State to always have at least one area open to wolf hunting-

New rules! Idaho has decided in effect to always have at least one place in the state open to wolf hunting on a rotating basis.  This is in addition to the general wolf hunt that goes for about half a year. Wolf hunting began July 1 this year on private land in northern Idaho.  The general wolf hunt will begin Aug. 30 and go until March 31. However, some units will remain open until June 30. Then on July 1, 2013 private land in northern Idaho will again open.

Under the new rules, there is no limit on how many wolves can be killed in total except in 5 wolf hunting units.  For example, the Island Park wolf hunting unit adjacent to Yellowstone Park will have a limit (quota) of 30 wolves. Previous wolf counts, however, make it doubtful that 30 wolves live there unless they can catch some Yellowstone Park wolves temporarily out of the Park.

In most parts of the state, wolf hunters can buy up to five wolf tags a per season. Wolf trappers will also be able to buy 5 wolf trapping tags in a season, though not all of the state will be open to wolf trapping.  Some units allow only 2 wolf tags a season for hunting and trapping. The wolf trapping season generally begins Nov. 15

– – – – – –
Updated on the 4th of July. Wolves still under fire. One wolf season ends, another opens. By Bill Buley.Coeur d’Alene Press. “Phil Cooper, Idaho Fish and Game regional conservation officer, said people have found wolves are very difficult to hunt and very difficult to trap. “We certainly want to see numbers reduced,” he said. “We’re hopeful that the one year of experience trappers have had will make them a little more proficient at catching wolves.”

– – – – –

Our Commentary

Contrary to what the Fish and Game officer says, wolves turned out to be easy to trap in Idaho.  If wolves are difficult to hunt, by all means make it easier. Let’s make sure any spark of wildness in Idaho is reduced to the most feeble glow. Ralph Maughan


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.

108 Responses to Idaho to make wolf hunting year round

  1. Rita K. Sharpe says:

    Who didn’t see this coming?

    • Ida says:

      Sadly, noone. Adjacent to Yellowstone Park? With the creatively named ‘flex zone’ proposed for WY, anyone can see that they are trying to concentrate on the park where they know they aren’t allowed to hunt, with of course the ultimate goal of wiping them out. The states are making up the rules as they go – not a scientific approach to managing wildlife. It’s nice to know that that’s all they have to worry about out West. I can’t believe this is being allowed to go on. As someone said here, in tough times they need a scapegoat.

  2. Jon Way says:

    So much for the robust wolf population. So much for treating wolves like wildlife other than vermin. So much for stakeholders other than trappers and hunters having a say in wildlife mgmt.

    Pretty sad and equally annoying will be inputs that this won’t endanger the state of ID from having the bare minimum of 150 wolves in the state.

    • Jon Way says:

      I might add that the states are doing an excellent job arguing that wolves should be Federally managed again and that they aren’t capable of rationally managing a large carnivore for all stakeholder values.

  3. Frank Renn says:

    How do they intend to make sure the July first opening is limited to private land?

    • jon says:

      I was thinking about the same thing. What is to stop a wolf hunter from using his private land tag killing a wolf on public land? Idaho fish and game the Idaho fish and game commission have no idea how many wolves there truly are in Idaho and yet they are allowing these aggressive wolf hunting seasons. Idaho fish and game’s Jon Rachael claims 500-600 wolves (not counting this year’s wolf pups born) and Tony Mcdermitt, fish and game commissioner claims 1200-1600 wolves in Idaho.

    • Jay says:

      I’m not defending this new rule, but there are private-land-only hunts for other big game species in Idaho, so this isn’t something new initiated just for wolves.

  4. Ellen says:

    private land only? yep! no way to prove that the wolf was killed on private land. I sure hope the politicians that instigated this war on much needed wolves are soaking up all this blood. it seems that no matter what researchers and/or the public says about wanting/needing wolves, the powers that be have decided to wipe them out. 150 wolves in an entire state is sadly laughable. no way for wolves to survive the devastation.

  5. Dave says:

    Welcome back to the 19th Century!

  6. CodyCoyote says:

    Well, there’s always the International War Crimes Tribunal in the Hague. What Idaho is doing to wolves is hardly different than what Slobadan Milosevich ,Ratko Mladić, and Radovan Karadzic perpetrated in the former Yugoslavia….ethnic cleansing and genocide.

  7. Immer Treue says:

    Mark Gamblin,

    At the expense of sounding elitist, Idaho has fallen to the lowest common denominator. Yes, so much for robust…yada, yada, yada!

    We had an exchange last year about moving the goal posts in terms of the wolf season, and you commented that it was about the same as the 2009 season.

    Ain’t that way any more. As much as the Obama administration has turned a deaf ear toward all wildlife, Romney hasn’t been elected, yet. Or has he?

    • tim zaspel says:

      Ya, where is our resident IF&G lackey cutting and pasting in his usual spiel about “robust populations, blah,blah,blah.”

    • Salle says:

      In Idaho, they act as though he has. It’s all about that “clan” thing around there… What they think believe is all that matters regardless of however misguided it may be in the grand scheme of things …you know, like regarding the well being of all the rest of the living things on the planet.

  8. Jay says:

    What’s most disturbing about this isn’t the fact that someone might violate the private ground only restriction, it’s that a wolf pelt is virtually worthless this time of year, so this isn’t about IDFG creating more trophy hunting opportunity, it’s all about just killing more wolves.

    • Immer Treue says:

      Just a way of making SSS legal.

      • jb says:

        Actually, I would say it is a backhanded method of classifying wolves as a nuisance/unprotected species, as opposed to game (they need to maintain the trophy game classification in order to keep in the good graces of FWS).

        • Immer Treue says:

          Ergo SSS.

          • jon says:

            A wolf hunter can buy a private land tag for a wolf and kill a wolf on public land and say that he killed the wolf on private land.

          • JB says:


            By (in effect) classifying them as a nuisance/predator, they forgo the need to shovel and shut up. In fact, they will still maintain the reporting requirement, so to be legal would-be wolf “hunters” will need to avoid the last S.

            • Immer Treue says:


              In all honesty, do you believe that is what will transpire? Even if, and that is a big if, reported, same effect with the avoidance of the last S.

            • JB says:


              In all honesty…yes and no. Some will hunt them legally others will see it as an excuse to shoot them, walk away, and not report it. Getting caught–however unlikely–is a big deterrent for many people.

            • Salle says:

              Honestly, I don’t think that many will have the personal fortitude to resist the “weenie-waving” capital such activities will inspire.

        • Jay says:

          I.e., killing more wolves.

    • elk275 says:

      It is summer and I doubt that there are more than a handful of wolf hunters out there. Most people and hunters are enjoying the short Northern Rocky Mountain summer on a river or lake somewhere.

      I have absolutely no interest in going hunting, except a gopher or two until mid September.

      • louise kane says:

        This is not about hunting as you seem to enjoy it and argue that its a reasonable and enjoyable pastime. Its a vendetta against wolves.

  9. Chuck says:

    IDFG has set a new all time high or should I say low. This is exactly why I will not spend another dime to hunt or fish in the state of Idaho. Does anyone on here really expect a reasonable answer from IDFG??? all it will be I’m afraid is lip service.

  10. WM says:

    It would be interesting to know if this is a “one year” regulation, and whether it would be curtailed mid-year once IDFG gets to whatever number and geographic distribution seems to be the goal to stay within their ESA obligation under the rider law.

  11. Robert R says:

    Even thou hunting and yes evil trapping and the fish and wildlife services is being used to manage the wolf numbers and is ridiculed the wolf will be wiser and harder to find and will survive the same as the coyote and never will be eliminated.

    I know the wolf is sacred to most but a hypothetical question. What if the same thing was being done to deer or elk year around. The wolf is here to stay no matter how there managed because the states will never let them go bellow a certain number to be listed if possible.
    I guess the real question is, do these states make more money through big game hunting or wildlife viewing in national parks. Tourist dollars is big money but so is big game hunting.

    • jon says:

      “how there managed because the states will never let them go bellow a certain number to be listed if possible.”

      The Idaho fish and game and Idaho fish and game commission don’t know how many wolves there truly are in Idaho. So, how are they going to keep track of how many wolves there are in Idaho if they don’t know how many wolves there actually are in Idaho? These aggressive hunts should not be happening at all if they don’t know how many wolves there actually are. You can’t keep letting hunters and trappers take 300-400 wolves each hunting season and expect the wolf population to always remain above 150 wolves. I don’t even think the wolves killed on private land will count towards the public land wolf hunt which opens on August 31st. They allowed hunters to kill wolves in the lolo and selway through June 31st. Vulerable wolf mothers and their newborn pups could have been killed, but I doubt the Idaho fish and game and commission care about that.

      • Dave Hornoff says:

        Like any other species wolves need to be allowed to maintain a sustainable population. It is obvious that Idaho’s intent is to bring that population down as low as possible. This is not “management”, it is simply extermination, or an attempt to do so. I agree Jon, there is no way to tell the exact number of wolves in Idaho, therefore, they can reduce the population to a point where it will be difficult to ever fully recover, and I believe that is their full intent. At that point relisting for wolves to meet a 150 number may take years, or simply never happen .

    • jon says:

      I’m sure a lot of people would complain if deer and elk were allowed to be killed year round. In Idaho, there are many more bears and cougars than wolves, but wolves are allowed to be killed year round. It’s seems to me that Idaho fish and game are trying to kill as many wolves as possible. The Idaho fish and game commission are all hunters and all they cater are the hunters even though in Idaho, hunters are the minority. The majority of the public in Idaho don’t hunt and Idaho fish and game and the commission are catering to only the hunters when the wildlife is supposed to belong to all of the citizens in Idaho.

    • Ellen says:

      to Robert… ‘harder to find’ – what about the denning dams with their pups? they too are allowed to be killed. even though I most emphatically do NOT agree with hunting/trapping predator species I do sadly understand the need to control the population. however, that being said there should be a limited season and not a year round effort to eradicate the wolf populations. yes coyotes are prolific but they are much more adaptable than wolves are (at least at this point). Coyotes live in urban areas now – not so the wolf. Nor would I want wolves so close to human habitation as they are larger and can inadvertently do more damage. mankind is or can be super scarey to wildlife but humans also feed the ‘poor little thing’ and teach them to come closer. I’ve felt all along that education of people is the key. humans feed all sorts of wildlife (bears come to mind here) and then holler when the wildlife comes to their back doors for more food. Then humans call more humans to come kill this creature who dares to come to my house for food! I lived in an area where black bears became quite a danger because of this. “oh, that bear won’t hurt me – I’ve been feeding him for xxxxx long!”we will be known as the perpetrators of the extinction of many wild species. Sadly, I fear the wild wolf will be one of these species.

  12. Mike says:

    One more steps towards re-listing.

  13. Ann Sydow says:

    Just one more underhanded move by policy makers designed to beat down the wolf. The wolf doesn’t pretend, the wolf is what he is and makes no apologies. That makes him far more honest than his pursuers.
    And who will be counting wolves to make sure there is still a measley 100 left to satisfy USFWS? The very people trying their best to get rid of them…IDFG and hunters ! This is all like a very bad dream.

  14. Robert R says:

    Back in the 1800’S not only was the wolf eliminated down to nothing in Montana and other states, but all big game animals and game birds and some fish populations.
    As much as some hate and criticize hunting/hunters/sports men and women and the fish and game department, ask the question who brought the game and bird populations back from near extinction.
    If you folks have the time to either read or see if you rent the DVD “Back From The Brink Montana’s Wildlife Legacy” and see how sports men and women and the fish and game brought back the game populations and just maybe some would have a different view of the dirty words hunter/fish and game.
    We are not all perfect in life and people on both sides I think are being selfish in there own way to satisfy what they believe is the right way to benefit the animals and there habitat.

    • Nancy says:

      “As much as some hate and criticize hunting/hunters/sports men and women and the fish and game department, ask the question who brought the game and bird populations back from near extinction”

      For one reason only Robert R – so they could continue to be exploited, tortured and abused by a minority of mankind.

      • Ellen says:

        hmm, there is a place for hunters/fishers and the wildlife departments. they DO, for the most part, keep viable numbers of ‘desired’ species. we would have lost many more species if these groups had not been regulated. we still have a lot to learn about true ‘wildlife management’. that does require that we humans start to open our collective eyes and quit going where the dollar leads. That however is the main problem, sigh, the old adage if “money talks” is still the stongest opinion here.

        I don’t agree with trophy hunting in any case. we (humans) seem to be determined to hunt the biggest, most beautiful xxxxxx and then wonder why the herds of ungulates, the schools of fish and/or the flocks of ‘game birds’ are not as robustly healthy as they used to be. hunting/fishing for sustenance is, in my opinion, ok. trophy hunters no longer HUNT! with the use of scopes, infared (it may not be legal – I honestly don’t know), blinds and whatever else is used to artifically lure animals to the so called hunter the hunted animals have little to no chance of survival. predator species such as the wolf also are lured into the grasp of the hunter. I don’t understand this overwhelming need to destroy a living being just so the head and/or hide can be displayed. and yes, I do realize that not every hunter does get his/her tag limit.

    • Jay says:

      Robert–I notice those so-called “sportsmen” you speak of forgot to bring back the native predators when undoing the damage they had done–only the cool stuff with antlers were of concern.

    • Mike says:

      Hunters were the ones who wiped out the animals to begin with.

      And now they’re wiping out other animals and working against healthy ecosystems such as roadless areas.

      They really don’t do anything for conservation. Most hunters think a monoculture forest for timber production, white-trailed deer and grouse equate to the ultimate ecosystem.

  15. Robert R says:

    Nancy Its much more than a minority and more than likely both of are ancestors were involved back in the 1800’S.
    You are right about game animals being exploited but they were far more exploited in the late 1800’S.

    • Immer Treue says:


      You are absolutely correct that game animals were “more” exploited in the late 1800’s. Market hunting and irresponsible slaughter of bison all but eliminated the ungulate populations from the West. All that remained for wolves was the “introduced” livestock, and thus began the last chapter of the wolf wars. No one ever attempted to “live” with wolves.

      The repopulation of the “game species” has been covered in depth here, but it was begun by elitists from the East. Wolves were never given a chance thanks to ranchers and the varied incarnations of the present Wild Life Services.

      The rural utilitarian philosophy toward wildlife is understandable, yet the continued “persecution” of wolves is based upon little more than the myths of the past. IDFG has their hands full with both the ends of the spectrum. All this BS about robust wolf populations is just that. If there is a long term plan, cOme out in the open and discuss it. Otherwise call a spade a spade and it is nothing more than population reduction, not management of a “robust” population.

      I am not anti-wolf management, but wolves are not in my opinion, being responsibly managed, and the slide is moving, once again,toward irresponsible slaughter.

      • WM says:


        ++All that remained for wolves was the “introduced” livestock, and thus began the last chapter of the wolf wars. No one ever attempted to “live” with wolves.++

        Those statements are a bit in line with “Which came first chicken or the egg?”

        The wolf problem existed prior to prey reduction (just as it does now), as wolves figured out livestock of whatever type are a whole lot easier meal to catch than wild prey. This was so in history, everywhere wolves exist in the world, as it is today.

        I can’t say what the history is in your area, but in the Willamette Valley south of the Columbia River in OR, in the 1840’s there was still alot of game, but also wolves – wolves that liked the livestock. Meetings were held among the settlers, at a place called French Prairie, where the beginnings of a provisional government were established – the catalyst; wolf depredation on stock, and a needed means to stop it.

        • Immer Treue says:


          Chicken or the egg? Remove primary food source, then bring in a food source that can’t protect itself in the least, and 10’s of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of wolves died. There are plenty of elk now, and I’m not saying now, nor have I ever said that wolves should not be managed. Also, there are no longer 10’s of thousands of wolves. Rough estimates ~ 2,000 in the three main states???

          In my area deer are a tough hunt as there are no farms, thus no ‘islands’ of wooded area for deer to concentrate. Not a lot of livestock either. Yet, there are hunters who’s attitude is wolves are competition and get to hunt year round, while they only get two weeks… Left to them, there would be many fewer deer, fewer wolves, and the woods would become a place an order of magnitude less safe.

          Manifest Destiny is alive and well.

      • Jon Way says:

        Robert, there were many factors other than sportsmen that helped bring wildlife back. It is just that hunting dollars make up budgets of state fish and wildlife depts.
        Other factors:
        1. protection efforts and natural population expansion. this required hunters not to shoot animals. non-hunters always don’t shoot animals!
        2. an interested and concerned public helped wildlife recover and an interest in all (most) living things
        3. land protection efforts. in addition to hunter funded land conservation efforts the federal gov’t has an enormous amount of land that all tax payers contribute to.
        4. local conservation groups and land trusts. I pay into both and help purchase land even tho I don’t buy a hunting license. Also, a tax on my home also helps support land conservation.
        5. increased visits to national parks and other lands where wildlife watchers spend money and contribute to local economies helps to support wildlife.

        There are probably many other links to but it is a myth to suggest that hunters are the only contributors to wildlife repopulation of game species.

    • Nancy says:

      And interesting read Robert R:

      • Ellen says:

        Nancy, where did you find that article? I’ve been saying pretty much the same thing for a long time. never had anything to back up my suppositions before. I don’t agree with the whole thing – I do believe that hunting for food purposes is ok but do not agree with trophy hunting at all. Canned ‘hunts’ are a travesty. releasing ‘pen bred’ animals so a ‘hunter’ can go and shoot them is also wrong. Personally I think that in order to hunt live ‘game’, people should be forced to only use non-modified weapons (no scopes etc.) and actually HUNT. more animals would have a fair chance of living.

        • Nancy says:

          “where did you find that article?”

          Googled the words “percentage of US population that hunts” Ellen.

          “Personally I think that in order to hunt live ‘game’, people should be forced to only use non-modified weapons (no scopes etc.) and actually HUNT. more animals would have a fair chance of living”

          FYI Ellen – all other species would have MORE than a fair chance of living if our species were not so fricken hung up on A. the “protein factor” (their cheap meat to substain us) which incidently, can be found in many, if not most, fruits, nuts, grains and vegetables available out there… and B. the wall hangers (trophy hunters)

          • Ellen says:

            Nancy, I did not mean to turn this into a vegetarian vs omnivore discussion. I, and many others, like meat. I also ‘approve’ of hunting for sustenance if that is the person’s choice. we can agree that trophy hunters and trappers are not necessary but that is as far as I will go on the meat vs no meat opinions. no vegan/vegetarian has the right to tell anyone not to eat meat just as no omnivore (the basic human platform if you will) has the right to tell anyone they must eat meat.

            • Nancy says:

              I’m sorry Ellen that you got the feeling I was turning this into a “vegetarian vs omnivore” discussion simply because I made an observation regarding fairness & wildlife.

              I” try to be more specific next time 🙂

      • jon says:

        Thanks for the link Nancy.

        “Hunters claim that they pay for “conservation” by buying hunting licenses, duck stamps, etc. But the relatively small amount each hunter pays does not cover the cost of hunting programs or game warden salaries. The public lands many hunters use are supported by taxpayers. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service programs, which benefit hunters, get most of their funds from general tax revenues, not hunting fees. Funds benefiting “non-game” species are scarce. Hunters kill more animals than recorded tallies indicate. It is estimated that, for every animal a hunter kills and recovers, at least two wounded but unrecovered animals die slowly and painfully of blood loss, infection, or starvation.”

        • WM says:

          Another “animal rights” group, I see. They advocate the use of the terms “he” or “she” in reference to an individual animal, rather than “it.”

          Facts from animal rights groups. One certainly cannot challenge the accuracy, truth and veracity of them.

          ++…does not cover the cost of hunting programs or game warden salaries…++

          My understanding is that in ID (and maybe other states) it does, plus wardens in most states are sworn peace officers who can and do write citations in the same manner as a state patrol person of that state. And, they certainly do coordinate with other law enforcement. Fact checker anyone?

          • Ellen says:

            Nancy : I apologive if I over read your response but it just seemed like you were pushing (even if a mild push) for vegan/vegetarian lifestyle. I meant no disrespect to you but do stand by my statement that no one has the right to force their views on anyone else and that doesn’t just mean this particular topic.

            WM: I don’t understand what ‘animal rights’ groups have to do with calling a female animal ‘she’ and a male animal ‘he’. they are different genders and ‘it’ does not cover that at all. I still see no need to overkill any animal species whether they be male or female. hmmm does calling a mother wolf, cougar, bear, wolverine, fox etc….. ‘it’, make it easier to kill HER???

            • WM says:


              Personally, I have no problem with the gender noun classification, to be more specific when referring to a female or male of a species, if known.

              However, in classic English language the differentiation of gender has historically been left to humans and domesticated animals. The animal rights advocacy pushes for a paradigm shift in grammar to refer to all wildlife by its gender, if known, as “he” or “she” such that it personifies the individual animal(s). This takes us closer to the concept of anthropomorphic qualities of the animal as being closer to “human” in its being. I was calling attention to this distinction, and in this explanation, the motivation behind it.

              So, if you were being graded on a grammar test and referred to a generic bear as “he” or “she” rather than “it,” how would your teacher grade you on a standardized pre-college test, say the SAT?

              The quiz sentence is: I saw a bear climb the tree, shortly before, (he/she or it) had been eating berries in the meadow.

              (circle the correct answer according to conventional grammar rules)

              • Ellen says:

                WM: the terms ‘classic’, ‘historical’, ‘traditional’ and other such words cover a multitude of excuses for doing something. I am not a supporter of ‘animal rights’ groups at all since most (if not all) wish to eventually wipe out any animal usage be it for companion, pet, work partner, food, zoo (kind of a catch 22 on zoos – I don’t like seeing animals caged but fully understand that this is the only way to keep some species from extinction). however, I don’t see how giving the gender specific term to any animal (if known) is anthropomorhizing them. many animals, at a distance,can not be differentiated into a male or female classification so the term ‘it’ would have to suffice for the time. LOL, in your test question – the answer would have to be ‘it’ since the gender is unknown. just as an aside here – there are many times when the term ‘it’ is used to describe a human being from a distance too!

  16. Barb Rupers says:

    The link to the IDFG wolf hunting season and rules doesn’t work anymore. “This Page is not available and expired on July 2, 2012 @ 12:00am”. Have they changed their minds?

  17. Oliver Starr says:

    At a certain point, when it becomes obvious that a government agency or other elected group has not only stopped listening to the majority of its constituents, but proven again and again that it is acting either against the interests of the majority or acting only on its own behalf with no regard to science, the law or public opinion, than it’s time to stop listening to such a group or take action to BRING THEM DOWN.

    We need to organize, we need to file lawsuits and we need to engage in acts that will bring this fight into full view of mainstream media.

    The world needs to see the atrocities that are happening in the woods. Sunlight is the best disinfectant. We need to root out the corruption, the greed and the political gerrymandering that has been allowed to have control over the wolf issues in the US. It’s high time we put an end to this unscientific and senseless slaughter.

    • Barbara says:

      Oliver: I’m with you 100%. There are several groups on FB that are involved in this fight — a lot of great people. You might want to check it out. Also, I’ve said all along that these animals belong to all of us — what right do a few have to destroy them?! We should be able to sue for damages to our “ecosystem”!! Count me in. I wrote to Dave Mech, the world “authority” on wolves who was also someone I looked up to during my own wolf studies over the years. Unfortunately, he has gone to “the dark side” and is consulting — even to the point of encouraging wolf trapping (!!) and traps minks himself. It’s very disconcerting! The BLM is murdering all our wild horses and burros for big cattle and oil. It has to stop.

    • rick says:

      I like what you are saying. Lead the way and I will follow. I am extremely frustrated that I don’t know how to have a positive affect on wolves in Idaho. People who kill not to protect, not to eat and not to make clothes out of are the scum of the earth. I mean that. I have met a few. They are the ones managing the wolves in Idaho.

    • nabeki says:

      Oliver, we need to take a page out of the anti-wolf movement. They are organized, united in their purpose and don’t spend their time arguing with each other. They also have the advantage of firm support from the powerful and wealthy hunting and ranching lobbies, some who’ve been in place for decades. We on the other hand have a fractured movement, with constant infighting and sketchy unity. The only way to change this situation is to speak with one voice. We have been let down by many of the big environmental groups, wolves have been sold out for votes and donations. If we’re ever going to right these wrongs we have to start playing offense not defense.

  18. Barb Rupers says:

    The link I referred to above that doesn’t work is in the email letter. The one in the post above does.

  19. Two people who commented stated that wolves will survive despite IDF&G’s extermination policy. I disagree,& remind them that wolves have already been exterminated in the lower USA once. The last wolves were killed in the Northwest in the 1940s. There might have always been a few wolves straggling in from Canada, but essentially there was no biologically viable wolf population until their reintroduction into Yellowstone & central Idaho in 1996.

    Wolf advocates must not indulge themselves in wishful thinking. We must be at least people who have their facts straight. If wolves were eliminated once, it can be done again. Even if IDF&G intends to leave a wolf population of about 150 individuals, in doing so, they will destroy the social structure of the remaining wolf packs & there will be nothing left but a relict population that cannot possibly have any effect, positive or otherwise on the ecosystems here. They will become isolated, genetically inbred & prone to inherited & congenital defects, very much like what has been recently documented for the isolated Isle Royale wolves.

    The wildly divergent wolf population counts by IDF&G staff member Jon Rachael (500-600 wolves), the USFW (March 2012 Report-760 wolves)& IDF&G Commissioner Tony McDermitt (1200-1600 wolves) demonstrates that wildlife counting is decidedly NOT rocket science.

    If IDF&G continues to treat wolves as they presently do-like vermin, I doubt that either you or I will ever again see wolves in the wild in our lifetimes. They will become like the wolverines, who only survive in low numbers in the high, difficult to access mountain peaks.

    I believe that there is a good chance however, that IDF&G will overshoot (excuse the gory pun) their mark, dropping the wolf population below the required 150 & thus triggering another USFW review of the situation. Such a sad situation seems our “best” hope at this time.

    • Nabeki says:


      Your comment was the most cogent, comprehensive, honest assessment of the terrible situation wolves are facing in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. We can’t forget wolves are under siege in the Great Lakes as well.

      The truth is hard to swallow but there it is.

      It’s now up to wolf advocates to make a difference. In barely two years off the list, wolves have descended to vermin class with the end game of extermination.

      We must fight back with a whole new game plan.

  20. Salle says:

    I have an idea. Rather than not go to Idaho to enjoy the beauty of it’s natural features and all those things about the outdoors in Idaho that many of us love…

    I suggest that you not change your plans, go there, enjoy the outdoors… and spend as little as possible while in the state. And while you’re at it tell those you encounter, especially in places where you might have spent money or more than you actually will, that you are not giving them any more than the bare minimum because they kill wolves with impunity and you object, via your with-holding of tourism dollars they might have earned otherwise. Go there, tell them what you think and show them what it will cost them to be that way.

  21. rick says:

    Idaho management of wolves is a travesty. I witnessed a public meeting with the committee in charge of setting rules for wildlife hunting and fishing. Thirty six people spoke on wolves. Thirty three of those expressed concern with killing too many wolves, cruelty – trapping etc. . The next day the committee made a decision to increase all methods of killing wolves.The committee in charge is appointed by Butch Otter. I am right on the edge of being ashamed of being an Idahoan.

    • WM says:

      rick, Oliver,

      Let’s be intellectually honest here. The “committee” of which rick speaks is the IDFG Commission. Members are appointed by the governor (Butch), they are confirmed by the state Senate, and their seating on the Commission may be challenged by members of that body for cause. The mandate from both the governor (executive branch) and the legislature is to meet certain statutory objectives, in this case a minimal number of wolves to meet an ESA obligation which the citizens of ID expressed through their elected officials.

      So, technically, and notwithstanding the value of input at a public hearing, if you want to give credit for your verbal indictment you really should be spreading it to the governor, legislature, appointed Commission members and the public employees of IDFG. And, contrary to the belief of some, agencies are obligated by law to hold rule making hearings, but not necessarily to follow the recommendations on the input from those who testify.

      Where the rubber meets the road, is at the ballot box, where the public will, so to speak, is reflected in those who are elected to fill the offices mentioned above, and subsequently to appoint and vet the qualifications of those to who hold seats on Commissions and who are(often) sworn to uphold the body of laws of the function over which they govern, in this case fish and wildlife.

      And, the statement above, doesn’t mean I agree with the current developing wolf policy. I am outlining process and how democracy, for good or bad, seems to work in ID and elswhere in the US.

      So, you need to start with the premise that state government as reflected by the governor and legislature has mandated a minimum number of wolves to meet an ESA obligation. The Commission and its staff are pursuing that objective. It is my understanding they have little latitude but to do so in concert with managing other wildlife objectives. Setting seasons for harvest and quotas is a part of that, and the staff has to follow policy set by the Commission, dictated to Commission by elected government.

      • louise kane says:

        WM you explain exactly why wolves need to be relisted or protected by a national carnivore protection act. These states are rouge and incapable of treating their wolves as a trust assest or valuable part of the ecosystem

  22. Ray. says:

    As animal lover`s from a afar ,we are very appalled at this travesty of injustice that`s being met out to the Wolves .what on earth is your country the USA coming to ,when you have to kill off all your treasured wildlife,its as low as you can get,what do you reckon the rest of the world thinks about this ,do you think they will want to come to your states knowing how badly you have treated you wildlife ..if the wolves are problematic to fat arsed lazy ranchers ,then why cant they fence off their ranch properly,like we do here ,with a electric fence ,run by a battery on solar ,runs for miles ,,anybody with half a brain can do it is that easy..or is it you all just take pleasure in killing ,now like i said before here belongs back in the dark ages ..

  23. Robert R says:

    Bottom line is that no game animal should be hunted year around.

    Nancy the article is what it is and has ”some” good points but its no different than an article written by any special intreats group. No matter weather its written by an environmentalist or hunter they all have an agenda to get support for what they believe is the right way to protect the animals and the habitat. Right or wrong both sides has and will play on peoples emotions to gain support and some no nothing about the animals or habitat but support what is in print.

  24. Ida says:

    “In Idaho, there are many more bears and cougars than wolves.”

    This is what mystifies me also – I am not advocating “management” of these animals either, but it is puzzling that the relatively small number of wolves in these states create such a response. It only looks irrational and based on superstition and unfounded fears. Maybe cougars and bears are next on the list? I still can’t believe this is allowed to go on, especially the poisonings that put everyone in jeopardy – we live in a different world now, and perhaps this kind of thing could be gotten away with when there were less people, but not today, especially when clean water will become an issue, and very soon.

    Why can’t they fence in their property or pay for someone to watch the herds? Very simple – they don’t want to pay for it, even when they are getting the grazing lands virtually for free! That killing wildlife is an option is quite shocking. Just my opinion.

    • jon says:

      I think it’s very clear that in Idaho, wolves are not treated like bears or cougars even though there are far more cougars and bears than wolves. Only in Idaho do they allow hunters to kill wolf pups and pregnant wolf mothers. Do they allow hunters to kill cougars with kittens? No. Would a wolf hunter kill a newborn pup if he saw one? I think he would. Carter Niemeyer said it best when he said that hunters are killing wolves because they hate them.

  25. David Forjan says:

    Thanks from me and the wolves for all you do.

    One suggestion. Remember that sarcasm does not come across as such with printed words.
    “If wolves are difficult to hunt, by all means make it easier. Let’s make sure any spark of wildness in Idaho is reduced to the most feeble glow.”
    Sarcasm is just as easily interpreted as truth by the reader.

    • Ralph Maughan says:

      David Forjan,

      Thank you for the reminder. I should have remembered this.

  26. LORI says:

    Idaho management of wolves is crazy and should not be allowed. Wolves should have rights to live life with their families and not have to worry about being hunted and gunned down. Wolves do keep the balance in nature and they should have rights even if they do not have voices. Wolves are only trying to live and support the families. Living in the wild is a hard job and they do not need humans making any harder for them. Leave Wolves along and let them be the way they are supose to be, Wild in Nature !!!

  27. ProWolf in WY says:

    How will this be legal?

    • Ellen says:

      WY, it is legal because the states have been given the ‘legal right’ to do whatever they want. the powers that be in Washington DC don’t care that the wolves are going to be wiped out yet again. just ‘mans’ way of asserting their money hungry dominance.

  28. alf says:

    This is pathetic. Yet another reason (as if I needed any more reasons)why I’m so often embarrassed to admit that I live in this jerk-water state

  29. rick says:

    I see significant knowledge, on this blog, of how state government is structured, who is estimating what numbers on wolf populations, who actually pulls the stings on what happens with wolves in Idaho etc. . We need to take real action. I do not have the background to lead a group on this subject. I attempted and it fell apart.
    At a minimum, I would like to hear a well thought out plan of action that each of us can take. Possibly someone, with some background, could head-up a very small group (3 or 4 people) to brainstorm.
    Just for reference,here is what I have done with no positive results. 1.Attempted to organize a group – failed for a number of reasons. 2.Wrote to two congressmen – they both replied, saying that Idaho is doing a good job managing wolves. 3. Spoke at a ID F&G public meeting – complete waist of time.

    • Dear Rick:

      I appreciate your efforts although they have not yet met with success. Being an advocate for wolves at this time can be very frustrating & depressing, as many of us can attest to.

      Here is an idea that has not yet been tested. Start with the premise that the best way to change the Idaho situation is to hit the pocketbooks of commerce & the popularity of politicians in that state.

      Suppose someone were to start a boycott of Idaho tourism or products. There may be some web sites in which such a boycott can be organized or simply start one dedicated to that effort. Ask people who go the site to sign a petition to the Idaho government to change the way wolves are treated. In addition, ask the signers to pledge to boycott until Idaho changes its ways. There are plenty of other states in which you can hunt, fish, raft, hike, & buy potatoes until Idaho changes its ways.

      If I were a betting man I would expect such a move to get the attention of Idaho politicians & businessmen quickly.

      • Salle says:

        I made this comment yesterday but nobody was talking about boycotts at that point. Here’s another action many could take:

        Rather than not go to Idaho to enjoy the beauty of it’s natural features, wildlife and all those things about the outdoors in Idaho that many of us love…

        I suggest that you not change your plans, go there, enjoy the outdoors… and spend money as little as possible while in the state. And while you’re at it tell those you encounter, especially in places where you might have spent money or more than you actually will, that you are not giving them any more than the bare minimum because they kill wolves with impunity and you object, via your with-holding of tourism dollars they might have earned otherwise. Go there, tell them what you think and show them what it will cost them to be that way-in a civil fashion. Who knows, it might even cross their minds in the voting booth.

        • Carter Niemeyer says:


          Good point. A lot of people own businesses in Idaho and enjoy wolves. No use punishing them for the ignorance of their state politicians. You can always inquire with businesses that you visit to see their attitude about wolf politics. If they are not co-conspirators in the vindictive wolf politics that Idaho chooses to follow then, by all means, spend your money with those folks. Idaho is a beautiful state with wolf viewing possibilities. After all, most environmentalists are far more fit to travel the backcountry than the anti-wolf crowd who spend most of their time behind their keyboards claiming they are “living with wolves”.

          • Savebears says:

            That was a very interesting comment Carl?

          • WM says:


            Summer before last my wife and I drove the loop from Boise to Lowman to Stanley, then did a longer backpack trip (4-5 days), then spent a couple of days at Alterra Lake in the SNRA , then over Galena Pass, to Sun Valley and then to visit relatives in Mountain Home. In casual conversation we asked folks what they thought of the growing population of wolves in ID, not a scientific poll by any stretch of imagination. Just, hey “waddaya think?” kinds of questions. The folks we asked were from all different economic strata, at gas stations, grocery clerks, restaurant owner/table waiters, FS Office in Stanley, campgrounds or on the trail, and then my wife’s relatives who were in the haying business and growing beans (no doubt influenced by other ranchers/farmers). All along the way we asked about wolf politics in a very objective way (my wife is more pro-wolf than I and is a member of Defenders). The most anti was at a motel/restaurant near Lowman. And, the only place we got a distinct positive wolf response was, as you might have guessed, in Sun Valley. In general the tone was most folks in most places didn’t want/like wolves so much – whether those folks were rural or urban (by ID standards).

            • Carter Niemeyer says:


              Not surprised. Most people are pretty cautious of getting involved in the wolf discussion. I know exactly the restaurant in Lowman. I go there often but the owner and I get along well and don’t talk the subject – I just enjoy his hamburgers. Lots of peer pressure in Idaho to repeat the company line on wolves because it is the safest ground. I still have faith in a lot of people in Idaho but it has gotten worse, no doubt.

            • JB says:


              In casual conversation people are much more likely to give you the answer they think you want to hear–especially proprietors of businesses who’d like to part you with your money. Survey researchers and public opinion pollsters refer to this as “social desirability bias”.

              In the case of wolves, with all of the negative press and anti-wolf rhetoric, I suspect those who support wolves either will express a negative view or not say anything at all. Some communications scientists refer to this as the “spiral of silence”, whereby public opinion changes because people in the minority refuse to speak for fear of being socially ostracized.

            • WM says:


              ++In the case of wolves, with all of the negative press and anti-wolf rhetoric, I suspect those who support wolves either will express a negative view or not say anything at all.++

              I don’t know. You are the survey expert. But, what kind of an image bias does a non-descript middle age couple, driving a six year old Subaru wagon with a rocket box, and WA license plates convey? Or, on the trail, a large backpack with photo tripod and a camera around one’s neck? I tend to think the comments were pretty honest, and the kinds of things we were buying – gas, groceries, room for the night or a meal don’t, in my mind at least, suggest any motivation for giving anything but a gut answer. Only exception might be a restaurant wait staff who thought their tip might be affected, but even that seemed pretty benign.

              Same thing seemed true in a campground, talking with people in an adjacent camp spot with ID plates (at Alturus Lake), or at the water spigot next to the restroom. No reason I could see for anyone to give anything but honest replies.

              But, we did get an ear full from the relatives who don’t even run stock or hunt, but are linked to the ranching community because one of them does custom hay baling.

            • JB says:

              Stay tuned. We will have better data this fall–a representative sample from NRM states.

          • Carter:

            I admire your work, & willingness to talk with people. However,I disagree with your idea that they can be talked with reasonably.

            People have told me that I am a very persuasive person. Last year I spoke with a fishing guide in his beautiful camp just over the Montana/Idaho border. He turned out to be a retired forestry professor & we had a lovely conversation – until my wife happened to mention the “W” word. This nice man immediately turned into an angry & snarling person, filled with hate for wolves. He proclaimed that wolves were the worst scourge on earth & that the wolves here were huge aliens, weighing over 200 lbs. I gently explained to him that IDF&G had weighed almost 200 wolves killed in the first Idaho wolf hunt & found that females weighed about 80 lbs. & males, 116, withe largest at about 130 lbs. He replied with great heat “well these wolves here are different.” End of conversation. We left after politely thanking him for his hospitality.

            My experience from 5 years in the trenches trying to furnish scientific facts & reason with these people is, yes about 5-10% (mostly hunters, not ranchers)can be talked to, but I do not know if I have ever changed a single mind.

            People who are not anti-wolf & know little about the wolf situation in Idaho can sometimes be convinced. I have found however, that it is a waste of my time to try to convince people with closed minds.

            If you can convince me that talking sweet reason with these people is more effective than a boycott, I will join with you. I have come to the sad conclusion that hitting them in the pocketbook is a better way.

      • Vicki S says:

        Back in 2009 I emailed IDFG Commissioners questioning their rationale re: extending the wolf hunt by three months (seems tame now). I cited IDFG’s own published report of a predicted wolf growth rate of 16% vs allowing (at that time) 22% of the wolf population to be killed. I also suggested the possible $ to be made by promoting wolfwatching in ID. I cited a MSU study which estimated that at one time, each of Yellowstone’s Druid pack members were worth about $1 million each based on wolfwatching income in YNP. At the time I emailed IDFG commissioners, there was a bit of wolf watching going on in ID with the Basin Butte pack. I mentioned that it was too bad that the Basin Butte pack was basically gunned down, ’cause there was money to be made there. The only Commissioner to reply to me was Randy Budge, who said that they would be happy to ship all of ID’s wolves to Colorado if we wanted them. When I replied that I guess I would not be spending any money in ID now, but would instead, return to Yellowstone, he simply replied, “we will miss you”. I don’t really think that ID’s politicians give a rat’s ass about any potential wolfwatching in the beautiful state of Idaho.

        • Florence DeGeorgio says:

          Hi Vickie, I saw your letter and just think, they have a Wolf Education and Research Center in Winchester Idaho that is being leased from The Nez Purse Indians. The most famous pack lived there. They were the Sawtooth Pack Of the Nez Purse. One of their pack(out of eight originals) named Piyup (a pup from that pack) is still alive at 16 years old. He lives there with the Owhyee Pack. Just think what it would be like today if the Dutchers were researching the Sawtooth Pack in the place in Idaho where they were before they brought the pack to where Piyup is now. I doubt they could have kept them safe. Support WERC!

  30. Carter Niemeyer says:

    I can’t imagine any genuine sportsman getting involved in summer wolf hunting or killing of wolf pups. Only angry, desperate people would treat wolves like vermin when they provide no tangible benefits as trophy animals to anyone. Along those line, IF a large part of northern Idaho’s private lands are owned by timber companies, I wonder how those companies would respond to being participants in letting people kill wolves on their properties during the summer months? Seems like timber companies should be approached about their attitude and participation in such a vindictive practice. When I worked with the wolf program in Montana, corporate ranches and timber companies generally wanted no part of the negative publicity of controlling wolves or even allowing radio collaring. Some of those companies even provided grazing allotments but preferred to stay out of the “controversy”. Thought I would toss this idea into the mix.

    • Salle says:

      I like that idea. Bad PR is tabu in the corporate world.

      (Check suggested way to make an impact on the ID citizenry above.)

    • Mike says:

      ++I can’t imagine any genuine sportsman getting involved in summer wolf hunting or killing of wolf pups. Only angry, desperate people would treat wolves like vermin when they provide no tangible benefits as trophy animals to anyone. ++


  31. Ellen says:

    I watched a ‘mountain men’ episode on TV last night where one of the men who lives in NW Montana (I believe) found wolf sign outside his home. this man, while fearing that the wolves would harm his wife and/or dog, went out with a friend and ‘chased’ the pack further away. he didn’t kill them but did state they were losing their fear of humans and that several people had been killed by wolf packs in the last decade. The wolves did come back and I imagine some of the wolves will lose their lives to try and discourage them from coming around humans. couple of questions here…1)does anyone know where to find up to date wolf killing humans??? 2)if this man can live with wolves and try to discourage them from coming around (non lethal) why can’t ranchers? ok, I do know they came back but there has to be other non-lethal ways of discouragement.

    • JB says:


      McNay (2002) documented 19 cases of unprovoked wolf aggression in North America from 1900-2000, 18 of which occurred after 1969 and 3 of which resulted in serious injury. Habituation or food-conditioning was involved in 11 of the 18 cases. Since McNay’s analysis, 1 person was killed by wolves while jogging in Alaska, and another was killed in Canada while hiking (though the cause of death is contested). John Linnell also reviewed wolf attacks world wide, and shows that rabies is an important contributor outside of NA (see refs below).

      McNay, M. E. 2002. Wolf-Human Interactions in Alaska and Canada: A Review of the Case History. Wildlife Society Bulletin 30:831-843.

      Linnell’s review is available here:

      • Ellen says:

        JB: thanks! I had found the info on the person in Alaska. I was curious if I had missed something as the TV show seemed to be saying there were several deaths in the last decade due to wolves. sigh, and we know (sarcasm very much intended here) anything on a ‘reality show’ is truthfull! I know that there is more wildlife/human confrontations just on the fact alone that we humans are demanding more and more land. I just wish there could be some ‘middle ground’ with the predator haters and the predator supporters!

      • rick says:

        I did a fair amount of investigation several months ago with the purpose of understanding human fear of wolves. This is what I know for certain: 1. There had been no documented wolf attack on humans in the lower 48 since reintroduction in 1995. 2. In that same period, domestic dogs had killed between 20-30 people each year. I believe that much of this is due to very poor training. 3. Wolves are the least danger to humans of any large carnivore. In fact, the time period I looked at showed way more attacks on humans by both deer and elk than wolves. Yes, I understand that there are more deer and elk than wolves, but still!!!
        I even read books by wildlife biologists: Neimeyer, Meach, Lopez etc., trying to understand the fear knowing that wolves are actually of little risk to humans. Come to find out,at least the ones who addressed it couldn’t really explain the wolf fear. Several of them mentioned folklore as one possible reason.

      • Florence DeGeorgio says:

        Hi Ellen, Just last year my daughter and I visited a friend out in Montana where I use to live. The area is in the Bitterroot Valley. She told me about an encounter with a big black wolf in her driveway late at night. She walked out and noticed two eyes looking at her from out of the dark. She froze, scared to death; might I say! It looked at her for awhile, then turned around and walked away. I told her, if the wolf had wanted to hurt you, it could have but didn,t. It was probably a curious young wolf. They are wonderful smart animals with brains 31% larger then a dog! Canis Lupus; what a great heritage our canine friends have. I can always see some of the great qualities our dogs inherited from their ancesters.

        • WM says:

          No reason for a wolf to attack a human under those conditions (not hungry, not threatened, not defending territory).

          On the other hand, add an owner’s dog to the equation and the defending territory thing may come into play, very quickly. Dog dies (especially if there is more than one wolf), and if the owner intercedes to save the dog, the owner may be injured and/or the wolf/wolves) die/s at the hands of the owner.

          Wolf brain size doesn’t mean a whole lot in these instances.

    • rick says:

      There has been no wild wolf attack on a human in the lower 48 states since re-introduction in 1995.

  32. JD Chipps says:

    Looks like Idaho is taking it’s model for wildlife management from Montana

    • Savebears says:

      We don’t have year around hunting for wolves in Montana and to my knowledge it has never been proposed in any official channels. When it comes down to it, Idaho has been historically more radical than any other state that has a wolf population.

    • rick says:

      The Idaho F&G Commission had a public meeting the day before they were to make decisions regarding management of Idaho wildlife over the next year. Thiry six people each took their alloted three minutes to speak on wolves. Thirty three were pro-wolf and 3 were anti-wolf. Some of the pro-wolf people were 1. a university professor of wildlife management, 2. A veternarian , 3. The reagional head of Defenders of Wildlife etc. . The major concerns expressed by the pro-wolf people were A. Over killing of Idaho wolves and B. The cruelty of foot traps and neck snares. The following day, the commission made the decision to more than double the number if wolves hunters and trappers could kill. The commissioner of the council commented that the pro-wolf people who had spoken the day before, are a bunch of misinformed environmentalists. I overheard the most anti-wolf person who spoke against wolves,compliment the commissioner on what a good job He is doing.

      • skyrim says:

        That’s standard BS. Ask for comments and opinions when you have already concluded that they mean nothing. Well tater towns, you’ve seen the last of my cash and credit cards.


July 2012


‎"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