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Wolf hunting to resume in Idaho if judge doesn't intervene


The gray wolf, virtually exterminated in the West in the early 20th century, will be hunted once again in Idaho beginning Tuesday after a successful reintroduction program saw populations of the predators bloom across much of the northern Rocky Mountains.

Though a federal judge has been asked to intervene, new state laws call for wolf hunts to begin this week in two parts of Idaho, followed by hunts in much of the rest of the state and in Montana later in the month.

Protected since 1973 under the federal Endangered Species Act when they were nearly extinct in the continental United States, wolves were reintroduced into Yellowstone National Park and parts of Idaho in the 1990s and have since formed a large number of hunting and breeding packs that are beginning to range as far as Oregon.

The federal government concluded that the wolves, which now number about 1,650, had recovered and lifted endangered species protections this year.

Read the rest of the article, including the arguments of a coalition of environmental groups that are against the hunting.

--Kim Murphy

Photo: A gray wolf at Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming in 2004. Credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Comments () | Archives (18)

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I love wolves. 55,000 wolves worldwide right now is a shame. Their original numbers were supposed to be millions. Wolves are extinct in most of the continental United States. Many of livestock that are being killed are actually due to greedy breeders that created wolf-dog hybrids who are much more unpredictable than wolves and escape from their homes or breeders. For those who say wolves have killed in the past, well yes they have, but there is no record of a healthy wolf ever doing so. Would you say that the entire human race was scum because someone who caught rabies from a raccoon went off and shot people? There are reports in foreign countries of "wolf" attacks, but they could have been caused by coyotes (who are much more likely to attack people and livestock) or unhealthy wolves. These attacks were not tested for disease therefore there is no way to determine that the attacks were actually made by wolves. Wolves are careful mystifying creatures that should be protected. There are billions of humans when there used to be millions and thousands of wolves when there used to be millions. Hmmm what's more a thousand or a billion? Wolves are not pests. Wolves have been misunderstood since at least the Middle Ages when stories of man-wolves or werewolves arose from Germany and started spreading their bad reputations. Dogs have a higher percentage rate based on encounters on injuring people. It's not just the fact that you're less likely to see a wolf. If you run into a dog you are more likely to be attacked than if you happen to run into a wolf. Wolves do not attack unless they are sick or directly threatened. When they are introduced into an environment they actually help the ecosystem. As for the elk they are in no way endangered and people can go and hunt the overpopulated deer. Will you wipe out an entire race just because you prefer the taste of elk? I am not against hunting as long as you eat what you hunt. I have never heard or seen an account of a person eating wolf. The remaing wolves need to be protected to avoid the path of the Passenger Pigeon(extinct 1914), Honshu Wolf (extinct 1905), and the Kenai Wolf (extinct 1925). Human efforts to eradicate the species all played a major role in the extinction of these species.

Hi fron Alberta, CANADA-Guess you guys don't like the wolves we sent you. Next time you ask, please lobby you government not to take our wolves so this senseless killing by hunters who will use any excuse to kill has to happen again.

By the way I'm an avid fisherman and hunter who respects the wilderness and all that it offers. Your landowners have always had the authority to hunt wolves that become a problem to domestic stock. This wolf hunt has nothing to do with protection of other wildlife, it is driven by needless sport hunting only.

i agree with Tim McGrath WOLF HUNTING IS WRONG

I really dislike the idea of killing animals as a sport especially when a certain species is close to extinction. just because the wolf population grew up to a 1,000 that doesn't mean that it is ok to start killing them all over again. The whole point of protecting animals from hunter is to restore their population not to bring them close to extinction all over again.

I am sorry but when did people stop reading NEVER CRY WOLF. The book that illustrates how rarely people are attacked by wolves, how wolves only pick out the weaker moose that they can easily kill, and how wolves have genes or dna or something in their body that prohibits them form being able to make as many babies when there is less food. This was all written by a person who originally feared wolves.

LovelySpeak, check your facts and so some home work, show me any study that supports your comment. I call complete BS. As an Idaho native, and hunter and avid outdoorsman, stick to what you know, maybe knitting...

It's what immediately came to my mind when I read this post and the comments. Check it out here:

I welcome comments, but please, tell me why what you are doing out there in the West is more important than what the wolves have going on.

I don't agree hunting wolves in Idaho and Montana is a solution for controling the wild animal's population. Wolves' attack against humans is rare. The both state should consider alternative methods and better wildlife management.

Wolves are dangerous. People have been killed by wolves. Even more people are killed by dogs, guns, cars, bars of soap, toasters... Heavens, more people are killed by sharks than by wolves. And sharks are much less dangerous than toasters.

I don't live in Idaho, so I probably wouldn't be killed by a wolf. But I live near the ocean, and swim in it at least once a week, and I wish that there were more sharks (lots more sharks). Why? Because I like the idea that there are wild places on the planet, and sharks help keep the rest of the wild ocean healthy. But, even if you live in Idaho, I think that you have a right to help me decide: should we kill all of the sharks?

So, I also think you should respect my opinion, which is: more wolves!

I absolutely disagree with these comments from Idahoans who support this extermination because of the "danger to man" or some weird environmental hazard. Straight from the mouth of your Governor, the wolf hunt is necessary because the wolves are hunting the elk, who to his way of thinking, should be kept exclusively for the hunters because of the money the hunting licensing industry brings to the state coffers. Why he even offered to purchase the first permit to show his enthusiam for his project! Its all about money and NOTHING ELSE. These animals are hunted down by helicopter and then shot in the spine and executed as they try to drag themselves away from these back-hills monsters who are hootin and hollerin and yee-hawing as the blast away with their high powered rifles.

how accurate is the 1650 estimate ? ive followed the plight of wildlife, specially bison, wolves, and lynx, for many years. we white men of the white race are a blood thirsty lot ! we constitue one fourth of the earths population. it would appear to the disinterested observer, we must dominate by killing off the bison, wolf,red man,black man etc.. i see valid points on both sides, but lets not have emotions, monetary gains,and inaccurate information rule. when one has the luxury of time on their side for decisions, usually they are more just and wise ! being an ole jack-leg lawyer, i further see this domineering trait in the abuse of wives and children, weekly. do you think it used to be humane race, and lacking the qualities of kindness, mercifulness, and sympathy, was shortened to human ? were a sad lot and some days im ashamed to be a member of the human race !!

There are an estimated 55,000 wolves in Canada and Alaska and they were never even close to being exterminated in North America. Wolves are not compatible with domestic livestock and that is the main reason they were trapped and hunted here in the lower 48. We have a bunch of U.N., Agenda 21 idiots here in northern Wisc., Minn., and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan that want to stop all mining, logging and industry in general and eliminate people from these areas. It's time that we start lobbying our politicians and attending local meetings so we can have a say as to what goes on in our own back yards and protect our jobs. Piss on wolves and tree huggers!

All right! Where can I get a tag?

i am so pissed off that idaho and montana are opening a season on wolves. wasnt it bad enough that the white man wiped out the buffalo, beaver, wolves and griz. i read your story and contactacted the white house. next im taking a bus to the capital of idaho and protest, your a very big paper, let people know whats going on.go national! , my name is rob murphy.i hope you will respond

I live in Idaho part time and don't agree that this wolf kill is necessary. The mentality for anything dead is "it's those wolves again". 53% of the elk population is killed each year by hunters. 7% are killed by wolves. When we are done being responsible to creating over population of wildlife, do we start selling people tags for overpopulation of people? Killing wolves is not for
hunting something to eat, its purely a blood sport. I say sell hunting tags to Aghganistan for Idaho hunters. Do something for the country.

To: Kim Murphy, Times staff writer
Subject: Wolf hunt

Ms. Murphy,

I've got a home in Idaho [plus one here in La Canada] and have been an "outdoorsman" for more than 50 years. So I'm very much "in tune" with the wolf situation in Idaho.

The one thing that hasn't been examined by any of the media is "why" the wolves were, as you say, "virtually exterminated" by the pioneers by the turn of the century. It's generally agreed that there were 5 reasons.

They were hunted for "sport", hunted for their pelts, hunted because of their impact on rancher's livestock, and hunted because of their impact on game animals [deer & elk] upon which early settlers depended for food.

But the biggest reason was because of their danger to humans.

Here's just one example from the many documented incidents, this from the St. Paul Daily Globe, North Dakota.

"NEW ROCKFORD, DAK, March 7 - The news has just reached here that a father and son, living several miles northeast of this city, were destroyed by wolves yesterday. The two unfortunate men started to a haystack some ten rods from the house to shovel a path around the stack when they were surrounded by wolves and literally eaten alive. The horror-stricken mother was standing at the window with a babe in her arms, a spectator to the terrible death of her husband and son, but was unable to aid them. After they had devoured every flesh from the bones of the men, the denizens of the forest attacked the house, but retired to the hills in a short time. Investigation found nothing but the bones of the husband and son. The family name was Olson. Wolves are more numerous and dangerous now than ever before known in North Dakota." (Saint Paul Daily Globe, March 8, 1888)

Put "wolf attacks" in Google and you'll find many more, including one which happened to John James Audubon, of whom the Audubon Society is named.

Despite the claims by wolf advocates, wolves are not warm, fuzzy and harmless. They are deadly to humans. It's only a matter of time before there's an "incident" involving people.

Trent Sanders
La Canada, Calif.

How barbaric! It's amazing what mankind can rationalize. Surely this
type of thinking will excelerate the termination of man itself
Tim McGrath

please try to understand us in idaho. all the info for the people that want to save the large number of wolves in idaho is @ just read the info on the site before you judge the hunters and their reasons for hunting . wolves are not bad we had them in idaho before they planted them in the early 90's but the numbers are so large they are causing more bad than good. you may buy your meat at a store but we hunt. for 100% organic meat in the woods. thank you.
"you do your thing and i will do mine"


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