Salt Lake Tribune says wolf delisting premature

Editorial. Top predator, Wolf delisting in West is premature. The Salt Lake Tribune. March 10, 2007



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  1. Brooke Avatar

    Yay Utah

  2. elkhunter Avatar

    I think its funny how they talk about mis-informed hunting groups? Am I mis-informed? Yellowstone is a good example 19,000 elk before wolves. Under 7,000 this year. But of course every pro-wolf says that the wolves have nothing to do with that. You say they are the top predator, yet they will have no impact? I live in UT and I pray that we never have these animals. Just look at the circus that ID is going through. Its a circus every day up there. Why would we want that. If you want to see wolves, then go to ID and look at them. Lets leave them there. They bring to many problems with them.

    – – – – –

    Hey Elkhunter!

    Pro-wolf groups don’t say “wolves had nothing to do with it.” That is your “straw man.” Did you know that grizzly bears, black bears, coyotes, cougar, and even wolverine have been found to be preying on the Northern Range elk. In addition, Montana FWP continued large late season elk hunts every January until 2 years ago. All of these have something to do with it, and so does the weather — poor nutrition. READ BELOW.

    This came in from Ed Bangs on Friday: Yellowstone Parks’ late winter predation study is ongoing. They report that it is a strange winter so far, kill rates are up compared to early winter (expected) but there are so far an unusually high number of carcasses for so early in the study. In other words wolves are feeding on carrion more and ones they killed. There is hardly any snow this year so that might mean poor forage conditions. Bison in Hayden and Pelican valleys are looking thin too, starting to drop one by one and the wolves are just waiting or finishing them off. Marrow on the carcasses the Park has collected so far looks terrible- further suggesting the possibility of a poor nutrition year. Pack numbers are down from early winter study, as is typical due to dispersal and wolf mortality. Drs. Rolf Peterson and Dave Mech will visit the Park this month to help their graduate students with their research programs in Yellowstone National Park. Note everybody should read this, and I should do a post on it, but I am on my way out of town.

    19,000 elk count in 1994 was the record high Northern Range elk count ever. There is statistical phenomenon called “regression toward the mean,” that says if there is a random process at work, and you encounter a record high or low bit of data, the odds are that the next observation will be closer to the mean, and it was. The elk population dropped about 3000 in 1995, the year wolves were introduced..

    Do you have any idea what the mean elk count was before wolves? Hint, it was higher than 7000.

    Yellowstone’s northern range elk herd is but one elk herd. Did you read the recent article that the Jackson Hole herd population remains stable? Do you have any idea how many wolf packs live off that herd?

    The Salt Lake Tribune article wasn’t talking about Yellowstone anyway. It was basically how can they call it a wolf recovery when wolves will be restricted to small portions of three states, and with 2 of the 3 states wishing to reduce that small population? Ralph

  3. Alan Avatar

    Elkhunter, I dare say that is the absence of wolves that has skewed things, not the other way around.

  4. Rick Hammel Avatar
    Rick Hammel

    This is an oustanding editorial. I think Elkhunter needs to go back and do his homework. I believe that the reduction of the Northern Herd was a combination of factors. One being overpopulation and a predominance of old and sick elk. Easy prey for wolves. Now the herd is healthy. No wolf wants to take on a healthy cow or bull, for fear of being killed.

  5. John Bigley Avatar
    John Bigley

    I can see this is a anti hunting site,my last posting was not posted,Rick,Alan,and other person called Hey Elk Hunter. Just how many Dollars does your group put in to our wildlife resources??? I just recived my DU magizine and for one average person spends $96,017 in there life time, So add that three million or so,Which alot of that goes back to conservation for deer,elk and wolves. So its time to put up or shut up…….
    i can assure you that your last comment was not omitted maliciously – it may have something to do with me figuring out how to navigate this while Ralph is gone – BE

  6. Jay Avatar

    Maybe it didn’t make it past the spellchecker?

  7. elkhunter Avatar

    We dont need wolves in UT. Like I said look at the circus ID is going through. We do not need that here. Keep it up there. I know all you guys keep saying that wolves dont have negative impacts on big-game populations. But Fish and Game say they are. But then you just say they are catering to us. So its kinda a no win situation, so I just pray that we can keep them out of UT. Because our deer herds are suffering enough and the last thing we need now is a couple hundred wolves running around.

  8. elkhunter Avatar


    I already posted the amount of money generated through hunting for ID in 2006. Somewhere around $1,600,000,000. Its on the ID Fish and Game website. I know we put millions of dollars into wildlife and their habitat. Much more than any pro-wolf organization I would imagine. In fact, Ralph could you get me the numbers on how much revenue the wolf program in ID generated last year? I am just curious is to how much it made the state? Thanks.


  9. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    so hunting in Idaho generated One billion 600 million in Idaho in 2006. Hmmm. where does that data come from??

  10. elkhunter Avatar

    Jeff E,

    Here you go.
    I bet you did not know that hunting and fishing generates that much did you. 🙂

    How much did wolve watching generate?

  11. John Bigley Avatar
    John Bigley

    Thank’s Elkhunter, I see we have us some Smart!!@@##’s.
    The fact is that we put more money into conservation than you antihunters,Like I said before,Put or Shut up. At the end gray wolves will get delisted. It will come down to the power of money from us sports men amnd women.
    Money makes the world go around,Not protesters…

  12. Jay Avatar

    I see some of that 1.6 billion in “conservation” every time I drive the back roads during hunting season: beer cans, empty beer boxes, garbage, etc. You’re delusional if you think the money is spent on conservation–that figure is beer and groceries, hotels, gas, fishing gear, bait, licenses, and so on and so forth. If we were putting 1.6 billion into conservation, we wouldn’t even be having this discourse because it would be a non-issue. Also, did you selectively ignore the fact the article elkhunter cites also specifically mentions “wildlife watchers?” Birdwatchers are a perfect example–they drop a lot of money on binoculars, fuel, food, etc. to go out and non-consumptively enjoy nature. That’s great too–myself, I enjoy a good elk or deer steak, but I don’t mind a little competition from wolves…and cougars, and bears, and coyotes, etc. Folks seem to forget there are other things out there that eat elk and deer. However, just because I hunt doesn’t mean I have more of a right to say how wildlife resources are managed just cuz I go out to shoot them.

  13. be Avatar

    several things:

    1. The document does not show how the billion dollar number came to be. i’ll grant it – but it’d be interesting to see the formula used… all of the revenue and expenditure numbers are ’05 or earlier – in fact, the expenditure for ’05 exceeded the revenue. if i pay a dollar for a candy-bar, the store uses that dollar to pay for electricity, the electricity company uses that dollar to help pay for a turbine, and i get that dollar for installing the turbine – is that $4 ? i’t be interesting to see that study… again, i’m not denying it…

    2. elk harvests wildlife revenues were still higher last year than ever before – wolves haven’t threatened that $1.6 billion.

    3. self-aggrandizing industries/beaurocracies are apt to go enron/worldcom with their accounting when posturing before appropriations committees in the state-house.

    4. elk harvests wildlife revenues were still higher last year than ever before – wolves haven’t threatened that $1.6 billion dollars

    5. If everyone in Idaho were to return their In-Line’s you’d see that number collapse 😉

    6. elk harvests wildlife revenues were still higher last year than ever before – wolves haven’t threatened that $1.6 billion dollars

    7. I’ll bet that $1.6 billion dollars was more into Idaho’s economy than any year before – all while the wolve numbers were increasing and spreading –

    i apologize for the presumptuous brain-lapse and have ammended them above – the ammendments conserve the point of the statement. i’ll remember next time not to conflate elk harvest numbers with the economic output generated by wildlife’s contribution to Idaho’s economy – ;). – BE

  14. Brooke Avatar

    I live in UT, and I personally, I want wolves to come , I just want Utahns to become a little more wolf friendly first. It won’t do wolves any good to come to Utah if all they encounter is pitchforks.

  15. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    The figure quoted in the agency profile of 1.6 billion is for the ECONOMIC OUTPUT related to HUNTING, FISHING, and WILDLIFE VIEWING. Says it right in the same sentence. Also economic output and revenue are not the same thing. If one reads further where they actually talk about revenue one would see that in 2006 the total revenue generated by the fish and game is 63,898,700.00 with total expenditures of 67,013,400.00 which ads up to a negative of 6,885,300.00. In other words Fish and Game operates in the red and has for several years. So all fuzzy math aside and much like someone told someone to get their facts straight before they make a post (who would that be elkhunter) I would counsel the same. And don’t forget the WILDLIFE WATCHING part of that sentence. You can’t just edit the information to serve your purposes. So what is output economics then you ask. It is “the total value of all the goods and services produced in an entity’s economy.(In this case WILDLIFE VIEWING, FISHING, and HUNTING) and is a CONCEPT used in macroeconomics.” Not quite the same as revenue now is it. It is definitely a good thing just not the same. Really its like comparing apples and oranges. Both round but not the same.

  16. Layton Avatar

    Actually BE,

    It seems to me like you are, like normal when it comes to the elk vs. wolf thing, just like a diaper — if you don’t know what I refer to – ask someone.

    Your statement:

    “2. elk harvests were still higher last year than ever before – wolves haven’t threatened that $1.6 billion.”

    Reality: The highest elk harvests on record (from 1935 thru 2005) according to the SAME statistics that another wolf fanatic posted here a few weeks back and available on the Idaho F&G website — show that the highest 5 years of elk harvests on record were 1989, 1991, 1992, 1994 and 1996. All but one of which were PRE-WOLF. (1995 was pushed out by 200 animals by 1989)

    Your statement:

    “4. elk harvests were still higher last year than ever before – wolves haven’t threatened that $1.6 billion dollars”

    Reality: The highest elk harvests on record (from 1935 thru 2005) according to the SAME statistics that another wolf fanatic posted here a few weeks back and available on the Idaho F&G website — show that the highest 5 years of elk harvests on record were 1989, 1991, 1992, 1994 and 1996. All but one of which were PRE-WOLF. (1995 was pushed out by 200 animals by 1989)

    Your statement:

    “6. elk harvests were still higher last year than ever before – wolves haven’t threatened that $1.6 billion dollars”

    Reality: The highest elk harvests on record (from 1935 thru 2005) according to the SAME statistics that another wolf fanatic posted here a few weeks back and available on the Idaho F&G website — show that the highest 5 years of elk harvests on record were 1989, 1991, 1992, 1994 and 1996. All but one of which were PRE-WOLF. (1995 was pushed out by 200 animals by 1989)

    Just another “small error” in your statement – Last year, since this year is 2007, would be 2006 if I calculate correctly. Those data AREN’T EVEN AVAILABLE yet!!

    Be serious, try to get SOMETHING right anyway.


  17. Moose Avatar


    The bottom line here is Elk harvest numbers have been statistically stable since 1997 (17, 500 – 21, 500) …..deer harvest numbers have fluctuated a bit more (low of 38, 600 in 1997 to 54,050 in 2005). Wolves have impacted elk behavior and numbers, but they are by no means decimating the herd.

  18. chris Avatar

    Ecologically speaking whose to say less elk is a bad thing?
    When harvest totals, and population estimates are being considered it might be good to consider how many elk would be best for the ecosystem.

    Generally speaking, it seems hunters want more elk, while pro-wolfers want more wolves. I believe this would be referred to as cultural carrying capacity as opposed to the biological carrying capacity. Approaching the elk and wolf issue from a biological perspective could remove all the emotional and political baggage. Until we can do that there won’t be anything natural about wolf reintroduction. It will all be about what people want and not how nature is meant to be functioning.

  19. elkhunter Avatar

    BE and Jeff,

    Jeff you mentioned WILDLIFE VIEWING numerous times. Will someone please show me how much money wolves have made the state of ID. Please. I want to see how much they are contributing. You cannot deny the amount of money fishing and hunting generates, through everything, food, gas, hotels, everything. And why would you think that the Fish and Game is in the RED. Could it be the millions and millions and millions of dollars spent to deal with the drama of the wolf situation in ID? Just maybe? And also because no out-of-state hunters will go to ID because hunting up there has gotten worse every year. All the while every state around ID is having the best years in the past 2 decades? Especially UT, and CO. Out-of-state hunters generate over half of the income through tag and license sales. But no one wants to go to ID because of the issue and the wolves and the rumors of how crappy the hunting is up there.
    You keep focusing on the harvest rates. How many tags are issued each year, is it goin down, up? When were the dates of the hunts? Certain times of the year make it alot easier to locate game. Its more than just how many elk were shot and how many deer. Also how many of those elk were mature bulls? I have not recently heard of a huge bull coming out of ID in a long time. There were over 11 400 B&C point bulls killed in UT last year. A bunch in NV, AZ, NM. If the elk herds are so stable and healthy, why is the qualtiy declining? Not very many mature bulls? why is that?



  20. John Bigley Avatar
    John Bigley

    Way to go Layton…Hey Elkhunter or Layton do you or can you find how much money has been paid out for livestock ,pets or hunting dogs thats has been killed by wolves?? That would be by the states or USFWS, I guess the money would come from us and not the anti’s.
    Again be,Jeff and Jay Show Me The Money!!!!! as for the inlines,time to dust off the old side hammers…..

  21. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    Elk hunter,
    The reason I mention wildlife viewing three times in my post is mainly because I am correctly quoting the data posted by Idaho Fish and Game. Something you conveniently omitted in your post. I have not denied any monies generated by hunting, fishing, and WILDLIFE VIEWING. I just prefer to make some attempt to get my FACTS straight before I post. As far as all the reasons that go into why F&G runs in the red probably has more to do with being a Govt. entity than anything else. But because Idaho has not managed the wolf population they have not spent a whole lot of money on it. In fact I have in front of me the same Performance Measurement Report for 2006 (the one you linked to was for 2005. Lets get our facts straight please) and the break out of expenses showed no money spent on wolf management at all. However it does show an increase in revenue from 63,898,700. 00 in 2005 to 69,199,210.00 in 2006, with a corresponding decrease of red ink from 6,885,300.00 in 2005 to 557,119.00 in 2006. The biggest difference in generated revenue resulted from the increase of sales of License and Permits to the tune of ~4,100,000.00. So if as you state that about half or more of that revenue comes from out of state hunters that would be somewhere in the neighborhood of a 2,000,000.00 over 2005. Hmmm.

  22. John Bigley Avatar
    John Bigley


  23. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    Perhaps you could get someone, your wife maybe, that understands the English language to read my post to you and ‘splain all the big numbers to you.

  24. kt Avatar

    You huntin’ fellows are all on FEDERAL WELFARE big-time, and they don’t even know it. Example:

    Red states SUCK tax dollars from blue states, and would fall apart if they didn’t.

    You see, it is the little old lady or the young lady, or the gay man, or the average guy, in New York, the same ones who sends those nice big fat checks to the Humane Society – that supports your lavish drivin’ of the gas hog on them thar federally subsidized highways to huntin’ camp. AND it is those same people that one of your own kind, head of Otter’s Idaho Office of Species Extinction, wants to be sure to keep paying for wolf “management” in Idaho, even after your hoped-for slaughter might begin. I can’t post 2 links in the same Comment here, but if you all would just look up that nice recording of Mr. Caswell and Mr. Wheeler (the sexist IDFG Commission head and whiner-in-chief) on Ralph’s January 25th Post, you will find that wolf management in Idaho is on federal welfare – just like the Highways you drive the V-10 Gas Hog on every day. And just like the entire enterprise of anyone engaged in public lands ranching. And just like much of what you ingrates do every day in RedStateIgnorance, and don’t even realize WHO is paying for it …

  25. Jay Avatar

    So if it’s about money John, I guess we can do away with robins, porcupines, chipmunks, squirrels, sparrows, ravens, magpies, rabbits, mice, owls, eagles, hawks, ferrets, osprey, skunks, badgers, etc, etc, etc. You get the point (maybe). If your appreciation of nature is limited to how much money it generates, then quite frankly you don’t deserve to go out in it. That’s a damned pathetic view of the value of wildlife. That’s the kind of attitude that makes me ashamed to tell people I enjoy to hunt.

    Elkhunter, if you’ve ever been to Yellowstone–which also has one of the highest densities of wolves anywhere, by the way–you’d see a boatload of big, big bulls. So your argument doesn’t hold water. What’s the difference between the two areas, you ask? There’s not 50-60,000 people in the woods with guns looking to shoot their trophy. Alaska has lots of wolves too…ever see some of the moose they take up there? Have you bothered to look at the harvest in Utah? Well I have:
    In a nutshell, 10,000 hunters killed 1250 bull elk in the any weapon 2005 hunt (I would put up 2006 figures, but Utah F&G doesn’t have it up yet). The equivalent data for Idaho in 2006 was 54,000 hunters killed 9700 elk ( So elkhunter, do you think that maybe the difference might be the amount of hunting pressure and the fact that there were nearly 8 times the number of bulls killed in Idaho? Nah!! It’s just not possible that the lack of big bulls could even remotely be considered a human-caused issue. Even though there are plenty of elk, even by IDFG’s own publications: “Overall, elk populations statewide are near all-time highs” (, page 9). So plenty of elk but no “trophies”? I don’t understand elkhunter, could you make sense of that for me? Big elk in Yellowstone, lots of wolves but no hunters. Idaho: lots of hunters, lots of elk and wolves, but no big elk. Relatively few elk hunters in Utah, small harvest, and big bulls. Well I’m stymied…it can’t be human-caused because hunters have no effect whatsoever on wildlife populations, right? And of course the fact that public access is much greater in Idaho making elk much more accesible and vulnerable than in Utah, AZ, etc. has no bearing either (care to make a bet on which state has the greatest amount of Federal/Forest Service/BLM land?). Gotta be the wolves…

  26. be Avatar

    Oh ! I’m sorry guys – how embarassing 😉 i conflated the economic contribution (biggest yet?) of the hunt with the harvest numbers… i’ll never make the mistake of attributing idaho’s elk harvest numbers with economic potential generated by ‘wildlife’ – but here’s the thing, if my harvest presumption ends up being wrong (quite likely, i meant the statement to relate to $$), and the wildlife activities still generated $1.6 billion, doesn’t that kinda put a damper in the idea that wolf depredation of elk hurts the economic “output” of your industry? and if my ludicrous presumption ends up being right, doesn’t that kinda put a damper in the idea that wolves are interfering with the your hunt ? bummer – p.s. – Jay is right – the $1.6 billion is not unique to elk hunting – it includes “wildlife watchers”… might those “wildlife watchers” include wolf enthusiasts? also – John Bigley, Defenders pays for livestock depredation –

  27. Alan Sachanowski Avatar
    Alan Sachanowski

    Once in awhile, on rare occasion, we as human beings, a so-called enlightened species, have an opportunity to do something that is not based solely on the bottom line. Not based on how much money we make or generate; not based on what we as individuals, or even as a society necessarily, might “get out of it”. Rather we have an opportunity as stewards of the land to do something that helps correct a past wrong, or simply something that is the right thing to do.
    I believe that in order for us to be truly civilized it is important that we have the compassion to allow a place for that that is truly wild.

  28. elkhunter Avatar

    Hunters for sure have a reason for it. But the I can counter that exact same thing in CO deer. They give more tags than any other state for deer. But they kill monsters. Why is that Jeff? Predator Control maybe? ID does not manage like UT. The same reason they dont have any mature bulls. All the elk are killed, Wolves, Bears, predators. Other states control that. And that is why IDFG struggles where as other states agencies dont. The bottom line in ID is that the hunting sucks up there. And I feel that the predators, and wolves, have alot to do with it. And Jeff do a little more research about the units in UT. They have only 2 units that are open bull. The others are limited-entry, the lottery ones remember, we talked about those earlier I believe. And as for public access. We have only 1 wilderness unit. ID has alot I believe. That is you pro-wolf peoples main point is that you have all these pristine wild wolf country I thought. But I see your point to make ID the poster state for wolves. And you are seeing the effect of it now. ID is a circus, and still NOBODY WILL SHOW ME ANY DATA ABOUT HOW MUCH MONEY THE WOLVES GENERATED FOR THE ECONOMY IN IDAHO? My guess is that there is none. So much for all the WILDLIFE VIEWING that you talked about.

    It seems your making a feeble reach and some sort of statement. Those are the same roads every other individual in ID drives on. You should try something a little better than that, and maybe stay away from name calling it makes you appear more childish than you already are!


  29. elkhunter Avatar

    WILL SOMEONE PLEASE POST DATA ON THE REVENUE THAT WOLVES AND ANYTHING ASSOCIATED WITH WOLVES GENERATED IN THE YEAR 2006 PLEASE. KT you seem to be good with numbers, show me what your precious wolves are doing for the state of ID besides causing problems, and if your worried about federal spending then maybe you should let this wolf thing die because it is costing the state of ID millions and millions and millions and millions and millions fo dollars for all the litigation, lawsuits, management and every other circus act that is going on up there to protect these 700 wolves, as if ID will fall apart if they are not there.

  30. Jay Avatar

    Thanks for making my point for me…you make this far too easy. Utah elk hunting is mostly controlled, thus harvest is limited allowing more bulls to survive to the age where they are of what you refer to as “trophies”. Idaho has opted to go the other direction, allowing unlimited general season tags in numerous units: quantity over quality. Make sense? And you also make my point with the access thing: we have lots of public lands that get the crap hunted out of them, whereas Utah access is much more limited, which…hold your hat elkhunter…wait for it…wait for it…provides areas where elk aren’t as vulnerable to hunting compared to public lands!!!!! Yeah!!! Now that wasn’t that hard, was it? Read some literature about roads/hunter access and elk vulnerability (and when I say literature, I mean scientific, not ‘Outdoor Life’). And as far as predators go, you clearly don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. Idaho is quite liberal with both cats and bears (some units having discounted tags for a second bear or lion). We kill the crap out of bears and lions. Nice try though. Like I said, “near-record” numbers of elk, though, but still no trophies? I still don’t get it.

    You’re right, hunting sucks up here, don’t bother. Sure enjoyed my elk kababs last night.

  31. John Bigley Avatar
    John Bigley

    [edited out]

    – BE

  32. elkhunter Avatar

    I know we manage for trophy bulls, I am glad you can read. And hunters are not the only reason that bulls in idaho are immature. Like Bigley said, bulls bugle, wolves move in, bulls shut up, effects the rut, elk spend more time running from wolves, less time breeding, and that means late calves, high mortality no mature bulls to do the breeding. And read about your states calf recruitment, very low last couple of years. I dont know about you but I dont shoot alot of calves, either do any of my friends. Sure wolves have nothin to do with that. Jay you act as if having I am sure gonna be close to 1,000 wolves this year in ID has no effect on elk. You know as well as I do that they are. The Fish and Game even said in certain areas they are the problem. But of course they know nothing. You know more than they do. And I would imagine ID has to sell thousands of tags just to raise revenues, caues from what I heard they seem to be struggling very bad. Maybe you should take some advice from every other state around you and manage the way they do. CO hunts the living crap out of every deer unit they have, yet still produce trophy animals in every unit. Why is that Jay, shed some of your knowledge with me on how one state can do it, but yours cant? Last time I checked there were not wolves chasing the deer around in CO. But I am sure if we started planting wolves in every state, within in 10 years we would all be like ID. Crappy hunting with a bunch of rag-horns and 2-points. I will eat my steak kabobs and look at my trophy bull on the wall, best of both worlds I guess. HAS ANYONE FOUND ANY INFO ON HOW MUCH REVENUE WOLVES GENERATED ID LAST YEAR? Didn’t think so.


  33. elkhunter Avatar

    This is for you. Talks about calf recruitment in yellowstone. Of course you will probably say this biologist has no idea what he is talking about. Calf elk represented over 50% of the diets on the pack of wolves they watched. Now lets do some simple common sense thinking. If your losing a large majority of your calves, each year, to wolves, bears, cougars…….. and recruitment is low.. that means eventually you are gonna have a very young in age elk herd, no mature bulls to breed and pass on genes, which you might know is very crucial to a species, so if you had that happening every year for over 10 years, then you would probably have something similar to what ID has now I would imagine. But once again, I am sure wolves would have nothing to do with that.

  34. begreen Avatar

    discussion back up – i apologize for the inconvenience – there were a couple posts that went very personal very fast – the post needed a bit to air out and for me to make sure I could figure some technical details out with the software…

  35. Moose Avatar

    Elk Hunter says,

    “If your losing a large majority of your calves, each year, to wolves, bears, cougars……..”

    The study you cite stated that wolf-killed calves made up 20 – 25% of the calves present in that herd (calves made up 50%+ of the total wolf kills). No mention was made of how many calves in the study herd were killed by cougars and bears.

    “high mortality no mature bulls to do the breeding.”

    Are you saying wolves are killing all the mature bulls too?
    Again, from the study you cite…elk bulls made up % of hunters were successful.

    “CO hunts the living crap out of every deer unit they have, yet still produce trophy animals in every unit. Why is that Jay, shed some of your knowledge with me on how one state can do it, but yours cant? Last time I checked there were not wolves chasing the deer around in CO.”

    Alaska and BC must be hurting something terrible..I’m sure no hunters travel to those areas for trophy game anymore given all the wolves they have.

  36. Moose Avatar

    “high mortality no mature bulls to do the breeding.”

    For some reason not all the number info came through in the post above. The above should read: ..from the study you cite…elk bulls made up less than ten per cent of wolf kills in the first year, and less than four per cent in the second year.

    Hunters in ID killed almost one hundred thousand elk in the past five years…how many do you think were bulls? If you have a problem with the number of trophy elk in the herd then take it up with the ID Fish and Game Dept. Elk management policies have the biggest impact on this.

    Harvest numbers have been statisitically stable..If as you have said ‘nobody is going to ID to hunt’… then fewer hunters… the same harvest rate…equals increased hunter success rates.

  37. elkhunter Avatar

    My point is, if you have low calf recruitment, every year for along period of time, eventually you will have a herd with low numbers of mature bulls. Obviously Yellowstone is unique because the bulls dont get hunted, ID is different. Moose its about having a healthey elk herd, and when all you have is a bunch of young rag-horns doing all the breeding, and wolves do effect the Rut greatly, you will have higher calf mortalities and that means less elk surviving, and a bunch of raghorns passing inferior genes on. Just look at the ID elk herds and thats what you have.

    As for AK and BC. Have you ever been there? Take moose for example, have you ever hunted them in AK and BC. Do you have any idea how big AK and BC wilderness areas are. The average moose hunt in AK is $20,000. And its done by float plane or boat. The harvest rates are alot lower than ID. Cause moose can you afford to drop $20,000 on a moose hunt. Very doubtful you can. MOOSE mature animals are what strengthen a species, why do you think nature makes it so those animals are doing all the breeding. If you dont have them, then you have what is happening in ID right now. And next time, try not to compare apples to oranges. Thanks.


  38. elkhunter Avatar

    And obviously hunting has an effect of the elk. I never said they didnt. Out of the 750 wolves in ID how many elk do you think they have killed last year? And how many of those were young calves? I just dont understand how you can say time and time again that wolves dont have negative effects of big-game. You better hope things change in ID because IDFG operates in the red right now, and if they have to come up with millions and millions of dollars to manage these stupid wolves you have its only gonna get worse.

  39. Moose Avatar


    I respect the fact that you have been a hunter for many years. I do not discount your experiences. However, when crafting public policy you have to have data to back up your statements..where is the data that says the ID elk herd is unhealthy.

    Are you saying wolves are killing an inordinate number of mature elk? Where do you get info to back that up?

    “Do you have any idea how big AK and BC wilderness areas are. ”

    Do you have any idea how many wolves AK and BC have?
    When you are talking wolf predation on mature big game it isn’t apples and oranges – see Isle Royale then.

    One question you may be able to answer…I hear hunters say after killing a ‘trophy’ animal (ala OLN) – “its good to get this old timer out of the gene pool and let some young buck sow his seed” – how does that square with your thinking above? (I know you have not said this – in fact you are advocating the opposite). So, as a hunter do you pass on alot of mature elk? At what point does a mture elk need to be taken out of the gene pool.

    My brother flew from Mich to Fairbanks and bagged a large bull moose in E AK near Yukon border…you are right it is $$$, but he hunted with my cousin who lives in fairbanks and they got a cheap ride from pilot friend. You don’t have to spend 20k. He’s going up for caribou next fall. (wolves showed up before they even had the bull gutted)

  40. Jay Avatar

    That’s exactly what you’re saying: wolves are the reason there are no “trophies”, which is clearly not the case. In Idaho, 90-plus% of predation by wolves on elk is calves and cows (read their state wolf plan). That said, if you look at IDFG’s elk pr reports, almost all units are within or above objectives for cows, but not bulls. Like I’ve said before: Yellowstone–lots of big bulls, lots of wolves, but no sport hunting. Idaho, lots of wolves, lots of elk, but not a huge number of mature bulls. What’s the key part of this equation?
    If you read the literature, impacts of wolf predation can vary to extirpation (some examples of wolves on small islands) to no measurable effect. Wolves do have impacts on big game, some good, some bad–ever heard of compensatory mortality? In winter, wolves are very effective at selecting disadvantage prey (old, weak, and young). Some are individuals that wouldn’t survive the winter. Others are old cows that have low reproductive value (they’re not calving), which free up resources for younger cows. They also kill calves, cows, and bulls that would otherwise survive. But so what? So do lions, bears, etc. On the other hand, most elk killed by people are of prime, breeding-aged condition. So if you want to continue to tell folks that predators, not people, are the big issue, you’re way off base. If you want to see what I’m talking about, read “Selection of northern Yellowstone elk by gray wolves and hunters” (Wright et al., JWM 2006). Seriously, read it, you might be a bit surprised.

  41. KATW Avatar

    You guy’s have to much time on your hand’s, If this wolf thing is to work out we (all need to work together) on this or wolves will be gone again….. Why the USFWS puts us all at odds.

  42. elkhunter Avatar


    My point is that the bulls in ID are never reaching maturity. Not that wolves are killing all the big bulls. You can check, I might be wrong, but I bet a large majority of the bulls killed in ID are young raghorns, 2-4 year old bulls. Its about the young elk being killed, like Jay said… %90 of a wolf kill is calves and cows, if that happens over the course of the last 10 years, combined with hunting, you will have what ID has now. No mature bulls. And no matter how you spin it, thats not a healthy elk herd, you might have a shit load of elk… and kill a thousand small bulls.. but you lack the mature bulls that nature wants there to do all the breeding to insure the health of the herd. Young bulls usually end up breeding later, which means late calves. And I would bet that the wolves took pretty close to what hunters took last year. And as Jay pointed out.. there are alot of other predators at work, bears, lions, wolves and hunters. Adding wolves just put that much more pressure on the elk. And like you said Jay they focus on young elk.. calves and cows. I can go to almost any unit during September and the bulls wont stop bugling.. elk everywhere, and big bulls. Very big bulls. But I am sure that if we dumped 800 wolves and hunted the crap out of them then we would have what you in ID have now. And all I am saying is that is not what we want. And IDFG is feeling the strain, just look at all the money they lose each year. And when they take over the wolf project they will need to come up with millions more dollars to manage them, which I am sure they will look to sportsmen to cover the tab. And your friend is lucky to have connections in AK for a moose hunt. Not all of us are so fortunate. I would be there in a second for an opportunity like that. As for the guy on OLN saying it was about time to take a bull out of the gene pool. I personally have never heard that, I usually have a good idea what quality of animal I can expect out of a certain unit. I know in UT we are trying to eliminate wierd genes in certain units. But if your bro. likes hunting that much you should encourage him to be putting in for UT elk. UTFG has done an amazing job with our elk herds, and you can harvest a huge bull on almost any unit. It takes awhile to draw so he needs to start building points now. If he has any questions I can email him some stuff. Same with NM, AZ and some units in WY they are all harvesting big bulls. But stay away from CO elk. Horrible genes. Not worth it. But their deer are amazing! Were goin there this November.

  43. elkhunter Avatar

    You have some valid points. You say that hunters are taking the mature bulls out of the herd. In ID that is not the case. Because there are so few mature bulls. That is the point. Hunters, Wolves, Bears and Cougars are all takin there turn. And of course IDFG would take the interests of hunters in mind because hunters are what pay there bills. I know you dont like money, but to manage wildlife in ID costs money, so unless pro-wolf groups want to donate tens of millions of dollars to help manage wildlife then you better get used to IDFG managing more towards hunters than wolf-watchers. Because we pay the bills. Cause no matter how you look at it Jay hunters and predators are doing the same thing. So you can either tell IDFG to cut way back on hunting so wolves can prosper more. Or get used to IDFG leaning more towards the hunting and sportsman community. Like I said I know you dont think these types of decisions should be based on money, but it gets kinda expensive.


  44. Jay Avatar

    You’re probably a pretty good guy outside of the wolf issue, so I won’t berate the point after this post: you’re sellin’, but I aint buyin’. It boils down to harvest and and hunting pressure. Overall, Idaho has more hunting opportunity than any other state, hands down–if you look through our big game regs, you’ll see how many different hunts there are (archery, rifle, muzzleloader, controlled cow hunts, wilderness…it’s amazing how much hunting you can do here)–many units are unlimited, and those are areas you have to hunt pretty hard to find the big ones. However, in controlled units where harvests are restricted, there are still big bulls taken out of them (I see them all the time coming through my area all the time in pickups), even though there are known wolf packs that use those areas. As you stated, your state is much more controlled, and as a result there are more bulls surviving to maturity. If predators were responsible for the lack of mature elk, there wouldn’t be any big bulls in Yellowstone (obviously not the case), which has every major predator you can think of. There are certainly fewer elk now in the park, due to many factors including predation, drought, aggressive cow elk harvests outside the park, and natural fluctuations (elk numbers have been at the present level there even without wolves). Point #2: I don’t dislike money, I dislike reducing the value of nature to a dollar figure. Everything has a place out there, and I despise the attitude that if we can’t hunt it, pursue it, shoot at it, or harass it, than it’s not worth saving. Along those lines, I get tired of hunters (of which I am) presenting the attitude that because they buy licenses and tags to hunt, they somehow have more say than those that don’t hunt. The fact is, wildlife management is really people management–we’re not spending money propagating elk, were spending money managing people from wiping them out. Take away hunting and state-run management, elk are still going to be just fine (better, they’d probably argue). Lastly, I’m fine with people hunting wolves–there’s enough of them out there, and why should they be any different than all the other animals we hunt. You won’t see me shooting one, because I think predators are damn cool critters and would rather watch ’em…that and I was raised to eat what I shoot, and you’re not getting me to eat some nasty wolf steak. If someone wants to hang one on their wall, so be it. The truth of wolves isn’t what the wolf lovers or wolf haters say, it’s somewhere right in the middle of all the rhetoric. That’s it…

  45. KATW Avatar

    Hey boy’s read this,

  46. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    Thank you, Jay well said.

  47. John Bigley Avatar
    John Bigley

    I’m back…Sorry Jay, wildlife managememnt is hunting,(All game animals),Not people,”Ya” theres a few bad apples out there that need management and I agree. But for me I can’t wait to make wolf into jerky. Other than that Jay great posting….

  48. elkhunter Avatar

    You have some good points. And I agree with you on some and obviously disagree on others, my only major concern is that wolves will come to UT, thats really the only thing that concerns me, and they are selfish reasons, I want the quality of game and hunting to stay the way it is. And I feel that wolves would effect that, I could be wrong, but I would rather not find out, but I agree I think we have wore this topic out!



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