Wolf population maybe declining in Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana !!

We thought the politicians said they always grew.

Wolf numbers are down compared to last year’s number with as many as 250 being killed to placate Livestock.  Whether or not wolf populations are leveling off is uncertain given this is just one year, what is certain is that this demonstrates that “explosive wolf populations” myth that is parroted is ridiculous;  Wolves are subject to population regulation including disease, carrying capacity (biological/sociological) which is unfortunately heavily diminished by sustained intolerance.

Wolf population shrinksCasper Star-Tribune

Wolf population in MT, WY, ID is decreasing or ‘static’Montana’s News Station

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Brian Ertz

19 Responses to Wolf population in MT, WY, ID is decreasing or 'static'

  1. vicki says:

    NO way! Is isn’t possible, after all, they reproduce in enless numbers! Ha, science says it all…I guess the anti-wolf crowd will try to discredit this study now.

  2. It doesn’t surprise me.

    I noted here last year that Idaho’s usual 20% growth rate had slipped to 8%. Excluding Yellowstone Park, Wyoming’s growth rate in ’07 was nearly static.

    Only Montana showed a large growth rate. Many suspected most of that was due to more intensive field observations as well as, or instead of, natural increase.

  3. Jeff says:

    Ralph, since the July 18th ruling WY has stopped updating its weekly wolf updates. Could you or someone file a FOIA request to have this info released? Just curious as my home state seems to be keeping everyone in the dark. I can’t imagine Game and Fish doesn’t have any wolf information for the past 2 months. Any thoughts on this process?

  4. Jeff,

    Something like that needs to be done about the lack of information coming from the states.

    No doubt Earth Justice and others understand this. I hope to get more info when I get back to Pocatello, ID and full access to my files.

    I’m in British Columbia right now

  5. Salle says:

    Just goes to show ya, when a politician speaks, your next stop should be “fact check central”…

  6. Brian Ertz says:

    I noted here last year that Idaho’s usual 20% growth rate had slipped to 8%.

    i remember this — but the politicians were still using those mid-year incomplete numbers (20%), even though they knew better, for their talking points after Molloy’s decision.

  7. HAL 9000 says:

    Nature regulates population growth.
    Even on the “Canadian Super-Woofs.”

  8. Jeff says:

    Thanks Ralph, we’re starting to have some beautiful fall weather here now.

  9. Barb says:

    This may be just hysterical rumor but I’ve read on some blogs that some wolf haters are trying to introduce parvo virus into the wolf populations. Could this be a possible thing to do?

  10. cobra says:

    I don’t believe a word they say. There may be fewer wolves in the areas their used to seeing them in but in North Idaho we are seeing wolf sign this year where there has never been any sign before. Since the start of archery season about 3 weeks ago myself and friends have covered a lot of country north of I-90 in the CDA River drainage and we have all seen quite a bit of wolf sign. Maybe they should get out and hike into some of the tough country and take a look for themselves before they come up with some bogus estimate on numbers. Could be like the grizzly numbers. According to some we’re not supposed to be seeing grizzlies in some of the areas we’re seeing them in.

  11. Wolves are clearly reinhabitating the Idaho Panhandle area.

    This fact is in no way a contradiction that that population growth has probably ended in the 3 state area.

    The “they” you talk about have been up in the area north of I-90 documenting wolf packs. They are included in the count. Those who document Idaho wolf packs work hard and could probably hike you guy’s butts off.

  12. Brian Ertz says:


    was it last year that you mentioned that mid-year counts were usually inflated compared to year-end counts ? I thought I remembered the mid-year counts of last year being a 20% increase in Idaho but by year-end that had decreased to 8% because of a number of variables.

    Perhaps I’m remembering wrong.

  13. Yes, I said that mid-year counts are inflated because pups are born once a year. The actual population peaks each May with all the new pups. Then it declines due to attrition until the next pup year.

    Now I’m not so sure about the estimated population size and pack numbers.

    This is because the actual counting the wolf packs proceeds slowly from May until December.

    Many packs in the deep backcountry are observed just once. So 7 wolves observed in June might actually be 4 by the end of the calendar year. This would be an overestimate of 3 wolves. A pack of 6 first seen in November is likely to be 6 at the end of the calendar year.

    Some packs are observed and recorded only indirectly by listing to howls and observing tracks. This method probably results in an underestimate too, but clearly some packs are missed entirely and others found, but after mid-year.

    An added complication is that packs are not “fully assembled” most of the summer. Pack sub-groups might, therefore, end up being counted as two or three small packs.

    Putting it all together, I’m not as ready to say mid-year is an undercount. The Idaho backcountry is so deep that all of these factors cause counting errors. There are fewer counting errors in Montana and even fewer counting errors in Wyoming with its open country and fairly small number of wolves.

    Therefore, I’d say Idaho mid-year and end-of-year is the least accurate and Wyoming the most.

  14. JB says:

    “I don’t believe a word they say.”

    I think you may have meant to say, “I don’t believe a word they say, unless what they say could be construed to support the killing of more wolves.”

  15. cobra says:

    First off, JB you don’t know me so don’t think you can try to tell me what I thought I meant to say.If I mean to say something I’ll say it and won’t beat around the bush about it. Ralph don’t be so ,sure about those guys or gals being able to hike our butts off, we’re not the hunters that you and some of the others think are typical, we actually get out and hunt hard covering many miles a day in some real nasty country, and we drink water while hunting, and pick up garbage from the others that seem to give hunters a bad name. We are consistently successful year after year, and the reason is that we actually work at it. I am however glad to hear that they are out there actually getting out in the woods and checking things out rather than just driving the roads looking for scat.

  16. JB says:

    “First off, JB you don’t know me so don’t think you can try to tell me what I thought I meant to say.If I mean to say something I’ll say it and won’t beat around the bush about it.”

    Fair enough. I think your statement still deserves clarification: do you really mean that you really “don’t believe a word” that IDF&G says, or simply that you don’t believe that wolf populations have stabilized?

    If the former, I suggest that this is a rather radical position to adopt. I’m skeptical of IDF&G myself, but not that skeptical. If the latter, I would argue that because of the controversy regarding wolves in the West, wolf populations there have been monitored extremely closely. My point: wolf estimates should be pretty damn good. But believe whatever you want, it is a free country…well, mostly anyways.

  17. cobra says:

    I have a hard time believing that the population is stabile or declining. We are seeing a lot more activity in the north than in previous years. That may be because of higher populations in other areas starting to even out because some pack members are finding new grounds so thereare less in the other areas, I don’t know. I do know by talking to my friends that cover a lot of ground north of I-90 that there is a lot more sign now than previous years. As far as IDF&G goes I’m really looking at what they have posted as areas where wolves have been sited and they are really missing the boat in some areas up north. I know their resources are limited so they can’t possibly be everywhere. I suppose I have the same attitude about f & g as some others do and with some reason. I remember when I would get checked in the field or on the water by a warden that I actually looked forward to talking to them and they seemed to like being questioned about different subjects in their field, they were good guys. Seems like now though a lot of them have a chip on their shoulder and are out to get you. I know some people that they have to deal with can’t be easy but they would get a lot better reaction from people if they could take it down a notch making it a friendly encounter first and business second. Not all are jerks, there are still some good wardens but being nice in the feild to people sure would go a long way in personal relations and how they are perceived, just a thought.

  18. Cobra,

    Did you read my comment?

  19. Jay says:


    How about getting on their website and reporting all that wolf activity? If you don’t bother to report wolf sign, how would they possibly know?


September 2008


‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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