Wolves are finally completely delisted in the Great Lakes states

Wolves in Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin are now fully delisted. However, the state wolf management plans in these states are much more friendly toward wolves than what Idaho proposes and Wyoming (kill them all outside Yellowstone Park). Wolves in the Northern Rockies are NOT fully delisted and litigation is much more likely although litigation is possible in the Great Lakes.

Here is the story about Minnesota, the state with as many wolves as all the other states put together. De-listing leaves wolf management up to the Minnesota DNR. By Marshall Helmberger. Ely Minnesota Tower.

Here is info on Michigan and Wisconsin. Despite more gray wolves, killing them remains illegal. Associated Press. The headline is misleading because now wolves can indeed be killed in both states. No hunts are being planned, however.

A couple years ago, I was amazed to learn that killing the recovering wolves in both Michigan and Wisconsin was illegal, completely unlike Idaho, Montana and Wyoming where federal government killing of wolves was generous from the start and where for the last two years livestock owners have been free to shoot wolves harassing their herds, even though not necessarily attacking them. Note: Wyoming has long been the exception with only federal government killing because the State government of Wyoming refuses to make any concessions at all in its completely anti-wolf stance. Note also that despite ranchers being allowed to shoot harassing wolves and Idaho and Montana, almost all the wolf killing has been done by the misnamed federal agency, Wildlife Services.







  1. chris Avatar

    When an endangered species is reintroduced it gets an “experimental, non-essential” designation under the ESA. I believe the rule started with the red wolf in 1987 and know it has also been used for gray wolves, black-footed ferrets, California condors, and whooping cranes. The intent was to placate private landowners about impacts to their land, but clearly livestock interests are pushing the envelope.

    It somehow doesn’t dawn on the anti-wolf crowd what would happen if reintroduction had not been the selected option for recovery in ID/MT/WY. Wolves would venture down from nwMT and Canada on their own, very slowly recolonizing central ID and nw WY, and receiving maximum protection all the while.

  2. matt bullard Avatar
    matt bullard

    That is a VERY good point, Chris, and I know that was one of the considerations that was made when the original rule was written. I believe the EIS weighed the natural recolonization option, and the cost estimates were very high, but more importantly, the time to achieve recovery was much longer, even though the animals would have gotten greater protection. So the 10(j) rules not only allowed for reintroduction of the *same* species that was naturally recolonizing NW Montana (and that had until recently the full protections of the ESA), but it did so in a manner that allowed more control to local interests who were negatively impacted.

  3. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Most of these folks know zip about the ESA, but they should be grateful natural recolonization was not the chosen option.

    You two are so right.


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