Wyoming Governor complains about 'venue shopping'

Would rather have a distraction away from real issues affecting the landscape

The Wyoming Governor continues his complaining about wolves and the litigation surrounding them by claiming that the groups suing over delisting are “venue shopping”. He wants to be the one to decide where a case is heard because he likes the judges where he lives. Frankly, he probably would rather have the Feds managing wolves in Wyoming anyway so they have someone else to blame things on and have a distraction for the wholesale destruction of their landscape by energy developers. Wyoming simply doesn’t want the responsibility of wolf management.

As Ralph accurately states:

“Regarding WY Gov. Freudenthal’s bitching about favorable judicial forums, he seeks a favorable court when he sues. Everyone does.

Regardless, the wolf case should have been handled in Montana, not Wyoming. The federal headquarters of the wolf project is in Helena, MT.

He’s a hypocrite.

Jenny Harbine from EarthJustice puts it well too:

“To hear him tell it, you would think wolves only exist in Wyoming, and that Wyoming should have the first crack at deciding the fate of any resource in the entire region,” Jenny Harbine said. “But the truth of the matter is that wolves exist in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming, and Wyoming hasn’t cornered the market on judicial resolution of the conservation issues.”

Gov raps ‘venue shopping’.
By CHAD BALDWIN – Casper Star Tribune



, , , ,




  1. Virginia Avatar

    Our Wyoming governor, along with the governor of Montana, are DINOs anyway. They both should be ashamed to call themselves Democrats. However, it will only get worse, as the next governor of Wyoming is sure to be a republican.

  2. Cody Coyote Avatar
    Cody Coyote

    Let me tell you a story about Dave Freudenthal from back during Year One of wolf reintroduction. Dave was a US Attorney for Montana and Wyoming in 1995 when an unemployed beer loving gun nut named Chad McKittrick of Red Lodge killed the first alpha male wolf to disperse out of Yellowstone , orphaning his mate and her 8 pups.

    Dave reluctantly prosecuted McKittrick . The case was a slam dunk ,but Freudenthal asked the US Magistrate for a fine of only $ 500 to be levied. The Judge went with that. Five Benjamins for killing half the first breeding pair of Yellowstone wolves.

    Freudenthal didn;t like wolves then , and he for sure doesn’t like them now. That $ 500 paltry fine became something of a precedent setter…the next guy to illegally kill a wolf that got caught was also fined only $ 500…. Jay York of Cody – Meeteetse.

    The penalty for killing an endangered specie can be as much as $ 100,000 and a year in jail. ( or $ 50,000 depending on circumstance and animal taken). Mc Kittrick was sentenced to 6 months in prison , but I vaguely recall he didn’t serve it or else was creditted with time in the Carbon County Crowbar Hilton. York did no time at all.

    Freudenthal’s built-in bias with extreme prejudice against wolves is a result of his rural upbringing in the cow and pumpjack pastures around Thermopolis Wyoming , no doubt. I’ve known Dave since high school and debate tournaments then. We are still casual friends, but agree to disagree on wolves and not talk about it. I campaigned for him. He successfully appointed his lawyer wife Nancy to the federal bench where she was confirmed as Judge about two weeks ago. So we begin a new chapter.

    When Dave spoke to the Wyoming Stockgrower’s Convention this week , he was in fact preaching to the choir. That choir loves to close their services with thad staid old orthodox Wyoming hymn , ” Nearer My Sacred Cow To Thee”.

    1. Elk275 Avatar

      Hey, Chad is deceased now and it is not nice to say bad things about the dead. I have casually known the family for many years. Chad hunting partner always was his buddy Jack Daniel.

    2. Cody Coyote Avatar
      Cody Coyote

      Sorry . Elk 275 et al . I honestly was not aware Chad McKittrick had passed on to the Happy Poaching Grounds.

  3. kt Avatar

    Maybe he’s bloviating lobbying for rancher support if Obama cans the ineptly evil Ken Salazar. Replace one bad Interior Secretary apple with another …

    isn’t Freudenthal soon at the end of his WY Gov days?

    1. JimT Avatar

      Don’t know. I do know at one point there was a great fear he would Sec. of Interior. Wrap your head around that one. Makes Salazar look good…;*)

      Gov. Dave should look to his own state’s bar practices before venturing forth into legal waters. EVERYONE in the state civil and criminal legal practice seeks the best..in their perception…court for their case and client. If it wasn’t a sanctioned practice, courts wouldn’t allow for it in their rules.

      Whine, Whine, State’s Rights, Hate Wolves, Love Cows. So sick of the mantra.

  4. mikarooni Avatar

    He doesn’t like venue shopping? I guess he wishes everything could go before Brimmer.

  5. Rusty Avatar

    I was at a rest stop in Wyoming yesterday and chuckled when I read how the state was protecting wind blown slopes for the wintering wildlife that migrate to the area. Every slope in the area was covered with cattle. Way to go. Now that is “Wildlife Worth Watching”.

  6. SEAK Mossback Avatar
    SEAK Mossback

    Mc Kittrick did get off pretty easy. It’s not like Freudenthal’s state is always a pushover for poachers. For poaching a couple of bighorn sheep in the North Fork of the Shoshone, Gary Vorhies got a $52,000 fine, was sentenced to 4 years (1 actually served), lost his pickup, was banned from most public land and from possessing hunting equipment or any involvement in hunting, and lost his hunting privileges for 50 years.

    1. JimT Avatar

      Just makes the point of the story…he hates wolves.

    2. Cody Coyote Avatar
      Cody Coyote

      SEAK— good you pointed out the disgusting Gary Voorhies case. I happened to photograph that same Ram on the same Christmas Eve day before he and his accomplice came back and poached it. He should’ve gotten the same fate as the sheep…Voorhies was and is an egregious serial poacher.

      Thankfully , Wyo G & F now has some new tools for hammering wildlife violators. Voorhies was one of very early poachers to be punished under Wyoming’s brand new upgraded wildlife violator’s act, which in addition to increasing penalties and setting reimbursement values for trophy game taken , it allows the state to confiscate all equipment even remotely used in committing the violation. There was a guy who came before him that had his private helicopter confiscated and sold by the State. He’d used it to spot and herd elk, then dropped his son off on a ridgetop to make the kill.

      If only we could detect a higher pecentage of the violations, and use that hammer more often.


      Loosely on the same topic, I have a comment on the value of trophy Wildlife. Specifically , a dollar value. as I mentioned, Wyoming now has an assessment table for levying restitution on poachers who take trophy animals. A bull elk can be charged out at maybe $12, 500. Trophy mule deer $ 7500. A trophy Ram like Voorhies took is maybe $15,000. Even Grizzly BEars are on the list, at $ 25,000 state fine plus the $ 50-100k federal value for being a Threatened specie.

      This restitution list goes all the way down to lesser animals. A Jackabbit is worth $ 200 to the State, for instance.

      S0—here’s my question: What is the restitution value for a Trophy WOLF in Wyoming ? To my mind, it should be same or similar to black bear and cougar , or even more. When I ask the Game and Fish guys what the positive dollar value of Wolves is, the jugular vein sticks out and their face turns red and they quake. And they won’t say . They revolt at the question. But I consider it a worthwhile concept and a valid question, and perfectly placed in the taxonomy f the other animals allotted restitution dollar values.

      But not Wolves? Wyo G&F will use every weasel word they can to discount any positive value to Wolves as wildlife. Discount it all the way to zero worth . Honestly . I’ve asked this question straight to the tremulous face of one Bill Rudd, the trophy game coordinator for Wyo G & F, at a public meeting in Cody in Spring 2008. Rudd responded by saying wolves have no positive value.

      And therein lies the problem. Wyoming’s utter abject dual standards towards Wolves. Utter hypocrisy ; duplicity.

      I guess we’ll revisit that when Chronic Wasting Disease begins to meander through elk, deer, and moose and Wyo G&F realizes that wolves are the best tool for mitigating that . Among other positive values for Canis lupus as an ecological steward.

    3. Jon Avatar

      Cody, to me, things are really no different than the years the wolves were wiped out and before that when wolves were killed by the feds to cater to ranchers and their livestock. The same ol bs is going on today with these hunts right after wolves came off th esl and with the feds gunning as many wolves down as they can to cater to the ranchers. The feds brought wolves back and now all of that hard work bringing them back is going down the drain. No matter how many years pass by, you are still going to see the same attitudes from those special interest groups that were responsible for wiping the wolves out all of those years ago. You would think people would be more willing to accept wolves and accept their right to live, but this is not the case, some people do, but a good deal of people in those 3 states do not, mainly those 2 special interest groups that we all know. There are more cows than wolves Jesse Timberlake of dow said. Maybe we should have hunts on all of those non native cows. The wolves have much more of a right to be on the lands than all of those non native cows.

  7. SEAK Mossback Avatar
    SEAK Mossback

    Cody Coyote –
    That was a terrible poaching incident and loss of sheep enjoyed by photographers as well as potentially available to legal hunters. I’m very glad to hear Wyoming has toughened poaching regulations, including seizure of assets. Unfortunately, from what you say they are unwilling to include wolves as game animals or even as valuable furbearers. Even here, where there has been a trend toward more widespread predator control in the interior, laws are enforced and penalties levied for poaching wolves just like any other wildlife.

    Vorhies does sound like a bad case (being an admitted poaching addict) and I know bighorn sheep and permits to hunt them are a huge deal to many Wyomingites (many seem ready to quit their job if they draw one just to focus on hunting all fall). The very high value placed bighorns points somewhat to the inconsistency Ralph has mentioned in tolerance for the disease impacts of domestic sheep on public land in the western states.

    Confiscation of equipment through civil penalties has been a very valuable enforcement tool and deterrent in Alaska as well – particularly for commercial guides and fishermen who have planes and vessels at stake. It seems like a lot of the guided hunters who come to Alaska – by the time their wallets are thick enough to afford the dream their bellies are too thick. I have a friend who just got back from guiding his annual two brown bear hunters on Admiralty Island on separate 1-on-1 hunts in May (in the spring, bears are generally spotted from a boat and stalked on shore). One guy had a massive waistline and could barely squeeze through the doors in his 50 foot boat and the other was a doctor who pretty much knew nothing but his profession (his wife had done all the hunt booking) and, although a decent shot, couldn’t see eagles in the trees, sea lions or whales in the water or bears on the beach even when they should have been quite visible. Some of these guys end up shooting bears out of helicopters on Kamchatka. Others end up posted in fairly open country on the north side of the Alaska Peninsula with their guide out in a supercub herding bears to them. There have been a number of truly glorious busts out there with the assistance of undercover federal agents posing as hunters from somewhere plausible like Texas, that have ended in forfeited guide licenses, firearms and expensive aircraft, plus fines and jail time.

  8. Cindy Avatar

    Not to move off the important subject here, but Chad McKittrick is deceased?

    1. Save bears Avatar
      Save bears


      That was pointed out earlier by another poster

    2. skyrim Avatar

      was hoping that someone else could confirm that (McKittrick) and post details or a link. While his name is still all over the web, not much about any death info.

  9. Cody Coyote Avatar
    Cody Coyote

    In the mood for some irony about Wyoming and Predators ?

    Look at the free handout official State of Wyoming highway map. The outside title fold is a lovely photo of a big furred-out Coyote lying in the pristine snow alongside a winter stream. I had to look twice to make sure it wasn’t a Wolf ( ears, snout ). It really looks wolfish , and the uneducated will presume it is a wolf.

    Imagine that …a major canid predator as Cover Guy on your state map… feel the love.


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

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

Subscribe to get new posts right in your Inbox

Ken Cole