U.S. District Judge for Idaho Edward J. Lodge has issued a ruling denying plaintiffs’ case against an ongoing plan to eradicate two wolf packs in Idaho’s Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness. The judge ruled that plaintiffs are unlikely to prevail based on the merits of the case because the US Forest Service’s decision to allow Idaho Department of Fish and Game to use the cabin and airstrip at Cabin Creek was not a final agency action that is reviewable. The US Forest Service claims that it is still evaluating the wolf eradication plan and that it has not taken a final agency action. The Judge also ruled that the removal of wolves in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness does not constitute irreparable harm because the actions don’t irreparably harm the species as a whole.

So far the trapper has killed 9 wolves.

The ruling does not fully address the claims by plaintiffs that the actions violate wilderness values enshrined in the Wilderness Act as it pertains to wolves.

The plaintiffs, Ralph MaughanDefenders of WildlifeWestern Watersheds ProjectWilderness Watch, and Center for Biological Diversity, intend to immediately appeal the ruling to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.  They are ably represented by Tim Preso of Earthjustice.

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About The Author

Ken Cole

Ken Cole is a 5th generation Idahoan, an avid fly fisherman, wildlife enthusiast, and photographer. He is the interim Idaho Director for Western Watersheds Project. We do not accept unsolicited “guest” authors or advertising.

118 Responses to Judge Lodge Issues Ruling Allowing Wolf Extermination in Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness

  1. Zoe Berger says:

    This is absolutely sickening and rather confusing – particularly the term “final agency action” that is not reviewable – because it is still under review?? Did anybody claim that killing the packs in Frank Church would irreparably harm the species as a whole? What a ridiculous train of thought. It seems they are all in it together. Perhaps getting it out of the Idaho Court system and into Federal hands would help?

    • W.Hong says:

      I rather doubt it, it was the 9th that ruled in favor of the congressional rider to delist wolves if I remember correctly. Please correct me if I am wrong?

    • Ralph Maughan says:

      The defendents made up this “review” right on the spot so far as I can determine — a convenient fiction to stall action. What kind of review is it? It seems to have no goals, no procedure, no date of completion, and, in fact, no existence, IMO.

      • Melody Scamman says:

        Don’t give up, Ralph and others! That is probably the most lame ruling that I have ever read! File another suit fast, call Tom L. @ celdf.org and pick his brains, he can think way out of the box! This has to stop, we can’t the them get away with it!

        • Melody Scamman says:

          Oops… we can’t let the Court and ID get away with this. Sorry about typo, I shorted out the charging circuit on my tablet, now it is unstable. That aside, DO NOT give up! Who exactly now owns the wolves on federal land in the FC? It would be my guess that the legal owners of the wolves might be able file using the 14th ammendment that they are illegally being deprived of their property? It’s a crap-shoot but it might stop the slaughter until the case can be decided?
          The problem is in cases like th one for tro, the judge may consult with a politician from that state to prepare for the case. A dubious contact, at best but this happens all the time. It happens even among the most well meaning representatives, who believe their equals will tellbthem the truth. So we need an urgent write-in campaign to our state reps to explain, quickly and easily, what is going on. Also, I believe that if ID doesn’t want wolves there, line up a willing sanctuary and offer to remove them alive and well out of the state. Giving a judge an alternative that good, I can’t imagin they won’t go for it. Ethical alternative to killing wolves!

  2. Ida Lupines says:

    Disappointed, but not surprised.

  3. rick says:

    I have a mountain of respect for:
    Ralph Maughan, Defenders of Wildlife, Western Watersheds Project, Wilderness Watch,Center for Biological Diversity, Tim Preso of Earthjustice Ken Cole and Western Watershed.
    People and Organizations, like this, can have a powerful affect. Thanks, thanks for working together.

  4. Rhonda Lanier says:

    Perhaps the 9th didn’t expect the bloodbath and total disgregard for anything other than blind ignorance, arrogance and hatred we are witnessing. I’ll take the 9th over any judge in Idaho anyway. This is not surprising, but it is morally bankrupt IMHO.

    • ramses09 says:

      Agreed – this is plain murder of wolves that are supposed tone safe in that area.
      Does not surprise me – disappointed big time.

  5. Ida Lupines says:

    He reluctantly upheld it:

    “If I were not constrained by what I believe is binding precedent … I would hold Section 1713 is unconstitutional because it violates the Separation of Powers doctrine,” Molloy wrote in his 18-page decision.

    As Molloy put it, “the way in which Congress acted in trying to achieve a debatable policy change by attaching a rider … is a tearing away, an undermining and a disrespect for the fundamental idea of the rule of law.”


    Not exactly a ringing endorsement.

    • W.Hong says:

      If I am not mistaken, Molloy is not on the 9th court of appeals, so even the liberal 9th upheld the delisting after Molloy ruled on it. That said, it really does not matter if it was not a ringing endorsement, it was still a legal ruling that sets precedence.

      I am not taking sides, but am just trying to learn about all of this wolf stuff.

      • Ida Lupines says:

        Yes, but many think it to be just this side of legal, which I think is part of the important ‘stuff’.

        • W.Hong says:

          Ms. Lupines,

          It does not matter if it is “just” this side of legal, you have to understand the law, which it seems you might not. Just this side of legal is still legal and it is the law.

        • Melody Scamman says:

          Ida, it is awful news but we can’t change that ruling but there are different ways to approach this. I don’t know if anything can be done to save the wolves in the FC. But we need media coverage to get Idaho to not do this again, and through media, a massive boycott to save the FC wolves and as soon as possible.

  6. Eija Vogel says:

    Dr. Maughan, You have always been a staunch wolf supporter and have always been honest about what you have observed. These are traits that I truly admire! I wonder what your thoughts are about a non-native species becoming invasive?

    • Barb Rupers says:

      Do you have a particular species and location in mind: Yellow star thistle, Scot’s broom, nutria, cats?

      I noticed lots of non-native invasives in Hawaii, Argentina, Chile, Idaho, and my upland yard in which almost every herb and several shrubs are from a foreign continent: Himalayan blackberry, broom, Canada thistle, bull thistle, a couple dozen grasses, wild carrot, st john’s wort, and ox-eyed daisy, to name a few. The vernal pools are being taken over by penny royal, reed canary grass, and Bidens frondosa.

      • Barb Rupers says:

        Forgot to mention the bullfrog introduced from the east that consumes native threatened western pond and painted turtles.

        • CodyCoyote says:

          …also forgot to mention Hereford, Angus, Simmental, Charolais, Saler, Galloway , Hempstead, Moreno, Rambouillet, Suffolk…ad absurdum …as nonnative invasive species.

          • Melody Scamman says:

            Yup! I’m not pretending it’s just about the range maggots, I know better but their owners do figure in to it…

  7. Steve Heissler says:

    “It’s not that I hate the wolves, I just don’t want them around here”….sound familiar …..to segregation?

    • Melody Scamman says:

      Yes, Steve, if anyone has any doubts, they can look up a wolf-hater photo that made news a few months ago. ‘Fed up in Wyoming’. A bunch of racist goons dressed up like the KKK and were holding up a dead wolf. I have been told by those I know that run wolf blogs that the same bunch of haters often make racist comments about Native Americans. There is some level of fear in certain Native communities of these haters harming them or their kids. We already know that most of the haters are in the “SSS CLUB”. Except they didn’t get the memo about the shut-up part. They blab all over facebook of their evil deeds against wolves with photos, too. So yes, racism is alive and well in Idaho and much of the old west and plains.
      That said, thinking long term, personhood needs to be granted to wolves and human volunteer guardians to each geographical area with wolves, who would report to a board of volunteer wolf advocates and biologists and a vet. That is how to manage wolves in an honorable way. But even if we started today, it won’t help those marked for death in the FC.

      • W.Hong says:

        Grant personhood to wolves? How do you grant something of this nature to a non-human?

        • Zoe Berger says:

          What really has to change is the concept that “murder” can only apply to humans. Those responsible, either by doing the actual killing or by supporting laws to enable it or passing judgment with Orders, need to be held accountable and for these murders. They also need to be introduced to the concept that wilderness is for all the wild creatures that live there – not for humans to feel free to go into that environment and murder – for ANY reason.

        • Melody Scamman says:

          Ha-ha… corporations used the 14th ammendment back in the days of the industrial revolution to gain personhood for corporations so they could sue people or other corporations. It is no more absurd to grant a wolf personhood than it is to give personhood to a corporation. If we can’t protect them under the ESA anymore, and obviously, they are being exterminated by humans for political gain. How exactly it is done depends on several factors. It is easier to do in the eastern US but celdf.org is fighting fracking in nearby areas to wolf country, they could tell you better. But in a nutshell, voters of a community get together, call for a special town meeting and have citizens vote on personhood within the borders of their community as a town ordinence. Of course much wolf education must take place first. Look up rights based ordinance and Shapleigh and Newfield Maine. We were first to do this in Maine… So far it has not been challenged because if the challenge won the it would put corporate personhood on the chopping block. They are unwilling to risk all those percs! So in my town, our water supply has been granted personhood by the citizens. It took a year and a half to do. Our group was Protect Our Water and Wildlife Resources. POWWR.Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, celdf.org helped us with legal advice. We beat Nestle, a multinational corporation with deep pockets and an army of lawyers. Now they nor any water miner, drill for water in our town!
          Because of the special circumstances, the wolf extinctions, wolves need to be protected from humans. There is a book available for download in Amazon by Walter Baily about the whole process of personhood and rights-based ordinances. That tells the story of Shapleigh and Newfield and POWWR.

        • B. Gutierrez says:

          See the Non-Human Rights Project and I agree if a Corporation can have person-hood how can this be more unbelievable than another living being granted the same?

      • ramses09 says:

        I love your ideas – wonderful ideas. If you get them started let me know, would love to work with you & for you.

  8. Linda Rubino says:

    Looks like America is gong back in time ; not forward…. Sad really … Thought we stood for something else;

    • WM says:

      If Judge Lodge’s preliminary ruling on the TRO/Injunction is correct, he just carryied forward the INTENT of the Wilderness Act of 1964, the wilderness acts creating the RNR and the Frank, the National Forest Management Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act (and to some extent the ESA for a species no longer listed).

      The message here is one of cooperative federalism, and long-standing recognition of the powers reserved to states in those statutes, as well as framing what constitutes “significant federal action” and what does not, in the way of USFS decisions to let them use the cabin and an airstrip runway already open for use by the general public.

      In the ruling, he notes the content of the Memorandum of understanding between the USFS and IDFG – wherein it states, “the USFS shall recognize the IDFG “as the agency with the primary authority, jurisdiction, and responsibility to manage, control, and regulate fish and wildlife populations on NFS lands.” Footnote 3.

      Footnote 3 reads: 3 The correlating portion of the Memorandum of Understanding applicable to the IDFG states that it shall recognize the USFS “as the agency responsible for the management of NFS lands in Idaho and the fish and wildlife habitats on these lands.”

      While this case has not been fully decided on the merits, only the requested temporary remedies to stop the wolf removal, the judge gives us a pretty good idea where he is going to end up. Of course, if he is wrong, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, sitting in San Francisco, will tell us where he went wrong, and then depending on whether the parties feel comfortable with the ruling, the US Supreme Court may weigh in, but they only review a miniscule percentage of appellate cases – so it will most likely stop with the 9th and whatever instructive rulings that tells us where Judge Lodge got it wrong.

      • Rita k Sharpe says:

        Thank you for the info , WM.

      • Ida Lupines says:

        And they’ll keep killing in the meantime. How many wolves make a pack, and how do they know how many are in a pack – are they monitored?

      • jburnham says:

        I mostly agree with your analysis, but I think you’re only partly correct when you say that this ruling preserves the intent of the Wilderness Act.

        Does Idaho have the right to manage wildlife in the Wilderness? Yes. The Wilderness Act affirms this. Procedurally, the intent of the act was upheld.

        Does the management action contribute to the preservation of the wilderness character as defined in the Wilderness Act? I don’t think it does. It’s hard to conclude that an action that degrades wilderness character upholds the intent of the Wilderness Act.

        The main intent of the Wilderness Act as noted in Sec. 2(a) is “…to provide for the protection of these areas, the preservation of their wilderness character…”

        What’s ‘wilderness character’?

        A wilderness… is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain. An area of wilderness is further defined to mean in this Act an area of undeveloped Federal land retaining its primeval character and influence, without permanent improvements or human habitation, which is protected and managed so as to preserve its natural conditions and which
        (1) generally appears to have been affected primarily by the forces of nature, with the imprint of man’s work substantially unnoticeable;

        Cooperative federalism implies the feds and the states using their respective powers to work together toward a shared goal. This seems more like a case of dual federalism. Idaho is exercising its (legitimate) authority for its own ends, mostly without federal intervention, contrary to the Wilderness Act’s clear goals of preserving natural processes and minimizing the imprint of man’s work.

        • Zoe Berger says:

          So it is a very convenient slippery slope. Who can the finger be pointed at? How can the State be free to wipe out entire packs in a Federal Wilderness? The Feds have given the State the right to control but they also are responsible for overseeing the State when those rights are taken beyond what can be allowed. It seems to me they are both responsible. No?

        • WM says:


          Another view might be that the noble purposes of the Wilderness Act (when enacted) may not in any way impinge on the rights and responsibilities expressly reserved to the states, and in the Frank, the state of Idaho.

          Yet another view might be that these wilderness purposes and re-statement of reserved powers may be in considerable direct conflict. I have always found it odd that on the one hand the purposes of “wilderness values” almost poetically stated still allow things like air strips, jet boats, and other access that includes limited roads already in place at the time wilderness was created, or even the use of helicopters and fixed wing aircraft for various access, research and management of wilderness (my favorite is packing out human waste). The idea of wilderness is a somewhat ambiguous concept when these aspects are brought up.

          Maybe it is a question of perception, but I don’t see lethal removal of just two discrete packs of wolves, where there are more, and even more in adjacent MT national forest and wilderness as little as 30 miles to the north.


          ++ The Feds have given the State the right to control but they also are responsible for overseeing the State….++

          I am not so sure that is an accurate statement. The more common reading is that the Wilderness Act and specific wilderness legislation leaves untouched the already established reserved right to manage wildlife. There is no giving to the states this right since they already had it; Congress just decided in passing federal law not to TAKE AWAY these rights. There is a difference – a big one- in how the argument is constructed and how the analysis will be done.

          That is why there are legal terms like “savings clauses” in these statutes.

          • Ida Lupines says:

            WM, you know there are going to be more killed. They keep escalating the number of wolves killed without any restraint. Chandie gives you a glowing reference, btw.

          • WM says:

            Sorry, incomplete sentence:

            ++Maybe it is a question of perception, but I don’t see lethal removal of just two discrete packs of wolves, where there are more, and even more in adjacent MT national forest and wilderness as little as 30 miles to the north, AS A BIG DEAL.++

            • Ida Lupines says:

              Well maybe you don’t, but others do. Especially after a hunting season such as Idaho has had in addition. If they want to have a professional trapper/hunter to kill wolves, they should cut back on the hunting seasons.

            • Ralph Maughan says:


              I beg to differ. If Idaho Fish and Game can do this and get away with it, then other states can do it in the National Wilderness System. It might not be wolves killed either. It is easy to visualize Montana DOL killing bison inside Wilderness in Montana under their old brucellosis argument and Wyoming killing elk under the same tired excuse. In other words, it is not the number. It’s the precedent.

              • WM says:


                I think what is permitted or prohibited in designated Wilderness has been on Congress’ radar for sometime. A Congressional Research Service analyst has taken a pretty comprehensive look at it under multiple statutes. Before reading this, I suspected, but did not realize the full scope.


                There are many non-conforming uses in specific pieces of legislation creating specific wilderness contemporaneously with or after the Wilderness Act, that deal with everything from water development, mining, access, fish and wildlife, non-federal land in-holdings, livestock grazing, fire/insect/disease control, and a bunch of others that most people simply are not aware of.

                Most folks here have the perception jburnham recites above, for “wilderness character.”

                The question I have is how long and how widely spread have many of these perceived undesirable fish and wildlife control/management actions been going on. Decades? Widely spread, or nominally few? This wolf control action in ID seems to have focused the issue. Grizzly bear control actions are likely next. The question I have is how much “public review and input” on routine control actions of various types, but small scale, is needed. Shouldn’t agencies just be allowed to do their jobs under umbrella plans that have received public input?

                You raise good questions about the limits of such actions and their possible expansive implications if states exercise their reserved wildlife powers indiscriminately.

                Is this something a near-future Congress will take up, if legal rulings, such as the present litigation, suggest too big a movement in one direction or another?

            • Zoe Berger says:


              ++Maybe it is a question of perception, but I don’t see lethal removal of just two discrete packs of wolves, where there are more, and even more in adjacent MT national forest and wilderness as little as 30 miles to the north, AS A BIG DEAL.++

              This situation is presumably so the hunters won’t be competing with the wolves for elk. This is simply absurd. I think this alone makes it a big deal even though I don’t believe it. I think they just want an excuse to kill wolves. That kill fest they had in Salmon is a reflection of the mindset.

              I do appreciate your legalese information. It does make it seem even more hopeless to find an angle to get in and stop it. I have asked before, who can the finger be pointed at?

            • Ann says:

              Not that this will matter, of course, but the “big deal” here is that if wolves are not allowed to live in a wilderness area, where pray tell are they supposed to live. The “management” of species is supposed to be based on science….I say that holding back the chuckle….not on politics. And this action in the Frank Church came to pass because an outfitter wants his clients to find their prey jumping out from behind a tree waving a flag saying, “Here I am, take me”, and not, instead, keeping themselves hidden because wolves are in the wilderness. Whatever you call that, it isn’t science. Not that I think Idaho is constitutionally capable of a rational management of any species, but if one is going to attempt to do so it might be prudent to manage them in areas that find them inside your cupboard…..not in the Frank Church Wilderness, or any other wilderness, where wildlife is supposed to find a home.

          • JB says:

            One aspect that has been missed in this analysis is that generally motor boats, airstrips, and grazing–where allowed–are grandfathered in. The IDF&G’s use of helicopters to find wolves and now a government trapper to dispatch them are new uses. Despite what some here may think, I rarely feel strongly about the issues we debate here–I often see both sides. However, this issue has me fuming. Using government trappers to kill wolves solely to make more elk for hunters is simply agriculture–and a new form of agriculture to the Frank Church.

            The Wilderness Act sought to… “assure that an increasing population, accompanied by expanding settlement and growing mechanization, does not occupy and modify all areas within the United States and its possessions, leaving no lands designated for preservation and protection in their natural condition…”

            It’s one thing to allow hunters into the wilderness to harvest “surplus” animals–that I can support. It is another entirely to use government personnel for the sole purpose of creating more elk for hunters to kill. That’s agriculture, and wilderness is the one place it should not be allowed.

            • Immer Treue says:


              Well said.

            • Ida Lupines says:

              Yes, thanks JB.

            • Melody Scamman says:

              Well put, meegwetch! Thank you!

            • IDhiker says:


              I am in complete agreement with you!

            • Dan says:

              Agriculture, that’s a stretch! Next time I see USFS controlling hawkweed, star thistle or knapweed, I’ll think there they go again practicing agriculture!(sarcasm) No, I really will not. We introduced those weeds just like we introduced the wolves and the weeds like the wolves need some control, even if it’s in the “wilderness.”

              • bret says:

                Dan, control of noxious weeds falls under the preview of USDA and state agencies and local noxious weed control boards.

              • Ida Lupines says:

                We replaced the wolves we destroyed and eradicated from their natural home. We did an ethical thing reintroducing the wovles. Non-native weeds, besides being a plant and not an animal, are not the same thing. We need to step up our game with the same fervor on getting rid of noxious weeds that were brought in for grazing and were a mistake.

                However, one man’s weed is another man’s wildflower.

              • Logan says:

                THe 1938 Law that created the Idaho Department of Fish and Game predates the wilderness act and it mandates that ungulate populations be managed to create an excess available for hunting. The wilderness act recognized hunting and animal population management as legitamate activities in wilderness.

              • JB says:


                Agriculture is the practice of modifying natural systems to grow crops for human use. Aldo Leopold called game management “the art of making land produce sustained annual crops of wild game for recreational use”, and he explicitly recognized it as a form of agriculture. And of course, there is a substantial difference between an introduction of a non-native species and the re-introduction of a native species. 😉


                (1) The fact that the 1938 legislation predates the Wilderness Act is irrelevant. (2) The Wilderness Act grants some limited agricultural uses (e.g., grazing) under certain conditions–it does not provide carte blanche endorsement of such activities. (3) Hunting and control for the express purpose of hunting are two entirely different things.

            • Logan says:

              Many of the comments here express outrage because of wolf management in a wilderness area to a point that makes me wonder if the outrage would be any less vehement if this were happening on National Forest outside the wilderness boundary or on a large private holding.

              It seems to me that the answer is no; this same level of anger would be seen regardless of the location, therefore it appears that the location is being used only as an additional weapon against those who support wolf management.

              If it is only wilderness that we care so much about then is it alright to eradicate wolves everywhere else?

              I look at wildlife on a large scale, overall numbers and distribution. I think many of the comments here have been too focused on the individual animal and extending human characteristics to animals.

              I don’t think that removing two packs is going to hurt the species.

              • Ida Lupines says:

                The use of the word ‘eradicate’ is what people would object to. So far, we’ve gone along with the term ‘management’ but we are seeing that the states have a very broad interpretation of that term and have been going too far. Removing two pack sounds good, but it keeps escalating. First there was a limited hunt, then it was extended for a longer time, then the number of animals taken was increased, then it was in the wilderness, etc. etc. When is enough enough? We want a healthy presence of wolves in the lower 48.

                Yes, going into a wilderness area is more alarming because it isn’t necessary and it is contrary to national values. And how many animals are in ‘two’ packs? We’re not getting an answer to that.

                Some hunters seem to extend negative human characteristics to wolves, so it is not just a phenomenon limited to one side of the issue.

              • Zoe Berger says:

                I have no problem agreeing that killing wolves anywhere is something I am not comfortable with. But I don’t condone killing any animal – anywhere. I can’t speak for anyone but myself.

                This situation is particularly infuriating because it IS in a wilderness. One could expect that any creature living there would be protected from being killed. Nature does have a way of taking care of things if left alone.

                The other aspect is the wolves here are being killed for the sole benefit of the hunters looking to kill elk which it is assumed the wolves are interfering with.

                The point of the objection is not that it will have an effect on the species as a whole. It is the particular packs living in a wilderness. It just is so wrong.

              • Ida Lupines says:

                I’m not comfortable with killing wolves either, but I was just trying to follow the reasoning of those who do – it is self-serving and dishonest.

                I had to chuckle watching “She Wolf” last night, thinking about the rabid anti’s who are so shocked about wolves taking elk. They are not always successful (they don’t get a money-back guarantee from an outfitter when they don’t get one). All propaganda.

                The wolf had her eye on a calf, and the mother elk would have killed the wolf easily or at least broken some bones if the wolf had pushed her luck.

              • Logan says:

                I would like to note that on forums and blogs I do not typically observe the username of those to whom I am responding because I prefer to respond to topics and not necessarily the people posting them. I do not like to single people out or create bad feelings. On this site I have noticed that I have responded to Ida Lupines several times and I want you to know that I am not intentionally seeking you out or targeting your ideas.

                The word eradicate is certainly the polarizing word. To some people any amount of wolf harvest is equal to wholesale eradication and I find that you cannot reason with those people. To others anything less than completely eradicating wolves(ie killing every last one) is the only option and I find that you cannot reason with them either.

                I see animals as animals; wolves will do what wolves do, they will kill elk, deer and moose sometimes eating before their prey is dead sometimes it’s cleaner than that and that doesn’t make them evil or cruel, it makes them wolves. Elk will run away and try to escape and sometimes they are succesful sometimes not and that does not make them scared victims it makes them elk.

                We (people of this nation) have always managed our resources for our own benefit. In the later half of the 20th century we got better at doing that while minimizing our environmental impact although we still have a ways to go. In Idaho we have always managed wildlife to produce an excess available for hunting, IDFG is doing the job they were created to do in 1938.

                Wolves are here to stay as they should be and they will be managed like all other wildlife in the state. I would have liked the recovery to have been full protection of wolves as they recolonized the area as was already occurring but the decision was to accelerate the process by transplanting. The emotional side of me sees recolonizing as much more profound, wild and romantic than rounding up animals putting them in cages and then releasing them into the wild like an unwanted pet (unwanted in the sense of the way it is released not in how I feel about them). The wolf recovery has been the most successful recovery of any large mammal in the US in recent times, we all just need time to adjust and find the balance that will be socially acceptable in the long run. Anyone fighting for no hunting of wolves and anyone advocating full eradication need to wake up to reality.

              • Ida Lupines says:

                Logan, not to worry –

                These conversations can get a little intense, because these issues are important to many of us, but no bad feelings I hope. I’ve enjoyed reading your comments.

              • ramses09 says:

                Really Logan?? As said in other comments, those wolves are being removed because they want more elk for hunters, easy kills. Wolves hunt to eat – to survive. Humans hunt because they either LOVE to kill or they LOVE to kill. I do not agree with your statement “I don’t think removing 2 packs is going to hurt the species.” I think you are wrong.

              • WM says:

                ++Wolves hunt to eat – to survive….++

                …and to REPRODUCE.

                IDFG has every right under the law to manage wolves for agreed numbers and a buffer. Whether the control measures should include use of a department employee hunter/trapper designated Wilderness is still under legal review, but it appears the first round goes to Defendants IDFG and the USFS.

              • W.Hong says:


                When I have hunted in the past, both in my home country as well as here in the United States, it has only been to eat, I don’t enjoy killing, but without it, my family and I would not have eaten any meat. You may be able to purchase all of your needs, of course someone else killed something so you can eat, but others are willing and able to kill their own food.

              • W.Hong says:

                Also, as I am still learning about wolves, can you explain to me, how removing two packs will hurt the species, I know there are a lot of wolves in the world, so perhaps I am not understanding something?

          • B. Gutierrez says:

            Maybe it is a question of perception, but I don’t see lethal removal of just two discrete packs of wolves, where there are more, and even more in adjacent MT national forest and wilderness as little as 30 miles to the north..
            This is an interesting perspective and makes sense only if you fail to take into account the individual nature and right to life of each wolf. This is not a way to view living beings..Each one of these wolves feels, suffers and has a right to its life. The it’s ok to kill some because we have others mindset is reducing a living being to the category of an inanimate object that we as humans have a right to manipulate. The world isn’t just ours – it’s really time to see that.

            • WM says:

              ++Each one of these wolves feels, suffers and has a right to its life.++

              Interesting perspective in a complex human dominated world. If you feel that way, then you must also feel the same about an excess number of cats, dogs, maybe even wild horses, rats, mice, predators like bears or lions, coyotes, skunks, foxes and so many other species that interfere with human habitation or activities. Then there are birds – starlings are my favorite. How do you feel about ants and mosquitoes?

              So, just playing this out, when wolves were reintroduced to the NRM the PLAN was always to manage them for livestock depredation and unacceptable impacts on ungulate populations (it will vary based on location). EVERY state wolf management plan in final, draft or even only in concept form considers lethal management of wolves, whether hunting or other means.

              B. Guttierrez you live in a world of high expectations regarding animal life, apparently not shared by many of your peers, at least as reflected by governments elected by the majority vote. That is not my opinion, but statistical fact, otherwise how can you explain all the different applicable “lethal control” programs from state and federal agencies, to the local animal shelter (with its euthanasia programs), or the occasional “self-help” permitted under various state wildlife regulations? Where do you or others draw the line between which species (and individuals of those species) deserving to live and which not? I wonder what kind of annual sales revenues companies like Victor (makers of rat and mouse traps, as well as some of the traps used for larger predators) generates each and every year? Then there is my favorite for ants – a product called Terro made from borax and sugar. At least it keeps the little buggers out of the honey jar in my cupboard. Do I feel bad, about the deaths of animals of whatever type? Sure, its why we have 3 rescue animals in our household. I do not, however, worship wolves, though I see value in having some on the landscape in controlled numbers and locations, consistent with other management objectives important to humans.

              • B. Gutierrez says:

                You’ve put quite a bit in there so let me try to sort it out.
                Yes, I do feel the right to life for all species is intrinsic and independent of whether or not “I see value”. What is value when it comes to something like deciding who lives or dies? Because I do or don’t like the appearance of another being? Because I’m scared of him/her? Because there’s money involved? How are you assigning value? What I see being done to predators is a form of the “Bush Doctrine” where it’s a preemptive strike in most cases. Were these wolves actually guilty of anything other than being somewhere where those with a power to decide didn’t want them?
                These wolves are in a wilderness. Had they been prancing down the streets of Manhattan I’d see a problem but if predators can’t exist in a wilderness then where? And why do we need to manage – would not nature manage itself?
                As far as my being out of step – Maybe.. but think back on history and tell me the popular prevailing view of the moment has gotten it right every time..
                As for the ants and mosquitoes – Humans like everyone else have a right to protect themselves – when a mosquito bites – it gets swatted…when an ant comes in the house, it doesn’t bite so it gets put outside. The difference between this and the approach to wolves is – the mosquito is actually doing something – I didn’t go hunting for it.

              • IDhiker says:

                I agree that most of our human peers do not have high expectations regarding other animals. They are pretty much concerned only with themselves, and have little time, compassion, or interest for anything else.

              • Mike says:

                The problem once again, as it has always been, is male Caucasians with little dicks.

              • rork says:

                “The problem once again, as it has always been, is male Caucasians with little dicks.”

                Learn to pre-screen, and not be so picky about ethnicity. You might consider looking both ways, and recall that whatever nature fails to provide, art can add.

            • Zoe Berger says:

              Ida just to clarify – I was responding to Logan’s input.

      • Nancy says:

        Curious WM, have you read Science Under Siege/Wilkinson? Written 16 years ago but have their really been any significant changes in how USFG, NFS and IDFG and how they run their agencies?

          • Rita k Sharpe says:

            Thank you for the info, Nancy.

            • Nancy says:

              Rita – the book is well worth the read and sheds a lot of light on current situations, especially the chapter titled A Grizzly Future.

              “Politics still controls the purse strings of land management agencies, and few bureaucrats or scientists in their right minds are willing, as they say, to bite the hand that feeds them”

          • Ida Lupines says:

            For if you had a hunch that things were bad, your hunch is several negative quantum leaps from the true reality of how bad things really are.

            That’s usually what I have found also.

        • WM says:


          I understand Wilkinson’s premise. There has been and will always be tension between scientists/government administrators, private enterprise and politicians. It will worsen as human populations grow. The matter centers on economics and jobs, which has always been the sticking point, along with the need for cost-effective means of improving or even maintaining environmental quality for now and the future, locally and world-wide. We actually as humans about the earth, and in the US, have a pretty bad track history. Have you watched “Death by China” yet?

  9. LM says:

    I just watched the Nature program, Frank Church – River of no return, program filmed by the Babcocks (2012)and re-watched Ken Burn’s, The West. I makes my heart sick and
    Yes, I agree, it feels like we are going backwards to the wildlife & predator extermination policies of the 1800’s. Also, yesterday I went to the local BLM office to schedule an appointment for a wild horse inspection. I thought it was strange that the person in charge of the inspections was wearing a bullet proof vest. What’s that all about ?

    • Julie Long Gallegos says:

      It does seem that there is a siege mentality or militia mindset that is getting worse and worse in our Rocky Mountain and rural areas in general. There is also a good deal of fetishising of hunting gear and equipment. The camouflage is so overdone in many of the hunter photos that we see in social media, it’s laughable. It does seem that the bullet proof vest is intended to impress or intimidate. I’d ask that person the next time I’m in there!

  10. What is happening is that they are killing the wolves first, and then later, when it is decided how illegal it is, the deed will be already done, like when a logging company comes in and clear cuts just felling everything and then is reminded that the owner of the land wanted to save some of the trees . . ooops so sorry. Ha Ha Ha all the way to the bank.

    If they get away with this it will set such a horrible precedent that we could easily loose any other animal from any other “wilderness” when another animal become inconvenient to someone’s idea of what is their right.

    • Melody Scamman says:

      Linda, the corporation, Nestle, put 17 test wells into our drinking water supply. We fought back and we won! It isn’t hopeless. But we do have to all do whatever we do best to build a movement to change laws that are out of the dark ages and have not been updated in entire lifetimes! Wolf and wildlife advocates have to quit crying when these things happen. They have to organize now, ignore petty differences, no infighting, eyes on the prize… wilderness as it should be! Politicians do not care about wildlife, animals don’t vote. But people do. We need to reform the system of how animals are treated.

      • Montana Boy says:

        Wolf lovers continue to claim they represent over 90% of the people. Who are these groups and how many members do they have?

        • Melody Scamman says:

          MB, I have not heard that figure. And there are no ‘members’ that I know of, except for sanctuary and rescue supporting members. The figures that I have heard are voting related, most are 74-80% pro-wolf.
          That was before the derbies and horrendously abusive wolf-hater pages. So who knows, it may be 90% now?

  11. mandy says:

    That sounds like a double-speak loophole; in other words, utter bullsh!t.

  12. Ida Lupines says:

    Does anybody know how many wolves are each in the two packs, and how many are supposed to be taken? Are the wolves collared/monitored? Two packs is a vague number. As someone said above, it’ll be ‘Whoops! Sorry, made a mistake. But it will be a ‘learning experience’.’

    • Ralph Maughan says:

      Ida Lupine and WM,

      At least 9 wolves have been killed. It isn’t clear if the wolf exterminator is still in the Wilderness. Since the exterminator was sneaked in — no public announcement, no notification to the Forest Service, and detection only because Isaac Babcock saw him and took his photo, it is possible that other exterminators are in, or have been in other parts of the Wilderness killing wolves under instructions unknown to the public or to agencies outside of those in Idaho.

  13. jon says:

    Ralph, do you know how many wolves are in those two packs and do you have any idea how many wolves live in the frank church?

  14. Carter Niemeyer says:

    I checked the annual wolf reports put out by the NRM states (used to be assembled by the USFWS). Neither the Nez Perce Tribe nor the IDFG have documented any wolf numbers associated with either the Golden or Monumental packs since 2010. I think the question for the IDFG would be to tell us how many wolves and how many elk are in the Frank Church. I’m guessing nobody has a clue.

    • Ralph Maughan says:

      Thanks Carter,

      This is why I think that behind it all, this Wilderness wolf extermination is not really a idea hatched by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. Rather, it makes more sense to explain it as the idea of a Fish and Game Commissioner (or some other powerful person) doing a favor for an outfitter or outfitters in the area.

  15. Rob says:

    Have you taken a look at the Idaho DFG website. It includes the predator control plan for this area with lots of detail. It documents the fact that the elk decline began before wolves were reintroduced and clearly shows that change in habitat is the cause. I’m not a lawyer but it seems like there is a lot of information in that plan that could be useful in this legal battle.

  16. Gary H says:

    My experience as a BLM employee for 37 years, provided me 2 important insights: public input did affect local decision makers and successful court challenges changed management plans.

    This court challenge was not successful because wolves are no longer protected by the ESA (extermination of two packs will not significantly affect the species) and hunting and trapping are allowed in wildnerness areas.

    I’m mad as hell that humans are killing wolves, and I believe the best way to stop it from happening is to send letters (letters are more influential than e-mails) to local FS, BLM, IDF&G and yes to politicians. I emphasize in letters that wolves are the peoples wolves, Americas wolves and they have a right to live and thrive on public lands.

    Changes in protecting native wildlife and wildlands will not happen overnight, but it will happen if we challenge bad decisions and make our voices loudly heard.

    • Zoe Berger says:

      Gary H:

      Thank you for your insights. And for being mad as hell like I am that humans are killing wolves. Given the power of the NRA and the hunters, and the fact that most of the letters you suggest will be addressed to hunters/NRA members, it is hard to believe there will be any resultant positive impact. However that is my plan. Any particular reason letters are more influential than emails?

      • Gary H says:

        Zoe Berger,

        Letters are more influential for 2 reasons: even though all public input becomes part of the “public record”, letters sent through the mail indicate the writer was willing to spend the effort to send it through the mail with a signature and the decision maker receives the letter instead of his or her subordinates.

        I was directly involved in decisions and even though it may not seem like agencies listen, trust me, when enough letters are sent with sound and rational information, decision makers take public input into consideration. This is especially true when decisions are made on local issues and the public makes their case using specific and documented information.

    • B. Gutierrez says:

      Do you have addresses and names? I’ve written to Pres. Obama and Sally Jewell and will write to my Senator but are there others?

  17. snaildarter says:

    Removal the Apex preditor from a wilderness area does not meet the standard of “a community of life are untrammeled by man” I don’t care how many wolves are supposed to be in the area. The creatures of Frank Church have a right to a complete eco-system. Its not a canned elk hunting ranch for bubba’s If any human management is allowed its sole focus should be to allow the natural order to occur without human interferance.

    • Montana Boy says:

      While I think the state of Idaho screwed up by sending in a state employee. Let the outfitter hunt the wolves himself.
      Your selective species management rant is classic no mention of other species being managed. Your outrage with human management(killing) in the Frank Church only occurred with wolf management.

  18. snaildarter says:

    The Apex predator is the most fragile part of any eco-system because it requires the whole system to be healthy for its survival. That usually means keeping the humans on foot and without any species elimination strategy.

    • Montana Boy says:

      Montana and Idaho must have one healthy eco-system by your definition because the wolf is doing more than just surviving.

      • Rita k Sharpe says:

        Montana Boy, You seem to have a fixation on wolves. Maybe, you should move on to other articles so that we might enjoy your expertise in other areas of wildlife. Right now the bighorn is being discussed. It is another animal and is a good topic. Maybe you are trying to keep the wolf the center of attention.

  19. Melody Scamman says:

    If we stop using the word ‘pack’ and replace it with family, a whole lot of people will stop thinking of wolves as heartless vermin.
    I have two families here. They are actually one big extended family but the two males don’t get along so I put two females with one male and two females with the other male, depending on who gets along best. So a family can be two adults of opposite sex that are mates up to as many family members that get along and the land can support.
    If we go by the new Idaho definition, we would have to first have a pre-frontal lobotomy to understand the state’s rationalizing of their new theory?

  20. Oliver Starr says:

    Eija, if you are referring to the claim that the wolves restored to Yellowstone and Montana are different wolves from those originally there, here are the facts: http://qr.ae/G5ZlO

  21. Mary Branch says:

    This judge, as well as the U.S. Forest Service, should all be fired. I am so outraged that the two packs earmarked for eradication (the Golden and the Monumental) will be slaughtered on public land, by a bounty hunter AND in a 2.4 million acre wilderness. Who the heck are they bothering? This is all about money. Big Game Money. And politicians and our federal agencies are looking the other way. How many pockets are being lined with wolf blood? I am sickened that Idaho’s wolf management plan flies in the face of sound science and the natural predatory necessity of wolves. Boycott Idaho and write the Obama Administration to RELIST wolves. It is the only way to stop the insanity and save this species. We almost hunted them to extinction in the early 1900’s. It’s been a slow process to build their populations. If you ever watch a video of wolves in the wild, you would NEVER EVER EVER want them harmed.

    • Elk375 says:


      ++ If you ever watch a video of wolves in the wild, you would NEVER EVER EVER want them harmed.++

      Watch a video, have you ever seen wolves in the wild. Maybe in Yellowstone Park but have you ever seen wolves outside a national park. Could you find wolves today outside a national park? Or is your wolf experience limited to videos with hopes of a trip to Yellowstone National Park or memories of that trip.

  22. Immer Treue says:

    Guess it’s up to ten now. Is RMEF $ being used for this. Plus action is futile as once packs are removed, others will fill vacated territory.

    • JB says:


      This is a good point, and these new packs, of course will require collars, which will require helicopters, which will require more money.

      Moreover, and I’m sure this will infuriate some wolf-lovers, if one wishes to judge the success of this type of intervention, the removal of two packs is wholly insufficient from a statistical standpoint. Year-to-year variation in these types of biological data is such that one isn’t likely to be able to differentiate the signal from the noise.
      Moreover, the correspondence of wolf removal with habitat change (via fire) means one cannot separate the effect of the removal from the effect of better habitat. So if recruitment was to improve because of habitat, it won’t be known, and you can damn well be sure it will be used as justification for more wolf killing.

      • Immer Treue says:


        It leads to an escalation each yearly cycle. I guess I could live, really got no choice, with the ‘recreational hunting/trapping, as it’s what most folks in the NRM states clamored for, and was guaranteed. My beef is and was, this is no longer good enough. Now the “ringers” are brought in.

        Those collars…the more I think about them, the more I agree with Larry T. A collared wolf is a dead wolf.

        • Zoe Berger says:

          I just read Kathie Lynch’s article – I imagine you all received notification in your inbox. What an inspiring, wonderful woman! It is obvious that observation on the level she does is far better than helicopters and collars. It would be terrific if that money could be used instead to have her train people – if she had the time.

  23. snaildarter says:

    I like the wolf is a family idea,it needs to be spread around, lots of folks don’t know that.
    In fact most Amercians have no idea about the outfitters and their rich hunters war on our wolves and they would be outraged if they did.

  24. Wes Engel says:

    “At the risk of sounding self promotional I would like to call attention to my new novel, Grey Ghost. The novel is a thriller set in Idaho. While it is fiction the story’s backdrop details the history of the wolf’s re-intorduction, the environmental and economical positions of the various constituancies, and delves into the impacts of Idaho’s first santioned wolf hunt. I tried to be fair to all sides. The novel can be found at Amazon.com (E book only – Kindle).

    I now regret not interviewing either Mr. Maughan or Neimeyer, the two recognized authorities in this area, as technical consultants as part of my research for the book. I hope I got most of the big stuff right.

    Once again, I appologize if this is not an appropriate posting for this setting. I hope it is not too much over-the-line. I will gladly donote all proceedings this post might generate to support the general operations of The Widlife News. I am not intersted in money. My only interest is to generate folks’ interest, encourage exploration of the issues and increase knowledge.”

    Wes Engel

    • Ralph Maughan says:

      I have been reading Wes’ book. I didn’t know about it until he contacted me. So far it is generally accurate (Can’t be completely so. It is a novel), and I find the developing plot interesting . . more later.


January 2014


‎"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