AWR Blog

Ninth Circuit Denies Motion to Bar Wolf Hunting in Northern Rockies

Steve Kelly, Alliance for the Wild Rockies, (406) 586-4421
Mark Salvo, WildEarth Guardians, (503) 757-4221

Hundreds of gray wolves may be killed in Idaho and Montana

San Francisco, CA — The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has denied a request to enjoin wolf hunting in Idaho and Montana while the court considers an appeal by conservation organizations challenging congressional action that removed the wolves from the federal threatened and endangered species list earlier this year. Hundreds of wolves may be killed while conservationists present their case to reinstate federal protection for the northern Rockies population.

“We are discouraged we didn’t win a stay of execution for wolves, but we are cautiously optimistic that we will win our lawsuit to protect wolves from future persecution,” said John Horning, Executive Director for WildEarth Guardians.

“We lost the injunction, we have not lost the case,” said Mike Garrity, Executive Director for Alliance for the Wild Rockies. “We will continue to fight to protect the wolves and enforce the Separation of Powers Doctrine in the U.S. Constitution.”

Congress passed a rider in April that contravened a judicial decision and ordered the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to delist the gray wolf in Montana, Idaho, and portions of Utah, Washington, and Oregon. The U.S. District Court in Montana upheld the rider in August, although Judge Donald Malloy wrote that, if not constrained by other caselaw, he would have ruled the rider unconstitutional. Alliance for the Wild Rockies, Friends of the Clearwater, and WildEarth Guardians appealed the decision to the Ninth Circuit, both to preserve wolves and the Separation of Powers Doctrine in the U.S. Constitution.

Idaho and Montana have set hunting seasons to commence on August 30 and September 3, respectively. Although it denied plaintiffs’ current motion to enjoin hunting, the Circuit Court’s order did set an expedited schedule to hear the case this autumn when the court might consider the motion again.

Wolf Hunting Seasons in Montana, Idaho

The Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that Montana has 566 wolves (although the state estimates the total at 645). Montana has issued at least 1,100 hunting licenses and set a kill quota of 220 wolves for 2011. The hunting season will commence on September 3, 2011, with various archery and rifle seasons scheduled through the end of the year. Residents pay just $19 for a wolf license.

The Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that Idaho has 705 wolves (although the news media has reported the state has approximately 1,000 wolves). Idaho did not set a kill quota for wolves and will offer both hunting and trapping seasons in 2011-2012. The hunting season will commence on August 30, 2011 and will remain open for up to six months in much of the state. Residents pay just $11.50 for a wolf hunting license.



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