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UPDATE: Green groups going to courthouse again. See end of article for details. In a "Pen and Pad" teleconference today, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar told reporters he was going ahead with removing the gray wolf from the protection of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in the Great Lakes States, Idaho and Montana, but not Wyoming. "Idaho and Montana have succeeded in getting us to a point where we can delist the wolf," Salazar announced, "and this shows us the Endangered Species Act can work. With Wyoming, frankly, the scientists in the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) do not believe the recovery plan is adequate to protect the wolf in Wyoming. "We don't believe we should punish the states that have done well," he added. "We shouldn't hold Idaho and Montana hostage to the inadequacies we have seen in Wyoming. The point is, we can make the Endangered Species Act work if we have the cooperation of the states. In the case of Wyoming, it has not worked."

Salazar Approves Wolf Delisting

UPDATE: Green groups going to courthouse again. See end of article for details.

In a “Pen and Pad” teleconference today, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar told reporters he was going ahead with removing the gray wolf from the protection of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in the Great Lakes States, Idaho and Montana, but not Wyoming.

“Idaho and Montana have succeeded in getting us to a point where we can delist the wolf,” Salazar announced, “and this shows us the Endangered Species Act can work. With Wyoming, frankly, the scientists in the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) do not believe the recovery plan is adequate to protect the wolf in Wyoming.

“We don’t believe we should punish the states that have done well,” he added. “We shouldn’t hold Idaho and Montana hostage to the inadequacies we have seen in Wyoming. The point is, we can make the Endangered Species Act work if we have the cooperation of the states. In the case of Wyoming, it has not worked.”

The delisting proposal now goes to the Federal Register for publication, but Salazar didn’t give a specific time frame, nor did he address litigation by green groups, which resulted in the FWS pulling back on its delisting plan last year.

“The recovery of the gray wolf throughout significant portions of its historic range is one of the great success stories of the Endangered Species Act,” Salazar concluded. “When it was listed as endangered in 1974, the wolf had almost disappeared from the continental United States. Today, we have more than 5,500 wolves, including more than 1,600 in the Rockies.

“The successful recovery of this species is a stunning example of how the Act can work to keep imperiled animals from sliding into extinction,” he said. “The recovery of the wolf has not been the work of the federal government alone. It has been a long and active partnership including states, tribes, landowners, academic researchers, sportsmen and other conservation groups, the Canadian government and many other partners.”

Wolves in other parts of the 48 states, including the Southwest wolf population, remain endangered and are not affected by the actions taken today.

In response to a Wyoming reporter’s question, Salazar said he plans to visit the Cowboy State later this year, but didn’t say how many body guards might accompany him.

P.S. Salazar also reaffirmed that his staff would “look at” the controversial national park gun rule, but it was telling how he said it. “This is one of those issues that distracts the department from more important issues.”

UPDATE: Less than two hours after Salazar’s announcement, the Sierra Club sent out a press release saying: “The state plans could threaten the long-term survival of the gray wolf in the Northern Rockies, especially given the genetic isolation of wolves throughout the recovery area. Aggressive wolf-killing practices, coupled with genetic isolation and plans to institute hunts in Idaho and Montana, could push wolf numbers dangerously low and reverse decades of recovery work. The Sierra Club, along with other conservation groups, plans to challenge the wolf delisting decision in court.”

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  1. Now! Everybody who has bought into the demonization of wolves can get out their shovels, their high-powered armaments, and get to shooting…

  2. I’m sure this comment section will be filled with well reasoned arguments and will not result in any flame wars.

    As well, Salazar has a small conflict, as his brother the cattle rancher was lobbying against the listing of wolves. This has a good chance of not standing up against the attacks by conservation groups.

  3. Oh thank you Bill!
    Finally something we can sink our teeth into for the next week or so. This one will bust 200 for sure. I can’t wait to shoot, skin, and sell my first wolf hide. knock, knock, elfman are you home?

  4. I have to add one factoid to the discussion of the Partial Delisting of Wolves in Wyoming, Montana- and Idaho. The problem is Wyoming.

    With its hunkered down fatalist insistence on establishing a ” Shoot on Sight” predator zone in about 75 perent of the state ( the other three quadrants apart from the northwest quad containing Yellowstone and the bulk of the active Wolf packs in Wyoming ) , Wyoming’s leaders have held up delisting for All. And both Montana and Idaho leaders were frankly getting mighty p_ssed with Wyoming’s stance. The back channels between the three Governors were pretty vociferous, and sleeves were being rolled up for a donnybrook. Montana and Idaho told Wyoming in no uncertain terms to get with the program. For a while they did. And USF&WS;gave some ground at the same time, not coincidentally , by modifying the 10J rule to allow impacts on Elk herdds to be part of the state Wolf management plan ( that’s wrong, by the way . Totally biologically wrong ).

    Then the conservation groups threw their little monkeywrench into the Bush delisting after Judge Molloy called out Wyoming on the “Predator Zone” portion of the dual status management plan as being inconsistent with recovery rules ( which was true). The Solomonic cut made by the Bush admin in its closing days was to instigate the Partial Delisting decree whereby Idaho and Montana could go ahead and delist, but Wyoming would literally remain in the Doghouse. Since that was one of Bush’s profligate ” 11th Hour” executive orders and regulations issued in the last 30-40 days of his term , it was summarily cancelled by Obama almost the day he took office, pending ” further review”. Well, apparently Salazar has reviewed.

    In the meantime, since early January , the Wyoming Legislature has been in session and considered no less than FOUR different Wolf Management bills, none of which were enacted. Our far seeing Legislature chose to do nothing and just let everybody’s chips fall where they may. They fell right back where they came from. No forward movement. Wyoming lawmakers had a perfect chance to do the right thing and eliminate the Predator Zone, but did not. Today’s announcement by Salazar that the Dept of Interior is going back to the Bush plan of partially delisting in Montana and Idaho but NOT Wyoming is just the next page in the “Groundhog Day” circular copulation that is Northern Rockies Wolf Reintroduction. We are right back where we were years ago. Wyoming came out of its bunker and saw the shadow of a Wolf, and that means another couple years of litigation. I expect the conservation groups to do the same thing. And a year from now, I will probably be writing more of the same, too.

    Meanwhile, the Alpha Males and Alpha Female Wolves of northwest Wyoming have mated and are looking for den sites. There will be that many more Wolf pups, thanks to all this human bickering and failure to reach common ground.

    That isn’t a wolf howl that you hear on the far ridge west of Cody . Nope. That Wolf is laughing. “Stupid humans “, it says to its pregnant mate , who smiles back. ” We’re still protected, aren’t we ?”

  5. Treehuggin' Cowgirl

    Yay!!!!! I’m so glad and so surprised. I admire Obama and voted for him, but I really didn’t pick a city boy Democrat’s administration to make the right decision here.

    I am grateful that wolves exist in the Northern Rockies for both ecological and spiritual reasons, but they are going to become a substantial problem if they lose their fear of humans. Active management will be a great step forward to keeping wildlife wild!

    Wyoming deserves its spot in the dog (or wolf?) house. Their backwards and antiquated wildlife management (elk feeding, paying ranchers for wildlife eating their grass) needs to stop. Maybe the disgrace of Montana and Idaho getting to manage wolves will jumpstart some progress.

    And again, yay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

  7. Treehuggin' Cowgirl

    Meet the new boss, unpartisan enough to have some good ol’ fashioned common sense! Still, yay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. Captain Caveman

    Who has wolves within 1 mile of their house say I.


    Who has wolves well beyond the reintroduction area in every mountain range around there house that can be seen from the area well beyond the reintroduction area say I.


    I would call that a successful recovery.

    It’s never enough alot of the wolfies live far from wolves.

    I aint a wolf hater but there are wolves everywhere around me and I dont want them coming into the villages and getting used to humans.

    wolves on the Boise foothills trails this spring

  9. Don’t either side get excited yet. There truly are some interesting wrinkles in the approach, the language, and the implications that are yet to be played out.

  10. Oh, great. Just what the wolf haters need to go on their wolf killing sprees.

    This just isn’t right. The wolf (and bison) needs permanent federal protection against this kind of hatred and persecution — this is very similar to the persecution Native Americans have had to endure from stupid white people.

    I knew this would happen with Salazar, the livestock guy, in charge of the interior.

    We need someone in charge who puts the land and the native animals first BEFORE anything else — a true conservationist. Bad decision, Obama!

    Obama needs a serious wake up call from true conservationists in the West! He is mainly hearing from the vocal special interest livestock industry.

    Having Salazar in charge of the Interior is like having the FOX IN CHARGE OF THE HENHOUSE.

  11. Ass in a hat. Ken Salazar, all his life on his knees to the ranchers, oil companies and coal interests follows the Bush administration and delists the gray wolf that will result in a thousand wolves being shot.

    Salazar is the last person to rebuild a devastated Dept of Interior. Right of center conservative cabinet appointments make plain that Obama cannot and will not keep his campaign promises. Some things never change, despite the enlightening rhetoric.

  12. manage the wolf like any other wildlife.

    we need them around, but there has to be balance. nature always works toward balance. take nature’s lead. i got my elk in the past two years right in the middle of those wolves. a little more challenging than the old days. but maybe that’s the way its suppose to be.

    a lot of the extreme folks on both sides need to chill out and let the wildlife managers manage the wolf like any other wildlife.

    have the ranchers considered better fencing to keep the wolves out of their herds. it will raise the cost of beef, but so be it. I’ll still buy it.

    let the wildlife managers manage. they have been studying the science of wildlife management for years. they are aware of the moneyed interests of the beef industry and the hunting industry and wilderness hiking industry. all variables taken into account.

    i like beef, i like elk hunting, i like hiking in the wilderness and i like hearing the wolves howl while sleeping in the tent with my family. it’s a sound heard from the beginning of time. (really cool)

    we are all in the same boat like it or not. let’s be civil and work toward solutions.

    thank you in advance.

  13. In my opinion this is an attempt to give enviro groups the ability to go to courts and get the money that they are not getting from donations in this worsening economy.
    One possible solution to the controversy would be for wolf proponents to sign a list and they would be responsible for repaying the rancher for his private property killed or wounded by the wolves they love. The lucky ones would have their name come up when 1 sheep or 1 dog was the victim, the unlucky ones would have their name come up when a couple of registered bulls or a $5000 cutting horse was the victim, but they would be out the money irregardless and then they would have a real part of the project. It could go a long way toward everyone understanding the others point of view. Ranchers could enjoy watching wolves and enviros could understand the financial impact of the introduction. If the names on the list rotated every day, some folks might get hit several times and they could listen to the others talk about how easy it all is….just like ranchers.
    By the way, I believe Wyoming was the state with both the lowest wolf kill and livestock kill in 2008…evidently because of their management. The problem is Wyoming refuses to grovel and plead with FWS or the enviros and they cannot stand that.

  14. Sure, Marion, that’s a great idea. How about they task you with identifying the wolf proponents? You would have an easy time of it! Anyone that didn’t agree 100% with YOU would be a wolf proponent. That well would never run dry!

    And I see you have lots and lots of conspiracy theories. Why is that? Too much time alone?

  15. How about those who do not want the wolves controlled? Certainly thsoe who file a lawsuit to prevent control fo the wolves. I’m sure you believe it is such an inconsequential sum to lose a cow, or flock of sheep, or horse, etc that you will be the first to put your money where your mouth is won’t you?

  16. There are a few thousand wolves, living on the precipice–an extraordinary species thousands of years old. On the other hand, there are a million cows raised for cash and slaughter. It would seem to me that the loss of a some livestock is a small price to pay to protect this endangered and spectacular wild animal from extinction. The greed of those who think they have a right to occupy and cultivate every square inch of Americana to squeeze the last dollar out of the land is simply appalling. Nobody’s talking about displacing ranchers. And if they lose a few bucks so that a tiny percentage of the wolves historic numbers can survive, so be it. That’s the cost of making what is such a modest accommodation to wildlife. And if these poor oppressed ranchers, getting huge federal subsidies, grazing on federal land are so put upon by the loss of a few head of cattle, then I suggest they raise their price. In fact, if they are so impoverished by the losses, I would be happy as a taxpayer to support federal reimbursement to these struggling cattlemen, if that’s what it takes to keep them from whining.

  17. It is the same story it was 200 years ago. The same story than 100 years ago. We can not live with wolves or other wildlife. We have to take control about everything. It’s only money that counts. The right of these animals to live and to nourish their pups doesn’t count. Wolves will always be the ennemis of humans, despite the fact they have more fans than ever before. But the ennemis are stronger and they just wait with their guns loaded for the day of the delisting.

  18. Once more, Aaron and Luc, step forward and show us how little those “few bucks” are by paying for the losses and of course help the rancher dig the holes necassary to bury a few cows or sheep. Certainly your habitation has displaced wildlife too, so you should be held responsible.
    Environmentalists would be much more credible if they would show the way by example instead of demanding that others make the sacrifices that make them happy. Your home too is displacing wildlife, isn’t the greed on your part in demanding that others make all of the sacrifices so you can have your dreamworld in their yard instead of disturbing your own?

  19. Someone call the whaaaaambulance, marion has a new talking point.

    Going to beat that one into the ground as well? What about the cows lost to brucellosis? Or mountain lions or grizzly bears? How about the calves lost to coyotes? Lets hear it, Marion, I really want to hear about how those other predators are OK, but the wolves aren’t.

    How about the cows that come up lame while in the practically free grange? Should the taxpayer pay for those, too? How about the ones that fall off cliffs, get swept away in flash floods or just get lost? Lets make those damn greenies pay for it all!

    Ridiculous and juvenile would be the two best words to describe your newest tactic, marion.

  20. No need for name calling Jay, just tell us what you yourself contribute….if anything but demands. The kills are taking place right now mostly on private property. Just cough up the money for the kills on private property. Of course you are too cheap to do that I suspect, it is easy to talk about how insignificant the monetary loss is when it is something you have forced someone else to pay, but to be responsible yourself is a whole other thing.

  21. I called your tactics juvenile, Marion, not you. Of course, you’ll spin it however it best provides cover to your methods.

    But you ignored my point completely. Why shouldn’t I also pay for mountain lion kills? Grizzly kills? Snake kills or even when the rancher doesn’t take care of his herd and some die from malnutrition or dehydration? Why are you singling out wolves?

    I know the answer. My guess is that everyone else on these forums also understands it. You’re probably the only one that doesn’t, Marion.

  22. I think that all environmentalist groups should be bonded before they can file a lawsuit of any kind. This way when they do loose a case they would be liable for all expenses, lawyers, court fees, income, any expense incurred by the defense whether it be gov’t or private, such as livestock, pets, timber, mining, contractors etc. damage of any sort. Maybe if the bond was large enough they would think twice before running and jamming our courts up with lawsuits.

  23. Would they also have to pay for their egregious spelling errors, Cindy?

    And you really don’t understand how the legal system works, do you?

  24. For Marion and Cindy:

    Sorry …the “Enviros” are not the problem. Not at all. If anything, they are your conscience. Or more likely a surrogate conscience to replace the one you sold to the gypsies or Robber Barons.

    The problem with Wolves in Wyoming is not any organized environmental legal action , but rather the the livestock producers hegemony , the comemrcial hunting lobby , a regressive Legislature, and worst of all the Wyo Game and Fish department !!!—who will not make the necessary distinction between managing a specie as a revenue producing or monetary liability inducing thing , and a natural wild creature. In other words, Wyo G&F;will always manage everything as “Game” instead of “Wildlife” because their own existence and paychecks depend on being able to harvest Game but wildlife alone and apart is seen as a revenue sink ( Wyoming spends about $ 1.5-2 million annually on Grizzly Bear management but cannot issue a license to hunt same, and that is anathema to them.

    No, it’s not the Enviros who are the wrench in the works for Wolf delisting in Wyoming… it’s the State of Wyoming itself on behalf f special interests but not the true conservationists. They are suing, too. ( Does anyone really believe that Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife is really a conservation group and not a political lobby ? Get real) What strange bedfellows to see the Sierra Club and Wyoming Attorney General arguing before the same Judge in the same court to throw out the Salazar partial delisting plan. How do the Marions and Cindys reckon THAT at the end of the day ?

    Here’s all I need to know about Wyoming’s wolf management plan , firsthand. About a year ago , Wyo G & F reps were selling their draft Wolf management plan at some staewide meetings just before the short Delisting of wolves last Spring. At the Cody meeting, I asked the WyGF top man on this issue, Bill Rudd, a direct Yes-No question. ” Does G & F see any positive value whatsoever in managing Wolves as a desireable wildlife species in any scenario , above the legal limit of X breeding pairs required to be present by Fish adn Wildlife Service ?. In other words, are Wolves worth anything to Wyoming G & F as a legitimate wildlife specie.

    Rudd answered ” No, they are not ” . In other words, Wyoming’s whole management plan is to tolerate the precise number of Wolves that the Feds tell them to allow—X numbers of packs and Y numbers of breeding pairs in Wyoming INCLUDING those in Yellowstone, and Wolves inside the wilderness areas immediately adjacent to Yellowstone are mostly protected. Wyoming would hedge this a little bit by ” allowing” a few more Wolves to avoid falling back under the mortality quotas and force Re-Listing. Outside the wilderness on Forest , BLM, and other multiple use lands, the shooting begins.

    Wyoming’s plan is to kill every damn Wolf above a certain agreed to limit outside Yellowstone and the wilderness , by one means or another. It’s almost a Zero Tolerance plan for Wolves , of which the so-called dual status concept establishing a Predator Zone where all Wolves can be shot on sight is impleented in 75-85 percent of the land area of the state.

    Huh ? I thought the whole idea was to recover the Grey Wolf as a legitimate wildlife specie in the ecology across the landscapes of the Northern Rockies. Why else was the Grey Wolf declared endangered back in 1974 ( Yes, Marion et al..the Wolf was put on the endangered list during the Gerald Ford administration , by way of rreminder ). Because it was endangered at the exact time in history when we needed Wolves to manage grossly overpopulated Elk herds in Yellowstone that were wrecking the entire northern range in many ways. Even today , EVERY Elk herd unit outside Yellowstone in northwest Wyoming is way overpopulated, and very out of balance, especially in the Cody ehrd units. And those are precisely the areas where a lot of public and commercial General Elk Licenses and trophy outfitted Elk Hunts have been occuring since time immemorial.

    Which is a perfect place for me to say something else : People hunting with rifles are lousy wildlife conservators. They are rank amatuers, incompetent kilelrs, and are the primary reason besides drought and habitat issues that the Elk ehrds are in such convoluted shape in NW Wyomig. Humans are bad Game managers, and even worse Wildlife conservators. And we are 7th down the food chain in the natural world, but Numero Uno in the Artifical World of alien exotic bovines encroaching on wildlife habitat and supplanting native ungulates. Why on god’s green earth did we EVER allow those Scottish Highland and French Provincial cows to ever set foot in the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem ? What a foolish , failed experiment that was.

    The Bottom Line is, Wolves and Ungualtes need each other. The Carnivore-Herbivore relationship is symbiotic and goes back many hundreds of thousands of eyars in a form you would recognize today , all the various Interglacial Eras of the last four Ice Ages have seen three species of Wolves , including the Dire, alongside vast herds of Ungulates and other prey in North America. We incredibly naive and blundering humans upset that relationship in less than 150 years by bringing in cattle and sheep and landed aristochracy.

    Time to fix that mistake, while we still can. Get out of the way, Wolf Haters and Enviro Haters, there’s real wildlife conservation and Wolf Recovery work to be done in the northern Rockies.

  25. Good one Jay,
    First insult the persons intelect then run for the high ground.
    As a matter of fact, in England cindys contention would be the norm. You lose you pay.

  26. That’s what frivolous lawsuit judgments are for, Mr. Twisty. Counter suits also work wonders.

    Your argument: you doesn’t have it.

  27. I know I’m way over my head here mr. kancor, but the fact remains. In England if you lose you pay. as american law is somewhat based on crown law it isn’t unreasonable to suggest that perhaps a better way would be to require losers in lawsuits that lack merit to pay. i’m thinking of the stupid lawsuit Matt brought against the FS and lost…as did everyone else.

  28. Nice try, but no. Counter suits are just as valid in America and they protect the accused from out-of-pocket costs if the accuser loses.

  29. Ok, So wildrockies looses, the FS wins, they don’t counter sue, its a done deal. who loses? i mean no rancor, I’m trying to understand how this works. How does the taxpayer get his money back if the gov. wins? Or do we just chalk it up to the “price of freedom” or some such crap?

  30. Cindy, the problem with the lawsuits filed by enviros is that they are allowed to file them in their special courts where they know before hand the judge will rule for them, and then the judge rules to give them an award for their “expenses”…at taxpayer expense I might add.
    The enviros have absolutely no investment, nor any responsibility. One helpful thing woudl be to force them to take a court assigned to them and enver the same one that they have been in before.
    The ESA will continue to be abused by those wanting pwoer over other people until all perameters are set out at the very beginning of declaring a species endangered, including the numbers existing versus the numbers desired. For instance the original plan called for 300 wolves between the 3 states. The wolves should have been delisted automatically with no lawsuits, no arguements at that time. Rewarding liars is never good policy and that is what Malloy has done and will do again and again.

  31. Actually, I’m going to have to plead ignorance on how the fees for a losing lawsuit are handled in a case such as that. I do know that groups such as the Wild Rockies Alliance do have to have money up front to bring the lawsuit, to pay for certain things, possibly they do pay for the cost to the county/state. The Constitutional right to petition the government for redress is in the First Amendment, though, and may cover some of it.

  32. So we just go on and on over this wolf thing. That is what we bumpkins don’t get.

  33. No, we don’t. Unfortunately people like Marion and possibly yourself don’t understand the stances of the conservationists. Or perhaps you do understand it but continue to spin it so that it sounds worse.

    Conservationists are asking that comprehensive control plans are put into place that take into account all of the requirements of the ESA so that wolves don’t have to be relisted in a couple years because of trigger happy misinformed hunters and ranchers. The point is to have something that carries the possibility of being successful. No responsible parties want the wolves to have free reign over the three states.

    If you look at just a small portion of the biologists explanations and requests, you will see that there is a fair amount of evidence that wolf packs can be “trained” to avoid stock and humans. A number of packs show no interest in killing cows or horses. If some trigger happy hick was to shoot the alpha male of that pack then you have a crap shoot on whether or not the remnants or splinter packs would start viewing stock as food.

    There are a number of success stories through the west in regards to wolves. People like Marion, however, continue to scream and vent using lies and misinformation that makes this an even more divisive issue. That is one of the biggest reasons, as I see it, that it keeps ending up in court.

  34. Jay, it ends up in court because enviros word is wortheless, enough is never enough. We passed the number you required many years ago. I have no doubt that even 5000 would not be enough, after all we can’t guarantee that Yellowsotne won’t blow up and destroy most of the wolves, and you must have a guarantee that we will protect them from any eventuality. The wolfers make no guarantee on the other hand, even if a kid gets injured or killed, oh well, they want more and more.
    Mr, Twister, the taxpayer has gotten it in the neck from day one and will continue for years, we will pay and pay and pay. Enviro groups will take and take and take as long as the people will let them.
    Try to find where enviros have put any money into the whole thing, other than a few fences that do not work and tying rags to fences to “scare” wolves. All they contribute is harrassment to those trying to provide jobs and food for the country.

  35. jay, I will go with MT FW&P;, they are trained bios. Save the lecture for the misinformed. I’m glad to see our reps in washington agree.

  36. Thank God, it’s about time. Wolves are going strong in the N. Rockies. Time to manage them like other healthy wildlife populations.

  37. “Thank God, it’s about time. Wolves are going strong in the N. Rockies. Time to manage them like other healthy wildlife populations.”
    Certainly we have managed things extremely well in this nation up to the previous time, eh?
    It was such a mess when homo sapiens arrived here from Europe, eh, what?

  38. Treehuggin' Cowgirl

    Time out on the legal discussion real quick, let me see if I can clarify a few things. Any lawyers out there please feel free to correct me.

    First of all, the first amendment and the Constitution have nothing to do with our ability to petition the government. In fact, we brought over with us from English Law the concept of “sovereign immunity”, i.e. the king or government is the law and therefore cannot be challenged. This concept stems from the king is ordained by God kind of thinking.

    In the 20th century, people started to focus on transparency and accountability in government. This resulted in statutes like the Administrative Procedures, the National Environmental Policy Act and the National Forest Management Act. All of these laws and the Endangered Species Act contain clauses specifically giving the public the right to sue. Without these clauses, the federal government would be immune. I think (hope?) most of us can agree that the ability to hold the government accountable is, at least in theory, a good thing.

    So these various laws outline processes for the government to abide by. All that interest groups or individuals can sue over is whether or not the process was done correctly. Usually suing over ESA decisions is done based upon science that was left out or not properly considered or decisions that don’t match requirement stipulated in an earlier document. The second is what happened with wolves. In either case, the judge simply says that USFWS has to do all or part of their process again.

    The problem with this set up is that in inherently favors those who want no action to be taken. Although there are some exceptions, you sue to block action, not to take it. This usually benefits the environmental organizations and the interest groups that disagree with them have no equivalent recourse

    As far as who pays for lawsuits, there’s also the Equal Access to Justice Act. Now I’m not entirely certain on how you qualify, but basically if you sue the federal government, you can petition to have them pay for your court costs whether you win or lose. The idea is that poor Joe Blow with no money has just as much right to sue the government as Rockefeller. Again, a good concept, but causes some hiccups.

    I’m not sure exactly how we can make this process run a little more smoothly. It seems clear to me that theoretically well-intentioned environmental groups are too entrenched in fighting mode to acknowledge a good decision. Quite frankly all the shoot, shovel and shut up venom doesn’t do much to help convince the urban environmentalists (who unfortunately outnumber us) that we’re not going to shoot every wolf if we have the opportunity. Everybody toning down the rhetoric a little would go a long ways towards sane management of wolves and other predators.

    I personally believe that wolf populations will be just fine as long as we’re not poisoning them. You can legally shoot a wolf on sight in Alberta, Canada and they’ve reestablished throughout most of the province. Wolves are a very resilient species and will adapt to the circumstances we provide for them. Which brings me to my next point . . .

    Wolves need to shot with rubber bullets, chased with ATV’s, shocked with electric fences and generally harassed for their sake and ours. This includes hunting them. Wildlife should remain wild, which requires them to be scared of us. Too much overlap puts us (potential wolf attacks) and them (roadkill, etc) in danger.

    Currently the federal government handles most of this – particularly removing problem wolves. Instead of the taxpayers spending money to do this, I’d rather have a hunter pay the state agency for the right to hunt a wolf.


  39. Erin,

    thank you for your post. It was well put together and gave me a few more things to research. I appreciate that.

    What I don’t agree with you on, however, is that hunters can do the job of controlling wolf populations, effectively. The key word there being effectively. When alpha males or alpha females are killed, it can have unintended consequences. When packs that currently have no interest in stock are hunted, they may move into areas where they have negative impacts. All of these are unforeseen consequences, but once that djinn is out of the box, it isn’t going to jump right back in, causing even more wolves to have to be killed. These are avoidable with well managed control done by people that are familiar with wolves and in concert with all other control methods.

    Unfortunately, that isn’t what any of these states are doing. They will have little ability to temper the rage of those that are convinced that wolves are “evil”, “dangerous” and/or “out of control”. Agencies like the Sportsmen use disingenuous statements to confuse the issue and to throw gasoline on the fire. True conservationists just want a well developed plan that is acceptable for maintaining healthy populations of all wildlife to be developed and followed.

  40. Well done Erin. The sooner we can give the wolf stature as a game animal the better. The truth is as you said, we will never do any real harm by hunting them. In the old days they were poisoned
    and trapped out. Those who think hicks like me can effectivly wipe out a recovered species are flat wrong and thats what makes reasonable people turn away from them.

  41. Treehuggin' Cowgirl


    I agree with you about Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife. They’re all show and no science. You should look up “Hay Day” 🙂 I also do not think Wyoming’s plan is acceptable, and I think they deserve their time in the “wolf house” to think it over.

    What are your concerns with Montana and Idaho’s plans?

    Unfortunately the venom isn’t likely to subside anytime soon. However, as I’m sure you know, westerners (particularly those from Idaho and Wyoming) hate being told what to do by the federal government. I truly believe that we could have similar populations of wolves right with a lot less controversy if the money spent on reintroduction had been spent on wildlife corridors.

    However, what’s done is done, and the question is how to move forwards. I don’t think many residents of Montana, Idaho and Wyoming will start to accept wolves until the states have management. Remember, there’s always emergency relisting if they really screw it up.

  42. Erin,

    hunters don’t “control”. They aren’t interested in the science, so they’ll kill any wolf they see. There are many wolves that have learned to keep their distance from both stock and people, but most of that “memory” seems to be maintained by the alpha male and/or female. Killing the alpha male of a pack tends to make the pack break up and reform into smaller packs.

    Allowing biologists to determine when/where and how many would be much more reliable and will be much less likely to end right back up in a relisting/endangered situation. I believe many of the research universities would jump at the chance to do field work, do the studies and reports that would satisfy conservationists and would allow for a lot more shared information than just having Butch Otter running around the forest trying to kill him a wolf. As well, the biologists could be encouraged to work with the ranchers to determine best practices and to assist in control methods. Hunters just want to shoot something. (and I’m a hunter, have been for over 20 years now).

  43. Treehuggin' Cowgirl


    FYI, Wyoming has never managed the wolves, so any lower livestock kills are not their doing.

    Also, Defenders of Wildlife does have a program that pays ranchers for their livestock losses including dogs and horses. Now this program isn’t perfect, but it was in place prior to reintroduction. I don’t agree with a lot of Defenders of Wildlife’s actions, but in this case, they definitely put their money where their mouth was.

  44. Well th cowgirl, you are way behind. DOW did agree to pay for wolf kills if the proof met their criteria. The criteria eliminated a lot of the kills, then they got several years behind making the confirmed payments when all of the hoops had been cleared. They told the news person that inquired into it they were just too busy. The one thing actually accomplished by the so called delisting…both minutes of it…was to end even the pretense of paying.
    The way it is the losses to ranchers are a tax imposed by non elected, self important enviros for their entertainment.
    I do not understand how the enviros who feel that since wolves once lived all across the country that certain folks must support them for all. But if you cannot stand the thought of anything not being kept alive why are you guys not protecting mice, bedbugs, and fleas in your homes? They were here before your homes were.
    Of course you would never pull weeds and take dandelions out of your lawn. They were there before you put in a lawn or garden right?

  45. Jay,
    what biologists would suit you? Ours here in MT want delisting, Ed Bangs does, so who do we need to get approval from at this point.
    Try not to use the worst of us for examples.
    The cold hard fact remains, too many people in the west don’t want a lot of wolves running around. Though some thought that would change with the new order, it hasn’t. I don’t want to lose elections because some folks can’t help but try to ‘educate” us bumpkins. It didn’t work on gun control and it won’t work with wolves. The only true thing we have is science. Stop the BS or continue to lose. It might also help if you would stop taking pot shots at those who hunt.

  46. jay,

    i disagree with what you said about who does the controlling. hunters should definitely take part in it too. I think it would help take the edge off the venom expressed earlier. the word among hunters would eventually get around on who legally got a wolf this year, last year, the year before that. there would be a real tangible sense among the hunting community that they too were contributing to a balanced wildlife ecosystem.

    let managers manage. certainly they could set up successful precision hunts that would achieve several goals at once.

    it would help take the edge off the venom. and if we are lucky we could still hear that howl every now and then when we are out there.

  47. I see things differently than many of you. I see the hunters as chomping at the bit, waiting for their chance to kill the “killers” and they aren’t going to be as specific as they should. If you kill the right wolves, at the right time, you are guaranteed a greater chance of success.

    I do see your points about allowing the hunters to release some of that angst, but we also have poachers killing high numbers of game at this point, will the same happen with wolves? Will the number of three S people increase when shooting them no longer has such a high penalty? (Shoot, shovel, blah blah)

    I also see the conservationist mentality, that says that a significant wolf kill followed by disease/famine/drought/deep winter snow can easily end up with the wolves on the brink again. I think that is just asking for more trouble than it is worth.

  48. Jesus Christ, twister, Ed bang doesn’t know what he’s talking about and you know it as much as I do.
    Biologists I have heard do not support the delisting, as ranchers do not know what they are talking about.
    Face the facts, the wolves will be protected again.
    People in the west don’t want wolves running around? Move.
    Leave. Get out of the west. As far as I’m concerned, the wolves have more of a right to be there than some redneck trash.

  49. easy there Morgan, step away from the keyboard and try to hold off on the coffee for a bit.
    Let me repeat. None of our reps want it, the biology doesn’t support it, the general public doesn’t want it. What we seem to want is some wolves in some places, not lots of wolves everyplace.

  50. Morgan, you and others like you really need to get away from judging others by yourselves. You try to excuse your greed in wanting mroe and more and more by saying that is what others would want if they could. You are what you are and the rest of us are willing to be judged by what we do, not what you do or THINK we might do.

  51. Treehuggin' Cowgirl

    Marion – I don’t have time for a long comment right now, but two posts ago you accused me and every other wildlife conservationist in the country of being an animal rights activist. Now you’re complaining about other people judging you! I have not been an animal rights activist, since I was 10 and went through the “animals are too pretty to eat” phase. I’m planning to go pick up all the cute little green, blue and red easter chicks, feed them for 10 weeks and then stick them in my freezer. I and most of the conservationists – particularly those of us advocating for delisting – are not animal rights activists. We’re ecology advocates.

    Morgan – When you eat you have, by in large, two choices. Eat something that was grown or raised by a “dumb redneck” in this country or something that was grown and raised by a “dumb redneck” in a different country who you can pretend doesn’t exist. “Dumb rednecks” made this country civilized enough for you to live here. “Dumb rednecks” provide all of the raw materials – wood, food, minerals – that you need for your lifestyle, unless of course you have your own garden and live sustainably, which would probably make you a “dumb redneck”.

    Morgan and Marion – People who are as closeminded as you are why this is a controversial issue and why the “dumb rednecks” and “enviros” don’t trust each other enough to resolve it proactively. Get out of our way! You’re just shooting yourselves in the foot.

  52. I will continue to defend private property rights as long as I am able to pound a keyboard. Call that slose minded if you wish. I think that is one of the most important parts of being an American. I will never believe anyone should have the right to use any excuse, including endangered species to use or destroy someone else’s property.

  53. Here’s some food for thought:

    If every beef cow that spent even part of its time on public lands in the West ( Forest Service, BLM , state lands even) vanished tomorrw into the belly of a spaceship , how many cattle would be left behind in the USA ? 97 percent of them.

    Wyoming, in spite of hanging onto dear life to the ” Cowboy State” motto and the Big Hat ruggest westerner lifestyle, is ranked somewhere between 27th and 39th in beef cattle production by states, behind other such Cowboy States as Ohio , Florida, Hawaii , Tennessee , Georgia , among others. Every cow in Wyoming, Montana , and Idaho disappearing tomorrow would be compensated for in the marketplace by the end of the month. They would not be missed. In Wyoming, all agriculture combined from the sugar beet cropper up to the Last of the Cattle Barons Big Spread employ maybe 6 percent of the state workers but add only 1.5 -3 percent to the Gross State Product and wages . ( I can’t speak to other states). Given that Wyoming leads the nation in per capita subsidies given to its Ag purveyors and especially its stockmen , it could be argued Wyoming loses money on cattle . What little beef I eat can be had from a multiplicity of sources, from Alberta to Alabama to Argentina. I’m pretty sure that 95 percent of the red meat sold in Cody WY came from far, far away…there’s one little meat shop across the river that buys some local swinging beef and hogs, but the bulk of meat is trucked in by Wal-Mart and Albertson’s and IGA from outside the state. Wyoming, and to a lesser extent, are poorly configured by climage and geography and market to be sustainable competitive beef producers. Level the playing field by removing subsidies and paying market price for grass, water, land, taxes, fuel , fertilizer, services…all of it…and the beef industry if so forced to stand on its own , could not. Beef would disappear from Wyoming in no time.

    What Wyoming does have in abundance is wildlife habitat and low human population and relative isolation, and no good reason for anyone who needs to make a decent living to uproot and move here — you have to be semi-crazy to want to live here. Because if you don’t have a coal mine or a gas well in your backyard, or a Trust Fund, you might as well be in Nuevo Appalachia. Thankfully , tourists stay on highways and sleep in motels , and are soon gone. Seven months of the year, Wyoming might as well be Mongolia.

    In other words, Wyoming’s highest adn best use to the rest of the World is GREAT Wolf habitat ( and Grizzly , and Cougar, , and Ungulate, etc….) and a reserve of natural resource uncut and unpillaged. Where humans are a guest and not well suited for subsistence , let alone thrivance. Wyoming as a timber, beef, and farming commodity region is a failed economic epxeriement and should be allowed tor evert back to its natural state where the serial rapists who are energy exploiters will allow. That’s If you want to take the argument to the other end of the spectrum, that is.

    The middle ground is probably where we should be. The alleged economic losses by livestock producers to Wolves are greatly exaggerated, and of little overall consequence. The alleged negative impact of Wolves ( and Grizzly) on hunting opportunity comes entirely from folks who don’t have a clue about the Predator-Prey relationship and ecology and Wildlife Conservation as it’s supposed to be ” managed”. Best left the professionals–Wolves Griz and Cougar et al , not the Hominid, who is a lousy wildlife manager on his best days.

    Wyoming has 1/6th of One Percent of the human population of the USA but a significant percentage of its Grey Wolves. The disproportinality of that comes into sharper focus when you realize that ” management actions” taken to eradicate ” problem ” Wolves in Wyoming resulted in the killing of nearly 45 percent of the Grey Wolves because they preyed on 0.00025 percent of the Cattle hereabouts , a ratio of of something like 9,000 times Wolf Eradication for each cow lost to Wolves. ( Usually a cow that could have been saved if Cowboys and cattle barons were doing their job , or Wyoming magically became a ” Fence In ” state instead of a fence out domain. That right there is a whole compnent of the Wolf vs. Cattle debate that has yet to be broached.)

    So my base point here is I will not entertain any argument about Grey Wolf reintroduction and “management” in the Northern Rockies —but especially in my own domain of Yellowstone/ Northwest Wyoming— that does not acknowledge Wolves as rightful heirs to full Wildlife status and all the range and domain that goes with that in allowing them to reclaim their ecologic eminence. Ranchers and Sportsman have to get in line behind that , and agree that Wolves have every bit the right to exist and thrive in the Northern Rockies as any human or alien exotic Bovine or great White Hunter.

    When that happens, I’ll be happy to work with one and all to develop a sound Wolf Recovery and management Plan for the three states, so long as the Wolf has a place at the table and an equal vote. In Wyoming, it does not.

  54. “including endangered specias to use or destroy someone else’s property”

    Conspiracy theories never cease to appeal to you, do they, Marion?

    And I’d just like to point out, you never answered my challenge. Should everyone have to pay ranchers when a cow dies of other causes? Or is it just wolves, now? You know, Bald Eagles were endangered. They can kill calves, kids (goats), or lambs. Were you screaming like a little wounded waif when they were listed?

  55. Leaving poor defenseless cattle out in open fields and then bit–ing when a natural predator goes after them is like leaving jewelry in an open car in the ghetto and then demanding the city pay for your losses!

  56. Jay, the wolves were trucked in to do exactly what they do. I realize the big complaint is the cattle run on public land so they should be destroyed, on the other hand should anyone have the right to destroy anything on public land that they do not like? Even follow it to the private property where it resides and destroy it? If we can force one person off of public land, can’t we force others? I don’t like the idea of humans leaving their bodily waste every where to contaminate wildlife so shall we eliminate usage except in close proximity to toilets?
    No one has ever asked for compensation (that I know of) for eagle damage. I am aware that eagle kill anything they can, interestingly that includes sage grouse, which enviros want listed. If they are able to accomplish that what will be the punishment for an eagle killing a grouse? What if an eagle takes a wolf pup? Maybe that is what happened to all of the wolf pups in Yellowstone….or were those endangered species killed by other competing packs of endangered species?
    Barb, I would say leaving cattle in the pasture is more like leaving your jewelry on the bed in your own house.
    I would like to see folks become more accepting of each other and learn to tolerate other folks. Believe me even if you step in a cow pie it can be scrapped off and will not ruin you forever. I will take a cow pie rather than human feces any day.

  57. Such a tortured route to take to say nothing. Good job.

    And only one slight reference to one of your conspiracy theories. That’s a new tact.

  58. Funny thing, over on the yellowstone club chat posters are reminded to keep it civil. Methinks because of the people involved.
    here where we white trash reside anything goes!

  59. Treehuggin' Cowgirl

    Welcome to the New West, Twister. Noobies and locals arguing and spoiling the silence and the view . . .

    I wish both sides would agree that the other isn’t dumb, malicious or the Antichrist.

  60. Tree huggin’ cow girl, wow, you’re just pathetic. Honestly. Can someone say hypocrite? I sure can..

  61. If you ask me, just because his brother is a rancher doesn’t quite cut it. The stupid red neck thing flys for me, as for most people I have spoken to in Idaho while visiting are rednecks. If you don’t want to seem stupid to me, or other Americans, why support such a reckless thing.
    Like twister and others have said, they can’t wait to skin their first wolf, which makes me think of a trigger happy redneck. Cowgirl, I don’t see the point your trying to make. The argument to support this is heavily flawed.

  62. Morgan,
    Here’s the really weird thing, when it eventually comes time to bring the wolf to full stature as a game animal I won’t be a shooter. I may be the only guy in MT that has not shot a coyote. i always end up feeling sorry for the poor bastards, always running like hell, looking over their shoulder, waiting for the bullet. Hopefully that will be the way it is with wolves, living their lives in desperation, one meal this side of starvation. as it should be.

  63. Excuse me for jumping back in here, but I need to add some enlightenment about how ” hunting Wolves” actually might play out in the field. For a very brief time last Spring, Wyoming had open season on Wolves in the 3/4ths of the state where they weren’t protected. Not surprisingly our rugged individualist , freedom loving nuts about guns, Real Western hunting crowd could not wait to take the field and start blasting away at Wolves. No license required. It was a varmint hunt. And there were plenty of them ” varmint” Wolves in southwest Wyoming in Lincoln and Sublette Counties, including those hanging around the 17 Elk feed grounds run by our Game department. And they are hated.

    The day that free-fire season opened, Wyoming’s finest took to the field, with vigor. The Code of the West demanded they take as many Wolves as possible to make a statement. The hunters flocked by ATV , by horse, by truck , snowmobile, on foot …any means possible. (Think Rabbit Roundup in Idaho , on steroids)

    They got off very few shots. And took very few Wolves. Embarassingly few…mainly the stupid lone wolves hanging around the feed grounds…the easy targets. By far the greater part of the free roaming Wolves proved to be a very wary prey and incredibly difficult target. And quick learners.

    By the time the Wolves were Relisted a few months later, very very few range Wolves had been taken by the shooting public in Wyoming , though not for lack of trying. Those boys really wanted those Wolves. But they learned the hard way this ain’t easy. It was not the skill of the hunters that resulted in the taking of any Wolf…it was the fault and mistakes made by the Wolf resulting in its demise.

    The lesson here is that any so-called Trophy Hunt of a Grey Wolf, at least in Wyoming, is more likely to be an exercise in futility as a rewarding game pursuit. At least with Cougars ( erroneously called Mountain Lions, even by wildlife professionals) you can sic the hounds on them. Bears can be baited. Elk can be bugled. Wolves totally have the home field advantage and the higher skill set. And they are ghosts.

    I have to conclude based on Wyoming’s first attempt at sport hunting of Wolves in the spring of 2008 that it will do little if anything to “manage” Wolves for desired numbers or depredation, be exceedingly expensive as an outfitted hunt with poor hunter success, and will never return much revenue to Wyo Game and Fish. Even Wildlife Services using helicopters and bush Cessnas following radio collars have a hard time of it. It will also not do the image and reputation of our hunting culture purveyors any big favors. Nobody wants to be ridiculed by a dog, do they ?

    Wolf management on paper is a theory . In practice, in the field, it is another thing altogether. Advantage Wolf.

  64. whoa dewey.
    pretty quick on drawing conclusions don’t you think?
    one spring hunt on a new species?
    don’t you think there might be a little learning curve for the hunting community?
    the hunters i know spend years mapping and planning and studying the species.
    i just think hunting might be a worthwhile piece of the puzzle.
    and good on the wolf for being a ghost.

  65. I wonder if there is any connection between white supremacists’ alarm over our recent election and the increased bloodlust shown by rightwingcrazies…