Know this: In Montana, elk rule

 Ed. Note: this article was recently rediscovered by readers although it is a year old (2007 – not 2008 as I write this)

Here is an opinion from a Montana state senator, just dripping with hostility.

Although he says that in Montana, elk rule, and folks there are not going to allow wolves to reduce them, it doesn’t take much analysis to add this as further confirmation of my hypothesis that the wolf issue really isn’t about wolves at all. It is a way to express social hostility toward other people (those considered to be “outsiders”) whether they have lived in Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, etc., for generations or whether they live in New York City where some folks like him seem to think all those who want a full complement of native wildlife restored, live.

Here is his piece in the Helena Independent Record

“Know this: In Montana, elk rule
By Sen. Dave Lewis – 02/13/07

Your Turn

SB 372, which I cosponsored with Senator Balyeat and others, was approved by the Senate this week. This bill establishes a wolf hunting season, a wolf license auction and a grizzly bear license auction.

If the bill passes through the House and is signed, the first wolf hunt will take place in the fall of 2008. Fish Wildlife and Parks will establish a quota. The license will cost $19. Nonresidents will be able to purchase a license for $350.

Why establish a wolf hunting season in Montana? Just a few years ago the return of the wolf was hailed as a great victory for wildlife management. What happened is that the numbers have grown so rapidly that the impact on elk numbers is starting to be noticeable.

We will stand for almost any injustice or diabolical plot perpetrated on the citizens of the state but cut in to elk numbers and the game is over. I have argued for years that the most powerful constituency in the state are elk and their friends. People who do not hunt elk love the fact that we can see them often and enjoy the fact that Montana is one of the few places where elk are part of the landscape.

Once it became apparent that there is an impact on elk numbers when wolves increase, the wolves days were numbered. Ranchers lose cows and sheep and the body politic will accept it, but go after our elk and we will see a wolf hunting season established almost immediately.

I suspect that once the national press picks up on the fact that we are setting up a wolf hunting season we will be blasted for not caring for small furry animals and being a bunch of ignorant rednecks who don’t appreciate the call of the wild. They will never get the point until they come out and catch the fever of the first day of elk season or just watch and glory in the sight of a herd of elk eating my neighbors alfalfa. Elk rule and anybody who misses that point runs the danger of having an open season approved on them.

DAVE LEWIS, R-Helena, represents Senate District 42.



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  1. Howard Avatar

    ” Elk rule and anybody who misses that point runs the danger of having an open season approved on them.”

    So… basically, Dave Lewis is physically threatening anyone who dares oppose him. Maybe it’s stuff like this that makes people call him an “ignorant redneck”…

    Of course his “threat” is just posturing, but no matter where you stand on the wolf issue, it’s unbecoming of a grown adult, let alone a state senator.

  2. Elizabeth Avatar

    Most thinking folks understand that there is much more to elk population growth/decline than wolves. Drought, other predators, and in this area, the Gardiner Winter Hunt (which targest pregnant females). It’s narrow minded of a state senator to target just one species as the problem. And besides, who says elk are endangered? There are plenty to go around. Don’t be so greedy!

  3. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    To him, elk don’t rule. His true “posture” is “I rule” and people like me, and (sub-text) “you other folks don’t.”

  4. Kibby Avatar

    Uh…yeah. Thanks for sharing, Dave.

    Just another case of a local rep making noise for the anti-wolfers back home. They spout off all the time, waving their arms and predicting the apocalypse, knowing nothing will come of it in the end.

    At least not in Montana, which has a history of actually using science to write its wildlife policies…

  5. Peter Kiermeier Avatar

    Could it be that this somewhat strange guy has some strong interests in the billion-Dollar hunting industry? At least, this piece shows us here in Europe that our beloved horse-opera heros are still alive :-)) And be assured, we also have guys of similar calibre over here.

  6. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    And to think just seven days ago Rep. Debbie Barret of Dillon introduced a bill in Montana that would, she said “reduce big game herds (elk) to manageable numbers.” because of the damage they do to private land owners, which really translates to too much competition with livestock interests for public grazing.

  7. Denise Johnson Avatar
    Denise Johnson

    Jeff, You have hit the nail on the head.
    Elk are not elk…they are actual “ranch raised”, and do not behave like elk. Hence we have cows who people who hunt call elk. And when elk behave like elk the hunters cry wolf.

  8. Barb Rupers Avatar
    Barb Rupers

    I especially like “just watch and glory in the sight of a herd of elk eating my neighbors alfalfa” – I note it isn’t his alfalfa. The neighbor might like some help from wolves.

  9. kt Avatar

    In response to Peter (#5). What is going on with “World Revolves Around Elk” messaging and the western politicans, Game Commissioners, etc. that are spouting it these days goes beyond what one traditionally thinks of as the Hunting Industry. And it ultimately involves billions and billions of dollars and the fate of millions of acres of our western public lands.

    Elk are being promoted as a way to sell “amenity ranches”. It just so happens that Idaho Fish and Game Commission head Cameron Wheeler is in the business of selling ranches.

    But it goes much beyond just selling private lands billed as an elk paradise. The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and others involved in promoting Elk Mania are involved in Collaborative Groups that are in many ways a front for:

    Incremental or outright privatization of public lands; Sugarcoatting logging of public lands (under the guise of “healthy forests” projects) Getting ahold of tax dollars to keep local loggers in business and clear trees to make more elk and domestic cattle food on public lands – essentially create elk pastures and elk farming of a sort on public lands; and Trying to bring about elaborate quid pro quo land development and “wilderness” bills to enable the whole process.

    The Red Lodge Clearinghouse site (a big promoter of this) has had several examples of this. For example: Here is one such elaborate effort being promoted in the Lolo area:

    At the very end note RMEF

    It’s all, too, tied into what Scott Silver is writing about on his site and wildwilderness Blog all the time in terms of private industry trying to take over recreation on public lands and in national parks.

    Using the jargon of Bush agencyspeak and collab groups: Elk mania is another “tool” in their “toolbox” to unlock the door to gaining access to public resources and public lands for private interests and profit.

  10. elk unlimited Avatar
    elk unlimited

    the wolves are having a tremendous effect on the elk. the gardiner winter hunt hardly even exists anymore because that herd has nearly been eliminated. a friend of mine watched a couple wolves chase a elk down to the interstate and kill it right by the road. in the past week two bulls have been found that were killed by wolves and were hardly even eaten on. we need to have a hunt to at least reduce the number of wolves if not eliminate them completely.

  11. Jay Avatar

    Elk U.,
    Why don’t you mention that the Gardiner hunt was implemented by MTFWP to INTENTIONALLY reduce the elk population wintering north of the park via heavy harvest of the cow segment of the population? Guess what? It worked! When you kill one- to two-thousand cows every winter (not to mention the general season harvest), throw in another predator (wolves, not to mention the bears, lions, and coyotes that were already there), drought conditions that reduce productivity, and of course the the population dropped, with the appropriate response by Montana to reduce or eliminate that cow hunt now that it has achieved its desired effect. Did you think you could keep slaughtering cows like that in perpetuity?

  12. Jay Avatar

    Its always the wolves, never the hunters…

  13. SAP Avatar

    My favorite part:

    “We will stand for almost any injustice or diabolical plot perpetrated on the citizens of the state but cut in to elk numbers and the game is over.”

    I guess that explains the ho-hum attitude toward asbestosis in Libby, or chronic poverty on the Indian reservations, or under-funding of rural mental health programs, leading to Montana’s Number 1 Suicide Rate . . . those are people, not elk! So we will put up with THOSE injustices and diabolical plots . . . very helpful of Brave Dave to clear things up for us.

    Barb, I thought the same thing about his neighbor’s alfalfa. Probably doesn’t seem so glorious to the guy who was planning on baling it up and making some money off it.

    Maybe he meant that last line in a humorous way, but it comes off a little (or a lot) creepy – we’ll bully you into thinking the way we do, ha ha.

  14. elk unlimited Avatar
    elk unlimited

    Jay, the Gardiner hunt helped to control the elk herd, not eliminate it. I guarantee you coyotes aren’t killing any of those elk. Gardiner isn’t the only area thats affected. Wolves are found everywhere in the state now. Two years ago a single wolf killed about 50 sheep in the Garfield and McCone county area in eastern Montana. I recall driving by one ranch that the wolf had been through and there were dead sheep lying everywhere and they hadn’t been eaten. It was like the wolf was killing for fun.

  15. Buffaloed Avatar

    Wolves don’t do that to elk. You can’t compare the two. Sheep are stupid and bunch up instead of escaping from the wolves. Elk can defend themselves and sometimes kill wolves so don’t even start.

  16. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    For “Elk Unlimited”-

    In Montana, two-thirds of the hunting districts in southwestern Montana (all of which support wolves) are currently offering the most liberal hunting opportunities seen in 30 years due to higher elk populations. Montana’s Fish, Wildlife and Parks Department is currently surveying sportsmen to get input as to how they can effectively reduce Montana’s elk population.

    In Idaho, elk populations are at 20 percent above management objectives. Elk harvest numbers are the highest they have been since 1996. According to Idaho Fish and Game in a recent Elk Progress Report, “Overall elk populations statewide are near all time highs. Elk numbers throughout northern, southern, eastern and much of western Idaho have continued to increase over time.”

    In Wyoming, Wyoming Game and Fish has indicated repeatedly in press release statements throughout 2007 that elk are at an all-time. Elk numbers in Wyoming jumped to nearly 100,000 animals for the census following the 2006 hunt, putting the population approximately 17 percent over Game and Fish Commission objectives. The agency has, in fact, increased the number of hunting tags it will issue, including antlerless (female) tags.

  17. Mack P. Bray Avatar
    Mack P. Bray

    Come on, Ralph, don’t confuse ’em with the facts. 🙂

    Mack P. Bray
    My opinions are my own

  18. Catbestland Avatar

    Elk Un…,

    Why were there still elk present when white man showed up? Why hadn’t the wolves (which were numerous at the time) killed them all off then? Why were there still balanced populations of all native wildlife species, predator and prey alike until ranchers arrived? Why is it that the elk disappeared about the same time wolves disappeared requiring that their (the elk) populations be re-established by artificial means? Why is it that wolves did not eat themselves into oblivion by killing all their prey for tens of thousands of years before ranchers and hunters came? Why is it that you don’t understand that the only real threat to healthy populations of all wildlife species are those who want them “managed into extinction” to protect their livestock industry?

  19. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins


    If you look at page 20 of the 2008 Wyoming G&F Hunting Application booklet, available on line, you’ll see that the Dept. is offering late season, Type 6 elk cow-calf tags in virtually all of the elk hunt areas in northwestern Wyoming. That is, in wolf country.

    One would think that if wolves were really a threat to elk, then G&F wouldn’t be offering all these type 6 tags in wolf couuntry.

    I can’t think of anything that would affect cow-calf ratios more than concerted efforts to hunt the herds down. And in most areas, these late season hunts do in fact reduce the herds, as happened with my own herd, the Wiggins Fork Elk Herd in the Upper Wind River Valley of Wyoming.


  20. Buffaloed Avatar

    A good way for Montana and other states to reduce elk populations is to call for a winter like we are having this year but then “Elk Unlimited’ will just blame the wolves for bad weather too.

  21. Jay Avatar

    Give me a break E.U.–you can’t tell me that killing 1-2k cows out of a population ranging from 15-20k (depending on the year) isn’t going to reduce th population. And the northern range herd isn’t gone, so how about inserting a little honesty in your comments? I haven’t seen this winter’s count, but the last one was what, 8-9k? That’s your definition of eliminated? And if you don’t think coyotes get an occasional elk calf, you don’t go out in the woods. Google “coyote predation on elk”, there’s a whole slough of articles detailing that coyotes very well can and do kill elk. So much for your guarantee.

  22. Jay Avatar

    And another thing…so the “firing line”, as the locals unaffectionately call that late Gardiner hunt, is being reduced…well that’s just too bad. I guess you’ll have to get off the road and actually go hunt, rather than blast elk from the pick-up the second they cross over the national park border. I’ve been up that Jardine road when that hunt is going on, and I’ve never seen a more disgusting display of so-called “hunting”. One more thing…in an annual harvest of 1-2k cows, how many additional elk do you think were lying out there unretrieved, because it was too far to get it back to the truck, or too far to walk and see if there was a blood trail?

  23. sal Avatar

    Apparently, that is also the sentiment in Idaho and Wyoming.

  24. Catbestland Avatar

    Elk Un…,

    You know you have real nerve, accusing wolves of killing for fun. What would you call the unhealthy obsession of “Sport hunting” other than killing for fun? It is in fact the satiation of abnormal blood lust bordering on the psychopathic. I suppose that we can all be thankful that “sport hunters” can fulfill their need to kill the innocent, in the woods among the furry little creatures, otherwise the rest of us may have to pay the price of their predation.

  25. E.U. Supporter Avatar
    E.U. Supporter

    I am in total agreement with E.U. Catbestland, why is it you can’t compose a normal statement or paragraph? It must be nice to be able to afford to buy your beef, or meet you may consume. Many Montanans/Americans don’t have that luxury. Also, thinking outside this little box all of you seem to be in, hunting in Montana is a tremendous benefit to the economy and is the key to survival of many businesses in Montana. Hunting is a major revenue source for Montana, and always will be; so get that through your thick skulls.

  26. elk unlimited Avatar
    elk unlimited

    “Sport hunting” doesn’t mean you shoot something and then leave it. I consider myself a “trophy hunter” but I still use all the meat off the animal. I urge you to spend a day archery hunting for elk with beautiful bulls bugling all around you and then tell me your thoughts on wolves. I am not saying there are no elk left around Gardiner. I am simply saying that what was once one of the best elk hunts in the world is no longer.

  27. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    We don’t seem to have much trouble hunting trophy elk with either rifle or bow in Wyoming’s Upper Wind River Valley, and we have two wolf packs here.

  28. Catbestland Avatar

    And meat is in such short supply that one is forced to obtain it by hunting. The average hunting trip would put that meat up to what? About $100 per pound. I would rather spend a day photographing all the beautiful bulls but I am afraid to be in the woods that time of year for fear that some gun happy “trophy hunter” who has killed nothing but a case of liquor will mistake my 130 pound frame for something to add to his collection.

  29. Mike Post Avatar
    Mike Post

    Catbestland, I hope you personally have contributed as much money towards habitat preservation and wildlife enhancements as all those hunters you denegrate. Bottom line is that without the hunters dollars there would be few elk and little preserved elk country for you to photograph. It is hunters and hunting political types like Teddy Roosevelt that brought this country back from wildland disaster and created our parks and forests with their dedication and money. Its organizations like the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation that today raises millions of dollars each year from hunters to fund habitat enhancements, purchase easements to prevent wildlife habitat loss to development, fights noxious weed infestations, funds controlled burns and supports reintroductions of elk to historic elk ranges to name but a few activities.
    Feel free to express your opinions but until people like you and the groups that you support start replicating the billions of dollars that have been generated by the hunting and shooting community and spent on wildlife and wild places your just not a player in the game. No hard feelings but thats the only way to get some credibility.

  30. Jeff N. Avatar
    Jeff N.

    Mike Post –

    What the hell are you talking about. Just because someone doesn’t buy a hunting tag means they don’t have a say in wildlife mangement issues that take place on Federal and State land. Because you hunt and take from the land, this gives you credibility over someone who doesn’t.

  31. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    Having been a hunter and conservationist for over 40 years, I do not find Mike Post’s attitude very helpful. The fact is, hunting is suffering a serious decline and is rapidly become a rich man/woman’s sport–a completely private affair as we find in Europe.

    The most serious problem we face is the privatization/commercialization of wildlife and land, and we hunters no longer have the financial pull to prevent it on our own. We need the political and economic support of the larger public.

    There are ways to achieve this, but additional funding efforts, such as Teaming for Wildlife, which would have created federal excise taxes on all sporting/recreational equipment to help pay for wildlife programs, similar to the Pittman-Robertson/Dingall-Johnson programs that date back more than 50 years, ran into severe opposition from the outdoors industry–not the public. We need to reach the larger public to turn this around. There’s no reason to insult the larger public. Go after the outdoor rec manufacturers and suppliers instead.

  32. Mack P. Bray Avatar
    Mack P. Bray

    Mike Post says: “…until people like you and the groups that you support start replicating the billions of dollars that have been generated by the hunting and shooting community and spent on wildlife and wild places your just not a player in the game.”

    Uh, Mike Post you’re WRONG. Ever heard of the Public Trust Doctrine? ALL the citizens of our respective states have the RIGHT to determine how their wildlife is managed, whether or not they contribute one thin dime.

    It’s the law.

    Mack P. Bray
    My opinions are my own

  33. dbaileyhill Avatar

    The attitude that touts whomever contributes the most, gets their say, and way, is one of the biggest reasons America’s environment, wildlife, and citizens health have been destroyed.
    Money equals power equals control.

  34. Concerned Avatar

    Well I for one am glad I can hunt and put meat in the freezer, it is far more healthy and does not cost me a $100 per pound, being self employed and living in the heart of both deer an elk country, my meat actually comes out more reasonable than the cost to purchase in the store, and my wife and I use wild meat for about 80% of our yearly meat intake. As far as who contributes and who doesn’t I think that is a moot point, we all have a stake in wildlife management and restoration. I do however believe that certain organizations, try to push their position to far, which creates the riffs we often see, instead of working in a cooperative effort for the good of all wildlife and Habitat. Of course I may be all wrong, I was told I need to go back to kindergarten a couple of days ago..

  35. Catbestland Avatar

    EU supporter.
    Why is it that you can’t UNDERSTAND a “normal statement or paragraph?” There are about 20.6 million hunters in the US. That leaves about 280 million that don’t hunt. They manage to get their “meet” (I assume you mean meat)somewhere, don’t they. And many of us do not eat meat at all. I understand the fact that some people are incapable of supporting themselves other than by exploiting the natural world. But don’t blame wolves for eating into those profits. Hunting in Montana may be a tremendous benefit to the economy, but at what cost to the ecosystems What will you do when there are no more herds to hunt because of diseases introduced by the unnatural practice of supplemental feeding on feed grounds, especially when there are no predators to cull the sick from the herds? Where will the “tremendous benefit to the economy” come from then?

    And Mike Post, I and millions like me do every bit as much for wildlife (if not more) by contributing to orgs. that actually try to achieve balance in nature rather than preserve a single species so that one group will have something to kill. And don’t forget that it was hunters and ranchers that caused the “wildland disaster” by hunting the elk to the brink of extinction in the first place. Those habitat enhancements you speak of are mainly to increase your chances of having animals to kill regardless of whether they are healthy animals or not, i.e. feed grounds. And those noxious weed infestations were provided courtesy of your local rancher. (who probably also hunts) Bottum line is that 90% of Americans would rather have wildlife that they can photograph instead of ones that they can kill.

  36. Concerned Avatar

    Who is EU supporter? If your referring to me, then you are so far from the truth it is laughable!!! I have worked at every turn to expose Friends of the Northern Yellowstone Elk and their lies and propaganda and I feel that this person going by the name of Elk Unlimited is nothing more than a lier as well putting for the same unfounded agenda that most of these other mis-informed groups do, he as well as his group is a joke…I know for a 100% fact, that wolves will not wipe out the elk, it is an impossibility….I have never seen so many that can read stuff between the lines that don’t exist….

  37. Concerned Avatar

    Okay, I re-read the thread and I am sorry, I mistakenly thought Cat was talking to me, again, sorry, I see the message you were referring to!

  38. Catbestland Avatar


    “EU Supporter” is the name used by someone who made a comment earlier today on this thread. I was responding to him. I don’t think it was you.

  39. Dan Stebbins Avatar

    You do realize that the Gardiner Late Hunt was aimed at reducing elk numbers don’t you? It was and always has been a “bonus” hunt. Also the northern herd is the only one that you could even attempt to make the argument that wolves have had a major effect on, and frankly there are several other factors that are working against those numbers.
    If you look at any of the other elk herds that are effected by wolves their numbers are generally at or above their target numbers. Also if you check out the research being done by the Wolf Project you should see that wolves are taking the weak, sick, young, & old. The research is showing that they are generally beneficial for prey animals.
    Now before you judge me because of my pro-wolf stance, know this. I tracked with the Wolf Project, spent 6 seasons working in YNP as a ranger, live in Bozeman, MT, and I am an avid hunter. And as you may have gotten from my statements I am very much FOR wolves being here.

  40. Heather Avatar

    Elk unlimited: if you read some wolf biology books, or excerpts on wolf research from Oregon State University or the Ely Wolf Research Institute you would find out that wolf kills are complex. They are not killing for fun. They are killing to eat, much as you do yourself. Many times they make a kill, leave it, and come back later, for whatever reason. They don’t have a truck to haul it out to the parking lot. If they have young pups at home, they take some home, or eat some of the carcass to take home to the youngins to regergitate food for them. A wolf is just an animal like you. They are not a demon or some mythological evil source to wipe out.
    Really – what is the difference between you and a wolf? You are both predators. But you justify a wolf hunt because they ‘like’ to kill? Your logic is not quite sound. People who believe in that type of propaganda about wolves justify a mass wolf slaughter.

  41. Heather Avatar

    EU: here is a sample for you, (wolf biology) a bit old as it is Aldo Leopold, but nonetheless good stuff.
    From A Sand County Almanac, and Sketches Here and There (Leopold 1949)
    “Since then I have lived to see state after state extirpate its wolves. I have watched the face of many a newly wolfless mountain, and seen the
    south-facing slopes wrinkle with a maze of new deer trails. I have seen every edible bush and seedling browsed, first to anemic desuetude,
    and then to death. I have seen every edible tree defoliated to the height of a saddlehorn. (“Thinking Like a Mountain,” p. 130)
    Damage to plant life usually follows artificialized management of animals—for example, damage to forests by deer. One may see this in
    north Germany, in northeast Pennsylvania, in the Kaibab, and in dozens of other less publicized regions. In each case over-abundant deer,
    when deprived of their natural enemies, have made it impossible for deer food plants to survive and reproduce. Beech, maple, and yew in
    Europe, ground hemlock and white cedar in the eastern states, mountain mahogany and cliff-rose in the West, are deer foods threatened
    by artificialized deer. The composition of the flora, from wild flowers to forest trees, is gradually impoverished, and the deer in turn are
    dwarfed by malnutrition. (“Conservation Esthetic,” p. 170)
    One of the most insidious invasions of wilderness is via predator control. It works thus: wolves and lions are cleaned out of a wilderness
    area in the interest of big game management. The big game herds (usually deer and elk) then increase to the point of overbrowsing the range. (“Wilderness,” p. 191)”

    If Elk does truly rule, we would have wolves.

  42. elk unlimited Avatar
    elk unlimited

    Heather, are you saying that the wolf that killed 30 sheep in one night in McCone county was planning to return and eat all of them?

  43. Concerned Avatar


    The 30 sheep kill wouldn’t happen to be the situation that happened, that involved the illegal wolf hybrid would it now?

  44. Jay Avatar

    There are a lot of cases of wolves killing multple sheep at one time; the same goes with bears, lion, coyotes, etc. It happens because sheep are stupid, and in some cases sheep end up killing themselves in the stampede, which exacerbates the situation. But so what? To compare domestic sheep with elk or deer is about the stupidest comparison I’ve ever heard, and demonstrates the ignorance of anyone who suggests the two are analogous.

  45. Jeff N. Avatar
    Jeff N.

    Concerned – I believe EU is referring to this article posted on, Montana’s official state website:

    (Gee whiz, look what you can dig up w/ about 5 seconds of research)

    Domestic Wolf Responsible For Eastern Montana Livestock Killings

    Wednesday, February 28, 2007

    This article was Archived on Wednesday, March 28, 2007

    Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks learned today that the animal likely responsible for a rash of eastern Montana livestock depredations last year was a domestic wolf, and not a wild Rocky Mountain gray wolf.

    The domestic wolf was suspected of killing more than 120 sheep and injuring a number of others in eight different incidents in Dawson, Garfield and McCone counties from December 2005 and July 2006.

    Although there was some question early on about the animal’s genetic origin, FWP authorized affected landowners, USDA Wildlife Services, and county predator-control specialists to kill the elusive animal. The animal was eventually killed by federal agents on a Garfield County ranch east of Jordan last November.

    To determine the animal’s origin and genetic make up, samples were sent to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Forensics Laboratory in Ashland, Oregon and to Dr. Bob Wayne’s genetics laboratory at UCLA’s Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology in California.

    Both labs determined independently that the animal did not come from, nor was the animal’s genetics consistent with, wild free-ranging wolf populations in the Northern Rockies, the Midwest, or Canada.

    The genetic experts concluded that the animal was a product of human-manipulated breeding in a domestic, captive situation.

  46. Catbestland Avatar

    Illegal wolf hybrid? That makes perfect sense. Wolf Hybrids are a real problem and real wolves get blamed for the havoc they wreak. Often when hybrids reach the age that they start challenging authority (searching for their pack position), their challenge goes unanswered by humam pack members who have no clue how to be their alpha. These hybrids are often “dumped” because they have become too much for thier owners to handle. So there are many of them out there. That is when they get into real trouble. They have no fear of humans and will resort to unnatural behaviors contrary to what they would have learned in a pack situation. They add fuel to the fire and cause serious problems. The anti-wolf faction is only too ready to blame innocent wolves for the disasters caused by them. All as a result of human stupidity. This is why it should be illegal to own them and is in some states. The wild needs wild wolves raised by wild wolves.

  47. Concerned Avatar


    I pretty well figured that was what he was referring to…..I had the same story up on the computer as I wrote the question to him….

  48. Jeff N. Avatar
    Jeff N.

    Concerned – I figured you probably did.

  49. Concerned Avatar

    When talking about livestock kills, it is very prudent to make sure you have your facts straight EU, Wolf Hybrids as well as captive wolves are a problem here in Montana, which is why they are required to be tattooed by law, this is one area, that I believe that there has been human manipulation to shed a bad light on wild wolves, by hybridization and then release of the hybrids(abandonment) But to cite the situation in eastern Montana as a position on why wolves are bad, is really a situation that has nothing to do with wild is another instance of the anti-wolf side manipulating information to fit the stance of their position.

  50. Jay Avatar

    Let’s not exonerate wolves of killing sheep because there was a case of a hybrid that killed a bunch; all one has to do is look at the situation over towards McCall, Idaho, and see that wild wolves can do a number on a band of sheep. If my memory serves me correctly, there was an instance of a single pack killing nearly 150 sheep in a couple week period. But again, I pointed out earlier that “flock killing” isn’t unique to wolves, and sheep are notoriously easy to kill…as Ed Bangs says, “sheep are walking around looking for a place to die.” So the take home message is, sheep should be closely tended or not grazed in areas where bears, wolves, or lions are around.

  51. Concerned Avatar


    Not exonerating, just pointing out, that EU was using information in a manner that supported his well known position. On the other hand, I have heard many livestock growers state, that sheep are a throw away commodity, even when wolves are not present, they often times, will allow and injured sheep to die, because as they say, they are not worth the effort treat when injury happens.

  52. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    As we see with the Idaho woolgrowers’ assault on wild bighorn sheep, domestic sheep shouldn’t be wandering around anywhere.

  53. Heather Avatar

    Elk unlimited: I would have no idea of knowing. There have been some mass kiilings done by wolves documented in the past for whatever reason, but it seems to be rare. As I said they are killing for food JUST AS YOU ARE

  54. Friends of the Northern Yellowstone Elk Herd Avatar
    Friends of the Northern Yellowstone Elk Herd

    Webmaster note: Bob Fanning of Friends of the Northern Range Yellowstone Elk Herd has been circulating this for quite a while. I see he decided to send it in as a comment here today. Ralph Maughan

  55. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    Well, Fanning’s screed was garbage then and it’s garbage now.

  56. elk unlimited Avatar
    elk unlimited

    It’s official, there will be a wolf hunting season in Montana next year.

  57. Concerned Avatar

    Well there may be on paper, but I am sure after all the lawsuits get filed over delisting, it will be quite a while before anyone can actually hunt a wolf in the tri-state area..

  58. Dan Stebbins Avatar

    It’s too bad there are people like Fanning operating under the guise of being “hunter rights advocates”.

    I hunt here in Montana, and unlike people like Bob I worked WITH the Wolf Project.. I have actually SEEN the research being done and WITNESSED what was going on. With that in mind, I am very much in FAVOR of wolves being in the GYE. They benefit prey by taking the older, sicker, weaker and young. That is what the research shows.

    On the other hand, it is a fact that human hunters take a variety of all ages of animals because (except in extreme cases) we unfortunately cannot tell if the animal we are about to take is a healthy productive prime aged cow or an 18 year old cow that has jaw necrosis or severe arthritis.

    The bottom line here is that both human hunting AND natural predation is important in this area.

    So my question to those members of the extreme anti-wolf contingent is where do we come together, compromise and try to strike a balance? Or is your point that wolves don’t belong here at all? Because I couldn’t disagree with you more on that.

  59. elk unlimited Avatar
    elk unlimited

    Why are the environmental groups filing lawsuits? They reached the target number of wolves in 2002 and the numbers are way beyond that now.

  60. matt bullard Avatar
    matt bullard

    The target being reached is not the only criteria for delisting. They are challenging the delisting based upon their thought that Idaho and Wyoming do not have adequate regulatory mechanisms in place to manage wolves following delisting.

  61. Concerned Avatar


    You would have to be living in a cave to make that statement, they have threatened litigation since the day UFWS stated they were going to delist, because they are not happy with the plans that have been approved, I seriously doubt you will see any wolf hunting for a number of years to come.

  62. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Elk unlimited,

    Conservation groups do not want to see the wolf restoration fail now, and have the species have to go back to emergency federal management.

    A lot has been learned since the early 1990s when the plans were drawn up.

    Now I live in Idaho and I am incredibly proud that Idaho has a big and growing elk population and the largest wolf population too (of the 3 states).

    It’s a great state for wildlife of all kinds, but the state wolf plan was drawn up by hack politicians and single interest groups who are only interested in one species (primarily livestock).


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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