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.

Aerial Hunter Killing Washington Wolves

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Hunter Hired by Washington State Kills 1 Wolf

One wolf has been killed by a hunter hired by Washington, a state where the animals have been regaining a foothold in recent years after being hunted to extinction in the early 1900s.

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife said hunters were back out Monday, targeting three more wolves in the Huckleberry Pack to protect sheep in rural southern Stevens County.

Wolves from the Huckleberry Pack this month have killed 22 sheep and injured three more, despite preventive measures, the agency said.

Environmental groups oppose the hunt.

Wolves began moving back into the state in the early 2000s from Idaho and Canada, and they are protected under state and federal law. The state exterminated an entire pack of wolves to protect a herd of cattle in mountainous Stevens County in 2012.

The most recent hunt is designed to protect a herd of 1,800 sheep owned by Dave Dashiell of the town of Hunters, located about 50 miles northwest of Spokane.

“Unfortunately, lethal action is clearly warranted in this case,” said Nate Pamplin, the agency’s wildlife program director, on Monday. “Before we considered reducing the size of the pack, our staff and Mr. Dashiell used a wide range of preventive measures to keep the wolves from preying on the pack.”

Non-lethal activities are continuing, he said.

Amaroq Weiss of the Center for Biological Diversity said the hunt proves the state prefers to kill the wolves.

“The department has never been interested in making sure sufficient non-lethal conflict measures are in place,” Weiss said. “They have wanted to gun for these wolves from the start.”

The state could have used rubber bullets or paintball rounds to harass the wolves, but instead resorted immediately to airborne snipers, she said.

On Saturday, crews found five dead and three injured sheep that were attacked Friday night or early Saturday morning, the agency said. Investigators confirmed that wolves were responsible for all of the attacks.

On Saturday evening, a marksman contracted by the Department of Fish and Wildlife killed one member of the pack from a helicopter. The agency has authorized killing three more wolves from the pack, which contains about a dozen wolves.

Wolves were driven to extinction in Washington in the early 1900s by a government-sponsored eradication program on behalf of the livestock industry. Their population has grown to at least 52 wolves today.

Some ranchers and hunters vehemently oppose the return of the wolves, saying the animals prey on livestock and deer populations.

[Deer populations? Excuse me, but yes, wolves do prey on deer--always have--long before humans started claiming them all as a "game" species. Hunters claim to be keeping the deer from overpopulating and starving, but at the same time they get upset if a natural predator returns to its historic place and does part of the job for them.]

The current situation in Stevens County meets all of the agency’s conditions for lethal removal, Pamplin said. That includes repeated wolf kills; the failure of non-lethal methods to stop the predation; the attacks are likely to continue; and the livestock owner has not done anything to attract the wolves.

[It seems to me, 1,800 sheep in one place should be considered doing something to attract wolves (not to mention cougars and coyotes). The obvious non-lethal answer: phase out the sheep.]

more: http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/hunter-hired-washington-state-kills-wolf-25118910

WTF HSUS?

You could say that I am more than a bit peeved at the HSUS these days. Their shameless promotion of meat-eating—especially their sponsoring the hedonistic “Hoofin’ It” event—has me downright pissed off. 

I have to wonder if they can even see above the bullshit they’ve sunk into this time. 

For years I was an ardent supporter of their policies—until they went out of their way to join Whole Foods in perpetuating the myth of “humane” meat. Instead of sticking to their guns and helping to usher in an era of evolution that takes us beyond animal agriculture, they’re bent on reviving the “Old McDonald’s Farm” fantasy.

I live next door to Old McDonald, and I’ve seen how he treats his farm animals. It isn’t pretty.

One of the flesh food purveyors featured in the “Hoofin’ It” event (the ranch that raises bison) waxes poetic about their “product” as though it were a hand-crafted ale or fine wine: “Our bulls are…finished with a natural diet of whole corn, sunflower pellets…” and “are harvested and processed at the prime age of 24-30 months, weighing approximately 1,100 pounds.” 

 

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

Prime age for whom? Certainly not for the Bison! Bison don’t even reach maturity until 3 years of age and can live well over 30 years in the wild when allowed to. The bison whose flesh they’re selling are still babies. In the wild, male bison remain with their mothers for at least 3 years before joining in with groups of other bulls. It’s like eating a lamb who is never allowed to grow up to be a sheep. And who the fuck eats a lamb anyway, HSUS? 

The big question is, how does one “humanely” kill (“harvest” or “process”) a 1000 pound, gregarious, empathetic herd animal who relates enough to others to make a habit of mourning over their dead? “Processing” day must be a real sad, morbid, not to mention horrifying day for those waiting in line for their turn to get slaughtered. 

This whole alternative “humane” meat issue reminds me of the popular new micro-brewery that cropped up in the small town of Twisp, WA, where I used to live. Their menu featured grass-fed, organic beef from a local rancher who turned out to be none other than wolf-hater/poacher Bill White. White, along with his son, was responsible for baiting and killing off most of Washington State’s first wolves, the Lookout Pack. (Yes, they’re the same folks who got caught trying to send a bloody wolf hide through the mail to Canada.) 

Is the HSUS being led down the garden path by other (possibly wolf-hater/poacher) ranchers who are eager to sell a higher-priced product to a new generation of starry-eyed foodies who think the sentient animals they’re eating were happy to know they were “sustainably” harvested? 

It was partly because of the wisdom of a few friends working for the HSUS on wildlife issues that my wife and I went vegan 16 years ago. Those friends are still as dedicated to the animal rights cause as ever, but somehow the HSUS as a group must have lost its nerve, its soul and now, its ever-loving mind.

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Why the NRDC’s Montana “Wolf Stamp” Must Be Stopped

http://www.thewildlifenews.com/2014/08/14/why-the-nrdcs-montana-wolf-stamp-must-be-stopped/

By Brooks Fahy, Executive Director, Predator Defense

Recently one of our county’s most highly respected environmental organizations, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), proposed that wildlife advocates improve the plight of wolves in Montana by purchasing a special wolf “conservation” stamp for $20. The money raised would allegedly be used to resolve wolf conflicts nonlethally, as well as for public education, habitat improvement and procurement, and law enforcement.

Sounds great, right?

WRONG.

The problem is the money will go directly to the state agency in charge of managing wolves—Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP). If you’ve been following our work at Predator Defense for any length of time you’ll know that, for the state of Montana, “managing” means “killing.” It is also worth noting that the state has renamed what the NRDC calls a wolf “conservation” stamp a wolf “management” stamp.

We believe we must speak out against the NRDC’s wolf stamp, and here’s why. The best available science tells us that territorial, apex predators like wolves do not need to be managed.

Asking wildlife advocates to donate funds to a government wildlife management agency is an endorsement of sorts that implies that agency is deserving of and will use your donation in the best interest of wildlife, in this case wolves. Such an endorsement promotes what we would like to call “The Myth,” which is that wildlife management agencies are using current science and conservation biology, as well as ethical principles, to create responsible programs to benefit wildlife, primarily predators. The truth is they are not.

Instead, generous hunting and trapping quotas are the backbone of all agency predator management. The quotas cannot be supported scientifically or ethically. Most hunters and trappers see wolves as competition and “the enemy” and their license fees pay the salaries of wildlife agency staff.

Unquestioning belief in The Myth by lawmakers and the public is precisely how and why wolves lost federal Endangered Species Act protection in Montana and why those protections are now on the chopping block in the remaining lower 48 states. It is also why wolves are at grave risk.

So how is providing additional funding to state agencies going to benefit wolves? Regardless of whether the money is earmarked for killing wolves, it is supporting an agency that is perpetrating The Myth that is leading toward wolves’ demise.

We find the NRDC’s wolf stamp to be unethical, irresponsible, and downright dangerous. It would:

  • Legitimize state wildlife agencies’ methods of managing wolves in Montana and of predator species in general nationwide.
  • Betray the trust wildlife advocates have in conservation organizations to guide their members to support programs designed primarily to benefit wildlife, and to oppose those that are not in wildlife’s best interest.

Based on past experience, it is utterly ridiculous to trust an agency like Montana FWP to actually do what the proponents of this stamp are suggesting—to value and advocate for a predator species.

As an example, let’s look at state management of coyotes. While the Navahos called these predators “God’s dog,” Montana and most states consider coyotes to be “vermin” and grant them no status, no value, and no protection. Most state wildlife laws dictate no limit to the number of coyotes to be killed. But the pesky fact is that, when under attack, coyotes’ predation and reproduction activities increase. This means that state coyote management has actually increased the probability of conflicts—all because they have ignored science. (Learn more at www.predatordefense.org/coyotes.htm.)

Now just for fun, let’s imagine Montana FWP was asked to create a coyote stamp like the wolf stamp. Do you think FWP personnel would be responsible and educate the public about how critically important coyotes are to a healthy ecosystem? Do you think they would invest in improving coyote habitat?

You can easily see it’s pretty unlikely that a coyote stamp would have much value to coyotes. But, how ‘bout that wolf stamp? Keeping in mind that the attitude state agencies have towards coyotes is more or less the same as their attitude towards wolves and other predators, the wolf stamp does not look promising, to put it mildly.

The stamp question begs the following larger and more important questions regarding predators and the role of conservation organization advocating for them:

  • Do wildlife management agencies use sound and current science to create and implement predator management plans, and to educate the public, ranchers and hunters?
  • Do wildlife management agencies protect and procure habitat to benefit predators and ensure their populations occupy their natural and historic ranges?
  • Do wildlife management agencies create and support wildlife laws to protect predator species?

If the answer is NO to these questions—and it most certainly is—then a different approach to predator protection and advocacy is long overdue. It’s time the conservation, wildlife advocacy and environmental community admits and acknowledges that today’s wildlife management agencies are not our friends.

Rather than working within the agency system by promoting stamps and providing other means of supporting marginal improvements for certain species, organizations should apply themselves to an overhaul of the system, starting with state commissions which oversee fish and game agencies.

Commissions should reflect the current attitudes of the majority of the state’s populace and truly represent the demographics of the state. Currently, the majority, if not all, of the commissions are composed of hunters and ranchers, or people in some way tied to those interests. While commissions may have a token individual who holds a moderate stance on these issues, such a person is largely marginalized and doesn’t last long.

The governor of Montana and most other states appoints commissioners. If all advocacy organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGO’s), and others concerned about wildlife and habitat used their resources to lobby governors to appoint commissioners that truly represent current demographics—which are dominated by non-consumptive users of wildlife—we could make a difference. We could change the paradigm from policies for hunters and ranchers, to policies for wildlife and wild lands.

Influencing governors is nothing new. It’s all about financial and campaign support. Candidates need to know they’ll get support for their campaign when they appoint non-hunters to the critical commissions. Agriculture and hunting interests have made their influence known to candidates, but conservationists represent a lot more votes and can get a lot better at this game. Some NGO’s might be limited to donating money directly, but they are not limited in making suggestions to their membership; many operate sister organizations that are not nonprofit tax exempt and hence not restricted in campaigning.

If science and ethics are to be the foundation of sound wildlife policies, then conservation organizations need to bring the real hardcore message home: NO HUNTING OF PREDATORS.

If we are successful in populating decision-making bodies with people who represent today’s demographics, cultures and attitudes, and provide them with current sound science, we’ll have a chance at success in making critical changes that will benefit entire ecosystems and their inhabitants, starting with changing how wildlife agencies are funded.

Again, the best available science tells us that territorial, apex predators do not need to be managed. On the other hand, habitats need to be managed. Non-native invasive species need to be managed. And last, but not least, people need to be managed.
This message needs to be delivered to wildlife management agencies, their commissioners, and politicians. We, the people, need to stop Montana’s wolf stamp.

SPEAK OUT AGAINST THE WOLF STAMP: ATTEND A HEARING & SUBMIT A COMMENT
Communities around the state will hold hearings on August 14 at 6 p.m. Comments on the proposal will be taken through Friday, Aug. 22.

Scroll down for details on hearings and comments below.

ATTEND A HEARING – August 14, 2014 at 6:00 p.m.

Helena
Fish, Wildlife and Parks Headquarters, 1420 East 6th Avenue, Helena, MT

Kalispell
Fish, Wildlife and Parks Region 1 Office, 490 North Meridian Road, Kalispell, MT

Missoula
Fish, Wildlife and Parks Region 2 Office, 3201 Spurgin Road, Missoula, MT

Bozeman
Fish, Wildlife and Parks Region 3 Office, 1400 South 19th Avenue, Bozeman, MT

Great Falls
Fish, Wildlife and Parks Region 4 Office, 4600 Giant Springs Road, Great Falls, MT

Billings
Fish, Wildlife and Parks Region 5 Office, 2300 Lake Elmo Drive, Billings, MT

Glasgow
Fish, Wildlife and Parks Region 6 Office, 54078 US Highway 2 West, Glasgow, MT

Miles City
Fish, Wildlife and Parks Region 7 Office, 352 I-94 Business Loop, Miles City, MT

Additional details at http://fwp.mt.gov/news/newsReleases/fishAndWildlife/nr_0681.html

SUMBIT A WRITTEN COMMENT AGAINGST THE WOLF STAMP

View the proposed wolf stamp rule and make your comment on the Montana FWP website at http://fwp.mt.gov/news/publicNotices/armRules/pn_0177.html

Comments may be also be submitted by mail, email, or fax to:

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks
Communication Education Division
P.O. Box 200701
Helena, MT 59620-0701

Email: fwpwld@mt.gov
Fax: 406-444-4952

What’s a Minnisota Wolf’s Life Worth? $4.00

From: Increase in wolf hunting permits, higher harvest level set for 2014

The DNR said it will make 3,800 hunting and trapping licenses available for the coming season, up from 3,500 last year, and will allow up to 250 wolves to be killed, up from 220 last year.

…the increase in permits also has angered wolf supporters who have been working to overturn the state’s recreational wolf hunt since it began in 2012, shortly after federal Endangered Species Act protections were removed.

“People need to know that no matter what they say, the DNR and the governor clearly don’t have the best interest of wolves in mind, to be having another season, with more wolves killed, so quickly after they were on the endangered species list,” said Maureen Hackett, a founder of Howling for Wolves. “The DNR has no idea what kind of mortality wolves are seeing for poaching and vehicles or other problems… so they really don’t know how many wolves are out there.”

Hackett said shooting or trapping individual wolves out of packs disrupts the pack social order and may end up causing more conflicts by dispersing the individual members.

“More than 60 percent of the wolves killed the first year were 2 years old or younger. They’re killing puppies,” Hackett added.

Last year, 3,434 hunters and trappers killed 237 wolves for a 6.9 percent success rate. In 2012, the state’s first ever wolf hunt, 6,127 hunters and trappers killed 413 wolves for a 6.7 percent success rate.

The first 2014 hunting season will run Nov. 8-23, the same as the northern deer hunting season. A second hunting season is set for Nov. 29 to Jan. 31, the same dates for the wolf trapping season. The seasons will close early if harvest quotas are reached.

Hunters and trappers can apply for 2014 wolf licenses, which are awarded in a lottery, starting Aug. 1.

To apply, applicants need to pay a $4 fee…

copyrighted wolf in water

Idaho Suspends Wilderness Wolf-Killing Plan In Face of Court Challenge

http://www.thewildlifenews.com/2014/07/29/idaho-suspends-wilderness-wolf-killing-plan-in-face-of-court-challenge/

By On July 29, 2014

POCATELLO, Idaho – Faced with a legal challenge by conservationists and an imminent hearing before a federal appeals court, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (“IDFG”) has abandoned its plan to resume a professional wolf-killing program in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness during the coming winter.

In a sworn statement submitted to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on July 24, 2014, IDFG Wildlife Bureau Chief Jeff Gould stated that IDFG “will not conduct any agency control actions for wolves within the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness before November 1, 2015.” IDFG had previously advised the court that the program could resume as early as December 1, 2014.

A professional hunter-trapper hired by IDFG killed nine wolves in the Frank Church Wilderness last winter and state officials in February announced plans to kill 60 percent of the wolves in the Middle Fork section of the wilderness over a period of several years in an effort to inflate wilderness elk populations for the benefit of commercial outfitters and recreational hunters.

“As we mark the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act this September, we are relieved that the Frank Church Wilderness will be managed as a wild place, rather than an elk farm, for at least the coming year,” said Earthjustice attorney Timothy Preso, who is representing conservationists challenging the wilderness wolf-killing program. “Now we must make sure that wilderness values prevail for the long term.”

Earthjustice is representing long-time Idaho conservationist and wilderness advocate Ralph Maughan along with four conservation groups—Defenders of Wildlife, Western Watersheds Project, Wilderness Watch, and the Center for Biological Diversity—in the lawsuit challenging the wolf-killing program. The conservationists argue that the U.S. Forest Service, which is charged by Congress with managing and protecting the Frank Church Wilderness, violated the Wilderness Act and other laws by allowing and assisting the state wolf-killing program in the largest forest wilderness in the lower-48 states.

In a separate sworn statement filed with the Ninth Circuit on July 24, the Forest Service committed to providing the conservationists with notice by August 5, 2015 of any plans by IDFG to resume professional wolf-killing in the Frank Church Wilderness during the 2015-16 winter, as well as “a final determination by the Forest Service as to whether it concurs with or objects to such plans.”

“IDFG’s announcement now gives the Forest Service the chance to play out its mission—its obligation to protect our irreplaceable Frank Church Wilderness for the American people and for all its wildlife against an effort to turn it into a mere elk farming operation on infertile soil,” said Maughan, a retired Idaho State University professor who was a member of the citizens’ group that drew up the boundaries of the Frank Church Wilderness 35 years ago.

“We are pleased to see this truce in Idaho’s wolf reduction efforts in the Frank Church for a full year,” said Suzanne Stone, Defenders’ regional representative who has worked nearly three decades to restore wolves in Idaho. “The Frank Church is both the largest forested wilderness area and a core habitat for gray wolves in the western United States. Wolves belong here as they have made the ‘Frank’ truly wild again. Ensuring healthy wolf populations here is critical for the recovery of wolves throughout the entire northwestern region.”

“It is hard to imagine a decision more inconsistent with wilderness protection than to allow the hired killing of wolves,” added Travis Bruner, executive director of Western Watersheds Project. “Today, some relief for wild places flows from the news that IDFG will not continue that odious operation this year. Next we will see whether the Forest Service will take action to protect the Frank Church Wilderness from such atrocities in the future.”

“It’s time for the Forest Service to stand with the vast majority of the American people by taking the necessary steps to protect wolves in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness for the long-term, not just the next 15 months,” stated George Nickas, executive director of Wilderness Watch. “Wolves are the epitome of wildness. Their protection is key to preserving the area’s wilderness character.”

“We’re glad Idaho’s wolves are rightly getting a reprieve from the state’s ill-conceived predator-killing plan, at least for a year,” said Amy Atwood, senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity.  “We’re also happy to see the Forest Service agree to be more transparent about any future decision to allow Idaho to kill wolves in the Frank Church.”

BACKGROUND: The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals had scheduled an August 25, 2014 court hearing to address the conservationists’ request for an injunction to prevent IDFG from resuming its program of professional wolf killing in the Frank Church Wilderness during the coming winter. IDFG commenced the program in December 2013 without public notice but abruptly suspended the program on January 28, 2014 amidst emergency injunction proceedings before the Ninth Circuit. Since then, the conservationists have continued to press their case for an injunction before the Ninth Circuit, which led to the scheduled August 25 court hearing.

Because IDFG has abandoned the 2014-15 professional wolf-killing program in the wilderness, the conservationists have agreed to forego the scheduled court hearing, but they renewed their call for the Forest Service to fulfill its legal duty to protect the Frank Church Wilderness.

copyrighted wolf in river

What do Wolves, Hunting Accidents and Trophy Hunter Kendall Jones have in Common?

Answer: Well, nothing really, yet. They just happen to be three of the more popularHNTSTK_1_2__66133_1314490481_1280_1280 keywords, and I hoped that if I used them in a title I’d tempt more of you to read some of the recent posts that have been overlooked according to this blog’s stats.

Why, for instance, did an article about Kendall Jones’ trophy hunting pictures receive over 22,000 reads here, whereas posts about climate change, elk or mute swans have only been looked at by a few dozen?

I’m trying to figure out what makes people tick.

Maybe there just aren’t enough hunting accidents involving trophy hunters to keep people reading, so here’s one that someone made up:

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War on wolves has reached new a low


 

By LYNNE STONE

Since early July, Idaho’s war on wolves has another chapter—once again in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area (SNRA). This time, it involves the Casino Pack in the Sawtooth Valley near Fisher Creek.
It works like this: A rancher has a hurt or dead calf or sheep, calls the misnamed federal agency Wildlife Services, who will say it’s a wolf kill. Wildlife Services calls the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, and Fish and Game rubber-stamps whatever Wildlife Services wants—usually to “kill all offending wolves.” In the summer months, there are thousands of sheep and cattle on the SNRA. Some are going to be sick or hurt every day. If wolves come around, they are blamed.
The Casino Pack alpha male was B450. I had first seen him as a yearling in 2009 with his three younger sisters and brothers in the Stanley Basin. His family, the Basin Butte wolves, were killed on Thanksgiving week 2009 because cattle ranchers would not adapt to living with wolves.
B450 survived five more years and had his own family before he was trapped on July 9 near Fisher Creek. Although Fish and Game had told Wildlife Services to release any collared wolves, B450 was so mortally injured from being in the leg-hold trap in hot weather that he was shot. The same with his yearling son, B647—caught in a trap on July 1, and in such bad shape when the Wildlife Services agent finally checked the trap, the wolf would not live if released. This is not the first time wolves have suffered in the SNRA due to trapping. A collared yearling died in a trap on Decker Flat last May.
Another Casino Pack wolf, a subadult female, has also been killed by Wildlife Services, leaving only the pack’s mother, pups and one other sibling. The kill order is out for them, too. All because one rancher lost one calf, maybe to wolves.


The town of Stanley struggles in winter to survive. Wildlife viewing, especially for wolves, could change that.


Fish and Game in Salmon told me this week that they were sorry that the collared wolves were killed. Fish and Game seems to have no control over the actions of Wildlife Services, nor do they seem to care in a state where our cowboy governor Butch Otter has made it clear he doesn’t want wolves here.
On the SNRA since 2000, the Stanley Pack, Whitehawk Pack, Galena Pack and Basin Butte Pack have been eradicated because of a handful of cattle and sheepmen. When people claim that the SNRA protects wildlife, it’s simply not true when it comes to wolves and other animals that ranchers don’t like. They call the shots, literally.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Ranchers could be proactive and learn about nonlethal methods of deterrence. A few are doing this in the Wood River Valley. Landowners who lease pasture to cattlemen could stop—that would help wolves. The SNRA could be a place like Yellowstone Park’s Lamar Valley—where people come from all over the world to see wolves and nearby communities benefit—receiving millions of dollars from tourists. The town of Stanley struggles in winter to survive. Wildlife viewing, especially for wolves could change that.

    Lynne Stone is the director of the Boulder-White Clouds Council, an environmental group. She has been a longtime advocate for wolves in central Idaho.

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