New plan aims to reduce population by 60% to please elk hunters

POCATELLO, Idaho – In an effort to inflate elk populations for commercial outfitters and hunters, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) hopes to kill 60 percent of the wolves in the Middle Fork area of central Idaho’s Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, according to a predator management plan for the area released this week.

IDFG’s plan calls for an intensive program of wolf killing in the largest forested wilderness area in the lower-48 states through several successive years of professional hunting and trapping efforts designed to boost the local elk population beyond the level that can be sustained through natural predator-prey interactions. It comes just weeks after a hunter-trapper hired by the state wildlife agency killed nine wolves in an effort to exterminate two wolf packs in the Middle Fork area. State officials terminated the program in the midst of an emergency court proceeding to halt the program.

Earthjustice is in court to stop the professional extermination of wolves in central Idaho’s Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness. Last month, Earthjustice filed an emergency motion asking the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to preserve the wolves and their vital contribution to the wilderness character of the . Rather than presenting its legal defense to Earthjustice’s argument, IDFG temporarily halted the program until the end of June 2014. Earthjustice will be filing its opening brief later this week in the Ninth Circuit proceeding. Earthjustice is representing long-time Idaho wilderness advocate Ralph Maughan, along with Defenders of Wildlife, Western Watersheds Project, Wilderness Watch, and Center for Biological Diversity in the case.

Statement from attorney Tim Preso of the Northern Rockies office of Earthjustice.

“The state of Idaho has made clear that it intends to double down on its plan to transform the Middle Fork area of the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness from a naturally regulated wilderness to an elk farm benefiting commercial outfitters and recreational hunters. The only thing that is not clear is whether the U.S. Forest Service will step up to defend the wilderness character of this landscape on behalf of all the American people or instead will, as it has done to date, let Idaho effectively run the area to advance its own narrow interest in elk production. For our part, we intend to do everything we can to obtain a federal court ruling that will require the Forest Service to protect this special place and its wildlife.”

Statement from Idaho resident and long-time conservationist Ralph Maughan:

“By implication our lawsuit aims to protect the entire nationwide Wilderness Preservation System from similar efforts to transform the wild into a bland farm for a few kinds of common animals.”

Statement from Idaho resident and Defenders of Wildlife representative Suzanne Stone:

“It’s clear that IDFG isn’t interested in sustainable wolf recovery. Instead, they’re focused on doing anything they can to kill as many wolves as possible in the state. That’s not responsible state wildlife management any way you look at it. Idaho committed to responsibly managing wolves when federal protections were removed just a few short years ago. Actions like this just further demonstrate that they’re failing to uphold their end of the agreement.”

Statement from Ken Cole of Western Watersheds Project:

“For the idea of wilderness to have any meaning at all, wildlife must be allowed to self-regulate, to seek its own balance, to be wild. Instead, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game insists on heavy handed management of wolves in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness to benefit a tiny minority of the people who use and enjoy the area. The nation’s premier wilderness is not just a recreation area of rocks and ice, it is a thriving ecosystem that should be treated as the treasure it is.”

Statement from George Nickas, executive director of Wilderness Watch:

“The State of Idaho has shown once again it is incapable of being a responsible partner in wilderness administration. It’s high time the Forest Service exert its authority and obligation to protect the public’s interest in Wilderness and wildlife protection.”

Statement from Noah Greenwald, endangered species director at the Center for Biological Diversity:

“This outrageous plan to slaughter wolves in the lower 48’s largest wilderness in an ill-conceived attempt to increase elk numbers is only the latest example of just how backwards wildlife management has become in Idaho. Already more than 900 wolves have been killed in Idaho during state-sanctioned hunting and trapping seasons. And this unnecessary slaughter will continue unless the courts step in and stop the senseless killing.”

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74 Responses to Idaho Intent on Killing Wolves in the Wilderness

  1. jon says:

    They are allowing hunters to kill pregnant wolves and wolf pups in the middle fork. These disgusting people who want Idaho turned into an elk farm need to be stopped. Keep them lawsuits coming.

    • Mike says:

      I warned everyone.

      The wolf is a victim of speciesism.

      A huge portion of the male residents of the Northern Rockies simply aren’t mature enough to handle them. They have proven this before, and are proving it yet again. You *cannot* reason with them.

      That said, the real villain in this is Jon Tester. He did more damage to the ESA in one swipe than Bush could in eight years.

      • White Pine says:


        You are correct Jon Tester is responsible for a large portion of the current “wolf management”. Along with his FJRA (modeled after Harry Reid’s White Pine County Land Bill) he has done more to erode protections of wolves, roadless/wilderness study areas in MT than any other “Dem” senator I can think of.

        Remember Montana Wilderness Association is a huge supporter of Tester and his “FJRA”, which demonstrates how far MWA has lost it’s way. Jon Tester is the worst kind of politician.

        Unfortunately a huge portion of the female residents in the NRM states aren’t mature enough to handle them either. I’ve seen many females in towns like Challis and Salmon with anti-wolf bumper stickers etc.

        The only good I see coming out of this situation is that it’s now blatantly obvious that Idaho is not capable of running a responsible “wildlife management” program. The disastrous “wildlife management” occurring with North Carolina’s red wolves, and the Yellowstone bison slaughter are all very good examples of how current “wildlife management” is failing specific species, and the overall ecosystem.

        In this age of the internet a viral film goes a long way such as the recent “Blackfish” documentary covering the abuses of captive Orca’s. A well done documentary covering the wolf hunts in Idaho tied into the wolf/bison issues of Yellowstone and North Carolina could expose millions of citizens to these issues and hopefully motivate them to change things for the better. Whatever medium is used to expose these abuses the culprits must be exposed.

        1. The subsidized livestock/ag. industry and the abuses of their grazing on public lands.

        2. The private outfitters using our public lands for a profit.

        3. The IDFG and other govt. agencies who have turned their back on responsible management of public lands such as the BLM, U.S. Fish and Wildlife and wildlife services, and until the USFS condemns the actions of IDFG they are at the very least complicit as well.

        (Of course many more culprits are responsible in addition to the above)

        • White Pine says:

          *captive Orcas

          • White Pine says:

            Yellowstone is an eye catching word/place that almost all U.S. residents are familiar with along with it’s wolves and bears. Start with Yellowstone to get the populace interested in the documentary, and tie in the ID and NC wolf abuses.

            There isn’t anywhere on earth where the media can sway as much influence as here in the United States.

            • Mike says:

              ++Yellowstone is an eye catching word/place that almost all U.S. residents are familiar with along with it’s wolves and bears. Start with Yellowstone to get the populace interested in the documentary, and tie in the ID and NC wolf abuses.++

              Bingo. Big, big bingo.

              Last fall I spoke with a higher up at Yellowstone (I was researching a piece) and during the discussion implored the park to take a leadership role. The employee was deeply saddened that they had not.

              I told her that the world will listen if Yellowstone speaks.

              The truth is, Yellowstone has been extremely passive in this, when they should at least be advocating a buffer around the park, and telling park visitors how the wolves have been decimated, at how the wolf they are seeing now could cross the boundary (and let’s be honest, maybe not even that) and be dead tomorrow.

              The past two years I have not spent much time in the park. It feels dead to me now. Something has been violated, a promise broken.

              You are 100% correct that the world responds to “Yellowstone”, the park, the idea. The wolf issue needs to be framed around this.

        • Randy Fischer says:

          Jon Tester may have caused trouble for wolves in the past. Therefore removing the likes of Butch Otter from office should be paramount for the citizens of Idaho who support complete ecosystems in our wilderness areas of the future.

          I would generously support organizations who put up, against his re-election. Its time to (politically)exterminate this anti-wildlife regime.

          • Larry says:

            That is exactly where our money and effort should go. Those that have political power have everything. The pendulum should swing.

          • Ralph Maughan says:

            Butch Otter faces tough competition in the Republican primary election. His opponent is another right wing extremist but his opponent is not so much into issues like wolves and cows. He has no ag background.

            The Democrats will have a good candidate, but even good Democratic candidates in Idaho have a hard time getting beyond 35%. Maybe this time will be an exception.

            • B. Gutierrez says:

              I wasn’t sure who or how to ask but if wolves retain endangered species protection – how does that affect what was done in Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, etc? Do those states still maintain some kind of exception to the rule?

        • Louise Kane says:

          good post White Pine…I to think a nationally released powerful film about predator policy and the failing of state and federal wildlife agencies including the USFWS would go a long way to bringing the issue to light.

  2. The state of Idaho has consistently claimed that it wants to regulate wolves, not exterminate them. Since the Idaho wolf hunts started in 2009, many of us have publically challenged the sincerity of these statements, We have pointed to the unprecedented rules, severity, and results of these hunts as evidence of their true intent.

    Last year, Idaho sent professional trappers into the Clearwater NF to kill more wolves than the hunters had been able to. This year they sent a professional trapper into the Frank Church Wilderness with orders to kill off two whole wolf packs,and were financially and materially abetted by the US Forest Service in doing so. They only stopped when he had accomplished most of their goal, and a law suit was filed by environmental groups.

    Now, they have announced a plan to kill off 60% of the wolves in the “Frank,” once again with the aid of professional trappers and hunters. Even our federally designated wildernesses and national parks are no longer safe for wolves. Hunters have killed many wolves that wander over the Yellowstone boundaries. So many Yellowstone wolves have been killed that entire packs have been destroyed and the scientific studies of wolves that have yielded extremely valuable information in the ten years since their reintroduction there, is perhaps fatally compromised.

    This latest plan by the Idaho state administration and their minions should leave no doubt in any reasonable person’s mind that they are attempting to kill as many wolves as possible. They doubtless intend to leave only a remnant of 150 wolves, the legal minimum number to avoid a review of the animals’ status and trigger another process, putting the wolves once again on the ESA protected list.

    I take no pleasure in reminding the rest of you that I predicted this outcome several years ago. I know that most of you were as concerned as I was at all of these events. We have individually and sometimes collectively tried many ways of stopping or at least slowing down this inexorable process. We have signed petitions, written letters to the editors and Op Eds, attended rallies and protests, and contributed to environmental organizations that oppose this slaughter, all with little or no discernable effect.
    Now that we have seen the handwriting on the wall, what shall our response be? Will we hold more intellectual discussions and make further erudite comments among ourselves? I am open to any ethical action that you may come up with. I look forward to hearing your ideas on this.
    I personally believe, as I have previously stated, that organizing a boycott of Idaho tourism and products may be the only effective way of getting the attention of Idaho state authorities and business people. Money may be the only language to which they respond.
    I am engaged in writing a book, which in part, covers the wolf crisis, but I fear that I may end up merely chronicling Idaho’s second extinction of the wolf.

    • Dan says:

      What are you going to boycott, McDonald’s french fries? If you have any sense you are not consuming those anyway.
      Many areas the wolves are inhabiting right now they did not historically inhabit. Why? because elk are not native to those areas.
      Man has influenced and changed all ecosystems in the lower 48, including the “Frank.” The only only thing you are advocating is what your values are. That you value predators with 4 legs to control a man influenced ecosystem instead of a predator with 2 legs. You can call names and throw around propaganda but come on, call it like it is, a value based ecosystem not a scientific based ecosystem.

      • B. Gutierrez says:

        So – what is your solution? And what is a scientific based ecosystem? It would seem the latter includes predators…Also, wolves eat other than elk and how far back are you going in your thinking about who was where? Finally, how is your apparent solution to the issue any less value based?

    • Louise Kane says:

      a national predator protection act would be a good start, a way to get the management out of the hands of the states. This will be along process but the way that predators are being managed is unconscionable and I don’t believe will stand up under close scrutiny if the right people get involved. How to do this is the problem. Otherwise the states will continue on allowing atrocious and heavy handed policies against predators.

  3. Larry says:

    In support of Dr. Fischman: The courts and the color of money is the only way to the meager brains of the officials in Idaho. Letters to the editor of every newspaper in Idaho; notices in many venues that the beef that people eat cost the lives of wolf pups, changes the true ecosystem of wilderness and misappropriates funds that should benefit all wildlife instead of using public wildlife management funds for special interest groups. We need a list of “green” businesses in Idaho.

  4. AG says:

    They got their hunting season, i thought it would end there. I was wrong, really wrong. The impossible has gone possible and now i think we shouldn’t expect anything from this state anymore. 2014 – 200… This is what it looks like in Idaho.

    “Money may be the only language to which they respond.”
    Yes, exactly!

    • Immer Treue says:

      It, tourist boycott, appeared to work a while ago in Alaska. With electronic media, one would think that this type of information would/could spread rather quickly. Would snow bunnies boycott the slopes? Could it be done surgically in order to protect those in Idaho who are against this type of anti-wolf action.

      I would imagine there is always going to be a market for potatoes; understanding that no right thinking organization wants to upset their bottom line, how could one appeal to distributors and commercial users of Idaho spuds to get their taters from some place else?

      Alas, I fear my individual boycott of Idaho potatoes has not had much affect.

      • Ida Lupines says:

        Ha! It is the supreme sacrifice for me, I remember bringing some home in my backpack from a trip to Idaho, and the airport security person chuckling. 🙂

      • timz says:

        You would need a big corporation like McDonalds,who buy $$$$ worth of potatoes
        from companies like Simplot to participate for a potato boycott to have an impact.

        • Elk375 says:

          “”You would need a big corporation like McDonalds, who buy $$$$ worth of potatoes from companies like Simplot to participate for a potato boycott to have an impact.””

          That is not going to happen, because McDonald’s and Wal Mart Customers only care about how much they can stuff in there face for the least amount of money. Do McDonald’s and Wal Mart customers really care about wolves and Buffalo, maybe 1 or 2 percent.

      • Elk375 says:

        Mike and White Pine are different people. There sentence structure might be similar but the nuances in their experiences is different. Mike is a visitor in the west, White Pine has worked in the west.

        • Mike says:

          Elk, I work in the west, too.

          I spend around 90 tent nights a year (consecutively) in western public lands for a variety of reasons.

      • White Pine says:

        I’ve worked and live year round in the west.

        Everywhere from Flathead county, MT to Grant county, NM.

        • jon says:

          You and Mike are clearly different people and I am glad that both and you Mike post on here. I hope you stay around for much longer because you sound like you care about wildlife very much.

          • Mike says:

            Thanks Jon!

            Although I don’t post as much as I used to (and don’t really plan to), I appreciate it.

  5. Jeff N. says:

    In related news….regarding wolves in Idaho’s Panhandle.

  6. WM says:


    ++Earthjustice will be filing its opening brief later this week in the Ninth Circuit proceeding.++

    Could you post a link to the Plaintiffs’ brief on this or another thread, as well as the Defendants’ reply brief, when available? It would be very interesting to see the legal theories upon which these claims are based, in light of the trial court judge’s initial ruling against Plaintiffs’ requested emergency relief, and what effect, if any this just released predator management plan has on pending matters.

    • WM says:

      1. This thread is about the release of IDFG predator management plan.
      2. Reference in thread about Plaintiff’s litigation position.
      3. Brief is to be filed.
      4. Legal question regarding ability of state to manage (all kinds of wildlife) wolves in designated wilderness is pending before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

      Mike, it’s not difficult to figure out who the real turd in the punch bowl ..ur, rather troll, is.

  7. Mark L says:

    Start with their colleges and question their dedication to their mascots? (OK, just kidding there. ) Opens up to plenty of irony, though. Sports can be a ‘gamechanger’.

  8. timz says:

    Now might be a good time to get in front of a judge 🙂

  9. Ken Watts says:

    I have read that elk and deer herds in central Idaho are totally collapsing and that this is one of the reasons for the hunt.

    • jon says:

      How is killing wolves going to magically make all of the elk come back? Predators are still going to kill elk. Sorry, I don’t support killing wolves just to provide hunters with more opportunities to kill elk. Idaho fish and game are ignorant to assume that kill kill kill is going to solve everything.

    • Immer Treue says:

      Without any animosity directed toward you, may I ask for your sources on this total collapse of deer and elk in central Idaho? I can go to any number of sources, and based upon their “orientation” read a complex of different data.

  10. jon says:

    Killing pregnant wolves and wolf pups? No problem for Idaho fish and game. Get them lawsuits ready. Idaho fish and game are dead set in trying to turn Idaho into an elk farm for hunters.

  11. Ralph Maughan says:

    About White Pine and Mike

    Everyone. I can see more about those who comment than others. As far as I can tell White Pine and Mike are different people.

    They could be the same, but I think it would be way to much work to pull it off, and why would such energy be used that way?

    I deleted some back-and-forth comments about this.


    • White Pine says:

      I am not the same person as “Mike”

      I’ve never met, nor do I know “Mike”

      I don’t know why it’s so hard to accept this?

      I told the webmaster I was not the same person, yet they don’t seem fully convinced.

      That’s insulting, to be continually doubted and in a sense accused of lying.

    • JEFF E says:

      I am glad that has been cleared up. I was afraid I was going to have to change my nickname for $3 to $6.

    • Mareks Vilkins says:

      that’s what’s called conspiracy theory not critical thinking skills IMHO

      or translated in simple English – some folks just cannot stand questoning about holy Status Quo

  12. White Pine says:

    Jon, Ida Lupine-


  13. Joanne Favazza says:

    Is anyone really surprised by this? We all knew what would happen once “management” of wolves was put into the hands of the states. This should never have been part of the reintroduction agreement. The states are entirely incapable of “managing” wolves or any other predators at sustainable levels, and they are proving it again and again. The USFWS should never have reintroduced wolves in the first place, knowing the cruel fate that would await them.

    • Mark L says:

      Joanne Favazza,
      I entirely disagree with your last statement. Part of life is pain and cruelty, and anyone telling you otherwise is trying to sell you something. Given the choice, I’m sure ANY animal (maybe excepting some humans?) will gladly accept cruelty in their life over ceasing to exist. Unfair, but necessary.

      • Nancy says:

        “I’m sure ANY animal (maybe excepting some humans?) will gladly accept cruelty in their life over ceasing to exist.

        Unfair, but necessary”

        What a bizarre comment Mark L.

        ALL species (including humans) have two basic choices in life when it comes to danger and/or death – flight or fight.

        Unfortunately our species is narrowing those choices down to nil for ALL other living species due to “our” species ever growing, nonstop populations/ need/greed to manage the planet, perhaps by the book 🙂

        “The Sixth Day: Creatures on Land
        …27God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you”

  14. Ida Lupines says:

    I think part of life includes harshness, difficulty and struggle, not cruelty – but still for life preferable to ceasing to exist. But what humans are inflicting on wildlife is unnecessary cruelty, in addition to what wildlife already faces from weather, disease, and lean years for food. The progress of modern life has made humans unable/unwilling to accept life’s challenges, and accustomed to entitlement and stability. We need to conserve and use less, and adapt to change.

    • Larry says:

      Ida, kind of along your thoughts but not exact. One of the prominent points made in the PBS doc “Live in the ISS” or close to that. They show visually and describe in detail how thin the atmosphere layer is around the earth that every iota of life depends upon. And the vastness of no alternative if it is destroyed. When I teach I always make a point of speaking in ways the audience can relate. I pick a place about 3 miles away and 5 miles away that everyone is familiar with and how fast and easy it is to get from here to those places. Then I ask them to turn the waypoint vertical overhead and ask how many have been for a while on foot at 16,000 ft. They can relate to the involuntary gasp of breath that overtakes us after we have spent a few days at that altitude. Then they all agree no one can live a sustained life at 26,000 ft. So the point to them is that we only have at the most 15-16,000 feet of air over our heads at anytime that is to cover our survival and every generation to come. When its gone so is every aspect of life as we know it. Education needs to be redirected in such a way that kids will stop growing up thinking milk comes from plastic jugs and deer are something that eats my popcorn when I leave it at the end of the picnic table in a national park. Everyone should see that PBS ISS special. It is also a great example of nationality cooperation. There are a lot of great lessons to be made to our kids and grandkids. (My soapbox just collapsed)

      • Nancy says:

        “There are a lot of great lessons to be made to our kids and grandkids”


        Have you read Twenty Years at Hull House Larry?

        • Larry says:

          Haven’t read it yet, just ordered it and the Amazon drones don’t come to my place yet so have to wait for the mail. Thanks for the tip.

  15. Peter Kiermeir says:

    Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Seeks Intervener Status in Idaho Wolf Management Case

    Read more:

  16. Jon says:

    I have three hybrids, and I think they could be bred to make better bomb sniffing dogs. A man in Russia was successful in creating a new breed of dog starting with foxes, the result was a dog that took initiative, unlike a german shepherd who’ll wait for their next command, the new breed walks infront of the handler, searching without constant prompting

    If wolf genes can make our airports and schools safer from bomb threats it’ll get alot of attention and guarentee their survival for a long time.

    My youngest has the right traits to be both trainable and take initiative, she’s unspayed and I’ll be breeding next march, wish me luck.

    Webmaster note: This person “Jon” commenting above is not the same “jon” that we know well in comments on THe Wildlife News.

  17. Jon says:

    yep, hybrid wolves. I don’t recommend getting one unless you fall asleep on a road trip to cda, wake up and arrive at 8am, find yourself killing time because everyone you know there sleeps in to noon, decide to pick up a thifty nickel because you just won a lawsuit, are itching to spend money think you’ll never have to work again, and have no qualms about sharing the cab of a small truck with a 3 mos old hybrid thats never been handled and bites if you touch her for the three hr trip home.

    ( how I got a wolf hybrid )

    • Nancy says:

      Nice description of your first hybrid Jon and glad you could handle the situation but please share your thoughts about the hundreds of sites out there on the internet these days, encouraging people to buy wolf hybrids who have no clue about their needs nor the means to care for them?

      • Immer Treue says:

        And the sanctuaries that have arisen because people could not handle this novel animal. I remember about 25-30 years ago looking into them. I may still have the pictures. Spider sense tingled and conclusion was, not a good idea.

        I’ll take that German Shepherd that awaits the command.

        • Jon says:

          In 15 years I’ve bred only twice, total of four pups, one died very early from a tumor growth, one was given to the retired owner of the male, I’ve kept two, one from each litter.
          The youngest at 40lbs is not threatening in appearance, I’ll be breeding her with a smaller dog, not sure what kind yet, and I’m open to advice.

          breeding smaller will better their chances of being perceived as a huskey mix keeping them out of trouble.

          I accept your apology spiderman,

          • Louise Kane says:

            “I’m open to advice”
            adopt a needy dog ….
            all breeds available
            thousands available all breeds!

      • Jon says:

        Great question. While it is very sad when someone can’t handle a hybrid and it’s euthanized there is a silver lining. The breeder needed the money, and has one less mouth to feed. succsesful people practice better hygiene for themselves and their animals.

        Heres a controversial Idea, shut down all rescue centers, euthanize every animal not collected by the owner, stop adoption in it’s tracks and every struggling breeder will hear their phone again, sell their dogs. pay their bills, have less mouths to feed, raise their head high and take pride in themselves once again.

        either way dogs will suffer, but only one way will guarentee vested interest in sustainable responsible breeding

        • Larry says:

          Sustainable responsible breeding, (whatever that is), does not achieve the weeding out of the quick money people in dog breeding. They would just see it as less competition and probably raise prices for the ignorant dog buyer. Nature doesn’t like hybrids. That’s why wolves are territorial and genetic smart about breeding. Anyway this is way off target from the idiotic wolf management in Idaho’s (federal gubmint) wilderness areas.

          • Jon says:

            I think that the value of dogs is related to the value of wolves, When dogs are worth money so will there be value in more research, and breeding which will help shed light on a new reason to protect wolves that Ranchers might warm up to.
            Ranchers love their dogs and they’re willing to talk about em

            • Larry says:

              Can’t seem to wrap my head around your theory. You must be a couple of pay grades above me. I’m sure you have a plan, you seem very sincere.

  18. Nancy says:

    Wonder if any of this is earmarked for wolf “management”?


February 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