State will not manage wolves nor control poaching-

Idaho won’t manage wolves under ESA – John Miller, AP

“After talks with the federal government collapsed, Gov. C.L. ‘Butch’ Otter ordered Idaho wildlife managers Monday to relinquish their duty to arrest poachers or to even investigate when wolves are killed illegally.”

From his first day in office, Butch Otter has made wolves his signature issue even as the state of Idaho has drifted and floundered. Otter single-handedly destroyed the grudging acceptance wolf conservation groups were granting the Idaho and Montana wolf management plans.  His threats to kill the first wolf in an Idaho wolf hunt, and bring their numbers down to the bare minimum . . . maybe kill them all . . . are real root of the current antagonism and anger that permeates the region.

When people point fingers about conservationists bringing lawsuits, they don’t need to look much beyond Butch Otter, who made it clear from start he would not listen to them, didn’t care, and wanted trouble.

Now it is up to the federal government to cave to Otter, manage the wolves, or redesignate someone like the Nez Perce Tribe to manage wolves in Idaho. The Tribe did an excellent job, and most of Idaho and Montana’s original wolf mangers were trained with the Tribe and moved into state roles when the states took over. The Tribe is not jumping at the chance to take up wolf management again. Rocky Barker:  Nez Perce Tribe prefers to dodge Idaho wolf job. Idaho Statesman.

Because Idaho is no longer going to arrest poachers and it is currently the hunting season, a slaughter of wolves might be in order unless the federal government quickly brings in law enforcement. Because Idaho is no longer managing wolves, Wildlife Services, which is a federal agency though they rarely act like it, should no longer be killing wolves.

We have to wonder if Idaho Fish and Game will now let the radio frequencies of wolves fall into the hands of the poachers.

We think that gubernatorial politics also figures in this. Otter is facing a stiff Challenger from Keith Allred, a Democrat who is getting support from many Republicans who sense an extremism as well as lack of an economic plan in Otter’s administration. We note the Otter had to bring in Mitt Romney to campaign for him, most likely because Otter is weak with the LDS (Mormon) voters of Eastern Idaho. We don’t seem to see much more than a pro forma Otter campaign in Eastern Idaho. Otter’s opponent Keith Allred, is not a wolf supporter, but is not campaigning as a hothead.

This is a classic political stunt for a politician with a poor record fighting a tough campaign — pick a fight, especially one with a lot of emotion, but one which won’t cost the state money.

– – – – –

Otter’s News Release

(BOISE) – Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter notified Interior Secretary Ken Salazar today that Idaho no longer will act as the federal government’s “designated agent,” managing wolves imposed on the state under the Endangered Species Act.

Instead, the Governor directed the Idaho Fish and Game Commission to immediately refocus its efforts on protecting Idaho’s deer, elk and moose, and said the Idaho Department of Fish and Game will be submitting applications to the Interior Department for additional flexibility in addressing wolf depredation issues “so we can exercise our sovereign right to protect our wildlife.”

“This directive preserves an individual’s right to kill a wolf in self defense or in the defense of another person. It does not jeopardize the existing flexibility landowners and permittees have to protect their livestock and pets from wolves,” Governor Otter wrote in a letter to Salazar. “Additionally, this approach does not ask Idahoans who continue suffering wolves – especially sportsmen – to subsidize any part of this federal program or bear the risk or burden of inadequate federal funding in the future.”

In his letter, the Governor reiterated that the State of Idaho has consistently proven itself to be a responsible steward of all wildlife – “including your wolves.”

“We also showed that we could successfully manage a hunting season for wolves as we do for other species,” he said. “The State managed wolves as part of the ecosystem, in concert with other species and needs, which was ironically decried by environmentalists who seemingly want wolves to benefit at the expense of other wild and domestic species.”

“I am still committed to finding a path forward for delisting. My goal remains restoring State management under our approved plan as quickly as possible, if for no other reason than to fulfill the promise of our State law that all wildlife within our borders will be managed by the State. To that end, I am encouraged by the efforts of representatives from the three legislatures (Idaho, Montana and Wyoming) to see if there is a path forward for delisting and state management,” Governor Otter wrote to Salazar. “Although we could not agree during the course of our negotiations, I share your commitment to delist the species and restore state management as quickly as possible. It is truly frustrating that we cannot accomplish that shared goal today.”

Read the letter
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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.

152 Responses to Otter takes Idaho out of wolf management

  1. JB says:

    “This is a classic political stunt for a politician with a poor record fighting a tough campaign — pick a fight, especially one with a lot of emotion, but one which won’t cost the state money.”

    Exactly. And yet again, wolves become a convenient scapegoat for politicians and the state of Idaho demonstrates it will not manage wolves “like any other species”. I feel for the on-the-ground managers and scientists who have invested time, energy and sweat in the issue only to be left out in the cold due to politics.

    • STG says:

      All federal funds going to Idaho should be stopped. People who care about wildlfe mangement and rule of law should boycott Idaho’s tourism industry and all products from Idaho.

  2. Nathan says:

    How does something like this work? IDFG has stated multiple times that many of the employees who are working with the wolf project are being funded by federal dollars.

    Does IDFG give that money back? Do the employees and their work become property of the federal government that paid for it?
    How does IDFG comply with Otters ruling yet still remain honest to the federal money it receives to manage wolves?

  3. Layton says:

    ” Do the employees and their work become property of the federal government that paid for it?”

    Nope, don’t think so. Contrary to what the wolfies here would like to have occur, slavery and total federal domination have been out of style for a few years anyway.

    • Nathan says:

      The funding was given to the state with the explicit purpose of the wolf program. You can not just pocket it and walk away. You have to be accountable for it.

    • STG says:

      Why don’t you and your cronies start an Idaho secession movement? I wonder how long your godly kingdom could survive without federal dollars?

    • Otter is just blowing smoke about the money. They could have made money off last year’s wolf hunt because there were a lot of very intent potential hunters. Instead they deliberately set the tag fee very low. I guess that was to express how much they disliked wolves.

      This is very typical of a lot of the classic “Western” natural resources issues. They are turned into lifestyle issues and economic rationality is out the window.

  4. JimT says:

    Otter cannot just pick and choose which species are addressed under the public trust doctrine or Kleppe. He says he wants to protect wildlife. I guess wolves are now what..human? Domesticated? Perhaps federal funding should be yanked. Let’s see…how about subsidized grazing leases on Federal lands. Let’s see how long the ranchers stay in business.

    Get rid of this guy. Please.

    • PointsWest says:

      Please define “protected.”

      As long as there are a few hundred wolves still in Idaho, Otter can argue that they are “protected.” What were the original goals…300?

      • jon says:

        How many wolves in Idaho 1000? how bears and mt lions and how many elk? And they are bitching about the # of wolves.

    • spanglelakes says:

      JimT – important to remember that Idaho is the reddest state in the Union. A former Democratic Congressman (Richard Stallings) once said that a Republican cadaver starts with 49% of the vote. We have four more years of Otter coming up.

  5. JimT says:

    Geez, Layton, you sound like you are fighting the Civil War…LOL

    • Save bears says:

      Depending on your position Jim, many think it IS a civil war, and the funds that have already been dispersed has already been spent, so I don’t see them paying anything back, when I was with FWP, the first funds we spent were the Federal dollars, then the state dollars, just in case of a situation like this..

    • Layton says:

      Naaaa Jim,

      Not the civil war as such, that one was fought for a different reason – but, that said, I do feel that it’s high time some of the federal edicts were challenged or just flat assed ignored. They are NOT (IMHO anyway) omnipotent.

      However, I wouldn’t expect you to understand, by your last post it looks like you want to hook the wolf issue to grazing permits — isn’t that a hell of a stretch??

      • Brian Ertz says:

        no cows = no conflict with ranchers.

        then, you just got redneck hunters who failed to find an elk whining …

        want to fill your freezer ? befriend an enviro ~ they’ll tell you where to find the elk … 😉

      • JimT says: think that grazing permits on Federal lands and wolf conflicts are a stretch?

        Have you been paying attention all these years? :*)

        Federal laws are not perfect. Lest you think I am a knee jerk supporter, I have spent most of my time challenging those Federal agencies and their actions. But I also don’t have this sagebrush hostility that is back again either.

      • STG says:

        Who are the infamous “feds.” Guess what–they are people with wives, husbands, children and bills to pay. Your rhetoric dehumanizes and marginalizes people.

  6. Ken Cole says:

    Here is the big question that comes up. Does Idaho have any ability to conduct their 10j proposals now?

    Judging from the responses to questions presented by the state I don’t think they do but from reading the 10j again I’m unsure.

    • Why should the State of Idaho remain the FWS’s designated agent?

    This is Idaho’s question to answer. From FWS perspective, there are advantages for a state to be fully engaged in species management, including the direct contribution of state expertise and issues in management decisions. In addition:

    • Continued demonstration of successful State management of wolves is critical to the legal argument for delisting wolves in Idaho. If IDFG is stripped of its ability to manage wolves under the approved State management plan, the likelihood of delisting wolves in Idaho may be substantially diminished.

    • FWS will not manage wolves to achieve ungulate population objectives. Ungulate population management is the purview of the State, and as such, the State may address that priority by maintaining status as a designated agent.

    • The State is currently better positioned than the Service to address on-the-ground depredation control issues. Lack of State management would mean increased presence of contract or Federal biologists in Idaho to handle on-the-ground management.

    • SEAK Mossback says:

      “If IDFG is stripped of its ability to manage wolves under the approved State management plan, the likelihood of delisting wolves in Idaho may be substantially diminished.”

      Otter can grandstand, refuse to manage or protect wolves, or even start shipping them off to Salazar’s ranch and it just isn’t going to make any difference over any other course of action in delisting and return to state management. If you want to see a mirage, look at the Great Lakes. There’s even a environmental group that supports delisting there, but all it takes is one group out of many that doesn’t and never will (like HSUS) that is able to choose legal venue and successfully argue one of many points, like restoration to full former historical range.

      There’s got to be some reason these western politicians keep blowing up bridges on the track to “Delisting”. The public hasn’t figured out the feed-back loop yet, so with every court decision state politicians make the Feds and environmental legal organizations, who are only fulfilling their respective predetermined roles as creators and destroyers of delisting plans, serve as very convenient lightning rods for fresh outrage and betrayal. The main question is when and by what means the issue eventually breaks out of that loop. However, for the moment the loop is isn’t functioning because Wyoming is sitting stubbornly in the tracks.

      • Robert Hoskins says:

        And I wouldn’t be counting on the Wyoming bull moving off the tracks anytime soon. Dual status for wolves is a conscious, willful policy designed to accomplish strategic, oligarchical goals in Wyoming. I have discussed this in depth elsewhere.


    • Ken Cole says:

      According to the letter Jeff E posted the Governor thinks that the state does have the authority to submit wolf reduction proposals under the 10j.

    • Salle says:

      Well, what these flaming imbeciles don’t understand is that all this hoopla and praise of their champion fool is that it all works against them in so many ways in the long run.

      • jon says:

        Check out Chuck Feney’s comment. He is one sick puppy! I thought all animals are supposed to be treated as wildlife.

      • jon says:

        They think that now they will be able to just go out and kill wolves. I think they got another thing coming! To those that go out and kill wolves, they are not conservationists, very far from it. The only animals they care about are the deer, the elk, the moose, the animals they love to eat! All predators are viewed as vermin.

  7. Wolf Moderate says:

    Hey all,

    been readin these topics for the past few days. Made it to January of 09′ so far. I especially like bob’s comments regarding his interesting take on extended families. I am personally about like Save Bears in that I bow hunt annually, but at the same time think there is a need to have a healthy sustainable population of wolves. I hunted out of Stanley, ID this year and it was great to hear them howling w/in 200 yards of me. My buddy saw 2 of them right near camp. What a great experience. Being originally from Oregon I haven’t had the opportunity to hear them howl.

    Anywho, Governor Otter is right on track. If the Fed’s want to keep the wolves listed, then they should be the ones to “manage” them. IDFG is more than capable of managing them IMHO. Just wish the Legislature would change the minimum numbers from 150 (?) to say 500 to make everyone happy…Well, when it comes to wolves there is no way to do that 🙂

    • Jay says:

      The feds don’t want them listed–to the contrary, they’ve tried multiple times to get them off the ESA. They were returned to the list because they violated the rules of delisting by segmenting a DPS by political/state boundaries. This is not the Judge’s fault, or Idaho’s, or Montana’s; it can be placed squarely on Wyoming’s shoulders.

  8. Craig says:

    Just because Otter says they will not” arrest poachers or to even investigate when wolves are killed illegally.” I say as Hunters it’s still unethical and illeagal regardless and I guarantee the fish and game even posted on there website to say the same and will charge anyone doing anything illegal!
    Taking laws into are hands at this time will only make matters worse and show dissrepect, and never let us have a valid Wolf Hunting season! To start killing them over the words of or a pissed off moment will only make things worse in the long run!
    As a true Sportsman and conservasionist I would hope the majority of Hunters take heed and say if it’s not legal I won’t take part it’s not worth it and it will only harm true Hunters with Ethics in the long run!

  9. timz says:

    I would suggest that 100% of illegal wolf kills this fall will be by “hunters”

    • JB says:

      I think you mean poachers. In my book you give up the right to call yourself a hunter when you purposefully break laws designed to conserve wildlife.

  10. pointswest says:

    This reminds me a little bit of the federal 55mph speed limit imposed by the Carter Adminstration. Carter imposed a national 55mph speed limit to conserve oil. Montana refused to enforce it. The fed (if I remember it correctly) threatened to stop giving Montana matching funds for road construction and maintainence. Montana partially complied and were forced to write a certain number to speeding tickets. The police began writing speeding tickets but the motorist could post a bond of $5 dollars to the police officer and then drive away. The state would not pursue prosecution so, in effect, speeding meant at most a $5 fee. This went on until Reagan finally repealled the 55mph speed limit.

    I agree that most people will not shoot wolves if it is still a federal crime…if it is a federal crime. Is it?

    If it is, the fed can publish notice that it is still a crime and assign a few federal enforcement officers. Poachers can be turned in by other hunters. The fed can post a phone number or web address to turn in poachers.

    I also think wolves are not that easy to kill. I would not worry about a slaughter just yet.

  11. Wolf Moderate says:


    “Because Idaho is no longer going to arrest poachers and it is currently the hunting season, a slaughter of wolves might be in order unless the federal government quickly brings in law enforcement.”

    Come on guys, the season last year here in Idaho was 5 months and we barely put a dent into the population. “Most” hunters will not “SSS” or whatever childish term they use to poach an endangered species. If 50 wolves were poached this season I’d be shocked.

    BTW I camped very close to a WS agent for 3 weeks in August up out of McCall. Very nice guy, just doing what he’s told. If I remember correctly he’d only killed something like 50 wolves in 11 years. Dunno, doesn’t seem too crazy to me.

    • Wolf Moderate,

      You might be right. The difference will be if Idaho Fish and Game employees now give out the radio collar frequencies.

      If they did, I think it might be a federal crime, and maybe one that could be successfully prosecuted because there are known individuals likely to have this information. Most, of course, would be too ethical to do this.

      • JimT says:

        Good point, Ralph.Of course, the info could be leaked by persons unknown..all it would take is one.

        Otter and the rest are betting that in a bad economy, and with an election, there are not the monies nor the political will to expand enforcement and monitoring. Otter already backed off according to your revised post. This story has a lot of chapters to go yet.

        Last time I checked, citizens and governmental entities alike were bound to pass legally enacted laws, or face consequences, regardless of whether you agreed with them or not. And if you apply that principle across the board to all aspects of your life, you will see that is a good thing. You can, of course, practice non violent civil disobedience, but that too assumes you are willing to suffer the consequences.

        Idaho is no different, irrespective of the number of people there who like to get the benefits of Federal monies, but want to act like it is their own little fiefdom to do with as they please.This brinkmanship that Otter and others are practicing, using the wolf issue as an excuse, is ill advised and won’t gain them anything except maybe a few free beers at the local watering hole.

      • spanglelakes says:

        Wildlife Services and some ranchers have the frequencies, too. Last fall a hired hand of an anti-wolf cow ranch that had a radio, shot a wolf pup and tagged it. The pups were usually with a collared wolf.

      • Craig says:

        Ralph the F&G made it illegal this year to use any of that for Hunting. It was on there website and I was going to forward it to you but figured you’d see it.

    • spanglelakes says:

      I suppose that “very nice” WS agent told you the story of killing the Blue Bunch alpha female, leaving her pups on their own? He (or some WS agents) had already slaughtered the rest of her pack in the Spring.

  12. Wolf Moderate says:

    Good point, though “in this economy” 🙂 I doubt an IDFG employee w/ a sweet job would take such a risk as to leak radio frequencies….Anything is possible I guess.

  13. Mike says:

    They should just turn all of Idaho over to the feds. Beautiful state with a busted government.

    • Layton says:

      Obviously you don’t live here Mike — how about we take over the state where you live?? Or would we want it??

      Yes this blog’s current answer to anything resembling local control of where we live — have the feds take it over!! After all they’re doing a marvelous job at what they do now.

      Of course federal control doesn’t hack it where range allotments are concerned — we’ll take that over with folks from this blog that are capable of using “oligarchy” at least once in every post.

      There, all fixed, next problem.

      • Save bears says:

        I find it interesting to hear a comment of the nature of Mike’s, who if I am not mistaken hails from one of countries most corrupt state and local governments in history…maybe the Fed’s should really concentrate on taking over Illinois…

      • JB says:

        Magnificent post, Layton! In three sentences you managed to (a) marginalize the opinion of someone for being an outsider, (b) condemn the federal government, and (c) ridicule the liberal elite (i.e., people capable of using words with 4 or more syllables). Now if you could find a way of tying all of your woes to the Democratic party you might be able to run for office in the West! 🙂

        FYI, one could make a strong argument that the reason federal “control” of public lands is not working is that federal agencies have abdicated their responsibilities, letting locals have their way with the land.

      • Layton says:


        When suggests turning my home state over to the feds, it bothers me just a bit — be them local or “outsider”.

        I damn sure condemn the federal gov’t for the way the wolves were put in Idaho and then for the lack of following up on what was happening. I really suspect that there was a bit of collusion between the “wolfie” orgs. and the feds to make that so.

        Liberal elite — those capable of using big words — interesting. Does that mean that the other side isn’t?? Or is that simply an elitist making up the definition??

        As far as linking all this to the “left” side — I don’t think I have to, that’s just the way it seems to happen.

      • JB says:

        Sorry Layton, I’m still marveling at Westerners ability to lay their problems at the feet of everyone else (i.e., outsiders, liberals, elites, the federal government, federal agencies, on and on, ad nauseum) while completely avoiding any substantive issues. It seems to be a Western past time.

        – – – – –
        “Does that mean that the other side isn’t?? Or is that simply an elitist making up the definition?”

        I didn’t make up the definition, Layton. I simply used yours:

        “….with folks from this blog that are capable of using “oligarchy” at least once in every post.”


      • JimT says:

        Here we go…sagebrush rhetoric. Tell me why, Layton, Federal lands and resources should be controlled by locals when they belong to all of us regardless of location? Are you telling me there is some sort of “local elite” that knows best–which usually means we get to do what we want and screw the applicable laws that don’t allow it or conflict with it?

        I have always been flabbergasted by the Sagebrush folks near religious reverence for the concept of private property rights, but lands are are owned by the Federal government in trust for all citizens—screw the laws and regs that address those property rights.

        No one wants to take over Idaho, Layton. But, as long as it is part of this federal system, it IS subject to the duly authorized laws and obligations thereof. Perhaps Butch Otter’s next step is a secession movement. Be interesting..

      • Layton,

        I live in Idaho just like you do, and while I am not in any economic distress, I worry a lot about the economic future here for my family and my friends. Things are bad all over the country, but here I feel there is a vile menace to our livelihoods, wealth, assets, you name it, not just the same bad economy.

        I think the economic views of the elites who run this state are more suitable for some “stan” in Asia, than modern day America.

      • STG says:

        JB-an articulate, thoughful response to Layton’s confusing discourse.

      • Layton says:

        My definition JB??

        You wrote this “and (c) ridicule the liberal elite (i.e., people capable of using words with 4 or more syllables). ”

        But thanks for the phonics lesson.


        Sorry you’re “flabbergasted” by the concept of private property rights. Don’t they have those in Colorado?


        Read slower, try it for comprehension, maybe that way you won’t be confused.

      • STG says:

        You can insult my intelligence if that makes you feel more powerful? In any case, JB presents an intelligent response to your comments.

      • bob jackson says:


        I got a joke for you…pertaining to big words….will spare you the entire text.

        Once upon a time there was this couple. Sex was foremost for the guy. The girl one day says maybe they should split up because the neighbor said, “you are a pedophile”. the guy ponders a bit and then says,” Thats an awfully big word for a 12 year old”. The start of another liberal I guess she was.

      • JimT says:

        Oh Layton, you king of the selective, out of context, quote…LOL

        Folks like you act as if private property rights are total, without limit, and should extend to lands not your own simply because you have access to them. They are not without limits, never have been, never will. To pretend otherwise just marginalizes your positions on the issue.

  14. WM says:

    I just returned last night from two weeks of hunting elk in Central ID – three days scouting of pre-season scouting and ten days searching for a harvestable bull in an area adjacent to the Lolo zone. The story is of four very experienced hunters, who have hunted this area before for many years that is now occupied by wolves. Some information suggests there are quite a few. Our experience is complex and will take some time to tell, as I promised I would do. I am sorry, but I do not have the time now, but will try to get to it in the next couple of days.

    The short version is that we saw lots and lots of very recent wolf sign, and only a fair amount of elk sign in specific areas hunted in the past. We modified our hunt tactics in hopes of increasing our opportunities of seeing elk, by hunting the brush and steeper slopes. I saw a TOTAL of three elk in thirteen days, and my hunting partners only saw a few more (we heard quite a few moving – often quickly away- but that does not translate to a harvest opportunity or meat on the table).

    If our experiences are representative of other hunters (and I believe they are) there are many frustrated hunters out there, and they are indeed talking about what to do. As for poaching wolves, the questions are whether some would actually take the next steps to shoot wolves (even in light of IDFG abdication of wolf protection law enforcement) and would they even be able to find them during elk hunting season. I have my doubts on both counts.

    • Dawn Rehill says:

      I do not want to sound stupid, trust me I luv elk meat ! I don’t know if you can hunt in a different area or if the tag is for that area only, sounds like, yes, you are now competing with the wolf for elk . Like I said , I am not disrespecting you at all . But I feel a hunter needs to respect the other element that is competing with him for food . I was brought up with the word respect, huge in my fam ! Kinda feel like that word is lost in this society today .
      I do hope you get your elk .

    • spanglelakes says:

      WM – Sounds like you needed to pick up and go somewhere else after a few days. There are plenty of elk if you know where to look. Can’t even count how many were hit by vehicles in the past year around here in S Central idaho, so much that the highway dept put up a warning sign for motorists to watch for elk crossing the road. This October has been largely warm and dry, so many elk are either high, or feeding in agriculture fields. There are exceptions, like the 22 head including five young (spike & 2-point) bulls and 7 calves I was seeing in a meadow before the month-long archery season drove them into hiding.

      • bob jackson says:


        In Thorofare country (outside the Park) there were always core groups of resident elk able to hang on even in the midst of very intensive hunting pressure. They did this in drainages labelled such as “shit creek” by the outfitters.

        The labels fit because this drainage in particular had so much down timber those holding on elk families could navigate and move WITHIN this quarmire of trees better than the humans hunting them.

        Then along came the ’88 fires and most of these resident elk holding areas burned. The outfitters said that fall elk became so dumb and it was like shooting sitting ducks.

        The elk stayed the only place they knew of but their cover didn’t. These elk would run and circle in their home safety castles the same as always, then stay perfectly quiet. So quiet and still the guided hunters could get off their horses and assume a charred black rest for their guns with elk in full view turned sideways and looking straight at them.

        Yes it was a turkey shoot on those bulls. For two years those resident herds took it in the shorts. Then the cows and calves moved on to find safer homes….and blame for the emptiness was placed on the fires.

        A few things of relative note to your story. The outfitters enjoyed 90% success whereas before the fires it was closer to 50%, (even with all those illegal salt blocks). And the cow-calf refuges moved on to places I’m sure put them at a large disadvantage to non outfitted hunters. Thus everyones elk success went up…..for a short time. But long term the elk numbers collapsed and G&F, way too late, put restrictions on.

        One would think G&F and those outfitters would learn and this fire event would be applied to management to wolves.

        Instead of those on the perimeters of wolf country bragging how THEIR herds are really doing great….and slack jawed Daaaaa biologists not understanding why, and thus ended up putting in place very damaging liberal seasons….and everyone dances around the school house….. to leave those hunters and biologists in wolf country blaming wolves for all their travesties (vicious killers you know who kill and leave a trail of wanton waste)….maybe those biologists and outfitters should have eliminated the slurred Daaaa word and maintained sanctuaries (the elk of shit creek would have stayed there with or without trees if not being hunted, thus providing “harvestable” elk every year.. ….Stayed there even with wolves around because there was such a stong sense of home and there was enough male infrastructure in place to deflect those wolf packs).

        So WM’s herds are more wary and or gone…gone to some others hunters gun. Now wouldn’t one think if human refuges camps were overrun those survivers who scattered hitter and throe would be a bit jumpy too? Why can’t hunters see this cause and effect?

        But to ask another question, why do Montana, Idaho’s and Thorofare’s elk have to be in refuge camps in the first place? Change the hunting seasons to where each extended family has natures herd infrastructure left intact and there will be lots of wolves…. and lots of elk…the same as it was in Lewis and Clark days.

        My suggestion WM is to be wary of group think. You and your long term buddies reinforce each other…for good or bad. Is that social bonding in a lot of ways dependent on all of you before sharing in the victories of war? Without plunder there is the potential of this bonded bull relationship being fragmented. Maybe thefear of this is the reason you are forming up such determined analysis of “what happened out there”?

        A remedy may be to “Daaarling it appears we must reexamine the nature of our relationship” (quote by Doc Holiday in the movie, Tombstone). In other words is your bonding cohesiveness based solely on the success of the kill or can it change itself enough to all of you slapping each other on the backs forever….whatever it is ‘you all’ decide to do. Maybe going to the pool hall together might be better if all it was before was to split up those spoils of war? Shark the newbies.

        Maybe the camp life can actuallybe maintained and guns brought along and the cloth and gun solvent can be passed around just as before…..and those 300 mags polished to an even brighter brightness every night (I had a retired naval lt. colonel back country ranger “peer” do just that… to live his former life. Out came all the cleaning equipment and then finally the stainless steel 6″ Smith & Wesson …..out of the back country cabin dresser draw…every night…even though it stayed in that cabin all day…and an hour spent” doing it right”).

        I may be putting a bit much color into it all, but again I say watch group think…especially when relationships may be based on something all are desperate to maintain or to prove pissing rank. No rational thought can come from it.

      • Bob Jackson and WM,

        Exactly the same thing happened in the Frank Church Wilderness area after the gigantic forest fires of 2000, and outfitters who operated in the right areas made a big killing (literally), and they kept their mouths shut about it in public.

      • WM says:


        You lost me in the last eight or so paragraphs of your ethereal thoughts. However, I get the earlier parts of your comment, and the elk behavior after fire business, which Ralph reinforces on the FC. Unfortunate, yes, but it does not reflect the tens of millions of acres most elk and deer call home and where they are hunted by most.

        I should add that I have hunted those rugged “sanctuary” areas where the elk sometimes go, even passing up opportunities to get one there . The problem is that I don’t want to take an elk that would be near impossible to get out. I and my partners don’t hunt for trophies, as these outfitter clients seemingly do. So, when we get an elk we take the edible parts, including heart, liver and tongue. Call it our pact with nature, but that is the way we hunt. One experience bringing out an elk from an area like this will cure even the most energetic and enthusiastic hunter.

        And, yeah, I am always mindful of the group think issue, and even moreso after my dialogs with you. You can take that as a compliment.

    • WM says:

      Dawn, spangle-

      One of my hunting partners reminded me he had been hunting this area for 31 years. I have hunted it for the better part of 25. We put up a wall tent with wood stove, cut up a pile of wood and ready a spot to do the fine cleaning and hanging of our harvest. Just packing up to a new spot is a substantial effort, with no assurance that a new place would be any better. We get pleasure out of going the same places year after year, seeing how habitat has changed. But much of the area is in active logging so when one place grows up, it is replaced by another, thus keeping the general area fairly static and capable of supporting the same number of elk.

      Dawn correctly surmises that our tags are for a particular game unit, so that further limits our options. To make a major change to an entirely new area would require advance planning, once again, with no assurances that a new spot would be better. Meaning no disrespect, I am amazed at the simple-minded linear thought that comes with the “just go somewhere else” solution. It is compounded by the fact that there just might not be too many “somewhere else” locations as wolf density and numbers increase, AND the fact that other hunters facing dimming harvest prospects are confronted with the dilemma.

      • Elk275 says:


        There are some people who have no clue as to what hunting is all about and it’s difficulties. Deciding to go somewhere else takes times and money. Finding a good spot to hunt takes years and I am amazed at where some people call a good spot; I would never hunt there but they enjoy it and are able to harvest there elk.

        I am going to my favorite sport Friday night along the Red Rocks/Monida road or Divide Creek just before the Ruby/Cenntenial divide. I was there two years ago and the wolves had beat there in one area by about 3 to 5 minutes judging by the new snow in the tracks. The other area had had wolves several days before and not an elk track to be found.

        Why am I going back? Because there is no snow on the ground and my other hunting places require snow or wolves have changed and reduced the number of elk. I am a little different that Save Bears or WM as I only hunt 6 point bulls. I do have a 2nd either sex tag for the Shields River Valley which will be used later on.

      • jon says:

        Elk, did your dad end up getting that antelope? WM, will you be going back up elk hunting with your buddies? I understand that some hunters will become frustrated because elk hunting will clearly be a lot harder than what it was before the reintroduction of wolves. I feel that a good # of hunters will get their elk if they are patient and put the hard work in!

      • Elk275 says:


        No, we did not. In the area we were hunting “Blue Tongue” had killed off over 80% of the antelope in the last several years. The ranch that I usually hunt did not want any hunting due to the low number of antelope. I only hunted one day and we might go back next week after opening day of elk hunting. I have good German optics and with a pair of 13 x 56 binoculars I was able to find antelope but a faction of what was there four years ago.

        If Mike had his way with $10 a gallon gas there would be no hunting. I have a hard time buying a $50 tank each morning, but with Mike’s price of $10 a gallon that would be $175 a day. I would stay home.

        I truly wished that you could have been with us. I went east of Ingomar, Montana where I had never been. We were on a small tract of BLM land 5 or 6 sections and on the far edge of the tract a hundred yards into private property, I saw smoke, yes smoke in the sage brush. Then the smell of sulphur. There in the middle of the sage brush sea was a dry hole (oil) and a 8 inch casing with boiling sulphur water flowing, just like Yellowstone. The country went from badlands or the “black sea” to sage brush sea to timbered draws and Big Porcupine Creek flowing after one of the wettest springs in years. I never knew about this area. This was the last strong hold of 100,000 plus buffalo that was discovered in 1883 and 4 months later they were gone. The last of the big herds.

        Ingomar is a small very small community in northwestern Rosebud County, along the route US 12. The town was established in 1908 as a station stop on the railroad, then under construction in Montana. Although the land around Ingomar attracted numerous homesteader during the decade following the railroad’s completion, the region proved to be far too arid and inhospitable for intensive agricultural use, and by the 1920s the town was in decline. The railroad through the area was abandoned in 1980, and only a handful of people remain in Ingomar today. From 1910 to 1920 there were 2500 homestead patents issued every year. Today this arid land has only intersperse parcels of BLM and State land. This was the last native strong hold of the buffalo. Ingomar is home to the famous Jersey Lilly bar that has been featured in the New York Times other national publications. If one wants to go off the beaten tract this is the place to go.

  15. spanglelakes says:

    What Otter’s press release missed saying (added in caps): “…the Governor directed the Idaho Fish and Game Commission to immediately refocus its efforts on protecting Idaho’s deer, elk and moose…” AND ONLY ALLOW HUMANS TO KILL THESE ANIMALS.

    • jon says:

      Yep, pretty much it. People like Otter only want humans killing elk and moose, not wolves the elk’s true natural predator.

  16. Nancy says:

    Since the talk seems to be covering hunting and hunting areas I have a question for anyone who hunts in Montana?

    What are your feelings on I-161? In a nutshell it abolishes outfitter-sponsored nonresident big game and deer combination licenses, replacing the 5,500 outfitter-sponsored big game licenses with 5,500 additional general non resident big game licenses.

    Noticed a few signs (that were not there a couple of days ago) on my road asking people to vote No. (the language, text, arguements and rebuttals took up alot of pages in the Voter Information Pamplet 🙂

    • Elk275 says:


      I do not have time to write what I feel about it now and why. But I am going to vote against the allowing a set a side. I voted against the set-a-side in 1998 and there were two good reasons which are valid today.

      • Nancy says:

        So write when you have time Elk.

        The only exposure I’ve had to all this is the outfitter on my road who now has 2 out of the 4 big ranches tied up not to mention state land around those ranches. (and, those ranches use to be a part of block management)

        Got a great view of the valley I live in Elk and I have to say I’m not looking forward to another year of witnessing “men in orange” pushing and chasing elk from one end of it to the other and back, hoping for a kill, while the elk are just trying to migrate out to winter pasture.

      • Elk275 says:

        Nancy my essay is getting vey long and I am tired. I need to check some facts and do more research.

  17. Nancy says:

    I will look forward to your thoughts Elk. My gut tells me to vote Yes because I have heard the rumblings around here about less and less private land to hunt on. But then again, I don’t hunt!

  18. Chuck says:

    This being my opinion and maybe I just have my head stuck in the sand, but I think there are those that have all along been killing wolves, you know those three letters “SSS”, I think its a pretty tight group, they are not those that just happen to see a wolf and shoot it and then the next day or the next week when they are enjoying some adult beverages at the watering hole they brag about killing a wolf. No these guys are smarter then that. I think for those guys it will be business as usual. It will be the weekend hunter that by chance runs accross a wolf and has read that IDFG will no longer have anything to do with wolves and they also will think to themselves “how often do I see a US fish & wildlife officer up here”. I hope I am wrong.

  19. Dan says:

    You guys are just as bad as the other side. You are trying your hardest to make this a personal issue. You are deflecting away from the devastating impacts the wolves are having on Idaho’s backcountry elk and making it a us against them fight. You need propaganda to keep the dollars and interest flowing so you throw Otter up as the devil of the destruction of the wolf. Especially when all the science points to the wolves still growing exponentially despite the first hunts in Idaho and Montana. Both sides are scandalous and myself as an honest born and breed Idahoan is bearing the weight of it. The hunting opportunities and dollars brought into the state are disappearing and the transfusion of wolf sightseers and ecosystem health is not showing up either. Give me the cold hard facts that ecosystem is better off. It’s all conjuncture..none of it is solid science or opinion…It’s killing a culture and the rural way of life…to which I think was the climax all along.

    • JimT says:

      I think the IDFG’s own reports show the elk populations in most of the zones are meeting projected quotas. The LOLO has been held up as the poster child for wolf impacts, but again the facts show there are other non wolf factors that caused a precipitous drop before the wolves were there.

      Data shows the wolves are healthy, but not growing exponentially, which would mean doubling and doubling numbers again and again. It is the attitude and conduct of the states that is causing the pro restoration group to be concerned and rightly so. No one is forcing Butch Otter to take outrageous stands except his own ego, his obligation to the livestock and game lobbies, and his own desire for power.

      Hunting is on the decline all over the country, even in traditional rural areas. Surely wolves can’t be blamed for that sociological development. Kids would rather be hooked up to the Internet. Sad, but just the way it is.

      And with the economy the way it is, people will not be flying and spending a ton of money to hunt elk out of state. They will tend to stay at home and forego what is an optional activity for most.

      Read the science on the return of the aspen and other vegetation in areas where the wolves are active. This will in turn lead to a return of species dependent on those species. I am sure with a little time you can just search this blog site and find articles that have been posted on ecosystems and the impacts of wolves. It is really a beautiful system to see if it is given a chance to work without being managed as a Human Benefit Only ecosystem. The problem is that these ecosystems have so out of whack for so long being managed for one species…humans and what benefits them, that anything resembling a more balanced state is bound to feel oppressive and wrong.

      With the hostility going on in Idaho, do you really think people are going to come to spend money wolf watching? The gateway communities around Yellowstone are proof that tourism and recreation can be of great added benefit to a town or an area. I don’t see that happening in Idaho unless the overt hostilities cease.

      The rural way of life is vanishing on its own. I grew up in rural Vermont and upstate NY, watching dairy farm after dairy farm get sold off. Factories disappeared, and with them went the vitality of small town life. Sad to go back and see my old home town dying a slow death, but absent some big corporate force putting a regional HQ in the area, its heyday is gone.

      I see the reasons for your frustration and anger, but it is much more complicated than blaming wolves for the change in culture and society in Idaho.

      • Jay says:

        You’d think wolves were on par with humans with as much damage and overall impacts they are given credit for…might as well blame them for climate change while we’re at it (if they haven’t been already).

      • Layton says:

        “I see the reasons for your frustration and anger, but it is much more complicated than blaming wolves for the change in culture and society in Idaho.”

        IF I were to give you that point Jim, there’s another facet of the “rural” lifestyle here in Idaho that I’d like you to explain to me.

        What would you point out as the cause for people in many places here in my home state changing the way they spend their spare time? The spare time I’m talking about is the folks that used to spend a lot of time just walking around in the woods with their dogs. Not necessarily hunting, just walking around, collecting mushrooms, looking at the colors, romancing the girlfriend or whatever.

        Now it usually entails a bit of planning, do I have a leash, should I even take the dog, have there been wolf reports out there lately, and, in a lot of cases, where’s my gun??

        It really seems to me that these folks that loudly declare “this is MY public land and I want wolves here” have forgotten a lot of “other” people use that same land and their way of life has be impacted quiet heavily.

        Do you lay this change on habitat, global warming, El Nino, or what? Might it just be possible that it’s because of wolves?

        Yeah, I’m just “fishing” but it truely is something that the greenies seem to quite conveniently ignore.

      • JB says:

        Here in Ohio we have people who have recently discovered that there are coyotes in the burbs where they live, and some get upset that they can’t let their cats roam free without worrying Kitty might become dinner for Wiley. And it isn’t just Ohio; you’ll find coyotes in downtown Chicago, all over the LA metro area and even NYC.

        I’d tell your neighbors the same thing I tell mine: If you value your animal, then take care of it (i.e. keep it inside, on a leash, or in an fenced area). Personally, my cats don’t go outside and my dog goes out on leash or in the fenced backyard. The breeder I bought my dog from would not sell to anyone who didn’t have a fenced yard.

        Regardless, the chance of Fido becoming wolf food while hiking in most places is ridiculously low…probably on par with his chance of stepping in a foothold trap or snare. Hmm… I wonder how you feel about trapping???

      • Layton,

        Are you serious? Or are you spouting the rhetoric of your friends?

        Yes I usually take a gun. I used to carry it openly. I wasn’t worried about any animals except grizzly bears. That was back in the day. A pistol in my holster seemed to make folks act friendlier, but it was kind of an asshole thing to do, and I quit. Remember I’m from Idaho too, and don’t assume Greenies don’t pack heat,.

      • bob jackson says:


        I like the way you covered all Dan’s points…and the examples added for down to earth reasoning.

      • DB says:

        Layton may be serious. I know a few runner-skier types who are reluctant to take their dogs on backcountry trips because they fear wolves. I tell them it’s probably not a worry, tht I take my dogs with me summer and winter but there have been a few times when the dogs been out of sight for a few minutes and I worry a little (Juan Williams syndrome?). they leash them more as JB suggests, something I probably should do esp in winter.

    • JB says:

      “Especially when all the science points to the wolves still growing exponentially despite the first hunts in Idaho and Montana.”


      The wolf population grew very little from 2008-2009 and actually remained stable in Idaho. Specifically, Idaho’s official estimate was 846 in 2008, 843 in 2009; Montana’s official estimate was 497 in 2008, 524 in 2009.

      I aggregated data from the USFWS reports (2001 to 2009) and they show that growth in 2008 (pre-hunting) had already begun to taper off–despite reaching a peak in 2006 of 27.5% growth, the population grew by only 16.4% in 2007, 8.7% in 2008, and just 3.7% last year.

      During that same period (2001) agency control actions increased steadily from 3% (of the wolf population) in 2001 to 16% in 2008 and 2009 (I suspect this would have been higher sans hunting).

      Personally, I don’t have any problem with having a public harvest of wolves in the NRMs; however, I think when you make statements like “It’s [wolves] killing a culture and the rural way of life” you are engaging in the same sort of hyperbole you are criticizing others for.

  20. Nancy says:

    JB said: Regardless, the chance of Fido becoming wolf food while hiking in most places is ridiculously low…probably on par with his chance of stepping in a foothold trap or snare. Hmm… I wonder how you feel about trapping???

    JB, Thanks, summed up my thoughts nicely. I’ve lived in coyote country for years and never lost a dog (because they don’t run loose, unlike many ranch dogs in my area) to Wiley.

    Wolves have been around for over 10 years and my dogs (who don’t run loose) let me know when wolves are in the neighborhood by their actions as does Wiley, by his silence.

    • jon says:

      Well said jb and Nancy. If you’re responsible and actually watch over your dogs and other pets, you will most likely have no problems. All of these people who have their pets killed by wildlife, it is their own fault for obviously not watching over their pets carefully. It irritates me when you have people like hound hunters who complain about their dogs being killed by wolves when they just run them run loose.

  21. Dawn Rehill says:

    So with all the talk in the Rocky Mountain Region about how the wolves are wiping out the elk population, why is there a elk hunt in Teton National Park to control the elk ? This was the headline in the Jackson paper cause people are questioning the Park about Bulls being taken out , when cows were supposed to , not the biggest animal in the herd, people are questioning if this is just for sport, gotta luv the dollar .

    • Save bears says:

      GTNP is one of those areas that the wolves have had a very light impact on.

      • Dawn Rehill says:

        Gotta tell ya not feeling that Save bears

      • Save bears says:

        Not feeling what, in certain areas, wolves have had a large impact, in other areas, not a large impact. The Jackson herd has not been largely impacted by the presence of wolves., in addition, I have only heard a few very vocal opponents of wolves say they are eating all of the elk in Wyoming, for the most part I don’t hear Wyomingites running around saying what some in Montana and Idaho are saying…

    • Wyo Native says:

      Who said it was only supposed to be cows removed? I must have missed that part when the 1950 the park boundaries were extended and the Congress allowed the hunting to take place via the Wyoming Game and Fish. By the way there are only 150 tags that allow the killing of bulls out of a total of 900. And at an average of 30% success, only around 50 bulls will end up being taken.

      For the record this hunt has taken place every single year (except for two) and bulls have been a portion of the take every year.

      People also do not purchase this hunt because they paid the most money. It is a draw hunt and it costs exactly the same through the state of Wyoming as a General Elk Hunt.

      And once again who is saying the wolves are killing all the elk in the Jackson Hole Elk herd?

  22. Dawn Rehill says:

    All I am saying people is hearing in Wyoming with different groups about how the wolf is taking out the elk population and that the elk will disapper because of the wolf, why is there a hunt to control the elk herd ??? Mmm wolf taking out elk but mmm hunt in the Tetons ?? Money talks .

    • Wyo Native says:

      I live in Wyoming, and I have herd very few people say that the Jackson Hole Elk Herd was in trouble. I also have herd very few people say that the elk would disappear because of the wolf. So once again who are these groups who are saying that this particular elk herd is in trouble?

      Oh and there is an elk hunt because the population objectives is well above the carrying capacity for this herd. It has been this way before and since reintroduction of wolves into the GYE. Maybe you should try and do some research on the subject instead of spreading a bunch of unfounded hyperbole.

      • Save bears says:

        I agree, I have not heard anyone say the wolves were wiping out the Jackson herd, they are way above the objectives and always have been…

        People really need to start ignoring the extremists on both side of this issue and start reading the science and reports that are more in the middle, they tend to be a bit less biased..

      • jon says:

        The anti wolf group savewesternwildlife is the group that are saying that the jackson hole elk herds are gone. Look up the name Todd Fross. He has said that many many times. I believe he lives in Lander WY.

      • Save bears says:

        Well Jon,

        I don’t care what he says, because that herd is overpopulated and will continue to be as long as there is the large winter feeding program. I really don’t give a shit what these fringe elements have to say..

      • jon says:

        Good to know sb. It is amazing because one person says that herd is overpopulated and another says it’s wiped out. Sometimes you just don’t know what to believe.

      • Save bears says:

        Perhaps you should travel west and see with your own eyes and then make your decision…

      • jon says:

        Yeah, but sb, that guy lives there too and he’s claiming there are no elk left in Jackson hole, what is he seeing? or maybe he’s lying on purpose to make it seem like the situation is much worse than what it really is?

      • Save bears says:

        I have no doubt he is lying, I have seen the Jackson herd many times and worked with the managers in the that area, that herd is in no jeopardy at all. Heck the fringe elements on both sides are no stranger to half truths, and down right lies…

  23. Dawn Rehill says:

    Also people like me who live here by the parks do not want this hunt anymore

    • Wyo Native says:

      Tough shit! People like me who also live by GTNP want the hunt because we need to have sound management of our elk herds.

      It also would take an act of Congress to change the law regarding GTNP to eliminate this hunt as long as the population of this elk herd justifies it. Good luck with that!

    • Save bears says:

      Well you guys that don’t want the hunt better have a deep pocket book as well as a very strong lobby group representing you, because it will take an act of Congress to change the conditions of the establishment of GTNP.

      Fortunately, there are not a lot of people like you, and I am glad, because you don’t seem to know much about sound wildlife management..this herd has never been in jeopardy of diminishing, in fact they have problems because they are fed during the winter and they are overpopulated…

      • Save bears says:

        And your trying to bring an issue into a thread about Idaho, that has absolutely nothing to do with Idaho’s withdrawal from wolf management..

      • bob jackson says:

        Wyo neuter & Save bears,

        Sound management???? My fellow Iowa Farm Bureau members are always espousing “sound management and science” to justify just about anything allowing them to exploit more. Most I see using this catch all phrase are the furtherest of all away from understanding any science…Thus you might consider using another catch all to differentiate yourselves…Just a thought…based on sound science, of course.

      • JB says:

        “…you don’t seem to know much about sound wildlife management..this herd has …problems because they are fed during the winter and they are overpopulated…”

        So which part of “sound management” is the winter feeding and overpopulation?

      • Save bears says:

        Thanks Bob and JB,

        Your always there to jump in when I state something incorrectly.

      • Save bears says:

        The correct phrasing was “you don’t know much about wildlife management, this herd has problems because they are fed during winter and they are overpopulated” sorry for my mistype!

      • JB says:

        I was just curious. It seems to me that what constitutes “sound” wildlife management is highly influenced by what one wants the land to produce (i.e., what their goal is). What bothers me is that people use the term “sound wildlife management” or “sound management” to suggest that the goal of a particular wildlife management practice/action is based on science. It is not. In reality, goals of management are policy-based. We use science as a tool to realize these goals.

        So, if one asks: Is stocking pheasants (a non-native species) sound wildlife management? If you hunt pheasants it is. Is reducing wolf populations to increase hunting opportunities sound wildlife management? If your goal is producing hunting opportunities, then it sure is. What is sound wildlife management to one person, may be considered a colossal waste of resources by the next.

      • Save bears says:

        I agree JB, everybody has their own set of goals determine by their biases, humans have been that way since the beginning of time and I don’t see it changing anytime soon..if everybody were to understand that, we might actually be closer to solutions..

  24. Alan says:

    I had a dog killed by coyotes while backpacking in the Sierras once many years ago. Ever since, if I had Fido along, he was on a leash or trained to stay close (had one dog that actually did that!). Using a leash wasn’t a “lifestyle” changing event, I just put a leash on the dog and went about my business. Didn’t hate coyotes, just learned a lesson. Any dog in the woods, except a hunting dog during hunting season actively engaged in hunting activity, should be on a leash anyway; not running around harassing wildlife. My brother-in-law had one of his dogs killed by a rattle snake on his own property in Arizona. There are inherent dangers everywhere; wolves don’t significantly add to them.
    Sometimes I think that some of these hunters and “fourth generation” ranchers, folks I once looked up to (in a naive former life) as true outdoorsmen, should be forced to spend a year in the seedier areas of LA, New York, Baltimore or Chicago. Thousands of people come from the cities every year, strap on a backpack for a week or two, and visit bear, wolf, mountain lion, coyote country. Many don’t even carry bear spray. Some bring along their kids, whom I’ve seen running ahead on the trail. Somehow these folks manage to get out alive. A gun to look at fall color and collect mushrooms! Give me a break! Besides, I thought that carrying a gun everywhere was part of the rural “culture and way of life” anyway.

    • jon says:

      I don’t see what is so hard about keeping your pet on a leesh and you are very correct in what you are saying Alan. In just about most places, you are told to do so, keep your pet on a leesh that is. If your pet gets loose and hurts someone, you will be held accountable for that. If people are afraid to take their dog into the woods, don’t do it then.

      • Save bears says:

        No Jon, it is not just about most places, the rural areas outside of cities don’t have leash laws.

      • jon says:

        I should have said most places besides rural areas. What kind of stupid nonsense is that sb? What if your dog attacks someone? Would you be held accountable for that? A responsible pet owners does not let their dogs run around freely. That is how accidents happen.

      • Save bears says:


        Most ranch and farm dogs are not tied up and they are not leashed unless in a populated guys have got to stop thinking metro areas, my closest neighbor is over 2 miles from me..some of these ranches are over 10,000 acres! And I can honestly say, with all of my travels around the state of Montana to various ranches, I have never had a dog attempt to hurt me..

        When I had dogs, they never threatened anybody that came to my house either.

      • jon says:

        sb, I am not talking about ranch or farm dogs. I am talking about regular people with dogs. What if their dog attacks someone? Are they held accountable for letting theor dog run loose and freely?

      • WM says:


        Your naivete about the realities of people and animals in the West gets greater with each comment you make. Rural dogs on leashes when they go out, now that is a good one. Some never make it in the house. Next you will have them in little raincoats and booties when the weather is bad, and of course on a leash with a poop bag tied to it.

      • Save bears says:


        I guess rural people are not “regular” people, go figure

      • jon says:

        wm, what if your dog attacks someone? someone could be walking by your house when you let your dog out and the dog attacks the person. Are you the pet owner held responsible and accountable for that if your dog attacks someone? Than rural people complain and bitch when their dogs or pets are killed by coyotes or wolves or other predators. Maybe if you didn’t let them run loose and freely, these events and situations probably would not have happened. I know in most places people are responsible dog owners and leesch their dogs most times.

      • jon says:

        Rural people letting their pets run loose and freely than bitch when wildlife kills their animals. Don’t seem to make a lot of sense sb. You would think a light bulb would go off in their noggins and say well hey, maybe I should leesh my dogs if I am worried that predators might get them. Common sense doesn’t seem to be a big thing in rural areas.

      • Save bears says:

        Well Jon,

        Well I was say that those who live the rural lifestyle don’t think that common sense is to common in metro areas either.

        I cared for my dogs deeply, but I never really worried about them being got by a predator.

        Its all about choices..and in reality, I don’t see that many bitching about their pets, I do however see a very vocal group of people making noise, to stir you city folks up..

      • Save bears says:

        To be honest with you, if my dogs, had a run in with a predator, I would prefer them to be loose instead of tied up, at least loose they stood a chance, tied up they didn’t..

  25. jon says:

    sb, rural people clearly live differently than most, but I would think common sense would still be there. I mean letting your dogs run loose and than bitching when they are killed by coyotes or wolves. Just makes no sense to me. If you wanna let your dogs run loose and freely, fine, that is up to you, but expect the consequences if something happens to your pet. There are dangers all around to your pets. let your dog run free, it could get hit by a car, attacked by a predator, etc.

    • Save bears says:

      A lot of what us folks do, don’t make sense to you Jon, hey that is ok, because I know you have no experience, and by all accounts have not much interest in getting any..

    • william huard says:

      Remember last year I think when a sheriff in an Idaho county arrested or gave a citation or something to a concerned citizen that was trying to help a female dog that was left outside in the elements with her pups. It doesn’t matter if the person is from the city or from a rural area, people like that should not own pets. How hard is it to realize that an animal should be treated better than that

    • jon says:

      I have experience taking care of my dogs sb, apparently some rural folk don’t. I also don’t let my dogs run free and than bitch when they are attacked and killed by a predator like some rural folk do.

      • Save bears says:


        Knock it off, we talk care of our dogs as well, and as I said earlier, those who bitch the most are those that move to this area from cities, you claim is false, very few bitch when something happens, most of us know the risks…hell I could end up being predator dinner any day of the weeks when I walk out the door…I accept that risk and I sure as hell ain’t going to bitch if I get attacked..

      • Save bears says:

        You really like to focus on the minority of the population segments don’t you Jon, to make your points..

  26. jon says:

    sb, clearly, rural people live unlike most. To let your dog run freely, that is an accident waiting to happen. getting hit by a car, attacking someone for whatever reason, getting killed by a predator, etc. These are all possibilities that might happen.

    • Save bears says:

      You know what is sad Jon, is most of the people I hear bitching about their little fifi getting munched is not the ranchers, but those folks that were born and raised in the city, then they move to the country and bitch about their dogs or cats disappearing, My friends that work for FWP say about 90% of their calls for missing animals come from new residents that just moved here in the last few years..and they want something done and done now!

      • Cobra says:

        Amen s.b. Jon maybe get a clue about what living out here is all about before you pass judgement. You really should take a trip out west and see how big this country really is. I own property in the mountains like s.b. I don’t leash my dog because he stays close but something could happen anytime we go out. Hopefully it never does but no matter if you live in town or in the woods there is always a chance something may happen.

      • JB says:

        “You know what is sad Jon, is most of the people I hear bitching about their little fifi getting munched is not the ranchers, but those folks that were born and raised in the city…”

        Seems this “dog issue” has become just another proxy for the constant “us vs. them” debate.

        BTW: I grew up in a rural area as well, and I witnessed many instances of dogs kept chained in the yard and rarely, if ever, walked or exercised. I think these animals are at most risk, and I’m not surprised that their owners don’t complain when they get killed.

    • Jeff E,

      Thanks for the link. I guess folks were too busy arguing about city versus rural dogs and city versus rural people to click on it, but the story about Butch Otter’s comments was amazing and appalling. He sounds unglued, but then a lot of the rhetoric just before this election sounds this way. I hope it is just the election season.

  27. Alan says:

    There is a ton of difference between a city “pet” and even a country “pet” and a “ranch dog”. Folks, like my brother-in-law, who have a “ranch dog” kind of understand that one day Fido isn’t going to come home. He’s going to mess with the wrong critter, eat the wrong thing, get shot for going where he shouldn’t, get hit by a car etc., etc. S**t happens, but hey, he’s just a dog. He may be a “good ol’ dog”, but he is not a member of the family. He’s like one of the cows or sheep. Just one of the critters like the barn cat. Any of a multitude of things can, and eventually will, happen to him. It’s understood. UNLESS he is killed by a wolf. Then it was the best dog the rancher ever had, just like a brother to him! Run over by the tractor? Oh, well! Damn shame, but he’ll make good fertilizer! Wonder if Farmer Smith has any pups left in that litter?
    The point being, if it’s a family pet take care of it. Keep it in the house, fenced yard, on a leash. If it’s just a ranch dog that runs loose, s**t often happens eventually whether there are wolves around or not.
    The other point being that, in any case, it isn’t a “lifestyle” or “culture” changing event to put a leash on the dog while you are collecting mushrooms.

    • Save bears says:


      I am just curious are you Montana raised or did you move here from another area?

      And I am not a native, I was raised in rural Washington State, but my wife and her family goes back and homesteaded the year after the Little Big Horn was played out..

      • bob jackson says:

        save bears

        As said by Anton Chigurh (in the Cohen Bros. movie, No country for Old Men) to the simple proprietor of a lonely gas station in windswept Texas, “Then you married into it”…. in this case, Montana.

      • Save bears says:

        Thanks for your ever expanding knowledge and wisdom Bob…

      • Save bears says:

        But I would like to think my growing up in rural WA out of the city would count for something, I don’t find it all that much different than where I currently live in Montana, I grew up on several hundreds of acres next to a wilderness area, dealt with predation as well as hunted and fished in my off hours…had my chores to do when I got home from school..etc.

      • bob jackson says:

        save bears,

        You probably know it already but I had no “malice” intended…just the fun of remembering and rejurgitating a good movie.

        In all those back country years of Yellowstone, sometimes five months away at a time from any road, I would mentally go over…and over…the movies of my past…while riding on that 3 mph horse. Having somewhat of a photographic memory meant I could replay most of a movie verbatem. It was my entertainment.

        Prefer my movies with others but when solitude is there, then that world …and the craving of a hot fudge sundae from Lake Hamilton Stores (one time Doug Smith from the Yel wolf team dropped a half gallon of ice dream, maked with some ribbon, to me at thoro…the best tasting ever) means changes are instilled. Thus I couldn’t resist with the Anton quote.

      • Save bears says:


        Didn’t think you meant any malice at all..

        Boy some Chocolate Fudge with friends would taste great right about now!

        I remember a trip that my wife, my friends and I took into the hunting area in WA that we were frequenting at that time, next to Indian Heaven Wilderness, We all had to go back to work for a few days and the wife stayed up in the brush, we returned on Friday evening and on Saturday morning, we were treated to homemade flapjacks and made in the brush huckleberry syrup, talk about a treat!

        We all missed that morning hunt!


    • Nancy says:

      Allan!!! Loved your description of the ranch dog. Around here there are considered part of the livestock on the ranch. I had a ranch dog about a mile down the road from me that would come by just to get some attention. Athough she had a problem with my spayed female (who was yard trained – as in the fence is too tall to get out of)

      And by the way my female was a product of a rancher up the road who was always looking for that one”great cow dog” so he never spayed his female and she was always producing litters WHICH that rancher had no problem drowning in the creek AFTER selecting what he hoped would be the “next great cow dog”

      Most male cow dogs on my road are not neutered (a guy thing I’m thinking and they range far and wide) but many female cow dogs aren’t spayed either.

      Another ranching neighbor down the road just had 13 pups between 2 of his female cow dogs. Might give his two young daughters something to fuss and giggle over for now but what are the future prospects for these puppies when so many dogs (and cats) are already sitting in shelters waiting for a home.

      FYI – made more room in my household about a year ago for a cow dog – schnauzer cross. She’s a real spitfire but I often wonder about her littermate’s fate.

  28. Nancy says:

    Exactly SB! My heart goes out to the ones I see around here. Never see the inside of a house. When I see them huddled on the back of a flatbed pickup, flying down the road in zero degree weather, I wanna scream!


October 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