Some Wyoming outfitters to rally against wolves in Jackson on Sat

Despite elk numbers above Game and Fish’s goals, hand wringing increases-

Apparently a few hunting sub-units of elk are below objectives.  I suspect there is plenty more behind this than elk numbers in a few locales. I wonder if local folks from Jackson are planning to push back against the rally?

The article below says “Hunters rally to disperse wolves. Outfitters say wolf hunt must start, predators should spread out to other parts of Wyoming.”
Outfitters are one kind of hunter. They hardly represent all hunters. Lots of hunters resent them. I do agree them and Chris Colligan it would be great to see more wolves in other parts of Wyoming, especially southwest Wyoming where prey populations are large.  It is true that Wyoming is fulfilling its commitment to 15 breeding pair of wolves by using only about 1/8 of the land area of the state. Whether wolves are harming their economic interests or not, I can see what the outfitters might see themselves as put upon by the rest of the state.

Folks will be interested in what Chris Colligan of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition says near the bottom of the article.

I see on another thread Bob Jackson, former Park ranger adjacent to the heavily hunted adjacent Teton Wilderness had plenty negative to say about some of these outfitters.






  1. Cindy Avatar

    Hi- As of last night my local sources say they are leaning toward not having a counter rally. Today’s local paper has many articles, editorials on the subject. I will keep asking.

  2. Larry Thorngren Avatar

    Elk population objectives, as promoted by money hungry fish and game departments, are not necessarily good for the environment. A lot of other animals suffer when elk populations are artificially high due to feeding operations and predator control.
    Industrial wildlife users, like the complaining outfitters, should have no more say in how wolves are managed than any other interested citizens.

    1. ProWolf in WY Avatar
      ProWolf in WY

      Larry, there are plenty of pictures showing river banks in Yellowstone that illustrate the point of wildlife suffering when elk numbers are unusually high. I also agree that EVERYONE should have a say and not just outfitters and ranchers.

  3. dewey Avatar

    I see from the Jackson Hole News article that the outfitters are planning to stage their anti-wolf rally from 9am-2pm this Saturday on the town square.

    I will suggest to them they concentrate on whooping it up at the southwest corner of the square, so we all can watch on the Cowboy Bar web cam:

  4. mikarooni Avatar

    Aren’t “outfitters” really kind of like some sort of escort service?

  5. Hilljack Avatar

    Good outfitters provide more than just a game animal. Many teach proper hunting and habits of wild game. Some just want a buck but most love the outdoors and do their jobs so they can spend more time afield. I don’t support the anti wolf crap but what they should protest is the WDFG for not drafting a good wolf management plan. They can make them big game across the state and still have long seasons like Idaho. Although Idaho should shut down there season about a month earlier.

    1. Robert Hoskins Avatar
      Robert Hoskins

      Actually, the original WGFD wolf plan from a decade ago called for trophy game status statewide, as was required by the federal rules for delisting. If that plan had gone through, then we wouldn’t be here right now, at least in Wyoming.

      As best as I can find out, the Wyoming Stockgrowers came up with the dual status idea, based upon some bad concepts in the original Wolf Recovery Plan of the late 1980s, and forced the G&F Commission to turn down, very publicly, the Department plan, and order the Department to write a dual status plan. The Outfitters were on board with the Stockgrowers on dual status; they pretty much follow the Stockgrowers on everything. The Wyoming legislature shortly followed by writing dual status into law.

      Outfitters do provide an important service, and I’ve worked for several outfitters in the past, mostly to learn how to manage horses in the backcountry, as I didn’t have the good fortune to grow up with horses. Some outfitters are conscientious and try to do a good job. Others are ignorant shitheads.

      Historically, the business has changed from the old days when ranchers ran a few hunters into the hills in the late fall for a little extra income. It HAS become industrial hunting, primarily because the number of outfitting permits are capped, raising the value of the permits, so when some newby who thinks outfitting is a glorious way of life buys a camp, he pays a lot of money for it and then finds himself both overcapitalized and badly in debt. The result is assembly line camps–hunters being run and and run out of camp as if they’re on the subway. The worst I’ve seen the subway phenomenon is between the Thorofare and the Turpin Meadows trailhead in the Teton Wilderness.

      Assembly line hunting is why trophy bulls are disappearing from many areas of the Greater Yellowstone. The outfitters are shooting them out. Here in the Dubois area, it’s hard to find a “good” six point elk any more. You wouldn’t believe how many 5X6s and 5 point are coming out these days. This is beginning to have a serious biological effect on the herds.

      The older outfitters had good understanding of natural history and even the rudiments of ecology, but the more recent ones–say, the wannabes who came in during the 1970s– are simply ignorant of both. That’s why they can claim that wolves are wiping out the elk herds and actually believe it. They don’t know any better and have no interest in learning. They hate scientists. I hear it all the time.

      They are also slobs; some of these camps are a disgrace. The poster child for a beaten down camp is Lynn Madsen’s camp on the Thorofare River above Hawks Rest. It looks like the feedlots at the livestock sale barns. The Thorofare may be the most remote place in the lower 48 states, but it’s still a goddamn mess thanks to the outfitters. The other problem is too many damn horses.

      I don’t know what the answer is for solving these problems, especially in the Thorofare. Neither the Forest Service (Bridger-Teton NF) nor the G&F Department holds outfitters to account, and they’re getting away with murder. What really needs to happen is the number of outfitters needs to be reduced drastically. As it is right now. we’ve got hunting camps in virtually every major drainage of the ecosystem. The elk can’t stand it.


  6. bob jackson Avatar
    bob jackson


    I agree that most outfitters want to “spend more time afield”. But I believe it is for a different reason. I’d say it is because too many of them are antisocial and don’t do well intermingling with the general public. Thus they ESCAPE to the woods.

    The Parks worst violators came into the Thorofare BEFORE anyone was around (early summer before the streams rose but the passes had lots of snow still on them). In one’s or two’s and roaming the country like it was the lawless Wild West. Camping and setting campfires right on the Park trails…fishing way out of season etc. etc. And a lot of these ringers were outfitters and guides who were in this country before their dude trips started.

    These were the dudes wwhen approached by me acted very offended and agitated…like they did not want to be bothered by anyone.

    Ya these guys were pent up all winter and had “to get away” no matter what the adverse horse conditions were.

  7. Chuck Avatar

    Hey Bob have you ever thought of writing a book about all your experiences in the thorofare??? I know I would buy it. I read the book Hawks Rest and couldn’t help but notice that both you and Kayla were mentioned alot. Am sure you have lots of stories to tell. I enjoy reading your posts here.
    Thank you……Chuck

  8. SEAK Mossback Avatar
    SEAK Mossback

    I ran into some of those anti-social characters in the 1960s and early 70s above Jardine and out by Cooke Pass and went to school with a few of their kids. I can’t imagine what kind of experience spending a 10-day hunt would be like in their company – wonder if they ever have repeat customers? We once rented two equiped pack horses with a 2 wheel drive pickup for a day from a smelly, desperate guy with a terrible temper who admitted he’d been guiding elk hunters off and on for a month without success. We offered $40 and he thought we’d come straight from heaven. His way of coaxing them in the back of the truck was by full out attacking them . . .

  9. Larry Thorngren Avatar

    I attended the IDFG commision meeting in Boise last evening and the Idaho Outfitters and Guides Assn. and their paid lobbyist were there in force complaining about the wolves. After listening to several of them claim that the IDFG was destroying the “Outfitting Industry”, I told the commissioners that it wasn’t their job to keep the “Outfitting Industry” in business when my name was called to speak. Then one of them complained to the commissioners that I shouldn’t be calling them an “industry” because they only had 400 members. I was quoting them when I used the term.
    Poor little outfitters. They have way too much influence on IDFG matters, considering that there are only 400 part time people employed statewide in their wildlife killing “industry”.
    Several pro-wolf people showed up and testified, including a representative from Defenders, which was a welcome change.

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar


      I understand a state senator was there (Stevenson) who publicly said the legislature didn’t pass Rep. Harwood’s Emergency wolf reduction resolution because Judge Molloy was still considering the delisting lawsuit, but things would quickly be different if the wolf remained delisted in Idaho.

      What incredible information for the judge about Idaho government’s true intentions!

  10. bob jackson Avatar
    bob jackson


    I like your overview. It is eactly as I would summarize it.

    And to expand further….none of these large camps I know of follow FS stock limits. the forest service wilderness guards told me The Hawks Rest camp (Madsen’s now) is suppose to have no more than 60 stock (which is excessive) but with the pack train subways and interwoven hunter shuttles there can be over 120 horses and mules in camp at any one time. Same or smaller limits at other camps…but no enforcement by FS. Expand this into a eight week hunt and you have overgrazing and bare dirt for farther than one can see.

    In fact all the outfitters have wars because one outfitter will be grazing stock on the others “territory”. And these camps average about five miles apart. There isn’t much graze left in any of the valleys. Especially none for the wildlife.

    the Hawks Rest camp at least is in the south facing sun so the dust and manure you see around this camp turns into the deep mud slurry around those other camps in the north facing or timbered shade …. such as Triangle X’s Phelps Pass camp or Open Ck. Billings (?) camp. I have seen camp help dragging saddles and gear through calf high shit and mud to get to the tack tent at Triangle X’s phelps Pass Camp.

    The hunts in the Valley are truly assembly line. Where before all hunts were 10 days and all hunters from that hunt stayed till all went out (thereby a lot of hunter bonding and commaradiere)…where guides took filled out hunters to Bridger Lake for trout fishing…now it is the rule of common outfitter lingo to hunters in camp that once they fill in their 5 to 6 to eight day hunts (it takes a very long day to travel in to these camps— thirty miles—- so you see what time a hunter actually has to hunt) they can go tag along one more time with a buddy who hasn’t filled but then it “might be a lot more fun to head out with the next pack train (at least one headin in or out every day or two) and sit on the saddles at the Cowboy Bar.”.

    The outfitters don’t want to feed grub to these guys. As far as latrines I have seen them filled so close to the top ones butt would touch the goo if you attempted to sit down.

    It ends up the hunters don’t even get a chance to know any of the other hunters coming and going. The only thing that allows this kind of gross hunter abuse to continue is equally ignorant “hunters” who have read too many Outdoor Lifes during their work breaks but have no experience on the ground.

    I lay all responsibility for all what is happening in the “furthest spot from a road in the lower 48” directly on a very yellow streaked Forest Service headquartered in Jackson Hole.

  11. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    When one asks about the political influence of outfitters on wildlife commissions, one should never forget that outfitters would not have this influence were they not riding the coat-tails of the livestock industry. The real issue is the influence the ranchers have on wildlife policy..


    1. Elk275 Avatar

      That is partially wrong. Alaska has no livestock industry and the outfitters are maybe the strongest of all in Alaska.

    2. dewey Avatar

      Elk275— Alaska might as well ( and maybe should) be a foreign country. You can see Russia from there ! Tina Fey told me so…

      Seriously , You can’t compare how and why they do things in Alaska to any other state on this or many other topics.

    3. Robert Hoskins Avatar
      Robert Hoskins

      Elk 275

      That was a gratuitous non-comment if I’ve ever seen one. I know where Alaska is; did my graduate work on wolf control in the Yukon–you know, that Canadian Territory next door to Alaska.

      Your credibility just dropped to zero.


    4. Elk275 Avatar

      ++one should never forget that outfitters would not have this influence were they not riding the coat-tails of the livestock industry.++

      What does this comment say? It say that outfitters are riding on the coat tails of the livestock industry. I take that we are talking about the entire outfitting industry in the USA. I just made a comment which is true.

      Twenty five years ago, I was working in Buffalo, Wyoming buying oil and gas leases. A gentleman named Chuck, an accountant, was working with us. He said that he had been the head of back tax collection in the State of Wyoming before coming to Buffalo, whether it was true or not it was never confirmed . We were talking about his old job and what he did. He mentioned that the very highest levels of government in Wyoming informed him never to investigate delinquent or unpaid taxes of outfitters and guides. They were protected.

  12. Bob C Avatar
    Bob C

    As to the thought of some kind of counter rally at the Jackson Square I’d suggest staying away. Like the Sportsmen for fish & wildlife (add – “so we can kill them”), with their donation of a few hay bales to the Elk Refuge, they’ll get an article and some photos out of the JH News & Guide, which will do NOTHING to help solve any of the supposed problems they are so frantic about. A counter rally will just add fuel to their fire.

  13. Larry Thorngren Avatar

    Stevenson rambled on so long that I tuned out 90% of what he said.
    The outfitter’s lobbyist stood by the entrance door and handed out comment cards to all the outfitters so that they would all get a chance to talk. They come prepared to stack the meeting in their favor.
    They were complaining after the meeting that no one should be able to talk unless they put their hunting license number at the botom of the comment card. They were not expecting to hear so many pro-wolf comments.
    I think the even the IDFG commission gets tired of hearing these guys whine and complain.
    I can’t imagine any hunting client of theirs coming back for another year. From the sounds of their testimony, they were not returning. They blamed it all on the wolves.

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      Larry Thorngren,

      My father-in-law was an outfitter. He understood that pleasant company in camp, on the hunt and trail could make up for lack of success.

      Many hunters and fishers hope for an experience as much as for a kill.

  14. Save Bears Avatar
    Save Bears

    I have heard ramblings from a few states that only Lic holders should be able to comment at meetings, and if I remember right, in the state of WA you have to have been a lic holder for something like 5 or 10 years to sit on the commission…what I have always advised even non-hunters to do, is buy a lic every year, it is a small investment to ensure you have a say at the meetings and such..after some of the things I have seen over the years, it would not surprise me to see game departments pass administrative rules to this effect, especially in MT, WY, ID, WA and OR..

    1. JB Avatar


      I see little chance of such rules being passed. It is well established common law that wildlife is held in trust by the state government for ALL of its citizens. Excluding state citizens from participating in agency decisions because they don’t buy a hunting or trapping license would violate this trust, inviting lawsuits. More importantly, it would end what little debate still exists about whether western F&G agencies are captured by consumptive interests.

      P.S. I know you are not advocating such restrictions.

  15. Save Bears Avatar
    Save Bears


    I agree 100% that it would violate the public trust doctrine, but I would not be surprised to see it happen with all the other crap that is currently going on..and once they passed rules like that, how long would it take to get it over ruled in court..unfortunately, right now, I think that any non-hunter that makes comments are ignored anyway, actually I think that any person that does not follow a specific agenda are pretty much ignored by just about everybody in the government right now, the will of the people, no matter what side of the issues you are on, or what issue it is, is a foreign concept to most political organizations! and I include the state game agencies in political organizations!

  16. Kayla Avatar

    Now in this day and age how much of the time anymore do I keep things to myself but I think I will say this. I have been all over this Teton – Absaroka Country and have come to know how many of these outfitters. I have seen the Grizzly, the Wolf, and the Elk back in this country. Also I do have some really good friends who are hunters and are good good people but who do think that the wolf does need to be managed now. They are Pro Wolf but do think that somehow the Wolf needs to be managed. And as for these outfitters, there are the good decent ones and then there are the bad slob ones also. I do see them on the trails it seems every summer and they have for the most part treated me decent. And some of these horse parties at times have given me a good meal at times also when been back in this country. Now so all of these Outfitters, Hunters, and Horsepackers are not some devil from hell as some make them out to be. And I have had some real good conversations with some of them thru the years. And will say that with some of them, do count them as friends. But I think that this issue is like many an issue in this modern day world and now days what a world are we living in. It is just my personal opinion but with the way we human two leggeds are going in the world and this nation, I have come to very serious contemplate that maybe sometime in the near future it will be us human two leggeds that will be the endangered species because of our human stupidity and not the grizzly or the wolf or the elk, etc. I have become totally convinced that there are hidden agendas that are not said of some of them on both the right and the left in this modern day world. It seems as if everything has become political and political to the extremes it seems. There has been times as of late where some of the very liberal left have severely criticized me personally of eating and using the wild edible and medicinal plants. Good Grief! I have become such an Independant now days and much of the time just want to vanish back into these wilds areas which I consider the real world and really enjoy life. Maybe sometimes we now need to just sit down with them on the other side over dinner and have a chat anymore. We might find out that our enemy has not been made out to be who they really are. I personally live here in Jackson and I will be going to this Wolf Protest to see just what they have to say. Maybe they might be on to something – I refuse to be a judge on the matter for it takes two to argue. I do know that in knowing how many of these outfitters and some hunters in town, that there are some really good people among them and some are even friends it seems.

    Now there is one thing that I do indeed know with for years going back into this Greater Teton – Washakie Absaroka Wild Area thru the years, is that just how wonderful and indeed wild it is wayyy back in here anymore. I have really have experienced first hand where in reality is how there is hardly anybody rather outfitter, horsepacker, ranger, or hiker wayyy back in some of these wayyy back areas anymore. Guess how many have become soooo addicted to this modern day world that how many can not it seems just take the time and go back into the these wilds for a good amount of time with seeing and enjoying life anymore. But just how superbly wild is how much of this country anymore bigtime. And in how much of this country, not mattering what one has heard, the Grizzly has now became quite so abundant. I should know after how many close encounters with them in the last few years. And anyone whoever they might be has to be really alert and on their toes anymore. Just my opinion. If I could say two things it would be this; 1.) for people whoever they might be rather by foot or horse to put things aside and experience first hand this superb wild country for themselves and see what is going on with enjoying it while one can and 2.) maybe there comes a times when we need to just sit down together and talk things out. Again I have sat down at times with different ones back in this country and have had a really good chat. I personally think that many of us who go back into this country and love this country have lots more in common of all probability then what divides us.

    But in my opinion, given how we humanity has been, I would not in the least be surprised if in the near future that we humanity might be the endangered species just because of our greeds and stupidity. And Yes Paradise still exists. It is just found out there where the roads do end and the trails and life begin. This might be a little
    different comment then most but just my opinion for whatever it is worth. Have a Good Day!

  17. Jeff N. Avatar
    Jeff N.

    Thanks Lone Eagle Woman. You have a good day also.

  18. Charles Newton Avatar
    Charles Newton

    Its nice to hear from you again Kayla, was not sure if you were around or off to one of your survival camps, I had not heard from you for a long time. Its always refreshing to hear your stories. Thank you Chuck in Boise

  19. Cindy Avatar

    Hi Kayla – I live in Jackson and will not be attending the Anti Wolf Rally. All one has to do is read the couple of letters to the editor this week as well as the press release that has gone out, and you can clearly see, just as pro wolf folks do sometimes, the group seems to be very emotional charged up. I think of the essence or tone of the rally will be what I refer to as the “fray of the subject”, not the “core” of the subject (I do not mean the people, I mean the tone). You mention they may be “on to something”, what exactly do you mean? The Rocky Mountain Wolf Recovery Report came out last week and it’s pretty precise in reporting the numbers of wolves, elk, cow calf info, deprivation etc in our entire region. In fact I found out from reading the report there is a wolf pack quite close to where I live and I’m ecstatic (and vigilant). There are many of us who feel wolves have a rightful place on our landscape and we want to make sure they are fairly represented in the discussions that ultimately determine their future. I myself am working hard on learning to bring the well being of the Wolf to the table, (so to speak) in a polite, informed and respectful way. Not always easy do but is the main reason why I will not attend on Saturday in any counter rally. I know my presence will in no way help the wolf on his journey to become a proud citizen of my state. I like your idea of folks from different sides of issues sitting down and talking, it seems like that is getting harder to do these days.

  20. Dawn Avatar

    You know I emailed the local paper about BIG and Wild and BEAUTIFUL Wyoming , but can it really be wild ? Outside the parks they are trying to tame the wildlife , the feeding grounds for the elk are a mess and it was a mistake to do this , but can’t stop it now . I really feel in Wyoming we are at a turning point about the wolf and the feelings that both sides are at , here in Jackson people want to see wolves, that is a given, but you still have the old school and their thinking which I would listen too . Got to find a way to live with this animal cause it is not going away people .

  21. Kayla Avatar

    Cindy, now to let you know, I am Pro Wolf Personally. I am also Not a Hunter and have never applied for any kind of a hunting license personally. I am though a big believer in the 2nd Admendment of the Constitution for whatever it is worth. And I do love to learn and study the old indigenous living skills as practiced by all aboriginal peoples. In the local paper it mentions under Wolf Impact on the local Moose population going down from 2,504 in the year 2000 to only 931 Moose in 2009. I have myself seen the dramatic decline of Moose in the Thorofare area thru the years. The first year I was in the Thorofare were several times in the summer and fall of 1982 and have been going back ever since. And thru the years I have heard a number of reasons given for this decline in the Moose. Could the Wolf be a part of this decline? And if so how much? I know a really good friend who lives in Western Idaho and others I know in Idaho who sware up and down bigtime on how the Wolf is impacting the Elk populations in Idaho. Now he says that in the area that he has gone to hunt in thru the years, he never sees any elk anymore in that area. I do wonder if this is indeed true? I am also personally Pro Wolf and Yes it does have a place rightfully in our landscape as you said also. But would like also to continue to see the Moose and the Elk in the abundance they are at present also. And does the Wolf now need to be managed since it is a predator species? And if so then how much managed? And by whom would the management be by? At least I am willing to ask the question(s) of which I do not have the answer? It seems from what I have seen that there is No Gray in this issue either with only Totally For or Totally Against. Gonna go and see what they have to say for am one who is willing to listen to what they have to say. Now I know that I do not have the answers. I have met many thru the years in the Thorofare and have had good conversations with them. They like that backcountry also even with being Anti-Wolf. And in fact there will be some from Idaho who are good friends and it will be good to see them again also. And the outfitter B.J. Hill who is one of them putting it on, remember onetime when I had a good conversation with him at Hawks Rest. But personally again I am Pro Wolf and Pro Grizzly!!!

  22. Kayla Avatar

    Dawn, let me just say that there is plenty of places in Wyoming that is Big, Wild, and Absolutely Gorgeous that is
    indeed wayyy back beyond the roads and everything. But
    except these are the places that hardly anyone ever goes to. How do I know? Because I get into these places every year and everyb summer. And also in fact I know places that I can walk to from downtown Jackson itself it seems people hardly ever get into and is absolutely splendid!

  23. Bob Caesar Avatar
    Bob Caesar

    An interesting question?

    What is the status of the wolf on the Wyoming Wind River Indian Reservation? Then Reservation covers 3,532 sq miles, or one third of Freemont County + 1/5 of Hot Springs County and represents a giant “buffer” between the Yellowstone ecosystem and the rest of Wyoming.

    As I understand it the tribes control the wildlife including wolves and bears. How do the tribes and their policy towards predators fit into the anti-predator thinking which exists in most Wyoming?

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar


      I think the Shoshoni on the Reservation are letting the wolf do its natural thing and just keeping their mouths shut. I see the wolf is doing well spreading down the Wind River Range, with all of the “problems” concentrated on the non-Indian side up in the upper Green River where they run so many cattle.

    2. Robert Hoskins Avatar
      Robert Hoskins


      The WRIR wolf plan is here: The grizzly bear plan is not online.

      I live on the Rez and Ralph is more or less right–the Tribes have adopted a live and let live policy toward wolves and bears. I have always thought that the Rez was the “wild card” in Wyoming for wolves and bears, as it constitutes a corridor for wolves into areas where the Stockgrowers, and thus the State, don’t want them.

      This is not to say that pro-wolf/bear attitudes are shared all over the Rez. There are a number of Tribal cattle ranchers who don’t like either species, and like elsewhere, these ranchers do wield influence over Tribal policies, although not to the degree that the Stockgrowers do in Wyoming. For example, Tribal ranchers helped kill the proposal to bring quarantined Yellowstone bison to the Rez year before last.

      As yet, however, wolves and bears are welcome.


  24. bob jackson Avatar
    bob jackson

    TO respond on the decline of moose in the Thorofare. It happened well before the wolf was reintroduced. My pack mule would chase bull moose after bull moose away from the cabin. Bull moose would try to mount any mare in heat and tied to the hitching rack.

    That is how it was in the early 70’s till the early eighties. Then the moose started going down in numbers, fast. Too many licenses issued…25 alone in Thorofare. No moose population can stand it. Even outfitters were saying G&F was issuing too many moose permits (of course most moose hunters were residents and these same locals also hunted elk..something the oufitters could not tolerate).

    It was almost a given in those “early” days one could stock up on a lot of moose meat for the winter if you drew a tag.

    All this changed…maybe weather change also helped bring down the populations…. but as I look at it an infrastructure can only take so much abuse (in this case overhunting) before the whole thing crashes down.

    Wyoming says 500 tags were issued in a given year(BC wolves) but what they don’t say is how the size of moose killed was way down well before any wolf reintroduction.

    It is Wyoming G & F that has to look no further than their own noses to see where the blame lies. The wolf is just a convenient scapegoat when it comes to moose.

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      Bob Jackson,

      I know that a number of researchers have also reported the Yellowstone area moose have been greatly harmed by the huge burns beginning in 1988 and continuing after. The Teton Wilderness is, as you know, totally transformed from what I encountered when I first went there in the early 1970s.

      In the average winter the moose are soon driven out of the willows and so they browse the higher elevation sub-alpine fir and/or Douglas fir, but that burned almost a generation ago now. We see the result with few moose in much of the Greater Yellowstone.

  25. bob jackson Avatar
    bob jackson

    Ralph, moose numbers were way below the 70’s I report of …..BEFORE the fires of 88. But I agree the 88 fires capped it off. We use to ski patrol to the cabins (to shovel the roofs). At all elevations of dense spruce – fir one would see moose…with 4-5′ of snow in the meadows.

    All winter ranger patrols noted the wildlife they saw in the cabin log books. Even with my reports of “high” numbers of moose in the early seventies it paled compared to the early forties.

  26. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Regarding the decline of moose in NW Wyoming, I was sent this thesis today. It is mostly due to lack of nutrition. Predation was less important.

    Department of Wyoming Cooperative Game and Fish Unit
    Thesis Database

    Becker, Scott A. Habitat selection, condition, and survival of Shiras moose in northwest Wyoming, M.S., Department of Zoology and Physiology, December, 2008.

    Seasonal movements, habitat selection, physiological health, and demography of Shiras moose (Alces alces shirasi) were studied in the Jackson Valley of northwest Wyoming. Moose congregated on low-elevation ranges during winter and migrated to more dispersed, mid-elevation ranges during summer. Moose selected winter habitat dominated by deciduous shrubs, whereas they selected summer habitat that was more variable. Blood parameters indicated that moose were in moderate physical condition. Ultrasonic rump fat measurements were relatively high, but there were indication of nutritional deficiencies. Diseases and parasites appeared to have minimal population-level effects. Population modeling suggested that the moose population was more likely to be declining than stable or increasing and the population growth rate was influenced primarily by late-winter and early-spring adult female mortality. Pregnancy rates were high, but calf production was relatively low. Neonate and annual calf survival were relatively high. Habitat quality appeared to be the primary factor limiting population growth while the effects of predation appeared to be less important.

    Date: 12/1/2008
    First name: Scott
    Last name: Becker
    State: WY

  27. Cindy Avatar

    The Town of Jackson administrator moved the Rally site down the street to avoid a large crowed tearing up the square as it’s mud season here already. I think this will render web cam viewing moot. The JH Conservation Alliance placed a full size ad in the Jackson Hole Daily which is the only “counter” that I know of. They used a beautiful photograph of a young Druid taken by former Alliance executive director Franz Camenzind along with 4 precise wolf facts. Well done.

  28. Jeff Avatar

    I drove by the square today, a few hundred people for sure. The web cam might have captured a 10 year old hold some sign about wolves. I’m a life long hunter and an avid elk hunter in Teton County but this isn’t a crowd I feel comfortable associating with. I really like their large American flag—patriotism is on their side for sure…

  29. dewey Avatar

    Sunday morning 3/21
    IF anyone who was at the Anti-Wolf rally would like to post an account, a headcount, or a link to some photos, I would be very interested. The Jackson Hole News Guide paper is pretty anemic in the online news actuality department.

    I watched the town square web cam from 8 am -3pm, and detected no increase in traffic or pedestrians, but you really couldn’t see over to the east side of the square where this gathering was held. Still, there was no evidence of a crowd or spillover.

    So, please, someone… I’m curious how much support and what kind of crowd the Wyoming outfitters were able to call out. I’m in Cody and it was not worth a 335 mile one way drive for what to me was a Non-event.


  30. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    Dewey et al.

    The publisher of the Dubois Frontier told me he was going to drive over to Jackson yesterday to see what was what. I assume he’ll do a story on it. Unfortunately, the Frontier isn’t online (that’s how small this town is). If there is a story, I’ll scan it and send it out to people if they’re interested.


  31. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    Robert, even if you could summarize the article that would be nice. I was not able to go to the rally myself.

  32. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    I don’t mind scanning the story and sending it to people. It will be longer than what appears in the JH News & Guide or Casper Star Tribune.


  33. Bob Avatar

    I drove by at mid-am and again in early afternoon. I’d guess a hundred people. Seemed orderly. Yes, even civil to one brave lady standing immediately next to them on Broadway with her own sign, “Wolves need a voice not a bullet”! My hat is off to her! A feisty gal for sure! Wonder who she is and what she thought?

    The sad thing (and I was tempted to go and make a speech) is to accomplish what they are asking for this group should just get their act together and push for the rest of Wyoming to adopt a managed and thus protected game animal status for wolves across the entire state. As long as the hard heads insist upon designating wolves outside NW Wyoming as scum, predators to be killed at any time, by any means, by anyone – I hope the Feds will NOT give in!

    The flip side is across the “rest Of Wyoming” bubba despises one other thing almost as much as wolves – outfitters. So there you go.

    1. JEFF E Avatar
      JEFF E

      the sad thing is that if Wyoming had just come up with an acceptable plan the whole thing, lawsuits and all, would have probably been done and over with several years ago

    2. Layton Avatar

      “the sad thing is that if Wyoming had just come up with an acceptable plan the whole thing, lawsuits and all, would have probably been done and over with several years ago”

      With all due respect Jeff E, I gotta disagree — the lawsuits and all the legal maneuvering to keep anything from happening to ANY of the wolves was completely predictable. (and WAS predicted) It was a foregone conclusion that the “for” side was going to use any and all means to protect the wolves.

    3. JEFF E Avatar
      JEFF E

      I don’t know.
      As you know many of the delisting triggers such as minimum numbers were achieved in 2002. I have to think that if Wyoming had an acceptable plan then all the suits and counter suits and ad nauseum would have been done.

    4. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      Wyoming politicians, I think, did not want to have an acceptable plan. They sort of wanted the federal government to manage the wolves, forever, so that they could bash the federal government forever.

      That is usually a good diversionary issue in states like Wyoming — if there are thorny political issues for you, change the subject to something like the “damn feds.”

      You see this in Idaho with the rotten economy. The state legislature has to make unpopular deep cuts and they don’t want make certain groups sacrifice. Solution is to raise all kinds of diversions — guns, wolves, we need to return to gold or silver bullion, Obama’s going to kill grandma!

  34. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    looks like “100’s attend rally” equates to “nearly 200”, or as was noted elsewhere, “about 100”

    1. jon Avatar

      Did you see that idiot holding the sign that said delist the terrorists? My god, this people are unbelievable.

    1. Robert Hoskins Avatar
      Robert Hoskins

      This picture, as well as the above Youtube videos, was taken in Cheyenne.

      According to the Dubois Frontier reporter, with whom I had a long discussion about the rally and wolves in general yesterday morning, there were about 200 people in Jackson for this rally. The rally was held off the Square, which is why it didn’t show up on the webcam.

      It appears the purpose of the rally was to whip up emotions and support for the anti-wolf position; it that sense, it was more like a Tea Party rally than anything else. All the old rural myths were repeated (e.g., the feds promised a max of 300 wolves) and cheered. Ignorance reigned.

      One thing that had interested me is that comments in the press from some outfitters before Saturday suggested that the outfitters were willing to consider an expansion of wolves in Wyoming, ostensibly to lessen their impact on elk. However, according to Cory Hatch’s story in the Jackson Hole News & Guide this morning ( ), the outfitters have backed off this purported change in policy:

      “At the rally, event organizers backed off earlier comments that indicated a willingness to see wolves expand beyond northwest Wyoming. Instead, the outfitters said they would support Wyoming’s wolf management plan.”

      The Stockgrowers Association has spoken, and the Outfitters, like Democrats in Congress with the public option, have abandoned what little ray of enlightenment was shining through.


    2. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      When you get people together in rallies, group solidarity takes over and policy positions become crude and non-compromising.

      I’d say this is the case with very few exceptions, no matter what the issue.

    3. JEFF E Avatar
      JEFF E

      thanks for the clarification

  35. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    I don’t think it’s a mere case of group think. Rather, it’s a case of conscious, raw politics, Wyoming style. Both the Outfitters and SFW are underwritten by the Stockgrowers. The party line is firmly drawn, and it shall not be passed.


  36. Bob Avatar

    Link to the JH News & Guide story:

    I’d go along with the total of 200 attended, but when I went by there were no more than one hundred there. I guess the same fellow what counted “less” elk also counted the more attendies….

  37. Bob Avatar

    Way to go Wyoming! Dig in your heels! Don’t give an inch! Don’t ever appear reasonable! Don’t succumb to science or fact! Stay at odds with the rest of the Country! Keep insisting that all wolves o/s NW Wyoming should be killed by anyone, any time and by any means.

    By continuing on your extreme, unsupportable polarized position you’ll be passing the fight along to your grandchildren, and your great grandchildren!

    No sense being as smart as Montana and Idaho. They caved in far to easily. They won’t have the opportunity you will to fight the Feds – forever! They won’t have the opportunity to enjoy Federal control over their wildlife like Wyoming does.

    As we say down at the old tavern, “Don’t give in to the ba@^*+ds! It’s not whether we win or lose – it’s how irrational we appear. To that end we are doing a fine job!

  38. jimbob Avatar

    the single-minded, simple, ignorant, selfishness of these individuals appalls me. You choose to make a living exploiting wildlife, and now you want it to be treated as a commodity, just because YOU choose to make this your living. The elk, deer, and moose are there FOR the wolves to eat—-and they were fine for hundreds of thousands of years TOGETHER! (By the way, humans hunted without outfitters for thousands of years, too) Can’t we make these people get real jobs?

    1. Elk275 Avatar

      jimbob, that is the way it is, get use to it. Things are not going to change for the next 50 years. After this administration, I am afraid that we are going to be dealing with some very, very conservative administrations and legislators. I wonder if the republic will last another 50 years. I may not be a big fan of wolves but I am one of the strongest wilderness supporters out there.

      I hate outfitters, I have worked for them and been the client and I have been screwed both ways.

    2. jon Avatar

      Well said jimbob. I agree with you 100%.

    3. Bob Avatar

      jimbob – Can’t you say how you REALLY feel?

      On the other hand you sure have some valid points there!

  39. dewey Avatar

    About the Jackson anti-wolf rally , a couple of post-even pundit comments.

    It did seem to be a mirror of this past year’s Tea party movement, holding well attended but entirely shallow ” rallys” , where intellect and having a real cause complete with a counter-plan is replaced by mere mob anger and spleen venting. So in honor of the Tea Baggers and 9-12ers who blazed the trail , I’m christening the Wyoming outfitters’ anti-Wolf crowd the Elk Baggers. So there.

    To Ralph’s point about the state of Wyoming and especially Game & Fish not wanting a wolf plan , so they can legitimately gripe about wolves and act against them without constraints from on high, I think it’s more along the lines of ” you burned us on Grizzlies , because you write the rules but it’s the state that’s paying $ 1 -3 million per year from its own pocket to “manage” them “. The Unfunded Mandate argument. Unfortunately , it’s true with the Grizzly Bear. A lot of Wyoming Game and Fish resources and money are used in managing bears…bears they cannot sell a license for to hunt ( yet). Wyoming GAME and Fish is not a wildlife agency , after all. They are Ungulate farmers selling an annual crop as much as anything. They seem to not realize that in order for the state to pay for its own full-bore Grizzly and Wolf management oeprations, hunting licenses for same would have to sell for $ 25,000 per. Ain’t gonna happen . In fact, of all the Big Game hunting programs run by Wyo G & F , only Pronghorn pays its own way . All other species, including Elk , run a deficit. And that deficit is made up by Fishing licenses, especially those temporary nonresident ( tourist ) fishing tags. It’s fishermen , not hunters, generating 2/3rds of G & F’s license revenue that are underwriting the same outfitters and guides that were rallying Saturday in Jackson, by funding their commercial hunting opportunities. But the outfitters and guides somehow think they get first dibs on all the Elk…some derivative of Manifest Destiny at work here or something.

    I will not even begin to give the outfitters and guides and those aristocratic pseudo-conservation sporting clubs any credence on wolves unless and until they start treating wolves as bona fide wildlife. When Boone and Crockett starts scoring trophy Wyoming wolves ; when Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife and Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and Safari Club start funding wolf conservation , then we will truely be standing on common ground.

    The Jackson anti-wolf rally had no real point. And brought nothing forward. It was just a mob of Elk Baggers.

    1. Cobra Avatar

      I hate to see you put the RMEF in with the rest. Really in a sense the RMEF has done quite alot for habitat and all species of wildlife be it from the lands that are granted or leased to them or lands they purchase to help preserve elk habitat. By getting these lands the RMEF help all wildlife, including predators.

    2. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has been much different, but their response to folks using their own elk population numbers (very hostile response) was an elk bagger-like action.

  40. Save Bears Avatar
    Save Bears

    RMEF’s main focus is Elk, but in their land acquisitions through conservation easements, outright donations, long term leases as well as reintroduction programs have probably done more than any other single group to protect lands that benefit virtually every species..I know in the past, I have helped put a heck of a lot of barb wire to open ranges up for wildlife and other various projects with them. I don’t consider them in the same level as the other groups you mentioned Dewey.

    As far as the Jackson rally, it may not have had a point to you, but I am sure those who attended and supported it, it had a point to them, you might not agree with the position, which many of us don’t, but they have the right to voice their opinions on this as well as anyone else.

    1. Robert Hoskins Avatar
      Robert Hoskins

      As the saying goes, people are entitled to their own opinions, but they’re not entitled to their own facts. The outfitters wouldn’t recognize a scientific fact if it sat down in front of the cook tent stove and took its stinking boots off.

      Here’s one fact the outfitters don’t care to recognize: they’re shooting out the trophy bull elk in western Wyoming. Their own financial problems and mismanagement force them to run clients through the camps on the assembly line and hunt elk on the same assembly line. It’s taken its toll on bull elk.

      Now, wolves haven’t caused this problem. Outfitters caused this problem, aided and abetted by the G&F Department, which fails to reduce take of bull elk even though its clear what’s happening.

      Consequently, there’s hardly a more endangered animal in the mountains these days than the big 6 point bull elk.


  41. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Note to folks,

    I just put up a separate post on the Jackson Hole protest rally

  42. Save Bears Avatar
    Save Bears


    I agree they did get a bit hostile, as do all organizations at times, but I still don’t think that diminishes the work for conservation they have done for so many years..

  43. Save Bears Avatar
    Save Bears


    I said opinion, I don’t take most of what the anti side says as a fact, the only point I was making is, we in the middle or on the pro side, have no more right to drown out their opinions than those on the anti side have to drown out ours..the longer this goes on, the more I see it happening on both sides, unfortunately, it is becoming more and more like DC everyday!

  44. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins


    Trouble is, I’ve been listening to the same opinions for as long as I’ve been in Wyoming–18 years–and the outfitters and ranchers had no more command of the facts then than they do now.

    As far as I can tell, it’s just another year in the 100 Years Western Range War. We’re becoming more and more like Europe. Now all we need is the plague.


    1. Save Bears Avatar
      Save Bears

      I didn’t say I agree…I said, they have the same right to voice, I have been listening to it for a long time as well, I don’t know of a day, when I worked for FWP I didn’t get a language laced, rhetorical tongue lashing from some very uniformed rancher or outfitter who liked to remind me, I was only book learned and had no idea of the real world!


  45. dewey Avatar

    I forget who burned this saying into my lobes , but it’s worth repeating here. The difference between a Preservationist and a Conservationist is the preservationist spends 52 weeks a year protecting a species, while the conservationist spends 50 weeks of the year saving a species so he can spend the other two weeks hunting and killing it….

    Yes, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has done some selfless work in habitat improvement , and I laud them for that and have never said it otherwise, and generally support their efforts on habitat acquisition and improvement, especially for ever-shrinking elk winter range.

    However, one dark cloud RMEF have over them at the moment is being the leading funder of the Absaroka Elk Ecology Study here in northwest Wyoming, which is a multi-year campaign designed to indict and execute Wolves for the crime of eating THEIR elk. The AEES wants to use some skewed and/or constrained hypotheses to blame wolves for declining elk herds . Wyoming Game and Fish is shepharding that study, and I have no doubts the study is designed to “build to a predetermined conclusion” , which G & F will then boilerplate statewide to further deprecate wolves. That study’s field work is drawing to a close and preliminary results should be handy just in time to set this autumn’s elk seasons. Stay tuned.

    RMEF’s funding of habitat improvement is still a very good thing, and I apologize for not making my opinion of them more clear on that aspect. They and Trout Unlimited are what so-called conservation groups should most resemble.

    BUT–Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife is primarily a political organization and lobbyist organization . Don’t let them fool you when they haul a few round bales of hay to the National Elk Refuge in Jackson , or sponsor a Coyote bounty program , or give out a little money here and there. Boone & Crockett and Safari Club are modern day oligarchs of the old European landed aristocracy. It’s all about the money and the prestige and glory of the hunt with them. While SfFW is made up of commonfolk, and B & C and Safari are more the elites, they do not have genuine conservation of wildlife in their hearts. They’re in it for–or because of–the money.

    Commercial hunting is presently unsustainable in Wyoming, and it was heading that way a long time before the wolf came back.

    1. Elk275 Avatar

      ++The difference between a Preservationist and a Conservationist is the preservationist spends 52 weeks a year protecting a species, while the conservationist spends 50 weeks of the year saving a species so he can spend the other two weeks hunting and killing it….++ What is wrong with wanting to go hunting two weeks a year and hunt a large mature male.

      Where were the Preservationist at the turn of the century when the native wildlife herds were depleted? It was the local Sportsman’s/Rod and Gun Clubs that started with the initial restoration work. The real work began in the 1930’s and after World War 2 it began in earnest. If you want a reference read “Montana Wildlife Legacy” by Harold Picton and Terry Lonner. I have never heard of the groups like the Defenders of Wildlife do anything except file law suits. They do not have the political or economic clout and never will like the Rocky Mountain Elk or Trout Unlimited has.

      I never heard of a wildlife Preservationist Group until the mid 1970’s that does not mean that they were not there but there effectiveness was very minimal at the best in the west in years gone by, maybe in the future it will be different.
      By the way the reason my screen name is Elk275 is that it was a typo and was submitted before I caught it. I use the name Elk375, 375 B & C net points is the minimum for a elk to be introduced into the all time Boone and Crocket Club. Elk275 is probably more appropriate because most of my bulls are less than 300 net points and most of the time I end up shooting a cow at the end of the season

      ++and B & C and Safari are more the elites, they do not have genuine conservation of wildlife in their hearts. They’re in it for–or because of–the money. ++

      They are not in it for the money, most hunters are into it for the experience or ego and bow hunters are the worst. If you don’t like to hunt then don’t go or criticize those that do. It because of their work that there is a prey for your wolves.

      I got to get back to work before my clients declare a year around hunting season on me and my economic status being cover my the Endangered Species Act.


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Ralph Maughan