Timeline: THE FIGHT FOR NORTHERN ROCKY GRAY WOLVES

Timeline: Wolves in Danger | Earthjustice

The gray wolf is one of North America’s most iconic native predators. The wolf’s incredible comeback in the Northern Rockies is one of our country’s greatest wildlife success stories.

Explore the history of the Northern Rockies gray wolves, beginning in the 1930s when their numbers were decimated after years of persecution, through their successful reintroduction in the 1990s, to current day’s first legal wolf hunts in the Northern Rockies in nearly a century:What’s Happening Now

On Oct. 29, 2020, the Trump administration finalized a rule removing Endangered Species Act protections for all gray wolves in the lower-48 states except for a small population of Mexican gray wolves in Arizona and New Mexico. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service made its decision despite the fact that wolves are still functionally extinct in the vast majority of their former range across the continental U.S. (More details.)20TH CENTURY1933January catch of Forest Service hunter T.B. Bledsaw, Kaibab National Forest, circa 1914.ARIZONA HISTORICAL SOCIETYJanuary catch of Forest Service hunter T.B. Bledsaw, Kaibab National Forest, circa 1914.

WOLF POPULATION DECIMATED

Bounty hunters finish killing most wolves in the continental United States.

Tiny remnant populations cling to existence in several spots along the Canadian border in Michigan, Montana, and Idaho.

Reports of ghost wolf sightings trickle in from parts of Wyoming, Washington, and Idaho. 1973President Richard Nixon.WHITE HOUSE PHOTO

ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT BECOMES LAW

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) is signed into law by President Nixon.

It prohibits the “taking,” without explicit permission, of species deemed to be in danger of going extinct.

“Taking,” in this instance, means killing, harassing, or damaging habitat necessary for the survival and recovery of the species. 1974A 'wolf-like' animal sighted in Hayden Valley, August 7/8, 1992.RAY PAUNOVICH / BUSCH FILMS VIA NPSA “wolf-like” animal sighted in Hayden Valley, August 7/8, 1992.

WOLVES LISTED AS “ENDANGERED” UNDER ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT

As part of the first list of species to receive federal protections, gray wolves are listed as “endangered” under the ESA.

The designation applies to all remaining wolf populations in the lower-48 states. 1982

10(J) RULE ADDED TO ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT

The ESA is amended to include the 10(j) rule, allowing the Interior Department to classify reintroduced species as experimental and nonessential.

The change is a result of local concerns about reintroduction of species to their historical ranges. 1995Schoolchildren at Yellowstone's Roosevelt Arch welcome a truck transporting wolves, January 1995.DIANE PAPINEAU / NATIONAL PARK SERVICESchoolchildren at Yellowstone’s Roosevelt Arch welcome a truck transporting wolves, January 1995.

WOLF REINTRODUCTION BEGINS

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) begins reintroducing gray wolves to central Idaho and Yellowstone.

Wolves are brought in from Canada.21ST CENTURYJuly 2000

STATUS CHANGE TO “THREATENED” PROPOSED

FWS proposes dropping “endangered” status for most wolves in the United States and reclassifying them as “threatened,” a designation under the ESA that carries milder protections than “endangered” status. 2003Wolves howling at Little America Flats in February 2003.JIM PEACO / NATIONAL PARK SERVICEWolves howling at Little America Flats in Yellowstone, February 2003.

RECLASSIFIED AS “THREATENED”

FWS reclassifies most gray wolves in the lower-48 as “threatened.”

Work also begins to delist most gray wolves entirely. As a requirement for delisting, states with wolf populations must have laws and management plans to ensure continued survival of the species. 2004Wolf lying on glacial erratic at Yellowstone's Little America Flats, February 2, 2004.JIM PEACO / NATIONAL PARK SERVICEWolf on glacial erratic at Yellowstone’s Little America Flats, February 2, 2004.

STATE MANAGEMENT PLANS: IDAHO, MONTANA, WYOMING

FWS accepts Montana’s and Idaho’s proposed management plans for wolves but rejects Wyoming’s.

The State of Wyoming, livestock and hunting interests supported plans to manage wolves as “predators,” which would permit indiscriminate killing in nearly 90% of Wyoming. 2004

WYOMING FILES SUIT

The State of Wyoming and 28 Wyoming-based livestock and hunting groups file suit, challenging FWS’s rejection of the Wyoming management plan. November 2004

WYOMING SUIT INTERVENTION

Earthjustice and other conservation groups intervene in the lawsuit to defend FWS’s decision to reject Wyoming’s management plan for wolves. January 2005

DECISION RECLASSIFYING WOLVES AS “THREATENED” IS REJECTED

An Oregon district court judge rejects the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s decision to reclassify most wolves in the lower-48 to “threatened” from “endangered.” January 2005

10(J) RULE AMENDED

An elk in winter.ISTOCKPHOTOAn elk in winter.

The Bush administration gives livestock owners in Montana and Idaho more power to kill wolves.

Under the new “10(j) rule,” livestock owners can kill wolves without a permit if wolves are chasing livestock.

The rule also says states can take action against wolves if it can be demonstrated they are the primary reason for decline among deer or elk populations.21ST CENTURYMarch 2005Wolf watchers at Yellowstone's Slough Creek, March 2005.JIM PEACO / NATIONAL PARK SERVICEWolf watchers at Yellowstone’s Slough Creek, March 2005.

WYOMING LOSES IN DISTRICT COURT; APPEALS

Federal District Court Judge Alan B. Johnson tosses out the lawsuit filed by the State of Wyoming and livestock and hunting interests challenging FWS’s rejection of Wyoming’s management plan.

The case is ultimately appealed to the 10th Circuit. February 2006Wolf near Blacktail Pond in Yellowstone on February 16, 2006.JIM PEACO / NATIONAL PARK SERVICEWolf near Blacktail Pond in Yellowstone, February 16, 2006.

NORTHERN ROCKIES DELISTING PLAN ANNOUNCED

FWS announces plans to remove gray wolves in the Northern Rockies (Idaho, Wyoming, Montana) from the Endangered Species List, but only if Wyoming adopts a state management plan that FWS deems appropriate.

Wyoming’s original plan, rejected by FWS, remains under review by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. April 2006Wolf 470F of Leopold Pack near Blacktail Pond.JIM PEACO / NATIONAL PARK SERVICEWolf 470F of the Leopold Pack, near Blacktail Pond in Yellowstone.

WYOMING LOSES APPEAL

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals rules the lawsuit filed by the State of Wyoming and livestock and hunting interests to compel approval of the state management plan is without merit.

The ruling affirms a decision made one year prior by District Court Judge Alan B. Johnson, as well as FWS’s initial decision to reject the plan. August 2006

WYOMING DELISTING PETITION REJECTED

After 12 months of study, FWS rejects a petition filed by the Governor of Wyoming and the State Game & Fish Commission asking that gray wolves in the Northern Rockies be removed from the Endangered Species List.

The rejection is based on the lack of an adequate state management plan in Wyoming. February 2007

NORTHERN ROCKIES DELISTING PROPOSED

Wolves from the Druid Pack bed down in the snow.NATIONAL PARK SERVICEWolves from the Druid Pack bed down in the snow.

FWS issues a proposed rule to delist Northern Rockies gray wolves from the endangered species list.

Wyoming has yet to propose a management plan since their initial one was rejected by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. Without a Wyoming plan, FWS intends to keep a significant portion of wolves in Wyoming on the endangered species list. December 2007

WYOMING PLAN APPROVED

In an about-face, FWS approves Wyoming’s state management plan.

The plan allows anyone to kill any wolf that wanders outside the northwest part of the state, including wolves that live most of the year in Yellowstone National Park and leave the park for periods in the winter in search of food. December 2007

APPROVAL OF WYOMING PLAN CHALLENGED

Earthjustice files comments challenging the approval of Wyoming’s new plan to allow unlimited wolf killing in nearly 90% of the state. January 2008

10(J) RULE UPDATE CHALLENGED

An elk in winter.U.S. FISH & WILDLIFE SERVICEMule deer.

Earthjustice challenges the Bush administration 10(j) rule that would allow wolves in Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana to be indiscriminately killed, including through aerial hunting.

To start killing, states only need to demonstrate that wolves are one of the reasons for elk and deer populations that fail to meet state objectives. February 2008

NORTHERN ROCKIES DELISTING RULE PUBLISHED

The final rule for delisting of the Northern Rockies population of gray wolves from the Endangered Species List is published.

Delisting is scheduled to take place in late March 2008. March 2008

NORTHERN ROCKIES WOLVES DELISTED

The Northern Rockies gray wolves are officially removed from the endangered species list. Wyoming’s contentious state management plan takes effect. March 28, 2008His distinctive gait, walking on three legs, made him one of the more easily recognized wolves in Yellowstone.STEVE JUSTADWolf 253. His distinctive gait, walking on three legs, made him one of the more easily recognized wolves in Yellowstone.

LIMPY KILLED

Wolf 253 (aka, “Hoppy” or “Limpy”) is one of the first wolves killed after ESA protections are removed.

A member of Yellowstone’s famed Druid Pack, this particular wolf was unique. “He was a hell of a wolf,” recalled one veteran wolf watcher. April 2008

NORTHERN ROCKIES DELISTING CHALLENGED

Earthjustice filed suit on behalf of 12 conservation groups, challenging the decision to delist Northern Rockies gray wolves from Endangered Species Act protections. July 2008

PROTECTIONS REINSTATED FOR NORTHERN ROCKIES WOLVES

In response to the Earthjustice lawsuit, a federal court reinstated ESA protections for gray wolves in the Northern Rockies, just in time to keep wolves safe from fall hunts that would have been implemented in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming.

Since delisting, more than 100 wolves were killed. Fall hunts would have killed hundreds more. January 2009The White House, shrouded in fog.PETE SOUZA / WHITE HOUSE

BUSH MIDNIGHT REGULATION TO DELIST NORTHERN ROCKIES WOLVES

Days before leaving office, the Bush administration makes a final attempt to remove endangered species protections for wolves in the Northern Rockies (excluding Wyoming).

Earthjustice and other groups announce they will challenge delisting … again. An order by the Obama administration halts the proposed delisting for the time being. March 2009

INTERIOR DEPARTMENT AFFIRMS DELISTING

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar.DEPARTMENT OF INTERIORSecretary of the Interior Ken Salazar.

After nearly two months of waiting, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar affirms the FWS decision to remove endangered species protections for wolves in Idaho and Montana (as well as parts of Washington, Oregon, Utah and western Great Lakes).

Earthjustice and others announce they will challenge the decision. April 2009

NORTHERN ROCKIES WOLVES DELISTED AGAIN

Wolf pups emerge from a den, December 2009.HILARY COOLEY / U.S. FISH & WILDLIFE SERVICEWolf pups emerge from a den, December 2009.

Wolves in the Northern Rockies are again removed from the endangered species list. The delisting rule goes into effect on May 4, 2009.

With the exception of Wyoming, where wolves remain federally protected, states will take over management of their wolf populations. June 2009

NORTHERN ROCKIES WOLVES DELISTING CHALLENGED

Earthjustice files suit challenging the decision to remove Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves in the Northern Rockies. July 2009

IDAHO AND MONTANA WOLF HUNT INJUNCTION SOUGHT

Earthjustice asks the federal district court reviewing the delisting challenge for an emergency injunction to halt pending fall wolf hunts in Idaho and Montana. Earthjustice sought—and won—a similar injunction the last time wolf hunts began. September 2009

WOLF HUNT TO CONTINUE

A federal district court issues an order finding that the delisting of wolves in the Northern Rockies was likely illegal, but declined to stop wolf hunts in Idaho and Montana.

The order comes a week after Idaho’s wolf hunting season opened on September 1. Montana is set to begin wolf hunting on September 15. March 31, 2010

WOLF HUNT SEASONS END

Idaho’s wolf hunt season ends, with the loss of more than 500 wolves due to human killing.

The hunt, along with Montana’s similar season, followed the April 2009 delisting of populations in those states under the federal ESA. August 5, 2010Gray wolf, August 2010.TRACY BROOKS / U.S. FISH & WILDLIFE SERVICEGray wolf, August 2010.

PROTECTIONS REINSTATED FOR IDAHO AND MONTANA WOLVES

Federal District Judge Donald Molloy restores ESA protections for wolves in Idaho and Montana, stating that the decision by FWS to remove protections in only two states is “a political solution that does not comply with the ESA.”

In his ruling, the judge affirmed that protections for the same population cannot differ by state. March 2011Wolf faces a snowstorm in Seney National Wildlife Refuge, January 2011.LARRY MCGAHEYWolf faces a snowstorm in Seney National Wildlife Refuge, January 2011.

U.S. FISH & WILDLIFE SERVICE SETTLEMENT

Of the 14 conservation groups that joined in the June 2009 lawsuit to protect wolves, not all agree to a settlement with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. This requires Earthjustice to withdraw as the clients’ counsel. April 15, 2011

“2009 RULE” REISSUED

President Obama signs into law the “Department of Defense and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act” for fiscal year 2011.

The bill requires the Interior Secretary to reissue the “2009 Rule” which removed ESA protections for all Northern Rocky Mountain wolves, except those in Wyoming. August 3, 2011Storm clouds pass over the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C.ARCHITECT OF THE CAPITOLStorm clouds pass over the U.S. Capitol building.

DISTRICT COURT UPHOLDS DELISTING

Federal District Court Judge Donald Molloy upholds the 2011 legislation removing ESA protections for wolves in the Northern Rockies.

The legislation marks the first time Congress has legislatively delisted an endangered species. Fall 2011

WOLF HUNTS IN IDAHO AND MONTANA

The 2011–2012 Montana wolf hunting and Idaho wolf hunting and trapping seasons begin, during which 166 wolves are killed in Montana, and 379 wolves are killed in Idaho. October 5, 2011

WYOMING DELISTING PROPOSED

FWS proposed a rule to remove the gray wolf in Wyoming from the endangered species list, claiming Wyoming’s wolf population is stable, threats will be addressed, and Wyoming’s wolf management laws are adequate.

This is notwithstanding FWS’s own peer review of the Wyoming delisting proposal, which concluded that “there is substantial risk to the population” because “the Plan, as written, does not do an adequate job of explaining how wolf populations will be maintained, and how recovery will be maintained.” March 14, 2012Wolf in Necedah National Wildlife Refuge, January 12, 2012.U.S. FISH & WILDLIFE SERVICEWolf in Necedah National Wildlife Refuge, January 12, 2012.

APPEALS COURT UPHOLDS MONTANA, IDAHO DELISTING

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Congress had the right to strip protections from wolves in Montana and Idaho in April 2011. August 31, 2012

WOLVES DELISTED IN WYOMING

FWS announced it is eliminating federal protections for Wyoming’s wolves, handing wolf management over to Wyoming, which will open almost all of the state to immediate, unconditional wolf killing.

Wyoming’s wolf population is estimated to be only 328 wolves, far fewer than either Idaho or Montana. November 14, 2012

WYOMING’S KILL-AT-WILL WOLF POLICY CHALLENGED

Following the required 60-day notice of intent to sue, Earthjustice filed suit on behalf of conservation groups, challenging the federal government’s elimination of ESA protections for wolves in Wyoming.

The state policies will result in wolf deaths that undermine the recovery of the species. May 9, 2013

INTERIOR DEPARTMENT URGED NOT TO DELIST WOLVES IN LOWER-48

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell.KEITH SHANNON / U.S. FISH & WILDLIFE SERVICESecretary of the Interior Sally Jewell.

Six of the nation’s most prominent conservation groups called on Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to cancel plans by FWS to remove federal ESA protections for wolves across nearly the entire lower-48 states.

The letter is signed by the chief executives of the Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, Earthjustice, Endangered Species Coalition, Natural Resources Defense Council and Sierra Club. June 7, 2013

LOWER-48 WOLF DELISTING PROPOSED

FWS proposed removing federal Endangered Species Act protections for wolves across nearly the entire lower-48 states, except for a small population of Mexican wolves in Arizona and New Mexico, where only about 75 wild wolves remain.

The plan would be disastrous for gray wolf recovery in the United States. December 17, 2013

PUBLIC VOICES SUPPORT FOR PROTECTIONS FOR WOLVES

Wolf in Yellowstone.BARRY O’NEILL / NATIONAL PARK SERVICEA wolf in Yellowstone.

In a public comment period, approximately one million Americans stood in opposition to the proposal to strip endangered species protections from gray wolves across most of the lower-48.

It is one of the largest numbers of comments ever submitted on a federal decision involving endangered species. February 2014

SCIENTIFIC PEER REVIEW QUESTIONS NATIONAL WOLF DELISTING PROPOSAL

An independent scientific peer review unanimously concluded that the FWS’s national wolf delisting rule did not currently represent the “best available science.”

The study was commissioned by FWS and conducted by the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis. January 7, 2014A member of the Golden pack in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness.COURTESY OF HOBBIT HILL FILMS LLCA member of the Golden pack in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness.

IDAHO WILDERNESS WOLF EXTERMINATION INJUNCTION SOUGHT

Earthjustice requested a court injunction to halt an unprecedented program by the U.S. Forest Service and Idaho Department of Fish & Game to exterminate the Golden Creek and Monumental Creek Packs deep within the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness.

The area is the largest forested wilderness area in the lower-48 states. IDFG commenced the program in December 2013 without public notice. January 18, 2014

IDAHO DECISION APPEALED

Members of the Monumental pack in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness.COURTESY OF HOBBIT HILL FILMS LLCMembers of the Monumental pack cross a ridge in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness.

Earthjustice filed an emergency motion asking the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to preserve the wolves in the Frank Church Wilderness, after a federal district court judge rejected the injunction request.

The hunter-trapper hired by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game has killed nine wolves from the Golden Creek and Monumental Creek Packs. July 29, 2014Members of the Golden pack in the  Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness.COURTESY OF HOBBIT HILL FILMS LLCMembers of the Golden pack.

IDAHO SUSPENDS WILDERNESS WOLF-KILLING PLAN

Faced with the legal challenge and imminent hearing before the federal appeals court, the Idaho Department of Fish & Game abandoned its plan to resume the professional wolf-killing program in the Frank Church during the coming winter. September 23, 2014

PROTECTIONS REINSTATED FOR WYOMING WOLVES

Wolf in Yellowstone.JIM PEACO / NATIONAL PARK SERVICE

A ruling from Federal District Court Judge Amy Jackson invalidated the statewide delisting of wolves in Wyoming, reinstating protections for the species.

Earthjustice represented Defenders of Wildlife, Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club and the Center for Biological Diversity in challenging the FWS’s decision to strip Endangered Species Act protections from gray wolves in Wyoming.

219 wolves were killed under Wyoming’s management since the 2012 delisting. December 15, 2015

WOLVES RETAIN PROTECTIONS IN WYOMING & GREAT LAKES STATES

Wolves in Wyoming, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin will retain their federal protections after a contentious policy “rider” that would have stripped them of Endangered Species Act protections was excluded from the final omnibus government spending bill.

The rider would have overridden two federal court decisions (including the September 2014 victory for wolves in Wyoming) that found those states’ management plans do not sufficiently protect wolves, while also barring further judicial review of the court decision overrides. January 7, 2016

CONSERVATIONISTS CHALLENGE HELICOPTER INTRUSIONS IN PREMIERE WILDERNESS AREA

A coalition of conservationists, represented by Earthjustice, today filed a legal challenge to the decision by the U.S. Forest Service to allow the Idaho Department of Fish and Game to conduct approximately 120 helicopter landings in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness as part of a program to manipulate wildlife populations in the wilderness. January 13, 2016

IDAHO BREAKS AGREEMENT USING HELICOPTER DROPS TO COLLAR WOLVES IN FRANK CHURCH WILDERNESS

The Idaho Fish & Game Department admitted that it broke an agreement with the U.S. Forest Service and used helicopter landings to collar wolves in the Frank Church River Of No Return Wilderness. This followed less than a week after Earthjustice filed its legal challenge. January 19, 2017

COURT RULES FOREST SERVICE ILLEGALLY AUTHORIZED HELICOPTER INTRUSIONS IN PREMIERE WILDERNESS AREA

The ruling by U.S. District Court Judge B. Lynn Winmill concluded that the Forest Service violated the Wilderness Act and conducted insufficient environmental review in allowing IDFG to land helicopters in the River of No Return in January 2016 to capture and place radio telemetry collars on wild elk. IDFG also captured and radio-collared four wolves during these operations—an unauthorized action that was not permitted by the Forest Service, but that threatened to advance IDFG’s plans to undertake widespread wolf-killing in the wilderness by providing locational information on the collared wolves. March 7, 2017

D.C. CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS RULING STRIPS ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT PROTECTIONS FROM WYOMING WOLVES

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued a ruling in Defenders of Wildlife, et al. v. Zinke, et al., reversing a district court decision that had restored Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves in Wyoming. April 25, 2017

WOLVES DELISTED IN WYOMING

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service hands wolf management authority over to the State of Wyoming, despite state policies that promote unlimited wolf-killing across more than 80% of Wyoming and provide inadequate protections for wolves in the remainder. March 6, 2019

WOLVES DELISTING IN LOWER-48 PROPOSED

The Dept. of Interior announced a proposed rule would remove federal Endangered Species Act protections for all gray wolves in the lower-48 states except for a small population of Mexican wolves in Arizona and New Mexico, where only about 114 wild wolves remain. The Service made its decision despite the fact that wolves are still functionally extinct in the vast majority of their former range across the continental United States. (More details.) October 29, 2020

WOLVES DELISTED IN LOWER-48

The Trump administration finalized a rule removing Endangered Species Act protections for all gray wolves in the lower-48 states except for a small population of Mexican gray wolves in Arizona and New Mexico. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service made its decision despite the fact that wolves are still functionally extinct in the vast majority of their former range across the continental U.S. (More details.)

“This delisting decision is what happens when bad science drives bad policy — and it’s illegal, so we will see them in court,” said Earthjustice attorney Kristen Boyles.

Any wildlife trapping should be banned

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We don’t need to kill wolves

I’ll keep this short and to the point. I applaud all of our county commissioners and the other letter writers who wrote enlightened and reasonable letters in the Feb. 19 Express. Trapping is inhumane. Period. The proponent organizations with benevolent-sounding names are complicit in the cruelty of trapping, as is Fish and Game, which claims that even sign posting is too burdensome. Are they kidding?

Blaine County especially objects to trapping, as evidenced by the unanimous opinions of our county commissioners who represent us. Trapping might be justified in the Alaskan bush where there are no groceries or clothing stores, but not in a civilized state and county where one can buy anything they need locally or online. I also expect that our tourist economy will suffer when visitors don’t want to spend their money in a place that allows such immoral activity that is a clear danger to recreationalists and their kids and dogs. This is the 2020s, not the 1800s.

Keith Saks

Sun Valley

https://www.mtexpress.com/opinion/letters_to_editor/any-wildlife-trapping-should-be-banned/article_b6610612-7bd0-11eb-9409-1b87c1c4e161.html

Fish and Game looks to increase wolf snare trapping in the Upper Snake Region



Jeannette Boner, EastIdahoNews.com

Outdoors
   Published at 1:12 pm, February 25, 2021  | Updated at 5:12 pm, February 25, 2021
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DRIGGS — The Idaho Department of Fish and Game wants to increase the public’s ability to trap gray wolves in the Upper Snake Region, specifically with snares on private and public land.
The Fish and Game proposal would also open trapping up year-round. The proposal cites the need to better control wolf depredations in the area that stretches from north of Idaho Highway 33 in Teton Valley through Island Park and into the upper northern reaches of the Idaho/Montana border. Much of the proposal was pitched by two pro-trapping organizations, the Idaho Trappers Association and the Foundation for Wildlife Management.
“We need more tools to manage wolves in Idaho,” said Rusty Kramer, the president of the Idaho Trappers Association and board member for the Foundation for Wildlife Management. “Those tools are year-round trapping and trapping on private ground where depredation is occurring. People can then protect their own property. There is so much rugged Idaho, I don’t feel like we’ll ever get a handle on the wolf population. Idaho will be a breeding ground forever, and the wolf will never be endangered.”

But Derek Goldman with the Endangered Species Coalition believes these proposals go beyond addressing wolf depredation.
“This proposal is not driven by ag producers, but these sportsman groups,” Goldman said. “This idea of the big bad wolf is a deep-seated cultural animosity toward this animal. This is about trappers wanting to kill more wolves.”

If the snaring portions of the proposal move forward, there will be more public snaring opportunities over a wide geographic area, including public and private lands north of Teton Valley into the Island Park and Henrys Lake areas and onto public lands that border Yellowstone National Park. The snares would be allowed from Nov. 15 through March 31. The proposals also increase the use of foot-hold traps from April 1 to Nov. 14 on private lands in the same area and opens up foot-hold trapping year-round in the Mud Lake area, zones 63 and 63A.
The different types of traps used are important in understanding this issue. Curtis Hendricks, a Fish and Game wildlife biologist said that in the winter, snare traps, which sit on top of the snow, are used more than foot-hold traps. But snares are also more controversial because they are lethal traps, where a foot-hold trap just holds an animal in place.
He also said there is a need for more wolf trapping because, during four of the last five years, Fish and Game have received reports of high levels of livestock killed by wolves in the Upper Snake Region.

“There is consideration to denning and birthing,” said Hendricks of the year-round trapping that would impact pups and nursing wolves. “The department does recognize the optics of (trapping during the birthing season). We are willing to see how it goes.”
According to the Fish and Game’s second annual wolf population inventory, the population was stable from 2019 to 2020. The 2020 estimate peaked with 1,556 wolves in Idaho, 10 fewer than the 2019 estimate of 1,566. Idaho is required to maintain at least 150 wolves. Last year 583 wolves were killed through hunting and trapping. That was a 53 percent increase over 2019.
Goldman doesn’t believe trapping actually helps alleviate the burdens on ranchers who also contend with other predators killing livestock. He also has concerns about how indiscriminate snares are.
“Trapping is indiscriminate,” Goldman said. “It kills anything that steps on the trap. It will catch non-target species of wildlife, including endangered animals and dogs. Some people will argue that it’s not a fair chase. With all that public land in that region, there really is potential to endanger the Yellowstone wolves,” he said adding that increased trapping also elevates the likelihood of recreational users coming in contact with a snare. “It becomes a public safety issue as well.”
Kramer recognizes there is some danger to people recreating, but it’s small, he said, adding that trapping is a legal way to control wolf populations and protect livestock.
Hendricks said the emotional arguments around wolves may never change.
“If nobody’s happy, we’re doing it right,” he said.
According to a press release issued Feb. 1, Fish and Game will be setting new seasons for upcoming deer, elk, pronghorn, black bear, mountain lion, and wolf hunts in March. Hunters can now see proposed seasons and changes and provide comments. The comment period deadline is Feb. 25. The easiest way for hunters to review proposals and weigh-in will be by visiting the big game proposals webpage at https://idfg.idaho.gov/big-game. The proposals are posted by region and separated by species within each region.

Natural Resources Board approves kill goal of 200 wolves for February hunting and trapping season

Paul A. SmithMilwaukee Journal SentinelView

https://www.jsonline.com/story/sports/outdoors/2021/02/15/wisconsin-wolf-hunting-and-trapping-season-planned-feb-22-28/6750136002/

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The Natural Resources Board on Monday unanimously approved a statewide harvest quota of 200 gray wolves in a hunting and trapping season planned for Feb. 22-28 in Wisconsin.

The kill goal would be spread across the state’s six wolf management zones, excluding American Indian reservations.

Permit applications ($10) will be available beginning at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday through midnight Saturday. Winners can purchase a $49 license beginning Feb. 22.

The flurry of activity comes after a Jefferson County judge ruled last Thursday  that the Department of Natural Resources must hold a wolf hunting and trapping season this month.

State law calls on the DNR to hold a hunting and trapping season running from early November to the end of February if the wolf is not on the endangered or threatened species list. 

The Natural Resources Board approved a statewide harvest quota of 200 wolves for a hunting and trapping season planned from Feb. 22 to 28.

The wolf was removed from the federal Endangered Species List on Jan. 4; the DNR planned to wait until November to begin the next wolf season. The board, which sets policy for the DNR, agreed in a 4-3 vote at its Jan. 22 meeting. 

But Thursday’s ruling by Jefferson County judge Bennett Brantmeier forced the DNR and NRB to implement a season this month.https://2ab5fb641878beb095eb3234bac4b38a.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

The ruling is being appealed in District Court I in Milwaukee County; the appeal was filed last Friday. Attorneys representing the DNR and NRB also submitted a motion seeking an expedited stay. The motion asks the appeals court to rule by 5 p.m. Monday.

Absent any new legal ruling, the DNR and NRB are proceeding with the wolf hunting and trapping season.

Monday’s board meeting was held by Zoom and lasted less than an hour. No public testimony was permitted.

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Police save and release illegally trapped bald eagle

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  •  https://www.kiro7.com/news/local/washington-department-fish-wildlife-police-save-release-illegally-trapped-bald-eagle/WK2DNIO4CFBWRALQ4WMGHJHXSQ/

By: KIRO 7 News Staff
Updated: February 4, 2021 – 1:19 PM

Last week, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Police referred 16 criminal charges against a man to the Clallam County prosecutor’s office. The suspect is accused of trapping a bald eagle with illegal steel jawed leghold traps, among other trapping violations.

In November of last year, WDFW Police received a report that a dog was trapped in a steel jawed leghold trap. The dog’s owner was able to free the dog but reported that a bald eagle was caught in another trap several feet away.

WDFW Police Sgt. Rosenberger responded and found the bald eagle struggling to free its talon from the trap. He was able to release the eagle and check it for injuries.Content Continues Below

“Thankfully, the bald eagle didn’t have any injuries or broken bones,” Rosenberger said. “This was a rare poaching incident where the poached animal was still alive and able to be released back into the wild immediately, on-site. It was a once-in-a-career event watching the eagle take flight on a crisp, sunny day, with the surrounding hills colored by fall leaves.”

WDFW officers removed additional illegal traps at the site.

Their investigation led them to a suspect who lives in Clallam County. He admitted to WDFW officers that he set several unpadded steel jawed leghold traps and wire snares, which captured and killed two coyotes.

New Mexico Trapping Ban Clears First Legislative Hurdle

Legislation to prohibit traps, snares and wildlife poisons from being used on public lands across New Mexico has cleared its first legislative hurdle.

By Associated Press, Wire Service ContentFeb. 2, 2021, at 8:26 p.m.More

U.S. News & World Report

New Mexico Trapping Ban Clears First Legislative HurdleMore

BY SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN, Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Legislation to prohibit traps, snares and wildlife poisons from being used on public lands across New Mexico cleared its first legislative hurdle Tuesday.Recommended VideosPowered by AnyClipThis 250-Pound Bear Somehow Got Trapped In A Water Tank2KPlay Videohttps://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.438.0_en.html#goog_1034702787NOW PLAYINGThis 250-Pound Bear Somehow Got Trapped In A Water TankWatch: Cops Save Hawk Trapped In A NetCamera Traps In One Of The World’s Most Remote Areas Capture Dazzling AnimalsThis Gecko Has Been Trapped In Amber For 54 Million YearsHummingbird-Sized Dinosaur Found Trapped In Amber For 99 Million Years

Environmentalists and animal advocacy groups testified on behalf of the measure during a Senate committee meeting Tuesday, saying that New Mexico needs to join neighboring states and ban what they described as a cruel and outdated practice.

Rural residents and wildlife conservation officers said trapping remains an important tool for managing wildlife and protecting livestock. They pointed to changes adopted last year by the state Game Commission after a lengthy public process, saying lawmakers should give the trapping rules a chance to work before imposing a sweeping ban.

Under the rules, trappers have to complete an education course and restrictions were imposed on setting traps and snares around designated trailheads and on select tracts of public lands in New Mexico.

Designed largely to reduce the hazard of traps to hikers and their dogs, the prohibitions include mountainous areas east of Albuquerque, along with swaths of national forest along highways leading to ski areas near Santa Fe and Taos. In the southern part of the state, it includes the eastern portion of the Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument.

“The concerns that have been expressed over the years by the Legislature and by members of the urban public have actually already been resolved,” said Kerrie Cox Romero with the New Mexico Council of Outfitters and Guides. “This bill provides no recognition of that effort.”

Cox Romero said much of the land that would be affected by the bill is remote and rarely sees human activity other than trappers.

Supporters of the legislation argued that several pet dogs have been injured despite last year’s rule changes and that more needs to be done to ensure public safety given New Mexico’s push to increase outdoor recreation.

Kevin Bixby, executive director of the Southwest Environmental Center in Las Cruces, said he was hiking over the weekend and saw many others doing the same.

“Traps on public lands pose a threat to our members and all public land users,” he told lawmakers. “They’re like land mines basically waiting to harm whatever unfortunate creature happens to step on them — whether it’s a wild animal or pet dog or a horse carrying a rider or god forbid a human being.”

Supporters also raised concerns about traps hampering efforts in southwestern New Mexico to restore the endangered Mexican gray wolf.

Jessica Johnson, chief government affairs officer for Animal Protection Voters, said there was an effort to consider the concerns of ranchers and sportsmen when drafting the legislation and exceptions were included for private and tribal land. The bill also would allow federal and state wildlife managers to use nonlethal traps to deal with problem predators.

Violating provisions of the proposed trapping ban would amount to a misdemeanor.

The measure must be considered by another committee before reaching the full Senate for a vote.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Rural New Mexicans oppose trapping, too

Las Cruces Sun-News

https://www.lcsun-news.com/story/opinion/2021/01/31/rural-new-mexicans-oppose-trapping-too/4325386001/

This Feb. 20, 2019, file photo, shows a foothold trap intended for bobcats, set by licensed trapper Tom Fisher, on the outskirts of Tierra Amarilla, N.M.

It’s come to our attention that a few prominent voices from the trapping community feel like they can speak for all rural New Mexicans in their quest to continue their grip on safe public lands. We are rural New Mexicans from across the state and we oppose the use of cruel, dangerous traps on public lands.

We have all chosen to live more rural lifestyles for a variety of reasons. Some of us want to be more connected to the land and nature. Some of us want a quieter, slower routine. Some of us want wide open spaces, including safe access to public lands. Some of us are in the country for our livelihood. Among us are educators, artists, authors, farmers and veterans. We come from all walks of life. Some of us are relatively new to New Mexico, some of us have been here for decades, raised our families here and some of us were born here. All of us revere and respect wildlife. And setting indiscriminate leghold traps to kill native animals for fun or money is just as foreign to us as it is to the nearly 70% of New Mexican voters who oppose trapping across the board.

The idea that we support trapping because we live in rural areas is like saying city-dwellers don’t drive trucks. It is preposterous.

One thing that does set us apart from a lot of urban and suburban residents is that we have the unfortunate fate of encountering traps more frequently. Traps are often closer to home for us, quite literally. They lie in wait for unsuspecting paws on state and federal lands that are sometimes adjacent to our homes. Many of us have had awful experiences encountering traps, from our own dogs being caught to finding brutally injured wildlife. If you look at a map of where people like us have had these experiences, the majority are away from the big cities. Rural residents face greater risk of being harmed and traumatized by a trap because we live closer to public lands. We want safe access to those lands, and traps put that safety at risk.https://1991c441286826fe16e9dfbea563a362.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

And, most traps aren’t even necessarily set by rural New Mexicans. The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish sells more trapping licenses to urban New Mexicans than to those who live in rural areas. The notion that trapping is done by rural people and opposed by urban people is laughable.

Rural New Mexicans are a diverse set of folks. And there are plenty of us who do not trap, don’t want anything to do with trapping, and want traps off of public lands. Just like some city-dwellers support trapping (though probably not many since only 22% of voters approve of traps at all), some rural people do too. But don’t let trappers fool you by claiming to speak for all of us.

Dogs rescued after being caught in animal traps in frigid stream

This ad will end in 1 secondsDogs rescued after being caught in animal traps in frigid stream

By: Michele Newell, WPXI-TV
Updated: January 13, 2021 – 10:33 PM

DONEGAL, Pa. — Daniel Bogey said if he hadn’t shown up, two dogs would likely be dead.

“Heard this awful howling and yelping, and I thought it was a pack of coyotes,” he said.

He said he made a last-minute decision to check one of his properties in Donegal when he came across two dogs stuck in animal traps in the middle of a frigid, fast-moving stream.Content Continues Below

“That water was freezing cold. You wouldn’t even want to stand in it. That dog was probably in that water for well over an hour,” Bogey said.

He immediately called state police troopers.

“We were able to get the dog out of the trap and at least get him on the other side of the creek,” Bogey said. “The state trooper actually was able to pick him up. He went in with his uniform. He didn’t care.”

It took nearly three hours to get the dogs to safety. They were able to put blankets over them to help them start warming up.

Bogey said he found multiple traps that weren’t supposed to be there because it is private property. He confronted the person who put them there.

“He’s doing good now. He had his first meal. So he will get better,” Bogey said of one of the dogs.

A friend is caring for one of the dogs. The other one walked off after being rescued.

CLICK HERE if you want to donate to help with medical expenses for the rescued dogs.


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Lawmakers derail trapping regulations against Wyo’s best interest

Lawmakers derail trapping regulations against Wyo’s best interest

Leg-hold traps. (Josh Santelli/FlickrCC)OpinionJanuary 12, 2021 by Karen Zoller5 CommentsTweetSharePinEmail0SHARES

https://www.wyofile.com/lawmakers-derail-trapping-regulations-against-wyos-best-interest/

Just days after the Dec. 8, 2020 Joint Travel, Recreation, Wildlife and Cultural Resources committee meeting, Sen. Ogden Driskill (R. Devils Tower) posted the following note on Facebook. “I have been recently attacked by the “Leash-free” anti-trapping crowd in Wyoming about my stance opposing dogs off leashes in our wild areas on public lands,” he wrote in the Dec. 11 post. 

Sen. Driskill included the words “Leash-free.” We wonder why. Wyoming citizens working for trap reform have never used those words. We have never proposed a “leash-free” state. We have never suggested, or asked for, a ban on trapping. If citizens’ voice opinions about trapping that differ from his, is that an attack? It seems likely that Driskill’s suggested persecution, the words “leash-free” and the misrepresentation of trap reform as anti-trapping has been directly influenced by the opinions of his friend, Wyoming Game and Fish Commissioner Mike Schmid.  

Commissioner Schmid publicly broadcasts similar statements against trapping reform at other public platforms. At the April 2020 Commission meeting, Schmid said, “One group is regulated and that is trappers — limited by seasons, have to buy a license. Whatever they do on their public land, at least they enjoy it. We sell 2,500 licenses and that represents a lot of happy times, family times. I will not support more regulations on the trappers.” 

Apparently, in his view, buying a license and adhering to a season is enough regulation. His actions also suggest there is no room for conversation that would create trap-free zones on public land for the 99.5% of Wyoming’s population that does not trap. Why should a trapper’s “family time” be at the expense of others’ family time on our public land? 

This is not action that would be taken against trappers, but rather action taken for the sake of public safety on public land. Implementing trap-free zones is progress on an issue that requires leadership and action.

Game and Fish has shown it is listening and concerned about Wyoming citizens. Department leadership and staff have collaborated with Wyoming citizens and organizations, working long hours addressing trap reform and public safety. 

At the November Game and Fish commission meeting, the commission voted 4-1 in favor of trap reform, specifically mandatory trapper education and trap set-backs. 

Why then at the TRW committee meeting was Schmid, the lone commissioner to vote against trap reform, given unlimited time, granted by Driskill, to derail the topic and shift the conversation away from the Game and Fish Department trap reform recommendations brought to the committee?

For those watching the TRW committee meeting, it had been a long day. Topics ranged from amending gaming commission bylaws to requests that roadkill be used for pet food. Public testimony was welcomed throughout the day and heard in its entirety without a time limit. 

Senators and representatives in attendance appeared engaged, asked good questions, worked through issues, improved the wording of amendments, and made progress.

The Game and Fish Department’s draft reforms were near the last agenda item. Sen. Driskill instructed speakers on trapping reform they had a three-minute limit. Many senators and representatives on the committee acted disinterested in testimony given by concerned constituents. With some exceptions, it appeared that most on the committee had made up their mind in advance about the recommendations. Schmid’s obstructionist tactics apparently worked because not one TRW legislator would stand up and take action for trap reform. These same apathetic legislators are our designated public leaders for Travel, Recreation, and Wildlife.

Does the TRW committee believe it is in the best interest of the public to ignore recommendations from Game and Fish professionals that would clearly make Wyoming’s public lands safer? Documentation on the department website reports that mandatory hunter education reduced hunting accidents by “well over 50%.” 

Why is the TRW committee taking “no action” on mandatory trapper education? Wouldn’t the benefits of a 50% reduction in non-target trapping incidents, including family pets, big game and other wildlife, be a positive for the public? The same is true for the possibility of a 50% decrease in conflicts between trappers and recreationists.

And why are these legislators ignoring a public safety recommendation regarding trap setbacks in picnic areas and campgrounds? The public has a right to picnic, camp, launch a boat or hike a trail with their family and pets, and view wildlife on public lands with some reasonable expectation of safety. It remains a right, even though the TRW denies the public access to that right. 

The TRW committee has a responsibility to the people they market to — visitors that contribute to Wyoming’s economy — to provide trap-free opportunities for recreation and enjoyment.

Cat rescued from fox trap adopted just in time for Christmas

The Ten Lives Club is also hoping to find the same happy ending before Christmas for over 40 cats they just took in.

https://www.wgrz.com/article/news/local/noelle-the-cat-rescued-from-a-fox-trap-adopted-just-in-time-for-christmas/71-6e234f14-48da-4242-adf7-4f048477d891

Credit: Ten Lives ClubAuthor: Emyle WatkinsPublished: 10:28 AM EST December 22, 2020Updated: 10:29 AM EST December 22, 2020

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HAMBURG, N.Y. — 2 On Your Side recently covered the story of Noelle: a cat rescued out of a fox trap in Medina, who needed an expensive surgery and to be adopted to start his new life. 

Well, the Ten Lives Club reports that after taking Noelle in and giving him the surgery he needed, he’s now healthy and in a new home just in time for Christmas. https://67f9eade05be39b7d49080c610098c1b.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

His rescue inspired generosity during a weekend fundraiser for the Ten Lives Club. But now the organization says generosity and community support is needed after a major rescue.

The organization has taken in 42 cats in just one evening, from a local rescue, as well as out of state rescues in Kentucky and South Carolina. 

The Ten Lives Club is working to process all of these cats, in hopes they’ll be able to “send them home for the holidays.”

The organization will be having openings on the Tuesday before Christmas, as well as Christmas Eve, to hopefully get these cats adopted. 

Anyone interested can call (716) 646-5577 ext. 2, to set up an appointment. They’ll be open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday (Christmas Eve). 

Ten Lives Club says they’ve been able to have over 2,300 cats adopted in 2020 so far.