Saturday, November 18, 2017
Breaking News
Home » Community Blogs » Are Hunters Stupid? The Unintended Consequences of Wolf Hunting
Those advocating wolf hunting may be doing more to solidify opposition to all hunting than any other action they could take.

Are Hunters Stupid? The Unintended Consequences of Wolf Hunting

In my younger days I worked for the BLM in Boise, Idaho. A new range con, named Daryl, came to the district. On Friday after work, we invited Daryl to a party so he could meet some of the local folks. I was talking to a couple of women when Daryl ambled up to us with a beer in his hand and big smile on his face. I introduced him and he started talking to the ladies.

I think on the whole he was making a good impression. Dressed in his cowboy boots and jeans, Daryl made a striking figure. After making some small talk for a while, Daryl made his move. He asked them if they wanted to go gopher shooting on Saturday. “Gopher shooting” they asked incredulously? “Yeah, he said, “gopher hunting—you know blowing away gophers.” They looked stunned and remained silent. So Daryl tried to recover and said, “The fun part is seeing the red mist rise in the air when you hit one. It’s an incredible rush,” he said with obvious enthusiasm.

Those women just looked at each other like they couldn’t believe what they were hearing. He might as well ask them if they wanted to go the park and molest children. The women fled. Daryl was left baffled and standing alone. He just couldn’t understand why anyone wouldn’t want to go blow away gophers, especially when he offered to bring a spare rifle so they could join in the fun.
Poor Daryl had grown up on a farm in North Dakota, and more recently had worked in Burns Oregon. In his world, shooting gophers was considered a legitimate recreational pastime. But what passes for fun in rural America seems like senseless killing to most urban dwellers.

Sometimes I think most hunters in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming are as clueless as Daryl. They can’t seem to comprehend how killing wolves baffles, if not outright infuriates, a lot of people. Wolf killing gives fodder to those who want to stop all hunting. Sometimes when I see these rural rubes, strutting around celebrating the initiation of a wolf hunting season and talking about how it’s an “adrenaline rush” to shoot one, I have to wonder if they are brain dead or just incredibly naïve and ignorant about the rest of mainstream society’s values? They apparently cannot imagine how much some forms of hunting, including the shooting of an icon like the wolf, turns off the rest of society to hunting.

Most people don’t hunt, so the perception of hunting and hunters is key to how society will tolerate and support hunting as a legitimate activity. Yet most hunters seem to take the knee jerk attitude that anyone who objects to any form of hunting or kind of hunting, no matter how barbaric, is either a member of PETA, or just doesn’t “understand” Nature. The truth is that many of those objecting to wolf hunting are neither ignorant of ecology nor members of PETA or any other animal rights organization.

Americans are willing to accept some forms of hunting, typically if the animal is used for food and/or if there is a legitimate safety issue—say animals carry rabies. But they don’t support outright slaughter of animals for no reason other than someone thinks killing is fun or a challenge. I and many of my friends hunt—but we all eat the animals we kill, and we don’t kill animals unnecessarily or with malice against them.

Furthermore, many Americans, including myself, consider spotting a wolf in the wild as a cherished event. Despite the claims by some hunters that there are “too many” wolves in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho, the chance of seeing one of these animals in the wild is extremely rare. There are less than 2000 wolves spread over three of the largest western states. Imagine if there were only 2000 deer spread over all three states—would hunters think there were “too many?”

Plus, for many Americans, wolves are symbolic of a largely lost heritage of the wild, unfettered nature. And for some, such as myself, wolf restoration represents the best of American values—acknowledging the great ecological wrong we imposed upon the land when we extirpated wolves, and an attempt to heal the ecological wounds we created. So the idea that any state would implement a policy to restrict or reduce wolves is something to strongly oppose.

As the ecologist Aldo Leopold noted years ago, wolves also play an important biological role as a top down predator that has many ecological ramifications across the landscape. Unfortunately most hunters have not yet developed the ability to “think like a mountain” as Leopold admonished.

We do know that wolves select different animals in the herd from hunters. Wolves, while opportunistic, still tend to kill the young, old, and injured. They can keep herd animals free from disease and can sometimes have significant influence upon other animals and plants. For example, it’s theorized that hey alter habitat use by ungulates, for instance, moving elk out of riparian areas. Even when wolves severely reduce prey numbers, they are performing an important ecological function by providing plant communities respite from heavy browsing pressure.

Hunters by contrast, tend to kill the productive age healthy animals, and have less ecological influence upon prey species and habitat use than native predators.

Of course, some hunters rationalize killing wolves because they suggest the animals “need” to be managed. I hear that all the time, as if somehow the natural world had gone to hell in a hand-basket before Euro Americans arrived just in the nick of time to rescue Nature from imminent collapse. Of course, the “need” to manage wolves is both a self-created and self-justifying excuse to kill animals that most hunters wish would just go away or at least believe should be kept at much lower numbers.

All this talk about the so called “need” to manage wolves is disingenuous at best. Any good ecologist will tell you that wolves and other predators do not need to be “managed” since they are more or less self-regulating by prey availability and social interactions. The only reason one has to “manage” wolves is because state wildlife agencies want to sell more hunting licenses. (There may be rare instances where lethal action is necessary where an animal may have become habituated to people and poses a safety concern, but that is entirely different than “sport hunting”.)

I doubt most agencies care about predator social interactions. They treat wolves and other predators like cogs in a wheel—interchangeable parts. Shoot some wolves. Not to worry, more will be born. But the interactions between wolves, prey, and humans are not so simple. Animals have real social lives that influence many aspects of their behavior.

Indiscriminate hunting, by disrupting these social relationships, can exacerbate the conflicts between wolves and humans. Killing a large percentage of wolves in any area creates many of the so called “problems” that hunting is supposed to reduce. Indiscriminate hunting and reduction of wolves (as opposed to the surgical elimination of a particular animal or group) skews the local population towards younger animals which are less skilled hunters, thus more likely to attack easy prey like livestock.

Also with more young animals breeding, that produce more pups, you actually increase the total biomass requirements of packs so that even if they don’t prey on livestock, wolves are likely to need more prey—i.e. those elk, deer, and moose that hunters covet. Nothing will do more to create animosity and conflict towards predators than hunting. But you won’t hear this from any state wildlife agency since it’s not in their interest to worry about social interactions of animals.

Yet if you read hunting magazines and/or listen to hunters discussing the future of their favorite activity, you find a common theme is that predators are destroying game herds, and the “antis” are out to take away their guns. The “antis” are, of course, anyone else who doesn’t hunt. Most hunters spend more time complaining about the “antis” than doing anything meaningful to protect the habitat that is central to all hunting.

The real threat to hunting doesn’t come from PETA or any other animal rights group, but from the habitat loss resulting from oil drilling, logging, livestock grazing, ATVs, sprawl, and all the rest of the development and degradation of natural landscapes that continues unabated daily. Some hunters and some pro hunting organizations like the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, among others recognize this, and certainly most agency biologists are well aware of this threat, but the average hunter seems less interested in protesting against oil wells, expanding ATV use, and/or sprawl than complaining about the antis.

If hunters want to help realize their worst fears—that is fuel opposition to hunting by society–they could find no better way to do this than continue blowing away wolves. But if Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho want to signal to the world that they have entered the 21st Century and no longer hold archaic and outdated ideas about predators, they can begin to value wolves as essential for ecological diversity, as well as their role in the American imagination as symbols of what we are doing right to heal the ecological wounds we created. The way to do this is to stop the hunting of all predators starting with wolves.

George Wuerthner is a wildlife biologist and a former Montana hunting guide.

About George Wuerthner

George Wuerthner has published 36 books, including Wildfire: A Century of Failed Forest Policy

Check Also

One Big Sky Center

Hammes Company Joins One Big Sky Center Venture in Billings

Billings, Montana is moving ahead with discussions on the One Big Sky Center proposal, which ...


  1. George,

    That was a good write up !!!

    That being said, I didn’t get to read the whole thing. I am packing to leave tomorrow to try to shoot a CANADIAN Grey Wolf that they brought back into Idaho…….. Since gopher hunting isn’t as good during the fall 🙂

    If you want to know who is Stupid, go read some comments on the Defenders of wild life forums. WOW !!!!!

  2. Its not that rare to see a wolf anymore, they are seen in rural towns walking down the street, killing an elk on the golf course, following hikers through the woods… You don’t have to be a rancher or hunter to recognize the wolves are expanding and doing very well.

    Instead of berating hunters, ask why other states didn’t take the wolves Idaho offered to them? Is it because of a NIMBY attitude? They feel good knowing wolves are “out there” – just not in their back yard.

  3. TLM

    I think there’s a bit of hyperbole in your account of wolves “walking down the streets”. There are, afterall, still less than 2000 wolves spread over more than 200 million acres of terrain. Not exactly a high density.

    As for other states, one reason not to hunt wolves in the Rockies is to allow populations to rise high enough to ensure out sourcing–i.e. migration by wolves to surrounding states like Colorado, Utah, Oregon and Washington. All of this is happening, but could come to a halt if hunters are successful in achieving the quotas of states, in particular, Idaho.

  4. Amazing…the hunters commenting here are proving George’s point even better than he did!

  5. What i find interesting is this guy is absolutely clueless about anything regarding hunting. Wolves only cull out the old, weak or diseased animals….really, how does that explain the 120 sheep they killed last week? Then he rambles on about hunters only take the choice animals….well i seriously doubt any hunter can gage the age of a cow elk or a bull elk while in the act of hunting them in the mountains of Idaho, or there health…was the elk in a wheel chair? Have gray hair, did the particular bull use a walker to run past you, unless it’s a calf or spike your playing a guessing game until you see the teeth. Furthermore, i’m sure all the wolf advocates are all vegetarian, never have they ate beef, pork, chicken, Turkey, Sheep….you know animals that are raised for slaughter, but somehow they jusify that as o.k., at least wildlife has a chance to survive…if you think anywhere near the qouta of wolves will be harvested you are dellusional. Go back to your yuppy metrosexual lifestyle and leave all the Hillbillies in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming to our own simple pleasures.
    You are probably a wildlife biologist, but you surely are not the hunter or guide you pretend to be. A country boy can survive jr.
    Whats amusing to me is that most of these idiots live in other states and use the same lame arguments and do not even bother to research the facts, most of them still think you can buy out the tags so the hunters cannot get them….learn the definition of the term “quota”.

  6. Dear RK

    If you read the scientific literature, you would learn that wolves and human hunters do differ in the animals selected.

    For instance, in the paper Selection of Northern Yellowstone Elk by Gray Wolves
    and Hunters;2

    the authors found “The age classes of female elk selected by wolves and hunters were significantly different. Hunters
    selected a large proportion of female elk with the greatest reproductive values, whereas wolves selected a large proportion of elk calves and older females with low reproductive values.”

  7. Uh…where is the story / blog here ? All I see are the Comments and a small white bar at the top of the page….

  8. Wolf hunting is a necessary, but socially complicated activity. While the idea of killing a wolf may not sit well with many, animals must be managed – especially wolves, which have an extremely rapid reproductive rate. If hunters don’t do it, the state and feds will.

    Hunters pay for conservation and wildlife agencies through license fees. Unlike the animal rights groups, hunters actually give back to the species financially. If hunters don’t harvest wolves and the agencies do instead, taxpayers will continue shouldering more and more of the expenses through a socialized management structure. No hunting will result in fewer dollars to support habitat conservation and will ultimately detrimental to wolves and other wildlife.

    Many folks don’t realize this, but most of the dollars paying for wildlife conservation, including wolf reintroduction, are provided by hunters. Sorry if you don’t like the image of a wolf dying, but hunting is the best wildlife management tool and wolves must be managed. They have a place on the landscape, but they shouldn’t be treated different than other wildlife.

    Wolf hunting isn’t a matter of yes or no, it is a matter of how and how much. Stop howling about something you don’t understand.

  9. same here…somehow the story is missing…

  10. Good piece George. Thanks.
    > I suspect, if left undisturbed, the wolf population growth curve was
    > about to flatten out a bit. I think we were on the verge of population
    > density enough to get disease established to play its natural
    > role…like parvo has begun to do in Yellowstone. Also, I’d bet wolves
    > will respond like coyotes and begin to breed younger and have larger
    > litters when eradication attempts happen in earnest. It sure looks
    > like certain non-reflective humans are projecting onto wolves their
    > own bloodlust. “And they don’t even eat their victims, but just kill
    > for fun, etc, etc…”

  11. Mt Backcountry

    Your entire premise is flawed. Wolves and other large predators don’t have to be managed. They are self regulated by prey density, social interactions between packs, disease, and so forth. They do not grow indefinitely. The populations of wolves in places without hunting have not continued to grow. In fact, in some instances, have declined significantly.

    Indeed, there is evidence, as I suggest that “managing” them begets more “management”. Just as killing coyotes for decades has never led to less coyotes or conflicts. In fact, it appears to increases conflicts for the reasons I’ve stated in the article.

  12. Matt:

    Thanks I read your piece a couple of days ago. Good job.


  13. rk, mt backcounry @ others of that mindset, I suggest you apply for a permit to aquire a new brain as yours seems to suffer from a lack of synapse activity

  14. Geo,
    Thanks for this article. You have touched on some important points and once again stirred the pot.

    I am thoroughly disgusted by the return of wolf “hunting” to the Northern Rockies. The speed at which Idaho reinstituted wolf hunting after federal delisting shows that the state has been drooling over this plan for some time. Montana too is chomping at the bit to train guns on its predators.

    I do disagree, George, with your general portrayal of hunters.
    There are plenty of hunters – including the dozen or so I know personally – who have no interest in hunting wolves or other predators. These hunters kill deer, elk and antelope, and perhaps game birds, to put meat on the table and for the experience and challenge of stalking wiley animals in their native habitat. These, to me, are true hunters.

    If you kill a mammal or bird intentionally, you should eat it. Otherwise you are killing for sheer pleasure, not hunting. No one is going to eat a wolf, so wolf “hunting” – unless done as a specific, surgical control action by a managing agency – is killing for pleasure.

    If you do like to hunt deer and elk, killing wolves is actually at cross-purposes to your sport. Wolves improve game populations through selective hunting pressure. Elk behave as they do and look as they do partly thanks to ten thousand years of wolf predation.

    Wolf killing robs the rest of us that enjoy seeing wild wolves. As a guide and naturalist, I make my living partly by helping people to see them and enjoy wolves. Each wolf killed by a “hunter” is one that no will will ever have the chance to see again.

    I am quite baffled by the fact that we spent millions of dollars to restore wolves, only to start killing them off again. Have we forgotten how wolves ended up on the endangered list? They were nearly exterminated in the lower 48 by centuries of shooting, poisoning and trapping.

    Wolves do not need to be “managed.” They got along just fine without management until we came long with our prejudices and narrow-minded view of wolves as problem animals.

    Phil Knight

  15. Phil

    Thanks for your comments.

    I agree with you about hunters–there are many who do not support wolf hunting, but do hunt other animals primarily for food–you missed a sentence I had in the piece.

    “I and many of my friends hunt—but we all eat the animals we kill, and we don’t kill animals unnecessarily or with malice against them. “

  16. Geo,

    I did read this sentence; thanks for pointing it out again. But you are characterizing you and your friends here, not hunters in general.

    However, I think you made a very important point about malice. Any person who kills an animal with malice, that is with hate or ill intention toward them, does not deserve the name hunter.

    I have the utmost respect for hunters who thank and revere the animal that dies to provide them with food.

    Phil Knight

  17. Good article, George. Anyone who enjoys blowing away “gophers” just for a rush is in need of medical attention, IMHO.

  18. George there may be less than 2000 counted wolves, even David Mech, much more a wolf expert than you are feels there are closer to 3000. As he said the more there are, the harder it is to get an accurate count.
    We sure as he** haven’t seen much self regulation of the wolves so far, far from the mating for life, we have males breeding multiple females with in the pack, females breeding with multiple males, so packs are having multiple litters that are probably mixed. FWS has done a fair job of killing wolves, but of course it is always AFTER they have killed livestock, and usually after multiple kills. That was & I guess still is the case with the sheep destroyers.
    The elk calf retention is in the single and low double digits, no, that is NOT normal! The elk are getting older both killed by the wolves and hunters because there are so few young to take their place.
    If you wanted to save the wolves they should have been left where they were in the wilderness instead of bringing them in for voyeurs to watch.

  19. your article was ridiculous. to possibly associate your gopher hunter with all hunters is a stretch only possible by no intelligent thought. you probably made the whole thing up just to stir the pot.

    the whole reason that wolves were reintroduced was to manage them. without the management you abhor there would be no lupus here. without management there would be no grizzly. black bear, trumpeter swan, snail darter, etc.

    new west needs to have a staff meeting and review their objectives unless it has changed to bizzaro enviro journalism. i use the journalism word loosely.

  20. The IDFG commissioners at the wolf quota meeting a few weeks back made clear their intention to drive the numbers of wolves down to the 518 number. However, they set the hunt at 220 to avoid injunction (which they made explicit) and reassured each-other that there were “other tools in the tool-box” ~ i.e. Wildlife Services (also explicit).

    From my perspective, at least the hunt is public, albeit arbitrary. That’s what I think the commissioners settled on – a modest public “cull” to draw all the attention while the substantial “control” happens behind closed doors. Ever try to get a FOIA reply out of WS ? Notice how IDFG’s ‘wolf/livestock’ reports have been getting less frequent, less detailed ? They don’t like light & all this focus on the hunt draws it away from the real “MANagement” that’s paid for by you and me.

    This whole thing has become an animal-rights thing – which is fine, but I’m quite cynical i suppose, and i question such reaction to a hunt ~ whereas it seems to me that the real threat to wolf recovery and the downfall of wolves’ ecological contribution happens in response to Livestock, where entire packs’ genetic contribution is wiped out at the landscape/regional scale via tax-payer subsidized extermination campaigns – and whereby wolves’ whole niche is undermined – the trophic cascade precluded – via the presence of livestock.

    just my 2 cents

  21. Excellent article George! You hit all the high points that are mostly ignored by the media. Like MT is allowing 75 wolf kills but selling 6,000 permits – just like elk they are treated as a corn crop to bring in revenue to a morally bankrupt agency. And about those 120 sheep killed near Dillon. Blame the irresponsible ranchers. I have followed that issue closely and the ranchers have “declined” to implement any of the recommendations given to them by the FWS to protect their flock. These ranchers are apparently too stupid to protect their own investment and then they whine. If they expect to raise sheep in country where predators exist they should smarten up. They will get no sympathy from me.

  22. What this guy doesn’t appear to get is that wolves are the ones who kill for fun (wiping out a whole flock of sheep and leaving the carcasses to rot, etc.) while hunters are no doubt getting a “rush” out of hunting the varmints who are causing so much problems for sheep ranchers and wiping out the elk, as a way of getting back at both the predators and the environmentalists.

    Wolves aren’t “nice doggies” like misinformed folks like Mr. Wuerthner appear to think. And, they have no predators to keep THEIR numbers down, except man (when he’s not being hamstrung by environuts). They are a real problem and need to be reduced in numbers… greatly.

  23. What you’re talking about here, George, is an imposition of cultural values from without. The trouble is that the cultural values being changed in this case are for the most part an evolution of actually living on and working with the landscape. Of course, that’s something that the deep-ecology faction sees as objectionable.
    I suppose philosophy can be an active mind game for those so inclined. But most people learn their philosophy from their environment. It’s imposed on them by their environment. That’s a lot different from reading a book and then seeking to impose a philosophy upon an environment as seems to be the case with Naesseans.
    As for environment-induced philosophy, let’s take the Indian example. Thousands of years long on this continent. The important thing to consider was the Indians had no social safety net, no investments other than perhaps seeds. They had to make it work every single year…no reserve CDs or pensions or gold bars to cash in. So that gives a certain urgency to whatever influences Indians chose to make upon their environment. Overharvest one year of salmon meant retribution from the gods four years later. Wasting too much time hunting one spot meant missing the season down the valley or over the ridge.
    The point here is, that Dakota boy should not be judged by you. Obviously he knows plenty about range conservation, right? And extending that, hunters should not be judged by non-hunters.
    I can’t stand in judgment of vegans. I have to respect their choice and by gawrsh, they should respect mine.
    And let’s take it a bit farther, on another topic of population management. If French want to eat horses, and we have too many here, and too few horse loving “advocates” ready to throw down for the expense of pasture….does anyone see a disconnect, a certain unreality?
    Then there is the “eat what you kill” angle, or “senseless killing.” Okay, any vegan who stomps a spider or roach has to eat it. Swat a fly? Mmmm. The pigeons that are making a health menace in a public place, or fertilizing the wheat elevator?
    The truth is that managing wildlife, and managing the landscapes upon they live, is a perfectly valid thing to do. And making decisions in such a way that the humans living on the landscape are satisfied with the outcome is, yep, a perfectly good philosophy.

  24. You know this greedy rancher bit gets kind of old, since when is it greed to want to protect one’s property that they have bought and paid for.
    At what point does protecting one’s property change from being the sensible thing to do and “greed”? There is an eco activist that is sure every rancher and hunter are greedy and no wolves should be harmed, it is greed that drives ranchers to kill one. I have seen her website where she makes absolutely stunning carved wooden entry doors. If someone enjoys termites and drops some off where they migrate into her wood and finished doors is she greedy if she destroys them?

  25. The real threat to hunting is not the PETA-philes and slob hunters but the vast generations of couch warmers intent on scoring video “kills” and conserving calories—while producing more offspring who suffer from nature-deficit-disorder.

    While these Gen-Y,Zers live out a life spent online in a virtual fantasy world, the real world of the outdoors and outdoor pursuits, environmental issues a causes elude their understanding.

    Virtual violence free from personal responsibility and consequence are far more entertaining than having to work up a sweat hunting, becoming coordinated enough to operate a ‘real’ firearm or bow competantly— or learning to appreciate the natural world.

    Same for animal rights causes…just hand over the fast food and no one will get hurt… who cares about wolves, unless their featured on the latest PC gamer review?

  26. Excellent article George. How refreshing to see some common sense enter into this debate. The “real” hunters I know are afraid this entire nasty situation will reflect badly on all of them, and that’s what seems to be happening. Killing to put food on the table is a whole different “sport” than slaughter for the thrill of the kill. It is obvious by your letter that you know a great deal about the wolves and their mannerisms, and also the real story of the outcome of “wildlife management”. You know the old saying, whenever man puts his fingers in something…………. Agree with the poster who said most letters are only confirming your comments. Another thought crossing my mind, we’ve all seen articles saying telling of the incredible amount of guns that have been sold recently because of some sort of paranoia. I wonder how many of these folks out tromping around in the woods have absolutely no experience with firearms. Beware! If they can’t tell the difference between a griz and black bear, chances are they can’t tell the difference between a wolf and your black lab.

  27. Dave:

    Your line of thought reminded me of the Dali Lama. He was once asked if he believed in the sanctity of all life. He responded with an affirmative. Then trying to catch him as a hypocrite, the person asked him if he ever killed mosquitoes. The Dali Lama smiled and said “we Buddhist are a practical people.” And said nothing more. So no doubt the Dali Lama swats an occasional annoying mosquito, but he would be one of the first I suspect to oppose mass killings of the insects.

    The issue here for me is that killing wolves is unnecessary in most cases. The rationale given by wildlife agencies that wolves “need” to be managed are self justified.

    The worse part about this is that killing wolves doesn’t reduce conflicts so doesn’t even accomplish the desired goals.

  28. Brenden:

    There are less than 2000 wolves spread over more than 200 million acres of land–that’s one wolf per hundred thousand acres. Come on–that’s too many? As i suggest in the article, imagine if there were only 2000 mule deer spread over that same amount of land–guess what–they would be listed under the ESA as well.

  29. Load of crap, George. How about relocating these wonderful selective killers to Central Park in New York.

  30. George, great article! I am not anti-hunting, but I agree with your points that the wolf hunting controversy probably does more to turn the general public in the anti-hunting direction. I also agree that state wildlife management agencies should be questioned and held accountable on their use (or lack thereof) of the best available scientific information. Unfortunately, these agencies are largely dependent on hunting license and tag revenues, and this tends to make them put hunter satisfaction and revenues ahead of ecological health. Until these agencies receive more diverse funding sources, this bias will continue. Perhaps if each devout wolf lover paid a fee to prevent a wolf from being killed, those new revenues might convince these agencies to be more tolerant of healthier and more socially stable wolf populations. In other words, I wonder if there is a market-driven or economic way to help these state agencies become more ecologically responsible. When wolves are worth more (in dollar terms) alive than dead to these agencies, the status quo might change for the better.

  31. Todd:

    Whether there are 2000 or 3000 wolves is not that important. I have no idea how many wolves the three states could support, but I suspect it’s a lot more than the number there now given the prey base available.

    There are something like 3000 plus wolves in Minnesota. They are located in about a quarter of the state–i.e. they are at much denser numbers than in the Rockies.

    Wolves have not been hunted in Minnesota since the 1970s. The wolf population has not grown indefinitely. Indeed, it’s about 3000 for years now, even without hunters to “manage” them. There are about one million deer in Minnesota, despite all the wolves.

    At the same time, the deer population in Minnesota has not disappeared. Last year there were 570,000 hunters in Minnesota–more than the total population of Wyoming. And those hunters killed 200,000 deer last year. Seems like the presence of wolves isn’t the disaster people think they may be.

  32. Geo, when was the last time you were in Yellowstone? There are about 40-50 cows at Mammoth and a rag bull. The rangers are waiting for a big bull to show up “any day”. There are two herd bulls on the Madison, one with 9 cows and 2 calves, one with 7 cows and 2 calves. Tell us again how well the elk are doing. A study done last year or the year before has 108 cows left in the Norris-Firehole area, single digit calf numbers.
    I don’t think you can keep track of things very well from Vermont or where ever it is you reside.

  33. George,
    Thank you for a fantastic article!! I am a 5th generation Idahoan with a family who has hunted deer and elk in these great mountains for many years. With this family background and a step-father who was a Fish & Game officer, I personally experienced the “Ego” hunter and a hunter who puts food on the table for his/her family. There is a huge difference. I don’t hunt but I respect a hunter who feeds his family and also respects the animal enough to keep it in the cycle of life. As far as I can see we have uneducated big “Ego’s” out there puffing up their chest to get their “Great” kill. A Department of Fish & Game who is counting the “Cha Ching” $$ and not listening to the greater population. It is a State department, right??? Uneducated ranchers not looking, or unwilling to look at the alternative methods of keeping the wolf from their live stock. The proven scientific results of the MANY benefits of having the wolf back where it belongs is shown very clearly in a movie called “Lord Of Nature”. I HIGHLY recommend everyone to watch this film. The film includes mid-western farmers/ranchers who share their experience with the reintroduction of wolves. I was surprised at how knowledgeable and educated these groups were of the importance of having the wolf and other predators in our mountains. They not only embraced the wolf they welcomed and understood it’s importance. This group also included the Mid-western hunting organizations! They do comment on the western rancher/farmer and hunters being behind the learning curve and hope we will catch up. Can westerners for once catch up with education!! I would like to add on that note, not all of the Idaho ranchers are behind the curve. I have heard there are ranchers in the Wood River Valley who are adopting better methods of cohabiting with the wolf. It is also refreshing to hear comments from western hunters who also “Get it”. There is hope.
    Let’s hope this education happens quickly or we are the ones who will suffer.
    Thank you again for a great article. I will be forwarding it to many. LaNette

  34. QUOTE “By TLM, 9-04-09

    Its not that rare to see a wolf anymore, they are seen in rural towns walking down the street, killing an elk on the golf course, following hikers through the woods… You don’t have to be a rancher or hunter to recognize the wolves are expanding and doing very well.”

    The same could be said for the humans. They are everywhere you look, encroaching into land once roamed by wolves. Is it fair to say then that it would be OK to go and shoot a few as they are fair game, and spreading way too rapidly.

  35. “Whether there are 2000 or 3000 wolves is not that important. I have no idea how many wolves the three states could support”.

    Good quote. Reminds me of Whoopie Goldberg saying ” The facts don’t mean anything, I know how I feel”.
    Not helping your cause, George. You can’t claim your arguements are based on science then make a statement like that and expect to taken seriously.

  36. Yep, Geo,
    But I would ask the Dalai where he draws the line on “practicality.” Or ask anyone what they’ll eat or won’t. That’s a values call, including the value call of whether or not to hunt in the first place, and WHAT to hunt, with what, all of which I think are separate from the objective analysis of the ability of the resource to regenerate.

    One comment that I found striking is the admission from Ralph Maughan that Honnold is asking for 5,000 wolves while even Ralph thinks the prey base doesn’t exist. If that is in fact true, and I am sure it is given the mort/recruit numbers in wolf-driven areas, as well as the dining events per year per wolf numbers, then the “paranoia” of hunters who fear the worst is justified…if not fully, then dang sure in part.

    So, the only way to claim wolves don’t need to be managed is if you give the interests of affected humans with “competing” wants or needs no weight at all, no, um, ah, er, oh yeah, INTRINSIC value.

  37. Tom:

    You can’t manage wildlife like that because they are regulated by so many variables including as I have said, prey base, disease, inter pack strive, etc. Even the Fish and Game doesn’t try to suggest there should be exactly 3000 elk or whatever. They always have a range of numbers because there are too many variables that affect wildlife numbers.

    The only number we should try to express is what is likely to be the lowest number of wolves that should be roaming the area in order to maintain a viable population. But there is no need to set an upper limit–that will happen by itself and without our interference.

  38. Dave:

    I’m not sure how many wolves could be supported in the three states, but about ten years ago I did a paper on the potential for wolf recovery in Oregon. Using prey base, road density, human population density and a few other parameters, I came up with an estimate of 2000-2,500 wolves in Oregon. Since then another researchers has come up with a similar estimate.

    But given that these three Rocky Mountain States have collectively far more deer, elk, etc. than Oregon, less roads, less people, etc., I would conservatively guess there is sufficient prey and habitat to support at least 5,000 wolves based on prey alone. However, inter pack strive might well keep wolves from reaching that potential. Typically before wolves totally exploit their prey, they are fighting over territory with lethal consequences–which is why wolves don’t need to be regulated. They are pretty good at killing each other when food gets scarce.

  39. As I read this I would have to think this guy could be Queer.

  40. The Idaho wolf hunt is all about symbolism, not wolves. If more than 20 wolves are killed out of the thousands of tags sold, I would be immensely surprised. They are extremely hard to hunt.

    But the tags are a great sop for the cattlemen, sheepmen, hunters, the NRA, and the ultra-conservatives who want to stick a thumb in the Federal government’s eye. And doing so makes money for the state.

    I’m 65, and when I was young, almost every male I knew hunted, so some degree. These days, the hunters are far fewer and far older as a general group. I don’t think this controversy will last very long, as hunting as an outdoor sport is steadily losing ground every year.
    The shooting clubs, Cowboy shooting, and the rest of the new gun sports are cheaper, quicker, have more action, and are less demanding than a traditional hunt, and this area is where all the action is. And all are tremendously safer, too. Let the old guys go out and have their heart attacks in peace, out in the boonies.

  41. “So, the only way to claim wolves don’t need to be managed is if you give the interests of affected humans with “competing” wants or needs no weight at all, no, um, ah, er, oh yeah, INTRINSIC value.”

    So, should the goal of enlightened modern game management be to produce as balanced and natural an ecosystem as possible. or to farm ungulates for hunters?

  42. Well, crisw,
    The fact remains that the evil ungulate hunters were the ones who supported, and support, the fish and game programs that all the nonconsumptive users get a “free ride” upon.
    Agencies realize this, and also recognize the trend so joyously noted above by boomer. So they are looking for other funding streams in order to not have to pay attention to license buyers any more.
    I suppose maybe some day hunters will be fiscally and socially irrelevant when it comes to game and wildlife management. So join me in hoping I’m dead before then.

  43. Hi, Dave…
    I’m not joyous about the trend away from hunting, but I’m not saddened, either- it’s just the way it is. The U.S. is no longer a rural nation, and I see no reversal in the national distaste for hunting. The NRA has done a lot of harm to the sport, as I see it, with it’s big support of semi and full automatic weapons. They squandered at least a generation’s worth of support for hunting when they started down that road.

    The ‘food on the table thing’ is just as symbolic as the rest. A serious hunter who plans on taking out a game carcass requires a lot of expensive equipment, and with the price of fuel, a hunt is anything but a cheap endeavor any more.
    A side of beef, cut and wrapped by a local butcher, is about 1/3 the price of a hunt.

    But hunting in itself, as an outdoor, wild experience, is just as valid to my thinking as any other outdoor sport. All the best hunters I know acknowledge this, and go out, even though it costs a lot now, knowing the value of the experience, even if they return empty-handed.

    I disagree that Idaho pays no attention to game licenses. Tags are a very cheap and easy way of generating money. But as the other shooting sports grow, I’m sure the state will figure out a way to cash in on them, too.

  44. One example of wolf populations self regulating (game management) occurs at Isle Royale National Park. If there ever was a place for wolves to wipe out a prey species, it would be Isle Royal N.P. The moose really have nowhere to go and yet the population of moose basically rises and falls with the number of wolves and vice versa. Moreover, these wolves are actually aided by severe tick populations.
    As for other states not wanting wolf reintroduction is not true. North Carolina has a population of Red (or Eastern ) Wolves in Alligator River N.W.R. and the surrounding area. There is a wolf propagation site at St. Vincent N.W.R. in Florida. Reintroduction groups exist in the New England states and Kentucky. Three of the Great Lakes area have wolf populations These Great Lake states and the wolves in North Carolina are also examples of self regulation.
    As for surplus killing, it does occur, but it is a fairly rare event and there are groups that will compensate ranchers. My guess would be that most of the funding of these programs are provided by those who want to see wolves back in the system. I suspect some federal tax dollars go to the “game management” in all states. It is, therefore disingenuous to say that hunters pay for most conservation efforts. Also, my understanding of that specific event , the sheep were without any protection in an area known to have predators. If the sheep owner does not care enough to provide protection to the sheep, or by insurance to cover such losses it is difficult to have sympathy for the rancher. Of course, it is a lot easier to sympathize with the sheep.

  45. dave, 9-04-09,

    “the whole reason that wolves were reintroduced was to manage them. without the management you abhor there would be no lupus here. without management there would be no grizzly. black bear, trumpeter swan, snail darter, etc. ”

    Your comment above is even more ridiculous and unfounded. Wolves were brought back to restore balance to nature and the entire ecosystem. In fact, they were brought back to BE the managers and to restore the habitats that Elk and other herd animals were destroying.

  46. Well Paul, they are surely balancing Yellowstone! I was over Sunday thru Tues day of this week and elk are pretty scarce, especially big bulls. As of Monday about 40-50 cows (the biggest bunch I saw anywhere) at Mammoth were still waiting for a herd bull, which according to the rangers was due “any day now”. I’ll go back next week and see if he made it yet.
    The Madison used to have hundreds of elk between the junction and West Yellowstone, no more. The meadows at Norris used to ring with the bugling of bulls and cow talk to the calves…empty. But there are lots of willows, no more moose in them and just an occasional elk cow trying to hide her calf.
    So you are right balance has been restored…for those who drive to the park to see willows and ungrazed meadows.
    One question is why the buffalo leave in the winter/spring for their walk about when they are pretty much the only ones to graze anymore.

  47. stop the wolf killing

    As long as Idaho is in the business of murdering wolves, the nature loving and respecting public should stop buying potatoes from there.
    Friends of Animals is calling for a boycott of potatoes grown in Idaho—the largest producer in the United States.

    Let your displeasure be known, call or write to the governor of Idaho:

    Write/and or call the Idaho tourism office and inform them you will not spend ONE penny in Idaho until the wolf murdering is stopped:

    Write and/or call the Idaho potato commission:

    Inform friends, family, neighbors, relatives to not give a single penny to Idaho until they end this barbaric practice.And please spread this message far and wide to all meid and bulletin boards and social websites.

  48. Stop the wolf killing- As you are probably well aware- the governor of Idaho is responsible in large measure for fueling the hysteria, hatred and intolerance of wolves in the west. His rant in front of the Ron Gillette types was inappropriate and a political move made for the benefit of his livestock interests in the state, which have a stranglehold on the politics of Idaho. I have heard from reliable sources that the rancher who lost 120 sheep had been approached by various groups who offered help with managing their livestock and declined. When asked if they had used recommended techniques to counter wolf predation they did not answer. An even bigger issue is the role of Wildlife Services who works with the Fish and Game depts to remove problem wolves. They are not concerned with pack dynamics, genetics, and only contribute to pack degeneration and fragmentation. THis will have a much greater impact on wolves than this hunt.

  49. I think this article raises some important questions. I have been a hunter since I was a teenager. I consider myself a traditional type of hunter, meaning I don’t use any tools that give me unfair advantage over the animal. Wyoming allows wolves to be chased for 30 miles with atv’s, snowmobiles or whatever. Most states consider hunting bears and cougars with dogs legitimate hunting. I saw a versus program about 3 weeks ago which had a guide and hunter with dogs tracking a cougar. The hunters lost the dogs and were about a mile away. When they reached the treed c ougar the hunter could barely lift his rifle to shoot the defenseless cougar because he was so out of shape and out of breath. As George points out you have groups like Safari club that view attacks on these more egregious forms of hunting as an attack on their hunting rights in general. Until hunters take a stand and clean up this industry and expel these canned hunting fcilities anti- hunting groups will have more incentive to ban these abuses. I remember seeing a video a few years back of a declawed leopard I think it was that was in a cage surrounded by barking dogs that were going nuts. The animal was clearly terrified! Out of the corner of the shot comes this redneck with a rifle that lets the animal out of the cage. The animal cowers under a truck when this person reaches under the truck and blows away the animal!!!. I was floored and really pissed off at this lack of respect for predators. I was ashamed for the human race after seeing that.

  50. By Todd, 9-05-09

    “Well Paul, they are surely balancing Yellowstone! I was over Sunday thru Tues day of this week and elk are pretty scarce, especially big bulls. As of Monday about 40-50 cows (the biggest bunch I saw anywhere) at Mammoth were still waiting for a herd bull, which according to the rangers was due “any day now”. I’ll go back next week and see if he made it yet.
    The Madison used to have hundreds of elk between the junction and West Yellowstone, no more. The meadows at Norris used to ring with the bugling of bulls and cow talk to the calves…empty.

    One question is why the buffalo leave in the winter/spring for their walk about when they are pretty much the only ones to graze anymore.”


    I’ll give that you didn’t see much in that area of Yellowstone you saw but can you really say that represents the entire elk population of the park? The majority of visitors see but a tiny fraction of the park’s 2 million+ acres, and the elk populations of Yellowstone fluctuated even in the years before wolves were brought back into the park. I’ll agree that wolves have made an impact but they are not the sole reasons affecting elk population in the park and the northern range.

    Other factors include extended drought that diminished forage, too high a hunter harvest late in the winter and predation on elk calves by bears. Will Elk ever recover to pre-wolf counts? Maybe not, but they will also never be reduced to an unsustainable level either.

    And bison have been leaving the park in winter/spring for a long time, to find food and better places to give birth and raise their young.

  51. I can tolerate the side that wants wolves exterminated but I despise the side that listens to the 13 conservation groups. You DOW nutjobs don’t live with the wolves and you don’t fund wildlands like hunters do but you are the first to start throwing around your braindead thoughts on predator management. Don’t try to tell us that mountain lion hunting is bad if dogs are used and wolves don’t need to be managed.

    You are all a bunch of suckers. The DOW and other organizations are taking your money to fight a battle that they don’t ever want to be won or lost and they are laughing all the way to the bank. Nonprofit my arse. You are being lied to and you are too stupid to know it. If you don’t live in wolf country then keep your trap shut. Judge Malloy shouldn’t be wasting his time and our money on listening to any orgainization that doesn’t physically live in wolf country.

  52. Mad,
    If you live in wolf country and do not like wolves then maybe you should move. And, if you are going to call people stupid and “nutjob” then maybe you should use the spell checker on your computer or maybe a dictionary.

  53. Mad, I am amused that whenever anyone criticises hunting abuse you call them nutjob or liberal city slicker- or whatever. So are you telling me that you support killing tame, hand fed elk or other species at these rex rammell wildlife preserves? don’t give me this crap that only hunters provide wildlife conservation- In the future wildlife watching will provide much greater revenue streams than hunting or trapping ever did.

  54. Tell me Chris, why do you have the right to demand wolves in Mad’s backyard or the rest of us for that matter, then tell him or us to move if we don’t like it? How about put them where the enviros who want them live….namely K Street in DC?
    Bedbug, wildlife cannot wait for the future money enviros may provide (or they may build their assets as they do now), the wildlife has needed and does need the money now.
    Hunters and fishermen have provided that and the hated ranchers have provided winter feed and water during droughts. All you guys provide is lawyers to take it away.

  55. This has been a very good discussion. It’s a shame that the title’s first words were Are Hunters Stupid?

    The minute the word stupid hits the screen, the fight is on. Nobody likes to be called stupid. This article’s title added some gasoline right from the first on an already hot topic. Not so smart, and seeing the S word just tends to make otherwise reasonable folks start fitting it from anger.

  56. In the talk about preserving wildlife, it seems no one is talking about the current round up and thinning of the Pyron Mountain Spanish Mustang Herd. BLM has it in their head that the herd is too big and there is not enough food inspite of all other data that says the graze has never been more plentiful or the herd more healthy.

    We are protecting the wolves, but during a horrible downturn in the economy, when horses are being given up because people cannot afford to feed them, BLM claims they will adopt these horses to the public. I work with a group who helps find homes for horses who cannot be kept by their owners. The market is flooded.

    So what is BLM thinking. We spend millions to protect wolves and millions to round up and thin a herd that is 190 horses. Not hurting a damn soul. This herd is the only remaining true spanish mustang herd tracing their ancestory directly from horses brought here by spanish explorere.

    I have no faith in the governments ability to make decisions that affect me, my family or wildlive.

  57. I agree with boomer.

    Did Wuethner give it that headline, or did New West?

    It was an OK article, but as soon as I saw the headline, I thought “here comes a fight.”

  58. Todd,
    What makes you think I don’t live in wolf country? I did not “demand” anything from you or mad.
    I merely pointed out that if he or she did not like wolves they could move to where there are no wolves – like your pick – “K” Street in Washington. Most of all wolf populations live on public lands and while that may be your back door, it’s mine as well.
    There are things I don’t like in my back yard either. The saying “Your rights end where mine begin.” is poignant.

  59. Aside from the apocryphal Daryl, that was probably the finest article I’ve seen on the topic of wolf hatred.

  60. I enjoy living with wolves and hunting. I don’t like having any animal unmanaged. Having them on the Endangered species list when they are not endangered is NOT managing them.

    Rammell’s elk operation is NOT hunting. You DOW lover’s don’t know the difference between hunting and shooting which makes it apparent you don’t know much of anything pertaining to wildlife. Rammell deals with livestock whether it’s cattle or elk, not wildlife. I also despise canned hunts. They are canned shoots. There is no hunting involved. Does that help cut through all the confusion?

    Wildlife watching is not going to control game herds. You guys think that the wolf is the miracle manager when it is not. Everything in life needs managed. I’m amazed anyone would think otherwise.

  61. When you have to put all your livestock in barns at night to keep them from being slaughtered and horses having their guts eaten out while they are still alive, then maybe you can talk about what wolf hunting means. We live in a poplulted area where most homes have at least 10 or 20 acres and have some kind of stock in MT. Not out in the middle of no where. They come up to people’s back yards while kids are playing in their yards. They are completely out of control, and I believe BLM is lying about how many there really are.

    When you have to protect your family and your animals from them everyday, then you have a right to talk about wolf hunting. Until then, go back to suburbia and enjoy your quiet little streets and cul de sacs. You do not want to live like we do, and there fore you have no right to tell us what to do and not do. You have no idea.

    I will bring a few and set them in your back yard and see how cute you think they are then.

  62. Valerie I’m sure you remember conrad burns. He is lobbying the western states of montana and idaho trying to pass legislation on state level to reopen slaughterhouses for horses. These people think that all wildlife, including bison and horses, shoud be treated like livestock. I think burns might have been kicked in the head by a horse- i don’t quite understand his politics. Remember that the livestock industry owns the governors of idaho and montana. Why would you have the dept of livestock running a bison management program in Montana. It’s all about who should have access to the grass.

  63. It amazes me that the wolves near Dillon waited until the hearing on wolf slaughter to vandalize 120 sheep.
    I find it even more startling that anybody actually believes the story.

  64. Give a kid a hammer, and suddenly everything needs hammering. Some people get a gun and suddenly everything needs to be shot. Teach someone the word “management” and suddenly everything needs to be managed. Maybe, in a society that places great emphasis on respect for individual freedom, we shouldn’t concern ourselves with what motivates some people to hunt. May be we should focus on the word “harvest”. Its O.K. to harvest a limited number of most species of wildlife without upsetting the basic balance. Who cares if there are a few people hunting the Wolf because they hate it? There is, after all, great satisfaction in killing something or someone you hate, like stomping a cockroach or a mouse. Maybe its time to move on.

  65. I didn’t like the headline of Wuerthner’s article — the “stupid” part, but, wow, Valerie you really must think we are all stupid.

    Send me a photo of your boy in memory of him being eaten by a wolf, although I suspect I’ll have to wait forever for it to happen.

  66. Horst,

    I agree. The whole Dillon story smells fishy. There is so little real information given out about it.

    Were they really special sheep, or culls planted to cause a stir in the media?

  67. Mad,
    I guess what you want is a big zoo. I have no hatred for hunters – particularly if the game species has a chance.

    When you have to protect your family and your animals from them everyday, then you have a right to talk about wolf hunting.
    Are you insinuating that others don’t have families, animals and property that need protection but they don’t just because it is not a wolf? I am pretty sure that there are other predators both animal and human that are equal to or exceed the danger a wolf or wolf pack poses.
    I agree that it is not a pretty site to watch predators kill and eat there food. However, I have yet to see an animal that can take a prey species and euthanize it or have a bolt in the head kill them before sitting down at the table. just because you don’t see the process does not mean it is any less humane

  68. now you enviros are going to start conspiracy theorizing. amazing, amazingly sad.
    wyoming wolf managers have killed 18 wolves so far this year. i wonder why?
    “wolves kill alien baby sheep and guard dogs. enviros see conspiracy.”

  69. “I enjoy living with wolves and hunting. I don’t like having any animal unmanaged. Having them on the Endangered species list when they are not endangered is NOT managing them…Everything in life needs managed. I’m amazed anyone would think otherwise.”

    Please define “manage.” In most cases in the wolf discussion, the word is synonymous with “hunt.” In what OTHER sense do you feel wolves are “unmanaged.”? And how in the world do all the nongame species survive without such “management”?

  70. What a stupid story. George coudn’t be more wrong about the wolves. What a waste of print.

  71. “George coudn’t be more wrong about the wolves. ”

    Um, just in case you missed the point, this story is more about wolf hunters than it is about wolves…

  72. “When you have to protect your family and your animals from them everyday, then you have a right to talk about wolf hunting. ”

    So where is your data that random sport hunting of wolves will do anything to prevent any possible wolf problems?

    Hint- it doesn’t exist. Somehow, the pro-wolf-hunters always leave out this extremely salient fact. Allowing hunting of wolves doesn’t mean that any potential wolf problems will decrease,. and there is some evidence that, due to changes in population structure, compensatory natality, and wolf pack dynamics, the opposite is true.

  73. crisw,

    Taken any college level environment classes lately? Didn’t think so. Enroll in some and get back to us in a few months.

    “Manage” can also mean to not hunt for the time being or increase or decrease hunting. Ever seen a massive elk die-off from starvation? Didn’t think so.

    So where are you from really? We can check your IP so don’t lie.

  74. Darn, the enviros found out that the black helicopters brought in fake sheep killed by murdering owners. Sheesh guys, denial is a river in Egypt, quit trying to swim it up stream. I’ve heard it all now!!!!

  75. Mad-

    In the midst of all your ad hominem attacks, you forgot to answer my questions.

  76. crsiw???

    according to mike jiminez who is wolf expert at usfws,,,,

    more wolves equals more conflicts,,,


    less wolves equals less conflicts,,,,,

  77. So Dave- this jiminez guy at usfsw is a wolf expert? I would love to see the science to back up that claim. Sounds about as accurate as Mr Bowdy Holm’s claim that the writer of this article was probably queer. How stupid and ignorant can a person be?

  78. mr jiminez is a federal wolf biologist,

    he is the head of the usfws wolf recovery for wyoming,

    he is the #2 under ed bangs of usfws.

    he was around when the original wolves were releasd in 1995-1996.

    what else you need buddypg????

    google the above if you can????

  79. Jimenez is definitely considered knowlegable about wolves. On the other hand he is not worth a **** at reading maps. A few years ago he had his pilot set a chopper loaded with 4 (as I remember) wolves on private land and unloaded them and released them in that pasture where cows were due to be turned in to start delivering calves.

  80. yeah dave, wolf recovery has gone real well in Wyoming.

  81. so its really quite simple,,,

    1995 reintroduction goal of 300 wolves.

    now population estimates are 1800-2500.

    less wolves equal less conflicts.

    management goal : reduce wolves by a few hundred, reevaluate next year.

    only a tiny fringe of people want to eliminate wolves. most people on both sides want wolves,,,,, managed

  82. crisw,

    Take those classes I suggested AND THEN we’ll talk. Otherwise, you are wasting my time and everyone elses.


    Well said but how is the DOW going to milk saps for money if it is settled so easily? This is never supposed to be settled and that is what DOW is trying to do. If wolves become managed then DOW won’t get donations. Pretty simple math really.

  83. Mad, you nailed it, environmental groups want to raise lots of tax free money. A few years ago I checked their pay out which were less than $200,000, they took in over 21 million in donations. They aren’t giving up that cash cow easily. That doesn’t even count the cash awards from the courts for their “expenses”.

  84. Jimenez also became the Wyoming state manager for wolves during the brief period when Wyoming had management authority. Now he is back as the federal manager of wolves for Wyoming. Talk about a revolving door!

    To him wolves are problems. I’d say he changed sides. Did he sell out or just have a change or heart?

  85. Good commentary, George. But let’s not underestimate the ecological knowledge of people who live in cities and never hunted or worked on the land. Environmental education over the past 30 years has created new generations who understand the principles of food chains, predator-prey relationships, and population cycles. I’ve known many urbanites who understand ecology better than the undergraduates who sat next to me in range management classes 40 years ago. Much of the support for wolves comes not from “emotional” animal-lovers, but from ecologically educated people who want to see the wolf sustain its natural role in the ecosystem.

  86. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reports:

    On 8/31/09, WY Wildlife Services confirmed 8 sheep (8 ewes) killed by wolves in the Big Horn Mountains. Control to remove wolves causing the depredations is ongoing but so far it has been unsuccessful.

    On 8/31/09, WY Wildlife Services confined a yearling steer was killed in the Upper Green River drainage, north of Pinedale, WY. The Green River Pack consists of 11 wolves and have killed >3 cattle this summer. The pack has a chronic history of livestock depredation. The USFWS requested Wildlife Services to remove 4 wolves in attempt to reduce additional depredations. {Urbigkit note: Four wolves were removed on September 3, 2009}.

    On 8/31/09, WY Wildlife Services confirmed a cow was killed by wolves in the East Fork Pack near Dubois, WY. The pack consists of approx. 8-10 wolves. Control was completed on 9/2/09 when WY WS removed 2 wolves.

    In other wolf news:
    Yellowstone National Park Yellowstone Park reports that ground observations of wolf pups in Lamar Valley indicate severe mange in 1 of 4 (pup is mostly hairless) and evidence of mange in several of the adults. Their pups are also half the size of other pack’s same aged pups. Pups from other packs appear in usual numbers and healthy.

    IDFG reported as of 9/4/09 only 3 wolves have been reported taken in Idaho by licensed hunters, all during the first day that a few backcountry units were open [8/31/09]. One of those was taken as it harassed a hunters horses that were picketed by his camp [which would have been legal under the 2008 ESA experimental population rules]. He tagged it just so he could keep the pelt. Additional harvest might happen during the long Labor Day weekend.

    On 8/31/09, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife authorized removal of two wolves in Baker County after five separate livestock depredation that killed a total of 27 sheep [all lambs], 1 goat, and 1 calf on 2 private ranches since April 10. One wolf was radio-collared in response to earlier depredations. Monitoring indicated that the only wolves involved were just 2 yearling non-breeders that were not associated with a pack. ODFW also issued a permit to one rancher to shoot the 2 wolves if he caught them in the act of attacking more of his livestock. The wolves were previously harassed “multiple times” from the air but these and other non-lethal methods [rancher got extra fencing, buried the carcasses, and a guard dog] of protecting the livestock were unsuccessful.

  87. Hatred of anything different; and a fear of anything new seems to be the basis of every controversy on this forum.

  88. Jedediah, why don’t you show us how you are above hatred and fear and write a check to any one of those folks who have lost so much. I cannot fathom the hatred of people that would impose this kind of loss and damage on other people.

  89. So, I’m reading a lot of people saying “manage” and “harvest” like it’s mans job to make sure the wolf (or any animal for that matter) doesn’t get out of hand. What about man though? It is man who is over populated more so than any other creature in the world.

    “Killing an elk on the golf course.” Someone said this and this blows my mind! Why are there so many damn golf courses to begin with? If man stopped building nonsense recreational things then the wolf wouldn’t be killing the elk on the golf courses. I blame man for this.

    There was even another comment I read about how people who are against the wolf hunt are vegetarians. That’s such a stupid way to think! Seriously! I eat meat, I love meat as a matter of fact. But the wolf isn’t being hunted for food, is it? No. It’s being hunted because there are “too many” of them. How is that possible? There’s only like 2,000 in the Northern Rockies. How is that too many?

    Man needs to learn something from the wolf. Man needs to stop thinking about them self. Man needs to be managed & harvested. Will we laugh when the hunted start to hunt man?

  90. yawn,,,,,,,,,,

  91. Jo:

    If you feel that man is the cause of all the problems in the universe and needs to be “harvested” for the good of the planet, why not get all of your like “minded” friends together and folloow each other off a cliff if that would make you feel better?
    Or do you just want to force the rest of us off a cliff so we stop inconveniencing you in your own little world?

  92. I can’t wait to grill one of those tasty little buggers up.

  93. Tom, did I say I blamed man for all of the problems in the universe? No. However, it is us (I include myself in that category) who put the golf courses where they are and the livestock in the middle of the wolves hunting grounds. It is us who have caused a lot of the problems, yes.

    I honestly think we all need to walk off this cliff you speak of. Except it won’t happen, I know this and I’d hope you know it too. And what would make me “feel” better is having more people use their “mind” period. Not too many people think anymore and it’s sad. People spit nonsense all the time and in the end, the mind isn’t used to it’s fullest potential.

    And Dave, thank you for yawning at my comment. At least I got some kind of response. Except maybe next time you can put your mind to work and give me a few extra words with it.

  94. I have never hunted the wolf before. However I have hunted fox by way of the fox hound, deer with bow and arrow also black powder and rifle. dove hunted , squirel ,quail ,etc etc all by way of freedom of choice . It is time for an alliance to be formed no matter what your fancy be it rodeo ,farmer, hunter , circus etc.
    there is a war going on in the USA every day, the animal rights people are winning sad but true. for no matter what sight I visit there are issues just like this one. facts are many laws are being passed every year in favor of the animal lovers, and i have yet to see a new law in favor of animal use of any form wake up people before its too late.

  95. Jo, If you don’t agree with people on this post you are either queer or a DOW enviro. All this from a state where they hold coyote hunts for fun. People with very limited brain activity who are either God’s gift to wildlife management or able to decide which species don’t have any value to them and should be killed. Pathetic.

  96. RB- has it ever occurred to you that the reason the animal rights activists are winning is because they have truth and decency on their side? I complain all the time as a hunter that the sport hunting members that participate in killing tame, hand fed animals at captive hunts for their pleasure will ultimately make all of us pay in the long run. The excuse that is being used is that all hunting freedoms are under assault- this is not true- the more egregious forms of wildlife abuse are under attack. People that do not hunt have a major issue with people having a raffle to kill coyotes because they have nothing better to do with their time. Persecution of wildlife is not a freedom or a right!

  97. Jo, you have things backwards, the wolves were brought in and planted in the middle of cattle country. Wolves were recolonizing all 3 states naturally, but that was not satisfactory to greedy environmental groups, who insisted they be able to import wolves in large numbers and use them to control the lives of the residents of thsoe states. Using wolves to control is the issue and that is why they will file lawsuits constantly at any attempt ov humans to control the wolves.
    Plus using the wolves as a fundraiser is working great for these tax free groups to pull in tons of money and they have to do nothing for it except file lawsuits to force other people to deal with the problems they bring.

  98. Our family was one of the first to ever be granted a permit to go into Canada and trap Canadian Timber Wolves to bring back into the USA for breeding purposes for many of the Zoo’s across the Country. We had the unique and incredible opportunity to raise these animals for almost 20 years and found out MANY of the general public’s views and what the media has always portrayed them as, was totally false. I remember as a young boy crawling inside the dog houses with the Alpha female whenever I felt “in need of a friend”. These animals are smart, trainable, and for the record can make some of the best protective pets a person could ever own. Then laws were passed that made it illegal to own them for breeding purposes and we had to give up the business, but during the 20 years of studying their behaviors and pecking order, found out how important they are in our Eco system. They have a distinct place on this Earth and are here for a reason. One of the problems now, is that Nature has a way of letting a population regulate itself with the cycles they and many other varmints have in the population. When numbers of animals are low and feed for them is high, Nature has a way of cleaning itself up… The wolf plays an important part in this cycle of natural balance on our Planet. The entire problem is our encroachment into the areas that wolves, deer, elk etc. live and now Man must regulate the populations to compensate for this tragedy we have caused an unbalance in Nature. I love wolves, let’s just get this straight right now, but with OUR mass influx into traditional areas that where winter and summer feeding grounds for both big game animals and the varmints that hunt them for food has caused a big problem with the natural order of life. Unfortunate as it is, we now have no choice but to regulate their populations, just as we do big game animals to try and, with the best knowledge bases we can, help Mother Nature now in controlling population numbers. I don’t think after raising them for as many years as I did, I could ever shoot one myself, but understand enough to see, we have no choice. I think any animal that has felt the pressure of Man’s encroachment, now must be regulated to allow Mother Nature to help us bring the Eco System back into a checks and balances position. Put away your fears of the big bad wolf…. HE BELONGS HERE! In all the areas that they traditionally lived. God put them here for a reason, and an important one, and yes, they are feeding on livestock, they can cause problem for US, but we have so many problems like Chronic Wasting Disease popping up within big game animals now that Mother Nature is trying to set in and do what is needed without the wolf. She will, no matter how much we try, set things back in its proper place and I feel the more we try to over regulate and over think these processes, the worse the problems are going to get. Living in Utah, we have already had Yellowstone’s wolf’s here in our back yard and had to have those (due to overreaction and people just flat being uneducated on the biology of this Earth) removed back to Yellowstone. Do you really think that they will totally go away again? I am sure they will not, Nature would have found a way, and is, of putting things back in the order they should be and if we continue to try and control them without looking at the Big Picture, we will lose. It is starting to happen to us…. In our food chain, we have Mad Cow, and Swine Flu popping up, new super viruses, mutated versions of things we haven’t seen in years. Mother Nature has a way of controlling even us, and the more we mess with the eco-system of life, the more Mother Nature will step in and humble even us with her way of control. Healthy population of both Man and Animal will come, even if we don’t want them. Listen to the people we pay to study these issues, we pay out a lot in tax dollars each year for them to do their jobs, and they have the most knowledge and understanding than the general public has. It’s time we let them do their job and step back and look around, and most intelligent people we have here working on these issues, be listened too. Even we as humans can and will be regulated in Natures own way.

  99. Cris, once more the problem is one of trying to manipuilate and plant wolves where they would casue the msot destruction to a certain group of people, 2 groups actually, ranchers and hunters.
    The huge number of wolves being raised take money out of the pockets of ranch families.
    Hunters have spent millions of their own money to rebuild wildlife and the habitat to support them. Ranchers have sacrificed to buy the land and livestock that wolf groups feel perfectly free about sacrificing to the wolves.
    Environmental groups as a whole are professional beggars, they constantly ask for donations, that money is used to file lawsuits to force other people to do whatever their goal is, in this case provide home and food for wolves. They then ask for the courts to give them back their “expenses” for winning a lawsuit. All of the money they beg for and that they get from the American taxpayers via the courts is then spent for “assets”, which are tax free. The use and control of those assets are by a handful of people.
    DOW raises tens of millions every year to “save the wolf”, they pay a few hundred thousand to the ranchers who can meet their criteria for proof of a wolf kill. The rest is spent with no accounting except the very general vague 990 tax form. Take a look at the 990s for various environmental groups and you will see how little of your donation actually goes for direct expenses of the wolf. That cost is born by individual families. All of the professional biologists are paid by the tax payers.

  100. So, the restoration of wolves to the west has cost millions and millions. Any idea what the state of Montana is charging for a license to kill a wolf? Nineteen dollars for a resident. Nineteen dollars!! You can’t even get your oil changed for nineteen bucks. Granted, an out of state tag is $350, but even that is a paltry sum. Clearly wolf hunting is not about raising revenue.

    So what is wolf “hunting” about? It’s about enrolling so called hunters as wolf control agents, and letting them think they are being allowed to participate in their “sport.”

    George is right, hunters are shooting themselves in the feet if they participate in wolf killing. It’s only going to rile up the anti-hunting, animal rights groups, whose memberships are primarily urban, well to do and have a lot of money to hire lawyers. They’d be just as opposed to the killing were elk being hunted there were only two thousand wild elk in the lower 48.

  101. Todd,
    I agree, but who was here first? The wolves or Ranchers/Farmers? And you have to agree, the wolf is and does play a valuable role in the balance of things. They do need to be controlled and I am an avid hunter, the entire problem lays in our encroachment and unbalance now with what Nature designed, not us. And when we upset this balance, we face serious Worldwide consequences. I would rather see wolves taking out a few of the animals to balance their populations, than seeing them hit by a car or starving to death due to lack of winter habitat.

    It’s a fine line we walk and unfortunately, the wolves are a solution that has been in place long before there were ranchers and farmers occupying the places that traditionally served as protection for a healthy population. Mother Nature will prevail, if this trend continues of protecting what “we” think is right and what is actually healthy for us all, animals included. And I do agree, that the anti groups should have all tax advantages taken away from them as they are “for profit” groups, no matter how they portray it, they are getting away with murder and the sheepoeple of the World listen to them and follow like a bunch of dang sheep, giving them money to get their way. I think that is the saddest part of this entire saga is they have the power and hunter/outdoors folks just never ban together to fight back. They just asume that because the wolves are back, their success rates are going to be less. Well then so be it… It is Natures way and it has been proven that the wolves would have made the crossing from Canada without reintroduction, sooner or later. We just helped to start the rebalance process by bringing them back. I say to heckj with the ranchers and property owners rights, its about what is right for balance, not for who owns what. They where put on this planet for a reason, but we think we know better and just keep accentuating the problem by stepping in and thinking we need to protect the one group or even two groups of hunters and ranchers. If we continue down this sad part of game management, there will be no game for hunters and the anti’s will win the battle and the ranchers will keep running into problems of diseases that get stronger and harder for us to stop from spreading till they will also end up losing. Look at the Mad Cow problem in foreign countries now and how many animals had to be put down to “try” and stop the problems. Let Nature do it’s job and we will have a health and happy planet, keep interfering with things and hold your hand over your behind cause we have seen nothing yet….. I say, we are the problem, all of us. Non hunter, hunters and anti’s alike!

  102. You know Cris, interestingly enough, ranchers in the 1880s and 90s thought the reason for an influx of wolves which they noted at that time was due to people settling towns etc and they were pushed further and further to the west by settlers from the east as it was the last area settled. So there are some indications that while wolves were on the east coast as early settlers came to this country we call home they were hunted and pushed west as settlers pushed west.
    Lot’s of people will always impact wolf territory far more than ranchers or hunters. Are you willing to empty cities to make room for them? I’m not.

  103. IF you don’t live in the state of idaho or montana you should not have an opinion. When you live and work in the state of idaho, pay taxes and live with the nuisance that is the wolf then you can have an opinion. We did not want the wolves in the first place, but a few whacko environuts and a welfare sponsored tribe sided with the government and now were stuck with them. They have decimated the elk population and need to be managed not eliminated. Wolves reproduce like rabbits and welfare moms, they need to be managed. You wacko’s wanted what? 100 wolves to start with? now there are 10 to 15 x that amount and now you say you need 3000 to 5000 for a sustainable population, the truth be known if we had 5000 wolves you would still protest and then want 8000 to 10000 wolves. They will either be managed legally or illegally. The legal hunt is by far more beneficial to each side of the issue, than the alternative methods that will be used if the hunt is halted. Please have some balls and at least post what city and state you live in.

    Worley, Idaho.

  104. An extraordinarily insightful article. I do live in Montana, but unlike many of those who comment above, I have lived elsewhere and understand why non-hunting urban-dwellers fear guns and those who own them. This is not an irrational response, given the exposure that most of us have to guns and their owners. We are surrounded in Montana by responsible and thoughtful hunters who depend on hunting for food, who know how to use guns, and who respect property rights. However, many of those who hunt in this state are from elsewhere and are only here for trophies. They hunt in packs, trespass, shoot from the road, are rude and often inebriated.

    You are right that, often, hunters are their own worst enemy. You only need to read many of the comments above to understand how the proposed wolf hunts will boomerang, harming the wolf population, disturbing an already devastated ecosystem, and hurting the cause of hunting.

    Clyde Park, Montana

  105. Presenting the “Good Guys”: Upstanding, Righteous, Hardworking Ranchers, Rednecks, Straight Shooting, God Fearing, Hunters, Red White and Blue Patriotic John Wayne Fans. And the “Bad Guys”?: The usual suspects: Queers, Fagots, Commies, Pinkos, Welfare Bums, Retarded Redskins, Socialist Morons, Spics, Dinks, Wops, Illegal Aliens, Brillo Heads, Greasers, Messicans, Lame Liberals, Inbred Intellectuals and Diabolic Wolves, Hounds from Hell, sent by Satan to destroy America. Let the Games begin!!

  106. Brilliant and spot on, George!

  107. Chris- I agree with many of your points. Jon Marvel of Western Watersheds Project sent Benjamin Tuggle of the USFSW a letter outlining problems that he saw with livestock operators in relation to the Mexican Wolf Recovery Project and it’s failure to even attain a population of 100 wolves in the wild. As you know the livestock industry tells the governors of Idaho and Montana what to do. Evidence of this can be found in the way bison are treated. In Montana the dept of livestock runs the bison wildlife management program. What a joke! Idaho and Montana share the same intolerance for bison as they do for wolves.

  108. Oh I forgot- Jon Marvel must be communist, queer or both.

  109. “We are surrounded in Montana by responsible and thoughtful hunters who depend on hunting for food, who know how to use guns, and who respect property rights.”

    What a load of crap!
    Nobody depends on hunting for food.
    It is far too expensive, legally; and everybody knows there are no gunmen willing to do anything illegally.

  110. Who knows…unless you do bedpg. We do know the “Green czar” was a self proclaimed communist and a “truther”.

  111. Montana can’t even fund their own highway projects,,,,,,,ask yourself why… sales tax. It’s not a threat…it’s a fact….explain to me mr. friend of the animals why 100 was acceptable as the goal at first, now it has to be 3 to 5 thousand, you know why because your little group has no clue and no intention of them ever being managed no matter what the population is….maybe we can import some lions and tigers. Furthermore the sheep were in a fenced area, most if not all federally leased grazing grounds are unfenced. Hopefully the qoutas for both states are met, but anyone with a half a brain knows that will not be the case as the wolf will not be sucessfully hunted in timbered, mountainous areas such as Idaho and Montana. Hunters are just like the wolves, we will only take the weak and diseased…….is that not the argument? You clowns believe your own self created rhetoric, now hurry down to the store and buy some more tags so the hunters can’t get them…maybe you should spend some of your time educating the other nutjobs as to what the definition of “quota” is.

  112. George, you neither have a clue nor care. You just don’t like ranchers or hunters. You fail to mention that wolves kill 25 animals each per year.

    I must thank you however for one point – you left Idaho.

  113. Rk- That jumbled piece of word salad that you just spoke made no sense whatsoever. Taking lessons from Sara Palin are you?Getting in a discussion with you is like arguing with a dining room table- I have no interest in doing it.

  114. the reason you can’t understand is your brain is not capable of multi-tasking and you probably need to change your bong-water.

  115. The rightwingcrazies–who wear their wolf-hating hat when they post here–are again driven to kill. I doubt there are wolves enough to satisfy their blood-lust…

  116. Tactical Operator .45

    Please, can we just have financial meltdown, currency collapse, no foods in stores, no gas, 100% Depression.. Then we see what jokers like “horst’ are really made of..Just google Argentina collapse, your gonna get yours horst.. Now take your meds and shut up..

    “What a load of crap!
    Nobody depends on hunting for food.
    It is far too expensive, legally; and everybody knows there are no gunmen willing to do anything illegally”

    “The rightwingcrazies–who wear their wolf-hating hat when they post here–are again driven to kill. I doubt there are wolves enough to satisfy their blood-lust…”

  117. Tactical Operator .45

    Hey man, back to your booze and porn dude, and pull that curtain tighter to the window sill, or turn off the lights.

    Mickey Garcia, 9-07-09
    Presenting the “Good Guys”: Upstanding, Righteous, Hardworking Ranchers, Rednecks, Straight Shooting, God Fearing, Hunters, Red White and Blue Patriotic John Wayne Fans. And the “Bad Guys”?: The usual suspects: Queers, Fagots, Commies, Pinkos, Welfare Bums, Retarded Redskins, Socialist Morons, Spics, Dinks, Wops, Illegal Aliens, Brillo Heads, Greasers, Messicans, Lame Liberals, Inbred Intellectuals and Diabolic Wolves, Hounds from Hell, sent by Satan to destroy America. Let the Games begin!!

  118. Bad guess, T.O.45. No Booze, No Drugs, Lights never on after dark.

  119. VT is nice, but it ain't Montana

    “George Wuerthner is a wildlife biologist and a former Montana hunting guide.”

    Thanks George! Perhaps not enough detail, but a good start.


  120. “You fail to mention that wolves kill 25 animals each per year.”

    According to the USDA sheep mortality due “on back” was approximately 2,500 for the three state area (ID.,MT and WY.).
    Sounds like negligence to me.

  121. Chris, how many sheep have you raised to be an expert on negligence? How many in wolf country?

  122. Twin Falls wolf hunter

    Time to cancel this thread. It is so off-based and has lost all relation to the topic at hand.

  123. I think it provided an excellent opportunity to compare the opposing intellects.

  124. I read this article during class while i was researching for material on an essay, but ended up reading through the entire comments section as well. I decided to voice my own opinion.

    I have lived both the life of out in the countries, as a farmer when i got to meet with my grandparents, and as a city dweller with “antis” or whatever. Hell, my father even hunted before when i was a small child at the age of 4 months. Too bad i never took up a rifle. Because of this, I was particularly interested in Cris Draper’s comments about the obstruction of natural balance between Mother Nature and Humans. He is right. The main predators such as wolves do self-regulate themselves, meaning there is no need to go out and “Shoot ’em up” as Ive heard people say. And as for the guy who mentioned that people who dont live in Montana or Idaho shouldnt voice their own opinions is then stating that the other people in the lower 48 states dont get their rights to the American constitution. Its not something you decide.

    Im not saying that farmers shouldnt protect their cattle (though i also feel no sympathy for them if they have made no intentions of what-so-ever protecting their flock and then whining about it, as one person mentioned) from wolves via shooting and killing or being compensated for by the American government. As far as im concerned, losing cattle or sheep or pigs or whatever when you made no intention of protecting them is inviting danger and, thus, your own responsibility and fault. Though i do believe some sort of checks and balances should be made (like some agent inspecting how you defend your livestock and if you pass then you get compensation).

    For hunters, killing for fun is for people who dont feel like getting in trouble for killing humans (some, possibly sterotypic, rumor i heard from medical professionals that people who abuse or kill animals for fun are murders at heart and have the potential to take human life with no regret) and, otherwise, cowardly at heart. I can understand the comment that mentioned the millions it took to re-introduce the wolf population and that paying for licenses is a to repay tax payers and the whole quota system. But to kill an animal out of malice has reprocussions to the act. I use to hear on the news that deer populations are out of control but not many hunters sign up to “manage them” All i hear is people “managing” the wolf population, which even at 10,000 would NOT be over populated (reference to the man that said something along the lines that wildlife people cry for more and more wolf protection…that a few hundred wasnt enough and now 5000 isnt enough). What has the wolf REALLY done that created so much malice?

    In some DVDs and documentaries ive watched, I learned by watching wolf actions that they are naturally shy and secretive in personality. If we stop trying to ‘”manage” their population (which creates a younger and less skilled culture which equals to more attacks on livestock) then we might see an end (or almost end) to wolf predation on livestock. Afterall, they are shy. Maybe if someone simply stood out there with those 120 sheep that were killed (doesnt sound like a wolf attack to me, as someone said there are more than wolves that attack livestock), then maybe nothing wouldve happened.

    The symbology of “fencing” is to show security. Sadly, to the level of knowledge most people dont seem to ever achieve, those are human ideas. Not animals. Simply creating a wooden fence with a sign that says ‘No Trespassing’ willl not tell the wolves to leave. So for those who think all they need is a fence to use an excuse to sit back and have a beer and not pay attention is wrong.

    Im looking forward to replies on this thread (not just mine)
    this is great material for my research. For both sides (cant argue if you dont know both sides, thats a given)

  125. Great piece, George.

  126. Black Wolf,

    Your problem is that you have no life experiences, just DVD’s and documentaries. Reality needs to slap you across the face about this issue. Why hasn’t the DOW funded ranchers to protect their livestock? Maybe the DOW should send some nice folks out to watch over livestock 24/7 because it is not possible in the summer when the ranchers are already working umpteen hours a day trying to irrigate the fields and put up hay etc. Where were all these sheep killings before the wolf reintroduction? Do some of you seriously think that something else is killing the livestock? Give me a break. Reality is a wonderful thing. You guys should try it sometime. You’ve got all the answers until your soles hit the ground in wolf country and you stay awhile. Amusing to say the least. If it weren’t for killing animals then none of us would be here. How else do you manage wildlife? Again, no real life experiences to learn from.

  127. ~Mad

    I have enough experience to know what raising and caring for cattle is like :3 (though i refused to do artificial ins-whatever i was like 5 then that was gross to me and still is) and what its like to see them die D: . Though i dont understand what you mean by “reality” since we both live in the same world. The only difference is you hunt and i dont 😮

    Id like to give an actual reply but schools out so ill be back tomorrow :3

  128. First of all let’s deal with the 122 sheep. How many hours can you stay awake and do nothing but stand guard over your animals? How will you take care of your other animals? Ranchers rotate animals between pastures, they can’t be in all pastures at one time. You cannot take the sheep or cows into the house or even the yard at night to protect them. What gives you the right to invade other people’s property and home with predators?
    Some folks have had animals killed next to the house, but they should be punished more for that? Individual familes have lost thousands of dollars worth of private property to provide the entertainment that wolves provide for folks who have nothing to lose. Are you willing to have the things you own destroyed if it gives others enjoyment to see it done?
    Want more research answers about wolves? I suggest you read the book Wolves in Russia by Valerius Geist. It is an eye opener….if you are willing to open your eyes.
    By the way do you know how they determine a wolf kill? It is the extreme trauma, that even a grizzly does not deliver. The start on the hind quarters and eat until the animal finally dies, or in some cases they rip open their bellies and let the guts hang while they kill more, which was the case in this instance. The animals is left to suffer. Google wolf kills if you have courage enough to see pretty traumatic pictures of what wolves do.
    Go to the Western FWS page and read the wolf reports, then be sure to read how many elk are left in Yellowstone. One herd has been almost totally extirpated by the wolves and probably will be in another couple of years as that herd does not migrate and cannot recruit new wolf food, it is the Norris-Firehole herd.

  129. Don’t be bitter, Mad,

    Environmental groups have done all of these things you are whining about. There have been people who volunteered to watch some one else’s livestock. There is a privately held funding, supported by environmentalist that compensate for losses due to wolf predation. The records show that wolves are down the list as far as predation goes. The reality is if you don’t watch and/or take care of your livestock, then you have to accept what happens – good or bad. If that means you have to hire people or insure your assets, so be it. The reality is that labor and insurance are fundamental actions for anyone in business. If you choose not to and instead rely on others, well, that’s corporate welfare is it not? It would seem that most livestock live only to be killed cut up in a horrific manner. It’s a good thing most people don’t see this or even care to know how livestock becomes ground round.
    I don’t have to be an expert to know that if an otherwise
    perfectly good sheep rolls on it’s back and can’t right itself it is negligence to not help it.

  130. Nice reply Chris. Too bad the enviros weren’t there to protect those sheep while the ranchers were tending to their other duties. Put your money where your mouth is and contact the ranchers that lost those sheep or any rancher that has lost livestock. Nobody is stopping you. Spend 2 weeks with them trying to run the ranch and you will be begging to go back east. It costs money to look over livestock 24/7 and those sheep would cost about $75 per pound to tend to them around the clock. The wolves would still get some like it or not. It’s a big world out there. Lots of ranchers and lots of land. Good luck. Let us know what those ranchers say when you get this all set up. Check in once in a while too.

  131. UPDATE – We got another one. Idaho has legally shot and reported four (4) wolves. I have no idea what the real count is.

  132. Cliff, why do you have no idea what the actual count is? Have you been poaching?

  133. Todd –

    UPDATE – We(IDAHO) got another one. Idaho has legally shot and reported four (4) wolves. I have no idea what the real count is.

    Cliff, why do you have no idea what the actual count is?

    Many are shot legally by USF&W;. Many are shot legally by IDF&G;. Many are shot illegally by ranchers and hunters. Some have estimated 200 are killed illegally each year. But no worry, the wolves are growing at ~20% per year.

  134. Only 216 more to go.

  135. thanks to all of those that hunt the wolves. you are helping reduce the waste of my tax money. I am patiently waiting to bag my first wolf here in montana. i dont know where this guy goes riding atvs but i wish i did then i would actually have a place to ride mine. all the canadians and californians that have moved here have helped shut everything down.

  136. headlines: atttention new westers, read, reread,

    Wednesday, September 9, 2009 9:08 AM MDT

    BILLINGS, Mont. — A federal judge says gray wolf hunts in the Northern Rockies can go on, denying a request by environmentalists and animal welfare groups to stop the first organized wolf hunts in Idaho and Montana in decades.

    U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy said Wednesday that plans to kill about 20 percent of the two states’ estimated 1,350 wolves would not cause long-term harm to the population.

    But he adds that by carving Wyoming out of the recent decision to remove wolves from federal protection, the government appeared to violate the Endangered Species Act by making its decision based on political boundaries. Molloy says that means environmentalists could ultimately prevail in their bid to restore endangered species protection for the animals.

  137. Mad,
    I love how you assume I live in the east. You also assume I do not know the cost of being in business andwhat the cost of labor is. However, you are right that is a big world out there – maybe you should take your own advice and see some of it.

  138. I am back 😮


    Yes, I am inexperienced…one of the reasons why I’m here (and attempting conversation) to learn. Though do not assume I need a “Reality Check” of any kind (or if you think I’m a part of DOW, I’m not a part of any wildlife protection agencies I just simply believe we shouldn’t kill of species). I can understand now that you can’t watch your sheep all of the time, but as others have suggested, you can hire people to watch your livestock (With the bad economy, I wouldn’t trust reimbursement considering the fact that several state funding have not been received, or delayed, by the government so I’m not sure myself if anyone would receive payments over loss of livestock anytime soon (need to catch my breath 😛 ).

    I also researched that book, Wolves in Russia by Valerius Geist. I’m still reading it but I can make out some points you might have missed. When the book mentions that wolves become shy and reclusive when a self-assured and well armed hunter is around, then wouldn’t that prove that all you need to do is have someone stand guard (farmer/rancher/hired person/anyone with a gun) to watch the livestock? It also proves that wolves really do attack the weak and nimble to thin herds and reduce the chances of diseases. Maybe (I stress the maybe since I cannot find a reason for wolves to kill 120 sheep for no reason) they killed those sheep because they were inflicted with something only the wolf could sense? If they can determine a hunter who is self assured and strong from a hunter who is not simply by watching, what else do you think they can understand?

    I would like to add more points, but I got to keep it kind of short as I work in class @.@ so yeah I’ll keep watch though 😛

  139. Well glad you came back “Ryan ‘Black Wolf’ “.

    You are thinking outside the box. That’s good because I still think there is something very odd about this “wolf kill” and Montana Fish Wildlife and Park needs to give more information.

  140. ~mostlyMike

    thanks 😛
    it is strange for a random “Slaughter” of sheep. That book Mad mentioned brings forth a lot of accounts of wolf predation involving a “massacre” of sheep or livestock. Since the wolf plays a part in the balance of nature then there is obviously a reason. Maybe the wolf senses there are too many sheep and that it is over populated? Heck, I’d think that too if there was 100+ sheep crammed into a pen >> x3
    Also it mentions that wolf predation on livestock becomes more common as prey (such as deer and elk) become less common. (that can be from too many wolves, but can be easily countered so that the wolves can self regulate themselves back into order).

    Sorry i didnt do spell check, lunch is in 5 min for me :3

  141. A poacher was just caught shooting a wolf pup from the back of his truck from the road in a closed hunting zone. Should an idiot like that even be allowed to use a weapon? One of the other kills was a female that was gut shot when the man said the wolf was bothering his horses- she was a collared wolf. He probably baited the wolf. These people represent the very finest of the Idaho hunting community!

  142. I’m not going to get sucked into taking one side or the other in this debate – it is far too much of a polarizing issue for one side or the other to concede much middle ground, or for a truly productive conversation to take place, in my experience. Although I do find it endlessly fascinating that wolves have such a polarizing effect on us – far more than other predators, such as bears or mountain lions.

    Instead, I’ll reserve my comments for the quality of writing in this article. With all due respect, Mr. Wuerthner, the way you’ve chosen to express thinly-veiled opinion as fact has done a disservice to any validity that the point of view you are advocating might have.

    Let’s just start with the title for the article, “Are hunters stupid?” This choice of words belies either a simplistic knowledge of the subject (ostensibly not the case since you are a former “hunting guide) or more likely, a deliberate, albeit tacky and sensationalistic, attempt at pandering to your obvious target demographic. Either way, it’s a poor start in my opinion.

    Then, after a description of “poor Daryl,” dripping with highbrow condescension, we arrive at the statement, “Sometimes I think most hunters in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming are as clueless as Daryl.” Wow. “Sweeping generality” hardly even touches the tip of the iceberg in a statement like that.

    Or how about the beginning of this sentence- “Americans are willing to accept some forms of hunting…” Are you deliberately using the pandering term, “Americans” in this case as some vast body of righteous people who sit in judgment – in the way many two-bit politicians would, or is this simply another poor choice of words? Millions of Americans hunt – are they also American, George? Or does “Americans” in this case refer to urban/suburban non-hunters who’s only contact with nature is the Discovery Channel and the annual trip to a National Park, and their often ill-informed sentiment about an activity many of them know nothing about? Either way, again, this is an amateurish way of starting a paragraph and weakens whatever argument you are trying to construct.

    And here yet is another sweeping generality designed to paint a simplistic stereotype to fit your argument – “Most hunters spend more time complaining about the “antis” than doing anything meaningful to protect the habitat that is central to all hunting.” I’m a hunter, George, and I know many hunters. Trust me – you really flatter yourself if you think we waste our time sitting around talking about “antis.” Most of the hunters I hang out with are smart and well read, and would more likely comment on how poorly-written, hyperbolic op-eds like this don’t exactly help your position. And they are MAJOR habitat advocates – many of them have even chosen a career path focused on doing just that.

    I could go on – your entire article is rife with a lot more of the same, but I think you get the point, or at least I hope you do. I’ll just leave it with saying that as someone who apparently used to be a “hunting guide,” I’m truly amazed.

  143. There is only one reason the wolves killed 122 rams in that pasture….that’s all there were!
    You guys would like to think you know all about predators and the holy wolves that you have elevated to a god status, you know nothing! Wolves will kill all of anything they can get cornered, this may be the biggest kill, but they have killed 20 to 50+ animals many times since they were introduced. That is what they were introduced to do.

  144. Bud: You truly are a idiot, as far as the collared wolf, the guy had a tag and there is no restriction on shooting them. The other guy, well he deserves what he gets, he broke the law and deserves any punishment he gets. You really should consider moving back to berkeley with the rest of the bug eating hippies.

  145. Not much for me to respond to, so I’ll wait a bit longer 😛

  146. Everything the author says can be turned around and be just as legitimate. In fact, there are a lot more people in this country that are in agreement with hunters than the other way around: “He just couldn’t understand why they wouldn’t want to go blow away gophers, especially when the pests ruined fields and crops and multiply faster than rabbits.” The majority isn’t as vocal as the PETA, vegan, birkenstock media crowd who thinks everyone agrees with them. FALSE. Nor is the “urban dweller” totally against hunting. I live in an upscale, racially diverse Los Angeles neighborhood and know a lot of hunters and fishers who like to hunt and fish and believe hunting wolves in an appropriate manner is ok. Just because hunting wolves is now permitted in those areas does not mean there will be wholesale slaughter. Deer hunting is permitted across the country and there is no wholesale slaughter….in fact, just the opposite. Deer populations are growing everywhere.

  147. “…the average hunter seems less interested in protesting against oil wells, expanding ATV use, and/or sprawl than complaining about the antis.”

    “Antis is a Lithuanian postmodernist rock band. The name is the Lithuanian word for “duck” and is also slang for a false mass media sensation.”

    Gotta like Wikipedia!

    George – all kidding about Lithuanian ducks aside, I appreciate your article and especially this:

    “The real threat to hunting doesn’t come from PETA or any other animal rights group, but from the habitat loss resulting from oil drilling, logging, livestock grazing, ATVs, sprawl, and all the rest of the development and degradation of natural landscapes that continues unabated daily.”

    PETA, etc. are a threat to hunting. They want it eliminated. And we hunters can be our own worst enemies. Not everyone wants to hear the war stories.

    But the real problem is what we are doing to every western valley from the Bitterroot to the Shields (Yes, even the Shields – Clyde Park).

    When you p**p in your own backyard, sooner or later you’re going to step in it.

    Just about the only meat my family eats is game I harvest… legally – and I hope – ethically. And my father did it the same way.

    We do this by choice. I love to hunt, like to know where our meat comes from and it is far less expensive than buying happy cow.

    But I really like having wolves around. It’s an amazing thing to hear a wolf or, better, see their tracks in the snow next to yours while hunting the same herd of elk. I like the competition.

    And stop right there… I’m a forty-something “native” Montanan… so by birth right wiser than anyone from Vermont….

    And… I’ve spent years in the Far East (and even in Lithuania) watching wolves scamper like hell when anyone shows up. I’ve seen lots of livestock killed by hunted wolves. I’ve also seen plenty of sheep killed by feral dogs.

    I grew up in ranch country and would personally like to see Montana remain one great big, well managed cattle operation…

    A friend’s calves were killed by wolves this week. I helped bottle feed those calves last March. That sucks… emotionally and financially.

    But it’s all going to happen. There are going to ridiculous brag pictures on the web, youtube videos of high-fives, protests, dysfunctional packs, good and bad science, and predated livestock.

    But who cares? It’s all a distracting circus.

    Ever read Hemingway?

    “I came by there five years ago and where I shot that pheasant there was a hot dog place and a filling station and north of the prairie, where we hunted snipe in the spring and skated on the sloughs when they froze in the winter, was all a subdivision of mean houses…”

    He wrote that in 1934.

    For anyone who hunts, perhaps it would be better to save the malice for the real problem and put our energy into cleaning up the backyard?

    George… Thanks again for at least putting this out there.

  148. Good article George. I have known George since the early 70’s at the University of Montana. I do not agree with everything that was said in the article or even the marjority of it, but there are some valid points.

  149. RK- you are calling me a idiot? Check your grammar-it’s an idiot you idiot. Didn’t get to school much did you? You are a typical western redneck with no intelligence or sense!

  150. One thing that would be great about shutting down the oil wells, all you easterners would have to stay home instead fo coming out here and trying to rule us. Teh of course if you can shut down the coal mines too, there will be no electricity for you to use your computers. Just a brilliant idea…like most enviro ideas.

  151. Todd –

    Good thinking.

    Would also ground all those black helicopters dropping Grizzly, Bison, Wolves, Prairie Dogs and BTF agents into Idaho.

    Those sneaky helicopters are so annoying.

  152. Well Mark are you telling us that you have a way of obtaining oil without drilling for it? I bet I know, you just go to the filling station and fill up, don’t need any oil wells huh?

  153. Sorry, Todd –

    As much as I would enjoy bantering about US energy policies, I need to get back to work so there’s time to go hunting this weekend.

  154. I would rather be an western redneck than an dope smoking east coast hippy transexual like yourself. Do yourself a favor and go play on the freeway and take a couple wolves with you. You know what “Bud”, just because your such an egotistical ass i’m going to actually go wolve hunting come the 1st of October and when i shoot one of those cute little doggies i’m going to have it mounted and name it “Bud” in your honor. Thank you for providing with with added motivation. Obviously education is over-rated if you are an example to follow. Please send me your address so i can send you a picture.

  155. Hey Bud… this some of the great preserve the wildlife friends of yours, oddly enough it’s the same tribe who wanted the wolves re-introduced, but yet it’s o.k. for them to kill Bison for ceremonial reasons. Your amusing to me if nothing else.

    An 1855 treaty between the United States and the Nez Perce Tribe of Idaho
    allows tribal members to hunt bison on public land near Yellowstone
    National Park, and that right will be honored, Montana officials say.

    Youth from the tribe plan to kill up to five bison on the Gallatin National
    Forest as part of a “ceremonial, subsistence” hunt set for this week, said
    Adam Villavicencio, chief of conservation enforcement for the tribe.

    As part of that treaty, he said, the tribe reserved the right to hunt and
    fish in “usual and accustomed areas.” The tribe asserts that their rights
    reserved under the treaty including bison hunting in Montana and on the
    Western Plains.

  156. Bud could you please expand on this.

    “I think this article raises some important questions. I have been a hunter since I was a teenager. I consider myself a traditional type of hunter, meaning I don’t use any tools that give me unfair advantage over the animal.”

    Well bud it would seem to me a rifle would probably give you an unfair advantage, you did not say you used a rifle though, maybe you use a spear or hand fabricated bow and arrow, and without a doubt probably knapp your own arrowheads from native materials. Do you drive a vehicle to the location you hunt, that might give you an unfair advantage rather than walking around like wildlife do. Does your rifle have a scope? Do you have binoculars?

    Face the facts Bud your a hypocrite who likes to pretend he is better than every other hunter out there, by somehow justifying that you are more ethical or have higher moral values than us typical western rednecks or the guy who slices the chickens throat, or the guy who shoots a cow in the back of the head with a .22., and seriously please post a link where the Wyoming fish and game department encourages the use of ATV’s and snowmobiles for running down and tracking game….Thats right you can’t because thats just some more of your delusional ramblings.

  157. budpg, I had to read back thru the posts to see just what it was you said that tripped Rk’s trigger and turned him into an insulting, name calling, ranting nutcase. When that starts, you know they have nothing intelligent to say. What’s the saying? “Never Has So Much Been Said About So Little to So Many by So Few”. I just hope he’s up on his high blood pressure meds. By the way Budpg, I agree with every word you’ve written.

  158. Mitch- Thanks. I don’t get this hatred toward predators. Predators do what comes natural to them. They don’t kill to piss off ranchers or anyone else. Cougars, coyotes, wolves, bears are killed for sport and it’s time people start to stand up for them. I have a problem with people that organize coyote killing contests-no animal deserves such disrespect.

  159. This is a superb article on the ecological and moral crime that is wolf hunting (and the hunting of any animal just for fun or thrills). I especially like the fact it busts the myth of “management” as being necessary or helpful, when the opposite is usually true. Nature can manage itself thank you very much, it had been doing it for billions of years before humans ever showed up! Everything that humans ever touch usually just goes straight to pot. Those who think wolf “management” (i.e. slaughter for fun and profit) is necessary have no understanding of ecology and are clouded by their own arrogance about the supremacy of man and his phallic extension that is the gun. You Americans wiped out all your wolves once, you only got them back thanks to us in Canada and now you seem destined to wipe them out all over again. Utterly sickening and disgraceful.

  160. It is always interesting when thsoe who were in favor of trucking in wolves to kill elk in Yellowstone and elsewhere are now in favor of letting “nature self manage”. Why couldn’t nature manage itself before the wolf introduction? There were wolves in all 3 states, and documented in Yellowstone just prior to the introduction of Canadian wolves. There just weren’t enough to suit the enviros and it would “take too long” to let them recolonize sufficiently to suit those who wanted to “manage” nature then. I think you want to manage people by forcing them to put up with the cost of livestock losses to the wolves……to say nothing of your glee watching the prey species vanish like snow in July.

  161. ralph,
    why do you think wolves got reintroduced in the mid 1990s. by managers , to manage. if it wasnt for management of our resources, both flora and fauna, then yellowstone would be devoid of animals and be full of golf courses and condos.

  162. And the growing anti-hunting thoughts of folks here in the East points toward a downward spiraling of funds for public fish and game (not wildlife?) agencies, like the Pennsylvania Game Commission which gets nearly all of its funding from the revenue collected through the sale of hunting licenses. So as sprawl chews up more wildlife habitat and more land is posted against hunting, the very agencies tasked with conserving the public’s wildlife resource see fewer dollars coming in. And so it goes. At least in Missouri, for one state, residents decided through public voting to support their state’s wildlife conservation agency through the collecting of one-eighth of one percent for that mission from the state’s general sales tax.

  163. I’m not a vegetarian and I live in a rural state. I have lived and worked in Alaska (in a tent) for the summer and Yellowstone and Tahoe and elsewhere. I love the West and enjoy the land and the wildlife of our country. It makes me sick to hear that ‘hunters’ just wiped out the Cottonwood Wolf pack in Yellowstone. These ‘hunters’ are nothing more than stupid killers. They are turning me quickly into an anti-hunting activist, which I never was before. The ‘hunters’ writing here sound more like stupid cry babies with guns. Why is it that real hunters in Minnesota don’t cry over lots of wolves living there? Twice as many wolves live there as now live in the Rockies. Yet Minnesota hunters have accepted the wolves right to exist and appreciate and admire them. The hunters there will tell you that the presence of wolves makes their deer hunting more challenging as the deer are more wary and that makes for more challenging hunting. And you cry baby wild west ‘hunters’ just don’t get it yet. Many Americans love our American wildlife, including wolves and we do not want anyone to kill wolves anymore, the way so many Americans butchered and persecuted wolves in an earlier time. Can’t you grow up and learn about ecology and actually respect creation. The wolves are part of creation for a reason, they have a role to play in nature. They were not put on this earth so you could feel powerful shooting them and watching them die. Visit and watch the video on wolves and even order a copy for yourself. You will learn how wonderful wolves are and why so many of us love and respect them. Why don’t you learn to actually love and respect life?

  164. It seems that Wildlife Management in this context refers to wildlife management in reference to the wants of the populace around a particular area. Certainly, the idea that nature needs human help to manage itself is completely asinine. Rather, these offices exist to determine and limit the amount of indigenous wildlife to suit the desires of those living in the area.
    Yes, life feeds on life. It is inescapable. Note: feeds. It is one thing to kill for sustenance, or self defense. A true hunter respects their quarry, and the world around them. But to kill solely for pleasure? There is no respect, no honor, in that. That is a weak act. People trying to prove their power and prowess by killing their prey outside of the quarries sphere of awareness.
    This may be necessary in a real hunt, but this proves one’s bravery as much shooting an opponent in a fight without warning, then bragging about what an excellent pugilist one is. Coward is a more accurate description. Try using your hands next time.
    Another point is that so many here have tried to make themselves seem like simple, honest people, just trying to live off the land. Really? Then how is it that you are even on this website, complaining about all the ignorant city folk attacking you?
    It takes some amount of knowledge of computers and the internet to find your way about, and then to even know that you can leave your thoughts and opinions on said site. The simple answer is that you are liars.
    You don’t wash your clothes in a tub with a board, leaving them to dry in the sun. You don’t ride into town on a horse, or have to hike ten miles through the rugged woodlands to even come across another person.
    No, you have televisions, cars, washers and driers, go to public school. For all your braggadocio and chest pounding, you are just “city folk” who happen to live a little further away from the rest of the people you hate.
    I know someone who actually lives in the wilderness, cut off from other people and the comforts of modern society as part of her job. She comes out occasionally, and this is the only time we hear from her. She is what you want everyone to believe you are, but couldn’t be further from.
    You pretend to be some sort of great hero, kill an animal with a rifle equipped with a high powered scope, then return to your warm, central heated home with your “trophy”. Coward. Liar.
    You don’t mange wildlife because your lives depend on it. You don’t kill because your lives depend on it. You do so to support your twisted delusions of a solitary life of self-reliance and a pathetic assumption of moral superiority.
    You could have a perfectly fine life, even as a farmer, closer to those you despise, and far away from a world you have no respect for. But that would break the lie, wouldn’t it?

  165. Interesting that folks like you Joe, had no objection to “managing” wildlife when you wanted to haul in predators (wolves), just when those who live with them and lose thousands of dollars worth of livestock to them want to manage them.

  166. Sorry, Todd, I never wanted to “manage” wildlife or “haul in predators”. Honestly, I’m trying to understand the context of your response. The majority of my post was talking about sport hunters, not livestock owners.
    Self defense is one thing, certainly someone whose life or livelihood is on the line is going to protect that. In fact I thought that I had said that quite clearly in the beginning of my post. Life feeds on life. But worrying that there won’t be more elk to kill for sport? That isn’t about self defense.
    Trying to maintain a balance between agrarian society and the wilderness is an important issue. Both plaintiffs in the argument, (Wolves and man) have a right to live and prosper. People who want to find better ways to balance the interaction between nature and man need to discuss ideas with farmers, and find a way where everyone wins.
    Once more, however, I was pretty sure that I was speaking in my post about people who kill strictly for “Sport”. Sorry if that was unclear.

  167. Oh wow George, I stumbled upon this article while looking for some LIVE idaho gray wolves pictures, its amazing how hard they are to find. I noticed these pictures were from articles so I started reading up, and one linked to this article.

    I must say, you are my hero, you hit my beliefs dead on. I support hunting, not blood baths and illogical killings. I live on the boarder of Oregon, so people often think I don’t know anything about the state. We’ve lived here for three years, I get Idaho news, I often take trips to the capital. The only wolf I ever saw was dead on the highway, even when we took trips to the mountains, never one live wolf. That one dead wolf also obviously suffered a horrific death, it had the most horrific look on its face, I could just see it being hit. Even with that though, it was such a gorgeous wolf, and with the wolf images I’ve been seeing of Idaho gray wolves, they are the most gorgeous wolf I’ve ever seen in my years of studying them. It’s such a shame that some people in Idaho are so blood thirsty. I wish I could see a live Idaho wolf.

    I’m glad those women ran away from your friend there, maybe he’ll learn eventually, as I hope people start to as well.

  168. To those of you who are murdering these wolves: You are murdering creation. You are assaulting the creator of our earth. There is no respect for life in what you are doing. There are proven, non-lethal ways to control and prevent wolf predation on livestock. In Minnesota, farmers, ranchers, citizens and wildlife biologists have come together and in almost every case have reduced livestock predation to zero and they have many thousands of wolves there, more than in the Rockies. Why are Minnesotans able to live with and appreciate ‘their’ wolves and you westerners insist on murdering them? Are you simply cowards with guns, or just looking for an excuse to kill? The tradition of demonizing, hating and killing wolves in the West has to stop. These are beautiful animals and are part of creation. Live and let live. Stop breaking the hearts of those of us who love life.

  169. I think that a co-existence with wolves is possible, ranchers should be completely reimbursed for the livestock they loose because of predators, and with that money they can get guard dogs, tall fences, or other non-lethal ways to prevent wolves and other animals to enter the ranches. After all, it is the farmer’s whole responsibility to take care of their pets and livestock.
    About the Dillon accident (the one of the 120 sheep) that DID NOT happened because the wolves killed for fun. I read the whole article and I have noticed that anti-wolf people like to use it to defend themselves, but when one reads it and researches about it the conclusion is different. When a carnivore (wolves, in this case) are in a small place with a lot of defenseless animals running around together, they just have a strange hunting-and-killing frenzy, it was just instinct and the wolves couldn’t stop it. Wolves do not kill for joy, some hunters do, so, who was wrong, then?
    And, about the elk numbers, if it weren’t for wolves, the elk we have now wouldn’t have survived. Wolves an elk have lived in complete balance between each other, at least when humans weren’t around…also, the decline of elk numbers is almost artificial, because the RMEF (Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation) said that the elk numbers in most states-including ID,MT and WY-had never been higher in 23 years. Of course that the ungulate population would decline with the coming of the wolf, but wolves, as Doug Smith, one of the Wolf Reintroduction program main workers, said that “wolves are to Yellowstone what water is to the Everglades”.
    We are just too lazy to build up a good wolf-human relationship, and just go to kill them.

  170. First off thank you George W for writing such an articulate article. As many have already commented, people like Mickey and Todd help to make your points better than a hundred articles could. I was surprised and heartened to see a nice response from some obviously responsible hunters here who are as disgusted by canned hunting, “hate” hunters and by wolf and predator hunting as us wolf advocates. Thank you for your thoughtful takes on hunting and hopefully you can help to “clean up” the segment of your sporting group that do give hunting such a bad name.

    To respond to the person who complained that the enviros will never be happy and want more and more wolves. he/ she said “100 was acceptable as the goal at first, now it has to be 3 to 5 thousand, you know why because your little group has no clue and no intention of them ever being managed no matter what the population is…” First off the 100 goal was never acceptable it was a number that was somewhat arbitrary because of the forced compromises that were being made to accomodate ranchers and special interest groups. As the various proposed actions for wolf recovery were being considered, a commission of sorts was established to review the goals. The commission/task force/working group, not surprisingly was largely made up of state and federal managers, ranching and livestock interests and hunters and only 2 conservation groups. Both of the conservation groups rightly voted against the adopted wolf recovery plan that we have now been stuck with. Setting the number at 100 was, and is, unsustainable and has resulted in the problem we have now …unrealistic goals for wolf recovery that are politically expedient not science based. There is a tremedous amount of evidence that wolves and other predators do have self limiting populations but it will be less and less difficult to prove as the populations will now all be hunted. There is a reason that many many people want federal protections for wolves. Chief among them is the fact that the states have proven time and again that they can not manage wolves responsibly and that they are pawns to hunters and special interest groups that hide behind the title of conservationist while they eradicate predators and ignore their roles withing a healthy ecosystem.

    Its tiring and boring to hear that the “enviros” don’t have any right to comment or partcipate in wolf recovery and that not living in one of these states precludes us/them from participation. Wildlife management agencies and practices are rife with conflict of interest. We need a dismantling of the systems that should more aptly be called wildlife killing agencies. Wolves and other predators, wildlife and wilderness should be treated as a national resource. The states are “managing” these rescources to death.

  171. To the Washington Hunter 12.28.12
    You are why we need federal laws protecting predators. What a sick person you are.

  172. Washington hunter… are why so many of us want gun control to keep guns away from whackos like you. Never mind hunting issues, a gun in the hands of someone like you is truly horrifying.

  173. George, it’s good to see someone out there telling it like it is.
    I’ve been a rancher and a hunter all my life. I was raised to only kill what I intended to eat. Can’t say I’ve ever had a great recipe for coyote I cared about trying.
    I’ve known a few people who enjoy shooting coyotes. I’ve known a few people who enjoyed beating their kids or their woman. Generally I chalk it up to inadequacies and frustration. It must be a terrible thing to know you’re really not much of a man.

  174. Thanks Rusty. I am in the same view as you.