As you read in my previous posts, both Montana and Idaho are petitioning the Department of the Interior Secretary, Ken Salazar, to allow them to conduct wolf hunts, THIS YEAR. 

Less than two months ago wolves won a major victory in court when Judge Molloy returned their ESA protections. Now Montana and Idaho are trying to circumvent the ESA by having “conservation hunts” or hunts for “prey declines”. We cannot allow this to happen. Please speak out for wolves:


What part of NO don’t they understand? Wolves are a protected species. These people will stop at nothing to kill wolves.

Please call Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, President Obama and the USFWS Director. Tell everyone you know to call!!

President Obama: 202-456-1414

Ken Salazar, Head of the Interior: 202-208-3181

USFWS Director: 202-208-4717

Tell them no wolf hunts in Idaho or Montana! Gray wolves are protected under the ESA, this is egregious!

Let them know the American people support wolves and don’t want then slaughtered for the hunting and ranching lobbies.

For the wolves, For the wild ones,



Otter’s latest wolf letter to feds asks for hunting, less cost to sportsmen

Published in: on September 30, 2010 at 1:20 pm  Comments (45)  

They Want Their Wolf Hunts And They Want Them Now!!

Just like two-year olds, who don’t know the meaning of the word no, Montana and Idaho have petitioned the feds to HUNT  endangered wolves, which they say is allowed under the ESA. Fat chance. Oh yes, the ESA has a little clause somewhere that allows fish and game agencies to hunt endangered animals. I wonder how long their attorneys dug around looking for that little gem? Who are they kidding?

Montana wants to slaughter 186 out of 500 wolves and Idaho wants to kill 50 wolves who “are eating all their elk”. Are these people nuts? Seriously, I’m starting to wonder what the heck is going on at the fish and game agencies.

Judge Molloy JUST relisted gray wolves in the Northern Rockies on August 5, 2010 and barely two months later Montana and Idaho want to go forward with their hunting plans. I guess the lawsuit was just a joke. Of course we can hunt animals protected under the ESA, didn’t you read the fine print?

What the heck is a conservation hunt anyway? Who are they conserving? It’s certainly not wolves. It’s the “Hunt Wolves to Save Wolves” mentality over there at Montana for Hunting and Cattle. Seriously, if the USFWS even thinks of approving this abomination, I can’t imagine there won’t be a lawsuit almost immediately. What did we win this victory for, so the states could just go ahead and start killing wolves anyway? And don’t forget Wildlife Services are busy little bees killing wolves for agribusiness. 

Is anyone as fed up with these continual wolf killing schemes as I am?

The irony is a study just came out stating the planned hunts, that Montana now wants to go forward with, are actually damaging to the wolf population in the Northern Rockies. What a shock. Did anyone doubt that 500 wolves dying in the Northern Rockies last year was devastating to wolves?

Scientists: Wolf Hunts More Deadly Than Previously Thought

by Virginia Morell on 29 September 2010, 8:00 PM

“A policy to sustainably manage gray wolves via recreational hunting appears to rely on faulty ecological science, says a new paper published today in PLoS ONE. The paper challenges a long-held assumption that gray wolf populations won’t be decimated by hunting and predator-control programs. It has been believed up till now that such efforts can remove as many as 28% to 50% of the animals in a population without causing long-term harm to their numbers.”

Further they state:

“It’s unprecedented for a species to move directly from the endangered species list to a harvest of this magnitude,” Creel says. “And, when combined with the predator-control programs, the data suggest the effect will be larger than previously thought.” Northern Rocky Mountains wolf packs may be more susceptible to being harmed by hunting because they are generally small, with few adult members. It’s thus more likely that any wolf killed in a hunt will be a breeding adult. When a pack loses its breeding adults, it is apt to fall apart.”

Finally, a study to prove what I said back in July, you can’t slaughter 186 wolves in a Montana hunt and have WS come along and kill another 145 wolves, as they did last year and have a thriving healthy wolf population. Now there is finally scientific proof. But I’m sure the state game agencies will ignore it and forge ahead.

I have to tell you I went to one of Montana for Hunting and Ranching meetings, on wolf quotas, before wolves were relisted and they were thrilled about having another wolf hunt. Thats all they talked about.  They were asking people in the audience, “Who killed a wolf last year?” And blah, blah, blah interest is up from out-of-state hunters who want to come to Montana to kill wolves. 

Someone in the audience asked, why are you killing wolves, since they account for just one percent or less of livestock losses and there are 150,00 elk in Montana? Whoever was leading the meeting (I have no idea what his name was) said,  “BECAUSE WE CAN“. That’s it people, BECAUSE WE CAN. It’s not about cows, it’s not about elk. It’s about “BECAUSE WE CAN“. Well someone told them on August 5th, 2010, NO YOU CAN’T!!

I guess they didn’t read Judge Molloy’s ruling! Lord, when will this madness ever end?

At least one positive has come out of this. Montana and Idaho have shown their true colors. They just want to kill wolves and they will do anything to please their hunting and ranching lobbies. Montana will try to push a ridiculous “conservation hunt” past the ESA and Idaho is not even listening to their own study that said wolves are not responsible for prey declines. like they’ve been accused of. Get this, the study actually said human hunters are contributing to prey declines in Idaho. OMG, stop the presses, I would never have guessed.

From the Times News,

“……the report showed that hunters were the biggest cause of elk kills in two other areas with declining populations: the Pioneer zone east of Ketchum, and Island Park near Rexburg. In the Island Park zone, hunters killed 17 percent of collared elk while wolves killed none.”

But of course Idaho continues to complain about the Lolo and use that excuse to kill wolves. They’re going to keep wolf numbers low there for the next five years to “save the elk” Elk have been in decline in the Lolo for decades, long before wolves ever showed up and they know it.

“……deteriorating habitat in the Lolo zone has contributed to declining elk numbers since at least 1988, before wolves entered the picture. The population dropped by 40 percent during the severe winter of 1996-97 alone. Bears and cougars also kill many elk. Just across the border, Montana biologists are starting a similar collaring study in Ravalli County, where one factor of elk decline may be high human population growth.

I think they also forgot the ‘prey decline” issue is being litigated in front of Judge Molloy. Environmentalists want “prey declines”stricken from the 10j rule, which was added in 2008 as a way to kill more wolves and tighten the feds control over them.  Prior to that they could only kill wolves for depredations.  But facts are pesky things. They get in the way of agendas.


Montana, Idaho send wolf hunting plans to feds

By MATTHEW BROWN, Associated Press Writer Matthew Brown, Associated Press Writer Mon Sep 27, 5:41 pm ET

BILLINGS, Mont. – Montana officials are seeking federal approval to kill 186 endangered gray wolves in a special “conservation hunt,” while neighboring Idaho wants permission to kill up to 50 of the predators that officials say are eating too many elk.

Documents released Monday detailed the states’ new plans to kill wolves despite a court ruling that restored their endangered species status.

Wildlife managers say the Aug. 5 ruling from U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy did not account for the growing impact of wolves on livestock and big game herds across the Northern Rockies.

In separate applications filed over the last two weeks with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Idaho and Montana said their plans to kill wolves were permissible under the Endangered Species Act.


MSU study: Hunt would cut Montana wolf population in half

Thursday, September 30, 2010 5:45 am

Posted in: Wolf Wars

Tags: circumventing the ESA, conservation hunts a joke, prey declines being litigated, stop killing wolves, USFWS

The Big Bad Wolf Makes Good:The Yellowstone Success Story and Those Who Want to Kill It

This amazing piece was written by Chip Ward and is a must read!! It was reprinted on


The Big Bad Wolf Makes Good: The Yellowstone Success Story and Those Who Want to Kill It

Tuesday 28 September 2010

by: Chip Ward  |  TomDispatch | Op-Ed

At long last, good news. Fifteen years have passed since wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park and the results are in. The controversial experiment has been a stellar success. The Big Bad Wolf is back and in this modern version of the old story, all that huffing and puffing has been good for the land and the creatures that live on it. Biggie, it turns out, got a bum rap.

The success of the Yellowstone project is the kind of good news we long for in this era of oil spills, monster storms, massive flooding, crushing heat waves, and bleaching corals. For once, a branch of our federal government, the Department of the Interior, saw something broken and actually fixed it. In a nutshell: conservation biologists considered a perplexing problem — the slow but steady unraveling of the Yellowstone ecosystem — figured out what was causing it, and then proposed a bold solution that worked even better than expected.

Sadly, the good news has been muted by subsequent political strife over wolf reintroduction outside of Yellowstone. Along the northern front of the Rocky Mountains in Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Utah, and Colorado, as well as New Mexico and Arizona, so-called wolf wars have added fuel to a decades-old battle over the right to graze cattle or hunt on public land. The shouting has overwhelmed both science and civil discourse. This makes it all the harder to convey the lessons learned to an American public that is mostly ecologically illiterate and never really understood why wolves were put back into Yellowstone in the first place. Even the legion of small donors who supported the project mostly missed the reasons it was undertaken, focusing instead on the “charismatic” qualities of wolves and the chance to see them in the wild.

No Wolves, No Water

Here’s the piece we still don’t get: when we exterminated wolves from Yellowstone in the early 1900s, killing every last one, we de-watered the land. That’s right — no wolves eventually meant fewer streams, creeks, marshes, and springs across western landscapes like Yellowstone where wolves had once thrived.

The chain of effects went roughly like this: no wolves meant that many more elk crowded onto inviting river and stream banks where the grass is green and the livin’ easy. A growing population of fat elk, in no danger of being turned into prey, gnawed down willow and aspen seedlings before they could mature. Willows are both food and building material for beavers. As the willows declined, so did beaver populations. When beavers build dams and ponds, they create wetland habitats for countless bugs, amphibians, fish, birds, and plants, as well as slowing the flow of water and distributing it over broad areas. The consequences of their decline rippled across the land.

Meanwhile, as the land dried up, Yellowstone’s overgrazed riverbanks eroded. Life-giving river water receded, leaving those banks barren. Spawning beds for fish were silted over. Amphibians lost precious shade where they could have sheltered and hidden. Yellowstone’s web of life was fraying and becoming threadbare.

The unexpected relationship between absent wolves and absent water is just one example of how big, scary predators like grizzlies and mountain lions, often called “charismatic carnivores,” regulate their ecosystems from the top down. The results are especially relevant in an era of historic droughts and global warming, both of which are stressing already arid Western lands. Wolf reintroduction wasn’t a scheme designed to undermine vacationing elk hunters or harass ranchers who graze their cattle on public lands. It wasn’t done to please some cabal of elitist, urban environmentalists eager to show rural rednecks who’s the boss, though out here in the West that interpretation’s held sway at many public meetings called to discuss wolf reintroduction.

Let’s be clear then: the decision to put wolves back in Yellowstone was a bold experiment backed by the best conservation science available to restore a cherished American ecosystem that was coming apart at the seams.

The Biggest Losers

Today, wolves are thriving in Yellowstone. The 66 wolves trapped in Canada and released in Yellowstone and the Idaho wilderness in 1995-96 have generated more than 1,700 wolves. More than 200 wolf packs exist in the area today and the effect on the environment has been nothing short of astonishing.

There was one beaver colony in the park at the time wolves were reintroduced. Today, 12 colonies are busy storing water, evening out seasonal water flows, recharging springs, and creating habitat. Willow stands are robust again and the songbirds that nest in them are recovering. Creatures that scavenge wolf-kills for meat, including ravens, eagles, wolverines, and bears, have benefited. Wolves have pushed out and killed the coyotes that feed on pronghorn antelope, so pronghorn numbers are also up. Riverbanks are lush and shady again. With less competition from elk for grass, the bison in the park are doing better, too.

Elk are the sole species that has been diminished — and that, after all, was the purpose of putting wolves back in the game in the first place. The elk population of Yellowstone is still larger than it was at its low point in the late 1960s, but there are fewer elk today than in recent decades. The decline has alarmed elk hunters and the local businesses that rely on their trade.

Worse yet, from the hunting point of view, elk behavior has changed dramatically. Instead of camping out on stream banks and overeating, they roam far more and in smaller numbers, browsing in brushy areas where there is more protective cover. Surviving elk are healthier, but leaner, warier, far more dispersed, and significantly harder to hunt. This further dismays those who had become accustomed to easy hunting and bigger animals.

A lively debate is underway among game wardens, guides, and wildlife biologists about just how far elk numbers have declined, what role drought and other non-wolf variables may be playing in that decline, and whether elk numbers will — or even should — rebound. State wildlife agencies that once fed hay to bountiful populations of elk to keep them from starving during harsh winters depend on hunting and fishing licenses to fill their coffers. Predictably enough, they have come down on the side of the frustrated big game hunters, who think the wolves have killed too many elk. Hunters have been a powerful force for conservation when habitat for birds and big game is at stake, but wolf reintroduction hits them right in the ol’ game bag, and on this issue they seem to be abandoning former conservation allies. Of course, wolves themselves can be hunted and selling the privilege of doing so has proven lucrative for state wildlife agencies. Montana recently expanded its wolf-killing quota from 75 to 186, while Idaho licensed 220 wolf kills in 2009.

Beyond the Bovine Curtain

As wolf reintroduction took hold and wolves migrated out of Yellowstone as far as Oregon to the west and Colorado to the east, it became clear that surrounding states needed plans to deal with their spread. Once regarded as an endangered species and legally protected by the Endangered Species Act, wolves were taken off the formal list of protected creatures wherever states created plans for restoring and managing them. The intention of the federal government was to allow states to participate in, and so take some control over, the recovery process in the West.

As it happened, however, most states took a strikingly hostile approach to their new wolf populations, treating them as varmints. A federal court took away Wyoming’s power to regulate wolves within its borders when it decided that the state’s management goal would be no wolves at all outside of the Yellowstone and Teton national parks. Other Western states are now planning to keep their numbers as low as possible without triggering a federal takeover, too low to play their ecological role, or even survive over the long run, according to conservation biologists. After wolves were “delisited” in Idaho in 2009, 188 of them were killed by hunters before the year was out.

In August 2010, a federal judge ruled that wolves everywhere but in Minnesota and Alaska (where wolf populations are plentiful and healthy) must be relisted as an endangered species and afforded more protection. How this major decision will shape the debate from here on out is uncertain. Since relisting precludes sport hunting, state wildlife agencies are now making plans to kill more wolves themselves to keep their numbers low. Critics worry about a return to the days when wolves were routinely shot, trapped, poisoned, and gassed in their dens.

Up until now, where wolves and cows mix, cows have ruled. What wildlife advocate George Wuerthner calls the bovine curtain limits full wolf restoration to within Yellowstone’s park boundaries. Outside the park, where the feds have less power and control, wolf packs continually form but are often slaughtered, usually at the insistence of ranchers who can legally shoot wolves that attack cattle. They are also compensated for wolf-kill losses from both state funds and privately donated ones. Wolf predation accounts for only about 1% of livestock deaths across the northern Rockies, but those deaths generate disproportionate resentment and fear.

Ranchers are the first to understand that, in the arid West, a cow may require 250 acres of forage to live. In the states where wolves are spreading, cows wander wide and don’t sleep safely in barns at night as they do in the east. Wolves need room to roam, too. Overlap and predation are the inevitable results. If wolves are ever to effectively play their ecological role again across the West, significant changes in animal husbandry, like adding range riders and guard dogs, would be required, as well undoubtedly as less grazing overall. The implied threat to limit grazing provokes fierce opposition from cattlemen’s associations, a powerful and influential Republican constituency throughout the West. Real cowboys don’t sip tea, but as anger over those wolves builds they may be riding off to the nearest tea party nevertheless.

At public hearings across the rural West wherever wolves are rebounding, near-hysterical locals claim that their children will be carried off from their yards by those awful beasts set loose by evil Obamacrats willing to sacrifice life and limb to win favor with tree-hugging easterners. In New Mexico, such hostility has led to poaching that has decimated an endangered species of gray wolves reintroduced 12 years ago after the last survivors of that species were trapped, bred in captivity, and released into the wild.

Eco-Commodities or Ecological Communities?

Today’s wolf wars pit opposing perspectives on how (or even why) our public lands should be managed against each other. The disagreement is fundamental. On one side is a historic/traditional resource management paradigm that sees our Western lands as a storehouse of timber, minerals, and fresh water; on the other side, a new biocentric orientation driven by conservation biologists who see landscapes as whole ecosystems and all species as having intrinsic value. At one end of the spectrum lie strip-mining coal companies; at the other, deep ecologists. In between you can find conflict, contradiction, and confusion as we sort out a new consensus about how to manage vast public land holdings in the West.

In the beginning, Americans assumed that nature was inefficient (if efficiency is defined as getting the most bang for the buck) and that humans could manage the planet better than Mother Earth. Wild rivers, after all, spill their liquid bounty where they will and then empty themselves into the sea. What a waste! In the same way, forest fires were viewed as a prime example of Nature’s wanton destruction. To a rancher who is leasing public land, wolves and cougars are monsters of inefficiency.

It’s far clearer now that nature is, in fact, efficient indeed, if creating healthy, viable ecosystems is what’s on your mind. Matter and energy are never wasted in food webs where synergy is the rule. Because we have come to appreciate how rich nature’s interconnections are, we are now committed to protecting species we once would have wiped out with little regard. Health (including the health of the planet), not wealth alone, is becoming a priority. Think of wolf reintroduction, then, as a kind of hinge-point between the two paradigms. After centuries of not leaving the natural world’s order to chance, micro-managing wherever we could, we are now encouraged to take a chance on Nature, to trust the self-organizing powers of life to heal ecosystems we have wounded.

While organizing campaigns to make polluters accountable, I learned that citizens generally won’t take them on until they grasp that the deepest link they have to their environment is their own bloodstreams. Once they understand the pathways from a smokestack or a poisoned watershed to the tumors growing in their children’s bodies, they can become a powerful force. But first they have to know what’s at stake.

In this regard, ecological literacy is not a side issue. It’s a prerequisite for survival. The articulation of reality is more primal than any strategy or policy. If greed is turning the Earth into a scorched planet of slums, ignorance is its enabler. Just as American farmers once realized that erosion follows ignorance and learned how to plow differently, just as most of us finally learned that rivers should not be used as toxic dumps, so today we must learn that environments have the equivalent of operating systems. Predation by large carnivores is written deep into the code of much of the American landscape. Today, a rancher who expects to do business in a predator-free landscape is no more reasonable than yesterday’s industrialist who expected to use the nearest river as a sewer. Living with wolves may be a challenging proposition, but it’s hardly impossible to do — as folks in Minnesota or Canada can attest.

Hard days are ahead as the weather, once benign and predictable, becomes hotter, drier, and ever more chaotic. Western landscapes are already stressed — whole forests are dying and deserts are becoming dustbowls. To maintain their vitality in the face of such dire challenges, those lands will need all the relief we can give them. We now understand far better the many ways in which nature’s living communities are astonishingly connected and reciprocal. If we could only find the courage to trust their self-organizing powers to heal the wounds we have inflicted, we might become as resilient as those Yellowstone wolves.

Chip Ward lives in Capitol Reef, Utah, where songbirds are eaten by housecats, housecats are eaten by coyotes, and coyotes are eaten by mountain lions. He is the author of Canaries on the Rim: Living Downwind in the West and Hope’s Horizon: Three Visions for Healing the American Land. His essays can be found at


Posted in: gray wolf/canis lupus, Yellowstone wolves, biodiversity

Tags: wolf reintroduction, predation, Rocky Mountains, Yellowstone National Park, trophic cascades

Action Alert: The Assault On The Endangered Species Act Has Begun…

Are we going to sit by and let politicians use wolves to further their political ambitions? Are we going to allow them to strip gray wolves of their ESA protections? HELL NO!!

Are we going to protest “conservation hunts” proposed by Montana FWP? HELL YES!!

Get ready Wolf Warriors, the assault on the ESA has begun and we better be ready to fight. That means calling every senator and congressman, as many times as necessary, to defeat any and all attempts to remove gray wolves’ ESA protections. It may mean organizing  pro-wolf rallies across America to show support for wolves. 

There are so many new schemes in Montana and Idaho to kill wolves, it’s hard to keep up with them all .  I’ll try to give you a comprehensive look at the shenanigans.

Since the anti-wolf bunch lost in court they’ve been tying themselves in knots trying to figure out ways to kill (manage) wolves and circumvent the ESA. 

There’s been coalition building by Montana FWP with ranching and hunting lobbies, to find ways around Judge Molloy’s ruling. There’s wolf hysteria in Idaho County, Idaho, asking the Governor to allow wolves to be shot on sight.(that was tried once before).

The latest and most popular assault on gray wolves is coming from the legislative branch. Montana’s Representative Denny Rehberg (who has a dead, stuffed wolf in his DC office) along with Utah’s Reps. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, and Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, are signing onto the anti-wolf House Bill 6028, which aims to strip wolves of their ESA protections. The bill was drafted by a Texas Congressman, lord only knows why, since there are no wolves in Texas. But it’s fairly obvious this is a political ploy to garner support from the “hook and bullet crowd”, right before the November elections.

Even though there is very little chance HR 6028 will pass the House THIS YEAR, it shouldn’t be ignored, because it will certainly be introduced again next year. The current Congress is lame duck and when it expires on December 31, 2010, all bills in committee will be moot. But that doesn’t mean the threat will disappear because the new Congress will likely be majority Republican, making it a more favorable climate to continue the war against gray wolves and assault on the ESA.

HR 6028:

To amend the Endangered Species Act of 1973 to prohibit treatment of the Gray Wolf as an endangered species or threatened species.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


Section 4(a) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1533(a)) is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

‘(4) The Gray Wolf (Canis lupus) shall not be treated as an endangered species or threatened species for purposes of this Act.’

Rehberg also drafted his own legislation: (Remember this is the man with the dead, stuffed wolf in his DC office. CLICK HERE to see it.)

 Rep. Rehberg’s Anti-Wolf Bill (Draft):

He also conducted a survey to ask Montanans how they feel about wolves. I think you can guess the results. I’m sure every hunter, outfitter and rancher answered the survey, clearing their cookies over and over.

Rehberg thinks the support of ranching and hunting lobbies gives him cover to move forward with his anti-wolf agenda, presuming they are speaking for all Montanans. This of course is ridiculous. People are distracted by the bad economy, they might not be paying attention to the wolves’ plight. I’m sure Rep. Rehberg is counting on that.  

Our voices may be drowned out by the rabid wolf haters but please take the time to tell Denny Rehberg just what you think of stripping gray wolves of their ESA protections.  I urge all Montanans who support wolves to continue to answer the survey.

Rep. Rehberg’s “wolf” survey, CLICK HERE

He’s also going to hold meetings on his anti-wolf bill. Can you just imagine what will go on? The wolf hating crowds will show up in droves. Then he can preach to the choir and run back to DC to say Montanans want somethin done about those dang wolves.

This is a slippery slope, if we allow wolf haters to tamper with wolves’ protections, then grizzly bears are next. All animals shielded under the ESA will be in trouble. I believe groups like the Safari Club, The Cattlemen’s Assoc. and  Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife  are behind this push. They would love to see the ESA dismantled, leaving our wildlife at their mercy.

As if the House bills aren’t bad enough, Montana Senators Tester and Baucus,  joined by Idaho Republicans Mike Crapo and Jim Risch, are also pushing to have wolves stripped of their ESA protections:

From the Seattle pi:

Idaho’s U.S. senators will introduce a measure to lift Endangered Species Act protections from wolves in Idaho and Montana, as well as portions of Washington, Oregon and Utah.

The bill Idaho Republicans Mike Crapo and Jim Risch plan to introduce on Wednesday is a response to a federal court order in August that restored protections.

Senator Baucus (D) has been in the Senate since 1978 and before that he served in the House starting in 1975. THAT’S THIRTY FIVE YEARS. He’s a career politician, what the heck ever happened to term limits?

Personally I think he jumped into this because there are lots of ranchers and hunters in Montana that he wants to please. Also he played a large role in writing the wildly unpopular health care bill, which among other things, robs Medicare of 500 billion dollars and guts Medicare Advantage, a very popular plan for over 10 million seniors. What better way for Baucus to distract voters before the November election, then to demonize wolves? He earns points with the anti-wolf groups and takes the focus off health care, which no Democrat wants to talk about. Well, Democrats don’t want to admit they are the ones that delisted wolves, not George Bush, even though he tried hard enough. I read that on Bush’s last day in office, he tried to delist wolves. So sad.

Wolves are an easy target, they don’t vote, don’t pay taxes and are voiceless.

Sentator Baucus quoted in

“This debate on wolves has gone on long enough. I’m working to craft a bill that will put wolves in our state back in our control once and for all, because nobody knows how to better manage wolves in Montana than Montanans,” Baucus said. “In the meantime, the Fish and Wildlife Service needs to do the right thing and allow all Montana ranchers protect their livestock regardless of arbitrary boundary lines.”

Right Senator Baucus. Wolves were responsible for 97 cow losses in Montana in 2009 from a population of 2.5 million cattle. Sounds like a huge emergency. What a joke. Thousands of cows drop dead every year from weather, disease and reproduction. Coyotes and domestic dogs are the main predators of cows.(NASS 06) There are also cattle losses from theft. I don’t think 97 cow losses are going to cause anyone to go broke, especially when ranchers are reimbursed for every confirmed minuscule wolf kill.

To put the tiny number of cattle losses to wolves in perspective:

“A total of 19,400 cattle and 43,600 calves were lost in Montana due to non-predators. The value of non-predator losses was $40.0 million. The value of cattle losses were $21.9 million and calf losses amounted to $18.1 million. The leading causes of non-predator cattle losses were unknown, 4,200 head; other, 3,500 head; and respiratory with 3,100 head. The leading causes of calf losses were calving problems, 11,300 head; weather related, 10,200 head; and respiratory with 7,800 head.” (NASS 06)

Hmmmm, I wonder why ranchers have such a big interest in wolf losses, since, as you can see, cows are dropping like flies from non-predators related causes. Yet Wildlife Services has the nerve to run around Montana, Idaho and Wyoming killing hundreds of wolves for predation. A whole federal bureaucracy has grown up around killing wolves. Wildlife Services continually targets wolves, using traps, gunship helicopters, they’re proposing to gas wolf pups in their dens and sterilize alpha pairs. All for what? 97 cows?

There’s more. Montana FWP filed a petition with USFWS asking them to allow “conservation hunts” of a PROTECTED SPECIES. Here are are the ugly details.


HELENA – Montana wolves may be back on the endangered species list, but that didn’t stop the state from petitioning the government to hold its own wolf hunt this fall.

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks applied for a permit to allow for a conservation hunt and requested that federal authorities deliver a permit by early November.

FWP Administrator Dave Risley said the 28-page application is allowed under specific sections of the Endangered Species Act.

“FWP seeks authorization to create a conservation hunt to relieve population pressures and associated biological, social, and political pressures that currently jeopardize support of wolf recovery in Montana,” Risley said.

FWP joined in a federal lawsuit in defense of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2009 decision to delist wolves in Montana and Idaho, but not in Wyoming.

District Judge Donald Molloy in Missoula reinstated federal protections of wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains on Aug. 5.

At least 525 wolves live in Montana right now, and FWP wants to reduce the population to about 450 by the end of the year.

The wolf population in the Northern Rocky Mountain Recovery Area, which comprises parts of Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming, was estimated to be at least 1,706, with 242 packs, and 115 breeding pairs at the end of last year.

The conservation hunt would be modeled on what Montana planned for this hunting season that had a statewide quota of 186 wolves across 13 management units.

This is the key sentence in the article: “FWP seeks authorization to create a conservation hunt to relieve population pressures and associated biological, social, and political pressures that currently jeopardize support of wolf recovery in Montana,” Risley said. 

Social and political pressures? Those are telling words.  They want to hunt an endangered species because of social and political pressures? The pressure is certainly on them from special interests to have a wolf hunt. They are all crying in their beer because the hunts were halted. Hunting a protected species to relieve political and social pressures is not science and it makes them look ridiculous and desperate. Getting hysterical over a tiny population of 520 wolves in a huge state like Montana would be laughable if it wasn’t so deadly serious for wolves. Minnesota has 4500 wolves, almost nine times the number in Montana.

Wolves are not even close to being recovered in the Northern Rockies.  Hundreds died after the delisting. Alphas were slaughtered along with their pups, entire wolf packs destroyed. There have been no studies on the effect that killing had on Montana’s wolves, or any other wolves in the Northern Rockies for that matter, yet the state is begging to have another wolf hunt THIS YEAR, to slaughter more wolves to relieve political and social pressures? They are proving to everyone why Montana cannot manage wolves without prejudice. This is why the ESA was created, to shield a species like the wolf, who suffers from tremendous scapegoating and persecution.

The war against wolves in the Northern Rockies has only escalated since they won back their protections on August 5th, 2010. There are new plots to circumvent the ESA popping up almost daily. We have to focus on the threats I’m discussing in this post and the ones yet to come.

We cannot allow ranchers, hunters and outfitters to dictate policy concerning our wildlife. They are pushing the state game agencies to kill wolves and weaken the ESA. Now the politicians are posturing for votes by bad mouthing wolves. We have to stand up to these recent attacks. Wolves are completely vulnerable. We are their only voice.

I’m again posting the links to Congress, both the US House of Representatives and the US Senate. Please make it your duty to call and write not only your own legislators but as many names as possible. Find out where they stand, don’t let them off the hook. We must let them know wolves have tremendous support in this country and we DO NOT WANT THEM GUTTING THE ESA.  There can be no more important issue facing wolves and wolf advocates. We can’t let wolves down or no protected species will ever be safe again.

“The human spirit is not dead. It lives on in secret….It has come to believe that compassion, in which all ethics must take root, can only attain its full breadth and depth if it embraces all living creatures and does not limit itself to mankind.”…….Dr. Schweitzer





Bill would exempt Idaho wolves from protections


Baucus pushes feds on wolf issue


Reps. Jim Matheson, Jason Chaffetz want states to manage wolves


Wolf Bill

Bill Would Prohibit Wolves from Federal Protections


Risch, Crapo want Congress to delist ID, MT wolves


Posted in: Wolf Wars

Tags: ESA, threats to the ESA, stand up for wolves, wolf persecution, wolf hatred, Wildlife Services, Montana FWP, Senator Baucus, Senator Tester, Rep. Rehburg

Wolves in the Methow: A Predator/Prey Relationship

The Lookout Pack howling in the Methow Valley

A reader of this blog, Gary Ott, wrote an excellent letter to the Methow Valley News in response to anti-wolf propaganda concerning the effect wolves would have on deer herds.  The Methow Valley is home to The Lookout wolf pack. Sadly the alpha female (mother) of the pack is missing.

Gary’s letter was originally published in the Methow Valley News on May 5, 2010.


Wolves in the Methow: a predator/prey relationship

By Gary Ott

The relationship of wolves and their prey is a topic of much debate, speculation, scientific study, political expediency, misinformation and ulterior motives.

Measuring population levels of prey species is vital to understanding the principles of how wolves influence prey numbers. Although there are several systematic methods utilized by wildlife biologists to estimate populations of deer, elk or other prey species, obtaining numbers that accurately represent populations across landscapes proportional to the movements of deer and elk is problematic at best.

Aerial infrared photography and other new technological tools are being used and developed in other places, but as yet, there is no simple and conclusive answer to accurately assessing general population levels of deer and elk in absolute numerical terms. It is especially difficult in complex terrain of mixed open and forested land. With commonly used methods it is easier to estimate whether a population is increasing or decreasing; and the ratios of males to females, and females to young. This is not to say that reasonable estimates of population levels cannot be made, but that the difficulties involved limit the certainty of the results.

Cause-and-effect relationships are even more elusive. If wolf populations are increasing and prey populations are declining, it does not necessarily follow that one is the cause of the other. Winter severity, multiple prey and predator species, hunting, trapping, poaching (of both predator and prey species), disease, precipitation, the availability of browse, and other habitat conditions, contribute to the complexity of the problem of trying to separate and weigh the proportional effect of predation by wolves from other factors. If this is not complicated enough, the conclusions made from studies of one place may not be transferable to other landscapes, climates and ecosystems.

On the other hand (or in spite of this reality), anti-wolf advocates in Western states make extraordinary claims; not only of knowledge of both wolf and prey populations but also of the cause-and-effect relationship between the two. Casual observations cannot accurately assess populations of deer and elk herds that respond to a wide range of factors that influence, not only their population level, but also their movements across landscapes that are disproportionate to the experience of an individual. And yet, logical sounding conclusions of cause-and-effect relationships are defended as if they are proven fact and not the result of assumptions based on insufficient information, and a biased perspective. Contrary to the statements of anti-wolf factions, the re-establishment of wolves (and their population increase) in Western states has coincided with prey population levels that have, in some places increased, while in others areas deer and elk numbers have decreased or remained fairly stable.

Wolves are very keen at recognizing prey individuals that are most vulnerable due to disease or other physical infirmities. Wolves’ preferential selection of these animals can be beneficial to the health of the herd in several ways. The overall fitness of the herd can be more important to its long-term well being than the number of individuals that comprise it.

Wolves sometimes kill more prey than they immediately consume. Excess predation is commonly described as wasteful and accounted for by attributing it to a moral depravity that more appropriately applies to human aberrant behavior and not the behavior of animals. While we cannot know why excess predation occurs, it appears to be a reflex reaction to prey behavior or occurs in the confusion of a pack attack on a herd. Although we may not understand the driving force behind excess predation, it may serve more than one purpose. Wolves commonly compete with bears, wolverines and other predators for prey. Excess predation may reduce the chance of a conflict with a bear or other predator over a single carcass. Wolves also remember and return to feed on carcasses (that may be preserved by freezing) hours, days, or sometimes months later.

Uncertainty is not in the realm of opinionated points of view, but some degree of uncertainty is a realistic standpoint for those who are interested in understanding the possible future of wolves and their prey in the Methow Valley. Reproductive families of wolves have been in the North Cascades and here in the Methow Valley before –as recently as the early 1990s. What happened to them? Will the Lookout Mountain pack also mysteriously disappear or will their offspring and/or other immigrant wolves form additional packs? How many packs can the Methow Valley support and what effect might they have upon the deer population?

There are some facts that are fairly consistent among many studies that may be of use to better understand the possibilities. Average pack size in the northern tier Western states is six or seven individuals. Pack territories can be expected to average around 300 square miles (the Lookout Mountain pack fits this model at about 350 square miles). This would suggest that four or five packs (maximum) could potentially exist in the Methow area.

Studies of predation on deer in other states indicate that per wolf, approximately 15 or 16 deer are taken per year. This level of predation is on a scale that is nearly the number that we take out with our cars, not even close to the numbers taken by hunters, and a much smaller fraction of the numbers that snow conditions and winter severity can account for.

But of course, this is still assuming that wolves survive, reproduce and remain here.

Gary D. Ott lives near Beaver Creek.


Posted in: gray wolf/canis lupus

Tags: Methow Valley, predator/prey relationship, Look Out Pack

Published in: on September 24, 2010 at 2:04 am  Comments (3)  

“Who Keeps Company With Wolves Will Learn To Howl”….Proverb

This is my favorite wolf video, the music fits their intensity to a tee. Watching them run on the lake is sooooooo thrilling.


“They say the wolf bestows its happy spirit to help people. Women who obtain this spirit become skilled in creative endeavors and experience a strengthening of the senses. I would like to think there is some truth to this in my own life.” -Judi Rideout


Vasileios posted this video starring Arctic wolves that will melt your heart!! Such beauties!!


Photo: Courtesy: First People

Posted in: gray wolf/canis lupus

Tags: stunning beauty of gray wolves, favorite wolf video, wolves running

Published in: on September 22, 2010 at 1:55 pm  Comments (23)  

Torturing An Alligator For Two Hours…This Is Hunting?

This is the ugly face of trophy hunting, torturing a 60-75 year old alligator to death. This “petite woman” should be charged with animal cruelty.

There is outrage over the way she killed a very old alligator that should have been allowed to live out it’s life in peace. To kill the poor reptile she used:

“…baited fishing lines, followed by harpoons, a muzzle snare, shots from a .22-caliber weapon and, ultimately, a knife jab to the spinal cord.”

“This woman should be in jail, not on TV,” was among the tamer comments posted beneath a story on

“They tortured that alligator for hours. That’s just plain sick,” a reader chimed in.

Please take the time to write to South Carolina’s Governor and protest this disgusting act of cruelty.

South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford:


Monday, September 20, 2010 10:53am PDT

Petite woman who bagged monster alligator defends trophy hunt

By: Pete Thomas,


Photo: Courtesy of Outdoor on Grind TV

Posted in: Howling for Justice

Tags: Animal cruelty, alligator torture, evils of trophy hunting, callous behavior

Published in: on September 21, 2010 at 3:21 pm  Comments (39)  

Island Of The Wolves….A Year In The Life of Russian Wolf Pups

Island of the Wolves follows a little pack of Russian wolf pups around for a year. You watch them grow up in the thirty minute video. It’s all part of wolf research being conducted in the northwestern Tver region of Russia. It’s prime wolf habitat and where Vladimir-Bologov,  a wolf biologist, studies and advocates for wolves. He followed in his father’s footsteps, who was also a wolf researcher. They’ve observed wolves in the Tver region for thirty years.

Wolves have no protections in Russia, they can be killed at anytime of the year. The Russian government pays 45 euros for every wolf killed. Many hunters make a living trapping and hunting wolves.

Vladimir-Bologov along with French biologist, Laetitia Becker, raise and observe wolf pups bought from hunters and zoos. They have successfully released wolf pups back into the wild.

Once you click on the link below, to watch Island of the Wolves, you’ll see a myriad of other videos starring pups they’ve raised and released.  I’ve watch most of them and I can tell you the pups are adorable.

Both researchers are doing noble work. If they hadn’t rescued the pups, there is no doubt they would have been killed. They are striving to make a difference for wolves in Russia, specifically abolishing the bounty system, which only encourages hunters to kill wolves. 

We can take heart there are good people around the world ready to fight for animals like the wolf, who are so persecuted.

From Russia Today (RT):

It’s a relentless beast, a dangerous predator lurking in the forest, a ruthless hunter in search of a victim for a bloody feast. It’s a cute, caring, social animal that loves wild strawberries and is afraid of living in the woods. Which of these descriptions is true?

With this 30-minute video we offer you the opportunity to find out yourself. Spend a year with a pack of wolves. At the beginning of the video they are just a month old and have no idea how to survive, but they know they must survive in the wild. Every day brings new discoveries, every step they make gives us a chance to understand the world they’re living in. And this world only seems distant.

TO WATCH  “Island of the Wolves”  CLICK HERE 


If you want to help please contact Lupus Laetus :


The Return Of Wolves

by Astrid Szelest, July 2009


Photo: Courtesy Russia Today

Posted in: Russian wolves, Howling for Justice

Tags: Taiga, Russian wolf pups, global wolf persecution, Island of the Wolves, biodiversity

Published in: on September 20, 2010 at 12:55 am  Comments (30)  

Howling For Justice Turns One!!

Thank you dear readers!! You’ve made this blog a success with over 200,000 hits in our first year!! 

When I started this journey it was a very dark time for wolves. They were hunted in two states and Wildlife Services was continuing to conduct “shadow wolf” hunts for agribusiness. 

Wolf advocates were stunned when the Obama administration followed in the footsteps of George Bush and stripped wolves of their ESA protections. The year that followed was the worst wolves have experienced in the Northern Rockies since their reintroduction.

The inspiration for this blog came from the iconic wolf Limpy, who was shot dead outside Daniel, Wyoming on the very day the then Bush administration delisted wolves the first time, in March 08. He died for nothing, a sad end for a stellar wolf. This blog is dedicated to his memory.

Limpy’s Story: The Life and Death of Wolf 253 

Here’s a look back at September 2009, when the hated wolf hunts began in the Northern Rockies!

Gray Wolves in the Crosshairs  9/16/09 (my first post)

Let Them Be  9/16/09

Wolf Hunt Motive Revealed: It’s All About The $$$$$!  9/16/09

2009 Gray Wolf De-Listing By Obama Administration  9/16/09

First Montana Wolf Killed in Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness Area 9/17/09

Montana Creates Website to Track Wolf Hunts  9/17/09

Boycott Idaho Potatoes In Response To Gray Wolf Hunt  9/19/09

Second Montana Wolf Killed Near Yellowstone  9/20/09

We May Have Lost The Battle But Will Likely Win the War  9/21/09

Ken Salazar, No Friend of The Gray Wolf  9/21/09

Merle Haggard No Fan Of The Cowboy  9/21/09

Idaho Wolf Hunt Celebrated By Auctioning Commemorative Tags  9/23/09

Idahoans Continue To Speak Up For Wolves  9/24/09

Lords of Nature: Life in a Land of Great Predators  9/24/09

Yellowstone Wolf Pups Low Survival Rate Linked To Canine Distemper  9/24/09

In The Valley Of The Wolves:Yellowstone’s Legendary Druid Peak Pack  9/26/09

Update on Wolf Killing in Idaho and Montana Hunts  9/26/09

Stop Aerial Hunting of Alaska’s Wolves  0/27/09

Predatory Bureaucracy: The Extermination of Wolves and the Transformation of the West  9/28/09

Of Wolves and Men…….  9/29/09

Idaho Wolf Hunt….Fifteen Wolves Dead  9/29/09

Why Hunt Wolves?  9/29/09

Wolves Are Excellent Parents!  9/30/09

That was my first month of posts. I started writing at the beginning of the hunts and haven’t stopped since.

It’s been an unbelievable year, watching our beloved wolves slaughtered in the hundreds. So many stories went untold. So much death. Remember this?

Hunters Kill Two Wolves In Idaho On Opening Day

September 2, 2009 | 12:45 pm


Over five hundred wolves died in the Northern Rockies in 2009 and they continue to be targeted by Wildlife Services for agribusiness. 

Gray wolves remain under siege from ranching and hunting lobbies. Robbed of their wolf hunts, they are scheming and plotting, trying to find a way to undo Judge Molloy’s decision to relist wolves.

But we are here to stand with wolves, stronger every day, determined to fight on, we will never give up and never give in. May this be a better year for our wolf brethren. Onward Wolf Warriors!

For the wolves, For the wild ones,




Posted in: Howling for Justice

Tags: celebrating our first year, Howling for Justice, Wolf Warriors, gray wolves

Stop The Presses….Wolves Aren’t Killing All The Elk in Idaho or Anywhere Else For That Matter!


Later, man (Photo Courtesy Flickr Sigma Eye)

UPDATE: I was ready to post this on August 5th but the relisting news broke the same day and that trumped everything.  It’s a little dated but still timely. 


Stop the presses. IDFG recently released a study confirming what we already knew, wolves aren’t killing all the elk in Idaho. Now I can sleep at night. I was tossing and turning trying to figure out why or how a predator would kill off its prey base?

This is not news to wolf advocates. After all, if wolves ate all the elk in Idaho they’d be leaving Idaho in droves, dispersing to other states to eat all their elk. See how this works? Eventually they would travel the country wiping out ungulates everywhere. Once every last deer and elk were gone the wolves would be forced to return to GINORMOUS Canadian wolf land, where I suppose those wolves  haven’t eaten all the elk for some unknown reason? 

Of course I’m kidding but the hysteria surrounding this issue has been staggering. Hunters act like wolves are the only predators in the forest. It seems they’ve selectively forgotten the deadliest predator of all,  THEMSELVES.  In my opinion human hunters role in the decline of some elk populations has been understated. It’s just too politically incorrect for any politician or state game agency to infer that hunters kill lots of ungulates. Not only do they kill a large number of them but they go after the best and the biggest elk and deer. Wolves OTOH, cull the weak, sick and old. Yes they occasionally kill healthy animals but wolves are opportunistic hunters.  They don’t own high-powered rifles with scopes or  fancy hunting gear, wolves are fed by their feet , as the famous quote goes. They have to work very hard for a meal. When wolves chase down elk, deer or moose there is the potential for a flying  hoof making contact with any part of their body. Many wolves suffer crippling injuries or fatal ones while hunting.  If anyone deserves to hunt it’s the wolf.  To continually be called on to defend wolves for doing what they were put on this earth to do is ridiculous.  As long as we’re talking about elk we’re not talking about wolves.

From the Times News,

“……the report showed that hunters were the biggest cause of elk kills in two other areas with declining populations: the Pioneer zone east of Ketchum, and Island Park near Rexburg. In the Island Park zone, hunters killed 17 percent of collared elk while wolves killed none.”

So there you have it, hunters actually contribute to prey declines. What shocking news….NOT!

State game agencies exist to “manage” wildlife, meaning lots of deer, elk and moose but few wolves, bears, lions and coyotes .

That’s how it works, it’s called “Wildlife Management” and it’s turning our forests into zoos. There is nothing natural about artificially high numbers of one animal over another, manipulating our wildlife for their own purposes which are:

• Money for state game agencies from licensing fees.

• Lots of animals for hunters to kill.

What about the wants and needs of over ninety percent of Americans that don’t hunt?  Well my friends, as you may have guessed, we don’t count. 

I noticed the study didn’t fail to mention the six elk lost to wolves in the LOLO zone.

“Biologists found that wolves killed significant numbers of collared elk in only one area, the Lolo zone along U.S. Highway 12 in north Idaho. Over the three years, the report claims wolves killed 20 percent of the Lolo sample, or about six elk. Three-quarters of the collared elk survived, less than Fish and Game’s survival goal of 88 percent.”

Of course they aren’t trying to justify IDFG’s recent edict allowing four outfitters to kill up to five wolves each in the LOLO.  No not at all.  I think the outfitters only managed to kill five poor wolves, who were just minding their own business, after having survived the brutal Idaho hunts, that didn’t end until March 31, 2010. Just to refresh everyone’s memory the Idaho wolf hunt lasted seven long months, right through wolf breeding and denning season but I digress.

Well at least they admitted the LOLO elk  herd was sinking long before wolves were ever reintroduced to Idaho. And finally someone mentioned the severe winter of 96/97, which anyone living in Idaho and Montana knows about. There was so much snow people’s roofs were collapsing. It wiped out the white tail deer in Montana and had the same effect on deer and elk in Idaho.

“White said deteriorating habitat in the Lolo zone has contributed to declining elk numbers since at least 1988, before wolves entered the picture. The population dropped by 40 percent during the severe winter of 1996-97 alone. Bears and cougars also kill many elk. Just across the border, Montana biologists are starting a similar collaring study in Ravalli County, where one factor of elk decline may be high human population growth.

The report said wolves caused the highest number of deaths in two other areas with declining populations. But in the Smoky Mountain zone west of Ketchum, where wolves were said to have killed 5 percent of about 30 collared elk, other predators and hunters together killed 7 percent. The Sawtooth zone, west of Stanley, had similar results.

Conversely, the report showed that hunters were the biggest cause of elk kills in two other areas with declining populations: the Pioneer zone east of Ketchum, and Island Park near Rexburg. In the Island Park zone, hunters killed 17 percent of collared elk while wolves killed none.”

Maybe if  they stopped killing wolves and other predators things wouldn’t be so out of whack. And it is out of whack because our forests and wild lands are not meant to have elevated numbers of one animal over the other. The states decide who the good and bad animals are.  The good animals are the ones that hunters pay to shoot, the bad animals are the ones that compete with hunters for the same prey.  Since wolves, bears, mountain lions and coyotes don’t pay licensing fees or vote, they are expendable. 

We can’t let anything get in the way of artificially boosting ungulate numbers for profit, now can we?


F&G: Wolves not causing most elk losses

Saturday, July 31, 2010 1:20 am


Photo: Later, man (Photo Courtesy Flickr Sigma Eye)

Posted in: Idaho wolves, Howling For Justice

Tags: elk study,  hunting, wolf hysteria,


Published in: on September 15, 2010 at 2:29 am  Comments (14)  
Tags: , , , , ,
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