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U.S. District judge sets hearing for wolf hunt challenge; animal-rights group calls for Idaho potato boycott

August 25, 2009 | Wolves

By Rocky Barker -
Published: 08/24/09

· Read the court documents for the wolf injunction hearing Aug. 31

· Stores report brisk wolf tag sales in Idaho

· Rocky Barker: Will Idaho's hunt hurt wolf numbers?

U.S. District Judge Donald Malloy has granted wolf advocates a hearing on their request for an injunction to stop wolf hunting in Idaho and Montana.

Meanwhile a national animal rights groups has called for a boycott of Idaho potatoes to protest the hunt.

Malloy scheduled the hearing for Aug. 31, the day before hunting was scheduled to begin in Idaho. Attorneys for Earthjustice, the group representing the 13 groups challenging the hunt and the federal government will get three hours to make their cases in court.

The groups say the hunting seasons would cripple the regional wolf population by isolating wolves into disconnected subgroups incapable of genetic or ecological sustainability. The wolf hunts would also allow the killing of the breeding alpha male and female wolves, thereby disrupting the social group, leaving pups more vulnerable.

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission set a limit of 220 wolves for this year. The Nez Perce can take another 35 so that sets the estimated harvest at 25 percent of the estimated population of more than 1,000. But environmental groups say the hunt actually represents 30 percent of the population at the end of 2008 when Idaho had 39 breeding pairs and Montana 34.

Montana set its limit at 75 wolves, about 15 percent of its estimated population. Wolf population have been growing at a rate of 20 percent annually since they were reintroduced in 1995.

The groups also challenge the legality of delisting wolves in Idaho, Montana, northern Utah, eastern Oregon and western Washington while keeping them on the endangered Species list in Wyoming.

Friends of Animals said it was calling for a potato boycott because of the vocal backing of the hunt by Idaho Gov. Butch Otter.

The (Darien, Connecticut) based group referred to Otter's 2007 statement to hunters, "I'm prepared to bid for the first ticket to shoot a wolf myself." They also didn't like Otter's explanation of respect for wolves in an story Aug 19.

"You can still hate them and respect their cunning and their place in nature," Otter said

Friends of Animals' president, Priscilla Feral said in a press release: "Gov. Otter's enthusiasm for wolf killing not only demonstrates a complete lack of conscience and understanding of the word 'respect' it shows a lack of respect for nature and the ecosystem."

One-third of all potatoes in the U.S. are grown in Idaho, she said.

"As long as Idaho is in the business of killing wolves, the nature-respecting public should stop buying potatoes there," she said.


I have a better idea... How about all of you who think it is a business of killing wolves take a long look at how this will help keep the cirlce of life going in Idaho and Montana. If you have not noticed wolves are #1 on the (WHAT YOU ALL LIKE TO CALL NATURE'S) food chain! The only living being that can bring equality to the circle of life are humans! If you really cared about "nature" like we out here do you would understand this. This hunt that is going to be allowed will not hurt the wolf population at all. All it will do is make these animals more elusive like they should be! Furthermore, how would you like it if the Federal Government placed Canadian Wolves in Central Park?? These wolves we now have in Idaho and Montana are not native to our area!! Not at all. We already had wolves here! Native wolves that no one ever saw unless you were very lucky. Guess what though since you were all very supportive of putting the larger more aggressive Canadian Wolves in our area you all will actually never get to see a real Native Wolf! If you all want to come see wolves why don't you go to a park and see them. Or I have a better idea why don't you come up here and try living with them unarmed??? See how long that would last!

You want "natural order" for wolves. Guess what, they have ALWAYS been hunted by men! Being hunted makes wolves act differently. Just as Elk act differently when they know they are being hunted by wolves. If your true aim is to restore the ecosystem, your argument against the wolf hunt is flawed.

Dale, we have not always had close to seven billion human beings on the planet. And wolves once roamed over much of our continent. So things are not the same as they always were. An article dated 3 January in Newsweek [see ] titled "It’s Survival of the Weak and Scrawny" discusses recent studies showing that our ways -- human ways, which differ significantly from the ways fo other animals' ways -- of controlling a wide variety of animals is highly problematic from a biologist's perspective, with "evolution in reverse" as hunters kill off the largest of a given community of animals. When hunting is severe enough to outstrip other threats to survival (obviously that happened in the case of the wolves in the region at issus), the "unsought, middling individuals" survive and the species changes. In a short time, looks and social interactions adapt -- and how hunted animals reproduce. "There's nothing wrong with a species getting molded over time by new kinds of risk," the article states. "But some experts believe problems arise when these changes make no evolutionary sense...In highly controlled environments, a species with frighteningly little genetic diversity can persist...but in real ecosystems changes are unpredictable. Artificially selecting animals in the wild—in effect, breeding them—is a very risky game..."

I cannot believe the cruelty and abuse those poor wolves are being treated with because man has taken over the planet and feels that being such a superior being has the right to eliminate anything we don't see fit to inhabit the earth! We are determined to destroy the planet one way on another aren't we?? How would you like it if your family unit was destroyed and your kids were left with no parents to help them grow those poor pups being orphaned because of the greedy ranchers that took over their land to begin with..all because we are so superior. I'm embarrassed to be part of the human race with morons like this running hunting expeditions and being so proud of it like Elmer Fudd!! How do you explain to God your greed for killing animals "because"?? it certainly is not for food in this case is it??

I think it's great that the hunt is being challenged... We're supposed to be caretakers of the land, not putting our own interests above that of the land. I for one wish they would put the timber/grey wolf back on the protected species list and allow them to rebuild their populations. And remember your family dog is canis lupis familiarus... The wolf you're familiar enough with to have in your home. How would you feel if groups wanted to get together and hunt your pets?

After reading these comments I felt I needed to make a response. I live in Montana and am a native. I am also a son of a retired 37 year wildlife biologist/forestry manager with the USDA, USFS. I have spent my life in the out-doors enjoying our wild life and our resourses. I am an environmentalist, and wild life photographer, and a hunter. I have served with the Hornnocker Wildlife Research institute on a wolf/Lion study here in the late 90's seen on Nova and in tne National Geographic magazine. I have been in Wolf dens and approached by an Alpha male on valentines day during mating season! They are truly magnificent animals. I am the farthest thing from a "wolf hater"!I feel I have the experience and knowledge to make a couple of worthy comments and observations. First of all, anyone fully for protecting and not killing a wolf period, is wrong and extreme to one side, equally as well as anyone desiring to exterminate them all. The buzz phrase "eco-system" became popular 10 years ago, though "most" people cannot accruately describe it or understand it accurately. I feel we need wolves to fully have a ballanced ecology in the wilderness of this area, but we need to responsibly manage them as we need to manage all the other resourses we have. Not extreme one side or the other. I spend countless days and travel hundreds of miles of remote wilderness each year. I have first hand observed that we have an explosion of wolves in every dirrection I go. I have seen wolves on daily occasions in every area from remote to rural. It's not like that on the east coast. We live with them! They have become completely de-sensitized to man completely and taken over every area they move in to. In short, we need a ballance. We need to manage their population numbers for "their future well being". We can ALL co-exhist with ballanced management. Thanks

The so-called "explosion of wolves" must be crusty ideas in Randy's head. It's the human population that's most invasive and Little Red Riding Hood stories have been adopted by those with a wolf, elk and moose hunting mindset. That wolves are not always frightened to death of humans doesn't call for mutilating wolves so that hunters can appear to beat them into submission. Priscilla Feral Friends of Animals

The wolves are taking over our ecosystem period they are far past there "management" areas,as they were introduced in the park as something to bring the park to what it was in the glory days,but little did they realize that the wolves would spread like rabbits.Read about the local ranchers who lost 120 sheep,now the MT fish and wildlife is responsible financially sure the rancher gets reimbursed but at the taxpayers expense,the best way is to manage them and none better than a .308. FoA comments: Those 120 sheep were already dead -- unfortunate, expendable cogs of the animal exploitation industry. Want fewer wolves? Try not raising sheep and other "livestock." But don't cry over dead sheep when death is all that awaited them at the end of their exploitation. Don't subsidize ranchers to exploit animals.

Yes, the population has grown out west. You have proven you don’t know the living situation out here by your sincere comments. Respectfully, I am a corporate pilot and see where you and 90% of the “mis-informed” live. I fly all over the U.S. The population out west is not people and homes out in the forest taking on wolves in their own habitat. The national forest’s are thousands of square miles, the rest is B.N. or Plumcreek timber. ALL un settled and un-accessable. The only growth in my 3rd generation of Montana, that’s only the last 100 years, is an expansion of the only 4 or 5 established city’s. You cannot draw parallel’s from your life and enviroment to ours until you live here. I make my respectful comments from standing on the ground HERE where we are discussing. How many nights have you spent under a tarp in the rocky mountain wilderness this month?, this year? Your ignorance disqualifies the effectiveness of your comments. Respectfully, Randy FoA comments: All of your passengers must surely be praying that you know more about flying than you do about respect. Even out East you don’t respectfully call someone ignorant. Air too thin up for you there? And stop aimlessly looking at the ground from out the cockpit window while you fly. You’re making the passengers nervous and they have a hard time praying while they’re nervous. But okay, since you are looking out the window, have you noticed an increase in cattle and sheep ranches in say the last fifty years? Fancy that! I take it the wolves aren’t invading Idaho’s cities and snatching away children, but that the Governor’s complaint is that they are killing livestock. So it doesn’t take a genius, that’s why I am telling you, that if you stop raising farm animals, you’ll have a healthy balance of predator and free-living prey. Just the way it was before Idaho’s wild places were converted to support its barren animal agriculture.

In fact, the cattle ranches and sheep ranches have steadily declined and the land returned to "non-use" in most of our friends and relatives ranches. Many have completely sold out all their livestock or leased them to operations in Canada. There is now only a small portion of livestock operating ranches as compaired to 50 years ago. Like i said....Ignorance FoA comments: Where did you get that "fact"? From looking out an airplane window? Instead, just go to the USDA website and look up the state reports for Idaho and see the comparison between 1992 and 1959. In 1992 there were 1,812,720 cattle and in 1959 1,379,978 cattle. In 2008 there were 2.23 million cattle. The number of cattle have just about doubled in 50 years. You must have been looking out only one side of the plane. Like I said, disrespectful.


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