Idaho sheriff denies SSS raffle aims for wolves

And people wonder why wolf advocates are wary of state management of wolves…..

Idaho sheriff denies SSS raffle aims for wolves.
Washington Examiner





  1. jon Avatar

    What a sad excuse of a sheriff. They should fire this asshole!

    1. Save bears Avatar

      Well beings most sheriff’s are elected in this area, you would have to recall him, instead of fire him and I think the chances of either in Northern Idaho are very slim…of course if it was really a SSS raffle, they would be offering a Gun, a Shovel and a Gag..

      1. mikarooni Avatar

        I don’t think this is a topic for jokes.

      2. Save bears Avatar


        I don’t care what you think, just as you don’t care what I think..

      3. Save bears Avatar

        And just to add, as I have stated many times on this blog I don’t condone or advocate for any kind of illegal activities, I for the most part, think this is just another blow hard way of attacking attention..and it will do that, perhaps, they will sell a lot of tickets and contribute to the areas that need it..

    2. jon Avatar

      The prize is a rifle and a shovel and happens to be a “sss” raffle. Yeah, I am sure the cop is playing dumb. He just doesn’t want to receive negative backlash for advocating breaking the law.

      1. Save bears Avatar

        Oh Come on, he found a way to get his raffle national attention, if you lived in an economically depressed area, are you going to try and find anyway you can to garner attention to your cause..I know I would and SSS and Wolves is one of the easiest way to get attention right now…

        As I have said many times, its not the ones in the news you have to worry about, its the ones that aren’t talking..

        The case in the Flathead Valley is a perfect example, based on what I have heard and the wardens I have talked to, they don’t have a clue as to who poached the two wolves and they are not confident they will solve the case, I hope they do, but everybody is being very closed lipped on this one..

      2. Jeff N. Avatar
        Jeff N.

        Save Bears…once again proving that you are a “vague” apologist for the anti-wolf, SSS crowd. Your past comments, along with these certainly reveal this to be fact.

      3. Save bears Avatar
      4. Save bears Avatar

        I just happen to have a different take on many things in this issue that the fanatics on both sides.

      5. mikarooni Avatar

        Yeah, it’s a different take all right. You’re as transparent as Tokyo Rose.

      6. Save bears Avatar

        Here we go again Miki, I thought you were not talking to me, guess that has changed again..

      7. JB Avatar

        Save bears:

        I’m sorry, but you are dead wrong on this. A sheriff is an authority figure whose job it is to enforce the law. This kind of raffle, even held in jest, sends the message that “SSS” is okay (heck, even the sheriff jokes about it). As a figure of authority, role model, and one sworn to uphold the law, he should have known better.

      8. Save bears Avatar


        I am sorry, I just know to many small town sheriffs that pull this kind of crap all the time…for the most part, I don’t take them serious or respect them as an authority figure, they are just part of the good ole’ boy network that is prevalent in the NRM region..

      9. WM Avatar


        I don’t know how much experience you have had around county sheriffs, especially with most of the population in rural or agricultural areas that need the bulk of sheriff services. First it is an elected position, which means that politics plays a big role in who gets to enforce the law (unlike a police chief, state patrol chief or game wardens who are appointed and don’t really report “to the people”).
        To ensure one gets re-elected the sheriff needs to have a pulse on the electorate community. I will suggest a little rebellion against higher authority, whether it be the feds or the state goes a long way in Idaho County. And we already know wolves are a hot button that brings unity there.

        While I don’t think Giddings is an Andy of Mayberry clone, I do suspect he knows what is on the minds of the people he represents, and since Grangeville is about 3,000 population in the middle of nowhere, it would be no surprise that wolves might be a topic of conversation at the local watering holes, PTA meetings and the grocery store, where everybody knows everybody else. Heck even Andy Taylor stretched the rules a bit in Mayberry when he thought it was in the best interests of the community (to whom he was accountable).

        The figure of authority (follow the law without deviation), role model, stuff is all well and good in a perfect world. But wolves are a state issue from a local perspective, and it is doubtul the voters give a rat’s ass about some federal law that says wolves are endangered, when they know they are not rare or scarce in their county.

        And they are thumbing their noses at alot of folks whose views are different theirs – and most of them don’t live in Idaho County. That is what counts.

      10. JB Avatar

        WM, Save bears:

        I agree that county sheriffs are often part of the “good ol’ boy” network, and I would not at all be surprised to find out that this was a calculated move to increase popularity for the next election. Nonetheless, a law enforcement officer just took an action that implicitly encourages people (his constituents, in fact) to break federal and state law–and poach an endangered animal. Woodland caribou are also listed as endangered in Idaho–I wonder if your reactions would have been the same if the Sheriff had taken action that implicitly encouraged the poaching of this species?

      11. WM Avatar


        At the risk of being identified with this view (which I don’t share) let me answer your query as a local from Idaho County might.
        First off, woodland caribou don’t eat elk. What few are left in ID and WA are becoming prey for wolves. They are rare, and their numbers are getting smaller by the day. So, maybe not so good an example.

        Second, wolves are a big deal around here. There are just too damn many of them. and the population is growing. More wolves mean fewer elk to fill the freezer, and tougher hunting. which I do to feed my family. Besides, I really don’t like the federal government and some liberal federal judge telling me what to do. The federal government is corrupt, anyway. And this Endangered Species Act is going to ruin this country. Heck I know people in the Northwest that has lost ther timber jobs caus of some damn snow owl and a bird called a marbled something or another..What the hell is next?

        I kind of like Sheriff Giddings, caus he don’t take this wolf thing too seriously, like these city folks that don’t have to live with them every day of the year. They just don’t understand, and quite frankly I don’t give a rip about city folks. That is why I live here. And, anybody who thinks “wolf tourism” is gonna be a money maker in Idaho County is a uninformed idiot!
        The point I was trying to make, and I know you got, was that local values (morally/legally right or wrong) are what get a sheriff elected and keep them in office, or not. I suppose this is not the first time laws would be selectively enforced when the people (whoever and wherever they are) felt the laws were not quite right.

        And, quite frankly I don’t know whether in ID, the local sheriff and deputies actively seek to enforce game violations whether they are federal or state. I would venture it is a ways down the priority list well behind domestic disturbances, serving court papers (which is the bulk of what most sheriff deputies do), personal property crime investigations and the occasional traffic stop. In a way, isn’t killing a wolf, kind of a victimless crime, made even moreso when the state itself says they have too many and are not given the latitude to manage them (yeah, I know I’ll take some heat for raising that issue)?

      12. DB Avatar

        WM–I lived in Grangeville for twenty years and still have relatives there, still go back to hunt turkeys in the spring, and am a friend of the former county prosecutor, now a magistrate for the district. My friends, including the magistrate, would tell you that Gidding is way out of line. They are disgusted, ashamed and embarassed that Giddings protrays the county as a bunch of ignorant red necks with no regard for the law. Wolves are a hot button issue with a few in the county but not that big a deal with most. Despite the embarassment Giddings will probably be reelected. We just reelected a bigger embarasment for governor.

      13. WM Avatar


        Thanks for the sane input on Grangeville residents, and particularly the judicial side of things. That part does not surprise me. And presumably the current county prosecutor views his job seriously, as well. If they prosecute fish and game violations (some county prosecutors do), it would seem that sets up some conflict, especially if the sheriff is not inclined to be an advocate for prevention or investigation of wolf poaching crimes (don’t know how much of that they do as compared to ID Fish and Game enforcement officers, especially after Butch said the state is done with wolves for now).

        Apparently the Commissioners who passed the wolf “Disaster Declaration” resolution in September are cut from the same bolt of cloth as the sheriff? It sure seems wolves are on somebody’s mind. And, out of curiosity, did the county attorney draft the resolution (unfortunately some public sector attorneys get idiots for clients)?

      14. JB Avatar


        I guess I’m dense, but I’m missing your point? I understand why a small town county sheriff might take the actions he did, but that doesn’t make it right. The undeniable fact is that a law enforcement officer–someone sworn to uphold the law–just took an action that implicitly encourages people to break that law–to poach an endangered animal.

        – – – – – –

        FYI: I once held credentials to teach (k-12) in the state of Michigan. To be certified, all teachers were required to swear to uphold the constitution and laws of the United States of America. I suspect this Sheriff was required to take the same oath. To let him off the hook by saying that he is not required to enforce federal law is disingenuous. This type of action undermines and corrupts our legal system.

        – – – –

        As with wolves, there are several subspecies of caribou that together comprise an extremely robust (~5,000,000 individuals) population. However, again similar to wolves, caribou range and populations have been greatly reduced within the lower 48, to the point where they occupy a tiny fraction of their original range. Regardless, the law distinguishes between three types of species: those that are threatened, endangered, or neither. Both woodland caribou and wolves retain endangered status, so the analogy seems apt to me.

      15. DB Avatar

        WM–present prosecutor may have helped draft the resolution-that’s his job- I don’t know. The commission has always been interesting. Voters just ousted the only Democrat they’ve had in years for a guy who, I’m told, ran on a ‘pro-life’ platform. Go figure.

      16. WM Avatar


        ++ To let him off the hook by saying that he is not required to enforce federal law is disingenuous. This type of action undermines and corrupts our legal system. ++

        I agree with you. As I said, I am just laying out what might be some reasoning behind the sheriff’s behavior.

        Ironically, this morning’s Seattle Times had an interesting article that raises the same issue, about selective law enforcement, and maybe even complicity. These priorities confront law enforcement all the time. Here is an issue that falls directly in line with the stated objective of Homeland Security (under federal law), illegal immigrants who may have committed serious crime (felonies), as well as misdemeanors, being fingerprinted and entered into a national database.

        Governor Gregoire has not decided what to do yet, but her Chief of State Patrol has already given his preference (he doesn’t want to get into immigration control, even if it means solving more crimes by having persons fingerprinted and in a national database) – I view his statement as nothing more than complicity in advancing criminal behavior. The chief of the State Patrol has also taken an oath to uphold state and federal laws. This tool would help his department and local law enforcement do their jobs better. So, I guess he is undermining and corrupting our legal system as well, as will the governor (who by the way was a damn good former Attorney General) if she doesn’t cooperate in this federal Homeland Security program as 34 states have already committed to do. Apparently the system will go nationwide within two years, but there are opportunities to get in early by signing on. Local law enforcement can do it, even without current state participation, according to the article.

        Are there any woodland caribou (or any other caribou for that matter) that are not endangered in the lower 48 of the US? I think the answer is no. Actually, I think wolves do eat woodland caribou if in their range. I have seen a Canadian study or two on it. Here is one studying woodland caribou in northcentral BC, and if you read carefully you will see a 2007 Mark Hebblewhite study on predation risk on elk is cited here:

      17. Moose Avatar


        While I get what you’re driving at here with your analogy, I don’t think that the WA State Police Chief would agree with you that implementing this fingerprinting system would “make their jobs easier”…there are alot of issues involved with that system and to accuse the Chief of complicity is unfair. I would encourage anyone interested in this to further explore the issue before making up their minds.

  2. john philip Avatar
    john philip

    Disgusting ….

  3. Nancy Avatar

    SB, have you heard anything about when the official report is due out on the Appleby/Pitman “incident?”

    1. Save bears Avatar


      Have not seen a report yet, I really don’t know how long it will take for them to complete the investigation and complete the report..

  4. WM Avatar

    This sheriff’s denial of the raffle having a double meaning is implausible. Some might say an outright lie.

    Recall that Idaho County (where Giddings is Sheriff) was the county that petitioned the State of Idaho and Governor Butch to be named a “Disaster Area” because of the number of wolves they have. This county of about 15,000 people is just south of Lewiston/Orofino, and of course, Grangeville is the County Seat, where the Commissioners passed the disaster declaration ( ).

    And Grangeville is just west of Elk City. This entire area has been pretty much in “Wolf Central” as the wolf population has increased. It comprises the Dworshak-Elk City wolf hunting zone for the 2009 season, and is immediately to the west of the Lolo Zone. They filled their 18 wolf quota very quickly, if I recall correctly.

  5. Daniel Berg Avatar
    Daniel Berg

    Idaho County unemployment rate since 1990:

    I’m not quite sure what the specific reason is for the seasonal fluctuations in the rates?

    This description of of the employment opportunities for the county is peculiar:

    So there are over 15,000 people in the county……The author uses one sentence to describe the considerable growth of the tourism industry, and then the largest paragraph is dedicated to the logging industry, even though there are only 185 logging jobs in the county, compared to 4,227 total non-farm payroll jobs.

    Idaho County has more national forest within its boundaries than any county in the lower 48 and that means potential for growth in tourism. Having a sherriff touting a tongue-in-cheek raffle that makes light of poaching is not good PR for a county that could use growth in tourism as a way to counter the flat-lined employment figures they have experienced over the last 10 years.

    1. WM Avatar


      This may help explain the employment scenario.

      Lots of federal land means federal jobs. No doubt some are seasonal – fire crews, thinning, timber management, recreation administration, etc. Those jobs won’t be reflected as loggging or maybe even forestry/agriculture jobs because of the way the Department of Labor uses Standard Industrialization skill Codes. Tourisim is seasonal as well. It is possible hunting has been affected some, due to perceived impacts of wolves.

      This includes some pretty rugged, sparsely populated country (Elk City, for one didn’t have electricity until about thirty years ago), and self-sufficiency is probably pretty high on the list. So the sheriff’s little raffle campaign would have appeal. Knowing your market and voting base, is probably a pretty important here, and it would appear the sheriff nailed it.

      A number of regional newspapers both in ID and out of state have picked up this rather interesting story. They may even get some folks buying raffle tickets from out of state, and the proceeds, according to the article, go to worthy causes.

      1. Daniel Berg Avatar
        Daniel Berg


        Thanks for the link. Do you have any idea why the winter unemployment rate shot to nearly 20% in the early to mid 1990’s and then tapered lower by the early 2000’s?

        For a county that is promoting tourism as a major area for growth, the sherriff should be mindful of the image he projects to areas outside of Idaho County, IMO. Many anti-wolfers talk about the lost revenue from fewer hunters due to the perceived impact of wolves on the elk population. If they are concerned about the lost revenue from fewer hunters, it only makes sense that the public figures among them would also generally refrain from making comments that would dissuade tourists from visiting their locality and spending money.

        Advocating for more control of wolves than exists today in Idaho publicly probably won’t cost you tourist $$$’s to any great extent, but implicitly supporting poaching of a high-profile predator might?

  6. Barb Rupers Avatar
    Barb Rupers

    I received, on 11-22, this from my daughter who lives in Idaho County and who went hunting with my brother on his tree farm up river from Kooskia a few miles.

    “I went muzzleloading yesterday with Uncle, opening day, and got my elk at the tree farm so that’s the end of that…happy day! I may go after a whitetail, too. It was so exciting hunting yesterday! I saw the most elk ever! They’re beginning to hang around where people are, less pressure from predators.”

    1. JimT Avatar

      How ironic your daughter doesn’t seem to see her hunting as predation when, by far, the highest number of elk killed each hunting season is by human hunters, not wolves.

    2. Ryan Avatar


      Elk on the tree farm is a bad thing, atleast in my neck of the woods. They will get killed off with damage permits most likely. Elk cause 10 times the damage deer do.

      1. JimT Avatar

        I missed the point, Barb. Thanks to you and others for explaining it further.

    3. mikarooni Avatar

      I believe Barb’s intent may have been to highlight how her daughter commented on seeing “the most elk ever” in an area where the Sheriff apparently contends that wolves are getting them all.

      1. Barb Rupers Avatar
        Barb Rupers

        That’s correct.

        I doubt that my brother will get kill permits for elk since his major intent is to increase game habitat while growing trees.

        My daughter and I are both aware that she is also a predator of elk. I am not against hunting.

      2. WM Avatar

        I took the comment of Barb’s daughter to have even a little different meaning. ++”They’re beginning to hang around where people are, less pressure from predators.”++

        I read it as the elk were moving away from predators (winter predators are mostly wolves in shear numbers anyway), to where people were (unable to assess the risk there).

        Moving away from predators is exactly the logic that has resulted in elk management problems in the presence of wolves in Banff, near Banff NP. Lots of elk in town in winter. They instituted an adverse contitioning program and reduced the number, but it still requires active management, and hence cost to the town to keep the numbers down and funnel them to another area, when the deterrent doesn’t keep them away.

        In fact it was this issue which, in part, kept the town of Estes Park, CO from supporting wolf reintroduction into Rocky Mountain NP (others included lack of agency and public support, and the fact that the park itself is too small). If I recall correctly the Banff folks counseled them on that matter.

        It is also the logic that the City of Sequim, WA used in opposing wolves in Olympic NP. Sequim already has elk problems crossing Hiway 101, and perceived they would congregate in and adjacent to the town even more than they do now as wolves would drive them from the adjacent mountains to the coastal plain and all the nice organic farms there. In addition to private property conflicts on those vegetable gardens and homesites, the elk would have to be removed at cost to the town or the state.


        What does your daughter have to say about the meaning of her lovely, but overly analyzed, email to Mom which you published? And, as a local resident, does she have an opinion on the sheriff and this raffle?

  7. Cody Coyote Avatar
    Cody Coyote

    We have to take the Sheriff at his word. He swore a solemn oath .

    He offers a rifle and a shovel , but not a gag. So I guess it’s just an ‘ SS ‘ raffle.

    SS…where have I heard THAT before …hmmm ?

  8. BARB Avatar

    I live in Idaho County (Riggins) and I am embarrassed and appalled that the sheriff and his organization have chosen to use a raffle in this context to supposedly raise $$ for causes in the county. This has nothing to do with the reason behind the raffle. It is a blatant statement about how most people in this area feel about wolves. I happen to have a different opinion but what disturbs me about this whole thing is that an agency who is committed to uphold the LAW no matter what their personal opinion, can so blatantly advocate an illegal act is ludicrous. It is absolute hypocrisy on their part. He even stated in an article written in the Idaho County Free press ” It is a poke in the eye for the decision to put the wolf back on the endangered species list.” If anyone has any doubts about what a rifle being called a SSS Wolf Pack and being raffled along with a SHOVEL means, please spare me the justification !! Those of us who live in Idaho County know exactly what that means !! How a law enforcement agency can even get away with this type of thing is totally beyond my comprehension. Guess the “good Ole Boy” network in Idaho County is alive and well !!


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Ken Cole