Some pretty reactive folk in Montana are looking to take on the feds with state legislation to “manage” wolves.

Legislator wants state to fight feds over wolvesDaily Inter Lake

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These are the usual suspects: “Friends of the Northern Range Yellowstone Elk,” an anti-wolf state senator (Joe Balyeat) who poached an elk on private property in 2006, and the Montana Shooting Sports Association that wanted to secede from the United States back in the 1990s. They are probably on a fundraising/membership drive.

I found this on Balyeat and the people he associates. They’re Back: The Montana Legislature’s Right-Wing Presence. Dec. 2000. Montana Human Rights Network News.

The wolf is an organizational tool for their extremist political and right wing religious views. Ralph Maughan

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Brian Ertz

37 Responses to [Montana] Legislator wants state to fight feds over wolves

  1. Salle says:

    This sounds kinda like the DoL got hold of these guys… and made ’em develop this IBMP-like pile of garbage.

    It sounds almost exactly like it, in fact.


  2. Save bears says:

    I saw this, this morning, I was wondering if you post it Ralph…Of course the Kooks…Friends are involved!

  3. Salle says:

    I attended the public advisory group, can’t remember exactly what it was called, that met with MTFW&P and there was an element of this sort arguing in this direction but it was nearly as draconian as his particular proposal is. Seems like all that negotiating was for naught after all…

    What a shame. I’ll keep that in mind next time I consider Montana’s plans for wildlife of any kind.

  4. jburnham says:

    Balyeat is pretty fringe even for Montana. I seem to remember him challenging Racicot as too liberal a few years back. Definitely no friend to science or wildlife.
    I have a feeling this will be quickly killed in committee.

  5. Jon Way says:

    “Wolves are destroying the legacy of wildlife that Montanans, hunters and sportsmen, have bought and paid for over the years.”
    Then the writer should add in the quote: “But I am a right-wing fanatic and don’t believe in evolution. Thus I ignore the fact that wolves have coevolved with many of our species/natural heritage like elk for hundreds of thousands of years. Creationism ignores the obvious and says that wolves, elk, and all of the other species just magically popped up here just a couple thousand years ago.”

  6. Robert Hoskins says:

    Looking at the specific language of Balyeat’s bill, it reproduces almost verbatim a bill put forward in Wyoming several years ago that would have, among other things, “required” the feds to pay compensation to Wyoming for big game animals lost to wolves. That bill didn’t go anywhere either.

  7. Salle says:

    And, Robert,

    It is the exact same thing Senator widestance Craig of Idaho was calling for at a legislative hearing on wolves in Idaho back in 2000. He called it compensation from the federal government for the (get this) “domestic wildlife” in the state that the wolves eat.

  8. John d. says:

    Wolves can’t eat their natural prey, can’t eat livestock, can’t be seen anywhere near civilisation and god forbid if there is one or more seen in their natural habitat doing ‘wolf stuff’ on a hunting trip.

  9. Robert Hoskins says:

    Bad bills are like infectious diseases, they go into hiding for a time, then reactivate and come out to infect again.

  10. The thing that impresses me is that the wolf has become an organizational tool for the extreme right wing.

    When centrist and center right politicians used the wolf restoration to fan the flames on what should have been a tiny issue for their personal political benefit, they should have realized they were breathing life back into the kind of political crazies who caused so much trouble in the 1990s — the militias, Freemen, Christian Reconstructionist folks, etc.

  11. Save bears says:


    You have nailed it square on the head, This has given the extremists a reason to rally again, and we know how much they “RESPECT” laws, rules and regulations!

  12. Layton says:


    “Seems like all that negotiating was for naught after all…”

    What negotiating are you referring to — that which occured at the meeting you are talking about? Or some other??

    It seems to me that there is a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth here over something the “other” side is doing — ie; trying to use the legislative process (and maybe ultimately the courts) to fight what they think is not right. Does that scenario ring any bells?

    For crying out loud, Jon Way links this to religion, Ralph links it to the “extreme right wing”–“the militias, Freemen, Christian Reconstructionist folks, etc.”

    The only things I can see missing so far is some kind of reference to “I was raised in the South during the days before integration —–“.

    Has the thought ever occurred here that this just MIGHT be an attempt by a state to run it’s own business?? What a concept.

    • Layton,

      This is only a bill, not Montana as a state trying to run it’s own business or anything else.

      It’s important to know the kind of folks who are behind it.

  13. timz says:

    The whole country circling the drain like a turd in a toilet bowl, ready to go down the sewer and this is what you have politicians doing.

  14. jerry b says:

    I live here and am well acquainted with at least two of the folks behind this. (Marbut and Balyeat). Both are an embarrassment even to the far-right, the Montana militia and most hunting groups. These types are why Montana is regarded as such a culturally retarded state.

    Check out some of the links on the Montana Shooting Sports Assn. website.

  15. Salle says:

    Actually, it was a typo, the meeting I attended was NOT as draconian as this proposal is. And if anything of this type of proposal is adopted then I think all the negotiating at the meeting LAST December was for naught.

    And lived in New England, Tennessee and Florida before the Civil Rights Act of 1964… It didn’t matter where you were then if you weren’t completely pearly white and have Anglo-Saxon features, even if you were Jewish, Native American or… Just goes to show ya, some folks never travel and never learn much about the world as it really is…

  16. Salle says:


    I have a friend who calls it “circling the bowl” makes a lot of sense…

  17. Salle,

    These people will never be a part of any wolf negotiations. I mean they will opt out.

    They actully want the wolf to remain in Montana, although at low levels to help with their broader aims in developing an alternative cultural/political system.

  18. Although it is a decade old, folks should read this book:

    In God’s Country: The Patriot Movement and the Pacific Northwest. By David Neiwert.

    Neiwart also has a blog that is essential to anyone concerned about those way off to the right.

    Orcinus (his blog)

    Among his insights, a comparison of the late Helen Chenoweth (poster girl for the 1990s militias) and Sarah Palin.

    Chenoweth, a proto-Palin. This is a cross post to “Crooks and Liars.”

  19. Salle says:

    I agree, Ralph, they only want it to be in line with their thinking, anything else is unpatriotic or whatever they want to call it.

    Once again, I think that Palin deserves a replay of the “Chenowith salute”… one good whack with a dead fish.

  20. Save bears says:


    I am sorry, I have to disagree with you, I understand who is rallying behind these things, born and raised in the area, I have had a lot of exposure to the extremist types, know Randy Weaver personally, Know John Stokes Personally(he tried to start his own country in WA) You might think it is an exaggeration, but it does not matter the cause, they look for things they can get behind and get people up in arms..right, wrong they know how to mobilize some people and will capitalize on it…

  21. Layton says:

    I think you folks can find some sort of a conspiracy in two folks talking about the weather — as long as they aren’t praising Saint Obama while doing it.

    I guess I’m “thick” but to me it does NOT indicate some sort of a conspiracy to take over the Northwest and make it a separate country.

    Right wing nuts are right wing nuts and just because a state, or a state legislator, might want to grow a set of cajones and fight the feds DOES NOT (IMNSHO)mean that the whole thing is going to hell in a hand basket.

    Maybe, just maybe, they want to run their state wildlife the way THEY see fit.

    Randy Weaver is now in the mix, how about a link to The Turner Diaries and Timothy McVeigh?

  22. Robert Hoskins says:


    As one of those guys who was born and raised in the South before the end of Jim Crow (I was born in 1954, and local schools weren’t integrated until 1969), it does seem to me relevant for us to understand what states rights was and is all about.

    Back then, it was about keeping blacks in their place and keeping anyone who might think different frightened for their lives. When I hear people here in the West now proclaim states’ rights to run wildlife management the way they see fit, and I see how they act with simian brutality toward wild animals that don’t fit their narrow cultural prejudices (wolves, coyotes, bison, for example) I don’t see any fundamental difference between now and then.

    States rights is about the pursuit and glorification of reactionary ignorance.


  23. States rights in the West has always been about keeping rural land barons and extractive industries in power, and so being able to rule the states in a manner reminiscent of medieval feudalism.

    In both the South and the Interior West, states rights has been a pre-modern reaction to modern federal nationalism.

  24. Layton says:

    “States rights is about the pursuit and glorification of reactionary ignorance.”

    Wow — I guess that would explain a LOT of the things that you have to say here —- I sure as HELL don’t agree, but that does explain a lot!!

    Seems to me that we have a constitution here in the US that talks about some state’s rights, BUT thinking that’s obviously a result of my “narrow cultural predjudices”.

    Exit, stage left, shaking head in disbelief.

  25. JEFF E says:

    (Before you get all the way off stage what is your opinion of the Hoyt/Easton Pro Hunter Compound Bow circa 1985?”)
    Now back to our regularly scheduled program

  26. Layton says:


    Is that the FPS riser? If it is it will blow up in your face about half the time. You’ve got my Email (or threw it away in disgust 8) ) If you don’t have Ralph give it to you and I’ll tell you all about it. I was shooting for Hoyt about then.

    hijack off.

  27. JEFF E says:

    Thanks Layton.
    Ralph if you would please.

  28. jburnham says:

    To add to what Ralph said about the wolf being used as an organizational tool, I think this applies to most controversial environmental issues. Wolves, Wilderness, Spotted Owls, livestock, etc. are all terms that carry a lot of baggage in the west. How one feels about any given issue is likely to be determined by what side of the “Old-west”, “New-west” divide you find yourself on. Narrower issues (wolves, roadless land, etc.) are often just proxies for the larger cultural questions about the future of the west. State’s rights is exactly the same thing. Perfectly legitimate on its face, but when politicians start talking about it, it’s usually code for ‘glorification of reactionary ignorance’.
    The marriage of these two themes, states rights and the ‘old west’ will surely fire up the reactionaries, but I don’t think they’ve got a lot of support in the legislature.

    On a related note, Martin Nie’s book “The Governance of Western Public Lands” delves deeper into these issues and I suspect readers of this blog would find it useful.

  29. kt says:

    hey jburnham

    did you once upon a time do along solo walk across the owyhee country?

  30. jburnham says:

    nope, sounds fun though.

  31. kt says:

    Sorry -different jburnham! Brought back memories of stories told by another jburnham of eating ground squirrels on a long subsistence-type trek back in the Owyhee Andrus bombing range days.

  32. Save bears says:


    I agree with many if not most of what your post, but I can tell you…

    Yes your being thick…

  33. Salle says:

    Isn’t this supposed to be the 21st century where humans have come to some respectful type of resolve about their place in the biosphere? Or are we caught in a warped carousel-like continuum that only allows us to see what could be through a small portal as we whirl by it every so often but can’t embrace it because the myth of the west is driving the whole contraption?

  34. Robert Hoskins says:


    The very nature of civilization is to hate and assault the wild. The century doesn’t matter.


  35. Salle says:


    I know you’re right. The very concept of humans gathering under some social contract is to “protect” themselves from the natural order of life and death. We seem to never have been able to accept this. Especially in this sector of this continent.

    Which leads me to repeat a thought I’ve been wondering about for quite some time now;

    Could it be that humans “landed” here from elsewhere in the universe with the intent of controlling or destroying it?

    And then, there’s that new version of the movie, “The Day the Earth Stood Still”

    I think I’ll have to watch that one. It could be more truth than fiction.

  36. Bob Fanning says:

    “right wing religious views.” Ralph Maughan

    How , do you figure “religion” Ralph?
    Are you nuts or just hoping something sticks to the wall ?


December 2008


‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey