The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco yesterday turned thumbs down on a motion from environmental groups to stop planned wolf hunts in Montana and Idaho, and in the aftermath, Washington hunters are cheering, and they are getting a quick education about what lies over their political horizon.
The court’s ruling means the hunts can go on as scheduled, with Idaho’s hunt beginning next Tuesday, Aug. 30, and Montana’s hunt opening on Sept. 3. It’s a good sign to Washington sportsmen.
Hunters in Montana will be allowed to shoot as many as 220 gray wolves, reducing the predators’ Montana population by about 25 percent to a minimum of 425 wolves.
In Idaho, where an estimated 1,000 wolves roam, state wildlife managers have declined to name a target for kills for the seven-month hunting season. They say the state will manage wolves so their population remains above 150 animals and 15 breeding pairs, the point where Idaho could attract federal scrutiny for a possible re-listing under the Endangered Species Act.—Associated Press
The announcement did not bring out the best from wolf advocates, who have vowed to keep fighting in an effort to protect wolves. Northwest outdoorsmen and women have been treated to interesting rhetoric from presumed environmentalists for the past several days, courtesy of public comments in the Coeur d’Alene newspaper regarding federal prosecution of a northern Idaho man who shot a grizzly bear on his property near the Canadian border. Wolf preservation remains a hot topic on the Northwest Hiker’s forum.
As this column noted recently, wolf advocates are like gun prohibitionists: They are never satisfied, and because of their history of legal actions to prevent states from managing wolves like other predators – including allowing hunting seasons – sportsmen, ranchers and farmers have decided they cannot be trusted. Hunters are also very suspicious about how more wolves are appearing, as this column noted. Wolf repopulation efforts appear to have succeeded in Montana and Idaho to the extent that they were delisted a couple of years ago. Their relisting, again as a result of another federal lawsuit by wolf advocates, was nullified by Congress earlier this year, thus allowing the states to resume management of the large predators.
Washington is not at that stage, yet. The Evergreen State is still wrestling with its wolf management plan, as this column noted.
The appeals court rejection of this latest motion elicited a couple of interesting remarks:
“We lost the injunction; we have not lost the case. We will continue to fight to protect the wolves and enforce the separation of powers doctrine in the U.S. Constitution.”— Mike Garrity, executive director of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies
“We are discouraged we didn’t win a stay of execution for wolves, but we are cautiously optimistic that we will win our lawsuit to protect wolves from future persecution.”— John Horning, executive director for WildEarth Guardians
Coupled with remarks from some people regarding the grizzly bear case earlier this week that placed more value on the life of a bear than on the lives of five children of Jeremy Hill, the term “extremist” does not seem out of context where environmentalists are concerned.
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