Last year I learned that anti-predator activists were organizing a predator killing derby to take place in Salmon, Idaho – a place smack dab amidst one of the largest and most breathtakingly diverse public landscapes in the country. A few of us infiltrated the event with the aim of exposing the extent of the depravity to the public (See: VICE: How to Kill a Wolf), and hopefully aiding any litigation and legislative efforts that may follow in the future with factual support.

This year the event garnered a great deal more attention from the environmental community. Lawsuits were filed but, unfortunately, the existing state of the law has yet to secure protections that would effectively curtail this very public wanton infliction of suffering, destruction of life, and appalling disregard for the potential impacts to ecological communities inhabiting this profound public landscape.

A brilliant and courageous group of activists (including: Stephany Seay of Buffalo Field Campaign, a person whose adept insights and experience working with BFC largely provided the model and know-how for this year’s effort; Ritchie Eppink of the ACLU of Idaho, a person and organization that has ably protected Idaho citizens’ rights to practice journalism, expression, and the full suite of constitutionally protected methods of civic engagement; Lynne Stone of the Boulder White Clouds Council, who first blew the horn on last year’s derby, organized information, and whose years on the ground advocating for wolves on the landscape at issue provided invaluable support; among others) came together and committed to bear witness the events that would transpire during the derby again, this time with a very particular aim: We would counter their heavily armed violence and hate openly – with cameras, with light.
Derby participants attempt to obscure line of sight with tarp. Photo:

Derby participants attempt to obscure line of sight with a bloody tarp. Photo:

On the third day of the wolf-killing contest, an earthquake shook the mountains near Salmon, Idaho. “It’s Mother Earth revolting against the cruelty, the violence, the madness, of what’s happening here,” said Brian Ertz, president of the nonprofit advocacy group Wildlands Defense.

Read about the rest in VICE.  Environmentalists Couldn’t Stop the Slaughter at Idaho’s Annual Coyote and Wolf Derby – VICE Magazine – by Christopher Ketcham

About The Author

Brian Ertz

167 Responses to Environmentalists Couldn’t Stop the Slaughter at Idaho’s Annual Coyote and Wolf Derby

  1. skyrim says:

    Thank you Brian for your efforts here. I have not yet read past the first page here, but other accounts suggested that the Earthquake somehow prevented the ability to call in predators. Can anyone explain this claim?

  2. Richie G says:

    I do hope the earthquake helped all wildlife, I got a bad feeling eating in a place near Riggins inn and Battle of White Bird. Ranchers were eating and just felt that is was not a welcome place for outsiders. The hotel was fine but the saloon on the main strip did not seem friendly either, great article Brian. We really need the government to focus on this like the attention the xl pipeline is getting ,sad that the public or the media is not giving attention to this tragic event.

  3. Ida Lupine says:

    The slaughter may not have been stopped; but it was curtailed. I hope you and others will be the thorn in the side of this group for as long as they wish to continue this madness. Thank you all, and esp. Mother Earth for shaking her fist as the madness.

    A couple of bunnies were killed by the killers in training. *eyeroll*

  4. LAbradford says:

    The people who participate in these contests are so low I don’t even know if I can call them human beings.

  5. The participants in this contest are not so anti-predator as they are looking for a chance to kill something. Some of them will show up at the Bliss, Idaho Rock Chuck (Marmot) Killing Contest this spring. Others of them will spend time sitting near ground squirrel colonies this summer seeing how many squirrels they can blow up with high powered rifles.
    A lot of them are in-your -face killers. They get a additional thrill out of posting photos of themselves holding up gutshot coyotes, trapped foxes or arrow pierced ground squirrels as trophies on Facebook to shock anti hunters. In many ways they share personality traits with serial killers and flashers.

    • Ralph Maughan says:

      I understand some of them said they hated wolves because wolves were disgusting — animals that killed for fun.

      • Brian Ertz says:

        As the sheriff interacted with us from the periphery of the property we engaged in a discussion about the Sheriff’s and dupities’ thoughts about the derby. One of the deputies was happy to respond with sympathy for what the derby represented:

        “Have you ever seen what a wolf does to livestock?” he said, “It ain’t right. What kind of an animal kills for killin’s sake like that?”

    • Ranchers and farmers should be wary of the participants in these contests. Guys that will drive hundreds of mile to participate in a killing contest are the ones that shoot holes in sprinkles pipes and water troughs. They ignore no trespassing signs. They cut fences and leave gates open.
      Many of them are not above shooting a calf out on the range and taking it home to eat. (They know the ranchers will blame it on the wolves.)

    • Louise Kane says:

      This is true Larry
      It’s one reason wildlife laws have to change
      there are too many sociopaths allowed to run loose with guns and weapons and they kill for fun. Anyone that argues killing for fun are isolated incidences and not the norm does not have a clue about the random acts of violence that are committed against unprotected or poorly protected species because the agencies close their eyes and look the other way.

      • rork says:

        Pure BS I think.
        Killing for fun is not the norm. Anyone arguing otherwise does not have a clue about how many people hunt or how most hunters act. In MI there are 2/3rds of a million deer hunters. The majority don’t tag a deer, and I’ll bet a high percentage don’t hunt in any other season (OK, maybe they try turkey sometimes). Folks just reading high-profile stories are liable to suffer from many biases (of source, confirmation, ascertainment, and access-bias in memory) in their estimates of what percent of hunters are engaging in random violence.

      • Javan says:

        Most hunters only hunt for food. At least where I live they do. However a few years ago we had some wall street types who came up and wiped out a whole herd of white tail only tagging two of the fifteen animals hat were killed. those two were the biggest bucks, both over 180lbs with racks like chandeliers. Makes me sick. I hunt but I never take what I won’t use and I won’t kill something unless I know I can eat it all.

  6. Ida Lupine says:

    The tone of a lot of these articles is terrible – that since no wolves were taken, that somehow it’s ok, and that we should rely on ‘luck’ to protect our wildlife. I don’t think it was the earthquake that frightened the animals….

  7. Gary Humbard says:

    These type of events can bring a lot of negative public backlash so I consider them wins in that considering the “big picture” few (30 coyotes) were killed, compared to the ~30,000 coyotes killed every year by Wildlife Services and “hunters” that go about their day to kill animals for their pelts and/or the pure enjoyment of shooting at something.

    Let them continue their events and bring on the negative attention they generate.

    • Ida Lupine says:

      I hope you are right.

    • Immer Treue says:


      Words of wisdom from a friend that mirrors your point.
      “If we hunters don’t clean up our own act, someone else will do it for us and we won’t like the results, but when that time comes, and it surely will, these “hunters” will have only themselves to blame.”

  8. Kyle Gardner says:

    This sordid affair is a case of monsters and their monstrosities. Who in their right mind would sponsor, endorse, sanction or participate in such blood lust? Thanks to all those who are shining a light of truth on this pathetic spectacle. And to all the victims of such mindless brutality, your lives matter and there are some humans who care about you and are working to end such folly.

  9. Rita k Sharpe says:

    Man is capable of far worse than wolves in the regard of “killing for fun”, which I personally don’t believe, maybe some surplus killing at times. We spend hours on end justifying why we kill each other and we find some pretty gruesome ways to do it, such as drawn and quartered and skinned alive, and only to mention a few.

  10. Louise Kane says:

    Brian thank you again, and your sister as well as the others involved. Lynn Stone is a warrior.

  11. Logan says:

    Christopher Ketchum said “This year, in other words, there was shame. That’s progress”

    Keeping photographers out and obscurring their view does not indicate shame. It indicates that they have learned how to be more discreet.

    Natalie Ertz siad “Why won’t you talk to me if you’re so proud of what you’re doing?”

    Maybe because anything she would have said would be twisted to support your narrow view of the participants and the issue at hand. Going so far as to describe her as possessing blackened teeth as a means to villainize her is no better than the other side using a wolf’s sharp teeth and yellow eyes to portray wolves as dangerous and mindless killers.

    The arrogance in this article is astounding.

    • timz says:

      If there is nothing wrong with what they’re doing why is discretion required?

      • Immer Treue says:


      • Elk375 says:

        They are doing nothing illegal and if it is not illegal then ‘wrong” becomes a ethical and moral judgment.

        This coyote contest was between the organizers and the contestants not the general public. They have a right to exclude others on private property.

        There is going to be another coyote/wolf contest in Thompson Falls, Montana in several weeks, the owners of the resort where it was going to take place were threaten with property destruction and bodily harm. Apparently the anti’s found out who their grandchildren were and the young children were subject to threats. The threats were forwarded to FBI.

        I think that discretion is wise, look at what happen in Paris today. One day someone is going to get hurt.

        • Ed Loosli says:

          All I have heard about is 30 dead coyotes…I have my doubts about the rest. Are you equating people on this site who oppose these killing contests on PUBLIC LAND (Forest Service land in this case) with Islamic terrorists who gun down humans they disagree with?

          • Elk375 says:

            NO, I am not, but there has been several reported threats in the last several years to the participants and support people. Public land by law is for multiple use. Everyone has a right to use public land in accordance with the law and regulations. If we do not like that use, then it is up to the voters to change the law.

        • JB says:

          “They are doing nothing illegal and if it is not illegal then ‘wrong” becomes a ethical and moral judgment.”

          I would point out that the two are independent–you might still make an ethical judgment if something is illegal (e.g. growing pot).

          Also–and this is something I’ve only recently come to fully appreciate–the fact that something is legal and requires an ethical judgment does not mean that everyone’s judgment is equally good. An ethical judgment is one that can be clearly articulated, is well-reasoned, and consistent with the principles of logic. And the last time a checked, “because I want to” is not a sufficiently reasoned argument to convince anyone of anything (unless you’re two).

          • JB says:

            Really, the legitimacy of these events comes down to a question of who should face the burden of proof? Should people who want to prevent killing have to show that such killing is harmful, or should the people who want to engage in such killing contests have to show that the killing is justified?

            The current system (implicitly) favors those who organize such events. I would argue that the North American Model demands a different standard. If “wildlife should only be killed for a legitimate purpose” is indeed a principle of wildlife management, then proponents of such events should have to articulate the legitimate purpose that is being served.

            • Ed Loosli says:

              Nicely said…+1

            • rork says:

              I’m fairly certain that nearly all the participants think (rationalize) they are doing something beneficial. Near me (MI) farmers don’t just tolerate, but often invite (well behaved) hunters on their land – hunter might consider that an indication of legitimacy. A few might think they are obtaining resources in a renewable way, and furthering interest in that activity (squirrel or fishing contests, gatherings of trappers). BTW: North American Model is about ethical principles, it’s a guide, not a law. Also: I like almost no outdoor contests, and participate in none – making it competitive is a huge distraction from what’s important. In case some don’t get that.

              • JB says:

                “I’m fairly certain that nearly all the participants think (rationalize) they are doing something beneficial.”

                Agreed. However, we do not (as a society) generally determine the legitimacy of actions based on what individuals think. In fact, allowing each individual to judge whether an action is legitimate renders the principle meaningless. What if I feel that poaching a deer from my own property serves a legitimate purpose (I.e., reducing crop damage)? Should we waive the fine for poaching in such instances?

                • Elk375 says:

                  ++What if I feel that poaching a deer from my own property serves a legitimate purpose (I.e., reducing crop damage)? Should we waive the fine for poaching in such instances?++

                  Poaching a deer is illegal, shooting coyotes is not illegal and shooting wolves according to the Idaho hunting regulations is not illegal. This contest did not break any laws except hurt the feelings of those who do not like the killing of coyotes or wolves.

                • Louise Kane says:

                  I think these contests and the proliferation of them underscore the need to reform laws. They exemplify wanton waste (which is generally illegal or frowned on for protected species in most states), legitimize indecent violence and abuses against wild animals, perpetuate ignorant stereotypes about predators, and indoctrinate and encourage new participants into violent actions against wildlife. These contests are not harmless fun.

                • WM says:

                  ++What if I feel that poaching a deer from my own property serves a legitimate purpose (I.e., reducing crop damage)?++

                  I suppose many a landowner can easily rationalize, “Well, it may be the King’s deer (the state’s), but it is eating crops on my land, sleeping on my land, knocking down my fences, and procreating on my land, so it feels like its mine. And, if the King won’t come and remove his damn deer (or elk), I’ll just kill and eat a few, or let my friends do the same. And, if it is a frickin’ coyote or a wolf we are speaking of and its eating my livestock or deer/elk on my land, it feels like its mine too. So I’ll kill as many as I see, and to hell with these environmentalists that I will never let on my land, so they will never see them, anyway. Oh yeah, and to hell with the feds and the King, unless some of those guys from Wildlife Services show up for a little wet work. Heck, maybe one of these predator events on my land to remove some coyotes or an occasional wolf is OK by me.”

                  Now, the person who says this won’t be losing any sleep over ethics or moral quandaries, and I doubt many are psychopaths – rather they are just practical sorts, just trying to earn a living off the land they own or maybe lease, and don’t mind a little “help.”

                • JB says:


                  Your confusing legal with ethical.


                  One part of your ‘what if’ scenario is problematic–the deer don’t belong to the king, they belong to all of us.


                  Returning to my original statement…

                  Do either of you disagree that when killing an animal, the onus should be on the people doing the killing to show that it is justified? That is, to use logic, facts and reason to make a case for why such killing is legitimate.

                  If you disagree, why?

                • JB says:

                  “Social and moral justifications sanctify harmful practices by investing them with worthy purposes. This enables people to preserve a sense of self-worth while causing harm by their activities…Unlike the other mechanisms of moral disengagement, which serve mainly to free harmful practices from moral consequences, social and moral justifications serve a dual function. Sanctifying detrimental practices as serving worthy purposes enlists moral engagement in the activity. Belief in the worthiness of an enterprise not only eliminates self-censure from its harmful aspects, but engages self-approval and brings social recognition and economic rewards for being successful at it.”

                  Bandura, A. 2007. Impeding ecological sustainability through selective moral disengagement. Int. J. Innovation and Sustainable Development, 2(1):8-35.

                • Nancy says:

                  “Morality regains its vigor when ordinary people have learnt afresh to decide for themselves what principles to live by, and more especially what principles to teach their children. Since the world, though subject to vast material changes, changes only very slowly in matters fundamental from the moral point of view, the principles which with the acceptance of the mass of people are not likely to differ enormously from those which their fathers came to distrust”

                  The Language of Morals/Hare/1952

                • rork says:

                  Yes, the killers should have to justify their actions, but to who? They feel they are justified, and apparently the law is with them. Further, I don’t think that the folks wanting to stop this shouldn’t have to justify their contrary views with good arguments.

                  My efforts try to go to the point of reducing participation in contests by eroding the rationalizations of the participants rather than enacting laws. I also want to worry that any such laws are chilling with respect to free association and free speech, the restrictions of which is more desired by those opposing the contests than any biological goals (which would be much more directly addressed in other ways). Without good reasons for curtailing freedoms we are hypocrites. As evidence may I present Louise Kane’s last remarks – she could be talking about northern pike. Wanton, indecent, abuses, ignorant, indoctrinate, violent – the biology vanished, eclipsed by vitriol. Sorry if that’s an unfair point to make when debating JB.

                • WM says:


                  +the deer don’t belong to the king…++

                  Yes my comment was sarcastic and slightly inaccurate (equating the king/the state and the people), but it is a distinction without a difference to the landowner who feeds the deer (or anything else) and deals with the impact. The landowner’s reasoning is exactly the same. I knew of wheat farmers in the Columbia River above Goldendale that always had their freezer full of deer that came to the fields to feed all the time. No game warden (modern day version of the King’s sheriff) would ever know what went on in the Realm. I expect that is probably the case with a lot of wild animals on large plots of private land.

                • Elk375 says:


                  I use to know all of those wheat farmers above the Columbia out of Goldendale. In 1981 I purchase thousands and thousands of acres of oil and gas leases, for ARCO, on those wheat farms, never saw many deer.

                • WM says:


                  We hunted deer there quite a bit when I was growing up, and usually with pretty good success. The deer would be hiding in the timbered fingers with intermittent streams, then come out on to the edges of the wheat fields or the occasional corn field at dusk – feed thru the night- then head back at dawn. So, unless you were out those hours, they would be mostly not seen. We were over near Lyle either side of the Centerville Hiway, and that was nearly 40 years ago. Access to private land was usually pretty easy. And, on one ranch we used to take the landowner a few boxes of apples and pears to ensure our welcome. They became good friends. One year, we even butchered a couple hogs because the father of the family (with a couple young kids) flipped his tractor and was severely injured.

                • JB says:


                  I agree. In any court, despite where the burden of proof lies, both sides need to present well-reasoned arguments. They need to make a case. I do not necessarily believe that specific laws are needed that ban all contests (it might be very useful, and socially desirable to have a contest to see who can ‘harvest’ the most of some invasive/exotic, for example). However, your question of ‘who decides’ gets to the very heart of the issue. As we know, the arbiters of wildlife rules/regulations are wildlife boards/commissions, and these decision bodies (with the exception of California) are generally dead-set against any type of restriction of hunting.

                  So logic, reason, and ethics be damned, we’re going to have ourselves a killin’ contest!

                  The fundamental problem here is the people with decision authority do not reflect the broad public interest in wildlife, but rather, reflect very narrow interest (hunting, fishing, and to a lesser extent, protection of agriculture).

                  WM: I understand what you’re saying, but I’m not sure what your point is? That Joe-landowner is willing and capable of some ‘self-help’ at the cost to the public (by stealing the public’s resources) is not a good reason to make such help easier.

                • WM says:


                  The point is that the landowner, is apparently subsidizing the wildlife that feeds/lives on his land. This becomes readily apparent with those elk that hang around a ranchers hay stack in the high meadow country of places like CO during winter, or the orchards of Eastern WA, because there is no “public” winter range for them. Same is true of the deer in the alfalfa fields along the John Day River in OR, or other places where private land has the more nutritious food (also think starlings near grain silos and feed yards). There are always those gardens that seem to attract deer, elk and the occasional bear or raccoons. And, of course, that is why we have publicly paid animal control, including those dastardly evil people at Wildlife Services. Those folks, however, rarely make to the real rural areas when needed for seasonal deer/elk problems, and thus there is landowner self-help to fill the freezer. And, I suspect though I have never personally witnessed it, a few elk/deer and the occasional bear (or wolf) might get thumped and a hole is dug with a back hoe where the evidence is buried, and nobody ever talks about the matter (even the wildlife law enforcement guys- wink, wink_.

                • JB says:

                  “The point is that the landowner, is apparently subsidizing the wildlife that feeds/lives on his land.”

                  Yes, I understand. But what argument are you attempting to make? Are you attempting to say that landowners should not have to ‘subsidize’ wildlife if they don’t want to? Are you saying that poaching is acceptable if you poach on your own land (self-help)?

                  Your post (in-response) suggested that you disagreed with something I wrote? I’m simply trying to clarify the point of disagreement.

                • WM says:

                  ++Are you attempting to say that landowners should not have to ‘subsidize’ wildlife if they don’t want to? Are you saying that poaching is acceptable if you poach on your own land (self-help)? ++

                  I am saying some landowners can and do rationalize removal of wildlife using both arguments, whether this wildlife is for personal use to eat (deer/elk), or whether the wildlife is perceived as a nuisance (well, coyotes are legal to kill anyway). For some, it is not much different from an urban gardener removing gophers or moles, just on a larger scale, and out of sight, but in violation of law. I expect it goes on in many places where a game warden never shows. It is a practice which some suspect is also present on Indian Reservations, too, where some tribal members raise sheep or cattle, field crops and grain, and where tribal wildlife rules might not be rigorously followed, and where tribal law enforcement looks the other way.

                  And, to be clear, I do not support the practices discussed, but am just explaining the phenomenon and the rationale behind it.

                • JB says:

                  Okay– I understand (and agree with you about) the rationale that many landowners would provide. The question, in my mind, is whether this rationale is sufficient to justify such actions (e.g., self-help). Certainly, there will be some cases where it is justified; however, carte blance freedom to use/dispose of wildlife for one’s own purpose leads to the tragedy of the commons.

                  Your original problem framing (the King’s deer) suggested the fundamental conflict was between a ruler (the state) and the interests of the public. I believe the fundamental problem is that in the instances mentioned, the individual interest of the landowner conflicts with the greater public interest (the commons dilemma). How far should we go to balance the ‘rights’ of landowners with the broader interest of society?

              • Louise Kane says:

                Oh come on Rork,
                People have been killing predators for eons. To say now that you worry about banning killing contests by law may create a chilling effect on free association and free speech is BS, as you say. You say, without good reasons for curtailing freedoms we are hypocrites. I guess the many publications citing positive predator influence in their environments, evidence that killing predators may increase intolerance, and that predators may be more prone to increased depredations and potential human predator conflicts are not good enough. Most of these studies were conducted recently and posted here. JB co authored the study that showed that tolerance for wolves decreased post hunting. Imagine what negative influence and bias is created by legalized coyote killing contests?

                “As evidence may I present Louise Kane’s last remarks – she could be talking about northern pike. Wanton, indecent, abuses, ignorant, indoctrinate, violent – the biology vanished, eclipsed by vitriol.”

                The language I used was not vitriol,
                conversely wanton waste is specifically defined in most state statutes. Killing contests fit the definition perfectly.

                Rork, I know you don’t agree with these contests so what exactly is your bitch? Rocking the status quo boat just doesn’t sit well with you?

                • Louise Kane says:

                  killing predators may decrease tolerance….not increase! ”Rork if you want me to post the citations glad to

                • rork says:

                  Your arguments are again killing predators generally, and we are all familiar with them. The discussion is about contests. Hypocritical is that only contests targeting specific animals are desired – I’ve made points about that repeatedly.
                  Perhaps my main bitch is that folks trying to ban these contests mostly use not-to-the-point arguments (as you just illustrated), and loaded language (you sometimes forget to sprinkle in a barbaric or psychopathic) making advocates sound loony. Almost all of what gets said is that predator hunting is not desired, but it’s still legal. Our arguments that actually pertain to the contests seem weak, and that they actually do limit free association (which you aren’t disputing) sounds really bad.
                  I don’t like mountain bikers, but I don’t try to make their races illegal by arguing that I don’t like mountain bikes – it’d make it too clear that I’ve got nothing. I do not complain that they are indoctrinating our young or call them names.

                • JB says:

                  “Perhaps my main bitch is that folks trying to ban these contests mostly use not-to-the-point arguments (as you just illustrated), and loaded language (you sometimes forget to sprinkle in a barbaric or psychopathic) making advocates sound loony.”

                  I agree. Advocates on both sides of the issue too often fall into a variety of traps (hyperbole, personal attacks, assuming they know the motivation of others) that actually undermine their arguments and make them appear foolish. It is possible to express outrage without being outrageous.

                  “I don’t like mountain bikers, but I don’t try to make their races illegal by arguing that I don’t like mountain bikes – it’d make it too clear that I’ve got nothing. I do not complain that they are indoctrinating our young or call them names.”

                  Another good point. That you dislike or disagree with a person is a really poor justification to limit their personal freedoms. However, better arguments are readily available. It is too bad that more people can’t be bothered to take the time to make them.

                  “Hypocritical is that only contests targeting specific animals are desired – I’ve made points about that repeatedly.”

                  It isn’t hypocritical to ban contests for some species and not others if the contests are conducted for a legitimate purpose, or if there are differences between species that require our attention and deliberation. Personally, I don’t like fishing contests, but fish have a very different nervous system from mammals and some species are stocked specifically for recreation.

                • Louise Kane says:

                  I wrote something about this yesterday but it would not post Ill try again later

                • Yvette says:

                  I would have posted at the bottom the the thread but this was the last post with a ‘reply’ available.

                  My recent thoughts and concerns on coyote calling contests:

                  1. Are state agencies tracking the numbers of animals killed in these contests? Since most of the states have coyotes legally designated as vermin and allow unlimited hunting of them I wonder whether the agencies even track their numbers. If not, how do they know the ecological effects?

                  2. Quite a few of these contests also include payouts and/or prizes for bobcats. Are the bobcat numbers being tracked? Do any states require the contest sponsor to report the kills with pertinent information like age, weight, and gender of the animals killed?

                  3. What other factors have the potential to affect the services that coyotes provide? If a region is cleared of coyotes are there an increase in rabbits, gophers, mice and other animals that have the potential to cause crop damage?

                  4. The attitude toward coyotes among wildlife professionals seems to generally be that regardless of how many are killed that their population remains prolific, or at least, the population rebounds quickly. While that is true, there are other factors have the potential to add more stressors. Extended drought, extreme changes in seasons, and disease like mange come to mind.

                  There are a prolific number of coyote calling contests and I think the state FW agencies should be monitoring the population and potential loss of services that coyotes provide. The same should apply for bobcats. If coyotes aren’t being monitored how do we know what is a healthy population? What are the thresholds that trigger a loss of services that coyotes and bobcats provide?

                • Mark L says:

                  And my question would be what of coyotes that are found to have large amounts of red wolf genes in them (irrespective of vicinity to 5 conties in North Carolina, but mostly a southern issue here). Is it OK to shoot them because we label them as coyotes? What if their genetic makeup is half red wolf? Which half deserves protection? Is it always the hafl that’s seen in te scope of a rifle? It’s obvious there has been a concerted effort NOT to test some coyotes in some locations because of what can be found. Why?

        • Barb Rupers says:

          Good advice, Elk375.

        • jon says:

          And those psychopaths will face the same level of scrutiny the ones in Salmon, Idaho did. Just because something is legal does not make it right or acceptable. these people are killing wildlife for sport and for prizes and money. That is SICK.

        • Mareks Vilkins says:

          geez, if one day in NRM arrives a gang of Saudi royal family members and start to buy up private land and ban wildlife hunting – no more complaints about ’20 acre intersects’ and ‘it’s legal’ mumbo jumbo. Guess some ancient residents will quickly change their party-line and start bitter lament about ‘the good old days when mature white middle-class males were in charge of decision-making process’ behind the curtains’

          • Yvette says:

            +1 Mareks. Ironic how the ‘it’s legal so butt out attitude surfaces when the law in in line with one’s own ideology.

    • Ed Loosli says:

      Since you think that opponents of this predator killing contest have a, “narrow view of the participants and the issue at hand”, would you kindly enlighten us as to the wide view of the participants and the issue at hand?
      For example, do you think that killing wolves and coyotes for prizes is just harmless family fun, or do you feel that since it is a legal activity then it is harmless – or are there other justifications to show that the participants in this killing contest set wonderful examples for the rest of us?

      • rork says:

        I’d guess most of the participants are not my cup of tea, and it doesn’t set a wonderful example, but that doesn’t show folks vehemently against it are good. Nothing stops both extremes from being idiots.

      • Logan says:

        I stated that the author of the attached article sought to portray every particpant according to his preconceived opinion of those involved. At no point did he make an effort to show another side.

        Contests such as this are acceptable to me. The legal activity of hunting coyotes and wolves doesn’t become any more repugnant when moved into a contest format. The actions and results are the same, just condensed into a short time period. Do I believe it is harmless to kill 30 coyotes out of a population of thousands over an area hundreds of thousands of acres, yes.

        Personal ethics aside, the only legitimate concern raised by the opposition was that of environmental impact. Isn’t that what the lawsuit ultimately were concerned with? And yet the author and his friends who wanted to “project the image that we could be anywhere, everywhere” did nothing to try and document any negative environmental impacts. Instead they focused on their emotional objections.

        If anyone truly believed there was potential for negative environmental impacts, then why aren’t they out there now documenting the ravaged wastelands that must surely now exist in the wake of the derby?

      • Logan says:


        I should also mention that the extremists on the anti-wolf side have equally narrow views of the pro-wolf crowd. It is the ignorance on both sides that drives me crazy the most.

  12. Nancy says:

    On a lighter note, the non lethal predator Damage Management workshop in Dillon today was both interesting and informative. Lots of good speakers and the crowd of about 80, was split between ranchers (although I didn’t see any of my ranching neighbors in attendance) and wildlife advocates. Lots of thoughtful questions and answers were presented.

    The Big Hole area (with public lands grazing allotments) has employed a range rider for the past 4 years on 7 of them and it appears his presence may be making a difference. The Wisdom area in the past was hard hit by depredations but recently, they’ve had few problems.

    Can check that out here present & past years:

    Co-existing came up a few times. One of the speakers, Dean Peterson, on the watershed committee, and a rancher in the Big Hole, even expressed concern about wolf packs (that were not causing livestock problems) being negatively impacted by hunting, trapping and WS.

    The ranch outside of Dillon that lost over a 100 rams to wolves a few years ago, now has a large group of guard dogs with their sheep.

    Seth Wilson (with the Blackfoot Challenge) had a great talk on how their area has come together to address both grizzlies and wolves.

    Cautiously optimistic, would be a good way of describing this workshop.

    • Professor Sweat says:

      Thanks for sharing, Nancy. Updates like these are why I come to this site.

      The arguing becomes annoying after awhile.

      • Nancy says:

        You’re welcome Professor Sweat.

        I got quite the chuckle out Chet, the range rider, said he’d come up with a novel approach, each time he’d find wolf scat (or their making posts) HE would defecate or urinate on the same spot. Marking territory 🙂 Reminded me of that scene in Never Cry Wolf. Who knows? Might just work.

    • Gary Humbard says:

      Thanks Nancy for some rational information. I’ve noticed livestock losses from wolf depredation in Montana has steadily decreased nearly every year since the MFWP website has maintained data. This is optimistic that ranchers and wolves can better co-exist when non-lethal methods are used.

      I think MFWP is by far the best website in the western US for information and I have found that their employees in general work for the better of wildlife.

      • Ida Lupine says:

        It’s a good tool to have, but it’s not enough, and it is naïve to think that is all we have to do. While it decreases actually does decrease wolf/livestock conflict, it isn’t stopping the needless killing and the propaganda about wolves and other predators.

        And I’d appreciate it if some of you would quit labeling opposition ‘irrational’.

      • Ed Loosli says:

        Gary Humbard:
        Montana FWP might be better than Idaho, Utah and Wyoming…HOWEVER, their continuing campaign to kill bison and prevent them from migrating to their native habitats outside of Yellowstone NP is reprehensible.

  13. Ida Lupine says:

    I really don’t understand this mindset – the need to be so cruel and violent to an innocent animal. A coyote (as least a Western one) seems so much smaller and daintier in build than a wolf, more fox-lie IMO, that to see these grown men slinging them into the backs of pickups like they were nothing is really bizarre to me.

    Isn’t it a little dramatic to think that these brutal people are going to be put off, screaming like 16-year old girls who’ve had their cellphone taken away (I can’t take the credit for that description, I read it in one of the comments and rotfl’d), over so-called threats from environmentalists? It’s absurd.

    • Ida Lupine says:

      ^^’fox-like’, sorry.

    • jon says:

      They cannot shoot people, so they shoot innocent defenseless animals.

      • Ed Loosli says:

        Unfortunately, they do shoot people in addition to innocent defenseless animals – even game wardens.

        Project Coyote’s Camilla Fox calls these killing contests a safety concern for humans, pointing to a February 2014 incident in California’s El Dorado County in which a game warden who was patrolling a predator killing contest at night was mistakenly shot.
        (I guess he mistook the game warden for a coyote)

      • Logan says:


        Wow, you hit that one right on the head, it’s like you peered into my soul and spoke the truth I keep buried. Yes, I hunt because I’m hiding the truth that I want to shoot people. [insert heavy sarcasm]

        Your comment only proves how little you know about the people who don’t share your opinion.

  14. Ken Cole says:

    Interestingly, it appears that the hunters were confused. This, from an article posted recently by Rocky Barker:

    Fewer hunters participated in the second annual wolf and coyote derby in Salmon this weekend and they didn’t kill any wolves for the second year in a row.

    Publicity around the decision by the Bureau of Land Management to withdraw its permission for participants in the Predator Hunting Contest and Fur Rendezvous, sponsored by Idaho for Wildlife made many hunters think it was called off, said Steve Alder, director of Idaho for Wildlife.

    • WM says:

      ++Back to the media question that you raised: That original TWN headline announcing the end of the derby came from a CBD, WWP,et al’s press release. The headline has not been changed, nor any public announcement as to its inaccuracy made, on the sites linked to even after notice was provided that it is misleading++

      ….And now you know why I hate most of these constantly lying bastards, especially CBD.

  15. Ida Lupine says:

    Does killing 30 coyotes out of a population of thousands make a difference? We have to ask ourselves why we need to kill. Were these coyotes a ‘menace’ to human safety and livestock? In fact science says otherwise – coyotes keep the population of other animals in check, and that killing coyotes may even increase their population as they compensate. What is the population of coyotes in this area?

    I’m happy that this contest was not a big success – less hunters, no wolves, sadly 30 coyotes (less than last year), and a couple of small bunny rabbits. Embarrassing really. Even Mother Nature frowned on it.

    Someday, these primitive blood sacrifices will be a thing of the past I hope. I think already it is on it’s way out.

    • Ida Lupine says:

      At least those are the numbers that we were given. Who knows what went on behind the bloody tarp? I don’t trust them to be honest about what goes on out there.

    • Yvette says:

      “I’m happy that this contest was not a big success – less hunters, no wolves, sadly 30 coyotes (less than last year), and a couple of small bunny rabbits.”

      The problem is there are many other predator contests scattered through the U.S. There are at least two big ones coming up in OK, and quite a few smaller ones. Some are ‘memorial coyote calling contests. I was walking out of a grocery store in a small Kansas town, and wa-la, there hangs a flier for a coyote calling contest. It was a memorial killing contest to be held in honor for an local who had lost his live in an motorcycle accident. There is a contest coming up later this month in SE OK that is sponsored by a baptist church. WTH?Others have been fundraisers for small town schools; lol, last year there was one sponsored by the cheerleaders for a small town school. Killing contest fundraisers. Who knew?

      I’ve not tried to get a count on how many contests, but there are a lot of them. Not all of these contests are limited to coyotes. Bobcats are included. I’ve learned a team scores higher points for a bobcat kill than they do for a coyote.

      Last week there were the 39 coyote carcasses dumped outside Las Cruces, NM. The result of a local coyote calling contest. There is a coyote calling contest coming up in Syracuse, NY. These contests aren’t geographically limited.

      Point is we’re not short on coyote killing/calling contests. The Salmon, ID derby attracts a lot of national attention, probably because they include wolves, but it is not even close to being the only shot in the woods. The good thing that may come out is it shines light on these contests. I think most people aren’t aware of this subculture, so the spotlight on Salmon is a good thing.

      • Ida Lupine says:

        Yes, I agree. I don’t think people are aware of them, and society will begin to find them distasteful and unacceptable eventually, and not relevant to the modern world any longer.

      • Louise Kane says:

        This is a site that posts about contests around the country. 36 are listed as upcoming. Liz and Guy Dicharry are comprising a list. I think I remember hearing a number above 200 a year, I’ve contacted them to ask. The number of “contests” are appalling.
        Ironically this site has a page called wall of shame, meant to expose contest cheaters. I guess they don’t realize serial killing is disgraceful, barbaric, unacceptable behavior.

        • Yvette says:

          That is good to know, Louise, because I was going to start compiling one for my state.

        • Yvette says:

          I see they have only 2 listed for Oklahoma. I counted 15 last year.

          • Louise Kane says:

            Yvette there are hundreds of these awful events.

            Liz and Guy Dicharry keep track and update regularly. They have done so much to work to end these contests. I’ll check with them to determine if they want the information posted and if not if they mind if I share with you. I try and write and call about every one I see
            If you’d like to be a part of the Stop Killing Contests New Mexico please e mail me and I will ask for your invite. The site is really focused on New Mexico but by default has taken on the issue nationally. Its a good way to see the upcoming contests and learn where to oppose them.

    • Brian Ertz says:

      Unfortunately, they killed more coyotes than last year.

  16. Mareks Vilkins says:

    it seems that such coyote/wolf derby is similar to clearcutting or as Ted Roosevelt said ‘to fell trees AND Indians’


    Roosevelt once said of Native Americans: ‘I don’t go so far as to think that the only good Indians are dead Indians, but I believe nine out of ten are, and I shouldn’t like to inquire too closely into the case of the tenth.’ To him Native Americans were a degenerate impediment to settlement of the American West; they deserved their near-extinction. So too did whites who threatened the prosperity of their race. Roosevelt wrote in 1914: ‘Criminals should be sterilized and feeble-minded persons forbidden to leave offspring behind them.”

    Carter Niemeyer had similar point about the wolf-killer’s mindset in his book ‘Wolfer’ … “As an IFG manager once said, “Wolves are like grass. You have to keep mowing them down.” (page 355)

    so what on earth can go wrong with derby anyway, folks? they will reproduce like rats or grass / trees or whatever

    • Ida Lupine says:

      Unbelievable! But like racism and all of the rest of the ‘isms’ that have become socially unacceptable over time, so will speciesism. The first step will be when the word doesn’t come up under spell-check! 🙂

      • Ida Lupine says:

        It took over 200 years for slavery to be abolished! I imagine for those who suffered under it, relief would have seemed insurmountable. But it did happen.

    • Yvette says:

      Mareks, your comment triggered a memory of something I read a few years ago. I found the article online and am posting to share it with you.

      • Nancy says:

        “Categories won’t help us — nation, race, good, and evil — for they have little to do with humanity’s need to fit within a global ecological niche. Power won’t help us either. Power itself is a good deal of the problem, as coercion divides the people who must ultimately work together. Besides, the powerful have never instigated the kind of social transformation we now require. The solution has to come up from the people, through persuasion, enlightenment, and the creation of new norms, until the powerful are swept irresistibly along in the new social reality. This is a better job for the weak, who often have more at stake in the loss of nature, a closer relationship to its gifts, and a greater capacity to recognize when a certain level of material wealth is enough”

        Very good read, Yvette. Thanks for posting it.

      • Ida Lupines says:

        I don’t know. It’s appalling, humanity’s relationship with each other, but it is/was maybe still is part of human nature. I become leery when I read about conservation movement being dragged into race. Were there racists in the conservation movement? Sure – but there were racists everywhere. It’s where humanity was at the time. Didn’t we all wonder why it took so long for anyone to acknowledge what the Nazis were doing, or why indigenous peoples were treated so horribly? We all were part of it.

        It isn’t fair to taint the idea of conservation with it. We make progress in some areas, and others not, and not all in the same linear fashion. We’re terribly imperfect.

        I’m glad these horrible days are behind us (for the most part). But we can see we’ve continued this awful human idea of ranking others to other living things – which deserve to live; which benefits, us, the superior species, more; which is more worthy, etc., or we’ve always done, and when we learn to treat all life with respect, we will have grown even more.

        Animal rights, or at least acknowledging animals as sentient beings who deserve to live in peace undisturbed by us, I believe, is the last remaining area of our subjective human prejudice and discrimination.

        What’s happening with bison in the West is appalling, when it appears the majority of people want them to be able to live they way they should. (much more than the right to a killing contest)!

        • Ida Lupines says:

          oops, that last paragraph should say:

          What’s happening with bison in the West is appalling, when it appears the majority of people want them to be able to live they way they should. Why aren’t these people heard? Talk about a ‘chilling effect on free speech’ (much more than the right to a killing contest)!

          • Ida Lupines says:

            I borrowed these quotes from over at Exposing the Big Game. I hope they don’t mind my reposting them here:

            “There is nothing wrong with the killing of these animals it’s a all in an order to control population.”

            “Their numbers are unsustainable. Wolves will kill for the thrill and not just because they are hungry.”

            “haha kill them all! Wolves are one of the biggest problems we have in Idaho, wyoming and Montana!”

            “if we don’t thin out these packs it could turn bad for everyone they are already over populated…”

            They sound historically familiar, don’t they.

        • Nancy says:

          “Didn’t we all wonder why it took so long for anyone to acknowledge what the Nazis were doing, or why indigenous peoples were treated so horribly? We all were part of it”

          NO, Ida, we all were not a part of it. Some of our ancestors perhaps and some of that attitude still carries on but there has been a gradual shift in attitudes over the past few decades, in a positive way, towards wildlife and wildlands.

          If its not happening fast enough for you than I’d suggest you spend less time here, preaching to the choir and more time getting involved locally or on a regional level 🙂

          • Ida Lupines says:

            You know what, you have no idea what where I spend my time on. Pretty presumptuous, I’d say. I know it’s hard to face up to, but we were all part of it. Attitudes have changed only recently. We all came from somewhere else I’d gather, so our ancestors for the most part were part of it, or where it didn’t affect us, we probably didn’t care. Even the AIDS crisis followed that similar path, if it happened to ‘other’ people.

            I’d make a suggestion for you too, but you wouldn’t like it. So I’ll leave it at that.

            Louise, I wanted to mention about the bunnies – I was being kinda facetious with my little bunny rabbit comment – but I do love to encounter them out for walks or hikes. I don’t know which they are, NE cottontails or Eastern. And I am bunny/tree hugger and proud of it! 🙂

            I wanted to mention also that

          • Ida Lupines says:

            I spend a lot of time locally and regionally on conservation, as well as my support, as I have mentioned many times. I know it is much more than most people, except for those here – which is why I gravitated to this forum.

          • Yvette says:

            “Some of our ancestors perhaps and some of that attitude still carries on but there has been a gradual shift in attitudes over the past few decades, in a positive way, towards wildlife and wildlands.”

            I think it is imperative to look at history. It helps us examine how we arrived to our current destination and helps us chart a path as we carry on with our journey. It also helps us to better understand where people that may be on the opposite side of an issue. The second time I read that article, which was a couple days ago, I got more out of it than I did when I first read it a few years ago.

            To ignore the truth in history, however distasteful it may be, will only hinder improving the nuances that cause problems today.

            Looking at the world around us and where we currently are in relation to wildlife and other conservation issues, I’m at a point where I think we need all boots on the ground if we are to slow the many adverse impacts. “All boots on the ground”, to me, includes all economic statuses and ethnicities. There are many social challenges when approaching how to get more people actively involved in conservation and improving basic knowledge and education.

            • Ida Lupines says:

              Yes, I don’t mean to be so strident and harsh and perhaps I express it as a bitter pill. Boots on the ground, I second that!

    • Louise kane says:

      Mareks you post the most amazing things and have such a unique perspective
      I’m always glad to see yours and peters posts
      Thanks for reminding me of things I have often long forgotten or did not know in the firstave
      I had never seen that Roosevelt quote

  17. As a life long Idaho hunter and photographer, I am a little suspicious of the term “little bunny rabbits” that some of the derby participants used. Black Tailed Jackrabbits, White Tailed Jack Rabbits, Cottontail Rabbits and Idaho Pygmy Rabbits all live in the area of Idaho where the predator killing contest took place.
    Jackrabbits would not be called “little bunny rabbits”. The large White Tailed Jack Rabbits are snow white this time of year.

    That leaves the legally hunted Cottontails and the protected Idaho Pygmy Rabbits. Cottontails have visible white tails and would be readily identified by experienced hunters as such.
    The protected Idaho Pygmy Rabbits are about half the size of a cottontail rabbit. Their tails are small and they would very likely be called “little bunny rabbits”. They are usually found sitting near their burrows under a large sagebrush and would be easy targets.
    Did the proud “hunters” post any photos of these “little bunny rabbits”?

    • Ida Lupine says:

      Yes, they did. They were very small – and that’s why I called them ‘little bunny rabbits’. Two of the children shot them at the wolf killing contest. You probably can find a photo, but I can’t be bothered to.

      I think that with today’s diminishing wildlife and humans basically able to do whatever they wish, something has to give. Dispensing with these needless killing contests and wildlife services might even make traditional hunting more acceptable. But as it is, this kind of entitled wastefulness smears the entire activity.

      • Ed Loosli says:

        I think what Larry Thorngren was asking for was a photo of the rabbits killed at the Salmon Idaho predator killing contest. Idaho Pygmy Rabbits are fully protected by law and cannot be hunted or trapped… If this was the case, charges and arrests can be made.

  18. Ida Lupine says:

    And here’s my last post for now – here’s a photo for you. Just look at this callous, disrespectful treatment of another living thing, unceremoniously slinging them into the back of a pickup truck like they were nothing. Non-lethal ranching techniques aren’t going to change this kind of behavior:

    Eight Individuals Expose and Shame Salmon, Idaho Wolf and Coyote Killing Derby

  19. snaildarter says:

    Very disgusting, but at least they got a lot of bad publicity and looked rather childish hiding their kill from the cameras. Like my grandmother used to say “if you feel the need to hide what you did then its safe to assume you should not have done it in the first place.”

  20. Rich says:

    Rork, you said that “Killing for fun is not the norm. Anyone arguing otherwise does not have a clue about how many people hunt or how most hunters act.”

    As a hunter I know a little about how hunters act and while there are responsible and respectful hunters there is another side as well. Once after a long morning of duck hunting without firing a shot, on the way back to the car, one of the guys shot a grasshopper. I know there are plenty of grasshoppers and no damage done, so don’t get off-track on that. The point here is that he just wanted to have fun by killing something living and that was the only thing in range. The rest of us had just enjoyed the morning in the field and while disappointed didn’t feel pressured to kill something.

    While you did say “how most hunters act” hopefully you are right and so perhaps it is those outside of your “most” brackets that participate in killing contests. The goal then may be for “all” hunters to be sufficiently respectful to not kill something just for fun. What would the predator killing contest organizers and contestants do then? Hopefully something more constructive.

    I was also wondering whether those “little bunnies” were pygmy rabbits. Has the IDF&G or anyone else checked that out? While rabbits and hares like jackrabbits were once plentiful, some are now on the T&E list and in parts of Washington State, pygmy rabbits are now extinct. If pygmy rabbits were part of the body count then that may have been an illegal take. Does anybody know?

    • rork says:

      Nice comment. “All” may not happen but let’s try. I’d like all hunters to up their game, and deeply discuss ethics, ecology, sustainability, and 20 other things. I try to educate them, and challenge them when I think they are applying “common sense” that isn’t that sensible. Like non-hunters, lots of them aren’t bright enough to puzzle these things out, but if we can smarten up enough of us, the rest will follow the customs and traditions of behavior of the better sort, and maybe even try to follow the discussions. A certain percent are unreachable though. I think our game biologists are trying hard to smarten us up.
      Sorry if that sounds like dreaming. Most of my own hunting buddies have PhD’s in biological fields, and are pretty smart, so I may overestimate what’s possible.

  21. Rich says:


    Thanks for posting the link to the picture of the girl with the dead derby rabbits. I loved the commentary Tom Remington posted with it that “Hopefully, this act, a reflection of love and compassion, along with real American heritage, will put a big fat burr across the butts of many anti human, perverted, predator lovers.”

    Apparently Tom thinks this little gal had just saved the human race from predation by two extremely dangerous bunnies. Seems like a very inflammatory and twisted comment. Dr. Strangelove couldn’t have stated it any better.

    Thank heavens for the bravery of the derby contestants. Now all those perverted predator lovers and every one else can sleep a little bit easier.

    • Ida Lupine says:

      I know, I’m not against traditional hunting, but it seems two little rabbits and coyotes isn’t much to show for such a highly promoted contest!

  22. Ed Loosli says:

    Thanks Ida for sending us the “killing contest” bunny photo.
    So; Rich, Larry Thorngren and Ralph; are these two bunnies in the photo protected “Idaho Pygmy Rabbits” or are they some other poor souls??

    • skyrim says:

      Does anyone know anything about this TOM REMINGTON?

      • Ed Loosli says:

        Thanks Nancy:
        Wow, are those pygmy rabbits adorable – and so are the cottontails. To think those two young children are being taught that killing such innocent animals is just family fun is so sad – I feel sorry for the girls and the wildlife living near them.

        • Nancy says:

          In thus link you can see where the pygmy rabbit does not have a white tail.

        • Elk375 says:

          Bullshit ED, when I was the age of those girls my father took me out rabbit hunting several times. I always killed a couple of rabbits and we ate them. The rabbits may have been innocent but it was family fun and no harm was done. The only harm that has been done is in your head.

          • Ed Loosli says:

            you wrote: “when I was the age of those girls my father took me out rabbit hunting several times. I always killed a couple of rabbits and we ate them. The rabbits may have been innocent but it was family fun and no harm was done. The only harm that has been done is in your head.”
            Elk, don’t you think the rabbits were harmed??

            • Elk375 says:

              Lets look at it a different way. It has been years since I have been financially able to fish Bristol Bay in Alaska for Salmon and rainbows in early July. Everyday before lunch we would target either a Red or a Jack (2 year old king), catch it, build a fire and fillet it and grill it. Nothing better than fresh, fresh grilled salmon with lemon. Was the salmon harm? It was killed and eaten and I really do not care whether it was harmed; I enjoyed my fresh salmon shore lunch.

              After the first of September mountain grouse season opens in Montana and I enjoy shooting a brace of Blue Grouse grilling them up with a side of wild rice and a early fall vegetable and a bottle of red wine. Are the grouse harmed? If you think they are then the grouse are harmed but I could careless. I enjoyed a day of hunting and a dinner of fresh wild grouse.

              • WM says:

                Ed would never understand the concepts of utility, circle of life, good food, recreation (and maybe family and education/passing on skills) all used in the same sentence or even a paragraph. And none of it, of course, appears to violate tenets of the near Biblical North American Wildlife Management model.

                Of course, if you live most of the time in an urban environment where food gathering/preparation is done by others (even the killing of living protein), appreciation of wildlife comes to you canned from the big screen TV while a faceless narrator backed by a musical score comments on things which might or might not be true in the real world, while you sit on the couch in 70 degree comfort, and other recreation somehow involves harnessing electricity, your perspectives on the world might be different.

                Naw, it all boils down to a simplistic (read as moronic) “don’t you think the rabbits were harmed?”

                • Ed Loosli says:

                  WM & Elk:
                  Gee, I didn’t know you two were mountain men – living off the land as part of the “circle of life” – You should have a realty TV show to demonstrate your manly prowess. My comment to Elk was in response to him saying, The rabbits killed may have been innocent but it was family fun and no harm was done.
                  I believe quite sanely that in fact, harm was done to the rabbits.

                  As for the “Biblical” North American Wildlife Management Model – I prefer the Kenya model, which banned sport hunting and subsistence hunting in 1987.

                • WM says:

                  Not really a mountain man, Ed. I think there are a lot of folks that don’t think much about where their protein sources come from. Hunting and eating what one takes from Nature brings that connection a little closer. Some of us think that is kind of an important concept.

                  And, while you are concerning yourself about bunny rabbit welfare, what do you think most coyotes eat?

                  I just drove from Mountain Home ID, to La Grande, OR yesterday. Mostly the drive was in heavy early morning fog, but did manage to see 3 lone coyotes along the way, on the north side of I-84.


                  I was travelling north on the Al-Can Hiway in early June, and just outside White Horse in Yukon Territory, I stopped at a little campground on Kluane Lake to make my lunch (I expect you know exactly of where I speak). There had been a couple truck crews repairing power line, along the road way. Two sixpack trucks, with maybe 8 guys inside pulled up not far from me. One guy has a fishing pole w/spinning reel and runs over to the lake. and slings a big lure on about 20 pound test line. Less than ten minutes later he has two 12 pound lake trout cleaned and laying on aluminum foil (with lemon and onion, salt and pepper). In the meantime, another guy has a good fire going, with a bed coals beginning to build.

                  I walked over and commented on the effort I was witnessing. One guy says, “Yeah, we do this sort of thing all the time for lunch when the weather is good, and the fish are biting. Think we got enough for an extra guy. Lunch will be ready in about a half hour or so, if you want to wait around, ay.”

                  Sadly I declined, as I had to be one my way.

                • Louise Kane says:

                  WM and Rork. I think its ignorant to believe that non hunters can not understand the circle of life, good food etc just because one does not hunt.

                  As a commercial fisherman’s daughter and a one time commercial fisherwoman myself, I understand where you and Rork come from.

                  But it would seem you are the ones that might not have a clue about the concept of utility and shared intimacy that you can have with others when you choose a cruelty free life.

                  For example, I share the food I grow and collect with my friends through dinners and gatherings and am known to be a very good cook.

                  Gardeners like myself, start in April preparing the ground. I overturn and dig my garden adding dried horse manure that my husband and I shovel ourselves.

                  We start out in the spring planting kale, spinach, asparagus, lettuces, carrots, beets and spring vegetables.

                  By summer, we are planting new vegetables and have tilled, staked and composted eggplants, peppers, tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, zucchini and summer squash, hot peppers, cabbage, more kale and other summer vegetables.

                  All summer I tend to the garden and harvest the vegetables, which is no small feat some years. I prep and cook endlessly.

                  By fall I have a basement full of winter squashes, potatoes, a freezer fill of frozen tomatoes and sauces and all manner of food that lasts me all winter.

                  Unlike you I choose not to kill the deer that come onto my proerty or harass the fox and coyotes I see, even when I have to take measures to protect the garden.

                  This year my husband began bee keeping and in the fall I collect beach plums and rose hips. We make jelly and share with our friends.

                  I too want to eat healthy. I’m betting I can catch as many fish and clean them just as fast as you or Rork. I have just found it harder and harder to kill anything.

                  I hate to admit that sometimes I cheat and eat fish or shellfish or free range chicken or other meat. But those excesses are less and less as I choose to go for for long periods where I eat totally vegan and compassionately.

                  Its not logical to assume that all people who object to hunting go to a grocery store, sit on their asses or are easterners that don;t know a thing about utility and kinship derived from commonalities. Its simply not true.

                • rork says:

                  I never said non-hunters don’t understand about circle of life or whatever. I have never killed deer in my yard, and never killed coyotes or foxes near me (they are my allies!). I am a huge gardener, and pick tons of berries (5 species), shrooms (maybe 20 species), and other plants. My compost pile is 8-10 cubic yards. I fish. I don’t need to hunt, and I was not brought up as a hunter.
                  (Perhaps you meant “and Elk”).

              • WM says:

                Actually, Louise, I was thinking of Ed specifically, based on the content of his recent posts (and some other ones from him).

                You, on the other hand are a knowledgeable and enlightened personality, who understands some of this stuff better than many. There are quite a few folks who just never think about any of this – where their milk, meat, leather, medicine and eggs come from. They just respond to the sound-bite thing, if they bother to think about it at all.

                ++Unlike you I choose not to kill the deer that come onto my proerty or harass the fox and coyotes I see, even when I have to take measures to protect the garden. ++

                Just to set the record straight I have never killed a deer that has invaded the garden (mine or anyone else’s), nor have I ever harassed a predator (other than crows and starlings if they count). I have regularly written about others who do, and think that is actually a pretty common occurrence which is not always objectionable in my view.

                And, when I do take anything from Nature for utilitarian use, I do reflect for a moment on the reasons and why, as I pay my respects for that gift. I do so more for a warm-blooded creature (deer or elk), more so than I do for a fish (salmon/steelhead), however. So, if narrow-minded nitwits like jon would label those of us who do this as sociopaths or psychopaths, I guess one just has to consider the source of the individual making the comment.

                • Louise Kane says:

                  My apologies about the deer in the garden quip. I do actually appreciate how far from sociopaths or psychopaths you, Rork, Elk and other hunters that usually post here are. I wish the world of hunting was comprised of people like yourselves, alas it is not and therein lies the rub.

                • Louise Kane says:

                  Please WM leave the poor crows alone. They are amazing animals when you know their personalities. I do not know how to post the smiley face or I would.

            • rork says:

              To give a slightly different side to it: I don’t “care less” about the animals I eat, either wild or domestic, and I kill nearly all of them personally. I apologize to and thank deer and sometimes salmon, but usually not sheep (maybe I should). I think it’s a good tradition. With deer I make promises of what I will do for the land – I think it’s a testimonial we should all do, in front of the other hunters if possible, especially if there are young hunters present. Make it a very heavy ritual lesson about responsibility. Killing animals brings on very complicated feelings.

              • Yvette says:

                I apologize to and thank deer and sometimes salmon, but usually not sheep (maybe I should). I think it’s a good tradition.

                Ha! When I first started posting here I made a statement along the lines of only supporting hunting for subsistence. Even though I didn’t say anything about praying or Native religion, I must have made a reference to being Indian, because you gigged me about ‘praying after a kill and completely blew it off.

                Apologizing and giving thanks to the deer you harvested is not much different to a Native (or anyone else) ‘praying’ or giving reverence for providing sustenance.

                Thank you so much for making me smile, and I am glad you apologize and give thanks to the deer.

                I think it’s a testimonial we should all do, in front of the other hunters if possible, especially if there are young hunters present.


                • rork says:

                  I don’t recall giggling you about that specifically – thought the subject was slightly different (white ungulates). The custom I’m used to of speaking (of thanks, apology, and promises) to the dead animal is not uncommon locally, and some follow the tiny detail of hanging strips of deer liver, following local custom (I know it from Ojibway friends near Muskegon). The similarity seems clearly due to mimicry of first-people’s rituals rather than coincidence. A really good speech will choke folks up.

    • They are Cottontails and are legal to kill in Idaho during the fall and winter season.
      Idaho Pygmy Rabbits are smaller and their tails are not so visible.
      Cottontails are usually infested with fleas. These girls may have found their arms covered with the fleas as they will go from a cold dead rabbit body to the warm human body if given the opportunity to do so.
      I quit hunting Cottontails when I was a teenager because of all the fleas that crawled onto my arm while carrying Cottontails home.

      • Louise Kane says:
        Speaking of bunnies/rabbits

        The New England cottontail is being considered as an endangered species candidate.

        Loss of habitat primarily.

        I live in an area where there was substantial undergrowth of bearberry, beach plum, blackberry, wild rose and other gnarled undercover.

        Over the years we are losing skunk, fox, rabbits, toads and all the other wildlife I used to see regularly near the beach because people are clearing out the old growth undercover.

        We used to have some protection from clear cutting of brush and tree cutting when my Dad was alive. My father became fearless in his claim of the “right” to manage all surrounding properties from tree cutting or brush clearing. He bought one of the first houses on a windswept beach area that was really rural at the time. As people encroached in the area he felt no remorse in reminding them that they were intruders. Nor did he hesitate to warn them that all skunks, raccoons, coyotes, salamanders, quail and generally all bird species as well as their trees and habitats were protected. In general his idea of a welcome wagon was a brusque knock on the door informing the new residents that raccoons came regularly and they were not to be harassed, or that foxes were known to live under such and such a place and don’t touch them. Or woodpeckers lived in a pine tree he suspected might be cut down, so don’t touch it.

        He was also known to warn residents that they better not leave their cats behind, leave out poison and that their dogs could not be tied.

        It was not unlike him to mutter all kinds of obscenities under his breath when the rules were broken. Rarely did that happen. I witnessed neighbors coming to the house to ask permission to cut down brush!

        My Dad was real local color and eventually he became tolerated and loved even by the “rich people” that came to infiltrate the beach neighborhoods. He cleaned fish on the back of his truck and taught most of the neighborhood kids to fish. He sometimes had a cigar hanging out of his mouth and always had the small tin radio on, preferring to listen to Frank Sinatra. He sat for hours on end watching the birds while he baited his tub trawl or opened scallops.

        He woke every morning with a real zeal for life. He loved fishing, gardening, wildlife, and his dogs more than anything. Early in the morning every day he would wake happy and create a god awful ruckus. First he would call the dogs and get them all raucous, howling and barking.

        My husband and I used to come to visit in the summers. We would marvel at the neighbor’s patience because it was unnerving how much noise he could make.

        After he got the dogs going, he would hitch the boat to the trailer and his truck. On leaving you could hear his trailer and boat rattling a mile away, the radio up loud, windows down. Down the road he would go whistling, dogs barking and oblivious to the early hour.

        Sometime after he died and we had moved back to Cape Cod to take care of him, our long time neighbor sheepishly asked me for permission to clear some brush from one side of their house that borders our property. She said my Dad had wanted them to keep it wild for the birds. I was not all that surprised when I said “I would prefer you did not, the rabbits use that area”.

        I just watched another neighbor clear out a big path of beautiful habitat where I used to see rabbits, skunks and chipmunks hide out. Now instead of having a protective wild barrier from the dirt road there is scrubbed scorched earth that has not seen light for the last 50 years.

        The neighbor told my husband he knew I would be upset. He was right. I too have inherited the potty mouth but am more controlled. Where is my Dad when I need him most.

        • Elk375 says:

          Very nice, Louise.

          • Louise Kane says:

            Thank you, I miss my wild eccentric fishing crazy Dad like I could never have imagined. I was his caregiver for the last years of his life and he drove me nuts some days. He would always tell me, one of these days I’l be gone and you will miss me. He usually reminded me of this daily with that snarky grin on his face. I look back at him as single father raising two girls by himself as an offshore commercial fisherman and wonder how he kept his sanity and great joy in life. These days everything wild seems to remind me of him.

        • Immer Treue says:

          Warm smile.

        • Yvette says:

          I enjoy reading about your dad, Louise. You speak of him often and I always with high regard. What a spectacular person.

        • Ida Lupines says:

          I love reading about Louise’s Dad too. My father was a commercial fisherman also, as were many in the hometown I grew up in, on the North Shore of Boston. I moved ‘down heah’ (as we like to say) closer to the Cape when I got older. 🙂

          There is something to be said for those who grow up close to nature who have a love for it, as we become more distanced from it through more city living and technology we don’t seem to appreciate it.

        • rork says:

          Gosh, wish my neighbors knew what “cover” means, looks like, and is worth.

  23. Joanne Favazza says:

    Thank you WildLands Defense and BFC for your courage and commitment in documenting the atrocities that occurred in Salmon. Killing animals for fun and prizes is unethical, immmoral, and insane. Those who participated as well as those who allowed this cruel and barbaric “contest” to occur on our public lands are an absolute disgrace.

  24. Ida Lupine says:

    The point I was making is not that rabbits were hunted for food, that’s been done for centuries. The point is that it isn’t much of a ‘contest’ atmosphere, beating up on coyotes and two rabbits! That’s the point I was trying to make – it’s a rather embarrassing contest.

    • Ida Lupine says:

      It isn’t my personal view (I don’t eat rabbits, or much meat), but if people want to teach proper hunting to their kids, they can do that without making it part of a predator hunting contest! Where do rabbits fall on the predator scale – below mountain lions but before coyotes? They sure didn’t look like mutated 200-lb. rabbits from Canada? Predators are not killed for food, but for some misguided reasons. What was done with these coyotes?

      Let’s not kid ourselves. Nobody was interested in doing anything but sacrificing coyotes to make a statement here. Of course we know where meat comes from; for the most part, it is from inhumane factory farms, which most people who don’t eat meat want even less to do with than hunting.

  25. Yvette says:

    There is a coyote killing contest in Edmonton, Alberta that is drawing attention and opposition. The supporters seem to be providing the same logic we’ve seen here, ‘it’s legal’. Interesting to look at the poll results that are attached to the article.

  26. Ed Loosli says:

    I don’t know which national wildlife conservation organizations you think do the best jobs of helping to save all manner of wildlife and wildlife habitat, but if they can match the record of the Center For Biological Diversity, that is fantastic. What are your favorites? Below is the link for the Center For Biological Diversity Year In Review For 2014.

    • Elk375 says:

      The RMEF has protected in excess of 6 million acres. Maybe the Center for biological diversity has protected more acres but it appears that over 90% has been ocean if I read it correctly.

      Do the number of acres really matter? It is quality of acreage that matters. Regardless of what organization acquires the acreage the summation of the acres and the quality of the acres is what matters.

      • Ed Loosli says:

        I am sure the Rocky Mt. Elk Foundation does a fine job preserving some elk habitat and the access to kill them (They are now closer in philosophy to the NRA than to most conservation organizations). The Nature Conservancy is considered the largest land/habitat conservation organization in the U.S. and I think the they have bought or have easements on over 14 million acres so I am skeptical of your claim that “RMEF has protected in excess of 6 million acres”. I know the RMEF was deeded a 93,000 acre ranch in New Mexico, but I would be surprised if their total holdings even reach 500,000 acres. Perhaps you can point me to a map that shows where these 6 million acres are? Any acres is good of course, that’s for sure. The Center For Biological Diversity is on a different level of biodiversity conservation because they tackle so many different battles saving a very wide variety of species and their habitat.

        • Elk375 says:

          I said protects. Most of the land protected is under easement. With todays land prices the best value for the buck is easements. I know that they do not own 6 million acres.

          My source is there bi monthly magazine Bugle.

          • Ed Loosli says:

            By “protected” and “total holdings” I meant by ownership or conservation easement. I think someone is playing fast and loose with the number of acres RMEF has “protected” by either ownership or easement. Anyway, some acres is better than none.

            • Ed Loosli says:

              some acres are better than none.

            • WM says:


              ++…but I would be surprised if their [RMEF’s] total holdings even reach 500,000 acres…++

              Actually owning land is not important for an entity wanting to engage in habitat conservation, Ed.

              From what I understand from their writings, RMEF mostly does not retain ownership of land it acquires, and it may help fund land exchanges between private parties and the state or feds, create long term or perpetual conservation easements which keep land from being developed, or act as a conduit by which land bequethed to it is subsequently sold to third parties (with a conservation easement burdening it meaning it cannot be developed). They then use these funds to add to then acquire and give title to the land to federal or state governments. All of these activities add up to conserving the land base for the future of wildlife. Its activities are in many respects identical to what the Nature Conservancy does.

              Of course, the Nature Conservancy which sometimes keeps land it acquires has been doing it for much longer and in larger areas of the entire US; the Nature Conservancy, by the way, does allow hunting on some of its lands in the West.

              RMEF conservation lands, of course, benefit all wildlife, not just elk, contrary to what you choose to believe. And, everyone can access and use these lands. It is not just those who attempt to “kill elk” for a few weeks per year.

              The only one “playing loose” is you, with your rudimentary and often incomplete, and sometimes inaccurate, understanding of so many topics on which you comment, here.

      • Louise Kane says:

        RMEF is also now headed by a man that many are distancing themselves from because of their extreme anti predator policies. Perhaps its not the quality of the acres but the quality of the management it would seem.

        • Ed Loosli says:

          Thanks Louise Kane for this post and link. For some reason Elk and WM have chosen not to comment on this chilling account of the Rocky Mt. Elk Foundation:

          “David Stalling – I conceived and created the Olaus J. Murie Award (with coordination and approval from the Murie family) on behalf of the RMEF back when the RMEF truly was a science-based conservation organization. Since then, the RMEF has gone through radical and sad changes: The organization got taken over by a board of directors of conservative businessmen with no knowledge of wildlife or ecology; they got rid of all the good leaders (such as Gary Wolfe, Alan Christensen and Bill Geer) who not only helped create and shape the RMEF, but had solid, impressive backgrounds in wildlife biology, ecology and science-based wildlife management. The organization now ignores and defies good wildlife science and instead panders to pressure from outfitters, politicians and members with little knowledge or understanding of wildlife and, in particular, interactions between wolves and elk.”

          • Elk375 says:

            Sorry but I am out having dinner and beer.

          • WM says:

            Ah, come on Ed, this was never part of the topic until you brought it up. The facts, I believe, are true, especially the direction RMEF has taken under David Allen. We have talked about it multiple times here (probably before you ever showed up), and it is one reason I am no longer a member. HOWEVER, RMEF is still engaged in land conservation and doing a pretty darn good job of it, despite other distractions, like being anti-wolf, after a very long period of “let’s wait and see, after the 1995 reintroduction of wolves to the NRM.”

            You might also want to consider some of this land conservation is in states where there are no wolves and never will be in any numbers (PA, KY, CA). Probably want to consider that many of the commercial sponsors of RMEF are indeed outfitters whose incomes are perceived to be directly affected by wolves (code word for predators here) now and in the future as ranges expand. So, why wouldn’t outfitters, and some RMEF members be out there advocating just as pro-wolf folks do?

            The article forgot to mention RMEF’s (unholy in my view) relationship with NASCAR, where I think they sponsor a race car. What NASCAR has to do with land and wildlife conservation is a mystery to me. The obvious link is that RMEF Executive Director David Allen was the late Dale Earnhardt’s PR guy, and Allen was also an advertising heavy weight with the Professional Rodeo industry (specifically Pro Bull Riders).

            I also believe Allen is a WY native, from other articles I read. So, there are likely some lingering relationships in that state. And, we know RMEF’s address is in MT, where it started in 1984.

            These ties are a long way from California, Ed, where I understand you live.

            • Ed Loosli says:

              The Rocky Mt. Elk Foundation is in California as well… When we were successfully trying to end predator killing contests in California in 2014, the RMEF was one of the leading supporters of keeping the predator killing contests legal.

              • Ed Loosli says:

                I want to also add that, the effort to ban predator killing contests in California was ably led by Camilla Fox and her Project Coyote team (based in Marin County, CA).

            • Professor Sweat says:


              A bit presumptuous to say wolves will exist in any number in CA, no?

              • WM says:

                First they need a prey base – not many elk or much elk habitat with all the people; or wolves could feed on deer and desert bighorns, but they don’t have the biomass production and deer prey density of say the WGL. Then, as the 4th largest beef/dairy state in the country the livestock lobby, and do be assured there are a lot of cow operations in CA that might have something to say about wolf range that could affect private lands.

                What am I missing, besides the source wolf in-migration issue, which would, if allowed, come from mostly hostile neighboring states of NV and AZ, except the southeastern 1/3 of the arid OR border?

                But, I say give them their very own 300-500 wolves to manage and have them join the party. Presumptious, no? No. 😉

                • Mark L says:

                  Met the Alabama rep. for RMEF. He was anti-wolf also. He didn’t answer my questions about coyotes though.

  27. Wapitime says:

    Bad news for Oregon hunters! Michael Finley an enviro nut job who also sits on Ted Turners foundation has been appointed Chair of the Oregon Fish & Wildlife Commission. He is a huge wolf advocate. Fellow hunters, this is where our hunting fees are going, and they want to increase them again!

    • Ed Loosli says:

      Oregon Dept. of Fish & Wildlife
      Agency Mission: (from ODFW web-site)

      “Our mission is to protect and enhance Oregon’s fish and wildlife and their habitats for use and enjoyment by present and future generations.”

  28. Nancy says:

    “Without good reasons for curtailing freedoms we are hypocrites”

    Huh. But fact is, it is getting more and more complicated when “we” realize and then begin to appreciate….it ain’t all about us (the human species) anymore 🙂

    • rork says:

      Sounds like you are inching toward “good reasons”, but perhaps I’m wrong and you think they are actually junk.

  29. Arne says:

    Living in Europe, I am closely following the politics of carnivore conservation and persecution in North America. I’ve written a (highly subjective) blog post on recent news from Alberta, B.C. and Idado:

    • Ida Lupine says:

      Wow, that’s great! Thank you!

      • Arne says:

        My pleasure! Please do feel free to point out any inaccuracies. Not being from anywhere near these places, I don’t claim to know everything about the political context of these issues. It’s just something that feels inherently wrong, and clearly is not based on any factual, scientific evidence.

        • Ida Lupine says:

          There’s a wealth of information from real experts on this site. You’ve come to the right place! 🙂


January 2015


‎"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

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