Groups ask court to halt Mont., Idaho wolf huntsBOISE — Environmentalists have asked a federal appeals court for an emergency injunction to halt wolf hunts scheduled to start in a few weeks in Idaho and Montana. The request filed by the Alliance for the Wild Rockies and other groups with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was made public Saturday. The groups want the hunts canceled until the court issues a decision in an appeal filed Monday challenging a federal judge’s ruling allowing the hunts to go forward. “We think if we don’t get an injunction, the wolf population in the Rockies will be decimated,” Mike Garrity, executive director of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies, told The Associated Press on Saturday. Wolf hunts are scheduled to start Aug. 30 in Idaho and Sept. 3 in Montana. Hunters in Montana will be able to shoot as many as 220 gray wolves, reducing the predators’ Montana population by about 25 percent to a minimum of 425 wolves. State wildlife managers in Idaho, where an estimated 1,000 wolves roam, have declined to name a target for kills for the seven-month hunting season, saying only that Idaho will manage wolves so that their population remains above 150 animals and 15 breeding pairs. That’s the point where Idaho could attract federal scrutiny for a possible re-listing under the Endangered Species Act. U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy earlier this month reluctantly upheld a budget rider passed by Congress in April that stripped wolves of federal protections in Montana and Idaho, and in parts of Washington, Oregon and Utah. The provision was inserted by Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, and Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont. It marked the first time since the passage of the Endangered Species Act in 1973 that Congress forcibly removed protections from a plant or animal. Molloy ruled that the way Congress went about removing endangered species protections from the Northern Rockies gray wolf undermined the rule of law but did not violate the Constitution. The environmental groups contend the way Congress removed the protections was unconstitutional because it violated the separation of powers, the constitutional principle ensuring none of the three branches of government tramples on the independence of the other branches. “Congress has the authority to make laws and change existing laws,” Garrity said. “But courts are the only ones allowed to rule whether laws are legal or not. If (Congress) can get away with it on an endangered species, they can get away with it under any issue that is before the court.”
The tree huggers are at it again. They have no idea what they are protesting against. They have no idea how difficult it is to actually 'hunt' for a wolf. A hunter is extremely lucky to see a wolf let alone shoot it. They only way the entire population could be decimated would be if we went back to poisoning them, and that won't happen. Come on folks, get real. We are not shooting 'em from choppers or poisoning them, we have a season on them...that's all. I will be amazed if -- in that hunting season -- more than 200 wolves are killed. Out of 1000 that ain't much.
Wolves in the Wild
Wolves are highly social animals, and the family structure is focused around the pack. Packs typically consist of a breeding pair—the “alpha male and alpha female”—and their young from previous years. Pack size doesn’t vary much between years because the wolves that either leave or die each year are replaced by newborn pups.
Wolves breed in late winter, and give birth to an average of four to five pups in April. The pups are born in a den dug by the breeding female, around which the pack congregates. Wolf pups spend their first six to eight weeks at the den, and are weaned at around six weeks of age. Once they begin eating meat, the pups are fed by adult members of the pack.
As the pups become older the pack typically moves them from the den to “rendezvous sites”, which are usually wet meadow areas within a pack’s territory where the adults can leave the pups while they go off to hunt. Wolves may use several rendezvous sites during the summer months until the pups are big and strong enough to travel full-time with the pack, generally by late September or October.
An adult male wolf stands about 30 inches at the shoulder and can be over six feet long from the tip of nose to point of tail. It will weigh 70 to 110 pounds. Females are slightly smaller, usually 60 to 80 pounds.
OUR VIEWLeft a mark on BSUDeparting athletic director’s ouster sudden, sad after three decades of growth, success
In early May, the National Collegiate Athletics Association — the NCAA — charged Boise State University’s athletics program with a lack of institutional control. Three months later, the man who oversaw that athletics program, Gene Bleymaier, is out of a job. When colleges get slapped with NCAA sanctions or high-profile sports programs such as football and men’s basketball have a few consecutive bad seasons, it’s not surprising to see athletic directors get fired. Such news usually isn’t as dramatic as a head coach getting axed, but it does happen. Bleymaier’s ouster, however, is big news. He has been the head man for the orange and blue for nearly three decades — since 1982. These are some of the major accomplishments the athletics program has enjoyed since he was hired: The legendary blue turf was installed in 1986. The athletics program joined Division 1 (now called FBS) in 1996. Boise got its own college football bowl game, The Humanitarian Bowl (now the Famous Idaho Potatoes Bowl) in 1997. Taco Bell Arena has hosted the first and second rounds of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament eight times. The football team won two Bowl Championship Series games and has climbed the competition ladder from the Big Sky to the Big West to the WAC and now the Mountain West Conference. Other sports programs have also appeared in national championships, and the wrestling program is consistently in the top 10. This success helped drive increased enrollment and merchandise sales for the school, which have brought in millions of dollars. Bleymaier led Boise State’s athletics program to heights that seemed like just a pipe dream to most rational people when he first took over the program. Needless to say, the public reaction to Bleymaier’s ouster has been outrage. Boise State President Bob Kustra — the man who fired him — is taking a lot of heat for it. Kustra can be brusque, direct and unyielding. When asked about maintaining a football rivalry with in-state foe University of Idaho a year ago, Kustra described the culture in Moscow as “nasty” and “inebriated.” Given Kustra’s nature, it’s not surprising he would want to send a strong message when his school was publicly embarrassed by the NCAA. It seemed inevitable that someone’s head would roll, and since Bleymaier was the man at the top, some questioned in May whether it might be his. Whether or not you believe Kustra’s decision was fair, it’s sad to see how it played out. He reportedly told Bleymaier to resign so the school could give him a respectful sendoff, but Bleymaier refused. “You’re going to have to fire me” was, in essence, what he told his boss. Bleymaier hedged his bet, expecting public opinion would be on his side when it happened. Bleymaier was right. The public is outraged. The announcement was handled poorly. The school sent out a press release announcing that Bleymaier was being relieved of duties while Kustra was on vacation. So much for the big sendoff. Kustra also says the controversial decision was not done because the school was reprimanded by the NCAA (for a major violation in women’s tennis and minor violations in four other sports, including football), but because he wanted different leadership in moving forward. Yeah, right. That’s like telling your barber you’re firing him not because he gave you a lousy haircut, but because you want a barber who will go in a “different direction” on the next one. Boise State has imposed its own punishment on its athletics programs and hired a compliance officer to ensure compliance with regulations. The NCAA will determine if further punishment should be meted out in a few weeks. Make no mistake about it — whoever replaces Bleymaier will have big shoes to fill. In many ways, he was not just a BSU icon, but an Idaho icon. It will be a tough act to follow and, as we’ve seen, Kustra won’t be bashful in making his expectations known. Our view is based on the majority opinions of the Idaho Press-Tribune editorial board. Members of the board are Publisher Matt Davison, Managing Editor Vickie Holbrook and community membersTim Vandeventer, Sandi Levi, and Brandon Scholl, all of Nampa; Opinion Editor Phil Bridges and community member John Blaisdell of Caldwell, and Alex Zamora of Wilder.