Wolves make few unnecessary elk kills, study says

Wyoming study shows surplus killing is uncommon-

So the Jackson Hole wolves rarely engage in surplus killing. This uncommon event is morphed into “killing for fun” by hard core antis. Wolves are most likely to abandon a carcass when humans disturb it, but that is only some packs.  Another Wyoming myth dispelled is that the elk leave usually leave the state feedgrounds every time wolves make a kill.

About the study in the Jackson Hole News and Guide. . .  Wolves make few unnecessary elk kills, study says. Wapiti tend to stay on Gros Ventre feedgrounds during attacks. Story is by Cory Hatch.

Be sure to read the refusal of a local outfitter to believe the study. He questions the motives of the USFWS and thinks that they are trying to make the wolf “sound as good as they can”. This lack of acceptance  is what I’d expect. A person’s attitudes are tied together if they are strongly held. When new information arrives that does match the attitudes, a person will change their thinking in the way that causes them the least discomfort. In this case, the easiest change is to discredit the study (after all it is a federal study).  Attitude change is large topic in the field of social psychology. One conclusion is that people are not rational in the short run when they get dissonant information (information they don’t like). That is because accepting unpleasant information may make them feel silly, harm their ties to friends, require them to change a lot of other attitudes, cause them to be frightened, etc.

The newspaper story also mentions the data from the latest Wyoming wolf weekly. Here is a direct link.



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  1. JB Avatar

    Ralph’s comments about the psychological research are dead on. These findings are important because the show the futility in simply “educating” wolf opponents about wolf myths as a method for alleviating controversy. Rather, new information tends to be interpreted in ways that conform with already existing views. Of course, all of us are guilty of such biased information processing (scientists included), but knowing that such biases exist help us to question our own interpretation and (hopefully) reduce their effect.

  2. Jon Way Avatar

    Quote of the year given that Wyoming proposes to allow unlimited killing of wolves in almost 90% of the state:

    “Hill questioned the motives of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service researchers, saying he’d rather trust data from the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.”

    I am sure WY is neutral about their data given their stance on wolf mgmt….(sarcasm intended)

  3. Jeff Avatar

    Ironically Wyoming Game and Fish data hasn’t supported the opinions or actions of state level officials including the Governor, the legislature or the politically appointed Game and Fish Commission. Science has to be attacked as it doesn’t compliment political desires in Wyoming.

  4. Brian Ertz Avatar

    tree-huggin’, wolf-lovin’, lettuce-lickin’, hippie-science …

  5. Nancy Avatar

    BE – did that make you feel good to make that kind of comment?

    1. Brian Ertz Avatar

      if it don’t line up with my ideology ~ it ain’t good science ~ period.

    2. Virginia Avatar

      I think Nancy is misinterpreting Brian Ertz’s comments – Brian is one of our esteemed writers on this blog and even though I do not know him personally – I would bet that he IS a tree-huggin’, wolf-lovin’, lettuce-liken’, hippie too.

    3. Brian Ertz Avatar

      latte-macchiato-sippin’ … (from his risqué, yet charming, Parisian flat in NY)

  6. WM Avatar

    ++“When wolves made a kill on the feedground, surprisingly … elk stayed on those feedgrounds almost 80 percent of the time,” he (Jiminez) said.++

    Surprising to whom? What are the elk going to do most of the time? They come for and stay at the feeding station, since hunger is a huge motivator, and in some instances the snow is deep making escape through the trees difficult from the wolves who can stay on top while the elk post-hole thru. One would think it would take very little time for elk, at a very basic survival level, to determine attempted “flight is futile,” especiallly after a kill is actually made, usually from among the weak, injured or inexperienced young. Isn’t that sort of the way it works on on the Serengeti (not the snow part, but the herd not fleeing after pursuit and a kill obtained) or Wood Buffalo Park?

    What is also to some extent surprising was 49% were calves.

    I wonder why they did not identify the researchers/authors of the study, while giving only a teaser on the results of their work.

    1. Jeremy B. Avatar


      I had the same reaction. Seems to me that expending lots of energy to remove oneself from an area with food would be maladaptive, especially given that the vast majority of wolf attacks/tests do not result in a kill.

    2. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      WM and Jeremy,

      Your reasoning is spot on, but the value of this finding is the belief perpetuated for years now by WY Game & Fish that wolves on the feedground push the elk to the next feedground, thus messing up their system of hay distribution continually.

      So what they say is in part refuted.

  7. Evan Avatar

    Decent article on a very intriguing study! It does highlight a recurring concern of mine… the need for news reports that are accurate both in content AND presentation. It is vital, especially in such a highly-charged wildlife issue, and always makes me wonder why there aren’t more science-trained journalists/reporters to be found.

    Case in point: “Jimenez said the low percentage of moose killed in the Gros Ventre drainage comes as no surprise, because wolves tend to key in on elk feedgrounds.” Yet three paragraphs prior, “Wolves killed 66 percent of prey on native winter range and 34 percent on feedgrounds.” I suppose you could argue the meaning of ‘tend to’ (Some important folks argued the definition of “is” awhile back 😀 ) but my initial reading caught that as another probable bullet point for anti-wolf use, about a report that, in a logical world, should dilute some of their rhetoric.

    @WM – My guess is they didn’t ID the authors and gave the teaser because the study is yet to be published. Your Serengeti point makes sense to me… winter feedgrounds could be a bit like watering holes out there. A lot of animals interacting in a limited space out of necessity. Funny that the behaviors/circumstances that have been popular nature show fodder for decades could turn into an argument against predators!

  8. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    Good to have information out on wolves not just killing for fun. On a rather unrelated note, I was in Jackson this weekend and did a little tour around the Elk Refuge. Oddly enough, there were hundreds of perfectly healthy looking elk grazing like cows in a pasture. Maybe I saw the whole population right there?

    1. Free Coyote Avatar

      When you were looking at the hundreds of elk on the Feed Ground you should have been seeing thousands, aside from that ,the other thing that is missing are the Calves…..there aren’t any. When I was up there we saw the Bull Herd, they still had their horns. I counted 260 hd ,of those I was able to count 50 mature Bulls the rest were rag horns and a few spikes. Unbelievable ! massacre is the only word to descibe it, 3 yrs ago there were 17,000 ??? this year 4,200.

    2. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      Free Coyote,

      Did I misunderstand you?

      The elk are often entirely gone from the National Elk Refuge by this time of year. It varies from year to year, but I’m surprised ProWolf in WY saw any. You almost sound like you are new to Jackson, WY

      The Jackson Hole News and Guide reported yesterday in an article not online, that the number of elk in Wyoming grew from 2008 to 2009. The herds are now 34% as compared to 31% over objective. Hunters in the field increased. The hunter success rate was stable. The average time taken per hunter to kill an elk declined.

      What are you talking about?

    3. ProWolf in WY Avatar
      ProWolf in WY

      Free Coyote, I saw elk of variable sizes so I assume some were calves. And Ralph is right. Most elk should be off of the Refuge. There was no snow so I imagine that the elk have mostly moved on. I also might add that if wolves “massacred” their prey like you are claiming, shouldn’t they have become extinct by now?

    4. JEFF E Avatar
      JEFF E

      ummm, bull elk have antlers

  9. dumolebob Avatar

    This outfitter “Hill”? Who the heck is he? Never heard a word from him till this Gros Ventre Elk thing came up. Now he is quoted in EVERY news piece. Hill has become a “pretty boy” for the outfitter because he is willing to talk to any and all reporters. He puts himself out as the “expert”)!

    My guess he is a newcomer to the outfitting business in Wyoming – probably just moved here from Pennsylvania, or more likely California (Oh, my god!). I’ve seen him strutting around the Kelly PO and he is more “strut” than substance! Bet he has never tied a double diamond! More Mr. Newcomer Hill than a real outfitter! Big ole mustache, wool vests, dog in the ranch pickup, wife backing up his every move & cookin’ sausage gravy 7-24! Mister big shot Mr. Strut! All the things an eastern dude hunter expects to see. More an actor than an outfitter. Mr. “Hill” you couldn’t hold the spurs of a real Wyoming outfitter! Anyway, welcome to Wyoming!

    Hill thinks ALL Wyoming wildlife is his and it owes him a living. Strut all you want big mountain man. You don’t own the backcountry! God didn’t give you any special “rights”! Public lands belong to “the public” not to you….. Get a real job fellow

    1. bob jackson Avatar
      bob jackson

      Why don’t you ask the game wardens and Bridger-Teton about Hill. Maybe get a FOIA?

    2. wwy Avatar

      Your theory is a little flawed. BJ Hill has been in Wyoming about 30 years. I believe he owns 5 different camps. Two of his camps are in the Teton Wilderness. The Teton Wilderness has seen a significant reduction in elk numbers the last 10 years. While the states elk numbers are high there are a few segments below objective with extremely low recruitment numbers. The Teton Wilderness is one of those segments. That is why he is so vocal on this issue. He has been in the outfitting buisness a long time. Why don’t you try and be constructive instead of resorting to name calling?

    3. bob jackson Avatar
      bob jackson


      Why don’t you look up outfitter hunter success percents right after the wolves were reintroduced. It was very high and the reason it was very high is because wolves moving elk made it easier to jump em and also easier to find the now larger groups of paniced elk.

      Hill and the other outfitters shot out the wolf moved elk the same as they did the dense timber resident elk ….. after the ’88 fires destroyed these resident herds cover.

      The only ones more ignorant than the outfitters bobbing for apples in a coffeee cup were the biologists who did see it all happening ….and adjust seasons and take limits to account for this slaughter of elk.

      You, wwy, are no different than Delmer and Pete of Oh Brother Where Art Thou. You are not capable of abstract thought. Or is it deductive thought…or both????? No, I am sure, it is both.

    4. wwy Avatar

      Bob J,
      Maybe you should reread my post. I was not supporting Mr. Hill’s comments. I was only explaining to Dumbolbob WHY BJ is so vocal. I agree many things are causing the decrease in the Teton Wilderness Elk herd, not just wolves. And yes, I have looked at hunter success. While BJ actually maintains pretty good success, his two neighbors are seeing a drastic decrease. I believe one neighboring camp has killed one raghorn in the last three years. Once again, I am not blamming this on wolves, simply trying to explain why some of these individuals are being so vocal. If both sides of this issue want to ever come to an agreement name calling (calling a Wyoming outfitter and long time resident, a California import) is not likely going to help. As for your name calling, you have wasted enough of my time already. Seeing your behavior on this board readily explains the likely reasoning behind your termination from the Park Service.

    5. bob jackson Avatar
      bob jackson


      A few things. First I was not terminated from the NPS. I won my well publicized illegal salting case. Your western politicans and outfitters LOST BIG TIME. Not only did I go back to my regular backcountry job but the govt. got rubbed over pretty bad in what they had to do for me. You must of missed those national front page stories where it said the Park had to expunge any negatives in my files and replace with “good”. You must of forgot these announcements said ALL the Parks had to explain the rights of every employee to talk with the press.

      The LOSERS, those in the front being pushed by Washington politicans got HACKED when I WON. These were Yellowstone administrative types who had to take early retirement, were demoted and had to take transfers to a different agency. Ya, go on believing I got terminated wwy…and keep talking this trash at the cowboy bar saddle stools.

      Just remember those saddles you sit on while drinking your fill have have that urine smell because the same packers and guides who pee in their saddles on the trail working for the likes of BH are the same guys who pee in the holes of the Cowboy Bars saddles. Urine smell and drug store cowboys go hand in hand literally and figuratively. Take a look again at those drug store cowboys in Jackson and Cody. Notice how they hold a can of beer with just one finger and their thumb. It is because this is what they have been using all their lives.

      As for you saying BH’s alleged hunter success and his neighbors supposed low success, I’d say it is the same stats used as in all Thorofare, B-T country. Padding your own stats and diminishing others. Add in a bit more illegal salting to lure elk away from competitors, have employees sneak in to your neighbors turf and flush the elk out, push your own stock onto your neighbors “land” to graze so elk in your turf aren’t disturbed, ride so trails going through their turf is hit just before dark and then again early morning, dump carcasses near your competitors camp so bears bother them, not you….or if you are an outfitter strong enough just go ahead and bust up the neighbors hunts broad daylight.

      Use your noggin wwy. There is not that much difference in camps prowness or surrounding neighbors having that much different elk holding turf. Ya, an outfitter may be a real ringer but the guides do most of the hunting. We had some real dozzies of challenged outfitters in Thorofare but elk horns still came into camp at night.

      wwy you sound like a Wild West wanna be. To be thinking the way you do means some day your impression of heel grinding heroes (yes, your Cowboy Bar saddlemates grind off the outside of their boots heels so they walk bow legged) is going to collapse. Then you will wimper back to the city thinking “It wasn’t like I thought it was. They used me….and then sent me off with no pay……and a saddle that smelled like piss.

  10. WM Avatar

    I grew up not far from an elk feeding station. I knew some of wildlife guys and they let me help with winter feeding when I was home from college in December thru January, tossing hay off the back of an old Army duce and half. Elk are incredibly adaptable, and behavior that is temporarily exhibited during the cold, snowy winter months when food is scarce will make them act very much like cattle. It is hard for inexperienced people to reconcile the behavior they see at a feeding station or on winter range just as ProWolf writes above. Cows and calves come down to the hay pretty quickly, with even a few spikes in the mix. They even know about when it is time for the meal. The big bulls usually are more wary, and will stay back, but even they work their way into the feed line eventually.

    I have seen elk going after the rancher hay stacks, and even taking it away from cattle in CO, WY and WA. These are the very same animals that two to three months earlier during hunting season were very adept at avoiding hunters, and wanting nothing to do with humans.

    I have also seen elk hang out in fruit orchards eating the branches off apple, cherry and pear trees, much to the dismay of the rancher, whose crop will be reduced by each fruit bearing branch that is nipped off. He brings out the dogs and a shot gun or fire crackers, and maybe a snow machine trying to make enough noise and commotion to get the animals to move off to another area. Maybe they go, maybe not. A few hours later the elk are back, seeking shelter in the orchard and working over the trees.

    The problem is that their winter range is gone, a negative effect of human development and land use conversion.

    1. Robert Hoskins Avatar
      Robert Hoskins


      If I may ask, which feedground did you grow up near?


    2. WM Avatar


      Oak Creek Wildlife Area near the confluence of hiways US 410 and US 12, about 20 miles west of Yakima, WA, and another smaller, higher elevation, station called the Nile, a ways off US 410 to the northwest. The affected fruit ranches are further to the south of Oak Creek, on a high plateau called the Cowiche/Tieton. These areas are separated by elk fencing that keeps them from crossing the Tieton River and the road (US 12) that follows the drainage.

      In CO (where I went to grad school and lived for many years), the elk going after the hay was nearly anywhere, from Steamboat Springs in the north to Durango in the south, wherever there was a haystack in elk/cattle wintering country.

    3. Robert Hoskins Avatar
      Robert Hoskins


      Thanks. Were these permanent feedgrounds, or emergency ones? Any problems with disease?


    4. WM Avatar


      I have not kept up with the WA Div. of Wildlife elk feeding program for some time. I hunt mostly in Idaho. However, the Oak Creek and Nile stations have been continuously in operation for probably 50+ years. There are a number of permanant and emergency elk feeding stations along the east flank of the Cascades, maybe between 6 and 9 of them are permanant in areas to the north and south of Oak Creek. Feeding has been an integral part of the elk management program since elk – yes elk- were extirpated in the settlement of the Yakima Valley as agriculture took over winter range, and meat hunter settlers literally and figuratively wiped them out in the early 1900’s. If I recall correctly, the elk original to the area were Rocky Mountain species (not to be confused with the Roosevelt elk on the west side of the Cascades and Olympic Peninsula). They were re-introduced in the 1930’s from Yellowstone seed stock. It is a success story of sorts, and the Division and people of Eastern WA are very proud of their elk herds, as are the Yakama Indians, on their reservation lands to the south, at the east flank of Mt. Adams.

      There is no reported CWD in WA, and they have been testing since 1995. They only feed when they have to, and are very aware of disease potential resulting from congregating animals.

      Interestingly, one of two bighorn sheep herds (Mt. Clemans herd) we have discussed on this blog before are just about three miles to the east of the Oak Creek feeding area. They are also fed during winter months, again to keep them from working over the orchards. They have had some pneumonia problems, but nothing like the Ellensburg Canyon herd which is another 10 or so miles away.

      Here is a well done fact sheet on the elk and bighorn programs:


      I would like to say the WA Div. of Wildlife staff and the Commission are a pretty enlightened group. The Commission has at least three of its seven members with advanced wildlife degrees (heavy emphasis on fisheries because of the treaty obligations on the Columbia and coastal waters).

      When wolves arrive in Eastern WA in larger numbers – and they will soon- I do not think this Commission its staff, enlightened as they are, will be prepared for the controversey and conflicts which we are seeing play out in the NRM. In fact, I think they are very nieve.

      The draft wolf management plan implies 150 wolves (with a couple of wolf advocate scientists claiming a physical carrying capacity of 4X that, without consideration of social impacts of management at that capacity). By the way WA wants wolves off the ESA list so they can manage them, and their vision would eventually including a hunting season, and to control impacts to elk herds.

      My opinion is that while wolves will iniitally be received with curiosity (even at these feeding grounds where visitors may have opportunities to see a wolf), as the numbers grow we will see increasing social conflict between those who live in the cities and those who live in what will become wolf country. Wolf diet requirements will not be limited to the weak and injured. They will clearly see, as apparently the Gros Ventre study preliminary results reveal, lots of calves being taken. That, is messing with herd dynamics which will surely affect hunter expectations and future harvests, to say nothing of total reductions in elk population all along the east side of the Cascades.

      It will be interesting to see how the very independent and sometimes unpredictible Yakama Indian Tribe and individual tribal members (10,000 pop.) react to wolves chowing down on their reservation elk, and individually owned cattle and sheep. When a tribal member finds it more difficult to get an elk, or depredation results in livestock deaths, there will be a negative reaction as elswhere. Just thinking outloud, I do not think labor intensive non-lethal preventive measures will be big on the Yakama Rez.

  11. jon Avatar

    Outfitters like Hill distort facts about wolves. This fellow BJ Hill also said he would be scared if alone in the dark in the wilderness.

    Nevertheless Hill said he would be scared if alone in the dark in the wilderness.

    “If I was up in the Gros Ventre and it was dark and my snowmobile broke down, as much as I know about the mountains, I would have a problem alone in the dark without some kind of protection,” he said.

    Another rally cry was that wolves kill in excess for fun and that dead animals are left to waste.

    Many carcasses that people attribute to wolves actually were killed by something else, Jimenez said.

    “People walk around and see something dead and they say there’s another wolf kill,” he said. “Animals die for all kinds of reasons.”

    “There are some times when wolves kill more than they eat, but it is not the main way wolves go out and make a living,” Jimenez said. “In the Gros Ventre, we’ve seen it happen less than a half dozen times in eight years.”

    Often, when wolves do have a chance to kill more than one animal, they’ll come back and feed on the remains later. If a human disturbs the carcass, he said, the wolves might be reluctant to come back. In such cases, scavengers might take advantage and eat the animal.

    Jimenez did make an exception for domestic sheep, which he said are so easy for wolves to kill the slaughter sometimes gets out of hand.

    “They just get going and the sheep are so vulnerable,” he said.

    Hill said he doesn’t believe that wolves are that restrained.

    “The Taylors have watched wolves kill elk on Slide Lake and take certain parts and just leave,” he said. “They just keep going. They take whatever they can get a hold of.”

    Finally, Jimenez pointed out that bears, not wolves, present the biggest source of mortality to newborn elk calves. He said wolves tend to kill yearling elk in the fall and the winter after they’ve grown fast enough to elude bears.

    Hill said he agreed that bears eat more newborn elk calves.

    “I feel like [bears] need management, as well,” he said.

    Another issue brought up at the rally is a tapeworm called Echinococcus granulosus that some fear could be transmitted to humans. Hill said he’s had discussions with veterinarians in Montana who say the parasite is a serious concern to people and ungulates.

    However, an analysis done on several studies of Echinococcus granulosus provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service states that there’s little danger to humans, ungulates or wolves.

  12. Leslie Avatar

    This outfitter ‘Hill’ went on and on about Moose and how the wolves have decimated them. Just not enough tags for the outfitters. I just reread the Scott Becker thesis published last year on the declining moose population in the Jackson area. After several years of field research his conclusion was not predation, but habitat and nutritional quality.

    I suppose Hill doesn’t trust University of Wyoming studies either!

  13. dave Avatar

    Isn’t it possible that there is really no such thing as true “surplus killing” by wolves? By that I mean if a wolf pack has the good fortune to kill several elk during one encounter, if these elk are not disturbed by humans, the wolves will return to feed off these carcasses for several weeks during the course of the winter. As long as there’s meat left on those bones, the wolves may return to the site again and again until there’s nothing more to eat.

    1. jon Avatar

      Mack has heard many stories about how and what wolves prey upon. Anti-wolf groups claim wolves commonly surplus kill, or kill other animals for sport, not food. Similar to information spread about wolves producing multiple litters, Mack said, wolf opponents are exploiting atypical wolf behavior to create fear within the populace.

      “Wolves do surplus kill,” Mack said. “But it only occurs in unusual situations.”

      Wolves will conduct surplus kills when livestock or ungulates are bunched up en mass. Bands of sheep trigger an innate chase response in wolves, Mack said. Wolves can kill sheep with ease, leading the wolves to kill more than they can eat at times.

      Wolves often put themselves at risk when they kill for food, Holyan said. Wolves can be injured or killed when trying to take down elk, bison or cattle.

      “It’s not like wolves are out there just cruising around killing for fun,” Holyan said. “It’s inherently dangerous.”

      However, anti-wolf activists say that wolves are wiping out wildlife populations in the state. The situation, they say, left unchecked could turn grim.

      “It’s based on faulty ecology,” Mack said. “They spread all of this propaganda culminating in, ‘Don’t leave your kids outside because the wolves are going to eat them.’”

      Even if wolves don’t eat the animals that they kill, other animals do. Dead animals don’t go to waste. They only go to waste when a human discovers the dead elk and assumed it was killed for “sport” or for “fun” by wolves. If the person who saw the dead elk just left it there and came back in a few days, the elk would be gone most likely eaten either by wolves or other animals. There are plenty of other animals besides wolves that would love to help themselves to the dead elk that was killed by the wolves.

    2. cobra Avatar

      Most of what we’ve seen in surplus killing was during bad winters. Last winter was mild in North Idaho and the wolves had to earn the elk they killed. The two years before that we had deep snow even in the low country and we found a lot more kills. It was pretty easy for the wolves to kill an elk when the snow was belly deep and crusty, the elk sink and the wolves will stay on top of the snow which makes it much easier for a kill.

    3. Ralph Maughan Avatar


      When the snows are deep, Yellowstone winter study data does say wolves kill more elk (more elk per wolf). Is this surplus killing, discovered by statistical analysis? I don’t know, but I do think it is usually self correcting.

      Winters with deep snow were wolves killed more elk were often winters followed by poor pup survival, probably because too many pups were born, multiple litters, etc. These often ended up with fewer pups total surviving than “normal” winters.

    4. WM Avatar

      I am not so much troubled by the fact and extent of surplus killing of elk as is apparently being reported- this study says 14% – as I am the age and condition of the individual elk taken. If these were elk that would not survive otherwise that is ok. If these are elk – young and just inexperienced in life, at the wrong place and time- that would otherwise have survived, then that is more troubling. The study says very nearly half were calves (49%).

      The more compelling case is surplus killing of anything that is not in nature and that is owned or under the care, custody or control of humans. If wolves are to co-exist with humans there should be no tolerance of any surplus killing of properly tended livestock, whether it is dumb sheep, looked after cattle*, dogs, llamas, stock horses or even those miniature horses that got nailed out near Superior or St. Regis, MT.

      (* The exception, most of us agree to, is public grazing livestock turned out in Spring and picked up in Fall, with no tending. They get no consideration.)

    5. cobra Avatar

      Most kills we found during the bad winters were yearlings, spike bulls and yearling cows and then that years calves. This year with the mild witer most kills were yearling cows. The bad winters we found quite a few carcasses that were not eaten but with the mild winter this year most of the carcasses were consumed. I think the wolves had a harder time making kills this past winter so they were more inclined to make use of the kill versus a bad winter when the elk are easier to kill.

  14. Leslie Avatar

    Thanks Jon, nice article.
    Here in Sunlight there are plans to do extensive logging and burning to control beetle kill by the Forest service. There’s been a lot of logging of non-beetle kill areas as well in order to open the forests up for Aspens and create better habitat for the elk herd. Last winter my neighbors got together (not on my property) and logged a dying old growth spruce forest on their properties in prime moose wetland habitat. The other day I saw three moose there, running through clear cut.
    I suppose all this human interference with logging is just speeding the process of declining habitat for moose. That neighboring forest, although partially dead, was standing dead and had lots of refugia from the heat in summer. But not any more.

    1. cobra Avatar

      Usually logging helps the moose with all the new growth. I hate clear cuts and some of my best hunting country has been ruined because of them but I’ve got to say if you want to see moose the clear cuts are some of the best places to go. Deer, elk, moose and bears also frequent them for the new growth.

  15. Leslie Avatar

    Re: surplus killing and Jon’s reply: I watched the sunlight pack this winter take down 2 elk by the side of the road. They returned for a week every day to feed on those carcasses.

    One of the wolves this winter was limping. Although it could have been from a wolf fight or a trap, it also could have been from making a kill. I saw a dead coyote last winter who’d run through an elk herd and gotten kicked in the ribs…too much hubris. Taking down an elk is risky. One bad kick and you can be doomed…a bad leg, a broken jaw. I would highly doubt that wolves go on elk killing rampages.

    That being said, the Cody paper carried an article about 5 drunk young men who went on a shooting spree and killed 5 or 6 deer. One didn’t die right away and they tortured this poor animal, for a long time.

    Maybe these people who call wolves ‘killers for sport’ are seeing something reflected in themselves.

  16. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    I have a copy of the Becker moose thesis. Those who want a copy can write me at gravelbar24@yahoo.com and I’ll send it to you. It’s very well done.


  17. Linda Hunter Avatar

    If I wanted to book a guided hunt to shoot an elk would I go to an outfitter who claimed that the elk are almost gone and it might be my last chance BUT they have a 98% success rate with bulls in the 300 to 320 range and more bulls 400 class every year. I don’t understand that. I found that on Free Coyote’s website. They claim that in 2009 the Fish and Game count was 19,000 but they think instead it is 6,000 or maybe 7,000. What kind of marketing philosophy is this? I think if outfitters are having a hard time selling hunts they might want some professional advice of another kind as they may know how to hunt but the web and marketing is another thing.

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      Linda Hunter,

      I’ve remarked on this time after time — their negative advertising. I can’t think of any other business that does this even if, and especially when, their product is trash!

    2. Jeremy B. Avatar

      Perhaps they’re employing a “get one while they last” strategy? I have no doubt outfitters business is drying up, but would suggest that it is part of a larger trend that has happened since the economic downturn; that is, people don’t spend money on extravagant 5K+ recreational trips when their worried their savings might disappear.

      Actually, it would be interesting to compare receipts from outfitters that hunt areas with and without wolves.

  18. Nancy Avatar

    Virginia Says:
    April 29, 2010 at 3:25 PM
    I think Nancy is misinterpreting Brian Ertz’s comments – Brian is one of our esteemed writers on this blog and even though I do not know him personally – I would bet that he IS a tree-huggin’, wolf-lovin’, lettuce-liken’, hippie too.

    Thanks for clarifying that Virginia. There are many giants in this “room” when it comes to all the information out there (pro & con) about our fellow species and their habits and what’s left of their habitat AND their right to exist……. or not. The second definition too often seems to apply in this day and age when it comes to wildlife:

    Habitat: The place where a person is ordinarily found.

  19. Robert Hoskinsq Avatar
    Robert Hoskinsq

    Here’s an interesting Facebook page, of hunters calling for the exchange of information about locations of wolf packs and advocating illegal eradication of same.


    1. WM Avatar


      I see your new pen pal, Rockholm, is featured most prominently there.

      Indeed, I have posed the question before to Rockholm what part of the Canadian wolf introduction is a “criminal enterprise?”

      I am still awaiting his detailed legal answer to this question(including cites to recognized legal authority). Perhaps if he is still monitoring this site, he will include such an answer in his future posts, on facebook, blackbear blog, or wherever else he makes them.

      If he cannot provide one, I guess he is wrong on that point, maybe even an outright liar.

      Still waiting for an answer from Rockholm,……tap, tap, tap, tap goes the foot.

    2. Robert Hoskins Avatar
      Robert Hoskins


      All that’s going to be revealed at the secret decoder ring and wolf hater conference in Bozeman on 16 May, when Jim Beers, biologist magistere, whatever, speaks.

      I await Beers’ pronouncements ex cathedra,or at least out of the hat, with bated breath.


  20. jon Avatar

    Curious, is anyone on here going to attend that wolf hating conference with Jim Beers on here? I myself would like to find out how he intends to prove that wolf reintroduction was a criminal enterprise or illegal. Whether they like Ed Bangs or not or those involved who helped speed up the process of bringing gray wolves back to where they naturally were before man wiped them out, the wolf reintroduction was not illegal in any way. Wolves were already moving in on their own and all people like Bangs did was help speed the process up so no matter if they like wolves or not, wolves were coming.


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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Ralph Maughan