National Campaign to End Wildlife Killing Contests

http://www.predatordefense.org/contests/index.htm

Sept. 22, 2014 – We are pleased to introduce our nationwide campaign to end wildlife killing contests. Our coordinators, Elisabeth and Guy Dicharry are based in Los Lunas, New Mexico, where they spearheaded a local “Stop Coyote Killing Contests” effort that has now expanded into an effort to end wildlife killing contests across the country. We will be updating this page as the campaign progresses.

How the Campaign Began in New Mexico

“Our involvement in opposing wildlife killing contests began as a response to the businesses and commercial organizations who used the federal and state public lands of New Mexico, and Valencia County in particular, as a killing ground. These contests were held to generate publicity for businesses, for entertainment, for winning prizes, and for making a profit. The contestants kill—without any meaningful limits— important and unprotected species such as coyotes and prairie dogs. We are working to bring an end to these events which have nothing in common with regulated, fair chase hunting of game.”

- Elisabeth Dicharry, Campaign Manager
– Guy Dicharry, Consulting Attorney

“Hunter-Conservationists:” the Most Ridiculous Spin of the Century

The award for Most Ridiculous Spin of the Century goes collectively to Kit Fischer, sportsmen’s outreach coordinator with the National Wildlife Federation (what the hell kind of environmental/wildlife advocacy group hires an outreach coordinator to attract sport hunters?); Dave Chadwick, executive director of the Montana Wildlife Federation; Jim Posewitz, board member of Helena Hunters and Anglers; Casey Hackathorn, president of Hellgate Hunters and Anglers; Chris Marchion, board member of Anaconda Sportsmen and Glenn Hockett, president of Gallatin Wildlife Association. These revisionists recently had the insolent audacity to try to boast that “hunter-conservationists saved bison from extinction a century ago” in their article, Enlist Montana Hunters to Manage Bison Numbers.

Let’s not forget that the vast herds that once blackened the plains for hundreds of miles on end were almost completely killed off by hide-hunters, market meat-hunters or by sport-hunters shooting from trains just for a bit of fun.

The only reason hunters stopped the insanity was that the bison were all but completely wiped out. By the time they ended their killing spree, only 18 wild bison remained, holed up like wrongfully-accused outlaws in the upper reaches of the Yellowstone caldera.

Although Yellowstone National Park is now synonymous with the shaggy bovines, bison would prefer to spend their winters much further downriver, on lands now usurped and fenced-in by cowboys to fatten-up their cattle before shipping them off to slaughter.

If today’s ranchers and hunters had their way, bison, along with wolves and grizzly bears, would be forever restricted to the confines of the park. Rancher-hunters already have such a death-grip on Montana’s wildlife that bison are essentially marooned and forced to stay within park borders, battling snow drifts no matter how harsh the winter, despite an instinctual urge to migrate out of the high country during heavy snow winters.

Instead of making amends for the historic mistreatment of these sociable, benevolent souls, twenty-first-century sport hunters want their chance to lay waste to them again–this time in the name of “tradition.”

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Parts of this post were excerpted from my book, Exposing the Big Game: Living Targets of a Dying Sport

Text and Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

Text and Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

Hunting Accident Kills One

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http://www.wlos.com/news/features/top-stories/stories/hunting-accident-kills-one-17818.shtml#.VCRewGd0y1s

TRANSYLVANIA COUNTY, N.C. — One man is dead after a hunting accident in Transylvania County on Thursday night.

Deputies say a friend of George Harley Case Jr., 58, reportedly mistook Case for a deer while the two were hunting together and shot and killed him with a crossbow.

It happened near Lyda Creek Road. When first responders arrived around 7:45, Case, of Pisgah Forest, was dead.

According to hunting regulations, hunters are not required to wear blaze orange during archery deer season. Deer hunting season for archers opened last Saturday. This is the first incident that’s been reported so far in the mountains.

“They weren’t doing anything wrong, they didn’t have orange on, but in North Carolina during bow season you don’t have to wear orange. That’s just during the gun and rifle season,” Capt. Kevin Creasman with Transylvania Co. Sheriff’s Dept. said.

The two men had been hunting for a couple of hours on private property about a mile into the woods when the incident happened.

Hunting officials say said both men were experienced hunters. The incident is under investigation, but right now no charges have been filed. According to deputies, the shooting was an accident.

The name of the man who shot the arrow has not been released. North Carolina Wildlife is also taking a look at this case, and could possibly bring charges against that hunter.

An autopsy is scheduled for Friday in Winston-Salem.

Man who posted dead wolf photo to Facebook speaks out

Photo copyright Jim Robertson

Photo copyright Jim Robertson

MISSOULA – The man behind a controversial Facebook post is speaking out.

Toby Bridges is under investigation by Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks for pictures he posted of a dead wolf. Bridges boasted that he hit two wolves with his car.

Bridges is an avid hunter and fisherman who has come under national scrutiny for a Facebook post on the page Lobo Watch, an organization he founded in 2008.

“Lobo Watch is a web site for wolf control advocates,” Bridges said.

The Sept. 16 post references an incident on Aug. 14 when Bridges hit two wolves while driving on I-90 near the Idaho-Montana border, killing one of them.

“A mature cow elk and a calf ran out onto the interstate. I slowed down and took my foot off the gas,” Bridges said.

That’s when Bridges spotted four more wolves. He wrote in the post that he let off the brakes and hit the accelerator, because he was going to “save that calf”.

He said that he did not actually intend to hit any wolves, but rather scare them off. Bridges added that hitting the wolves was unavoidable.

“My goal was to get it up there and to either haze those wolves off those elk, or get in between those wolves and those elk. I had no intention of hitting a wolf. There was no stopping, there was no opportunity to stop, even the greatest NASCAR driver out there in the world couldn’t have prevented running into some of those wolves.”

When asked why he decided to post the picture of the dead wolf, Bridges said it was to send a message to pro-wolf advocates.

“They don’t have any problems going after us all the time. I did it, I’ll be honest with you. I did it just to aggravate them. I wanted them to do something. I wanted them to step across the line, and they did. So I got what I wanted.”

Wyoming fights wolf decision, files emergency rule to allow hunting season

copyrighted Hayden wolf walking
September 25, 2014 6:00 am  • 
 

Wyoming filed an emergency rule Wednesday with the Secretary of State’s Office, hoping to still begin its wolf hunting season Oct. 1.

The move came a day after a Washington, D.C., judge placed wolves back on the endangered species list, which immediately stopped all wolf hunting in Wyoming.

The emergency regulation would place a Wyoming Game and Fish Commission wolf management plan into effect in an attempt to address the judge’s concerns.

 

There are no guarantees it will work, said Brian Nesvik, head of the wildlife division of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.

A coalition of conservation groups argued three points in a lawsuit filed against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2012. They said Wyoming’s plan did not ensure a viable population of wolves, that there was not enough genetic exchange with other populations and that the gray wolf is still endangered in some of its range.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson wrote in her ruling that while wolves had recovered with sufficient genetic exchange, Wyoming’s plan to have a viable population was not binding.

“It’s just another page in the saga of this whole issue,” said Budd Betts, owner of Absaroka Ranch, a guest ranch and outfitting business near Dubois. “I thought this very well could have happened. This is going to be a recipe for an exploding population.”

At issue in the judge’s ruling is Wyoming’s promise to maintain more than the required 100 wolves and 10 breeding pairs outside the national parks, said Nesvik.

Wyoming put an addendum in its management plan that it would maintain a buffer of wolves above the required number. It did not specify how many or make the buffer binding by law.

The emergency rule the state filed Wednesday changes that addendum and turns it into a regulation, Nesvik said.

“This is a formality is all it is,” he said. “Two-thirds of this decision affirmed the merits of Wyoming’s wolf management plan.”

Gov. Matt Mead signed the emergency rule Wednesday, he said.

Wyoming needs to do more than add a regulation to its plan resolving the buffer to assure wolves’ continued survival in the state, said Mike Senatore, vice president of conservation law and general counsel for Defenders of Wildlife, one of the groups involved in the lawsuit.

“What we hope Wyoming does is they go back and put in place a plan that will actually ensure the long-term recovery and survival of wolves in the state,” he said. “We continue to have major problems with the two-tiered status of wolves in the state.”

Wyoming has a hunting season on wolves in the northwest corner, but outside the area they can be shot on sight in what is called the predator zone. Senatore would like to see the predator zone eliminated or greatly restricted, he said.

Nesvik believes the plan Wyoming implemented is adequate to maintain the required number of wolves. Wyoming had at least 178 wolves and 15 breeding pairs in its trophy management area at the end of hunting season in 2013.

That number does not include wolves living in Yellowstone National Park, the Wind River Indian Reservation or the predator zone.

About 85 percent of the state’s wolf population is in the trophy management area. Nesvik did not have an estimate for the number of wolves in the rest of the state.

In 2012, 42 wolves were killed in the trophy area, and 25 were hunted in the rest of the state, according to Game and Fish. In 2013, 24 wolves were killed in the trophy area and 39 in the rest of the state. Hunters did not kill the quota of wolves allowed during either hunting season.

Wyoming’s attorney general will work with attorneys from the U.S. Department of Justice to bring the case before the judge again.

In the meantime, no more wolf licenses will be sold. The department is working on a system to refund money to the hundreds of hunters who already purchased a 2014 license.

CBD Press Release: Victory For Wolves In Wyoming!

Originally posted on Howling For Justice:

Gray wolf_National Park Service Photo

September 24, 2014

I could post this news everyday for the next month and it wouldn’t get old. Here’s the Center For Biological Diversity’s press release on the relisting of wolves in Wyoming. Good bye Wyoming predator zone, you can no longer treat wolves like vermin! The Wyoming wolf  trophy hunt, due to start in October, has been cancelled. Music to my ears! Thank you again Earth Justice and all who were involved in this fight!

 A great victory for Wyoming wolves!  Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the U.S. District Court  “invalidated the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2012 statewide Endangered Species Act delisting of the species.” What welcome news, it’s been a long time coming!

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For Immediate Release: September 23, 2014

Victory for Wolves in Wyoming

Federal Judge Reinstates Federal Protections Statewide

WASHINGTON— Federal protections for gray wolves in Wyoming were reinstated today after a judge invalidated

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FoA, Buffalo Field Campaign file rule-making petition to stop slaughter of buffalo in Yellowstone Park

 

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

(West Yellowstone MT)— Did you know that Yellowstone National Park and other government agencies behind the Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP) are planning to slaughter 900 buffalo this coming winter under the guise of “disease risk management” even though there has never been a documented case of a wild bison transmitting brucellosis—a bacterial disease that affects livestock and wildlife—to cattle?

 

In an effort to avert the bloodshed, Friends of Animals (FoA) and the Buffalo Field Campaign filed an emergency rulemaking petition Sept. 15 with the National Park Service (NPS) and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) to protect the genetic diversity and viability of the bison of Yellowstone National Park.  They are requesting that the NPS and USFS undertake a population study and revise the IBMP to correct scientific deficiencies, make the plan consistent with the best available science, and follow the legal mandates the U.S. Congress has set. Until then, the groups are also requesting that the capture, removal or killing of bison at the Stephens Creek area of Yellowstone National Park and the Horse Butte area of the Gallatin National Forest be prohibited.

 

“Yellowstone National Park and other federal agencies are required to follow the best available science and not the latest political whims of Montana,” said Daniel Brister, executive director of Buffalo Field Campaign.  “Our joint petition seeks redress to ensure the buffalo are protected for future generations. The IBMP currently is heavily weighted in favor of protecting the profits of the livestock industry at the expense and peril of our nation’s only continuously wild bison population.”

 

Every winter and spring, snow and ice cover the bison’s food and hunger pushes them to lower elevations across the park boundary in Montana. When they cross this arbitrary line, the buffalo enter a zone of violent conflict with ranchers.  Last winter 653 bison were slaughtered, and back in the winter of 2007/2008, the largest scale wild buffalo slaughter, claimed the lives of 1,631 animals. At the turn of the 20th century, similar reckless behavior nearly drove bison to extinction.

 

“Slaughtering wild bison is the livestock industry’s way of eliminating competition and maintaining control of grazing lands surrounding Yellowstone National Park and across the west,” Brister said. “Montana’s livestock industry continues to use brucellosis to frighten and mislead the public into supporting its discrimination against bison. There has never been a single case of wild bison transmitting brucellosis to livestock.”

 

The IBMP was designed to be an adaptive management plan allowing for greater tolerance for bison as new information becomes available and conditions on the ground change, but no such tolerance has been afforded to the bison. Despite new scientific research showing that the Yellowstone population is comprised of distinct herds with unique genetics and behaviors, the agencies continue to treat Yellowstone bison as though they comprise a single homogeneous herd, Brister said.

 

“We want to make sure that each herd has a viable population number so that we are not starting to degrade the species,” said Mike Harris, director of Friends of Animals’ Wildlife Law Program. “Right now they are managing the numbers based largely upon misinformation regarding the genetic viability of the herds. The data they are using is not the best available data right now. They are using data that doesn’t match up with what is the actual status of the herd populations in the park. The petition is asking the federal agencies responsible for protecting these animals make an effort to establish stronger scientific criteria to protect the viability of the remaining Yellowstone herds, and to stop slaughtering the last 4,000 genetically pure bison left in the United States.”

More Than 71,500 People Speak Out for Endangered Mexican Gray Wolves

http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2014/mexican-gray-wolf-09-23-2014.html

For Immediate Release, September 23, 2014

Contact: Michael Robinson, Center for Biological Diversity, (575) 313-7017
Sandy Bahr, Sierra Club – Grand Canyon Chapter, (602) 999-5790
Drew Kerr, WildEarth Guardians, (312) 375-6104
Emily Renn, Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery Project, (928) 202-1325
Kevin Bixby, Southwest Environmental Center, (575) 522-5552

More Than 71,500 People Speak Out for Endangered Mexican Gray Wolves

New Rules Expand Area Mexican Wolves Can Roam, But Also Allow Increased Wolf Killing

TUCSON, Ariz.— More than 71,500 people submitted comments to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in support of stronger protections for Mexican gray wolves during the comment period ending today. In July the agency proposed a new rule updating management of the wolves that would, for the first time, allow releases of captive-bred animals into New Mexico and allow wolves much more room to roam than they’re currently allowed. Scientists and citizens have long urged adoption of these measures.

The science-supported provisions in the proposed rule, however, would be undermined by provisions arbitrarily limiting wolves to south of Interstate 40 in Arizona and New Mexico, as well as language increasing the circumstances in which wolves could be trapped or shot despite scientists’ recommendations that the Service must decrease excessive human-caused removal and mortality rates.

“We’ve got to let wolves roam, find the best habitat with their own noses and paws — and frankly, we’ve got to stop the slaughter of wolves by both government and private citizens,” said Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity. “The proposed rule falls short of what is needed, and we hope the government will listen to the tens of thousands of citizens requesting they follow the science and let these lobos raise their pups, travel freely and contribute to the balance of nature without persecution.”

“The Endangered Species Act and the hard work of wildlife biologists and individuals and groups throughout the country have given these endangered wolves a lifeline, a second chance,” said Sandy Bahr, chapter director for Sierra Club’s Grand Canyon (Arizona) Chapter. “Now we need the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to do its part — to reject these arbitrary borders, to stop the excessive killing of wolves, and to afford them the protections that are necessary for their recovery.”

Comments from conservation groups and thousands of citizens urged the Service to allow Mexican wolves to roam freely in Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado; redesignate the small and vulnerable reintroduced population in the Southwest as “essential” under the Endangered Species Act; and spare wolves from trapping, snaring and shooting by the government and private individuals.

“The Service must decide how to manage the reintroduced Mexican wolf population based on the best available science,” said Drew Kerr, carnivore advocate with WildEarth Guardians. “The science shows that to recover, lobos need multiple populations in the American Southwest, freedom to roam their native habitat in the Grand Canyon and southern Rockies regions, and more protections from shooting and trapping.”

Said Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery Project Executive Director Emily Renn: “Multiple studies, including peer-reviewed science published in Conservation Biology just last year, show that the best available habitat for recovery of these special wolves is north of I-40. Many thousands of U.S citizens understand this, so why doesn’t the agency responsible for the wolves’ recovery?”

At last count, after 36 years of the government’s recovery efforts, just 83 wolves, including only five breeding pairs, survive in the wilds of Arizona and New Mexico.

“Wolf supporters throughout the U.S. are united in wanting to see Mexican wolves roam throughout the Southwest so their howls can be heard again in every canyon and mountain range, and they can once again fulfill their important role as a top predator in maintaining the balance of nature in southwestern ecosystems,” said Kevin Bixby, executive director of the Southwest Environmental Center.

Background
Under a 1998 rule, the Service reintroduced Mexican gray wolves to a small area on the border of Arizona and New Mexico known as the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area. In accordance with a settlement agreement with the Center for Biological Diversity, the Fish and Wildlife Service has now proposed to revise this rule and must finalize it by Jan. 12, 2015.

The proposed rule allows release of captive wolves directly into New Mexico, which was previously only allowed for recaptured wolves. This should allow the release of more wolves from captivity, which is badly needed to bolster the genetic diversity of a wild population suffering from inbreeding depression and consequent lower reproductive rates.

The proposed rule also expands the recovery area across Arizona and New Mexico, and south to the Mexican border. By limiting wolves to the area south of Interstate 40, however, the proposed rule falls short of what scientists recommend.

A recovery team formed by the Service drafted a Mexican wolf recovery plan in 2013 that called for creating additional populations in the Southern Rockies and Grand Canyon regions. In response to objections from the states of Utah and Colorado, the agency neglected to finalize this recovery plan. Conservationists are pursuing litigation to obtain a final plan.

The proposed rule would liberalize take of wolves by allowing states to dictate wolf removal in response to wolves eating their natural prey such as elk and deer, and by allowing livestock owners greatly increased latitude to kill wolves, even those not involved in depredations.

In their comments, conservationists recommended the following:

• Designating Mexican gray wolves as “experimental essential” under the Endangered Species Act to bolster their legal and on-the-ground protections;

• Allowing wolves to roam into habitat north of Interstate 40;

• Requiring ranchers to remove or render inedible (for example, through lime) the carcasses of non-wolf-killed livestock before wolves can scavenge and become accustomed to eating livestock; and

• Disallowing take of wolves until the population reaches a science-based population threshold, in accordance with recovery recommendations the Service has ignored.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 775,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

The Sierra Club is now the nation’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization — with more than two million members and supporters.

WildEarth Guardians is a nonprofit conservation organization dedicated to protecting and restoring the wildlife, wild places, wild rivers and health of the American West.

The Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery Project is dedicated to bringing back wolves and restoring ecological health in the Grand Canyon Region.

The Southwest Environmental Center speaks for wildlife and wild places in the southwestern borderlands.

The following organizations also generated comments for Mexican wolf recovery:

Sierra Club-Rio Grande Chapter, Grand Canyon Wildlands Council, White Mountain Conservation League, Great Old Broads for Wilderness, Endangered Species Coalition, Wolf Conservation Center and Mexicanwolves.org

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Wolves In North America Losing Their Genetic Diversity….

Originally posted on Howling For Justice:

NatureColdWarriors_3wolves

September 19, 2014

I thought this was worth reposting, in light of the ongoing and relentless wolf slaughter.

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February 7, 2012

The mass slaughter of wolves over the centuries in North America has caused more damage then we could ever have guessed. As far-fetched as it sounds it could push wolves to extinction.

A 2004 study in New Scientist found wolves in Canada have lost 43% of the their genetic diversity. This is very concerning, it means wolves are becoming increasingly inbred. This can effect them negatively in so many ways. Weaker immune systems unable to fight off disease,  skeletal deformities, the inability to withstand increased hunting pressure, smaller litters.  It’s a shocking find, yet very little attention has been given to this important study.

The hunt slaughter, taking place in the Northern Rockies, could have far-reaching implications. The 432 wolves who’ve been killed in the hunts took their…

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