Another essay on wolf 253. Video

The Delisting of wolf 253

Brian Connolly wrote “recently I sent out a few EarthDay e-cards with the statement: If enough of us speak up for the universe, It will tilt in our direction. I borrowed ‘speak up for the universe’ from Norman Maclean’s father.”

“Mike O’Connell and I and some wonderful photographers are doing just that in a podcast which has now been posted on YouTube.”

– – – – –

For folks who don’t know Brian Connolly, he is a best selling author of outdoor fiction about the wholeness of the natural world for young teenagers.

A Wolf Journal and Hawk are two of his best known works.

Special thanks to Steve Justad who provided all of the photos of  “Hoppy.” I see the other photographers are well known reliable folks who deserve credit too. Ralph Maughan





  1. steve c Avatar
    steve c

    I found a very disturbing collection of email responses from people within wyoming state government sent as people complained about delisting. We should email these people and complain often (if nothing else to annoy them). The responses from Michael K. Madden are especially rude.

  2. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    One of the things I have liked about German wolf enthusiasts is that they are not reluctant to reach across international borders and contact mangers and officials directly.

    I not talking about just now, but as far back as 8 or 9 years ago.

    I see the Wyoming officials are trying to push the idea that there is no problem because they are not killing wolves inside Yellowstone National Park, assuming I guess that they believe those people who are not from Wyoming will think that Yellowstone Park is sufficient in size, and that they are not aware of the entire Greater Yellowstone ecosystem which is about 10 times the size of Yellowstone Park

  3. steve c Avatar
    steve c

    They definitely are all marching in step with their responses. You would think they could come up with something better than “wolves are not being killed in yellowstone”.

  4. timz Avatar

    After reading some of those e-mail responses from some of the Wyoming reps I feel foolish. I thought we here in Idaho had all the morons in our statehouse.

  5. John Avatar

    Well… shows how much they of Wyoming Fish and Game care about wildlife (sarcasm)

  6. Terry Avatar

    Thank you Brian for this moving tribute to #253 and all other wildlife. This was a magnificent wolf with the heart of a lion. I go every year to Yellowstone just to see the wolves in the Lamar Valley and he will be truly missed. His legacy lives on in his offspring.

  7. Ryan Avatar

    I read the Email respones.. It sounds like the Wyoming officials are following what there constituitients want. Remember the people of Wyoming and Idaho elected these officals. I think the problems should be pointed at all residents of Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana as the majority must be inbred Hillbillys. (sarcasm)

    Sounds like they care about all species and there constituients.. Not just wolves.

  8. vicki Avatar

    They were elected to do what the tax payers want, what the voters want. Sadly, most people are not educated or given all of the facts beofore hand. They are given a medica barage of BS bought and paid for by cattlemen and energy companies.
    You have to be smart enough to know that what they did is what the lobbiests wanted.
    You may think that the majority of people wanted what is going on, but there is evidence to the contrary.
    Game and Fish doesn’t have law making discrection. That much they can escape blame for, but they are sworn to protect and defend also, to up hold the laws that are made. They don’t always do it without bias or subjectivism. No one does anything with entire objectivity.
    It seems an entire smoke screen though, to say wolves aren’t killed in YNP. Why not divulge the truth in it’s entirety?
    There is a system in place that is aimed at killing every wolf that is not in the park.
    Let the world see what is Wyoming’s (and Idaho and Montana’s) true agenda, to have emminent domain over every thiing, living or not, that happens into the state. That the control they want has no regard for any person not agreeing with their opinion, or anyone contributing tax dollars from any other state. The control they seek is not in the best interest of anyone other than those rich enough to pay for it. What they want is for us to pay federal tax dollars, give their state federal money, spend hard earned cash there and pay more taxes…. but then walk away, tails tucked, mouths shut and let them run their state’s like they are their own country. They want the federally provided perks without the input from anyone who helps provide them.
    Anyone who thinks that the government of Wyoming is doing the will of the people should really get to know THE PEOPLE…not just the lobby buying capitalists that will do what ever it takes to get all the land and resources palced squarely in their bank accounts.

    Yes, I am venting. Yes, I am emotional and angry. But the opinions I have are no less valid because of it.
    The email responses you have read may seem to support what WG&F is doing, but the thousands of people who post against it are just as important. What is being done for those people?

  9. Ryan Avatar

    With all do respect, THE PEOPLE in wyoming (with the exception of the residents around jackson) are generally employed by either the Ranching, Mining, or Energy business. Your analogy with federal taxes going to Wyoming is logical, but I am sure the same Wyoming, Idaho, and Montatna residents have great issue with there taxes going to welfare in innercity areas, Arts projects, and other federally funded projects not in their state. I am sure a lot of them were very unhappy when millions of federal and state tax dollars are spent on wolf reintroduction efforts and studies.
    “What is being done for those people?”
    Nothing, most of those people are not from wyoming and therefore should not have a say in a States rights issues. It has been established in the courts that managing the wildlife in a state is a states responsibility, as it should be. What does a person in Down town New York city know about day to day life in Wyoming? I would be willing to bet not much.

  10. JB Avatar

    “…most of those people are not from wyoming and therefore should not have a say in a States rights issues. It has been established in the courts that managing the wildlife in a state is a states responsibility, as it should be.”

    This is not exactly correct. Yes, generally the states are responsible for managing wildlife; however, this is not the case with endangered species, which are managed by FWS. In my opinion, Wyoming’s plan de-legitimizes their own authority by ensuring that wolves will stay endangered throughout the vast majority of Wyoming (which is a significant portion of its range within the DPS). By “managing” (i.e. killing wolves) down to a point where they are endangered, Wyoming is-in essence-giving up their authority to manage the species.

  11. vicki Avatar

    It was Vicki, not Linda.
    And federal dollars being spent are to be rightfully done with respect to all citzens, of all states.
    You really need to take a history lesson, because state’s rights are not superior to federal rights… the rights of the country out weigh the rights of the state. That was a civil war issue.
    By the way “those people” have contributed just as many tax dollars as Wyoming’s anti-wolf population.
    ALSO, the people in Wyoming are not “generally” employed in ranching. In fact ranching isn’t even in the top 10. Mining is though, too bad.

  12. JB Avatar


    I was going to leave that comment alone, but you’ve brought up a pet peeve of mine. I get soo tired of hearing conservatives whine about federal taxes. Take a look at this map:

    And what do we see? That’s right, nearly every traditionally “red” state gets more back than they put in, while nearly every traditionally “blue” state gets less; the West and SE bible-belt are the worst offenders. The crying about federal taxes would sound a lot more sincere if the red states weren’t laughing all the way to the bank.

  13. steve c Avatar
    steve c

    Ryan, they can respectfully disagree with people who oppose the wyoming wolf plan. The responses given (and others I have seen that are not on that site) are rude, idiotic and insulting, however.

  14. Heather Avatar

    Ryan: have you watched this video???? Lets start talking about a true value…

  15. Heather Avatar

    We have some wolves in Hall, MT that are about to be shot for attacking livestock.. I wish we could “renew” this resource by placing them in Utah… instead of killing them.

  16. Heather Avatar

    I really hate that NY city analogy – I live in MT and I am crying everyday over the wolf, bison, other killings….hello? its NOT the people in NY, but here! The feds gave the power to the states in the hopes that wolves would be managed rationally. however under this current administration, environmental issues are just not THAT important. what is important is gas, oil and big company issues. And when they move in to states like WY, they take over, stay for awhile and then leave YOU with nothing. Including your resources spent, gone, killed. Wake up Ryan please!

    Heather. As you know this has been going for years. I wonder how it got started? A historical essay would be valuable. By New York City, I think they mean (if they give it much thought at all), anything outside of their local area.

    Here’s a funny comeback on this from about 30 years ago (or longer?). Eastern Idaho had a congressman named George Hansen. He was a far right-winger, always in one legal predicament or another (he was actually sent to jail while “serving” his district!).

    Anyway, there was a bill to provide federal money for rat control in New York City (and maybe other cities, I can’t remember). “Big” George (he was tall and heavy) told the floor of the House that “in Idaho we kill our own rats.” A congressman from New York said, “In New York City we fight our own forest fires.”

    Likewise, I don’t suppose to many folks of average political interest in New York, Idaho is on their geographic screen . . . somewhere out West where the corn grows tall and there are lots of tornadoes. They are hardly likely to be agitating to bomb Idaho or Wyoming with wolves. Ralph Maughan.

  17. vicki Avatar

    I don’t think it matters who gets most, the point is, every state enjoys spending federal tax revenue. Period. I get so peeved by people in Wyoming acting like no one anywhere else has a right to an opinion about management.
    That is simply ridiculous and frankly, I feel based on some highly bigotted beliefs and straight up greed.
    But, it would stand to reason that states where there are fewer people would receive less revenue.
    I would also like to point out that contrary to what some people would have us believe, service industry and retail, along with travel and tourism play a very key economic role in Wyoming. The employment ratio in these industries far out numbers in agriculture.
    And, because I know some one will ask, I looked it up in the Labor Department and Census statistics.

  18. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    Ryan says,
    “I read the Email response.. It sounds like the Wyoming officials are following what there constituents want. Remember the people of Wyoming and Idaho elected these officials. ”

    once again you conveniently ignore the fact that the majority of Wyoming Residents favored wolf reintroduction.(as did Idaho’s). In our system of government it is incumbent on the legislative bodies of the states to follow the wishes of the majority, not the special interest lobbies with the most money to “contribute”. That is a huge problem and I believe a great deal of the ongoing strive on this subject as well as others is fueled by that very situation.

  19. Heather Avatar

    Yes Ralph, but they (‘they’ broad term on my part) do pick on New York City for some reason! Remember the ad regarding salsa (don’t remember the name) and the ranchers found out it was made in New York City “New York City??!!!”
    Yes, the concept NY as outsiders – that place being as far away as possible (in many ways) is a metaphor of sorts to how would ‘they’ know what it is like here. Its just a smokescreen argument to me, though. The real problem is the feeling of ownership and possession due to low grazing fees, welfare fencing and generations of killing wild things at will. let me know if I am getting too political and I will go away to take a break for a bit.

  20. Heather Avatar

    If the 4000 people could view and comment on 253M’s video on YouTube, we could get him on the honor roll, which would give him more fame…

  21. Brian Ertz Avatar

    Heather and Ralph,

    the ironic thing about the NYC thing is it’s populist pretense – when we know darn sure how much regard these politicians have for the little guy.

  22. Heather Avatar

    I agree Brian. or how much do the farm bureaus really care about the little guy?? really?
    but it isn’t the politicians that are voicing their opinions on the Yellowstone Park public polls re: reintroduction of the wolf in the mid 90s….

  23. vicki Avatar

    I meant to say thanks earlier, for the link. I agree with you abou the whining… gets old…

  24. Cindy Knight Avatar
    Cindy Knight

    What a wonder ful video about 253. When a friend of mine was getting married in Kelly a few years ago, she went out early one morning to figure out the tent sites and saw a black limping wolf. I told her that her wedding site was very blessed!

  25. JB Avatar

    Vicki: You’re quite welcome.

    On the subject of NYC and wolves… There was talk several years ago about reintroducing wolves to Adirondack Park (in upstate NY). I’m not sure why exactly the idea was scrapped? It would be great to have wolves in another area friendly to wildlife.

  26. Elli Avatar

    Hi Ralph.
    As for the response from Sen. Madden to our protests – he is not only telling German tourists to stay out, but ALL tourists. Good for WY that they don’t need our Euros. I am organizing wildlife watching tours to WY, MT, ID since many years, since 10 years I come to Yellowstone about 3 – 4 times each year with small groups. We spend an avarage of $ 20,000 per tour making this about $ 80,000. Good to know that the WY tourist industrie does not need that money. We can spend it in MT or other places.
    And besides – Senator: You should update your history knowledge. We don’t have communism here, so we private property and ownership indeed IS a concept for us. We even have electriciy and flushing water in our bathrooms …

    Elli **back in Yellowstone now, but not spending money in WY **

  27. steve c Avatar
    steve c

    Its hard spending money in MT as well with the bison situation, but i guess it is the lesser of two evils…

  28. Heather Avatar

    “but it isn’t the politicians ”

    sorry folks aren’t would be better. and English is my native language!

  29. Ryan Avatar

    Can you show me that study? I read the Fed reintroduction plan, and there was favorable (slightly) percentages for yellowstone reintroduction, but I haven’t seen another survey on the issue.
    Wolves are not endangered in Wyoming now, I doubt seriously that they would let them become endangered again.
    What I should have said was agriculture.. Mining is 1, Tourism is 2, and Agriculture is number 3.

  30. Brian Ertz Avatar

    Ryan ~

    “I doubt seriously that they would let them become endangered again”

    look at this :

  31. vicki Avatar

    Where do you get your numbers from? I haven’t seen agriculture listed in that order.
    But even if it is…. it is AGRICULTURE. That is not synonymous with ranching. It doesn include other enitities.

    The smug look on that guy’s face makes me cringe. Did I get it that some of the wolves were kiled as a mangement practice? So why are they all hanging out together? Do the management officers and the common shooters get together and say, “Hey, there is a pack, about x or y total wolves, we’ll kill two you kill three, and we’ll all look good.”?

  32. JB Avatar


    Whether wolves are considered endangered depends largely upon your interpretation of language within the endangered species act. I don’t have the time to get into it here, but the Bush administration re-interpreted the Act in 2000, significantly narrowing its applicability. Their interpretation has been challenged several times in the courts, and they’ve lost these cases roughly 80% of the time. They will be challenged again with wolves in the West, and will likely lose–though this depends upon the judge.

    You see, the ESA defines a species as endangered when it is in danger of extinction in all or a significant portion of its range. In this case, wolves are clearly NOT in danger in all of their range; however, they clearly ARE in danger in a significant portion. In the case of the NRM DPS it gets more complicated because the courts will only consider the species range within the DPS. In my view, the predatory zone established in…what is, roughly 90% of Wyoming…puts wolves in danger of extinction in a significant portion of its range within the NRM DPS. I think this is likely to come up in the delisting case, and the Feds are likely to lose.

  33. Ryan Avatar

    Your going to have to come up with better than that. Its a picture of 4 dead wolves. You could just as easily mislead people with pictures or dead elephants and try to convince people that there endangered too.

    Its not roughly 90%, it closer to 60% but the fact remains that Wyoming is still within there Federally mandated wolf recovery numbers. There numbers are not in danger, they reproduce at 20% + a year and less than 10% of the population has been taken this year.

    Your right Agriculture does include other entites, but all are Farming related. But its all the same animal, its not farmers VS ranchers as a general rule they tend to get along pretty well. Most people from farming and ranching communities are proud of where there from and there way of life.. Can’t say that for alot of places in the US.

  34. vicki Avatar

    Lots of people are proud of where they came from. It doesn’t always make it the right thing to do.

  35. Mack P. Bray Avatar
    Mack P. Bray

    Ryan says, regarding the percentage of Wyoming where wolves are legally classified as predators: “Its not roughly 90%, it closer to 60%..”

    Ryan, you’re mistaken; wolves are legally classified as predators in approximately 88% of Wyoming.

    “There numbers are not in danger…”

    Any creditable wolf biologist will tell you there’s more involved in managing wolves than simply managing for “numbers.”

    “…but all are Farming related. But its all the same animal…”

    Actually, Ryan, you’re mistaken; it’s not “all the same animal.”

    Do Wyoming sugar beet producers want wolves killed to protect their sugar beets?

    Mack P. Bray
    Wildlife Watchers

  36. Ryan Avatar

    I would be willing to bet that 99 out a 100 times they will support ranchers and beef farmers over outside interests. Most farmers, even if they are beet farmers still raise livestock to a certain extent.

  37. vicki Avatar

    What would break that alligence? I bet money would. It seems to speak volumes to all walks of life.
    So my guess would be, if you removed everyone’s subsidized lifestyle that effected the ecology of any one species… you could break that loyalty wide open.
    Hey, Mr. Beet Farmer, because your income is taxed as ‘agricultural’, and the ranchers have an irreprable effect on the streams in the woods near by, and they are an ‘agricultural’ industry too… well sorry guy, we are going to remove your extra incentives, and we are going to tax your industry a bit more to help compensate for the damages to public lands and assets that ranchers create.
    My bet would be, suddenly, the farmers and ranchers aren’t so chummy anymore.
    Don’t think it won’t happen, see… the world is ever changing. The tide is shifting, and the people who favor environment over industry are coming out of the political closet.. that must be hard to swallow, but it is happening.

  38. Mack P. Bray Avatar
    Mack P. Bray

    Ryan, WHO are you speaking of ~ “I would be willing to bet that 99 out a 100 times they will support ranchers and beef farmers over outside interests.”

    And name the “outside interests.”

    Mack P. Bray
    Wildlife Watchers

  39. Mack P. Bray Avatar
    Mack P. Bray

    And what’s a “beef farmer?”

  40. Ryan Avatar

    Ranchers are different that industrialized beef producers.

    Interesting take but Beet farmers plow the land into oblivion leaving no hint of native flora or fauna, much worse than ranching land damage. So as a betting man I would still bet dollars to donuts that they side together. Have you ever done any reasearch on the effects of industrialized farming on the land or the ecosystem or is your view so mypoic with a hatred towards ranchers beacuse they don’t like wolves in many cases that your are completely missing the big picture. Erosion, polluiton, and habitat loss are 1000 times worse on a beet farm than your average ranch.

  41. vicki Avatar

    Yes, I actually have.. and the farms suck too. the difference is, farmers don’t use public lands, ranchers do.
    I do find it funny that you would be so quick to point out the faults of ranching and farming, considering you seem so against anything pro-wolf.
    Just so you know, I am also in favor of regulating chemicals used to farm, and water that is used to irrigate, with extreme caution.
    You’ll have to bark up another tree there. I am far from myopic in my research and opinion.

  42. Ryan Avatar

    Outside interests would include but not limited to the NRDC, HSUS, Earth Justice, and other for lack of better words Bunny/tree Hugging groups. Don’t think for a second that many fear for there lively hoods, rational or not.

  43. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    There ya go. Enjoy. However most of us do our own research or hold our tongue . Whichever is more appropriate for the situation.

  44. Mack P. Bray Avatar
    Mack P. Bray

    Ryan, WHO are you speaking of ~ “I would be willing to bet that 99 out a 100 times they will support ranchers and beef farmers over outside interests.”

    Ryan says “Outside interests would include but not limited to the NRDC, HSUS, Earth Justice, and other for lack of better words Bunny/tree Hugging groups.”

    What, you think NRDC, HSUS, and others don’t have members in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming?

    You don’t see the difference between a beet farmer operating on his privately owned land and livestock producers operating on AMERICA’S public lands?

    Mack P. Bray
    Wildlife Watchers

  45. Catbestland Avatar


    The groups that you have mentioned have every right to be interested in what happens to wolves in Wyoming. Those groups represent people from all over the US including Wyoming. Those wolves that are being “managed” belong to the entire nation. Those Federal lands on which they live belong to the entire nation. Just because you are in close proximity to those lands and wildlife, does not give you the right to destroy them in opposition to the will of the people. I live near the source of the Colorado River. Does that give me the right to suck all the water out, or polute the river because I am closer to it than those in Utah or Arizona who depend on that water? OF COURSE NOT. People of “outside interest” have every right to put a stop to a practice that causes the collapse of any ecosystems.

    I hate sharks, but do I have a right to destroy them because I want to open a fishery in shark infested waters? OF COURSE NOT. That would cause the collapse of an entire ecosystem which would effect ALL people. I should instead, reconsider the wisdom of doing business or even swimming in those waters. The point is that when you start taking actions that affect outsiders, outsiders have every right to get involved in your actions.

  46. Catbestland Avatar

    Idon’t actually hate sharks, I just don’t love them. But, I certainly acknowledge their importance in their ecosystems. I was just making a point.


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