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Wolf hunters and conservationists are waiting Tuesday morning for a decision from U.S. District Court Judge Donald Molloy in Missoula on whether the scheduled opening day for hunting wolves can proceed. Here is some recommended reading: Monday’s latest from NewWest.Net’s Amy Linn is a full report on the lawsuit by 13 groups in a coalition represented by Earthjustice. Linn was in the courtroom yesterday and it’s a fascinating you-are-there piece on this controversial issue.
"Perhaps the most dramatic moment in the courtroom came when Earthjustice attorney Honnold said reintroduction won’t be a success until 3,000 to 5,000 wolves are in the northern Rockies—up to three times more wolves than today’s numbers. The statement drew audible gasps from the pro-hunt contingent."
Also yesterday, the Spokane Spokesman-Review’s Betsy Russell had three short, informative pieces. Excerpts and links:

Decision Day for Wolves? A Roundup

Wolf hunters and conservationists are waiting Tuesday morning for a decision from U.S. District Court Judge Donald Molloy in Missoula on whether the scheduled opening day for hunting wolves can proceed. Here is some recommended reading:

Monday’s latest from NewWest.Net’s Amy Linn is a full report on the lawsuit by 13 groups in a coalition represented by Earthjustice. Linn was in the courtroom yesterday and it’s a fascinating you-are-there piece on this controversial issue.

“Perhaps the most dramatic moment in the courtroom came when Earthjustice attorney Honnold said reintroduction won’t be a success until 3,000 to 5,000 wolves are in the northern Rockies—up to three times more wolves than today’s numbers. The statement drew audible gasps from the pro-hunt contingent.”

Also yesterday, the Spokane Spokesman-Review’s Betsy Russell had three short, informative pieces. Excerpts and links:

“Along with hunters who are headed out wolf hunting in the morning in the Lolo and Sawtooth zones, there’ll be members of the national media. ‘Today was the busiest day with the media I think we’ve ever had,’ said Ed Mitchell of Idaho Fish & Game. ‘The ABC guys are going to be here tonight, New York Times. National Geographic is here …’”

“One concern raised by U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy raised when he issued the 2008 injunction stopping wolf hunts in Idaho and Montana was the lack of evidence of genetic mixing between the wolf populations in the various states.”

“Get this: Idaho wasn’t supposed to be allowed to offer any oral arguments this morning at the wolf hearing in Missoula, but U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy surprised officials from Idaho and Montana this morning by shifting gears at the last minute, and agreeing to hear their arguments as well as those from the 13 environmental groups that sued over the delisting of the wolf, and from the U.S. Department of Justice, defending the decision.”

Ralph Maughn’s Wildlife News is also keeping up with the issue.

About Jill Kuraitis

Jill Kuraitis is an award-winning journalist who specializes in news of Idaho and the Rocky Mountain West. Her B.A. in theatre management is from UC Santa Barbara, and she went on to work in theatre, film, and politics before writing became a career. Kuraitis has two excellent grown children and lives in Boise with her husband of 30 years, abundant backyard wildlife, and two huge hairy dogs.

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8 comments

  1. Ralph’s board pretty much lit up on this one. Lynne Stone wants wolf lovers to grab their guns and go “target shooting.” And shoot in the air….
    Yo, Judge, we’re waiting with bated breath.

  2. Johnny Thundersockeye

    AHH,Isnt that the cutest picture of Canis Lupus ever taken.Did DOW pay New West for such a timely appeal to our emotions?!Yes wolves are cute ,mysterious and gorgeous just like the female members of our own species and thus should be hunted,only with wolves it needs to be with guns ,rather than fat wallets ,fast cars and smooth talk.Come think of it those things might help with wolves too!

  3. Paul Burke, Author-Journey Home

    I’m an environmentalist and supporter of Defenders and I definitely support culling a massive herd of anything that is out of balance and wrecking havoc on the surrounding area, livestock, watershed and wilderness.

    That being said – in a State that has “Palinized”, turned Wolf Killing into Politics, and has fanned hate so vigorously who can be trusted to count the wolves? Hunters are already out in the wilderness with no way of notifying them about a Federal ruling.

    Well if you can’t notify them how can you count how many wolves they kill?

    The whole thing to me as an individual is a question of balance. Man is a huge part of the equation and sustainability of the eco-system is in everyone’s best interest.

    You can’t sell licenses if you don’t have game to kill. I’m also under the impression that grazing on public lands is beneficial to both parties, but to think there is some guarantee that your herd or even you won’t be attacked by a bear or wolf or snake – well that’s not very outdoorsy. It comes with the territory – so to speak. There are no guarantees when you step out into the wild. There are no guarantees in the city either – where we have our own version of predators.

    I would add the extremist on either end of ANY issue are as wrong as wrong can be. It’s a question of balance.

    Paul Burke
    Author-Journey Home

  4. As much as I support the presence of wolves in the Northern Rockies, it is probably a mistake to call for 3-5K wolves in the Yellowstone-central Idaho recovery zone. For enviros to focus on such numbers is to make the same mistake the anti-wolfers are making with their (undeniably false) claims that the original plan put a cap of 300 on the number of wolves states would manage for.

    The critical issues for wolf recovery are distribution, connectivity,and redundancy, not raw numbers. We don’t want to call for higher numbers and therefore higher densities of wolves in an area that biologically cannot support those numbers. We’ve already seen the consequences of density saturation in the wolves of Yellowstone National Park–disease. Too many wolves is not healthy for wolves.

    We’re supposed to be ecologists, not bean counters. What’s necessary is to provide wolves with as much habitat as we can, stretching up into Canada and across to the West Coast, and then let wolves themselves work out what their densities and numbers will be. The same is true for grizzly bears.

    Quite frankly, what’s really at stake in this particular lawsuit is not numbers or biology, all the talk about genetics notwithstanding, but whether the Fish & Wildlife Service can deliberately misinterpret the Endangered Species Act to split up a formally declared distinct population segment as it has done with its latest delisting rule–delisting in Idaho and Montana, keeping wolves on the list in Wyoming. As long as wolves remain on the list in Wyoming, legally the FWS is obligated to keep them on the list in Idaho and Montana. That situation is, of course, caused by the politically cynical determination by the State of Wyoming (otherwise known as the Wyoming Stockgrowers Protective Association) to hang on to its dual status law.

    RH

  5. Robert, I agree: “The critical issues for wolf recovery are distribution, connectivity,and redundancy, not raw numbers.”

    However, as long as the agencies that manage the landscape (USFS, BLM, NPS) remain on the sidelines, the USFWS and States have little control over anything but population numbers. This is where NREPA (H.R. 1975) could provide relief, ironically, to those frustrated by lawsuits. Securing habitat in roadless areas, corridors, and restoring areas damaged by past practices, would decrease the likelihood of species-by-species lawsuits. Removing threats to habitat security ecosystem-wide diminishes the need to challenge agency species viability assumptions and analysis at the project level. Something to think about.

  6. I don’t disagree with this, and I support NREPA. What bothers me about the numbers game is that it, aside from being ecologically suspect, plays into the lunatic Sagebrush Rebel narrative about wolf management without accomplishing anything for wolf recovery. I would far rather see enviros talk about habitat rather than numbers.

  7. Numbers are not the issue, permanent listing irregardless of the numbers and control over people is the issue. Ralph bans anyone who has a differing opinion, he may tolerate soemone for a short while if they do not challenge the firm agenda too much or too often, and yeah, I’m one of the banned ones.

  8. Ralph made a good call. He usually does.