A Rural Viewpoint On Wolf Reintroduction And Protection
Salmon Man Calls Wolf Charges By Feds "Retribution"
By Scott Logan
In a television interview last year, Tim Sundles described how in 2001, he shot and killed a radio-collared wolf that attacked him and his wife on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River.
"I feel like we should kill everyone of them we see," Sundles told KPVI-TV. "And you can feel free to put it on tape I've killed several since then."
Now charged with trying to poison endangered gray wolves with toxic meatballs, Sundles, an ammunition maker, faces a year and a half in jail and $200,000 in fines. He called the charges devastating.
Sundles told Local 2 News in a phone interview Thursday the federal government is after him -- "they're trying to break me" -- because of his vocal stand against gray wolves, which he claims were illegally reintroduced into Idaho and are wiping out big game herds.
His website tells how to poison wolves with toxic meatballs. And Sundles says the charges come as he was preparing to personally take the information around the state.
"And we were going to teach seminars on how to successfully poison wolves," said Sundles , who claims the federal government has wiretaps on his phone. "We were fully aware it is not illegal to talk about it or teach it. But is illegal to solicit someone to commit a crime."
Sundles would not comment on the specifics of the charges against him, nor would federal investigators, other than to say there's considerable physical evidence.
And the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says the 1995-1996 reintroduction program has withstood all legal challenges.
"It was proven to be legal, it was tested in court through a number of cases, and wolves are legally present in Idaho," said Carter Niemeyer, wolf recovery coordinator with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "And there's no scientific evidence wolves are decimating big game herds at this point."
In fact, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game is out with a new 2005 study that shows of almost 600 radio-collared elk and deer, wolves accounted for less than 2% of the confirmed kills.
Still, Sundles remains unmoved, but his next move happens when he appears in federal court Tuesday in Pocatello to answer to the charges.
"I have no intention to plead guilty," he said