Firebrand Jim Beers, the former federal fish and game worker now known for his anti-wolf, anti-government crusade, delivered a message of hope to a crowd 200 strong at Boise State University Wednesday night.

“The possibility of reform has not been so great since … the 1960s,” Beers said, exhorting those present to mobilize to beat back wolves, and federal intervention, at the event sponsored in part by the Idaho Freedom Foundation. “The environment is right for challenging the E.S.A.” ESA (Endangered Species Act).”

The energy to challenge federal tyranny is at a peak, he said, but added that the forces conspiring to deny state control are well-entrenched – the government is infiltrated with people bent on personal advancement, and money. Beers said the takeover began in the late 1960s, a time of “free love, drugs, and a lot of turbulence.”

“They’ve got their own staff in there,” he said, referring to those who reached high positions by playing along. That gang now “feels a commitment to change the way you live,” Beers said.

Per his reputation, Beers didn’t hold back Wednesday; he heartily ripped into government officials, environmentalists, and the notion that wolves are not a big problem. Part of his mission is to get across “the raw truth of wolves, the havoc they wreak.”
 Graphic posters set up around the room drove home the point. “Wolves will eat their prey alive; or worse eat a portion of the animal and leave it to suffer,” read one caption to a photo of a disembowed elk. Another photo showed a dog with its head chewed off. “How would you feel if this was your best friend?” the caption read.
”Every summer they’re grabbing kids in the backyard and dragging them back to their dens,” Beers told the crowd.

Beers provided a history of wolves around the world, and in the Americas, including the era of reintroduction in the United States, which started small in northern Minnesota but has since spread. Way back when in northern Europe, wolves, as they do now here, did “just what they do today, killing people, killing dogs, killing sheep …”
 Beers said places like Africa are “not as evolved” as Europe because Africans have failed to achieve dominion over the beasts native to their land — in contrast to Russia, where helicopter gunships have used wolf packs for target practice.

Beers called for an end to federal control, and a nullification of the Endangered Species Act. His message resonated with many in the crowd, and the half-dozen members of the Idaho Legislature on hand.

Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens, said he supports efforts aimed at gaining state control over wolves, and everything else.

“Anything that can allow local control is a possibility,” he said. 
But, Barbieri said,  such efforts do not mean he wants to see a dissolution of the United States, as some Democrats have charged.

“Autonomy does not mean disintegration,” he said.

Boise resident Mike McCollough, 60, got fired up by the talk and vowed to spread the word. “I’m sick of it … losing our rights as citizens,” he said.

Gary Gill, a 67-year-old cattle rancher from Owyhee County, said he hasn’t lost any animals to wolves, but he knows people who have, and he fears the same happening to his herd.

Like Barbieri, Reps. Christy Perry, R-Nampa, and Phil Hart, R-Athol, said they would support formal actions to pry the state from federal clutches. 
Hart told IdahoReporter.com that he plans to introduce legislation calling for a declaration of support for Gov. Butch Otter, and new laws that would make civil fines possible for those who investigate, arrest, or prosecute someone who kills a wolf in Idaho. A similar bill died in committee last week, amid concerns that the move would hurt wolf-management negotiations.

“I very much appreciate where Gov. Otter has taken us. I’d like to see the Legislature back him up,” Hart said.

Perry, co-owner of a Boise gun shop, said hunting is hurting in the Gem State; the opportunities to take elk are dwindling, she said. 
Indeed, the population of elk has plunged from 16,000 to 2,000 in the Lolo zone of north Idaho, according to the state Fish and Game Department. The federal government has preliminarily granted the state’s request to hold a hunt for 60 wolves in that area.

Brian Kelly, the United States Fish and Wildlife Idaho supervisor, told a Montana newspaper that “wolves are a factor” in the elk decline. ”They’ve tried more liberal hunting seasons on other predators like black bears and mountain lions. They’ve tried habitat improvements, changes in the hunting framework for elk – and they’re still not seeing a response,” he said.

Perry said Idaho and neighboring states should team up to thwart federal control, to nullify endangered species regulations.

The nullification notion got a boost Wednesday when Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer said that he was ready to order state game officials to kill off entire wolf packs in defiance of federal protections under the Endangered Species Act, according to Rueters.

In a letter to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Schweitzer said he was his duty “to protect their property and to continue to enjoy Montana’s cherished wildlife heritage and traditions.”

Schweitzer said he acted out of an urgent need to assist ranchers and sportsmen left unable to control wolves, according to Rueters.

“If there is a dang wolf in your corral attacking your pregnant cow, shoot that wolf. And if its pals are in the corral, shoot them, too,” Schweitzer said. “I cannot continue to ignore the crying need for workable wolf management while Montana waits, and waits, and waits,” the governor wrote in his letter.

Note: IdahoReporter.com is published by the Idaho Freedom Foundation.

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13 Comments

  1. Committee Against Fake Journalism

    Thanks for this: “Note: IdahoReporter.com is published by the Idaho Freedom Foundation”

    The utter imbalance of this article has been explained. A comment — any comment — from anyone without an anti-wolf, anti-conservation, anti-government, anti-constitution, anti-federalism point of view would have been minimally required by a REAL journalist.

  2. I appreciate what you say, but consider that this is coverage of an event. It’s a chronicle piece that does not aim to present both sides. The value is in that it clearly, and thoroughly,captures a scene. It does not shy from presenting Beers’ inflammatory statements. Maybe folks on both sides would like to know goes on at such an event, and what is said at such an event, just for the sake of that. The same might be done for a pro-wolf event.
    If you are a regular IR reader, you’ll know that my past issue-oriented stories, particularly regarding endangered species, contain both sides. On a recent bull trout story I contacted ICL and Rivers Idaho to get their reaction to a legislative hearing which they did not attend. Now, doing that is nothing special, but it is done.
    There were no – at least none that I found – pro-wolf people in attendance last night.

    Thanks for reading

    Jay

  3. I am one of those people that utterly disgust the people that were at the meeting reported on here. I believe that wolves belong in the ecosystem, but from the quotes reported on here it is abundantly clear why no agreement can be found regarding the future of wolves in the Northern Rockies. Perhaps there is something wrong with the water in Idaho, or perhaps it is something in the air, but it is darn near impossible to deal with someone that is delusional. Wolves “dragging kids from backyards”, he says? “Dominion over the beasts”? I would offer my position on why wolves belong in the ecosystem, but it is obvious that the people you have reported on don’t want a bloody thing in Idaho. At least not anything but cattle, and some really bad attitude.

  4. Committee Against Fake Journalism

    Thanks Jay, but I’m not buying it. It captures the scene, alright. A biased, unbalanced, IFF-sponsored scene. That the same might be done for a pro-wolf event does not solve the fundamental lack of journalistic ethics at IR. (Frankly, it’s enough that Dustin Hurst can’t keep the bias out of his twitter feed.)

  5. ”Every summer they’re grabbing kids in the backyard and dragging them back to their dens,” Beers told the crowd.

    Did he really say “kids”? Or pets?

    Thanks for reporting on this meeting.

  6. I want people to be straight up with me, so I’ll be straight up with you. Ann in her comment validates the value. She deplores those people and the things they said, which I reported, and which were not reported elsewhere. So was the piece sickeningly pro-wolf? Was it is an IFF promo piece? For some, I suppose yes – others no. The scene was what it was and any reader can take it from there. The story recorded events.
    You take it your way. That’s what people do, but don’t say ‘fake journalism.’

    And, yes. He really said kids.

  7. Dustin is Dustin. He works hard, he provides tons of great info, and he doesn’t make a secret of his leanings through online posts. So you know that. Great. Now read his stories and think whatever you want, but I bet you learned something, and perhaps thought about things a little bit.

  8. Thank you Jay for the clarification. I think your story is just fine. If no pro-wolf folks attended this event they were not available to comment.

  9. Committee Against Fake Journalism

    Jay, the reason it wasn’t reported elsewhere is because most real news entities saw the event for what it was — an IFF-sponsored, rouse-the-rabble advocacy effort. Yes, maybe, it is possibly newsworthy that the crazy Mr. Beers thinks wolves are dragging kids into the woods, but only to the extent that Mr. Beers is worth covering at all. Journalism is not only what gets reported, but what doesn’t. IR covered this non-event “scene” because the boss said so.

    And Dustin, who “doesn’t make a secret of his leanings through online posts,” wouldn’t still be working at any other news organization.

    • Hey … we know you’re not a fan of IR, so why do you continually revisit our page and drive up our hit counts? You’re helping us by coming back time and time again.

      So thanks.

  10. Mr Patrick

    Since when is a lunatic like Jim Beers considered a wolf-policy expert? If you ask me this guy is a loon

  11. I agree with Mr. Huard. Mr. Beers is definitely not a “wolf policy expert” but is definitely a “loon”.

  12. Committee Against Fake Journalism

    Stay classy, Dustin.

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