Stop Killing Endangered Wolves for Rancher Using Public Lands

grey wolf by Katerina Hlavata

Target: Jim Unsworth, Director of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

Goal: Prevent any future slaughter of wolves on public land.

In August of this year, Len and Bill McIrven led their cattle onto public land and into the Profanity Peak wolf pack’s territory. At least five cattle were killed. In response, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife ordered the culling of the pack, which they did by tracking two radio-collared members of the pack and shooting from a helicopter, according to the department’s own press release. At least six wolves were killed according to the Seattle Times.

The rancher whose cattle were killed has a history of not abiding by wolf conservation protocol, and this is not the first time the WDFW has stepped in after this rancher’s cattle were targeted by wolves. “McIrvin also is not a signatory to the state’s voluntary agreements with ranchers to adopt certain tactics to avoid wolf conflicts or compensation agreements,” the Seattle Times reports.

The most concerning element of this is that this is all happening on public land – land designated for public use and rented by ranchers at well below market value, according to multiple sources, including the Center for Biological Diversity. If that land – away from private property and rancher-owned territory – is not safe for wolves, where exactly are these animals safe to continue their role in an increasingly fragile ecosystem?

We propose that by renting public land for grazing, ranchers agree that they forfeit the state’s protection from natural predators. By signing the petition below, you will help urge the WDFW to halt the slaughter and reconsider who they’re protecting – an ecosystem, or a wealthy family’s economic interests.


Dear Director Unsworth,

After the public relations nightmare of the killing of the Profanity Peak wolf pack, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife needs to reconsider its policy regarding wolf protection in its state. While the need for communicating with and considering the needs of all parties, including ranchers, is, of course, important to a thoughtful approach to this issue, we feel that in this case the ranchers’ voice is louder than everyone else’s.

By using public land that is part of the wolves’ territory, ranchers accept the risk that they are leading their cattle into a predatory area, and that risk is something they knowingly take by paying below-market value to use public land instead of the higher cost of renting private land to graze on.

We feel that by renting public land to graze, ranchers should enter a contract that protects the wolves from being punished for their natural instincts. By allowing ranchers to use public land at below-market value, a practice that has been happening in Washington for as long as the use of public land has existed, the cost of the loss of cattle is built in. There is no need to cull the numbers of wolves further, especially for the sake of a family that has no history of cooperating with wolf avoidance policies.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Katerina Hlvata

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  1. Right on. This transgressor, McIrivin, and others like him, need to be held accountable. As far as I know, he is not even participating with cattle and wolves being radio collared to track interactions (any opposition to this suggests ulterior motive, no matter the excuse). If ranchers lead their cattle onto public land rented below market value, away from private property and rancher-owned territory, and into something like the Profanity Peak’s wolf territory, they should expect trouble and it is not, IN ANY WAY IMAGINABLE, the wolves fault. The wolves should not have had to pay for his conduct. Honestly. He must have “bought” the system (“clout” derived from wealth, alone)… Human nature wants more and more even though it has enough. Greed, avaricious…
    As you say, if public land, away from private property and rancher-owned territory, is not safe for wolves, where exactly are these animals expected to thrive in relation to their role within an increasingly fragile eco-system.
    By renting public land for grazing and not abiding by wolf conservation protocol or wolf-avoidance policies (such as in this case), ranchers do challenge the state’s protection from natural predators, and given human nature, and the many potential incidents that escape scrutiny, it makes sense and is best that by renting public land for grazing, ranchers, as a whole, agree that they forfeit the state’s protection from natural predators.
    In everyday language, no more slaughter of wolves over someone’s unethical, unscrupulous behavior.

  2. Morgan Murchison says:

    This rancher and his misbegotten crowd should be taken literally by the scruff of their (red)necks,thrown down into the dirt,made to run and then have someone shoot him from a helicopter and the same for any other bumpkins who savage and murder beautiful wolves.I prefer wolves over killer ranchers by a long,long,long,long way.

  3. Len and Bill McIrvin are evil, underhanded, opportunistic thugs, and should be prosecuted.

  4. Martha Parisi says:

    Why is it that the Washington State Dept of Fish and Wildlife would side with the ranchers over the outcry of the public – the very same public who are referenced in the phrase “PUBLIC lands? The state is not obligated in any way to allow these ranchers access to these lands that BELONG TO EVERYONE; not any one person or persons. If it was a good source of income for the state budget they would NOT be renting these lands below market value. It makes no sense for Fish and Wildlife to continue dealing with this problem especially in the MANNER that they are dealing with it. They should just break with the policy of renting land to ranchers in the first place. But, instead they bend over backwards to appease ranchers that have no business being there (that’s what their ranch is for)at the expense of the wildlife that has EVERY reason to be there. The arrogance of renting land that is teeming with wildlife and then complaining about the wildlife being there is astounding. This attitude against an entire population of wolves in favor of one set of ranchers, in my opinion, reeks of corruption because the Dept of Fish and WILDLIFE is beholden to these ranchers at the expense of the very WILDLIFE that they are supposed to be protecting.

  5. Animals of all species have no chance whatsoever. Ranchers remove wolves, wild horses, you name it. Look at what has been happening to the wild horses. They are literally being wiped out at the evil hands of Ranchers, politicians and BLM. Unfortunately it looks like the Human Society as well has a hand in wiping out the wild horses as well with their sterilization program.

  6. Nancy Raymond says:

    What doesn’t Jim Unsworth of Fish & Wildlife get about this being PUBLIC land – if these ranchers are so concerned about losing cattle then they should purchase land, fence it off and stop their bitching about wolves. These animals have EVERY right to be on public land since it is owned by the American citizens – I am so sick and tired of these agencies thinking they can just kill off whatever they want. I am an American citizen and a taxpayer and therefore, this is MY land and not the property of Washington Fish & Wildlife.

  7. Kae Blecha, OTR says:

    The McIrvens are disordered. They have: 1 – a sense of entitlement, and 2 – no sense of boundaries. And the animals are paying for it. I’m frankly tired of people who are not correct (but merely loud) being catered to. Take a psych class or something so you can do your job better. Unless, of course, there’s payola involved.


    The BLM is doing the same thing with OUR wild horses. They round them up by helicopter (our taxpayer $) because ” they have no natural enemies “; are held in corrals with no shelter from the extremes of heat or cold (our taxpayer $); are sold cheap, or given away, under the table, to slaughter buyers (so much for being federally protected),…etc.
    Public lands, Wild lands, belong to WE THE PEOPLE and to the wild animals who call them home, NOT to Domestic Cows.

  9. Dena Barrett says:

    If these wolves are living on public lands then the wolves belong to the public. That means they belong to you and me. So these ranchers are coming into MY land and are slaughtering MY wolves. As tax paying citizens why can’t we bring a class action suit for these people killing of wolves that belong to we the people.

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