Sunday edit preview: One trapper's barbarism reflects on Idaho

Here's a draft of our Sunday editorial on the wolf trapping controversy. I do have calls and emails in to Gov. Butch Otter's office, seeking comment.

Josh Bransford, Idaho’s best-known wolf trapper, has violated no state laws, according to the Department of Fish and Game.
But if that’s all Fish and Game will say for the record, it’s time someone fill in the blanks.

Bransford is the kind of trapper who gives his activity — and his state — a black eye.

His behavior isn’t sporting. It’s sickening. Idahoans will forever disagree about the wolf and its place in the state’s natural order, but all Idahoans should at least be able to speak with one voice against boneheaded barbarism.

Especially when it appears before our eyes.

When Bransford happened on a wolf in a leghold trap, standing in a circle of blood-tinged snow, he did not put his prey out of its misery. At least not before he posed for a photo — while he smiled in the foreground, the wounded wolf standing in the background.

The photo, posted temporarily on a trapping website, went viral on the Internet. And when it did, Fish and Game went on the defensive. The agency said Bransford had a permit and permission from the landowners and had taken a required class in wolf trapping. Posing for the photo, instead of killing a suffering animal, is a breach of protocol, but not a violation of the law.

So, according to the state, it’s legal.

But it’s also wrong.

The reason this grisly incident went viral — and the reason wolf advocates are using it to full advantage — is because it violates the basic standards of ethical, humane behavior. It is far enough beyond the pale, this one wolf killing, that it can galvanize outrage against all wolf hunting and trapping.

To be sure, the wolf advocates have a narrow agenda. They oppose a state management plan that allowed hunters to kill 252 wolves this winter, while trappers killed another 123. Bransford’s behavior makes it easier for the advocates to mobilize, to raise money, and to raise doubts about Idaho’s wolf management ethic.

We too are outraged by this incident, but we maintain, as we have for years, that the wolf is best managed by the state. We believe, even after this year’s hunts, that a wolf population of some 570 predators is sustainable.

But Idaho is often its own worst enemy.

Gov. Butch Otter, so far silent on the trapping controversy, made headlines earlier this year by joking about shipping wolves to neighboring Oregon.

State Sen. Jeff Siddoway, R-Terreton, floated a bill to allow ranchers to use live bait for wolf control. He tabled his bill only after the public relations damage was done.

Now, one trapper has blatantly disregarded what Idahoans embrace about the spirit of fair sport. Bransford’s actions reflect on a state that is trying to convince the outside world that it is a responsible steward of its wildlife. This may be unfair, but it is reality.

This is a time for reasonable Idahoans — and our leaders — to speak not just to the law, but to right and wrong. To what is acceptable, and to what is abhorrent.

The outside world is listening for what is said. And for what is left unsaid.


Definition of BARBARIAN by MW:
1: of or relating to a land, culture, or people alien and usually believed to be inferior to another land, culture, or people

2: lacking refinement, learning, or artistic or literary culture

Not sure what you are calling barbarism. The trapping or the fact he took a picture before killing the wolf?


"lacking refinement, learning or literary culture" that sounds like the Statesman writer Rocky Barker. "ROCKY BARBARISM"!

KR, you would do well to clean your own shop before spending time writing about F&G laws or some dum as trapper who decided to take a picture of a trapped animal.

Hey Bubba

Next time you decide to stuff the comment box, please just edit your posts instead.

Kevin, could you please explain why Bransford's actions don't violate Title 25, Chapter 35 of the Idaho Code, prohibiting animal cruelty?

I believe the reason is

that most sporting activities like hunting, fishing and yes, trapping are not covered by the law, nor by the law recently signed by the governor, nor by the 1 if 3 initiative. I believe this is because while the PETA type folks are against hunting and fishing, I doubt there would be much support among the general population for banning these activities. Leg hold traps and snares are much less supported by the general population but traditional activities like trapping are difficult to change. On a personal note, while I am not a hunter or fisherman I do strongly support people's rights to hunt and fish. However I sure would like to see leg hold traps and snares done away with.

Fifth Generation Idahoan

Tim just curious after reading many of your other posts how can you support hunting and fishing and yet still be such an ardent HSUS advocate? I have spent considerable time researching HSUS and personally I am a supporter of HumaneWatch so I know HSUS agenda and tactics.HSUS is very much against ANY hunting PERIOD and really do not agree with fishing.Do you not realize that HSUS spends less then 1% on animal welfare and runs absolutely NO animal shelters? It is a scam that has done nothing more then make Wayne Pacelle and his cronies rich.The guy is a crook and HSUS is every bit as extremist and radical as PETA.

Hunting and fishing.

I support hunting and fishing becasue they are not inherently cruel IMO. I know that others disagree but hunting and fishing are an integral part of American outdoor life. Regarding USUS, you know the Idaho Humane society runs our animal shelter and shelters all over the US. They oppose some of the most unethical hunting practices such as captive hunting, seal hunting etc. I know many in the HS oppose all forms of hunting but that's not official policy. The HS is an advocate for animal welfare and I dissagree that it is the same as PETA or ALF.


Tim please go to HSUS's website and reread their official policy on hunting but are you talking about the Humane Society of the United States or the " local and state humane societies" ? I know there is a difference.

and the rest are sickening too

"His behavior isn’t sporting. It’s sickening"

KR, your editorial about all the people making death threats along with others admitting they intentionally break the law regarding legal traps will be in next week's Sunday edition?


"one voice against boneheaded barbarism."

I speak against boneheaded 'journalism'.

cry a river

"We too are outraged by this incident"

Journalism is outrageous!

So KR, are you and your editorial staff OUTRAGED when you see a photojournalist take a picture of a wounded human instead of offering assitance to the person?

Are you outraged when a journalist takes a picture of a criminal in the act instead of taking the time to call 911.

Are you outraged when a journalist interviews a war criminal instead of attacking that person with very ounce of justice that prevails in their fists?


Because a trapper waited 1 more minute to kill a wolf?

Or because there was some blood on the snow?

What REALLY outrages you?
And try to compare it to what YOUR colleagues do EVERY day?

are you suggesting

that the smiling trapper's next move was to offer the wolf assistance?


What the trapper did was dumb but not barbaric. Barbarism as I currently understand it is what Islamic extremists and Mexican drug lords do. Cut the heads off people with hunting knives and post the video on the net. That's barbarism.

Congratulations Richert, you've taken sensationalism to unimaginable new levels.


KR< here are the Top Stories right now on YOUR NEWSPAPER:

1. Caldwell man pleads guilty to sex with underage girl

2.Couple arrested after doctors say baby's bruises, broken ribs are suspicious

3.Boise, are you ready for 80-degree heat? Temperatures could break record highs

4.Police: Ex-teacher arrested for sex abuse of minor

5.Meridian truck driver, 52, arrested on lewd conduct charges involving three different teen victims

FIVE stories by YOUR newspaper and FOUR of them really are DISGUSTING and BARBARIC.

KR, I think YOU are "barbaric" in YOUR abuse of your editorial writ.

And you wonder why non-Idahoans think we're hillbillies

My family has farmed and ranched in Idaho since the 1800's. We have lost more livestock to domestic dogs and hunters than wolves or coyotes but recognize others have suffered losses, especially those who graze on public lands (another pet peeve of mine). I am disturbed at the comments on this board defending Mr. Bransford and heartened that the Statesman has seen fit to go on the record about his stupidity and the adverse fallout for his advertising of his stupidity. Idaho will lose the right to manage wolves if the anti-wolf people continue to be myopic about perceptions of those outside our state who, like it or not, can take that control away from us.

rural reading

Where do you see anyone defending Bransford?
No one is saying, that was the right thing to do. No one is saying, good job.


Read your part here a few times and see if anything disturbs you "those outside our state who can take that control away from us."

Try this one:
"Those outside our country who can take that control away from us".
That's also okay with you?


"My family has farmed and ranched in Idaho since the 1800's".

Suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuure they have.

Why doubt

Why are you doubting a family farming and ranching in Idaho since the 1800s. Our family, now a fifth generation, has also been farming in Idaho since the 1800s and there are many more; some with even a sixth generation.

Right on

My family has been here since the 1880's and since my father is Northern Paiute you can take that back several thousand years.You want to see anti-Californian you should have met my dad.

You have got to be kidding Firefly

Do not even begin to think you speak for most native Idahoans.My family has been here since the 1800's and I think your full of BS.

You have got to be kidding

Do not even begin to think you speak for most native Idahoans.My family has been here since the 1800's and I think your full of BS.

Poor KR - once again he finds himself trapped.....

by his own flaming liberalism. Liberalism requires you to be on a continuous guilt trip. Just as our Pres feels compelled to apologize to the world for the country being a bully, KR is obligated by his ideology to apologize to the country for Idaho's barbarians. "...a state trying to convince the outside world that it is a responsible steward of it's wildlife." Really KR? The barbaric trap here is not the one the wolf stepped into, it's the one you have fallen into - head first. I feel sorry for you.


Is quite selective in his use of morality. If it is not useful to his agenda, the Statesman usually chooses not to cover it. If the statesman does cover a repugnant news event, it usually chooses not to comment editorially unless it is useful to Kevin's agenda. The "spike" is the the core component of The Idaho Idaho "Selective" Statesman "style book".

Wolf Crucifixion

The economic impact on the state's products and services by the wanton slaughter of wolves by the Idaho Fish & Game cannot be underestimated. Boycott Idaho, the Wolf Torture State.


Crazy, lying, lunatic, liberal.

But who cares. There's only like 20 of you in the entire state.

Who is lying exactly? Some

Who is lying exactly? Some on these blogs have been saying the Bransford photos were photoshopped....and that Bransford doesn't have a criminal record. The photos were taken on a trapperman website that "tree huggers don't have access to- so how exactly did the photos get on the trpperman website- magic? Liberal tree huggin Gnomes perhaps.....Go on the Idaho public website- Bransford's criminal record is there for all to see

You'd Think..

..the USFS would do a quick check on its job candidates before hiring. Fishing with barb hooks in a restricted area, shooting across a highway, illegal transport of wildlife. So are these prerequisites for being a federal land management employee in Idaho? Can't believe they hired this guy and now they continue to defend him.


Isn't that why they call them libtards?

If they only put a few of

If they only put a few of those wasted dollars into education instead of teaching wolves a lesson there wouldn't be so much illiteracy in Idaho

Why don't leave

Hey dipsh!+ Please impress us with your superior 2nd grade intellect.What happened California run out of space for nutjobs?


You just nominated yourself for being the poster boy for why we should require intelligence tests for voting, running for public office, or having children.

Idaho Torture State

I agree with you SandHugger Idaho tortures wolves we've seen it. Protect your animals and that's it. Little Red Riding Hood is a fairy tale.


Anybody tell you that you are a disgusting urban wackjob? Although I agree this may have been poor judgement on this trappers part taking this picture the only judgement I have of you is that you are just another transplanted urban idiot here to sell your PETA fueled la la Disneyland mentality to folks stupid enough to buy it.Ever been outside a city park? Stop watching animal planet and get a life.

The Governor of Idaho, the

The Governor of Idaho, the Wildlife Commission, the IDFG welcomes the negative press so they can dumb down on the "tradition" of trapping somehow being a way of life in Idaho and how "American" trapping is. As we move forward we will use the evidence of these "sportsmen" (all laugh here) who really have no connection to responsible wildlife management. After all- this is all a political message being sent to the FED government and to wildlife advocates who are pro-wolf that these people will and can teach wolves a lesson.

Who's wrong

It's obvious taking this pic and posting it on the trapper website wasn't the brightest thing to do. But nobody wants to find out who the inbred SOB is that took it from there and poured gas on the fire to get it where it is now.
Special Interest groups and the media....
The Al Qaida within.

I agree

Who ran with it? Folks like Budpg,California,Cheesebrain? Or maybe the American Taliban like PETA,HSUS or Centers for Biological Stupidity? It is desperatley time to get this radical animal rights filth out of Idaho.

Thank you, Kevin...

For speaking out... we need more folks who are not afraid to do that.

no license required

yes, MORE people to speak out like:
Sarah Palin
Phil Hart
Rex Rammel
Rush Limbaugh
and the whole media club.

Right.. like we are not short of people speaking out.

The truth hurts. If you

The truth hurts. If you don't want to be called uneducated hillbillies then stop acting like uneducated hillbillies. All the hysteria about decimate game herds, lost livestock to wolves, and wolves stalking children at bus stops is BS and you know it. You try to use your made up sets of facts to justify why you hate predators like wolves. Admit it- you hate wolves because your daddy and granddaddy did and the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. This is a cultural thing based on a cultural stereotype about an animal that represents the wild alot better than you "sportsmen"(all laugh here) do. While people in your legislature continue to dumb down on your wolf extermination campaign hunters and tourists will continue to choose other states like Colorado, NM, and Utah to hunt and visit. Keep talking about gut shootin wolves, keep showing your retarded animal conquest photos. You will blame wolves instead of blame yourselves.

You are one.....

incredibly biased stupid individual and a coward too.


Well wackjob you can spout off your big mouth all day long but at the end of the day you and your ilk lose.Wolf hunting and trapping are now legal in Idaho and that will not change in the foreseeable future,HJR2 (Idahos defense of hunting and fishing law) have passed the house and senate and are destined to be law this fall effectively nullifying radical animal rights agendas in Idaho.

Pearls before swine

The comments that have been made show that we are in the land of the barbaric. They show why it took until this year to pass any law to protect animals. May they all reincarnate as wolves in Idaho.

Over the Top Sensationalism

Not a fan of wolves, not am I a fan of Bransford and his juvenile trophy shot. He deserves to be mocked by hunters for his sheer stupidity in addition to his lack of sportsmanship.

But Bransford (stupidly) delayed finishing off the wolf for a couple minutes so he could make a (stupidly self-defeating) political statement. If this qualifies as "barbarism" in Idaho, I'LL GLADLY TAKE IT over the human-on-human crime that pas*ses for civility in those more "enlightened" states whose sanctimonious sophists might judge us.

A little perspective from the small-market significance-seeking scribe would be welcome.

(*Good grief, Statesman. Fix your @&*#& profanity filter already.)

Thank you, KR

Thank you, KR, for writing it as it should be. Bransford played the stupid card big time and as a Forest Service employee he will be pay the consequences of his actions even though his actions were not on government time. He hasn't heard the last of his $%^&*()_ action.

Opps, wrong place


Easter Delight

What could be better for Easter? A bleeding trapped creature highlighted by a smiling triumphant human. Some things just don't change.


graphic content warning:

How about the image of a man hanging from a cross with nails in his palms and feet with blood dripping from his head caused by a weath of thorns upon his head? Oh and he's surrounded by triumphant cheering people. And 'artists' paint that over and over... Ehww. It's morbid!

eggs and peeps for everyone!

Mother Nature is a Cruel Lady

Barbarism? Torture? Cruelty? You think Josh Bransford was cruel to photograph a live wolf? If you do you’re an idjit. Mother Nature is a cruel lady and the world is a cruel place. People die every minute of every day due to drugs, cancer, starvation, bad governments/politics, wars, tsunamis, earthquakes, tornados, murderers and gangs and liberals are worried about more legislation to protect wolves from being photographed BEFORE they are shot. Get a life folks!

Here is real cruelty. Here’s a link to a video of wolves consuming a live mule deer fawn in Jellystone Park. Yeppers, for you folks in touch with your feminine side, here’s a baby deer being eaten to death by wolves. Wolves eat wildlife, pet dogs and livestock to death everyday. Once wolves have brought their prey down and the prey is too exhausted to move another inch do you think the wolves take time out to HUMANELY dispatch their victim? If you do (Kevin) you’ve been watching too much of the Disney Channel.

Josh Bransford dispatched a wolf within minutes of arrival even with the photo taking session. That is much more humane than being eaten to death by wolves.

Good post

The transplanted urban animal rights nutjobs will hate you for this inconvient fact

Maybe The Statesman is at Fault

Had the Statesman not supported Canadian wolves be LEG HOLD TRAPPED and transported to Idaho, this would not have happened.

And to continue the bias, the Statesman refused to report on the 200 sheep mutilated by wolves in Valley County.

And to continue the bias, the Statesman refused to report on the huge mutilation of elk by wolves in Boise County.

And to continue the bias, the Statesman refused to report on the mutilation of hounds across the whole state.

And to continue the bias, the Statesman was happy to print the list of successful wolf hunters supplied by Rick Hobson so the LEGAL hunters could receive death threats.

Maybe The Statesman is at fault and guilty of bias reporting.

Sen. Siddoway, is that you?


No just a fact minded person

Don't like it when someone throws fact at you? The Idaho Statesman ceased being an idaho newspaper a long time ago.Can you say liberal rag?