Researcher: Yellowstone wolves distinct

With influence by humans not a factor, packs have older, experienced hunters-

The wolves of Yellowstone Park are different than other wolves (even though they all originated some generations ago from Alberta or British Columbia). The reason is lack of human-caused mortality.

Doug Smith of Yellowstone Park spoke of this Thursday (story in Billings Gazette) to a capacity crowd at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center. Hey, that’s in Cody, WY!




  1. Layton Avatar

    No — No — No!!!

    Tell me it isn’t so!! I thought ALL wolves were the same. Isn’t that what they said when the wolves from Canada were brought to Idaho??? 8)

  2. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    Layton, they did not say that they were a different subspecies, they said the behavior was different. Animals found in different areas behave differently. Wolves in India compete with predators such as tigers, leopards, and dholes so they probably hunt different prey, hunt at different times of the day and have differences in pack structure. Wolves in Wisconsin hunt white-tailed deer more so they probably have smaller packs then wolves in the Northern Rockies. Arctic wolves are adept at hunting musk oxen. However, they are all the same species.
    They also mention that the population may have hit a high point in the northern range and elk and wolf populations may stabilize. Perhaps that will be the case in your neck of the woods too.

  3. Layton Avatar


    Saw your comment on the helicopter thread.

    I thought perhaps the most telling part of what Mr. Smith was quoted as saying in the article cited by this thread was the following.

    “”How wolves function in this tri-state area is very different from how they function in the far north of Canada,” said Doug Smith, the biologist in charge of the Yellowstone Wolf Project.”

    This is a LOT of what people that don’t necessarily buy what the “reintroductionists” did with the intro of wolves from Canada into Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana have been saying.

    We DID have “native” wolves here – In Idaho at least — before wolves were released in 1995. Even some of the more rabid “for wolves” people agree on this. They were thought to act quite differently from those that were released.

    To overcome the hurdle of dumping these new wolves into my state, on top of the “native” wolves that were here, the argument was used that wolves here were the same as anywhere else.

    Now I find it amusing that some of the arguments that were used by opponents of the “re” introduction, are being cited by biologists studying wolves in Yellowstone.

    By the way, college level texts have even been changed in recent years — AWAY from calling wolves in some places different subspecies. IMHO money talks — everywhere. Even in the hallowed halls of academia!!

    I didn’t reply because it isn’t going to change any one’s mind anyway — the old “beating a dead horse” scenario. Plus maybe I just wanted to stir the pot a bit. 8)

  4. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    I didn’t.
    Of course I have been doing this for 30 + years so what do I know.

  5. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    As one of the more rabid pro-wolfies (I like your word) I do agree that wolves did exist in the tri-state area before reintroduction. The wolves that were there were dispersers and did not have a viable population. I don’t see how wolves that were hunting the same prey (even not using the subspecies argument) in Canada could behave too much differently in Idaho. Plus you have to figure that probably all those original wolves from reintroduction are dead and so their offspring have adapted wholly to life in Idaho.
    I did not know that college texts have been changed, but also the definition of subspecies has changed as well. It was one thought there were close to 30 subspecies of wolves in the US. More research has shown that not that many do exist. You are right that money does talk everywhere, and I think especially in the halls of academia, which are probably not so hallowed.
    No, you are not going to change my mind but I do like when people make me think. And sometimes I like stirring the pot as well. 🙂

  6. Layton Avatar

    Jeff E.

    You didn’t what?? Sorry, I don’t understand what you mean.

  7. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Yes, there were a few wolves prexisting the reintroduction in Idaho and, of course, in Montana.

    The fact that the wolves originated from the same stock now show such wide differences in pack structure after just 14 years, tells us how the interaction between the canid and the prey is more important than genetic makeup.

    If the preexisting handful of wolves in Idaho were somehow genetically different than the wolves captured several hundreds miles north and released in Idaho and Yellowstone, the quick behavioral evolution observed shows how irrelevant the argument is over the mythic Canadian wolf.

    If the few preexisting wolves were genetically different, and I doubt they were, it didn’t matter as far as ecology goes.

  8. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    “We DID have “native” wolves here – In Idaho at least — before wolves were released in 1995. Even some of the more rabid “for wolves” people agree on this.”
    I didn’t

  9. Layton Avatar

    Which part don’t you agree with Jeff E. ?

    That the wolves we had here were “native”? Or that we had wolves here??

  10. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    they are all native.

  11. jburnham Avatar

    This is such a silly argument, if the reintroduced wolves were a different subspecies, then what are the differences? The only reputed difference I ever hear about is that the reintroduced wolves were giant 180 lb monsters, and that is demonstrably false. There’s a link here somewhere with the weights of all the reintroduced wolves.

    Beyond that, I don’t believe for a second that the different species argument is sincere. It’s just an attempt to de-legitimatize reintroduction by those who oppose it.

  12. bob jackson Avatar
    bob jackson

    Before the wolf reintroduction I would hear a wolf occassionally in the Delta area of the Se arm of Yellowstone Lake. It went on for several years and I always heard it at night coming from the open window of my Cabin Ck. patrol cabin. One time I crawled out of bed and did a howl back from the porch. It howled back from way out in the Delta.

    It was always one howl (one animal…but I think it was more than just a passing wolf as it happened several times over the adjoining years) and I never saw the tracks. It did come from the area of the resident elk herd.

    I had good communications with the biologists and let the biologists know…. and they sent folks to investigate. They didn’t hear it, but the answer I got was “even though it was a wolf here how many more years before there would ever be a wolf pack?”. I agreed with that logic. And still do.

    There was one pack sighted just north of the Park (five to seven different tracks a couple years before the release but they were never seen again. My assessment is there could be any number of sightings but without the focus on keeping those wolves and all the public relations to go with it, there wasn’t much of a chance that wolves would ever take hold in Yellowstone. just too many “killer” types surrounding the Park.

    I agree with Ralph that the environment is more important than the pure genetics. all one has to do is read Laura Ingells Wilders acount of the big…and I mean BIG buffalo wolves that trotted along the side of her dad. All he could do was hold his horse from running.

    That, from experience, can be very very difficult. The closest I ever came from being hurt on a horse was from a wolf spooking out from behind a scrubby high alpine tree (from 3′ away) …with the wind blowing the ground snow wildly. Try staying on a bucking horse while it is going down a steep incline….or even trying to get off a bucking horse in this kind of situation. the wolves do make for a wildness …even the one I would hear from the window of Cabin Ck. Cain in the night prior to the “reintroduction”.

  13. pointswest Avatar

    Wasn’t a dead wolf found near the road near Idaho Springs, Colorado with a radio collar that was from one of the Yellowstone Packs and another wolf killed this year in central Idaho from a Yellowstone pack? Wolves get around. How could have genetic isolation occurred between Yellowstone wolves and Canadian wolves when wolves can so easily relocate 300 or 400 miles in just a couple of years?

  14. pointswest Avatar

    I thought the story of Idaho wolves was that six were released in Northern California sometime in the late 70’s but all left. A few of the six were later discoverd to be in central Idaho. Some other wolves in northern Idaho were thought to have migrated down from Canada at about the same time. I think I saw a wolf in northern Idaho in about 1981 and reported it to the F&G. More wolves migrated to Idaho after they were released in Yellowstone in the mid-90s.

  15. Dan Mottern Avatar
    Dan Mottern

    In 1990, the father of one of my high school classmates saw a wolf in the northern reaches of the Clearwater drainage around what is called the Floodwood. He asked me then if I had ever heard of wolves in Northern Idaho and I said “no.” He said he thought it had to have been a wolf because it was so much larger than any coyote he had ever seen and it was colored differently. I believed him then and still do now because it was before all this wolf crap started and he was/is a very reputable man.

  16. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    Wolves do disperse huge distances, but two or three in an area is not a viable population.

  17. pointswest Avatar

    My sighting in 1981 was in the North Fork of the Clearwater drainage. Rumors had been floating around that wolves had returned to Idaho from Canada. Mine was not the only sighting. It was a pretty clear sighting and I had been hunting since the very day I turned 12. It was a wolf. It was only one wolf. It was running down the road ahead of me and then veered off to the left and up a bank into the trees. I was not looking for wolves…I was just on a fishing trip or something with my girlfriend. But I remember that it was already widely believed that the wolves had returned to Idaho by this time. I was attending UofI and knew many forrestry and wildlife majors…was roomates with a couple.

    I guess there were also wolves released in 1995 in the Frank…everyone here probably knew that.

    But I also remember reading a story that 6 were released in California and then all left, most coming to Idaho…one or two were believed to havd died. I believe it was at about the same time as my sighting…late 70’s or early 80’s.

    Can anyone else remember reading this story about the 6 California wolves?

  18. pointswest Avatar

    “Wolves do disperse huge distances, but two or three in an area is not a viable population.”

    But prior to settlement of the west, they were able to disperse their genes over wide areas. It seems very unlikely to me that there is any genetic difference between the wolves that came from Alberta to those that were previously in Yellowstone.

    In order to get speciation, you need some large barrier to separate populations (I listened to my wildlife roomates in college) like a large mountain range or very dry desert. The wolves could move up and down the Great Plains of the US and Canada and so there was never speciation.

    Since some individual wolves do move from one pack to another, the genes always get spread around. Since individual wolves can easily relocate several hundred miles, there would probably not be any noticble genetic variation over vast areas such as the western US and western Canada combined.

  19. Layton Avatar

    Interesting — they can disperse hundreds of miles and distribute genes along the way — BUT one of the arguments for returning them to the endangered listing is supposedly that they CAN’T do just that. Wow!!

    Don’t know about these six California wolves, but I do know that in the early 80’s (maybe late 70’s) there was the case of an Ontario, Oregon taxidermist and a couple of non-resident guys that got arrested for killing several (I think three) wolves in Bear Valley and trying to get the hides processed. I think Ralph remembers that one.

    Also, in October of 1978 myself and another hunter were chasing elk on Profile Summit between Yellowpine and Big Creek. We were on horse back and went through an outfitter’s camp where several hunters from Minn. were.

    One of the guys was complaining that he had spent the night awake, keeping wolves off of an elk that he had shot. We very learnedly told him that there WERE no wolves in Idaho — he responded that he was from wolf country, knew what they looked and sounded like and that we DID have wolves in Idaho.

    Profile summit is actually pretty close to Bear Valley if you could go cross country.

  20. pointswest Avatar

    “Wolves do disperse huge distances, but two or three in an area is not a viable population.”

    Maybe this was meant in the context that a wolf sighting here and a wolf sighting there does not mean much since it may only be a single roving wolf that has moved into an area.

  21. pointswest Avatar

    “BUT one of the arguments for returning them to the endangered listing is supposedly that they CAN’T do just that. Wow!!”

    Things are different now…I was talking about wolves prior to settlement of the West and the differnces in genetics between the original wolves in Yellowstone and the new wolves transplanted from Alberta. I think, however, wolves could travel between Yellowtone and central Idaho today. I think a motivated wolf could travel 50 miles in a single night. I think it is prudent for courts to error on the side of caution, however.

    “he responded that he was from wolf country, knew what they looked and sounded like and that we DID have wolves in Idaho”

    Yes…I had heard there were always wolves in nearby Chamberline Basin and have no problem believing it. For those who don’t know where this is, it is the area between Big Creek, the South Fork of the Salmon, the Main Salmon, and the Middle Fork of the Salmon. It is a large 40 mile by 40 mile area that is probably the most pristine wilderness in the 48 states. There was little mining and never any roads. Due to the deep canyons surrounding it, it was so hard to get to, there was little hunting there. I cannot think of a reason why wolves would have have left this area. Most of Chamberline Basin is green forested hills or woodlands, with elevations of six or seven thousands feet with the surrounding canyons that drop to below three thousand feet. It was always famous for it abundance of elk. There were never any people, except a very few guides, to kill wolves. I think most of it is too remote for cattle.

    With the way wolf population sprang back in Idaho, it seems likely there were several thriving packs in Idaho prior to the 1995 release into the Frank. I think you could challenge doubters to prove that there were NOT wolves in Chamberlin Basin. Why would there NOT be wolves there?

  22. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    There were no wolf packs discovered in Idaho during the year long search before reintroduction.

    I wrote the following as my introduction for my Idaho wolf history at

    The Idaho wolf reintroduction was less of a national issue-

    The reintroduction of the wolf to central Idaho was overshadowed in the mind of the public by the greater prominence of the Yellowstone wolf restoration project. Yellowstone is the world first national park, and it gets about three million visitors each year. The bigger backcountry of central Idaho is mostly roadless, a large portion is designated as wilderness by Congress, it is less visited, and so it is not as famous.

    The complication of possible wild wolves already living in Idaho-
    There was less support from Idaho conservationists for an Idaho reintroduction than for Yellowstone because there was good evidence that wild wolves were already migrating into Idaho. From time-to-time such wolves had been photographed, one wolf had even been given a radio collar, and another showed up dead, possibly killed by a rancher. There was no conclusive evidence, however, that any of these wolves had ever formed a pack that had produced pups. Official, i.e., government estimates, were that it would take about five more years before enough wolves migrated to Idaho to make pack formation likely. Here is an article from the Idaho Falls Post Register summarizing the existence of pre-reintroduction wolves in Idaho.

    Whether a “native” population of wolves existed prior to the reintroduction became critical with the federal judge’s ruling on Dec. 12, 1997, ordering the removal of the “experimental population” reintroduced wolves in Idaho and in Yellowstone because he said the reintroduction was contrary to section 10j of the Endangered Species Act, although in reality all the wolves in Idaho in 1995-6, reintroduced or not, originated directly or indirectly from Canada. They came to Idaho either directly through release or indirectly to NW Montana and then to Idaho.

    As an Idahoan who followed the subject closely, I found a disturbing pattern before the reintroduction — reports of wolves usually ended shortly after the media announced where the wolf or wolves had been spotted. I felt it was possible, even likely, that someone had searched out the wolf and killed it. I also became convinced that in order to give the Idaho wolf population a “jump start,” to promote good genetic diversity in an Idaho wolf population, and also to catch or deter wolf killers (the wolves would all be radio-collared), a reintroduction was a necessity.

    Some environmentalists were concerned that since all wolves inside the designated wolf reintroduction areas would be regarded as members of an “experimental, non-essential population” [section 10j of the Endangered Species Act], legal protection of any existing Idaho (“native”) wolves would therefore be weakened. Indeed, it was true that the tiny population of Idaho wolves did have (on paper) the full protection of the Endangered Species Act (not that anyone at the time had ever been apprehended or prosecuted for violating the ESA by killing a wolf). I admit that I found this argument convincing for a while — that reintroduced, section 10j wolves, would have less protection than those that would arrive by natural in-migration. Subsequent developments quickly changed my mind because in the real world Idaho the reintroduced wolves turned out to have just as much, and just as little protection, as the “native” wolves did. Some conservationists, like some judges, assume that laws and rules will be enforced as they are written.

  23. pointswest Avatar

    For Google Earth fans, here is a “path” kmz file that follows the traditional boundries of Chamberlain Basin along the surrounding canyons.

    Unlike most wilderness, Chamberlain basis was not preserved because it is high and rugged. It was preserved because it is surrounded by deep and treacherously steep canyons and roads were never built into it. It is of moderate elevation and is rolling and gentle country…except on the fringes. Unlike the Yankee Fork country to the south, there was not much mining during the goldrush years so there was never a time when peope were in the area to kill wolves. It is a large area. It was one of the last areas to be preserved because timber interest had their eye on the rolling hills covered with timber and wanted to log it. It was not ecomical to build roads into the area, however, until the late 60’s or 70’s when the conservation movement was in full swing and it was too late. I doubt there was ever much grazing in Chamberlain Basin since it would have been very difficult to move livestock in and out of the area. Maybe someone can correct me on this but I do not believe you could get truck within 50 miles of Chamberline Creek. This has to be some of the most remote and unaccessable country in the lower 48 states, even though Chamberlain Basin itself is a gentle country of hills and meadows and of a temperate climate. Take a look in Google Earth…

  24. pointswest Avatar

    Well…you cannot prove a negative. I think some official finding that there were not wolves is only a finding with a finite degree of cetainty. Also, official findings are notorius for being subject to uterior motives. Chamberlain Basin is an area nearly the size of Yellowstone Park. Can someone prove there was not a wolf pack or two in Chamberlain Basin because there was no official sighting? I think we will never know. I would sure like to hear from some packers or outfitters that worked in Chamberlain Basin in the 60’s or 70’s. All I ever heard were rumors.

    Why did Idaho suddenly have more wolves than Montana and Wyoming combined?

  25. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    Interesting — they can disperse hundreds of miles and distribute genes along the way — BUT one of the arguments for returning them to the endangered listing is supposedly that they CAN’T do just that. Wow!!

    I think the argument is more that they have not done it then that they can’t do it. Anyone who knows anything about wolves knows that they can disperse huge distances. There just hasn’t been proof of genetic exchange. It will happen if all states involved are responsible in their wolf managements.

    Maybe this was meant in the context that a wolf sighting here and a wolf sighting there does not mean much since it may only be a single roving wolf that has moved into an area.

    That’s exactly what I meant pointswest. Like the wolf sighting in Walden, CO in 2006 (I believe).

  26. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Wolf dispersal and recovery based on a small population doesn’t work.

    Look at the poor wolves of Isle Royale. Every one of them now has an obvious genetic defect. They are doomed.

  27. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    Idaho didn’t suddenly have more wolves than MT and WY combined.

    Look at the growth charts. Idaho soon pulled ahead and stayed that way.

  28. JB Avatar


    You are exactly right about the differential protection of 10j vs. “naturally repopulating” wolves. The reality is that even without 10j status wolves would’ve been subject to some control. Either there would’ve been more illegal killings, no enforcement/penalties, or some additional legislation would’ve been passed. The reintroductions put wolves back sooner rather than later, which was a good thing.

  29. pointswest Avatar

    All legal wrangling of 10j aside…

    “In addition to the spectacular elk herds, the [Chamberlain] basin boasted significant wildlife communities of mountain lions, bighorn sheep, deer, marten, falcon, lynx, wolverines, and even timber wolves.”

    Page 208
    The Conversion of Senator Frank Church: Evolution of an Environmentalist
    by Sara Dant Ewert
    Ph.D. Diss, Washington State University. 2000

    I think it gives Idaho additional “cool” factor that parts are so remote that the wolves were never wiped out. 🙂

  30. pointswest Avatar

    American Association for the Advancement of Science, HighWire Press, JSTOR (Organization) – Education – 1930

    “It includes the Chamberlain Basin, the center of some of the best big game hunting … such as mountain lions, wolves and bears are frequently encountered.”

  31. Layton Avatar

    Chamberlain Basin,

    First of all pointswest, it isn’t nearly as large OR remote as you think it is.

    “Maybe someone can correct me on this but I do not believe you could get truck within 50 miles of Chamberline Creek.”

    Chamberlain creek — as I recall — is just over the hill from Mackay Bar. It drains into the main Salmon at Elkhorn Bar.

    From Mackay Bar to the Chamberlain Guard Station is about 15 miles as the crow flies — probably 20 miles by trail. From the landing strip at Big Creek to the same guard station is about 17 miles — maybe 25 or even 30 by trail.

    I can drive my truck to either Mackay Bar or Big Creek– in fact I did drive to Mackay Bar over Labor Day. Chamberlain is big – yes – but to compare it to Yellowstone is not very valid. Yellowstone is probably 20 or 30 times as big.

    Mackay Bar used to run hunting camps in Chamberlain, they quit about seven or eight years ago, because, according to the guides, all they were seeing was “elk bones and wolf tracks.”

    I understand that this year the new owner of Mackay Bar is trying to run a FEW trips, but on an experimental basis. The new guides don’t think it will work. I talk to the guides because I do some guiding for fishermen in the area.

    The quotes that you cite are waaaaaayyy outdated and pretty romantisized (sp?) to boot.

  32. pointswest Avatar

    I just measured the size of Chamberlain Basin with the “ruler” on Google Earth. It is about 45 X 30 miles. Yellowstone is 50 X 60 miles. I guess Yellowstone is twice as big but Chamberlain Basin is still very big. Where are you getting Yellowstone being 25 times larger? It is part of the Frank, and the Frank is larger than Yellowstone…2.4 million acres vs 2.2 million.

    You can get cattle trucks into Mackay Bar? I have not been into Mackay Bar but the road looks terrible. Down dozens of switch backs a steep 3500 feet into the bottom of the canyon. Also, we are talking about the era when it was legal to graze before it was protected as wilderness…the 60’s and early 70’s. You could take 18-wheelers or 2-ton trucks into Mackay Bar on the roads of 1970? Then what, they herd the thousands of cattle across Main Salmon on the foot bridge and then up the trail of 5000 feet of vertical switchbacks into the basin? I don’t know….?

    They might get cattle trucks into Big Creek. I have been in there. The long, long road in through Yellowpine is not to bad of a road today, but what was it like in 1970? Also, Big Creek is a mountain range or two away from Chamberlain Basin.

    I do not know for certain but I doubt there was any large scale grazing in Chamberlain Basin. Chamberlain Basin is over a million acres. It is half the size of Yellowstone.

    Due to its size and remoteness, Chamberlain Basin was always a very expensive place to hunt. It was very hard to get in and out of unless you flew into one of the air strips there. But air transportation of people and supplies always made it an expensive place to hunt and kept the number of outfitters down. It has probably been regulated since the wilderness area went in. In the 60’s or 70’s, there was plenty of great hunting in the areas around Chamberlain Basin that are better served by roads. Central Idaho, in general, has always been very remote. There were never a lot of outfitters in Chamberlain Basin. It is one of the most untouched places in the country.

    The references to wolves I cited at least prove that many people believed there were always wolves in Chamberlain Basin and it is consistent with what I heard as a young man. We will probably never know for sure.

  33. Layton Avatar


    Just a bit of dialogue here to explain what I meant.

    I don’t know how you are measuring “Chamberlain Basin”, obviously quite differently than I do. I would consider the “basin” to be fairly long and skinny — along the drainage of Chamberlain Creek. You evidently see it in a different light.

    I didn’t say I was in a cattle truck, although I have seen some pretty large trucks in at Mackay Bar, I was in a 1 ton Dodge.

    The road up out of Mackay Bar – the way I understand it – was built to haul ore from the Painter mine (upstream from Mackay Bar) out thru Dixie to be processed. Ore trucks are usually pretty large.

    The road into Big Creek from Yellowpine is quite a bit better. I was hauling fuel to fire crews at the Big Creek landing strip when the fires were going on two years ago. I was using a 2 ton flatbed and there were no problems at all. Except the heat!!

    “Big Creek is a mountain range or two away from Chamberlain Basin.”

    Well — kinda true, again just depending on where/what you consider is the “basin”. People used to pack into Chamberlain from Big Creek, either up Ramey Ridge and down to the basin or up Mosquito Ridge and then over and down into where they hunted.

    Not trying to argue here, just thought you might want to know a bit more about the area.

  34. Ken Cole Avatar

    I talked to someone several years ago who said he was hired to do howl surveys in Chamberlain Basin in 1992 by the USFS. I don’t know the details of why they hired him for such a thing but he says that he got a response to his howling from a wolf there, a vigorous, repetitive one. When he called in on the radio and announced his findings it was not well received and something with his certification rating or something was changed so that he would be deemed less credible.

    He knew that word got out about the wolf, because he broadcast it over the radio, and he overheard talk about how one of the outfitters had done away with the wolf.

    I heard other stories about wolves in Sulphur Creek and I heard a wolf howl in the summer of 1992 at Landmark.

    Were those wolves “native wolves” or were they wolves that had dispersed from Canada? My guess is that they were probably wolves from Canada but I will never know.

    That being said, I don’t think that what Doug Smith is saying is that wolves in Yellowstone are different genetically which seems to be the argument of the anti wolf side. He is saying that they are different behaviorally because they aren’t being shot at.

  35. pointswest Avatar

    I think you are right that many people who frequent the area confine Chamberlain Basin to the Chamberlain Creek drainage. But when the area was up for consideration for preservation, they were describing that area between the South Fork, the Middle Fork, the Main Salmon, and Big Creek as Chamberlain Basin. I remember it well. It was on TV. My father and his friends who used to hunt in the area called the larger area Chamberlain Basin too. Maybe it should be called the Chamberlain Basin Area…I don’t know. But I described what I meant in an earlier post and linked the kmz file that showed exactly what I meant. It is a large and completely untouched area.

    I doubt cattle were ever in the area because of the difficultly in getting them there.

    Now, with all I have read in the past couple of days, I am convinced that the wolves never left Chamberlain Basin. People who say they were gone, have some political or legal agenda.

  36. pointswest Avatar

    Actually, people described Old Faithful and the main geyser basins as being on the Upper Yellowstone. The geyser basins are actually on the Madison River drainage and the Madison is not even a tributary to the Yellowstone. That is always the case with the west. Some areas get labled by a drainage but areas outside of that drainaged are considered part of said area.

  37. pointswest Avatar

    “He knew that word got out about the wolf, because he broadcast it over the radio, and he overheard talk about how one of the outfitters had done away with the wolf.”

    How many outfitters are in Chamberlain Basin…four or five? This area, the Chamberlain Basin Area, is over one million acres with no roads. Do you think even a dozen outfitters could have got all the wolves?

    In Yellowstone, they got them in the winter range when they were concentrated in the valleys and near roads and ranches. There were also rangers that patrolled Yellowstone in winter.

    Chamberlain Basin is a much more temperate climate and there are hundreds of miles of canyons with winter habitat. How could anyone have killed all the wolves there?


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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