Montana FWP Thinks 2009 Wolf Hunt ‘Good Day For Montana’


I was shocked by the headline in the Missoulian, “FWP says 2009 wolf hunt ‘a good day for Montana’, quoting Carolyn Sime, Montana state wolf coordinator.  FWP even released a report on the hunt.  Apparently, the devil is in the details. 

Of course they’re going to be thrilled with themselves, they planned the hunt mere months after gray wolves were delisted. What are they going to say? We did a miserable job and 203 wolves are now dead in Montana between the hunt and wolves killed by Wildlife Services? 

The wolf population in the state, before all the killing started, was approx. 450-500 wolves. Is anyone considering the Montanans that are wholly against the wolf hunts? That we consider this slaughter plain and simple in the name of hunting and ranching. That over FORTY PERCENT of Montana’s wolves are dead and Wildlife Services isn’t done yet?  There are kill orders out on 22 more wolves from five packs, if they haven’t been killed already. No, the Montana hunt and shadow Wildlife Service hunt was not a wonderful success. FIVE HUNDRED NORTHERN ROCKIES WOLVES ARE DEAD.

This statement from the article caught my eye. “Others worried about the potential to wipe out entire packs.” How many packs of wolves has Wildlife Services taken out this year? I can name the Sage Creek Pack, the Big Hole Pack the Centennial pack AND they are gunning for the Mitchell Mountain, Battlefield and Pintler packs. Visit my wolf pack memorial page to see how busy they’ve been. Wildlife Services gunned down twenty seven members of the Hog Heaven Pack last year. TWENTY SEVEN WOLVES. Nine entire packs were wiped out in Montana in 2008 by WS on the orders of FWP. Are people living in dream land concerning what is happening to wolves in Montana and the Northern Rockies in general?? We didn’t need a Montana wolf hunt. WS killed more wolves this year then the hunts. The combination of the two was a double whammy to wolves. This is why State Fish and Game Agencies shouldn’t be managing wolves.

It’s a grim time for Montanans who care about wolves and it’s certainly a disaster for wolves. What in the world is there to celebrate or be happy about concerning wolves?

Posted in: Wildlife Services War on Wildlife, Montana wolf hunt, Wolf Wars, aerial gunning of wolves

Tags: Wildlife Services, Montana wolf hunt, gray wolf/canis lupus, wolves or livestock

Who’s Minding The Wolves?

December 29, 2009

George Wuerthner, as always, makes sense on wolves.  He makes sense on so many things. In this compelling article, from April 09, he examines why Fish and Game Agencies are just not good at managing wolves and other predators. He believes predators are treated differently.  That even though they’re not being exterminated outright they are persecuted and their ecological role minimized. (Although with the recent loss of 500 wolves in the Northern Rockies I’m not so sure they aren’t trying to wipe them out or “manage” them down to such low levels their presence will be minimal)

George says:

“In the past month or so, helicopters with gunners skimmed over the Alaskan tundra and forests shooting wolves to “protect” caribou herds. In Nevada, the state Fish and Game agency wants to kill more mountain lions to increase mule deer numbers. In Idaho, the Idaho Game and Fish wants to kill more than a hundred wolves in the Lolo Pass area to benefit elk. In Maine, the state agency encourages hunters to shoot coyotes to reduce predation on deer.

Without exception, state game and fish agencies do not treat predators like other wildlife. Even though state agencies are no longer engaged in outright extermination of predators, persecution and limited acceptance of the ecological role of predators is still the dominant attitude. State wildlife agencies only tolerate predators as long as they are not permitted to play a meaningful ecological role.”

He points out predator numbers are held in check to provide hunters with increased hunting opportunities. And hunter’s attitudes toward predators haven’t seemed to change much in the last hundred years, even though our understanding of their importance is light years ahead of what it once was. It’s as if time is standing still.

“In general, they seek to hold predator populations at low numbers by providing hunters and trappers with generous “bag” limits and long hunting/trapping seasons. For some predators, like coyotes, there are often no limits on the number of animals that can be killed or trapped. The attitude of many hunters towards predators is not appreciably different than what one heard a hundred years ago, despite a huge leap in our ecological understanding of the role top predators play in the ecosystem.”

Further, he states it’s not in the game managers’s interest to promote healthy populations of predators since they compete directly with hunters for the same prey.  Wildlife agency budgetsdepend on money hunters bring in through licensing fees.  Who’s interests are they going to look out for? I think we all know the answer.

“Beyond the general hostility towards predators that many hunters hold, state wildlife agencies are not the objective, scientific, wildlife managers that they claim to be. Wolves, mountain lions, bears, and other predators are a direct threat to state wildlife budgets because top predators eat the very animals that hunters want to kill. Because state wildlife agencies rely upon license sales to fund their operations, maintaining huntable numbers of elk, deer, moose, and caribou is in the agencies’ self interest.”

George makes the point he’s not anti hunting and in fact is a hunter himself  but believes hunters are not above being criticized, especially for their attitudes and actions toward predators.

He states  predators are not like other games species, they play a major role in healthy ecosystems and have organized and highly developed social structures that state game management agencies are not prepared to deal with.

“Before anyone accuses me of being anti hunter, I want to make it clear that I hunt, and most of my close friends hunt. We value the wildlife success stories created by past and present wildlife agencies actions. And to give credit where credit is due, hunters and anglers have been responsible for many successful wildlife recovery efforts, and through their lobbying efforts, sweat, and money, they have protected a considerable amount of wildlife habitat across the Nation for many wildlife species, not just the ones hunted. Well known early conservationists and wilderness advocates like Theodore Roosevelt, George Bird Grinnell, Charles Sheldon and Olaus Murie were all hunters. But that doesn’t mean hunters are beyond criticism when it comes to wildlife management policies, particularly when it comes to predator policy.”


“With the delisting of wolves by the Secretary of the Interior Salazar, several states are poised to begin managing wolves. Proponents of wolf control suggest that Americans should let state wildlife agencies manage predators “just like other wildlife.”

The problem is that top predators are “just not like other wildlife”.  Indeed, the play a crucial ecological role in maintaining ecosystem stability and integrity.  In addition, predators, more then most other species, have well developed social structures that demand s much more nuanced approach to human/wildlife relationships then most wildlife agencies are prepared to deal with, much less acknowledge.”

When was the last time you heard anyone in state wolf management talk about the importance of wolves as top line predators who contribute to the health of ungulates or trophic cascades?   BUT Montana is participating in a three year trophic cascade study, led by the wolf researcher Cristina Eisenburg.  The study explores the effects of wolf predation on biodiversity and maintaining aspen ecosystems which are critical habitat for beavers, songbirds and other animals.  Interestingly enough, the study will conclude in 2010 and the question Montana is asking is if a moderate wolf presence could effect this change?  In other words, how many wolves can we get away with to trigger trophic cascades? 

Now you know Montana knows wolves have a positive effect on the environment they inhabit, what they do with this information remains to be seen.  Judging from the 2009 death toll of wolves, it doesn’t look promising.


“Much recent research has demonstrated many ecological values to predators. As top-down regulators of ecosystems, predators like wolves, mountain lion, and bears help to reduce herbivore numbers to slow or reduce over-browsing or overgrazing of plant communities. 

Perhaps more importantly, predator shift how prey animals use their habitat. For instance, it is well documented that the presence of wolves in Yellowstone has changed how elk use the landscape, with less browsing on riparian vegetation as one consequence.

But wolf-induced habitat shifts by elk has had other benefits as well. Since the road system in Yellowstone tends to follow the river valleys, movement of elk away from streams to adjacent uplands increases the likelihood that a certain percentage of the animals will die further from a road. This has important consequences for grizzly bears that have been shown to avoid feeding on carcasses located close to roads. Finding even one more elk carcass in the spring in a place that is “safe” for feeding is like winning the lottery for, say, a mother grizzly with several cubs to feed.

Some scientists have even postulated that wolves may ameliorate the effects of climate change on scavenger species by providing carrion throughout the year.

Predators can also limit the effects of disease, like chronic wasting disease found in elk, deer, and moose since infected animals are more vulnerable to predators.

The presence of a large predator has a cascading effect on all other predators as well. For instance, the present of wolves results in fewer coyotes. Since coyotes are among the major predators on pronghorn fawns, presence of wolves, has led to higher pronghorn fawn survival.

And because of the single-minded bias of state wildlife agencies for maintaining large numbers of huntable species, they fail to even ask whether predation might have a positive influence on ecosystem sustainability.

For instance, in certain circumstances, top predators like wolves, bears, and mountain lions will hold prey populations low for an extended period of time, especially if habitat quality is marginal for the herbivores. These “predator sinks” provide the long term “rest” from herbivory pressure that plant communities may require on occasion to reestablish or recover from past herbivory pressure. Almost universally when predators begin to “hold down” prey populations, state agencies want to kill them so the targeted populations of moose, caribou, elk, deer, or whatever it might be can “recover.” That is the justification, for instance, for the proposed slaughter of approximately 100 wolves near Lolo Pass by the Idaho Fish and Game. 

Unfortunately for predators if their numbers are sufficiently high for them to have these ecological effects on other wildlife as well as the plant communities, state wildlife agencies tend to view them as too high for their “management objectives.”

Predators also have complex social interactions which game managers seem to ignore. It’s the wolf is a wolf is a wolf approach. Or to put it another way, if you wipe out a wolf pack another one will take it’s place, so what’s all the fuss about, completely ignoring the importance of pack hierarchy, cohesion and social relationships within the pack. In fact the attitudes of wolf managers seem downright unconcerned with the high death toll. Wolves will just make more wolves they say, when in fact nobody really knows what the effect the  high death rates of 2009 will have on the Northern Rockies wolf population. 

In fact, by reading the wolf reports published by the state, it shows alphas are often targeted when a pack kill order is issued to Wildlife Services.  Could we conclude they know by killing alphas it will assure the entire wolf pack will dissolve?  It’s hard to believe state game managers hold such harsh attitudes toward wolves who’s interests they are charged with. 

The killing of alphas has a profound effect on the pack.  Remember the Yellowstone Cottonwood Pack?  Alpha female 527f, her mate and daughter were all killed in the opening days of the Montana wolf hunt.  527f was shot a mile outside the park boundary, she faced her killer, not suspecting she was about to die. A few Cottonwoods are reported to have survived but for all intents and purposes the pack is gone.


“Wolves, mountain lions, bears, coyotes, and other predators all possess such intricate social relationships. Yet I have never seen a single state wildlife agency even acknowledged these social interactions; much less alter their management in light of this knowledge.

I won’t dwell on it here, but top predators have sophisticated social interactions that state wildlife agencies completely ignore in their management. For the most part, state agencies’ management of predators is based on numbers. If there are enough wolves or mountain lions to maintain a population, and they are not in any danger of extinction, than management is considered to be adequate.

The problem is that top predators have many social interactions that complicate such crude management by the numbers.

Many social animals pass on “cultural” knowledge to their young about where to forage or hunt. Researcher Gordon Haber has found that some wolf packs in Denali National Park have been passing on their prime hunting territory from generation to generation for decades.  Loss of this knowledge and/or territory because too many animals are killed can stress the remaining animals, making them more likely to travel further where they are vulnerable to conflicts with humans.

For instance, predator control can shift the age structure of predator populations to younger animals. Since younger animals are less experienced hunters, they are more likely to attack livestock than older, mature predators. (Young animals are more likely in rare instances, to even attack people. Nearly all mountain lion attacks are by immature animals.)

Furthermore, predator populations that are held at less than capacity by management (i.e. killing them) also tend to breed earlier, and produce more young, increasing the demand for biomass (i.e. food). Both of these factors can indirectly increase conflicts between livestock producers and predators.”

It’s understood predators take the old, the weak, the sick. They don’t prey on the healthiest animals because they’re harder to bring down. When you get kicked in the ribs every time you eat breakfast you don’t look for the strongest animals to eat.

Doug Smith, the famed Yellowstone wolf biologist, noted wolves are classic sorters and sifters. They will often lope through a herd of elk like they don’t have a care in the world but what they are actually doing is looking for weakness. When they find it they suddenly turn deadly and even if the targeted animal tries to hide in the herd, the wolves will always find them. Hunters on the other hand take the best and biggest animals, the ones who’s genes will be sorely missed.


“Despite the self-serving propaganda coming hunting groups that hunters are an adequate “tool” to control herbivore populations, research has demonstrated sufficient differences in the animals selected by predators compared to human hunters. In general, hunters take animals in the prime of life, while predators disproportionally take out the older, younger or less fit individuals. As poet Robinson Jeffers has noted, it is the fang that has created the fleet foot of the antelope.

Human hunting has other long term genetic consequences as well. As was recently reported in PNAS, sustained human hunting has led to universally smaller animals, as well as other suspected genetic impacts that may affect their long-term viability.”

George lists the reasons why wildlife agencies just don’t cut it when “managing predators. It’s not hard to conclude where game management priorities lie.


“Despite the long history of hunter conservationists, when it comes to predators there are two major reasons for the failure of state wildlife agencies to adopt objective and biologically sound predator policies. The first is that most hunters are ecologically illiterate. Though there are some sub-groups within the hunting community who put ecological health of the land first and foremost, the average hunter cares more about “putting a trophy on the wall or meat in the freezer” than whether the land’s ecological integrity is maintained. The focus is on sustaining hunting success, not ultimately on the quality of the hunting experience, much less sustaining ecosystems as the prime objective. Such hunters are the ones using ORVs for hunting, use radio collared dogs to “track” predators, object to road closures that limit hunter access by other than foot, employ more and more sophisticated technology to replace human skill, and not coincidently they tend to be the hunters most likely to be demanding predator control.

On the whole, I have found most state wildlife biologists to be far more ecologically literate than the hunters and anglers they serve. In other words, if left to the biologists, I suspect we would find that agencies would manage wildlife with a greater attention to ecological integrity. 

However, curbing such impulses by wildlife professionals are the politically appointed wildlife commissions. While criteria for appointments vary from state to state, in general, commissioners are selected to represent primarily rural residents, timber companies and agricultural interests—all of whom are generally hostile to predators and/or see it as almost a God-given requirement that humans manage the Earth to “improve” it and fix the lousy job that God did by creating wolves and mountain lions. 

The other reason state agencies tend to be less enthusiastic supporters of predators has to do with funding. State wildlife agencies “dance with the one that brung ya.” Most non-hunters do not realize that state wildlife agencies are largely funded by hunter license fees as well as taxes on hunting equipment, rather than general taxpayer support. This creates a direct conflict of interest for state wildlife agencies when it comes to managing for species that eat the animals hunters want to kill. Agency personnel know that the more deer, elk, and other huntable species that exist, the more tags and licenses they can sell. So what bureaucracy is going to voluntarily give up its funding opportunities for “ecological integrity?”

Adding to this entire funding nightmare for agencies is the decline in hunter participation. There are fewer and fewer hunters these days. Many reasons have been proposed for this—a decrease in access to private lands for hunting, decrease in outdoor activities among young people, and fewer young hunters being recruited into the hunting population, a shift in population from rural to urban areas, and a general shift in social values where hunters are held in less esteem by the general public. Whatever the factors, state wildlife agencies are facing a financial crisis. Their chief funding source—hunter license tags sales are declining, while their costs of operations are increasing.

This creates a huge incentive for state wildlife agencies to limit predators. Most agencies are beyond wanting to exterminate predators, and some even grudgingly admit there is some ecological and aesthetic value in maintaining some populations of predators, but few are willing to promote predators or consider the important ecological value of predators in the ecosystem.

Yet these inherent conflicts of interest are never openly conceded by the agencies themselves or for that matter few others. It is the elephant in the room.”

The bottom line? George asks if we need to manage predators at all? Why are wolves being treated as if they are dangerous criminals?


“With the exception of killing predators in the few instances where human safety is jeopardized as with human habituated animals, or to protect a small population of some endangered species, I find little good scientific support for any predator management. Predator populations will not grow indefinitely. They are ultimately limited by their prey. Leaving predators to self-regulate seems to be the best management option available.

In general, predators will have minimum effects on hunting. Even now in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho, most elk populations are at or above “management objectives.” Climatic conditions and habitat quality typically have a far greater impact on long-term viability of huntable species than predators.

Arguments that people will “starve” if they can’t hunt are bogus. Alternative foods are usually far less expensive and more easily acquired than a moose or elk. Furthermore, in our society where food stamps and other social security nets are available, no one will starve for want of an elk dinner or caribou steak.

In my view, we need to restore not only token populations of wolves to a few wilderness and park sanctuaries, we ought to be striving to restore the ecological role of top predators to as much as of the landscape as reasonably possible. While we may never tolerate or want mountain lions in Boise city limits, grizzly bears strolling downtown Bozeman or wolves roaming the streets of Denver, there is no reason we can’t have far larger and more widely distributed predator populations across the entire West, as well as the rest of the nation. But this will never happen as long as state wildlife agencies see their primary role to satisfy hunter expectations for maximized hunting opportunities for ungulates like deer and elk rather than managing wildlife for the benefit of all citizens and ecosystem integrity.”


Why State Fish and Game Agencies Can’t Manage Predators

 By George Wuerthner, 4-17-09


State Wildlife Management: The Pervasive Influence of Hunters, Hunting, Culture, and Money

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Posted in: biodiversity, wolf recovery, aerial gunning of wolves, Wolf Wars

Tags: gray wolf/canis lupus, wolves in the crossfire, trophic cascades, trophy hunting wolves

Published in: on December 29, 2009 at 1:12 am  Leave a Comment  

Legacy Of A Lost Wolf

An op-ed  in the Washington Post today concentrates on the beleaguered Mexican Gray wolf, who needs help desperately but the writer also mentions Wildlife Services formerly Animal Damage Control, who kills hundreds of thousands of animals each year for agriculture.  They’ve wiped out almost 300 gray wolves in 2009 alone in the Northern Rockies.  They didn’t do this on their own, their kill orders came from IDFG and  Montana FWP  to benefit the livestock industry. 

Between Wildlife Services, the Idaho and Montana hunts, poaching, the SSS crowd (Shoot, Shovel and Shutup, for anyone who hasn’t heard this term)  and general wolf mortality, the death toll in the Northern Rockies has hit 500 wolves out of a beginning population estimated between 1500-1600 wolves.  That’s one-third of the wolf population gone!  Montana has killed 203 wolves from a population of 450-500, that’s almost half Montana’s wolves, wiped out. This is unprecedented and they’re not done yet. 

“In Western states, ranchers run cattle on hundreds of millions of acres of federal lands, supported by subsidies that as of 2005, according to a Government Accountability Office report, cost American taxpayers $123 million annually. Most disturbing to me is the Agriculture Department’s euphemistically titled “Wildlife Services” program, also operated largely for the benefit of ranchers. In 2008, this program exterminated 124,414 carnivores such as bears, wolves, foxes, coyotes, bobcats, raccoons and cougars via cruel methods including leghold traps, aerial shooting and poisoning.”

Please write and speak up about the killing of  wolves for agribusiness.  Whoever you know, if you have connections to the media, etc. any influence you might have to get this story out about wolves being slaughtered in the Northern Rockies, please use it.  If the powers that be don’t feel any push back from the public they won’t have any impetus to change.  Wolves are dying, we can’t let them fade away without fighting for them!!


Legacy of A Lost Wolf

By Betsy KarasikSunday, December 27, 2009


Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Posted in: Wolf Wars, aerial gunning of wolves, Idaho wolf hunt, Montana wolf hunt, Wildlife Services War on Wildlife

Tags: wolf intolerance, wolves in the crossfire,  Wildlife Services

Remember Wolves This Holiday Season

“The gaze of the wolf reaches into our soul.” -Barry Lopez


Update: 1/2/10..I’m back and renewed to fight on for wolves.  2010 will be a better year for them.  It has to be!

UPDATE 12/31… Dear Wolf Supporters and readers of this blog, I will be offline for a few days.  I’m going to spend my New Years looking for wolf sign and wolves. 

Please keep reading, there are many posts on this blog concerning the gray wolves plight. 

Keep them in your thoughts this New Year and hope Judge Molloy will restore their ESA Protections but remember WS is out there gunning for wolves as well.

Have a Happy New Year despite all the bad news.  Thank you for your support and care for wolves!!  Hugs and Howls!!

For the wild ones,



Please keep the 500 hundred dead Northern Rockies gray wolves in your heart this holiday season.  Don’t let wolves slip away without raising your voice in their defense.  Please write or call the contacts I have listed here.

Say a prayer for wolves that they will survive this awful time and next year we will see them rebound with full ESA protection. 

The video speaks to aerial gunning  in Alaska but wolves are suffering the same fate here in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming at the hands of Wildlife Services, with buckshot reigning down on them from the sky, sometimes chased for miles, injured and bleeding, dying horrific cruel deaths. One third of the Northern Rockies gray wolves are now dead from this wolf killing madness.  Will you stand up for wolves?

For all the loyal readers of this blog and those that stopped by.  Thank you for your support and concern for wolves.  I hope we will have a better year in 2010.  God Bless You and God Bless the Wolves.

For the wild ones,


Published in: on December 24, 2009 at 1:20 pm  Comments (28)  
Tags: ,

500 Wolves Wiped Out In The Northern Rockies


December 23, 2009

Well here we are people, the total dead wolf count for the Northern Rockies has hit FIVE HUNDRED WOLVES.  That is what we have come to.  One third of all wolves in the Northern Rockies ARE GONE!!!!!  And they’re not done yet.  There are still 89 wolves left to be killed in the Idaho hunt and who knows how many more wolves will die this winter in “lethal control” actions by Wildlife Services. Montana has given the green light to take out another 22 wolves for livestock depredation.  So that’s another hundred wolves slated to die…89 + 22 = 111 adding to the 500 already dead.

From the Associated Press:

The regional wolf count was 1,650 at the beginning of the year. Since September, hunters in Montana and Idaho have claimed at least 203 of the animals, with Idaho’s hunting season slated to continue through March. Almost 300 more have been killed by government wildlife agents, ranchers, poachers and natural causes.

That figure includes deaths in Wyoming, where hunting remains banned.

Concerning the slaughter of the Basin Butte Wolves in Stanley, Idaho last month…they finally are setting the record straight.

“In Idaho, federal wildlife agents last month shot seven wolves from the Basin Butte pack near Stanley, after its members were blamed for killing 36 sheep and about a dozen cattle since July 2008.

But after the Stanley shooting, wildlife advocates argued the pack was wrongly blamed and complained of heavy-handed tactics — including firing at the predators from a helicopter in full view of town.

“This pack did not kill 36 sheep at Cape Horn in August 2008,” said Lynne Stone, director of Boulder-White Clouds Council, an environmental group based in Ketchum. “But Wildlife Services wanted to blame them, to add to the case to wipe out this pack.”

This is an outrage! Between hunting, IDGF and FWP issuing kill orders to Wildlife Services, the wolf population is being decimated while wolf supporters sit helplessly by.

Please write to the governors of the states of Montana and Idaho.  To the wolf managers in Idaho and Montana.  Write to the newspapers.  Use Facebook, Twitter, whatever you have to do to get the word out.

The fallen 500 hundred wolves are not coming back. When will this slaughter end? Remember the twenty seven member Hog Heaven Pack killed in 2008 for livestock depredation, the one size fits all reason for killing wolves? 

Is there ever any mention of what measures ranchers have taken to protect their investments?  Or who’s cattle have been killed? Or that wolves are tracked relentlessly by their collars.  Or that ranchers lose most of their cattle to disease, weather and calving?   How many more wolves will die for cattle and sheep?   

Don’t forget that wolves are dying out there this holiday season.  Please speak out and stand up for them, they have no voice!!


Wolf death tally passes 500

By MATTHEW BROWN – and JOHN MILLER – Associated Press writers | Posted: Wednesday, December 23, 2009 12:00 am


Montana Wolf Managers…click here

Idaho Fish and Game…click here

Wildlife Services……Jim Lukens 1-208=756-2271


Department of the Interior: Secretary Ken Salazar

Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, N.W.
Washington DC 20240


Write or Call Montana Governor Brian D. Schweitzer:

Office of the Governor
Montana State Capitol Bldg.
P.O. Box 200801
Helena MT 59620-0801
(406) 444-3111, FAX (406) 444-5529

Send comments:


Write or call Idaho Governor Butch Otter:




Write the Idaho tourism office:


Write the Potato Commission:


Write or call Idaho Fish and Game:

Headquarters Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 25
Boise, ID 83707

Headquarters Street / Walk-in Address:

600 S. Walnut
Boise, ID 83712

Telephone: (208) 334-3700
Fax: (208) 334-2148 / (208) 334-2114


Write or call the Idaho Fish and Game Commissioners: 


Idaho Newspapers:

Post-Register, Idaho Falls

e-mail to


Idaho State Journal – Pocatello and SE Idaho

305 S. Arthur, Pocatello ID  83204

Press Release E-mail:
Letters to the Editor E-mail: 


The Times-News

Box 548, Twin Falls ID  83303

Phone: 733-0931


Idaho Statesman

1200 N. Curtis Road Boise, Idaho 83706
P.O. Box 40, Boise, ID 83707

News (main office)  (208) 377-6449 FAX 208/377-6449



Billings Gazette

Phone: (406) 657-1200

Toll Free: 1-800-543-2505

Postal Mail: P.O. Box 36300,

Billings, MT 59107-6300



(406) 587-4491

2820 W College St

Bozeman, MT


The Daily InterLake

727 East Idaho, PO 7610-59904,

Kalispell MT, 59901





PO Box 8029
Missoula, MT 59807
Phone: (406) 523-5240
Toll free: 1-800-366-7186
Fax: (406) 523-5294


Bozeman Daily Chronicle
Phone: (406) 523-5240
Toll free: 1-800-366-7186
Fax: (406) 523-5294


Independant Record

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 4249
Helena, MT 59604



Photos: Courtesy James Balog

Posted in: aerial gunning of wolves, wildlife services war on wildlife, wolf wars

Tags: aerial gunning of wolves, wolves or livestock, wolves in the crossfire

Killing Wolves For Fun and The War Against Wolves

December 18, 2009

Wolves have been accused of it but the predator with the reputation for killing for sport isn’t the wolf, it’s man.

I’ve often asked myself why people trophy hunt, this is especially relevant now since wolves are firmly in the cross-hairs, with the ongoing wolf hunts in Montana and Idaho. 

Wolves aren’t being hunted for food.  Hunters make a personal decision to go out and kill a wolf just because it’s there.

Over 25,000 wolf tags have been sold in the two states to kill 295 wolves. A little over kill, don’t ya think?  Add to that the hatred some people feel for wolves, it makes for an even scarier and mean spirited climate for wolves.

Even before the wolf hunts began the air was charged with anti-wolf bias. The governors of Montana and Idaho inserted themselves into the negative wolf rhetoric.  Governor Brian Schweitzer of Montana made a questionable statement about federal Judge Molloy, who is presiding over a lawsuit brought by environmental groups to reverse the wolf delisting.  The plaintiffs were asking for an injunction, to stop the wolf hunts, while the merits of the case were being decided.  Governor Schweitzer stated:  ”If some old judge says we can’t (hunt wolves), we’ll take it back to another judge.”  That was a totally indefensible remark for the Gov of a state to make. especially since it was couched as a threat.  Gov Otter of Idaho went one better.  Back in 2007, before wolves were even delisted, he stated, in front of a rally of hunters, many wearing camouflage, he was prepared to manage the wolf population down to just 100 animals. He went even further stating “. “I’m prepared to bid for that first ticket to shoot a wolf myself.”

The “management” or killing of wolves is sanctioned by the states of Montana and Idaho but exactly who is this benefiting?  Certainly not the ninety percent of the non-hunting public.   Wolves and other predators are being “managed” for the benefit of a few interest groups, mainly elk hunters, ranchers and outfitters.  The rest of us, who want to view wildlife in their natural state, which means “not dead”, don’t seem to count.  Our wildlife is being slaughtered for the benefit of a few. That is inherently wrong but it continues because hunting and ranching interests have powerful lobbies that seek to influence policy. That’s the way business has been conducted and unless and until the politics of the usual are replaced with the politics of change, our predators will continue to suffer.

The states of Montana and Idaho and many others have made the decision which wildlife they consider important and which are disposable.  There is no need to manage predators yet we spend millions of tax payers dollars tracking, collaring and killing  predators and other wildlife by cruel means, IE. poisoning (1080 compound, M44s)denning and trapping.)  All this is for agriculture and hunting interests. The rest of us be damned.

The states aren’t comfortable with predators controlling ungulate populations because they cater to hunting and ranching lobbies, who bring millions of dollars into state coffers.   When predators,  like the wolf,  increase in number, the call rings out for them to be “managed”.   “In 2008, wolves are known to have killed fewer than 200 cattle and sheep in Montana, and 100 wolves were hunted down in response.”  How can you even defend that kind of senseless slaughter? Yet the states of Montana and Idaho trumpet their wild life management practices are backed by “science”.  I would like to see the science that condones 100 wolves losing their lives for the death of 200 livestock?

In January 2008, before the current wolf delisting took place, FWP issued revised rules concerning the “management” of gray wolves, who had been reintroduced to Central Idaho and Greater Yellowstone in 1995, 1996.  The new rules state the feds and tribes can kill more wolves if they become a “threat” to game animals and private property.  So once again FWP is “managing” for the benefit of the few ignoring the wants of the many.

Have you ever visited Yellowstone National Park and watched the Druid Peak Pack?  Every year, people flock to the park to catch a glimpse of the super star wolves, yet Montana FWP decided to open the wolf hunt right outside park boundaries.  This bad decision resulted in the decimation of the famous, Cottonwood pack, specifically alpha female 527f, her mate the alpha male and their daughter.

Enter trophy hunting of wolves into this explosive, negative environment.  I won’t call trophy hunting a sport.  It’s an unfair game where the hunted aren’t acquainted with the rules. although most hunting falls under that category. The only way it could be considered fair is if you put the “hunters” in the woods without their high powered rifles or bows and have them run up against a wolf or bear with their bare hands, you know, Mano y Mano. How many “brave” hunters would be out there killing wolves for fun in that scenario?  I say the number would be ZERO.

Killing for sport is a cowardly exercise that features an uneven playing field between hunters and the hunted, just for the cheap thrill and rush of testosterone (yes most hunters are men).  How skillful and brave do you have to be to kill an animal, hundreds of yards away, that has no fighting chance against your high powered rifle?  Trophy hunting gives all hunting a bad name.

Even though I’m not a hunter and would never want to kill an animal, there are people who hunt for food.  When you examine this a little closer you realize hunting is expensive, so it’s not usually a poverty-stricken person, trying to put meat on the table that’s “hunting for food.”   You have to have money to hunt. There are tags to buy, high cost rifles and ammunition, hunting equipment, etc., it all adds up to big bucks, pun intended.  People who choose to hunt elk, deer or moose, do so at great expense!  The main reason given for sustenance hunting does not really stand up when you examine it closely.  I believe people hunt, not because they want to fill their freezers but because they enjoy the thrill of the chase, enjoy the outdoor experience, getting away from it all and derive some pleasure from the actual kill itself.  But, if hunters at least eat what they kill, then the animal didn’t die in vain.  I will never, ever condone hunting for myself but I won’t malign all hunters.

On the other hand, killing for fun cannot be defended, IE. trophy hunting or sport hunting.  It’s blood-lust, pure and simple.  Wolves should not be subjected to this in the 21st Century.  We’ve already exterminated them in the West once, are we aiming for round two?


Why State Fish and Game Agencies Can’t Manage Predators

By George Wuerthner, 4-17-09

Photo: kewlwallpapersdotcom
Categories posted in: Wolf wars, wolves under fire
Tags: killing wolves for fun, wolves in the crossfire, Wildlife Services, Obama administration de-listing

Stop Killing Wolves For The Livestock Industry


 “Throughout the centuries we have projected on to the wolf the qualities we most despise and fear in ourselves.”~ Barry Lopez

Entire Nine-Member White Hawk Wolf Pack Killed in Central Idaho by Government Gunners

April 2002

“By sometime this weekend (and it may have happened already) the entire White Hawk wolf pack of central Idaho’s Boulder-White Cloud Mountains will be dead.

Ten wolves including the pregnant alpha female who is the famous white wolf of the Sawtooth Valley will be gunned down from a government helicopter.”


Feds OK killing of wolf pack

The Associated Press – 03/06/04 | Posted: Friday, March 5, 2004

“CHEYENNE, Wyo. – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is asking a federal judge in Cheyenne to uphold the agency’s decision to remove federal protections for the gray wolf in Idaho and Montana while leaving them in place in Wyoming.”


19 wolves killed in 3 days

Updated: 2:23 pm, Mon Jul 13, 2009.

The remainder of the Hog Heaven wolf pack – 19 animals – was killed this week after repeated livestock depredations west and southwest of Kalispell.


9 wolves to be killed in Big Hole Valley

Associated Press | Posted: Tuesday, November 24, 2009 9:10 am

“DILLON — State wildlife officials have ordered nine wolves to be killed after repeated attacks on cattle in the Big Hole Valley.

The state Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks gave a trapper with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services permission to kill the remaining four members of the Battlefield Pack and five wolves from the 15-member Miner Lakes Pack.”


Basin Butte pack killing raises same old wolf controversies

Submitted by Rocky Barker on Thu, 12/03/2009 – 10:34am.

“The helicopter gunning of seven members of the Basin Butte Pack near Stanley by federal agents even as hunters were in the field has angered wolf advocates and highlights again the polarized nature of this issue.

You might remember the Basin Butte pack as the one that delighted wolf watchers for several years as it hung around Stanley and offered the kind of opportunity to see wolves in the wild unlike anywhere but Yellowstone National Park.+


Mitchell Mountain wolf pack north of Helena to be killed

December 8, 2009

“A wolf pack that lives north of Helena will be killed by state officials, once it was determined that the removal was necessary after the pack killed several domestic animals.”


Just change the day and year on each of the above press releases and it’s the same old story.  Wolves killed for the livestock industry. By highlighting each wolf kill as though wolves are on some massive killing spree, it skews the picture and keeps wolf recovery hopelessly intertwined with cows.  Wolves kill very few of the 100 million cattle that graze our public and private lands but you wouldn’t know it by these headlines.  In fact the number one predator killing cattle is the coyote and even they are only responsible for a tiny percentage of all cattle death.  Most cattle losses are due to weather, reproduction and disease but those statistics are not sensational.  They don’t grab headlines or garner sympathy for ranching.

On top of the killing by Wildlife Services, wolves are being hunted in Idaho and previously Montana, until that hunt ended in November, when a quota of 75 wolves had been reached (72 killed by hunters and 3 poached).  The Idaho hunt death toll stands at 128 wolves with 92 remaining to be wiped out.

Yet Wildlife Services continues to slaughter wolves and other predators for agriculture.  They are erasing a national treasure the majority of Americans consider to be icons of the West but the wildlife viewing public has zero input on the elimination of wolves for the livestock industry.

The two videos below describe aerial gunning in Alaska but it might as well be Idaho, Montana or Wyoming because Wildlife Services does the same thing here in the Northern Rockies.  This is the ugly face of aerial gunning of wolves.

We have to speak up!!  There is a ban on aerial gunning.  Congress passed the Federal Airborne Hunting Act of 1972, prohibiting hunters from shooting animals from a helicopter or plane BUT there’s  a loophole in the law.  It allows aerial gunning 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.”

Since 2003 Alaska has issued aerial wolf gunning permits in areas where they want to ramp up moose and caribou populations by killing the predators.

Wildlife Services uses aerial gunningto sanitize the landscape of wolves, other predators and wildlife, in the name of agriculture, by taking advantage of the aerial gunning ban loophole.

This has to stop!!  Please visit WildEarth Guardians website and sign the petition, demanding Wildlife Services stop poisoning, aerial gunning and destroying our wolves and other predators on public land.  Almost five million animals were killed last year by this agency.

Also support the PAWS ACT, HR 3663, which wouldBan Inhumane and Unsporting Aerial Gunning of Wolves.  The bill is stalled in the House of Representatives. Please call your congressman and ask them to support this bill.

The only way this will change is if the American people say no.  We don’t want wolves, cougars, foxes, coyotes, badgers, raccoons, skunks, bears, etc… slaughtered every year.  We don’t want cattle on our public lands. This is the main roadblock to wolf recovery. 

Below is the death toll for 2008 of wolves killed in Montana, for livestock depredation and a partial list for 2009. This doesn’t include Idaho or Wyoming.

Hewolf Pack 2008

Hog Heaven Pack (27 members) 2008

Willow Creek Pack 2008

Sapphire Pack 2008

Moccasin Lake Pack 2008

North Gravelly Pack 2008

Freezeout Pack 2008

Skalkaho Pack 2008

Black Canyon Pack 2008

Mussigbrod Pack 2008

Moccasin Lake Pack 2008

Partial Pack Removals 2008

Elevation Mountain Pack..4 wolves killed WS 2008

Monitor Mountain Pack….3 wolves killed WS 2008

Murphy Lake Pack..alpha fe, 2 other members killed WS 2008

Salish Pack…3 wolves killed WS 2008

Superior Pack…1 wolf killed WS 2008

Tallulah Pack….2 wolves killed WS 2008

Mitchell Mountain Pack…alpha fe killed WS 2008

Baker Mountain Pack….2 wolves killed 2008

Cougar Creek II Pack….1 wolf killed 2008

Horn Mountain Pack….3 wolves killed WS 2008

Battlefield Pack…2 wolves killed WS 2008

Brooks Creek Pack….4 wolves killed WS 2008

Flint Creek Pack….2 wolves killed by WS 2008

Pintler Pack….2 wolves killed by WS 2008


Sage Creek/Centennial Valley Pack 2009

Big Hole Pack 2009

Mitchell Mountain Pack (kill order out)

“Throw me to the wolves because there’s order in the pack.”
~ Red Hot Chili Peppers, Easily


The states should start thinking about what they are doing to wolves.  There are other voices to be heard that don’t view wolves as pests to be eliminated.  Wildlife watchers want to view wolves living and breathing, not read about them being killed for agriculture.  Wasn’t that the point of reintroduction?

Will all the hard work of the last fourteen years be wiped out by the current “management” of the gray wolf?

Montana Wolf Managers…click here

Idaho Fish and Game…click here

Wildlife Services……Jim Lukens 1-208=756-2271

Posted in: aerial gunning of wolves, howling for justice, Wildlife Services War on Wildlife

Tags: Wildlife Services, aerial gunning of wolves, wolf intolerance

Yellowstone Wolves Declining

Bad news from Yellowstone National Park.  Gray wolves are declining.  Mange, parvovirus and or canine distemper were partly responsible but the misguided Montana hunt did it’s part to reduce their numbers. If you remember Montana opened it’s hunt in the backcountry, right outside the borders of Yellowstone.  The famed Cottonwood pack was decimated, specifically alpha female 527F, her mate and daughter.  It was like shooting fish in a barrel since those wolves certainly were not expecting to be shot. They had lived their whole lives unmolested in the park and routinely crossed over Yellowstone boundaries, since they can’t read signs. 

“While parvovirus and mange continue to reduce the population, part of this year’s decline can be traced to the fact that wolves lost protection in the Northern Rockies under the Endangered Species Act in 2008. Wolves, like all wildlife, are protected inside the park, but when they roam beyond the borders, they fall into the state’s wildlife management practices. Idaho and Montana, which border Yellowstone, permitted hunting of wolves this fall. Idaho recently extended its hunt until March.”

Anti wolf detractors constantly talk about wolves reproducing themselves each year to make up for the fallen. Wolves on the contrary are not like coyotes, they don’t tolerate rapid change well, especially when there are wolf hunts, Wildlife Services War on Wolves, mange, parvovirus and wolf territorial disputes all coming together at once, it seems wolves are mortal after all. 

“The wolves have it hard enough inside the park,” says Rolf Peterson, a wildlife biologist at Michigan Technological University. “The Yellowstone wolves should be treated like national treasures and protected.”

Wolf watchers are lamenting the decline of wolves in North Yellowstone.  The beloved Druids, now number only ten members AND are battling mange, which was introduced by the state of Montana in 1905 to eradicate the wolf population Hard to believe but it’s true.  Mange in humans is called scabies. 

So the once robust wolf population in Yellowstone is down to 116 wolves from the high of 174 wolves in 2003. 

“The gray wolf population is declining, says Doug Smith, the coordinator of the reintroduction efforts and leader of the Yellowstone Wolf Project that studies and manages the wolves. Wolves are killing each other at a higher frequency to compete for elk, their primary food source, which is less abundant now, he says.

“The good times are over,” Smith says. His annual census of the park’s wolf population is expected to be the lowest in 10 years, he said. Smith is still gathering data but says the number of gray wolves in the park will be 116, a 33% drop from 2003, when the population was at an all-time high of 174.”

Living on an island like Yellowstone has it’s consequences for wolves.  With the introduction of hunts, wolves dare not venture outside the park, which makes the chance of dispersal and genetic exchange even more difficult.

Being a wolf in Yellowstone and throughout the Northern Rockies in general,  is as hard as it’s ever been since their reintroduction.  Stopping the wolf hunts and the assault by Wildlife Services will go a long way to help them recover.  I’m hoping Judge Molloy agrees.


Gray wolf population declining in Yellowstone

Updated December 15, 2009


Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Posted in: Yellowstone wolves, biodiversity, wolf recovery

Tags: Yellowstone wolves, Montana wolf hunt, wolf recovery, Wildlife Services


Wolves Being Hammered On Two Fronts

It’s not a good time to be a gray wolf in the Northern Rockies.  They are being hunted for the first time since their reintroduction in 1995 AND 21 entire wolf packs were wiped out in 2008 by Wildlife Services, the federal agency that killed almost five million animals and birds in 08, for agriculture.

Mere months after the Obama Administration’s Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, delisted wolves in the Northern Rockies, Idaho and Montana initiated wolf hunts. Now wolves are running for their lives from hunters AND Wildlife Services, in the escalating War On Wolves.

As a rancher, landowner, and member of the Cattlemen’s Association, Salazar comes from the old school generation, which believes prairie dogs are nothing but worthless pests and wolves are only seen as vicious animals that prey on cows and sheep. We need an Interior Secretary, who can make wildlife management decisions based on science, not politics, or personal bias.”

Montana and Idaho’s rush to hold wolf hunts so soon after wolves were delisted, speaks volumes about wolf politics in the West.  Compare Minnesota, who has 3000 wolves and a much smaller land mass then Montana, Idaho and Wyoming. Yet game managers in the “North Star State” have said if or when the wolf was ever delisted in Minnesota, they would wait FIVE YEARS, with lots of public comment, before even considering a wolf hunt or whether to have one at all.  That is sound management, reasonable management.  The western states could learn something from Minnesota about living with wolves.

Montana’s hunt ended on November 17.   Seventy two wolves fell to hunter’s bullets and three more were poached in the North Fork of the Flathead.  But wolves are still in trouble in Montana.  Wildlife Services has been give the green light from Montana FWP to take out the Mitchell Mountain wolf pack, who’s territory encompasses the Sieben Ranch, north of Helena.  The ranch is owned and run by John Baucus, brother to Senator Baucus.  This is a huge ranch, approx 125,000 acres bought by Henry Sieben, in 1897.  The Mitchell Mountain wolf pack killed guard dogs on the Sieben ranch, which is part of the pack’s territory.  It’s well known dispersing wolves, at this time of year, can be aggressive toward dogs, who they consider competition.  For that an entire wolf pack must die???

Recent letter writing campaigns, initiated by Defenders of Wildlife, NRDC and other environmental groups, have appealed to  President Obama and Ken Salazar to call of the guns, yet the message seems to have fallen on deaf ears. 

Wildearth Guardians filed a petition to ask President Obama to issue an executive order ending the poisoning and aerial gunning of our carnivores on public lands.

WildEarth Guardians asked President Barack Obama to issue an Executive Order and/or that the Departments of Interior and Agriculture develop an administrative-rulemaking process to implement a new management paradigm for native carnivores on the Nation’s public lands.

The petition highlights the science documenting the critical role that carnivores play in ecosystems and also asserts that lethal control methods reflect an outdated value system that inappropriately elevates livestock production above wildlife.”

Wolves are being hammered on two fronts in Idaho and Montana.  Hunters killed 122 wolves in Idaho, with 98 more slated to die in the hunt.  Idaho Fish and Game commissioners, extended the wolf hunt, FOR THE ENTIRE STATE, minus the three closed zones,  through wolf breeding and denning season.  A SEVEN MONTH LONG HUNT, ending March 31, 2010.   

Meanwhile Wildlife Services continues their deadly toll on wolves in the Northern Rockies.  In 2008, TWO HUNDRED AND SIXTY FOUR WOLVES were killed by WS for the livestock industry.   8 packs in Idaho, 9 packs in Montana and 4 packs in Wyoming, all dead in ONE YEAR.  Why the carnage?  Ask ranchers how many cattle they lose to reproduction, disease and weather?  Heck, 75,000 cattle die each year across the West from ALTITUDE DISEASE.  Are wolves responsible for that too? 

It’s not wolves killing all the cattle.  In 2005 carnivores were responsible for just 0.18% of cattle deaths but that fact doesn’t seem to matter.  The states monitor wolves like they are dangerous criminals.  Data is constantly collected from private citizens or hunters about wolf sightings. Ranchers report suspected wolf kills on livestock, WS tracks wolves with flyovers, trapping and collaring and even track and howl surveys.  The states spend thousands upon thousands of dollars harassing a species that just want to roam and be wolves.  When are we EVER going to talk about what’s best for wolves or the people that care about them and want to view them in the wild?  When??

How many ranchers leave their cattle and sheep to graze on public lands and don’t monitor them? Why aren’t wolves given any quarter on the land they’ve roamed for thousands of years?  This is THEIR HOME…not cattle, who are being raised for food. These are not beloved family pets but animals slated to die a cruel death in a slaughterhouse and end up on someone’s dinner plate as hamburger.  This is the very reason I don’t eat meat.  The easiest way to become a vegetarian is to watch an undercover slaugtherhouse video.  I can tell you it’s much more graphic and disturbing then wolf predation. 

The first rule of business is protect your investment.  It’s the rancher’s responsibility to watch over their livestock in wolf country, not the American taxpayer, who picks up the tab for Wildlife Services war on wolves and other wildlife.

The lawsuit, brought by environmental groups to restore gray wolf protections, is making it’s way through federal court in Missoula, Montana and scheduled to be heard sometime after the first of the year.  It can’t come soon enough for me.  Judge Molloy stated the plaintiffs will likely prevail on the overall litigation,  even though he denied the injunction to stop the hunts.

In the meantime, wolves are dodging  hunters bullets in Idaho while the ever present threat of Wildlife Services hangs over them.  How did things get so bad so quickly?  Can anyone even imagine how much worse it could get if we don’t speak out and stand up for wolves?

Contact the wolf managers and let them know you’re not happy with current wolf policy and would like to see a new paradigm where wolves are valued for their contribution as apex predators, not viewed as a nuisance to be managed for the livestock industry!

Montana Wolf Managers…click here

Idaho Fish and Gameclick here

Wildlife Services……Jim Lukens 1-208=756-2271

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Posted in: howling for justice,  Idaho wolf hunt, Wildlife Services War on Wildlife, wolf wars

Tags: aerial gunning of wolves, wolves or livestock, wolf extermination, wolf myths


Wolf Pack Memorial Page

Please note the Wolf Memorial Page on the top right under pages. Click here  

Updated 12/27  (I’m continually updating this list, it’s slow going and sad work BUT these wolves must be remembered!!

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