Wildlife Services revises Idaho Wolf Environmental Assessment

Drops gassing of pups in their dens and sterilization but continues heavy handed killing of wolves.

Public Comments accepted until January 3, 2011

Basin Butte Wolf Spring 2006 © Ken Cole
Basin Butte Wolf Spring 2006 © Ken Cole

In anticipation of Monday’s federal court hearing of a case brought by Western Watersheds Project, Wildlife Services has revised its Idaho Wolf Environmental Assessment. While the new EA drops gassing of wolf pups in their dens and use of sterilization, the preferred alternative does not consider exhaustive use of non-lethal methods to prevent wolf conflicts by intimating that it would be too expensive for ranchers to use proper animal husbandry techniques to avoid such conflicts.

Wildlife Services [sic], formerly Animal Damage Control, is an agency under the Department of Agriculture which responds to wildlife threats to agriculture. They are not related to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which is under the Department of Interior and who manages endangered species, enforces the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and manages National Wildlife Refuges.

We all know who the real constituents of Wildlife Services are. They are ranchers who feel entitled to government subsidies and a predator free environment. Public lands ranchers feel especially entitled to a predator free landscape even while opposing increases to grazing fees by claiming that they should remain at $1.35 per month for a calf/cow pair because grazing on public landscapes entails more risk because of predators. They want Wildlife Services to conduct expensive, taxpayer subsidized predator control which involves anything from aerial gunning of any number of predators to use of poison to preemptively kill coyotes and other predators. That’s called double dipping and sets up a moral hazard where ranchers feel they can behave differently in face of a risk to their livestock because the general public is forced to endure the costs of controls conducted by Wildlife Services.

Wendy Keefover-Ring of WildEarth Guardians has written an excellent report on the corrupt nature of Wildlife Services called War on Wildlife.

The new EA is available for comment until January 3, 2011.


NOTICE OF AVAILABILITY -IDAHO: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Wildlife Services (WS) has issued a revised environmental assessment (EA) which evaluates issues and alternatives related to conducting gray wolf damage management in Idaho. The EA analyzes potential environmental effects of a proposed program to protect livestock and other domestic animals, wild ungulates, and human safety using a variety of approved methods in an integrated, adaptive management approach.

A copy of the EA can be obtained by accessing the below hyperlink:

Revised_Idaho Wolf_EA

Copies are also available on CD or hard copy and can be obtained by contacting:

Idaho WS State Office
9134 W. Blackeagle Drive
Boise, Idaho 83709
telephone: (208) 378-5077
fax: (208) 378-5349


Written public comments will be accepted through January 3, 2011 and
can be submitted by e-mail to: wsidwolfea2@aphis.usda.gov

or by mail or fax to the Idaho WS State Office (address and fax listed above).

To be most useful, comments should be as specific as possible, and include factual information or refer to credible information which supports the comments. For questions or requests for additional information, please contact the Idaho WS State Office (contact information above).


  1. Cody Coyote Avatar
    Cody Coyote

    I would love to comment on Wildlife Service’s idea of wolf “management ” , but ( a. ) I don’t live in Idaho , and ( b. ) how the hell do we know what they are up to on any given day ? They are the KGB of the sagebrush

    What I really want to say is Thank You! for the link to Wendy’s ” War on Wildlife” report. Talk about silver bullets….

    I didn’ know anyone had compiled such a thing.

    1. Ken Cole Avatar

      Because it is a federal agency, anyone can comment on this EA not just Idaho citizens.

  2. william huard Avatar
    william huard

    And what is this BS where WS says that all the killing increases human tolerance of predators- huh! The Republican party could care less if people don’t get their unemployment- and we are going to ask them to abolish this agency? Bourasso the asso? This report makes my blood boil

    1. Maska Avatar

      If Wildlife Services (sic) killing increases tolerance, why aren’t the public lands grazing permittees all sitting down and singing “Kumbaya” with the conservationists? Instead, they are trying to remove all gray wolves from protection, even the less than 50 Mexican wolves trying to hand on in the wild in AZ and NM. Don’t insult our intelligence, WS.

      1. jon Avatar

        It doesn’t nor would hunting. Wolf haters are going to still hate wolves and despise them no matter if they are killed or not.

  3. jon Avatar

    What is it going to take to stop these people from killing wildlife? I rarely ever hear any environmental organization talk about ws let alone go after them. We need to take wildlife services down!

  4. frank renn Avatar
    frank renn

    Awhile back I became interested in black bird depredation on crops in Texas. Most of the depredation was caused by Grackles, which are a protected species. By law the landowners are required to use every non-lethal method available before applying for permits to destroy the birds. Why different strokes for different predators?

    1. Salle Avatar

      By law, it should be so for ANY protected species, but as you can see… The selective quality of such requirements belies the true desires/agendas of the agencies who administer such laws.

      1. wwy Avatar

        Maybe it is due to the fact that there are not any nonlethal methods that have proven effective in LARGE OPERATIONS, LONG TERM. I am not talking about these small hobby operations that have been touted as success stories. Show me proof of all this nonlethal being effective at protecting large numbers of stock in an open range type setting.

  5. Larry Zuckerman Avatar

    So Ken, where does Wildlife Services stand on Compound 1080 in so-called “Livestock Protection Collars” and MS-44 cyanide launchers in the future Idaho work? any mention.

    larry z

  6. Larry Zuckerman Avatar

    Interesting how Wildlife Services legally evades the Freedom Of Information Act, the Endangered Species Act, and other Federal laws that apply to everyone else!

  7. Mike Avatar

    Thank you for the hard work, WWP.

  8. Lynn Avatar

    Wow…is it just me, or is this beyond cruel? What is wrong with these people?!?!?!?! Just exactly what are they protecting with this type of Annihilation?

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar


      Their constituency is primarily livestock growers, especially those who do not run their sheep and cattle in protected pastures, but only the open range where we would expect to see native predatory animals.

      They have been around for nearly a hundred years, though their name keeps changing. Once it was PARC (Predator and Rodent Control), ADC (Animal Damage Control). Now it is the Orwellian name USDA, Wildlife Services, as if they somehow serve wildlife. It is easy to confuse this name with the DOI’s Fish and Wildlife Service, which administers most of the Endangered Species Act. This name for the wildlife butchers can hardly be an accident.

      1. Nancy Avatar

        Similar to the group that popped up against I-160?
        *Montanans for Effective Wildlife Management

        They claim “trapping is a critical wildlife management tool to control problematic predator and pest populations that can attack pets, spread diseases among human and wildlife, damage property, impact other wildlife populations and kill livestock”


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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Ken Cole