Wolfwatcher wants old wolf hunting sub-units from Montana 2011 hunt reestablished-
Yellowstone Park’s response to dead Park wolves is blasé-

Controversy over the seven dead Yellowstone Park wolves killed in the Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming hunting seasons continues. None of the Park wolves were actually killed inside the Park. This would be illegal, but most of them were killed just outside the Park. The fact that almost all Park wolves occasionally travel outside the Park is common knowledge. The boundaries of wolf territories have been known and made public for years now showing this.

The National Wolfwatcher Coalition has released a statement saying the loss of three of the seven dead wolves was especially critical for Park wolf research. These three had expensive GPS radio collars and were killed near Gardiner. The coalition says the loss will harm Park wolf research this winter.

The loss of these wolves is crippling to both the study of wolves and the industry based on viewing them.  When controversy about wolves abounds, these studies are extremely valuable. These data directly address controversies. Why can’t we be protecting the study subjects?  YNP will only be able to study 2 of the 4 packs on YNP’s northern range this winter due to these losses.  An additional value of these studies was that they focused on an unexploited wolf population, though clearly that is no longer the case.

The Coalition would also like people to contact Montana FWP commission to ask that the hunting units and the small or closed quotas the were in place in the 2011 wolf hunt be reinstated. These units were abolished and replaced for the 2012-13 hunt with units 390, 310 (unlimited quotas) and unit 316 with a quota of 3 (2 filled) instead. No explanation was ever given for the change despite a lot of public comment on the matter.  As for the state of Wyoming, now having its first wolf hunt, the Coalition asks that hunt areas 2, 3, and 6 be closed immediately.

Many more wolves can yet be legally killed then from unit 390 (north of the Park) and unit 310, adjacent to the northwest boundary of the Park and going all the way south to West Yellowstone and the Idaho border. Unit 316 is also north of the Park and protects a limited area — that inside the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness which follows part of the northern boundary of the Park. Montana FWP has a map showing these areas.

Here is the entire statement from the Wolfwatcher Coalition.

Matthew Brown wrote a story about the controversy for the Associated Press. The quote from the official from Yellowstone Park was not one of alarm. Dave Hallac, chief of Yellowstone’s Center for Resources told Brown that the loss of these wolves did not threaten the Park’s wolf population. Hallac was said to be concerned about the possible loss of radio collars, but excited that the hunters were returning some of them.

Neither AP writer Brown, nor anyone in his article expressed concern that the wolf hunting season has a long time to go and on December 15, Montana’s first wolf trapping season opens.  Last year in Idaho, wolf trapping proved to be much more effective getting wolves than rifle hunting.  Idaho’s wolf trapping season just began on Nov. 15 though Idaho’s Island Park wolf hunting adjacent to the Park does not allow trapping.

It is an easy prediction that wolf traps on the borders of Yellowstone National Park will catch many more wolves than those that were seen and shot as they briefly left the Park.  Many other Park animals such as cougar, bobcat, wolverine, late season bears, coyotes, and perhaps a few ungulates could be trapped by accident. Yellowstone Park has always (for well over a hundred years) been held up as a special place in America were wildlife live unafraid of hunting in a natural habitat where they are, therefore, easy for Americans to see and enjoy at their leisure.

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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.

110 Responses to National Wolfwatcher Coalition says kill of Yellowstone Park wolves crushes this year’s wolf winter study

  1. CodyCoyote says:

    What a shame that the AP reporters in our part of the planet have so little depth or understanding of science issues, especially wildlife. Yet they and/or their press pool organization are the principal provider of news on crucial topics such as wolves. The weak link.

    • timz says:

      the press is too busy with the sex life of army generals.

    • Ralph Maughan says:


      I began to take The Wildlife News a lot more seriously about 3 years ago when a journalist told me the traditional media were going under, especially when it came to any kind of expertise that could really convey real information to the public. Folks in positions like me performed an important social function.

      Of course, there are those writing with more expertise than I have, but once again the work of these people is often hidden behind the wall of a paid subscription.

      Can democracy flourish when quality information is so costly?

      As an aside, that is one reason why I think the emergence of real political science blogs as opposed to mere political opinion is such a positive development, e.g., see the Monkey Cage. These people know a good deal more than the traditional “talking heads” and political columnists.

      Without naming names of publications, here in Idaho daily newspapers are relying more and more on people who are flat out volunteers.

      • Immer Treue says:

        “Without naming names of publications, here in Idaho daily newspapers are relying more and more on people who are flat out volunteers.”

        Seem to remember a certain Yellowstone cinematographer, at least in his opinion, who made a posting on a blog elsewhere, about a certain woman who encountered wolves in her driveway. Funny how he let on that big news was in the air, and his “story” was pretty close to verbatim in the Idaho news reports.

        • Ida Lupine says:

          Sheesh, I’d be thrilled to see them in my driveway. For now, I have to settle for a hybrid. 😉

      • Craig says:

        “Can democracy flourish when quality information is so costly?”

        No there can only be lies to sway people to what agenda that forum wants! It’s sad as hell and sickening! Why can’t the truth just be the format and the people decide?

  2. Immer Treue says:

    ” The boundaries of wolf territories have been known and made public for years now showing this.”

    I’ve written this before, but to the credit of the IWC in MN, they pulled down their wolf telemetry data this past Summer. It was used for educational purposes, and for folks who wanted to have a better chance to see wolves in Winter when travel on the lakes of the BWCAW by ski and dog sled is easy.

  3. ramses09 says:

    Wolf traps on & around Yellowstone, how sad is that. These mad men can”t get enough killing in. I can’t understand how humans can do the horrible things they do. I feel so helpless for these poor wolves, yes I’m from the mid-west & I don’t give a rat’s ass if I’m from MT. or not. That doesn’t make any difference where your from, science is science – it doesn’t change from one time zone to the next. I hate that excuse from wolf haters. Or here’s another good one, “Have fun hiking, be careful those wolves don’t come & get ya.” I can’t believe that wolves come any where near humans, for that fact – hunting humans.
    Sorry, I went off subject there.
    I hate people who hunt animals.

    • A Western Moderate says:

      ++I can’t believe that wolves come any where near humans, for that fact – hunting humans ++

      It may be rare, but is not impossible. Many people have reported wolves coming near to them, and attacks have been documented.




      That’s what I could find in two minutes of searching. Believe what you want.

      • Louise Kane says:

        2 deaths from wolves in all of NA in the last 100 years and one is still contested. Contrast that to numerous deaths from bears and cougars. and there is some evidence that the confirmed attack had to do with the runner behaving like prey. You’d be more likely to be hit by a bus…okI’m not sure about the stats on that but you get the point.

        • A Western Moderate says:

          Rare does not equal impossible. That is all.

        • Ralph Maughan says:

          Western moderate,

          Yes, wolf attacks happen on rare occasions. They are so rare it is almost an embarrassment for such a legendary animal.

          In the United States every large or middle sized wild carnivore has registered more attacks on people than wolves. Then there are attacks by non-carnivores. The other day in Oregon a farmer’s pigs knocked him over and then proceeded to eat him. A couple weeks later a bull in Montana killed a farmer. South of Pocatello, ID a mule deer buck attacked 3 people and came close to killing two of them. That was in a corn field.

          Every once and a while a rural newspaper will run a story of how a wolf almost attacked someone. Oddly though,it somehow never does and it usually gets shot instead. Wolves must be incredibly stupid not to be able to even get a bite in if an attack is their goal.

          The people who report “near” wolf attacks are also almost always people who don’t like wolves to begin with, and so they have a mind set to misinterpret animal behavior (or maybe make up stories).

          Where a wolf seems to harass but not attack a person, we almost always find the person has a dog with them. People, being what they are, assume that any animal that acts aggressively must be after them, but wolves are after their dogs, not the owners.

          I do carry a hiking stick in the foothills and suburban neighborhood of Pocatello when walking. It is made of metal and sharp on the end. It is to deter and drive off dogs. When people see me coming, they get their dogs under control. My body language tells them that they’d better.

          If you are anywhere in the mountains where there are domestic sheep in a herd, there are likely to be guard dogs. These dogs are a clear and present danger to anyone on foot. Be wise. Carry your hiking stick and pepper spray and probably your pistol.

          • Leslie says:

            I’ve had several close encounters with wolves and never felt threatened. What I seek to keep in line, as you say Ralph, is my dog. I keep him on a shock collar when hiking in wolf country so he doesn’t run out to go play with a wolf.

            • RobertR says:

              I find it ironic that the very mention of using pepper spray or a pistol on a domestic animal for protection is ok but it’s wrong to use lethal means if threatened by a wild animal.

              Leslie you make valid point about fearing for your dog but in the same breath some fear getting a pet caught in a trap. Yet it would be except able for a predator to kill your pet.
              So if hunting and trapping for wolves were curtailed and the population increases such that some feared even going in the woods fearing there pet would be killed.

              Is there really a happy medium or is both sides that selfish?

            • Ralph Maughan says:


              Thumping, spearing, spraying or shooting a sheep guard dog for my personal defense or doing the same to a bear, coyote, moose, etc. that attacked me all seem to be varieties of the same thing — valid personal defense.

            • Immer Treue says:

              Robert R,

              No it is not Acceptable for Leslie’s or for my dog to be killed by a predator. It won’t be the predator’s fault, or the dog’s fault. The buck stops with the dog owner. Precautions are and should be taken.

              I’ve been in the BWCAW countless times, and never had a problem with wolves. I’ve had a pack of wolves run straight toward me over the ice while my dog and I were strapped into sleds. They stopped and walked away.

              I’ve got respect for wolves. I’ve got more fear of the two legged predators as my dog will be decked out in orange every time I go into the woods or on the lakes until January 31, 2013. I’ll be carrying HIT cable cutters at the same time. Two things I’ve never had to do before, not because of precautions for wolves, but precautions for the individual that needs that trophy(no other reason). I accept and have accepted the wolves by choice. I am now forced to accept, as Salle so rightfully called it, a fetishism of man.

        • goldentrouts says:

          better yet, check out how many people have been killed by cattle in the U.S. – quite a few more than the big bad wolf:

          this is from the CDC – quite a credible bunch:

          • Ralph Maughan says:

            Everyone should understand that the big bad wolf that eats people is a pervasive rural myth. It is very much like a ghost story, and people do believe ghost stories.

            • A Western Moderate says:


              I think my post was misunderstood. ramses09 said “I can’t believe that wolves come any where near humans, for that fact – hunting humans.”

              2 statements, both not absolutely true. Many, including people on this site, have reported wolves coming close to them.

              I did not imply that being close to people = impending attack. The attack links were in response to the second statement that ramses09 couldn’t believe wolves would hunt humans. It is extremely, extraordinarily, rare – but it has happened.

    • Leslie says:

      And China is driving our trapping industry. Their appetite for skins will only encourage more wolf trapping (as well as others of our precious wildlife).

  4. Nancy says:

    One of the headlines on the local news tonight (southwest Montana) – 7 collared wolves killed outside of YNP and the impact of killing these wolves with regard to how important they were to wolf research.

    The very NEXT headline? The discovery of 3 elk who’d been shot and left to rot. A “waste” of wildlife according to officials………


    • Ida Lupine says:

      The discovery of 3 elk who’d been shot and left to rot.

      It’s this kind of sense of entitlement and complete carelessness that’s dismaying – that kind of attitude of no respect for life. 🙁

  5. Robert R says:

    I guess I may never understand why the wolf is such an iconic animal to some.

    But why is it that there is not the out cry for other animals. Are they expendable because they are prey animals?

    • Louise Kane says:

      “why is it that there is not the out cry for other animals”

      historically not many, save the coyote are treated with such brutality. and I think you will be seeing a call for anti cruelty laws for wildlife and a more modern and responsible approach to wildlife management.

    • Ken Cole says:

      When a wolf is illegally killed there is hardly any reaction in the media and, at least in Idaho, the media isn’t even given notice when a conviction is made. There was a conviction involving a wolf a couple of years ago but there wasn’t a peep by any of the agencies involved and the media never wrote a word about it.

      Contrast that with the frequency of elk poaching in Idaho, there have been two press releases in just the last week.

      Also contrast the punishment given for poaching a wolf compared to poaching an elk or selling a bighorn sheep skull. Just yesterday a man was sentenced to serve FOUR YEARS behind bars for illegally selling a bighorn sheep skull in Idaho.


      Essentially, there is a huge outcry for illegal killing of other animals.

      • Louise Kane says:

        to add, I think there is a huge outcry against killing wolves, its just ignored by the western politicians. There are many websites devoted to protecting wolves, many petitions expressing outrage and seeking to restore protections for wolves. There is a need for collaboration and a focused national campaign. The desire is there, the coordination lacking. I’d really like to see a task force or working group consisting of existing NGOs or individuals that work to collectively identify national goals and work together to accomplish the goals, to relist wolves and draft and push for national carnivore protection act.

        • elk275 says:


          A national carnivore protection act is not going to pass congress. I believe in the North American Wildlife Model, but I also believe that the landowner owns the coyotes, ground squirrels, badgers, etc on their property. Landowners have always had control of these animals and I do not think that they will ever allow the feds to control them.

          • Louise Kane says:

            something needs to be done about the way that wildlife is mismanaged against public opinion. I would argue that carnivores that are not hunted for food are often victims of atrocities that are unparalleled elsewhere. A national carnivore protection act is warranted, and may gain more favor then you would think as some these atrocities gain more attention nationally. But advocates need to be much better organized and I think there is a recognition of this.

            • elk275 says:


              National public opinion damned. It is the public opinion of the residents of the state that count. The senate is close to passing Jon Testers Hunter’s act of 2012 by over 90%. The senate is not going to pass a national carnivore protection act in the for seeable future.

              In the early 1970’s my father owned several thousand acres and coyotes, foxes, raccoon and skunks were shot when needed. All raccoons and skunks were shot on the spot, there was always a rabies warning. I tried to shot a coyote but missed. We owned the land and had a right to shot those animals.

              Coyotes are not endangered and there is no need for national protection except for people like your self who want to control other peoples land and reduce their rights.

            • Louise Kane says:

              i think if you look closely at the euphemistically entitled National Sportsman Act it is not widely supported except by the NRA and its like minded affiliates. This is another of those instances, like drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, where the public has been against it from the outset. These agendas keep resurfacing and are being shoved down our throats by groups with huge budgets. How many iterations of this act have there been thus far. Another Tester abomination.

              just a question why would you shoot all raccoons and skunks on sight? Your statement about owning land and having a right to shoot and kill animals because you can is terribly flawed in my opinion and shows a callous disregard for wildlife and the land you “own”. as for coyotes, the way they are abused certainly warrants protection.
              I was raised exactly the opposite, my father would have been sorely disappointed with us for harming any wildlife and we would have been punished. It was unconscionable in his mind.

            • Mark L says:

              ‘the state’…..is an artificial line drawn in the dirt (or over water) to satisy our need to delineate authority….nothing more. The fact that you see states as having some greater value than ecosystems…biomes…..hell, even ranges…..speaks volumes about how you see the land. I’m not dissin’ ya….just an observation. Rescue yourself from the blindness of artificial boundries….things change.

            • Louise Kane says:

              excuse me ….national sportsman heritage act

          • Leslie says:

            “I also believe that the landowner owns the coyotes, ground squirrels, badgers, etc on their property.”

            Elk you must be referring to wildlife that are listed as predators, because a landowner can’t just kill deer on his property anytime. So that wouldn’t be ‘owning’ because as predator status, anyone can shoot these animals anytime, except they can’t shoot on someone elses property without their permission.

            It was asked at the WG&F info mtg. what the fine would be for illegally shooting a wolf. $100 was what was stated.

            • Louise Kane says:

              talk about travesty
              100.00 for illegally killing a species listed as endangered!

            • elk275 says:


              ++By an overwhelming 92-5 vote, the U.S. Senate on Tuesday passed an important procedural motion that will allow senators to vote on the Sportsmen’s Act of 2012 (S.3525) currently scheduled for this Thursday, but that could slip to Friday.++

              I think that there is very good support in the US Senate for this bill. I do not know whether it passed yesterday or today. But it will pass with over 90% senate support.

              Why would we shoot racoons and skunks. First skunks stink and get under farm buildings. In those days the county had a rabies quarantine and they wanted raccoons and skunks killed. Both of these animals are natural carriers of rabies. Both of these animals can transmitt rabies to horses and at that time we had over 50 quarter horses and draft horses, what for I do not know.

              An interesting note on coyotes. Montana has Block Management hunting areas where the landowner allows hunting though the Fish, wildlife and Parks. A number of ranchers do not allow any coyote hunting. Where I am going hunting this weekend the rancher wants all wolves shot on his property. Different people have different ideas, it his ranch all fee simple and no federal grazing.

            • WM says:

              Is it generally indiscriminate, or pursuant to the “will” of a democratically elected government acing through elected/appointed officials? Doesn’t make it “morally” right but it is the product of deliberate thought and action by a recognized governing body.

          • Ken Cole says:

            Elk275 likes to defend the status quo too. It’s pretty easy to do.

            • WM says:


              Is it just that defending the “status quo” is pretty easy to do, as a reason for doing so, or is it that status quo is sometimes a good way to go, time tested and all that?


              While I see value in mega “ecosystem” management as reflected in a national carnivore protection act, it will never happen. Geographic lines define cities, counties, state and countries, and the commensurate government which control these areas. State – nation (federal government) has a huge gap right now, and I don’t see it closing for some time, if ever. Wildlife is real low down the priority list.

              The entire interior part of this country would vote as a block in the Senate as against the left and right coast (where all the people are, and most of the perceived trouble causing carnivores are not, except for some coyotes, and a few concentrations of black bears which are actually omnivores). Stalemate.

            • Ken Cole says:

              When the status quo involves torture, indiscriminate and wanton waste of wildlife for fun there is a problem.

            • Mark L says:

              And speaking of status quo’s…..if there was ever a status quo for killing North American wolves, what was it?
              Yep….not killing them. The status quo on this continent was to deter the problem wolves and leave the others be. It took effort. (and still does)
              A precedent has already been set over thousands of years….we are currently the aberration.

  6. Ken Cole says:

    This surely doesn’t tell the whole story. Because only a certain proportion of Yellowstone wolves are collared the 7 collared wolves killed means there are several more uncollared Yellowstone wolves that have been killed.

    I imagine the ratio of collared to uncollared wolves is higher in Yellowstone than outside but this still could mean that a significant number of uncollared Yellowstone wolves have been killed.

  7. Do Yellowstone wolves a favor and remove the rest of the radio collars from wolves still in the park.
    Hunters in the states surrounding Yellowstone use the wolves as targets and the researchers in the park use them as collar-carrying lab rats. Let them be!!!!

  8. Leslie says:

    Wolves are being collared in the surrounding states as well by G&F so they can track them to obtain numbers data for their quotas. I think that Ken is right. Probably if the surrounding states did a count of how many collars are being brought in from their wolves,(hunters are required to turn those in) we’d get an idea, not exact because YNP wolves have more collars, but some idea of a ratio of how many collared to non-collared wolves have been killed from the Park.

    Once again in WY, every day the predator zone kill ticks up while the trophy zone is slower. Now 17. Where are all these wolves being killed from?

    • jon says:

      Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission Chairman Bob Ream said on Friday commissioners will take up the question of a buffer zone next month.

      “But at some point you have to draw a line and, theoretically, the park is the line,” he said.

      This is not encouraging. If something is not done, then yellowstone wolves will continue to be killed by hunters if they happen to go outside the park.

      • Louise Kane says:

        Montana has continued to escalate their hunting methods, seasons etc. Nothing is responsible in the wolf hunting states.

      • Ida Lupine says:

        Well, if the park is the “line”, we should be able to keep hunters away from it, and a buffer zone would be the way. It is not an extension of the park in any way, but holding the “line” of the park boundary.

      • Craig says:

        So jon how do you tell a Yellowstone
        wolf from a montana Wolf? Wolves travel 100s of miles at times.
        How can you make a man made border/Buffer zone? With climate change and Elk being in differnt AREAS THAN EVER BEFORE wolves will follow outside the park further to track them. It’s natural kill and be killed, learn or die. Elk do it Wolves will do it! They are not dumb they will learn, just like Coyotes.

  9. JACK DANIELS says:

    Your right, Immer Treue, to dress your Dog in Orange.
    You would be wise to do so also.
    So for all y’all walking yourself and your animals around YNP, take real good care. The Bullets are flying and the traps will be springing !!
    I’m waiting for a human fatality and then see what happens.
    See if the S$*t hits the fan then.

    • Immer Treue says:

      Jack D,

      Not to worry, any time on roads, and in particularly in woods decked in orange.

  10. Jon Way says:

    A national carnivore protection act is not as unfeasible as Elk writes about on this thread. There could be baseline protections afforded to them and more public input than the current game commissioners in each state. Excepts, like on private land, could be made – but the indiscriminate killing of animals like coyotes, and contests to kill the most – could be made a thing of the past. It is not that farfetched given that we have nationwide anti-cruelty laws and some animals (coyotes and wolves) are treated worse than those laws. And everyone that lives in the US has some of these animals near them (like coyotes) so this is not an urban thing where ppl will never see these animals. More realistically I see urban states doing it for their animals (like CA did for Mt. lions 20 years ago) first and then eventually other states will follow.

    That seems like the trend. Urban (“liberal”) states take the lead and the conservative states then follow after years of grumbling about any kind of change: Smoking is the first to come to mind. I remember my joy of smoking in public establishments being made illegal in MA in the late 1990s. I was shocked when states like MT actually followed suit and now even up in Cooke City MT in the middle of nowhere you can’t smoke in bars…. It can happen. There is change in the air for better wildlife management and dethroning the good old boy syndrome…

    • Craig says:

      “It can happen. There is change in the air for better wildlife management and dethroning the good old boy syndrome…”

      That is a great dream, but you are in for a rude awakening! Wildlife is going to be a after thought, after we even come close to sort out this countrys financial problems. Wildlife will not even be in the conversation. Don’t any of you get that? Money is way before Wildlife in Gov’t get it through your thick skulls!

      • Mark L says:

        Not so sure. I think Costa Rica and Botswana are both outlawing hunting (though CR is letting subsistence hunting continue). The argument is that tourism is more profitable than public hunting…..judge for yourself. CR is 1 of the worst shark finning countries though…I’ll just say i’m pessimistic it will hold out. Sometimes its all about what you see…..

        • Savebears says:


          You will never see the Federal Government even make a move to outlaw hunting, which is what has happened in Costa Rica and Botswana, you have 50 separate states here that will be in the court within seconds of them even proposing a move of that nature.

          You would need to convince 50 separate governments to do this, it ain’t going to happen.

          • Mike says:

            It will happen eventually.

            Hunting is banned in our most beloved parcels of land: national parks. Yellowstone, Yosemite, Glacier, will all serve as examples of how to move forward.

            Hunting and trapping are outdated activities in an increasingly overpopulated world. We needed these tools back when we cut a path across the land. In some cases, I find it justified (Alaska, Yukon, etc) so that certain groups or individuals can survive the winter.

            But in the lower 48 it’s no longer needed, and is held onto like that pair of jeans you can never quite fit into….

            • Savebears says:

              Good luck with that Mike. There is a good amount of hunters that will fight to retain the ability to hunt. This is why you are seeing so many states addition amendments to their constitutions to make it a right to hunt.

              You have no idea about what is needed, you may not need to hunt, but I know many that do need to hunt.

              If you get rid of hunting, you will have government hit squads out doing it, just as they did in Yellowstone park in the late 60’s with the Elk culls.

              • JB says:

                Already examples of this in urban areas. Columbus Metro Parks culls deer using snipers at night (when the park is closed). It became necessary (that’s right, Mike) when deer densities reached ~350 in a park that was approximately 1 mile square (where estimated carrying capacity was 25-30 animals). We had a stunning loss of plant biodiversity, increased deer-vehicle collisions, a visible browse line and (literally) starving deer.

              • Mark L says:

                Or, you’ll be asking where all the land to hunt went as you drive by parking lots, malls, houses, golf courses, schools, and amusement parks. My point is that there is a common foe that ends both wildlife utilization (viewing, hunting….hell even poaching!) and the ‘right to hunt’. Take a look at places that have run out of things to hunt and now stoop to shooting anything that moves in the sky….Malta, Lebanon, etc. Yes, they still have a right to hunt.
                ….migrating birds, cause that’s ALL THAT’S LEFT.

                Once again, I’ll ask how you can guarantee your grandkids can hunt when you are gone?

              • Mike says:

                The national parks are doing really well without hunting–especially parks more representative of the flora and fauna prior to European settlement.

                In fact it was local industry and hunters who fought the parks to begin with. The federal government had to play grown up and set aside these tracts of magnificent land for ALL to enjoy, not just those who like to kill things.

                Glacier and Yellowstone are two examples of thriving ecosystems where no hunting is allowed….at all. And at the same time, they are considered the wildest national parks in the lower 48, with the most intact ecosystems.

                Oops. I guess hunting doesn’t really matter at all. All the platitudes never amounted to anything scientifically. All hunters have to cling to is “tradition” (and we know that’s a shallow root on a cliff, don’t we?).

              • Savebears says:


                How can any one of us guarantee anything when we are gone, we can fight for legislation that passes now and can be reversed in a heartbeat.

              • Savebears says:


                At any given time, the supers of those parks could change the compendium and allow hunting for any number of reasons.

              • JB says:

                “The national parks are doing really well without hunting…”

                Hmm… not so sure about that. Yellowstone certainly, and others as well. But for every park that is doing well without hunting, we can easily find one (or more) that need or already have hunting. In my neck of the woods, Cuyahoga Valley National Park uses an urban bow hunt to get rid of excess deer that cause a variety of problems around the area.

                I could also point to Point Reyes National Seashore (a NPS unit) which has two introduced European deer species that don’t belong there (hunting could help), as well as an over-abundant tule elk population that is actually fenced off from the rest of the park/seashore to reduce problems.

          • Mike says:

            ++You will never see the Federal Government even make a move to outlaw hunting++

            Already happened. 51.9 million acres of the most treasured land in the United States.

            • Mark L says:

              Columbus, Ohio- the irony of 2 wolves being shot near there last year is not lost on me either.

            • Savebears says:

              Mike at any given time, the superintendent of a National park can allow hunting for a number of reasons.

              Wildlife refuges in many areas of the country allow hunting, National Seashores have areas that hunting is allowed, etc.

              • Mike says:

                Not the same thing, Save Bears. And you know it.

              • jon says:

                What is the purpose of allowing hunting there savebears? If the goal is to keep the elk population in check, there is no need to allow hunters to shoot elk. Wolves, bears, etc are perfectly capable at keeping the elk in check.

              • Savebears says:


                I don’t make the rules, the government does and the supers of the park have the ability to allow hunting in their respective units if they deem needed. You might want to address your question to the DOI.

                You may feel it is not necessary, but the person in charge of a particular unit might disagree with you.

            • WM says:

              ++Already happened. 51.9 million acres of the most treasured land in the United States.++

              And just how much of that 52 million acres is habitat for huntable species, after subtracting alpine areas with glaciers or steep rocky terrain, slot canyons, water, geo-thermal, scablands acreage, and the like? Much was never huntable in the first place.

              And, then there are those designated wilderness/preserves often immedediately adjacent to national parks, where the better huntable species habitat is that was purposefully excluded from the national park system. Hunting, is typically allowed in those areas. And, Mike did you also forget the few wildlife preserves and national parks where hunting was a part of the park designation, legislation. I think Congress, or in the case of Presidential designation of national monuments, there has historically been acknowledgement that hunting would remain an activity in most places. How much acreage in national parks has been created in the last twenty years? It is nominal. Most attributes of preserving federal lands, which incidentally accomodates hunting, has been through designation of wilderness. And then, ya know, in designated wilderness there aren’t all the adjacent tourist accomodations, paved roads through the heart of the area, and those folks wearing green pants, gray shirts and those stupid smokey hats, telling some New Yorker not to feed the chipmunks.

        • Craig says:

          That will never happen in America, I’d bet my life on it and kill to protect it.

          • Mark L says:

            Could be….but how can you guarantee the same for your grandkids when you are gone?
            Also remember the right to own (and use) a gun doesn’t guarantee a right to hunt.

            • Savebears says:


              Many states, do have constitutional rights to hunt and every single election cycle, more are passing them. You will have one hell of a fight on your hands if the Federal Government tries to ban hunting, as I said, you have 50 Governments opposed to 1 government. If hunting were to be banned, people are still going to hunt, you can’t stop it, the Federal Government will never have the manpower to stop it.

            • WM says:

              Summary from the National Conference of State Legislatures on state “right to hunt” progress and defeats:

              “In November of 2012, voters in four more states – Idaho, Kentucky, Nebraska, and Wyoming – overwhelmingly passed legislatively referred ballot measures to add a constitutional right to hunt and fish. The Mississippi legislature referred an amendment to the 2014 ballot. Seven other states – Hawaii, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York and Pennsylvania – considered legislation to amend the constitution to add the right to hunt and fish in 2012, but were unsuccessful.

              Arizona, Arkansas, South Carolina, and Tennessee had measures on the 2010 ballot to enshrine the right to hunt and fish in their state constitutions. The measures in Arkansas, South Carolina, and Tennessee passed, but Arizona became the first state to reject such an initiative.”

              Note where citizen votes were, the right was established, and where it was considered by legislatures it was mostly not (for now).

              Louise, do you really want government by popular opinion or citizen iniative/referendum? Results in states where the decision was left to the people, seems to have supported the “right to hunt” than when left to elected officials alone.

              I am inclined to believe some governing is better left in the state capitol than in the hands of the people (who sometimes vote with a visceral response rather than learned study) generally, or especially away from Congress whose members in recent times will prostitute themselves for anything to keep their cushy powerful jobs, and are most influenced by the money folks that fill their campaign coffers, rather than learned study of an issue for the betterment of the country.

              • Louise Kane says:

                WM what role has the NRA, Safari Club International and other special interest money played regarding these issues?

              • WM says:


                ++….what role has the NRA, Safari Club..and other special interest money played…++

                I certainly don’t know, but suspect they and others have had a hand in advocating for the various state campaigns, overtly and covertly. It would be largely consistent with their visions.

                As for the “special interest” aspect, would you not agree that “animal advocacy” or “animal rights” groups are also “special interest” groups?

                See, that is the thing about “special interest” groups. If it is somebody else with that label, the connotation is bad. If it is MY group, talking about the other guys, I don’t belong to a “special interest.” Funny how the semantics of that plays out when one looks objectively at the phenomenon.

            • WM says:

              Addendum to “right to hunt.”

              This also from NCSL:

              Some states, such as Florida, have inserted the right to hunt and fish into state statutes, but have not taken the more drastic step of embedding it in the state constitution….”

              I also sense this citizen reaction is a shot across the bow of the federal government to stay the hell out of local issues involving wildlife, in light of what appears to be more lobbying of Congress by national animal rights groups, or conservation organizations percevied as having covert “animal rights” agendas.

              Louise, your national predator protection act does not have a snowball’s chance in Hades.

            • Craig says:

              It does in Idaho now! And I did vote against it. An I hunt and fish in Idaho, which I’m a native of 41 years!

          • Louise Kane says:

            hmm you’d kill to protect the right to hunt. If it were a better option for dwindling wildlife and what the majority wanted? This opinion is frightening to me. You have no right to kill…. only animals

            • Savebears says:


              The question is, would you kill to protect what you believe in, would you die for your cause?

              I anticipate your reply, I am sure it would be very telling.

              I have killed for what I believe in, and have almost been killed for what I believe in, how about you?

              • JB says:

                SB: No disrespect to your service, but some might suggest that killing others to protect what you believe in is the ultimate form of extremism (whether it’s government-sanctioned or otherwise). Also, there are far more brave AND selfless forms of protest. Witness recent protests by Tibetan monks, who set themselves on fire for their beliefs.

                Hunting isn’t going anywhere in the near future–at least not at the federal level. Federal protection for carnivores is not out of the question. Carnivores are extremely popular and people generally dislike the idea of hunting them–especially for “sport” or “trophies” (and they really dislike trapping). (If memory serves, CA already has banned cougar hunts?) The Bald & Golden Eagle Protection Act and Migratory Bird Treaty Acts show that it can be done–and to protect non-game species to boot! Now, we could have a lengthy debate regarding whether such legislation would ultimately be good for the country, but the topic at hand is whether (or not) it could happen. I believe it could. A few more high profile events of wolf abuse might actually catalyze such a movement (witness the countries reaction to the Cuyahoga River fires).

                I think those of you living in rural areas of the West sometimes lose touch with the urban majorities of this country–a large percentage of which live in liberal strongholds like NY and CA, where these types of activities are looked upon with disdain.

              • WM says:


                ++Federal protection for carnivores is not out of the question….the topic at hand is whether (or not) it could happen. I believe it could.++

                Apologies for butting in on your conversation with SB, but I am curious. I have taken nearly the opposite view, believing it would be difficult, notwithstanding the populist view in urban areas. I think it would be a very hard sell to get Congressional types from the West on the band wagon, and even legislators from populated states like CA, TX, or the South, from rural and agricultural Congressional districts. Grizzlies are already protected (at present anyway), cougars are overly abundant out West, as apparently are wolves (where they are), coyotes, foxes and black bear. Other than wolverines, what species are likely to come within the protective umbrella and where?

                You have obviously given this more thought than I, but I am curious. From where will the groundswell for support of national legislation in this area? I could see it for avian species that are carnivores, but beyond that few, if any, mammals.

              • Louise Kane says:

                I post on this website very day, SB. Sometimes it feels like being crucified for what I believe in.
                Its no joke, you, elk, WM, et others are formidable opponents and ready to pounce at any time.

                on a more serious note, Im not sure you could anticipate my reply. Its pretty complicated even to me. I’m appreciative for people who are willing to serve, but its a deeply personal choice… And there are many reasons to serve one’s country including reimbursement and lack of options as well as a sense of patriotism. While I believe there are times when conflict may be unavoidable I think there are too many times that it is and I do not support war, killing and fighting easily.

                I have taken so much from my Dad and one of those lessons was his disdain for war and the havoc it wreaked on people, the environment, animals, architectural and historical treasures and cultural heritages. While he believed in the US engagement in WW II and the reasons we became involved, it left him weary and a devout pacifist in his own life, although he might not have characterized it exactly that way.

                Like you his life experience was greatly shaped by his service.

              • Savebears says:


                Those of us that have far different belief’s than you also feel you are ready to “pounce”

                We all have our opinions on these subjects, many of us have worked in the industry that confronts these opinions every single day.

                My life after the service led me into the wildlife business, because I wanted to make a difference. After my stint with a state game agency, I now know I was disillusioned about what wildlife management is.

                Many of my colleagues feel much the same and it is not just one side of the argument that makes us feel this way.

              • JB says:


                No apologies necessary, I respect your opinion on the matter. I certainly don’t believe that federal legislation to protect carnivores could happen with the current congress, nor in the current political environment. However, the political environment can change pretty quickly and the makeup of congress will change.

                Certainly, as long as Harry Reid is in power and western democrats hold vulnerable seats (e.g., Tester) in the Senate, such legislation is unlikely. But again, things can change pretty rapidly in politics (and remember, a freshman Congressman from Utah played a pretty large role in make the wolf reintroduction happen–nobody would’ve predicted that).

                Ultimately, I don’t think states’ management will push this issue into the forefront (unless populations really fall precipitously, which is unlikely); rather–if it happens– it will be fools posting horrific examples of unethical hunting and trapping behavior (we’ve already seen too much of this) that rallies public opinion in favor of protection (a graphic example of what many consider to be fundamentally wrong).

                In any case, I agree that a carnivore protection act isn’t likely given the current makeup of congress and America’s fixation on all things economic.

          • Mike says:

            ++That will never happen in America, I’d bet my life on it and kill to protect it.++

            Scary. Oh, and it’s already happened, BTW.

        • elk275 says:

          Montana becareful about Botswana, hunting has not be outlawed. I read about this every day. Hunting is more profitable than tourism per person. Besides the president of the country owns several tourist camps.

          • elk275 says:

            “Becareful” to many beers last post for tonight.

            • Louise Kane says:

              WM “cougars are overly abundant out West, as apparently are wolves (where they are), coyotes, foxes and black bear.”

              This is the status quo argument used to defend killing and hunting predators even when ungulate populations get so big that managers call for special hunts to reduce their numbers.

              what JB said about some rural westerners being out of touch with how the vast majority of people feel about killing for sport, is true especially carnivores. And its not just people from CA and NY who abhor some of these long standing “traditions”.

              Hunting is in no danger of being eliminated and I don’t believe most would support an all out ban. But trophy and sport hunting, trapping and management driven by special interests …I hope we see an end to that before I die and I think people would support this, if given the opportunity.

              I beleive, a national carnivore protection act is in order to prevent the abuse inflicted on most predators. And debating about whether a majority of hunters are ethical is a bit silly because how are we ever going to get a real answer to this question, send out a survey asking if the respondents abuse animals, poach, engage in sss, torture animals? It happens and with enough frequency that it is one of those issues that makes it hard to turn your back on and think it will get better on its own.

              • Savebears says:

                I don’t believe the majority of those living in the urban areas of the US even care what is going on, yes, there is a few that pay attention. But got to Chicago, Detroit, LA, San Fran, NY, etc and take a poll or just ask the questions.

                I would bet most of the time, they are not even going to know what you are talking about.

              • Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

                Louise –
                “But trophy and sport hunting, trapping and management driven by special interests …I hope we see an end to that before I die and I think people would support this, if given the opportunity.”

                Can you be more specific – with a definition of “trophy hunting” and “sport hunting” and “management driven by special interests” that would help many of us understand how an end to these practices would be rationalized?

              • Mark L says:

                “Trapping and management driven by special interests”–wolverine trapping…..why still allow it anywhere?

              • Louise Kane says:

                Mark Gamblin,
                Montana is a good example of special interests in this case driving overly aggressive hunting of wolves. When Montana first issued its wolf management plan it did not call for trapping, and I was told specifically in a direct conversation that, the state would never use trapping. That all changed radically and rather quickly at the urging of ranchers and hunters who have pushed very aggressive hunting and trapping in Montana. As for Idaho, I have correspondence with the commissioners that should be an embarrassment to your state.

              • Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

                Thanks Louise,
                I asked to understand how you interpret “trophy hunting”, “sport hunting” and “special interests” – as a basis for restricting or banning the North American hunting tradition. I don’t see an answer in your response. Montana developed and is implementing a wolf management plan with a clear objective to maintain a viable and sustainable wolf population. Like Idaho and Wyoming, there is no evidence – or indication – that the Montana wolf management plan is not supported by the public of that state.
                I asked for your definition of “trophy hunting” and “sport hunting” because those terms are frequently used as pejorative brands to color the hunting tradition as socially unacceptable. My impression is that when you and others use the terms, you mean to infer that “trophy hunting” means harvesting/killing/taking an animal ONLY for the head/antlers/horns or hide/pelt – without consumption of the meat. This is correct for most predator harvest/kill/take (not all –bears and mountain lions being exceptions), but totally incorrect for all ungulate species hunted anywhere I’m aware of – North American or elsewhere. The term “trophy hunting” is a very broad and in this forum often misused term. An elk hunter who chooses to only harvest/take/kill a bull elk, mule deer or whitetail buck, pronghorn buck…….. is always required to salvage and care for the edible portions of the carcass. Similarly, the term “sport hunting” is frequently used to characterize the hunting tradition as something frivolous, non-essential and archaic – a naïve assertion that reveals ignorance of hunters and the hunting tradition. I say ignorance not as a condemnation or criticism – but a statement of fact. Not understanding what you are talking about is a limitation that can be improved on.

              • Immer Treue says:

                ” My impression is that when you and others use the terms, you mean to infer that “trophy hunting” means harvesting/killing/taking an animal ONLY for the head/antlers/horns or hide/pelt – without consumption of the meat. This is correct for most predator harvest/kill/take (not all –bears and mountain lions being exceptions), …”

                Yes, that’s what I mean, and I believe there are more and more folks beginning to feel the same way. Better if there was a real good reason for taking something just to hang it on the wall and a new form of revenue. On the other hand, if all that money went into study/compensation/non-lethal control methods…

                Without rancor, Mark, you talked about wolf populations without using the word robust.

              • Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

                Immer –
                It’s good to communicate clearly. We should agree then – that the vast majority of huntin in North America does not meet the definition of “trophy hunting”, which can then be discussed on it’s own merits. BTW, I chose to use the terms sustainable and viable in place of robust – all bioligical terms that convey the same meaning.

  11. Mark L says:

    No kidding (I hunt too). I think it’s worth mentioning as the real problem is still greed and corruption….just like US. We’ve created a culture of shooting over a period of time, using old westerns as role models and our European ancestors morals as guides. They just don’t work any more.
    I’m not so sure the Louise vs. SAvebears argument (over there) wasn’t really about the same thing indirectly–corruption, and how our laws have been modified to reward those that cheat (poach?) off a common property through 1 form or another. See a reoccurring theme, even with tea partiers and bleeding heart libs? Even my 401k!
    I’m in a way diametrically opposed to some on here as I think that SOME suffering builds character. Euthanasia is BS to me, to some extent…..ask anyone who has been through a horrific experience if they are just glad to be alive (even with ‘arrows’ in them or missing limbs). Hell yes.
    I also think we need to recognize that we have set up a system that always finds a scapegoat to blame for our unhappiness….and government is only too happy to oblige by following our lead and skimming money off us while we hunt the boogey man (or big bad wolf).

    • Savebears says:


      After my horrific injury in the first gulf war, I can’t say I would wish anyone to have to build character the way I did. There have been days, I didn’t want to be alive.

    • Ida Lupine says:

      I know what you mean though, if things are too easy, there’s nothing in that. I know parents want to make life better for their kids, but a challenge is a learning experience, and makes you more alive, or something.

  12. Richie G says:

    That is a hard thing to go through sb,and I am sorry for all your pain, but you did say to me when is the government NOT in control.If the feds wanted a no kill zone or law,their would be opposition true, but the feds would win in the end. Just the same with wolf re-introduction,you guys out west hand a big problem with that,I followed it for years. One situation was a local rancher who called in a local sheriff and a government agency lawman for a wolf problem killing his cow or something. I believe the rancher or the local guy took a shot,the agency guy thought the shot was meant for him but it hot a rock or something and it was meant for an animal. I know the story went something like that,but the story was in all the animal group papers,Friends of Animals,Wilderness Society,etc.Then you guys went to court and a judge ruled he will hornor your right to shoot an introduced wolf. But the judge also said be careful what you wish for,the the wolves migrating in natrually will be protected.I might not be accurate in these stories but I know I’m close. So the feds can stop the hunt if they want,the states will complain and do illegal hunting for sure,but the feds will win in the end,I believe that this could happen.

  13. Craig says:

    If the Gov’t is trying to make Hunting a right in Idaho, then the strings attached are going to be wrong and far reaching. That’s why as a HUNTER, I Voted against it!
    Does anyone think they did this to protect Hunting? REALLY? They have some agenda with the land buy off or something to screw all of us Hunters or non Hunters! Let’s Hear what Mark has to say! He’s been pretty quite on this subject but I sure as hell know he’s reading this!This is about money, not hunting.

    • Savebears says:

      Well Craig,

      We added it to our constitution a couple of years ago, that with the hunter harassment laws has resulted in far less complaints about being harassed in the field. I have talked with several friends who are game wardens and they said, they are responding to far less complaints since it was passed by the voters.

    • Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

      Craig –
      Here’s the language of HJR2aa, the approved ammendment to the Idaho Constitution that assures Idahoans the right to hunt, trap and fish:

      “Shall Article I, of the Constitution of the State of Idaho be amended by the addition of a New Section 23, to provide that the rights to hunt, fish and trap, including by the use of traditional methods, are a valued part of the heritage of the State of Idaho and shall forever be preserved for the people and managed through the laws, rules and proclamations that preserve the future of hunting, fishing and trapping; to provide that public hunting, fishing and trapping of wildlife shall be a preferred means of managing wildlife; and to provide that the rights set forth do not create a right to trespass on private property, SHALL NOT AFFECT RIGHTS TO DIVERT, APPROPRIATE AND USE WATER, OR ESTABLISH ANY MINIMUM AMOUNT OF WATER IN ANY WATER BODY, shall not lead to a diminution of other private rights, and shall not prevent the suspension or revocation, pursuant to statute enacted by the Legislature, of an individual’s hunting, fishing or trapping license?”

      The Idaho Offic of the Attorney General provided an assessment of the proposed ammendment on two questions: 1) what would be the effect of passage of the ammendment on the authority of the state (Idaho Fish and Game Commission/Department of Fish and Game) to regulate hunting, trapping, fishing activities; 2) what would be the effect of passage of the ammendment on the authority of the state to regulate Idaho reservoir levels and stream flows? The AG office response was that if the ammendment were approved, courts would be unlikely to interpret the ammendment to prevent the state from regulating hunting, trapping, fishing or reservoir levels or stream flows.
      I’m not aware of concerns that the ammendement could in any way threaten our hunting/trapping/fishing traditions in Idaho.

    • WM says:


      ++Does anyone think they did this to protect Hunting? REALLY? They have some agenda with the land buy off or something to screw all of us Hunters or non Hunters!…++

      Yours is an interesting interpretation of what you think the ID Constitutional Amendment on hunting does. Even without Mark Gamblin’s input, on its face, it seems to me, whatever the right is, it is subject to already existing property law (trespass), and water law (where in independent right to affect the prior appropriation doctrine – a body of laws that has existed for roughly a hundred fifty years, that gives apprpriators the absolute right to dry up a stream or reservoir, unburdened by developing doctrines to create or protect miniumum in-stream flows or reservoir levels.) And, last it seems the “right to hunt…” can be regulated by IDFG as to time, place, nature and limit for any species,” would still preserve the right.

      I sense it is more of a philosophy statement, than a creation or limitation of rights that already exist. And, such a statement gives direction to state and federal (ID’s Congressional delegation) law makers in their dealings with those who would seek to dilute those rights.

      Not sure where you came up with your conclusion. Can you explain what you mean?


November 2012


‎"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