Montana Gov: State would fight injunction on wolves

This is hardly news. I won’t bother to put a link, but has anyone thought of this . . .?

What if Judge Molloy allows the hunt, but puts the wolf back on the endangered species list?

This doesn’t have to be an all or nothing kind of decision. The judge could allow the hunt to begin under careful scutiny of the Court and grant the injunction the minute any “funny stuff” starts. The plaintiffs make a number of claims in the lawsuit. It is not just an anti-hunt suit. JB recently posted a list of the total list of the claims the plaintiffs are making in their brief.

As I have written many times, I fear the the cattle and sheep association/Wildlife Services wolf killing machine more than a well regulated wolf hunt. The wolves will probably replenish themselves in a year, but they won’t come back from the Idaho Fish and Game Commission’s stated intent to use minor livestock depredations as an excuse to kill dozens of wolf packs.  Hunting won’t harm genetic diversity, it might make the wolves more wary, it might even spread them to other states — awesome!!  High tech Wildlife Service killers, however, won’t allow any wolves to remain in a pack.



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  1. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    Montana seems to be handling this responsibility of wolf management much better than Idaho and Wyoming. What percentage of the population is 75 wolves?

  2. Craig Avatar

    •At the end of 2008, the State of Montana had an esitmated minimum of 497 wolves; Idaho had an estimated minimum of 846, and Wyoming had an estimated 312.

  3. JB Avatar


    I believe Molloy could do what you suggest. That is, he might agree with plaintiffs that partial delisting of the DPS is illegal under the Act, but disagree that Montana and Idaho’s plans for a wolf hunt will do irreparable harm. If that is the case, he will probably allow the hunt to take place while the case against FWS and delisting proceeded. If he grants the injunction, it will be a sign that he thinks plaintiffs will likely succeed on a number of their allegations (and it won’t be a good sign for those who want state management).

  4. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    I heard through the grapevine that there were some negotiations about dropping the lawsuit in exchange for some changes, and the states, Montana in particular, would remain delisted, but Idaho would not. I don’t know if this is really true, but it would be nice if some compromise could be worked out on this.

    Unlike Montana and even Wyoming, Idaho government has totally excluded the public in developing wolf plans.

  5. Lynne Stone Avatar

    Suppose Molloy waited a few days or weeks to rule. I can envision Idaho on the phone begging him to not be hasty, because that way IDFG might not have to go through the expense of refunding wolf tags. The season starts Tuesday, Sept. 1. Well, we’ll know soon enough. Am looking for an orange collar and vest for my dog.

  6. Eric T. Avatar
    Eric T.

    yeah, the state with the most wolves and the most dispersal of said wolves wouldn’t get delisted. if that happens, it’s all wolf shit.

  7. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    Ralph, are states required to have public input on plans like that? I remember Wyoming having a public comment period on their plan.

  8. JimT Avatar

    Just a cautionary word, Ralph, on some sort of “cut the baby in half” solution from Judge Malloy with ESA status but a hunt. ALL of this creates binding precedent for how the ESA is implemented with future species..not just wolves in other locations. And the more we, the environmental community, go along with incremental inroads on the ESA protection, the more it bodes ill for future efforts to restore species, especially predators like the grizzly, lions, etc. I still oppose the hunt. I don’t trust the state wildlife folks, the fed folks, and especially the grazing and elk hunting folks as far as a grizzly could drag them to do the right thing by the law and the science. And for those who think I am anticipating disaster, it is based on past behaviors and present statements by these folks. For us to ignore them is just sticking out heads in whatever medium you choose….

    Lynne, during hunting season in Vermont, we didn’t go into the woods. Period. Even with orange vests, and bells, I didn’t trust the yahoo hunters who were just anxious to bag something. And with the motives involved in the wolf hunt of the hunters…any dog is at risk. And you check to see if there is any accountability in your jurisdiction for an accidental shooting of a dog; I am betting zippo.

  9. ID_Paul Avatar

    To Lynne and anyone else concerned about safety of your dogs…

    Might I suggest keeping your dogs on a leash when you’re hiking, in addition to whatever steps you take to improve visibility and identification? Dogs running at large can be shot by law enforcement.

    The plain-English version of Idaho law reads “Any dog found running at large and actively tracking, pursuing, harassing, attacking or killing any big game animal, except black bear and mountain lion, may be destroyed without criminal or civil liability by the director of Fish and Game, any peace officer, or other persons authorized to enforce Idaho wildlife laws.”

    I would think that keeping the dog close to you would decrease the danger not only from those wolf-hating yahoos you are so concerned about, (which do not represent the majority of hunters) but also from the dog deciding to chase deer and getting shot as a result. Hopefully it would also decrease the chance of your dog getting attacked by wolves protecting their territory.

  10. JimT Avatar

    The yahoos may not represent the majority of hunters in any state, but it only takes one to have had too many beers in the stand, or be a little anxious, and there you are. Maybe it is different here, but I grew tired of going to the local general store in Norwich Vermont during deer season and seeing hunters (mostly from out of state in fairness to the local hunters) buying cases and cases of beer to head out to the camp, or being hanging around the store at the end of the deer, clearly three sheets to the wind as they recounted their day.

    As someone who has Labs, and dealt with this issue for 13 years in Vermont, I resented the fact that because of the potential that some hunter wouldn’t follow one of THE basic rules of hunting…KNOW WHAT YOU ARE SHOOTING…I had to keep my dogs from their beloved hikes in the woods for a month of rifle deer season, two weeks of muzzle gun season, and two weeks of arrow season each fall. Add in the special factors of the wolf hunt, the politics and demonization of wolves that seems to have no limits in this states..and there is no way I would risk my dogs even though it hardly seems equitable.

    I also think the standard of proof for the so called harassment of wildlife statutes in various states is ass backwards. It basically gives the landowner or the game officials carte blanche to shoot someone’s dog based merely on opinion, not provable fact. The burden should be on the shooter to prove dog’s behavior violates the law, just like 99% of other laws. While I was in Vermont, there were at least three cases of dog shooting by wildlife officials. One was a 8 week old puppy who was “seen in the vicinity of deer and deemed hostile”. The other was a Lab swimming up to a boat containing a game official who “feared for his safety” and shot the dog. No disciplinary action was taken in either case because of the broadness of the statute’s language.

  11. Gerry Miner Avatar
    Gerry Miner

    “What if Judge Molloy allows the hunt, but puts the wolf back on the endangered species list?”
    A listed species can not be hunted, so this is impossible.

  12. JimT Avatar

    Normally, I would concur. But, doesn’t the experimental population status of the wolves change the traditional protections for a listed species?

    One of the open least I have not seen a dispositive ruling or opinion…is whether or not wolves that may disperse from the three states to Colorado or Oregon carry full ESA protection as a naturally occurring species returning to historic habitat, or whether the lesser protections of the experimental population would attach permanently no matter the location.

  13. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    The experimental status clearly allows the state to kill wolves if they can prove they are having a significant detrimental effect on big game populations.

    The reason this hasn’t happened was that the states (actually Idaho) couldn’t prove that the wolves were.

    So a wolf hunt might be allowable too.

  14. Gerry Miner Avatar
    Gerry Miner

    The experimental status allows wolves to be killed by the federal government (or the states that have a MOU with the feds), not by private citizens (unless they have been issued a shoot on sight permit for problem wolves). Nowhere under the ESA is hunting allowed–not even under the non-essential, experimental listing.


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

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Ralph Maughan