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Hunters Have Killed More than 180 Wolves in the Northern Rockies

Without Federal Protection, Bloodbath is Underway

A bloodbath is underway in the northern Rocky Mountains as hunters there relentlessly target wolf packs in the region.

Wolf hunts are grinding away in the northern Rockies, fueled by government bureaucracies and state politicians that employ bizarre
language ranging from technocratic euphemisms to bad-boy naughtiness and vicious joy at the killings. This is a small selection of
hunted wolf images from the region floating around on the Internet

In April, Congress removed gray wolves in the northern Rockies from Endangered Species Act (ESA) protection. Since then, Idaho and Montana have sold nearly 37,000 wolf tags for fall hunts. As of November 11, some 114 wolves had been shot in Idaho, and 67 in Montana. Idaho plans to continue hunting through the winter of 2012, and will allow the state’s estimated 700 to 1,000 wolves to be reduced to no more than 150. If hunters and trappers fail to destroy enough, state officials promise to launch airborne search and destroy operations. Montana officials recently extended wolf season from the end of December to January 31, 2012 in hopes of killing 220 of their estimated 556 to 645 wolves. In Wyoming, Governor Matt Mead recently signed an agreement with Interior Secretary Ken Salazar that will protect a remnant population of 100 to 150 to survive near Yellowstone National Park, but allow wolves to be classified as vermin and shot-on-sight in 80 percent of the state; hunts could begin there next spring.

The recent anti-wolf campaign represents an extraordinary cultural and political victory by the far-right wing in the Rocky Mountains. A loose coalition of some ranchers, hunters, and anti-government zealots demonized the gray wolves reintroduced to Montana and Idaho from Canada in the mid 1990s by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. They cast the animals as huge, aggressive, disease-ridden monsters bent on ravaging livestock, elk, deer, and even people. Wolves became symbolic representations of the hated federal government (see my story, "Cry, Wolf" in the Summer 2011 issue of EIJ ). In time, both the mainstream Republican and Democratic Parties came to accept this vision of demonic wolves invading from Canada.    

In April, 2011, Senator John Tester, Democrat of Montana, facing a tough 2012 reelection challenge from Republican Congressman Denny Rehberg, led a campaign among fellow Democrats to remove gray wolves from the Endangered Species Act using a federal budget bill rider, while Idaho’s Congressman Mike Simpson did the same among House Republicans. The rider passed with little dissent, marking the first time a species has been removed from the protections of the Endangered Species Act by Congress.

Almost immediately several national and regional conservation groups — the Alliance for a Wild Rockies, the Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of Animals, and WildEarth Guardians — filed suit in federal court. Their attorneys charge that because the 2011 budget rider did not change the language of the Endangered Species Act, Congress unconstitutionally intervened in the judiciary. The rider overturned a 2010 decision by federal judge Donald Molloy in Missoula that the original 2009 delisting of wolves by the US Wildlife Service violated the ESA by illegally subdividing Idaho and Montana from Wyoming. In Judge Molloy’s ruling, all three states — with some 1,600 wolves — comprise what the law calls a “distinct population segment.”   

Wolf advocates brought their new case to Judge Molloy’s court in July, 2011. He ruled against them, saying that the Ninth Circuit had restrained him with a binding precedent concerning Congressional powers. At the same time, he encouraged his decision to be appealed. On November 8, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals began hearings in Pasadena, California.  Proceedings and a subsequent legal ruling are expected to take months. Plaintiffs have asked three times for the court to issue a temporary injunction stopping the wolf hunts while the case is being heard. The court has twice declined, and is currently considering the third request.

Back in the Rockies, the hunts grind away, fueled by government bureaucracies and state politicians that employ bizarre language ranging from technocratic euphemisms to bad-boy naughtiness and vicious joy at the killings. In Idaho, the wolves aren’t being hunted but are instead “harvested,” with a new body count posted each day on the state’s official “Wolf Harvest” website. “It’s as if wolves aren’t sentient, intelligent animals, but are instead potatoes,” one wolf advocate notes. Another Idaho activist’s research analyzing the state’s “Big Game Mortality Reports” shows that 29 percent of the wolves killed so far are juveniles and puppies.

In Montana,  Ravalli County Republicans staged a “SSS raffle” that awarded the winner a rifle characterized as a “home defense weapon,” camouflage backpack, folding shovel, roll of duck tape, and the “first ever Wolf Cookbook.” Their website explains that SSS refers to “Security, Safety and Survival,” but “shhhh, don’t tell anyone, it’s really Shoot, Shovel, and Shutup.” Also, no one eats wolves. In fact, Montana passed a law saying hunters don’t even need to touch the wolves they kill, but can instead leave them there to rot, because they’re thought to be too disease ridden with tapeworms. Previous legislation required hunters to bring in the pelt and head. 

Democratic Senator Max Baucus, thrilled at the testing of a new pilotless drone aircraft manufactured in Montana, issued a statement in early November declaring, “ Our troops rely on this type of technology every day and there is an enormous future potential in border security, agriculture, and wildlife and predator management.” A manufacturer’s representative claimed his company’s drone “can tell the difference between a wolf and a coyote.”   

One can only hope that the war against wolves is so outrageous that it becomes obvious it’s not wolves that have become demonic, but rather people. Until that understanding occurs, and policies change, at least the slain animals can be remembered. 

Read James William Gibson’s writings at

James William Gibson
James William Gibson writes regularly for Earth Island Journal. Among his books is The Perfect War: Technowar in Vietnam (1986).

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Wolves hunted and slaughtered by humans will be avenged.  The hunters will be hunted.

By Theodore Nugent on Thu, October 31, 2013 at 8:36 pm

I have been donating a bit to the wolf protection cause and just watched a documentary about wolves by a man who studies them named Shaun Ellis around 28:27 starts the segment I am talking about.

He lives with wolves and has kept away wolves in Poland using wolf calls because wolves are territorial. He says that the method needs testing and many farmers need to do just that, for the verification that scientists need. Because it’s either that or continued wolf hunts and death to livestock. Time is crucial because wolves are an endangered species so inaction is the worst enemy here.

Shaun can be contacted directly at

By Osiris on Tue, May 14, 2013 at 2:12 pm

Bruce E. Hemming, AKA Elklover, sure does love elk. He was caught more than once having his way with an elk carcass. He loves elk even more than he loves sheep. He is just an other impotent inbred who gets his greatest thrill in life from KILLING unarmed animals. What did Brucie ever accomplish in his life besides killing animals and calling people Nazis?

By Paul Lemmingfaust on Sun, October 21, 2012 at 1:41 pm

Here is a partial quote by Steve Boyan, PhD that I found on


“…more than two-thirds of the land area of the mountain states are used for grazing. 70% of the lands in western national forests are grazed; 90% of Bureau of Land Management land is grazed. These lands are trampled by the cattle, compacting the soil. When it rains, the land doesn’t absorb the water. Instead, it runs off, taking away topsoil, forming deep gullies and damaging streambeds. The government protects the cattle by killing off any creature that might threaten the livestock. They poison, trap, snare, den, shoot or gun down the wildlife. Denning, by the way, is the practice by federal agents of pouring kerosene into the dens of animals and setting them on fire, burning the young animals alive in their nests. According to Robbins, agents kill badgers, black bear, bobcats, coyotes, gray fox, red fox, mountain lions, opossums, raccoons, skunks, beavers, porcupines, prairie dogs, blackbirds, cattle egrets and starlings using these methods. These activities take place on public lands, which were created in large part to protect the environment! Your tax dollars subsidize these activities.”


“A 1997 study of endangered species in the southwestern United States by the Fish and Wildlife Service found that half the species studied were threatened by cattle ranching.”

I only wish that the above quotes which I cherry picked because they were relevant for this blog were the worst of it.  They are not.  There is more, much more.

By Donald Jones on Mon, June 04, 2012 at 3:09 pm

we might not have many wolves in michigan but they are not careless animals that just kill for fun. they may kill more then one kill at a time becuase they will go back and eat some leave and then come back. they are part of the ecosystem. remember what happened in yellowstone when there were no wolves there? well the herds of all the prey that wolves eat became to much. not even hunters could keep down the populatio. the land was starting to bacome over grazed and lots of other bad things started to happen. so they brought the wolves back.

By iloveallanimals on Sat, June 02, 2012 at 12:28 pm

@Jared:  I live in New Mexico.  When a puma or black bear comes into Albuquerque, Santa Fe or Los Alamos they are darted and relocated.  The only time one is killed is if it attacks something, in the most recent case, a dog.  I am astonished that in your area they kill it and 5 others out of hand for no other reason than it was nearby.

Someone on this blog suggested that I look up the website “Lobo Watch”.  I find it interesting that there are no Lobos anywhere near Wyoming, Montana or Idaho.  The Lobo is canis lupus baileyi, a subspecies of the Gray Wolf also known as the Mexican Wolf.  It is perhaps the most endangered predator on the continent with only about 50 free individuals.  Their range is presently in the forests on the southern border of New Mexico and Arizona. 

Back to “Lobo Watch”, I watched the entire video and there are some elements that I understand, perhaps even agree with and some I don’t.  I did notice that a lot of the content is anecdotal in nature.  This kind of evidence needs to be quantified before one can give it any significance.  For instance, there is the example of the rancher who located a herd in an area and came back the next spring to find that the calf count was much lower than expected.  There are a couple of things wrong with this picture.  He assumes that the short fall was due to wolves rather than weather, abundance of feed, illness and probably more items than I would know of.  He also assumes that he has a right to expect that his herd will be fine even if he does nothing to protect it. 

Lobo Watch claims that the wolves that were relocated are of a subspecies that was never in the lower 48 and have no business here.  They also claim that wolves are very mobile, traveling great distances when wolf populations drive them to it.  So, which is it?  And, by the way, where did cattle and sheep come from?  They are slow, not too bright and numerous.  Do you really expect that wolves will leave them alone, especially if you leave them on the range with no protection?

Lobo Watch makes the claim that the numbers of elk that wolves take is very nearly equal to the number that hunters take.  This agrees quite nicely with the statement my hunter friend made that there are more elk and deer now than when the “Indians” were in charge.  It was not that white men are better stewards, but that in wiping out the competition, the elk and deer herds need to be culled by us in order to keep them from starving to death in the winter.  I particularly “liked” the claim that the wolves have lowered the numbers of elk in Yellowstone to the verge of extinction, yet these same elk winter in Montana where they are apparently subject to predation by hunters in the winter hunt.  I do feel sorry for local businesses though, like the store owner whose business in the winter months have been hurt.  I am not sure what the solution should be, but killing off the wolves is not a realistic solution.  There is too much collateral damage to the environment to allow that.  (Which brings me to the question, have you watched the clips at Greenfire Productions?  You really have no standing to disagree with me if you have not.) 

Lobo Watch made the claim that the money to bring wolves back to Yellowstone was illegally appropriated.  If this is so and the GAO has verified that it is, the money should be returned and the offending parties dealt with.  That it has not happened suggests that the claim is in error.  However, if it is not, bring your own case to the courts.

Lobo Watch suggests that states should be left alone to make their own “wise” decisions.  Yet the track record for humans making wise decisions is abysmal, especially when the decision makers are so close to the problem that they take their own personal needs and wants first.  It is only when a global perspective is taken that a reasonable solution can be found for all.  Mention was made of a small land owner in Brazil.  Yes, the land owner will clear the forest and raise crops and be temporarily be better off, but ten years later, the soil which was poor to start with is useless.  Is this wise?

Lobo Watch suggests that humans are intrinsically more important than the other life forms on this Earth.  We are well on our way to make the Earth uninhabitable with this attitude.  The many quotes in the film concerning our negative impact on the Earth are one of the results.  Apparently the author of the film took offence to being compared to a disease.  Frankly, I have to admit that a cancer, as an unorganized, uncontrolled destructive growth that kills the organism that gave it birth, looks increasingly like a description of the human race.  And this leads me to my final comment.

Lobo Watch cites Judeo-Christian writings (per the author of the work as, “essentially Christian”) to justify the right of humans to do whatever they want.  This is inappropriate.  To start with, there are other religions which may disagree with your conclusions, but leaving that aside, this is about the survival of the biosphere and our culpability over having driven millions of species to extinction.  I am not talking about just wolves here.  In Yellowstone there was a single family of beavers before the reintroduction of wolves.  Now there are many more.  There were many other species and habitats that were at risk that are now doing better.  It is bad enough that our uncontrolled population growth is making the world more polluted and less diverse.  But intentionally killing off our competitors just for sport is immoral and criminal.  Quoting religious texts to support such action is hubris.

By Don Jones on Thu, May 31, 2012 at 8:19 am

Wolves are trash and kill for sport…?
Are you that ignorant or just plain stupid….wolves kill for survival…humans kill for sport…i know personally hunters who kill for sport for a frickin rack of antlers and leave the carcass to rot in the woods..why ..because there too fat and lazy and far away from they’re vechile to carry or drag the body and take the meat home…really? whommmm is the real trash?trash

By cricket on Tue, May 29, 2012 at 6:18 pm

Are we really so concerned about the poor food animals? Humans kill more than 10 billion a year just in the U.S.

The livestock industry is the worst environmental and health disaster affecting us today. Check out the United Nation’s report “Livestock’s Long Shadow.” Even the CDC is telling us to stop eating so much meat because it’s killing us.

Yes, it’s true. It’s hard to watch how ruthless and bloodthirsty wolves can be. But similar to humans, they also have a compassionate side that helps the pack to stay together and take care of each other.

It doesn’t make sense to vilify all humans. What separates us from the animals is our capacity for compassion. Using the violence of the wolves to say humans can do the same is like saying we can kill babies because bears kill bear babies.

We are more advanced than the wolves because of our compassion. Well, most of us. Hunters who enjoy tracking down another creature and killing it can be considered equal to the animals they hunt. But many of us have evolved beyond the point of finding taking the life of a sentient being enjoyable.

What this wolf hunt boils down to is greed and good, old-fashioned ignorant thinking. Seems the manifest destiny mentality of our ancestors who knew little about science and the world still prevails in the middle of the country.

By Tina on Sat, March 17, 2012 at 9:56 am

Wolves are trash they kill animals for sport. Wolves dont eat 9 out of ten kills. Its left to rott. They are the most wasteful creatures that have ever existed. Look for yourself google washington wolf info.

Good point! Particularly considering that you, and your fellow sportsman kill for nothing other then sport, you are the trash, it’s too damn bad we aren’t extirpating you and your ilk from the earth…

By Chris on Tue, March 13, 2012 at 5:36 pm

I see all of these arguments about how the wolves are flearidden, disgusting animals that have to be “exterminated” and it just sickens me. The thing that all of you anti-wolf people dont seem to understand is that it is not the wolves that are to blame, its us, the HUMANS. So, you’re dog got killed by a wolf? Don’t live near the wilderness. Humans are steadily taking away the natural habitat of the wolves, and other creatures. How do you expect a creature to survive if its habitat is eing taken away? It will adapt.
Also, for those of you that say that the wolf population is out of control and has to be “harvested.” Ask your selves, why is it that the population is supposedly out of control? You say that upu want to protect the human population and livestock, but you dont stop to think that it is because of human intervention in the environments of wildlife that this is happening.
Here’s something for you to think about. If exterminating the wolves is for the good of all, then should we not be exterminating people as well? I mean, what good has come out of our existance for the earth? We made many species go extinct, we developed diseases, we invented weapons of destruction, we kill each other for no reason other than revenge.. this is only a part of the never ending list horrible things that humans have done.

By wolflover on Fri, February 17, 2012 at 6:38 pm

The people who say the wolves only kill for food are totally wrong, as told in this find in AK., of 20 Sheep killed, and only six of them consumed, from 40-60%.

The rest were killed for “fun”

By mark on Sun, January 08, 2012 at 2:38 pm

we aren’t exterminating the wolves. if you mow the grass responsibly does it not grow back and need to be kept in control? its when you do it irresponsibly that its a problem, but most of us don’t know what state and federal biologists know. if they say we can do this and keep the wolves at a healthy level, why not? we’ve been hunting deer for years and they’re populations are doing great. i have one question, how many of you actually hunt? hunters give millions of dollars to conservation programs every year.

By john on Mon, January 02, 2012 at 7:36 pm

Wolves are trash they kill animals for sport. Wolves dont eat 9 out of ten kills. Its left to rott. They are the most wasteful creatures that have ever existed. Look for yourself google washington wolf info.

By jason on Mon, December 26, 2011 at 5:52 pm

@Don Jones yes but if we were to let them live without interference we would need to monitor them as to kind of redeem ourselves from the damage we have done

By Jordan T. Stumpf on Sat, November 19, 2011 at 9:03 pm

Gee.  How did the poor wolves and elk manage to survive before we got here to control them?  How did our cattle get to be so vulnerable to predation?  (ps. Predation is a very small percent of cattle losses) We are the problem.  We need to leave them alone and let them sort it out for themselves.  Sure, life in the wild for predator and prey is hard.  So what?  That is never going to change.  Life is not supposed to be easy.
And we are the ones who kill for sport.  There may be some who kill for food, but I’ll bet that most hunters would be embarrassed to admit how much a pound of venison actually costs if they were honest about everything that goes into it.  I have a relative that told me his number and it was astonishing.

Want to see what really has been going on in Yellowstone, not over just the last 50 years, but over the last 100?  Want to see how ranchers and wolves can coexist with minimal interference with each other?

Go to
The two video trailers tell most of the story but not all.  The disk is worth the price.  I have one that I loan to my friends.

By Don Jones on Thu, November 17, 2011 at 7:22 pm

Wolves don’t do harm to wildlife and the ecosystem. They ARE wildlife, and a key part of the ecosystem. Yes, wolves kill deer, elk, and other wildlife for food. How can you justify exterminating wolves because of that? You’re not “saving” those wildlife by killing off wolves. You’re saving more game for hunters to kill. Humans seem to have a complex about sharing this planet with other predators. The wolf population is not out of control, it is the human population that is out of control. We need to realize we share this planet with other predators, and when you remove keystone predators, that devastates the ecosystem and the environment. We devastate the ecosystem and the environment. Not wolves. If people don’t want to share their world with wolves, don’t live close to the wilderness. The wilderness is home to wild animals, including predators such as wolves, bears, and mountain lions. They deserve to live their lives unimpeded by us,  not hunted down to create a picturesque, disneyland woods for us to enjoy. That is not the true nature of the wilderness, and we need to learn to live in harmony with nature. Not play god and decide which species should survive and which we should drive to extinction for our own selfish, destructive whims.

By Amanda on Thu, November 17, 2011 at 5:29 pm

confused, animal lovers do more damage to the environment that hunters? I’m going to have to disagree with you. Hunters by far KILL MORE wildlife than animal lovers, so please tell me how in the heck do you think animal lovers are doing more damage to the environment?

By Andy on Thu, November 17, 2011 at 4:21 pm

I find it amusing that animal lovers usually do more damage to the enviroment than Hunters. They claim to want to save everything. They don’t care if the poplulation of a preticular animal gets out of control and kills off tons of other wildlife and start causing trouble for farmers, pet owners and sometimes the life a person. kinda like them sticking up for Mountain Lions when a full grown mountain lion needs approx. 1 fullsize deer a week for survival. So lets kill 52 deer and other critters to save 1 Mountain Lion. hmmm, the only thing that might change their mind is when said Lion snags up one of their little foo foo dogs or is stalking them or a child while walking in the woods. They have no concept of balancing a population before it is out of control. Animal rights activist have no commonsense and most believe animals have more rights than humans. They are the problem not the hunters.

By Confused on Thu, November 17, 2011 at 2:41 pm

elklover AKA Bruce Hemming, you don’t love elk. You LOVE KILLING it. Stop pretending that you care about elk or wildlife when you don’t. You only care about KILLING IT.

By Rob on Wed, November 16, 2011 at 2:47 pm

Anyone who knows about the wolf’s plight in the U.S.A. here and now knows exactly what is behind the mass killings going on now and has been since settlers moved into the Wild USA it’s not about wolves decimating cows and elk and big game,it’s about greed and money period and I hope to GOD the killing of wolves stops soon and the wolf does not go the way of the black rhino : EXTINCT !!!!

By Mario on Wed, November 16, 2011 at 8:20 am

What a senseless slaughter. What is wrong with these people. Don’t they understand that the natural balance of nature is seriously affected when mankind meddles with it. Livestock do more damage to the environment than wolf packs or any other predators for that matter could ever do. They are key players in keeping a strong and healthy environment for all wildlife and their habitat.

‘Where no one intrudes, many can live in harmony.’
- Chief Dan George -

By Fauve on Wed, November 16, 2011 at 12:38 am

Wolves are the worst ecological disaster to our wildlife in the last 100 years. Only a fool would ignore all the evidence.

What have we done to the wildlife of the Yellowstone Region

Watch Yellowstone is Dead

Watch Undue Burden

Find out the facts about what wolves are doping to our game herds.

By ElkLover on Tue, November 15, 2011 at 10:06 pm

Jared - Idaho has the largest Forest Service in the lower 48, the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, 2.3 million acres. IDFG is trying to exterminate wolves in this Wilderness along with the Selway and Sawtooth, as well as several proposed wilderness areas.There are no towns, no cities, and no livestock in these mountains. The only conflict is that wolves eat elk and big game outfitters & some hunters (not all) do not want any competition. 66% of Idaho is public land, belonging to all Americans - the wildest place in the continental United States, but it’s a state run with the iron first of Butch Otter, sheep & cattle ranchers & big game outfitters & trophy hunters, many who want no predators at all. Until Otter’s reign of terror ends, wolves are going to be slaughtered in Idaho, starting today with the mangling & choking tapping season.

By wildwolf on Tue, November 15, 2011 at 6:21 am

Today, Nov. 15, is the beginning of the end of Idaho wolves in the Middle Fork Salmon, Selway, Panhandle & Lola Zones as IDFG launches its savage campaign of mangling & choking wolves by trapping & snaring. IDFG has held workshops all over the state giving details on how to catch entire wolf packs, emphasizing the use of snares. One of the state’s foremost experts in trapping, retired Wildlife Service’ agent, Rick Williamson has been among those making certain that anyone with no trapping experience can get the quota of FIVE wolves in 2011 & another FIVE before March 31, 2012 = TEN wolves per trapper. Snares are deadly & many animals besides wolves are going to be caught and killed, including dogs, deer & elk. IDFG led by Idaho’s anti-wolf Governor Butch Otter & his handpicked anti-wolf Commissioners are determined to reduce the number of Idaho wolves from 1000 to 150. What’s up next if 850 wolves are not killed by shooting, strangling & mangling?  Nothing would be a surprise, including the use of poison.

By wildwolf on Tue, November 15, 2011 at 6:11 am

ve lo dico in italiano, BASTARDI ASSASSINI!!

By Charly on Tue, November 15, 2011 at 1:43 am

This massacre is nothing more than a politically-driven, hate-fueled witch hunt that must be stopped. And all who take part in fanning the flames of fear and hate towards wolves - as well as those who encourage it - deserve the most barbaric punishment imaginable. Wolves have done nothing to them to deserve this.

By Pete Braun on Mon, November 14, 2011 at 11:28 pm

If you live in wolf country, you have to deal with the consequences. Wolves lived here first and they have the RIGHT to live here. Every single wild animal has a right over ours. Keep the senseless killing up, and you will be responsible for eradicating a beautiful species forever from the face of this earth. Your children’s children may never see a wild wolf. Mine will likely never see a Black Rhino, they have just gone extinct in the wild. I work with wolves here in Canada they are amazing and powerful animals and I treasure every moment I spend with them.

You have an unbelievably beautiful state… you are sitting on a goldmine of wildlife tourism and nature conservation. Protect your native species before they are gone, all of them, regardless of how convenient they are. If urbanization is forcing animals into tiny unbalanced pockets then it is our problem, not theirs. Figure out another way, and it is likely going to be less than convenient for us.

A black bear just bust a hole through my fence and my dogs got in a fight with a skunk, but I am gonna do everything in my power to protect them because this world is gonna be a lonely place with just us people left.

By protectwildlife on Mon, November 14, 2011 at 10:15 pm

By the way, that study I mentioned that was done in Wyoming, was done on an elk feedground.  That is exactly the sort of location where the elk herds end up very concentrated.  As one of the USFWS scientists working on the study said, “We thought if there is ever a place you would document surplus killing, these feedgrounds would be the spot.”  Nonetheless, they saw very little of it ... and when surplus kills did happen, it was usually in the late winter when the elk were more likely to be weak and unhealthy.  Hm.

By CaptainSakonna on Mon, November 14, 2011 at 10:10 pm

@jared: “If a mountain lion or black bear come into the foothills the DWR and government trappers kill it and 5 others in the area. Why should the Wolves be different?”

We need to end the needless killing of mountain lions and bears as well.  But the focus is on wolves right now because they are essentially being subjected to a pogrom.  As of 2007, IDFG estimated that there were 1500-2000 mountain lions and 20000 black bears in Idaho.  They say they don’t want more than 150 wolves.  The situation in Montana is similar, though the imbalance is not quite so extreme.  How can you suggest that wolves are just being treated like any other large predator?

As for your other claims, where is the proof?  I posted studies about how wolves use their kills, one of which is a very recent study done in Wyoming ... what have you got?  I’ve seen the cherry-picked photographs of what may or may not be actual wolf-killed carcasses, but that’s not proof that wolves routinely waste game (especially since the wolves may have been frightened off their kill by the photographer, and/or may have come back to finish the meat later—how should we know?).  If you aren’t going to cite any reputable sources, please keep your baseless rumors to yourself. 

Yes, there is less habitat for wild herds now than there used to be, but nonetheless, we have a sight more than there is on Isle Royale, for instance—and wolves have still managed to coexist with moose on the Isle for decades, without wiping the moose out.  If your goal is to establish “balance,” how are you going to define that?  Maybe the true “balance” involves a lot fewer elk and deer than we currently have.  That would be fine with me, because I’m not trying to shape nature into my own vision of what it should be.  I’m happy to let it work out its own balance.  If you’re concerned about too much urbanization, that’s a place where we could find common ground—but how much wolf/elk/deer habitat would you consider enough?  If we started moving cities out as you suggest, when would you be willing to give up predator hunting?  Since, as far as I can tell, we already have more than enough habitat for populations of wolves and their prey to stabilize, excuse me for suspecting that the answer would be “never.”

By CaptainSakonna on Mon, November 14, 2011 at 10:02 pm

Hunters are DESTROYERS OF WILDLIFE. They kill more wildlife than any other group out there.

By Ron on Mon, November 14, 2011 at 8:43 pm

I do not believe senseless killing is the solution to an issue of wildlife management. There are other ways to deal with these problems besides pulling a trigger. We are in a modern age where our minds are evolved enough to use reason over violence.
  Relocate the wolves to other states or give them to Native American Reserves which have already expressed their willingness to take them.

  These hunts aren’t about wildlife management it’s about catering to special interest groups and the information you are providing to justify these outdated practices isn’t accurate enough. There are no pictures or reports to suggest what you say is true. And there is overwhelming evidence from wildlife research that supports the idea that wolves aren’t the demons they are claimed to be.

  The biggest issue that is this causing in the United Stats is a break down of our system of democracy. More Americans want these hunts to stop, more Americans want these states to find a different solution, and it’s sickening to know that the majority vote is pushed aside for the sake of money and pampering a special interest.

  You want to balance out the predator problem? Stop hunting the wolves food. Raise your own elk to kill as you will but let the real hunters depend on wild elk to survive. Take the human element out of the equation and you have a simple solution.

  I find it ironic that the humans crying wolf are acting like a bunch of wild dogs. When you get together you destroy everything and the blood you spill has no weight on your conscience.

By Scott on Mon, November 14, 2011 at 8:19 pm

I know plenty of good hunters too and they state that they are in the minority and that most hunters are a bunch of psychos that they wouldn’t trust as far as they could throw them. Hmmm. And I am tired of hearing about wolves wasting food. You people complaining about that have better not ever thrown away an expired can or had eyes bigger than your plate. We all take more than we need sometimes. Why should animals be any different? What do you think the wolves can do? Say they only need 50lbs so would the elk that meet that weight limit please run the slowest? It is not like they can go to the butcher and get the exact amount they need.

By MontanaGirl on Mon, November 14, 2011 at 8:15 pm

The time of unbalanced predation has passed,

You want to save the wolf? then move your cities and towns out of the Deer, elk, bison, moose winter range.

With urbanization taking up most of the once ” wild winter range ” the herds are located in small areas with more densely populated herds.

This means the wolves do not have to work for food, they have become very picky, very efficient killers, They are not targeting the old sick and week, they are targeting adult healthy females, they kill the Doe,or Cow, and eat only the fetus and heart and liver. the entire carcass is left by the wolves. then they move on to the next one.

I am a hunter. I am also a Realist. I don’t think we should go eliminate the wolves from existence, But there needs to be a balance.

If a mountain lion or black bear come into the foothills the DWR and government trappers kill it and 5 others in the area. Why should the Wolves be different?

By jared on Mon, November 14, 2011 at 7:46 pm

Surplus killing by wolves does happen sometimes, but the kills aren’t going to waste like the anti-wolf extremists think. They are being eaten up by scavengers and other wild animals. Nothing in nature goes wasted. If the anti-wolf advocates really understood nature and how it works, they would know that, but they don’t. You go to anywhere in the world and it’s the same thing. The anti wolf extremists only want to kill wolves because they think if you kill wolves, there will be more deer and elk for them to kill. The hate for the wolf comes down to ignorance and selfishness.

By Mark on Mon, November 14, 2011 at 7:07 pm

Hunters are wildlife terrorists. They destroy wildlife but yet complain when wolves do it. hypocrites? indeed. Hunters do not care about wildlife, only killing it. A lot of hunters have turned into extremists and have become anti-predator. They want to turn the wilderness into a game farm and get rid of all of the non-human predators, so that there are many more game animals for them to kill.

By Pauline on Mon, November 14, 2011 at 7:01 pm

Hunters are wildlife terrorists. They destroy wildlife but yet complain when wolves do it. hypocrites? indeed. Hunters do not care about wildlife, only killing it. A lot of hunters have turned into extremists and have become anti-predator. They want to turn the wilderness into a game farm and get rid of all of the non-human predators, so that there are many more game animals for them to kill.

By Pauline on Mon, November 14, 2011 at 7:00 pm

Thank you, Bill Gibson, for another excellent article shedding light on the horror going on in our state, and in Montana as well.  The wolf was brought back to right a wrong, to bring back a balance, not just to be exterminated again.  There is so much information out there about how, not just a part, not just an important part, but an ESSENTIAL part of the ecoystem the wolf is.  Idaho has more than enough wild lands for wolves to live here.  Why can’t more people make room in their hearts and minds?  Its as if some people just haven’t evolved.

By Ann Sydow on Mon, November 14, 2011 at 6:37 pm

This is ridiculous. All wolf hunting aside, hunters are not sadistic, cold blooded killers, I know many hunters, and they are conservationists, doing more for the environment than anybody else. And this is coming from a vegan.

By James on Mon, November 14, 2011 at 5:38 pm

getfactsstraight, maybe you should get YOUR facts straight.  I have looked at two scientific studies that examined prey utilization by wolves.  They do not leave their kills uneaten “half the time.”  Surplus killing by wolves is relatively uncommon, it has its roots in survival needs (wolves don’t know how successful they will be in the hunt, so they get what they can, while they can), and they are certainly not the only predator that occasionally leaves prey uneaten.  Even humans waste meat (how many times have you seen someone throw away a half-eaten hamburger?).  I am not “ruling from afar” either; I live here in Montana, and I am not buying all of the scaremongering about wolves destroying other wildlife.  The people promoting one species over another are the anti-wolf hunters, who want large numbers—possibly an overpopulation—of elk and deer so that they will always have easy hunting.  This is an ecosystem, not a game farm, thanks very much.

As for pets ... wolves are genetically almost the same as domestic dogs, and there is scientific consensus that dogs were bred from wolf stock.  Therefore, killing a wolf to save a dog makes very little sense.  Sometimes pet dogs kill other dogs, cats, livestock, and even people ... does that mean we should start “culling” all the large dogs in our neighborhoods?  I’ve had enough of the double standard when it comes to wolves and dogs.  The fact that a wolf is wild does not give it less intrinsic worth than someone’s pet.

Now, here are some actual, verified numbers taken from one of the studies I mentioned, “The Ecology of the Timber Wolf in Algonquin Provincial Park,” by D. H. Pimlott et al.  A total of 676 deer carcasses killed or scavenged by wolves were examined by the researchers. 72% of the deer carcasses showed >75% consumption, 8% showed >50%, 11% showed >25%, and only 9% were lightly eaten or uneaten, at less than 25% consumption. Mass surplus killing was never observed. It was noted by the researchers that the flesh of some of the uneaten/lightly eaten deer was particularly strong-smelling—it’s possible that they simply tasted bad and/or there was something wrong with the meat.

In the other study, only 15 out of 320 elk (4.7%) were “surplus kills.”  You can read about that one here:

By CaptainSakonna on Mon, November 14, 2011 at 4:33 pm


I agree with crystalwolfakacaligrl on that one…



Have a good day!


By LoveWolf on Mon, November 14, 2011 at 4:16 pm

You people have no concept of what goes on here. That’s the sad part. My friend lost her dog to a wolf off the front porch recently, and another woman lost a cat taken off her deck. They’re tearing the hell out of deer and elk and letting them rot! Maybe if you quit ruling from afar, you’d see this. They don’t even eat them half the time. As “conservationists” how can you promote one species over another???

By getfactsstraight on Mon, November 14, 2011 at 2:25 pm

may the karma of One thousand hells rain upon those who chose to kill these wolves! May their lives end in torture and pain as their have inflicted on our wolf brothers & sister.

By crystalwolfakacaligrl on Mon, November 14, 2011 at 2:16 pm

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