Put down for eating too many cattle-

Grizzly bear 399’s next to last adult cub 587M has been killed by Wyoming officials for killing cattle in the upper Green River 40 miles southeast of Jackson, Wyoming. That leaves only 399’s equally famous adult cub, bear 610F alive.

For those who have been in the upper Green River downstream from the Bridger Wilderness, it could be one of the prettiest places on Earth and an American Serengeti. However, every summer thousands of cattle are put into the scenic area. Every summer, grizzlies, black bears, coyotes, wolves are killed because they can’t resist eating some of the overly (artificially) abundant bovines.  Elk, moose, and pronghorn  are crowded off to the side, though not killed directly.

Some people thought that 399’s cubs would get into trouble because they were raised in Grand Teton National Park in view of thousands of people.  Three of her five cubs were killed directly by people — this incident, one hit by a car, one killed illegally by a hunter (a big controversy a while back).  One died naturally as a cub. 610F is still alive, having raised a number of cubs of her own.

Grizzlies 399 and 610, plus their cubs, have been the subject of many local news stories because they have lived in relatively small Grand Teton National Park, often inhabiting places visible to many people. Folks can find many photos of them on the web.

587M wasn’t the only grizzly to be shot on behalf of cattle ranchers in the upper Green River area this summer.  Two others (females) have already been shot as well.

In the upper Green River area, downstream from Bridger Wilderness. Copyright Ralph Maughan

In the upper Green River area, downstream from Bridger Wilderness. Copyright Ralph Maughan


Jackson Hole News and Guide has the details.  I don’t like the headline of the story “Taste for beef kills cub of grizzly 399.”  There is no evidence that the bear had some abnormal taste for beef.  Cows are big, slow, numerous, and crowd our public lands. What would a normal bear be expected to do?

Grizzly bear mortality database for the Greater Yellowstone area (for the last 5 years)

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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 past President of the Western Watersheds Project.

181 Responses to Next to last of grizzly 399F’s adult cubs killed

  1. avatar Joseph C. Allen says:

    Another reason to eliminate ranching on public lands. I have backpacked in that region (Wind River Range) over the last 40 years. Staggeringly beautiful as you said! I remember once hiking all day and cresting a hill in the southern Winds around Dickinson Park; there in the riparian valley below were several hundred cows…made me want to puke. No cowboys around looking “after the herd.” And to think, a bear had it’s life taken because of cows? The logic evades me.

    • avatar Robert R says:

      Okay let’s say grazing is eliminated from public land. Wildlife keeps expanding and encroaches on private land they still get killed. The public trust doctrine does not give ownership to anyone.
      Lets take away any develope springs or water sources and see where wildlife ends up. It’s really amazing, we are putting in a huge watering system and up until two weeks ago it was void of wildlife. Now we are seeing elk, deer, antelope and bear. Bad mouth ranchers all you want.
      Part of this system is for the Nature Conservancy and who would think they would allow cattle on any land?

      • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

        Robert R

        Of course, you are speaking generally here. My story was about the upper Green River where the wildlife have three seasons of all the forage or prey, water, shade, and open meadows that could possibly need were it not thousands of cattle are herded in.

        No springs need to be developed. All that needs to be done in addition to reducing or eliminating the cattle is removal of exotic invasive weeds that they (largely) have brought in.

        • avatar Robert R says:

          Ralph so your good with sheep or goats that eat invasive weeds.
          As for cattle (largely) bringing in exotic invasive weeds, you cannot put all the blame on livestock because just because you have such a dislike for ranchers.
          Our pets,horses,vehicles and ourselves have contributed as much or more spread of weeds than livestock. The interstate system spreads more weeds than any cattle and ask yourself where and why knappweed got its start
          I’m not taking sides with the livestock industry.
          I do believe your dead wrong about developing springs. I seen it happen in the 1988 drought when the water sources dried up in the mountains bringing elk and deer down to the river and agriculture fields. Since then every August it’s like a migration instead of staying in the mountains it has become a habit for the deer and elk.
          Had springs been developed this would not be the case. A spring does not need to be developed just for cattle.

          • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

            Robert R,

            I am well aware that many things bring in exotic weeds.

            However, it is my belief that cattle spread them immensely no matter how the first plants arrived on the scene because the cows cover so much territory betwsen the roads, back and forth, up and down, trampling the seeds in, carrying them to remote places on their hides and in their intestinal tracts.

            • avatar Robert R says:

              Ralph one thing we must remember is seeds can remain viable for decades until the right circumstances or disturb ground allows them to sprout.
              One thing I have learned about weeds is our road crews spread weeds vary well. Like it or not snow plows spread more seed than one thinks.

          • avatar zach says:

            Horses are just as bad for the terrain as cattle are.

            I enjoy seeing smatterings of horse piles as I do cattle.

            Also, ideally I think it best to let nature decide when and where it wants springs and other places for water to come up. Wildlife will find their way to water.

  2. avatar Robert Goldman says:

    It appears that in addition to slaughtering America’s native wildlife, bears, wolves, coyotes, bison, prairie dogs … basically anything thing that moves, the cattlemen are determined to be the most hated people throughout the country. Hey guys, it’s working. However long it takes, we are going to crush you and get you and every single one of your cows of our public lands.

    • avatar zach says:

      I hope you are right.

      There is nothing worse than walking in the woods and running into a herd of stray cattle walking along side of you. I think the piles of dung makes it worse.

      Nothing like the call of the domesticated cow to make your peace and quiet time in the outdoors everything it can be…

  3. avatar jon says:

    It’s a shame these animals were killed for doing nothing wrong. Bears are just trying to survive and sometimes they are killed because of it. Very sad.

    • avatar SaveBears says:


      In this day and age, killing livestock is wrong and that is the way it is going to be.

      • avatar jon says:

        sb, humans kill livestock all the time. Do you still think it’s wrong? The bears are not doing anything wrong when they kill livestock. They are being a bear.

        • avatar Robert R says:

          jon that goes both ways, humans are protecting they livelihood just being humans.

          • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

            Perhaps all ranchers should protect their livelihood on their own lands or pasture they rent rather than on our public lands where a special elite of livestock operators gets free grazing and so an enormous monetary subsidy of rent not collected and a subsidy by damaging our fish, wildlife, water quality, and other multiple uses of the public lands.

  4. avatar Mike says:

    The myth of the “mountain man”, this dream, this false machismo is what has doomed everything from grizzly bears in Colorado to wolves in the Northern Rockies.

    We need to start kicking these ranchers off public lands, and then start kicking out the people with guns who feel an incessant need to poke into every last wild corner, in search of a mountain man myth, but instead destroying the very dream they so covet.

    The real environmentalist, sadly, is the guy who lives downtown who donates to conservation groups, and who drives his kids to Yellowstone, taking awkward photos with ice cream cones in hand.

    • avatar JB says:

      I’m not sure what the ‘mountain man dream’ has to do with the current situation? Ralph’s comments suggest the animal was killed for killing livestock–perhaps the ‘cowboy dream’ is more appropriate?

      In any case, I’m more interested in the idea that the ‘real environmentalist’ is someone who ‘lives downtown’ versus those that try to interact with (and I would argue) understand the natural environment, experientially. I would argue that many people *need* such experiences in order to perceive the value in protecting nature/biodiversity. Does that make them any less supportive of conservation? I don’t think so (often quite the opposite). In fact, those experiences can make them more effective advocates. Do such uses–whether hunting or photography–degrade the environment? Certainly–at least to some extent. But they may be necessary to keep conservation alive.

      • avatar Ida Lupine says:

        Yes. Someone taking their kids to Yellowstone I don’t believe means they are necessarily an environmentalist. If he took the kids or encouraged them to explore the nature of their own backyard or local parks, that would mean more. I grew up in a more urban area (not quite a big city), but as a child played outside in the yard and garden and observed the natural world, asking questions and getting answers from family members who appreciated such things. We didn’t have smart phones, computers or other things of the modern world to distract us.

        I’ve seen some bad examples at the National Parks, that’s for sure. What my biggest fear is, is that the bigger the disconnect, the less value the environment will be perceived to have with each generation.

        • avatar Mike says:

          The truth is, it has been the people who love the outdoors the most that have done the most damage to wildlife.

          There’s a certain admirable quality to the person who cherishes such places, but who leaves them alone. Unlike the hunter, who pokes into every last wild corner in search of the mountain man dream, only to kill off the last of a species, or the “conservationist” who moves to the wilderness boundary, then tells all his friends to do the same. Or the photographer, who pushes on animals, to “get the best shot”, disrupting their behavior.

          Ultimately, it is hunters seeking the mountain man dream who kill the very thing they claim to love. Wildlife and wilderness.

    • avatar WM says:

      ++The myth of the “mountain man”, this dream, this false machismo is what has doomed everything from grizzly bears in Colorado to wolves in the Northern Rockies. ++

      Actually I thought it was westward expansion and Manifest Destiny (US government sanctioned, by the way). The history of the settlement of the West only got its initial start, mostly, from “mountain men” making a living by trapping beaver and other fur bearers to supply the demand by urbanites in the Eastern Seaboard, and Western Europe. Ever hear of the highly successful Hudson’s Bay Company which controlled the fur trade in much of America for a century or more, Mike? It was about economics. Then there was the cheap/free land for homesteaders; the optimism of a pioneer spirit to make something out of nothing, and some of that big money from Europe (suggest you read historically correct “Centennial,” by Michener). The railroads trying to connect east coast to west, and all who followed, small towns and big ones.

      You probably watched one too many mid-1970’s Hollywood movies (Jeremiah Johnson?).

      And, by the way, where do you think those initial trappers went to sell their furs? Rendezvous at Jackson Hole, just north of the upper Green. Among the buyers, Astoria Fur Trade, Hudson Bay and a host of others taking their bounty back to the big city folks for fashion items – beaver hats among them.

      Because of the harsh climate most of the year, highly alkaline, shallow soils and such most of that land can’t be tilled for crops, and very short growing season. But, it can feed cows for a short part of the year. So there you have it, the short version of history from mountain men to cows. Grizzlies – well, mostly they died for their valuable furs for those folks in the east or because, the more likely cause in most places, they killed cows and sheep. And, of course, some/many died at the hands of hunters

      • avatar Wilderness Guy says:

        And that’s an era of history we can’t control, but an era of history we can overcome by conservation and restoration. They destroyed it because they were short sighted. I don’t want to glorify that past. I don’t think we should glorify that past. We need to overcome the mistakes of the past and rebuild a better future. One that also contains all types of wildlife, and preserves vast forests from massive exploitation. We have the knowledge and science to do it. We just need to overcome the lazy thinkers that don’t have the initiative.

        • avatar WM says:

          Agreed, to some degree, WG. Just giving Chicago Mike a quick history lesson to clear up one of the often wrong assertions he makes here, with great frequency. I have hiked some pretty disgusting trails in the Winds, mile after mile in four inches of dust mostly made by cows. And then there are the cow pies, food for horseflies that bite your skin. Wouldn’t bother me if the cows were gone. As a hiker, I am still trying to make up my mind if more grizzlies in that country is a good thing. My friends who live in the area are not so excited about it.

          • avatar Mike says:

            Wilderness –

            WM has been trolling this forum for a long time, with a very tenuous grasp of the issues at best. I’m not sure he’s ever seen a grizzly, let alone having any idea of what a roadless area is.

            • avatar WM says:

              Actually, Mike, I have seen a fair number of grizzlies, as my folks had property in AK, on the lower Kenai Peninsula. But, I only had one near-bad encounter that I don’t want to repeat not far from Kluane Lake on the Al-Can Highway in Yukon Territory. I wrote about that experience here a couple years back.

              Back on topic, I began going into the Wind River Range from the west side since the early 1990’s and the east side about 7 years later.

              In fact, I wrote a little spoof article and posted it here when we were talking about grizzlies a year or so ago, maybe even related to expanding bear territory into the Winds and what that reaction might be for those who go there (the topic was the never-ending bear spay or lethal option). I can repost it if you like.

              And, I have studied and provided policy input on some of the natural resource issues involving the mounting tensions of expanding populations, the economic lure of mountain community development (ski areas/golf courses/second home), oil & gas, and the long-term land use implications and water allocation in the West. No trolling here, Mike, just providing a little balance to some of drool you spew on the unknowing and gullible. Sort of makes one wonder who the real troll is.

              • avatar Mike says:

                Feel free to go on more anti-wolf tirades, or post anti-wolf news. It’s why you’re here.

                You’re not fooling anyone.

              • avatar zach says:

                Question for you:

                Would you rather have more grizzlies or less ranchers?

                Or vice versa?

          • avatar Wilderness Guy says:

            The restoration of the Everglades in Florida is a prime example of a hundred year process that has gone from absolute destruction, to hope, back to destruction and then back to hope. People would just blast Egerets and Herons just for feathers in a fancy old hat. Complete waste of a species for vanity and they almost killed them off, then finally conservationists stepped in and saved the area. Then of course, the water entering the everglades became exploited, but now that is even being restored. So, I have hope in restoration, even if i’m not going to be around to see the end result since many of these things take centuries.

            What I have seen in my time living in Idaho is an absolute travesty. I’ve seen too much wildlife killed off because a culture clings to some past that is just a past built on mythology. This glorification of the mountain man and cow culture needs to go the way of the dodo.

            And yet these societies still kill animals for their pelts today, although they are becoming less and less fashion-worthy in the United States. We have so much plastics being thrown into the dump, that we should be recycling that resource and use it for clothing, housing materials, etc, and letting our wildlife survive. But, that doesn’t stop the demand in Asia and other places, and of course places like the northern rockies have no problem shilling more pelts over to them. SAD! I’m so tired of it, that there are days I feel like taking action into my own hands.

            I feel that as people that explore the wilderness, it’s our job to understand and minimize those risks through precaution and education. The grizzlies deserve to have their habitat, and when we enter that habitat, we should understand that if we run into them we may not make it out alive, and its not the fault of the Grizzlies if that happens. So, I favor Grizzlies expanding their range back into places they were shot out. Colorado, Utah, California, Washington, Oregon, and the plains deserve having the grizzly back. Old attitudes need adjusted.

            It just kills me every time I hear another grizzly being taken out because of these asinine cattle pushers. They have a majority of the west smelling like a stinky cows ass. Enough is enough.

            • avatar Mike says:

              ++I’ve seen too much wildlife killed off because a culture clings to some past that is just a past built on mythology. This glorification of the mountain man and cow culture needs to go the way of the dodo. ++

              That’s the problem, right there. Unfortunately there are some great conservation people who still cling to this, because their fathers taught them it or their grandfathers.

              Many in the Rockies do not ask what they can do for the outdoors, but rather what the outdoors can do for them. and this doesn’t just apply to wolf haters and developers. Sadly, there are good people who romanticize the mountain man lifestyle, which in turn condones too much hunting, which in turn has wiped out species. I have hunter friends. They know my thoughts. It’s outdated now. This isn’t the pioneer days. There’s too many people, pushing too hard on what little islands of wilderness and wildlife is left.

      • avatar Mike says:

        ++Actually I thought it was westward expansion and Manifest Destiny (US government sanctioned, by the way). The history of the settlement of the West only got its initial start, mostly, from “mountain men” making a living by trapping beaver and other fur bearers to supply the demand by urbanites in the ++

        That’s part of it. But there was a period of 20-50 years after that which was crucial to species being saved. It was the last of the mountain man, hunting elk or guiding hunts, or trapping, who then came upon the last of a certain species, to put the final nail in. It is their push into the remotest corners of wilderness, their mountain main dream of living off the land, eating the wild game and drinking the purest water that destroyed any last hope.

        The story of the Colorado grizzly is one such example.

      • avatar zach says:

        Some also died at the hands of drunken fools who were trying to make a name for themselves.

        I recall a story (actually numerous accounts) written by men from the Lewis and Clark expedition who said Lewis (and the other men) would go into grizzly dens, wake them up, and try to kill them before they could come around. There are tons of stories like this.

        The one I happen to come upon was in David Lavender’s “The Way to the Western Sea”. Great book.

    • avatar ZeeWolf says:

      Mike wrote:

      “The real environmentalist…drives his kids to Yellowstone…”

      IMHO, the real enivronmentalist would take the bus or train.

      • avatar Elk275 says:

        How does one take the train to Yellowstone? Glaicer yes, Yellowstone no.

        • avatar ZeeWolf says:

          Good point… I was more directing my comment to those traveling cross country. My experience has been that train travel is generally a more pleasant experience than bus. For example, I would rather take the train from either coast to Cheyenne and from there a bus to YNP, rather than a bus all the way from NY or LA.

  5. avatar CodyCoyote says:

    Ranchers are just going to have to learn to Not Feed The Bears.

    Got cowboy ?

    There are maybe 1500 grizzly bears total in the Lower 48 states, nearly all in Greater Yellowstone or northern Montana. In 2012, the US had a beef calf crop of 29 million head, and an adult beef cow crop of 34 million.

    Do the math…

    • avatar Robert R says:

      Lets do the math this way. Montana,Idaho and Wyoming have about 10% of the cattle in the U.S. but only the western states have grizzlies. Of the estimated 2.5 million head of cattle in Montana not all are on public land and not all graze where grizzlies or wolves are so the percentage of cattle around grizzly bears goes way down.
      As for the calf crop it depends whether they are spring or fall calves. Most fall calve in the colder climates and go to feed lots sooner than spring calves that are put on public land grazing so the percentage goes down again.

      • avatar CodyCoyote says:

        Sorry, Robert—cattle are not native to Montana, anywhere in Montana.

        That counts for something. You seem to think that regardless of the disturbing historical imperative of Manifest Destiny that we are compelled to accept cattle on public lands ” just because” How existentialist of you. But suffering from memory loss and lack of historical imperative. The sordid legacy of cattle ranching above 4,000 feet elevation west of the 100th meridian , plus a contemporary business model for cattle ranching in the intermountain west that does, in fact, involve a helluva lot of public lands grazing which is heavily subsidized in both money and resources by other public interests including native wildlife, is a matrix across 125 years of Caucasian armed occupancy and domination of the Rocky Mountains that implodes on native humans and native wildlife, besides usurping vital resources.

        Rocky Mountain public lands cattle grazing is more deplorable than not. And nobody owes any of them a living at it if they are not returning the wealth and opportunity bestowed on them , reluctantly.

        In other words, Wildlife Comes First. Not alien exotic cattle from the Old World.

        Every cow in Wyoming and Montana that sets foot on public land at some point in its life could disappear tomorrow, and nobody would miss them ( except you ) . There would still be burger and steak at the store. But every wolf and every grizzly removed for livestock predation is sorely felt and an unjust removal.

        We do not owe the cattle producer a living. Allowing them the opportunity to utilize public resources for private gain is conditional, and the producer must be willing to cede ground and accept looses as a cost of doing business. Your cow is only worth a thousand bucks. Each and every Greater Yellowstone grizzly bear is priceless.

  6. avatar Wilderness Guy says:

    It always bites my chide that so much of our wildlife in the mountains of the rockies have been shot out, and killed off for cows and sheep. Some of these comments from Robert R miss the point. These states were some of the last in the country to be settled.

    My family never made a dime being ranchers, instead made our way in these areas as engineers, scientists, and electricians. But ranchers, and overhunting have made their mark in these places, and while many think they live in the wildest lands left in the USA it’s disappearing at an alarming rate. What’s happening here already played out in the east coast, midwest a hundred years ago. These ranchers aren’t breaking ground, in fact their arrogance is destroying the natural environment here, and we have the tools, the science, and the information to not head the way of the 1800s.. But, when you are stuck with a group of people that are carrying the torch of a value system that doesnt want to change and adapt, what will happen is what did happen to other parts of the country 100 years ago.

    They could have avoided it, but pig-headed arrogance did them in. There should not be 6 million cows in an arid environment like this. The water resources are already being sucked up out of the ground at alamring rates. The lost river in Idaho is dead, because of these people. There are many other basins and areas in Wyoming, Utah and northern colorado that are heading the same fate. A hundred years from now these people will be out of business, and there will be little left. YAY! Thanks. Destroy it all in the name of cheap profit, because these people are too lazy to think and craft a different strategy than the old one that doesnt work.

    • avatar Robert R says:

      Wilderness Guy: enlighten me on what specific animals have been killed out beside the wolf. You need to read the history of who helped bring back game birds and ungulates. The one thing they did not take into account to bring back was predators because like both of are ancestors they were connected to agriculture and ranching and had no tolerance for predators.

      • avatar Mike says:

        ++You need to read the history of who helped bring back game birds and ungulates. ++


      • avatar Wilderness Guy says:

        Bighorns barely exist outside of the national parks. I’ve seen the attempts to restore them in the Lost River Range, and they hang on by a mere thread. Wolverines are estimated to be at a handful in the state of Idaho, and Montana. They are gone everywhere else, but used to be here. The trapping seasons for wolves will make sure their coffin is nailed before it’s over.

        Pronghorn are nowhere near their historic levels in the Snake River plain, once again because of ranching interests. Buffalo in Idaho? Gone. A few hang out in the Henry Fork, but they are shot the minute they come into conflict with the ohh soo precious cattle pushers.

        Grizzlies in Idaho? Yeah, we know the story. Just read the same pattern as the other species above. Fishers? Same deal. I could go on and on. The wildlife that used to be numerous were killed off.

        I have no pity when I hear of another dead cow. If I had my way, this state would only be licensed for about 10,000 cows. Not 2.2 million.

        • avatar Rancher Bob says:

          Wilderness Guy
          So what’s changed since the 1800’s, there’s not more cattle there’s not more animals killed by hunters, there’s only more people more houses more roads more cars. Why not a licence for only 10,000 people and another 10,000 visitors.
          As for trapping being the end of a wolf population, that’s just pure bull, sorry but anyone who says wolves will be wiped out again is full of crap and knows very little about wolves.

          • avatar JB says:

            “…anyone who says wolves will be wiped out again is full of crap and knows very little about wolves.”

            Hmm…I would say the same about anyone who pretends they know the outcome of future events. The undisputed facts are that wolves were wiped out before the interstate highway system, before most people had cars, before helicopters, before radio and GPS collars, before it was common knowledge that they could be poisoned with certain artificial sweeteners, before cell phones, the internet and social media, and before electronic calls and scientifically-tested, canid-specific baits were readily available; they were wiped out by a few persistent men on horses armed only with traps and poison.

            To suggest that it could not happen again in the face of these technological ‘advances’ is ludicrous.

            • avatar Wilderness Guy says:

              Another wannabe cowboy mensa guy. They sure don’t make bright out this way. JB already said it.

            • avatar Rancher Bob says:

              Wilderness guy
              Maybe you should read your own 1:32 pm rant, try first paragraph.

              • avatar Wilderness Guy says:

                Ok, I realize you’re a rancher, so that means I shouldn’t expect strong reading comprehension skills. I stated that excessive wolf trapping will probably do the wolverine in and put the nail in it’s coffin in the state of Idaho.

                I realize you brainiacs here the word “wolf”, and it causes your ability to reason become limited. But, please, what I wrote is pretty self-explanatory.

              • avatar Rancher Bob says:

                Wilderness guy
                Did I here the word wolf or did I hear the word wolf. Your one cocky wannabe.

            • avatar Rancher Bob says:

              No the undisputed fact is wolves had their historic range reduced before the interstate highway system… never wiped out. Lets get that fact right. Your right though there is the ever so small chance the wolves could be wiped out but it’s ludicrous to think it will be done while wolves are being managed. So if your going to keep the conversation truthful be truthful.

              • avatar Mike says:

                Wolves weren’t wiped out of Colorado?

              • avatar Rancher Bob says:

                There you are being white man and drawing lines in the dirt again, what be this Colorado?

              • avatar JB says:

                Okay, RB. Wolves were wiped out throughout the vast majority of their range (~99%) within the lower 48 US states.

                “…there is the ever so small chance the wolves could be wiped out but it’s ludicrous to think it will be done while wolves are being managed.”

                We will have to agree to disagree here. A relatively small number of motivated individuals were able to eliminate wolves before the modern conveniences I cited above were available. The same could be accomplished today–management or no. In fact, I would go so far as to suggest that the lack of success with the Mexican wolf recovery program is largely due to such efforts.

              • avatar Rancher Bob says:

                Conditions apply with the following statements… 🙂

              • avatar JB says:

                Addendum: Wolves were largely eradicated east of the Mississippi by 1900. In fact, Roosevelt wrote about how they had become rare in the Great Plains during the late 1890s. By the time the feds got involved, wolves were gone from almost everywhere within the conterminous US, save a few of the wildest places in the Rockies.

                I say this because too often I see wolves’ eradication being blamed on the federal government, which really didn’t get involved until 1915.

                RB: Conditions, indeed. It was your unconditional statement (i.e., “…anyone who says wolves will be wiped out again is full of crap and knows very little about wolves”) that prompted my original response. I see your full of caveats now.

          • avatar Wilderness Guy says:

            It’s amazing how I didn’t even mention wolves in my list of species that have been drastically reduced state-wide, and going on a rant about wolves was the only thing you could counter with. WAAKKKEEE UP! You’re asleep at the wheel, like most of your type. I stated that wolverines, not wolves are threatened by all the snares being placed around the wilderness during winter. Which is true. And there’s not many of them left. So, next wolverines will disappear from Idaho, and of course you guys won’t care, as long as you have 3.5 trillion cows sucking down the states well being.

          • avatar Nancy says:

            “anyone who says wolves will be wiped out again is full of crap and knows very little about wolves”

            So how do you think this will play out RB, given the fact that “shoot to kill” from the road or anywhere else for that matter when it comes to the local folk, trapping, poisoning, gunning from planes & helicopters (WS annually) has not worked out, with coyote populations? (A close relative of wolves and a relative of the dog probably sitting by your feet right now or hovering around your back porch, waiting for the next livestock assignment 🙂

            Gotta give canines (especially the wild ones) more than an ounce of wit, not to mention determination, when it comes to what we humans lack, in intelligence.

            • avatar Rancher Bob says:

              How will it play out, who knows, for my life there will be wolves there will be cattle and there will be to many humans. The smartest one being the wolves they get to do what they want when they want to, hunt when they need sleep and play the rest of the time.

              • avatar Nancy says:

                “The smartest one being the wolves they get to do what they want when they want to, hunt when they need sleep and play the rest of the time”

                Pretty good description of how a good majority of our own species manages to get by, don’t you think RB? And we have almost zero problems with serial killers…….

              • avatar Rancher Bob says:

                Could be that is the reason we love/hate wolves is because humans and wolves are just to like each other.

              • avatar Mike says:

                Bob –

                70% of the U.S. likes wolves. It’s just the neanderthals who don’t.

              • avatar SaveBears says:


                Please post a link to a study that shows 70% of America likes wolves, I am very interested in reading it

              • avatar Rancher Bob says:

                First 70% don’t have to live with wolves, easy to love something you don’t have to live with all the time. Could be why your not married. I say if you love wolves get your own wolves, just like a spouse.
                Neanderthals now I thought they were extinct wait til the world finds out about this fact. Have your data ready for review.

              • avatar Wilderness Guy says:

                70% of the population that doesn’t ranch in the Rocky Mountain States tolerate wolves. Ranchers aren’t the only ones to live around wolves in these states. In fact, there are roughly 775,000 eligable workers in Idaho. Only about 100,000 work in agriculture according to the bureau of labor statistics.

                The ag business is about 16% of the population, and of that, ranching is even less. Yet they believe, mistakenly that they are the only part of the labor force that matters. It gets old. 16% does not comprise a majority.

              • avatar Immer Treue says:

                C’mon Rancher Bob,

                Some of us don’t have to live with wolves because living with them is, well, kind of neat. Just wish those who think they have to live with wolves would quit poaching them. And brother, where I live there is no livestock to speak of.

              • avatar Wilderness Guy says:

                Thanks Immer, i’m so tired of these ranchers thinking they are the only ones that matter. Many live in wolf territory that don’t chase the runny ass of a cow all day long.. and we like having these creatures around us.

              • avatar WM says:

                Wilderness Guy,

                ++ Only about 100,000 work in agriculture according to the bureau of labor statistics.++

                You might give some thought that the SIC Code for agriculture does not include those who work indirectly in agriculture in some way. So, there are the folks who sell seed, fertilizer; sell and service combines, tractors, hay balers, Ford pick-ups, or semi-tractor/trailers. It also does not include the retailers that sell goods and services to farmers themselves or to the employees and families of the businesses I just listed. Then there is the tax base from the sales of those items, and the real property taxes on agricultural lands. And, tag on to the real property, the federal crop subsidies and the various federal and state jobs created to support the industry, like the Natural Resource Conservation District scientists and crop folks. Ooops, forgot to mention the local insurance agency that sells crop and livestock insurance, or the insurance for all those other folks on their own personal and real property.

                Kill agriculture and what happens to all those other jobs?

                It is a whole bunch more complicated from an economic perspective than you think.

              • avatar JB says:

                SB: I don’t want to speak for Mike (understatement), but I believe that this is the recent poll he is citing:


                The national poll of 1,378 voters was conducted by Public Policy Polling on July 11, 12, 13 and 14. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 2.7 percent.

                Among the poll’s results:
                •70 percent said wolves are a vital part of America’s wilderness and natural heritage.
                •68 percent said wolves should be given a chance to play their role in nature, including benefits they provide to songbirds and foxes; only 24 percent said they should not be allowed to play their natural role, and 8 percent weren’t sure.
                •56 percent said wolves should be given a chance to return to hundreds of thousands of square miles of unoccupied wolf habitat identified by scientists in places like Colorado, California and the Northeast; only 32 percent disagreed, and 12 percent weren’t sure.
                •47 percent said they opposed the Obama plan to strip wolf protections, 31 percent supported it, and 22 percent weren’t sure.
                •50 percent said that wolves have not recovered in the United States, 33 percent said wolves have recovered, and 16 percent said they weren’t sure.
                •55 percent said they’d like to see a wolf in the wild, 34 percent said they would not, and 11 percent weren’t sure.
                •49 percent said they opposed aggressive hunting and trapping seasons adopted in states where wolves have already lost protections; only 31 percent supported hunting and trapping wolves, and 21 percent weren’t sure.

              • avatar WM says:


                I looked over the poll questions and did a quick search on the company that did the poll. Three questions came up in my mind.
                Who paid for the poll
                Who crafted the questions (as in are they objective?)?
                What was the real purpose of the poll?

                It smells of CBD. This polling firm also does spin campaigns for politicians (that is their primary business, I think, from what I read on their website).

                The poll questions were, in my opinion lacking reference to the current wolf population and distribution in the WGL and NRM, or the economic and social costs/benefits of having more wolves on the landscape at higher densities and numbers, as well as geographic distribution. So, I’m thinking not such an objective poll. Anybody else but me know what a “leading question” is, and how to ask it to get the response you want?

                As for how I would answer the questions as presented, I would probably be in most of the majority catagories (except question 3).

                So, I don’t quite know what to think of the poll as presented.

              • avatar JB says:


                I agree that a few of the questions seemed biased toward a pro-wolf perspective, but most were not (e.g., Would you like to see a wolf in the wild, or not? Would knowing that wolves live in a natural area in your state make you more inclined to value that area or less inclined?).

                In any case, their results are very close to prior scientific studies. A now 11-year old meta analysis found 60% of people surveyed supported wolf restoration–and 1/3 of the studies included were from Scandanvia and Western Europe, where support was lower. The same study found 64% of residents in the eastern US and 57% of residents in the western US had positive attitudes toward wolves (25% had neutral attitudes overall). Our study, which had a low sample size, but is much ‘younger’ found 67% (+/- 9) were favorable toward wolf restoration, 18% were neutral.

                Bottom line: these studies converge around 2/3s of the population being supportive of wolf restoration, while 20-25% appear to be indifferent.

                Wilson, R. S. and J. T. Bruskotter (2009). “Assessing the Impact of Decision Frame and Existing Attitudes on Support for Wolf Restoration in the United States.” Human Dimensions of Wildlife 14(5): 353-365.

                Williams, C., et al. (2002). “A quantitative summary of attitudes toward wolves and their reintroduction (1972-2000).” Wildlife Society Bulletin 30(2): 575-584.

              • avatar Mike says:

                ++Please post a link to a study that shows 70% of America likes wolves, I am very interested in reading it++

                When you read this, SB, try to remove your North Fork tinfoil hat:


                And congrats, you are part of the radical minority.

              • avatar SaveBears says:

                Mike, you dumshit, that I not a poll, that is a huff article done by a reporter, and it specifically shows that it is not scientific.

              • avatar Mike says:

                Keeping moving those goal posts, Rancher Bob.

              • avatar zach says:

                I agree that there are too many humans.

                I do not agree with you when you say wolves are the smartest of the three (wolves, humans, cattle). I may have read that wrong.

                But, it seems that humans would be the smartest since we have developed ways to destroy them.

            • avatar WM says:


              I generally agree with what you are saying about past poll questions (and some results) not being so much different than these. And, to some degree I have historically had a problem with them, as well. As someone who is an expert in these instruments how do you resolve this dilemma when assessing survey results. Here is the question comparison:

              Would you like to see a wolf (or grizzly) in the wild? (Ok, so who wouldn’t? – no down side to that really, unless there was some preconceived belief that it could involve some kind of risk).

              Would you like to pay less taxes? (Ok, so same kind of question. Who wouldn’t? I am guessing many respondents would say YES. Maybe those who said NO or DON’T KNOW, would have pondered the question a bit more and thought, well, what are the implications of not paying as many taxes – less public safety, poorer roads, negative impacts to education, maybe some hungry people at the lower economic end of the scale; others might think less taxes means less waste by those who spend them).

              So, what I am saying is that is that there is some implied/presumed knowledge that goes into answering these things. If the pollee is given more of that kind of knowledge wouldn’t the answers to individual questions likely change, perhaps significantly? What is a decision- making body to do with this kind of polling information, which may be include persons who may not have much in the way of knowledge about the topic -wolves being one that would seem to be a faint blip on the radar for a lot of folks, at least that is what some here have said in the past?

              • avatar JB says:

                “So, what I am saying is that is that there is some implied/presumed knowledge that goes into answering these things.”

                Usually, public opinion polls seek unqualified preferences–those not biased by all of the ‘what if’ scenarios that partisans dream up. As we’ve witnessed many times on this blog, one doesn’t have to be knowledgeable about an issue to have an opinion.

                “If the pollee is given more of that kind of knowledge wouldn’t the answers to individual questions likely change, perhaps significantly?”

                The problem is there is no agreement upon what constitutes unbiased information. As soon as you start trying to interpret events for participants, you can be accused of spinning questions to get the answer you like.

                “What is a decision- making body to do with this kind of polling information, which may be include persons who may not have much in the way of knowledge about the topic…”

                Great question. I tell management agencies that they should treat information about the public the same way the treat other scientific data. So, just as it is useful to know the direction a population is headed when setting a harvest objective, it is also useful to know how the public feels about a particular management option when choosing whether or not to exercise that option. Public opinion shouldn’t determine wildlife management; but paradoxically, if managers ignore public opinion it often will end up determining management (e.g. via ballot initiatives or legislation).

              • avatar zach says:

                Could you possibly find a poll and present it here that you would be happy with? I am not trying to come off as a smart ass in anyway.

                I would agree with you in what you’re presenting as a counter argument to him.

                There is just too many factors that go into basically ever having a fair, accurate poll.

              • avatar JB says:

                Of course! BTW: Most public opinion polls use random samples and pollsters are careful to obtain adequate sample sizes to represent the population of interest. So my problem (when I have a problem) isn’t with the polls, per se, but with the specific response items. Again, in *most* cases, items that do not attempt to interpret events are preferable to those that do. So, for example, I would expect a presidential poll to ask who one plans to vote for in the upcoming election; I would not expect them to preface the question with the achievements of one candidate or the other–or even both. Make sense?

          • avatar Wilderness Guy says:

            There are more cattle in Idaho today than anytime in history. Where do you get your facts?

            Idaho hunters shot over 25,000 elk almost annually over a decade, the most in any decade.

            There are more people today than there was in the 60s 70s 80s and 90s. So, there are more hunter, more cars, more agricultural needs. I don’t see where you get these stats. I can pull them from the farm bureau, and many other organizations if you need them for proof.

        • avatar SaveBears says:


          That is never going to happen, perhaps you should find a place to live that is more to your liking?

          • avatar Wilderness Guy says:

            Nah, you see, you guys are becoming less and less powerful, as more people with skills other than chasing a cows ass stay and live in this state.

            You folks are going to wipe yourself off the map from your own stupidity and arrogance. I’ve already sat back and started popping the popcorn. Ranchers in the west are becoming more and more endangered. This year is another blessing in disguise. Another bad drought year with little moisture. Cattle are being sold off in drove and that just means another 500 ranchers go under in my area.

            • avatar Robert R says:

              Guess what you get when cattle get sold off, two things happen, ranching for wildlife (fee hunting) and
              and landlocked public land. If you want one big Texas you can have it and stay away from Montana.
              P.S. if you want more subdivisions keep fighting agriculture. Ranching and Farming are interconnected.

            • avatar SaveBears says:


              My wife’s family has been in Montana for over 130, I really don’t think we are going anywhere soon, we were here when they were hunted to extinction and we continue to be here while they come back.

              Of course the idea that they were hunted to extinction, is a myth, where I live, I can see and do see wolves every single day.

              • avatar Mike says:

                ++Of course the idea that they were hunted to extinction, is a myth++

                So wolves weren’t extinct in the U.S. Rockies?

                A very disingenuous stance, apparently just for the sake of arguing.

                Wolves did not come back to the North Fork country until the 80’s.

              • avatar SaveBears says:

                Wrong, I was seeing wolves in the N. Fork in the 60’s, 20+ years before you claim, wolves are not endangered, they are a very populous animal in the world, just because they are not where you want them, does not mean they are endangered.

                God, how many times do we need to keep having this conversation?

              • avatar Mike says:

                ++Wrong, I was seeing wolves in the N. Fork in the 60′s, 20+ years before you claim, wolves are not endangered, they are a very populous animal in the world, just because they are not where you want them, does not mean they are endangered.++

                How terribly disingenuous on your part, SB. Really, you should be ashamed of this style of argument.

                For everyone not in the know, SB has revealed himself as anti-predator, anti-endangered species with this line of logic. People with this view will tell you that the wolverine is not endangered in the lower 48 because “there’s a bunch in Alaska”.

                That’s not how it works, SB. Wolves are an endangered species across the lower 48, except for the great lakes, Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana.

                As for seeing wolves in the 1960’s around the North Fork, it’s possible a few stragglers came through, but it wasn’t until the 80’s that they had a breeding population. And even so, this refutes your claim that they are “numerous”.

                Sorry, SB, but with your comments, I have to wonder if you’re just trolling.

              • avatar SaveBears says:

                Mike, you are full of so much BS that is not even funny anymore, don’t you wonder why so many on this blog are always taking about $3 Mike, or Chicago Mike?

              • avatar SaveBears says:

                By the way dipshit, I am not anti predator or anti ESA, despite you an a couple of others trying to say I am.

              • avatar SaveBears says:

                If it were the truth Mike, I would not respond, I would love you to provide evidence of your accusation?

              • avatar Mike says:

                So wolverines in the lower 48 aren’t endangered because Alaska has a population?

              • avatar Jeff N. says:

                I’m beginning to think the only wolf you see everyday is the bottle of Wolfscmidt Vodka behind the bar at the Northern Lights Saloon.

                And that would explain you mistaking all of the woodchucks you see, as you stumble home, for wolverines…..And they are always in pairs.

              • avatar Jeff N. says:

                My previous comment was directed at SB

              • avatar Immer Treue says:

                Jeff N,

                C’mon. If you are going to insult, use some panache! Wolfschmidt Vodka?
                So many tasteful vodkas, that with a bit of ingenuity, creativeness, and perhaps an alliteration or two, and walla, you have a good insult.

              • avatar Jeff N. says:

                Jeff E.,

                A little before my time. But my father was there. I’ve seen firsthand what war can do to a person. Don’t get all “proud” with me Jeff E…..and thanks for your service.

              • avatar Jeff N. says:


                I tried my best. Did you at least chuckle maybe a little bit?

              • avatar JEFF E says:

                No Jeff N. you do not get a pass.
                Vietnam was a dirty, disgusting, POS, needless conflict which thousands of people died in. My guess is that individuals such as yourself, Sunnyvale jon, and $3 would have been the ones spitting on us as we disembarked. We did not have a choice per se. proud has nothing to do with it.

                Multiply that by a factor of 10.

                So the question remains. what have you done?

              • avatar Jeff N. says:

                Really Jeff E. you are going to turn this into a conversation about who served and who didn’t serve. My initial comment was an attempt at humor in regard to SB’s recent comment about seeing wolves on a daily basis and his past comments regarding seeing dozens of wolverines over the course of the year, and now you are steering the thread in this direction?

                And your comment about me being the type of person who would spit on soldiers is ridiculous. Not sure why you are picking this type of fight, but I guess I can’t stop you.

              • avatar JEFF E says:

                Jeff N.
                spend a day with you dad. go somewhere private, LISTEN to your dad. It might take a 5th or so.
                Most people will not really open up to some one that has not experienced the same type of situations.

                For example I had some very in depth conversations with an individual that had been part of an USA chemical mortar battalion in WWII during the invasion of Italy.
                It took a 5th or so of vodka to bring it out. It’s not pretty.(think chemicals)
                that is why anyone that discounts the individuals that have actually had to do the work, in which ever era, are pond scum.

              • avatar Jeff N. says:

                Jeff E.,

                Had that conversation not too long ago. Not to get too personal, but my dad is riddled with MS, wheelchair bound, and he is a little more open with his emotions. He sees the writing on the wall, so he’s not as guarded. We were talking and somehow his service became part of the discussion. I asked him if his opinion had changed regarding his thoughts on the war in Nam. Contrary to what he used to believe, he now thinks it was all a bunch of bullshit; a waste of life. It was a fascinating conversation, and yes, I listened because he was an open book, and since I have not served, what the hell was I going to add to the conversation, my lack of understanding the experience really makes me uncomfortable putting in my 2 cents, so I respectfully shut up.

                Spitting on soldiers or disrespecting their service, not me, never.

              • avatar jon says:

                Jeff E, you are a piece of work, you pathetic keyboard commando.

            • avatar SaveBears says:

              By the way, I am in the middle of the road about wolves, I really have no problem with them as long as they don’t create problems.. If they create a problem, then you take care of that problem, if they don’t, then you leave them alone.

              By the way, who is “you guys” I have never owned a cow, in over 60 years, in fact, I have not eaten a beef steak in over a year, so who is “you guys”?

              • avatar Mike says:

                I figured you’d respond angrily to the truth. It doesn’t jive with your bar-stool logic.

              • avatar SaveBears says:

                By the way, it does not take any anger at all to call you what you are, and I am not the only one that feels this way about you.

              • avatar Mike says:

                ++By the way, it does not take any anger at all to call you what you are, and I am not the only one that feels this way about you.++

                No, you do it because you always lose the argument.

              • avatar JEFF E says:

                a couple threads ago Sunnyvale jon said that you owe $3 an apology; so if I may; $3, I am sorry that you are an incontrovertible moron.

                You add nothing to the blog, discussion, or the knowledge base, as a whole. You are nothing more or less than a pimple on the ass of any discussion. PoP.

              • avatar SaveBears says:

                Well Jeff,

                You have your opinion, fortunately, it is only held by you, most others disagree with you.

              • avatar SaveBears says:

                Mike, rarely have I lost an argument.

              • avatar JEFF E says:

                SB, ????

              • avatar Jeff N. says:

                Jeff E.,

                He didn’t understand that you were addressing Someone else with your comment.

                I think if you reference my Wolfschmidt Vodka post above, It will probably explain why he couldn’t grasp your intent.

              • avatar JEFF E says:

                Jeff N.
                that might be possible; my question for you is, are you willing to go through what he has for this country, if so, step up.

              • avatar Jeff N. says:

                Why don’t we both “step up” together Jeff E. Or was that addressed at someone else?

              • avatar JEFF E says:

                I have. it was called Vietnam: you?

              • avatar Jeff N. says:

                Jeff E.,

                See even SB didn’t get his undies in a bunch from my comment:

                ++++SaveBears says:
                July 22, 2013 at 6:34 pm
                Vodka? Yuk!++++

                He’s dished out worse to me and vice versa. Settle down cowboy.

              • avatar SaveBears says:


                I have never dished out anything you didn’t deserve.

              • avatar JEFF E says:

                I was…never mind. tango yankee

              • avatar Jeff N. says:

                SB says –


                I have never dished out anything you didn’t deserve.++++

                Likewise SB. By the way since you see dozens of wolverines per year, do you actually live in the Northfork Valley or do you live above tree line?

              • avatar jon says:

                Jeff E, I find it extremely hilarious how you claim Mike adds nothing to this blog. What do exactly add to this blog you keyboard commando? All you do is act hostile on here and pick fights with people you don’t like. You are a sad and lonely guy aren’t ya? 🙂

              • avatar JEFF E says:

                wow, it looks like Sunnyvale Jon’ mom has finally let him play with his balls. LOL. loser

            • avatar Jake says:

              Hi Gary, again.

              How many computers do you own web page builder and progamer guy?

            • avatar Mareks Vilkins says:


              livestock losses due to wolf predation about $60,000 per year vs. income from wolf tourism $35M

              in Minnesota average annual (1990-98) compensation paid to farmers for a population of about 2 thousand wolves was about $18.50 per wolf

              and wolves are not famous of releasing helluva amounts of greenhouse gases that increase drought frequency and severity


              Livestock, especially cattle, produce methane (CH4) as part of their digestion. This process is called enteric fermentation, and it represents almost one third of the emissions from the Agriculture sector.

              • avatar topher says:

                Do buffalo produce methane also?

              • avatar SaveBears says:

                Hard to say if Buffalo produce methane as we don’t have any natural buffalo in the US, now if you are talking about Bison, I know for a fact that they produce methane.

              • avatar Mareks Vilkins says:

                How do the methane emissions of cattle compare to that of buffalo?


                “Although the figures varied slightly, the average methane emissions of a buffalo are around 70kg per year, as CO2 equivalence (CO2e) this is about 1600kg, a little over half the amount for a cow.

                An average cow weighs 400kg of which 140kg is edible meat. Cows are slaughtered at an average age of 30 months. To produce 1kg of edible meat produces 54kg of CO2e (3000kg CO2e emissions per year x 2½ years old ÷ 140kg yield).

                An average buffalo weighs 500kg of which 200kg is edible meat. Buffalo are slaughtered at an average age of 27 months. To produce 1kg of edible meat produces 18kg of CO2e (1600kg CO2e emissions per year x 2¼ years old ÷ 200kg yield).

                Add in the emissions from dung, transportation, processing, packaging etc and it could be another 10kg on top. Factor in a margin of error of 20% and the figures are… for each 1kg of cow eaten there’s 58 to 70kg of CO2e emissions and for each 1kg of buffalo it’s 25 to 31kg of CO2e.”


                sources follow

              • avatar Mareks Vilkins says:

                Carbon-Sink on the Range?


                TheBuffaloGuys.com is a coalition of ten buffalo ranchers from the American West who claim that raising buffalo for meat is carbon neutral. Host Bruce Gellerman talks with rancher Ken Klemm to find out just how carbon neutral buffalo really are.

              • avatar Mareks Vilkins says:

                The Only Way to Have a Cow


                “These old-school ungulates weren’t all that different in their plumbing—they were methane factories with legs too. But they used those legs for something. They didn’t stand still in feedlots waiting for corn, and they didn’t stand still in big western federal allotments overgrazing the same tender grass. They didn’t stand still at all. Maybe they would have enjoyed stationary life, but like teenagers in a small town, they were continually moved along by their own version of the police: wolves. And big cats. And eventually Indians. By predators.

                As they moved, they kept eating grass and dropping manure. Or, as soil scientists would put it, they grazed the same perennials once or twice a year to “convert aboveground biomass to dung and urine.” Then dung beetles buried the results in the soil, nurturing the grass to grow back. These grasslands covered places that don’t get much rain…And all that grass-land sequestered stupendous amounts of carbon and methane from out of the atmosphere—recent preliminary research indicates that methane-loving bacteria in healthy soils will sequester more of the gas in a day than cows supported by the same area will emit in a year.”

              • avatar SaveBears says:


                There are no natural Buffalo on the N. American landscape, you can cite all the studies on Buffalo you want, but you are not talking about the same animal that inhabited the prairies in the United States. Bison bison

                Kingdom: Animalia
                Phylum: Chordata
                Class: Mammalia
                Order: Artiodactyla
                Family: Bovidae
                Subfamily: Bovinae
                Genus: Bison
                Species: B. bison

              • avatar Wilderness Guy says:

                Mareks Vilkins,

                Thanks for that information. Very interesting read and when you delve into the sources it shows a very interesting picture, that bison produce about half of the methane as non-native bovines.

                With the reintroduction of wolves, elk already are forced to move around, and this has benefited the landscape in certain areas.

                Of course, the Serengeti still has a wildebeest migration that can be studied and it was more than likely very similar to the bison migration that more than likely occurred in the Great Plains before the great bovine travesty in the late 1800s. I wouldn’t doubt that herds moved in a very similar circular seasonal pattern, as the wildebeest do in the Serengeti and many of the nomadic plains tribes were proof that these migrations occurred over long distances well over many many hundreds of miles.

                What occurs in Yellowstone currently is more than likely not natural to their migrational history. The Bison would have more than likely migrated out of that area into the Snake River Plain and other areas during the wintering periods, and returned come spring. Now, because of the fences and guns of the stationary ranchers, they are forced to stay in their island year round. It’s a travesty that the ecosystem of the region would more than likely benefit if it had the migrational patterns similar to the past, but unfortunately, because of short-sighted euro-centric land policies this can’t be reestablished.

              • avatar topher says:

                I was just curios if we replaced cattle with bison what the difference in methane emisions would be. How much methane would have been produced by the great herds that no longer exist? It seems like a goofy argument against cattle if your going to replace them with animals that produce the same or nearly the same amounts of methane. It also seems a little goofy when you consider the amount of cattle on public lands in the west compared to the large private ranches elsewhere in the country. What percent of methane do public lands cattle contribute to the country’s total methane production or realease and what is the effect of this amount? I’m guessing not much and not a good argument against the cattle that trample the lands. Why bother with the methane thing when are so many other good reasons to want cows off sensitive lands, namely the land itself.

              • avatar Wilderness Guy says:


                Judging from some minor research, livestocks impacts on releasing methane, nitrous oxide, and ammonia is quite vast. Over 65% of human induced methane is from livestock production.

                And, from the national cattlemans beef association website, they estimate close to 90 million cattle in the US. They estimated prior to the great bovine slaughter in the mid to late 1800s that the bison population was estimated to be around 50 million.

                If cattle produce almost twice the amount of greenhouse gases as bison, then about 180 million bison would equal 90 million cattle. Or 25 million cattle would be equivalent to 50 million bison.


              • avatar topher says:

                I’d rather eat bison.

              • avatar Mareks Vilkins says:


                ‘There are no natural Buffalo on the N. American landscape…’

                1) the American bison (Bison bison) is popularly known as the American buffalo

                2) from links provided it was clear that reference was to American bison not the Asian water buffalo or the African buffalo – for example:


                “Methane emissions from bison — An historic herd estimate for the North American Great Plains”

              • avatar Mareks Vilkins says:

                WG, topher

                comparing carbon footprint of:

                1) 60M bison vs. 9M dairy cows

                2) the historical vs. modern carbon footprint of animal agriculture

                “Replacing rose-tinted spectacles with a high-powered microscope: The historical versus modern carbon footprint of animal agriculture” by Judith L. Capper (2011)

                Department of Animal Sciences, Washington State University, Pullman 99164, USA


                Judith L. Capper’s research focuses on modeling the environmental impact of beef and dairy production systems. Current research includes the environmental impact of cornfed versus grass-fed beef systems, comparing historical and modern production practices in dairy and beef industries, and the effect of technology use in livestock production.

          • avatar jon says:

            sb, the animals were here before us and they will be here long after our species is extinct from this planet. Animals will do just fine without us humans on the planet.

            • avatar SaveBears says:

              So what Jon, we are here now and we are part of this equation, what we had before and what we have in the future really does no matter. Humans live for the here and now. If you want to live your life based on what is going to happen after you are gone, that is fine, but please don’t try to impose that on others!

              If you feel guilty, because you are human, there is a very simple solution, leave, shoot yourself in the head and get it over with. I know I don’t feel guilty because I am human and I am part of this whole mess!

          • avatar zach says:

            It will happen if they keep pushing for it. Times are a changing.

            Can I back it up? No. But, I don’t think anyone really could no matter what opinion they may have.

          • avatar Ida Lupine says:

            It’s not just hunters and ranchers, it’s modern life that’s killing off wildlife too. Maybe they can put up fencing or something.

            • avatar Robert R says:

              Ida there is two reasons the bighorns and other animals are attracted to roadways, salt and lush vegetation. I have to be aware of antelope this time of year because of them feeding on the shoulder of the road.

            • avatar SaveBears says:


              Wildlife populations as a whole in the United states is higher than it has been for over 130 years, why do you keep claiming this?

              • avatar Wilderness Guy says:

                Well that’s not hard to fathom, because they completely wrecked wildlife populations in the late 1800s throughout the country. There was hardly anything left, that its taken a century to restore them nation wide, and even at this point, they are not anywhere near the levels they were pre-1800s.

                I personally loathe those in the past for completely annihlating our countries wildlife, and I want the generations to come after us to not look at those of us today in the same light that I look at these generations of misguided misfits that just saw nature as something to destroy and tame.

              • avatar zach says:

                What kind of wildlife are we talking here?

                If we’re going to count the exploding population of white tails and invasive species like asian carp, starlings, and zebra mussels…yeah, then we have a lot more animal counts than we did for 130 years.

            • avatar Mike says:

              Hunters and ranchers are the “surgical strike” at the edge of the development. Animals would still have a chance if it wasn’t for them.

      • avatar zach says:

        Species on the cusp (at various times in history):

        1)Cougars in the eastern part of America
        2)grizzly bears
        3)red wolves
        4)mexican wolves
        5)black footed ferrets

        I can go on if you’d like

  7. avatar LoneWolf25 says:

    Wilderness Guy: Thank you for your intelligence and decency. We surely have the knowledge and the tools to stop killing the West. Are the ranchers and wildlife killers so selfish and so stupid that they will continue pushing the West to its death? Yes, they are that selfish and that stupid. We will have to unite more and more and stop them. One way or another we must stop them, for the sake of our home land and those who will come after us.

    • avatar Jake says:

      Hi Gary. I love it when you compliment yourself.

    • avatar Wilderness Guy says:

      Agreed. It’s a sad state of affairs. The death of this grizzly is another nail in the coffin of that “wild wild west” that no longer exists.

    • avatar Ida Lupine says:

      As long as our population continues to grow (300 million at last count) and most of us continue to eat beef, the situation is only going to get worse. And that’s only beef. Look at the situation for pork, and we’re adding horses to the mix too. We can’t really blame the ranchers entirely. They’re giving us what we demand.

      I don’t know what that means, ‘wildlife as a whole’. Birds are declining more and more, wolves are being killed again and kept to a fraction of their ranges, mountain goats barely hanging on, caribou valued less than snowmobiles over 300,000 acres of land (do we need that much?) bears next and occupy just a fraction of their former ranges. Maybe deer and elk have increased, but not in a healthy way. In other parts of the world wildlife is just hanging on.

      • avatar Elk275 says:

        Ida where did you come up with the idea that mountain goats are barely hanging on. I bet that if you have ever seen a mountain goat it was in Glacier National Park. There are mountain goat by the hundreds and even thousands in the Beartooths. Last fall hunting mountain sheep I saw over 100 goats in one drainage in the Beartooths.

        • avatar CodyCoyote says:

          ELk- there are not actually ” thousands” of Mountain Goats in the Beartooths. Your sighting of a hundred is remarkable. Most I’ve ever seen at once is maybe 25.

          The herd there has grown steadily since reintroduction back in the 50’s ( ? ) and eventually self-split into two distinct populations. It wasn’t that long ago that Wyo G&F stated there were only 32 goats in the Wyoming Beartooths . They were originally introduced to the Clarks Fork Canyon on the far east end of the range, and all resident goats in the Beartooths today are descended from those. The Wyoming Game and Fish reports the RM goat population in the Absarokas and Beartooths is right at 200, and they plan for a harvest of 16 by hunters.

          They have increased in numbers and range to the point the Game & Fish considers them a competitor to Big Horn sheep. The two species do not get along and generally do not coexist on the same range…it’s the goats that push away the sheep.

          As you go further south and west into Yellowstone and down towards the Tetons, goat numbers drop sharply. They pick up again on the Idaho border a little.

        • avatar Ida Lupine says:

          Actually I meant to write Bighorn Sheep, Elk.

          • avatar Elk275 says:

            There are 6000 to 7000 bighorn sheep in Montana they are hanging on but things could be better.

  8. avatar David Stalling says:

    Thousands of people visit and drive through our western wildlands and parks each year to gawk at wildlife, including grizzlies, so they can enjoy their abstract notions of what they consider “wild” resulting in (among many other things) the insulting habituation of once-wild wildlife, such as grizzlies, into roadside attractions and photo models.

    Many of these people decide to move out West because they love the wildness and beauty. They build homes in what little remains of wildlife habitat then complain when once-wild wildlife, such as grizzlies, seem threatening to them. And so the once-wild grizzlies are captured, collared and moved.

    This is what happened to “587”.

    The once-wild grizzly now known as 587 ends up in a place where we subsidize ranchers to graze cattle on public lands at great ecological costs to our wildlife and wildlands — partly because of archaic laws and partly because we continue to romanticize the myth of the western cowboy and mythical cowboy lifestyle.

    The once-wild grizzly now known as 587 eats a few of those subsidized cows, acquires a taste for them, and is subsequently killed for it.

    Now thousands of people visiting and driving through our wildlands and parks each year can gawk at this once-wild, now-dead grizzly known as 587 at the Jackson Hole Historical Society and Museum where he will be on display after being stuffed and mounted by a taxidermist. (This “beautiful specimen” will be used for “educational purposes” alongside other animals, says the museum director, to “illustrate the interactions of Native Americans and the natural environment.”)

    Perhaps we should actually attempt to apply some of the lessons we might learn about the interactions of Native Americans and the natural environment — such as how we might live with grizzlies in a way we don’t have to kill them and stuff them for “educational purposes.”

    Some of the thousands of tourists traveling through will no doubt photograph themselves, friends and family smiling and standing around this once-wild grizzly known as 587 now turned stuff tourist attraction to “educate” people who love to visit western wildlands because they love wildness and beauty. Afterwards, they might head to a Western steakhouse to enjoy some local beef raised on public lands by subsidized cowboys.

    Some of these folks will love the wildness and beauty so much they’ll decide to move West and build homes in what little remains of wildlife habitat . . .

    At least the once-wild grizzly known as 587 won’t seem too threatening to them (or the subsidized cows grazing our public lands.)

  9. avatar Robert R says:

    David you bring up the point of people moving out west to what remains.
    If 587 became a problem bear eating garbage,bird seed or killing some hobby animals and was a repeat offender it would have been euthanized anyway. I think agriculture is becoming a scapegoat tool.

    • avatar Nancy says:

      Said fact is though Robert R, the majority of bear, mountain lion and wolves, not to mention hundreds of thousands of coyotes, ARE killed each year, because of agricultureal interests. And that doesn’t include a host of other small animals.

        • avatar Ida Lupine says:

          This department needs to be reviewed just like all the others for wastefulness and redundancy. You have to wonder if these boards are populated by industry people and full of conflicts of interest, and that’s why nothing ever changes. Surely poisoning wildlife, if for no other reason than contaminating water supplies and land, should be done away with, if we can’t see the value of protecting wildlife.

          But, as some have said – turning these lands into housing developments or resorts comes with its own set of problems, and isn’t any better for wildlife, with threats of wildfires, killing wildlife, and human interference with the natural cycle of forest ecology. As long as our population keeps growing, numbers of cattle will too. I’d rather have them, but I wish they’d have a better attitude. The cowboy and mountain man myth are part of our heritage, and many times more interesting than a generic, overpopulated mess from one coast to the other.

          • avatar Ida Lupine says:

            I wish ranchers would have a better attitude, I mean.

            • avatar Immer Treue says:

              Guy named Rancher Bob posts here. One can deduce from his posts, that if be had his druthers, wolves would not be around. However, he is practical and rationale. He knows wolves and grizzly bear aren’t going away, and appears he has made adjustments accordingly.

              Point I’ve been trying to make for a while, we have reasonable, ethical hunters who post here, and we have at least one reasonable, ethical rancher posting here. The type of folks with whom you “want” to continue meaningful dialogue. Yet we have the continual droning about all hunters and all ranchers …

              • avatar Ida Lupine says:

                Yes, but I didn’t get the impression that RB didn’t want wolves around at all? Say it ain’t so, RB!

              • avatar Nancy says:

                “Point I’ve been trying to make for a while, we have reasonable, ethical hunters who post here, and we have at least one reasonable, ethical rancher posting here. Yet we have the continual droning about all hunters and all ranchers”

                Immer – the droning happens (and will continue to happen) because of the rest(hunters and ranchers) who aren’t reasonable and could give a sh*t, about wildlife.

                I heard a wolf howl a couple of mornings ago. A rare treat for me but it gave new meaning to “da planes” circling up and down the valley for the past week.

          • avatar Mongerers says:

            West of the Mississippi there is a lot of public land. So, i’m not sure how you think these areas will become overran with subdivisions, as long as there isn’t a grand sell-off. And even at that, there is not enough water in the interior west to sustain vast large populations, and mega industries. Nevada, Utah, and Arizona are already starting to hit their limits in the growth they can sustain. That bubble will pop.

            Don’t have more than 1 or 2 kids, and practice a low-impact lifestyle and you can live in the west without destroying it.

            • avatar zach says:

              How or why anyone thought building mega cities in Arizona is beyond me. A lot of the terrain is beautiful, but most of it is a wasteland.

            • avatar WM says:

              ++there is not enough water in the interior west to sustain vast large populations, ++

              I disagree. Most Western states have water allocation systems in which industrial and municipal uses are higher uses than agriculture. So, the marketplace will adjust as more water is purchased and used for “people” than for irrigated agriculture (which use is by the way very inefficient in many places).

              • avatar zach says:

                WM, as to your reply above, it’s obvious location has to do something with it. However, air conditioners? So, is the how or why because of air conditioners? Your reply was obviously very well thought out! How did people build the cities? Ah, with and air conditioners! And, why? Air conditioners!

                On your other reply, there simply isn’t enough water and there’s not going to be enough water in the future to sustain everything. As more people move into the area and more industry is being done, we’re going to continue to run into more water problems.

                To say there is enough water to sustain large populations is sort of misleading.

                Maybe if they all had more air conditioners they would all be so much better off.

              • avatar WM says:


                Air conditioners. Yep. Think about it. Who wants to live in 100 degree heat, without air conditioning? Las Vegas would not have happened without it (along with cheap hydro power). Phoenix is not much different except it gets power to run those air conditioners from three sources – hydro from the Colorado, nuclear, and coal generated from the massive Navajo generation facility.

                There has been a lot written about how air conditioning made many hot/humid climates more tolerable, and thus developable. Think Florida’s population boom in the 70’s.

                I didn’t say there was enough water in the West. I said uses would change under the appropriations systems, which give “higher and better use” based on economic importance. Water use will shift from agriculture to municipal and industrial.

                And, to Immer’s query, the Colorado River is way over-appropriated already, and for many years the Upper Basin states have not been able to deliver the agreed amounts at Lee’s Ferry to the Lower Basin states under the Colorado River Compact, and for use in the Central Arizona Project canal delivery system.


                And under international treaty the US has not been able to deliver to Mexico agreed water quantity at acceptable quality for the Colorado River. Expect climate change to make things worse.

                Indeed we will run into more water problems in the West, but potential irrigated agriculture acreage will be among the first impacts ever hear of the Salton Sea in CA?

              • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

                I agree. Even in the most urban states of the West the percentage of the water going to agriculture, and most of it is not for high value food crops but for feed for livestock, e.g., alfalfa, corn and oats. For example, “about 80-85% of all California water is used for agricultural purposes.” Municipal use is only 10%. Source Wikipedia.

  10. avatar Ida Lupine says:

    And, I have studied and provided policy input on some of the natural resource issues involving the mounting tensions of expanding populations, the economic lure of mountain community development (ski areas/golf courses/second home), oil & gas, and the long-term land use implications and water allocation in the West.

    These are the biggest threats I see up ahead for wild lands and wildlife, (that and the generationally environmentally clueless masses tromping around the National Parks, habituating the wildlife for photo ops and leaving their trash behind, and continually moving into remote areas and risking wildfires) and they make hunting and ranching pale in comparison.

    At least ranching is only for part of the year, and gives something back. Development is 365, 24/7 and gives nothing back to speak of, just uses resources. We also have as much likelihood of people cutting down on/eliminating eating beef and switching to bison as we do weaning them off of fossil fuels and SUVs, or quitting breeding. Doesn’t look good!

    • avatar Ida Lupine says:

      That paragraph I posted was from WM.

    • avatar WM says:


      Actually ranching/farming has much greater effect year round. What were once valley bottoms that served as winter range for wildlife are now developed or limit access (unfriendly out-migration of elk and bison from Yellowstone is one example). Wildlife in many of those essential places in winter now compete with fences and wintering cattle on overgrazed lands, or plowed up fallow fields, roads, housing developments, golf courses and even commercial spaces. Other areas have been grazed off by those folks holding grazing leases on public lands.

      Of course, it is not just the West where this phenomenon exists (except the public lands grazing part).

  11. avatar Toby says:

    The American Indians hunted Bison, and yet never depleted the herds. They allowed the wolves, cougars, and bears their share of the bison. When Euro-American ventured west, they found from 60 to 1000 million bison and roughly 600,000 grizzly bears living on the prairie.
    The euro-American were more advanced in inventions ( war is the mother of invention ). The Indians were more advanced in their society. Too bad we defeated them in *war.

    • avatar zach says:

      Well, if defeating them in war wasn’t enough, don’t forget we stole all their land and practically destroyed their entire way of life in the process.

      • avatar SaveBears says:


        That was the way war was at that time in history, it was not only about defeat, it was about destruction of your enemy. It was practiced by virtually every society in the world, including many native American tribes.

    • avatar Nancy says:

      Toby – just started reading Guns, Germs, and Steel (The Fates of Human Societies) by Jared Diamond.

      The author states in the preface:

      This book attempts to provide a short history of everybody for the last 13,000 years.

      Part One, titled From Eden to Cajamarca, is already an “eye opener” when it comes to the human species and our need/greed to not only dominate our own species… but every other species we share the planet with.

  12. avatar WyoWolfFan says:

    It’s always a shame when bears or other wildlife get killed due to cattle grazing on public lands. The fact that these are public lands yet allowed to be grazed by one person’s cattle is the real tragedy. Shouldn’t the public have a bit more say in that?


July 2013


‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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