Faced with looming court challenge, Idaho halts unprecedented program

POCATELLO, ID — Faced with a looming deadline to defend its actions before a federal appeals court, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) announced this afternoon that it is halting its wolf extermination program in the Middle Fork region of the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness as of today.

The announcement represents a stay of execution for the remaining wolves that constitute the Golden Creek and Monumental Creek wolf packs, which inhabit the Middle Fork region. To date, nine wolves from the two packs have been killed by IDFG’s hired hunter-trapper, who entered the wilderness and began his wolf extermination program in mid-December. It is unknown how many wolves remain in the two packs.

“IDFG’s hunter-trapper killed nine wolves and we are happy to report that the rest no longer face the same threat,” said Earthjustice attorney Tim Preso. “We are sorry it took an emergency injunction request to the court of appeals to get Idaho to halt this illegal program, and we hope that the federal government in the future will take more seriously its public trust responsibility to protect the wilderness from state efforts to exterminate native wildlife.”

IDFG’s action comes in the midst of an emergency proceeding before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in which conservationists were seeking an injunction to halt the wolf extermination program. The conservationists, represented by Earthjustice, sued IDFG and the U.S. Forest Service earlier this month, arguing that the state wolf extermination program would degrade the largest forested wilderness in the lower-48 states. After a federal judge in Idaho rejected a request to stop the program on January 17, the conservationists took their fight to the court of appeals, where they filed an emergency request for an injunction on January 23.
IDFG is halting trapping in the Middle Fork starting today and the trapper will take a few days to remove traps and snares from the area. Additional trapping in the area will cease, at least through the end of the state fiscal year, which is June 30.

“This is bittersweet news,” said Ken Cole with the Western Watersheds Project. “I am happy that IDFG has relented but it is unfortunate that so many wolves have been taken in this senseless plan to manhandle wildlife in an area that Congress recognized as a wilderness ‘where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man'”

In mid-December 2013, IDFG hired a hunter-trapper to pack into central Idaho’s 2.4-million-acre Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness to eradicate two wolf packs, the Golden and Monumental packs, in the interest of inflating elk populations for outfitters and recreational hunters. The U.S. Forest Service, which administers the wilderness, approved the extermination program by authorizing use of a Forest Service cabin and airstrip to support wolf extermination activities.

“It’s a tragedy that nine wolves had to die before the state of Idaho finally pulled the plug on its needless effort to eradicate two whole wolf packs from one of America’s largest wilderness areas,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director with the Center for Biological Diversity. “The wolves were only playing the role they play in nature and should never have been killed. It should not take court action to stop such cruel, unnecessary and wasteful killing, but I’m glad it has stopped.”

The region of the Frank Church Wilderness where IDFG’s hunter-trapper was killing wolves is a remote area around Big Creek and the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. Even though this region hosts one of the lightest densities of hunters in the state, IDFG prioritized elk production over protection of the area’s wilderness character. The Forest Service failed to object to IDFG’s plans and instead actively assisted them.

Earthjustice represented long-time Idaho conservationist and wilderness advocate Ralph Maughan along with four conservation groups—Defenders of Wildlife, Western Watersheds Project, Wilderness Watch, and the Center for Biological Diversity—in the lawsuit challenging the wolf extermination program.

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.

255 Responses to State-Sponsored Wolf Killing Ends in Idaho

  1. Zoe Berger says:

    Will wonders never cease. I still wish someone was watching what he is doing. He still has a few days to get his traps out of there… But, this is great news. Hooray!

    • LM says:

      Ralph said Isaac Babcock had identified the trapper in a photo. Wonder if Isaac will be able to give us information on the status of the remaining wolves ?

  2. Ida Lupines says:

    Yes, good news. Get out of the Frank Church!

  3. Yvette says:

    Nine senseless deaths. Think how those deaths have affected the hierarchy and structure of these packs. And for what? Spite? I’m glad this order is over for the time being.

    Good work, you guys.

    • ramses09 says:

      I believe as you do Ida. As far as the packs hierarchy & how it will affect these 2 packs. I to, am very happy it’s over, but it’s a very bittersweet ending. 9 wolves & do we even know if that is the right #. 9 wolves were killed for greed & hatred ~ 9 senseless murders.


  4. jon says:

    More than 9 wolves would have been killed if Ralph, ken, and other pro-wildlife groups didn’t intervene and try to get this wolf killing stopped, so all of these people and groups should receive a big thank you.

    • Yvette says:

      Yes, and if I didn’t give my thank you in my post I’m doing it now. Thank you to Ken, Ralph and the non-profits involved in getting this stopped.

  5. Jimmy says:

    We should commence a wrongful death suit for those poor 9 victims. Why were/are we allowing ANY wildlife to be killed – especially if they are/were an endangered species! Let’s hope this sets a new precedent.

  6. jon says:


    “This is just another example of Idaho’s unwillingness to manage wolves as a wildlife species,” said Jonathan Proctor, a Defenders of Wildlife spokesman in Denver. “They’re singling out wolves for special persecution. The majority of Idahoans expect state managers to manage all wildlife appropriately and not exterminate them to the bare minimum they think they can get away with.”

  7. Rita k Sharpe says:

    Good work everyone and a heartful thank you.

  8. Elk375 says:

    ++IDFG is halting trapping in the Middle Fork starting today and the trapper will take a few days to remove traps and snares from the area. Additional trapping in the area will cease, at least through the end of the state fiscal year, which is June 30.++

    Additional trapping: is the IDFG going to shut wolf trapping in the Middle Fork are or are “Free Trappers” going to be able to continue trapping. It is interesting to note that in the Bob Marshall Wilderness (wolf hunting area 150, Montana) no wolves have been trapped or shot this year.

    • jon says:

      How big is the bmw elk?

      • Elk375 says:

        Two to three million acres plus area 150 would encompass non wilderness areas but I think that area 150 is west of the continental divide and would not include the BMW east of the divide.

        • Kristi says:

          Wildlife Services usually does the trapping and killing on the eastern front of The Bob. MFWP doesn’t record them in the hunting or trapping season. Last year Wildlife Services killed 108 wolves in addition to the ones killed by hunters and trappers.

          • Ida Lupines says:

            This is something that Americans need to be made more aware of. This agency kills enough wildlife without the additional free-for-all that’s been going on. It’s an unhealthy obsession and the people are going to wise up about how their tax money I s being mishandled on both the state and federal level because of a few.

    • Louise Kane says:

      To add to elk’s comment
      are there guidelines in place should the trapper discover more wolves caught in traps, as he removes the traplines? is he directed to free the wolves? Is that possible?

      are there any actions that can still be taken against IDFG for the wolves already killed?

      Like others, I thank you Ralph and Ken. It must be very bittersweet moment for you. To be able to halt the killing but not in time to prevent 9 members of the packs from being slaughtered. It seems very rare that wolves or their advocates ever win a hand. Thank you again

      • Ralph Maughan says:

        It is bittersweet for me, because Idaho government is quickly going from bad to worse in almost every aspect of life. The Republican Party here is driven by complete ideologues from the Tea Party and elsewhere and by rural elites who have a view of politics, the economy and society out of the early 20th Century and before. The wolf issue for them is a way for powerful ranchers to settle scores and keep the deliberately downtrodden common folks of Idaho from watching what they do in the Statehouse. In other words, wolf killing is in part a diversionary issue.

        • Ida Lupines says:

          Yes, I was happy that this has been stopped, but it is upsetting to see what’s been happening in this part of the country and across the nation generally.

        • Yvette says:

          “In other words, wolf killing is in part a diversionary issue.”

          I never thought of that. It’s good that you guys are local to the action, because you have insight beyond the passion to simply protect the wildlands and its inhabitants.

        • Immer Treue says:

          Government needs to get back to the idea of running the country, not ruining, or allowing others to ruin it. I’m all for free enterprise, but disaster is looming in the upper Midwest due to propane shortages. It’s been a perfect storm in regard to what has caused the shortages, but instead of politicians playing chess by selectively kissing asses to get re-elected, perhaps they should become more focused on playing the chess game of foresight in the states in which they were elected to prevent what has been escalating in regard to propane. A disaster for many that, with foresight, could have been avoided.

          There was a time in the late seventies, where Chicago was buried in snow, and all but came to a standstill for lack of a coordinated snow removal system. I believe the Mayors name was Bilandic, and it eventually cost him his job.

          Full circle back to Ralph’s comment. Mitch McConnell made the infamous comment after the midterm election during Obama’s first term that went something like,”our job is now to make sure Obama is only a one term president”. No, your job, and the job of all politicians is to run the country.

          Sorry for the rant, as it’s not about wildlife, but does tie in a bit with what Ralph wrote.

        • IDhiker says:

          Interesting what you say, Ralph, about Idaho government. My brother is a professor at Boise State and a big-time hunter. He is neither pro nor anti-wolf, has married into a ranching family, and he totally agrees with your assessment.

  9. Ralph and all others involved with the lawsuit.
    THANK YOU!!!!!!!!

    Now we need to get the idiotic $2,000,000 wolf extermination bill stopped in the Idaho legislature.

  10. rick says:

    Excellent work on stopping this ignorant killing. The unfortunate thing is that these packs have been devastated. Being the middle of the winter, it may turn out that none of the remaining wolves of either of these packs can survive. Idaho’s management of wolves is based on ignorance and politics.

  11. Thank God! I really appreciate what you have done guys. Good job. I wonder if there are at least one mature male and female left in either of these two packs to possibly procreate and nurture new pups this year. Only time will tell.

    I believe that when Judge Lodge turned down the original request for an emergency injunction, he did so on the grounds that all the Frank’s wolves were not going to be exterminated. I hope that in any future court cases like this one,pro-wolf attorneys will emphasize the importance of the social networks that are necessary for a pack’s integrity and long term viability. That argument might obviate Lodge’s reasoning to justify his illogical decision. In other words, cut him off at the pass.

  12. Chris Harbin says:

    Yes, Thank you Ralph and all those who took this to the appeals court.

  13. Immer Treue says:

    Thanks Ralph, Ken, and all involved in putting a halt to what amounted to nothing more than frivolous killing,

  14. ramses09 says:

    A BIG Thank You to all that worked hard & didn’t give up. I appreciate it with ALL of my heart. Wolves are such a special piece of wildlife. They are @ the core of my heart, along with horses. I love all animals/wildlife & I hate to see such ignorance, hatred, & abuse thrown on these creatures.

  15. Joanne Favazza says:

    A big thanks to everyone who put a stop this senseless killing. May the nine wolves that lost their lives rest in peace, and may the remaining pack members not only survive, but thrive.

  16. Barb Rupers says:

    Wonderful news and thanks so much for all your efforts.

    I have camped several times at the confluence of Big Creek and the MF Salmon in the Frank Church Wilderness; always hoped to see or hear wolves there.

  17. RdeCampo says:

    Thank you Earthjustice and other conservation groups for temporarily stopping such extermination measures. And what happens after June 30? All “in the interest of inflating elk populations for outfitters and recreational hunters”?? So Idaho wants to kill more of one species so they can more easily kill more of another species? Pretty sad logic…
    And the Governor wants to spend $2M to kill 500 more??
    This mentality is very confusing to me and my son, whose favorite animal is … you guessed it!
    Thank you all for standing up for wolves, who can withstand the rigors of life in the wild, but not government-funded exterminators.

  18. Pamela Mahrouch says:

    Way to go for all of you who made it possible to stop the killing of any wolves. It really angers me that the only reason they are using to justify killing wolves at all is the fact that the wolves interfere with hunters hunting down elk for sport or pleasure. Wolves hunt for food and the way I look at it as long as they are only killing for food and not killing people or farm animals they should be left alone. Wolves have a hard enough time surviving without greedy hunters, hunting them for sport or killing them so they can have more elk or other animals for sport, these people should be ashamed of themselves.

  19. Ida Lupines says:

    It really does go without saying, but I do greatly thank Ralph, Ken and others for challenging these wolf and other wildlife policies as well. Thank you!

  20. A tremendous applause to all that rallied and fought to see this injustice stop. Tragically, at least 9 wolves unnecessarily lost their lives to traps and snares and who knows how many other species this trapper caught, purposefully, indiscriminately,killed and profited from all on our tax dollars.

  21. rork says:

    I’ll thank somebody if they can show cause and effect rather than just claim it.
    Party on meanwhile.

    • Louise Kane says:

      do you think IDFG just stopped the killing because they had a change of heart? more likely faced with lawsuit and the fact that they already slaughtered 9 wolves they could stop without losing too much face with the anti wolf zealots, trophy hunters and guides. Its still a forced hand and without the lawsuit they probably would have rocked (hmm killed) on.

  22. Karen DeBraal says:

    It is interesting to note that this unreachable trapper has been reached.

  23. WM says:

    Not to spoil the party here, but what does IDFG’s decision to temporarily halt the wolf removal in the Frank by a trapper really do? Faced with a tight deadline to brief a complex topic to the most liberal (and overturned by the Supremes by the way) court in the 12 region national appellate system, IDFG may have just decided to live to fight another day. This is a legal issue that affects every state and state wildlife agency in the country that could be doing work in designated Wilderness.

    Did this withdrawl resolve the underlying legal issue? The answer is no.

    Will it come up again? Maybe, and it may not be just in ID. It could be in MT, WY, WA, OR, MN, UT, CO, NM, AZ or any state where wolves make their living in designated wilderness (outside national parks). I already know for a fact that state wildlife agencies have identified this as a matter needing a legislative solution. This litigation is one more talking point for them, and I bet it comes up at the next state wildlife agency conferences. The Western States agencies (17 states) meets in July. Wanna bet this is somewhere on the agenda?

    • Rita k Sharpe says:

      I won’t bet for I am almost certain it will be brought up.

    • Ken Cole says:

      Are you insinuating that plaintiffs shouldn’t have filed a challenge to this?

      • Rita k Sharpe says:

        No, Ken, on the contrary, I am glad that the plaintiffs did, but I do not think it is over. I guess/fear ,they will get some bill passed to get their objective accomplished. Nothing comes easy or without a fight.

      • WM says:


        Since your comment was directed to me, the answer depends mostly on what kind of short and/or long-term outcome you hoped for. You probably talked this over with counsel and your fellow plaintiffs at the time you made your decision (or at least I hope it was discussed).

        Here are some of the things the suit carried forward did/would do:
        1. Draw public attention to what IDFG was doing
        2. Maybe save individual wolves while the matter was being litigated, including a TRO/injunction while the judge sorted things out
        3. Call attention to what might be conflicting federal law
        4. Draw support to get the laws changed to clarify the “sanctity of designated Wilderness” (or not).
        5. Advance the ball, so to speak, on seeking public input into what could be classified as routine state wildlife management on federal lands, by setting a precedent of requiring special use permits and TIME CONSUMING public input (under forest plans, NEPA, etc.) (or not).
        6. Call attention to the breadth (or limits) of forest plans, and the raise the possibility planners were pushing the boundaries of( or exceeding) their authority when preparing management/wilderness management plans by setting up processes/ details/ hoops for state agencies to jump thru which are required by law (or not).

        To achieve litigation objectives means taking risks. A bad result, for example, on the merits, and the judge and the 9th could leave no doubt the savings clauses control. Then you are in deep doodoo, possibly in all states which would consider wilderness control, unless the law is changed. You accomplished 1, 2 and 3. Whether you get the outcome you hope for on 4 thru 6 are not yet determined, but they are now on the radar of those who could affect their fate, even if they were not before (good or bad). I could imagine a memo from somebody high up in USDA/FS saying maybe we better go back and see if we need to re-evaluate wilderness policy where states are concerned. I happen to believe the forest plans were a little sloppy/ambiguous regarding whether any of this stuff applies to state agencies I nthe first place, or whether they apply only to federal agencies or private third parties wanting to do something.

    • Fifty people stood up in a meeting with the IDF&G a week ago and expressed their opposition to wolf trapping in the Frank Church. Faced with the lawsuit along with the public pressure against killing the wolves, the IDF&G blinked.
      They need to be made to blink again and again until are afraid to open their eyes.

  24. Ann Frances says:

    Great news

  25. Marion A. says:

    More extermination programs by the US Fish and Game, USDA WS, DEC should face challenges including their present plan to wipe out every mute swan in the state of NY. These rogue agencies know the average american isn’t paying attention to what is going on with wildlife and they are acting like wildlife thugs to keep and increase funding and other ulterior motives.

  26. Wolvesarebeautiful says:

    When my Savior Jesus Christ returns there will be no more cruel killing of animals, trophy hunting and habitat destruction. I am looking forward to that day and I prayerfully hope it is very soon.

  27. Logan says:

    First off, I sincerely hope that Gov. Otters plan to establish a “Wolf Control Board” does not get the support it needs because it will ultimately backfire on Idaho and result in re-listing and complete loss of control.

    At the risk of igniting a storm of hatred towards myself I will press on with my next comment. I have read through many discussion on this topic and although I often disagree with the many ideas expressed I have not yet expressed a hateful attitude towards anyone.

    I do not have any issue with IDFG sending a trapper to cull those wolves. I do hunt in the Frank Church Wilderness and it is an experience unlike any other area that I have hunted. I would like my sons to be able to have the same experiences in a few more years when they are old enough to join me. Limiting wolf numbers to ensure that elk remain at a huntable population is important to me. I don’t own any land, all of my hunting and fishing occurs in wilderness areas, roadless areas and National Forest. My preferences run in that order so that I can avoid the crowds, the atvs and find some solitude. If wolves are to be completely protected on all federal land (and it is clear to me that most on this site won’t be satisfied with just banning hunting in wilderness areas but want to expand to all federal land) where do I go?

    I realize that many of you don’t care where I go and would prefer I never hunt another day in my life. Hunting is a big part of my life, to me it is not about murdering for sport and I have never beat my chest and shouted how big of a man I am for killing an innocent animal contrary to how many here percieve hunters. Imagine removing an integral part of your lifestyle how it would be to see it vanish and your children never grow to understand your passions. It is become clear to me that what the pro-wolf crowd is after is not the recovery of wolves or any other animal but primarily the elimination hunting and ultimately human involvement completely.

    Tell me what is wrong with managing our wildlife resources to allow for both consumptive and non-consumptive use? When you go to the Frank this year to backpack and enjoy the area will it be any less wild to you?

    I do not try to force anyone to hunt and so it seems unreasonable to me that anyone would try to force me to not hunt.

    If you have made it this far I thank you for reading through my entire post and I appreciate replies from those who have the ability to understand both sides of this issue and possess the ability to compromise.

    • john philip says:

      Thank you Ralph, et al for all of your efforts. Logan, I have no objection to most hunting except for predator control. I certainly have no objection to you and yours elk hunting anywhere – let alone a wilderness area. I treasure the memories of hunting with my father as a youngster. But the wolves belong, expecially in a wilderness area. The wolves, the elk, the deer and the lion will sort this out. I doubt very much that the elk will be exterminated, though the hunting may well get harder. The fact that IDFG finds it necessary to hire a trapper to exterminate two entire packs – essentially for the convenience of hunters but also for political expedience – disgusts me. A float trip down the Middle Fork has been at the top of my list for years. No more.

    • JEFF E says:

      there are a small minority here that are trying to ban hunting, which unfortunately tend to be the ones that take up the most bytes. Unfortunately you fell into there trap and started to engage them and quickly found out that are for most part one trick ponies with hardly any real knowledge of the subject matter and in the case of one or two, have not found the way out of there mom’s basement to see what the real world is. Unfortunately, I don’t see you as staying around here long as there will be very little conversation that would be what you would hope for. Pity.

    • rork says:

      ” If wolves are to be completely protected on all federal land (and it is clear to me that most on this site won’t be satisfied with just banning hunting in wilderness areas but want to expand to all federal land) ”
      Baloney. The issue here wasn’t even about wolf hunting in the Church – that’s legal and unchallenged.

      “It is become clear to me that what the pro-wolf crowd is after is not the recovery of wolves or any other animal but primarily the elimination hunting and ultimately human involvement completely.”
      More baloney. You are taking a few extreme individuals, and generalizing that the whole crowd is like that. Are you and White Pine gonna have straw man construction tournaments here?

      Managing wildlife is OK, even necessary sometimes. The question is how, where. Wolf extermination programs in the Church seem too heavy handed to many people is all.

      • White Pine says:


        Forgive me Rork if I don’t put up with Logan’s conspiracies that wolve’s are going “ultimately human involvement completely”. These conspiracies he’s throwing out are beyond even the usual “wolves are going to end hunting” This person “Logan” is posting the most ridiculous comments I’ve ever seen on this site.

        Honestly I don’t enjoy commenting, it’s gets me all riled up. With “Logan” I had to break my typical silence.

        Be vewy, vewy quiet….i’m hunting trolls.

        • White Pine says:

          *going to end

          • Logan says:

            White Pine, I am not trying to be inflamatory or a conspiracy theorist, I apologize if my comment appeared that way. I try to keep my comments short (though I sometimes fail)and the result is often taken out of context. Let me try to clarify the points you raised.

            Many comments on this and previous threads express the opinion that hunters need to accept that wolves will now manage ungulate populations even if that means there aren’t enough elk for both man and wolf and then the wolf should recieve priority and human hunting seasons end. That isn’t conspiracy it is the general opinion I see expressed in these type of discussions. My opinion is that with some predator control we can continue to have wolves and we can continue to have huntable numbers of elk.

            Also let me clarify my statement that the end goal appears to be the end of human involvement. The arguement that wolves restore a natural envirionment is often used on this and other sites. I recently asked some pro-wolf supporters for the definition of “natural environment” because in my opinion man has always been a part of the natural environment along with wolves. The responses were that “natural” means the absence of man and many were very passionate is their goal of establishing “natural” environments. I countered that if that is truly what people want, an absence of man, then we will have to give up even backpacking in wilderness because our mere presence destroys the “natural environment” by their definition. My opinion is that since humans have been a part of North American environments for the at least 15,000 years (and perhaps much longer)it is perfectly acceptable to have continued human presence either as observers or hunters without it degrading the qualities that make our wilderness areas.

            • Ida Lupines says:

              I don’t agree. Human presence was much smaller thousands of years ago, and people needed to hunt to survive. Different cultures had different viewpoints about the wilderness – native peoples incorporated it and accepted it, colonists wanted to subdue it and conquer it. People take much, much more than they need in the present, and today are not a natural part of the environment at all. Many people have forgotten nature and don’t know much about it anymore, nor are they interested.

              Hikers and backpackers by sheer number do present some degradation of the environment it is true, but they are not killing wildlife and removing them from the landscape permanently. Big difference.

              • Ida Lupines says:

                Not that I couldn’t accept (limited) hunting, but talk about restraint, there is none with human behavior. People are not entitled to elk.

                Case in point, this show of killing wolves simply as a state vs. Federal power play has been disgraceful, and talk of parasitic supporting livelihoods by killing wildlife is not only ridiculous but not realistic and doomed to fail eventually.

            • White Pine says:


              The wolves are not going to eat all the elk in Idaho, it’s a freaking elk farm. Your fantasies about there being no elk for humans to hunt in Idaho is absolutely not based in reality.

              I’m not even going to bother to go into any more detail.

              You need to just stop.

              • Cobra1 says:

                White Pine,
                Yes there are elk for us to hunt in Idaho but it is far from being an elk farm. Our seasons have been cut quite a bit since the wolves were brought in.
                I don’t mind the wolves, kind of like hearing them howl. They have screwed me on many hunts the last few years and that gets kind of frustrating, but, we just hunt harder and different areas trying to find an area without wolves. That to is becoming more difficult. As far as sending a trapper into the Frank I’m not sure how I feel about it. From what I’ve read the elk population in that area is down over 40%. If that is the case then it may have been needed to boost calf populations in the spring. If elk numbers are down that much it would not of helped the wolves either, especially going into the pup season.
                Sometimes by managing populations of animals we can stay away from boom or bust cycles that are all to common in fish and wildlife populations.

              • White Pine says:


                Your throwing out many of the same arguments. Only with human intervention can prevent these supposed extreme boom and bust cycles. Population ebb and flow is a part of nature, and your not going to change that with your rifle.

                Where did you read about your elk calf rearing down 40%? Got any links?

                The IDFG themselves said the decision to send in a trapper to the frank church was “philosophical” and not based in science.
                You are an extremist IF you support remote wilderness, wolf pack extermination. (which is not based on science)

              • Cobra1 says:

                White Pine,
                That article was in the Spokane Paper this past week in the outdoor section.
                Seems like anyone that does not agree with you is an extremist.
                I didn’t say anything about pack extermination. I believe ebb and flow populations are somewhat different than boom or bust cycles.

    • The IDF&G has turned Idaho into an elk farm. Elk. Bighorn Sheep suffer when elk crowd them off of high ridges in the winter.
      http://www.larrythorngren.com/images/Bighorn_Sheep/Gallery.asp The world class Bighorn Rams that I photograph in Alberta get this big because of the pressure on the large numbers of elk in the area by the local wolf pack.
      Wolves in the Frank Church will help the Bighorns there by keeping the elk from congregating on the Bighorn’s winter range.

      • Elk375 says:

        A big horn sheep tag is a once in a life time opportunity, elk hunting is an annual event. Where I hunt sheep, the Beartooths,. elk have not pushed any sheep off of there winter range. Each are is different.

    • Immer Treue says:

      In the past, there was an awful lot of anti-hunting ragging on this site. To be honest, I’ve seen very little of that, comparatively, lately.
      No need to be so defensive, share your thoughts and experiences. Try and avoid pissing matches.

      I almost responded a couple times to you, but in reading your posts, sometimes twice, you present a balanced viewpoint. Kind of the middle of the road approach that will be necessary for all the antagonistic attitude towards wolves, and for that matter, ethical hunters to blow away like the lint on both sides of the issues that continues to perpetuate the situation.

      • Logan says:


        I appreciate your restraint and ability to see from anothers point of view. I agree that the comments I refered to were not so much anit-hunting as there were pro-wolf at the expense of human hunting.

    • White Pine says:


      No one is trying to end wilderness hunting or all hunting on public lands. Your comments are delusional, paranoid and fit the mold for many right wing hunters. This article has nothing to do with hunting. Just because your have these unjustified fears that your kids wont be able to bag an elk in the frank church you want to exterminate wolf packs and pretend like your hunting in wild country.

      You sir are the biggest threat to hunting with your conspiratory, anti-predator stances.

      • White Pine says:

        It amazes me how people coddle folk’s like Logan who agreed 100% with IDFG’s wolf extermination program.

        People like Logan don’t deserve respect when they show none towards native wildlife.

        This guy “Logan” is throwing out the same old conspiracy theories that wolves are going to end hunting on all public lands.

        Just give it a rest “Logan”, your fears are unfounded and there was plenty of Elk in the frank church for you to hunt before “wolf management” began in Idaho.

        • Logan says:

          This article has everything to do with hunting. The premise of IDFG sending a trapper into the Frank was to help augment the elk herds to meet management and hunting goals.

          White Pine, for the record please state your personal views on hunting both wolves and elk so I can see if my fears are unfounded. I stated that it appears that some would have public land hunting ended so that we don’t interfer with wolves hunting for food, not that I beleive that it will ever reach that point.

          Also please explain this statement so that I do not mis understand you and jump to conclusions “You sir are the biggest threat to hunting with your conspiratory, anti-predator stances.”

          • Ida Lupines says:

            The premise of IDFG sending a trapper into the Frank was to help augment the elk herds to meet management and hunting goals.

            This is proceeding ahead in delusion. There are no hunting ‘goals’ other than personal. Noone is guaranteed success, I always thought that was part of the allure of it. If you get one you do, if you don’t, better luck next time. Plus, hunting in the Frank, so they say, is not a great place to hunt elk anyway. Wolves do not threaten elk, it is human activities that do. Just imagine, the hunters that do hunt the Frank all center around air strips. I can’t see elk hanging around that kind of environment for long.

          • White Pine says:


            I already stated my views on hunting. Go hunt elk, wolves should be not be hunted any more than bear or mtn. lion are.

            Your the threat to hunting because you fit the stereotype of the paranoid, anti-predator, anti-environmentalist entitled hunter.

            Your the reason hunting is on the decline. Most people aren’t like you.

        • fishing_idaho says:

          White Pine,
          It is comments like yours, which simply dismiss any ideas that don’t line up with your own, that don’t deserve any respect. Logan is not posting extremist views and brings up some valid points. Please don’t dismiss them and label him a “conspiracist”. It is attitudes like yours (as well as extremists on the other side) that make me afraid that middle ground will never be reached.

          • Rita k Sharpe says:

            I think both sides ,at times, dismiss any ideas that do not line up to theirs. Logan has his right to continue and so does White Pine. Hoping the discussions be civil. fishing_idaho is right about the middle ground but sometimes the table seems tilted too much one way, depending on which side you’re on.

          • White Pine says:

            Fishing Idaho-

            forgiver me if I don’t put up with conspiracies and unscientific fantasies. I’m not afraid to call a spade a spade.

            Logan is the extremist with his 100% support of the wolf extermination program.

            You are just a gutless, coddler who apparently hates free speech.

          • White Pine says:

            Fishing Idaho-

            Keep trying to find middle ground with folks like Logan. It’s people like you who refuse to stand up for what’s scientifically correct that are in the wrong.

            Middle ground, “compromise” is not always the right avenue when dealing with people who exterminate wolves for “philosophical reasons”

            Sometimes one side is right and one side is wrong.

            • Elk375 says:

              White Pine

              Why is the extermination of wolves not scientifically correct? Wolves eat elk, dead wolves do not eat elk, that is science, too. Fewer wolves more elk. Wilderness areas were never designed be to a complete eco system. When the 1964 Wilderness Act was passed the phrase “complete eco system was not in use”.

              Most wilderness in Montana on this day have no or very few elk. The Bob Marshall Wilderness only has a small herd who winter’s over in the wilderness. The majority of elk winter on the Rocky Mountain Front on state game ranges or private land. State game ranges were “NOT” established to develop a complete eco system, they were establish so elk could have winter range and hunter could have a surplus of elk to hunt. That is the way it is.

              Only the national parks were design to be a complete eco system and national parks are to small for a complete eco system. From what I have read the only complete eco system is the Arctic National Wildlife refuge. I doubt if you have ever been there, I have.

              • White Pine says:


                i’m not going to bother to respond to the rest of your post.

                I know people who guide raft trips through the ANWR. The only reason iv’e never been there is because I can’t afford it and don’t have the vacation time anyway. I’m just a working stiff.

                You were talking about going to Patagonia etc. Your obviously a somewhat wealthy, older person.

                “I doubt if you have ever been there, I have.”

                can you being any more childish?

              • Elk375 says:

                White Pine, I can not afford to go get into the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge today. In 1978 this poor working stiff chartered a 185 Cessna for $250 round trip after working for one year to the Marsh Fork of the Canning River. Today the charter fee is over $3000. I am not a resident so I can not hunt Dall sheep without a guide so I made one trip in a life time. When I was there I knew it was a one time trip spent 10 days and got a full curl ram.

          • White Pine says:

            Fishing Idaho-

            Please explain how I’m an extremist as you claim.

            I don’t support the frank church wolf extermination. Does that make me an extremist?

            You have nothing to back up your insults….keep fishing.

            • WM says:

              Sorry to barge in on your conversation here, but White Pine’s posts sound a lot like (Chicago) Mike, right down to the sentence structure, and the “I’m right and you’re wrong” because I say so. And then, there is the constant rude tone, intertwined with lots of illogical arguments some of which can’t be defended, or paraphrasing mis-stating or purposefully misinterpreting the views of others (the latter coming from poor reading comprehension). Last, when White Pine’s view or “facts” are challenged there is no thoughtful response to the challenge, or acknowledgement of error, just back to the rude, “I’m right and you are wrong, because I say so.”

              Inquiring minds might query whether White Pine and Chicago Mike are one and the same, just posting from a different computer/email/IP address. Alleged stated background a little different, but cloned otherwise in nearly all respects – especially the rude part. Maybe the moderators know.

              • Immer Treue says:


                Could be correct, could be not.
                I think another “new poster” is fitting the same bill, doing quite a bit of chain yanking.

              • White Pine says:


                whatever you say, your the one who insulted me to begin with.

                Your a hypocrite period.

                Logan is wrong on this issue and I’m not afraid to say so. This is not opinions we are talking about, but scientific facts.

                Go attack someone else.

              • White Pine says:


                You are absolutely insulting and incorrect on all fronts.

                ” (the latter coming from poor reading comprehension). ”

                Wow can you being any more insulting and hypocritical.

                Your just some troll poster, look how many posts you have. You attack anyone new who you don’t agree with.

                I already stated I don’t like posting, but with Logan’s posts I had to break my silence.

                All you do is post on this blog and insult people. Get a life.

                I wasn’t on here for days and am responding to people who called me out. You WM are always posting here and are guilty of everything you accuse me of.

                Get off my back.

              • JB says:


                Science can’t tell us right from wrong — I think you’re confusing science with ethics. I think it’s a travesty that wolves are being controlled in a wilderness area; it flies in the face of the very purpose of the wilderness act. However, WM has done a good job of pointing out why IDF&G believes it has the authority to take this action — all the while noting that he personally opposes the action.

              • White Pine says:

                Immer True-

                and you and WM aren’t yanking any chains?

                I will go away as soon as people stop calling me out and Logan stops his conspiratory wolf nonsense.

              • White Pine says:


                you seem to have a pattern of “barging in” conservations and insulting people.

                Project much with your antagonistic, insulting posts?

                My posts were at least on topic, yours are accusatory, irrelevant and hypocritical.

                You disgust me troll.

              • Immer Treue says:

                White Pine,

                I was not referring to you in regard to chain pulling. In my minds eye, said individual is fairly obvious, and has actually pulled your metaphorical chain. But as WM wrote,
                “…misinterpreting the views of others (the latter coming from poor reading comprehension).”

                You have got yourself in a pickle by loading up with and firing off replies without fully digesting what the other commenter had to say. All it does is lead to pissing in the river.

              • White Pine says:


                Could be correct, could be not.

                I think another “new poster” is fitting the same bill, doing quite a bit of chain yanking.”


                I only thought you were referring to me because you said “new poster” which fits my bill. Poor reading comprehension is one thing, but I hope you can understand that your post was not very clear.

                Yes I’ve fallen for the chain yanking and have stooped to the level of my detractors. Once again I don’t like posting, and they almost always result in pissing matches.

                Forgive me for wasting your/my time. My pet peeve is when aggressors try to play the victim card. In my opinion this is what “Logan” was doing with his wolf conspiracies.

                I lost my temper with “WM” after his post and I look as petty as he. I’m acutely aware of my own short comings, and that’s why I hate getting in these posting arguments.

              • White Pine says:


                it’s hard to be patient and “fully digest” others arguments when they’re not based on science, but rather an anti-predator “philosophy”

              • Elk375 says:

                White Pine et al.

                I bet if we were all in a brew pub in Missoula, Montana drinking Moose Drool we would discover that we have more in common than not. I would be like any group some would become friends, some would shake your hand and say good bye at the end. Some would not like Moose Drool. I love a good dark beer.

              • White Pine says:


                you just told me to not let the door hit me in the ass on my way east.

                (I live in a western state) BTW

                I wouldn’t have a beer with you after that and some of your other posts. In fact I rarely consume alcohol, and have no interest in the bars of Missoula.

    • Mike says:

      ++I do not try to force anyone to hunt and so it seems unreasonable to me that anyone would try to force me to not hunt. ++

      That’s a poor analogy. Non-hunters aren’t killing 20+million birds a year via lead bullet poisoning, nor are they torturing wildlife with traps.

      • JB says:

        “Non-hunters aren’t killing 20+million birds a year …”

        No, they’re killing many times that. According to the USDA in November of 2013 655 million “broiler chickens” were slaughtered for food (down from prior months). But please, don’t let that stop your self-righteous preaching.


        • Ida Lupines says:

          Now let’s be honest. Hunters eat factory-farmed food just as much as non-hunters do, to feed our overpopulated (and overindulged and overweight) country.

          • JB says:

            Yes, but as we all know, hunters make up only 1 in 20 people in the US. That equates to about 33 million birds, leaving 622 million for the non-hunters. 😉

          • Fishing_Idaho says:

            It’s a minor point, but I doubt hunters do end up eating as much store bought meat as non-hunters. Filling their freezers with meat is the main reason a lot of hunters do what they do (not counting the trophy obsessed hunters that I don’t have the most respect for).

            • Jay says:

              I haven’t bought red meat for going on 10 years, and only occasionally augment our deer and elk supply with some variety in the form of chicken or pork. Anybody who claims to be pro-wildlife and eats beef is a huge hypocrite, in my book.

  28. Carter Niemeyer says:

    If anyone is interested in reading Wolves of the Yukon by Bob Hayes – he delves into the very issue of wolf control on a large scale to protect wild ungulates – basic conclusion is that it is expensive and once you start down that path it will be necessary to continue wolf reductions over decades AND if/when an agency stops, all factors remaining the same, the wolf population will increase in response to any increase in the prey population that is achieved, returning to a similar situation that started the whole process.

    One sentence from his well written book says “I believe science has answered the question of the periodic, broad scale wolf control. It has limited benefit to prey populations, it does not last, and should be relegated to the past along with poison and bounties.

    Bob Hayes was the Yukon wolf biologist for 18 years and radio collared hundreds of wolves, pioneering research on the kill rate by wolves on moose, Dall’s sheep, and woodland and migratory caribou. I’ll leave it at that…….

    • WM says:


      Are you (or author Hayes) suggesting the dynamics and potential impacts on an ungulate prey base, mostly moose/caribou/sheep, are the same in Yukon Territory as they might be in Rocky Mountain or Northwest state. Yukon encompasses about 186,000 square miles with a human population of only 33,000. Every state in the West has populations in the millions (except WY at 600k, but its land are is half the size of the Yukon), and land areas half that size, and those who hunt are in the hundreds of thousands. With a wolf eating upwards of 20-30 elk/deer or more a year (adjusting for total caloric requirements outside the November-April standard research year), and at some sort of carrying capacity, it seems to me humans would have reduce their hunting take of ungulates in the West SIGNIFICANTLY, elk anyway.

      With humans impacting the prey base it seems to me the math would be a bit different for wolves here than in the Yukon or adjacent northern provinces and AK, and the allocation of the recurring cost of wolf control on a per capita basis would be much, much smaller. Am I wrong on this?

      And, when the control stops (assuming reasonable wolf base populations are kept at above ESA levels plus buffer) populations will take several years to increase substantially (though it varies as we have seen in the population growth rates for ID and neighboring WY). Guess they don’t have many cows in the Yukon either, which is yet another factor.

      • Immer Treue says:


        But then again, there are fewer wolves in the NRM states and more people hunting and trapping them. The gist of what Hayes said in that last sentence,
        “One sentence from his well written book says “I believe science has answered the question of the periodic, broad scale wolf control. It has limited benefit to prey populations, it does not last, and should be relegated to the past along with poison and bounties.”

        Hunters and trappers now have another challenging game animal. They’ve got what they were promised and what they wanted. It took a while in getting here, but it’s here.
        No government programs are needed. Other than the daffodils pushing for the use of poison, what we are beginning to see is what some have been posting here for a while about lazy old fat white guys…

        If there are that many people purchasing tags, that means a lot of wolves are getting killed, and if anything like MN, 10% of Idaho wolves are also being illegally killed annually.

        • WM says:


          You lost me with your logic. The reason there are fewer wolves in the NRM is that their numbers have been and are being controlled (that has been the touchy issue for everyone). If wolves are allowed to go to some natural density dependent on prey base (and intra-wolf social carry capacity), it seems likely there will be fewer elk and maybe deer hunting opportunities for humans. I am even willing to pay a subsidy to control wolves so I can hunt elk, and I bet I am not alone on that. In fact, that seems to be the underlying logic for every state that has wolves (WA and OR even intend to control numbers/range once they get their desired goals of breeding pairs/totals).

          I certainly have no desire to hunt or kill a wolf, and I bet there are a lot of hunters who are of the same mind set (might not prevent some from buyng a tag, though). This getting “what you were promised and wanted” logic is also troubling. I don’t know many elk/deer hunters who “wanted” wolves. There were, as we discussed before here, some like the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, which was very passive on the reintroduction, using a wait and see attitude from 1995 thru about 2008. As we have seen, the attitude has changed, an now the group is to some extent “anti-wolf” seeking greater control of numbers, as was initially agreed in the reintroduction with the minimums before delisting. Why is that?

          (State) government wolf control programs are here to stay, and will expand to new states as wolves increase range. That is as certain a future as death and taxes.

          • Immer Treue says:


            “Yukon encompasses about 186,000 square miles with a human population of only 33,000. Every state in the West has populations in the millions (except WY at 600k, but its land are is half the size of the Yukon), and land areas half that size, and those who hunt are in the hundreds of thousands. With a wolf eating upwards of 20-30 elk/deer or more a year (adjusting for total caloric requirements outside the November-April standard research year), and at some sort of carrying capacity, it seems to me humans would have reduce their hunting take of ungulates in the West SIGNIFICANTLY, elk anyway.”

            All I’m saying, is based upon your above statement, that the significantly smaller NRM states area, with a significantly higher population than the Yukon, should in turn be capable of exerting significantly more pressure on wolves via hunting and trapping.

            As an addition as per MN DNR data, 10% of MN wolves are killed illegally. I’ll venture a big guess that more than 10% of Idaho wolves are poached…

            A very liberal wolf hunting and trapping season in Idaho requires hunters and trappers, not payed government, for lack of a better word, assassins. Nor does it need the daffodil droning of poison.

            • WM says:


              You are right. I should have read your post more carefully. There will always be, however, wolves in places they are not wanted, and private hunters/trappers won’t be the solution to fix things, unless an incentive like a bounty is instituted. I don’t think anyone wants that, and the “offending” wolves might not be the ones removed under that approach. That brings us back to government control programs, maybe even in designated Wilderness (the legal status of this is still not resolved).

              • Immer Treue says:


                I find little fault when surgery is absolutely necessary. I believe I’m in the majority by saying the surgery in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness was cosmetic.

              • Dude, the bagman says:

                “‘That’s because you have a tiny dick.’
                It’s time to ditch Mike and his offensive comments that add nothing to a conversation.”

                I haven’t been around much for a while, but that’s not really a coincidence. Snark with substance is one thing. Just plain snark is another.

                That being said, WM’s constant agricultural-mentality apologist “you-got-what-you-deserved-so-don’t-rock-the-boat-or-they’ll-amend-the-ESA” attitude and gets on my nerves, too.

                That’s probably why Mike’s still here. 😛

                WM said:

                “I don’t know many elk/deer hunters who “wanted” wolves. There were, as we discussed before here, some like the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, which was very passive on the reintroduction, using a wait and see attitude from 1995 thru about 2008 . . . now the group is to some extent “anti-wolf” seeking greater control of numbers, as was initially agreed in the reintroduction with the minimums before delisting. Why is that?”

                There are some interesting correlations that happened right around 2008 with Conservative Americans that really inflamed their sense of false nostalgia and made them worry about a loss of control of the old ways. Hmmmm…..

              • JB says:

                “…private hunters/trappers won’t be the solution to fix things, unless an incentive like a bounty is instituted.”

                I disagree. Rather than rely upon a general harvest, it would not be all that hard to identify would-be wolf hunters/trappers and match them with ranchers or other private landowners with persistent problems. If wolves were in season (meaning the pelts were valuable) F&G departments could require a normal tag, if not, a special permit could be issued for free. Private individuals get to hunt wolves, ranchers get them removed, and neither the government or the rancher has to pay wildlife services.

              • WM says:


                I wasn’t very clear on the above posts, and it is coming back to me. I was referring generally to inaccessible places including wilderness, which is the topic of this thread – state sponsored wolf killing, in areas where hunters/trappers can’t get to them, and elk populations are allegedly depressed because of this.

                The remedy you suggest of matching hunters/trappers with ranchers with problems is remedial, as well. I expect it might work, but I think state wildlife agencies are moving toward pre-emptive planning, because remedial actions, waiting until after a mostly certain event occurs yielding perceived negative results, requires recovery time. Take out a couple dozen wolves and wait 3-5 years before things get back to the way they were before the alleged wolf impacts, and maybe removing even more as they attempt to repopoulate.

                And, do remember, a version of the “bounty” concept is alive and well in these disgusting predator derbies. I think there was also some sort of private group being established and pooling money in the NRM (sorry don’t know who was funding it) to do some wolf removal for a reward of some sort. Anyway that was that context of my comment. I don’t support either, by the way.


                Does my getting on your nerves reflect the tone/substance of my comments, or is it the occasional reminders of the continuing harsh (and some say inevitable)realities of wolf and population maintenance recovery as it is playing out in nearly every state where they are, as well as the accompanying politics? And, is personal ridicule of the messenger the right response?

                I am genuinely concerned about changes to the ESA, and a couple subtle shifts in Congress, with a push from the Western states could be enough to yield changes, IMHO. You certainly don’t have to agree with it, but you should be aware of it the possibility and the kinds of things that encourage environment for change. I see a constant barrage of litigation by conservation groups (even on piddling issues to keep things in the limelight) as a major contributing factor.

                Mike does this stuff because he wants attention, and some kind of response/affirmation. Any acknowledgement is fine – negative or positive. His preoccupation with male genitalia seems to recur here, and has its own [sick] pathology that only he owns.

              • White Pine says:


                must come from your poor reading comprehension?


          • Mike says:

            ++I am even willing to pay a subsidy to control wolves so I can hunt elk++

            That’s because you have a tiny dick.

            • W.Hong says:


              • topher says:

                “That’s because you have a tiny dick.”
                It’s time to ditch Mike and his offensive comments that add nothing to a conversation.

              • Rita k Sharpe says:

                I know I do not always say things in the right or appropriate way or manner, and, yes, I due tend to get emotional over things that concern me and hopefully others, but honestly, that statement about the ” tiny ****” is over the top.

              • Rita k Sharpe says:

                I’m having a bad night with the keyboard, sorry. My last post was meant for Mike and not topher..

            • Jake Jenson says:

              You have a tiny brain.

            • Cobra1 says:

              Napoleon complex perhaps?

  29. W.Hong says:

    Based on what I just read in a news article, the reason he was pulled out of the wilderness was because the goal of eliminating both packs had been accomplished and there were no wolves left in the two packs that had been targeted.

  30. Joanne Favazza says:

    IDFG is saying as of today that the hunter was pulled because he killed all of the wolves in both packs:


    • Ralph Maughan says:

      No one knows, but my guess is he missed one or two. Now is the time wolves disperse. Hopefully some will show up in Big Creek to regenerate things, although it might now be too late for mating to produce pups this April.

      • jon says:

        I read an article with Idaho fish and game talking about on average, there are 5 wolves in pack, so this leads me to believe that Idaho fish and game really had no idea how many wolves were truly in these two packs. They assumed at the min 5. There may be wolves from these two packs still out there. Still, this is disgusting. Killing wolves, so there are more elk out there for hunters to kill has nothing to do with science.

        • Ida Lupines says:

          I have a feeling you may be right, Jon. I hope people are all over this to find out like… exactly what this smells like.

          • Ida Lupines says:

            I’m not actually sure if I believe them or not. To answer Logan’s question, yes, the Frank Church Wilderness is now a little less wild than it once was. The more these states behave in this kind of arrogant manner, the more people they alienate to their side. I did have more of an open mind about hunting.

        • Ken Cole says:

          The reason that wolves in Idaho average only 5 wolves per pack is due to very high mortality. The average used to be higher. In 2011 it was 5.5 and before that around 6-7. It will be interesting to see what number they use this year.

      • Rita k Sharpe says:

        Me, too.

      • IDhiker says:

        Considering the size of the Big Creek drainage, I would be surprised if all the wolves were killed. I am also surprised that IDFG feels that nine was the total number present (after the fact). I doubt IDFG would have taken this action if they had known there were only nine animals in an area this size, which of course they didn’t know.

        More likely, this latest IDFG revelation is simply to cover their decision to avoid the appeal by withdrawing the trapper. That way, the more radical anti-wolf factions in the state will be appeased. Sort of C.Y.A.

    • The wolf mating season has begun and young wolves will be leaving their natal packs to search for mates. Newly formed pairs of wolves will soon move into the vacant areas where the Big Creek packs were killed and start the whole process over.
      Look for the IDF&G to send their wolf killer back into the Frank Church every winter to kill these new wolf packs as soon as they get established.

  31. Rita k Sharpe says:

    They got what they wanted. They throw you a bone by saying they called off the hunt in order to eliminate two packs, but only to take the bone back when mission was accomplished; packs gone. I guess the hunter could not be reached,to remote. Never the less, sad news. Let’s make sure we get those elk numbers high so everyone can enjoy seeing them.[being sarcastic in last sentence]

  32. I rely on on wild wolves to photograph for part of my livlihood. The Bradford Exchange sold over 1000 sets of my Yellowstone Wolf Collector Plates last year: http://www.larrythorngren.com

    My commission on EACH of the five photos on the set of plates sold last year has exceeded $1000/per photo.

    Therefore, each live wolf that I see in Idaho has the potential to be worth at least $1000 to me. Since ranchers are compensated for their losses to wolves, it would only seem fair that I should be compensated $1000 for each wolf that is killed in the state. I calculate that the state of Idaho owes me at least $200,000 for the wolves killed by hunters last year.

    If the Idaho legislature passes their wolf extermination bill and kills 500 more Idaho wolves, they should owe me another $500,000 in compensation for lost photo opportunities.

    • W.Hong says:

      M. Thorngren,

      Excuse my ignorance, but it sounds like you have a personal agenda when you speak about wolves?

      Is your only reason for your protesting because there will be less wolves for you to profit from?

      I didn’t think a state had an obligation to provide a means of income to you, I have read they are not killing all of the wolves, that seems to mean, you would have to work harder to get your pictures, but your ability would not be taken away would it?

      It sounds like the same think you tell Elk hunters, you have to work harder to get an Elk, I am not as well versed as many on this subject, but your posts sounds hypocritical as your reason you want Idaho to stop is for personal gain.

      Am, I misinterpreting this?

      • Peter Kiermeir says:

        Harsh words Mr.(?) Hong! I wonder where your typical Asian politeness is! Where in his posting does Larry complain or moan that he has to go farther nowadays for a picture? Where in his posting does Larry demand that the State must provide means of income for him? What´s the reason for accusing him of being hypocritical? Pure speculation because he´s a wildlife photographer? What´s wrong with this profession? Why do you simply join those few here on this blog that accuse him of being hypocritical, because he want´s those ungainly and ugly collars removed from the necks of those poor animals forced to carry them? What´s wrong with this agenda? Don´t we all have a personal agenda with wildlife conservation? What´s yours?
        What´s wrong with his thesis that, if the rancher lobby is compensated for losses it would be only fair if he (or any other photographer,artist, even wildlifewatcher ect.) would also be compensated for losses! It is just another thesis, a theory – and not entirely wrong!
        You are right, Mr Hong, a State has no obligation to provide Larrys income – but it also has no obligation to lick the boots of lobbyists!

        • W.Hong says:

          I simply asked a question of Mr. Thorngren, I was not impolite in my question of him.

          It seems you and I differ in our views of this.

          • Peter Kiermeir says:

            And I simply asked you for the reason of what I call “a direct attack”!

            • W.Hong says:

              I don’t understand what you are asking, I asked him a question based on his claim the state owes him money, I don’t think you and I will come to a conclusion.

              • W.Hong says:

                Where are you located Mr. Kiermeir, I think our differences in location might be to explain our misunderstandings

              • Peter Kiermeir says:

                Yes, might be kind of language and/or culture barrier. I´m just curious! I have private and business relations with people from many different regions of Asia and all would never ever accuse somebody so direct and just from pure speculation of being hypocritical and just following his own agenda! Just made me wonder! Now, back to business…

              • W.Hong says:

                Mr. Kiermeir,

                I am in the United States as a guest, I have been here for almost a year, and perhaps, my misundertandings of thing have created a situation that resulted in this discussing between you and me.

                I was living in a remote are of China most of my life, so am pretty new to a lot ot things, but I do hope to learn and have worked very hard to lean how things work in this place.

                Thank you for your understanding.

              • Kathleen says:

                Larry, the wolf pics are gorgeous. Also, “Black Wolf Expressing Opinion On Idaho Governor Butch Otter’s War on Wolves” is right on.

                However, IMO, the pic on this page is problematic:

          • Fishing_Idaho says:

            You were not rude, and it was a good question that you asked. People are getting defensive about you pointing out something that was obviously hypocritical.

          • Jake Jenson says:

            And it was a legitimate question Hong. They accuse us of wanting an elk farm where elk simply stand around awaiting us to kill them, while on the other hand they want visible wolves standing around for their own observing and easy photo opportunities. As you’re learning you’ll notice they hate being called out on their own hypocrisy.

      • White Pine says:

        – W. Hong

        Yes, you ARE misinterpreting this!

        For someone who admittedly just began to follow the wolf issue in the US, you seem to be a real know it all.

        • W.Hong says:

          I have followed wildlife stuff for a long time now, I have only been in America for a short time, but I did have internet before I left china and started following wildlife many years ago. The first animal I follwed was the Giant Panda.

        • W.Hong says:

          I would also ask, what would I have asked to have make this statement?

          You seems to be an angry person. Asking questions about others statements allows me to understand what they are saying better

          • White Pine says:

            W. Hong-

            -You accuse people of only wanting wolves to line their pockets and take photos.

            Yes I’m rather fed up and angry with Idaho.

            Never have I felt more vindicated in my decision to leave Idaho. On the other hand never have I felt so frustrated for the reasons I wanted to leave have become worse.

            • Elk375 says:

              Do not let the door hit you in the “ASS” on the way east.

              • White Pine says:


                your like a child.

                I live in a western state. I posted my comments moments ago and here you are trolling again. Your a wealthy, immature old man with too much free time on his hands.

      • jon says:

        Kinda hard to get pictures of wolves when you have extremists out there trying to kill them with their traps and guns.

        • Jake Jenson says:

          Kinda hard to hunt elk behaving like wild elk.

          • Immer Treue says:


            “Kinda hard to hunt elk behaving like wild elk.”

            Can’t quite find the words, but, this sure doesn’t make the sense I think you hoped it would.

            • Jake Jenson says:

              Kinda hard to enjoy wild wolves that refuse to stand around posing for watchers with photo equipment.

              • Immer Treue says:


                Don’t expect wolves to stand around for me to photograph. The brief glimpses I am fortunate to observe are rewarding enough. I understand your side of the argument, but your comment still doesn’t make the sense you hoped it would.

                If you want, have last wraps, I’m done.

            • Jake Jenson says:

              This had nothing to do with you did it? Larry T.

              The claim that wolves made elk wilder thus harder to hunt is bullshit. Elk have always been a hard challenging hunt/stalk, and then kill. Mule deer bucks even harder. Wolves are harder to hunt and kill than the elk and deer. Now when I see Larry whining about the difficulty of stalking wolves for a photo op, I just have to laugh.

          • Jay says:

            Well, there’s always the elk farms if the wild ones prove too elusive for you.

            • Jake Jenson says:

              Same goes for the camera hunters, try harder. Or go tour the wolf zoo.

              • Jay says:

                I’m not the one complaining about the elk acting too wild, nor am I complaining about wolves not sitting around to be photographed.

                Reminds me of the old Gov. Hickel quote: “you can’t just let nature run wild”.

            • Jake Jenson says:

              It was not a complaint it was sarcasm.

              I’ve never observed elk being anything less than wild.

              Larry T was complaining that wolves were behaving wild making his stalking them difficult.

              Oh bummer.

    • Mike says:

      I love this.

      • Kathleen- The photo of the bighorn ewe licking my hand was on top of Mount Washburn in Yellowstone. The bighorns up there have been fed so often by regular tourists, that they approach anyone sitting down to beg for food. I did not feed the bighorn. I was showing another photographer that the bighorn sheep that approached us would lick the sweat off of my hand even when I held my hand next to my face. A bighorn that is accustomed to humans will follow you just to lick the sweat off of your arm or off of your neck or forehead if you hold still for it. They love salt.
        They will lick the paint off of your vehicle to get at the road salt deposited there. I have had to physically shove large bighorn rams away from my pickup to save the paint. They would return as soon as I went to shoo the rams on the other side of my vehicle away.
        I helped capture salt conditioned Canadian bighorns in Banff for transplant to Idaho by throwing a block of salt into the ranger’s horse barn and closing the door after they went in to lick the salt.

        My daughter likes this photo and added it to my webpage when she was constructing it for me. I never correct my webpage developer since she works for free.

        I wish I still looked like that. The photo is many years old.

    • Ida Lupines says:

      Ha! LOL, that photo on the wolves’s opinion ought to be spread far and wide!

  33. Yvette says:

    Larry, those are beautiful photos.

    I think the decision makers in ID need to wake up. They are going to start losing money.

    • WM says:


      ++…They are going to start losing money.++

      IDFG already has lost money. They have been losing money for about six years or more, as non-resident hunting license and elk tag sales have dropped off, in part because of a perception of too many wolves affecting elk population and hunting success/even seeing elk. In part, it might be even true, though the smackdown economy and an increase in tag price hasn’t helped.

      This is, in part, what they are trying to correct by knocking back wolf numbers and advertising the fact they are doing this. So, in that respect, all the media coverage about what IDFG has been doing may be good from their perspective. It also appeases the locals, though some aren’t keen about having non-residents going after “their” elk, even on federal land. A non-resident ID hunting license and elk tag is $572; add a deer for another $302, and a wolf for $32 each (purchase up to 5 tags). MT and WY are pretty much the same, and their view is much the same.

      The open question is whether having more or fewer wolves on the landscape is a net economic gain or loss (figuring in the livestock aspects, wolf-tourism/photography etc). Regardless, different people are likely to benefit or lose economically. Weren’t most of Larry’s photos taken in Yellowstone?

      • Yvette says:

        First, thanks for schooling me on the price of a hunting license tag. Whoa! I honestly had no idea the price was so high. I have family that hunts, but it’s always been on tribal land, so I didn’t know just how much money the states were bringing in for hunting. That’s wild, and that’s without the guide’s fees, etc.

        It’s too bad these lives boil down to economics, but that is the world in which we live.

        What if they kill all or most of the wolves and the elk populations don’t rebound? What if there are other variables that are also contributing to the declining elk population? I don’t think most of the hunters on this site believe that getting rid of the wolves is the answer.

      • Mark L says:

        WM says,
        “in part because of a perception of too many wolves affecting elk population and hunting success/even seeing elk. In part, it might be even true, though the smackdown economy and an increase in tag price hasn’t helped.”
        Wolves? Could be, but might be because a lot of states ‘back east’ have their OWN elk populations now. People can travel in a car for a few hours to hunt much closer now. I’m not an expert, but I suspect Idaho can ‘knock back’ all the wolves they want, and people may still not come back. I’d be very interested in seeing the demographics of hunters from 10 and 20 years ago compared to now.

        • WM says:

          Mark L.,

          The reintroduced elk populations in states “back East” or even the Midwest are quite small, though slowly increasing in number. This is largely due to RMEF’s efforts to acquire, preserve and improve habitat working with state wildlife agencies (at least that is what I read in their bi-monthly magazine). Small population means VERY FEW elk hunters each year have the opportunity to hunt them. There are lotteries in these states with huntable populations and the chances of drawing a tag are actually quite low, because quite a few people want to do it.

          • Mark L says:

            Correct, though Kentucky is over 1000 perimts this year (not bad), with over 10000 elk. My question is why the reduction in out of state elk tags in Idaho (and other western states) while so many are applying in midwest and east? I don’t think it’s wolves as much as economics of transportation and amount of time put forward to hunt. I.e. elk tag is $100 cheaper in Kentucky, and easterners can drive there in a few hours (also not buying airline tickets, food, etc.). They didn’t have this option 10 or 20 years ago. It’s less of a ‘high dollar’ crowd now, too. RMEF has done VERY good work, imho.

            • WM says:

              Mark L.,

              What I found interesting is that there were well over 60,000 applicants for those 800-1,000 elk permits in Kentucky. That says there are lots of folks who want to hunt (a particular species) and can’t, because of supply/demand. Would those 59,000+ would be hunters alternatively photograph elk (or wolves if they were present – not that they would be in KY for some time)?

              I think the cost to come West is probably a very large factor in a difficult economy paired with a perception (true or not) that you might not get, or have a tougher time getting, what you came for.

              We have a had a tougher time getting elk in N Central ID for the last 8 years or so, with wolves present. And, the kind of habitat is steep hillsides, mostly in heavy cover. No wildlife photographer can get to, or have the open hillside opportunities of places like Yellowstone to photograph them. They can be heard (and I do like the howls), the poop can be seen on old grown-in skid tails and logging grades, trails that humans and wild animals all use, except for elk and deer, who now stick more in the brush, and heavier timber now. Some armchair wolf advocates don’t understand any of this habitat visibility stuff and never will.

              • Ida Lupines says:

                That says there are lots of folks who want to hunt (a particular species) and can’t, because of supply/demand.

                And they probably never will. Too many people/too little wildlife. You can’t manage wildlife like a business – I grow tired of hearing costs, supply/demand , expenses, etc. applied to living things. We aren’t running game farms (are we?) or livestock operations. These concepts may mean everything to humans, but that’s our world, not the real one. Comical.

              • Elk375 says:

                Plus one for WM

                As to the cost of coming west to hunt and the cost of non resident hunting licenses, ski lift tickets in Big Sky are $99 a day and in Sun Valley they are over one hundred dollars a day. At 8:30 am today hundreds of people were in line purchasing their ticket. I think there are over licenses sales are down, wolves, access, and the economy. I have to go to Ennis, Mt now, later.

              • Mark L says:

                Absolutely, the habitat visability is key. There are VERY few areas in southeast KY where anyone can get a shot over 300 yards at anything, unless it’s unnaturally cleared…50 yards if you are lucky, which is why a lot of bowhunters like KY for elk. And from what I’ve heard the elk stay in exactly the same type of habitat in KY and TN as they do in N central ID…thick cover on hilly areas. Creatures of habit I guess.
                Oh, and do many hunters photograph? A few, not many.
                Oddly, there were several proposals over time to reintroduce red wolves to KY, but none were accepted. I suspect there will be a few gray wolves that make it from the north over time, as they’ve already gotten to MO and rumor has it IL. Red wolves aren’t really a threat to adult elk, so I think that part is really moot. I’m curious about the ‘wolf effect’ in ID though, and whether they are getting blamed for another animals’ (or another variable’s) actions pushing the elk to backcountry. The hunters have been ‘prompted’ by plenty of folks on the internet to say why, but that may not be telling the whole story. Interesting stuff.

              • Ida Lupines says:

                I guess the problem seems to be many don’t see wildlife as living beings, just a resource? A ski lift ticket and a hunting license are both recreational, but not the same.

                I don’t care either whether someone doesn’t need to buy breakfast sausage either. Eat something else or go without. The colossal gall of that statement boggles the mind.

                But, wildlife is going to continue to shrink, and hunting won’t be able to keep up. Quick killings, both monetarily and real, are all that can be hoped for. It would benefit everyone to show a little restraint.

          • JEFF E says:

            And in each of those states the reintroduction was opposed by farmers, which term, back east, is inclusive of livestock intrests

      • JB says:

        The market for expensive wilderness hunts is pretty small, and I don’t think it is a coincidence that very expensive non-resident hunting license sales dropped during the ‘great recession’. During times of economic uncertainty, even the wealthy think twice before dropping lots of cash.

        You also need to look at the competition. You can come hunt trophy WTs here in Ohio for a whole lot less. A non-resident hunting license is $125, either sex permit is $24, or you can hunt antlerless for $15. The Wayne NF isn’t the Frank Church, but it’s beautiful and a lot easier to access. And we’ve much higher success rates.

        • Elk375 says:

          JB, you might be right.

          ++During times of economic uncertainty, even the wealthy think twice before dropping lots of cash.++

          In 2013, the Wild Sheep Foundation auctioned off one mountain sheep tag good for anywhere in Montana, high bid $500,000. Last Friday night in Reno the highest bid for that sheep tag was $320,000. Times are tough for us hunters.

          If you read hunting forums there are two reasons preventing hunters from going to Idaho hunting. The high price of hunting licenses and WOLVES. Would be elk hunters have a perception that wolves have reduce the elk populations.

          • Immer Treue says:


            “Would be elk hunters have a perception that wolves have reduce the elk populations.”

            Not to pick a fight, but in the Information Age in which we live, do out of state elk hunters use the internet and research different zones and population trend? Are they creatures of habit? How many repeat trips by the same individuals? Meat taken home aside, even the wealthy have only so much wall space for their trophies.

            A long time ago when I used to do fly in fishing trips to Canada, part of the adventure was different lakes, different experiences.

    • Yvette- They are already losing money. I spent $3000 in Gardiner, Montana in Oct.-Nov. last fall while trying to photograph Yellowstone wolves.
      I would like to do a series on Idaho wolves, but wolves have been shot out in places like Bear Valley and and after being shot at since the first of Sept.,any other wolves I might see are so gun-shy that is difficult to get close enough for decent photos.
      Hunters can kill a wolf at 400 yards. I need to be less than 100 yards for a usable photo.

      With wolf hunting seasons here in Idaho lasting from Sept. 1 to Mar. 31., it is difficult for wolf watchers or wolf photographers to safely share the wild places with all of the hunters. Too many of today’s hunters are of the “Shoot First and Hire Lawyer Later Variety”
      So much for “Multiple Use”.

      • Cobra1 says:

        Larry, That’s bull and you know it. You may get people that don’t live here in Idaho to believe that crap about it being to dangerous to go out looking for wolves because of all the hunters but I live here. North Idaho panhandle to be exact. Come up here to the CDA river drainage if you want to track wolves, bring your snowshoes. I can even tell you some spots to check out. In realty, up here you see very few people out hunting wolves specifically. They might have a rifle with them just in case they see one but I wouldn’t be afraid of going out this time of year because of hunters. I’m way more wary of hunters during the elk and deer seasons and even then it doesn’t bother me much because we hunt back a mile or so off the road. We still wear orange though.

        • Yvette says:

          I may not live in Idaho, but that doesn’t mean I’ve never lived in the region. I’ve lived in Eastern MT, Missoula MT, and Washington. While I won’t know Northern ID the way you do it’s not like I’m completely unfamiliar with the region. For a long time I’ve been warned to stay out of Northern ID, due to me being Native American. I hope that is more hype than truth. But, I’ve paid heed and not ventured to places like Sandpoint.

          The conversation above over habitat visibility made me think about the spots in the Wallowa-Whitman forest that my nephew showed me last summer. It’s where he lives and where he hunts elk. I wish I could judge distance better, but I’m useless in that respect, but the spots he showed me were fairly clear. I don’t know what distance range he shoots from. I guess it varies. I don’t hunt so I didn’t ask about that.

          I do agree with you about being more weary during elk/deer season. Years back, my daughter and I were horseback riding and came too close for comfort to being shot by deer hunters. We came up a ridge into a meadow area, and the hunters rose from behind a round bale of hay with their rifles pointed on us. I was one mad woman, but so thankful they had the experience to not shoot us. Since then I’ve always been a bit wary of being in the woods during deer season.

          • Yvette says:

            Oy, ‘weary’ should be ‘wary’.

          • Cobra1 says:

            I’m sure you would be fine up here. I’ve actually seen less racism up here than a lot of places. Most people here will judge you as a person rather than color or gender.
            We still have some bad apples just like everywhere else. You should really check it out up here. Big mountains, big lakes, nice rivers, I actually feel blessed to live here.

  34. Rich says:


    In answer to your question:

    “When you go to the Frank this year to backpack and enjoy the area will it be any less wild to you?”

    The answer is a resounding YES! As a hunter, fisherman, kayaker and backpacker, I go to our wilderness areas to experience nature as it was created with a complement of the amazing native creatures that still grace it because of protections provided by the Wilderness Act. I don’t go there because it has been sanitized or manipulated for my benefit to make it easier for me to hunt or fish. I thrive on the challenge of what is left of the natural world.

    Perhaps I misunderstood your question but if you think the Frank Church Wilderness is improved by removing native predators such as the wolf, perhaps you have never truly experienced wilderness or heard the howl of the wolf in the morning mist. The Main and Middle Fork of the Salmon Rivers and the surrounding landscape are remote and unique and hopefully will remain so for all current and future generations to experience and treasure. When hiking a trail or floating the river an encounter with a bear, cat, rattlesnake, deer, otter, elk, wild sheep or wolf can happen at any time. That is what makes it wild and why it is protected. Wilderness Areas were not established for the selfish wants or desires of a few individuals. If you want a version of “wild”, tailored to your liking and so prearranged that it is easy to shoot elk, perhaps you should buy some land, fence it, and manage it to your liking. In meantime recognize that most of the people who visit the Frank Church Wilderness want to enjoy these public lands as they were created with wolves and other predators.

    Remember the Wilderness Act, defined wilderness as:

    “A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an
    area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.”

    Seems to me the IDFG and the trapper did a lot of “trammeling” on a native community of life.

    • john philip says:


    • Ida Lupines says:

      4, totally against trammeling.

      • Ralph Maughan says:

        Of course, I agree with this as well. There is no real wilderness if the native carnivores have been killed or depleted by humans to make herbivores more numerous. What they are doing is inept game farming.

          • Nancy says:

            I agree Michael. Some thoughtful comments and, some not so thoughtful comments.

            • JEFF E says:

              “truck-stop” Chandie,”pencil neck” Hemming, and “Rock chuck”.
              All that is needed for a full house would be “little”barry coe and “chicken little” Bob fanning.

              1’s and 0’s

              (remember fanning ran for gov of Mont. and is vementely ant-wolf. I do not think he even got a percentage point of the votes, so in esssence could not even get elected dog-catcher.)

            • JEFF E says:

              well, well, well.

              It looks like “chicken little” Bob Fanning is/has sold out….and is claiming “wolf packs” and “grizzly bears” as part of the area amenities.

              What a douche bag


              • JEFF E says:

                and as for elk? Well according to bob,”….Herds numbering in the thousands are not uncommon.”

                how can this possibly be? We have been told that all the elk are dead and are now just a fond memory!


              • Louise Kane says:

                Too bad most wolf sanctuaries would not have the funds to but this property….. poetic justice

              • Ralph Maughan says:

                Bob Fanning seems to have been trying to sell his property for some time now, at least intermittently.

                Some years ago Todd Wilkinson wrote a column about the irony of wolf hater Fanning trying to sell using wolves as a plus to move what he called his “horse ranch” whenever he made public political statements about his residency in Paradise Valley, MT.

    • rork says:

      I like your attitude but the somewhat sad fact is that the Church was hunted before it was designated wilderness, Idaho still owns the animals, and previous use patterns were grandfathered in. Where I’ve been there, I think the hunters using it probably outnumber the backpackers, and maybe shroom pickers outnumber us all (though I’ve never seen either). Your statements about “most of the people” might only be true if you include the boaters using a tiny ribbon of water – and almost nobody is calling for “no wolves”. The agreement to get some of these places protected was the economic hit to locals wouldn’t be too bad.
      I do not see how to fix this that actually has a chance.
      And just to illustrate that what is and what I want are different, and my heart is in a very radical place: I’d like to ban dogs and pack animals (a huge hit on hunters, essentially halting it in the interior), and stop plane or motorized boat transport (commercial shrooming) but I know I have little hope of getting much of that.

    • Logan says:

      I almost completely agree with you. I am not saying that the wilderness is improved by killing 9 wolves I’m just saying that it hasn’t been spoiled either.

      I’m not advocating getting rid of all the predators in the Frank, I’m just saying that I’m not opposed to killing a limited number of wolves to help maintain elk numbers.

      • Logan says:

        I should have specified that my reply was to Rich.

      • Ida Lupines says:

        Are they going to do this again, and in the future though? It’s not a hunting vs wolves as more important – it is human activity’s exaggerated importance – you’re not only killing individual animals, but wiping out future generations as well. I don’t think in today’s world, wildlife populations are strong enough to support this kind of regular killing.

      • Nancy says:

        Logan – ran across an old news paper article last night in a book titled Our Wildlife Legacy/Allen/1954.

        The article was cut out of a newspaper I can’t indentify but it was written in 1958 and titled Waste Lands Indictment of Man by Eugene Burns/ Ranger/Naturelist under a column titled Is That So!

        Mr. Burns makes a few references in the article regarding abuses to the land and wildlife but he starts out by saying “During the brief time that you read this piece, the number of people on earth will have increased by 200”

        And he ends his article stating “Today, we have reached a total of 2.4 billion and well before the end of the century, if things continue as they are now – even with-out modern hygiene and medical science helping in China and India – we shall reach the 5 billion mark.

        This is the reason, basically, why all the wild animals of this earth are compelled to yield to the “human locust” and eventually die.

        But surely thinking man can find an answer. It may be limitations of populations; the saving of soil; water; natural resources; and the proper “harvesting” of game; and finally the establishment and rigid control of sanctuaries where an animal forever will be safe from man, the destroyer.

        It takes infinitely more “know-how” to “get” an animal with a camera than with a gun”

        A man a head of his time?

        I’m thinking (and hoping) at some point in the near future, our species will get past our warped notion of “entitlement” when it comes to the use and abuse of land and wildlife and actually embrace some of Mr. Burn’s thoughts/concerns 🙂

        • Logan says:


          Certainly some true and interesting points. I believe we have good solutions in place. I believe our current management practices have and will continue to perpetuate our wildlife at levels that all different modes of recreation can enjoy.

          I will only take issue with Mr. Burns in this one statement.

          “It takes infinitely more “know-how” to “get” an animal with a camera than with a gun””

          I would argue that the same amount of skill is required by each activity to know the animal and its habits, to find it and to get close enough for a good shot. Certainly each activity also presents it’s specific challenges and it is the challenge that drives us in our different pursuits.
          The long range hunting crowd is a small segment of the hunting population and often derided by other hunters. Take a look at any hunting forum when the topic of long range is brought up and you will see what I mean. While I often read claims that hunters regularly kill game out to 500 yards and beyond such shots are the exception not the rule, I can claim no such accomplishment. Most animals are killed inside of 150 yds and usually less.

          We all enjoy our wildlife and perpetuating their presence is the bottom line.

          • Nancy says:

            “I would argue that the same amount of skill is required by each activity to know the animal and its habits, to find it and to get close enough for a good shot”

            The big difference being my good “shot” doesn’t end a life, Logan. It doesn’t destroy the fabric of a family, doesn’t leave young to fend for themselves.

      • jon says:

        Maintain elk numbers just so hunters can kill them right? That’s the problem. Enjoying wildlife and enjoying wildlife by killing it are not the same thing. You want more elk to kill and others want more wolves to photograph, is your need more important than the other side?

        • W.Hong says:

          Mr. Jon,

          I guess you could ask the same question of yourself, if your need more important?

          • Yvette says:

            Mr. Hong, this should not be solely about human need. It should be about the need for an all encompassing balance within an ecosystem. There will be fluctuations within optimal boundaries, but also those short periods where any species may pushed above or below those optimal boundaries, but not for such a period that they collapse. That includes humans, but we humans are the primary reason so many ecosystems of various scales are out of whack.

            We humans have taken something that could have been a good thing, capitalization and commercialization, and pushed it beyond sustainable boundaries.

            We humans of today seem to be too far removed from the archetype that connected us to our natural world. This isn’t about the individual’s need. It is about all of our needs, and when I say “all of our” I mean all of the species in our system.

      • White Pine says:


        Ah yes, and this “wolf management” started with a “limited wolf hunt”.

        That turned into the IDFG hiring a private trapper to go deep into the frank and kill entire packs.

        Logan leave the NRM if you want to hunt without wolves and seek inflated ungulate numbers.

  35. IDhiker says:

    But, when the wilderness was created by statute, wolves were never on the horizon. As a result, managing them was not an issue, nor anticipated. I don’t believe anyone foretold actions like this by IDFG. Times change, and policies have to change along with them. IDFG needs to heed Federal law in their management.

    Backpackers are only numerous in a few places, such as the Bighorn Crags, which is over-used. Hunters, however, are concentrated mostly near the airstrips. In my experience, the only hunters that are generally far from access points are the commercial outfitters. Hunters also utilize the wilderness for only a short time in the fall. Although the data does not exist, it would be interesting to know the real numbers.

    I am strictly a backpacker, but have learned to accept horseman. Horseman, though, with the exception of hunting season, are quite sparse in the Frank Church, too.

    Dogs?? Not sure why that would be an issue. I’ve never seen loose dogs in any wilderness area in Montana or Idaho. Today, with wolves present, out of control canines that run off chasing game likely won’t last long.

    • rork says:

      Dogs was trivia, I admit, though I did see folks with a loose german shepard day-hiking in the Missions (Montana), 45 revolvers on the men’s legs. Dog was nearly 100 yards ahead of them – it’s asking for griz trouble. This was below the treeline while we were coming down our last day, on the park side ofcourse (weapons illegal on the west side, unless you are a tribal member – bears have rights there).

      More radical example: I don’t like guides making money off the wilderness, be they hunting guides, or guides of groups of backpackers. I’m not getting that greedy wish ever either.
      “Nobody but people just like me”.
      “Not you mister – I don’t like the cut of your boots, and non-camo backpacks are now illegal.”

    • WM says:

      IDhiker, rork,

      How bout the Sawtooth Wilderness in ID? I see dogs there frequently. Supposed to be on leash thru summer months, but some aren’t.

      If there is anything that for me violates the “untrammeled by man” vision of undisturbed wilderness it is the sight of an off-leash Rottweiler or pittbull mix, or over-gregarious lab coming down the trail, or into your camp, with no owner in sight, until about three minutes later. Then, if you mention something to them they either ignore you or tell you to do something which is physically impossible, especially for those of us with tiny male genitalia.

      • IDhiker says:


        I will agree with you about dogs out of control. To be good wilderness mutts, they need to have a responsible master that trained them and is a “pack leader.”

        My wife and I spent 71 days on the Appalachian Trail with two dogs this spring. In 1200 miles, we never got one complaint. These same two dogs have been all over the “Bob” & “Frank.”

        They don’t chase deer or elk, could care less about stock animals (which we trained into them), and like people. They have even seen wolves and grizzlies up close. We consider them as canine ambassadors for their kind.

        I don’t excuse irresponsible people with dogs. They give all dog owners a bad image.

        • WM says:


          Not to get too far off topic, but congratulations on doing the Appalachian Trail. Years ago I read the book, ” A Walk in the Woods,” by Bill Bryson, which chronicled his hike, and of course combined with great humor, the book it produced. It has been a long time since I read it, but the tales of folks he and his companion met along the route were hilarious, no doubt enhanced by his writing skills. The trail has been on my bucket list for awhile, but there are things ahead of it. Though I read the book shortly after it came out, in the late 1990’s, the image of a woman hiker using a shower curtain for a tent of sorts still resonates with me – why not, if it sheds water, and is economical?

          • Nancy says:

            WM – I just finished reading A Walk In The Woods a couple of nights ago.

            “There was a sound of undergrowth being disturbed-a click of breaking branches, a weighty pushing through low foliage-and then a kind of large, vaguely irritable snuffing noise.


            Stephen, you awake? I whispered.

            Yup. he replied in a weary but normal voice.

            What was that?

            How the hell should I know?

            It sounded big.

            Everything sounds big in the woods”

            Oh. Shit.
            There’s two of them, I can see another pair of eyes.

            Just then the light flickered and then vanished. I scampered into my tent, stabbing myself lightly but hysterically in the thigh as I went, and began a quietly frantic search for spare batteries. If I were a bear, this would be the moment I would choose to lunge.

            Well, I’m going to sleep, Katz announced.

            What are you talking about? You can’t go to sleep.

            Sure I can. I’ve done it lots of times. There was the sound of him rolling over and a series of snuffing noises, not unlike those of the creature outside.

            Stephen, you can’t go to sleep. I ordered, but he could and he did, with amazing rapidity”

            Wonderful read (from the 90’s) about his hike was then and how much is left of the trail given how populated that part of the east is these days.

            • Nancy says:

              Half way thru The Book of Yaak/Rick Bass today. A short piece from the author:


            • Kathleen says:

              I agree–it’s a wonderfully enjoyable, funny book. I can even say this after spending four months on the AT (1983), hiking 2/3 of it (1400 miles), and suffering incredible blisters, a hideously sprained ankle that led to inflamed tendons, a hornet sting that nearly killed me (didn’t know I was allergic!), and the garden variety suffering that comes with day in, day out wear and tear (our equipment was heavier then) in all kinds of weather. Oh, and it was my first backpacking experience…ever. Talk about dumb and rash…but what an experience. Walking the length of the Smokies and along the Blue Ridge is beautiful beyond compare.

        • Louise Kane says:

          “I don’t excuse irresponsible people with dogs. They give all dog owners a bad image.” +1

          But give the responsible dog owners a break. There is not much better than a long hike with a good dog. I’d rather hike with my German Shepherd than most people. He is quiet, appreciative and well behaved. He is also not allowed to harass wildlife, despite his inclination to want to. Its a big NO and he knows I mean it

          • Louise Kane says:

            Not to mention a good dog is good protection. Mine is friendly and well socialized but if I am threatened he picks up on it immediately. I’m safe in the woods with him. Nothing like a 100 pound well behaved dog between you and a potential threat.

      • Immer Treue says:

        Conversely, once, camping in the back country of the Flat Tops in Colorado, I was cooking up some brook trout when a couple of guys who were camped about a half mile away stumbled into my camp. Obviously, they were under the influence of a Bushmills like substance and did not notice ~ 100 lbs of German Shepherd (pretty damn friendly dog, did not wander, carried his own pack with my tent, his food and bowls…). He stood up, and with one loud WOOF stopped my visitors in their tracks. Needless to say, they were surprised, but we spoke for a while, they moved on, and the dog and I enjoyed a trout dinner. Something to be said for a well behaved dog as a backpacking partner.

        • Louise Kane says:

          Something to be said for a well behaved dog as a backpacking partner
          GSD I think are capable of anything with good training, they behave, they protect, they are companions. Mine never leaves my side and we hike every day, he ignores other people, does not pester and is by my side always.

          • Immer Treue says:


            Nothing like comparing notes about GSD’s. Get a good one, socialize and train, and you have a life long friend!

            • JEFF E says:

              Oh shit.
              The haters are going to want all the owls killed now.

              • JB says:

                “…a great-horned owl swooped down and attacked Teddy, her 8-year-old, 7-pound Yorkiepoo…”

                In my opinion (and I know this sounds heartless) any “dog” that is smaller than a house cat does not deserve the title, dog at all.

              • Ida Lupines says:

                People have to be very watchful of their pets in less populated areas.

                I saw striped tail feathers flash by my window the other day – a hawk of some kind. I looked out the window and saw a very small hawk with a mourning dove in its talons. I’m not sure what it was, maybe a Merlin or a juvenile hawk? Wow!

              • rork says:

                Owlbait, my 5 lb yorkie, thinks he’s a dog, and that is the problem. I expect to last see him going over the big hill, attached to a deer’s haunch, or a sprinting professor’s, or worse (coyotes).

  36. Ida Lupines says:

    Reminds me of the old Gov. Hickel quote: “you can’t just let nature run wild”.


    Now what happened here yesterday? I know we disagree and it gets pretty intense, but let’s not be cruel. Elk seems like a decent person. WM, while I don’t always like his ability to see both sides of the issue, knows his stuff. I’m sorry Immer to have called you an enabler.

  37. Cody says:

    I know this is an older post and kind of out of the blue, but does anybody know or has anyone seen any information online about wolves coming into Idaho and Montana from Canada? I know part of the agreement of delisting wolves in the Rockies was that there had to be a genetic interchange from Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming but what I don’t understand is that there wasn’t anything looked at the genetic interchange from Canada to the US. I think if wolves were coming into the US from the larger population of B.C and Alberta, it would make a very big difference.

    • WM says:


      ++….but what I don’t understand is that there wasn’t anything looked at the genetic interchange from Canada to the US.++

      Yours is a false statement.

      Genetic connectivity data has been accumulated for some time, and connectivity conclusions reached, showing the contribution from in-migrating Canadian wolves. The paper cited below was a counter to the bogus legal arguments about lack of genetic connectivity in the NRM DPS in the litigation before Judge Molloy advanced by Defenders (erroneously extrapolating select data showing lack of connectivity in Yellowstone by vonHoldt). By the way, she was pissed about the way the data was used, as was Ed Bangs. How do I know? Bangs told me in 2009, as did then MT wolf coordinator Carolyn Sime on the same day. That is why this report was written. There was genetic conductivity as of 2004, including in-migrating Canadian wolves from MT and ID).

      Here is the expanded citation to is so you know exactly who the authors are. See any familiar names?

      “A novel assessment of population structure and gene flow in grey wolf populations of the Northern Rocky Mountains of the United States”
      CURT M. MACK,–
      JOHN P. POLLINGER* and
      *Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA, †Yellowstone Center
      for Resources, Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190, USA, ‡U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Helena, MT 59601, USA,
      §USFWS, Box 2645, Jackson, WY 83001, USA, –Nez Perce Tribe, Gray Wolf Recovery Project, McCall, ID 83638, USA,
      **U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Boise, ID 83709, USA

      and a link: http://www.westernwolves.org/uploads/vonHoldt_Stahler%20et%20al.%202010%20NRM%20genetic%20structure.pdf

      In addition, every year in their annual reports MT and ID account for emigration from Canada (or out-migration). They count or exclude the border packs and their respective numbers depending on how much time the packs spend on the US side and where they den. There is narrative in the annual reports, regarding the number of border packs and their minimum counted contribution to the total numbers (there are likely more than the number counted). And, because of the monitoring, including genetic testing and collar tracking they have a decent idea where these in-migrating Canadian wolves (or their progeny) are going and making genetic contributions to the meta-population over time. Of course, this data is shared with the sister wildlife agencies, like WA, and USFWS – constantly under the Memoranda of Understanding between agencies.

      • WM says:

        Here is the rest of the citation to the vonHoldt, et al., paper, in case somebody wants to go to the source professional journal:

        Molecular Ecology (2010) 19, 4412–4427

        • Cody says:

          Thank you and I always knew it was looked at but I didn’t understand why there was so much importance to genetic interchange between ID MT & WY but not as much when it came to Canada. I would try to look it up to see but all I could find was the immigration of wolves into Glacier National Park in the 80’s and the number of border packs but no clear studies of how many wolves come in, come out, if more come in now that there’s wolves here, the population of wolves in southern B.C and Alberta, etc. But thank you for the info.

          • WM says:


            You might also find this document interesting. It is a Draft Wolf Management Plan for British Columbia, CA.

            While BC has many more wolves than the NRM in the US, it is also interesting to note from p. 18 of this report, that roughly 800-900 wolves per year are harvested by BC hunters (“killed” for those who don’t like the agricultural term, but do note the BC Ministry of Forestry and Conservation also uses the term “harvest”); 100 by trappers; 75 removed by agencies for livestock depredation [2010 year].

            So BC (not to mention adjacent Alberta) kills about 1,000-1,200 wolves each and every year recently, as against a total population of between 6-10K, over a large land area. They have so many they have no reliable way of counting them except as a proportion function relative to available prey base, which they also can’t count.

            They also seek to control wolf population for the purposes of their stated objectives in the plan, which includes localized control of specific wolf populations impacting at risk prey species, such as mountain caribou [though they do not state an objective of controlling to generally increase ungulate populations – possibly because they don’t have that much hunter pressure to do so]. I believe the plan is still in Draft form, so there could be changes either way in regard to managing or not managing locally for ungulate populations.


            They don’t really address out-migration to the US, though substantial evidence of it is undeniable along the WA, ID and MT borders.

            • White Pine says:


              you do realize there has been an increase in wolf “harvest”, and wolf scapegoating in BC and Alberta since the fracking/natural gas/tar sands boom began.

              With the loss of habitat for ungulates (especially the Mtn. Caribou) attributed to the frak/gas/tar boom the wolf has become the scapegoat for ungulate losses. Wolves of course play a huge role naturally impacting ungulate herds. The recent trend however has seen the wolf become a scapegoat for energy industries to blame for declining ungulate populations. The energy companies are at fault due the loss of ungulate habitat because of their “projects”

              BC and Alberta might “harvest” certain wolf packs to protect the legitimately endangered Mtn. Caribou. Their situation is not comparable to the comparably numerous elk of the frank church wilderness.

              • Immer Treue says:

                Heiko Wittmer has covered this pretty well. Anthropogenic causes, logging and mining have open the area once almost souly caribou country to moose and deer. With moose and deer increase, a corresponding increase of wolves has occurred, in turn putting pressure on caribou populations.

              • WM says:


                Gee, I thought from reading Section 8 of the report, the reason for increased hunter harvest in the last four-six years has been a result of an increase in the numbers of wolves (and range expansion) in certain areas where they had been significantly reduced in the 1950-60’s. I will venture to guess at some point in the next 10 years BC might decide to look at impacts to ungulate population/prey base in greater detail – of course we haven’t seen their final report and any recommendations it might contain. They do say reductions need to be intense when done, or it doesn’t work (and maybe even need sustained pressure keep the numbers suppressed once taken down). Maybe that is why they call it management.

                So, is it wolves as “scapegoats” for impacts of energy development, or is it an increasing wolf population in BC? Just maybe it is both.

              • White Pine says:


                My understanding was (as others pointed out) that the increased industrialization in the region had cleared forests opening up areas for forage favored by deer. This was formerly Caribou country, and now deer/moose have moved in.

                The increased deer/moose brought the wolves. Now the caribou numbers are down, and wolves are hunted with increased pressure.
                Certainly a loose-loose situation for Boo and Wolf.

                Another unintended consequence of the tar sand/fraking/mining boom.

            • Cody says:

              Thank you and I appreciate the information and I’ve actually seen that draft management plan. Some of it is pretty interesting. I’ve tried looking for something similar for Alberta but didn’t find as much info as B.C. What I find interesting is the increase of harvest in 2009. Nearly every region in B.C had an increase in harvest and some nearly tripled. Although I do agree with White Pine and Immer Treue, I would like to see if the increase in harvest had kept up through 2011 to this year. I think it’s pretty ridiculous that B.C can support 8 to 9 thousand wolves and although it is much larger, ID, MT, & WY complains about a few hundred per state. Perfect example of over reaction and a mammal nowhere near it’s carrying capacity.

              • WM says:


                I did a quick look for Alberta and found this. While it is from 1991, it still has the same sort of approach as BC and our NRM states – even to the point of not requiring residents to have a license to kill wolves in 1987, and the authorization to kill wolves at will within 8km of private or leased land where livestock is grazed, as of 1986 (don’t know whether this stuff is still current, but I suppose one could with a little more looking at their hunting regulations). It strikes me as being very well written, having been done 20+ years ago, and on wonders whether it even needed updating, except to address an estimate of current population. Note that for the time, Mech is heavily referenced on wolf biology, notwithstanding the fact that the University of Albert and University of Calgary have world class researchers in wolf and ungulate biology (Pacquet, Muisiani and Geist among them).


                The AL wildlife agency attitude toward escessive wolf impacts to ungulate prey base is to consider localized wolf control(see p. 22), and justify the need to control wolf populations, even evaluating methods – trappers seem to come out as the method of choice, not unlike the focused effort of IDFG in the Frank, which is the topic of this thread.

                Curious note. Average weight of their wolves – male winter weight 106 pounds; female, 91 pounds (p. 14). Wonder if Gillette or Rockhead, and their minions know this?

                And, just like the US both BC and AL (and other Canadian provinces)went thru periods of government sponsored wolf population control that knocked the populations way back in the early 1900’s. So, the US was not unique in that regard, though some wolf advocates would like to paint us that way.

  38. jon says:


    Got a hunter on there saying he knows the the guy who killed the 9 wolves in the middle fork. He says that there is some serious talk about Gus going back in to kill more wolves. i hope the next time this happens, pro-wildlife groups like western watersheds, defenders of wildlife, and others who are the real conservationists file a lawsuit ASAP. Turning Idaho into an elk farm should not be tolerated.

    • W.Hong says:

      I thought they already filed a lawsuit and the judge declined their argument?

      • jon says:

        I am talking about the next time that killer goes into the middle fork to kill wolves.

        • W.Hong says:

          Ok, please explain to me why it would be different if he was to go back into the area? Being new to this country, I am not very familiar with the court system yet.

    • Ida Lupines says:

      Sounds like another fantastic, grim fairy tale. After they said they met their objective, it would be hard to justify going back in I would think.

      • Ida Lupines says:

        But of course, Idaho makes up their own rules as they go along, and breaks them as they see fit also. 🙂


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