The big hearing today: Judge asked to rein in wolf killing in Northern Rockies

Judge asked to rein in wolf killing in Northern Rockies by Matthew Brown. Associated Press.

May 29 editorial added. 428 Wolves. The New York Times weighs in.

May 30. Wyoming’s wolf zones in question. By Cory Hatch and The AP, Jackson Hole News and Guide.

We predicted Wyoming’s “all wolves are vermin” zone would be a problem as well as the fact that the state legislature is required to indirectly assess the size of the vermin zone every year.



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  1. Lynne Stone Avatar
    Lynne Stone

    The article says: “These are bad wolves that we don’t need as part of the recovered population,” said U.S. Fish and Wildilfe Attorney Lisa Russell.

    If this is an accurate quote (and it’s hard to believe it is but then I have to remember we are dealing with the Bush administration and an Interior secretary that doesn’t know a bull elk from a cow) then where did Attorney Russell come up with what’s a bad wolf and what’s not?

    In Idaho alone, Russell apparently believes that there are 438 “bad” wolves — including some as young as 4 months — that should be killed by whatever means between now and Dec. 31, 2008. 438 is the mortality figure that our anti-predator IDFG Commissioners came up with last week. Or about half the wolves in Idaho.

  2. Friends of the Northern Yellowstone Elk Herd Avatar
    Friends of the Northern Yellowstone Elk Herd

    Doug Honnold is a formidable advocate who opened strong in the first half hour but had no case at the end.
    The court room looked like an eighth grade dance; girls on the left side of the room boys on the right.

    I hold solid on my prediction …no temporary injunction.

    The left and it’s stakeholders were part of the 100 wolves in 3 recovery area for 3 years process from the onset.
    Too late now.

    Ms Williams for the State of Montana ,Siedman {NRA, SCI} Lee {SFW } and Bloomquist{MSGA , Mt. FBF and FOTNYEH } were absolutely brilliant.

    Honnold choked after they made their arguments.

  3. Lynne Stone Avatar
    Lynne Stone

    Yup, I suppose from some dimwitted point of view that believes that wulfs are eatin’ all the elk and there simply ain’t none left anywhere, the anti-wulfers lawyers were “absolutely brilliant”.

  4. jerry b Avatar
    jerry b

    “Honold choked after they made their arguments”
    That’s the opinion of a very little, insignificant, man or woman and definitely not the consensus among either the “girls on the left or the boys on the right”.

  5. steve c Avatar
    steve c

    So the “friends of the northern yellowstone elk herd” want more elk so they can turn around and hunt them outside of the park themselves? I love it when a group pretends to worry about the suffering of a species because they want to kill it themselves. With friends like you… I think you know how that finishes.

    I think many of these alarmist groups would do better for their causes if they stayed away from the courtroom…

  6. Chuck Avatar

    “Friends of the Northern Yellowstone Elk Herd ” So what kind of lie’s do these clowns perpetuate?? are they as bad as save our elk??? or SFW??? talk about greed. Maybe they should get their chunky butts off their ATV’s and get out and really hunt, then they would see that the elk population is really in good shape but have changed their habits.

  7. Brian Ellway Avatar
    Brian Ellway

    “Maybe they should get their chunky butts off their ATV’s and get out and really hunt, then they would see that the elk population is really in good shape but have changed their habits”

    Chuck, I am an elk hunter and I definitely do not sit on an ATV, I hike anywhere from 3 to 10 miles off the roads and trails. I usually see no other hunters where I’m at. I used to see lots of elk but not anymore. I know you all would like to believe that the elk are still there and have just changed their habits, but perhaps if you spent some time in the backcountry where I go you would see for yourself that the elk populations really have suffered a tremendous amount. If you can’t make it to the backcountry just check the local wintering grounds next winter and you will see what I mean. I’m talking from first hand knowledge, not from what I’ve read or heard others say on the internet.

  8. Brian Ellway Avatar
    Brian Ellway

    I know Ralph spends some time in some of the same country I do because I’ve seen some of his beautiful photos on Google Earth. Ralph, can you honestly say that the elk numbers in the Sawtooths and White Clouds have not dramatically decreased?

    THanks, Brian. I don’t think they have decreased. See Lynne Stone’s post below. She is out there almost everyday in the Boulder/White Clouds Stanley Basin/Sawtooth Valley, Salmon River Canyon areas.

    I do think with the big fires of recent years, plus new elk strategies for avoiding wolves, the elk may be in new areas, such as more in the trees. I don’t know about your hunting strategy. Perhaps you might share it. Ralph Maughan

  9. April Clauson Avatar
    April Clauson

    But, is the elk shortage all the Wolves fault, or a mix of hard winter, illness brought on by elk feed lots, and just that they have moved up more since they are being hunted by man and animals now???? All species are not what they used to be, seems only the ones that folks like to kill get noticed….

  10. Chuck Avatar

    Yes brian there are units that have been low on elk counts before the wolves were re-introduced. That came directly from IDFG. Sorry you can’t blame that on the wolves.

  11. Lynne Stone Avatar
    Lynne Stone

    Brian – IDFG has been trying to trim down the elk around here (Sawtooths & White Clouds) through heavy hunting for years. But I guess the Basin Butte pack didn’t eat enough this past winter because anyone can still buy a bull elk tag this fall in Unit 36, the area around Stanley, Sawtooth Valley, Stanley Basin and western White Clouds. How many places in the world can anyone walk in and buy an antlered tag without having to put in for a draw?

    IDFG had the Buffalo Ridge Pack of 8 shot and the latest IDFG wolf report says they are going to start killing the Pass Creek Pack. So there won’t be any wolves left in the East Fork if the ranchers and IDFG has their way. But then the ranchers will be complaining about deer and elk in their hay fields and want depredation hunts. Maybe something besides wolves needs to be blamed for less elk?

    It was a tough winter in Sawtooth country and fortunately some smart elk left to lower ground or they would have starved or had to be fed. IDFG has said repeatedly they don’t want to feed elk in the winter. There were hundreds of elk in the Salmon River canyon below Sunbeam that came out of the White Clouds and Salmon River Mts.

    Many of the local Stanley elk herd smartened up and figured out there was forage on ridges that were swept free of snow by many days of high winds. Other elk, especially elk calves orphaned during the three-month hunting season, stood around like church mice and it’s no wonder the wolves picked some of them off. Seems to me that sportsmen should try to shoot a dry cow.

    There will still be November black powder season in Unit 36 and the intent is to kill elk coming onto wintering grounds. If the snow comes early then it’s a slaughter. Cows and calves being shot right off the highway (it’s illegal but that doesn’t stop it) and “sportsmen” leaving gut piles, sawed off elk heads and legs right along roads. Wolf haters never seem to complain or mind the carnage hunters leave behind, but if a wolf kills an elk, it’s some kinda crime.

  12. Lynne Stone Avatar
    Lynne Stone

    Correction on a number in my post that appears at the top of this thread. The Idaho mortality number that IDFG commissioners came up with for 2008 is 428, not 438.

  13. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins


    You want might to tell us which hunt areas of which state you’re talking about, so we can look at the facts. Here in Wyoming’s Upper Wind River Valley, elk hunt areas 67, 68, and 69, the elk of the Wiggins Fork Herd are doing fine despite the presence of two wolf packs with another forming, with wolves passing through from Yellowstone, Jackson Hole, and the Greybull/Wood River country. We’ve got a few grizzlies around here too.

    The biggest source of elk mortality in the Wiggins Fork Herd is hunters with late season cow-calf tags. We have the late season tags because of landowner complaints about too many elk.

    Funny, the outfitters and too many hunters are complaining about too few elk, while the landowners are complaining about too many elk, but both complain about wolves preying on elk, when the main thing wolves are doing to elk is moving them around and keeping them moving. I follow the herd all summer and fall on foot and horseback, and I know. We’ve now got a really wild herd.


  14. Layton Avatar

    So Lynne,

    Is the goal to whittle the elk herd down to the point where everyone has to draw for a bull tag?? I didn’t realize that.

    You kind of failed to mention that there is a 75% cut this year in the number of controlled elk tags in some of the Unit 36 hunts in the Stanley area, and then of course that there is NO special hunt season in one of the areas affected.

    “hundreds of elk below Sunbeam etc. etc” So I guess that means that since the wolves didn’t get ALL of the elk in the area, all is well??

    How about just a LITTLE honesty instead of trying to make it look like there are as many elk as there ever has been??

    Steve C.

    “I love it when a group pretends to worry about the suffering of a species because they want to kill it themselves.”

    How do you square that comment with the fact that the “greenie” side just wants to feed the elk to a growing wolf population?? Is that better than having hunters feed their families??

  15. Wyo Native Avatar
    Wyo Native


    Although the Wiggins Fork herd technically is doing fine, the three herds to the north (Gosseberry, Cody and Clarks Fork) and one to the west (Green River) are not. These four herds have such a low recruitment rate that not only is hunting opportunity in danger but even a stable elk population is at risk.

    Not all of this is due to the wolves of course, but it is a significant contributing factor.

  16. Lynne Stone Avatar
    Lynne Stone

    Layton – Please don’t accuse me of being dishonest. That’s really crummy. I thought we were friends and were going to have a beer together some day. Now you have to buy.

    Why don’t you ask IDFG when they would go to a antlered draw in Unit 36? I would guess it’s when they are willing to have more elk wintering here.

    We went through the White Cloud 36A cow and calf numbers on a different thread so why rehash. But, once again, past IDFG reports have said that cow and calf numbers exceeded department goals. So there’s been a lot of hunting. If you want to blame fewer elk numbers all on wolves rather than hunters or other causes, go ahead. Afterall, aren’t wolves the cause of global warming and fuel over $4.00/ gallon?

    And it’s now official, that we have “bad wolves”, a “fact” so eloquently stated by U.S. attorney Lisa Russell yesterday in Missoula.

  17. Mike Ice Avatar
    Mike Ice

    Layton, what is a controlled elk tag and what is the reason for a special hunt?

  18. Layton Avatar


    “Layton – Please don’t accuse me of being dishonest. That’s really crummy. I thought we were friends and were going to have a beer together some day. Now you have to buy”

    Thank You!!! That’s (I think) the first friendly post between us for a while. I appreciate it!! As a matter of fact I WILL buy — even if you drink “one of them mikro bru things”.

    I realize that wolves are responsible for the $4.00 gas, but I thought I was the only one that was that perceptive — us rednecks are cool that way.


    Controlled elk tags are issued by F&G under different conditions, usually where they want a specific result with a hunt. They can control the take by controlling the number of tags issued. They issued through a draw, or lottery system, to people that apply for them. Successful applicants can only hunt that specific time and place and must NOT hunt in the general season. That’s kind of a “quick and dirty explanation” if you want to know more go to the Idaho F&G website.

  19. Brian Ellway Avatar
    Brian Ellway

    I will tell you that one of many things I don’t agree with IDF&G on is the general bull elk rifle hunt in the Sawtooth Zone but they have had it for as long as I can remember (atleast 20 years?) and the elk herds were always able to maintain up until the last 3-4 years. I really think they should do away with the general rifle hunt in this zone until they get the wolf / elk situation figured out. BTW, this year they did away with the muzzleloader cow hunt in November which they needed to do.


    I hunt archery only in the Sawtooths. My strategies vary but I do alot of glassing from vantage points early in the morning and late when the elk are moving from feeding to bedding. I will usually spend some time in the timber during the late morning early afternoon hours.


    I realize there were low elk numbers in some units before the wolf reintroduction, just not the Sawtooth / Whitecloud units. I’ve hunted them for 25 years and have a cabin right the heart of this country.


    I’m sorry, I forget that it’s not only Idahoans on here. I hunt the sawtooth zone which is units 34,35&36 in Idaho. Right in the middle of the Sawtooth and Whitecloud Mountains.

  20. TPageCO Avatar

    Because I’ll probably go over Galena to hunt elk in Unit 36 if I don’t draw here in the Magic Valley, I took a look at the controlled hunt statistics from 2005-2007 on IDFG’s site. The percentages for 36 and 36A (all the draw hunts anyway, as I didn’t chase down the info on open seasons) seem to be pretty consistent over those three years. Cow kill is about 40% (a relatively high success rate in my book) and there are good numbers of 6pt bulls being taken off the antlered draw hunts, which have pretty high kill percentages too.

    Now, I don’t get up there much to hike around or hunt, as I spend my time in the Pioneers which have loads of elk, but the numbers are the numbers, depending on what one thinks of IDFG’s survey process…it at least strongly suggests that there has not been a crash in population during the last three years.

  21. Friends of the Northern Yellowstone Elk Herd Avatar
    Friends of the Northern Yellowstone Elk Herd

    The attorney for the State of Idaho in his 15 minute argument in front of Judge Molloy stated for the record that wolves have reduced the Lolo elk herd 40 to 60 % and the Selway elk herd by 40 % .
    The State of Idaho was obliged to curtail human hunting by 50 % in those areas. It’s in yesterdays federal court transcript so don’t bother spinning it.
    If Honnolds first half hour presentation can be summarized “this is not OUR standard for wolf recovery”…. then the rebuttal is ; “this is not the price we will pay to meet YOUR standard of wolf recovery.”

  22. steve c Avatar
    steve c

    Layton, “greenies” want a complete ecosystem, they don’t want to feed unlimited elk to wolves as you and your anti-wolf cronies keep putting it. Condensing things down to such simple terms kind of makes you look like a fool.

    How do you square the fact that elk counts are above target (in Jackson for example.) Can’t hunters move to more productive areas each season if there are declines in some places? Fishermen fish in different places as areas get closed for recovery due to overfishing…

  23. Layton Avatar

    steve c.

    “Condensing things down to such simple terms kind of makes you look like a fool.”

    Is it condensing things down to much to ask you why you don’t answer the question?? Here, I’ll repeat it.

    Is it better to feed the elk to the growing wolf population rather than letting hunters feed their families??

    One way that I would “square the fact that elk counts are above target” I guess would be to move to Wyoming, but I really don’t want to do that. Most of Idaho’s elk populations are NOT above target.

    AND, before you even start, in case you haven’t examined the data, most elk targets are going DOWN, not up.

  24. steve c Avatar
    steve c

    I am not advocating outlawing hunting or the elimination of hunting to make more food for wolves. Your question is faulty because you are assuming that wolves will eliminate elk, something that has never and will never happen. Why does the argument have to be “I support wolves therefore I also support families not being fed.”

    125,000 elk in idaho at the end of 2007. Maybe you don’t have to move to wyoming.

  25. Sean Sheehan Avatar
    Sean Sheehan

    Wyo Native needs to check with Wy G &F the elk heards in Cody, Suynlight area are still above management objectives and the last couple of years there have been cow/calf tags in draw areas left over for sale after the draw. I see lots of elk every year, and I believe the hunter success rate here is over 80%, even with lots of wolves

  26. Wyo Native Avatar
    Wyo Native

    Sean here is what the Wyo Game and Fish has to say about those 4 elk herds. Remember it is not always about current population numbers, cow/calf ratios and recruitment success are very important factors required to determine the overall situation of the elk herds.

    “It is apparent wolves are causing significant declines in 4 herds (Green River, Gooseberry, Cody, and Clarks Fork). Calf:cow ratios in 3 of those 4 herds are below the 25:100 necessary to sustain stable elk populations and provide hunting opportunity (Gooseberry, Cody, and Clarks Fork).”


    “Wolves appear to be significantly suppressing juvenile survival in 4 elk DAUs (Green River, Gooseberry, Cody, and Clarks Fork). To some degree, factors other than wolf predation contribute to declining calf:cow ratios based on analysis of calf:cow ratios in 5 of 13 non-wolf occupied DAUs (Table 4) and significant declines observed in 4 of 8 wolf-occupied DAUs before wolves were present (Table 3). However, the same factors (drought, disease, hunting, and other forms of predation) have had relatively minor impact on elk recruitment in herds without wolves. The only herds with recruitment rates that will not support hunting or possibly even stable populations, are the herds with significant wolf predation in addition to other factors.”

    Now I will admit there are 4 herds that have not seen the significant declines in cow/calf ratios and recruitment success, those being the Jackson, Fall Creek, Piney and Wiggins Fork. Why, we really do not know yet and we need to study further, and I really doubt the 25 wolf quota the Wyo G&F has set in the Trophy area will have any effect on the continued studies.

    The study is on the Wyo Game and Fish Website, I tried to post a link but it would not let me.

  27. Wyo Native Avatar
    Wyo Native

    It looks like Ralph has posted the link to the study I am refering to last year. Go to the Wyo G&F link and read the study.

  28. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Wyo Native,

    Thanks for finding my link. It seemed like I remembered writing about that study. ;-0

  29. Chuck Avatar

    Ok whats the real reason these people have such a hatred for wolves?? Seems to me its all about greed, the wolves are going to kill all the elk. Have they even bothered to look at the statistics on how many times the wolves actually fail to get an elk they are chasing. It seems to me that there were plenty of elk around before hunmans killed all the wolves. So would these hunters that hate wolves would rather have the elk over populate, get diseases, ruin the habitat, then let the wolves have a some?? Many are talking about the number of wolves exceeding the number that was agreed upon for delisting, but I was under the impression that for delistment there also had to be a sound management plan, ok who was to decide on the sound management plan??? seems to me only a select few. Maybe this should have been voted on by all, not just a chosen few who it seems has the most control. As far as my statement about ATV’s go, the unit I hunt I see way more people using their ATV’s to hunt with. I know in the upper part of the unit there is a lot of horse back hunters. But for these anti wolf people, they are throwing out these numbers of several thousand wolves in Idaho, if thats the case then why haven’t I seen an Idaho wolf yet???? I spend lots of time up in the mountains. I know there are wolves where I go.

  30. C. Walton Avatar
    C. Walton

    Layton said,
    “Is it better to feed the elk to the growing wolf population rather than letting hunters feed their families??”

    Oh come on Layton, that is a false dilemma and you know it. The choice isn’t either to have all the elk simply for hunters to kill or let the elk be killed by the wolves. Hunters killing elk doesn’t mean that we can’t have wolves be a part of our ecosystems.

    BTW, I don’t buy that whole “so hunters can feed their families” claim. I have so many guys at work offering to give me elk meat for free, I can’t even eat enough to accept it all. A lot of these guys hunt and then don’t even want to eat the meat. I know some hunters (like myself) do eat what we kill but if you want me to believe that that particular motivation describes anything close to the majority of hunters, you are wrong.

    Recent census data for Idaho indicate that there are about 125,000 elk in the state. An Idaho Department of Fish and Game study of more than 400 radio-collared adult female elk demonstrated an 88 percent survival rate, which is right about what it was before the wolves were reintroduced (88 to 92 percent). Likewise, the November-December issue of Montana Outdoors reported that “currently, Montana’s elk herd is up to an estimated 130,000 to 160,000 animals, and most of the state’s 35 EMUs exceed the state’s objectives for elk numbers.”

    Of course, it is true that wolves can affect populations in certain areas and under certain conditions but if overall population numbers are at or near all-time highs how do you expect any sensible person to see you anti-wolf people’s chicken little rhetoric that “elk are being decimated” as anything more than hyperbole and hysteria?

    Populations have always declined in some areas and increased in others. Why is it suddenly something unacceptable now that wolves have been returned to the area?

    My state of Arizona with its estimated 40,000 elk provides plenty of hunting opportunities. Idaho is quite a bit smaller than Arizona (82,747 sq. miles vs 113,635) and has more than 3 times the number of elk. So forgive me if I laugh at your comment about you having to leave your state to hunt elk.

  31. steve c Avatar
    steve c

    I wonder how the majority of people who are nonhunters feed their families…

  32. Layton Avatar

    “An Idaho Department of Fish and Game study of more than 400 radio-collared adult female elk demonstrated an 88 percent survival rate, which is right about what it was before the wolves were reintroduced ”

    Those are ADULT – MATURE elk — In case you don’t realize it, they are probably the part of the elk population that is LEAST affected by wolves. What about cow/calf ratios where the wolves live??

    “how do you expect any sensible person to see you anti-wolf people’s chicken little rhetoric” Sensible people DO see it — people that are blindly “pro wolf” seem to be unable to.

    Face it, MOST SENSIBLE people are in favor of some sort of control on a fast growing population of apex predators. Folks that somehow believe in a fairy tale, untouched ecosystem that existed 200 years ago when there were few, if any people in this part of the country are NOT.

    As far as the “leaving the state to hunt elk” comment. Some folks that I know are already doing it — or have just quit hunting elk at all — and, even tho’ I’m not inclined to believe in conspiracy theories, I can’t keep the thought out of my mind that this was a lot of the plan all along.

  33. Brian Ertz Avatar

    it seems to me like if my family were dependent on elk in the freezer ~ i’d make sure to get out of the pickup and hike around a bit.

    Some folks that I know are already doing it — or have just quit hunting elk at all

    sounds like whining about wolves is a nice way to sit on their hump and blame it on something other than a lazy disposition.

  34. Layton Avatar

    Hey Brian,

    How about you just “PACK IT”. There ARE those of us that hunt — that do not even own atv’s, that BUST their hump looking for elk, that KNOW what we are doing — and — last but certainly not least


    Talking to folks like you is a waste of time, you don’t go in the woods enough to SEE what is going on, you just sit at your computer and very glibly talk about “red necks” and ‘cabela’s queens” and sing another verse to the choir!! Oh yea, then chirp about how to file another law suit.

    After all, someone from New Jersey might want to come out here sometime and hear one howl!!

    By the way, where did anyone say that anybody’s family was “dependant” on elk to fill the freezer? I did make a comment asking if it was better to feed the elk to people or to a bunch of dogs!! Is that what your little mind — along with those of C. Walton and Steve C. found??

  35. steve c Avatar
    steve c

    Actually you said “letting hunters feed their families”. Don’t try to backtrack and soften your statement now. Have you considered going to the store and buying some meat… or better yet a vegetarian lifestyle? This whole hunting issue has you pretty upset and emotional… It isnt healthy.

    It is pretty presumptive of you to assume that the people posting here have not been out in the backcountry in idaho, wyoming or montana. I always thought hunters were supposed to be tough, but it seems like all they do is moan and complain (not just about wolves).

  36. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    Careful Steve.
    Layton will accuse you of being a big meanie.

  37. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    Steve C.

    Do not classify all hunters this way, I am damn tired of hearing this crap, My freezer is full of elk as well as deer that I harvested last fall, due to the fact I don’t have a job, so don’t go there please…

  38. Catbestland Avatar

    Layton says, . . .”As far as the “leaving the state to hunt elk” comment. Some folks that I know are already doing it — or have just quit hunting elk at all — and, even tho’ I’m not inclined to believe in conspiracy theories, I can’t keep the thought out of my mind that this was a lot of the plan all along.”
    What do you mean a “lot of the plan?” Do you think someone is trying to run hunters out of the state so that wolves can have the elk for themselves? I am just curious. I have not heard this theory before. If so whom do you believe would profit from this “plan?”

  39. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    I will add, I did have a job with the government, as a biologist, and lost it because I would not bow under their pressure to put the story out there, so I spent 7 years in school, to get my degree and have lived the last 3 years, on my own, because I would not play their game, I hunt purely for food, plain and simple, so knock the crap off with bashing hunters, there are many of us, that hunt purely for food, I could care less if it has horns or not, but at this time, going to the store and buying meat in a plastic package, is really not in the equation…

  40. Heather Avatar

    Friends of the Yellowstone elk herd or whatever… how could the judge not issue an injunction? The current regulations are insane.. notice “news” story in yesterday’s Missoulian about killing a wolf in self defense… what crap.
    I hold true for my belief, he will issue it. and I send my energy that way every single day…

  41. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears


    Unfortunately, He cannot issue it based on his emotion, he has to base his ruling on the law..and in this case, based on what information I have been able to gather, the law is not on the side of those who wish to have them re-listed..

  42. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    The judge is under no obligation of issue an injunction on the date of the hearing. He can do it later if he wants to.

  43. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears


    I am well aware of that fact…I just have strong concerns..

  44. Linda Hunter Avatar

    I have been gone for a while and when I read these posts it is interesting that it always seems to boil down to defense of hunting. . . this all really has nothing to do with wolves does it?

  45. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    By way of explanation . . .

    In principle what trial judge does is ascertain “the facts” of a case and examine the law and/or the regulations considering the facts, and then the judge decides. Judge Molloy is the trial judge in this case — his is the court of “original jurisdiction.”

    Appeals are not based on facts, but instead questions about law and/or procedure. If an appeals court does not think the facts were determined properly, it does not hold its own trial, but usually “remands” the case back to the court of original jurisdiction for additional consideration of the facts.

    If a judge does not want to issue an injunction, he will say so — he will deny the motion to enjoin. If no injunction is issued, the case itself goes forward anyway to victory for the plaintiff or defendant or something in between.

  46. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears


    Not always, I depend on my ability to put food in the freezer and don’t feel that the wolves have taken anything away from me…

  47. vicki Avatar

    Some one please tell me, when they say that a herd has been reduced, what the heck does it mean? Can the accurately say that wolves ate the herd? Or could the elk have dispersed to other areas?

    I just go back from YNP, where I have been observing the changes wolves have created. I can tell you that the most obvious changes are stream vegatation, and elk been more spread out. The elk are still the prominent species there, but the herd sizes are smaller (still a lot of elk,) just smaller herds, more wide ranging. The elk are scattered more-which could be considered an obvious adaptation to predators.
    I see elk now in areas that they were scarce in before. They seem to be making better use of all of the habitat, instead of just clustering together in the Hayden and Lamar/Mammoth areas.
    The biggest change this year isthe obvious decrease of bison. That is an all man made mess. If the wolves in the park eat more elk this year, it would likely be attributed to the lower numbers of bison available. Seems to me that men effect nature more than nature does men.
    I hope there is an injunction. I don’t know for sure that it will happen. But there is definite scientific presidence to show a derrogatory effect occuring due to present management. Wether or not there is legal presidence is the big thing.

  48. Friends of the Northern Yellowstone Elk Herd Avatar
    Friends of the Northern Yellowstone Elk Herd

    Ralph Maughan Says:
    May 31, 2008 at 9:16 pm
    “By way of explanation . . .”

    Very nice job Ralph.

    Sorry Heather , no Temporary Injunction can be issued unless the plaintiffs {EarthJustice et. al.} can show a probability of success on the merits of ” irreparable harm”.

    Dr. L. David Mech, Ph.D the top wolf biologist in the world, in his 22 page declaration to the federal court, tells us that as of May 2008 that there are 3,000! ( ! his exclamation mark) wolves , ……. in the Northern Rockies so “irreparable harm” would be impossible to prove.

    There is a mechanism in the Endangered Species Act in place for your concerns Heather. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has an additional 5 year oversight of state wolf management and they can re list wolves if they believe the recovery has become imperiled. Highly improbable with the wolf population reproducing at a 25% compound annual rate.

    Honnold suggested that the states have too much
    discretion in their management of wolves Heather and that discretion didn’t meet his newly found “sufficiency of standards” based on Von Holdt’s computer model looking out 60 years in a worst case scenario. {Judge Molloy characterized the Von Holdt model “worst case scenario” }

    Bloomquist for the stock growers pointed out that EarthJustice et. al. had been stakeholders and part of the process for the past 13 years and never objected until after the fact of wolf delisting.

    Instead of feeding your anxieties Heather, there are some really smart folks on your side that can lay out all the facts for you or at least make the scientific declarations to the court available to you. {I’ll give them to you Ralph if you don’t already have them}
    In order to have wolves you have to accept the fact that (some)wolves will have to be killed just like sportsmen and livestock producers had to accept realities imposed upon them.

    The states and the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service found the mechanisms that they agreed upon a long time ago that best protect the combined larger interests of the public and wolves.
    Regardless of the isolated high profile story about a wolf being shot in any control action, both sides agree; “wolves are here to stay”.
    Protracted litigation is all about exploiting your emotions for money Heather not wolves.

  49. steve c Avatar
    steve c

    Save bears, I was not talking about all hunters, but you have to admit that the vast majority of hunters posting about wolf issues online make the “wolves are eating all the elk” argument in the face of current elk counts and the science. Many hunters I have come across have this “predators as competition and they must be destroyed” mentality.

    Out of curiosity, what story were you being pressured to put out there when you had to quit?

  50. Catbestland Avatar

    While it is true that in order for the judge to order Injunction the plaintiffs must show that they are likely to prevail on the merits of the orriginal Complaint, the judge will consider much more than the Statement of David Mech. The history of the livestock industry’s persecution of wolves along with the recent evidence that not much has changed in the that industry’s view of the wolf will weigh heavilly in the judge’s determination. The fact that Wyoming has designated wolves as vermin in 80% of the state along with the display of obvious intent to erradicate them again, will not impress upon the judge that the best interest of the nation’s wildlife is being served. Also the judge can order Mediation or take any number of measures to force the Parties to try and settle this thing before it goes further, i.e. issuing a Tempory Injunction until Wyoming changes it’s Plan et.. I do not foresee a total victory for either side, but in my view, even getting the Wyoming Plan revised is a victory for the wolves and a step in the right direction.

  51. Heather Avatar

    well “Friends” that will be up to the judge won’t it??? God’s Dog can only hope for his/her survival from this huge discrimination. Witch hunts and illegal lynchings come to mind….

  52. Heather Avatar

    And “Friends” your last line is bullshit. excuse the pun…

  53. Friends of the Northern Yellowstone Elk Herd Avatar
    Friends of the Northern Yellowstone Elk Herd

    Nice post

    re; “The fact that Wyoming has designated wolves as vermin in 80% of the state ” was addressed by Ed Bangs and the other experts in their comments.

    This 80 % of the state of Wyoming that troubles you is considered to be very poor wolf habitat that actually has very few wolves in it and is home to a very, very small percentage of the wolf population and a very large component of private land and livestock production.

    These wolf management boundaries and standards were negotiated and agreed upon between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Wyoming Legislative and Executive branch in a protracted and exhausting process.
    Judge Molloy read all the declarations before the trial, clearly had a very strong grasp of the facts, and didn’t ask questions or send signals to the court room that wolf management in this 80% of Wyoming’s bifurcated wolf management zones would imperil recovery or show “irreparable harm ” to the wolf.

    Just because this group of plaintiffs assert that they are dissatisfied that their sufficiency of standards of recovery are not being met ,does not mean that they can compel states to give them guarantees.
    As Mike Philips of the Turner Endangered Species Fund said; “They {USFWS }extended recovery afield much further than anyone had ever imagined.” I sent Ralph the article.

    Scientific consensus is all on the side of the federal government and their intervenors, that was crystal clear in the court room. Honnold produced one four year old study that was refuted by all the experts.

    Don’t you find it a bit curious that none of what I reported from the courtroom made it into the press but instead the emotionally manipulative headlines read “Judge asked to rein in wolf killing” ?

    Molloy is obliged to rule on ‘best available science’, Honnold produced none to the long term discredit of himself and those he represented.

  54. Heather Avatar

    “Friends”: More food for thought for you,(I’m sure you have read this in your travels) a quote from Mr Mech himself:
    this has been on my automatic email signature for a couple of years now…

    If the Wolf is to survive, the wolf haters must be outnumbered.
    They must be outshouted, outfinanced, and out voted.
    Their narrow and biased attitude must be outweighed by an attitude based on an understanding of natural processes.
    L. David Mech

  55. Friends of the Northern Yellowstone Elk Herd Avatar
    Friends of the Northern Yellowstone Elk Herd

    excellent Heather !
    I met in private for over an hour with Dr. Mech in his office at the U. of Minn on October 15, 2003 in St Paul.

    At that time he said to me that the greatest threat the wolf faces is that the extreme left hijacked the program and the reaction from the right would imperil wolf recovery.
    He went on to show me where he had written that in a chapter of one of his just published { light blue } books.

    Your electronic signature quote is 20 years old.
    Being ‘progressive’ means being able to move on.
    The wolf protection rackets is now an obsolete industry to be in as evidenced by who is NOT in the litigation currently underway and being discussed.

    1.2 million Tibetans have been executed by the Communist Chinese PLA , why not focus on them ?

    To Robert Fannning [Friends of Northern Range Yellowstone Elk]. I’d don’t consider Mech to be much of a wolf advocate nowadays, and I think folks would do well not to quote his more recent non-referred comments about wolves. I have heard other wolf biologists talk about the changes that have come over him. Both Mech and that elk biologist [Val Geist], seem to have fallen under the spell of right wing ideology. Other biologists have moved to the left.

    Biologists are like other people, when they start talking politics, they are no longer experts . . . perhaps keen observers of politics, or perhaps just the opposite.

    Robert, if you do have the full statements of these biologists, I would appreciate receiving them. Rocky Barker put up selected portions the other day, but they seemed very incomplete, and I don’t know if he had the full roster.

    I want to comment on some of their statements, but hesitate unless I make sure I’m not taking an incomplete quote as the text. Ralph Maughan

  56. Wyo Native Avatar
    Wyo Native

    Ed Bangs said in the recent documentary Wyoming: Predators, Prey & People;

    “Wolf issues are so emotional, people use wolves to demonstrate their values to other people. And alot of the debate really has nothing to due with science it has to do with human values.”

    This is true for many people on both sides of this issue.

  57. Catbestland Avatar

    I understand that the majority of the 80% vermin zone is not the best habitat for wolves, but it is a necessary corridor for dispersal into other states, i.e. Colorado and Utah. These corridors were taken into consideration when Colorado formed its working “wolf plan.” Utah probably did the same. I think the judge must consider the negative effects the vermin zone will have on migration into adjoining states as he is committed to serving the best interest of the entire public not just Wyoming residents.

    As for the comment about the media, the majority of the articles I have seen in publications from the 3 state area are heavily biased AGAINST the wolf. It is refreshing to finally see perspective other than that of the livestock or outfitting induatries.

    If there is any long-term discredit of Honnold or those he represents, it is not Honnold’s job to produce it. That burden lies with the defense. I am 100% sure that if this discrediting evidence existed the Respondent’s attorney would have produced it at hearing. However it would not be productive to attack the credibility of these groups. They represent and are supported by millions of citizens who desire to see their wildlife interest protected. It could appear as an attack on that entire segment of the population. Again, the judge must consider what is in the best interest of the entire population not just what is convenient for the beef and outfiting industries. I hope that is what happens anyway. And likely there will be a ruling somewhere in between, which again is better than what we have now.

  58. Friends of the Northern Yellowstone Elk Herd Avatar
    Friends of the Northern Yellowstone Elk Herd

    “I’d don’t consider Mech to be much of a wolf advocate nowadays,” Ralph Maughan

    Those words will go down in infamy Ralph.
    He wrote one in six wolf biology books in print .

    I’ll send you the experts comments in PDF and your side can cannibalize it’s self.

  59. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Thanks you, Robert.

    I said “nowadays.” I use his prior work as a reference all the time.

    . . . and let me add that I am critical of his current non-refereed views.

  60. Chuck Avatar

    As far as the vermin zone in Wyoming being not the best habitat for wolves, well my argument there is, all animals since the time humans have come in and run them off their former ranges have had to adapt to new habitat, some better then others I might add, but I believe that the no matter how hard the wolves try to adapt they will always have the humans that hate them and want to erradicate them again. People need to realize we are quickly out growing this small planet and soon there won’t even be enough room for us.
    Wolves are territorial animals, so once they have out grown their present territory, pups will move on and look for their own ground to call home. I think the biggest problem facing the wolves is that there is no sound management plan in place. I don’t think there is no one here that does not believe that the wolves need to be managed. But where is the middle ground where all groups are going to be happy?? There are some groups that will never be happy until every last wolf is gone-(gillette camp).
    Remember all these animals co-existed before we came along. Ok…I am off my soap box now.

  61. Friends of the Northern Yellowstone Elk Herd Avatar
    Friends of the Northern Yellowstone Elk Herd

    Don’t you and academia think it’s just about time to come clean and be honest with these young altruistic students that went into hock up to their eyeballs to Sallie Mae – Student Loan Marketing Association , based on the flawed paradigm that wolves and or grizzly bears would spend forever on the list of Endangered Species , thus providing them with employment to pay back said loans?

    Your greatest fear isn’t for wolves, it’s that the game is over and the money dries up.

    Since when does the greatest wolf biologist that ever lived need to be censored or refereed by those who owe their very existence to him and his near half century of work?

    Quite possibly those of your cronies in academia who would “referee” him could label Dr. L. David Mech, Ph.D a “Bush Administration Neo Con” and have him stripped of his credentials and labeled an enemy of the state assuming you folks get the regime change you so confidently expect.

    Isn’t that what the extreme left does best; label those who disagree with their world view?

    “We don’t need no stinkin’ badges ! ”
    We’ll just call you names.

  62. Jay Avatar

    Hey Fanning, I gotta ask, where did you come up with that name “Friends of the…”? I suppose with friends like you, who needs enemies–I don’t have any friends that want to shoot me in the chest with a .30-06 and cut my head off to hang on the wall. Friends, my @ss. Just be up front and say what you’re about: more elk for you and your buddies to shoot.

  63. steve c Avatar
    steve c

    Why the hatred for academics?

  64. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    I’m retired, but told ever class of introductory students that the student loan program was unfair, an example why politics counts — you can get hurt by it.

    What’s your background? I heard you made a pile of money in Chicago and moved to Montana

  65. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    Why don’t you just admit that you have an irrational fear of wolves.

  66. Wyo Native Avatar
    Wyo Native

    Ralph, do you know if the depositions that are being quoted on Rocky Barkers Blog are available online anywhere?


  67. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    No. I thought maybe Fanning had them.


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