During the holidays, while the 1st Annual 2-Day Coyote and Wolf Derby was taking place in Salmon, Idaho, writer Christopher Ketcham, our very own Brian Ertz, his sister Natalie Ertz, and my neighbor Brian Walker decided to enter the derby as contestants. The story they brought back was very insightful and I have been anticipating its publication so I could share it with the readers of The Wildlife News.

How to Kill a Wolf | VICE United States
By Christopher Ketcham

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.

106 Responses to The Infiltration of the 1st Annual 2-Day Coyote and Wolf Derby

  1. Nancy says:

    Thanks for sharing Ken. Got a sprinkling of Salmon’s “finest” in my neck of the woods. Sad that this is what defines entertainment in their lives.

  2. Mareks Vilkins says:

    21 coyotes but no wolves were shot by more than 230 hunters.
    maybe there were more than just one undercover team among those wolf-haters??

    • Ken Cole says:

      The organizers made a statement to someone that only about 60 of the participants were actual hunters while the rest were just showing support.

  3. Richie G. says:

    Ralph I retired I been getting half pay that is how NYCERS work just got by back pay but I promise I will give something to you and Ken just give me till march. What can we do Idaho is out of control have a cousin in Vegas thing of going to California from their but I will come up to where you are. This is crazy what is going on out their I know in the past most shin heads were in Idaho but really does Idaho attract of the right wing people my God you guys are taking your life in your hands. I really feel so bad

  4. WM says:

    So Brian Ertz is a chain smoker, eh? That’s rich. Topped only by his sheep joke. Or is a good portion of the story the product of poetic license of the author, Christopher Ketcham?

    • Jake Jenson says:

      Apparently the best character witnesses were a drunken fool in some bar and a racist in or near a pawn shop? And this reflects upon an entire community. Ok, I bought it. Not really.

      • B. Gutierrez says:

        So what would you both say motivates people to go out and kill something for the simple sake of killing? Do you really think thoughtful people would enjoy something like this?
        Of course it isn’t the entire community but it does seem plausible that this reflects the mindset of people who take part in these events.

      • Mike says:

        Whether you “buy it” or not is irrelevant. This is the reality.

        • Jake Jenson says:

          Yes, I noticed the violations of Idaho State Code by the undercover investigating snoopers as well. Firing from a road just outside the vehicle, possibly across the road, hazing a game animal. And did the three hold valid Idaho hunting licenses while outside their vehicle during the hazing? Sorry Mikey, you’re so far out from reality it’s not worth the three dollar cover charge.

          • Mike says:

            Right, so to you, shooting animals for fun is okay, but firing a warning shot so an animal lives is troublesome?

            What a warped set of values.

          • B. Gutierrez says:

            Just because something is legal doesn’t necessarily make it right and likewise the other way around. If you think about it, laws change all the time…

            • Logan says:

              The article feels embellished, but I do not doubt that there are people as stupid as those quoted in the article.

              We are currently at a point in or society where we are being encouraged more than ever to embrace the lifestyles and different moral codes that others live by. When an article can simultaneously accuse a group of people as homophobic bigots and then attack their pro-hunting lifestyle, I guess we still have a long ways to go as far as acceptance of differing values in this country.

              So when we talk about right and wrong in this country I guess the question is, whose right and wrong should take precedence?

              • B. Gutierrez says:

                There’s a difference between “embracing” a lifestyle and accepting it and I think the latter is more of what’s happening in society. This is for the better I think.
                “So when we talk about right and wrong in this country I guess the question is, whose right and wrong should take precedence?”
                Obviously there has to be a compromise. The way I view it is, much as I would not hunt and don’t like the idea of hunting, I realize most animals in nature don’t grow old and move into retirement homes. In that sense, some humans choose to eat meat and obtain that meat just as other predators do. That’s one thing.
                But knowing what we do about quite a few animals – to name the most studied – elephants, wolves, coyotes, primates -(I think it extends beyond these) We know that they suffer, that they form close family bonds and that they grieve losses of their companions. These traits are shared by humans so how is inflicting this kind of pain and suffering justified by something so casual and mindless as a killing contest? Remember that at one point some humans were treated in much the same way and it took struggle and much effort to change that. I think it’s time for us as a society to come to accept that everything isn’t here for our use and that other lives have value not because of what we can get from them but just because. It’s not a question of not accepting a lifestyle – it goes beyond that – we’re talking about a right to life and that has to count for something whether that life is human or not.

      • Nancy says:

        Jake – what bothers you more? The lack of pro-active witnesses surrounding this event or the people that won’t take a chance and step forward with an opinion against it because they have to live in that atmosphere?

        Hey, I live in Montana and trust me, not hard to find lots of those “best character witnesses” on bar stools, in feedstores or at some early morning coffee klatch 🙂

    • DLB says:


      So you are saying you believe the story is greatly embellished?

      I admit that in all my encounters with anti-wolf folks, I’ve heard my fair share of whacky statements, but not to the degree described in this story. I’ve never been to a predator derby, however.

      • WM says:


        I am pretty much with you, though I too have never attended one of these derbies. With just a bit more parody for effect, I could see this road trip summary morphing into a Monkeywrench Gang adventure, and a really great story.

        The gnarled marine = Heyduke; Natalie = Bonnie Abbzug; Brian = Seldom Seen (but that might be little weird, hanging with his sister and all, though maybe not that unusual in parts of ID); Christopher = Doc (maybe a stretch on that one, but at least he’s from out of state, sorta).

        For me the “run Bambi! run for your life!” moment, as the wolves went over the hill after the warning shot was just precious. Gee, out of some 200 hunters, nobody, I mean nobody, got a wolf, and these guys pass up not one but two, from just driving down the road after a beer. I love the stereotypical weapons for effect, an M4 (why does anyone need one of those for any reason anyway?)wielded by a marine, and a 300 winmag with a big scope, which is the ultimate reach out and touch rifle; even a sidearm to round things out. Then there is the along the way encounter with an “outsider” with an earring who is maraudingly harassed and escorted out of town with a message never to return; old codger stereotypes in a bar; and the infiltrators even manage to hoodwink the sheriff. Wow! But how would the Gang, and the real Heyduke have put their mark on the event?

        If only Edward Abbey could tell us, and give Christopher a writing lesson (maybe even a publication upgrade from something more than a B grade internet magazine which specializes in offbeat VICE topics (yeah I went to their Home page for some more news/article content – by the way, don’t be alarmed by the hairy guy with the jock strap/trouser trout ensemble and something about gay bikers about half way down the Home page, and do be sure to let it load for full effect).

        • WM says:

          And, good parody is a powerful form of communication.

        • Nancy says:

          “I am pretty much with you, though I too have never attended one of these derbies”

          So wondering if that comment (and the paragraphs following, expressed after) “pretty much” sums up your feelings with regard to this event, WM?

          • DLB says:


            Let me start out by saying that based on the posts he used to make, and one phone call, I like Brian Ertz. I admire the passion that he has for the cause, and the eloquence he frequently displayed when participating in the discussions here.

            That being said, you can’t tell me that WM’s response using the comparison wasn’t effectual. I needed a good laugh today. Whether or not there was embellishment, all the pieces did fit perfectly into the article, except for blowing their cover at the last minute and barely escaping from town.

            Another good twist for this article would have been to use a Heart of Darkness theme. The three of them head to Salmon for the derby and have a series of progressively bizarre and depraved encounters as they descend deeper into the hills. The story culminates in a scene which displays the ultimate in redneck depravity with some sort of reckoning.

          • WM says:


            My first comment on this thread was utter shock that Brian E. is a chain smoker (if true), chief environmentalist and all, and that he’s got the dirty joke with the sheep down pretty well. I really didn’t think much about the truth and veracity of the article, mostly a rehash of what we have all heard/seen before,…right up the part where the Gang begins their own little hunt, and the over-the-top folks they met. Then it dawned on me while looking at the group photo of the “hunters”, just how much of this is truth or just a good story, which I thought could be made even better.

            I don’t like these derby events, and have been pretty clear about that here. That didn’t stop Mike from making one of his usually inane comments, but that can be usually chalked up to his persistent reading comprehension skills.

        • Nancy says:

          “yeah I went to their Home page for some more news/article content – by the way, don’t be alarmed by the hairy guy with the jock strap/trouser trout ensemble and something about gay bikers about half way down the Home page, and do be sure to let it load for full effect”

          WM – you do realize, what appears around the fringe of a webpage, can be and often are, the result of past searches on the internet, right?

          • WM says:

            No, Nancy, these are VICE articles, featuring their contributing writers in articles and videos and controversial “vice” topics, it would appear. They are not ads or cookie generated followers, as far as I can tell.



            I have talked to old codgers like this who have stopped by our N Central ID elk camp. There are some nice folks as well some who absolutely hate wolves, and non-resident hunters, which we are. Mostly we just talk gingerly around the topic and nod a lot, as if in agreement, just to keep things cordial. We have had our gear messed with in past years.

            • Yvette says:

              🙂 WM, when I hang out with my brother (yes I do!) I am exposed to old codgers and some of the old codger talk, much of which is bravado.

              I’ll never know if this article is true or how much is true, but the more I thought about how some guys talk when they have a few beers, and then think of how my co-workers yammer on when we have a department lunch, the more I think there probably was a lot of chest thumping happening in Salmon that weekend.

              I just hope that the type described in the article are few and far in between. Unfortunately, I have no doubt there are those out there that do follow through.

          • Mike says:

            ++WM – you do realize, what appears around the fringe of a webpage, can be and often are, the result of past searches on the internet, right?++


        • Yvette says:

          WM, have you never been in a local bar with an old codger running his mouth?

          I don’t know what is true and what isn’t in this article, but I’ve seen enough posts on facebook from the wolf hunters to know they are capable of far worse than what is depicted in this article. And if one wants to not believe someone running their mouth go to youtube and watch them torment and torture a wolf (or coyote) caught in a trap. Their videos that they are so proudly upload show just what kind of human they are. Plus, given the national media attention on this killing derby the the Salmon boys were probably a more wound up than normal.

          Just for a reminder of what they are capable of:


        • Mike says:

          ++For me the “run Bambi! run for your life!” moment, as the wolves went over the hill after the warning shot was just precious. Gee, out of some 200 hunters, nobody, I mean nobody, got a wolf, and these guys pass up not one but two, from just driving down the road after a beer.++

          You act as if “200 hunters” means something.

          ++If only Edward Abbey could tell us, and give Christopher a writing lesson (maybe even a publication upgrade from something more than a B grade internet magazine which specializes in offbeat VICE topics++

          I detect more than an ounce of jealousy here.

          ++(yeah I went to their Home page for some more news/article content – by the way, don’t be alarmed by the hairy guy with the jock strap/trouser trout ensemble and something about gay bikers about half way down the Home page, and do be sure to let it load for full effect).++

          So gays are a problem?

          • WM says:

            Not for me, Mike. Went to my first gay wedding last summer (its legal in WA). My wife and I have known both guys for years. One is a PhD mechanical engineer. And, not that sexual preference is really anyone’s business, the guy who cuts my hair is gay, and he was a deer hunter for years. He always asks about my trips, and appreciates the occasional elk steak/burger from my freezer.

            • Jeff N. says:

              Maybe they would enjoy it if you occasionally offered them your “trouser trout”…no?

              Ok, settle down, it was a joke.

              • topher says:

                What style rifle stock is Ertz holding between his legs in that picture?
                Sorry, had to throw it out there.

              • topher says:

                Just looked at the picture again and noticed his rifle has a folding bipod which I mistook for a full length Mannlicher at first glance.

  5. Richie G. says:

    P.S. Watch Nat geo last night called cougar against the wolf they went in Yellowstone where a coyote ran with wolves against the cougar but then they went into bitterroot mountains in lo lo trail where cougars because and here is the big thing only a few wolves their so cougars had the advantage but in the upper trail their was a pack of wolves they went with a Montana game warden a women, they forgot to mention the animal control in Idaho killed 23 of them this I find is bull s.

  6. Richie G. says:

    wrote wolves had advantage in Yellowstone but at a big disadvantage in bitterroot lo lo trail they did not say they killed 23 wolves up their.

  7. jon says:

    I think this really shows the sickness that wolf haters suffer from. The hatred that these people have for wildlife is sickening and disgusting at the same time. Thank you for exposing what we already knew about these cretins.

    • Mike says:

      Jon –

      I run into these types all the type, but I have not published an article for fear of libel.

      This article took serious courage.

      • jon says:

        You look at the facts and you begin to see a pattern here. These hunters hate wildlife and joke about shooting treehuggers because treeghuggers do more for wildlife than they ever will. These hunters are not only anti-wildlife, but they are anti-human as well.

        • Logan says:

          And anti hunters routinely advocate killing hunters, so looks everyone is even in the anti human department.

  8. Yvette says:

    My sister’s family has been in either Montana, or eastern WA since 1969. Since most of my nieces and nephews are now enrolled with the Umatillas rather than the Northern Cheyennes I have family in eastern OR that have lived there for a long time.

    I’ve been traveling, and living for short periods, in MT and WA since I was a kid. In all those years of me going back and forth, whether I was living there, or just going up for a visit, I’ve not once heard a single good thing about Idaho. Well, I’ve heard about its beauty, but that beauty is marred by the racists.

    In 1998, me, my dad, who is fullblood, my daughter, who was 13 at the time and only 1/4th White were traveling back from WA. It was the only time I went through Spokane, WA and on through Coeur d’alene. I’d always avoided it and for good reason. Low and behold if Coeur d’alene hadn’t just finished up with a huge KKK, White power, Aryan parade and weekend celebration of White power.

    Less than 15 years ago, my sister was traveling through that region of ID. She was with the man who is now her husband, a 6’6″, red-headed hydrologist. She was refused service in a restaurant. He wasn’t, but they would not serve her. They just flat-out refused service to her, and that is what I know about ID.

    I’m sure it’s different in Boise. I had not even an inkling of this attitude when I passed through last summer. We even stopped and shopped at one of my favorite stores. No problems. Beautiful city.

    This article did a great job characterizing the mentality of Idahoans, at least for that region of the state. These people get their rocks off by indiscriminate killing of animals coupled with a heaping dose white power racism.
    Odd thing, they’re proud of it.

    • LM says:

      Yvette, it’s still like that in SD. We went to visit friends in Porcupine SD. We stayed at a motel in a nearby town and they didn’t want to serve us at breakfast. My husband, who is a big, tall, Anglo (rancher & lawyer) finally stood up and said something. We were glad to leave that town.

    • Logan says:

      I grew up in that part of Idaho and can tell you that the treatment your sister recieved is not the norm. The white supremecists have lost a lot of ground and most have left the area.

      Some animosity continues to exist against Natives but mostly it centers on clashes on the steelhead and salmon runs and the methods of take that the natives are allowed to use, such as netting, spearing and keeping even the wild origin salmon. But that is an entirely different debate.

    • Jake Jenson says:


  9. Joanne Favazza says:

    And the federal govt. put wolf “management” in the hands of state wildlife agencies, knowing they would pander to the kind of sick, soul-less mentality described in this article. The so-called wolf and predator “management” practiced by Idaho and other states is an inexcusable and unforgivable crime against nature. Completely unethical, and completely immoral.

    • Yvette says:

      I believe we will see this type of attitude fade. It probably won’t go away entirely, but it will fade as more people become aware. Most people are decent people that simply want to live their lives. As they become aware of how much vitriol accompanies this type of hunting they will be less willing to tolerate it.

      I believe 100% that many people that support hunting, even hunting of predators, won’t tolerate intentionally making that animal suffer as much as possible with things like ‘gut shots’.

      People evolve, and we are still the United States of America.

      • B. Gutierrez says:

        I hope you’re right. I also believe that most people are decent and just want to go about their business and would be disgusted by the treatment of animals in general if they stopped and thought about it.
        What makes me worry is the siege/everyone needs a gun mentality that seems to be ruling right now. I read your other post about your experiences in Idaho – I had no idea it was like that. We were in Montana recently and there was a small town that I can’t remember the name of where we got kind of an unwelcome feeling. Regarding your sister’s treatment – Isn’t that illegal?

        • W.Hong says:

          I have been refused service many times in many places since I arrived in the United States.

          • Jake Jenson says:

            Well you just head on up to Salmon and I’ll buy you lunch at a very nice Chinese restaurant operated by a very nice Chinese family.

            • W.Hong says:

              I have never been to Idaho

            • Yvette says:

              Could I take you up on that offer, Jake? Next time I travel near there, I’ll buy you lunch then site see on Salmon, ID’s main street.

              I’d rather build a bridge than blow one up.

              • LM says:

                Me, too. I’m learning so much about Idaho, now I’ve got to see it.

              • Jake Jenson says:

                Well we’ll have to figure it out it sounds fine. I’m buying, it’s male chauvinist pig thing. No kidding, My invite my treat. Bring LM along. lol.

      • Louise Kane says:

        They evolve but then apparently devolve as post delisting is demonstrating. Old hate dies hard and until it does wolves need protection. Coyotes need it because there are far too may crazy people out there that just iike to kill and the coyote has taken the brunt of it for far too long. coyote killing, under most circumstances is indefensible.

        • Jake Jenson says:

          Who do you mean? The federal and state entities that planned and orchestrated legal hunting for wolves and defined the coyote as vermin or their clients that purchase licenses and tags and participate in legal activities according to the law? Who exactly are slamming now Louise?

          • Louise Kane says:

            classifying predators as vermin is stupid and shortsighted. And to enlighten you, state and federal entities did not orchestrate and plan for legal hunting of wolves or at least they are not supposed to. Wolves were delisted by a budget attached to an omnibus bill. It was a sleazy maneuver. Being legal doesn’t mean its smart, progressive or defensible. Legal nowadays usually has more to do with where the special interest money is, at least when it comes to wildlife.

        • Ida Lupines says:

          I don’t think endangered animals can wait for attitudes to change. It has been over 300 years and attitudes about wolves have not only not changed, but have backslid, not even keeping status quo! Average people may hold different, more enlightened attitudes and may be more numerous than in years past, but they are not making the backroom deals in Washington on behalf of ranching, hunting, and energy development. For the most part, they don’t do anything.

  10. Cindy says:

    My oh my….God help us all.

  11. Kit says:

    This article needs to be shortened & sent to the NY Times and other large papers. Most of the country has no inkling that these predators are so hated & massacred. And as far as Boise folks having a better attitude towards predators; my daughter lives there & cannot mention how she feels about wolves because everyone she works with hates them. She actually fears someone finding out that she is a wolf-watcher in Yellowstone.

  12. LM says:

    Ken, enjoyed the article and I agree with Kit, it should be widely distributed. I like “undercover special forces activism”. There is some value in “infiltrating” an area, one that you love for your own personal reasons (which you keep to yourself), becoming endeared to the community by “communing” with them, being civic minded, and not having expectations of changing their belief systems. I still believe good will, good work ethic, being neighborly and setting positive examples still go along way in this world.

  13. Gary Humbard says:

    If this occurred on public land (Forest Service, BLM) those agencies need to be held accountable. It would be helpful if organizations such as Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and other hunting organizations condemned these blatant acts against wildlife.

  14. Jeff N. says:

    This article struck me as a little too stereotypical. All of the hot buttons were pushed….racism, homophobia, anti foreigners/outsiders, local drunks, cowboy hat and chewing tobacco, wolves in Central Park comment…etc.

    I’m no fan of these type of contests, and I am certainly against wolf hunting in the NRM in its current form. I do believe Salmon ID, as with most of Idaho, certainly is backward in regard to wolves and wolf management and I’ve enjoyed B. Ertz’s contributions on this page but this article was a little loose. I was hoping for a little more insight.

    • Jeff N. says:

      Want to clarify that I am not claiming Brian Ertz is the author of the article.

  15. Jeff N. says:

    Adding to my comment, I’m not saying that these types of elements described in the article don’t exist in Salmon or elsewhere for that matter…..it just seemed a little to convenient in regard to the intent of the article.

    I was hoping for a little more to chew then just the same old.

    • Brian Ertz says:

      I suspect the article wasn’t penned for those of us steeped in over a decade of experience with wolf politics. I suspect it was penned with the VICE demographic in mind, which, believe it or not – has a large distribution – particularly back East and across the Atlantic – mid-twenties to mid-thirty year old folk who don’t have biology degrees, land management experience, or much exposure the the western Wild.

      That said, I forgot that at times. Working with Ketcham was frequently strange because many of the bigger ironies and axiomatic irrationalizations that most of us take for granted over here were not at all obvious to Ketcham. Take the Central Park comment for example ~ or any number of other things that seem obvious. People don’t know. Also, most of the best Cal Black quotes didn’t make it to print 😉

      • wolf moderate says:

        Keep drinking them Cappuccino’s in Sun Valley. Sick life!

      • Louise Kane says:

        Interesting comment about being penned for folks not steeped in wolf politics…..I might also guess that a person’s indoctrination to the creepiness of killing contests (perhaps especially to killing wolves just off the ESA) is a bit overwhelming and shocking. I think this article might reflect what a mainstream public would think of these contests if they were actually better publicized. gut shooting and killing contests are creepy and disturbing notions.

  16. topher says:

    Well the folks in Salmon should be a little less welcoming of “outsiders” when they catch wind of this. Maybe not the best approach.

  17. topher says:

    Anyone want to explain the difference between an armor piercing round and a full metal jacket for these guys. A quick Google search or any research would lend a little credibility to the article. But what’s a little more misinformation gonna hurt? Most heavier rounds will pass through an animal this size anyways.

    • MAD says:

      Regarding the assertion that some hunters are using armor-piercing rounds, it’s probably just a gross misstatement of the truth. The author, Ketcham, is really just describing the use of rounds that have a full metal jacket (FMJ), usually made of copper with a core of soft lead. True armor-piercing rounds are rare outside of military usage/applications and are expensive. Also, they’re not available in the local gunstore, Walmart or Cabelas. AP ammo has a core material which is designed to defeat armor, ballistic glass and body armor. Usually, it has a FMJ but the core is made from an extremely hard, dense alloy which would damage most conventional firearms, which is why they’re jacketed.

      The author is describing the use of “ball” ammo that won’t expand in the soft flesh of the target and will likely pass straight through the target without fragmenting or expanding, even if it hits bone. Soft-tipped rounds or hollow-points are designed to “mushroom” or expand within the body cavity of the target, causing more internal damage, quicker incapacitation and reduce the chance of passing through the target and striking another individual or target. This is why Law Enforcement carries hollow-points.

      As an aside, even modern body armor worn by Law Enforcement today can be defeated with ordinary, FMJ rifle cartridges like a 30-06. There are 6 levels of protection for body armor but civilian, non-military Officers only use the first 4 levels (1,2A, 2 & 3A). The bulletproof vests also can also be penetrated by knives. Officers sometimes have an additional “shock plate” which is a hard ceramic, steel or titanium insert that is put over the chest-sternum to help distribute the blunt force trauma and provide more ballistic protection over the vitals.

  18. ramses09 says:

    The ignorance of the people (not all mind you) of Idahoans is mind boggling. When I was in Boise, supporting the wolf @ a Fish & Game meeting, there were more Pro-Wolf folks than anti. It was good to see. Especially for a gal from
    Chicago area. No, we do not have wolves, which I find unfortunate – but we have coyotes. I love to watch them, I live in an area where there is plenty of wildlife & the coyotes mind their business – as I mind my own. Saying we don’t have an issue with the coyotes.

    • Mark L says:

      Um…no wolves? Not in Chicago, but definately in Illinois. And I’m damn glad to see it myself.

  19. Mike says:

    Brian, you’re hilarious.

    I loved this piece. Absolutely loved it.

    It also showed what these “men” truly behave like. I’ve experienced “good ole’ boy” road rage as well. Not fun.

    I spend an enormous amount of time camping on public land, and this article represents, IMHO, a majority of hunters. I’d say about 25% of the hunters are kind, smart, and don’t engage in cruelty to animals or people. The rest act like it’s an arcade game.

  20. Mike says:

    This story really has the WM’s of the world riled up.

    This is what happens when you aim the flashlight into the crypt.

  21. Nancy says:

    A good read:


    “Our duties towards animals are merely indirect duties towards humanity. Animal nature has analogies to human nature, and by doing our duties to animals in respect of manifestations of human nature, we indirectly do our duty to humanity….

    We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals (Regan and Singer, 1989: 23-24)”

    Probably a little deep for the “derby” crowd but one can hope 🙂

  22. Justin Forte says:

    This story needs to make it to the mainstream media so the cruelty and sadism that is taking place against wolves can be further exposed!

  23. WyoWolfFan says:

    And this is why I avoid spending ANY of my money in Idaho. What a crackpot mentality.

  24. rork says:

    I am honored to see coyotes, particularly from a tree (deer hunting) cause I get to observe them undisturbed sometimes. Wolves would be even cooler. The majority of deer (and turkey, pheasant, grouse, rabbit, etc) hunters do not agree: they overestimate the impact of killing coyotes, and worry about deer meat going missing (or having to track at night). Education helps with the first problem, taking only good shots and working hard with the second. I can’t change a person’s mind in a few minutes though. The scared people are easier: even if we have lots of black bear, wolves, and cougars, the deer will still be 100 times more likely to kill you.

    Nancy: that past searches joke killed me.

  25. JB says:

    Seems as though several folks still have questions about what kind of things go on at these derbies. If you haven’t had the chance, please watch the documentary, “Killing Coyote” (link: http://www.highplainsfilms.org/hpf/films/killing_coyote). The trailer is a pretty good indicator of what you’ll get.

    • rork says:

      Feb 20th a show in MI covered a “coyote calling contest” (Got euphemism?).
      I can’t get it to stream. It didn’t show the hunters in horrible light ofcourse – just another great way to get outside, eh. Maybe in MI we don’t have the hate thing for coyotes as often as out west (though many folks think they are helping other game species, true or not), and instead it might be more arcade game, and more rarely, money. We have folks who act as groundhog assassins for farmers, for “fun” (no money).
      Recently they’ve covered many ice-fishing events, a few squirrel contests, and pheasants with bows (no harm resulted). Money is often raised for causes. There are probably over a hundred murder fish through the ice events just in MI.

    • Louise Kane says:

      JB thanks for posting that link. One of the reviewers writes, “The former argue that the canis latrans species is becoming rapidly endangered (and passionately object to the cruelty of hunting for sport) while the latter note the recent evidence demonstrating that the coyote is one of the few wild beasts whose territory has expanded despite predatory activity by humans.”
      Aside from the many aspects of killing contests that I hate, one issue really troubles me. How do we know exactly what effect this endless killing is having. I’m working on starting queries to state agencies to ask how they calculate the number of coyotes that are killed, that exist in the state and that are recruited each year. Some of the predator killing contest participants complain that its harder to kill coyotes…is this because there are far fewer? No one really knows and that is just wrong. It was common thinking that passenger pigeons and bison were so numerous no amount of killing could impact their populations….seeing images of dead coyotes stacked up and the trappers killing hundreds of them single handedly in a trapping season makes me wonder how exactly is this impacting coyotes nationwide. I’ve only spotted coyote several times recent;y and I am out walking close to 5 miles a day rain or shine far out into the woods or national seashore. The only coyotes I saw this year all appeared this fall. Four of them were traveling near my home and I saw them several times on near a road, a male and female and their pups. I was hearing them at night also. Since hunting began I have not heard them howling anymore. I did find one dead coyote in a pile of trash along with a fox on the interface of state land and the national seashore. Not how I was hoping to see the next one.

      • B. Gutierrez says:

        I’ve been wondering that too..I live in Central New York and we used to hear them at night regularly but haven’t heard them at all this winter. We just had a killing contest nearby where they killed mostly fox.
        Plus, with wolves and coyotes – is all the killing going to lead to a permanent destruction of pack formation and behavior over time..

      • rork says:

        I review my DNR’s reports on how many coyotes the trappers got each year. As I’ve complained before, they don’t break the numbers down based on location though (I want to know just for the UP, where the wolves are, to test wolf by coyote interactions).
        We are trapping about 1000 bobcat and otter, 5000 red fox (5 times less than early 80s), 12000 coyotes (5 times more), 18000 mink, 1500 grey fox (steady), 100K raccoon, 200K muskrat, 200 badger, 2000 weasel (no species breakdown). Another 14000 coyotes shot, also way more than before. These are all merely estimates. I see no recent declines, though effort has also increased (they graph estimates of take/effort too).
        Search “MI wildlife survey” which also has reports on deer, grouse, elk, martin, bear, etc. It’s how I piece together data about deer to quell the cries of “the deer are being decimated”.
        At my house, I don’t see my yotes often enough to identify them individually. For months I’ll hear them every night, then not, then back again, but I don’t really know what’s going on. Been that way for 10 years. I miss my foxes, but am not complaining, since the yotes provide some excellent services, and are equally if not more impressive.

        • rork says:

          Of the approx 25000 coyotes killed, I can obtain no estimates of how many were involved in contests, but know it is at least 6.
          I figure 25K is underestimate since gun deer hunters often shoot coyotes and dogs (and pigs), and perhaps aren’t well surveyed.

        • Louise Kane says:

          your state has more data it appears than most….The numbers of animals that are not eaten but trapped and killed is however deeply disturbing to me. 26,000 coyotes and 100k raccoons, 200,000 muskrat and 5000 foxes……
          I see these numbers as wanton waste honestly. I wonder how these populations would adjust if hunting them were not so excessive. Those numbers are mind boggling.

          • rork says:

            Muskrat and raccoon are pretty tasty, though I have seen the skinned bodies discarded (and get mad). It’s possible that other rat/coon hunters eat the meat and discard the pelt – they could just join forces.
            I’ve not eaten coyote. 99% say coyote is no good, exactly the same number as have never tried it, and never will, while 1% say it’s OK. I never trust folks around here.
            In MI, there are people trying to make a little money or food here and there, including from the green world. They trap for money. Their relatives leave for other places, to try their hand at tasks that reward them much better for their hard work. PS Lovejoy observed this 100 years ago, and taught us that it’s tragic for the people, and the land. We were luring people in with false or unsubstantiated claims about land quality in the old days. Much of our public land was from such folks loosing their shirts, often twice on the same land. It was criminal.

      • JB says:


        Most game departments do not even attempt to monitor coyote populations because coyotes are ubiquitous throughout much of the US. Coyotes have also dramatically expanded their range in the absence of wolves; moreover, they seem to do well despite our efforts. I read one estimate recently that the LA metro area alone harbors some 5,000 coyotes.

        Given the continual loss of areas to hunt (due to urbanization, parcelazation, and posting) and decreased interest in hunting in general, I think I’m relatively safe in suggesting that you shouldn’t worry for coyote populations.

        • Mark L says:

          I won’t disagree on the ubiquity, but let’s remember that all coyotes are NOT the same. The coyote shot in the south or northeast isn’t the same animal (literally) than the one shot in California. There is no ‘generic’ coyote, just like there is no generic person.

        • Louise Kane says:

          I’m not sure JB
          most states don’t keep data at all
          thats no way to understand or appreciate wild animals

          In New Mexico where they are hard hit the predator sites are complaining about not finding enough of them to kill

          wolves were mostly extirpated in the lower 48 why is it so unthinkable that coyote populations might be impacted as well. Poisons, killing contest, using them as target practice and year round hunting with no limits. Hard to believe there are no ill effects.

          No one is studying this and most states don’t keep track of these animals or animals like bobcats, raccoons and foxes.

      • Yvette says:

        We continually hear how coyotes have expanded their range (they have), and about their adaptability. The underlying message seems to be that we won’t ever extirpate all of them. I’m not confident in that, and believe the potential is present, or at least, we will lower their numbers to a threatened level.

        People may laugh me out of the room, but there has to be a threshold to how much killing they can handle. We can assume it is a high threshold before their numbers drop to threatened levels, but how high?

        We’ve seen this in many times over with other species. We humans make erroneous assumptions, likely, based on high population of a species, that they will never be exterminated.

        • Louise Kane says:

          yes Yvette exactly
          its presumptuous especially when no one is counting their populations or allowing them to self regulate which they would do if given the chance. They are territorial as are wolves.

        • Ann Frances says:

          Many wildlife agencies understand that you cannot exterminate coyotes. When you hunt them, you actually disrupt stable coyotes, then bring in transients and increase the number of pups born. The best thing is to have stable coyote populations and if problems, learn to haze them.


          • Yvette says:

            Many wildlife agencies understand that you cannot exterminate coyotes.

            Yes Ann, that is true, but I still believe there is likely a threshold where that thesis will no longer hold true. We don’t know that threshold.

            Subject a species with enough environmental stressors and it will impact them, quite possibly to the point of threatened or endangered.

            We’re a long way from that with coyotes, but I am in line with the mission of Project Coyote. Let’s stop the killing contests and the indiscriminate killing by everyone from farmer Brown to Wildlife Services.

            In my state, coyotes have zero protection.

            • Yvette says:

              I’ll add that I can’t back up my suspicions because the data isn’t there for the coyote.

  26. JEFF E says:

    The part of the article that talks about the meaning of wolf in various languages reminded me of one of the daffodils ,pencil-neck hemming.

    Went on and on about how wolf supporters were Nazis because the Nazis worshiped wolves and had named all kinds of stuff after wolves and how he had done all this research to show that if you supported wolves you were a Nazi.

    The only thing the dumbass did not comprehend was, the Nazis were not extolling wolves, but Hitler, duh.
    The meaning of Adolf translates to “noble wolf”.
    god , I think I laughed harder at that moron than I have at anyone before or since.

    well, maybe not.

    • Ida Lupines says:

      Isn’t it frightening that these people walk among us? I’d rather think of Adolph Murie when I think of a noble wolf.

  27. CodyCoyote says:

    The best read have had in some time. Four stars. Recommended. Should go national.
    Some commented this scrip takes a lot of poetic license, especially the cowboy and sheep joke.
    I saw no poetry , nor see license. It’s just Idaho…no more ,no less.

  28. Logan says:

    “At the derby registration the night before the killing was to commence, we were so convincing that the organizers didn’t even bother to ask for our hunting licenses or wolf permits”

    The derby organizers are not fish and game officials, they don’t have the authority to check for your license or tag.

    “Natalie told me that the two animals we’d seen were most likely the remnants of a family whose kin had already been hung from a meat hook.”

    While possible, this is making a broad assumption.

  29. Logan says:

    I was sisappointed that the article used as its primary source of information, a drunk old man at a bar. How is this different than if I went into a hooka lounge in Portland and asked about legalizing marajuana?

    • Mike says:

      That analogy doesn’t ring true.

    • Mareks Vilkins says:

      the local sheriff told us he was on hand to make sure there was no trouble from pro-wolf protesters. “They said there was some kind of a threat,” he said. “But nobody showed. Guess they didn’t have the stomach for it.”

      ain’t sheriff’s stance an indicator of local sentiment?

  30. W.Hong says:

    I find this an amazing topic, it is nice to be someplace you can actually do something like this, in China, we could “disappear” for doing this!

  31. Nancy says:


    Curious, is that Brian’s sister Natelie Ertz in the Facebook page (on the left side of the WN page) with the duct tape over her mouth, under the guise of Blair Koch? Could be her twin 🙂

    • Ken Cole says:

      Nope. I don’t see a Blair Koch because it displays different people based on the people you know but that’s not Natalie.

  32. Ken Cole says:

    The comments on the article are a good case for comment moderation. The debate there is just a fist fight.

    • B. Gutierrez says:

      The problem with trying to find compromise over something like a killing contest is there’s no middle ground between dead and alive. One side or the other is going to have to accept total conversion.


March 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