Proposed bill would strip feds of wolf authority within Montana

Another temper tantrum from the reactionaries in Montana.

State Sen. Joe Balyeat, R-Bozeman is planning on reintroducing a bill which claims that the Federal government has no right to manage wolves in Montana. This contradicts numerous court rulings and would most certainly cause the state its present ability to manage wolves and further put any delisting effort out of reach for the region.

Of course it puts in place a few ridiculous sanctions against wolf supporters who may be “party to a lawsuit with the purpose of preventing or delaying the implementation of state management of wolves.”

Another overreach by the reactionary right who want to distract people away from the issues that their ideology fails to solve. This won’t solve joblessness or any of the other problems faced by many in this poor economic climate. It might make a few people happy but the only thing that is really clear is that more jumping up and down and screaming about how unfair things are doesn’t solve the problem that they have identified.

Go ahead Joe. The wolves will thank you.

Proposed bill would strip feds of wolf authority within Montana.
Rob Chaney Missoulian


  1. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    The wolves issue seems to be just part of Balyeat’s agenda. From what I have read about him, he is a man with pushy religious beliefs that he would like to impose on us — so-called “Biblical” law.

    He is a menace to religious freedom. He is not part of the American way of life.

    1. JimT Avatar

      Just seems like things are getting more and more extreme across the board. This, of course, like the AG suits being brought against the Feds over health care, are largely symbolic, but people sure seem to prefer emotive appeals and divisive symbols to substantive discourse and materials these days. I really do feel sorry for reasonable folks who live in Idaho,Montana and Wyoming…and let us not forget Utah…:*)

    2. Elk275 Avatar

      Somethings on this forum I do not agree with, others somewhat and some I agree with. I have seen Mr. Balyeat in action several times and he needs to go,and go now.

      1. Save bears Avatar

        Boy Elk,

        You have got that right, Balyeat is a real piece of work!

  2. william huard Avatar
    william huard

    Read some of the comments from the story. This guy Feney has a big mouth and seems to be psychotic. He keeps referencing “I don’t know how the xylitol is working”. At what point does free speech become a crime? I have personally reported him to the feds

  3. Save bears Avatar


    The Fed’s are well aware of Feney, as is the State Game Agencies, he has been around for a long time now. But he is smarter than you think with all of his comments around the net, he is not breaking any laws, you might not like what he says as I don’t like what he says, but he is not breaking the law.

  4. william huard Avatar
    william huard

    Save bears- If he is in fact poisoning wolves with xylitol then he is committing a crime

    1. Save bears Avatar

      No where does he say HE is poisoning wolves, he has simply made statements on how to do it, it is kind of like posting the recipe on how to make a bomb, as long as you don’t do it, you are not breaking the law..

    2. Elk275 Avatar

      Would it be a crime to sprinkle xylitol on a elk gut pile? I know that it would be a crime to sprinkle 1080, but Xylitol is not a poison, but an artifical sweetener.

      1. Save bears Avatar

        Xylitol is not a regulated substance, I think you would have a difficult time prosecuting a case of this nature, of course not being an attorney, I don’t know for sure. But if I remember right, it is not even a recognized poison, if it was it would be regulated by the EPA..

      2. Jay Avatar

        If it resulted in the death of a listed species, then yes, it is a crime.

      3. Save bears Avatar

        Jay, They can only arrest the perpetrator of that crime, that is the actual person who did the crime. Just because Chuck goes around spouting off and saying this stuff, does not mean he would be charged with a crime, no matter how much you might want it so..

        I can post all the information I want on how to build an IED, and as long as I don’t build it, and I don’t use it, I cannot be charged with any crimes..

        I believe with the really gray area over this readily available sweetening agent, it might be difficult to prosecute a case…

        Also, if I remember right, this product is not easy to detect in coyotes and wolves, it takes some very extensive testing to detect it, far more than most agencies would do.

        And Please don’t think I condone this type of information or actions, I am simply stating based on my experience when I was with FWP and some of the stuff we had come up when I was with them.. AT best with the costs involved to detect different agents, I think a wolf killed in this manner would be ruled undetermined..

      4. Jay Avatar

        Like I said, if someone laces a carcass and kills a wolf, then they can be charged with a crime.

      5. JB Avatar

        I believe it would be a function of intent. You would have a hard time suggesting that the Xylitol you left on an elk pile was there for any other purpose than poisoning wolves (an endangered species). Thus, it would be a crime.

        FYI: Chocolate is also highly toxic to canids and, last I heard, was in the pipeline for approval as a toxicant for use with coyotes.

      6. Save bears Avatar


        The key is actually detecting the substance, I don’t think most agencies are going to spend the time, effort and money to actually do all the tests required, I lost a dog several years ago, my little niece thought it was a good idea to feed my dog miniatures..when I took the dog to the vet to see what was wrong, he told me, if you didn’t mention the chocolate, we wouldn’t even suspected that is what is going on. We don’t test for that in any normal test.

        It was a damn shame, that was one of the best Duck Dogs I have ever had…

        Just because some nutcase is running around running his mouth, I seriously doubt they are going to run the tests to find this..

      7. Save bears Avatar


        I agree, if someone does it, and they test for it, then they should be charged with a crime, but I seriously doubt they are going to test for it, then it comes down to who did it? How are you going to track down someone? How are you going to prove that a specific individual did it? dissolved sweetener don’t leave finger prints or DNA.

        And I am sorry, you can’t accuse someone without evidence, just because someone says they hate wolves and tells people how to kill them, does not make them guilty…that is called hearsay…and most courts are very reluctant to allow its admission, at least in my experience..

      8. howlcolorado Avatar

        You are referring to the protections provided by the First Amendment. That free speech protections would allow for someone to post all the necessary instructions for the commission of a crime, but be blameless in the eyes of the law if someone used that information to actually commit the crime.

        However, the First Amendment does have some caveats associated to it in terms of this type of thing. The first such exception would be libel and/or slander. You may not print lies about another – your “right” to free speech does not supercede the rights of another individual.

        The Brandenburg standard, which holds that even the most controversial and inflammatory speech is protected as long as it not likely to incite “imminent and lawless action.” has even recently been challenged as being too rigorously held to as the standard by which the courts can evaluate the speech of an individual.

        But even in light of recent Appellate court decisions to lower this standard – such as the SHAC-7 case where civil disobedience was encouraged the distribution of specific, detailed instructions – the statements regarding the poisoning of wolves are still on the edge of prosecution and that’s where these people live.

        However, it’s certainly not clearcut that these people have any protection under the Bill of Rights, but it would require a specific, and determined effort to charge them and then pay for the excessive and continuous appeals which would ultimately end up in the Supreme Court.

        In short, however, SB offered an example of where he could post instructions on making explosives and he would not be in a position where a commission of a crime could be tied to him.

        This is not exactly the same situation. The “fighting words” concept of removing First Amendment protections can certainly be applied.

        Just posting the information that a substance is highly toxic to animals is not, in itself, contrary to anything protected by First Amendment rights. HOWEVER, if you suggest that it’s time “we take things into our own hands.” and “by the way, here’s how to kill wolves without getting caught.” That’s the inciting imminent illegal activity and should someone GET caught and say they read your site and that they were responding to your call to “take control of the situation.” you shouldn’t get too comfortable with a free speech defense because the higher courts of the land don’t really have a precedent that supports your position.

      9. Jay Avatar

        If a wolf turns up dead near a gutpile, I’m pretty certain the feds are savvy enough to 1) take samples of what’s left for the lab to test, and 2) ask hunters camped in the area who may have killed an elk where the gutpile was found. Yes, it might be difficult to pin the crime on someone, but I’m sure if there was blatant case of poisoning, they would do the legwork.

      10. howlcolorado Avatar

        The likelihood is that the authorities would not need to test for the presense of Xylitol and to do so would offer no additional information.

        The way that Xylitol kills canines is very specific and a simply necropsy would likely lead to a determination of “Not of Natural causes: poisoning (common household substance)”.

        As SB says, the prosecution of a suspect is highly complicated by the use of this substance. Where I think SB is not quite accurate is that there is a key to determining the substance.

        Simply put. Unless someone caught the crime being commited on camera, the likelihood of conviction in any case is not very high.

        And no one will spend the money to convict a rabblerouser for inciting illegal activity on a web site, especially around the hotbutton topic of wolves when it’s hard enough to convict the guy with the gun, or in this case, the xylitol.

      11. Save bears Avatar


        After being an employee of an agency involved in this, I have to disagree, I don’t think they would take the time…

        If you do the tests, it is not hard to prove something was poisoned, the key is, how do you prove who did it..?

      12. Jay Avatar

        Well SB, unless you were a former US Fish and Wildlife Service law enforcement agent, I don’t think you really have any expertise to say what they would or wouldn’t do. Its no different then a bullet–they have to try to link a substance (be it lead or poison) to a person.

      13. Save bears Avatar

        Interesting comment Jay,

        I do have to say, there is quite a bit of difference between what we want and what we get.. In reality, you don’t have to be a LE ranger, to understand what they do and how they do it..

      14. Jay Avatar

        They are not rangers, they are law enforcement agents. You are in the wrong agency (Park, Forest Service). You are not an expert on everything.

      15. Save bears Avatar


        No I am not an expert on everything, heck I am not an expert on most things, but I do understand how the law enforcement procedures work, how they are applied and executed within the scope of illegal killing of wildlife..and in fact, even in the USFWS, they call themselves LE Rangers. I am sorry, I am not lock step in line with what you believe, I am simply stating what I have observed in my career. I agree, Poisoning wildlife is against the law, I agree anyone caught doing it, needs to and the government is obligated to prosecute them to the fullest extent possible..I am simply saying…How are you going to prove who did it? Simply making statements on an internet chat system or blog does not mean you are guilty…but I know, you think it does and that is all that matters!

      16. Jay Avatar

        “When fully staffed, the Office of Law Enforcement includes 261 special agents and 122 wildlife inspectors” (

        Nowhere will you find me suggesting that someone talking about poisoning wolves on the internet is the same as someone who goes out and does it–show me where I even implied that? I am referring to the person that actually goes out and does it. As to how would they prove it–the exact same way they make cases where an animal was shot or otherwise taken illegally: investigating the crime. You think they have a bullet that matches a seized rifle taken from a hunter whose boots match exactly the plaster casts they took from the crime scene that they were clued in to by an informant that talked with the hunter who had earlier introduced himself and bragged about illegally killing the animal in question?

        Nuff said on my part–I fully recognize you are not in lock step with me, nor anyone else on this blog. Anybody silly enough to disagree with you is quickly reminded that you are the expert because you used to work for MTFWP, and the rest of us don’t know what we are talking about. My mistake for not seeing things your way.

      17. Save bears Avatar

        Christ Jay,

        That is the whole problem with this issue, somebody has the same goals but different methods, then the name calling and childish antics start…typical and predictable to say the least..

      18. Jay Avatar

        Have you noticed that practically every single “discussion” anybody on this blog chooses to engage you in devolves into the exact situation you describe? Ever think that maybe you’re the common denominator in all these situations, that maybe its not everybody else, it’s you? I generally avoid engaging in any discussion with you for this very reason, but in this case I got suckered in when you jumped in on a comment I made to elk. No hard feelings, but I won’t waste your time responding any more.

      19. Save bears Avatar

        Ok Jay,

        I have no problem with that, but I will not avoid commenting because you don’t seem to like, I will continue to comment as I see fit, until such time as the management team tells me I can’t..

        What we want, what we get and what is reality are three different things..

      20. Save bears Avatar

        An I do find it a shame, you think things devolve, because I as well as others feel we have some very good conversations on this blog, all sides are represented, unfortunately, some don’t seem to be able to accept there is a difference of opinion on how to attain the goals that is obvious we all desire..

      21. howlcolorado Avatar

        “the hunter who had earlier introduced himself and bragged about illegally killing the animal in question”

        #1 way poachers are caught is by them doing exactly what you describe here. The amount of Forensics involved in the process isn’t going to be as extensive as you might imagine, not least because the funding isn’t there for the cutting edge technology necessary to find viable and useful evidence at a scene that is often highly degraded.

        Additional predator/scavenger activity, steps taken by the perpetrator to cover their tracks (literally), outdoor conditions and degradation of the scene due to inclement weather. Bullets are a relatively simple way to connect a gun to a scene assuming casings and/or bullet fragments can be recovered and then later compared through fairly simple ballistic analysis to a gun taken from a suspect.

        I don’t really know what you and SB are arguing about since you agree with the core principle. A xylitol-using wildlife poisoner should be brought to justice.

        What SB is saying, and he’s quite accurate in saying it, is that a trip to WalMart gives you a relatively untraceable and perfectly legal (i.e. not in anyway controlled substance) product which a quick trip to a sink can eradicate all viable evidence of. Hell, you can even bake a pie with the remainder of the product and eat the evidence. How do you prosecute people like that without a confession or video footage?

      22. Elk275 Avatar

        A bullet from a center fire rifle would make a complete pass through a wolf as far as a shooter could hit the animal. Depending upon what type of bullet was used there could be or not be any bullet fragments.

        If the animal was not found for several days predation, especially birds and decay would make it difficult to do a post mortem with any conclusive results. I think that finding a dead wolf would be very difficult.

      23. howlcolorado Avatar

        Recovery is the key of course with any form of firearm identification.

        No bullet = no gun in terms of forensics. A fragment would be only potentially helpful, clearly a casing or an entire recovered bullet would be key, and the Law Enforcement rangers would certainly know to survey the surrounding areas for any through and through bullets. Though I suspect, from what I have seen, that part of SSS is to clean up after yourself in terms of recovering casings, retrieving bullets, etc… so I think only opportunistic poachers are ever caught. They are brash enough to brag about it, and they don’t clean up after themselves. The premeditated poachers in AZ and NM who are picking off the Mexican Grays are certainly doing so in a way that it would be nearly impossible to track down a culprit.

  5. william huard Avatar
    william huard

    He could be your garden variety lunatic with a big mouth, I don’t know him you guys would know him better than me

    1. Save bears Avatar

      Awe, good ole’ boy Chuck, have had many conversations with him over the years!

    2. mikarooni Avatar

      William, you need to remember that this site, like many others, is stalked by many posters who feign positions for the purpose of pulling people into exchanges that afford opportunities for twisting the discussion and using it to market thinking that is actually antagonistic to the theme of the site.


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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