Idaho Fish and Game Commissioner says there may be a wolf hunt this fall regardless of the outcome of the lawsuit

Randy Budge thinks hunters will take matters into own hands-

Budge thinks hunters are so upset some will take matters into their own hands if an official hunt is not allowed. It’s always hard to know whether statements like this are predictions or threats.

Idaho Fish & Game prepares for fall wolf hunt. Commissioner: Some Idaho hunters are ready, whether it’s legal or not. Idaho Mountain Express. By Jason Kauffman.

My personal view is that Judge Molloy will let the Montana and Idaho hunts go forward, but may stop them if they get out of hand. For example, if it becomes clear that the rules or the quotas set are not being enforced.



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  1. Tilly Avatar

    Unbelievably unprofessional, to openly encourage illegal acts. What is Mr. Budge’s background?

  2. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    Okay let’s try this scenario on for size. Lets say that Judge Malloy finds for the defendants, HOWEVER, the suit brought by the state of Wyoming is adjudicated in the plaintiffs favor resulting in continued listing in the NRMDPS.
    what would lawyer Budge have to say then?

  3. Tilly Avatar

    He’s a lawyer? Incredible!

  4. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    It may be unprofessional, but it is becoming reality, there is a lot of land with very little oversight out there, it would not be hard to kill a wolf and nobody ever find out about it, and I am not CONDONING this type of action, but I see it coming…unfortunately, a guy in a black robe on a bench in Missoula is going to be very hard pressed to stop a guy with a gun and camo in the field…

  5. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    And just to clarify, I don’t think it is a threat based on what I am hearing in the local brew pubs, I think it is a prediction, and I hope I am very wrong..

  6. Ryan Avatar

    Jeff and Tilly,

    I think you misread his statement, he said its going to happen no matter what whether or not there is a season. He’s right, alot of people are getting fed up with the current lawsuit after lawsuit scenario thats happening now. I don’t think he is condoning it, hes just stating the facts as he sees them.

  7. JB Avatar

    “Hunters” who take matters into their own hands and kill wolves out of anger/discontent/whatever are likely only to make things worse for their cause. Let’s consider the likely scenarios here:

    (1) Fed up hunters take to the field but the elusive wolves prove hard to find/kill. The result: a few get killed, the population is unaffected, but wolf advocates use the killings as further evidence that wolves are in need of federal protection.

    (2) Fed up hunters take to the field in force and mount an impressive illegal take. The result: Populations are slightly reduced, a few folks are caught and prosecuted; however, wolf advocates can now show clearly that wolves are in need of federal protection (i.e. wolf population threatened by 5 listing factors).

    (3) Fed up hunters take to the field and keep to the code of SSS. The result: Wolf populations are slightly reduced, and only the wiley hunters no why. However, wolf advocates now have evidence that populations have peaked and begun to fall (as predicted). Thus, the “wolves are going to eat all of our elk” argument is further discredited and the whole justification for a legal hunt becomes questionable.

    In the end, all the effort…all of the hate of Easterners, city-slickers, the Feds and (of course) wolves won’t amount to anything but wasted time because you can’t prove that wolf populations are not threatened by killing them.

  8. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears


    All very good points, but in the field, I don’t think it is going to matter whether they are on a list in Washington DC or not, the fact is, there are going to be people, (they are not hunters, hunters don’t kill illegally, poachers do), killing wolves in a very short time, legally or illegally…and really when you look at the size of the area and the thin resources, I don’t personally think it can be stopped. As I said, I really hope I am wrong on this one, but somehow gut instinct tells me different..

  9. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    I have to disagree with you. as Lawyer Budge stated,
    “…..might take matters into their own hands if CONSERVATIONISTS (sic) successfully derail the federal government’s latest delisting of wolves in the northern Rockies. Budge made his prediction…..”
    No where did he also make reference the suit brought by the State of Wyoming.
    It was, however brought out in the article as supplementary information.
    So my original question still stands.
    As far as poaching, always happened, always will. If it gets out of hand it may just force the state to prosecute and maybe confiscate a 40,000 dollar pick-up or two. I guarantee that will get some attention from the anti’s
    and get the proper Pavlov response.

  10. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    The key to prosecution and confiscation is of course, catching them, and I don’t think it will be the vocal anti wolf person that start shooting, the most vocal are often the biggest cowards when it comes to following through with a threat, it is the quietest of the bunch you need to worry about, with all that has gone on in the last few months, its going to be those who feel state sovereignty is of utmost importance over anything else.

    I have been cruising some of the political blogs and there is quite a movement building in this country against Federal control of anything, several states have passed laws about guns that circumvents the Federal checks and balances. Again, it is not those talking that I worry about, its those only reading…and not saying a word.. It is unfortunate, that the wolf issue is but a small part of what is really going on….but it could become one of the most visible….

    I hope I am proven wrong

  11. kt Avatar

    If I recall, I think Mr. Budge was a lawyer for the Grazing Association in the Pleasantview allotment over Ralph’s way.

    A WWP lawsuit over Pleasantview damage was the basis for WWP challenging the horrid Bush BLM Grazing regulations … the ones that gave near-complete control of everything to the c’boys and cut the public ou of nearly all aspects of grazing actions.

    A Grazing Association is a way for ranchers to avoid paying a sub-leasing fee. I have never seen one that wasn’t bad, bad news – even worse than usual – for the land. In Nevada, the Salmon River allotment has a similar Association.

    A Grazing Association is the ultimate Tragedy of the Commons. A whole bunch of cattleowners get to dump their cows and maybe a few sheep, too,out on public land, and the herd sets about wreaking havoc. No one person is responsible … Ranchers typically buy “shares” in the Association.

  12. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    I agree, however there are also many pro (myself) or neutral, or just simply law- abiding, outdoors type people out running the woods that don’t do much public talking but won’t stand by while blatant law breaking is talking place.
    The more that happens the more likely that the state will be put in a position actively prosecute. Especially with the feds looking over their shoulder.

  13. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears


    Actually if the wolves are listed again, the state will not have much to do with it, the Fed’s will be the ones prosecuting…and I don’t think the state(s) will assist as much as we might like to believe…

  14. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    So the ante for poaching is exponentially increased in Federal court. In addition the state is put in position to either publicly support the criminal proceedings in order to “prove” that the state is serious about management, or conversely not support publicly and prove they are not serious about management.

  15. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears


    I wish it were that simple, I have had occasion to talk with quite a few Federal Wolf managers and they are not so optimistic about putting them back on the endangered species list, and would like to pretty much wash their hands and go on to other things and with what I have seen come out of Washington the last few months, I am starting to feel that at the National Level this feeling is starting to expand! There seems to be quite the catch 22 scenario developing within many areas of wildlife managers now a days, although I don’t work with or for any of the agencies anymore, I still have quite a few good friends and contacts that do and it is simply amazing some of the stuff I am hearing, it has really started to shake my faith in the agencies….

  16. Brian Ertz Avatar


    yeah – Budge was the lawyer for the Association – & IDFG Commissioner now. kinda makes you wonder who’s in charge 😉

  17. Peter Kiermeir Avatar

    in the comment section attached to the original article is quoted as follows:
    “This is a quote from
    “When selecting wolves for release into Idaho, biologists selected populations in Canada that were already utilizing elk prey and were living in habitat similar to that of Idaho. This increased the suitability of these wolves for life in Idaho.”

  18. JB Avatar


    I don’t think it can be stopped either–in fact, we both know its been ongoing since wolves’ introduction. So really, the poachers (thanks for correcting me) will have no effect except to steal the opportunity for a legal harvest from legitimate hunters and help ensure wolves stay listed.

    Wolves have become a political pawn in a struggle over who will govern federal lands–the states or the feds. Unfortunately (for those who want state control, anyway), their politicians and populace are playing into the hands of those who want federal control. They’re either too blind or too stupid to see it.

  19. JW Avatar

    If hunters and livestock interests didn’t have such a stranglehold on wildlife mgmt we would see more balanced plans and likely less lawsuits or less legitimate lawsuits.

  20. Larry Thorngren Avatar

    Commissioner Budge came up to me after the IDF&G commission meeting in McCall and told me that he had the black wolf photo on his desk that I gave each of the commissioners at the Jerome meeting. The IDF&G commission just does not hear from many pro-wolf folks in their meetings. The public input is almost entirely from the anti-wolf groups. These commissioners are the ones who set seasons and bag limits. If you want some say in how wolves are going to be managed in Idaho, show up and testify. Then show up again and again. The commission will be setting wolf hunting quotas at their meeting in Idaho Falls on August 17. I don’t know if there is any time scheduled for public comment or not.

  21. bob jackson Avatar
    bob jackson

    I don’t think it is so much the illegal hunting of wolves that will kill them off first …although shooting definitely can eventually kill every one of them, just like it did before…. but rather the killing of pups in dens and poisoning will do them in.

    In Thorofare it was the outfitters who were poisoning the griz with laced meat. Do you think they will limit this poisoning to bears? No.

    The outfitters also had an easy time of finding wolf dens. Just look for the little tracks on the sand bars. Once found they started riding horses over these dens. It kicks the wolf family out of the country. Now if this pack goes to another location and these people there also don’t like wolves then the wolves have to move again …. and again and again. You see none of the lower 48 is like the NW Territories. There is NO SAFE PLACE here for those wolves.

    You may think you are in WILDERNESS…whether it is Idaho, Montana, Wyoming or Thorofare …..when you are hunting or back packing but the only reason you feel this is because of your own lack of knowing the area. and your state of mind is very limiting.

    Remember when the space under the bridge was scarry when you were a little boy? Well just expand that to your own limited knowledge of any place you call wilderness.

    There are lots of outfitters and guides who know very well this wilderness you think is still around to SAVE the wolves from annihilation. I say again, “There is NO safe place left and there is no willy wolf to escape mans vengance”.

    Besides, to be effective wolves have to be in well infrastructured packs. What are the feds going to do, count running scared loner wolves or a mother with three run ragged skinny pups as composites to say there is still a viable population? It will be the same situation, except a lot worse, as the fragmented, dysfunctional groupings herd animals now have to live in squalor through the “wildlife management” that in the end will quantify wolf life with “hunting”, poaching and busting up dens.

    The last original pack to leave Yellowstone was a bunch of buffalo wolves headquartered in Daly Creek, a drainage in NW Yellowstone. It is said the do gooders finally got enough folks together to flush them out ….and frenzied “hunters” pursued them on foot and by wire all the way to Billings. Imagine your family having to run through unknown country and all the residents taking pot shots at every member of your family along the way. It was the last this wolf pack was seen. Ya they must of made it…just like the Nez Perce made it to Canada.

    No, they were ALL killed…and this was back in the early 1900’s when there was a lot more open spaces and “frontier” than there is now.

    As for the federal wolf biologists, all I can say is they sought out this job because of all the glamour…and career advancement…and now want to skeedattle because being a wolf biologist now is like being a leper in French Guiana in the 40’s.. Where is their commitment and love of wolves and predators? I tell you where it is, it is left behind in the mts. so they can do all the networking elsewhere to advance them professionally. A lot are heading back East to the Refuges and coastal waters to live out their lives in the same obscurity as escaping Nazi war criminals did in South America. they should be sticking to it. Forget the alibi of burn out. There is none if you have conviction.

    I say let them eat crow like Ed Bangs had to do when he rubber stamped a faulty wolf management plan …only to have a secular judge see through it to deny its implementation. Maybe the politicans tortured Ed to extract confessions and a change of heart …. like the Iranians did the opposition during the demonstrations…ya thats it, Ed was addled and wasn’t able to think straight. Enough for now. Again there is no WILDERNESS in the lower 48 to safeguard wolves and even worse I don’t see the biologists in the trenches fighting for these wolves.

  22. Lynne Stone Avatar

    Larry – over 100 wolf supporters showed up in Hailey in Dec. 07 to protest the IDFG’s proposed wolf hunt plan. Commissioner Wayne Wright was there and all of the wolf support testimony that he heard, fell on his deaf ears. Until the make up of the commission changes, which means the Governor changes, and the legislature changes, I don’t think it would matter if 1000 pro-wolf folks came to a commissioners meeting. Their anti-predator minds are closed and made up.

  23. Larry Thorngren Avatar

    Tell those 100 wolf supporters to show up again and again. Have them introduce themselves to the commissioners and IDF&G director and assistant director. Get on a first name basis with these people. They are all very open to having some funding from wildlife watching groups. Right now they cater to those who provide funding for their progams. They are just as tired of the In Your Face Wolf Haters as the rest of us are.
    Wolf enthusiasts should be buying hunting and fishing licenses even if they don’t hunt or fish and they should support support using general fund monies for the fish and game. They should let the commissioners and directors know they are licensed. It gives you some credibility with them. When the wolves are delisted these gentlemen will make ALL of the decisions on wolf management in Idaho.
    Wolves WILL be hunted in Idaho. How and when they are hunted, and how many will be killed each year, CAN be influenced by persistent and rational pressure from pro-wolf groups. A non-wolf hunting /viewing area on the Big Wood River above Ketchum should be something we all support.

  24. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    When the wolves are delisted Larry? They have already been delisted, and the state of Montana and Idaho are doing exactly what they said, they are mapping out hunts.

    I do agree with you on the buying hunting license though, if you want a say, buy one and then don’t use it, show the Game commission, that even non hunters are interested in having a say in what goes on with wildlife…a hunting license is a small price to pay compared to all of the other programs…

  25. Lynne Stone Avatar

    Bob Jackson – you are right on the mark with your comments. It won’t take much at all for outfitters and others to go right to the den site in March, and blow away the entire pack -something perfectly legal in areas where the wolf hunt will go to March 31st.

    If the wolf hunt goes forward, a lot of the wolves in Idaho now are going to be sacrificed to the madness of Butch Otter, the IDFG commissioners, the legislature, outfitters, and all the rest of the wolf hating crowd. How many photos will it take this September of “harvested” wolf pups, barely 5 month olds, spread across national media, for Idahoans to wake up? I know wolves are smart, but a lot are going to be killed before they have a chance to learn to avoid man, and all the baits “sportsmen” will use to lure them in.

    If you haven’t seen a wolf in Idaho, hurry and look in the next 3 weeks. If hunters aren’t shooting at them, then a lot of wolf supporters will be – to scare wolves. What a f—ing mess, this place called Idaho, run by spudheads.

  26. Lynne Stone Avatar

    I apologize for yet another post, but am at the Stanley Library and won’t be near the internet again until tomorrow. Larry – I think you are living in a dream world. I know Salmon Region commissioner Gary Powers. He’s a personable guy, and the only one of the commissioner who actually knows something about wildlife. He told me that by allowing hunters to kill wolves, they’ll get to like them more, kinda of the rationale that IDFG uses with mountain lions. In other words, only by killing something will Idaho hunters maybe get to tolerate a species. Before you pass me off as anti-hunting, remember I grew up in a redneck, gun nut family, where hunting was the highlight of the year.

    As for the notion that the upper Big Wood area (home of the Phantom Hill wolves) might be a token viewing area, all those wolves have to do, is cross over Galena Summit on September 1st, and one or all of this beautiful black pack can be shot. The mule deer guys from S. Blaine County are probably already scheming on how to bait the wolves over the pass, and frothing with delight with the thot of parading the carcasses of the Phantoms up and down Ketchum’s Main Street.

  27. Larry Thorngren Avatar

    I have bought a hunting and fishing license in Idaho every year since 1953. If you keep being so nasty, maybe I’ll buy a wolf tag and come hunting for one of the phantom pack.

  28. John d. Avatar
    John d.

    Wow Larry,
    Hunting out of spite huh?

  29. JB Avatar

    “How many photos will it take this September of “harvested” wolf pups, barely 5 month olds, spread across national media, for Idahoans to wake up?”

    Reading Lynn’s comment, it occurred to me that wolves staying on the endangered species list may actually be preventing a confrontation between the states and the feds regarding wildlife management.

    On the list, wolves are protected–well mostly–from Alaskan-style wildlife “management”; you know the type of thing that gets the Eastern, bunny-loving, latte-drinking liberals all upset. 😉 Anyway, with wolves on the list, state wildlife agencies can play the confederate, soothing the poor “hunters” who are too dumb, lazy or blind to find any elk to kill. The hunters and the wildlife agencies console each other, and scream into the wind (i.e. the local media) that it is all the fault of the federal government.

    Now, if wolves come off the list and we have large numbers of wolves hunted/killed on public lands…well, now states have a problem. They’re now promoting the “ruthless slaughter” (or some other such terminology; Defenders is great with that stuff) of wolves on lands that belong to all of us. Defenders of Wildlife and every other group with a wolf logo will have a field day, especially with the fund-raising.

    Of course, the first step would be to push for re-listing. But the really interesting question is what will national wildlife advocacy groups do sans ESA? They could try the ballot initiative process, but its costly and probably wouldn’t fly in states like Id and WY anyway (maybe MT). So they’re left with pushing for bills like the one that would prohibit the aerial hunting of wolves–i.e. federal statutes that restrict/reduce/challenge the states’ ability and authority to “manage” wildlife.

    I think turning wolf management over to state agencies may be the first step for those interested in wresting control away from them. Just enough rope to hang themselves..

    Okay, it’s early and I haven’t had my latte…er…cup of coffee yet. 😉

  30. Lynne Stone Avatar

    Larry – you are the one that is constantly criticizing myself and others, like we never go to meetings, or try to help wolves. Now you’re saying you might go hunting for a Phantom Hill wolf. Unbelievable someone who supports wolves would say that.

  31. Greg Farber Avatar
    Greg Farber

    You folks are being paranoid.

    1. The economy is so bad and several thousand people will not be hunting this fall..

    2. Wolves are nocturnal, they hunt at night, sleep during daylight and stay in the timber..

    3. I have located seven dens, over the years, at this time five are vacant, I am aware of the location of the Phantom Packs den, and their doing fine.. I would share photos but then some folks would be able to pin point their local…

    4. Filling a wolf tag will not be easy, and most who purchase that tag and set out to fill it, will not even see a wolf…

    5. If a few do get taken, the others who watch this happen will go into deeper wooded areas and only move in the dark..

    6. You folks say you care about wolves, then I say you better start caring about their prey base.. The way I see it, you are the wolves worst enemy..

    7. Un managed predators will never work, ever. Hunting this particular predator also will not stop the depletion of its prey base, instead of wasting money stopping hunting support and create a plan for State efforts for capture and relocation…

    8. I do not believe a wolf hunt will happen, and I do not believe your fellow members of the community will rush out in a rage and slaughter wolves in anger…Personally I would have never and would never shoot a coyote, and have no intention’s on a wolf tag.. Like I say, I don’t eat dog.

    9. Over predation by wolves is real..get over it..Try to really help this situation instead of continuing to hinder it..You guys want respect then you better start giving it..

  32. Larry Thorngren Avatar

    Lynne –
    I decided long ago not to kill anything I wouldn’t take home to eat. I have never killed a coyote, bear or wolf and don’t intend to. I don’t shoot at wolves to scare them and I don’t “accidentally” take photos of wolf pups at dens either. I was making a point. When you call Idaho spud head country, deride all of the officials who make decisions on wolves, and alienate moderate wolf advocates, such as myself, you are going to get a lot of push back.
    I have only had two people treat me rudely when I was involved in some way with wolves in Idaho, Lynne Stone on the East Fork of the Big Wood River, and Ron Gillett in Stanley. You have a lot in common.

  33. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    Hmmm, sounds like desperation is starting to set in with some…

  34. JB Avatar

    “7. Un managed predators will never work, ever.”

    Forgive me, but I have a problem with such bold assertions. I was going to say, “I bet to differ” but it occurred to me that the truth of this statement depends upon what you mean by “work”. If you mean, unmanaged predators will eat all of their prey base then you’re off your rocker and we can quit the conversation right now. If you mean unmanaged predators can’t be socially acceptable, well frankly I don’t agree with that either. First, let’s clarify: there are all kinds of species that prey on other species that go unmanaged (from birds to fish to terrestrial carnivores of all sizes). In fact, there is no management prerequisite for the VAST MAJORITY of predatory species. Even large terrestrial carnivores such as wolves (Isle Royal, YNP) and coyotes (most urban areas) go almost completely unmanaged in some contexts and remain socially acceptable. So I guess I’m back where I started–wondering what evidence you have for this assertion that predatory species must always be managed?

  35. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Greg Farber,

    Please read this study that just came out. It is at my post “Montana FWP study finds multiple factors in wolf-elk relations”

    You wrote “6. You folks say you care about wolves, then I say you better start caring about their prey base.. The way I see it, you are the wolves worst enemy..”
    Greg you are assuming a lot for a first time poster. You don’t who posts here, but many are or have been elk hunters and/or members of conservation groups who have battled for years to behalf of elk habitat.

    Do you suppose you stumbled onto a blog whose participants don’t know that wolves eat elk?

  36. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    Oh wait, Greg Farber, you did not include your overall favorite paranoid rant. That being that everyone but you is a commie.
    But let’s introduce you to the crowd.
    Greg is a plumber’s helper that lives in the Sun Valley area, originally from the Lowman area and a regular contributer to intellectually astute outlets such as “”
    he has contributed before, maybe using a different computer.

  37. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    Ralph FYI

    Thanks for this link, Jeff. I didn’t read it until quite a while after You posted it. This guy is a sad case. I decided to cut off this unproductive thread after a few more comments.


  38. Brian Ertz Avatar

    i have saved the webpage, and all comments on it, onto my hard-drive that Jeff E references.

  39. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    What Greg says here
    “Try to really help this situation instead of continuing to hinder it..You guys want respect then you better start giving it..”
    Now contrast that with what Greg says on the link I provided above.
    Yep. a real respectful guy you are.

  40. SAP Avatar

    Oh my, now Greg F wil accuse you of censorship & start calling people Nazis (again). As the young folks like to say, Greg, “You are SO busted!”. You really can’t go calling folks “Nazis” in one public forum, then trot over to another & lecture people about “respect” (or paranoia, for that matter)

    Anyway. I am one of the elk hunting readers/contributors on this blog. (Killed a yearling cow last Nov — had two nicely spaced puncture wounds in the left hindquarter. The bruised tissue went about 1.5″ deep – obvious bitemark. This elk has been excellent eating & I have yet to start howling or scent marking, so no ill effects from sharing that herd with wolves.). I think if you read this blog regularly & with an open mind, you’d find that it’s not some singleminded group of starry-eyed wolf lovers. Been a lot of productive disagreement & discussion on here over the years.

    Also, when I look at the high numbers of wolves killed by Wildlife Services, I kind of have to disagree with the premise that wolves are currently unmanaged.

  41. Lynne Stone Avatar

    For the record, Greg Farber lives near Bellevue, not Sun Valley. I doubt he knows where the Phantom den(s) is/are. I’ve never seen him north of Ketchum and I’ve spent the last six months there. Am told he has a license plate on his pickup truck that says “Mules”. I assume that is for mule deer, but dunno.

  42. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    I am really not sorry I started this s***storm. I have had interaction with Mr. Farber in the past and figured we all needed to know what he really was like.


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