Social tolerance for wolves (and ranchers)

A wolf of the Wedge Pack flees after being tranquilized. The pack is now wiped out. WDFW photo

The livestock industry and its apologists are trying out a new spin to justify their unwillingness to coexist with native wildlife, arguing that it is necessary to kill large predators from time to time to appease the locals and create “social tolerance.” This is a false and self-serving narrative, and is causing a public backlash that instead erodes the social tolerance for allowing private livestock on public lands. 

The latest example in a long and painful litany of ranchers’ abuse comes courtesy of Len McIrvin and his Diamond M Ranch in Washington. McIrvin’s complaints about livestock losses have spurred multiple kill orders against wolves by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). This latest wolf war initiated by the livestock industry began with the snuffing of the entire Profanity Pack after the Diamond M Ranch released its livestock in 2016 on national forest lands in close proximity to a known wolf den

Dr. Rob Weilgus of Washington State University exposed this rancher-caused conflict, and subsequently released research demonstrating that the killing of wolves had no effect on future livestock losses. The livestock industry struck back against the science through Rep. Joel Kretz, their ally in the state legislature, who engineered a deal to shut down funding for Dr. Weilgus’ wolf research. Legislators further threatened the university with the withdrawal of millions of dollars in funding for a medical school to muzzle Dr. Weilgus. 

The killing of the Profanity Pack was followed by kill orders for the Sherman Pack, the Smackout and Togo Packs, and later kill orders against the wolves who came in to fill the vacant territory on Profanity Peak, a pack now called the Old Profanity Territory (OPT) Pack. All through these killings, the “social tolerance” for wolves among locals has not increased one iota; if anything, McIrvin’s calls for more wolf killings have become more strident and frequent over time, and the controversial wolf killings continue.

While McIrvin and his Diamond M have been implicated in the majority of wolf kills in central Washington, but no other ranchers in Washington seems to be having major problems. 

The conflict-to-killing outcome is exactly what the Washington state wolf plan envisions. From the outset, some wildlife advocates opposed killing wolves, listed as an ‘endangered species’ in Washington under state law, and refused to endorse the state wolf plan. Other conservationists initially chose to collaborate on allowing wolf killings in response to livestock losses, citing social tolerance, but even the collaborators are now backing away from the state wolf plan and its failure to require nonlethal methods, and some are now openly critical. The kill orders have become a nationwide scandal and an embarrassment to Governor Jay Inslee and WFDW Director Kelly Susewind, whose competence and environmental ethics have been called into question

Some of the worst abuses of wolves (and the least social acceptance) are found in two states where Endangered Species Act protections have already been removed: Idaho and Wyoming. One Idaho rancher claimed wolves are “ravaging Idaho.” Another suggested limiting wolves to wilderness areas. In Wyoming, where the “smoke a pack a day” mentality remains widespread, wolves can be shot on sight with no season limits, bag limits, or even a hunting license across 85% of the state. Snowmobilers run them over for sport, and the state legislature rejected a proposed law to ban this cruel and inhumane practice. 

Where is the social tolerance for wolves greatest in Idaho and Montana? In Yellowstone National Park, of course, where it is illegal to kill wolves. It turns that that prohibiting wolf killing forces the public to concede that there is nothing they can do about them, which results in acceptance (and social tolerance) for wolves.

All of these abuses of land and wildlife are resulting in lesser and lesser social tolerance for ranchers. In central Washington, rancher McIrvin’s complaints that “non-lethal measures [are] not working against wolves” have triggered a public discussion over non-lethal methods to control ranchers (rather than wolves) and whether they are working or not. There have even been reports in northeastern Washington of cattle being shot, which ranchers believe are linked to the wolf killings. 

Based on the 1.8 million Americans demanding continued Endangered Species Act protections for wolves, the social acceptance of wolves is rapidly becoming a wave of public enthusiasm. Meanwhile, from Hollywood to Madison Avenue, the popularity of the cowboy is in decline. It’s not just environmentalists the livestock industry needs to worry about. Livestock are responsible for fewer elk and deer, sage grouse population losses, degraded trout streams, and dewatering of rivers for hayfield irrigation. Livestock industry front groups are leading the charge to get rid of wild horses and also to privatize public lands. Whjn you add together the hunters, anglers, birdwatchers, wild horse lovers, hikers, and campers – all of whom would benefit from reducing or eliminating livestock on public lands – you’ve got most of the American public covered. In short, ranchers are making a lot of enemies these days.  

In light of this reality, the ranching industry’s smartest move might be to start policing their own – from the Bundy crowd to the wildlife killers – and prove that they can coexist with native wildlife and healthy lands. To achieve more social tolerance for native wildlife, Congress ought to make it illegal to kill wolves anywhere in the United States.

Erik Molvar is a wildlife biologist and serves as Executive Director for Western Watersheds Project, a nonprofit environmental conservation group working to protect and preserve watersheds and wildlife throughout the American West.


  1. Elsie Lee Avatar
    Elsie Lee

    Wolves and all predators should be either on the ENDANGERED SPECIES LIST or listed as illegal to kill. Our country has gone crazy with blood lust to kill these animals due to no fault of their own. As people become more cognizant of the issues they are less and less prone to eat “meat” it is becoming a hatred by ranchers that someone or something could affect their illegal “rights”. How can the ordinary citizen fight this. Our current administration is as bad or worse as any we have had and they are all just wanting to kill for the sake of killing when other means are available. Since the federal govenment is useless states have to push to preserve these important predators.

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar
      Ralph Maughan

      I agree with you, and I want to add that I hope everyone will support the development and deployment in the marketplace of real meat grown in a bioreactor from stem cells of an animal.

      Not enough people will be vegan, and this new kind of meat, which is not yet being marketed, will find many buyers, I think.

  2. Pamela W Avatar
    Pamela W

    Well said, Eric Molvar. McIrvin is making a name for himself, and I sometimes wonder if we shouldn’t make the public lands he leases our newest favorite camping/hiking destination. How would old Lennie boy like having a lot of witnesses & cameras present 24/7? Just because he leases (at a steal) the public land doesn’t mean he has exclusive use, right? I’d love to scrutinize and document his husbandry practices, or lack thereof.

  3. idaursine Avatar

    This needs to be said, and as much as possible!

  4. Jeffrey Martin Avatar

    Public land is obviously owned by each and every one of us. I for one look on it as my right, nay my duty to shoot a cow every now and then, after all I am feeding them my grass!

  5. Susan Chapman Avatar
    Susan Chapman

    In my opinion, wolf killing should, in general, not be allowed in these United States.

  6. Susan Chapman Avatar
    Susan Chapman

    In my opinion, wolf killing should, in general, not be allowed in these United States. The top predator should be allowed as well as the smallest and weakest creature.

  7. idaursine Avatar

    I don’t think any animal lover would shoot cows, it isn’t their fault. It sounds like an attempt to take the attention off Diamond M and their actual wolf killings and place it on ‘those radical environmentalists’ and they admit it is pure speculation on their part.

    If it truly is the case, and not troublesome human poachers or pranksters, then there is all the more reason for more of a presence by cowboys to look out for their cattle.

    I’m glad there’s a good alternative to meat out there, but personally I don’t have any use for beef, haven’t eaten it in years, and do no miss it.

  8. idaursine Avatar

    ^^But that said, I’ll certainly support this new product, and give it a try.

  9. Ted Chu Avatar
    Ted Chu

    I agree in general but would add this. People I know who talked to thousands of hunters at check stations in Idaho tell me that as wolf numbers increased complaints and concern about their impact on deer elk and moose by hunters increased proportionately until they were delisted and allowed to be hunted. Then the complaining dropped off dramatically. I don’t offer this observation in support of wolf hunting or hunting in general but merely as food for thought on the social tolerance topic.

  10. Nina Avatar

    There is a need for these wild animals. God put them here for a reason and we need to protect them. The ranchers need to stay on their own land and keep their livestock off of public lands. these lands should be for the wildlife and not some ranchers livestock. Government needs to quit kissing the asses of these ranchers.

  11. idaursine Avatar

    Here is another background article about the original Wedge Pack killings, where it was said that a killing ‘on that kind of a scale’ would not likely have to be done again (not that they wouldn’t do something like it again):

    And where it says they were using the wolf plans of Idaho and Wyoming as a guide (oh dear God, no!)

    I certainly do respect opposing views, and I do (spectacularly) disagree sometimes.

  12. idaursine Avatar

    Here’s another article from last year that shows just how cooperative the Diamond M really is. So I really don’t know what has changed in the course of less than one year. When will it stop?:

    “16% of the total population of an endangered species in WA state have been killed because one rancher lost .003% of his herd grazing on land that he doesn’t own.”

  13. Mareks Vilkins Avatar
    Mareks Vilkins

    The Diamond M Ranch’s public land livestock operations have resulted in the killing of 20 wolves including the Wedge Pack in 2012, the Profanity Peak Pack in 2016, the Sherman Pack in 2017, as well as wolves removed from the Sherman and Togo Packs in 2018, and now the Old Profanity Territory Pack in 2019. The constants here are the Diamond M Ranch—and the public land area being grazed.

    “It is time for the Forest Service to use the flexibility built in to allotment agreements to shut down these areas of chronic conflict,” added Chris Bachman of The Lands Council, “It is evident at this point, grazing in an area of prime wolf habitat is folly. This is an area where livestock will continue to fall prey to wolves. We need to find effective sustainable solutions. Each time wolves have been removed due to conflicts with Diamond M cattle, more wolves move in to occupy the area. It’s time to try moving the cattle instead.”

    “We need to remember this is public land and public wildlife held in Public Trust,” said Josh Osher of Western Watersheds Project, a partner in the battle to save Washington wolves. “Livestock grazing on public lands is a heavily subsidized privilege that should not take precedence over the survival of native wildlife.”

  14. idaursine Avatar

    I sure hope that since this ranch is the *only* one involved in all of these wolf killings, that something will finally be done.

    I assume that other ranchers are being cooperative, but in this case, the rancher refuses to accept government compensation because he does not want wolves there, period.

    The problem is, it is the public lands, and the public, supposedly, does want wolves there, and would like to see cooperation, and especially not to see the wildlife protection organizations capitulate.

  15. idaursine Avatar

    Another sense I am getting is the attempts to justify this yearly slaughter by saying: “See? The wolves are recovering and the population is growing everywhere else, so let’s just placate this guy every year.”

    I wish that the courts would order this guy to accept compensation for his losses. They are I have read the most financially successful ranch in the state.

    It doesn’t help matters that his grandson and sons are on cattlemen’s boards and they have the ear of a state legislator either:

  16. Neale Avatar

    How many businesses get subsidized like farming and ranchers. Two that come to mind are fossil fuel companies and arms manufacturing.Allot of Farming is controlled by Wall Street and ranching is living in the last century. We are using our resources ( water,tax dollars)up at an astounding rate. I was a businessman my whole life and never had these subsidies. I’ve had it! It would be my hope that these welfare businesses be stripped of their support today. They might have been appropriate 100 years ago but they are selling in a worldwide market now. Here in the desert of Arizona the Middle East has 10000 acres of mostly alphalfa they grow with cheap subsidized water and ship it home. As far as ranching goes at least charge a going rate for forage. When our ecosystem collapses like the ice sheet is collapsing at an alarmingly faster rate then what.

  17. Louise Kane Avatar
    Louise Kane

    Jeremy Bruskotter published an interesting piece that I’ll try and find that looks at public support for the ESA and how support is very high yet congress continues to push for measures that abrogate it or eliminate it
    The same has been found about wolves by other researchers social acceptance decreases when wolves are allowed to be hunted
    If anyone has these studies please post and I’ll look in my files for the

    And a big thanks for Jeremy Bruskotter and his work

    1. Mareks Vilkins Avatar
      Mareks Vilkins

      Support for the U.S. Endangered Species Act over time and space: Controversial species do not weaken public support for protective legislation

      Support for the Endangered Species Act remains high as Trump administration and Congress try to gut it

      1. Mareks Vilkins Avatar
        Mareks Vilkins

        Blood does not buy goodwill: allowing culling increases poaching of a large carnivore

      2. Louise Kane Avatar
        Louise Kane

        Ah thanks Mareks I could not find them

  18. idaursine Avatar

    But who is voting for the politicians? It’s one thing to nod a head in agreement about support for wolves, but the public’s action or lack of speak louder than empty words.

    Anyway, here’s a more detailed article about the lawsuit and just what it is that the McIrvins are and are not doing to prevent losses, so it seems WDFW isn’t being truthful. He should not have cattle in such a difficult landscape:

    “Robert Wielgus, a former Washington State University wildlife biologist who has studied wolves and other predators in eastern Washington, has pointed out that livestock losses to wolves were one-third of one percent (0.003) in wolf-occupied areas of Washington, except when it comes to the ranching operations of Len McIrvin, who has suffered more than 10 times the losses of other ranchers in wolf-occupied territory. McIrvin and his Diamond M Ranch have excluded range riders in recent weeks, making clear that their intend is to kill wolves, not save cattle.”

    1. Hiker Avatar

      Ida, the part that upsets me here is that WM continues to support this rancher. WM, how can you support someone who blatantly exposes his cattle to a small number of wolf attacks then calls for wolf killings all while declining compensation and not doing enough to deter wolves or at least separate his cattle from them?

      1. WM Avatar

        Hiker, please do not misrepresent my position. I gave a link to the facts as WDFW stated them regarding the producer’s efforts. If the plan protocols were followed the producer is allowed to request a kill order or other intervention allowed by the plan and WDFW’s willingness to perform the request. Maybe the court will sort out the facts and the actions if the litigation gets that far. It has done it before.

        It would be interesting to know what total acreage Diamond M has under its several family member owners have thru public grazing permits, and private lands. Could be the equivalent acreage of several other producers counted all together and comined. Maybe they have more clout because of this. I gather they have been operating in this area for something like 5 generations. I don’t care much for large operations, but they likely have more clout because they are larger – just like the corporate world anywhere else. Ted Turner comes to mind, as does the former Arizona Land and Cattle Company, Aztec LCC, and whole slew of others in the NRM states of WY, MT and ID.

        1. Hiker Avatar

          WM, I based that post on what YOU wrote earlier. You seem to be on the rancher’s side in all this. If I am mistaken please correct me unequivocally: do you support this rancher’s actions or not? And I’m not talking about his legal rights, those can be changed, and he seems to be violating at least the principle of wolf recovery. I’m asking you if you support what he is doing with his cattle, period.

          1. WM Avatar

            I support the duly adopted plan (there are certainly aspects of it I do not agree with, and indeed they are not perceived by those here as pro-wolf). WA wolf recovery includes removal of wolves that repeatedly attack livestock, subject to changing protocols for removal. That aspect is in nearly every wolf management plan of which I am aware in the NRM, GL states, OR and WA.

            I support that concept. The question is where to draw the line in each different fact specific case. I do not know where that line is in the NE WA livestock conflicts. I don’t even know if there is enough evidence to support Wielgus’ research. He, of course, crossed the line from being researcher to being wolf advocate, and it cost him as he got into the cross-fire of the politics of agriculture and environmental advocacy. We have had conversations on this forum about the pitfalls of scientist as advocate in the past. I do not believe I have taken a position in direct support of the Diamond M ranch current wolf problem. I don’t really know enough about it, and quite frankly most who post here don’t know the true facts.

            As for Wielgus statement that the salt licks were put on den sites by the rancher, I have seen articles where Wielgus supposedly retracted his statement. And, there are critics of his research. I don’t know who these folks are, but they seem to not agree statistically with his conclusions:

            Their critique is also supported by a detailed statistical critique of Wielgus conclusions, at the University of WA in Seattle:

            So, who really knows whether Wielgus conclusions are valid? Maybe more independent research needs to be done.

            1. Hiker Avatar

              WM, a lot of words from you yet no definitive yes or no regarding this particular rancher and his known actions regarding wolves and cattle.
              Do you support this rancher, yes or no? I don’t think it’s too hard to state your position, unless you prefer not to state it.

            2. Mareks Vilkins Avatar
              Mareks Vilkins

              the same old usual tripe from one-dimensional lawyer

              so some input to put things in context:

              from Bob McCoy:

              “why didn’t you just say the WPC loves to “baffle with bullshit?”

              The Washington Policy Center (WPC) is a hack organization that believes free-market forces solve all problems. That should immediately remove public-lands grazing and cattle subsidies as operating in a free market–but it doesn’t. After a protracted public comment exchange with Todd Meyers of WPC a few years ago, the decision is that WPC does believe that global-warming is happening, but there’s really insufficient evidence to believe people have any involvement. Now, I’m one of those that tries to read primary papers whenever possible, rather than the sexy newspaper version. Todd Meyers, WPC, and its PhD Statistician have essentially rehashed the UW paper, but with important additional statistical analysis to prove Wielgus wrong. They even plotted the new approach to the data. What bothers me, just a bit–like public lands grazing–is the following statement and footnote. I am not concerned with the relationship they express, but the footnote’s statement itself:

              “The figure below plots that relationship.10”
              “10 Specifically, we follow a standard practice and take logarithms of these quantities before plotting and analyzing. The results are quantitatively similar though less precise if the original quantities, not the logarithms, were used. ”

              Todd Meyers and his PhD Statistician have asserted that a data translation from raw data to logarithms gains precision through the conversion. I’m sorry, but if one of the data points is zero (0), how does an undefined mathematical value increase precision? Here is the graph. Can YOU explain what the axis values represent? Or have we bent a line by using log-log scaling? Are those axes log-log? Wouldn’t we be more comfortable if the axis values were in either units or percentages.

              BTW, the free-market WPC loses about $150-200 thousand each year on its fund-raising dinner. Guess they don’t hear the market’s message.”

            3. Mareks Vilkins Avatar
              Mareks Vilkins

              from website:

              “WSU, UW research clashes”

              However, Wielgus is confident in his methodology.

              “As time went on and the years progressed, all these wolves in all these states increased,” Wielgus said. “The number of livestock at risk increased, the number of depredations increased, the numbers of wolves killed increased. They put in year, which is auto-correlated with all those other variables so their analysis found that year had the biggest effect on livestock depredations.”

              He said that by doing this and using time as the control variable they were ignoring a larger issue.

              “Year doesn’t really mean anything,” Wielgus said. “And they found that oh, in addition, the more wolves you kill the fewer livestock depredations you get. Their same analysis showed that the number of wolves has no effect whatsoever on number of livestock depredations, so their analysis was biologically impossible.”

              So because they used year as a control variable, it was auto-correlated with everything, which means that none of the other parameters such as number of wolves and breeding pairs that Wielgus mentioned can be interpreted.

              “None of the UW researchers in this study were biologists, so they have never analyzed this kind of data,” Wielgus said. “Well they re-analyzed my data set and instead of controlling for the number of wolves they put in year as the control variable.”

              Wielgus said the UW researcher knew this was a problem, and he along with other reviewers pointed it out and the UW researchers chose to ignore it.

              “These folks are incompetent amateurs that don’t know what they’re doing,” Wielgus said.

              1. Mareks Vilkins Avatar
                Mareks Vilkins

                Wolf researcher who accused WSU of silencing him gets $300K to settle lawsuit and go away

                Emails obtained by The Seattle Times under a public-disclosure request revealed that WSU administrators were worried funding for a new medical school was in jeopardy unless controversy in the Legislature and among ranchers over Wielgus was quelled.

                ” … Highly ranked senators have said that the medical school and wolves are linked.”

                1. Mareks Vilkins Avatar
                  Mareks Vilkins

                  “Internal emails that I obtained through public-disclosure requests reveal university administrators deeply worried about blowback from the uproar; they were in repeated contact with Republican legislators and the cattlemen’s association as they coordinated their response. Within days W.S.U. issued an unusual news release that excoriated its own faculty member, apologized to the community and “disavowed” Wielgus’s statements. He received a “letter of concern” — his first of two in the next several months — reprimanding him for inappropriate conduct. Later, at the urging of Kretz and other Republican legislators, W.S.U. had a professor of statistics and mathematics analyze Wielgus’s 2014 wolf study for error. (The university found “no evidence of research misconduct.”)
                  W.S.U.’s swift action after the Profanity incident earned high praise from Wielgus’s opponents in the Legislature. “You guys really kicked ass on that wolves thing,” Mark Schoesler, the powerful anti-wolf leader of Republicans in the State Senate, said in a call to Chris Mulick afterward, as recounted in an email from Mulick to W.S.U.’s president. Mulick added, “His wife does some work of the Cattlemen’s Association and he joked that their dinner conversations have been much improved.”

                2. WM Avatar

                  The settlement of Wielgus’ claims would not have even covered half of the defense costs for WSU even if they were to prevail over Wielgus’ claims. Nuisance value case. Wielgus probably netted about a year’s salary and benefits out of the nominal settlement. What does that tell you? It was an economic and PR decision to settle.

                  And, yup, its politics. State ag school trying to expand its breadth and include a medical school that hopefully would serve the eastern half of the state better, and raise their prestige. Then there is this wild-eyed, Harley riding, self-proclaimed adrenaline junkie, gun-toting smoker, scientist with a “Large Carnivore Lab (which I think was mostly Wielgus and a couple grad students), gets in the way of the future of the state’s agricultural college. Wolf recovery is a liabiity for them in so many ways. Part is indeed politics. So, how should school administrators view the matter?

                  As for Wielgus’ assertion thru Sierra Club, he gets a friendly forum to challenge critics, with no rebuttal by them. I expect UW was just done with him.

                  I still want to know if he lied about the rancher placing salt blocks intentionally over den sites. Or, was the the FS (according to WDFW) which told them where to put them so that the cows would be attracted to and kept on portions of the grazing ground they felt were most appropriate. Again, if this is part of the suit, maybe a court can sort it out.

                3. idaursine Avatar

                  WM, he has to compete with the pickup driving, gun-rack toting, “Smoke-a-Pack-a-Day” bumper stickers advocating wolf killing, shoot, shovel and shutup crowd. Talk about wild eyed. Somehow I think Dr. Weilgus is still comes out on top compared to them.

                  So corruption justifies a new ag school and a medical school. Got ya. I’m not surprised, it’s been going on for quite some time.

                  Supposedly there are photos of the salt lick place in the wolves’ denning area by that stubborn old coot.

                  I hope that he will be ordered by the court to comply with the state’s plan at least.

                4. idaursine Avatar

                  This may have been posted before at least once, so apologies – but here’s some background on the salt lick incident. And of course, I am sure the range riders and rancher owner was well aware of the den site of the wolves, if they are anything like coyotes in their howling and pack gathering activities:

                  “A range rider for the Diamond M moved the salt block Aug. 8 after being asked to by the department. But that just made the problem of cows hanging around the wolves’ core activity area worse. Cows milled around, looking for the salt that was supposed to be there and licking and pawing salt still in the ground.”


                  And for the record, I think Dr. Weilgus sounds like a really cool guy, and he’s got compassion which appears to be one-up on his detractors.

            4. Mareks Vilkins Avatar
              Mareks Vilkins

              He, of course, crossed the line from being researcher to being wolf advocate

              still waiting when WM will adopt this stand to Valerius Geist’s anti-wolf rubbish

            5. Mareks Vilkins Avatar
              Mareks Vilkins

              “WDFW investigators confirmed 11 cattle and one sheep as being killed by wolves during the year.”

              so, WM is desperately trying to put spin and argue that dozen cows threaten funding for the medical school – lol

              how about wild-eyed Rolf Peterson, John Vucetich, or Jeremy Bruskotter, Adrian Treves etc etc?

              or how about Valerius Geist?

              when CBD wins a court case then WM is moaning, when corrupt politicians are harassing Wielgus – everything’s just fine

              1. Nancy Avatar

                The comments on this thread are so stacked that you can no longer reply to an individual comment but I do want to reply to this comment from WM:

                “I still want to know if he lied about the rancher placing salt blocks intentionally over den sites. Or, was the the FS (according to WDFW) which told them where to put them so that the cows would be attracted to and kept on portions of the grazing ground they felt were most appropriate. Again, if this is part of the suit, maybe a court can sort it out”

                No, IMHO, I don’t think he lied, WM.

                Because ranchers in my neck of the woods have no problem leaving dead cattle (I’ve seen them, many times, okay… got photos) Cattle who die from many other causes besides depredation by predators and are left laying around in order to continue to attract predators so WS/FWP can swoop in, via planes, helicopters or trappers and cull the offenders (wolves, bears, even coyotes) so they can continue to keep the landscape sterile of anything that might interfere with ranching operations here in the west.

                When someone has what amounts to a half million dollars worth of inventory (around 500 head of cattle in today’s market) you’d think they (ranchers) would make some attempt to protect them, not only from predators but from “other causes” which often lead to predation but ranching has become just like most big business – factor in the loss – and in the case of livestock raisers, just expect wildlife to pay the price because of decades of subsidies (as in predator control) even when predators are a fraction of the loss to most ranchers.

                But predators do clean up the loss/mess left by lazy ranching practices.

                1. Hiker Avatar

                  Thanks Nancy, and to think we as taxpayers are footing the bill for welfare ranchers to behave like this. It all needs to stop. Stop all cattle grazing on public lands, NOW.

    2. Louise Kane Avatar
      Louise Kane

      Ida I should have made my point clearer
      The public does express their support for wolves loud and clear
      The scoping for the Washington wolf plan indicated a preference for non lethal actions and high support for wolf recovery , 78 percent
      The federal register reviews for the latest and prior proposed delistings have recorded the highest number of comments with some ninety percent or more being against delisting
      Michigan voters thrice rejected a wolf hint by referendum
      Yet our agencies find ways around what the public their clients want and insist on instead manipulating the process and laws to appease placate and coddle a small destructive willfully ignorant segments of the public hellbent on killing wolves
      It’s obscene

      1. idaursine Avatar

        I’m sorry; I think that this is very upsetting, I had forgotten about Michigan.

        Isn’t there a way that the courts could order this rancher to comply with the state’s plan, if nothing else? After all, he is on the public lands! I keep reading that he will not.

    1. idaursine Avatar

      Just wow. 🙁

  19. idaursine Avatar

    And if we are talking posturing, you really can’t beat this for trying to inspire fright. State Rep. (R) Joel Kretz, from the same article:

    “Known for carrying the severed heads of cougars to public meetings — even plucking one for effect from his home freezer to sit, defrosting, on a table between himself and this reporter during an interview at his ranch — Kretz had butted heads with Wielgus from his first cougar papers that had thwarted Kretz’s efforts to increase cougar hunting in Northeastern Washington.”

  20. idaursine Avatar

    I forgot to add this paragraph from the article I posted above about Dr. Wielgus. It reminded me of the coyotes I have been hearing lately:

    “The ranchers figured out the den site on their own at the same time as the department, because of all the wolf howling, tracks and scat they noticed while checking on their cattle. They also were informed of the den location by the department.”

    So year after year, the same thing goes on, and you have to wonder why the cattle are not moved, or non-lethal steps are not taken. They do not want to and feel they do not have to. But the problem is, they are on the public lands for at least part, or most of their grazing? And for pennies.

    What other conclusion could a reasonable person draw?

  21. idaursine Avatar

    I’m almost afraid to post this because someone might kill them, but it is too sweet not to. CA, watch them carefully!:

  22. Mark Bailey Avatar

    Love the, ” . . .public discussion over non-lethal methods to control ranchers (rather than wolves) and whether they are working or not.”


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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