$12 to Kill a Wolf in Montana

Center for Biological Diversity

APR 27, 2019 — 

$19 is apparently too high a sticker price for the privilege of killing a wolf in Montana. A new state proposal would cut the cost of a wolf-hunting license to just $12.

This sick disdain for wolves, literally cheapening their lives, once pushed them to the brink of extinction. The same forces who see wolves as target practice want to spread this mentality nationwide.

They must be stopped, and you can help.

The administration’s plan to take away Endangered Species Act protection from most wolves in the lower 48 would expose the animals to more hunting, more trapping, more shattered packs.

In some places it would cost more to go to the movies than to slaughter a wolf.

Idaho is even paying trappers to kill them.

These states are showing how little they care for wildlife and how easy they want to make it for wolves to be shot.

This is the war on wolves the Trump administration is encouraging states to wage.

The job of wolf recovery is far from over, which is why we’re pushing hard for a national recovery plan.

 

Don’t allow wolf traps Wolf-killing payments are unethical

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is planning to expand the wolf trapping season and to open private lands to trapping. On Jan. 27, a poster appeared on Facebook offering expense reimbursement of up to $1,000 from the Foundation for Wildlife Management. The payments are funded by a grant from Fish and Game’s Community Challenge Grant and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and are supported by the Fish and Game Commission, the Idaho Cattlemen’s Association and Idaho Farm Bureau.

Wolves were reintroduced in 1995 because a whole lot of people cared about wolves taking their proper ecological role in ecosystem health. The Legislature and the commission have made it clear that wolves, and other predators, are not welcome in Idaho. Fish and Game wildlife biologists and conservationists understand that predators are the most important piece of the ecosystem puzzle. Instead, the commission has teamed up with the Foundation for Wildlife Management to manage wolves with increased trapping. The commission is setting policy according to the wishes of the legislators, trappers, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, the Cattlemen’s Association, the Farm Bureau and their partner, Wildlife Services. There is no consideration of conservation whatsoever when it comes to predators.

Wildlife are so vulnerable in the winter. A baited trap, a snow machine or an ATV have nothing to do with sportsman-like hunting and are inhumane and unethical. The Wood River Wolf Project, a group of conservationists, has worked for years with ranchers to implement non-lethal methods for keeping livestock safe. The commission is ignoring its mandate to set policy based on good science.

The Department of Fish and Game has stated that since people like me don’t pay their salaries, I should not have a say about how wildlife is managed. But there are many Idahoans who care deeply for conserving wildlife and are willing to pay for conservation of wildlife. Please let the department and the commission hear from you.

Christine Gertschen, Sun Valley

Fish and Game trips on wolf trapping

Imagine a 10-year-old girl in tears when she wasn’t allowed to speak against wolf trapping after sitting for two hours in an Idaho Fish and Game-hosted meeting in Hailey on Feb. 19. Imagine how she felt when she was told that she could go to Boise to speak to the Fish and Game Commission on March 12. But how could she when it was on a school night? The room was packed with other concerned Blaine County citizens, but no one was allowed to speak. Apparently, this type of meeting by Fish and Game doesn’t allow public comment.

After years of respecting local values of coexistence with wolves, why is the Idaho Fish and Game Commission trampling on those values? Something has radically changed? For the first time, the commission wants to open wolf trapping on private lands in Blaine County. How does this reflect on our new Gov. Brad Little, who seems a moderate voice on the environment?

Whatever the Fish and Game rationale, wolf trapping in Blaine County ignores 12 years of collaboration with the Wood River Wolf Project, a program that deters wolf depredation of livestock through nonlethal means. Blaine County and the city of Ketchum have supported this program because coexistence with wolves expresses core citizen values of wildlife protection. The Wood River Women’s Foundation, a 380-member powerhouse, gave significant grants in 2017 and 2018 to support this important effort. Our community has spoken often and clearly.

Idaho Fish and Game has clearly tripped on wolf trapping on private lands in Blaine County. We can easily debunk the commission’s argument that trapping regulations should be uniform statewide. Why would these be uniform when most other types of hunting are regulated on an area-by-area basis?

With 1.6 million acres of land in Blaine County, there is often no distinction between public and private lands in remote canyons and valleys. Trapping anywhere puts the public at risk and ignores our hard work to coexist with wolves and all wildlife.

I urge you to contact Gov. Brad Little and the Fish and Game Commission against this proposal.

Sarah Michael, Blaine County


Sarah Michael was a Blaine County commissioner from 2001-2008.

Wolf trapping proposal is insidious first step

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is proposing to lengthen the wolf trapping season in areas of the Magic Valley Region where it is already allowed on public land and to initiate a trapping season on private land where no season currently exists, including in Units 48 and 49, which surround the Wood River Valley.

The pelt quality of furbearers is highest during winter. The quality of pelts from wolves harvested in October is likely to be poor. This feels like relaxing the constraints on legal harvest for the sole purpose of killing more wolves.

Extending the wolf trapping season to the end of March is alarming. Mating typically occurs between January and March. Gestation is 63 days. Trapping and killing an alpha breeding female in the last trimester of gestation or early lactation is barbaric. If she dies pregnant, whatever she is carrying dies with her; if she dies lactating, her pups will starve to death in short order. The legal wolf hunting season for 25 units across several regions begins on July 1 and ends on June 30. Is this the direction we’re headed for wolf trapping?

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Restricting wolf trapping to private land will not eliminate the threat of injury to people, pets or livestock. There are thousands of acres of private land in wolf country in Blaine County that the public may and does legally access. Recreation in Blaine County is highly centered around outdoor recreation, including hiking with dogs.

I fear that the private-land-only aspect of the proposed wolf-trapping rule changes has the potential for insidious incremental dismantlement. Are we beginning on a path that is simply a redux of the “private land first, public land to follow” scenario observed in other Fish and Game regions? What assurances do Blaine County residents have that this “evolution” will not occur here?

Wolf traps are effective because of the bait used as an attractant. Wolves will likely be attracted from remote locations that include public land. The Sawtooth National Recreation Area abuts private land in the Wood River Valley and a portion of the Hemingway-Boulders Wilderness is in our backyard. Domesticated dogs will also likely be drawn to wolf traps on private land.

The Wood River Wolf Project, a collaborative consisting of sheep ranchers, federal and state agencies (including Fish and Game), wildlife advocates, wolf experts and Blaine County, employs nonlethal tools to prevent depredation by wolves on sheep and, as a consequence, to reduce or eliminate lethal control requests by operators who have incurred wolf depredation losses. Killing more wolves in Blaine County is not an outcome favored by most Blaine County residents.

The elk population in the game management units pertinent to Blaine County materially exceeds the high end of the target range. As a consequence, and to mitigate crop depredation losses and the associated costs to recompense farmers and ranchers, Fish and Game is pursuing significantly increased elk harvest in our area for the next several years while concurrently proposing to kill more wolves here. Why kill a native predator that kills elk if you want fewer elk? What about this makes any sense whatsoever?

There are fewer than 2,000 trappers active in Idaho. Only a fraction of those trap wolves. Many of those who do are compensated by outside parties in amounts greatly in excess of the value of the pelts. Fish and Game is one of those funding entities. Though these payments are characterized as “reimbursement” for expenses incurred, your state game management agency is paying bounties to trappers to kill wolves.

The proposed wolf trapping rules changes are confusing as to intent, are in conflict with the department’s elk management objectives, can only be viewed as the first step of several to further liberalize wolf trapping in Blaine County, raise ethical concerns in terms of the proposed season end date, benefit few, endanger many and, finally, are not wanted by most Blaine County citizens.

North Idaho County, State Snowmobilers File Lawsuit Over USFWS’ ESA Listing Of Selkirk Caribou 

Friday, November 16, 2012 (PST)
North Idaho’s Bonner County and the state’s snowmobile association this week launched a lawsuit in U.S. District Court aimed at forcing a response from the federal government regarding Endangered Species Act listing of the “Southern Selkirk” population of woodland caribou.

Bonner County and the Idaho State Snowmobile Association on May 9 filed a petition under ESA regulations suggesting that the caribou population was illegally listed and asking that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reconsider its 1983 listing of the Selkirk caribou population as endangered.

Under ESA rules, an initial finding as to whether or not a petition to remove a species from the list presents substantial information indicating that the requested action may be warranted is due within 90 days of the petition. The complaint that finding has yet to be issued.

The complaint filed Thursday for the county and snowmobile association by the Pacific Legal Foundation says the USFWS has “violated the ESA, and unlawfully withheld or unreasonably delayed required agency action in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act….”

“Unfortunately, the government has not responded to our petition,” said PLF attorney Daniel Himebaugh. “The agency is not serving the taxpayers, or the cause of responsible environmental regulation, by ignoring legitimate questions about its policies. Therefore, on behalf of our clients, and all taxpayers, we’re forced to tell the agency, ‘we’ll see you in court.’”

The petition claims that the caribou population in Bonner County’s Selkirk Mountains isn’t distinct in a legally relevant way that would support federal regulation.

“The delisting petition that we submitted in May was based on the government’s own science,” Himebaugh said. “As we pointed out, the federal government’s findings suggest that the caribou population should be dropped from the ESA list. The problem is the Service did not look at the Selkirk caribou population in relation to the caribou species as a whole. The government singled out a small population without determining whether it was legally discrete or significant in the manner that the ESA requires.”

A 2008 status review completed by the USFWS says “The geographic separation between the South Selkirk population and the next two closest populations (South Purcells and Nakusp), the physical movement barriers between these populations, and the limited exchange of animals between the South Selkirk and adjacent populations demonstrate that this population is markedly separated from other populations of the same taxon as a result of physical factors.

“We find that the population is significant because of its importance in helping protect the viability of the mountain caribou metapopulation, which is in danger of extirpation throughout its current range. Over the last century, mountain caribou have been extirpated from 60 percent of their historic range in BC and the US,” the status review says.

“Loss of the South Selkirk caribou population would represent an additional 8 percent reduction in the current range of mountain caribou (whose range has already declined by 60 percent) and would eliminate the southernmost population and the last remaining caribou population in the coterminous US.”

“There are hundreds of thousands of caribou on the North American continent, so there is no justification for putting Idaho caribou on the ESA list and imposing job-killing land use restrictions as a result,” said Bonner County Commissioner Mike Nielsen. “This regulatory overkill puts winter tourism and recreation on the endangered list.”

The complaint says that due to purported threats to the Southern Selkirk Mountain Caribou Population, a court-ordered injunction prevents Bonner County and its residents from using and maintaining certain trails in the Idaho Panhandle National Forests for snowmobile recreation.

“Trail grooming that interferes with the caribou or its habitat may expose the county to liability for a ‘take’ of caribou under the ESA. Moreover, implementation of the defendants’ recent critical habitat proposal for the Southern Selkirk Mountain Caribou Population would place additional restrictions on recreational activities in more than 375,000 acres in Bonner County and surrounding areas, resulting in lost income for the county and its residents,” the complaint says.

The complaint asks the court to issue a “mandatory injunction requiring Defendants to make a finding by a date certain on whether Plaintiffs’ petition ‘presents substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that’ delisting the Southern Selkirk Mountain Caribou Population may be warranted.”

For more information see CBB, May 11, 2012, “Pacific Legal Foundation Files Petition To Delist Idaho’s Selkirk Mountains Caribou” http://www.cbbulletin.com/420363.aspx

http://www.cbbulletin.com/423891.aspx

PLANS FOR CARIBOU SOW CONFLICT IN NORTHWEST

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT HAS PROPOSED TO DESIGNATE 600 SQUARE MILES IN IDAHO, WASHINGTON AS CRITICAL HABITAT

https://www.cdapress.com/archive/article-61e00162-7b30-5487-8c45-b48fb0108abe.html

Plans for caribou sow conflict in Northwest

FILE – In this November 2005 file photo provided by the British Columbia Forest Service are part of a Southern Selkirk caribou herd moving north through the Selkirk Mountains about three miles north of the Washington state border into Canada. Woodland caribou are struggling to survive in the United States, precariously occupying one remote area of the Northwest. The federal government has proposed designating about 600 square miles in Idaho and Washington as critical habitat in an effort to save this last U.S. herd. (AP Photo/British Columbia Forest Service, Garry Beaudry, File)

COOLIN – Woodland caribou, rarely-seen creatures that with their antlers stand as tall as a man, are struggling to survive in the United States, precariously occupying one remote area of the Northwest as a final toehold in the Lower 48.

The federal government has proposed designating about 600 square miles in Idaho and Washington – roughly half the size of Rhode Island – as critical habitat in an effort to save this last U.S. herd of fewer than 50 animals.

But the plan has touched a raw nerve in this deeply conservative region, where the federal government is already viewed as a job destroyer because of restrictions on logging and other activities.

A recent public meeting on the habitat proposal drew a crowd of 200 angry people, several of whom excoriated government officials for allegedly trying to destroy their local lifestyle.

“Please leave northern Idaho alone,” Pam Stout, a local tea party activist, told federal biologists.

“We belong here too, not just the animals,” added resident Scott Rockholm.

Other speakers were less polite, accusing government officials of a land grab, raising allegations of United Nations conspiracies or telling the federal government to get out of a region that is mostly federal land.

But it’s not that simple.

Federal endangered species law requires that critical habitat be set aside for the caribou, and environmental groups went to court to force the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to comply.

This is one of the few places left in the United States that still contains all of the species that were present when Lewis and Clark traveled through 200 years ago, including caribou, said Terry Harris of the Kootenai Environmental Alliance.

“I don’t think we want to lose that,” Harris said.

Under the proposal, 375,000 acres of high-elevation forest land in the Selkirk Mountains, including portions of Bonner and Boundary counties in Idaho and Pend Oreille County in Washington, would be designated as critical habitat. Nearly all of the land is already owned by the federal and state governments, with about 15,000 acres in private hands in Idaho.

Under a critical habitat designation, any activities that require federal approval or money would be scrutinized for their impact on the caribou.

This has alarmed residents who snowmobile, hunt and chop wood in the thick forests of northern Idaho’s lake country, or who have businesses that rely on forest access.

“Our economy revolves around that national forest,” said resident Lee Pinkerton. “Without it, we have to find a new way to make a living.”

Snowmobiling is a particularly popular activity here, drawing lots of tourists in winter. Operators worry that the region’s trail system will be reduced to help caribou.

Bob Davis, a resort owner and 30-year resident of the area, said previous restrictions on snowmobiling already cut that business by 70 percent.

“Snowmobilers don’t go where they are not wanted,” Davis said. “These people will ride someplace else.”

Federal biologists Ben Conard and Bryon Holt spoke at the public meeting, telling the crowd that the critical habitat designation would be mostly unnoticed.

“To the average person, you are not going to see a difference,” Conard told the audience, drawing guffaws from skeptics.

Federal approval has already been required for many activities ever since the mountain caribou were first listed as an endangered species in 1984. The Fish and Wildlife Service declined to designate critical habitat at that time, fearing that would help poachers locate the animals. Those concerns have now faded.

But while the designation won’t immediately lead to road closures or land restrictions, the federal officials acknowledged that some activities could ultimately be curtailed if they are found to hurt the caribou.

“We are trying to re-establish an animal that is native to the United States,” Holt said.

Coolin is located on the shores of Priest Lake, about 80 miles north of Spokane, Wash., in the thick, wet forests of the southern Selkirk Mountains. Such forests produce the lichen that are the animals’ only food source in winter.

Woodland caribou used to be found across the northern tier of the United States, but these days are found only here and in Canada.

The southern Selkirk herd moves across the border between the U.S. and Canada. But only one or two caribou are typically spotted each year on the U.S. side. Last year none were spotted.

“Why do we need 375,000 acres of critical habitat if we have no caribou?” wondered resident Pat Hunter.

Locals also complain that the caribou are being eaten by grizzly bears and wolves that are also protected species in the area.

Environmental groups say the designation is long overdue.

Harris said people who argue that there are too few caribou to warrant the designation are missing the point.

“The issue of too few caribou is precisely the reason for the critical habitat designation,” Harris said. “That’s the problem this is intended to solve.”

There is no evidence that reintroduced wolves are eating many of the animals, he said.

Instead, the Fish and Wildlife Service blames the caribou decline on the loss of contiguous old-growth forests due to logging and wildfires, plus the building of roads and recreational trails that fragment habitat and help predators move into caribou range.

But many local leaders are determined to prevent the critical habitat designation.

Bonner County Commissioner Cornel Rasor told the crowd that his goal in calling the meeting was to start the process of derailing the proposal.

“We’re trying to change the direction of the ship of state,” he said.

After a public comment period, the federal government will announce its decision on the critical habitat proposal this fall.

Plans for caribou sow conflict in Northwest

FILE – In this November 2005 file photo provided by the British Columbia Forest Service are part of a Southern Selkirk caribou herd moving north through the Selkirk Mountains about three miles north of the Washington state border into Canada. Woodland caribou are struggling to survive in the United States, precariously occupying one remote area of the Northwest. The federal government has proposed designating about 600 square miles in Idaho and Washington as critical habitat in an effort to save this last U.S. herd. (AP Photo/British Columbia Forest Service, Garry Beaudry, File)

Will Grizzlies Return To Central Idaho?

 http://www.idahostatesman.com/news/local/news-columns-blogs/letters-from-the-west/article204776529.html

March 12, 2018 03:53 PM

Updated March 19, 2018 03:09 PM

HUNTER WHO KILLED MOOSE OUT OF SEASON CONVICTED

http://www.bonnercountydailybee.com/local_news/20180219/hunter_who_killed_moose_out_of_season_convicted

COEUR d’ALENE — A Mica Bay man accused of killing a moose out of season was convicted by a jury after a two-day trial earlier this month in Coeur d’Alene.

But before he could be sentenced, John A. Huckabay, 65, flew to Africa where he works in the medical field.

The court expects him back April 27 for sentencing.

Huckabay is accused of killing a cow moose Oct. 2, 2014 near Red Hog Road at Mica Bay, on the northwest side of Lake Coeur d’Alene. He pleaded not guilty and asked for a jury trial.

Penalties and fines for killing a moose out of season include a $1,500 civil penalty and a $500 fine and no more than six months in jail. His hunting privileges could be revoked for a year, or up to life, at the discretion of the court.

Huckabay, who works in Africa for a University of Washington medical evaluation program that studies the spread of disease, is known to neighbors and Idaho Fish and Game as someone who likes to hunt.

Over the past decade Huckabay has been a fervent supporter of Idaho Fish and Game by purchasing a slew of hunting and fishing licenses, tags and permits.

The department said he had a tag in 2014 for moose in Unit 2 along the Spokane River, but not for Unit 5 near Mica Bay where the cow moose was killed after some neighbors reported it had become a nuisance.

Huckabay was charged after neighbors heard a rifle shot and later saw Huckabay hoisting a moose into the bed of a teal-colored pickup truck near Red Hog Road.

In an ensuing investigation Idaho Fish and Game officers found the spot where the moose was reportedly shot and killed and followed evidence to a skinned moose hanging at the shop of a butcher with a private operation in Coeur d’Alene.

A conservation officer stuck a thermostat in the meat to determine when the animal was killed, and DNA evidence showed it was from a cow moose, according to court testimony. Evidence pointed to a match between the moose at the butcher’s and the moose shot at Red Hog Road.

Fish and Game officers testified that Huckabay had been contacted by a neighbor about a problem moose, and allegedly told the neighbor he had a tag, that the season was open, although the season in that unit did not open for another two weeks. A short time later, according to testimony, Huckabay told the neighbor he had shot the moose.

After the trial, Huckabay, who has no previous criminal history, posted a $20,000 bond and was returned his passport so he could return to work overseas.

Before his next court appearance, Huckabay will travel to Madagascar, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand and Singapore before returning to Coeur d’Alene to face First District Senior Judge Ben Simpson for sentencing.

3 Idaho Hunters Caught in Illegal Hunting Sting in Wyoming

Hunting Violation:

https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/idaho/articles/2017-10-30/3-idaho-hunters-caught-in-illegal-hunting-sting-in-wyoming

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — The Wyoming Game and Fish Department has caught three deer hunters from Idaho attempting to illegally pursue game over state lines in a sting operation using a remote-controlled mule deer buck.

The Jackson Hole News And Guide reports the department schedules the sting for the opening day of deer hunting in Idaho, which usually comes after the Wyoming season has concluded.

Fish and Game Proposes Allowing Hunters to Bait Wolves

https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/idaho/articles/2017-07-17/fish-and-game-proposes-allowing-hunters-to-bait-wolves

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission is considering several changes to hunting rules, including allowing the use of bait to hunt wolves.

July 17, 2017, at 10:45 a.m.

 

KETCHUM, Idaho (AP) — The Idaho Fish and Game Commission is considering several changes to hunting rules, including allowing the use of bait to hunt wolves.

The Idaho Mountain Express (http://bit.ly/2vu18Qt ) reported Friday the department is proposing the rule change in response to requests from hunters who want to use bait for hunting wolves outside of the black bear seasons.

Under current rules, wolves can be killed by hunters when they are attracted to bait set out for black bears, where hunting seasons are open for both black bear and wolf, but big game rules do not allow use of bait specific to hunting wolves.

The Department of Fish and Game is seeking public comment on the proposed changes until July 26.

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