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Taking Wyoming Wolf Hunting To Court

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View Maria Beloborodova's blog posts
14 September 2012, 8:40 AM
Earthjustice files notice of intent to sue
The loss of federal protection for the wolves is a death sentence for at least 56 wolves now occupying areas of the state are now a shoot-on-sight zone. (Shutterstock / CritterBiz)

The tragic delisting of Wyoming’s gray wolves from the Endangered Species List has many wildlife defenders up in arms, and with sound reason: the removal of protections for the wolves marks an end to many years of successful recovery efforts of a species that was once on the verge of extinction.

To hand over the “wolf management plan” to a state that intends to eradicate wolves from most of its territory seems at odds with the idea of protecting and recovering an endangered species, yet that is exactly what Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has done.

The loss of federal protection for the wolves is a death sentence for at least 56 wolves now occupying areas of Wyoming that were converted into a shoot-on-sight zone by the federal delisting decision. Wyoming now surpasses Montana and Idaho in implementing anti-wolf policies, even though both Montana and Idaho significantly expanded their wolf hunting quotas and hunting seasons in the last year. This “race to the bottom” approach to wolf management is no way to manage a species that only recently was placed on the road to recovery from last century’s exterminations.

As long as Wyoming’s extreme management plan exists, Earthjustice will fight to reinstate the wolves as an endangered species, vowed Earthjustice Managing Attorney Tim Preso, who filed the challenge on behalf of other conservation groups. He explained:

The howl of the wolf defines the Northern Rockies as a truly wild place. The wolf is a living symbol of wildness and wilderness. It is also an apex predator that plays a critical role in the ecological system of this region. I wouldn’t want to live in a world that isn’t wild enough to sustain wolves, and I suspect a lot of people feel the same way.

I am a 37 year Wyoming resident. I currently live outside of what is the Trophy Game Management area for wolves. I have never seen a wolf where I live, or anywhere near it. I have, however seen numerous wolves in the area where I hunt elk each year, for the last 21 years. This area is within the trophy game management area, just outside of Yellowstone National Park. I have seen the numbers of elk dwindle down to very low numbers due what we call wolf kills. Wolf kills can be easily identified by the torn snouts, and shredded underbellies of elk, combined with less then half of the elk eaten, and the rest left for varmints and any other hungry animals to finish off. You see, wolves kill elk (and other animals) mostly for fun. They enjoy killing them for the shear pleasure of the hunt. They seldom eat the animals they kill, and even when they do, they don't eat them all. I have always been an avid, "only shoot what you're going to eat" hunter, but when I see what wolves do to elk, deer, moose, and livestock, it makes me want to treat them the same way they treat other animals, and kill them just for the fun of killing them. Wolves are not the cuddly, furry, soft, friendly animals that so many people make them out to be. They are savage, unmerciful, killing machines, that kill minimally for their own benefit, and mostly for their own pleasure. I have witnessed this 1st hand through finding wolf kills in the field, and also speaking with forest service and game and fish personnel who have explained that there are so many wolf kills occurring that they can't possibly track them all. Tilo mentioned in a previous comment that the north Yellowstone wolf population has been reduced by over 65% solely due to wolf kills. I cannot confirm this number, and do not have a cited source for this, but definitely believe it is close to that based on the reductions I have seen in my hunt area.

Wolves no longer need federal protection. They are doing fine all by themselves, and are thriving in the northwestern Wyoming area. There will be no "massacre" of wolves, and no reason to return them to federally protected species. There are very few wolves residing in the "shoot on site" parts of Wyoming. Most of them live in the TGMA and the quota is only 50-some animals per year (of over 250 living outside of Yellowstone).

For those of you who agree with Tim Preso, and wouldn't want to live in an area "that is not wild enough to sustain wolves"... I challenge you to take a trip to Wyoming's wilderness areas where the wolves are thriving. Be sure to hire a guide, because only residents are allowed to hike and hunt alone in these wilderness areas, and for good reason. I can assure you that after a week in the Wyoming Wilderness, if you survive that long, you will no longer agree with Mr. Preso's uneducated, illogical statement. I would love to see the result of releasing a pack of wolves into Central Park in New York. There would be a pack of dead wolves within a couple of weeks due to the extreme danger to humans.... Just like in towns like Meeteetse, WY, where wolves are exploring near children's bus stops, and into town, where they are only a hazard to humans, and therefore must be controlled.

What will it take for some of you to realize that these are dangerous predatory animals? A child being taken from a bus-stop? A hiker being killed and half-eaten prior to being found by the local boyscouts?

Maria doesn't seem to care that the North Yellowstone wolf population has taken the North Yellowstone elk population from 18,000 to less than 5,000. Moose and Buffalo populations have also been hurt; although not to the extent of the Elk population. Not mentioning that fact shows partisan journalism. Not caring about what happens to other wildlife is a narrow myopic view of game management. And while people like Maria would like to blame hunters for the decreased elk population, only 100 licences were issued for the area last year. With wolves taking about 2000 elk a year, those 100 are hardly a factor. Anyone with a calculator can come up with the numbers. The elk population has already crashed enough due to wolf predation that the population can no longer support that level of predation.

The Wyoming wolf management program insures that there will be a stable population of wolves in Yellowstone, as well as northwestern Wyoming, while at the same time making sure that the other wildlife is not decimated by the wolves. The states management plan is good for wolves, as well as for deer, elk, moose, buffalo and antelope. Maria's silly ideas are not good for any species. She would simply let the wolf population grow to the point where they crashed their own food source. Then, instead of being hunted to control their number, their numbers would be controlled through starvation.

Lastly, I would like to mention that Montana has had a wolf management plan with hunting for two years, and the wolf population has increased by 15% in those two years.

Let's stop the hysteria, Maria, and start thinking through all of the consequences of your advocacy.

Tilo, you comments are heavily based on assumptions. Quite frankly, they make you sound very misinformed. "Not caring about what happens to other wildlife" is a bit of an extremist statement. Wolves are an important part of the ecosystem, and necessary for maintaining the balance through predator/prey interactions. They exist to keep other species in check.

The Wyoming wolf plan in flawed, overzealous and dangerous for the wolf species, not to mention the sadistic means by which it will be executed. This is not about choosing a species to save; this is about balance. The Wyoming wolf plan is concerned with anything but balance. Without federal protections the wolves are turned over to the state, which is a terrible idea. It's akin to giving matches to a pyromaniac.

restore protection for the

Hunting is a major part of our heritage. Controlling a species with hunting is an effective way to manage it. To learn more visit the hunting resource center at

Since I have traveled in virtually every state in the country......I have a different viewpoint from the person saying NOTHING in the west is wild......fortunately, there are literally millions of 'un-peopled' acres of forests and mountains still remaining in the west where you may not see anyone during your visit!! It is absurd to try to make wolves an evil species which is causing havoc on livestock etc.....and when this does happen, there is a program which REIMBURSES a rancher/farmer for their loss.....which is minimal at best!

exactly. there is no reason this is happening other than a secret agenda. likely, the reason is to distract and demoralize american originals. your comment about a "compensation plan" is spot on; if the concern was truly for ranchers "loss", there are hundreds of billions of dollars in subsidies thrown at much less Nobel causes. This is an attack on sacred being at a juncture in which the FED needs all distractions possible, in order to ensure it can quietly reinstate its 100-year-old charter, due to expire in 2013. the most secretive force in human history is playing all its cards and the wolf massacre of 2012 is simply another play.

There is nothing out west that can be considered "truly" wild in the west anymore. Have you actually been in the Rockies lately? you are jockeying for a parking spot at most trail heads, moving over on trails with ATV' goodness there is an asphalt road through the middle of Yellowstone with gift shops and walk ways. Is that "truly wild" ? The problem seems to stem from this Pollyanna thinking ideology that "nature" can be separated from man even though there are what 6 billion people on the planet and at least twice that many cars:)
Management MUST happen for ANY species to survive.

This story is confusing. Only 10% of Wyoming's wolves live in the predator zone (which is not good wolf habitat anyway.) Hunters will be allowed to take only 52 (not 56) wolves in the trophy zone. This will not "eradicate" wolves in Wyoming.

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