MT and ID Governors Catch Heat About Wolves

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Dear Governor Schweitzer;

Following is a letter to Governor Butch Otter of Idaho, from a very concerned citizen of that state, who can no longer remain quiet about the excessive damage wolves are dealing wildlife and livestock production, plus the threat wolves pose the health, safety and psychological well being of Idaho residents.

It is well written, and to the point.  This resident, like a growing majority in that state, feels it is time for the Governor of that state to declare a State of Emergency – and remove all wolves from Idaho.

LOBO WATCH and a few other sportsmen-based groups here in Montana are going to ensure that you will now begin to hear the same from

Montana residents who fear the same.  Since many of us have contacted your office about the wolf issue, we’re already aware that you have been hearing from many.  However, as wolves continue their onslaught against the State of Montana, and nothing is done to take true control of the problem, your constituents have become an extremely disgruntled and uneasy lot.  From this point forward, your office will become inundated with concerns and feelings not unlike those shared in the letter that follows.

Personally, I was somewhat appalled by the seemingly unconcerned response to my letter to you, and how you simply handed response off to

MT Fish, Wildlife and Parks Director Joe Maurier.  What I received from him was just another dose of the same hogwash which has truly angered the sportsmen and livestock producers of this state.  And that is a very big part of the problem you will be hearing about from Montana residents who are truly fed up with a state government that is too cowardly to stand up for our state’s right to properly control predators that adversely affect our wildlife resources, the ability of ranchers to profitably raise cattle and sheep, and for the residents of this state to enjoy the outdoor bounty of Montana without beng in fear of the welfare of our families and pets.

Toby Bridges

LOBO WATCH

100 Parker Court

Missoula, MT 59801                                                                                                 (406) 542-9751

The following document includes portions of a letter that was sent to Idaho’s Governor Otter from an Insurance Agent out of St. Maries, ID, Rod Halvorsen. Rod is also a member of the Benewah County Natural Resource Team and wrote Benewah County’s Wolf Management Policy.

Governor Butch Otter

P.O. Box 83720

Boise, Id. 83720 

Dear Governor Otter;

Now Federal Judge Molloy has ruled.

Governor Otter, it is time for a new start.  

That start must be based on a full understanding on the facts, facts that do not begin with wolf introduction but more importantly, facts that begin with the demand of the people of Idaho for wolf extirpation in the era prior to 1915.  

The first fact to remember is that any attempt at “recovery” of this species is an attempt at recovery of a true pest, a noxious biological organism that was once eliminated from Idaho for good reasons.

Governor Otter, wolves were neither mistakenly nor inadvertently eliminated from the landscape of Idaho.  They were, in fact, removed by the will of the people and at great cost to local governments, Counties, the State, stockmen’s associations and the Federal Government itself simply because the cost was worth the effort.  The population of the entire West and indeed, Idaho, demanded the removal of this pest in the same way that populations faced with malarial mosquitoes and small pox have demanded the elimination of those organisms.  All three are similar organisms in that they are and have been a threat to humanity and human activity for the entire history of human existence  All three have been the object of attempts to eliminate them.  Only the wolf so far has a cadre of misinformed and or fanatical supporters to {shockingly and amazingly} reestablish its existence where it was successfully and thankfully eliminated .  The wolf is a threat that, though once sensibly eliminated, is now being forced on the public by some government agencies in concert with some fringe, so-called environmental organizations at the same time that the majority of rural Idahoans, the ones that must bear the brunt of its existence, demand yet again its removal.  Once, common sense resulted in a proper response to a biological threat, now the lack of common sense has created a disaster; a disaster for game herds, for the outfitting industry, for livestock and livestock owners and for rural people.  The rights of rural people in the use of their own property are deprived in order to protect the life cycle and behavior of a biological pest.


Calls to study the issue should be heeded.  Such calls should commence with a close study of Federal Government documents produced by the Bureau of Biological Survey beginning in 1915.  These facts cannot be disconnected from the current movement to restore wolf populations because the facts from history tell us clearly what we will experience with firmly-established wolf populations; catastrophe.  It is high time that the wolf finds itself under the scrutiny of historical context, not just under the the microscope of environmentalists bent on political change and fund-raising efforts.  Indeed, Federal documents of the Bureau of Biological Survey outline the economic devastation that wolves caused to the West and the proper response government once took but now seeks to obliterate.

These documents need not stand alone.  Today we see the exact same types of events RE-occurring where wolves have been reestablished.  Current annual reports from USDA/APHIS/WS document wolf impact on livestock.  Other related studies document the extensive impact not documented in USDA reports; for example Oakleaf’s study finding that for every one calf confirmed as killed by wolves, 8 more were killed but not recovered by the producers.  This research is further reinforced by Bjorge and Gunson’s similar findings.

There is indeed so much to study.  Wolves cannot be tolerated where humans need resources also-used by wolves.  No apology needs be made.  So much has been ignored in the wolf debate .  There is much material that must be examined afresh along with more and more findings that will demonstrate and are demonstrating the truth that wolves cannot be tolerated among human populations any more than can malarial mosquitoes.

From recent Idaho Fish and Game we learn that in 1990, 4902 elk & deer outfitter tags were sold whereas in 2009 a paltry 1161 were sold by that self-same department.

Historically, the Idaho Code demonstrated the need for taxation of all livestock to provide revenue for predator control work as a result of the severe weight of losses caused by wolves to the livestock industry of the state .  Such a legislative response was a sensible legislative response. Tax ledgers of Idaho Counties list for many years a Predatory Livestock Tax as levied against EVERY HEAD OF LIVESTOCK for the purpose of assisting in paying for the very necessary control of wolves in order to promote public health, safety and economic prosperity.  

The original EIS expected only 100 wolves in Idaho.  Now there are in excess of ten times {and possibly 20X’s} that amount.  In light of these facts, a new review of the negative impact on the economy, heritage, custom and culture of rural residents throughout the state caused by wolf recovery must be initiated.  Economic devastation is well-known, but other negative effects are wide-sweeping.  No longer do many rural residents allow their children to play outside or go fishing.  Children should not be walking in the tracks of wolves, and wolves should not be walking in the tracks of children.  Certainly, attacks have been avoided by the forced, unjust, unconstitutional, oppressive, widespread, negative alteration to lifestyles forced on rural residents who live in the presence of wolves.  

This disregard for the people of the State by Federal Judge Donald Molloy and the United State Fish and Wildlife Service is not stopping some local governments from affirming the blessings of wolf extirpation and supporting polices promoting wolf population reductions.  Benewah County has courageously confronted and given witness to the truth about wolves and other counties will follow.

What illegal activity attaches itself to the very act of “wolf watching” {is that done “for sport”?}  Indeed, I call for an investigation by IF&G law enforcement officials to study the wolf-watching practices of wolf proponents.  I suggest specifically that practices be examined to determine if violations to IF&G game feeding and baiting laws occur or have occurred.

The recovery of wolves brings with it much mayhem, but the elimination of wolves brought with it much blessing.  It was a blessing for all Idahoans, and indeed, for the citizens of the USA itself.  For many years we in Idaho lived the blessing of an essentially wolf-free Idaho.  It was a blessing indeed, a blessing to hunters, to stock raisers, to rural residents and to the public at large.  Remember the positive affect on elk, deer and moose populations that existed in the absence of wolves.  Life without wolves reflects life without depredation, destruction and disease.  

Idaho Fish and Game must commence an internal study into the REASONS wolves were extirpated from this State and make those available as text on the IF&G website.  To date I see none of this made public.  Indeed, Federal Bureau of Biological Survey records are available and I early records of the IF&G department itself can shed light on the condition of the game fields, livestock industry and rural life vis a vis wolves during the dawn of IF&G establishment.  From establishment of the State Game Warden in 1899 to the Idaho Fish and Game reorganization in 1938 and after, the department was rightly and justly active in predator control efforts, efforts that enabled big game recovery operations to succeed!  How the people wish that the Department would once again take the lead in reduction of coyote numbers, and maintain leadership in elimination of the wolf!

Indeed, there is the will of the people to be considered; the hunters, guides and outfitters who fund the Idaho Fish and Game Department.  No intensive study is needed to determine the responsibility of the IF&G to represent them.  It is codified in law, in the Mandate to provide continued supplies of game animals for human utilization.  There is no question about what the will of hunters is in this state.  It is simply put; THEY DO NOT WANT WOLVES IN IDAHO.

Wolf Recovery is not “science” any more than throwing a sack full of rats into a restaurant is “science”.  Science itself cannot by itself find a solution to the wolf recovery problem.  Science cannot provide a solution because the solution to the problem is based first and foremost on adherence to a set of values, with science merely being the tool used to achieve goals based on those values.  On one side science is sought and can be used to protect wolves and destroy valuable game animals, ruin the heritage, culture and custom of the people of this state, and impoverish individuals and communities.  On the other side, on the side of the sportsmen, hunters, guides, outfitters and livestock owners, science can be used to eliminate wolves and thereby benefit rural communities, protect livestock and pets, support growing herds of deer, moose and elk promote a thriving hunting industry and rural life.  

The truth is that wolves are an environmental pest in no way different than noxious weeds or malarial mosquitoes.  Indeed, the hue and cry for wolf removal once became so loud that finally, in July of 1915, after the stock-raising industry teetered on the brink of bankruptcy, the United States Congress appropriated funds for wolf removal.  In a little over 20 years, the success of this Federal program was proven among the burgeoning game herds and to generations of stockmen and hunters and rural residents who richly benefited from an essentially wolf-free Idaho.  

Governor Otter, unfortunately, by no choice of your own, you have only two choices;

1}  Allow wolves to remain in Idaho and thereby preside over and become known for all history for the destruction of the heritage of rural people and the entrenchment of injustice and a scourge in this state…

…or…

2}  Exercise your authority as Governor and order the removal of wolves from the State of Idaho.  

We, the people plead, with you to choose the second option.  I assure you, we will support you and we will never forget your courage for acting in our defense at this critical time.

Sincerely, 

Rod Halvorsen

 

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