Though Wyoming caused relisting of the wolf twice, they have no plans to change-

The article interestingly enough says that Idaho’s Butch Otter and and Montana’s Brian Schweitzer haven’t bothered to ask Wyoming’s retiring Governor Freudenthal whether Wyoming intends to reconsider.” I’m not sure what to make of that.

Wyoming not apologetic for thwarting wolf plans. Ben Neary Associated Press

About The Author

Ralph Maughan

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

93 Responses to Wyoming not apologetic for thwarting wolf plans

  1. Robert Hoskins says:

    Here’s the key paragraph of this story:

    “Ironically, Molloy’s decision also effectively leaves Wyoming – whose wolf management plan the judge excoriated two years ago – in the position of controlling wolf management in the entire Northern Rockies, at least for now.”

    Aside from “ironically,” the paragraph is entirely accurate. Nothing ironic about it. As I have long argued, the current situation is entirely to Wyoming’s liking; it fits Wyoming’s external anti-fed strategy and internal anti-democratic, pro-oligarchy strategy. It’s a power game, and presently Wyoming is winning. Both Otter and Schweitzer are saying nothing because they want to be able to play the same game, but lack the cojones–that is, the political backing–to do so.

    What I find interesting, although it’s not in this story, is the push from the right wing in Idaho and Montana to follow Wyoming’s lead. If this demand pushes itself into the mainstream of the states’ politics as it has here in Wyoming, they just might do so. If that happens, what we now call gridlock might look like cooperation compared to what’s coming.


  2. Cody Coyote says:

    Agree with Hoskins and Ralph , as usual. However, one of these days Judge Alan Johnson in Cheyenne will chime in with his take on Wyoming’s wolf plan and we will have the final puzzle piece. I would’ve thought Johnson’s ruling would’ve come by now , shortly after Molloy’s and been a derivative of it . Molloy ruled on the entire Northern Rockies 3-state management picture , but Johnson is only considering the merits of Wyoming’s gawdawful plan and hopeless legal rhetoric.

    I just don’t see how Johnson can do anything with Wyoming’s plan except trash it once and for all. Molloy’s ruling overwhelms Wyoming’s arguments.

    Historical footnote; it was Dave Freudenthal in his role as US Attorney for Montana and Wyoming who prosecuted the first illegal wolf kill case for the government , in 1996-97 , before he was elected Governor in 2002. Freudenthal got a conviction of the perp who killed the alpha male of the first pack to den outside Yellwostone, near Red Lodge MT ion 1995. The ESA had provisions for fines of up to $ 50,000 ( then …it’s $ 100 k now) for poaching an endangered species. Freudenthal asked for and got almost a token fine for the convicted poacher Chad McKittrick …I recall it being only $ 500 or so. Another wolf poacher prosecuted by the same US Attorney’s office ( also by Freudenthal ??) was convicted first and also fined only $ 500 , even though his incident came after McKittrick’s much higher profile incident. McKittirck’s was a precedent setting case, but Freudenthal set the bar very , VERY low for convictions and punishments , disappointingly so.

    I’m pretty sure the reason Governors Otter and Schweitzer haven’t publically asked Freudenthal to repent the Wyoming plan for the greater good is they already know privately that Freudenthal has never been anything other than a wolf reintroduction antagonist to the bone marrow. Dave had to follow the rules when he was a US Attorney , but as Governor he can make his own rules, or at least policy. And has done just that . He will not compromise on wolves. QED.

  3. timz says:

    My guess is Otter stays quiet for awhile after he was made to look like a complete fool by DOW pres Roger S. in the Statesman editorial the other day.

    • jon says:

      He recently went on nra radio a few days ago and talked about the wolf issue. Otter is a clown.

  4. JimT says:

    But for the moment, he has power, and that makes him a dangerous clown.

    • Robert Hoskins says:


      I appear to be talking and no one’s listening. Wyoming’s wolf policy is the consequence of a rational strategy for maintaining and expanding political power vis a vis the federal government and people.

      Thinking of Dave Freudenthal and the Stockgrowers and other Wyoming oligarchs as “clowns” is an incorrect and dangerous misinterpretation of their character. You can’t wage successful battles by foolishly simplifying your enemies to what you’d like them to be. You have to deal with them as they are, and they are Machiavells, not circus performers.


      • Save bears says:


        Good statement Robert, and unfortunately, it seems to be the norm for all sides now a days..

      • Save bears says:

        As you know, under estimating your opponent is often times the reason you loose, and I think many who have a stake in this issue, under estimate their opponent, the fatal flaw of human nature..

      • JEFF E says:

        Exactly, to believe that these people do not spend a significant amount of time addressing these issue and formulating strategy will be a fatal error. the livestock industry is a major player, if not “thee” major player, in Western politics and has learned over the decades to be a behind the scenes force. that will encourage and support all the puppets necessary to keep there prerogative in the Western states. It is about to get interesting.
        (as a side note they don’t give a rats ass about “wildlife” or “habitat” or any thing else that gets in the way of raising livestock, don’t believe me just do some close research on the bighorn sheep issue. just the tip of the iceberg.)

  5. Rusty says:

    Ralph, I know you have ran articles on this before but saw this article today.

  6. JimT says:


    Labeling someone as a clown, and dismissing them are two entirely different steps. If I wasn’t concerned about Otter and the gang, I wouldn’t have pointed out the power he and others enjoy to make this issue such a mess legally and politically. Unfortunately..or fortunately, I live in Colorado, and can do little about Otter in the most direct way possible…work to retire him from political life.

    • jon says:

      JimT, the people you have come across and discussed wolves with, how are their attitudes towards them if they were to return to Colorado?

    • Save bears says:

      Seems to be I remember this question has been asked many times about many states, seems that a search of the blog would bring those answers up..

    • JB says:


      A 1994 study found that “70.8% of Coloradans (+/- 4.1%; 95% confidence interval) would vote in favor of wolf reintroduction while 29.2% would vote against it.”

      Pate et al. (1996). Coloradans’ Attitudes toward Reintroducing the Gray Wolf into Colorado. Wildlife Society Bulletin, 24(3) 421-428.

      • WM says:


        That, of course, would have been 1994, before there were ANY reintroduced wolves ANWHERE in the NRM, and of course no experience with them. We are sixteen years out from that earlier assessment date, with on the ground history, as we know, in adjacent states, which I suspect will temper responses from then to some degree.

        I see opportunities for social science surveyors, JB, if there is funding for such needed work during these lean times.

        Surveys are useful only if the right questions are asked. I have had problems with the way surveyors asked questions in the past (like the ones state wildlife agencies used with contractor administration at the start of reintroduction) – whether there is intended bias or not.

        Finding the right questions to ask is a first challenge. Then, the second is objectivity in asking questions in a way that gets objective responses. That part is extremely difficult.

        Here is one survey question that we will likely never on paper:

        Up to 15-25% of wolves would be killed each year after they reach recovery levels, to meet state wildlife management objectives for elk populations, provide hunter opportunities to harvest wolves, or to control “problem” wolves killing livestock, with this knowledge I would still like to see them reintroduced.

        RESPONSE: Strongly Agree, Agree, Moderately Agree, No Opinion, Moderately Disagree, Disagree, Strongly Disagree.

      • JB says:


        Certainly much time has passed but, if I were a betting man, I would guess a replication of this study today would be within the margin of error (4%) of the original estimate. Why? (1) Because the people who are likely to oppose the reintroduction of wolves based on the experiences of other states (i.e. ranchers, some hunters) make up a relatively small portion of the overall population; (2) Colorado is highly urbanized compared with ID, WY, and MT, and urban residents are the most likely to exhibit strong positive attitudes toward wolves; and (3) existing research indicates attitudes toward wolves have been relatively stable, at least among populations where wolves are not present.

        The survey I cited (above) used the theory of planned behavior (TPB) as the theoretical basis for predicting support for wolf reintroduction. The TPB (and its predecessor) the theory of reasoned action are currently the best frameworks available for predicting volitional behavior. Note, these same researchers (Manfedo and colleagues) used this framework to predict Coloradan’s support for a trapping ban (which passed by ballot initiative a short time later). In the case of the wolf study, the researchers weighted responses to accurately reflect the population of interest (CO residents) when they found non-respondents were less likely to support reintroduction than respondents.

        – – – –

        I could spend a long time talking about how to right good survey questions. I have found that most of the time when people object to question they don’t understand the true intent of the question being asked–often this is purposeful on the part of researchers.

        Your question is interesting, though it could be simplified:

        Would you support or oppose the killing of 15-25% of the wolf population per year in order to provide hunting opportunities for elk hunters?


        Would you support or oppose a wolf hunting season for the purpose of keeping elk hunting opportunities at their current level?

      • JB says:

        What I intended to type was:

        “I could spend a long time talking about how to WRITE good survey questions.”


      • WM says:

        I was very serious regarding the need for more inquiry into how things have changed, or not, regarding wolf acceptance in CO, or elsewhere.

        I know my sample question was wordy and poorly crafted. I was trying to make a point. But, I notice your alternative question doesn’t give the respondent the necessary background to make a decision (you only address the elk hunting part, omit wolf harvest as a separate opportunity and omit livestock and then don’t talk about what percentage of the wolf population might be killed each year). Details are important here and can affect responses. Some respondents simply do not know enough about the reproductive capabilities of wolves, their impacts (positive or negative) and the likely reality that their numbers will at some point most likely have to be controlled. I doubt (but do not know) that Manfredo’s survey work addressed those elements.

        I do know who Manfredo is, at the Warner School.

      • JB says:

        “Details are important here and can affect responses. Some respondents simply do not know enough about the reproductive capabilities of wolves, their impacts (positive or negative) and the likely reality that their numbers will at some point most likely have to be controlled.”

        Indeed, you’ll get no argument from me there. However, details are problematic in surveys for several reasons. First, people rarely agree on what details (facts) are most relevant; they also often argue about what the facts are (in this case, one might quibble with your 15-25% estimate, for example). Second, such details often overwhelm the cognitive capacity of respondents, leading to significant non-response (or worse, refusal to partake in the survey altogether). Finally, details rarely make it into policy. Indeed, laying out such specifics would “handcuff” wildlife managers (i.e. resulting in less management flexibility). Still many surveys seek the answers to more specific questions that provide the context you are seeking (e.g. What percentage of the wolf population do you think it is acceptable to harvest annually).

      • JimT says:

        WM, you can quit holding your breath now..;*) We are a little busy here, with as yet totally uncontained wild fire burning about 9 miles away. No chance…fingers will get out of control rapidly..winds forecast to be 15mph instead of 45 mph gusts yesterday. Friends have either lost homes or are waiting to get back into the canyons to see if their home survived. Perfect conditions for this to happen…no rain for a month after wet spring and lots of growth, high winds, warm temps.

        But,while I wait for phone calls to be returned, the wolf question.

        It is about what you would expect. Boulder-Denver–all for it. Grand Junction area..more residents than you might expect are fine with it given the politics, but the same old interests are against it as you would expect…livestock folks. Less concern here than the hysteria in Idaho about the elk becoming extinct, or wolves coming in to steal babies out of their cribs..;*). Estes Park…split. Concern about the wolves since the elk have been allowed to be quasi domesticated and they go into town every year during rut..great hit with the tourists due to Rocky Mountain National Park in their backyard. I think RMNP is a dead issue for now in terms of reintroduction, even with new wilderness added in the park recently. But, folks realize that the wolf viewing would bring added dollars into the economy which is so tied to the Park in so many ways.

        I have written here before that I am of two minds about the reintroduction model after the history of the hysteria and hostility in the Three States. What concerns me is that even if they re-establish themselves, it may be possible that ranchers will still not take any steps to protect their herds…as they should…and kill wolves anyway.

        You can bet that if it looks like there are packs that are moving south, I will calling and bugging my Senators, Reps, and Governor to take steps to make sure they aren’t SSS’d to death here.

      • WM says:


        Just caught up on the fire information. I have friends (or at least used to) up Fourmile Canyon. Summer wildfire potential – steep slopes, aspect, dry fuels, warn temps, and those unpredictable high winds, has always been a concern for mountain development along the foothills and interior. The wet spring, no doubt, was nice, but now not so good.

        Thoughts and prayers to all, in hopes of getting things under control.

      • JimT says:

        Fire has doubled today to over 7000 acres..with zero containment. 3000 people displaced, dozens of homes gone and more are expected. It is basically bounded by Nederland on the West (Peak to Peak Highway), Left Hand Canyon Drive on the North, Route 36 on the East, and Boulder Canyon Drive on the South. It is a mess. Luckily, no loss of life or injury reported. Unfortunately, several of the volunteer firefighters have lost their homes in this area…Gold Hill is probably the largest area of homes that are affected. It is, unfortunately, getting warmer over the next 2 days..remote chance of tstorms and rain tomorrow, though there is always the risk of lightning strikes setting off additional fires. FEMA is here…that, I am sure, will be a mixed blessing. There are fire crews here from as far away as South Dakota. There are also a large number of domestic pets that were left behind because of the swiftness of the fire…this is also horse country.

        I hope your friends are ok, WM. There is still very little verified accounts of what homes are gone and what survived, so that just adds to the already incredible stress. I am heading out to a local shelter with some cat and dog food…alot of residents are being forced to house their pets there temporarily because they cannot find hotels that take pets. Luckily the plans have been dropping retardant all day to establish a fire containment ring, so hopefully by tomorrow that will show some effect. If the winds stay strong…all bets are off in terms of it jumping the firebreaks.

        Hoping all the folks here stay safe for the rest of the summer.

  7. Ryan says:


    DOW’s comments did more harm than good and did more to solidify idaho’s anti wolf and anti outsider stance.

    • JimT says:

      Which comments were those, Ryan.

      Frankly, the anti wolf and anti outsider stances you refer to would be there regardless of what DOW or any pro wolf person said, or how far they bent over to attempt to restore some balance in how the ecosystems are managed there for balance and health. Things have been so out of balance there, so far skewed in one direction that hunters, livestock folks..feel they are entitled to a status quo in their favor forever. That kind of emotional filter keeps reasonable solutions at bay.

      Outsiders, eh? LOL…Tell me, how many people do you know that are truly natives? I ran into this in of the most persnickity states that exists in terms of the perceived status that being a native brings. I was born and raised in Vermont, then left for a long time to live in the West. Our family ended up there after a stint in the DC fast lane. We were invited to a neighborhood get together, and the initial conversations were filled with people..NON-natives, mind you…telling my wife and I how we didn’t know”what a real winter was” even though we had lived in Colorado for several years. I grew weary of the whole “native” thing..and told folks I actually did know, and indeed was a true native. You would have thought I morphed into someone entirely different since NOW I was a Vermont Native!! LOL.

      So, the whole native thing rings a bit hollow to me…Ideas, people…should stand or fall on their own merit…

  8. STG says:

    Insightful comments. I learn so much from this website and all the thoughtful commentary.

  9. pointswest says:

    I think this attempted end run around the ESA by redneck politicians is going to backfire so badly that it will leave the likes of Otter with his pants dropped in the middle of the street. The issue is already garnering national news. An inflamitory newstory was running on Yahoo yesterday called “Endangered or not, wolf killings set to expand.” This reporter used phrases with particularly unsavory conotations such as, “ramp up killings,” and, “gas pups in their dens,” and has set the stage for a battle of good and evil.

    The article reports, “In Montana and Idaho, officials hope to revive hunting seasons by rebranding them as “conservation hunts” or “research hunts.” This “rebranding” is not going to fly with the American public. It was a careful choice of words by the reporter. It is saying the rednecks in Idaho and Montana do not give a damn about the rule of law and are going to kill wolves unless forced to stop. This is the beginning of the end for Regan Redneck Rampage in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. It has already ended elsewhere.

    The kids movie called Alpha and Omega is opening in theaters on Sept 17 that is a 3D animated story about young wolves. I have seen a few TV ads for it. They do not usually run ads for movies until they have been viewed by a test audience and get a certain approval rating because they will not waste the money promoting what they know will be a flop. If they are running TV ads for it, it must not be a flop.

    Imagine what will happen if this movie about young wolves is a blockbuster and all kids in the USA go wolf crazy this fall. So then we have rednecks like Butch-wacker Otter up in Idaho in the national news wanting to bury wolf pups in their den and brand a slaughtering of wolves as a “research hunt.” This issue has the potential to destroy Otter…the dumbass.

    • WM says:


      Actually the story you cite by Mathew Brown for the Helena paper was picked up for AP distribution. His reporting was actually fairly balanced.

      Otter is a governor of a state with a relatively small population, that hasn’t voted Dem for governor since 1998. He cares about one thing – what is going on in ID- and likely give a rat’s ass about national opinion, pants down or not.

      The decision on the “conservation hunt” is administrative resting with FWS, and may be subject to legal challenge, which then keeps the spotlight on, GUESS WHAT, interpretation of the ESA. Whether there is interest in changing the ESA, at least regarding wolves, is more than some redneck fantasy. Will it gain traction? Who knows.

      I think I mentioned before seventeen states and three Canadian provinces, speaking through their state wildlife agencies, have already stated in a resolution they think the GL wolves should be delisted. Similar views, I expect, exist among nearly all of the Western states wildlife agencies regarding the NRM wolves.

      Regarding the MT litigation and Molloy’s decision on the law, I have said before, – be careful what you wish for- this could bite DOW in the back side. They managed to tick off RMEF, who will likely be doing some politicking behind the scenes.

      Whether this gets transferred to political motivation to look more closely at the ESA is kind of up in the air. But, do consider this. CO Senator Mike Bennet (appointed to replace now Secy. Int. Salazar a year ago) is looking at a tough race against a conserative Republican, and unless Bennet moves closer to the middle some pundits predict he will be defeated. Patty Murray in WA probably needs to move a little to the right in order to keep her seat, and snag some more votes on the Eastern side of the state. Of course, if nothing happens between now and Nov. regarding any bills on ESA consideration, maybe no big deal.

      As for your prediction about this animated young wolf movie, I have seen the trailers. It will be entertaining and make Hollywood lots of $$, but in the end it is just one more fairy tale, this one on the other side of the issue – talking wolves in a romance story, and she has a flower in her mane. Anthropomorphism at its best, and there lies the real fantasy.

      • Pointswest says:

        ++WM writes: “Anthropomorphism at its best, and there lies the real fantasy.++

        …but wolf hatred is anthropomorphism too. Butch Otter is simply exploiting this fact by leading the charge against wolves. For people to allow themselves to be dominated by a fearsome leader, they need some threatening enemy in the hinterlands to fear.

        Hitler had the Jews and the Bolshevists. Regan had the commies and the liberals. Bush had the liberals and the Muslims. Butch Otter has the liberals and the wolves.

        It’s ALL fantasy. WWII was a fantasy. What difference does that make?

        In the end, it is going to come down to public opinion and I do not mean local opinion. Whenever there has been disputes between what the locals want in the GYE and what the nation wants, the nation has won.

        BTW…I am actually family friends with the Evans’ and even attended a staff dinner in the Governor’s Mansion there in the north end of Bosie when John Evens was Governor.

        I saw another ad this morning for Alpha and Omega. The producers may have big plans for that movie and its spin offs. Maybe they will start a new kids cartoon series that will run on Nickleodeon or something. Those wolf characters might become very popular and that may make it very difficult for Otter to use wolves as the lurking enemy in the hinterlands he with his mighty gun is protecting us from. In fact, he may end up looking like some evil NAZI redneck.

        We’ll see what happens.

      • WM says:

        Don’t get me wrong I am no fan of governor Butch. But, I don’t see how his view of wolves is “anthropomorphic.” I don’t follow his speeches, but has he actually attributed human characteristics to wolves or inatimate objects – the definition of anthropomorphism?

        And PW, you lose me and alot of other folks here when you pull out the racism analogies. They are just not applicable.

        We are talking about the reintroduced of a native wild canid predator, whose impact on the landscape is viewed differently by humans, especially when its presence in larger numbers locally impacts state ungulate management objectives and livestock ranching, or desired ecosystem effects (trophic cascade). Wolves in the NRM are the property- yes property- of the states held in trust for citizens of those states (unless the power to manage and regulate this state property is assumed temporarily under federal law – the ESA).

        That is the perspective from which the federal government and every NRM or GL states views wolf management yesterday, today and maybe tomorrow. That those states and two federal executive branch agencies (FWS and WS) do not view the stage of wolf recovery and management in the same light (DPS administration interpretation) population levels, ranges as required by the ESA, as interpreted by a couple of federal district court judges is the current state of the law.

        Again, stop the inapplicable inflammatory Hitler, commie and Muslim bullshit. You may get your jollies from using it, but as we have discussed before here, it stalls the conversation!

      • pointswest says:

        WM…this is going off topic but let me defend my general remarks. Right wing leaders find or create dangerous enemies and try and scare the public with them. History is full of examples as I pointed out. They really put on the dog sometimes. Did you know, for example, that Hitler blamed the Jews for bringing America into WWII? He stated this publicly, many times. He had previously hoped that both England and American would ally with him against Bolshevism. It was just after England declared war on Germany that Hitler began badging Jews with the yellow star. He said that because Jews had turned England and American against Germany, he no longer had any mercy for them…and we all know the rest of the story.

        Now, do you, as an American, believe it was some invisible enemy like Jews that got us into WWII? …or do you believe most world leaders could simply see that Hitler was a dangerous right-wing crackpot that was out to conquer the world?

        The Fixed News Network was running a program most of the day yesterday about the “War Next Door” which was all about the DANGER of Mexicans entering the US illegally. For hours, they showed Mexicans carrying automatic weapons, Mexicans firing automatic weapons, and Mexican gang members. It is the same old stuff. The right wing is trying to scare people by creating a terrible enemy just across our southern border that the mighty and powerful right wing will protect us from.

        I have only heard a few of Butch Otter remarks on wolves but those I have heard were typical right-wing fear mongering. He said, for example, when the hunts started that he wanted to, “be the first buy a tag and to shoot a wolf,” …implying that wolves were dangerous, evil, and had no value what-so-ever. He said of DW that “It now is clear that the organization never intended to keep its commitment to any agreements,” implying that those who support wolves are immoral liars and are dangerous. Otter said of the relisting that, “I think they’re holding us hostage in Idaho as a result of that. And I really resent it. You know, because somebody else didn’t do something, then we fall victim to that, and that’s not right.” The right wing theme is always the same: a dangerous enemy out to get us and you must follow me to get them before they get us.

    • Linda Hunter says:

      Pointswest I hope you are right about that movie but please recall the movie Brother Bear. . kids loved it but because Tim Treadwell was involved in the making of the movie it was largely discounted as anything remotely resembling the truth. Tim Treadwell’s death really took a toll on any hope of people understanding how to live with bears. It was extremely convenient for outfitters, guides and the whole industry in Alaska that makes big money on trophy hunting. Then, to hammer the nail home, Werner Herzog made a movie that those of us who worked in Alaska could only laugh at, no matter what we thought of Tim Treadwell. and millions of people think that movie is the latest bear gospel. It is my hope that someone will make a honest movie that will re-instill values and morals for people who go outdoors and open minds just a little bit on how to use and not abuse the wild lands. It would be great if there was a movie that re-introduced the idea of fair chase and honorable hunting to the masses.

      • JB says:

        “It would be great if there was a movie that re-introduced the idea of fair chase and honorable hunting to the masses.”

        I am not a god-fearing man, but that comment deserves an AMEN!

      • Elk275 says:


        ++“It would be great if there was a movie that re-introduced the idea of fair chase and honorable hunting to the masses.”++

        Exactly what is fair chase and honorable hunting? This is discussed on hunting forums all the time everyone has an opinion.

      • JB says:


        I’m not surprised everyone has an opinion, especially considering the “fuzzy” way in which the concept has been defined.

        Boone & Crockett Club define fair chase as “…the ethical, sportsmanlike, and lawful pursuit and taking of any free-ranging wild, native North American big game animal in a manner that does not give the hunter an improper advantage over such animals.”

        That definition leaves a LOT up to interpretation (i.e. What is sportsmanlike; or what constitutes an “improper” advantage?). In most cases, people rely on local customs or “norms” but this is by no means a perfect system. I think, at its core, “fair chase” requires:

        (1) hunting animals that are free to eat, drink, and reproduce without human assistance or (especially) under confinement.

        (2) following all relevant laws and regulations regarding the pursuit and taking of an animal.

        (3) not using tools/equipment/gear that ensures the outcome of the hunt (i.e. the animal must have a reasonable chance of escape).

        The last is tricky because it requires some self regulation on the part of hunters. I would note, however, that all of the really good gun hunters (of WT deer) I have known eventually switch over to bow. To a person they explain that hunting with a gun (rifle or shotgun) just became too easy.

    • JB says:

      “The decision on the “conservation hunt” is administrative resting with FWS, and may be subject to legal challenge, which then keeps the spotlight on, GUESS WHAT, interpretation of the ESA.”

      FWS will support the hunt, the question is: what will Defenders do? From my perspective, the wise decision would be to throw their support behind a targeted hunt, and thus take all of the wind of the sails of their opponents. How would RMEF rally the “troops” if Defenders comes out in wholehearted support of a hunt to reduce wolf populations in the few areas where they have been shown to be affecting elk populations? On the other hand, such a move is not likely to be popular with a fair number of their members. I think this will pose an interesting dilemma for DOW.

  10. william huard says:

    Linda- the concept of fair chase falls on deaf ears or is conveniently ignored. I like the new “Bait” product C mere deer that is endorsed by a redneck hillbilly named Hank Parker. The ad that they use is really something. ” I work six days a week and I don’t have time to hunt on 1000 acres, this levels the playing field for a working man”. I had to laugh- that was a good one. It must be good Parker and Ted Nugent endorse it!

  11. ProWolf in WY says:

    Wyoming is making it easier for wolves to disperse into Colorado and Utah if they are going to keep them endangered. It seems to me that Schweitzer and Otter should be putting pressure on Freudenthal. It will be interesting to see what the new governor will say about it. I know Meyer and Simpson want to keep the plan. Isn’t Otter leaving after this term as well?

    • jon says:

      I think they realize that Freudenthal won’t change his mind. I believe there is a woman democrat that wants to list wolves as trophy animals.

      • Wyo Native says:

        Ya, Leslie Peterson couldn’t win in Wyoming this year even if she didn’t have a Republican challenger. Micky Mouse write in votes would beat her, and Gov Dave is to thank for that!

    • Wyo Native says:

      You do realize that we have already had the primary in the state of Wyoming don’t you? And Meyer and Simpson did not win, Matt Mead did, and he also supports Wyoming’s current plan.

      Oh and how does keeping wolves listed help them disperse into Utah and Colorado? I guarantee you that there are and will continue to be more wolves killed in Wyoming under the current Federal Management, than would EVER be killed under state management, even with the Predator area in Wyoming.

      Wyoming politicians and ranchers have you fooled into thinking your precious wolves are protected, when in reality they are more threatened and hunted, and all at your expense. Gotta love it!

      • ProWolf in WY says:

        Wyo Native, do you really think less wolves will be killed under the predator plan than the way it is now? People will go ape shit under the predator plan. If they are allowed to shoot wolves legally they will certainly take advantage.

      • Wyo Native says:

        Yes, absolutely I do, and we even have some history to show for it.

        Right now wildlife services will take out an entire pack regardless of the number, just like they did near Kemmerer and Cody during the same week in July. The Guvmint almost killed more wolves in just that one week in Wyoming, while wolves were protected, than the entire time that they were de-listed in 2008 even with the Predator status.

        In fact since 2003 the Guvmint has killed 245 wolves in the state of Wyoming. I don’t know about you but I call that going ape shit while they have ESA protections.

        Like I said keep thinking your precious wolves are protected, and that Wyoming’s fighting the feds mentality is good for wolves. Because in reality figures do not lie, Wyoming is successfully getting the wolf population culled, at no expense to the state agencies, or ranchers.

      • JB says:

        That is an interesting guarantee, Wyoming Native–especially given that, in 2009 the combined efforts of lethal control and legal hunting accounted for the removal of a MUCH HIGHER percentage of the wolf populations in ID and MT than in WY. According to the FWS’ figures, human-caused mortality accounted for the removal of ~30% of Idaho’s wolves, 46% of Montana’s wolves, and just 12% of Wyoming’s wolves.

        I’m not sure who has who “snowed” here?

      • Wyo Native says:


        I think it is a little disingenuous to compare Idaho, and Montana’s hunt last year to Wyoming especially when you consider wolf density, habitat, number of hunters, etc. But that is another topic for another day.

        In 2008 wolves were de-listed for ~ 6 months. During that whole time there were only 11 wolves killed in the “Predator” area in Wyoming by all those people who would go crazy over the predator plan. All of the wolves killed in the “Predator” area of Wyoming in 2008, were just a wolf here and a wolf there, and never an entire pack in a single setting, like Wildlife Services accomplishes.

        In contrast, during 2008 there were 46 wolves killed by agency control actions, of which 28 were killed in the so called “Predator” portion of Wyoming, all while they were “Protected” during the 6 months of 2008 when they had ESA protection.

        I am not arguing for or against Wyoming’s current management philosophy, but rather disputing ProWolf’s claim that Wyoming’s current “Fighting the Feds” stance is helping spread wolves to other regions of the country. I just don’t see it, especially when the Feds are killing more wolves on average in the “Predator” area of Wyoming, than the amount of wolves killed by people during the time of de-listing in 2008.

      • JB says:

        Okay, we need to clarify something here, because I think we disagree (perhaps irreconcilably) about the likely outcomes of delisting wolves and managing them under WYs current plan.

        You asserted that “I guarantee you that there are and will continue to be more wolves killed in Wyoming under the current Federal Management, than would EVER be killed under state management, even with the Predator area in Wyoming.”

        While I would agree that Wildlife Services (aka the Guvmint) is likely to kill more wolves than “hunters” in Wyoming, you are assuming that the two are mutually exclusive–i.e. Wildlife Services activities are discontinued (or at least lessened) once predator/vermin status is achieved under delisting.

        I disagree. In 2008, humans (mostly Wildlife services) killed 16% of the wolf population in ID and 29% in Montana. In 2009 (once wolves were delisted) these numbers jumped to ~30% and 46%, respectively. And what about control actions? Lethal control of wolves in Montana increased from 110 to 145 animals, and decreased (slightly) in Idaho from 108 to 93. Take the two states together and Wildlife Services lethal control actions INCREASED after delisting from 218 in 2008 to 238 in 2009.

        What these data tell me is that, sans ESA protections the Wildlife Services will kill as many or more wolves in Wyoming as were killed under ESA protections, AND you will have additional mortality from “hunters” killing wolves in the predator/vermin zone. This certainly will decrease the frequency of wolf dispersal into adjacent states.

      • Wyo Native says:


        If wolves were de-listed under the current Wyoming plan wolf control actions by the Guvmint in the so called “Predator” area of Wyoming would decrease dramatically and in many counties cease to stop all together.

        In the areas of Wyoming that would fall under the “Predator” classification, the Wyoming Game and Fish would not offer assistance for control actions, (that is the purpose of a “Predator” area). Therefore it is left up to the individual county Predator Control Boards to contract out Wildlife Services for control measures. This is what currently happens with Coyotes, Skunks, Fox, etc.

        This is a big problem with Wyoming Ranchers, because they are the ones who pay for the Predator Control Boards, via their Brand Inspection fees, $1 per head for cattle and sheep, and as of right now most of the Predator Control Boards do not have the funds available to add another so called “Predator” to their list. Hence control actions by government hired agencies in the “Predator” area either decreased or stopped all together, due to lack of funding by the individual county Predator Control Board. There were many articles in local papers in Wyoming expressing ranchers concerns right after de-listing in 2008, and if I remember correctly even the Casper Star ran an article.

        We saw this happen in 2008 during the time wolves were de-listed. Control actions almost ceased to exist in counties that border the “Trophy” portion of Wyoming’s plan such as Lincoln and Sublette, all due to funding. During that time there was a lot of complaining from ranchers about the lack of funding the Predator Control Boards had for wolf control, and without increased funding there would be close to zero control actions against wolves. In short they were begging for more money, and they did not get any.

        I will concede that if the county Predator Control Boards were to recieve significant funding from some source, that they may be able to fund enough contracts through Wildlife Services to keep the current mortality level, plus increase it with additional hunter kills. But that is just pure speculation on my part, on a scenario that “could” happen.

        I can guarantee you one thing however, and that is the majority of ranchers in Wyoming’s so called “Predator” area prefer wolves being listed on the ESA. They get more wolves killed, and at zero expense to them, than if wolves were de-listed.

      • JB says:

        Wyoming Native:

        As you noted, you are assuming ranching interests will not find money to hire WS to conduct control actions–I think this is a dubious assumption to hang your hat on, especially in the Cowboy state. You’re also “forgetting” that the predatory status allows ranchers to conduct their own “control” actions in the vast majority of the state any time they please.

        “Predatory animals and predacious birds may be taken without a license in any manner and at any time except as provided by W.S. 23-2-303(d) and (e), 23-3-112, 23-3-304(b), 23-3-305 and 23-3-307.”

        Will ranchers be less effective at killing wolves than Wildlife Services? As individuals, no doubt. But given their motivation and collective “access” (all the time, anywhere), I seriously doubt your claim that fewer wolves would be killed sans ESA protections.

  12. william huard says:

    Do you think that perhaps you could find different employment or stay out of the frickin woods if you can’t hunt the right way!

  13. william huard says:

    Elk 275
    I’ll give you a couple of examples. Recently in BC there was an outfitter that took a couple from Texas on a wolf hunt. The outfitter baited the wolves on a lake then chased them with snowmobiles so they couldn’t escape. They jumped off the snowmobiles and from ten feet away killed the wolves.No snowmobiles, helicopters, ATVs, treeing cougars and bears with dogs. The american trophy hunter is South Africa’s largest customer where they find it acceptable to kill a lactating female lion in front of her cubs! Do you want me to keep going? Stop killing semi tame animals behind fenced in enclosures!

    • jon says:

      William, this is just my own opinion, but there is hardly any fair chase involved when you are killing animals with a high powered rifle from a safe distance away.

    • Elk275 says:

      William Huard

      I agree with you on some points but is it fair fishing to fish a lake that was stocked several days ago with pellet fed fish?

      ATV’s, I do not have one and never will, but Save Bears says that he uses one because of a war injury. If one can drive there ATV and kept on the road that is open to motorized access is that unethical, the unfortunate thing is that a ATV will ruin a 4 wheel drive road with there shorter wheel base and how many drives can kept them on the designated road.

      I do not see anything wrong with hunting mountain lions with dogs as that is the way it has always been done and it is the only practical way to hunt them. If I draw a mountain lion permit this year then the hunt is going to be with dogs. I will learn do something new.

      What is legal is legal, anything beyond that is personal ethical

      I do not think that you have any understanding of Africa hunting. There are some small fenced operations that most hunters would avoid. It has been discussed many times on Accurate Reloading what is ethical and what type of operations to avoid.

      Here is a long post on accurate reloading about canned lion hunting written by a South African Professional Hunter, this is very interesting the buyer must be aware.

      Some hunters have been screwed out on thousands and thousand of dollars hunting lions.


      By the way Jon, what is a high powered rifle? What is the minimum feet per second for the rifle to become high powered?

      • Save bears says:


        I do use an ATV, because I can’t walk a long ways anymore, the price I paid.

        But I normally get in the area I am hunting and I still walk to get to my stand, but many of the areas I hunt are a long ways from where there is pickup or jeep access, I don’t go off road, I don’t tear crap up, I simply use it for transportation to get close.

        I don’t HUNT from my ATV and I can tell you, it would be nearly impossible to shoot my long bow, while mounted on an ATV!

      • william huard says:

        “I don’t think you have any understanding of Africa Hunting.” That’s kind of like saying the democrats are soft on terror. Try and make it seem the person doesn’t have any facts. For your information there are over 120 canned hunting facilities in South Africa that produce captive bred lions only to led into a small enclosure and executed for a trophy usually by an american trophy hunter. These unethical hunters are compromising their hunting heritage for US dollars. Watch the video of a lactating female lion being led away from her two cubs in a separate small enclosure and shot. She is still alive as they assemble for their trophy shot. I won’t supply it for you to watch because it really makes me sick. Your friends at SCI encourage these hunts the reasoning that it takes pressure off the wild population. All other hunters in Africa including Namibia do not approve of South Africa’s SHAME and the legislation to ban this practice is under appeal.

      • bob jackson says:


        The article of outfitter deceit by the former African lion hunter so reminded me of the farce of outfitters “guiding” elk hunters over illegal salt in Thorofare. Plus, the authors statement of why he quit…because the killing of a dominant in the pride so affected the rest of the lions in that pride. Shades of wolf packs and the affects on them when open hunting of any member of the pack is allowed….or killing the herd bull of an elk herd during the rut.

        Thanks for sharing this article.

        As for ATV’s on FS roads I’d say Save Bears accesses roads others aren’t allowed to as part of the FS “handicapped” hunter programs. Kind of like those handicapped parking spaces at Wal Mart …..only you get to use guns and bows in these otherwise public non accessible “parking lots”.

        Fine because their all shades of priveldge, right and wrong depending on ones view point, but at the same time this argument was used for supposed needed wheeled vehicle use by handicapped people on YNP trails. A no go of course.

        Or how about roads built for access? Back in 1973 I was showing Park Aids on a map at the Lake Ranger Station where I had just travelled in Thorofare…some very neat off trail areas no one else ever saw (whiteman that is). Elderly vacationers evidently were listining in because at the end all at once this oldsters voice from behind us chipped in with, “Why don’t they put a road in there so everyone can enjoy the wilderness.

      • Save bears says:


        The areas I hunt are pretty close to my home, the lands in which I have used my ATV is either mine, a neighbors with permission or private timber land, in which they allow access to ATV’s

  14. william huard says:

    I have made my feelings known to the whores at the South African Predator Breeders association, who oversee the exploitation of lions in South Africa. Your comment about “hunting mountain lions with dogs” was interesting. Since it is the most practical way to hunt them and because it has been done forever, I guess the only question is who is doing the hunting and who is doing the shooting. It brings up the question of “unfair advantage.” How hard is it to aim up in a tree and cherry pick an animal!

    • jon says:

      I spoke to elk before about this. He sees nothing wrong with this. Doubt he sees anything wrong with canned hunting either. How hard is it to aim up a tree and shoot an animal? A 10 year old could probably do it with a little help from his daddy.

    • Ryan says:

      You both miss the whole point. The end maybe easy and humane (no wounding etc) but everything leading up to it sure as hell is not easy. Go follow a houndsman around, see the amount of time spent training hounds and learning their preys habits etc. Hounding isn’t hard too hard on lions as F&G uses it to collar cats as well.

      Its not hard to run a 10 second 100 meter, but its harder hell to get prepared too.

  15. william huard says:

    Jon SCI wants captive bred animals of all species available, the rarer the better. When they go to bed at night THEY know that the animal they killed was a semi-tame animal with no wild instinct, what they tell their friends is a different story. I am struck by the callousness and coldness of these hunters who care nothing for the reputation of their industry, animal welfare, and only look at everything through financial concerns and how their trophy collection stands up to the next guys! Someone should start a trophy hunters 12 step program.

  16. Virginia says:

    Every issue on this great site of Ralph’s is continually dragged down into another discussion of the legality of hunting, what kind of guns do you use and what kind of bullets. Now we are talking about canned hunting – please! Please try to stay on the issue presented for discussion. This is not a hunting, gun, bullets site – at least I don’t think that is what is intended.

  17. william huard says:

    This is all about human domination and power over nature. We all know if one of these hunters was ever charged by a lion and they didn’t have a high -powered rifle they would sh#% in their pants!

    • jon says:

      Yep, you nailed it. It’s alright to kill animals for sport and take their lives away from them as long as you pay for it. Paying makes killing acceptable in this day in age, I know, truly disgusting. These animals have virtually no chance against the technology we humans use to kill them with.

    • jon says:

  18. JerryBlack says:

    “What is legal is legal, anything beyond that is personal ethical”
    Yes, and some are just more ethical than others.
    In the last 2 weeks I’ve talked to two former lion hunters/guides, and one lion hunter/trapper who no longer kill lions. “Former” hunters….why?. Because it took them 20 or more years to realize that shooting a cat out of a tree is unethical. They still run dogs, but no longer kill the cats. They are getting some great photos.
    The hunter/trapper caught a lion in a snare…called FWP who came out and anesthetized the cat, so it could be released. My friend spent the night sleeping near that cat until it recovered and took off. That was the last time he hunted or trapped lions, or trapped anything for that matter.
    I grew up in the lion country of Northern New Mexico and have run into countless lions. I now spend at least 3 days a week in lion habitat……..They’re absolutely beautiful, but misunderstood animals.
    Someone said…. hunting lions is “the killing of beauty by those ignorant of it”…..I agree.

    • jon says:

      Jerry, there was a recent show on nat geo about a former buffalo big game hunter that gave up hunting buffalos after he saw the look in one of the buffalo’s eyes before he killed it. He realized what he doing was wrong and he stopped hunting buffalos. Now he helps them survive and raises some of them because a disease is threatening the buffalo. The disease that is killing buffalo is called buffalo bovine tuberculosis. His show is called buffalo warrior and if it will be on again. Amazing show and you should check it out when you get the chance.

    • william huard says:

      Jerry what you are describing is true conservation at work.

  19. william huard says:

    I agree with Nancy that this is not the proper forum for this discussion. I was responding to a question posed by elk 275 regarding ethics in hunting. These are areas that are dirty litle secrets that need to be debated. It is hard to not get emotional over these issues

  20. Nancy says:


    Stay safe!! Know what its like to be around wildfires out of control.

  21. JimT says:

    Thanks Nancy. If it gets to us, it will be the fire of the year, so hoping that doesn’t happen for everyone’s sake in the Boulder County area. I feel for the folks who have lost their homes. I went through a fire when I was a kind..lightning hitting a power line into the house, and melting the TV. We all got out just before the windows in the house blew in, and the house wasn’t a total loss, but close. Luckily, our neighbors had a place in FLA in a senior community, so they basically gave us their house for the next year, and we rebuilt the house after school and on weekends. One of the great things about small towns…

  22. Rita K.Sharpe says:

    I,too,JimT wish you and everyone to be safe.

  23. JimT says:

    Thanks Rita. Fire still isn’t contained at all; over 90 structures destroyed; partial list is 70 plus homes are totally down to their foundations. Tensions are high with over 3000 folks displaced and since there is no containment, there is a lack of timely information that gets back to them about their homes, and animals, and no real end in sight. Feds are here, money has been released, local folks are exhausted. We are at 11 square miles just outside Boulder that is the area of the fire, and it is now heading east towards more populated areas.

    We are seeing bears and other creatures coming down into backyards, etc, trying to escape the flames. Hoping that there are few encounters…

    If folks have not done their fire mitigation around their homes…please do it today…One never knows how or when these things will start. Best guess at this point is a car hitting an outside propane tank near a house, and then a larger propane tank further away on the property went up later…

    • jon says:

      we’ve set Oct. 7 as a deadline — the state will no longer participate as a designated agent for monitoring, providing law enforcement support or investigating wolf deaths in Idaho.”

      Somehow, I don’t see Idaho putting much effort into finding the people responsible for wolves that were killed out of season or illegally before when they were relisted.

    • WM says:

      I read this as a serious flaw in the administration of the ESA, maybe not just limited to wolves.

      If a rogue state can keep two other states from doing their role as “wolf managers” with approved plans (forgetting for a moment whether we like the content of the respective plans), as they were promised they would be able to do, that is a problem with the law – plain and simple.

      Other than WY deciding to play nice, does anybody have a solution or cure for what Judge Molloy says is the law?

      He even acknowledged in his opinion this presents a problem that he is not able to deal with under the law.

      Yep, Defenders and other plaintiffs – be careful what you wish for.

      • JB says:

        If someone takes their ball home and refuses to play do you blame the sore loser or the rules of the game? Wyoming is holding things up here, not the law. As I understand it, there is nothing in the ESA that says a DPS can not be based upon state boundaries (see Molloy’s point about Minnesota). The state boundary issue is based upon FWS’s own DPS policy, which it established in 1996. Of course, after having argued for a rational, science-based definition of a distinct-population, I’m certain changing DPS policy would result in more suits.

        I don’t think this is a problem unique to wolves; you could have this issue with any large carnivore, or any species that has massive (geographically speaking) habitat requirements and so is sparsely populated over a region. The state-as-owner/administrator of wildlife approach simply doesn’t work well for these species. The same is true for migratory birds.

      • WM says:


        It is definitely a “rules of the game” issue. In sports the rules are defined before the game is played. In government, as we are learning here, not so much.

        My first statement was “administration under the law” = regulation. Recall the NRM wolf recovery goes back to the mid-1980’s with the recovery plan of 1987, and the 1994 EIS, which I have referenced a number of times here, including its stated focus on the flexibility for managing “non-essential experimental population” wolves under 10(j), factoring in local concerns about impacts to livestock and ungulate populations.

        The EIS doesn’t address institutional management issues. HUGE FLAW, since this reintroduction was a hard sell and there was never really a lock tight assurance that all participants would play. The discussion on management is a “warm and fuzzy” paragraph (p.10) that speaks to “cooperative approach” without ever addressing what happens if somebody doesn’t want to play, whether it be a state or tribe.

        Who should take the hit for that? Clinton Administration Interior and the FWS leaders at the time. And who should take the hit for a 1996 DPS delisting rule that looks at political boundaries to break up a DPS (leaving part protected and part not)? See answer to previous question.

        Do recall that the 1996 DPS policy rule was promulgated under Bruce Babbitt as Secretary of Interior and, guess who, Jamie Rappaport as Assistant Director of Ecological Services, a little over a year before she became Director of FWS. If we are to believe Jim Beers, she was very much involved in the wolf reintroduction activities, so unlikely to avoid finger pointing for reintroduction policy. And then, there are those Clinton government lawyers advising FWS on what could be done under the law, including DPS policy.

        As I have said before, (without any legal research in this area), would it have been/is it possible for FWS to delist the entire NRM DPS but retain management authority for WY under a tight rein? Still looking for an answer on that.

        Judge Molloy’s opinion states:

        “As discussed in greater detail below, ….the Court finds:

        • The ESA does not allow the …Service to list only a part of a “species” as endangered, or to protect a listed distinct population segment only in part as the Final Rule here does… [opinion at p. 5].

        So, I will still go with the idea that the law needs a closer look, if practical regulations allowing for flexible policy on a resilient species like wolves in the NRM cannot be promulgated under the current one.

        And, with respect to MN, it is my understanding this was a unique instance. It is unique because the regulation revolves around the “species” as Molloy points out. MN had the only population of the “MN eastern timberwolf,” which allowed the regulatory carve as a separate “species” based on political boundaries.

        In fact, this is how MN is approaching its current delisting petition to ENTIRELY AVOID the regulatory pitfalls of this unmanageable DPS concept (under the current law) that has kept them on the delisting treadmill while playing litigation dodge ball for the past 15 or years. And, since WI gets their wolves from MN exclusively they are piggy-backing on MN.

      • JB says:

        “The EIS doesn’t address institutional management issues. HUGE FLAW, since this reintroduction was a hard sell and there was never really a lock tight assurance that all participants would play.”

        Should the EIS have addressed management issues? More importantly, could anyone have foreseen the series of court cases that have ensued that have led to the current situation (or for that matter, Wyoming’s response)? We can’t require agencies to be omniscient in predicting how other government entities might respond to every possible future scenario. And to be frank, I have a hard time swallowing the idea that FWS spent (or should have spent) any time at all “selling” wolf reintroduction. They were taking an action that they had (given federal law) the power to take.

        – – – – –

        “ ….the Court finds: The ESA does not allow the …Service to list only a part of a “species” as endangered, or to protect a listed distinct population segment only in part as the Final Rule here does… [opinion at p. 5].”

        Yep. But a “species” (or DPS) CAN be delineated by state boundaries (as happened with MN). The difference between MN and the northern Rockies (as you rightly point out) is that the population of wolves (i.e. the species) was entirely contained within the state, wheres it is spread over a number of states in the NRMs. Still, what I wrote is exactly correct. There is nothing in the ESA that prevents the government from delineating a species/DPS based upon state boundaries. The problem is the DPS policy, not the ESA:

        “A population segment of a vertebrate species may be considered discrete if [either]: 1. It is markedly separated from other populations of the same taxon as a consequence of physical, physiological, ecological, or behavioral factors …. [or] 2. It is delimited by international governmental boundaries within which differences in control of explication, management of habitat, conservation status or regulatory mechanisms exist …”

        If FWS were promulgate a new DPS policy that removed the word “international” from the “discrete” requirement, then Wyoming could be listed as a separate species/DPS that retained a different status than ID, MT (and the other adjacent states that now “house” wolves).

        Thus, the issue is DPS policy, not the ESA.

        – – – – –

        Regardless, as I implied above, the REAL problem (at least from my perspective) relates to wolves’ habitat requirements, which are not conducive to piecemeal, state-by-state management. Rather than try and revise the ESA, one option would be to create new legislation that simultaneously provides for greater protection of large carnivores via mandatory federal oversight, but still allows states flexibility for mitigating negative impacts. Politically speaking, this would be an easier “sell” than trying to revise the ESA, and it would allow the legislation to be tailored to the specific needs of large carnivores.

      • WM says:

        ++Should the EIS have addressed management issues? ++

        YES. Institutional financial and management capabilities, as well as commitment to carrying out assigned environmental responsibilities under a federal law (ESA in this instance) have been a part of the NEPA process for years. Among the first topics to receive such EIS attention were management agencies to carry out responsibilities under the Clean Water and Clean Air Acts nearly 30 years ago. It is not new and contingencies should have been addressed in the planning process (and yeah, I know hindsight is 20/20. I will offer that FWS is just not that sophisiticated an agency in these matters and the wolf recovery plan + EIS shows this.

        The 1987 recovery plan clearly contemplate the states/tribes were to have prescribed roles as envisioned under Section 6 of the ESA, and enumerated many of them. That should have been the clue to do the analysis. But, it may have just been assumed the states/tribes that because they are general purpose governments, they would take on those roles as the cooperative functions were carried out during both listed and delisted periods, and based on past histories of dealing with states..

        I will suggest, if we were to go back and look at the comments of the states in the EIS process there were lots of red flags to indicate this was a “hard sell” for the very reasons we are seeing played out today. The fact that it took over 7 years from the recovery plan to putting wolves on the ground in 1995 also ought to tell us something. If I recall correctly Ralph, gave some historic background on legislative resistance in ID (or maybe WY) early on. Problems should have been anticipated.

        In all candor, the lure for the states/tribes to participate was the federal funding to monitor, prepare a plan, and prepare to take “management” responsibility (with a “we’ll it our way” flavor) when wolves are delisted. States are always looking for money.


        If the problem can be solved with a quick fix to DPS policy as you suggest, I guess we should be expecting FWS to promulgate a new rule. LOL.

      • JB says:

        “I will offer that FWS is just not that sophisiticated an agency in these matters …”

        On that point I will agree wholeheartedly. I suppose that is (at least in part) the result of staffing the agency full of biologists without adequate legal support.

        I doubt FWS will try and modify its DPS policy, and even if they do, lawsuits will likely follow. However, the agency now has a very good reason to change the policy: that is, they can say they never anticipated threats to vary based upon states failing to enact adequate regulatory mechanisms (though they clearly anticipated this at the national level). Wyoming’s failure to adopt an acceptable policy is a failure of regulation that changes the level of the threat to wolves within the state, thus rendering them “distinct”. No one has argued the point with respect to the boundaries of nations; indeed, if they had, wolves in MN would have had to have been considered part of the same species/population as Canada.

  24. SEAK Mossback says:

    Yes, it does seem haywire. The endangered species act is a federal initiative, so requiring that management be returned to all states (based solely on acceptability of plans) for delisting to occur doesn’t make sense. If the federal government retains control in a certain state because of lack of cooperation with the ESA, that shouldn’t trump everything else any more than a particular state failing to integrate adequately to federal standards should have affected federal education funding in others —- or a certain state failing to set a reasonable highway speed limit should affect federal highway funding to others. I realize those aren’t perfect analogies because we are talking about a single wolf “population segment” but still the only reasonable exception would be if federal management offered less protection than an “acceptable” state plan, which doesn’t seem to be the case. But those are just common sense arguments , , , , , or flaws as it were.

    If Wyoming prefers federal management, let Wyoming have federal management – – – – perhaps with a little more enforcement and a little less response to livestock depredation.

  25. timz says:

    I don’t see this as a flaw at all unless we can train all wildlife to recognize state and other artificial boundaries.

  26. timz says:

    Since I haven’t seen a single one of them except offers from environmental groups come to the table I say to hell with em, let them keep whimpering and whining, give them nothing and keep beating them down in court.

  27. WM says:

    The federal government has been dealing with artificial boundaries since the early 1970’s, not much longer than the ESA has been practically functional. The states have been dealing with arbitrary boundaries for wildlife, uh, …..since states have been managing it, over a hundred plus years. Inconvenient, sort of, but they have done ok, generally.

    The federal government does not want to get involved in, nor should it be involved in, day to day wildlife management. These are reserved powers of the states.

    The federal Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act and, I believe Solid Waste, all have kind of a seamless structure which gives primacy to states if they want to and are capable of assume planning, management and regulatory roles, but doesn’t shut everybody else down if one doesn’t want to play.

    • JB says:

      “The federal government does not want to get involved in, nor should it be involved in, day to day wildlife management. These are reserved powers of the states.”

      — Except for threatened and endangered species, migratory birds, national wildlife refuges, national parks, wild horses and burros, and marine mammals…and those are just off the top of my head, I’m sure I’m missing some more.

      • WM says:

        I think I mentioned most of those in my follow up post, below, immediately after sending the one on which you base your comment. Do you disagree that the roles of FWS and WS are somewhat restrained? I also think I recall a comment from you that the feds should not, for the most part, have an expanded role in day to day wildlife management.

  28. timz says:

    “The federal government does not want to get involved in, nor should it be involved in, day to day wildlife management.”

    Then they should immediately shut down FWS, and WS.

  29. WM says:


    I should have been a little clearer, MOSTLY the federal government doesn’t get involved in day to day wildlife management, except the specialty areas of technical assistance, research and “pest control,” for lack of a better term that WS/APHIS gets involved in. Of course, FWS has ESA responsibilities, and management of wildlife refuges and other conservation work like migratory birds.

    Still, on a total manpower basis, the states have, the large majority of day to day responsibilities. I have no idea of the ratio, but it would not suprise me that employment in day to day wildlife related functions are probably 10 to 1 states over feds, maybe much more.

    Imagine what small accountability if each state did its own WS services, especially involving ESA species? Not something I would want to trust to them exclusively.


September 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

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