February 8, 2023

Now Wait Just A Wolf-Howling Minute!

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Do you remember last Wednesday I told you a story about two U.S. Forest Service workers who got scared from wolves and had to be evacuated from the forest by helicopter? It wasn’t long. This is what I wrote.

Perhaps I could understand this story if it happened to a couple of city slickers but to two Forest Service employees? Come on.

Two Forest Service employees from Utah were in the Sawtooth National Forest in the Boise River drainage doing research. They spotted a bull elk being chased by wolves – which must be a lie because I thought wolves didn’t bother full grown elk. Shortly after they could hear wolves howling all around them.

They called for back-up and a U.S. Forest Service helicopter flew in and rescued them.


Harmless enough, right? WRONG!!! The world has gone bonkers!

Frank Priestley, president of the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation, wants an apology from every media outlet who reported the story in a less than “scary” way.

For the news reporters and editors who printed or broadcasted the opinions of the so-called experts, you should apologize for telling a one-sided story.

Priestly says that after hearing first hand the account of what happened, it was no laughing matter.

First of all, the two Forest Service employees were not out in the backcountry for the first time. According to Dave Tippets, public information officer for the USFS Rocky Mountain Research Center, the two workers, who were doing natural resource inventory surveys, were not inexperienced. They are both seasonal employees, one being in her third year and the other, a man, was in his second year doing this type of work. Both employees were said to be Idaho residents. Their job is to backpack into remote areas, find field markers and take inventory of various natural resources.

In the course of doing this work, they live with what they can carry in a backpack for 10 days at a time. Clearly, it’s not an occupation for the timid.

“It’s not correct to make them look like greenhorns,” Tippets said. “Both are outdoors people and both have lived and worked in remote backcountry for quite a while.”

When the pair encountered the wolves it was early in the morning and the wolves were in pursuit of a bull elk. The closest a wolf came to the pair was an estimated 200 feet and the wolves never made any threatening moves toward them, Tippets said. However, as they were walking through thick buck brush they could hear wolves growling, snarling and howling. They crossed a creek twice and found a vantage point on top of a rock outcrop. They were wet to the waist and the presumed wolf kill was between the outcrop and their camp. They were armed with a hatchet and a can of pepper spray.

“They got scared and they had a high level of discomfort with the situation,” Tippets said. “The area where they believe the elk was killed was between them and their camp. They clearly felt vulnerable and nobody second-guessed that. Safety comes first.”

Okay, Mr. Priestley. I’ve published your version of someone else’s version of what someone else said that happened but I think you got it all wrong. I think you think that anyone who presented this story in a teasing, ridiculing, or over reacting way, did so because they didn’t care for the safety of these two individuals.

Feed me to the wolves if I am wrong on this but I think the real joke comes not in the fact that two humans may have been in a life threatening situation or that none of us thought that it wasn’t necessary to call in a helicopter.

The real joke comes from the countless years of mantra from animal rights groups and in particular all those over the top activists who want to save the poor wolf, who tell the world that wolves don’t attack people. The Federal government, of which these two people are in the employ of, has dished out the same bull-pucky for years saying that wolves don’t harm humans but only in very rare instances.

When all of us for decades have had to be subjected to this kind of rhetoric, while many sat buy watching their livestock get killed and fearing to send their kids out to play, while Big Brothers kept spewing that the fear in humans of wolves is unfounded, we can only laugh.

That’s what’s behind how I presented the story. Did I want those people injured? Heck no but I’ve been told since I was a kid that wolves are afraid of man and wouldn’t hurt them at all. So why should we, the media, and we the citizenry, believe the Feds now when they say they needed a helicopter because they were afraid the big bad wolf was going to get them?

The only apology I will give is one to the two who got rescued if they actually thought for a minute I wanted to see them be harmed. If that’s what they thought of my story, then I apologize to them that they may have thought I didn’t care.

To the wolf protection activists, and the Feds who refuse to tell the truth, I certainly hope neither of those two workers were your children.

Tom Remington