Wildlife advocates irked by wolf tally next to Yellowstone

More reaction on the “unexpectedly” large number of wolf hunt kills next to Yellowstone Park-

Wildlife advocates irked by wolf tally. By Daniel Person. Bozeman Chronicle.




  1. JB Avatar

    Speaking of wolf hunts, I see the Idaho tally has reached 37. It appears that Idaho will not have a problem meeting the quota. So far we’ve had 180 zone-days of hunting (i.e. the sum of all days per zone for which wolf harvest has been available). That a harvest rate of ~.21 wolves per zone-day. If I’m doing my math correctly (which is questionable), I get roughly 1140 zone-days of hunting left. At the current harvest rate, that would equate to an additional 239 wolves killed (i.e. 1140 x 0.21). Of course, the harvest rate will decrease as wolves are eliminated and some zones are closed. Still, it looks as though the harvest quota of 220 will be easily attained.

  2. Cris Waller Avatar

    I agree. So much for the “wolves are going to be too hard to hunt; the quota will never be filled” mantra. I don’t think Montana will have too much trouble filling their quota either.

  3. josh sutherland Avatar
    josh sutherland

    You dont think that the remaining wolves will become increasingly hard to get? If you look at success rates of deer/elk they are always WAY higher the first weekend of the hunt then diminish rapidly. I would probably say the same thing will happen with wolves. Only time will tell I guess.

  4. Cris Waller Avatar

    I think it will go up more, as snow falls and the wolves are more visible, more hunters are out in the woods for general deer/elk season, and the hunters who wanted a prime winter pelt more than the first shot at a wolf get out.

  5. mikepost Avatar

    I think there is a whole habituation issue here. Once these packs learn about humans as higher order predators and wolf killers they are going to become harder to find and kill. It will be just like that “ranch educated” coyote that turns on the after-burners if a truck gets within 1000 yards. In some ways, pro-wolf folks just harmlessly standing around with spotting scopes and cameras have made them more vulnerable at this early stage.

  6. gline Avatar

    The protection wolves had makes them more vulnerable now.

  7. josh sutherland Avatar
    josh sutherland

    They will learn, give em more than a few weeks.

  8. Sal_N Avatar

    if they learn to avoid humans, YNP viewing will be greatly diminished and eco tourism of ~$20+M yearly in MT will diminish.

    if they don’t learn, we will see them and name them and we will all be unhappy when they leave the park and get shot.

    but I don’t think MT cares about the $20M plus in eco tourism as much a $0.2M in additional Elk hunting licenses if they were no wolves in the park and MT.

  9. gline Avatar

    The problem I have with the hunt is that wolves are not Elk or Deer.

    They are highly socialized, loyal, pack dwellers. Learn? You mean by grieving and then dispersing? Struggling to hunt with fewer numbers, then being shot from a helicopter? How is that right? I think it is too early for this type of hunt – a retaliation hunt on them. and the hatred is too big.

  10. josh sutherland Avatar
    josh sutherland

    Sal-n… considering that only about 5 percent or less of all YNP visitors actually see a wolf, I doubt anyone will notice to much of a difference. Also, as many wolf lovers have mentioned before you might have to get off the roads and stop complaining about not seeing wolves from the road!! 🙂 I guess the redneck wolf watcher is what we would call em.. 🙂 You know as well as I do how much money hunting generates for local economies in the Rocky Mtns. Slightly higher than the $200,000 grand you posted.

    Gline, I dont hunt them from a helicopter.. I doubt they grieve. I had my 4 year old English Pointer die last week while I was hunting chukars, he had a stroke or a heart attack. I buried him on the mountain where he died. My GSP who has been with him his entire life, sniffed his body once and ran off looking for more birds, could care less.. Once again luckily we are not managing wolves with emotion or we would be writing up Obituaries every night for the 39 wolves that have been killed so far. And they will learn, the coyotes I hunt have sure learned what danger is. Wolves will be no different.

  11. Sal_N Avatar


    I quoted what MSU stated some time back. the benefit of eco tourism vs. the loss of elk license due to wolf cause drop in hunting tags ($20 per tag @ 10K tags). I don’t think in this economy you can count on out of state people coming in to Park county to take elk as in prior years. I did not consider lodging due to that. but I don’t think it comes nearly as much at 1/12th of the wolf generated eco tourism of $20+M per year.

    I agree with you that less than 5% of park visitors see wolves, but that number would be less than 100,000 per year but not as high as the 5% or 150,000 your mentioned.

    Sorry about your dog Josh, not to detract from this thread but where were do you hunt chukar? (MT – WY?) our season opens this saturday in CA.

  12. John d. Avatar
    John d.


    Considering that there is no biological justification for this hunt. The rationale behind it is:
    a) because they are decimating elk herds (bunk)
    b) to lower livestock losses (its already low)
    c) they are overpopulating (also bunk)
    d) we want to

    Wolves do have social ties which are based around the actions and reactions within the group. Humans are not the only animals with minds.

  13. Lynne Stone Avatar

    Josh – You are full of BS. Why does a coyote killer like you, post on this thread? Join up with other predator killers – Idaho Sportsman for some Fish, or some wildlife, or the Idaho Mule Deer Ass. I get enough of your garbage in reading newspaper blogs, w/o having to wade through it here.

  14. Ryan Avatar

    Actually Sal

    ($20 per tag @ 10K tags).

    If you want to compare apples to apples, Figure 2K average expenditure for non resident hunters. (assume 20%, so 2000 * 2000 = 4,000,000 and 500 per resident tag expenditure which is another 4 million. Which puts it at 8 mil, now how many people would not come if there was no wolves per your eco tourism study? Please note that the highest number of yellowstone trips was in the mid 80’s when there were no wolves present. Just food for thought.

    BTW our chuckar season opened on wednesday here in Oregon, from what I heard we had a great hatch compared to last year. Unfortunately my GWP is at the trainers, My Pudelpointer is too young, and I had to put my Chess down last month. I should start chasing them in December. It seemed we had a great Sage Grouse hatch this year and I saw Coveys that were 20 birds strong during september. (don’t hunt em though)

  15. Ryan Avatar


    Perhaps you should, shut the fuck up as you have asked him to do on another thread. Your like the Pro-Wolf Ron Gillette, opposite side of the issue, same level of extremeism.

    I actually read this blog because there are alot of good issues noted on here, it just seems like all the emotions are running a bit hot. I have learned a bunch from reading this blog and enjoy a good debate from time to time as it stimulates thought and challenges me to have facts or eat my hat and admit I’m wrong.

  16. Sal_N Avatar

    I will give you the $8M as the high end but let us assume that is the correct number.

    The $20+M and the 3M visitors to YNP were very recent and if memory serve me right was done in the mid 2000’s.

    Apples to apples would be your $8 vs. the $20+M and that is just in Montana.

    you can ask Ralph he most likely can quote you chapter and verse on the study, who did it, why, and when.

  17. Ryan Avatar


    Here is where you can look up total visits etc Yellowstone.

    “The EIS also stated, “Increased visitor expenditures in the Yellowstone recovery area are estimated at $23,000,000 and the existence value of wolves is estimated at$8,300,000 a year.” In 2005, University of Montana economist John Duffield followed up, and found that 3-4% of visitors are only coming to see wolves. This amounts to over 90,000 visitors from outside the three-state region, over 400,000 visitor days, and a $35 million direct expenditure impact to the three-state economy. Duffield also estimated that as many as 151,000 visitors may be seeing wolves in Yellowstone annually. Wolf researcher Rick McIntyre estimates about 22,000 people see wolves in the northern part of the park each year; close to 200,000 total to date.”


    What I can’t see from the study is whether or not those people would not have come if the wolves were not present. (granted I can’t seem to find the whole study online anyways, just snippets) This is just more for my own edification as it seems from looking at the numbers posted on the NPS webpage, that I can’t find any thing that shows higher visitors post reintroduction.

  18. JB Avatar

    I’m not sure if anyone is actually interested in hearing the facts, or if you all simply want to be right, but Duffield and colleagues estimated economic impacts of people traveling to Yellowstone specifically to see wolves.

    They found, “[i]n total, it is estimated that visitors coming from outside the three-state region, who are coming specifically to see or hear wolves in the park, spend $35.5 million annually.”

    Also, it is inappropriate to compare the economic impacts of people who travel to the GYE to see wolves with the economic impacts of elk hunters statewide; a better comparison would people who travel to the GYE to hunt.

    Duffield, J. W., Neher, C. J., & Patterson, D. A. (2008). Wolf Recovery in Yellowstone: Park Visitor Attitudes, Expenditures, and Economic Impacts. George Wright Forum, 25(1), 13-19.

  19. Ryan Avatar


    Do you have a link to the study? Also does the study address whether or not they would have visited anyways if wolves were not present?

  20. JB Avatar

    Ryan, I have the pdf. I think this answers your question.

    “Based on the percentage of visitors who would only come if wolves are present, Table 3 shows the derivation of an estimate of impacts to the three state region for comparison below with the estimate derived by Duffield (1992). In total, it is estimated that visitors coming from outside the three-state region, who are coming specifically to see or hear wolves in the park, spend $35.5 million annually.”

  21. Sal_N Avatar

    well you are getting warmer (not that I would have done much better).

    Rick’s numbers are what I have heard him quote many times via mail or direct conversations. My understanding of those numbers, they are just for the wolves.

    the debate will rage on forever I supposed but 22,000 visitors per year is more than the loss of hunters etc… and they too will spend at least a week etc….

    I have visited YNP twice prior to 95 (Before wolves). I now visit regularly during the summer and winter (been doing that since 97). Every year we see more and more people for Europe visitng because of the wolves.

    My contribution to the state of MT is equal to three of your out of state hunters (per your math), per year for now 12 years. Don’t know if a trophy elk hunters comes back after a trip or two.

  22. Rita k. Sharpe Avatar
    Rita k. Sharpe

    I have been reading Ralph’s wild life news for awhile and have rather enjoyed reading his posts and everyone’s comments,whether their views were different then mine. However,when the “f” words pop up,I feel this issue will not get disscussed without someone getting emotional on either side.

  23. Sal_N Avatar


    do you have a link to that PDF?
    it would be nice to keep it handy when I visit Livingston.

    Thank you.

  24. JB Avatar

    Ryan, Sal_N:

    I have access through the University, so I’m not sure if this link will work for you: http://www.georgewright.org/251duffield.pdf

  25. Sal_N Avatar

    Thank you JB

  26. Lynne Stone Avatar

    Why waste time responding to Ryan? Why not instead, inform pro-wolf folks — or at least those who have not given up on this wildlife blog — because of all the lobo-foes, who continually try to dominate the conversation, on what can be done now, tonight, tomorrow to help wolves?

  27. josh sutherland Avatar
    josh sutherland


    I hunt Chukars in UT. The last couple of years with droughts the numbers have been down alot but we have had alot of moisture this year so hopefully it will be better. I chased Sage-hens this last weekend, I had two tags but since I dont really like eating them I just shot my gun in the air when they flushed, the dogs sure liked em though… They are great birds to train on if you ever get the chance. And we have quite a few down here. They are big, have alot of scent and hold tight for the dogs. Really good for the young dog I have now. Do you run dogs? If so what breed?

    Ryan, The GWP is very popular around here due to the versatility since waterfowling is very popular here also. I mainly have EP, but am looking at a nice setter from Eric Mauck up in your neck of the woods. Gettin him this summer.

    Lynne, I dont think I am totally full of BS, though I am in sales so there are those that would agree with you. The way I see it Lynne, is there is Ron Gillette on the very extreme right, Lynne Stone on the very extreme left, and me somewhere in the middle. As for the coyote hunts, it has been a very SLOW year. I dont know whats going on but the populations seem way down. Same with my family in southern Utah they are reporting the same thing. Anyways the upland season is underway so that will have my attention for the next few months. I enjoy this blog because I get to keep up to speed on issues that are important to me ie elk/deer and wolves etc. I know that your emotions run VERY HIGH where wolves are concerned, just remember there are those that wont always agree with you, it seems you are not used to that and become very emotional.

    John D.,

    There are those that obviously disagree with you, thats the good thing about the ole USA you get to have an opinion.

  28. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Lynne Stone,

    I am trying to create a forum where reasonable people who care about wildlife come together and discuss issues. That means people who don’t like wolves as well as those who do.

    It means hunters and those who don’t, and don’t really like the sport.

    I’m sorry you are disappointed, but your idea of having a Facebook page for all those who agree with you sounds good to me.

    Extremists are not welcome, although I’m sure there are those who will call me one, so it’s really a matter of tone and respectful argument.

  29. Sal_N Avatar

    Josh S.

    I don’t have a hunting dog. I have been quail/chukar hunting for 20 years and love the challenge of the walk. lost very few birds and always enjoy coming home and cooking them the same night or week-end. Lately we have had some coyote dens in the area and the birds have greatly diminished so I have reduced the shooting part and increased the hiking part. I bring my dogs on the walking part, they are mainly wolf-hybrid rescues and they tend to chase the coyotes away just before denning time as the rattle snakes are still no where to be found. I don’t kill them and my dogs are muzzled so that they will not bite them. The coyote is native to southern CA and we need it to control rodents. your area was I think wolf habitat (not starting anything just making a partially informed statement).

    I am a bit to the left of you on the wolf thing as I have donated regularly to the wolf project via WERC and YNP Foundation since 98. I consider myself about where Ralph is and I too enjoy back and forth of people who are not out there.
    I don’t think I have given the time Ralph has, but we have been advocates of the wolf introduction in the greater LA area and made many attempts at raising money to fund some of Rick’s expenses so that he can observe and study the wolves. All legal via the normal donation channels.

  30. josh sutherland Avatar
    josh sutherland


    You are right about the hiking.. Its brutal, we call the chukars “hell birds” you earn everyone you get thats for sure. I mainly go because I have dogs, without dogs I would probably not even go. They sure have alot of fun. I was going to tomorrow but the dogs still looking a little sore!! 🙂

  31. jerryB Avatar

    Josh sutherland
    ….since coyote hunting has been brought up here, I’m curious ….why do you kill coyotes?

  32. Cobra Avatar

    There are still quite a few wolves to go to reach idfg quota. Many hunters will leave the field because they have either filled their tags or just gave up so there will be less hunters in the field as time goes on. I’m sure a few will actually try and hunt wolves, but for most of them bought a wolf tag just in case they saw one while hunting deer and elk.
    From what I’ve heard from most I know in North Idaho the wolves they were seeing and hearing during the archery season are no where to be found. I had two wolves opening morning of elk season howling about a 100 yards up the ridge right were I like to hunt, needless to say the elk where gone from the area and it screwed up my hunt but it was kind of cool to hear them.

  33. izabelam Avatar

    It is 6:22 AM..and I am thinking that we who support predators right to live and love wolves, bears, coyotes need to think what can we do to protect the animals we love. There always will be left,right and middle. We always will have arguments and differences in opinion. I think Ralph’s page is wonderful to discuss the issues and even argue about stands on various aspects of the problem. Great site with great info. It is good to know the positions of our enemies..:).

    But..ultimately, what can we do to protect the wolves? We need good brain storming of ideas.
    Ralph’s page is a great place to talk about ‘what can we do’.
    Grassroot campaign? Letters, e-mails..reaching out to the rest of the country.
    Facebook is a good medium of sharing information. Educating friends of friends of friends..yes, it is a big tree of friends of friends of friends. Lynn, use FB to educate people. Lynn is dedicated to her cause just like I am dedicated to educate people about wolves and bisons.
    I talk to people at work and tourists when I visit parks. I send e-mails with info about buffalo and wolves.
    The issue is that the COUNTRY does not know what is happening. The country is worrying about health care and work..the country has a president who failed (at least he failed me).
    People in Florida, Oklahoma and other states dont’ know the issues of the west and frankly some of them don’t care.
    We, who care need to educate them and get them on our site.

  34. izabelam Avatar

    Last spring I hiked Coyote Buttes (S.Utah). I photographed White Pockets, camping and enjoying coyotes chorus at 4AM. It was wonderful to see the sunrise and hear coyotes ‘talking’ to each other.
    Don’t kill coyotes. They are part of this planet and we need to just accept that fact.
    Kill ..if you plan of eating it. Killing just because is mean, cruel and has no purpose..

  35. gline Avatar

    Sounds nice Izabelam. I’ve heard coyotes in yellowstone- they are quite the talkers. The Shoshone have a story about wolves and coyotes. Wolves are the creator God, and the coyote is the trickster, of course. wolves were respected in the Shoshone culture…

  36. gline Avatar

    sorry you were talking about coyotes and I went to wolves, off your subject too early in the am

  37. Ryan Avatar

    Thanks for the link, interesting study to say the least. It doesn’t address hunting losses as has been implied in certain threads, but is overall a useful piece of information.


    There was a bad break out of distemper last year, but the coyotes seem to be coming back from what I have seen this fall. Areas where we saw several yotes during antalope season were barren when we went back last winter. I have slowed down on the coyote hunting because the pelts aren’t worth much right now.

  38. JB Avatar

    No worries, Ryan. I think the reason they don’t address potential losses in hunting license sales is that they are focused on wolves in the Yellowstone National Park (where hunting is prohibited). I know loss of license sales is a legitimate concern outside the parks.

    – – – –

    Cobra, Josh: It’s been less than 24 hours since I posted yesterday and the number has increased from 37 to 46 (or 0.24 wolves per zone hunting day). I definitely agree that they will get harder to hunt (their densities are already very low!), but I think they will still reach their goal. It will be interesting to see.

    – – – –


    I tend to learn a lot more from people with whom I disagree. Ryan and Josh hold different views about predators, but they express those views respectfully (as opposed to the type of blather that occurs in the comments of area newspapers). Moreover, I find I agree with them on a number of issues, especially in regards to habitat protection.

    Personally, I believe policy decisions are made better by informed and engaged people openly debating topics; that’s why I participate here. I learn valuable information from people and (hopefully) contribute some information that makes for more informed discussion (thought I too have been guilty of letting my emotions get the better of me).

    Facebook is indeed a good tool for organizing like-minded people. However I don’t come to Ralph’s site to be organized, nor receive the gospel. 😉

  39. william huard Avatar

    I’m waiting for Josh to tell Jerry B why he kills coyotes. Ever been to Challis Josh?

  40. josh sutherland Avatar
    josh sutherland

    William the old anti-hunter how are ya? I hunt coyotes for alot of different reasons. I like the challenge, they are hard on deer/antelope on the wintering range and numerous other reasons that you and I and JB could argue for hours. I have never been to Challis, isnt that where the big contest is held each year? Dont plan on going, I dont like the contests.

  41. Ryan Avatar


    Its prime time in ID right now, Elk and deer seasons are in full swing along with some fresh snow, if there was ever going to be a jump, it’ll be now. The kill pattern will most likely end up in a bell curve directly correlating to other hunting seasons going on at the same time.


    I hunt the for pelts and the challenge. Also its something to do in the winter months. Taking out a few coyotes doesn’t hurt the fawn populations either.

  42. william huard Avatar

    Josh- What makes you think I am an anti as you called me before, or an old anti-hunter now? Certain hunting groups get defensive and upset when the rest of us in the country say we are sick and tired of the most egregious forms of wildlife abuse- like killing captive semi tame animals behind fenced in enclosures for example. I don’t see anyone in the hunting community taking a stand against that now do you! Hunters need to clean up their act and stop hiding behind their 2nd amendment protections- because wildlife belongs to us all. The cowards at huntwolves.com have even posted pictures of the holes in the wolves that were killed- that is disgusting.

  43. william huard Avatar

    Ryan- it’s the hatred and the lack of respect for predators and wildlife that makes me the most upset. I don’t want all hunting to be banned, but the sport hunting community has lost a connection somewhere with wildlife in their search for the biggest trophy.

  44. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    I haven’t heard any hunters on this blog supporting the “hunting” of animals in enclosures, which is think is truly the decadent form of hunting and a commentary on a person would do it.

    I’d like to see these shooting farms in Idaho shut down.

  45. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears


    I beg to differ, in the state of Montana, game farms were outlawed, Those who owned them were allowed to keep the ranching operation, but cannot sell it, can’t transfer it even to a family member. With Montana having a large population of hunters, I would have to believe a good many hunters voted against the practice, thus taking a stand…

  46. william huard Avatar

    Ralph- I’m not saying that anyone on this blog does support this form of hunting, my point is whenever there is legislation to stop these abuses the hunting lobby like SCI and the NRA say that it is an attack on their hunting freedoms. Should this be a protected form of hunting? I have never met a hunter that says that they go to these wildlife preserves- someone does! I use to hunt when I was younger and I strongly believed in the fair chase ethic- where I had no unfair advantage against the animal. It use to be enough just to be outdoors around wildlife and if you were successful that day you were successful. In my twenties I climbed MT Washington in NH in December 3 separate times.

  47. william huard Avatar

    Save bears- I truly believe that the majority of hunters are ethical and look at canned hunting as a cancer and as an embarrassment to true hunting. How do we get to the next level?

  48. Ryan Avatar

    “I don’t see anyone in the hunting community taking a stand against that now do you!”


    You must not read too much, almost all of the western forums are adamantly against enclosed big game operations. I still support SCI and even the NRA although I have some fundamental differences in opinion with them on certain issues though. The only put and take i have ever done is on bird preserves to train my dogs.

    “Hunters need to clean up their act and stop hiding behind their 2nd amendment protections- because wildlife belongs to us all”

    What are you trying to say here? I’m a bit confused.

    As for the Huntwolves site I never say any of the pictures you mentioned on here. (btw entrance and exit holes are shown on many sites to judge performance of bullets and broadheads and not really meant for non hunters to view, although the WWW is open for viewing of about anything)

  49. josh sutherland Avatar
    josh sutherland

    William in all honesty I dont think you have truly met many “trophy” hunters as you say. Trophy hunters are a great conservation tool, take for instance the Dedicated Hunter program in UT. You can only kill 2 deer in 3 years, its costs $180 just to be in the program and you have to have 16 hours of work hours each year to stay in the program. But you get to hunt longer than those that are not in the program. Its mainly people like me who you refer to as “trophy” hunters that are willing to put that effort and time and money into hunting. We are the ones worried about habitat, herd size, winter range and health of the animals we hunt. Not so much the guy that wakes up opening morning and shoots a yearling buck and goes home. Nothing wrong with that sort of hunter, but do you think he is willing to go the extra mile and put time and money to help preserve something he loves to do? No. William thats why I think you are an anti-hunter, you bring up game farms of all things which makes me laugh, like any sort of hunter would even consider that hunting. You would not know the first thing about “trophy” hunting as you call it, since you have no idea what it even is. I have not killed a deer in 5 years, not from lack of opportunity but not the size of buck I am looking for. Thats a great conservation tool if you ask me. The state gets my money and no deer dies for 5 years. So please dont show your ignorance, especially bringing up game farms like hunters support that type of crap.


  50. william huard Avatar

    Josh- I was trying to have a converstation and you once again show your arrogance. Who are you to call me ignorant? because my viewpoint is different than yours? If you are not willing to give respect I will take it one way or another. I know you think you are God’s gift to wildlife management

  51. josh sutherland Avatar
    josh sutherland

    William you were not trying to have a conversation, you immediately jumped on hunters assuming we all supported game farms, you said America is sick of seing sport hunting destroy America’s wildlife, you said this particular quite “Hunters need to clean up their act and stop hiding behind their 2nd amendment protections”.. obvioulsy stating you think hunters are way off base and we must have a “dirty” act or else it would not need cleaning….Not all hunters are perfect there are lemons in every group, including the pro-wolf group, if you want to have a conversation thats fine, but dont start attacking hunters then get defensive when they attack back, thats all….


  52. Layton Avatar


    “Certain hunting groups get defensive and upset when the rest of us in the country say we are sick and tired of the most egregious forms of wildlife abuse- like killing captive semi tame animals behind fenced in enclosures for example. I don’t see anyone in the hunting community taking a stand against that now do you!”

    I’m not sure where you live, but where I live the hunting community is about 100% AGAINST (what we call) high fence hunting. We don’t see it as any kind of a “hunt” — a person might just as well go to a feed lot and buy a black Angus!!

    As for hunters “hiding behind the 2nd amendment” and “wildlife belonging to all of us”, I think you have some things crossed up. First of all, what does canned or high fence hunting have to do with the 2nd amendment?? The last I heard, the 2nd had to do with the right to bear arms.

    Second, the wildlife behind a high fence does NOT “belong to us all”. It is private property, owned by the land owner, fed by that same land owner and, as heinous as it seems to a lot of us, his to do with as he sees fit. Sorry, it isn’t a good state of affairs, but that is the way it is.

    I don’t like canned hunts, I don’t think they should be allowed, but I guess I CAN understand private property rights.

  53. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    I don’t know any hunters that approve of high fencing or canned hunts, The only ones that I have seen that do approve, is wealthy that come from the large cities, or from out of country, I would have to say, the majority of hunters I have talked to over the years don’t approve or endorse this practice..I know the practice is common within the bird hunting communities, and also it is pretty common in the SE, Texas is also a big on hunting of this type, but some of the fenced ranches in Texas are bigger than some states. Does it happen in the west, yes, it is a big thing, I would say not as big as some would like to make it out as.

    Even in Africa, many of the areas open to hunting are fenced preserves…

  54. Layton Avatar

    JB and Chris W.,

    I really think there is a major hole in your hypothesis that the wolf quota in Idaho will be easily reached.

    That “hole” is the fact that all the major hunting openers in Idaho are past for the most part. There is still a general season elk opener, but that doesn’t normally include near the numbers that the general season deer openers do.

    The reason that I say this is that MOST of the wolves killed by elk and deer hunters are going to be killed by coincidental sightings of them, NOT by deliberately hunting for them. Opening weekends bring several times the number of hunters out that other weekend do. A LOT of hunters are out for the opener and that’s all.

    Sure there are some late season openers for late archery hunts and for muzzle loader hunts, but the big numbers are not there.

    The wolves should be smarter by now and it will take a bit of doing to get one. Folks that really want a wolf for the hide haven’t even started yet, but there won’t be that many of them.

  55. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    I would also have to say about the same thing as Ryan, the animals behind fences are the property of the land owner, a good many of the elk that are used in these operations are purchased by the landowner and trucked in from Canada and a couple of states that raise them for this purpose. Again, that is not an endorsement of this practice. This is why you see such an uproar when these animals escape…

  56. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    This is now clearly established as a way chronic wasting disease is moved to new places — trucking these elk and any infected fecal material on them.

  57. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    I agree Ralph,

    The biggest reason to stop this practice is to stop the spread of disease, in actuality the hunting ethic is really secondary. I think some people are under the misconception that ranchers are going out and capturing wild species to run this type of business, which is not the way it works, they purchase a starter herd from somewhere then cultivate them just as cattle ranchers do..

  58. william huard Avatar

    Layton- I agree with mostly all of what you said. I had a discussion with an NRA rep last month who told me point blank that they are against canned hunting but do not support legislation to ban the practice because it speaks to the larger issue of people telling other people what they can or can’t do with their gun. That’s where my reference to the second amendment is. Groups like SCI say they are opposed to canned hunting, yet they allow thousands of kills to grace their award competition pages taken from these preserves.

  59. Layton Avatar

    “Groups like SCI say they are opposed to canned hunting, yet they allow thousands of kills to grace their award competition pages taken from these preserves.”

    Does SCI really say anywhere that they are against canned hunts??

  60. Lynne Stone Avatar

    JB – I’ve encouraged many wolf supporters to read this blog. Nearly all say they have tried, but stop, because they have better things to do than read what the anti-wolf people are thinking, or threads that constantly get off topic. Also, it’s offensive to keep hearing how much fun it is to kill coyotes.

    As for the big jump in wolf mortality – I expected it. Saturday was general deer season opener, then bull elk opened yesterday in most of the state. The wolves here are back down close, discovering all the gut piles and maimed animals. Am wondering how many dead Phantom wolves it will take before IDFG acts.

    There will no problem reaching the quota and perhaps exceeding it, once snow comes, and the hunters can run the wolves on snowmobile. They are already laughing about this on blogs.

  61. william huard Avatar

    The closest they come to that can be found on their website under the “where we stand” section. They have members that own these preserves – I know in Canada or somewhere up north a member owns a hog hunting preserve. I’ll try to find the concrete info I have it somewhere.

  62. JB Avatar

    Layton: I understand your logic, I’m basing my estimates on simple math. Even if you reduce the probability of harvest considerably (down to .15 per zone hunting day) you would still harvest an additional 170 wolves (+46 = 216). Close enough for government work. 😉

    In regards to wolves being “smarter”… I think it will take longer than a few weeks for wolves to learn the range of a high-powered rifle. It’s not like they can go back to the pack and say, “hey fellas, guess what happened to me.” Moreover, unless they are killed in front of a pack member, they’re going to have a hell of a time passing on what they’ve “learned.”

    Dead wolves don’t tell tales.

  63. william huard Avatar

    Layton- to get to where we stand click on the government affairs section- then you will see it on the right hand side

  64. catbestland Avatar


    This is one of the many “canned hunt” opperations in Colorado. They also offer canned buffalo and elk hunts. I don’t see or hear any hunters coming out against them. In fact some of them brag about being featured in television hunting shows and in hunting magazines. I don’t know if this is a malady particular to Colorado or if they are prevelant in other states. But if hunters are sincere in their disdain of these “huting ranches,” there is very little mention of it.

  65. Jay Avatar

    These wolves have to move around to eat–even if they do learn quickly about all the hunters out trying to shoot them, they don’t have the option of laying low during the couple months of peak hunting season. They may adjust their hunting times somewhat, and stick to timber more, but since they have to go where the prey is, they are also going exactly where hunters are going to be, so I don’t see that they have that much flexibility in how they hunt and avoiding hunters. I do think there will be some element of learing to avoid getting shot, but not as much as some say.

  66. bob jackson Avatar
    bob jackson

    save bears

    A few years ago I was asked by one of those oil pumping ranches in Texas to do an assessment of their ranch for feasibility of bison being moved onto this ranch.

    They flew me in, and as you say, a lot of those ranches down there have gotten rid of the cattle and started renting out parcels of ground (10,000 or so acres per leasee). the leasees don’t want cattle grazing their lease but said bison would be fine. We drove oil field roads through 6 or 7 of these hunters ground on that ranch.

    All had multiyear rentals…so each had built their own headquarters for hunting. Pickups with grain feeders and hydraulically elevated platforms (can’t even sit in the drivers seat because the steering shaft goes through the roof and to the seat in the flying bridge)…. and captains roosts (go to 15-20′ in the air) in the bed were at every “residence”. The mexicans used these pickups to feed the quail, doves and deer every two weeks.

    The land owners get twice the money than if rented for cattle. The one I was on did not even need the high fences because it was so big they could control the wildlife without 12 foot fences.

    I have to say the ground and vegetation looked night and day better than those ranches rented for cattle. Not that I think western ranches should be fenced for wildlife but it would be better than lands now grazed with cows.

  67. Maska Avatar

    One question that comes to mind is whether wolves, other than those that have spent all their time in Yellowstone, have actually been immune from being shot over the past 14 years. Unless there hasn’t been any significant poaching, it seems doubtful.

    In the Southwest, there have been 32 known illegal shootings of Mexican wolves, and at least 43 wolves “lost to follow-up,” some of which almost certainly have been shot. These numbers are out of a documented (i.e. having assigned studbook numbers) total of 199 wolves on the landscape over eleven years.

    I don’t know the comparable figures for Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana, but I imagine there must have been a fair number of killings by the public. Of course, Wildlife Services has been shooting wolves, too–eleven in the Southwest, and some much larger number up north.

    The bottom line is, wouldn’t wolves presumably “learn” whatever there is to learn about humans with rifles from all these killings? Or is there something different about being legally hunted?

  68. Wyo Native Avatar
    Wyo Native


    I think you have SCI and the Boone and Crocket organizations mixed up.

    The Boone and Crocket Club is completely against anything but “Fair Chase”, free range hunting. They are very adimate about free range hunting whether it be on private or public lands, and are totally against “High Fence” canned hunts. It is against their “Hunter Ethics” that they promote. Their awards are only given to those who can show that the hunt took place on free range animals.

    SCI however, is an organization that recognizes and promotes all forms of hunting. Fair chase, High fence, canned hunts etc, it does not matter to SCI as long as hunting is involved. Their awards are broken into categories for each type of hunting they recognize.

    You mentioned that you used to hunt and climed Mt Washington a couple of times when you were younger. That is pretty cool and I am glad you were able to do that, especially while hunting. I also use hunting as an opportunity to enjoy such things. Just this year (since the middle of Sept) I have put on over 100 miles and have climbed and decended some of the highest peaks in the Wyoming and Salt River ranges, and I am in my mid 30’s.

  69. jerryB Avatar

    William….looks like the answer to “why kill coyotes?” is two fold.

    It’s done to protect deer and antelope because the natural balance of predator/prey relationships doesn’t exist in their minds, so they create their own conservation practices. They fail to consider, however, the affect of their actions on other species of wildlife like sage grouse who’s populations decline with a declining coyote population.

    Then there’s the “challenge” involved which I assume comes from hunting coyotes with a long bow and not a weapon that kills them a quarter mile away.

    Guess they’ll always be some that will kill for recreation, the sake of killing and for bragging rights, which reveals the dark side of the human psyche. These types are often nothing but pathological killers, in whole or part.

    To most, a “challenge” doesn’t involve killing or destroying something, but involves a real competition between two worthy adversaries, both of which are aware that a competition is actually under way.

    For those that say…I don’t understand what hunting is all about, I grew up hunting and established my own archery and reloading business. I’m not against hunting to fill the freezer…just against killing for fun and recreation.

  70. josh sutherland Avatar
    josh sutherland


    I was waiting for your pathological serial killer statement.. 🙂 Dont tell my wife she might get nervous.

    I know you have your science that says coyote hunting does not help fawn numbers, and I have my science that says it does. You dont want any sort of predator killed, I dont agree with you. We can run around that bush for days and it has been argued on this blog over and over.

    Believe me the coyotes know the “competition” as you say is underway and you want to paint all hunters who kill predators with such a broad sterotype that they are all pathological killers? And were you not the one a couple days ago that was asking why hunters are not more on board for predator introduction? Then when we want to hunt them you call us pathological killers. I think you may have found a piece of the answer you were looking for.

  71. Layton Avatar


    Looks to me like the SCI doesn’t leave out high fence hunting, but has some pretty stringent rules on size of the area, how the critters are treated, etc.

    I’m not going into a lot of length here, anybody that wants to can go to the site to look at it for themselves.

    I guess it’s in the eye of the beholder as far as size goes, but the “put it in the pen where it can be shot” thing is evidently against their rules.

    Face it, EVERYTHING in Africa would be considered “high fence”.

  72. Layton Avatar


    I guess I have more faith in the wolves than you do. I don’t think the quota will be reached.

    Where do you live? Any where that the wager of an adult beverage or two would be collectable? I might be talked into such a bet.

  73. Ryan Avatar

    “They fail to consider, however, the affect of their actions on other species of wildlife like sage grouse who’s populations decline with a declining coyote population.”


    Do you have any proof back up that statement for this pathalogical killer? The reason that most hunters refuse to push for predator introduction is guys just like yourself.


    If you actually read any western big game forum, you’d be able to find plenty of threads that are anti high fence, espicially with regards to non exotic big game. (its more of a texas thing from what I have seen)


    Depends on where you are in Africa, South africa you’ll be in a fence. Namibia, Botswana, and other places not so much.

  74. william huard Avatar

    Wyo native Mt Washington isn’t the largest mtn on the block, but they have the highest recorded wind velocity on the planet- 231 mph. The first time I climbed it in the winter was Thanksgiving holiday in the late 1970’s. It was pitch black at 3 45 pm and the only other humans we saw during the 3 days were two umass scientists. My friend that I climbed with has done mt Ranier in washington several times

  75. JB Avatar


    You should drive up with Lynne to the North American Wolf Conference in Pray, MT (held in April). I’d be happy to buy you a beer, no bets required! Of course, you’d have to hang out with a whole mess of wolf lovers for a couple of days. 😉

  76. catbestland Avatar

    Can anyone post a link to a picture of a Majestic elk. I guess it has 7 points on its antlers. I have to carve one and I know what royal elk antlers (6 points) look like, I carve them all the time but not majestic. I have googled and can’t seem to find one. Any help in that will be appreciated.

  77. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    I thought the only green beer you would drink was on St. Paddy’s day.

  78. Ryan Avatar


    Here is a start for you with some pics. I know where lots of dead elk pics are at. The problem seems to be once you get above 6 points Rocky mountain Elk antlers tend to be non typicals, with the exception of roosevelt elk have devil points on top.

    ( I think that they are mostly Typical 6’s in this gallery)
    Here is a video

  79. catbestland Avatar

    Thanks Ryan,

    I am just having trouble trying to figure out where the extra point goes. It needs to be in the proper location. And I don’t want it to look like a nontypical.

  80. josh sutherland Avatar
    josh sutherland

    Cat it normally is behind the fifth point on the main beam.

  81. JB Avatar


    By the way, you’d take me to the cleaners on a bet. While I think they will get NEAR the harvest quota, I’m beginning to think there isn’t a chance in hell of harvesting 5 wolves in southern Idaho; Wildlife Services is likely to kill them before hunters get a chance!

  82. catbestland Avatar

    Thanks all,

    This helps a lot.

  83. Cris Waller Avatar

    “I know you have your science that says coyote hunting does not help fawn numbers, and I have my science that says it does.”

    Care to point us towards any journal articles for your science?

    Here’s a nice summary of the work on coyotes:
    ” Although white-tailed deer and bobwhite quail reproductive success increased with coyote removal, overall population densities for both species remained unchanged. This implies that a compensatory mortality mechanism is involved with these populations and that potential population increases of certain game species due to coyote removal are short-lived. All studies indicated that coyote control caused an immigration of coyotes into the removal areas. Coyote population densities returned to pre-removal levels typically within 3 months after removal efforts ceased.

    Therefore, short-term coyote removal programs typically are not sufficient in reducing coyote density and, therefore do not alter ecosystem composition. However, intensive, long-term coyote removal has been successful in reducing coyote populations by over 40%, which has resulted in prey-base increases.

    The intended goals of coyote control need to be determined prior to the onset of removal efforts. If the management objective is to reduce livestock losses caused by coyotes, then an intensive, short-term removal program may provide immediate relief of depredation just before and after parturition. However, if the coyote removal is practiced year-round, microherbivore populations may potentially increase; increased competition for forage with livestock may result. Consequently, a reduced stocking rate then may be required to offset competition, which may negate the number of livestock saved from predation.

    If the goal is to increase the harvestable surplus of a game species, then it must first be determined that coyote control will increase the numbers of the target species. Next, can the additional animals be supported by the habitat? Finally, will predation as a mortality source be replaced with other mortality factors acting in a compensatory manner? Until these questions can be answered, then coyote removal would not be warranted.”

    This one’s from a hunting website (, on studies done in Mississippi-
    “Hunters randomly taking coyotes in a particular area has no impact on reducing the number of coyotes feeding on deer fawns because of the social structure of coyotes. Once a coyote population becomes established, there’s a very-strong social order and ranking of the animals in that population, including alpha males and alpha females. Once these dominant males and females establish their home ranges in a certain area, they keep the subordinate coyotes from occupying or sharing those same ranges. If a high-ranking coyote is incidentally harvested by a hunter, the coyote’s home range may then be filled by several other juvenile coyotes. So, in some instances, coyote hunters may actually increase the coyote population by shooting coyotes from a deer stand.”

    As for anecdotes-

    Let me tell you about where I live- the nearest deer are about 7 miles away as the crow flies. What I do have, in abundance, is ground squirrels, pack rats and rabbits- so many that growing a garden is pretty much impossible and we have paid thousands of dollars over the years to repair rodent damage to our cars and wiring.

    So I find our local coyote pack (and our bobcats!) to be huge allies and I want to encourage their survival. It pains me greatly that they merely have to cross a ridge to the south of me and they are then on DFG land where they can be shot. They aren’t hurting any livestock or game, their pelts aren’t worth anything (we are almost on the Mexican border; these aren’t luxuriously-furred Northern songdogs.) The local predator-plinkers are just doing it for “fun,” and I’m incensed that this is allowed.

  84. Percy Avatar

    Hi all, this is an interesting conversation. I have only been a lurker here so far. I am a bunny-hugger, not a hunter, but I am not anti-hunting, just love animals too much and am too sensitive to the suffering of individual animals myself. I count several hunters among my friends, and I am a fish and wildlife biologist. I have no problem with the way that ungulate hunting is conducted. I understand that state “management” of deer and elk populations is to produce excess animals to support hunting by humans, not to maintain the “balance of nature” that would exist in pristine conditions with the full complement of large predators. Thus, predator control will always be considered a potential management tool for ungulates, just as hatcheries are for salmon, depending on local politics and priorities, as well as analysis of how management is affecting local populations (in a perfect world).

    Personally, I do not think hunts for wolves are based on the best available science. As others have noted, wolves are a top-level carnivore with metapopulations consisting of complex social groups. Because of the patchy distribution of these packs, I don’t think they should be “managed” (hunted) without careful consideration of pack distribution and structure. There should be different priorities for setting quotas or managing wolves in various areas of each state: ungulate production, livestock protection, wildlife tourism, and wilderness. Where deer/elk hunting is most popular, or where wolves are actively preying on livestock, wolf quotas could perhaps be more lenient, but in places where local economies benefit from wildlife tourism or where long-term ecological studies are being conducted (e.g., Yellowstone), I feel it is very counterproductive to allow hunters to randomly break up pack structure (which could actually increase predation on ungulates and livestock). I also feel that wolf hunting should not take place in wilderness, which (to me) is supposed to be a place where “nature” can be left undisturbed by humans, at least in terms of top predators that have very little viable habitat left.

    izabelam, you ask “what can we do to protect the wolves?” Why not engage in a little direct action? Create a social network through facebook, have as many people get wolf tags as possible, go out hunting, and miss. I’m not suggesting interfering with individual hunters, but if you are there first, you may be able to “teach” those wolves to stay hidden until hunting season is over.

    Josh, your hunting dog (German Shorthair?) has been selectively bred to be bird crazy for many many generations, so would likely have lost much of the social behavior that may characterize its wolf ancestors. I have seen other dogs “grieve”/experience sadness (a Labrador of course) and it has long been shown that animals do have emotional lives, even if they do not experience the same emotions we do. I was really surprised when I sort of “accidentally” got into adopting a small group of rescued pet rats. They are social animals with very strong bonds, and when one of a group dies, the others are what I can only call “depressed” for at least several days: not eating much, disinterested in attention, not coming out of their sleeping places. I have witnessed this several times now and hundreds of other rat owners observe the same behavior all the time. I haven’t really considered what evolutionary role “sadness” plays in either humans or other social animals, but it definitely occurs along a spectrum. It doesn’t seem adaptive for humans either, but it must serve some function in social animals.

    I appreciate that the hunters that come to this blog seem like “good” hunters, with a set of outdoor or sporting ethics. Even if I do not agree with everything you do or think, I can respect a person like that and am glad they are interested in dialogue. I can also understand where people like Lynn are coming from, because I feel sick to my stomach and can be emotionally overcome for a long time after seeing cruelty or suffering in animals. It’s a visceral feeling that doesn’t always lend itself to reasonableness.

    and just as a point of interest, a coyote, presumably a mother feeding pups, killed two of my four pet sheep on the fourth of July weekend this year. I had no feeling of animosity towards the coyote and wasn’t even really emotionally affected by the loss. It was my fault that I hadn’t mended the fence in my pasture. I witnessed the coyote chasing the other two one night a month later, after being alerted to the sound of pronking sheep. She ran off when I arrived–a beautiful animal. I saw a pup last week in my neighborhood and had an almost comforting feeling that I was seeing my recycled pet sheep. I don’t really understand why ranchers have such a negative reaction towards predators. Shouldn’t the responsibility be on the shepherd or rancher to protect his animals? I think it’s a problem generated by politics and greed. I will never understand the vehement fight for “private property rights” when it involves damaging the environment and wildlife.

    sorry to go on and on.

  85. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    The local predator-plinkers are just doing it for “fun,” and I’m incensed that this is allowed.

    People who are just shooting animals for target practice like that are not true hunters. It is one thing if you are actually protecting livestock, but if they are not doing anything you are just killing.
    In regards to coyote reduction programs, I have read that coyotes will have much larger litters when the population gets smaller. So it seems to me that coyotes would benefit more from a regular hunting or trapping season. Has any state ever tried this?

  86. catbestland Avatar

    Jeff E,
    Those are great, they’ll help with other carvings as well.

  87. Layton Avatar


    “Of course, you’d have to hang out with a whole mess of wolf lovers for a couple of days. ”

    Two things wrong with this idea.

    First of all whichever one of us was still alive would probably be late for the conference — burying the other one would take some time!!

    There are some things even I would find it difficult to do for beer!! Now maybe if there was some Crown Royal around…….. hmmmmm. 😉

  88. josh sutherland Avatar
    josh sutherland


    I have danced this dance before, you can find numerous post about the subject on this blog. I dont feel like googling and pasting all sorts of articles about killing coyotes and the positive effects it has. You are more than welcome to google them and read them if you would like. As I mentioned before we can run around this bush for days arguing the same thing over and over. And regardless of what I posted you would discredit it so it would be a waste of time for both of us……


  89. josh sutherland Avatar
    josh sutherland

    Just for the fun of it I though I would give you one. The Boone Online Journal, seems legit, they say they saw a direct relationship with coyotes killed with deer/antelope densities… So who is right? You or me?


  90. JB Avatar

    “First of all whichever one of us was still alive would probably be late for the conference — burying the other one would take some time!!”

    Interesting that while you have more faith in the wolves, I have more faith in you and Lynne. Oh well, probably not meant to be then. I’d hate to see one of you get frost bite on your finger tips burying the other. 😉

  91. pointswest Avatar

    Did someone kill this wolf in Colorado? …interesting story, maybe a little off topic.


  92. jburnham Avatar

    NRA wants to join lawsuit on delisting

    This story is just weird…

  93. gline Avatar

    “I hunt coyotes for alot of different reasons. I like the challenge, they are hard on deer/antelope on the wintering range and numerous other reasons that you and I and JB could argue for hours.”

    Hey Josh, absolutely no mention of how wolves lower the coyote populations??? how come??

  94. josh sutherland Avatar
    josh sutherland

    Replace one predator for a more effective one?? You get a trophy… 🙂


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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