“Large numbers of hunters reportedly prowled the state’s newly designated wolf predator area in Sublette County Friday, Saturday and Sunday, locals and outfitters said.”

The rest of the story is in the Casper Star Tribune. By Chris Merrill. Post-delisting wolf kills begin.

Note the role of elk feedgrounds in making it easier to kill wolves.

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

41 Responses to Post-delisting wolf kills begin in Wyoming

  1. avatar Bob Caesar says:

    Way to go Bubba! Your sure to have the Feds back in control in no time!

  2. avatar HAL 9000 says:

    I’ve been a hunter my whole life, but I’m getting of the bus on this one. No, I don’t see the thrill in shooting a big, furry dog. The vindictive, redneck attitude coming from too much of the hunting community on this issue has bothered me from the get-go. Read some of the comments on the Tribue website to see what I’m talking about… I’m sure there’s many more to come.
    “Yeeehawwww.. I done kilt me one, Pappy! I done shot me a gubbamint woof!!!”

    Yeah… whatever….

  3. avatar Mack P. Bray says:

    I am aware of a species that should be on the endangered species list: the Pin-Headed Western Mountain Redneck.

    The population level of the Pin-Headed Western Mountain Redneck is rapidly falling and some are blaming the decline on an evolutionary split. Also, seemingly more intelligent species, such as Homo sapiens, are moving into its territory and educating its young, which either immediately leave their habitat or stay and learn new behaviors, thereby irritating the hell out of the Pin-Headed Western Mountain Redneck. This sometimes causes it to eat its own words, which have been tested by reputable labs and found to consist mostly of bullshit.

    I am of the opinion that this is the one listing that the Bush administration could really get behind. When I say behind, I mean behind. Perhaps Larry Craig could use his influence and do a little tap dancing to push this thing through?

  4. avatar Robert Hoskins says:

    The two most idiotic wildlife programs in existence are feeding wildlife and predator control. In Wyoming, we are beginning to see the synergy of idiocy in both programs as the wolf haters, who are also feedground supporters, play out their fantasies of unlimited elk and no wolves.

    If ecological catastrophe weren’t around the corner for wolves and elk, it would be funny.

  5. avatar BW says:

    Dream on!
    These wolves would have been killed by the USFWS had they still been in charge. Historically, these wolves have been taken out annually by the USFWS, period. You are just demonstrating that if one wolf is killed it is too many in your eyes. None of the wolves outside the trophy zone are needed to maintain or sustain Wyoming’s wolf population or its obligation of managing wolves within its borders.
    Your double speak is so confusing. First you accuse hunters of being fat and lazy because they can’t find their elk anymore. Now you are worried that hunters will decimate wolves throughout Wyoming. Your arguments are laughable.

  6. avatar Gerry Miner says:

    BW,
    That is not necessarily true that all of these wolves would be killed by USFWS. And they would have been killed only if the were getting into trouble–not just because some redneck felt like it. One of the wolves was in livestock, the others were minding their own business.

  7. avatar HAL 9000 says:

    BW,
    I’m fully aware that wolves, like any other species, need to be managed and controlled.. and that will include shooting some of them.

    That’s not my problem. My problem is (and please excuse my French) with the shitty-assed attitude I see coming from too many hunters. They seem to be practically slobbering to kill wolves because they flat-out hate them. And they don’t hate them for any good reason. They hate them out of ignorance and the same stupid stories, half-truths and lies being passed around the hunting community again and again. If these guys would take five minutes to read something that wasn’t published by SWF or listen to somebody besides their buddies at the bar… they might just start to realize the role wolves play in nature and the good they’ve done. But no, it’s just easier to listen to and repeat the same old “the exoctic Canadian wolves were forced on us by outsiders, and now they are DECIMATING the game herds” bullshit over and over… and now gleefully head out the door with a full magazine, a head full of lies and a heart full of hatred. My mind can’t wrap around the concept of being a hunter and outdoorsman and hating any part of nature or any wild creature. That goes against everything my Father and the other old-school woodsmen I learned to hunt from taught and instilled in me.

    That’s why I’m sitting the “great wolf hunt”out. I’ll leave it to some jackass with a snowmobile and a chip on his shoulder to go gun down wolves. Me, personally, I’d just really rather not, regardless of whether it’s justified.

  8. avatar Save bears says:

    HAL, I have to disagree that the majority of hunters feel this way! There just happens to be a very vocal part of the hunting community that has got some snot nose report to listen to their shit! I am a hunter in Montana that has participated in the Gardiner late hunt for many years, and I see a few that don’t want to hunt, they wan to lay their damn gun over the hood of their truck and “Get” their elk, but believe me, the majority of us hunters have a far better understanding of eco management, that you give us credit for…calling the few jerks names, is going to do nothing but fuel the fire..and if anyone actually thought there wasn’t going to be any wolves killed this weekend, they had their head in the sand….but the majority of us, don’t feel like BW, Gillette, or Friends of the Northern Yellowstone Elk Herd!

  9. avatar GrizRich says:

    I am a bit amazing that Wyoming would start the wolf kill so quickly especially with the wolves denning or nearing the time the little guys are born. I guess they get a bonus wolf kill if the adults are shot and there are no wolves left to care for the pups. Perhaps that is their plan, I really don’t know but it is sad. It is also interesting that chronic wasting disease continues to spread its range in Wyoming and the only good way to control that epidemic is..with wolves.

  10. avatar Gerry Miner says:

    Game and Fish says the radio collared wolf shot last Friday was an old black male wolf. Hmmmmm, sounds like someone we know maybe?

    It was famous wolf 253M. See my latest story. RM

  11. avatar Layton says:

    “I’d just really rather not, regardless of whether it’s justified.”

    And THAT is the “rest” of the story!! “Regardless of whether it’s justified or not.” That makes a hell of a lot of sense!!

    “They hate them out of ignorance and the same stupid stories, half-truths and lies being passed around the hunting community again and again.”

    Do you REALLY think that there are more “stupid stories, half truths and lies” on the ANTIwolf side than there are on the FORwolf side? I think not.

    IMNSHO there are probably just as many well credentialed (is that a word? it should be) folk on one side as there are on the other — no I don’t have statistics, I doubt that there are any.

    Now that the long promised time has come for some sort of control on old canis lupus the predictable has happened, the “for” side really doesn’t want EVEN ONE of their pets whacked. It’s been predicted for a long time, now it is coming to pass.

    Now every person that is a hunter that doesn’t like wolves is a “redneck” he (or she) drives a “truck”, it’s parked in front of a “tavern” (or bar or dive or whatever), he has a vocabulary that consists only of four letter words, an IQ in the single digits, and a given name with at least two parts — jim or billy or joe being the first and bob being the latter. Then of course there is the republican and ATV stereotypes to deal with.

    Horse crap! I can assure you that the anti side is every bit as fed up with the legends and wives tales as the for side.

    If you have any sense at all you know that the radicals on either side are out of their minds, the truth is somewhere in the middle. This mindless “let nature be nature” philosophy is not going to work in this day and age. I have a flash for you, there are millions more people in the area now that there were in the heyday of the wolf and that day will NEVER BE BACK!! Why would anyone in their right mind think it would or could be??

    Layton

  12. avatar timz says:

    “IMNSHO there are probably just as many well credentialed (is that a word? it should be) folk on one side as there are on the other — no I don’t have statistics, I doubt that there are any.”
    The “well credentialed” on the anti-wolf side sure manage to stay well hidden.

    Now that the long promised time has come for some sort of control on old canis lupus the predictable has happened, the “for” side really doesn’t want EVEN ONE of their pets whacked. It’s been predicted for a long time, now it is coming to pass.

    “Are senseless,random killings what those “well credentialed” anti-wolf folks consider control?

  13. avatar Layton says:

    ““Are senseless,random killings what those “well credentialed” anti-wolf folks consider control?”

    Do you consider ANY killing of a wolf as “senseless and random” or do some of them make sense??

  14. avatar Gerry Miner says:

    In my opinion, wolf killings where wolves are chronically depredating as “making sense”. Shooting them for the hell of killing something could be defined as “senseless and random”. Killing for the sake of killing is weird.

  15. avatar GrizRich says:

    …probably every wolf killed will be an old male….not a single pregnant female will killed….or a pup….yea right. How many of the wolf kills will even be reported? I suspect not many.

  16. avatar timz says:

    What Gerry said. Those killed this weekend were without doubt senseless.

  17. avatar HAL 9000 says:

    Save Bears,

    I am heartened by posts on this and other blogs I see coming from other hunters who seem to feel as I do: That wolves are hardly the dogs of Satan to be hated and destroyed at every opportunity.

    However, it seems in the national press, that’s the ONLY side of the hunters’ story that is coming out. Anti-hunting groups like PETA couldn’t dream up any propoganda on their own that would be nearly as effective as some of the crap that comes out every time one of these wolf-hating hunters opens his or her mouth. Or, the actions that they take. It’s my understanding that many “hunters” are trying to track the wolves down on snowmobiles. I don’t care what critter you’re after, chasing it down on a snowmobile is flat-out being a pussy, in my book.

    I think more hunters like you and I need to keep speaking out… to counteract all the mud some of these yay-hoos are slinging all over our whole community.

  18. avatar JB says:

    “I don’t care what critter you’re after, chasing it down on a snowmobile is flat-out being a pussy, in my book.”

    Amen. And thanks for putting putting the word hunters in quotes; these folks are undeserving of that title.

    On the lighter side, perhaps good ol’ Dick Cheney will take one of his wolf-hating “hunting” buddies out on a wolf hunt? Any volunteers?

    See: http://politicalhumor.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?zi=1/XJ&sdn=politicalhumor&cdn=entertainment&tm=5&f=00&tt=9&bt=1&bts=1&zu=http%3A//dickcheneyquailhunt.cf.huffingtonpost.com/

  19. avatar TallTrent says:

    Layton,

    Quoting you:
    “Now that the long promised time has come for some sort of control on old canis lupus the predictable has happened, the “for” side really doesn’t want EVEN ONE of their pets whacked. It’s been predicted for a long time, now it is coming to pass.”

    Once again, it’s not complaint about reasonable control that is causing people to be upset. This isn’t control, it’s slaughter. These wolves didn’t need to be hunted down and killed just because they exist. It’s been predicted and it’s coming true that all wolves in the predator zone are being targetted, regardless of the claims of Wyoming officials and citizens that only “problem” wolves would be removed after delisting.

    And to answer this:
    “Do you REALLY think that there are more “stupid stories, half truths and lies” on the ANTIwolf side than there are on the FORwolf side? I think not.”

    Absolutely!!! No doubt about it in my mind.

    – TallTrent

  20. avatar denny P. says:

    “This isn’t control, it’s slaughter. These wolves didn’t need to be hunted down and killed just because they exist”

    Management or killing wolves is one and the same. It’s funny how some of you cry at the loss of a few wolves. Many more will be managed soon.

    It’s all about balance and balance we will have very soon.

  21. avatar Layton says:

    TT,

    “Absolutely!!! No doubt about it in my mind.”

    That’s one of the beauties of the blog format — everyone gets an opinion. You have your’s, I have mine. If you think that all the lore and stories that you hear in support of the wolves are true — I TRUELY feel sorry for you.

    “This isn’t control, it’s slaughter.”

    What has there been — three wolves killed?? That’s a “slaughter”?? What’s your definition of the killing of hundreds or thousands of elk by the wolves, is that a “slaughter” or is that just “business as usual”?? Oh, never mind, I remember — all those elk were old or sick, that’s one of those FORside stories — right??

    Layton

  22. This weekend in the predator zone, one wolf was killed by a rancher near his livestock.

    Three were killed because someone wanted to shoot wolves.

    The information came today from Wyoming Game and Fish.

  23. avatar Save bears says:

    The state of Wyoming has no intentions of letting wolves live outside the trophy zone! Geeze come on all, outside the trophy zone, every single wolf is going to be killed if possible, that was the full intent of the plan, are people really so naive they didn’t see this coming? They will maintain, the required number in the trophy zone and they will blast any wolf outside of the zone, Wyoming don’t want wolves in their state…period end of story, when it comes to court, with the way the plans have been drawn up, they will ALWAYS be able to say, they are maintaining the required number of wolves…wake up people..

  24. avatar vicki says:

    shouldn’t there be some kind of regulation to assure a migratory corridor for wolves to other states? they are still going to try to migrate, so this law essentially “kills” any chance of wolves establishing populations in other states without human reintroduction efforts. Any wolf making it’s way to Colorado will likely be killed on sight. That seems like a deprivation of hope for Coloradoans who want wolves to be here.
    For that matter, there should be one for bears too.

  25. avatar dbaileyhill says:

    Hal 9000 wrote; “they seem to be practically slobbering to kill wolves because they flat out hate them”. I will add their behavior could be called a sickness. I think that perfectly sums up these “so-called hunters”.
    I wish more folks like Hal would speak up about the wolf slaughter. It is really aggravating that the minority of haters get so much attention because they are so loudly verbal about their hatred and stories of BS.

  26. avatar Jennifer says:

    Layton – I call elk being killed by wolves a food source and a part of the overall ecosystem that’s needed to keep balance in the world. I have one question, anyone going to be eating any of the wolves that are killed? I guarantee you that without wolves people would be complaining about the over abundance of elk that are eating their crops and the food supply for their cattle.

    I’ve got nothing against delisting and/or “controlling.” My problem is with the fact that why are we allowing people to kill a species simply because of the fact it exists and they hate it? Yes, if a pack of wolves has decided livestock is an easy means to get food then something should be done. But to just let people go out and start shooting from the hip because the saw a wolf is crazy. You would have thought we learned our lesson a long time ago, but apparently not.

  27. avatar JB says:

    DBH says: “I will add their behavior could be called a sickness.”

    Just to be clear, I deplore the killing of anything for the sake of killing–this type of behavior is truly indicative of some kind of mental illness. However, I don’t think that’s what is going here.

    The people who hate wolves, hate them because (1) they fear wolves or they fear the effects that wolves might have on some valued resource, and (2) wolves are symbolic of something their culture rejects (e.g. Federal government control, wealthy east-coast elite, etc.).

    I’m not defending their behavior or beliefs, simply pointing out that (at least in most cases) they are not pathological.
    This is especially true among some hunters, who truly believe that wolves are decimating ungulate populations–which is repeated so often it has become part of their dogma.

    Layton’s point about wolves only killing the “sick and old” has also become dogma for some less ecologically savvy wolf-lovers (and clearly causes him a lot of grief). This one I’d like to clear up once and for all, because I’m really tired of hearing it–especially as sarcasm from the wolf-haters: Wolves TEND to prey on the sick, weak, and old because these animals are most vulnerable. They also kill healthy animals when they are vulnerable. The point is that unhealthy individuals are killed disproportionately to their representation in the population.

  28. I think JB is right. Given their assumptions about the world, their behavior expresses the sense that their values and security have been undermined.

    For years politicians in the three states have cultivated this kind of thinking because they know it secures their position and makes it so they are not blamed for the unwelcome changes.

    Larry Craig’s was the epitome of this method, but he was only one of hundreds. Governor Freudenthal shows the strategy is bi-partisan.

  29. avatar drew says:

    Just heard today that 2 wolves were shot and killed somewhere west of Ashton, Idaho. Don’t know the specifics. F&G is investigating…

  30. avatar drew says:

    Here is the link for the wolves shot west of Ashton yesterday…
    http://www.2news.tv/news/local/17225199.html

  31. avatar Layton says:

    C’mon JB,

    I think your statement:

    “Layton’s point about wolves only killing the “sick and old” has also become dogma for some less ecologically savvy wolf-lovers (and clearly causes him a lot of grief)”

    brings us to a good place to point out that there ARE rumors, half-truths, legends and misinformation on BOTH sides of the equation.

    IF it is untrue that wolves kill only the sick and etc., what about the cries of anguish on the thread about 253?

    Several people have commented (including one gentleman that seems to be very well read and informed on most any subject concerning wolves, elk and Wyoming) about wolves “slowing the spread of CWD” and “not killing all those sick elk”.

    It would seem that this same “bit of dogma” hits both sides. Could it be that some folks on the “I love the wolf” side are “less ecologically savvy” than they should be?? Or is it that it’s only convenient to perpetuate that particular bit of lore SOMETIMES??

    Hey, I agree that wolves kill whatever is handy when they are hungry, I just don’t think that a LOT of people that have an affinity for wolves realize that fact.

    Layton

  32. avatar Catbestland says:

    Layton,

    People have an affinity for wolves for a lot of different reasons. Maybe not everyone is as well educated about the wolf’s role in the ecological sphere as others. But that doesn’t mean that they can’t have an opinion on the senseless slaughter of these animals. Maybe people admire the wolf for their spiritual significance or for the fact that wolves possess qualities of character that many humans don’t. And don’t forget that every trait we find valuable in our dogs originally came from wolves. There are many reasons to love wolves and all of them are merit their existance.

  33. avatar JB says:

    Layton:

    There definitely are dogmatic beliefs on both sides–in part, that was my point. Not sure if you misinterpreted me here? I wasn’t trying to attack you, but point out how dogmatic views pervade the issue. Note, I even gave examples from both sides:

    Anti: Wolves are decimating elk populations.
    Pro: Wolves only kill the sick/weak/old.

    In contrast to these views, in reality I would say:

    1) Wolves are capable of significantly reducing elk populations under certain conditions.
    2) Wolves tend to kill the most vulnerable prey (usually, the sick, old, or very young).

    I believe these types of dogmatic beliefs interfere with rational discussion and debate. However, the myths are not necessarily created equal: fear is a much more potent motivator–especially when cultural values and personal interests are threatened. Maybe this is why the anti side has been so successful?

  34. avatar Layton says:

    JB,

    Seems like I might have misunderstood what you said.

    Actually, I think we are both saying about the same thing but using different words to do it.

    I’m not sure about your theory on the fear thing, BUT I do agree that dogmatic beliefs interfere with rational discussion.

    No, I don’t think that fear makes the anti side more successful, I think that a bit of common sense gives the antis a bit of a leg up over the “other” side.

    Layton

  35. avatar wyo says:

    Vicki,
    There are wolves in Colorado! I was hunting elk around the three corners area last year and saw 2 blacks and a gray going across a big flat from Wyo into Colorado.

  36. avatar Catbestland says:

    Wyo,

    I hope what you are saying is true. But what is probably happening is that the wolves you saw were just going back and forth across the border. There are no extablished packs in Colorado. And with the Wyoming Wolf Plan the chance of this happening are slim to none.

  37. avatar wyo says:

    Could have been and I dont know that much about wolves and their travel. It just seems if they are in Wyoming getting shot at they wouldnt hesitate to go across the border. The density of timber and wildlife is a lot more abundant on the Colorado side then on Wyo or UT. right there.

  38. avatar Catbestland says:

    Wyo,

    I wish there was some way to haze them into Colorado from Wyoming. I Agee Colorado offers much better habitat than does that area of Wyoing or Utah.

  39. “No, I don’t think that fear makes the anti side more successful, I think that a bit of common sense gives the antis a bit of a leg up over the “other” side.”

    When a person is murdered, and investigators find out that he was killed by someone he stole from, or perhaps a spouse he cheated on, we still think of the death as wrong, but at least we can see a reason that it happened. When someone is killed in a random drive by shooting, we universally consider it to be “senseless”. That is essentially what happened to 253. A random, senseless, drive by.
    This one act, in one fell swoop, demonstrates (and proves the point) why so many people vehemently opposed the Wyoming wolf “management” plan. If 253 had been shot in the act of going after someone’s sheep or cow, there would be a lot of sadness here but not nearly the outrage. Can you even imagine someone shooting a bald eagle or a peregrine falcon on the day that they were removed from the endangered species list, for no better reason then that they didn’t like them?
    The state of Minnesota houses close to 3,000 gray wolves.
    Wyoming has about 150 (dropping rapidly) outside of the National Parks.
    Quick facts:
    Population of Minnesota: 4.6 million
    Population of Wyoming: 493,000
    Wilderness by acre in Minnesota: 816,000 acres
    Wilderness by acre in Wyoming: 3 million acres
    Size of Minnesota (sq. miles): 87,000
    Size of Wyoming (sq. miles): 98,000
    Total cattle and calves Minnesota: 2.4 million head
    Total cattle and calves Wyoming: 1.4 million head

    Wolf Management Plan Minnesota: Wolves protected from hunting or trapping for five years following de-listing to insure viability of population. Wolves seen near human habitation, domestic animals or livestock may be harassed. Wolves ATTACKING same may be killed.
    Shoot on sight by permit (good for certain number of days only) good only within one mile of depredation sight.
    Population status of deer (primary prey animal in Minnesota): Thriving, well above state management goals.

    Wyoming Wolf “Management” Plan: Too many wolves in state. Shoot on sight by anyone, at any time, for any reason in 87% of state. Hunting season during first fall in rest of state (outside of National Parks). Liberal and aggressive shoot on sight permits issued in trophy game region.
    Population of elk (primary prey in Wyoming): Thriving. Above state management goals in most of state.

    I wonder if the female wolf killed with 253 was pregnant, and if there is any way to ever find out?

  40. avatar TallTrent says:

    Yeah, my computer’s fixed and I can actually post on the blog again.

    Layton wrote (days ago of course):
    “What has there been — three wolves killed?? That’s a “slaughter”?? What’s your definition of the killing of hundreds or thousands of elk by the wolves, is that a “slaughter” or is that just “business as usual”??”

    I specifically used the word “slaughter” because the wolves were killed for no other reason other than they were wolves and were outside an arbitrary line drawn by officials in the state of Wyoming. Slaughter doesn’t always mean numbers and in this case it is about intent. Wolves should not be killed just because they are wolves.

    And no, wolves killing and eating elk is not slaughter. That is predator-prey relationship and yes very much “business as usual”. The difference here is that these wolves were killed by humans, who we suppose are rational beings acting not on pure instinct but using reason for decision-making processes. Humans can choose whether to kill or not to kill; wolves kill for their food. The situation is infuriating because people, who again we suppose are capable of reason, have chosen to slaughter these animals only for the sake of killing.

    Jennifer said it well with:
    “I call elk being killed by wolves a food source and a part of the overall ecosystem that’s needed to keep balance in the world.”

    And before the wholesale slaughter of wolves, there were part of a functioning and healthy and somehow the elk still managed to survive. Actually, the qualities I suspect you admire (and I do admire) in elk: their strength and majesty, come from being honed in the evolutionary struggles in facing off against predators, including wolves.

    Jennifer also said:
    “I guarantee you that without wolves people would be complaining about the over abundance of elk that are eating their crops and the food supply for their cattle.”

    This is happening. Check out the post about the Colorado ranchers killing 34 elk. It’s this idea that animals only service a purpose if that purpose is economic that really bothers me. Intact and functioning natural systems have important intrinsic value, besides the obvious aesthetic ones.

    Layton again:
    “Oh, never mind, I remember — all those elk were old or sick, that’s one of those FORside stories — right??”

    Most of the animals killed by wolves were old or sick. They were all vulnerable for some reason and wolves took advantage of that vulnerability, yes. Check out the posting that Ralph made about Jim Peek’s talk. The average age of an elk killed in Idaho by wolves is 12.6 years. This goes back to the discussion of “compensatory” killing by wolves. Wolves seek out weakness and vulnerabilities in prey and most of those are weakness (lots of time through a lack of food), sickness, injury and age.

    JB said:
    “Wolves TEND to prey on the sick, weak, and old because these animals are most vulnerable. They also kill healthy animals when they are vulnerable. The point is that unhealthy individuals are killed disproportionately to their representation in the population.”

    A much higher percentage of old elk are killed then would be selected in a random sampling. The same goes for wounded and sick elk. Wolves seek out vulnerabilities and expoit them and most of the vulnerabilities are some sort of physical weakness.

    Layton:
    “If you think that all the lore and stories that you hear in support of the wolves are true — I TRUELY feel sorry for you.”

    I am actually quite well educated about wolves and the more I learn, the more I learn to admire and respect the species. I have both a professional and personal interest in wolves and quite regularly talk to people from all spectrums of the wolf issue from hatred to love and I definitely stand by my statement that anti-wolfers have a much, much, much more skewed and unrealistic view of the wolves than those that admire the wolf. Sure there are exceptions on both sides, but generally anti-wolfers hate and fear a legend, not a real animal.

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