Haydens outrun Mollies! For now anyway.

This latest information again comes courtesy of Kim Kaiser who has been in contact with Leo Keeler who has been in the area. This is the email he got today. Thank you, Kim!

This will be about it for the year, because they will be closing the roads, so I hope they make it.

Keeler wrote:

This morning I found the Hayden pack near the road junction at Canyon. After seeing the old Beta, ­ now alpha ­ female and the 5 pups, I noticed the Molly pack coming out of the draw to the east ­ at full speed. The wolves of the Molly pack are significantly bigger than the Haydens, but the Haydens are much faster and they outran the Mollies.

The Molly pack remained in the area for about 20 minutes, checking for the scent markings of the Hayden’s. With the Molly wolves so focused on finding and catching the Hayden’s, the common belief is the only way the remaining Hayden’s can survive is to leave the area. When they leave, it will complete the takeover of their territory by the Molly pack.

I am saddened by the loss of viewing/photographing opportunities provided by the Haydens (likely the best in Yellowstone) and the take over of their territory by the Molly pack (the least seen group of wolves in Yellowstone). But as we all know, photographing opportunities change and in this case we can all be glad it is a natural change.

Unless something significant happens in the next two days, this will be my last post on the changing of territories by these wolves.


Note: Keeler has a photo of the Mollies on the chase. However, to see it you have to register with NatureScapes.net


  1. Tim Z. Avatar
    Tim Z.

    Don’t waste your time registering on that web site, nothing on it seems to work properly.

  2. Ter Avatar

    I got the photo to work on the website. You need to activate your account through a link sent to your email before it will let you look at photos. The photo of one of the Mollie’s wolves is pretty easy to find under the Wildlife discussion topic. It’s a nice photo of a black wolf from the Mollie’s Pack that definitely gives the appearance of being “on the hunt.”

  3. Dave Collins Avatar
    Dave Collins

    Thank you Kim & Leo for your reporting and your photo. Being so far away from YNP its nice to have good information.

  4. Lynne Stone Avatar
    Lynne Stone

    Someday I hope to travel over to Yellowstone and see the wolves there and better understand the territorial disputes. The wolves that I know best here in the Sawtooth and Salmon River Mountains near Stanley, Idaho — the 12-member Basin Butte Pack — has a home range of about 150 square miles. Sometimes they cross into the areas of other packs but so far, I know of no deadly fights.

    What is the home range of the Yellowstone wolves like the Mollie Pack, Hayden Pack, etc? I know that information is available in books but am 65 miles from a library that has those books.

    In the case of the Basin Butte wolves that were seen frequently around Stanley last winter, the alpha female came from the Galena Pack in the nearby Sawtooth Valley. Perhaps someone reading this could verify whether the fact that the Galena and Basin Butte packs are “related” explains how they can reside close to one another and get along.

    One day last winter I saw the Basin Butte wolves on one ridge and the Galena wolves about a mile away on another. All was calm.

    Maybe the fact that we have a elk and deer hunting season that starts Labor Day and goes on and on until early winter makes life easier for our wolves. Road kill from our highways also provides a lot of easy meals.

    Idaho wolves seem to live in a different world than the Yellowstone wolves, yet no one has written a book about them and there’s very little press. Maybe this is good, except the Idaho Dept of Fish & Game is planning — if delisting ever occurs — to have a hunting season that could reduce numbers down to as few as 100 wolves in Idaho.

    Maybe someone out there with a camera and writing skills might consider writing about wild Idaho wolves.

  5. timz Avatar

    Hi Lynn,
    I have been to Yellowstone many times and have almost always seen wolves, sometimes watching them for hours. It’s very difficult to document Idaho wolf activity because for the most part they are very hard to find and observe. I have spent may hours/days looking and have seen only 2 in Idaho and that was for just a brief few seconds.

  6. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    I think it is pretty well established, although I don’t know of an academic paper on it, that wolf packs that have split off from other packs or which have accepted as members wolves from nearby packs tend to get along better.

    I think you are correct about the Basin Butte and Galena Packs getting along because of a past relationship.

    In Yellowstone, Mollies Pack has launched assault after assault on the Druid Pack, the old Nez Perce Pack (which has been replaced by the Gibbon Pack) and the Hayden Pack. I think it is in part because Mollie’s has no genetic relationship with these packs. Of course, they would also like some territory with more elk and fewer elk-stealing grizzly bears.

  7. kim kaiser Avatar

    hayden valley isnt known for great elk in winter that i am aware of, mostly bison, and being only a 3-5 member pack up till this year, bison would be a tough game to play with such small numbers,, it seems to be the reason the haydens were seen on several occations up at norris and even in mammoth on seveal occasions this past winter,( as the crow flys, that is appx 30 miles one way),,,, looking or easier more plentiful pickins,, so if they were gonna be stealing land, it would seem it would be for the spring summer and fall buffet,, all this is just opinion as to the behaviour, and we know about opinion,,

    afa “adoption” there is a druid pup this year that seems to have left the druids and wandered over in in slough pack territory, he has since made a home there, and thats a this year pup,,, so apparently, it happens,,

    the mollies have been up to druid territory at least once this year, and were driven off back in jan/feb by the druids,, and when 21 was killed by them they were at speciman ridge, and those are distainces of about 20 to thirty miles from mollie land in the pelican valley

  8. Layton Avatar

    “except the Idaho Dept of Fish & Game is planning — if delisting ever occurs — to have a hunting season that could reduce numbers down to as few as 100 wolves in Idaho.”

    Are they really?? Could you give me a reference to where you found this information?? I’d really appreciate it.



  9. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    I would suggest getting a copy of the book “Wolves, behavior, Ecology, and Conservation”. Chapter Six: Wolf Population Dynamics, covers quite a bit of wolf dynamics within and in relation to other packs. Might make good winter reading there at the base of the Sawtooths.

  10. Mack P. Bray Avatar
    Mack P. Bray

    “(Idaho) Governor wants to kill all but 100 Idaho wolves”


    This story was widely reported, even in the national media – those that read the news would know this…

  11. kim kaiser Avatar

    heres and exerpt,,

    Governor wants to kill all but 100 Idaho wolves
    By JESSE HARLAN ALDERMAN Associated Press Writer
    BOISE, Idaho (AP) – Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter says he’ll support public hunts to kill all but 100 gray wolves in the state once the federal government removes the animal from Endangered Species Act protections.

    The governor said he hopes to shoot a wolf himself.

    The Idaho Office of Species Conservation estimates the state’s current wolf population at about 650, in roughly 60 packs. Otter told The Associated Press after a rally of hunters on the Capitol steps that he wants hunters to gradually kill about 550 of the animals, leaving about 100 wolves or 10 packs, the minimum the federal government would allow before wolves again would be considered endangered.

    “That management includes you,” Otter told the approximately 300 hunters, many wearing camouflage clothing and blaze-orange caps. “I’m prepared to bid for that first ticket to shoot a wolf myself.”

    Idaho Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife bused in wolf opponents from as far as Twin Falls, 130 miles away, for Thursday’s rally with Otter and several state lawmakers. They urged the government to immediately remove wolves from endangered species protection.

  12. Lynne Stone Avatar
    Lynne Stone

    Thanks everyone, well almost everyone for your helpful comments and suggestions. There’s some good wolf watching around here in the winter if you happen to visit at the time when there’s a fresh kill or roadkill in view. The Stanley Basin, Sawtooth Valley and Salmon River canyon for example .

    However, one has to be very cautious and secretive when viewing or looking for wolves because of some strident anti-wolfers in the area, one especially who has shown up with his rifle when wolves are about. Last April he followed me out of Stanley and fired two shots into a field and then came back and screamed: “Good day for killin’ a wolf”. He said a lot more about wolf lovers in general that can’t be repeated on a family website.

    With that, it’s almost breaking daylight on this Election Day morning and time to go see if any wolves are about … !

  13. Mack P. Bray Avatar
    Mack P. Bray

    Lynne, why don’t you have the Sheriff’s Department take a report from you? It would be safe and wise to have a complete history and record of what this loose cannon’s doing. This anti-wolf fanatic needs to be put out of business.

  14. catbestland Avatar

    Lynne, here is a link for reporting crimes against wildlife to the USDFW. They may take it more seriously than local law enforcement who may or may not be wolf haters.
    http://www.fws.gov/policy/054fw1.html. I hope the link works. If not your could go to The USDFW website for more info. If this guy is this visibly threatening, he needs to be stopped. No telling what he does secretively.

  15. Lynne Stone Avatar
    Lynne Stone

    Mack and Cat – I did fill out a report with the Custer County Deputy as did my two friends. Also, have given statements and photos from other incidents. Not sure USFWS would be helpful unless the wolf foe actually shoots a wolf, and then he could claim self defense and probably get away with it. The Idaho Anti-Wolf Coalition has made it clear they want to remove wolves from Idaho by “any means possible”.

  16. Dave Collins Avatar
    Dave Collins

    Lynn are you speaking of Ron Gillete? I think they should just remove him fron Idaho.

  17. skyrim Avatar

    One day Mr. Wolf Hater will wander away from the safety net of his home and cronies. With his exposure and recognition he may get into trouble in the real world. NO, I am not making threats, only recoginizing reality that may bite him in the behind one day………………

  18. Mack P. Bray Avatar
    Mack P. Bray

    I did a WHOIS on the Idaho Anti-Wolf Coalition and found:

    Registrant Name:Ron Gillett

    Registrant Phone:+1.2087742980

    Registrant Email:nowolvesidaho@gmail.com

  19. Dave Collins Avatar
    Dave Collins

    Ya he use to be or still is an outfitter and says (quote) “those darn wolves are killing all the elk. A good wolf is a dead wolf.” He’s an idiot.

  20. Lynne Stone Avatar
    Lynne Stone

    Dave-yes, Ron Gillett.

    Buffaloed – thanks for finding the link to the May 2006 story and photos. It’s about when a wolf showed up in Stanley and then Ron showed up with his rifle.

    That incident was rather amusing and lots of people watched his antics that day.

    My encounters with him in the Spring of 2007, have not been amusing and the last incident thoroughly frightened me and my two friends.

    Gillett is trying to sell his house and rental cabins in Stanley. He sold his day float river business a couple of years ago.

  21. Mack P. Bray Avatar
    Mack P. Bray

    Ah, okay. I see this clown is well known. Takes me a while to figure out who the players are…!

    Lynne, I wouldn’t tolerate actions like Gillett’s. I’d find something the county prosecutor could charge him with then camp out at the prosecutor’s office demanding action.

  22. Jeff N. Avatar
    Jeff N.

    Lump Gillet with that other Idaho loser, Tim Sundles. Sundles, the indiscrimate poisoner, thankfully was convicted before his attempt to poison wolves killed anymore innocent wild creatures, domestic dogs, and possibly humans. Gillet is a small cowardly man who’s day is coming. Don’t be surprised if this idiot gets into a shootout with wildlife agents over a “canadian wolf”. Damn immigrants.

  23. Lynne Stone Avatar
    Lynne Stone

    This post started with the report that the Hayden alphas had been killed by Mollie’s Pack. I was sorry to hear this news and wanted to say so, especially to Kim and Leo. Perhaps another thread can start on how people can come and see Idaho wolves without putting the wolves at risk from being shot from the anti-wolf faction.

    OK, I’ll make a post. Ralph Maughan. Webmaster

  24. Layton Avatar

    OK, I asked that question, now I’d like to ask another.

    Where is there a QUOTE that says Otter wants to “shoot all but 100” (I’m paraphrasing here)? I see where an AP reporter “says” what Otter said — he does NOT put it in quotes — except, when he quotes him as saying :

    ““That management includes you,” Otter told the approximately 300 hunters, many wearing camouflage clothing and blaze-orange caps. “I’m prepared to bid for that first ticket to shoot a wolf myself.”

    Then, further down in the article is QUOTE that says;

    “”Ten is a magic number because you drop below 10 and all of a sudden you’re re-listed,” Allen said, adding that Otter and state wildlife officials agree on wolf strategy and will easily be able to reach a consensus on specific numbers.

    Isn’t there a big difference here? Folks have jumped on Otter’s words for a long time now — I was at that meeting on the statehouse steps and I did NOT hear what he was accused of saying. Hey, just embellishing a speech with a few well chosen, inflammatory words and saying “he said it” is a tactic that has worked for years, but let’s try the truth a little bit.

    Hunters alone will NEVER be able to drive wolves anywhere near extinction — they didn’t in the first place. There are MANY TIMES the agreed on number of wolves for the “recovery” effort to be considered successful so why not just go along with the new, increased numbers for the 10j ruling and be honest for once??


  25. Jim Avatar

    Layton, it would be and soon probably will be very easy for ID’s hunters and F&G people to find and kill every wolf in ID. There may be many times the number of wolves required for delisting, but that number is still only around 700. 700 of something isn’t alot, particularly when that something will be continually destroyed and there are none left.

    Hunters complain about how much harder it is to hunt elk now that wolves are there and have them moving around. All that tells me that hunters are generally a lazy lot. Gauranteed they won’t be lazy when it comes to wolves. Soon after delisting wolves will be gone from everywhere outside of national parks. And as stupid as Democrats are, they will nominate one of those two putzes Edwards or Barack, who will have his clock cleaned in the 2008 election.

  26. timz Avatar

    People seem to think because a politician is a Democrat he/she would favor wolves. The most anti-wolf politician I know of is Wyoming Gov Freudenthal who is a Democrat. The Democrat (Brady) that ran against Otter in Idaho was more anti-wolf than Otter. I realize at the federal level the Democrats would probably be a little more enviro-friendly in general but let’s not forget wolves are about to be de-listed and control turned over to the states.

  27. kim kaiser Avatar

    yes, you did ask the question, you were called on it and provided the appropriate link and reading,, if you read the article without predjudice, you will see that you were not made privy to that statement, because it was stated to the AP “after” a speech to a rally for hunters,,,so unless you were in on that meeting, so you couldnt have heard it,, you have no way dispute or I to endorse the statement,,,,but the “i wanna shoot the first one” is documented and beyond argurement,,, if you are gonna pick an article to parts, read it carefully,, i suspect if mr otter were misquoted in any manner that offended his hunting or anti wolf base that he showed any change in his stance on wolf management,, we surely would have seen the print redaction or clarifcation,

  28. Jim Avatar

    Kim, I just checked your site and love the photo of the Hayden Valley Pack’s alpha pair. The alpha female provided me with my #1 wolf watching experience (actually tied with a viewing I had with #21) in the summer of 2005. Looking at it makes me sad knowing that she was such a beautiful animal and is now dead.

  29. Lynne Stone Avatar
    Lynne Stone

    timz – good reminder re. Democrats that don’t like wolves. The conservation group for which I work has plenty of Republicans in our ranks and all like wolves. Unfortunately, none are elected to public office.

  30. kim kaiser Avatar

    your welcome Jim,, she was a unique looking wolf,,send me an email, i have a few from this summer i can forward to you

  31. Layton Avatar

    Don’t you think that the AP Reporter would have quoted Otter directly — using quotation marks — if he could have??

    I did read the article “without predjudice”, and I do agree that he was quoted — correctly — on the “I wanna shoot one” comment. BUT Ms. Stone is trying to quote something quite different and evidently use that article to do it — that is a horse of a different color.


  32. Mack P. Bray Avatar
    Mack P. Bray

    Look, Layton, why don’t you just cut the crap and call the governor’s office:

    Governor Brian D. Schweitzer
    Office of the Governor
    Montana State Capitol Bldg.
    P.O. Box 200801
    Helena MT 59620-0801
    (406) 444-3111, FAX (406) 444-5529

    Report back with your results.

    Don’t forget to tell the truth.

  33. Layton Avatar

    Sorry Mack,

    I lost you on that one — or maybe YOU lost the thread??

    What we were doing here was talking about the IDAHO gov.

    What’s your point??


  34. Mack P. Bray Avatar
    Mack P. Bray

    Whoa, I *did* lose the thread; my mind was elsewhere.

    Try this:

    Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter

    Report back with your results.

    Don’t forget to tell the truth, because I’ll make the same call after you do.

  35. Layton Avatar


    First of all, I don’t think I’ll be calling the gov. real soon, we don’t really have much in common.

    Second, if I did, why would you think I would lie about what he said?? I don’t make any secret of my sentiments toward some of the things that are said on this board and I darn sure don’t feel any sort of a need to do otherwise.

    I really only have one face and, as homely as it is, it’s the only one I use.

    I think that the person that has made the most sense on this thread (concerning what the gov. REALLY said) is Kim. She got it right. Anything else — including what Ms. Stone said is just conjecture — but that seems to be OK — if you are on the “Canus forever” side.


  36. timz Avatar

    During his speech, Otter stated how he
    eventually wants to see hunters kill enough
    wolves to bring the population down to about
    100 wolves or 10 packs. That’s the lowest threshold the federal government would allow before wolves again would be considered endangered. Idaho Outdoors

    From Eugene Oregon Paper
    Idaho governor C.L .”Butch” Otter recently
    announced a plan to kill 75 percent of the wolf population.

    From Missoula Montana Paper
    I’ve been thinking about that recent November day lately,
    ever since Idaho Gov. Butch Otter delighted a cheering throng of nimrods with a Jan. 11 “Idaho Sportsman’s Day” speech in which he vowed to kill more than 80 percent of Idaho’s wolves, perhaps shooting the first one himself, and promised to begin the mayhem the moment pending efforts to remove wolves from the federal endangered species list are complete.

    From MSNBC
    Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter recently said he wants to hunt the current population down to 100 wolves.

    This quote from his State of the State Speech in January doesn’t address the kill issue but serves to show what a bafoon the man is.

    “That lab complex will substantially improve Idaho’s ability to research and manage the health of all Idaho livestock and wildlife that hasn’t already been killed by our exploding wolf population, while consolidating programs for greater efficiency”.

    There are many more sources and Otter bafoonery I could list here but according to Layton they all got it wrong I guess.

  37. Mack P. Bray Avatar
    Mack P. Bray

    I spoke with Governor Otter’s press secretary, John Hanian, and John “believes” that Otter never said he will support public hunts to kill all but 100 of the state’s gray wolves or that he wants hunters to kill about 550 gray wolves.

    John Hanian also said that he believes the AP reporter that generated the story, Jess Harlan Alderman, is no longer with AP.

    What I’m reading is that Otter told the above to AP, and I’ll assume Alderman was the only AP reporter there.

    So I’m trying to track down Alderman to see if he has any other witnesses to the quote.

  38. be Avatar

    IMO –

    they’re not out to slaughter the wolves – they’re gutting the ESA.

    the precise language that politicians use to characterize the issue misses the point ~ both “sides” use language aimed at galvanizing support.

    One example that captures both…

    Another that is particularly emotive

    whether “Butch” slaughters the wolves or does not slaughter the wolves – from my perspective, the issue implicates the integrity of management. whether science will guide implementation and policy with regard to all wildlife.

    if there is no slaughter – but the 10(j) rule change as proposed is allowed to introduce further diminishing precedent with regard to the teeth we endow our federal regulation with — will that be ok so long as the wolves are not slaughtered?

    if the delisting takes place under pretenses of “scientifically” established recovery that takes no account of historical habitat — or that allows an industry to exercise undue influence over the integrity of how scientific data is operationalized — is that ok?

    Butch and his federal cohorts won’t slaughter the wolves… i don’t believe they really care about the wolf numbers either way. They’ll frame the debate in visceral terms – keep it emotive ~ keep it about the numbers — and then we’ll all be pleasantly surprised as our ESA gets further diminished…

  39. Mack P. Bray Avatar
    Mack P. Bray

    be: “they’re not out to slaughter the wolves – they’re gutting the ESA.”

    be, I think they’re out to both slaughter wolves *and* gut the ESA.

    And I think that yes, you’re accurate about the larger issues; it’s just that we’ve got a bit of nit-picking about something Otter said or did not say.

  40. be Avatar

    you’ve got me there… both would probably be music to their ears…

  41. Layton Avatar

    But ——– even if, by some sort of divine intervention (I don’t see anything else making it happen) the population of Idaho wolves WAS taken down to 100 — wouldn’t that still be MORE than the minimum number that was agreed on as a goal for the “recovery” of this population segment to be considered a success according to the original 10j rule?? And that in a 3 state area??

    Seems to me that I remember something about 30 breeding pairs for 4 years. Wouldn’t even you folks agree that goal has been surpassed by just a few??

    Hey, my personal opinion, backed up by nothing but a pretty good amount of knowledge gleaned through a LOT of time spent in the woods over the last 40 or so years, is that hunters alone (unlike what Jim thinks) would NEVER get the number of wolves down that low again. The only way the oldtimers did it was with poison, aerial gunning, etc., etc., etc.

    Dipsticks like Ron Gillette can posture and yell all they want and all they will do is scare people that are paranoid anyway. All the posturing an parading around WON’T affect the wolf population. Otter’s SUPPOSED blabber is in the same category.

    The only politician in the state that seems to KNOW less about wolves in general is Jerry Brady, one of the beloved DEMOCRATS of some of the folks on this board.

    AND, before Mack and Jeffy or anyone else here jumps on what I have said so far —- I did NOT advocate killing all but 100 wolves in Idaho. So much for MY paranoia 8^) .


  42. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    Why you tryin ta pull me in this here argument?
    As far as I know the only wolves you have issue with is the infamous gang of nine. ;*)

  43. Jim Avatar

    Well Layton you are, unfortunately, correct when you that 100 wolves would be at the recovery goal. Originally it was 10 breeding pairs in each recovery area for three consecutive years. Then it was changed to something like 300 wolves total in all three areas for three years consecutively. Of course, the requirement was 10 BREEDING pairs and one pup surviving until the end of the year, so there would most likely need to be well over 100 wolves for that to happen consistently.

    It is interesting to think that if the three states hadn’t goofed around and kept wolves from being delisted several years ago, that three things would be taken place: there wouldn’t be more than a couple of hundred wolves total, there’d be a hunting season on them, and pro-wolf people like me would really have nothing to complain about.

  44. Tim Z. Avatar
    Tim Z.

    “It is interesting to think that if the three states hadn’t goofed around and kept wolves from being delisted several years ago, that three things would be taken place: there wouldn’t be more than a couple of hundred wolves total, there’d be a hunting season on them, and pro-wolf people like me would really have nothing to complain about.”

    Very good point Jim. Someone very near the top of the wolf recovery program (can’t mention name) told me that had it not been for the bumbling of the states involved, especially Wyoming, wolves could have been delisted as early as 2003.

  45. Layton Avatar

    C’mon folks — don’t try to BS a BSer here.

    If there would have been any attempt to delist wolves before now you folks would have kept it tied up in court for years — the same way you are planning to now!!

    I might have been born yesterdy, but it wasn’t really LATE yesterday.


  46. Jim Avatar

    Yes there would have been lawsuits as I’m sure there’ll be some this spring when delisting is proposed. Which is fine with me. As much as I don’t agree with the wolves are cared for now while they are listed, they are better off than if the states had control over them. Anything that keeps them listed is fine by me.


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.

Subscribe to get new posts right in your Inbox

Ralph Maughan