Lazy ATV hunters in Idaho lose battle in state legislature

ATV interest groups wanted legislature to prevent Idaho Fish and Game from closing any areas to ATVs during hunting season-

This is been a very contentions issue in Idaho and elsewhere — hunters who walk to find and stalk big game versus those who ride around hoping to see an elk or whatever they can shoot at.

Because there are provisions for motorized access for those who truly have a mobility disability when it comes to hunting, the issue really is about skill and effort versus people don’t want to walk because they are lazy or out of shape, but not disabled. The ATV hunting advocates want to make it a “freedom” or “fairness” issue because that sounds better.  There latest effort, however, has died in the Idaho legislature.  They wanted to prevent Idaho Fish and Game from setting rules the would close some areas that are at other times open to ATVs during hunting season.  The department closes some trails and areas in order to accomplish “harvest” objectives and to provide vehicle free areas where hunters can rely on their game finding talent, not having to worry about a noisy ATV spooking game.

1. Story framing the issue as ATV “hunting rights” (I didn’t know treading on the rights of others was a right).  Idaho Senate considers greater ATV hunting rights  KTVB 7
2. Story on the state senate vote killing the let the ATVs roam everywhere bill. Senate kills ATV hunting bill. The Associated Press in the Idaho Statesman.






  1. Carter Niemeyer Avatar
    Carter Niemeyer

    I have never been the first commenter on one of Ralph’s topics but this makes me happier than a meadowlark. ATV use for hunting has always been one of my pet peeves. If they all disappeared tomorrow I would be even happier. When I am too old to walk, then I guess I stay home but we don’t need more ATV traffic in beautiful Idaho and people should park them and try walking for a change. Great news.

    1. Doryfun Avatar


      I’ll second that to you on pet peeves, too. Nothing is more irksome than to hike miles into the back country, then discover ATV folks that are either there or have been. Tracks remain for a long time, then invite more.

      When it comes time in ones life to accept they can no longer do those physical things they once did, so be it. That’s life. Let others who can, do. It seems awefully easy these days for people to get “rights” and natural “privileges” turned around.

  2. Kristi Avatar

    Some MT hunters were applying for and getting licenses for disabled hunters and now this in Idaho…what is a lazy slob hunter to do now?? Perhaps ATV noise is a valid reason that those hunters can’t get “their” elk? A big move for Idaho here. Nice to see.

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar
      Ralph Maughan


      Now I’m especially glad I wrote the story the way I did. They speak of some “right” to use an ATV to help them get close to the game to try to kill it with as little effort as possible or as they can muster.

      We should make it clear to them and the politicians that there is no right to hunt, or to do anything that should require ability, effort and talent, in a dishonorable way.

      1. Kristi Avatar

        Big difference between “rights” and “privileges”…some hunters cannot bother with being honorable—to wit, the photo of the smiling “hunter” with the trapped and wounded wolf behind him. The epitome of dishonorable.

    2. Savebears Avatar


      I have a disabled Montana Hunting permit.

      1. Doryfun Avatar


        I’m curious. What does a disabled Montana Hunting permit allow one to do?

        1. Savebears Avatar

          In certain areas designated by MFWP, I can go behind gates on roads, it is not a permit to ride off road.

          1. Doryfun Avatar


            Still curious. If one is disabled enough to ride into an area, as opposed to walking, what happens when an animal is downed? How does that person get the animal? Does the permit entitle another non-hunter to ride in on the same machine to help the hunter get the animal?

      2. Kristi Avatar

        If you are truly disabled, then good for you. If not, well then…

        1. Savebears Avatar


          An AK47 bullet to the hip made sure I am truly disabled, got that in April 1991 while in Iraq. I would prefer to walk to my destinations, but not in the cards these days, I envy those who can, and doubt those who say they would stay home if they could not.

          1. Kristi Avatar

            Unfortunately, I cannot see someone’s disability through a post on a blog. I have a problem with healthy, able-bodied hunters applying for and receiving those permits intended for hunters who DO need them. Also have a problem with lazy slob hunters, I don’t think there are special permits for shooting animals out of a rolled down window of a truck or other vehicle from the side of the road. I would prefer you to be able to walk, too. Thank you for your service.

            1. Save Bears Avatar
              Save Bears

              So do I Kristi

          2. Paul Avatar


            I thought that the Desert Storm hostilities ended on February 28, 1991? How were you wounded in Iraq in April 1991 after the cease fire?


            1. Savebears Avatar

              Paul Hostilities were declared ended on 28, Feb, that did not mean we all left, I was still in country on the border when this happened. Cease fire does not always equate to no fire.

  3. Louise Kane Avatar
    Louise Kane

    I am sorry about your disability, really. A terrible thing to endure. I also have some issues related to MS that pop in and out of my life making life less than ideal at times. But why, given the pain and suffering that guns and bullets have caused you, would you want to inflict that misery on other animals? I truly do not understand this. Rather than find additonal ways to access killing them because you are disabled, perhaps thinking about why humans want to kill and maim animals, especially those they do not eat like wolves, would be a timely reflection. Animals have never waged war against humans. Why must we do so against them using every possible torturous method possible.

  4. Rusty Avatar

    @ Ralph,

    This was never about a LAZY Hunter wanting to hunt off of his ATV. This bill was about whether a state agency (IDFG) had the legal authority to close trails that were deemed open by a federal agency (USFS and BLM). The Idaho AG stated that IDFG doesn’t have the legislative authority to close such trails.

    The IDFG “Motorized Rule” is very confusing, and how does a hunter know when he sees an ATV if they are hunting or not. Below are some examples and I will state whether legal or illegal under the current rule:

    — An ATV rider not in possesion of a hunting license, riding on an open trail as stated such by USFS and BLM during hunting season ….. LEGAL

    — An ATV rider in possesion of a hunting license riding on an open trail to setup camp at a location along the trail …… LEGAL

    — An ATV rider not in possesion of a hunting license, riding on an open trail that sees a hunter walking back to campsite after a long day of hunting and offers the hunter a ride ……. ILLEGAL

    While it was the motorized community that pushed this bill, it was never about illegal chase of wildlife. IDFG decided that the ATV was a “method of take”, an ATV is no more a method of take than someones horse, bike, truck, etc.

    This was NEVER about a lazy hunter wanting to hunt from his ATV, this was about using a trail that was designated open by a Federal Agency and then closed to a certain group of individuals by a state agency.


    1. Mark Gamblin (IDFG) Avatar
      Mark Gamblin (IDFG)

      See my post below for factual clarification of the Motorized Hunting Rule (MHR). It’s important for all to understand the MHR does not, cannot, close or otherwise restrict or regulate the public use of roads or trails. The MHR is a HUNTING regulation that restricts the act of hunting with the aid of motorized vehicles. And, yes – hunting with the aid of motorized vehicles is a “method of take”, within the authority and responsibility of the Idaho Fish and Game Commission to regulate.

      1. IDhiker Avatar

        Holy smokes Mark! You posted something I can totally agree with you on 🙂

      2. Rusty Avatar


        This bill was more about whether IDFG has the authority to declare an ATV as a “method of take” and the Idaho AG stated in writing that IDFG didn’t have the legal authority. However, our Senators by not passing HB 542aa decided that it is ok for IDFG to make their own rules without legal authority. So now can any state agency do this also?


        1. Mark Gamblin (IDFG) Avatar
          Mark Gamblin (IDFG)

          If that was the purpose of HB542 it was cleverly disguised. It is important that the public not be mislead on this question.
          There is no reference to ATV’s as method of take in the language of HB542 and I am unaware of discussion or debate of that argument during deliberation of the bill. Likewise, the Idaho Attorney General’s Office has not issued an opinion that the Idaho Fish and Game Commission lacks the legal authority to regulate the use of ATVs by hunters as an aid to hunting (“method of take”). The Idaho AG Office did prepare a legal analysis of that question between the 2011 and 2012 Legislative sessions. That opinion DID NOT find that the Commission lacks authority to regulate hunting with the aid/use of ATVs.

    2. JB Avatar

      “While it was the motorized community that pushed this bill, it was never about illegal chase of wildlife. IDFG decided that the ATV was a “method of take”, an ATV is no more a method of take than someones horse, bike, truck..”

      An ATV is part of the method of “taking” wildlife, and therefore subject to regulation. Likewise, while you can’t kill an animal with an electronic call, cell phone, GPS, or bait, all of these aids have been banned by one state or another.

      Walk, it’s good for you! 😉

      1. Savebears Avatar


        I walk as much as I can, and would walk much more if I could. Unfortunately, I just found out this evening at my Doc visit, I am probably going to have to go under the knife again….

        1. Immer Treue Avatar
          Immer Treue

          Two creaky knees and a hip that is all of a sudden complaining… I have empathy for you. Man, surgery only if you have to.

          1. Savebears Avatar


            I have developed some degenerative separation in the areas they repaired, from my understanding, there has been some strong advances in technology that has improved this situation. It may not even be a knife, they are talking more and more about lasers!

            1. Immer Treue Avatar
              Immer Treue


              Interesting what can be done with lasers. My current shepherd was well, neutered with a laser. No insinuations tossed your way.

            2. Savebears Avatar

              IM, fortunately I was not neutered!


            3. Harley Avatar

              Thank goodness for lasers! I’ve watched a cat get neutered once…. wow. So so very glad I am not a male of any species!

        2. Mike Avatar

          I’m all for guys like SB to use ATV’s along roads and trails. Some of those machines get better gas mileage than cars and trucks.

          What I’m against is dishonest ATV groups using the “handicapped access” claim to stick their fat feet into the doors of roadless protection.

          I remember maybe a decade back a certain Idaho politician tried to use an American disabilities group as a pawn against roadless protection ,and was refuted by that group.

          1. Savebears Avatar


            I can sit and search on my computer every single day and find 1000 bad hunters and 1000 bad activists against hunting, but neither is the majority.

            1. Mike Avatar

              Savebears –

              The anti-wolf, ant-predator hate comes from hunters and ranchers.

              It does not come from anywhere else. That is not disputable.

  5. Doryfun Avatar


    “Animals have never waged war against humans. Why must we do so against them using every possible torturous method possible.”

    Animals may not wage war on humans, but predators do not dispatch their prey in humane ways. It can be pretty ugly, but that is the way of nature and predator prey relationships.

    Why do you non-hunters, whom I would guess vegetarian or not, still use other things like leather, etc. that come from dead animals, rather you realize it or not. I fail to see how anti-hunters live a more puristic lifestyle??Or ride the moral high ground??

    So why do you get on the case of those of us who choose to be responsible about what we choose to eat, by killing our own prey?

    I too, do not like torture against animals, but that does not lead me to not kill. It only leads me to killing in the least painful way I can, that which I choose to eat?

    1. WM Avatar


      The answer is simple. Louise is an urbanite from the East Coast, Mass./DC area, I think. Canid or feline pet, if any, are fed from a can (no vegetarians there). Humans get meat, if they eat it, from a neat celephane wrapped package at the supermarket, or…. a can. Leather on shoes, purse, jacket or car seat has no discernable origin that the owner wants to think about.

    2. Save Bears Avatar
      Save Bears


      95% of my familes ,eat is wild game, I purchase very little commercial meat, that is why I hunt, I hunt with a bow pretty much exclusively and have for many years.

      Dory, I use my ATV to legally access my hunting, I am able to walk some so I am able to retieve my animal with my wife’s help and get it back to the house or truck depending on the area I am hunting.

      So in a nutshell, I kill animals because I eat them!

      1. Doryfun Avatar


        Aside from your war misfortune, we are in the same boat in the hunting department. Long bow for me, and wild meat mostly, or occassional domestics that someone has taken the responsiblity of raising on home turf. Often birds and fish have to suffice, as the four leggeds don’t always gift me, despite my high respect for them.

        I have no problems with folks like you, specially vets, being given special permits for ATV use, in suitable areas.

        The biggest problems I see, is the increase in use of these things that seems to be generating some sort of “want” and entitled “right” to go everywhere on these things. Like living in the land of the free translates to fighting for liberty to do “whatever the hell we want” attitude.

        Over the years, I have seen continued enchroachment by these things,into areas that are restricted, but hard to enforce. Not only in the high country when hunting or just hiking, but even in the major river canyons when floating remote country. (to get away from these monsters)

        Often tracks from rim top, to bottom, are getting ever too more prevalent. Only one machine makes a trail, then others follow, paving the way for more. Thoroughly disgusting.

        There isn’t a day goes by on the highway that you don’t encounter rigs with ATV’s in the back. They are the new horse, and people want to take them everywhere. Industry promotes it, and we all know how powerful the lobbying influence is.

        Access has been, and always will be a problem in who gets which natural resources, how much, and at what cost. But, I fear it will get worse, before it gets better, if it ever does. Fish & wildlife mgt (as you know) has always been more about people, than critters.

        Add the Republican bus (sorry Savebears, I know you like the color red) with this years candidates on board, that champion privatization of public lands, and drill everywhere attitude and access will only worsen,as will assault on fish and wildlife needs, if they get in. Not a pretty picture.

    3. Alan Avatar

      Doryfun, I am anti-hunting. If I could twitch my nose and stop all hunting I would. Not going to happen. I live in the real world, and recognize that hunting is a legal activity (at least in season, with the proper permits), and whether I like it or not you have every right to hunt.
      When you say, “I too, do not like torture against animals, but that does not lead me to not kill. It only leads me to killing in the least painful way I can, that which I choose to eat?” I believe you, and I appreciate that. I have many friends who hunt and, I believe, feel the same as you about that. I would not remain friends with them if I thought otherwise. I believe that I have far more in common with ethical hunters, such as yourself, (such as habitat protection), than in opposition. There are bigger fish to fry than to fight over a perfectly legal (though, to me, distasteful) activity.
      There are two arguments you make, however, that I take issue with; primarily because I hear them over and over (almost like the “Huge Canadian wolf thing! :-)). One: “..predators do not dispatch their prey in humane ways..” Kind of like a shoplifter excusing himself by saying, “At least I don’t use a gun and threats of violence like a bank robber!” Predators aren’t huMANE because they aren’t huMAN. Two: That somehow it is hypocritical to eat meat or use leather products, and be anti-hunting. It is very possible to be opposed to the killing of beautiful, native wild animals, and not domestic cattle. Kind of like the thread about what animals WS should be trapping and killing.
      There is nothing more beautiful than a bull elk bugling in the fall mist. To me, killing it to hang its antlers on my wall, or put food on my table, would be incredibly selfish and a crime against nature (to me, you understand). Yet I would happily push a button and kill every invasive cow on the continent.
      BTW, just so you know, personally I eat very little meat. Chicken or fish maybe once a week. Nothing that ever had four legs at all. I check labels on clothing for synthetics.
      Can’t we all just get along :-).

      1. Doryfun Avatar


        “Can’t we all just get along? “ I don’t see why not. But, it is hard to stay on topic, when the hunter/non-hunter thing keeps surfacing. For the most part it seems most folks on this blog appreciate fish and wildlife, but at what level is more questionable. Unfortunately, these differences seem to divide, rather than create allies to fight the more important issues, (not numbers, but habitats and management policy).

        In answer to your questions. Yes, that was my point, animals are indeed animals, not human. They don’t differentiate pain levels when going for food. I also didn’t excuse myself for inflicting pain, only trying to minimize it, as us humans do have the ability to evaluate that.

        The second question about the hypocrital aspect. Well, I don’t believe in killing anything, domestic or wild, unless for food. An animal is an animal, domestic or wild. They don’t know the difference. But, I still stand by my view of anti-hunters whom cast dispersions on others, while still using dead animal products (or domestics) in one way or another. It just doesn’t fly, IMO. I appreciate anti-hunting, as in those who choose not to hunt. It is harder for me to appreciate those who don’t hunt, yet castigate everyone who does.

        Again, I just demonstrated how easy it is to get off the main topic.

        1. Salle Avatar

          When I was reading that comment, I think Alan mistook you for WM. Most of the points they rebutt seem to have originated in WM’s comment.

        2. Alan Avatar

          “But, it is hard to stay on topic, when the hunter/non-hunter thing keeps surfacing.” Which is very much a major point of my post. Just as the bear spray v. gun argument used to drag so many threads off course (I was guilty!) I think most folks who are anti-hunting are primarily anti-unethical-hunting. Are there any unethical hunters who post here? Maybe, one or two. For the most part I think they are identified and get chased off pretty quick. Meantime, I have a pretty strong suspicion that preaching to WM, Save Bears and you about unethical hunting is preaching to the choir. Even Louise below, and I agree with much of what she says, finishes up with, “..the foundation of my concern about hunting is not targeted to those hunters that want or need to hunt food responsibly..” Well, that’s you guys, right? “…my blood runs cold when I think of the swath of pain and misery that some radical extremist hunters and ranchers hope to, and do, inflict on wolves all with the permission of the state…” I think most everyone who posts here, again with few exceptions (who mostly don’t last long), agrees with that. I don’t want to get in the middle of anything, but it just seems that if folks concentrate on what they have in common, especially when they actually do have a lot in common, more good would come of it. Some things you can agree to disagree about; like whether anti-hunting must, necessarily, also be anti-killing/using animal product thing. Hunters, fisherman, environmentalists together; pretty darn strong group. Separate, still strong, but not nearly as much so.
          Now, regarding ATV’s. I generally have no love for ATV’s. However, I have no problem with disabled individuals gaining access for hunting purposes where ATV’s are otherwise legal. I am happy this is restricted for the able bodied. I would certainly feel that the actual pursuit of any animal on ATV by anyone, handicapped or not, is wrong.
          “It’s too bad, because ATV use is getting to be a much bigger problem all the time, with no end in sight.” See, Doryfun, we agree on that. One way to reduce impact is, of course, more Wilderness designation. Unfortunately, the big “W” is a dirty word to many around these parts, even though it is the one sure way to preserve the same outdoor opportunities that we have for our children and grandchildren.

    4. Mike Avatar

      Yes, predators can impart very ugly deaths on their prey. But we’re better than that.

  6. Chuck Avatar

    I agree there should be no ATV’s messing up our beautiful lands of course if one is truely disabled then I do understand. There is nothing more frustrating then hiking several miles back into an area and all of a sudden out of no where here comes some ATV’s or motorcycles buzzing past you. Because of 2 failed back surgeries I cannot get out like I use to, but I still try and even if I don’t harvest an animal it is still a treat to be out in the wilds. Lets hope the bill that would make hunting a consitutional right in Idaho goes down too.

  7. Mark Gamblin (IDFG) Avatar
    Mark Gamblin (IDFG)

    This is an important story and wildlife management topic. I’ve been and will remain overextended for the next 6 months, have not had the time and resources to engage in these discussions lately, but it’s important that some elements of the IDFG Motorized HUNTING Rule be clearly defined. The MHR is a very important wildlife and hunting management tool for the IDFG. For clarification:

    “They wanted to prevent Idaho Fish and Game from setting rules the would close some areas that are at other times open to ATVs during hunting season. The department closes some trails and areas in order to accomplish “harvest” objectives and to provide vehicle free areas where hunters can rely on their game finding talent, not having to worry about a noisy ATV spooking game.”

    The Motorized HUNTING Rule does not/can not close any trail or area to motorized use. It only regulates the act of hunting. For those big game management units that the Motorized HUNTING Rule applies, only HUNTERS are affected by the rule and only their HUNTING activity with the aid of motorized vehicles, off of regular full sized roads – on public lands – is affected by the rule. In those areas affected by the MHR, big game hunters are not allowed to use motorized vehicles as an aid to hunting, on public lands, OFF OF legal ROADS that accomodate full sized vehicles – cars and trucks. You correctly noted that the purpose of the rule is two-fold: 1) manage hunter exploitation to allow for general season opportunity and achievment of hunting quality objectives for mule deer bucks and bull elk by regulating the effectiveness of hunters that is greatly enhanced by easy access to remote back-country areas with the aid of OHVs; 2) manage for desired hunting experience quality, by regulating the use of OHVs in certain areas.

    1. Doryfun Avatar


      Thanks for that clarification. It spawns another question. How difficult will that be to enforece? It seems a little like the “self-defense laws” in FL, ID, and other state.

      What will keep hunters from riding in with friends and getting dumped off somewhere. It seems like a slippery slope with lots of loop holes, to me.

      It’s too bad, because ATV use is getting to be a much bigger problem all the time, with no end in sight.

      1. Mark Gamblin (IDFG) Avatar
        Mark Gamblin (IDFG)

        Doryfun –
        The loopholes concern has from the beginning been vexing for the public and for the Department. There are multiple scenarios where an officer must interpret actions, intent and at times choose not to act because inadequate evidence is available to puruse an suspected violation. That is similar to many important rules and regulations. Public support and respect for the regulation and it’s purpose are equally important. This regulation (Motorized Hunting Rule) has been in effect for ten years now. Public understanding and respect – especially among the hunting public is strong and growing. Our public survey data consistently show strong support for the rule among big game hunters. We are continually expanding efforts on education and awareness of the rule.

  8. DB Avatar

    Must have been really, really bad if Siddoway opposed it.

  9. Louise Kane Avatar
    Louise Kane

    “Animals may not wage war on humans, but predators do not dispatch their prey in humane ways. It can be pretty ugly, but that is the way of nature and predator prey relationships.”

    what does a natural predator/prey relationship have to do with my question. I was asking Savebears if his personal experience in being injured in war, ever gave him pause to think about what hunting does to disrupt natural populations of animals or the pain, fear and stress this might cause them. Its a question that is related to an underlying philosphical consideration about empathy and humanity towards other species. My question was meant to be a respectful question and one that I am curious about.

    I had many discussions with my father, before his death, about this subject. He was a survivor of WW11, and landed on a beach just up from Normandy where he saw much death, destruction and terror. He was also among the troops to free prisoners of war in the camps in Germany. The impressions of war left him a strong non violence advocate.

    It was rare to be able to engage him in discussions about what he had seen in war. But we did manage to tease some stories from him. One of my favorites had to do with a chance encounter my father had with another German soldier. My Dad was a sergeant and he worked for a while under General Patton, who upon learning that my Dad was a good cook and a better fisherman, had my Dad go out regularly to catch fish for dinner. This became Dad’s unoffical duty. One beautiful day my Dad went to a river, took off his shirt and began fishing. When he looked up he saw a German soldier who had also removed his shirt, was enjoying the good weather and preparing his rod to fish. This being a war, they both picked up their guns and aimed at each other. But while doing so they looked directly at one another. Slowly, they lowered their guns, sat back on the bank of the river and then continued fishing. Over the day they studyied each other and eventualy became relaxed enough to doze. At some point the German soldier roused himself, started to dress, and turned to leave. My Dad and he tipped their hats and nodded to one another. The soldier walked away.

    I asked my Dad if he was afraid. Dad said that it was as if they complicititly agreed to let each other alone. Dad said that he could see humanity in this man’s eyes. No doubt the German soldier had a similar experince looking into my father’s eyes. In Dad’s later years when he was retelling the stories, he liked to say, “it was just too nice a day to kill or die”. That became his philosophy throughout his life. It was always too nice a day to kill or die. Even his beloved catch and release sport-fishing involved too much trauma for the fish, as he aged. Perhaps its naive, But I hope for a day when laws are passed so that encounters with wildlife will mean that we can study them, enjoy the moment but must allow them to move on unmolested.

    Regarding your statement about predators dispatching their prey. Predators dispatch their prey to eat because they need to. Of course its not going to be pretty. To compare the kind of warfare that people inflict on wildlife with all manner of weapons, guns, bows and arrows, atvs, poisons, helicopters, traps and snares, etc etc to wild predators needing to kill prey to eat is not a valid observation.

    Wildlife do not overrun every bit of habitat, crowd out every other species, and litter the landscape with poisons and traps that cause terrible suffering. Diminishing wilderness, less suitable habitat, naturally occurring ecological conditions are all contributing factors in the declines in certain populations of animals. In recent times, human influence is the greatest factor in the declining health of wilderness and wildlife. Yet we do little or nothing to reign in the use of irresponsible or outdated “stewardship” practices when it comes to managing wildlife and wilderness.

    I don’t beleive that models and notions of wildlife management that include trapping, snaring, poisions, helicopter and atv hunting, and promoting the annihilation of predators is sustainable, humane or desirable? This does include trophy hunting.

    You say,
    “So why do you get on the case of those of us who choose to be responsible about what we choose to eat, by killing our own prey? I too, do not like torture against animals, but that does not lead me to not kill. It only leads me to killing in the least painful way I can, that which I choose to eat?”

    I do not “get on the case of you that choose to be responsible”
    I’ll admit that despite my life long aversion to hunting. I have seen and know some hunters that are respectful, responsible and do actually rely on game animals as a food source. Yet my blood runs cold when I think of the swath of pain and misery that some radical extremist hunters and ranchers hope to, and do, inflict on wolves all with the permission of the state. There are no wildlife protection laws from unethical hunters and ranchers. These are the people I worry about and they do exist in good numbers.

    I say when people need/want to hunt for food then make them pass a literacy test that shows a basic understanding of the ecosystems they are hunting in as well as an understanding of the animals they are hunting and what role they play in the ecyosystem. Require them to pass a test that illustrates a comprehensive understanding of the hunting regulations in the district they are hunting in. Require some personalilty profiling to eliminate rouge elements from wreacking havoc in wilderness areas. Require potential hunters to use the animal as food. Require potential hunters to particiapte in some form of educational wildlife study that does not involve guns. Eliminate suffering by preventing trapping, snaring, poisons and unfair chase practices.

    We require new drivers to study, practice driving with an experienced driver, and take tests before they can operate a potentially deadly weapon on the streets yet we allow people to run roughshod in the wilderness areas and unleash some truly reprehensible monsters on unsuspecting and innocent wildlife. The “hunters” that we see posting on the websites and that proudly talk about killing and maiming wolves should not be allowed to have guns and to inflict misery on animals. Torturing domesticated animals is illegal, frowned on by scoeity and considered reprehensible and subject to fines, arrest and imprisionment. Yet torturing a wolf and other wildlife is legal. This needs to change.

    Aside from the philosophical aspect of the question I asked Savebears, the foundation of my concern about hunting is not targeted to those hunters that want or need to hunt food responsibly, its about wildlife having the right to be unmolested and to have protection from the unsavory, unethical of the hunters. Its based in an objection to trophy hunting and a disdain for wildlife management that allows predators and all wildlife to be targeted as scapegoats and then killed inumanely. Its about a desire to change a corrupt system that sanctions faleshoods and myths that perpetuate stereotypes and provide for the continued persecution of wolves and other carnivores.

    1. Virginia Avatar

      I have to say this is the most eloquent defense of our wildlife against those who choose to exploit it whether they “need” to feed their family or just want to kill something. Thank you for expressing what many of us feel and can’t quite compose our feelings as well as you. I have always found the defense of killing animals because you choose to eat them to be an unworthy excuse for hunting. It seems to give those who use it the feeling of entitlement.

      1. Doryfun Avatar


        “I have always found the defense of killing animals because you choose to eat them to be an unworthy excuse for hunting. It seems to give those who use it the feeling of entitlement.”

        That excuse is good enough for me. It also does not make me feel entitled to kill. It gives me personal justification to pursue a chance to be responsible for the type of food I choose to eat.

        I don’t tell you what to eat. So I don’t like it when someone else implies what I shouldn’t eat.

      2. Savebears Avatar

        Boy Virginia, you live in a fantasy world! I hunt because I don’t have as much income as some, I don’t like chemically enhanced meat, and I like wild game, there is no sense of entitlement because I participate in a legal hunt, which I also have a constitutional right to participate in the state I live in.

    2. Doryfun Avatar


      “what does a natural predator/prey relationship have to do with my question. I was asking Savebears…” My answer: “about why humans want to kill and maim animals, especially those they do not eat like wolves, would be a timely reflection. Animals have never waged war against humans. Why must we do so against them using every possible torturous method possible.ict that misery on other animals?” is your paragraph that raised this issue, in my mind.

      You seemed to assume Savebears kills everything and by any means. Unless he revealed this somewhere else, how would you know what he kills, how, or why? (why kill is related to pred/prey relationships).

      I too, don’t like trapping, snaring, and lot of other methods of take, nor a lot of management policies. I also recognize a lot of values of wildlife, other than just for food, and have a lot of empathy for various people and wildlife. But, I’m not sure about improving upon trying to legislate “stupid.” Sometimes, no matter how much education, comprehension is always the end result. Ethics and preferences also fall on a wide spectrum.

      I do like your war story about your dad. It is why I would never be good at war. I always recognized that the enemy would always have mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, or their own kids. Foot soldiers mostly are mostly just pawns for the elites and power brokers. Sad.

    3. skyrim Avatar

      Great commentary and story Louise. Thank you for sharing.

  10. Louise Kane Avatar
    Louise Kane

    Savebears thank you for your response…

    To WM who said” The answer is simple. Louise is an urbanite from the East Coast, Mass./DC area, I think. Canid or feline pet, if any, are fed from a can (no vegetarians there). Humans get meat, if they eat it, from a neat celephane wrapped package at the supermarket, or…. a can. Leather on shoes, purse, jacket or car seat has no discernable origin that the owner wants to think about.”

    WM You don’t know anything about me and all of your assumptions are so far off its laughable. I live in what was a huge fishing community, spent a fair part of my life in offshore and inshore fishing boats working on and off the boats, and among rugged commerical fishermen. My dad was a dog freak and so am I. My current dog is a rescue who looks a great deal like a black wolf and he is my constant companion. I make his food myself with meat…stay away from any canned food for him or me, and try my best to live as sustainably as possible including eschewing most meat primarily because I recognize the damage that cattle and most livestock practices do to the environment, and the health risks. And I bet despite having a chronic disease, the five miles or more I force myself to walk or hike daily, in a very suburban former wild area/ environment provides opportunity for a lot more wildlife viewing then you do. Every day I am thankful for the wildlife I do see, coyotes, fox, skunks, racoons, hawks, gulls heron etc. I have been fortunate to have hiked all over the world including the west and I love the outdoors. I just prefer seeing animals alive and what people are doing to the wolves in the west is unconsionable. The way you sterotype anyone fron the east or other than the west, that has an opinion or dislike of wolf management practices is similar to the old stereotype of wolves that blame them from everything from loss of revenue to accusing them of lurking and skulking in the shadows salivating for a chance ot kill entire families. The stereotypes are tired, old and not true. Wm from past comments I know you despise me…but people like me are not going away. Wildlife is a public interest and I am sick of watching the abuse.

    1. Salle Avatar


      Don’t let WM push your buttons. He seems to get off on getting people riled up with those personal attacks. If he can’t get you upset with that, he goes after something else he thinks will produce the desired effect. A troll is a troll is a troll…

      I don’t bother responding to that kind of crap most of the time because he resorts to pretzel logic that doubles back on itself in a feedback loop that, to him, justifies his crackpot theories and beliefs. He knows everything anyway so there’s really not much conversation to be had there.

    2. WM Avatar


      I do not despise you. I just want to keep the perspective and the dialog honest. Since you did not deny you are from the East, we can still presume that assertion is still true. Seems you mentioned working with NOAA, possibly as a contractor rather than an employee. And, working in fisheries, particular open saltwater can still be an urban based activity(And, yeah, I know that is a tough crowd, where language and behavior can get colorful. I have friends from New Bedford, and my wife once lived in Groton, CT.). Eastern saltwater fisheries is a whole bunch different from terrestrial ecology in the arid West. Did I get those parts wrong?

      I don’t recall any past disclosure of your association with the West on this forum, or specifically where you have travelled here and for how long. So, my apologies for not knowing, or missing that.

      Your incorrect descriptions of supposed conflict free available wolf habitat, linked with limited knowledge of wolf and ungulate biology, the ESA generally, and the 1994 NRM EIS on wolf reintroduction specifically, left me with little choice but to challenge regarding your level of substantive knowledge in those areas.

      You opined freely with seeming authority, perhaps even lecturing JB, Immer, others and myself on all those topics, incorrectly as it turns out, to some degree.

      And, you continue to keep after Dr. Mech and his very substantial contribution to wolf research, education and successful reintroduction. Then you go after the mission and execution on that mission by the International Wolf Center in MN (so by association with the IWC you also pee on DR. Rolf Peterson, Dr. Louigi Boitani and other wolf experts on its BOD and advisory committee). That still seems a bit odd to me. So, why should I let those things go unchallenged?

      Very glad you have a rescue animal. Our family currently has three (dog, 2 cats), and a long history of rescued pets. And, I wish others would do the same.


      I do not doubt the account of your father’s fishing story during WWII, spending the day in the presence of an enemny soldier in temporary armistice. It has probably happened a number of times througout history, a testament to the foolishness of war foisted on individuals. However, to be candid, I have seen the same scene in at least two movies, so Hollywood likes it. It is incredibly touching whenever told.

      My father also served in WWII in North Africa and in Europe, seeing his share of bad stuff. He was a hunter before he went to war, and even after, well into his 80’s.

  11. Salle Avatar

    OUR VIEW: Shooting on Public Land a Privilege, Not a Right

    “With the increasing use of the park, many of the safe places to shoot — places with a backstop to keep bullets from flying over a rise toward an unsuspecting ATV rider or rancher — are taken by mid-morning, Kurtz said. That doesn’t stop latecomers from setting up target practice on a flat stretch of land.

    When a Times-News reporter and photographer visited the Snake River Canyon Park this past week, the reporter described “bullets flying over our heads, but we couldn’t see the shooter.”

    This isn’t isoated to the ocation observed in this story. Iv’ve had this happen a bunch of times in places near Pocatello and Blackfoot, Idaho.

    They take their trash out to the open land and shoot it up, then leave it there, including bags of household rubbish with everything in it, aside from appliances and such. Idaho, a place where you can take you trash out to the woods or whatever, shoot it up and leave it there. Lovely bunch. And Idaho is the place where I’ve had the experience of hidden shooters shooting either at me or near enough to be dangerous, more than any other place I’ve ever been to. And I can’t help but think, because I’ve heard the braggarts talk, that these are also a contingent of the “hunting and killing whatever I want to…” slob hunters.

    1. Mike Avatar

      I’ve encountered this myself. Time to put down the guns, folks. You’re ruining it for everyone else.

  12. Louise Kane Avatar
    Louise Kane

    undoubtedly some of these yee haws, that the states allow hunting licenses to, are prowling about legally shooting up wolves and other animals like they do inanimate objects. Surely creating dead wildlife litter should elict a great deal more outrage than trshing trash in public place. Most people should not be allowed to have guns.

  13. Louise Kane Avatar
    Louise Kane

    salle its not so much I am upset with any personal attack, I used my personal story to illustrate that those ridiculous stereotypes about “eastern” urbanite people are stupid stereoytpes.

    I am upset though that wolves and other carnivores,are so maligned and that this country is not doing more to prevent wildlife abuses and to promote true conservation based wildlife managemnet models. It sucks. Thanks for your kind thoughts though.

    1. Salle Avatar

      I did that a couple times, doesn’t matter. Another Russian Proverb: “You can’t sew the brain to the skin; the stupid will stay stupid.”

      I forgot one point… also a self-appointed authority on anything anyone says and (other peoples’) personal life ethics evaluator.


  14. jon Avatar

    From what I read, Idaho fish and game opposed this. I wonder if this is going to change how Idaho fish and game runs things. What do you guys think?

  15. SEAK Mossback Avatar
    SEAK Mossback

    WM –
    Don’t be too hard on people back in the beltway. They have reasonable options but many just haven’t figured them out yet. In some eastern states, it’s legal to salvage road kill. I ran into an old friend who’d lived here many years, always pretty close to the cuff financially, and supplied his family from the local Sitka blacktail population, before moving permanently to D.C. I asked if he’s found anyplace to hunt deer back there, and he said no, but he gets fresh road kill. When a speeding eastern urbanite puts a deer in their grill, they usually tear off in horror and try to forget it — often leaving it flopping around in the ditch. He pulls over and dispatches it with a big hammer he keeps in his trunk with a tarp, and takes it home. It ain’t Admiralty Island, but he does the best he can back there.

    Actually, I’m planning my first ever visit to the capital this May. My daughter’s finishing her first year at Georgetown Law. I don’t know how she came to choose your profession, but she’s doing well and enjoying it so far.

    1. Salle Avatar

      So I wonder what profession you’re referring to? WM eluded that he was in the legal profession but I wonder to what extent he actually is, and what his line of actual work is.

      Congrats on you daughter’s achievement, hope you enjoy the district.

    2. WM Avatar


      Your friend sounds like a character. Always good to see a resourceful soul make it in an urban environment, even though it may go against the social grain. I expect there are some on this forum who are thinking the roadkill deer in his trunk meant some urban critters missed a meal.

      Congratulations to your daughter. She picked a great school. Probably got her excellent writing and analytical skills from her father. A legal education will open some doors, and not all of them involve the practice of law.

      DC is indeed a unique piece of real estate – some label it “26 square miles surrounded by reality.” I used to go there for work quite a bit over the years. Always something strange or out of the ordinary when I was in town. Probably the most creepy was when I had an evening meal at Hogate’s Restaurant, an ok seafood place that overlooks the Potomac. I was seated by myself near a window late at night(few people in he restaurant at the time) looking at a lone flashing red bouy in the river, a hundred yards away. Beneath the bouy was the fusalage of an Air Florida 737 aircraft, with 74 bodies still inside. That experience haunts me to this day.

      If you have much time there, see the Smithsonian exhibits, take a bike ride along the Chesapeake and Ohio canal/locks (access in Georgetown) and eat some soft shell blue crabs maybe in MD.



      Lawyer yes, mostly retired, which sometimes affords me the luxury to engage on this forum and keep folks like you honest in conversation. As for pretzel logic (or four dimensional chess), I am inclined to say you are the queen of that discipline, though Chicago Mike could be a co-reigning monarch if you guys could agree on which planet you would rule. LOL

      And by the way, Tim Dechristopher is a federally convicted fellon, found so by the same legal system that regularly finds in favor of WWP on these BLM grazing lease matters (maybe even one of the same judges). You can’t pick and choose. His legal defense was pretty poor. You can disagree with the politics, but not the law Salle. Guilty as charged, and he probably got off pretty easy with a 2 year sentence in a range with a 10 year maximum. That was a real stupid stunt, and maybe using his jail time as the forum to continue his campaign was not so smart, either. [Sorry for being on the wrong thread for this one]

  16. Patricia Randolph Avatar

    I want to approach this from an essential angle seldom discussed. The state agencies across this country were set up by hunters and trappers over a hundred years ago when hunting was survival hunting and market overhunting was already a problem. They structured the agencies to be funded for wildlife management on killing licenses. Not saving licenses. So that excludes a whole lot of people from participation. If a “patron” went into their local killing store and could only find saving licenses, how upset would he or she be? I am just as outraged to find the funding excludes democracy totally from a system long established and entrenched to bias totalitarian control of our commonwealth – our wildlife and public lands to exploitation and destruction.
    The kicker is that although hunters and trappers claim that they “pay so should have the say”, and they claim that killing is conservation (while they FARM the wild for more deer, turkey, elk, ducks, geese – and destroy massively mid-range predators and top predators as “competition”). Witness the wolf hating spree going on – the persecution of coyotes, the trapping of endangered and indiscriminately any animals right through breeding seasons and now on all of our publicly purchased lands in Wisconsin. Come to Wisconsin and destroy what little is left on all public and private lands.
    So my point is, whether you respect all life like I do (yes – I am vegan for many good reasons) – or not, you might respect democratic input into governing our commonwealth. The funding bias of killing license supreme rule cannot be overcome.
    AND they want our money. Wildlife watchers, according to the 2006 U.S. Fish & Wildlife Surveys of economic impact of hunting versus wildlife watching shows that wildlife watchers bring 10-40 times the revenue in taxes to our state tax coffers of hunters directly helping wildlife. The killing licenses do not even pay for running their killing business anymore. The stocking of trout, other fish, and non-indigenous pheasants, the registration stations, licensing staff, bureaucracy of state agency staffs, and the wardens – all that takes up the killing license revenue that HAS to be dedicated to destroying wildlife as recreation and trophy. This is 99% about bad habits and disrespect for the LIVES of wildlife. It is specie-ism. If you kill me, I could care less if you eat me. I want my life. You all should read the Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth and ALL BEINGS, drafted by a South African lawyer at the Cochabamba, Bolivia climate conference in 2010, after Copenhagen failed. Indigenous people and activists from all over the world gave input to this draft:
    The rights of all beings include:
    Every being has:

    (a) the right to exist;

    (b) the right to habitat or a place to be;

    (c) the right to participate in accordance with its nature in the ever-renewing processes of Mother Earth;

    (d) the right to maintain its identity and integrity as a distinct, self-regulating being;

    (e) the right to be free from pollution, genetic contamination and human modifications of its structure or functioning that threaten its integrity or healthy functioning; and

    (f) the freedom to relate to other beings and to participate in communities of beings in accordance with its nature.

    You can speak of this and that. That very quality that humans rationalize is what sets us apart – the ability to reason (now there is a rationalization) is the one that gets us in trouble and is killing our planet and the joy and beauty of the LIFE that we were given and rationalize destroying choice by choice. There is nothing ethical about taking another being’s life. That is that being’s life and right to experience this strange and fragile and brief passage.

    Schweitzer and Gandhi, George Bernard Shaw and Martin Luther King – even Leonardo da Vinci advocated for respect for all life.

    So back to the funding. We need to organize to move that money that wildlife watchers bring into state tax coffers to a parallel agency or into the current state agencies tied to power of democratic structure to REPLACE killing licenses.

    I leave you to debate and rationalize your various ways and reasons for taking precious life from others who cannot tell you their pain and wild free nature and love of life.

    1. Savebears Avatar


      I am a hunter, the state I live in gives me the right by our constitution to hunt, I have presented ideas for ways the non-hunting community can financially contribute to the agencies and was basically told by many it won’t work. I support ways for the wildlife viewers to contribute, but it does not seem to be a popular idea!

      I fully support a non consumptive license, but not many others do.

  17. HAL 9000 Avatar
    HAL 9000

    As a hunter, it is my view and opinion that nothing ruins hunting more quickly and completely than easy motorized access.


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