Updated. Feds decide NOT to delist the wolf !!

Opponents of wolf delisting win!

The cryptic early report is now definite. “Feds keeping Northern Rockies wolf listed for now.” AP. By Matthew Brown.

So the great wolf delisting battle seems to be over, at least for a while (until after the election).

This morning (Sept 17), Rocky Barker has an opinion on this. Bush Administration prepares to give up on wolf delisting for now. Rocky Barker. Idaho Statesman.



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  1. Maska Avatar

    It sure sounds as if they may be unwilling to test their delisting rule in court. It will be interesting to see how this shakes out.

  2. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    I would guess that Dick Kempthorne realized his bluff charge is not going to work

  3. catbestland Avatar

    Wow, this is a major development. I wonder how it will effect the lawsuit.

  4. Salle Avatar

    Oooh, I just read that release and I would guess that they have done just that, pulled their delisting order.

    Kind of makes the lawsuit moot except to utilize the testimony to point out the flaws and use that to provide guidelines for future delisting. I think it should proceed as planned and let the judge decide what the next step is.

  5. catbestland Avatar

    With the update confirming the decision not to delist, this is a MAJOR victory. Can we start celebrating now?

  6. kim kaiser Avatar

    now if they can just help the bison out

  7. catbestland Avatar

    So the State Plans are now moot. Aren’t they?

  8. matt bullard Avatar
    matt bullard

    I would guess that the current management plans in place, governed by the 10(j) rule, are still in existence. That means that in Idaho’s case, day to day management is still handled by Idaho Fish and Game. I would think this clearly means no hunting season this year, though.

  9. Barb Avatar

    I have read that Lynn Cheney is thinking of running for Senator of Wyoming. Oh, God, another wolf hater. God help us.

    Seems thrie ght wing radical NRA women are getting into the political game. We need some sharp women to counteract this assault.

    Did you hear Carly Fiorni of HP said that she feels that none of the candidates could run a major corporation?

    That’s comforting, isn’t it? Not sure I agree. Although I wish Michelle Obama would have ran — I think she is a better speaker than her husband.

  10. Barb Avatar

    I thought in light of the wolf news, I would post this essay written by Aldo Leopold, one of the best essays ever written:

    “My own conviction on this score dates from the day I saw a wolf die. We were eating lunch on a high rimrock, at the foot of which a turbulent river elbowed its way. We saw what we thought was a doe fording the torrent, her breast awash in white water. When she climbed the bank toward us and shook out her tail, we realized our error: it was a wolf. A half-dozen others, evidently grown pups, sprang from the willows and all joined in a welcoming melee of wagging tails and playful maulings. What was literally a pile of wolves writhed and tumbled in the center of an open flat at the foot of our rimrock.
    In those days we had never heard of passing up a chance to kill a wolf. In a second we were pumping lead into the pack, but with more excitement than accuracy: how to aim a steep downhill shot is always confusing. When our rifles were empty, the old wolf was down, and a pup was dragging a leg into impassable slide-rocks.

    We reached the old wolf in time to watch a fierce green fire dying in her eyes. I realized then, and have known ever since, that there was something new to me in those eyes – something known only to her and to the mountain. I was young then, and full of trigger-itch; I thought that because fewer wolves meant more deer, that no wolves would mean hunters’ paradise. But after seeing the green fire die, I sensed that neither the wolf nor the mountain agreed with such a view.

    Since then I have lived to see state after state extirpate its wolves. I have watched the face of many a newly wolfless mountain, and seen the south-facing slopes wrinkle with a maze of new deer trails. I have seen every edible bush and seedling browsed, first to anaemic desuetude, and then to death. I have seen every edible tree defoliated to the height of a saddlehorn. Such a mountain looks as if someone had given God a new pruning shears, and forbidden Him all other exercise. In the end the starved bones of the hoped-for deer herd, dead of its own too-much, bleach with the bones of the dead sage, or molder under the high-lined junipers.

    I now suspect that just as a deer herd lives in mortal fear of its wolves, so does a mountain live in mortal fear of its deer. And perhaps with better cause, for while a buck pulled down by wolves can be replaced in two or three years, a range pulled down by too many deer may fail of replacement in as many decades. So also with cows. The cowman who cleans his range of wolves does not realize that he is taking over the wolf’s job of trimming the herd to fit the range. He has not learned to think like a mountain. Hence we have dustbowls, and rivers washing the future into the sea.

  11. John Avatar

    Well said Barb.

    A flawed problem brings about a flawed result.

  12. matt bullard Avatar
    matt bullard

    Carly Fiorina demonstrated that even she couldn’t run a major corporation (successfully), so I’m not sure why what she says on the matter carries any water…

  13. JB Avatar

    …and G.W. Bush has demonstrated that he can’t manage ANYTHING successfully and he was elected President….twice. 🙁

  14. outsider Avatar

    JB last time I checked we havn’t had another 9-11

  15. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Fear of another 9-11 made some Americans willing to sacrifice their freedom, their pocketbook, and their future to a group of scoundrels.

    There are many things worse than a terrorist attack.

  16. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Here in Montana this morning, the wolf story is dwarfed, as it should be, by news of the events on Wall Street and the DNA study of the grizzly population size in NW Montana.

  17. catbestland Avatar

    How does this decision “not to delist” effect the state wolf management plans. In my view, the wolf is back on the Federal Endangered List and now the feds assume control. Doesn’t this negate the plans adopted by the states?

  18. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    I think things might continue the way the are now, the states managing under federal rule 10j. The last iteration of 10j wasn’t very good and there is a lawsuit against it too which might succeed.

  19. Wendy Avatar

    For outsider – If Bush is to get “credit” for “preventing” a second 9/11, he must also get “credit” for allowing the first. You can’t have it both ways.

  20. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears


    The plans for 9/11 were in place long before GW took office, the cells were formed and the action was underway. If anyone deserves the credit for allowing 9/11 to happen, it is the previous administration, which could have had Bin Laudin and declined to take him out…

  21. JB Avatar


    True! However, do you have any evidence that this was due to G.W. Bush’s management? More importantly, you can’t show that if someone else were elected President (i.e. Kerry) that the result would not have been the same.

    However, let’s take a look at G.W. Bush’s management: out of control domestic spending, the growth of government (i.e. dept. of homeland security), a multi-front “war on terror” that we cannot afford (current estimates for Iraq alone suggest the war will cost between $1 and $3 trillion–with a “T”), earmarks for his Republican counterparts (how long did it take him to veto a spending bill), a record number of vacation days, a huge jump in national debt, a nation-wide housing crisis (failure to regulate), ENRON (failure to regulate), lending and mortgage crisis (failure to regulate)….okay, I could go on but I’m getting tire of typing.

    Please tell me again how successful Bush has been!? I never grow tired of hearing about his successes! One thing I learned from Dick Cheney: If you repeat it often enough, 50.1% of Americans will believe it.

  22. Brian Ertz Avatar

    this is wonderful news

  23. SAP Avatar

    Don’t want to digress too far into 9-11. BUT, “Outsider,” let’s think about how terrorism works.

    Does bin Laden REALLY want to kill all of us?? Maybe, but that would be very expensive and very unlikely to succeed.

    Better question: does bin Laden really NEED to kill all of us? No, he just needs to scare us silly and disrupt our lives.

    For a very small investment, 9-11 accomplished just that.

    For terrorist organizations to succeed, they need only follow through with inflicting casualties only once in a great while. The rest of the time, they can just make threats.

    For example, the IRA didn’t set out to kill all the British, they just needed to demonstrate that they could strike targets at will almost anywhere. Toward the end of the Troubles, standard operating procedure was to destroy property while giving an advance warning to prevent human casualties (of course, Omagh a decade ago was a colossal exception).

    In the same vein, al Quaeda needed to score a big hit on American soil to effectively terrorize us. The embassies, the USS Cole didn’t get it done. 9-11 did. It will be a long time before they need to score another hit against us, because now all they need to do is say “boo!”, and we can’t take toothpaste on a plane anymore. (I bet they sit in their caves and wet themselves laughing over the “fluid restrictions”)

    It’s a low-investment/high-return strategy, in sharp contrast to our safari in Iraq. They don’t need to do it again anytime soon, because they got an awful lot of impact out of that one operation.

    And, “Save Bears,” let’s keep in mind the title of that briefing from 6 Aug 2001: “Bin Laden Determined to Strike Inside the United States.”


  24. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears


    That may well be, but the plans were laid and were in effect long before GW came to office, you are citing a August 6, 2001 article, I very strongly doubt, there could have been much done at that point in time, there were to many cells involved and the plans were already very deeply in motion That would be like saying Hitler knew a month before hand and could have stopped D-Day, I don’t think so…

  25. Ryan Avatar

    Is there a chance that we could actually discuss the ramifications of this decision instead of the never ending sidetracking into politics.. (I’m guilty of it too)

    I think there will be negative reactions to this decision throughout the west.. There will be more SSS going on.

  26. catbestland Avatar


    I actually agree with you about skicking to the topic (I am just as guilty as anyone else.) and unfortunately about the prospect that there will be more SSS going on. It is unfortunate and I hope law enforcement will be prepared for the backlash.

    On the subject of the 10j rules, I don’t see how states will be able to continue under the ammendments to the 10j rules in light of the Feds decision not to delist. That lawsuit is likely to have a better chance of succeeding as a result of feds decision. Does anyone know what effect this decision will have on the revisions to the 10j rule?

  27. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    I agree 100%, there is going to be a WHOLE bunch more SSS going on! I travel extensively in the west and the environment out there in the small towns and ranches is NOT good, I have said this since the lawsuits were files, I think this will result in far more un-documented deaths, that many could ever even fathom….

    The 10j rule has nothing to do with this choice, that is a completely different lawsuit, to be decided in the future..the rule is published, and I really doubt the Fed’s or the States are going to allow it to be tied together…

  28. Layton Avatar

    I’ve got my ATV gassed up, my Cabela’s outfits pressed (where IS that camo tie?) and the reservation made at a motel with a hot tub. 19 cases of beer in the back of the 2009 1/2 gas guzzler truck (I sure hope the other guys bring some too) and my machine gun bow and arrow set in the seat beside me.

    I sure hope I don’t have to walk over 100 yards after I leave the truck 4 miles behind the “road closed” sign tho’, that would detract from the experience.

    Wish me luck folks, I’m going elk hunting for a couple of weeks. Actually it shouldn’t take anywhere near that long to get me a big bull tho’, cuz my “wolfie” buds on this blog have REPEATEDLY assured me that the wolves are only eating a very few of the really sick and lame elk in the area where I hunt. 8)


  29. April Clauson Avatar
    April Clauson

    Can we not SSS the hunters??? I mean who would know???? especially the ones wearing Cabela’s outfits…..LOL…

  30. Brian Ellway Avatar
    Brian Ellway

    Wow April! And you all think the wolf haters are crazy???

  31. catbestland Avatar

    Any way you look at it this is still a HUGE victory.

  32. Barb Avatar

    What is SSS??

  33. Izabela Avatar

    If I am not mistaken Shoot, Shovel, Shut up

  34. Barb Avatar

    Oh, that’s right. Thanks.

  35. Valerie Bittner, Esquire Avatar
    Valerie Bittner, Esquire

    I think it must be considered that the withdrawal of the delisting rule at this juncture is a thinly veiled attempt to “forum shop” ,i.e. appear before a new judge who is hampered by the recent ruling from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals allowing the greatest deference in history to so-called agency experts. Currenlty, the plaintiff’s challenge is protected by a major gaff on Ed Bang’s part — running up against what is called the “arbitrary and capricious standard (i.e., flip flopping without any rational explanation on sanction of Wyoming’s “plan”). Assuming that the plaintiffs will have to file a challenge in the future (because after all the career players are all the same and their positions have been entrenched for more than 20 years) they will likely not have the benefit of Bangs making the same mistake — because DOJ’s lawyers, as well as lawyers with Safari Club International! will not let that happen again. So no, …my supposition is that this is not a time to celebrate. I’m ecstatic that there will be no bloody carcasses strapped across pick-up hoods this Fall, but that is all I am happy about.

  36. Barb Avatar


    People are panicking and selling their stocks. That very action causes stock market crashes. If everyone would chill, things would even out.

    When people panic, the boat sinks faster. At least if you stay calm, you can figure out a solution.

  37. John Avatar

    I’ve noticed there may be a difference between those who say and those that do SSS. What poacher in their right mind would publically announce that they are going to kill a protected species?

    I would presume the majority that do boast about it are simply barking or pulling at people’s heart strings.

  38. Barb Avatar

    They’re just trying to act tough.

  39. John Avatar

    Its all a ‘look at me and what I’ve done’ fiasco to me either way, legal or illegal.

  40. Barb Avatar

    But the economy right now is more critical — and that’s from a staunch wolf advocate!

    Joe Biden is not helping by his stupid comments about patriotism and paying more taxes. He is going to lose a major portion of moderates. The reality is that 90% of Americans would see their taxes reduced under Obama (under $250k/yr.)

    Stock market up 150 some points today as feds put more into stock market.

    The worst thing is the media scaring everyone as they are which is causing PANIC which is the worst absolute thing you can do.

    God help us — we need a fiscal conservative concerned with balancing our budget. Under Bush, our deficit is higher than ever before in history!

    We need an ethical and savvy BUSINESSPERSON in D.C. One who understands a balance sheet!

    We’ve had bureaucrats and lawyers for too long and look at the mess we’re in. As far as foreclosures, Clinton actually relaxed credit approval legislation so more people could get credit. Many of these people should never have gotten the credit in the first place.

    Bush is going to speak — I have no confidence in his ability re: economics.

  41. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    Well the ones practicing SSS are not the ones running around bragging about it, and the ones bragging about it are not the ones doing it. It does happen in quite a few areas in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming with little fan fair or reporting going on, unfortunately the vast areas of land that is remote, makes it pretty easy to get away with…anyway, time will tell how this all turns out..

  42. Barb Avatar

    Hackers got into Sarah Palin’s personal e-mails. She apparently used two personal e-mails to discuss Alaskan governmental affairs along with personal information.

    I don’t agree with what the hackers did, but I don’t agree that she using personal e-mail addresses for government business! It’s unethical and shows her POOR judgment.

    We seem to be seeing a pattern of POOR JUDGMENT.

  43. Barb Avatar

    Incidentally, Dick Cheney tried to stop the Freedom of Info Act to be more accessible!

    And Lynne Cheney is considering a run for Senate in Wyoming? God help us.

  44. timz Avatar
  45. Barb Avatar


    I have a question — I’ve been a Defenders member for about 10 years or so now. Are they trying to completely close off access to certain lands to hikers as I read on another blog?

    If so, I hope not, as this doesn’t sound reasonable or even necessary. I could understand banning cars, etc. but not hikers on foot!

    What’s the point in working to save wildlife if we can’t even appreciate it? (from a nice safe distance with binoculars of course!)

  46. Barb Avatar

    One more question, Frank — or anyone —

    How do you feel about Native American tribes like the Nez Pearce, “helping” with “managing” wolves after de-listing? Do you know how they try to “manage” wolves — do they first look for non-lethal ways? Somehow, they seem like a godsend……….I’d be inclined to trust them a lot more than anyone else but I’m not versed on this.

    Does Defenders work with them?

    Thoughts anyone?

    Here’s an article I found:

    [BearwWthoutBorders] Nez Perce Tribe opposes Idaho’s plan to kill wolves
    Hunter Gray hunterbadbear at earthlink.net
    Fri Feb 3 21:57:01 EST 2006


    Thursday, February 2, 2006 · Last updated 2:58 p.m. PT

    Nez Perce Tribe opposes Idaho’s plan to kill wolves to help elk


    BOISE, Idaho — An Indian tribe that’s helped with gray wolf recovery
    efforts since their reintroduction to Idaho in 1995 says the state is moving
    too quickly with a plan to kill dozens of wolves to help restore elk herds
    on the border with Montana.

    Rebecca Miles, chairwoman of the Nez Perce in Lapwai, said tribal wolf
    managers aren’t convinced studies of elk herds in the Clearwater River basin
    support a plan by state Department of Fish and Game to reduce wolf numbers
    in region to as few as 15, from about 60 animals now.

    According to the agency, wolves are responsible for about 35 percent of
    recorded elk cow deaths since 2002 in two hunting units in the region.

    Wolves were confirmed to have killed eight of 25 elk cows that died, from
    among 64 adult elk cows captured and radio collared between 2002 and 2004,
    the study showed.

    The Nez Perce, as well as some conservation groups, say the evidence isn’t
    conclusive that depredations are devastating elk numbers.

    They argue the agency should focus on restoring habitat, not killing wolves.

    “It is junk science,” Aaron Miles, the tribe’s natural resource manager,
    told The Associated Press on Thursday. “There’s no peer review. It’s jumping
    from one conclusion to the next.”

    Fish and Game officials held a public hearing in Boise on Thursday to
    introduce their plan.

    A similar hearing is planned for next Tuesday in Lewiston.

    Federal officials still must approve the state’s proposal to kill wolves.

    Ed Bangs, wolf recovery coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
    in Helena, Mont., has said his agency will judge the proposal based on its
    technical merits, not political expediency.

    The plan to kill wolves is among Idaho’s first actions since it took over
    day-to-day oversight of the state’s roughly 600 wolves during a Jan. 5
    signing ceremony between Gov. Dirk Kempthorne and U.S. Interior Secretary
    Gale Norton.

    Miles contends the state is relenting to political pressure from groups
    including hunters and ranchers who want to see more active wolf control.

    Moving too quickly with the control plan also could incite lawsuits from
    conservation groups, he said.

    For instance, on Jan. 24, eight groups, including The Sierra Club, Defenders
    of Wildlife and The Humane Society of the United States, announced they plan
    to sue within 60 days.

    State Fish and Game officials concede that hunters have been after them for
    more than a decade to more aggressively control wolf numbers they blame for
    reducing big game herds.

    Still, the agency says its studies on elk herd depredations support wolf
    removals – as well as further efforts to improve habitat in the region
    straddling U.S. Highway 12.

    “Wolves are the biggest single issue we’ve heard from hunters, almost since
    the day of reintroduction. They’re the folks that pay the bills at Fish and
    Game. So we listen to what they say,” Fish and Game Wildlife Bureau chief
    Jim Unsworth said Thursday. “But we wouldn’t have come forward with the
    proposal if we weren’t making a pretty strong case now.”

    Idaho would prefer to hold a controlled hunt for wolves, Unsworth said.

    Until the predators undergo federal delisting, however, no such hunts are

    Though Idaho and Montana have federally approved wolf management plans, no
    delisting can occur until a similar management plan in Wyoming wins

    Until now, U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials have rejected plans from that
    state that allow its wolves to be shot on sight.

    “Gray wolves in the Northern Rockies have exceeded their recovery goals and
    are biologically ready to be delisted,” said H. Dale Hall, the federal
    agency’s director, in a statement on Thursday. “The potential delisting
    cannot be finalized until Wyoming’s wolf management plan has been approved.”

    There are more than 900 wolves in the three states.

    Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk
    Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
    and Ohkwari’

    See Hunter Gray in the Gem State

    In our Gray Hole, the ghosts often dance in the junipers and sage, on the
    game trails, in the tributary canyons with the thick red maples, and on the
    high windy ridges — and they dance from within the very essence of our own
    inner being. They do this especially when the bright night moon shines down
    on the clean white snow that covers the valley and its surroundings. Then
    it is as bright as day — but in an always soft and mysterious and
    remembering way. [Hunter Bear]

  47. Peter Kiermeir Avatar

    Having just returned from vacation without Internet and Newspapers I´m still struggling to keep up with all the global and local news and proceedings. This one let´s me pause for a while! Is it really over, at least for the time being? All of you deserve a break – He Layton, happy elk hunting – honestly! What will come now? Will the grizzlies be the next reason for concern (No wolves to hunt but a healthy bear population?) Elli Radinger wrote on her blog:”…..dedicated to 253M”.


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