Idaho politicians’ long hoped for campaign to kill Lolo wolves has begun with small “success”-

Idaho F&G kills Lolo wolves from helicopter. Lewiston Tribune.

“. . . the hunting has been halted because it hasn’t been as successful as expected, an Idaho Department of Fish and Game official says.”

After about decade, Idaho Fish and Game began their reduction of the number of wolves in the Lolo area in north central Idaho along the Montana border. They got five wolves. Their operation is already over for now.  Too expensive!!! They say they will rely on outfitters to kill wolves and a long and generous quota of wolves in the Lolo for the hunting season.

I have been writing about this plan, and it has been discussed on the blog for a long time. My position for a number of years has been that there are not as many wolves in the Lolo as commonly thought, and they are a minor reason at best why the elk herds in the area remain far below their previous numbers (prior to the 1990s).

Biologists, except one, who were part of the no longer required “peer review” by the ESA were very skeptical whether this action would increase elk numbers. This included a biologist who clearly did not like wolves. I suspect this will have little long term effect on wolves in the larger area because there are not many wolves, just like there are not many elk. Of course, the two logically go together, don’t they?

I see the wolf reduction  as a blood ritual with the intent to satisfy politicians in the local area and in Boise. Performance of ritual is vital to perpetuation of a myth — the myth being that wolves are holding back a return to halcyon elk hunting days of the 1950s.

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

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.

110 Responses to Idaho F&G kills Lolo wolves from helicopter

  1. So did it cost the IDFG $10,000 a wolf to kill five of them? I think they had allocated over $50,000 for Wildlife Services to kill wolves this spring in the Lolo area.
    I hunted that area in the 1970s and the elk hunting was not so great even then. The burned over areas were being covered with new evergreens and the elk habitat was declining.

    • Larry Thorngren,

      I first saw this country in 1977. I recall very well that they were setting controlled fires at the time along the Lochsa River. Explanation signs were posted saying that the fires were to restore the habitat for elk because it would otherwise soon become unsuitable for them because of a return of the area to deep evergreen forest.

      • jon says:

        I don’t think this will do much. As you said, it’s being done to please the politicians and the hunters. I won’t be surprised by this time next year, the elk in the lolo zone are still doing pretty bad. Predators are a very easy scapegoat.

      • The important thing to the politicians is that they kill some wolves.

        If elk numbers increase afterwards, they will call it a success.
        If elk numbers stay the same or go down, they will call it a success (“things would have been even worse”).

        In other words, success or failure of the policy will be insulated from reality testing — insulated from the thing required by science. The policy is, and will be, in the realm of faith.

  2. Alan Gregory says:

    Another sorry episode of “science by politics.”

    • william huard says:

      I agree with Ralph. They will look and look for wolves, to no avail. They just killed wolves from one pack. For them, they really don’t care how many they find, killing some of them is all the justification they need. It must feel so good to them that they can kill wolves again…….Disgusting how people, especially ignorant people, think they know more than everyone else. It’s basic common sense- wolves go where their prey base is. How many wolves did they get during their crack outfitter expeditions in 2009? 10?
      This is total BS

  3. Cody Coyote says:

    Ralph, I am of the opinion that if there has been in fact a significant decline in the native Elk population in the Lolo country , it is as much or more due to the march of climate change affecting habitat , relentless forest fires since ’88 , development, but mainly some pretty severe overhunting of elk ( read: extravagant malformed elk hunting quotas set by IDFG using bad data or no data at all ).

    Is that in the ballpark ?

    So until I hear otherwise from an informed IDFG source with some solid historical info, I will continue to believe this is a major example of wolves being scapegoated.

    • jon says:

      Hi Cody, I was wondering if you heard of a guy named Crosby Allen out of WY?

      • Cody Coyote says:

        I know of Crosby Allen , but have never met him nor worked with him . He lives in the most redneck conservative anti-enviro county in Wyoming, Fremeont County ( Lander-Riverton-Dubois. He served twice on the County Commission there , but that board is so radical anti-federal they make the rest of the Sagebrush Rebellion look like liberals. Certifiable wolf haters , among other digressions.

        I don’t know where Crosby sits or stands . He’s had a long career in the agencies…BLM, USFS, but also a private career in oil and gas and logging . I have nothing on him but hearsay so I won’t say anything I can’t vouch for.

        Maybe Robert Hoskins see this and fill you in .

        Why do you ask ?

      • jon says:

        Cody, I just recently watched a video discussing predators from 2003. There were different people in the discussion panel and Crosby Allen was one of them. The interviewer asked the discussion panel if anyone here didn’t want predators around and good ol Crosby stood up and said that wolves were killed off for a reason and than said that wolves are an exotic species from Canada and that they killed off the native wolves. Carter Niemeyer just stood up after him and told good ol crosby that gray wolves are not an exotic species and are very much native.

  4. Mtn Mama says:

    The blood spilling begins again. Very unscientific approach to “Game Management”.

    • Nancy says:

      I agree Mtn Mama, but that seems to be the only way these days to justify the elimination of other species that would dare, or be allowed, to compete with the human species.

  5. NotafanofWW2 says:

    Disgusting. I hope those who provided bogus information and overreacted to the presence of wolves in the west spend an eternity in utter misery. You know who you are.

  6. So much for treating wolves as another predator. Killing five wolves this time of year means that the pups will starve also. It is illegal to kill bears with cubs and cougars with kittens in Idaho, but that courtesy is not given to wolves.
    There is something very wrong with individuals who work either for the IDFG or Wildlife Services that continually participate in this kind of wildlife management. I wouldn’t want to have one of them as a neighbor.

    • william huard says:

      Have you ever talked to Todd Grimm? He’s a fool. These people enjoy what they do. I hope all the shitty karma they project comes back to haunt them sometime. I am conscious whenever I go food shopping to never buy anything made in Idaho.

    • Doryfun says:


      Good point. Ok to starve pups, not ok to affect cubs or kittens. Flowers/weeds; freedom fighters/terrorists; gamet/trash fish; it’s all about us. Perspective and relativism. God centered, man separate from nature, dominionist oriented culture. Sad.

  7. Craig says:

    jon Says:
    May 14, 2011 at 11:33 AM
    I don’t think this will do much. As you said, it’s being done to please the politicians and the hunters. I won’t be surprised by this time next year, the elk in the lolo zone are still doing pretty bad. Predators are a very easy scapegoat.

    Yeah Jon it’s takes a little more than a year to restore an Elk Herd! Shows your comprehension of wildlife cycles.

    • william huard says:

      Whatever the case Craig, wolf pups will starve to death so that politicians will feel better pandering to elk hunters that have already over harvested the LOLO area. Pretty pathetic if you ask me

      • jon says:

        Some hunters believe that by killing off wolves, the elk herds are just going to magically reappear William. These people do not take into account other reasons for elk dying. It’s a common occurrence to blame predators for every problem there is. I believe overharvesting by hunters is one of the biggest reasons why the lolo elk herd is the way it is now. Wolves have indeed kill elk, but who can blame them and why should they be given death sentences for eating elk, their natural prey? This is being done so that there are elk for hunters to kill.

      • william huard says:

        I tried to make a point about the reality these reckless decisions have on animals and out of the blue this stupid troll comes out of nowhere and starts insulting people, like he always does. Where would any nonsensical argument be without the PETA rhetoric! People that make the connection that wolves have affected Elk numbers have to remember that that is what wolves do, they eat elk, as if they shouldn’t do that or that it is a justifiable reason to aerial gun wolves in the denning season. Remember in the late 1800’s when the hunters killed off most of the wildlife in the West and then blamed wolves for preying on livestock!!! Does that make sense to you?

      • jon says:

        This reminds me of the situation in oregon where they want to kill sea lions for eating salmon. What kind of world are we living in when we are killing animals for acting naturally and trying to survive William? Fishermen take many more salmon than sea lions and sea lions are giving death sentences for eating and trying to survive. Makes a lot of sense right, not.

      • Salle says:

        They certainly do use the imagery of wolf kills – blood and gory details about how ugly and sinister it all appears. So… they should sit at a cloth-covered table and use knives and forks and napkins…?

      • william huard says:

        Unfortunately there is very little logic or sense in todays politics. Wildlife Management is all politics too. It is important that we remind our elected officials that when they make reckless political decisions there are consequences. By the way- have you made your PETA donation yet?
        I’m the first one to admit that PETA is over the top and that they have diminished the animal rights cause to some extent

      • Savebears says:

        Comparing the Sea Lion issues to the wolf situation is comparing apples to oranges Jon, completely different situation..The Elk are not a captive species, but essentially due to the dams on the Columbia the Salmon are, yes men created the situation with the fish and solutions are being looked at, but the sea lions traveling hundreds of miles out of their natural territory is not a normal situation.. I grew up in the area that the Sea Lion situation is happening, and believe me, we never saw Sea Lions where they are now, this is a new phenomena.

      • WM says:


        As you know, sea lions are opportunist just like any other wild animal – minimze energy expended, risk to self and offspring, and take advantage of the easy meal. Tell your sea lion friends. What better place to hang out than near a dam where migrating fish congregate in high numbers, and the pickings are easy. Most of this has been going on for at least twenty to thirty years in some locations.

        Another spot where this happens is the Ballard locks in north Seattle. Sea lions have been hanging out here for some time. They are all fat and sassy, trying to find a spot to beach on the bouy markers – more lions than space on the markers.

        They tried all kinds of means to remove and eliminate them (non-lethal), of course. Doesn’t work. A few years back, after sounds of orcas, and even a life size model of one, the lions just ignored them.

        Then they sought NMF approval to shoot a couple, and eco-terrorists threatened to shoot the shooters. Honest. Things have cooled off the last few years, here. Not sure of the control method, if any, but lions are still here.

        A third secenario, out on the Olympic Coast, the Indians just shoot em, when they start raiding fish and tearing up their (federally purchased) nets. Nobody says anything, and every few weeks a lion floats up on the beach. I have seen a couple at the mouth of the Quilliyuete – big bloated sea lion bulls, rotting on the beach until next high tide.

      • Savebears says:


        I am well aware of what creates the situations we are now seeing both in Ballard and at the Bonneville dam, that still does not change the fact, this is not the same as the wolves and elk in lolo..

        This is one of the things that bothers me about these issues, is sometimes you have to put time in, on the ground observing how things change over time, before you can actually render a valid position on them, comparing sea lions to wolves, is not a valid comparison..

        At the root of course is the manipulation by the top predator and consumer in the food chain, and that is us, the human..directly or indirectly we are creating situations that divide the followers of these issues..

      • william huard says:

        And just like all these issues you have one side saying that the sea lions are eating all the fish and the other saying that they eat less than 3 or 4%. Who do you believe?

      • Savebears says:


        Based on what I have witnessed on many occasions, I would say, they are eating between 5-10% of the fish, I would estimate they are killing between 40-60% of the fish, including Sturgeon as well as salmon..

        Pinnipeds are funny animals, they are smart and they do like to play with their, unfortunately, much of this play results in death to the fish populations..I have witnessed this in quite a few areas around the world..

      • Savebears says:


        The court rejection of this issue, still does not change the issue..

      • william huard says:

        I wonder if anyone has access to any relevant scientific data that would show how much fish is being taken. There is a big difference between 5% and 10%.

      • william huard says:

        The report claims 0.4- 4.2 % sea lion take while fishermen take 17%

      • jon says:

        I don’t know how much fish is being taken William, but based on what I’ve seen, fishermen are taking many more salmon than sea lions, but sea lions are dying. This is a human selfishness issue.

      • william huard says:

        Maybe the Marine Mammal Protection Act of (1972 I believe) will be the next environmental law to face an assault by the anti-environment humans first lobby

      • jon says:

        William, are you familiar with a guy named Don Young of alaska? He introduced legislation I believe to take polar bears off the endangered species list. You can forget about science. Politics and agendas is the new “science”. Now people like Don will just go through congress to get what they want. Such a sad shame.

      • william huard says:

        Maybe we could start a chain of Chinese Takeout restaurants for sea lions and wolves.

      • jon says:

        killing sea lions would be a short term solution. More sea lions will eventually move in. I don’t see this issue going away anytime soon. This is a human/wild natural predator conflict where both are competing for food sources.

      • william huard says:

        I think Don Young is the only registered trapper in the US congress. I remember reading an article where he said he didn’t have an issue with animals being caught in steel jawed leghold traps. There are many people that think he is dirty- I can’t say that for sure. He is pushing for the 41 or so trophy hunters to be able to take their polar bear trophies home that were taken before the threatened listing happened in 2008? or 2007?
        He has the Al Barrett attitude on wildlife. All the world’s a trophy

      • william huard says:

        Think of the possibilities-
        Wolf wings
        Sea lion lo mein
        Timber wolf teriyaki

      • Savebears says:

        See there in lies the problem we have with discussing information and issues on this blog, it always turns into smart ass comments, I really thought you guys were asking serious questions about an issue I have experience with, but I guess not..

        Why does it always have to devolve into this?

      • Savebears says:


        The biggest problem is you have seen nothing, you base all of your comments on what you read in the various blogs and articles in news sources, you by your own admission have never been to any of these places where these issues are need to restructure you responses to say, based on what I have read, not what you have seen!

      • WM says:


        Consider the source. The answer should be evident.

      • Savebears says:

        I guess so WM, But I still continue to have hope!

      • Woody says:

        Though both are predators the wolf is under the protection of the ESA and sea lions by the MMPA and are not endangered. The prey of wolves is not endangered, that of sealions is.

        I don’t have a solution for the sealion issue but am not opposed to some form of reducing their numbers at man made structures, especially in nonmarine waters.

      • william huard says:

        Save Bears-
        We were having a discussion and I was serious. You and I know this issue like all the others will come down to which special interest will influence political action. We are at a very precarious point in our history where politics trumps science and human need and human priorities will take precedent over environmental and animal concerns. Somehow all regulation is bad and Environmentalists are evil

      • jon says:

        sb, do you agree or disagree that fishermen have killed more salmon than the sea lions?

      • Savebears says:


        I honestly don’t know, so I can’t agree or disagree.

        William, I don’t think all environmentalists are evil, I have never made statements of that nature, I do think the extremes on both sides of these issues are very dangerous.

      • jon says:

        sb, why is it that the amount of salmon that fishermen are responsible for killing is ignored, but not when the sea lions do it? Do you think it’s right to give death sentences to animals that are eating the salmon for survival purposes? For some very weird reason, when fishermen kill salmon, they say it doesn’t hurt the salmon population, but when the sea lions do it, it does even though the national marine fisheries service had said that fishermen take many more salmon than sea lions.

      • william huard says:

        Save Bears-
        I remember when some of these sea lions were shot a few years ago. This is a difficult subject. My poor attempt at humor does not change the fact that all these environmental laws could become political fodder for people that find these laws inconvenient.

      • william huard says:

        This 40-60% estimate of fish kills by sea lions… I am unfamiliar with this aspect of the issue. You are saying that these sea lions actually crush the fish while playing?

      • Elk275 says:

        John you are from Maine. Let’s just pretend, let’s pretend. What if the local sea lions developed a taste for lobster and the sea lions were “cutting a fat hog” eating thousands of pounds of lobsters yearly, not enough to be alarming but enough for the local lobstermen to notice.

        Soon several local sea lions e-mail there buddies in distant seas telling them to move to Maine and live the easy life feasting on local lobsters in the bays and no killer whales to worry about. Those sea lions told their fellow sea lions and soon there were hundreds of sea lions eating millions of pounds of lobster. The local lobstermen are now pissed and want action, their daily catch of lobster is declining and sea lions are wrecking havoc with the pots.

        What would Mainer’s do, what would Linda Greenlaw write about the declining lobster stocks. What would Jon think and do?

        I love salmon and I love lobsters, but, I do not care to eat sea lion.

      • Savebears says:


        I didn’t say crush, I said play, when a sea lion plays it grabs the animal it is after, then when they swing their head they take a big bite of the prey animal, I have caught salmon on the Columbia that have these big bites out of them.

        Jon, why is it, that the humans, who in fact are a predator, are penalized because we hunt and eat fish and meat?

        That is all I am saying, we are both predators, we eat meat, just as they do, we have evolved to be a bit better at it than they are..

        I am a hunter, I will continue to be a hunter, I will never hold it against wolves because they are hunters as I won’t with sea lions, but this is a two way street..

        People tell me eating organic is good for me, but yet when I hunt, I get told I am wrong…]

        What is the answer?

      • bret says:

        The percentage of sea lion take over the last ten years has gone up rapidly 2002 0.4 % to 4-5% or higher now.

        I know people hate the word “manage” but we manage timber harvest, fishing, ag land use, water flows, hatcherys barge traffic, road building, predator fish, and many more for the sake of wild salmon and yet a man made feeding station for sea lions is off limits ?

      • WM says:

        Arguably the most important of the salmon and steelhead taken are the native runs – some of those are endangered and other populations are near protection level. Hatchery fish are usually identified by a clipped fin. Non-Indian fishers are prohibited from keeping “native” fish; any caught must be returned to the river under stringent game rules in OR and WA.

        Sea lions and Indian nets (Indians are the only netters once fish are in the river) do not discriminate between the endangered fish and hatchery fish. That means they both take lots of natives.

        So, to deal with the decreasing runs of those “native” fish what can be done? Indians are legally entitled to 1/2 the fish taken under US v. Ore (same logic that was applied in US v. WA during the salmon wars of the 1970’s).

        The Columbia allocation, and management of the river are under the perview of federal Judge Redden in Portland. Bonneville Power Admin. has been throwing alot of money at this problem for a long time.

        Woody (as stated above), has a practical solution – take a few sea lions, and see what happens. See, it seems we have federal environmental laws working against each other, so say nothing of the laws that govern BPA, an entity created by the federal government to build dams and generate power.

        (***Yeah, I know this thread was about wolves in the Lolo, but this is important too, and since nobody is writing about the wolves this seems a good time)

      • Salle says:

        Fishing is an industry. It’s a no-brainer that fishing by humans takes far more fish than sea lions ever will unless you go back a few hundred years and add the entirety of sea lion fish-kills over that length of time – all up and compare that number to what humans take in a year. Maybe then, but probably not even close.

        Was this a problem before those damned dams were built that interrupted anadromous fish from returning to their spawning streams? I don’t think so. There were billions of salmon before that, I think the sea lions are just following their food source as far as they can only to find that here just aren’t so many and that humans have not only taken this from them by building the dams but also by the commercial fishing industry. Since numerous species of these fish are becoming extinct or near to it, the sea lions are being blamed for the lack of abundance when it has always due to humans managing things as they strive to gain control over the natural world… which many humans see as the hostile enemy.

        It’s not the sea lions, it’s the humans who seem to want everything for themselves at the cost of all other species. What will humans do when there’s nothing left but them? They’ll either die off as a species or will start to feed on each other, literally… isn’t that a warm and fuzzy thought?

    • Phil says:

      Craig: But it only takes one year in a decline in elk populations for anti-wolfers and politicians to throw out all these excuses to hunt and severly decline the population of wolves. I would say that your statement on comprehension cycles of wildlife should not be targeted towards jon, but rather towards those who are anti and/or politicians in that area. It is natural for prey to decline in population, but it is also natural for the prey population to bounce back. These politicians and anti-wolfers refuse to believe this.

    • Ken Cole says:

      The discussion about how many salmon and steelhead are eaten by sea lions is missing the underlying issue. If it weren’t for the dams the sea lions would be less successful in capturing the fish and there would be more of the fish in the river. It’s the same with the cormorants and terns. No dams, more fish, less successful predation.

      The dams cause the adult fish to hold just below the ladders leaving them vulnerable to sea lions and they also weaken and disorient the smolts moving downstream leaving them more vulnerable to the birds that have taken advantage of the predator free islands built out of sediment dredged from the river as a result of dams and the barging industry created by them.

      • Woody says:

        Mt. Saint Helens put a lot of silt in the rivers in 1980. It resulted in lots changes along the Tuttle, Cowlitz, and Columbia. Most of the island on which the terns took up residense is from the dredging at that time to clear the shipping channel.

  8. Craig says:

    Do you have the figures on the last 10 years of Hunter harvest and tag quotas? Can you make a case for why the numbers are so low? Even with low Hunter #s ,Low Wolf #s Drought ect? Tell us your expert analysis and how to solve it Willy! You seem to be the expert, maybe you and jon can solve all these problems! Put your heads together and you could make an ass outta yourselves!

    • Salle says:

      And when you can’t gain any ground in an argument, you go into “attack mode”. Disrespect doesn’t foment respect from those you oppose…

  9. william huard says:

    Craig- You are an ignoramous. Ralph and others have posted within the last month on this blog all the information concerning this topic of overhunting in the LOLO. Look it up yourself know it all. It’s loudmouths like you that are the problem, no facts and no clue

    • Salle says:

      Another sign of the failing of our society… or maybe it’s a sign of how our society is failing… or maybe it’s both.

      • william huard says:

        It’s really scary to watch people so driven by their ideology that they put the country in jeopardy. And they are listening to “God”.

      • jon says:

        William, Idaho is no different than any other fish and game agency. Politics and science are one in the same in places like Idaho and Alaska. They aren’t doing these control actions for science purposes. They do these control actions to boost game animals for hunters to shoot. They can hide behind “science” all they want. Idaho will be no different than how Alaska operates.

      • william huard says:

        The ends justify the means. Ethics and morality is not even considered. I remember when this happened- The Alaskan Fish and game told me the killing of the pups was a “mistake.”

    • Craig says:

      The problem hasen’t been over Hunting since they cut it back a long time ago. It did however contribute to the problem back then. So pull your head outta yer ass and think about what is going on now! You are just like jon, you ride on emotions that are irrelevant to current situations. You haven’t a clue what is going on in this part of the country! I just spent 14 days up there Turkey Hunting and Fishing! How much time have you spent up there?

      • Salle says:

        Many years, honey. Not only that, I have also been paying attention to the legislative and “mouthpiece” activities of the area and region, which you don’t seem to understand, one can discern, by your comments.

      • Woody says:

        I didn’t see any hunting in units 10 or 12 (Lolo area) mentioned in the spring turkey hunt for Idaho.
        Just where did you spend those 14 days?
        Are you meaning “up there” as in you live south of the area hunted or “up there” as at a higher elevation? I would think the snow is still rather deep in the Lolo area. Just checked Lolo pass at 5240 feet; snow depth 69″ which is 219% of average. Looks like it could be a tough winter for elk.

  10. Craig says:

    Salle and Willy are you associated with PETA? You are so extreme it’s scary! All your “GOD” and “Failing of society”. You two are fricking nut cases and it’s sad! I’m sure Ralph is proud to have you two+jon post on his blog! You really help and change the minds of people with common sense! Jeeeeeeeeeeeezus what a couple of nuts!

    • william huard says:

      Craig- Why don’t you just go back to the Monstermuleys blog with the rest of the blowhards. Maybe you could join the BBB and have a conversation with Rattle Boy and Barry. They need a third stooge. What time do you have to go to work at the slaughterhouse?

    • Salle says:

      And you’re the “pride of Idaho”? Craig, you certainly have an inflated view of your ability to understand… anything. So your tirade is supposed to “school” us on the way life “really” is? Interesting. Extreme, that’s interesting as well; in normal social circles extreme relates to loudmouth tirades on the negatives – imagined usually – against those who cherish the peaceful exercise of rights we citizens have, afforded by the Constitution, to remedy problems that arise in our midst. You, on the other hand, choose to incite violence through vitriol and name-calling at best. At worst folks with your attitude seem to invite lawlessness and bigotry and dominance through violent means.

      And your comments only make sense when recognizing that they were spewed forth by a limited intelligence, perhaps limited by personal choice for social gain with certain groups – those who think that brute force and ignorance will rule the day in the end, for example.

      BTW, I don’t have any affiliation with PETA or any of your other boogey-man organizations.

      • william huard says:

        Salle, but Craig just spent 14 days turkey hunting. I’m waiting for his book to come out-“Confessions of a Conservative Kook.” Available in Hardcover for an extra 10.00.
        It’s funny when the hicks get all riled up when you put the reality in front of them. He was one of the many “hunters” railing and whining about decimated game herds and threatening to gut shoot wolves

      • jon says:

        Bringing up peta is getting real old. Just because someone wants to protect wildlife from humans that want to kill it doesn’t mean they are supporters of peta. I’ve never seen anyone on here since I’ve been on here claim they support peta or belong to that organization. I think MOST on here would agree peta is an extremist organization just like safari club international and Don Peay’s sportsmen for killing fish and wildlife are.

  11. Immer Treue says:


    It’s obvious that wolves have had a recent impact on the Lolo elk.
    That said, a perfect storm has hit that population. The elk population was on the skids prior to wolves having that impact. Over hunting, freely admitted by you and others, and the winter of 1996/97 drove the Lolo herd down to ~8,000, and antlerless permits still increased. Really no wolf presence at that time. Idaho FGD comments that it wasn’t until 2005 that wolves impact on the elk began to rise sharply when the Lolo herd was already down to ~5,000.

    Debate rages in terms of habitat decline. Many variables have hit the Lolo elk. Mother nature and man have played the biggest hand. Wolves are a relatively new player in the Lolo zone, and yes, they have also been complicit in the elk decline.

    • Doryfun says:


      Good points. I remember back to the habitat arguments before wolves showed up, too. In fact, if my memory hasn’t failed too badly, I think I may have saved an article or two from James Peek (retired wildlife professor…) writing about such habitat problems years ago.

      I’m not against hunting wolves, under proper circumstances. But, aerial gunning and wildlife mis-services is thoroughly disgusting. Beast or bunny, all are part of the Great Circle. Good or bad is a human value system. Unfortunately, there is a wide spectrum of which is which and people go to great lengths to defend their turfdom. An ugly quagmire.

      • IDhiker says:

        I have been going to the Lochsa country since 1970, It is very obvious to anyone that looks that the major culprit is simply the regrowth of the large burned areas. There used to be elk all over the place in the spring (1970’s) over there. But, especially in the wet Lochsa area, trees grow quickly. There are many places I’ve visited over the years that used to be brushland, but are now nearly mature forest. Most of that country has regrown, and the large herds will not come back until it burns again. The same goes for the Selway. The winter range is dwindling. The wolf is being used to divert attention, and it’s an easy answer, but not the solution. The powers that be can’t do what needs to be done, so they’re looking for excuses.

      • Salle says:

        ID Hiker,

        Well said, I have to agree with hat answer because I found the same basic explanation when researching that question.

      • I hope that after killing some token wolves (and that may be just about all that live in the area now), this issue will fade.

        Some real thought might even be devoted to keeping the place intact, realizing that the fisheries, other wildlife, the clean water, outdoor recreation, the scenery, and modest amounts of forestry are more important.

      • Salle says:

        That would be the desired outcome but I would be willing to wager that this bunch would come to the “rational in their minds” conclusion that if they want elk there they should just burn down the forest again and proceed with all the emotional expediency of a lynch mob, then blame the wolves for making them do it.

  12. mikarooni says:

    Ralph Maughan, this is your blog; you control it. It might be time to take a look at what gets posted, not just on this thread but as a routine pattern, by “Craig” and ask yourself whether these posts really contribute to a good debate or not.

    • mikarooni,

      I read what Craig posted at the time, and the followups. It is not a shiny thread. I have thought about deleting the thread, but I don’t like to excessively edit things.

      Craig and others need to stop the name calling.

      • Salle says:

        Kind of make you wonder if this individual is using a surname…?

      • william huard says:

        I apologize for my role in this less than shiny thread. This whole issue makes me sick and I have a hard time coming to terms with the unnecessary suffering of wolf pups.

  13. Alan Gregory says:

    More wildlife management by politics, not real science. Again the rhetorical question comes to mind: What would Aldo Leopold think?

    • jon says:

      I wonder if anyone has brought this up to Jim Unsworth Or Virgil Moore. Killing wolf pups that is. I doubt these 2 individuals would really give a crap if wolf pups die anyways. They seem to only care about what hunters want.

      • Salle says:

        The only way in which they would care is that they will rejoice at the power of their destruction of a species.

  14. Immer Treue says:

    If estimates for Lolo wolf numbers hover~ 80, and elk numbers < 2,000, and wolves take ~ 20 adult elk per year, by that math, there will be no elk remaining by the end of the year. By that math, there should be no elk remaining now.

    Or, by that math, there are many fewer than 80 wolves in the Lolo. Removing wolves at this time may interfere with territorial boundary maintenance and pack dynamics. This could, and I emphasize could, allow more wolves to enter the area, and actually make matters worse. Better to wait until the fall "season".

    This is in terms of wolves and elk. I have a pretty good hunch, the population dynamics will work themselves out.

    Any conjecture by anyone about fire. Would a burn of the area be feasible, or would it be better to let nature run its course?

  15. william huard says:

    Immer Treue raises some very important questions. Questions that IDFG doesn’t seem too interested in exploring. It is hard to let nature run it’s course with an aerial gunning program and outfitter trapping assault planned. It will be interesting to see if IDFG makes this worse and more wolves come into the area. Doesn’t the lack of success by the outfitters in 2009 say anything about wolf populations in the LOLO

    • jon says:

      Idaho fish and game are not about letting nature takes its course William as you already know. They are there to please the hunters and them only. I say let the lolo elk herd die off because there were obvious problems with it before wolves were reintroduced. All of the predator controlling in the world won’t turn that elk herd around.

      • Immer Treue says:


        Allowing the Lolo herd to “die off” is not a solution. My comment was more in the tone of natural regulation. If there are fewer elk, there will be fewer wolves. As the 2009 hunt provided few wolf kills, and the recent aerial gunning, which I steadfastly oppose, could only remove five wolves, there simply don’t appear to be that many wolves in the zone.

        In addition, I don’t believe it is fair (life isn’t), to just let the elk die off. This would result in loss of income and food for area folks, and if no elk, the corollary is no wolves, which does not help wolves.

        This whole “thing” about habitat needs study. That’s why I brought up the topic of a burn. Is this feasible?

      • WM says:


        It has been awhile since I read the 10(j) application for the wolf reduction on the Lolo, but I do recall some controlled burn activities in conjunction with the Forest Service. So that is part of the plan, as is keeping the emphasis on bears and lions for reduction as well.

        Contrary to the thinking iby most here (who don’t want wolf numbers thinned there), I think IDFG has given this alot of thought to the management plan. I have said before I hope the wolves haven’t worked their way through the elk there and started on the Elk City and Dwarshak Units which are adjacent, and their own expanding wolf populations, but as of yet unreported substantial impacts on the elk.

        See the problem is some of the folks on this forum, is that they want to play catch up (if at all). “See there is no impact, so don’t kill the wolves.” Wildlife managers say (theoretically anyway), “We need to control the wolf population before they significantly impact the elk IN A SPECIFIC area.

      • WM,

        There were also a fair number of wildfires in the Lolo between about 1999 and 2008. These regenerated burns will provide some elk habitat.

        I visited them, even watched them burn.

      • Immer Treue says:


        As wolves have only been in the “area(s)” for a limited amount of time, some longer time periods, some shorter, it all appears to be a work in progress. “Man” had trouble managing elk numbers in the first place, add in the variables of weather, and the good possibility of degraded/changed habitat, and throw in a wild card, wolves, and then the elk have nothing to do but stagger in terms of population.

        What are the variables that can be affected. Well, can’t do anything about the weather. Habitat, perhaps something can be done here, but it might cause a sh*t storm. Telling folks they can’t shoot elk won’t go over well. Who/what was the last one in the pool? Wolves.

        It’s going to take a whole lot of time to even attempt to adjust the pulls in different directions. I feel pretty confident that those of us who are in favor of the presence of wolves are rational about the situation, and what it entails for wolves. But this will take time to get it right. Is there an emergency in Lolo now, or was it a few years ago. I don’t want wolves killed, but I’m not foolish. A season last year would have dampened some of the animosity, and would have given everybody some numbers with which to work. People are now more at odds, and we are a year farther away from stats that might help with proper management for wolves and elk.

        You and I have had this conversation before about radio collars and aerial gunning. Collars sure do help in terms of wolf population estimates. That said, 80 wolves in Lolo seems high.

      • Cobra says:

        No elk in the Lolo means no wolves in the Lolo. Remember the wolves need something to eat. You’ve got to quit thinking with nothing but pure emotion.

  16. Salle says:

    It seems that the “real” problem is that people think they know what wildlife needs and that those needs include human intervention… which is totally incorrect. In my view, it is hubris that drives the anti-wolf crowd, hubris based on lack of knowledge or the lack of will to acknowledge the fact that the wildlife didn’t need humans in the first place. These arguments about any animal needing “management” by humans are pretty foolish. It was human interference that caused sustained imbalances in nature in the first place. We are the problem with all our “constructions” in philosophy, laws and cultures.

    Fires happen, wildlife will die, humans will die, we’re all gonna die… some sooner than others and most usually thanks to the “human hand”. Wolves don’t require management, wildlife, left unmanaged by humans will manage themselves.

    It is humans who need to manage themselves. But from the looks of things these days, that’s not going to happen anytime soon so I guess we, through ignorance by choice, will wander blindly – well some will – to our own demise as a species while we continue to bitch about who gets to drive the bus over the cliff and/or who might be able to get their foot on the brakes before the bus goes sailing over the edge. And the sooner that happens, the better off the rest of the living organisms on the planet will be. Species-centrism is an ugly thing and humans seem to have perfected this authoritarian perversion to the max. Too bad most humans in this country don’t get that point.

    • Immer Treue says:


      You, me, the lamp post, and everyone else knows that’s the key. But I think we can rest assured, it ain’t going to happen.

    • Leslie says:

      I agree. This is the basis of the problem.

      “This included a biologist who clearly did not like wolves.” Ralph writes in the article write-up.

      That’s an oxymoron and obviously this ‘biologist’ knows nothing about ecosystems and how they work, which is quite strange. Although after living here for five years, I am finding out that many biologists or people who work for governmental agencies in charge of wildlife know much less than I do about ecosystem health (me being an interested curious person who has taken many biology classes, read lots of books, and observes wildlife without a degree). Certainly shakes my confidence. I am reading a book called ‘Re-wilding the Planet’ which sites new scientific evidence that what we need are wildlife corridors, large areas, and PREDATORS. New evidence points to top predators INCREASING prey by keeping all the other numerous middle predators at bay and controlling prey population health. Why are ‘biologists’ not shouting this out? This is now common accepted knowledge and being used as a template for worldwide rewildling.

  17. NotafanofWW2 says:

    Today Barry Coe bragged on the BBB of clubbing pups in their dens. Anyone know who this clown is? Time to call IDFG.

    • Salle says:

      Here’s a suggestion: Copy those posts and paste them into an email to the IDF&G and tell them that there are far too many watching to let this go unaddressed on their part. If that does nothing, I’d be doing the same with a message to the humane society and anyone else you can think of who will scream bloody murder over it. Get some press on the story.

      • Savebears says:


        In the whole scope of things, there is really a pathetic amount of people watching this issue…and for the most part, other than the local press, they are not interested.

  18. NotafanofWW2 says:

    So it is Barry Coe. Thanks for confirming that, Rattle!

  19. NotafanofWW2 says:

    Keep talking. The more info, the better.

  20. NotafanofWW2 says:

    Someone sounds nervous on the other side. Lol.

  21. NotafanofWW2 says:

    Mr. Coe has no idea that people can report poachers without giving their real names. If you want my real name, I’ll give it to you. Just ask.

    • jon says:

      You can report any poachers by calling this #.


      This is the 1800 # to Idaho fish and game

      • NotafanofWW2 says:

        I’m sure they will want to know the name of the IDFG employee who shared information on how to kill denned wolf pups with Barry Coe of Post Falls, ID. I find it interesting that he “Barry” got very defensive after being called-out on his gloating about his knowledge of how to kill pups and stating he was going to pick up supplies used in this method of killing. Unless he is an IDFG employee, and I’m fairly certain he’s not, it would be illegal for him to kill the pups like this.

  22. IDhiker says:

    Anyone that would do something such as this is a sick individual. If this is true, then Barry Coe is a person that would be capable of anything. This is truely someone lacking empathy, which makes him a sociopath.

  23. NotafanofWW2 says:

    Ashley Judd is AWESOME!

  24. Nancy says:

    +Biologists estimate there are from 705 to 1,000 wolves in the state. But no one knows how many are in the Lolo area.

    Fish and Game hopes to reduce wolf numbers to between 20 and 30 wolves in the two big game units that make up the Lolo zone+

    Got this comment from a friend back east after she read the article:

    **Sounds like a government report; it says that they don’t know how many wolves there are in Lolo but want to reduce the population of wolves to 20 – 30. How are they going to do that? Very sad**


May 2011


‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey