Deleted comments, etc.

I’m getting a lot of comments telling people to go back to wherever and don’t mess with Wyoming, or that people in Wyoming or Idaho, or wherever are idiots.

I live in Idaho and have for about 40 years, for those who are interested.

These unpleasant comments don’t advance any discussion, and starting today I won’t allow them through, or I will delete, these kind of comments.

I also want to add that I am not promoting a boycott of any state on my blog, although this is the opinion of some comments. Personally I avoid spending money in Wyoming except the two big national parks and Teton County (Jackson Hole).

Wyoming’s wolf management is of great interest because I think if a suit against the wolf delisting wins, it will be because of Wyoming’s wolf plan and the actions that follow its implementation.





  1. Nathan Hobbs Avatar

    From a fellow Idahoan well said.

  2. Chuck Avatar

    Yes well said Ralph, you have provided alot of useful and wise information. I for one very much appreciate your website and hope to some day be able to shake your hand, even though we have never met I still consider you a very dear friend. Thank you

    Chuck…..also from Idaho

  3. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    Thank you Ralph…

    I know the last week has been very interesting to say the least, and it is difficult to watch so many hurtful as well as what bounds on slanderous or degrading comments floating around, these types of posts, don’t do anything on either side to come to a solution.

    Keep up the good work.

  4. Ken Avatar


    I’ve been coming to this web site for many, many years, and I’ve been an environmentalist for almost 25 years now. An avid Wildlife lover / watcher and I spend about 60 days a year in Yellowstone. But coming to this site has become a disappointing thing to me, with so many bad things happening now, at a very alarming rate, I almost don’t even want to know about it. I know it’s not good to stay in the dark, but with WY killing everything that moves, and then people from that state seem to think they are all “Wildlife Lovers”, but then ask for a gun, it’s truly amazing to me!

    The only voice that seems to matter to most people is money, and since WY needs money just like the rest of us, if I don’t believe in what they are doing I sure as hell wont give them a dime. The United States does not due business with a few countries that they feel are doing something wrong. Well………we as wildlife loves have the same right to avoid spending money in a state that we / I don’t feel is doing the right thing! I would never buy the hide of a Wolf, why would I buy gas from that state that allows that hide to be taken in the first place? I wouldn’t!

    To me, what these people say is alarming to me, they can say whatever they want in my thinking. Because it’s not there words that are killing the wolves, it’s there actions, there words only show how selfish and hurtful they are, but their guns truly show who they are.

    Ralph, Thank you so much for this site, you have done a great job, and every day I read this site for news. I just hoping I’m going to see more good news and than bad. Perhaps one day it will happen, but it doesn’t look too good though!


  5. Monty Avatar

    Ralph, I echo the above remarks! I wonder how many of the comments that you get about “leaving the state” are from native Americans? I was born & raised in the west, and my great great grandmother came by wagon train to Montana & I am sure she would support rationale folks like you who love the “Big Sky”country and all of it’s parts that include wildlife and wilderness.

  6. Mike Post Avatar
    Mike Post

    Ralph, good for you. Keep the standards on this blog high. Spirited debate can be very informative, even to the peanut gallery, but venomous comments do little to advance science or conservation goals. That said, it is a high responsibility. Don’t throw the dissenting baby out with the bath water…

  7. sal Avatar

    Having been acquainted with Ralph for many years, I am certain that he will easily differentiate the workable and/or informative comments from the low-level entries with a sound, reasonable mind. I am often impressed with Ralph’s ability to make a more calm and reasonable choice when things are challenging, without all the emotive emphasis ~ and with far more understanding and fairness than I, or many whom I observe, could do.

  8. dbaileyhill Avatar

    I agree with you folks too. I will add that i very much appreciate that Ralph is willing to be “referee” so that the rest of us can continue real discussion and debate, and understand the various perspectives.

  9. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    Making a blog work is the product of multiple people.

  10. Heather Avatar

    Yes thanks Ralph, I appreciate your news, especially that I am not at the wolf conference. must say I’ve been afraid to get on here and look at what is happening, but then I see it in the paper anyway. which is good, at least the killings are not being hidden. I’ve lived in MT for approximately 28 yrs, give or take a yr. went to high school and college here. Have spent lots of money here. had my kid here. Not every wolf lover has just moved into town. I think that is a misperception. The fact that you just moved here denotes the fact that you dont know what is going on. That isn’t the case with the wolf, bison or cougar. the story of the west is complex.
    I must say I hope this damper doesnt dampen the spirit of some these lively people who write on here.

  11. Heather Avatar

    and by the way my personal opinion will only allow me to boycott WY. I sent a letter to the tourism office today letting them know.

  12. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears


    Who just moved here? Spirited debate is a good thing, cut downs and derogatory name calling is not…you are never going to change anybodies mind by calling them stupid!

  13. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    I thought I read somewhere on this blog, that Ralph has lived in this region for the last 40 years? Did I read something wrong?

  14. Elli Avatar

    Thanks Ralph.
    Here in Germany we have written many mails to the official sources and tourist managers in Wyoming and told them that we tourists are coming to their country to watch wolves and bison and not to see them killed. Some of those who have written have gotten very ugly hate mails back.
    I am coming to Yellowstone since 30 years and I come to see the wolves since they are back 3-4 times a year. I’ve brought a lot of wolf watching groups and we spend a lot of money in and around Yellowstone.
    We all will continue to come to Yellowstone and Teton National Park because we enjoy wildlife. But I personally will take measures not to spend any money in Wyoming with my groups.
    Thanks for keeping this blog a place for decent discussion.

  15. vicki Avatar

    I realize that the issues discussed her evoke passionate responses, as they are emotionally and intellectually charged. I am quite sure that tossing out blatant derogatory names and hurtful responses will always result in a negative response.
    I am also thankful to Ralph for caring enough about dialogue that he , and those who assist him here, devote so much time to cleaning up the mud that gets slung.

  16. Devin Avatar

    Ralph, go back to…..errr….wait a minute… If we live in Idaho we can’t really go back huh? Well said indeed

  17. Bridget Avatar

    I think the thing to remember is the people with the loudest voices for any change in the Wyoming wolf management plan are going to come from the people who live in the state. Some of our strongest pro wolf voices in these states being slammed on. Sure they seem to have more extremists too – but we need to be level headed and try to make a difference in a smart and well spoken way. I too have been saddened and angered over the killing of 10-12 wolves in Wy (especially #253) – most just because they were there. It is great the wolf populations are so strong they can be delisted. It means the reintroduction was a success. We just need to convince the right people to adjust the Wy plan. As a midwesterner – we have 3 times as many wolves as the Rocky Mtn area – and after looking at both plans – the Midwest has taken a more ‘wait a few years and watch the natural ways and be sure they are doing fine’ before we start with hunting and shooting wolves that are just being wolves. Many other parts of our plan are the same – depredation and people or pet threats are much the same. Somehow we were able to reach a better compromise. Hopefully with some smart, well-spoken emails and letters to the right people maybe WY can find a better compromise too.

  18. Monty Avatar

    Elli from Germany makes a good point about folks from other countries who visit Yellowstone because of the bears & wolves. In late March 08, I spent a week in the Larmar Valley-did not see any wolves or bears only their tracks which was good enough–but on to my main point. I met a couple of people from England, who were on their 3rd trip to Yellowstone: Why? Because, they wanted to view bears & wolves in the wild!!!!!!!!

  19. Peter Kiermeir Avatar

    Yes, my wife an me too. also from good ol´Germany! If you listen around carefully in Wyoming and Montana you´ll here a lot of German, French, Swiss….And many come to see bears and wolves and bison in the wild.

  20. Shirley Avatar

    My husband and I come to Yellowstone every year to see the wolves. We also would spend more money than I care to mention on wolf t-shirts, art and collectables. We will make it our passion NOT to spend any money on these items within the state of Wyoming. We will seek our lodging, our collectables, and whatever else we seek in Montana and not spend our money in Wyoming. The only part we are interested in is Yellowstone from here on out. Until Wyoming pull there heads out and realizes that it’s the beauty of nature that brings their money in, not the senseless killing of nature, we want nothing to do with them or their economy.

  21. Linda Hunter Avatar

    It is my humble opinion that rather than punishing small town business owners who may or may not feel as the state does about wolves, much better to put our money and energy into the newly formed Wildlife Watchers group that Mack Bray and others are starting. If they can get the numbers of members up, that, more than anything, will send the proper message to people who get elected.

  22. HAL 9000 Avatar
    HAL 9000

    Yes, good point, Ralph. This is an emotional subject, and it’s easy for people to slip into insult mode. I’ve done it myself, calling people things like hicks or trigger-happy yayhoos for wanting to shoot wolves. I know better than that.

    I’m not sure how effective boycotts would be. But one thing they might do is raise awareness of how broad the base of support is for wolves. I think I’m far from the only multi-generation Western native who was glad to see wolves return.

    Hal, I think we are in the majority, but ignored because we don’t run cows. Ralph

  23. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Well the Chico conference is over.

    Some awful things are likely to happen in the near future, but I am optimistic that the end effect will be positive by creating clarity about the true nature of regressive, violent, xenophobic, and ignorant thought patterns of a culture that has been improperly romanticized in the Western (cowboy) film.

    The effect of this has been the perpetuation of inequality, injustice, and subservience of most of the population on the interior Western state on issues related to the outdoors as well as those directly related to their economic and environmental well being.

    Some local conservation organizations have lost their way and become collaborators with this culture of social injustice and death to nature. This will serve to change them. New organizations are going to be built as well.

  24. Susan Rediger-Blackburn Avatar
    Susan Rediger-Blackburn

    Well, I am a resident of Pinedale/Cora. If no one else will responded (if only in a negative away) I apologize for the evil that dwells in the hearts of Subelette Co. locals, hunters and outfitters involved (only those partaking in this genocide). I remember the first time I saw the wolves outside the park. It was a feeling of freedom and spiritually that few things can compare. I wonder if a mandatory film clip from the movie “White Powder” would let some people see the other side? If not maybe a hike in the wild with just calm in the hearts and no gun at their side would. Last but not least, a KILL ZONE that requires no engined run machine, alcohol, and a permit that runs second to none in price (polar bears). Just think man WALKING and hunting for food to survive. Oh wait a minute that would be a NAVTIVE AMERICAN INDIAN. What would they kill then? Could they make it back with their bounty? To the ones that care and work hard to save this creature. God bless and keep teaching the rest. PS. I also hope ones like me (if you haven’t yet) get to see this wonderful creature IN THE WILD. Please be careful who you tell! It might be foe! Some life experiences are meant to beheld close to the heart and away from the lips.

  25. TC Avatar

    Well, honestly this blows me away. Folks that have visited Yellowstone or Grand Teton National Park once or twice in their lives that now are established experts on wildlife and wildlife habitat conservation and management in Wyoming. That don’t know how hard folks in Wyoming – professionals and private citizens alike (not a single “them”, but many of “us”) – work to protect, conserve, and even restore wildlife and wildlife habitats, striving to save some of the largest, most intact, and most important ecosystems and populations in the lower 48 states, against some very long odds, sometimes even against the better wishes of their agencies and employers. Species like sage-grouse (that will yet trump wolves in priority and significance on the national conservation scene), black-footed ferrets, pronghorn, Shiras moose, Wyoming toads, trumpeter swans, and habitats that support bighorn sheep, mule deer, mountain plovers, ferruginous hawks, and endangered or threatened plants and fish (hard to love those endangered blowout penstemon plants or mountain plovers, aint it?). Yes, yes, boycott Wyoming because you are emotionally invested in wolves. You’re not a wolf biologist, you’re not a conservation biologist, you’re not a habitat ecologist, you’re not spending your life and graying your hair in the trenches trying to make wrongs right, sometimes being censored by your own supervisors. Most of you have not spent any significant time trying to work within the system to have changes made to the Wyoming wolf management plan you loathe (and that frankly, many of us are not enamored with either). No, you “love” wolves and love to see them. Makes sense to me. I guess I don’t need to worry – we’ll still get your money (well, maybe not the Euros from Germany) because as we’re raped and pillaged for coal, oil, and natural gas to heat and light your homes around the country (yes, the majority you can thank Wyoming for the juice to run that computer), I suppose we should be happy with the paltry sums that filter down from energy taxes, mitigation funds, and the like. Come on people – is this good sense? Is this sound and supportable wildlife advocacy based on good science, logic, and integrity? 10 points for creativity, not so many for intellectual acumen.

  26. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    TC, you are new here and probably not aware that some of the fiercest critics of Wyoming wildlife management on this blog are Wyoming residents. Their critique goes far beyond the wolf plan, and they are very well informed from on the ground experience and knowledge of conservation biology.

    From Pocatello, Idaho

  27. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    I would add, that some of the fiercest critics of the Wyoming Wolf Management plan are also wildlife biologists…

    From Montana!

  28. Susan Rediger-Blackburn Avatar
    Susan Rediger-Blackburn

    Thank you Ralph. WY resident in the CORA/DANIEL area and proud to admitted but sad to see the bad in people. Lets hope 12 is enough blood on their hands. I also hope this isnt the pack I have been wacthing. My tears run tonight for these gifts that have been taken. Forgive them for they dont know really what the do….

  29. vicki Avatar

    I say we help get one of them elected, they would be sensible and scientifically founded in their work.

    I have to ask, sadly, how much fear comes with speaking out against those who oppose wolves?

    Is there a fear of retaliation? Physical harm? Harassment?

  30. vicki Avatar

    What I “love” is the environment. Wolves are a part of it.
    I am not a biologist, or an economist, you are correct. What I am, is as the vast majority or people who EVER visit Wyoming are, a common Working Joe. I go to see beauty and wildlife. I speak up because I am no genius, but don’t have to be to have an opinion. I speak up because I am smart enough to know I have a right to, no matter how unworthy you find my opinion. I speak up because there is a minority of people who actually have that really are biologists or experts, and therefore deserve my support. I excercise my right to choose how I spend, to choose where I spend, because when I stop doing that…I may lose those rights.

    I speak up because there are those who think that you are only entitled to an opinion if you are an expert, like yourself appearantly. I disagree, and will say so loudly. I may not be a rocket scientist, but I know right from wrong.

    You say “come on people” yet give no credit to most of us, because most of us are not a degree toting “expert”. I don’t know what constitues an expert in your opinion. But, I know the people here have a lot of expertise at knowing what they support and what they do not, and what they seek to save.

    Even if you only visit YNP once ar twice in your life time (I actually go atleast anually and visit Wyoming about 20-30 times a year…but am not a resident.) it can leave you with a lifetime of love for the area.

    You must not read here much, because the people who post here have great respect for biologists and conservationists…even when their opinion differs.

    You actually seem quite “emotionally” invested too. Investing emotionally is all some people can afford to do, which is still a heck of a lot more than some people invest.

    Maybe if your high horse got a little closer to reality, you could see how much these non-experts have to contribute.

  31. Kelly Avatar

    Vicki – very well written – I am also one of those people who “loves” the environment.

  32. TC Avatar

    It’d be much like me passing judgement on the condemnation of a historic building in New York City. It’s beautiful, it’s unique, it’s a marvel of 19th century architecture and one of a kind, I’ve been there many times to visit, to photograph, to read the historical markers, and I want it saved in pristine condition! I don’t want it managed or partially salvaged or partially restored, despite the fact that it’s no different, no more or less special than the hundreds of other historical buildings on the chopping block, facing insurmountable issues, struggling, falling apart, with no funds, not enough people, and not enough resources to save them all. I don’t care at what cost. I don’t care that there are mitigating circumstances, in fact highly complex issues, on both sides, that I’m just not fully equipped to understand or deal with. People lives and livelihoods, on both sides of the fence. Generations of lives and livelihoods on both sides of the fence. I don’t care about the details (it’s full of asbestos, the pipes are lead or contain lead solder, there is intractable mold contamination in the subsurface structures, the costs of saving it could build 3 new green structures that would benefit several communities, etc.). I’m not willing to discuss it through channels, it’s not up for debate, I don’t care to GO there and contribute my time to carpentry, plaster repair, brick-laying, plumbing, electrical refitting, I just want it there, in all it’s former glory, so I can return and visit it once a year. It not being there hurts me deeply and I will not stand for it, and in the end, I’ve decided to boycott New York City (despite the fact that they really do have a pretty solid record of protecting and renovating historic structures across the board). A bit dramatic, but that was my point.

    The wolves will be there, in some shape or form, as long as there is YNP, GTNP, the national forests, and some semblance of contributory state and private open space lands. They, like any other wildlife species in this day and age, need to be managed somehow. We don’t have the lands, funds, and resources to allow them to roam at will across the landscape. Be glad they’re there, along with all of the other wildlife species, appreciate them in the context of all the other natural resources, and work to save the spaces that are necessary for them and sympatric species, plant and animal. I guess my biggest hangup is the complete speciest outlook posted here – I don’t see the wolf as any more important than whitebark pine or cutthroat trout or mountain bluebird or pygmy rabbit or Wyoming big sagebrush or tiger salamander or mule deer or Kendall Warm Springs dace, and I don’t understand how anyone that considers themself an “environmentalist” could either. Without the habitat, it doesn’t matter how hard you work to save species – the bigger picture needs more emphasis. The very reason wolves can be killed in Wyoming (and wolves kill each other in Wyoming! The horror) and bison are killed in Montana and black bears are killed on the front range in Colorado and mountain lions are killed in the hills and valleys of California and beavers are killed in Oregon and white-tailed deer are killed in suburban parks in New Jersey and Illinois and aligators are killed in backyards in Florida would seem to emphasize this point – they’ve run out of room and perceived or real (or some of both) conflicts with humans result in these actions. My take is fight the good fight on behalf of all species and habitats, don’t spend inordinate resources (including time) on highly visible charismatic megafauna (that do seem to be holding their own) at the expense of all others. Go hug a Colorado pikeminnow or a Ute ladies’-tresses orchid (or get the t-shirt)!

  33. dbaileyhill Avatar

    I must both commend and congratulate you at being able to spread yourself so thinly, and that you possess the amazing ability to keep it all so organized in one tidy little compartment. I am very impressed!!!

    Personally, I lack the ability to give equal attention to the seemingly infinite number of issues that desperately need attention. I find it to be so overwhelming that I am unable to stay focused enough to take any sort of action to make a difference. The emotional toll affects every aspect of my life. But, I have found that if I commit my efforts to one or two projects and/or causes that are close to my heart, that i am able to actually make a difference and find a little bit of peace in my day to day life, and be a much more pleasant person for folks to be around. I have found concentrating my efforts to be quite rewarding.
    But, if you are as highly educated as you seem to allude to, with such a vast understanding of all things under the sun, and so much more advanced than the little folks who converse on this blog, I can’t understand why you even bother to post here, let alone have the time to do so. Your hike from the top of your mountain must have been very exhausting. You must be one of those people so advanced from the rest, that you have earned the right to act arrogant, rude, insulting, condescending, demeaning,…….

    PS. Scroll up to the top of this thread and check out the subject line. You will notice that the boycott discussion is on another thread.

  34. vicki Avatar

    Well said dbh

  35. Maska Avatar

    TC, while I am in agreement that no single species is more deserving of saving or more important, in the larger scheme of things, than others, I think you put your finger on something very important when you used the term “charismatic megafauna,” or as Michael Soule called the big carnivores in an interview in Sierra magazine some years back, “charismatic furballs with teeth.”

    The fact that these critters ARE charismatic gives them a power to command public attention. People who initially know little about conservation biology are frequently attracted to wolves or bears or bison or jaguars. As they learn more about their chosen creatures, they can’t help coming into contact with articles or books or websites that take a broader view.

    As many others have pointed out on this site, science is only part of the picture when it comes to conserving wildlife and ecosystems. Politics plays an equally large (or maybe even larger) part in achieving the goals we all seek. To the extent that people are recruited into that larger movement to save at least some of what’s left, it matters little how they got here–or so it seems to me.

    By the way, I first became interested in nature as a little kid, fooling around with ant lions in my uncle’s rural midwestern driveway. You just never know what will pique someone’s interest.


    P.S. How about if I hug a Chiricahua leopard frog or a New Mexico ridgenosed rattlesnake, instead? On second thought, I think I’ll watch that snake from a respectful distance. 🙂

  36. izabelam Avatar

    I am sending you warm hugs.
    You are very brave person to say openly how you feel.
    Thank you.

  37. Linda Hunter Avatar

    TC I have read your post several times since language can be such a barrier to communication . . but you are speaking to an audience you don’t know. You assumed that we all live elsewhere and don’t understand the habitat. Your best point is: they’ve run out of room and perceived or real (or some of both) conflicts with humans result in these actions. I would like to point out to you that the conflicts are a matter of intolerance on the part of people due to lack of knowledge. . admit that humans are not learning new ways of coexisting and are just shooting their way out of a tight spot . . the old gun fix. Guns are relatively new in the scheme of history of the earth . . and so is 200 years of animal slaugher for no good reason.

  38. Alan Sachanowski Avatar

    “….they’ve run out of room and perceived or real (or some of both) conflicts with humans result in these actions.”
    Perceived, I would think. Minnesota has a heck of a lot less “room” than Wyoming, yet their management plan calls for a MINIMUM of 1,600 wolves. They currently have about twice that, I believe. Minnesota also has about a million more head of cattle and 4.5 million more people than Wyoming.
    Mountain lions are protected in California, BTW. You have to have a pretty good reason for killing them. Also, if wolves were as numerous in Wyoming as white tailed deer in New Jersey, black bears in Colorado or, for that matter, bluebirds in Wyoming, I don’t think folks would be so concerned. I hardly think that a couple of hundred wolves is “out of room” (in reality, not perception), in a state with over 98,000 square miles and over three million acres of wilderness. Dealing with “problem” wolves is one thing, but what about 253 whose biggest brush with “trouble” right up until he got shot just for being a wolf, was getting caught in a coyote trap in Utah in 2002?
    We’re not talking about white tailed deer here, or even coyotes, which are a dime a dozen. We’re talking about an animal that just came off of the endangered species list. An animal that taxpayers (from Maine to California) have a considerable monetary investment in.
    “Perceived” problems need to be dealt with, just as real ones do; but they need to be dealt with through education and, if necessary, protection, not with guns.

  39. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Wyoming’s wolf plan is absurd, and I have to admit it is offensive for them to keep trying to tell me otherwise. I know that country better than 3/4 of them that live there.

  40. JB Avatar

    TC: I agree with the vast majority of what you’ve said, and invite you to keep posting to continue the discussion. However, your assumption that most people here are uneducated or unfamiliar with the tenets of ecology or conservation biology is way off the mark.

    You assert: “The wolves will be there, in some shape or form, as long as there is YNP, GTNP, the national forests, and some semblance of contributory state and private open space lands.”

    True! But what do the principles of conservation biology tell us about confining populations to islands? What do they tell us about the susceptibility of these populations to catastrophic events, about inbreeding and loss of genetic diversity? I’m not advocating that wolves need be everywhere they once roamed, but simply that there should be representative populations of wolves in the parts of their range that contain suitable habitat. Moreover, protecting the habitat of wolves and other far-ranging charismatic mega fauna (e.g. bison) outside the parks could actually benefit the less charismatic species.

    You added, “They, like any other wildlife species in this day and age, need to be managed somehow. We don’t have the lands, funds, and resources to allow them to roam at will across the landscape.”

    This statement relies on a false premise–namely that wildlife need to be managed. I’m not going to list for you all of the wildlife species that we do not manage as you seem quite familiar with some of the less charismatic species that we often completely ignore. We manage wildlife to (1) control the numbers of species that sometimes cause conflicts with human activities, (2) to provide harvestable surpluses of species designated as “game,” and (3) SOMETIMES to help protect species highly susceptible to human-caused mortality. The removal of public lands ranching in some areas of wolf habitat has the potential to remove most conflicts with wolves, allow them to re-occupy more of their original range, and could provide other benefits for less charismatic species as well.

    Finally, I disagree with your assertion that you need live somewhere to have a stake in the management of species that reside there. I suppose I shouldn’t get to have an opinion about the brown tree snake that has decimated unique bird species on the island of Guam, or about the potential effects of oil & gas development on caribou? One could use this same logic to argue that residents of eastern Wyoming counties should not have any say in species management in the western counties (or even neighboring counties). I agree with much of what you said about protecting other less charismatic species, but this assertion is hog wash; conservation of less charismatic species will NEVER HAPPEN if local interests are allowed to dominate issues to the exclusion of all others.

    from Ohio.

  41. Monty Avatar

    Thanks to all for the insightful remarks.

  42. dbaileyhill Avatar

    In response to TC you wrote, “I disagree with your assertion that you need to live somewhere to have a stake in management of species that reside there.”
    I agree JB. On the simplest level I see this as being neighborly. The great thing about living in these UNITED states, when disaster happens help comes from neighboring states AND those farther away. The wildlife in this nation belongs to all citizens and when a wrong needs to be made right, as with the bison, there is an entire nation to lend support. But when it comes to pointing out that which needs to be remedied, the state involved in wrongdoing wants everyone else to stay the hell out. Both with the bison and wolves, the objective perspective of those in other states is, imo, extremely important in finding a resolution. Especially when at the local level there is deeply ingrained “traditions” based on false beliefs, or “spun facts”. This is ever more important when a minority controlling a situation with false info and dirty politics wields enormous power over the majority, even acting above the law. “We the people” should once again have the meaning as it was intended.

    I am originally from Warren.

  43. Brian Ertz Avatar

    Ralph says:

    The effect of this has been the perpetuation of inequality, injustice, and subservience of most of the population on the interior Western state on issues related to the outdoors as well as those directly related to their economic and environmental well being.

    Some local conservation organizations have lost their way and become collaborators with this culture of social injustice and death to nature. This will serve to change them. New organizations are going to be built as well.

    Ralph, I think that you are absolutely right. My experience of the conference was very uplifting ~ of the dozens of people that I spoke with, I feel that this idea that you put perfectly here is beginning to emerge. Most recognized it right out and were willing to listen – even talk about their experience of it (including several folk from the most counter-intuitive places). Others still hold out hope for collaboration and the idea that if we just placate these interests long enough, we’ll get somewhere. But even those who held out hope for a non-confrontational resolution had to admit that with the Idaho and Wyoming plans – this passive posture has produced zero meaningful results for wolves with regard to these horrible plans.

    I was involved in meetings with individuals willing to band together with Wildlife Watchers to begin the difficult work of applying our resolve for wolves and wildlife to state wildlife agencies. This approach has been neglected for too long – too few eggs in the states’ baskets. A lot of very good, very bright people had a lot of great ideas. It was very uplifting and very hopeful to see and be a part of. Thanks to everyone there.

  44. JB Avatar


    I remember from a previous post that you were from Ohio–glad to see there are other Midwesterners who care enough to make their voices heard! One point of clarification–wildlife on Federal lands belongs to all US citizens, but wildlife on state and private land within the state belongs to that state’s citizens. Still, that doesn’t mean we should stay silent in the face of some rather atrocious acts.

    I agree completely about the effects of “deeply-ingrained traditions” which are often based on false premises. In fact, I believe that this type of group-think is the fundamental impediment to making collaboration possible in Wyoming/Idaho.

    – – – –

    On a different note, I just wanted to echo what Brian said: The North American Wolf Conference spawned a number of interesting conversations and ideas, and I was encouraged to meet so many bright, interesting people who cared about the issue (many of whom regularly participate here). Kudos to Defenders for making it happen, and shame on WF&G and IDF&G for not attending.


  45. Heather Avatar

    Who just moved here? Spirited debate is a good thing, cut downs and derogatory name calling is not…you are never going to change anybodies mind by calling them stupid!”

    Save Bears: I dont know what you are talking about. my blog wasnt offensive. didnt call anyone stupid that I see… please be assured I wasnt trying to insult. just saying from what I have seen some people think that “wolf lovers” are the folks that just moved here, i.e. general misperception. thats all I was saying. In no way was I saying to be insulting was good. just polarizes.

  46. dbaileyhill Avatar

    Thanks for clarifying the fed, state, and private differences.

  47. Brian Ertz Avatar

    JB says:

    wildlife on Federal lands belongs to all US citizens, but wildlife on state and private land within the state belongs to that state’s citizens.

    an interesting point here. Interestingly, the idea that wildlife on federal lands belongs to all US citizens is being contested right now in many ways in many places from particular industries ~ especially ag (Livestock). One example would be the egregious policy of the state of Idaho regarding bighorn sheep – States are moving to declare exclusive jurisdiction over wildlife:

    The state of Idaho believes that the bighorn belong to Idaho citizens whether on state land OR federal land – This posture is emphasized in response to federal protections of bighorn sheep which have prioritized bighorn sheep over domestic sheep allotments. Federal agencies have shut down domestic sheep allotments to protect bighorn from domestic sheep disease. The state (Livestock) wants to sidestep this federal protection (protection mechanism: its jurisdiction over federal land uses) for bighorn to keep domestic sheep on federal allotments by flexing the state’s muscle (mechanism: asserting its alleged exclusive jurisdiction over the actual wildlife). The argument follows that because the state owns bighorn – the state can kill bighorn on federal land before they get to the domestic sheep on federal land – thus, there is no threat to bighorn of disease transmission from domestic sheep. The federal government won’t have the bighorn issue to consider when deciding whether to issue a permit to graze on federal land. This politically enforced “buffer” is maintained by enforcing slaughter zones around federal allotments. It will be quite interesting to see whether political decisions such as these will be allowed to influence the biological determinations associated with the distance between the two species that is necessary to protect bighorn ~ thus, implicate federal land use decisions negatively with regard to wildlife.

    Soon, this issue may provide the opportunity to clarify that federal role with regard to wildlife on federal lands. If this clarification of federal law takes place in the way that we hope ~ it will have positive implications associated with federal protections of many species on federal public lands. The states (Livestock & others) won’t be able to hold wildlife for ransom over federal land-use decisions as they are now by claiming unique authority to kill. Follow the bighorn sheep issue, and support the wildlife advocates involved, to see how this unfolds for ALL wildlife on federal land.

    I will suggest that because there are “uses” of federal lands handled at the federal level that “conflict” with wildlife values, it is appropriate that all American’s have a stake/influence over the fate of wildlife on America’s public lands in whichever state. Whether a person is in Maine or in Montana, if states decide to slaughter wildlife (including and especially wolves, bighorn, bison) that conflicts with federal land uses there is not a lot a person can do in Maine to change a Montana state wildlife management decision. But a person in Maine has the absolute right to weigh in on the federal land use that spurs the “conflict” resulting in killed wildlife by supporting efforts which seek to prioritize wildlife “uses” or “values” in federal land management decisions ~ likewise (other side of coin), by supporting efforts to reduce or eliminate the federal land use that results in the slaughter of wildlife and degradation of landscape ~ whether executed at the state or federal level.

    You can help secure these fundamental protections for wildlife and whole systems by supporting groups like WWP.

  48. JB Avatar


    Thanks for the information! I wasn’t aware that Idaho was moving in this direction…very interesting.


  49. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    here is an interesting article about management of wildlife. It’s focus is more of hunting but gives good background info on why we do it the way we do.

  50. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E
    little quick on the submit button this morning.


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