Speaking of gray wolves in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming only, it now appears that wolf wars may be on the horizon. Sportsmen, ranchers, individuals, legislators and other rational thinking people are coming to the end of their ropes on this wolf issue. One item may have temporarily stemmed the tide – Obama’s announcement to proceed with removing federal protection of the wolf. How long will this put off the inevitable?

This means very little to most in the Northern Rockies who have been lied to in the past, promises made and promises reneged on. And now in some areas, sportsmen sit helplessly by as years of money and effort are being flushed down the drain as an unmanaged and out of control wolf pack destroys deer and elk herds.

Momentum seemed to be building for some. Montana Shooting Sports Association had propose SB 183, the Montana Wolf Recovery Act in hopes of forcing the federal government to get out of the state and pay for the damages it has created through wolf reintroduction and protection. Yesterday, that bill failed on second reading in the Montana Senate.

Idaho is planning a similar bill and with the failure of the Montana bill, we now have to wonder how this will affect Idaho’s chances. Some believe that what killed the Montana bill was the announcement of the Obama administration to go ahead with wolf delisting, a move I believe was completely political in order to accomplish just what is now happening – avoid legislative embarrassment by the many states, something this administration seems prone to.

There are still those who, regardless of how many times they’ve been lied to, kicked in the shins, spit on, stolen from and taken advantage of, still believe this time will be different. I doubt that it will and have little reason to think otherwise. I also think the Obama administration is betting on the same outcome.

For this administration to announce a continued protection of wolves, would have set off a firestorm of outrage and the result would have been unprecedented support for any wolf bill aimed at ridding the states of wolves. Obama knew this was in the works but he also knew that with a decision to delist would result in immediate lawsuits to stop to ruling.

More than likely with assurances from the courts that protections would not be dropped, Obama puts off the anger from the three state’s governments and saves himself the embarrassment, if only for awhile.

Unfortunately, while politics are being played out, our wildlife suffers, which is prompting some groups to continue their efforts to do something about reducing wolf numbers before it’s too late. Some people may be content to take a wait and see attitude but many have done that enough and now want action.

If you recall in Obama’s wolf delisting announcement, Wyoming was excluded from any delisting effort stating that Wyoming’s wolf management plan wasn’t good enough to guarantee a sustainable population of wolves after delisting. What is puzzling to many is that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service approved Wyoming’s plan, yet after a federal judge stopped the first round of delisting, nothing changed and now the plan is no good. It is believed that at some point in time the state of Wyoming will mount a lawsuit against U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

In the meantime, others are restless, concerned, worried and angry. Some feeling violated. I’m not sure just how much more these people are willing to put up with.

In my email box yesterday I received a notice that is being spread around about garnering support to fight against those wanting to continue wolf protection at the cost of a decimation of other game species.

Subject: Fwd: The Wolf Wars Begin In Wyoming!

The sportsmen of Wyoming and the Wyoming Outfitters & Guides Association need help from the shooting and hunting industry.

The lack of wolf management has resulted in out-of-control wolf numbers that are now pulling down deer and elk populations that have taken a hundred years to rebuild.

The Wolf Wars have begun, and the enemy is our own federal government (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) and the anti-hunting organizations (i.e. Sierra Club, Defenders of Wildlife, Humane Society of the United States, etc.) that value a few wolves far more than huntable numbers of other big game.

Please contact Jim Allen, President of the Wyoming Outfitters and Guides Association and pledge support of the battle they are about to launch against the enemies of our hunting heritage. His e-mail address is [email protected] .

This just could be the most important battle you ever fight for sensible wildlife conservation, and for the hunting sports.

With Idaho getting ready to present its own legislation to deal with wolves and anger building there by sportsmen toward what many believe to be a pro-wolf position at the Department of Fish and Game, I ask, what will happen if and when the Idaho Legislature opts to take a wait and see approach like Montana?

Montana’s wolf bill was shot down on second reading in the Senate yesterday. Many were hoping this would get results. Now it appears Montana will have to wait and see.

Wyoming may be the only state left out there who has not caved in hard to the pro-wolf crowd, the courts and the federal government. I read one person’s account that the state feels very strongly about how it wants to deal with wolves and every move they have made to this point is toward that end resolve, knowing full well it will end up being decided in the courts.

All of these political games take time and right now time is not on the side of saving our deer, elk and moose populations. In some areas of Idaho, elk herds are decreasing at a rate of about 13% per year. At least one zone now has reached the critical stage where elk numbers have reach a level so low it can’t recover on its own. This has a lot of sportsmen angry. The state and federal government have squandered their investments.

Sportsmen are angry and let’s not forget the rancher who is losing a lot of money each year, directly and indirectly from the presence of wolves. I asked earlier, how much more are these people willing to take before we see them take matters into their own hands?

I know this is taking place now to some degree, where people are illegally killing wolves. Is this what the defenders of the wolf packs want? Haven’t they dragged this effort out long enough to bleed as many wallets as they can for money? After all, that is their only goal.

While running the risk of being called a negative doomsdayer, we will not see wolves delisted anytime soon, if ever. Whether there is enough fortitude within the state’s fish and game departments to take full advantage of the expanded Endangered Species Act 10j rule and begin killing wolves where they are destroying elk, deer and moose herds, remains to be seen. In all honesty, that is about the only legal recourse the states have.

The feds should want to dump the financial responsibility of wolf management into the laps of the states. To do so means Obama will have to fight against those who raised a lot of money and helped put him in office. So, you tell me how this battle will turn out.

Tom Remington