Volume 2, Number 40 - January 3, 2003
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No local wolf bounty
The Sublette County Predator Board met for its annual business meeting Tuesday and declined at this time to institute a bounty on wolves as requested by Nebraska cattleman Rudy "Butch" Stanko.
Stanko's son is the holder of the Bridger-Teton National Forest cattle grazing permits formerly held by Riverton Angus producer Dan Ingalls and his family.
Stanko spoke to the local predator board and asserted that allegations that federal law supercedes state law are wrong, meaning the state's classification of wolves as predators should take precedence over the Endangered Species Act protections afforded the species.
Stanko suggested that the predator board, organized under state law, institute a bounty on wolves.
"We do have the authority to set a bounty on them," Stanko said, through the predator board. "This is the method. We've got the power - the predator boards. We can't be subservient to the federal government."
Stanko said he believes his discussions with the Fremont County Predator Board will result in a bounty in that county.
"They're going to take the bull by the horns in Fremont County," Stanko predicted.
But contacted after the meeting by telephone, Fremont County Predator Board member Eileen Urbigkeit of Crowheart said that board met Dec. 19 and voted the wolf bounty down. Urbigkeit said although the board now has two new members, she doubts if the board will change its position on the bounty issue.
Stanko is the former meat packer who owned Nebraska Beef and Cattle King Beef Company. Cattle King was the subject of a 1983 NBC expose alleging unsanitary and illegal practices, which Stanko termed as a "witch hunt."
Stanko is the author of a book called "The Score," in which he details the demise of his companies, alleging the events "didn't just happen - they were planned" by a Jewish conspiracy. The book is vehemently anti-Jewish.
Sublette County Predator Board President Lary Lozier pointed out to Stanko at the Pinedale meeting that the predator boards were set up to operate on private land only, while the current wolf problems occur on federal lands.
Stanko said that shouldn't make any difference in terms of the bounty, but Lozier responded, "That gets us out of our private property though."
Stanko said, "I'm not here to disrupt" the operations of the predator board, "just to give you some ideas."
Stanko said he wouldn't kill a wolf and said he didn't believe board members would take such an action either.
Board member Pete Arambel questioned, "What if someone does and asks for the bounty?"
The board discussed whether the board would have any liability in such a case, with the general consensus being that a legal liability probably wouldn't exist.
Lozier said he wouldn't want the board to sanction such an action though.
Board member Bill Mayo suggested the board study the legal issues involved in the wolf bounty, to which the board agreed, but eventually decided to hold off on examining the issue until after the 2003 legislative session concludes. The legislature is expected to take up the wolf classification issue in that session, which begins Jan. 14.
(Editor's note: Cat Urbigkit is a member of the predator board.)
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