Gray Wolf Hunt Begins in Idaho

The gray wolf was on the endangered species list only five short months ago.  Now in a sad turn of events, the first-ever public wolf hunt began on September 1, 2009 in the state of Idaho.  Hunters are being allowed to kill up to 220 wolves, which is one quarter of the species’ population in the state.  And all of this begins while animal activist organizations continue to battle in U.S. District Court for an injunction.


The gray wolf became nearly exterminated in the Western part of the country in the early 20th century.  When they became almost completely extinct across the U.S., they fell under the protection of the Endangered Species Act in 1973.  In the 1990’s the wolves were reintroduced into Yellowstone National Park and parts of Idaho where they made a successful comeback.  Their packs now range from Idaho, to Montana and into Oregon.


The federal government decided that the wolves, which have a population of about 1,650, are a recovered species and they lifted their protection from the endangered list earlier this year.


Then Idaho’s Fish and Game Commission voted to allow hunters to thin out the packs by 220 gray wolves as part of their plan for managing the population.  A similar plan is in place in Montana where they will begin hunting 75 wolves later this month.


That’s when a dozen animal welfare groups such as Defenders of Wildlife, the Northern Idaho Wolf Alliance, Earthjustice, HSUS and others filed a lawsuit petitioning for an injunction from District Judge Donald Molloy.  Earthjustice argued that a hunt could damage the comeback of the gray wolf by “genetically and geographically isolating individual wolf populations.”


“We had expected at this point to be celebrating the recovery of the gray wolf in the northern Rockies.  Instead, after decades of recovery efforts, tremendous support and investment from the American public…and one of the most successful wildlife restorations in history, the future of the gray wolf in the Rocky Mountains is once again in jeopardy,” said Suzanne Stone of Defenders of Wildlife in an interview with the L.A. Times.


The welfare groups have a tough battle ahead of them because there is so much support for a wolf hunt in the state.  In 2007 The Spokesman-Review reported that Idaho’s Governor Butch Otter told a group of cheering hunters, “I’m prepared to bid for that first ticket to shoot a wolf myself.”


Northern Idaho Wolf Alliance representative Stephen Augustine said, “We fear that under the guise of wolf management, what’s about to happen is a wolf massacre.”


“It is really astonishing that you could have an animal on the endangered species list at one point, and a bare five months later they’re being hunted,” said Augustine. “To my knowledge there isn’t another animal that has had this happen to them.”


Judge Molloy refused to say whether or when he will act on the lawsuit that was heard in court September 1st.  And at the end of the day on August 31st,  Idaho had sold more than 10,700 tags to hunters.


Please sign the petition about protecting the gray wolf:




Cara K.
Cara K.7 years ago

Wow BOB C you are a moron. Do you realize that there is only less than 1,500 gray wolves left in the world. So explain to me how they are becoming over populated and this is managing the species. There are more polar bears that gray wolves in the world yet they kept them on the endangered species list. So please dont insult our intelligence by telling us it has to do overpopulated wolves in areas and just so you have a clearer picture of how many wolves are estimated in each state in Idaho about 843 Montana 493 and in wyoming about 319. This is not localized to one city either this is over the entire state which is hundreds and hundreds of thousands of acres. Just so you know it is the farmers that are pushing for them to be removed from the endangered species list. My personal opinion if you don't want your cattle killed then do let them graze so far away without being supervised. I have friends that own farms with thousands of acres and would never let them roam unsupervised. Reason being that it is their lively hood and their way of income so when they graze they go camping in the great wide open space. They have threats of mountain lions and coyotes and well other animals as well. Ignorance is bliss for you bob c because they introduce hunting or poison again it will wipe out the population. We should allow them to populate and then let nature take its course.

Claudia W.
Claudia W8 years ago

Humans have over-populated the world, are ruining it for all creatures and kill each other for selfish reasons. Wolves kill only to survive. Their population size in relation to humans is miniscule. And they contribute to the life cycle and environment. Yet if they get in our way, we eliminate them. It confounds and angers me that we kill other creatures, whether it is a wolf or a spider, just because they are a nuisance! When are we going to be wise and advanced enough to realize that all creatures on this earth deserve and have the right to live in peace as much as humans do.

Thomas Barlish
Thomas b8 years ago

one of my favorite creatures. this hurts. ouch.

Bob C.
Bob C.8 years ago

Wow... You people on here really don't understand how the environment works honestly. I have personal experience with these issues as my uncle is a Fish and Game officer, and you don't understand what is going on. The population of wolves may seem small overall, but for the limited area and food supply that they inhabit it is not enough. If hunting wasn't established the natural cycle would kick in and on that natural cycle the population generally becomes to large for it's habitat every seven years or so. With so many animals they eat most of there food supply and many many die throughout the course of that next winter. Hunting is a wildlife management technique and through it the populations are kept it check so that these mass die-offs DO NOT happen. The fish and game in those states are establishing a program that will be best for the wolves and all the other wildlife in those areas.

Gerry T.
Gerry T8 years ago

Here we go again..Man's instinct to hunt...what have we learned -nothing- these animals live in a group, they have a social order and they take care of each other...Can we say the same?

Sharon K.
Sharon K8 years ago

They (animals) have done us no harm and they have no power of resistance, it is the cowardice and tyranny of which they are the victims which make their sufferings so especially touching. Cruelty to animals is as if man did not love God...There is something so very dreadful, so Satanic, in tormenting those who have never harmed us, who cannot defend themselves, who are so utterly in our power. Cardinal John Henry Newman, London, 1868

Lesley M.
Lesley M8 years ago

THEY do not overpopulate as they have family planning - only one couple can breed, the others, aunts and uncles help to bring up the young ones, so much generosity and unselfishness, man could certainly learn a lot from our magnificent and intelligent wolves!!!! Unfortunately such a wonderful animal is sacrificed by empty headed thugs !!!!!!!!!!!!

sonia b.
sonia b8 years ago

please save our friends. It´s a shame . Stop hunting rapidly.

Karen Malone
Karen Malone8 years ago

If these people (like Butch Otter) could only know what it is like to be a wolf, hunted, to lose everything. To have a life and then be convicted and exectued for a crime that doesn't exist.
If they could live that life for a short while... but that is only in the movies...
And in reality, in Our Country, the strong are supposed to protect the weak. That is what I teach my children.
Wonder what they are teaching thier children ?

Carol H.
Past Member 8 years ago

Why we hunt and kill humans because we get in the way and because we have over populated the land? That would never happen and all of us know that but because the wolves have the nerve to live where they have lived for all of their lifetime and they are getting in the way of humans they don't have a right to live?
That is so wrong there aren't words to express the right way to say it.
Just think of this what if it were the opposite way around the wolves had the guns and they came after us because we are taking over their land how would we feel?
Think about that for a while.