How To Kill A Wolf: An Undercover Report from the Idaho Coyote and Wolf Derby

Salmon Wolf and Coyote Derby From left to right Bryan Walker_Brian Ertz and Natalie Ertz

“From left to right: Bryan Walker, Brian Ertz, and Natalie Ertz”  (going undercover)

This is a much-needed expose on what wolves are being subjected to in the worst of the worst wolf killing state of Idaho. Four brave souls went undercover to shine a light on this horrific “contest”. I want to thank them for their courage and dedication to the wolves and the coyotes. Predator derbies go on all over the country, often including bobcats and foxes as well. When wolves were delisted, they became a target for these “killing contests”. California is considering a ban on predator derbies.

Warning: Graphic Photos Below

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How to Kill a Wolf

An Undercover Report from the Idaho Coyote and Wolf Derby

By Christopher Ketcham

The best way to fatally wound a wolf without killing it instantly is to shoot it in the gut, preferably with armor-piercing ammunition. Unlike soft lead-tipped bullets, which mushroom inside the body cavity and kill quickly, heavy-jacketed AP ammo pierces the target and blows out the other side.

This has two advantages: The first is that, especially with a gut shot, the animal will suffer. It will bleed out slowly, run a mile or so in terrified panic, and collapse. Then it will die. The second advantage is that, if you’re hunting illegally (out of season, at night with a spotlight, or on land where you shouldn’t), there is little forensic evidence for game wardens to gather. No bullet will be found in the cadaver. Most importantly, the animal will have traveled some distance from where it was shot, so that tracing the site of the shooting is almost impossible.

I gleaned these helpful tips from a nice old man at a saloon in Salmon, Idaho, which last December was the site of the first annual Coyote and Wolf Derby. I had come to this rural town—population 3,000—to enter as a contestant in the derby. Over the course of two days in late December, several hundred hunters would compete to kill as many wolves and coyotes as possible. There were two $1,000 prizes to be had, one for the most coyotes slain and the other for the largest single wolf carcass. Children were encouraged to enter, with special awards for youths aged 10–11 and 12–14 listed on the promotional flyer. The derby’s organizer, a nonprofit sporting group called Idaho for Wildlife, advertised that the event was to be historic: the first wolf-killing contest held in the US since 1974.

Hunting for food is one thing, and in some cases hunting helps to keep overabundant species like deer in ecological check. But the reason we have too many deer in the US in the first place is simple: the steady decline of big predators like the mountain lion and—you guessed it—the wolf. The fact is that we need wolves in ecosystems. So why a killing contest to rid the land of them?

After digging into the wolf-hate literature featured on Idaho for Wildlife’s website, I wondered whether the residents of Salmon were looking to kill wolves out of spite. They hated these creatures, and I wanted to understand why.

Besides killing wolves, one of the group’s core missions, according to its website, is to “fight against all legal and legislative attempts by the animal rights and anti-gun organizations who are attempting to take away our rights and freedoms under the Constitution of the United States of America.” The website also suggested that media coverage of the event was not welcome. The only way I’d be able to properly report on the derby, I figured, was to go undercover as a competing hunter. So I showed up in Salmon a few days before the event, paid the $20 sign-up fee, and officially became part of the slaughter.

The derby called for hunters to work in two-person teams. In the weeks leading up to the competition I recruited pro-wolf activists Brian Ertz and his sister Natalie Ertz, native Idahoans who have worked for local conservation groups. Rounding out our teams was Brian’s friend Bryan Walker, a gnarled former Marine and an Idaho lawyer who has studied shamanism and claims to have an ability to speak with animals.

The nice old man in the bar, whose name was Cal Black, bought the four of us a round of drinks when we told him we were in town for the derby. Cal had grown up on a ranch near town, and his thoughts on wolves reflected those of most other locals we met. Salmon is livestock country—the landscape is riddled with cows and sheep—and ranchers blame wolves for huge numbers of livestock deaths. Therefore wolves needed to be dispatched with extreme prejudice. The derby was a natural extension of this sentiment.

“Gut-shoot every goddamn last one of them wolves,” Cal told us. He wished a similar fate on “tree huggers,” who, in Cal’s view, mostly live in New York City. “You know what I’d like to see? Take the wolves and plant ’em in Central Park, ’cause they impose it on us to have these goddamn wolves! Bullshit! It’s said a wolf won’t attack you. Well, goddamn, these tree huggers don’t know what. I want wolves to eat them goddamn tree huggers. Maybe they’ll learn something!”

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“Proud derby contestants displaying a pair of coyotes”

We all raised a glass to the tree huggers’ getting their due. I fought the urge to tell Cal that I live in New York part-time, and that in college Natalie trained as an arborist and had actually hugged trees for a living. Her brother, who is 31 and studying to be a lawyer in Boise, Idaho, had warned me about the risks of going undercover when I broached the idea over the phone. As a representative for the nonprofit Western Watersheds Project, which has lobbied for wolf protections, he’d attended numerous public meetings about “wolf management” in communities like Salmon. “Salmon is the belly of the beast,” he told me. “There is not a more hostile place. It’s Mordor.”

Brian’s former boss at the Western Watersheds Project, executive director Jon Marvel, has received death threats for speaking out in favor of wolves and against the powerful livestock industry. Larry Zuckerman, a conservation biologist for the pro-wolf environmental nonprofit Wild Love Preserve, suspects that it was pro-wolf-hunting residents from Salmon who fatally poisoned his three dogs. Many pro-wolf activists across the American West, especially those who have publicly opposed the ranching industry, have reported similar threats and acts of aggression—tires slashed, homes vandalized, windows busted out with bricks in the night. Idaho for Wildlife’s opinion on the situation is made clear on its website: “Excess predator’s [sic] and environmentalists should go first!”

more dead coyotes

“more dead coyotes”

Prepping for the derby, we disguised ourselves according to the local style: camo pants and jackets, wool caps, balaclavas, binoculars, and heavy boots. When he wasn’t mystically communicating with elk, Walker enjoyed hunting them. He didn’t look out of place in Salmon, carrying his M4 rifle with a 30-round magazine and a Beretta .45 on his hip. He loaned me his bolt-action .300 Win Mag with a folding bipod, while Brian carried a .30-06 with a Leupold scope. Natalie, who is tall and good-looking, was armed only with a camera and played the part of a domesticated wife “here for the party,” as she put it.

At the derby registration the night before the killing was to commence, we were so convincing that the organizers didn’t even bother to ask for our hunting licenses or wolf permits. Instead they suggested spots in the surrounding mountains where we could find wolves to shoot illegally.

READ MORE: http://www.vice.com/read/how-to-kill-a-wolf-0000259-v21n3

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Photos: Courtesy Christopher Ketchum

Posted in: Wolf Wars, Activism, Predator Derby

Tags: Salmon_Idaho, Wolf and Coyote Derby, Undercover Report, Wolf Activists, killing animals for fun and prizes, dead coyotes, wolf wars

Wolf Hell! Judge Says Idaho Can Continue Wolf Slaying In Frank Church….

gray wolf wisconsin dnr wi.gov

January 18, 2014

Idaho is wolf hell and the fires are burning hotter than ever for them now that a district judge has refused to stop the extermination of two wolf packs (Monumental and Golden) in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness, after environmental groups filed a lawsuit to halt it. The wolf packs are bothering nobody, they live in a  2.4 million acre wilderness for god-sakes. BUT some elk hunters, who think Idaho is a giant game farm, want more elk to kill for themselves, hence the pressure on IDGF to eradicate even more wolves.  Who do these people think they are? Do they own Idaho’s wildlife? Apparently they do!!

And I highly doubt the Idaho hired gun or guns is just going after two wolf packs. Who in the heck really knows whats going on in that vast wilderness? They could be killing or have already killed wolves from other packs.

Judge Edward J. Lodge’s ruling allows the outrageous trapping and killing of wolves, by a state hired hunter/trapper, to continue. It’s bad enough Idaho allows a year round wolf hunt in some areas of the state or that Wildlife Services and poachers continue to kill them. Now wolves are being trapped and slaughtered in a protected wilderness.

“Hiring a bounty hunter to kill wolves in one of America’s crown-jewel wilderness areas, just to make sure there are more elk for hunters to kill, is one more example of the deeply sad, cruel and reactionary nature of Idaho’s ‘management’ of wolves,” said Noah Greenwald, the Center’s endangered species director. “This outrageous slaughter is a clear reminder of why all of our country’s wolves need the protection of the Endangered Species Act.”……Center For Biological Diversity

We can lay this debacle at the feet of the Obama administration and Congress. Mere months after Obama took office he and his rancher Interior Secretary, Ken Salazar, delisted wolves in Montana and Idaho. Those wolves have been in the cross-hairs of brutal state management ever since and the bloodshed has spread to Wyoming and the Great Lakes.

The environmental groups plan to appeal the ruling to the 9th Circuit but that could be a lengthy process, meanwhile wolves continue to suffer and die. The only solution to the savage wolf killing, that’s gripped the Northern Rockies and Great Lakes, is to place gray wolves back on the Endangered Species List!

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Judge Lodge Issues Ruling Allowing Wolf Extermination in Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness

U.S. District Judge for Idaho Edward J. Lodge has issued a ruling denying plaintiffs’ case against an ongoing plan to eradicate two wolf packs in Idaho’s Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness. The judge ruled that plaintiffs are unlikely to prevail based on the merits of the case because the US Forest Service’s decision to allow Idaho Department of Fish and Game to use the cabin and airstrip at Cabin Creek was not a final agency action that is reviewable. The US Forest Service claims that it is still evaluating the wolf eradication plan and that it has not taken a final agency action. The Judge also ruled that the removal of wolves in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness does not constitute irreparable harm because the actions don’t irreparably harm the species as a whole.

So far the trapper has killed 9 wolves.

Read more: http://www.thewildlifenews.com/2014/01/17/judge-lodge-issues-ruling-allowing-wolf-extermination-in-frank-church-river-of-no-return-wilderness/

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Definition of Wilderness (from the 1964 Wilderness Act)

(c) an area of undeveloped Federal land retaining its primeval character and influence, without permanent improvements or human habitation, which is protected and managed so as to preserve its natural conditions and which(1) generally appears to have been affected primarily by the forces of nature, with the imprint of man’s work substantially unnoticeable; (2) has outstanding opportunities for solitude or a primitive and unconfined type of recreation; (3) has  at least five thousand acres of land or is of sufficient size as to make practicable its preservation and use in an unimpaired condition; and (4) may also contain ecological, geological, or other features of scientific, educational, scenic, or historical value.

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Posted in: Wolf Wars

Photo: Wisconsin DNR

Tags: wolf wars, wolf trapping, wolf persecution, Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness, WWP, Ralph Maughan, DOW, WWP, CBD, Wilderness Watch, Wilderness Act, Judge Lodge, Idaho, Idaho elk hunters pressure IDFG, 1964 Wilderness Act

For Our Beloved Wolves, For The Murdered, Fallen Ones…

Earth Island Journal Stands Up For Wolves

Earth Island Journal Stands Up For Wolves

Posted in: Wolf Wars

Photo: Courtesy Earth Island Journal

Video: Courtesy DragonneHeart·  (YouTube) Wolves – The Mummers Dance

Tags: the beauty of wolves, sorrow for the murdered wolves, wolf wars, Earth Island Journal, never give up the fight

 

More Dedicated Wolf Warriors At DC Rally!

Dedicated Wolf Warriors 1Thank you Warriors for traveling to support our wolves!! Lets hope there will be many more rallies like this one so our voices are heard around America!

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Photo: Courtesy CWWC (Colorado Wolf And Wildlife Center)

Posted in: Activism, Wolf Warriors

Tags: The National Rally To Protect America’s Wolves, gray wolf, Wolf Wars, stand up for wolves

Let The Wolves Run Free by Ratty and the Watchers…..

arctic-wolf-wallpaper brothersoftdotcomJuly 9, 2013

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Photo: arctic-wolf-wallpaper-brothersoftdotcom

Posted in: Wolf Wars

Tags: wolf wars, wolf persecution, save the American wolf, Ratty and the Watchers

Working Hard For Wolves….

NatureColdWarriors_3wolvesCold Warriors

June 6, 2013

Dear Readers,

I’m busy working on a wolf project I promised would be finished months ago.  Myself and other wolf advocates are committed to this project that we believe is important in the battle to save our beloved wolves.

I’ll be on hiatus until we finish because I need to devote all my time to the launch, but please know I’ll be back soon ready to ask for your support.

I’ll continue to post on Wolf Warriors and keep you updated on Wolf Wars.

Thank you Warriors for your support and understanding.

For the wolves, For the wild ones,

Nabeki

Nature Cold Warriors_pack traveling through snow

Photos: Courtesy Jeff Turner River Road Films

Published in: on June 6, 2013 at 3:45 am  Comments (21)  
Tags: ,

Checking In…

ODFW yearling wolf killed by Wildlife Sevices

I’m still here, I have a few personal issues to deal with but I’ll be back.  Please hold down the fort while I’m gone. Feel free to read through the archives, it will give you a very clear picture of what wolves have been through since the first delisting in 2009.

Get your thinking caps on, we’re going to need all the brainpower we can muster to defeat this evil.

We will not allow our wolves, America’s wolves, to be used as target practice for the pleasure of a few sickos at the expense of the many.

Howl if you agree!!

For the wolves, For the wild ones,

Nabeki

Published in: on May 19, 2013 at 10:34 pm  Comments (17)  
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It’s Likely SFW Founder Will Be Paid $300,000 Taxpayer Dollars To Lobby Against Wolves….

See Above: Big Game Forever Got The Same Amount Last Year To Lobby Against Wolves…Salt Lake Tribune

Update: March 10, 2013

It looks like SFW founder, Don Peay, will be getting a nice fat check, $300,000 to be exact, of taxpayer money,  thanks to the Utah Legislature’s ” natural resources budget committee”,  to lobby against wolves. Don Peay is also a founder of Big Game Forever.

The Democrats tried their best to remove the money from the spending plan, but to no avail.

Last year, $300,000 was awarded to Big Game Forever to lobby against wolves.  Deja vu’?

And where’s the accountability?

“After hearing a similar pitch from Big Game Forever co-founder Ryan Benson, the Legislature last year appropriated $300,000 to fund wolf-related lobbying, with virtually no oversight of precisely how the money was used or what it accomplished.“…Salt Lake Tribune

Further:

“The wolf-lobby contract does require Big Game Forever to submit a report to DWR summarizing its accomplishments and giving an update on wolf-related legislation — but it is not due until June 30, 2013.

Now the Legislature is moving toward appropriating an additional $300,000.

There are no Washington lobbyists currently registered for Big Game Forever and have been none since April 1, 2011.

At a Feb. 21 appropriations hearing, Peay gave a vague response when asked about the work his group has accomplished with this money.

“It’s been used to do a very complex, political, legal, grass-roots effort,” he said. The current line item comes at the request of Senate Majority Leader Ralph Okerlund, R-Monroe, who did not respond to an email request for comment.”….The Salt Lake Tribune

I’ll be waiting with baited breath to read the June 2013 report showing BGF’s  “accomplishments” pertaining to the $300,000 award.

How is this not a conflict of interest?  How can the Utah legislature condone these kind of shenanigans by giving taxpayer money to openly anti-wolf advocates? Is Utah in the wolf hating business, where few if any wolves reside?  It’s absolutely outrageous.

Over a quarter of a million dollars will likely be paid to an anti wolf  advocate,  so he can turn around and lobby for wolf delisting across the country?

Unbelievable!

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If you live in Utah please contact Governor Gary Herbert and ask him why large sums of your taxpayer dollars are being handed out to anti-wolf advocates with little oversight, when few if any wolves reside in Utah?

Governor Gary R. Herbert

801-538-1000
800-705-2464

If you live outside of Utah, please contact their tourism bureau with your concerns.

Utah Office of Tourism
Council Hall/Capitol Hill
300 North State
Salt Lake City, UT 84114
801-538-1900
Tourism Questions: 801-538-1030
or 800-200-1160

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Just cry wolf

The Salt Lake Tribune Opinion

Your cash for the asking

First Published 5 hours ago • Updated 1 hour ago
The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary — H.L. Mencken

One of those imaginary hobgoblins is being trotted about on Capitol Hill by legislators and a sportsmen’s group who are pointing at it and sounding the alarm, which goes something like this: Citizens of Utah, the wolf is at the door. But don’t be alarmed. We’re going to make sure he stays there. We just need to take $300,000 of your tax money and hand it over to this sportsmen’s group. They’ll know what to do with it, and you’ll all be safe, at least until next year.

This the second year in a row that someone from Big Game Forever, a Utah-based nonprofit hunting advocacy group, has shown up at the Utah Legislature with his hand out, spouting dire, wholly suspect warnings that the federal government is considering reintroducing the gray wolf to the Beehive State.

The group’s founder, Don Peay, told the Legislature’s natural resources budget committee last week that the money is needed to lobby the feds against such a move. “They want to put Mexican wolves in Utah because the Mexicans don’t want them,” he told lawmakers. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says such claims are overblown.

But Peay’s pitch for public money to fight this four-legged hobgoblin doesn’t require much more from him than to cry wolf, just as the organization did last year and was promptly handed $300,000 with virtually no questions asked. At an appropriations hearing last month, when someone had the temerity to ask Peay what last year’s $300,000 had bought the state, he saw no reason to get specific.

Read more: http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/opinion/55974763-82/utah-group-wolf-300000.html.csp

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Legislators steering another $300,000 to anti-wolf crusade

Politics » Private group says it needs the money to lobby federal officials against the predator’s reintroduction.
First Published Mar 07 2013 06:41 pm • Last Updated Mar 08 2013 05:15 pm

By Brian Maffly

| The Salt Lake Tribune

Although no one is proposing to reintroduce the gray wolf in Utah, lawmakers want to spend $300,000 for the second consecutive year to lobby federal officials against such a move, arguing that the return of wolves, extirpated almost a century ago, would wipe out big game.

The line item, listed among priority one-time spending requests from the Legislature’s natural resources budget committee, has drawn ridicule from conservationists and citizens who say these expenditures are a silly misuse of tax dollars that could be invested in education or other worthy programs.

“Utah is not overrun with wolves, but it is overrun with children in classrooms,” said Marlene Foard, a 33-year Salt Lake City school teacher dismayed that Utah remains at the bottom among states in per-pupil spending. But Don Peay, the influential anti-wolf advocate seeking the money, says the Utah economy could take a massive hit should wolves, protected in Utah under the Endangered Species Act, gain a foothold.

“It’s destroying jobs, private property and rural economies,” said Peay, a founder of Big Game Forever,a Salt Lake City-based nonprofit organization told the Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environmental Quality budget committee, referring to what he claims is unfolding in Idaho since the successful wolf reintroduction in the Yellowstone region. “We want to keep Utah a great place to hunt and fish.”

After hearing a similar pitch from Big Game Forever co-founder Ryan Benson, the Legislature last year appropriated $300,000 to fund wolf-related lobbying, with virtually no oversight of precisely how the money was used or what it accomplished. Big Game Forever submitted the only bid to do this lobbying on July 28, 2012, and won the one-year contract four days later.

READ MORE

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/politics/55960783-90/300000-anti-contract-game.html.csp

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U.S. News

Utah budget to support anti-wolf measure

Published: March. 10, 2013 at 5:55 PM
SALT LAKE CITY, March 10 (UPI) — A $300,000 Utah budget line item that would finance efforts to prevent the reintroduction of gray wolves to the state is headed for final votes, officials said.

The funding is being pushed even though federal officials say no wolf-reintroduction program is being proposed for Utah, The Salt Lake Tribune reported Sunday.

On Friday, Democratic lawmakers tried fruitlessly to strike the money from the spending plan. The measure, which the Tribune said was little-scrutinized, was adopted by the Legislature’s Executive Appropriations Committee.

“It seems like a waste. It’s another challenge to federal authority to protect wildlife. The problem isn’t even here,” said Gene Davis, D-Salt Lake City, the Senate minority leader.

Read more: http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2013/03/10/Utah-budget-to-support-anti-wolf-measure/UPI-56901362952557/#ixzz2NDByQ4tM
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Anti-wolf group likely to get second $300,000 Utah payment

Politics » Money is included in budget despite Dems’ insistence project is a “waste.”

By Brian Maffly

The Salt Lake Tribune

First Published Mar 10 2013 01:01 am • Last Updated Mar 10 2013 01:01 am

A $300,000 line item to fund efforts to prevent wolves from being “reintroduced” in Utah as part of a federal gray wolf-recovery effort will be included in the budget headed for final votes in the next few days.

Democratic lawmakers on Friday unsuccessfully attempted to strip the money from the spending plan. Without debate, and on a party-line vote, the little-scrutinized project was adopted by the Legislature’s Executive Appropriations Committee, made up of leaders of the House and Senate.

“It seems like a waste,” said Senate Minority Leader Gene Davis, D-Salt Lake City. “It’s another challenge to federal authority to protect wildlife. The problem isn’t even here.”

The $300,000 appropriation — the second in as many years for the anti-wolf campaign — was recommended by Senate Majority Leader Ralph Okerlund, R-Monroe.

An outspoken critic of wolves — who also was sponsor of last year’s so-called “Mule Deer Protection Act,” more than doubling the $20 bounty on coyotes — Okerlund received $6,500 in campaign donations last year from the two men requesting the funding.

Read More: http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/55974984-78/wolf-forever-game-utah.html.csp

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URGENT: SFW Founder Requests Taxpayer Money To Lobby For Wolf Delisting…

March 6, 2013

http://howlingforjustice.wordpress.com/2013/03/03/urgent-sfw-founder-requests-taxpayer-money-to-lobby-for-wolf-delisting/

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Photo: Courtesy Salt Lake Tribue
Posted in: Wolf Wars
Tags: Don Peay,  SFW, Big Game Forever, $300,000 to lobby against wolves, Utah legislature, wolf wars, tax payer money

Over A Thousand Wolves Destroyed In Race To The Bottom….

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Wolf Hunting With AR-15

1092 WOLVES SLAUGHTERED IN WOLF HUNTS SINCE 8/30/2012

And it’s not over yet. Idaho’s wolf hunt continues.

How many wolves have to die?

When will the brutality end?

So many wolf families destroyed, untold suffering!

Will you speak for them?

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Wolf Pup and Mother

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Image Emailed To Wolf Advocate 2009 With Message "Merry Cristmas"

Image Emailed To Wolf Advocate On Christmas eve 2009 with Message – “Merry Cristmas”

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Gut Shot

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OR-16 shot dead near Lowman, Idaho

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Idaho Says Make It Hurt!

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06 Female Earth Island JournalYellowstone Lamar Canyon Alpha Female (O6) Shot Dead Fifteen Miles Outside The Park

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Photos Courtesy: survivaltechniques101.com,AR15dotcom forbidanimalcrueltydotcom, tracksandsignsblogspot dot com, earth island journal, wikipedia commons, whitewolfpackdotcom, LA Times, Ann Sydow

Posted in: Wolf Wars

Tags: 1092 wolves killed for blood lust, wolf wars, unconscionable, stop the wolf hunts,  stand up for wolves, wolf killing states, Montana, Idaho, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Minnesota, AR-15dotcom

Montana Declares War On Wolves, AGAIN!

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I’ve always loved Montana, especially Western Montana. The Rocky Mountain Front, Bob Marshall Wilderness, The Great Bear Wilderness, Glacier National Park, The North Fork,  The Swan Range, Jewel Basin, Flathead Lake, Logan’s Pass, Going to the Sun Road, Spotted Bear, The Bitterroot Mountains and so many other wonderful places too numerous to mention.  Even its name reflects its majesty, Montana, land of mountains. Louis and Clark journeyed there on their epic exploration.

“In 1803, President Thomas Jefferson commissioned an exploration to trace the Missouri River to its source and find a water route to the Pacific Ocean.

Under the leadership of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark the Corps of Discovery covered almost 8,000 miles from St. Louis, Missouri, to the mouth of the Columbia River, returning two years later. They journeyed westward across Montana from April 1805 to September of that year. On the return trip to St. Louis in the summer of 1806, the leaders crossed Montana using two separate routes.”….

Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer was struck down by the power of the Sioux Nation, on a bloody Montana battlefield.

Charles_Marion_Russell_-_The_Custer_Fight_(1903)

“It is estimated that as many as 12,000 Indians, of whom 4,000 were warriors, gathered near the Little Big Horn River, in what is now Montana, to meet with Sitting Bull. The encampment included Lakota bands (Oglalas, Brules, Sans Arcs, Minneconjous, and Hunkpapas) as well as Cheyenne and Blackfeet. The Sioux had a reputation as warriors”….eyewitnesstohistorydotcom

Montana is the third largest state in the Lower Forty Eight,  it’s huge. When I was a kid I dug for fish fossils there.

During much of the Cretaceous Period (144 to 65 million years ago) a large portion of Montana was covered by the waters of a shallow, inland sea called the Western Interior Seaway. The sea was formed as west-central North America was subsiding to an elevation below sea level. As this sinking occurred the area filled with water from the Gulf of Mexico and the Arctic Ocean….“formontanadotnet

I can still remember sifting through the shale rock looking for a perfect two-sided fossil, it was great adventure. My childhood memories were filled with Montana, a magnificent place where the sky never ends.

Montana is blessed with abundant wildlife and certainly plenty of room for wolves. Montanans’ should be proud to live in a state that supports all top predators in vast intact ecosystems, the grizzly, the mountain lion, the gray wolf. But sadly the state has been hijacked by people who care nothing for trophic cascades or apex predators.  They want to turn Montana into a giant elk farm for their pleasure, as if elk or any of the wildlife belong to them.

I still love Montana’s beauty but there is an ugliness that hovers there now, an intolerance that holds Montana in its grasp. Montana is killing wolves, just as they did decades ago.

“In the United States, large-scale predator control programs were carried out, with wolves hunted and killed nearly to extinction.  By the middle of the 20th century, few wolves existed in the Lower 48 states.  Only several hundred gray wolves in Minnesota remained, with a few Red wolves and an occasional Mexican gray wolf reported. Both the Mexican gray wolf and the red wolf were eventually completely eliminated in the wild and prior to recent reintroduction efforts, existed only in captivity”..National Wolf Fact Sheet

The Endangered Species Act was signed by President Nixon in 1973 and by the late seventies wolves started to return home to Northwestern Montana, forming packs, some large, like the Magic Pack.

“Reports of wolves near Glacier National Park began to trickle in during the late 1970s. In 1979 a wolf was captured just north of the U.S. border in British Columbia. She was released with a radio collar. Three years later this same wolf had mated and produced a litter of eight pups. According to Hank Fischer in his book “Wolf Wars,” this pack was named the “Magic Pack” due to its tendency to appear and disappear for long periods.The Magic Pack became the first pack of wolves to inhabit the western United States in 50 years.”..Wolf Report 8/18/96

They weren’t reintroduced, they reintroduced themselves. They belong there and no hysterical elk hunter is going to tell me any different. Montana is prime wolf country and it’s their home. It’s been their home for thousands of years, before European settlers ever set foot on the continent, where Native Americans lived peacefully among them, where gray wolves co-existed with Dire wolves.

Now with wolf hysteria reaching a fever pitch, Montana has declared war on wolves once again. Ready to do the bidding of the ranching and hunting lobbies, Montana legislators aren’t satisfied that hundreds of wolves have died in the state since wolves lost their ESA protections in 2009.  They want to make life even harder for wolves. Science be damned, let politics reign. A particularly nasty piece of legislation, HB 73, sailed through the Montana Senate last week and is waiting newly elected Governor Bullock’s signature. Will he veto it? I don’t hold out much hope for that.  Again politics before science.

House Bill 73 lets the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks increase the number of wolves one hunter can take, allows for electronic calls, and removes a requirement to wear hunter orange outside general deer and elk season.
 
The measure also prohibits the state wildlife agency from banning wolf hunts in areas around national parks. Its swift passage would allow the changes to take effect during the hunting season that’s currently under way…missoulian

Take note Montana legislators, you’ve turned a once beloved state into wolf killing fields, becoming a smaller version of Alaska, a state who kills wolves without mercy or an Idaho clone, where it’s now legal to use wolf carcasses to bait wolves to their deaths.

Montana is a place where wolves howl but those howls could be silenced forever and the state I loved will never be the same again!

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Contact Governor Bullock and ask him to veto HB 73

Governor Steve Bullock 

406-444-3111

governor@mt.gov

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Two Big Horned Sheep Rams, Glacier National Park (Nabeki)

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Top Photo: tumblr

Middle Photo: Wiki Commons

Bottom Photo: Nabeki

Posted in: Wolf Wars,  Montana wolves

Tags: Montana, HB 73,  Wolf Wars,  Inland Sea, Fish Fossils, Sioux Nation, Custer, Lewis and Clark, wolf hunts

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