Idaho looks to remove wolves

Anywhere from 104 to 120 wolves will be killed in the first year under the weakened 10(j) rule.

The current version of the 10(j) rule reduces the burden of proof on wildlife managers so they don’t have to demonstrate that wolves are THE MAJOR cause of elk declines.

Wildlife Services is also seeking permission to kill an additional 26 packs of wolves in Idaho. This could amount to killing 200+ wolves.

Presently there are an estimated 824 wolves in Idaho and agencies seek to kill as many as 300 wolves overall.

The Idaho Fish and Game study to justify killing wolves in the Lolo area is yet to be released to the public.

Idaho looks to remove wolves
Ravalli Republic



, , ,



  1. ChrisH Avatar

    Are they sure that’s enough??? Talk about overkill……

  2. Rick Hammel Avatar
    Rick Hammel

    What has become of the lawsuit trying to overturn the new 10j reg?


  3. Brian Ertz Avatar


    a brief was filed February 2 –

    Plaintiffs’ Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support of Motion for Summary Judgement

    Click Here to Read the Brief (pdf) – if you like…

  4. Jeff Avatar

    For some more hopeful news…The MT wolf with a GPS collar that was in SW Wyo and southeastern ID is now near Vail, CO after cruising through Utah. A mere 1,000 mile stroll.

  5. Elkchaser Avatar

    Some wolves in some places need to be thinned out. The wolves were not reintroduced to run amuck without controls. The original recovery goals have been met, it is time to move on and manage them the same as bear and mtn lions.

  6. ChrisH Avatar

    Brian thanks for posting the brief. Jeff, thanks for the clips on the Colorado wolf. Although, after reading some of the comments below the articles she may have a tough way to go even with endangered status.

  7. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears


    Minimum numbers have been reached a long time ago, that was not the recovery goal…that was a minimum to trigger de-listing..

  8. timz Avatar

    This one got out on it’s on before the killing started.

  9. smalltownID Avatar

    “We want this wolf to have friends” – That is hilarious

  10. Jeff N. Avatar
    Jeff N.

    SmalltownID –

    Not half as hilarious as some of the garbage barfed up by the anti-wolf residents of your fine state.

  11. Barb Avatar

    Rob Edward of WildEarth Guardians (formerly Sinapu) is the dedicated professional who made that comment.

    I am sure that Rob meant that this lone female wolf needs to — actually MUST — find an accepting PACK of wolves to become part of, or at least a mate.

    Lone wolves as a rule do not generally survive very long in the wild as it takes several to take down larger animals to eat. She could last quite a while on her own though by eating smaller creatures such as rodents.

    Her bigger enemy is non compassionate humans who don’t like wolves because they are wolves.

  12. smalltownID Avatar

    No, I would say just as hilarious. You have to laugh at both sides Jeff when they take things out of context, anthropomorphize, etc.

    And yes, it is a fine state.

  13. smalltownID Avatar

    And both sides do it to try to prove their point

  14. smalltownID Avatar

    “The little red riding hood” mentality makes me laugh just as much.

  15. Jeff N. Avatar
    Jeff N.


    As Barb mentioned, most here on this site know the “context” of Rob Edwards comment about the wolf finding “friends”.

  16. Rick Hammel Avatar
    Rick Hammel

    Thanks Brian for the thread. Has a judge been assigned to hear the motion?


  17. Brian Ertz Avatar

    The litigation kicked off a year ago – remember, the 10(j) rule change took place at nearly the same time as the delisting attemp, a “hedged bet” if you ask me. Judge Molloy has been assigned the 10(j) litigation as well, it was filed in the Montana District Court.

    The 10(j) hit the back burner while the delisting was being decided.

  18. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E
    So lets think about this for a minute. Aside from the fact that this extremely poor reporting lets consider another aspect here. to wit you have a situation where you have a pack of nine wolves which make a living pulling down deer and elk which can weigh up to 600-800 lbs(elk) and are involved in an active “combat” situation with what is to them a rival and there mindset is kill or be killed, and here comes a human and right amongst the thick of the battle reaches in with bare hands and picks up his dog out of the very jaws of what was probably the Alpha male who was in the very act of trying to kill the dog; AND YET the human gets not so much as a scratch. Hmmmm

  19. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears


    If he is not telling the truth, I would have to wonder why? and it really does not matter if he is or is not, what it does is adds more fuel to a fire that is really starting to smoke…unfortunately, I am see where a backlash is looming on the horizon..

    I am starting to hear more and more groups forming, in Montana on Friday, there is going to be a protest by a self proclaimed radical that advocates publicly practicing SSS..

    I can definitely see the battle lines being drawn..and it is really a shame..

  20. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    I think you may be misinterpreting my post. I assume that the facts are what is presented. My point is that in what for wolves is a “combat” situation that when a human appears right in the middle of it , the wolves did not even attempt to engage the human. I submit that that is normal behavior for healthy wild wolves with respect to humans

  21. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears


    I am sorry if I did, I am just concerned because I see a pot that is going from simmer to boil….and as a person that works in the field it scares me to see it happening…

  22. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    I’m with ya on that SB

  23. Elkchaser Avatar

    SaveBears – I along with many others would argue that the other conditions for delisting have also been met.
    When you have wolves showing up in Oregon, Washington, Utah, and Colorado; then tell people that there are not enough wolves yet – it is easy to see why folks are losing patience. The longer this drags on, the more people that are in the middle on this issue are going to be alienated.

  24. Salle Avatar

    If people didn’t have expectations based on some timeframe they will never be satisfied since nature doesn’t function in a fiscal sense nor does it matter what people think, nature is timeless… When wolves can roam free in the wildlands that are left, and without rampant violence taken against them, they can then and only then be safe enough to delist from the ESA.

  25. smalltownID Avatar

    I can understand people’s concern with not trusting managment especially when the best science is not employed. Save Bears is on target and it won’t take much for the pot to reach boiling point especially if you have a “perfect storm”. Since the hound dogs that were killed almost a year ago in northern idaho I am actually surprised we have not seen a story like this earlier.

    Now is not the time to polarize the issue. That doesn’t mean you have to stand back and do nothing but there has to be reason when considering the situation. The states need to be handed control or it is really going to get ugly. If so, the IDF&G can be held accountable as well as anti-wolf advocates who find excuses to SSS and break the law.

  26. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears


    I said, minimum numbers have been met, but the goals of the program have not been met yet, part of which is the genetic exchange issue, Which is one of the reasons they are again listed…

    I believe this should have been addressed sooner before they were delisted the first time.

    I don’t specifically work in the wolf field…but from talking to people I have worked with as well as knowing people that are 100% against wolves, I just see a nasty blood shedding fight on the horizon…if something is not done soon…

    There is a lot of remote land out there and a hell of a lot of people running around with guns…with the way things are right now, it could almost be called the brink of another civil war!

  27. Barb Avatar

    Please feel free to bring your “unwanted wolves” to Colorado. 70% of us would love ’em here.

  28. smalltownID Avatar

    Whoa, whoa, civil war is a little extreme for me. But ppl rallying the wolf cry are going to be digging for stories and I wouldn’t be surprised if some fabricated stories come out soon.

  29. Elkchaser Avatar

    Save bears – I understand what you are saying, but to me the genetic exchange issue just doesn’t seem rational. I would ask to prove to me that they have not. If you have wolves expanding their ranges and wandering hundreds of miles, it is hard to picture how there is not some breeding going on. I can also see if this drags on long enough the states will walk away from the issue; no investigating and no cooperation with the feds.

  30. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears


    Although I don’t work specifically in the wolf field(My specialty is hoofed animals) I have a lot of friends that do work on the various wolf programs in all three states and I can tell you some of the things I am hearing is down right scary…I talked to a buddy of mine that works for FWP(we worked in the same office when I was with FWP) and they consider the person who organized the protest for tomorrow as a loose canon..he knows how to rally a crowd….

    I hope I am wrong, but know that things are not all that good right now…

  31. Brian Ertz Avatar


    It’s not the burden of wolf advocates to demonstrate that genetic exchange is not happening – it’s FWS’s burden to demonstrate that it’s decision to delist is not arbitrary in that, and other, respects as a matter of recovery based on sound science. The FWS, and the states, failed to demonstrate that their decision and the subsequent states’ management would provide for such exchange, especially given the state plans demonstrated no such regard – and in fact, demonstrated the opposite with intention to heavily/prohibitively ‘control’ in those areas that might provide corridors for such exchange. That’s the law & that fact is vindicated by a federal district court.

    Smalltown & SB,

    I understand & do not necessarily disagree with your assessment of the visceral reaction broiling amongst the anti-federal government, anti-wolf factions. But I would object to any suggestion that wolf advocates ought ‘back off’ if that is what these anecdotes are intended to suggest. Reacting to the threat of lawlessness, appeasing that extortion, would be a bad way to ensure a sound recovery of wolves, a healthy regard for the rule of law, and would do wolves, & ongoing and future contentious species issues a great disservice.

    there is no way to make everyone happy and ensure a lawful and biologically sound recovery of wolves. The best bet for wolves in the long term is to hold to science & law. if the anti-wolf folk choose to marginalize themselves with threats of violence, then it’d become appropriate to encourage enforcement against illegal acts.

  32. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears


    Not once did I suggest backing off at all, I am just talking about what I am seeing and hearing from many that specialize in the wolf field..

  33. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    I also will add, no matter my position on any issue, I don’t advocate and I don’t condone any type of illegal activity, rational human beings can work things out..

  34. Elkchaser Avatar

    Savebears and Brian:
    So if we are all being rational, then what conditions must be met in your mind for wolves to be managed and controlled like bears and mtn lions?

  35. smalltownID Avatar

    Like I said, “Now is not the time to polarize the issue. That doesn’t mean you have to stand back and do nothing” . As I have mentioned in the past it is the folks who can empathize that are bridging the gaps “working things out” as save bears puts it. There are passionate folks on both sides of the equation that are their own worst enemies – that was the point of my comment.

    I am not worried about the wolf recovery as a whole. They are here to stay. The only way to get rid of wolves is a united front with poison. That is not going to happen in this day and age. There will be illegal activity as with everything else in life and yes they should be punished even though I am not concerned overall for the recovery effort.

    Demonstrating genetic exchange is a difficult thing to do. Differentiating between subspecies is always controversial. You have your lumpers and your splitters. The reason mt. quail were denied listing was bc it wasn’t demonstrated that they were a unique subspecies in the eastern portion of their range. That is not going to happen. IMO they should have to demonstrate they weren’t a unique population if that was truly their reasoning, but it wasn’t.

  36. Brian Ertz Avatar


    The question answered by the judge was whether the feds made an appropriate effort to ensure the states provided for genetic exchange – something they have to do as a condition of law – the Feds didn’t even ask the question, or make a determination of the states’ plans in that respect before pushing the delisting rule through – that’s inadequate whether the plans would speculatively provide for exchange or not. That failed any legal standard for delisting from a “rational” point of view.

    Demonstrating genetic exchange in any absolute terms may be difficult, but the reality is – with the level of deference granted agency, they probably don’t need to prove beyond a doubt that it’s happening – in all likelihood they need to say that they’ve got an expert/team that has determined exchange will happen with the state plans and weighing what they consider to be the best science. That deference to agency already tips heavily in favor of agency, and they didn’t or weren’t able to even clear that hurdle – and it’s probably fair to assume they knew they needed to do it. So the rule was jammed through – political, innappropriate, and unlawful – it’s “reasonable” to expect a legitimate process that is lawful.

    The bottom line is that the “conditions” that need to be cleared to delist are ‘the law’ – ESA, APA, etc. etc. I’m no lawyer – but the states & Feds have them – they know what needs to happen, there’ve just been political decisions/pressures to expedite – those pressures are innappropriate.

  37. Cobra Avatar

    I agree with SB, I’ve seen quite a increase in the attitude abot wolves especially here in North Idaho. I have friends hat have been shed hunting and are finding quite a few wolf kills. Some of them are eaten but many are not and whether or not the wolves comeback to finish the meal h guys are seeing a whole elk carcass and that’swhatgets relayed to everyone else they talk to. Most feel as though their hands are tied and yes I hear a few taking matters into their own hands but I feel if the wolves were delisted it might help in the long run by making people feel as though they do have some control legally in the wolf population. Hunting alone will not be the all out massacre that some believe. Barb, I’m sure that 70% is mostly from the eastern slope of Colorado and not the western slope. We’ve seen wolves moving farther and farther north every year and now we’re starting to see them right out of town so I have a hard time believing genetic exchange is not taking place, at least on the North Idaho Montana border.

  38. John d. Avatar
    John d.

    Hunting won’t solve the hatred issue, it will just legalise it.

  39. John d. Avatar
    John d.

    Example: the coyote.

  40. Salle Avatar

    “We’ve seen wolves moving farther and farther north every year and now we’re starting to see them right out of town so I have a hard time believing genetic exchange is not taking place, at least on the North Idaho Montana border.”

    This statement doesn’t make sense. It would appear that a large number of people think that wolves just multiply like rodents as this statement seems to imply. That is far from the case. Wolves will roam, just because you see them in a new area does not necessarily mean that they are multiplying rapidly, interacting with other wolves of a differing genetic make-up and breeding with them.

    People like to be the “knowers” of all things whether they have a clue or not. Like the recently voted out of office Bu$h league, just because you say something loudly and often does not make it true or reality. Like “We’re winning the war in Iraq” or that it was necessary to start said war. I find that many anti-wolf gangs are just that, uninformed gangs that want to have their way and to hell with anyone who disagrees with them. Americans are professional victims in many ways and this anti-wolf gang mentality is a perfect example of it.

    As for peer-reviewed data approved by state anti-wolf management agencies, they ~ under the “new” 10(j) rule ~ CHOOSE the peers who review the faux studies; only have to conduct a study for one area and then are allowed to use the data as a blanket excuse for the rest of the state. Does that sound anything like the actual peer-review and application of such information that has been the standard of scientific inquiry that the educated folks of the modern world recognize? No. It is a fabrication that is born of the George Bu$h/Jethro Bodine school of thought and has no relevance whatsoever to that of true peer-review and scientific inquiry.

    It’s time to return to some semblance of intellect. I hope their will be some marked improvement in education and soon. A lot of this problem is a direct result of ignorance either by way of piss-poor education systems or ignorance by choice. Both factors are at play in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. Live here, seen it, and I am extremely frustrated by it.

    Fearmongering needs to be ended.

  41. adam gall Avatar
    adam gall

    wolves should be delisted people and this is coming from a former employee of the nez perce tribe wolf project. in response to salle’s comments, i don’t believe cobra’s comments are implying wolves are breeding like rodents…just simply noticing that wolf numbers are increasing in north idaho…which they are! i am totally in support of delisting and managing and doing so now. wolves have recovered. the genetic exchange issue is tough to scientifically prove without a boatload of expensive work, in the field and in the lab, but having actually trapped and worked on idaho’s northern population as well as the rest of the beautiful state of idaho, i find it borderline ridiculous to think that exchange is not occurring between MT and ID. the Calder Mt and Big Hole packs are two fine examples.
    as for wolves in CO…let them come naturally…period. that would be a great thing to see. however, reintroduction would be a poor decision in my opinion. i now live in a small town in western colorado that is agriculturally based and there is a very small number of people who want to see them here.
    delisting needs to happen, and it should happen. the wolf population will be fine.

  42. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    Thanks for your comments, but no one is arguing there is no genetic exchange between Idaho and Montana. There is, and has been almost from the start.

    The problem is between ID/NW Montana and the Greater Yellowstone.

    The biggest problem though is political — Butch Otter, the cattle and sheep associations, and Wildlife Services dictating to Idaho Fish and Game

  43. adam gall Avatar
    adam gall

    hey ralph. thanks for the post. without getting into it too deeply, what i guess i find frustrating is the somewhat uncompromising stance of the “environmental” groups that keep suing over delisting. they sued and won due to insufficient evidence of genetic exchange and i think this is a crock. as far as ID/NW MT and Y’stone, i think there is evidence there that immigration/emigration is taking place between subpops. just looking over a pack map, it is a hop, skip and jump for wolves in the island park area to cut through the upper snake region and they’re officially in SW MT or lower central ID regions.
    anyways, we’ll have to see how it all shakes out. i just find myself shaking my head reading some of the comments on here! takes all kinds to make the world go ’round. thanks again for the web page.

  44. Ken Cole Avatar

    Adam, don’t forget that Wyoming still does not have a plan. Also, it is very reasonable to expect that the packs you are referring to in the areas of southeast Idaho are those that will be targeted for removal once delisting occurs. You know that as well as anybody. Then what? Will the exchange happen then? Also, the plans to remove wolves are being considered before delisting even occurs and before there has been any confirmed exchange.

  45. Ken Cole Avatar

    It is good to have someone who was involved with the program posting here.

    One of the biggest problems I see here is that the people who know what is going on don’t give out any information anymore. Nobody really knows what is going on since IDFG took over management.

  46. Barb Avatar

    John d- I couldn’t agree more with you regarding your statement, “Hunting won’t solve the hatred issue, it will just legalize it.”

    That’s why I’ve always felt that wolves need PERMANENT federal protection because of their persecuted history; they are a special species in that regard.

    Just acting like they’re any animal that is re-established and then taking them off the ESA is just asking for further persecution and more hostility between wolf supporters and wolf haters.

    The livestock losses are so exaggerated too. It’s coyotes that actually kill more livestock, of course they are persecuted as well. The only difference is that they are more numerous.

  47. Ryan Avatar

    “Example: the coyote.”

    Thats a pretty horrible example. Coyotes really aren’t hated, they just get shot onsite because that has been the way of rural the west for the 150 years.

    Wolves are pretty much hated though, and the people filing injunctions and Lawsuits can be to thank for that in large part. All of the (imho) conditions have been met for delisting, if legitimate population control measures are allowed, some of the fervor will subside, but as long as ranchers, hunters, and other either moderate or anti wolf people feel like there is no option to deal with either real or percieved losses the hatred will get worse.

    “That’s why I’ve always felt that wolves need PERMANENT federal protection because of their persecuted history; they are a special species in that regard.”

    Your slipping away from logical thinking again and applying some weird human rights line of thinking to your argument. They are just any other animal, no different. Push to get a special designation on them the backlash will be ten fold what it is right now.

  48. Barb Avatar

    Ryan, why do some ranchers think they have to right to use lethal force on native animals living on their own habitat (God given habitat) who are just trying to survive? Don’t they respect native animals and the part they play in our ecosystem? Or they just don’t care?

    Employing or using ONLY “logical thinking” can result in a complete lack of compassion. Is that good for mankind? I don’t think so.

  49. Ryan Avatar


    Thats where we will always fundamentally disagree. I believe that logic and science will always prevail over compassion and illogical thinking. The end result is always be worse when people refuse to acknowledge the facts and base there decisions on feelings.
    Look no further than Ballard Locks for a prime example. While litigation went on about sea lion removal, native steelhead went from robust and healthy to ESA listed. The runs went from 8000 fish a year to less than 500 (there still ESA listed and severly depressed) because a few misguided people couldn’t handle the thought of the removal of a few problem sea lions because they were cute and furry.

  50. Ryan Avatar

    “Ryan, why do some ranchers think they have to right to use lethal force on native animals living on their own habitat (God given habitat) who are just trying to survive? Don’t they respect native animals and the part they play in our ecosystem? Or they just don’t care? ”

    There trying to protect there familys livelyhood and way of life. Protecting my family and job is a pretty improtant thing for me.

  51. Barb Avatar

    Sure, protecting one’s livelihood is necessary and important. But using lethal methods isn’t a requirement.

    Also, compassion and logic I believe are the best combination.

  52. Ryan Avatar


    Prime example, we had a coyote that was eating our geese on our little hobby farm as a kid. I missed him once, he was back 2 days later and killed another goose. At which point I terminated his goose killing career. We never lost another goose to a coyote for the rest of the time we lived there (4 years). Same way with killing coons in the henhouse. Get rid of the problem animal and no more problems for quite a while.

  53. Barb Avatar

    Well we have a coyote “problem” in one of our parks around here — you can google it if you wish — coyote greenwood village sharpshooter

    The park visitors have been feeding (attracting) coyotes and people let their tiny dogs off leash (nice snack for a coyote.)

    So the park’s solution? To hire a sharpshooter to kill any “aggressive” coyotes.

    It’s a stupid plan; even the city of Denver doesn’t agree with it. They say “hazing” works better to “teach” them not to come close to people.

    Killing an offending animal doesn’t “teach” the other animals to stay away. It may work that one time, with that one animal, but the overall problem still remains.

  54. Barb Avatar

    And were your geese secured, or just left out in the open as a tantalizing snack to wildlife Ryan?

    Please don’t tell me the coyotes “jumped” over the fence, ate the yummy goose, and “jumped” back over.

  55. Ryan Avatar

    Geese were out during the day with the steers locked up at night. (they are actually really good protection for chickens from skunks, owls, etc) Why should my geese have to live as prisoners inside a chicken yard instead free roaming because of a few rogue coyotes. Looking at the park problem, why should people live in fear over a few agressive animals. A few killed of coyotes will not make a difference in overall population but will reinstill a healthy fear of man.

    Which they obivously don’t have. Look no farther than the rural west where this is not an issue. In most areas if you pull your truck over to the side of the road, they take off like scalded children.

  56. Ryan Avatar

    Should read scalded cat, not children.

  57. Barb Avatar

    Ryan said: “Why should my geese have to live as prisoners inside a chicken yard instead free roaming because of a few rogue coyotes. Looking at the park problem, why should people live in fear over a few agressive animals.”

    Geese living as prisoners? Are they really suffering (as SaveBears has asked).

    Shouldn’t the native wildlife also be able to “roam free?”

    That’s the thing — “killing a few” does NOT resolve the problem, that was point. It would be EQUALLY effective if the sharpshooter simply pointed his gun at the sky and made a very loud noise. The coyotes do not “realize” the other coyotes are being killed.

  58. Barb Avatar

    I certainly hope you mean SCOLDED CATS.

    Scalding cats would definitely be animal abuse, punishable by laws, Ryan.

  59. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears


    This particular part of the discussion is between you and Ryan, Now I asked you the other day, to keep me out of it on another thread I had not posted on, I have not posted here on what you and Ryan are arguing about…

    So I will repeat, leave me out of it! Please!

  60. Barb Avatar

    SB — Ryan and I are not “arguing.” I am also not “involving you” but only referring to a CONCEPT of yours — it wouldn’t matter if it was Barney who said it. You’re not part of this discussion. See? Thanks.

  61. smalltownID Avatar

    With all of the pessimism in the world Gamblin’s article in the ISJ about the North American Model of wildlife conservation was a breath of fresh air.

  62. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    Boy Barb,

    You are a real Piece of work, that is to say the least…You know what you can do with it…pushing until you piss people off is not always the way to win a point, we all know that based on what Bush did when he invaded Iraq…

  63. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    As far as not arguing, you two sound like a brother and sister locked up together in a small room!


  64. Ryan Avatar

    I meant scalded cat, its a figure of speach. As far as killing the problem coyotes it is the best option. Your sharp shooter argument obiviously is lacking any common sense. If the coyotes were attacking sharp shooters, then its a great idea, but there average vicitm (meaning pet owner, child etc) is unarmed.

  65. John d. Avatar
    John d.

    Kill some, more come – the problem is not solved.

  66. Ryan Avatar


    Target problem indviduals, leave non problem indviduals problem solved.
    Here is a list of recent attacks..


    Here is a recent study done in CA about the coyote problem.

    Here is a quote from the study.

    “However, if environmental
    modification and changes in human behavior toward coyotes are
    delayed, then removal of offending predators by traps or shooting is required
    in order to resolve the threat to human safety.”

  67. Barb Avatar

    I don’t get what you mean by this:

    If the coyotes were attacking sharp shooters, then its a great idea, but there average vicitm (meaning pet owner, child etc) is unarmed.


  68. John d. Avatar
    John d.

    Wow, nips and bites and one fatality. Reminds me of the ‘attacks’ on Fraser Island. *Sure does make that 30 000 annual coyote killing seem worth it (oh and that coyote killing tournament sure did teach them varmints some respect for humans they barely ever came into contact with).

    Innocent and guilty alike are killed, doesn’t matter what the coyote does it is hated because it is a coyote.

    *please note: sarcasm

  69. Wendy Avatar

    I am a wolf-advocate but I try to be guided by science and law when it comes to de-listing. Those in Idaho and Montana who are pro-de-listing ought to be putting pressure on Wyoming, because in my opinion, Wyoming is holding up de-listing. I believe de-listing should and will occur as soon as the last two requirements of the ESA are met.

    The many sensible wolf-advocates I know agree that wolf population recovery goals were met long ago. And most of us agree that some genetic exchange is occurring (as Ralph pointed out, especially between Idaho & Montana). But there is, so far, an insufficient plan to insure and support the continuance of such genetic exchange which is necessary for the long-term survival of the species. We must think 100 or 200 years from now, not 5 years from now.

    The other requirement yet un-met is the provision against dual status. As long as Wyoming insists on keeping its “shoot on sight” classification delisting should not occur. Ironically, if Wyoming dropped its stance, it would most likely quickly lead to a de-facto achievment of both requirements. Allowing wolves to use natural travel corridors (for example, to Colorado) without being arbitrarily shot for doing so, would almost certainly lead to natural genetic exchange. Dropping the dual status classification would still allow rural people to protect their property if these wolves attack their livestock (as long as any wolves shot are reported). Dropping the dual status would also pave the way for legal hunting, which so many rural Wyomingites claim to want.

    Although at the moment, wolf populations do seem secure, one needs only look to the Yellowstone wolves to see how potentially precarious the population is. Mange is now infecting many wolves in the Park (I believe the first, single case was noticed two years ago) and although many adult wolves can survive it, most pups do not. If the disease continues to spread, as it is likely to do, we may begin to see lower and lower pup survival rates, and eventually lower adult survival rates. I don’t mean to suggest this will wipe out YNP wolves, but we must remember there are natural checks and balances on wild populations that, limit their growth over time. We must think long term about this. (Note: I know mange was introduced to the Park by man, but it’s there, now, like so many other introduced organisms, and I consider it yet another challenge that wild populations must deal with, like distemper, parvo, starvation and intra-pack strife)

    On the surface there is no question (for me) that recovery goals are met and that wolves have expanded their territories farther afield than expected. Yes, overall, wolves seem to be healthy enough to be able to withstand the pressures that will come after de-listing. But we need to look deeper than the surface picture and think long term. That is why the two remaining provisions must be met before delisting occurs. There must be a plan to ensure and support continued genetic exchange and Wyoming’s “predator” classification (dual status) must go.

  70. Barb Avatar

    I don’t like much any of the laws the way most native wild animals are treated — like “game” “predators” etc.

    I see them as treasures to be protected, intrinsically valuable in their own right. Yes, even those “varmint” coyotes to me are valuable.

  71. smalltownID Avatar

    thanks for the comment wendy. wyoming behind the 8 ball for some time now. You can only put pressure on them for so long and there is only so much you can do. Glad to see the FWS has decided to move on and continue de-listing if Wyoming doens’ t get with the program. I hope the population booms there under the Feds control so they learn there lesson.

    Both sides can be quite unreasonable in a fast food, get-rich-quick society void of delayed gratification and patience. Both sides do it but Wyoming is a classic example of being unreasonable. Despite all of the b*tching and moaning I think the delisting process has been pretty reasonable.

  72. Matt Avatar

    Since we are discussing animals intrinsic value, do you have a chart or scale available for reference? I would be curious as to the value applied for say a moose, elk, cow, human, etc? Perhaps that has been the flaw in the approach – base all population control measures on perceived intrinsic value? Every 4 years we could vote on scale reconfigurations and rankings? Think of the lobbying groups that would arise!!

  73. Ryan Avatar

    “I don’t get what you mean by this:

    If the coyotes were attacking sharp shooters, then its a great idea, but there average vicitm (meaning pet owner, child etc) is unarmed.

    It means that coyotes will recognize certain people/looks and show fear towards them (espicially because they are new members to the enviroment) but will still associate the people there used to as a food source.


    Lets see how you feel when your dog or cat gets eaten or your kid gets nipped. This problem is central to urban areas only.

  74. Barb Avatar

    Ryan, if my kid got nipped, I would be wondering why and what specifically happened. As a rule, wild animals don’t bother humans unless they feel threatened or have been “trained” by dumb people feeding them. In this particular park, it is surrounded by multi-million dollar homes and the people have a ton of money, but the way they are dealing with it shows that money can’t fix stupid.

    Hazing them (without hurting them) is the answer to the human-caused problem.

    As I’ve said, I have lots of coyotes living near where I live. We’ve never had any problems with them at all.

  75. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears


    You never have a problem with a wild animal until you ….

    Have a problem…

    The biggest issue is you can’t control those around you, you are only in charge of yourself, I have seen it time and time again, people feed, harass, or what ever and they never have a problem, it is the person that comes next that have the problem…

    Glad to hear you have never had a problem, but I have to wonder, who has done what before you got there…

    Happens in Yellowstone and Glacier all the time…

    As populations continue to increase, both human as well as wildlife, if we are just going to haze then we are forcing them into smaller habitat because your NOT going to haze humans, that is a given…and humans are going to continue to expand their range..we are going to see more and more conflicts…

  76. John d. Avatar
    John d.

    Kids get nipped by their dogs practically every day but you don’t see a massive hunt on the domestic dog population… with the exception of those that participate in SSS against pet owners. I wonder if that counts as depredation? It is technically stealing and damaging ‘property’ (not that a family member should be called as such).

    I’ve had depredations on my pets before, I’ve felt a little annoyed but in no way did I want the offending animals dead. It is their instinct to kill and feed. However, I did find a means to stop such incidents from happening again without having to pick up a gun or trap – worked like a charm.

  77. Barb Avatar

    Yes, SaveBears, you are correct — if I was “suddenly attacked” by a wild animal, in an area where I’ve never had any encounters with them, I would think that 1) either I surprised and threatened the animal or 2) it has been harrassed or fed by people before me. But I would not “blame” or develop a vengeful hatred for the animal — in fact, that would indicate that I very much AM assigning “human traits” to the animal as I “expect” they “shouldn’t do that.” One never really knows what any wild animal is ever going to do. That’s why they’re called “wild.” I think people forget that. It’s like livestock owners get “mad” at nature’s ways. I can’t understand that. If you put a yummy steak dinner out there, the “dumb” animal does not know it’s “private property.”

    Matt said: “Do you have a chart or scale available for reference? I would be curious as to the value applied for say a moose, elk, cow, human, etc.”

    🙂 …. I think it goes without saying that people, consciously or unconsciously, “assign” values to animals. I would personally assign the highest values to mammals (wolves, foxes, coyotes, bears, horses, etc.), not quite as high but still high for squirrels, prairie dogs…. Moose, elk, deer, DEFINITELY BELOW predators as far as their “worth” (in my opinion)

    I suppose very much like the food chain.

  78. Barb Avatar

    I think a lot of hunters (or some hunters) absolutely put moose, elk, (prey) animals HIGHER than predators as they see predators as “competition.”

    I don’t hunt, I do understand why some people do.

    To me, it’s no less than SHOCKING the lack of respect some hunters — SOME! — not all — and livestock owners give predatory animals.

    It’s more than illogical to “resent” animals like wolves because they are going after the same animals as hunters. That’s how nature designed them — to survive. Everyone wants to survive.

    Just my opinion, but ranching cattle or other livestock on the open range makes little sense as why expose yourself to all the possible losses and then expect a government agency (Wildlife Services) to handle it for you? Or even worse, Defenders of Wildlife. I’m a member of Defenders as I want to protect persecuted or endangered animals, but its livestock reimbursement program is not well-respected by the industry. Any comments I’ve ever seen by the industry towards it do nothing but mock it.

  79. Matt Avatar

    Wouldn’t you agree that prey animals are less likely to attack pets, children, hunters, hikers, etc. Therefore possibly increasing their intrinsic value.

  80. Barb Avatar

    Prey animals are not as smart.

  81. Matt Avatar

    I starting to think you might be more anti-human than pro animal.

  82. Cobra Avatar

    Wendy, well said and I agree with what you’ve said.
    Barb, the reason most of us hunters put more value on elk, deer and moose is because we don’t eat wolves or coyotes. Bears are predators as well as cats but people are far more accepting of them because quite a few people up here eat bear and cats are here but seldom seen and more respected than wolves because of their solitary nature. Most of the people I know personally that have taken cats did so while being stalked to close range. They had a funny feeling tuned around and there’s a cat behind them. And yes many here eat the cats too. I’ve tried it and don’t care for it. Many people up here only eat wild game and that’s why they dislike the wolves and coyotes.

  83. Barb Avatar

    It seems that it’s a non-acceptance of nature and how it all works in unison if someone has a “dislike” for predatory creatures. One can’t just pick and choose which animals you’re going to accept as all the native ones are necessary. And I could care less about eating game animals; I prefer fish anyway.

  84. Ryan Avatar

    I starting to think you might be more anti-human than pro animal.

    Matt, I think you might be on to something..

    “I suppose very much like the food chain.”

    I’m at the top of the food chain and you don’t very much like me. 🙂 I thhink you advocated I should shoot myself on another thread. hmmm

  85. Barb Avatar

    Please stick with the issues and topics instead of resorting to personal attacks.

  86. SAP Avatar

    I am sorry to say the quality of discussion on this blog has really declined recently. Not the information that Ralph and others post, but the comment sections. Seems like there are a lot of posts with 70-80 comments with very little in the way of useful exchanges or illumination of complex topics.

    Barb, are you the same person who was recently labeling other commenters as “trolls” because they had different values & perspectives?

    I’ve stated before that I visit this blog because Ralph et al. provide an excellent and timely digest of news on issues that I work on and care about. And the discussions that ensue are often very helpful in improving my understanding and honing my thinking.

    Maybe other people come here just to have their own positions & values emphatically affirmed & reinforced instead of challenged; I don’t know. Some folks seem to want this forum to be a cyber “war room” for activist strategies, but I think the more astute recognize that a public blog is not the place for that.

    Making progress on wildlife conservation — particularly with large carnivores — is a complex, multi-faceted challenge. There are no easy answers, in particular because there is not consensus on what our goals really are. And in a free(er) society, we tolerate a diversity of opinions about what our collective goals ought to be. We’re not going to get rid of those who disagree with us — so we ought to work on understanding each other, working collectively to solve tangible problems, and behaving civilly even when we find that our differences are profound and irreconcilable (think of that old cartoon of the coyote & the sheep dog).

    The eminent philosopher Karl Popper wrote that “a discussion between people who share many views is unlikely to be fruitful, even though it may be pleasant; while a discussion between vastly different frameworks can be extremely fruitful, even though it may sometimes be extremely difficult.”

    Seems like this comment went by totally un-noticed. Admin

  87. Ryan Avatar

    Kids get nipped by their dogs practically every day but you don’t see a massive hunt on the domestic dog population… with the exception of those that participate in SSS against pet owners. I wonder if that counts as depredation? It is technically stealing and damaging ‘property’ (not that a family member should be called as such).

    My dog nips my kid my dog goes away.

  88. ChrisH Avatar

    I’m not sure why anyone would think that an animal’s penchant for attacking pets and humans gives (or takes) away from it’s intrinsic value. We might appreciate the fact that some animals attack more often than others. However, documentation exists that shows both predator and prey species can and have attacked humans and their pets.
    In general though, our economic system places almost no value on natural resources, plants or animals until they have been rendered into something we deem as having value. This is why wilderness bills are always hard to pass. The land and it’s inhabitants and functions have no value as they are. Even though ,as others have pointed out, most public land in the west is in mountainous areas and provides for clean drinking water for millions. This is just one of many function provided at “no cost”.

  89. Barb Avatar

    Elk attack people quite often in national parks if the people get too close… so do the bison….

    This is a great article that someone wrote:

  90. Cobra Avatar

    I could care less about eating game animals, I eat fis fishanyway. There-in lies the problem, you yourself do not eat game animals therefore you might not understand just how imporant those game animals are to quite a few people. I don’t know how fond you are of fish but say someone introduced northern pike into you favorite fishing lake, northern pike being a top notch predator in the freshwater world will have an impact on the fish you can catch and the fish you can take home, the pike totally changes the way you fish and your success as a fisherman. If this were to happen to you wouldn’t you have some animosity towards the pike that were introduced into your lake.

  91. Barb Avatar

    Cobra, yes, and in that way, people are the same, what they care about and what they see as intrinsically valuable is what they protect. (your tone is not conducive to pleasant conversation)

  92. Barb Avatar

    Cobra, your comparison is illegimate as you said “the pike that were introduced.”

    Wolves were not “introduced.” Wolves were, and have been, a natural part of the ecosystem as God and Nature designed. It was only the work of humans in the last century that caused them to be “exterminated.”

    Wolves and other predators did not “die off” on their own. They were forcefully removed from the ecosystem because people who saw high value in prey animals removed them.

  93. Ken Cole Avatar

    I posted an open thread for discussions that were off topic for a reason. I hope people go back up a few comments and take a look at SAP’s comment. I am starting to agree with him.

    Things have been a little personal and off topic recently.

  94. smalltownID Avatar

    SAP and Ken,

    I ignore comments by emotional folks who polarize the issue only as much as I can even if they are directed towards me. As you can see on this thread all it takes is one person to encourage others who post and enjoy reading their own comments over and over to validate how smart they are.

    In the mean time the valid comments like Wendy’s get diluted with garbage like “…Prey animals aren’t as smart.”

  95. Ryan Avatar

    Sorry I missed SAP’s comment before I posted. I’m making efforts to avoid the bait. Anyways ditto to what SAP and Wendy said. If the fringe on both side gets ignored, true comprimises and solutions can be found. The problem is that for people to come to an informed decision, they first need to be informed.

    Anyone who has read my posts here over the last few years can probably notice them becoming a bit more mellower and subdued because of the knowledge that I have gained.

  96. Cobra Avatar

    I did not mean to sound or come off as unpleasant. I was just hoping by using that example you might see how we feel about losing something that has been and is so important to us. All predator and prey ar important but their must be a balance and if it means de-listing so be it, it’s up to other people besides myself so life goes on and I will keep changing my hunting strategies to continue to be successful. We like wild game and cherish it all winter till the next season.
    Wendy, once again yours was an excellant post, thank you.

  97. Barb Avatar

    Cobra, I can understand why hunters would put prey animals ahead of predators as far as their intrinsic value.

  98. Barb Avatar

    And I didn’t mean to imply that I don’t think prey animals are important. Their healthy populations need to be maintained (as by biologists and scientists) as their overpopulations need to be culled. Of course 🙂 I would prefer they be “culled” by predators and hunters.

  99. Ryan Avatar

    “And I didn’t mean to imply that I don’t think prey animals are important. Their healthy populations need to be maintained (as by biologists and scientists) as their overpopulations need to be culled. Of course I would prefer they be “culled” by predators and hunters.”

    How do you propose to pay for the biologists and scientists salaries as they are paid in large by hunters?

  100. Barb Avatar

    Ryan, if they’re already paid by hunters, why are you asking? Nevertheless, I think it’s an inherent conflict of interest to have wildlife professionals salaries paid by any special interest group. I’ve always felt this is one good use of public tax money to pay for things like wildlife conservation.

  101. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    Hunters are a special interest group…? But wildlife Watchers are not? Now that is interesting!


Ken Cole is a 5th generation Idahoan, an avid fly fisherman, wildlife enthusiast, and photographer. He is the interim Idaho Director for Western Watersheds Project.

We do not accept unsolicited “guest” authors or advertising.

Subscribe to get new posts right in your Inbox

Ken Cole