Montana prepares for its first wolf hunt

Wildlife officials start laying groundwork for wolf hunts. By Mike Stark. Billings Gazette.

While this might turn out to be an erronous belief, most supporters of wolf recovery believe Montana will conduct a more restrained and thoughtful wolf hunt than Idaho.

Wyoming, of course, is still a bit in limbo, but all the rhetoric is kill as many wolves as possible and hope that Yellowstone and Grand Teton will provide the minimum 15 wolf packs required.







  1. April Clauson Avatar
    April Clauson

    ok wolf advocates, if any states do start selling wolf hunting license, we need to buy them up, fast!!! I live in AZ but I will buy as many as I can just so the people that do want to shoot my wolves will not get that chance!! BUY THEM!!!!

  2. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Defenders is taking a much more negative view of this than I implied mine might have been in the post.

  3. jerry Avatar

    Found an interesting quote from Ed Bangs in the “Missoulian” on 1-24-04.
    It’s in reference to a whole pack taken out by WS in the Madison Valley.
    “Bangs said the illegal shooting last year of three collared adult wolves may have contributed to both packs getting into trouble. Both of these packs were in the valley for two years, and we weren’t having problems, he said. When you lose the ones that normally lead the pack, you basically have a bunch of teenagers walking through cattle.”
    I’m sure the targets for these proposed hunts won’t be the teenagers, but will be the Alpha male and females, leaving the teenagers to go after livestock because they’ve lost their mentors who would teach them to hunt wild game.
    All of which will lead to more wolves being killed.
    Time to rise up and raise hell about this!

  4. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    It is really important that a hunt, if done, be done right.

    Killing the alpha pair will destroy the pack, but that I don’t mean the wolves in the pack, I mean it will scatter the remaining wolves all over the place.

    New packs will form, and if the pack that was destroyed stayed out of livestock, the odds are that the new packs will be more likely to kill cattle and sheep.

    Perhaps this doesn’t really matter, because as we all know, hatred of wolves is not about livestock, but about culture conflict.

  5. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    Just an observation that may have some correlation with what Jerry and Ralph are saying. In Africa, for some time now it has been observed that juvenile (teenager) elephants have been attacking rhinos. One theory is that with the adult elephants being poached for ivory there are not any or enough responsible adults to teach appropriate behavior. Funny how an intact family unit makes so much difference.

  6. jerry Avatar

    So with this in mind, any ideas on how they could possibly conduct a hunt without killing the pack leaders?

  7. Jay Avatar

    Stuff I’ve read from wolf hunting in Alaska and Canada indicate that younger animals compose the majority of the wolves killed. This makes sense from the standpoint that old wolves are wise wolves–they’ve managed to survive their vulnerable younger years and have learned the perils of traps, humans, etc, and how to avoid them. Also, the odds are in the adults favor, since there are more adolescent wolves than adults in a typical wolf pack. This is not to say some adults won’t be killed, but my guess is we’ll see similar patterns down here.

  8. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    I think you are probably correct about a hunted population. In a naive population, I speculate the results will be different. Alpha males, for example are more likely to stand their ground compared to other pack members.

    This observation comes from those who have darted wolves in Yellowstone Park.

    After being darted once (or trapped and collared — the Idaho method), the wolves are usually wary.

  9. elkhunter Avatar

    Would it be on a draw basis? Probably so, I imagine that would be a hard hunt.


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