The Facebook photo has gone viral. It drips with symbolic hostility and one actually dead wolf. Now the photo has been taken down on Facebook, but you can see it many places in case it hasn’t already been emailed to you. We received a half dozen or so by email. Our experience is hardly unique.

This article, “Sorry, But Wolf Slaughter Is Not American” in Earth Island Journal, has a nice clear version of the photo and a plausible analysis of the meaning of the Facebook posting. It is odd that the men are masked because the Facebook page was apparently easy to find. It wasn’t hard to identify the names associated with the page.

The photo does have the air of the Ku Klux Klan, but it also has an American, not a  Confederate flag. The dead wolf was probably legally killed in the current Wyoming wolf hunt. Put all these things together, however, and it really pushes people’s “buttons,” judging from face to face opinions and comments on Facebook. Why did they do it? It certainly isn’t going to win converts.

To this writer, the area near the SE corner of Yellowstone Park in the Teton and Washakie Wilderness is sacred country. I wrote two backpacking guides to the area and must have backpacked a thousand miles. It makes my skin crawl and my blood pressure rise to think of these people polluting the deep Wilderness there.


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.

274 Responses to What are we to make of the masked, American flag holding, Wyoming wolf killers?

  1. Matthew Durrant says:

    This is very disgusting and very troubling. To me this represents the attitude behind the whole extreme right/Tea Party/redneck-kill-everything-that-moves mentality. This climate of extreme behavior (and outright idiocy) is what threatens the stability and peace of our nation more than anything we have faced for a long time. Wolf hatred, Obama hatred, obstructionism, corruption, public land grabs, and general hatred of the government of this country are all symptoms of this same disease. I’m surprised they aren’t holding up a Confederate flag.

  2. Jeff N. says:

    So much symbolism here. And, as mentioned, this is more than about just wolves. The wolf is clearly symbolic to these delusional degenerates….the dead wolf symbolizes the slaying of the government, east coast liberals, “San Francisco” values, etc….These intellectually stunted faux weekend warrior-vigilantes have been fed and eagerly “wolfed” down the daily platter of sh!t that the right wing media enjoys serving up to its gullible audience. This information comprises the extent of their education on matters.

    There is a weird, unhealthy perversion on display here. An unsettling bloodlust and lashing out. These mental midgets see a country evolving and leaving them behind and it scares the hell out of them. So they go out into the woods and play there destructive games, then head back to the tavern and drink themselves into self congratulatory oblivion, pass out eventually wake up only to, painfully, come face to face with their pathetic, worthless existence…again.

    Rinse and repeat.

  3. Mtn Mama says:

    The picture is truly worth a thousand words.It reflects the desire to dominate and attempts to justify the desire as a reflection of patriotism. American Al Queda, modern day Klan. I have little doubt that all these kronies are sexist and racist too. Power tripping over killing wildlife.
    I think I will print off a copy and send it Sally Jewell.

  4. Cris Waller says:

    As I mentioned in the news thread, Americans for Prosperity and the Koch brothers are now involved in tying hatred of wolves to hatred of big government (see the documentary they are promoting at

    It’s frightening how easily so many are caught up in such delusions and such violent symbolism.

    • Jeff N. says:

      From the documentary link:

      • Indian tribal lands invaded

      Are they referring to the settlement of America?

      • MJ says:

        There seem to be a lot of “veiled” references by wolf hunters to the fate of Native persons and culture. Many comments and expressions being used now referring to the wolves were used during the extirpation of Native persons also.

        I think what this picture says to me that is so disturbing is that we haven’t gotten past the days where there is complicity on a level that laws can be broken, killing to the horror of many can take place, all in broad daylight, by the “brotherhood”. And we can’t stop it. That is the implication of this image to me.

      • MJ says:

        “Indian tribal lands invaded”

        I think that they are referring to the BLM and agents of the government coming on to Navajo land and taking privately owned horses, it made the news a few months ago as they were very aggressive towards the owners of the horses. It left people pretty angry.

        This is NOT a Native site however, it is a fear mongering wolf hating site. A Native site would be likely pro-wolf and the wording would not be like that. It is annoying that the most racist groups like to make comments that when they kill wildlife they are just doing “what the Indians used to do”. The degree of spin is almost toxic.

        The kid cages look like heat shelters on a horse ranch. It’s scary what people will believe.

    • MJ says:

      Wow. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Peter Kiermeir says:

    What can one/you/we do? Such things make you angry. When you see such things, you grow tired, frustrated and burnt out. Because you know all too well that this is the other side of the coin. The dirty part of carnivore conservation. And you meet it all too often. Everywhere, not only in Wyoming or Montana or Idaho or New Mexico. It could be really extreme in the West, but you meet it everywhere where you find carnivores. They laugh at, they degrade, they hate and easily kill what you want to protect. Be it a Wolf, a Bear, a Coyote, a Fox, a Lion, a Tiger, a ………
    How many of these websites are out there and how many of these people? Browse that site and you´ll find silly jokes about wolves: “want a sandwich? No I´m stuffed! Hahaha” Normally a funny joke – but not in the context of this site! Read the comments attached to the individual posts and remember the heyday of the Billings Gazette´s comment section before it implemented stringent rules?
    In the case of these masked heroes, I think the dead wolf came into the pic because wolf was available. It could as well have been a bear or a cougar or a couple of coyotes. The message of the pic seems not “America is cleaned of wolves” but “Who rules America?”
    What can one/you/we do? I would say: Nothing! These people would not even understand, what you are trying to tell them!

  6. Ida Lupine says:

    Quite possibly the ugliest thing I have ever seen. What’s even more disturbing is how little our country’s people seem to have progressed. We can’t live in an idealistic bubble about how people view wildlife and other things by weakening laws that protect them because ‘people will do the right thing’. They won’t.

    • Ida Lupine says:

      That should read – other things like the EPA and the environment, OSHA, FDA, etc. etc.

  7. MJ Graham says:

    I also posted on this unfortunate display of ignorance and seeming cowardice. Our wildlife and wild land policies which are funded by and, therefore, cater to the sport hunting and trapping industry are a major part of the overall problem. We continue see the erosion of science-based policy due to the influence of those that fund the agencies through license fees and weapons taxes. This must change if we are to see a balanced approach applied within these agencies at both the state and federal levels. This Madness Must End

  8. wyores says:

    Remember a while back there was talk on this website of keeping track of companies that we should not support? This outfitter has a permit for summer trips in Yellowstone. I can guarantee most of his summer guests would be apalled.

    We don’t know if the wolf was take legally or not. I am contacting WG&F, NPS and BT National forest.

    In my NW Wyoming town- Shoot, shovel and shutup is casually talked about in the grocery store-about wolves and bears. I wish G&F was more active investigating and just more of a presence.
    Could just be talk- but as they say thier is truth in jest.

    • jon says:

      You have to wonder, if this wolf was killed legally in WY, why are these psychopaths wearing masks? Wolf killers love posting their wolf kills to the public and don’t seem to have a problem with showing their faces.

    • Ida Lupine says:

      Maybe they can be fired for encouraging hate crimes. Who would want to support a business such as this, in any way? I’m going to be very careful how I spend my money and where it goes when visiting the National Parks.

    • Mtn Mamma says:

      It is a moot point on legal vs illegal kill. This is taken in Wyoming- most of the state is shoot on sight, any time, any place, any reason. Even in management units quotas are not enforced. WMU 2 which is used almost exclusively by YNP wolves had a quota of 4. 5 were taken and WGF said that’s just how their reporting system works. My point is that in Wyoming no one will be prosecuted for anything wolf related.

  9. jon says:

    My guess is they’re psychopaths and they love killing. That picture shows the truth about the kind of people wolf killers are. They are not conservationists. I would be willing to bet all of those guys in the picture who are so scared to show their faces are conservatives and most of them if not all are tea party supporters. Conservatives think of wildlife as nothing more than shooting targets, not god creatures.

  10. jon says:

    The psychopaths in the picture are clearly subhuman. These people are a fringe who probably suffer from a mental illness.

  11. wyores says:

    WYO Outfitters Code of Ethics

    The following Code of Ethics is hereby made a part of these By-Laws and is imposed upon all members of this Association and will be subscribed to by all eligible persons prior to being accepted into membership in this Association.

    Members will endeavor to promote and practice responsible wildland ethics and exercise good stewardship of our natural resources. There shall be full cooperation between members of the Association. Prior use rights, camp sites, grazing privileges and other existing practices of members will be respected by fellow members and their employees. Members of the Association and their employees will be required to fully cooperate with the Wyoming State Board of Outfitters and Professional Guides officials, Wyoming Game & Fish Commission officials, United States Forest Service officials, National Park Service officials, the Bureau of Land Management officials, State Land officials, and other government agencies; and fully adhere to their laws, rules and regulations. Members will be required to maintain good, adequate and serviceable equipment. Rates and accommodations will be clearly and carefully defined to guests prior to booking. Members will not misrepresent their rates, services or accommodations. Members will always endeavor to employ an adequate number of well-trained, courteous personnel to care for their guests. Members will provide adequate and well-prepared food to guests and personnel at all times. Members’ camps will be kept in a neat, orderly, good state of repair at all times, and shall be so maintained to be a credit to this Association. If livestock is used, members will treat them humanely and maintain their saddle and pack stock in good condition by feeding a balanced ration for the work being done. Members will conduct their business in an ethical manner. Members of the Association and their employees will be required to cooperate with land owners/stockmen and the public with respect to their rights and privileges. Failure of any member to abide this Code of Ethics will subject himself to reprimand, suspension or expulsion from this Association.

  12. Ida Lupine says:

    Under the points of agreement, the State of Wyoming will develop and implement a wolf management plan to maintain a healthy wolf population at or above the Service’s recovery goals, provide for genetic connectivity with other wolf subpopulations in the Northern Rockies, and otherwise ensure that gray wolves in Wyoming are managed so that they will not need to be returned to the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife.

    Salazar-Ashe Finalize Agreement With Wyoming on Revised Gray Wolf Management Plan

    Somehow, I don’t think this is what they had in mind.

  13. CodyCoyote says:

    I’ve recieved this pic a half dozen times from various sources in and out of Facebook.

    The best description I heard of it not related to Neo-KKK was a bunch of Wyoming college frat boys out on a baeer-pweored romp with their Daisy BB guns. They killed a stray dog, then took a team ‘ hero’ photo wearing their own stinky underwear for masks.

    So no matter how you parse it, these lads have done sport hunting , wildlife ethic, and big game conservation no favors at all. None. Nada. Zip.

    If you really wanted to defame your own big game outfitting profession and cast aspersions on your ilk, you really can’t do it better than this…

    ( Never mind they profane the American flag doing so )

  14. Dawn Rehill says:

    Crazy, a guy last week here in Jackson, Wyoming, parked his SUV on the town square with a dead wolf strapped to the top . Didn’t cover it up, which I thought was the law .Alot of outrage from out of state about this . By the way, he parked there so the wife can go shopping, instead of taking the female wolf directly to Game and Fish . What the hell are some people thinking .

    • IDhiker says:


      That’s the problem…they don’t think. There are numerous levels of conscious thought and most people are near the bottom, just thinking enough to survive, but nothing above.

      Many on this site are higher level thinkers. For them, it’s very difficult to imagine the lack of thought of those at the bottom. Most people are created fairly equally, but they don’t develop the same.

  15. rork says:

    I think some stuff like this is a reaction designed for animal-lover anti-hunter consumption. There’s lots of commentary near me designed to press the buttons of people who our wolf killers here would paint as idiot, liberal, eastern, reality-challenged, city-dreck.

    And our comments – psychopaths, subhuman, sexists, racists, worthless existance, tea partiers – are pressing other people’s buttons. But we’re oh, so much better. And don’t tell me it’s only applied to these particular people, cause it happens every day, even for stuff like mute swan removal. If you are an idiot and tired of such thing, you do stuff like our picture takers today (oh, and you know for sure you are right about everything – often wrong but never in doubt).

    I’m not trying to defend, just explaining how stupid does. I certainly mean the guys like in the picture, but I may mean you too, dear reader.

  16. Nancy says:

    Rock – what’s your take on this pic? Do you think with just alittle more chewing, magnificent creature, might just have gotten away with his life?!/photo.php?fbid=548538351905665&set=a.252323221527181.58591.252321041527399&type=1&theater

    • rork says:

      I have no idea if this wolf needed to be killed, but I’ll guess not. I live in MI where I want pros to be the ones killing problem wolves, and sad to say, that might involve trapping.
      Mostly what struck me is how scared many commenters were, that some think that since wolves do terrible things to their prey that it’s OK to be terrible to them, and how many are mostly worried about deer numbers even though I’ll bet most honest biologists would agree there are too many deer almost everywhere around the great lakes. We need to educate about those things, and thoughts like it’s such a gorgeous or amazing creature won’t counteract their thinking. They see something very different.

      • Ida Lupine says:

        There are times when management will be needed, I agree. But this is just crazy!

      • JB says:

        One of the problems here is the historic baseline. Michigan is practically overrun with deer, and many who hunt (especially younger hunters) can’t remember it any other way. To them, this is normal fewer deer will be perceived as bad. I’m not sure how to overcome this…?

        • Immer Treue says:

          “younger hunters) can’t remember it any other way. To them, this is normal fewer deer will be perceived as bad. I’m not sure how to overcome this…?”

          Which feeds into the myth ( even in MI, and WI), that “reintroduced” wolves are a government plot to end hunting and ultimately take away guns.

        • rork says:

          I saw Randy Baker (knowledgeable, but I don’t know much about him) speak about deer last night. He harped on their overabundance, and some folks in camo may have squirmed while I nodded constantly. Anyway, a thorough accounting of the costs of too many deer are needed.
          He showed pictures of deer exclosures that looked like another world compared to the surrounding grotesquely simplified landscapes – I suspect they might be from parks lacking deer killing though (or from northern lower MI 20 years ago, same thing). He posited effects on very many plants and animals including pheasant (direct predation of eggs too), every other upland ground-nesting bird, mice (and their predators), whippoorwill, squirrels, other herbivores, and on. Decrease in deer carrying capacity – shooting your own foot. Ticks! Other parasites. Damage to every flavor of agriculture – that might be huge money. Timber people are getting vocal. Car insurance might save 50 million per year here if we can half the crash rate. I’m scared about calamities in our plant communities – this is a dangerous game. I think that what my DNR thinks are good targets for #deer are in fact still unsustainable – and they are supposed to be experts dam it.
          Can I get communities to say 33% (maybe needs to be 50%) less money from deer hunters would be an acceptable price to pay for such benefits? There might be effects on land prices north of me too. (The license money talks too, but is far smaller than the other money spent – I’ve been shocked by the estimates of the total economic activity, >2K/hunter/year, just about deer.)

          • Immer Treue says:


            Kudos to you and everything you said. Many “deer” hunters don’t want to hear this, because the deer “belong” to them. I can attest to the fact that deer are making it very difficult for the generation of white and red pine up here, which contributes to the proliferation of balsam fir.

            I saw a presentation last night from the MN DNR about their moose study (adult and calf). A perfect storm is hitting moose across the upper north central portion of the continent. The supposed expansion of moose into the Dakotas and other states is for the most part fallacy.

            A point was made about deer and their prolific breeding, something that moose just don’t do.

            In the MN moose calf study, of 49 collared moose calf, at least 9 were immediately abandoned by their mothers, and 2 shortly later, and died. Of the 24 moose calves killed, 16 where killed by wolves, 4 killed by bears and 4 unaccounted for.

            Headlines read “Wolves Kill Majority Of Moose Calves”

            Not so, perhaps the majority of moose killed (which is little surprise), but not the majority of moose calves.

            One of the hunting proponents in the crowd commented in regard to wolf predation on moose calves, that perhaps more wolf tags should be issued in moose country. Though wolves do impact moose calves (they have always taken their share), its as if some factions of the hook and bullet crowd put on the blinkers in regard to all causes of moose decline up here, and the target is always Canis lupus.

  17. Jeff N. says:


    Point taken but “Sticks and stones” my friend. Regardless of the legality, I’m not the one pulling into Jackson with a wolf strapped to my hood while my wife shops in town nor am I killing things out of spite so I can display my misplaced manhood in an unfortunate photograph.

    I think we all know “what stupid does”.

  18. Immer Treue says:

    I’m pretty much in accord with what David Mech says, and has said, with one possible caveat. At least so far, wolf hunting has not released any steam from the pressure cooker in regard to wolves. With stuff such as what has been shown on this blog, isolated as they may be, the anti rhetoric has only increased from the “groups” referred to in this thread.

    • SaveBears says:

      I have been reading various websites around the net since this image surfaced and as expected they are getting the reaction they wanted.

      There are certain groups of younger people out there that just love to put stuff on the net that gets a lot of attention and creates turmoil. It does not have to be wolf hunting, I have seen it in many number of topic areas.

      The internet has allowed young people to get the attention they crave an there is always a willing group of people to give them that attention. I would estimate that the internet is good for only about 10% of the stuff we see, and the other 90% is just grandstanding by people on both sides of every single issue in the world.

      There is a saying that has been around for a long time now:

      “Love me, or Hate me, but just don’t ignore me!”

      • Nancy says:

        SB – I too have been reading various websites around the net since this image surfaced and I’m NOT thinking what’s being posted especially on this official WI site, is “young people” nor do I think “young people” are “liking” the site to the tune of 20,000 plus:

        Read the comments SB. Do you really think there’s a conspiracy of young people posting just to twist “a few panties in a knot” or… do you think those middle aged, white guys (thats what I’m seeing pic, after pic, after pic, holding up a dead wolf) are having a problem with REAL competition (wolfs 🙂 in their neck of the woods when it comes to sharing the wilderness?

        • SaveBears says:


          In that picture, I am seeing a bunch of guys with KKK type masks, I can’t tell you if they are “middle aged” or really even younger aged, all I know, is they got the reaction they were after!

      • Jeff N. says:


        Can you please point me to the websites where these attention seeking, misguided younger folk are hoisting carcasses 60-100lb. wolves. The ones I find seem to mostly consist of adult males.

        Thanks SB. Silly Kids.

        • SaveBears says:


          Remember we are an adult in this country, when we turn 18. At my age, I consider an 18 year, who has the right to own a gun and hunt by themselves to be “younger folk”

          • SaveBears says:

            But as I said, remember they are still and “Adult” I had many 18-19 years olds, under my command, that ran around with fully automatic state of the art weapons, they also ran, the weapons systems and drove tanks!

            • Jeff N. says:

              Ok…thanks for the refresher of when we are legally considered adults. But getting back to your post in question, you seem to be saying that younger adults are responsible for these photos, and I find most contain, to clarify so as not to confuse you, “middle aged” men…..which makes sense considering that most 18-19 year old young adults no longer hunt and spend a lot of time playing games on their XBox, and that most likely explains why most of these photos contain middle aged men, not young adults, as you claim.

              • SaveBears says:


                What you don’t realize, is the majority of 18-19 year olds, may not hunt, but guess what they do?????

                They will kill, given the opportunity, many teens in this country will KILL!

              • Jeff N. says:


                Really….So what you are saying is that in this country, the majority of 18-19 year old’s are killers? Can you provide evidence.

                What in the world are you talking about? What do the majority of that age group kill?

              • Jeff N. says:


                In all seriousness I appreciate your posts on here. I appreciate the incoherence and rambling. They make me laugh. Thanks bud.

    • Louise Kane says:

      Immer unfortunately Mech was a strong proponent of hunting wolves and even went so far to say that hunting was necessary to allow people to vent their anti wolf feelings. If he is recanting now, its better than nothing but his words were used by many to legitimize the “need” for hunts. It was clear from the start what a flawed presumption that was and one that clearly deviated from the science that Mech was entitled to claim his expertise.

      • Immer Treue says:


        Though wolf hunting was always supposed to be a piece of the equation, the “hopeful” presumption of a venting of anti- wolf feelings released through hunting, has thus far, indeed, been flawed.

        I debated with one anti-wolf individual in particular, he/she said the continued delay of wolf delisting has fed the venom directed at wolves. Possibly so, yet, the anti-wolf contingent has learned nothing from this process as the pendulum has swung so far to the “other” side. It is feeding grass roots efforts, where every episode such as this thread is documented.

        As a hunter has said about the picture associated with this thread, “is no good can come from either the picture, or the comments supporting it” with regard to hunters. The general public still supports hunting. Yet, how long before incidents such as this put a sour taste toward hunting in the public’s mouth? In a sense, the anti-wolf faction, inebriated with their current successes, are now the ones shooting themselves in the foot.

        Its going to take a long time before this whole mess levels out to where all the level heads in the middle can live with and accept fair wolf management, while those on the extremes continue to gnash their teeth.

  19. snaildarter says:

    For every action there is a reaction and I am grateful this has gone viral. There are a lot more people who know about the wolf slaughter now and wolf haters are disliked by a larger and larger group of Americans. Besides I suspect they are just trying to compensate for their small penises.

    • ramses09 says:

      lol – you got that right,about the small penises.
      Along with the very teeny tiny brains they have.

    • SaveBears says:

      There you go snail, you did exactly the same thing, so predictable, just as they are.

      • SaveBears says:

        By the way, Slaughter would suggest they are in danger of going extinct again, which is a far ways from the truth. You guys are lucky, that you have a person like Ralph that allows this type of rhetoric to be posted.

        • AG says:

          SB, while i agree very much with the rhetoric, i seriously doubt that wolves are not in danger of going extinct(again!). 364 dead wolves in the end of october and it started in september, i think. That is such an agressive management and along with the attitude we see in wolf-haters, i doubt that wolves as a specie can survive in these states.

  20. ramses09 says:

    All great comments. Everything that I wanted to say …. has been said. It’s to bad we live in such a violent society, whether it be people or the wildlife that unfortunately that gets killed. My first reaction to that stupid picture was …. well, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Then it turned to anger. Then I thought to myself “what a bunch of f – – – – red-neck idiots.” I feel very helpless with the killing of all the wildlife. but especially with the wolves. The hatred of wolves is beyond my comprehension. I just don’t get it. I do know after spending time in Boise, ID. a few years back that it is taught (of course) & is definitely a generational thing.
    Sally Jewell makes me sick. I thought she would be a little more science based in her rulings, but I guess not. Money is what drives a lot of what goes on in Washington D.C. & that my friends is sad. Because if money is involved – we will never get anywhere, unless we stand together & keep on fighting for the wildlife that inhabits this country.
    Thanks again for all the great comments.

    • Nancie Mccormish says:

      Ramses, I agree about SJ being a complete washout. I have nicknamed her “Silent Sal” for all her good (read: nonexistent) actions on behalf of our public lands and our public wildlife.

      It was suggested to me a boycott of REI might catch her attention. I’ve been a member most of my life but would happily join in if such a move would draw her attention. What are your thoughts?

      • Nancie Mccormish says:

        I can’t reply anyplace below so will try here. WM and I am not a politician or a beltway insider, and wrote honestly here some of my thoughts, questions, and frustrations. I won’t drink SJ’s Koolaid or yours either, so it looks like we will respectfully disagree on what the word “public” means in public service.

        Unlike WM and JB I don’t give SJ much credit for stalling so long on the NAS report (150 days as I understand it) while roundups continued all summer, though that may seem a blink in beltway time.

        The larger issue is better detailed by the Atlantic article this week by Mr. Cohen (see link below). I apologize for just being someone who grew up in the west horseback, gives a damn is not a professional pundit.

        Here’s your chance, guys, shoot me too, and hoist an American flag while you hold me up for the photo. Hell, I’ll even let you use the flag I got when they buried my dad in the veteran’s cemetery.

        Underwear masks optional, I won’t care. I am not the enemy.

        • SaveBears says:


          Yes, they do need to listen to the scientists, but the question is, which scientists do they need to listen to, the ones that agree with your position or the ones that don’t take a position and just simply present the findings? When it comes to the horse issue, the findings that have been presented are not simply findings with no bias.

    • Nancie Mccormish says:

      Sally Jewell is apparently holding a live press conference RIGHT NOW. Maybe she’ll take some questions.

      • Nancy says:

        Thanks for posting this Nancie.

        But, gotta say, it was a waste of time to sit and watch it. Jewell is just another elected talking head 🙂 pushing for more youth to get involved in the enviornment and at the same time supporting more development( destruction) of that same enviornment.

        1.07 minutes into the conversation, got a little uncomfortable for her but, she managed to bounce right back………

        • Ida Lupine says:

          She’s very likable tho. 🙂

          • Nancie Mccormish says:

            Ida, likable in a cardboard cutout sort of way? I just posted on another site about how she must have failed both biology and math courses to come up with what she said today about wild horses. Not hijacking any threads but there is a pattern about our government and most wildlife issues, and it isn’t one I can support. If I were younger I would consider emigrating.

            • Ida Lupine says:

              It’s the first time I ever heard her speak – sure, there were some generalities, and she’s got to tread carefully with some things, has a balancing act to do. But she seemed to me to be very down-to-earth, wants to do a good job, and sincere. I’m trying to be hopeful.

              • Ida Lupine says:

                I had pooh-pooh’ed the ‘getting the youth of America involved in conservation’ line too – but it really isn’t just a cliché, it’s true. People won’t appreciate wildlife, national parks, wolves, wild horses, history, anything if we don’t, and the majority of our people are urban. It is a terribly slow process, unfortunately, which I find annoying. Rural life should not ever become less relevant. A scary thought.

                We should not put too much importance on the bad behavior of a few yokels, as Mareks said. I wondered if it was a photoshop job when I first saw it.

            • WM says:

              Nancie McCormish,

              You might be interested to know Sally Jewell was trained as an engineer, so it is doubtful she flunked a math class. She is well respected in the Northwest for her work as a banker and CEO of REI. She understands the biology of the wild horse and burro thing quite well. She is a bright person, doing a difficult job, and has only been at it a few months, to say nothing of preparing for and dealing with the government shut down for a few weeks.

              And do tell from your previous post, how a boycott of REI would be an effective means of protesting Jewell’s appointment as Secretary of Interior? It is co-op, which means the members own it. She has no financial interest in it and she no longer works there. Huh? Or would that be, Duh?

              • JB says:

                I was curious what exactly about Ms. Jewell’s handling of the issue of wild horses and burros that Nancie found objectionable? I attended a panel session on wild horses at the annual meeting of The Wildlife Society about a month ago; specifically, this was a review of the wild horse program sponsored by the National Academy of Sciences ( The review found 15-20% annual growth in the wild horse population, which the BLM is increasingly having to manage in captivity, at a tremendous cost to American tax payers. This, of course, has been an ongoing issue for many years. It seems Jewell has barely had time to get familiarity with the issue, let along do anything about it?

              • WM says:


                I hope Ralph doesn’t mind us going too far off topic here, but since you brought up more detail about the NAS wild horse study (and the full report is $74 in the link you provided), here is a news release from a few months back. Raul Grijalva, who some here championed as the next DOI is quoted.


                Think I have also seen an in-depth interview with Dr. Guy Palmer, who chaired the NAS committee doing the study. There is a lot for Interior/BLM to digest in the study. But in the end, maybe it’s not the science and cost-effective solutions that rule the day, but the politics of the controversy itself – a lot of powerful folks don’t want the wild horse/burro population trimmed down even if it saves money and improves the environment. Just one of many of the complex challenges DOI faces, regardless of who leads it.

              • Nancie Mccormish says:

                WM, I have some understanding of her background, but the figures she referenced in her short speech don’t stack up unless there is no mortality in a herd, and every foal born becomes pregnant in their first year.

                There are many more qualified than I who utterly dispute her grasp of the biology involved, as it seems you must be aware of as well.

                Like Ida, I had hoped for better but Sally wouldn’t answer the one question posed, which was if or when she would implement the changes suggested by the NAS report she had earlier mentioned she was waiting to review before espousing any position on the matter.

                Per the REI comment, it was one I heard elsewhere. As a member I am aware it’s a Co-op, but wasn’t aware she was no longer involved in it in any form. Thanks for the update. No thanks for the parting shot. 🙂

              • Nancie Mccormish says:

                WM, to your second response I would reply more truthfully: “…the politics of the controversy itself – a lot of powerful folks [DO] want the wild horse/burro population trimmed down even if it saves money and improves the environment.”

              • Nancie Mccormish says:

                JB, Sally has not embraced the findings of the NAS report, which was critical of current policies and unsustainable management practices (including that they in fact promote higher reproduction rates). The one easy question she was asked about this she dodged in favor of reiterating the standard dogma. I had hopes for better leadership than we’ve seen in the past, but so far the evidence is slim.

              • WM says:

                Nancie McCormish,

                Sorry, not giving you a “pass” on your wild horse comment regarding Jewell. She was careful in her response in the press conference to say she had talked to every former Interior Secretary back to the 70’s about the issue – all have struggled with it an little has been done. I expect her canned response (she knew that question was coming), was to emphasize the problem using the higher of the 15-20 percent annual increase AS STATED IN THE NAS REPORT. So, the stat really didn’t come from her, but a bunch of vets and biologists that can do the net reproduction math. So, blame them, not her, for any errors.

                As for your not knowing a high level federal appointed official is required to divest themselves of financial positions in most of their holdings, you don’t get a pass on that either (combined with your lack of knowledge of how a co-op works). The boycott of REI is…. well, just…non-sense.

                Seems you are a bit short on facts if you are going to pre-emptively dump on one of the good guys (gals) who has only been in appointed office …what is something 6-7 months, and is importantly a government outsider.

                So, I’ll go back to the …”huh or duh?” because it fits your lack of factual knowledge on the topic, minus the spin.

              • JB says:

                Sorry Nancie, you’re going to be more specific; else it seems you’re guilty of dodging the question as well. From the NAS report:

                “Thus, population growth is not regulated by self-limiting pressures, such as lack of water or forage, and this allows horse, and possibly burro, populations to grow at an annual rate of 15-20 percent. Such successful herd productivity hampers BLM’s ability to keep population sizes within AMLs and affects the agency’s ability to maintain rangeland health.”

                Remember, I sat through the presentation of this information–by 3 of the reports authors–at a recent meeting. Yes, they were critical of the BLM, but for the most part, they were sympathetic to the agency’s plight–recognizing that they’ve been caught between a rock and a hard place. As WM rightly points out, there is no simply answer to the wild horse issue that satisfies all stakeholders. It sounds to me like Jewell isn’t singing the tune you’d like her to sing, so you’ve decided she’s…how did you put it…”a complete washout”.

              • Nancy says:

                I’m honestly suprised (and again off subject) that some hunting groups haven’t found a way to push for a proclamation, designating wild horses, as a big game species, out here in the west.

                Visualize it…..some big stallion’s head, mane flowing over its ears and down the neck, nostrils flared, hanging on the wall, right next to that 6 point trophy elk, shot last year.

                The question is – any takers? Hell no. You’d have to face your kids as to why that icon was hanging on the wall.

                Can debate forever whether wild horses are native or not, or whether they have a special place in human society but fact is, Mankind created the problem and we are doing a very sad, pathetic job of addressing it.

              • JB says:


                I pretty much agree with what you’ve written, except the following needs some clarification:

                “Can debate forever whether wild horses are native or not, or whether they have a special place in human society…”

                We could debate the native/non-native status of horses, but from an ecological perspective, the argument is settled–these are non-native animals. They did not evolve alongside the flora and fauna of North America, period.

                “…but fact is, Mankind created the problem and we are doing a very sad, pathetic job of addressing it.”

                Part of the reason that the BLM is doing (as you say) a “sad job” of addressing the feral horse problem is that INTEREST GROUPS ARE GETTING IN THE WAY. It irks me to see the agency dragged through the mud when they’ve been handcuffed by horse advocates who can’t stand the thought of a ‘wild horse’ being herded or corralled (let alone humanely killed).

              • Nancy says:

                JB – it irks me that the debate continues to rage on about them being native or non-native when mounting evidence proves otherwise:



                A dated but good read:


                As with bison, its all about livestock needs.

              • Mareks Vilkins says:

                thanks, Nancy

              • WM says:


                At what point do we cut off evolutionary history? A thirteen thousand year absence of equines seems to me a pretty good gap in time for NA, then to have them introduced after natural extinction(not re-introduced as some horse advocates spin because they are different in several ways). What about burros/donkeys and their origin and introduction with exploration of the New World? You going to discriminate against them in favor of horses, or find another way to distinguish, or should I say rationalize the issue?

                And, the foregoing discussion really doesn’t address the other half of the feral horse problem as seen by some current day sovereign nations, including the Navajo (Robert Redford got his head served to him on a plate for his misplaced advocacy in the following article), the Yakamas and a bunch of other tribes – generally, even though individual tribal members differ in their views, tribal governments want the numbers of horses reduced as we have discussed here before.


                The NAS BLM wild horse report doesn’t even touch this Native American horse issue to my knowledge – at least no references are in the summary.

                JB, any light to shed on what the full report says about the native American horse problem. And, of course there are some horses that move back and forth across tribal lands, BLM and FS which confuses things even more.

              • JB says:


                So let me get this straight; your argument is that because all horses can be traced back to a single ancestor (not very surprising) 140,000 years ago that the domesticated European horses that were introduced by the Spanish some 500 years ago are the same? Is that it? Really? REALLY?

              • Nancy says:

                “So let me get this straight; your argument is that because all horses can be traced back to a single ancestor (not very surprising) 140,000 years ago that the domesticated European horses that were introduced by the Spanish some 500 years ago are the same? Is that it? Really? REALLY?”

                JB – Please don’t shout 🙂

                My arguement was, the ancestors of horses can be traced back to having existed on this continent at one time and were, a native species.

                They might of been re-introduced but their ancestors were here thousands of years ago.

                Would think “the powers to be” would be a lot more concerned about feral pigs who are “munching” their way across this continent (4 million strong and counting) but hey, that might infringe on the hunting community who had no idea how a few hundred hogs, let loose, woud impact the ecosystem.


                He continues to buy wild horses for slaughter from Indian reservations, which are not protected by the same laws.

              • WM says:


                Your feral pig argument is a deflection/diversion from the questions JB and I posed to you earlier. Pigs are not wild horses and do not have protection under federal law (I expect some tribes thump as many as they can, and eat the bounty, but they are looking for commercial markets for some of the wild horses and need processing facilities and USDA inspection to make it happen).

                But, since you brought it up, there are efforts to deal with these invasive little oinkers, on federal lands in CA, anyway, but not so sure there are many on Western state lands we talk about mostly, here. And, to some degree the greater damage is done on private lands to commercially grown crops, and people’s gardens.

                Of course, PETA is right in the middle of things, with their animal rights advocacy, even for feral pigs.


              • WM says:

                And, Nancy, here is what the feds concluded they would do with feral pigs on the Cleveland NF in CA, where they seem to be significantly damaging oak forest and other watershed resources:


                So, they are going to live trap and euthanize; aerial hunt and ground hunt with dogs, among other things at high taxpayer cost. It doesn’t say how much or whether they can get the money to do it, but you can bet the longer they wait the more damage that will be done to the resource, and it will cost more to solve the problem – just like this silly wild horse debacle.

                [Ralph, sorry for my part in taking this thread another direction away from the kk kowboy picture, but it seems that most people already said what they needed on that topic.]

              • JB says:


                By that same logic, we should welcome African and Asian elephants (shared an ancestor with mastondons and woolly mammoths, both of which inhabited NA), African lions (shared ancenstor with American lions), cheetahs (shared ancestor with the American cheetah)…I could keep going but you get the point. Whether we’re talking about North American equines or mammoths or lions, we’re talking about replacing animals that have been EXTINCT (apologies for ‘shouting’) for thousands of years with their cousins who diverged 10s to 100s of thousands of years ago–prior to the last ice age–when the flora and fauna of North America were dramatically different.

                To argue that the domesticated, Spanish horses that now inhabit parts of the West are fulfilling the same ecological niche is…well, preposterous!

            • Louise Kane says:

              nancy mCcormick not to mention the BS full steam ahead delisting of wolves, no person of scientific integrity would argue wolves are recovered in most of their historic range. A sane leader would look at what’s happening in the states and push to re list until the states come up with plans that are not slaughter agendas.

            • Louise Kane says:

              or likable in expanding hunting access in refuges?

          • Louise Kane says:

            likable in a Babbitt sort of way? I think not

            • Ida Lupine says:

              No, but who could be? We also had eight years of continuity with him. Now we are trying to pick up the pieces after a SOI who had ties with ranching, and a new SOI trying to get up to speed amidst gov’t shutdowns and sequestrations. Being a Washington outsider has its plusses and minuses.

              Has she acted on the NAS information as quickly as we’d hoped? No. But the polarization of wildlife advocates and environmentalists v. hunting and ranching is going to continue bad feelings and stalemates.

              I saw her as a human being, I saw the young hunters in the field as human beings.

              • Ida Lupine says:

                I guess what I mean is we have to work together, and nobody and nothing is perfect.

  21. The men with white masks, who proudly display our American Flag, along with a dead wolf, have, believe it or not , done decent people a favor by exposing who they really are (despite their masks).

    The symbolism, which they unconsciously display, is crystal clear. The image is almost identical to those I have seen of Ku Klux Klan members in various archives about lynchings. Just substitute for that wolf, a black man hanging from a tree limb, and you will see what I mean.

    I have been aware for some time that these people are projecting upon wolves their own fears and hatred for the unfulfilled lives they lead. The wolf though, is only a proxy for their hatred of the Federal government, and particularly of a black man who had the temerity to become the President of the United States of America.

    If a black person can be elected to be the most powerful person in our country, it only emphasizes the masked ones’ essential powerlessness. They can now take out their frustrations on an animal that no government official, either local, state, or national has the guts to stand up for. A perfect target – for cowards, equipped with high powered rifles

    We may take scant comfort in knowing that this image is one of the last stand of the white supremacists in this country. As a man whose loving daughter-in-laws are Chinese and Korean, I fully understand the demographic revolution that is sweeping this country. The difference is that the masked men hate it, while there are those like myself, who look to it hopefully. It will be difficult to demonise “others” if your brother-in-law, granddaughter, or cousin is of their ethnic derivation.

    We are going through a difficult transition and will continue to see much pain inflicted on these animals, but we may take heart in knowing that this too, will pass.

    • Nancy says:

      Thanks Ken. Good thoughts, good words.

    • Ida Lupine says:

      But why does the Administration let it go on? They were also a party to it for political gain. I don’t understand, and I’m not convinced it will pass or that the wolves should be sacrificed for human issues, a living thing that has nothing to do with our problems. It should be stopped by rational people, whatever the reason for it.

      • Ida Lupine says:

        Removing protections for the lower 48, and the Southwest already champing at the bit to remove protections for the Mexican wolf! There is no compromise by the anti’s, and our government goes right along with it. It’s more than simply race, and it should be stopped and not a considered an acceptable trade-off.

    • Jeff N. says:

      Nice post Ken…..the symbolism is certainly something that makes one contemplate and accept what you have stated.

      • Ida Lupine says:

        I think we give them too much credit. Symbolism may be a part of it, but what I see is they see themselves as rebels against government. Face masks aren’t always for the KKK. Whatever the reasons, wolves shouldn’t be a pawn in human race relations. Our government leadership should be leaders, and should step up and put a stop to it, especially if it is hate crime by proxy.

        • Jeff N. says:

          Agreed. The wolf certainly doesn’t just serve as a pawn in race relations. It may represent their every fear all wrapped up in one….race, government, shrinking employment opportunities, declining rural lifestyle based on what they have accepted as such….on and on. I certainly do not know what the driving force is.

          I can speculate.

          • Ida Lupine says:

            I know, I’m sure for some that is part of it – but these people have been pissed about the wolf reintroduction for decades, and have tried very hard to get them delisted again, long before our present Administration and economic recession. It seems to be a local thing, due to ranching? Everywhere else, people don’t know and could care less about wolves and wildlife. I don’t know which is more harmful.

            I expected it there, but was shocked at the Great Lakes, because I had read how MN was ‘so proud’ of their wolves and it seemed to be used as a selling point for tourism. Hypocrites.

            Here on the East Coast, where it’s more urban and paid less attention to, our wildlands are coming back and wildlife too. That’s why when I hear ‘out of sight, out of mind’ as being harmful, on the contrary, it sometimes allows wildlife to flourish.

          • jon says:

            As Tom Vilsack said, rural America is becoming less relevant and these people know it. They are scared to death of it.

    • jon says:

      Those masked men hate it because they are extremists. They represent the fringe minority and they cannot stand that the world is changing and it is changing in a way that these sick extremists don’t like. I will guarantee you that the psychopaths in this picture are most likely conservative, most likely support the tea party, and they hate the federal government. To them, the wolf is the federal government. These “sportsmen” have more in common with the KKK than one would think. No one can deny there is a group of sportsmen out there that have a deep deep hatred of natural predators like wolves, coyotes, etc. You see these type of sick people posting on all of the anti-wolf fb pages or websites you come across. People need to let the public know about these sick vile right wing extremists.

  22. Mareks Vilkins says:

    I can add that such sentiments are shared in Europe as well – for example, in Latvia hunters are screaming about liberal European headquarters in Brussells and conspiracy against Latvian hunters by protecting wolves and lynxes who will empty our forests from any elk and deer

    nevermind that ungulate populations are increasing for the last 15 years and now reaching theyr carrying capacity

    and one doesn’t know to laugh or cry when true believers are publicly threatening to start ‘rebellion’ and to kill wolves illegally

    I even stopped to read Russian classics like Tolstoy or Dostoyevsky – it’s enough to listen hunters’ sermon to get some insight about human psychology

  23. Wolfy says:

    The Bubbas in the picture are the shock troops of the Redneck National Coalition (RNC). It’s a volley in the real revolution-the redneck revolution – a conscience effort to dumb-down Americans to become good consumers by getting hooked on NASCAR, shopping at Wal-Mart, and believe in radical politics. I believe that high-fructose corn syrup has something to do with it. The Bubbas are taking over. They run the government from DC right down to the county council.

  24. Mareks Vilkins says:

    What are we to make of the masked, American flag holding, Wyoming wolf killers?

    as Wildlife agencies are short on federal dollars for wolf monitoring then to reduce their vulnerability to political and economical pressures at state level long-term improvement would be to collect substantial amount of money from non-hunter community … financial independence will allow wildlife managers to resist extremist pressures

  25. James says:

    I have never posted here or anywhere else with regard to wilderness advocacy. However,the vile symbolism associated with dead wolves, masks and american flags denigrates a geography and ecosystem that is powerful and rejuvenating to many such as myself. Like Dr. Maughan, many of my travels for the last 33 years have involved the Bridger-Teton, Jackson, and Yellowstone area. My first visit was in 1980 with a month excursion into the upper Thorofare, Yellowstone, etc. In 1983, while camping at Bridger Lake, the ranger at Hawk’s Nest insisted that he heard the howls of wolves the previous winter while on assignment to shovel snow from the roof of the patrol cabin. I have rarely missed a yearly visit since, often visting three or more times per year.

    I am offended by the photograph which, in my mind, associates a spectacular wilderness area with racist tactics, ecological ignorance and right wing politics. As Dr. Fischman states the image communicates, ultimately, the rage of powerlessness with the dead wolf as the symbolic scapegoat. The analogy that comes to mind is that of a healthy pedestrian in a cross-walk purposefully strolling slowly to frustrate traffic. That’s all they have by way of power.

    Wolves, Elk, Mule Deer, wolverines, red squirrels, etc. could care less about about ideology or politics. The mountains, rivers, creeks, willows, Lodge pole pine, etc. are indifferent to masks, flags and hate.

    What matters, in a meta sense, is a functioning ecosystem that does not recognize the arbitrary boundaries of just YNP. Remove the salt licks (created intentionally by some outfitters) south of Yellowstone used to draw Elk from YNP and shoot them. I have seen these licks. Stop the indiscriminate slaughter of Grizzly Bears on gut piles associated with those kills. Stop killing wolves and other predators merely to accommodate ego, masculinity, fear, and bar stool ungulate management.

    Bullets have killed far more humans and children then bears or wolves in North America.

    Here is an idea: Why not purchase the big game allotments associated with the hunting outfits and/or book the hunts – and, then do not hunt. Follow the African paradigm of recruiting local hunters to be the protectors of wildlife. Create economic incentives to preserve instead of destroy. Photograph. Write. Meditate. Make art. September and October are awesome times to visit the area and ponder. Can you imagine a better writer’s workshop location than that of the confluence of Open Creek and the Thorofare River in September? I cannot.

    The local economy would benefit from an alternative revenue stream and OUR collective ecosystem would be protected. Though I cannot afford a “big game hunt,” I could, like many, chip in to dispose of one.

    These are just a few ideas. I apologize in advance for my ignorance on how hunting territory is allocated to permit holders. Can you purchase them? Is there a bidding process, etc.? Also, I do recognize that there are ethical hunters and outfitters that utilize the area, to you folks I apologize for this rant. Nevertheless, the image is such an affront to the idea of this region that rant I must.


    • Ida Lupine says:

      What a beautiful post – spot on and no need for apologies. Thank you.

    • Kayla says:

      James, Great Post! now loved what you say. And like you have been going into this Thorofare Country for years, since 1982.

    • This general theme has been discussed before, but some outfitters strongly dispute that wolves are even a significant issue in their hunting success — at least when addressing an audience of potential customers. Regarding the Thorofare (and Open Creek specifically – mentioned above by James), Jay M. Reynolds of Open Creek Outfitters in Cody complained in this month’s Fur-Fish-Game:

      “I was disheartened by the article “Elk Hunting with Wolves” in the September issue. To quote Judd Cooney: “. . . outfitters who operated for years on high-country migration routes such as the Thorofare are out of business . . . “
      Well, I am one of those outfitters, and the last few seasons have been some of our best. Our top bull last year scored 402-2/8; our average for 35 hunters was 325. Our success rate was 85-90 percent.
      In 12 years, I have yet to see a wolf and have only heard them howl half a dozen times . . . .”

      His website carries the same theme ”We are just completing our ninth season and the hunting just seems to be getting better and better.”

      85-90 percent success is about as high as I can imagine, given that some hunters can’t shoot well, some can’t walk 10 minutes up a moderate slope at 8,500 feet, and some just have a spell of bad luck. I would think that half that success rate would rate as quality elk hunting in an area where people should focus first on the wilderness adventure. If you value commodity over adventure, spend the same money or less for a hunt on a private ranch bordering agriculture. Otherwise, treasure every day you got to hunt in the wilderness instead of sitting in camp (or departed early) with your tag filled. If there is too much crowding and competition among outfitters to maintain a quality experience and reasonable impact – then I agree a way should be found to retire some wilderness use permits.

  26. Kayla says:

    This photo is pathetic!!! This photo and attitude is Pathetic in my opinion! One can be against wolves but to stoop to this low of behavior is beyond excuse in my opinion!

    Now I have hiked back into this Thorofare Country for years. Now most of the outfitters I have met thru the years have been good people and they have treated me well. Some like Len Madsen (Yellowstone Outfitters) and John Winters (Two Ocean Pass Outfitters) are fine people. Now do know a little on these folks. They are Colby and Codi Gines out of Cody and a few years ago bought Ron Dubee Outfitter Camp up in Mountain Creek in the Teton Wilderness. I have never met the Gines so do not know who they are.

    But if this is there attitude, guess the days are over for me hiking in this country without any sort of gun or persona protection. Guess now will have to carry a gun sidearm for my own protection since I always hike by myself. And it won’t be for the wolves or grizzlies that I need protection from. But the protection that I will need is from these sort of people. This photos just gives me the creeps to no end. Despicable!!!

  27. WM says:

    Years ago, a Canadian communications futurist by the name of Marshall McKluen coined the phrase,”The medium is the message….”

    This was long before the internet. But his theories serve as a framework for analyzing the context of the internet posting of crap like this, especially on social media and themed websites. It’s got shock value, like so much of what we see and read on the internet; it tends to draw you in with raw emotion. It is also instantaneous. Within hours -even minutes- this photo became available to hundreds of thousands of people (millions?), it has generated knee jerk (I and I do mean jerk in a literary and figurative sense in several instances) responses. It also has staying power from instant re-publication capability, and nominal probability of being able to delete it completely from circulation. It lives on.

    Suffice it to say, these guys accomplished what they wanted. Got a message out, whether you agree/disagree with alternative interpretations of it or not.

    My take: Given where it appears to have originated, it is a simple message of, “This is America (their narrow interpretation influenced by where they live and you most likely don’t), and this is what we think of your federal wolves!”

    OK, so there are the flour bags/t-shirt scraps with eye hole masks. BFD.

    I also think it is young guys. Why? Well, if you look closely at the profile of each guy, with one exception they have square shoulders, and thin legs. Then there are the guys kneeling in the snow. A couple are wearing Stormy Kromer hats (recently popular with the young guys in the West, though more generally appealing to a broader age group in the Midwest). Not exactly what you would expect from the over 25 or 30 crowd. And if one examines the gun each is holding, you will see it is quite an assortment, and probably not the high end stuff. Each is of a completely different type – only one high power rifle with scope (the one most likely to take a wolf and the others not so much), single shot and a pump shotguns, a saddle gun, revolver, and maybe a .22 rifle or even a pellet gun. All this was likely taken on an impromptu basis for some kid’s gun closet (age 17-25), when one idiot likely said, “Let’s make a political statement with this wolf.”

    Had a long talk with one of my cop friends a detective, who has past experience with small communities and rural types. He says this would be just the kind of things a bunch of younger guys with time on their hands would do – it fits his profile assessment as a law enforcement type. That’s not to say there couldn’t be an older guy in the group, who has the same juvenile personality traits (chronological age is not always a fixed marker for behavior, according to him, and that guy(s) is probably a follower).

    It never ceases to amaze me how some here can instantaneously go to deep, dark places from times past, psychologically with just a few indicia. It strikes me this is because they WANT it to be this kind of thing, because it serves their own agenda, and would be disappointed if it was not.

    The medium is the message.

    • Immer Treue says:


      Well stated.

      Yet, during the Times in which we live, with social media as it is, one might expect what next? When does the ‘tipping point’ come into play? Who may try to outdo this “prank”.

      No good comes from it other than perhaps a few chuckles from those who are in the pictures. Do Rural denizens take pride I’m plinking road and DNR signs. When alcohol gets involved, things can get ugly pretty fast.

      In attached story about the ‘Ely 6’ there is a rumor a Chicago cop, who was packing, was among those harassed. Story has it he had gun out and would have used it, but he didn’t know how many fools were out there and did not want to jeopardize others.

      This happened a while ago, but the feelings continue to fester up here. Times change, yet there are those who continue to scratch at scans.

      • Immer Treue says:

        Scratch at scabs. Can’t blame that one on Bushmills.

      • Louise Kane says:

        But its not just scratching at scabs, wolves are under constant assault and are being managed by states that allow the hate against them to fester and boil. instead of acting responsibly as public trust management agency the agencies themselves become complicit in the dirty treatment of wolves. This photo is traumatizing to me because it illustrates that anything goes in states like Wyoming, Idaho, Montana and Wisconsin and that the lack of laws to protect wolves emboldens some and its getting worse not better. If that image were of a dog those people would be serving jail time. The sentiment behind it, I think, is less FU than it is they think they are national heroes committing some worthy act. The wildlife agencies that ignore the multitude of these kinds of images are ignoring a trend in wolf killing, its gratuitous violence accompanied by a sense of entitlement by ignorant, hateful cruel people. No wildlife should have to live under the threat these people present. I was sent another image last night of a gut shot wolf with the tag red belly on it. The states should not be entrusted with wolf or carnivore management , in my opinion.

        • Immer Treue says:


          I agree with what most of what you have to say. Other than coyotes and prairie dogs, (one could throw in raccoons and skunks) few other mammals get the “goon” treatment.

          We can “yodel” all we want. In terms of this particular thread, the hooded boys did nothing illegal. Tasteless, but not illegal.

          Wolves were to be hunted and trapped all along. It is legal. Pictures such as the one in this thread, gone viral, do not help hunters, but is not illegal.

          I’d be much more concerned about the lint-for-brains who advocate the use of poison. If is a big word, but if one of those individuals could be caught in the act…

        • Ida Lupine says:

          Louise, here’s to one less degenerate criminal roaming free:

          An absolutely nauseating case of human cruelty:

    • Nancy says:

      “I also think it is young guys”

      WM – in the above article Ralph posted a link (Sorry but, Wolf Slaughter is not American) and on that link this outfitter is named as the one that posted that picture on their Facebook page:

      when you click on that Facebook page now, this is what you get:

      “The page you requested cannot be displayed right now. It may be temporarily unavailable, the link you clicked on may have expired, or you may not have permission to view this page”

      When you click on the outfitter’s page, lots of shining examples of past hunts come up (dead elk, deer, sheep etc.) but no mention of wolf hunts even though the area they offer to hunt, is within a few hundred yards of YNP. (read the Author’s Journal on the webpage)

      My guess would be – don’t want to offend or run off, those summer clients ($$) that make up a good part of business who come to view, not shoot, the wildlife 🙂

      While you’re on their website, look thru their photo gallery. A clearing, with the pack train lined up at base camp. Look familiar?

      And hats. See a few that fit, on heads that are young guys. The one that really stood out, in both shots, belonged to the guy, just behind the dead wolf holder – had a hat and then an orange, knit beanie on top of his hat.

      Bet they shot and brought a dead wolf in and then after a “few” around the campfire, decided to make a bizarre, statement the next morning about how things had gotten in that part of the state.

  28. snaildarter says:

    Federal wolves? Sorry I’m not giving you that mis-characterization. Wolves are part of America’s heritage. We should be proud they have been restored to their rightful place in the Northern Rockies Eco-system. And they were restored by citizens who petitioned their Government to correct one of its transgressions. Exterminating them was bad science and primitive thinking; Thank god a more enlightened Government listened to the majority of Americans who like wolves.

    • WM says:


      Federal wolves – Absolutely. It is not a mis-characterization at all. That is precisely what they are by virtue of intervening federal legislation, the ESA (the listing > reintroduction and delisting dance is the mechanism by which they are federal wolves with continuing federal oversight). You may think mine is a subtle distinction, but I assure you under federal law it is not.

      Do remember not having wolves in some areas of the Country was largely the product of federal control programs, as in past Congresses passed laws and funded agencies to remove them, including removing them from Yellowstone NP. So, lack of wolves is ALSO part of America’s heritage, sanctioned by the federal government, noless. Not a very good legacy as some of us view it, but nonetheless part of our history as a sovereign country of states united under a central government. The federal government has done about-face turn-arounds on lots of topics over the years. That was what the ESA is all about, a turn-around.

      We have written a lot here about the ESA and how it works -or doesn’t- as well who “owns and/or manages” the wildlife within a state’s boundaries (including on federal lands, and the potential implications of the SCOTUS Kleppe v. NM court decision in 1976).

      The core NRM states would argue but for the federal wolf reintroduction in 1995 under the ESA non-essential experimental wolf reintroduction program under Section 10(j) of the lse, they would not have or tolerate wolves on private, state and some federal lands over which they have management authority (everything except certain types of reserves where they are specifically protected, such as national parks or some wildlife refuges and maybe even DOD facilities).

      Just playing devil’s advocate here, but can you name any state in the West or elsewhere that has wolves and has stated policy it WANTS more (as opposed to saying we will manage them when they come under the ESA or applicable state endangered species law), or name a state that doesn’t have them and is aggressively saying we WANT them to repopulate or be reintroduced? I didn’t think so.

      Like it or not, wolves are a political hot potato and politicians at the state level are avoiding the topic like the plague, unless they have a clear voter base to play to. And so are some Congressional types. “[R}estoration to their rightful place” as you suggest, may be a scientific basis to argue, but it is a rather subjective political statement.

      It seems in the short term, things are playing out even less favorable to wolves in some places than what some of us expected. When will the pendulum swing back, and why would it?

      • Louise Kane says:

        WM here is a good commentary on the cowardly ass kissing politicians and federal agencies that ignore the escalating and extremely un-american treatment of wolves.

        The pendulum must swing back because the treatment wolves receive under state laws is unconscionable and will be recognized as such.

        • Ida Lupine says:

          Great commentary. All the result of that shady backroom delisting, which set the tone. It would never have been able to pass above board, and they knew it.

        • jon says:

          Thanks for that great article. I see similarities between sportsmen who have a deep hatred of wildlife specifically predators and the KKK. Conservatives tend to be anti-government, anti-wildlife, anti-women, anti-environment, etc.

      • CodyCoyote says:

        So, the federal government was against wolves before they were for them.

        Never mind the extant wolves have been on the landscape they presently occupy for, oh , maybe 13,000 years give or take, except for about 75 years of that . An anomaly. Now corrected, somewhat…

        • WM says:

          ++ An anomaly, Now corrected somewhat….++

          Maybe, but it could be the federal government may not be “for” them so much for long, especially if the Western Governors have anything to say about wolves, the ESA and those who support the ESA and litigate against federal agencies and states in its present form.

          Query: Does that paint all the Western states (there are 17) as a bunch of “ku klux kowboys?”

          What does it say for MI, WI and MN who have all had their own “issues” with the ESA, wolves and those who litigate under the act, and where states believe they are marginalized in favor of a federal law passed in 1973 by a bunch of folks in Congress who are no longer there?

          • JB says:

            “What does it say for MI, WI and MN who have all had their own “issues” with the ESA, wolves and those who litigate under the act, and where states believe they are marginalized in favor of a federal law passed in 1973 by a bunch of folks in Congress who are no longer there?”

            I’m not entirely sure what you’re asking, WM? It seems you’re hinting at making a ‘states rights’ argument here? Are there some people that are pissed off by wolves? You bet! But the majority clearly want wolves–heck, if recent polls are to be believed the majority want them listed under the ESA. I can show you lots of farmers that don’t like deer (especially here in Ohio). What would wildlife management look like if we set management objectives for deer based upon the desires of farmers or insurance companies?

            The argument you appear to be making could come back and bite you in the a$$…

            • WM says:


              Insurance companies will do just fine with or without deer – they just raise the premium to cover the risk and still make their consistent and tidy profit. As for the farmers, who don’t like deer, if things get bad enough they can go to the state legislature or maybe even a county to present their problem and seek remedies, or even do a little self-help under the radar without breaking a federal law, it would seem. Federally listed wolves are a bit different, and when those affected ask for help some advocates get kind of pissy over any lethal assistance given by WS or a state wildlife agency. It is where the decisions are made and for whom those decisions are made that creates friction.

              What I am suggesting in the issue raised is that there is a severe disconnect between what citizens appear to say they want in polls (a populist snap shot and gut reaction to issues at a specific point in time), what they want and get at the state level as reflected in their state elected officials acting on their behalf, and what federal elected officials (Congress/Executive branch), also supposedly acting on what the citizens of their respective states, want in the form of federal laws in the interest of the United States as a country (things individual states can’t or don’t want to do on their own).

              It has been said before that, “Washington DC is 26 square miles surrounded by reality.” That statement has never been truer than today.

              The states’ rights arguments has already been made by the Western Governors (see their ESA resolution -its not working for them or apparently their respective citizens), the WGL core wolf states (see their petitions and legal briefs in the litigation with HSUS and a bunch of other advocacy groups), and a few others. I am just pointing out the obvious, that not all is in good order or in harmony in what is or would be wolf country, regardless of what polls seem to say. So how is it resolved?

              And, as Ralph has suggested before it’s not just people (or some states) being pissed off at only wolves; its a bigger issue of being pissed off at the federal government. Wolves (or maybe the ESA itself) are the symbols to attack. Some might see that in the kkwolf photo.

              Incidentally, you and I have discussed before the potential for inherent bias in polls merely by the way questions are asked, AND the failure to preface questions with adequate substantive background or proper context. So, I am always leary of poll results, including how summaries of often complicated poll questions and their results get used to frame issues and measure how people feel about them in a sentence or two by someone with a point to make.

              • JB says:

                Yikes! Too many points here for me to comment on. I’ll stick to what I believe is the core issue; you said:

                “It is where the decisions are made and for whom those decisions are made that creates friction.”

                Exactly. Problem is, there is always someone more “local” who doesn’t want X (whether it’s wolves, a power plant, public land, a mall, etc.). Essentially, the choice is between central government that can (at least theoretically) act on behalf of all citizens, and local government, that acts on the behalf of a tiny, tiny fractions of citizens. And in each of these cases the NIMBY alarm is sounded, and all sorts of hyperbolas claims are made about the atrocities that will occur if local people are subjected to perceived hazard X. Essentially, the ‘let locals decide’ choice puts the good of the few ahead of the good of the many.

                FYI: Michigan legislators represented their citizens by passing a law designed explicitly to prevent a ballot initiative that could have banned hunting of wolves, subverting democracy in favor of local desires. NIMBY appears to win even within the states.

                I wonder what will happen to hunting, wildlife, and conservation when local interests are dominated by large corporations? Oh right, never mind. 😉

              • rork says:

                Polls: “According to the poll by Marketing Resource Group and Mitchell Research and Communications, 67 percent of all voters said they would support a limited hunt of wolves if they knew that in small rural areas of the state, wolves were attacking other animals and posing a threat to people.” OCT 16th, Michigan. Sorry I can’t find exact wording of the question or real documentation. Just agreeing that polls are tricky.

                States: I’m just tired of fighting this in US courts, I’d rather depend on the citizens of my state (MI). They don’t know much, but sometimes they act reasonably.

              • JB says:


                The Mitchell poll needs to be taken in context. They asked:

                “Hunting wolves was declared against the law when they became an endangered species in Michigan several years ago. Now, however, the number of wolves has gotten large enough that claims are being made that the wolves are attacking other animals and pose a threat to people in small rural areas and should be reduced in number. With this background, do you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose, or strongly oppose legislation that would allow a limited hunting season on wolves?”

                So the item they’ve used suggested to people wolves pose a significant threat to people. Given the scenario they’ve outlined, I’m surprised they didn’t find 85% support for hunting.

                Personally, I try to avoid presenting context in our items because it’s almost impossible to present both ‘sides’ of a policy debate equally. Here’s what I would propose as a fair alternative:

                “Hunting wolves became unlawful when they were listed as an endangered species in Michigan in the 1960s. Over the past 4 decades the number of wolves increased to the point that they were removed from endangered species protection, and potentially could be hunted again. Supporters of wolf hunting claim that wolves are attacking other animals, pose a threat to people in small rural areas and should be reduced in number. Opponents of wolf hunting counter that no one has been injured by a wolf in Michigan, attacks on animals are few, and hunting is not an effective means for reducing conflicts. With this background, do you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose, or strongly oppose allowing a hunting season on wolves in Michigan?”

                In practice, most of us who are actually interested in representing the public’s beliefs (as opposed to distorting or swaying them) us context-free items. To give you an idea of what these might look like, a colleague and I used standard attitudinal measures to assess attitudes toward endangered species restoration and attitude toward wolf restoration back in 2009. We also asked about respondents whether, if given the choice, they would vote in favor of wolf restoration.

                responded to two statements (i.e., “Protecting wildlife in danger of extinction is . . .” and
                “The restoration of wolves to portions of their historic range is . . .”). Answers were recorded on seven-point, bi-polar scales (i.e., good–bad, beneficial–harmful, wise–foolish). We averaged across the three items to derive a single attitude score from one (favorable) to seven (unfavorable). To assess voting preferences, subjects indicated their level of agreement from one (strongly agree) to seven (strongly disagree) with the statement: “If given the opportunity I would vote for the restoration of wolves to portions of their historical range.”

                Though our sample sizes were small, we found 83% were favorable, 8% unfavorable to endangered species restoration generally, and 67% were favorable (15% unfavorable) to wolf restoration. 57% expressed an intention to vote for wolf restoration if given the option (15% said they would vote against wolf restoration). So at a 95% confidence level, 66-48% would vote in support of wolf restoration, while 6-24% would vote to oppose wolf restoration. In 2009.

              • JB says:

                Sorry, forgot the citation:

                Wilson, R. S., and J. T. Bruskotter. 2009. Assessing the Impact of Decision Frame and Existing Attitudes on Support for Wolf Restoration in the United States. Human Dimensions of Wildlife 14 (5):353-365.

              • rork says:

                Even from the few words I showed I was trying to say that it depends on how you ask the question, and the way they were asking it was designed to get the results they wanted. I agree I could get a fairly high “no hunt” response rate if I got to provide background of a certain kind like your example, but also adding other details. I didn’t want to be too long-winded, or do too much to break up the very interesting JB/WM dialog.

                PS:This poll is being used by some to try to support PA21. The tactic now seems to be to paint Michigan PA 21 as saying wolves can be hunted, when the word wolf probably doesn’t even appear in it. Here’s my poll question about PA21:
                Do you agree that the Natural Resources Commission, an appointed committee, should have the power to create hunting seasons for species, and citizens should not be able to override their decision by ballot initiative, as they can for most laws?
                I think I’d get less yeses, and I didn’t even put much spin in there.

              • JB says:

                “Do you agree that the Natural Resources Commission, an appointed committee, should have the power to create hunting seasons for species, and citizens should not be able to override their decision by ballot initiative, as they can for most laws?
                I think I’d get less yeses, and I didn’t even put much spin in there.”

                No doubt.

  29. snaildarter says:

    I’d love to say that States could handle it, but they have never done a good job. Special interests are much worse at the local level. States failed to manage pollution, water, wildlife management, even preserving individual rights without Federal guidance. There would be no National Parks, no wildlife, no fish, rivers would be so polluted they would catch on fire (like the Cuyahoga in 1968); we’d probably still have slavery. Wolves belong to all Americans not just a few extremist in the northern Rockies. I have nothing against sustainable hunting of wolves, but I cherish the complete eco-system that flourishes and I want it to remain intact.

  30. Ralph Maughan says:

    This has been a good discussion (above) about polls and the accurate measurement of public opinion.

    I just want to add that no single question, no matter how carefully crafted and pre-tested can tell us all we want or need to know about opinion on some issue, policy, belief, etc.

    Multiple questions not only bring out details, but they often show real contradictions that exist in the aggregate of opinion.

    A classic contradiction is the tendency to say the government spends too much money. However, if you take government spending category by category and ask if the amount of spending is “about right,” “too much,” or “not enough,” those who opt for not enough or about right, far outweigh those who say “too much,” with a few exceptions such as foreign aid.

    This is a real contradiction, not some artifact created in the measuring of the opinions. Most major politicians are well aware of this contradiction. Hence Republicans usually talk about the enormous and outrageous amount the government(s) spends in general. Democrats, on the other hand, tend to speak of the pathetically small amount spent for science; disease research, prevention and control; education, controlling pollution, safe food and water, etc.

    • Nancie Mccormish says:

      Ralph, maybe a “duh” question here, but aren’t polls inherently skewed to the portion of “the public” who can actually read and comprehend them? There are increasing segments of our society who cannot do either (and who don’t vote) so how could a poll be construed to be a fair representation of “the public” without them? Just askin’

  31. Mareks Vilkins says:

    The main issue is not how many wolves (%) are killed in that KKK-style performance, but the actual quota size / trend and that is determined by:

    1) wildlife agency’s funding sources
    2) livestock industry
    3) hunter / outfitter lobby
    4) decision-making process itself (whether it is open, transparent, fair (in short, is it democratic) – or not)

    To make tempest in a teapot out of this KKK-style incident is only showing how demoralized are wolf-advocacy groups or maybe it shows that majority members of wolf-groups are women who are both sensitive and overreacting to individual cases of yokel violence

    next time just ask JEFF E how to handle those yokels, ok?

  32. Ida Lupine says:

    Yes, there’s got to be a better way than those inhumane roundups and holding pens by the BLM. Wild horses are part of our heritage and I would never not want to see them, and would never support removing them permanently.

    One great take-away I got from Ms. Jewell’s talk was the restoring of wetlands project, got to be a good thing for people, the economy, mitigating the effects of storms and protection from them, and wildlife most of all:

    • rork says:

      Part of our heritage is what the guys trapping bobcat and running dogs on bears say near me. It’s versatile. Atrocities against several species and ethnicities and other nations are our heritage too. I’d supply tons more snark but I’m off-topic. Let’s wait for the next horse article.

      • Ida Lupine says:

        Don’t waste your keystrokes.

        How horses have contributed to the advancement of human civilization everywhere is in a class by itself.

        • SaveBears says:


          Many things in our life can be applied to your statement, it does not mean they belong.

          • Ida Lupine says:

            I do think it means we should treat them with respect, not throw them away when we have no more use for them. It doesn’t show positive human traits, if you ask me.

            • JB says:

              Ida: Many people think that horses are being given a fair bit more “respect” than they deserve. Certainly, their treatment is far, far better than most non-native, feral animals (pigs, for example).

              • Ida Lupine says:

                Many people comment, I am sure, but it doesn’t make them correct.

                Horses have been and are companion animals, as well as provided farm labor, transportation, fought in our stupid wars. Where would we be without them. They are in a class by themselves, but I would say that all animals are worthy of respectful, humane treatment.

                It’s rather illogical to say that horses are a non-native species damaging the land when we’ve got cattle and other non-native species of animals and plants that we plan to keep, that do even more damage. And the biggest cause of damage to land is us, and we’ll keep expanding our numbers and raising more cattle and feed, and other crops. Removing horses from the landscape isn’t going to change anything at all – except to clear the way for more cattle and energy exploration.

              • JB says:

                “It’s rather illogical to say that horses are a non-native species damaging the land when we’ve got cattle and other non-native species of animals and plants that we plan to keep, that do even more damage.”

                It’s not illogical at all. Certainly it is hypocritical for someone who supports public lands ranching to complain about damage of horses. But damage is damage–it is perfectly logical to point out all sources of damage to the environment when one has an interest in correcting them.

                Also recall that some of these animals (no one really knows how many) have simply been ‘turned loose’ by irresponsible owners. Now we citizens (via the BLM) are being asked to foot the bill for their lack of responsibility.

                And we could humanely slaughter these animals, except well-meaning animal rights activists are getting in the way.

              • SaveBears says:

                Ida, why do you think it is illogical? The science is there to show, these are not native species.

          • Nancie Mccormish says:

            SB, the science IS there that proves horses are native to the Americas… this is not credibly disputed. The arguments continue over whether or if they went completely extinct here and were reintroduced, and how much or if that is even a relevant question.

            Bison have less nativity claim than do horses on this continent, and cattle apparently none. Eradicating a native species here to protect an invasive one is contrary to your own argument.

            The folks who have turned domestic horses loose should not have, but that doesn’t change the situation for those legitimately protected by federal law on public lands. Some percentage of them will certainly be geldings anyway, and none will be well equipped to deal with any predators, should the ecosystem be so blessed.

            • Chris Harbin says:

              Eohippus (from Greek meaning “dawn horse”) was one of the first members of the horse family and lived in North America in the early Eocene which was about 50 million years ago. Over time, the number of horse species in North America declined to the point that there was only one specie left around the Pleistocene Period. After that. the horse family disappeared from North America.

            • Chris Harbin says:

              Eohippus (from Greek meaning “dawn horse”) was one of the first members of the horse family and lived in North America in the early Eocene which was about 50 million years ago. Over time, the number of horse species in North America declined to the point that there was only one specie left around the Pleistocene Period. After that. the horse family disappeared from North America.

              • Nancie Mccormish says:

                Chris, there is peer-reviewed science (PNAS) verifying horse DNA on this continent less than 10,000 years ago, and at least a dozen fossils have been radiocarbon dated to the post-Pleistocene/pre-Columbian era. If you investigate the clades of horse evolution it will be worth a look, the dawn horse was only one variant.

            • SaveBears says:

              No Nancie,

              The science is not there to prove the current species of horse in N. America is indigenous, these are not native horses.

            • rork says:

              Bison less native than imported horses? Bwahahaha.
              You think folks here want no feral horses cause we want to benefit cows? Funny, were it not disingenuous.
              “legitimately protected” – we know there is a law – a bad law. Popularity is not the measure of smart. It was popular to poison wolves near me 60 years ago, we had bounties. It was the law.

              OK, I tried to hint this was off-topic, and now promise to quit – unless someone again wants to discuss horse affects on fire regime or cheat grass, which might be mildly on-topic.

              • Ida Lupine says:

                Oh you’re amusing – cheat grass? How did it get here?

              • Ida Lupine says:

                <a href=Wild Horses Eating Cheatgrass – A Wildfire Mitigation Study

                “I think this type of study could provide important information on mitigating the available fuels that contribute to the dangerous and destructive wildfires that ravage our lands, and might find our wild horses are more than icons of the West. They may be a natural, widely available, and economical fire brigade.”

                Is this what you mean, Rork?

              • rork says:

                could, might, may.

                PS: I pointed to an actual science article earlier in the thread. The original off-topic poster got in via a cheat grass avenue, if you’ll recall.

        • rork says:

          Ida: Your arguments about horses being important are fine, but they don’t really refer to why we need feral ones. Dogs are important too. Do you advocate we protect feral dogs?
          There are millions of horses in North America. They aren’t going to disappear. People own them.

          Sorry to try and apply logic, knowing of your inabilities.

          • Ida Lupine says:

            The The Free Roaming Wild Horses and Burros Act of 1971 has been challenged numerous times in courts up to the level of the Supreme Court, and has been upheld in all instances. source: Wikipedia

            Read it and weep, pal –

            As many fall back on here to support their arguments’ “it’s legal”.

            • rork says:

              Legal means legal. It does not imply good. Get it?

              Your reply to my comment ignored my comment completely.

              • Ida Lupine says:

                Sorry, I don’t mean to come off as sounding so harsh. These are things I feel very strongly about.

  33. JB says:

    Here’s noted wildlife photographer (and wildlife biologist) Tom Mangelesen’s take on a similar incident that unfolded in Jackson Hole earlier this year.

    Tom’s take: this is an act of hate, and not hunting.

    • Nancy says:

      I totally agree with Tom. +1

      • SaveBears says:

        Sure you do, because, what Tom has posted is never going to make a difference.

        • Ralph Maughan says:


          You are probably right, but Tom has friends. His piece has been emailed all over the place.

          Multiply that and political power develops.

          In fact everyone has friends and so they have at least some potential power. The trick is to get them to believe it. Instilling the belief that they can do something — politicization — is how things can be changed in the Interior West.

          • JB says:

            Ralph’s right. In lieu of formal sanctions (i.e., laws, regulations) that demand certain behavior, social norms act to guide people’s behavior. Social norms are shaped by informal “sanctions” (e.g., a dirty look, or letter to the editor) that are meant to dissuade such behavior in the future. (Same way your mom used to give you dirty looks when you did something that annoyed her, but wasn’t quite deserving of a formal reprimand).

            The problem, in this case, is that in addition to the dirty looks and outrage expressed in the media, I’m sure this guy is getting lots of kudos from his peers, which may serve to reinforce his poor behavior (because he’s being rewarded by his ‘in-group’).

            • Ralph Maughan says:


              I should add that Tom Mangelsen too is getting a lot of support for his letter to the Jackson Hole News.

              The antis are better organized in the Rocky Mountain West than the pros, so there is more potential room for pro-carnivore mobilization. The rules are also rigged against moderates in Red states by nomination in a party convention (Utah) or a closed (Republicans only) primary election in Idaho and most other states.

              Closed primaries in non-competitive states (Red or Blue) gives a real opening for extremists.

              Adoption of a non-partisan primary election such as Washington State has could restore some moderation to the Republican Party.

              • Ralph Maughan says:

                The Lewiston (Idaho) Tribune has an excellent editorial about how the closed primary election promotes Idaho extremism and policy that hurts the objective interests of Idahoans.

                Most citizens never think about the importance of the kind of primary election in producing extremist or moderate candidates, but the Tea Party certainly understands it to their great advantage.

                Lewiston Tribune

              • JB says:


                This is why most of my friends in the West register as Republicans and then donate to the Democratic, Green or Independent parties. The only way to have an impact on the election in a one party system is to be part of The Party.

          • SaveBears says:


            I know Tom has friends, including myself, I have known Tom for over 40 years, enjoyed many a dinner with him, which is why I posted the message I did!

            • SaveBears says:

              Folks, we all have outrage and we all have opinions, but god damn it, we are not doing enough, editorials and posts on this blog is not doing one god damn thing, when you get that through your minds, then perhaps we can move forward!


              • JB says:


                I don’t consider posting on this blog a form of activism; it isn’t intended to have any effect (short of intellectual stimulation, learning, and picking up a shared sense of what is going on). However, writing well-thought out letters such as Tom’s is a form of activism that can sway opinion–especially when it comes from someone who is respected (like, Tom).
                I don’t think anyone is suggesting that people should do less…?

              • SaveBears says:


                Posting on this blog is just as much activism as any in this country. Problem is, this blog in the whole scope of things has a very small audience.

              • JB says:

                SB: You have to be the most disagreeable, cantankerous person I have every interacted with. Even when I try to agree with you, I’m corrected! Okay Brother SB, give us the sermon. Tell me, what should I be doing with my time so that we can move forward?!

              • SaveBears says:


                Yes, I am disagreeable, cantankerous person and my point is, you all bitch here every single day, but you are doing nothing to change what you are bitching about! JB,

                I spent 4 hours today in a meeting with my state representative talking about wildlife issues, including wolves, what did you do today?

              • JB says:

                “…you all bitch here every single day, but you are doing nothing to change what you are bitching about!…I spent 4 hours today in a meeting with my state representative talking about wildlife issues, including wolves, what did you do today?”

                A pissing match? Really? Well, I’m pretty sure you have very little idea what I do with my free time. If you did, you’d know that I recently spent 2 days meeting with FWS officials, other scientists and representatives of a few NGOs regarding recovery efforts of a particular large carnivore.

                But you’re completely changing the context of this argument. I wasn’t “bitching” at all. I simply posted an op ed by Tom Mangelesen and provided a relevant quote that speaks to an issue we’ve discussed here before. You then went off on Nancy for simply agreeing with Tom, and opined that, quote: what Tom has posted is never going to make a difference.

                Now you’re lashing out at everyone, telling them they aren’t doing enough to advocate, and they should stop bitching, and anyway it won’t make a difference, etc., ad nauseum. What’s up, man? Did someone piss in your coffee?

              • Jeff N. says:


                Who was the meeting with? What group, agency, etc….? Who attended besides yourself?

              • Louise Kane says:

                SB I agree with you that people don’t do enough but the assumptions you are making about what some people do with their time are incorrect, at least from my knowledge of several people who post here including myself. And the editorial that JB posted was written by a very well respected photographer who is also an advocate and I am betting it will be one in a series of actions that will actually have some lasting impression. It was very well written and speaks to the issue of the misplaced vigilante-like vengeance that has been unleashed and directed at wolves. A particularly strong and valid reason why state management of wolves is not working and should be retracted. Not enough has been done to protect wild predators from outdated, incorrect, and ecologically and economically disasterous policies.

            • Jeff N. says:


              In all seriousness. If in fact you spent 4 hours in that meeting tell us what the subject matter was and what did you advocate….. And what was your takeaway.

              • SaveBears says:


                We were discussing Bison issues and how to go about allowing them to roam free in certain areas of Montana. we are working to try and get it brought up again the next time our legislature meets.

              • Elk375 says:

                Save Bears

                You must have been talking to Arnold Dood, he is in charge of developing free ranging bison herds.

        • SAP says:

          Really? It won’t make a difference?

          To me, these incidents tie in with the question of a legal minimum standard of behavior, versus a higher standard of behavior. Sure, it’s perfectly legal to strap a dead bloody wolf onto your SUV and park on the town square. But why do it?

          Things that are legal that you probably ought not do:

          1) Use racial epithets.
          2) Date teenagers (age of consent varies from 16 to 18).
          3) Carry firearms in the grocery store (actually saw a guy open-carrying in a bar here the other night, which it turns out is illegal)
          4) Drink right up to the brink of the legal limit, then drive.
          5) Shoot your neighbors’ dog for some minor infraction.
          and so on . . . up to and including parking a dead wolf on the town square, then acting dumb about it.

          So, how, short of speaking up when people do things that are legal but really substandard, do we convey that someone has crossed the line? It’s certainly preferable to the societal unraveling that happens with vigilantism, even if the vigilantism is a more satisfying fantasy than writing a guest column.

          • SaveBears says:


            There are lines in the sand in this country, we as a people have defined those lines and many these days are trying to blur those lines, you can’t have it both ways.

            Many of you need to realize, there is never going to be a perfect world.

            • Kathleen says:

              “There are lines in the sand in this country, we as a people have defined those lines and many these days are trying to blur those lines, you can’t have it both ways.

              “Many of you need to realize, there is never going to be a perfect world.”

              When I was growing up, one “line in the sand” that “we” had agreed upon was that blacks and whites have their own separate drinking fountains. Another was that girls didn’t play sports in school and couldn’t join Little League. A more recent line in the sand (now being blurred) is that same sex people can’t marry each other.

              “We as a people” didn’t define those lines–the ones holding the power did: whites, males, heterosexuals. Where speciesism is concerned, it’s humans who define the lines for animals, and the humans who hold the power are almost always the exploiters. Animals can’t “blur the lines,” so animal activists have to do it for them.

              We certainly don’t need to be schooled that “there is never going to be a perfect world,” but neither do we have to accept injustice simply because a line was drawn in the sand by the group that benefits from the outcome. So here’s to all you line blurrers!

              • Nancy says:

                + 1 Kathleen!

                And before you get to huffy with an answer SB, unless you woke up with your state rep in bed next to you yesterday morning, the timeline of your posts, throughout the day, including this one:

                “you all bitch here every single day, but you are doing nothing to change what you are bitching about!…I spent 4 hours today in a meeting with my state representative talking about wildlife issues, including wolves, what did you do today?”

                (oh and by the way, I made Taco Nacho Soup:)

                don’t seem to jive with a 4 hour meeting. Course you could of been half ass listening to the rep and posting on an IPhone at the same time 🙂

              • Jeff N. says:

                Bingo Nancy. As I’ve tried to point out on numerous occasions:

                Save Bears = Phony

              • Nancy says:

                Jeff N – wasn’t looking for a bingo.

                Guessing SB is about my age but, with a hell of a lot more experience when it comes to dealing with local government on issues that concern many of us here.

                If he’s as passionate and concerned, as many of us here are about wildlife, then I’d like to know how his being a veteran (on more than one front) would benefit those of us, wanting to bring about change.

              • Immer Treue says:

                Jeff N,

                If only we could spend some time in the shoes/boots of another prior to casting aspersions, eh?

              • WM says:

                Jeff N.,

                Regarding your earlier exchange with SB as follows:

                ++ In my previous encounter with SB he claimed that the majority of 18-19 year olds are “killers”. Dude is way are out there. ++

                For starters, it’s often important to look to the context of a comment, especially from someone who has offered opinions (and facts too) here, for sometime, as SB has. I don’t think he is a phony, even with some comments I question, or tend not to agree with. I also don’t think you took his comment properly.

                I sense you were just looking for a rumble, more than anything else. So, I’ll sling a little back at you, “dude.”

                Here is another of your smartass comments: ++Ok…[SB] thanks for the refresher of when we are legally considered adults.++

                Well, ya know, 18 wasn’t/isn’t always the age for “adulthood,” in various parts of the US. Appears it is still in question, even today. In fact, there are still vestiges of the “21” is adulthood (think current drinking age for most states has increased some since), or even “16” for certain purposes, like a driver’s license or consent to marry. Even looks like NY might increase the age of buying cigarettes from 18 to 21. But, on the other hand YOU seem to know everything, so I’ll just avoid the lecture, and leave you to independent study for the exceptions, assuming you are capable of that task.

                Now, on to the “18 year olds don’t hunt.” Well, maybe fewer as a percentage of total US population, but it would seem that percentage may vary significantly depending on where one lives. Maybe it even remains fairly high in some locations, like the ones we talk about here alot. Bet you a beer (that is if you are old enough to drink in a bar in your state without having a parent present), the percentage of those in the age group you question is likely higher in certain Western states than urban areas of other states, and even within W states certain regions/communities of those states, maybe lots of places in WY and MT, with small towns.

                As for SB’s reference to “teens will kill,” I think he secondarily used the term “many.” As a field grade military officer, in this case a bird colonel with combat experience, I might suggest he knows a bit more about young male human behavior than you, unless maybe you have similar experience. Where the hell do you think we get combat soldiers, dude? You, on the other hand made an inductive leap and illogically concluded many meant “majority,” which has a different meaning (> 50%). Of course, that distorted his actual statement.

                Do better research “dude,” and it wouldn’t hurt to improve your reading comprehension skills. Maybe you should enroll in a formal logic class which has previously been suggested to Chicago Mike and Sunny jon. Come to think of it, I’m pretty sure you and I had that conversation before, when you went off on me, or somebody else with some life experience and substantive knowledge about wildlife issues and the law.

              • SaveBears says:


                Perhaps we should accept your view of the world based on the cynical views of a cop?

          • SaveBears says:


            There is no legal minimum standard of behavior, we tried that in the past with slaves, you can not regulate morality, it is not going to happen and I hope it never happens again!

            • SAP says:

              No legal minimum standard of behavior?

              Bernie Madoff is in jail for 150 years, over 1,300 people have been executed in the US since 1976 . . . because they violated legal minimum standards of behavior.

              People love to trot out that “you can’t legislate morality” chestnut. It’s really nigh onto meaningless on its own. Lots of immoral things are illegal. Many things branded “immoral” are obviously very much contested as to their morality, but their legality is very clear (ask anyone doing time for marijuana offenses).

              The original source for “you can’t legislate morality” appears to be Scottish sociologist R. M. MacIver. The original passage won’t fit on a bumper sticker (and therefore may be meaningless to many contemporary Americans), but actually makes sense:

              “Law cannot prescribe morality, it can prescribe only external actions and therefore it should prescribe only those actions whose mere fulfillment, from whatever motive, the state adjudges to be conducive to welfare . . . Law does not and cannot cover all the ground of morality. To turn all moral obligations into legal obligations would be to destroy morality. Happily it is impossible.”

              To relate this back to the original contested point (whether Tom Mangelsen’s guest column makes any difference): we don’t expect the law to throw people in jail for every act that offends. But as JB pointed out earlier, we do expect to use sanctions outside the law to express disapproval and informally punish behavior we find unacceptable (letters to editor, boycotts, face-to-face expressions of disagreement, condemnation, and contempt).

              • JB says:

                That’s a great quote, SAP! Thanks! It is interesting that we sometimes establish laws after a build up of moral outrage, yet other times an obligation to behave in a particular way follows the passage of the law. For example, when I grew up people smoked anytime and anywhere they wanted to. I can remember visiting my father at work (a newspaper editor), and the newsroom would be so filled with smoke that it looked as if someone was running a fog machine. Anyway, what is considered appropriate behavior with regards to smoking has changed dramatically since then, due both to changes in the law and more subtle enforcement through informal sanction.

              • Immer Treue says:


                Add to that, drinking and driving. Hopefully soon texting/cell phone use and driving.

            • Jeff N. says:

              WM….dude…huh or duh?

              Not to get in a pissing match, but here is the quote from SB…

              “What you don’t realize, is the majority of 18-19 year olds, may not hunt, but guess what they do?????

              They will kill, given the opportunity, many teens in this country will KILL!”

              Seems pretty clear that the assertion is that “majority of 18-19 year olds, may not hunt, but guess what they do????? They will kill….”

              And I’m still waiting for an answer on what group, agency SB met with to discuss the bison issue. Which is the crux of my posts regarding this.

              Lastly, Immer and others, for those of you who think I’m attacking or questioning someone’s service record (assuming the “boots” comment and the intent)….keep looking because you aren’t going to find it here. Not my style. Please.

              SB….what group or agency did you meet with to discuss the bison issue? A fairly straight forward question.

              • SaveBears says:


                I didn’t meet with an agency, I met with a Montana State Representative, I thought I made that clear, I met with one of my local state representatives.

              • Immer Treue says:

                Jeff N,

                No, I made no inference that you questioned SB’s service record. If one lives in rural/wilderness areas, a lot of time is spent in boots.

              • SaveBears says:

                And another question Jeff, why are you so infatuated with what I post?

                Please explain?

              • Jake Jenson says:

                Because you’re a hunter and Jeff hates hunters.

              • Jeff N. says:


                If you were to go back in history to read my comments on this blog you will find that I am actually not anti-hunting nor am I anti-hunter. However, I choose not to hunt.

                Pertaining to this site, I am on record supporting a wolf hunting season, although not being thrilled about it.

                However the way the the NRM states and WI have handled these “hunting” seasons, I have now become opposed to these wolf hunts.

                Thanks Jake.

              • WM says:

                As I said, Jeff N., a little reading comprehension skill improvement would aid you. Am also thinking your use of the word “dude” is an indication of your age and other relevant tells. Eh, dude? Also indicators you probably aren’t in law enforcement, at least in a capacity that deals face to face with the public.

                A couple years back a friend and I tried to figure out how many times his 18 year old son had used the term “dude” in conversation with us over the last couple days. The nuanced voice inflection or emphasis/puncution on a one syllable word (even turning it to two), was incredible. Our conclusion was that he would be smarter had he just used an alternative vocabulary word. Turns out he had not even seen The Big Lebowski. 😉

              • Jeff N. says:


                Not sure about the law enforcement reference ….where did you pull that from? I never saw the Big Lebowski either.

                You know what. I’m going to follow the advice of JB. This type of conversation is unhealthy. This site is to good for insults, and flame throwing. I’m guilty of it and it does nothing to move the conversation forward. What’s the point of aggravating people for the sake of aggravating. It’s pointless and unhealthy. Consider this an early New Years resolution.

                Still curious about the law enforcement reference though.

          • JB says:

            SB et al.

            Seems a lot of these hostile exchanges are prompted by comments that, upon some inspection, just don’t seem to hold water–or at best, are dramatic overgeneralizations. Were some commenters to take a bit more time formulating their comments, much of this silliness could be avoided.

      • SaveBears says:

        Nancy, why am I not surprise!

        • Nancy says:

          About what SB?

          • Jeff N. says:

            Why bother asking. In my previous encounter with SB he claimed that the majority of 18-19 year olds are “killers”. Dude is way are out there. Isolation of the North Fork (if this phony actually lives there) has had poor effects on SB.

            • SaveBears says:


              You are a naive person, if you don’t understand the make up of this countries youth..

  34. Chris Harbin says:

    In North Carolina, two highly endangered red wolves were killed by gun shot this week alone. I seriously doubt that Fish and Wildlife will put much effort into investigation of the incidents. Moreover, North Carolina recently passed a bill (as did my my State of Kentucky) that allows for night hunting of coyotes. Night hunting is one of the most idiotic ideas to ever come up. The high probability of making a mistake of what you are shooting at should alone be enough to scrap that idea. As a method of controlling coyote populations it has no merit as even day hunting does not accomplish that and may in fact aid in increasing coyote numbers.

  35. snaildarter says:

    RALEIGH, N.C. (Nov. 21, 2012) — Coyote hunting at night with the aid of an artificial light will be disallowed temporarily in five counties — Dare, Tyrrell, Hyde, Washington and Beaufort — pending the outcome of a lawsuit questioning the temporary rule adopted by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.
    Wake County Superior Court Judge Paul Ridgeway issued a preliminary injunction halting coyote hunting at night with the aid of artificial light only in those five counties. The order was issued in response to a complaint filed by the Southern Environmental Law Center, on behalf of the Red Wolf Coalition, Defenders of Wildlife and the Animal Welfare Institute.
    “While we accept the judge’s decision, it is important to note that this is a decision on a preliminary injunction only. It is not a decision on the lawsuit,” said Wildlife Commission Executive Director Gordon Myers. “We remain confident of our position and its merits.”
    The Wildlife Commission passed temporary rules in July allowing the taking of coyotes and feral swine by hunting on private lands at night with a light. Night hunting is one means of controlling localized populations of coyotes and feral swine, both of which are non-native to North Carolina, destructive to the landscape, and potential disease carriers. Coyotes also pose predatory threats to pets and livestock.
    The preliminary injunction issued today by the Superior Court only applies to hunting coyotes at night in Washington, Beaufort, Tyrrell, Hyde and Dare counties The order does not prevent taking of wildlife, including coyotes and red wolves, while in the act of depredation. It does not affect hunting feral swine at night with the aid of a light.
    The preliminary injunction will remain in effect pending the final ruling by the Superior Court on this issue.

    • JB says:

      “Destructive to the landscape…” coyotes? Funny, while they are indeed non-native, the are essentially occupying the same ecological niche as vacated red wolves.

  36. snaildarter says:

    That’s code for coyotes snatching house cats off the front porch.
    Actually they have impacted the deer population which most Game and Fish folks will tell you privately is a good thing.

  37. Ida Lupine says:

    This non-native argument against wolves, coyotes and horses should offend because the implication is we’re too dumb to know the difference.

    The argument against saving our wild horses because we don’t treat other livestock well is an argument in favor of treating all of them poorly? It would be comical if it weren’t so tragic.

    That’s the one statement I have a problem with in Sally Jewell’s talk, ‘horses reproduce a lot’. There’s even an outfit trying to start a business in cloning horses. If we have too many now, why do that? Because we can. We don’t have to make sense. Sure, people are abandoning horses, but the established wild herds such as Cloud’s should be a protected part of our national heritage and there is a law saying so.

    With 7 billion and counting of us on the planet, we reproduce a lot too, even with birth control – and there really isn’t going to be a lot we can do to mitigate what have been our mistakes in bringing invasives in, and the future of growing GMO crops is another chapter entirely, Invasives 2.0 – with our mobile lives now, even more than before, it boggles the mind.

    Yes, I definitely think online blogs are a modern form of activism because they get seen worldwide.

  38. Joanne Favazza says:

    These twisted sociopaths are the real “eco-terrorists.” They are brutally destroying biodiversity in the name of “scientific management.” These gutless cowards are no different from those who committed near-genocide against the Native Americans, or those who terrorized African-Americans in the South. And, the federal govt. turned a blind eye to those injustices, just as it is now turning a blind eye to this bloody and pathological wolf slaughter. Enough!

  39. Chris Harbin says:

    Thanks snaildarter, I was not aware that night stalking of coyotes had been rescinded in the Red Wolf Recovery Area. By the way, I did not mean to imply that the 2 dead red wolves were killed at night. I certainly do not know when they were shot – not that the timing matters so much.
    Your post mentioned that coyotes are not native to North Carolina (which I knew) but I wonder at what time any species expands into new geographic areas they are considered “native”. Does anyone know the answer to that?

  40. Ida Lupine says:

    Bad link:

    Wild Horses Eating Cheatgrass – A Wildfire Mitigation Study

    It’s interesting which species of plants and animals are approved invasives to continue with and which are not. BTW, is cannabis native to North America? It appears that is next crop to become the great hope for our sinking economy.

    • Ida Lupine says:

      OK, pipe dreams are as far off topic as I am going to go.

      Whether something is considered good law or bad is a matter of opinion, but the American people want our wild horses protected.

      Whether or not some kind of birth control is necessary for this in a human dominated world is being considered and may be a necessary evil, but certainly wiping them out is unethical and undesirable. What would take their place? I’m glad I won’t be around to see the world of the future. Protecting animals isn’t the same as killing them off forever.

      • Immer Treue says:


        “BTW, is cannabis native to North America? It appears that is next crop to become the great hope for our sinking economy.”

        “OK, pipe dreams are as far off topic as I am going to go.”

        Interesting follow-up phrase.

    • Mareks Vilkins says:


      I asked Ralph your e-mail, think you will not mind

    • rork says:

      That study – is a comment on a blog.

      Ida, a few times now you have been talking about domestic crops or cows as if they are invasive. Invasive and common are different things. Corn, soy and wheat are not overrunning our native plants in the wild. They’ve been bred for things like giant seeds and poor dispersal of seeds, or stupidity. It’s true there are exceptions (pigs, especially the less-domesticated ones, and maybe horses, also not-all-that-domesticated), and we don’t like it when they get loose. But don’t compare to wheat and such. I have never done battle with cannabis infestations, though I do run across science weed plots when surveying sites for DNR. I often jokingly report that I saw a strange alien plant, but that I’m not concerned, since the site was disturbed, required human husbandry, and anyway the plants had no seeds – not a great trait.
      I am aware of some states having minor ditch-weed troubles historically, perhaps from cultivation of near-wild versions good for rope and seeds (chicken food) 100 year ago. It gets no mention in invasive plant guides of late. The “trouble” might not have really been invasion worries.

  41. snaildarter says:

    I view “invasives” as something that spreads uncontrollably, with no real natural enemies to control it. Honey bees are invasive but not so bad. But Kudzu, Asian carp, fire ants and pythons are all bad news. Wild pigs, horses, domestic cats, really don’t belong in the wild but by far the worse invasives are much smaller. We have quite a number of trees in danger from foreign bugs and blights. It’s hard to imagine our forest without dogwoods, aspens, hemlocks, red oaks, red buds, elms, or ash trees, but these are all threatened and every year we seem to have another tree in jeopardy from some new pest. Globalization has added new layers of problems much worse than the old ones. But some of these new invaders are a little ironic and maybe even humorous. Kudzu is now being threatened by a new stink bug that eats it and soy beans. Fire ants are no match for the new crazy ant. This ant is much harder to control and they also are also attracted to electrical equipment and short it out often damaging homes and even whole power stations.

  42. Ida Lupine says:

    The relatively new (30‐year‐old) field of molecular biology, using mitochondrial‐DNA analysis, has recently revealed that the modern or caballine horse, E. caballus, is genetically equivalent to E. lambei, a horse, according to fossil records, that represented the most recent Equus species in North America prior to extinction. Not only is E. caballus genetically equivalent to E. lambei, but no evidence exists for the origin of E. caballus anywhere except North America (Forstén 1992).

    Wild Horses as Native North American Wildlife

    There is no ‘shared ancestor’, but the same modern horse we have today according to studies. Whether or not they moved to other areas by themselves or were ‘assisted along’ (read interfered with) by mankind, does it really matter? The wolf was nearly driven extinct and to remote habitat by mankind as well, and had to be reintroduced.

    Domestic horses are arguably the most important animal that has been domesticated. Long been used as a means of transportation, pleasure, work, and even war horses have been involved in much of human history.

    But now we are a throw-away society.

    • Jay says:

      When were wolves “nearly driven to extinction”? After you answer that one, maybe you can explain what the reintroduction of a species to a portion of its range that it has been absent from for less than a century due to misguided government policies has to do with the natural extinction of a species that disappeared 11,000 years ago from a North America vastly different with respect to natural predators, climate, etc.?

      “Whether or not they moved to other areas by themselves or were ‘assisted along’ (read interfered with) by mankind, does it really matter?” If you don’t see the obvious difference between your two cases, than I suppose it wouldn’t matter to you. It does, however, matter to those with a bit of common sense and knowledge of ecology.

      • Ida Lupine says:

        When were wolves nearly driven to extinction? You can’t be serious with that question. It also doesn’t appear that common sense and knowledge of the ecology is necessary in government today in wildlife ‘control and management’, only money and lobbyists, and maintaining your position. Spin creativity is a plus also.

        The entire planet now is vastly different, but nobody with ethics would recommend wiping out other creatures that are inconvenient and no longer useful, or are threatened. The wild horses seem to be adapting just fine out there, and it appears other agree, even with several letters after their names!

        The ability to deceive and lie is what separates man from beast, I’m convinced (and sometimes humor).

        • Jay says:

          You can’t be serious with that assertion…when were they nearly driven to extinction? Canada, Alaska, Minnesota, Russia, several countries in Europe, etc., etc…they were all nearly driven to extinction, these hundreds of thousands of wolves?

          Guess what: nature said N. America is no longer suitable for horses 11,000 years ago. The west isn’t a scene out of “All the Pretty Horses”. Your idealized, romanticized version of ecology isn’t how things work in reality. Sure, the feral horse is doing fine–in fact, it’s doing beyond fine, because this isn’t N. America circa 15,000 year ago, with natural horse predators like lions and saber-toothed cats. In their absence, the BLM has to function as a limiter of horse populations. Clearly a concept beyond your ability to comprehend.

          • Ida Lupine says:

            We’ll have to agree to disagree on that. Removing the apex predators does have consequences. Meanwhile, take a gander at the recent report from the NSA about the BLM’s management sucess.

            • Ida Lupine says:

              Excuse me, NAS report:

              US Report Criticizes US Stewardship of Wild Horses

              So wolves being extirpated from the continental US is OK, as long as they are in Russia, Canada, etc? Funny, that’s exactly what Dan Ashe is implying, although on the other hand people insist that Canadian wolves are not native to this country. Doublespeak? *shrugs*

              • Jay says:

                You said wolves were near extinction, where clearly they were not. Nor did I say it was ok that they were extirpated from the US. If that irritates you, take the time to get your facts straight and write a clear, concise comment.

            • Jay says:

              Did I say removing apex predators doesn’t have consequences? when did I say that, please show me. wolves were never in danger of extinction, they were quite widespread and numerous across several continents; they were, however, absent from much of their former range in the U.S., which would be but a fraction of their range. Also, I find it interesting that you think removal of apex predators has consequences, but you completely fail to apply that concept to horses. I guess we ought to clone and reintroduce lions, eh?

              • Ida Lupine says:

                They are considering outlandish things like that, bringing back wooly mammoths, etc.! Because we can, I guess.

              • Jay says:

                So the concept is outlandish when applied to lions, but not horses. Ok then, I see logic and reason should not be part of the discussion…

              • ramses09 says:

                “wolves were never in danger of extinction,”

                Jay, what in the hell are you smoking???? your kidding right>

          • Immer Treue says:


            As someone brought up earlier, perhaps extirpation Is the proper term. “If” the status quo had continued, ie no ESA, would we have wolves in MN, which were down to about 500 at that time?

            Sure we had wolves in Alaska, but without a certain “enlightenment” how many would we have now. Sorry, but Russia and Canada are not the United States.

            The game farm folly that is embraced by so many in this country is what needs management, and to the consternation of too many, the best possible tool for that is the wolf. So, in a way, where wolves where most required, they were absent.

            Got no iron in the horse fight. Odd that an animal that evolved here, and is so well adapted to grasslands such as our Once extent prairies, disappeared,only to be “repatriated” and once again thrive.

    • JB says:


      It’s absurd to say that “there is no ‘shared ancestor’ but the same modern horse we have today.” That assertions is patently false. It is equivalent to saying that a wild wolf is the same as a tea cup chihuahua.

      No one (no one that I have seen) disputes the fact that horses have historical significance; nor have I heard anyone say that they should not be treated humanely and with respect. The questions that others are asking are: (1) To what extent (if any) should non-native feral horses and burros be allowed to occupy federal public lands; and if populations are to be reduced (2) How should horse populations be managed; and finally (3) Is it acceptable to humanely kill (i.e., euthanize) some feral horses.

      This is the meat of the issue.

      • Ida Lupine says:

        Yes, it is the issue JB, I agree.

        Jay, it’s outlandish because the wooly mammoths are not here and have not been here for thousands of years, but horses still are.

        If anything is illogical, it is people bringing back long extinct animals but ignoring the effects of our activities on the ones that live on this planet now! The elephant probably will go extinct in our lifetimes, but by all means, let’s try to clone a mammoth. But it in the long view, it may make some sort of backwards sense if we want to correct the terrible fates some of our larger mammals are threatened with due to our activities.

        • Jay says:

          Ida, please read my comments carefully before responding. I didn’t say wooly mammoths. I said lions. You know, like lions that live in Africa? They are very likely just as genetically “equivalent” to extinct N American lions as the feral horses are to extinct N American horses. Why not bring over some lions to restore a natural predator of the horse?

    • rork says:

      “Domestic horses are arguably the most important animal that has been domesticated.”
      “But now we are a throw-away society.”

      We have domestic horses by the millions, they aren’t in danger. That’s what got brought over, and we still have them. If you like horses, you’re in luck. You are even allowed to have one of your very own.

      • JB says:


        I’m coming to the conclusion that folks here are speaking two entirely different languages. There are some of us that are more concerned with animal populations and their ecological roles; there are others that are more concerned with protecting the welfare and interests (I refuse to use the word ‘rights’) of individual animals. It seems the language and logic of population ecology (the language of the former group) is foreign to those in the latter group, and vice versa.

        • Louise Kane says:

          JB I think some are concerned with both. There seems to be enough emerging evidence to illustrate that wildlife management in some species, should take into consideration the individual for the greater welfare of the overall population. We know that certain wolves may hold the key to the larger groups ability to survive. Other carnivores like coyotes are also dependent on complicated social hierarchies that are impacted when an individual is removed from the population. Aside from considerations of sociality, pack structure and the role of individual members in keeping carnivore communities healthy or robust, I also believe that individuals deserve consideration and humane treatment. I think that its been convenient to think that the “rights” of individual animals and the ability to arbitrarily remove individuals from populations are not intertwined in some way. I wonder why are you so hesitant to use the word rights when it comes to animals. The more we learn of them the more we learn they have emotions, feel pain, grieve, and form close relationships and have free will. Why is it so hard to think they might deserve rights?

          • WM says:


            Given the content of your post above, do you believe “rights” are bestowed as a matter of Devine Law by the creator (what or whoever that might be)? And, do you believe predators deserve greater rights than they prey upon which they rely (these animals also have social groups, feel pain, and maybe have emotions)?

            So, what does it mean when a predator takes a fawn, calf? I saw a PETA magazine just last week that had goose on the cover – the caption said “I am not dinner.” Dinner for whom? Does it make a difference if it is a human, a predator or even a bacteria?

            This is a very slippery slope argument once you are on it.

            • Louise Kane says:

              lets just say I think wildlife have the right to protection from the endless killing that humans feel entitled to. When there are 6-7 billion people on earth and we have not adapted wildlife laws to reflect this, I think its unjust, stupid and shortsighted. Humans are wasteful and intentionally cruel attributes I don’t associate with animals – maybe cats.

          • JB says:

            Thanks, Louise.

            I don’t use the word “rights” because under our Constitution rights are limited to people. Animals are either property (as in domesticated animals) or ferae nature, wildlife, that belong to no individual, but rather, everyone collectively. I am concerned with the welfare of animals–both wild and domestic–but I am utterly unpersuaded that sport hunting of wildlife is a problem in this regard (there are a variety of things people do with weapons that may be problematic, most of which are already illegal).

            The NAM is largely silent on the welfare of animals. However, the Wildlife Society, which publicly and vociferously supports hunting has also stated that they support animal welfare (specifically noting a difference between policies designed to promote welfare, and those designed to give “rights” to animals). In this case, my thinking is in line with the Wildlife Society’s.

            The NAM does argue that “wildlife should only be killed for a legitimate purpose.” Of course, the proponents of the NAM were silent on what constitutes a “legitimate” purpose (perhaps wisely). For my own purposes, I have no problem supporting sport hunting, so long as meat is harvested with the other parts of the animal. I can also support some limited hunting/trapping of predators–again, so long as the pelt is harvested. I think predator killing derbies have no place in modern wildlife management (because the animals are wasted) and, for the most part, they have little to no effect on their populations (or their prey). I DO support targeted removal of large carnivores that damage personal property or become a risk to people (or in some cases, pets)–though I recognize this doesn’t sit well with some people here. Nevertheless, I view this as a ‘legitimate purpose’ (i.e., one that is ethically defensible).

            People interested in animal welfare (as opposed to animal rights) would do well to befriend hunters, rather than belittle then (in my view, anyway). I think considerable energy is *wasted* in debates about hunting, which places people who are essentially on the same team against one another. This plays into the hand of Koch-types, who would love to keep the conservation community fighting amongst ourselves.

  43. Rita k Sharpe says:

    Ida, That could be said about dogs,too. They have been trained to work for us,gone to war with us, and even find the time to play and even sit beside someone and watch the sun rise or set.

  44. Ida Lupine says:

    I’m not intending to belittle anyone’s point of view, I should point out – just as I said, I feel strongly about certain issues. If I’m wrong, I’ll learn.

  45. ramses09 says:

    I, personally have read several articles about the wild horses on this continent. They are not feral, they have existed here for centuries. Now if I can only find those damn articles & post them I will do so.

    • JB says:


      The term “feral” is used to describe on organism that is living in the wild, but descended from domesticated animals. Wild horses and burros in the US are descended from (a) domesticated animals brought by the Spanish and other Europeans, and (b) more recently, from animals turned loose by people. They are very far removed (see Chris Harbin’s comments above) from the equines that orginally inhabited North America during the Eocene:

      “he Dawn Horse was no bigger than a dog or fox. It had four toes on its forefeet, and three behind. Each toe had strong, thick, and horny nails. Like on dogs, Eohippus had a pad behind its toes.

      Its eyes were set in the middle of the head. This feature prohibited lateral vision, which developed later.

      This animal’s teeth (all 44) were short-crowned, like pig or monkey teeth. Because of this, the Dawn Horse ate soft leaves on low-growing shrubs.

      Its coat was similar to that of a deer. It had light spots on it, and that acted as camouflage. It was a good characteristic to to stay alive and to avoid predators.”

      • Nancy says:

        “This animal’s teeth (all 44) were short-crowned, like pig or monkey teeth. Because of this, the Dawn Horse ate soft leaves on low-growing shrubs”

        Good read JB:

        I’m sitting here right now looking at a tooth on my kitchen table that could be an exact match to the one in those photographs.

        I found my tooth in Texas, in a dry creekbed (pretty sure I mentioned the tooth before when the debate came up on this site awhile back about wild horses)

        A professor at the unniversity in Bozeman got pretty excited when he saw that tooth.

        So the question is – native or not? Rightful place on the landscape. or not?

        And, will wild horses go down in “our” history (this century) as a species that had claim as natives from the start and then again by reintroduction to their native lands, and now pose a problem because of their numbers to……

        Kind of like reintroducing wolves to an area in need of a apex predator, long gone from the landscape, to naturally manage prey.

        And WM – didn’t bring up the pig problem as a diversion. Just thought that while some government agencies out here in the west continue to “fret” over a few thousand wild horses, infringing on public lands (lands already destroyed by cattle grazing yet still worshiped as a means to run cattle on) other parts of the “ag” community are now going to hell in a hand basket, by those porkers, who might of started out as a great way to shoot stuff 🙂 by the hunting community.

      • Nancie Mccormish says:

        JB, you are only partly correct here. There were many cultures (pre-Columbus) which both had and brought horses to the Americas. Some journals mention horses being traded FROM the Americas, both to China and post-Columbus, TO Europe in such quantities the prices of horses there dropped around 75%.

        The Dawn horse was one branch of, not a tree, but more of a cauliflower-shaped equid evolutionary progression.

        The mtDNA of a modern horse is the same as the ancient equids presumed by the dogma we all learned as kids to be extinct.

        It is true people turned horses loose, and yes some imported horses escaped being slaughtered for starving expeditions, but the evidence is mounting there were native herds here which they interbred with. The historical evidence doesn’t support the theory the Spanish first introduced horses to the Americas.

        • JB says:


          Hmm…I’m not sure that I am “partially correct” here. I’m giving the party line; if new science emerges and consensus develops (which rarely happens among taxonomists) around a new story for the horse in North America, I’ll be the first to eat my hat. Of course, that doesn’t resolve the genetic content (and ancestry) of the current “wild” horses of the American West. Until such time as the scientific consensus changes, consider me a skeptic.

          • Nancie Mccormish says:

            JB, skepticism is always good! I think our society needs more of it.

            I believed as you do until I started intensively researching over a year ago. There is much more to the story than I accepted most of my life. There are, for one example, multiple carbon-dated equid fossils which are post-pleistocene/pre-Columbian already documented. Some were already in collections but misdated since “they had to have been alive post-Columbus.”

            On another note, though, just this week come across two sources indicating species name changes were enacted very rapidly, without any orderly process. This surprises me since I believed, like you, that it was difficult to do so without proving beyond any reasonable doubt the initial nomenclature was in error.

            Can you tell me please what the standard process is for a consensus among taxonomists for a species name change, if there is such a process?

            • Louise Kane says:

              ask Jon Way, Nancy Mccormish

            • JB says:

              “Can you tell me please what the standard process is for a consensus among taxonomists for a species name change, if there is such a process?”

              There is no standard process. Debates occur in the peer reviewed literature, where evidence is presented for different views. Taxonomists and geneticists “settle” on a standard organically as the evidence is weighed over time. Consensus develops when the evidence (and arguments) of one view are considered more persuasive than the view of opposing views.

  46. ramses09 says:

    About the horses – -it’s all about what the damn ranchers want. I think that’s it in a nutshell. I’d rather have a couple thousand wild horses on “our” public land, then have a million cattle on it.

    • JB says:

      Ramses: This is an ad hominem argument. The fact that you don’t like ranchers or even that ranchers do not like wild horses really has no bearing on whether (or to what extent) they should be present on federal public land.

    • rork says:

      People against feral horses here are not such because they are pro-rancher I’ll bet. Maybe they are worried about the environment. Damn them.

    • WM says:


      May I suggest you drive to Burns, OR (or other BLM adoption facilities), look at the horses there up for adoption. Maybe even go to the Yakama Indian Reservation, and have a tribal biologist give you a tour of their problem with something like 9,000 wild horses they don’t want because they are eating up range/forest land forage for deer and elk. Then you can postulate all you want about livestock ranchers, if you still feel that way.

      You may be right to some degree about livestock interests having influence, but not to the extent your comment suggests.

      A “couple thousand” horses is not the problem so much as the rate of growth and the extremely high concentration in just a few areas.

      • Nancie Mccormish says:

        WM, I agree with most of what you wrote, but want to add a couple of points, if I may.

        Per my calculations (based on USDA herd counts) we have just over 250,000 head of cattle on our public lands.

        Taking an average horse population still wild on public lands (not the sovereign reservations, whose horses are not under our control) from BLM figures (and others)we have around 30,000 horses and burros.

        We have approximately 29,000,000 acres of public lands.

        My rough calculations bring me to just over 10 cows/acre, and 1 horse/29,000 acres.

        Horses reproduce once per year, and produce only one foal, many of whom don’t survive their first year.

        Approximately half the foals born each year will be males.

        No foals will be fertile until their second spring (at the earliest).

        Young males cannot breed unless they replace an existing herd stallion. Most roam in bachelor bands for years until they can knock off an old stud.

        Young females cannot produce their first foal until their third year (at the earliest).

        We have nearly 10 times as many elk just in Colorado as we have free roaming wild horses on all our public lands.

        Deer typically drop twins, and in good years triplets (my experience with white tails, not sure about mulie reproduction).

        Damage to the environment would occur with any ungulate species confined in areas too small to suit their natural behaviors.

        I submit the supposed environmental degradation which is blamed solely on native wild horses and burros a.) would not occur were they freely roaming as wildlife, and b.)is more than a little due to the degraded conditions of western lands resulting from massive herding of cattle and sheep in the open range era, and c.) positively pales in comparison with other impacts on our public lands from other users (take your pick: livestock grazing, mining, recreational use, development, fracking, invasive species introduction etc.)

        So while of course confined animals will have impacts, that confinement is our own doing and not their choice. It is wrong to vilify them for living under the conditions we impose upon them, but not upon ourselves.

        • WM says:

          Nancie McCormish,

          If the NAS wild horse study panel says a NET increase of 15-20 percent a year, I tend to believe it. There are some smart folks on that panel. That means more impacts where wild horses are over time. Same is true for the wild horses on Indian lands, and no way to dispose of them. I don’t think dispersal to new habitat is a recommended strategy in their report, by the way, or it would NOT fly with most government bodies, states, counties, reservations and importantly private landowners.

          The “wild” horses on federal land are federally owned and federally protected. They are being managed at a cost of upward of $80M per year, probably alot more when indirect costs are factored in, and even more as the population increases at that 20% per year. Cattle on public lands belong to someone else; they are private property grown for sale, and have value in the marketplace . Try as they will the government’s wild horses and burros can’t even keep an adoption program going at almost give-away prices, it appears. That means there is no economic value in the marketplace for them (although a very few of these horses are adopted for several thousand dollars each). We can argue about whether those privately owned livestock ought to be there at all, or whether the government ought to be charging more. I happen to think most of the cows/sheep ought to be gone, but that is another topic. Private ownership and economic value – like it or not – are powerful incentives in the West, as you know (By the way, there is a reason CO wasn’t chosen for wolf reintroduction even though it has the highest elk population of any other state, and quite a few cows grazing on public lands).

          There is no way in Hades wild horses and burros would be granted native “wildlife” status and allowed to roam freely, even if your genetic origin argument is eventually proven (it is more of a moral high ground argument). I think, in fact, a legal argument could be made that if federally protected wild horses/burros wandered on to state or private lands there could be claims for damages by private individuals, or by states, which assert the right to manage “wildlife” and have been pretty successful maintaining that position. If populations get large enough, expect those law suits on the horizon. To my knowledge wild horses/burros only maintain protected status while on federal lands, and there is not a state in the West that would give them free reign off federal land (see Kleppe v. NM 1976).

          By the way, at some point the ancestors of these “wild” horses was somebody’s property. Now that they or their progeny are feral it doesn’t make them native wildlife, just because you say so. It just makes them feral (domestic animals that have escaped captifity), just like a cat or dog, except again there are circumstances/places where they are federally protected. Of course, we know there are disposal and adoption programs for unwanted cats and dogs.


          And, as for your tangential argument that wild ungulates -deer and elk- left to reproduce would cause damages, well sure they would, but that doesn’t happen so much. But states have the authority to manage them, and can and do manage their numbers with harvest prescriptions on those ungulates, as well as the predators that prey on them. So, if a state wants to trim ungulate numbers that can do that with hunting seasons.

          Incidentally, you just made a case for states managing “wild horses and burros,” if you truly believe they are native wildlife (genetically with ancestors in NA from 13,000 years ago). How do you think that will work out long term in most states in the West, where the cheap economics of grazing cows is paramount on federal lands, and private landowners won’t let them compete with their own livestock, and maybe truly wild ungulates? That argument is already alive on Indian reservations, as I mentioned earlier, where they want to harvest them for economic benefit if they could find meat processing facilities and USDA inspection services. And, obstructionist non-Indian Congressional types are in effect prohibiting sovereign nations from carrying out their OWN policy thru the federal budget. Kind of ironic, don’t you think? Horse advocates interfering with economic activities of sovereign nations under treaty – yet another version of cowboys (or in this case horse lovers) and Indians. Yahoo!

  47. SaveBears says:

    Problem is, it is not about a couple thousand, there ten’s of thousands of wild horses running around!

    • Nancie Mccormish says:

      SB, there are more elk in the Jackson herd alone than in all the wild herds throughout 29,000,000 acres of our public lands.

      • SaveBears says:


        My degree is in wildlife biology and ID studied wild horses both in class as well as in the field, I have read the studies and nothing conclusive has been presented to show the current horse is native to N. America.

        • SaveBears says:

          Damn tablet. I, not ID

          • Nancie Mccormish says:

            SB, with all due respect, there is nothing conclusive that proves they aren’t. “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence” as one of my profs says.

            The disagreements lie in a shrinking period of a few thousand years in which they are supposed to have gone extinct, then were reintroduced from multiple sources.

            • SaveBears says:

              Well Nancy,

              I know hundreds of biologists that feel exactly the way I do, without conclusive proof these are native horses, they will be invasive animals and we all believe that they need to be controlled to limit the damage they do to the environment as well as the native species.

              The DNA studies I have read, have very questionable methods which results in very questionable conclusions, until such time as the DNA studies are done correctly, they will be subject to question and doubt by the majority of the scientific community.

      • Nancie Mccormish says:

        SB, correction here. The Jackson herd has approx. 10,000 or so elk. The state of WY (according to 2011 figures from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation) are 120,000. There are no accurate inventories of wild horses and burros roaming public lands, but published numbers range from as low as 15,000 to just under 40,000 in aggregate. More than that are now warehoused in pens of 100 or so animals, for life, in holding areas which severely restrict public access.

        Here’s the RMEF info:

        Elk Population: 120,000
        Bull/Cow Ratio: 23/100
        Nonresidents: $591 permit, $302 cow-calf permit, $1,071 special permit
        Hunter Success: 44 percent
        Highlights: Last year, hunters harvested 25,600 elk, up from the five-year average of 21,000. Biologists say mature bulls continue to thrive in most hunting units and the statewide population remains above management objectives. The dark exception is the state’s northwest corner. Elk numbers in the Clark’s Fork and Cody herds are still down due to predation and poor habitat. The Jackson herd that summers in Yellowstone is well off the mark, too, and managers are being conservative on tags. Roughly half the hunting units just outside the park have set quotas, one is closed and rest are limited to antlered elk only.

  48. Wyores says:

    Forbes article on latest wolf events and grazing

    Ranchers Insistence On Cheap Grazing Keeps Wolf Population In The Crosshairs

  49. WyoWolfFan says:

    The only thing this represents is the disgusting lengths people will go to make their points.

  50. Livy says:

    That is disgusting. How could people be killing wolves and be proud of it? Obviously it isn’t wolves who are harming things, but the killers responsible for the slaughter. If this was good, why would they be wearing masks? Are they trying to look like Klu Klux Klanners? Honestly. What did the wolves ever do but try to survive?


October 2013


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

~ Edward Abbey

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