Washington State State releases revised gray-wolf plan

It’s pretty good — 15 wolf packs is the goal-

The release of the new plan came after huge public input — almost 70,000 comments and 19 public meetings around the state.

Story: State releases revised gray-wolf plan. By K.C. Mehaffey. The Wenatchee World published in the Seattle Times.

The crazies, having been defeated at lower levels, are busy organizing and spreading their predictions of doom and destruction of wildlife because wolf advocates supposed want to end hunting. Apparently no wildlife will be left except wolves. They fail to notice that such would defy the laws of nature.

People do need to get out in force because this plan is not yet solid. Draft state wolf plan revised; review process planned.




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  1. Ralph Maughan Avatar
    Ralph Maughan

    There are some good and respectable reasons for not wanting to restore wolves. The thing that angers me about the opposition is their militant stupidity with arguments like the real goal is to end hunting and their willingness to appear to people’s primitive fears, like the wolves will eat your child. Of course, a lot of this is really expression of cultural hostility by people who have lost their political compass and have their guns pointed in the wrong direction.

    1. jon Avatar

      Everything is a conspiracy to these people Ralph. They claim that Washington planted these wolves in Washington when they came over naturally from Idaho and other places. They claim the wolves are going to wipe out all of the deer and elk. That they will attack and kill people. You know how it goes. The same ol scare tactics when you don’t get your way. They are already preaching “sss”.

    2. Dude, the bagman Avatar
      Dude, the bagman

      Ditto, Ralph. The thing that bothers me about the entire issue is the hatred, irrationality, and disinformation.
      I really don’t care if the wolves are hunted as long as they are managed responsibly. I just don’t like the other side’s tactics and how it spills over into other areas. It doesn’t make for responsible government.

  2. Immer Treue Avatar
    Immer Treue

    Pray Tell, but how are 15 breeding pair equivalent to 97 to 361 wolves? More like 70 to 120, depending on pup survival and the SSS boys.

    1. bret Avatar

      Idaho in 2008 had 39 documented breeding pairs and a wolf population of 846 so the 300 – 350 number looks reasonable. in the working group plan, breeding pairs are not counted if they den across a state or provincial boundary so the number could easily be higher.

      1. WM Avatar


        Just to be on the same page for a comparison, ID has roughly 3-5X the suitable habitat/land area as WA; probably 1/5 the human population; 2X the elk numbers, 4X the deer, and it has contiguous wolf habitat, while the entire WA wolf management plan relies on costly translocation and intense monitoring to surmount human density and lack of migration corridors. All this, is in the face of a rapidly growing human population, that will likely require some kind of land use controls (though not contemplated in the plan) to prevent further encroachment on habitat as human population grows, which is in itself maybe a good feature that benefits all wildlife.

        At this eventual population goal level of up to 350 (the plan calls for a range to meet the 15 pair goal, and this is the upper number) wolf-human co-existence will not be conflict free, and likely be challenging for state wolf managers.

        1. JB Avatar


          (1) The notion that co-existence can be “conflict free” is a straw man. There are and always will be some conflicts associated with carnivores. If the goal of management is to prevent all conflicts, the only successful plan will involve wolf eradication.

          (2) “ID has roughly 3-5X the suitable habitat…” What constitutes suitable habitat is currently a matter of some debate; however, the primary factor limiting wolf numbers (as you well know)is available prey; their distribution is limited more by human tolerance. Researchers at Utah State University estimated that Utah, which has similar elk numbers to Washington, could support ~700 wolves, 200 of which would exist in largely protected, “core habitat”. Moreover, Idaho has supported 3x the number of wolves proposed for recovery while actually growing its elk population statewide. For these reasons, the ~350 number seems more than reasonable to me.

          Given western politics, I think wolf management will always be “challenging to wildlife managers”. In fact, it was challenging in Utah before they had a single wolf!

        2. bret Avatar

          I agree, I was pointing out that many people use the number 15 as packs when it is successful breeding pairs with pups that survive until December for 2 consecutive years.

          some wolf advocates think that the 15 BP number is a political compromise to satisfy hunters/ranchers.

          If the state wolf population reaches 500-700 wolves as some would like then they would consume more elk then are currently harvested , I don’t see how we can satisfiy all of the stake holders in this process with out conflict ?

          the draft plan looks 50 years down the road, in 20 years we will have 7.5 million people.

  3. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    I think it is so classic how these wolf haters get so extreme. Hunting will be over, children will be mutilated, ranching as we know it will end. Blah, blah, blah!

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar
      Ralph Maughan

      Well hasn’t it all happened that way in Wyoming, Idaho and Montana? 😉

      These outside agitators try to imply that it has happened.

      1. Jon Way Avatar

        The article contradicts itself as he says hunters are the most important to their cause then prints that Wildlife Watching makes $1.5 billion in WA vs. $313 million in hunting. Instead of this guys strange theories about the wolf loving WA fish and “game”, maybe the fish and game is finally realizing that all people – not just hunters – own the state’s wildlife.

  4. DB Avatar

    I agree, the wolf haters can be extreme. But if you want to read some over the top stuff, check out some of the comments at Wolf Warriors https://www.facebook.com/WolfWarriors
    Talk about naive and stupid.

    1. Headwaters Avatar

      Spooky. A lot of extremes in this stuff. Meantime, back in wolf country….

  5. Linda Jo Hunter Avatar

    At least in Washington State there are lots of areas where ranches are few and far between and we have a very healthy ungulate population. I think this is a pretty good place for wolves as it seems like some of the most vocal wolf haters here live in the I-5 corridor, a place where wolves probably won’t live.

    1. WM Avatar


      These wolves are/will be coming from the north and the east. That means Eastern WA (as defined by the Cascade Divide) gets them first. From there, WDFW will have to translocate them within areas on the East side and ultimately to isolated areas on the West.

      I am waiting for the Indians – Yakamas, Colvilles, Spokanes, who have recent history of cattle and sheep ranching on their respective reservations, AND reliance on elk and deer for tribal members, weigh in. The bureaucrats who wrote this plan talked only of the importance of the wolf on the culture of some of the small coastal tribes. I expect the Eastern WA tribes will put on a show of political support for wolves, but in reality not look favorably on them as they show up, if there is any impact on their livestock or tribal hunting.

      The plan contemplates a 50-100 year time horizon to recover protect wolves at a desired 15 breeding pairs (which some of the science modelers suggest is sustainable, maybe more).

      One has to wonder whether, for this planning time horizon, these scientists and bureaucrats looked at land use conversion over time, and how much land will be eaten up to accomodate more humans at higher densities. Did they consult the State demographics folks to see what human population (and economic) projections are for this same planning period?

      Wolf habitat protection land use controls anyone? This plan is a pipe dream.

      1. Linda Jo Hunter Avatar

        WM I agree that would make sense. The interesting thing about wolves in Washington is that there are many “unoffical” wolves here and there have been for a long time. I am not sure where they came from but unless you pay attention they go under the radar and I keep thinking the SSS crowd will eliminate them but every year I find evidence of new ones. I have not found evidence of packs though, just single or a pair that look like they are looking things over and I have been seeing this for almost 20 years. Fortunately, my wolf sign discoveries are never believed, which is why I can post this, but I think the tribes here may already be used to living around wolves.

        1. Ralph Maughan Avatar
          Ralph Maughan

          Linda Jo Hunter,

          The original official wolf pack, discovered a couple years ago (the Lookout Pack) migrated down from somewhere in coastal British Columbia. Coastal wolves are bit different than the interior wolves.

          1. Harley Avatar

            How do the coastal wolves differ from the interior ones?

          2. WM Avatar


            Do you have more detailed information on the origin of the Lookout Pack. I have read newspaper articles over the years stating the same thing, Coastal BC origin.

            What is interesting, however, is that it seems these west side BC wolves seem to prefer the E. side of the Cascades – open country much like the Salmon south of Stanley, ID. It is mostly deer and cow country, in the Methow Valley, where the Lookout pack settled in. This country is far different from the higher N. Cascades NP area and wet west side near Ross Lake. Maybe the just wanted to dry out a bit, and found they liked it. Don’t know how far back that Coastal BC DNA goes, but it would seem there would be several generations going from west to east in BC to its dry side and then dropping down (would have to avoid urban Vancouver) into the states. Or, maybe they had translocation help getting a little closer to the US border (not the first time I have heard that bit of speculation).

      2. Daniel Berg Avatar
        Daniel Berg


        I’ve read previous posts you have made regarding the challenges of wolf management in Washington State.

        You seem pessimistic. Would you care to venture a guess about how wolf management is going to evolve over the next few years if wolves continue to venture into WA and reproduce?

        1. WM Avatar


          I have probably said enough, since I haven’t read the plan yet, but my first impression based on people I have spoken with, is that this plan for 15 breeding pairs, and extensive translocation involving a population with an upper range of 361 wolves, is like trying to fit a size 11 foot in a size 9 shoe – it will not be very comfortable. Chacos anyone?

          One of several strategic blunders WDFW made is to not have a Native American on their “wolf working group.” The word on the street is that the Confederated Colville tribes, the Yakamas, Muckleshoots, Quinaults, and Makahs, are not too keen on having wolves, especially if they infringe on members’ ability to subsistence hunt (numbers or even behavior of elk/deer).

          Since they have a vested interests on tribal reservations (the Yakama elk herd is something like 9% of the total in the state), or by treaty, to something like nearly a third of the elk population in WA, it seems to me they should have been consulted.

          The Colville tribal biologist, just said “we don’t want them.” An odd thing for a tribe to say, especially one that has a wolf on its tribal flag. They are trying to expand a moose population there for tribal members, and do not want to put them at more risk.

          And then there is the tribal cattle and sheep issue I previously mentioned.

          1. Daniel Berg Avatar
            Daniel Berg


            Isn’t it likely that wolves would have to be translocated to the Olympic Peninsula? It doesn’t look like they have much of a corridor to naturally migrate there.

            It would be interesting to see the tribes publicly come out against wolves in the state. That flies in the face of what your average joe would expect them to do. Growing up near a reservation, I quickly learned that a tribe can primarily operate as a business entity above all else, which is why I’m not surprised by their apprehension.

            If Gregoire ends up being a strong wolf supporter, I think it’s safe to say that the tribes owe her one.

          2. SEAK Mossback Avatar
            SEAK Mossback

            Daniel Berg,
            That’s certainly been true here where native corporations (both regional and local) have clear-cut vast acreage using practices far less protective than the USFS and shipped the logs round to Japan, often in some of the most important subsistence and cultural areas for individual shareholders and over local shareholder objections. In one case, a local corporation even threatened the equivalent of “suicide”, saying it will clear-cut the watershed behind its home town that supplies water and habitat for drinking, fish processing, a local hatchery and subsistence salmon, plus deer from the small amount of old-growth deer habitat left in the area — unless the government trades them high quality old-growth timber they can cut elsewhere (preferably in somebody else’s back yard) and takes over stewardship of their home watershed.

  6. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    wolves have been traveling down the cascades from Canada for years the same as they have in the Rockies. Was just never enough allowed to persist to get a population foot hold, same as the Rockies. There was money allocated to research this in the Washington cascades but it was pulled and given to the NRM recovery effort,

  7. WM Avatar

    Feedback from the two day work session in Ellensburg. Predictable, and some of the criticism valid, in my view. It appears the working group vetting will produce no substantive changes(anyone know anything different?):


  8. Jay Avatar

    As the state adds to the population total another million here, another million there, they are talking about a population cap for wolves to keep it under a couple hundred?


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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