Latest official Wyoming wolf report shows livestock losses continue to be trivial

Wyoming wolf population is stable and depredations of livestock low-

Mike Jimenez manages the wolves in Wyoming outside of Yellowstone National Park. He works for the federal government. This is because Wyoming wolves are not yet delisted from the protection of the endangered species act. Jimenez has just released the latest statistics and details of the Wyoming wolves.  It is important that this is chronicled because it won’t be long until these reports are no more, with the State of Wyoming likely to gain management contr0l and stage a big wolf reduction because of some kind of reason.

The wolf manager’s latest report shows wolves killed a mere 12 cattle (mostly calves) so far this year (and injured 7 more calves).  Only 16 sheep were killed.  Fourteen wolves were killed in response to these livestock losses. Most of the sheep lost were SW Wyoming where wolves will be classified as vermin when the state plan is approved by the federal government. The state’s wolf population declined in 2011.  Of course, population figures are not in for 2012, but preliminary reports show no indication of any big change.

Those who want to see Wyoming wolves in the wild should brave the likely wildfires to see them because it might be their last chance of that being a reasonable possibility.

Here is Jimenez report. Wyoming Wolf Program June 29 2012




  1. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    You’ll have to go to Yellowstone, Grand Teton, or the National Elk Refuge to see wolves in Wyoming before too long as those that don’t get shot will be very elusive.

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar
      Ralph Maughan


      Wyoming might be able to kill the wolf packs in Grand Teton because all of them leave that Park frequently. As you know, it is a small national park.

      1. ProWolf in WY Avatar
        ProWolf in WY

        Sadly, you are right. Even so, with that being surrounded by the trophy area there might be a few less killed than say around Pinedale.

  2. Jon Way Avatar

    It is hard not to respond in an expletive-laced letter with such pathetically low numbers of lost livestock. It makes these people that complain look like fools and that is putting it kindly.

  3. Mike Avatar

    Just goes to show how hyperbole has infected the Northern Rockies on this issue.

    The wolf, above all other creatures, seems to irritate stupid white men the most. It’s a coal mine canary. Toss a few wolves onto the landscape, but instead of finding deadly gas, you find out where the idiots live.

    1. ProWolf in WY Avatar
      ProWolf in WY

      If this site had a Like button I would click it Mike.

  4. CodyCoyote Avatar

    The wooly mammoth in the room when the Stetsons talk of livestock depredations by wolves is named ” Discrepancy” The vast difference between what wolf managers report as wolf losses by direct investigation and confirmation , and the total phoned in by ranchers an accepted as gospel by Ag agencies.

    The difference is astounding. It is w-a-a-a-y more than one order of magnitude. Dept. of Interior/Fish and Wildlife reports small numbers derived from field investigations and more importantly confirmed kills. The various Ag agents’ numbers come in 25 times higher. NOT a typo…the difference can be 2500 percent.

    Well, they obviously both can’t be right.

    So how can we better ballpark the losses? The answer is along the lines of Who You Gonna Believe ?—the investigated documented depredation, or the numbers created with scant or no evidence ; not investigated or often given a cursory look by an agent not trained in the necessary foresnsics , who may or may not allow for after-the-kill scavenging by a predator; the depredation that was phoned in.

    Here’s a quote from Mike Leahy of the Bozeman office of Defenders: ( quote) The 2010 USDA cattle report, which comes from speculative and anonymous unconfirmed reports from ranchers, indicates a total of 4,437 head of cattle were lost to wolves across Wyoming, Montana and Idaho in 2010. For comparison, the 2010 annual wolf report issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service indicates there were just 188 confirmed cattle losses to wolves. The latter are verified by field agents based on evidence collected from the site of the incident in addition to the rancher’s report.

    Are more livestock lost to wolves than we have resources to confirm? Yes. Is it likely the number is more than 23 times higher? Not a chance. ” ( endquote )

    Agreed. Of course more cattle and sheep are lost to wolves than USFWS or the rancher can verify . Maybe some tens of percent, but likely not double. But certainly not thousands more….

    If we could do one thing to reconcile the debate For/ Against Grey Wolves here in the northern Rockies, it would be this: accurate reporting to the extent possible the livestock losses due to wolves , with a simple 5 Point checklist for each suspected kill.

    [ ] Animal was on public allotment or [ ] private land.
    Livestock was [ ] attended [ ] was NOT tended by herder or manager in the previous 12 hours
    [ ] Livestock operation at or near point of depredation had previous encounters with wolf or wolves in prior month [ ] or No Encounter [ ] .

    If Yes to having previous encounter with wolf/wolves , the livestock owner -manager took steps to prevent losses [ ] or NOT [ ]

    Was livestock loss purported to be from wolf/wolves actually visited/viewed by a real live human being and a carcass observed ? Y [ ] or No [ } . Please be specific.


    Just a few elemental questions off the top of my head in an attempt to rectify actual depredations vs. asserted depredations. In order for ranchers to recieve compensation for livestock losses due to depredation , they have to till out some paperwork .

    We need to have a reckoning of that paperwork , for starters. Why is that so hard to come by ?

    Back when Defenders paid the compensation for livestock losses, they insisted on some basic evidence. If only the state and federal ag agents would do as well. US Fish and Wildlife/ Jimenez does what they can with what they are given. Or phoned in.

    But once you leave DOI’s jurisdiction and enter the real of Department of Agriculture , there appear so many questions…so much obfuscation.

    To my opinionated mind the phrase by Mark Twain captures the essence. Lies, damn lies, and statistics.

    1. SAP Avatar

      CC – I remember the first time I saw one of those state ag dept predator loss reports. It was back around 1998. I thought I was misreading it – huge losses, broken out by species of predator. I don’t think it included actual weasels, but it did blame a high number of sheep losses on badgers and foxes.

      Badgers? Sure, they can and do kill lambs. But seriously – how many badgers are on the landscape to begin with? And how many kill lambs?

      My memory is foggy and I don’t have a copy anymore, but I seem to recall it blaming bears for a lot of losses, but in eastern MT counties with very little forest and very few bears.

      What baffles me about these reports is that I can’t imagine the ranchers’ own loss records would support these astronomical numbers. I think it’s unlikely they’re losing these numbers to ALL causes combined.

      There are certain operators (still following the maximum dispersal plan) in known wolf range who are actually coming up short, and they are not finding any evidence to document wolf kills. In some of these cases, I suspect theft instead of predation. Whatever the cause, it is still pretty rare for ranches to be losing much more than five percent total to death loss, for all causes combined.

      The only explanation for the nightmarish numbers reported in the anonymous state ag reports is that at least some respondents are trying to justify more spending on predator control by lying.

      1. Ralph Maughan Avatar
        Ralph Maughan


        Yes, there are the USDA predator loss figures which are much higher and based on hearsay, including merely asking ranchers how many they think they have lost and by predator.

        1. CodyCoyote Avatar

          … to which I satirically add, the leading depredator of hapless livestock in Wyoming-Montana- Idaho is that avaricious apex predator, the Scapegoat.


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