Wolf management hot topic in D.C.

Controversy sparks various efforts to suppress wildlife management to favor extremists-

In addition to the effort by Montana Senators Jon Tester and Max Bacus to legalize Montana and Idaho’s wolf management plans by changing the law, a group of 8 far right Republicans has introduced legislation to give wolf management to the states.

Ersatz rancher U.S. Representative of Montana Rep. Denny Rehberg seems to be leader of this group of 8 Republicans. The report is in the Helena Independent Record by Eve Byron.  The Republicans are Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming; Dean Heller of Nevada; Rob Bishop of Utah; Mike Simpson of Idaho;* Trent Franks of Arizona; Wally Herger of California and Jason Chaffetz of Utah.

According to the I.R.,

Rehberg said. “After holding hearings in Montana and reading thousands of comments, it’s clear that folks in Western states like Montana are sick and tired of powerful environmental interest groups funded out of places like San Francisco and New York telling us how to manage our lands, resources and wildlife.”

These people love to say anything they disagree with comes from New York or San Francisco. That’s pretty irritating coming from a rich phony blowhard like Rehberg. How come the 3 webmasters of this blog all hail from Idaho or Montana? And why does it turn out that a lot of extreme anti-wolfers come from places like Chicago?

Hopefully this legislation will fail in the gridlock-as-usual in Washington.

– – – –
*Mike Simpson is my congressman here in Eastern Idaho. He hasn’t been an extremist, but he got a scare in the primary when 3 teabaggers challenged him.  He was renominated by more than 50% of the vote, however.



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  1. jon Avatar

    This is how the anti wolf people are Ralph. Anyone who disagrees with how they feel about wolves must live in the big city and is liberal. Even when some hunters disagree with them about their extreme anti wolf views, they will say that the hunters must be transplants and out of staters. There are wolf lovers that live in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming and that were born and raised there and lived there their whole lives. It’s just a typical tactic to try and discredit those who don’t share the same anti wolf views as they do.

    1. PointsWest Avatar

      There was a large controversy just after the turn of the century to build a dam across Fall River in Yellowstone Park. The reservior would have flooded much of Bechler Meadows and stored irrigation water for eastern Idaho. There was also talk of puting a dam at the outflow of Heart Lake and raising it by 50 or so feet. With 50 feet, they could have run a canal across the continental divide and diverted irigaiton water from the Snake River drainage to eastern Idaho via Fall River.

      It was a large controvery for several years. All of the locals were in favor of building dams in Yellowstone. Those who were against it were generally the rich and educated liberal establishment from the East Coast. Locals swore up and down that elk did not need Bechler Meadows and that the East Coast loonies wouldn’t know an elk if they saw one. They argued that there was so much grass in Bechler Meadows, a large reservior would make no difference to the overall elk population.

      I think we know different today. A flooded Bechlar Meadows would certainly have reduced the elk population inside of Yellowstone Park…as well as the grizzly, deer, moose, and black bear population. The locals thought they knew better and vilanised the East Coast loonies.

      It is incredible what greed can do to one’s view of things. I think the division lines were not so much between locals and East Coast loonies, it was between those who would profit from dams in Yellowstone and those who would not but had concern about the fate of Yellowstone.

      1. Ralph Maughan Avatar


        That is a good reminder of the past threats to Yellowstone from some local interests, and they always cover their greed with some alleged principle like “state’s rights.”

    2. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      You’re right, but in addition, they try it on every issue they think they can possible get away with it.

      If it doesn’t work, they have their old standbys of “big government,” “socialists,” etc. All of these words are undefined, but it works . . . one reason I was kind of free with the name calling myself above.

      1. JimT Avatar

        Ralph, the anti wolf side in all of this fall in the demagogue category–emotional and prejudicial appeals for their position instead of facts…

        By the way, good to “hear” you venting..:*)

    3. ProWolf in WY Avatar
      ProWolf in WY

      I get so sick of that crap about everyone who is pro-wolf being a big city liberal. All pro-wolf people must be from the coasts right?

      1. jon Avatar

        They don’t seem to get that quite a few people live with wolves and have no problems with them.

    4. Larry Thorngren Avatar

      I was accosted this summer by a rabid anti-wolf nut in Stanley, Idaho because I was selling “wolf” photos at an art show there. He told me I should go back to California, where I came from. When I told him I was a fourth generation Idahoan and that maybe HE should move to California where he would be safe from wolves, he lost his cool and started yelling at me and in general acting like a complete asshole. He was still yelling at me from the parking lot as his wife pulled him into their car.

      I stopped at a cafe near Stanley just before the wolf introduction. The owner was bitching about how the elk were eating all of his shrubs and that the stupid fish and game needed to kill more of them. When I stopped a few years after wolves were around, he was bitching about how the stupid fish and game needed to kill all of the wolves because elk numbers were down. When I reminded him of his complaining about too many elk a few years before and that he got just what he asked for, he got angry with me. His wife (who ran the cafe while he sat at the counter and drank coffee all day) started laughing, told him to calm down and told me that he complained about everything and to just ignore him.
      He did just what his wife told him and went back to drinking his coffee.
      These guys act so tough and yet it is their wives that generally wear the pants in their families.
      There is a commenter on this blog who often trashes you. I think he fits in the same category.

      1. jon Avatar

        I believe what you say Larry. Wolf haters seem to think that every single wolf advocate is either from California or New York and is a liberal and that couldn’t be further from the real truth. There are some wolf advocates who live in Montana, ID., and WY. There is no doubt about it. Not everyone that lives with wolves hates them or wants them gone. You were brought up on an anti wolf facebook page and one commenter thought you were sick because you sell pictures of wolves. I mean how absurd is that? There is nothing wrong or sick about someone selling wolf pictures chasing elk. these nuts try to paint people like you and other wolf advocates as sick people when it is them who are the sick ones imo.

  2. Steve C Avatar
    Steve C

    Why arent the big environmental groups getting this issue into the media? If Sarah Palin was proposing gutting the ESA to delist wolves and bears for political reasons like Obama is I feel like i would have already had 10 fundraising emails from Defenders of Wildlife. Why don’t they call out the president for what is going on here?

    1. JimT Avatar

      They try, believe me. Action Fund, 501c4 associated with Defenders, is averaging 3-4 emails a week. Reality is, Obama and the lower decision makers are focused on economy, economy these days, and really have punted the issue to Salazar, and we all know where he stands on this. The enviros are having a tough time getting access to Interior, USDA these days. Obama, under different economic conditions, may have been more accessible and responsive on these issues….emphasis on the MAY.

      Call your Senator and Rep. Tell their staff person that this is not just a wolf or grizzly issue; it is an issue that will affect the listing and delisting decisions regarding thousands of species of plants and animals across the country. Once this breach is made, it will just snowball. Write letters, not emails. Much more effective. Write Letters to the Editor unless seeing your name in print will put you in harm’s way in your community.

      1. WM Avatar


        ++…it is an issue that will affect the listing and delisting decision regarding thousands of specis of plants and animals across the country. Once this breach is made it will just snowball++

        The sky is falling! The sky is falling! Come on. Get real.


      2. JB Avatar

        Sort of like the “sky is falling” rhetoric we hear from elk hunters, the wildlife commission, and legislature?

      3. JB Avatar

        “Wolves are stone cold killers…the damage that these killing machines are inflicting on Idaho’s wildlife is unacceptable, unsustainable and must stop.”

        “Wolves have become the keystone ‘divine’ species in order to achieve a major goal of eliminating hunters and our hunting heritage.”

        — Idaho F&G Commission, Tony McDermott
        (Letter dated 5 August 2010)

        1. Ralph Maughan Avatar


          I hope you’re not trying to try to tell us that sentiments like this don’t mean that Idaho won’t do a fine job managing wolves. 😉

      4. JB Avatar


        I have total faith in the wildlife professionals at IDF&G to devise and implement a sustainable management plan for wolves–though it might not be one that satisfies most people here. However, I am very skeptical that the professional politicians will allow for the implementation of such a plan 1 day beyond the 5-yr post-delisting monitoring period.

  3. Daniel Berg Avatar
    Daniel Berg

    Heaven forbid Rehberg lose another one of his prized cashmere goats to a predator.

  4. Nancy Avatar

    ” the senators wrote. “Our ranchers and big game hunters have waited long enough for this matter to be settled, and we hope you can expeditiously find a solution.”

    If this goes anywhere I think I’ll start a campaign to get cattle off the roads & highways. I’m tired of being held up by large groups of bovine when I have to be somewhere, I’m tired of the miles of crap I have to go thru for days on end and I’m tired of worrying about those loose cattle, that were not gathered and pushed along with the rest, especially at night.

    Then I’ll see what I can do about only allowing cattle trucks on the roads between midnight and 4 am so I don’t have to worry about being blown around, slushed up and blinded by the snow they sweep along in their wake. (I’m sure a few of you have been there?)

    Had a cattle truck wreak recently not far from where I live. The driver rolled the truck taking a curve to fast, the top was ripped off on impact, dead and drying cattle were strewn all over. 18 dead and another few had to be shot because of injuries.

    Salle – you might be able to relate to this.

    From what I’ve heard, this guy is still driving cattle trucks since they couldn’t “verify” he was speeding (although one source put his speed at close to 100 mph when he left the road) That makes me afraid that I’m traveling the same roads with this idiot.

    And I find it interesting how these “accidents” never seem to make the local paper, yet the fraction of livestock losses due to wolves, always seems to be front page news around here.

    1. Elk275 Avatar


      That is a very steep hill to climb. I do not think the climbing gear or expertise has been developed for your journey. Good Luck

    2. Salle Avatar

      Like it or not, Navy has a valid point/gripe. The only time such accidents hit the front page is when it happens on a busy Interstate and holds up those folks who can’t be detained for a moment on a one-time basis. Or if the driver was on the list of drivers standing by the proverbial exit and could be found to be taking drugs or something… It’s embarrassing to the company and if it’s someone like a trucking company that is owned by the governor’s brother or something similar… I despise cattle trucks and refer to them as “stinkers” because that’s what they do, stink, and you can smell them for miles before you see them, even when they are going in the opposite direction. The cattle often have their rearends up against the outer walls of the container and spew crap out through the holes spraying the stuff all over anyone behind or beside them. Cattle haulers are notorious for running other vehicles off the road, especially two-lane and one-lane dirt roads. I recall one summer I was hauling river rafters into the Frank Church – a summer job for which I feel I will do penance for the rest of my life – and there was a grazing allotment in Bruce Meadow. The cattle trucks ran several of us – in bright yellow school buses on a straightaway no less – nearly over the cliff on one side of the one and a half lane forest road. Those are they guys I think Nancy is referring to and I agree with her that maybe there should be some more restrictive transportation laws for them until such time that they can prove that they recognize that others pay taxes for the roads and have every right to use them too. (As a disclaimer, it is true though that truckers or the companies do pay far more in road use taxes than the average citizen does but they are commercial and should pay for road repairs – not the graft that is actually funded by these fees – and the damage they do to the roads. They also have to learn to share with others, which is hard to get the greedy to understand.)

      Personally, there were times when I actually enjoyed leaving a jerk-driven “four-wheeler” in their own private white-out… But that isn’t the case with every driver in a private automobile. I can relate to the cattle-truck situation, and the fact that truck drivers are far less considerate and helpful than many years ago when you could be thankful that one would stop and assist you when you needed someone to help… for whatever reason that interrupted your journey. In recent years, the only way I could get a driver to help me when broken down in something other than a semi was by waving a log book in my hand, a symbol they readily relate to. Once they find I am a retired driver, their attitude changes.

      It’s all about a sort of bastardized tribalism, if you don’t meet the specific criteria for a group, you’re toast in their eyes and devoid of either recognition or courtesy… sound familiar when application of this filtering lens is used in the political realm?

      As far as the anti wolf gang of thugs, I would be glad to write to and hound my legislative “representatives” – (I use the term very loosely here because I have yet to see where they have represented me in any tangible sense) – are the very ones who are pushing to gut the ESA. They already have their minds made up… looks like, once again, litigation is one of the few tools left in our toolkit that actually gets them to notice the views of those outside their small circle of friends.

      1. Nancy Avatar

        “The cattle often have their rearends up against the outer walls of the container and spew crap out through the holes spraying the stuff all over anyone behind or beside them”

        Knew you could relate Salle!

        Barely got my window rolled up in time a few years ago (while meeting a cattle truck, rounding a corner) before the “stuff” carpeted the whole side of my rig.

        I’ve seen full cattle trucks lined up outside a cafe in the middle of summer, in 90 degree weather, while the driver takes an hour or more, for lunch. Winter is even worse, the rigs are left running and every “body” on board gets to suck up the gas fumes.

        Stopped at a gas station a couple of months ago and noticed a guy walking around a cattle truck parked there, he was stabbing an electric cattle prod into the ground level slots. He didn’t have cattle on board, he was hauling sheep.
        Yeah I was outraged but he was much bigger than me AND…….. had a cattle prod AND it was in a part of this country that sees nothing wrong with this kind of abuse to another living being.

        Webster’s defines the word “being” as: 1 existence; life 2 fundamental nature 3 one that lives or exists, or the last definition which is: for the time being for now…….. and that unfortunately applies to most of these animals.

        Few people realize the horrific conditions these animals go thru before ending up dead on a “tastfully wrapped plastic tray at the local supermarket”

      2. SAP Avatar

        Nancy – I hate to be in the position of defending the use of an electric prod; I despise them and will not use one when handling animals. I think everyone who uses one should get zapped by one first so they’ll understand what they are inflicting.

        With that disclaimer, and with the disclaimer that I was not there to see the guy shocking the sheep: when shipping livestock, it’s usually important to keep all the animals on their feet. An animal that is down in the trailer is going to get stepped on over and over, until it can’t stand up and ends up dying. An animal too unhealthy to stand should not be loaded, but sometimes an otherwise healthy animal will end up in bad shape because it laid down in the trailer and ended up getting badly beat up.

        Stock truck drivers are responsible for getting as many live animals as they can from point a to point b. They have to stop for breaks periodically for many reasons, and the animals I think usually appreciate being stationary for awhile (not having to constantly anticipate turns & stops). While stopped, they’ll check their cargo and try to get any downed animals on their feet. You can’t unload them to do this, you can’t as a rule crawl in there with them (sheep may be an exception) to coax them back onto their feet. Really, the only option is to shock them back up with the prod sometimes.

        I don’t like it, either, but I just thought you might feel a tiny bit better about humanity if you knew there was a reason for what that guy was doing, other than just sheer meanness (of which there is plenty to go around — I see plain old unjustified aggression and sadism in a number of ranch workers, unfortunately).

      3. SAP Avatar

        to clarify, you can’t unload the animals unless you have a facility for unloading them; most truckstops and rest areas don’t have such facilities.

      4. SAP Avatar

        I thought this was interesting:
        “After years of training people to handle livestock humanely, [Temple Grandin] has observed that about 20 percent are “naturals.” They learn good stockmanship and continue to practice it. About 10 percent, she says, unfortunately lack compassion and are not good with animals. Managers should identify any workers in this category and get rid of them. The remaining 70 percent, she says, can learn good handling practices but need continuous evaluation and reinforcement to keep them on track.”

        My observation is that a macho sh*%head culture of aggression and “showin’ em who’s boss” tends to drive away anyone with compassion and talent, leaving the un-compassionate 10 percent to dominate, and to set the tone for the 70 percent who could be trained otherwise.

  5. Mike Avatar

    It’s an embarrassment that this is even an “issue”.

    This is simply species racism, nothing more, and needs to be treated as such. These men need to be treated as thugs.

    1. Salle Avatar

      I call it “specie-centrism” Meaning: only one species has value and we’re it, all others are there because we allow them to be there.

      In my mind, the only specie that requires management is the human population. Don’t see much of that happening anytime soon.

      The tradition of cutting education funding has come home to roost…

      It’s not the economy, stupid… it’s the biosphere.

  6. Nancy Avatar

    Perhaps not Elk, but I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one out there who hasn’t given some serious thought to that kind of climb, especially when you think about the charged atmosphere around these parts lately against any suggestions that don’t fit into the same tired excuse as to why wildlife should have handlers (as in management)……. to benefit a few.

  7. Phil Avatar

    Ah, yes; the Fish and Game is represented negatively on this forum. The organization that gets their salaries paid directly from the same hunters who want ALL Wolves eliminated. Wonder why the Fish and Game have such negative portrayals of Wolves, Grizzlies, Cougars, Bobcats and such?


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.

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