Wisconsin wolf population stops growing

537 to 564 wolves at the end of 2007 versus 540 and 577 wolves at the end of 2006. Story in the Chicago Tribune.DNR: Wis. wolf population could be leveling off.” By The Associated Press.

It’s what everyone should expect. Every animal population reaches a peak. Idaho’s wolf population growth slowed greatly in 2007, but the state and the US Fish and Wildlife Service haven’t bothered to mention this critical data. It slowed from 20% to 8.5%.  Wyoming’s wolf population growth slowed similarly, but all the news was about the 34% increase in wolves counted in Montana.

Instead Idaho Fish and Game Commission has started to play number games. You may have read yesterday that there are 1000 wolves in Idaho. They are counting estimated pups just born. This has never been done before and every biologist knows the valid wolf population is that at the end of the year because many pups do not survive. Pup survival rate in Yellowstone has been as low as 30%.

Idaho Fish and Game’s wolf hunt rules issued yesterday are based on a continued 21% growth rate in the wolf population. Here, once again, they are in violation of the delisting rules — wolf population counts at the wrong time of the year.



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  1. Wyo Native Avatar
    Wyo Native

    Very interesting Ralph.

    As for Wyoming though, wouldn’t it be fair to state that inside YNP the wolf population did increase by 26%, and outside of the it only increase by an estimated 7%.

    The reason there is only 7% increase outside of YNP can be directly reflected on the 30% increase of “Managed” wolves (63) in 2007. If the USFWS would not have managed the 63 wolves outside of YNP the population outside of YNP would have increased by approximatly 35-40% in 2007.

    Yes, you are correct about Wyoming. Wyoming politicians do, however, include the YNP figures to give the impression the wolf population is growing like crazy everywhere in the state. Ralph

  2. Buffaloed Avatar

    Yes, the YNP population did increase this one year back to the peak it was a few years ago before the dramatic failure of pup survival due to disease.

    In one year the population dropped from 170± to 118 because of various factors including disease which killed most of the pups born on the Northern Range and inter-pack rivalry.

    Out of context it is easy to say that wolf populations grow rapidly but in context they often reach a maximum and hover around a particular number which depends on various factors.

    It also shows how fast a wolf population can drop as well as hover around a maximum. Ralph

  3. Catbestland Avatar

    Amazing how Nature has an auto adjust system that balances wildlife populations and has managed to do so for eons without man’s input/interference.


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