Defenders of Wildife gives Montana a grant and Montana takes over wolf compensation

Here is the version of the story from the Missoulian. State set to take over wolf kill payments. By Perry Backus of the Missoulian.

“Over its 20-year history, the Defenders of Wildlife have made 276 payments to Montanans totaling more than $317,000 for 336 cattle, 689 sheep, 16 livestock dogs and 15 other animals, including mules and llamas”

$317,000 over 20 years. I read that and I am shocked at how little direct economic damage wolves have done. Some might say $317,000 is a lot of money, and yes, consider this . . . if you extrapolate, then over 200 years wolves might do over 3-million dollars damage, and 2000 years, 30-million dollars.

Defenders expects, and Montana says they will use part of the state fund to provide for new mitigation efforts that help keep wolves separated from domestic animals. This in fact might be the least cost solution, especially when social conflict is factored in.

When a popular wolf pack is terminated by the government because of minor livestock losses, and especially when there are volunteers or people that would work for expenses or a small stipend to patrol and keep wolves and livestock apart, citizens can make the killing of that pack quite costly.

Right now we stand at the brink of an era of decreasing conflict on this issue, working these problems out, or one of escalation of ill feeling. I’m not just, or even especially writing about Montana.

Addition: Montana wants to build this fund up to $5-million, which is far more than any conceivable losses from wolves given the 20-year record above. This means they should have plenty of money to employ people and techniques to keep wolves and livestock apart — fewer dead cows and sheep, and fewer dead wolves. I think a majority of people would find this to be a better solution than to have to compensate after the fact.





  1. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    When one thinks of the Montana Department of Livestock’s deliberate brutality toward bison, I find the collaboration of the Defenders of Wildlife with the DOL on wolves to be unconscionable.

  2. Dan Stebbins Avatar

    I think that the state running this program is a good idea, but considering how our DOL is run here I have to admit I’m skeptical too.
    The DOL is no better than a stockgrower mafia.

  3. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    Dollars to doughnuts this fund will end up being used to fund predator control.

  4. Concerned Avatar


    Knowing some of the principals involved in this new agency, I don’t think so, not without a fight that would be nasty…

  5. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins


    If it were Wyoming, that’s where it would go. Convince me otherwise for Montana. I’ve not noticed that the livestock industry of any western state has eschewed being nasty when it was in its interests to do so, which is most of the time.


  6. Concerned Avatar

    The key is, if that were Wyoming, the key word is…If, Montana has taken a little different stance on wolf management than both Wyoming of Idaho…time will tell, as far as convincing you, I have no chance in hell of doing that on an internet blog, so I will not attempt. You are well versed in Wyoming, I am well versed in Montana..I will leave it at that.

  7. Heather Avatar

    I think this will be one of those ideas that will get lost in the shuffle. Looks good politically, but when the money runs out the fund will die, (unless there is a mechanism to add money of course and when is that supposed to happen?). If we are turning more and more toward lethal control, there will be no need for this fund really. And with 5 livestock- invested people out of 7 on the compensation board, wont we be going toward lethal control more and more? If/when they set up a way to add money to this fund, ie yellowstone tourism $, perhaps the fund would live. Call me cynical but there is so much evidence that I have seen (from wolf mgmt meetings, you tube comments on Western Watersheds, letters to the editor in my newspaper,etc) of hostility and people chomping at the bit to hunt wolves. ‘butch otters’ everywhere. Such a Catch 22.

  8. Catbestland Avatar


    Be sure and watch the total lunar eclipse it is starting at 7:01 Mountain time. It is the last one expected for quite a few years. Enjoy.

  9. Brian Ertz Avatar

    I’d like to see the actual agreement ~ it seems really odd that a wildlife conservation org would grant its members’ resources (presumably made in trust toward the advancement/advocacy of wolves) to a board dominated by Livestock/adversarial interests without securing some level of accountability.

  10. Heather Avatar

    I’ve been watching the eclipse all night, and it is now receding, 9:19 pm my time. takes a long time! has been a beautiful show…

  11. dbaileyhill Avatar

    next eclipse—december 21, 2010

  12. Buffaloed Avatar

    At first glance I would have to say that I agree with Robert’s first comment. I don’t think that Defenders did the right thing here by giving money to the Montana Department of Livestock. Their treatment of buffalo eliminates any respect due to them. Way to go Defenders! Give the agency that has the most brutal history towards wildlife $100,000.

  13. Mack P. Bray Avatar
    Mack P. Bray

    I totally agree with Robert Hoskins and Buffaloed. Montana DOL is a brutal group of thugs doing the dirty work of livestock producers and they should not be collaborated with in any sense of the word.

    Mack P. Bray
    My opinions are my own


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Ralph Maughan