Lawsuit Challenges Idaho’s Cruel Wildlife-killing Contest
BLM Approves Unprecedented 5-year Permit to Allow Killing Contests for Wolves, Coyotes, Weasels, Rabbits, Skunks and Others
BOISE, Idaho— Conservation groups filed a lawsuit today asking a judge to halt an annual, privately sponsored wild animal killing contest that was granted a five-year permit by the Idaho Bureau of Land Management. Recalling Idaho’s infamous bunny-killing drives, the annual killing contest, known as a “predator derby,” will award prizes to those who kill the most wolves, coyotes and other wildlife that inhabit public lands around the town of Salmon during a three-day contest every winter for five years. Citing an inadequate review of environmental impacts by the BLM, the lawsuit filed by the Center for Biological Diversity, Western Watersheds Project, and Project Coyote asked a judge to stop the abhorrent, cruel and wasteful events.
“It’s repugnant and shocking that wildlife-killing contests are still being allowed in the 21st century,” said Amy Atwood, endangered species legal director for the Center. “In approving this contest, the BLM is out of step with an American public that no longer supports the slaughter of wildlife for sport. Indeed, more than 90,000 people submitted comments opposing the contest, yet the permit was still issued.”
If allowed to proceed this winter, this will be the second predator derby organized by the misnamed “Idaho for Wildlife.” Last year’s contest was allowed to proceed on the Salmon-Challis National Forest without a permit or any environmental analysis from the Forest Service, and resulted in the killing of 21 coyotes and no wolves. The BLM prepared an environmental analysis to expand the contest to 3.1 million acres of public lands, but minimized the projected environmental impacts of the derby based on the number of animals killed last winter. However, given more advanced planning for this year’s contest, it’s expected to cover a greater geographic area and include more participants. The BLM analysis also failed to consider the important role played by predators in regulating prey populations and thereby benefitting a host of species, from beavers to songbirds.
“Not only is the contest itself an embarrassment to the state of Idaho, but the BLM’s process in enabling the contest is also a throwback to the bad old days,” said Travis Bruner, executive director of Western Watersheds Project. “The BLM basically walked the applicants through the process, worked to drum up support among the Idaho Fish and Game Department, and developed a communications plan to defend their choice to issue the permit – long before the analysis was even complete.”
The BLM denied a permit to conservation groups who sought to have a “Wildlife Viewing” contest at the same time. The Center and Western Watersheds Project requested a “special recreation permit” for an alternative derby the same dates and location. Rather than considering the relative merits of the contests and the impacts on the environment, BLM merely requested that the wildlife viewing contest be rescheduled. The denial is currently being protested.
“Most people are shocked to learn that it is legal to kill coyotes, wolves, bobcats, and other wildlife as part of a contest, derby or tournament for prizes and fun,” said Camilla Fox, founder and executive director of Project Coyote. “They’re even more shocked to learn that hundreds of such contests take place each year in the U.S. killing thousands of wild animals.”
On Dec. 3 the California Fish and Game Commission will vote on a proposed statewide ban on wildlife killing contests.
The groups are represented by Amy Atwood from the Center. Laird Lucas and Bryan Hurlbutt from Advocates for the West represent the groups’ co-plaintiff, Defenders of Wildlife.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 800,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.
Western Watersheds Project works to protect and restore public lands and wildlife in the West through education, public policy initiatives and legal advocacy.
Project Coyote is a national non-profit organization promoting compassionate conservation and coexistence between people and wildlife through education, science, and advocacy. Join our community on Facebook and Twitter.
119 Responses to Lawsuit Challenges Idaho’s Cruel Wildlife-killing Contest
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I’m not surprised the BLM approved it. All these agencies care more about political pressure than what the majority of the public demands. I hope this lawsuit is successful.
Sigh, is anyone surprised this permit was approved? These people walk backward. They yearn for the Hinckley hunt of 1818.
I’m watching a Nature episode called “Leave it to Beavers”. The positive impact that this one species has on hydrology can’t be denied. That is just one species.
It is frustrating knowing a good sized segment of the population love to kill anything that moves. It is more frustrating knowing they are too stupid to understand the negative impact all this killing has on the collective environment.
“It is frustrating knowing a good sized segment of the population love to kill anything that moves”
Yvette, a good read, the last line had me laughing out loud 🙂
Nancy, you are a wealth of great links to good reads and good documentaries. That was a good read!
I’m glad Western Watersheds has taken on this hunt. Thank you for what you guys are trying to do.
Link to the Complaint, Ken?
When I get a link to it I will post it here. I haven’t seen the complaint yet.
Ken I have both complaints as PDF docs would you like me to send them to Ralph or to you
Here is one
There was another complaint filed yesterday too.
And the other one:
It appears this country is regressing into a very dark place regarding wildlife protection and preservation–especially when it comes to predators.
Those who make these backward decisions are blatantly ignoring the majority. All of us legally own public lands, and therefore have a right to decide what occurs on those lands. Yet the public will is repeatedly thwarted in favor of the special interest minority.
With these kinds of atrocities being approved again and again by those who have been entrusted to protect and preserve predators and the biodiversity they support, it’s hard to believe we are living in the 21st Century. Utterly disgraceful.
I posted this once before. If 90,000 comments against this contest do not obligate the BLM to disqualify this contest as a legitimate use of public lands then they damn well should read comments like this. A point by point analysis of why this contest should be denied.
Thanks Guy Dicharry!
Ken perhaps Guy would be a good point of contact for you.
By Guy Dicharry, JD
October 14, 2014
sent by email to: BLM_ID_predatorhuntderby@blm.gov, firstname.lastname@example.org,
United States Department of Interior
Bureau of Land Management, Salmon Field Office
Attn: Liz Townley, Outdoor Recreation Planner
1405 Hollipark Drive
Idaho Falls, ID 83467
Dear Ms. Townley and recipients:
I am providing comments to the EA within the prescribed deadline. Quoted excerpts from the EA are numbered and in bold italics. Comments are under the quoted excerpts from the EA.
1. “The animals targeted for the derby could be harvested legally even if the event was not occurring.” EA, page 13.
Comment: While factually accurate, this statement mischaracterizes the point of conducting an EA. The issue is not whether the target animals can be hunted by individuals outside of the proposed contest. A finding that hunting is legal tells us nothing about the impact of the proposed activity — wildlife killing contest — on BLM resources. If the proposed activity involved an obviously illegal activity (e.g., the contestant who poaches the most elk wins the elk poaching contest), then the illegality of the proposed conduct would lead to a quick denial of the SRP application. Conversely, legality of hunting the targeted species sheds no light on the complex issue of the impact of the IFW contest on BLM resources which includes all of the target species and their habitat. Legality of hunting targeted species is nothing more than a threshold issue that plays no role in the substantive analysis of the proposed activity required under NEPA.
2. “The IDFG does not expect the species to be affected at the population scale.” EA, page 13.
Comment: The EA contains no citation of authority for this opinion by IDFG. The issue of how and when coyote populations respond to different levels of exploitation (removal/killing) is complex and not addressed adequately in the EA. See, comment No. 5, below.
3. “The long-term goal is to reduce predator numbers enough to allow increased game numbers, increased harvest opportunities, and to maintain viable populations of all wildlife, including predators (IDFG, 2012).” EA, page 13.
Comment: In its written, published policies, the IFGD expressly rejected the use of wildlife killing contests as a valid method of wildlife management. Predator populations in Idaho are managed through a number of mechanisms, but the Department is clear that predator killing contests are not a wildlife management method.
“However, the Department will not support any contests or similar activities involving the taking of predators which may portray hunting in an unethical fashion, devalue the predator, and which may be offensive to the general public. The Department opposes use of bounties as a predator control measure.” (emphasis added)”
Last December, the Department received many queries about the Salmon contest, the same event that is the subject of the Notice of Proposed Action. In response to the many letters and emails, the Department issued the following statement and guidance on its position:
“Idaho Fish and Game has not been asked and will not provide any financial support or logistical support for this event.
13 years ago, the Idaho Fish and Game Commission adopted a Predator Management Policy that states ‘Fish and Game will not support any contests or similar activities involving the taking of predators which may portray hunting in an unethical fashion, devalue the predator, and which may be offensive to the general public.’ ” (emphasis added)
The EA refers to general language regarding wildlife management to imply that IDFG endorses wildlife killing contests as a form of wildlife management while ignoring specific statements by IDFG to the contrary. The IDFG has clearly and unambiguously rejected wildlife killing contests as a method of wildlife management, a simple fact that should have been incorporated into the EA but appears to have been deliberately omitted.
4. “A study in Idaho (Hurley, et al., 2011) has tried to remove species like coyotes from an area to increase survivorship of prey species. However, the study concluded that coyote removal had no detectable effect on the population growth rate for mule deer in the study area.” EA, page 13.
Comment: This study found no detectable effect on population growth of mule deer after coyote removal. That finding calls into question the unsupported IDFG opinion that reduction of predator numbers allows increased mule deer numbers and harvest opportunities. According to the Hurley study, predator removal has no effect on mule deer populations. If, as appears to be the case, predator removal cannot be shown to further the goal of increased mule deer numbers, then IDFG’s position supporting predator removal as a method of increasing game numbers lacks a scientific foundation. BLM’s decision on the SRP application should be based on reliable science and not on hunches regarding the complex relationship between predator populations and mule deer populations.
5. “As for the population of coyotes, studies have shown that harvesting 75% of the population annually would not exterminate the population over 50 years, due to increased reproductive rates in areas where coyotes are intensively controlled (Voigt & Berg, 1987). Even under the most severe removal programs, repopulation by coyotes can be expected within months (Beasom, 1974) or 2–3 years (Connolly & Longhurst, 1975) (Connolly, 1978), (1995).” EA, page 13.
Comment: In fact, Connolly and Longhurst showed a 3 – 5 year period to return to pre-removal densities, not a 2 – 3 year recovery as stated in the EA. Most importantly, during that 3 – 5 year period, no coyote removal took place in the study area. “Coyote populations reduced by intensive control [killing coyotes in the study area] returned to pre-control densities within 3 – 5 years after control was terminated.” (emphasis added) (Connolly 1995). Even in the absence of any killing of coyotes, a recovery period of 3 – 5 years was required for the population to return to pre-removal levels in the study area.
The EA also inaccurately states that killing “75% of the population annually would not exterminate the population over 50 years”. In fact, simulated populations declined to zero over the course of 50 years when 75% were killed annually. (Connolly 1995).
The relevant scientific literature supports the “No Action” option on the SRP in this case for a variety of reasons.
• The contest promoter, IFW, wants to hold an annual event for a 5-year period. That schedule of contests, standing alone, would interfere with the 3 – 5 years needed for recovery as observed by Connolly.
• If the SRP is issued to IFW in this case, BLM should anticipate other promoters wanting to join in. It will be difficult to justify refusing to issue SRPs to similarly situated contest promoters. These additional contestants will create more pressure on the population, thereby rendering recovery estimates of 3 – 5 years as too short in duration and extremely unlikely.
• As noted above, no control measures — killing of coyotes — took place in the study area during the recovery period. That is not the case on BLM lands. While coyote populations are pressured even in the absence of contests, that pressure will necessarily increase once SRPs are issued for contests. More contestants trying to win prizes means shoot early and shoot often. Issuing an SRP for this contest — and for the others who will almost certainly follow — means that there will be no meaningful period of recovery in the absence of removal. That is a substantial departure from the experimental design adopted by Connolly and Longhurst.
Connolly and Longhurst collected data in the mid-1970’s. [Connolly did not collect new data for the 1995 paper.] Those data are now approximately 40 years old. BLM must consider the following as having additional impacts on coyote populations:
• widespread proliferation of predator killing contests through the western US
• the invention of the predator hunting industry
• the availability of semi-automatic rifles to the American public
• the widespread use of electronic callers
• significant habitat changes
The populations would have no meaningful recovery period, all the while being subjected to more contestants possessing more efficient methods of killing than were present in the mid-1970’s, the point at which Connolly and Longhurst collected data. The issue of how and when coyote populations respond to different levels of exploitation (removal/killing) is complex and has not been addressed in the EA. See, e.g., “Carnivore in Ecosystems: The Yellowstone Experience”, Clark, Curlee, Minta, Kareiva, Eds., 1999 Yale University Press. Chapter Six, “Coyotes and Canid Coexistence in Yellowstone”, Robert Crabtree and Jennifer Sheldon.
On the issue of how and over what period of time coyote populations respond to different levels of exploitation, the few studies cited in the EA do not support the propositions for which they are cited.
6. “Some user-created conflicts could occur if competitors and others are concentrated in one area. However, this is unlikely as hunting is generally a dispersed activity because hunters desire to be isolated in hopes of viewing more game.” EA, at page 18.
Comment: The EA assumes, incorrectly, that there will be uniform dispersal of contestants over all lands managed by BLM. The assumption does not take into account the following:
• The promoter (IFW) stated a preference for BLM lands for the contest. The promoter had access to 5.8 million acres of Forest Service lands for the 2013 contest, yet insisted on applying for the SRP to add BLM lands to the millions of acres already available. If BLM lands are made available, it is likely that they will be seen as preferable to other public lands already open to contestants. That situation will lead to a concentration of contestants on BLM lands.
• Coyote contestants prefer open areas which tend to be lower elevation and higher use by others in the winter months. Past winners of other wildlife killing contests advise changing stands every 12 to 15 minutes to increase the likelihood of winning. Changing stands frequently also increases the likelihood of user-created conflicts.
7. “In terms of effects to predators and scavengers at a population scale, target species would not be affected by the proposed hunt. The coyote population, for example, would be expected to rebound quickly after each event, as has been observed by IDFG in previous coyote removal studies.” EA, at page 19.
Comment: The EA is silent as to which “coyote removal studies” this inaccurate conclusion is based upon. Coyote removal studies do not support the expectation that the coyote population “would be expected to rebound quickly after each event”. The issue of how and when coyote populations respond to different levels of exploitation (removal/killing) is a complex one. It has not been addressed in the EA in a manner which would allow BLM to draw any science-based conclusions about the effect that this wildlife killing contest will have on coyote populations.
See, comments to item No. 5, above.
8. “Hunting derbies are regulated through an SRP because they are competitive events. The BLM may allow hunting derbies within WSAs if they are temporary (so they do not create an expectation that they will continue after designation) and do not cause physical alterations.” EA, at page 20.
Comment: If the SRP is issued in this case, it will necessarily open to door to other promoters who will want to exploit BLM resources for their own commercial, competitive events. The BLM should reasonably expect other promoters of wildlife killing contests to file SRP applications for similar events. What may appear to be “temporary” with one applicant will become a series of wildlife killing contests using the same areas over and over.
9. “However, as explained in more detail below, most of the use associated with this event would not occur within a WSA, and it is unlikely that many of the WSAs would see any use as a result of this event.” EA, at page 20.
Comment: If this statement is true, then there is no reason to allow the competitive event on any WSAs. The IFW contest should not be allowed on the WSA based on non-impairment criteria alone. Those criteria are intended to preserve wilderness characteristics pending approval of designated wilderness status. One of those wilderness characteristics is spelled out clearly: competitive events are not allowed in designated wilderness. In addition, the EA emphasizes the unlikelihood of any contestants using the WSAs. Given two compelling reasons to exclude WSAs from use in the contest, a decision that would allow contestants to use them is arbitrary.
10. “The use of WSAs for the proposed competitive hunting event meets the non-impairment standard because the action is temporary, short term, and would not create any surface disturbance.” EA, at page 22.
Comment: The use of WSAs for the proposed wildlife killing contest does not meet the non-impairment standard because the activity is neither temporary nor short term as those terms are defined in BLM Manual 6330. The prohibition on competitive events in wilderness areas is well-established and not in dispute. According to BLM Manual 6330, a use that is incompatible with a wilderness designation violates the non-impairment standard, even in the absence of new surface disturbance.
“It is the BLM’s policy not to establish new discretionary uses in WSAs that would impair the suitability of such areas for wilderness designation (see section 1.6.C). For example, identifying a mountain biking route on an existing primitive route may not create new surface disturbance or permanent facilities, but the use of the route may preclude potential designation the area as wilderness and would therefore violate the non-impairment standard.”
Source: BLM Manual 6330 §1.6(B)(5).
Granting an SRP for the IFW contest will create a demand for more contests using the WSAs. Merely creating a demand for more wildlife killing contests on WSAs would be incompatible with wilderness management for two reasons: (1) competitive events are not allowed on wilderness areas; and (2) multiple contests are not temporary within the meaning of Manual 6330. The standard is whether the use (IFW contest) will create a demand for uses (more contests) incompatible with wilderness management.
“A chronic, repeated short-term use does not meet this definition of “temporary.” Uses, activities, or facilities that create a demand for uses that would be incompatible with wilderness management also do not meet the definition of temporary.” (emphasis added)
Source: BLM Manual 6330 §1.6(C)(1)(a).
Based on the plain language in BLM Manual 6330, all of Idaho’s WSAs should be off limits to competitive events such as the IFW contest.
The proposed activity confers no legitimate benefit to the public interest in public lands. This commercial, competitive event is inappropriate for BLM lands. The EA failed to demonstrate a sufficient scientific basis for granting the SRP. Equally compelling is the degree to which the public has objected to this particular use of public lands. The application for an SRP by Idaho for Wildlife should be denied and the BLM should choose the “No Action” alternative.
Connolly, Guy E., “THE EFFECTS OF CONTROL ON COYOTE POPULATIONS: ANOTHER LOOK” (1995). Symposium
Proceedings—Coyotes in the Southwest: A Compendium of Our Knowledge (1995). Paper 36.
Louise, I think Mr. Dicharry loses the comment argument he poses, when figuring context.
This is the bottom line: How many predators will be removed by participants during this 3 day event, and what effect will it have on BLM managed lands (and their interest of course under federal statutes is the vegetation)?
And, from this one needs to then figure out the “incremental” impact over and above what other legal hunting activities in the area would have occurred during this period without the event?
How big is this entire area again – it’s huge, and when those participants are spread over the area, what will be the impacts to vegetation or to reduction in predator density, again for a 3 day event? They didn’t get even one wolf last year, if I recall correctly.
[Again, I don’t like these events. It is important, however, to use objectivity in conducting the obligatory Environmental Assessment apparently required before issuance of the special use permit, which some accuse BLM of not properly doing, whether it is substantive review, or the process, itself. I am very interested in seeing the legal complaint to see how these elements are addressed.]
They said they didn’t kill any wolves, but do you believe that? Shoot, Shovel and Shutup rules the day out there.
Because it isn’t necessary, except to satisfy some bizarre need of the people who live in the area. We don’t have the right to waste anything we want. If there was a legitimate reason for it – perhaps objectivity would have a place.
Maybe The Wolf Patrol can monitor the event. Should be interesting.
++They said they didn’t kill any wolves, but do you believe that? ++
You really think one of these yahoos would walk away from a prize of $1,000(maybe more for 2015 since one was not taken in the first event?) and, more importantly, bragging rights? Also suspect a legal wolf pelt might be worth several hundred dollars, maybe more with provenance of where it was taken and when (this event).
I think they are capable of just about anything. I wouldn’t put anything below them.
This really isn’t about a contest. What’s the five-year magic number all about out there anyway? When the Feds leave wolves to the states’ control and they cannot be relisted again?
A good wolf pelt can bring in $300-500. That’s a lot of money to leave laying on the ground even if you hate wolves. I don’t know more than a handful of hunters in Idaho who do not have at least one wolf tag in their pocket.
My point is that there is no reason for a hunter to risk a poaching citation when it is pretty cheap to purchase a tag, and there is no reason to shoot shovel and shut up when the pelt has so much value.
What can The Wolf Patrol due:
++Because our current patrollers do not have access to a credit card, we are hoping that someone in the Bozeman -> Gardiner region might be able to help us with hiring a vehicle, and adding on our crew as an additional driver? We would of course pay for full insurance coverage. ++
Even poor college students in Bozeman have credit cards. The Wolf Patrol is going to need more that a 4 wheel drive vehicle. They are going to need four of five 4 wheel drives with two on a trailer for truck to do anything but sit around a fire in Idaho.
The more I read and hear about The Wolf Patrol the more they look like homeless in front of Wal Mart. I bet you that group has enough money for beer in the evening.
I seem to remember your antipathetic attitude when the Wolf Patrol first came on the scene. LOL, I’d say WP has far exceeded your expectations.
I must have missed your disdainful comments on the WI wolf hunters that left their traps unchecked for days, and those that kept hunting after the unit closed.
Regarding damage to vegetation – kill the predators and the populations of rabbits, voles, mice and other herbivores increase. Idaho can then hold another bunny bashing contest. And the wheel goes round and round.
Thanks WM. I thought it not worth contradicting such a wordy piece, cause who has time, but you managed a fine summary of the key problem – this derby is about as effective as placebo.
“And, from this one needs to then figure out the “incremental” impact over and above what other legal hunting activities in the area would have occurred during this period without the event”
Begs the question Rork – how many of these “fine citizens” would be willing to go out and engaging in “above legal hunting activities” if it were not for the fun, entertainment, perhaps the chance to rub elbows with others who enjoy shooting “stuff” (wildlife) cause ya can (big and small) AND cash prices to boot?
Forgive my candor, here, but I don’t see how 3 days of diffuse predator hunting on hundreds of thousands (millions?) of acres of BLM, FS and private land could produce much impact to predators. Probably less than half actually hunt the 3 days. I suspect a number will just be there to party and watch what few animals actually come in for official recording for the event. And, even then, that is likely less than 24 hours of total daylight in which to do their dastardly deeds, probably not far from roads or where a few might get with snowmobiles, again on hundreds of thousands of acres in the event area. If it’s real cold maybe even fewer will spend much time in the field, preferring a burn barrel or a wood stove as a favored spot, and a warm libation to take off the edge.
“Forgive my candor, here, but I don’t see how 3 days of diffuse predator hunting on hundreds of thousands (millions?) of acres of BLM, FS and private land could produce much impact to predators”
Come on WM. Hold your hand in the air, fold down all your fingers except, you index finger. That’s what this is all about. I know it and you know it and the rednecks in Idaho, aiming to kill as many animals as they can, know it.
Hell, its not even about wildlife anymore, its about the dumb & dumber aspect of our species who were probably never exposed to compassion for others in their childhoods.
Can’t play it forward if you can’t recognize the emotion.
Here, here, Nancy. WM can be a bit disingenuous at times. I am sure he recognizes the incremental damage each of these events has on the protection and science-first ethic of managing the public lands; each event paves the way for something a little worse, a little more egregious. Just look at what the Tester Amendment has wrought.
You are discussing two things here. One is the underlying motivation for the event. It is an “in your face” affront to wildlife advocates and those who like predators. I find that part repulsive.
The other is the ability of federal agencies to review the impacts of the event, which in their minds apparently is de minimus, and not worthy of review. On this latter point, I agree. If only one of these occurs per year, and is of limited duration, it would not seem to have much impact, and not likely enough to require NEPA review, because the underlying legal hunting is already allowed and has been for scores of years.
There is nothing disingenuous about that, jimT. You can have disdain for one, and be obejective about the other. I don’t think NEPA was intended to be used for this sort of thing (where the underlying act of hunting predators is permissible under ID law), and I give about 5:1 odds a federal judge will agree with me.
This is as much a political battle as it is a despicable event that is premised on slaughter and folks who get woodies while killing things…:*) THAT is the real takeaway from this event..and other so called predator events..each time they take place.
Interesting Rork that you would characterize Guy Dicharry’s point by point response to the BLM’s pass go permit of the predator derby as a wordy piece. Its responsive and speaks directly to the points promulgated in the EA and in the BLM manual to permit the derby. I remember a lot of bitching here about people that submit comments via an NGO’s petition. yet when a lawyer takes the time to draft a clearly well researched response, its characterized as “wordy”. The BLM and US Forest Service ignored their legal obligations and made decisions about these permits that were arbitrary and capricious. Why would either you or WM not be supportive of legal attempts to end killing contests. If for no other reason than every time they are permitted they legitimize irresponsible wanton waste of wildlife and as evidenced by the comments, they widely opposed by the people who pay for the management of their public lands.
I do not support legal attempts to end killing contests cause I think they are a waste of time, and paint us as against free association, and only caring about charismatic individual animals.
Rather than my point about “placebo” you are tone trolling about my use of “wordy” – I only meant it was hard to contradict a very long document in detail.
…only caring about charismatic individual animals.
This isn’t true for other creatures, because coyotes and wolves are not onsidered ‘charismatic’ by everyone. They are considered nuisances, vermin, and obstacles to money. They are also almost always the only animals we see that are the targets of predator derbies and removals. But there are lawsuits/protests against destroying just about every other animal that we want to destroy that you can name – comorants, Canada geese, ravens and crows, mourning doves, rattlesnakes, rabbits, prairie dogs, wild horses, elk and deer ok in some places and not others, and yes, even the mute swan.
Read the complaints WM then let me hear what you have to say. The majority of the killers will be concentrated in a much smaller area as some of the wilderness area is unlikely to be accessed during the contest. I read them this morning, this complaint is anything but frivolous.
It would appear to me that there are grounds for an APA suit here for arbitrary and capricious rule making..
It’s dismal to see so many people objecting to the status quo of predator killing. No to hunting wolves (recent vote Michigan), no to desisting wolves nationally (comments to USFWS more than 900,000 against), no to killing contests (90,000 against killing contest on BLM lands) and the states receive similar comments against the egregious slaughter plans that the agencies come up with. They ignore and or penalize independent scientists who speak against anti predator management, they trash comments, they label activists as idiots who never get off the couch and ass kiss the idiots who plan to kill wild animals on public lands. Who the hell do these agencies think they work for?
I haven’t seen agencies calling activists idiots, but I just saw you use the term.
It’s dismal to see so many people objecting to the status quo of predator killing ignored
News on the Red Wolf front
Very frustrating that 100,000 people commented here against coyote killing and for red wolf recovery but a lawsuit was necessary to make the state act in the public’s best interest and to make them stay in compliance with the ESA.
Settlement Reached to Promote Red Wolf Conservation
Thursday, November 13, 2014
Chapel Hill, N.C.—The US District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina approved a settlement agreement today between the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), Defenders of Wildlife (Defenders), the Red Wolf Coalition (RWC) and the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) concerning litigation over coyote hunting in the five-county area of eastern North Carolina inhabited by the world’s only wild population of endangered red wolves. This agreement settles a lawsuit brought by AWI, Defenders, and RWC, which alleged that, by authorizing coyote hunting in the five-county recovery area during the day and night, NCWRC caused red wolves to be killed or otherwise harmed in violation of the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
The settlement outlines significant steps to protect endangered red wolves in North Carolina, including banning coyote hunting at night throughout the five-county Red Wolf Recovery Area and during the day on public lands, except in limited circumstances. It also requires permits to kill coyotes on private lands, mandates reporting of all kills, and prohibits coyote contest hunts throughout the recovery area. Overall, this agreement aims to continue to decrease threats posed by indiscriminate coyote hunting, while also addressing the concerns of local private landowners and state and federal agencies that are in charge of red wolf recovery.
“This settlement will advance the long-term protection of red wolves by reducing the likelihood that they will be killed by hunters who mistake them for coyotes, thereby facilitating species recovery,” said D.J. Schubert, wildlife biologist for AWI. “With only an estimated 100 red wolves remaining in the wild, each death by gunshot jeopardizes the survival of the species.”
On May 13, 2014, the federal district court banned all coyote hunting in the Red Wolf Recovery Area. NCWRC responded by denying sterilization permits for coyotes that are in danger of cross-breeding with red wolves; a critical component of red wolf recovery.
This summer, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced that it would review the status and future of the Red Wolf Recovery program, potentially terminating it and pulling the red wolves out of the state. USFWS received over 110,000 comments from people urging USFWS and NCWRC to keep the red wolves in North Carolina, increase their numbers, and add additional reintroduction sites. Since the injunction has been in place, reported gunshot mortality of the wolves is nearly nonexistent. In recent years, up to 10 percent of the population have been gunned down, with a number of these deaths likely attributable to the difficulty in distinguishing red wolves from coyotes.
“National and North Carolina citizens have spoken loudly in support of continuing to grow and recover the red wolf population in North Carolina and elsewhere,” stated Tara Zuardo, wildlife attorney for AWI. “Continuing this very successful recovery program is in the best interest of the species and fulfills the conservation mandate of the Endangered Species Act.”
Glad to see this is getting some national coverage:
“Steve Adler, head of Idaho for Wildlife, could not immediately be reached for comment but has previously said critics were seeking to restrict gun rights spelled out in the U.S. constitution and tarnish a decades-old hunting tradition in the American West.
“We’re stereotyped as a bunch of Idaho rednecks out to kill as many animals as we can,” he told Reuters last month”
Steve forgot to add – for fun, entertainment and prizes because hey! They are a bunch of Idaho rednecks out to kill as many animals as they can.
Well, this Adler guy is hilarious. He thinks he can say that they, the not-rednecks, can have an announced contest to see how many animals they can shoot and yet still say “We’re stereotyped as a bunch of Idaho rednecks out to kill as many animals as we can.”
So let’s prove ’em right! I hope where it is public land people can hold a protest.
All of these species are listed as invasive terrestrial vertebrates and as such are animal species that are potential threats to plants, plant products,in natural or cultivated areas under the 1997 International Plant Protection Convention. The 1997 Update includes language that is synonymous with Article 8 (h) of the 1992 UN Convention on Biological Diversity which is that parties to the convention are to prevent, control, and eradicate alien species in states or parts of states where found. President Clinton implemented Article 8 (h) into federal agencies such as FWS, NPS, and FS, but when the IPPC went into full effect in 2005, the BLM was included because both NATIVE wild horses and burros as well as cows, sheep, pigs, and goats, dogs, and cats are listed as invasive, alien species that are potential plant pests. This is part of a 2007 paper Management of Invasive Vertebrates in the United States put together by APHIS and WS. Shooting, trapping, frightening, Judas animal, poisoning, fencing off from resources, predators are among the methods of eradication mentioned. FWS and its international NGO partners, TNC and the IUCN came up with the exotic species exclusion in 1973. The problem is, as you can imagine, federal agencies want to claim that they know that a species was present in CA but are equally certain it was never present in Idaho. Since the horse was here for 55 million years and fossils have been found from Florida to above the second ice sheet in the Arctic and from the coastal grasslands now covered with the Atlantic ocean to the LaBrea Tar Pits in LA, these agencies clearly have no idea what was present when or where. The truth is that up until about 10,000 years ago when the glaciers melted enough to flood Berengia, mammals, birds, and humans traveled from continent to continent taking their seeds, spores, and parasites with them wherever they went. It sounds like BLM is trying to get some help with their killing. The prevarication about the horse is particularly troubling because scientists now believe that the variation in size and shape in todays variety of breeds actually began as environmentally triggered genetic mutations that helped the animals adapt to changes in their surroundings.
But Steve, you are holding contests where you give prizes to hunters who kill the most animals. Idaho redneck describes people like you perfectly.
Here is the link to the BLM’s decision record and finding of no significant impact for the killing contest.
A lawsuit was successful against a similar killing contest in Oregon on the basis it constituted gambling, but apparently Idaho does not have a statue against this type of “contest” for I’m sure the plaintiffs would have used that argument.
These killing contests bring a lot of public scrutiny, but in the big picture of predator killing they are “small potatoes” compared to Wildlife Services. This agency killed over 45,000 coyotes alone last year in the US compared to 20 by IFW in last years event.
That California law: just mammalian predators.
Fish, birds, and reptiles are just broccoli with eyeballs to wildlife advocates it appears. (And predator is so vague – maybe order carnivora is clearer.) If you made it all predators, but then exempted some, the hypocrisy would be painfully evident I suppose.
“Fish, birds, and reptiles are just broccoli with eyeballs to wildlife advocates it appears.”
I disagree, rork, but not entirely. Many, if not most, conservation and wildlife advocates work for the protection of non-mammal species. I do agree that most of the non-fur bearing and/or non-mammals don’t garner an equal degree of attention and support.
What I find most challenging is narrowing down an issue and focusing attention on that issue without flailing off on something else that comes along. Additionally, I think some people may ask themselves whether they focus their primary attention on local issues or national ones. Where do they get the most accomplished? Many of us have to make a choice where to direct our attention, and balance the things we can do with the other responsibilities in our lives.
rork: The hoped for up-coming ban on mammal killing contests in California was a “political” compromise internally within the California Fish & Game Commission, to exclude the bass fishing tournament folks. Rork, you sound disappointed that some of these disgusting killing contests are going to be banned in California. I wonder why?
I consider fighting predator derbies to be a perfect example of flailing.
Isn’t it 2014? How backwards is Idaho?
BLM Approves Unprecedented 5-year Permit to Allow Killing Contests for Wolves, Coyotes, Weasels, Wascally Wabbits, Skunks and Others.
It’s sad that the (we don’t want no)government would become involved in such a thing.
And how broadly is the BLM interpreting ‘weasels’?
I continue to be impressed how self-serving liberals can be in using lawyers to meet their ends with no consideration of anyone or anything else. No problem tromping on everyone else’s right. By my math the Canadian wolves (an invasive species) released into Idaho by the Feds have killed over 200,000 Elk in Idaho so far, and over 400,000 in total from this thing they lied to us about and portrayed as an “experiment”.
While I have no interest in such contests I don’t think it my business to block other’s rights with a bunch of lawyers. The BLM finding of ‘no significant impact’ is clearly correct. It is a shame they had to spend our money to create a bunch of paper to reach that obvious conclusion.
Alas it has been made clear that those who can afford the slimiest lawyers can get almost anything done in our system. Too bad.
I wanna sue for my lost rights to participate in The Buffalo Jump.
Go right ahead and do so. When was/is the Buffalo Jump scheduled and where?
Hard to tell how much of your comment is sarcasm, and how much is authentic disdain for federal law and those who are asked (by their clients of course) to interpret them. Not always the fault of the lawyers, if you get my meaning. It is the clients who should be the focus of your disgust (slimiest lawyers,…uh, really?). Lawyers give advice, and ultimately it is the client who decides what to do. Just sayin’.
And, while you are thinking about that, you might consider that some lawyers wind up having idiots for clients, including those who have to represent the federal or state governments….or some NGO advocacy groups who don’t think things thru very well, ….but they know how to game the legal system, even if the objective is not to win an issue, but to draw attention to it. IMHO this borders on mis-use of the system, and it is not without consequences in the end.
A little sarcasm indeed. But I read something interesting recently. I am not sure if it is true. I wondered who paid the lawyers for these types of actions. I thought it was the extreme so-called environmental groups. While partly true what I read claimed that in certain cases they can apply to the Federal Government to get paid by the government for filing these lawsuits against the government. The only ones who lose all the time in that case are the taxpayers. And it is no wonder they keep coming up with stuff to sue on…kind of like the class action lawsuit business.
Such is life in America.
my apologies I did not realize you were being sarcastic as I am not familiar with your posts.
Larry, this paper by Vucetich and Nelson would be worth your time to read.
Thank you for that reference. I love such stuff!
The author’s problem is that premise 1 has been proven correct, not wrong as he asserts for his argument.
Here’s the link to the latest and most appropriate research on the topic:
Larry, you seem to have missed this (which is hard, given that it is in the abstract):
“Even if it is assumed that mortality due to predation is completely additive, liberal estimates of wolf predation rates on juvenile elk could explain no more than 52% of the total decline in juvenile:female ratios in wolf-colonized herds, after accounting for the effects of other limiting factors.”
That means — at best (and requiring an untenable assumption) — wolves explained 1/2 the variability in recruitment. Now, you might also recall that elk in Yellowstone were over-abundant and, due to a variety of factors, largely senescent (which made them vulnerable to predation). The reduction in Yellowstone have now changed the age cohort characteristics of the herd (it is less vulnerable) and wolf populations responded (reduction in Yellowstone wolves).
And I couldn’t help but notice that Wyoming enjoyed a near record elk harvest last year (http://wgfd.wyo.gov/web2011/news-1001959.aspx); but please, do go back to telling us how those great, big, nasty “Canadian” wolves have eaten all the elk. I do so enjoy a good monster story!
Sorry but you need to read the whole paper. The authors go on to say the “Risk Effect”, which also comes from the wolves, is as great as the direct predation effect. When you remove the wolves you remove both causes.
My biggest problem with the lawyers in these cases is like it is with so-called “class action” lawsuits. The only ones who always profit from them are the lawyers. In the case of using lawyers instead of our elective processes the taxpayers lose in every case…sometimes twice if the lawyers making the case also get federal money. Just like in many of the “class action” lawsuits the lawyers get millions while each member of the class gets at most a few dollars…all of which will eventually be paid for by future customers of the company that has to pay…usually members of the same class. Thinking some of this stuff through the full system takes work.
I did read the whole paper, Larry. You’re either extremely disingenuous or you have a faulty recollection of the paper.
Here is the authors’ attempt at a summary:
“To be clear, wolves kill a large number of juvenile elk annually in the GYE, but the magnitude of this offtake relative to the prey base suggests that direct killing by wolves has less influence on midwinter juvenile:female ratios than other limiting factors.”
You also seemed to miss a few qualifying statements that are of great import, in this case:
“Declining elk density and snowpack covaried with wolf reintroduction in these data, and disentangling these effects was not entirely possible without a truly randomized experiment, but it is unlikely that these two well-established effects on elk recruitment no longer operated in wolf-colonized herds, particularly because they continued to operate in uncolonized herds (Table 1).”
The risk effects are largely speculative, as the authors note.
I also noted that cougar predation was never mentioned in the paper… interesting.
Elk harvest in Idaho dropped from about 20,000 in 2004-2006 to 15,139 in 2011. It is improving since wolf control has been implemented.
Fortunately the state is able to manage the Elk herd through hunting controls. Hunting opportunities are reduced to account for the predator effects.
That’s better, Larry. But the wolf population (in the areas with wolves long enough to have an effect) was dropping before wolf harvest was implemented. Correlation is not causation.
An alternative interpretation is that wolves and climate factors made short work of a senescent elk population; then when the vulnerable animals were mostly removed, wolf populations were reduced and elk recruitment (in those areas) began to rebound.
But, again, that doesn’t fit your Canadian monster myth (so it probably isn’t true). 😉
Larry, I was hoping you would take notice of the technique the authors used to base their arguments. It is explained in the first sentence of the abstract. More detailed explanations are given, especially in pages, 1-3. On page 3, the paragraph under the heading, “Argument Analysis” is especially informative of why these techniques are used in ethics arguments.
It can be a challenge to read an academic paper when the findings, or argument in this case, is counter to our own belief. It takes practice to develop a skill where we examine the findings or argument without our own biases.
I saved this paper to my corpus for that reason; the techniques the authors used to discuss a premise.
Larry: The environmentalists only get paid back by the government for their expenses IF THEY WIN THE LAWSUITS, which fortunately they do a lot of the time.
Well lawyers expenses are their jobs. It is the same problem we have with class action lawsuits. Lawyers get missions and the so called injured class get $3 each. But of course the company has to pay the lawyers and the only way the company makes money is from future customers…so they lose in the end. The only ones that win all the time are the lawyers.
The same is true for the lawyers in the Environmental cases. They always win.
The problem there is that the taxpayers lose because they are usually paying both sides in each case. States can’t afford the expensive clever lawyers skilled in the ways of Washington D.C. judges. Those of us who live in the States end up supporting both through federal state and taxes.
And of course the lawyers are incentivized to continue on drumming up business from whoever they can convince to be “clients”.
That should have been “lawyers get millions”…must have autocorrected and I don’t see how to edit. Sorry.
And “federal and state taxes”. Sheesh. Loose fingers this morning.
Looks to me from the lack of knowledge in your writings about lawyers, class actions and costs of litigation, the fingers aren’t the only thing that is a little loose. Gotta remember the government pays “reasonable attorney fees” if an environmental plaintiff wins a suit against the government; also applies to a lot of other categories where citizens might be compelled to sue their federal government for not doing its job. It sort of levels the playing field, don’t you think, and the deterrence is that the government shouldn’t be doing what it is, so they don’t have to pay the winner, as well as the government’s costs/expenses from our taxes 😉
The government doesn’t make money. It works with money taken from taxpayers under threat of jail etc.
The lawyers on both sides are taking their money from all of us.
You may want to learn about thr logical fallacy “ad hominum”.
I understand the concept of ad hominum. I am challenging you personally, because YOUR facts as YOU assert them are incorrect. And, by the way, government lawyers, are paid just like any other government employee (some might say not enough) given the cost of schooling.
You might even consider the possibility that some government lawyers advise their clients to do or not do certain things because those agency actions could actually cost you and me even more tax dollars if they do it wrong. One area that affects Constitutional protected rights, and easily come to mind, are illegal searches and seizures.
So then challenge the assertions.
That’s a different matter than attacking the person, as so many like to do on these threads. It suggests they have no facts.
“The government doesn’t make money.”
Actually, I’m pretty sure that the federal government is the ONLY entity that actually makes money, Larry. 😉
There is that. Print as much as you need!
Half way thru the King of Torts by Grisham. Wealth of information on class action lawsuits.
I’ve drifted away from him. Might have to read that one!
canadian wolves invasive species blah blah blah
as for lawyers a necessary evil, as they say
perhaps you need to remember that we are fortunate to have a right to challenge our authorities in a legal system. One of the groups bringing the BLM and USFS suit is far from wealthy. Perhaps if you read the complaints you might come to a different conclusion than the obviously right one, as it is in your opinion.
“perhaps you need to remember that we are fortunate to have a right to challenge our authorities in a legal system.”
Any updates on the wolf with the trap stuck on his paw?
Not so far. Last nights snow may help in regard to tracks. With deer season up here for another week, there is not a whole lot to do.
Except when Congress takes the challenge away from you, as in the wolf delisting.
or the right to challenge, sorry.
Congress represents the people. Lawyers do not.
Does congress really “represent” us? And with fluctuation, from this survey 41% of congress has practiced “law”.
We agree on this one!
Congress does not represent the people and probably never has.
This is hard to measure objectively with hard numbers, but political scientists have tried. Most studies found that the correlation between public opinion and how members of congress vote is near zero, or even negative.
There is a new and rather robust analysis out on the subject, Ralph. Here’s an excerpt from the abstract and a link:
“Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence. The results provide substantial support for theories of Economic-Elite Domination and for theories of Biased Pluralism, but not for theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy or Majoritarian Pluralism.”
– – –
From Ralph. Thank you, JB. I see it is brand new Sept. 2014. I am reading it now, but I can’t say I am surprised.
Oh, and I can’t help but point out that the SCOPUS’s decision in Citizens United put even more power in the hands of economic elites and organized interests. And who should we thank for that decision? It’s worth pointing out (after the recent political banter on this blog) that the decision split the court, largely along party lines: the Republican appointed justices in the majority carried the day, while all justices appointed by Democrats, along with Stevens, dissented.
Invasive species law grew out of FWS inability to implement President Carter’s 1977 Exotic Organisms Act, an Amendment to the Lacy Act. IUCN lawyers took this E.O. and wrote it international law. UN CBD 8 (h)– the whole point of this was to circumvent Congress, the public, and the scientific community because the public would never have accepted this law. Putting it in an international treaty allowed the Clinton administration to use it to over-ride federal grazing laws and the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act although there are no scientists that look at the genetic, fossil, paleoanthropology, and geological evidence that believe the modern horse did not originate here in North America. But the point was never about science or wildlife, but the fact that the ancient wildlife corridors where grazing herbivores browsed and grazed for millions of years have left vast stores of oil, coal, and natural gas from Baja, MX to the Arctic Ocean.
But how should domesticated horses be managed once they’ve become feral?
Thanks for that link. Glad to see someone working that problem. The name “wild horses” has always been an issue for me. They died out in America millions of years ago.
Feral pigs are becoming a huge problem also.
Maybe 11K years ago, just after the dinosaurs.
I do so appreciate your dry sense of humor, Rork.
Agree w/ Louise. Although the Second Amendment is the runaway favorite in most of the US (there would likely be substantial support for doing away with I, III, most of V, VI – IX, maybe XIII, definitely XIV [in many states]), the First Amendment is very powerful. Note that the First Amendment specifically protects the right “to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Without the specific right to petition for redress of grievances (along with the creation of the Judicial Branch), the rest of the Bill of Rights would kind of be a list of nice thoughts.
Myself, I’m not a huge fan of lawyers either, but the ones who take on these sorts cases, in my experience, aren’t “ambulance chasers” or hucksters who get rich because someone made the coffee too hot (and by the way, that scalding coffee lawsuit, once you get into the details, isn’t the horror story it’s been made out to be). Lawyers are the ones qualified to lead citizens through the process of petitioning for redress of grievances.
You wrote exactly what Fred King, the erstwhile Wall Creek Wildlife Management Area director and a FWP biologist told me.
I’ll second SAP’s thoughts. So-called ‘environmental attorneys’ generally make substantially less than they could make in just about any other area of law. *Most* (in my experience) enter the field out of a sense of obligation to the environment, and are extremely passionate about what they do. Given that groups like CBD have greater than 90% success rate, it seems like they are not picking their cases in a manner that obstructs justice, but rather, a manner that supports it. The pissing and moaning of those who dislike the outcomes of such cases amounts to ‘sour grapes’, IMHO.
I honestly don’t know about the CBD statistic you cite. It is my understanding, however, that some of those wins in court are “process oriented” and have to do with the shear volume of FOIA requests, petitions for listing and other actions which federal government employees simply cannot comply. They haven’t done so well on “substantive” claims (for comparison WWP’s deserved success in picking the low hanging fruit on BLM compliance with FLPMA/NEPA and grazing).
Here is a link to a 2011 HCN article and one author’s perspective on CBD, and it is not favorable, even coming from a self-described “environmental extremist.”
I also believe, as I have said here before, that the remedy for these process wins in court will not be greater budget for the federal agencies, but changes to the ESA, grazing acts and maybe even NEPA itself, and that will not be good for wildlife. These changes stand an even greater chance of passing with an impatient and stronger R House, and a Senate now controlled by the R’s, and a centrist lame duck President who would like to keep D’s in the White House beyond 2016 (veto unlikely).
We have seen before that the Western states already have a broad and deep agenda on wildlife/energy and self-determination matters. CBD has been a sore catalyst for some of these changes, and by association some otherwise good (IMHO) advocacy groups who have, for the most part anyway, picked their issues carefully and wisely.
I don’t know what the outcome will be, but there is a gathering storm (to use Churchill’s words).
In your link above, you misread whether the author you linked to was an environmental extremist for he (Ted Williams) wrote “Actually, I’m an extremist only as defined by people who perceive fish and wildlife as basically in the way.” In other words, he is a generic environmentalist.
No doubt CBD, WWP, and so on would do better with an electoral arm as well as their legal arms. All they lack is $500-million to contest today’s elections.
Process-directed lawsuits may be low hanging fruit, but highly useful at times and at other times a waste. It depends on the goal.
These organizations have played a good game strategically with lawsuits on the sage grouse. I afraid, however, that Congress will roll them in the same way they are rolling folks on the Keystone Pipeline right now. It is hard to beat today’s oil industry, rich as it as and backed by billionaires with more private money than most small nations. The 2014 election outcome could not have been predicted back 2006 or so when groundwork for the sage grouse campaign was laid.
If the sage grouse is a sub-species as some taxonomists list it, is it possible to president it from hybridization?
Ted Williams has kind of an interesting background as a self proclaimed “environmental extremist.” Apparently, the Audubon Society felt he went over the edge at one point recently, advocating Tylenol to kill feral cats, and cancelled his ticket to write a column for them in their national/international circulation magazine (then rehired him after calling it an errant lapse in judgment). So what do you call someone who advocates killing “sentient beings” in an agonizing death with a toxic chemical? How much different is that than these yahoos that want to kill wolves with sorbitol? Afterall, the cats/wolves are only doing what they need to do to survive and fulfill their reproductive mission. [And, yes I understand one is an invasive domestic, while the other is just trying to reclaim its rightful place on the landscape. What about feral horses? It’s complicated, and the term “extremist” is applied carealessly sometimes]:
CBD (and WildEarth Guardians more recently) have kicked the hornet’s nest, and I think, unfortunately, we are all about to be stung, even some innocent bystanders with maybe more muted views on wilderness, wolves and a few other at risk endangered species. It’s not like there haven’t been warnings for several years. At least Doc Hastings is gone from his powerful seat as Chair of the House Natural Resources Committee, but who will replace him, another with a similar agenda from Utah?
Sage grouse press release (Hastings taking parting shots):
Exactly JB, well stated
The invasive species list I have has least weasel
“The non-native, feral, and exotic designations given by agencies are not merely reflections of their failure to understand modern science, but also a reflection of their desire to preserve old ways of thinking to keep alive the conflict between a species (wild horses) with no economic value anymore (by law) and the economic value of commercial livestock”
Lets keep in mind that bison are native but are now managed by the Dept. of Livestock. “Funny how those things work when it comes to livestock interests”
Thanks for that link. I learned new things from it.
I’ll check on the claims. They don’t agree with what I recall from my last visit to Hagerman, ID, where they have fossils of ancient horses. But I agree DNA research continues to enlighten.
So I suppose it would have equally satisfied wolf advocates had the Feds released Labrador Retrievers in Idaho instead if the invasive species of Canadian wolves?
I look forward to the reintroduction of the Wooly Mammoth.
“wild horses” are not a species distinct from the millions of domestic horses in N America. Cow people being against feral horses does not make feral horses good, but when pointing to cow people as your enemy it can seem that way to a few people. Sometimes the people saying it even seem to think they have a point in favor of horses – some sort of self-mystification.
One of my favorite quotes from “The Old Man and the Boy” by Robert C Ruark follows.
A sportsman . . . is a gentleman first. But a sportsman, basically, is a man who kills what he needs, whether it’s a fish or a bird or an animal or what he wants for a special reason, but he never kills anything just to kill it. – See more at: http://sportingclassicsdaily.com/issue/july-2014/article/the-greatest-quotes-from-the-old-man-and-the-boy#sthash.NiNZqyUd.dpuf
A sportsman . . . is a gentleman first.
Lovely. But in today’s world, very few I would think.
Insults, eh? How gentlemanly of you.
Why is it anymore cruel to call it a contest, than what normally goes on? Based on what I have read about this, people can still hunt coyotes, even if the contest didn’t happnen? Does the calling it a contest change how the animals will be killed?
W.Hong: Yes, I agree that killing coyotes, wolves and other predators in any way is cruel, not based on science and barbaric — And, what makes the “killing contests” so extra terrible is that prizes are awarded for the person who kills the most animals – truly inhumane.
I don’t understand, why is it more cruel if someone gets a prize? Please explain? Dead is dead, right?
Excellent questions, W. Hong.
From a practical standpoint, a killing contest sends an enormously high concentration of hunters afield at the same time. Depending on the terrain and remoteness, this may have the effect of driving coyotes & wolves deep into remote, safe terrain. Or, if the area lacks such terrain, the hunting frenzy may lead to a large number of wild canids being killed because they are being pursued so relentlessly. To say nothing of the effects on non-target wildlife.
From a moral standpoint, it strikes many of us as reprehensible to play games with the very lives of animals. To hunt them just to see who can kill the most (I am sure that the participants in these acts have convinced themselves that they’re really doing something good, though).
You are correct, of course, that dead is dead. It seems unlikely that it makes any difference to the individual animal that is killed. I think the repugnance of these contests has to do with the practical consequences of organizing and motivating lots of shooters to go afield at the same time, as well as goading them with the added dimension of competition (I think competitiveness plays a role in many hunting atrocities — people throwing ethics and good judgment to the wind for the sake of out-competing someone else). There is added moral repugnance in the message of disrespect and callousness embedded in the act of taking lives to win prizes.
“There is added moral repugnance in the message of disrespect and callousness embedded in the act of taking lives to win prizes”
+ 1 SAP.
Had a family of coyotes howling just in back of my cabin last night. Twice within an hour. Incredibly joyous sound!
“From a moral standpoint, it strikes many of us as reprehensible to play games with the very lives of animals. To hunt them just to see who can kill the most…”
This is what gives the black eye specifically to the hunters(sportsman) involved, and hunters (sportsman) in general, by association.
“From a moral standpoint, it strikes many of us as reprehensible to play games with the very lives of animals. To hunt them just to see who can kill the most…”
That’s exactly it, SAP. Well expressed. We’re so much better and more valuable (in our own minds), and these poor creatures are expendable, even for amusement.
To hunt them by itself for anything other than food or protecting yourself is one thing, but making a ‘game’ out of wasting as many living things as possible is without morals or ethics.
And the article posted about groups suing to prevent clean water just has me shaking my head.
To draw a parallel, think of chairman Mao’s ‘Four Pests’ campaign. Had each region just attempted this on it’s own, and not at the same time, the effect would have been buffered through movement of animals. If MANY people do this at once, then an area could be changed ecologically on a permanent basis (as it was in China). I guess the question is whether these hunts will eventually have any long-term effect on the populations over time. Much like the passenger pigeon, we may hit a ‘point of no return’ where a population begins a steady decline. Where that point is, is the disagreement. And of course….whether to eliminate ‘pests’ to begin with…(your ‘pest’ may be my definition of a keystone species)
Thank you for the information from those people who responded to my questions.