PRESS RELEASE- Idaho poised to hire private contractor to shoot wolves from aircraft

For Immediate Release: November 6, 2023 

 

Media Contacts:  

Brian Bean 

President and Owner, Lava Lake Land & Livestock,  

(415) 928-1218, [email protected]  

 

Talasi Brooks 

Western Watersheds Project,  

(208)336-9077, [email protected] 

 

Suzanne Asha Stone 

International Wildlife Coexistence Network,  

Cofounder, Blaine County Idaho Wood River Wolf Project  

(208) 861-5177, [email protected]  

 

Idaho poised to hire private contractor to shoot wolves from aircraft  

 

BOISE, Ida. – On October 26th, the Idaho Wolf Depredation Control Board (IWDCB) approved allocating over $140,000 to private contractors for aerial gunning, trapping, and snaring wolves in Idaho. The decision was made with no opportunity for comment or public review. 

 

Trevor C. Walch, operator of the Nevada-based Predator Control Corporation, presented three of the five hunting proposals and is poised to be the primary beneficiary of three of the contracts to be executed by the Idaho Wolf Depredation Control Board, totaling over $100,000. His extensive record of violating wildlife laws has been uncovered since the meeting. In Nevada, this record includes selling furs without a license and trapping practices that the Nevada Chief Game Warden labeled “blatant illegal behavior.” Walch left an elk calf and other animals in traps for over ten days to die of dehydration and starvation. In Wyoming, Walch has been investigated for unlawful aerial hunting over federal lands.  

  

The Board’s vote authorizes unlimited removal of wolves in game management units 21, 21a, 22, 23, 24, 25, 28, 32, 32a, 34, 36b, 43, 44, 45, 48, 49, 59, 60, 60a, 62, 65, 66, 66a, 67 and 76, which represents the wolf’s core range in Idaho.  

 

Game Management Units 48 and 49 are home to the Wood River Wolf Project, which has been successfully working directly with ranchers, sheep herders, and community members in Blaine County since 2008 to promote coexistence with wolves and prevent livestock losses. The 2023 field season concluded in October, resulted in zero confirmed sheep losses to wolves amongst the 24,000 sheep in the 1,200 sq km (about half the area of Yosemite National Park) project area. The project regularly documents the lowest sheep losses to wolves in Idaho’s wolf range. Yet now, the state has targeted wolves in the Wood River Wolf Project’s area to be exterminated without cause.  

 

Ranchers currently managing sheep in the Project Area were not notified of this decision. Since being notified of these proposals after the meeting, the Flat Top Sheep Company owners have withdrawn from the scheme and Lava Lake Land & Livestock’s owner and President Brian Bean has denounced the effort for its wasteful spending and risk of harm to the public.  

 

Bean points out that pack disruption through partial lethal control will likely cause more, not fewer, wolf conflicts with livestock as individual survivors; especially as inexperienced juveniles, spread across the landscape and no longer subject to pack social discipline, turn to killing livestock for survival. 

 

“The collective expense of these wolf depredation mitigation programs exceeds the total value of livestock killed, statewide, in Idaho. Much of that expense is borne by Idaho taxpayers — for no good reason,” says Bean.  

 

“Nonlethal deterrents work. Spending hundreds of thousands of dollars, year after year, to kill wolves — at this point, often pre-emptively and without evidence that wolves have actually killed livestock — says a lot about Idaho politics, about the Idaho State Legislature, about Idaho politicians generally and about the Idaho Wolf Livestock Depredation Control Board itself which only funds killing wolves with nothing allocated to nonlethal depredation mitigation. Is this good governance and program administration? Emphatically not. Rather, it’s expensive, wasteful, vindictive, and immoral,” states Bean, concluding, “It’s also, unfortunately, very much today’s Idaho.”   

 

“The Wood River Wolf Pack in Blaine County is among those targeted by the Idaho Wolf Depredation Control Board, yet wolves here have the best record of living beside tens of thousands of sheep peacefully for 16 straight years. This year, ranchers in our project area reported no loss of sheep to the Wood River wolves with over 24,000 sheep present during the 2023 grazing season, making it one of the most successful years on record,” says Suzanne Asha Stone, IWCN Director. “By targeting this population of research wolves that are proving that nonlethal methods are more effective in protecting livestock than randomly killing wolves and other native carnivores, the state of Idaho is blatantly refusing to coexist with any wolves. Period.” 

 

“These wolves live on our public lands that belong to all Americans,” she adds. “Our local community doesn’t want the state to kill our wolves. By enriching biodiversity and helping protect against catastrophic disease in elk and deer, they make essential contributions to a healthy ecosystem.” 

 

“The Wolf Depredation Control Board’s decision to funnel more state money into private hands to kill wolves is just further evidence that the state will stop at nothing to get rid of the species,” says Talasi Brooks of Western Watersheds Project, an Idaho-based nonprofit. “It’s an affront to science-based wildlife management and a terrible waste of more than thirty years of work to bring wolves back.” 

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4 comments on “PRESS RELEASE- Idaho poised to hire private contractor to shoot wolves from aircraft

  1. We should not kill wolves. Nonlethal deterrents work, so why spend lots of money for nothing? That is wasteful. Also, the wolves are beneficial for the environment.

  2. Killing wildlife is only appropriate if it is providing a lethal threat to human life. This is especially true for wolves since history has shown they pose no threat to humans.

    1. Wolves are essential to the ecosystem. So many organizations have tried to educate state officials, & ranchers about this but I don’t know? they don’t care I guess.! I wish the President would give the wolves protective status. I have written letters every week for 4 yrs now….. so do we stand in front of the wolves, is that what it comes to. Trophy hunting is an abomination!!!

  3. If young wolves are given the chance to learn to hunt wild game, they will do what they are taught. If you kill the alphas that teach or assign other pack members to teach young wolves how to hunt with the pack, they will have no way to do what is in their DNA. They have been hunted trapped and poisoned by man for so long, they know better than to come anywhere near humans, as they are taught who their biggest enemy is. Us. They don’t need words to teach their offspring the many skills they need to survive and avoiding man and anything that smells of us . The only wolves that would attempt to take your sheep ( they are domesticated so probably not a natural prey of wolves) are ones too sick, old or alone to hunt. The hunt is a way for wolves to prove themselves as competent and intelligent, just like humans make money or excel in their fields, in order to feel worthy and live at the top of the human human hierarchy. There us a hierarchy in wolf packs too and to become an alpha a wolf must be a great hunter, not a livestock thief.
    When humans kill off a vital part(s) of a pack, they are creating a preventable problem. If humans kill the wisest of the pack, the young ones cannot learn to hunt properly and have no choice but to go for an easy meal. Consider that the places where ranchers have not indiscriminately killed wolves and have educated themselves, there have been little or no losses. These ranchers are open to learning the ways of the wolves, from people who have studied them for years. They said “yes” to trying to keep a vital part of a healthy ecosystem alive and “no” to old urban myths and misinformation. We read about what happened when wolves were eradicated from Yellowstone. Wolves are necessary and were on the land long before ranchers (mankind) decided that everything has a price and an owner. Your sheep and some cattle are not indigenous to the mid-west and you went out there and nearly destroyed any chance for our wilderness to stay healthy by killing millions of Buffalo, cutting down trees and putting up fences that blocked important migratory corridors. We have seen the lack of any concern for anything but a dollar from many of you and it is hard to understand why ppl who believe in the right to self-determination would be the most guilty of interfering with the rights of animals, here long before you, their right to self sufficiency and work harder to kill animals that have not impacted your livestock but could eventually do so. So many of us send our deepest gratitude to the ranchers who have opened their minds and hearts to , at least, try something different than condeming wolves before they are guilty of any crime. It seems that these methods are becoming or have become successful enough that the chance of killing a mother with young cubs or the ones who teach the young to hunt, isn’t an issue. If the pack is intact, as each wolf in it, has a more vital role to play than some people in a human family, they don’t seem to attack domesticated animals because maybe there is something intrinsically necessary to wolfpacks, that makes hunting wild prey more satisfying, and stimulating, not to mention better tasting. They aren’t humans and may not prefer to eat animals that they genetically weren’t designed to eat. Certainly not anything domesticated, which even if derived from a wild animal, it was so long ago, I’m betting that theyvsmell and taste different. I would compare it to a domestic pig and wild boar. They do not taste the same. I don’t know if wolves eat wild boar but I know that theyve become overpopulated in certain areas of the US and thru their rooting behavior are destroying crops and just about any land that they root thru.
    Thank you for reading my post. I understand that ranchers have livestock to protect but because your ranches are sometmes thousands of acres, you cant/won’t try deterrents that have worked in Europe for centuries. You demonize and anthropomorphisize wolves as if they are capable of evil intent, which helps you to justify killing them before they’re either too young to hunt or findctheircown food or before they’ve ever taken one of your flock or herd. Nothing should be guilty only because it exists, especially because humans are the most destructive species on the planet but must commitva crime and found legally guilty before punished. Animals, like wolves and bear have no such protection and anyone who believes that g-d created everything is committing the sin of hypocrisy by killing his creations for something they might do or for “fun” If g-d is watching, those of you who shoot or kill pups, for prevention, are going to have to answer to the g-d you avow to love for destroying his beautiful animals and causing so much distress to the ones you missed. You are actually creating the circumstances that would cause a wolf to come after your livestock. You took away their ability to hunt, as it is how they have always eaten. Each part of the pack is given a specific job to do during the hunt. ( You cannot believe that they aren’t highly intelligent and cant communicate ideas and emotions, but unfortunately can be tricked, by man) When you kill indiscriminately from the air you destroy the packs ability to hunt successfully and that’s when they resort to easy prey. I’m a realistic and I know that just like humans, there are some wolves looking for an easy meal. If a wolf is attacking your animals, you may have no choice but to kill it, but chances are it doesn’t have a pack, for whatever reason, and it’s hard to bring down an elk alone. A lobo may go for an old, sick or very young one 1st as I bet they prefer the taste of elk, over sheep. All manybof us ask is to stop thinking and acting out on old ideas and methods. There have been so many studies done on wolves and this information has enlightened scientists and ranchers . They know how wolves behave, so they know what, other than cruelly shooting them from helicopters isn’t necessary anymore. Some or many ranchers understand the importance of wolves, in the wild, and that an intact pack doesn’t generally pose a threat to livestock if they are willing to give new methods a try. All we ask is that you try other methods that have been successful. Try to see wolves as the necessary predators they are and the beauty in their intelligence & what expert tactician they can be. Open yourself to amazement at their fierce loyalty and love for their children. They think and feel ( sentient) and have done nothing wrong but live somewhere, that if they were human, would not only own, but could fight for, in a fair way. Since you would never fight a wolf one on one, it is not a fight, it is really murder because you dont eat them and if it were a human, I don’t think that the law( in most states) would condone its killing for stealing a sheep, pig or cow. It could still be the old west in certain places, with old western ways which are archaic & sometimes barbaric. Idaho, you seem to be going back in time, by allowing this shooting down of wolves from helicopters and it is shamefully cruel, outdated and unnecessary. I used to think that the reason many are still indiscriminately killing wolves that have done nothing to anyone’s livestock, was cost, I see the millions allocated for this heartless activity. Imagine the terror and confusion you’re causing. If you want to be a good Christian or whatever faith you are, you cannot be, if you kill animals that are not only vital to the health of the ecosystem but have committed no crime. Won’t you at least trust that g-d allowed them to evolve and thrive for a reason and that he cares for everything in & on this beautiful planet. Won’t you be a benevolent as you are to your brethen at church and not condemn them before they’ve sinned ?( it isn’t really a sin just an animal trying not to starve) Won’t you open your hearts and try to feel love for all of God’s creatures and show it by ,at least, giving other methods a fair chance? Please don’t engage in anything that could make wolves more endangered. They plsy such a vital part in keeping our wild spaces from the damage that overpopulation of deer ,elk and other Cervidae do. Your land can & land around it will eventually sicken if wolf populations are too low. Profit is the reason that predators are hated and allowed to be shot on sight, on your land. I may not like it but I understand it. To go out to public lands and flush them out to kill them, goes beyond inhumane and reading that people still resort to these outdated and not always successful methods, is disenheartening. It seems that some people will never grow and change or try anything other than outdated & heartless practices. I vould not live with myself if I killed something that did nothing but just because it has the name wolf. Do Better. Be Better.

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