Judge ensures a safer autumn for gray wolves

Brighter autumn in store for northern gray wolves


I’m sending out a big hug and kiss to U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy in Missoula, Montana. Friday he granted a preliminary injunction restoring endangered-species protection to gray wolves in Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming. The federal government had stripped the wolves of their protected status in March.

There has been an intense effort by environmentalists over the last ten years to reintroduce gray wolves to the Northern Rockies. Where once wolves had completely disappeared, there are now an estimated 2,000, hardly an overwhelming number in an area so large. Yet the three northern states were all planning hunts this fall that would have killed hundreds of the wolves.

For wolves, or any species, to survive, a certain biologically critical population is necessary. If their numbers fall below that level, the species cannot reproduce fast enough and dies out. The gray wolf population is still too low to survive in the face of organized hunting. And that doesn’t include all the isolated deaths that occur when lone wolves in fringe areas are killed by hostile cattlemen.

We can only hope that Judge Molloy understands this as he contemplates whether to make his injunction permanent.

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8 thoughts on “Judge ensures a safer autumn for gray wolves

  1. Awwww. I hope it becomes permanent. Wolves are so misunderstood.
    I’ve got my fingers crossed. It’s encouraging to know there’s a judge on the case who is open-minded enough to at least protect the wolves while he considers his final ruling. How sad that in less than five months, the hunters had already planned to go in and substantially destroy ten years of work by naturalists.

  2. I’m a little confused about this. Are you saying that people actually hunt wolves? If so, I had no idea and why would they do that? Seems cruel at best. It is a shame that they have been chased out of their natural home, it would be nice if man and beast could find a peaceful co-existence.
    Oh my, yes they do! Western ranchers hunt them because they occasionally range outside of the national parks and forests (where hunting is forbidden) and kill livestock. Other people just think wolves are evil and kill them for sport (shooting them from helicopters; some sport!). In time, wolves were completely exterminated in the lower 48. The ten-year project I mentioned has been painstakingly re-introducing them to national park areas in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. In March the federal government decided 2,000 wolves was plenty and removed them from the endangered species list. Hunters immediately started organizing hunts for this fall. Pathetic, isn’t it?

    Ironically, here in Colorado, the park service last winter wanted to organize public elk hunts in Rocky Mountain National Park to cull the herds that had grown too large (partly due to a lack of natural predators like wolves). There was such a public outcry over the idea of authorizing hunting in the park that the park service relented and, as I recall, hired a few professionals to go in inconspicuously and carefully thin the herds. The meat was donated to shelters. No amateur hunters with dreams of (gory) glory and freezers full of meat got to hunt in the park.

  3. Gray wolves are magnificent creatures, aren’t they? What the judge has done is commendable.
    They are indeed. And they still need help, not hunts. Sure hope that judge makes his ruling permanent.

  4. Wow, I’m positively stunned – I never heard of that. And an elk hunting soiree, eh? Jeez louise – don’t they have official hunting seasons?
    Oh, sure, they have hunting seasons, in areas outside the park — but that’s not nearly as easy as having the park service just tell you where the herds are!

  5. I don’t approve of hunting anything you can’t eat. Wolves are too closely related to dogs for my taste. When the Corps of Discovery were traversing the Bitteroot Range of Idaho, they had to resort to dog meat for survival because ungulates were scarce. I can only imagine the serious starvation required for a man to develop the taste for dog.
    Better their dogs than each other. Squirrels, rabbits, birds, etc., too small to waste energy and ammo on?

  6. I would imagine so. The thirty-plus odd men in the expedition consumed 10 lbs. of meat per man, per day. With limited lead and powder, and the time taken to reload a musket, it doesn’t seem efficient for them to have hunted varmits. In addition, according to 1950’s survivalist Bradford Angier: rabbit meat is so lean, that the lack of essential fats will eventually lead to a sickness called “rabbit fever”.
    Ten pounds of meat per day? At that rate the dogs wouldn’t have lasted very long. But then, they (the men) weren’t in the Bitterroots forever, either.

... and that's my two cents