Scientists' take on Wyoming Elk Feedlot – Wolf Scare

Perhaps many of you have heard of the WGFDs quick fire-off of the news release below last week.  The argument is that wolves are pushing/disrupting elk off of Wyoming’s large elk feedlots, brought about to entice elk away from cattle in an effort to prevent the spread of Brucellosis from elk to cattle.  We’ve seen Montana use Brucellosis to slaughter and haze buffalo, we’re seeing Wyoming use it to “manage” elk in high-density feed-camps and now we’re seeing it extended to justify inflated antagonism toward wolves.  

The Jackson-Hole News&Guide’s Cory Hatch wrote an article entitled State: Wolves disrupt elk feeding areas on March 7 which includes some biologists’ take on the matter.    




  1. Bill_Kaiser Avatar

    Sounds like the wolves are doing a great job of dispersing the elk and PREVENTING the spread of brucellosis by stopping the concentration of elk around a feed lot.

    Bottom line; the fact is Wyoming doesn’t care about brucellosis, it just wants more elk for the outfitters.
    Carry on wolves!

  2. elkhunter Avatar

    Ya why would a state want millions of dollars in revenue from hunting. That would be stupid, instead they should all get thousands of wolves, they generate so much money every year. If you have an elk problem, sell more tags. And I wont mistake a cow for an elk. Saves everyone money…..Its a win win I feel.


  3. Jay Avatar

    You would step over your own dying mother for a $20-dollar bill or a shot at a trophy elk…money money money money money money money money money money money money money. Did I mention money?
    I just had a great idea…why don’t you start hunting armored cars? You can kill two birds with one stone–you bag a nice trophy (if it’s one of those really big Wells Fargo rigs–hopefully you’ve got one of those big trophy homes to put your trophy truck in!) AND its PACKED WITH MONEY!!!! Aint no elk I’ve ever seen stuffed with bags of twenties and fifties!

  4. elkhunter Avatar

    You would step over your dying mother for a wolf. Wolves at all costs. I am just using commen sense which alot of tree-huggers never use. You know the Feds have wasted millions and millions of dollars to support this wolf project. Its probably in the 100’s of millions by now I would imagine. Its called common sense, we got along just fine without wolves for the past 100 years, we dont need them, you might want them, we dont need them. And I dont hunt for money, thats what my business is for, Jay I just want you to use common sense and just take a step back at look at what the wolves have done for ID. Caused so many problems, Ranchers against tree-huggers, tree-huggers against hunters, millions of dollars wasted, everyone hating each other and blaming the other guy. You know very well its been a circus. I dont see how you can deny it, I am sure you will but there is now way you can say that everything that everyone has gone through for the wolves has been worth it. Or has it?

  5. Peter Kiermeier Avatar

    Jay, I fully agree with you, it´s not only money or commercial value of something or contribution to the economy of somebody. Nevertheless, the “Utah” discussion is closed now but here is a small input about the commercial value of tourism. As far as I remember, we had that subject here month ago and concluded that numbers are hard to come by (e.g. how many of a given total are there for wildlife watching, let alone for wolf watching?). Numbers that are available however: There is an average of 3 000 000 visitors p.a. to YNP alone (I do non’t have access to total Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Utah tourism statistics). For an average tourist from Europe, a two weeks hiking vacation equals roughly $ 4000, including flights with a US airline, rental car, lodging, food, gas, shopping etc, etc.

  6. matt bullard Avatar
    matt bullard

    Sorry to bring up a closed thread here, but on the wolf watching revenue front, I’m sorry there are no hard numbers, but I will speak for myself. I have taken at least one trip to Central Idaho each year since 2003 for the putpose of “wolf watching”. Of course that doesn’t count all the other times I’ve left the big city to go into the backcountry for any number of reasons and have enjoyed “wildlife watching”. By “elkhunter’s” standards, though, I’ve only been successful once, as I’ve only seen a wolf on one of those trips (funny thing is that we always saw plenty of elk, deer, and even bighorn sheep on one occastion). On some of those trips, we have camped, on others we have stayed in local hotels. On all trips we spent our hard earned money on local businesses from Clayton to Stanley, Lower Stanley and even Cascade (flew into the Frank one winter). I know I am not the only person who has ever done this. And even though I’ve only seen one wolf on these “wolf watching trips”, I never considered them unsuccessful. How lucky we feel to live in a state that affords us these opportunities! It is too bad that the state does not “captialize” on what could be a great opportunity to generate revenue based on the wolves, but the mentaily, as KT has rightly pointed out here many times, is that the wolf will never be a revnue generating animal. Such a narrow analysis is will of course be a self fullfiling prophesy if they never try to find ways in which the wolf could generate some money for the department. But like KT also rightly pointed out, it isn’t always about the money (just like hunting should always be about the kill, or the number of points a trophy bull generates). Finally, I will remind folks that nearly half of the revenue of the IDFG comes from federal sources – that is not insignificant…

  7. Tim Z. Avatar
    Tim Z.

    I have a friend whose brother is an outfitter in Idaho who says he now receives more inquires about guided wolf watching trips instead of hunting trips mostly from out-of-state folks who are willing to come here and spend their money to catch a glimpse of a wolf in the wild.

  8. Joe S. Avatar

    wolf watching will never compare to hunting revenue….I would advise pro wolfers NOT to use this as an arguement….its a losing proposition

  9. elkhunter Avatar

    I agree with all of you. I dont care if ID has wolves. They can have them. They just need to be kept at a level that is good for everyone involved. Each side has to compromise, I would like to see a wolf in ID one day. I just dont want to see thousands of them. And that is the direction I think alot of pro-wolf people want is to let the wolf go where he wants. Because you have to admit, wherever they cause lots of problems, and I dont really want all the issues they bring, its like having a high-maintenance girlfriend, she might be hot, but not worth all the drama!

  10. matt bullard Avatar
    matt bullard

    One of the problems is that many people feel, myself included, is that the wolf has not been restored to a significant portion of its historic range, which is a fairly critical part of the ESA. That being said, I do think that the FWS did what it said it would do, which was to restore wolves to ID, MT, and WY. For that, delisting should occur, within the boundaries defined by the original reintroduction rule. I believe if a wolf makes it out of the defined recovery area in the proposed delisting rule it would gain full ESA protections. I may be wrong on that point.

    More and more I am beginning to think that we should keep them listed since ID and WY have adopted policies that, if implemented in a worst case scenario, would virtually guarantee that wolves would never make it into neighboring states.

  11. Wolfen Avatar

    Wolves will never be a significant revenue generator for Idaho. Why? Because most tourists want to see other attractions than just wolves. Thats why the most of them go to Yellowstone to see the mud pots, buffalo, old faithful, and all the other natural attractions that Idaho does not have.
    As a resident of Idaho who has lived here all my 46-years, I believe that hunting, being the large revenue generator that it is, should be open for wolves also. That will bring in much more additional revenue to Idaho than wolf watching ever will.
    There is no doubt that if Idaho offered 200 or so wolf tags they would be sold out in a heart beat. Since we are losing non-resident hunters for elk and deer because they are having a difficult time locating them as a result of being wary of wolves, we could win them back by being the first state to issue wolf tags.

  12. kt Avatar

    Let’s see – that’s $9.75 per tag x 200. Plus, per each Wolf Slayer: 3 cases of Coors (or maybe Hamms?), 10 stacks of that nice pre-cut firewood from Circle K, one order of extra-large Camo Coveralls from Joe’s Discount Warehouse in Hoboken, and a hundred dollar fill-up of the Expedition. Certainly no self-respecting wolf hunter would be staying at an expensive Bed and Breakfast, or posh Hotel, any such thing, would they? Wow – now there is SOME revenue stream, alright!

  13. Wolfen Avatar

    Like elkhunter, I believe kt that you either do not hunt or know much about the economics of hunting and the revenue it generates.

    However, I will cut you some slack and invite you on a wolf hunt when the time comes. Heck, I will eve buy you the tag, coors, camo coveralls, etc. and cook you the best outdoor open fire breakfast you ever had.

    And if all goes well you can be the first to post your macho picture of the wolf kill with your big smile on your face. Even outdoor magazine might even pay you several hundred dollars to post your kill if you are the first to do so.

  14. skyrim Avatar

    kt makes an excellent point and one that is surely on the minds of others. By pricing the tags at the walmart price they plan on, the entire effort reeks of extermination and not revenue generation. Leaving aside the billions in gas tax and beer sales of course.

  15. matt bullard Avatar
    matt bullard

    RE: the price of wolf tags, yep, it is too cheep. They will certainly never generate the revenue with a $10 tag. I think the cheep shot/generalization that was made is in poor taste and adds nothing to the discussion and only serves to degrade wolf advocates in the minds of those who would generalize about us. So much for tolerance, which should go both ways…

  16. skyrim Avatar

    Perhaps Matt, but just like in recent political arenas those of us who have tried to walk the middle ground continue to be forced to another side by virtue of the actions of both extremes. I’ve always tried to be moderate in my own personal reasoning, but sometimes………

  17. matt bullard Avatar
    matt bullard

    skyrim – I understand your point, but just because one side is intolerant does not mean the other should be as well. Two wrongs do not make a right. If there is one thing I am intolerant of, it is intolerance. One can have a extreme views or take an extreme stand on these issues and still be tolerant of others’ views and positions. The concept of tolerance is not exclusive to “the middle”…

  18. Joe S. Avatar

    Fair enough KT……but you forgot to compare hunter revenue to wolf watcher revenue…..or did you try and just couldn’t come up with any thing…..

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Brian Ertz