Anti-Wolf Sentiment Thrives in Siberia

siberian anti-wolfersMore drastic and controversial methods are to be imposed to counter the wolf plague in the next 12 months. Picture: Victor Everstov


If you’re interested in seeing more graphic images and reading an article bemoaning the potential threat to domestic reindeer herds numbering in the tens of thousands, be my guest. Personally, I can’t stomach any more wolf death or happy stories about any human’s way if life. Humans are the only plague on the planet:

How to Kill a Wolf

[Note: I chose to start this piece part way into it in order to spare the reader the gory detail of its title question.]

An Undercover Report from the Idaho Coyote and Wolf Derby

By Christopher Ketcham

…After digging into the wolf-hate literature featured on Idaho for Wildlife’s website, I wondered whether the residents of Salmon were looking to kill wolves out of spite. They hated these creatures, and I wanted to understand why.

Besides killing wolves, one of the group’s core missions, according to its website, is to “fight against all legal and legislative attempts by the animal rights and anti-gun organizations who are attempting to take away our rights and freedoms under the Constitution of the United States of America.” The website also suggested that media coverage of the event was not welcome. The only way I’d be able to properly report on the derby, I figured, was to go undercover as a competing hunter. So I showed up in Salmon a few days before the event, paid the $20 sign-up fee, and officially became part of the slaughter.

The derby called for hunters to work in two-person teams. In the weeks leading up to the competition I recruited pro-wolf activists Brian Ertz and his sister Natalie Ertz, native Idahoans who have worked for local conservation groups. Rounding out our teams was Brian’s friend Bryan Walker, a gnarled former Marine and an Idaho lawyer who has studied shamanism and claims to have an ability to speak with animals.

The nice old man in the bar, whose name was Cal Black, bought the four of us a round of drinks when we told him we were in town for the derby. Cal had grown up on a ranch near town, and his thoughts on wolves reflected those of most other locals we met. Salmon is livestock country—the landscape is riddled with cows and sheep—and ranchers blame wolves for huge numbers of livestock deaths. Therefore wolves needed to be dispatched with extreme prejudice. The derby was a natural extension of this sentiment.

“Gut-shoot every goddamn last one of them wolves,” Cal told us. He wished a similar fate on “tree huggers,” who, in Cal’s view, mostly live in New York City. “You know what I’d like to see? Take the wolves and plant ’em in Central Park, ’cause they impose it on us to have these goddamn wolves! Bullshit! It’s said a wolf won’t attack you. Well, goddamn, these tree huggers don’t know what. I want wolves to eat them goddamn tree huggers. Maybe they’ll learn something!”

We all raised a glass to the tree huggers’ getting their due. I fought the urge to tell Cal that I live in New York part-time, and that in college Natalie trained as an arborist and had actually hugged trees for a living. Her brother, who is 31 and studying to be a lawyer in Boise, Idaho, had warned me about the risks of going undercover when I broached the idea over the phone. As a representative for the nonprofit Western Watersheds Project, which has lobbied for wolf protections, he’d attended numerous public meetings about “wolf management” in communities like Salmon. “Salmon is the belly of the beast,” he told me. “There is not a more hostile place. It’s Mordor.”

Brian’s former boss at the Western Watersheds Project, executive director Jon Marvel, has received death threats for speaking out in favor of wolves and against the powerful livestock industry. Larry Zuckerman, a conservation biologist for the pro-wolf environmental nonprofit Wild Love Preserve, suspects that it was pro-wolf-hunting residents from Salmon who fatally poisoned his three dogs. Many pro-wolf activists across the American West, especially those who have publicly opposed the ranching industry, have reported similar threats and acts of aggression—tires slashed, homes vandalized, windows busted out with bricks in the night. Idaho for Wildlife’s opinion on the situation is made clear on its website: “Excess predator’s [sic] and environmentalists should go first!”

Prepping for the derby, we disguised ourselves according to the local style: camo pants and jackets, wool caps, balaclavas, binoculars, and heavy boots. When he wasn’t mystically communicating with elk, Walker enjoyed hunting them. He didn’t look out of place in Salmon, carrying his M4 rifle with a 30-round magazine and a Beretta .45 on his hip. He loaned me his bolt-action .300 Win Mag with a folding bipod, while Brian carried a .30-06 with a Leupold scope. Natalie, who is tall and good-looking, was armed only with a camera and played the part of a domesticated wife “here for the party,” as she put it.

At the derby registration the night before the killing was to commence, we were so convincing that the organizers didn’t even bother to ask for our hunting licenses or wolf permits. Instead they suggested spots in the surrounding mountains where we could find wolves to shoot illegally.

From left to right: Bryan Walker, Brian Ertz, and Natalie Ertz

In Wolves and the Wolf Myth in American Literature, S. K. Robisch presents the wolf as a “mystical force in the human mind,” one that for thousands of years has been associated with the purity of bloodlust, the unhinged cruelty of nature. The wolf as mythological super-predator brings terror and chaos, devouring our young, our old, the weak, the innocent, and the foolish, operating through trickery and deceit.

From Matthew 7:15: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” Little Red Riding Hood loses her grandmother to a cross-dressing wolf, and the Three Little Pigs pay the price as well. In the late Middle Ages the Roman Catholic Church declared the wolf an agent of the Devil, or possibly the shape-shifting manifestation of Satan himself. And of course the werewolf, a human turned beast by the contagion of a bite, also lived in the imagination as a demonic figure, killing for sport under the light of the full moon, indiscriminate and lunatic.

In Anglo-Saxon and the Germanic languages, certain words for wolf—warg, warc, verag—were also used to describe bandits, outlaws, and evil spirits. In Swedish, the word varg simply meant “everything that is wrong.” Even Teddy Roosevelt, the conservationist president and lover of the wilderness, referred to wolves as “the archtype of ravin [sic], the beast of waste and desolation.”

In reality, Homo sapiens shares a long and intimate relationship with Canis lupus. The gray wolf was the first animal to be domesticated out of the wild, long before the cow, horse, or goat. Its direct descendant is classified as Canis lupus familiaris, better known as the common dog, which, despite its wide subset of breeds, is almost genetically identical to the wolf. The bear, the tiger, the lion—feared predators of the human race, even today far more dangerous to man than wolves—never came out of the dark to join the fire circles of early hominids. The wolf did, though the humans in its midst became food on some occasions.

It’s theorized that wolves and humans, some 20,000 years ago, hunted the same prey—large herbivores—and, like us, wolves worked in packs. We fed at their kills, and they fed at ours. Antagonism gave way to mutualism, symbiosis, cooperation.

Around 8,000 BC, however, humans began to domesticate livestock and gather in villages. The wolf was no longer our friend, as it stalked and devoured the sheep and cows we now kept as property. Hatred of the beast was born, and it grew in proportion to our divorce from the wild.

Western man, armed with gunpowder and greedy for land, proved from the moment he arrived in the New World to be a more capable beast of waste and desolation, as predators of all kinds—the wolf, the cougar, the coyote, the black bear, the grizzly, the lynx, the wolverine—fell before his march. Wolves were shot on sight, trapped, snared, fed carcasses laced with poison or broken glass, their pups gassed or set on fire in their dens. “Such behavior amazed Native Americans,” writes wildlife journalist Ted Williams. “Their explanation for it was that, among palefaces, it was a manifestation of insanity.”

The sprawling roads, farms, towns, and cities of the young republic completed the job by systematically razing the wolf’s habitat. By 1900, wolves had disappeared east of the Mississippi. By the 1950s, they could only be found in isolated regions of the American West, with perhaps a dozen wolves remaining in the contiguous 48 states, compared with a pre-Columbian population estimated at several hundred thousand.

The point of this slaughter was not to protect human beings, although this remains the enduring perception. Only two fatal wolf attacks on Homo sapiens in North America have been reported during the past 100 years, with perhaps a few more over the course of the 19th century (the records prior to 1900 are uncertain and the stories undocumented, often embellished and tending toward the folkloric). A 2002 study conducted by the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research reviewed the history of wolf predation on humans in Europe, Asia, and the US from 1500 to the present and found that wolf attacks were “extremely rare,” that “most attacks have been by rabid wolves,” and that “humans are not part of their normal prey.” Wolves in the United States died at our hands for the most part because of the ancient grievance: They ate our cattle and sheep, representing viscerally that which could not be tamed.

Then, in 1974, wolves in the United States got a reprieve. The passage of the Endangered Species Act the previous year had cleared the path for Congress to declare the animals endangered, making it illegal to hunt them. Wolves had survived by the thousands in the forests, mountains, and prairies of western Canada, and now, protected from widespread slaughter in the US, portions of the population began a slow march of recolonization, dispersing south from Alberta and British Columbia and into Montana. In 1995, Congress expedited this process by mandating the reintroduction of captured Canadian wolves to the mountains of Idaho and Wyoming.

Thereafter, wolves thrived as never before in our recorded history, and ecologists noted with astonishment the beneficial effects on ecosystems in the West. In Yellowstone National Park, a centerpiece of this reintroduction, wolves pared the overabundant populations of elk, which had stripped the park’s trees and grasses. With fewer elk, the flora returned, and the rejuvenated landscape created habitats for dozens of other creatures: beaver in the streams, songbirds in the understory, butterflies among the flowers.

Such was the perception of success that by 2009 the US wolf population was declared fully recovered. In 2011, when Congress rescinded the wolves’ protected status, scores of biologists, ecologists, and wildlife scientists protested the decision. Critics observed that the removal of Canis lupus from the endangered species list had been accomplished mostly due to the lobbying efforts of the livestock industry. For the first time since 1974, wolves across the Northern Rocky Mountains—in Idaho, Wyoming, Montana—were legally hunted, trapped, and shot with vengeance. The winter hunting seasons decimated whole packs. At the behest of ranchers, the US government joined in the slaughter, dispatching predator-control agents from the federal Wildlife Services.

The view of wolves as vermin bent on stealing ranchers’ livelihood has carried through to the present, though little evidence supports this stigma. The number of cattle and sheep lost to wolves and other predators each year is negligible. In 2010, just 0.23 percent of cattle in the US died from “carnivore depredations” (as wolf attacks on livestock are officially categorized).

And it didn’t matter that aggressive “predator management” has no basis in ecological science. “The myth we’ve been fed is that predators like wolves need to be hunted because otherwise they’ll grow out of control, exponentially,” said Brooks Fahy, director of the nonprofit Predator Defense, in Oregon. “But no scientific study backs this up. Wolves self-regulate if left alone.” Wolf management, Fahy said, “is a form of rationalized madness.”

Proud derby contestants displaying a pair of coyotes


Dog Left Out in March Must Fend Off More Than the Cold

copyrighted wolf in water

One year after wolf attack, dog fends off cougar at Carlton home

[Automatic response? track down and kill the predators.]

by admin on Mar 6, 2014
By Ann McCreary

It’s been a tough year for Shelby, a wolf-husky hybrid dog owned by John Stevie of Carlton. In March 2013 the dog was attacked by a gray wolf just outside her home, and early Monday morning (March 3) she was attacked again — this time by a cougar.

The unlucky dog has been lucky enough to survive both attacks.

Stevie had let Shelby out at about 4 a.m. Monday and soon heard the dog crying, said Sharon Willoya, Stevie’s girlfriend.

“We both raced to the door and she came running in. She wouldn’t let us touch her at first because she was frightened. We finally got her calm and noticed she was bleeding,” Willoya said Tuesday (March 4).

The 68-pound dog had cuts on her shoulder and chest, and required more than a dozen stitches, Willoya said.

Stevie reported the attack, and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) enforcement officers arrived with hounds a few hours after the attack. They tracked the cougar into a boulder field, but because it was a dangerous situation for the dogs, they left, said Capt. Chris Anderson, WDFW regional enforcement supervisor.

Wildlife officials returned Tuesday morning, found new tracks near Stevie’s home, tracked the cougar and treed it. The cougar, a healthy female, was shot and killed.

Willoya said wildlife officials found evidence that the cougar had “bedded down” not far from the house. “They think when Shelby came around the house, the cougar was there,” she said.

Stevie’s dog made news last year when she was attacked by a wolf on the deck of Stevie’s home at the foot of McClure Mountain. The dog received puncture wounds and lacerations to its head and neck in the attack.

Stevie subsequently took Shelby with him to Olympia, where Stevie testified before the Legislature in favor of a bill allowing citizens to shoot wolves that are attacking pets or livestock. Gray wolves are currently protected as an endangered species under federal and state law.

The cougar killed on Tuesday is the sixth cat shot by wildlife enforcement officers in the Methow Valley since December following attacks on domestic animals. At least four other dogs have been attacked, including a dog killed on Christmas day.

Cougars have also attacked cats, goats, sheep, chickens and calves.

Anderson said a hunter killed a cougar last week in the Pearrygin game management unit north of Winthrop. That brings the total number of cougars killed by hunters in the Methow Valley this winter to six.

Because of the high number of cougar incidents this winter, WDFW has issued special permits allowing hunters to use hounds to hunt cougars in the Methow Valley. Three permits have been issued for the Gardner game management unit, and two have been issued for the Pearrygin unit. Each permit allows one cougar to be killed.

So far, none of the special permit holders has taken a cougar, Anderson said.

“There are different theories bouncing around” about why the valley has seen so many cougar incidents, Anderson said.

“The general feeling is it’s probably because of the weird winter we’ve had,” Anderson said. “Normally we have cats that are visible because they follow the deer herds. Without snow the deer were really spread out and so the cats were spread out more, and that’s why people were seeing them in all parts of the valley.”

See more posts related to Cougars in the Methow Valley.

Why Wolves Need ESA Protection


The sad story of OR9 is a prime example of why wolves need to remain on the federal Endangered Species list…

Sibling of famous OR-7 wolf killed by hunter in Idaho

Published: Friday, February 10, 2012

JOSEPH — A sibling of Oregon’s world-famous wolf OR-7 has been shot and killed in Idaho by a hunter whose wolf tag was no longer valid.

“What an amazing difference between how this wolf’s story evolved compared to his brother, OR-7, who is now in California and is an international celebrity,” said Suzanne Stone of Boise, spokeswoman for the 530,000-member Defenders of Wildlife environmental group.

The radio-collared male wolf identified as OR-9 was killed Feb. 2 near a cattle feedlot and winter calving area north of Emmett, between Boise and the Snake River, said Mike Keckler, spokesman for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.

Like his famous brother, OR-9 was born into the Imnaha pack near the northeastern Oregon town of Joseph. He was collared Feb. 26, 2011, in the Grouse Creek area east of Joseph when he was about 1 1/2 years old and weighed 90 pounds then.

OR-9 departed Oregon in July two months before OR-7 began his epic 730-mile trek to Crater Lake and south into California earlier this winter. OR-9 headed east, swam the Snake River into Idaho at Brownlee Reservoir and traveled south toward Emmett.

His travel destination turned out to be dangerous. Unlike the Joseph area, where gray wolves are protected under Oregon’s Endangered Species Act, Idaho’s wolves are classified as big game animals and subject to regulated hunting rules.

From Defenders of Wildlife:
You didn’t support it. We didn’t support it. Now it’s been shown that the best available science doesn’t support the plan to delist nearly all gray wolves in the Lower 48 either.

ACT NOW: Demand that Secretary Jewell abandon this reckless delisting proposal and allow for the full recovery of gray wolves!

An independent peer review board, commissioned to assess the quality and adequacy of the science underlying the U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s (FWS) delisting plan for gray wolves, just released their unanimous decision: that the proposal to strip gray wolves of Endangered Species Act Protection is not based on the best available science and contains numerous omissions and errors.

This is a major development in our efforts to stop this irresponsible proposal from going through.

Please speak out! Urge Secretary Jewell to direct the Fish and Wildlife Service to withdraw this proposal immediately!

Now that it’s been confirmed that this proposed delisting is clearly not based on the best available science, we are left wondering why FWS wants to turn its back on wolves.

In states like Idaho, we continue to see what happens when wolves are prematurely stripped of federal protection and left to be managed by states with deadly anti-wolf agenda’s – just recently they announced a proposal to kill off as many as 450 wolves statewide!

Wolves now serve as a scapegoat for anti-government extremists with a political agenda – and these groups will spare no expense to try and derail wolf conservation in America. We simply can’t allow politics and private interests to trump science – it’s irresponsible and unacceptable.

The Time to be Bold is Now

copyrighted wolf in river

By Brett Haverstick On February 8, 2014

Over the years, I have come to realize that the current wildlife management model in America, at the federal level, and particularly, the state level, is broken. The system is such, in which, politics trumps the best-available science, the special interest-minority overwhelms the democratic-majority and the almighty dollar is more powerful than ethics, heritage and legacy. Can this be found throughout the American political landscape? Of course, the answer is yes. But when applied to the current wolf slaughter taking place in the West, and in the Great Lakes, it fits perfectly. In fact, it embodies it.

During my brief time working in the conservation community, I have sadly concluded that both grassroots and national conservation groups, and every-day citizens, are limited to the degree, in which, they can enforce public lands laws, ensure that the best-available science is used and entrust that public sentiment is reflected in wildlife policy and management decisions. Recent examples of this include–with all, unfortunately, taking place in Idaho–are the Wolf-Coyote Derby in Salmon, the killing of two wolf packs in the Frank-Church River of No Return Wilderness by a 21st Century bounty hunter and the efforts of Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter to launch a predominantly tax-payer funded, $2-million dollar independent wolf control board to wipe out another 500-grey wolves. If this were to occur, wolves would be reduced to the bare-minimum of 150-wolves in Idaho (federally mandated), would not be able to fulfill their ecological niche, and most importantly, could be on the precipice of yet, another extinction.

The conservation community, and the American people at-large, is now approaching the crossroads. Do we continue to take the band-aid approach (attending public meetings, issuing action alerts, circulating petitions, and filing appeals/lawsuits) or do we step out-of-the-box and confront the root causes of the problem? While some may respectfully disagree with me, or question the feasibility of such a challenge, I advocate for the latter.

So what solutions do I offer? The 5 Keys to Reforming Wildlife Management in America, are as follows:
1.Restructuring the way state Fish & Game departments operate. Politics: western governors appoint agency commissioners, which essentially, tell the state departments what to do. This is cronyism at its worst. Economics: state departments are mostly funded by the sale of hunting/fishing tags or permits. These agencies are bound into serving the interest of “sportsmen” because it’s the hand that feeds them. Modern funding mechanisms, the application of best-available science and genuine public involvement are sorely lacking in these institutions and it must be addressed. Another option would be to empower the federal government to manage wildlife on federal public lands.
2.Removing grazing from all federal public lands. The “management” or “control” of native wildlife to benefit the livestock industry is ground zero. It is also well documented the damage that grazing causes when livestock infests wildlands. Livestock are non-native and largely responsible for soil compaction, a decrease in water retention and aquifer recharge, erosion, destruction of wetlands and riparian areas, flooding and a net-loss of biodiversity. Grazing enables invasive plant species to proliferate, which greatly affects the West’s historic fire regime.
3.Abolishing Wildlife Services. Hidden within the US Department of Agriculture, is a rogue agency that is essentially the wildlife killing-arm of the federal government. For over 100-years, this federal tax-payer supported agency has largely worked on behalf of the livestock industry and is responsible for the death of tens-of millions of native wildlife. Methods of killing include trapping, poisoning and aerial gunning. Conservation efforts are currently culminating into a potential Congressional investigation of this corrupt agency.
4.Banning trapping/snaring on all federal public lands. We must evolve as a society and move away from this barbaric, unethical, cruel and tortuous method(s) of killing native wildlife. Leg-hold traps, conibear traps and other devices are indiscriminate killers. Over the past couple years, there has been an increase in the number of dogs caught/killed by traps when recreating with their owners on public lands. When is an adult or child going to step into a leg-hold or body-gripping trap? Some states currently require individuals to check their traps every 72-hours, while other states only recommend that trappers check them, at all.
5.No killing of predators, except for extreme circumstances. For example, an aggressive and/or habituated bear may need to be killed after non-lethal measures have failed. Otherwise, non-lethal measures should be implemented in rare instances where there are actual human/predator conflicts. The best available science suggests that predators, including wolves, are a self-regulating species. In other words, predators don’t overpopulate. Instead, their populations naturally fluctuate, as do prey or ungulate populations. We need to better understand and embrace the trophic cascade effect predators have within ecosystems.

How do we take that ever-so-important first step, you may ask? We embark on this journey, together, on June 28 – 29, 2014 at Arch Park in Gardiner, Montana.

Speak for Wolves: Yellowstone 2014 is an opportunity for the American people to unite and demand wildlife management reform. It’s about taking a critical step towards stopping the grey wolf slaughter. It’s about hope, our collective-future and restoring our national heritage and legacy. The weekend-long event is family friendly and will feature prominent speakers, live music, education and outreach booths, children’s activities, food and drink vendors, video production crews and the screening of wildlife documentaries.

On June 28-29, 2014, Americans from all walks-of-life will converge at Arch Park in Gardiner, Montana to tell the government we need to reform wildlife management, at both the state and federal level. With your support and participation, this will be the event of the year in the northern Rockies. Together, we can make history and embark on restoring our wild national heritage. The time to be bold is now.

Bill to Fund Killing up to 500 Wolves Survives Committee

January 28, 2014
By Kimberlee Kruesi –

BOISE • Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter’s proposed $2 million fund to kill as many as 500 wolves barely passed its preliminary vetting Monday by the House Resources and Conservation Committee.

Committee members quizzed sponsors state Sen. Bert Brackett, R-Rogerson, and Rep. Marc Gibbs, R-Grace, on the effectiveness of creating a separate fund — which would come with a five-member oversight board — when the state already funds a predator damage board.

Bracket and Gibbs responded that the proposed expense would keep the focus on wolves instead of splitting resources on the state’s Animal Damage Control Board.

Federal support to control wolves will stop in 2016, Brackett said. In Fiscal Year 2013, the federal government provided $650,000 of the state’s $1.4 million wolf management budget.

If the bill passes, the $2 million would be a one-time appropriation with the livestock industry and hunting license fees contributing $110,000 each year.

“The priority of this whole effort is to keep the wolves delisted,” Brackett said.

Idaho’s wolves were taken off the endangered species list in 2011. Today, the state’s wolf population is estimated to be around 680 animals, according to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. If it falls below 150, the species will be once more classified as endangered by federal regulators.

The committee repeatedly questioned the need for two boards dedicated to killing predator animals that cause damage to livestock or Idaho’s elk population.

“How is this a more cost-effective approach to start a new board than to put a little more money into Idaho Fish and Game?” asked state Rep. Illan Rubel, D-Boise.

Gibbs countered that a separate board allows the state to be flexible.

The new wolf fund would not pay for livestock killed by wolves but to kill wolves that cause damage, Gibbs said.

“There are no new ways to control wolves being projected or being created by this bill,” Gibbs said. “They are simply subject to the tools we have today, which is sport hunting, trapping and aerial gunning.”

The committee voted 9-8 to move the legislation forward, with the chairman initially declaring the bill failed before Gibbs speaking out he hadn’t voted and provided the “yes” needed for the bill to be printed.

This is the second consecutive year lawmakers have tried to secure funding dedicated wolf control. Last year, Otter vetoed a bill that would have diverted money from Fish and Game to a wolf management fund. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Judy Boyle, R-Midvale, who voted against Brackett’s and Gibbs’ proposal.

Boyle said committee recommendations from the summer of 2013 supported added money to the Animal Damage Control Board for wolf damage.

“I feel like this is a breach of contract of what was promised in that committee,” she said.

Brackett said that while a committee may have submitted recommendations, their bill was based on what the governor wanted.

Idaho’s wolf control management strategies have received criticisms recently after Fish and Game hired a trapper for the first time to kill two packs in the Middle Fork of the Salmon River.

Wolf activists also spoke out against Idaho’s elk management plan during a recent public hearing updating the document.

copyrighted wolf in river

Never Mind, Idaho Does Suck–Worse Than Ever

[Drop those champagne glasses, Idaho doesn't deserve praise just yet. Although an Idaho judge decided to halt the slaughter of two packs in the Frank Church wilderness area, some of their lawmakers won't be satisfied until they've killed most of the wolves in the rest of the state!!]…

Lawmakers: $2M aimed to kill more than 500 wolves

             Associated Press
POSTED: 3:29 PM Jan 27 2014

BOISE, Idaho -

Republicans promoting Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter’s proposed $2 million fund to kill wolves say they hope the cash helps eliminate more than 500 of the predators in Idaho, reducing numbers to 150 animals in 15 packs.

Rep. Marc Gibbs of Grace and Sen. Bert Brackett of Rogerson Monday told the House Resources and Conservation Committee the cash set aside with Otter’s proposal will bolster Idaho’s predator arsenal.

Idaho now has about 680 wolves, according to state Department of Fish and Game estimates.

Brackett says the priority is to keep wolves delisted, even with these proposed killings.

He said provided Idaho still has 150 wolves – the minimum required in a 2002 plan approved by the Idaho Legislature – “we’ll have a defensible line of defense” against renewed federal protections.

copyrighted Hayden wolf walking

With 9 wolves now dead, Fish and Game meeting provides outlet for supporters, detractors

by Rocky Barker
Stabe Hedges of Boise spoke quietly before a crowd of 150 people and the Idaho Fish and Game Commission on Wednesday.

But he spoke for hunters across Idaho who no longer find it relatively easy to find elk in the place where they have hunted since their youth.

“I know what we used to have here and I know what was lost,” Hedges said.

As Hedges looked around the room, most of the people were there to protest Fish and Game’s elk management plan authorizing the agency to hire a hunter-trapper to eliminate two packs of six wolves in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness. John Robison, public land director of the Idaho Conservation League, asked the people filling the Washington Group Center auditorium for a show of hands for people angry about the killing.

The majority raised their hands.

“Its upsetting to me that so many people support an animal that has decimated the state,” Hedges said.

Despite the great differences in opinions, hunters and animal lovers passionately expressed their feelings about wolves and elk but also listened to each other. The hearing was a far cry from the angry confrontations that have marked past hearings on wolves in Idaho and perhaps reflected the shift since the animal was removed from federal protection and opened to hunting.

“Restoration must include predator harvest on a consistent basis as research indicates that wolf populations can withstand human-caused mortality of 30 to 50 percent without experiencing declines in abundance,” said Grant Simonds, executive director of the Idaho Outfitters and Guides Association.

Boise resident Pam Marcum told the commission to “please have some grit to cancel the wolf eradication.”

And Jen Pierce, a geology professor at Boise State University, read a statement from 15 scientists, including professors at the University of Idaho and Idaho State University, protesting the killing.

“We feel your decision to hire a professional hunter to exterminate two wolf packs in the Frank Church Wilderness does not demonstrate informed management, both economically and ecologically, and contradicts the mission statement of the Idaho Fish and Game,” Pierce said. “Sending in the hunter-trapper prior to the IDFG state elk management meeting on January 16th is also perplexing.”

So far the agency’s hunter-trapper has killed nine wolves in the wilderness area, said Jon Rachael, Fish and Game’s big game manager.

Read more here:

Idaho Wolf Hunting Contest Highlights Ongoing Divide Between Hunters And Advocates

coyote contest kill


A group of hunters in Salmon, Idaho is being criticized for a two-day “coyote and wolf derby” its sponsoring next week.

Idaho for Wildlife’s organized hunt is December 28 and 29. The event is focused on young hunters. Sponsors have put up two $1,000 prizes for teams that kill the biggest wolf and the most coyotes.

The contest has once again highlighted the divide between wolf hunters and wolf advocates.

Christine Gertschen is a wildlife advocate in Sun Valley. She says she’s been a critic of hunting derbies in the past.

“Then when this one came up, I just kind of lost it,” she says. “I started writing Fish and Game, and the commissioners. It sends such a poor message of how we feel about wildlife. That we just throw their carcasses in a pile and count them?”

The event has drawn sharp criticism from all across the country. A petition to stop the derby had 12,500 signatures as of Friday morning.

The statewide director of Idaho for Wildlife, Steve Alder, says the hunt won’t yield stacks of dead wolves. He says he’s not sure hunters will kill any of the animals. But he does regret the way his group has marketed the derby.

Hear our conversation with Steve Alder of Idaho for Wildlife.

“I would have removed the wolf’s name out of it and just called it a ‘predator youth derby’,” he says. “That would have hopefully circumvented some of the radical [environmentalists’] emotional rubbish about the killing of all these wolves that [they claim] we’re gonna do.”

On Thursday, the Humane Society of the United States issued one of the strongest rebukes of the event so far. It called the contest a “wolf massacre” and labeled organizers as “ruthless”. It urged those who feel the same to write Idaho’s Fish and Game commissioners.

“Hunting is the tool that Idaho Fish and Game uses to manage, and this is a tool for management,” he says.

Copyright 2013 Boise State Public Radio

Full Story:

Back to the Dark Ages: What’s Next, Bald Eagle Blasting?

The New York Times’ editorial, “Wolf Haters” (December 29, 2013), brought up two prime examples of how anti-wolf fanatics in states like Idaho are trying to drag us back to the dark ages of centuries past, when predators were hunted and trapped to extinction by ignorant people claiming all of nature’s bounty for themselves.

Most Americans nowadays understand natural processes well enough to know that apex species, like wolves, will find equilibrium with their prey if given a chance. Perhaps the only ones who won’t accept that fact are trophy hunters who still claim the elk in Idaho’s wilderness areas as a commodity exclusively for them. It goes beyond the absurd that the US Forest Service would permit a state game department to bring in a bounty hunter because the land is too rugged for the average wolf hunter. To me that seems like the perfect kind of place for predator and prey to return to some semblance of the order that existed before the spread of Manifest Destiny.

I’m sure the enlightened lawmakers who crafted the Endangered Species Act (exactly 40 years ago) never imagined recovering species would be used as targets for some hair-brained “hunters’ rights” groups’ “derby hunt,” as is going on in Salmon, Idaho. Yet this brand of disregard is not without precedence—endangered prairie dogs are routinely targeted by “shooting sports” enthusiasts across the West. What’s next—contest hunts on Yellowstone Bison reminiscent of Buffalo Bill’s reckless era? Or, perhaps a Sunday afternoon of blasting bald eagles?


Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2013. All Rights Reserved

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2013. All Rights Reserved