Wolf numbers in Yellowstone are way down, but that doesn’t mean more of what are left wear collars-

Tough winter for wolf darting. By Brett French. Billings Gazette (reprinted in the Star-Tribune)

 
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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.

32 Responses to Tough winter for wolf darting in Yellowstone Park

  1. avatar Richie, Giallanzo,NJ says:

    Sorry I am kind of glad we have enough information,it would be nice to let them be for a change. They are not lab rats they are the orgin of our man’s best friend, would be nice to have some respect for them and treat them like man’s best friend. But in many cases man’s best friend is treated like his worst enemy. I just love the canine family.

  2. avatar timz says:

    I agree Richie, enough already.

  3. avatar ProWolf in WY says:

    I do question whether this population still needs to be studied. It’s been 15 years already.

  4. avatar Mike says:

    ++Sorry I am kind of glad we have enough information,it would be nice to let them be for a change. ++

    I think this applies not only to the researchers, but perhaps the watchers as well. Last year a wolf was killed by a wolf watching floatilla.

    I would honestly like to start seeing a permit system for this. I think it is out of hand.

  5. The Park Service needs to get the wolves collared on the west side of the Park.

    I think Idaho, like Montana, probably killed some Park wolves in the wolf hunt, but lacking collars, it was not detected like it was in Montana.

    Folks need to remember that the radio collar’s value depends on what it is being used for.

  6. avatar Save bears says:

    A permit system? All I can say is interesting, the more we control it, the more it makes the park the same as a zoo…maybe we just need to close the public pleasuring ground.

    As far as them being park wolves, I disagree, once they leave the park, they are no longer “park wolves” When we classify them as park wolves, we play right into the hands of the antis that say, the park should be fenced so the animals cannot get out.

    I do agree, I think we need to stop all of the studies in the manner that it is currently being conducted, we need to take a more hands off approach and allow nature to manage

  7. avatar Elk275 says:

    Mike how are you going to do a permit system? The traffic and viewable wolves are in the Lamar Valley, in the summer that is first part of Yellowstone Park that visitors coming from the Beartooth Highway and Sunlight Basin encounter. I travel from Red Lodge across the Yellowstone Park 4 or 5 times per the summer. Then, I love to fish between mouth of Cache Creek to the large rock on the south side of the Lamar before it enters a small canyon — more people, traffic problems and soon more restrictions. I am selfish. I think that wolves kinda ruined one of the best parts of the park.

  8. avatar ProWolf in WY says:

    I am selfish. I think that wolves kinda ruined one of the best parts of the park.

    There are plenty of nice parts of the park to fish in. Have you gone near the west entrance? There are some very beautiful areas there?

  9. avatar ProWolf in WY says:

    Sorry, I didn’t mean to write there are some very beautiful areas there as a question. I think that area is very pretty.

  10. avatar Elk275 says:

    Pro Wolf

    I use to guide in Yellowstone Park and have fished most of the north half of the park. It is all great but I like the Lamar, and Yellowstone River the best.

    In the late 60’s during the teen years we would fish Yellowstone Lake catch our limit of 3 cutts and take them to Yellowstone Lake Hotel and the staff would cook them . It cost $1.00 to have the fish cook and all the meal trimings, that is: soup, salad, veg’s, potatos and apple pie. You read it right. One whole dollar. Those days are the memories that my soul will take with it to the Happy Hunting Grounds.

  11. avatar steve c says:

    These wolves are ambassadors for their species and knowing about them keeps the public interested and educated in wildlife. If there were no researchers and these wolf packs werent “famous” you wouldnt know what the Druid pack is. Its history would not have been known and you would not have half as many customers buying your photos. Go photograph some wolves in Minnesota and see if you have half as many customers.

    Rick McIntyre has done more with his life than you ever will and it seems like that really eats you up inside. Your jealousy is very sad. He has a hell of a good book on his research in Alaska and when he sits down and writes about his decade in Yellowstone it will be fascinating.

    Why don’t you complain about bear, elk or bison studies? I have worked first hand with radio collars and they are no more dangerous than a dog collar (except in the hands of wildlife services). For you to imply that the researchers have a hand in the mange that is spreading around the park is disgusting.

  12. avatar Mike says:

    ++A permit system? All I can say is interesting, the more we control it, the more it makes the park the same as a zoo…maybe we just need to close the public pleasuring ground.++

    The Boundary Waters has a permit system. So does the Frank Church. It’s a nice way to cut down on pressure.

  13. avatar Mike says:

    ++Mike how are you going to do a permit system? The traffic and viewable wolves are in the Lamar Valley, in the summer that is first part of Yellowstone Park that visitors coming from the Beartooth Highway and Sunlight Basin encounter. I travel from Red Lodge across the Yellowstone Park 4 or 5 times per the summer. Then, I love to fish between mouth of Cache Creek to the large rock on the south side of the Lamar before it enters a small canyon — more people, traffic problems and soon more restrictions. I am selfish. I think that wolves kinda ruined one of the best parts of the park.++

    Good quesiton., I have no idea how it would be done except implementing “side of the road” permits. Those who are there every week or weekend would be regulated. Those who are “fresh” would not be. I love fishing that area too. Fantastic! Slough is my favorite in the area along with upper Pebble near Cooke City.

  14. avatar Carl says:

    I find it ironic that so many people on this site are opposed to collaring wolves but they rave about the reports that come out on what is going on with the Park packs. If the wolves weren’t collared we would never know what is going on with most packs or that wolves have come in from nine-mile area in Montana or gone to Utah and colorado. We can’t have it both ways.

    • avatar JW says:

      Well put Carl. That is my point exactly – and how people critique this (in Yellowstone) and not how Wildlife Services is using collars to kill off entire packs is sad…

  15. avatar Save bears says:

    Boundary waters and the Frank are administered under completely different guidelines and goals than a National Park, You would have a very difficult time, trying to implement a permit system for some and not for others…it would be considered a discriminatory rule..

  16. avatar Mike says:

    Save Bears – See the Yellowstone winter use plan.

  17. avatar Save bears says:

    I have a number of times Mike and there is a very strong to change it, one of the reasons being it is discriminatory…

  18. avatar Save bears says:

    that was “very strong movement”

  19. avatar Mike says:

    The only movement I have seen to change it is a few sled operators in border towns.

  20. avatar Save bears says:

    Then your not paying much attention, there is a strong push to plow the west side to OF and the road from Mammoth to Norris to allow equal access to the park for more visitors in the winter, last I heard was the current comments for plowing is in the 100K plus area…

  21. avatar Richie, Giallanzo,NJ says:

    To Timz;
    It’s only enough when the killing stops.

  22. avatar Jim says:

    Does anyone know the monetary cost to fly around and collar the wolves? Could that money be spent elsewhere in the park?

    • avatar Steve C says:

      I seem to remember that the non-profit Yellowstone Park Foundation funds collaring efforts but I can’t find the article now. Anyone know?

  23. avatar Richie, Giallanzo,NJ says:

    I know the research is valuable,but don’t we have enough. If the collar helps save the bears and wolves then I think it’s good ,but just for the sake of research does not fit with me.

  24. avatar bob jackson says:

    elk275

    Who did you dude guide for in the Lamar-Yellowstone late sixties? The Elkhorn, Nine Quarter Circle or…?

  25. avatar Elk275 says:

    Bob

    I fishing guided in the late 80’s and early 90’s for either outfittering in Livingston or Big Sky.

    In the late 60’s was a teen living in Billings and a bunch of us boys would go camping and fishing in Yellowstone.

    • avatar bob jackson says:

      Thanks, elk. Was curious because I wanted to know more of the outfitters in Yellowstone before the permit system and the unlimited days in the Park. Triangle X, Elkhorn, Nine Quarter, Heart Six, Goodrich all use to stay out for months at a time. Just pick dudes up at the roads they crossed about once a week. Had to have been quite the summer experience for some of those youngsters serving as dude guides and wranglers.

  26. avatar Cindy says:

    Looking at the Yellowstone Park Foundation 2009 Annual Report they list “Wolf Research and Monitoring” at $265,818.00 and Wolf Education at $83,917. I thought I was told once that the Wolf Project in Yellowstone is in fact heavily funded by private donations.

    • Cindy,

      I think that is what the report is saying. The Yellowstone Park Foundation is a mechanism (maybe the only method, I’m not sure) for private donations to be put into Park operations.

  27. I just want to say that I think Rick McIntyre is careful to a fault. If I post some observations of mine where he was present, and I don’t get them quite right, he will call me on the phone an we will go over it until we have agreed.

    He is also very careful not to overgeneralize and clearly tells me that his view should not be written without checking with Doug Smith or another research for a second opinion.

  28. avatar Mike says:

    From reading this thread, I get the idea that everyone wants a piece of the wolves for themselves.

    Something to think about. Maybe it’s time we all pull back a bit and give them soome room.

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