CBD Calls For Further IDFG Investigation Into Idaho Wolf Trapping Tragedy….

April 4, 2012

Via Facsimile Only
Virgil Moore, Director
Idaho Department of Fish and Game
Fax No: (208) 334-2148

Re: IDFG Investigation of Wolf Trapping and Shooting from Road

Dear Director Moore:

I am writing in response to media reports that the Idaho Department of Fish and Game has investigated the events in connection with Josh Bransford’s trapping of a male gray wolf during the weekend of March 16-18, 2012.

According to media accounts, an investigation of this incident has been concluded already, with Mr. Bransford being cleared of any wrongdoing and no investigation of any other individuals involved. Mike Keckler, IDFG’s communications chief, told the Missoulian that Bransford did nothing wrong because he possessed the proper tags, had attended a wolf-trapping class, was trapping on private land with permission from the landowner, and was checking his traps daily.

Yet, by all accounts a crowd gathered on the road and shot at this wolf before (and possibly after) Bransford arrived, wounding it and causing it to suffer and bleed into the snow. Mr. Keckler acknowledged both that this occurred and that shooting from the road is against the law, but stated that IDFG did not investigate further. Mr. Keckler then speculates as to whether those involved violated the law.

Notwithstanding Mr. Keckler’s baseless speculation, those who shot at this suffering wolf violated IDFG rules prohibiting shooting of animals from the road. As their actions violated IDFG rules, they should be investigated for animal cruelty as prohibited by Section 25-3504 of the Idaho Code.

These individuals were not hunting for population control – the purported basis for allowing for sport hunting of wolves in Idaho – or any other legitimate reason. They were being intentionally cruel. They violated IDFG rules. An unnamed Forest Service law enforcement official evidently witnessed this. In light of these facts, your agency’s failure to follow up and investigate these violations is extremely troubling. Indeed, this is one reason why we requested further investigation by the Idaho Attorney General.

Mr. Moore, millions of Americans are deeply concerned about the welfare of gray wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains. The Center for Biological Diversity considers these animals to be endangered; but for Senator Tester’s appropriations rider last year, Bransford’s actions would be a clear violation of the Endangered Species Act. Treatment of any animal in this manner is patently cruel and inhumane, but this is particularly so when that animal should be federally protected as endangered.

Indeed, when the State of Idaho supported delisting of the gray wolf, assurances were made that IDFG rules would ensure that wolves would be treated humanely as a “game” animal. Yet, when confronted with this incident, your agency has conducted a truncated investigation, effectively sanctioning this gruesome incident. Either IDFG rules and Section 25-3504 of the Idaho Code were violated, or there is a serious problem with IDFG’s ability to ensure that game animals are not treated
with cruelty.

Please direct your agency to investigate this matter further. A lack of leadership and further investigation by IDFG would be not only unjust to this gray wolf, but an affront to the millions of Americans who care very much about their welfare of these animals.

I look forward to your response. Please call me at 503-283-5474 if you have any questions or wish to discuss this matter further. Thank you for your prompt attention to this important matter.

Amy R. Atwood, Senior Attorney
Center for Biological Diversity

cc: Via Facsimile:
Mike Keckler, Communications Bureau Chief
Idaho Department of Fish and Game
Fax No: (208) 334-2148

Via Online Form:
Lawrence Wasden, Attorney General
State of Idaho

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Published in: on April 5, 2012 at 1:50 pm  Comments (20)  

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20 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Gastly! He should not be allowed to get away with this! As well as those others who joined in to shoot!

  2. No way should this be let go! He should be prosecuted along with the shooters


    • Yes, Josh Bransford embodies the filth and evil of people who torture animals. He should be punished. I for one, do not want my tax dollars to pay his US Forest Service salary. He needs to go.

  4. Animal cruelty is against the law. The law was clearly broken with his actions and the actions of the other shooters. This was horrific and he deserves to be punished by the law. This whole wolf kill thing is totally out of hand. I am almost ashamed of being human.

  5. The story was on the news here last night–not many details and the decision noted that nothing wrong was done! I hope we can keep the investigation and complaints going so these “mighty” hunters get what they deserve, something which they would not forget for the rest of their sorry lives.

  6. Call Fish and Game and tell them what you think.

  7. Not related to the above directly, but a really comprehensive overview of what has been happening this past years. Obama sold his soul, God help him…how dare he gamble with something that may be denied to future generations…and to think that his colour and creed were persecuted, you might have thought he would have made a connection.


    • I support the President in most things but deplore these decisions that harm the wolves and certainly have destroyed many wild horses. Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar (part of a long family of cattlemen) was one of the President’s worst appointments.

  8. This is a cover up, How come these people like the sick coward trapper Josh Bransford get away this, He take so much pleasure out of abusing and murdering animals Are these people born with that much hatred for animals, That scum bag and the other parasites that joined in shooting this wolf should all rot in prison.

  9. It won’t matter who investigates it in the Idaho world or Fish and Game- they all need to be fired and replaced with intelligent scientists and environmentalists- these ya hoo good ole boys want nothing more than to hurt and destroy wildlife for fun- they are cowards and sadist sand no one more so than Idaho’s own Butch Otter – he is Sarah Palin in drag- dump the lot of them federally – wake obama up and stop this

  10. Absolutely monstrous – poor Alabaster and her babies. :'( These people make me nauseous. If it helps at all, they’ve finally nailed a couple three wolf and elk poachers.

  11. Reblogged this on Forty Two Teeth and commented:
    Te Center For Biological Diversity’s attorney, Amy Atwood weighs in on this latest atrocity perpetrated upon the wolves in Idaho.

    Might I humbly suggest that we also request a full log of Bransford’s schedule as well as the time during which he was checking the traps. I want to be certain that every single moment of the time he spent setting, checking, trapping, slaughtering and skinning this wolf was on his own time. I even one minute of these activities took place on the public’s dime he should be terminated immediately. As a member of the tax paying public I believe it is well within my rights to window how my tax dollars are being spent even down to this minute level. Further I believe that we can request this detail under the Freedom of Information Act.

    • Yes indeed, owstarr, you “might humbly” request a log of Bransford’s schedule. But beyond this, since he is employed and armed by a Federal Agency, he is obliged to behave in an appropriate and honorable manner regardless of the time of day! He is considered a public employee in the service of of the taxpayers, whether or not his aberrant behavior occurs in the course of discharging his official duties. For his bosses or their representatives to suggest otherwise would be a severe violation of public policy. Think, drunk sailors on shore leave: do the MPs give them due process?

      Bransford works under the final oversight of the US Department of the Interior… Salazar, again. It would be interesting to know (and may even appear in public record) who this kid’s relatives are within the idaho political system. Regardless, the local job application process should be open to question. Since the American Psychiatric Association lists animal torture as a sociopathic disorder which can lead to the murder of humans, how was it even possible for Bransford to pass any appropriate tests to be given the job, badge, etc?

      • The issue is that this dept appears to think he’s done nothing wrong. I even spoke with his direct supervisor who said that what he did was unfortunate but not illegal. However he’s not a professional trapper so if he did anything related to the trapping on his own time this is a clear dereliction of his fire control duties and would be something we could use as a grounds for his termination. We want to get Bransford any way we can – maybe that’s the way.

  12. Reblogged this on Wisconsin Wildlife Ethic-Vote Our Wildlife.

  13. They should charge this Man to the full extent of the law sitting there smiling at the cruelty he caused one sick individual he is,hope he doesnt have pets, like a dog or a cat or any other animal, shame on him!

  14. dansk. Hver ulve-drab, må straffes hårdt, — DER er intet i vejen med de vilde dyr, det er mennesket der har lagt egoismen på deres forbandet indstilling- JEG—indstilling, — DE ser kun over deres egen næse, —– ALLE ulve-drab , må straffes, smilende jæger, må have en bedre sæbe, så de kan vaske smilet af, og have en hjerne- vask, så de bedre kan forstå hvordan ulven lider, MODBYDELIGT MORD, —- NY lov, NU. :-((((((((((((((((((((((( = mit hjerte bløder for hver ulve-drab.

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