Sportsmen Taking Charge of Predator Problems
Sponsored by: Lobo Watch
If it looks like garbage…smells like garbage…and leaves a nasty taste in your mouth like garbage – then it must be garbage. And that pretty much describes the “Wolf Stew” also known as the Northern Rockies Wolf Recovery Project. From the day this project first had heat hit the bottom of the cauldron, it was destined to be little more than a foul smelling witches brew, thanks mostly to simply having way too many chefs.
Without a sufficient base, or stock, a wild array of wolf experts, wildlife biologists, conservationists, smug academic geniuses, environmental organizations, one very abused justice system, unqualified wildlife managers, legal wranglers, a broken Endangered Species Act, naive residents, over ambitious politicians, a crooked federal agency, a far removed public, an egotistical judge, and a way too out of touch hunting industry have thrown in a ton of this, hundreds of pounds of that, an overly generous dash of ego, a pinch of manipulated science, way too much greed, and not nearly enough common sense or forethought. The resulting stew has become so rank that it is now getting tougher to shove this gruel down the throats of those who now have to live with the stench. Here is a look at some of the chefs who have turned this “Wolf Stew” into a bona fide disaster.
Posthumously, good ol’ Walt Disney can be credited with the base, or stock, for this poorly mixed concoction.
Through the 1950s and 1960s, Disney produced a large number of fictitious wildlife films, making wildlife more humanlike to a naive public starving for more shows about wild animals. Wolves, mountain lions and bears were always some of his favored subjects, and he and his crew bent over more than backwards to make them look like the All American Family – with a daddy, a mommy, and a kid or two. What this film maker presented was far from the real life of his wildlife subjects. When it came to major predators, like wolves, Disney failed to show what they do most – hunt. And all that wolves consume is meat. To bring home the bacon for the kids, mommy and daddy wolf had to kill, and kill a lot, of other wildlife. Walt Disney’s lack of honesty when portraying these apex predators left America with a very false image of the wolf, which his films presented as a kind, caring, loving, warm and sociable animal. In short, his portrayal of the wolf provided a very bland, tasteless base or stock for the “Wolf Stew” project that lay ahead.
Then, through the 1970s and 1980s along came a number of social changes in America, and many of Walt Disney’s brain washed young followers became young adults – some moving into the world of academics…some becoming more involved with ecology, to save the World from themselves. And during this period, the Endangered Species Act was established to protect endangered and threatened wildlife species. Which, in itself, is not a bad thing. However, the manner in which it became manipulated has been extremely bad, especially in the way some academic geniuses have used it to force wolves back into ecosystems that have benefited greatly from their absence.
Enter – the Northern Rockies Wolf Recovery Project of the 1990s. The goal, to bring wolves back into the Greater Yellowstone Area, and all along the Rocky Mountains of Idaho and Montana. And to bring this project (a.k.a. “stew”) to a boil, a panel of “wolf experts” were assembled to write the recipe for the mix. In a manner of speaking, these were the “sous-chefs” of the wolf kitchen in which they conceived the “plan” (a.k.a. “recipe”) for “Wolf Stew”. This was the team of under chefs , headed by lead sous-chef Dr. Robert Ream, also the head of wildlife studies at the University of Montana, that determined the mix, the timing, the amounts, the substitutions, and everything else to be thrown into the wolf pot.
So, who has been the chef de cuisine, or executive chef, of this wildlife version of “Hell’s Kitchen” ?
That would probably be U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Ed Bangs, who has been head of the Northern Rockies Wolf Recovery Project since its inception. And he has been the head pot stirrer all along, doing some major substitution of ingredients along the way.
Two of the ingredients that really sour this “Wolf Stew” have been the lack of official funding and the manner in which the key ingredient, wolves, were brought into the U.S. When Congress failed to authorize funding for the Northern Rockies Wolf Recovery Project, it kind of looked like USFWS would have to shut down the stove. That is, until the agency discovered another source for the millions of dollars needed to keep their kitchen open – they simply robbed the pantry of another kitchen, known as the Pitman-Robertson funds. The money accumulated in this till came from the excise taxes collected annually on firearms, ammunition, fishing tackle, archery gear, and other hunting and fishing products. (In 2009 alone, those funds amounted to more than $700-million.) This money has been earmarked to be used exclusively for wildlife habitat and fisheries improvements.
Through the early to late 1990s, USFWS illegally helped itself to between $60- and $70-million dollars from Pitman-Robertson monies to fund a number of unauthorized projects – one of them the Northern Rockies Wolf Recovery Project. And, if that isn’t enough to leave a bad taste in mouths of Americans, especially the sportsmen who provided the money, how they spent that money taints the “Wolf Stew” even more.
Executive chef Ed Bangs seems to have ignored the claims of residents in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming – that pockets of native wolves (Canis lupus erremotus) still existed – and turned to north-central Alberta, Canada to bring in a more robust and more aggressive substitute wolf (Canis lupus occidentallis). Bangs and the Department of the Interior ignored that this would be a violation of the Endangered Species Act. Likewise, USFWS failed to file their own mandatory Form 3-177, which would have documented the origin of the wolves, and the true number of those ingredients thrown into the pot. Without that mandatory documentation, there’s no real way to put a true cost on this questionable brew, or how USFWS spent the stolen money.
Adding to the cost of this simmering slop bucket, more than a dozen environmental organizations, such as the Defenders of Wildlife, the Sierra Club, and the Center for Biological Diversity, have managed to keep wolf management tied up in federal court – and hunters from reducing wolf numbers back closer to the recovery goals established for the “Wolf Stew” plan. That goal was reached seven or eight years ago. Still, these groups fight any attempt to control wolf numbers. Not so much for any real conservation purposes, but so they can push for a meatier mix, with tens of thousands of wolves from coast to coast.
Well, that and for the money.
These organizations have used the wolf as a “cash cow”, milking wolf litigation for tens of millions of taxpayer dollars, through a derailed act known as the Equal Access to Justice Act. This very abused federal program allows these “not for profit” organizations to file for reimbursement of their legal costs to keep environmental issues, including wolves, bogged down in court. They’ve also learned how to generously claim some extremely exaggerated legal expenses. During a six-year period spanning the mid 2000’s, dozens of such organizations and groups filed more than 1,500 such lawsuits, mostly against the U.S. government – for which they were rewarded $4.7-billion in reimbursement and restitution. And as hard as “Wolf Stew” may be to continue swallowing, it has become an extremely expensive dish.
One individual who tends to love the smell and taste of this noxious blend of lies and deceit is U.S. District Court judge Donald Molloy, of Missoula, MT. And the environmental groups keep his palate salivating with the ongoing environmental and wolf cases that flow through his courtroom like a well orchestrated never ending evening dinner service. He seems to relish the fact that, despite that the cost of this “Wolf Stew” has been largely funded with money that USFWS literally embezzled…or that the USFWS Environmental Impact Statement and the Northern Rockies “Wolf Stew” recipe that were concocted by very pro-wolf researchers are both rife with misleading and false claims…or that Canadian wolves were illegally brought across the border…and that wolves are now destroying decades of wildlife conservation efforts…this wolf scowl faced federal judge repeatedly decides in favor of those who are plucking U.S. taxpayers of every dollar they can haul back to their lair.
The manner in which Molloy ignores all of the illegal ingredients which have made “Wolf Stew” toxic now has many wondering if he receives a generous tip for the manner in which he chooses to serve “his” justice. Many sportsmen in the Northern Rockies now refer to him as “King Molloy”, mostly because of the rich taste he has acquired for power.
These same sportsmen have now also lost their taste for how state wildlife agencies in Montana and Idaho have too willingly allowed USFWS and the environmental groups to freely toss whatever they want into the stew pot. The heaping amount of lies dished out by MT Fish, Wildlife and Parks and the ID Department of Fish and Game, in their attempts to hide the true number of wolves in these two states, plus to down play the degree of devastation wolves are dealing big game herds, has made it hard for sportsmen in these two states to swallow anything these agencies now serve. Many hunters now feel these agencies no longer serve them, and they are now beginning to throw their rotten garbage back at them.
The longer the heat is applied to this pot of stinking “Wolf Stew”, and the more wolf issues continue to decay, the more dangerous the situation becomes. As wolves traverse great distances every day and night, they season the landscape with millions of Echinococcus granulosus tapeworm eggs, increasing the chances of human residents and recreationalists of contracting cystic hydatid disease – or any of more than 30 other diseases wolves carry and spread. During any given 24-hour period, a wolf can cover between 30 and 50 miles of their territory. And any pet that gets in their way stands to end up on the menu…and as big game populations continue to dwindle, humans could as well.
Perhaps it is time to dump the “Wolf Stew” cauldron, and go back to the wildlife conservation recipe that was working all too well – before so many inexperienced wolf chefs jumped in to write their own chapters in introducing a non-native and non-endangered predator into the Northern Rockies. No matter how much well intending greenie wildlife biologists try to write a tasteful recipe for the wolves to fit in with other wildlife populations and a ranching community, wolves only see elk, deer, moose, other wildlife, and livestock as a food source. And it is the wolf’s insatiable hunger and lust for killing that continues to spoil any chance of us ever reaching an acceptable balance between wolves and all other living things. – Toby Bridges, LOBO WATCH
As a hunter and conservationist I find this article about as offensive as it gets. While decrying Anthropomorphic romanticising of predators, it then goes in the same yet opposite direction by implying the fairy tale reasoning of the big bad wolf. Yes wolves eat meat. So do I. But I don’t need to deny the populations of predators their natural space in nature in order to suck up all the prey on the planet. It’s just plain greedy and disgusting.
Ahhh, you must not live in MT, WY, or ID. The eco disaster has devastated the big game and bison herds. A lot of wolves will have to be removed to allow the game herds to recover. It will be YEARS before that can happen, and it will only happen if wolves are controlled.
I’ve been hunting all my life. If these idiots had a shred of knowledge they would know that Wolves have little to do with any of their bullshit whining complaints.
I can find plenty of game. Big healthy, plentiful. Oddly I never see these fools and their store bought gear up there. Sure is nice.
I don’t mean to be disrespectful Squirrel Eater but you have obviously not been following Lobo Watch nor the events regarding wolves over the past year. Wolves have decimated the game herds in yellowstone and have branched out to other states. Wolves are voracious killers and they don’t just eat meat, they thrill kill. When they impact the area you hunt and live in I think you will arrive at a different conclusion. I invite you to spend some time looking at the past installments of Lobo Watch for a better understanding of the problem. Additionally, wolves are being used as an overkill in game management by environmentalists. Their goal, I and other believe, is to reduce the number of game animals, elk, moose, deer, etc, to such low numbers that man will not be required. This will mean an end to hunting my friend and all the positive conservation we sportsmen have done will be for naught.
If you are a hunter, then I’m an astro-physics-neuro-surgeon-plasma-diode-engineer.
By conservationist…do you mean you are an environmentalist? Over the past year or so, those phony “wildlife advocates” have started calling themselves “conservationists”… when, in reality, they are far from being able to wear those shoes. Those who run organizations like Defenders of Wildlife, the Center for Biological Diversity, or even the good ol’ Sierra Club are nothing more than money mongering whores. And those who support these organizations are little more than fools.
These groups, and probably you too, are simply anti-hunting. And their No. 1 and No. 2 tools to put an end to hunting are – 1. Lies & 2. Deceit. Heck some even try to pass themselves off as “Hunters” and “Conservationists”. In all honesty, those two words are synonyms.
Oh, I assure you I am indeed a hunter. And before the ARA’s destroyed the fur industry I was a trapper as well.
And the destructon of that industry is a good example of how the hunting community is shooting itself in the head by failing to call a spade a spade. Rather than using common sense to address the lies and deciet of the AR movement, trappers continued with buisiness as usual. They poclaimed dire warnings of doom to come if trapping were curtailed. They failed to address the use of endangered cats in the garment industry. They allied themselves whith the cattle barons and government poisoners. And the industry was crushed by the ARA’s constant bombardment of the public with images of animals left to die in unchecked traps and maimed dogs and kitty cats.
Now the hunting groups, though more numerous and powerfull than the trappers, are aligning themselves with these same greedy morons who could care less about hunters rights and all about control of the vast public lands.
Perhaps EVERY well heeled, out of state trophy hunter, can not bag a moose if wolves are not culled in Alaska. SO? Atificially inflating game species at the expense of other species is NOT sound wildlife management, unless, of course, you are the one raking in the cash.
Get the cattle barons off the public lands they’ve been raping for decades and the wolf will have plenty of space to roam.
The ethical hunters in this country are not served well at all by the likes of a bugger eatin’ Ted Nugent prancing around the stage shooting arrows at paper deer. If we cannot show the public a better example of what hunting is than the southern, western, redneck stereotype that the ARA’s are painting us as, then we will get just what we deserve for not embracing ALL species as essential parts of the ecosystem.
And yes I lived in Montana for over three years and I saw the all the whining and crying cattle barons who where being “run out of buisiness” by predators. They all lived in million dollar homes and every one of their kids drove a brand new pickup truck. I’m not anti-capitalism, I am anti-unchecked greed at the expense of evryone and everything else.
And your blanket dissbelief of my loyalty to hunting is just another crappy example of how anyone who doesn’t swallow the corporate propaganda about wolves is instantly labeled an ARA in disguise. I would like to be the first, I guess, to inform you, that everyone that hunts does not believe that there is “good” wildlife and “bad” wildlife. Some of us just believe in ALL wildlife. But we will all suffer if you and yours is the best we have to offer in the way of contradicting the desires and goals and money of the PETA propagandists.
The former trappers of this country found that out the hard way.
I agree with squirrel hunter, this article is a straight opinion piece, devoid of objectivity or factual basis. The devisive nature of the article may serve the needs of Lobo Watch and other such groups but the truth is Malloy was simply doing what judges do, reinforcing the letter of the law. Just because you disagree with the outcome doesn’t make him an activist.
What’s more is that many of the same people who advocate the sustainable managment of wolves are also avid hunters, not some fringe group of tree-huggers. Don’t let Lobo Watch or any such group trick you into the “Us vs Them” mentality. It doesn’t get anybody anywhere.
The biggest threat to wildlife is the mentality of ethical and moral corruption that gives the individual the justification to pick and choose which wildife laws to respect. There is no difference between killing a wolf or poaching an elk. If you don’t like the laws lobby to change them. Breaking them makes you a criminal and the advocates of such behavior should be shunned by the hunting community.
Toby, I’m a hunter in Montana (I have an ALS number and hunt in District 283) who advocates the sustainable management of wolves. Most hunters I know do as well. I know that there is comfort in numbers but from my sample size of hunters that I know personally, your groups view is the fringe minority, not the other way around. Wolf hating does not define a hunter as you suggest. Believe it or not, many hunters feel that wolves have a place, in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming, to live free and eat ungulates as they’ve been doing for a millenia.
As a hunter curently hunting wolves in Timmins Ont Can I am curious how you hunt wolves down your way. Here we use dead livestock at farms with patches of bush and push them with guns on the line as they bust out of the patches of bush where they bed after a session on the carcus. I have never had much success with the predator call?? Rabbit distress? Any thought to improve our results. We are allowed 2 tages per year at a cost or $20 for the pair. FYI only. Got my first wolf last year on a push and the thill of hearing the push and yelling as they drive them out is an absolute rush never to be forgotten any time soon. pls reply to email@example.com
You apparently don’t know many hunters…and I suspect that you are not the hunter you claim to be. If so many hunters support the wolf in this state…where the hell are they? In the last year, I have attended no less than ten or eleven wolf rallies. Most pulled together 200 to 300 people, and the largest turn out of pro-wolfers has been, maybe, 10 or 12 at any of those rallies.
So, where is all that support you claim?
The wolf project in the Northern Rockies has been one great big pile of lies and deceit, and it seems your side is not about to rely on any other tactics. It’s all you got.
Here’s another hunter you instantly label as being disingenuous.
And as far as lies and deceit, how about this gem of yours…
“…and as big game populations continue to dwindle, humans could as well.”
Are YOU a cattle rancher?
I love that the anti-wolf saveelk.com founder recently got busted for poaching a trophy bull. How ironic. Speaks volumes about the shoot-shovel-shutup anti-wolf crowd. Pick and choose which wildlife laws to abide by and you begin to blur the lines. The selfish, greedy mindset that elk exist solely for us to harvest them is absurd and runs against the conservation mindset most ethical hunters promote.
Wolves are here to stay, lets break through the rhetoric and manage them as a game species. Harvest them legally and allow them to be a resource to the states wildlife management programs. To achieve this all Wyoming has to do is submit a management plan. I would think the anti-wolf crowd would be placing some pressure on Wyoming Fish and Game to accomplish this task so wolf numbers can be ethically and legally reduced.
What’s all this talk about the decimation of the elk herds? We have wolves around Helena but I can legally harvest 2 elk this year. Elk numbers arent exactly dwindling. So many other environmental factors dictate elk numbers but all these groups crying “wolf” never address any of the other factors. Shouldn’t you be promoting controlled burns to increase and improve browse? Shouldn’t black bears be eliminated as they incur a higher fawn/calf mortality on ungulates than do wolves? Should more road closures be implemented because studies have proven that elk thrive in areas without road access? I mean do you care about ungulates or not?
Who said anything about MT FWP being up to par when it comes to managing anything? Why don’t you give up those Helena tags…and come a bit west and hunt? Say, over around Lincoln…Ovando…maybe up around Superior. Is it that you are afraid of not finding any elk?
Much of western Montana has become a big game desert…void of elk and other big game. And when it is finally all gone…guess where those wolves will head…in your direction. Oh there’s plenty of great habitat…plenty of great feed in those places I mentioned…but unfortunately, there’s also too many wolves.
Face it, you really don’t have a clue, do you?
So, enjoy your elk hunting while you can…if we don’t do something about the wolf problem…you won’t have any elk to hunt there either. Oh, MT FWP will probably still gladly sell you a couple of tags…that’s how they operate these days.
I wonder if they need passports to walk across the border?
You say the Grey Wolf is not indigenous to the Rockies? Montana? Wyoming?
Maybe you should read a book, go back to school, or just bother to look up some info rather than fabricate nonsense.
The photo above of a very small guy straining to lift a Black Phase male of average size. Yes they are 6′ and 100 plus lbs. to 140 or so.
See if you can find where Wolves are different in Canada? Maybe you should be fined for killing Canadian Elk that have crossed the border?
I might take anyone serious or respect opinions, but stupid doesn’t cut it.
Maybe you need to learn more about taxonomy…and the different sub-species of species.
Next thing we know, you’ll be telling everyone that an old Texas Longhorn is the same exact thing as a registered black angus.
According to your analogy, the Sonoran pronghorn is not at all endangered…we just need to get passports to more of those Wyoming pronghorns and head ’em south.
Where did you get your degree in biology…out of a box of Cracker Jacks?
You’re right stupid doesn’t cut it…but you apparently aren’t smart enough to realize you’re wearing your stupidity like its a Medal of Honor.