The hearing on the “wolf settlement” begins in just a few minutes.  I won’t guess what the outcome will be but I think the case against the settlement is pretty strong. It also appears that the backlash against the settling parties has been strong among wolf supporters with many stating that they have removed their support.

What’s worse, letting the legislature gut the ESA or doing it yourself?

Wolf settlement puts ball in judge’s court.
By EVE BYRON – Helena Independent Record

Tagged with:
About The Author

Ken Cole

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. We do not accept unsolicited “guest” authors or advertising.

39 Responses to Wolf settlement hearing today.

  1. Ron Kearns says:

    Dozens protest wolves outside Missoula hearing


    “One of the things we’re telling the federal government is we’re going to take control of wolves one way or another,” Bridges said.

    They carried and displayed signs that said “Destroyers of Wildlife,” “Impeach Molloy” and “Zero Tolerance: No Canadian Wolves.”

    End Quote}

    • Phil says:

      I am one that dropped my support to the organizations of the settlement. I sent a letter to DOF on Friday in assuring them that I would no longer be a member of their organization. I did not know how many others would actually drop their support of these organizations, but as Ken says, it seems like many have.

      Phil, you do know what libelous comments are don’t you?Don’t post them here. Admin

    • Ken Cole says:

      Yes, that inspires confidence that wolves will have some protection and tolerance once they are delisted. I guess that’s why we keep fighting.

      • jon says:

        Ken, what actually is the purpose of this settlement if rehberg and Hatch are still going to continue to push their bills that would delist wolves nationwide??? Even if Molloy doesn’t sign off on the settlement, then what? They are still going to try and pass their bills that would delist wolves nationwide for once and for all.

    • Jimt says:

      Part of this reaction you can put at the feet of the Senators and Reps who fed red meat to the rabid anti wolf crowd, and now they will accept nothing less than ZERO wolves in their state.

      Again, as Ralph has reminded us again and again, this is all a subtext of the much larger problem of the renewal of the Anti Federalism, Anti Government rhetoric of the Sagebrush folks.

  2. Ron Kearns says:

    Posted this AM March 24.

    Wolf deal faces first test before Judge Molloy


    “If Molloy agrees to let the settlement go forward, it also must clear the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, where the federal government has been pursuing an appeal of Molloy’s August order.”

    End Quote}

  3. Jimt says:

    I believe part of the settlement would be dropping that appeal, but I could be wrong. If Malloy signs off on it, I cannot see the appeals court countermanding his judgment.

    It could be just as much a possibility that Malloy will defer a decision and ask the plaintiffs to have talks to resolve their differences…THAT would be interesting…;*)

  4. jburnham says:

    I went by the courthouse around 1:30 and there were about 20 legal scholars outside.
    You can see pictures of their signs here

    This one is a pretty complex argument, but it’s my favorite

    • jon says:

      thanks for the pictures jburnham. Did you talk to Toby Bridges or Rockholm or any of the other wolf opponents there? Toby was saying that thousands would show up. Any pro wolf advocates there with signs?

    • Immer Treue says:


      What is compelling about the pictures is we have grown men, older men, standing in front of displays one would imagine produced by young kids. So much for maturity.

    • Daniel Berg says:

      Some people focus only on what gets them whipped up into an angry emotional frenzy. Many on the left and the right fit in with that statement. Politicians have been using it to their advantage for generations.

      As a politcian, as long as you could whip that crowd into a frenzy about wolves, homesexuals, hippies, abortion, or whatever else, you could stab them in the back on almost every other issue and they wouldn’t realize it until it was too late.

      • Immer Treue says:

        Once after a fifty plus mile cycling workout, we were just sitting around talking, and we got onto the topic of the Iraq war. One friend, who was rather conservative by nature, made the comment that we were involved in Iraq because of abortion/choice.

        When pushed to explain, the race between “W” and Gore was so close, that one of the minor issues (if you choose to call it that)women’s rights, put “W” over the top (if you choose to believe he won). Bush’s agenda included Iraq from the get go. Thus began an underfunded war, begun by Bush, and ++one++ of the dominos that fell in place to put us in this financial mess.

    • Phil says:

      I love the signs that say “Save our herds”, but what they forgot to put as a extension of these signs is “…so that we can kill them.”, so, the sign should read “Save our herds so we can kill them.”.

      • Woody says:

        That is why Tony Mayer’s site save originally was

  5. jburnham says:

    Jon, I didn’t see anyone in support of wolves there.

    Immer, I agree. Also notice that there are no discernible legal or scientific arguments being presented in any of those signs, and I took pictures of all the signs I saw. It’s like the blogosphere moved to real life.

    • Ron Kearns says:


      Thank you for sharing those photos and for making the effort to document the sentiments of some (the majority?) of the local citizens.

  6. Phil says:

    The one aspect I find saddening (to myself regarding the issue as a whole) is that there was no one there in support of the wolves. While this could mean anything, the first image (even though the anti-wolf crowd was not that large) that comes to my mind is that a majority either do not care, or are anti-wolfers. I am sure there are people who are in favor of the wolves in Montana, but are largely outnumbered by the ones in the middle and against.

    • Ken Cole says:

      Because this is not a popularity contest and, rather, a proceeding of the law, each viewpoint was heard today. This isn’t decided by those who hold signs outside, it’s decided by a judge according to the law. As it should be.

      While I bemoan those who are afraid to speak out in favor of good wolf policy, I don’t think it makes a whit of difference in this case. I’m not sure that I would have wanted to stand near that crowd anyway.

      • Woody says:

        I was pleased to see that the anti crowd had such a small representation. I don’t believe that this was a place where anyone should protest. Let the judge do his job.

    • jon says:

      Phil, some pro wolf advocates have told me they were going down there to support and stand up for the wolves. Whether or not they really went down there is anyone’s guess, but I doubt they would lie.

  7. Ken Cole says:

    I just got off the phone with Summer Nelson and she feels good about the hearing. She felt that the judge asked more pointed questions of the government and the settlement parties than he did those opposed to settlement.

    No ruling from the bench because not all of the sides have been heard yet.

  8. jon says:

    Jerry Black who posts on here from time to time went there and he sat in the courtroom. Here are some pics he took. As you can see, very few wolf haters there. Toby Bridges who most of you guys/gals are familiar with said there would be thousands of hunters and ranchers there. Couldn’t be further from the truth.

  9. Jerry Black says:

    Jon…..”Jerry Black who posts on here from time to time went there and he sat in the courtroom. Here are some pics he took.”
    Jon…….yes, I was there throughout the hearing, BUT DIDN”T TAKE ANY PICTURES.
    I agree with what Summer told Ken. The attorney for WWP and the other 3 “renegade” groups did an excellent job.

  10. Cindy says:

    Thanks Jerry, for being there and representing so many of us that just can’t leave our “daily grind” to attend all events, especially in this case, I’m too far away.

  11. Woody says:

    Report on the protestors. The dozens reported were less than three dozen and the numbers dwindled during the afternoon, not increase as Bridges had expected. There is also a link to a video of the “crowd”.

    • Phil says:

      Does anyone know what the population of tha anti-wolf side was today? Was the population (if there was one) mainly from the same individuals?

      • jon says:

        From what I understand there were 30 people Phil. Toby Bridges on his website said thousands of hunters and ranchers would be showing up. Scott Rockholm was there.

      • jon says:

        I’m not sure how many wolf supporters showed up Phil. I know one of the wolf supporters on here showed up.

        Timz, I want to ask you some questions about Idaho wolves.

        my email is

  12. WM says:


    I am curious. Did your counsel indicate whether there was any discussion by Judge Molloy or the parties regarding the WY portion of the DPS?

    Since Judge Johnson in Cheyenne ruled that the WY Wolf Management Plan should not have been rejected by FWS (per his order), and FWS decided last week not to appeal that adverse ruling last week, it seems the WY plan may be acceptable afterall (even if we as individuals do not agree that it is ok for 90% of the state to be off limit to wolves in the predator zone), because the judge said the remainder of WY was not a part of the “core recovery” area, and WY could meet its 150/15 wolves minimum, or whatever the number is, within the GYE.

    If that is now the federal law of the land in WY, does that not make it more difficult for WWP and the other non-settling plaintiffs to argue the DPS break-up issue is unsurmountable should FWS issue a delisting rule that would include WY (and assuming ID says it wants it management responsiblities back)?

    It seems this is a very real and live issue your guys should be struggling with as you continue to assert your position.

    And, as I understand the political issue, WY would be opposed to the federal legislative proposals of Tester/Baucus/Simpson because it leaves WY to fend for itself on whether wolves receive ESA protections. Maybe that is what WY deserves for being a non-player up to the effective date of Judge Johnson’s ruling, but because of their little “win” they would seem to be arguing in favor of the settling parties’ position, I would guess

    Yet another layer of complexity to consider.

    • Ken Cole says:

      WM—“Since Judge Johnson in Cheyenne ruled that the WY Wolf Management Plan should not have been rejected by FWS (per his order), and FWS decided last week not to appeal that adverse ruling last week, it seems the WY plan may be acceptable afterall”

      I’m not sure that is exactly what he ruled. I thought he basically said they have to reconsider Wyoming’s plan, not that they have to accept it. They can still reject Wyoming’s plan but they have to come up with some rationalization for doing so.

      I haven’t heard much other than what I posted yesterday afternoon. I don’t think that Judge Molloy really discussed that issue though.

      • WM says:


        I think you are correct on what Judge Johnson requires of FWS (I have not seen his opinion) – they need to provide the rationale for rejecting the WY plan (actually pretty much the same plan they, at some point, had previously approved after initially disapproving? It is hard to keep up with the status).

        Governor Mead, in a tone of cooperation, is asking FWS to now approve the WY Plan.

        Again, I have not seen the opinion, but apparently, the Judge provides guidance in suggesting, based on the ageny’s own experts (Bangs, in particular), that WY could meet its 150/15 obligation in the GYA alone, and that the plan is scientifically sound in the context of the core recovery zone.

        Somebody will have fun with those conclusions.

    • Ken Cole says:

      Also, I think the Missoulian article covered the hearing better than the other articles I’ve seen.

      Judge Molloy hears sides on wolf settlement, hunts.
      By ROB CHANEY of the Missoulian

  13. JEFF E says:

    So toby bridges predicted “hundreds” would show up from “all over Idaho and Montana”, and even took credit for “taking the lead”
    “This rally is being co-organized by a number of sportsman and land owner based organizations. LOBO WATCH has become the lead organizer. Anyone wanting to participate should contact Toby Bridges at Right now, plans are for protesters to be at the courthouse starting at 12 noon, since the actual hearing begins at 1:30 p.m., and there needs to be a crowd around the courthouse when key players and the media begin to show. Molloy’s court session will likely end around 4 p.m., and some protesters need to be still be on hand. ”

    toby bridges couldn’t organize a sock drawer

    • jon says:

      Someone I know emailed Toby a day ago and asked him why there were so few hunters and ranchers there. Judging by his reply back, I would say he was quite angry that more people didn’t show up. Afterall, he went around saying that literally hundreds would be showing up to support him. Must have been a real blow when the day at the courthouse was over and he realized that only 30 people I believe it was had showed up to support him.


March 2011


‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey