On Friday afternoon, this came across my desk:

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Mexican Wolf Recovery Plan, Region 2, intends to issue a sole source award utilizing Simplified Acquisition Procedures to William Bennett Nelson dba Bill Nelson Wildlife Control (DUNS# 117125795) Datil, New Mexico for trapping, capturing and radio collaring of wolves. The contract requires the contractor to provide transportation to and from the Mexican Wolf designated trapping area, transportation in the trapping area, traps (foothold), trapping equipment supplies (bucket, shovels, sifters, scent, and lures) and collar wolves using government furnished property including telemetry equipment (receiver and antennas), communication devices (satellite phone or radio), and capture supplies (baits, chemical immobilization drugs, radio collars, tools and processing kit). Work under the performance work statement is in accordance to Standard Operating Procedure 21.0 Handling, Immobilizing and Processing Live Mexican Wolves. The work to be performed will be in the states of Arizona and New Mexico. This unique requirement calls for expertise in skilled trapper skills utilizing foothold traps as well as trapping around wolf depredations. Mr. Nelson has extensive expertise in trapping around wolf depredations and was the primary person to determine the cause of depredations and trap for wolves in New Mexico through his work with USDA/APHIS/Wildife Services. (https://govmik.com/Solicitation/DOIFFBO190069)

 

First thought: They need to stop trapping wolves and start moving cows out of wolf habitat. How much is this going to cost the recovery program that could be better spent buying out grazing allotments and reducing the conflict altogether?

 

Second thought: BILL NELSON? You mean, BILL NELSON, the guy who worked as a “wolf depredation specialist” and a “wildlife specialist” for Wildlife Services [sic] and nonetheless killed a young Mexican wolf in 2013 thinking it was a coyote? That guy?

Yep. That guy.

 

When contacted, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service responded:

The facts of the case were investigated by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Special Agents and turned over to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, which decided not to prosecute due to a lack of evidence that Mr. Nelson committed a crime.  Mr. Nelson was an employee of the U.S.D.A – Wildlife Services and the facts in the case indicated that Mr. Nelson followed all protocols including self reporting of the incident. Therefore, FWS Contracting will continue the process of the Intent to Sole Source and follow Federal Acquisition Regulation procedures.
That’s not actually true. The Department of Justice declined to prosecute because Nelson claimed he “thought it was a coyote,” an excuse well-known to be a “get out of jail free” card in the world of Endangered Species violations. It’s otherwise known as the “McKittrick policy” and the Department of Justice uses it to let wolf killers off the hook all the time. DOJ didn’t decide that Mr. Nelson didn’t commit a crime — it decided not to prosecute him. See page 7 of this report, with relevant excerpt below.

http://www.thewildlifenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/M1288-August-14-report.pdf

 

Also of note from the reports is that the wolf Nelson killed had a prior but non-lethal gunshot wound and bullet-lodged in the neck. Someone had tried to kill this wolf just a week prior, begging the question, are there any other open positions in the Wolf Recovery Program ?

 
avatar
About The Author

Greta Anderson

Greta Anderson is a plant nerd, a desert rat, and a fan of wildness. She is the Deputy Director of Western Watersheds Project.

12 Responses to Mexican wolf killer has no problem getting job with Mexican wolf recovery program

  1. avatar idaursine says:

    IDK, it doesn’t inspire much confidence, using the Tweety Bird defense (I thought it was a coyote! I did, I did!) or that he’d have the right attitude for handling endangered animals, especially wolves or coyotes, coming from Wildlife Services.

    It seems as though the U.S. Fish and Wildlife department doesn’t have the right attitude, either. 🙁

  2. avatar Bruce Bowen says:

    Fits into this countries long standing prevailing attitude of regarding living things only by their relative economic value. Imagine if coyotes and wolves had the special ability to sniff out gold deposits. Would they be treated differently or what?

    As far as the FWS is concerned they are up to their necks in hypocrisy. I was just reading a document of proposed purposes for the Medicine Lake NWR in Montana. It read in part: Proposed Purposes “For use as an inviolate sanctuary….for migratory birds”. Then farther along, the document stated that “Hunting is a priority public use of the Refuge System, and providing a hunting program contributes to achieving one of the Refuge goals”. OK. Must not be the goal for an inviolate sanctuary though.

    American Indians believed that each animal species had much more value than just dollars for their fur or feathers. Each animal had special spiritual value and even healing value, otherwise the Great Spirit would not have created them in the first place. EG: Cranes are recognized in other parts of the world for their “spiritual practice” of performing the dance of life. Here in the states they are listed as game species to be blasted out of the sky for sport and to make money for game departments and outfitters. So hiring a man that can “control” predators is kind of like hiring a man like general Sheridan to control Indians.

    The United States lost it’s spiritual center a long time ago and refuses to seek regaining it. The government such as it is, seeks shelter in hypocrisy- but its days are numbered.

    • avatar Carol says:

      “God’s Dog, A Celebration of the North American Coyote” by Hope Ryden

      When what is now Yellowstone National Park was the summer camp of the Crow Indians, the coyote had little to fear from man. His place in the Indian’s heart, as well as on his hunting ground, was secure. When the white man began to explore the West, most wildlife, the coyote included, displayed hardly more fear of him than of any other alien species in their midst. Flight distance, or the nearest point to which a man might approach before an animal would flee, was not very great. The Indian’s mode of hunting had not instilled in the creatures of forest and plain the TERRIBLE PANIC REACTIONS they now exhibit at the mere sight of a human silhouette on a far horizon. The Indian’s weapons could be flung but a limited distance, the range of which was perfectly understood by the target animals. Moreover, the Indian’s view of wildlife was of a different order than the white man’s, and this difference no doubt was reflected in his demeanor. It would have been inconceivable to an Indian to slaughter an animal merely “because it was there.” ANIMALS WERE NOT REGARDED AS OBJECTS BUT AS EMBODIED SPIRITS ANIMATED BY THE SAME LIFE FORCE THAT SUSTAINS MAN HIMSELF, and when of necessity one had to be killed for food, shelter, or religious ceremony, forgiveness often was asked of the victim-to-be. The rest of the time the Indians remained at peace with their quarry and at times could pass among game herds without creating a disturbance. In this respect they were like the well-fed wolves that can lie down beside the caribou herd they trail and sometimes prey upon, for the prey species seemed to have little difficulty assessing both the capabilities and the intention of their natural enemies and they took their cues to run away or remain quiet accordingly. Bullets had not yet eliminated from the population all but the most edgy individuals.

      The white man changed all this. Predators, as well as ungulates, quickly learned his treacherous ways and began to vanishy at the first inkling of a human being. In 1843, Lansford Warren Hasting, while traveling through California, noted that the prairie wolves (coyotes) were numerous and passed “within a few yards of you.” But before the century ended, no coyote or any other creature lingered for a backward look. The white man, bent on exploiting whatever resource he chanced upon, fired on everything that moved.

      • avatar Hiker says:

        I was just posting about how elk in Yellowstone NP are not afraid of humans, having been chased by females guarding their calves. Fear, it seems is a learned behavior.

      • avatar idaursine says:

        “ANIMALS WERE NOT REGARDED AS OBJECTS BUT AS EMBODIED SPIRITS ANIMATED BY THE SAME LIFE FORCE THAT SUSTAINS MAN HIMSELF”

        Yes!

  3. avatar idaursine says:

    We know of a great example of former trapper Wildlife Service employee who are now wolf advocates.

    But in this case, I’ll wait and see.

  4. avatar Frank Krosnicki says:

    I just banged my head repeatedly on the garage wall after reading this. There my really be no hope!

  5. avatar Marc Bedner says:

    The problem goes far beyond one individual. Wildlife Services is a key part of the Mexican wolf “recovery” program. For example, here’s last month’s official report of their actions (from https://www.azgfd.com/Wildlife/speciesofgreatestconservneed/MexicanWolves/reports/):
    During the month of July, there were 17 confirmed wolf depredation incidents on livestock.
    There were no nuisance incidents reported in July. From January 1, 2019 to July 31, 2019 there
    have been a total of 103 confirmed wolf depredation incidents and six probable wolf
    depredations in New Mexico; and a total of 28 confirmed wolf depredation incidents and one
    probable wolf depredation in Arizona.
    On July 2, Wildlife Services investigated an injured horse in Catron County, NM. The
    investigation determined the injured horse was a confirmed wolf incident.
    On July 6, Wildlife Services investigated two dead calves in Catron County, NM. The
    investigations determined both calves were confirmed wolf depredations.
    On July 7, Wildlife Services investigated two dead cows in Navajo County, AZ. The
    investigations determined one cow had been struck by a vehicle. The cause of death was
    unknown for the other cow.
    On July 8, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow and a dead calf in Catron County, NM.
    Both the dead cow and calf were confirmed wolf depredations.
    On July 9, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf in Catron County, NM. The investigation
    determined the calf was a confirmed wolf depredation.
    On July 10, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf in Apache County, AZ. The investigation
    determined the calf died from a respiratory illness.
    On July 12, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow in Catron County, NM. The investigation
    determined the cow was a confirmed wolf depredation.
    On July 13, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf in Catron County, NM. The investigation
    determined the calf was a confirmed wolf depredation.
    On July 16, Wildlife Services investigated an injured horse and a dead cow in Catron County,
    NM. The investigations determined the injured horse was a confirmed wolf incident and the dead
    cow was a bear depredation.
    On July 18, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf in Catron County, NM. The investigation
    concluded the cause of death was unknown.
    On July 19, Wildlife Services investigated two dead calves in Apache County, AZ. The
    investigations determined both calves were confirmed wolf depredations.
    On July 22, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow in Catron County, NM. The investigation
    determined the cow was a confirmed wolf depredation.
    On July 26, Wildlife Services investigated two dead calves in Catron County, NM. The
    investigation determined both calves were confirmed wolf depredations.
    On July 29, Wildlife Services investigated two dead cows and a dead calf in Catron County, NM.
    The investigation determined both cows were confirmed wolf depredations, the determination on
    the calf is pending.
    On July 31, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf in Catron County, NM. The investigation
    determined the calf was a confirmed wolf depredation.

  6. avatar Former IFT says:

    I did not see this article until today, a month late, but I am going to comment anyway.

    Regardless of what you may feel about trapping, it is a necessary tool for managing Mexican wolves under the current management strategy. Regardless of how you feel about Bill Nelson, it is possible that Bill is the most accomplished Mexican wolf trapper since Roy McBride. Bill is able to trap wolves that no one else can catch. I can recall at least two instances (although there may be more) in which Bill’s ability to trap a wolf has saved that wolf’s life. These “problem” wolves were going to be lethally removed because no one else could catch them. Bill used his incredible trapping skill and his vast understanding of wildlife to trap and remove them from the wild population with no more harm than a sore foot.

    As far as San Mateo mp1288, the wolf that Bill shot, it looked much like a coyote. It was fairly small, light in color, and had neither the typical color or large head size you would see on most adult male wolves. Bill’s job as a Wildlife Services public servant was to reduce coyote numbers. He thought he was doing the job you were paying him to do when he pulled the trigger. He was wrong, and he paid the price for it.

    It is easy to criticize Bill and get emotional about the tragic death of a wolf, but the fact remains that Bill Nelson provides a net benefit to the Mexican wolf population. Bill can catch and radio collar more wolves than anyone else alive. In the world we live in now, where USFWS law enforcement commit criminal misconduct and are absolutely corrupt and incompetent, radio collars are the only thing keeping the wolves alive. You don’t have to love him or send him cookies, but Bill Nelson is good for the Mexican wolf.

    • avatar Hiker says:

      Do you think killing coyotes, as you claim Bill was doing, is OK? I have a problem with Wildlife Services and the endless killing in the name of the livestock industry. Why were these wolves going to be lethally removed? Because of cattle? Which are in shorter supply cows or wolves? Which is more beneficial and natural in the environment cattle or wolves? What do our tax dollars buy when cows are protected at the expense of native wildlife? I would rather spend a few more dollars for food if it meant the survival of a species.

      • avatar Greta Anderson says:

        Well said, Hiker. Hear, hear. If Bill Nelson is good for the Mexican wolf, I tremble for the fate of the species.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Calendar

August 2019
S M T W T F S
« Jul   Sep »
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031

Quote

‎"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

%d bloggers like this: