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

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