Blogging About Critters Since 2007

Monday, October 22, 2007

Man Sues Idaho Fish and Wildlife For Slander Over Bear Killing

Wildlife photographer Tom Holman alledges he was only feeding deer which end up attracting a grizzly bear that was shot out of fear that it would endanger humans.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is investigating whether a wildlife photographer who put out food for animals violated a federal law that protects endangered species.

The question is whether the food provided by Tom Holman resulted in the killing of a grizzly bear that became habituated to the handouts.

Holman, who lives near Nordman, in northern Idaho, said his putting out corn for deer had nothing to do with the killing of the bear, a member of an endangered species. He also said that setting restrictions on residents putting out food violates private property rights.

Holman, who sells wildlife photos on his Web site, said he has retained an attorney and intends to sue the Idaho Department of Fish and Game and the Fish and Wildlife Service for slander. The Idaho department was called in to kill the 2-year-old male grizzly on Oct. 4 out of concern it might attack someone.

"I was not luring the bear in," Holman told The Spokesman Review newspaper of Spokane.

Photo by Shellie Raney


Anonymous said...

The bear was already food conditioned, which means, the bear had come to this area to eat more than once. Is he saying that in all those times the bear visited he never once saw the bear? He had to have seen the bear or at least seen the bears signs in the area. He should have stopped once he realized that the bear was in the area and the bear was eating the food he provided.

Anonymous said...

Holman was chumming for bears; he might as well have shot the bear with a 30/06. He recklessly endangered his neighbors in the process--they should sue him!! Holman's selfish behavior is wildly unethical.

Anonymous said...

I grew up in Nordman and as far back as I can recall as a small child my grandparents and parents always put corn or other grains out for the deer, birds, squirrels, etc. Every morning we would look out the window and see such a beautiful sight. (The one thing about moving away to the city that I miss more than you can imagine). Hummingbird feeders and bird feeders can be found at nearly every home you visit.

I have read blogs lately that blame Tom Holman for the death of the grizzly; I have also read those that claim he is baiting animals and that he is a lazy photographer. I know Tom Holman better than most; I know that he loves Priest Lake and all the wildlife in his surroundings. He did not become a photographer for the money; he took pictures because of his love for the animals and scenery. This is his home and his intentions were to only share with everyone the joys of the wildlife he sees each day. He is very sad about the grizzly being killed as we all are, but he did nothing to provoke the Game Dept to kill the bear. The killing is on their heads and now they are trying to place the blame elsewhere. After decades of feeding deer corn, a bear wandered into the yard, at that time the deer feeding stopped for safety reasons. The Game Dept makes it sound like he was baiting the bear, and on top of that over a long period of time.

I do have a question for the Game Dept. In the Spokesman Review there was an article with a map showing the grizzlies route back to Nordman after being relocated north of Bonners Ferry. My question is very simple... Why did the bear travel twice the distance to go to Dover (Sandpoint area) Idaho then turn up and travel half the distance back to Bonners Ferry to Nordman? If the bear was being baited by Tom then wouldn't the bear choose to travel half the distance and go straight to Nordman? Hmm? What was in Dover that the bear wanted so badly that he would travel twice as far to get it? Perhaps someone had better corn in their backyard?!? The Game Dept is saying that we should not feed wildlife for it is unsafe and not right for the animals. I can see where they may have an argument due to the animals not feeding themselves. Since we are blaming Tom for the grizzly incident then I propose that we blame the manufacturers of hummingbird feeders, bird houses etc; let’s not stop there, we need to blame anyone who may purchase or build a bird house or bird feeder as well. I am guilty and should be prosecuted; heck I’ve even thrown corn out for the deer, quail and pheasant in my back yard. Let’s get real people!

The grizzly population has grown significantly as have the moose. They are both a major hazard in the Nordman area but to our surprise the Game Dept doesn't let the locals know these things. God forbid if we ever get to the point where we can take them off the endangered species list. Wow! If that happened where would they get their precious funding. What a flipp'n scam, pretty soon we will be gating off more mountains and more back roads so not to disturb the jackalope or purple fox, anything for revenue! It really sickens me by the way when I read blogs from people who have never met Tom, or have even visited Priest Lake. Anyone who has ever met Tom would know right away that he is not capable of the things that are being rumored about him. I know that Tom has the support of those who know him in the Priest Lake and Priest River area and that may be all that matters. I wish Tom the best in this matter and he has 100% of my support.

Tom is a very good friend of mine but he is also my father. I think that I know his character as well as anyone who knows him. I wish that the attacks on him would come to an end for he is not deserving of such slanderous remarks. He is more than ready to fight back for what the Game Dept did to the bear and he has the support of many. His heart is heavy however for the death of the bear at the hands of the Game Dept. who is trying to convince him that he is initially to blame. Just a note to you that voice your opinion in blogs on things you have no idea about; I take anything and everything said negatively about my father as a personal attack on my family. It is my suggestion to you that if you truly know what is going on please voice your opinion but if you have no clue of the “real” story stay out of it, you are just making matters worse for all parties involved. If you have any questions or comments for me personally I would be more than happy to correspond with you in this matter. My email address is I look forward to opening your eyes to who Tom Holman really is and not the man that the Game Dept is making him out to be. Christine Holman-Day

shellie said...

I am the photographer of the photograph used here. This was taken in at a Wild Life Reservation Park. I would never "Chum" bear in the wild. This being said I have had the please of seeing bears in the wild from a distance using proper equipment to get the shots I wanted.
People need to respect the dangers for themselves & the animals when we place ourselves in their enviroment.
Thanks for the exposure my picture is getting just wished I would get a check in the mail.
Shellie Raney

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