Trapping of wolverines continues in Montana

The trapping season on this rare, probably endangered animal, will continue this winter in Montana, the only state with a season on wolverine. There are only about 500 wolverine in the lower 48 states.

The Bush/Kempthorne Interior Department rejected endangered species status based on their highly   questionable legal notion that a species can’t be endangered in the United States if there is a viable population of an animal outside the U.S. (in this case Canada).

I think, along with others, that this violates the clear language of the Act.

Trapping of wolverines continues in Montana. By Susan Gallagher. Associated Press writer.



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  1. john weis Avatar
    john weis

    “”Trapper Tom Barnes of Dillon said that during a span of four years he has caught two wolverines while trying to trap another type of weasel, the pine marten. Barnes said he reveled in the “privilege” of trapping wolverines and had both prepared for permanent display. The few hundred dollars a pelt might have fetched was not a consideration, he said.

    “I don’t know of anybody who makes a living catching fur,” said Kalispell’s Bothwell, who has not trapped a wolverine. “We do it because of the passion.”

    I guess I just do not get it. Why do people want to possess animals such as this? What “passion” is satisfied by killing an animal such as a wolverine and then stuffing it. Why not stake it out, shoot some nice photos, and blow them up life size? Why do you have to kill it, to make it submit to you, in order to satisfy your “passion”. Like I said, I just don’t get it. Must be something in my DNA.

  2. jimbob Avatar

    I do agree with one small point in Bush’s interpretation of the ESA: Since there are also Republican type politicians in Europe we should get rid of all of the ones we have here. Idiots are not endangered! Too bad it doesn’t allow the “taking” of humans–

  3. Pronghorn Avatar

    Consider this, published in the Federal Register in early March 2008 (long before FWP set the tentative quota at nine animals).
    Scroll down to page 12936, “effective population size” (a “measure of the proportion of the actual population that contributes to future generations”).

    Two brief excerpts: “…an empirically based rule
    (suggests) that the short-term effective
    population size should not be less than
    50, and the long-term effective
    population size should not be less than
    500…” “Effective population for wolverines in
    the Rocky Mountains averaged 39
    (Schwartz 2007, entire). This effective
    population size is exceptionally low
    (Schwartz 2007, entire), and is below
    what is required for short-term
    maintenance of genetic diversity.”

    This matters because “Populations with small effective
    population sizes show reductions in population growth rates and increases in extinction probabilities…”

  4. jimbob Avatar

    The idiots are in charge of the asylum—at the federal AND state levels. It is all about greed. Most hunters and trappers know when the level of the species they are after is low, but they HAVE to get “theirs” For profit or posterity, it is still greed!

    Here in Arizona, beaver and otter numbers are still very, very low. They are not protected and are allowed to be trapped, and their dams are destroyed by ranchers (even though the dams help other species, including deer and elk!) It is never about science with these people.

  5. JB Avatar

    “…questionable legal notion that a species can’t be endangered in the United States if there is a viable population of an animal outside the U.S. (in this case Canada).”

    This notion has already been dismissed; they tried the same tactic (and a variety of others) in the case of the lynx. In my view, they already know this will be struck down in the courts, it is simply a method of delaying listing a bit longer, which has become the hallmark of endangered species management under Bu$h. Since Bu$h took office, ESA listings have decreased 81% to just 8 species a year, nearly all of which required law suits. I will guarantee you (and I don’t usually make guarantees) that Conservatives will use this administrations outright refusal to enforce the ESA as further “proof” that the law doesn’t work. Of course it doesn’t work! They cut and/or restrict funding for listings, cut funding for FWS, and purposefully refuse to enforce the Act.

  6. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    As you do no doubt know, it has been a fundamental strategy of the Bush Administration, and “conservatives” back to the time of Ronald Reagan to sabotage government programs and then say, “see the government doesn’t work. We need to rely on corporations instead or just not do things like help the sick, poor, wildlife, the environment, etc.”

    Meanwhile they spend hundreds of billions of dollars, trillions in fact, on social control measures and military adventures.

  7. jerry b Avatar
    jerry b

    Well at least David Gaillard from “Defenders” clarifies their position on trapping…”Defenders opposes trapping ONLY in cases where it’s harming rare wildlife or where it’s not done in a responsible and substainable way”.
    This position does nothing to further the cause against indiscriminate trapping of our wildlife( ungulate fawns, calves etc) as well as other non-targeted species like our pets, coyotes, foxes, wolves, raptors etc.
    It does everything to support the trapping associations as they can now say that “Defenders of Wildlife” supports trapping as long as it’s “responsible”.
    Thanks, Defenders, for undermining all the progress that anti-trapping organizations realized here in Montana over the last 3 years. In my opinion, you’ve done a disservice to the entire anti-trapping community and to the wildlife that will die in traps as a result of the support Defenders has given to the trapping organizations.

  8. Mike Avatar

    Calling it “tradition” doesn’t make it right.

  9. JB Avatar

    “Meanwhile they spend hundreds of billions of dollars, trillions in fact, on social control measures and military adventures.”

    So much for the Republican rallying cry of “small government.” Jefferson is rolling in his grave.

  10. john weis Avatar
    john weis

    The genetics of inbreeding tends to confuse some people. This reminds me of a resolution about expanding the bison population on the Henry mountains in southern Utah. SFW wanted to increase the numbers of bison so they could sell more conservation tags and thus kill more beasts and make more money at the same time: usual story. But first they had to get the DWR to administer the deal, and kick off the excess cattle.

    I was, at that time, on one of the regional advisory councils which is a buffer committee of “citizens” to take the guff from locals so the DWR does not have to. The story was that the bison had first come from the Yellowstone herd and had been inbreeding down on the Henry’s since. In expanding the numbers my question was how do they allow for genetic diversity such that the bison don’t bottleneck. The lead biologist’s answer was something akin to if the population is greater than 400 animals then there is enough diversity such that there would be no bottleneck, and besides, they were planning on getting some more Yellowstone bison every few years to pump diversity into the Henry’s even though that is where the bison came in the first place.

    My question was that if you had a population of 40 or 400 or 4000 inbred animals (whether bison, wolverines or mice) how would the numbers of animals in the breeding population make any difference in the diversity of the genetics of the population of animals? He didn’t have much of an answer, but said he would look into it. The resolution passed.

  11. JB Avatar


    Sorry to hear that you’ve had the misfortune of being on a RAC. My understanding is that those that sit in the environmental seat are usually ignored by the hunting and ranching interests that dominate the councils? In my view, the RACs allow hunting and ranching interests to completely dominate wildlife management under the auspices of “citizen oversight.” I sure do miss Utah! Well, the geography, anyways.

  12. john weis Avatar
    john weis

    JB, well i DID volunteer. And it did open my eyes as to how organizations such as SFW work to manipulate the system to their own gain. Probably the most traumatic night was the one where we did the Utah wolf management plan. What a circus that was. I had no idea an animal like a wolf could bring out such hostility, ignorance and down right hatred for all of the wrong reasons. Shoot and shovel is still the mantra down here.

  13. JB Avatar

    I attended what I believe was the first meeting they held on wolves in Brigham City. The room was boiling with barely contained hostility (I believe I have a video tape of the event). It was sad to see the few environmentalists among the sea camo. Like you, I learned a lot about how wildlife management decisions were made in Utah. I was not at all encouraged by what I learned.

  14. Izabela Avatar

    Utah is not too far behind Idaho in thinking about predators.
    And I hope wolves never show their pups to Utahns..they will dead.
    One guy told my husband at work, grinning like a an idiot , that he killed female coyote and he thought she was pregnant.
    He was so happy that my husband left his office to avoid hitting the guy in his stupid Utahn’s head.

    But not all Utahns are bad.
    Look at me…:) and my husband. Wel.. we are transplants.
    Look at Ralph..part Utahn…:)

  15. Alan Avatar

    Ralph (Aug. 18 ) got it right regarding money and politics. I was int he Air Force for 26 years and know lots regarding the pork-barrel spending habits of certain pols. The trapping of wolverines has nothing to do with “wildlife management.”


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan