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G&F aims low for wolves - Jackson Hole News&Guide: Environmental

Jackson, Wyoming
Friday, February 12, 2016

G&F aims low for wolves

Jackson Hole News & Guide

Unlike other wolf states, Wyoming seeks to keep wolf numbers as close to the legal minimum as possible.

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Posted: Wednesday, May 14, 2014 4:30 am

Wyoming’s aim to manage its wolf population as close to the lowest numbers legally permissible appears to be unique among U.S. states.

A number of states — neighboring Idaho and Montana, and Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan in the Midwest — have recently taken the wolf management reins from federal agencies and have implemented hunting seasons. But only the Equality State has used its wolf hunts to attempt to hold numbers as low as possible, in Wyoming’s case just above the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service delisting requirements of 100 animals and 10 breeding pairs.

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Welcome to the discussion.


  • Johanna Duffek-Kowal posted at 5:44 pm on Sat, May 17, 2014.

    Treehugger64 Posts: 4

    Dear Matt, it is time to finally bury the "non-native"-myth, along with the misjudgment concerning "devastated elk herds" and the fairy tale about "depredation crippling the livestock industry". And push Little Red Riding Hood into that hole for good measure, too. That's all but a bunch of cheap excuses. If you get down to the bottom of it, wolves are NOT re-exterminated in the Northern Rockies states (and considered to be state enemy number one in Arizona) because of ANY halfway sound, comprehensible reason, but merely sacrificed as convenient scape-goat for some politicians building careers on fear mongering, deceptions and a bit of secessionism (way too much fed infringement and stuff...). Add the 19th-century-mindset of some people, favouring the "Shoot, shovel and shut up!"-motto, loving to kill everything they see and bragging about it - and ranchers rather blaming and killing some predator than investing in halfway good husbandry to reduce their losses, THEN you have the REAL reasons for the Northern Rockies wolf extermination plans. The official "reasons" given to the public are nothing but a big heap of bovine scatology. Well, most of those reasons DO come from cattle ranchers, after all...

  • Robert Wharff posted at 8:55 am on Fri, May 16, 2014.

    WyoBOB Posts: 29

    That is precisely why Wyoming is managing wolves at the lower level rather than allowing wolves to manage our wildlife.

    Sportsmen are the ultimate conservationists. It appears that gf323232 would rather feed our wildlife to the wolves, literally, rather than see people putting food on their own table. Being self-sufficient scares some people and especially a government that seeks to return us to being their serfs.[wink]

  • JC101 posted at 7:38 pm on Thu, May 15, 2014.

    JC101 Posts: 13

    No serious disrespect, Matt, but you need some night biology classes. Not a native species? The Gray Wolf was the dominant natural predator in this valley for thousands of years before being exterminated. Yes, Alberta's wolves were slightly larger than the lower Rocky Mountain packs. Same DNA, same species, a corridor existed from Mexico to Canada in the past. They aren't an invasive species. You can complain about them, but inventing your own biological reality is not giving you the credibility that you seriously need at this moment.

  • gf323232 posted at 11:59 am on Thu, May 15, 2014.

    gf323232 Posts: 8

    You "sportsmen are anti-wildlife terrorists. The wolves will manage the elk from here on out. Deal with it[beam]

  • Robert Wharff posted at 10:59 am on Thu, May 15, 2014.

    WyoBOB Posts: 29

    Talk about a biased article.

    The G&F is doing what they said they would do in regards to wolf management. It is about fulfilling the states obligation to maintain a recovered wolf population AND protect Wyoming's sportsmen (hunters) interests.
    Wyoming is fortunate that our wolf populations have not grown beyond our ability to manage them. It appears as though other states are struggling to get the level of harvested needed to reduce their wolf populations to the levels they desire.

    Wyoming is doing what they agreed to do; nothing more, nothing less!

  • williamhuard posted at 7:23 am on Thu, May 15, 2014.

    williamhuard Posts: 14

    Unfortunately Matt's attitude shows the current viewpoint among hunters. Non native foreign invasive species. Light on science, biology, and even lighter on ethics. They have resorted to KKK vigilante masks with dead pregnant wolves and displaying dead wolves with blood dripping down the side of an SUV......the modern SLOB hunter!

  • Matt posted at 6:33 am on Thu, May 15, 2014.

    Matt57 Posts: 38

    Gary: In case you weren't aware, the wolves/invasive species that were introduced (not "re") into the GYE are NOT native. They are from northern BC and Alberta, and a far larger that the native wolves that once inhabited this area. They have UNnatural advantages over ungulates south of the 55-56 parallel.

    I hope the invasive species criminally introduced to the Mtn west almost 20 years ago is eradicated.

  • williamhuard posted at 5:00 am on Thu, May 15, 2014.

    williamhuard Posts: 14

    Matt- facts are facts. Wyoming is a joke. Anyone can go on the wy game and fish website and read about how hunters have had the two best elk seasons ever.! But- you guys never quit! You are entitled to your opinion but not your own facts. Allowing wolves to be killed anywhere anytime any method in 80% of the state clearly shows your complete lack of biology and ethics! And shame on Salazar for approving the plan. We all hope the plan is overturned in Wash DC!

  • Matt posted at 10:02 pm on Wed, May 14, 2014.

    Matt57 Posts: 38

    williamhuard{ Question, how many area 75 tags are allotted now compared to 15 years ago. How many antlered tags in 75 are handed out compared to 15 years ago???

    You have NO clue!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • JC101 posted at 7:15 pm on Wed, May 14, 2014.

    JC101 Posts: 13

    Agreed, and very well put. The stock depredations by wolves are of a lower % than killed by pets, barbed wire wound infections and exposure to cold. But you can't shoot barbed wire, skin it and parade it for effect. Excellent point about the nature of elk in relation to wolves; being aware and sync with a predator native to this valley is a heck of a lot more natural than being fed hay on a range with no predators.

  • JC101 posted at 7:09 pm on Wed, May 14, 2014.

    JC101 Posts: 13

    Nice to hear both you guys supporting science and rationality over Old World witch hunting perception of wolves. After all, if elk were eradicated, the wolves would suffer more than anyone, as they need them to survive. Part of my studies have been about the remarkable balance that was restored to Yellowstone when wolves were returned, including better health to the elk herds (better food sources due to less concentrated numbers), healthier riverbanks and grasslands, which in turn provide better nutrition to the remaining elk, and the return of the coyote to its natural place in the ecosystem (the coyote was too high up the food chain with the loss of the gray wolf, and as such put pressure on other small mammals.)

  • williamhuard posted at 6:50 pm on Wed, May 14, 2014.

    williamhuard Posts: 14

    That would be something Gary. In fact- Wyoming has all the data which shows wolves have been scapegoated for several elk herds like the N Yellowstone herd- which has now stabilized, but declined for several years due to climate and habitat issues, as well as human hunting pressure. In 1989- the N Yellowstone elk herd declined from 19000 to 8000 in one year.......19000 clearly an unsustainable number......If you listen to hunters-it's always the wolf......The wolf- responsible for the deficit. Responsible for global warming etc. The hatred for the wolf in Wyoming really hasn't changed much since the Pinedale roundup......

  • williamhuard posted at 6:43 pm on Wed, May 14, 2014.

    williamhuard Posts: 14


    I could post links all night. We have had to endure listening to outfitters and predator haters whine about how wolves will decimate elk herds....That is FALSE. In fact- elk hunting has never ever been better in Wyoming...and people are hysterical with a few hundred wolves.

  • Gary Humbard posted at 6:23 pm on Wed, May 14, 2014.

    Gary H Posts: 14

    Wow, I thought I was the only one not drinking the rancher and hunter "cool aid". You will notice my post with some of the same points. Maybe someday state gaming agencies will actually use more science in their decision making.

  • Gary Humbard posted at 6:11 pm on Wed, May 14, 2014.

    Gary H Posts: 14

    Wolves were reintroduced into Yellowstone and central Idaho to return a native species to its original habitat. A bonus of their return has resulted in helping to restore streams, wetlands, and aspen stands by reducing elk populations and changing their behavior.

    Wolves main prey (80%) is elk and there have been some elk herds (Northern Yellowstone and Middle Fork Salmon) with signifcant reductions. However these reductions are caused by habitat degradation (too many elk), drought, predation by various predators and by hunting.

    Wolves are extemely intelligent animals and they know which animals (tend to be old, sick, lame, unprotected young and sometimes the downright unlucky) to test for a kill. They know they cannot afford to get injured or waste energy and thus their prey tends to be compensatory in nature (killed sooner than later). They also prey on other packs with the #1 cause of wolf death in Yellowstone due to other wolves. Currently the wolf population in Yellowstone is correlated to the elk population, stable.

    If the goal is to sell the maximum number of hunting licenses, then continue feeding elk like cattle (elk feeding grounds), and maintain the minimum number of wolves as required under the ESA.

    If the goal is to maintain healthy, resilient elk herds at carrying capacities, and restore a landscape with a highly intelligent species that has many of the same traits as humans (without our less desirable ones) then allow wolves to roam and let them decide their fate. Predators are a great barometer as to our maturity as a species. When we allow a animal to roam great distances in search of a mate, it says a lot about us.

  • Johanna Duffek-Kowal posted at 4:19 pm on Wed, May 14, 2014.

    Treehugger64 Posts: 4

    It's always amazing how SOME hunters (not really all of them, certainly not those knowing anything about ecology, and I doubt that fishermen feel that intimidated, threatened and deprived by wolves...) feel entitled to wipe out a whole species out of the fear there MIGHT not be enough game animals left for THEM to kill... And this despite the fact that wolves, unlike uncontrolled human hunters, do NOT tend to eradicate their prey. (Ungulates and wolves evolved together and are adapted to each other - but NOT to humans with long range rifles.) Despite the fact that predators are a necessary part of every ecosystem, keeping their prey strong and healthy by weeding out the animals human hunters are NOT interested in anyway - small, sick weaklings, mostly. Despite the fact that, wherever ungulate herds really DO decline, the reasons can be tracked down to HUMAN activities, mostly leading to habitat degradation, not to predation. Despite the fact that most ungulate herds in wolf habitat are FAR from declining - they just are changing their behaviour, acting like wild game animals again instead of lazily grazing the same area until there's nothing left to graze off, just like cows and sheep. (By the way, wolf depredation on livestock is IN FACT so ridiculously low, compared to the huge NUMBERS of livestock and losses through other reasons, which are simply accepted as "natural", it's not even worth seriously discussing it.) Oh, and one more thing - hunters and ranchers are NOT the only ones having the "right" to decide over the fate of public lands and wildlife. Treehugging eco-tourists wanting to WATCH wildlife instead of killing it are bringing in quite a lot of revenue for the wolf-states - IF there are any wolves LEFT to watch, that is. Nobody will be paying to see deer, elk, cows and sheep, all peacefully grazing and grazing and grazing...

  • williamhuard posted at 2:18 pm on Wed, May 14, 2014.

    williamhuard Posts: 14

    Wyoming was allowed approval of their backward wolf management plan complete with the rancher phrase" predator status" because one rancher Matt mead and sen bourasso held Dan ashe's appointment as head of the USFWS hostage unless the flawed wolf plan was approved....up until that point even Wyoming legislators didn't think the predator status plan would be approved. Nothing ever good happens for wildlife when ranchers meet behind closed doors. Salazar- mead meet- plan approved- just like magic!

  • JC101 posted at 12:03 pm on Wed, May 14, 2014.

    JC101 Posts: 13

    About time? This has been going on for several years now. Whatever your opinion on this topic, how you could pretend that wolf management was undercut somehow is simply ludicrous.

  • Jim Hobson posted at 8:27 am on Wed, May 14, 2014.

    jkjacksonhole Posts: 7

    Its about time someone in government became concerned over the debilitating effects of a wolf population going unchecked. Wyoming G&F is funded by fisherman and hunters and should represent those parties aggressively.