I attended the IDFG Commissioner’s “special meeting” on Monday in Idaho Falls where the commissioners discussed how to proceed now that wolves are again protected by the Endangered Species Act.

After the Commission decided to adopt new rules on placement of traps, which requires trappers to keep traps at least 5 feet away from the center line of established trails and at least 300 feet away from established campgrounds, the subject of wolf management was next.

Robyn Thorson, the regional director for the USFWS, was first up and gave the most incredible bootlicking performance I’ve ever seen. She began by profusely apologizing to the Commission for the failure of their rule to delist wolves to live up to the law and then went on to give emphatic support for Idaho’s management plan and the way that Idaho Fish and Game has been managing wolves. She expressed that the USFWS was “deeply disappointed” that they lost in court.

The commissioners wanted to know if there was any way to ease the burden the present 10(j) rule which requires the use of science to show that wolves are having “unacceptable impacts” on ungulate populations and are a major reason that ungulate populations are not meeting the objectives set by the department. The IDFG wants to more easily kill wolves and extrapolate the existing science that they have conducted to zones adjacent to the Lolo Zones that they are concerned about. They also want to know if they have to conduct new science on other zones.

Thorson reminded them that the current 10(j) rule is once again under litigation and that the forthcoming decision on that case would determine the sideboards with which further decisions are made. She said she couldn’t really comment on whether the burden of science could be eased but said that they “would look at everything with the intent of trying to find a path”.

The commissioners then asked the USFWS to participate in the appeal of Molloy’s decision. She responded that the USFWS had made no decision about whether to appeal the decision.

Wayne Wright expressed disappointment that Idaho had not been involved in the decision about the DPS decision when the reintroduction plan was developed. Thorson stated that they would “not let that happen again” and that they wouldn’t do it without collaboration and open comment. She said that, since they have someone in Boise who works specifically on wolves, they could provide the “listening and sharing of information part” and that she hopes “to remedy any past laws in process”.

Randy Budge asked whether the USFWS felt that wolves were in any jeopardy with Idaho and Montana managing wolves in their respective states and the USFWS managing wolves in Wyoming. Thorson responded that the USFWS did not concur with the ruling of the judge and felt that the delisting rule adequately protected wolves. She also suggested that the quickest way for the Service to delist wolves in the Northern Rockies was for Wyoming to change their management plan so that it met their requirements. She didn’t know why Wyoming doesn’t want to come up with a plan but that they don’t and that’s the way it is.

There is much more and you can watch video from the meeting below:

I’ll update this post with video as it becomes available on YouTube.

There was a memo handed out at the meeting answering many questions put forth to the USFWS by the IDFG. You can read it here.

After the meeting the IDFG issued a news release and passed a resolution stating that the Idaho Fish and Game should remain the lead management agency for wolves in the state.

Also, an article appeared in the Magic Valley Times-News about the meeting and resolution this morning.

Fish and Game fights judge’s wolf ruling: Agency says it doesn’t want to pay for poaching enforcement.
By Nick Coltrain Magic Valley Times-News

About The Author

Ken Cole

Ken Cole is a 5th generation Idahoan, an avid fly fisherman, wildlife enthusiast, and photographer. He is the interim Idaho Director for Western Watersheds Project. We do not accept unsolicited “guest” authors or advertising.

118 Responses to Bootlicking and wiggling out of enforcement

  1. Greetings Ken,

    THANK YOU! for this invaluable “view to the killing” put forth by a top representative of the USFWS. It is an unequivocal expression of the incestuous relationship between the mandated “protectors” of our priceless wildlife heritage and those who are hell bent on “power hunting” at all costs.

    On a related note, do you what Ed Bangs is up to these days? Has he made any public statements or presented any position papers on Molloy’s decision. Would be extremely helpful to know.

    • timz says:

      “The federal biologist who led the wolf restoration program, Ed Bangs, defended the decision to delist wolves as “a very biologically sound package.”

      “The hunting of wolves clearly wouldn’t endanger threatened wolf populations,” Bangs said Friday. “We felt the science was rock solid and that the delisting was warranted.”

      Bangs said government attorneys were reviewing Molloy’s court order and would decide next week whether to appeal to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.”

  2. Ken Cole says:

    I’ve added a couple more videos to the post. They are posted in the order that they were shot so disregard the part #’s at the top of each video. There are more to come.

    • jon says:

      So Ken, there must have been a lot of anti wolfers in the crowd. Where do you see Idaho fish and game here on out with the wolf issue?

    • Ken Cole says:

      Okay, the video part #’s have been changed but there are several videos left to be uploaded and some of them come after part 2. We’ll get that sorted out later.


      It’s obvious that the IDFG is very angry and frustrated about Molloy’s decision and they seem to realize that they are dependent on Wyoming and the USFWS in coming up with a solution.

      I’m guessing the next move will be to downlist wolves from endangered status to threatened status so that they can conduct hunts on them but that is going to take a couple of years. They also seem to be investigating conducting hunts based on “extraordinary circumstances” but whether they can use the public to hunt wolves before wolves can be downlisted seems unlikely.

      I’d say that most of the crowd consisted of IDFG and agency employees. There were a few private individuals in the audience who I would guess were anti-wolf folks but there wasn’t a big turnout probably because the IDFG wasn’t taking any public comment at the meeting.

    • Brian Ertz says:

      Ken Cole,

      were there any wolf advocates present at the meeting ? If so, who ~ and if it seems prudent, who was conspicuously absent from the meeting ?

      Thanks in advance,

      Brian Ertz

    • Ken Cole says:

      I didn’t see any.

    • Brian Ertz says:

      do you think they’re real ?… or just a conspiratorial construct that the rabid-right uses to maintain angst and division among the masses ?

  3. Tim,

    Thanks!! So perhaps Bangs intends to stay at his post? Not retire?

    Any and all Bang’s statements that you come across in the coming days would be so very welcome.

  4. Brian Ertz says:

    For those who would prefer a professional synopsis rather than to watch the full movie I have prepared such a summary for your convenience :

    USFWS: “May I lick your boot commissioners ?”

    IDFG: “You may indeed lick the boot !”

    USFWS : “Thank you commissioners – that boot tastes mighty fine !”

    • Daniel Berg says:

      Haha…..That comment just made me think of the author Solzhenitysn. He also enjoyed using sarcasm to describe otherwise serious situations.

      Sarcasm is good for the soul from time to time.

    • Salle says:

      From the text above, it sounds like there was much more than just boots being licked….

      Ed Bangs has been a wild card of sorts for some time now and I suspect that it came from his emasculation under Dink Kempthorne who absolutely loathes Mr. Bangs and the wolf re-introducing parties.

      Brian Kelly was an important player in both the Red Wolf project on the east coast and later with the Mexican Grey Wolf program in New Mexico. I haven’t seen him in a very long time, I think he may have gone to work up in Alaska but I’m not sure.

      I was impressed by him the first time I heard him speak about how he was able to gain public approval by including the local human population in the process early on with the Red Wolf project back in the 1990’s. It was during a time when I first Ed Bangs and all the other gov’t agency and NGOs regarding wolves in the US… back in the 1990’s.

  5. davej says:

    Does anybody know anything about Brian Kelly?

  6. Cobra says:

    I think some forget that just because you support a wolf hunting season does not make you anti-wolf.

    • Brian Ertz says:

      i don’t think anyone is overlooking that fact. i, for one, have no ideological problem with a wolf hunt.

      i’ve got a problem with a management plan that seeks to significantly depress a wolf population out of ecological significance.

      that said … i think it’s arguable as to what the actual intention of the commissioners is ~ i.e. do they just want to be able to hunt them for the sake of hunting ? or are they actually expressing an ideological desire to have control ? and even if it were reasonable to consider them acting in good faith, their ability (or inability) to stave off the legislature (which, for anyone who’s sat in on an idaho legislative hearing regarding wolves can testify, these people are whack-job good ol’ boys hellbent on extermination) renders the question moot.

      either way, i’d take a moderated hunt over WS’s War on Wildlife any day. Unfortunately ~ presumably, the politicians won’t settle for that.

    • Daniel Berg says:

      I don’t believe you’re anti-wolf if you support a hunting season. It all just depends on the parameters that are set for the hunt and what the objectives of the individuals who set those parameters are.

    • JB says:

      Cobra: You might check out the discussion here, concerning wolf hunting options: https://wolves.wordpress.com/2010/08/14/comment-on-lolo-10j-wolf-reduction-proposal/

  7. frank renn says:

    As a break from the wolf issue, I would like to comment on the commission`s deciding to adopt new rules for the placement of traps. Five feet from the center line of an established trail does not give you much room when you are hiking with your dog.

    • Ken Cole says:

      I don’t think so either.

      Here is what they adopted:

      Trapping. No person trapping furbearing animals or predatory or unprotected wildlife shall:

      a. Place any ground, water, or other sets on, across, or within 5 feet of center line of any maintained public trail.

      b. Place any ground set on, across, or within any public highway (see note at bottom); except ground sets may be placed under bridges, and within and at culverts that are part of a public highway.

      c. Place any ground set incorporating snare, trap, or attached materials within 300 feet of any designated public campground, trailhead, or picnic areas.

      d. Place any ground set incorporating a foothold trap with an inside jaw spread greater than 9 inches.

      e. Place or set any snare without a break-away device.

      Note: “Public highway” means the traveled portion of, and the shoulders on each side of, any road maintained by any governmental entity for public travel, and includes all bridges, culverts, overpasses, fills, and other structures within the limits of the right-of way of any such road (Idaho Code 36-202).

    • JerryBlack says:

      5 feet from the centerline of a trail……..what a joke. That’s one leap for most dogs which means, if it’s a conibear trap, you’ve got a dead dog.
      In Montana, at least it’s 50 ft from a trail and from a trailhead it’s 300 feet for a ground set and 1000 for snares.
      I find almost as many illegally set as legally set traps. Course, the illegal traps have no ID on them.

    • JerryBlack says:

      Riverbanks and riparian areas are especially dangerous for dogs…that’s where most of the conibears are. I no longer take my dogs fly fishing for that reason. They like to jump off the raft…makes it kinda difficult to focus on fishing.
      I fear snares most of all…a dog with a snare around his neck can’t bark…I know 2 people that have lost dogs that way. Also many trappers don’t bother to collect their snares after the furbearer season….they’re so inexpensive that they feel it’s a waste of time.

    • Save bears says:


      I actually agree 100%, something needs to change, I find the laws that trapping is governed under to be unreasonable in this day and age, I often walk, far more than 5 feet off trail in search of a cutt…and have seen these traps and snares that are unidentified, and I disable them..

  8. STG says:

    Does Ms. Thorson ever get out in the woods on foot, or is she a bureaucrat that makes all the decisions from a desk? I don’t mean to be insulting–she is probably a really nice woman and a dedicated public employee; however, the fact that she is so over-weight leads me to the conclusion that she has never truly had a wilderness experience based on foot travel. Spending time in the wilderness changes one’s perspective especially when one gets to observe wildlife up close. In 2003, I saw a pack of wolves near Trail Creek in the Northern Winds–it was an incredible experience and it reinforced my position of advocating for wildlife.

  9. jon says:

    I have a question for all. The wolf hunting seasons in ID and MT most likely won’t be happening even if the fish and game agencies do try to appeal Molloy’s decision, but I fear when wolf management is back under state management, the wolf quotas will be much higher and more aggressive given the fact that the wolf population was allowed to grow without hunting to slow their #s down somewhat. I also feel this will get uglier and uglier as time passes on. I do not want to see any wolves killed at all, but I accept that wolf hunting will happen whether I agree with it or not. The fact is Idaho wants to reduce their #s down to 518 I believe and there may very well be 1500 wolves in Idaho. That is 1000 wolves killed not to mention all of the wolves that are dying because of wildlife services. I wonder if WY doesn’t follow Idaho and Montana’s lead, will the wolves come off the esl next time? If hunters turn poacher and kill a significant amount of wolves, what will this do? Will wolves remain protected? Where do we go from here?

  10. Ryan says:


    There is a very good chance that Wolves will lose there ESA listing due to an Act of congress right now as a rider on another bill.

  11. Nancy says:

    Jon said: ++If hunters turn poacher and kill a significant amount of wolves, what will this do? Will wolves remain protected? Where do we go from here++

    You just keep caring Jon, in an area that is ripe and more than alittle spoiled rotten with people and politics against anything that might interfere with how their “lifestyle” has been for over 100 years.

    In my area of Montana, it was all about WS sending their gun ships up to take out coyotes, I”ve witnessed more than a few fly bys, in the last 20 years, as they looked for coyotes just before calving season. Now, its all about wolves.

    Its always gonna be about the next big threat, to our species until we finally gets a handle on whats left in our wake.

  12. Rita K. Sharpe says:

    Ryan,Do you know what bill,by chance?

  13. Ryan,

    Please give details about the bill and rider if you can. Sponsor?

  14. Save bears says:

    I am not Ryan,

    But the bill number as well as the small details of this bill has been posted both by me as well as WM, but just in case you missed…

    Here is a link, it is supported by the Congressman in Montana as a co-sponsor.


    Here is another link:


    This with the 13 state and 3 Canadian Provinces memorandum of understanding and request that the wolves be delisted, could gain some traction.

    • Save bears says:

      In the meantime, realize, Chet Edwards is a Democrat and Denny Rehberg is a Republican(co-sponsor)..so come the mid terms, the wolf issue could become more than topics for newspapers and blogs..

    • Save bears says:

      And lest anyone forget, the Grizz DNA study, did become a oft used talking point in the Presidential Election..

    • timz says:

      Odds of passing in Congress = Slim
      Odds of holding up to a legal challenge = slim and none

    • Save bears says:


      That very well may be, the DNA thing, Didn’t Get John elected, but with that and Palin, it sure as hell got a lot of press.

      Now take into account, often times, people vote on party lines, with Denny Jumping on board, with a Democrat(Bi Partisan), then the 13 state agreement and request to delist, it could influence an election in many states, especially in those states with wolves or that may have wolves and really it does not even have to get out of committee…to actually have a big effect…The anti’s are just looking for someone in office in Washington DC to support their feelings..and with the way things are now..it is as Michael Douglas said in the movie “The American President” They don’t drink the sand because they are thirsty, they drink the sand because they don’t know any better”..

      All it takes is a couple of representatives that people who have been sitting on the fence to pay attention to “them and their fears” and it does change the outcomes of elections.

      And again, I agree, I don’t think it will ever make it out of committee and if it did, it won’t pass, but if it did, it would be several years, before the Supreme Court might take the case on…I don’t think Rehberg Co_sponsored because of any other reason, that he is in a re-election run and he is a Montana Representative, with his co-sponsorship, he just increased his chances by a whole bunch..

  15. Rita K. Sharpe says:

    Thank You,Save bears.I missed it.

  16. timz says:

    I don’t think it would have to be decided at the Supreme Court level. I can see it now at even the lowest court level.
    Judge – ” Why should the wolf not be given ESA protection?”
    Lawyer – ” Because all the Id,Mt, &Wy hillbillies and rednecks don’t like all them wulfs.”
    Judge – Case closed, get out.

    • Save bears says:

      See Timz,

      That is the problem, you think these people are hill billies and rednecks, but believe me most are not. A good amount of ranchers in this day and age, have at least Master’s Degree’s, My Nephew has a Master’s from Colorado State and he is a Ranch Manager in OR, and he is not in favor of wolves…

      You have to remember, when you under estimate your enemy, that will lead to your downfalls, I know quite a few lawyers that are anti wolf or neutral wolf, I know quite a few biologists with a minimum of their Masters that are neutral or anti wolf..

      Just because you don’t like their position, does not mean you should dismiss their education.

      But I will assure you, you pretty much answered as I expected..

    • Save bears says:

      You have to remember, many positions with Game Dept’s actually require degree’s, minimum 4 years and many higher, plus ongoing studies..(What level have you attained?) And no, I am not saying anything derogatory…but I find it quite amazing, that many think they are up against hillbilly rednecks.

      I know when I hired on With FWP, if I wanted to advance, I had to continue my studies and I already had a Masters.

      Now lets talk about the “Little Folk” A good many of them also hold degree’s and don’t hold a favorable stance for wolves! A great many are well educated enough to actually wait until such time as they see a weak spot. On the various blogs I am starting to see them come out of the wood work, in about the same manner as those who come out when a criminal gets off on a technicality…

      The future will be very interesting, but don’t think it will end in the lower courts, because you will loose if you think that, this is far bigger than simple thinking, it is a political party polarizing issue, as are many others in this country..

    • Moose says:

      “I know quite a few biologists with a minimum of their Masters that are neutral or anti wolf..”

      Sb, are these biologists actually anti-wolf? Or, are they just not in agreement with the recent rulings?

  17. timz says:

    com on, I don’t care how smart they are or think they are.
    To single out one species to be excluded from the ESA

    • Save bears says:


      I am not arguing, but I can tell you the courts do care how smart they are and how well they present their arguments..The pro wolf side, found a technicality, and I can guarantee you, the anti wolf side, or the anti government side(how ever you see them), are searching case law to find another technicality as well. In the mean time, we have representatives that are also using this to their advantage…I am not against wolves, but there are arguments to be made that show wolves are not endangered of going extinct, just as there is with grizzly bears.

      What I find so sad, is there are actually many other species that are really in threat of going extinct are being ignored..

      You may not care how smart or how smart they think they are, but it is not up to us, it is up to the court..as we saw with the re-listing, the judges care about the law and the case law..

    • jon says:

      sb, I will agree with you in that there are species out there being ignored such as the wolverine. This wolf issue is one that everyone seems to talk about.

    • Save bears says:

      And Jon,

      In the meantime we continue to loose those other species…it is really sad, one species that is actually in jeopardy of being lost, taking all the time, effort and money away of those who are trouble, in fact this has taken so much energy, we DON’T even have a good idea on where the other ones stand at! We have such a little idea about wolverines, that Montana still allows trapping them, and it could be a very good candidate for being protected!

      Really, tell me what happens, when this is all said and done, and finally, they have time to devote to the wolverine and we find out………………………..there are none left?

    • jon says:

      sb, there aren’t many wolverines left in MT is there? Why do they allow trapping if there isn’t a big wolverine population in MT? I find it mind boggling why someone would purposely trap and kill an amazing animal like a wolverine just for its fur. You don’t find that a little disgusting? An amazing animal like a wolverine being killed just for its fur?

    • jon says:

      I hope that isn’t the case when it’s all said and done. Wolverines are amazing little animals and they are tough little guys as well standing up to wolves and bears. It would be a major shame to lose these amazing little animals.

    • Save bears says:


      I can honestly say with 100% conviction I have no idea of how many wolverines are in Montana, and I can say with 100% conviction, neither does anyone else!

    • Cody Coyote says:

      On occasions with some degree of melancholy I recall that not that long ago we had Woodland Caribou ranging from western Wyoming all the way to the Pacific ocean. The only Caribou now left in the Lower 48 are a very small herd in the Selkirks of northern Idaho ( < 50 animals ? ) that are an extension of the Caribou population in the Selkirks of southern B.C.

      The ESA came too late for the American Woodland Caribou , but at least their name lives on in eastern Idaho's Caribou-Targhee National Forest.

      It's startling to recall that we went from having 60 million native Bison in the Lower 48 to a few dozen , too. Pre-ESA by a century.

      Surely there's a lesson here somewhere.

    • WM says:


      From Chapter 6, WA Draft Wolf Management Plan:

      There are fewer than 50 woodland caribou in WA, also part of the Selkirk animals.

      ++Recent declines of woodland caribou populations in British Columbia have been linked to the expansion of moose and the subsequent increase of wolves, which ahs resulted in greater predation on caribou (Wittmer et al. 2005; Stotyn et al. 2007). [ p. 95].++

      Also consider:

      The Eleventh North American Caribou Workshop,
      Jasper, Alberta, Canada,
      24-27 April, 2006.

      The need for the management of wolves — an open letter
      Arthur T. Bergerud
      1233 Isabella Road, Salt Spring Island, British Columbia, Canada.
      ABSTRACT: The Southern Mountain and Boreal Woodland Caribou are facing extinction from increased predation, predominantly wolves (Canis lupus) and coyotes (Canis latrans). These predators are increasing as moose (Alces alces) and deer (Odocoileus spp). expand their range north with climate change. Mitigation endeavors will not be sufficient; there are too many predators. The critical habitat for caribou is the low predation risk habitat they select at calving: It is not old growth forests and climax lichens. The southern boundary of caribou in North America is not based on the presence of lichens but on reduced mammalian diversity. Caribou are just as adaptable as other cervids in their use of broadleaf seed plant as forage. Without predator management these woodland caribou will go extinct in our life time.++

      [Rangifer, Special Issue No. 17: 39-50]


    • Salle says:

      You can lead a mind to knowledge but you can’t make it think…

    • WM says:


      Presuming you were referring to Dr. Bergerud, he is a professor of biology and ungulate specialist at the University of Victoria, BC. He is THE EXPERT on woodland caribou. He pretty clearly says too many wolves/coyotes in a changing world climate at the southern edge of the woodland caribou range are putting them at risk. This includes the very area that Cody mentions – small area of WA and ID. Pretty straightforward conclusion.

      Wolves key in on the woodland caribou calving habitat and kill calves. The WA draft wolf plan says BC has been selectively killing wolves in an attempt to increase caribou calf production [p.95]. Sound familiar.

      Do you disagree with his conclusion and can you back it up? That is the real question that should be asked and answered. The interesting thing in my mind is that the very rare woodland caribou doesn’t get any face time with Defenders as species of concern. Wonder if they would argue, that there are lots of them in Canada, so we don’t need any in WA or ID?

    • WM,

      Wolves don’t key on mountain caribou (as you say) because there are far too few mountain caribou for wolves, or anything else to key on them.

      Mountain caribou are taken by wolves instead as incidental take in places where deer, moose and elk are increasing. The prey that wolves and other large predators actually key on are increasing because of forestry and development that results in clearing of the deep, old forest that mountain caribou require.

      The mountain caribou are very endangered in the lower 48 states. I would have no problem killing wolves in their range, but their range is very small. It only occupies a tiny part of Selkirk Mountains on the extreme northern Idaho/B.C. boundary. That is the basic problem.

      This kind of problem usually comes down to habitat limitations due to human caused habitat changes.

    • WM says:


      We can agree on the few numbers of caribou, and the likelihood of encounters being few. This is another species which needs ESA protection and recovery.

      The expressed concerns about impacts of wolves on rare caribou in Canada and the small WA/ID herd are those of Canadian scientists and wildlife managers, and are cited by the state of WA with regard to the small caribou herd, as I stated in the earlier post. They are perceived to be a concern. The claims are not mine.

      From the WA Draft Wolf Management Plan at p. 94-95:

      ++……few wolves are expected to reside in the Salmo-Priest {wilderness, because of poor habitat} meaning that predation on caribous would probably occur infrequently. Nevertheless any wolf-related losses to the herd would havea significant impact on the population…..Recent declines of woodland caribou populations in British Columbia have been linked to the expansion of moose and the subsequent increase of wolves, which has resulted in greater predation on caribou (Wittmer et al. 2005, Stotyn et al. 2007)……….. To reduce the threat of predation, woodland caribou attempt to isolate themselves from predators and other more abundant prey species by selecting old forests and alpine areas, and avoiding areas near roads……….Habitat overlap between caribou and wolves is greatest in the spring and calving season, resulting in increased risk of predation for caribou. Localized reductions of specific wolf packs and other large predators have been used to reduce the impact of predation on mountain caribou populations in the province (G. Mowat, pers. comm.), but regular use of this type of management may carry unacceptable ethical implications for the recovery of rare species in the United States (Wittmer et al. 2005).++

      The discussion above is in reference to what I understand is the relatively contiguous range which these woodland caribou share regardless of whether it is US or Canada.

      Bergrud’s article is referenced in my post above, and the Abstract is printed verbatum.

      I would also add to this, a Wikipedia article (not the best source I will agree, but nonetheless summarizing the status in the US):

      ++In the United States the woodland caribou is one of the most critically endangered mammals, with only a few woodland caribou found south of the Canada border each year. In the US there is only one naturally occurring herd of woodland caribou in extreme northern Idaho, eastern Washington, and British Columbia, Canada, of about 40 animals. There is, however, a concerted effort on the part of the North Central Caribou Corporation and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness to reintroduce a herd of around 75 animals from the Slate Islands in Lake Superior to northern Minnesota. However, the high incidence of whitetail deer and wolves in the region will likely prove quite problematic.++

    • JB says:


      Not sure if you missed this part, from the abstract you posted above:

      “These predators are increasing as moose (Alces alces) and deer (Odocoileus spp). expand their range north with climate change.”

      I don’t want to speak for Ralph, but, per usual, a complex ecological problem that involves multiple species and changes in climate is being greatly oversimplified. Caribou do indeed deserve protection (and this could [should?] include predator control). Yet, the abstract reads such that the root of the problem is not wolves, but rather changes in other ungulate densities that are themselves the result of climatic change.

    • JB says:

      Sorry hit “submit” too soon.

      Killing wolves may indeed address the proximate cause of the caribou deaths, but you’re reduced to treating a symptom of a problem that is farm more complex.

    • SEAK Mossback says:

      Interesting. The only woodland caribou herd in Alaska, the Chisana (pronounced shoosha’na) herd declined to a very low level due to a similar problem with predation on young calves and a consequent aging population structure with very low recruitment. Habitat change may also be an important factor there as well. Similar to the Selkirk herd, it is a transboundary herd – with the Yukon Territory. Over a period of 4 years, there was a program on the Yukon side to pen a number of cows (30-40/year) with temporary fencing until the calves were about 3 weeks old and highly mobile. School children were involved in gathering feed. Anyway, the project did substantially boost survival of calves but was limited of course by the proportion of cows they could handle. It’s sort of like hatchery intervention in salmon, not really a long-term solution but maybe a means to stave off extinction, hoping that conditions for survival will change.

      Their conclusion: “Our results indicate that captive rearing could be a useful management action to conserve small, at-risk populations of woodland caribou, primarily to provide time to address factors limiting population growth.


    • WM says:


      I did read the Abstract, and the sentence you quote, which is why I reproduced the entire thing so that people could see the complexity. I also took a quick at the paper itself. I am not trying to oversimplify this problem at all.

      And, as you point out from the Abstract it is the wolves which are expanding in number and range ALONG WITH the moose and the deer, and that is what is apparently putting them in closer proximity to the endangered caribou (recognized under both Canadian and US law), which then is requiring the wolf control, in Canada at least, because they are killing calves and keeping the caribou population from increasing as it might in the absence of wolves, apparently.

      The preying on calves was really my point, as it is the concern in the Lolo (except the habitat which is also acknowledged, but which is not limiting elk population on nutritional grounds), and elsewhere with the increasing population of wolves in the NRM.

      One has to remember some who monitor and comment on this forum continue to incorrectly believe that wolves take only the sick and old, which we know is BS, but they spew it back anyway.

    • WM,

      I don’t think many active participants on this blog believe that wolves only take the sick and the weak.

      The unfortunate thing is that this is a statistical generalization of how things turn out — the kind of prey does end up killed. Probabilistic generalizations are often hard for the casual observer to understand.

    • JB says:

      A long-time employee with Wildlife Services (whose job it was to kill coyotes suspected of killing sheep) once told me that coyotes will make a liar out of you every time. The same is true with wolves. It seems to me that the word “only” is the culprit, here. Yet it IS true that wolves kill the sick and the weak (which includes calves, by the way) disproportionately (that is, more than one would expect given their representation in the population). The word “only” gets inserted by people who don’t understand the finer points of statistics and then their comments are thrown up as straw men to be easily defeated by those more knowledgeable. A round ‘n round we go…

    • WM says:


      ++The word “only” gets inserted by people who don’t understand the finer points of statistics++

      Kind of like the statement we have seen here so many times when anti-wolfer says, “Wolves are killing all the elk.” Or, when a wolf advocate says, “Wolves are not killing ALL the elk, like you say” (when in fact the person(s) accused didn’t use the word “all”).”

      Part of the problem is the lack of precision in the way we Americans sometimes write/speak. We tend not to think about the statistical implications of our loose statements (or we do it on purpose to aggravate). Not everyone is trained to dissect a sentence to ascertain accurate meaning, or even wants to. Maybe that is the purview of the critical thinkers – scientists, lawyers and political science professors, and the occasional philoshoper. Critical thinking does, however, lead to better understanding of an issue.

      It is the insertion of an absolute – “all,” “none,” “only,” “never,” “every” that distorts truth (statistically speaking, as you suggest), and tends to stifle reasonable discussion. Using absolutes when describing natural biological systems seems likely to promote misunderstandings.

      Another twist on the same theme is the inference of “all” by just using a noun, without an adjective to qualify it. For example, “Hunters just want to see wolves dead,” the logical inference here being, “all” hunters. We have seen inaccurate statements like that consume alot of time here. Depending on the view of the writer, he/she could make the point better by saying “Most hunters….,” or “Some,” and maintain a little personal credibility and move on.

      I can name individuals, past and present posting here, who have used the “only” word in reference to what wolves consume from ungulate populations. Hopefully, with more discussion and education those absolute terms are used less often.

    • JB says:

      Exactly. Actually, I think the example you give (hunters being “lumped” together under one stereotype) is probably the most common here, and it aggravates me greatly.

      I think many people make these “distortions” unintentionally for the reasons you’ve described (e.g. lack of critical thinking, unfamiliarity with statistics). However, they have also been used intentionally to purposefully distort the truth and antagonize. They are part of the hyperbole that pervades the debate about wolves that has existed from before their reintroduction (as when they were referred to as “the Saddam Hussein of the animal kingdom” or when one Senator predicted there would be a dead child “within a year”).

      Unfortunately, politicians seem to have little use for facts or reasonable dialogue; it seems they relish in the conflict?

    • jburnham says:

      WM says: “Part of the problem is the lack of precision in the way we Americans sometimes write/speak.”

      Agreed. We also often lack precision in WHAT we speak about on this blog. Many discussions start with a specific topic and devolve into the generic “us” vs. “them”. There’s no progress possible once it becomes a debate about pro-wolf vs anti-wolf.

      However, I see no reason we can’t resolve at least some of the specific issues. What to do about the Lolo zone? What is a satisfactory legal framework for delisting? What would a responsible hunt look like? We can at least make progress on questions like these if we stick to specifics rather than always getting embroiled in the intractable cultural debates.

  18. timz says:

    com on, I don’t care how smart they are or think they are.
    To try to single out one species to be excluded from the ESA is just plain silly. No court is going to buy into that.

    • jon says:

      Timz is right sb. I don’t see how they can do that. It is clear they are anti wolf. The wolves were put back on the endangered species list because of Donald Molloy. Who are these people to try and get wolves removed from the list? Molloy put the wolves back on the list for a reason. i have seen angry hunters calling Molloy a greenie radical liberal judge and saying he should be removed from the bench. If he ruled in their favor, they would be singing a different tune, guaranteed. I don’t see these lawsuits stopping anytime soon. Hunters apparently want to go back the deal that was supposedly made years ago and have only 300 wolves in all of the 3 states and wolf supporters want 2000 or more wolves in the 3 states.

    • Save bears says:


      They were only put back on the list, because the USFWS was flawed in their delisting, by only delisting in two states, not because the wolves are endangered, they are actually recovered and not in danger of disappearing..it was a simple technicality, which can actually be ascertained from the ruling..you agree with Timz, because he and you have a similar opinion on the issue..

      I am not against wolves, but I really would hope that people would delve into this farther than the emotion and the name calling.

    • jon says:

      I think some pro wolf advocates know wolves are not endangered, but some would rather not see them shot dead.

    • Save bears says:


      How do you shoot anything alive?

      One fact of life, there will be a hunting season, maybe not now, but there will be in the future..you need to try an understand that..I am sorry if you don’t want them shot dead, but they will be, whether by a licensed hunter or a government hunter..you decide, 1 person shooting 1 wolf or a helicopter shooting whole packs…?

    • jon says:

      I understand that sb. I accepted it is going to happen sooner or later. I will never agree with it, but I accept it will happen.

    • I could support a reasonable hunting season. In fact I have. My definition of a reasonable season is one where the wolf is treated like other game with the goal being sustainable take from year to year with the goal an essentially stable population (not a decrease).

      The trouble with the wildlife agencies in Idaho and Montana is that they are planning, and publicly state that their goal is to reduce the population. In addition they wish to use methods of take that many believe are not fair chase

  19. timz says:

    And I’m sure they had their brightest people on this last go around and you see the result. If you watch the videos of the F&WS lackey you will hear her say something to the effect of “we’ve taken a beating in court on wolf issues already”, so I don’t see ranchers with masters as much of a threat.

    • Save bears says:

      Timz Said:

      “And I’m sure they had their brightest people on this last go around”

      I can tell you for a fact, no they didn’t…you guys are being played..and your playing right into their hands..

  20. Cobra says:

    You ever hear the saying dumb like a fox? Just wait and you might see the meaning.

  21. Rita K. Sharpe says:

    Timz, There are some pretty nice people in that part for the country,but like in many other parts of the country, we all are having issues and concerns. I haven’t been out there visiting for a long time,but the people might have changed but I know one thing,by calling them rednecks,etc. isn’t going to get things accomplished. The slurs that thrown at the other side isn’t any better.The issue is so polarized.Everbody is fustrated right now and no easy answers to give them.We tend to be impatient.

  22. timz says:

    “Timz, There are some pretty nice people in that part for the country”
    yes and that doesn’t change the fact that there are plenty of hillbillies and rednecks

    • Save bears says:


      I would really find it comical if you went into the court and used that terminology, I am sure you would be found in contempt..your hatred is blinding you as much as it is the anti side, and that is really a shame..

  23. timz says:

    “I am not against wolves, but I really would hope that people would delve into this farther than the emotion and the name calling.”

    Well said, so why aren’t the anti-wolf people calling for sit downs and talks to resolve these issues instead of talk about how to get around the ruling and kill more wolves, and re-writing ESa, or getting wolves excempt from the ESa, or practicing SSS, etc.

    • Save bears says:

      Why aren’t the pro wolf people, both sides have canceled meeting since they have been relisted…this is a two way street and both sides have dug their heels in the sand, as I said above, stubbornness is allowing us to loose species every day, in favor of one that is not in danger of disappearing..

      One thing that I am 99% sure of, there will be legislation in the very near future to rewrite the ESA. While that is happening, many species are going to not be in good shape..

    • jon says:

      sb, those on the anti wolf side have said that this isn’t about wolves, it’s about environmental organizations using the wolf as a cash cow. What are your thoughts on this?

      read what Dave Allen says, David Allen, RMEF president and CEO, says animal rights groups have learned that introducing wolves translates to major fundraising, and activists have found a way to exploit the Endangered Species Act—as well as taxpayer-funded programs that cover lawyer fees—to push their agenda and build revenue through the courts.

      I will support wolves until the day I die sb and I am a little weary of some of these environmental organizations. I do believe some of them actually care about wolves, but maybe some of them are using the wolf as a “cashcow”. I don’t see much point at all in filing lawsuit after lawsuit every single year. I don’t see them helping in the long run simply because if the wolves keep getting relisted it only means that a much bigger wolf hunting quota is likely when a hunting season is allowed and ws will be working overtime and be killing more wolves since a hunting season will not be allowed.

    • Save bears says:


      I read all of the articles you read, please I don’t need you to keep directing me to them, I do have a very good handle on what is going on as well as what is being said..you do realize some of us actually get the press releases before the news papers….right?

    • jon says:

      sb, what’s with the know it all attitude? How am I supposed to know what articles you have read?

    • Save bears says:


      It is not a know it all attitude, I just happened to be signed up on feeds to just about every news source in the country that publishes things about wildlife…and you keep telling me to read something…I do this for a very poor living, so really I do pay attention…

    • Ryan says:

      Because they would have to sit with people like you..

  24. timz says:

    “You just proved my point in this conversation very clearly.”
    To whom, you?

  25. timz says:

    “Why aren’t the pro wolf people, both sides have canceled meeting since they have been relisted…this is a two way street and both sides have dug their heels in the sand”

    Provide a link please to back this up.

    • Save bears says:

      Night Tim…

      As far as inks, just read the news, the Missoulian, the Billings Gazette and a couple of other news papers had articles about this..

      But I will ask you, and you are pro wolf………Right? Are you willing to sit down and talk?

  26. timz says:

    don’t see any pro-wolf groups on this invite

  27. Cobra says:

    And some people wonder why we don’t care to much for some of the city folk that come out here. Maybe cause we’uns don’t like ya’lls smart ass attitude. But what does we know bout them thar wolfs, we just lives wit em day in n day out. jeesh.

    • Save bears says:

      Well Said Cobra…

      Theer just bee fools on all seeds of these ussues!

    • Save bears says:


      I have a seven member pack howling this evening about a 1/4 mile from the house and have had since about 6 this afternoon..

      Now why in the hell are you calling me names? Is your temper so short, you can’t talk with reason?

      Ralph or Ken, I would respectfully request, that you send Tim one of those same stern warnings you have sent me, Tim, just don’t seem to get it and continues with the name calling, for the most part, those of us, that have been sent warnings have understood and taken appropriate actions to calm it down…

    • STG says:

      Come on people! Stop the posturing and the insulting rhetoric. This website offers great insights and debate from all perspectives when the people who comment respond intellectually without making personal attacks or put-downs.

    • I’ve been in the woods for two weeks, and I am currently using a motel internet in a rural town. Ken or Brian will take care of any “time-outs.”

      I’m really just checking inl

  28. Elk275 says:


    ++It’s not hatred, it’s pity for an ignoramus like yourself.++

    I have found Saves Bears a positive voice on this forum and one who understands and can articulate the local’s feelings. Let’s not be stupid and engage in name calling.

    • Save bears says:


      What we don’t understand or choose to ignore! What can you say!

      By the way, I might be heading to Yellowstone in the next 3 weeks, if I do, any chance of meeting up?

    • Elk275 says:

      I would love to meet you. My office phone number is 1-406-586-0900.

    • Save bears says:

      If I am able to make it, I will give you a call..

    • Save bears says:


      By the way, have Ralph give you my email, and send me a note, him know its ok

    • Barb Rupers says:

      I agree with you, Elk275. Well said.

  29. timz says:

    “I have found Saves Bears a positive voice on this forum ”
    Your certainly intitled to your opinion, But I have found him to be a pompous a-hole who thinks we should all hold on to his every word because he claims to be a wounded Vet.

    • Save bears says:

      You have the right to your opinion as well Timz..

    • Save bears says:

      And believe me, you are sure not the first one to call me a pompous Asshole..

      And I certainly don’t want someone of your nature to hold on any of my words!


  30. timz says:

    And Cobra’s post was a positive I suppose?

    • Save bears says:


      That is in the eye of the reader, some may think it was, I am sure many don’t see it as positive, but just remember, he as well as you have the right to post it, until such time as the owner and the moderator say so..

      Ralph? Ken? Care to weigh in here?

  31. timz says:

    Don’t care, but I’m not calling for Ralph or Ken to send one of those stern warnings like you were.

    • Save bears says:

      Poor baby…here let me offer you a tissue…

    • Save bears says:

      So you think you are justified in calling others names? do you really think that adds credibility to your position, or perhaps, degrades your position?

      Of course beings YOUR the one calling others names, I would suspect calling for a stern warning would be last on the list…

  32. timz says:

    Your the one whining to the webmaster not me. For a supposed bad-ass vet you seem like a pussy to me.

  33. timz says:

    Yawn, bedtime, got an early tee time tomorrow

  34. Cobra says:

    I’ve had wolves on my property for the last four years. Found several kills as well. There’s room for wolves but I feel their should be a season on them, if nothing else so tag fees could help fund research. My comment was made more in fun than anything else, take it as you will. I do however get sick and tired of all us people in Idaho being called a bunch of dumb hillbillies and rednecks. I’ve lived in 5 different states and only lack 5 of being in all 50. Yea, there are some here like anywhere else that the family tree doesn’t have many branches, however their are for the most part really good people here and a lot of them would give you the shirt off their back.

  35. timz says:

    “Have a great time, hope you shoot under par..”

    Thanks, that would be great but HIGHLY unlikely.

    • Save bears says:

      I know the feeling, heck, I don’t even have a handicap, I am so bad, but I do love hitting that little ball around the fairways! And I always have fun!

    • Daniel Berg says:

      Timz & SB –

      You guys aren’t brothers by chance, are you? LOL

  36. Rita K. Sharpe says:

    Timz,This a wild life blog and everyone speaks about everyhing under the sun,but lately the languge,honestly.This is the problem.Everyone at times gets carried away ,for this issue along with another issue that pops up, gets everyones underwear in bunches and the topic of the post gets lost .I enjoy reading about everyones views.Timz,take a time.out.

    • jon says:

      sb needs a timeout too. sb, go sit in the corner and cool off.

    • Save bears says:

      For what Jon? Posting information that is contrary to yours?, I simply posting information on what I feel could happen if the bill gains any traction at all, I didn’t call anyone names. So tell me why I need a time out? I was laughing the whole time..

  37. WM says:

    ++ timz Says:
    August 19, 2010 at 10:21 PM
    com on, I don’t care how smart they are or think they are.
    To single out one species to be excluded from the ESA++

    Just to broaden your knowledge a bit, the state of MN received special treatment of its wolves under the ESA in 1978. Their wolves were treated separately, as a distinct species, under the law and listed as “threatened.” This means they may not have to play by the rules everybody else seems to have to observe with the creation and administration of the Distinct Population Segments (DPS) that had been the bain of the delisting efforts by FWS.

    On March 15, 2010 the state of MN petitioned FWS for delisting of its particular wolves outside the DPS designation which it shares with WI and MI. FWS is currently considering the petition. Interestingly, the MN wolves are the exclusive source wolves for WI and MI, which have migrated in and comprise the entire population of the Great Lakes wolves in those other two states.

    Because of the bullshit litigation filed by HSUS a couple of years ago, and the technical legal arguments and judicial rulings of statutory construction of this provision of the ESA MN has had to resort to its own creative legal arguments to get its wolves (and possibly those of WI which has its own petition, and MI) delisted. As this knowledge and frustration with delisting is shared with other states momentum seems to be building for at least considering changes to the ESA, possibly for good reason.

    If MN fails in its efforts due to some “technical” flaw, it would be easy to see two or possibly three (the reluctant sister being MI) more states taking a front row seat to seeking changes to the ESA.

    So timz, stay tuned. I was actually enjoying some dialog with you over the last couple of months. But, I see by your language and tone with a couple of commenters yesterday, your folks must have left the lock off the liquor cabinet again.

  38. Nancy says:

    Cobra said: Yea, there are some here like anywhere else that the family tree doesn’t have many branches, however their are for the most part really good people here and a lot of them would give you the shirt off their back.

    Cobra, unfortunely the “shirt off their back” senerio seldom extends past those that might disagree with current events, like wolves back on the landscape or the abuse of public lands.


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