Washington Post tells it like really is on wolf delisting . . . a farewell from Bush Administration

It’s hard for papers in the 3 states to say it so baldly as Jim Doherty does in Wolves are Back. Humans are Howling. Washington Post. If the judge sees it this way, delisting will be set aside.

Another related matter that needs to be covered so well nationally, because it is so similar, is this winter’s Yellowstone bison slaughter, the biggest in 115 years! It’s another tribute to a century of no progress in the thinking of Western politicians.



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  1. dbaileyhill Avatar

    I wrote a letter of appreciation to J. Doherty and described the bison issue in brief and asked if he might consider writing about the bison as they mirror what is to come for the wolves.
    I hope i receive an email from him. I will keep you posted.

  2. JB Avatar

    His analysis of the Wisconsin “issue” is dead on. I’ve actually heard WI “hunters” complain that wolves are killing all the deer. Meanwhile, WI DNR is doing everything in it’s power to kill more deer. News flash: 600 wolves can’t put a dent (not even a little one) in a population of 1.6+ million deer. (For those that like numbers, there are 2,667 deer for every wolf in the state). Meanwhile, ~20,000 deer-vehicle collisions are REPORTED (~40,000 carcasses are removed) each year, with about a dozen fatalities.

    Check out this website for stats on DVCs: http://www.deercrash.com/

  3. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    DBH and Kim

    Ralph and you are right: Jim Doherty nailed it. I have alerted Jim to your comments about a bison story and asked him to consider it, but also asked him to expand it to a look at brucellosis in general, because the same mismanagement of bison we see in Montana we also see with mismanagement of elk on Wyoming’s feedgrounds.

    We have an extraordinary problem of politics–lack of democracy–in the Western states, and it shows up regardless of the specific issue. Wolves, bears, bison, elk, bighorn sheep, pine beetles and pine trees, wilderness, riparian areas, water, upland ranges, etc. are all under attack to protect “resource exploitation” ways of life that have never been sustainable and should be allowed to fade away with public subsidy.

    A story on how the Sagebrush Rebel oligarchies are still holding on and doing extraordinary damage to Western lands, waters, and wildlife as they hang on to illegitimate powers and privileges would help focus public opinion on the fundamental problems of governance and conservation we face out here.


  4. Rick Hammel Avatar
    Rick Hammel

    How do I say this with some sort of political correctness? I can’t! In my view, all of this resource damage comes under just one heading: greed. Look at the oil companies and their profit reports. And they are looking for more. Mining and timber are the same. Most ranchers are trying to eek out a living, but some are selling out to oil and gas and mining interests. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a supporter of “ranching welfare.”

    The destruction of “our” public lands has to end. How this will be achieved is something that I have been wrestling with for 15 years. I have particpated with the BLM and Forest Service in their planning processes. No matter how strongly, I, and others, push an issue, the agencies still do as they wish. Of course we all know where the get their marching orders. Some time and some place, there will be a come-upance. Sooner, I hope, than later.


  5. SmokyMtMan Avatar

    I guess commercial exploitation of our public lands will stop once the American people stop using the materials and products that their public lands provide to their U.S. economy.

    How does one propose to replace the metals and ores, wood, oil and natural gas, that is extracted from public lands and sold to American industries and companies, and from there to American consumers?

    Do you guys think these products will magically appear for us from somewhere else once we shut down all the mines, logging operations, and oil and gas wells on our public lands?

    Never in our history, and certainly not in our future, will American companies stop extracting natural resources from our public lands.

  6. Pronghorn Avatar

    “Never in our history, and certainly not in our future, will American companies stop extracting natural resources from our public lands.”

    Perhaps not. But they WILL stop extracting it at the expense of the Earth and its inhabitants, at taxpayer expense, without regard for clean-up or reclamation, and for the benefit of their bottom line only and all else be damned. Hence, reform of the 1872 mining act. A moratorium on old-growth logging (which has led to innovation in small-diameter milling). Perhaps if Americans have to pay for these resources at their actual (unsubsidized) cost, we’ll finally learn to conserve? We’ll invest more in viable, creative alternatives? Maintaining the status quo serves industry because it has engineered the status quo for its own benefit, to satisfy its own greed. Just because extraction will continue doesn’t mean that it has to continue under the current paradigm.

  7. dbaileyhill Avatar

    i agree Pronghorn. As long as cheap and easy processes continue unabated no one will alter their current path. Mandating strict regulations is the only way to preserve and protect what is left of the environment and natural resources. I am willing to bet that there are plenty of creative minded people with amazing ideas that will work.
    Also, consumers become more creative in consuming less and creating less waste and still live comfortably and become happy when they realize how much they can save and benefit from changing bad habits. I have to laugh when people think that merely putting out their recycling bins each week and think they are changing the world when it really only amounts to a drop in a very large bucket.
    I am very impressed with all the innovative ideas that the folks in New Zealand come up with. I travel there fairly often and have spoken with many people in different professions and find they are are very creative people. They always say that it their not really an unusually creative bunch, it’s all because of their location which has always made it difficult to get things or the supplies are very expensive. Because of that they have to find ways to use what they have and it work. Their creativity is born from necessity.
    Their ideas about having a career are also very different from ours. It is common that people change their professions. One fella in Christchurch that drives a trolley, farmed for twenty years, something else for another twenty years, owned and operated a hostel for almost twenty years, and spent the five years driving the trolley. (i will ad, he did not look his age). Everyone i have met is relaxed, not a bit of stress. Last year I visited a couple i had met in NZ three years prior, and they were preparing their business as they had just sold it because they wanted to do something different–running their own youth hostel. The Kiwis are also the friendliest and nicest people i have met. Also very neighborly and share a real sense of community. No matter where i go in NZ it always feels like home. Which it seems to me very unfortunate here that “community” does not seem to be valued as it was a few years ago.

  8. jimbob Avatar

    Idiotic, uneducated, moronic, backwards rednecks! I am embarassed at times to be an American. It has been proven time and again that killing predators to artificially boost ungulate numbers is idiotic and detrimental to those populations in the long run. Wait, sorry. Let me put it so you’ll understand. “It’s bad to shoot the wolves because you think it will make more deer.” In the early 1900’s on the Kaibab plateau in Arizona, all predators were removed to boost deer numbers. The deer numbers skyrocketed and famine and disease followed for the population. The pattern has repeated itself over and over in many locations. WHY MUST THOSE OF US WHO KNOW BETTER HAVE TO ENDURE THIS TYPE OF BULL*&%$ POLICY AND REPEATED MISTAKES? Not only does the environment suffer, but it is EXPENSIVE! Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho better start investing way more in education than predator control. Maybe we could start a “stupid people control board”.

  9. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Throughout American history the social class/group often characterized as “redneck” has had its economic interests for a better life diverted by hot button issues. This is partly a deliberate strategy for politicians who would not want to see lower class and lower middle class people demanding economic opportunity.

    They are poorly educated in Idaho due to deliberate underfunding of education. Having taught in Idaho for years, the hostility of the state legislature to teachers is only slightly less than to wolves. It has gotten much worse in recent years. From what I have read, it was the same in the South.

    Now the symbolic diversion for “rednecks” is the wolf in these parts of the country. At least they aren’t lynching people like they were encouraged to do in the Old South.

  10. Pronghorn Avatar

    I’ve said many times, it’s as if Aldo Leopold never lived, never penned “Thinking Like a Mountain.” (here http://www.eco-action.org/dt/thinking.html for anyone who’d like to re-read it)

    “I was young then, and full of trigger-itch; I thought that because fewer wolves meant more deer, that no wolves would mean hunters’ paradise.”

    The green fire continues to die in wolves’ eyes, yet humans (or the right humans, or enough humans) seem incapable of learning to think like a mountain. Ignorance (and its resulting fear) and greed keep getting in the way.

  11. Layton Avatar

    I guess I’m just one of those “poorly educated” rednecks in Idaho, cuz’ I read this sentence in the article:

    “Together, the three states are determined to whack back the 1,500 wolves currently occupying the Rocky Mountain region by as much as 80 percent, to a barely sustainable minimum of 300”

    and decided the the gentleman that wrote it hadn’t done his research — which, to me, made the content of the rest of the article rather suspect.

    If one spends more than 30 seconds reading the management plans from Idaho ALONE one would find a much larger number than the one that he uses. Exaggeration for emphasis? Or just exaggeration for sensationalism??


  12. jimbob Avatar

    I absolutely wholeheartedly agree with your characterization, Ralph, epecially the “hot button” issue. I guess the point I was trying to make is that if one did not wish to be viewed as uneducated and moronic one would seek to be informed and educated before forming attitudes and opinions. Obviously, this does not happen much any more. We have a populous that likes to consider itself independent and smarter than everybody else, but with little basis for either conclusion. Independent thought is lost in political party or group affiliation (elk hunters, deer hunters, ag interests, etc.) I also see the hostility to education first hand in Western states. What does that say?

  13. jimbob Avatar

    Hate to take up more space, but I guess the point is there are some deep seated psycho-social issues that cause people to be so selfish as to put their desire to hunt or their desire to ranch ahead of the need for a functioning environment. Those same people have through the years decimated entire game populations that included elk, bighorn sheep, deer, and turkey, only to have those populations have to be brought back by “smarter people”. As long as I get mine……..


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan