Latest Posted Idaho Wolf Hunt Kill total: 114
Latest Posted Idaho Wolf Trapping Kill total: 6
Latest Posted Montana Wolf Hunt Kill Total: 87
Wyoming Wolf Kill Total: 58

Regional Total Reported Killed This Year: 265
Regional Total Reported Killed Since Delisting: 810

A famous trout stream that was damaged by livestock grazing gets a chance at recovery in California.
Hat Creek wild trout fishery wins cash infusion; muskrats, grazing cattle damaged Hat Creek. Redding Record Searchlight.

Wolf watchers are canceling their trips to Alaska because their chances of seeing a wolf have significantly declined.
Wolf Advocates say Lack of Denali Buffer has Economic Consequences | KUAC.

At least ten Yellowstone Park wolves have now been killed in the wolf hunt just outside our famed, oldest national park. Some of these were popular and much photographed animals inside the Park’s dwindling wolf population. The Greater Yellowstone Coalition has an article on the matter. Breaking News on Wolves: New challenges for keystone species. Greater Yellowstone Coalition.

Dispersant used on the BP oil spill in Gulf resulted in a mixture 52 times as toxic as the leaking crude oil.  Although some suspected it, and protested use of the dispersant, it did made the oil disappear from human sight. Good PR. It doesn’t look good at all now.
Clean-Up Chemical Made BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill 52 Times More Toxic. Christine Lepisto. Treehugger.

Sheep producers in France seem as hysterical about wolves as the welfare ranchers of the Western U.S.. This U.K. article is about the controversy, filled with obvious exaggerations of the number sheep wolves have killed and a desire to by livestock people to kill the reborn wolf population in France’s very modest national parks. Impasse for wolf conservation in France? By  Catherine Vincent. The Guardian.

Here is a fairly good TV report on how much it cost to kill the Wedge wolf pack compared to the tiny grazing fee the rancher pays to use the public’s lands for his cattle.  Breakdown of costs involved in Washington’s wolf pack kill. (Note the story is embedded in Cascadia Wildlands web site).

Experiencing our changed climate — high mountain wildfires in December. This one is in Rocky Mountain National Park.  Meanwhile a trail of warm rain has persisted in the Pacific Northwest, including Eastern Idaho. There have even been some record high temperatures for December days during these rainstorms. Firefighters Monday keep Fern Lake fire at bay. Denver Post.

A conservationist billionaire, hedge fund operator, has donated another 90,000 acres in Southwest Colorado to bring to a total of 150,000 acres protected this year for the “emerging” Sangre de Cristo Conservation Area. This “conservation” area is said to be on its way to becoming one of the world’s longest protected wildlife corridors. It’s long because the Sangre de Cristo mountain range is long and narrow. Sangre de Cristo wildlife corridor grows as Bacon finalizes deal. By Bruce Finley. The Denver Post

Exporting coal from the U.S. to Asia is one of the worst ideas for the future of the planet. It also destroys efforts to close and replace coal plants in the U.S. Nevertheless, plans are afoot to disrupt Pacific Northwest communities and waterways to send the dirty fuel to Asia to burn and spread around around the globe just as if it had been burned here.
Public hearing in Spokane on a NW coal port hearing draws 800 at fairgrounds. By Mike Prager The Spokesman-Review.

Going over so-called “fiscal cliff” will harm many wildlife and conservation programs according to the linked article below. On the other hand, many argue that acquiescing to the far right’s goals of fiscal austerity and the agenda of the far right wing majority in the House would harm wildlife even more. Wildlife Teetering on the Edge of the Fiscal Cliff. By Care2 Causes Editors.

If anything will do humans in fast it will be a new zoonosis, probably an RNA virus . . . crude, but fast and deadly like the SARS virus that almost got away several years ago. Spread of zoonoses and illicit behavior such as trade in exotic and endangered animals are a danger to humans as well as wildlife. Unfortunately organized crime is getting into the act.  The Connection Between Species Extinction, Organized Crime, and the Spread of Disease. By Dr. Cristián Samper. Huffington Post.

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.

60 Responses to Briefly noted wildlife news stories. Dec. 5, 2012.

  1. Ann says:

    It was predictable that the Yellowstone wolves would not be safe from slaughter despite their tenuously calling a national park “home”. Those wishing to exterminate wolves, again, will use any means to call the wolves out of the park, to their death, so as to eliminate any “safe place”, any “good territory”, any “that’s where a wolf should be” place. In point of fact, there is no where in the Northern Rockies, or Minnesota, Michigan or Wisconsin, or Washington or Oregon for that matter, that is a good place for a wolf these days. If a wolf that is no where near bothering anyone’s anything can be shot on sight any time of the year, day or night, or trapped wherever it sets its paw, then that place is clearly not a good place for a wolf to try and survive no matter what the name on a map. Hunting “pressure” might be expected to be focused on areas where human/wolf confrontations have existed, instead of on places where wolves try to exist away from people. But, no, those in charge of such matters, which is to say ranchers, hunters and their political minions, make the rules so that there is nowhere for a wolf to go, to run, to hide their pups, to exist away from man. It is a process designed to do one thing, exterminate wolves. There is nothing sustainable about it, and that is without even bothering to talk about numbers of wolves that have nothing even remotely to do with sustainability. Only the homo-sapien species, with millions of people in a state, could possibly, without laughing, call 150 of anything “sustainable”. No, this is what it is, and it is a policy of extermination. And to those that say that the wolf is not going to be exterminated from the Northern Rockies, I would remind them that it already was. It was, of course, brought back in the mid-nineties…..although at the moment one might wonder why we bothered. But despite the daily onslaught of brutality inflicted onto the wolves from the relentlessly barbaric hunters, there is still one piece of solace to be had. Humans that kill with such deliberation and malice always, always, always, carry their lust too far. It seems they cannot help themselves. It is, after all, always easier to kill than to preserve. But when they have gone too far, we will all get to play this saga out all over again. Wolves will go back on the endangered species list and the ranchers/hunters will spit and fume. We can only hope that the worst of them will have gone on to their “heavenly reward” before we arrive back at this place the next time.

    • Savebears says:


      Wyoming is the only state that has a zone that allows shoot on sight. Currently all of the state plans are approved by the agency that was in charge of this whole issue.

      I doubt that anyone posting on this blog is going to see wolves back on the endangered species list in our lifetime.

      Montana and Idaho, were delisted with no judicial review by congress, so it will take a lot to get those two states back on the list. Washington and Oregon, currently still are on the at least the state ESA and have no hunting seasons at all.

      States that don’t even have wolves have made moves to keep them out of their states.

      I don’t know, it sounds like wolves are going to be hunted for a long time to come.

      Once a wolf leave Yellowstone it no longer has Federal Protection and it is subject to the states control.

      I keep hearing the outcry, but I keep seeing each state, as populations increase, do actions to manage wolves.

      • Ralph Maughan says:

        By extrapolating current trends, I think Save Bears predicts the future.

        As a social scientist, I have pondered that and done that (extrapolate) on a number of issues.

        What often happens, and it is usually unpredictable, is that some current trend ends because of unrelated and outside developments

        As an upcoming example may be the resolution of this “fiscal cliff” problem, crisis, or whatever. It is truly, as former Senator Alan Simpson of Wyoming says, “really big stuff.”

        There is the possibility of very significant change in many things. Going over the cliff could mean the end of the Republican Party, a big defeat for the President, the end of Congress, the end of the United States as an intact country, the turn of the tide away from conservatives and back toward an America with less economic inequality. There are many more possibilities including little change other than continually deferring the fight until later 6 or so months later.

        All of this will have probably have quick side effects on wildlife management lasting into the long run. It is hard to say what, other than offer a range of possibilities.

        • Barb Rupers says:

          I feel that Savebears has been correct on the wolf issue in the NRM for several years. Much as I don’t like some of his predictions they seem often to be quite accurate. He separates reality from emotion and wished for outcomes; he is patient, to the point, and quick to respond to questions.

      • Ida Lupine says:

        It is entirely illogical. Our mindset regarding wolves has no basis in logic. As we keep expanding into wildlife habitat, logic would dictate that any predator would be a danger. Yet we only focus on wolves.

        If wolves step out of the park, an honorable hunter would have the courtesy to pass on shooting it if it has a collar, it at all possible our of respect for the studies that are ongoing. But either there’s an irrational vendetta mindset, or we are too greedy for a pelt or trophy.

        • Rancher Bob says:

          Honorable state biologist tell hunters that there are so many non-working collars out there that shooting a collared wolf is no big deal, as long as the collar is returned.
          The chance to kill a wolf comes quite rarely. A hunter who passes on a chance to fill their tag often never has another chance.

          • Ida Lupine says:

            How can you say that? We’ve killed almost 600 wolves in three months.

            • Ida Lupine says:

              And the number of wolves taken per tag has been increased, I thought?

              • jon says:

                The one thing I like about Montana over Idaho is that Montana fwp have said how many wolves they want in Montana and that is at least 425 according to them. Idaho on the other hand never wants to give a number. It’s always above 150 whatever that means. Montana fwp said a fewmonths ago that they could take out over 330 wolves in Montana this upcoming season and it won’t hurt the wolf population. It’s very unlikely that Montana will get anywhere near the 330 mark even with trapping allowed.

            • Rancher Bob says:

              Of the two of us which has hunted wolves or hangs out with people who hunt wolves. Believe me or the other non-hunters your choice.

              • Rancher Bob says:

                It’s still one wolf per tag, in Montana you can only buy one tag per season.

              • jon says:

                That’s not true Bob. You can buy 3 tags for wolves if you want to trap them starting December 15th.

              • Rancher Bob says:

                As a Montana trapper you are only required to buy trapping licence, go to state trapping class and obey laws. You are then allowed to take three wolves, you need no tags.

          • Ralph Maughan says:

            Rancher Bob,

            The collars on wolves are placed for a number of reasons. It’s not the collar lost near so much as why it was on the wolf (the same applies to other collared animals).

            Losing one on a wolf that was placed just to track a pack for state management purposes is quite different than one being used in a research project where someone is trying to collect a bunch of data for a scientific study. Losing such a wolf or can ruin a multi-year study.

          • Mike says:

            ++The chance to kill a wolf comes quite rarely. ++

            And what an amazing accomplishment it is.

        • Ida Lupine says:

          Well, I’m at least glad about Montana. I could not in good conscience visit anywhere that had these kinds of policies against their wildlife.

          • Leslie says:

            RB says “Of the two of us which has hunted wolves or hangs out with people who hunt wolves. Believe me or the other non-hunters your choice.”

            I’m not so sure its that hard to find/kill a wolf. Just during the hunting season I’ve run into them twice and that was before there was snow. If it’s so hard, why has the predator zone in WY in two months pretty much exterminated the number of wolves that WG&F said were the total numbers outside the trophy zone.

            I would agree with you about the collars. Seeing a collar on a wolf is meaningless because the state game agencies collars wolves too but for different reasons. A buffer zone would be more effective and hunting in problem areas rather than places like wilderness areas that are good habitat.

            • Rancher Bob says:

              Seeing a animal is quite different than being able to shoot said animal. It does take some time for animals to learn they are being hunted for the first time.

              • Leslie says:


              • Immer Treue says:

                Rancher Bob,

                I really don’t believe wolves “learn” in regards to being hunted. Rather difficult to learn when someone who you don’t know is there shoots you from afar. Tough to learn when you’re dead. If wolves are tougher to “harvest” the next go round, could it be that there’s just fewer of them?

              • Savebears says:

                Actually Immer,

                I do believe wildlife populations do learn when members of those communities are killed, I know where I live, if the hunters have a very successful season, the next year we still have a lot deer/elk, but they are in different areas.

                I think somehow it gets transmitted to those who survive that this is not a good area to hang out..

                In other words, those who live, know not to got to that area again for a while.

              • Immer Treue says:


                Does the same hold true for 8th graders?

                I really wonder about this, “they learn”, unless they have communicative powers about which we are unaware. Someone wipes out a pack, or a lot of deer/elk, cognitive mapping skills will only apply to those areas in which they have territory, until dispersers move in…

                How do you learn, from something you can’t see, and then you die?

              • Savebears says:


                Despite they actions, 8th graders do learn.

                I do believe that animals have the ability to communicate as well.

              • Immer Treue says:


                An isolated case, but let’s start there. The Wedge Pack. Did they learn, or are they gone? This is not a challenge, but a question held over a beer, or other libation of choice in good company.

              • Savebears says:


                But do we know if all of the members of the wedge pack are gone? If they are, I am sure another pack will fill the vacuum in time, if it was good for one pack, it will be good for another. We like to assign emotions to wildlife, When it suits us, but we don’t like it when humans say animals are learning, well learning is a human trait.

                We really have no way of knowing if there are members of that pack still living and if so, what are they doing differently now that most of their members are gone.

                We simply don’t know.

            • Immer Treue says:


              No emotions here, just putting a question out there. If time is on their side, perhaps studies might answer this question as there are so many wolf hunts going on across the country.

              Philosophical dilemma may arise if we find out these animals are capable of cognitive processes above and beyond what they are currently given credit. I always told my classes not to get caught up in the evolutionary dead end that humans are the highest form of evolution. Our ability to fill general niches well in almost all we do, but to love as a wolf, in those specifics, we are incapable. Will we ever be capable of understanding how attuned they are to their own world? Which leads us back to the question, do they learn from being hunted/shot, or are they just gone?

              In an exchange elsewhere, in regard to trapping, it was inferred by someone that animals are capable of enduring more pain than humans… As almost matter of fact.

              • Savebears says:


                In looking at the country as a whole, there is really not that many wolf hunting seasons going on, there are very few states that actually have verifiable populations.

                There are many hunting seasons going on, but for the most part, none of them include wolves.

              • Immer Treue says:


                Come on! Of the six states that have Verifiable populations that were doing well and expanding, five have seasons. Other than Washington and Oregon, the Red wolves are either poached or mistaken as coyotes, Mexican wolves are continually poached. The point of my comment was that there might be enough info out there after the said seasons to start making conclusions that they learn and avoid areas, or they’re dead, and no wolves will inhabit that locale until others disperse into it.

              • Savebears says:

                Immer, there is no state in this nation that allows legal hunting of red wolves!

                Why can’t you all stick to the subject at hand?

              • Immer Treue says:


                I did not write that red wolves were legally hunted. I wrote they have been poached, and also mistaken as coyotes, and shot.

                I thought the subject at hand was do animals “learn” to avoid areas where they have been hunted. Okay, let’s narrow the parameters: WI;MN;MT;ID;WY. Give or take somewhere around a thousand wolves are targeted for elimination. Will wolves avoid Lolo anymore than the wolves of MN avoiding certain areas anymore than wolves in the former Wedge pack area, or will dispersers simply, eventually move in?

                I submit the latter.

              • Immer Treue says:

                Allow me to rephrase this:

                Will wolves avoid Lolo anymore than the wolves of MN avoiding certain areas anymore than wolves in the former Wedge pack area, or will dispersers simply, eventually move in?

                Will wolves “learn” to avoid LOlo anymore than the wolves of MN “learn” to avoid certain areas anymore than the wolves of the Wedge pack area, or are they simply “gone” and these areas will be vacant of wolves until dispersers eventually move back in?

                Again, I submit the latter.

            • Louise Kane says:

              Immer when you say wolves don’t learn….there is evidence that coyotes adapt their behavior to travel at night and avoid being near humans during the day. Its a learned behavior that is documented. If coyotes do this, its not a leap to believe that wolves would learn avoidance tactics. The question is how can they possibly avoid the numerous deadly encounters that are waiting for them now. Snares, traps, hunters…..

              • Louise Kane says:

                excuse me you said

                “do they learn from being hunted/shot, or are they just gone?”

                I just recently heard the talk that referenced how coyotes travel at night to avoid humans….

              • Savebears says:

                I know it is a pun, but….

                Geeze Louise!

              • Immer Treue says:


                Back to my original premise. How does an animal learn if it’s dead? By surmising that one sees the act of killing, how does that get passed on to the others? What is their mode of communicating this learning? Back to the wedge pack and my original point. They’re probably gone. No other wolves occupy that area until dispersal pressures dictate so.

    • Dave says:

      Don’t be too sure, Ann, that “wolves will go back on the endangered species list”. Listing has become a political game, and politicians could make it impossible to re-list this species.
      Excerpt from:
      April 12, 2011
      A rider to the Congressional budget measure agreed to last weekend dictates that wolves in Montana and Idaho be taken off the endangered species list and managed instead by state wildlife agencies, which is in direct opposition to a federal judge’s recent decision forbidding the Interior Department to take such an action.

  2. Leslie says:

    I assume I will be seeing them much less. I am interested to find out this January when the elk move in. I usually go out very early in the morning and they like to run the roads to travel. It will be interesting to see any change of their patterns.

    • josh says:

      My buddy guides in AK, and he says they hear wolves and see sign EVERYWHERE. But rarely if ever get shots at them.

  3. Sam Parks says:

    After weeks of leg pulling, I finally got the Casper Star Tribune to cover the Jamie Olson debacle. The investigation is still ongoing.

    • jon says:

      thank you very much Sam. Keep us updated on this story. I hope this guy gets fired. In a perfect world, this man would be in prison as it looks like he has no problem with animal cruelty. What do you expect from someone who has a job killing animals?

    • Sam Parks says:

      Oops, I probably should have put this in this “Have you come across anything interesting?” section.

  4. Leslie says:

    Trees are dying due to humans. So what else is new

  5. jon says:

    USDA Chief: Rural America Becoming Less Relevant

    • timz says:

      No surprise here, the last election was decided in the big cities. Hopefully it will spill over at some point and establish some sanity when it comes to the environment and wildlife.

  6. Louise Kane says:

    Costa Rica bans sport hunting!
    brought about by a people’s initiative!!!!

    • timz says:

      And Jon’s post gives me hope that someday it will happen here. Urban folks as a rule aren’t hunters and they will be making the rules.

      • Rancher Bob says:

        As long as those stores still have food on the shelves, everyone is so happy.

        • timz says:

          you keep dreamin Bob. 5 years ago you were laughing at the idea of legal pot and gay marriage.

          • Rancher Bob says:

            Like you have some clue on my views. You enjoy those new laws.

            • timz says:

              Next it will be legal for ranchers to marry their sheep. I’m guessing that’s a law you would back.

        • jon says:

          Bob, I get that you grew up a certain way, but one must some day just accept that it’s 2012, not 1812.

          • Rancher Bob says:

            If it was 1812 we would just duel and that would be that. Your choice of weapons?

        • timz says:

          And don’t think public ranch grazing won’t end either, this form of welfare will dry up also. Like I said some “pictures and press.”

          • Rancher Bob says:

            Ooh public land grazing will end, my cows don’t graze federal land so bring it on, just more money for me.

  7. Ida Lupine says:

    What worries me tho is that there’s a big disconnect for a lot of city folks from nature and the natural world. I hope it isn’t a bad sign. They may not appreciate or value it as much as a Starbuck’s with wifi.

    • timz says:

      They don’t have to be in nature or even understand it. Voters for the most part are totally ignorant of what they are voting for, I give you the last election. All it will take is enough press like the killing of the Yellowstone wolves and some gory pictures. Someday folks are just going to get tired of the killing.

      • Ida Lupine says:

        Yes, I totally agree. An example for me is in the upcoming 2016 elections, a lot of people want someone who hasn’t even been sworn in to the Senate yet. 🙁


December 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