Barstool Mountain Myths: Wolves & Elk Numbers Strong Despite Dire Predictions. By Tory and Meredith Taylor.

The Taylors are longtime Wyoming outfitters. They recently retired after a long career.  It is fair to say they had a much stronger conservation viewpoint than most outfitters. Meredith, for example, joined with me and a number of other people to found the Greater Yellowstone Coalition.

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

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.

9 Responses to Barstool Mountain Myths: Wolves & Elk Numbers Strong Despite Dire Predictions

  1. jdubya says:

    This I believe. I believe in numbers, in science, in hard facts. It is nice to see an article with real numbers, with real studies, with real observations. Too many opinions in the world, not enuf facts. Thanks for this article.

    “”So from 2003 to 2005 the U.S. Geological Survey, Yellowstone National Park, and the University of Minnesota conducted an elk calf mortality study to answer the question of who’s eating what. The study showed that wolves accounted for about 12 percent of newborn calf deaths, while grizzly and black bears caused about 69 percent of recorded deaths, and coyotes killed 11 percent.”” etc, etc.

  2. Craig says:

    Grizzly bears numbers have increased especially since 2005 so that would make sense. Grizzly hunt elk calves very effectivley as do black bears.

  3. ProWolf in WY says:

    Good to see evidence supported by actual numbers. Now, can someone find one like this that addresses livestock losses?

  4. jburnham says:

    This is priceless:

    Wyoming has never been a state to let science or facts get in the way of culture, custom, and wishful thinking. Our 1880s-era political system is based on a one cow, one vote premise, and change comes hard.

  5. Rick Hammel says:

    What an excellent article!It clearly shows the “my way or the highway” mentality of the Wyoming lawmakers. I live 35 miles south of the Wyoming state line, and luckily, that syndrome has not migrated south.


  6. As an Idahoan who regularly goes to Yellowstone to photograph wolves, I contribute a few thousand each year to that $35 million in direct benefit that wolves bring to that area. I cannot fathom why the politicians in Idaho haven’t realized out how much money they are letting slip away by opposing wolves rather than advertising their presence. I would prefer to photograph Idaho wolves and keep my money in Idaho.

  7. ProWolf in WY says:

    Wyoming has never been a state to let science or facts get in the way of culture, custom, and wishful thinking. Our 1880s-era political system is based on a one cow, one vote premise, and change comes hard.

    Unfortunately you have hit the nail on the head jburnham. This affects the West badly. What I can’t figure out is why Minnesota, Michigan, and Wisconsin have not had nearly as much controversy, or at least it doesn’t seem to make the papers.

  8. Maska says:

    Perhaps it has to do with the fact that most farmers in the Upper Midwest graze their animals on private land. I imagine they are much less heavily subsidized by taxpayers than are the livestock operators in most of the West.

  9. Moose says:

    Maska’s point is valid…there is little grazing on public lands in the Upper Midwest. Also, there aren’t many big livestock operations in those areas that have wolves. Along this line….90% of the whitetail pop.s in those states reside in the lower 2/3’s of those states where there are no wolves – economics of possible reduced tags, etc. not a huge issue for the vast majority of hunters. Even in areas of wolf habitation there are a lot of deer – deer/car collisions still fill the police blotters in many small towns there. With that said, there are plenty of barstool hunters complaining about wolves decimating the deer pop.s and bear hunters pissed about losing dogs to wolves. DNR conspiracies abound among a few – ie., wolves were planted, the DNR is behind the delisting, etc.,…I happen to routinely read several outdoors reporters (hunting and fishing) for a number of newspapers in Wisc and UP, and for the most part they (Pat Durkin – Green Bay Press-Gazette, Tim Kobesiac – Escanaba Daily Press, Dave Schneider – Marquette MIning Journal) have been quite objective in countering the hyperbole, and have been very supportive of the re-emergence of the wolf there.



‎"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