wolves

Friday, January 23, 2015

Idaho Wolf Numbers Declining, But Breeding Pairs Are Increasing

Posted By on Fri, Jan 23, 2015 at 9:55 AM

wolf.jpeg
Idaho wildlife officials say the number of wolves in the Gem State continues to drop, but their most recent count of breeding pairs of wolves in Idaho has actually gone up, and they say that's a key measurement of the status of the state's wolf population.

In a January 22 presentation to the Idaho Fish and Game Commission, biologist Jim Hayden said Idaho currently has about 1,000 wolves in about 107 wolf packs and there are approximately 20 breeding pairs. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service requires Idaho to maintain a minimum of 15 wolf breeding pairs or they might consider re-listing the wolf on the endangered species list.

Additionally, Hayden said the there have been fewer depredations on Idaho livestock in the past year.
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Friday, January 9, 2015

Environmentalists Watchdog Idaho 'Wolf Derby'

Posted By on Fri, Jan 9, 2015 at 1:36 PM

Ertz snapped this photo at the 2nd Annual Predator Hunting Contest. - BRIAN ERTZ, WILDLANDS DEFENSE BOARD PRESIDENT
  • Brian Ertz, WildLands Defense board president
  • Ertz snapped this photo at the 2nd Annual Predator Hunting Contest.

Over the weekend of Jan. 3 and 4, more than 125 hunters took part in the Second Annual Predator Hunting Contest, commonly referred to as the 'wolf derby.' The two-day event near Salmon saw the death of 30 coyotes, but no wolves.

Environmental groups sighed relief earlier this fall when the Bureau of Land Management barred the event from its property, but organizers moved the contest to Forest Service, state and private land. Several environmental groups moved in anyway to capture the killings.

"While environmental groups were not able to stop the derby, eight of us were on the front lines, standing in solidarity for the wild," said Stephany Seay of the Buffalo Field Campaign—based in West Yellowstone, Mont.—in a news release. "We publicized it, documented it, and shamed them into hiding their celebration of carnage."

The activists that went to the derby reported lax interactions between the hunters and Fish and Game officers. They didn't notice any BLM officers nearby, but there's no way to prove if any coyotes were actually killed on BLM land.

Activists like Brian Ertz, the board president of WildLands Defense, split into teams along the boundary of the event, carrying cameras to document the "competitive violence," according to the news release. They were barred from the nightly check-ins and unable to attend the closing ceremony when Lemhi County sheriffs escorted them off the private land.

Natalie Ertz, the executive director of the WildLands Defense, approached the organizer of the derby in the parking lot outside the event, but she said he told her, "No cameras, no journalists, this is private property," and then called the sheriff.

The advocates also noticed contest organizers and participants trying to obscure visibility during the derby, moving trucks that contained carcasses out of view and holding up tarps in front of cameras.

"Our bearing witness and documenting apparently had a significant impact," Seay said. "We shamed them into hiding what they had professed to be so proud of."
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Monday, January 5, 2015

Wolf-Kill Derby Closes, Claiming 30 Coyote Deaths, No Wolves

Posted By on Mon, Jan 5, 2015 at 10:46 AM

A predator-hunting "derby" targeting wolves and coyotes near Salmon is over, and hunters this year brought back to base camp 30 coyotes—but no wolves.

In a Facebook post, event organizer and promoter Idaho for Wildlife closed out the derby by thanking participants and confirming the number of wolves and coyotes that had been killed during this year's event. Facebook user Spencer Jensen left a comment, "Looking forward to it next year!"

The derby wrapped up Jan. 4. In 2014, 230 hunters of all ages killed a total of 21 coyotes and no wolves. This year, Idaho for Wildlife Executive Director Steve Adler told Newsweek that more than 125 hunters entered the 2015 contest, which awarded a $1,000 cash prizes for most animals killed. Other prizes were awarded to hunters 10-13 years old and 14-17 years old. 

IFW's derby garnered international controversy when the Bureau of Land Management barred the derby from its property, causing organizers to move the event to privately held land. Idaho State Director for the Humane Society of America Lisa Kauffman told Newsweek that "Rewarding shooters, including young children, with prizes takes us back to an earlier era of wanton killing that so many of us thought was an ugly, ignorant and closed chapter in our history."


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Sunday, January 4, 2015

Two Dozen Coyotes Killed So Far in Salmon Area Predator 'Derby,' No Wolves Reported Taken

Posted By on Sun, Jan 4, 2015 at 2:14 PM

U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICES
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services

A wolf- and coyote-hunting derby that has caused international controversy wraps up today in the mountains outside Salmon, and according to event organizers, about two dozen coyotes have been killed so far—though no wolves.

Posting on its Facebook page, Idaho for Wildlife, which put on the derby, reported 17 coyotes killed on the first full day of the so-called Predator Hunting Contest and Fur Rendezvous, Jan. 2, and seven "non-BLM" coyotes killed the following day.

The second-annual hunt, which drew criticism around the world, was barred from Bureau of Land Management property and instead went forward on private and U.S. Forest Service land. 

In an interview with Newsweek, Idaho for Wildlife Executive Director Steve Alder said more than 125 hunters entered this year's contest, vying for $1,000 cash prizes for most animals killed. Separate prizes are offered for hunters 10 to 13 years old and 14 to 17 years old.

Last year the top prize went unclaimed, with 21 coyotes killed but no wolves taken. More than 230 hunters entered the inaugural event.

Calling it a "wolf massacre," Idaho State Director for the Humane Society of America Lisa Kauffman told Newsweek that "Rewarding shooters, including young children, with prizes takes us back to an earlier era of wanton killing that so many of us thought was an ugly, ignorant and closed chapter in our history."

While there was no fee charged to enter the derby, Idaho for Wildlife is asking for donations, with some of the proceeds donated to the Calvary Food Bank, Lemhi After School program and a $1,000 college scholarship to a Salmon area student.
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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Wolf-Kill Derby Promoted for Salmon Area on New Year's Weekend

Posted By on Tue, Dec 30, 2014 at 9:48 AM

2015_Predator_Hunt_Poster.jpg
Organizers of a controversial Idaho predator derby—which was barred from Bureau of Land Management property in November—are going forward with their hunt, scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 1-Sunday, Jan. 4 and limited to U.S. Forest Service and private land near Salmon.

The event, sponsored by Idaho for Wildlife, is dubbed "Predator Hunting Contest and Fur Rendezvous" and has special prizes for most wolves killed ($1,000), most coyotes killed ($1,000), and separate prizes for hunters 10 to 13 years old and 14 to 17 years old. Organizers are not charging an entry fee but are taking donations at registration, which begins 6 p.m., Jan. 1 at the Steel and Ranch store in Salmon.

Organizers promise that licensed fur buyers will be on site "to pay $$$ for your furs (whole or skinned)."

According to its website, Idaho for Wildlife is "dedicated to the preservation of Idaho's wildlife," and "to fight against all legal and legislative attempts by the animal rights and anti-gun organizations who are attempting to take away our rights and freedoms under the Constitution of the United States of America."

BLM canceled the 2015 wolf-killing "derby" on 3 million acres of public land near Salmon in response to a lawsuit from the Center for Biological Diversity, Advocates for the West, the Western Watersheds Project and Project Coyote. During the inaugural event in December 2013, no wolves were killed, but 21 coyotes died during the hunt. The $1,000 prize for killing the largest wolf went unclaimed.





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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Idaho Predator Derby Canceled on Federal Land

Posted By on Tue, Nov 25, 2014 at 11:07 AM

U.S. FISH & WILDLIFE SERVICES
  • U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services

A controversial hunting derby targeting predator species like wolves and coyotes won't happen on federal land after all. 

Bureau of Land Management officials decided earlier this month to allow Idaho's second annual wolf-killing "derby," but the agency changed its mind and decided to cancel the permit allowing the hunt on more than 3 million acres of public land near Salmon.

According to a news release from the Center for Biological Diversity, the cancellation came in response to a lawsuit being prepared by several conservation groups, including the Center for Biological Diversity, Advocates for the West, the Western Watersheds Project and Project Coyote.

The BLM withdrew its blessing for the wolf- and coyote-kill contest before the suit was actually filed. The agency had granted permission for the contest for three days a year, every year for five years, beginning on Jan. 2, 2015.

“We’re so glad that the deadly derby has been canceled this year,” CBD senior attorney Amy Atwood stated in the news release. “These sort of ruthless kill-fests have no place in this century. We intend to pursue every available remedy to stop these horrible contests.”

The hunt would have allowed up to 500 participants in the contest to kill wolves, coyotes and other animals for cash and prizes. During the inaugural event in December 2013, no wolves were killed, but 21 coyotes died during the hunt. The $1,000 prize for killing the largest wolf went unclaimed.

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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Feds Approve Extension of Wolf-Kill Derby, Triggering Another Legal Challenge

Posted By on Thu, Nov 13, 2014 at 5:24 PM

After sifting through thousands of public comments on the matter, federal officials have decided to extend Idaho's wolf-killing 'derby." The first-of-its-kind event was held in December 2013, which didn't result in the death of any wolves but saw 21 coyotes killed near Salmon.  Nonetheless, organizers sought a five-year extension of the predator-killing contest.

You may remember that the derby attracted quite a bit of international attention:

"Wolf and Coyote Derby Turns Small Idaho Town Into a Battleground," wrote Guardian Liberty Voice.

"Two-Day Holiday Killing 'Derby' in Idaho Targets Wolves and Coyotes," wrote the Huffington Post.

But late Thursday, Nov. 14, the Bureau of Land Management approved Idaho for Wildlife's request to continue the hunt this year, saying that the impact to federal lands would not be significant.

And that prompted Defenders of Wildlife to respond that they'll be taking the matter to court charging that the hunt "undermines the Northern Rockies wolf recovery program."

"Defenders and other conservation groups have asserted that such commercial predator-killing derbies are a reflection of 19th century thinking and hatred towards predators and have no place on federal lands in the 21st century," wrote Defenders of Wildlife.

BLM officials confirmed that they received over 100,000 comments on the matter.

“Commercialized killing contests to slaughter predators are something right out of the 1800s. It’s the same archaic tactic that pushed wolves toward extinction in the first place,” said Suzanne Stone, Idaho resident and Defenders of Wildlife Senior Representative for Rockies and Plains. 
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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Idaho's Suzanne Stone Awarded $10K Grant to Continue 'Foxlight' Wolf-Predation Research

Posted By on Tue, Oct 7, 2014 at 12:56 PM

Suzanne Stone - DEFENDERS OF WILDLIFE
  • Defenders of Wildlife
  • Suzanne Stone

Idaho wildlife advocate Suzanne Stone was awarded a $10,000 grant from the Animal Welfare Institute today as part of its annual Christine Stevens Wildlife Awards. Stone oversees wolf conservation programs for Defenders of Wildlife in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, as well as the organization's wolf compensation program, which pays ranchers and farmers for wolf-predation losses.

Stone was one of only five recipients who were honored for what the Animal Welfare Institute described as "innovative strategies for humane, non-lethal wildlife conflict management and study."

In particular, Stone's grant will be used to continue funding research on the efficacy of so-called "foxlights" in reducing wolf-livestock conflict. According to her proposal, Defenders of Wildlife would test a method developed in Australia, where special lighting devices would be deployed near animals in danger of being attacked by predators at night. LED lights inside the "foxlights" would flash irregularly, intended to feign human presence. Stone says the method is "easy to use and affordable," and her group will be able to determine if the lights help reduce loss of livestock.

Defenders of Wildlife has already been testing some of the foxlights, and they hope to publish their findings in 2015.

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Saturday, October 4, 2014

Montana FWP: Facebook Story From Anti-Wolf Agitator is Nonsense

Posted By on Sat, Oct 4, 2014 at 1:04 PM

Toby Bridges posted photographs on his Facebook page, in connection with a story that officials now say was a hoax.
  • Toby Bridges posted photographs on his Facebook page, in connection with a story that officials now say was a hoax.


International social media lit up in September after a Montana man said he had purposefully struck a pair of wolves near the Idaho/Montana border.

Toby Bridges had posted on his Facebook page some graphic details about accelerating his van into a wolf pack just east of Idaho's Lookout Pass. Bridges oversees the website Lobo Watch.

But evidence indicates that the anti-wolf extremist lied. 

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks investigated the claim and said it "had nothing even remotely resembling proof beyond a reasonable doubt that it happened the way it was purported. There was just no physical evidence to back it up other than the photo of him on the side of the road with a wolf, and there are plenty of alternative explanations for how that could have happened."  FWP also took its evidence to the Montana Highway Patrol for a second opinion, which concurred that the claim was a hoax.

Game wardens interviewed Bridges as part of the investigation, but he didn't return calls from the Missoulian, looking for a comment.

Here is Bridge's last comment on his Facebook page, posted Oct. 1:

“I want to personally thank all of you wolf loving fools. You’ve been very good for business over on the LOBO WATCH Facebook page. Over the past week, your ignorant remarks about wolves have added more than 400 new WOLF CONTROL followers ... and I only had to ban 150 or so wolfaboos. You people are your own worst enemies ... please, please keep it up.”

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Montana Officials Investigate Social Media Claim of Malicious Wolf Killing

Posted By on Tue, Sep 23, 2014 at 9:51 AM

MONTANA FISH, WILDLIFE AND PARKS
  • Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials are investigating a Missoula, Mont., man's claim that he purposefully struck a pair of wolves near the Idaho-Montana border, The Missoulian reports

Last week, Toby Bridges posted on Facebook graphic details about accelerating the van into a group of wolves chasing a cow elk and calf on I-90 just on the Montana side of Idaho's Lookout Pass. He wrote that the struck wolves were not immediately dead after Bridges hit them, but appeared to have broken legs. Afterward, he turned the van around and took pictures of the wounded animals and posted them on social media. 

Bridges, who oversees the website Lobo Watch and its Facebook page, has since taken the explicit posts off his Facebook page.

Meanwhile, law enforcement is in a pickle as to how to proceed investigating the case, and Capt. Joseph Jaquith told The Missoulian that he's unsure if Montana police can do anything since Bridges posted the photos to social media, and hasn't provided physical evidence of having committed a crime. 

"It's very unsporting, regardless of how you feel about wolves or lawful means for harvest of wolves, certainly running them down on the highway is not what we would accept," he said.


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