Wolves lose again in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming

Northern Rocky Mountain gray wolf

Yesterday the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied a motion filed by environmental groups, clearing the way for wolf hunts in Idaho and Montana to begin next week.

Wolf hunts are scheduled to begin Aug. 30 in Idaho and Sept. 3 in Montana. Hunters in Montana will be allowed to shoot as many as 220 gray wolves, reducing the predators’ Montana population by about 25 percent to a minimum of 425 wolves. … In Idaho, where an estimated 1,000 wolves roam, state wildlife managers have declined to name a target for kills for the seven-month hunting season. (Huffington Post)

As the hunts continue, so will the legal efforts to stop them. But it seems terribly short-sighted to let a species be hunted while its protected status is still facing legal challenges. No amount of protection restored in the future will bring back the animals killed between now and then.

An agreement in Wyoming earlier this month also ended protection for many wolves in that state and will allow hunters to kill more than 50% of the wolves outside Yellowstone National Park. In large parts of the state, wolves will be classified as predators that can be shot on sight.

The groundwork for these hunts was laid last spring when an eleventh-hour rider from Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) was slipped into a budget bill. The rider went unchallenged and the bill was passed, marking the first time that a protected species has been delisted by an act of Congress.


Western Wolves provides an excellent overview of the wolf issue, with lots of statistics, history, updates, and links.

5 thoughts on “Wolves lose again in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming

  1. Having spent a good bit of my youth on a farm/ranch where raising both vegetables and animals were part of our existence, I can almost understand both sides of this… but not quite.

    We killed predators too, but not unless they were actually threatening either our livestock or our gardens. The only way really… to protect the vegetable garden was to fence it in, but even that won’t keep climbing varmints out unless the fence is overhead too. The difference between us and them is that we didn’t go out looking for predators to kill. There’s a balance that predators bring to the country side. Rabbits, raccoons, squirrels and opossums that destroy gardens are eaten by wolves and big cats. The only time (that I’m familiar with) when large predators attack cows, domestic rabbits, chickens and household pets is when their natural food supply is diminished for some reason. So… I don’t like this killing of wolves willy nilly as if there’s some sport involved.

  2. After re-reading what I said, I realize that I only presented the case of someone who was responsible for a small “personal” operation like ours – where we could literally step onto the back porch and actually see most of our property.

    There’s also the case of the “commercial” operation that involves many hundreds or thousands of acres on which there are many hundreds or thousands of cows, sheep or some other product being prepared to bring to the market. During my late teens, I worked for such a place. In that environment it’s impossible to personally “watch” over your fragile product especially during the calving season. These people are faced with a very serious problem when the natural food supply of predators includes or threatens to become the product of these ranchers future welfare.

    As humans increasingly encroach on the predators habitat, we are going to be faced with having to decide whether we believe private property owners are the best custodians of their property, or whether the concept of private property, self ownership and freedom need to be replaced with coercive, centralized planning and control. So far, the USSR model hasn’t done very well. To eat, or be eaten – Is that the question?

  3. I’m all in favor of the owner protecting his private property. But how far beyond his own property lines should he be allowed to go to protect it? If a wolf is on his land, he has the uncontested right to shoot it. But hunt it down a mile, 10 miles, 50 miles beyond his fence line? How far is far enough? Fewer than 1% of sheep and cattle losses in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming are attributable to wolves, and in confirmed cases those losses are reimbursed with funds from conservation groups. But apparently those states (or rather, the vested interests therein) feel it necessary to hunt down wolves over huge areas to protect the livestock. In addition, the hunters in those states want the right to hunt wolves because the wolves (rather than the hunters and their clients) are killing elk. Certainly sounds like the bottom line is: we want to kill wolves anytime, anywhere, period.

    1. I can’t disagree with that. I don’t really know anything about this issue, but I’d be willing to bet that the d*mned government is going to allow this to go on in BLM lands. Yeah, I know… I’m beyond cynical when it comes to government being to ruin a wet dream.

... and that's my two cents