Opinion » Mail

Mail April 14, 2004


I'm a native of Idaho and have spent the majority of my life living in this state.

I like to think I am a supporter of both Idaho's wildlife and of the democratic processes that make both this state and country great. I know that in order for society to work, we must honor laws even if we don't happen to agree with them, and when we seek to change laws, we do so from within the system. It's the American Way.

You can imagine why I might be upset when I read in the paper about recent wolf poisonings in my state. Especially when there seem to be links between groups and individuals who may perpetuate these poisonings and my elected officials.

Tim Sundles, a person of interest in the Salmon-Challis poisonings, has been an outspoken critic of wolf reintroduction in Idaho. On his Web site and in postings on the Internet, he's aggressively suggested that people kill wolves when and where they can, apparently regardless of its legality. A link on his Web site leads the viewer to "wolf-killing ammo."

Given the close-knit nature of the radical anti-wolf community and the short distance between Sundles' home and Ron Gillette's, one could imagine that the two know each other. There have been a number of meetings in central Idaho that both have attended, and both are outspoken wolf opponents who want to kill every wolf in Idaho.

Gillette is president of the Idaho Anti-Wolf Coalition and has argued for the use of poisons to exterminate wolves as well. I have a recording of him doing so at an event his group held in Nampa last year.

A number of Idaho politicians, including Nampa Mayor Tom Dale, state Senator Gerry Sweet and U.S. Congressman Butch Otter, appear in the event's auction program as donors. You can view that part of the program at

In a letter to the editor to the Challis Messenger regarding the poisoning death of dogs in that area, Gillette writes, "It is most unfortunate that these pets were the victims. However it would seem obvious that the poison was not put out for pets but for Canadian wolves which are devastating our wildlife and also mutilating our pets."

Obvious to whom? While the reason for the poison being there (illegal poaching) may be evident to him, he seems incapable of understanding that creatures such as dogs, wildlife and young children are incapable of his brand of "logic."

Gillette continuously states publicly that wolf reintroduction will lead to human death. Given that no human has been killed anywhere in the United States by a wild wolf in the past 100 years, actions and comments by Gillette and his supporters lead me to believe that this tragic event will be from an illegal poisoning.

Ultimately more disturbing is the possibility that our legislators could, knowingly or unknowingly, be associating with and supporting individuals and groups who illegally poison Idaho wildlife and put the general public in danger.

I hope this is not the case. I would urge legislators to distance themselves from groups and individuals who may condone illegal activities.

—Rick Hobson,