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News Release 4/3/12


April 3, 2012

Group Calls for Investigation of Trapping Incident

 Moscow, ID – Yesterday, Friends of the Clearwater urged the Idaho Department of Fish & Game to conduct an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the trapping of a grey wolf in north-central Idaho by Josh Bransford. Last week the group Montana Footloose received a death threat for sharing pictures on their web site of a trapped and tortured grey wolf that was reportedly captured by Mr. Bransford. The picture showed a large pool of blood surrounding the grey wolf, which was apparently caused by people shooting at the wolf while it was still in the trap. The incident has sparked outrage across the country, and once again put the spotlight on a grey wolf hunting and trapping program in the northern Rockies that has killed over five hundred wolves since federal delisting in 2011.

Friends of the Clearwater is concerned that a number of laws could have been broken during the incident, and would like the matter to receive further attention.

“We have wildlife laws in this state that prohibit individuals from interfering with or harassing animals that have been caught in another person’s trap. Idaho Code 36-1510: Interference with hunting, fishing, trapping, or wildlife control clearly states this,” said Brett Haverstick, Education & Outreach Director. “Regardless of what was in the trap, if an investigation finds that laws were broken, we fully expect those individuals deemed responsible to be prosecuted.”

The group is greatly concerned about public safety too, and claims that more than one law could have been broken during the trapping incident.

“We would like the Idaho Fish & Game Department to look into whether or not the individuals were shooting across a public highway or from its shoulder. Idaho Code 36-1508: Shooting from a public highway specifically prohibits such action,” said Gary Macfarlane, Ecosystem Defense Director. “This is about public safety, as much as it is about ensuring that our wildlife laws are being followed.”

Furthermore, according to public records obtained from the web, Mr. Bransford has been found guilty of past wildlife law violations.

“This entire incident needs to be investigated as the circumstances surrounding it are incredibly disturbing,” said Brett Haverstick. “We expect the agency to do the right thing.”