Angered Sportsmen To Gather

Sponsored by: Lobo Watch

Many Montana, Idaho and Wyoming residents who have been adversely affected or threatened by an ever growing wolf population in the Northern Rockies have come to the realization that this issue will never be resolved by the presiding judge of the U.S. District Court in Missoula, MT. Any time that Judge Donald Molloy schedules a court session to hear arguments from staunch environmental groups wanting more protection for wolves, and thousands of more wolves on the landscape, sportsmen and those residents who have come to appreciate a rich wildlife heritage in this region of the country know they are about to lose – again.

And this has angered many who have grown tired of watching wildlife populations being destroyed by an ever greater number of wolves. So much so, that a huge crowd of protesters is expected to gather outside and around the federal courthouse, at the corner of East Broadway and North Patte streets, during an upcoming hearing when Molloy listens to arguments from environmental groups about why the meaning of the “non-essential” and “experimental” classification of the Canadian wolves should be changed or eliminated.

Another wolf kill.

Sportsmen and livestock producers know that such change will make it even harder to gain control of a wolf population in the Northern Rockies, which many feel now exceeds 4,000 – not the 1,700 claimed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the environmental groups. All parties involved are to submit briefs by February 22, with the expected court date to be in March. (Watch for the date and time on LOBO WATCH.)

The continued growth of the wolf population in the Northern Rockies is the result of management, or control, being withheld from state wildlife agencies. That management, as outlined in the original Northern Rockies Wolf Recovery Plan and the 1994 Environmental Impact Statement filed by the USFWS, was to have been turned over to those agencies in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming when the numbers reached 300 – with at least 100 wolves and 10 breeding packs in each state. That goal was reached 10 years ago, and other than one 2009 wolf hunting season held in Montana and Idaho, no other such management has taken place. And those who have been hardest hit by escalated wolf depredation have grown weary of the legal foot dragging, and those responsible.

The wolf kill remains of the family dog.

At the heart of the problem has repeatedly been U.S. District Court judge Donald Molloy. During a 2010 hearing, Molloy listened to arguments from the same environmental groups he will receive briefs from by February 22, as to why a scheduled wolf control/management hunt for that fall was too premature, and why wolves should once again be relisted under the protection of the Endangered Species Act. After nearly two months of deliberation, he ruled that wolves would be put back on the Endangered Species List, and the hunts scheduled for Montana and Idaho were canceled.

Molloy’s court has not recognized Wyoming’s wolf management plan as being adequate, and had already ruled that a management hunt could not be conducted in that state during the fall and winter of 2009. Likewise, the state was also excluded from the possibility of a hunt in 2010. Ironically, the USFWS had helped the State of Wyoming draft their management plan, and USFWS had given it their seal of approval. However, when Judge Molloy criticized Wyoming for not allowing wolves to run statewide, USFWS then rejected the state’s plan. And Molloy’s 2010 decision was based purely on the backpedaling by USFWS – for which Molloy was largely responsible.

This is not the small gray or timber wolf the environmentalists have encouraged.

His decision was that since Northern Rockies wolves are recognized by that same flip-flopping USFWS as a “Distinct Population Segment”, the 2010 hunts scheduled in Montana and Idaho could not be held. It was his decision that until the Wyoming wolf management plan was changed to become more like the plans adopted by Montana and Idaho, it was wrong to allow the hunts in the other two states. And this really puzzled sportsmen who have had to deal with micro-managed wildlife populations for most of the past 50 years. Molloy’s ruling denied the opportunity to reduce wolf numbers in the other two states, where wolves were wiping out big game populations, and were turning more and more to livestock depredation. Despite the fact that intense management was needed in Montana and Idaho, Donald Molloy once again ruled in favor of pro-wolf environmentalists.

Several months after that decision, another federal judge, Alan Johnson, in Cheyenne, WY made the decision that USFWS had been wrong to reject the Wyoming wolf management plan. Although that plan called for managing wolves in just the northwestern corner of the state, in only about 12-percent of the state, in and around Yellowstone National Park, there were right at 350 wolves there – which is 3 1/2 times as many as outlined in the original plan. When first outlined, environmental groups like the Defenders of Wildlife accepted the recovery numbers of 100 wolves per state, but have repeatedly taken the issue back to Molloy’s court to get the goal line moved farther and farther ahead.

This moose was, perhaps, fortunate to have survived a wolf attack.

This is not a problem in just the Northern Rockies. The same has taken place in the Upper Midwest, where 6,000 or more wolves now roam across Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. And gray wolves are now being found in Washington, Oregon, Utah and Colorado, with lone wolves being killed in the Dakotas, Missouri and Nebraska. If the Center for Biological Diversity has its way, this spreading is just the beginning. This radical environmental group has stated their goal is to see wolves restored all across this country, from coast to coast, running by the tens of thousands.

This is one of the organizations which will be represented by Earthjustice during Molloy’s upcoming hearing. And many of those who will be protesting outside of the courthouse that day will know that should this overly environmental organization friendly judge dramatically change or eliminate the “non-essential” or “experimental” classification of the non-native and non-endangered Canadian wolves transplanted into the Northern Rockies, it will make it tougher to control the wildlife and livestock damage inflicted by wolves – and possibly to halt their spread into every state of the Continental U.S.

That fear has resulted in proposed national legislation to get wolves removed from the Endangered Species List, and the right to manage wolf numbers returned to the wildlife agencies of each and every state. Although two bills that were drafted in the Senate and the House of Representatives failed to make it onto the floor in 2010, they have since been revamped into Senate bill S.249 and House resolution H.R.509 for 2011 – and both seek the right of affected states to manage or control wolf populations and the damage wolves inflict. While sportsmen and livestock producers are sure to support these bills, environmental groups are just as sure to fight them tooth and nail.

Rodger Schlickeisen, president of Defenders of Wildlife, has commented, “These bills would sacrifice wildlife belonging to all Americans just because a small minority of people don’t like wolves.”

The sportsmen of this country, who have been the ones to actually foot the bill for wildlife conservation for the past hundred years, not environmental groups like Defenders of Wildlife or the Center for Biological Diversity, say the exact same thing about radical pro-wolf and extremely anti-hunting environmentalists. U.S. hunters feel these groups are willing to sacrifice a wealth of elk, deer, moose, pronghorn, bighorn sheep, mountain goats and other wildlife just to pull game numbers so low that populations can no longer support hunter harvest.

At a January press conference, David Allen, the c.e.o. and president of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation shared that the goal of this legislation is not to wipe out wolf populations, but rather to control wolf numbers at an acceptable level – a level that does not result in the dramatic loss of other wildlife resources. He also stated that the efforts of the environmental groups has nothing to do with saving wildlife, but rather to support their anti-hunting agenda, and to abuse the Equal Access to Justice Act which has become a very lucrative cash cow for these groups.

Ryan Benson, national director for Big Game Forever says, “It is time to put aside the divisive politics that are used against any group who petitions for the promises of the ESA to be fulfilled. Not only does such divisive rhetoric ignore the investment of states, sportsmen and livestock producers in wolf recovery, it is also counterproductive to a constructive dialog of the need of wolf populations to be managed responsibly.”

Those sportsmen and ranchers who will be marching outside of Missoula’s federal courthouse when the wolf issue sees yet another day in court have had their fill of demanding environmental groups, and feel that the outdoor lifestyle they have chosen and love is now becoming what is truly endangered. They are now ready and willing to fight back.

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27 Responses to "Angered Sportsmen To Gather"

  1. Carl Woody   2011/02/19 at 5:14 am

    Well when the wolves eat all the game species in the wild they will come to the cities in search of food. People then be the food sorce. Let the idiots take care of them then!! These people make me sick. Don’t have anything else to do but worry bout but a good for nothin wolf. Makes me sick…..

    • Toby Bridges   2011/02/21 at 5:29 pm

      Amen Carl…Only idiots could love wolves. Or they’re just using them for another, and even bigger, agenda.

      • Rich Walton   2011/12/24 at 11:29 am

        We all know what the problem is guys, uninformed, feel good liberal mentality. They start the ball rolling and then when it gets out of control they expect the same people who started the problem in the first place, to come up with another hair brained remedy.

  2. Sooth   2011/06/14 at 9:15 am

    Ahhh, Wolves never crossed borders? Canadian Wolves? Nature has no business killing what hunters kill ? What a sorry bunch. Cars kill more Wildlife and pets then Wolves, why don’t you go shoot at traffic.

    • Rich Walton   2011/12/24 at 11:25 am

      I am continually amazed when I hear or read statements like you made Sooth. try to understand, this is not a natural reintroduction of a natural animal it is being manipulated and bastardized for an agenda and the game management successes that have seen herd animals such as elk, moose, deer, etc are being intentionally decimated because of the uncontrolled wolf population. This was intentional to serve a political, environmentalist agenda and the animals are suffering along with the ranchers and those who have to exist in this toxic, unnatural environment. Yes, wolves cross borders and this is exactly what is happening now as wolves feed out of an area. Once again man intercedes into nature and then loses control.

  3. Rich Walton   2011/06/21 at 9:18 am

    I firmly believe the anti-hunting lobby has pushed wolf reintroduction knowing full well that breeding numbers and feeding habits of wolf packs would have a major impact on wildlife. The goal: once the wolf has increased to a point beyond control they would, as they have proven in Yellowstone, over feed making it unnecessary for humans to play any part in game management. The wolf would cull the herds which apparently, is ok with the anti-hunters. They just don’t want man to hunt because at the bottom of this entire movement is the vegan. They just don’t want man eating meat. This administration is also in the pocket of the environmentalists and anti-hunting groups.

  4. Daniel Alhorn   2011/12/23 at 1:59 pm

    These wolves have just been reintroduced because hunters killed them of years ago. They are just bringing back what was hunted to extinction in the US.

    God Bless the USA!

    • Rich Walton   2011/12/24 at 11:19 am

      Problem is Daniel, they are now not being managed and the results have been devastating to the game herds. Read my comment again and try to understand, this is not a good management program that is meant to sustain a viable wolf population but one that is intentionally allowed to grow unchecked. Decades of intelligent, responsible game management, a huge success story in Yellowstone has been literally destroyed by the wolf. This is not a natural progression of reintroduction of a wolf population of grey and timber wolves in numbers that will not impact the natural environment. There is an anti hunting agenda here.

      • starsky   2012/03/01 at 2:25 pm

        A canadian wolf is not an invasive species. I am not an environmentalist, nor am I a “sportsman” which is the nice name for someone who has nothing better to do than kill majestic animals with high power fifles through a scope just so they can take a picture to show their equally fat dumb hick friends. wolves were here before us. a canadian wolf is a wolf like any other. They eat game because they are predatory. and its not a bunch denim wearing republican voting un-educated hill people to regulate the population of a free animal. get a real hobby you losers.

        • Rich Walton   2012/03/05 at 11:01 am

          Why is it that people such as yourself, when faced with facts always seem to resort to generalized name calling? Bottom line Starsky, you have no idea of the current situation involving the political agenda of the environmentalist and the devastation to wildlife and humans that the purposely mismanaged wolf introduction is causing. When we allow comments such as yours it only serves to reinforce how uneducated, brain washed and out of touch the ‘other’ side really is.

  5. Tyler   2012/03/15 at 11:02 pm

    It is simply amazing how uneducated people are. Ok for starters the canadian wolf is infact an invasive species. This canadian species of timber weighs up and over 150lbs, their extinct relatives in the US were around 80lbs. That is a HUGE difference for a wild predator. They evolved that way for taking down canadian moose (up to 1,500 lbs) and surviving harsh canadian winters. The herding animals where they were deployed in yellowstone and now all over wyoming, idaho, montana, mich etc. were not used to dealing with a natural predator such as the wolf. The populations have been decimated, I cant encourage you enough to do some research and reading up on it. The 1200 or so well known moose herd in jackson hole, almost all eradicated. The 20,000 or so elk from yellowstone in the 90s, down to around 6k. idaho’s lolo pass herd from around 20,000 to around 2k. The stats like these go on and on and on. These wolves have no fear of humans, the original pack released were hand raised pups, and there is no hunting allowed in most areas for them. It has become dangerous in a lot of these areas to hike with children or dogs or even alone without a sidearm. Wolves also kill for fun, its known as surplus killing and happens regularly amongst large predators. This is a very sad and appaling thing to see and all of the animal lovers, myself being one of them, it is horrific to see wolves kill prey in this fashion. Animals mutilated or maimed walking around still living and suffering, non eaten carcasses strewn everywhere, wolves are in many ways a very wasteful and destructive species. I also as an animal lover, advocate hunting. Hunting brings value to animals, value beyond them being killed for trophy or sport. For example, animal populations in Africa are being protected more now than ever from poaching due to the realization that these animals are worth WAY more alive and breeding and creating healthy herds to be selectively hunted, than they are as an nonmanaged unprotected populations. Even if you love animals, like myself, please please do some reading and research on the issue of reintroduced wolves in America because they are not helping any “animal” human beings included.

  6. Lina   2012/04/18 at 2:42 am

    Hello, first I have to tell you that my english is not the best.
    The picture on top of this page, the angry wolf, is that picture OK to use?
    I am looking for a good picture with an angry wolf to put on t-shirts.

    Best regards // Lina Boman

  7. Rich Walton   2012/04/18 at 11:20 am

    Hi Lina,
    I can’t give you permission to use this photo as it is not owned by bhn. You would have to contact the Dept of Fish & Game. Also, a problem if you going to use it for commercial purposes. Sorry but thank you for coming to our site.

    • Lina   2012/04/19 at 2:02 am

      Hi again.

      Ok, do you know how I can get in contact with them?

      // Lina

      • Rich Walton   2012/04/20 at 9:45 am

        I’m trying to find out now and should have something for you shortly.

        • Lina   2012/04/21 at 6:30 pm

          Thank you for your help!

          // Lina

  8. Toby Bridges   2012/04/20 at 10:29 am

    The photo was taken from a USFWS photo gallery I found several years ago. It is public property…and can be used freely for educational purposes…or for illustrating an article on wolves…but it cannot be used for commerical purposes…i.e. on a T-shirt, on a hat, etc.

    Toby Bridges

    • Lina   2012/04/21 at 6:29 pm

      Ok, thank you for your help!

      // Lina

  9. Toby Bridges   2012/04/20 at 10:56 am

    This post is for Daniel and starsky…

    Like just about every other state in this country, Montana is plagued with its fair share of economic problems, many of which are brought on by agenda driven radical environmental groups which will stop at nothing to end our use of natural resources.

    For many of those groups, the end goal is to force humans off the rural landscape – and into the cities. And, it seems, these groups really do not care what they destroy in the process to achieve that goal – whether that be a state’s economy…the rural lifestyle of those who derive a living from the land…or the ability to harvest renewable resources.

    The forced introduction of a non-native Canadian wolf into the Northern Rockies stands as a prime example. That specific subspecies of wolf was not endangered in its native habitat – which just happens to be somewhere other than Montana, Idaho or Wyoming. To achieve their goal of allowing wolves to destroy wildlife conservation in this region of the country, radical environmental groups “employed” the help of the federal government…with very likely a great deal of help from high ranking elected state officials and upper management within state wildlife agencies.

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service certainly had no problem using stolen money to transplant an invasive wolf subspecies into the Northern Rockies…or to bend and break the law in the process. And neither have state wildlife agencies and elected officials.

    Toby Bridges

  10. Ian   2012/06/12 at 6:02 am

    Swings both way sadly, I DO like to see wolves in the wild, however the numbers are too high… but the answer is not to let any clown with a gun take a pot shot at the animals, which is EXACTLY what will happen and when open season is declared on wolves you’ll see their numbers drop dangerously low and some hideous non kill shots!

  11. Rich Walton   2012/06/12 at 11:02 am

    not sure where you live Ian that you like to see wolves in the wild. If it’s out there where they actually run free I would doubt you would like to be close enough to really see them. Wolves need to be culled and the numbers they are proposing are insufficient to control the growth, which they are not sure of anyway. Hunters have been hunting game animals for hundreds of years so I don’t see the dire prediction of bullets flying that you lay out. Wolves will be hunted and killed like every other game animal.

  12. amy   2012/08/10 at 2:02 pm

    so wolves no longer have the right to live? typical human selfishness. only caring about themselves not the way the world is supposed to work. trying to make everything how they want it when its not what nature intended obviously.

    • Rich Walton   2012/08/13 at 6:37 pm

      Ah Amy, you are ignorant to the facts and have obviously not been following this column. I would also guess you do not live in the states where the wolf population has been allowed to grow. Every living creature has a right to live but some, like wolves, have to be managed. Wolves are out of control and threatening livestock, pets, humans and other animals who also have a right to exists, like deer, moose, elk, etc. Nature has to be in balance and right now, where wolves are left to breed without control, nature is out of balance. You make the choice: wolves running unchecked attacking and killing indiscriminately, devastating the herds of deer, elk and moose as has happened in Yellowstone National Park. Wolves killing rancher’s and farmers livestock like cows, horses and sheep. Wolves coming into backyards and killing pets, dogs and cats. Wolves threatening children as they wait for the school bus. We are wanting a balance Amy. Not wipe the wolf out but managed. That is not happening now.

  13. sarah   2012/10/23 at 1:39 pm

    Human numbers should be managed too.

    • Rich Walton   2012/10/23 at 7:13 pm

      Hard to even respond to your comment Sarah. So I take it, as an environmentalist that you believe we should cull the human herd? So you put animals first, humans second? So the millions of humans that are dying and being killed around the world through crime, wars, disease and abortions isn’t enough? Exactly who and how would you propose carry out this ‘management’ of humans? Would you prefer the gov’t set up a committee, assign numbers and then pick who would be exterminated? Would you decide who of you friends and family would be chosen? I don’t imagine you would volunteer for the privilege. You would have made a good Nazi.

  14. Nathan   2012/10/23 at 10:13 pm

    Why does everyone think that the hunting of wolves is horrible? Leave it to the DNR, if they feel its right to hunt wolves, then let it be. They know what their doing. Its what they get paid for, they have their job, you have yours.

    • Rich Walton   2013/02/22 at 4:34 pm

      the gov’t is the problem Nathan. You may have noticed who controls things?