The State That Cried Wolf
Jamie Hale | TBA: Southeast Idaho's Independent
Editor's note: We have a long way to go in terms of attitude toward wolves in the Northern Rockies, but we should not forget that they are back, they are here to stay and they are doing well despite efforts by politicians to sharply reduce their numbers.
The photo became an overnight sensation. A smiling man in a gray shirt and hat kneels in front of the camera, smiling as a wolf struggles behind him, its leg caught in a trap, the snow all around it stained with blood.
The man in the photo is U.S. Forest Service employee Josh Bransfrod during a day of hunting in northern Idaho. After he uploaded the photo, along with two others, to Trapperman, a website by and for trappers, the internet exploded with rants and even threats from animal rights groups. A Facebook group, “Josh Bransford used a trapped terrified wolf for target practice” even publicized his address, phone number and email address.
But despite the uproar, Bransford isn’t in any real trouble. The U.S. Forest Service said they don’t condone animal cruelty, but also said they don’t have jurisdiction on the private land from the photo. Idaho Fish and Game said Bransford had all the licenses and permissions to trap and did nothing illegal.
While the photo was the first time much of the nation paid any attention to wolf hunting in Idaho, the issue has been hotly debated for the better part of nearly three years.
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