Saturday, October 31, 2009

President's Editorial

Jake Putnam photo
Environmental Group Misleads Members; Donations Pour In
by Frank Priestley, Idaho Farm Bureau President

Washington D.C. environmental group Defenders of Wildlife sent out an email to its membership in late October claiming a wolf hunt in Montana had wiped all the adults in a pack and that the surviving pups “will likely die without the rest of their wolf family.”

The report quickly spread on the Internet and according to the Associated Press; within a few short days 80,000 people signed a petition asking President Obama to stop the hunt and donated in excess of $150,000 to be spent on wolf-friendly advertising in New York City. According to its website, Defenders intends to run a video advertisement in Times Square during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade and throughout most of the holiday shopping season.

Carolyn Sime, wolf coordinator for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, countered the environmental group’s claims. She said hunters killed four wolves from the Cottonwood pack that ranges in the northern part of Yellowstone National Park and in southwest Montana. Four adult wolves and two pups remain in the pack.

Defenders of Wildlife has continuously incited its members with erroneous claims about wolves for so long, it’s high time those members wised up. This group opposed the de-listing process and filed lawsuits to block wolf hunts. They have made several claims that wolf hunting would destroy wolf populations in Montana and Idaho. But nothing could be further from the truth. It’s likely that neither state will fill its wolf hunting quota this year, and even if they do population increases, which have averaged 20 percent in recent years, are likely to offset the harvest.

Data collected by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks shows that on October 27, 25 of the 75 wolf tags allotted for the state had been filled. The southern region had exceeded its quota of 12 dead wolves by one and the region was closed. The southwest and north portions of the state remain open for wolf hunting.

In Idaho as of October 26, 80 wolves were dead and 140 open tags remain. In the Sawtooth zone 19 wolves have been shot out of a possible 55. In the McCall-Weiser zone 13 out of a possible 15 tags are filled and hunting is about to be closed in a couple of other zones that only allowed five tags this year. This data shows the harvest is being carefully managed and spread out so as not to threaten the wolf population. In our opinion, more wolf harvest is necessary. We believe there are more wolves in Idaho than the state and federal estimates show. We also believe it’s extremely disingenuous for Defenders of Wildlife to characterize Westerners, including ranchers and hunters, as the unreasonable zealots of wolf management. Anyone who has or is considering making a donation to this group ought to take a look at their track record.

Part 2 – Check out America’s Heartland on Idaho Public TV

America’s Heartland, a program that brings stories about agriculture into homes across the country is beginning its fifth season on Idaho Public Television. Reporters travel coast to coast to provide viewers with a better understanding of how agriculture affects their lives. The next episode will explore how a Utah family mixes ranching with recreation, profile a Vermont builder who restores barns and look into poultry genetics. The program airs on IPTV Saturdays at 3:30 p.m. MST and on several weekday mornings at 9 a.m. It also airs on RFD TV on Wednesday’s at 6 p.m. MST. For more information go to

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