Wilderness Predator Control Information Page

by Erik Ryberg, The Center for Biological Diversity, revised July 6, 2006

Introduction to the New Rules

The Forest Service has proposed new rules governing predator control -- aerial gunning, poison baits and traps, and the like -- in designated wilderness areas and research natural areas.

The new rules:

  • Relax the circumstances under which predator control may occur in designated wilderness
  • Permit killing the "local population" of animals instead of the "offending individual"
  • Permit motorized use inside designated wilderness areas for predator control
  • Permit poison baits and traps (the notorious "M-44" guns) where they were previously prohibited
  • Permit "collaborative groups" to set predator control objectives
  • Relax all the language that formerly provided some small measure of protection to predators in wilderness areas and Research Natural Areas

    The Center for Biological Diversity is urging everyone who cares about wild animals and wild places to oppose this new rule change. This web page is designed to give you quick access to background documents that may help you understand and work to prevent this terrible rule from passing, and secure protection for wolves, coyotes, bears, foxes, bobcats and mountain lions wherever they roam.

    What You Can Do

    First, please contact us if you or your organization would like to add your name to our sign-on letter, which will be sent to the Forest Service and the media. To join, send an email to eryberg@biologicaldiversity.org with your contact information, including a phone number.

    Second, please consider writing your own comment letter in addition to joining our sign-on letter. Explain to the Forest Service why wilderness and predators are important to you, and why you believe they deserve complete protection from government hunters and poison baits and traps. Comments must be postmarked on or before September 5, 2006, and should be addressed to:

    Forest Service, USDA
    Attn: Director, Wilderness and Wild Scenic Rivers Resources
    201 14th Street, SW
    Washington, D.C. 20250

    You may also email your comments to


    Background Materials

    The following links will take you to background materials that you may find useful in framing your comments. The best place to start is probably our synopsis and analysis of the new rule; few commentors will want to descend into most of these documents. We only include them here for those who want to research all the finer points of the new rules.

  • A Brief Analysis of the New Rules
  • The Federal Register Notice of the Proposed Rules from June 7, 2006
  • The Federal Register Notice of Current Rules, from May 4, 1995
  • Side by Side Comparison of the Current and Proposed Rules
  • Comment Letter on the New Rule from the Center for Biological Diversity
  • June 12 Press Release by the Center for Biological Diversity Concerning the Rule Change
  • The Sign-on letter Circulated by the Center for Biological Diversity
  • The Memorandum of Understanding Mentioned in the Proposed Rule Change
  • The Wilderness Act
  • Forest Service rules Concerning Research Natural Areas (go to "4060" at linked page)


  • Denver Post op-ed
  • Fly, Rod & Reel article on the new rule
  • July 4, 2006 Denver Post article on the new rule
  • July 2, 2006 Caspar Tribune article on the new rule
  • July 1, 2006 Summit Daily News article on the new rule
  • The Christian Science Monitor on the new rule
  • A Good Article in High Country News on M44 cyanide guns
  • More from High Country News on predator control in the '90s
  • Good editorial from Aspen Times
  • Hunter decries predator rules
  • Missoula Independent on "cyanide-aided housekeeping"


  • Center for Biological Diversity joins coalition of groups calling for an extension of comment period. Letter is here. Press release here.
  • Center for Biological Diversity and over 100 other conservation organizations demand withdrawal of the proposed rule. Press release here.
  • Comment period extended to September 7!

  • Forest Service agrees to extension of comment period

  • eryberg@biologicaldiversity.org