FWP investigating after Missoula man runs over wolves

Photo copyright Jim Robertson

Photo copyright Jim Robertson


by Robbie Reynold – KPAX News

MISSOULA – A Missoula man is under investigation by Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks because of a controversial Facebook posting.

“This is one of the more ghoulish, gorish, postings I’ve ever seen,” said Predator Defense Executive Director Brooks Fahy.

You have to see it to believe it – pictures of a dead wolf posted on a Facebook page titled Lobo Watch, which is an anti-wolf organization.

A written message accompanies the pictures, which were posted on Sept. 16 – recounting an Aug. 14 incident in which a man driving his wife’s van ran over two wolves.

“When we first became aware of the post, it was right away something that we knew we needed to take seriously and to look into,” FWP spokesperson Vivica Crowser explained.

FWP is investigating the incident to determine whether or not the wolves were run over intentionally.

The message on Facebook is signed by Lobo Watch’s leader, Toby Bridges, who says he was driving on Interstate 90 near the Idaho-Montana border when he saw a calf, an elk cow, and four wolves.

Bridges wrote that the wolves were going after the calf, and that he decided to let off the brake and hit the accelerator.

The post said, “I was going to save that calf,” and goes on to say he heard two distinct “thumps”. He returned to the scene to find the dead wolf and another hobbling off with a broken leg.

Crowser told MTN news that investigators are now looking for more evidence related to the incident.

“Social media in itself isn’t enough. You have to uncover more through the case as you go along and finding things – like evidence on the scene or through other witnesses,” she said.

Fahy says he believes Montana should do more to protect wolves – especially against an incident like this.

“There’s an archery season, a trapping season, and a general hunting season for wolves. And there is no season to basically run over wolves with automobiles purposely.”

Don’t Silence The Howl!

Originally posted on Howling For Justice:

Lookout Pack yearling 2008 WDFW

Don’t Silence the Howl!

from Anonymous for Wolves

So quickly we forget. Joe Public, the press, politicians, you and me, we appear to tire of being reminded that the problem remains, that the system is broken, that something needs to be done NOW. We become monkeys sitting comfortably on our asses, our eyes tightly shut, our fingers in our ears and our mouths so filled with food that we cannot speak.

Newspaper editors tell me that there has been enough in print lately about the Washington State wolves and that there is currently little interest in updates or fact checks.

Allow me then to remind you that wolves are being killed every day, killed and tortured by poachers, ranchers, hunters, trappers, sociopaths, and by your very own state and federal governments. Wolves are dying at the hands of state and federal agencies to “protect” irresponsibly ranged livestock and you…

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The Way of the Dodo

The past two centuries of U.S. history saw two seemingly cast in stone injustices abolished, setting the stage for the most magnanimous of human advancements—the recognition of rights for non-human animals.

Each of these advancements was met with staunch opposition, ridicule and fears that they would end a way of life as we know it. While that may have been true for some of the most egregious exploiters, most Americans learned to adapt to new forms of fairness.

Plantation owners, steeped in self-pity, bemoaned the potential loss of free labor that would be wrought by acknowledging rights for all humans. Only after their cessation from the Union and a bloody civil war were they forced to accept the concept of human equality.

Two of my great aunts were embroiled in the suffragette movement. Thanks to theirs and other women’s efforts, “superior” males finally resigned themselves to the concept of voting rights for women. The same arguments crop up when such efforts are made for each group of “others.”

The idea of non-human animals being entitled to even the most basic rights is still a long way off from universal acceptance. But, IF the human race continues to survive this century, and if positive advancement continues to trump status quo and beats out the urge to backslide, notions of human superiority over other species will go the way of the dodo.



Victory! Federal Judge Reinstates Protections For Wyoming Wolves!!!!

Originally posted on Howling For Justice:

Wolves in lamar valley_ Earth Justice

September 23, 2014

Finally I have good news to report! Wyoming wolves have regained their federal protections! Thank you Earth Justice!



Victory: Federal Judge Reinstates Federal Protections Statewide
September 23, 2014
Washington, D.C. —

Federal protections for gray wolves in Wyoming were reinstated today after a judge invalidated the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2012 statewide Endangered Species Act delisting of the species. The ruling from the U.S. District Court halts the management of wolves by Wyoming, a state with a history of hostile and extreme anti-wolf policies.

“The court has ruled and Wyoming’s kill-on-sight approach to wolf management throughout much of the state must stop,” said Earthjustice attorney Tim Preso. “Today’s ruling restores much-needed federal protection to wolves throughout Wyoming, which allowed killing along the borders of Yellowstone National Park and throughout national forest lands south of Jackson Hole where wolves were…

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Wisconsin boy shoots father while hunting illegally


By Meg Jones of the Journal Sentinel

Sept. 22, 2014

Marathon City — An 11-year-old boy hunting illegally mistook his father for a turkey and shot him on Sunday, authorities said.

The 42-year-old father was in stable condition after he was wounded in the upper chest with a .22-caliber rifle around 5:30 p.m. Sunday in the Town of Marathon.

That type of rifle is not authorized for hunting turkeys, and 11-year-olds are too young to hunt unless they’re monitored closely by an adult, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources hunting safety administrator Jon King told Wausau television station WAOW-TV.

The boy’s mother was more than 50 feet away at the time and should have been “within arm’s reach,” helping the boy identify his target, for the child to be hunting legally, King said in a telephone interview from Madison.

“It is tough to call it a hunting accident,” King said. “Nobody had a hunting license. Nobody should have been out in the woods that day.”

The man was shot from about 100 yards away on private property. King told the Wausau television station that there’s a good chance citations will be issued.

“Ultimately, the adults in this case are responsible for this young man’s actions,” King said.

The Department of Natural Resources is investigating the shooting as well as two other shootings over the weekend — in Waushara and Douglas counties involving a woodcock hunter and bowhunter.



Victory for Wolves in Wyoming!


Victory: Federal Judge Reinstates Federal Protections Statewide

copyrighted Hayden wolf in lodgepoles

September 23, 2014
Washington, D.C. —Federal protections for gray wolves in Wyoming were reinstated today after a judge invalidated the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2012 statewide Endangered Species Act delisting of the species. The ruling from the U.S. District Court halts the management of wolves by Wyoming, a state with a history of hostile and extreme anti-wolf policies.

“The court has ruled and Wyoming’s kill-on-sight approach to wolf management throughout much of the state must stop,” said Earthjustice attorney Tim Preso. “Today’s ruling restores much-needed federal protection to wolves throughout Wyoming, which allowed killing along the borders of Yellowstone National Park and throughout national forest lands south of Jackson Hole where wolves were treated as vermin under state management. If Wyoming wants to resume management of wolves, it must develop a legitimate conservation plan that ensures a vibrant wolf population in the Northern Rockies.”

Earthjustice represented Defenders of Wildlife, Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club and the Center for Biological Diversity in challenging the Fish and Wildlife Service’s September 2012 decision to strip Endangered Species Act protections from gray wolves in Wyoming. The conservation groups challenged the 2012 decision on grounds that Wyoming law authorized unlimited wolf killing in a “predator” zone that extended throughout most of the state, and provided inadequate protection for wolves even where killing was regulated.

“Today the court affirmed that delisting gray wolves in Wyoming by the Obama administration was premature and a violation of federal law,” said Defenders of Wildlife President and CEO Jamie Rappaport Clark. “Any state that has a wolf management plan that allows for unlimited wolf killing throughout most of the state should not be allowed to manage wolves. Wolves need to remain protected under the Endangered Species Act until the species is fully recovered. State laws and policies that treat wolves like vermin are as outdated and discredited today as they were a century ago.”

“The decision makes clear that ‘shoot-on-sight’ is not an acceptable management plan for wolves across the majority of the state,” said Dr. Sylvia Fallon, senior scientist and wildlife conservation director at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “It’s time for Wyoming to step back and develop a more science-based approach to managing wolves.”

“The court has rightly recognized the deep flaws in Wyoming’s wolf management plan. Wolves in Wyoming must have federal protection until the state gets it right. That means developing a science-based management plan that recognizes the many benefits wolves bring to the region instead of vermin that can be shot on sight in the majority of the state,” said Bonnie Rice of the Sierra Club’s Greater Yellowstone Our Wild America Campaign. 

“We’re thrilled that protections for Wyoming’s fragile population of wolves have been restored,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director with the Center for Biological Diversity. “With Wyoming allowing wolves to be shot on sight across more than 80 percent of the state, there is no way protections for wolves should have ever been removed.”

The 2012 delisting of wolves in Wyoming turned wolf management over to the state, which opened up over 80 percent of its land to unlimited wolf killing and provided weak protections for wolves in the remainder. Since the delisting, 219 wolves have been killed under Wyoming’s management. Prior to the 2012 reversal of its position, the Fish and Wildlife Service denied Wyoming the authority to manage wolves in the state due to its extremely hostile anti-wolf laws and policies.

Background: There were once up to 2 million gray wolves living in North America, but the animals were driven to near-extinction in the lower 48 states by the early 1900s. After passage of the federal Endangered Species Act in 1973 and protection of the wolf as endangered, federal recovery programs resulted in the rebound of wolf populations in limited parts of the country. Roughly 5,500 wolves currently live in the continental United States — a fraction of the species’ historic numbers.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is currently proposing to remove Endangered Species Act protection for most gray wolves across the United States, a proposal that the groups strongly oppose; a final decision could be made later this year.

Missoula man runs-down wolves, brags on Facebook

John S. Adams 10:52 p.m. MDT September 19, 2014

Editor’s note: What follows is a graphic description that may be difficult for some readers.

A Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks law enforcement official said Friday the agency is “looking into” a Missoula anti-wolf extremist’s Facebook claim that he purposefully ran down a pair of wolves on Interstate 90 just east of the Idaho-Montana border.

Montana FWP Region 2 Warden Capt. Joseph Jaquith said they were aware of Toby Bridges’ Facebook post in which he brags about killing two young wolves with his wife’s van.

“We’re trying to determine, first of all, what exactly we can do with something somebody says on Facebook with no other physical evidence,” Jaquith said. “Whether or not it’s true remains to be seen.”

Bridges, who runs an anti-wolf website and Facebook page called Lobo Watch, on Tuesday posted pictures on Facebook and described in graphic detail how he accelerated his vehicle in an apparent attempt to intentionally run down the wolves.

Bridges did not respond to an email seeking comment.

Bridges described a scene in which he claims a group of wolves were chasing a cow and calf elk across the highway about four miles east of Lookout Pass. Bridges said he “let off the brake and hit the accelerator.”

“Just past MM4 (mile maker 4), a cow elk and calf suddenly ran right out onto Interstate 90, and I let up on the gas and had just started to brake — in case more elk followed,” Bridges wrote. “What followed were two adult wolves. The cow jumped over the concrete barrier separating (sic) West and East traffic lanes, the calf stayed on ‘my’ side — and both were running up the highway, toward the pass. The wolves went after the calf … and I let off the brake and hit the accelerator. I was going to save that calf.”

Bridges said his vehicle was driving approximately 55 mph “when suddenly four young wolves shot right out in front of me.

EXPOSED selected as Award Winner for Best Wildlife Activism Film


The 2014 Wildlife Conservation Film Festival (WCFF) announced yesterday that EXPOSED: USDA’s Secret War on Wildlife has been selected as the Award Winner for Best Wildlife Activism Film.
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Exposed Documentary – WCFF.jpg
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Preview YouTube video EXPOSED – USDA’s Secret War on Wildlife

EXPOSED – USDA’s Secret War on Wildlife

FoA’s Civil Disobedience Action for Wild Horses

Wild Horse Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

Wild Horse Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

Monday, Sept 22, 10:30 a.m. Rock Springs, Wyoming-Press Advised to Call for Embargoed Details

In Wyoming 179 wild horses have been ripped from their families and rounded up this week-three have died as a result – due to the Bureau of Land Management’s criminal reign of terror, and hundreds more are set to be brutally removed off the land and imprisoned in barren holding facilities where many are then “adopted” and end up in slaughterhouses. Friends of Animals has had enough of the agency stealing horses from public lands and will organize a protest/civil disobedience action 10:30 a.m., Monday, Sept. 22, in Rock Springs at a location to be disclosed to media upon request.

Edita Birnkrant, Friends of Animals’ Campaign Director says, “We refuse to allow the BLM to operate without disruption while these sadistic roundups are occurring, so we’re showing up at a location we will disclose early Monday morning to loudly protest and do civil disobedience actions that will make it impossible for BLM staff to ignore. Our actions and resistance will represent the millions of Americans disgusted at the obscene actions the BLM is committing against wild horses, all to benefit cattle ranchers who want all wild horses dead. We will have a bullhorn, lots of surprises in store for the BLM employees committing crimes against wild horses. We’re taking our outrage to the scene of these crimes and to those directly responsible-the BLM.”

This week also marked the deadline for when U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had to respond to Friends of Animals’ petition to list North American wild horses on public lands as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the best hope for the survival of wild horses in Wyoming and other states since the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act (WHBA), which was passed in 1971, has failed to protect our wild horses.

“In light of BLM’s intention to virtually wipe-out Wyoming’s remaining wild horse population, the time is now for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to respond to our petition to place these animals on the list of endangered or threatened species,” said FoA’s Wildlife Law Program Director Michael Harris.

“With one agency-the BLM-already failing the horses, we ask USFWS to treat the situation in Wyoming as an emergency requiring immediate action. And given the strong evidence that wild horses are a distinct population of a reintroduced North American native species, they clearly deserve our protection.”

While such crimes have been going on for years, the roundups in Wyoming are particularly egregious as they will eliminate almost all wild horses from Wyoming. The BLM intends to round up 800 horses from the Checkerboard Herd Management Area in Wyoming after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit denied an emergency motion<http://www.thecloudfoundation.org/images/pdf/Wy9.10.14DecisionDenyingEmergencyMotionPendingAppeal.pdf> by wild horse advocates to stop the roundups.

“The BLM and cattle and sheep ranchers are responsible for the crimes currently being committed against wild horses,” said Birnkrant. “The BLM has renounced its duty to protect wild horses and burros in favor of acting solely in the interests of those whose hatred and intolerance of wild horses fuels the roundups-ranchers.

“The heartless roundups occurring right now in Wyoming are ripping families of wild horses apart, terrorizing them with helicopter chases, separating foals from their mothers and imprisoning them in squalid holding facilities where their fates are unknown and where horses can be sent to slaughterhouses,” Birnkrant said. “If FoA doesn’t get a timely response to our Endangered Species Act petition from Sally Jewell, we will immediately pursue our legal options in court. There is no more time left for America’s wild horses.”

For more details about the protest, call Edita Birnkrant at 917.940.2725 or email Edita@friendsofanimals.org<mailto:Edita@friendsofanimals.org>.

‘Right to Hunt’ Amendments Pit Gun Rights vs. Animal Welfare


With backing by the NRA, making hunting a constitutionally protected right has become increasingly popular in the past decade. The latest battlegrounds are Alabama and Mississippi.

by | September 19, 201430973_4756818474045_484772904_n

If enough Mississippi voters think it’s a good idea support hunting and fishing, they’ll join 17 other states in ensuring constitutional protections for the practices.

So-called “Right to Hunt and Fish” amendments have become increasingly popular in the past decade, as groups like the National Rifle Association have led yearly pushes in states they consider friendly terrain. Their objective: to head off future regulation against hunting and also establish it as the “preferred” means of wildlife population control, as opposed to special forms of contraception and other methods of thinning out herds.

In Alabama, which already has a hunting rights amendment, advocates want to make it even stronger through the ballot box in November. The amendment before voters would make hunting and fishing the “preferred means of managing and controlling wildlife.” Mississippi’s amendment would do that as well.

Both amendments would be subject to “reasonable regulations” that promote wildlife conservation, but animal welfare groups, such as the Humane Society of the United States, generally oppose constitutional protections for hunting for a number of reasons. They often deride the measures as policies that don’t respond to any particular threat but merely will make it difficult to regulate more controversial practices down the road.

“It could prevent really progressive reform that would be necessary if there were really egregious abuse, certain forms of trapping like the kind we’re trying to fight against in Maine,” said Tracy Coppola, the director of the Humane Society’s Wildlife Abuse Campaign.

Her example in Maine refers to hounding, trapping and baiting, which sometimes include using mounds of human junk food to ensnare trophy catches or chasing bears into trees with a pack of dogs equipped with GPS devices for easy tracking. The group is trying to ban the practice in Maine this year. The NRA is opposed to the measure.

The NRA says the Maine referendum is overly restrictive. It would mostly ban the use of dogs in bear hunting. But the NRA’s issue with animal welfare organizations is much broader.

While the Humane Society argues its interest is to maintain traditional, humane forms of hunting, the NRA argues the group’s ultimate goal is to displace hunting as the most common means of wildlife management. The group does fund research into methods such as immunocontraception, a vaccine that uses the body’s immune system as birth control. It hasn’t yet reached wide use in the U.S., but some American towns are exploring it to control deer populations.

The threat of new forms of population control, initiatives to ban dove hunting, campaigns to prohibit lead bullets, challenges to bear hunting and other perceived efforts to limit hunting are alarming signs to hunting enthusiasts. “We’re not in jeopardy of losing hunting as a right today, but, you know, that’s the whole point of a constitutional amendment, to protect the next generation or the generation after that,” said Lacey Biles, the NRA’s deputy director of state and local affairs.

The first state to add a right to hunt to its constitution was Vermont in 1777, though the wording didn’t go as far as Alabama, Mississippi or other recent additions to right-to-hunt states in establishing the practice as a wildlife management tool. Most of those recent additions came in the past 14 years, mostly in the South and West but also among some Midwestern states, such as Minnesota. A number of other states, such as New Hampshire and Florida, have statutory protections but not constitutional ones.

There’s been a steady stream of bills in state legislatures seeking constitutional protections for hunting, some appearing in more liberal (but active hunting) states.  Over the past two years, bills have appeared in Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Bills have advanced through committees in Indiana and West Virginia but haven’t moved in any of the others. Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey have among the highest number of hunters per square mile in the country.

Biles said the NRA doesn’t keep track of every right-to-hunt bill that pops up in a state legislature, many of which weren’t initiated by the group, which claims a 90-percent success rate in places it specifically targets. One miss came in 2010 in Arizona, where groups actively opposed the effort. But there isn’t any organized opposition to Alabama and Mississippi’s campaigns, which are both featured on the NRA’s website. Given near-unanimous legislative support for the bills that launched the amendments in Alabama and Mississippi, that lack of organized opposition and both states’ pro-gun, pro-hunting traditions, it’s a safe bet that both will pass their amendments in November.

Whether right-to-hunt amendments will continue their steady momentum, though, is less certain.