The state of Idaho is managing wolves without any authority

The 2006 Memorandum of Agreement has EXPIRED.

The State of Idaho and Wildlife Services have been operating outside of the law since relisting has occurred. It appears that the State of Idaho has no management authority over wolves now that they have been re-listed under the ESA. This is evidenced by the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the Secretary of Interior and the State of Idaho dated January 5, 2006 which hands over lead management authority over wolves to the State of Idaho. This agreement has expired. In addition, wolves have been relisted, and there is no valid section 10j MOA existing, at least which has been made public, which grants the State of Idaho management authority over wolves.

Update late 9/28. By Ralph Maughan. Today I called Ed Bangs about this. We had a brief conversation. He said that yes the MOA had expired, but the whole thing had been taken care of. He asked me to call Brian Kelly of USFWS in Boise for the “whole spiel.”  Brian Ertz called Kelly’s office a number of times, but Kelly did not answer, nor call back. So we are yet to gain any information.

Update 9/29.  By Ken Cole

I spoke to Brian Kelly, the new state State Supervisor Of Idaho USFWS Office, today about the issue at hand and he confirmed that there is no MOA but that the 2005 10(j) rule covers them and designates Idaho management authority. From the language I found on page 1291 of the 2005 10(j) rule I don’t see anything which does this. Essentially this says that an MOA with the Secretary of the DOI allows the state to manage wolves but the MOA has expired.

Response 3–3: The completion of an MOA with the Secretary of the DOI which is consistent with this rule allows a State or Tribe to take the lead in wolf management, to become ‘‘designated agent(s),’’ and to implement all parts of its approved wolf management plan that are consistent with this rule. This includes issuing written authorization for take, and making all decisions regarding implementation of the State or Tribal plan consistent with this rule. Under the MOA process, the Service will annually review the States’ and Tribes’ implementation of their plans to ensure compliance with this rule and to ensure the wolf population remains above recovery levels. States and Tribes also can become ‘‘designated agent(s)’’ and implement all or selected portions of this rule by entering into a cooperative agreement with the Service.

Furthermore, Section 6 of the ESA indicates that the DOI may enter in to a cooperative agreement with the states but management authority rests with, in this case, the USFWS otherwise.

Simply having an approved management plan is not adequate to grant a state lead management authority, an MOA is required.

From the ID Wolf 10j MOA FINAL_10506:


This agreement is effective through March 2010, unless terminated or wolves are delisted. This agreement may be terminated by either party after 90 days written notice in accordance with the 10(j) rule.

From our reading of the Endangered Species Act, it appears that such an agreement is required before the states can participate in management of an experimental, non-essential endangered species and, without such an agreement, the State of Idaho has no authority to manage wolves now that they are back on the Endangered Species list as section 10(j) animals.

Since relisting has occurred, there have been at least 4 instances whereby the IDFG has issued control orders, without apparent management authority, which have resulted in the death of at least 6 wolves.  There may have been many more because it is hard to get these numbers since the IDFG does not release information about its wolf management very often and hasn’t done so since June of this year.

Recently Governor Otter announced that he would hand back authority to manage wolves back to the USFWS if there wasn’t a new agreement by October 7 of this year. But, is it his to hand back?

Is the State of Idaho and the US Fish and Wildlife Service aware of this? Well, during the last meeting of the IDFG commissioners the subject of the expired MOA came up.  This shows that they are well aware of this lack of authority but there seems to be no attempt at clarifying any interim agreement while a new MOA is being negotiated. In the meantime the IDFG seems to be shooting from the hip and issuing control orders without legal authority.

It should be of concern when the government acts arbitrarily and it should be of concern to reasonable people who believe in the rule of law.


  1. Tallan M. Avatar
    Tallan M.

    Goodness, this is a mess. Looks like it’ll simply never end.

  2. spanglelakes Avatar

    Wolves are worth fighting for, and the mess lies with the State of Idaho, which refuses to acknowledge that wolves have any value at all, except to be shot, trapped, or snared.

  3. spanglelakes Avatar

    In the past two weeks, IDFG has ordered the killing of three wolves because one sheep was killed in June in Fisher Creek in the Sawtooth Valley, and one calf was killed – supposedly – by wolves on Labor Day weekend some 10 miles away. So Wildlife (killing) Services goes in and traps and kills a wolf, collars a 5-month old pup and uses it to eventually find B107 – the ten-year old alpha female of the Galena pack. The agent known for his hatred of wolves and of wolf supporters, shoots B107. Another dead wolf on his long list.

    Now, Wildlife (killing) Services is doing high-fives, the Salmon Region of IDFG has once again killed an alpha female – something they seem to relish – and the ranchers who can’t be bothered to watch and try to protect their livestock are celebrating, too.

    1. JEFF E Avatar
      JEFF E

      what is this agents name?
      (he is a govt. employee. I pay his salary)

      1. spanglelakes Avatar

        email Brian (that’s not the killer’s name, obviously)

  4. Mike Avatar

    I can tell you many people like this get off on the killing. There are some very sick and unhappy people out there willing to take out their lack of power/control IRL on helpless animals.

    In the end, the best friend of the wolf will be $10 a gallon gas.

    1. jon Avatar

      I agree with you 100% Mike. You must be a sick puppy psychologically to take a job slaughtering animals.

      1. Davej Avatar

        What’s with the personal attack? Nothing in Mike’s post warrants that.

      2. jon Avatar

        I am referring to wildlife services.

  5. Davej Avatar

    Oh, sorry, I missed that….

  6. WM Avatar


    You make this sound as though it is some big breach of law. It is likely not. Seems more like administrative formality. Sometimes, parties by their actions, continue terms of an expired agreement (maybe there is even some correspondence between FWS and IDFG on this). So, anyway, technically the MOU has not been operational since, uh what, May 2009, when wolves were delisted?

    Authority to manage wolves as a DELISTED species was withdrawn when Molloy ruled Aug 5, 2010, and ID basically went back (in theory anyway) to doing what they did as before delisting, notwithstanding the fact that the MOU was not formally extended. No biggie.

    The question we should be asking is whether ID has done anything contrary to the earlier MOU, while a new one is being crafted OR the state says, we have had enough. I gather Oct. 7 is the current deadline.

    Personally, despite all BS from Butch, it would seem unlikely ID would walk away – especially from the money they get from the feds to monitor wolves and write reports. Maybe they would even get a pot sweetener for law enforcement to aid in protecting, or prosecuting bad guys from killing now ESA protected wolves, while the case is on appeal.

    I don’t think too many agencies turn down money these days, as budgets tighten, but that assumes rational minds are making the decisions.

    1. Brian Ertz Avatar

      WM says:

      You make this sound as though it is some big breach of law. It is likely not. Seems more like administrative formality.

      The IDFG Commission acknowledged that they were operating outside of the law on the MOA issue. The department continues to operate outside the law in that regard.

      The IDFG Commission considered radically reducing budget for enforcement, using language tantamount to an (at least) implicit incitement of vigilantism. That’s a spiteful regard for the law.

      The IDFG & other state representatives, rather than acknowledge the significant legal shortcomings of the faulty delisting rule, continue to irreverently blast the court and advocates for winning on a legal “technicality” ~ trivializing the rule of law and actively diminishing judicial legitimacy ~ again, actively fomenting/stoking lawlessness, and in fact – enfranchising lawlessness.

      etc. etc. etc.

      There’s a pattern here :

      The state of Idaho doesn’t give a shit about the law. They want what they want and they’re willing to break the law, operate outside the law, trivialize the law, refuse to enforce the law, etc. etc. etc. in order to get what they want.

      And then they have the audacity to claim that the state is competent/able to manage wolves and we all ought just stand back and “trust” that they’ll do it in good faith ?

      And folk believe that this spiteful regard for the law lies somewhere within the politically charged meaning of the word “moderation”.

      get a grip.

      1. WM Avatar


        Thanks for the policy clarification. However, again, exactly what is ID doing right now, and has been doing since August 5, which is outside the law in a material sense?

        If they have no MOU, big freakin’ deal. Are they charging the feds for services they perform and are the feds paying? If there are specific violations of federal law they should be called out – for example the 10j proposals, which to date, are only proposals.

        If ID is still doing the assigned tasks under the old MOU outline (See section IV. B), then it is kind of a no harm, no foul, situation under the law until a court decides otherwise.

        That you might disagree with what they do – for example, the past and present role of WS – is a different issue.

        On the other hand, a sense of frustration with this continuing barrage of litigation could lead ID (or MT for that matter) to do exactly as you suggest. Federal wolves = federal problem. Deal with it, we’re done, including the enforcement aspects (subtle or not so subtle invitations to vigilantism included).

        What better way to visibly show its irritation with the administration of the ESA regarding wolves, than to give the press lots of material to work with. It works not just for this issue, but the larger one of state-federal relationships, which is a constant source of irritation in the West.

  7. Brian Ertz Avatar

    WM, if you’re to apply your line of logic to poaching ~ one might suggest that there is no material breach of law if a person is to kill a bull elk a few weeks before start of season, right ?

    … i mean, after all – the bull elk was killed the same way as when the season starts … and bulls will be killed when the season starts ~ so ~

    it is kind of a no harm, no foul, situation under the law until a court decides otherwise.

    what’s the big deal ? right ? screw it ~ why even bother to buy a tag – i mean … that’s just a technicality ? immaterial … (?)

    but rather than elk, or deer, or bighorn, or whatever ~ they’re killing wolves – a federally listed endangered species – and the state is in breach of federal law. that’s material.

    additionally, as mentioned previously ~ one of the conditions of delisting is the assurance that there will be adequate regulatory mechanisms to protect the species … if the state of idaho is unwilling, unable, or as in this case outright spiteful, to abide by the law ~ then that is a significant shortcoming of their ability to demonstrate the adequacy of their management (i.e. reg. mechanism) to ensure that the species will remain recovered.

    that’s material. put another way – yet again – the state’s legitimacy and likelihood that it will respect the law and enforce the law (not just the ones it agrees with) is of paramount concern when assessing the adequacy of regulatory mechanisms necessary to promulgate a delisting rule.

    if the state shows itself to be willing to act outside of the law then any state regulatory assurance that FWS cites in any delisting rule is inadequate / rendered arbitrary by the state’s own shortcoming (i.e. the state can’t exclusively blame the feds or wyoming for the rule failing) … a reg. mechanism isn’t adequate if it’s enforcement is conditioned on the political winds ~ particularly in this political environment (& even more aptly with thise species ~ of which political/social hatred has been explicitly identified as the pre-eminent threat to the species). the state demonstrates time and time again that it doesn’t care about the rules that it doesn’t like ~ thus, isn’t capable of providing an adequate regulatory mechanism to ensure recovery – and FWS’s determination that there exist adequate regulatory mechanisms with the state is arbitrary, capricious and contrary to law.

    that speaks to more than one direct statutory shortcoming with respect to delisting … that’s material.

    1. WM Avatar


      I think you read more into my comment than was intended. And, your “go ahead and poach the elk” scenario is a bit over the top. You are lumping alot of stuff together that needs to be sorted out for proper analysis. So, that is where the critical thinking skills come in.

      It is the underlying reasoning that ID uses that is the important part. Federal protected wolf = federal problem. Is the state killing introduced “experimental non-essential population” wolves in violation of federal law? Tell us what instances you know of. Seems they have been playing the game and carrying out their agreed processes under the MOU until it expired, and unless you can come up with specific instances in which they have not, it would seem they are keeping up the spirit of the MOU even without one.

      They are asking for approvals from FWS as required (at least, I think that is true). If there are unresolved legal issues, then they are not in violation of the law until there is a ruling to that effect. That is an important distinction.

      In comparison, if a person shoots a big game animal – say out of season- under state law, the law is pretty clear you have committed a violation, and unless you successfully contest it in court, you are considered to have committed the infraction.

      A state (if it chooses not to be involved in managing ESA listed species), I don’t think, has any duties should they choose to opt out. Don’t really know exactly what that means, if ID says we won’t play either. So, if a poacher takes a listed species it is a violation of federal law and theoretically a federal problem. Invitation to poach? Maybe, but it doesn’t seem to be the state’s problem if they wash their hands of it. That was my point.

      Furthermore, the adequacy of the ID (or MT) approved plan(s) is not in question. Unless you know something I do not, there has not been a legal finding of inadequacy of their approved plan since the May 09 delisting (maybe before because Molloy’s first ruling only addressed the unapproved WY plan and the connectivity issue, necessitating more reasoning in the next May delisting rule .

      The problem has always been, in my mind, the enforceability of plans. JB and I have had some rather detailed discussions on that, and we both agree it is tough. There is no accountability there. In fact, if you look at most federal-state cooperation/delegation arrangements it is an inherent problem regardless of the issue (under various environmental laws that contemplate state partnerships), except that some use the leverage of with-holding federal funds, like transportation planning.

      This would be an area to explore if the ESA was revisited. How do you ensure accountablity under agreed plans on the part of states? Suggestions?

  8. spanglelakes Avatar

    The sickos at Wildlife (killing) Services is still at it. They’ve got their aircraft in the air. It’s time for wolf attorneys to ask for an injunction to stop the revenge-killings being ordered by IDFG on behalf of the livestock industry and that WS is carrying out.

    1. Izabela Hadd Avatar
      Izabela Hadd

      and of course Defenders of Wildlife..the so called wolves supporrters are doing nothing…yet..they still beg for money..what is position on Susan Stone from Defenders about the recent Idaho killings..well.. I am glad I stopped sending them my money…

      1. jon Avatar

        All defenders of wildlife do is file lawsuits and want people to donate to them. We need organizations that are willing to go after wildlife services. Wildlife services needs to be stopped for good!

  9. spanglelakes Avatar

    Make that plural.

  10. Dawn Rehill Avatar
    Dawn Rehill

    Sorry but I say hit Idaho in the pocket, let the rest of the country know what Idaho is doing, trust me, the rest of the country won’t be feeling it . Alot of dollars with the tourist coming from back east to see Idaho’s wildlife which does include the wolf . Ranchers protect your livestock better, hunters get over it, wolves are a top predator , deal with it . Alot of money with tourist, they won’t come with the 1800’s tactis used by Idaho against the wolf .

    1. Elk275 Avatar


      I doubt that a tourist boycott of Idaho over the wolf situation is going to ever be felt. There are a few individuals who will forgo a trip to the state, but they will be replaced by the every increasing population, a population that is more interested in themselves their fun, their ego than wolves. In fact, I would bet that over 95% of the tourist only have a vague idea of the state’s wolf politics, yes they my like wolves but what the state does with them is not a priority and not a reason to not to visit. Those that will boycott the state will never show up on anyone’s balance sheet.

      Let’s say you have contracted with an outfitter to float the Middle Fork of the Salmon River and you cancel because of Idaho’s treatment of wolves. You lose your deposit and there is another floater ready to take a discounted canceled trip on short notice who’s only interest is floating the river, riding the rapids, a soak in the hot springs and the trip.

      1. SEAK Mossback Avatar
        SEAK Mossback

        The threat of boycotts worked great in Alaska for years until it actually came time to call one and Frank Murkowski called bluff — then all the tourists showed up anyway, save a few ecotourists who stayed home and whose planned hosts were the main local opposition to wolf control anyway. That cartridge is spent.

      2. spanglelakes Avatar

        The target isn’t Middle Fork River outfitters. But big game outfitters, like those who are headquartered on the river or nearby, who can’t help but brag on their websites and show photos of hunters grasping their “trophy” wolves. These same big game (not river) outfitters want tourists for their summer horse rides and fishing trips. The internet is a magnificent tool for spreading the word.

      3. Ryan Avatar


        Their clientel is all anti or don’t care, so it will do no good.

    2. spanglelakes Avatar

      Some of us are already boycotting businesses that are anti-wolf and urging friends to do the same. It can make a difference. Interesting how Idaho big game outfitters tout wolf hunts on their websites, but the glossy brochures they distribute around McCall, Sun Valley or Boise for their summer horse rides and fishing trips don’t have a word about their wolf hunts. Word gets around, though.

      1. Daniel Berg Avatar
        Daniel Berg

        Interestingly enough, some of the outfitters that offer summer excursions for fishing or just trips into the woods actually do mention the opportunity to see wolves. I was curious about whether a lot of the outfitters hated wolves so much that they would in no way, shape, or form even hint at “wolf tourism”. Definitely not all of them balk at idea of taking money from someone interested in wolves.

        I guess maybe because it’s a different set of people that guide for summer trips as opposed to the hunts?

      2. jon Avatar

        Daniel, I bet you if these outfitters who clearly hate wolves had the chance to make money off of offering wolf tours to people they would. Here is a good article I found. May be a few years old, I’m not really sure, but have a look.

        Survey Results Include:
        For 2005, 34 organizations are identified as potential “wolf-based” outfitters. Halfpenny obtained information from 27 of them.
        These 27 organizations offer 569 departure dates during 2005, providing opportunities for 6,165 participants, at an average cost of $761 per person (program costs varied from $45 for one day to $3,300 for 7 days).
        The total potential income is $4,690,134 for 2005.
        Programs in which wolves enhance wildlife-related experiences potentially generated another $234,348 (494 people).
        Total: $4,924,482.
        Growth in wolf ecotourism has been phenomenal, according to Halfpenny. “In the year 2000, my survey included 11 organizations offering 57 departure dates,” he wrote in his letter. He also noted that Canada, England, France, Germany, Japan, and Netherlands repeatedly bring tours to the Yellowstone because of wolves.

      3. Ryan Avatar


        Are you saying these people wouldn’t have visited yellowstone if it weren’t for the wolves? None of the statistics show increased visits per capita due to wolves.

      4. timz Avatar

        Ryan you extremely ill-informed.

        “Jim Halfpenny is an outdoor educator who specializes in large carnivores. He lives in Gardiner, Montana, a town on the northern edge of the park and from there, he runs classes in wolf ecology. In 1995, he taught one class. Since that time, he has seen the wolf education business spring to life.

        “There were fifty-four classes on wolves taught in the first half of 2000 from eleven different organizations. From an educational standpoint, this has just been monstrous in the way it has developed,” said Halfpenny.

        Economically, the story has been extremely bright. In 1992, before wolves were reintroduced into the park, a University of Montana economist named John Duffield co-authored a study entitled “The Economics of Wolf Recovery in Yellowstone National Park.” That study predicted a loss to the hunter/outfitter business on the high end of about $500,000 per year. This would be a direct loss to hunting outfitters due to the fact that a declining elk population due to wolves would mean less elk to hunt, which would mean less clients. On the flip side, the benefits to wolf recovery in terms of tourism dollars, educators, and outfitters who specialized in wildlife observation, not hunting, were predicted in the $7-10 million annual range, a gain many times greater than the loss.

        A follow-up study to check the accuracy of the predictions is about a year away from publication, but the preliminary numbers look very similar, said Duffield. People want to see wolves, and they come from all over the world to do so. And they bring money.

      5. jon Avatar

        Halfpenny has made an attempt to quantify and compare the economic returns of wolf watching to elk hunting.

        “One exercise that I do in my wolf classes is I put up a blackboard and I have the people go through and make some sort of evaluation of what wolf watching brings into the northern Yellowstone ecosystem in dollars and what hunting brings,” said Halfpenny. “There’s a lot of assumptions in such an exercise, but the bottom line is in the northern (Yellowstone) ecosystem, wolf watching brings in four times what hunting is bringing in.

        “We have counted 100,000 visitors as of June of last year that have been out and watched wolves and then you make assumptions about what they spend in the filling station, the restaurants, etcetera, and what the hunters spend,” said Halfpenny. “You know Montana’s own statistics show the average late-hunt hunter spends $39 a day up here.”

        Halfpenny figures that wolf watchers spend about $160 per day in the area. And there’s tremendous potential for growth.

        “It’s obvious that wolves are one of the most charismatic animals in the world and there’s no end to how many people would like to see a wolf in the wild, so Yellowstone is one of the most unique opportunities in the world where an average person can and does have a real excellent chance of having that experience,” said McIntyre.

      6. Ryan Avatar


        Actually I am not ill informed. The statistics are availaible for all to see. Compared to population growth the per-capita Yellowstone visits are down compared to pre-wolf. If one compares the growth in visits between 1980 and 1995 and 1995 and 2009, the number of visitors and annual growth in visits do not support the assertation that wolves are bringing in tons of commerce or added visits.

        And those predicitons you quoted have not quite lived up to expectations. I just don’t see the actual on the ground numbers reflecting it.

      7. jon Avatar

        Although ranchers and stockgrowers might not be happy with the return of the gray wolf, environmentalists and tourism-based businesses are pleased.

        Merchants have cashed in on T-shirts, books, videos and other items relating to wolves.

        The first-ever wolf hunt took place in the fall of 2009.

        The hunting area north of Gardiner was the first to fill the kill limit among several counties where the hunt was allowed near Yellowstone Park.

        Janelle Holden of Keystone Alliance, a predator conservation group that advocates nonlethal wolf mitigation techniques, said in a recent study that having wolves in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem brings $35 million annually to the area.

        Motel managers have reported they experience a surge in spring visitors who hope to see a wolf in Yellowstone Park.

        Wolves often den in the same spot year after year, Bangs said. Some wolves in other areas have been known to use the same rock den for decades, passing it down through generations.

        “Probably the number one place in the world to see wolves is in the Lamar Valley in Yellowstone National Park,” Bangs said. “It’s phenomenal.”

      8. Ryan Avatar


        Then where are all of the additional visitors? Why are growth rates among visitors growing as fast the last 15 years as they were the previous 15? Would these people have still visited yellowstone sans wolves?

        I don’t need another cut and paste, if I wanted that I’d google it myself.

      9. Ryan Avatar

        That should read “not growing as fast”

      10. jon Avatar

        Yes, I believe some of them would have still visited. You cannot deny that some visit ynp mainly to catch a glimpse of wolves.

      11. jon Avatar

        Ryan, we are in a recession just incase you did not know. Not everyone is in the same position financially to spend money to take a trip to ynp like they may have been before the recession hit.

      12. Ryan Avatar


        We have not been in a recession the whole last 15 years, and the early 80’s and early 90’s were no pic nic economically either.

      13. Ralph Maughan Avatar


        As Ken Cole just posted a URL about Yellowstone visits, they are at a record.

        The place is too crowded for my taste and those of a lot of other people. Other factors come into play here.

      14. Save bears Avatar


        I agree, visitation has rose, of course perhaps, how they count visitors has changed, but to continue to claim that visitation has rose because of wolves cannot be proven, there is just to many variables.

      15. Ryan Avatar


        Between 1980 and 1995 the numbers of yearly visitors to the park nearly doubled. There has been no where near that growth rate since 1995. One would think if wolves were such a draw, the numbers of visitiors should have grown at an even faster rate, which is hasn’t.

      16. Ralph Maughan Avatar


        If you ever spent a Dec., Jan. or Feb. visiting the northern range of Yellowstone before the wolves and then after, you would have no question about the attraction.

        The big thing about the wolves was the change in visitors in the “shoulder seasons” and mid-Winter. You can’t get this from total visitors per year figures.

        Now, I think (not sure), that the wolf visitors are down because wolves are harder to see.

      17. Ryan Avatar


        What is the difference between the Recreation and Non recreation visits? If strictly rec visits are figured, (just from the few years I looked at) there isn’t a huge swing. What is the basis of classification?

  11. Connie Avatar

    This situation is so disheartening. Is there nothing that can be done to stop IDFG and Wildlife Services?

    1. spanglelakes Avatar

      Yes, it is disheartening. There are efforts by a coalition of conservation groups working to educate members of Congress about Wildlife Service’s budget, and how much money American taxpayers are spending to kill wolves, coyotes and other wildlife for ranchers. Hopefully, eventually, a lot of WS funding will be yanked. Like we’ve got 30-40 kids in crowded classrooms, but WS flies around looking for something to shoot. The agency also uses helicopters – like when they wiped out the Basin Butte Pack on the edge of Stanley last Thanksgiving while townspeople watched. Take that you wolf huggers!

      1. jon Avatar

        Don’t these rural americans know that they are basically paying for wolves to be killed? Ranchers and ws are making the taxpayers foot the bill. It is disgusting and that is why there needs to be a backlash against ranchers and wildlife services. Some like to point out all of the good ranchers supposedly do for the environment. About all of the native wildlife that is killed to benefit them? Ranchers are not native wildlife’s friend.

      2. jon Avatar

        Spanglelakes, I rarely hear any environmental groups talk about wildlife services and going after them. Wildlife services is something that we need to get rid of. All of those wildlife killers need to be fired and brought up on charges for all of the wildlife slaughtering they do. They are a disgrace to humanity if you ask me.

      3. Cobra Avatar

        How much money have you invested in wolves. Most I know here do not want a slaughter, but would like a hunting season.

    2. spanglelakes Avatar

      Connie – Earthjustice has filed litigation against something called the 10(j) Rule of the Endangered Species Act, which is why wolves in MT/ID/WY are continuing to be killed. Ranchers and big game outfitters managed to gut the 10(j) Rule a couple of years ago to the point that any wolf that is seen near livestock can be shot, or if someone decides wolves are eating too many elk (think Lolo Zone in Idaho). So, the gutless USFWS led by rancher Ken Salazar, is allowing state agencies and Wildlife Services to continue killing wolves under the 10(j) Rule. I hear that it will take months if not a year or more for the Earthjustice lawsuit on 10(j) to grind through the legal system.

  12. pointswest Avatar

    I agree with the court decision to re-list wolves. Wyoming was not going to play ball and come up with a reasonable management plan and Malloy did what he had to do. I am in perfect agreement with DW and Judge Malloy.

    I read this thread, however, and so many here are not interested in talking about wolf management but are simply complaining about wolves being killed and they want to “get” the killers. We need to get these dirty SOB’s and we need to get those dirty SOB’s…it really sounds very childish at times. It sounds like Rush Limbaugh just after the 2008 election. It also puts me to sleep with boredom.

    Let’s say we had a referendum on the issue. What is it that people here want?

    Do you want:

    1) Wolf declared holy and perfect creation of the Gods and make killing a wolf punishable by death?

    2) Want wolves to reoccupy their former range that includes most of the US and most suburban neighborhoods with killing a wolf punishable by life imprisonment.

    3) Want wolves to reoccupy their former range except suburban areas with a $2 billion federal budget to manage them?

    4) Want wolves in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming protected with killing a wolf within these states punishable by life imprisonment.

    5) Want 25,000 wolves in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming?

    6) Want 10,000 wolves in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming?

    7) Want 5,000 wolves in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming?

    8) Want 1,000 wolves in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming?

    All but items 1 and 2 are going to involve the killing of wolves by someone. Since I doubt Americans will ever elevate wolves to “holly cow” status, I think we can generally assume that items 1 and 2 are not worth considering. So, since the only available alternatives are items 3 through 8, it is clear to me that wolves are going to be killed. That is, wolves will be killed by someone. It is inevitable. The only question is, how many wolves will be killed. That is, and I repeat, the only question is how many wolves will be killed. If you deny that wolves will be killed, you are living in a dream world!

    All I see here, however, are emotionally charged complaints about killing wolves and getting those who kill them. What is the point of all this? This is not an issue. It is boring rageaholism and is about as interesting as Tea Party rhetoric.

    1. timz Avatar

      You would be singing a totally different tune if they were doing this to elk, ie; killing an entire herd for wondering on to a ranch and eating a couple bales of hay.

      1. pointswest Avatar

        No I would not.

      2. WM Avatar


        ++You would be singing a totally different tune if they were doing this to elk, ie; killing an entire herd for wondering on to a ranch and eating a couple bales of hay.++

        In fact, tim, that is done with some regularity, and to a greater degree than you seem to think. WA’s wildlife program has had to do that regularly (they also have a damage compensation program for farmers/ranchers). I think (but am not sure) CO has such a program, and maybe OR. The problem is not enough winter range.

        And, there have been numerous times when the WA wildlife folks have not acted soon enough or with the requested amount of mitigation. Farmers, particularly fruit ranchers, who have expensive trees they want to protect (as well as sprinklers and smudge equipment), who have acted on their own. I recall a few years back an apple rancher up the Cowiche (East Cascades southwest of Yakima) who killed between 15-20 elk in a herd that had taken over his orchard, and munched on his trees, taking off the producing branches and forming buds. Happens all the time, but just doesn’t make the national papers, in places like Wenatchee, Cashmere, Yakima, Naches, Cowiche, Autanum.


        PW correctly points out regardless of how many wolves is enough for some, their numbers will require management regardless of what the total numbers are. That is difficult for folks like jon to swallow, but he needs to get used to it. The only saving grace is the possiblity of delaying the inevitable by choosing larger numbers, or transporting excess across the landscape. That is why I have advocated that every state with habitat (and the conservatrion biologists who are concerned about sub-species can agree this was part of their range) needs some.

    2. Brian Ertz Avatar

      the only question is not “how many wolves will be killed” ~ it may be for folk whose only interest is in animal welfare.

      animal welfare is a legitimate interest – but for most people – perhaps I should just speak for myself – it is one among many interests involved with respect to wolf advocacy.

      the question with respect to wolf restoration is how wildlife and public landscapes will be managed, and for what they are managed.

      will our public lands and wildlife populations be managed as an agricultural commodity ? for consumptive ends alone ? as a surrogate for a marginal elite to organize and exercise private power and control ? to maximize production of domestic livestock and effectively domesticate wild game ?

      or will be able to engender a management paradigm/policy which has room for input from a huge constituency of people who want our public lands and the wildlife that inhabit them managed as a trust for future generations, where wild and un-“controlled” or un-“MANaged” aren’t problems to be rectified by beating and killing and exploiting and altering.

      the people in control of this issue at the state level (and even many at USFWS) have demonstrated time and time again that the language that they use in MANaging wildlife has no words for the values that wildlife advocates are interested in ~ and they’ve demonstrated no interest in learning any, or even sitting down and talking about how to forge solutions that incorporate everyone’s interest.

      Instead – we (wildlife advocates) are to sit down, shut up, and deal with the decisions that these old white MEN with cowboy hats dole out on behalf of a marginal interest that doesn’t even bother to inform itself with science, rational interest-based considerations, or anything other than the exercise of power and control : “lick the boot … you like the boot ? lick the boot …!”

      they’ve ignored that there is a higher power (federal law), and that those of us interested in the public environmental interest have spent that time that the state put us on the sideline flipping through the federal statutes, rules & regs … learning up on the rules at the federal level …

      perhaps if there were legitimate room for our input at the state level, we wouldn’t have so much time on the their sideline to invest in federal remedy 😉 …

      as it turns out – the good ol’ boys are about as knowledgeable of the federal rules as they are willing to consider input from a diversity of public interests (i.e. they’re NOT ~ see: federal court order after federal court order) …

      and so now we get to listen to them whine and cry as they take their consequence in failing to play by the rules.

      1. Daniel Berg Avatar
        Daniel Berg

        I think the ranching industry is making a huge mistake in its general refusal to engage in good faith when it comes to the management of public lands.

      2. pointswest Avatar

        The ranching industry, in my opinion, does make big mistakes and is losing the war. Wyoming’s spunky I-don’t-even-want-to-play-with-you attitude resulted in the re-listing of the wolf. Now the wolves have time to expand into Washtington, Utah, and Colorado and the ranchers have to stew in thier own juices.

        From a public relations standpoint, I think the re-listing castrates the ranchers. It proved to the public who the real leaders are and it is not the loud-mouthed rednecked ranchers. This is a public relaitons disaster for ranchers. They seem like contenders now who just got slapped down.

  13. WM Avatar


    Have you heard from FWS yet on the status of the MOU, and whatever interim operating arrangement they have for state participation in ID management?

    It appears Butch has already submitted a draft MOU under a cover letter. That would seem the ball is now in FWS’s court for a response. Any chance of getting a copy posted if they will release it?

    Here is the link on the story:

    1. Ken Cole Avatar

      See the update that I posted above and below as a comment.

  14. Virginia Avatar

    Most people have never heard of Wildlife Services and probably think they “serve wildlife.” They seem to be a shadowy bunch and some are living right down the road from you but you think they work for the Game and Fish and help count game and fish. I think some education on who they are and what they do is appropriate. How can we educate the public about this disgraceful “arm” of the government?

    1. jon Avatar

      Their name is misleading. They should change their name to wildlife killers or wildlife exterminators. That would be more appropriate I think.

      1. jon Avatar

        What needs to be done is we need to expose them and what they do. Someone needs to videotape some of their dirty deeds and maybe the public will speak up against these wildlife killers once they see the footage of what they do.

  15. Connie Avatar

    I hestitate to ask this question, but I will. (Keep in mind that I am not saying I support this approach. ) Is there not a very assertive pro-wolf organization that would do what Jon suggests, such as filming actions by Wildlife Services or perhaps others operating outside of the law so that they can be exposed? I’ve seen this tactic work in other situations and wonder why it hasn’t been employed with the wolf controversy.

    1. jon Avatar

      Hi Connie, I wonder that myself. I wonder if any pro wolf groups or environmental groups have videotaped ws doing their dirty deeds. One of the mods on here Brian Ertz said he tried to videotape wildlife services one time and they told him to leave or he would be arrested is I believe what he said. Maybe he can tell us what happened again.

      1. Connie Avatar

        Arrested? On what charge?

      2. jon Avatar

        They threatened to arrest him Connie. I am not sure on what the charge would be. I don’t believe Brian was doing anything illegal. maybe Brian could answer this when he sees it.

      3. Ralph Maughan Avatar


        They (WS) really don’t like you following them around. Strictly speaking, it might be legal to do so, but tell that to the local deputy who is the trapper’s brother-in-law.

        There are rumors some Wildlife Service agents abuse the wolves while the animals are under the influence of a sedative (for radio collaring), but a citizen would not be allowed to watch them even if they gave them loving care.

      4. Brian Ertz Avatar

        We were up a place called Willow Creek, north of Fairfield.

        The WS agent had put in traps to kill members of the Soldier Mountain Pack (the pack of six that would later be found dead – all poisoned in a row, with an investigation claiming inconclusive cause of death). I thought it’d be good to get some photos/video of a redneck government agent pulling a dead wolf out of a trap – public agent on public land with public wildlife – right ?

        I had cameras. The WS agent saw us there (public land) and took off, filed a report with the county Sheriff. I would later find out (via one of our lawyers that was going through a FOIA) that the same WS agent also filed a report against me with the FBI and that they were looking into potential federal charges – turns out that there is a federal law against being around a government agent’s residence – or publishing where its at (or something to that affect) and he was looking into whether to prosecute because he was pulling a pop-up trailer that he was camping in around with him.

        you can’t make this shit up …

  16. Nancy Avatar

    Jon, we all ready “know” what they do, take a look at the wolf/livestock activity report for Montana, for the past 8 months:.
    (I find it interesting though that its the end of Sept. and nothing has been reported since the 10th)

    This report has nothing to do with depredations on livestock from other predators like bear, cougar and coyotes.
    WS is a lean, mean, unfeeling, killing machine unleashed to address and protect livestock raisers and we all pay for it in one way or another to keep those grocery shelves stocked.

    1. jon Avatar

      Nancy, I was referring to the rest of the country. Sorry if I wasn’t specific about what I meant. Wildlife services should be renamed wildlife exterminators.

  17. Ken Cole Avatar

    I spoke to Brian Kelly, the new state State Supervisor Of Idaho USFWS Office, today about the issue at hand and he confirmed that there is no MOA but that the 2005 10(j) rule covers them and designates Idaho management authority. From the language I found on page 1291 of the 2005 10(j) rule I don’t see anything which does this. Essentially this says that an MOA with the Secretary of the DOI allows the state to manage wolves but the MOA has expired.

    Response 3–3: The completion of an MOA with the Secretary of the DOI which is consistent with this rule allows a State or Tribe to take the lead in wolf management, to become ‘‘designated agent(s),’’ and to implement all parts of its approved wolf management plan that are consistent with this rule. This includes issuing written authorization for take, and making all decisions regarding implementation of the State or Tribal plan consistent with this rule. Under the MOA process, the Service will annually review the States’ and Tribes’ implementation of their plans to ensure compliance with this rule and to ensure the wolf population remains above recovery levels. States and Tribes also can become ‘‘designated agent(s)’’ and implement all or selected portions of this rule by entering into a cooperative agreement with the Service.

    Furthermore, Section 6 of the ESA indicates that the DOI may enter in to a cooperative agreement with the states but management authority rests with, in this case, the USFWS otherwise.

    Simply having an approved management plan is not adequate to grant a state lead management authority, an MOA is required.

    1. WM Avatar

      Thanks Ken. It does seem awkward that they would do it that way. It does not seem likely the new guy at FWS would give you an answer that had not been run by their legal counsel, especially since this is such a high visibility issue. But as I have said before, FWS doesn’t strike me as the the most sophisticated of federal agencies.

      Again, it may just be an administrative formality, especially where a written MOA has been in place before, and the plan is approved. TEchnically they have only been operating without formal authority since relisting, which is all of what, seven weeks? If ID operates within the tasks of the plan and does not do more (harmful to the species or allowed under the 10j reg) than agreed under the old one, while wolves are listed, it would seem to meet the spirit of the law, absent the paperwork, while a new one is being drafted.

      Put another way, what option does FWS have in the interim while ID figures out whether they want to just hand everything back to the feds? I suspect FWS does not particularly look forward to that option, while the appeal matter is still in hopper. ID probably believes they have leverage as long as the written renewal of the MOA is outstanding.

  18. Dawn Rehill Avatar
    Dawn Rehill

    Gotta tell ya in the Jackson Hole Daily Paper, I do not know who put the ad out , but it does have a great pic of a wolf and it saids “This land is our land , this land is your land “, very simple . Sounds childish but it may sense, doesn’t it ? Except when it comes to the dollar ! HOLLA

  19. Dawn Rehill Avatar
    Dawn Rehill

    makes sense,

  20. Cindy Avatar

    I love the ad and of course cut it out and have it above my office wall. It’s only been run on the weekend editions.


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.

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Ken Cole