Numbers were a big anti-wolf disappointment-

Disappointing small number of anti-wolf protesters show up at Molloy hearing. Missoulian. By Ken Briggeman.

About The Author

Ralph Maughan

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.

60 Responses to Dozens protest wolves outside Missoula court hearing

  1. This has has been discussed quite a bit on some threads. I decided to make it a full post.

  2. Alan says:

    “His calling card identifies Potter as “Wolf Removal Coordinator” and, on the back, lists the wolf management practices he espouses: aerial gunnery, long-rifle shooting, trapping/relocation, poisoning and wolf den gassing.”
    ….And people wonder why we still think that wolves need protection.

    • jon says:

      Yeah, some of these people who hate wolves seem to be the most hateful and ignorant people around.

    • Salle says:

      And it’s merely one more step to apply that to other species, including people…

  3. jane says:

    Dale Potter is grossly misinformed (amazing since he lives their) about the number of wolves in northeastern Oregon. Fish and Wildlife have established the number to be 24 to 25 wolves and this number has remained constant for a number of years.
    Mr. Potter, your fears of wolves are unfounded. Educate yourself about wolves and your fears will abate. Research the wolves of Yellowstone, the petrie dish of wolf knowledge and learn of their wonder- your fears will go away and you then can stop hating and killing.

  4. william huard says:

    It takes generations of misinformation and ignorance for a man like Dale Potter to be where he is today. His inbreeding redneck ancestors probably killed wolves so he is carrying on their legacy. These people need something to hate. They are angry pathetic people

    • Savebears says:

      I may not agree with his position, but I am pretty sure he is not an inbred redneck person, he is a retired Air Force pilot..he is misdirecting his anger about wolves, but making statements of this nature really is not productive..

      • jon says:

        What do you mean by “may not”? Either you agree with his position or not sb. It’s that simple. How’s the weather out there in your neck of the woods?

      • Savebears says:

        Jon, it is simply a statement, you know I don’t agree with those who wish to annihilate wolves…

        the weather is still cold, wet and snowy, I still have several feet of snow here..My daffodils will not bloom until June this year!

      • william huard says:

        Save bears-
        When I hear some of the comments that this person made I can only infer that this person is ignorant. No rational person makes comments about gassing pups in their dens. Are you saying that just because he is a retired Air Force pilot he cannot be an idiot?

      • Immer Treue says:

        Whenever one resorts to invectives, you become, in a way, no better than the subject of your invective.

        Tough to avoid at times though, eh?

      • Savebears says:


        You did not call him an idiot, you called him a redneck inbred…

        But if we are to go by definition, an idiot would not be a Air Force Pilot…

      • Salle says:

        Dementia perhaps?

  5. Alan says:

    You know, someone can be anti-wolf. They can think that wolves should never have been re-introduced, they can think that these are non native invaders, they can want to remove or shoot any wolves they see. But when they start talking about gassing pups in the den, gut shooting, poisoning (which could be ingested by any and everything) etc. they are just sick individuals. They likely pulled the wings off of butterflies and tortured cats when they were young. I have no love for the mice in my barn, but I have no desire to torture them. I just don’t want them in my barn. Usually I use a live trap and carry them out in the woods. If I do use lethal methods it’s a snap trap; they never know what hit ’em. If the cat has an injured one I do a quick mercy killing.
    This is what constantly surprises me about anti-wolfers. An almost obsessive hatred that borders on insanity. People who torture animals, or have a desire to torture animals, are sick and need to be removed from society. Any psychiatrist would agree and would tell you that this is how serial killers are born.

    • jon says:

      Any psychiatrist or criminal expert will tell you that serial killers first victims were animals before moving onto bigger prey, humans. You are right on point with everything you say Alan.

  6. ProWolf in WY says:

    Alan, you are absolutely right. That kind of thinking is extremely dangerous and should not be tolerated.

    • jon says:

      I agree 100%

      “An almost obsessive hatred that borders on insanity.”

      Alan, you pretty much nailed it with this comment. They are a hateful and ignorant bunch that still are stuck in the early 1900s with their extreme attitudes.

    • william huard says:

      Save bears-
      When I was growing up I remember my father telling me how to handle bullies. He said to punch the guy as hard as you can right in the jaw and they will leave you alone after that. He was right- These rabid anti wolfers and their visionary legislators like MR Hart are nothing more than bullies, taking out their anger on an animal that can’t fight back. Ignorant people tried that with black people and every other minority until they fought back. When I hear this nonsense about wolves being biological weapons I have to laugh. If you care to defend these people that is up to you…….

  7. Salle says:

    I think I’m going to have a batch of bumper stickers made up that say a wonderful little saying, and then make them available for pro-wolf folks to send to these cads, and use for themselves. the say:

    Real Men Aren’t Afraid of Wolves.

  8. Virginia says:

    How about “Intelligent people aren’t afraid of wolves?”

    • jon says:

      I try to understand where this abnormal extreme hatred of wolves from hunters and ranchers comes from. To have so much anger at an animal who is just trying to survive makes no sense at all. I think it is passes down from generation to generation. Educating these people will never ever work. Their hatred for wolves is something you can’t get out of them.

      • Savebears says:


        See there is the problem, it is not abnormal to them, no you will not get the hate out of the current generation, but you can with the next generations..

      • jon says:

        sb, we’ve had what, 80 years to change our ways and most of us have, but some haven’t. If 80 years couldn’t do it, how is the next generation going to be any different? yes, I’m aware that it’s not abnormal to them. No matter how much education there is, sometimes we just have to accept the fact that some people will never ever change. The hatred of wolves is passed down from generation to generation.

    • Salle says:

      It’s nice but people with that level of intellect have an aversion to words that span more than two syllables, to begin with…

      It’s a culture of ignorance that some of these folks are actually proud of, I’ve seen it in every state in this country (well except Alaska and Hawaii which I have never been to though I don’t think it’s prevalent in Hawaii, I do know it exists in Alaska) that I have been to and it seems to be a thing that requires someone or something that this culture is either afraid of or feel the need to destroy for some ideological reason (usually that reason stems from the fact that whomever or whatever it is cannot be controlled by them). This desired sense of superiority enhanced by religion gives them confirmation to go about being hateful toward and diligent in trying to destroy whatever or whomever it is.

      This is the same pattern that we see in the political storms all over the country now that the teabaggers have gained some grip on our legislative process… with extra added hubris. They see themselves as god-appointed authority on how others should live their lives in order to fulfill their (sometimes) self-fulfilling prophecies. If the prophecies won’t happen without their help, they’ll make them happen, even if they have to resort to killing and/or breaking any number of laws. Laws are carefully selected as good or bad with regard to how they limit the ability of the TB’s (and their types) to enforce their religious beliefs on others, including those within their ranks. This stuff isn’t about politics, it’s about religions/belief systems and, according to them, it’s okay to cheat as long as it means that they are the ones calling the shots in the end.

  9. Phil says:

    Just because he was an Air Force pilot does not mean he is not an idiot on other issues. I am not a politician, but if I pretend to be one and make it seem like I know everything that needs to be known on politics when in actuality I know little to nothing, that would make me an idiot. If I was a pilot in the Air Force, that would not mean I am intelligent on everything else. SB, it is kind of weird how you continue to defend the immoral individuals who are acting upon illegal actvities. Why?

  10. Cody Coyote says:

    Strange that the anti-wolfers have so little understanding of the legal landscape and process that they fail to realize protesting outside a court hearing is like picketing a live minefield…they may not like what it represents, but it’s not the best time or place to do grassrootin’ and boot stompin’

    Unless of course you really like dancing to the tune of that pickup jam band from Missoula:

    Toby and the Bridges to Nowhere.

    Pro-wolfers were wise to not show up. Fools Day came a week early this year. The Judge was not amused, however…

    ( I am)

  11. Phil says:

    jon: Yes we have had 80 years to change the mindset of the anti-wolfer’s position of wolves, but we have only had about 15 years of educating combined with the presence of wolves. I strongly believe that with each passing generation people will (hopefully) have a better tolerance of wolves. The extreme anti-wolfers are not from the modern young generation, they are individuals in their 30s, 40s, 50s,… (off course with a few exceptions. Tolerating wolves comes through not only education and time, but presence of the species.

    • vickif says:

      Tollerance? That is a part of the issue. It is the same as the “dreaded race issue”. Tollerance, is not necessary. Understanding and acceptance is. The term tollerate implies that something is an aggrevation. Wolves are an enhancement.
      How did 80 years not change people’s thinking? Well, for 80 years, those people’s children were fed by the labors afforded them in the abscence of environmental balance and predators. For some of those 80 years, predators were still competition for food.
      Now, however, that type of existence is fading just like our landscapes are. So, we have a responsibility to get the next generations of voters to become informed about what they are voting on, and what they are choosing to lose and to save.

      I think it time to stop slinging insults and start convincing people who are capable of comprehending common science. After all, “you can catch more flies with honey, than with vinegar.”

      It is nice to see you still standing tall, although I have never seen you have to be on the defensive so much. I am sorry to see that people are n ot capable of listening and discerning what they agree or disagree with, without resorting to ‘trash talking’. I may not always see eye to eye with you, but I would always place my money on you having researched and believing in your position.

      • vickif says:

        I have heard native elders use the term “In my way of thinking” a lot. I guess I always thought that was wise, as it acknowledged there is more than one way of seeing things. I think you got a bit of that going on, and I respect that.

      • Phil says:

        vicki: Because for nearly 80 years there were no wolves in that area. How can you teach something if it is not there? I am with you in that wolves do not need to be tolerated, they actually belong here, and are an enhancement, but if you listen to what the anti-wolfers say it is more of a tolerance mentality then anything. Compare the hostility of some hunters in the NRM to that of the midwest hunters on wolves. Here we have had a good population for more then 3 decades now, and the amount of hostile hunters towards wolves is nowhere near the level it is in the NRM. Basically, the hunters in and around the NRM are not use to hunting and living with woves, therefore; they have developed this hostile anger towards them. Eventually (I hope) future generations of hunters will have a more tolerate position on wolves because they would have grown up knowing they are around.

        Yes, predators were still competition for food without the presence of wolves, but those predators have always had a presence in the NRM. If we reintroduce the jaguar (I hope we do) back to its normal range in this country similarly to how we did with wolves, you don’t think that some hunters will have a hostile behavior to them? Off course the situation will not be exact because jaguars have a different diet and behaviors, but the overall outlook of the situation would be no different then the one wolves are currently facing.

      • vickif says:

        I agree, most certainly some hunters will take issue. But as someone who used to hunt often (use my camera more these day), I can see a change in the attitudes of a lothunters (every hunter I know, except one – my brother). They know, as much as most, that there is a cycle that needs to be preserved and habitat that needs to be kept.

        I can only hope future generations learn, as I have, to be responsible and gracious. Place first things first etc.

        I credit my father and grand father with a lot of how I turned out. I grew up in a family of “leave no tracers” before the term was coined. I also grew up with a strong value of education, formal, or informal. That education has helped me become informed and to be an ambassador to many, many young people. I would like to think that is the kind of reaching out, and paying it forward, that will ripple effect it’s way into the minds and hearts of my children’s generation, and so on.

        We can encourage people to be informed, but being outdoors is a far greater motivation then listening to people harp “save this, or save that”. So, while I encourage people to get educated..I am far more confident that the kids I have given fishing poles and camping trips to will vote for the betterment of our planet.

      • vickif says:

        One more thing….I get that it is irrational to say “they have been gone for 80 years, and don’t belong here!” But predator or bison, (they bare the same cross), the biggest foe we face is the agriculture common wealth.
        Hunters may have opposition to wolves, but I would venture a guess that a lot of the hunting community would be on the pro side if it is scientifically based and a legitimate plan is enforced to ensure no over population occurs. (I know that is an ecological improbability-but not entirely impossible.)
        Ag however, could give a hoot about ungulates, or wolves…their motivation is monetary and self-sustaining. It is not based on something they do a few weeks a year… is their bread and butter. Unfortunately, their bread and butter is often bought and paid for by our tax dollars…and are at the expense of our national and state lands. Since it is easier for them to deny they have a negative impact, and cheaper…they will taint the playing field, and try to paint a picture that shows hunters and ranchers being unified. How do we fix that? Aside from ending public land grazing, and then fighting the two facets seperately (hunters/ag)..I have no idea.

  12. timz says:

    Most of these people looked elderly so they’ll all be dead soon anyway.

    • jon says:

      lol, you do have a way with words timz. tim, if can email me, that would be great. I wanted to ask you some questions about Idaho wolves. my email is

    • Salle says:

      Unfortunately, many of them have offspring that tend to think the same way. I know a guy, in his early 30’s that I would otherwise have much respect for but his unabashed hatred… and I mean vehement hatred, for wolves makes that highly unlikely. In fact, I know of several males in their thirties and forties who absolutely hate wolves… and they can’t give any reason other than the erroneous claims about them eating all the elk.

      My partner, when we are traveling about either around the area where we live or in YNP, jokes about how the animals we see gathered ~ like in the fields near the palisades along the Madison River or in the park ~ says, “Those aren’t elk, the wolves ate all the elk… they eat them like potato chips!” So when we see all those herds of elk we refer to them as potato chips. (For those who don’t get the joke, it’s a sarcastic response to the BS we hear on a regular basis with regard to wolves.)

      • jon says:

        salle, out of all of the ranchers you have talked to about wolves, how many of them would say liked wolves and how many of them disliked/hated wolves? I would guess the majority if not all hated wolves. Am I close?

    • vickif says:

      Ha ha! One thing you can credit hippies with…they multiplied far more than conservatives did. These folks, and their off spring may be out numbered!

      • Elk275 says:


        Some of the original hippies have become some of the biggest rednecks and conservatives.

      • vickif says:

        True. How have you been? I haven’t posted a lot in a while, but have thought of you. I always enjoyed your posts.

      • timz says:

        “Some of the original hippies have become some of the biggest rednecks and conservatives”

        That’s an amazing, yet very true.

  13. headwaters says:

    Jon, the stereotypes (“hunters and ranchers” hate wolves) don’t help. Conservation needs coalitions and stereotyping people breaks down the potential for coalitions by dividing people. I am a hunter and I have been an active proponent of wolf recovery and protection for decades, but you just assigned me to the anti-wolf camp. Similarly, I know a ranch manager who for two or three years told hunters “you can hunt elk on foot, but if you see wolves leave them alone”. He had a pack denning there that never killed cattle and he was enlightened enough to want to keep that pack as long as he could. But again, your comment assigns him to the anti-wolf camp. When you insult people, it’s hard to get them back. All I’d ask is that you say “some hunters and ranchers”. I am proud of being a hunter and I am proud of being a wolf advocate, so please quit tying to push me into a group I don’t belong in.

    • jon says:

      I’ll be more specific next time. I know not all hunters/ranchers are like that, but let’s not kid ourselves here into thinking that the majority of ranchers/hunters in Montana and Idaho and Wyoming actually like wolves. I think most would agree on here that there are many more ranchers/hunters that hate wolves than like them. The ranchers/hunters who actually like wolves are a very small minority. Disagree with me if you want, but that is how I feel.

    • Ken Cole says:

      I agree. The name calling and stereotypes serve absolutely no purpose. 

    • Phil says:

      headwater: Great points. I myself have been one to categorize all individuals into the same category even though that was not my intention. It is a natural way in which people (including myself) should learn from.

    • ProWolf in WY says:

      Headwaters, as a hunter myself, I agree with what you are saying. That being said I am very hesitant to support most hunting groups since so many are anti-wolf extremists. I would be interested to know a rancher who likes wolves. I’ve never met any, but I’m sure they exist.

    • Rita K.Sharpe says:

      Thank you,headwaters,for your input.Nice to read from someone new.

    • JB says:

      The stereotypes are counterproductive for the reasons others have mentioned. However, people’s frequent use of stereotypes aren’t the only issue here. What does it gain your cause to put others down? Arguments are won with logic, facts and conviction [in that order]. Conviction we have in spades, but I see a lot of posts on this blog that amount to no more than people’s opinions about other individuals or groups. What an absolute waste of time. You won’t win any hearts or minds with such rhetoric and are likely to make some enemies in the process.

      The best part about this blog are the thoughtful, well-informed discussions that arise from time to time. These are what keep me coming back.

  14. Woody says:

    Good comment, headwaters! I agree.

  15. vickif says:

    Head Waters- I agree too, and am glad to read what you said.

    Rita, there are some. There used to be a woman who occasionally posted here, from Pinedale, WY. I forget her screen name, but I remember her commenting on how she was sometimes a bit quiet about her support of wolves because she lived in a small community and wondered who’s feathers were safe to ruffle. But I remember her talking of diversion tactics when it came to predation, and she was a distinct minority in her area.

  16. Phil says:

    vicki: “I can only hope future generations learn, as I have, to be responsible and gracious. Place first things first etc.” Now, that should be in the curriculum of school districts all across the country.

    • vickif says:

      My dad teaches, his name is Phil. Good omen? I sure hope so.
      I really think that environmental stuardship should be a required class. It should be like out-door ed, for high schoolers. They should be taken out and shown how to survive, as well as how to sustain. But hey, I am a dreamer.

      Some schools require a certain amount of volunteering/community service to graduate. Maybe it isn’t too far fetched.

  17. Dawn Rehill says:

    Nature is not like Disney or the Bronx Zoo . Nature is something we share the planet with . When wolves or lions or whales do something that we go damn WTF ?? It’s nature . Wolves play a major role in the ecosystem, I do respect hunters, the ones that play by the rules and the majority do , tell me another animal that is either hated or loved so much, no in between, crazy, but I don’t think there is .

    • vickif says:

      I think you could find a few examples, all centering around agriculture, land and livelihoods. Like in Africa, lions, and even elephants.
      India, leopards.
      But wolves, well…Spain, Romania, Germany, USA, Canada, Mexico etc. Sad.

  18. Samantha says:

    Dawn and vickif, I agree. Nature is something we share the planet with, and without a natural predator such as the wolf, it can indeed have a damaging impact on the environment. Human populations need to learn to live alongside wildlife. I wrote quite an extensive post on the pros and cons of predators being reintroduced to the wild that might interest you.

  19. Samantha says:

    Dawn and vickif, I agree. We need to be able to embrace the wildlife around us and indigenous predators have a very valuable role to play in the ecosystem. I wrote an extensive post on reintroduction of predators to their natural habitat that may interest you –


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

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