What’s to Stop Them?

I attended the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife wolf hearing last week to find out how far the WDFW ultimately plans to go with wolf hunting, once wolves are inevitably removed from the state endangered species list, and when Washington residents can expect to hear that hunting groups are holding contest hunts on wolves like our neighbors in Idaho have already done.

It turns out the department wasn’t ready to come clean on their ultimate plans to implement hunting seasons on wolves (starting in Eastern Washington). They were only willing to talk about the few cases of sheep predation (a few dozen out of a flock of 1,800 animals grazing on public forest land), and the WDFW’s collusion with areal snipers from the federal Wildlife “Services” for some good old fashioned lethal removal. Here are some notes on what I was planning to say, had it been on topic:

Over the years spent living in rural Eastern Washington, I’ve gotten to know how ranchers think and feel, and what they’re capable of. For over twenty years I lived in a cabin outside the Okanogan County town of Twisp, where rancher/convicted poacher Bill White is currently under house arrest. Exploiting his then-good standing and local influence to get permission from the WDFW to gather road-killed deer, under the guise of distributing them as meat to members of the Colville tribe, he used some of the deer as bait to lure wolves from the Lookout pack to within shooting distance. He and his son are credited with killing nearly every member of that pack—the first wolves to make it back into Washington. Their sense of entitlement was so overblown they thought they could get away with sending a blood-dripping wolf hide across the Canadian border.

On the plus side, I also have a lot of experiences with wolves themselves. As a wildlife photographer I’ve photographed them in Alaska and Canada as well as in Montana, where I lived a mile away from Yellowstone National Park. I got to know the real nature and behavior of wolves. I’d like to think that if ranchers knew the wolves the way I do, they wouldn’t be so quick to want to kill them off again. I shouldn’t have to remind folks that wolves were exterminated once already in all of the lower 48 states, except Minnesota, which had only six wolves remaining before the species was finally protected as endangered.

Although I personally believe that wolves belong to no one but themselves, to use game department jargon, wolves and other wildlife belong to everyone in the state equally—not just the squeakist-wheel ranchers and hunters. By far most of Washington’s residents want to see wolves allowed to live here and don’t agree with the department’s lethal wolf removal measures (that no doubt include plans for future wolf hunting seasons, which are currently being downplayed by the WDFW).

What’s to stop Washington from becoming just like Idaho, Montana and Wyoming in implementing reckless wolf-kill programs that eventually lead to things like contest hunts (as in Idaho) and the subsequent decimation of entire packs? Or year-round predator seasons that ultimately result in federal re-listing (as in Wyoming)? What guarantee do we have that Washington’s wolves will be treated any differently?

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson

Washington game managers criticized for wolf shooting

http://www.capitalpress.com/Washington/20141015/washington-game-managers-criticized-for-wolf-shooting?utm_source=Capital+Press+Newsletters&utm_campaign=3b0a939af2-Daily_Ag_Update&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_4b7e61b049-3b0a939af2-69631657

Don Jenkins

Capital Press  October 15, 2014   

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife hosted a meeting in a Seattle suburb and heard the shooting of a wolf to protect sheep criticized.

LYNNWOOD, Wash. — The east-west divide over how Washington should manage conflicts between ranchers and the state’s growing population of wolves was apparent Tuesday at a meeting in this Seattle suburb.

Speaker after speaker told state Department of Fish and Wildlife officials that game managers shouldn’t have OK’d the shooting of a wolf in August to deter a pack from preying on sheep in Stevens County in northeast Washington.

A week ago at the Stevens County Fairground in Colville, game officials were accused of being slow to stop livestock predation. At the Lynnwood Convention Center, they were charged with being quick to kill wolves at the bidding of ranchers.

Denise Joines, representing a Seattle-based philanthropic conservation group, the Wilderforce Foundation, said the economic contribution of “wildlife watchers” dwarfs that of ranchers who graze their animals on public lands.

“The Department of Fish and Wildlife should focus on serving the interests, both recreational and economic, of the majority of our state’s citizens, not a small extractive industry,” she said.

A sharpshooter from a helicopter killed a breeding female in the Huckleberry Pack on Aug. 23. The department called the Lynnwood and Colville meetings to give residents a chance to vent.

Ania Pastuszewska, of Seattle, called the wolf a symbol of the American West and the August shooting “plain lazy” and an act of “cowardice.”

Hank Seipp said he drove across the state from his home in Spokane because he didn’t have a chance to speak in Colville.

He held prepared remarks laying out his belief that non-lethal means can deter attacks on livestock. Instead of referring to his paper, he turned to look at three department officials and spoke through clenched teeth.

“We, you, have to do better,” he said.

Afterward, Seipp said he was surprised by his vehemence. “My emotions got the better of me over this subject,” he said.

About 100 people came to the Lynnwood meeting and heard the department’s assistant director, Nate Pamplin, defend the shooting.

He said the Huckleberry Pack had killed 34 sheep grazing in rugged terrain. He said non-lethal efforts to protect the sheep, including patrols by state employees around the flock, didn’t stop wolves from killing and injuring livestock.

The state spent an estimated $53,000 in first tying to protect the flock and then in shooting one wolf.

Many in the audience accused game managers of failing to do enough before resorting to lethal action. The same managers were criticized in Colville for allegedly failing to take action against the wolves.

Tricia M. Cook, of Glacier, said a rancher at the Colville meeting slipped her an unfriendly note accusing her of being a “wolf lover.”

“I’ll take that accusation as a compliment,” she said.

In Lynnwood, south King County resident Bill McCorkle stood out when he applauded the shooting of the wolf.

“These guys are just trying to make a living. They are American farmers,” McCorkle said. “I’m not a wolf-hater. I don’t want to see them all dead. I just don’t want things to get out of hand.”

Washington lists the wolf on the state’s endangered species list. Game officials estimate there are 52 wolves in the state, mostly in northeast Washington.

Game officials say the population is growing rapidly and spreading. They anticipate the wolf population will recovery as soon as 2021.

“Wolves in Washington are here to stay,” Pamplin said to applause.

The department’s carnivore manager, Donny Martorello, said conflicts between wolves and livestock likely will increase.

The Huckleberry Pack caused the department the most trouble last summer.

In Ferry County, the Profanity Pack killed a cow and calf. “This is a pack we’ll have to closely monitor next year,” Pamplin said. “This will be a challenging area for 2015.”

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Group demands return of federal wolf protections at Capitol protest

http://helenair.com/news/local/group-demands-return-of-federal-wolf-protections-at-capitol-today/article_f26cfaea-576b-5185-a950-0da100a42bd5.html

October 20, 2014 6:52 pm  • 

Saying that Montana’s wolf management policy violates the United Nations Charter for Nature, members of the Wolf and Wildlife Action Group delivered a “violation notice” to Gov. Steve Bullock’s office at the Capitol Monday.

Montana’s wolf policy allows for a landowner to kill up to 100 wolves, using what WWAG called cruel and barbaric methods such as aerial gunning and trapping, the violation notice said.

The policy is an attempt to exterminate the gray wolf, and WWAG demanded that wolves return to federal protection under the Endangered Species Act, said member Jeanne Rasmussen.

Bullock was not at his office at the time WWAG delivered the violation notice.

“They are being shot and trapped and gut shot, and they burn baby pups out of their dens,” Rasmussen said. “Hunters just want them eliminated.”

WWAG described itself as an “international grassroots organization” at the Capitol on behalf of 80 percent of Americans who want wolves protected.

Madison County resident Diane Nelson-Steiner spoke passionately about wolves killed near her home along the Big Hole River. She recalled an entire pack shot by government officials flying a USDA plane, and seeing the animals left to rot.

“To see those wolves killed and laying in a field is horrible,” Nelson-Steiner said. “They killed most of the Big Hole pack, and since then we’ve been overrun with elk and deer. It’s getting absolutely ridiculous with the herds getting to be overly large.”

Wolves also kept coyote numbers in check, which have increased dramatically since elimination of the wolf pack, she said.

Nelson-Steiner and her husband, Tim Steiner, brought several foothold traps they said were found illegally set on their property by trappers after wolves. They have found or heard of multiple animals caught in traps including domestic cats and dogs, an eagle, a badger and coyotes, but no wolves, Steiner said.

Yes that’s cruel and inhumane,” Steiner said while holding a trap. “Animal cruelty is against the law in all 50 states. It’s not just wolves they’re catching; it’s everything else.”

“Why are these psychopaths allowed to torture animals in this country, yet 86 other countries have banned trapping?” asked WWAG member Michelle Domeier.

The group held posters showing wolves dead in both foothold traps and snares identified as legal means of killing wolves in Montana. More than 2,600 wolves had been killed since being stripped from federal protections, they said.

After speaking on the Capitol steps, WWAG member Karen Wells delivered the violation notice to the governor’s office, which was taken by staff in Bullock’s absence.

“Montana has a highly-effective wolf management plan, developed through collaboration with stakeholders and based on scientific principles and thorough research,” said Kevin O’Brien, Bullock’s deputy chief of staff, in an email. “While some on the far left and far right may take issue with the management plan, it has resulted in healthy wolf populations in Montana.”

Within the violation notice, WAGG made the following statement:

“One Montana landowner deems a wolf a ‘problem’ wolf (and) they can legally kill it, and may ‘legally’ kill up to 100 Wolves in any cruel method, including cruel and barbaric leg hold traps and snares, poisoning, gassing and burning alive pups in their dens, stomping, clubbing, gut shooting, chasing down and shooting from the air, with no restrictions or quotas. In addition, wolf ‘hunting’ and trapping is allowed from Oct. to May.”

That statement contains several inaccuracies in reference to seasons and new regulations for landowners, said FWP spokesman Tom Palmer. Hunting and foothold traps are legal methods of take, while other methods are prohibited by hunters or trappers, he said.

Montana’s general wolf hunting season runs from Sept. 15 to March 15. The archery only season runs from Sept. 6 to Sept. 14. The trapping season runs from Dec. 15 to Feb. 28, according to regulations. Landowners can kill wolves threatening livestock or people out of season and without a permit under FWP rules.

“Most of this isn’t allowed,” he said. “Snares aren’t allowed. You can’t bait or poison them. You can’t burn them alive. Gut shooting isn’t allowed.”

Landowners also do not have special regulations allowing aerial shooting, he said.

The Fish and Wildlife Commission approved rules that allow up to 100 wolves per landowner, authorized at 25 at a time, he said. Landowners have harvested four wolves under the rules, he said, and baiting is not allowed either in hunting or trapping.

“They (wolves) have to be actively threatening you or your livestock,” Palmer said. “The chances of a landowner seeing a threat and setting out a trap immediately is almost nill.”

When told of FWP’s response, Nelson-Steiner insisted that the regulations allow landowners to use “any” means of killing wolves.

Violations of existing regulations have run rampant, and FWP and the sheriff’s office have failed to enforce state laws in her area, Nelson-Steiner said.

On the issue of international law, Bullock was in direct violation of several items within the UN’s charter, Wells said.

“We demand that these violations be corrected forthwith or these violations will be brought before the International Court of Justice,” the violation notice said.

copyrighted wolf in water

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.

Victory for Wolves in Wyoming!

http://earthjustice.org/news/press/2014/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.

Montana wolf hunt begins; activists shadow hunters

Montana wolf hunt begins; activists shadow huntersThe Associated Press The Associated Press
September 15, 2014 3:12 pm  • 

BILLINGS — Montana’s six-month general hunting season for gray wolves began Monday as outside activists sought to highlight the killing of wolves that leave Yellowstone National Park.

It’s the fourth annual hunt since Congress revoked endangered species protections in 2011 for the animals, and the fifth since 2009, when gray wolves briefly lost their protected status before it was temporarily restored by a federal judge. There was no hunt in 2010.

Yet the hunt continues to stir debate. For this year’s opening, a small group of activists said they were shadowing two groups of backcountry hunting outfitters in a wilderness area next to Yellowstone.

Rod Coronado with the recently formed Yellowstone Wolf Patrol said he and eight other volunteers planned to use a video camera to document the killing of any wolves. Coronado said they would not directly interfere with hunting, which would be illegal.

“We’re hoping our presence here and taking video of it and photographing evidence can persuade Montana citizens to ask their governor to shut down the hunt outside the park,” Coronado said.

In 1995, a federal judge sentenced Coronado to more than four years in prison for his role in an arson attack on an animal research facility in Michigan. He said Monday that he no longer considers illegal actions effective and has no intention of breaking any Montana laws.

Montana law prohibits harassment of hunters, punishable by a fine of up to $500 and 30 days in prison. But tracking hunters and their activities is not illegal as long as nothing is done to disrupt the hunt itself, said Sam Sheppard, a warden captain with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

Hunting is not allowed inside Yellowstone. Just north of the park, two Montana hunting units are subject to a combined six-wolf quota. That limit on the number of wolves that can be taken annually was put in place after park scientists raised concerns in recent years that too many animals were being killed as soon as they passed over the park boundary and into Montana.

Areas outside Glacier National Park also have a quota.

There is no limit on how many wolves can be killed statewide, and 230 were harvested during the 2013-2014 season.

As of Monday, only one wolf had been taken this season, during an early season archery hunt. Wolf trapping season begins in December.

Coronado said he and his fellow activists plan to remain in the Absaroka-Beartooth wilderness area outside Yellowstone for about 10 days or until their food runs out.

He said similar actions are planned this fall to protest hunts in Wisconsin, where opening day is Oct. 15, and possibly Idaho, where the season is already underway.

http://helenair.com/news/local/montana-wolf-hunt-begins-activists-shadow-hunters/article_a963f81e-a8ed-5df7-b660-43a7664fce4e.html

 

Proving Ourselves to Save the Wolf

 

Bold Visions by Bold Visions @ 11:16am

Stephen Capra

For some time now, many of us–me included–have bitterly complained about the current state of wolves in the West. There is plenty of blame to go around, but recently the focus has turned to the conservation community itself and the actions of groups like Defenders of Wildlife. Yet, it’s small conservation organizations like Bold Visions, which have yet to fully prove their merit in the debate over wolves.

Smaller organizations contribute to helping wolves via updates, commenting, video, rallies and determined writing on the subject.  This is not meant in any way to diminish the hard work that these groups have made. But to date, the only groups that seem to control efforts and the funding around the wolves are major groups that have wantonly compromised away wolves, in order to proceed with what they term ‘incremental change,’ which ultimately means their actions are nothing more than fundraising schemes.

It also permits endless blame to be directed at US Fish and Wildlife, which is simply responding to the level of concern voiced, which is ‘let’s find a way to work together.’ If we are to change that message, it’s up to smaller subset of us in the conservation community to become the voice of a new direction, with the goal of impacting what the agencies and the American public are hearing from the passionate voices speaking for wolves.

The issue is how to impact the decisions in a meaningful and perdurable way. Small organizations that represent the point of view- that wolves do not need to be slaughtered to maintain public lands grazing, must band together much like a Union, and use the power of many small groups to become a large and crucial voice in the debate over wolves. Otherwise, we can complain and watch the slaughter continue.

So here is my challenge and pitch to any and all that are listening: We need to unite seven small conservation groups operating in the West. These would include only groups that oppose livestock grazing on public lands and want wolves protected-not shot or trapped. My proposal would be to have a three day, two night meeting in Boise, ID (a somewhat centralized location).

The purpose of the meeting would be to create a strategic plan, foundation plan and media plan for saving wolves across the West, both Northern Gray and Mexican. It would be the genesis of a unified coalition who will work together to support a single strategy we agree upon; one that will impact the protection of wolves and stop the compromising that working with opposition ranchers and politician at the expense of wolves.

We might call ourselves “The Wild Wolf-Healthy Lands Coalition.”

The purpose of that coalition requires a lot of participant input, but clearly our basic goal would be to form a working group that can share a vision; one working to end public lands grazing, and expands instead of shrinks shrinks the wolves’ range.

A Coalition that challenges state Game and Fish Departments, Governors and other elected officials who appear to be beyond both reason and the law. By bringing groups from several states, we can create a consistent messaging and develop an informational network that spans the entire West.

Such a meeting would be the start, not an end-point. Future meetings would morph to include other stake holders: Tribes, additional conservation groups, scientists, wilderness philosophers, foundations and volunteers, who are already giving so much to help wolves.

But a first meeting must be small and willing to dig deep; to argue, celebrate, build trust, and find common ground that benefits wolves, not a group’s or individual’s ego.

Large national groups have millions of dollars to operate with and drive a stale, tired message of cooperation and partnerships with the livestock industry. Many of us with experience know far too well that the ‘feel good’ approach is doomed to failure.

By forging a new alliance, we can create a stronger voice that demands that large, corporate conservation groups begin to compromise, not with ranchers, but with a strong constituency within their own ranks that wants to re-frame the debate on wolves.

The basic thought is this: we are killing wolves to appease ranchers and their powerful allies. In so doing we show no respect for ourselves (as conservationists), or the fate of wolves. We are constantly told that we must stop being so “extreme” and learn to work with our opposition for the sake of the wolf.

This mealy-mouthed rhetoric sounds great in a corporate board room, and sounds weak and aimless outside the borders of Yellowstone and high up in the Gila. We need to become galvanized, intelligent and begin to shift the paradigm of wolf recovery.

United, we have a chance for change; standing alone, we remain a feeble voice in wilderness of rhetoric. Millions of dollars have been spent compromising on the wolf. We can bring some groups together to change that status quo. For three days and two nights we can work towards an enlightened vision and the cost would be no more than $7000-$9000 to cover participants’ expenses and travel. It’s feasible that a single donor, or a handful could make this proactive plan a reality. Will we be successful? It’s far too soon to know. We represent a segment of the conservation movement that to date has largely been ignored, to be heard we must show success or better prove ourselves. Our chances are better if we are a coalition- a group of people with guts and determination.

This coming week, we will be contacting the various groups to access  their interest in a meeting, and to determine what each group requires to be part of this effort. We feel we can hold this crucial first meeting  in the first week of December, and begin the New Year with hope and a vision that wolves are more important than the livestock industry, and gives notice that their days of control are coming to an end.

That is the challenge if wolves are to be truly free to reclaim the wildness that is our public lands and for justice to prevail.

Wolves Under Attack

From HSUS.org (it’s good to see the leading the charge on this issue):

There is an all out war on our nation’s wolves — and in Michigan, they just took another hit.

Last week, in a charade of a vote, the Michigan House passed the unconstitutional “Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act” — a misleadingly named bill that will allow a group of seven political appointees to open up a hunting season on wolves or any other protected species in the state without citizens having any say whatsoever.

This is a direct attack on citizen lawmaking and another big blow to Michigan’s fragile wolf population.

This is the third time in two years that Michigan lawmakers have voted to authorize a hunting season on Michigan’s small wolf population. It’s a slap in the face to the nearly half a million Michiganders who signed petitions to put two referendums on the ballot, and to all Michigan voters who are being told by the politicians that their votes shouldn’t count when it comes to what animals are hunted.

But we are far from backing down to these politicians. Our coalition partners at Keep Michigan Wolves Protected plan to challenge the “Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act” in court, and we are confident that Michigan courts will reject this unconstitutional Act and instead respect the voice of the people. And if citizens successfully vote down the two referendums in November, we will block a hunting season this fall and stop dozens or perhaps even hundreds of wolves from being pointlessly killed by trophy hunters.

copyrighted Hayden wolf walking

“Defenders” of Wildlife Supports Wolf Hunting!

Yet another sell-out group, sleeping with the enemy. Is this what they’re doing with all the donations they keep begging for? Unbelievable!

http://www.kued.org/suzanne-stone

Interviewer
Should wolves be hunted?

Suzanne Stone
Defenders of Wildlife is not opposed to hunting of wolves. We represent hunters as well as other conservationists and animal rights people. We have a very wide spectrum of people that are our members, but we’ve never been opposed to hunting. As long as it’s hunting done in a manner that other species are hunted, so that it’s not to exterminate the species, but actually to only take surplus from that population. And right now the wolf population in the Northern Rockies is still pretty small. For example, in Idaho we have somewhere around five or six hundred adult wolves, and if you compare that with things like mountain lions, we have over 3,000 mountain lions. We have 20,000 black bears, and more than 100,000 elk. And so if you’re putting a lot of pressure on a wolf population when they’re at such a low number, you’re managing them very differently than you’re managing these other species, which are managed to be in greater populations and more abundant.

copyrighted wolf in river

Pro-wolf hunt measure passes Michigan Senate

copyrighted wolf in river

http://www.mlive.com/lansing-news/index.ssf/2014/08/michigan_wolf_hunting.html

By Jonathan Oosting

LANSING, MI — Michigan’s Republican-led Senate on Wednesday approved controversial legislation that could pave the way for future wolf hunting seasons despite two wolf protection proposals set to appear on the November ballot.

The initiated bill was sent to the state Legislature last month by Citizens For Professional Wildlife Management, a hunting and conservation coalition that collected an estimated 297,000 valid signatures in a statewide petition drive.

State senators returned from summer recess to vote on various legislation, including the wolf hunt measure. It was approved in a 23-10 vote, mostly along party lines, and now heads to the House for further consideration.

The measure is similar to — and actually seeks to re-enact — recent laws that first designated the gray wolf as a game animal and gave the Natural Resource Commission the authority to add new species to the list. Both laws were suspended pending outcome of voter referendums this fall.

Supporters say the commission, comprised of seven members appointed by the governor, is best suited to consider scientific rationale for new game species or hunts. The NRC approved the state’s first-ever wolf season last year.

“It’s not about eliminating wolves,” said state Sen. Howard Walker, R-Traverse City, whose district includes wolf habitat in the eastern Upper Peninsula. “It’s about a balanced ecosystem, and it’s about providing scientific management.”

The Senate did not have to vote on the pro-hunt bill. Rejection or inaction would send the measure to the statewide ballot, where it would compete with the two anti-wolf hunt proposals.

Approval by the state House, which is set to reconvene for voting on August 27, would render those ballot proposals moot. The initiated legislation also includes a $1 million appropriation to battle invasive species, which may make it immune from future referendum.

Keep Michigan Wolves Protected, a coalition funded primarily by the Humane Society of the United States, organized two successful petition drives in a bid to prevent wolf hunting. The group’s first effort was rebuffed by the Legislature, which passed a second law when the first was suspended.

Several Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer of East Lansing, urged Republican leadership to send the measure to the ballot, arguing that approval would disenfranchise voters who had signed the anti-hunt petitions.

“I’m not going to debate the merits of wolf hunting, because I really shouldn’t have to. There are initiatives supporting both sides of the argument that are intended to let the people decide.” Whitmer said.

“But I do think we should be debating why the desires of people who want to kill wolves outweigh those who do not. Because that’s what this is all about.”

Sen. Tom Casperson, who sponsored both wolf hunt laws facing referendum this fall, questioned why the Humane Society was focused on Michigan and suggested its true aim is to take away all hunting privileges, which the group denies.

“The sportsmen decided to do the initiative, and it’s within their right to do it,” he said, referencing the third petition drive that sent the measure to the Legislature.

Michigan’s wolf population grew dramatically in the 1990s and early 2000s, prompting removal from both state and federal endangered species lists. There are now an estimated 636 wolves in the Upper Peninsula.

Supporters say that wolf hunts are an effective population-control tool for limiting attacks on livestock and pets, arguments bolstered by recent news that wolves had killed five hunting dogs in the span of three days, along with a cow.

Twenty-two wolves were legally killed in a hunt that ran from mid-November through December in three zones of the Upper Peninsula, about half the number that the state had hoped for.

An MLive.com investigation found government half-truths, falsehoods and livestock numbers skewed by a single farmer distorted some arguments for the inaugural hunt.

Politicians “can’t be trusted on this issue, but the voters can be trusted, and should be allowed to hear the arguments from both sides and make an informed judgment this November,” said Jill Fritz of Keep Michigan Wolves Protected.

“We call on House members to end this abuse of power, and restore respect for the democratic process by letting the people vote.”

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources sold 1,200 wolf hunting licenses last year, generating roughly $120,000 for the Game and Fish Protection Fund, according to the non-partisan House Fiscal Agency.

The $1 million appropriation proposed in the new bill would be drawn from the state’s general fund. The measure would also extend a provision of the 2013 law that gave free hunting, fishing and trapping licenses to active military members.