Idaho hopes to target Lolo wolves

Officials will seek federal permission to kill wolves to protect Clearwater elk herd-

Story by Jason Kauffman. Idaho Mountain Express Staff Writer.

The story says this will be a multi-year effort because new wolves will quickly move in to replace the wolves killed. This raises the question, why would this happen if wolves have killed most of the elk?  Wolves are not vegetarians.

I notice the story refers to “Idaho could be losing as much as $24 million annually in hunting-related revenue due to wolves’ killing deer and elk, the report states.”

This is only one part of Idaho. Earlier I wrote the following comments about the report mentioned above.
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This is the most simplistic analysis. Idaho Fish and Game assumes that every elk killed by a wolf is 1/5 fewer elk for hunters (they assume a 20% hunter success rate).1. Wolf predation can be both additive or compensatory. Idaho Fish and Game is assuming it is all additive. This is known to be false. Compensatory predation is when is wolf kills an animal that would have died regardless before spring calving.

2. It is also well known that in many areas wolves almost stop hunting on their own during human hunting season. The gut piles are much more attractive to them. Moreover, wolves take down the wounded animals. Most of these would die without predation.

3. With outfitters telling how wolves have killed all the elk, beginning in about 1998 when there were not very many wolves in Idaho, with Idaho Fish and Game now joining the poormouthing chorus, is it any wonder elk tag sales are down? The numbers in a state could actually be up, but if the outfitters and the state wildlife agency says, “the hunting in our state has gone to hell,” what do they expect?




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  1. Jon Way Avatar

    This article has many flaws.
    For one, it is plain bad science to “gathering data to support the planned kill.” Science is supposed to look for a trend not support a preconceive trend.
    2) What about all of the wildlife watching associated with wolves. Not included there.
    3) Hunting numbers are spiraling downwards so the trends (elk hunters in 1998 vs. now) should not be surprising….

  2. Ryan Avatar

    Less elk, less sucess rate, less hunters.. Pretty simple if you ask me. As far as the money that come from wolf watchers specifically to LoLo area, I would bet its minimal as it is a remote area.
    The trend of declining Elk popultaions in the Lolo zone have been proven by years of population surveys. (all availiable on the idfg website)
    On the same hand the money that hunters spend in that area is excessive in comparison. The 127.00 a day quoted is on the low side as most hunting in that area is outfitted, horseback hunting, or back packing all expensive means of hunting. (I would guess a 2-300 dollar a day avg expenditure)

    As for brians comments in that article. There is very little if any public lands ranching in that area as it is a federally designated wilderness area.

    I guess I fail to see what all the uproar is about because as soon as they are delisted the state will do this legally without any federal oversite. I guess the better question is how many wolves is enough wolves at what point do you feel that populatiuon controls should be put into affect to protect all user groups?

  3. Brian Ertz Avatar


    The reporter took my quote from a previous AP article last week in which I was asked by a different reporter to comment on the report in general across the state. This sort of thing is not uncommon. I wouldn’t have mentioned public land livestock grazing regarding this planned slaughter

    Jason, if you’re reading – you know our number… Next time, please take the time 😉

    P.S. I’m probably not the best person to call regarding wolves ~ I’m not privy to the wolf coalition’s talking points – except from what i understand, mentioning the livestock industry is not high on the priority.

  4. Ryan Avatar

    I’m not privy to the wolf coalition’s talking points – except from what i understand, mentioning the livestock industry is not high on the priority.


    I think that the (and I’m not sure which coalition your refering to so I am assuming the anti) dont put as much stock in the public lands ranching threats because they have been going on for the last 100yrs + and elk and deer herds have increased in that time despite public land ranching. Where as in localized places elk, deer, and moose numbers have significantly fallen since wolf reintroduction.

  5. Karen Avatar

    Was going to go to Idaho this summer. Drop some dough as a visitor, maybe even that dreaded word tourist. Given that there will be four of us, we’ll definitely spend more than $127/day. Prefer to see my money spent on communities that take balanced approaches. Based on my research about Idaho’s attitude to wolf management (reach the conclusion first, then find the science to support it), Idaho isn’t one of those communities. Therefore, we’ll spend our dollars somewhere else.


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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