Rule amendments vague and unnecessary. Would result in killing of non-offending wildlife-

Last week, more than a million Americans registered their opposition to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) proposed plan to remove Endangered Species Act protections from gray wolves in most of the lower-48 states.  This was the largest number of comments ever submitted on a federal action involving endangered species.

One of the reasons so many of us oppose the plan is because removing federal protections from wolves means handing their management over to state governments and wildlife agencies.  Unfortunately, many states have demonstrated hostility toward wolf conservation, such as with overly aggressive hunting and trapping seasons, the designation of “predator zones” where wolves may be killed year-round without a permit, and large appropriations of taxpayer dollars doled out to anti-wolf lobbyists.  If states are allowed to take the reins now, before wolves have had a chance to recover in places like the Pacific West, southern Rockies, and northern New England, wolves may never get the chance.

Continuing the disturbing pattern of state aggression toward wolves, Montana’s Fish, Wildlife and Parks (“FWP”) Commission recently proposed several amendments to the state’s wolf management rules that would greatly expand the circumstances under which landowners could legally kill wolves on their property.  The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) testified against, and submitted a letter opposing, many of the proposed changes, because they are unnecessary, impossibly vague, and would result in the trapping and killing of many non-threatening, non-offending wolves and other animals too.

For example, one of the proposed amendments would allow landowners to kill any wolf, anytime, anywhere on their property, without a permit, whenever the wolf constitutes a “potential threat” to humans or domestic animals.  Yet the amendment does not define “potential threat” or provide any clear examples of when a wolf is or is not acting “potentially threatening.”  This is a big problem because some landowners (as one sitting next to me loudly announced during a recent public hearing) consider all wolves on their property “potential threats”—despite, for example, the fact that wolves commonly travel near and among livestock while completely ignoring them.

And even if “potential threat” was clearly defined, such a rule would be unnecessary.  Montana law already allows a person to kill a wolf if it is “attacking, killing, or threatening to kill” a person, dog, or livestock, or to receive a 45-day kill permit for a wolf that has already done so.  Further, the state pays ranchers the full market value of livestock losses when government investigators confirm, or even think it was probable, that the animal was killed by a wolf.  These measures already safeguard ranchers and their property; allowing “potentially threatening” wolves to also be killed seems more a guise for further reducing the state’s wolf population than providing needed assistance to landowners.

Another amendment would allow landowners with a kill permit to use foothold traps to kill wolves that have attacked livestock.  Such an amendment is unnecessary, because kill permits already allow landowners to shoot these wolves.  Further, foothold traps are non-selective, and would be more likely to capture a non-threatening, non-offending animal than a specific wolf.  In fact, foothold traps are so indiscriminate, and cause such prolonged pain and suffering, that they have been banned in more than 80 countries, and banned or severely restricted in several U.S. states.

Allowing the use of foothold traps could also result in the capture and killing of threatened and endangered species such as wolverines, lynx and grizzly bears, as well as black bears, deer, elk, moose, mountain lions, eagles, and, yes, landowners’ own dogs and livestock—the very animals these traps would supposedly be protecting.  The odds of incidental captures would be particularly high, given that landowners would be allowed to leave these traps out a full month and a half after the livestock attack had occurred.

A third amendment would remove the requirement that FWP set quotas during the wolf hunting and trapping seasons.  Quotas, when used properly, help ensure against hunters and trappers killing unsustainable numbers of wolves, entire packs, wolves that primarily inhabit protected areas, and wolves that pose little or no threat to domestic animals (such as wolves that reside in wilderness areas or in places where little or no grazing occurs).  Given that this year FWP extended the season by two months, increased the number of wolves one could kill from one to five, and authorized the use of electronic calls (some of which mimic the cries of pups), it should be proposing to institute more quotas, not fewer.

Like FWS’ proposed “delisting,” the FWP Commission’s proposed amendments are simply not rooted in science or conservation.  Instead, ironically, two agencies tasked with recovering and sustaining healthy wolf populations have manufactured the species’ newest threats.  Both proposals should be dropped, and conversations begun anew about new ways to conserve and manage, not kill, these animals.  Let’s discuss how to treat them as they deserve to be treated—not as saints, not as demons, but, very simply, as the wild, intelligent, ecologically critical creatures that they are.

As wolves.

About The Author

Zack Strong

Zack is a wildlife advocate with the Natural Resources Defense Council in Bozeman, Montana. His background is law (J.D., University of Montana, 2009) and environmental studies (B.A., Dartmouth College, 2005). Zack advocates for all the iconic creatures that call our last remaining wildernesses home.

86 Responses to New Rules Would Allow Montana Landowners to Shoot, Trap More Wolves

  1. Louise Kane says:

    Management of large carnivores needs to be rethought, states are incapable of overcoming the bias against predators to manage them responsibly. It really is appalling to see the continued aggression against wolves by the agencies tasked with conserving public trust resources. The ESA was enacted in part to address the issue that certain species needed protection because they were threatened or endangered in their habitats/ranges and without protection they would not recover. Congress recognized that states were incapable or managing those species on a state by state basis. I think a good case can be made for predators…..states are incapable of managing predators in an ecologically responsible way. The wolf after delisting is a prime example. Coyotes another….the persecution of coyotes is inexcusable. They have become targets for killing just because……

    • rork says:

      I think states are capable, at least for wolves, and at least for states with management plans in place (I’m more worried about Utah, Maine). I’m optimistic about what citizens can do, and don’t see a state where the majority of citizens will want overly anti-wolf policies. It may take time for them to effect their will. Part of the reason I’m optimistic has to do with which people are economically impacted, or think they are, and how much – the economic impact of a few more wolves is not that large, or broad. Other species that need water not to be used for irrigation, or nice timber, (or are less attractive) are not as lucky.

      • ramses09 says:

        Rork – what are you smoking?? These states cannot manage their wolf populations. I speak of MT, ID, WY, WI. & Michigan more than anything. They HATE wolves & will do anything to eradicate them.
        The people who live in these states do not base their hatred on anything but old wives tales or folklore. They are immune to SCIENCE. Sorry to be the bearer of reality.
        I don’t trust humans – they are to hateful and or greedy. (Some)

        • rork says:

          Claims of reality being needed are used by wolf-haters too, with just as much data (usually none).
          Some reality I see:
          Maybe we killed 2% of the wolves this season in MI by hunting, hardly evidence of an eradication taking place. Whether to hunt them at all is in question, and there’s been no serious decline in their numbers so far. Other states with hunting have not let wolves go below the limits outlined in their management plans. Their citizens are getting more vocal too. Obtaining change within states is better than obtaining the same ends by decree.
          Note how every one of those is nearly a fact. Then compare to yours.

      • Johanna Duffek-Kowal says:

        I am way LESS optimistic concerning the ability of states to RESPONSIBLY manage wolves – or ANY other endangered species living in habitats “ripe for development and exploitation”. In ALL of the states currently having wolf hunting seasons (up to ten months of the year…), with “regulations” rather fit to fight a rat-problem, the majority of citizens IS opposing this insanity – and being ignored. Laws are changed in order to outmaneuver legal steps of said majorities to counter “management decisions” based on special interests, rumors and even outright lies. Fortunes are spent by certain parties to finance disinformation and fear mongering – AND, of course, the cooperation of local politicians. Eventually, democracy might be revived – the question is, HOW many species will be EXTINCT and how many habitats irretrievably DESTROYED by then! There is NO valid reason NOW to “significantly reduce wolf populations” for economic reasons or “prey population protection” – the damage they REALLY do is so insignificantly low it would not even be worth mentioning except as a lame EXCUSE for wolf trophy hunts and fun or fur trapping. It is a small, but LOUD, wealthy and influential MINORITY that wants to re-exterminate the wolf – and currently it looks as if they will be enforcing their will until the LAST one is DEAD. Including, by the way, those in National Parks. Petty local politicians in bed with or PART OF this minority will not seriously stand in the way of environment destruction or wildlife extermination.

        • rork says:

          If minorities control your state laws you’ve got some work to do. I welcome such work.

          If people are really immune to science then why is state level any worse than national level? I agree it is worse in some cases, which I tried to touch on in my comment.
          Note: Let me know when a state’s wolf population goes below it’s target according to it’s management plan, instead of acting like that has already happened in every state with a hunt.

          • MJ says:


            Are you saying that you believe that decisions being made at the state level reflect the majority of the voters who have now been learning about the issue?

            Do you not believe the decisions are reflective of ranchers and hunters influence on state officials?

            “Science” is used a lot, but there are biologists and ecologists who work independently of government and those who work for government agencies, we shouldn’t oversimplify that there are politics in the scientific community also. Recent conversation has been about David Mech for example.

            An example of the difference between state and federal regulations would be the politics of the civil rights movement. Ideally it would be great if the right thing was done on the state level, but if that doesn’t happen due to local power structures or conflict of interest, then federal regulation is important.

            • rork says:

              I am certainly not saying state management currently reflects citizen’s views. I am saying citizens should fix that, and that I think maybe they can fix that. Even Idaho is not a hopeless situation, though those good people have heavier lifting to do than we in MI, WI, MN, where ranchers have less power (and less need of applying it and so are less organized – I don’t even know if there is public grazing in MI, and water is all around us).

              • MJ says:

                The question would be how to fix, and to effect laws where important wildlife issues can be made by referendum, or prioritize voting out those who do not listen to the voter’s comments. Both would require strong voter participation.

              • Elk375 says:

                It was done in Montana. The citizens of Montana had a referendum on elk farms and canned hunting. It passed. No more elk hunting farms. This was initiated by sportsman’s not wildlife watchers, but it would not have passed without Missoula, whatever.

  2. Jon Way says:

    Wildlife conservation groups need to get on the same page and come up with a unified plan against these corrupt abusers of power (state wildlife agencies) whom seem to have no accountability and do what they plan. I believe that it has to be a Carnivore Conservation Act that starts at the state level (like in MA) and then progresses nationally:

    It is obvious that state game agencies are beyond reforming and much of the postings on this site have turned (and rightfully so) to bitching – but nothing seems to come from it. CC Acts will unify multiple groups to look beyond “their” focus species (like wolves) to look at what happens to wildlife nationwide. At least this might be a start.

    • Ida Lupines says:

      This is wonderful.

    • ramses09 says:

      Amen Jon!

    • Nancy says:

      I hope everyone here will take the time to go to Jon’s site and read the CCA plan. And, pass it on 🙂

      KUDOS!!! Louise, Jon and your team, for putting this together.

      • Chris Harbin says:


      • Jon Way says:

        Thanks Nancy,
        It is in the early phase… and we are hoping to get support and have it gain steam here in MA and then use that as a national model. It is hard for Louise and I as we have other jobs and do this pro bono. I’d love to get hired by a Conservation group and have them spearhead the charge…

      • Louise Kane says:

        I wanted to take a moment also to thank the several reviewers/moderators/contributors here that took the time to review the drafts. One in particular, who helped us to reorder the document in the last revision and condense the categories. I have a great deal of respect for all the valuable input you gave us and your careful reading and numerous comments over the iterations.

    • MJ says:

      Organization and changes in legislation are critical thank you.

  3. Trap Free Montana Public Lands says:

    We are moving farther away from respectful, humane coexistence with nature and jeopardizing our safety as well. Although the voices of the majority object, special interest groups control the fate of predators. We aim to change some of that in a fair and democratic fashion. We promote preventative nonlethal methods for public land multiple use to honor working with rather than dominating or destroying nature. Traps are cruel, indiscriminate, destructive devices luring and catching anything in their path including predators, prey, domestic animals as well as rare and endangered species. Our goal is to achieve trap free Montana public lands through a citizen ballot initiative. It’s fair, reasonable and good for Montana. All Montanans should have the power to decide what happens on our public lands.

  4. Louise Kane says:

    To address your post Trap Free

    Coyote Killing Contests 2013update.doc.

    To those that argue killing contests, bad trapping practices, inhumane and torturous treatment of wolves and other wildlife are isolated incidents or that a minority of hunters participate, this is a document that Elizabeth and Guy Dicharry have compiled. It is a list of 70 or more events taking place nationally, some of these events have been going on for years. In their words, “This list does not include the hounding/penning contests…Please let us know what else you find or if we have an error. We are so glad that we are beginning to finally get the national publicity to STOP THE CONTESTS! And as you will see, some of these contests have been held annually for many years. HSUS, Project Coyote knew there were contests but I don’t think anyone realized just how many there were….they have grown like a virus over the last 10 years. I think the expiration on the ban on semi-automatic weapons back in 2004 really had an impact on the growth of these contests as well as the development of other killing technologies. These contests have the potential to destroy our wildlife as we know it.”

    Indeed, these contests and the general corrupted process of wildlife management is skewed to ignore voices of reason. For what sane person condones people armed with all manner of weapons hunting down, terrorizing and killing wild predators where there is no valid management objective, need, or reason other than to kill? Its out of control.

    What reason is there not to be outraged or to object?

    • We have to do what the ranchers, woolgrowers, and outfitters do. They contribute money for executive directors that lobby state legilatures full time. The Idaho cattlemens association contributes #1.00 for every cow they own for lobbying.
      The Idaho Outfitters and Guides association just hired a new excutive director. They also have learned how to tap the taxpayers for $45,769.00 this year through Idaho Department of Commerce grants to help pay his salary.
      The executive director of the Idaho Woolgrowers wrote the Idaho Wolf Plan.
      Until we are ready to back up our ideas with money to elect and lobby politians, we, as the pig farmers used to say: “will be sucking the hind tit”.

      • Immer Treue says:

        Or end the troph called lobbying.

      • ramses09 says:

        That is sick, absolutely insane.
        ” They also have learned how to tap the taxpayers for $45,769.00 this year through Idaho Department of Commerce grants to help pay his salary.”

    • Ida Lupine says:

      It is a list of 70 or more events taking place nationally, some of these events have been going on for years. In their words, “This list does not include the hounding/penning contests…

      I’ve wondered why such violence persists into the 21st century, it is like there is a deep need in humans to express violence, and since it is targeted towards animals, it isn’t taken as seriously, and maybe society sees it an an outlet. Like the ‘getting it out of their system’ comment – only it doesn’t work. I guess the old ideas and teachings about animals not having feelings and perceptions are hard to get rid of, despite more and more evidence to the contrary. It needs to stop, these things are beneath humanity. I wish these people knew how they look in these photos, all dressed up in camo and warring with coyotes and other animals.

    • Elk375 says:


      ” I think the expiration on the ban on semi-automatic weapons back in 2004 really had an impact on the growth of these contests as well as the development of other killing technologies. These contests have the potential to destroy our wildlife as we know it.”

      Semi automatic weapons are not generally used in coyote hunting. The hunter would select a 223 Rem, 22-250, 220 Swift, 243 Win, 257 Roberts or a 25-06 Rem. The bolt rifle would have a 24 to 26 inch barrel with bedding and a 6 to 10 power scope.

      The distance between the backbone or brisket of a coyote in approximately 6 inches and at 300 to 500 yards a shooter is going to use something more than a semi-auto with a 16 to 20 inch barrel and designed to fire accurately to 200 yards. The shooter is going to want a very flat shooting rifle.

      No, the expired ban on assault guns has nothing to do with the increase number of coyote contest.

      • Louise Kane says:

        Elk I can’t speak to the issue of what gun a coyote killer would use. Perhaps the better question to ask is why is a semi automatic weapon needed to hunt wildlife and what kind of mindset has infiltrated hunting where semi automatics are defended by hunters?

        the logic in the argument that a ban on assault rifles would impact hunting really irked me…
        you can kill more humans more quickly with semi automatic assault rifles but hey lets not ban them because then we can ‘t kill animals with that weapon.

        maybe its the mindset since 2004 thats part of the problem

        please remind me why predators need to be killed and why should semi automatic rifles be allowed?

  5. SEAK Mossback says:

    This is one more example of the increasing tension between sacrosanct private property rights in the western US and public ownership of wildlife on those same private lands — that some on the right would like to settle in favor of privatizing wildlife like in Europe. Who controls wildlife and to what end?
    In Alaska private property access rights are more liberally defined, to the extent that the land owner has to prove they are actively discouraging the public in order to limit consumptive access to wildlife, while it is illegal to disturb snares or traps set by someone else on your land. I actually prefer this general access system as life and freedom in my neighborhood (with many old patented mining claims) would be very different if the “code-of-the-west” type trespass law of Montana (for example) was actively applied here. However, if someone is inconsiderate enough they can legally and without permission (and with protection from disturbance) saturate your property with bait and wolf snares:

    • JB says:

      As a kid I used to wander across private property in our neighborhood (in Michigan) with impunity, as all of the neighborhood kids did. There was, however, one guy that defended his property line vigilantly. One day (I was about 9 or 10) three of us were playing in the wooded area behind his house when he burst from the door and literally ran us down, screaming like a madman all the while. After we explained we were just playing, and weren’t on his property (and after he calmed down a bit), he explained that he was worried we would damage an antique covered wagon that sat on his property about 100ft from where we were playing.

      I agree with you SEAK. I prefer a system where people are allowed to trespass so long as they aren’t doing any harm and stay out of the curtilage of dwellings.

      • JEFF E says:

        In Idaho one can be on or cross private land unless one of two things happen.
        1. the land is posted with no trespassing signs or equivalent, or
        2.the owner or owners agent (renter) informs you that you are trespassing and asks (orders) you to leave.

        The above applies to anyone and everyone unless they have a legitimate need to trespass such as utilities companies or in emergency situations.

        • Nancy says:

          Its a delicate situation here in Montana and other places Jeff E.

          Someone “innocently” crossing your land for easier access to their land or another location, over a period of time, can and will….trust me 🙂 turn around and claim a right of way/easement thru your property. And the clock isn’t reset when you purchase the land and say “sorry, No Trespassing”

          • Elk375 says:

            It is called a: Prescriptive Easement

            n. an easement upon another’s real property acquired by continued use without permission of the owner for a period provided by state law to establish the easement. The problems with prescriptive easements are that they do not show up on title reports, and the exact location and/or use of the easement is not always clear and occasionally moves by practice or erosion.

            In this day and age is takes a court order to codify the easement. There are hundreds of potential proscriptive easements that are currently blocked with no trespassing signs or locked gates.

  6. WyoWolfFan says:

    How is that almost 20 years on, so many people still have the same attitude about wolves? Have we skipped over the 20th century completely, even though we are nearly 14 years into the 21st century?

    • Louise Kane says:

      Wyo wolffan
      20 years on…
      120 years on……
      good comment time to think differently to reject stupid and inhumane policies

    • Mike says:

      ++How is that almost 20 years on, so many people still have the same attitude about wolves?++

      Because it’s still 1984 in Idaho non-college towns.

    • Mike says:

      I camped for 3 months (mostly in winter conditions) across the Northern Rockies at the end of 2013. Almost all of the hunters and trappers I came across were obese, Caucasian sociopaths with high school mentalities. These types do not have the capacity for reason or empathy. They are hopeless bullies.

      • Montana Boy says:

        Did anyone else hear a hum almost like a old tune?

      • Harley says:

        Mike, you need to get out more then… 😀

        • Mike says:

          Harley, I spent 90 days camping in the greatest state in the lower 48 in places like the Beartooth Wilderness, the Bob Marshall Wilderness, and the Mission Mountains Wilderness.

          This wasn’t the dopey landscape of Illinois and Wisconsin. This is real country.

          I tracked mountain lions, filmed grizzly bears, among other activities in the great wild. I was, unfortunately, forced to say in a hotel for six days during a wicked cold snap (-45 in Great Falls), but the rest was all outdoors.

          I think if more hunters spent time in this kind of country, without a gun, just observing, they’d grow up a bit.

      • JB says:

        “These types do not have the capacity for reason or empathy.”

        “At the core of evil is the process of dehumanization by which certain other people or collectives of them, are depicted as less than human, as non comparable in humanity or personal dignity to those who do the labeling.” –Philip Zimbardo

        • Ida Lupines says:

          JB, there are people who are incapable of empathy. How is it dehumanizing to admit this fact? And btw, how do you separate people from their ideas?

      • Jake Jenson says:

        Mike, I can go into any city with colleges on or off campuses and find countless obese selfish sociopaths of all racial persuasions as dumbed down as those humans you target, found crowding around various food outlets who all would agree with you.

        • Ida Lupines says:

          The difference is that these people haven’t been given societal approval to kill ‘lesser’ beings. It’s the same mindset as JB alludes to, except he only takes into account humans and not other living beings.

          In the past, a hunter would never be obese because he or she would have to be fit enough to chase game. Today, we have too many technological advances that makes anyone able to take wildlife. Today’s hunters would never qualify or survive as hunters in years past.

          • Jake Jenson says:

            I see these people stuffing the flesh of lessor beings into their mouths daily.

            As far as chasing game, horses, pits, cliffs, snares. Ambush with arrow and spear.

            Steaks are marinated and ready for the grill Ida, how do you like it cooked?

            • Ida Lupines says:

              🙂 Used to be medium; but I no longer eat them. I’m not and have never said I am against some hunting.

            • Mike says:

              ++I see these people stuffing the flesh of lessor beings into their mouths daily.

              As far as chasing game, horses, pits, cliffs, snares. Ambush with arrow and spear.

              Steaks are marinated and ready for the grill Ida, how do you like it cooked?++

              You showed her, tough guy.

  7. Ken Watts says:

    “I’ve wondered why such violence persists into the 21st century, it is like there is a deep need in” wolves “to express violence, and since it is targeted towards” sheep, cattle, and dogs, “it isn’t taken as seriously, and maybe society sees it an(sic) an outlet.”

    Ida, there are two sides to this issue. We must consider the people whose livelihood depends on domestic animals and find a fair balance.

    • Ida Lupine says:

      Yes, there are legitimate reasons for management I suppose – but I don’t think ‘contests’ fall in that category. They are disrespectful to life, IMO.

      Also, no one is guaranteed a livelihood – today people need to adapt and adjust when their livelihoods are being downsized, outsourced and just plain eliminated altogether. While I respect the way of life that people in the West have, the outside world is encroaching and destroying our wildlife. It is no longer the way it used to be in this country.

      • ramses09 says:

        Ida, I love your post’s. You are invaluable to this specific site. I love your posts.

        • Ida Lupine says:

          Oh, thank you so much. I’m just a concerned citizen, for years. I’m glad I found this site. It’s very shocking to see our country going backwards regarding our wildlife, especially with a Democratic administration. I’ve learned a lot of valuable information on both sides of the issue.

          Happy New Year to you,

    • Chris Harbin says:

      I think one of the reasons that attitudes have not changed is that while overall knowledge of wildlife, ecologic and environmental has increased tremendously, the learning of this knowledge has either not changed or actually gone down. For example climate change and evolution. Although the science is there to support the fact that anthropomorphic climate change is real, as well as the evolution of species, there are a lot of folks who don’t want this knowledge taught to their children and, indeed many who actively fight against these issues. Here in Kentucky there is a “creationist” museum in which there are dioramas depicting a time period when humans and dinosaurs lived happily together. In other words, it’s The Flintstones as a documentary.

      • Immer Treue says:

        “Here in Kentucky there is a “creationist” museum in which there are dioramas depicting a time period when humans and dinosaurs lived happily together. In other words, it’s The Flintstones as a documentary.”

        In other words a daffodil amusement park.

    • MJ says:

      The livelihood argument needs to have balance, no other profession presumes that you have the right to earn money whether it is ethical or not, whether there is a market for it or not. Normally people need to adjust to the demands of society, not demand that society adjust to their need to make a profit. In no other part of society would this be allowed to go on.

      The tobacco industry fought hard to keep anyone from associating smoking with incidence of lung cancer. It was their livelihood and their profit margin.

      Ranchers and farmers have the ability to adjust to what the public wants regarding smaller, safer, cleaner ways of doing things that are environmentally friendly. They choose not to.

      The rights of businesses to destroy habitats, wildlife or impinge on individual rights are historically dominant, while wildlife protection with the consequent effect on all OUR natural resources has little protection or precedent. People just don’t think that way or take it seriously. We desperately need protection of both wildlife and our natural resources.

    • Ida Lupines says:

      Yes, although your first paragraph, by interchanging ‘human’ for ‘wolf’, you are attributing human qualities to wolves. They don’t have human qualities and that is irrational, and dare I say emotional?

      Yes, there are two sides to the issue – but you’d never know it because it appears to be only one-sided, human interests taking precedence, and specifically Western human interests taking precedence, and the erosion of laws protecting wildlife and others who would like to see them protected.

    • MAD says:

      Ken – “it is like there is a deep need in” wolves “to express violence, and since it is targeted towards” sheep, cattle, and dogs…”

      You have to be kidding me if you actually believe this nonsensical drivel. Wolves don’t express violence toward anything (talk about simplistic, uneducated anthropomorphism). They attack livestock because it’s easy pickings comparative to wild prey; they attack pets due to territorial aggression or perceived threats. They are animals for chrissake, not humans.

      So tell me Ken, when a hunter with his $500 worth of clothes and gadgets and rifle (or bow) kill an elk, moose or deer, are they expressing violence towards the animal? Now most ethical hunters would immediately scream “NO! It is our right to be able to hunt and kill for sustenance (or nowadays, more likely sport).”

      I live in Montana, nearly everyone I know and work with hunts, as do I. But do all live only on what they bag out in the field? Absolutely not. This is not the North America of 300 years ago. So, that being said, all folks actually supplement their diet with wild game. Let’s be honest, even if there are those that subsist solely on wild game for their animal protein(and I’m sure there’s a quite a few), they still have to buy other food items at the local grocery store. So please, spare me the big, bad wolf hyperbole, the poor oppressed hunter just trying to fill their freezer to feed their starving family and the woeful ranchers beset upon by the violent, alien Canadian wolves.

      • MJ says:

        Are there accurate numbers comparing the percentages of sustenance hunters and recreational hunters?

    • Mike says:

      ++Ida, there are two sides to this issue. We must consider the people whose livelihood depends on domestic animals and find a fair balance.++

      It’s gone way beyond that. If you look at the numbers, preying on domestic animals is trivial.

      The truth is, the wolf has become the new “nigger” for disillusioned racist Caucasian males in rural areas. and they get to shoot them, too.

  8. Ida Lupines says:

    History of wolves in Scotland. I’d sure like to see a reintroduction there too.

    • Ralph Maughan says:

      Ida Lupines,

      I don’t know Scotland except by impression, and I might therefore be very wrong.

      Isn’t Scotland noted for its sheep? I did do a search and the only prey are red deer (very much like our elk) and roe deer. I didn’t find the numbers, but wonder if this is enough.

      • Ida Lupine says:

        I’m no expert, but I would say yes about the sheep. From what I have read, they are having problems with too many red deer, much as we do.

        • Ralph Maughan says:


          Red deer or roe deer? A red deer problem would be a big problem because they are size of elk.

            • Ida Lupine says:

              Sorry, one of TWN’s readers, Phil, mentioned Scotland, so it got me thinking.

              • Peter Kiermeir says:

                First of all, happy new year to all of you!
                Folks, we will not see wolves roaming free in Scotland! We have news about this plans here on this blog from time to time. It´s all more or less the very (over)ambitious plan of a wealthy and a little bit spleeny English(Scots?)man. His plan is to build an enclosure that covers a substiantial portion of the highlands and populate it with wolves and even bears. So those wolves will be kept behind fences, not running free! This plan does not count as a true “reintroduction”.
                And, yes with wolves really running free, there would be heavy conflicts with wool producers – as everywhere else! Another thing about Scotland, yes, the highlands are famous for some really impressive red deer stags.

                • Ralph Maughan says:


                  Thank you for the infusion of information about Scotland and wolves.

          • Ranger Joe says:

            Actually, for all intents and purposes, biologically red deer and elk/wapiti are the same animal, Cervus elaphus, with some behaviorial differences, such as the roar vs. the bugle.

            However, some taxonomists, being by nature splitters rather than lumpers, are beginning to treat red deer and wapiti as separate species on DNA grounds.


  9. Alain says:

    In France, we have about 250 wolves; the regulation plan wolf provides the shot of 24 wolves on 4 years, only by sworn security guards. And it’s already too! Trapping, hunting is prohibited.
    If the Environment Ministry allowed only half the quota provided for U.S., it would be a revolution!
    The wolf is essential to the balance of biodiversity, like all predators and it must be protected.

    • Nancy says:


    • Peter Kiermeier says:

      “If the Environment Ministry allowed only half the quota provided for U.S., it would be a revolution!”
      Salu Alain,
      i think the many french sheep owners that oppose those wolves heavily would be more than happy with a higher quota.

  10. Ken Watts says:

    I am curious, Ida. What state do you live in?

    • Ida Lupines says:

      Massachusetts. 🙂

      • Ida Lupines says:

        My husband lived in Idaho and never has a bad word to say about it.

        • Ken Watts says:

          I live in Idaho just outside of Yellowstone National Park. We did have elk , moose, and deer all around our cabin on a daily basis. The numbers diminished dramatically since the re-introduction of wolves to Yellowstone a few years ago. We have many verified wolf kills of sheep and cattle in our area. In one case, wolves killed 38 sheep in one night a few miles West of our home. The sheep were owned by a very senior Idaho State Legislator.

          I love and respect wildlife. That is one of the reasons I live here. There are no lasting solutions on the far left or far right of an issue, only in the middle where compromise can be reached. To suggest that people should give up their livelihood is not reasonable and does not represent compromise. We need a balance that respects all views.

          Have wolves been re-introduced to Mass?

          • Ida Lupine says:

            Yes. That sounds wonderful! Noooo, wolves haven’t but in extreme northern New England it’s possible.

            I should have added in my post to you that I wish we’d all work together, hunters and environmentalists as conservationists together, because I believe habitat loss and development are the biggest threats to wildlife and the preservation of valued ways of life.

            • MJ says:

              It would be a step forward to work together, but would have to do that without compromising the animals.

              I think we need to use the word conservationist more strictly, that’s where a lot of frustration lies. Consumption is absolutely not conservation, it is “compensated” killing. Money does not replace lives, or undo the trauma on the animals. Money can also be made by non-consumptive tourism.

              By blurring the lines between consumption and genuine respect for wildlife we will continue to argue in ways that are not conducive to compromise. We can’t compromise the intrinsic value of the animals lives.

              The idea that killing animals is fun and a natural right is prevalent. The lines between sustenance and recreational hunting have blurred. Could someone not find another way to have fun? There is really no other sport? Any true animal advocate should not compromise that. The North American Model of Conservation shares sport hunting of the European royalty with all citizens. It preserves habitat for the benefit of hunters, animals often live in fear whether caged or not. We are expanding hunting in wildlife “refuges”. What is the definition of a refuge then? Can we look at that from the animal’s side and think it through.. would we like to be hunted, even if it’s “fair chase”? Radical ideas..

              It is desirable to look for some common ground between hunters and environmentalists, but that will be a challenge. There is a fundamental difference in believing or not that animals have intrinsic value. It doesn’t seem that the momentum favors that now. The momentum that seems to be is that of smoothing over the violence that is really occurring towards wildlife and continuing to view wildlife as objects of consumption. After all, they are “just animals”.

              • Louise Kane says:

                MJ I think you touched on two good points

                The idea that killing animals is fun and a natural right is prevalent. The lines between sustenance and recreational hunting have blurred.

                There is a fundamental difference in believing or not that animals have intrinsic value.

                It is bizarre to me that so many cry radical if one challenges bad, inhumane assumptions or cultural traditions that are archaic, inhumane and ecologically indefensible. With all the data existing on sentience at least the most barbaric methods of hunting like trapping and snaring should be outlawed. for predators like wolves and coyotes killing their family members as trophies feels unconscionable to me.

            • Ken Watts says:

              Rural Mass looks allot like rural Idaho (not wilderness Idaho) and we have many wolves in rural Idaho. Seems like re-introduction would work in Mass in rural areas. Do you think it is possible? Would help control the explosion of deer in Mass.

              • Ida Lupines says:

                I would love it, personally. But we’d probably run into resistance, just like everywhere. It seems a shame to wipe out a species of animal simply because it is financially inconvenient to human beings, and because of baseless fears (or manufactured fears). I think they are far from recovered from the massacre of them back during the founding of this country. It isn’t how the world was made, without predators. I live in a rural area and I love it.

  11. Ida Lupines says:

    Wolves in Scotland: There is a registered charity for this, so it doesn’t sound like it is exclusively the domain of a wealthy individual. From what I have read, in the Highlands, raising sheep isn’t profitable and just like in the US, is heavily subsidized (humans everywhere all very much alike). I hope they do; I’d love to take my tourist $$$ elsewhere.

    • Peter Kiermeir says:

      Ida, if you want to spend your tourist $ abroad, I could provide some advise on wolf and bear friendly (as friendly as can be)areas in Europe :-))
      Just drop me a private mail (Moderators, kindly note)

    • Peter Kiermeir says:

      Ida, this guy is pursuing his plans in earnest. He´s bought a 23000 acres estate in the highlands 10 years ago and has already planted 10 thousands of trees. Remember, the Highlands, now a rather barren land had once been heavily forested. He faces a multitude of rather trivial problems e.g. he needs to fence in his land when he intends to plant wolves. But, contrary to the US law,theres a law in the UK, that grants everybody access to private land – trespassing must be possible. Thus, fencing in your private estate is against the law. And, it does not matter if the sheep raising is proftable or not – it nowhere is – you´ve got your enemies ready!

      • Immer Treue says:

        As per Scotland, what doe you make of the reports of small light colored wolves that are shy, avoid man, survive on lemmings and hares, all the while living in peace and harmony with everything else…or have I heard of this somewhere else…

        • Peter Kiermeir says:

          Immer, never heard about this. But the Scots got a lot of breweries and destilleries out there, producing really fine stuff – after a few glasses you see many things including the Loch Ness Monster! :-))


December 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