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Wolf Hunts End, But Not The Fight

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View Terry Winckler's blog posts
02 April 2010, 12:07 PM
Earthjustice aims legal efforts at restoring ESA protections

This week, after seven months of dodging bullets, Idaho's wolves got a reprieve: the statewide hunt that left 188 of them dead is over.

The actual number of wolves killed since hunting was legalized last year is more than 500—including those shot during the Montana season and others killed by governmental agents protecting livestock.

Wolves became fair game in Idaho and Montana last year after losing the protection of the Endangered Species Act—a move initiated by the Bush administration and ultimately endorsed by the Obama administration. Almost immediately after Sec. of Interior Ken Salazar agreed to the delisting, the states of Idaho and Montana announced fall hunting seasons.

Last fall, a federal judge agreed with Earthjustice lawyers that the hunts likely are illegal, but he nonetheless allowed the hunts to proceed. The first wolf kill in Idaho occurred Sept. 1, when the season opened. Montana hunters started banging away at their wolf population on Sept. 15, nearing that state's harvest limit of 75 so fast that the season abruptly ended in November.

Earthjustice, representing 13 conservation groups, is continuing its court challenge to the delisting in U.S. District Court in Montana. The suit seeks to restore ESA protections to the wolf until wolf numbers are stronger, migration corridors are protected, and the states develop adequate laws and regulations to protect wolf populations from extinction.

Doug Honnold, the Earthjustice attorney leading the legal challenge, warned that "unless ESA protection is reinstated to wolves, both Idaho and Montana will increase wolf hunting in 2010, setting back recovery even more."


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Why do they hunt them?
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It seems that the USDA's Wildlife Service is planning to ignore the ruling of Judge Molloy and will attempt to eradicate 80 percent of the wolf population - they plan to go ahead and kill entire packs and gas the pups within the next couple of months. I agree that we shouldn't attempt to re-introduce the wolves back into areas that will only wind up killing them - even if it's against the law since the wolves have been restored to the endangered species. Why not give the wildlife groups a chance to go in and live trap and remove the wolves from Idaho, Montana and Wyoming? If the rest of the nation was truly aware of what was happening, the outcry would be deafening, but the news media doesn't deem the plight of the wolf worthwhile. So stop the name calling and at least urge the wildlife organizations to get the wolves out and call off the assassins of politics.

wolves kill deer and elk smoke a pack a day

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I agree completely. Unfortunately, the only reason that these populations need to be controlled is because of humans. When we came to America we immediately began to kill off all of the natural predators such as wolves. Without the wolves and other predators to keep the herbivor populations down they continue to expand and grow to dangerous levels. They encroach on what humans consider "our territory" and many of these herbivors and humans are killed from the crossover. Had humans not murdered the natural predators in the first place the problem of overpopulation would not occur so readily and such useless hunting of animals would be rather unnecessary. At the same time the reason that wolves attack cattle and even small pets is because that is what they are instinctually built to do. Those creatures were put on this earth in order to feed predators. Wolves do not hunt to be cruel or to harm ranchers, they kill to eat and survive. I hope people who share our views are able to stop these pointless hunts. sesli sohbet

Jared, by the way, what's your address? Where do you live? I'd really like to come & visit you sometime ~ in the very near future.

Jared - This question is for you ~ Who was there first ? The wolves or the ranchers? I rest my case. Stop being such an evil minded idiot!!

hmm....well i do hunt but i only hunt deer and small animals...and i think hunting wolves is wrong! they need to be protected there isnt as much wolves as there is deer and groundhogs and all of those other things people hunt!! and wolves are beautiful. i don't live by any but im sure they are not doing much damage so they should be putting a stop to hunting wolves!!

If you dont live in the middle of the destruction they do than shut your fawking mouth, you dont know what you are talking about

Why don't you do two things; Cite statistics about the"destruction" and clean up you language

First of all I understand hunting to feed you family although I don't hunt & none of my family
hunt>I live in an area where the deer population is quite large & there are times when they get overpopulated. They strip the trees & in some areas they were almost starving due to the fact there wasn't enough food. A few of the guys I work with hunt deer & they feed their family's all winter. But I have yet to meet someone who eats wolf, so I can only assume they are killing them for pure sport & some stupid hatred they have for these beautiful & majestic creatures.
They are a very iimportant part of the ecosystem. Have you ever looked into the fact of how many more birds there are now in Yellowstone since the trees aren't completely stripped by the deer & elk? The birds now have places to nest. The wolves keep the balance. And why are the farmers stock in the national parks anyway? Keep them on your own land & watch them.

I don't think anyone who has commented on this article has ever spent a day hunting. I am unable to put myself in any of your shoes, but I'm under the pretense that everyone assumes hunting is something terribly brutal and violent, that men are stomping out into the woods, gunning down pups and tearing them apart. I'm a female college student who's hunted since she was 12 and have since fallen off from hunting regularly... and am a little disgusted that the people who are "anti-hunting or anti-hunter" are so passionate about this subject, but are CLEARLY uninformed. While I cannot speak for every hunter and do know of people who make poor decisions, I can vouch for the hunters I know and the organizations I am familiar with that do so much good. It is normal for a hunter to go a whole season without killing anything, and when something is killed, hunters try to do it in the most ethical way, so that the animal won't suffer. This act of killing an animal is not a brutal and selfish act, I've never felt so much appreciation for something... my family uses every bit of an animal we kill and appreciate every part of it. Hunters organizations like Ducks Unlimited and DCNR are some of the most important and active wildlife and forest conservation organizations in the country. Aside from all of this, we all need to think about how quickly (some time ago) wolves became a nuisance and destructive, ruining the populations of other animals; a month long hunting season annually is not going to completely desecrate the wolf population, it is literally impossible.
The strong language directed towards hunters is outrightly embarrassing, the people using it appear to be more barbaric than the people they are criticizing. Use some factual information to prove your argument, generalizing a subculture is a dangerous road to go down and seriously not credible or convincing.

Hunting to feed a family is one thing. Hunting for trophy is another. I rescue wolf and wolf hybrids. They are extremely affectionate and intelligent animals that only kill for food, just like humans. They use what God gave them to survive - nothing more, nothing less. Fortunately, it sounds like you may be what I would consider an intelligent hunter that actually uses what they kill for food which does not apply to wolves. I have never known of a wolf being eaten, but I suppose anything is possible in the times we live in. Destroying God's creation for trophy or brutality is not acceptable. Humans are the only species I know of that kills for mere perverse pleasure. Animals kill only to survive.

Visit a wolf preserve that allows you to interact with these amazing creatures and educate yourself on their amazing ability to love and interact with humans. It will change your life forever if your mind and heart is open. My guys climb up in my lap and try to be as close to me as they can. They love each other very much and cannot stand to be separated from each other. They kiss my face daily. This may sound odd to you; but this is the reality of their ability to bond.

Hunting FOR FOOD is one thing. Hunting because you have the urge to go kill something is a waste!! Wolves keep the ecological balance of nature as it should be and the cattlemen need to go put theit cattle on their RANCHES, NOT on MY land , which is PUBLIC LAND. Wolves keep the elk herds healthy, so hunters can shoot HEALTHY animals (same goes for deer, and everything else hunters feel the need to kill). I was raised on deer meat (good stuff tho' from the east coast, with no sage in it), and I get hunting completely. Without it, we would have been hungry. My Dad didn't go shoot stuff tho' just because he could. He taught us utmost respect for the wildlife and the forests and everything on earth.
Same goes for the killing of buffalo in W. Yellowstone, that is just plain asinine!! There is NO brucellosis and again, if the cattlemen are so damned paranoid about it, go take your damned cows elsewhere!!

Which peace of property is your???? When are you going to build a house there , I will try to remember to keep my cows in your yard , that is actually my yard , and I would burn your house down because it is actually my land too right. GO BACK AND READ WHAT YOU WROTE MORON.

What gives anyone the right to kill that which belongs to all of us??? Why is the govt. protecting private ranches on false pretenses?? Why are we allowing ranchers to use our national forests for their monetary benefit ??? Destruction of the wolves or other wildlife is the destruction of our very selves. To descecrate any life is to desecrate all of life.

KILL KILL KILL all wolves , they are absolutly worthless in my book , and I live in the middle of them and see them frequently, right in the crosshairs, just before the BANG

Then move you stupid idiot!! Wolves are SACRED!! YOU ARE WORTHLESS

Why dont you move up here? Wolves are sacred, COME ON. They are worthless, What do they contribute to our economy????

Contribute to our economy? Millions of people visit Yellowstone annually; many of these just to have an opportunity to see a wolf. That keeps the national park functional for the well being of all. What do you contribute to the world? Hatred for God's creation? That is what is in your response.

God didn't create animals to be killed for trophy. Hunting for food is purposeful. Killing animals for perverse pleasure shows lack of education and good morals.

Hate and discontent, your right. My taxes and lease payments dont matter does it.

Pretty pathetic that these people need to hide their thirst for blood behind excuses that the wolves prey on their livestock. Where I live ranchers keep track of their livestock and have people and dogs to keep the predators out. You hunters and government agents are pathetic.

If you live in a city or far removed from the problems inherent to the wolf reintroduction, the idea of wolves in the woods howling at the moon is pretty romantic. But in real life, here in Western Montana, wolves are killing and sometimes eating all cats & dogs that are outside. They are killing and sometimes eating other small, tame, family pets, such as miniature horses. There is a dearth of elk and deer in the area. Those of us who have lived here for many decades do not need a "biologist" to help us understand what we can see. Things have changed and not necessarily for the better. The other relevant thing we have seen is that it is the BIOLOGISTS WHO ARE FLYING AROUND THE COUNTRYSIDE IN HELICOPTERS, KILLING "BAD" WOLVES WHO KILL THE WRONG ANIMALS. To put human learning possibilities upon wolves is ridiculous and stupid. To kill them for not learning is even worse.
Absolutely NO ONE did the wolf or the people who live here any favor by bringing back the wolf.
It is not enough to feel good for doing something like this, or fighting for a certain animal's rights to share the earth. If PEOPLE of any stripe spend their days shooting wolves with high-powered rifles, then it is NOT a GOOD THING. May God give you all the opportunity to walk in the wolves' mocassins for just one day.

I know right where a big pack of wolves are, if anyone is interested in having a pretty wall hanger let me know I can show you right where they are, I will gie you a place to stay and feed anyone interested.

Hey Anonymous,

I live in the heart of southwest Montana's wolf country, and I and plenty of others here support wolves. Elk numbers are up all over the state. Before wolves we had heavy overgrazing of riparian zones, aspens, willows, etc. Hatred of wolves is emotional and not based on scientific fact. Lots of people here take their dogs hiking in the National Forest, including me. We hear and see wolves frequently. The "threat" from wolves is highly exaggerated. They have their place in the ecosystem, like all native species.

You are a LIAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I used to be "like them", the hunters, I educated myself. They are misguided and have no clue how truely intelligent and forgiving animals are. We don't need ranchers or any other kind of "red" meat in this world to live off of. The cattle are the polluters. The wolf is a beautiful animal and is "your own dog", wake up HUNTERS, you are nothing but killers of the truely innocent, how can you actually sleep at night when down deep in your gut, you know this is wrong!

If we get rid of the ranches... where do you expect meat to come from? Maybe some hunter will be nice enough to give you some of their harvest. :)

Obama does not understand ecology, being a lawyer from Harvard,a city boy and his primary concerns are with economics/bailouts/banks/the common people(whatever that means),health care for USA,some energy projects. He is clueless about Salazar who is not representative of nature,as I feel only a woman could be in such a position of truth and power and that is a huge problem.Guys just don't get it the same way with all the macho stuff.I own a part wolf and I can attest to 12 years of incredible intelligence, and sensitivity. I call her "she who knows". I could not have lived here for such a long time without her help.It's really a twisted male thing where they gotta kill the feminine(fear,power and control)so until the consciousness is changed about women and until women take a stand and give the ultimatum,there can never be restoration of any kind beyond science.It has to come from the heart and truth.Period.There are alot of honorable men who do not partake in savage acts.Women who do are prostituting their souls.Men need woman to wake them up. Everything born into life comes form the feminine.In wolves,the males bond fiercely with the females and humans could use a great lesson on the power of that relationship and what respect!!!!! Natural Law is what it is.Some how the top predators= human beings need to curtail their reproductive appetites as clearly the only element to keep human population from total extinctions is through war , disease and climate.When you kill the top predator you are killing yourself.What they need is a law in congress for war crimes against nature.That should have been done years ago.The US constitution was founded on the Iroquois confederacy,not the lunatics today.

I do not agree with a hunting ban. There are various animal populations (i.e. deer, elk, some game birds) whose populations sometimes seem to explode and therefore need to be controlled. Fortunately, most of those are edible by humans. But to totally wipe out the population of a wild animal for personally selfish and financial reasons, is totally unacceptable. My suggestion is to flood the Congressional offices, Ken Salazar's office, and White House mail rooms, email, and phone boards, with the facts about what is going on. I have refused to contribute to any political cause, until the killing is stopped. I have sent letters to leaders of Congress, Ken Salazar, and the White House; unfortunately, I have not had the courtesy of a response from any of them. But, if we sent THOUSANDS of those letters, explaining what Bush did and now what Salazar and Obama are allowing, perhaps we could at least get their attention! The ESA simply MUST be restored to its original content, or, mark my word, we WILL be faced with restoring, once again, the Northern Gray Wolf population. These ranchers are telling the gov't that wolves have attacked calf pens and sheep herds, killing hundreds, and leaving the carcases to rot. This is just wrong. Wolves do NOT kill that way. Someone....PLEASE....set this injustice right, with the truth.

I agree completely. Unfortunately, the only reason that these populations need to be controlled is because of humans. When we came to America we immediately began to kill off all of the natural predators such as wolves. Without the wolves and other predators to keep the herbivor populations down they continue to expand and grow to dangerous levels. They encroach on what humans consider "our territory" and many of these herbivors and humans are killed from the crossover. Had humans not murdered the natural predators in the first place the problem of overpopulation would not occur so readily and such useless hunting of animals would be rather unnecessary. At the same time the reason that wolves attack cattle and even small pets is because that is what they are instinctually built to do. Those creatures were put on this earth in order to feed predators. Wolves do not hunt to be cruel or to harm ranchers, they kill to eat and survive. I hope people who share our views are able to stop these pointless hunts.

I am not against hunting deer and animals the people actually eat and use but there is no reason to hunt wolves who are benificial to the herds of deer etc that you hunt by culling the sick and weak. They keep the herds strong and healthy. Wolves were hunted to extinction and only by the effort of people who cared were they restored to the wild. They are not strong enough in numbers to be safe from extinction again. We need to protect these wonderful, beautiful animals from people who just like to kill things for trophy and "sport". Hunters should want to protect them as well, IMO. These hunts of packs of wolves make me sick and is such a sad waste of life. How about some respect for the lives we share this planet with and end killing just for killing sake? Any livestock taken can be compensated and has been so that is not a vaild excuse for killing these animals. Hunters and conservationist should join together to manage our lands with respect and compassion. Being united in land management with out greed and politics would help all of us in the long run. Those that kill from airplanes are not hunters, they are slaughtering idiots who should not be allowed in our wilderness. At this time there is no reason that makes sense to me in killing wolves.

My sister and brother-in-law live in Montana and are wolf hunters, actually they hunt everything from prairie dogs on up, 'including Democrats'. They are very mis-educated about the benefits of the wolf population and cite the damage to the neighbor's cows and the disappearance of deer and elk in their neck of the woods. I believe more time should be spent on providing good evidence to people in Montana and Idaho about the benefits of the wolf population based on science. Perhaps this would end our family war as well.

We argued over the number of wolfs killed and she made the mistake of mentioning the three 'S's: Shoot, shovel, and shut up. She obviously forgot to shut up. But as you can see, there is a concerted effort to undermine the recovery of wolves and to under-report the actual number killed. Simply winning court battles over the Endangered Species List is not enough.

Some balance needs to be reached.

Unfortunately, many hunters are boyond education and evidence and many ranchers believe and act as if they own all of the public land out there ! ie like jared in previous blog. Iam amazed he can actually use a computer !

Have you ever thought that maybe because your family lives there they know what they are talking about a little bit.

I live in a state people raise their children as hunters from a early age, therefore, desensitizing them to killing. They don't value anythings life. I have lost many a cat and dog to trigger happy so called hunters just because they walked into their view while they had access to a gun. You can't even protest or they will stick the gun in your face! Hunting is just another way for people to get their ego thrills. Why mankind isn't KIND anymore is beyond me. People are supposed to have respect for the creatures and each other. The Indians had it right. Only kill to survive and reverence what you kill.

This is just a thought but, what if wildlife were spayed or neutered just like the domestic
animals are than there would be no more worries about over population.

If you spay/neuter an entire species, that only leads to what we are trying to prevent, the extinction of the species, by attrition. The only species that needs to be sterilized is the human species. Like I say to many people, who curse about the inconvenience of having wildlife intrusions, "There were animals all over the world before man was created." So, the animals were here first.

Wolves control their population by pack hierarchy (only alpha male and female mate)
and that is influenced by amount of territory they control and how much prey is available
for the pack to hunt. A pack will not expand beyond it's ability to support the number in it.

Spay/neuter programs are only of benefit to control feral cat pops. and limit shelter euthanasia.

I would say this is a little simplified. While you are right to a limited degree, the way that wolves control their own populations is through a relatively brutal process.

Wolf packs have a defined territory. As wolf pack A runs low on available prey, they have one option available to them.

They can migrate to find more prey. The prey numbers don't have to be very small, just small enough that there is an energy deficit for staying in the same area.

Migration creates the ultimate control mechanism, encounters with other wolf packs. Consider the outside edges of a wolf pack's territoriy as a soft buffer - actually deer will find that "soft" spot because wolves less regularly reach the edges of their territory. As wolves move, they encounter other packs. If there is a real lack of food, they will conflict and the strongest pack will win and own the territory. Generally such conflicts end very badly for the losing pack. They don't "absorb" the losers into the winning pack.

This is the true control mechanism of predators. Apex predators don't have natural predators. Hunger is the biggest challenge they face, and it forces conflicts with other members of their own species or other apex predators.

This is of course in addition to the mere danger of being a predator, the relatively low number of offspring and many other mitigating factors to limit a predator's population.

Ken Salazar is a rancher who loves to see wildlife killed. Obama doesn't care about animals. He lied so that animal lovers would donate to his campaign and vote for him.

You're right about that one. I just wish it weren't so.

Calfs cost $200, It makes sense to me to reimburse ranchers for the full cost + 20% for any livestock that they lose to Wolfs, and to leave the Wolfs alone. Losses to packs of domestic dogs and Coyotes is not the fault of any Wolf.

Justin Forte, Hunting isn't for cash, hunting is a sport. Have you done you research? in Saskatchewan, there is 3000x whitetail population, if there weren't hunters that number would be still rising! So ban hunting, but guess what, there is more hunters in Canada and USA then you think< What about the Inuit? They hunt seals to LIVE, so they can EAT. It costs me and my partners about $1000 per weekend for ducks, and about $700 on deer, thats just ammunition. Then theres Gas, The Wepons themselves. So if you think its just for extra revunue, your terrible mistaken. Do some Reasearch. Ive done plenty. I went through my PAL and Hunters Safety, (Possession and Acquisition License)
Sources: Self Expiernce and The Canadian PAL
P.S no body else will sign that, Maybe 5% are hunters, but 93% are non Hunters/they dont hunt but like the idea, and then teres that little 2% thats Anti hunters. 5 > 2. So enjoy yourself on the petition of yours. Here Let me help you, Go to, you can make your petition there, and goto and blog about it. Now finally, Good Bye Justin

Well, I agree with Anonymous here with the hunting deal regarding deer, ducks and so on, those animals are in need of controlling. As for wolves, the hunting on them needs to stop. They are ENDANGERED, not so numerous like most game animals are. However, i do not agree that hunting should be totally banned. It is the way of life for some people.

The wolves should have never been hunted at all! The only reason why hunting is used as an excuse for so called "Wildlife Management" is so hunters can manipulate wildlife populations for their own selfish and sadistic interests while corrupt government officials make a little bit of extra revenue by allowing them to do so. I think what is being done to the wolves proves that.

It is very disgusting that these sadists known as hunters make up only 5% of the entire U.S public yet they continue to dictate wildlife policies over the rest of us. The actions of these hunters and government officials is definate proof that hunting needs to be banned once and for all! This government and its obsession with letting hunting interests kill and exploit wolves and other wildlife makes me sick.

To anyone who loves and cares about wolves and other wildlife and are fed up and sick and tired of hunters dictating wildlife policy, are sick of seeing hunters killing animals and posing with their dead bodies before mutilating them and turning them into morbid trophies to decorate their homes with while thumbing their noses at everyone else, then support and become a member of The Global Anti - Hunting Coalition.

Together we can finally put an end to the sadism known as hunting.

get a life

I find it interesting the logic of some people...... It's OK for the government to force this animal into areas where the habitat is poor ..... the more wolves the more trouble/resentment they will cause. The pro-wolf groups are going to kill this animal with their supposed kindness. There are six states that have over a million dollars in predation on livestock, predation management and unconfirmed wolf predation per state per year. I'm not the only voter but my vote is to promote habitat preservation with that money. Anyone that thinks this animal can continue to propagate has no true knowledge of this animal & needs to reassess what is good for the wolf.

You are merely indignant and emotional, with no grasp on the world or life. It will be very fortunate for your childish attitude to lead you to your demise. You understand nothing, not how the world works, nothing outside your own selfish views, and thus are indefinitely blind. Enjoy your pitiful life.

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