Killing Wolves For Fun And The War On Wolves….

~~~
As 2011 draws to a close I’ll be revisiting a few of my early posts from 2009, when the first wolf hunts were taking place in Montana and Idaho, after the Obama administration delisted them in the Spring of that year. This was the first time wolves were hunted in the lower 48 since the last wolves were wiped out in the 1940′s.

Since 2009 the state sponsored  hunts have gotten bolder and more brutal,  with the inclusion of traps and snares, even bringing Alaskan trappers to kill wolves in Idaho’s Lolo and Selway zones, with the addition of aerial gunning.  All to harass and kill wolves who’ve done nothing wrong except try to exist.

In 2009,  wolf advocates were awaiting Judge Molloy’s decision, would he relist wolves?  The ruling came  in August 2010. Wolves were relisted in the Northern Rockies!! But the victory was short-lived.  Thanks to Jon Tester D-MT,  who inserted a wolf delisting rider into the Senate budget bill, wolves were delisted  and the bill was signed into law by President Obama. Wolves are now paying with their lives for that betrayal.

===

Killing Wolves For Fun & The War On Wolves

November 9, 2009

yellowstone wolf runnintg

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 since wolves are firmly in the cross fire, with ongoing wolf hunts in Montana and Idaho.

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

Over 26,000 wolf tags were sold in Idaho alone to kill 220 wolves and Montana sold thousands to kill 75 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.

alaskan wolf shot by aerial gunner

Alaskan wolf shot by aerial gunner

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 recent 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 to make. Gov “Butch” Otter of Idaho went one better. Back in 2007, before wolves were even delisted, he stated in front of a rally of camouflage wearing hunters, 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.”

Should the executive officers of Montana and Idaho, use the wolf as a political football by posturing to ranching and hunting interests?  What chance does the wolf have to be treated fairly when the governors  make those kinds of statements?

The “management” or killing of wolves is sanctioned by the states of Montana and Idaho but exactly who is this benefiting?  Certainly not over 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 and it works! Unless and until the politics of the usual are replaced with the policies of change, America’s predators will suffer.

hayden pack wolves

wolf photo: SigmaEye Flicker

Montana and Idaho have decided which wildlife they consider important and which are disposable.  Predator management is just a euphemism for killing them.  Millions of taxpayer dollars are spent on tracking, collaring and lethally controlling predators and other wildlife by cruel means, IE, poisoning with 1080 compound, M44s, denning and trapping.  Most of the killing is done by Wildlife Services, which is an arm of the USDA.  The lethal control of wolves is not supported by the majority of Americans but we have little input in the decision-making process. Why does the non-hunting consumer have so little influence on  how our wildlife is managed?

Although predators control ungulate populations, the states aren’t comfortable with that because they cater to the hunting and ranching lobbies, who bring millions into state coffers. This creates a conflict of interest.  Wolves compete with hunters for the same prey.  The budget of state game agencies depend on hunter licensing fees.  Is it any wonder we are having wolf hunts and wolf “management”?

As soon as predators, like the wolf, start to 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 anyone defend that kind ”managment”? Yet Montana and Idaho contend their wildlife management practices are grounded in science.  I would like to see the science that backs wiping out 100 wolves for the death of 200 livestock?

In January 2008, before the current delisting took place, FWP issued new revised rules concerning the “management” of  gray wolves, who had been reintroduced to Central Idaho and Greater Yellowstone in 1995-96.  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?  They were literally the super stars of Yellowstone, sadly the pack is plagued by mange, their numbers declining, yet we are caught up in wolf hunts, which threatens them and other wild wolves in the park.  Already the famed Alpha female, 527F, of Yellowstone’s Cottonwood Pack, was gunned down a mile outside of the park, along with the Alpha male and her daughter, when the Montana hunt began.  This decimated the Cottonwood Pack and halted important research into some of Yellowstone’s most famous and studied collared wolves.

Trophy hunting of wolves only inflames passions and hatred of wolves. I won’t call trophy hunting a sport.  It’s an unfair game where the hunted aren’t acquainted with the rules. The only way it could be considered fair is if you placed the “hunter” in the woods without their high-powered rifles or high-tech bows and have them run up against a wolf 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 to get a cheap thrill and rush of testosterone (yes most hunters are men).  How skillful and brave is it to kill an animal, hundreds of yards away, that has no fighting chance against you, with a scope and high-powered rifle? Trophy hunting gives all hunting a bad name!!  It’s blood lust pure and simple. Wolves shouldn’t be subjected to this in the 21st Century. We’ve already exterminated them in the West once, are we aiming for round two?

286_lobo_wolf-wars

Lobo wolf wars (Photo: Nature Online)

The most encouraging words come from Richard Baldes, a Shoshone and former Fish and Wildlife Service biologist on the Wind River Indian Reservation, inhabited by the Arapahoe and Shoshone tribes.  They’re managing to coexist very well with wolves and welcome Canis Lupus.  He explained the tribe’s views to High Country News in 2008:

“The tribes’ management plans are pretty simple. “The Wind River Reservation is somewhat of a sanctuary,” Baldes tells me from his porch at the foot of the Wind River Mountains. Much as they do with the Nez Perce Tribe in Idaho, which was instrumental in the original reintroduction, wolves play an important role in the lore and religion of Shoshone and Arapahoe people. Wolves represent a social role model, for starters: “They take care of the family,” Baldes says. “The aunts and uncles take care of the young, and they also take care of the old.”

The obvious parallels between government efforts to eradicate wolves and past efforts to eradicate Indians aren’t lost on Baldes. In fact, the resurgence of wolves is a powerful metaphor on the reservation. “The Creator put them here for a reason,” Baldes says. He chuckles to himself about the raging controversy. “People have made the issue with wolves much more complicated than it needs to be,” he says. “It’s just a nice feeling to know that these animals are back and that they’re going to be here to stay. I don’t see any reason why they won’t be here forever.”

====

Why State Fish and Game Agencies Can’t Manage Predators

 By George Wuerthner, 4-17-09
  
minn gray wolf
http://www.newwest.net/topic/article/why_state_fish_and_game_agencies_cant_manage_predators/C564/L564
===
Top Photo: kewl wallpapers
Bottom and Middle Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Posted in: Wolf Wars
Tags: trophy hunting wolves, wolves in the crossfire, Wildlife Services, Obama administration de-listing, Druid Peak Pack
Advertisements

Wolf B 412: A Life Snuffed Out, A Life Remembered…

B412’s story was the result of a collaboration between myself and a dedicated wolf advocate and friend.

Every wolf  killed in Idaho and Montana’s wolf  jihad is special. Because wolves are hard to observe in these states, unlike Yellowstone National Park, it’s rare any one wolf becomes familiar to wolf supporters but wolf B412, was such a wolf.

She was born in mid-April 2006, a member of the Soldier Mountain Pack, named for a beautiful mountain range north of Fairfield, Idaho, about 110 miles from Boise.  Like much of Idaho, the Soldier Mountain Pack had to contend with sheep and cattle on public land grazing allotments.

Sheep grazing may appear to be a tranquil use of meadows and forests, but sheep are helpless and cannot defend themselves against a cocker spaniel, let alone a wolf or coyote. Guard dogs are used by some sheepmen, but the ranching industry relies mostly on Wildlife Servicesto trap, snare or shoot any wolf, coyote, fox, bear or mountain lion that’s spotted anywhere near livestock.

Wolves are scorned by Idaho Governor Butch Otter and his hand-picked Fish and Game Commissioners. These men – nicknamed the death squad – are trying to reduce what’s left of Idaho’s 800 wolves, down to 200 or less.

This was the situation a little, black female wolf pup faced, along with her pack in 2006.

Soldier Mountains Where B412 Was Born

Ranchers are not required to take any measures that might help wolves survive. Example: bands of sheep, numbering 2500 ewes and lambs, are frequently herded to known wolf denning and rendezvous sites in the mountains. Ranchers have public land grazing allotments to graze cattle and sheep – land that belongs to all Americans. Sheep herders who come to America, mostly from Peru, work for $700 a month or less and live in a sheep wagon most of the year. Their pay is the same whether they protect sheep from predators like wolves, or not. If a lamb dies of illness or injury, it’s often blamed on wolves.

The result: IDFG issues a control order to remove wolves and sends Wildlife Services on a killing mission. Wildlife Services is a federal government agency, under the U.S. Dept of Agriculture. Wildlife Services, a misnomer, sends agents to trap or snare any wolf they can find, or launches an air attack using a helicopter or fixed wing airplane. Your tax dollars at work.

The Soldier Mountain Pack had chosen their home range in a spectacular mountain landscape. But some people, especially ranchers with strong political connections, have determined that wolves will not exist. Coexisting with wolves is something Idaho has no intention of ever doing under the reign of Governor Butch Otter.

The Soldier Mountain Pack was implicated in some proven and probable livestock losses. It’s uncertain what happened, but in the fall of 2008, a young, black female wolf ended up far from her home territory.

And then trouble struck. The young wolf made the mistake of putting her paw into a coyote trap. Why any civilized human traps coyotes or any other animal, is hard if not impossible to understand. But in the fall of 2008, she was caught in a trap. The result: IDFG came to the scene and fixed a radio collar on her neck. At that time, scars of other trapping encounters were evident.

Right paw – missing two toes.

The wolf was missing two toes on her right foot. She apparently had been caught in a trap set for coyotes and managed to pull the trap free from its stake, leaving the area before the trapper came back to kill her. Squished in the trap, two of her front toes eventually dropped off the rest of her paw. She was free from the trap but paid a painful price. Now she was crippled.

Soon she was tricked again by an expert trapper, as indicated by the scar above her two remaining toes. Somehow, she was able to free herself from the trap and survive. A scar is visible on her right paw above her toes.

Scar Rt. Paw From Coyote Trap. Fresh scar on left foot.
Once the wolf was radio collared, she became known as Idaho Wolf B412. She now had a sore left foot and a mangled right foot. A wolf lives by it’s feet. It would take incredible courage for B412 to survive.

Gash on left paw shows further damage from a trap

The story moves to the Spring of 2009. Wolf B412 was being monitored by IDFG agents, as they do with all radio-collared wolves in Idaho. B412 was now three years old. She whelped her first litter of pups. There were only two other adult wolves with her. We know now, she had six pups. In early summer, 2009, a calf was killed 10 miles from the location B412 had her pups. According to agency documents, the order was to kill a wolf. Apparently it didn’t matter whether it was B412 or one of the other two wolves with her.

One adult wolf was “howled” out and killed. This means that a trained agent, imitates the howl of a wolf, and when it appears, he shoots it with a high powered rifle.

B412 eventually moved several miles away. In August, a biologist working for the Sawtooth National Forest, discovered five dead wolf pups in Ditto Flat.  Law enforcement was notified and officers retrieved the pups and also found a 6th. The conclusion: canine parvo was the culprit, it was found in the remains of two of the pups. Witnesses at the sad scene stated B412 was in the area and howled mournfully for her pups.

Then B412 disappeared. Her radio collar signal was not picked up on the IDFG monthly wolf survey flights. They use collar telemetry to pin point wolves’ locations.  All to0 often,  this information is shared, leading to dead wolves.

Where Was B412?

In 2011, a crippled, black collared wolf was seen in Blaine County, Idaho. It was B412, many miles from her original home. Much of Blaine County is a green, progressive, conservation-minded place. It’s one of two Idaho counties that voted for Obama. There’s a saying: I don’t live in Idaho, I live in Blaine County.

Unfortunately, the southern part of Blaine County is red neck and anti-wolf. B412 was on hostile ground near Bellevue and Carey, two tiny Blaine County villages. Those who knew B412 was in the area, didn’t say a word to anyone.

Then, in the summer of 2011, a man who had a bear baiting station caught a collared wolf on his remote camera. It wasn’t B412, but it was a gray wolf with a collar. That sent IDFG out searching for collared wolves, using an airplane, they found B412, who had been missing for nearly two years. Now that IDFG knew where she was – it was the beginning of the end for her.

Unfortunately, the enemies of wolves and all predators, continue to push to destroy wolves like B412. The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has become a huge force against wolves like B412. Apparently, elk are only for humans to hunt and kill.

When two sheep and a calf were killed several miles from B412 – IDFG called out the “Wildlife Services aerial gunning squad” to find B412 and “kill any offending wolves”. It didn’t matter if  B412 was responsible for killing livestock.

Friends of B412 kept an eye on her and her four black pups.

When the pups got older and could travel, B412 moved several miles. She was well hidden in an area with plentiful food, from rodents to deer and elk.

In late August, a calf was killed on a ranch 7 miles away. It wasn’t just any ranch, it belonged to a well-known public figure, who had been in the Idaho Legislature, and was considered by some to be an environmentalist. But, it’s now clear, that the rancher has no use for wolves or any animal that threatened his cattle and sheep. Wildlife Services stations an agent next to his ranch for the entire summer.

Observers knew B412 wasn’t anywhere near the ranch at the time the calf was killed. But, she was the closest collared wolf. Because the calf was left out in the open in hot weather from Sunday morning until Tuesday – it’s no surprise coyotes, foxes, ravens, wolves, eagles and magpies – all showed up to feed on the calf carcass.

Maybe a wolf killed the calf, maybe it didn’t. Wildlife Services can only continue to exist if they declare any dead calf or lamb, cow or ewe, a wolf kill.

Tragically, on the morning of August 31st, 2011, Wildlife Services swept down upon the ranch and shot three wolves and four coyotes. B412  escaped with her life,  running into the trees. Unfortunately, her yearling son, and two pups of the year,  did not survive the gunning.

B412 was heard howling, mourning for her off spring.

Almost three months later, on Sunday, November 27th, B412 herself, was shot by a wolf hunter. She was five years old. She had crippled, maimed feet. She weighed only 83 pounds. She was shot in an area that is only accessible via a locked gate, where there is private land belonging to the same ranch that allowed the August 31st aerial killing of B412’s yearling son and two pups.

B412’s two surviving pups are orphans now, grieving for their mother. There may be 1 or 2 adult wolves with them, who will teach them to hunt and survive.  But, sadistic humans, who hunt wolves, will be targeting them.

B412 was five  years old when she was shot by a wolf hunter on Sunday, November 27, 2011. The clouds over the Little Wood River country wept, as did all who are fighting for Idaho’s wolves.

What can you do to help? Support groups who are working on behalf of wolves in the Northern Rockies. Please, before you write a check, ask organizations where they stand on wolf hunting, trapping and snaring.  Depending on their answer you can open your check book or close it! Give instead to organizations who support and defend the right of wolves to exist in peace.

Please do not buy garments, footwear or other items made from the fur of animals.

Speak out for wolves, I hope B412’s  story will move you to act. She lived a hard life, caught in three traps, leaving both front paws maimed. She lost 6 puppies to parvo and three to Wildlife Service killers.

Wolves are not just faceless, nameless numbers. They’re highly social, intelligent animals who are  suffering,  due to ignorance, hate and arrogance.

Here are a few important facts  to carry with you:

Idaho lost 86, 900 cattle to non-predation in 201o (NASS).  This includes digestive, metabolic and respiratory problems, mastitis, lameness and injury, weather, poisoning and theft. Just 75 cows were lost to wolves.  Domestic dogs and coyotes are a bigger threat to cattle. Yet wolves are treated like terrorists, tracked and hounded,  now hunted with traps and snares.  Is this what was intended for the iconic wolf , brought back from the brink in the lower 48, just 16 years ago, only to be exterminated once more?

Remember B412!!

Speak out for Idaho wolves before it’s too late!

Anti-wolf bumper stickers as seen in Hailey, Idaho. Ignorance seems to have the upper hand in Idaho when it comes to wolves.

===

Elusive wolf shot by hunter near Carey

Alpha female had survived 3 kill orders

http://www.mtexpress.com/index2.php?ID=2005139657&var_Year=2011&var_Month=11&var_Day=30

====

CONTACT

PLEASE WRITE THE FOLLOWING MEN. IT’S ESSENTIAL YOU BE POLITE.
Do not use profanity. IDFG = Idaho Dept. of Fish & Game. These two men have considerable power over the wildlife in IDFG’s Magic Valley Region in the southern part of the state. The Region includes the towns of Twin Falls, Burley, Rupert, Buhl, Hagerman, Jerome, Gooding, Mountain Home, Fairfield, Bellevue, Hailey, Ketchum, Sun Valley and Picabo.
  

Dr. Wayne Wright,  IDFG Commissioner

Magic Valley Region

===

Jerome Hansen, IDFG Supervisor

Magic Valley Region

 jerome.hansen@idfg.idaho.gov 

Points to mention – please mention if you are an Idaho resident, a current or past visitor to Idaho, or have (had) plans to visit Idaho:

•Wolves are intelligent, charismatic animals who live in families, just like us. I would like to be able to view wolves in Idaho w/o someone trying to shoot, trap or snare them.

•I am very disappointed that Wolf B412 was recently shot by a hunter in your region. This wolf endured much in her short life, including the loss of two toes to a trap, and the loss of three of her pups this past summer. Now her two remaining pups are orphaned and will probably not survive. Yet, IDFG encourages hunters to kill wolves of any age, apparently to satisfy some blood thirst, a hatred of wolves, or to sell wolf tags for $11.75. What a waste. IDFG and its commissioners should be ashamed.

•Idaho’s treatment of wolves – shooting, trapping, snaring, aerial gunning – is inhumane & has no place in a civilized society, Idaho is already looked upon as a 3rd World Country existing within the United States, and your wolf killing plan furthers this impression.

•The indiscriminate killing of wolves of any age, as advocated by the Idaho Dept. of Fish and Game and the IDFG Commissioners, is spotlighting Idaho as a backwater state, that you wouldn’t want to visit, let alone call home. The wolf snaring and trapping season is a danger to anyone who has dogs or small children.

•Ranchers are being irresponsible in protecting their livestock from predators and IDFG is encouraging this by willingly ordering the slaughter of any wolves that might exist within miles. There is no accountability whatsoever on the part of sheep or cattle ranchers. I will no longer eat beef or lamb that comes from Idaho.

•IDFG’s management of wolves has drawn attention to the mismanagement of ranchers and their livestock. Like never before, public lands ranching is under scrutiny and I for one support, the removal of all livestock from my public lands. IDFG used to stand up for wildlife, now it appears you are but another pawn for the powerful cattle and sheep ranches.

•IDFG’s war on wolves – with the goal of killing by any means possible – all but 200 wolves in the state, has also drawn attention to big game outfitters who have made it clear they dislike wolves. I will never hire an outfitter who hunts wolves. I will boycott any business that supports the hunting of wolves. I will urge my friends and family to boycott Idaho until IDFG changes it’s campaign against wolves.

Sincerely,

===

Gov. Butch Otter

Phone: 208-334-2100

Fax: (208) 334-3454

===

Idaho Fish and Game Commissioners

http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/about/commission/members.cfm

Panhandle Region

Tony McDermott
mcmule@msn.com

===

Clearwater Region

Fred Trevey
fred.trevey@idfg.idaho.gov

===

Southwest Region

Bob Barowsky
bbarowsky@fmtc.com

===

Southeast Region

Randy Budge
rcb@racinelaw.net

===

Upper Snake Region

===

Salmon Region

Gary Power
gpower@centurytel.net

===

Idaho Fish and Game

IDFG Director Virgil Moore:

(208) 334-3771

virgil.moore@idfg.idaho.gov

===

Jon Rachael, IDFG Wildlife Dept.

(208) 334-2920  

jon.rachael@idfg.idaho.gov

Idaho Fish and Game General Numbers Click Here

===

Idaho tourism office

http://www.visitidaho.org/contact/

===

Write the Potato Commission

http://contact.idahopotato.com/

===

Photos: Courtesy of  Idaho WildWolf Images Copyright 2011

Top Wolf Photo: Courtesy Animal Pictures Archive

Elk Photo: Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Posted in: Wolf Wars, Idaho Wolves

Tags: B412, Soldier Mountain Pack, black wolf,  Idaho, Wildlife Services, IDFG, wolf hunt, traps and snares, aerial gunning, Flat Top Ranch

New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson Suspends Trapping in Wolf Recovery Area

Middle Fork Pack alphas both  missing their front legs, Alpha male AM871 lost his limb to a leg hold trap.

What a breath of fresh air. Positive wolf news for a change.  Governor Bill Richardson has suspended trapping on the NM side of the wolf recovery area for six months.  He wants to know what effect trapping has on the highly endangered Mexican gray wolf population and has ordered New Mexico Fish and Game to study the issue.

Actually they don’t have to do a study, I can tell you trapping is devastating to all animals, including gray wolves. The alpha male of the Middle Fork pack lost his front leg to a trap. He and his mate are both missing their front legs. The alpha female lost her front leg to a bullet.

Even though this is a suspension for six months and not a permanent ban it certainly is a step in the right direction. We need to get traps and snares off all public lands. 

I commend the Governor for doing something pro-active for wolves. We should write and thank him for his efforts.

Contact Governor Bill Richardson:

http://www.governor.state.nm.us/email.php?mm=6&type=opinion

=======

NM governor suspends trapping in wolf area

Associated Press – July 28, 2010 4:55 PM ET

http://www.kwes.com/global/story.asp?s=12885938

 

Photos: Courtesy USFWS

Posted in: Mexican gray wolf

Tags: trapping suspension, New Mexico, traps and snares, Governor Bill Richardson

 

%d bloggers like this: