Feds move forward on delisting Idaho wolves (story from Wood River Valley newspaper)

This is from the Idaho Mountain Express. Hunting season specifics will not be nailed down for several months. By Steve Benson.

There is also a LTE by Lynne Stone in this issue of the Mountain Express. “Get Wolf Facts Straight.”



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  1. chris Avatar

    It is quite revealing that Idaho already has proposed the price for a wolf tag, yet the Great Lakes states are reportedly going to wait 5 years before having a wolf hunt.

  2. Mike S. Avatar
    Mike S.

    Great news!!!

  3. Jordan Avatar

    Mike S – do you mean Stone’s letter that says that 2005 was the 8th best year ever for hunters to kill Idaho elk? That obviously, wolves aren’t making much of a dent in Idaho’s flourishing elk population? That is good news. Thanks for recognizing that wolves are doing fine, elk are doing fine. You finally “got it”.

  4. kt Avatar

    The Wood River paper article includes Head of the Fish and Game Comission Wheeler’s sexist comment about wolves that belittles women’s sports. On the recording of Wheeler’s remarks that Ralph has posted, Wheeler can also be heard referring to wolves as “things”. Apparently, to him, they are not even in the same animal category as the huntable muy macho big-antlered elk. Where did Wheeler, who is an ag person and sells “ranches” come from?

    Dirk Kempthorne, when he was Governor of Idaho, APPOINTED Mr. Wheeler to the Fish and Game Commission. Dirk Kempthorne, now Bush Secretary of the Interior, is responsible for Wheeler, next to Otter, being in the front of decisionmaking on wolf survival in Idaho. Dirk as Interior Secretary will make the ultimate decision on throwing wolves into the Idaho killing frenzy.

    Any rational person would see that the de-listing of the gray wolf headed by Good Old Idaho Boy Kempthorne who when he was a Senator held the ESA in high disdain, and throwing their fate into the hands of a a total Good Old Boy network in Idaho that despises wolves, would be a disaster.

    There is no chance for sane management until the whole lot of Kempthorne, Otter, Wheeler are sent out to pasture.

  5. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    About his sexist comment, I raised the issue as to whether football raises the money for women’s athletics at Idaho State University.

    The answer was “no,” and this is apparently so at most universities.

  6. Mike S. Avatar
    Mike S.

    “Mike S – do you mean Stone’s letter that says that 2005 was the 8th best year ever for hunters to kill Idaho elk? That obviously, wolves aren’t making much of a dent in Idaho’s flourishing elk population? That is good news. Thanks for recognizing that wolves are doing fine, elk are doing fine. You finally “got it”.”

    First of all Idaho’s Elk population is not “Flourishing” far from it.
    Calf recruitment is down in most areas of the state and the age of the herd is getting older without the recruitment of young calves.
    I guess you don’t understand herd dynamics.

    8th best year for hunters? By number of hours spent in the field? or by hunter #’s or harvest of animals?
    You can’t claim one without knowing the others.
    Do yourself a favor and do some research of your own. Don’t listen to paid articles and reports funded by people on your side of the fence.
    dig deeper and go to the source. Sinapu, Defenders, Sirra Club and other org.’s will just give you the info you want to hear not the truth.

    Go to IDF&G and go to reaserch and look up the Elk Proc. from 2005 and see what the IDF&G has to say about Elk #’s here in the state.

    The word “Flourishing” to desribe Elk herds is not used unless you are referring to the out of control Wolf numbers.

    As far as your Wolves are doing fine comment, they are doing so well we will get to start hunting them here soon and until then the “whining” cattlemen as you people call them will keep WS’s well informed to their depredations and they will be thinning them out until we get to.

  7. Slow Elk Poacher Avatar
    Slow Elk Poacher

    There are an estimated 2.4 million head of cattle in Idaho. And anywhere from 130 to 200,000 elk depending on who you listen to. Obviously these cattle rancher slouches do have an agenda to keep any predators out that can thin down their herds. Personally, I think it’s long past due for the grizzly to be roaming through most of our state, including in idiotvilles like Twin, Boise, and the likes.

    The hunter numbers in this state is also increasing every year. Regardless, there are still a lot of healthy elk numbers here in this state.

  8. Jordan Avatar

    Mike S – my information came from IDFG and talking with many of the IDFG people that I know.

    Elk numbers meet or exceed IDFG goals in all but three areas of the state. One of those does not have wolves. The other two are the Lola and Clearwater where habitat issues are the problem.

    I have done my own research.

    You might want to run your responses through a spell checker. And I wish you would stop posting on this website because you are one of those who will never be convinced that a wolf has value.

    Do you want Ron Gillett’s phone number or Nate Helm’s – you fit with them. You don’t fit here.

  9. Mike S. Avatar
    Mike S.

    Not true!!!
    First of all Bulls and Mature Bulls are below objective in many units in the state. Calf recruitment is well below objective in most of the central part of the state which also is the same area Wolves reside.
    Wolves have value and as I see it, it was set at $26.00 in Idaho, 260.00 for a non resident.

    Why would I ever leave when you make me feel so welcome here?

  10. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    One of the reasons mature bulls are below objective is there are too many trophy bulls taken . . . too many trophy hunters, and they pressure Idaho Fish and Game.

    Not enough mature bulls, and soon you have inefficient breeding and the calf to cow ratio drops either directly, or due to spring bear predation of calves because there is no flood of calves, that is, the births are spaced out over too long a time, giving predators, especially bears, time to eat more of them.

  11. Rob-S Avatar

    I might add that the wolves main diet is elk. They prey on the old, sick, weak, and lets not forget elk calves.

    Aside from the trophy bulls being taken, do not forget that each spring wolves kill a substantial number of calves, even more than bears.

    So Ralph is correct in that the age of the elk heard will get older and there will be fewer young cows to replace the aging cow elk who bears a calf every year. So there is no flood of calves due to predation by bears and now wolves.

    With wolves around cows are not as likely to bear a healthy calf in the spring because the wolves are chasing them around all winter, causing undue stress, depleting their fat reserves, and because of the poor condition they are more likely to have a stillborn calf in the spring.

  12. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    Studies of the fate of radio-collared elk calves in Yellowstone Park show that wolves take very few new elk calves. They are too small and hard to find to bother with.

    Bears, on the other hand, find searching the brush for elk calves quite rewarding.

    Wolves don’t start seriously going after elk calves until they are quite a bit larger.

    In most of Idaho and most of Western Montana, elk are the wolves main diet, but as you move into NW Montana and northern Idaho, deer become more prominent.

    And, of course, in Minnesota where there are few elk, the 4000 wolves live off of the deer, apparently without reducing the number of deer.

  13. Slow Elk Poacher Avatar
    Slow Elk Poacher

    Hey Rob S, how come ungulate populations seem to be doing fine in areas like Montana, Alberta, and other areas where wolves well out number the numbers here in Idaho?

    You are not being very factual at all.

  14. Rob-S Avatar

    You tell me Slow Elk Poacher. From what I read you seem to know everything about wildlife while us ‘snake river plains’ drifters know nothing!


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