Wolf vigil provokes anti-wolf counter protest in North Idaho

Jan 10, 2012
Originally published on January 10, 2012 8:32 am

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - The gray wolf is making its way deeper into Oregon, Washington, and now for the first time in almost 90 years, California. But where the wolf goes, emotions run high. Seventeen years after the re-introduction of gray wolves into Idaho, the subject continues to stir strong feelings in the state. Monday, wolf advocates in Coeur d'Alene held a full moon vigil to remember wolves killed by hunters.

"Do you have a candle yet?"

It's dusk. About a dozen people gather near the shores of Lake Coeur d'Alene. They're making sure everything is ready – candles ...

"I've got a lighter!"

... pickets ....

"How 'bout this one with the wolf picture?"

Ann Sydow co-chairs the Northern Idaho Wolf Alliance, which organized this full moon vigil.

"We're honoring the wolves that have been killed in the wolf hunt so far. Idaho has already had 207 wolves killed in the last four months. It's been four months and 10 days," Sydow says.

Last spring, after a back-and-forth court battle over wolves, Congress approved a bill to officially remove the wolf from the Endangered Species List. That opened the door for Montana and Idaho to declare a hunting season on the animal. And Sydow notes this year in most of Idaho, there's no cap on the number of wolves that can be killed.

"You know they think the wolves are going to eat all the elk, eat all the cattle, and then they're going to eat all of us, and it's just not true," says Sydow.

As she talks, another set of protesters arrives. These protesters wear hunting camo and carry anti-wolf signs. The pro-wolf activists prepare themselves.

"We've got a mission we know what we want to do. Don't get distracted by ..." one says.

"We aren't here to fight with them," says another.

"Yeah, don't fight with them, don't talk back to them. Because they have no brains anyway."

Over in the anti-wolf camp, Ryan Kaudill says he's here to show the hunter's perspective on wolves.

"I hate 'em," he says simply.

Other hunters, like Patrick Krapfl, make more measured comments — speaking of the need for wolf population management.

The two groups confront each other briefly. Gray haired activists in outdoorsy windbreakers on one side, and rugged hunters in their camo on the other.

Then, the two sides set off on foot through downtown Coeur d'Alene, holding signs and keeping a respectful distance until the wolf marchers go their separate ways.

Copyright 2011 Northwest News Network

Copyright 2012 N3. To see more, visit http://www.nwnewsnetwork.org/.