Southern Mountains Idaho wolf hunt zone closes

The quota of ten wolves has been met. Five hunting zones now closed-

Here is the Idaho wolf hunt map data. 139 wolves have been legally shot. 81 remain in the total state quota.



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  1. spanglelakes Avatar

    Ten legal. Twice, three, four times that illegally? Likely. Read the anti-wolfers blog comments: gut shoot ’em. A real classless act this wolf hunting bunch. IDFG care what happens to wolves? Nope. Git rid of ’em – that’s the marching orders from IDFG Commissioners, Gov Ot and legislature.

    Thought things might be better with Obama … instead he appoints Salazar who uses the same cowboy science for wolves as Bush.

  2. izabelam Avatar

    Sad..I hoped for Obama also. I have sent him letters before the Salazar announcement..well…looks like the ranchers rule in United States Of America.
    But…we still are better off with Obama than having grandpa(McCain) and caribou barbie..

  3. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears


    There is absolutely no proof that 3-4 times have been shot illegally…statements like this make it seem as if there are only two extremes and BOTH sides are on!!!

  4. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Save Bears is right. While folks might fear this is going on. what evidence is there except posers and braggarts sounding off on some boards?

    Now there might be some on the ground evidence that could be shared? If so, please do.

  5. vickif Avatar

    Obama is just one man. He isn’t the hand that rocks the cradle. He is the cradle that needs rocked.
    If you want to change things, start by changing them locally. Change mentality with one person, who changes one more, etc,

  6. Alan Avatar

    We all know that some animals of every species get poached. Stands to reason that that would include wolves, especially with the hatred they seem to invoke. Then of course there are all the “control” actions. But SB is right; to suggest that 3-4 times the legal number have been shot illegally starts sounding like: “For every cow that has been varified killed by wolves, there are 3 or 4 times that many killed that can’t be varified!”
    I sadly agree about Obama. It’s funny though; people don’t realize it. Folks e-mail me all the time and say, “You must be happy now that we have a pro environment democrat as President.” I just respond with, “Do we?” I haven’t seen it yet.

  7. Alan Avatar

    Vickif: Democrats rule in Washington. They have the House. They have a filibuster proof 60 votes in the Senate, and they have the Presidency. Yet wolves have been removed from the ESL using flawed Bushien science, nearly one third of their still recovering population has been wiped out (and counting), we have yet another cowboy Interior Secretary, and hunting rifles and assault weapons have been made legal in National Parks!
    Where do I put my vote now?

  8. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    I am sorry,

    I went off a bit, but come on, both sides are making claims that cannot in any way be substantiated…people claim cows are being wiped out left and right and people claim wolves are being gut shot and left to lay, I think based on experience the truth lay right in the middle, get a bunch of good ole’ boys in a bar in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming and the testosterone is going to flow, get a bunch in a bar in Los Angeles and the testosterone is flowing, and the exact opposite is true. I have been doing this to darn long and know neither side that gets quoted is telling the truth..

  9. vickif Avatar

    On an independent. One who actually represents people, and not party lines.
    More important question: Who would that be?

  10. vickif Avatar

    BTW, weapons may be legal now, but they were ALWAYS in National Parks.
    I am no defender of any politician, but I still feel strongly that Obama was the lesser of two evils.
    Complaining about a president is warranted in some situations, maybe even this one. But it is not very productive. As pointed out by Alan, we have a 60 percent democratic House. Who put them there? And how are they less accountable than our president?

  11. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    to be honest with you, I have given up on Washington DC, until such time as Americans are willing to take their country back, they deserve what they choose..

  12. Merdoch Avatar

    Realistically though, there could only be so many poachings that are not reported. (The 3 or 4 times the number of wolves hunted legally claim is in fact pretty absurd.)

    Remember that a significant portion of the wolves in Montana and Idaho are collared, so the signals given off will let authorities know when the wolves are dead. Most poachers are not going to care if the wolf has a collar or not, and in many cases they may not even see it before the shoot the wolf. For that matter there is abundant evidence wolf killer often don’t actually bother with the shovel part, and many of those wolves do end being found eventually.

    If state authorities actually actively ignored clear wolf poaching cases they came across, they would be playing an extremely risky and dangerous game. Evidence of systematically ignoring and failing to report poaching cases on the part of state authorities would be sufficient for wolf advocates to get Judge Mallory to put wolves back on the endangered list for a very long time until state authorities could provide sufficient evidence they are willing to enforce the law and engage in proper wolf management.

    (Sufficient evidence they are not willing to enforce the law clearly makes any plan they give in relation to delisting not acceptable.)

    I am concerned about the current situation with wolves delisted in Idaho and Montana, but unreasonable claims are not helpful to those trying to fix the situation.

  13. Si'vet Avatar

    Also, please don’t call poachers, hunters, they are thieves.. Alan, if the level of poaching you fear was going on, there would be some type of indication, they are the old locker room scum, kiss and tell to feed their ego. More than just the 1 citation would have been issued by now. No doubt there has been some, all wildlife take a hit from these crooks..

  14. Alan Avatar

    Si’vet, you should re-read my post.

  15. bob jackson Avatar
    bob jackson

    From my experience with ‘hunters”, combined with known levels of poaching of another hated species, griz, I’d have to believe 3-4 times more wolves killed illegally than legally is conservative. Illegal kills would include killing pups in the den, poisoning and shooting.

    Just as collared bears had some level of protection from poachers I would have to believe those wanting to draw a bead will pick out uncollared ones. I also would suggest aiming to cripple wolves as compared to gut shooting would be preferred for wolf exterminators.

    Until someone or some organization puts up a $100,000 reward for information leading to convictions no one will ever know the true extent of wolf poaching. Rest assured it is HEAVY.

  16. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Bob Jackson,

    There are no pups in the dens right now. It seems doubtful to me that hunters are able to shoot more than one wolf at a time very often. If they did, the honest ones would report 3 tags a once. I don’t know that this has happened.

    Someone would also find abandoned wolf carcasses. They don’t decay in the cold of winter.

    I’m sure some illegal killing is going on, but I am skeptical of a large magnitude. Wolf packs are being broken up, however, and Idaho Fish and Game will find it very hard to track many of these wolves down and collar them (I think).

  17. Merdoch Avatar

    Bob, frankly a large portion of those ideas are simply not plausible with regards to wolves, especially anywhere remotely near the scale you’re suggesting.

    There simply isn’t evidence of pups in general getting killed in dens like that, and most poachers of that type are not that knowledgeable about locating wolf dens. Again, baring an outright cover-up, there would in the overwhelming number of cases evidence the pups were killed by humans. (There would either be physical evidence or proof would show up in toxicology reports.)

    The idea all the poachers suddenly are smart enough to only target wolves without collars is really not reasonable. Most of them won’t have unlimited patience, and only killing a wolf when you see in it good enough light (and otherwise clear enough view) to see it doesn’t have a collar would be quite limiting.

    A key point to be aware of is even if a somewhat smaller portion of collared wolves are being poached due to careful targeting, the plausible poaching totals still woudn’t even vaguely remotely come close to the numbers you’re suggesting given the number of collared poached wolves we know about. Keep in mind that we can confirm that some of the poaching cases we currently know about this year were not collared, which reduces the total of collared wolves poached even more.

    The crippling wolves idea is still extremely dubious unless you assume every wolf poacher is basically the world’s most accurate gunman. Basically in most cases if a bullet wound eventually kills the animal, it will be noticed and noted as a poaching case. Managing to shoot and wolf in a way that will cripple it long term, but won’t actually kill it would not be an easy thing to do at all. (In some instances the hunter might succeed in hitting the wolf without producing a wound that will clearly eventually kill it, but you’re talking about a wound that won’t impair the wolf it the long term once it heals either. On top of everything else, even if someone somehow succeeded in this goal, there would still be evidence of odd crippling of the wolves when they die in strangely high numbers, and in some instances the animals would end up being examined by biologists for studies where they have no motivation or inclination to cover anything up for the sake of Idaho.

    While the lack of rewards may limit how often the poachers get caught, we certainly do have a clear idea of the plausible scale of poaching and that its far smaller than you’re suggesting at the moment. (Poaching incidents get documented all the time without an arrest eventually getting made.)

  18. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    If that was the case Bob, I am sure we would be seeing more indications as well as reports of people finding wolf bodies, which is not happening.

    I fully respect your time afield Bob, but sometimes, I find your cynical nature a bit out of touch with the current things happening.

  19. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    If I was to go wolf hunting, I would always shoot the collard wolf.

  20. bob jackson Avatar
    bob jackson

    It was late last night and I “abrreviated” a lot of the justification for what I said. I was thinking long term, those animals poached over the course of a year. With hunting now legit I agree, not a lot of need to poach during the winter.

    But just as a number of ranchers take deer and elk out of season so will most of the wolf poaching happen.

    Most killing will be in the name of “protecting” livestock and horses. Look for lever actions carried on horses during fishing trips where they weren’t before. Look for range riders with them, look for guides and wranglers with them, look for any wild west type who goes in the mt. to “get away from it all” …one who use to sling the 44 Black Hawk over the saddle horn. Look for a rifle with scope in camp, something summertime users never bothered with previously. This is when the wolf will be in the most vulnerable position.

    Just the sheer numbers looking to kill a wolf out of season makes the poaching 3-4 times legal “kills”.

    As for the crippling, one can only justify killing so many with one fabricated threat at one time. Any pack sighted by an outfitter or rancher means if at all possible they will go back and get reinforcements so as to kill more. Only the numbers reported will be less than actual to “keep those wolves from hassling stock at night”. You shoot those closest and standing still in the hips so they drag themselves off, then body shots at those moving off. If there are questions asked you say the pack was bunched up. There is so much more emotionally to gain from buddies killing than singular persons ….. if that is possible to be carried out. Groups set up strategies even if it is illogical. (getting into outfitter camps collective brains was a large reason I could catch singular guides).

    The larger the human infrastructure and the more that group can control the story the more the wolves of one bunch are killed. Thus, just like any infrastructure hunting herds of wildlife, the pack is the main concern. Any den located by any ranch hand or guide means that den is DEAD one way or another…and it is VERY EASY to locate wolf dens…just look for small tracks on the sand bars while fishing.

    Destroying dens was how wolves were eliminated. That and poison. if a rancher has a wolf den on his land, land that can be isolated from public knowledge, there is no one to see carcasses. Antifreese does wonders and is easily available. So is the dead cow and poison as bait.

    Without endangered species protection come summer real poaching commences.

  21. bob jackson Avatar
    bob jackson

    jeff e

    If it was during hunting season on wolves and I hated wolves and everything govt. stood for then I agree shooting a collared wolf sends a lot more of a message. Since most wolf hunters are in this category I agree that most collared wolves during this time are the bullseye. I also believe if they have a chance for a second shot at another wolf then it will happen. Just like a lot of elk hunters do, they go back to camp, tell the group and the another tag is used. Thus more illegal kills are made that no one has any way of knowing….without that $100,000 bounty that is.

  22. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    That is not why I would shoot a collared (judas) wolf.

  23. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    ..and the coup de grâce would always be in the neck area

  24. Si'vet Avatar

    Alan – I reread, apparently stirred a couple of posts together, I apologize.. Mark may have some insight on this subject of poaching, I know when I went to the regional office to inquire on the Lynne Stone wolf he was out of the office sick. So he may not be up to sharing his views, at this time.

  25. matt bullard Avatar
    matt bullard

    If poaching of the magnitude being discussed is a reality, it would have occurred at the same or similar rate during previous deer/elk seasons when wolf hunting was not yet “legal.” I’m not saying that poaching did/does not occur, but the fact that there are now people walking around with wolf tags probably doesn’t mean there will be more wolf poachers. A poacher is a poacher, regardless of the wolf hunting season, and I’d surmise there are about the same number of hunters in the woods this year as their were in recent years…

  26. jon Avatar

    Ralph, with these wolf hunts, is there any REAL SCIENCE done to say that it’s ok to take however many wolves or is it just for political reasons?

  27. Jay Avatar

    Every wild species gets killed illegally, wolves are no exception.

    Also, Alan why do you discredit the research that indicates that there are many unverified livestock kills by wolves? Are you implying that every calf or cow that gets killed and eaten by wolves out on a large grazing allotment gets found?

  28. Merdoch Avatar

    Bob, the massive problem with your new set of claims in relation to your old ones is that most of the killings would be clearly reported. (Among practical issues this means we will know about the killings and any of them can be brought up as evidence in the current court case.) Killing wolves supposedly involved in depreciations is ONLY going to be judged legal if they are promptly reported. The massive risk of trying to kill many of them so they go off a distance before dying is that they may end up not going that far and also be detected. As noted before, sufficient precision with these kinds of shots would actually be quite difficult. (If you’re really trying for a gut kill that will take awhile to finish the wolf or something towards the perimeter of the animal, you’re quite likely to miss or barely graze many of the animals with wounds they will recover from just fine.)

    The reality is a bleeding wolf can end up leaving a trail fairly easy to follow, and realistically some wildlife officers will be reasonably complete with their investigation. They might not like wolves, but they may object to any sort of poaching like activity in principle and some will be concerned that the act reduced legal wolf hunting opportunities for everyone else. (Look at it as being the philosophy of a law enforcement officer who objects to people breaking the law period.)

    Getting caught significantly lying about how many wolves you believe you shot would create a circumstance where the rancher is likely to be charged with poaching activities and possibly some sort of obstructing an investigation charge. By contrast, outright admitting the amount killed in the first place is far more likely to let the rancher avoid prosecution, so the average rancher has a massive personal incentive to actually do things that way.

    Circumstances where a den happens to be on someone’s land, the rancher or individual knows about it and is willing to engage in such a type of killing, and they know no-one else knows the den is there is realistically going to be a pretty rare circumstance. There is also the reality that something like antifreeze or other poison DOES leave evidence that can be found on a toxicology report and there remains a possibility of someone coming across the wolves after the fact.

    Some basic issues you’re ignoring include the reality that at a minimum the odds that someone knows about the den and the act will eventually be reported are quite high. (Merely knowing about the den does not mean no-one else does.) Actually burying a full pack would be allot of effort, and being caught in the act would be an effective personal admission of illegal poaching. Freshly disturbed ground from digging right next to the den of a wolf pack that just disappeared would be a clear indication for a biologist or wildlife official willing to investigate what happened to the wolves. (Something like a poisoned cow is also quite likely to take out a collared if attempted which obviously brings an investigation and possible prosecution in done on their own ranch land.)

    Finally as noted, there is really nothing about the new situation with wolves which particularly makes any of the things you suggest more likely to occur. They should have been occurring before delisting, and if anything be more likely to occur then since people couldn’t take out there aggression in a legal hunt and ranchers had more limited options regarding taking out wolves threatening their cattle. Especially with the multiple wolf killing scenarios you’re talking about, individuals caught could still be looking at significant penalties, and actually lying to investigators could lead to additional charges. (Keep in mind that in general, even without a charge related to lying to investigators, trying to conceal the truth initially generally leads to more serious treatment at sentencing by a judge.)

  29. Mark Gamblin (IDFG) Avatar
    Mark Gamblin (IDFG)

    All –
    There’s not a lot to add that hasn’t been noted about wolf poaching. Of course there will be illegal wolf killing. There already has been. Wolves will be no different that other game animals in this regard. We don’t know and I wouldn’t predict how illegal wolf kills will compare to poaching of other wildlife. It’s still too early for a clear picture. While it is important to have the best understanding of illegal take of wolves, our understanding of the population status (total number of wolves and annual mortality) of the Idaho wolf population is not hampered by any one specific mortality agent – i.e. legal hunting, illegal take, depredation control actions, or non-human related mortality.
    Illegal (criminal) take of wolves will not be tolerated any more than poaching of deer, elk or moose will be. Knowing the status of the wolf population, in total and in geographic sub-populations, is a key measure of management success and will strongly influence future management actions. When we have evidence of illegal wolf killing, those situations will be seriously investigated and pursued for appropriate criminal prosecution.

  30. spanglelakes Avatar

    No other animal on earth is hated by rednecks, big game outfitters, ranchers and small minded politicians as much as the wolf. No other animal is the one on decals that say: “Smoke a Pack a Day”. Or bumper stickers like “Shoot and Release”. Or, is the recipient of hate on websites with bloggers advocating using a .22 to gut shoot (so the wolf crawls off in the woods or brush, out of sight, to a horrible, lingering death).

    To think that wolves are not getting gut shot or otherwise illegally killed in far greater numbers than other wildlife, is naive. How many people have been cited for illegally shooting a wolf in the past 3 years in Idaho? A couple? I can name three. When was the last time you saw a Conservation Officer out at daybreak or nightfall, monitoring the wolf hunters? I could go into how many wolves have been poached that have been found in the last year just where I live, but it would fall on death ears.

  31. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears


    I would love to hear about the cases in your area, knowing what is going on, always helps with the solution, saying it is happening with out the data to back it up, makes it speculation, so please post the information.

  32. bob jackson Avatar
    bob jackson

    Merdoch, Either you are so niave you can’t see the ability by others to kill and then have no one know or you have been brain washed.

    And MSG,
    You give such a snow job. There is as much prejudice in wardens as there is in the public. I patrolled for 30 years and had LOTS of contact with wardens. If they didn’t like bears there was nothing more than save face investigation. Why would it be different with wolves? Most wardens I came across were what folks would classify as “red necks”.

    Some wardens were so bad I had to make sure I gave no info of where I would be staking out. And as far as turning damning evidence over to game wardens for state prosecution at least half of them I had to keep evidence away from till I could get it to wardens who did want to prosecute the outfitter or guide.

    And you do know what MSG is? It is fake flavor. If you ever get that public relations job I think this moniker would have appropriate description to use by all those who don’t get snowed by you. MSG, in your posts you most remind me of Eddy Haskell of “Leave it To Beaver”.

  33. Merdoch Avatar

    Spangelakes, it sounds like you’re still making unreasonable claims here. (Or at least not doing a good job of clearly backtracking from your previous claims.)

    You can say how many wolves have been found poached, but the point is those wolves most certainly end up recorded even if no prosecutions occur. The reality is the amount of talk is much higher than the actual amount of poaching, with many people simply afraid to actually break the law when you get down to it. (Or lacking the skills to actually successfully kill a wolf.)

    To be clear here, three to four times the number of wolves poached that have been hunted legally, (I’m leaving out other types of currently legal kills that would make the number even significantly more preposterous) would be 417 to 556 wolves poached in Idaho alone. This would be in addition to all the wolves hunted, killed by wildlife services in reaction to “depreciation of livestock” and similar cases, or killed by cars. Throw in natural mortality sources in the mix and you would have previously seen a massive degree of drop in the wolf population when population data was gathered which has clearly not occurred. (If such poaching was occurring at that high a level, it would have been high enough to be quite measurable prior to the killings of this year.)

    Yes there may be a noteworthy level of wolf poaching in general, (but not to the level you were claiming) but when you’re not potentially talking about a very low wolf population area such as Oregon or Washington State or to some degree the Mexican Wolf situation, the illegal kills are clearly at a level which is quite successfully absorbed by population natural growth. Its only when you throw in other sources of wolf deaths that the population becomes genuinely threatened.

  34. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    What is the source of your information?

  35. spanglelakes Avatar

    Save Bears – file state records request and you can get the data, too.

    Merdoch – my original post was REGARDING THE SOUTHERN MOUNTAIN ZONE QUOTA OF TEN WOLVES. This thread is about that – but as usual – has gotten sidetracked.

    I said it was likely that twice, three or four times wolves here had been illegally killed. Twice would be TWENTY wolves shot illegally in the VAST SOUTHERN MT ZONE. Three times would be thirty. Not hard for me to believe at all. Look at the map and the area that this zone includes.

    Enough. I’m giving this thread a rest.

  36. Merdoch Avatar

    Bob you’re frankly going firmly in unreasonable paranoid territory. Its certainly not about being naive, its about recognizing what would be possible to achieve even assuming the worse of people. What you are claiming is clearly impossible in the real world. (In many ways you’re being naive about how easy it actually is to pull of a massive sufficiently complicated conspiracy without getting caught.)

    Especially with a hunt going around now, wolves in Idaho and Montana are mostly going to be wary of getting too close to people. This makes the level of shooting you are talking about in many of your scenarios effectively impossible in most cases. (If someone tried it, a realistic best scenario from their perspective is they only kill a couple of wolves while they miss the others or give them minor grazing wounds they recover from.) This also as I noted clearly limits how many wolves could plausibly get killed with all the poachers avoiding hitting any wolves with collars. (Even without a collar there are plenty of cases as noted where someone would come across the wolf carcass eventually and report it.)

    What you’re ignoring Bob is that the kind of coverup from wardens which would allow what you’re to thinking of to be possible (we’re not talking about ignoring a tiny number of wolf poachings here) would require ALL the wardens to coverup everything absolutely almost all the time. If there are 3 wardens involved in total in a clear cover-up, but one sees enough to go public and blow the whistle on them, all you would need is one more individual in wildlife services to admit seeing some things at that point and wolf advocates would have a smoking gun sufficient to ensure wolves stay on the endangered species list for a very long time. It really would be about the dream piece of evidence to decisively settle the wolf dispute for awhile in wolf advocates favor in court. (In other words it could create a scenario where there would actually end up being something like 4,000 wolves in Idaho before final delisting occurs.)

    Remember that a key part of the coverup you’re talking about would involve wardens deliberately overlooking a case of pups getting poisoned or otherwise killed in their den. That’s the kind the thing which realistically plenty of people are going to have plenty of problems with even in relation to wardens. A basic point to remember is that in most cases the person doing the illegal wolf killing won’t know for sure who is going to be involved with the investigation, and unless they are sure everyone is fine with covering it up, they are still taking quite a risk.

    As I noted, from an individual perspective, claiming something like your friends happened to be there with guns when the wolves attacked and everyone shot back to kill wolves in the act of attacking cattle is much safer than incredible trick shooting and hoping the wolves cooperate in where they die so you can get away with lying about how many you killed. (Saying how many you think you killed simply gives you a far higher chance of avoiding prosecution and most ranchers won’t risk themselves as part of some abstract grand conspiracy to kill wolves without anyone knowing about it.)

    It should also be noted that it doesn’t even necessarily require a warden to blow the whistle on such a hypothetical conspiracy, but others could see enough to gather sufficient key incriminating evidence to blow things open. For instance, you’re still going to have wildlife biologists not associated with the state of Idaho or Montana examining recently killed wolf carcases for various studies, and if they are suddenly all denied access when they apply for the proper permits and everything that would raise huge alarm bells on its own.

    A final point to repeat here is given what is know about wolf reproduction rates, its flat out not possible for the level of poaching suggested to have gone one without it showing up in the overall wolf numbers for the area. (Because you still have all the other sources of wolf mortality we know about.) At best you can say the ranchers have killed wolves in cases without livestock really being directly attacked, but that doesn’t change the big picture regarding wolf survival and what we know about current mortality numbers.

  37. Merdoch Avatar

    Spanglelakes, the huge problem was that as stated it was not clear at all that was what you meant, or especially that you merely suggested it applied to just that area.

    I’d say most of my points still absolutely apply because there is nothing suggesting anything unique went on in that area. It should be noted that further south you are only looking at one reported wolf kill.

    While I’ll let others chime in on other factors, the rugged terrain in the area certainly tends to complicate hunting as a rule.

  38. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears


    I could do that, but you seem to have pertinent information that could be illuminating on the area your talking about, beings you brought it up and have claimed to have the information, why are you not willing to share? even Ralph requested it be shared if it was available.

  39. Alan Avatar

    “Are you implying that every calf or cow that gets killed and eaten by wolves out on a large grazing allotment gets found?”
    Of course not, Jay. I am simply saying that it is easy to exaggerate that which cannot be verified, on both sides. It is also easier to carry on a logical discussion and reach reasonable conclusions and agreements when we stick with facts, and not attempt to deal with all the “maybe’s” or “probably’s” or “might be’s”. A calf goes missing and “maybe” it was killed by wolves. Or maybe it was killed by a mountain lion, a bear, domestic dogs? Maybe it just wandered off and got lost? Maybe it got sick and died and was eaten by predators? Remember this: “It will only be a matter of time before some kid is killed by wolves!?” Or, “Elk will be eliminated from the Northern Rockies!?” Saying that hundreds of wolves are secretly being slaughtered, without proof, falls into the same category. It’s all just hyberbole that adds nothing to the conversation, and does nothing except drive a bigger wedge between interested parties. Both sides have plenty of facts with which to argue their case. They should do that.

  40. jerryB Avatar

    It’s frustrating to read this BS. Where did all you “poaching experts” come from?
    There’s probably 2 people on here , Bob and Spanglelakes, that have a clue about the poaching problem and that’s because they are, or have been out there almost daily, witnessing what’s going on.
    If the rest of you armchair quarterbacks would get out in the ranch country or wild areas and open your eyes and ears, you’d know how much poaching goes on.
    How do I know? Because I’m out there constantly, have a son-in-law ranch owner, and after a day of hiking, collecting moose poop and or fishing I head to a saloon in these small towns where I listen and because of my usual scruffy appearance fit in with the locals.
    You learn that it’s a “good ole boy” network including agency people and unless it’s “in your face obvious” no one will report any wildlife poaching.

  41. Merdoch Avatar

    Jerry, you’re being unreasonable and actively undermining wolf advocacy if anything by publicly claiming poaching could be at that high of level and most not reported. (In other words you’re making it easier for Idaho and Montana to argue wolf advocates are unreasonable nuts and no plan would possibly satisfy them at all.)

    I’m not saying it doesn’t happen at all, but it clearly isn’t anywhere near at least 417 to 556 wolves poached in Idaho alone as Bob is still claiming. (And in fact his claim as specifically stated would actually put the number much higher than this.) Simple knowledge of wolf reproduction rates and other known sources of mortality simply make it not possible to be close to that level without showing up clearly in the wolf population numbers, which it has not.

    There are also huge problems with a true systematic coverup on any large scale as a I noted previously. If everyone is really hearing key incriminating conversations in Idaho, since the state law only needs one party to be aware a conversation is being recorded, you should make sure some of these damning conversations are recorded to ensure that Judge Mallory rules in favor of putting wolves back on the endangered species list.

  42. gline Avatar

    I disagree Merdoch. I think poaching is not talked about enough.

    FYI, It is judge Molloy (sp).

  43. Merdoch Avatar

    gline, I don’t have a problem talking about poaching.

    The problem is when when claims are made about the level of poaching which are certainly not plausible or reasonable, that ends up potentially undermining wolf advocates.

    If you want to talk about specific evidence poaching is occurring and at what level that’s just fine. Specific evidence poaching cases involving wolves are not being properly reported or genuinely investigated could actually be useful for the current court case. Suggestions on how to ensure poaching cases are properly investigated and prosecuted could be another useful area of conversation. The problem really only occurs when the claims get unreasonable and basically lack supporting evidence, or clearly are disproved by the available existing evidence.

  44. jerryB Avatar

    Merdoch….I’m unreasonable? You’re living in a dream world.
    I’ve stuck my neck out once about poaching and learned a lesson.
    Those that you’d assume “have your back” DON”T!

  45. Jay Avatar

    Alan, I believe there was a paper published that says that the number of livestock ,killed/found vs. killed but unverified was around 1:6 or 7. I don’t think its hyperbole in some producers allotments to say wolves are having an effect on their bottom line…not that I feel too terribly bad about that(that’s the price of doing business on public land), but it is a fact of life when the two intermix.

  46. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    Wow Jerry,

    I guess my daily working in the field and not in an office doesn’t count? Just because I don’t work for an agency any longer, does not mean I am not in the field any longer doing private projects for others..

  47. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    I would also, if the level of poaching is going on that some claim, then there are a heck of a lot more wolves out there than have been estimated and counted, at that level it would wipe out viable populations is a pretty big hurry..

  48. jerryB Avatar

    Save Bears
    Yes….my apologies, Colonel, Sir!

  49. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    What ever Jerry, I was not on the attack, I was simply requesting that the information that was claimed to exist.

    At one time, I was sure you and I could have a conversation, we even corresponded through email a few times, but now I guess that door is closed.

  50. Alan Avatar

    “Alan, I believe there was a paper published that says that the number of livestock ,killed/found vs. killed but unverified was around 1:6 or 7.”…….The two key words in that sentence are ‘unverified’ and ‘around’. If they are unverified they are unverified. Even before re-introduction livestock would go missing, disappear, turn up dead. A comparison of numbers prior to and since wolves would be interesting. But wait! Some ranchers will tell you there have always been wolves!
    Any statement that cannot be verified, and that is issued with the purpose of rallying the troups or inflaming the populace, is hyperbole IMO.
    I do find this statement by Mark (IDFG) a bit disturbing:
    “We don’t know and I wouldn’t predict how illegal wolf kills will compare to poaching of other wildlife.” I should think that would be part of their job. Afterall they have, what?, 14 years worth of wolf experience to call upon that includes plenty of illegal wolf kills I am sure. At least an estimate should be possible by now.

  51. Si'vet Avatar

    Alan, if Mark had a hard number it would refuted on this site. I don’t remeber who, but someone consistantly posts the square miles of Idaho, and 1 wolf per 53,000 acres etc.
    A wolf carcass can hide under 1 large sagebrush, that’s a lot of brush to scour, how can you accurately count wolf kills if there not all collared.. I know that in the winter as deer and elk migrate to winter grounds they are counted, and estimations are made. How would that go over here. You mention after 14 yrs. if I recall wolves fell under fed juristiction until just recently.. So they’ve had about a year or so…. when’s the last time you hiked 53000 acres?

  52. Mark Gamblin (IDFG) Avatar
    Mark Gamblin (IDFG)

    Alan –
    We have less than one fully prosecuted wolf hunting season to compare with decades of hunting seasons for other species. If illegal killings were to be compared to illegal killings of other game animals since re-introduction I believe illegal activity for other game species would be significantly greater – for a variety of reasons. Opportunity was, is still greater, no federal protection during those years, very high level of scutiny, substantial penalties for the violation ….. and likely other reasons. For now and the future – wolf re-introduction is one of the strongest accomplishments in recent wildlife conservation history. That achievement is not going away.

  53. Mark Gamblin (IDFG) Avatar
    Mark Gamblin (IDFG)

    OOPS – meant to say there WAS federal protection during those years.

  54. Alan Avatar

    I agree that hard numbers would be impossible to come by but don’t believe there are no estimates as to how illegal wolf kills compare to illegal elk or deer kills, for example. If there aren’t there certainly should be! Afterall, wolves are not any other animal; they have just come off of the ESL. I would think that prior to authorizing a wolf hunt that it would be vital to take into consideration every source of fatality in order to maintain a viable population. That is assuming that you wanted to maintain a viable population. OH, RIGHT! Nevermind!!
    I did hike the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada once, but that was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away!!

  55. Alan Avatar

    It isn’t necessary to have a legal wolf hunting season to have illegal wolf kills. Nor is it necessary to be in charge of wolves to be privy to information regarding those kills. It just seems to be common sense that any planning for implimentation of a management plan involving a species that was coming off the ESL, especially where a hunt was being considered, would include estimates of illegal kills both in the past and into the future.

  56. Si'vet Avatar

    Alan, I was a an F&G scoping meeting with regards to setting a season for hunting wolves in Idaho. The number proposed for legal harvest was set in consideration with THIEVES harvesting unreported kills or poaching. So it was definately discussed and taken into consideration. Ever thought about the continential divide trail, bet you’d see or at least hear wolves.

  57. Mark Gamblin (IDFG) Avatar
    Mark Gamblin (IDFG)

    Alan –
    Those instances of poaching or other illegal wildlife activity thatwe know of or suspect are recorded. I should have emphasized that I don’t have the specific numbers – prior to delisting – to offer. You are right – it would be irresponsible to not maintain records of poaching or other wildlife crimes.

  58. Si'vet Avatar

    Alan. I was at a scoping meeting with regards to setting wolf hunting quotas and seasons when it was thought there would be a hunting season in 2008. As you know judge Molloy ruled against it that year. During the meeting the legal harvest numbers discussed took into consideration illegal kills and poaching, WS numbers were not discussed. Try the continental divide trail, if you want to hear or maybe even see wolves.

  59. bob jackson Avatar
    bob jackson


    Again I say you are very naive. Of course you could be hearing numbers from any number of game wardens or biologists…those that don’t want to admit to something because then it means they have to do something about it.

    The best harvest of poachers I would run into came from areas where the Park Rangers, game wardens, and F&W agents were all a chummy bunch….guys who would talk the talk while eating bear claws. Their areas were like virgin hunting country. It was so easy to catch poachers in these places. The only problem I had was all those coffee shop types with big law dog belts were the worst at trying to discredit or try to wipe out those cases. Maybe you ought to find out for yourself what is happening out there.

    And as for spotting the ungrateful dead, in 30 years and 60-70,000 miles…a lot off trail….I only found two bear skulls in Yellowstone. One was a black bear skull on a poacher trail and the other was a griz skull in a very dark cave way up on high alpine tundra country. One just doesn’t find much evidence of any predator deaths.

  60. Merdoch Avatar

    Bob, again the poaching numbers you have previously claimed are clearly rather flat out impossible. To clarify again, you’re basically claiming the number of poachings was between at least 417 to 556 in Idaho and 216 to 288 wolves in Montana. (This is assuming you really meant just the wolves legally hunted, because the numbers based on total wolves killed legally as you actually stated get even more preposterous and significantly larger.)

    When you add in all the other sources of wolf mortality we know about, that means we would have far fewer wolves in Idaho and Montana than we actually do. The only other possible explanation is the two states actually had way more wolves than anyone outside of a few anti-wolf extremists believed prior to such poaching starting.

    There is a huge difference between wardens being chummy and likely overlooking evidence of poaching in a few cases and the extremely massive scale you idea would require.

    Prior to becoming skulls, the carcasses of killed animals tend to be easier to locate. Again you really have not remotely persuasively explained why so few collared wolves would be killed and/or how such a large cover-up could be performed without someone blowing the whistle on them.

  61. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    I found this article interesting. It tends to support Bob’s position on the level of poaching overall.
    One quote stands out,”poachers kill at least as many trophy bucks and bulls as hunters do”
    Why would that not be true for wolves in the respect of numbers?
    Apparently there will be a program this coming Tuesday on the subject called wildlife wars.

  62. Merdoch Avatar

    Jeff, Bob was actually claiming a level of poaching 3 to 4 times greater than the ratio suggested there.

    In general, taking out large numbers of deer and elk in an area like Colorado is clearly far easier to do than killing individual wolves given the greater numbers involved making them easier to find in the first place. (Its apparently around 292,000 Elk in Colorado for instance and 700,000 deer.) Elk and deer are also among other things flat out bigger which tends to make them easier to spot.

    You also have a key part of Bob’s apparent claim being that poachers go out of their way to avoid shooting any wolves with collars, which would require a far higher degree of caution in their shots. (I.E. you might have to often avoid shooting a wolf because you can’t get a good enough view in the light to see if it does have a collar in that case.)

  63. Si'vet Avatar

    Merdoch, I’ve spent Almost 50 yrs. 180 degrees the other side YNP from Bob, hunting and fishing, there is poaching there as well. BUT you break the laws and your caught you will be cited… In all the years I have been “out there” I have never once witnessed an F&G officer not issue a citation or issue just a warning, clear down to shooting 8 minutes after legal hrs. I’ve known an officer to issue a, shooting from the road citation on Saturday morning, then peel the same guy that night at the poker table. The F&G need everyone out there to be vigilante, and donate to CAP. citizens against poaching. I think Bob aluded to $$$$ rewards can help curb poaching, we also need to be active getting the fines and jail time greatly increased. As the worth of the animal parts increase so do the penalties.

  64. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    I would venture that poaching takes place at fairly consistent levels throughout the Intermountain west.
    It just happened that the individual cited in the article was from Colorado, could have just as easily been Idaho, Montana, or Wyoming or……..
    Certainly a concerted poaching operation and opportunistic poaching are different categories. One money driven and the other (fill in the blank).
    I truly believe that there are significant numbers of wolves poached but actual numbers are debatable. As with most illegal activities what is reported, or “caught” is just the tip of the iceburg.

    (My spell check keep wanting to change your handle to Murdoch,so sorry if that slips thru.)

  65. Merdoch Avatar

    Jeff what I’m saying is why you can debate the numbers to some degree, the math flat out doesn’t work with the levels Bob is talking about given other known deaths of wolves from other sources and the established wolf reproduction levels. (Remember the wolves of the area are in general heavily studied.)

    There is also the general massive problem that Bob has not effectively explained why poaching suddenly leaped to the levels he is talking about apparently in the last couple of years, because earlier such levels of poaching would have kept wolf numbers very low if not essentially wiped them out from Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming entirely.

  66. bob jackson Avatar
    bob jackson


    What I said was poaching numbers are at least 3-4 times above what is commonly thought of as occurring….not that it is 3-4 times higher than numbers killed by legal means.

    Murdo, you keep harping on small potatoes when it comes to any overall poaching arguments…such as trying to logic out how accurate poachers are or are not….while not addressing the overall killings. You remind me of lawyers who know they have losing cases but try to deflect jurors with little figures. Murdo, you lose.

  67. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    “Ten legal. Twice, three, four times that illegally”

    That is the beginning of the first comment in this thread.

    To interpret this, we would either have to concede, there are a lot move wolves out there than anyone is aware of….Or there is a lot less poaching going on than some are claiming.

    If this allegation were true across the board of the areas that wolves have been hunted this year, and there are still populations of wolves out there, then we have far more wolves than anyone is saying.

    Now perhaps the original poster was only saying this in regards to the particular area that just closed, but if we are to apply across the board, then as an example, in Montana which had a quota of 75 at the extreme we are talking about 300 wolves killed, add the amount of wolves killed by WS and we are over the estimated population of wolves in the entire state!

    As others have posted I agree there is some poaching going on as with any other animal, but not to the extremes some are claiming…

  68. Merdoch Avatar

    Bob, you certainly previously said no such thing. What you said specifically to quote exactly was:

    “From my experience with ‘hunters”, combined with known levels of poaching of another hated species, griz, I’d have to believe 3-4 times more wolves killed illegally than legally is conservative.”

    I am pleased you have finally backed away from those comments and hope you will be more careful at a minimum about how exactly you phrase things in the future. Ultimately making clearly unjustifiable claims plays firmly into the hands of the anti-wolf factions out there. (Part of the reason I confronted this statement is its not merely about it being made on this board, but if it becomes a common belief in the wolf advocate community and say someone gets quoted in the press with the claim, it really could end up being a weapon used against wolf advocates.)

  69. bob jackson Avatar
    bob jackson

    sivet cat,

    I can tell you a lot of ‘easy” cases are prosecuted, whether it is by Yellowstone rangers or wardens south of the border.

    It is the MO for those wanting stats but don’t have the ethics or conviction…or balls ….to go after those who will fight back (ie. outfitters, ranchers on their private lands).

    Ya they will nail all those meek ones, harass the hell out of innocent folks as well, trying to play detective, interrogator and all tv like kind. Try looking for one of these guys in a outfitter camp politically connected checking hunter licenses…or prosecute a not so law abiding lawyer who fights back. only if they have support from above will it happen by 90% of them.

    I heard so many complaints by law abiding hunters and fishermen about storm trooper tactics in your part of the country. Same in yellowstone. The guys doing it were all the same.

    I could figuratively roll these type wardens and rangers off the back of my hand with a single sweep of the arm. Yes, you see them issue a minor violation ticket or be apart of a big bust with a lot of storm troopers bashing down doors but you don’t see them where it counts in character.

    And since the wolf issue doesn’t gain them many friends at the bear claw donut shop or rancher cafe most aren’t going to prosecute.

  70. bob jackson Avatar
    bob jackson


    As I said in my second post, I wrote I had written late at night and abbreviated a lot of what I was talking about. This is where the quote is you use to refute me. In that second post I clarified further, “Just the sheer numbers looking to kill a wolf out of season makes the poaching 3-4 times legal “kills”.

    In other words there are out of season legal kills and then there are out of season illegal kills. Add these …and there will be lots….to other poached wolves during wolf hunting season and you get a lot of poached wolves…like 3-4 times more than folks believe happens.

  71. Merdoch Avatar

    Bob, that second quote from the still does not convey what you are now claiming it does.

    Out of season legal kills are not ordinarily understood to be poaching cases. In fact, as phrased in the rest of the comment you absolutely still clearly appeared to be talking about mostly outright illegal poaching cases. In fact, I have a hard time seeing how anyone else could have interpreted the posting the way you are now claiming.

    The clear message you still ended up conveying in each post was 3 to 4 times the number of wolves killed illegally though poaching actions as were legally killed.

    If this is simply a case of miscommunication, you need to be vastly more careful in the future when posting that what you are writing actually conveys what you intend it to. (And also recognize when you did screw up rather than merely go into defense mode and missing that you made a significant mistake in a previous post that you need to correct.)

  72. bob jackson Avatar
    bob jackson


    I pity any wife or girl friend you might have or had. they would have no hair left. Also anyone who might work with you. You are anal retentive and would be high on the list of micro managing.

    I had a “fellow” ranger like you. This guy would argue the most inane things and then procede on as an expert in just about anything he talked about.

    We both were at Thorofare and it was hunting season outside the park. The night before he was trying to tell my how to handle my horses. He had “riding” experience at a boys scout camp and I had probably 40,000 miles on a horse at that time. Come sundown the next day, and after we had already put the horses out to pasture, we heard shots on the line at an illegal salt ..about 2 miles away.

    As always this meant saddling horses fast (best way one could catch them with elk shot right inside the line) and then it was full speed zig zagging on a trail bordered by willows and gullies. I gave him my normal chase pony and I rode my long range horse. Off we went. Oh, what fun it was….him hanging on for dear life and not knowing how to lean….. willows bashing him and then that full right angle turn with the trail going straight down a 6′ bank.

    On the way back he said he would have done better if he’d had my normal chase horse. That was his answer, an answer that explains little of the whole ride….just like yours.

    Trail crew once set him up with a “lariat”. Gave him 25′ of old soft half inch manilla rope and coiled it on his saddle. He rode in and told me any horseman should have a lariat like his. Then he proceeded to tell me all the reasons why…everything those laughing trail crew guys told him.

    We would send him back and forth from their camp to mine….I’d show him some “special” nuance of a chain saw and then he’d tell trail crew how they had it wrong.

    Need I go on Murdo??

  73. izabelam Avatar

    I have a question that maybe has been answered before but, whta happens to the count if a female is pregnant.. Hopefully the hunt does not happen when wolves can be pregnant. But could someone clarify??

  74. Si'vet Avatar

    IZ counts as one wolf.

    Superman Bob, again you are absolutely positivly right that’s why the butcher shop in Driggs that was poaching moose and grinding it in with the beef was never caught. And the butcher shop owner was very politically connected. Oh that’s right is was busted. I can go on for ever with examples, but then I would sound like you, only I am not a super hero.

  75. Ken Cole Avatar

    I haven’t read through all of the comments but I’ve been told that in the past the number of illegally killed wolves is likely pretty significant. According to the most recent wolf report there have been 11 illegally killed wolves this year but that is only those that have been found, the real number is undoubtably higher but by how much is unknown. Two of the illegal wolf kills have been solved to my knowledge but I don’t know about the others. It would be interesting to know how many of the illegally killed wolves were radio collared because the collars emit a mortality signal so it would be easier to find them. If most of these wolves were collared then that means there are a lot more that went undetected and won’t be found. In-other-words, there are likely the same proportion of collared wolves illegally killed as there are uncollared wolves and since there are fewer collared wolves than uncollared the number could be pretty high. If poachers kill are selectively killing uncollared wolves then the number could be even higher.

    A reliable source told me once that the number of poached wolves could be 10% – 15% of the population. That’s pretty high but also impossible to confirm.

    One other thing about the illegal kills, I have noticed that IDFG does not put out press releases for these incidents like they do when they discover poached deer, elk, bighorn, moose etc. As part of the requirement of the management plan and ESA the states are supposed to enforce the poaching laws. While I can’t say that they aren’t enforcing these laws, it appears to me that the lack of publicity about these incidents, except when someone is caught red-handed, is a pretty loud signal about their view towards them.

    Any wolf cases listed here? Any solicitation of information?

  76. Layton Avatar

    “Any wolf cases listed here? Any solicitation of information?”

    I would just ask if there is any reason at all to believe that there were incidents concerning wolves which SHOULD have been posted?? Seems at least as plausible to me as some of the poaching scenarios on this thread.

    Or maybe there should be some violations INVENTED to satisfy the “thirst for knowledge” exhibited here??

  77. Si'vet Avatar

    As I posted earlier, when attending a harvest number and season setting meeting for wolves, there was disscussion with regards to unreoprted harvest. Interesting enough when the final hunting quota agreed on for 2009 hunt was 220, it had been reduced by about the percentages discussed above, interesting!! — PS: Bob I get a kick out of reading your posts: I’m thinking “Bob Jackson” – “Park Ranger” TV series, we could see if Chuck Norris is available!! You’ve certainly lived a full life. Answer me this, if you would. I have known 2 F&G official’s who have retired and they have nothing but pure disdain for the dept. and were constantly bashing in letters to the editor. Why would you work so long with and for people you despise?

  78. Tom Avatar

    I am Izabela’s husband and her last post was from me..
    I am sorry I did that but I am new at this..
    It troubles me that a female can be shot while pregnant and that counts as one kill..
    I am not as educated on this issue as I should be and I will work on that..
    But it seems to me that the one female that is pregnant could be carrying the entire years progeny for a given pack.
    I am not sure but feel pretty certain that a hunter with a grudge would be able to pick out which wolf is pregnant given a choice..
    I will sit back and just listen for awhile so that future posts do not come from ignorance..

  79. Mark Gamblin (IDFG) Avatar
    Mark Gamblin (IDFG)

    Ken –
    Are you suggesting a mark – recapture estimate of illegal wolf kills using collared wolves asr marks and illegal kills as recaptures?

  80. jerryB Avatar

    Merdoch…….which agency do you work for? And, are you paid to post?

  81. Ken Cole Avatar

    In a sense yes, but I’m not saying that IDFG needs to collar more wolves to determine this. Collaring a wolf, like others have said, is pretty much a death sentence for the wolf.

  82. Merdoch Avatar

    Jerry, as I clearly described some time ago, I work for the National Park Service and the time of that post worked for a National Park in Alaska which has wolves.

    As I noted at the time, I am deliberately avoiding getting significantly more specific (other than to say its not a directly biologist related position) because I have in the past and intend in the future to freely criticize conduct of the Department of the Interior when appropriate and prefer to do so without having to worry about any sort of risk to my job.

    In the spirit of full disclosure, recently I have moved to a position in South Florida. I am absolutely in no way shape or form are paid to post here or gain any job benefit whatsoever from my posts.

    I expressed my concerns BECAUSE I care about wolves and excessively unsupportable claims have a real chance of actually harming wolf advocates if they circulate too much. Let the other side keep all the crazy comments about 200 pound Canadian wolves and the like while we can counter with the actual facts and science. (Its always desirable to show its the other side which are the unreasonable nuts as much as possible.) Whatever Bob may say now, if you accidentally misstate numbers by basically an order of magnitude, that’s a serious error worthy of correction.

    Just for the record, I believe the Obama administration choose to ultimately allow this most recent Bush administration initiated wolf delisting to go through in its current form because they didn’t want to take the political hit and deal with the controversy of blocking it. (It was not actually about the science.) I think the political considerations were primarily about Congressional seats in Idaho and Montana and deciding those helping the relevant Democrats in those positions took precedence over protecting the wolves.

  83. jerryB Avatar

    Merdoch…..Thankyou. I obviously missed your prior post concerning your employment with NPS.
    I agree with most all of what you’re saying, especially about the Congressional Seats and the political considerations.
    I still say that there’s way more poaching going on than most are aware of. (report from Idaho just came out that said for every game animal killed legally, there’s one killed illegally)

  84. bob jackson Avatar
    bob jackson

    Sivet cat & Murdo,

    I can answer sivets question and my input to murdo with the same reply.

    Muro says he can’t come out of the closet or he could lose his job. Sivet says the two local wardens, now retired, hate their former employer and now trash them all the time.

    The game wardens wouldn’t speak up during employment and therefore boiled under the skin all those years. They ended up like most park employees I observed….either apathetic or bitter and angry.

    All these folks watched as their bosses compromised their original ideals, watched and did nothing as fellow workers were ground down and beaten by these unhappy bosses and saw the brown nosers, as their peers climb the ladder, to then tell them to do things the bosses were totally inept at doing or understanding.

    Murdoc does his walter mitty sabatoge or deep throat inputs behind a pen name and slithers here and there to think he betters the environmental lot of this country.

    To them all, I say do the input, the help for your fellow peers being washed down the intimidation hole…and the help for your environment WHILE you are working. Otherwise you will end up very cynical and bitter….or feeling as a broken loser with your head hung low. Your choice.

    As Alan Shepard in the movie, The Right Stuff”, said to the Army boys getting ready to go into the feared room of the physical tests……”They go in brave, but all come out scared”.

  85. Si'vet Avatar

    Bob, your posts seem bitter, have you experienced some of these same issues. Or am I misinterpreting something?

  86. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Bob Jackson,

    One thing government employees can do that is legal and pretty effective is to join PEER, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.

  87. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Another thing that works is upon retirement, work for Western Watersheds Project.

    A lot of federal employees have done that. It’s great because they know where the bodies are buried. Many others go to work for other conservation organizations.

  88. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    Bob Jackson is like the poster child for government suppression of valid employee opinion.

  89. bob jackson Avatar
    bob jackson


    No, not bitter then or now, never have been. I always understood the govt. dysfunctional”system”. Thus I had none of the frustration …or worse….of others.

    No, I am just highly competitive and have a lot of convictions. I went to Yell. instead of signing with the Minnesota Twins. And at basic training I was the first one, I was told, to max a particular fitness course at Fort Ord out of 250,000 army recruits…I use to win the Park pistol qualifying until I switched to a 44 mag as my duty gun, I never sored a horse or got injured by one in the 30 years there…and I never took a day of sick leave….get it?

    I give it everything and have so ever since my older brother was picked on in grade school because he had a nasal sound from a cleft palate. Got to defend your blood ….and whatever good employee unhappy supervisors decided to pick on. My scorn for poaching guides and outfitters was topped only by employees and supervisors who were browners and full of bull shit.

    When it came down to the “big” fight with NPS and the Cheney White House, that Ralph refers to, it was percipitated by administrators in Yellowstone capitulating to politics. It was more important…and their careers… to them than their bears. And it showed how far they had fallen from their original reasons for joining the NPS.

    It was an easy choice for me…and the two years of “fight” where “they” pulled out all the stops….wire taps and opening mail ….was, to me, no more of a fight than the energy it took to wear down poachers till they hung their heads, and confessed on a tear blemished FS note pad.

    PEER got ahold of me when they saw the “tussle” and soon they gave me free rein to talk without briefing to any and all reporters and publications. They said it was the only time they ever allowed it. I’d tell the reporters what to ask of the Yell administrators. Soon Washington DOI Public Affairs, who had been directing Yellowstones disinformation campaign, called it quits and blamed Yell PA for all the govt. PR mistakes. It wasn’t so and the reason it didn’t work for any of them was they couldn’t intimidate me. What were they going to do send me to the farm….which I loved anyway?

    They tried all the stuff and strategies like you see on this blog with MSG’s statements. Then they’d get low ball and dirty…have someone e mail me so as to read a post by the Supt. secretary on a certain web site…so I hopefully would go off on some defensive tirade.

    The Washington boys didn’t limit “fact finding” to Yellowstone. In the name of security checks they had marshalls questioning local officals…trying to find any dirt. They tried to ooze into any life I had.

    When it finally came to flying to Washington, they by phone in the other room, told the OSC arbitrator they had a lot of “stuff (dirt) on me. I told her to relay they had NOTHING, nothing at all.

    I say all this so anyone who wants to fight “injustice” can do so. You don’t have to wait till you retire. Yes, it is nice to have the PEERS and other conservation groups backing you, but in the end it comes down to your own will. Even the “guys” representing you will want to compromise to insure a “victory” for their organization. Don’t do it. When you have “them” by the balls I say Squeezzzzze. And if it doesn’t hurt you know they lost all long ago.

    Yellowstone administrators paid for their yellow streak with forced retirements, transfers to “undesirable’ agencies, such as the Forest Service, and demotions. I kept my job and insisted I be at the same place I had always been.

    Washington DOI still wouldn’t tap out after I won. They tried to get the Justice Dept. to inact an arcane law that said in effect anyone who causes dissension in the govt. can never work for them again. The Justice dept. lawyers wouldn’t do it. I sort of wish they would have tried.

    No I am not bitter, just dissapointed we have resource agency people, whether it is Idaho F&G or federal employees, who drift so far away from their original high standards. With dissapointment comes a certain amount of disdain, I guess. thats who I am.

  90. Nathan Hobbs Avatar
    Nathan Hobbs

    Just a heads up everyone,
    Public comment meetings for this area with IDFG are coming really soon. All meetings start at 6:30. The Wolf season is one of the topics on the agenda.

    January 5: Montpelier – National Oregon-California Trail Center.
    January 6: Malad – Malad Senior Center.
    January 7: Soda Springs – Soda Springs Senior Center.
    January 12: Preston – Larsen-Sant Library.
    January 13: Pocatello – ISU Pond Student Union Building, Wood River Room.

    The IDFG facebook post about the meetings

  91. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    Thank you for this important information.

  92. Mark Gamblin (IDFG) Avatar
    Mark Gamblin (IDFG)

    Ralph, others –
    These meetings are the first of two rounds of public meetings. This round is our “scoping meetings” to hear concerns and suggestions from the public for specific big game wildlife management issues. This input will be considered as staff prepares recommendations to the Commission for changes to current big game seasons and regulations. The second rounds of meetings (in the same communities) will likely be scheduled in February to present draft recommendations to the Commission, discuss with interested members of the public and take comments for Commission consideration.
    The IDFG will be taking public comments on big game hunting regulations, during this rules setting process, by written communications, email and comments posted to the IDFG internet web site.


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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