Yesterday, according to a Magic Valley Times-News report, Jeff Gould of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game told the Senate Resources and Environment Committee that there are about 600 wolves remaining in Idaho. This number is preliminary and the final number won’t be published until sometime in March but, if it is accurate, it means that the population has declined by about 30% since 2009 when the population was estimated to be 856 wolves at the end of that year. By my tally, which is based on numbers acquired from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game through state records requests and numbers published on their hunting quota tallies, there were 464 wolves killed in Idaho during 2013, all but a few were human caused.

Of course the far right Senators don’t appear to believe that the population is declining but they also seem concerned that the Idaho Department of Fish and Game may not be able to back up what they are saying.

Keep in mind that the wolf population numbers are estimates and no longer based on only the number of wolves that they can confirm. There is a complex equation used to determine the number that is based on several factors. The actual number could be higher or lower than the estimate even though they claim that the number is a minimum. The number does indicate a trend in the population, however.

About The Author

Ken Cole

Ken Cole is a 5th generation Idahoan, an avid fly fisherman, wildlife enthusiast, and photographer. He is the interim Idaho Director for Western Watersheds Project. We do not accept unsolicited “guest” authors or advertising.

169 Responses to IDFG to Senate: About 600 Wolves in Idaho. A 30% Decline Since 2009

  1. MAD says:

    Im curious if anyone knows what the actual methods that IDFG are utilizing to determine population abundance?
    Mark-recapture, any of the forms of Distance sampling, Block Poisson Kriging, etc.?

    I’m very skeptical that they have qualified personnel conducting the statistical research, and have little faith in the #s they publish. Since the NRM received their legislative fiat on de-listing, it’ll be a cold day in hell when the States abdicate control over wolf management to the Feds again.

    Since this method of wresting control of management has been approved by the courts, God knoweth how, I fear it will be used more & more as issues arise with species that “interfere” with development, hunting and other special interest groups.

  2. Nancy says:

    “We’re on the right track if we’re introducing young children to Mother Nature,” Scary……..

    • rork says:

      The examples I’ve seen or know of seem quite safe. There’s usually a commitment to take only very good shots, and to not take safety off or to fire without expressed consent of the adult. Last thing anyone wants is gut-shot as an early experience for the young.
      Stuff like bird or rabbit is more dangerous though.
      I have a bit more anxiety when it comes to bows (for the game, not human safety), cause power can be insufficient (I’ve seen an example), and shaking more – animal is sooo close. Most agree.

    • I think that the IDF&G managers are fudging on the number of wolves by estimating that there are MORE wolves than actually exist.

      This would justify their current war on wolves with hunting and trapping seasons seasons that are too long and quotas that are too high.
      IDF&G managers are in bed with the legislature to kill as many wolves as possible.

  3. frank renn says:

    The Governor, the Idaho legislature and on occasion the commission need an inflated wolf population estimate to fuel their agenda.

    • Mark L says:

      I agree. Running out of villains is never good for people who think they are superheroes.

  4. Ken Watts says:

    Remember that the original target number of wolves in Idaho was 200, to have a sustainable population.

    • jon says:

      200 wolves is not a sustainable population. You have thousands of bears, cougars, and coyotes in Idaho, but yet wolf haters only want 150 wolves. You need hundreds if not thousands of wolves to have a sustainable wolf population. You constantly have the wolf haters claiming there are many more wolves in Idaho.

      • Melody Scamman says:

        Jon, yes, I believe wolf genetic viability and sustainable wolf population is not a concern to the politicians in Idaho or most of the other ‘wolf states’. Just that magic number at which the wolves get relisted to the ESA. No science, just math and fertilizer!

  5. Ida Lupines says:

    I think it is like MAD has said – once federal protection of wolves and other animals, elk and predators alike, is gone, we may never know exactly how many animals are out there, and what exactly is going on ever again. Destroying of collared animals for research purposes, targeting animals once protected by national parks,etc. all at risk now because it is all ‘legal’ and as a gift for votes.

  6. Joanne Favazza says:

    I don’t trust anything that state wildlife agencies in the Northern Rockies say. Montana FWP is consistently elusive regarding attempts to discern how it actually arrives at its wolf population numbers. We all know that these states want to drive wolves to the brink of extinction– their extreme and politically driven wolf “management” policies are all the proof you need. Thus, it is in their best interests to deliberately and continually inflate wolf numbers so they can keep on killing wolves.

    • IDhiker says:

      Joanne F,
      Exactly right! The upper management of MTFWP & IDFG are political people. They will generally do what is necessary to keep their masters happy, which includes misinformation.

      The agencies really don’t know what wolf numbers are in each state, but probably do their best with the little funding they have. Yet, they continue to push “management” that assumes numbers are high. Amazingly, Idaho legislators claim to have even better information than IDFG, information which is based on absolutely nothing at all!

      Because the agencies do not show any caution or restraint regarding hunting or trapping of wolves, they have no credibility, nor should they. The fact that wolf population numbers have stabilized or dropped should require some “fine tuning” of policies, but just the opposite is occurring. Bag limits and seasons have been drastically increased in both Idaho and Montana.

      Down the road, when it becomes obvious to everyone but extremists, it will probably take legal action to force the two states to prove up on their population claims

    • Ralph Maughan says:

      The governor doesn’t trust them either, or more likely he just wants his own figures. He says the Idaho wolf population is still growing, and the state legislators of his party (Republicans) just accept what he says. They are not even bothering to read the report, as the article above says.

      Many of the news media in the state are no better.

  7. ramses09 says:

    As everyone has said here & I agree, I wouldn’t trust the states that are hunting wolves to give a correct # on how many are left. I have a funny feeling that there are way less. I don’t trust politicians nor do I trust a wolf hater.

  8. Melody Scamman says:

    Until politicians see a personal gain in votes/power/control/campaign contributions, they have no incentive to see wolves as beneficial to themselves or the environment.
    Of course, we know that wolves are not just numbers, they are families. And if wolves had any say in the matter, perhaps they would bring up the obvious? You certainly wouldn’t leave your children in the care of someone who hates children, nor would you give your children numbers instead of names! There is no random number in human terms, that is the correct number of wolves anymore than there is the correct number of humans, there are just too many variables. Natural disasters side, wolves do a whole lot better managing themselves than people do of managing wolves or other people, for that matter. I think it is a massive waste of tax dollars to manage wolves for a few trophy hunters and trappers. It would save much more money not to hunt wolves at all and to just let them manage themselves. We have much to learn studying wild wolves. Incomplete, traumatized families of wolves doesn’t make for the best study subjects, unless one is studying PTSD in non-human populations. What the government should concern itself with counting is how many breeding pairs are left.

  9. Yvette says:

    The more I read on this site and follow some of the links provided the more I learn about the people involved on both sides of the wolf controversy. It keeps leading me back to the initial question I asked myself. What is driving the level of hatred for wolves? To listen to the rancher/hunter side one would surmise that wolves are decimating elk and cattle at a high rate. This would provide some explanation for the loathing of wolves. I’ve downloaded a few peer reviews hoping the science might help answer my question. At least the published work should alleviate some bias on both sides. While I certainly am not well versed in this subject, it is starting to look like the wolves aren’t a significant reason for livestock depredation, and elk population decline. Of course, they do hunt elk, but to put so much energy into blaming wolves as the primary reason for elk population decline may have the opposite effect that hunters and game managers want. They should know this. There are other predators like cougars (and I love them, too) that may take more elk than wolves, but even cougars aren’t hated with the level of loathing thrown at wolves.

    Politics and money certainly play a role, but that is the result of the level of loathing toward wolves by a powerful group of people. They’re the ones influencing the politicians and management agencies. I keep circling back to my initial question, what is driving the level of hatred toward one species? I’m missing something, and that something may be driving the irrational fear and hatred that influences the politics and management. It’s maddening.

    • Immer Treue says:

      Another reading suggestion. Because it was written for 1978 publication, some look at it as containing nothing new, but Barry Lopez “Of Wolves and Men” is as good a place as any in literature to dig into some of the deep seated hatred for wolves.

      As an aside, one must also understand when this country was settled, the “real estate” was loaded with large predatory animals that most European settlers had no experience. A bit of gasoline on the fire added to the mythological feelings about predators.

      • JEFF E says:

        this land had no more, or less predators than any other land..

        • Immer Treue says:

          JEFF E,

          Just saying that very few Europeans had any contact with predators such as wolves prior to coming to the New World. Most, if not all wolves were killed in the British Isles prior to 1700.

          • Mark L says:

            And many were willing to shoot most everything to make a name for themselves in the New World. Recipe for disaster.

            (still is)

            • Ken Cole says:

              It seems even the Europeans are better at dealing with wolves than the US is.

              Pastoral Icon or Woolly Menace? –

              “Wolves are now a protected species across Europe, where their population quadrupled after the 1970s. Today an estimated 11,500 wolves roam there.”

              • rork says:

                That was a good read, thanks.
                I’ve seen protected pretty-old woodland in England when young. I don’t think most folks realize what the land is “supposed” to look like, and it’s beautiful, chocked full of life. You instantly want more, I thought.

          • Ida Lupines says:

            I don’t think that is entirely true. Pre-1700 colonists certainly did. Certainly their predecessors had the experience and passed that along. That superstition and lore can be worse than actual experience. Certainly the northernmost European countries did have experience with wolves.

          • JEFF E says:

            Europeans had been coming to the Americas from the 1400’s if not before and only a small percentage from the UK.

    • Mark L says:

      I think there’s a lot to the ‘wolf’ issue that’s not always addressed. It’s as much about psychology (a good bit of it Jungian too) and sociology as biology. You can’t have people thinking they are doing something moral (while acting immoral?) without a villain to justify it. Wolves are the perfect villain, and can’t even answer for themselves. Add money in the mix and voila!…..easy political scapegoat. Traditional villain, messy brutish characterizations, common foe to economically/culturally challenged segment of population thats looking for something to rally around…easy pickings.

    • CodyCoyote says:

      ” What is driving the hatred towards wolves ? ” you ask.

      The short answer: Superstition.

      40+ generations of Europeans have ascribed wolves with all manner of unnatural or supernatural qualities. People so frightened that all rational thought flees at the sound of a howl or the sight of a wolfpack in the distance. Cascading shared fears become lore, then legend, then myth ,and are passed on to the next generation. Wolves are victims of a cultural curse going back more than a thousand years , the shadow of the Dark Ages.

      We never really got past all that. Science can supplant ignorance, eventually , but still grapples with fear and superstition.

      • Ida Lupines says:

        I’ve felt badly ever since I read about the government-sanctioned persecution, mass killings and bounties, and attributing human criminal qualities to wolves in this country in the history books as a young person.

    • Elk375 says:


      Let’s look at this in reverse. Why is there so much love for wolves. There is not the hatred for mountain lions nor is there the love for mountain lions that wolves have.

      My thinking is that no one ever sees a mountain lion in the wild (I have seen one in my life) where wolves are observable. One is not going to go mountain lion watching. Wolves have a visible social hierarchy that makes them watchable.

      • Barb Rupers says:

        Good point.

      • rork says:

        I’ve considered seeing cougars the highlights of several trips. We like cross-country, without stock. Maybe more deer/elk ratio, far from road, and less wolves, helps (Pasayten, Missions).
        I am actually worried that when they return to upper MI, folks will fear them more than wolves. In the wild out west, I do. Not terrified, but along rock ledges of a certain height, I get that more awake feeling. Density of tracks affects me too.

        • topher says:

          I see cats and evidence of cats more than I care to. While they are amazing animals they still give me the creeps. The closest I’ve ever been was about twenty feet when a couple of us startled one drinking from a creek. The cat jumped up and began to run away but after looking us up and down it just stopped,turned around and popped a squat in the middle of the trail. We stared at eachother for about ten seconds before I began slowly backing away until I had rounded the corner. It was a narrow canyon so we decided just to head to the car and try again another day. I still find it strange the way it just sat there. It didn’t show any interest in eating us and it didn’t seem at all concerned with our presence.

      • alf says:

        Yvette wrote,”Let’s look at this in reverse. Why is there so much love for wolves.”
        I wonder if it’s not a subliminal recognition that the wolf is the ancestor of the domestic dog, aka “man’s best friend”.
        Just a thought…

        • Barb Rupers says:

          That was Elk375 that said “Let’s look at this in reverse. Why is there so much love for wolves.”

          As rork says, along rock ledges while hiking into the Bob Marshall Wilderness from the Swan River I kept a lookout on ledges for cougars.

    • JEFF E says:

      “Henry of Huntingdon describes the aftermath of carrion:
      Then the dark raven with horned beak,

      and the livid toad,

      the eagle and kite,

      the hound and wolf in mottled hue,

      were long refreshed by these delicacies.

      In this land no greater war was ever waged,
      nor did such a slaughter ever surpass that one.”

      (Battle of Brunanburh in in 937. one of the most brutal battles ever fought in medieval times)

      And the were thousands of such battles fought around the world. I can guarantee you that when the battle was done there was not much effort to bury the combatants. Probably not much more than looting the dead by the locals and then let nature take it’s course.

      Another condition throughout history is famine. I have read accounts of the great famines in the south of Russia/Ukraine/areas in the early 20th centaury where the starving populace in cities were rounded up, including children, and taken out into the countryside “far enough away so that they would not be able to make it back to the cities. Wonder what happened to them?

      There is also more localized events such as the Russian gulag. I do not think that all of those millions of people were benignly buried by the soviets, Especially in the Siberian winter.

      Point is, a wolf is ONLY an animal and will learn to exploit whatever food source is available, just like all other animals, especially if that food source is just laid out banquet style as it were. All of which will contribute to the telling of scary bedtime stories throughout history.

  10. Ida Lupines says:

    No, I don’t think that’s the reason. I think the reason is that wolves have been so unmercifully persecuted over time, that people feel it was wrong and don’t want that to happen ever again.

    No other animal has borne the brunt of human ignorance, superstition and unnecessary hatred as the wolf.

    We should try to soften or excuse it either – European colonists did have experience with the wolf (and deer and bears, etc.) in their home countries and they did destroy them – doing a pretty good job over 500 years or so, barely a blip in time. Look at this country today.

    I have seen a mountain lion, and have never seen a wolf. I hope to one day, if they are not destroyed.

    • Ida Lupines says:

      That should read ‘we shouldn’t try to soften it or excuse it’.

      • Ida Lupines says:

        I should add the mountain lion I saw wasn’t in the wild, but not caged either. She was as big as me and I felt a mixture of awe and fright, but she was the most beautiful cat. Green eyes.

        Everybody complains about the wolf’s hunting technique, but stealth isn’t exactly the fairest either. It’s nature.

  11. Yvette says:

    Elk375, Yes! We always have to ask the reverse. Since my interest in the issues surround wolves has grown, I’ve had to ask myself that question. I think you may be right about the cougar. They are elusive and hardly ever seen. I’ve seen one in the wild once. It was a very long time ago, and it was a fleeting moment. It was in Alabama the cougar raced across the road, but as fast as it happened it was a breathtaking moment that one doesn’t forget. I’ve been a ‘cat person’ my entire life. Big cats, little cats, wild cats and domestic cats. I love all animals, but even I’m a bit surprised at my level of interest in wolves (and coyotes). When the Wedge pack in Washington state, which is like my second home, was killed it perked my interest to beyond a simple admiration of the wolf. That angered me, and it was then I started asking questions about wolf management. Additionally, because of some of the things I saw on facebook by the wolf hunters disturbed me. I refuse to seek out those sites. But, I do need to understand the things that drive it.

    CodyCoyote, and MarkL, I think both of you are spot on. This goes beyond biology and conservation, and I think it might be said of both sides of the issue.

    I wish we had a ‘like’ button for posts, LOL.

    Immer, the book you suggested, “Wolfer” has arrived, and I have another book on the way, ‘Vicious: Wolves and Men in America’. It was researched and written from a more historical perspective beginning with early settlement of N. America, but it seemed interesting. We’ll see how it turns out. Alas, the semester has started and I’m in last couple of required classes for this master’s degree. Then just the rest of the thesis work, but for now, my time for wolf reading is limited. It has drawn me in, though.

    • Mark L says:

      Just for curiosity, can you say when and where in Alabama on the concolor sighting? I know someone who tracks historical info in Alabama for this. (Ralph, please feel free to give her my email if needed). Thanks.

      • Yvette says:

        Hey Mark, that was a very long time ago so it may be of no help. It was July, 1973 in Cullman County, AL. It would have been close to the town of Hanceville, AL. That is as close as I can get as I was only visiting the area, and I wasn’t old enough to drive. However, I was in the front seat and it was definitely a cougar. I’ve since wondered what subspecies and if it might have been the now extinct, Eastern Cougar. I’ll never know.

    • Elk375 says:


      The winter issue of MONTANA the MAGIZINE of WESTERN HISTORY just arrived at the news stands. The cover article is:

      Killing Montana’s Wolves
      Michael Wise

      This is a 12 to 16 page article on the history of wolves in the State of Montana. I do not like to use a credit card for every purchase so I will have to return and buy this issue later today. It appears to be a very interesting and informative article. The article is not on the internet so you would have to order it from the historical society.

  12. Gary H. says:

    Idaho seems to be the most agressive state in reducing the wolf population. The agency in charge is appropriately named Idaho Department of Fish and Game, not Idaho Department of Fish and Wildlife.

    Public opionion polls show the vast majority of Americans want wolves back on the landscape, science has proven the benefits of their return and their name has a favorable connotation (Minnesotas NBA team “Timberwolves” and the film “Dances with Wolves”).

    We must stay vigilant and keep writing letters, support conservation organizations such as Defenders of Wildlife and this site and continue to question state agencies. Good things never come easy and it will take time for Idaho to evolve, but it will happen

    • Logan says:

      I question the weight of the opinion of someone living 1500 miles away from Idaho who maybe has never been to the state and maybe never will. Even though I think it may be a good idea to restore Brown bears to the British Isles, the residents there might disagree.
      “polls show the vast majority of Americans want wolves back on the landscape,”

      They are back on the landscape but I ask you: Are the northern Rockies the only landscape that they care about? We know that wolves were present in nearly every state so rather than push for wolves someplace they have never seen why not pursue the introduction of wolves in their own state where they might have the opportunity to observe or hear them? Show me a state wherein the majority of residents want wolves. As an Idahoan I don’t care how many people on the east coast want there to be wolves in Idaho. Just as much as they don’t care about my opinion on the issues in their state. I like having wolves in Idaho but I don’t think that someone in Alabama, New York or Washington D.C. should tell us how to manage them. I value the opinion of one Idahoan wolf-lover over 10 wolf lovers from out-of-state.

      “science has proven the benefits of their return ”
      I agree that science has shown the benefit of the return of wolves to the unnatural environment that was Yellowstone National Park. I say unnatural because there is no hunting allowed in the park. And hunting by man and wolf has been a natural part of North America for the last 10,000 years. Inflated populations of elk in Yellowstone overbrowsed and highlined much of the vegetation in the park, destroying riparian areas. Now that wolves have reduced the elk, the riparian zones are healthier and smaller mammals have benefited from improved habitat. Outside of the Park I haven’t seen or read anything that convinces me that wolves have done anything to improve the ecosystem that wasn’t already being accomplished by human management of game populations. Unfortunately, most wolf research has been focused on the Yellowstone area which still remains an unnatural ecosystem with the absence of human predators. I am not argueing that there should be no wolves, I like wolves (like not love), it enhances my outdoor experiences to know they are around me, but I recognize that wildlife management today is based on human use of a renewable resource. IDFG will manage wolves to the number that will still allow for the continued sustainable use of ungulates by hunters in all areas of the state. IDFG has stated that they intend to manage wolves to the 2005 estimate of the population (581)since that is the year that the original requirements for delisting were met.

      Also, in recent years the hunting seasons on bears and mtn lions have been liberalized in the areas that have seen the most losses in ungulate numbers. So it is not just wolves taking all the blame.

      • Kathleen says:

        “I question the weight of the opinion of someone living 1500 miles away from Idaho who maybe has never been to the state and maybe never will. Even though I think it may be a good idea to restore Brown bears to the British Isles, the residents there might disagree.”

        You don’t pay taxes to support public land on the British Isles. An American citizen living 1500 miles from ID *does* and has a stake in federal land, no matter where it is.

        • Elk375 says:

          Kathleen if you read WM comments from the federal laws that created the Frank Church Wilderness the State of Idaho controls the fish and wildlife within the wilderness. Therefore a taxpayer 1500 miles away does not have any say when law gives the authority to the State of Idaho. The law is the law.

          • IDhiker says:

            “The law is the law.” Unless you’re Jon Tester, then just change it!

            • Elk375 says:

              What is wrong with changing the law, it was done according to the rules of the US Senate. Let’s look at this in reverse what if there was a rider on a senate bill to declare several million western acres wilderness would the would you protest…no.

              The Citizens for Balance Use would be feeling the same way as you feel about the senate rider delisting wolves. It can work both ways and has worked both ways.

              • W.Hong says:

                From my understanding, Mr. Tester did nothing that has not been done many times before in the US Government.

              • WM says:

                W. Hong,

                You have a very good understanding of what is going on here, as well as how our government works (or doesn’t). Even if some of these contemporaneous conversations seem a bit confusing.

                Believe me, your understanding is way above some who frequent this forum. Your thoughts from a slightly different perspective are refreshing. Stick around.

              • Kathleen says:

                W. Hong said: “From my understanding, Mr. Tester did nothing that has not been done many times before in the US Government.”

                That is incorrect. Regarding the Tester/Simpson rider:

                “The votes mark the first time that Congress has directly removed federal protections from an endangered species, circumventing the science-based process of the Endangered Species Act.”


              • W.Hong says:

                I am sorry Kathleen, it was my understanding that many times in the past, riders have been added and make not subject to judicial review? Am I wrong? In my country, this could get your put in prison or killed.

              • WM says:


                Using your logic or actually the press’s, “the first time” part, that could very well apply to many subjects as they work their way thru Congress. The point was that riders are used all the time by Congress to slip stuff thru that would on its own die a quick death.

                That was the basis upon which Judge Molloy ruled and the 9th Circuit affirmed. It never ceases to amaze me the way folks try to distinguish stuff.

              • JB says:

                “What is wrong with changing the law, it was done according to the rules of the US Senate. Let’s look at this in reverse what if there was a rider on a senate bill to declare several million western acres wilderness would the would you protest…no.”


                You’re (probably) right on both counts: The law was changed in accordance with the rules of the Senate, and given a vote by Congress, and folks here would likely sing be singing the praises of a Senator that used the same technique to create Wilderness.

                However, no one answered your question: “What is wrong with changing the law [using this technique]?” The problem is that legislative riders are used specifically to ram through legislation that would not otherwise pass on an up-or-down vote of Congress. When attached to ‘must-pass’ legislation (e.g., federal budget), it provides Congressmen a convenient excuse for voting for a bill that they would not otherwise vote for. In that way, it fundamentally subverts the democratic process — that is, because Congressmen are not held accountable for their votes, they are able to pass legislation that is opposed by their constituents and that would not pass on its own merits.

                WM will say that anyone that cares that much can still vote against said Congressmen in the next election, which is true. However, the fact remains that riders are subversive insomuch as they (at the very least) lessen the accountability of public officials.

      • jon says:

        Yeah, you like having wolves in Idaho so you can shoot, trap, and kill them you extremist. Yellowstone is a natural ecosystem. Why on earth would you think yellowstone is unnatural? Are you forgetting that animals were on the planet far longer than humans?

        • Logan says:

          I would classify an extremist as either someone wanting the eradication of all wolves or someone wanting to ban all hunting of wolves or any other game. Since I do not fit into either of those categories I don’t think I can accurately be called an extremist.

          “animals were on the planet far longer than humans”
          This planet produced humans in the same way that it produced all other animals. There has never been any such thing as a humanless environment that we would recognize as natural. Humans are a predator and natural part of nearly every ecosystem on earth. Yellowstone and the entire Rocky mountain area for that matter has not seen a humanless landscape for over 10,000 years. Since the Park has removed man as a predator it has therefore created an environment that is not natural.

          • jon says:

            Animals were on this planet for much longer than humans. Yellowstone is a natural ecosystem and having a ecosystem with no humans is natural.

            • W.Hong says:

              From my understanding of history and science, no it is not natural to not have humans, the first evidence of humans that have been found are over 4 million years old.

              • jon says:

                It is because animals have been on this planet far longer than humans. For someone to call yellowstone an unnatural ecosystem is absurd. This planet was one big yellowstone for many millions of years before humans arrived.

              • W.Hong says:

                I just visited Yellowstone 4 months ago, and it does seem a bit odd that animals are near humans so much, I don’t know if it is natural or un-natural, but it is a lot different than where I lived.

              • W.Hong says:

                What was your thoughts when you visited Yellowstone?

            • Logan says:

              Gray Wolves and Humans colonized North America during roughly the same age. Therefore as far as north america is concerned humans and wolves have not existed free of each others influence.

              • Ida Lupines says:

                I don’t think that is true. But if so, it was a lot more harmonious than when the Europeans came, for both the indigenous humans and the wolves.

              • jon says:

                That is not right. Wolves have been on this planet longer than humans, so please explain why you think yellowstone is somehow unnatural? Wolves had to contend with short face bears and saber tooth tigers. Animal vs. animal was how the planet was for millions and millions of years before humans came along.

              • W.Hong says:

                Mr Jon,

                I would like to read this information that shows your position, do you have any links I can follow?

              • Logan says:

                I am referring to North America not the entire earth. Humans and gray wolves migrated across the Bering strait land bridge during the same geologic age. In North america there has never been a time when gray wolves were free of human influence.
                If the definition of natural is the absence of humans then we have to go back tens of thousands of years to achieve that and we can never really know the full truth about what the ecosystem was like that long ago.
                Also if we embrace a definition of natural as an absence of humans then Yellowstone is farther from natural than I previously stated and wilderness areas aren’t much better unless we decide to ban all human entry for any purpose whatsoever into these places; and then what purpose would they serve?
                I don’t believe we can separate humans from the natural world, we are a part of it and have been for as long as the current animals residents of north american.
                When I think of natural I think of as close to pre-settlement conditions as possible. That time period does include humans hunting and limiting wildlife numbers. When Lewis and Clark came through the northwest they noted that the highest populations of animals existed in the borderlands between warring tribes and the closer they were to Native villages the fewer and more wary the animals were. In somes places they noted the complete lack of wildlife. We can’t recreate previous point in nature, we don’t have a full picture of what “natural” even is and that means that even my concept of natural pre-settlement conditions is based on only a few recorded accounts that can only capture a brief glimpse of what it was really like in a small area.

        • rork says:

          My perhaps ignorant impression was that grey wolf might have come about the same time as human to the Americas. We had Dire Wolf before that, thought not to be immediate ancestor of grey (that’s interesting). Teach me better.

      • jon says:

        “IDFG has stated that they intend to manage wolves to the 2005 estimate of the population (581)since that is the year that the original requirements for delisting were met.”

        They said this years ago. They abandoned that number and now they want to kill as many as possible. Idaho fish and game have said they want more than 150 wolves, but they won’t give an exact number. No other carnivore in Idaho has numbered in the low hundreds like they want for the wolves. If there are thousands of bears and cougars, why can’t they be thousands of wolves? Turning Idaho into an elk farm is never going to happen.

        • Immer Treue says:


          One must remember the number “robust”, or at minimum, the abstractness of said number.

        • Logan says:

          “why can’t they be thousands of wolves?”
          The simple answer is because the wolves compete with Idahoans and paying non-resident hunters for prized game species such as elk and moose. Loss of hunting opportunity translates into losses to the local economies.

          “Turning Idaho into an elk farm is never going to happen.”
          Contrary to what you may believe every state uses management practices meant to produce an excess of wildlife for the purpose of hunting. This style and purpose of management has been working for over 100 years.

          • W.Hong says:

            Based on many statements I have read that Jon has made over the last few months, he is often incorrect.

          • White Pine says:

            “why can’t they be thousands of wolves?”
            The simple answer is because the wolves compete with Idahoans and paying non-resident hunters for prized game species such as elk and moose. Loss of hunting opportunity translates into losses to the local economies.

            “Turning Idaho into an elk farm is never going to happen.”
            Contrary to what you may believe every state uses management practices meant to produce an excess of wildlife for the purpose of hunting. This style and purpose of management has been working for over 100 years.”

            You laid it all out there for everyone Logan. You don’t want any competition from wolves for “your elk herds.” You loathe out of staters having any say on public lands issues in Idaho, but you want their money for rural Idaho’s economy and the anti-predator outfitters. Basically you want all the federal taxes and subsidies for Idaho and you want out of staters money to help rural Idaho’s economy. Perhaps you’d have more year round support for Idaho’s rural economy by non-consumptive public lands users if your state didn’t have such extreme anti-predator policies and did more for native wildlife like wolves.

            The days of the good ole’ boy “wildlife management” are numbered. Artificially boosting ungulates over the land’s natural carrying capacity (at the expense of any/all species) in order to appease human hunters is on the way out. Some humans have evolved to understand that a balanced, natural ecosystem is what’s morally, ethically and economically responsible. I’m pro-hunting and have participated in elk, bear and deer hunts. The worst enemy the hunting community has is people like you and your blatant anti-predator policies.

            I noticed you didn’t respond or refute my points concerning your previous post. I will assume you have no further argument and hopefully see the errors and hypocrisy in your posts.

            • WM says:


              ++ Perhaps you’d have more year round support for Idaho’s rural economy by non-consumptive public lands users if your state didn’t have such extreme anti-predator policies and did more for native wildlife like wolves.++

              Please make your economic case. I’m dying to hear it, and I bet others are as well.

            • Logan says:

              White Pine my apologies for not being clear in my previous post. The questions were asked and I answered them from a statewide wildlife management standpoint not necessarily my own opinion and I did not clarify that. So it is understandable that some of your assumptions about me are off but some are also correct.

              Personally I don’t care if non-residents come to Idaho to hunt. Fewer hunters means less crowding and competition for me. However IDFG does care about the revenue from NR hunters.
              I am also far from anti-predator, I have never advocated for the eradication of any predatory species. I am proud of Idaho for the presence of every native species that we have and bears wolves and mtn lions are certainly an integral part of the mountains that I enjoy.
              I believe that properly managed we can have large enough elk herds to supply an excess for human hunters and support a population of wolves and other predators. Idaho has managed other predators as big game animals for 40 years and bears and mtn lions are doing well. With wolves recovered, I would like to see more attention paid to Grizzly bear recovery in the backcountry areas.

              I don’t believe that Idaho will push wolf management to the point of re-listing, it would not be in the states best interests to lose control of the situation. I am opposed to Gov. Otter forming a wolf committe to reduce the poopulation to 150 wolves. I also don’t think it is necessary to allow wolves to spread and increase in numbers to the point that disease, lack of prey and intra-species killings reduce their numbers as has occured in Yellowstone. Wolves currently inhabit the entire state except for the snake river plain to the south whih is mostly agricultural anyway. With a range covering the entire state and an animal that disperses hundreds of miles between states and Canada I see the current population as very linked and viable.

          • jon says:

            That is not a good enough reason to not have a robust wolf population. The wilderness is not a game farm for hunters. You may want it to be.

            • jon says:

              This is to Logan. That 100 years of management has changed. You have bears, wolves, and cougars in Idaho, so having an excess of animals for you hunters to kill is just not realistic today. The bears, wolves, and cougars are all capable of managing the elk and deer. It is quite obvious to me Logan judging by your responses, you want Idaho to be an elk/deer farm. You hunters want more animals out there to kill. It’s as simple as that and the native carnivores have to be sacrificed in order for you hunters to have more meat animals to kill. This just isn’t right.

              • Logan says:

                For the last 40 years Idaho has managed Black bears and mtn lions as game species and we have continued to have both predators and ungulates in excess for hunting. I believe that the current model for wildlife management continues to be viable and realistic.
                Many people forget that we all use our natural resources. If you live in house, you use resources that were taken from someplace wild. But we manage our forests to be sustainable and we continue to have forests to enjoy and enough extra to harvest for lumber. Wildlife management is no different, it is a renewable resource that can support various peoples interests. Wildlife watchers and photographers can enjoy wildlife how they choose and it does not infringe on me enjoying wildlife through hunting and vis versa. I think we can have predators and ungulates and hunting. It doesn’t have to be an all or nothing proposition.

            • jon says:

              Does anyone know if idaho fish and game has come out against or for this absurd proposal? Bringing the wolf population down to 150 animals is going to put Idaho in a very tight spot. I imagine hunting seasons would be severely limited if they did bring the wolf population down to 150 animals. You have to wonder what other measures they are going to use in order to kill 500 wolves.

            • jon says:

              And most people have no problem with wolves managing the elk herds Logan. They are against turning the wilderness into an elk farm specifically for hunters.

              • Ida Lupines says:

                We’d love to have wolves out here in the East; however, the Western governors are trying to get the wolves delisted in the entire lower 48 as well as having done so in their own states. They should MTOB. And it looks like they want to use smoke and mirrors with the elk numbers too.

              • Logan says:

                Wolves don’t manage elk herds, they prey on them with no concept of maintaing sustainable populations. That doesn’t make wolves bad it just makes them wolves. I also don’t believe that managing wildlife is equivalent to farming. In the past when elk populations have dropped we have restricted hunting to allow the elk to rebound, that is hardly farming, that is called being responsible and not destroying a resource. And ungulates are a resource that many people enjoy.
                Also in the future please clarify the use of the term “most people” Who are these people where do they live and how are they affected by wildlife management in Idaho.

        • WM says:


          Did I miss something in the math, or is 561 still not less than 600? Then there are the official numbers verified by the standard methodology IDFG is using, and the “unofficial” numbers which Dr. Mech says is likely to include another up to 20% of uncounted wolves (so, it could look like this = 600 + 120 = 720). And, do remember there will be another crop of pups here in a couple months, even though there is still a hunting season on and some wolves will be killed, and maybe some in or out-migrating. Managing down to 150, would take more effort than they are currently putting forth. Staying in the 500-/+ zone seems quite likely for some time.

          • timz says:

            Here is there math. $2M = 150 Wolves

            BOISE, Idaho — Republicans promoting Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter’s proposed $2 million fund to kill wolves say they hope the cash helps eliminate more than 500 of the predators in Idaho, reducing numbers to 150 animals in 15 packs.

            Rep. Marc Gibbs of Grace and Sen. Bert Brackett of Rogerson Monday told the House Resources and Conservation Committee the cash set aside with Otter’s proposal will bolster Idaho’s predator arsenal.

            Idaho now has about 680 wolves, according to state Department of Fish and Game estimates.

            Brackett says the priority is to keep wolves delisted, even with these proposed killings.

            He said provided Idaho still has 150 wolves — the minimum required in a 2002 plan approved by the Idaho Legislature — “we’ll have a defensible line of defense” against renewed federal protections.

            • Melody Scamman says:

              $2 mil to kill wolves sounds an awful lot like an ignorant redneck governor’s version of ‘corporate welfare’ for trappers.
              This is what you get in a state that has no rules for home schooling kids. No high school degree and even MacDonalds won’t hire them. So what do these people do for a living? Cut trees or kill innocent animals? Or both? I’m not saying everyone in Idaho is ignorant but maybe somebody should do a survey of registered voter’s highest grade finished in school? That would maybe enlighten this conversation?

            • jon says:

              Common sense would tell you you would want to have many more wolves than 150 animals simply because you don’t ever want to get near that number that would put wolves back on the endangered species list. Right wing extremist legislators are going to be the cause of the wolves being put back on the endangered species list.

              • Elk375 says:

                I fully agree.

              • Louise Kane says:

                The tragedy being that in the meantime every one of these animals will be subjected to endless hell as they are trapped, snared, hunted and generally exterminated. As Ken Fisher pointed out all with no regard to their sociality and pack dynamics. Does anyone here know why these continuous assaults by IDFG do not trigger some investigation/response by the USFWS under the mandate to monitor populations…..

              • Louise Kane says:

                Sorry Ken

              • Logan says:

                I also fully agree with you here Jon

              • JB says:

                The irony here is that it very likely will end up costing them more to manage wolves at such low numbers than it would to maintain them between 500 and 1,000. First, and foremost they will spend many more man-hours trying to locate, trap and collar animals (and otherwise ‘prove’ they are maintaining 15/150). And as numbers dwindle, they will have trouble selling wolf permits (lost revenue), which will necessitate paying hunters/trappers (cost). And let’s not forget the the majority of elk management units are at or above objective, with lots of complaints from ranchers concerning elk.

  13. Ida Lupines says:

    They’ve got another article –

    Montana’s Conjurers, Con Men,
    and Card Cheats. Ha!

  14. WyoWolfFan says:

    I thought there were supposed to something like 6,000 wolves in Idaho, not 600. To hear some people complain you would think there were that many.

  15. White Pine says:

    In reply to “Logan”

    Wolves have had positive impacts on riparian and other habitats outside of Yellowstone NP. There’s one such study which I linked below that was conducted in the Gallatin Range of the Gallatin National Forest. This area not from Bozeman has been heavily hunted by humans before and after wolf introduction. The same positive results were observed in regards to habitat and small mammal/bird populations growth after wolves established their place in the ecosystem. Personally I’ve seen positive impacts on the ecosystem of the Frank Church Wilderness since Wolf reintroduction, perhaps you haven’t been spending enough time in wild country to see it?

    A lot of Idahoans and other NRM residents try to claim that human hunters have replaced the role of the wolf and their positive impacts on the ecosystem. Science and research proves otherwise. In fact the eastern states which you so seem to loathe having any input on federal public lands are one of the best examples. In New England where the wolf is not present in large numbers there is an overabundance of deer despite liberal hunting seasons. All the human hunters can’t control the overabundance of deer in that ecosystem, the wolf could certainly help. In eastern states like Michigan where wolves are present there are still problems with a deer population that is over carrying capacity. The story is virtually the same across the eastern states, but I bet you wouldn’t know since you will likely never go there.

    • Elk375 says:

      In the Gallatin National Forest South of Bozeman the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has had to reduce hunting opportunities because of wolves. I remember when we had a December and January late season but no more.

      • White Pine says:

        Oh no elk,

        your unnaturally high numbers of elk were reduced in the Gallatin range by wolves. Now they are closer to the natural carrying capacity and not a vast elk farm.
        So sorry your mid-winter elk hunt had to be canceled.

        I just posted my comments moments ago and here you are….quite troll like.

        • Immer Treue says:


          Troll like in reference to Elk375. I think not.

          • White Pine says:

            So what would you call someone who waits by their computer and “pops up” (literally minutes after I posted) with misleading, simplistic examples to counter my points?

            • W.Hong says:

              From what I read, what Elk posted did not seem neither misleading or simplistic, please explain.

              • White Pine says:

                It’s misleading if you read Ave’s reply to Elk. There’s much more to the story of ending the “late season elk hunt” than Wolves.

                It was a simplistic example and response to much more complex issues.

              • W.Hong says:

                That is why I asked you to explain.

            • WM says:


              I’m not sure what your point is WP, about Elk375 being a troll. He has been on this forum for years, is a practical, polite and mostly diplomatic personality. I have never found him to be a troll. You, it would appear, are the new one here, and trying to start a skirmish.

              Just stay on the content and let your words speak for themselves. We could start with your conclusions and reliance on the research of Ripple and Beschta, which you cite above from 2003. There are a bunch of scientists who don’t seem to think their cause-effect conclusions are as strong as they, or you apparently, suggest.

              You could start with this thread on this very forum, especially the scientific papers referenced at the beginning of the discussion:


              • White Pine says:

                Sorry you don’t welcome “newcomers” on this blog.

                I’ve been reading it for many years and rarely comment. but Logan’s “comments” today were too much for me to stay silent.

                If your suggesting I’m the troll your mistaken. The vast majority of the time I’m a “lurker” and simply read, observe and stay silent.

                I really don’t care if scientific research conducted in the Gallatin Range concerning Wolves impact on the ecosystem is disputed.

              • rork says:

                Troll is as troll does. Look how much White Pine posted yesterday – it would be terribly rude of me to counter all the things said that I objected to. Try to be of service, not disservice, to this blog.
                Just one, where you comment to Logan:
                “You don’t want any competition from wolves for “your elk herds.” You loathe out of staters having any say on public lands issues in Idaho” – Logan didn’t say those things. I found his summary outstanding – not to say that must be the way things work.
                Hell, another:
                “In eastern states like Michigan where wolves are present there are still problems with a deer population that is over carrying capacity” I’m from MI, we could knock the deer down further if we wanted – there’s 750000 of us killing them. It’s always a tough decision and economics does loom large. That’s how it is, not saying that’s how it should, or must be.

            • Elk375 says:

              Mr. White Pine

              I know what I am talking about and live 5 minutes from the Gallatin National Forest and have hunted it many, many times. I have fished it, hiked it, camped it, skied it and guided many beginning fishers to there first trout in this national forest. I have been in this forest for over 55 years. I have actively worked on wilderness designation for the Porcupine/Gallatin wilderness area.

              In the summer I ride in the Gallatin National Forest every week. The Gallatin National Forest encompasses a large diverse area and eco systems. Maybe you live and recreate on this national forest more than I but I think that you read more about it than hike it. I just happen to be on this web site when you posted.


              As far as late season hunts having no “time honored tradition but were instead started to reduce the elk that migrated out of Yellowstone to winter in the area”, there been late season all of my life until recently. The reason for the late season was to kill the surplus elk that migrated out of Yellowstone National Park and the wolves reduced the population so the hunts were no longed needed. But, I like to hunt elk and I would much rather have a surplus of elk and a reduce population of wolves. So what is a time honored tradition?

              • White Pine says:

                Mr. Elk,

                i’m glad you use and enjoy your local public lands.

                You DID however immediately post misleading comments about your “late season elk hunt” immediately after I posted my comments.

                As far as your claim that I “read more about the Gallatin NF than hike in it” that’s correct if we are specifically talking about the Gallatin Range not the entire national forest.

                I always preferred more remote areas than the Gallatin Range. My experiences in SW Montana have mostly occurred in the Pioneer, Snowcrest, Gravelley, tobbacoo root, Italian Peaks, Centenial and Beaverhead ranges along with the Anaconda-Pintler wilderness and the Lee Metcalf Wilderness.

                So yes I have more experience on the BHDL NF, but still quite a bit of time spent on the Gallatin NF.

                So you admit you want a “surplus” or a population of Elk over the natural carrying capacity of the ecosystem. Basically your saying “damn the ecosystem” if wolves make it any harder for me to get my surplus elk. That’s not subsistence hunting that’s the dreaded FEDS managing a game farm for a select group of hunters.

              • Elk375 says:

                Mr.White Pine

                You and I have something in common. ++My experiences in SW Montana have mostly occurred in the Pioneer, Snowcrest, Gravelly, Tobacco Root, Italian Peaks, Centennial and Beaverhead ranges along with the Anaconda-Pintler wilderness and the Lee Metcalf Wilderness.++

                I have in the last 15 years have used the above mountains more than the Gallatin National Forest except to mule ride due to fuel cost. The Tobacco Roots are my favorite summer mountains. I love the Italian Peaks and the Centennial’s for hunting, did you ever notice the twin engine plane on the side of one of the peaks.

                A little story about the Italian Peaks, elk and a medicine wheel. It will write it later I have to get to work.

              • White Pine says:

                Mr. Elk375

                some fine, quiet places in those mtns.

                Always preferred the grasslands, solitude and open nature of the Snowcrest/Gravelly country in the summer.

                The Beavearheads were my prefeered area in winter. Tracked a Wolverine many miles from the snowless lows to the drift bound high country. I know where there’s some isolated Ponderosa Pine “stands” far east of the divide in the Beaverheads.

                Your very fortunate to live near that country.

      • aves says:

        Surely you can also remember that those late season hunts were not a time honored tradition but were instead started to reduce the elk that migrated out of Yellowstone to winter in the area. That was before wolf reintroduction when the state said there were too many elk in that unit. The state’s official justification for closing those hunts was not based solely on wolves but also on bear predation on calves and long term drought.

    • Logan says:

      I do spend most of my free time and all of my vacation time in the mountains of Idaho from the selkirks in the north to the Lost river ranges and the sawtooths. Also in Southeastern Idaho where currently there are no established packs of wolves and wolves are rarely seen. In all areas I see plentiful small mammals and healthy riparian areas (where over grazing by livestock has been prevented). Unfortunately I am not old enough to remember much from before the introduction of wolves so I do not have the ability to compare my own observations from that time period. One thing that wolves can do that human hunters cannot do is kill elk and deer during the spring and summer and harrass them away from the riparian areas and prevent over browsing.
      The deer article is interesting but also mentions that landowners artificially fed deer hoping that it would disiterest them in eating crops but this only served to increase the populations and augment the problem. In Idaho the IDFG does carry out depredation hunts to lower deer and elk populations where there is conflict with agriculture.
      Neither article however changes my opinion that we can manage ungualtes and predators at populations that allow for all uses including wildlife watching and hunting. Those activites do not need to be exclusive of each other.
      From what I understand, many eastern locations that suffer from extremely high deer populations are near cities where they wouldn’t exactly want a lot of predators. The east in most places lacks many of the natural predators that we have always had in Idaho and with no predators and a lot fo agriculture they certainly have a recipe for disaster that hunting isn’t keeping upp with. In fact in those areas, hunting is part of the problem. As mentioned in your article there are many private land holding mixed in with the state and federal lands. THose private landowners manage their property to produce as many deer as possible for hunting and those states have different hunting seasons for public and private land. Basically it means that the states have cut themselves off from the ability to reduce deer numbers on private land and the populations spill onto the public lands. I have read other reports of deer damage in the midwest and New England and they certainly have a problem over there, I leave it to them to figure out how they want to manage it.

  16. White Pine says:

    * “not far from Bozeman”

  17. White Pine says:


    many would be appreciative of the fact that their states posses enough public lands to be able to support a healthy wolf population. Your tired talking point claiming “well if you love um put em in your backyard” is not a relevant point. There are many places in the east and west where there is enough public land to support wolves and many places where there isn’t.

    Your ludicrous comparisons like reintroducing Brown Bears to the British isles is silly because there is not habitat there. In IDAHO there is WOLF HABITAT, that’s the difference. I’ve read of plans in Scotland to reintroduce wolves, because they have the habitat.

    • Logan says:

      Scotland is in the British Isles and they do have proposals over there to re-introduce brown bears and wolves.

      But geographic jabs aside, I am proud and appreciative of the vast wildlands that are available in Idaho and I recognize that they provide multiple uses for people to enjoy in their own ways. Wolves will never be removed from Idaho, I don’t want them to be and no matter how much Gov. Otter panders to his supporters wolves are rightly here to stay. But you are right that I do not want wolves or any other predator to eliminate the tradition of using the wilderness and others wild areas for hunting. hunting is a sustainable use of a renewable resource why must it end? We have managed bears and mtn lions along with ungulates for decades with good results and we can continue to do so with wolves. Wolf hunting does not prevent wolf viewing, we can all enjoy our resources how we choose.

      • Yvette says:

        Logan, why do you support hunting of predator species? Wolves, Mountain Lions, bears and others? What is the reason to hunt predators? You won’t be eating them.

        Next, how is the use of traps justified? It’s barbaric and torturous to the animal trapped. What’s more, so many non-target animals end up being tortured in those traps. Traps set by hunters and traps set by the Wildlife Services.

        • Logan says:

          Thabnks for the question, you are right that I won’t be eating any wolves or coyotes, but I do eat bear and would really like to try mtn lion. Journals and reports from fur trappers indicate that mtn lion was a favored meat and several people I know that have tried it agree that it is very good. Bear makes great sausage and the fat can be rendered for cooking. In years when I get a bear I don’t have to buy any breakfast sausage for the rest of the year.

          • Ida Lupines says:

            Billions of animals suffer and are killed yearly so that people can have ‘breakfast sausage’, and you want to take the life of a bear too? Bears are just barely recovered species. Do humans care about living things other than themselves, at all? Do we have to have every square inch of the planet and everything on it for ourselves? Disgusting greed.

            No offense meant, but the selfishness and entitlement of statements like these I find repulsive.

            It is just completely alien to the way I think, I’m sorry.

            • W.Hong says:

              Ms. Lupines, I was under the impression that black bear populations are very large in the United states and in no danger of going extinct, I looked on the internet to see what the population number were and found this which was published in 2011, it seems to show that many states have a lot of black bears.


              • W.Hong says:

                I also looked at the Wikipedia website and it says there are almost 1/2 million black bears in the US and almost 1/2 million black bears in Canada, so I am confused by your statement about them being recently recovered.


                Are we talking about the same kind of bears?

              • Ida Lupines says:

                Does that mean they have to be turned in to breakfast sausage? I don’t think so. Offensive.

              • Ida Lupines says:

                I was thinking grizzlies, but just because an animal has a healthy population doesn’t mean automatic killing time, I don’t think.

              • W.Hong says:

                I like sausage made out of bear meat. I have had bear meat quite often since I have come to the US. I am sorry if that offends you, I was excited last summer, I was able to see my first Grizzly bear in Yellowstone, what a pretty animal.

              • Ida Lupines says:

                That’s nice. Maybe ‘offensive’ isn’t the right word – it’s the attitude that we Americans have that we are entitled to everything, behaving like perpetual children, and no responsibility for anything. Perhaps if we had a more respectful, reverential attitude towards the animals that are being sacrificed so that we can eat, I might feel differently.

              • W.Hong says:

                I can honestly say, that bear meat is much better than dog meat, where I lived there was a lot of dog meat eaten.

            • Cobra1 says:

              Bears a just barely recovered species?
              Hardly, there are lots of bears in Idaho, especially North Idaho. I’ve seen as many as a dozen different bears in the area that I pick huckleberries and hunt in. I don’t shoot any because we don’t eat them, we would rather eat elk and deer. Many people up here eat bear and rely on it as muck as elk and deer to get through till the next year.
              Logan’s right though, the best breakfast sausage I’ve ever had was made from bear.

  18. White Pine says:

    “IDFG will manage wolves to the number that will still allow for the continued sustainable use of ungulates by hunters in all areas of the state.” -Logan

    I saw plenty of successful Idaho hunters before “wolf management” had begun.

    Your 581 number for wolves is not backed up by science for the amount of wolf habitat available in Idaho.
    (Including human hunters share of the ungulates.)

    IDFG admitted that their decision to exterminate entire wolf packs in the Frank Church was “more of a philosophical decision” rather than science based. Excuse me if I don’t have much faith in the Idaho fish and game.

    If you really want people in eastern states to have no input on federal public lands then put your money where your mouth is and petition the state of Idaho to stop accepting federal taxpayers money to fund their state. People in eastern states pay their hard earned money through federal taxes to support your state. End the subsidies and federal taxpayer funds coming from eastern states and see how well “your state” does.

    Even if eastern states didn’t send money Idaho’s way they should still have a say regarding FEDERAL public lands.

    • WM says:

      ++Even if eastern states didn’t send money Idaho’s way they should still have a say regarding FEDERAL public lands.++

      They do, through Congress and the legislation it passes, as well as the Administration and the policies it carries forward through the President and his Secretaries of Interior and Agriculture. Then there are inputs of the 17 Western States acting through their Congressional representatives, or as states independently and through the Western Governor’s Association.

      Don’t think that Idaho is the only state that receives subsidies in various forms (though it might get more than its taxpayers put in). Of course, it and neighboring WA and NV have had the distinction of maybe having unsavory nuclear legacies of all Americans. Maybe we ought to send some nuclear waste back east for a little parity.

      • WM says:

        continuing…..Maybe we should ask for more federal funds to clean up the nasty water in several of these states from the resource extraction that have left streams and entire drainages totally screwed up. Many of those big mining and timber holding companies are from the East where most of the shareholders live and, and are whores to Wall St. How about we send them some more externalities as long as you are looking for “input on public lands” policy.

        • White Pine says:


          get of your high horse. I understand the concept of the “United” States of America. Spare me your patronizing comments. I was attempting to explain to “Logan” that people in the east are forced to support Idaho through taxes etc.

          All 11 western states (not 17) are subsidized by varying degrees by the eastern states. How about those agricultural subsidies and federal taxes coming from the east, if you think you don’t need the east or the feds to help you then petition to end the welfare for the west.

          People in the east are sick of the public lands atrocities committed by many western states.

          This is a topic on wolves, which you never even mentioned in your antagonistic post.

          I bet the local rural residents all were chomping at the bit to log/mine their local public lands.

          • White Pine says:

            *off your high horse

            • White Pine says:


              I live in a western state by the way, and have lived or worked in all of them except for Wyoming and Utah. I was raised in the White Pine stands of the northeast.

              The NRM states are becoming very reminiscent of the southeast.

              Let’s hope that changes one day.

              • W.Hong says:

                Are these types of conversations the normal on this blog?

              • White Pine says:

                W. Hong-

                are these types of comments the normal from you?

              • W.Hong says:

                As my native language is not English, I might say things that are difficult to understand at times, I have only been in the United States for a little over a year. But I am learning. I have visited many blogs in the last year, since I not longer am prevented and this blog seems to have many very difficult conversations going on all of the time.

          • WM says:

            Look, sport, you were the one talking about subsidies that go many directions for many federal purposes. Just as in the same manner taxpayer dollars from ID go into the pot which are “forced to pay” for running the nation’s capital from the guy who sweeps out the Lincoln Monument to the subsidized sewer and mass transit projects in Boston or New Orleans. If you speak of agricultural subsidies don’t forget the highly cultivated Midwest agriculture, which on a per acre basis, and on a total $$$ amount, get much more and higher subsidies than Western state producers. Cut one group off and all should be cut off. The politics are not so easy.

            Actually there are 17 Western states that often vote in blocks of common interest (not just the 11 on which there are lots of federal land), acting through the Western Governors Association. You might like to check the membership – and they all have concerns about the ESA, energy development and a host of other federal issues.

            Sure public lands provide jobs, including extractive industry, but in many instances it is the big companies that provide them, so if you want to talk about atrocities and who commits them let’s broaden the discussion. Think especially mining, or permitted ski areas, and until recently much of the resource that was removed timber. Not so much of that any more on federal lands, at least as compared to the 1970’s and 80’s. Aspen ski company is, for example, owned by a family in Chicago. How about Peabody Coal, Anaconda Copper, Kennecott Molyebdenm, and the list goes on and on, sucking off the public teat with their extractive mining claims, for which they pay nothing. How come you aren’t absolutely incensed about that?

            Wolves, well I talk a lot about wolves on this forum, and probably more than some would like. Just for you, let’s revist the fact that a wolf will eat between 12-23 ungulates/year between November and April the standard research year(and some the remaining 6 months too). Many are young of the year, and that is why wildlife agencies are concerned about numbers and distribution of wolves on the landscape.

            • White Pine says:

              W Hong.-

              I apologize I misunderstood your comments regarding “Elk” and the types of conversations on this blog.

              Welcome to the USA!

              There’s probably not a more complex and passionate issue in the west than wolves. If you can follow this blog you will be just fine.

              Good luck and welcome to beautiful North America.

            • White Pine says:


              “sport”? resorting to name calling I see.

              if you think I’m not outraged at the abuses of mining companies your incorrect. I’ve presented numerous times a PowerPoint in academic and professional settings urging the cancellation of the proposed mine in the Cabinets Mtn. Wilderness.

              The only reason I brough up the east etc. was to respond to “Logans” comments today.
              Your the one who ran with it.

              You obviously don’t like or want wolves in any real viable numbers. You believe IDFG is doing the right thing by slaughtering wolf packs deep in the Frank Church. That is your opinion and I along with numerous disagree with IDFG “philosophical” decision to slaughter wolves deep in the backcountry.

              • White Pine says:

                *numerous others

              • WM says:

                ++You believe IDFG is doing the right thing by slaughtering wolf packs deep in the Frank Church. That is your opinion …++

                No you have that wrong. I said I believed IDFG has a strong argument regarding their legal right to do it. I also said there is a possibility of conflict of laws between what the Wilderness Act says generally, and what the “savings” clause in the Act says, reserving rights in states to manage wildlife there, with restatements of the same language in the legislation creating the River of No Return Wilderness and renaming it the Frank Church Wilderness. Even in light of IDFG’s decision to pull their trapper, pending the appeal to the 9th Circuit in San Francisco, the legal issue remains undetermined. There may be additional briefing that resulted in IDFG’s decision.

                By the way, still waiting for a response to your assertion above. I’ll restate it here:

                WM says:

                January 27, 2014 at 3:27 pm


                ++ Perhaps you’d have more year round support for Idaho’s rural economy by non-consumptive public lands users if your state didn’t have such extreme anti-predator policies and did more for native wildlife like wolves.++

                Please make your economic case. I’m dying to hear it, and I bet others are as well.

          • Logan says:

            We are all forced to support programs that we don’t like through our tax dollars. I for one didn’t think we should rebuild New Orleans but guess what, it happened.

            “People in the east are sick of the public lands atrocities committed by many western states.”
            Because they have done so well to prevent atrocities to the lands in their owns states? When I stop seeing articles about the destuction fo rivers in the east I may pay more attention to their opinion of the west.

            • Ida Lupines says:

              Many are working very hard in the East and elsewhere to restore our nations rivers. Here’s one example:


            • White Pine says:


              do you intentionally ignore all points made against your elk farm arugments, and focus on minute petty points?

              West Virginia is in the southeast. It is way closer to Idaho in terms of politics and resource extraction.

              MI, WI and MN might be hunting their wolves, but no govt. agency hired a private trapper/hunter to go deep into say the Boundar Water Wilderness area to exterminate packs.

              You don’t value what you have in the west. Your so incredibly lucky to be able to live and recreate where you do. Your absolutely delusional to think this wolf extermination was necessary to maintain hunting in wilderness areas.

              Hunting in wilderness areas has never been threatened. If you want game farm type hunting atmospheres you should move back east, let people who appreciate the last wild country have the west.

              A lot of the good ole boys are always complaining there’s not more state land or private land in the west. So just move there if that’s what you want. The west is for people who value natural, balanced ecosystems.

            • White Pine says:

              “We are all forced to support programs that we don’t like through our tax dollars. I for one didn’t think we should rebuild New Orleans but guess what, it happened.”

              Nope, not like the rest of the country supports Idaho…not even close. I think it’s close to 2 federal dollars given to Idaho for every dollar they bring in.

              People in the east support Idaho more than Idaho supports the east.

              The welfare ranching, wolf/bison slaughter, unregulated trapping (recent Wolverine death in Idaho) obscene mining proposals. All that could end and the west would be a better place.

              Wilderness hunting was never threatened by wolves. Just because you might have to work a little harder in some places and actually “hunt” an elk rather than idly blasting one, doesn’t mean wolves have ruined it for you.

              The IDFG “philosophical” decision to only permit a token population of wolves is absurd and you seem to support it 100%. It’s not scientifically sound, and therefore it’s wrong and so are you.

              Just move to Maine or somewhere, there’s plenty of Moose and people of your mindset. People like you have about ruined all the “wild” left in the west.

              • WM says:

                White Pine,

                When you think of the alleged $2/1 dollars that Idaho gets back for every dollar put in, considering its 1.5M population as compared to the big states like CA, NY, TX,FL IL, etc., the amount is pocket change. Yes, pocket change, doled out to the hinterlands,for things like a national nuclear laboratory, and a little missile defense. You really need to consider the fact that it is in those state where the big businesses are, and the really wealthy taxpayers with higher income brackets, that wind up giving the money out. There is no IBM, Boeing, Amazon, GM, JPMorgan, Bank of America or Lockheed Martin or GE in Idaho).

                Yours is such a bogus argument it doesn’t deserve a more detailed response. Except that ID doesn’t actually receive a $2/1, and they are not, to my knowledge even in the top 10 states that receive more than they get.

                ++The IDFG “philosophical” decision to only permit a token population of wolves is absurd…++

                Absurd, because you say it is? They are meeting their legal obligation under the ESA. Sort of like Montsanto Chemical company only has to meet minimum wastewater discharge requirements on its NPDES permit, even though it still might not be good for aquatic life in a receiving stream. There is a real absurdity.

              • Elk375 says:

                ++Wilderness hunting was never threatened by wolves. Just because you might have to work a little harder in some places and actually “hunt” an elk rather than idly blasting one, doesn’t mean wolves have ruined it for you.++

                The only time one idly blasts away hunting elk is opening morning and maybe several days after. One of the problems with wolves and outfitters is that wolves will move into a valley and the elk will leave that valley. If the outfitter’s Forest Service assign permitted area does not encompass the elk’s new location then the outfitter and client will not be able to move to new location where the elk are. The average wilderness hunt is now 6 days and if the one has to hunt harder they must hunt longer. Time is a problem for most Americans these days including you.

                I have seen this in Alaska where the air charter drops off a group of hunters and wolves move in and the moose leave. The foot hunters are not able to move with the moose. One does not want to shoot a moose more that 1/2 mile from camp. It takes 10 loads at 60 pounds to pack out a bull moose, at 1/2 mile that is a 10 mile pack both ways. The moose hunt that was planned for over one year becomes a camping trip.

                ++People like you have about ruined all the “wild” left in the west++, no that is not right. People like you have about ruined all the “wild” in the west. Over fifty years ago our family had a cabin 10 mile south of Red Lodge, Montana and 2 miles north of the switchbacks. The Lake Fork of Rock Creek ran into Rock Creek and I fished twice a day sometimes going up the Lake Fork Trail into the Beartooth Wilderness. Ten years old, a sack lunch and into the wilderness fishing I went. In those days there was no more than 2 or 3 cars at the trailhead all with Montana plates today there are 20 to 30 cars at the trailhead with over half the plates out of state. It is the number of people who are taking the wild out of the “west”.

                I hope within the next few years to return to Torres Del Paine in Chile and hike the “W” for the third time, it has been nine years since I lasted hiked it. I have reports that the trail traffic has increased multiple times in those years. New buildings and new shelters have been constructed to handle the hikers. Some of the wildness must have gone with the increase of people.

              • rork says:

                Elk: I hunt and fish and visit wilderness and I feel zero pity for the guides. I know it’s legal, as is guiding groups of backpackers, but folks extracting money from wilderness are not my friends. I’m greedy – want it for myself or young people like I was – just to perceive it. I don’t feel bad if hunting is tougher or if the trails aren’t good enough to jog on (some place with heavy use need good trails to protect the land though – bummer). Like cold winters, it keeps the riff-raff away. As more folks visit or fish we are gonna have to tread more lightly, make our resting spots more invisible, and maybe kill few or no fish (and work on having less people). I have my personal desires but the land comes first.

              • White Pine says:


                you said it all with your support of the IDFG’s hiring a private trapper/hunter to exterminate wolf packs deep in the frank church. Your Monsanto example speaks volumes as well, way to stick up for the native wildlife, agriculture and people of this nation. I really don’t care how dependent Idaho is on other states. Just recognize this is the “UINTED” states of America and it’s citizens should have a say and their opinions should be respected.


                those comments were addressed to “logan” not you. You said it all as well with your whining about outfitter’s and “their” supposed valleys that they own/operate out of. Oh no “elk” the wolves make ungulates move and then thye might not be in the valley the outfitters are squatting in with their wall tents. It was outiftters who sponsored the wolf derby in Salmon. Poor old timer, how dare those “out of states” use the public lands surrounding the GYE. I mean you’ve been lucky enough to grow up there, but you obviously don’t want to share the sandbox with anyone else. Your ludicrous claim that human recreation is the cause for the decline of native wildlife is not true and you have no facts or links to back it up. The livestock industry, hobby trappers, outfitters, wildlife services and mining have caused the most damage.

                You two are seriously out of touch and down right pathetic. Keep shoveling crap and I might have to comment more often.

              • White Pine says:


    • Louise Kane says:

      The argument that WM makes (i.e)states have a right to manage their wildlife will prevail, with few exceptions, until federal legislation is passed that prevents the kind of reckless killing that currently passes as predator management. It’s the argument I hate most. It’s legal so they have a right to do it. Wildlife managers understand that many species of wildlife do not appreciate borders and that in order to eat, hunt, and reproduce they must travel and populate new habitats. Yet, the state agencies provide virtually no protected wildlife corridors or habitats that are free from hunting. From an ecosystem perspective, it seems ignorant and archaic to think in terms of individual states managing populations of wild animals that need large tracts of land to survive or that are migratory and territorial. In the case of wolves and other species, a national carnivore conservation act could address these issues and protect the large carnivores that are most at risk from state management programs that are directed at keeping their numbers at bare minimum instead of encouraging healthy growth and migration into areas that could support new populations. Killing wild predators for trophy hunting and or out of hysteria will not end until a federal law changes that. I think with the right attention and lobbying this could happen, albeit with an extraordinary effort. It won’t be easy but most legislation that has been successful at protecting classes of people, animals or natural resources was not simple, straightforward or without pain. It seems like as a nation we have to make a decision about whether we want irresponsible, biased state management agencies managing big game parks or a federal scheme that might allow for some protected wilderness and national park areas and protection for wild predators so that they can exist in densities other than as a token presence. It blows my mind that humans can be so stupid, short-sighted, thoughtless and inhumane even when faced with evidence that their actions have little merit or justification.

      • rork says:

        ” It’s the argument I hate most. It’s legal so they have a right to do it.”
        That sounds like you hate the truth. WM’s is not prone to confusing what is with what ought to be. That’s the point: the law or it’s interpretation would have to change – and you apparently agree with that.

        • Louise Kane says:

          I do think the laws have to change as I have stated many times. When they don’t serve the general public, favor special interest groups, ignore polls and even their own comments and rule making process, squander public trust resources and generally disregard research that indicates that beneficial trophic cascade effects do occur in areas where predators are present then yes the laws should change. and I do hate that hiding behind its legal makes it right

        • Louise Kane says:

          Rork you conveniently ignored one of the points I was trying to make….just because something is legal doesn’t mean it makes sense or is defensible from a scientific, moral or sometimes even legal perspective. I know you understand this but it’s so much easier to throw some derogatory remark out there like “sounds like you hate the truth”. The point of the post being that federal legislation to protect predators make sense in light of current and state management practices of predators.

          • rork says:

            I took your original post to be talking about “rights”, but now you’re trying to change that to “correct”?

  19. snaildarter says:

    I’m not buying this current wolf hate thing as being a holdover from some historical or primeval fear of wolves. This is typical rightwing hysterical rhetoric being pushed by a few on the many through the media and talk radio. Most Americans like wildlife especially large predators.
    Over the weekend I heard the Farm Bureaus political briefing for Congress and it was downright scary they are diametrically opposed to almost everything I believe in. T

    • TW Howard says:

      Today, on the wolf survey team radio a request came in for more radio collars because the young wolves had formed a new pack in the Fall Creek drainage next to Jackson Hole. This is pack number 6 in my small area.

      Nobody disputes the fact that there many more wolves than the original agreements provided. This movement has created its own plantation and economic engine. After 20 million dollars spent and an expected more than 2 million dollars a year into the foreseeable future, please eliminate all wolf regulation and expenditures. Put 5 million into a trust fund to import fresh breeding stock if in the most highly unlikely scenario that the number of breeding pairs falls below 125 percent of the original agreements. By comparison how many anti-poaching game wardens would 20 million dollars hire in Africa where conservation could see a real return on investment.

  20. jon says:

    I think in the end, this proposal is going nowhere. Did anyone else remember that bill Jeff Siddoway tried to introduced? He got pushback for his extreme anti-wolf bill that would use dogs as bait to kill wolves and people higher up told him his bill might end up putting the wolves back on the endangered species list, so he pulled his bill. No question you have people over there in Idaho maybe from the fish and game telling these extreme legislators this proposal could very well put the wolves back on the endangered species list.

  21. Logan says:

    Even in yellowstone national park wolf numbers have declined by nearly 50% since 2007. This due to disease and in the case of northern packs, the lack of prey since elk herds have declined 70% since wolf introduction.

    • Louise Kane says:

      you don’t think killing wolves just outside the border contributes to the decline?

      • Logan says:

        The decline in yellowstone wolves from the peak number of 174 in 2007 to 124 wolves in 2008 occured before hunting season were allowed. By 2009 it had dropped 97.

        So now that hunting seasons are in full swing that certainly will contribute to losses to packs that primary range in the park but when a nearly 50% decline has already happened prior to the hunts I can’t see how we can pin it on hunting.

        Just like how pro-wolf groups like to point out that the selway elk herd was already in decline before wolf introduction so it is obviously not the wolves fault likewise the wolf decline in yellowstone was in decline prior to hunting so therefore it is not huntings fault.

        • Louise Kane says:

          I thought the population declines were somewhat cyclical…I would think hunting wolves nearly year round will certainly not allow them to recover as they might have normally even under severe weather conditions, lack of prey or other conditions that would contribute to mortality. Someone just posted here recently (Leslie) about the changes in wolf sightings that have occurred post delisting…perhaps she could comment with more authority.

          • JB says:

            I may be able to help here. I think there’s a fundamental incompatibility with the type of wildlife management hunters want (i.e., consistently high populations of game, with steady harvest) and the desires of others to let ecological processes play out. In the ‘real world’ populations of a particular species are governed by a variety of factors that are not static, but rather, are constantly changing. In this world it is fine for populations to run in cycles, and temporary crashes as well as temporary overabundance, are the norm. However, in the managed world, these types of fluctuations bring great heartache to agencies and accusations of mismanagement. ‘Why isn’t deer harvest this year as good as last year?’, some hunters cry. ‘It must me mismanagement!!’ (I was recently assured by one state DoW official that this is the third time [in the past 2 decades] that Ohio DoW has ‘killed all the deer’). There’s a fundamental difference of philosophy at play here. Do we manage populations for maximum sustained yield, or allow them to fluctuate naturally?

            • rork says:

              I like that one.
              I do worry that without cycles (I’m thinking deer in MI with predator insufficiency, hare in Maine, grouse many places) that the plant communities will be altered permanently, unless we expend pretty huge effort, and it may in fact be futile. Trillium grandiflorum (and others) may only exist in captivity near me soon. Maybe ungulates could be kept at close to steady state, but only at levels perhaps 30-50% lower than my DNR has yet imagined. I am hoping for young biologists to speak truth rather than harsh doses of reality. Maybe the horsemen of the deerpocalypse (food and cover damage, winter, disease) will cause a crash anyway, despite our efforts. Around great lakes, we might be in for a stern lecture from nature this winter.

              • Immer Treue says:

                The lecture is all but over, and the only thing that can interfere with that metaphorical snowball rolling down the hill is the bell ringing, heralding a very early Spring.

        • Ida Lupines says:

          I don’t think people should be hunting/deliberately targeting wolves around the national parks, especially if they are already in decline. Just why is hunting necessary then, in that case?

          I can tolerate some hunting, but I think it is extremely selfish to persist in an activity that is damaging to the environment, and expect to be able to manipulate wildlife and the environment to modern human timetables and limitations, or to try to tailor-make the environment by removing any obstacles such as wildlife! If that trip you planned for a year doesn’t get you an elk, them’s the breaks, for most people.

          If it were me, if my activities harmed the environment or wildlife, or just were no longer available as they once were, I’d accept the reality of that and I’d give them up if necessary. The environment and wildlife themselves would be more important than my selfish needs.

  22. Richie G. says:

    Let me make a couple of comments it is physiology plays a big part in this. First the newest Bourne Legacy one part shows him fighting with a wolf they make the wolf out to be like a lion who kills. Nest the other picture with a famous actor whose plane goes down and fights with a pack of wolves. I did not watch the picture because it is bull. Now my other points about hunters and other sports. In car racing it’s man and his machine and a probability of the man getting hurt is a big probability. Same in football , and most sports. Now hunting for a Trophy man and his machine against a living creature which he knows it’s actions. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel. Makes me sick makes them feel powerful like Obama said once got him in trouble in PA. I do not want to take your bibles and guns away from you. I assume many of these people are poor so it makes them feel they have power over something. One other thing like in the city when a pit bull attacks a person cops shot them dead then ask questions it is part fear too. I would say their is no one reason why people hate wolves, they like to see them in pain in a trap why ? Many years ago their was a program on how convicts who escape run to the wilderness to hide this is something to think about too. I know I put a lot out their ,but I do love the wolf and all wildlife !


January 2014


‎"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

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