Idaho Man Shoots At Wolf Pack….FROM THE SKY!!

Photo of a motorized parachute/Wikimedia Commons

October 2, 2009

Let me get this straight, four years ago, Gov. Dirk Kempthorne, joined by sheep ranchers and the Idaho congressional delegation persuaded the Federal Aviation Administration  to allow aerial gunning of foxes and coyotes by anyone with a pilots license and a light plane?  So a mechanized parachute riding, shotgun toting, sheep rancher thought he could just shoot a pack of wolves from the air?  Apparently he didn’t know wolves weren’t on the list of  “varmits” he could shoot.  Yeah.

The bigger question is why Idaho is not taking action against this  person?  He broke the law!

The response of  State Sen. Jeff Siddoway-R, who just happens to own sheep, is classic.  Instead of calling for charges to be brought against the parachutist sheep hunter, he’s instead  announced  he’s going to  introduce  a bill in the Idaho legislature, expanding aerial gunning to gray wolves as well.

Aerial gunning of any creature must be banned!!  Why are states allowed to gun down animals from the air?  Didn’t congress pass a law banning the practice?   Oh wait, there’s a loophole in the law.  It states:

The federal legislation (PDF) does have a loophole for predator  control, permitting state employees or licensed individuals to shoot from an aircraft for the sake of protecting “land, water, wildlife, livestock, domesticated animals, human life, or crops.”

Read the whole article:

Aerial Wolf Gunning 101:

Here we are right back to livestock interests versus the wolves.  I guess the only answer is for conservationists (or anyone that believes wolves, bears, cougars and other apex predators have the right to exist without a gun to their heads) should run for state and local government office in Idaho and Montana, adding their voices to a one-sided discussion.

Does anyone believe Idaho is doing a good job of managing gray wolves? Anyone?

Please write to the Federal Aviation Administration letting them know aerial gunning of any animal is cruel and barbarous.  NO AERIAL GUNNING OF WOLVES FOR ANY REASON!!

U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Aviation Administration
800 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20591
1-866-TELL-FAA (1-866-835-5322)


The Olympian /Published October 01, 2009

Idaho man illegally shot at wolf pack from the sky


A shotgun-wielding motorized parachutist fired on a pack of wolves earlier this year from the eastern Idaho sky, something forbidden even under a state permit that allows aerial gunning of foxes and coyotes.

Carl Ball, a sheep rancher, was flying his aircraft June 5 near St. Anthony above a 160-acre sheep pen when he saw at least four wolves, according to an Idaho Department of Fish and Game law enforcement report obtained Thursday by The Associated Press.

Ball reported he shot at the wolves after they’d already left the pen and said he believed one animal outfitted with a radio collar had been killed, though state and federal wildlife officials who arrived hours later never found a wolf carcass.

“He shot the wolf at least two times on subsequent flyovers. He believed the wolf had crawled under some brush and died,” regional conservation officer John Hanson wrote in his report. “He has a hunting license, pilot’s license and an aerial gunning permit from the Department of Agriculture.”

Four years ago, then-Gov. Dirk Kempthorne, Idaho’s congressional delegation and sheep ranchers persuaded Federal Aviation Administration officials to allow licensed pilots to shoot coyotes and other wild predators while flying overhead in ultralight flying machines.

Rifle- and pistol-packing pilots of dirigibles, balloons, gliders, flying trikes, gyroplanes and powered parachutes can take a few hours of instruction and get an Idaho Sheep Commission-issued permit to shoot varmints from the heavens.

But even though the federal government earlier this year lifted Endangered Species Act protections from more than 1,000 wolves in Idaho and Montana, and both states have legal hunting seasons, that’s only for people shooting from the ground or trees.

Blasting wolves from the sky remains off limits because state wildlife managers consider them big game animals, not predators.

Ball didn’t return a phone call seeking comment Thursday.

But state Sen. Jeff Siddoway, a Republican from Terreton who owns the 160-acre sheep pen where the incident occurred, said Ball called him that morning from a cell phone while circling above the wolves with his gun loaded with No. 4 shot. Siddoway, in turn, contacted big game manager Brad Compton of the Fish and Game Department and contends he was told shooting a wolf from a powered parachute was allowed under a valid aerial gunning permit.

“He said, ‘Go ahead,'” Siddoway recalled. “We do it at our leisure for coyotes. This was just the first time we did it for a wolf.”

It wasn’t until later in the day, Siddoway maintains, that another state official informed him the permit didn’t cover aerial wolf gunning.

Compton didn’t immediately return a phone call, but Jim Unsworth, Fish and Game’s deputy director, said his agency most certainly didn’t give Siddoway the green light to shoot wolves from the sky.

“Brad or I probably told him he could legally protect his livestock,” Unsworth said. “But I don’t think anybody told him to shoot it out of a powered parachute.”

The state agency investigated the incident, Unsworth said, but opted to drop the case, in part because no dead wolf was ever found.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Mike Fergus in Renton, Wash., said his agency wasn’t aware of the incident.

Wildlife activists said the confusion over whether wolves are legitimate aerial gunning targets underscores the absurdity of allowing people to use kit-built and experimental flying contraptions to kill animals.

“The fact that wolves have been delisted, people probably believe they can just go after them now,” said Wendy Keefover-Ring, the Denver-based coordinator of a national coalition of environmental groups aiming to halt aerial shooting. “We have the confluence of two bad policies coming together: the new allowances (for airborne hunting) and also the delisting of wolves under the Endangered Species Act.”

Meanwhile, Siddoway is planning to introduce a bill in the Idaho Legislature next year to expand animals covered by the aerial permits to include wolves, too. The wolves didn’t kill any of his rams that June morning, Siddoway concedes, but more than 100 of his roughly 18,000 ewes, lambs and rams in Idaho and Wyoming have been killed by the big predators this year.

“It’s insane that I would have to ask for permission over my own ground,” he said.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Categories posted in:  Aerial gunning of wolves, Wolf Wars

Tags: wolves or livestock, aerial gunning of wolves, Jeff Siddoway

Loss of Apex Predators Devastating Ecosytems

running wolf

This is what conservationists have been saying all along. Killing off top predators, like the wolf, have a negative effect on the environment. They are a vital part of our ecosystem, contributing in ways we are only beginning to understand.

This cautionary tale wildlife managers around the world should pay attention to!!

“We reached the old wolf in time to watch the fierce green fire dying in her eyes… There was something new to me in those eyes– something known only to her and the mountains. I was young then, and full of trigger-itch. I thought that because fewer wolves meant more deer that no wolves would mean hunter’s paradise, but after seeing the green fire die, I sensed that neither the wolf nor the mountain agreed with such a view.”
~ Aldo Leopold


Loss of top predators causing surge in smaller predators, ecosystem collapse

Science Centric | 2 October 2009 12:43 GMT

The catastrophic decline around the world of ‘apex’ predators such as wolves, cougars, lions or sharks has led to a huge increase in smaller ‘mesopredators’ that are causing major economic and ecological disruptions, a new study concludes.

The findings, published today in the journal Bioscience, found that in North America all of the largest terrestrial predators have been in decline during the past 200 years while the ranges of 60 percent of mesopredators have expanded. The problem is global, growing and severe, scientists say, with few solutions in sight.

An example: in parts of Sub-Saharan Africa, lion and leopard populations have been decimated, allowing a surge in the ‘mesopredator’ population next down the line, baboons. In some cases children are now being kept home from school to guard family gardens from brazen packs of crop-raiding baboons.

‘This issue is very complex, and a lot of the consequences are not known,’ said William Ripple, a professor of forest ecosystems and society at Oregon State University. ‘But there’s evidence that the explosion of mesopredator populations is very severe and has both ecological and economic repercussions.’

In case after case around the world, the researchers said, primary predators such as wolves, lions or sharks have been dramatically reduced if not eliminated, usually on purpose and sometimes by forces such as habitat disruption, hunting or fishing. Many times this has been viewed positively by humans, fearful of personal attack, loss of livestock or other concerns. But the new picture that’s emerging is a range of problems, including ecosystem and economic disruption that may dwarf any problems presented by the original primary predators.

‘I’ve done a lot of work on wildlife in Africa, and people everywhere are asking some of the same questions, what do we do?’ said Clinton Epps, an assistant professor at OSU who is studying the interactions between humans and wildlife. ‘Most important to understand is that these issues are complex, the issue is not as simple as getting rid of wolves or lions and thinking you’ve solved some problem. We have to be more careful about taking what appears to be the easy solution.’

The elimination of wolves is often favoured by ranchers, for instance, who fear attacks on their livestock. However, that has led to a huge surge in the number of coyotes, a ‘mesopredator’ once kept in check by the wolves. The coyotes attack pronghorn antelope and domestic sheep, and attempts to control them have been hugely expensive, costing hundreds of millions of dollars.

‘The economic impacts of mesopredators should be expected to exceed those of apex predators in any scenario in which mesopredators contribute to the same or to new conflict with humans,’ the researchers wrote in their report. ‘Mesopredators occur at higher densities than apex predators and exhibit greater resiliency to control efforts.’

The problems are not confined to terrestrial ecosystems. Sharks, for instance, are in serious decline due to overfishing. In some places that has led to an explosion in the populations of rays, which in turn caused the collapse of a bay scallop fishery and both ecological an economic losses.

Among the findings of the study:

Primary or apex predators can actually benefit prey populations by suppressing smaller predators, and failure to consider this mechanism has triggered collapses of entire ecosystems.

Cascading negative effects of surging mesopredator populations have been documented for birds, sea turtles, lizards, rodents, marsupials, rabbits, fish, scallops, insects and ungulates.

The economic cost of controlling mesopredators may be very high, and sometimes could be accomplished more effectively at less cost by returning apex predators to the ecosystem.

Human intervention cannot easily replace the role of apex predators, in part because the constant fear of predation alters not only populations but behaviour of mesopredators.

Large predators are usually carnivores, but mesopredators are often omnivores and can cause significant plant and crop damage.

The effects of exploding mesopredator populations can be found in oceans, rivers, forests and grasslands around the world.

Reversing and preventing mesopredator release is becoming increasingly difficult and expensive as the world’s top predators continue to edge toward obliteration.

‘These problems resist simple solutions,’ Ripple said. ‘I’ve read that when Gen. George Armstrong Custer came into the Black Hills in 1874, he noticed a scarcity of coyotes and the abundance of wolves. Now the wolves are gone in many places and coyotes are killing thousands of sheep all over the West.’

‘We are just barely beginning to appreciate the impact of losing our top predators,’ he said.

At OSU, Ripple and colleague Robert Beschta have done extensive research and multiple publications on the effect that loss of predators such as wolves and cougars have on ecosystem disruption, not only by allowing increased numbers of grazing animals such as deer and elk, but also losing the fear of predation that changes the behaviour of these animals. They have documented ecosystem recovery in Yellowstone National Park after wolves were reintroduced there.

photo credited to :×768/f-wolves99-11-s-1024×768.html

Categories posted in: biodiversity,  gray wolf   Tags: endangered species act, gray wolf

Published in: on October 2, 2009 at 1:16 pm  Comments (4)  
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