2 Jun 2009, 10:58pm
by admin

Lawsuits over wolf hunting filed in Mont., Wyo

By MATTHEW BROWN and BEN NEARY, Associated Press Writers, June 2, 2009 [here]

A pair of federal judges will decide which states in the Northern Rockies have enough gray wolves to allow public hunting, as the bitter debate over the region’s wolves heads to courts in Wyoming and Montana.

Environmentalists filed a lawsuit in Missoula on Tuesday seeking to restore protections for more than 1,300 wolves in Montana and Idaho. The Obama administration in April upheld a Bush-era decision to take wolves off the endangered species list in those two states.

The lawsuit could block regulated wolf hunts slated to begin this fall and scuttle a plan to remove all the predators from part of north central Idaho.

Gray wolves remain on the endangered species list in Wyoming, but in another lawsuit, Wyoming attorney General Bruce Salzburg on Tuesday asked a federal judge in Cheyenne to clear the way for hunts in his state. Salzburg rejected claims by federal officials that local laws were too weak to protect Wyoming’s 300 wolves.

Gray wolves were listed as endangered in 1974, after they had been wiped out across the lower 48 states in the early 20th century by hunting and government-sponsored poisoning. Following an intensive reintroduction program, there are now an estimated 1,645 wolves in the Northern Rockies, not including this year’s pups.

“There’s absolutely no question this population is fully recovered. There’s wolves moving all over the place,” said Ed Bangs, wolf recovery coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Wolves were returned to Wyoming, Idaho and parts of Montana in the mid-1990s over strong objections from ranchers and many politicians. The effort has cost the government $30 million to date.

In Wyoming, the complaints have grown as wolves take a bloody toll on livestock and big game herds. Ranchers say the number of wolves shot by federal wildlife agents - 264 last year alone - has not been enough to curb livestock killings that hit a record high in 2008.

Wyoming law declares almost 90 percent of the state a “predator zone” where wolves can be shot on sight. For now, however, that law is superseded by federal protections.

“We have to attempt to protect our wildlife and our livestock in the face of really no help from the federal government,” said Wyoming House Speaker Colin Simpson. “If the only way to do that is through litigation, then that’s how we’ll have to proceed.”

Bangs said the agency had no choice but to reject Wyoming’s wolf management plan. Last summer, U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy in Missoula pointed to the state’s predator zone as a prime reason for throwing out an earlier federal proposal to take wolves off the endangered list.

“The Wyoming plan folded like a house of cards the first time anybody took a hard look at it,” Bangs said.

For Montana and Idaho, federal officials say the threat of extinction has passed and the population is large enough to survive on its own. But the environmental groups and the Humane Society of the United States argue that the wolves’ biological success could quickly be reversed absent federal oversight.

“Idaho in particular has shown an eagerness to aggressively reduce its wolf population,” said Jenny Harbine, an attorney with Earthjustice who helped write the environmentalists’ lawsuit. “Until states commit to managing their wolf populations in a responsible and sustainable manner, federal protections remain crucial.”


2 Jun 2009, 10:58pm
by SB

There will not be enough wolves in the west until hunting and ranching comes to an end. Remember the guy who said “I look forward to the day that the last truck load of cattle drives off into the sunset”? Now he is director of Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife!!!

3 Jun 2009, 10:17am
by DN

As expected, reports of elk populations are dismal. Idaho Fish and Game has reduced the number of elk tags. They are claiming a harsh winter. They have also generated a solicitation letter to out-of-state hunters that have purchased licenses in the past, as they have experienced a severe decline in tag purchases and fear a big loss in revenue. No doubt that people are refusing to buy tags in areas that they have no chance of taking - let alone seeing - game. This follows an increase in fees approved by our state legislature for 2010. Apparently the IDFG deserves a raise. Certainly it is not because there are more elk and deer to manage.

In the process of introducing the wolf, the claims were that there would be significant revenues from tourists that want to see wolves. I wonder if that has happened. Maybe the IDFG can issue a wolf viewing tag to make up for the lost revenue. Do you think that people will come from all over the world to see a wolf here in Idaho? They used to come to hunt some of the finest elk herds in the world.

3 Jun 2009, 10:18am
by MS

The environmental extremists will have their objections to de-listing “miraculously” upheld by the courts just before any “legal hunting is scheduled to commence”. The environmental extremists know the critical mass of wolf populations have reached the point where the elk populations in ID and western MT can be reduced below huntable levels.

Just like the Taliban and Al Qaida, the wolves have a protected sanctuary base to disperse into Eastern MT, OR, WA, NV, CO, and UT from.

The federal government is out of control and hell bent on taking all of our individual liberties away. Whether it’s the ESA, inflationary deficit spending, ACORN voter fraud, nationalization over capitalism, etc., we the people must unite and say enough is enough before it’s too late—if it’s not already.



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