Idea for a Montana wolf compensation board praised.

Montana legislature is thinking of setting up a Montana wolf compensation board. All verified losses so far have been covered by Defenders of Wildlife privately.

They suggest allocating $200,000. That’s probably about twice what they will need a year (unless that includes administration).

Meanwhile, Defenders continues to compensate. My view is that they should stop in Idaho, given the attitude of Fish and Game Comission and the governor’s office. It buys no goodwill, and wolf opponents almost always neglect to mention Defenders’ compensation. . . . . Just my opinion, I am not even a member.

Story in the Billings Gazette. AP



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  1. Alan Avatar

    I’ve always had mixed feelings about Defenders’ compensation program. It does not address the underlying issue of livestock grazing on wolf habitat, especially habitat on public land. I’d rather see ranchers be compensated generously for giving their grazing permits and moving on.
    Full disclosure: I gave a few bucks to Defenders more than a decade ago, but stopped after learning of columnist Michael Frome’s firing from the organization’s magazine.

  2. be Avatar

    i say that the state should establish a fund to compensate me if i leave my tools in the rain.

    Alan is right on about the grazing permits compensation…

  3. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    I do not believe that landowners should be compensated for wildlife damage at all, including loss of livestock to carnivores.

    Compensation programs are in fact a public payout that is seen by landowners as an entitlement as well as a subsidy. In Wyoming, such programs are also a way that the livestock industry controls the G&F Department, as it is out of the G&F fund that these programs are funded. A tremendous amount of money goes to ranchers out of the G&F fund, when this money should be going to wildlife management instead. It is a kind of tribute that hunters and anglers have to pay to the livestock oligarchy.

    The worst payout from the G&F fund to the livestock industry is the funding of elk feedgrounds.

    The DOW compensation program was touted as a way to improve acceptance of the wolf among ranchers. It has absolutely failed to do that. As of now, I have no idea what the program is accomplishing. It’s the DOW’s money, of course, but it is also a waste of money.

  4. chronicdiscontent Avatar

    I did not know about the Defenders compensation, thanks. I was thinking this is something wolf supporters could do – compensate ranchers – and I think the federal government could afford to do it. We can afford to be at war all the time – surely we can buy a few cows for the national wolf pack.

    Now that the tide has turned against the wolves, and the Fish and Game folks have shown their true selves so effectively, I think the Defenders should cease paying anything to the ranchers, who will now just kill the wolves anyway.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan