Season generally runs August 30 to March 31-

Idaho’s wolf-hostile, general hunting season opens again tomorrow.  The season is six months long except for parts of the state where it is ten months long.

While normal hunts for elk, deer, ducks, and the like, strive to maintain sustainable and nearly stable populations of the game animals, the stated intent of the Idaho wolf hunt is to reduce the number of wolves to the minimum possible without causing a federal relisting of the species.

There are few restrictions on hunting wolves in Idaho. Although the hunt begins in late summer, pelts from late summer and early autumn animals are useless for fur. A trapping season is added on top of the hunt in mid-November. This trapping season generally runs to March 31.  Winter pelts are useful fur. Wolf hunters and trappers are not required to make any use of wolf meat. Multiple wolf hunt and trapping tags can be purchased for $11.50 by Idaho residents.

Wolf trapping proved to be an effective way of killing wolves although the capture of unintended animals, especially deer, was high. Trappers got more non-target animals than they did wolves, although about half of the wrongly trapping animals survived in some fashion. Of the rare animals, wolf trappers were especially hard on fishers where 22 were trapped and 15 died.

There is no statewide quota on the number of wolves that can be killed in Idaho, although there are some high quotas in a few special areas of the state such as Island Park (quota 30 wolves) which is next to Yellowstone Park. The Park’s wolf population was greatly reduced last winter by wolf hunts and trapping along its boundaries.

The official count of Idaho wolves (683) showed an 11% decrease in the calendar year 2012.  The state is aiming for a population of 150 wolves. Wolf counting is not an exact science because of the inherent problems of double counting, of unknown packs and of lone wolves. This is now complicated by the instability of packs that are frequently subjected to hunting. Hunting often causes the packs to split, seek out new territories, or disappear altogether after or before being included in the annual wolf count.

The Idaho wolf population reached its highest point of 859 in 2009. Wolf supporters say that figure was close to the zone of natural population stability in the state. Official figures shows the rate of wolf population growth as well as the absolute numbers of more wolves had been declining. In the past, the statements by some anti-wolf activists and politicians seem to imply that without a wolf hunt, the wolf population will grow without limits.

Every year wolves kill a small number of Idaho cattle. Official records show less an a hundred. Most are calves. Sheep losses are higher, but less predictable from year to year because at unpredictable intervals a large number of sheep will die in incidents such as recent one the Palisades backcountry where a couple wolves chased sheep, leading to part of the sheep herd running down a slope, stumbling, and crushing or suffocating 176 of their number.

Ironically, losses of livestock to wolves have not diminished since the Idaho wolf population began to decline under hunting pressure. Here are recent figures.  2009- 76 cattle, 259 sheep;  2010- 75 cattle, 148 sheep;  2011- 71 cattle, 121 sheep;  2012- 90 cattle, 251 sheep.

For many details about wolf populations, wolf effects on other big game, wolves and livestock, search our archives.

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan's Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of "Hiking Idaho." He also wrote "Beyond the Tetons" and "Backpacking Wyoming's Teton and Washakie Wilderness." He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

104 Responses to Idaho’s half year long wolf hunt opens again August 30

  1. april lane says:

    Between the ridiculous hunting/trapping season and the disruption by the severe fire season, I fear that wolf mortality this year will be quite high. I hope I am wrong.

  2. Ida Lupine says:

    What a hellhole. Here’s hoping the wildfires will make for poor success. Curses on them.

    • Ida Lupine says:

      How apropos, I didn’t realize there actually a place in Idaho called Hellhole:

      • Ralph Maughan says:

        There is also a Hellhole Canyon in the mountains SE of Heise Hot Springs, in the Big Hole Mountains (never thought of that before — “Hell hole” and “Big hole”).

    • Ralph Maughan says:

      I continue to think the hatred of wolves serves to displace the anger of mostly rural White males from the political targets that actually deserve their anger.

      It is a lot safer for them.

      • Jon Way says:

        There really needs to be a study that shows quite clearly how the hatred for wolves is very similar to racism. It wouldn’t be hard to do. These types of ppl would probably be proud to show and tell how they feel. The proportion of racism and hatred shown in ppl buying wolf hunting tags could be compared to the general population… And these are the ppl that the state listens to for their wolf mgmt. Maybe state game agencies should be queried as well…

        • Ida Lupine says:

          Some of the commentary that JB provided was very enlightening. Was that Bob Fanning? As always, thanks JB.

          • Ida Lupine says:

            The difference is – some animal rights groups and environmentalists are willing to give some ground for the good of wildlife and legitimate hunting. These extremists types will make no concessions, and do make racist rants, and violent threats, and posting violent and cruel examples of their work on websites and YouTube. They are terrorists, and not legitimate hunters and trappers.

            These types deserve whatever they get. For example, I was happy to see Earth First’s sabotage manual, since Toby Bridges feels free to post instructions for poisoning wolves – and the SSS crowd makes threats that they do follow through on. A little ‘counterterrorism’ by Earth First would suit them just fine, and again, I hope they get what they deserve, and a good run for their money in any case.

          • JB says:


            I think the problem is that people ‘see’ the type of crap that Bridges, Fanning and other radicals post and assume that it is representative of hunters. Likewise, hunters are steered toward a few of the more extreme PETA and HSUS activists, who are held up as representing the views of urban residents and environmentalists. So the rhetoric has taken on a ‘kill ’em all–and their enviro friends’ vs. ‘never kill them ever you callous, evil bastards’ kind-of feel. In reality, few people hold these extreme views, but the few that do are generating most of the web-content, further fueling these extreme narratives. It’s guilt-by-association for the folks on both sides.

            • Ida Lupine says:

              I have learned my lesson about hunters, and not all of them being like Bridges, Fanning, and Rockwell! The scary part is there are those who support them and would vote them in to positions of power.

              I hope that people will see people who care about the wild as not all city-dwelling people who don’t know what they are talking about.

        • Robert R says:

          Jon are you serious?
          The same study of racism could be done for the hatred of hunting and trapping.
          Don’t exclude your self from the study.

          • AG says:

            I think he is. This could be an intersting study, that would show how many people hate the wolf for no valuable reasons. I don’t think that a racism study could be done on a practice. I hate basket-ball, does that mean i am racist? No.

            I have talked to many hunters about that topic/issue, one especially, showed me that this was not only about the wolf but about his personal life (How he started hunting and why, the feel that he gets when killing a predator, etc).

          • jon says:

            hating hunting and trapping does not make a person a racist. People hate hunting and trapping because it involves the killing of innocent wild animals. If you are an animal lover, you have every right to hate hunting and trapping.

        • topher says:

          Hate isn’t a prerequisite for hunting. I have no doubt you could find people to spew the standard crap about the non-native wolves and how much they hate them,but just because some people are bothered by the reasons other people hunt doesn’t make it any less legal. Maybe you should study how much money hunters contribute to these agencies compared to what the general public contributes while your at it.

          • topher says:

            Hell yeah. If we tired of throwing the racist thing around we can always go back to calling them Nazis. Sarcasm intended.

        • JB says:

          To be honest, I think that while wolves are the political target, the actions are directed at environmentalists and animal rights activists.

          • WM says:

            Or, in the case of livestock owners, opposition is directly related to added expense, worry and inconvenience of raising cattle, sheep, horses and keeping safe miscellaneous other animals. Then, there is the potential loss of public lands if this wolf stuff gets traction. It really doesn’t matter to whom the anger is directed, except that they would naturally want to oppose these changes.

            In the case of hunters, it might be as simple as making it harder to hunt, including the potential loss of seasons or reduced opportunity to hunt and harvest game species. They, naturally, would oppose those who would change this. Yeah, go ahead and lay the “racism” and “hate” argument at the feet of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and see where that eventually takes you.

            I don’t think there is a need to read into these motivations anything else to justify their opposition to wolves. Those reasons for opposition are real and they are somewhat tangible with measurable effects, so it seems.

            And, as we have spoken of before, over-arching all of this is the federal government telling 17 Western states what to do, in the name of federal law, the ESA. As a side note, it is interesting the US Attorney General today just announced the Obama Administration will NOT challenge the legal status of recreational marijuana in WA and CO. Similarly, the IRS will now recognize same-sex marriages for filing status for federal taxes (honoring the state in which the same sex marriage was created even though there is little federal law left on which to support it).

            So, that says to me that the federal government, the Obama Administration, is not minimizing the rights of individual states in favor of a stronger central government. Maybe this is out of political expediency (not to start fights they probably can’t win, and loose D votes), or it could be just a straight forward acknowledgement that indeed we are 50 states united under a Constitution which promulgates federal laws of mutual interest, and an admission, for now, that a federal Congress is just one big screwed up in which no US citizen and citizen of an individual state should have faith. Hell, they can’t even pass a budget, let alone agree to meaningfully enforce immigration laws already on the books, or create new ones that actually solve problems (all the while hamstringing states from acting on their own).

            Then there is the part about urbanites, say in NYC, Boston, Chicago, Miami and Atlanta telling rural folks (through the Congress/Exec. branch) who have to live with wolves what to do. You know, the ones that may not even have a pair of shoes suitable for walking off the pavement. I don’t think I would call them environmentalists, though some may be animal rights folks who think any meat they eat originates in plastic wrap in a cold case, freezer, or the kitchen of a fancy restaurant.

            I think those who suggest racist motives are fruitlessly reaching well beyond truth. Those who suggest it is opposition to environmentalists (however that is defined to exclude hunters, some of whom are also environmentalists), and animal rights types (including the wacko types), might be on to something. But, don’t forget these other reasons, which may comprise the weight of the opposition to wolves.

            • john philip says:

              I guess I can’t get beyond the notion of opposition to wolves. WTF? They belong where they are now and indeed, they belong in most of the west – as do bison, elk, prairie dogs, rattlesnakes, eagles, sage grouse and everything else. Here in Connecticut, we now have robust populations of black bear, fisher and coyotes. We’ve got 3 million people on 3 million acres, and yet all these critters have come back naturally, been reintroduced or simply materialized. There’s a fair bit of misinformation circulating and perhaps some consternatation in some quarters, but by and large, its been no big deal. I doubt wolves could survive here, but I bet they could in the Adirondacks and northern New England and I look forward to the day that I hear the howl of a wolf in the east.

      • Mike says:

        “I continue to think the hatred of wolves serves to displace the anger of mostly rural White males from the political targets that actually deserve their anger. ”

        Ralph, you’re starting to sound like someone I know. 😉

    • ramses09 says:

      I agree!

  3. Rita k Sharpe says:

    This time of year comes all to fast. When I was a kid the day seemed to last forever, now, I wonder where the day went or where did the time go.

    • Elk275 says:


      When we were kid’s birthdays and the school year took forever to cycle around again. Today we are out of school, but birthdays come faster and faster. Now it seems that birthdays come once a month and sometimes I feel that they come weekly. This is kinda of a negative post.

      • Nancy says:

        Feeling the same way about the seasons Elk 🙂

        Seems like just last month it was springtime here and now you can feel fall in the air even though its still August – dew on the windshield in the morning and some of the willows on the creek, already have a pale yellow or brown tint to their leaves.

        Alittle more noticeable each day.

      • Barb Rupers says:

        When you are five years old one year is 20% of your lifetime when 25 it is 4%.

        Birthdays really do seem to whiz by now.

  4. CodyCoyote says:

    Those who have a pathological hatred of wolves would find me a much more reasonable guy if we could meet in the middle and agree to eliminate public trapping of wolves altogether. In fact , getting rid of trapping, period, is a laudable goal in this day and age. It’s only real usefulness is the capturing of known problem animals in unique situations by professional trappers …e.g “got a skunk under the trailer”.

    ” Trapping ” cannot easily be used in the same paragraph with ‘ hunting ‘ or ‘ wildlife management’ when the topic is conservation. Very little positive value; tremendous negative value IMO. With respect to wolves that is amplified.

    I’m quite disturbed by the mention above that 22 rare Fishers were snared by traps set for wolves, and 15 of those died.

    • Immer Treue says:

      Trapping is the double edges sword. Don’t know what all rules and regulations are out there, when game cameras have to be taken down, if at all; telemetry data available or not; baiting; trap check times; snares (yes or no); but trapping is the cat’s meow in regard to getting wolves.

      It’s not just one or two guys in the government payroll anymore. Areas will be saturated with traps and snares. Rancher Bob challenged me to see if I could get a wolf to step into a spot the size of a 50 piece (in good nature), and last year it would have been easy.

      When more morons YouTube their snared and trapped wolves prior to final dispatch, I think we will see a much larger upswell in the anti-trapping movement. A few more dogs and idiots on YouTube might be all that it takes.

  5. ramses09 says:

    This is truly sad news – I just feel so helpless.

  6. Leslie says:

    I am back to doing the math on Wyoming’s wolf hunt. 39 wolves killed so far 2013 between control and the predator zone. Another 22 for this year’s hunting quotas. That’s 61. December 2012 count was 186. Wyoming must maintain 100 wolves outside YNP and the Reservation. I’m still thinking they are dangerously close, even with new pups. Pup survival is unknown, as well as the dispersal caused by the hunt (for instance, their Dec. count included 3 Hoodoo wolves which may now be in the park). Its the best I can hope for that they get relisted here so they get rid of their predator zone.

    ID may have a 10 month hunt, but Wyoming has a 12 month hunt with no fees or tags needed in 80% of the state.

  7. IDhiker says:

    The Idaho wolf season illustrates for all to see the unprofessionalism of the Idaho Fish & Game. We all know that commissioners and the dept are run by politicians, but nary a squawk from the personnel in the field. I can deal somewhat with the hunting, but the trapping is more difficult. I don’t wish to hike with my dogs during trapping season, nor do I want to see wolves suffering in traps! Idaho F&G has a purely one-track mindset on this and other users be damned.

  8. john philip says:

    Idaho and Wyoming are disgusting. Montanta’s not far behind. As much as I love the fishing, I will limit my western trips to the coast in the future.

    • Rancher Bob says:

      Enjoy the coast while you can, I believe it’s just a matter of time and you’ll be adding Washington and Oregon to your list, but it’s your list and your choice.
      I always wonder why people look at the number of dead wolves instead of looking at live wolves, but I’m a hunter/farmer/rancher I see renewable life.

      • zach says:

        Oregon and Washington may have a hunt, but it will NEVER be as insane and out of control as the other states. There is too much people power in Portland and Seattle to let that shit happen. You may disagree with me, which is fine. But, having lived there for so long, I can guarantee you that. Like, I said…feel free to disagree. But, take a look at some of their hunting and wildlife laws and you will hopefully understand.

        • jon says:

          Oregon and Washington are blue states. There are a lot of wolf supporters in Oregon and Washington. The red states may be able to do whatever they want with wolves, but I believe Oregon and Washington will be different. I believe Washington state banned recreational trapping.

          • WM says:


            I don’t know as there are “a lot of wolf supporters in WA [don’t know about OR].” We are still in the wait and see stages. The tribes haven’t weighed in yet, nor has the hunting community, because so far there are few if any measured negative impacts because the population is small. The wolf management plan was designed with flexibility by the way. Your statement might be true in five years. Then, again, it might not.

            As for your assertion of a ban on trapping, maybe you better tell WDFW, because they don’t know about it, and have a pamphlet on trapping that runs thru March 2015.

            • jon says:

              Most forms of trapping are banned in Washington state.

              • SaveBears says:

                What are you talking about, they have the same type of season that Montana and Idaho have, which is a furbearer season. Care to point out which forms of trapping have been banned?

              • jon says:

                You’re not familiar with initiative 713?

              • SaveBears says:


                You are talking about equipment, not trapping, trapping is still legal in the state of Washington, and there are many forms of trapping, I am familiar with the initiative and also know that the director issues many special permits every year.

              • jon says:

                “This Washington initiative passed in 2000 made it a gross misdemeanor to capture an animal with a steel-jawed leghold trap, neck snare, or other body-gripping trap.”

              • SaveBears says:


                And your point is? Using the correct equipment, trapping is still legal in the state of Washington, the traps that are illegal are not the only types of traps available.

            • I just saw the recent Werner Herzog movie “Happy People” about a village in Siberia. They are still using an ancient trap design made from logs to catch sable (pretty much the same animal as our marten) and they are immediately lethal.

              Actually, it was a bit nostalgic because they averaged craft/technology-wise right about where people were when I lived as a kid in an interior Alaska village for a couple of years in the early 60’s. Although, while still making many things primitively using labor and skill, the Siberians have transitioned mostly to snowmobiles that were just beginning to appear in primitive form in my village, where most people (including both native and European) still tended their traplines using dog teams that were fueled by salmon caught and dried from fishwheels in the Tanana River — almost every hut had a jar of soaking moose rawhide for use as fastening in building dogsleds from scratch or repairing them. Now the technology that everybody thinks they need in Alaska villages for water transportation and summer and winter land transportation, and other needs is all extremely cash intensive and imported — but doesn’t require much investment of time and skill. Which means a few who have money can still get out on the land, while the rest sit around the village and loose touch with it and turn to vices. Actually, in the movie, most of the indigenous people in the Siberian village had already gone that way, and the “Happy People” were Europeans who seemed of much the same vintage, motivation and character as our graying back-to-the-landers who swept across rural Alaska in the 60s and 70s. Living in the city or burbs was a much lesser life then, which has no relevance today because our spirits now get all the nourishment they need from high tech information acquisition and on-line social interaction . . . .

        • jon says:

          I agree with you. You are 100% right. Washington and Oregon are completely different states than Idaho and Montana. The wolves in idaho and Montana will end up being put back on the endangered species list soon enough. Letting hunters continue to shoot collared wolves is going to make it much harder for these fish and game agencies to determine how many wolves they have in their states. Idaho fish and game is an agency that panders to the hunters and ranchers and ignores the rest. Sooner or later, these fish and game agencies will be running to the non-hunting conservationists because they know hunting is becoming a thing of the past. Fewer and fewer hunters are coming to Idaho and Montana.

          • Rancher Bob says:

            What would you like to bet on wolves in Montana and Idaho being listed again because of population below the 150 wolves?

            Then give me your idea of soon enough.

            As for counting wolves that’s easy wait for snow and go outside.

        • Rancher Bob says:

          I spent over four years in the Seattle area and still keep in touch with people there. Spent some time hunting and fishing. Your right the big cities have a different view being more removed from direct impacts of wolves. I believe those views will change as the state wolf population increases. Few stories of wolves chasing people on bikes, kids getting bitten while camping.
          Insane and out of control is a point of view that several hundred wolves can change.

          • john philip says:

            Several hundred wolves? In the state of Washington? There are more than 71,000 square miles in Washington and several hundred wolves are going to freak everybody out? Really?

            • Rancher Bob says:

              No, not everybody, because that several hundred number will grow. That is what wolves a really good at making more wolves. How much of that 71,000 square miles can a wolf make a living.

              • jon says:

                Why are people like you so concerned with the number of wolves? How many humans are there? How many cattle are there? How many elk and deer are there and people like you whine about a few hundred wolves?

              • jon says:

                What’s your point? Every population whether it is humans or animals will grow at some point or another. What is wrong with a few hundred wolves?

              • Rancher Bob says:

                You ask why people like me are concerned about the number of wolves.
                For the same reason my doctor ask me if I smoke,drink,exercise, or over weight, it’s all about the risk.
                Look at the above article for 2012 Idaho had 683 wolves and 90 cattle killed plus 251 sheep with a total of 341 animals confirmed killed by wolves. Research tells us that for every confirmed wolf kill up to 9 more occur that are not confirmed. If we’re conservative and use 5 times as many we have 1705 head of livestock were killed by 683 known wolves. That’s 2.49 head of livestock per known wolf. That number has been fairly steady over the years. Meaning more wolves means more missing livestock less wolves mean less risk. The number of wolves on the landscape has a direct effect on my life unlike you where you won’t know the difference between 1 wolf and 10,000 wolves.
                As for the whining comment seems your the one whining about the death of a couple hundred wolves.

              • jon says:

                Seems like you’re whining about the deaths of a few hundred livestock.

              • jon says:

                That must be why you refer to wolves as sob’s and why you didn’t want wolves in the first place. give it up. You are a wolf hater. There is no need to deny it any longer Mr. rancher Bob.

            • WM says:

              john philip,

              If you subtract out the land that is surrounded by water, the land above 5,000 feet (think of the peaks like Rainer, Adams, Baker, St. Helens, Glacier Peaks, Goat Rocks) and the Eastern WA desert areas that don’t have forage for prey, the urban areas and high density road systems, that 71,000 square miles gets a whole bunch smaller. WA has an elk population of about 35,000, as compared to ID at about 150,000, so the prey base is not so big when shared with other predators and hunters. The wolf habitat is not contiguous. It is fragmented, which means wolves, as they increase in number, will likely have to be moved around some (trans-located by people with trucks and helicopters).

              Now consider subtracting out the tribal lands, including the Colville Reservation which already has its second wolf hunting season going as of August 1. They don’t want wolves to impact their subsistence hunting. The Yakamas with no wolves yet, but their own elk herd, also has subsistence hunting, and some members graze cattle and sheep on tribal lands.

              Now, where ya gonna put those couple hundred wolves conflict free? And, of course,livestock grazing and recreational ranching (horses, llamas, 4H project sheep etc.) occurs in much of the open valleys at maybe higher density than some of the other states with wolves.

              Now, say you get 300+ wolves in WA. Do you think they will be conflict free in their reproduction journey to reach that number, and just stop breeding when it is achieved? Conventional wisdom suggests otherwise.

              • JB says:

                C’mon, WM. How many times have we been through this?

                (1) Oregon also has 200,000+ deer.
                (2) Habitat fragmentation is important, but wolves exist in parts of Europe with far greater human densities and far more fragmented habitat.
                (3) Oregon’s current cougar quota is 770–suggesting they have at least a few thousand cougars. Cougars have roughly the same energetic requirements as wolves and kill ungulates at similar rates.
                (4) There are cougars on tribal lands as well.

                The sky will not fall because of a few hundred wolves.

              • Nancy says:

                “They don’t want wolves to impact their subsistence hunting”

                But maybe wolves might impact the wild horse problem:


              • jon says:

                Oregon has more than 5000 cougars and people are throwing temper tantrums about a few hundred wolves. Mind boggling. There more than 5000 cougars in Oregon and they are killing a lot more deer than the wolves, but let me make this clear, there is nothing wrong with cougars eating a lot of deer. The deer are there for them to eat. Demonizing a wild animal because it needs to eat is ludicrous.

              • WM says:

                ++…wolves might impact the wild horse problem.++

                I wouldn’t know, Nancy, but I expect the Colville Tribe would just as soon ship their excess horses (possibly a sustainable stream of them) to the Yakamas for some cash, if and when USDA gets a meat inspection program in place and the Yakamas get a new slaughter operation underway. All of that, of course, is contingent on the wild horse advocates staying out of their business.

                If JB is correct, maybe the cougars are already on the job, as well, going after some of the at risk horses. But, from my recollection there is a fairly strong argument that wild horses have no natural predator. Wolves probably won’t go looking for wild horses, if other easier, less risky, prey is present. On the other hand, if they can run a horse into a barbed wire fence or get it cornered, then the job would seem a bit easier. But those mostly aren’t the wild horses.



                Just telling john Philip, who appears to be a newbee here, the other side of the story. By the way, since you brought up OR, while we were talking about WA, have you ever been in Eastern OR where many of those deer are, out among the cattle, like in the John Day country south of the Columbia River? I am wondering, well not a lot, which wolves would prefer, if given their choice. The urbanites along the I-5 corridor in WA and OR will be fine with wolves. The folks that would live with them may not be so happy (you and I both know the research supports that view world-wide). That is the way it seems to be playing out up near Baker/Enterprise/Wallowa though we haven’t heard much lately.

                OR doesn’t have as much of the fragmented habitat problem as WA, or as many people/road density or above-tree line landscape (some but not as much) for that matter. OR also has a less flexible wolf management plan that has undergone legal challenge (WA learned from OR and purposely made theirs more flexible, so in that sense they were smarter, along with having a round table discussion with the wolf coordinators from ID, MT and WY just a month ago, hoping to gain some insight from their respective experiences).

                Yeah, I know we have been over these topics before, but for new folks it helps to keep the conversation honest by going over some of the issues again.

              • john philip says:

                WM – I never said anything about repopulation of wolves in Washington or Oregon or anywhere else being conflict free. I think it rather unreasonable to expect repopulation of wolves or any other long-absent carnivore to be confict free. It just seems to me that the reaction to wolves, particularly in the west, is way out of proportion.

              • JB says:


                You’ve fallen back a lot lately on the “people who have to live with ’em don’t want ’em” argument. Certainly there is A LOT more vocal opposition coming out of areas with wolves–but are wolves really the cause? I want back to Williams et al.’s (2002) meta-analysis. Here’s what they found:

                % +Attitude | Group
                69% | Environmental/wildlife interest group
                61% | City residents
                55% | Random sample all residents
                52% | Resident living in wolf reintroduction area
                51% | Hunters and trappers
                45% | Rural residents
                35% | Ranchers and farmers

                Of course, these data are more than 10 years old, so they need to be taken with a grain of salt. However, what is interest is that the margin of error for the estimate of ‘residents living in wolf reintroduction area’ overlaps with ‘random sample of all resident’, which suggests that it isn’t living among wolves that makes people negative; rather it is being negatively impacted (e.g., ranchers) and the culture norms of rural residency.

              • WM says:


                I will suggest the survey results may have changed a bit in the last 11 years. Time for a re-assessment on the same group surveyed in the data you cite. Maybe Treves and Naughton-Treves could do the same for WI.

                Wolves were more of a novelty then than now. I know my attitude has changed from being more curious and wanting more on the landscape in that time period, to now wanting lower densities, but in more places. That, of course, means more will be removed through hunting prescriptions, unless somebody wants to give some to any state who will come out and say they want some, for awhile at least.

                Now, let’s see if we can find you some money to study possible changes in attitude, if you promise to take extra care not to bias the phrasing of the survey questions. 😉

              • Mike says:

                WM, how much longer are you going to troll here?

              • SaveBears says:

                Why do you care how long WM hangs out here Mike, you have nothing to do with who gets to post and who does not get to post, you deal with WM just as the rest of us deal with you!

            • Mike says:

              Angry, rural white males need a scapegoat.

              • SaveBears says:

                As do angry white city folks.

              • Immer Treue says:


                Did you move to Montana or no? No, I gotcha if you did not, I promise. Both interested and concerned as that type of move is a life changer.

              • JEFF E says:

                Immer, I kind of remember that conversation.
                Correct me if I am wrong , but it seems that $3 went on his yearly camping trip to the west,(which he uses as a qualifier for expert commentary), and after fleeing in terror from a rain storm in Glacier NP. , ended up in Missoula, where he meant a girl! (sigh) he announced to us all that he had met this individual and shortly thereafter announced(drumroll); he was moving to Montana.
                So, purely extrapolation, and considered evaluation on my part, the conversation went thus;
                ($3, (to un- named) I really had a good time last night and I am sure you are the one.)
                (un-named): look…uh…$3… I was really, really drunk. I am sure you are a nice dude but after my WTF was I thinking moment and my WTF did I do moment, I realize that there is no way you and I will be together. So please stop your incessant calling and get on with your life, such as it is. Otherwise I will be taking out a protection order against you.”

                Of course that is purely my opinion and speculation.

          • zach says:

            I guess we will have to see as more wolves enter OR and WA.

            I look at Oregon trying to change the hunting methods for cougars as the amount of them increase across the state and they’re not getting anywhere.

            I also look at how long it took the state to figure out a wolf compensation/rancher kill plan and the stipulations that go with that.

            Portland runs Oregon (for the most part) and I don’t really see it changing. From politics on through the courts. There’s a lot more money for the environmentalists than there is the ranchers. Could it be more balanced? That’s not up to me.

  9. john philip says:

    Montana … sorry.

  10. malencid says:

    Oregon equals Idaho except for the urban areas of Portland, Corvallis, Eugene, and maybe Ashland.

    • SaveBears says:

      Which are all west of the Cascade Mountains, when you get into the eastern parts of Oregon and Washington, you will find Ranching and Ag Communities, which many are populated by people who do not care for predators.

      • jon says:

        You can’t expect to find much support for wildlife in the rural areas of any state. A lot of people who live in rural areas tend to be anti-wildlife. In Oregon and Washington, the pro-wolf forces are louder than that of the ranchers and hunters. Thank goodness for this. What this means is that wolves should have a better chance of making it in Oregon and Washington.

        • SaveBears says:

          Jon, pure speculation on your part again, you don’t know what the rural folks think in all states, I know a lot of rural folks that don’t hate wolves, I also know rural folks that do, in addition, the majority of rural folks really don’t care either way. You have stated many things about many states that you have no direct knowledge of. One thing that I think might end up being a problem, is the folks that don’t like wolves in WA and OR will not be as vocal as those in ID, WY and MT, they have seen what has happened in these states and they will just be quiet and take care of their business with no fanfare or fuss.

    • zach says:

      Do not forget the north coast.

  11. malencid says:

    SaveBears, no love for them along the coast either–only a thin slice of the Willamette Valley. In Washington you only have the Seattle Metro area; everything else is Idaho. Oregon got its reputation has a “green state” from the Republican party; they were conservative on fiscal matters but with a strong conservation ethic–think Tom McCall. The head of the party in Oregon now thinks that radiation is healthy for you and has a wide variety of other crackpot views.

    • SaveBears says:


      I was born and raised in that area, very familiar with how things work over there, my wife is Native Montana, I was born raised and went to school in SW Washington, I also reported wolves in 1992 while on leave only to be told, there were no wolves in the state of Washington.

  12. Ida Lupine says:

    I’d rather see that Nancy, where the wolves cull the weak and sick, and strengthen the herd, than what’s being proposed now.

  13. john philip says:

    WM- Just so’s you know – I’m not a newbie here. I comment infrequently. I’m an east coast liberal who spends as much time in the woods as I can. Although I personally no longer hunt, I have no objection to most hunting – predator control and trophy hunting excepted. I grew up with guns, hunting and fishing. I understand the suitable habitat and prey issues of Washington and I still think the reaction to wolves in the west is crazy. It appears to me to be mostly about politics and control of the land.

    In Connecticut, we now have a rapidly growing black bear population of several hundred animals. Reaction varies, but I think SaveBears’ comment about rural people in the discussion above would pretty accurately describe the reaction to bears in suburban Connecticut. DEP kills one occassionally – sometimes by accident,sometimes by design – and someday something really bad will happen. For the most part though, it’s not a huge deal – and we have 3 million people living on 3 million acres!

  14. Nancy says:

    “But, from my recollection there is a fairly strong argument that wild horses have no natural predator”

    WM – I seem to recall in the Nature documentary “Cloud” filmed by Ginger Katherns (in the Arrowhead Mtns. of Montana) somewhere in the neighborhood of 50% of wild horse foals seldom reach their first year of life due to depredation by mountain lions. One can only wonder what effect wolves might have keeping wild horse herds in check if they were allowed exist in that part of the state without being harrassed or killed.

    • WM says:


      Do you suppose wolves that become accustomed to horse flesh will be able to tell the difference between wild and the ones in somebody’s range, pasture or corral? They pretty much smell and look the same. And, what will those wolves teach their offspring?

      Even if it could work, I’ve not seen any state wolf management plan address the issue. And, I’m going to bet tribal reservations that want fewer horses are going to look for a commercial market for the ones they don’t want (or if they do want them to sell), rather than to feed wolves (don’t know about the Nez Perce, though and their prized Appaloosas).

      • Ida Lupine says:

        Maybe it’s time to think outside the (kill)box. There are many less horses than cattle and sheep, and that depredation rate for cattle and sheep is low. As one of the comments said in CC’s article, the low grazing rate should be compensation enough.

        You can’t make a buck letting nature take it’s course, though – so that’s why it isn’t part of any ‘management’ plan I would bet. The tribes are not all in favor of this kind of slaughterhouse ‘management’ either.

      • Nancy says:

        WM – thinking and correct me if I’m wrong here, wild horses have been a part of the American west landscape for atleast a couple centuries now. And I’m sure a part of the “accustomed” flesh when available, so nothing new there.

        Then, as we all know, wolves were exterminated from the American west, less than a century ago because of……

        Perhaps there’s a connection there, ever so slight, but has anyone given it a look, between the problems we’re now seeing (like with over populations of elk/deer in some areas) with wild horses also?

        “I’m going to bet tribal reservations that want fewer horses are going to look for a commercial market for the ones they don’t want”

        And again we’re back to the question of owner responsibility. Why is it okay to have a pasture full of horses (or a reservation) if one doesn’t have the means to care for the ones they own?

        There is not much difference IMHO, between this situation and the over populations of cats and dogs in this country, except as an example: Rancher Ted, down the road, has quite a few more acres in which to continue his “lack” of responsibility, looking for that perfect little foal that hopefully will bring in a few bucks and then at some point thinks: Well, that was a damn good brood mare for years or a damn good cow horse out there in the pasture but then the bottom fell out when it came to “canning” any of those horses that stopped being faithful or good producers….

        And least we forget this guy’s way of dealing with “old” horses”

    • Elk275 says:


      “in the Arrowhead Mtns. of Montana” I have lived in Montana most of my life and I have never heard of the Arrowhead Mtns.

      • Nancy says:

        Elk – do you think Ms. Katherns got the location wrong? (She explains the location and the name in the second paragraph) Also an Arrowhead Mtn in both the Flatehead and Beaverhead counties.

        • Elk275 says:

          You said Arrowhead Mountains not Arrowhead Mountain. The Pioneer Mountains are a range of mountains with many different mountains. No big deal.

          • Nancy says:

            No, actually Ms. Kathrens said Arrowhead Mtns 🙂 I was just making a reference to her study of wild horses regarding predators.

            • Barb Rupers says:

              I was confused by the video also and so checked into it a bit more a few years back. The mountains are located north west of the Bighorns.

              “Cloud is a pale palomino, wild horse stallion, living in the Pryor Mountains of Montana, a range the Crow Indians call the Arrowheads.”

              • SAP says:

                Wikipedia says the same thing — The Crow name for the Pryors is “Baahpuuo Isawaxaawuua (‘Hitting Rock Mountains’) because of the abundance of flint there (which was chipped into arrowheads).”

    • Ralph Maughan says:

      Wolves and wild horses have mixed in the country around Challis, Idaho since shortly after their reintroduction. It is not clear the wolves have killed a single horse, not an adult or a foal, though it is, of course, possible.

      It was observed by some friends a horse almost kill a wolf, however.

      Cougar do get some of the horses, however.

      Very few domestic horses have been killed by wolves in Idaho, Montana, or Wyoming. Those exceptions have been miniature horses and horses run up into a fence.

      • Leslie says:

        I’ve watched a pack of wolves run through a herd of fifty horses. The horses never lifted up their heads from grazing. The wolves had their own agenda and were gone within minutes.

        I’ve watched cows run off coyotes. I’ve watched a cow take on two wolves. She’d charge them while the other cows continued eating, then she went back to eating. If they tried to incite her, she turn around and charge again. If they don’t run, wolves are clueless what to do.

        Last week I watched a wolf mousing in a field with over 75 cows. They seemed to co-inhabit this field fine. The cows were bunched together grazing and if the wolf got too close while hunting, a cow would come over and shove her to a safer distance.

  15. Nancy says:

    “Research tells us that for every confirmed wolf kill up to 9 more occur that are not confirmed”

    Been over this time and time again here, RB.

    Hell of a lot of reasons for predators to be “attracted” to livestock. Lack of responsibility, death (other than predators) and the timely disposal of dead livestock, has a lot to do with depredation in the long run, don’t you think?

    • Immer Treue says:


      Wolf poaching numbers in MN have been estimated as high as 400 per year. A season on wolves, one might assume, had very little influence on poaching other than a few wolves taken legally, could not be had illegally.

      ~270 wolves removed for depredations, 413 wolves taken during legal hunting and trapping, < or = to 400 wolves taken illegally. There is little doubt as toward why wolf numbers were down in MN.

      • Nancy says:

        Immer – I assumed that RB was referring to livestock kills, not wolves killed.

        • Immer Treue says:


          Sorry, did not read above. Just fresh from a conversation with a forester friend.

    • Rancher Bob says:

      Yes we’ve been over it several times, and still you won’t admit wolves have a larger impact on livestock than other predators. Simply you only talk about confirmed losses as do the sights you post data from. jon ask what difference a few hundred wolves makes, I was simply giving a answer. I know that missing small percentages of livestock don’t matter to most who spend time here, but they had better understand why ranchers care. It’s also time most understand how many more lions and coyotes it take to even come close to compare to the losses of each wolf.
      jon seems only interested in labeling people instead on understanding why people feel and act the way they do, which is common here, not trying to understand the other side only damning them.

      • Nancy says:

        “Yes we’ve been over it several times, and still you won’t admit wolves have a larger impact on livestock than other predators”

        RB – not to knit pic here but moose, elk, deer and antelope have a larger impact on cars, lawns (and rancher’s pastures) than say jackrabbits or gophers, in this part of the country.
        Re: the car – one carries insurance to take some of the “ouch” out of repairs if one unfortunately encounters said animals on the highways.

        Re: the lawns, trees, shrubs etc – one can only do their best to discourage said animals with fencing, unless they are packed to the gills with homeowners insurance and could give a sh*t about replacing stuff in the lawn.

        What do you suppose would happen RB if say someone like me, started a campaign to eliminate moose, elk, deer and antelope from the landscape out here because I MIGHT encounter them on my way to and from work?

        Can you just imagine the uproar?

  16. Mike says:

    The wolves in the NR will be back on the list, soon. The dumb-ass hillbillies in those states just can’t help themselves.

    • topher says:

      Geologically speaking?

    • Rancher Bob says:

      I ask jon, so I’ll ask you what do you want to bet on wolves being relisted due to population? And give me a idea on what you consider soon.
      Again nice post coming from someone who considers himself above us dumb-ass hillbillies.

      • JEFF E says:


        your rants are becoming as tiresome as a pay toilet in Scotland.

        and less well received.

  17. Matt says:

    Lets hope some Oregon wolves head west and some packs show up around the Mt Jefferson and Three Sisters wilderness areas. The area is ripe ripe for wolves and it’s time.


August 2013


‎"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