Opinion Bill Schneider: A Wolf Plan that Works

A Wolf Plan that Works. “It seems as if most people in the New West would prefer to see the wolf controversy resolved, and agencies could quickly do this. Will it happen?” By Bill Schneider. New West.

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Interesting. I don’t necessary agree. RM.

Here is an article on the same subject from today’s Casper Star Tribune. Breeding controversy. By Chris Merrill.





  1. BegoCWC Avatar

    the link to the New West article doesn’t seem to connect to the article when clicked on….

  2. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    The link is fixed

  3. Bego Avatar

    Thanks for fixing the link.

    After reading the article I’d say it could be retitled: A Wolf Plan that Works (for Me)”.

    The author seems incredulous that people can’t just come together and work things out as if everyone is rational, scientifically informed and concerned for the other side’s welfare (And willing to compromise further).

    he makes no mention of the last decade+ of disputes and bitterness that have gone hat in hand with wolf recovery efforts across the NRWRA.

    For myself I would be happy if Wyoming’s predator zones were gotten rid of and they made more of a commitment than just 7 breeding pairs outside of YNP, which is all I believe they are committing to at present.

    given the dispersal that’s happening in Washington and Oregon, and the number of wolves already in Idaho I think genetic exchange is occurring, though on what level is hard to say at present.

    either way, I don’t see the opposing sides having the stomach or the willingness to sit down at the table to yet again fight over an issue that was thought to be settled.

  4. Catbestland Avatar

    Here’s a wolf plan that would work.

    On public lands there would be absolute protection of wolves. They cannot be killed for any reason except immediate threat to HUMAN life, not livestock. And livestock owners will NOT be reimbursed for their losses on public lands.

    On private lands, owners have the right to “control” wolves for any reason and by any means they deem necessary no questions asked. They will recieve compensation for livestock lost to wolf predation on private lands.

    This would accomplish another purpose. It would get a lot of cows off public lands which would improve habitat for all wildlife. If we can’t rescend the right of public lands grazing, we can make it less appealing to participate. If at some juncture it is determined that wolf populations have increased to the point that deer and elk populations are threatened, then and only then, there could be a special hunt season to reduce their numbers.

    Simple solution. Full protection on public lands. No protection on private lands. Never let it be said that I am not willing to compromise.

  5. Brian Ertz Avatar

    the states had the opportunity to convene a “stakeholders group” – and they blew off even their hand chosen conservation representatives. Now, the IDFG is holding public hearings in Cabela’s stores following the order, conspiring with anti-wolf zealots about the best way to eradicate Idaho wolves and we’re entertaining ‘kiss and make up’ fairy-tales ?

    you’d think that after being treated like trash by the state through this whole delisting process – of which boutique wolf zones for the rich were even rejected – folk would have learned.

  6. JB Avatar

    I like your plan Cat, but I’m doubtful it would fly. Since we’re talking about what constitutes acceptability, and this is an opportunity to show that we are NOT pushing for full protection of wolves everywhere until the end of time (as the antis claim), here’s a plan that I would find acceptable (any feedback or revisions are welcome).

    (1) Full protection in national parks and federally designated wilderness areas, except where it is determined that public health/human safety is at issue. If wolves belong anywhere, it is in our parks and wildernesses.
    (2) Trophy game status (at minimum) on ALL state and federal public lands.
    (3) Commitment from all states to manage for a minimum of 15 breeding pairs each (or whatever number is determined to be the scientific minimum for a genetically viable population).
    (4) Absolutely NO COMPENSATION for livestock on federal lands. This is an extremely bad precedent for governments to set, and it unfairly treats wolves differently from every other predator. Grazing is already HEAVILY SUBSIDIZED on public lands ($1.35 per AUM). If the states want to compensate livestock producers on private lands, that’s their prerogative, but I think that’s a bad idea as well.
    (5) A commitment to use only non-lethal control methods for depredating wolves on federal lands; I have no problem with lethal control on private lands, so long as the depredations are not due to the negligence of the landowner.
    (6) Full protection for wolves in likely dispersal corridors. Note, the reason the plan was rejected is because there was no genetic exchange between subpopulations. If genetic exchange is required, then we need conditions that will foster this exchange (i.e. protection for dispersing wolves).
    (7) Finally, I have no problem with the states establishing “wolf free” zones in certain areas that are deemed unsuitable for wolves (i.e. urban and suburban areas) where wolves could be shot on sight (so long as these do not equate to a significant portion of the wolf’s range within the NRM DPS). I know this will not be popular with some here, but I think it is reasonable and indicates that wolf supporters aren’t a bunch of loonies who want wolves protected everywhere.

  7. JB Avatar

    Okay Layton, what do you think?

  8. Catbestland Avatar


    I could live with that. Also there is an interesting comment after Bill Schneider’s article from someone called “Bear Bait” expounding on the increasing problem of releasing unmarketable horses on public lands. The lands and the horses are suffering from the practice. He suggest that wolves be introduced in these areas to cull the herds and possibly relieve the pressures on elk and deer herdsin other areas. I like the idea and I am a horse lover. The only problem I see is that developing a taste for horseflesh might not be a great idea when the wolves disperse to areas where domestic horses are kept.

  9. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    I read Schneider’s article again.

    The plaintiffs are not going lose this case. In fact, the final outcome will probably be even more favorable to wolf supporters.

    My reasoning:

    I thought Judge Molloy’s decision was legally correct, but not strong scientifically (genetic diversity is not going to be a problem for quite a while). A preliminary injunction is not really needed to conserve genetic diversity. So this is a very big signal as to how he will rule! Judge Molloy also recently refused to dismiss the equally important case challenging the new 10j rule. This is more evidence of the outcome. The media haven’t reported this.

    Judge Molloy is not on the side of the states in this matter. The states are going to lose.

    It’s pretty clear Idaho at least is not going to sit down and cut a deal with wolf supporters (see the recent article about the Fish and Game commissioners up in Coeur d’Alene).

    No, legally wolf supporters will win big. Local politicians will fan hostility, although legal proceeding may not be final until after the election.

    The Obama Administration will crack down on wolf killers unless Idaho, Wyoming and Montana vote Democratic, maybe even then. In the meanwhile . . . . .

  10. Brian Ertz Avatar

    yes, and he said Idaho and Montana’s plan’s were similarly able to assure numbers as federal management — states (ID & MT) are taking that as a pat on the back, but might it be an indictment of federal management under the new 10(j) ?

    remember he cited plaintiffs as having demonstrated possibility of irreparable injury and used the (state) management (not just Wyoming but hunts and the lax “control” laws – the same ones likened to feds) as justification of that with regard to the genetic interchange, and it looks like he’s saying that the genetic interchange is a requisite condition of recovery — might this be an insight into the 10(j) litigation ?

    he’s already made explicit in the decision that state plans & “control” laws = potential irreparable harm toward genetic interchange condition of recovery. AND state (ID & MT) plans & “control” laws = fed “controls”. it seems to me the if he can cite the state plans as leading to irreparable injury while suggesting that they’re not much different than the fed plans – that he’s got solid ground to strike down the aggressive 10(j) as similarly demonstrative of potential for irreparable injury toward the same end of recovery.

    10(j) litigation is where he’d be able to draw that consistency out and strike the aggressive 10(j) down.


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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