Montana says wolf deal is dead

Schweitzer says talks have broken down, probably for good!

According to the story, Idaho and Wyoming would not go along with a deal for a wolf hunt and delisting in Idaho and Montana because they wanted a legislative fix in addition.

Montana governor says wolf deal dead. AP in the Bozeman Chronicle.



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  1. Mtn Mamma Avatar
    Mtn Mamma

    Well, Well – MAYBE (just maybe) Salazar isnt completely blind after all. Otter is such a redneck extremist that he is cutting off his nose to spite his face.

    1. howlcolorado Avatar

      Do you really think Butch is anything more than a political grandstander?

      Wyoming is the problem here. It’s always been the problem and it still is. I think they truly believe that their state rights have been impeded…

      Salazar is many things, and he is certainly no friend of wolves, but he’s realistic in terms of what can and can’t be achieved in Washington. If he is backing off, one of the states is demanding the near impossible… The Montana governor is suggesting his state is being reasonable and he’s washing his hands of the situation. This is in the laps of Wyoming, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Butch sheds responsibility as well.

  2. william huard Avatar
    william huard

    I wouldn’t be too quick to trust Montana and idaho to do the right thing here. Hate is a very powerful motivator

    1. Salle Avatar

      So is ignorance by choice.

  3. jon Avatar

    What was the legislative fix? anyone know?

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      I imagine it was to amend the Endangered Species Act and directly delist the wolf.

      1. Save bears Avatar

        From my understanding, they were trying to get to a point where DOI would support a congressional action to again de-list in Montana and Idaho, essentially the legislature that has been proposed and work with Wyoming to come up with a new plan again so they could de-list them in the future..this was a negotiation between the three states and the fed’s, but now it seems Idaho is going more hard core and taking the stance the Wyoming has had for a couple of years now..

  4. PointsWest Avatar

    Maybe some powerful conservation groups promised a large public relation backlash to any congressman who dared tamper with the ESA.

    If they didn’t threaten, they should have.

    1. WM Avatar

      There is alot more going on than just the NRM negotiation. The senior Senator from MN (Amy Klobuchar) just today wrote to Salazar saying the Great Lakes wolves should receive an expedited delisting.

      So, for Jerry Black and JB, it certainly seems at least one Minnesotan lawmaker has something on her mind besides health care. I still wonder what Senator Franken thinks.

      If Salazar is getting hit from all sides on wolves, as it seems he has, this thing is on the front burner now.

  5. Cody Coyote Avatar
    Cody Coyote

    …except Wyoming does not want state management of wolves and never did. In Wyoming’s eye, it’s the Fed’s feral dog being foisted on them , so it’s the Fed’s responsibility and expense to “manage” them. Wyoming already spends $ 1.8 million per year of its own money ” managing” the Fed’s grizzly bear and doesn’t want the wolf and all that goes with it. If forced to take state control, Wyoming wants to be able to eliminate wolves everywhere but the trophy zone, which s nearly all federal land anyway , and factors in Wildlife Services to pack the difference.

    That’s Wyoming stance in a nutshell, and they are holding true to the old axiom that “Wyoming is 500,000 against the world…”. Science, ecology , range management, wildlife conservation … none of those things matter to Wyoming. The gatekeepers and door wardens are the ranchers and hunting lobby , and those groups’ narrow interests and wildly hyperbolic claims of wolves negative impacting their industries have carried the argument in Wyoming. Even the Wyoming Game & Fish department has conveniently forgotten everything its supposed to know and apply about wildlife management with respect to wolves, because Wyo G& F wrongly has demoted wolves from bona fide Wildlife to merely a nuisance animal , except in G & F’s case they do it from a revenue stance…the wolf costs them and offers no hope of adding any positive cash flow to their hunting management programs. Which is quite hypocriticial when you consider that of all the big game species Wyo G&F manages by hunting, on;y Pronghorn a their wn way in license revenues. All other species—especially Elk —require subsidy and / or outside assistance. Therefore, the argument that somehow hunters are paying the bills for elk management is not true. They are only paying some of the expense , and extract more than they pay in , truth be told at the end of the year.

    Wyoming will not budge on wolves. If anything, they’ll entrench.

    I only hope that Wyoming does not have the political clout or shared sentiment among the other states and legislative stakeholders to make their wolf obstinance more regionwide. The Endangered Species Act is not to be trifled wit , and it’s umbrella covers the entire nation , not just the northwest corner of the nation’s least populous state, Wyoming .

    It appears that Wyoming is not succeeding in getting other states and Congress on board.

    It is my further hope that Wyoming be sent back to the woodshed because of its hardline wolf policy. Or should I say doghouse.

    Short of a total Obama admin abdication and surrender to Wyoming’s whining , I do not realistically see the wolf management issue resolved for years, and that will only come from high noon in halls of the Supreme Court

    1. howlcolorado Avatar

      I think this is a great outline of the problem. The problem is Wyoming. It starts there and it ends there.

      I have no idea how anyone is going to force Wyoming to change their position, adopt a realistic wolf management plan and finally get the process moving forward.

      That’s the challenge. I think Montana especially is finally acknowledging the “common” enemy. Defenders, if they are wise, should embrace Montana and start a PR campaign with them. Wyoming needs to feel not only political, or special interest pressures. They need to feel the pressure of their own tax payers and voters to play ball.

      1. WM Avatar

        You just don’t get it – 500,000 (or whatever the population is) against the world. As they say, simplify. Outside Yellowstone/Teton they will just shoot them. It will be, and maybe already has been, a very matter of fact solution if the numbers increase. Do you honestly think FWS has enough resources to make it safe, or investigate and prosecute wolf poaching?

        “..send Wyoming to the woodshed” ??? Right. That will accomplish alot. What did you have in mind a swat across the governor’s butt with wood paddle, like some of us got in high school?

        And quite frankly, WY, for the reasons you state, doesn’t give a rip about the other states and their inability to go forward with delisting without them. In fact they likely relish it. That serves as the nexus for change in the ESA or a creative carve out of some sort for NRM wolves.

      2. howlcolorado Avatar

        I don’t disagree. What gets messy at this point is that state’s don’t have rights in this case. The ESA at it’s core is for doing exactly what it was designed to do… i.e. remove state politics from wildlife management.

        Wyoming can’t remain an island though. Wolf management is the Feds responsibility right now, if Wyoming EVER wants the Feds to give them the ability to self manage and provide the funds necessary to do so, they HAVE to give in eventually.

        There are about 80 senators and 300 or so representatives who want NOTHING to do with this and they would happily bounce the bill through committees for years upon years to avoid dealing with it. It’s political kryptonite…

      3. Ken Cole Avatar

        I think, for some, this might be an issue akin to abortion. It is something they like to campaign on but in practice they won’t actually do anything once a defining moment comes up.

      4. howlcolorado Avatar

        I think that’s particularly true of Idaho. It looks good to talk a good game. Wyoming walks the walk, but it’s only a matter of time before it becomes politically harmful.

        Like abortion, there are many that would like to use this as a wedge issue, but it doesn’t “wedge” apart the correct demographics – it doesn’t motivate the necessary electoral base. Those that would be driven by such a wedge issue would likely already vote (with a specific pre-established morality) for any other number of reasons, not least the feeling of “them vs. us” in terms of rural vs. urban.

        This is the reason I think that most politicians don’t want this issue on their record. It’s likely to depress voter turnout of liberal/democratic voters and negatively influence conservative voters as well, since they have a dozen other issues they value far higher (tax cuts, and the typical wedge issues of abortion, gay marriage and marijuana legalization). There is no political win here for anyone but a handful of politicians who get their political bang for the buck from talking big and not acting at all.

        Abortion is an issue that several political idealogists would love to do something about, but all politicians are aware that no matter what, any decisions for that issue will escalate through the court systems and the supreme court would make the final decision and no one knows for sure which way they will go. Precedent is against overturning Roe v. Wade, but activist judges aren’t opposed to setting their own precedent and the constitution is always a popular backdrop. So instead of risking this, they make overtures and then use it to keep the electorate active and turning out.

        This is all a puppet show being put on for the vocal, yet small rancher/hunter base. A hundred or so hunters/outfitters/ranchers show up for an anti wolf rally. 250 show up in the middle of Denver, in the middle of November, for no reason other than that 2 live wolves show up for a photo op and there is cake being offered. The independent voter is in favor of wolves, especially the urban voters. As much as the rural community would like to think their opinion is more valid, it’s one person, one vote and that’s the numbers the typical politician is well aware of.

  6. Nancy Avatar

    One of a number of examples out there when it comes to using the word “akin” in a sentence:

    “First I must apologize for almost reading this speech, nowadays I have a memory akin to a Goldfish”

    Remind anyone of the politicians weighing in on this issue?

    1. mikarooni Avatar

      Whenever it comes to Schweitzer, Otter, Freudenthal, and Salazar (sounds like the real names of the Marx Brothers doesn’t it?), anything them keeps them busy and preoccupied and won’t come to actual fruition is blessing. All four of these idiots need to be kept focused on the futile and pointless, video games would be optimal, whenever possible.

  7. jon Avatar

    Ken Cole, environmental policy coordinator for the Western Watershed Project said, “Essentially, ranchers and some sportsmen are upset because we keep winning our cases in court, forcing them to follow the law. They feel entitled to a predator-free environment. So, in order to get what they want, they’re trying to change the law- in my opinion, this would set a terrible precedent.”
    Interior Department spokeswoman Kendra Barkoff has stated that talks are still going on, but according to Schweitzer it is doubtful legislation on this issue will see Congress this year.


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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Ralph Maughan