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Jackson Hole, WY News

With elk scarce, a Gros Ventre wolf war is underway

Elk exodus sends canines packing, too.

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With elk scarce, a Gros Ventre wolf war is underway

Save for trails of scurrying rodents and occasional deep depressions from moose, the snowbanks lining Gros Ventre Road were largely untouched as Ken Mills snowmobiled upriver.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department wolf biologist was on the lookout for the tea-plate-size impressions Canis lupus leaves behind. And he was searching in a place where they’re usually relatively easy to come by.

Outside Yellowstone National Park, the Gros Ventre is the most wolf-dense landscape in Wyoming. Yet the large carnivores and the sign they leave behind were nowhere to be seen Thursday.

“I can tell you,” Mills said 16 miles from the end of the plowed road, “I’ve never come up the Gros Ventre without at least seeing a wolf track.”

The dearth of wolves in the rugged valley east of Jackson Hole was connected to another mammalian Gros Ventre mainstay that is lacking: elk.

Wolves in the Gros Ventre

Just 10 elk remain on the Patrol Cabin Feedground in the Gros Ventre. Last winter the feedground supported about 1,000 elk. Biologists believe the absence of elk in the Gros Ventre, which has more wolves per elk than anywhere outside Yellowstone, is due to a behavioral shift, not necessarily heavy predation.

Wildlife managers haven’t yet flown to count wapiti in the nooks and crannies of “native range” where they’re eking out an existence until spring. But on the man-made winter range — the feedgrounds — where they are easily tallied, there’s an undeniable paucity of elk.

“It looks like 10,” Mills said as he pulled up to the Patrol Cabin feedground. “Pretty crazy.”

The drainage’s two other feeding areas that historically attract elk to eat hay, at Fish and Alkali creeks, were empty. In a normal winter there would be 1,000-plus elk there. Game and Fish’s official goal for the valley was 3,500 as recently as two years ago.

The herd’s apparent absence has caused the valley’s two largest wolf packs to split in search of more fruitful hunting grounds, pushing them into each other’s and neighboring packs’ territories. The result is drama in the wolf world: strife, death and displacement.

Wolves in the Gros Ventre

Mills holds a bloodied paw of wolf 1037F while inspecting the three-year-old female’s carcass for a better understanding of how she died.

“Wolves are acting kind of like Yellowstone wolves right now,” Mills said. “We definitely get wolves that kill other wolves every year, but to have a whole pack shift territories and kill off a neighboring pack — or at least kill a few of them — that’s different.”

The famed wolves of Yellowstone’s wide-open Lamar Valley have for years spotlighted the social species’ complex pack behavior, exposing millions to individual wolf personalities and periodic interpack warfare. Their reintroduction and the flurry of research projects that followed also popularized the theory of an ecological “trophic cascade” that the large carnivores returned to the landscape, though some recent studies suggest the trickle-down effect has been overstated.

There’s no doubt that the Gros Ventre, its abundant wolves and their influence on the valley’s fauna and flora have received less fanfare.

But it’s an area Mills knows well. In 2014, months before a federal judge revoked Wyoming’s control of the species, the Pinedale-based biologist spent six weeks in the valley studying wolf predation. Tracking animals and visiting points on the Bridger-Teton National Forest where GPS tracking collars showed wolves were clustered, he encountered the remains of about 60 wolf-eaten ungulates.

Wolves in the Gros Ventre

Ken Mills, a Wyoming Game and Fish Department large carnivore biologist, inspects the carcass of 1037F, a three-year-old female wolf from the Togwotee pack that had likely been killed in a scuffle with the Slate Creek pack. “This is really dynamic stuff,” Mills said of recent changes in the Gros Ventre. “Wolves are acting kind of like Yellowstone wolves right now when they’re at a high density and stressed.”

Bite marks tell a story

Mills inspected a carcass Thursday, though it was of the canine variety. The deceased was 1037F, a 3-year-old female from the Togwotee Pack. Peeling back hide from the bitch’s face with a pocket knife, he could see that a puncture wound had pre-death hemorrhaging. Sign of a wolf bite.

“Multiple bite marks on the face,” Mills said. “Pretty brutal.”

Exposing the underside of the face further, the biologist pointed out the muscle that likely did her in: the masseter, which gives the wolf its bite force.

“This is the power of the wolf right here,” Mills said. “You can see, it’s like a chicken breast. It’s huge.”

Before hopping back on his snowmobile, Mills got a text from a contracted wolf-tracking pilot. It was a dead Togwotee Pack wolf, this one well to the north near Wind River Lake. The next day Mills visited the carcass. It proved to be another casualty of the wolf war.

GPS data suggests that 1037F’s misfortune was a run-in with the Slate Creek Pack, which has controlled the western side of the Upper Gros Ventre since forming in 2015. An offshoot of the National Elk Refuge’s Pinnacle Peak Pack, the Slate Creek wolves numbered 14 when assessed a year ago, enough to make them the biggest pack in Wyoming outside Yellowstone at the time.

A new pack

Mills’ very-high-frequency tracking receiver told him the Slate Creek wolves were nowhere near. What he did detect was a signal from a potentially newly formed pack, tentatively named “Kinky Creek” after the Gros Ventre River tributary that courses by the Darwin Ranch.

The biologist brap-brapped his way to the end of Gros Ventre Road, where he caught a signal of two animals high above their namesake drainage as daylight waned. They roamed ground he figured would be tough to reach on a snowmobile, and a long human howl produced no response. The snow was deep and, in the biologist’s view, the living tough.

Wolves in the Gros Ventre

Biologist Ken Mills howls to a nearby collared wolf, hoping to draw a response from one of the two that had recently broken off and formed a new pack, bouncing back and forth between the Upper Green and the Upper Gros Ventre.

“There’s not much to eat here besides moose,” Mills said. “This little group, they want to make a go of it, so they found this little tiny gap between the Green River and here.

“They’re in this little tiny sliver bounded by wilderness areas without any prey,” he said, “and other wolf packs that aren’t going to roll out the welcome mat for you.”

Bounding their east side was the Lava Mountain Pack, former denizens of the Upper Gros Ventre, which had claimed new territory in the Upper Green River area this winter. It was a bloody takeover. Two Green River Pack wolves were killed, leaving the pack’s existence in question.

On the drive back toward Jackson Mills received word that explained why he had failed to catch the signal of the Slate Creek Pack earlier in the day. The band of lobos was on Blacktail Butte, well to the west of its typical territory and in an area where it had never been documented before.

“Following the elk,” Mills said. “That’s what they’re doing.”

Wolves in the Gros Ventre

Mills and wildlife biologist Aly Courtemanch look at data last week at the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s office on North Cache Street. The heavy presence of wolves in the Gros Ventre has driven out thousands of elk that usually winter in the valley, and wolf packs are now finding themselves at odds with one another as they follow retreating elk into foreign territory.

The Slate Creek wolves had set themselves up for a run-in with the Pinnacle Peak Pack, a formidable group of wolves that claims a valuable winter prey source: the National Elk Refuge’s thousands of ungulates.

But, at least for the time being, a clash wasn’t imminent. Mills’ pilot had last marked the Pinnacle Peak wolves running the subdivisions near Jackson Hole Airport.

Both packs’ whereabouts was another twist in what’s proving to be a weird winter for the Gros Ventre and its lack of wapiti and wolves.

“Wolves are overlapping at the moment,” Mills said, “and there’s a lot of shifting going on because of elk distribution.

“For our part, we’re not trying to make a big deal out of this,” he said. “This is just what’s going on.”

Contact Mike Koshmrl at 732-7067, or @JHNGenviro.

Mike has reported on the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem's wildlife, wildlands and the agencies that manage them for 7 years. A native Minnesotan, he arrived in the West to study environmental journalism at the University of Colorado.

(61) comments

Sam Lobo

I get a kick out of how some people think that these vermin don't have limits. All one needs to do is look at the numbers that come out of Minnesota. Numbers they can not argue with! They tell the story if you truly look at them. The Minnesota example of wolf management proves that those that have hate towards hunting of wolves are a failure.... a failure to man..... a failure to the taxpayer ...... a failure to other wildlife....a failure to livestock and pet owners..... and most of all a FAILURE to wolves. Keep in mind that the situation in Minnesota has nothing to do with “sport” hunters and trappers. You know Minnesota right... The shining star state that most in the wolf 'donate now" crowd hold up as the example of how to treat wolves.....Where the wolf faithful tell us the Democratic Governor loves wolves as opposed to Republican Walker "who hates wolves" in Wisconsin. The state where they have more wolves than any other in the lower 48, the state where there is true love for wolves…..Minnesota!
The dirty little secret some posting here don't want you to know. Minnesota was killing OVER 200 wolves every year to keep them out of trouble. Yup, they almost hit 300 the year before the first wolf hunt. They were killing OVER 200 PER YEAR for more than half a decade BEFORE THAT 1st Hunt ALL on the taxpayers DIME almost all done by TRAPPING. YES TRAPPING! .... Not quite the animal that lives in harmony with people. KEEP in mind that the population of wolves in MN the year around the first hunt was only estimated at 2211 wolves and they were killing close to 300 (PER YEAR) for getting into trouble (Habituation and depredation)....once again that 300 is only the documented number.... Many were so disgusted because of re-accruing issues they shot wolves on site without approval of the DNR! The first year after the hunt they only had to kill 150 for getting into trouble. It is estimated that had the state stuck with the 1600 to 1700 wolves in the states science based wolf management plan only 50 wolves would have been needed to be killed for habituation and depredation. Because, the poorly worded Federal Endangered Species Act which allows ignorant and agenda driven judges to interpret “into the majority of their former range” to mean the majority of the state of Minnesota (which is certainly not good or even marginal habitat for wolves) the state of Minnesota.. (and ernie) are once again setting up these wolves for failure! ADDING an additional 500+- wolves (2211 s/b 1700) to the landscape in poorer habitat has resulted in an additional 250 +- (300 s/b 50) dead wolves.! LET ME REPEAT THAT: ADDING an additional 500+- wolves (2211 s/b 1700) to the landscape in poorer habitat has resulted in an additional 250 +- (300 s/b 50) dead wolves.! THESE dead wolves are the result of people that loves to wear wolves on their sleeve! We can thank the "donate now" crowd for all this trapping and killing. Thank you sportsman for your effort at keeping wolves at reasonable and responsible numbers....SHAME on those that wear "wolf killing" on their sleeve in order to get "donate now" buttons pressed by the gullible and abuse the Endangered Species Act for easy picking of EAJA dollars setting up the wolf for more controversy and eventual failure. Support Congressman Gallagher (R), and Senator Baldwin (D) in their bipartisan effort at reforming the Endangered Species Act which is LONG overdue. Those that know full well of this inevitability yet prey on the gullible with their “wolf killing” and “save the wolf” talk to create controversy in order to get the gullible to press “donate now” buttons need to be held accountable. The Minnesota example of wolf management where groups like HSUS have more wolf blood on its hands then sportsman! THOSE that have bigotry in their heart and allow RICH welfare environmental lawyers to abuse our EAJA laws and weaken the Endangered Species Act should be held accountable .... responsible environmentalist would do so.

Jay Westemeier

"Because, the poorly worded Federal Endangered Species Act which allows ignorant and agenda driven judges to interpret “into the majority of their former range” to mean the majority of the state of Minnesota (which is certainly not good or even marginal habitat for wolves) the state of Minnesota.. (and ernie) are once again setting up these wolves for failure."
So, why don't you provide your "expert" opinion on what is considered to be good or excellent wolf habitat? Do you understand that the taxpayer's cost to remove the wolves for habitual depredation in Minnesota has been more than offset by deer related auto accidents and agricultural damage savings? Even with the largest wolf population in the lower 48 and loosely restricted deer hunting laws, Minnesota's deer population has increased 25% in the last three years to over 1 million. Based on recent sightings and livestock complaints, Minnesota's wolf range is not expanding and is very close to what it was in 2013. Worrying about how citizens spend their money on wildlife preservation is a sure sign that the worrier has an agenda that isn't being or can't be satisfied.

Sam Lobo

Are you that dense Jay? The fact that the population increase of 500 (moving into marginal habitat) has increased the need to kill them at around 250 more! Your setting them up for failure you fool! Clearly your advocacy is not based on a love for animals is based on a bigoted hate for sportsman and rancher... You can't argue the numbers from Minnesota! They speak for themselves!

Jay Westemeier

First Sam, do you even live in Minnesota? I'm right next door and am not "dense" enough to not know that there aren't even any ranchers in that state. I'm also a sportsman, so your claim that I have a bigoted hate for them is not true. The top Minnesota wildlife officials have confirmed that the wolf range in the state is basically the same today as it was 5 years ago. Predator haters like you will always think one wolf is too many, so don't try to spin it like you really care about the overall well being of wildlife in Minnesota or anywhere else.

Wyoming Winds

All you wolf haters check this out, calling them vermin is making me throw up:

In light of yesterdays Floridas stupid senseless insane mass shooting with 17 kids killed and already this year of 2018 HUMANS have caused shootings with 82 fatalities and many more injured...

SO I WOULD SAY HUMANS ARE FAR MORE DANGEROUS, wouldn't you.... ?? I mean we are barely 40 days into the year and already 82 fatalities? Wolves have only killed 32 people in almost 200 years... wow, Guenther and the rest...
If you cant hear this....
youre lost...
Seriously.... I dont even know what to say to you guys...stop watching Fox News? I m not sure...

Now heres the wolf totals for the past 178 years:

Um..... Id say... Humans kill far more people every day then wolves have killed in almost 200 years.
Why are you so afraid of them, then?

Im trying to understand,..but I just dont get it. Not at all.

Now heres some more science against one of your favorites: wolves are an invasive species: since you seem to only have hatred and misguided rhetoric:

And yet another one of your classic arguments is gone... that wolves are an invasive species...

Oh and dont let me stop there:
Wolves cause all the elk reductions that you seemingly grab out of thin air?
--(plus your constant argument that it is wolves that are reducing the elk to... almost nothing... is also insane that means around 500 wolves in Wyoming....etc... are responsible for...wait...what elk population reduction are we talking about? I am mystified!!
Check this out:

etc etc...
Back to my original point: human Vermin vs wolves as vermin:
ITs pretty obvious : humans a far more dangerous, unstable, menacing, crazy, psychotic, and likely to kill others for no reason at all than wolves have ever been and ever will be. Period. All the data of human history will show you who is truly the vermin here on this planet...and the by far moist destructive invasive species that wreaks havoc on others, the environments, end beyond...

Wolves,... on the other had...avoid humans like the plague...and live a quite peaceful life for the most part... not a vicious, sport kiling bunch, are they?

Speaking of sport killing, isnt that what hunters (humans) are doing when they go out every year and kill thousands of animals around the world...for trophy or for meat, it doesnt matter: I can bet you less than 5% of all that killing is for subsistence.... That means all other hunting/killing is for "sport"doesn't it Mr Guenther??? and the rest of you nut-jobs? then why do you love to advance the unsubstantiated idea that wolves kill only for sport?

Mr Guenther and the rest of you wolf haters: plesase stop this insanity. No one is listening to you. You make no sense If you truly want to do the world some good than rather than shooting wolves because you are so afraid fo them why dont you go out and find these mass shooters before they kill others and destroy infinite lives and dreams and destinies??
Perhaps even your neighbor is a potential mass shooter-Hurry and get him first! Please!? And do us all a favor!

You speak from a place of fear/hatred (usually the same thing...Mr Guenther, Hemming, and the rest: Why Are You So Afraid of Wolves when it is clearly humans that you need to be afraid of???

Oh and one final thought: do any of you wolf haters own a dog? Any breed? Guess what: 99% of all domestic dogs in the world came from ...where? You guessed it: Wolves, and wild dogs.. the twisted logic (fear and emotion, in other words) that seems to pervade this discussion from the wolf haters... I guess you better go shoot Fifi,,,,,Muffin.... Bart....etc etc...You never know when your 40lb golden retriever might go after an 450 lb elk.... or a small child... Yikes! Run! Hide!!
You get the picture?

I didnt think so....

Jay Westemeier

For the most part, I can agree with your points Mr. Grasseschi. But I definitely don't blame all hunters, gun enthusiasts, or Fox News for mass shootings in this country. There are underlying reasons for these incidents that our country has continued to ignore for far to long and the 2nd Amendment is not one of them. As far as the wolf fear factor is concerned, I think you're spot on.

Jeff Larson

How fortunate for you that children were killed in Florida just in time to be included in political argument about wild dogs.

Chad guenter

Mr. Grasseschi: I'm not afraid of wolves, I believe their numbers need to be managed. Your long rant is full of falsehoods and ignorance/insults of those who have opinions different from yours.
You talk about how much "more dangerous, unstable, menacing, crazy, psychotic".... humans are than wolves. If you had to pick between a random human being you did not know or a wild adult wolf pulled out of the wilderness of the GYE, which would you chose to spend 24 hours with, locked in a fenced enclosure?

BTW I don't watch Faux News, bunch of lies(propaganda) like any other MSM outlet.

S. Stephenson

There is no point reasoning with the anti wolf crowd, usually hunters, who twist facts and stats to accommodate their historical (hysterical!) un-researched beliefs.It always makes me laugh when they try the emotional angle of "next time it's going to be children who are attacked" etc. There has been NO incident of a healthy wolf ever attacking children or others. 2 deaths in 100 years attributed to wolves in Canada does not a massacre make. Can this be said for any other animal,insect, weather condition,human etc.

Jay Westemeier

You're absolutely correct about trying to reason with the predator haters. But, everyone who cares deeply about the future of our wildlife is obligated to provide facts that prove to everyone how foolish they are.

Robert Wharff

Reading through these comments, it's amazing the things people say. It is great that people get to voice their opinions and share their thoughts. It's important to know the difference between what one believes are facts and what are actually facts. I would encourage people to do their own research and read good, factual books and sources. The old history books are a wealth of information.

Lance Holter

It's not wolves or predators which turn the landscape into a wast land. It's industrial Robber Barons , selfish resource extractors that think conservation is a filthy word. If you love wildness then protect wilderness, public lands and National Parks and Monuments, for our children's sakes.

Leslie Patten

The fact that the elk are staying off the Gros Vente feedgrounds may be a blessing. The wolves accomplishing what we humans have been reluctant to do. CWD is coming soon and those feedgrounds are a breeding ground for disease--brucellosis, hoof rot, and now CWD. Healthy elk are don't hang out like cattle, clustering and waiting for their next man-made meal. Wolves herd the elk, and make them wild again, and keep them healthy.

Lance Holter

Excellent observation Leslie, keep it wild ! I'm a native of Wyoming. I've seen the changes in Elk behavior since the wolf was reintroduced to the GYE. Huge herds along the Lamar River now down to a few, they have moved back into the forest and the Bison have taken over. I wonder what would be different if the Wolves which hunted Bison had been introduced.

Chad guenter

Mr. Holter: Mackenzie Valley wolves DO hunt bison. They will turn exclusively to Bison once the easier slaughtered elk are GONE. Here you go... Same wolves have spread through the Rocky Mtn. west for 2 decades.

Releasing these animals in the lower 48 was a CRIME against nature.

Lance Holter

Doug Smith, senior biologist with the yellowstone wolf project, was interviewed in the Montana Pioneer-February 2014. This interview will dispel much of your claims Chad guenter, such as the "Mackenzie Valley Wolf" misinformation. 14 wolves were brought from Jasper National Park, Alberta and 12 other wolves were brought from Choteau, Montana and 17 others from British Columbia. Size wise the skulls of these wolves are only 6% larger than the wolves which existed in the GYE before they were hunted to extinction. The introduced wolves preyed primarily upon Deer and Elk. The wolf which preys primarily upon Bison and Musk oxen are from the Wood Buffalo National Park on the border with Alberta and The Northwest territories. The great conservationist, Aldo Leopold , in 1944 recommended wolves be re-introduced to the GYE. I would believe conservationists and scientists like Mr. Leopold and Mr. Doug Smith in contrast to your CRIME claims and hyperbole you display in these comments.

Chad guenter

Mr. Holter: The Hinton AB. and Dawson Creek BC wolves were roughly 250-350 miles from Wood Buffalo NP, 750-900 miles from Yellowstone. Miles are not nearly as significant as their Latitude locations. The Dawson Creek BC wolves were observed feeding on Bison before they were trapped for relocation. The relocated wolves would have gone after Yellowstone bison, had easier to kill elk not been there as well.
You want to herald the opinion Smith, that is fine. I believe he was wrong from the beginning to put anything other than Lower 48 wolves in the GYE.

Hopefully these discussions are moot as the hunting of wolves is proving a success in Montana, and will soon do the same in WY. Just a couple days ago the Northern Yellowstone elk herd count was released. It has rebounded well to over 7500 head, double it's historic wolf predation caused low. The hunting and trapping of wolves to keep their numbers in check is absolutely needed.

Jay Westemeier

"Just a couple days ago the Northern Yellowstone elk herd count was released. It has rebounded well to over 7500 head, double it's historic wolf predation caused low".
The prior population lows can not be solely attributed to the presence of wolves and this rebound can not be attributed to just one wolf hunt. The herd has been increasing steadily since 2013 while Yellowstone wolf numbers have remained steady over that time. I guess the wolves decided to just feed on moose during that time. Officials have also questioned the validity of the 2017 elk count. Most believe heavy snows pushed many elk out of the park at the time of the count and point to the aerial tally's 10-50% error rate. Mr. Guenter and friends had predicted a marked decrease in elk population after last winter's harsh weather, and yet the NY herd increased without the aid of feed grounds. Some hunters really need to relax and find something more constructive to do in their free time than. Their big bad wolf stories are getting stale.

Chad guenter

Mr. Westemeier: Before wolves were released in Yellowstone the NY elk herd neared 20K. By 2013 it had been cut by 80% to below 4,000. During the same time wolf populations exploded, with the Druid pack in particular achieving unheard of numbers in the NY herd's home base. Wolf hunting outside the park in MT and WY. began 2012/13, effectively giving refuge once again for elk outside the park and in wintering ranges. There is no alternative explanation to the OBVIOUS. Wolves culled 80% of the NY herd, and once wolf hunting began, that herd began to recover, PERIOD.
Regarding the non supplemental feeding of that herds, they do not have a resort town built smack dab on top of their winter range.

These 2 points are pure and simple common sense, you don't need an ecology/wildlife biology degree to see it.

Jay Westemeier

You need to get your facts straight Mr. Guenter. In 2010 Yellowstone's wolf population was under 100, down over 40% from its high in 2003. Since 2010 and during the elk herd's increase, the wolf population has increased to approximately 110. The elk herd increased without the wolf population decreasing. I will never claim that wolves don't effect elk populations, but I will also never make unsubstantiated claims like you do about Yellowstone being overrun by wolves and wolves devastating the Yellowstone elk herd. The facts just don't back up your claims. Now that the elk herd has grown, the wolf population will most likely also increase. The wolf population dropped when the elk population did. It's an inherent balancing act and cycle of nature. Hunters are not a required ingredient in the formula.

Jay Westemeier

Mr. Guenter claims that wolf hunting in MT and WY began in 2012/2013. It actually began in 2009 in ID and MT when congress revoked the wolf's endangered species protections. Protected status was temporarily restored by a federal judge and there was no hunt in 2010. After again revoking protections, hunting resumed in those two states in 2011. I knew that and I'm not even a hunter. So, even without little to no hunting pressure, the Yellowstone wolf population fell from a high of 170 in 2003 to less than 100 in 2010. Common sense tells us that wolf hunters have had little to no affect on the elk or wolf populations in Yellowstone.

Chad guenter

Leslie Patten: Have you personally watched THOUSANDS of elk mill around together some times for weeks on the steps above the Snake river during their annual migrations? YES they DO cluster together with no influence of man present.
PLEASE, educate yourself.

Chad guenter

""""""""""Mills’ pilot had last marked the Pinnacle Peak wolves running the subdivisions near Jackson Hole Airport."""""""""" Wolf packs in subdivisions. That is a ticking timebomb.

Jay Westemeier

"That is a ticking timebomb".
Only if you're a paranoid and unstable individual who's unwilling to coexist with wildlife.

Chad guenter

Mr. Westemeier: Call it paranoia or reality. Wolves roaming golf course airBandB/VRBO communities filled with urban/foreign tourists who have no idea they are "in the wild". It wont be long before an easy 2 legged prey animal is picked off by a hungry wolf. Just hope it isn't a child.

Jay Westemeier

Mr. Guenter, even though there is evidence that wolves are passing through or near residential areas, the fact remains that wolves will avoid direct contact with humans like the plague.

debbie merrill

Please share any and all documented wolf attacks on humans and children in the Northwest sir. Stop spreading hysteria without FACTS or reality. If a "tourist" doesn't know they are "in the Wild' at Jackson, they need to do a complete reality check just as you do to suggest a wolf will run up to a B&B and eat a child.

Chad guenter

Ms. Merrill: Do you spend much time in the parks during peak months? Urban and Foreign tourists are completely ignorant of the dangers that surround them. I have personally watched, Asians, Europeans, and East Coast Americans do absolutely idiotic things for a picture with elk, moose, bears, etc. THEY DONT DO "REALITY CHECKS", Ms. Merrill. They think they are in an amusement park.

Sam Campbell

Yes, we do have millions of tourists behaving completely inappropriately around our dangerous wildlife every year, so surely the wolves are grabbing a few- could you point to the news story about a wolf attacking a human, as someone suggested earlier?

Jay Westemeier

Asking Mr. Guenter or Hemming for documented proof of anything is impossible. Their shtick has always been to spread unfounded hysteria about all predators. It works on a few transplanted housewives out there but is nothing but comical propaganda to those in the know.

Chad guenter

Mr. Campbell: A few cases in the last 10 years...

Kenton Carnegie, Candice Berner, Marcelo Vanzuita, Brent Woodland, Andrew Morgan, Matthew Nellessen, Michelle Prosser, Noah Graham, Mario Lagacé, William Hollan, Dawn Hepp, Lance Grangaard, Rene Anderson, Karen Calisterio, Roderick Phillip, and a Large number of un-named instances as well.

There is a reason wolves have been hated by mankind since prehistoric times. They can and will kill us and they compete for the same food sources.

Jay Westemeier

In the last 198 years of records w/ documentation, 32 people in North America have been killed by wolves. Keep in mind that North America includes Canada and Mexico. In the same 198 years, bears have killed in North America, 158 humans. Sharks, 118. Poisonous snakes, 43, cougars, 24. Alligators, 9. In 134 years, dogs have killed 874 humans in North America. Cows kill 22 humans every year and Horses kill 20 people every year on average. And by the way, there has never been a documented wolf attack on a human in Yellowstone or Grand Teton. In fact, the only documented wolf attack in Wyoming happened in 1908 near Spring Valley where two Italian men were competing in the 1908 New York to Paris Race, driving a Zust. Along a muddy stretch of road, they heard wolf howls and a pack of wolves surrounded them. Tooting the horn and other nonlethal measures proved ineffective. When the wolves began nipping the vehicle's tires, the men shot several of them dead with a pistol and a rifle. I question why that is even considered to be a wolf attack. Draw your own conclusions from these numbers.

Ralph Maughan

This kind of baloney from anti-wolf people like Guenter has been put out since the wolves were reintroduced in Yellowstone in 1995. There were predictions of dead children within months. Of course, it never happened. 23 years later it still hasn't happened. Guenter is like those who predict the second coming of the Lord. Prediction after prediction by fanatics and it never happens.

Ted Porwoll

People all over North America live and have lived with wolves for eons. I regularly cut wolf track while working and playing around Pinedale. Grew up in Minnesota, have lived in WY since 1984. Wolves don't worry me and I have never heard of anyone even being approached by one. You can quit with the save the kids BS, they are more likely to be trampled by a moose or even hit by lightning, in Jackson. Can't understand why you are so afraid of them. Get a grip man!

Sam Lobo

I find it interesting that a poster here cherry picks from the list of predictions with regards to the introduction of wolves. Let's review some of the other predictions .....and the outcome!

Lets talk about the predictions of depredation on livestock! Most certainly this is true and downplay by the likes of the cherry picker mentioned above. What they always leave out when depredation is talked about is that the numbers given as confirmed depredations are only a fraction of the true depredation. Dr Mech estimates it at only one in seven...... so they tout them "confirmed numbers" as if that is the only depredations and all the rancher has to deal with. Then you have fixing fences, lacerated livestock from running through those fences. Lost sleep thinking about what the morning will bring.... Those that fall for the "confirmed" depredations as being true rancher loses are either gullible OR the one spreading such nonsenses. A many of ranchers have been told that a wolf had ate their pet or livestock .... BUT, did it kill it? They must prove signs of struggle in order to have a depredation "confirmed". States like Oregon and Washington have put even STRICTER rules to follow in order to get a confirmation. When calves are ate from head to tail..... it’s hard to confirm a dead calf when a pack of wolves ate everything and all you have left is an angry mother cow with lacerations from running through fences and the loss of the dead calf AND their current pregnancy. Yes, cows will abort their pregnancy when they are running for their lives and complete stress and panic from the bawling of the calf as it is ate alive. This is how the HSUS loves animals. These same people expect ranchers to absorb the costs to move cattle to safer places NIGHTLY. Only ranchers understand how edgy and hard to work with cattle that have been stressed by wolves can be…. this does not only affect the dead ones! General Lose of weight for yearlings that are raised in a wolf saturated environment is common knowledge. Keep in mind that the majority of these issue are affecting those ranchers on the front lines with wolves!

The next prediction is that they dramatically affect game herds .... as we have seen most certainly this has come full circle. Its was absolutely funny watching the reaction from these zealots as herds like that of the Lolo herd in Idaho. Even funnier that their ONLY healthy eco-system is what comes out of the south end of a wolf headed north.
Cherry picking predictions is not cool Ralph especially when we both know that wolves that become habituated are killed immediately! Throwing in your Lord hate tells us just a little more about who you are!

Jay Westemeier

Whether you like it or not Mr. Lobo, this country's sympathy for an industry that raises domesticated animals for slaughter and a product deemed to be marginally healthy ran out decades ago.

Sam Lobo

Jay, Only in your small pathetic bigoted world! You, maughan and his hate site spread your bigotry and hate ....... I as it look your proud of that! Your one sick puppy!

Sam Lobo

Let’s take a look at Jay's comment on wolf/human attacks......... As Paul Harvey once said .... Here is "the rest of the story"! The progression a wolf goes through in order to kill "new" prey (humans) are well documented. One of those steps is to show habituated tendencies.... i.e. not running from and in the presence of humans. The well documented HUNDREDS (maybe thousands) of these wolves that have shown these tendencies (in north America) are immediately KILLED by wildlife professionals! YES, these problem wolves are killed immediately….no questions asked! They know full well the progression that would accrue without quick action. So, what would happen…?? A case in study is well documented in Will Graves book Wolves of Russia and what occurred in Northern Russia during WWI and WWII when the men and their guns were away on the Russian front.

I’m working on a little project to come up with the ratio of habituated wolves that are killed verses the depredating wolves. A small but significant number of the hundreds of wolves that are killed in Minnesota ALONE every year are habituated wolves…… I invite JAY and his vast resources to give us the true number. We do know that it is THOUSANDS of wolves that have been killed for habituation and depredation….. How many are habituated JAY?

What we have learn here:
Wolves do kill people!
Wolves that show habituation tendencies need to be killed!
The number these wolves in the last 20 years is substantial.
And the fruit cake posters here that want to “save the wolf” & “leave them alone” are ignorant.

Lastly, I would like to discuss the death of Kenton Carnegie…. Prior to his death wolves in that area were displaying that they were habituated. BUT, the most striking part of the whole deal was the effort people like Jay went through to shed doubt that it actually was a wolf that killed him. The disgusting behavior of carnivore biologist Dr. Paul Paquet. I encourage the readers to read documentation about the death and Paquets actions….. Then translate that to the “science” this guy brings to the table!

Jay Westemeier

You're welcome to turn your attacks on me Lobo because I've obviously put a big dent in your agenda by presenting factual, modern day rebuttal to it. You've obviously been obsessed with "wolf hysteria" novels and watched far too many werewolf movies. Your user name is also a dead giveaway to your obsession and paranoia. I try to present actual documented facts in my arguments and also try to avoid biased information sites and novelty books to gather the facts. Your reliance on conspiracy theories about everything is a big part of what is wrong with this country and being a malcontent drama queen is not a healthy way to live your life. I can recommend a number of "feel good" books you should read that just might help with your condition.

Chad guenter

The description of what is going on in the Gros Ventre does NOT sound "natural". Invasive specie Mackenzie wolves are a blight on the GYE. The Gros Ventre needs the same shoot on sight policy as areas outside the "trophy" zone. These wolves are a menace.

Lisa Robertson

Trophy hunting of wolves seems unnecessary when other causes of mortality are factored in, including natural causes and human caused mortality such as control measures. But the "recreational opportunity" to hunt and kill these animals for trophies rules our wildlife management.

Michael Ochoa

“No human being, past the thoughtless age of boyhood, will wantonly murder any creature which holds its life by the same tenure that he does.”
— Henry David Thoreau. Let this sink in.

Brice Hemming

Once again the undeniable facts that wolves destroy the ecosystem. Not only that the gutter trash worthless vermin are just like rats killing and eating each other. It takes a special kind of stupid to think these vermin pest are special. But people are stupid and believe any slick propaganda they watch. Put a bounty on these vermin mutts and save our ecosystem.

Jay Westemeier

Please re-read the whole article slowly and carefully Brice, if you actually can.

Terry Schramm

I read the article. I believe it said there was only 10 elk on the patrol cabin feed ground and that the biologist went the entire length of the Gros Ventre by snowmobile and never cut another elk track . Seems as though the drainage is devoid of elk. Just a couple of years ago there was about 3500 elk wintering in the Gros Ventre. Any intelligent person would come to the conclusion that wolves have killed a large portion of the elk and displaced the rest with 24/7 pressure. This makes for a management nightmare as the objective is to have 3500 elk distributed in the Gros Ventre rather than on the refuge. Jay,maybe you should re-read the article and try to understand the real implications of wolves on settled landscapes.

Jay Westemeier

Terry, you can't honestly believe that the few wolves that inhabit the GV drainage have killed off the majority of a herd of 3500. Range displacement is not the same as major population loss. Just because one guy doesn't see an elk along the river one day, he makes an irrational assumption that will stir up hysteria. Every time something out of the ordinary happens to ungulates or cattle in Wyoming, predators are automatically blamed. It's the simple answer for lazy minds. If the people of Wyoming were so good at solving their issues with such simple answers and solutions, more than 350,000 people would want to live in such nirvana.

debbie merrill

The undeniable facts are that when humans interfere in the ecosystem, it upsets it. I feel sorry for you that you truly believe that wolves destroy the ecosystem, I suggest you watch "how wolves changed the course of a river". Unfortunately people like you do not have any kind of open mind, just hatred towards Predators and a complete lack of understanding of how an ecosystem works.

Chad guenter

Ms. Merrill: You are correct about humans interfering with the ecosystem. Bill Clinton should be in jail for allowing Mackenzie Valley wolves from northern Canada to be invasively planted in the GYE(among a laundry list of other crimes).

ernie wampler

Sad for the elk and the wolves, should have never brought the Canadian wolves here.

Jay Westemeier

Ernie, You're making an assumption that has already been disproved a number of times by the best wildlife biologists in the world.

Cody Brinton

Jay your absolutely wrong--- six years ago I had the pleasure of receiving two shoot on site permits with problem wolves on my cows. The man that issued that permit was Mike Jimez- the very man that brought those first wolves to yellowstone. He told me that that they are a bigger species than our native wolves. Th reasoning behind introducing these wolves was they figured they could walk here if they had the desire--- Anyway you go in wyoming we hunt and we value or wildlife and the opportunity and incomes hunting brings. Its a way of life and many of us would argue a God given right. You can be assured we will hunt the wolves and thin them as far as possible----

Jay Westemeier

And then you'll be right back where you started Cody. They'll place the wolves back on the endangered and protected list because of your so-called way of life and value for wildlife. I'm from the rural Midwest and know first hand about the arguments coming from self righteous hunters that have zero understanding of the value of predators within their wildlife ecosystems. Just because your father and grandfather told you something was right doesn't make it right in today's not so wild west.

Jay Westemeier

Cody, The man's name is Mike Jimenez. And you can take this to the bank, Mike did not GLADLY hand you two shoot on site permits. That has always been the absolute hardest part of Mr. Jimenez's job. So, don't think for a minute that he actually enjoyed or condoned giving you permits to kill wolves. The wolves have never been an unreasonable factor in what Mr. Jimenez does, but the people he has to deal with on so-called problem wolf issues are a completely different story.

Kevin Clark

Maybe your hunting practices and dependence upon wildlife for an income has screwed up the entire ecosystem? Keep pressuring management to do things your way and soon there will be nothing left.

Sam Lobo

Cody, You are correct about these big Canadian wolves. A good book to read is Cat Urbigkit book "Yellowstone Wolves".... It chronicles the illegal reintroduction of wolves. One would be hard pressed to find one person in the northwest that knows more about the taxonomy of canis lupus irremotus. She knew enough to be called upon in the courtroom to testify that good old Eddie Bangs broke the law…Judge Downes agreed that the introduction of the Canadian wolves was “unlawful”… it was a higher court ruling on what to do about the vermin that let them stay. Eddie should have been prosecuted for his crimes. He did what he did to save his 60 million dollar reintroduction of vermin out of greed!

Dave Loy

'ol Ernie was a game warden around here, think I'd listen to him before you, Jay.

Jay Westemeier

I bet you never listened to 'ol Ernie when he was a game warden, so why start now.

Ed Loosli

The way wolves protect and claim territories from other wolves often killing each other in the process is why we (humans) do not have to "manage" them by hunting... Wolves have a nature derived upper population limit, so humans should just let our predators alone.

Brice Hemming

After the worthless vermin pest destroy the whole ecosystem they kill each other. Nothing but a worthless vermin pest that changes everything into barren wasteland. If you hate seeing wildlife wolves are awesome.

Jay Westemeier

Wolves are AWESOME!

Glenn Graham

Mr Hemming - you are the worthless vermin pest that changes everything into barren wasteland. Wolves are awesome.

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