Protection For Great Lakes Wolves Returns!


Federal Court: Great Lakes Wolf Hunting Ends Now

This great news comes directly from the website of the Humane Society of the United States:

Sport Hunting and Trapping of Wolves is Over

Sport hunting and trapping of wolves in the Great Lakes region must end immediately, a federal District Court has ruled. The court overturned a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decision that removed Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves living in the western Great Lakes region, which includes Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

The Humane Society of the United States and a coalition of wildlife protection groups, including Born Free USA, Help Our Wolves Live and Friends of Animals and Their Environment, filed suit against the USFWS’s premature December 2011 delisting decision. The decision threatened the fragile remnants of the gray wolf population by confining wolves to a small area in the Great Lakes region—where state politicians and agency officials have rushed forward with reckless killing programs that threaten wolves with the very same practices that pushed them to the brink of extinction in the first place.

Jonathan Lovvorn, senior vice president and chief counsel for animal protection litigation at The HSUS, said, “In the short time since federal protections have been removed, trophy hunters and trappers have killed more than 1,500 Great Lakes wolves under hostile state management programs that encourage dramatic reductions in wolf populations. We are pleased that the court has recognized that the basis for the delisting decision was flawed, and would stop wolf recovery in its tracks.”

In its 111-page ruling, the court chided the USFWS for failing to explain why it ignored the potential for further recovery of wolves into areas of its historic range that remain viable habitat for the species.  The court also noted that the USFWS has failed to explain how the “virtually unregulated” killing of wolves by states in the Great Lakes region does not constitute a continued threat to the species.

Following federal delisting, Wisconsin and Minnesota rushed to enact emergency regulations to allow the first public hunting and trapping seasons in the Great Lakes region in more than 40 years. The states authorized some of the most abusive and unsporting practices, including hound hunting, snares, baiting, electronic calls and the use of leg hold traps. Wisconsin’s wolf hunt ended this year after killing 154 wolves – 80 percent of them in leghold traps. And in Minnesota, 272 gray wolves were killed – 84 percent of the wolves in this year’s late season were trapped.

The Michigan legislature also passed three separate laws to designate wolves as a game species, in its zeal to allow the state to authorize a trophy hunting and trapping season for wolves, and to undermine a fair election by Michigan voters on wolf hunting. However, in response to a referendum campaign launched by The HSUS and other animal welfare and conservation groups and Native American tribes, the 2014 wolf hunt was canceled and voters in Michigan soundly rejected sport hunting of wolves in the recent November election.

Despite rhetoric from state politicians about wolf depredation of livestock, a new study of 25 years of wolf data has shown that hunting wolves may increase livestock losses.  Michigan lawmakers relied on false stories about wolves to push through a hunting season, and had to apologize for misleading statements.

Today’s ruling by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia follows another ruling by the same court in September that rejected the USFWS’s decision to delist wolves in the State of Wyoming. The HSUS was also a plaintiff in the Wyoming litigation.

The plaintiffs in the Great Lakes lawsuit were represented in the case by Schiff Hardin, LLP and attorneys within The HSUS’ Animal Protection Litigation section.


Media Contact: Kaitlin Sanderson: 240-672-8397;

5 thoughts on “Protection For Great Lakes Wolves Returns!

  1. Thanks for this great news, Beckie.

    On Fri, Dec 19, 2014 at 1:53 PM, Wolves and Writing wrote: > > Beckie Elgin, Freelance Writer posted: ” Federal Court: Great Lakes > Wolf Hunting Ends Now This great news comes directly from the website of > the Humane Society of the United States: “Sport Hunting and Trapping of > Wolves is Over Sport hunting and trapping of wolves in the Great Lakes > region”


  2. Fire the Wildlife Agencies (USFWS, Interior, state agencies, USDA Wildlife Services, BLM)
    The US government has long been in the wildlife killing business. It offered bounties on predators, poisoned and gassed prairie dogs, allowed the near extinction of bison, prairie dogs, black footed ferret, the wolf (wolf bounties), wolverine, and marginalized the grizzly, lion, and many others. The war on coyotes has been unrelenting. Hunters and ranchers, bedfellows of the wildlife agencies nearly wiped out most wildlife. With the advent of wildlife agency hunting regulations, the hunter has been somewhat contained; and now even count themselves as “conservationists” because they have essentially farmed game sport (recreational killing opportunities) animals and marginalized predators on the erroneous rationale of less predators to share game with the more game (recreational killing opportunities). Instead of an emphasis on wilderness and wildlife ecology, USDA Wildlife Services kills nearly 4 million animals a year and state agencies millions more in recreational killing opportunities and “management”. State wildlife agencies use hunters to “manage” “sporting” game and predators. Ranchers may tolerate big bird and other sport game birds, elk, bison and deer and antelope; but are very hostile to predators. Wildlife agencies, state and federal, are not friendly to predators and defer to hunters, ranchers, conservative state legislatures, and their ilk and their interests in development and extraction and leases. Ranchers and farmers destroy wildlife habitat with the plow and grazing not only on private land but ever more and more on public land facilitated by the US government in leased grazing, leased farming, and leases to extraction industries avenues. Encroachers on public land often, in turn, adding insult added to injury, asks the federal government, such as Wildlife Services, to kill animals that are “encroaching” on their leased public land. Conservation efforts and new agencies such as ESA and EPA and private conservation agencies have and are battling for balanced ecologies, the predators, and many animals of no concern to sportsmen, ranchers and farmers, and extraction industries and development interests. Agencies, like the USFWS often cave into ranchers hunters, state wildlife agencies, conservative state legislatures, a government tradition of really prioritizing those interests. The arguments that threatens remaining wilderness and wildlife is as old as civilization, making a buck by the traditional enemies of wildlife. What is not appreciated enough is what little is left: In the US roughly 2.6 % in the lower 48 and another 2.5 % in Alaska; and this is under continuing and unremitting pressure from, guess where, the traditional enemies of wilderness and wildlife, still too often facilitated by the wildlife agencies. Private conservation agencies often find themselves in conflict with wildlife agencies who should be on their side and the side of preserving wilderness, balanced wildlife ecology, and the predators who are essential to the balanced wildlife ecology. The wildlife agencies, state and federal, need firing and revamping to emphasize wildlife preservation, wildlife viewing, and a heritage of wilderness and wildlife in what is left of the available habitat. There is something terribly wrong when we see wildlife agencies aligning with ranchers, farmers, “sportsmen”, conservative state legislatures. It is time for major upheavals of them, their agendas, their protocols, their heads and replacing them with priorities on preserving, recovering, protecting what is left of wilderness and wildlife, not siding with the traditional enemies of wildlife and wilderness (ranching, hunters, conservative state legislatures and populace, extraction industries, and development and such parochial ilk that echoes their sentiments)

    Wolves do not purchase hunting licenses, and most state wildlife managers draw their pay from revenue derived from sale of hunting, fishing, and trapping licenses. That, in brief, is what is wrong with wildlife management in America….Ted Williams, 1986

    “To look into the eyes of a wolf is to see your own soul.” Aldo Leopold

    “Whenever and wherever men have engaged in the mindless slaughter of animals (including other men), they have often attempted to justify their acts by attributing the most vicious or revolting qualities to those they would destroy; and the less reason there is for the slaughter, the greater the campaign for vilification.”

    ― Farley Mowat, naturalist, conservationist and autho
    r of Never Cry Wolf


  3. How much proof does USFWS need to prove that wolves should not be delisted? Wyoming had them classified as varmints in 80% of the state. Montana’s new rules allow ranchers to shoot any wolf they see as “threatening”, which means any wolf they see year around, on top of extended trapping and hunting seasons. Idaho was having wolf and coyote killing contests for cash and hired a hunter to kill a couple of packs arguing that it is in defense of elk herds, and proposes wolf baiting to kill more wolves for sportsmen and elk farming in the wilderness. Wisconsin is using dogs. MT-WY-ID-WI are obviously marginalizing this apex predator which is not good ecology for trophic cascade effects; yet hunters (sports killers) and ranchers and these state wildlife agencies have unhealthy effects on ecology. We are rapidly getting back to the 1800’s with wolf massacring states. Wolf management–they do not need general management, should not be by states. The states mentioned are too hostile, biased. colloquial in attitudes and controlled by historic hostile elements. They are promoting wolf hate myths despite contrary evidence: For instance, wolves do not kill too many elk and their impact on cattle is less than 0.002%. These states are run by rancher and hunter folklore, myths and lies and their ilk in the state wildlife agencies and legislatures, with so far the only exceptions being OR and WA and CA. OR and WA are the the model wolf management states, and the state of CA which has already enacted wolf protections anticipating their arrival. Wolf conservation states allow the killing of only chronic offenders, not general wolf killing, and require that nonlethal management be in place and tried. The throwback (1800’s) wolf massacre states are mismanaging wolves and, like in WY. wolves should be relisted until there is a conservation plan in place that allows for more than a marginal population and kept in place at least for several decades or indefinitely.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s