Victory !  Wolves Relisted in the Northern Rockies !

Judge Molloy rules in wolf advocates’ favor !

Federal judge puts gray wolves back on endangered species listAP

Read the Order

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Update:  Here is  the story in the Washington Post.
This story is pretty matter of fact {well facts on the wolf issue are good 😉 } What is interesting, however, is at the very end — the federal lawsuit by Wyoming to require the USFWS to accept their “flawed” wolf plan. There is speculation that Molloy’s vacation of the rule might make this suit (the one before federal judge Johnson) moot — might. Ralph Maughan

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Update : Wolf Advocates’ News Release


CONTACT: Suzanne Asha Stone, Defenders of Wildlife, (208) 424-0932
Matt Skoglund, Natural Resources Defense Council, (406) 222-9561
Kristina Johnson, Sierra Club, (415) 977-5619
Michael Robinson, Center for Biological Diversity, (575) 534-0360
Liz Bergstrom, Humane Society of the United States, (301) 258-1455
Doug Honnold, Earthjustice, (406) 586-9699

Federal Court Reinstates Federal Wolf Protections

Bozeman, MT — In a victory for the gray wolves of the northern Rockies, a federal judge today granted conservationists’ request to stop the slaughter of wolves and reinstate federal Endangered Species Act protections. The ruling prevents wolf hunting from going forward in Montana and Idaho. The court ruled the federal government illegally subdivided the northern Rockies wolf population, eliminating federal protections for the vast majority of the region’s wolves even while acknowledging that they remain endangered by Wyoming law.

Today’s ruling comes in response to a lawsuit brought by Earthjustice on behalf of 13 conservation groups. The groups argued that the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service violated the Endangered Species Act by removing wolves in Idaho and Montana from the list of threatened and endangered species. As a result of today’s ruling, federal protections have been restored. Wolves throughout the rest of the lower-48 United States remain on the list.

The conservation groups also argued that the government’s determination that 300 wolves constitute a recovered wolf population in the northern Rockies ignored current science. Independent scientists have concluded that 2,000 to 5,000 wolves are necessary to secure the health of the species in the region. With continued recovery efforts, legitimate wolf recovery in the northern Rockies is readily attainable. However, wolf hunts and aggressive wolf killing by state and federal agencies jeopardize this result.

Both Idaho and Montana held wolf hunts in 2009. Hunters in those states killed 260 wolves.

Earthjustice filed suit on behalf of Defenders of Wildlife, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, Center for Biological Diversity, The Humane Society of the United States, Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance, Friends of the Clearwater, Alliance for the Wild Rockies, Oregon Wild, Cascadia Wildlands Project, Western Watersheds Project, Wildlands Network, and Hells Canyon Preservation Council.

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“People on both sides of the wolf issue should look at Judge Molloy’s ruling as an opportunity to hit the reset button and develop a legitimate recovery plan for northern Rockies wolves,” said Matt Skoglund, wildlife advocate for the Natural Resources Defense Council. “We’re thrilled with today’s ruling, but now it’s really time to update the recovery standards and come up with a plan that ensures the recovery of wolves in the northern Rockies over the long term.”
“While we are pleased by the restoration of federal protection for wolves, the court’s decision demonstrates the problems inherent in the federal government’s current delisting scheme. We need a new approach. We need a new federal delisting plan based on current science that establishes a healthy, interconnected wolf population and adopts stakeholder-driven solutions to the current conflicts. It’s time to move beyond the gridlock over wolves,” stated Suzanne Stone, Defenders of Wildlife’s Northern Rockies Representative.
Sierra Club Montana Representative Bob Clark: “We are thrilled that the integrity of the Endangered Species Act has been protected and that the court has ruled in favor of science. Now, this ruling gives us a chance at legitimate recovery if all sides can come together. In addition to attracting tourists and boosting the economy, wolves are an important part of America’s wild legacy and living with wolves and other wildlife is a fundamental part of life in the West.”

“This decision is great news for wolves in the northern Rockies, and a strong rebuke for those who would rather see wolves persecuted than protected,” said Jonathan Lovvorn, vice president and chief counsel for animal protection litigation with The Humane Society of the United States. “The government’s decision to delist wolves would have led to widespread killings by trophy hunters, undermined wildlife conservation, and set the stage for the hunting and trapping of other imperiled species.”

Michael Garrity of Alliance for the Wild Rockies said, “We’re pleased that wolves are back under federal care. Since wolves were delisted last year, Montana and Idaho both increased wolf killing in response to livestock conflicts. With federal protections restored, we hope that the states will take a closer look at strategies to avoid livestock conflict, rather than simply reacting with lethal measures after conflicts have occurred.”

“Restoring Idaho and Montana wolves to the protections of the Endangered Species Act is very welcome,” said Jon Marvel, executive director of Western Watersheds Project. “I look forward to limiting the government’s ongoing and unlimited killing of wolves solely to benefit ranchers.”

“This is the sixth court ruling invalidating removal of Endangered Species Act protections for wolves,” said Michael Robinson, conservation advocate with the Center for Biological Diversity. “It is time for the Obama administration to step back from removing wolf protections until they’ve been recovered in a larger portion of their range, including additional areas like the southern Rocky Mountains, Cascade Mountains and elsewhere.”

Robert Klavins of Oregon Wild said, “We welcome today’s decision, but it’s not the end of the story. Oregon’s wolf population stands at less than 20 and this year’s state-sanctioned wolf hunt proves that federal protections are needed. We hope we have learned some important lessons and will use this reprieve to strengthen protections for wolves in Oregon and move beyond the frontier attitude that shooting wolves is the only way to manage them and prevent conflict. We look forward to the day when we can celebrate the legitimate delisting of wolves secure in the knowledge they are truly on their way to recovery and won’t simply be put back in the gunsights.”

“Wolves are once again protected in the northern Rockies. This is great news for the wolves. Montana and Idaho had plans to allow hunts this fall, hundreds of wolves were scheduled to be killed and now those plans are halted,” said Earthjustice attorney Doug Honnold.

About The Author

Brian Ertz

203 Responses to Victory ! Wolves Relisted in the Northern Rockies !

  1. jdubya says:

    Where, what, when, how??? This is great. Did they make all of Utah an endangered zone as well? Time to quit killing the few that trickle over the border….

  2. Brian Ertz says:

    i just attached the order … more news will continue to be added as it spills out ~

  3. jon says:

    Brian, this is great news, but terribly, I think this ruling will upset the wolf haters very much. I feel that there may be many going out there to illegally kill wolves.

    • Brian Ertz says:

      we can not control the willingness of individuals to break the law ~ however, we can, just did, and should continue to do everything in our power to prevent our government from such.

    • JimT says:

      And citizens, Brian. Enforcement is the key now, and the states need to do a hell of alot more than pay lip service to the concept.

  4. Cindy says:

    Looks like judges all over the west (SF) are going to start following the law. Good for them and us!

  5. Well, I have read the decision.

    It appears to me to be a narrow victory. It is was a summary judgment, and so Molloy did not consider the merits of the many other claims made against wolf management by Idaho and Montana.

    Once again, Wyoming is the culprit, and USFWS wrong by trying to slide around Wyoming’s lack of cooperation.

    The judge did vacate the rule, which was good. This means more management changes in the near future than if he had not vacated the rule.

    I think JB will be very interested the the judge’s long discourse on the meaning of “significant portion of a [species’] range.

    • jon says:

      So Ralph, if Wyoming didn’t have wolves protected, you think Molloy would have ruled to not relist the wolves in ID AND MT? Although, this is a great victory, i am worried about those that will go out there and kill wolves using the sss method as I said to Brian. Our attention should be on getting rid of wildlife services going forward if that is even possible. My other worry is that when wolves are delisted in the future, the states will allow a bigger take on them. Victories you usually celebrate, but I can only imagine what the wolf haters will do when they see this news.

    • Linda Hunter says:

      Jon. . people who do sss do it no matter what the law says.

    • Save bears says:

      And unfortunately Linda,

      I think there will be far more of them practicing it now with this ruling, these are unfortunate times we live in, look at all of the anti government sediment that is rampant now a days..I see nothing good coming out of this, and I see a lot of people that were sitting on the fence, have jumped off..

    • JimT says:

      I agree with Rodger S. though, Ralph, that the strong commitment to science based decisions in the Judge’s ruling comes through very very clearly. And the commitment to the rule of law.

    • jon says:

      Ain’t that the truth Linda. As I said a few times, whether wolves are protected or not, you are still going to have those that have no regard for the law that kill wolves. It’s very sad, but true.

    • JimT says:


    • JB says:

      Thanks, Ralph. It will have to wait until the weekend, as I’m working on the dossier. 🙁

  6. Save bears says:

    Based on my experience, I don’t see this as a victory, I see it as a determination that a lot of blood will be spilled, and I just hope to hell none of it is human….

    • jon says:

      Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that, but I have seen Toby Bridges say if wolves are relisted, they are going to resort to violence whatever that means. Based on what Ralph was saying. Wyoming was the reason why the wolves were relisted in the other 2 states. If Wyoming had come up with a better management plan, instead of a wolf eradication one, hunters would have won this battle in having wolves stay delisted.

    • JimT says:

      You know, I don’t get it. By saying this kind of thing, you just sanction the kind of Yahoo BS the Triple S crowd believes they can get away with. So, what, the anti wolf people are above the law because they are willing to break the law? Really? Is that the position you want to take?

    • Save bears says:


      I have no desire to discuss this matter with you, if in fact you were addressing me..You stick to the law, in the mean time I will duck when I am in the woods…

    • Save bears says:

      By the way, feel free to roam, Montana, Idaho and Wyoming and document what goes on, there is no way in hell that a guy in a black robe in Missoula is going to be able to catch these people, as far as you feeling I am condoning it, you are so freaking far from the truth, you will never know..

    • JimT says:

      I think in this case, by in essence saying they will continue to go outside the law, and “oh well”, you are supporting it if you don’t call for strong actions against poacher by all of the stakeholders in this issue, not just the pro wolf recovery folks.

      Let’s face it, there will be attempts at poaching. There should be strong efforts by all to make sure they are caught and punished, especially the hunting community.

    • Elk275 says:

      I was talking with a game warden several days back and we talked about wolves. He has not had any complaints about illegal wolf killing, but I got the feeling that he was not going to spend any time following up on a complaint.

      He did tell me that 90% of his time this summer was spent on bears and he had not apent any time to patroling fisherman.

    • JerryBlack says:

      Save Bears….your opti-rectitis is acting up again.
      Seems it makes you happy to embolden the sss bubbas.

    • Save bears says:


      You should know by now, I am 100% against any kind of poaching, I have condemned it since the first day I joined this blog.

      Jerry, Go to hell

    • Save bears says:


      What I am saying, is there is no resources available to patrol most of the lands that wolves inhabit, and to top it off, there is not all that big of deal when people get caught!, there is no real teeth to actually do anything to prevent it from happening, I don’t condone shooting them, I support hunting them legally, but do you really have an understanding of how many resources it is going to take to ensure the “Bubbas”(As Jerry Said) don’t go out on a rampage?

    • jon says:

      Knowing that it is illegal and a crime to kill a federally protected wolf, that in itself is enough to stop some extreme wolf haters from going out and killing wolves using the sss method, but there are those very extreme wolf haters who are just disgusted with wolves and what they are supposedly doing to the elk and will go out and kill as many wolves as he can in secret regardless if they are protected or not. I don’t see how anyone could really get caught unless someone sees you do the dirty deed.

    • Brian Ertz says:

      it ain’t the job of wildlife activists/advocates to forgo the application of law and pursuit of our interest by capitulating to brazen intimidation.

      that’s counter-productive

  7. Daniel Berg says:

    This will put a lot of pressure on Wyoming to come up with a plan that will get the wolf de-listed. If they are pressured into it by MT & ID, it will be a plan they will stick to for only as long as they have to before doing what Wyoming does.

    You can see from comments already being posted out there that there is a lot of frustration directed towards Wyoming, aside from the typical slants against Molloy and pro-wolf people.

    • Save bears says:

      I wish Wyoming had pulled their head out of their ass a long time ago, and this discussion would not be happening, an we would be devoting time to many other species that require protection, but nope, they had to stick to their guns, no matter how flawed it was..

    • jon says:

      Those 2 states should be blaming Wyoming for this decision Molloy made. I can only imagine what the wolf haters are going to do when they read this news. I just read the other day Wyoming is the most conservative state. If that wolf hating state backed off of their extreme anti wolf attitude and let a reasonable management plan go thru before, they would have been better off. Wyoming dug its own grave.

    • Daniel Berg says:

      Frankly, I’m surprised that Wyoming has been stubborn to the point of not being able to submit a plan other than shooting wolves as varmints in most all of the state to this point. I just don’t understand where they thought it was going to get them?

      I guess time will only tell whether they are stubborn to the point of dragging down two other states with them. Correct me if I’m wrong, but this kind of throws the gauntlet down on them, doesn’t it?

    • jon says:

      Daniel, it doesn’t amaze me how some states will defend their extreme position of not having any wolves in their state basically. If wy did the right thing, wolves would have probably been delisted. States will now most likely depend on ws to do their wolf killing because they aren’t able to legally have hunting seasons on them. I believe the routine in WY now is if one wolf kills livestock, they kill the whole pack. I don’t know if this goes on in ID and MT, but I am certain it will.

    • Layton says:

      “Daniel, it doesn’t amaze me how some states will defend their extreme position of not having any wolves in their state basically. If wy did the right thing, wolves would have probably been delisted”

      In a word (well, two words) horse crap!!

      First there isn’t a state that I know of where they have an “extreme position of not having any wolves in their state basically”. That’s just BS.

      Second, this was meant to go to court from the get go. NO ONE on the side that does not worship wolves thought for a minute that the wolfie side wouldn’t keep this thing in the courts until all their pet lawyers are millionaires. It’s probably their favorite tactic.

      After all, all they have to do is put out an appeal for another megabuck or five to the “they were here first” crowd in states where they don’t have wolves and the legal coffers would again turn “green”.

      Green IS where it’s at —– right??

    • Daniel Berg says:

      Layton – Talking about money paid to lawyers is beside the point. One of many good reasons with it is a moot point is because anti-wolf groups aren’t below using most means available to have their way. We’re all guilty of the same hypocrisy from time to time.

      This thing was meant to end up in the courts, but that’s not where it has to stay. If the states put out long-term management plans that didn’t appear to wolf advocates to be nothing more than delayed extermination, they would get a lot more support. Support from people like me who want a place for the wolves, but also are resigned to a certain level of management/harvest.

    • jon and Layton,

      Wyoming’s position was not one of no wolves.

      Wyoming simply did not, and still has not submitted an a wolf management plan acceptable to USFWS.


      Calm down. None of these lawyers are millionaires, not even close to it. There is little money to be made either supporting wolves or working to have them all dead.

    • jon says:

      Oh, I meant that Wy wanted a plan that would allow wolves to be classified as a predator and I believe shot on sight I believe in 90% of the state which is basically almost like a no wolf plan to me. Sorry about that Ralph.

  8. JimT says:

    I wish Salazar had done the right thing from the beginning and overturned the delisting rule.

  9. Cody Coyote says:

    This not unexpected ruling does serve notice on Wyoming , again, that the dual Predator-Trophy status has to be abandoned and a management plan that incorporates regulated limited quota hunts for wolves statewide in Wyoming is the only real alternative; the only door left open to Wyoming now that Idaho and Montana have every right to heap scorn on their stubborn neighbor for monkeywrenching delisting.

    Having said that , why do I think Wildlife Services will be working longer hours in the months ahead and buying more helicopter time ? Why do I think the wolfhaters will flaunt the law and start hammering wolves ( more than the already are) ?

    One more thing I can tell you for sure about Wyoming …negative psychology is a fact of life. Some of the wolfhaters will see this ruling as cause for vendetta , regrettably, having sworn allegiance to some unwritten law that in their mind supercedes the ESA and the legal system.

    Now it comes down to enforcement…

    • Daniel Berg says:

      Wolf haters will only hurt their own cause at this point by going out and killing wolves. They still have outs in the judicial system if Wyoming hops on board. As tough as this decison will be for them, the rage will be somewhat blunted by its limited nature.

    • Brian Ertz says:

      regarding wildlife services ~ this ruling makes the 10(j) litigation ripe for review once more.

      advocates (at least one that i know of 😉 ~ will be pushing for the 10(j) litigation to be re-ignited ASAP …

      ~ be

    • JimT says:

      Brian, I also think it is a great time to ramp up political pressures on Interior and the appropriate overslight committees to have hearings on WS and to document the abuses, and put the magnifying glass on their actions from here out. Salazar survived the MMS crap…I don’t think he has much more political capital to burn.

      Salazar can’t say he wasn’t warned about this. He was told by his own lawyers and the environmental community about the dangers of validating the de listing rule when he came to office. He just refused to listen, blew off the environmental folks, and went his own way, probably to placate his livestock supporters.

  10. RLMiller says:

    The opinion is a narrow ruling addressing solely the difference between political boundaries (state lines) and distinct populations; the F&WS needs to consider the second, not the 1st, says the judge. I fully expect appeals to follow. FWIW, I put up a short DailyKos diary

  11. Marc Cooke says:

    Jerry, what the heck is opti-rectitis?

    • jon says:

      Optirectitis–a condition where the optic nerves and the rectal nerves intertwine, becoming infected, causing you to have a “shitty” outlook on everything.

    • JimT says:


  12. JimT says:

    Not sure…appeals may be the politically satisfying to do for the anti wolf crowd, but they might get quicker results working with Interior and the pro wolf folks to get a strategy that passes legal and biological muster. And the opinion is written really well. With such a narrow ruling, and not addressing other issues, it makes it harder for overturning.

  13. JerryBlack says:

    Marc…’s a situation where your optic nerve gets mixed up with your rectal nerve and gives someone a crappy outlook on life.

  14. WM says:

    Some of us predicted a narrow ruling on the technical merits of the Service’s use of the DPS under the law, and the partial delisting which left protections in WY.

    This was, in fact, the easiest and smartest way for the judge (a thoughtful guy in my view) to make his ruling, leaving the biology of connectivity and numbers/distribution of wolves for another day. I think FWS and the States probably figured out early on this was likely how this would shake out – for now.

    Where will the next legal skirmish take this? Will the FWS/states want to even waste time for an appeal to the 9th Circuit (also the most liberal and overturned appellate court in the federal system)?

    Is there room for FWS to go back to the drawing board and plead on bended knee to WY to play ball with a more forthright management plan and seek to delist the entire NRM immediately? Does the opinion give clues that this won’t work on more legal/technical issues as well as the science stuff, when the case comes back to Judge Molloy, as it surely will?

    This is just another round in the continuing saga.

    And now, WS goes back to work for FWS instead of the individual state wildlife agencies.

    • Brian Ertz says:

      WS will still work for the state wildlife agencies under the new 10(j) rule, which gives states more direct control as is.

      hopefully, that will change as the 10(j) litigation is now ripe once again…

    • WM says:


      Thanks, I had forgotten the 10(j) angle with the relisting.

      Now that the 10(j) is back on the radar as of today’s Molloy ruling, it will, of necessity, become ID’s method of dealing with wolves that impact ungulate populations. And, this makes the WS Environmental Assessment document released earlier this week all the more relevant.

      Pondering the issue, will WS then be commissioned to “remove” the same number of wolves as the contemplated hunter harvest in certain game management units of concern where it is alleged ungulates are being severely impacted by wolves?

    • Brian Ertz says:

      Also, don’t forget the Idaho WS litigation we’ve got under judge Winmill’s consideration right now.

      We’re arguing WS has been operating in Idaho w/o sufficient NEPA coverage and their wolf killing operations should be shut down in the state.

    • JimT says:

      Brian, can you remind me…or us..what the key issues are being alleged in the current 10J lawsuit, who is bringing it, etc…You can get my private email through Ralph if that is easier…

  15. Marc Cooke says:

    Oh, Thanks guys now I see the connection!

  16. Robert Hoskins says:

    Have just read the ruling. I agree with Ralph and Jim T’s assessments.

    However, it would be the height of folly to think or expect that Wyoming will change its dual status law as a result of this ruling. Wyoming actually benefits politically from continuing to boil the wolf issue created by the dual status law, which everyone agrees violates federal law. Willfully so. That’s the point. It’s a states right thing, and Wyoming is determined to push the point to its extreme conclusion. PLus, we’ll be getting a Republican for governor this coming election, who will be even further to the right than Republicrat Dave Freudenthal. Meanwhile, the feds are still holding the bill for wolf (mis)management in Wyoming. Everyone who matters is happy.

    Let’s not forget too, Wyoming still has a case pending in a 10th Circuit Court, the Fed. District Court in Cheyenne, on pretty much the same DPS issue as that before Judge Molloy,except from the perspective of Wyoming and the so-called (Anti) Wolf Coalition. I doubt Judge Johnson in Cheyenne will rule differently from Judge Molloy in Missoula, but one never knows.

    Judge Molloy’s discussion of and finding about current vs. historical range of course, if it stands, also raises important questions about the recovery of other species such as the grizzly bear, which Judge Molloy has returned to the ESA list, and perhaps the bison, which as yet is not on the list.

    I also agree with Save Bears that we will see an upsurge in poaching attempts and perhaps other violent civil disobedience from the Toby Bridges and Scott Rockholms of the world. Whether these attempts are successful is another question, at least in the short term. Wolves are notoriously hard to hunt, but hunting them is easier in the winter. The real threat is once again, as Ralph repeats, Wildlife Services. We should never forget that.


    • jon says:

      I also imagine we will see attempts of trying to kill wolves with poison or xylitol which is what Toby Bridges was recommending to kill wolves with on his website.

    • Save bears says:

      I seriously doubt we will see an upswing in poison situations, at least not in the short term, there has been to much publicity over that particular situation, but unfortunately, I think there are a lot of people that in the upcoming hunting seasons, slated to start in about 3 weeks, that won’t quite hesitate as much to “take that shot” while they are hunting other species..

      And based on what I am hearing, I don’t expect, Wyoming to back down, they want to take it to the supreme court, what most people don’t realize, this is not a wildlife issue, this is a political issue, and many states are taking a stand against federal government control, we have seen it in many states, think about immigration, guns, health care(Missouri just voted on that one, and the people sided with the state, etc.) By time this is all said and done, the US could look like a very different place..

    • jon says:

      sb, federal trumps state. Wyoming is fighting a losing battle. They should just stop wasting time and get with the program and and accept a more reasonable wolf management plan that classifies wolves as trophy animals rather than predators. The sooner they get with the program, the sooner wolves will be delisted over there.

    • Although Molloy will be praised and hated and called an “activiist judge,” his decision was narrowly drawn. I wish the Supreme Court of today would follow his type of decision-making rather than going out of their way to do things like turn corporations into people.

    • Elk275 says:

      Save Bears

      ++By time this is all said and done, the US could look like a very different place..++

      So true, but so sad. I am afraid the US is on it’s decline and will go the way of the British Empire, still a world power, but it’s world status devalued.

    • Save bears says:


      Federal only trumps states as long as the state allow it to happen, and more and more states are fighting that belief..I think the supreme court is going to be very overwhelmed over the next 50 years, you have to realize, many states are a lot bigger than most countries in the rest of the world.

      It will indeed be very interesting to see how this all pans out over the next 50 years..

    • jon says:

      sb, I don’t know of many instances where states have gone up against the feds and won on wildlife issues. Maybe you do. I don’t see Wyoming winning against the feds, but never say never!

    • Save bears says:


      As I said, in my opinion, I don’t think this is a wildlife issue, as I don’t think the bison is a wildlife issue, it is far deeper than that, now if I could ever wish I was wrong and want to be proven wrong, it is on this issue..

    • Robert Hoskins says:


      SB took the words out of my mouth. It doesn’t matter that federal law trumps state law. It is precisely that fact that the State of Wyoming is challenging with the wolf issue. It’s the same with all the other ongoing states rights, 10th amendment challenges to federal control, whether immigration or health care.

      There is a concerted effort on the Right to “repatriate the Constitution,” which means taking America back to the days of unregulated corporate rape and pillage that led both to the 1929 Stock Market Crash and FDR’s New Deal. Repatriating the Constitution is a policy of the Federalist Society, for example, of which Supreme Court justices John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, and Samuel Alito are members. I find that really, really scary. So should you.

      It bothers me that conservationists are so ignorant of the larger political contexts in which conservation takes place.


    • JimT says:

      Real Civil Disobedience is non violent…what these folks like Toby Bridges are allegedly planning to do is deliberately breaking Federal law. Period. Nothing noble about it.

      I don’t see the 10th Amendment argument winning here..The Sagebrush folks tried it in the bear case, and lost and lost big. It is a settled issue in this context, but no one says they can’t try and make use of their access to the courthouse. I don’t see Judge Malloy staying his vacating of the rule while the lawsuits play out.

      The wildcard here is Salazar and FWS. Will he take this personally, and try to act in his capacity as a SOI to circumvent the order? Will saner heads finally prevail at FWS and give up this crazy DPS notion they have taken?

    • Robert Hoskins says:

      Jim T

      Real civil disobedience is simply civil disobedience. Non-violent CD is merely a tactic. So is violent CD. Don’t get wrapped up in the ideology of non-violent CD. I grew up in the South during the civil rights era. The civil rights activitists were non-violent tactically, but through their non-violence they knowingly incited segregationists to violence. That’s a strategic move, and it was well-done and brilliant. It was the violence of the segregationists displayed on Walter Cronkeit every night that won the civil rights battles and campaigns. Tactical non-violence on their part, strategic violence on the segregationists’ part.

      I spent most of my military career as a special forces officer studying rebellion and revolution, both creating and countering it. Believe me, propaganda is a tactic, but if you start believing your own propaganda you’re in trouble. What’s real is what works.

      As a lawyer I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “the constitution is what five justices on the Supreme Court say it is.” If the Federalist Society inspired members of the Supreme Court ever reach the number of five, then 10th amendment remedies (to paraphrase Sharon Angle from Nevada regarding 2nd Amendment remedies) might become a reality. Which is why we as progressives can’t let that happen.


  17. pointswest says:

    This is great news for DW and the legal profession in general. It is great news for the pro-wolfers who want to draw attention to themselves. It is great news for a few writers and people in government who make their living from the wolf controversy. It is, however, probably bad news for wolves.

    It is only going to frustrate and anger farmers, ranchers, and country dwellers who are already cynical about their government’s ability to manage wolves. It is only going to confuse the general public about the meaning of “endangered species” and the sincerity and validity of the ESA.

    There are winners and there are losers in this world.

  18. Save bears says:


    I agree, it is sad, but it has been a push pull situation, an I really don’t know what the outcome will be, I know the time I spent in the military, this conversation came up many times within the men and women serving and most of the time, the people with the guns, said, they would not take arms up against their neighbors, so if the Fed’s think they can depend on the military, I think they have a big surprise coming..

  19. Ed Bangs just sent this email out:

    “Subject: MT court just ordered delisting rule vacated.

    Wolves throughout NRM are now protected by ESA just as they were before delisting was finalized May 4, 2009.

    Please be sure to treat all wolves- as is appropriate per their location- as either endangered or experimental.

    Please coordinate all activites that may involve take with USFWS. … ”

    To: undisclosed-recipients: ;

  20. jon says:

    It is a shame that the court system is the only way to get something done. You have 2 sides with 2 totally different views, one wants to protect wolves and the other wants to kill them, where do we go from here? Any hunters who turn wolf poacher, all they are doing is giving more ammunition to those who want wolves to stay on the esl and proving they are not the conservationists they like to fancy themselves as. They should be blaming Wyoming, not Molloy for this ruling. Some are already calling from his removal, Molloy that is. I am sure Molloy ruled in the wolf haters favor, they would be claiming how great of a judge he is.

    • pointswest says:

      ++You have 2 sides with 2 totally different views, one wants to protect wolves and the other wants to kill them,++

      It is not like that. That is the way it is inside of your head only. You know…the bombs, the guns, the wars.

    • jon says:

      Uhm no, it is actually like that. Wake up and face the reality of the situation.

    • Simplifying of course, I think one side wants to protect elk and kill wolves to protect them.

      The other side wants to protect and improve the quality of elk by promoting wolf recovery.

    • pointswest says:

      Just a few days ago, someone here was reporting the national poles were running about 70% in favor of wolf recovery.

      If the question had been: should wolves be extinct, probably 98% would say no.

      If the question was, should there be wolves in your neighborhood, 85% would probably say no.

      I think nearly everyone cares about wolves, they just do not want them interfering in thier lives.

      I do not believe you can divide the world up between pro and anti-wolf. Nearly all people want the wolf, they just do not want wolf troubles.

    • Elk275 says:

      ++Simplifying of course, I think one side wants to protect elk and kill wolves to protect them.

      The other side wants to protect and improve the quality of elk by promoting wolf recovery.++

      I think one side wants to protect the quantity of elk; creating the largest possible surplus in the fall and allowing hunters to “kill, shoot, harvest” the largest numbers of elk possible. This may be elk pig farming but that is the way it is.

      The other side wants to develop a balance between prey and predator which will reduce hunting opportunity by reducing elk numbers. It is to be seen if the quality of elk improve, dead is dead, a small bull killed by wolves will never grow to a 6 point if killed by wolves or hunters. The state can institute a 5 or 6 point rule if needed.

      The pro wolf people are piss at the control that the state fish and game/wildlife departments have and the lack of say they have. Therefore, wolves have become political. The ESA allows the federal government control of one part of wildlife management, which they can now have a say.

      State wildlife agencies preceded the federal agencies that now administer federal lands. When no one cared it was the rod and gun clubs and sportsman groups that restored our ungulates and protected our fish and wildlife and enacted laws protecting wildlife. It was the federal government that built the dams on the rivers that nearly destroyed the native Idaho salmon runs. The sportsman/woman in Montana kept Senator Conrad Burns in check from his anti environmental policies. I am afraid that the wolf situation will delay or cancel any good wilderness bills or land protection legislation needed in the tri state region.

      I do not think that the pro wolf people know anything about the quality of elk, it is to boring; there interest is tooth, fangs, claws and control.

    • Cobra says:

      And if he would of ruled in favor of wolf haters you would of said how bad of judge he was. Kind of works both ways doesn’t it.
      There are also more than 2 sides, there’s also the middle and I don’t feel that’s how he ruled. At least with a hunting season some felt as though they had a say in the numbers of wolves. Now with no season we get to pay w.s. to do the dirty work. At least with a season there was some income from tags. I’m with S.B on this one, I think things could get real messy and there are so many up here that were on the fence before this ruling that have now jumped off.

    • JimT says:

      Elk 275, with regards to the dam building issues, yes the Feds built them but at the behest of the affected states who stood to benefit from them 100%. Start with Cadillac Desert by Marc Reisner for a very good and very entertaining history of water development in the West and who the real players were, and how screwed up the decisions eventually turned out to be from a wildlife and ecosystem management perspective.

      As for wolf folks not understanding elk issues, I think that is in error. Most of the rhetoric that has been thrown around about wolves causing the elk to disappear–by the anti wolf crowd–has been shown to be largely in error (LOLO, for example), or grossly oversimplified. Unfortunately for all of the wildlife we all care about, climate change will have HUGE impacts on the ecosystem for decades to come, and I don’t see those changes being positive.

      Yes, folks like me are pissed at the fish and game agencies, but they are the minions of the powerful lobbyists for the big outfitters and the ranching industry, and have been too damn willing to ignore the applicable laws and regulations for decades to favor these interests above all else. Defang those two folks, make them abide by the laws and regs, give a seat at the decision making table to wildlilfe and ecosystem advocates, and there will be improvements, and hopefully, peace at some point.

    • JimT says:


      No, not bad judge because of his body of work so far. Bad decision…yeah, I could see the pro wolf side saying that if the decision went the other way. Generally speaking, it is not the Green crowd who does the personal harm threatening in these kinds of contentious environmental issues. Read the recent blog remarks from the anti wolf side. If I was Malloy, I would consider US Marshall protection for a bit.

  21. REChizmar says:

    This legal Opinion reminds that there exist independent, smart Judges out there who will follow the law and/or who will reasonably interpret the law and its precedents regardless of local political pressures or money. This is a big victory for legal commonsense and it reinforces that hypocritical decisionmaking will not be tolerated under the ESA. In reading Malloy’s Opinion, this wasn’t even a close call (kudos to the Plaintiffs attorneys who guided the Judge through the obvious legal holes in the Defendants’ arguments) — the Defendants received a legal beating unlike I have seen in a court Opinion in quite some time. And congratulations to Mr. & Mrs. Wolf, you got a good, fair shake for a change.

  22. Save bears says:

    I have a class to teach this weekend in Montana, so we arrived this afternoon and my wife and I went to dinner at the local pub, which was a very enlightening experience, the whole topic of conversation was…

    “We need to go out this weekend, you know, hunting season starts in about a month, so there will be few Rangers in the woods right now, what time do you want to meet on Saturday? Do you want to take the trailer, and hit it again on Sunday?” and most of all…”We will show them damn wolf people”

    Draw your own conclusions, but my feelings about the future at this time is not very good…

    • Save bears says:

      And I am darn glad to be back on a computer, it is harder than you think to post stuff from a cell phone! LOL

    • Elk275 says:

      If the class you teach is in Bozeman, dinner is on me.

    • JimT says:

      These folks are just dangerous in a lot of ways. If suddenly there are lots of poached wolf carcasses ( I am not sure the hubris of the lobowolf crowd will allow them to shovel..I think they will want people to know), I just hope there isn’t a return of Earth First folks who decide to defend the wolves in the same fashion. But, let’s remember here WHO is doing the posturing and possible illegal killing first.

  23. JB says:

    I couldn’t hold off until the weekend. Although I only had time to give it a quick read, this seems an extremely thoughtful and well-reasoned decision. I’ll hold off further judgment until I have some time to pour through it.

    SB: It will be truly unfortunate if what you predict–what you have been predicting–comes to pass. They only thing the local elk lovers will show the wolf lovers (and more importantly, the courts) is that the wolf lovers were right–the species is indeed in danger of extinction. Their efforts may kill some wolves, but they will likely also further postpone delisting.

    Elk: There are so many ways of framing the wolf issue (e.g. locals vs. outsiders, states rights vs. big government, hunters vs. non-hunters, the old West vs. the new West, etc.). I don’t think any of these frames really accurately depict what is happening. The issue is more complex than most care to admit. One thing is sure, the recovery and management of wolves in the West is a real conundrum for the NA model of wildlife conservation.

    • Save bears says:


      I really don’t think it will matter to the extremists if it delays de-listing, now that is just my feeling, but at this point in time, those who want them gone, are going to take the matter in their own hands…

      Even Toby Bridges was on TV tonight saying he don’t care what the Judge ruled, he is going to kill wolves…it has come to a head, and I have very little faith, that it will be worked out anytime soon, and honestly, what is to stop someone from taking that pot shot, they hesitated to do before? We don’t have enough LE in the field to even make a dent in the poaching problem, let alone skilled poachers with one animal in their sights…

      It is not going to be a good fall and I think wildlife management is going to go out the window for a while, which I really hate to see, we have worked so damn hard to get to the point we are now, and this could turn back the clock a hundred years!

    • Jay says:


      I am sure your right, but also, as much as I do, I know for a fact, I only talk to a small part of the population..

      Jon, you put far to much faith in what is printed on the internet..

      Sound familiar?

    • Save bears says:

      Jay, I believe very little of what I read on the internet, I always look for information to confirm it, now you may not like my opinion, but you must face the fact, that there are people out there, a lot of them that disagree with your position..

  24. SEAK Mossback says:

    This too shall pass. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, focus and imagine . . . . . patience of the Minnesotans. 3,000 wolves and still waiting for the process to work.

    • Save bears says:


      Based on what I a reading, they are becoming impatient as well and every year, there is more and more incidents happening..

    • SEAK Mossback says:

      I think you are right to some extent. They just don’t wear it on their sleeve like westerners do, and thereby save most of the public anguish.

    • Save bears says:


      Public or private, which is the best way to go? I don’t know the answer, but I would sure prefer them to vent in the news and blogs than to take it into their own hands and start a blood bath, but I do fear, the anti’s will be far less vocal in the future and far more proactive, as I have said in the past, I am not afraid of those running their mouths, I am afraid of those who don’t run their mouths..

    • SEAK Mossback says:

      Gosh, I don’t know. I know a few folks who live and hunt in Montana who weren’t fans of wolf introduction but I don’t believe any would shoot a wolf illegally, let alone put out poison – regardless of the decision. I’m not really tapped in very well to the angry crowd but I believe that it exists from what I’m reading. I think the hunting season was a bit of an outlet from the thinking that the feds and easterners had complete control and some will no doubt react to the ruling. The anger is not healthy or productive, and less so illegal activity, but I think the wolf population will hold up well enough in either case, that recovery is not in doubt – unlike in the southwest.

    • Daniel Berg says:

      The question I hear often is, “What will be the tipping point for ranchers and hunters?”. I’ve heard this question before regarding other issues. Within conservative circles, the same question has been floated during conversations about things like universal health care, amnesty, taxes, etc. It comes up in liberal circles over issues like corporate power, Wall Street, insurance companies, etc.

      What will be the tipping point? So far, the loudest voices on those other issues were wrong in their predictions of strong backlash. People have much to risk by participating in illegal or rebellious activites to make a statement. In my experience, most people don’t go past verbal support of OTHERS who might pick up that mantle.

      Let’s just say that in the face of this rule, dozens or hundreds of wolves were illegally poisened or shot. That would elevate this issue far beyond wolves (it already has for some people). It would be a direct challenge to the federal government and would not go unnoticed at the higher levels of that governing body.

    • Layton says:

      ” patience of the Minnesotans. 3,000 wolves and still waiting for the process to work.”

      This, and another posting somewhere up above that said the folks back East handle the wolf thing better lead me to a short story.

      I was in the woods with my spray truck about a month ago. I came around a corner on a remote road and met two couples out for a walk. One couple was local, from Idaho, and the other was from Minnesota. They started the conversation asking about some thistle that they wanted to identify — then the conversation turned to woves.

      No, I didn’t bring up the subject, the gentleman from Minnesota did. He had seen some wolf tracks in the road.

      His comment — “you guys out here need to borrow a page from my home state. You should practise the third S in the SSS management philosophy and quit yelling about it. That would make life easier for you”.

      In the following conversation he told me that SSS is alive and well in his home state but it isn’t talked about much. I guess what I’m saying here is that Westerners right now are still talking about it, watch out when they get quiet.

    • WM says:


      I had a conversation with the MN wolf coordinator months back, when I was researching the population estimation techniques used by the various states – MN’s estimate of its population is kind of crude and done only every five years.

      My question had to do with the very pronounced line that demarcates the southern boundary of the large wolf population to NE MN (Zone – A, Recovery which has virtually all the wolves, Zone – B, Agriculture, very few). It is mostly coincident with an obvious change in vegatation from forest to cropland, and a major interstate highway.

      I asked why wolves were not being observed south of this line in agricultrual country over time, because they would no doubt make some effort continue to expand territory if given the opportunity. After a long pause, he said, “Well, they mostly just don’t cross the line.” I interpreted that response as political bureaucratspeak for what is going on.

      By the way, since most of their wolves, regardless of where they are located, are not collared. Consequently, there are no embarrassing explanations that have to be made to the feds regarding collars that mysteriously stop sending signals or are stationary until they run out of power or somebody runs out to pick them up.

      Recall that all three states (MN, WI, MI) have petitions before FWS for delisting following the HSUS lawsuit on the Great Lakes DPS that put them back on the ESA list about three years ago. From what I hear from my sources, they are growing impatient.

    • Harley says:

      Ok… sorry, what does sss stand for please?

    • Save bears says:

      Shoot, Shovel and Shut Up

    • Robert Hoskins says:

      It’s the civilian equivalent of the CIA’s “admit nothing, deny everything, blame someone else.”

    • Save bears says:

      Boy Robert, you hit the nail on the head…been there, done that, and have no desire to repeat it!


    • WM and all,

      It seems to me like the estimate of the number of Minnesota wolves has been constant at 3000 for maybe a decade now.

      Am I correct in my perception?

    • jon says:

      Hunters are already vowing to wipe out the wolf population. You should see some of the things these sickos are saying.

      Chuck Feney said on: August 6, 2010, 1:16 pm
      It’s time to take some action.
      Molloy has rejected controlled scientific game management, so let’s show these punks the alternative.
      SSS, but better yet, gut shoot the whole pack. A wound is as good as a kill. Never inspect the shot, just keep shooting and keep moving.
      Sweeten all gut piles and carcasses with Xylitol – the artificial sweetener that is lethal to canines specifically.
      About 10 grams per 100 lb of wolf.

      Scatter parvo / distemper feces from infected dogs near den sights.

      Dogs that howl and whine (husky types) can be staked out and are sure fire bait – irresistible to wolves.

      Learn to use Gregerson snares – cheap to make and deadly for coyotes.

      Of course, follow all Just laws. BUT
      Don’t ever talk to cops or any type of game warden or enviros. Ever. Remember, angry wives and girlfriends always talk. Always.

      Don’t Talk to Cops, Part 1

      Always request a jury trial. No jury in Montana will convict for a wolf kill.

      Remember, a juror has the right and the obligation to judge both the facts and the law of the case!

      It’s a sad day that we’ve come to, but our grandfathers had to eliminate these wolves, and now it’s our turn.

      Shoot straight and keep shooting.

    • WM says:


      Actually this last MN estimate in 2008 was a little below the 3,000 number, down to 2,922. That doesn’t mean they lost that many for the following reasons . Their estimate, once every five years, involves a number of factors, and has a couple inherent fudge factors in it. They rely heavily on a survey sent out to natural resource managers, overflights in winter, a few research wolves that Dr. Mech has collared, and some other factors. Without going into all of their hocus-pocus, one of the things they did this last round was to reduce estimated pack size, and plug that into their computer model, which may explain some of the estimated decrease. They also do not do a good job of accounting for migration out of the state.

      There is in and out migration from Canada, and WI (whose only wolf source is MN, and they subequently migrate in and out to the Upper MI Peninsula). So, is there really a loss if MN loses a few when WI and MI gain?

      Throw in a few (?) 3S shootings in all three states from disgruntled deer hunters, pissed off farmers in Zone B , and the bottom line is the Great Lakes wolf DPS population is stable and growing to a minimum total of something like 4,300-4,600.

  25. TC says:

    Look at the Republican candidates for Governor in Wyoming – Meyer, Mead, Simpson, and Micheli. One of these folks (at this point, probably Meyer or Mead) is going to be the next Governor. All four of them are running on platforms that include explicit language to the effect of – I will stand up to/fight/sue/block/disregard the “federal government”. I mean hell, this language is in their television and print ads and on their websites – featured above any tangible or practical goals or objectives relevant to or beneficial to the state of Wyoming. This ruling plays right into that fear-based campaigning, and will almost certainly play directly into an easy (and dishearteningly popular) power play by our next governor to “fight the feds on wolves” until the cows come home. You can hope that pressure from MT and ID or the feds or little green men from Mars will have some impact and allow cool and reasonable heads to prevail here in Wyoming, eventually leading to a viable wolf management plan, but it’s not going to happen. Not in our Governor’s mansion, not in the state house or senate, not in county commissions, not among “sportsmen”, and thus, not in the WGFD. My fear is you’ve now won a Pyrrhic victory, and there are power brokers here in WY that will seize this as a golden opportunity to say – see? We didn’t buckle like MT and ID, and we were RIGHT! And the real fear is this leads to irrevocable polarization of too many Wyoming citizens, and we lose this current generation to any hope of learning to live

    On the flip side, this may be an actual victory outside of WY – I don’t keep up enough with events elsewhere to know for sure.

    • Save bears says:

      Very well put TC

    • Daniel Berg says:

      TC – You have a good point. On the other hand, WY has fewer residents than reside within the Seattle city limits alone. The federal government has little to fear from drawing the ire of Wyoming unless the politicians in that state can succesfully extrapolite their fight to enough other households outside of the state. This ruling is has inspired critics of their stubborn policy as much as it has their supporters, at least this early in the game. If they are trying to push it to the supreme court, as I have heard mentioned on this blog, they are isolating themselves quite a bit in that pursuit.

    • WM says:


      In DC this little issue will take on a bit of a different form. The beltway is aware of the ruling as there was a fairly lengthy article in the Washington Post last night. The issue will come up, maybe months down the road, when the WY, or other Western or Upper Midwest state (MN, MI and WI want their wolves delisted now, and are becoming impatient, too) Congressional delegation is asked to weigh in with votes or support on a totally different matter. There may be some arm twisting, with things like, ” if you support me on this wolf thing, I’ll vote for your pork barrel bridge, senior center…”

      The question is whether the wolf issue has enough traction, now or ever, and momentum at the federal level to result in things like changes to the ESA. I think conventional wisdom would suggest it does not. WY will parlay its reluctance to play with a decent wolf plan into something else, we may not even be aware of what it is, here.

      National politics, sometimes, is played on an entirely different field than what we are used to discussing on this forum.

    • WM,

      You might be correct. However, we don’t know how much these Idaho-Wyoming-Montana senators really care about this.

      They cynicism of many of today’s politicians is amazing. I have long thought many in Wyoming’s political elite want to keep this issue going simply so they can have the federal government around to bash in a harmless way while they continue to collect their federal projects and subsidies.

    • STG says:

      Thought about moving to Wyoming. Love the Winds and other great mountains in the state. However, it is just too retro on so many issues. In any case, I am a happy, wolf-loving, tree-hugging liberal who has lived in Montana for 32 years.

  26. TC says:

    Oops. Learning to live with wolves…

  27. bob jackson says:

    From a law enforcement standpoint, wolf, bear and elk poaching CAN be controlled….if you have the people in those positions …. who put enforcement higher than being buddies with the “hunters” these law dogs too many times bond with. It was way too much coffee shop association that I saw.

    Basically, I talk about most game wardens I came in contact with over the years in Thorofare. Yes, I may have seen the worst of it, the warden who grew up with “Hunt, fish, trap… become a govt. hunter” and finally gets to live that Walter Mitty world with his govt. issued horse and mule…and ride into the outfitter camps ….. and ties his horse up to dismount, to step around the shit covered ground called a hitching rack…… for that warm cook tent and piece of pie ….. and a discussion of the scores of the elk racks in camp at that time.

    Yes, this is the problem of wildlife enforcement. They fall into the easy life of association and then can not disassociate themselves when these same “hunters” relay general info of wolf doomsday.

    I say this because when anyone starts saying that SSS crap, the warden either needs to change the subject…or better yet start defending the law to that person…and that includes wolves. But how can they when they have talked sizes of elk and colors of horses all their “professional” lives.

    I say to these wardens, get some pride in what you do and foget the “hunt, fish trap” longings of your misapplied childhood.

    And as for USFWS, the wolf guys, I say go for it. Don’t cower in the govt. offices. Get out and address the public.
    To not do so, means to me, you have no conviction. You’re just a wimpodite!!!

    And to the non profits, I say, get that $50,000 turn in your drug store cowboy buddy incentive award going.

    And as for associating with the supposed supporters of wildlife who give you the tips, those that have that inside knowledge of hearing the SSS crowd… be wary…..I say again, don’t even associate or listen to the generalized warnings coming out of their mouths. If they were true supporters they would be fighting back at anyone they hear saying this stuff. Soon no one would be saying this while this person was around. Thus, there would not be this “inside” info.

    To me anyone who is in a position to keep hearing and relaying this stuff of SSS is not law enforcements friend.

    Yes SSS happens and I will be the first to say it happens a lot with any predator….and it will happen more now for awhile ….. but anyone who cares in law enforcement or USFWS doesn’t want to hear this supposed “beyound your ability to do anything about” crap. That is because they will be focused to doing something about it.

    Maybe they don’t have time to do more in the field, maybe they are already spread too thin, but anytime anyone talks and wants to chummy up …. to confide…. it is time for them to tell that person flat out, “It is against the law and anytime I can do anything about it I will”. Then move on…away from the dooms day pals who ride the fence of both sides.

    Why am I feeling so strong about this? Because some of my lazy supervisors or fellow back country rangers who minimized poaching effects or the chances of catching these dudes, made me fight back even more. It made me want to get on my horse and go after these poachers even harder. And yes, partly to embarrass these supervisors when radioed them (yes, called them on Park wide air channel…not the local) asking for NCIC’s and other bad guy info. And I didn’t stop there. I’d ask them to get back to me with a states G&F records on this or that poachers stats. Then I directed these slackers, these supervisors of mine, to organize a boat to come to the SE arm of the lake to pick…or call fire cache for a helicopter…. to pick up the evidence.

    In the outfitter camps it was the same doomsday telling of all that illed the back country…how the other camps were poaching. Which camp was grazing horses in the Park. I didn’t care to hear it from any of them because I knew they ALL were.

    One time I rode into one of the camps , something I always had to do to tell hunters about the LINE, went into the cook tent of that biggest, oldest and most historic outfitter camp…..where all were gathered in that double length cook tent, wearing my usual torn Outback waist length coat, packer boots, overshoes and fall time chaps…stuff one has to wear in cold weather….and took off my gloves…to let them hang at my side with a string attached to each glove…just like grade school kids. This is what I thought of their role playing life and I let them know by those string held gloves I wouldn’t be a part of it. Stayed five minutes, gave the usual instructions and no one said a word. Got on my horse and rode away.

    With Judge Molloy’s ruling it is time to back his call.

  28. pointwest says:

    I think we’re getting a little paranoid about the redneck backlash on the wolves. For one thing, rednecks, especially those in Idaho and Montana, are not well organized. I’m sure a few of the boys talking at the bar or at the coffee shop might get themselves whooped up enough to go try and kill a wolf or two but that will be about it.

    What was it last year? …12,000 tags in Idaho and 7,000 tags in Montana. With all those people hunting, they killed a couple of hundred wolves. One in 600 got a wolf or something like that. I wouldn’t worry about the boys all fired up on Coors doing much damage. Even if they start poisoning, they won’t seriously damage the population. The wolves are too few and far in between and many are just way up in the hills and out of reach.

    I’d be more worried about the general political ramifications of this.

    • pointwest says:

      Or…I guess one in 60 got a wolf.

    • JB says:

      Thanks, Pointswest. You did a much better job of articulating the point I was trying to make (above). The poachers may indeed kill some wolves and their anger my get some politicians involved, but this will only demonstrate that wolves need continued protection.

    • WM says:


      Interesting find.

      Even the Texas Congressional delegation may weigh in. This yahoo Representative, a Democrat from the Ft. Worth/Waco/College Station 17th District, is sponsoring a bill to declare gray wolves as vermin and outside the purview of the ESA. Way radical and stupid, but may suggest this issue, indeed, has more traction.

  29. ginny says:

    I can’t help but wonder if the pure hatred and near decimation of the Mexican wolves might have been the turning point about the judge’s decision. I can’t imagine people who hate that much, but there are and probably they will hate wolves even more (if that is possible). I hope they will realize it could be prison and not just a tap on the hand if they massacre a wolf and are caught, and the number one hate -filled poacher should start with the Wildlife service. All their air equipment should be confiscated and if they still hate enough to shoot wolves, the only way they could do it is track the wolf down by foot. At least the wolf would have a chance.

  30. bob jackson says:


    I think most of the killing will continue the same as it had before the lifting of the endangered status……such as outfitters saying the wolves were threatening their stock…crap like that.

    There is no place “too far back” to escape the outfitters infrastructure. Thorofare was the farthest outback in America and the Yellowstone boundary outfitters there are bringing in 95-100 hunters per 7 week hunting season. These camps are placed about every 5 miles apart. Tell me how a wolf pack escapes this kind of pressure. Every den is pounded on by guides and clients during summer fishing trips. Every outfitter camp does meet ups with other camps on each outfitters invisible boundary during the hunting season. Whether a guide scores with a camp cook from another camp in “panty hose meadows” or sees a pack of wolves heading a certain direction, all this info goes through the whole valley and 5 camps by the next evening.

    There wasn’t a poacher I caught that wasn’t know about in these camps within two days….for all the East boundary east of the South entrance and north of the Se corner going north to Pahask Tepee.

    Guides in the lull of the day, the very next day, would ride up to the Thorofare cabin wanting to see the SIZE of the rack. It got so I would put their John Dillinger “trophy” in full view in the locked and window caged barn so they could peek in without me having to accomodate them when they’d ride up a second time …..because I was out on patrol the first time.

    Most responses? “That’s all the bigger it is? If I was going that far into the Park it would be much larger than this rack.”

    So you see Points, the thrill of the wolf penetrates deep into those woods. The Rangers, Wardens and the USFWS now have their jobs cut out for them. They actually have to keep the abuse and law breaking in check if they have any conviction for their job.

    Of course, for me it allows one to see their true colors….law enforcer, good (or scared) biologist or good ole boy?

    Since the USFWS wolf boys were the ones pushing for delisting on false justifications in the first place it will soon be seen what they do this time. I can only hope they go to their pasts just out of college convictions and roots.

    • pointwest says:

      Well…yes, if things get so bad that all the guides and outfitters start popping wolves, then those in the back country are at risk. But I doubt guides will. They stand to loose their license and livelihood if caught.

      I think your point is a good one. If things do escalate, the guides, who probably know where many of the dens are, could start poisoning wolves. I’m assuming that we’re not at this point. Also, what if they accidentally poison a grizzly or two? There would be an uproar and guides and outfitters may even be banned from areas. They are probably smart enough to know this.

      In general, it is never smart to mess with the Federal government and even crusty guides and outfitters know this. The Fed has all kinds of resources and powers that states to not have.

  31. WM says:

    Can anyone answer this question?

    Could FWS have delisted the entire NRM DPS, while maintaining itself as the management agency over wolves in WY (and putting in place state-wide management that wolves would have recieved in the GYE, ie. no Predator Zone)?

    Put another way, is there a provision of the ESA or other federal law that prevents FWS from assuming a management role for a delisted species, when a state refuses to “play by the rules”?

    • Robert Hoskins says:


      I think the situation with Wyoming is unprecedented legally. I know of no provision of the ESA or ESA case law that would allow the FWS to maintain the kind of absolute authority over a delisted species that you’re talking about.

      There is of course the “probation” period that’s written into the delisting rule to monitor the recovery of the delisted species to make sure there’s no need to relist the species. But that’s not the same as management authority.

      I’d also point out that with wolves (and grizzlies), all the official documents make it clear that the point of delisting is to return the species to state management.

      Finally, had such a provision of law existed, you’d think that Judge Molloy would have discussed it in his decision, which, as Jim T has noted, is quite tightly written and narrowly drawn.


    • WM says:


      You may be right, but I think the issue deserves some lawyer input, as well. I find this issue perplexing, but have not seen a credible explanation of how it all works.

      Here is the issue on delisting/listing: The delisted portion of the NRM DPS included all of ID, MT and the Eastern 1/3 of OR, WA and a very small portion of Northeastern UT. We all know wolves in all of WY remained listed and why.

      OR has an approved wolf management plan (and formally acknowledges it has a duty to manage delisted wolves east of the boundary and FWS has responsiblity elsewhere in the state); WA does not have an approved plan.

      So, who (until Molloy’s ruling yesteday) was the management entity for delisted wolves in Eastern WA and that tiny part of UT?

      I suspect no party raised the issue of FWS being the functional day to day manager of a delisted species, where a state would not/could not assume the role. They would not, simply because that was not in the rule being contested.

      Molloy would only have addressed an alternative management arrangement if the parties had brought it up, and he wanted to give clues to a way of fixing this political mess. He purposely was narrow in taking each legal issue in small incremental steps. A quick look at the ESA and plaintiffs’ contention that a DPS not be broken up along political lines was his convenient exit point – for now (It also minimizes his exposure of being overturned on an appeal – judges really don’t like to make mistakes, especially with a high visibility case like this).

      Maybe someone who really knows how this works will weigh in.

      **** More generally, are there instances where FWS is the “manager” of a delisted species? Does the ESA specifically deal with this and what are the citations to the statue and the regulations?

    • JB says:

      On a related topic, I think a better solution would be to keep wolves listed, but give the states more control (including tightly regulated hunting). Take a look at the ESA’s definition of conservation/conserving; if I recall correctly, it specifically mentions regulated hunting as permissible. Q: Couldn’t the FWS allow MT/ID to hunt wolves even while their are listed while punishing WY for not playing ball? This would seemingly put pressure on WY politicians to get with the game.

      Anyone have any further insight on this?

    • jdubya says:

      JB, certainly you could fish for Greenbacks while they were in the endangered recovery status. Don’t know if you could eat them, though.

    • Robert Hoskins says:

      WM and JB

      I personally question the legality of extending the Northern Rockies DPS to eastern Washington and Oregon and northeastern Utah in the middle of the recovery game, as it were. From the beginning in 1995, the recovery program has had nothing to do with those three states; they were not participants. Expanding the DPS was another political decision that has no biological or ecological justification; certainly, wolves haven’t shown any respect for those boundaries, nor should they. I do think WB’s right though: the question he raises deserves an answer from the courts. It does appear to be something that’s slid through the cracks.

      JB, as far as FWS retaining management authority but allowing hunting, that would in my opinion be legal albeit unwise. Certainly, hunting has less impact on wolves than WS control actions, which are legal under the 10j rule. That’s probably the main thing wrong with the 10j rule–allowing wolf control–and why the 10j rule is up to bat in the courts now that wolves have been relisted in MT and ID.

      I will say I think JB is misinterpreting Wyoming’s motives here. Almost everyone is. Wyoming could care less about any pressure from Montana or Idaho or any other political entity to “get in the game.” The whole purpose of the dual status law is for Wyoming to play its own game, the states rights game that bolsters the political oligarchy’s control of state affairs. I will note that some years ago Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer made some noise about Wyoming’s elk feedgrounds as the continuing source of brucellosis in the GYE–and this is in my view a more important issue than wolves–and Wyoming Governor Dave Freudenthal in no uncertain terms told Governor BS to pound sand. The two states are also in a fight over Powder River water and coal-bed methane. No love lost there.

      In short, Wyoming could care less what impact its decisions has on other states. That’s Wyoming for you.


    • pointwest says:

      Idaho and Wyoming also battle over water, particularly in the Snake River that flows from Wyoming into Idaho. Idaho claims water rights on Wyoming water. Sen Craig has even said that water in the Snake River around Jackson Lake and Teton Park “belongs to Idaho.” This turned most Wyomingites, including politicians, red in the face but he is right. Big legal battle to come.

      I would think there would be all sorts of jurisdictional problems with the Fed managing wolves. New Federal laws would need to be passed, a new Federal bureaucracy would need to be set up to administer and enforce these laws. Federal management might conflict with state management (the Fed just sued Arizona for interfering with Federal administration of immigration law.) It would be a legal and political quagmire. It would also cost a fortune in MY tax dollars. Keep your hands of my money!

  32. R.N.T. says:

    I think the the hysteria about mass violence and killings of wolves is a bit overhyped. The true shame here is that this drives a wedge even further between the two groups that could do the most together. While Wyoming is the one to truly blame for this, 99% of hunters will blame enviro groups and pro-wolf sorts, preventing any progress and real work getting done anytime soon.

    • RNT,

      Well, of course. The anti-wolf hysteria was started not by hunting groups, but by public land ranchers who want to use the issue to keep folks divided and to maintain their unholy and unproductive power over our public lands.

  33. Elk275 says:


    MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is calling for immediate Congressional review and reform of the Endangered Species Act following a judge’s decision yesterday to reinstate full federal protection for gray wolves.

    The Aug. 5 ruling means state wildlife agencies no longer have authority to manage skyrocketing wolf populations—even in areas where wolf predation is driving cow elk, moose and elk calf survival rates below thresholds needed to sustain herds for the future.

    RMEF says the judge has opened a door for perhaps the greatest wildlife management disaster in America since the wanton destruction of bison herds over a century ago.

    “When federal statutes and judges actually endorse the annihilation of big game herds, livestock, rural and sporting lifestyles—and possibly even compromise human safety—then clearly the Endangered Species Act as currently written has major flaws,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “We have already begun contacting the Congressional delegations of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming to ask for an immediate review of this travesty—and reform of the legislation that enabled it.”++

    Jim T said “give it a rest”, there is no rest. The wolf people won a battle, but will they win the war? My fear is that future land protection will suffer.

    • Robert Hoskins says:

      As usual, David Allen is full of crap. The RMEF’s own biologists don’t believe that “the judge has opened a door for perhaps the greatest wildlife management disaster in America since the wanton destruction of bison herds over a century ago.” Allen ought to be fired for willfully negligent stupidity.


    • Robert Hoskins,

      Allen probably isn’t stupid. He is just trying to consolidate what has essentially been a coup d’etat at RMEF. My guess is he will want to enlist the organization into a number of right wing causes.

    • Robert Hoskins says:


      I’ve met the guy and he doesn’t strike me as the brightest bulb on the block. He’s also a yes man to a T.


    • WM says:

      David Allen is a shill for NASCAR. That is where he came from, and he has not changed his stripes. Under Allen’s leadership (cough, cough) RMEF has been forging alliances with redneck car racing.

      What exactly does elk conservation have in common with loud, polluting, anti-environmental car racing? I floated an idea and a story outline, on that exact subject, after talking to their editorial staff, and got pee’d on. They thought it was too controversial. That was over two years ago.

      I read Allen’s column in the July-August issue of Bugle last night – a tribute to his former employer, the late Dale Earnhardt. It was enough to make me puke.

      Allen is mental midget.

    • Robert Hoskins says:

      Gee, WM, we agree on something? I’d say that calls for an exchange of some Wild Turkey, but only if you’re a bourbon man, of course.


    • pointwest says:

      ++What exactly does elk conservation have in common with loud, polluting, anti-environmental car racing?++

      Both car racing and elk hunting are predomanently working class men’s sports…maybe. It is just a guess. I don’t really know though because I always did what my mommy said.

      Thank god that all the MENTAL GIANTS are on the pro-wolf side.

    • WM says:


      I expect there are alot more things on which we agree. We just rarely discuss them on this forum. Maybe we will get a chance sometime for that bourbon.

      And speaking of challenged souls, ya gotta wonder how Rocko, is doing with the recent news? I expect, even as we write this, he is loading up his bike bags with extra pass thru metal jacket cartridges, special recipe meatballs and an extra battery pack for videocorder.

      Maybe he’ll get an FBI agent shadow now that wolves are back on the list.

    • jon says:

      Don’t know about rocko, but Toby doesn’t seem too happy.

    • pointwest says:

      David Allen is a marketing person. From RMEF’s web site: “Allen began his career as Media Director for the Pro Rodeo Cowboys Association and served as Director of Special Events for Wrangler Jeans. He went on to create his own sports marketing agency where he directed marketing and sponsorships for the Dale Earnhardt/Richard Childress race teams and other NASCAR teams until Dale’s death in 2001 at the Daytona 500. Allen has spent 33 years marketing pro rodeo, the Pro Bull Riders Tour and NASCAR, and served on the board of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation.”

      As an engineer, I am always very frustrated when I have to take direction from a marketer, but marketing is an important art form and marketers are among the most successful and highly paid people in the world. They have social skills and abilities with people that I don’t have and skilled marketers make organizations, companies, and corporations successful. I believe most CEO’s come from the marketing department. It is very childish and ignorant and arrogant to call someone like David Allen a mental midget.

    • jon says:

      “These sportsmen are not going to hesitate to shoot any wolf they see this fall, when they are hunting deer and elk,” says Bridges.
      But, wolf advocates believe, with emotions running high, hunters are not thinking about the environment.
      “You can’t have a hunt when people are this emotional about a species and making their decision based on emotion instead of reason or science,” says Tom Woodbury.

      Ralph knows Tom Woodbury I believe.

    • Robert Hoskins says:

      I think a number of us who’ve been around the block a few times have pointed out that you don’t really have to worry about the loudmouths and braggarts like Bridges and Rockholm. It’s the quiet, experienced woodsmen who are poaching on a regular basis that you have to worry about.

      The only thing I can say about marketers is that they’re professional liars. Maybe they’re smart, but they’re still liars.


    • Save bears says:

      Lets see….Hmmm

      Now how do I address this: “Elk hunting and NASCAR are working mans sports”!

      Ok, I graduated with a Masters Degree in Wildlife Biology from a very well respected college, and in 1979 I graduated from West Point with a Military Commission, which by the time I retired, I was an O-6 Full Bird Colonel and I would have made at least O-8 Major General, if I had not been wounded in the first Gulf War(They tried to retire me), but I did spend the rest of my time when needed..teaching urban combat tactics before I finally retired in 2006.. From 1993 to 2006, I was classified, inactive, subject to recall, training officer…

      Now don’t get me wrong, I worked my ass off, but I have to say, in the sense that the “Working Person” sports was posted, I don’t think it was a positive.

      And guess what, I love to elk hunt and I like to watch NASCAR when I can…


      By the way, I do know of at least one other Military Officer that posts on this blog!

    • WM says:

      Sorry, PW, but I won’t rise to your bait.

      I will say, however, that most CEO’s of large and middle size companies, don’t come from marketing departments. I’m not sure where you came up with that pearl of wisdom. They are predominantly business school types with hard analytical skills (accounting, systems ops., operations), lawyers and engineers, who have the ability to put on a good face to ANY audience. The people skills at this level is not something one can easily learn; it goes to basic personality and perceptions of trust (whether deserved or not is another matter).

      Marketing types have a tendency to sense/know what motivates people to buy what they are selling – a product and idea, an ideology, and the ability to convince others to execute a plan on how to get results. They are also typically liars. In the political world the best examples I can think of is Carl Rove. They also have intuition, kind of like having the athletic ability of a football running back to sense where a hole is in the line, or card gambler to read an opponent when you think they are bluffing.

      Fundraisers are typically a subset of talented marketing folks, and that is what Allen is. He is a glad-hander, with past connections RMEF may find useful. He is not an operations guy. He is attempting to remold RMEF from a group of dedicated conservationist hunters from the West, into something else. Because they have a volunteer Board of Directors, there is a lot of room for flexibility of the excution. His bottom line is to increase membership and financial solvency, and that is why he was brought in to head the organization – play off of his relationships with NASCAR and Pro-Rodeo to expand the membership base geographically (into the South) and socio-economically (get more blue collar than ever). That is something the previous CEO, Jay Dart an archery equipment manufacturer, could not do very well. Allen’s mental migetry is in the likely weakening of purpose of RMEF, what it stands for and the risk of eroding its historic membership base as he tries to make it into something else.

      The stupid RMEF announcement on Molloy’s ruling is one more undercutting blow at the foundation.

      Let me offer another example of a mental midget – very smart guy in fact, so it would seem. Mike Sears (engineer), CFO and heir apparent CEO of The Boeing Company in 2003, put a $50B government defense contract at risk by doing stupid things most people would not do; he also wound up doing 6 months in federal pen for lying about it, and was fired. In this case, his stupidity is of the order that it may put the balance of trade from US aviation imports at risk years into the future. All from mental lapses, bad judgment, and lying to cover it up– just a few of the traits of a mental midget.

    • pointwest says:

      Marketers do not lie any more than anyone else. People say lawyers lie too. Some do. Most are probably more honest than the general public.

    • WM says:

      Sorry. Next to last sentence.

      ” …his stupidity is of the order that it may put the balance of trade from US aviation EXPORTS at risk years into the future.” And this is huge.

    • pointwest says:

      ++WM pontificates: “I will say, however, that most CEO’s of large and middle size companies, don’t come from marketing departments.”++

      How many large and middle sized companies have you been in WM?

      ++WM condescends: “I’m not sure where you came up with that pearl of wisdom.”++

      I’ve read it a few times. I read it in the text book for the marketing class I took in college, for example. I’ve read it elsewhere. The only reason I qualified my statement with, “I believe” is because it has been awhile since I since I took marketing in college and I am not certain if it is still true in 2010. But it was almost certainly true 20 years ago because I read it several times from more reliable sources than you.

      ++WM further lectures: “Marketing types have a tendency to sense/know what motivates people to buy what they are selling – a product and idea, an ideology, and the ability to convince others to execute a plan on how to get results. They are also typically liars. In the political world the best examples I can think of is Carl Rove. They also have intuition, kind of like having the athletic ability of a football running back to sense where a hole is in the line, or card gambler to read an opponent when you think they are bluffing.”++

      My best friend degreed in Marketing from UNM. I have known very many successful marketers who are in the 2 to 3k per year range. I was working with one just a few months ago.

      You have no idea of what you are talking about. None. Zip. I am embarrassed to respond to your nonsense.

      ++WM furthers his existential philosophical treaties that: “another example of a mental midget – very smart guy in fact, so it would seem. Mike Sears (engineer), CFO and heir apparent CEO of The Boeing Company in 2003, put a $50B government defense contract at risk by doing stupid things most people would not do; he also wound up doing 6 months in federal pen for lying about it, and was fired. In this case, his stupidity is of the order that it may put the balance of trade from US aviation imports at risk years into the future. All from mental lapses, bad judgment, and lying to cover it up– just a few of the traits of a mental midget.++

      How many companies have you been CEO of WM? …in how companies have you been CFO? I know a few of CEO and CFO’s too. I can compare them to you and there is little comparison.

  34. jon says:

    I know elk posted this already, but I would like to know something that Dave Allen said in this article.

    Animal rights groups who continue to litigate over wolves are “gaming the system for their own financial benefit,” he added, saying, “There are no elk in Iowa, but we are not suing folks to reintroduce them. This is simply a financial scam for the animal rights groups, and it’s all being paid for by the American taxpayer.”

    Is there any truth or proof that animal rights groups are “gaming the system for their own financial benefit” or are they doing it because they really want to protect wolves? Is it a financial scam? All opinions are welcomed.

    • WM says:


      Allen’s “financial” comment was a reference to the boon these organizations get to their fund-raising, and in the case of a win on a lawsuit, reimbursement under federal law for attorney fees and costs (a form of self-funding staff lawyers for advocacy groups if they win). The irony is the last paragraph of the link you cite, is a plea from RMEF to “get involved” and send money to Missoula.

    • Robert Hoskins says:

      Back in February, WyoFile did a story on the claim that you hear from the Sagebrush Rebels and others about enviros making millions/billions in legal fees from lawsuits against the federal government under the provisions of the Equal Access to Justice Act, which authorizes legal fees paid to successful plaintiffs against the government. The key is successful. You lose, you don’t get your legal fees paid.

      The point of the Act is to allow people with no money but who have claims against the government to have access to the courts to have their claims heard. Court is expensive. It’s actually one of those statutes on the books that benefits little people.

      And to reiterate the other key point–you have to actually win your case.

      If you read the article, you’ll find that there’s not a lot of truth to the claim about enviros gaming the sysem to get rich off lawsuits. You’ll also find out that another classof people who benefits from the Act is Agriculture.


    • pointwest says:

      Being a marketer, Allen is probably also aware of the symbolism and deep emotional response by elicited segments of the public by the wolf issue and is also inferring that the pro-wolf organizations only use these deep emotional responses for self perpetuation at the expense of the taxpayer.

      He points to how irrational the issue is.

    • Robert Hoskins says:

      Just another way of saying marketeers lie. What Allen’s saying is no different from the pretty puppy pictures you get from Defenders. It’s enviro-porn.


    • There just isn’t much money to be made working on behalf of wolves or working against them. Yes, these organizations raise some money, but it isn’t big money. Staffers don’t get paid much.

      Any contention that this is about jobs for activists of any kind is wrong.

      This is a cultural conflict. Layton didn’t seem to know what I meant by this. A cultural conflict is a conflict over how people believe they and others should live their lives. It is the worst kind of conflict because it is not one of rational calculation.

      It is the kind of conflict that can result in horrible atrocities. It is the kind of conflict such as the Sunnis vs. the Shia.

      This kind of conflict crops up in the United States frequently in recent years, e.g., gay marriage, Bibles in schools, the role of science versus conservative religion in government decisions.

      Fortunately, Americans have not been fond of mass killing like we see in other countries. I hope our luck, and cultural restraint in these matters, continues to hold.

  35. Linda Hunter says:

    ummm in the big picture these wolf haters from other blogs and websites sound like they are eating poison and expecting others to die. Stress kills and they are eating it raw!

  36. jon says:

    More reactions on Molloy’s wolf ruling

    Private outrage began filtering in well before any of us had our morning coffee. Tony Bridges with the Missoula-based anti-wolf blog Lobo Watch had the following to say:

    “If Molloy, or any of these environmental organizations, think for a second that the decision of someone who is totally out of touch with modern wildlife management will keep hunters from killing wolves this fall and winter, they need to think again. In fact, the anger provoked by this ego-driven judge will more than likely result in the death of far more wolves than the quotas established by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. Any wolf that now steps out in front of any hunter this fall is very likely to be shot…and left to rot.”

    • Daniel Berg says:

      That kind of rhetoric is dangerous. What it is, is de facto encouragement for hunters to kill wolves illegally. Just as you can’t negotiate bribes for the release of hostages due to the precedent it might send, you also can’t kow-tow to people who choose to make threats. Doing so would only encourage more threats, and bigger demands in the future.

  37. Elk275 says:

    Opening upon a web site Jon just posted, I read the following:

    • (UPDATE) Sen. Max Baucus weighed in this afternoon, vowing to introduce legislation to restore state management of the gray wolf population.

    “I am extremely disappointed that Montana’s population of gray wolves will return to the Endangered Species List,” Baucus said in his release. “Montana has long had an excellent wolf management plan in place and it shouldn’t be set aside because Wyoming’s plan continues to come up short. This dispute has gone on long enough and I’m looking at all options to deal with it. When Congress returns next month, I plan to introduce legislation that puts wolves under Montana’s management.”

    Yesterday a person on this forum said give it a break, I might give it a break but there are those who are not going to give it a break. Baucas is not Pombo, after 36 years in the senate he is able to get things done. A victory could quickly become a defeat

    • Robert Hoskins says:


      You mean Baucus is going to do for wolf hunting in Montana what he did for the American people on health care? Right.

      In any case, it has to get past Raul Grijalva’s Resources committee in the House, and it won’t. Creating a wolf exemption to the ESA for Montana just won’t fly. Even Interior won’t support that.


    • Daniel Berg says:

      I realize that environmental issues are traded away all the time to earn support on other issues at the federal and state level.

      Don’t underestimate though the impact of a headline in a national paper stating “Senator seeks to change Endangered Species Act”. The ESA is something that many people hold dear and changing it will not be easy, especially with the current make-up of the house and senate. Caving on the Tsongass and the Sage Grouse are one thing, changing the ESA is another.

  38. JimT says:

    Max is a old bear who wakes up at times and roars, but except on finance issues, he really doesn’t hold the influence in the right committees he used to. It doesn’t help, but Max isn’t going to be allowed to carve out an exception to the ESA just for Montana. I still stand by my statement. You know how things go in DC. NOTHING will happen now before next session begins in 2011, and the economy will still dominate the Senate agenda. He can try and introduce something, but it won’t make it out of any subcommittee, and there are not any major bills that he could essentially blackmail the Senate on with a rider.

    PLUS, last time I looked, it took TWO houses of Congress to pass a law, reconcile it in committee, etc….

    • Save bears says:

      He probably won’t garner much traction in the house, but in this day and age, it seem the news reports carry almost as much power…

      I don’t see a solution to this issue and the many other issues in my lifetime..

      As I said last night, I think the US will be a very different place in 50 years…

    • JimT says:

      It is commonly accepted in the environmental legal field, at least, that nothing ever goes away….it just waits to come back. There are cases that are still litigating the same damn issues that we did 30 years ago, especially in mining and oil and gas cases. This won’t be any different unless we change the power dynamic.

  39. JimT says:

    Couldn’t agree with RH more. I know several staff folks on the House Environment and Resources committee, including a few lawyers. And, Layton, they don’t make a million dollars…l*)
    No way it gets by these folks…

  40. JimT says:

    Forgot to add that if Salazar screws this wolf delisting issue up, and it becomes a mess for Obama, I think Grijalva might just be back on the list for Secretary

    • Robert Hoskins says:

      I supported Grijalva for SOTI and signed the letter Wild Earth Guardians sent to Obama supporting him but given current politics I’d rather he stay where he is as part of the House progressive caucus. Let’s see how things shake out in November. Agreed that Salazar has gotta go.


  41. jon says:

    Wolf Ruling Ends Plan To Hold Settlement Talks

  42. jon says:

    Idaho seeks to kill hundreds of protected wolves
    By Laura Zuckerman
    SALMON | Fri Aug 6, 2010 5:50pm EDT
    Idaho (Reuters) – Idaho game officials said on Friday they would seek federal approval to kill off hundreds of wolves in their state despite a court ruling that restored protection of the animals under the Endangered Species Act.

    In a conference call with reporters, Idaho Fish and Game officials said they remained determined to carry out a plan, nixed by Thursday’s court ruling, that calls for reducing Idaho’s wolf population by over 40 percent, to 500 from 845.

    One wolf pack in particular, a group of 100 animals in northern Idaho, is targeted for reduction by 80 percent.

    Montana, the second of two states where the gray wolf was ordered returned to the federal endangered species list, is likely to follow Idaho’s lead in seeking permission to thin its wolf packs through licensed sport hunting or government squads of aerial gunners.

    Hunting of listed animals for sport is generally forbidden under the Endangered Species Act. But the two states would presumably seek special permits under the statute to allow for limited hunting or culling of wolf packs.

    Powerful ranching interests in both states opposed reintroduction of wolves to the region 15 years ago and have continued to resist federal protection of the animals as a threat to livestock. Sportsmen complain wolves are killing too many big-game animals, like elk, that could be hunted instead.

    “Our concern is … we do have livestock depredations … and we have problems with elk herds,” said Idaho Department of Fish and Game Deputy Director Jim Unsworth.

    A federal judge in Missoula, Montana, on Thursday sided with conservation groups in ordering the entire Northern Rocky Mountain population of gray wolves re-listed as endangered.

    That ruling overturned an April 2009 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decision that had lifted federal wolf protections in Idaho and Montana but kept them in place in Wyoming.

    At last count, in December 2009, the gray wolf population in the Northern Rockies, including Yellowstone National Park and the surrounding region, was estimated at 1,700 animals.

    Environmentalists say the region’s wolf population would have to reach between 2,000 and 3,000 individuals in order to be considered viable by international standards.

    Like we didn’t expect this kind of attitude from Idaho.

    • jon says:

      What they fail to mention is that 843 is the min. They know there are more wolves than 843, so let’s just say there are 1000 plus wolves. You are looking at 500 plus dead wolves if Idaho carries out this plan,

    • JerryBlack says:

      Montana has, for the last 6 months, been in the planning stages of how they would go about circumventing the ESA if Molloy ruled against them. I requested, under Montana’s Public Disclosure Law, all minutes relative to these meetings and was told that “they weren’t official meetings” so no minutes were taken.
      They’ll be pushing hard for “thinning” packs in the Bitterroot, the lower Clark Fork areas and north of the Park.

  43. JimT says:

    And the legal basis for overruling the ESA is…..?????

    • jon says:

      JimT, can Idaho get away with this? They know very well there are more than 843 wolves in Idaho. My guess is there are 1000 plus. We are talking about 500 plus dead wolves if Idaho gets their way.

    • JB says:


      As I mentioned above, they would not “overrule” the ESA, they would simply request permission from the FWS to hunt wolves:

      16 U.S.C. 1532 (3) reads:

      “The terms ‘‘conserve,’’ ‘‘conserving,’’ and ‘‘conservation’’
      mean to use and the use of all methods and procedures which are necessary to bring any endangered species or threatened species to the point at which the measures provided pursuant to this Act are no longer necessary. Such methods and procedures include, but are not limited to, all activities associated with scientific resources management such as research, census, law enforcement, habitat acquisition and maintenance, propagation, live trapping, and transplantation, and, in the extraordinary case where population pressures within a given ecosystem cannot be otherwise relieved, may include regulated taking.”

      The FWS contends (and I agree) that human-caused mortality is the only legitimate threat to wolves in the northern Rockies. Big game hunters (especially elk hunters) have access, opportunity, and (sadly) in many cases the motivation to kill wolves. As I asserted (above), my guess is the next action will be to allow Idaho and Montana to conduct wolf hunting seasons in an attempt to diffuse the situation. After all, Molloy’s narrow ruling was in regards to the validity of the DPS; the question of whether there are (or are not) enough wolves was not addressed (the implication being that biological recovery has been met).

      Robert: I will defer to your expertise on Wyoming politics, but do need to clarify one point: I did not mean to suggest that allowing ID and MT to hunt wolves in and of itself would put pressure on WY politicians; rather, if ID and MT are allowed to proceed with hunts that reduce wolf populations while WYs wolf population increases, WY hunters may decide a suitable wolf management plan isn’t so bad after all. Lots of “ifs” I know.

    • Robert Hoskins says:


      I agree with your assessment of the ESA and hunting. I suspect hunting could be authorized under the 10j provision as a control mechanism “to preserve ungulate populations.” A fraudulent policy to be sure but one that just might fly with the FWS, given the politics of Molloy’s decision. We’ll see what Idaho and Montana come up with. A lot depends upon the existing lawsuit against the last iteration of the 10j rule.

      Regarding Wyoming politics, I think people ascribe more power to Wyoming hunters than they actually do have, or more accurately, once had but no longer have due to the decline in influence of mainstream hunting groups such as the Wyoming Wildlife Federation, on whose board I once served. The main right wing group, Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife, is, as I’ve mentioned before, mostly a front for the Stockgrowers and Outfitters associations, which have a policy of wildlife commercialization and privatization that they cover by beating the predator drum very loudly so that hunters can’t hear what’s actually going on. (Yes, Wyoming hunters can be that ignorant).

      The Stockgrowers, and to a much lesser extent the Outfitters–although the Outfitters aren’t completely on the same page as the Stockgrowers where wolves are concerned, but still follow the Stockgrowers’ lead–are driving wolf policy in Wyoming, not hunters, even though most hunters support dual status anyway. But it really doesn’t matter whether hunters support dual status or not.

      Dual status is a Stockgrowers idea and the Stockgrowers use it for political purposes–to sustain themselves as an oligarchy. The Stockgrowers aren’t going to back off dual status, therefore the State of Wyoming isn’t going to back off. If that creates problems for Idaho and Montana or any other state, or for Wyoming hunters who want to hunt wolves recreationally, too bad.

      Let’s not forget that one of the biggest blowhards among Wyoming outfitters is Jackson Hole’s BJ Hill, who nonetheless earlier this year speculated in public that it might be a good idea to go with trophy game status for wolves in the whole state to take pressure off outfitters and hunters in NW Wyoming. Hill got slammed immediately for that remark by the cowboys and his fellow outfitters and he quickly backpeddled. Quite frankly, it’s the only thing I’ve heard him say in two decades that makes sense.

      No independent thinking allowed in Wyoming. Period. Especially when it goes against what the Stockgrowers wants.

      Regarding wolves, hunting politics in Wyoming has come down to this. The Stockgrowers, through the Governor, controls the G&F Commission and thus the Department. The Wyoming Wildlife Federation, for fear of losing access to G&F and the Governor, now supports G&F regardless of what it decides to do, which usually is to do what the Stockgrowers and the Governor want. The WWF has become a go along to get along group to the max.

      The reason for this is simple. During the mid-90s, the WWF lost about half its membership from supporting wolf reintroduction. The board became gunshy about wolves, and then about any controversial topic, such as elk feedgrounds, which at one time it had steadfastly opposed. It had even passed a resolution around 15 years ago calling for the phaseout of feedgrounds. Well, that resolution is dead, and so is its support for wolves. Consequently, as its influence has waned because it has lost its nerve to speak truth to power (i.e, the Stockgrowers), it has turned more and more into an advocate of collaboration. It no longer stands on the principles of traditional hunting and angling based conservation. WWF is no longer willing to take on the cowboys as it once had.

      SFW has been able to take advantage of the WWF’s loss of nerve and influence and attract the more right wing and very loud hunters with its anti-predator bluster. Consequently, the WWF has pretty much become a lapdog. The only thing I hear about it doing these days is holding frequent fundraisers.

      In short, there is no effective voice for moderate or progressive hunters in Wyoming. An opposing political power to the Stockgrowers has been lost.

      As far as killing wolves is concerned, the Stockgrowers and individual producers aren’t interested in using hunting to control wolves, but in using the far more efficient Wildlife Services, which is on call 24/7. They could care less if hunters want to be able to hunt wolves recreationally. They’re interested in control, not sustained hunting. And the feds pay for it. What a deal, right?


    • Elk275 says:


      I have spent enough time in Wyoming working as a oil and gas landman to know what you are saying is right.

    • Robert Hoskins says:

      My goodness. Two agreements in one day. Any agreement is unprecedented, but two? I’m gonna have a drink for Elk 275, WM, and me. Whenever you guys are next in Crowheart, stop by for a drink. I’m a Wild Turkey man.


  44. jon says:

    Interview with Jim Unsworth of Idaho fish and game. Check out the wolf in the bg.

  45. JimT says:

    The problem, JB, is that the decision specifically addresses the section you quote….and refute the Defendant’s position.

    • JB says:

      JimT: I assume you mean this passage:

      “Montana argues that vacatur is unnecessary because the only difference between state management and federal management of wolves is wolf hunts, and such hunts have not impacted the population. See dkt #146-2 (noting Montana’s wolf population only decreased by 4 wolves from 497 to 493 after allowing hunting to occur in 2009). While the argument has practical appeal, it misses the mark. If the Rule is invalid, the harm occurs from wolves being taken contrary to the terms of the ESA.”

      I don’t see anything in the decision that would prevent FWS from allowing hunting to proceed in ID and MT without delisting, so long as it was adequately justified as necessary for conserving the species. However, the document is 50 pages, so I could have missed something?

  46. It didn’t take them long to come up with this, but USFWS has to approve it. It might permitted under the 10j rule that now governs all but Idaho and Montana north of I-90.

  47. JimT says:

    No, the language in the beginning of the decision about the tension between conservation and recovery, and then later, the presence of politics, but not allowing actions that would endanger the recovery of the species with the meaning of the statute. I find it a stretch for FWS to allow this kind of massive hunting effort given the admonition of the judge about conserving the species. This hunt has NOTHING to do with that effort; indeed it seems pretty prima facie that it would harm the recovery and conservation.

    And that is before you reach the media implications of allowing this kind of blatant effort after a judge’s ruling…

    Ralph, again, I ask..what is the basis of the 10j challenge? And even 10J “killings” have to have a basis…

    • WM says:

      JimT, JB, RH, Ralph and all

      The language referencing the statutory provision seems a preface, at most, just laying out the conservation goal of the ESA. He then speaks of risk in decision-making and states that “acceptable risk” is an ethics and policy judgment. This seems to be a context statement for how he is framing his analysis. Nothing more.

      He also acknowledges (as he did in his earlier ruling on the emergency injunction, if I recall correctly) that there is tension in the law where the statute prevents pragmatic management solutions. So, he is not unsympathetic to the position of FWS and the states in trying to work the management side of the issue. He just does not feel compelled to address that problem because he can simply get rid of it in a way cleaner way by saying dividing up the DPS is not allowed under the law.

      The more troubling issue – even in light of the full provision of the law the JB cites- is how with a conservation goal in mind, it would be possible to decrease the numbers of the very species trying to be recovered and conserved.

      But then, there is the safety valve – that is that these NRM wolves are “non-essential experimental populations” which may mean they can be treated in a different way. Hence the opening to use 10j rules (which may or may not have been drafted within the spirit of the statute). So, it would seem this is where the rubber meets the road, so to speak.

      After I wrote the above I found the Defenders – Earthjustice letter which may be helpful in fleshing out the implications of the new 10j rule in the discussion. Here is the link:

    • JB says:

      JimT: Both FWS AND Molloy have already found that these “massive hunting efforts” do not necessarily conflict with the conservation of wolves. Last year’s hunting season essentially stabilized the wolf population (well above the minimum needed for recovery; something nearly everyone acknowledges), and seems to have had no discernible effect on the species’ distribution. Folks might not like it, but I would be surprised if MT and ID don’t have wolf hunts this year.

  48. Robert Hoskins says:

    If I recall correctly, the original 1994 final rule for wolf reintroduction under the 10j provision authorized hunting of wolves while still listed to protect declining ungulate populations. I don’t have the rule at hand to check for this, or the current 10j rule either, but I seem to remember that originally a state had to show 50% decline of specific ungulate populations due to wolf predation. The criteria were pretty minimal; there had to be at least 6 breeding pairs in the state. Same criteria as allowing WS to kill wolves depredating on livestock. The FWS would be the final Dubya-esque decider as to whether to allow hunting.

    Unless something has changed, I suspect Idaho and Montana, and maybe even Wyoming, are going to try to petition the FWS to authorize hunting under the 10j rule to allow hunting to protect ungulates.

    And of course, there’s always WS to go after wolves alleged to be killing livestock.

    I don’t stand on this 100%; I’m not sure my memory is accurate here.


    • jon says:

      Robert, I asked Ralph this same question and I know his answer, but I am curious as what you have to say about this. Forgive me if you have spoke on this before. There has been some talk throughout the years and even those today claiming that each of the 3 states (ID, MT, AND WY) agreed and supposedly made a deal to only have 150 wolves in their states. Was there a deal and was it agreed upon between the states?

    • Robert Hoskins says:


      That’s a different claim from the assertion that enviros agreed to that number, which is false. I personally have never heard that the states agreed among themselves to hold wolves to that number. That would be an extraordinary secret to keep for nearly 20 years, but it’s not impossible. However, I’ve not seen it in any Wyoming state documents, and I think I’ve read most of them.

      Let’s remember that Appendix 9 of the Final Gray Wolf EIS lays out the 1994 rationale for what constituted a delistable population. I believe App. 9 was written by Ed Bangs. He called for a minimum of 10 breeding pairs per state in a functioning metapopulation before delisting could occur. As a buffer, he recommended adding five additional packs per state. That would make 15 packs per state. The key to delisting wasn’t the raw numbers though but that all wolves had to be part of a metapopulation. However, nowhere in the FEIS or the final rule was either 10 or 15 packs set as a ceiling. So technically, an agreement among the three states to treat the 15 packs as a ceiling would have no legal weight until after wolves were delisted and wolves passed into state management.

      Ralph, what is your opinion on this? Has anyone through FOIA or state public records act requests ever come across evidence of such an agreement?


    • jon says:

      RH, I don’t want to speak for Ralph, but this is what he told me on the 150 wolves in each state claim.

      The idea that it was just 150 wolves in each state is dead wrong. It’s a myth that was constructed in the early 2000s. So people are angry about some “deal” that never happened.

    • jon says:

      RH, I am not exactly sure if it was the enviros who agreed to only 150 wolves in each of the 3 states or the states themselves. Hopefully, Ralph and others can delve into this issue a little bit more if they want. Ralph says there was no deal, so I will take his word for it. He knows what he is talking about.

    • Robert Hoskins says:


      I agree with Ralph. It’s possible such a thing was discussed at the time but I doubt that the states actually made the agreement, much less put down an agreement in writing. In any case, Wyoming’s dual status law effectively would moot any such agreement because it deliberately obstructs delisting, which makes it more difficult to manage wolves from the other states’ point of view. Once again, Wyoming could care less how its actions affect other states.


    • Robert Hoskins says:


      Enviros certainly made no such agreement. It makes no biological or ecological sense to agree to a ceiling of wolves, especially such a low one. The whole thing’s a rural myth.

      It’s bad enough that enviros, including me, went along with the 10j approach. I think it’s proven to be a disaster.


    • Save bears says:


      I have never come across any such agreements and I know for a fact, it would have been discussed, and I would have heard about it when I was working for FWP if it existed

    • jon and RH,

      The thing is this. The wolves were reintroduced over the objections of Idaho and Wyoming (don’t recall about Montana), so had no basis to make a deal with the federal government or between themselves to hold wolves to 150 wolves in each state.

      Idaho was going to cooperate early in 1994, but then came the 1994 elections, and Idaho politics changed dramatically,

      Idaho government quickly changed to outright opposition just before the reintroduction. Idaho Fish and Game, which had been going to cooperate with the federal government was prohibited by the new Idaho legislature from having anything to do with the wolves. Idaho Fish and Game employees were to answer no questions about wolves, not monitor wolves, not haze them from livestock, not help investigate poaching, nothing. This, of course, has been forgotten in the years since the legislature rescinded their ban.

      Until Idaho acquired joint management responsibilities with the federal government, the Idaho cooperator with USFWS was the Nez Perce Tribe, and they did a very good, professional job. Many of the on-the-ground wolf managers today in Idaho and Montana learned their stuff with the Tribe.

    • Layton says:

      I don’t know about the states agreeing — but the following is from page 10 in Malloy’s decision.

      “The 1994 EIS concluded the goal of 10 breeding pairs and 100 wolves in three separate recovery areas for three consecutive years was reasonably sound and would maintain a viable wolf population in the foreseeable future”

      So somewhere, somehow this number WAS mentioned BEFORE the wolves were brought here in 1995.

      Layton, you have it in your quote — the 1994 EIS. Ralph

    • I’m don’t quite recall when the Idaho legislature relented on Idaho Fish and Game, but I found this article on my old web site showing that as late as 1999 the Idaho legislature was still telling Idaho Fish and Game to keep away from wolves.

      Idaho Legislators Again Refuse Wolf Management Responsibility. Jan 28, 1999

  49. Robert Hoskins says:

    I think that settles it. It’s a rural myth, like the claim that the feds promised wolves would never leave Yellowstone National Park.


    • Save bears says:

      I know there were certain numbers that would trigger certain actions, but to my knowledge there was never a ceiling number..

    • Robert Hoskins says:

      Yes, I think the cutoff was 6 pairs per state to allow livestock depredation actions or actions to reduce ungulate predation.


  50. bob jackson says:


    You said,”But I doubt guides will. They stand to lose their license and livelihood if caught….Also, what if they accidentally poison a grizzly or two? There would be an uproar and guides and outfitters may even be banned from areas. They are probably smart enough to know this.
    In general, it is never smart to mess with the Federal government and even crusty guides and outfitters know this. The Fed has all kinds of resources and powers that states to not have”.

    Points you need to either get out in the woods more often or get with a more realistic view of life.

    How are guides going to get caught when there is no one out there to catch them? The game wardens, USFW agents and most NPS rangers NEVER get off the trail. And who inhouse is going to report them? No one unless they find out their ” poacher friend” is sleeping with their girl friend or wife.

    And what happens if they actually do turn in this newly discovered turd? More than likely nothing from the law dogs and jurisdition folks. It is too hard to make a case from cases so far back in the woods. And even when Griz were on the endangered species list the judges informed USFW to not even think of bringing a case if the guy mentions the words “self defense”. Thus the feds didn’t bring locked in cases. At most they turned them over to the state boys to prosecute as lower level crimes.

    Guides lose their license???? Its a joke. There is suppose to be a MOU between the state and feds for crimes of one being applied to the other. I never saw a single one of my poaching convictions of both guides and outfitters (yes, I caught just about every OUTFITTER in my area of patrol…some twice…..) applied to state – fed MOU’s.

    And as far as FS went I never saw any outfitter in my area ever get more than double and triple secret probation. Thus no reason for the state to take away a guide license with FS infractions, right?

    I did see a guide have his license taken away for two years…and wouldn’t you know it the WYOMING OUTFITTERS ASSOC made him guide of the year that year he was relegated to packing and wranging in the camp.

    His violations had to do with state law breaking. And to continue, his boss the outfitter, was elected by the same assoc that year as its president…after I had caught him poaching a lion in the park…and the state citing him for transporting lion parts without having proper licenses.

    And as for poisoning endangered species everyone in Thorofare knew a particular outfitter on my boundary was lacing ground meat around his camp. The USFW asked me what to do? And what happened on the ground. Nothing…a lot of talk of placing a plant but in the end no money to do it. And this was from first hand witness statements.

    So what od you think happens to a wolf poisoning? Yes there will always be a case or two made but these are the easy ones….and notabily near a road.

    Messing with the feds???? It is a joke. Even in the Park if I caught a outfitter poaching who also had a Park concession permit my supervisors did all they could to overturn the citation…and make it a WARNING. And if I won out…what happened? The Park administrators would read the rules again and come up with hesitancy on interpretation. Thus a lot of discussion to make the penalties more percise in wording …and another outfitter with a double secret probation the same as the FS did.

    Pointsweet, yes the feds have a lot more tools at their disposal but at the same time they have careerists who want to stay that way. No conflict and this is assured.

    Points I suggest you dig a bit deeper into the life of outfitters and guides…. and what the feds do with these dudes who fight back….Mostly the feds wiggle out of enforcement.

    • pointwest says:

      If guides have no respect for the law or law enforcement and they just are “out there” doing anything they want, then what difference is this change of law going to make?

  51. inthefurwest says:

    actually malloys decision comes at a unique time in history with the state elections right around the corner for wyoming, virtually all the candidates support wyomings predator/trophy stance and seem to have the science to back it up now. this decision will force montana and idaho to play ball with wyoming and to jump in behind them in the court case that is before judge johnson in Cheyenne. it also puts johnsons decision in a better light as far as states being able to decide where they want the wolves in their individual stateslocated as long as they keep the 300/30 contained near the park.

    • infurwest,

      There isn’t a chance of Idaho and Montana joining Wyoming, even if they wanted to. Dropping their wolf management plans and picking up Wyoming’s is just too complicated. It would also result in exactly what many wolf supporters want, return of all control to the federal government

      One more thing . . ., I think Idaho and Montana are truly interested in killing a lot of wolves. Wyoming postures as long as 87% of the state is off limits to them.

    • inthefurwest says:

      i am unsure of all the legal wrangling that would be employed to alter Idaho’s recovery program, but apparently the idaho legislator is reaching out to wyoming now to throw support behind wyoming’s lawsuit in cheyenne. whether montana will side with wyomings lawsuit i have not heard. if judge johnsons decrees that wyoming should not be denied de listing status under it’s plan then unless their is an appeal of some kind all three states should be able to enjoy a de listed status. idaho would not haft to alter it’s plan at that point as it was already ok’ed i assume and control would be with the states

    • SEAK Mossback says:

      Inthefurwest –
      Lets just say Wyoming loses the decision by Johnson, or wins but is over-turned later. Is there some point later where you would consider going to trophy game status, or say dual game/furbearer status like Alaska? It seems like with the open country in much of Wyoming and the apparent success of the brief season that was held, the Commission wouldn’t need predator status anywhere to exercise virutally complete dominion over the wolf population, aside from the a minimum number of breeding pairs mostly in the park. I’m looking at this from a long ways off but it just doesn’t seem to have much to do directly with wolves, the hunting or trapping of them or protecting game herds or anything else tangible?

    • inthefurwest says:

      hi seak
      my personal preference win or lose the decision would be just to keep it as a trophy status, there would be nothing to keep wyoming from issuing ( selling) special hunt permits if the need in an area where and when it required required. but i also see the need for the predator stance wyoming has taken after seeing the cost involved in having wolves that must be monitored as per the delisting rules. lets face it, wolves don’t come cheap. estimated costs from Montanas web page is upwards of 954,000 annually plus the loss of elk calves in many areas that simply cannot be accurately reported. i believe wyoming thinks the dual game/furbearer status would simply be a expensive and ineffective way to manage what could be handled cheaply and effectively by placing wolves outside the trophy area in a predator class. After all, their is no cost to the state when the citizens do the shooting for you and help manage the spread of the prolific species known as wolf.
      i think what it boils down to is economics in the state. with potentially limited or nonexistent federal aid on the horizon it just does not make economic sense to saddle yourself with a management payment that shows little or no return. i think if you ask alaska they will agree that wolf management ( control) is very costly.
      thats just my guess as far as goes. and that is all it is , just a guess.

    • SEAK Mossback says:

      Perhaps keeping the feds on the hook financially is part of the rationale. I’m still not sure I understand how managing the whole state as game/furbearer has to cost that much more than predator statis, although I can understand that some ranchers might prefer not to have public hunting if they can have somebody from the government show up with coyote getters, etc.

      I think the situation in Alaska is quite different. Predator control is expensive but with the exception of Feds in the 1950s, hasn’t been conducted on much of a scale until recently and normal hunting and trapping really don’t seem to have that much effect because of the natural productivity of wolf populations, as you point out. Also, livestock isn’t much of an issue. It’s not that predators aren’t a factor — much of the interior is described as having low equilibrium moose & wolf populations, other wise known as a predator pit – with a major factor being the bear density in addition to wolves in particular areas. It’s just that there has still been pretty good hunting opportunity overall, although some populations are up and others down at particular times and harvest often is limited to bulls, sometimes with antler restrictions. I don’t think predator control in Alaska has really developed so much as an expensive cost of doing business, like you describe, but more like a decision to build and operate a fish hatchery even though you have pretty good natural runs. There will be major costs that you never had before but you also expect benefits and hope they exceed costs. It will never be as good a deal on a cost-benefit basis as relying on free natural production and people certainly disagree on if, where and how much it should be done. If you do a lot of it and hunters or commercial/sport fishermen increase and come to expect and depend on it, then pretty quickly it’s no longer an optional cost but is consuming lots of resources, maybe most of your budget. I don’t know, but perhaps elk feed grounds would be another analogy.

  52. pointwest says:

    Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter:
    “I am thoroughly disappointed and frustrated with the court’s decision today returning wolves to federal protection. Idaho has done everything asked of us by the federal government in order to delist wolves in our state and restore state management. The State of Idaho, through the Office of Species Conservation and Department of Fish and Game, proved to be an effective and responsible steward of the species under a plan praised by this very court. This judge has inexplicably dismissed a practical, common-sense solution and proven the Endangered Species Act is irreparably broken. The number of wolves in Idaho today is almost triple the population necessary for delisting throughout all three states. I don’t know why any state would ever allow another reintroduction of a species because the federal government and radical environmentalists simply cannot live up to their word and allow state management.
    “Rest assured we will exhaust all of our options to legally reverse this ill-advised decision. Today’s decision should stand as an indictment of both the ESA and federal government.”
    U.S. Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch and Congressmen Mike Simpson and Walt Minnick
    “This decision is disappointing. Judge Molloy ignored the exploding population of wolves in Idaho and the constitutional 10th Amendment right of a state to manage its own wildlife populations. The recovery goals set when the wolf was introduced have been met and greatly exceeded. We remain convinced Idaho can manage wolves in a sustainable and responsible way, just as it has done with other species for decades. We look for a more reasonable decision from a higher court.”
    Toby Bridges, Lobo Watch, Missoula, Mont.
    “U.S. District Court Judge Donald Molloy seems to lack the common sense to realize the monster he has unleashed with his decision earlier today to relist the gray wolf of the Northern Rockies under the protection of the Endangered Species Act. What this very self-centered judge does not understand is that his decision has angered the vast majority of hunters in the Northern Rockies, who have grown sick and tired of the political posturing that has lead to the destruction of big game herds which have taken the past 75 or more years to rebuild from the devastation of the market harvest of the late 1800s. Now, the very wolves that Molloy and a handful of so-called ‘environmental’ organizations seek government protection for are dealing those big game populations an even harder blow than when elk, moose, deer and other big game were shot indiscriminately by unregulated market hunters. And those big game herds, which this out-of-control judge and donation grubbing groups, like the Defenders of Wildlife and the Center for Biological Diversity, apparently only see as fodder for wolves, are being lost at an alarming rate. In some areas, the herds have been depleted by 80-plus percent, due to wolf depredation.”
    Idaho Cattlemen’s Association
    With the wolves’ rapid rate of expansion and obvious resilience, it is nonsensical to argue that they are still in need of federal protections. Not only does it defy common sense, but keeping wolves listed as an Endangered Species is in direct contradiction to the FWS’ own stated recovery plans. We are frustrated that Judge Malloy capitulated on the environmentalist’s procedural arguments even as he acknowledged that the delisting decision was “pragmatic” and “practical.”

  53. Nancy says:

    ++has angered the vast majority of hunters in the Northern Rockies, who have grown sick and tired of the political posturing that has lead to the destruction of big game herds which have taken the past 75 or more years to rebuild from the devastation of the market harvest of the late 1800s++

    Asked Toby Bridges just a couple of days ago, on a NewWest blog (regarding wolves) WHO exactly was responsible for the destruction of big game herds back in the 1800’s? (But Molloy had just handed down his decision and I never got an answer)

    Would guess Toby’s been busy since then, addressing the media and dealing with the “vast majority” of angry hunters in the Northern Rockies who’ve been effected by this decision.

    And I’m trying hard to relate to the millions and millions of acres of wilderness and public lands still left out here, that should still be available to wildlife, without humans continuely putting them under some sort of microscope.

  54. Brian Ertz says:

    Judge Molloy directed the parties of the new 10(j) rule litigation to submit a briefing schedule within 2 weeks of last friday ~ so the ball’s still rolling in court


August 2010


‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey