Fisheries Service Finds Three Pesticides Imperil West Coast Salmon

Three poisons that cleared the EPA are found to threaten the recovery of 28 threatened or endangered salmon stocks:

Fisheries Service Finds Three Pesticides Imperil West Coast SalmonMedia Newswire

This news comes right on the hind end of Bush Interior’s attempt to sidestep outside science with endangered species act decisions (Bush to relax protected species rules) and highlights the danger of such a move.







  1. jerry b Avatar
    jerry b

    Anyone have ideas why this ruling doesn’t protect our inland protected species ie bull trout, west slope cutthroat etc from the use of these pesticides? The agricultural industry uses plenty of pesticides and many of these fields are adjacent to our prime trout fisheries such as the Clark Fork, Bitterroot, Madison, Blackfoot etc. Also it seems that the NGO’s that emphasize dam removal, watershed restoration etc don’t want to deal with the pesticide problem. WHY??

  2. TimothyB Avatar

    Jerry, my guess is that the government thinks that without “those 3 pesticides”, humans will find it increasing harder to grow enough food. Basically saying they don’t want humans to be in the the same situation the salmon are currently experiencing.

  3. kt Avatar

    Isn’t Diazinon – one of the three nasty chemicals here – along with malathion and another – one of the COMMON chemicals sold for lawn/garden use? Isn’t is spewed out mixed in with some of the weed killer potions by the Chem Green folks and others that poison yard and city parks across the West? As part of the insane mania for the perfect greenest, most weedless and bug free grass expanse?

  4. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Timothy B-

    Here is some data on the three pesticides. I apologize for the info below coming from the Wikipedia, but that may qualify me for doing John McCain’s environmental statements (I assume the reader has heard about him borrowing his talking points on Georgia/Russia from the Wikipedia).
    – – – –

    Chlorpyrifos was “First registered in 1965 and marketed by Dow Chemical Company under the tradenames Dursban and Lorsban, chlorpyrifos was a well known home and garden insecticide, and at one time it was one of the most widely used household pesticides in the US. Facing impending regulatory action by the EPA, Dow agreed to withdraw registration of chlorpyrifos for use in homes and other places where children could be exposed, and severely restricted its use on crops. These changes took effect on Dec. 31, 2001.[3] It is still widely used in agriculture, and Dow continues to market Dursban for home use in developing countries.”

    “Chlorpyrifos is highly toxic to amphibians, and a recent study by the USGS found that its main breakdown product in the environment, chlorpyrifos oxon, is even more toxic to these animals”
    – – – –
    “Diazinon (O,O-diethyl-O-(2-isopropyl-6-methyl-pyrimidine-4-yl)phosphorothioate), a colorless to dark brown liquid, is a thiophosphoric acid ester developed in 1952 by Ciba-Geigy, a Swiss chemical company (later Novartis and then Syngenta). It is a nonsystemic organophosphate insecticide formerly used to control cockroaches, silverfish, ants, and fleas in residential, non-food buildings. Bait was used to control scavenger wasps in the western U.S. Residential uses of diazinon were cancelled in 2004; it is still approved for agricultural uses.”

    In 1988, the Environmental Protection Agency prohibited the use of Diazinon on golf courses and sod farms because of decimation of bird flocks that congregated in these areas. In the United States as of December 31, 2004, it became unlawful to sell diazinon outdoor, non-agricultural products. It is still legal for consumers to use diazinon products purchased before this date, provided that they follow all label directions and precautions.

    “Among cultivators of carnivorous plants, diazinon is known as the most effective systemic insecticide, capable of eradicating severe infestations of aphids, mealybugs and other sucking parasites while leaving the plant unharmed. For cultivators unable to obtain diazinon, Malathion and Acephate (Orthene) have been reported as less effective substitutes.”

    Note: I checked a number of other sites on diazinon and found them equally negative. RM

    – – – – –
    “Malathion is an organophosphate parasympathomimetic which binds irreversibly to cholinesterase. Malathion is an insecticide of relatively low human toxicity.”

    Malathion is a pesticide that is widely used in agriculture, residential landscaping, public recreation areas, and in public health pest control programs such as mosquito eradication.[2] In the US, it is the most commonly used organophosphate insecticide. [3] [boldface mine]

    “Malathion was used in the 1980s in California to combat the Mediterranean Fruit Fly. This was accomplished on a wide scale by the near weekly aerial spraying of suburban communities for a period of several months. Formations of three or four agricultural helicopters would overfly suburban portions of Alameda County, San Bernardino county, and Santa Clara County releasing a mixture of malathion and corn syrup, the corn syrup being a bait for the fruit flies. Malathion has also been used to combat the Mediterranean Fruit Fly in Australia.[4]

    Malathion was sprayed in many cities to combat West Nile virus. In the Fall of 1999 and the Spring of 2000, Long Island and the five boroughs of New York City were sprayed with several pesticides, one of which was malathion. While it was claimed by some anti-pesticide groups that use of these pesticides caused a lobster die-off in Long Island Sound, there is as of yet no conclusive evidence to support this.[5] Research, however, is still continuing on this topic.”

    Note: Malathion seems the most useful of the three pesticides. RM

  5. jerry b Avatar
    jerry b

    KT….the “chem lawn folks” usually use what’s called Trimec which contains at least 3 or 4 chemicals that are harmful to humans,fish and basically all aquatic invertebrates. Trimec contains, 2-4,D(found in agent orange), Dicamba, Dithiopyr(extremely toxic to fish), and Mecoprop.
    Missoula, where I live, sprays their parks with it. People are willing to put their kids and pets at risk just to kill dandelions. Of course these poisons eventually enter our acquifer and the Clark Fork River. .

  6. kt Avatar

    Ralph and Jerry B – Thank you for all the info on these chemicals. I believe the APHIS bug killing branch is authorized to spray malathion on public lands in particular circumstances – as a pesticide/biocide of last resort – to kill NATIVE INSECTS – i. e. grasshoppers and Mormon crickets. Of course, this is mostly done to appease ranchers that don’t want anything other than a cow to get a blade of grass. If I recall correctly, NCAP (Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides) has had serious concerns with its use.

    Jerry B – The mania for herbicide spraying in the Interior West in public spaces and everywhere else to me is simply appalling. I just wonder how many allergies, unexplained rashes, wheezing fits, odd lumps, etc. in humans and pets come from it all. Let alone aberrations in frogs, fish, and whatever else has the misfortune to live in waters where pesticide runoff occurs.

  7. Mike Avatar

    Pesticide use for lawn care is one of the most pointless and damaging endeavours I can possibly think of.

  8. Mike Avatar

    Some of you should see what it’s like in suburbia. Houses are a few feet apart and the Chem Lawn trucks are busy all day and night here. It never ends. If you happen to have pets or children and a window is open? Enjoy some nice poison.

    A lot of this behaviour explains quite eloquently why we are a Type 0 civilization.

  9. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Cancer studies show that farm workers especially pay for the industry’s addiction to hard chemicals.

    In Idaho there’s a place in the industrial agricultural Magic Valley nicknamed “Cancer Ridge.” There has been an effort to blame the high incidence of cancer there on the relatively distant Idaho National Engineering Laboratory where they do a lot of nuclear training and research, especially for the Navy. There are a lot of old problems at the INL and local politicians are intent on doing things to create new ones such as bringing in uranium concentration.

    Nevertheless, the unfortunates at Cancer Ridge don’t have to look nearly as far as the INL.

  10. TimothyB Avatar

    While absolutely no one in the world could possibly want to spray toxic chemicals on the land UNLESS there was a good reason. It seems to me that farmers would much rather use an eco-friendly and safe method to stops insects from eating away at their profits. So the question I pose is:

    What are the alternatives to toxic agricultural pesticides?

    Keep in mind, I kind of like my $2.75 loaf of bread and $1.15 pound of tomatoes. Wouldn’t banning these pesticides before there is a safe, effective and cost efficient method of controlling pests result in a dramatic price increase on the basic staples of life?

    We not only have to fight for a safer environment but offer a alternative solution to the more harmful methods of getting food on the table of regular Americans. Not offering a viable solution to this problem is like repeatedly slamming your head in a door and screaming that it hurts.

  11. vicki Avatar

    I agree that we have to balance change with options. However, for the fish involved, waiting is a permanent change. They die.
    Your loaf of bread and tomatoes though, can be more expensive for a few months or years, but will eventually become affordable again. What is truly affordable when it come to food and pestacides? The trade off of irreprable damages and cheap food is a walk on a tight rope. Though bread may be cheap oday, we will have to pay for the clean up tomorrow. You pay for what you choose either way. Atleast paying more for bread now may keep fish populations safe for the long haul as opposed to cheaper prices in the short term.
    Have you considered that the effects of these pestacides are far easier to research in limited fish populations, but no less real in humans? You are eating and drinking exactly what is harming these fish, you just pay to do it.

  12. vicki Avatar

    p.s. hydroponic food harvest have been around for a while, and more people buy organic with each day. We just need to push for these type of alternatives to be more common. Once they are more common they will be more affordable. That is a change that may pose an immediate price issue, but it is the cost of positive change that you are paying. Try not to look at it as the cost of not using pestacides as much as the cost of being healthy in a healthier world.

  13. Brian Ertz Avatar


    There are Integrated Pest Management Strategies (IPM) that farmers can and some do employ as alternatives to pesticides.

    Interestingly enough – this is analogous to the energy conversation we’ve had a short time ago.

    My first experience with IPMs was while managing a greenhouse. It is fascinating to observe the dynamics between “pests” and “desirables” in a micro-environment like this. For those who manage to kill all “pests” – they are likely shooting themselves in the foot. The idea is to manage the populations – but hopefully keep them around. Like any ecosystem, if you kill all of the “pests” then you kill all of the “pests” predator. If there is a marginal population of “pests” then there is a marginal population of that “pests” predator that will endure. “Pests” reintroduce faster than their natural predatory species – which means if you’ve wiped both out with chemicals, then there will be a significant lag time between when the “pests” re-establish populations and when their natural predator is able to re-establish in number to bring that “pest” population back into desirable equilibrium. That lag time can often mean a wiped out crop/yield – so most just keep spraying. That’s the dependency these chemicals create.

    It is not that different with large-scale agricultural operations – except that with large scale ag operations we have a significant problem. The model we have in the US rewards growing crops in a mono-cultural fashion – this creates the problem of proliferating particular “pest” species overwhelmingly – i.e. if a particular “pest” likes say – alfalfa – then their populations are going to go gang-busters over huge swaths of land because that’s all that’s grown for years and years on the same plots. No different with wheat or corn or potatoes etc. That “pest” population is going to be established and heightened in those mono-cultures. Compounding this, is that often we believe that we can defy the natural conditions of the land where we grow so we force crops that are fundamentally inappropriate for the environment in which they are grown. To defy these natural conditions and do this we rely on irrigation, fertilizer, and pesticide. This leaves crops particularly dependent on outside manipulation of conditions – and if any of those variables or others (drought, heat, etc.) fall out of optimum condition then the crop becomes stressed and prone to “pest” infestation. “Pests” – like weed pests described before – thrive on a sort of opportunism. Healthy desirables are often the best, most economical and efficient way to prevent “pest” infestation. In the greenhouse that I managed, you would never know of a scale or spider-mite population until the cooler broke down for a couple of days mid-summer — that’s when all the problems emerged.

    Finding alternatives to toxic pesticides that poison our water, air, wildlife communities and families for the large scale ag model we have today is not likely. That is to say you cannot produce monocultural crops across thousands and thousands of acres and expect to prevent problems.

    Solutions or alternatives to these problems are out there – and they work. IPM, as well as locally grown foods on smaller scales that rotate and take care of the soil are not immune to problems but they produce food sustainably and are environmentally friendly. The food is also better for you.

    The argument often goes that “I don’t want to pay more for organic or local food”. But when you look at it from a different angle you see how much cheaper it really is to eat organically, locally grown food. For example, a tomato organically grown will nourish/fulfill a person’s daily recommended Vitamin C as well as so many other nutrients. AND it will provide the complementary nutrients that you need to break down the other nutrients for your body to actually benefit. While with a mono-culturally grown tomato grown on sterile soil (salt fertilizers & pesticides) your stomach is not large enough for you to eat enough tomatoes to get your daily Vitamin C and other nutrients – let alone the complementary nutrients. Often, the foods that we eat actually deprive us of nutrient because we pull upon those lesser known nutrients that we need to break down then better know nutrients — because those minerals and nutrients are no longer in the food we eat – because those mineral and nutrients are no longer in the soil we grow the food in – because we grow the same plant over vast miles and miles for years and years. It might as well be hydroponically grown – with less care than a legitimate hydro farmer would take to ensure proper nutrient – as the soil is becoming more and more just the medium upon which we add artificial fertilizer and pesticide year after year.

    The solution, from my perspective, much as it is with energy production – is to model the natural world and leverage the benefits of those relationships that we understand. Application of pesticide kills everything, either directly or as a function of killing the prey base. That doesn’t solve anything except in the immediate short term. What solves “pests” more is diversity because when diversity of species is promoted, you are less likely to have excess of any one species and there are dynamic relationships that check populations of “pests”. To promote diverse species of insects (that promotes diversity of birds, etc), your crop needs to be diverse – monocultures are bad. Also, the soil needs to be healthy – not sterilized with salts (harsh fertilizers & pesticide) — and the crops need to be suitable to the environments in which they are grown.

    Again, the reason for this has less to do with necessity and more do do with the convoluted organization of ag subsidies twisting and obfuscating the natural economic forces that would come to bare out of whack.

    The agricultural production of cattle forage puts more pesticide into Western waterways than you could image.

    The bottom line – from my perspective – is that we have a tendency to want to treat in a topical fashion – treat the symptoms. If we were able to be a bit more willing to assess the conditions that promote pests (i.e. monoculture & chemical dependencies promoted by absurd subsidy incentive), and mitigate those while incentivizing conditions which prevent infestation (modeled on ecology – which has worked for the natural world for a long time) – we’d be better able to prevent pests and nourish a more healthy community.

  14. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    While you can look at the use of pesticides as lowering the cost of your food, or filling the growers’ pockets in the short run, keeping your health and the cleanliness and productivity of the land in the long run, seem cheaper to me in the total scheme of things.

    Timothy, I posted data (in a comment above) on the three pesticides, and they have been canceled for many uses. Many of the original uses were not for growing food, but for home use, a location where many users are notoriously unknowledgeable or lax about proper application of pesticides.

  15. Layton Avatar

    Kind of interesting here,

    Seems like most of the folks doing the talking really don’t know the difference between pesticides – normally used to control insects, etc. — and herbicides, normally used to control plant type “pests”. They just want to group them under “pesticides” and cover everything, or, evidently, under “chemicals” which everyone KNOWS are bad — in any way, shape or form.

    Sure, in a broad sense I guess you can call them all “pesticides”, but normally there are two different types of these chemicals. Those that control bugs, and those that control weeds — can we specify which ones we’re talking about??

    I work for the (gasp!) forest service in the summer. I work on a range crew controlling noxious weeds — and I can ASSURE you that the controls that we have to work under are careful to the point of being ridiculous. If we are in an anadromous area we have to dilute the mixtures we use to the point that they are almost ineffective. We are only allowed (in most cases) about half of the doses that other entities use. Because the lawsuits and barriers put in the way won’t allow us to be effective!!

    Has anyone been to the Stanley Basin lately and seen the amount of beetle kill?? Yet, when a fire starts in that dead lodgepole (and it will) and it takes out the whole NRA, who is going to get the blame?? Yep, good ole Uncle Sam, but nobody will mention that the bug infection could have been stopped — ‘cept the greenies stopped it — probably with a lawsuit!!

  16. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    I don’t think anyone mentioned herbicides here, and we do know the difference.

    Back to pesticides . . . and speaking of Stanley Basin, Idaho, which you brought up. Almost everyone is aware of the vast lodgepole pine beetle kill there, and those who have been around a while know it was inevitable.

    I remember standing at the ranger station in the 1980s, and hearing the prediction that these lodgepole forests, then perfectly green, would within a generation or two be dead from insect attack and probably burned with a new forest coming up.

    In the meantime, most homeowners have thinned or cut down the bug trees. Some have tried to save the green trees using pesticides or more benign phermone traps for the moths that lay the bark beetle eggs.

    These don’t work very well and are not cost effective except for individual high value trees on private property.

    The Forest Service has done a lot thinning of lodgepole pine in Stanley Basin and the upper Salmon Canyon. As far as I can tell, it has done almost nothing to stop the spread of the beetle kill. Why would it?

    Beetle epidemics end when there is a very cold winter or two.
    – – – – –

    All that was predicted in the SNRA has happened with the exception that, amazingly, only a small portion has burned so far.

    It’s not the Forest Service’s fault. It’s no one’s fault. Lodgepole pine forests have short lives in the interior West. The get old, get buggy, get diseases, burn and regenerate.

    You sound like you were born yesterday.

  17. Layton Avatar

    You said:
    “I don’t think anyone mentioned herbicides here, and we do know the difference.

    Gee whiz, if they didn’t mention herbicides, where did these quotes come from??

    “Trimec contains, 2-4,D(found in agent orange),”

    “Missoula, where I live, sprays their parks with it. People are willing to put their kids and pets at risk just to kill dandelions”

    “Jerry B – The mania for herbicide spraying in the Interior West in public spaces and everywhere else to me is simply appalling.

    “The agricultural production of cattle forage puts more pesticide into Western waterways than you could image.”

    The point that I was trying to make is that there is a DISTINCT difference between the two types of chemicals. While I don’t use the type of “pesticides” that are normally used to kill bugs, I DO use herbicides on a daily basis — I have a professional license to do so. To see that people are grouping these chemicals under one hat disturbs me. Basically it seems that they don’t know what they are talking about.

    Sorry Ralph, I might have been born yesterday, but it wasn’t really late yesterday. Chemical uses are not ALL bad, any more than ALL alternative energy sources are — but it would be really hard to get that from reading a lot of posts here.

    As far as the Stanley Basis goes — it would seem to me that a bit of chemical help — if allowed by some “environmental movements” would have gone a long way toward eliminating the purple, dead, lodgepole that is throughout the basin now. Maybe that would have given other types of forbes time to fill in after them.

  18. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    Sorry then. There was some mention of herbicides in the comments. Herbicides are an interesting matter too.

    I was most taken by your comments about the red and dead lodgepole pine, and I commented about that because I have been thinking about it and watching these caterpillar and beetle epidemics since the mid-1970s.

    There were massive attempts to kill timber “pests” with pesticides from the 1950s (with DDT broadcast sprayed from large fixed wing aircraft) until the 1980s. It hardly worked, and wasn’t cost effective even if we ignore the bad side effects on people and animals. These were enormous and the breakdown products remain, such as DDE.

    I’m not totally opposed to herbicides, especially where foreign allopathic plants like knapweed invade undisturbed native vegetation. Of course most knapweed sites are heavily disturbed by logging, excavation, plowing, or livestock grazing.

    In general I support Brian Ertz’s ideas about passive restoration as control.

    There are exciting developments with imported insects that eat the plants (danger here too; they sometimes attack native vegetation) and use of diseases such as rusts to control foreign invaders, e.g., a rust to control dyer’s woad.

    I’m glad the Forest Service has strong measures to keep the herbicides out of waterways because they will often kill plants that grow in the water, including the very tiny ones at the base of the food chain.

  19. jerry b Avatar
    jerry b

    Layton…….from Webster’s dictionary
    pesticide….ANY chemical for killing INSECTS, WEEDS, etc

  20. jerry b Avatar
    jerry b

    Timothy…..couple of websites if your interested in more info:
    “” (Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides)

    “” (Washington Toxics Coalition)

  21. Layton Avatar


    A couple more comments here and I’ll get off my high horse.

    First, there are more allelopathic weeds than knapweed. One that comes to mind is Rush Skeleton Weed. I spent the morning at an archery tournament — there was “rush” everywhere I looked, and the tournament was in the city of Boise!!

    Not the desert or the mtns., but the CITY. And yet, if you talk to the people that should be doing something about it, they don’t even know what the hell it looks like!!

    There are three “biologicals” that I know of that are being tried at this time to control it, a beetle, a fungus and a parasite that attacks the roots. Our winters kill all of them — but don’t bother the weed!!

    On the label for the chemicals that will kill rush, there are quantities listed to mix. Our rules, made up by NOAA, NMF, etc., let us use about 50% of the recommended mixture. Well meaning – but uninformed – “greenie” orgs have wound things up in court so much that the “feds” don’t dare use the quantities specified on the label — JUST TO AVOID THE HASSLE it would cause. Dow and the other companies have tested things ad nauseum to be sure that they won’t affect other things environmental — I might be naive, but I believe their results.

    I’m not familiar with the fungus you speak of, but I have no reason to disbelieve it. One success that comes to mind is a beetle (Klamath Beetle) that is destroying St. John’s Wort pretty successfully. However, MANY potentially good solutions are not being tried here in the USA because of —- LAWSUITS!!

    By the way, British Columbia is having pretty good luck with a couple of “bugs” for Knapweed.

    Like the man says “the pendulum is never in the middle” and right now it seems to me that it is to far on the “green” side of the swing.

  22. Layton Avatar

    Jerry B.

    Thanks for the quote from Webster’s.

    Now — if you’ll read what I said (at least what I THOUGHT I said. You’ll see that I was referring to just that definition — for instance:

    “Sure, in a broad sense I guess you can call them all “pesticides”, but normally there are two different types of these chemicals. Those that control bugs, and those that control weeds — can we specify which ones we’re talking about??”

    Sorry if I didn’t make it clear.

  23. Brian Ertz Avatar

    the reason it is appropriate to speak in general about pesticides (whether it be herbicide, insecticide, rodenticide, etc.) is because they are all foreign chemicals used to kill species that act in different ways – many that we don’t understand. Many fertilizers ought similarly garner scrutiny.

    there is no robust precautionary principle when it comes to American regulation of pesticides. Generally, the regulation is woefully inadequate.

    Take for example Transformational Products (TPs), or degradates. Many chemicals are touted for how fast they break down into more simple compounds – mostly, this is taken as indication that it is “safer” – it is certainly leaned upon in agency documentation within EAs etc. – because the chemical mechanism that works to kill, inhibit, catalyze, or spur chemical or hormonal processes in target “pest” in the active ingredient is no longer present in same form — but really, the speed at which active ingredients break down is not necessarily indication at all of much more than one (bio-accumulation) of many concerns that we ought have about what affect a chemical agent is having in the environment. In fact, speedy break-down might mean volatile compound that reacts easily with other things. Degradates can be just as if not more harmful, and TPs – the chemical interactions that different degrading compounds have with other chemicals in the environment (often in water and under sunlight/heat – catalysts) to form new chemicals that are not tested. These chemicals are not scrutinized nearly enough and it is often only the case that they are investigated when something bad happens – of course, it is also the case that chemicals approved for use are often not scrutinized with due diligence until something bad happens — and even when something bad happens, that review might not take place. Often, with the chemicals most used (ag), the deleterious effects aren’t known or taken seriously for some time after people fall ill or die because so many ag workers are undocumented migrants who fear deportation if they were to report their condition. There is an environmental racism associated with use of pesticides – I am unsure about the extent that this angle of public oversight has been pursued by any advocacy group.

    And then there’s the surfactants – a few of which have been found to be more toxic than the active ingredient ! And like mentioned before — toxicity of the surfactant, and of the combination of surfactant with active ingredient, and the break-down and reaction of all of those with other compounds in the environment for which these compounds are applied is rarely reviewed.

    We have very little understanding of this – but it hits the market none-the-less. The market being the grass that our barefoot children play on, the water that our communities drink, that wildlife communities depend on, and the landscapes newly exposed to chemicals that often mimic naturally occurring hormones – but are applied at rates so out of whack with any natural equilibrium as to turn one’s physiology against itself (whether it’s a plant or a bug or a rodent). What effect does that have on ecosystems ? On water ? etc. ?

    We don’t really know.

    That’s why I advocate passive restoration. Because these chemicals work.

  24. vicki Avatar

    Chemicals are chemicals. Some are better, perhaps, some are worse. But the simple truth here goes back to Economics 101…it is all a part of Opportunity Cost.
    Nothing comes without a price, anymore. Though the natural purity of the land may have been free several hundred years ago, that has faded into history…like many other things.
    What you are left with is the choices at hand. You must give something up, usually cold hard cash, to get what you want. So you must choose the opportunities you see as worth the trade off. I say cleaner water and healthier aquatic life in general are worth paying more for produce.

    This is true of every thread we take part in here. You want clean water, prepare to pay more money for food, and hear farmers bitch about it. (unless you grow organic then you will reap the rewards.)
    If you want wolves, prepare to have tax dollars earmarked and hear ranchers bitch. I
    f you want bison to be free roaming, be prepared to help pay for the lands and leases to be purchased, and for the ranchers to bitch.
    If you want cleaner energy, be prepared to pay more while alternatives are developed and listen to oil companies bitch about it.
    YOu want those alternatives, be prepared to have some wind turbines and solar panel factories in your own backyard, and listen to people bitch about it too.

    No matter which side you fall on in any of these arguments, you have a price to pay for the choices you make. I am prepared to do without a great many things in order to have a healthier environment. But many, many Americans are not. So they choose a different price, their health…and their childrens..etc.
    If people would simply start to realize that when you make these choices you are left with cold hard consequences, we could move forward from some of the little differences that set us apart from one another. (My dad is right, I am turning into a neo-hippie.)
    Simply put, no one really wants to pollute, they just want things cheaply. Farmers aren’t really wanting to kill all the fisheries, they want to turn a quick profit. If you want to change the outcome, buy organic, from an organic farmer’s market. vote to end the use of harmful agents, swing the economic tide by convincing others to bare the temporary hardship that goes with creating change…and be prepared to listen to people bitch about it!

  25. vicki Avatar

    I am sorry if I seem a bit harsh today, I just get so exhausted of feeling like we are in a constant holding pattern. It can be very disheartening and very frustrating!

  26. Layton Avatar


    With all due respect, I just don’t go along with your apparent presumption that there is never enough testing done to allow the prescribed use of ANY chemicals — correct me if that isn’t the way you feel.

    You say:

    “there is no robust precautionary principle when it comes to American regulation of pesticides. Generally, the regulation is woefully inadequate.”

    To me that is just not a true statement, maybe, in fact I’m sure, there are abuses, but the picture is not clear to me that “no robust precautionary principles” are in place.

    Chemical companies spend millions of $$ and years of time making sure that the uses prescribed for their product are safe. Maybe there are mistakes, nobody is perfect, but I would submit that great efforts are made to eliminate them.

    It seems to me that, to many here, ALL corporations and especially ALL public land ranching is the “root of all evil” and that it is somehow a giant conspiracy against anything green, I just don’t believe that. I can’t see the reason for it and I don’t see much evidence indicating that this is true.

    By the way, ie. your comments about surfactants — they can’t even be used by federal entities in areas that include drainages into anadromous streams. Any kind of surfactants.

    I agree with your comments that passive restoration would be the best way, but I just don’t see it as being practical. The world she is a changin’ and I think we ALL have to realize that.


    You know, I could just about agree with everything that you say in your last two posts — even tho’ I usually find myself coming at things from the opposite direction that you do.

    Especially your last post!! It just seems that there can never be any middle ground, it’s always got to be a binary decision with a winner and a loser.

  27. Brian Ertz Avatar


    i’m not against pesticides in every instance — i’m against their use as a first resort — which is happening more and more on both the personal us and with FS & BLM — Real problems aren’t being dealt with because the perception is that we can just spray it every year.

  28. Linda Hunter Avatar

    Layton your job with the weed board is to be commended. Here the weed board has had some tough times initiated by people of all sides of every issue. . it is as if the weed board is an easy target to take frustrations out on. Our weed board here tries really hard to please each faction by doing a tremendous amount of research and physical labor. I watched them inject a whole patch of knapweed with needles rather than spray. What a pain to do that, but a friend of mine who is having a bout with cancer has done a huge amount of research on cancer and finds that the bottom line, according to John Hopkins University is that we all have cancer and it is the impurity of our environment and food which causes people to become unbalanced enough to suffer from it. I haven’t researched these issues myself, but it doesn’t matter if you are a “greenie” or not, we all live in the same house so to speak.

  29. vicki Avatar

    We may have made history (lol).

    Honestly, I am not too different than many folks here. I would like to see things get better. I would like some restoration, some conservation, and some balance in the world and our local environments. But as true as that is, I know how difficult it is to afford all of those things.

    I hunt, and I fish. So I have often been on the opposite end of the spectrum when it comes to certain topics here. But I am also realistic. I know that these things we want (most of us here) are a pipe dream unless you can get the changes to occur at a financially feasable standard for low and middle class Americans. ( I also know that middle class Americans are just lower income people who pay higher taxes.)

    Until using alternatives for anything proposed on this blog(including pestacides/herbacides) is made affordable, it will have to be subsidized by the government…which means higher taxes or huge reforms on spending. That is a price we will have to pay, one that I am willing to pay. I firmly believe that it will be cheaper in the long run. We will see if America agrees in a few months when we elect a new president.

    Only when it becomes an obvious economic trend towards profit to use alternatives and “be green”, will private industry stop fighting the changes and start participating and profitting from them. That won’t happen until people CHOOSE to use alternatives even at an increased monetary cost.

    Right now, green is politically correct in Hollywood-(which tends to preceed political trend, advertising and public opinion is wrapped around people literally seeing stars.) So I would anticipate that green will become the new black gold in a decade or two. Hint from a financial advisor and economist I know, invest in companies that have green plans for conversion in place, or companies that will supply green manufacturing components.

    Like it or not, you don’t get thirty choices when it comes to legislation. You get the choice of legislators, period. They will either support, or be against, the proposed laws and ammendments of laws…so we need to choose our law makers very carefully. Make them reflective of your general desires for the economy and the environment.

    My problem is not that people want change, it is that they have no idea how to create it….or what it costs and takes to inact it. I have a problem when people who sit atop a high horse preaching change, with no consideration of how others will be adversely effected by it. You have to consider what you do to others and plan to reciprocate for their hardships. Otherwise, you are a hypocrit who is no better than those you throw stones at. What you will have done is harmed the good of another, which may be inevitable, but how you treat them in the wake of that seperates good people from butt-heads.

    Trust me in this, I have often been on the receiving end of the same type of reception you get. I believe that ranchers have a right to make a living, on their own land.

    If we end their ability to graze on public lands, and they have no private land to use, we are obligated to use good faith in how we treat them. We should help them relocate and re-educate them so that they might find another dream or career. Why? Because it is THE RIGHT THING TO DO.

    If wolves do predate on livestock on private land, we should pay fair market value for the stock lost. Why? I think it is the right thing to do.

    If we tell farmers not to use pestacides, we need to have government programs available to aid them in using alternative measures. Why? Again, the right thing to do.

    So often, we hear about people saying they don’t want a Walmart in their town. Yet these people go thirty miles down the road to shop in a Walmart in someone else’s town. That is the type of hypocritical thinking that peeves me. Everyone wants things cheaply, but not in their own backyard. Not if it applies a direct cost to them.

    If we are going to put wind turbines up, be prepared to sacrafice to do it, in your own backyard. Or be prepared to have drilling or mining instead. There is no perfect way to do all of these things, and hard choices abound….complete with consequences and costs.

    I may be among the minority, and I am sure my opinion is not popular here. But this is not a Eutopia, and there are humans involved, no one less flawed than another. Just because someone doesn’t want to go broke providing food for their family, we can’t lable them an anti-environmentalist. We need to accept that people have very different needs and ideas on what meeting them should cost.

    To sit around saying too bad, use less energy, use less pestacides, drive less, is not only non-productive, it is straight up foolish to believe it will change anything. (Sorry people, I am calling it like I see it.)

    Make alternatives affordable. Be ready to be opposed. And let’s get on with fixing the problem-to the best and most REALISTIC standards that we can. Realistic is the key word. Otherwise, be ready to be defeated in every attempt that is made to change things.

    I love that people are idealistic here, and have big dreams for a better world, but we have got to balance those dreams with a realistic approach to acheiving them.

    Thanks Layton. I never thought I’d say it, but thanks none the less.

  30. Jay Avatar


    I’m curious to hear what you have to say about weeds and wildlife habitat degredation. We’ve gone round and round about wolves and elk, but knowing that you do weed work for the FS and have seen the problem first hand, I’d like to hear your take on this issue. I can’t remember the exact figure, but on an Outdoor Idaho episode done on invasive weeds, they made a statement that we lose something on the line of hundreds of thousands of acres to invasives EVERY year, and for the most part, this is permanent degredation. Lots of folks have made an issue about wolves, but for my money, I think habitat degredation due to cheatgrass, knapweed, starthistle–the list goes on and on–is going to account for a greater decline in deer and elk than predators ever will.

  31. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    I think you are right Jay. The controversial North Fork of Clearwater would support more elk in the winter if the lower elevation winter ranges were not choked with knapweed.

    Elk die of starvation there, then their carcasses are scavenged and the scavengers get blamed.

  32. jimbob Avatar

    The early quote about some pesticides being ok so we don’t go extinct can’t go without comment. Has anybody considered that cancer is probably a chemical reaction to the toxins in the environment? How about the government’s “acceptable levels” of toxins? Many toxins build up in living things as time goes on. As far as acceptable goes, does anybody trust their life to this Bush-run FDA? Cancer is becoming increasingly common in our society, but it ain’t all from smoking! The risks to other species from all of these chemicals SERIOUSLY threatens biodiversity. THAT would have a huge impact on the human species–which should trump whether farmer John’s profit goes down due to less production. Nobody ever talks about the big picture except as it relates to profits.

  33. TimothyB Avatar

    jimbob: It’s been said many times “It’s all about the money”. And the pesticide connection to farming is no different. Think long and hard about what you wish for. Some farmers…small farmers operate with very narrow margins. Take the small farmer out of the equation and you have only corporate farms who will run over you and anyone who gets in their way. The “biodiversity” in the farming industry will be gone. I don’t know about you but I also operate on narrow margins so to speak. So when people talk about things that will greatly effect my way of life then it’s time to speak up.

    Being concerned for the environment is great but when making ends meet crashes into an uncompromising environmental concept the only support you will get from the regular folks is deafening silence or worse. Maybe the Hollywood types will stand proud and tall on your side of the line with all their $millions to support it.

    As far as the trust factor and the “Bush-run FDA”? I may or may not trust the FDA or President Bush but it’s what the citizens of this country have to live with for the next five months. That’s a short five months and then you get another President. In other words, Bush bashing at this point seems counter-productive.

    In a nutshell…you can fight your “all or nothing war” or you can fight the smart war and and win it one battle at a time. After reading all 32 comments in this post, I suppose the “all or nothing” folks will prevail.

  34. Linda Hunter Avatar

    I don’t know about where you are but the weed board where I am work long and hard to suit everyone. . I saw them work very hard to inject a stand of knotweed with needles rather than spray in a sensitive neighborhood. If you stop and talk to them they are always trying to do a better job and figure out how to do it with the least impact and most of them spend a lot of their free time on the internet doing research to do their job better . . and they get battered verbally from every side. Lets raise a drink (water or whatever) to the weed boards and their hard working crews.

  35. Layton Avatar


    Kind of an interesting question — will predators or weeds harm the big game population more??

    First of all, I think we can agree (or can we?) that BOTH harm the general big game population. The biggest difference between them, to me at any rate, is that one is being controlled — somewhat, and the other is not.

    I do, however, see what I think is a common thread. The weeds were completely uncontrolled for a long time and look where they are now — I see the wolves as being a very similar problem.

    Weeds were ignored — pretty much everywhere, for a long time. In a lot of areas they have become so entrenched that, unless some sort of biologicals are put into place, they will NEVER be controlled.

    I work in a forest where there has been one dedicated individual that has been given some time and some $$ for the last 30 years and IT SHOWS. Weeds that are common in other forests hardly have a foothold in ours. We travel miles on a single report of an infestation of priority one weeds — other forests have such large infestations of these same noxious invaders that they aren’t hardly noticed!!

    I really feel that the same thing is currently happening with wolves. They are uncontrolled and being allowed to breed and run rampant where and when they want to. Sooner or later, even folks that aren’t currently aware of the problems and the critter’s potential for a population explosion are going to realize what is happening.

    When we get to the point that there isn’t even enough of a big game population to use the winter range that is available —– well, the question will be moot, won’t it!!


    Where exactly IS this winter range that is so “choked with knapweed” that the elk are starving? I really haven’t heard about it.


  36. Jay Avatar

    Are you really comparing native species of predators to weeds from eurasia? You single out wolves, but you also mention predators in general in your first sentence, so by that I assume that you consider all predators harmful to prey species. But I’m sure you don’t count yourself towards that list, right? After all, humans aren’t predators, they’re sport hunters, which are clearly two different things, right? How can you be so hypocritical? Wolves are native, eurasian weed species such as knapweed and cheatgrass are not. Predator and prey have co-evolved for thousands of years.

  37. Layton Avatar

    Oh for crap sake Jay,

    You are playing with words here rather than trying to discuss things.

    Of course wolves are predators, of course humans are predators, of course all predators are harmful to prey species — at least if they are eating regularly!!

    Isn’t what we are talking about here a question of degree? Or maybe control?? Human predators are CONTROLLED. Most (any) other predators of big game populations are CONTROLLED. Attempts are constantly being made to CONTROL noxious weeds.

    The ONLY thing on this list that is NOT CONTROLLED is the wolves. Does that make the point more obvious to you??

    Yes, predator and prey have co-evolved for thousands of years —- only recently in those thousands of years, have we introduced millions of people and changed the very basis of the environment that they live in — don’t you think that there is just the smallest of chances that we have changed the basic equation??


  38. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    Non-native plants like knapweed are not native. That’s true by definition. Native animals like canis lupus are native. That’s true by definition too.

    Wolves are controlled in number by other wolves, by their prey, by disease, and ultimately at times by their food supply. It is plain false to say “they are NOT CONTROLLED.”

    The increased numbers of humans does not fundamentally change the very basis of the environment wolves live in. The wolves are doing just fine and so is their prey.

    I don’t think you said a single thing right in your post.

  39. JB Avatar

    Ralph said: “Wolves are controlled in number by other wolves, by their prey, by disease, and ultimately at times by their food supply. It is plain false to say “they are NOT CONTROLLED.””

    Actually, it is laughably incorrect to say that wolf populations are not controlled. If you check out FWS’s 2007 wolf report you’ll see that in Montana, for instance, 72% of all wolf mortalities were control actions for livestock depredation. Of the remaining, only a small percent (<5%) were determined to have died by natural causes (see quote below). I believe what Layton is complaining about is the lack of a legal hunting season?

    From 2007 wolf report:

    “Of the 102 documented mortalities, 72% (n=73 wolves) were killed to address livestock related
    conflicts. The remaining 28% (n=29 wolves) died due illegal / suspected illegal killing, legal
    harvest in Canada, incidental trapping/snaring, natural, unknown, car/train, and incidental to
    management or euthanasia for poor health.”

  40. Layton Avatar

    Tough crowd!!

    Heck Ralph, if I use your definition of control – the way you say it works with wolves — then it’s no sweat!! Knapweed is controlled too! If it were just that easy.


  41. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Thanks for the obvious addition, JB


    It is that easy. The wolves are controlled and under control. They are not going to get out of control.

    What else could you possibly be talking about?

  42. JB Avatar


    No worries. Just to be clear: In wildlife management, “control” of wildlife generally means some kind of intervention designed to move or remove wildlife. However, with large carnivores the word is almost always used as a synonym for “kill”. With wolves, control generally refers to one of the following: (1) shooting from the air, (2) trapping (and killing), (3) shooting from the ground (e.g. either through a targeted action or through legalized hunting). I assume that Layton’s complaint about “no control” refers to the lack of a hunting or trapping season. However, given that at least 72% of wolf mortalities (at least in Montana) were the result of wildlife management actions, it is simply wrong to suggest that wolves are not controlled. Wolf populations are controlled both by natural mortality (though this plays a small part) and by management intervention.

  43. Brian Ertz Avatar

    I would submit that the perception of lack of “control” with wolves has more to do with visceral nature of this issue – having nothing to do with the management actions or realities on the ground.

    the narrative goes something like – ‘if it’s allowed to be, without intervention, then there’s something wrong with that – something threatening about that’ – that “wild” space is the vacuum in which their imagination runs wild with thoughts of children being mauled or wolf ‘sport killing’ etc. – the natural world is inherently at odds with this anthropocentric mentality.

    the worst thing in the world for this mentality-of-death would be for wolves to be reprieved of heavy-handed “control” until that time when self-regulation of wolf populations became evident (i.e. population leveled off on its own) – because that would be the most hard-hitting ‘out-of-control’ sociological realization of all – that their incessant need to ‘be in control’ is self-defeating – that the wild, self regulation, has a better hold on ‘control’ and balance than we could ever gin-up. That is the most emasculating thought to this mentality of all.

    we tend to forget that folk and political associations that are antagonistic to wolves aren’t standing on rational ground. compensation fully responded to the economically interested arguments – yet it did not drain – at whatever source – the well of contempt for wolves. similarly – that so many more livestock are killed by poisonous plants, indigestion, rancher neglect, domestic dogs, etc. etc. etc. yet, those things do not garner the same hatred – so it’s not reasonably the death of livestock, given we don’t see the same resentment of other things that kill far more livestock.

    and of big game – that hunters kill X times as many ungulates, that ORVs scare off X number more, that ticks and winter kill and disease and competition from domestic livestock kill off (or preclude viable habitat) for so many more big game species than wolves affect etc. etc. etc.

    Clearly, there is something else at the heart of this – something that all of the assurances of reason, science, prostrations of good faith, etc. etc. etc. can not effectively respond to.

    Yet – we still invest in compensation, in ‘predator friendly ranching techniques’ (sorry Ralph, I know your organization invested in the Wood River thing – but perhaps it is safe to say that the investment is worth it because of what we will learn and that it will strengthen our hand at demonstrating the absurdity of lethal controls to decision-makers by demonstrating the effectiveness of alternatives – that they don’t need lethal controls. I think you know that if we expect it to somehow snuff “intolerance” and spread through as a general model for ranching – we’re all going to be disappointed. I guess I should say that it is “worth it” only when we don’t allow the misguided wish that these industries will somehow change their mind to muzzle our willingness to speak the truth now – something I think this blog and the WRF has found an admirable balance at – but that others have not – Just IMO). We still ‘play’ as if responding to whatever rational self-interest livestock producers and hunters claim – despite the behavior to the contrary – will bear fruit. How much rotten fruit must we ingest before burning the damn tree to the ground ?


    you do your compadres full justice ~ you are perhaps among the cream of anti-wolfers when it comes to argument and reason — if you take that as a compliment, i revoke the suggestion.

    the level of “control” that Layton and other anti-wolfers suggest and prescribe is unattainable given the law, it is immoral and completely out of accord with what I consider to be an honest advocacy of wolves – or any wildlife for that matter. We’ve trivialized the definition of “wild” enough – it’s time to stop ceding ground lest it be lost beyond restoration. Unfortunately – they are better at establishing starting points of leverage with regard to the political/public narrative – simply because there are so many willing to sit down at that absurdly crooked table – they extort the good will of naive conservationists so ambitious as to believe they can come out on top by using Livestock’s language of control. it’s rotten fruit – don’t eat it.

    i hope layton’s contribution on this blog, or more appropriately – the responses to his contribution – are enlightening to laymen who stop by. otherwise it’s just trash with no better purpose than to rile wolf advocates up. maybe that’s good – i dunno. either way – your hissy fit about out of control wolves is silly – shut up.

  44. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Layton’s comments are valuable because they generate a lot of interesting responses, including yours, Brian.

    I think you have identified, a key and maybe the key to anti-wolf sentiment. It might even be the key to anti-bison, anti-bighorn sheep, anti-bear, anti-nature feelings, and much more.

    The key is fear of losing control in general.

    I have heard this theme for 30 years, long before wolves were even an issue, “you can’t just let the forests, the grass, etc. go. They need management” — control. “Things will get out of hand.” “The grass will grow up, turn over and die.”

    In 1992, Clarissa Pinkola Estes wrote the book, Women Who Run with the Wolves. This was a self help book for women. Estes argued that to be whole, women need to return to their repressed instincts — to behave like wolves.

    I just skimmed the book, but I always thought it had a point, and indeed many women in the United States escaped from control. So too, do many men. That’s what the right wing social reaction is about.

  45. Brian Ertz Avatar

    my apologies for the lack of diplomacy – i’m not too good at that.

    regardless – the only thing that needs to be controlled is these anti-wolf yahoos.

    “We’ll let them keep their music”

  46. Layton Avatar


    I don’t think it is a “hissy fit” on my part that brought up this whole discussion. It (the discussion) was brought up by someone (Jay) asking a question comparing damage to big game population caused by invasive weeds and by wolves. 8)

    He asked for an opinion, and, not to be shy, I gave it. Isn’t that what this whole blog is about? I certainly see that you are not shy in offering your’s —- on any subject.

    Perhaps if I were more verbose — hmmmmmm.

    Are you REALLY going to take it back if I consider it a compliment?? Gosh, I think it was the first one I’ve gotten from you.


  47. JB Avatar

    Ralph, Brian: Interesting insight there; we appear to be discussing two very different types of control: (1) control (lower-case c) in the management context (i.e. purposeful manipulation of individuals or populations) and (2) Control (capital C) referring to the desire to exert power or influence–to dominate–wildlife, so to speak.

    With regard to the former, I see two domains of thought underlying people’s views about lethal control. The first is the severity of the management action (i.e. what action is being prescribed), the second is the purpose of that action (i.e. control toward what end). In fact, research shows support for lethal control is often dependent upon these factors.

    The management action prescribed for wolves would be considered severe by most. In the study I was involved with, we found that “shooting wolves from the air” was second only to “poisoning wolves” in terms of its acceptability as means of controlling wolves that killed livestock. People simply do not see this as humane.

    Regarding the second domain: The actions we take with regard to “nuisance” wildlife are meant to protect private property from damage. In urban and suburban areas, this generally means protecting your home from critters that sometimes turn into pests (e.g. raccoons, skunks, opossums, bats, mice). Much of the control is prophylactic, and non-lethal. In farm country, the focus changes to protecting crops from species such as white-tailed deer and blackbirds. Here, controls are lethal, but focused on problem areas.

    The difference with wolves in the West, at least as I see it, is that the lethal control takes place on public land for the benefit of a few individuals. People are generally supportive of the “right” of others to kill wild animals that are damaging private property, but this changes when that private property is roaming around on public lands.

    The tax-payer subsidized killing of wolves for livestock depredations becomes a bit absurd in this context. Think about it, we (the taxpayers) actually pay a government agency to fly helicopter “missions” to carry out what amount to “revenge” killings of predators. I think most people understand that this is not desirable, nor cost effective; it’s why they support the rights of individuals to kill wild animals on private property and NOT on public property; it’s also why most in the West favor hunting wolves over the current method.

  48. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    You are right on the mark that the word “control” was used in two ways in our responses to Layton and those who raise similar arguments as him.

    I think the kind of control that is politically and socially relevant in Idaho is the second use of the word — “Control (capital C) referring to the desire to exert power or influence–to dominate–wildlife, so to speak.”

    . . . and then I went on to speculate that the wolf is just one thing the dominant cultural forces are afraid they are losing control over. So they want to make a statement by killing as much wildlife as possible (with a few exceptions like deer and elk). They would also like to reduce wildlife to private property — livestock.

  49. JB Avatar


    I can’t help but wonder how much the dominate paradigm in wildlife management has contributed to this fallacy that wildlife need to be “controlled”? The whole idea that a species can be “overpopulated” or “overabundant” is socially constructed. As you pointed out (above), there are a number of ecological factors (availability of food and water, competition for territory, etc.) that “naturally” constrain ALL plant and animal populations. Even a “plague” of locusts occurs because ecological conditions favor that species. Eventually however, those conditions will change and the “plague” will come to an end.

    So what the heck does it mean for a species to be “overpopulated”? Why do we say a particular species needs to be controlled? I think this stems from our desire for stable populations. Some hunters don’t want ungulate populations to fluctuate; they want a surplus every year so that “harvest” is consistent (note, the use of the word harvest supports your idea that we treat these animals like livestock–like a crop). This idea is dogma for wildlife managers, who often view themselves as providing a product (i.e. harvestable surplus of game) for their customers (i.e. hunters and trappers). The net result is that any species that reduces (or in this case, is perceived to reduce) that harvestable surplus is considered a direct threat to their business. Thus, wildlife management is NOT about conserving and protecting native ecosystems, but rather ensuring the continued existence of surplus game. My point, it isn’t only livestock producers and hunters that feel threatened by the idea of “uncontrolled” (i.e. unmanaged) species; the idea that wildlife populations regulate themselves directly challenges the notion that we need heavy-handed management.

  50. Jay Avatar

    I think a quote from former gov. of Alaska Wally Hickel best sums up the attitude of control Ralph and JB are referring to: “You can’t just let nature run wild.”

    And Layton, I’m not trying to play with words, just working with what you gave me.

  51. Layton Avatar

    Oh wow,

    Ralph, Do you REALLY believe that things are that simplistic??

    Come on — you said;
    “I think the kind of control that is politically and socially relevant in Idaho is the second use of the word — “Control (capital C) referring to the desire to exert power or influence–to dominate–wildlife, so to speak.”

    I’m sorry, I just don’t buy that. I know that I don’t feel some kind of a Freudian need to “exert power —- or dominate wildlife ” ———————— belay that, maybe I do!! Toward “some” wildlife.

    I do know that when I talk about “controlling” wolves I mean that I think they should have reason to fear man — they should NOT come in on humans in the woods and not be fearful, they should NOT come in on a pack of dogs – that they know are associated with humans – and feel free to kill them, they should NOT run amok among a flock of sheep and do it without fear. I DO feel that they should fear things that they know are associated with man. They are NOT the top critter in the hierarchy of things. At least not in my estimation.

    Other animals DO fear man and, to a large part stay away from things that are associated with him.

    Is that what you are talking about?? If it is, I guess I have to plead guilty on this count. BUT I still don’t think it’s wrong!! Maybe that’s the difference between the two sides of the argument??

    Now — as for the other thing you mentioned;
    “. . . and then I went on to speculate that the wolf is just one thing the dominant cultural forces are afraid they are losing control over. So they want to make a statement by killing as much wildlife as possible (with a few exceptions like deer and elk). They would also like to reduce wildlife to private property — livestock.”

    That I don’t agree with at all, wildlife should stay wild. I don’t like high fence “killing” operations or anything that resembles them.


  52. Layton Avatar


    Great post, great two posts actually. I do mean that as a compliment and I won’t take it back if you consider it that.

    Made me think about a few things, in fact I’m still thinking about some of the things you said — a lot!!

  53. JB Avatar

    Thanks, Layton. I have been thinking about the “control” issue quite a bit, as I’ve started working on a paper modeling support for the lethal control of wolves.

  54. Linda Hunter Avatar

    Layton you said something that I have been thinking about for a long time.

    “Other animals DO fear man and, to a large part stay away from things that are associated with him.”

    I have had hunters tell me that animals need to be hunted and killed to instill fear in them of humans, but I have always wondered how a dead animal had learned anything. . and then, after studying bears and tracking them for a long time I realized that they learn from all humans and sometimes they learn that they can scare hikers and tourists just by being seen. Sometimes they learn that they can go to someone’s house and pretty much have their way with anything because the people are scared. What hunters do is that they don’t act scared . . well most of them anyway . . and the animals learn to fear humans by our body language . . not by being killed. This is a theory of mine I have been working on to explain why some animals learn to be afraid of man and others are taught that we are wusses. What do you think and has anything in your experience showed you any reasons why animals fear man. If you kill a wolf do the other wolves then understand and fear man because their buddy got killed? Or do they even know about it? Do you think animals understand guns?

  55. JB Avatar


    I think you’re on very safe ground suggesting that a dead wolf can’t learn anything. I also think its pretty safe to say that the only way wolves could learn the fear of humans through being hunted is either by near-misses, or by witnessing a pack member being killed. However, these individuals could presumably “teach” this fear to their offspring by the way they act when they encounter people, our objects, or our scent.

    Let’s keep in mind that canids, in general, are neophobic–that is, they fear anything that is unfamiliar. Wolves start off with a fear of people, they have to learn NOT to fear them (via habituation). Note, we’ve had 3 decades of wolf protection in Minnesota with very few incidents (certainly fewer than other large carnivores). Thus, I don’t think hunting will have a huge impact on wolves fear of people (though it will have some). Still, I support the hunting of wolves because wolves will eventually occupy all suitable habitat and young wolves will be pushed into areas where they are more likely to come into conflict with people (as has happened with cougars in Colorado). In fact, I would support drawing a wide circle around cities and outlying suburban areas and classifying wolves as a predator in these (and adjacent rural areas). Hunting wolves in these areas could help prevent future conflicts and ensure continued support for the presence of wolves.

  56. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    I agree that killing a wolf does little or nothing in teaching the larger population to fear. After all wolves are killed by any number of means including their prey.
    One has to ask do wolves understand or have a concept of death or if they do is it something they fear.
    In order to learn to fear, a member or more of the pack needs to be in a situation that elicits fear or the “flight” response, and then the other pack members will all learn by the smells, sights and body language of; however there has to be an association with the source that triggered the flight response. If a pack member is goofing off two ridges over and is startled into the flight response, by the time it rejoins the pack there will be no way for the pack as a whole to associate with what caused the one member to flee. But that one wolf, if subjected to the fear stimulus again when other pack members are present will then give the needed association, or cause and effect. It may be even more effective if the wolf in the example is higher, or more dominant member, in the hierarchy of the pack.
    I think one thing that is maybe overlooked in these types of discourses is that there does not seem to be a recognition that each wolf as an individual will respond somewhat differently in a given situation, especially apart from the pack. What would bring about an immediate flight response in one wolf, may only trigger curiosity in another or even the fight response in a third.
    Fortunately the flight response is the dominate one.
    One reason that seems to come into what reaction happens is the way dopamine acts in the brain.
    Recent research has found that that substance, known to trigger pleasure or positive reactions, also acts to trigger fear or negative as well.

  57. Layton Avatar


    I’m not an animal phycolegist or anything — but, it seems to me that it only makes sense that other members of a pack would learn if some of their buddies get hurt of killed.

    After all, don’t they learn how to take their meals by watching others do it??

    One experience that I do have that would seem to line up with this is with a gun shy dog. I had a lab bitch that thought guns and hunting were the best thing in the world — if you got the shotgun out in the AM there was no way that you could get her off your heels.

    I ended up “adopting” (putting up with) a shorthair that my wife felt sorry for — this dog was TOTALLY gun shy. After a few outings where I took the shorthair along in an attempt to allay his fear, he freaked out enough that the lab became gun shy!!

    After coming to the realization that this was happening, the shorthair ‘went down the road’ to a family that didn’t hunt and I was able to swing the lab back to hunting again — but it took almost a whole year of trying — by exposing her to guns and the noise to get her back to duck hunting again.


  58. Layton Avatar

    Wow, can you tell I can’t spell psychologist very well?

    And “hurt OR killed” would probably make more sense.

    More coffee, more coffee!

  59. Heather Avatar

    wolves are doing what they naturally do – hunting. If one is shot, the others really must keep up the pace by hunting more. they wont “learn” to stay away. they are trying to survive.

  60. JB Avatar


    I suggest reading (re-reading?) Jeff E’s post above. I think it’s a great explanation of how conditioning and social learning combine to explain the behavior of wolves with regard to human beings. They absolutely can and do learn to avoid people; though as I mentioned above, it helps that this behavior (fear-flight) is instinctual.

    If you need any more evidence that wolves can “learn” to avoid humans I suggest talking with some of the wildlife researchers that work with wolves and even coyotes. They will tell you that it is almost impossible to trap the same animal twice.

  61. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    They have had to cracker shell and/or shoot wolves with rubber bullets twice in Yellowstone Park over the last 13 years.

    They never had problems with the wolves they did it to again.

  62. Brian Ertz Avatar

    i think it’s absurd to suggest that wolves ought have culpability or responsibility to avoid dogs, livestock, etc. while on public land. it’s the human-beings, the land users who stand to gain and are entering an arena of the wild, who ought be “trained” and expected to adjust behavior.

    whether wolves avoid dogs/livestock etc. is luxury – a nice thing to want – however, it is not a reasonable expectation to demand wolves adjust their behavior (beyond instinctual behavior) for tolerance to be garnered – and i think that’s the crux of Layton’s original suggestion – that the onus is on wolves more than human-beings to adjust behavior – that the wolves are the “problem”.

    the problem is whiney livestock producers and whiney hunters who refuse to adjust and who shed crocodile tears at the so-called injustices of the perpetually ‘impending’ condition that is the natural world.

    let’s hope wolves avoid human activity – there’s good indication that they do (the article i posted – Study: Midwest wolves avoid humans) but if they don’t – that’s no justification to slaughter wolves en masse — and THAT is the expectation that entertaining this absurd notion tees up.

  63. Brian Ertz Avatar

    we celebrate wolves for their contribution to the trophic cascade – for pushing ungulates off of riparian areas.

    and then we condemn them and entertain techniques that “train” them out of that same urge which sees a band of sheep mauling perhaps that same riparian area – and has them act no differently.

    from my perspective – while wolves might bum out an individual producer – they’re doing the public interest a great favor. i’ll celebrate that trophic cascade – whether it’s wild or domestic ungulates that are affected.

  64. Layton Avatar

    So Brian,

    I guess to just sum it up —- the wolves are here now, they are the “king of the wild” and all things human and animal should avoid them on pain of whatever happens??

    Sorry, I just don’t buy it. I saw a shirt somewhere that said ” I didn’t climb to the top of the food chain to be a vegetarian” well, to paraphrase it — “I didn’t climb to the top of the evolutionary hierarchy to give my place to a dog.”

    “but if they don’t – that’s no justification to slaughter wolves en masse — and THAT is the expectation that entertaining this absurd notion tees up.”

    I haven’t heard (seen?) anyone here advocating any “mass slaughter” could you point that out to me?? Or is it, as it seems to be, that killing a few wolves (or even one?) for whatever reason constitutes a “slaughter”??


  65. JB Avatar


    You make a good point concerning the different expectations people with different perspectives bring to the table. Indeed, I’m sure there are some who think wolf hunting should occur everywhere, and would have this expectation if a season were announced.

    Personally, I would rather see the states set up zones based on where wolves were likely to come into conflict with private landowners (via the killing livestock or domestic pets on private lands). As I alluded to, I don’t think it would be inappropriate to have areas where wolves are considered predators/vermin/nuisance wildlife; however these should be relatively small and designed to help us avoid conflict. I also believe that, in the areas providing the best habitat (and especially where the potential for conflict is low), wolves should be given “free reign”; that is, not hunted at all. In a perfect world, managers would construct management zones that link these areas to allow for genetic exchange between subpopulations.

    Certainly the onus IS on us to adjust our behavior, but this should not preclude attempts to alter wolves’ behavior as well–at least where behavior modification has the potential to keep conflicts at a minimum.

  66. Buffaloed Avatar

    Layton, you may not have heard anyone here advocating any mass slaughter but you certainly don’t have to look far from here to find a large number of people with that sentiment. You also have to realize that since this a moderated forum some of the most hateful and vile comments don’t make it to your eyes. With my discussions with Ralph, and particularly Brian, there are numerous comments made to this forum that don’t add anything but hate to the conversation so they aren’t posted.

    That’s not to say that people with opposing views can’t comment here but they have to add something to the discussion without being an ignorant ass like the people who comment to the Billings Gazette where comments are not moderated to any significant degree.

    To intimate that there aren’t a significant number of people who advocate that there be a mass slaughter ignores the obvious. There are, they just don’t get to post that kind of crap here.

  67. Brian Ertz Avatar

    I haven’t heard (seen?) anyone here advocating any “mass slaughter” could you point that out to me?? Or is it, as it seems to be, that killing a few wolves (or even one?) for whatever reason constitutes a “slaughter”??

    an Idaho management plan that finds no problem with wolves being slaughtered down to 104 + in population – hundreds in the first year – to placate the whiney belligerence of those who hold a paradigm of victimization by the natural world is tantamount to “slaughter”.

    I guess to just sum it up —- the wolves are here now, they are the “king of the wild” and all things human and animal should avoid them on pain of whatever happens??

    people should take responsibility for those things that they are responsible for – whether they are walking in the woods or range – or whether they are walking down the side of the road or in a shopping mall. whether it be wolves, or bears, or birds, or trees, or rivers – we can not reasonably blame those things – nor reasonably prescribe the fundamental alteration of the behavior of these things to our subjective liking while still calling it “wild”.

    The way that you talk Layton ~

    “I didn’t climb to the top of the evolutionary hierarchy to give my place to a dog.”

    ~ the expectation of awareness that you put on these “dogs” is greater than the expectation for awareness that you have of those beings that you claim to be on the top of the evolutionary hierarchy. You expect more of wolves with regard to awareness than you do of hunters and livestock producers. If we are so superior of consciousness – the onus of awareness ought be on the people wandering into the wild – not on the wild itself.


    the areas where “control” (lethal) and alteration of behavior may be justifiable have a label — it’s called “PRIVATE PROPERTY” – this is the only reasonable management that holds those “victimized” by the natural world to a reasonable degree of responsibility and to a justifiable/appropriate degree of determinism – while maintaining management in accord with the general public interest. You hate wolves ? Afraid of them ? Don’t want them to affect your property ? Fine. If wolves are messing with your property on your land – scare them – shoot them – whatever. The rest of the conversation about management on public lands is so mangled and skewed with regard to the public interest as to shrowd/obfuscate reason.

    These people lease the privilege of using our public commons – and then they insist with a puffed up self-entitlement-complex that it’s some bastardized “right” and that it is the public’s responsibility to assure them their terms with regard to wildlife management on those public lands ? – at cost to the public in both terms of interest and treasury ? I smack my children when they exhibit such disgraceful behavior ! We (managers and conservationists alike) coddle these private interests (livestock producers and welfare-commercial-hunters) as if their talking points were reasonable starting ground around which to engage in this absurd public discourse because too many are too fearful of holding to and illustrating the real public interest – or too hopeful that by placating one demand of their irrational sense of entitlement – somehow there won’t be a truckload more to follow. The conversation has been so bastardized/skewed to that end – that the public doesn’t even get the opportunity of exposure to illustration of value of their commonly held trust – and the real terms of that trust – because we’re too busy assuring some whiney brat mentality (personified by Layton’s “contribution” to this forum) that they won’t have to take responsibility for themselves – ‘we’ll make sure that the rest of the world bends over backwards to accommodate you’.

    If you want your stock on public land – or if you want a tag to “harvest” your ungulate on public land – you damn well ought have to sign on to acceptance of the terms of the natural world – it isn’t the general public’s responsibility to change these people’s diapers – and it isn’t reasonable for managers charged with representing the general public interest to enable that childish idea. That is the only way we will leave future generations with a wild that looks anything like the trust we were afforded.

  68. vicki Avatar

    HUmans are quite possibly the only beings that insist upon any type of control. Having said that, they are most definitely the beings most lacking it.
    We must all learn how to take our emotional thoughts, combine them with our intellegent thoughts, and stop promoting negativity. If we are all as smart as we appear on this blog-and I do consider Layton to be very smart-we would look further into what the other people state. It isn’t until you can understand the position of your enemy that you will truly understand how to over come the differences that place you on opposing sides.
    Layton says, quite often (sorry Layton I mean no offense), what he knows will insight intellegent conversation. He is often the Devil’s Advocate. But what he brings up is a useful tool, as he is representative of what we seek to over come.
    Treating him with hostility will get you the same response from people who see things in like with Layton, the evry same response we all give a certain Gillette. You won’t change Layton’s opinions with anything less than educated and well founded hypothesis’ and facts.
    Knowing that Layton is intellegent enough to argue here makes me comfortable…because I know that he can be persuaded to see reason.
    JB and I have both stated on occasion that we are not opposed to hunting wolves, rather we see it as a possible eventuality based in necessity—-which should be governed by strict science. I have received some hostility for having that opinion. Some who have differed in sentiment have earned my respect, others I consider emotionally charged PETA wannabes….I give them minimal credit. I am more likely persuaded by the former not the later.
    Yet Layton, because of how he backs his arguements up, gets bashed.
    We should welcome his input as an opportunity to get in touch with the reality of our opposition…and maybe see what we could do to accomplish something…like empathize, visualize, compromise and progress.
    Everyone needs to be more mindful that we don’t come here to allienate people, we come to persuade them and inform them. (A lesson I often forget myself.) Take what you can from each person’s view, acknowledge what you see as valid, and then add something to it. Remember that in no way, shape or form, will anyone ever get their way 100 percent of the time!!!What you can hope for is the best possible outcome when dealing with millions of people who see things differently. Stomping our feet and demanding our way will only get you laughed at like any child would who acted that way.

  69. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    Any one who wonders about how Layton feels about what the management of wolves should be, this is a direct quote from a hunting forum where Layton posts as DDD. This was posted on 12 July of this year.
    “When were they anything BUT varmits?? Wyoming has it right!!

    BUT — the “greenie” bunch are using that state as a “horrible example” to get the things back on the ESL.

    DDD “

  70. JB Avatar

    I’ve tried (and failed at times) to keep from getting personal on this blog. Much is lost in this type of written correspondence, and it is much easier to respond with hurtful quips, then with thoughtful responses. These types of remarks create a “history” between people that seems to promote less thoughtful and more intentionally hurtful responses (the kind that appear in the comments after news articles in the Bozeman paper). This type of conversation is a waste of everybody’s time.

    I am well aware of Layton’s position and while I disagree with him several points, I agree with Ralph that the conversations spawned (often) by his comments are useful and at times enlightening.

    Back to control–
    Brian, I agree with the vast majority of your post–especially regarding how galling it is to coddle people who seem to believe that because they paid for a hunting license all wildlife belongs to them and their buddies. What I’m advocating for is what I think you’re describing: The ability for private citizens to kill wolves who threaten (or even look crosswise) at pets or livestock on private land. If there’s a place for the hunting of wolves–and I believe there is–it is as a preventative measure on the rural/urban interface. That is, in my view wolves should be hunted in areas where they are most likely to come into conflict with people (and I am NOT referring to conflict with livestock on public lands). By necessity, this would include a fair portion of public land. (Think of it as a buffer between truly “wild” areas and those more developed areas, put in place to prevent this kind of thing:

    I advocate for hunting wolves in these areas NOT to appease hunters, but because I believe it will ensure that public opinion regarding wolves remains largely positive by keeping human–wolf conflicts to a minimum. However, if hunters are appeased by these actions…well, that doesn’t hurt either.

  71. Heather Avatar

    JB- thanks for your comment. I had just read Layton’s comment and was really responding to that. I did not read or re-read the comment you recommended, sorry. I know this blog is all about about reading every single comment before one makes their own comment. Guess I broke the rules. I’ve read so many comments on this blog, I think I get the basic gist…

    I understand that wolves can be socialized to stay away from ranches and that is the whole point of many of Defenders programs… however I have not accepted the point that shooting one or two of the hunters of a family will make the rest stay away, when that is the only or one of the only available food sources, whether its cattle or elk. Thats the point of the whole conflict right? I am not advocating against the millions of dollars and millions of hours of research put into working with wolves to conserve them. I was trying to suggest to Layton the simple fact that wolves dont know they should not eat cattle or elk.

    Personally, I like Helen Thayer’s book “3 among wolves” regarding arctic wolves. Her notation of the wolves’ fear of plane engines is especially sad, ie they know planes can kill them.

  72. vicki Avatar

    Excellent post. I agree with your thoughts on why hunting will be a benefit.
    I should openly state that under no circumstance do I feel that wolves should ever be managed as anything less than a trophy species. A shoot on sight policy is a recipe for disaster and would simply create a yo-yo effect causing court battle upon court battle.
    I am also very aware of Layton’s position. He has never been coy about it. He is open in his disapproval of wolf restoration efforts.
    Layton is set apart from many because he bothers to be informed, instead of arguing from a simply emotional stand point. He is neither ignorant nor impassable. He has shown ability to waiver in his stance here. But he is , again, the very type of person who you will encounter when attempting to change policy and perception. So he is a very good source of information and an excellent catalyst for productive thought.

    Although the response to planes is sad, it is also quite helpful. Research has been done on the conditioning of animals to react to sounds and to other stimuli. It is more sad that there is so little harmony between man and beast-so to speak-that it requires us to condition any wild creature to be afraid of our presence.
    I often reflect on why it is that animals should fear every human (aside from being hunted and ran over). The reasons are so many, but I keep reminding myself that man is no longer a part of the original environment. We seperated and removed ourselves from it. But even then, there are a number of things animals become afraid of instinctually, such as other animals and fire. So if not planes, or gun shot sounds, or human scent, animals will always have fear. Fear can be healthy, and it is the ultimate defense against extinction. I hope DOW and other groups continue to research and impliment non-lethal disuasive tactics to habituate (educate isn’t really the correct way to phrase it) animals to fear humans….for the survival of the animals.

  73. Heather Avatar

    I agree Vicki, the fear response keeps them alive. And their intelligence and ability to think on their feet is beyond me. I admire such a way of survival, I guess that is why I enjoy wolves so much. They also have the ability to play – last spring I saw several wolves playing with pinecones falling out of the tree. It was great! So to know of their intelligence, intense stamina, playfulness, skilled hunting abilities and family loyalty, I have a very hard time with hunting them as vermin. There are many people in this world who are by far more useless than the common sturdy wild wolf… just pure logic.

  74. vicki Avatar

    I didn’t realize you knew my ex-husband. LOL haha!
    You are correct!!! They are a joy to behold!

  75. dbaileyhill Avatar

    I would like to add a little info relating back to the topic of pesticides, herbicides–(Layton that’s just for you! giggle, giggle), and possible side effects in humans.

    First, i have met folks who swear by this homemade insect and slug repellent; Into a blender, add two cloves of garlic and one onion, one teaspoon of cayenne pepper and three cups of water. Blend until it is as liquid as possible. Let it set over night. Strain the mix and pour into a spray bottle. Spray flowers and plants generously. Any left over can be stored in the’ fridge’ for up to a week.
    I have not tried this yet because i cannot locate my blender… ( recently bought a house and in the move have ‘lost’ quite a few things).

    Second, and correct me if i am mistaken, but, the sweetener that is so popular called “Splenda” was originally developed for use as an insecticide. Layton, do you have any info about this???
    What i do know is that i am deathly allergic Slenda, as in go to the hospital sick, along with onions, garlic, capsicum, and other artificial sweeteners. I don’t know what commonalities these things share.

    Lastly, diseases that effect the immune system, where in the immune system attacks the body. Some diseases that do this are genetic, ie, Crohn’s Disease, many more are not genetic.
    What environmental factors, ie., toxic chemicals and such, would also cause a person with Crohn’s Disease to have all the symptoms of MS but not have MS?

    Thinking of all the substances that have ended up in our water sources is very disturbing. Then all the contaminants combine, react, break down into other substances, and form a toxic soup. yummmmm

    Heirloom tomatoes naturally repel insects. Pepper plants, the kind that produce pepper corns, evolved to produce a poison to repel insects in order to survive.

    As mentioned in some of the above posts, the dollar is the driving force in the ag industry. this has enabled grower’s to offer fruits and veggies year round as opposed to seasonal offerings. Weaker plants produce fruits with less nutrition and plants that are prone to insect damage and diseases and then chemical use. You will hear folks say,”But hey!! they sure do taste good and look good”!!
    Then wonder why their health is in decline, why fish are disappearing, and on and on. What we have inflicted upon ourselves, has inflicted everything under the sun.

    Okay, i am putting away my apple box now….

  76. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    Layton Says:
    August 24, 2008 at 2:51 pm
    “…..I haven’t heard (seen?) anyone here advocating any “mass slaughter” could you point that out to me?? …………” On this blog.
    I accommodated( I don’t think Brian will mind) that request by posting”
    Layton says by way of DDD on another blog:
    ““When were they anything BUT varmints?? Wyoming has it right!!

    BUT — the “greenie” bunch are using that state as a “horrible example” to get the things back on the ESL.

    DDD “
    Is there anyone who believes that Wyoming’s final solution to wolves is any thing but a slaughter to get the numbers to the minimum and keep them there.
    And Layton is one who wholeheartedly supports that and wishes Idaho management plan was the same or even more draconian if possible, yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

  77. vicki Avatar

    Jeff E,
    We all know where he stands on wolves. But what would you do to change it? Could you, or would you, if given the chance to make the fight end, compromise at all? Or would you rather go on fighting without end, just to get your way one hundred percent?
    See, Layton has his opinion…but what it really boils down to is the all mighty buck, with wolves, chemicals, ranchers…all of it. So what would you give up or sacrafice to make the issue(s) resolve?

  78. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    In the two or so years I have been posting here I have stated where I stand a number of times although maybe not all at the same time.
    It is not, with me what to give up or not give up so much as using the facts to make an argument.
    So the things that chafe my backside include statements like:

    Canadian wolves, as if that is a separate species.

    That wolves are decimating big game herds.
    Their not.

    That the groups fighting to follow the law as written (ESA) somehow are stacking the deck with sympathetic judges and/or venues.

    That people who favor wolves are anti-hunting.
    Some are some are not.
    I have hunted in Idaho from age twelve. that is nearly 40 years now.

    Wolves are being placed above the interests of man.
    That is a livestock industry argument.
    But you did ask what I would give up and I have given up eating beef.

    a particular burr with me is that when these same arguments are rehashed again and again ad nauseum by supposedly intelligent people.

    that wolves have not and will not attack people.
    they have and will. It is the rarest of rare but has and will happen again.
    they are a predator
    an individual wolf who is particularly aggressive and may be mentally defective. yes it does happen,occasionally a pup will slip thru natures checks an balances and make it to adult hood with lets say issues. If not killed by the pack they will be run off and become loners.
    And last, the wolf who is very old, has been pushed out of it’s pack and can not kill the usual prey anymore.

    I could probably go on but it would probably be boring.
    to sum it up I am not so much concerned with numbers, or amount of range, or migration or you name it as I am with the facts used to make the argument, and if the argument, as in this case is disingenuous, or not.
    If it is and I am so inclined I will point it out.

  79. Layton Avatar


    You bring up a good point, perhaps there ARE remarks that I don’t see that other people are aware of.

    What I was really referring to was the fact that I have never advocated a “mass slaughter” of the wolves, merely what I would call reasonable controls. I think someone else also mentioned up above that I was in favor of a state plan that would result in something like that — I’m not.

    By the way, before it even starts — yep, I have called wolves “varmits”, here and other places — I don’t deny that. It is my belief that the mystery and mystique that is attached to them is just so much legend — much like the “big bad wolf and little red riding hood” junk on the other side. I think they are a dog, no more, no less.


    Here’s something you said a ways back;

    “the problem is whiney livestock producers and whiney hunters who refuse to adjust and who shed crocodile tears at the so-called injustices of the perpetually ‘impending’ condition that is the natural world.”

    First of all, just as an aside, I don’t think I’m whining any more than the other side — I’m stating views that differ (sometimes pretty radically) from your’s, but not “whining”.

    As to the quote — couldn’t the part that says “so-called injustices of the perpetually ‘impending’ condition that is the natural world.” — be turned around and pointed right back at the wolf advocates? Many of them seem to think that somehow there is a utopia out there where the wolf can play at his leisure, even tho’ the world has changed pretty dramatically in the last hundred years or so.

    If I read your comment correctly (sometimes your vocabulary gets ahead of me, I envy it) you seem to think it is the hunters and livestock owners that are unwilling to change with the natural world. Is it really just them or is it a condition that affects both sides??

    Second, your comments on ANY subject, wolves, weeds, whatever, seem to always come back to what seems to be a fanatical hatred of public lands ranching in any way, shape or form. Perhaps if I had the same attitude toward it we could agree on some points, somewhere. But I don’t.


    “And Layton is one who wholeheartedly supports that and wishes Idaho management plan was the same or even more draconian if possible, yesterday, today, and tomorrow.”

    In a word — you are a liar!!


  80. vicki Avatar

    Jeff E,
    That was very insightful. It gives me a better understanding of your opinions and makes it clear that we are not so different in our motives.
    I too see numbers as a way to argue over points that are not really helping the issue.
    I relate quite well to your statements.
    Unfortunately, the problem is not that you and I see eye to eye, but rather that Layton is not likely to see where we are coming from.
    If I could figure out how to change that, problems solved. But I can’t, so far…that doesn’t mean I will stop trying.
    Who is more right, or more wrong, is pretty subjective. What can be done to change the perceptions of your oposition is the key to ending the challenges of having healthier environments. It is the only way to make a subjective view more objective…make them see both sides of the issue. (I personally think we have to figure out how to change the basic nature of many humans as they only see the immediate effect on them…hell with everything and everyone else. ) If you can’t change their minds, you have to give them something in order to get something.
    I wasn’t implying that you wouldn’t compromise, just asking what you would…so folks like Layton can see and no longer argue that we “greenies” are not unyielding and heartless dictators who would inflict our will upon everyone without considering them at all.
    I know I’d like to see a bit more of that from ‘the other side’ of the issue(s).
    I guess I’d say the fact is layton is a lot more “Cowboy up/American Independent” than he is “The Earth is borrowed from our children”. I am a blend of both, but neither of us is getting what we want, and we are both expending a lot of energy, time and money, saying “I am right, you are wrong”. Wouldn’t those resources be better spent settling a middle ground and acknowledging everyone has a right to their opinion and the right to be treated with consideration and basic human decency?
    When people have an opinion, no matter how much we disagree with it, if you acknowledge their right to have it and why they feel they are right,,,,,(be a good listener) you may just get them to listen right back. The Golden Rule. You might also learn what is really broken, so you can fix it.

    I have already learned that you are intellegent and base your opinion on what facts we have available. 😉

    I also noticed that most people who oppose wolves are generally not so opposed to wolves as they are to feeling they were forced upon them, may take monies away from them, may harm their traditional way of life, or may require them to think outside the box for understanding and answers.

    Same thing with chemicals, it requires them to atone for their sins -so to speak. If they have to stop using them, it may cost them money, and they will have to acknowledge (if only to themselves) that they have been harming others somehow for all the while they used the chemicals. In other words they have to admitt they were A. wrong and B. responsible for the negative results of their actions.

    Layton has made some very good arguments, raising some questions which we address here. He hasn’t changed his stand, but he has began giving others some credit…says to me, he is actually finding value in our opinions too.

    Maybe we should post his acknowledgements of our valid points on the cite you listed…and let others see what he sees when he posts here?

  81. vicki Avatar

    What would you do with wolves now that they are back? Do you have an idea on a compromise?
    I know you don’t think that they are more than a dog, but knowing that others ( a lot of others) see them as beautiful and necessary wildlife, even a keystone species, …what would you do to meet in the middle? Or do you have an all or nothing stand? (Knowing you think hard on these here things, I’d be guessing you have some middle you would meet in:) ) I doubt you are all or nothing here, because you seem a bit more realistic than that.

    What would you do about the pestacides? Would you advocate the use of safer alternatives if it meant you had to subsidize farmers and pay more for a tomato? Or would you rather just pay less now, and try to fix the damages later?

    What about weeds..non-native..? Do you think we should even bother actively persuing an end to their existence in non-native areas?

    Just asking, in the interest of understanding.

  82. vicki Avatar

    p.s. let’s not rehash the ‘Wyoming had originally agreed upon’ arguement…that one went to the way side a few weeks back. Let’s talk about what we could compromise moving forward from this point.

  83. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    Layton says by way of DDD on another blog:
    ““When were they anything BUT varmints?? Wyoming has it right!!…………”

    You said it Layton or is there some abstract meaning in your statement above that no one but you can understand.

  84. Heather Avatar

    why are dogs seen as “less” than a wolf? sure the wolf is wild and a survivor. but I’d stick up for my pups any day of the week…. dont get it really… the human need to better than another species.

  85. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    Having said that Vickie I agree with you.
    Believe it or not Layton and I have even tried to start a dialogue off blog a while back.
    Probably my bad but the constant statements like the ones above and other denigrating statements which amounts to the pot calling the kettle black has brought me to the conclusion that if I was willing to submit to that type arrangement then Layton would be more than willing to seek compromise. I decided not.
    I would submit that when statements such as. and I quote:
    “…pet judge…”
    “you folks even changed the species classifications…..”
    “……you folks Can have it both ways….”
    On and on and on.(take an afternoon when your really bored and go back a year or so and read what Layton has posted. I have. Tell if I am wrong and if so I will stand corrected.)
    Then seeking mutual ground will be very much easier.

  86. Layton Avatar

    Gee whiz Jeffy,

    Pet judge — how ’bout this??

    Missoulian Editorial-


    Rulings cost Libby, Lincoln County

    In response to Printer Bowler’s Aug. 4 letter: Before we canonize Judge Donald Molloy for his science abilities, I would like to count the ways he really helped the people of Libby.

    In the past year alone, we have lost $6 million in school funding due to the loss of timber-sale and oil-lease revenue: loss of revenue from Kootenai National Forest logging, $3.5 million annually; and 2,500 jobs lost in timber and mining. There were 3,000 jobs when both timber and mining were working. The current job base is between 350 and 500 n a high estimate by county officials.

    Both the city of Libby and Lincoln County are spending invested money, not replaceable. When it’s gone, where will the cuts be made again? In the past year, we have lost 750 school students, further degrading education funding. We have all the same problems appearing as the inner cities have n higher drug addiction and alcoholism, higher crime and suicide rates.

    For this we can thank St. Molloy and his friends in Earthjustice “because the Earth needs a lawyer.” I can’t get my head around the fact of Earth being here for 4.5 billion years and the one thing lacking is a lawyer? Ego and self-importance that big is truly frightening. According to Earthjustice’s Web site, the Earth is going to be safe, though. They have 54 lawsuits filed or in the works. No jobs, no replacement tax base, no industry n just lawsuits. Get to work Mr. Molloy. Lawyers need money and please remember rodents, reptiles, predatory species and cockroaches come before the dignity of a man to have a job that can feed, clothe and educate his family.

    Harry Turnland, Libby

    Tell me again that Malloy isn’t preferred by the “green” side.


    “you folks even changed the species classifications…..”

    You mentioned that you and I have talked — off the blog.

    A quote from you AFTER I pointed out references talking about different sub-species of wolves — from a text book on the subject —

    “That’s obsolete science”

    Who changed it? When did it happen??

    If you recall, the dialog came to a close AFTER you quoted some of our (supposedly) private conversations here on this blog.

    Or this little gem — that you have used about umpteen times — I said it — I have repeatedly said that I said it — get some new material.

    “Layton says by way of DDD on another blog:
    ““When were they anything BUT varmints?? Wyoming has it right!!…………”

    You said it Layton or is there some abstract meaning in your statement above that no one but you can understand.”

    Nope — nothing abstract at all, now, please point out any references to “slaughter” or “… Layton is one who wholeheartedly supports that and wishes Idaho management plan was the same or even more draconian if possible, yesterday, today, and tomorrow.”

    I call BS Jeffy. And I don’t have to look back a year to find it.

    Plus that, your Email address is the one that changed, mine didn’t.


  87. JB Avatar


    Just to be clear, it isn’t a federal judge’s job to make the laws; Congress is in charge of making the laws. If the now extremely conservative supreme court disagrees with Molloy, it can chose to over-rule him. The fact that the supreme court takes so few of these cases and has nearly always fell on the side of the endangered species act when it does take cases, speaks volumes in my opinion. Molloy did his job, all this talk about “activism” is sour grapes.

  88. JB Avatar

    The “activist judges” line is one I fine particularly galling, especially in reference to any ESA case. For 20 of the past 28 years CONSERVATIVES have been appointing federal judges. Yet apparently all of the few remaining judges appointed by democrats (and some appointed by republicans, for that matter) are “liberal activists.” Pardon my French, but horse sh1t! (I’d actually like to use stronger words, but this is a family show).

    From 1973 (the year the ESA was passed) until 1996, FWS/NMFS listed an average of ~42 species per year. Under G.W. Bush, we’ve listed ~8 per year, ALMOST ALL BY LAWSUIT. So I ask, which scenario is more probable: (1) there really aren’t any more endangered species to be listed and species listed since Bush took office were forced by crazy, liberal lawyers and their “activist” judge buddies; or (2) the Bush administration, which admittedly has never liked the ESA (it appointed G. Norton, who once argued in a brief that the ESA was unconstitutional, to lead the agency that enforces it), decided to do everything in their power not to fund or enforce the law and thus, the only reason we’ve been listing ~8 per year is because those are the “slam dunk” cases that conservation groups know they can win?

    The indisputably correct answer is #2.

    My guess is if you surveyed 100 judges about Molloy’s opinion, 95 or more would agree with him. It was a slam dunk case. To call him an “activist” based on that decision is slander and shows a clear misunderstanding of the law.

    Suggested reading:

    Goble, D. D. et al. (2005) The endangered species act at thirty. Island Press. Washington D.C.

  89. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    Quoting an editorial or in other words an opinion is supposed to mean what. Jobs, industries, and towns come and go by the thousands year in year out all over the world for whatever reason. No one said life would be easy or stay the same for generation after generation.

    The science changed with the advent of DNA technology. The same that is used in criminal cases world wide and also to identify things like the remains of bodies, humans and animal, thousands of years old or even more. but we have had this conversation, more than once. (box of rocks)
    But lets say for the sake of argument that all 23(Young and Goldman) subspecies that were believed to be valid even 50 years ago still are by the majority of taxonomists.
    So lets look at that.
    It was thought that the one that inhabited this area was c.l.irremotus. If you look at the distribution map of young and goldman you will see that the northern range of c.l. irremotus takes in the area around Hinton, Alberta, Canada, from whence the vast majority of the transplanted wolves came from.
    Or alternately consider this:
    Assuming you know what a soccer ball is (I know, a stretch), take the cover off and lay it flat and you will have an analogy of what wolf packs were like over the extent of there historical range.
    Still with me?
    Now take into account that on a regular yearly basis, each and every pack was kicking out dispersers going in EVERY direction.(Does genetic exchange ring a bell here?)
    Now stay with me, I know you have a short attention span,
    It is only ~700 miles from Hinton, Alberta to Yellowstone, less to central Idaho. WE KNOW that individual dispersers travel hundreds of miles some having been documented at 500+ and that distance traveled in a mater of weeks to several months. We also know that there are NO insurmountable physical or natural barriers (the existence of which would be a, if not the, major prerequisite for bringing about a “subspecies”) between there and here to prevent an ongoing mixing of the wolf population THROUGHOUT the Rocky mountains, be it in what is now the United States or Canada.
    Are you getting the picture here Spanky?

    What private conversations did I quote here?
    Your full of ……

    Just what would you call the result of Wyoming’s plan if Idaho modeled ours after it? I would call it a slaughter, you can call it whatever you want.
    A rose by any other name…….

    I already stated why it became apparent to me that it was an exercise in futility to try to achieve some common ground.
    You prove that to be the correct decision nearly every time you post.

  90. Layton Avatar


    You spent a lot of time trying to prove that genetic exchange occured for years between Canadian and other wolves. Then you come out with the following gem:

    “We also know that there are NO insurmountable physical or natural barriers (the existence of which would be a, if not the, major prerequisite for bringing about a “subspecies”) between there and here to prevent an ongoing mixing of the wolf population THROUGHOUT the Rocky mountains, be it in what is now the United States or Canada.”

    Weeeelllll Jeffy — IF that is true — how come no genetic exchange can occur now?? Wasn’t that the main reason for Malloy decesion??

    Again — you folks like to have it both ways!!

    Have fun!! You win!! Obviously a triumph in circular logic.


  91. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    that all ya got spanky
    That was so pathetic it……but it is so you

  92. Layton Avatar

    If you had a brain you could figure out that’s all I NEED!!

    Why don’t you just answer the question dummy??

  93. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    Layton Layton Layton,
    if you read what I said slooooooowly you may be able to discern that I was speaking in past tense.
    Also if you read Judge Malloy’s decision you will notice that any genetic exchange that may have happened had not been dooocuuuuuummmmented and apparently was there any attempt to do so, which was the crux of the matter.
    Add that to Wyoming’s kill, kill, kill plan, and Idaho’s last minuet back alley abortionesque law coupled with the plan to reduce the present population by ~2/3 would make the genetic exchange between the various population centers all but impossible.
    Will you pleeeeeeeeease take some remedial English classes?

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Brian Ertz