Latest Wyoming (federal) wolf update- Jan. 7, 2011

Federal wolf update is only official wolf news out there now-

Here is the latest update from Ed Bangs office, the only government folks in the West who seem to be regularly producing data now.  It says it’s for Wyoming, but it also gives Yellowstone Park news, Oregon news and other wolf news. There is a link to Montana FWP and they do have an Oct. 2010 update.  Interesting it shows the estimated wolf population in Montana for 2010 to be only 400 wolves, compared to the final 2009 count of 524 wolves. The number of 400 will probably go up a bit before the final report is issued, but preliminary data absolutely and flat out fails to show any explosion in wolf population even though the 2010 wolf hunt was canceled.

wyoming news-Jan7-2011. pdf file


  1. Kayla Avatar

    Thanks for this Wolf Update! Now as for myself personally, it is really becoming unsettling that now days am NOT hearing much in depth wolf news on some of these backcountry wolf packs, like the wolf packs in the Thorofare and in the Teton-Washakie Wilderness Areas. In fact I have not heard a good update on the pack in the Thorofare for several years now. And then I have met people who do know something but they publicly keep it a secret. I have been told this personally. Why All the secrecy? Is it because of all the intense rhetoric now days??? But whatever the reasons, the secrecy that is around some of these wolf packs now is not helping things. I guess now one just has to just go on what one observes. Last Summer I had the Wolf Pack in the Thorofare even howling in my camp at times, and I saw the whole Pacific Creek wolf pack up in lower Pacific Creek Meadows. It was Allll soooo Great! Just again Why all the secrecy??? I think that all of this secrecy hurts the cause big time.

    Have a Good Day Everyone!

    1. Nancy Avatar

      Kayla – hasn’t been updated yet thru the end of last year (from what I can tell on the website)

      but it would appear thru October here in Montana, 144 wolves have paid the price for getting alittle too close or for taking advantage of all those 4 legged “picnic baskets” (livestock) out there.
      Has anyone done a study yet as to why wolves, more often than not, would prefer to pass up those “picnic baskets?” Over 2 million cattle on the land in Montana – less than 100 killed last year by wolves.

      Could they actually be as selective, as many on this site are, when it comes to the attributes wild game have to offer, substance wise?

  2. Larry Thorngren Avatar

    I started hunting mule deer in the Lost River Mountains when I was fifteen in 1955. It was not uncommon to see as many as one hundred deer in a day of hunting (and no elk). It was easy to find a buck that exceeded 30″ across the antlers. At that time, it was legal to shoot as many as four Idaho mule deer per year with two deer hunts and middle fork of the Salmon tags. I shot a lot of deer.
    In the early 1960s, I started seeing elk when I was out hunting. Eventually I started seeing more elk than deer as the deer population dropped and the elk numbers increased. I drew a tag on the first elk hunt in the Big Lost River area in 1963 or 64 and killed a large bull.
    The mountain mahogany thickets on the mountains behind our Lost River farm became high lined by the wintering elk and the mule deer couldn’t reach the leaves for food. The mule deer population crashed.
    IDFG realized they could make more money from elk licenses and tags than they could for deer and managed for the money. I am sure that Montana P&W did the same.
    Since wolves prefer elk to eat over deer, their presence reduces the overpopulation of elk and gives the mule deer a chance to recover.
    I am seeing more mule deer and bighorns in Yellowstone (I spend at least a month there with my cameras every fall) now that the elk numbers are down.
    Both of these species do better when wolves reduce elk numbers.(Matt Douthit- Are you reading this?) Those who like to see healthy mule deer and bighorn populations should not be advocating killing all of the wolves.
    And for all of those that claim there were small native wolves in Idaho prior to 1995: In all my years of hunting all over Idaho on foot and horseback , I never saw one wolf track or heard one wolf howl before 1995 and never talked to any hunters that did. Those small wolves are called coyotes.

    1. SEAK Mossback Avatar
      SEAK Mossback

      Larry Thorngren –
      I watched the reverse process you are describing in Yellowstone, arriving right around the end of the elk reductions in the mid-1960s to their next peak in the mid to late-1970s. I used to do a lot of amateur wildlife photography in the winter. As elk increased, diversity of deer and other ungulates eventually began decreasing considerably from what I was used to seeing in earlier years. I think in addition to interspecific competition for forage, there was a secondary factor with substantially more carrion from elk available for a longer period boosting coyote density. I used to enjoy photographing the bighorns on the bench east of the Gardner River just north of the 45th parallel. The last time I went, I found remains of a couple of sheep and saw about 40 very nervous ewes with only one lamb. Coyotes scared two mule deer does up on one side of the bench and they ran through the sheep and went off the other side. A little while later, I saw a pack of 7 coyotes running up a draw down by the river, more than I ever saw in a group before. I think that might have been the year after the huge elk die-off that completely swamped the scavengers and left untouched, mummified-looking elk laying around clear out through the Lamar well after everything greened up. I know disease also contributed to the sheep’s problems after that. Pronghorns became quite scarce, reportedly from coyote predation on fawns, and I am always pleasantly surprised to see so many now in the Lamar Valley. It definitely was close to an elk mono-culture for awhile.

  3. JB Avatar

    Everyone interested in the wolf issue should be sure to take a look at Figure 3. It shows that the number of packs involved in livestock depredation has essentially plateaued, even while the number of wolves has increased. No matter what “side” of the issue you stand on, I would think this is good news.

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar


      The figures also show that the number of livestock losses to wolves have actually declined per non-Yellowstone Park-Wyoming wolf.

      All of the wolf population growth in Wyoming at present is outside Yellowstone Park, and it is not resulting in increased livestock depredations.

      There were only 26 confirmed cattle losses to wolves in Wyoming in 2010. The report states in a footnote to this “In addition to 26 confirmed cattle depredations (losses), 1 dead calf was recorded as a probable wolf-kill, and 11 calves and 1 steer were also injured by wolves.”

      This statement casts grave doubt on the commonly repeated statement that there are 6, 7, or 8 dead cows or calves from wolves for every verified loss.

      1. JB Avatar

        And even if you use the liberal 7 to 1 ratio, we are talking about less than 200 losses over the course of a year. Now, it would be useful to start tracking all aspects of livestock production that potentially contribute to losses (e.g., proximity to people, presence of guarding dogs, typography, etc.) in order to help reduce losses further. I know some previous studies have examined such factors, but I wonder if anyone knows if there are other, ongoing studies?

        Again, however you feel about wolves, these figures should be interpreted as a hopeful sign!

      2. Cody Coyote Avatar
        Cody Coyote

        Keep in mind that Wyoming will have between 1.4 million and 1.8 million cattle on the ground during the course of the year.

        Here in my own Park County —an anti-wolf hotbed —fully half the wolves taken out by Wildlife Services for “control” were west of Cody , 15 wolves. All of Wyoming saw maybe 35 confirmed cattle killed by wolves in the whole state , and 15 of those were in my Park County .

        Park County has about 44,000 cattle. Wolves took out 0.03 percent of available cattle in my county last year. That’s hardly alarming . I’m going out on a conjectural limb here when I say that most if not all of the cattle taken by wolves in PC came from the larger, more open unfenced estates ( I hesitate to use the term rancher here) and cattle untended on summer allotments. So on the one hand the millionaires losing cattle to wolves have cows in the first place for tax purposes, and those lost on summer range were not being cowboyed or otherwise tended as the allegedly valuable property they are claimed t be. They were mostly “thrown to the wolves”. Their owners get 7 X the value of the cattle in compensation. Why bother even sending them to the feed lot or sale ring if the wolf money is so good and requires only paperwork…the Brand Inspectors, Wildlife Services, and USFWS do all the wet work and field investigation to roll the compensation ball down the road to the bank.

        Cattle and sheep lost to wolves across Wyoming but epsecially in the ” hot zone” are hue and cry on a hyperbolic trajectory , not truely indicative of the magnitude of the losses or the overall impact to the industry.

        Yup…wolves killed 0.03 percent of my County’s pampered free range cows and Wildlife Services killed about 25 percent of them…a kill ratio of 7500 : 1 comparing the populations straightaway .


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Ralph Maughan