Monday, April 8, 2013

MT FWP Dishonesty Causes Rifts Between Sportsmen Groups

Last week, Montana Senate Bill 397, for "Establishing provisional hunting seasons for certain large predators" passsed through the state Senate...and tomorrow goes to the House Fish, Wildlife and Parks Committee.  This legislation would establsih more aggressive management of wolves, bears and mountain lions, in an effort to curb excessive depredation of elk, moose, deer and other big game - ONLY in those hunt districts that have been hard hit by predators.  Many of the those districts have lost as much as 80-percent of their elk herds, perhaps even more of their moose populatons, and now have deer populations that are barely half of what they were 10 to 15 years ago.

Surprisingly, the Montana Bowhunters Association has come out in opposition of SB397.

Joelle Selk, MBA president and legislative chairman has issued a legislative alert to members of the organization, urging them to contact legislators to insist that the bill be defeated, commenting,  "Despite its seemingly limited scope, this bill impacts bear, lion and wolf hunting regulations as well as threatens multiple delisting actions. The MBA has supported increased harvest and expanded seasons during recent Tentatives cycles. Proper management of bear populations depends on responsible harvest and population monitoring to determine harvest impact. Proponents of this bill argue that we need to have more aggressive predator control measures. We believe the FWP has taken an effective and responsible approach to controlling predators."

Following is an e-mail that LOBO WATCH sent to the members of the MT House Fish, Wildlife and Parks Committee... 

Dear Members of the House Fish, Wildlife and Parks Committee;
The Montana Bowhunters Association has come out in opposition of SB397, which would establish provisional hunting seasons to reduce the number of predators that are currently ravaging big game populations in the Western 1/3 of Montana.
Either that organization has lost all touch with the reality of what we've lost, or they simply don't understand that the problem, all along, has been Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. The agency has bent over backwards to hide the truth from the sportsmen of this cover up the true numbers of wolves, bears and lions in Montana...and went so far as to actually lie about the degree of damage predators have dealt elk, moose, deer and other big game - until they could no longer keep the truth hidden. (Example: For the past five or six years, FWP has claimed that the entire state's grizzly population to be 600 to 800. Under pressure from angry sportsmen who saw elk nearly disappear in Region 1, at a very heated meeting in Kalispell, the regional wildlife manager openly claimed that there were 1,000 of the bears in that region alone - and that the number of wolves in that region was 2 or 3 times what FWP claimed. The same lies and deceit are practiced in other FWP regions as well.)
Like so many sportsmen who spend so much time afield, I've seen the damage first hand. And like so many sportsmen who will now turn against the Montana Bowhunters Association for going against legislation that offers some emergency relief from predator impact, I find it extremely difficult to accept that any group of real sportsmen who have witnessed the game losses would still bow down and worship the phony agency which has worked all too willingly with those who brought this disaster to our state and our hunting heritage.
Apparently MBA President Joelle Selk hasn't really absorbed what SB397 is truly all about. The legislation does NOT open overly liberal seasons on all predators across the simply calls for more dramatic reductions of wolf, bear and lion numbers in those hunt districts where big game populations have been devastated by depredation. Thus, the term "provisional seasons". 
If the House Fish, Wildlife and Parks Committee shoots this legislation down, big game hunting in Western Montana will come to an end. It is now far closer to being lost than what FWP will admit. The sportsmen of this state have lost all trust in the agency, and when the word gets out that the Montana Bowhunters Association is fighting this last ditch effort to take control of predator problems, I have a feeling that membership in that organizaiton will begin to nose dive.
Here is a look at what this legislation is really all about -
Toby Bridges

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Sportsmen Across The Country Are Beginning To Lose All Faith In State Game & Fish Departments

Montana sportsmen have run out of patience, waiting for the state's Fish, Wildlife and Parks to actually end efforts to "manage" wolves as a sport-hunted big game animal...and to begin to "control" wolves for what they really are - a major predator that has already wiped out decades of big game conservation efforts in as much as 1/3 of the state.  The same devastation of wildlife resources has now taken place in as much as half of the Northern U.S. Rockies, and it's now beginning to spread Westward and Eastward.

The same thing is now taking place in other regions of the country as well, now in the Upper Midwestern states and through plans to "reintroduce" wolves into other states.  Have state wildlife agencies switched sides?  Do they now cater to the wants of radical environmental and animal rights groups instead of the sportsmen who have funded those agencies since their inception during the early 1900's?

Following is an early 2009 LOBO WATCH release that shared what was happening in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan.  Since this release was published, wolf numbers there have basically doubled...and several hundred thousand deer, moose and elk have been lost - not to mention the growing impact on livestock production and the loss of pets.



            Sportsmen Taking Charge of Predator Problems

                               News Release  

For Immediate Release                                           December 16, 2009

               Wolves Impact Deer Populations
                             In Upper Midwest

            With the close of the 2009 firearms deer season, Wisconsin deer hunters took home nearly 30-percent less venison for the freezer.  They experienced the worst deer season in that state in 27 years.  And the hardest hit were the northernmost counties, which just also happen to be the heart of the state's wolf range.
            In Florence County, which borders the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, the white-tail deer harvest was down a whopping nearby Oneida County the hunter take was down 50-percent...and in Villas County to the west hunters took 59-percent fewer deer than they did during the 2008 season.   All across Wisconsin's northern tier of counties, the harvest was significantly down 40- to 60-percent from last year.  And that's mostly due to deer populations that have plummeted during the past several years. 
            This region is now home to a growing number of gray wolves.  According to the Wisconsin DNR, the population is at about 625 to 650 wolves.  However, the hundreds of thousands of sportsmen who hit these woods every fall feel there are more - many more.  And, that is very likely.  It seems that today's wildlife managers do not have the savvy to get a very accurate count. 
            A great example can be seen far to the west, in Montana.  Here, wildlife biologists have been stuck at around 500 wolves as their "official count" for several years now - completely disregarding the fact that wolf populations, left unchecked, will typically  increase 25- to 30-percent annually.  Dr. David L. Mech, arguably the world's leading wolf authority, was called on as an expert witness for the 2008 hearings to remove the gray wolf of the northern Rocky Mountain states from protection of the Endangered Species Act.  The dynamics of wolf population growth he presented during his declaration clearly show that the wolf population in Montana is more likely 1,000 to 1,200.  And hunters tend to agree.  In western Montana's wolf range, which runs from the Canadian border south to Wyoming, there has been a near "0" calf elk survival for several years now, due to wolf  depredation, and elk numbers are dropping like a rock.  In one region, the 2009 elk harvest was down 45%, whitetail deer harvest down 50%, and the mule deer harvest down 45% from the average past five year harvest.  Those hunters who did see elk reported seeing no calves whatsoever.
            The same thing is now happening to the spring whitetail fawn crop in northern Wisconsin, as well as next door in northern Minnesota and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
            One Wisconsin study has shown that 55% of a wolf's diet in this state is made up of white-tailed deer, and another DNR report claims that each wolf consumes an average of 20 deer per year.  That would mean the wolves of northern Wisconsin are taking down between 12,500 and 13,000 deer annually.  And for a state that claims to have around 1.5 million deer at the start of fall, that seems very tolerable.  If the same "deer kill per wolf" holds true next door in Minnesota, that means hunters there are losing 60,000 whitetails annually to the  3,000 wolves claimed by the state - which the MN DNR likes to tout as a conservation success story.
            What these figures ignore and hide is the residual impact wolves are having on the deer population of northern Wisconsin, and likewise in northern Minnesota and Michigan.  "Out West", where more is now being done to manage an out-of-control wolf population, it has become very evident that the constant pushing of elk and deer by wolves is creating enough stress to cause cow elk and doe deer to abort their young.  In Yellowstone National Park, in 2001 there were an estimated 16,000 elk.  And thanks to the annual birth of new calves, the average age of those elk was 4 years.  Today, that herd is down to 6,000 - and the average age is now 8 years.  Wolves are the reason for the decline in numbers, due to both the direct loss of elk to escalated wolf kills, and the loss of calf recruitment.  Yellowstone's elk herd is quickly getting old, and sportsmen know it's headed for a disastrous crash.  Many feel that within five years, it could be totally lost.
            Deer, or elk, that are constantly hunted by wolves don't have the luxury of  fattening up for winter.  Consequently, they go into the toughest part of the year undernourished.  And when an extended stretch of cold and snowy weather sets in, those that have been run thin by the wolves are more apt to be the first to succumb.  Across the snow belt of the upper Midwest, where 3-feet deep snows are very common in February and March, the deer are often trapped in "yards" for a month or longer.  For those that are even moderately undernourished at the beginning of an extended period without sufficient feed, it's a sure death sentence.                                                   
            The most troubling impact wolves are making are the documented occurrences of wolves killing for the mere pleasure of killing.   In one instance alone, a small group of wolves in Montana went on a blood-letting spree, and in one night killed 130 domestic sheep - without eating anything.  And they are doing the same thing with deer and elk.   Despite the claims of "wildlife experts" that wolves only kill the sick, weak and injured, there are now many cases that strongly support that wolves kill as much, if not more, for sport than for food.  Many times, dozens of wolf-killed deer or elk carcasses have been found - without any evidence of being fed upon.  And as wolf numbers grow, so do such instances. 
             What astonishes many veteran big game hunters is how state wildlife agency biologists continue to down play the impact wolves are having on deer and other big game.  Minnesota DNR fur bearer biologist John Erb has stated, "The data continues to support a conclusion that wolves in Minnesota have not caused, nor are they likely to cause, a substantial multi-year decline in deer numbers."
            Sportsmen are now crying "Hogwash!"  to such "data".  Despite Erb's claim, northern Minnesota has now had back-to-back deer harvests that have been significantly down.  Ironically, although the state's wolf population has basically tripled over the past 25 or 30 years, Minnesota's big game biologists just can't put their finger on why moose numbers are crashing.
            There is a fast growing resentment against state wildlife agencies which now seem to put far too much effort toward covering up for the wolf.  Likewise, most hunters want wolves in the northern Midwestern states removed from federal protection, and to get much needed management hunts established.  Sportsmen are losing faith in these departments to wisely manage these apex predators, which are now making a very negative impact on deer and other big game.
            Mark Johnson, of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association, observes, "It is pretty obvious that the public tolerance of increasing and expanding wolf numbers is nearing its limits in part because of lower deer numbers, but also due to more wolf sightings and caution caused by reports of more aggressive wolf behavior."  
            In regard to a 2009 season harvest that was 30-percent lower than the 2008 season in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, one hunter says, "I live in the Upper Peninsula and hunt in the lower peninsula and I did shoot a deer this year.  They don't shoot deer in the upper Peninsula anymore because wolves have ate a majority of them.  It is not what the DNR tells you.  They don't want to say that wolves go into the deer yards in the winter and have a deer killing frenzy."
            The manner in which the game departments in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan are handling the wolf issue has a lot of sportsmen wondering if these agencies now have a new agenda - to let wolves replace the human hunter's role in wildlife management.  Most hunters are not happy with how these game departments continue to turn a blind eye to the devastation wolves are dealing wildlife populations. - Toby Bridges, LOBO WATCH
What has happened to wildlife management in this country?  It's as if state wildlife agencies are now working hard to insure that major predators destroy big game populations to the point that human hunters have little to harvest - or even the opportunity to hunt.  Educate yourself to what's really happening in America.  For dozens of other LOBO WATCH releases, go to the following link...

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Emergency Predator Control Needed Right Now To Save Any Hope For Western Montana's Big Game Herds!

This morning, the following e-mail and an attached LOBO WATCH release (link provided for the published release below) went to Governor Steve Bullock, to the FWP Commission, some FWP supervisors and managers, and to a number of state senators and representatives, plus it went to dozens of sportsman/conservation organizations and to several hundred Montana residents.
The State of Montana has pussyfooted around the predator issue in this state for far too long. For the past seven or eight years, sportsmen who have witnessed the continued crash of big game populations all along the Western one-third of this state have cried out that time was running out to save those herds. Well, time has run out!
The attached release takes a look at the problem, who's at fault, and the ONLY chance we have at saving what's left as seed for bringing these herds back.
Please take a few minutes to write Governor Steve Bullock at "Governor Steve Bullock"  <> and insist that he take a strong stand in favor of the drastic reduction of predators in this state. It's the ONLY chance our big game herds have at recovering.
Toby Bridges


Dear Governor Bullock;
The token wolf seasons which have been conducted by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, coupled with totally inadequate harvests of other major predators for more than a decade, have resulted in a glut of predators which are now destroying the past 75 years of wildlife conservation in this state.
Following the 2012 big game hunting season, during which hunters in roughly the Western 1/3 of this state experienced the worse hunting season of their lives, preceded by seasons that have progressively gotten worse, the sportsmen who have funded MT FWP clearly see the problem. Our state wildlife agency has concentrated way too much on managing predators, allowing our big game herds to take a real beating.
There is only one way to reverse the loss, and that is to dramatically reduce the number of wolves, mountain lions and bears in Montana. The attached LOBO WATCH release takes a more detailed look at the problem...and what it will take to allow big game and other wildlife populations to recover.
This will be the hottest issue you will have to face through your term in office. How aggressively and effectively you work to save this Montana treasure during your first term in office will surely dictate whether or not you even have a shot at a second term.
MT FWP has already proven that predator management does not work, now it's way past time for some serious predator control.
Toby Bridges
Missoula, MT
To read the release sent to the Montana Governor Steve Bullock, Go To -


Sunday, February 24, 2013

Could It Be That The Entire U.S. Wolf Hoax Has Been Entirely Driven By The U.S. Government?

The following LOBO WATCH Editorial Release was written and first circulated back in July of 2010.  It takes a look at how the gray wolf has never been endangered in North America, and the manner in which the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manipulated wolf science in order to achieve their goal of dumping an entirely non-indigenous wolf subspecies into the Northern Rockies, plus how they have allowed wolf populations to artificially increase across the Upper Midwest.  Unfortunately, state wildlife agencies like Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks fell in with the USFWS agenda, and to this day continue to remain in denial and continue to withhold the truth from this country's citizens. 

                                                          Click On Photos To Enlarge
            Has The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
                      Become A Rogue Agency?

          There are now a number of very dark clouds hanging over the fish and wildlife arm of the U.S. Department of the Interior.  And the tallest thunder cell has to be the manner in which the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has handled the so-called Wolf Recovery Project in the Northern Rocky Mountain states of Wyoming, Idaho and Montana - especially in how the agency resorted to the manipulation of wolf science and wolf facts to expedite restoring wolf populations where they had been missing for most of the past 70 or 80 years.  Or, were they?

(Photo Above - Illegal wolves arrive through Yellowstone's northern entrance back in 1995 - a phony project financed with money stolen from Pittman-Robertson funds.) 

          The Endangered Species Act was established in 1973, to protect and restore endangered or threatened wildlife species.  Back when that act became law, there were between 50,000 and 60,000 wolves of varying subspecies roaming freely across Canada (and likely just as many in Alaska).  Still, since there were only about 700 to 1,000 wolves known to exist in northern Minnesota and in several small pockets in northwestern Montana, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service pushed to get the "gray wolf" added to the ESA list of endangered species in 1974. 
          One of the tools used by FWS to facilitate their management of a species/subspecies that is endangered or threatened is to establish it as a "Distinct Population Segment", separating it from the management of that species or subspecies as a whole.  And this is likely where the "gray" area lies in the ESA listing and the management of the gray wolf as an "endangered species".

(Photo Above Right - Wolf recovery in the Lower 48 States has been one extremely costly screw up after another, thanks to the U.S. Fish and Wildlfie Service.  Yellowstone National Park was sacrificed to appease radical environmental groups and ego driven wildlife biologists.)
          First of all, the gray wolves of central Canada were never really endangered, or threatened for that matter.  Despite ongoing wolf control efforts in Ontario, the wolf population just to the north of the U.S.-Canada border was not endangered back in 1973 when the ESA was established.  Neither have wolves been endangered or threatened there since that act was put into place.  Likewise, there has not been any efforts to prevent their migration south, into northern Minnesota.  Even so, the mad wolf scientists of the FWS felt compelled to write themselves into the annals of wildlife conservation and took it upon themselves to classify the wolves of the upper Midwest as a "Distinct Population Segment" , and endangered - even though absolutely nothing separated them from the tens of thousands of wolves north of the Canadian border.
          And their muddling with such wolf facts came back to nip them hard on their backside.
          As wolf numbers began to grow and spread, from northern Minnesota into upper Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, USFWS moved to remove them from the Endangered Species List in early 2008.  At that time, there were likely close to 4,000 wolves spread across the upper Midwest, and the agency determined that the gray wolf of that region was no longer an endangered species.  FWS decided  to delist the wolf there.
          In short order, the Humane Society of the United States (and a number of other "environmental" co-plaintiffs) challenged the USFWS "Final Rule" on removing Midwestern wolves from the protection of the Endangered Species Act.  HSUS also asserted that the ESA does not authorize USFWS to designate and delist "Distinct Population Segments".  In other words, the act does not allow the agency "to carve out"  healthy sub-populations of otherwise endangered or threatened species.

(Map Above Left - Here is the currrent USFWS map showing the Western Great Lakes gray wolf DPS.  Note how the agency has already more than doubled the expected range of these wolves - right into the heart of this country's finest whitetail deer hunting.)
          The court questioned, "Whether the ESA permits FWS to use the DPS tool to remove the protection of the statute from a healthy sub-population of a listed species, even if that sub-population was neither designated as a DPS nor listed as endangered or threatened beforehand."
          The delisting of the wolf in the upper Midwest did not happen in 2008, and management of those wolves is still on hold - even though there are now between 5,000 and 6,000 wolves across upper Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan.  The whitetail deer herds in many areas where wolf numbers are at their highest have now been reduced by 40- to 60-percent, and moose have practically disappeared where they were once abundant.  Likewise, years of trying to re-establish elk herds in these states is now in real jeopardy, with the wolves destroying spring calf recruitment.
          Wrongly, USFWS had established a line, an international boundary, that separated the wolves of the U.S. from the wolves of Canada.  And largely because of that intervention and poor decision making, big game resources and livestock production across the upper Midwest are now being severely impacted.  However, across the border, in Canada, aggressive control of the same "non endangered" wolves continues.
          Faced with establishing a recovered wolf population in the Northern Rockies, USFWS threw professional wildlife management ethics right out the window.   To say that the Wolf Recovery Project of the West has been plagued with lies and deceit from the very start is putting it mildly.
          Well before Canadian wolves were dumped into the mountains of Idaho, northwestern Wyoming, and western Montana, many residents were aware of small pockets of wolves in several areas - wolves which had been there for years.  However, since they had not been "discovered"  by some recognized wolf expert, they were not accepted as a "Distinct Population Segment".  So, USFWS took it upon itself to ignore the possibility of any real resident wolves (similar to its decision to draw the line between the wolves of northern Minnesota and the wolves of Canada) in order to simply accelerate the "reintroduction" of wolves in the Northern Rockies, where in their opinion wolves had been missing for the past 75 or 80 years.

(Photo Above Right - Residents of the Greater Yellowstone Area protested the dumping of non-native wolves into the Northern Rockies - USFWS, MT FWP, IDFG, agenda driven politicians and university academics ignored their pleas.)
          Research as hard as you may, you will not find where Congress authorized funding for the capture, transportation, care, or handling of those wolves before being released into what was America's greatest wildlife wonderland.  So, where did USFWS get all of those millions of dollars needed to fund such a major project?
          Jim Beers, a former Chief of National Wildlife Refuge Operations, who spent the latter part of his 32-year career with the agency working with the disbursement of federally collected tax dollars to help fund state wildlife departments and conservation programs, says USFWS literally stole the money from those funds.  Now, these aren't the tax dollars collected from ALL U.S. taxpayers.  Rather, these are the excise tax dollars that America's sportsmen voluntarily pay on firearm, ammunition, archery gear, fishing tackle and other outdoor related product purchases - under the Pitman-Robertson Act.  And those funds are, by law, to be used exclusively for wildlife habitat and fisheries improvement.
          According to Beers, through the 1990s USFWS embezzled between $60- and $70-million from Pitman-Robertson funds, with a healthy chunk of that money used to illegally finance capturing northern Canadian wolves and transplanting them into the Northern Rockies. 
(Photo Above - During a presnetation in Bozeman, Montana - Jim Beers addresses a large audience of concerned sportsmen, residents and rural landowners in regard to how USFWS literally broke many laws in order to force wolves on those who live in the Northern Rockies.)
           Once again, USFWS stepped way beyond its authority.  The wolves they brought to Idaho, Wyoming and Montana are found all across northern British Columbia, the Yukon, northern Alberta and northern Saskatchewan - and are in no way endangered.  Likewise, they are not the native wolf of the U.S. Northern Rockies.  The transplanted wolves are a significantly larger and more aggressive wolf than the wolves that were native to the Northwest.  Those residents who know that small pockets of wolves still existed here now accuse USFWS of actually violating the Endangered Species Act.
          Plaguing this project even further is that it seems USFWS purposely eliminated any sort of paper trail that would document how much money was spent on bringing in several different invasive subspecies of wolves, the actual subspecies brought across the border, or even the true number of wolves involved in the initial releases.  The agency did not file the required Form 3-177, which would have documented all of this.  Ironically, this is a USFWS form, required for all importation of wildlife into this country.
          Even the Environmental Impact Statement, filed by project leader Ed Bangs, is suspect of being filled with false information in regards to the impact wolves would have on elk, moose, deer and other big game populations, as well as on livestock production.  The depredation numbers shared in that statement are only about a third of the impact now being realized.  The residents of the Northern Rockies now feel that the "experts"  who put together the Northern Rockies Wolf Recovery Plan either didn't know enough about wolves to play a role, or the misinformation was presented on purpose to sway the opinion of the general public in favor of bringing back a major predator which was eliminated decades ago.

(Photo Above Right - USFWS Northern Rockies Wolf Recovery Project leader Ed Bangs.)
          The sportsmen of Idaho, Wyoming and Montana, who have paid the way for the conservation programs that brought big game populations back from nearly being lost during the early 1900s largely feel that USFWS, and their own state wildlife agencies to some degree, are now selling them out.  They know that a large percentage of today's wildlife managers do not hunt, and that they now tend to side more with the major environmental organizations which have a strong anti-hunting stand.  Knowing they are paying these managers salaries angers many hunters - and so does the thought that USFWS could steal $60- to $70-million of their tax dollars to introduce a non-indigenous wolf subspecies that is now destroying the past 75 years of big game conservation work.    
          In some areas, wolves have already decimated elk herds by as much as 60- to 80-percent.  The once great northern Yellowstone herd, which numbered around 19,000 at the time the first northern Alberta wolves were released inside the park in 1995, is now down to only a few thousand remaining animals.  And those elk that have managed to survive non-stop pressure from the wolves are quickly growing old.  Thanks to the near 100-percent loss of elk calves in the spring, the average age of Yellowstone elk is now 8 to 9 years.  Before the USFWS "introduction" of an invasive wolf subspecies, elk there averaged 4 years of age.

(Photo Above Left - Hundreds of millions of dollars have been wasted on introducing and researching a wolf that has never been endangered, and hundreds of millions more have already been lost to the idiocy of dumping wolves where they are not wanted.)

          Despite all the manipulation of wolf science and wolf facts, along with the theft of sportsmen provided money to illegally fund the Northern Rockies Wolf Recovery Project, and all the lies and deceit to hide the truth from the public, the wolf fiasco continues.  Those who are feeling the bite of the wolf on their economy and way of life are now questioning a legal system that bows down to the demands of environmental groups, which have profited hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars from frivolous lawsuits.  Many sportsmen and tax-paying citizens now feel that the USFWS relationship with the greenie groups needs to be investigated.  Likewise, that the financial loop hole known as the "Equal Access to Justice Act" needs to be eliminated, preventing environmental organizations from receiving financial restitution from the U.S. Government for grossly padded legal expenses when they do file those thousands of lawsuits.  Their favorite "defendant" tends to be USFWS.  Has the agency become an all too willing participant in these legal actions?

          Most of all, Americans have grown weary of government agencies that repeatedly step beyond their authority, to use whatever means or methods necessary to achieve their desired goals.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is one such rogue agency.  - Toby Bridges, LOBO WATCH 


Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has been an all too willing a partner in the Northern Rockies Wolf Fiasco, primarily under the poor leadership of former Governor Brian Schweitzer.  Now, Schweitzer seems to have aspirations of replacing Senator Max Baucus in the U.S. Senate, which may better explain the manner in which the former governor's bragging about taking control of the wolf problem was never really backed by any action.  Perhaps Schweitzer was afraid he might sever political purse strings with the same environmental groups and political activist groups (posing as "sportsman organizations") that it took to get Senator Jon Tester re-elected.  In the near future, we'll take a look at those phony Montana sportsmen organizations - and what and who they really are. 

MT FWP Watch is an affiliate blog of the LOBO WATCH website at


Monday, February 18, 2013

February 18, 2013 E-Mail To MT Governor Steve Bullock

                                                                                                                     February 18, 2013

Dear Governor Bullock;

Many Montana sportsmen are now questioning your choice of Director for Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Is that the best you could come up with? Hagener's reputation is severely tarnished, directly connected with easily the darkest days of big game and other wildlife management in the State of Montana. More wildlife was lost under Governor Brian Schweitzer's watch, and under the "Direction" of FWP by Hagener and Maurier, than during the terms of any other Montana governor.

Is that what you plan to give us as well?

Thank you for signing HB 73 into law, wolf hunting regulations needed to be severely relaxed, but they still do not go far enough. Before wolves can be managed at an acceptable level, their numbers first have to be reduced to that level - and the harvest this season isn't even close.

Why is it FWP is so hell bent to try managing wolves as a big game animal, when around the world where wolves have been a problem forever it has been proven that sport hunting wolves does not, cannot adequately reduce population levels? Why is it our amateur FWP "wolf specialists" ignore what seasoned and professional wolf managers...wolf regulators...have learned in other regions of the world, namely the republics that once made up Russia, or even to our due north in Canada - and that is wolves must be stringently controlled through aggressive measures, and held at those levels? Anything less simply means the continued loss of big game, and escalated wolf depredation of livestock and pets.

Through the sportsman network in this state, I've learned that Dr. Robert Ream has been working to be reinstated to the FWP Commission. While he may make a good "other" book end to Jeff Hagener, he certainly has no business in any decisive or steering role in wildlife management in this state. Dr. Ream has already contributed way too much to the destruction of wildlife resources in Montana, and the Northern Rockies, and certainly does not represent the best interests of the sportsmen who financially support FWP. He should have never sat on the Commission, let alone serve as the Chairman of the FWP Commission.

With Hagener's appointment as Director of FWP, your term as Governor is already getting off to a very rocky start. Put Bob Ream back on the FWP Commission, and you will most certainly feel the wrath of Montana's outdoorsmen and women.

I know you are a very busy newly elected governor, but please take the time to read the article, titled Montana's Wildlife Resources""Too Many Predators, MT FWP And Radical Political-Environmental Agendas Destroy , at the following link.

Please don't let this become the epitaph of the wildlife and the outdoors of this state.

Toby Bridges
Missoula, MT 59801

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Too Many Predators, MT FWP And Radical Political-Environmental Agendas Destroy Montana's Wildlife Resources

Big game hunters in the western one-third of Montana just finished what may have been the
absolute worst hunting season of their lives. During the late 1950s and 1960s, some of the better
hunting districts in the Bitterroot, Sapphire, Garnet, Cabinet, Mission, Absaroka, Pioneer,
Madison and other mountain ranges up and down the Rocky Mountains of Western Montana commonly saw hunter success rates of 30- to 50-percent. Often the percentage of elk, deer, moose and other big game hunters taking home game for the table even exceeded those success rates. Well, things have certainly changed, and not for the better. Depending on the specific geographical area, 2012 hunter success rates were more like 6- to 10-percent.

Why such a nose dive in the wild game harvest? That's the easy question to answer - there's no game to be hunted! The difficult question to answer is, why did Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks allow big game populations to crash by as much as 80-percent - without taking the necessary actions to stop the loss?

It's not because the agency lacks the professional wildlife managers and biologists to tackle and reverse such a downward trend in game numbers. The problem lies with a drastic change in the political agendas of those who direct, steer and literally dictate the direction that wildlife management now takes in this state. Unfortunately, it does not favor the sportsmen who have financially supported FWP since it was founded way back in 1901, originally as the Montana Fish and Game Department.

This wildlife agency is directly controlled by the Governor's office. Limited to two terms in office,  Governor Brian Schweitzer vacated that office last month, and was replaced by fellow Democrat Steve Bullock - who formerly served as Montana's Attorney General, under Schweitzer.  While an ever growing number of this state's sportsmen are proud to see Schweitzer leave office, they also now fear that they will see the same agenda driven leadership from Bullock.

(Photo Above Left - Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer...During his two terms in office, the state lost more wildlife than during the term of any other governor.)

Under Schweitzer's watch, the wildlife resources of the state took a severe beating from a glut of major predators - primarily wolves, bears and mountain lions. That destruction of big game herds was lead by the federal government - namely the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Justice Department. America's wildlife wonderland, also known as the Northern Rockies, became the test lab for a wildlife conservation experiment that went terribly wrong - the Northern Rockies Wolf Recovery Project. Unfortunately, as it turned out, the "Project" had absolutely nothing to do with conserving the native wolf of the region, and in the end has proved to be little more than the U.S. Government encroaching upon the state rights of Montana, Idaho and Wyoming - and a legal system which bent over backwards to stand behind the wants of radical environmental groups which collectively have one big plan. Their goal is to push the rural residents of the Northern Rockies off the land, and to return the region to one big wilderness area that's pretty much human free, and much of which will be off limits to human use.

Prior to the launch of the wolf recovery project, when the USFWS released a non-native Canadian subspecies of wolf into the Northern Rockies in 1995, elk, deer and moose were thriving in the region - despite healthy numbers of mountain lions and bears - both black and grizzly. Weather related game losses took place from time to time, but through the years hunter harvest in Western Montana tended to vary from around 30- to 50-percent. It was the return of the wolf, a non-indigenous one at that, into the Montana-Idaho-Wyoming ecosystem that quickly proved to be the straw that broke wildlife management's back, and which destroyed hunting opportunities.

Had native wolves been thoroughly extirpated in the northern U.S. Rockies?

There were then, and still are today, many resident hunters, hikers, campers, ranchers, and rural dwellers who said and still claim that pockets of the native wolf (Canis lupus irremotus), which the locals called the "timber wolf", still existed - with minimal impact on various big game populations.

(Photo Above Right - Millions of taxpayer dollars had already been expended on wolf
research before the kickoff of the Northern Rockies Wolf Recovery Project...just to falsify that there were no native wolves in the Northern Rockies Wolf Recovery Area.)

Working with the wildlife studies at the University of Montana, Missoula, professor Dr. Robert Ream headed the school's Wolf Ecology Project, which was established in 1972. The primary goal of that study was to determine whether or not wolves naturally still existed in the state, and whether or not reproduction had occurred. At the end of more than 15 years of supposedly in-the-field wolf investigation with student researchers, expending taxpayer dollars, Ream's pet project concluded that native wolves did not exist, that the wolves of Northwest Montana were merely moving back and forth across the U.S.-Canada border, and that other than a pair that had mated in Glacier National Park, then moved back into Canada, reproduction had not taken place.

One Montana hunter who doesn't buy that has been former State Senator Greg Hinkle (R-Thompson Falls).

This past fall, Hinkle commented, "No native wolves in the Northern Rockies? Let me tell you all a little history about the Rocky Mountain Wolf and FWP. Twenty-one years ago this December (Christmas) my wife and I were on a walk near our home. About a foot of snow on the ground. Out of the trees about 80 yards away a wolf stepped out. Beautiful critter. He loped along through an open area giving us a few moments to observe it well. It was the first wolf my wife had seen. I have seen many while working and hunting in Alaska. Definitely a wolf."

(Photo At Left - Former Montana State Senator Greg Hinkle (R-Thompson Falls)

Hinkle called the regional FWP biologist to report it.

He was told he saw a "large coyote". He insisted he knew what a wolf looked like and told the biologist it was a wolf. He denied they were here. Hinkle wondered at the time what was up with that kind of response. The next year he saw another wolf while hunting in the same area.  Up close. It was during a heavy downpour, and a wolf stepped out in front of him not twenty feet away. It had a look of surprise, as Hinkle says he surely did as well. He says the wolf spun around and vanished into the thick cover. He again reported it, and was again told he had seen a "large coyote".

Greg adds, "The next year I saw another one in another drainage and tracks of another in yet another drainage a couple of days later. I did the same, reported it to FWP, with the same response. I no longer call FWP for anything. It became very apparent to me that there was some kind of 'agenda' afoot. A few years later the wolf introduction program began. 'No native wolves here'. Now we know the 'agenda'. That is when I became aware of the lies, deception and false propaganda spewed by environmental groups, the USFWS, and MT FWP concerning the wolf issue. Current FWP management is running part and parcel with the Y2Y agenda of re-wilding the Rockies.  It also fits nicely with Agenda 21. The truth is out. The genie will not be stuffed back into the bottle."

Another Montana resident who questions just how thoroughly Bob Ream's project investigated the hundreds of reported wolf sightings is Allen Schallenberger, of Sheridan. He is a former state wildlife biologist and researcher who went to work with Montana Fish and Game - before "Parks" were thrown under that umbrella, stealing sportsman dollars which should be devoted entirely to fish and game management. Schallenberger worked as the Fish and Game biologist for the Eastern Front of the Rocky Mountains, plus conducted a five year study researching grizzly bears in that region. His work was conducted during the same time period as the Wolf Ecology Project. He spent 60+ hours a week working in the field, and says there were many documented reports of wolves in Montana prior to 1980. He feels historic wolf observations prior to 1995 including all pups, packs greater than two, with one exception of three, were covered up and eliminated in order to get the transplant wolves. Without any reservation whatsoever, he accuses the University of Montana, MT FWP, the National Park Service and the USFWS of that cover up - and says that Bob Ream and FWP continue that cover up to this very day.

In a letter written in May 2011, to FWP Commissioner Dan Vermillion, Schallenberger commented, "I listened to the last Commission meeting and heard Ream tell the audience that wolves first moved into Montana from Canada in 1980 and that 60 per cent of our present wolf population is made up of wolves which migrated from Canada. Where he got both items is unknown as I am not aware of any research which says 40 percent of the wolves present have ancestry traceable to the wolves which were airlifted into the state."

Re-elected in 2008, Democratic Governor Brian Schweitzer appointed Bob Ream Chairman the FWP Commission in 2009. Ream had served as the Chairman of the Montana Democratic Party during Schweitzer's first run for that office in 2004, and played an instrumental role in getting him elected. Many residents of this state realize that during his second term in office, Schweitzer used positions within the state's fish and game department as a way of rewarding political allies and friends. One old friend, who had been the Governor's roommate during their college days had been Joe Maurier - who Schweitzer appointed Director of FWP, even though Maurier had no background in fish and game management. Other equally unqualified individuals were also brought in from other states to head FWP divisions or bureaus.

One Montana resident sportsman who disagrees with how the agency has changed is Jack Jones of Butte. He is a retired fish and game biologist who worked with the Bureau of Land Management for nearly 33 years. Incidentally, his career in this field began with his initial employment with Montana Fish and Game, before it became Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Today, he is the Vice President of the Montana State Lands Coalition, which is devoted to opening up access to public lands in the state.

He is one of the majority of Montana sportsmen who feel the agency needs an overhaul, proclaiming, "FWP has failed due to poor leadership with unqualified personnel and politics. FWP directors must have a degree in the field of wildlife management, with field experience. That doesn't exist today. The commission should represent the hunter, not the environmentalists who want nothing more than wolves - and no hunting of bison."

Like many, Jones feels that "Parks" have no business being lumped together with the management of fish and game. He fully realizes that sportsman provided funding is being misused, and has no problem sharing that "Parks" needs to be placed within the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation. Jones says that fish and game management now faces many problems, and that an all out effort needs to be launched to address those problems. He fully blames the decimation of big game herds across much of the state to wolf impact.

Jones commented, "Bringing these larger killing-machine wolves down from Canada was a
biological fraud from day one. They have plenty of the same wolves, and classifying them as
threatened when they crossed the border was all a lie."

(Photo Above Left - USFWS illegally flies totally non-endangered Canadian wolves across the U.S.- Canada border - and once across the border those apex predators are given full federal protection as "endangered" or "threatened".)

He says he won't hold his breath waiting for a politically motivated agency to turn things around on their own, and adds, "We need better representation within the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks for providing big game animals available to hunters. FWP has lost their mission over the past eight years, and has become an environmentally-oriented agency — not a game management agency. The commission is purely political and follows the wind."

Robert Fanning, of Pray, Montana, who threw his hat into the 2012 gubernatorial race, points out that the Northern Rockies Wolf Recovery Project has had absolutely nothing to do with conserving wolves. Using the rationale modern day wildlife managers and biologists have used, lumping all subspecies of gray wolves into just one, Canis lupus, he states that wolves are far from being endangered or threatened, with a minimum worldwide count of at least 250,000, and maybe as many as 1,000,000. He feels that the forced introduction of Canadian wolves into the Northern Rockies of the U.S. is simply a piece of another agenda jig saw puzzle - the United Nation's driven Agenda 21.

(Photo Above Right - USFWS biologists, out of convenience, classified all grey wolf subspecies as simply Canis lupus, to facilitate dumping a non-native wolf into the U.S. Northern Rockies.)

Here in North America, the Agenda 21 effort is better known as the "Wildllands Network". The goal is to return nearly 50-percent of the U.S. back to wilderness cores and corridors, where human use is severely limited or restricted - establishing a travel network for apex predators to move freely without human contact. To achieve this will require moving millions of people off the land, and into cities that have been established as "safe zones". Another goal is to dramatically reduce human populations. It all fits in far too nicely with the U.N.'s Agenda 21, which looks to establish itself as the single world government - and to reduce the human population of Earth by 80-percent. Does this scream "conspiracy theory" to you? If so, you need to spend some time researching Agenda 21.

Bob Fanning says, "Wolves in the United States are receiving special protections not because they are endangered, but because they are the 'keystone' species driving the rewilding agenda."

He points out that before major predators can achieve a major impact on the rural lifestyle of Montanans, the populations of wolves, grizzly bears and even black bears and mountain lions are being artificially protected in order to permit wild ungulate numbers to hit rock bottom, to be thrown into a "Predator Pit". With no game left for sustenance, these predators will then turn to livestock, making it impossible for ranchers and farmers to derive a living off the land. Fanning lives near the northern entrance to Yellowstone National Park, and has witnessed the destruction of big game herds first hand. He is the founder and c.e.o. of the group known as the Friends of the Northern Yellowstone Elk Herd, and since the introduction of the Canadian Canis lupus occidentalis subspecies of wolf in 1995 and 1996, plus a rapidly growing number of grizzly bears, he has watched the northern Yellowstone elk herd, which winters near his small Montana ranch, dwindle from about 20,000 to fewer than 4,000 today. It's the same story all along the western side of the state.

A major proponent of this "rewilding" of America has been the FWP Commission's Dr. Robert Ream. During his 28 years of teaching new wave wildlife management to tomorrow's game managers, he also was one of the founders of the Wilderness Institute at the University of Montana, which fully supports the closure of access to public lands so major predators such as grizzlies and wolves can enjoy interconnected wilderness areas and travel corridors.

Montanans now have a new governor in that office, and among the state's sportsmen there is now a great deal of uneasiness and a real lack of trust that Steve Bullock has chosen the right and best qualified director for FWP, and an FWP Commission that is chaired by someone with far less environmental and anti-sportsman baggage as Robert Ream.

(Photo Above Left - New Montana Governor Steve Bullock - Will he allow MT Fish, Wildlife
and Parks to operate as an honest state wildlife agency...or will he continue to hold them hostage the same as the governor he replaced?)

One rumor circulated among hunters and anglers late last fall was that Bullock was considering appointing State Senator Kendall Van Dyk (D-Billings) as Director of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. That would have meant another administration with a totally unqualified individual heading the agency. Van Dyk's closest claim to being "professionally" associated with fish and game issues would have been his role in helping to found the group known as Montana Hunters and Anglers Action, which has been nothing more than a political activist group for Senator Jon Tester.

During the 2012 political campaign, this phony sportsman organization spent more than
a million dollars to attack Congressman Denny Rehberg, who was running against Tester for his seat
in the U.S. Senate. Many Montana residents now feel that some of those non-disclosed funds were
also spent to throw the governor's race as well, and for Governor Bullock to reward Van Dyk
by appointing him Director of FWP could have been an extremely explosive powder keg.

Instead, Montana's new governor appointed former FWP Director Jeff Hagener back to that position.  Former Governor Schweitzer had replaced Hagener with old college chum Joe Maurier.  His return to the Director's office is now being closely watched by the sportsmen of the state, who no longer trust or believe much of anything in regard to MT FWP...or for that matter, the Governor's office. - Toby Bridges, LOBO WATCH

(This is an updated version of a release published on the LOBO WATCH website this past December.  For the links to more than 50 LOBO WATCH releases, covering a wide range of similar topics and issues, go to - )  

Friday, February 15, 2013

Paradise Lost...

This article was published in 2011, and takes a look back at what we've lost to wolves and extremely poor wildlife management. Much of Western Montana is now a wildlife wasteland...thanks to FWP's new agenda...and to universities such as the University of Montana which have strayed from teaching the North American Model of Wildlife Management.

Toby Bridges