: “I thought you were a member.”
I’m not, but I’ll join if you’ll swear to keep me current on the thinking and planning of the insiders or the upper echelon of your elite group. How much is a membership?
“I’ll ask it one more time, specifically to Mr. PBrayn, What are you going to do and/or say when this great slaughter of wolves doesn’t occur?”
I’m going to do nothing and say nothing. I never predicted a slaughter. See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil, do no evil, unless you’re a member of Some Sportsmen for Some Fish and All The Big Game and Predators We Can Legally Kill of Wyoming.
In most of Wyoming, where wolves classified as predators may be killed by any means, by anybody, at any time, no licensed required, and out of state folks are welcome to join in on the fun, I think that we’ll rarely hear of any wolves being killed by citizens, even though they’re required to report. Why? Because we’re back to the old “shoot, shovel and shut-up” mentality.
“As far as SFW having or hosting any kind of organized wolf hunt(s), I have not heard of anything yet.”
As Executive Director of Some Sportsmen for Some Fish and All The Big Game and Predators We Can Legally Kill of Wyoming, why don’t you take a leadership role and host/organize a wolf hunt? You could even offer a bounty, like you did for the coyote slaughter in Cody. You do remember the coyote slaughter in Cody, don’t you?
“On a different note, we have talked about having a wolf dinner as a fundraiser. What do you think we should charge per plate?”
Two lines of thought here:
1) If you don’t think many wolves will be killed, the price for a plate of wolf should be very high. I’m sure your members are dying to eat some well-prepared wolf. Here’s your wolf banquet motto: “We’re not anti-predator, we’re pro-hunters. We love wolves, especially when they’re cooked just right.”
2) With the small portions of wolf that you’ll likely serve, you could also offer the meat of your worn-out mountain lion chasing dogs. You know what they say, when in Wyoming, do as the Koreans do.
Mack P. Bray
My opinions are my own
Word on the street from the town of Cora is they had a hell of a fine weekend wolf hunting–a town wolf hunt. Four wolves were shot. Sounds like maybe 1 in Black Butte and 3 in another pack near Daniel. They saw 5, but only got 3–1 radio collared wolf. It will be interesting to see where the radio collar came from.
The person from Game and Fish who gave me the information didn’t know anything else, as they have no authority in the predator area.
Weekend 1 and they killed about 15% of the wolves believed to be in the predator area. And that on a weekend when most of the rednecks were in Jackson for the Snowmobile Hill Climb. Should be a hell of a hunt next weekend.
Sally Roberts says “but what about the people who hate wolves–and go out this weekend with guns, poison, clubs, ATV’s, and whatever else in hand to kill wolves.”
looks like Sally may have been onto something.