Wyoming budgets $2.5 million for wolf management

It’s just amazing from a benefit/cost standpoint (assuming wolves have no benefits).

Wolves do maybe $200,000 damage and state appropriates more than ten times that to monitor them, collar them and kill them, and of course give oh so generous reimbursement (7x) to livestock operators who are lucky enough to have a wolf kill a lamb or a calf in the trophy game area in the NW corner of the state.

Story in the Jackson Hole News and Guide.  By Cory Hatch.




  1. Maska Avatar

    Combine 7x market value reimbursement with a pathological hatred of wolves, and you have an an irresistable incentive to bait and slaughter. This will make the alleged baiting incident reported in John Dougherty’s HCN article (see Jeff N.’s post in “We must howl to Congress to keep the green fire alive”) look like child’s play.

  2. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    The political pressure to control wolves and attempt to box them up in the national parks is intense here in Wyoming. The $2.5 million appropriated for wolf management referred in the linked story from the JH News & Guide will be directed, in my professional opinion, toward the goal of aerial gunning to reduce wolves’ alleged deleterious impacts on elk herds in northwest Wyoming, most of which are still above objective and most of which are still burdened with late season cow calf hunts designed to reduce the populations to objective.

    In short, wolf control to “protect” Wyoming elk will be used as a cover to kill wolves for political and cultural reasons.

    Nothing new.

  3. Mack P. Bray Avatar
    Mack P. Bray

    From Wyoming Game & Fish’s FAQ – .pdf file: http://gf.state.wy.us/wolfinformation/wolfQ&As.pdf

    Q: I have heard that people will be able to kill wolves from airplanes. Is that true?
    A: After wolves are delisted, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department will likely use aerial gunning in some cases to remove wolves that are killing livestock. This has been
    shown to be the most effective way to remove wolves in these situations. The US Fish and Wildlife Service has used this practice extensively in Wyoming to assist livestock
    owners that may be experiencing losses from wolves. However, the public will not be able to kill wolves from airplanes within the Trophy Game area. Members of the public could be issued a permit by the Wyoming Department of Agriculture to use aircraft to remove wolves within the Predatory Animal area to protect livestock.

    Q: Will it be legal to kill wolves by poisoning them in Wyoming?
    A: Poisoning is not a legal method to take wolves within the Trophy Game area. Wolves within the Predatory Animal area may be taken by the use of poison only in compliance
    with applicable Environmental Protection Agency and state statutes and regulations, and to the extent authorized by the surface management agency, if on public lands.

    Mack P. Bray
    My opinions are my own


  4. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    I don’t know, but the 7x payment for wolf kills might be an incentive for the beneficiary of the payment to keep the wolves alive.

    This is an very excellent return on investment in livestock.

    “Oh, give the nearby pack another chance. I think the trouble maker was a lone wolf just passing through.” 😉

  5. Maska Avatar

    Well, Ralph, you may be correct, but it really depends on whether their motivation is based in economic rationality or a pathological hatred of wolves.

  6. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    I’ve not been able to find a “scientific” justification for the 7x formula. It appears to have been suggested by an economic study on Mexican wolves, but the ratio of confirmed to unconfirmed kills was simply the ratio between confirmed kills and rancher estimates of losses to wolves.

    Given how Wyoming ranchers have never missed an opportunity to procure another subsidy from the public purse, the development of the 7x formula seems simply to follow traditional practice. It’s an addiction.

  7. barbprotectswildlife Avatar

    If you dare accuse any livestock owner of feeding at the trough, they’ll look at you as if you’re nuts.

    They need to look in the mirror. They’re so used to having their private businesses being protected from “all those bad and dangerous” animals out in the wild!

  8. TallTrent Avatar

    The 7X number seems completely arbitrary to me. I’ve had it quoted to me that “Wolves kill seven times as many cows as we find they have killed”, but nobody has ever been able to put to where that estimation has come from. Anybody seen the origin for this or is at arbitrary as I think it is?


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