2 Wolf Packs Killed by Pro Hunter, F&G Says

2014-01-29T11:00:00Z 2 Wolf Packs Killed by Pro Hunter, F&G Says Twin Falls Times-News
January 29, 2014 11:00 am

KETCHUM, Idaho (AP) — A professional hunter has been called out of a federal wilderness in central Idaho because he succeeded in killing all the wolves in two packs, a state agency spokesman said.

Idaho Department of Fish and Game spokesman Mike Keckler tells the Idaho Mountain Express in a story on Wednesday that the hunter killed eight wolves with traps and a ninth by hunting.

Gus Thoreson of Salmon started hunting and trapping in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness in mid-December as part of a state plan to eliminate wolves to boost elk numbers. The state agency had planned to keep Thoreson hunting through the winter.

"He had been pretty effective early on, but it had been two weeks since he had taken any wolves, so we decided there was no reason to keep him in the area any longer," Keckler said.

Keckler said the average size of a wolf pack in Idaho is five wolves, so the agency determined it had reached its goal of eliminating the Golden Creek and Monumental Creek packs. Officials announced Monday that Thoreson was coming out.

Fish and Game Director Virgil Moore's acknowledgement that Thoreson's hunt relied on the use of the U.S. Forest Service's backcountry airstrips and cabin had prompted strong emotions, including from wolf advocates who sued in federal court to force him to quit.

Defenders of Wildlife, Western Watersheds Project and Wilderness Watch filed the lawsuit Jan. 6 asking the judge to stop the plan immediately to give the case time to work through the courts. The environmental groups were joined by Ralph Maughan, a former Idaho State University professor, conservationist and long-time wolf recovery advocate from Pocatello.

They lost their initial bid on Jan. 17 when a federal judge rejected their request for a temporary restraining order. The conservation groups argued that Thoreson's activities violated the 1964 Wilderness Act and other federal acts.

The groups had appealed that decision to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals when the state agency announced the hunter was being pulled out.

"I am happy that the Idaho Department of Fish and Game has relented, but it is unfortunate that so many wolves have been taken in this senseless plan to manhandle wildlife in an area that Congress recognized as a wilderness," said Ken Cole, National Environmental Policy Act coordinator at the Boise office of Western Watersheds Project.

Wolves were reintroduced to Idaho in the mid-1990s and have since flourished in backcountry regions, including the Frank Church wilderness.

Last year, state game managers estimated Idaho's wolf population at 683, an 11 percent drop from 2012. The highest total was in 2009, when it estimated 859 wolves were in the state.

Copyright 2015 Twin Falls Times-News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(12) Comments

  1. ts
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    ts - February 01, 2014 11:04 am
    Mh4444 where are you from. Give us your real name if you really feel this way, stop hiding behind a nickname
  2. mh4444
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    mh4444 - January 29, 2014 7:54 pm
    I and many other conservationists support the wolves harvesting elk year round., We know that dead elk year round not on ly benefits the wolves, but many other wildlife species as well as wild animals love harvested elk leftovers. The elk will continue to be managed by the wolves 24/7 365 days a year and you anti-wildlife redneck psychopaths can whine all you want.
  3. gezzer99
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    gezzer99 - January 29, 2014 6:57 pm
    I am glad the wolves are dead, and I wish all the rest were gone as well, except for 150 required to maintain the species. I choose elk, deer cattle sheep and all the other animals killed be wolves over the wolf. I support the $2 million dollars budget for the elimination of 500 wolves in Idaho. In my opinion they should have never been brought here in the first place.
  4. gezzer99
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    gezzer99 - January 29, 2014 6:56 pm
    I am glad the wolves are dead, and I wish all the rest were gone as well, except for 150 required to maintain the species. I choose elk, deer cattle sheep and all the other animals killed be wolves over the wolf. I support the $2 million dollars budget for the elimination of 500 wolves in Idaho. In my opinion they should have never been brought here in the first place.

  5. Povery
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    Povery - January 29, 2014 6:17 pm
    mh4444.

    Gosh, how many times do you need to post? I suppose you vote several times because you are under the illusion your opinion out weighs the majority of us who are opposed to wolves. Wolves are not needed, not wanted, and in my opinion should be exterminated. Our founding fathers were wise enough to see the wolf for what it is, a ruthless killer, and elimated them.
    The fish and game manage Elk from funds we the hunters contribute. In other words the elk are here because we hunters provide funding. You would have that funding misused to support the very thing that is reducing the Elk we fund. The wolves do not support the fish and game with fees and stamps and my guess is neither do you. (intended)
    The hunter is not a terroist, but doing a good thing, elimating a creature who rips calves from their mothers during birth, eating the new born alive. Just what is it about that you see as a good job of game management? The way I see it is you are the terrorist.
    I am guessing here, but are you from California, live in Sun Valley, a liberal who should go back where you belong and leave Idaho as it always was before the liberal rich invaded us. I see myself as fighting terrorism from the likes of you and those like you.

    Born and raised a conservative Idahoan.
  6. mh4444
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    mh4444 - January 29, 2014 12:00 pm
    This not a solution. More wolves will move into that area and the numerous wolf packs already in that area will simply have more elk to kill since they won't competing with other wolf packs. Wolves manage and harvest elk all year round and this is the way it's going to be.
  7. mh4444
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    mh4444 - January 29, 2014 11:59 am
    Elk calves will also continue to be harvested by cougars, bears, coyotes, and wolves. Those elk calves are food to be fed to the native predators I mentioned.
  8. mh4444
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    mh4444 - January 29, 2014 11:57 am
    A dead elk feeds not only wolves, but many scavengers as well. Wolf kills provide food for wildlife. What don't you understand? Killing 9 wolves is not going to magically make elk reappear in big numbers. Those wolves still left in the middle fork will have more elk to kill since they don't gotta compete with other wolves. Common sense.
  9. Toofunny
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    Toofunny - January 29, 2014 11:31 am
    So all your ancestors were terrorists? Maybe the NSA should look into your family tree
  10. mbinbuhl
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    mbinbuhl - January 29, 2014 10:38 am
    mh4444 are you for real? A dead elk is a good elk as dead elk feed a ton of wild animals. I have never heard of a dead bull elk breeding a dead cow elk. Never known of a dead cow elk giving birth to a live calf elk. Take the factory out (cow elk that calve) and you won't have any elk left. Then add to the mix the number of calves that don't live to reproduce? Carrion is a great source of food for many animals but those animals must reproduce in order to die! So now all hunters are terrorists that deserve prison. Who put you in charge? What about all the license, tag fees, taxes (Dingall/Johnson, Pittman/Roberts) as well as the funds that sportsman's groups put forth for wildlife? What have you done?
  11. mh4444
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    mh4444 - January 29, 2014 10:01 am
    Elk numbers are not going to be bolstered. More elk for the remaining wolves to kill. Idaho fish and game are ignorant in their thinking. Wolves will continue harvesting and managing elk all YEAR ROUND. They are the apex predators of the elk, deer, and moose and will continue to be.
  12. mh4444
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    mh4444 - January 29, 2014 10:00 am
    This terrorist hunter should be put in prison for his crimes against wildlife. More elk to harvest for the remaining wolves packs. Wolves will continue to manage elk. These rednecks need to understand reality. A dead elk is a good elk as dead elk feed a ton of wild animals. Elk leftovers benefit many wild animals all thanks to the wolf.

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