Former wolf hit man Carter Niemeyer an unlikely advocate

This is one of the best reviews and interviews of Carter Niemeyer since his book, Wolfer, came out early this year.

Former wolf hit man Carter Niemeyer an unlikely advocate. By Julie Sullivan. Oregonian.






  1. Rita K.Sharpe Avatar
    Rita K.Sharpe

    It is sad that the people like ranchers, some hunters and politicans probably,and I do mean probably.won’t read it.

  2. Salle Avatar

    And YNP officials refuse to allow it in the Yellowstone Association (a nonprofit org that helps educate the public about the park and issues within) bookstores in the park. Apparently they said it “wasn’t relevant” to the park.

    Or maybe isn’t relevant to the BS that the “machine” has been touting to date.

    I guess it’s just another manner of stifling the truth, seems to be more than a passing fad wherever you look.

  3. Carter Niemeyer Avatar

    Salle is correct. The park doesn’t find the book relevant, yet it is entirely relevant. There’s a significant story in Wolfer about the Soda Butte pack and its exploits after being released in the park. I followed the life history of one particular Soda Butte wolf and was surprised to see what an interesting and controversial life it lived. I couldn’t imagine two more relevant stories to the park’s history regarding wolves. I suspect that one of the problems is that some of the wolves dispersed outside park boundaries and got in trouble and that may be something YNP wants to distance itself from these days.

    1. WM Avatar

      Sure looks to me like a freedom of speech issue lurking there.

      What more appropriate place for your book, since wolves were reintroduced to the Park, and migrated out as abundant food sources (an excess of elk) became scarce and wolf density seemed to seek its own level based on carrying capacity and a need to find mates, as well as the increased conflicts with other land users off the federal park reservation, it seems very relevant.

      Put up a phone number or two for YNP folks and Yellowstone Association, and some of us will make some calls.

      In fact, the more I think about this, the more concerned I am that any federal employee at Yellowstone would say such a thing. I am up for kicking some ass over this.

      1. Savebears Avatar

        I have seen books in the past deemed not relevant to the park…with the new super, you might be able to appeal, but the park ultimately has the last say on what gets carried in the book stores, even though the YA administers the book stores, probably the best chance is to see if it can be placed in their property just outside the entrance in Gardiner.

        Virtually every single product that gets sold in the national park stores has to be approved by the park service and there is really not much recourse when they say no. Been there done that, I wrote a small study guide on Bison several years ago and it was deemed not relevant, and after my attorney looked at the case, he didn’t feel would would get far pursuing legal channels..and it would have been very expensive…

        Go figure, if there is anywhere that the Bison would be relevant, you would think it would be Yellowstone….

        I would think that hitting the gateway towns, that there would be quite a few places that would carry it, I know that the book stores in West are a great place to work with..

      2. Ralph Maughan Avatar

        WM and all,

        I hope folks will contact them.

        I copied the information below from their web site. . . RM
        – – – – –

        Yellowstone Association
        P.O. Box 117
        Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190

        Phone: 406-848-2400
        Fax: 406-848-2847

        Yellowstone Association Institute (educational programs):
        To inquire about a Park Store order:
        For general information or comments on our website:

        For information on employment and volunteer opportunities, click on the link below or email:

      3. WM Avatar


        Actually, I was thinking of it more from the perpective of YA, if they wanted to stock Carter’s book. If they were told they could not sell it because of some silly reason, that would seem very much like a very direct act of censorship. That is something none of us should tolerate.

      4. Savebears Avatar


        You might want to track down a copy of the contracts that people that sell stuff in the park sign, they are extremely tight…and always favor the park service…

      5. WM Avatar

        A follow up on my inquiry to Yellowstone Association on why the book is not stocked there. I spoke with the product manager, a very helpful and reasoned individual (who must consult with YNP on book stocking under terms of their contract before a decision is made).

        She advised that Linda Young, Chief of Interpretation at YNP made the decision (either herself or delegated the decision to staff). No big deal, but the pro forma rationale is that “Wolfer” does not come under the umbrella of what the Park believes is its “core mission” and much of the content addresses out of Park wolf impacts. So, YA is indifferent on whether it carry the book, but was told no.

        I think the decision is flawed. Linda Young’s phone number is 307.344.2248

    2. Nancy Avatar

      Carter – I seem to recall a collared female wolf that showing up around the Dillon area months after they were released in Yellowstone. (got the newspaper clipping around somewhere) Caused at bit of an uproar in the community when she got into some livestock. I believe she was darted and carted back to the park but returned and was shot.

  4. Carter Niemeyer Avatar


    That was R-27f, who is also mentioned in my book along with the Soda Butte pack story. She is another interesting story from beginning to end that we edited out of the final manuscript due to space.

    1. Nancy Avatar

      Thanks for clarifying Carter. I remember thinking at the time and I feel the same way now, its just too damn bad every species isn’t allowed the same understanding and consideration we so often apply to our own species.

  5. Mtn Mama Avatar
    Mtn Mama

    I am heading up to YNP next week and am taking a Yellowstone Association course a that Lamar Valley Buffalo Ranch. I have read “Wolfer” and think that it is a relavant and worthy book. I will “politely” bring up the book’s availability.

  6. jon Avatar

    Does anyone know if Carter is friends with Doug Smith?

    1. Salle Avatar

      Yes. They have known each other for a very long time. Last time I was with them they were friendly with each other, don’t know why they wouldn’t be. Why?

      1. jon Avatar

        Thanks for answering Salle. Just was curious is all.

      2. Ken Cole Avatar

        I remember Carter yelling across a restaurant in Gardiner as Doug walked in. “Hey! Hollywood! Over here!”

  7. Daniel Berg Avatar
    Daniel Berg

    Went and watched Carter Speak in Olympia last night, there were about 25 in the crowd. Supposedly the crowd was much larger in Portland the night before. I’m trying to help find a forum for him in Seattle but it might have to wait until fall.

    He’s an effective speaker. He spent a lot of time dispelling wolf myths. I wish he would have also told a few more of his good stories.

    I feel that the largest part of the market for a book like this still doesn’t know it exists which is unfortunate…….

    1. jon Avatar

      Any wolf haters there? What kinds of questions were asked to Carter? and what myths did he dispell if you can remember Daniel.

      1. Daniel Berg Avatar
        Daniel Berg

        No wolf haters at this one. It was sponsored by Wolf Haven, Intl. There were a couple of WDFW employees and the rest were wolf supporters of varying degrees.

        He dispelled most of the major myths. Threat to humans, size of the wolves, wiping out all the ungulates, disease…….

        One fellow was absolutely convinced that he saw a wolf in Mt. Ranier National Park and asked Carter several questions about it. An employee of WDFW also chimed in to say no wolves had been released anywhere in WA. There were also a couple of questions about Alaska wolves. I asked him about whether the trappers still got their full cut up in Hinton after they started darting the wolves from helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft. There were a couple of questions I don’t remember from a Coast Guard veteran.

      2. jon Avatar

        Daniel., I’m sure you must be aware that some hunters from WA are accusing others of illegally dumping wolves all over WA.

      3. jon Avatar

        I don’t mean to keep asking you questions, but do you remember what Carter said about diseases, the sizes of wolves, and them wiping out elk?

    2. WM Avatar


      Try the REI downtown store. The expandable second floor meeting room(s) can accomodate a couple hundred people. I don’t know if they charge for it, and they may even put it on their email calendar with enough lead time. Cheap or near free parking in the underground garage.

      I expect they would not stock the book unless Carter went through a distributor.

      1. Daniel Berg Avatar
        Daniel Berg


        That’s an interesting idea. I wasn’t aware of a meeting room up there. I wonder if it’s reasonable to rent….

        If he were giving a presentation and local groups like Conservation Northwest, The Methow Conservancy, etc. would inform members through their websites and social media, I’m positive that at least 50-100 people would show up. If they weren’t specifically hosting him, I’d be more than willing to pay his expenses up to Seattle. I think that his story can draw people in and expose them to a unique persepective on wolf management.

        I watched a presentation by David Moskowitz (author/wildlife tracker) at the Burke Museum on the UW campus recently and there were around 50 people there. The presentation had been posted and cross posted on local group’s websites, facebook pages, and other forms of social media. While watching the presentation, I kept wondering about how much of an impact social media had on the number in attendance.

        I talked with Carter after his presentation and he said that they had tried to arrange something in Seattle but it hadn’t worked out. I said he should really get up there to speak. He mentioned heading back east and then over to the UK fairly soon and that it might not be able to happen until the fall.

  8. Nancy Avatar

    Carter – Bought your book (and FYI – couldn’t put it down) I have to say “honest and brutally honest” came to mind………. chapter after chapter.
    Starting the book off (and ending it) with the Whitehawk pack, allowed you to gather all the threads together in a life that I thought, could only be summed up in this one paragaph:

    ” Wolves had a way of working their way into my life, like a worm thru an apple. They are just animals, of course, but they had a way of making people nuts, and for that matter, attracting nutty people. No normal person could do the job I was doing. and normal people wouldn’t want to be involved in something this controversial, at least not on purpose. But here I was”

    Betty Baker’s words” If you’re just going to kill them, why on earth did you bring them back?” Also made sense to anyone in the ranching community, but given what’s left of wilderness areas?

    Your comment ” “its the big picture – having to many wolves isn’t the problem, nor is having to few. It’s not about the parts, but the whole. We all have to start at what we have in common, or nothing can ever get better” made even more sense.

    Heard wolves howling up behind my place a couple of weeks ago. In that same week, a calf was killed on a nearby ranch, orders were out to kill one wolf.

    Millions and millions have been spent, as you well know, over the decades to keep ranchers in this part of the country worry free from predators, but at what cost to the ecosystem?

    Many parts of Montana, Idaho and Wyoming have been re-defined, as in human growth, over the last 20 years.
    Ranchers selling out because their kids no longer want to deal with the effort it takes to keep a ranch going fulltime?

    Would the situation have been better accepted say 10 or 20 years from now, re-introducing a predator like the wolf?

  9. Carter Niemeyer Avatar


    I think wolves were reintroduced during a window of opportunity that may have never occurred again. The politics and people came together in a unique combination that worked successfully. I was ambivalent about reintroduction but eager to do my part once the decision was made.

    I don’t think postponing wolf reintroduction would have bought any more acceptance or tolerance. Generations of people learned to live without them and now they have to re-learn to accept wolves in the western culture. Some politicians, hunters and ranchers have decided that wolves are intolerable while others will adapt. The longer that reintroduction was postponed the more likely it would never have happened at all. Wolves are here to stay.


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