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April 17, 2012 8:22 am

EDITORIAL: Keep wolf management out of courts

Written by Ilene Olson

After years of legal wrangling and enmity, it is good to see the state of Wyoming and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service finally working together to delist wolves in the state and hand their management over to the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission.

However, even as the Wyoming Game and Fish Department holds meetings around the state to get public feedback regarding wolf hunting in the state, one has to wonder when — or if — that ever will happen.

While Congress passed a bill prohibiting further lawsuits regarding wolf status in Montana and Idaho, a similar measure later failed to put that protection in place for Wyoming.

So, unless something changes, one can nearly guarantee that environmental groups will challenge Wyoming’s wolf management plan as soon as it is completed. That might not be a bad thing if there were any intent to reach a compromise or workable solution over wolf management. But, as a general rule, compromise is not the goal.

It appears the ultimate goal for many environmentalist groups is to prevent wolf hunting by any means possible, including keeping the issue tied up in court indefinitely.

On the other end of the spectrum are those Wyomingites who want no protections for wolves, which they consider a curse set loose on them by the federal government.

If the wolf issue goes back to court, the legal wrangling could continue for many years. We can’t afford more years of court battles waged at taxpayers’ expense — and at the expense of wildlife and the livelihoods of farmers and ranchers.

It is unrealistic and naive to expect states not to use hunting as a tool to manage wolves, which, unmanaged, threaten other wildlife populations and can wreak havoc on farms and ranches.

But it also is a fact that wolves are here to stay. They will remain a part of the landscape, physically and politically, like it or not.

Those realities provide their own set of checks and balances over wolf management. It’s time for common sense and cooperation to take the place of courts where wolf management is concerned.


  • Comment Link April 17, 2012 8:57 am posted by Dewey

    The best way to keep the Wolf issue out of the COurts is for the anti-wolfers to simply follow the existing law.

    And I'm talking straight at the Wyoming Stockgrower's, the Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife, Rocky Mountain elk FOundation , and even Wyoming Game and Fish when I say that ( secondarily in the latter case, but expressly nevertheless). I especially say that Gov. Matt Mead and his hired gun Steve Farell are law twisters.

    The various conservation groups not affiliated with elitist hunters, the real wildlife conservators, and the environmentalists out there who sign on as plaintiffs? ---they are not the greater part of the Wolf problem. The special interests I listed above left the greens no choice but to take it to court. Yes, they stood their ground, but they and their Tony Lamas were arse deep in mud. Wolf reintroduction long ago left the halls of science and adherence to the Endangered Species Act and went off into the jungle and weeds of special interests, superstition , and plain old Stetson stubbornness. It wasn't the greens who went there first , either.

    There's a reason we have a court system. Grey Wolves are Exhibit A

  • Comment Link April 30, 2012 1:43 pm posted by Absaroka hunter

    The Tribune is usually pretty solid on editorials, but this one misses the mark slightly. Conservation groups aren't opposed to hunting — they're opposed to Wyoming's predator zone where wolves can be killed any way, at any time, for any reason. Wyoming's hunting plan is actually reasonable; it's what's happening in the 85 percent of the state that's unscionable.

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