Wyoming Man's Wolf Torture Sparks Debate Among Hunters: What Action is Being Taken?

Thayne Muthler


The disgusting actions of one individual are affecting the views of a vengeful public and could change the face of morally sound, scientifically based wildlife management in the United States.

As a fellow hunter who appreciates the outdoors and conservation initiatives, I am very worried by Cody Roberts' recent acts. The horrific event that saw a wild wolf abused, tortured, paraded around a bar, and finally killed not only Cody Roberts but also the hunting community in general in the eyes of the general American public.

As a hunting community, we must strongly denounce Roberts' acts and take this chance to distance ourselves from those who do not show respect for animals or the environment. This behavior is completely out of line with ethical hunting ideals and goes against the underlying beliefs held by hunters who have great respect for the natural world and its majestic species.

This event gives us the chance to emphasize that real hunters are environmental stewards, conservationists, and steadfast supporters of moral hunting methods. We show how our passion for hunting is entwined with a profound respect for nature and a dedication to preserving it for future generations by speaking out to advance these ideals within our community and beyond.

Wyoming Wolf Torture: Hunter Debate and Action | Wildlife Advocates React
The Wyoming Game and Fish Department obtained a photo of a sub-adult wolf with a muzzle lying on the bar floor in Daniel, Wyoming.


Many groups have responded strongly to the February incident in which a wild wolf in Wyoming was mistreated and killed. There has been widespread public outcry and calls for new legislation.

Individuals are expressing their reluctance to visit popular tourist destinations in Wyoming. They are also actively participating in discussions held by the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission. With the increased attention, there is growing scrutiny on Wyoming's management of wolves and other wildlife. Critics argue that in their efforts to manage animal populations, the well-being of individual animals is often overlooked.

Kristin Combs, the head of Wyoming Wildlife Advocates, has drawn attention to this problem by highlighting the potential consequences of prioritizing population control over the welfare of individual animals. Combs cautions that if this tactic has no significant impact on population growth, it may encourage the acceptability of animal abuse.

In light of these changes, some prominent hunting organizations have opted to remain largely silent, but there have been a few noteworthy exceptions. One such exception is The Wildlife Society, a prominent organization consisting of wildlife biologists and natural resource managers. Both the current and past presidents of this organization have taken a standby writing an open letter to Governor Mark Gordon of Wyoming. They fervently implore the government in this letter to act quickly to close any legal gaps that would allow for future occurrences of the same kind. The letter highlights that ethical wildlife management does not include people like Cody Roberts, who intentionally harmed wildlife while not even on a hunting expedition.

Wyoming Wolf Biologists Locates GPS Collar at 10,813-Foot Summit and Takes Samples. Photo by Wyoming Game and Fish Department
A concerning narrative that centers on Cody Roberts and presents him as a representation of hunters, in general, has emerged in the wake of the February tragedy. This narrative, perpetuated by certain media outlets, depicts Roberts as a representation of a particular rural Western way of thinking that is hostile to wolves and views them as a menace, and that the federal government is involved in the protection of. By doing this, this story suggests that Roberts' entire community was involved in addition to portraying him as the result of narrow-minded bigotry.

David Stalling, one of the founders of Hunters and Anglers for Wildlife Management Reform, describes in graphic detail a scene that he imagines occurring in small-town Western pubs. For his activities against the wolf, Roberts is praised as a hero in this scenario. In addition to objectifying Roberts, this portrayal perpetuates negative assumptions about rural populations and their views on predators. It gives the impression that these societies approve of and celebrate these kinds of behavior, which feeds into the unfavorable stereotype of hunters.

Anti-hunting organizations have been able to spread their message because the hunting community has not responded strongly enough. They imply that hunters despise all predators with equal disregard, such as bears, coyotes, and mountain lions. There are real repercussions to this rhetoric, as the circumstances in Colorado, where a decision to outlaw hunting for wild cats is about to be made. Arguments that hunting is a violent, psychotic pastime have acquired hold, and the majority of hunters have remained silent on these accusations, which has contributed to their growth.

The Need to Explain That We as Hunters are NOT Cody Roberts

In addition to pursuing geese and ducks, hunters of waterfowl also work to protect the habitats of the marsh. These areas support a wide variety of wildlife, not simply aquatic birds. These include several shorebird species, songbirds, muskrats, and voles, which are small rodents. Good wetlands help local populations by providing clean water, drawing tourists who enjoy seeing wildlife at the sanctuaries, and even replenishing subterranean water sources.

Wyoming Wolf Torture: Hunter Debate and Action | Wildlife Advocates React
Hunters are the biggest contributors to conservation in the United States. Photo by Lori at PixaBay.

In a similar vein, supporters of conservation easements that safeguard big-game winter ranges benefit mule deer, bohemian waxwings, marmots, and other wildlife by giving them safe havens. By maintaining minimum in-stream flows, trout fishermen not only help fish but also whole ecosystems that support a variety of aquatic life, from leopard frogs to stoneflies. Communities that rely on clean water, such as riverbank ranchers and city water users, also benefit from these initiatives.

The narratives we tell about these cherished environments ought to center on the broader advantages they provide for the community. These places protect pure water for those downstream in addition to offering open spaces amongst urban expansion. These areas become progressively more vital as havens and vital parts of healthy ecosystems as our climate continues to warm.

It's critical to emphasize how hunting advances society at large rather than only focusing on our personal growth or our strong bonds with the animals we hunt. Hunting contributes significantly to the well-being of society at large by promoting a greater diversity and abundance of species, healthier environments, stronger communities, and sustainable food sources.

Even while it is regrettable when people like Cody Roberts make headlines, their misdeeds shouldn't obscure the beneficial contributions made by ethical hunters. Rather than severing ties with these people, we ought to restate our commitment to conservation and remind non-hunters that we add more to the common resources than we take. Maintaining this balance is necessary to avoid losing the public's support, which would eventually make it more difficult for us to preserve and care for the natural world.