Idaho anti-wolf coalition suggests there are really over 9000 wolves in Idaho and over 900 packs!

This is the kind of thinking we have to face among some in Idaho. Idaho Anti-wolf Coalition.





  1. Chuck Avatar

    9000 wolves, boy with that number you would think you would see them running the streets of Boise….Not

  2. Dan Stebbins Avatar

    Ron Gillette is delusional.

  3. be Avatar

    in 2003 at a fundraiser, ron gillette’s coalition claimed to have received donations from then congressman butch otter ~ as well as helen chenoweth ~ Senator Gerry Sweet, District 21 – Representative Henry Kulcyk, District 14B – Mayor Tom Dale, Nampa – and the meeting featured a speech from Lenore Hardy Barrett, serving on the House Resources and Conservation Committee for the state of Idaho…

    he’s delusional ~ but the politicos of the state are signaling support.

  4. Chuck Avatar

    But the only problem is that it seems Ron Gillette is the only one doing the talking. But he is still delusional

  5. montucky Avatar

    I wandered through the website in the link. Those folks have a very rich fantasy life!

  6. mikarooni Avatar

    In his manual for the rightwing, Mein Kampf, Hitler was very clear in his belief that a big lie is actually easier to put over than a small one. According to his thinking, when you try to float a small lie, people will attack the details and refute it with clearly understood and accepted facts; but, when you float a big lie, it confounds them, puts them off guard, disarms them and moves the argument to a fantasy level where rhetoric and dogma can control it. I don’t think we can afford to be naive about who and what the rightwing really is in today’s America, nor can we kid ourselves about its philosophical connections. Do I think the leadership of those Idaho rednecks are off in the shadows reading Mein Kampf? Yes, of course.

  7. JB Avatar

    The comparison to Hitler and the Nazis is apt, except that it they are too good for Gillette and his ilk. Ron Gillette’s wolf weighs 400 lbs, carries a machine gun, and hunts children in the night. To say he’s delusional is an extreme understatement.

  8. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    Actually, this delusional approach to wolf numbers appears to have been borrowed from the Wyoming Woolgrowers Association. Every year, the executive director of the Woolgrowers shows up at the legislative committee meetings with charts covered with fantastical numbers delineating the geometric growth of wolves in Wyoming at orders of magnitude simply biologically impossible. What he leaves out is wolf mortality–I guess the assumption is that without Wildlife Services helicopters, wolves are immortal.

    I once factored in average wolf mortality with this guy’s numbers and demonstrated that wolves would actually go extinct in 5-10 years. You can imagine the faces of the legislators at this news, not to mention the anti-wolf lobbyists.

    You’d never think imaginary numbers could be so much fun.

  9. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    If you have met or listened to Gilett, I don’t think he believes he is telling a lie. When he speaks, his level of emotion is far too high for one strategically engaging in deceptive manipulation.

  10. skyrim Avatar

    Lying is an art form. Some have it and some don’t.

  11. steve c Avatar
    steve c

    I wish he was right about the wolf numbers!

  12. Chuck Avatar

    I think Ron just needs to speak to the voices in his head more often and leave everyone else alone.

  13. Buffaloed Avatar

    An interesting observation, neither SFW’s website or the Anti-Wolf (or pro-idiot) websites accept comments or discussion about any of their ideas like this one does.

  14. Chuck Avatar

    Thats because they don’t want to hear what anyone else has to say, in their little tiny warped brains they believe they are right and anyone who does not agree with them is wrong, they are affraid of the truth.

  15. Jay Avatar

    He’s actually pretty funny to listen to, aside from the fact that its really sad that there’s folks out there stupid enough to believe the trash coming out of his mouth.

  16. Mack P. Bray Avatar
    Mack P. Bray

    If the reporter, Matt Christensen, visited the Idaho Anti-Wolf Coalition’s website he should have reported that Gillette belives there’s over 9,000 wolves and over 900 packs in the state. Seems like lazy and/or biased reporting to me.

    Surely Gillette’s fantasy numbers would tip-off any reasonable reader that *anything* from Gillette/Anti-Wolf Coalition is nothing more than hot, steaming bullshit.

    Mack P. Bray
    My opinions are my own

  17. Buffaloed Avatar

    I just find it funny that these people come up with these numbers with no fieldwork, background in biology, just speculation.

    He kind of reminds me of the guy that did those Latham car commercials in Boise back in the 80’s. He just yelled at the top of his lungs. Some people actually liked those commercials but I always thought they were why the mute button on the remote control was invented.

  18. Chuck Avatar

    But remember Rex Rammell is an expert on wildlife……just joking of course. Maybe we need to contact Mr Risch to be on our side as he didn’t much care for Rammell or so it seemed.

  19. steve c Avatar
    steve c

    Why are there no vocal anti-wolf coalitions in minnesota? Are western hunters really that insecure?

  20. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    I think the anti-wolf sentiment among some hunters in the West is more of a protest against change than wolves, that is, it doesn’t matter what the wolves do or don’t do, they are against them.

    Wolves are a negative symbol for them, not a realistic calculation of a competitor to their hunt. Hunting in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming is very good right now, except for those who won’t walk (an increasing number).

    Those who say they are afraid of wolves are a big embarrassment to me as an Idahoan because I like to think of folks my state as outdoors capable. I wish they would keep their fright to themselves.

  21. Charles Newton Avatar

    I myself feel safer hiking thru the woods of yellowstone among the wolves and grizzly bears then I do in some towns near Boise.

  22. JB Avatar

    Steve c asked:

    “Why are there no vocal anti-wolf coalitions in minnesota? Are western hunters really that insecure?”

    Having spent a considerable time in both Utah and Minnesota, I’ve got a few observations about this. First, Ralph is dead on about wolves being a symbol in the West. There are hunters and ranchers in Minnesota that would just as soon not have wolves, but wolves have not become a symbol the way they are in the West. Second, livestock depredations are very low (considering the number of wolves), and it is clear to everybody–well almost everybody–that deer pops are on the rise, despite rising wolf populations. Third, Minnesota has a very large, very liberal, and very vocal urban population–rural issues do not dominate politics in MN. Finally, the MN DNR is generally trusted by hunters and non-hunters alike to make sound decisions regarding the state’s resources. This stands in sharp contrast to Western states.

    Anyway, those are my observations.

  23. Dave Avatar

    Ron and his group are fools, they blow things so out of proportion that nobody even listens to them, come on 9000 wolves in 900 packs!!!! I don’t even think in the past, when the wolf was wild and had not been influenced by the exterminators were there that many! Geeze, they would be tripping over each other in the streets of the western US…Amazing Gillette, simply amazing! And don’t get me wrong, I am neither pro or anti, they don’t affect me….but Ron and his group is really comical!

  24. Chuck Avatar

    The thing I fear the most, ok bear with me here, has anyone ever seen that Michael Douglas movie “An American President”, there is that part where they are all fighting and Michael J Fox says the public will listen to the party doing the talking……I am fearing that might apply to the wolves, no matter how rediculour Ron Gillette sounds the the information he is spreading are outragous lies….people will still listen…..but then parts of me think that the IDFG have already made up their minds and are going forward with the wolf hunt no matter……..these are just my thoughts???????

  25. John Avatar

    Whoowee that’s the line that takes the cake… for stupidity that is. Otter has a seat with them too… bad feelings I have for the future of wolves in the west.

    Its times like these I feel I should laugh! Maybe in the beginning (actually it was more along the lines of 2000-3000 in ID, well the place that would become ID) before people started shooting them into oblivion like they plan to next year. *tsh* These kinds of twits never learn… even after a whole century.

  26. Mack P. Bray Avatar
    Mack P. Bray

    Western Watershed’s must-see video, “Resisting Delisting ~ Idaho’s Wolves & Livestock’s Influence”

    Mack P. Bray
    My opinions are my own

  27. Robert Wiley Avatar
    Robert Wiley

    Ron is a bit out there but he’s passionate about what he believes in.

    He’s an extremist but he’s really no different than many of you who think we should have Wolves spread across the entire country.
    You can bet there are more than 800 Wolves and 100 Packs here in Idaho.

    There are new packs popping up all the time and lets not forget the criteria used to constitute a pack.

    Robert, there are indeed new packs being identified, and likewise there are packs that disappear, or are killed off by the government. You must read reports of the Yellowstone wolves where packs appear and packs disappear.

    There needs to be more than 6 wolves and it must have at least two pups that survive past December to be listed as a pack.
    Do you actually believe that there are no smaller packs of wolves running this state that number 6 or less?

    The definition you give is not that of a pack, but of the more restrictive (harder to come by, “breeding” pair). A breeding pair is a mated pair of wolves both of which live until the end of the year in which they had pups, and at least two pups survive that period as well.

    There is reason to think that packs are overcounted in Idaho. That is because many of these groups of wolves are only seen once during the year, and during the summer packs often split into hunting or traveling groups that look like they could be packs. Consider this. Let’s say there is a pack of 15 wolves. During a day when aerial observations are good the pack is split into one group of 4, one of 6 and one of 5. They are separated by 3-5 miles. It is likely that the observers turn in a count of 2 or 3 packs, not the correct figure — one.

    Just how many wolves do you people want?

    I often hear this. Why do you think it is a sensible question? An answerable one is how many wolves will an area sustain without significantly reducing the population of its prey? The first questions is a normative one. The second one is an empirical one.

    I guess a deal is a deal only when it’s in your favor. These Wolves need to be delisted now so we can manage them accordingly.

    I don’t think that “we” are going to be managing them accordingly, or any other way. Who is “we,” and why should they be trusted? Ralph Maughan

  28. Tim Z. Avatar
    Tim Z.

    “Ron is a bit out there but he’s passionate about what he believes in.”

    Passionate? IMHO anyone who is consumed by such hatred for anything, especially something as simple as an animal species is mentally ill.

  29. be Avatar

    Ron Gillette is honest ~ not about the particulars of wolves etc. ~ but he’s honest about a wider than we’d like to believe visceral feeling towards wolves. the fact that he represents a willing and honest public flare-up of this volition is fortunate for those who wish to understand one host of this mentality. i think that it is present to a larger degree, if less vociferous, and that this threat to wolves may not be effective at killing every last wolf ~ but it will certainly obstruct the wolves persistence in a context of its own.

    they may leave 104 wolves ~ but there will be very few that are teleologically persistent.

  30. Buffaloed Avatar

    I looked at a spreadsheet today showing how Ron used to figure out how many wolves there would be. He used some assumptions that were just as whako as he is and according to those there should be 2.4 million wolves in Idaho today. I guess he’s moderated a little bit.

  31. Robert Wiley Avatar
    Robert Wiley

    I know for a fact Wolves are not over counted at all. If anything they are severly undercounted especially once you consider the criteria used to constitute an actual pack.

    Some of my friends have run into packs of Wolves that are in an area where F&G says there are no documented packs and none of the wolves that were spotted were collared.
    Ed Bangs said all the available habitat that was suitable for Wolves was inhabited by the Federaly Introduced mutts three years ago when we had 500 estimated Wolves.

    Now they will admit to 800. I think it’s closer to 1200-1500.
    F&G can’t even get an honest accurate count on deer and elk. How do you expect them to count Wolves?
    They are more than likely using the same liberal estimating model they use to estimate big game populations to count Wolves.

    “Just how many wolves do you people want?

    “I often hear this. Why do you think it is a sensible question? An answerable one is how many wolves will an area sustain without significantly reducing the population of its prey? The first questions is a normative one. The second one is an empirical one.”

    That’s a cheap, easy way out of an answer.

    To answer your reply I’ll counter with the “FACT” that this recovery and introduction has been a total success by all measures that were in place and agreed upon by all parties involved prior to this introduction.
    Now that this introduced wolf segment population has met and FAR EXCEEDED all the recovery goals of the previously agreed upon State Management and USFWS plans I ask you again.

    Just how many Wolves do you want?

    Wolves will be killed here in Idaho. They are being killed as we speak. Wildlife services will kill all the wolves they feel they need to.
    I could really care less about them one way or the other.
    I don’t mind Wolves. What I don’t like is the tricky underhanded B.S. the Wolf Supporters are pulling just because it hurts their poor little bleeding hearts that Wolves are going to be managed and controlled as per the management plans that were approved by the USFWS.

    Like I said earlier a deal is a deal only when it’s in your favor.

  32. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    You pretty much repeated what you wrote the first time. I won’t go over all of this again. I will emphasize this, species recovery is supposed to be permanent, and the species recovered is supposed to be in sufficient numbers that it plays its role in the ecosystem.

    This so-called “deal” was not for 300 wolves in 3 states. I don’t think anyone made such a deal, anyway. USFWS said 10 breeding pairs well distributed over the 3 state area. It turned out that 10 breeding pairs was well over 300 wolves. They guessed 300. They were wrong.

    Science advances, and now with input from geneticists the emerging view is that 10 breeding pairs are too few. In addition, from a genetic viewpoint the wolves don’t seem well distributed because there is almost no genetic exchange between Wyoming and Central Idaho/Western Montana.

    Who made a deal? Anti-wolf leaders never made a deal for any wolves at all and they are pushing for as few as they can get away with.

    No one made a deal. This is a made-up story that has gained some credibility from repetition.

    . . . . and I’m amused that you write “Like I said earlier a deal is a deal only when it’s in your favor.” I wasn’t involved in any decision-making or bargaining aspect of the wolf reintroduction. I’ve spent most of my conservation career working to conserve the habitat of animals like elk from unwise timber sales and bad livestock grazing practices.

  33. SAP Avatar

    I always get a kick out of all this talk about “deals,” and “you environmentalists” or “THE environmentalists.”

    I had someone telling me one time about how “sportsmen agreed to have grizzlies listed” because “the environmentalists promised there would be a hunting season.”

    I guess I never get invited to these deal-making sessions.

    I like how we talk about “the sportsmen” and “the environmentalists,” like they were the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Oakland Raiders.

  34. sal Avatar

    It would appear that Idaho anti-wolf folks seem to rely heavily on fear-mongering since that’s the tactical lead the current administration promotes. It worked on Sept. 11, 2001.

    Only thing is, most folks see through that rubbish. It just isn’t covered in the corporate media very well if at all.

  35. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    That’s why blogs are so important despite their obvious defects.

  36. Dan Stebbins Avatar

    Now you got me, I’m a hunter AND an environmentalist….
    but I’m also a Steelers fan. So as you can imagine I’m thoroughly confused!!

    Sorry, I couldn’t resist!

  37. Chuck Avatar

    I am a hunter and also an environmentalist and can’t stand football….just following Dan’s lead here

  38. Robert Wiley Avatar
    Robert Wiley

    What makes you think that this completely recovered non essential experimental population of Wolves are in any danger of falling below the levels set and accepted by the USFWS Northern Rocky Mountain Recovery Plan?

    This plan states that once 10 breeding pairs per area or thirty breeding pairs total for a minimum period of three consecutive years has been achieved Wolves will be eligible for delisting.
    Here’s a link for anyone that has not actually read the plan.


    There seems to have been some big holes in your knowledge from the beginning, and I can see part of the problem. You posted a link to the 1987 wolf recovery plan.

    When you have read some more and actually know about the reintroduction recovery plan, you might have the status to talk about honesty. I suggest too that you read about conservatism and liberalism (from a book about political philosophy) before you decide to educate us about those ideologies. Ralph Maughan

    We have well over 100 breeding pairs here in Idaho and well over 100 packs.
    Idaho alone has at leat 3 times the amount of Wolves that the entire tri state area was supposed to support.
    Science does advance and this plan is already etched in stone. The specifics were set and now your side want’s to change the rules.
    That really doesn’t surprise me one bit.
    Pro Wolf people are dishonest as the day is long.
    Good science based management is being thrown aside because of some bleeding hearts and the dispicable liberal Judges that reside in the 9th and 10th circuit court of appeals.

    I can’t wait for these Wolves to be delisted and in the mean time Wildlife Services will just keep killing Wolves that continously get in trouble.

  39. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    This thread is now closed.

    Ralph Maughan, webmaster


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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