And So the Idaho Cover-Up Begins

12 Apr

Josh Bransford, U.S. Forest Service Employee

By now most of you have probably seen the horrific smiling photograph of Idaho trapper Josh Bransford posing in front of an injured and bleeding wolf. Today, the Idaho Fish and Game Department released their “investigation” statement about the incident.

Idaho Fish and Game releases details of its wolf-trapper investigation

And of course they found no wrong doing on the part of Bransford or that anyone else shot at the wolf. Apparently they did not read Bransford’s own words about the incident:

“I got a call on Sunday morning from a FS [Forest Service] cop that I know. You got one up here as there was a crowd forming. Several guys had stopped and taken a shot at him already.”

“To be sure, I was not mad, and when the boys told me the story I kind of chuckeled (sp)… I would have done the same I think.”

So if Bransford did indeed talk to the thugs who shot at the wolf it seems that part was conveniently left of of the “investigation.” Apparently the investigator neglected to speak with Bransford who by his own admission spoke with the shooters? Either Bransford did not tell the investigators this or the investigator conveniently left this out of the report. Does this smell fishy to anyone else?

And here is how Idaho Fish and Game justifies the actions of Bransford.

“To charge someone with a crime, there must be probable cause that a specific person acted in violation of a law based on reliable, factual information. Anonymous or otherwise unreliable reports are not sufficient to charge someone with a crime. And just because an action involves poor judgment or unethical behavior does not make it illegal.”

Remember this is the same agency that let a wolf poacher go with a warning. Anyone else smell a cover-up here?


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32 responses to “And So the Idaho Cover-Up Begins

  1. marlok1

    April 12, 2012 at 9:02 pm

    No cover up just a bunch of fucking assholes that could give two shits about any law outside their own state….

    • Corinne

      April 14, 2012 at 2:58 pm

      You are soooo right!!! assholes…..hope they shoot each other….

  2. Janice

    April 12, 2012 at 10:11 pm

    We have become a nation where there are no morals standards and We kill for fun we torture because we can, in the next maliinium i wonder what the Oxford dictionary will write under human,,humanitariam…paws for thought.

  3. Bobette Traul

    April 12, 2012 at 11:32 pm

    I figured it would go this way. Give ’em enough rope and they’ll hang themselves.

    • rali74

      April 13, 2012 at 12:04 am

      This does not surprise me in the slightest. Idaho has made it very clear that they do not want wolves there. Their goal is eradication no matter what they say. Actions speak far louder than words. This is a perfect example of why the feds should never relinquish control of wolves and other carnivores. Whenever they do this is what happens. Now Idaho is pushing to have grizzlies removed from the endangered species list. I hope the feds do not give in, because we all have seen what happens when states get control over these animals.

  4. Pete Braun

    April 12, 2012 at 11:42 pm

    There HAS GOT to be a clampdown on these states that openly defy or manipulate federal law to get their way.

    • marlok1

      April 13, 2012 at 12:06 am

      Starting with Montana and the ASSHOLE that half assed Governs it…

      • rali74

        April 13, 2012 at 12:08 am


        Believe it or not, Idaho and their governor is even worse.

      • marlok1

        April 13, 2012 at 12:16 am

        Sorry pal but that fat Bastard Brian Schweitzer was the key element that started the illegal wolf rider going…

      • rali74

        April 13, 2012 at 12:21 am

        That rider was absolutely shameful. I am just astounded that the 9th Circuit upheld it. How can you tell American citizens that we cannot use the courts to challenge laws? That is a fundamental right of all citizens and they took that away from us and the courts said it was fine. Maybe we should try to get someone to tack a rider onto another must pass bill that permanently puts the wolf back on the endangered species list and say that it cannot be challenged by the wolf haters in court.

      • marlok1

        April 13, 2012 at 12:27 am

        I was there in Pasadena when we made our pro-wolf appeal and I remember the one fat slob lawyer who represented the hunters and big game guides..and when he waddled up to say his piece he basically said that the courts had no say so in this matter and that Congress was the real ruler of fates not they the courts….and that in this matter the judicial system had no power over the rider….

    • rali74

      April 13, 2012 at 12:07 am

      These states constantly bash the big bad “feds” but they are always there with their hand out for another subsidy or tax break. I say we let these states secede and see how far they get and how they can make it without Uncle Sam’s funding. This modern day “rebel” crap is getting very old.

      • Pete Braun

        April 13, 2012 at 10:32 pm

        And I love rail74’s idea of a re-listing rider. Relist the wolves on the ESA and punish the de-listers severely.

  5. Bobette Traul

    April 13, 2012 at 12:32 am

    Definitely let them secede. I’ll take some xtra Soc. Sec. anyday. Peter Braun, I love your picture. Muy artistico.

    • China W.

      April 13, 2012 at 10:06 am

      AMEN Bobette Traul! Look how much these disobedient to the Fed. Gov. states get in subsidies! I say secede as well and no disaster relief, no farming subs, no ranching subs. ,no roads, no ed. Maybe they will think that one over after it happens, Texas sure came running back to the FEDERAL UNION when A#$ handed to them! This is the Conflict killing Wolves and other Wildlife.:’Ranching on public lands destroys wildlife habitat and costs American taxpayers nearly a half billion dollars annually in subsidies. But ranching also diminishes the aesthetic experience one would expect from a natural environment. A wilderness area should not have the ambiance of a farm! Drawing upon personal statements in my book Western Turf Wars, my new essay titled “Nature’s Aesthetics Fall to the Plague of Ranching” illustrates how people have spoken out against the domestication of natural landscapes. The essay also provides us with a philosophical and legal framework for how we can do that as well. Read the essay at

    • Pete Braun

      April 13, 2012 at 10:00 pm

      Thank you. It was made via the Wolf Yourself App on the Eristoff Vodka USA page on Facebook. Their mascot is the wolf, if you didn’t already know.

  6. Sandra McGee

    April 13, 2012 at 6:46 am

    Unfortunately this does not surprize me. Idaho is one the most corrupt states in the union. They (the hunters & ranchers) have NO, NONE, morals what so ever. Our judicial system is just as corrupt. I think that “we” have allowed this to happen (myself included) More folks need to get involved with the system. It’s been far to long that these hunting clubs have run rampant killing our wildlife. By the way it was Jon Tester (Sen. Dem-MT.) & Mike Simpson (Rep. republican – ID) who started this whole ball rolling as far as the wolf hunts out west & getting them delisted from the ESL. Tester, “Simpson Sneak Wolf-killing Rider Into Budget Bill”

  7. chance

    April 13, 2012 at 7:39 am

    The political “redneck governance” administered by the Otter administration has made any rational discussion of responsible wolf management impossible. I don’t think there has been enough attention paid to this fact. The IDFG could adopt some ethical standards on what is legal or illegal with regard to “hunter harvest” of animals like wolves. Instead they take the irresponsible view that since there is no statute in the law prohibiting gut shooting for example- that although they may not condone unethical behavior- the act of gut shooting is legal. These people are FU&*^ING slimeballs. What did Mcdermott say- he doubled down on the Bransford incident when he said- Bransford harvested the wolf within 12 hours of being in the trap- he could have left the animal in the trap for 72 hours!!!!!!Only in Idaho, Montana, Alaska, do trappers let animals languish in traps for 3 or more days- What type of people would defend that…….

    • marlok1

      April 13, 2012 at 2:37 pm

      You just don’t get it..this is not about controlling wolf numbers,,this is about eliminating the wolf entirely just like the ranchers and hunters did 75 years ago..THIS IS ABOUT GREED GREED AND MORE GREED.. this is about slob big game guides making millions of dollars off pig big game trophy hunters this is about greedy ranchers and their filthy cattle grazing on public lands and using the wolf as an excuse to keep that grazing land this is about elimination the wolf altogether so the big game guides will find their beloved trophy Elk that the wolf is at sustainable numbers and is keeping the elk and deer population in check it makes it all the more harder for thwe big game guides to find that trophy animal for their fat cat clients..this always was and always will be about money and money only…………

    • rali74

      April 13, 2012 at 4:39 pm


      You can now add Wisconsin to that list because now trappers only want to check weasel traps every four days. We wouldn’t want these great “conservationists” to inconvenienced would we? I am just waiting for them to pass legislation that demands the animals must come out of the woods and up to the hunter or trappers pickup truck and shoot themselves to make things easier for the hunter/trapper.

  8. Sue Bowler

    April 13, 2012 at 8:13 am

    How pathetic these people are. Obviously they have no heart or feelings for the animals that are suffering. I would be embarrased to have parents like them.

  9. Bobette Traul

    April 13, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    It would help if there were independent candidates that would run against these guys and speak up against barbaric practices. Of course they would need body guards.

  10. Beth Louise Wright

    April 14, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    This man took pleasure in torturing a wolf and has no doubt done so previously! Idaho can offer excuses or explanations, but no rational person would believe in his innocence given the words he used and the look-at-me-mommy expression on his sick face! I detest this man.

    • rali74

      April 14, 2012 at 7:31 pm

      I see this same sick expression in the faces of other wildlife killers. They are proud to have snuffed the life out of a living creature, and they cannot understand why we detest them. Either that or they are rubbing it in our faces. For years hunter/trapper groups and fish and game departments have tried to desensitize the general public to their activities by using fluffy terms like “harvest” or “dispatch’ to describe what it really is: KILLING. With the internet and the incessant need for these killers to share their trophy the rest of us are finally getting a glimpse into their sick world. As horrible as these images are the general public NEEDS to see them. I just saw a horrific video that showed a coyote being killed that was absolutely horrifying. I will be posting about that soon. I have heard the term “horn porn” to describe why these sick people photograph and videotape their exploits. There is something very wrong with these elements of our society and the fact that our government actively promotes these activities. Please share these images with everyone you can.

  11. Kaz Witchie Spirytwolf

    April 14, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    typical government cover up of the true facts, that the man who mind you works here stands there and watches this happen to an animal and lets it suffer in pain, what is wrong with you and your government if it was one of your pets you would not let this happen

  12. Lone Wolf

    April 14, 2012 at 8:04 pm

    Hit them where it hurts. Exports and Tourism, Idaho’s top exports include; semiconductors (memory chips), industrial equipment, precious and semi-precious metals, agriculture commodities, processed food, fertilizers, paper products and personal care products. Don’t Go or Buy Idaho!
    Read more:

    • rali74

      April 14, 2012 at 8:15 pm

      And if Wisconsin’s wolf slaughter goes forward the same should be done for here. My wife and I already decided to take our mini-vacation in the U.P. rather than in Wisconsin because of our wolf policy. It’s sad that I have to boycott products from my own state, but that’s just how it goes when you pander to those who want to destroy our wildlife and ignore the citizens. I stopped buying Idaho products around this time last year when the rider passed and they announced their insane wolf slaughter and plan to kill all but 150 out of a thousand.

  13. Tracy Carl

    April 15, 2012 at 9:48 am

    So sitting there with a smile on your face while a wolf is suffering is not Probable cause ??? That is a lame cop out !!! This man should be punished to the fullest extent of the law, along with the guys who were shooting at that poor wolf. Your excuses, and changing of stories do not fly with us. Fix it !!!! We are watching YOU Idaho, and so is the rest of the world. Make a good example of your State and make some changes. Put the wolf back on the endangered list !!!!

  14. owstarr

    April 15, 2012 at 11:15 pm

    The public should demand a more comprehensive investigation. We pay Bransford’s salary. We have a right not know how he spends his time. He claims he has a trapline of at least 75 traps and possibly over 100. In order to be in compliance with the law he needs to check these traps frequently. We should be demanding his work schedule to see if:

    A) he was checking the traps during his working hours (in which case we can demand he be terminated for dereliction of duty


    B) that he wasn’t checking his traps as frequently as the regulations require. In which case we should demand that his hunting and trapping privileges be forfeit.

    I don’t think it’s possible that a person can check a trapline of this size as frequently as required without doing so in a way that would coincide with times during which he is paid to be at work. We have a right to this information since we pay for his salary. If enough of us demand it, we can get to the truth and hopefully hit this monster where it hurts. By taking away either his salary or his legal right to kill.

  15. findtheway2

    April 17, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    Nez Perce National Forest Supervisor’s Office

    104 Airport Road
    Grangeville, ID 83530
    FAX: 208-983-4099
    TDD: 208-983-0696

    Write and demand Josh Branford be fired.

    • Oliver Starr (@OWStarr)

      August 7, 2012 at 2:37 pm

      Here’s another approach suggested by a reader of my blog:

      I hope someone reads this who has been in touch with or plans to write US Fed / State officials. As a Federal Employee, Josh Bransford is bound by the “14 Principals of Ethical Conduct for Federal Employees” which can be found at:

      (14) Employees shall endeavor to avoid any actions creating the appearance that they are violating the law or the ethical standards set forth in the Standards of Ethical Conduct. Whether particular circumstances create an appearance that the law or these standards have been violated shall be determined from the perspective of a reasonable person with knowledge of the relevant facts.

      There’s no doubt that Josh Bransford violated this ethic, and if you look at a couple of the other Principals, you can see how his actions can be considered to have been in violation of them as well.

      Not sure if this helps, but perhaps word can get out?

  16. Ken Johnson

    April 27, 2012 at 8:23 pm

    My Response from the USDA Forest Service 4/27/2012:

    Thank you for your email of April 9, 2012, to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Ask the Expert regarding wolf trapping.

    Neither the USDA nor the USDA’s Forest Service condones animal cruelty or the unethical treatment of animals in any circumstance. However, the USDA and the Forest Service recognize and support the State of Idaho’s authority to manage wildlife issues, including wolf hunting and trapping activities, in that State. We agree that the posted photos were inappropriate. However, the individual was on his personal time, on private property, engaging in a State-controlled, legal activity.

    The Idaho Department of Fish and Game has investigated the incident and issued a statement, which states: “The trapper of the wolf depicted in the photograph had the necessary trapping class, license, and tags, and dispatched the wolf shortly after the photograph was taken. The trapper set and checked the trap in compliance with state trapping rules, and had permission from the landowner to set the trap.”

    We have cooperated and will continue to cooperate with the State of Idaho if any future reviews of this incident are warranted. You may wish to contact the Idaho Department of Fish and Game for further details on their investigation and the final report. Again, thank you for your concern and for contacting the Forest Service.


    /s/Donna Drelick, for

    LEO F. KAY

    Director, Office of Communication


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