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Bold Visions Conservation NewsBlog


Stephen Capra, Bold Visions Conservation

Over the past few months, as we started Bold Visions Conservation, many people have asked if I would consider working in Idaho. The reason is that we need to stop wolf slaughter from occurring in a state that views wildlife as something to torture and destroy. Working in such an environment is no easy task, yet if you care about wolves, being on the front lines is the only place to be.

Idaho continues to be controlled by radicals, radicalized trappers, and a government that wants to destroy wildlife and supports trappers as though they are the symbol of the state. But Idaho, like any state, is also filled with good people, people who respect wildlife and some who love wolves. It is also a landscape of wild beauty and stunning rivers.

Our style of working is not to try and get conservatives and others in the government and Game and Fish to come to their senses with species like wolves and grizzlies. But instead, it is time to take them on, educate them, and make clear that trapping has no place in modern society. We want to make clear the sickness that is trapping and trappers.

We also want to create a 1.3 million-acre National Monument free of traps, encompassing large areas in both states. We also want to partner with groups across the state because we cannot work separately to have success; we must work together!

Like Montana today, Idaho is controlled by trophy-hunting national groups working aggressively to create elk and deer farms. Anti-government sentiment is strong, but for many, Idaho is a place to allow nature to consume their senses and reinvigorate their souls.

Our work in Montana continues, but we cannot leave wolves to be sacrificed at the altar of ignorance, nor can we set the stage for grizzlies and lions to be decimated. While some talked of Governor Little as a man of sense in a field of legislators that see wildlife as the enemy, it is Little who has led the slaughter, and his actions have become a mantra for Governor Gianforte in Montana and Mark Gordon in Wyoming.

Idaho needs a cleansing as it pertains to predators; it needs hope. One woman who put her love into wolves would not meet with me. Why? The fight has destroyed her heart. She cannot bear it anymore. The time has come to make trappers the enemy, to stop this nonsense of "It's part of our culture." In the modern world, there is no place for such violence against wildlife, and the public must begin to shift its view of the people who call themselves trappers, those who carry out this genocide. But several hunters have called me full of rage, telling me of their investments in guns and long-range scopes, of calling devices and night vision goggles. Where is this a fair hunt? Their killing of wolves is equally immoral. The destruction of the Leopold ideal of hunting and sportsmanship is occurring in the West. It is being replaced with savagery, ignorance, and a macho bravado that borders on the juvenile. We must also remember that Idaho is the home to the Foundation for Wildlife Management, the group that started the wolf bounties and lives to trap and kill predators. They must be exposed to the merchants of death they are. This group has led hunters and trappers to the point of depravity. Today in Idaho, hunters and trappers are killing pregnant wolves for bounties. They are cutting out the wolf pups from the mother to collect a $1,000 bounty on each. These are not hunters and trappers; they are sadists! This is why we have come to Idaho; this barbaric practice must stop! The state of Idaho must stop this practice; what was started by the Foundation is now funded by the state and paid for by its citizens. We want to be on the front lines to stop this madness! So, we leave in the morning, Idaho: here we come. We are coming because wildlife is calling for help, and we are coming to defend their innocence and work to change ideals with Boldness!

Stephen Capra, Bold Visions Conservation

Over the last few months, attention in Montana has focused on a so-called Mountain Lion problem. Really? It appears an agency only too happy to kill predators is once again feeling that trigger finger. Or should I say trap fever?

After several years of slaughtering wolves, justifying it using the iPOM method of counting that many professionals in the field have made clear works for elk, not wolves, and filling it with old data, they continue to contend that the wolf situation is just fine. This is from an agency that is bleeding workers with experience because they are forced to work under the terms of Governor Gianforte and the abysmal Republican-led legislature that wants to make Montana a deer and elk farm.

Now we are told we have a mountain lion issue. Reading over the reports by the agency, one would think we are a state devoid of deer and elk. The reality is we have far too many and endless shoulder seasons (additional hunting of elk and deer) make clear that we do not need to kill mountain lions, so there are more elk, rather we need more wolves and predators so we can have a healthy balance on the land.

What remains interesting is the push by Commissioner Patrick Tabor, who has interjected himself into this debate by making several motions during the hearing in June to make clear that he wanted an aggressive kill on lions that will likely result in eliminating 40 percent of the population.

Prior to this, the Commission set up a special committee that was represented by hunting interests. They were spoon-fed data and facts from the agency that was supposed to be science-based.

Questions were posed, such as: What is the problem? Answer-too many lions. What is the issue? Answer- the impact on hunting objectives could result in fewer young elk and deer. This group then was charged with coming up with a solution. Once again, the agency was playing God with wildlife and spoon-feeding the public a result. Tabor, whose son now has been given his outfitting business and stands to profit greatly from such hunting, and if there were more deer and elk to kill, made sure his efforts were not in vain. (It is part of why we ask you to sign our petition to be removed from the Commission.)

Once again, the self-dealing of the commission is on full display. Once again, a predator species is under attack. First, it was coyotes, then wolves, then the push to delist grizzlies so they can be killed, and now mountain lions.

Their fingerprints litter the woods and meadows: trophy hunting interests, trappers, livestock players, the Outfitters Association, and now the agency and commission acting on behalf of a Governor who lives to destroy the very predators that bring health to the land. It is part of the privatization of wildlife, which will profit private land owners and ranchers. The Governor wants to destroy predator species so that elk and deer tags will become hard currency for the few.

Meanwhile, even those who hunt mountain lions are angered by such radical actions, speaking out against such an aggressive kill when we still do not have accurate counts on the lion population.

This naturally follows actions taken in Idaho, where lion conservation has been destroyed. Governor Gianforte, rather than understanding the former value of the Fish, Wildlife and Parks history of independence and standing up for wildlife, is pushing it to replicate Idaho.

We continue to fight for sanity despite the chaos that has become wildlife management in the Rocky Mountain North.

Mountain lions are as beautiful as they are elusive. Yet once again, ignorance and the desire for profit conspire to destroy them. We must transform the very agency that is designed to manage them. It must be rebuilt from the ground up. Rather than using concrete, it should be rebuilt with science, ethics, compassion, a real conservation focus, and an understanding of the pain and suffering being inflicted on wildlife. It must make wildlife the priority, not that of those that seek to harm their wildness.

It should go out 100 years in thinking, so we can reflect on the folly of our ways today, driven by the ignorance and sacrifice of species that are considered normal. We must never allow Governors or sportsmen to control an agency and ranching interests should be blocked from serving on any Commission.

Our work begins with being at the hearing on August 17th and making clear the slaughter must stop and that trapping has no place in modern Montana. It ends when we flush the stench out of an agency that represents a bygone era of man’s fear of wildlife.

Stephen Capra, Bold Visions Conservation

We work in a counter-intuitive place. They are lands that are graced with beauty and wildness. It is a landscape that many dream of, and few are lucky enough to spend time in. In essence, we are part of a vast bucket list for many people. Yet, within the confines of Montana and Idaho, we are decomposing with the ignorance that fears wildness.

There remain people who live in fear of wildness in its many forms. Some fly flags to show their Americanism to all, while others conspire to destroy wildness so they assuage their personal fears and inadequacies.

Such people are trappers, trophy hunters, ranchers, and those who continue to push the myths that wolves and grizzlies must be feared and that all predator species must be removed.

Social media today is the cancer that feeds them such nonsense. They follow other trappers, listen to the NRA and groups like the Foundation for Wildlife Management and the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, and are fed a steady stream of misinformation. Lust for killing and creating anger against those of us who clearly understand the genocide they are using against wildlife builds their anger and commitment.

Why is it that so many people flock to Yellowstone from the world over to glimpse a wolf or a bear? As one woman told me, seeing a grizzly “brought her to tears and was a moment she will never forget.” Yet others see the bear and want to destroy it for bragging rights.

The opposition has succeeded in tying the killing of wolves with supporting ranchers. The very people who are on the federal dole and are given the “privilege,” not the right, to graze on public lands. But in a small town, that rancher is your neighbor.

Montana Wolf Trapping Season Comment Period Open!

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks are accepting public comments regarding their upcoming wolf trapping and killing season. We encourage everyone to participate and provide a letter or “comment” calling for policies that stop the slaughter of wolves and support legislation that promotes non-lethal management and restores protections for the Montana wolf population.

The comment period closes this Monday, July 24th. Comments can be submitted on the state website by scrolling to “TRAPPING AND WOLF SEASONS” and clicking the drop-down. You can also email your comments to, you are not required to provide the state that you live in, and your wolf comment will be sent to the Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks Commission.

Below are a few talking points to help guide your comments. Right up front, please tell the Commission how you personally feel about wolves and why they must be protected. Personalizing the letter, even a little, makes a HUGE difference.

Thank you for your advocacy on behalf of wolves in Montana!

Gray wolf management should be science-based, not political.

Ensure equal representation of all stakeholders, including non-hunting communities.

Increase transparency in wildlife management decisions.

The model used to estimate the statewide wolf population, IPOM, is full of compounding errors, meaning the actual size of the state’s wolf population is unknown.

Improve accuracy and proper usage of IPOM.

Halt wolf quotas until a new and accurate method of counting is established.

Traps and snares are inhumane and indiscriminate. They cause suffering to animals beyond wolves and lead to unnecessary livestock casualties by disrupting wolf family groups.

Trapping should be ended on public lands, and snaring is a primitive, archaic, and torturous method of killing animals and fails to pass the rule of Fair Chase. It also damages Montana's public image as a state that respects wildlife and will deter tourists from visiting.

Recognize the positive economic impact of Yellowstone wolves on tourism revenue ($80 million a year) all of which will be at risk if Yellowstone wolves continue to be baited out of the park and slaughtered.

Increased wolf trapping endangers other species federally designated as threatened, including grizzly bears and Canada lynx, as well as family pets – like domestic dogs and outdoor recreationists.

Snares are cruel and inherently indiscriminate.

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