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November 27, 2007

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Discussion Topic: Are You Ready to Hunt Western Wolves?

From an Associated Press story in the Idaho State Journal:

[A] proposed [wolf] management plan, issued Monday by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, . . . recommends using a regulated seasonal hunt as the tool of choice for managing, and in some cases, thinning the number of wolves roaming the state. . . .

It also recommends suspending all wolf hunting activity when there are 20 or fewer breeding pairs left in the state.

''We're focusing on managing conflicts with this plan,'' [IDFG large carnivore coordinator Steve] Nadeau said. ''And clearly, that means population reductions in some areas. Other areas, we'll be looking to stabilize.''

Check out the full story and tell us your reaction.


Matt Mallery

Is this season based on science or is this based on the anti wolf hysteria the ranchers have pushed on western civilization for the past 2000 years? I'm willing to bet the latter. It's the same reason bison are shot when they wander outside of Yellowstone and no effort is being made to restore the Grizzley or Jaguar to their historic range. In the west, the ranchers say jump, and the wildlife agencies say how high?


Why not as a management tool? It will also generate money.

Matt Mallery

But why are they being managed is the question. Are they being managed for the overall health or the ecosystem? I doubt it. They are being managed to keep the ranchers happy, just like all other wildlife in the west.


I partly agree with Matt.

I seem to remember reading about this before. I recall the only problems between wolf and man to be with ranchers. I don't recall ever hearing of wolves hunting us; as in the case of some big cats.

Why not just cull the obvious problem animals after they show a propensity for taking ranchers livestock. I would also like to see the ranchers fully re-imbursed for their losses as an incentive to play ball.

Has this not been tried before?


You have a valid point Matt. Question is which side of the fence is the hunt based on? Is there or could there be a middle ground that everyone could live with? Could be just me but you sound like you got a burr under your saddle against the ranchers?



I don't want to speak for Matt, but I imagine his answer would be like mine. I have no problems with ranchers I do not know, but I do think there are some animals I want to see around as long as possible, for me and my selfish reasons, and my kid; whether we can hunt them or not.

I repeat - whether we can hunt them or not.


I get you Tommy. As I hear some ranchers are taking quite a beating from wolves. Taking problem animals out might work. Im curious to read more about it. Im not an advocate for either side just interested. Hopefully there is room for all. I like you Tommy want my children to see wild things too.

Matt Mallery

This burr under my saddle you speak of is because I have seen how much ranchers influence wildlife policy. Consider how difficult it has been to just restore wolves in the first place. Now what about bison? Montana tried to open a bison hunt and even hunters protested it because they said it was not based on healthy, sustainable bison populations but rather that the ranchers don't want bison resotered to the range. And look at the prarie dog and all the prejudice it has endured, merely because the ranchers hate them. How long will ranchers be able to hold the rest of the nation hostage on this issue? I don't have a problem with tags being issued for wolves once healthy, viable populations that contribute to the ecosystem are established. But the measures proposed involve taking a radical number of wolves and keeping the population unaturally low.


There are alternate solutions for protecting both the wolves and the ranchers livestock. A researcher (I can't remember his name) in Europe has been studying this very issue. He recorder the sounds made by dominant wolves. His solution lies in the vocal responses of wolves. In the evening when the wolves are gathering their pack they begin to howl. At that point he would play a recorded call of the sounds wolves make to warn others that they have entered their territory. He tested this method on a farm somewhere in Europe that was regularly hit by wolf predation. Every evening when the farmer would here the wolves howl he would play the call. It worked! The wolves began to steer clear of his property. Now I'm sure this method isn't foolproof. A dominant male from the surrounding pack may decide to challenge the wolf he is hearing. It's a start, and I think it's a good idea. Don't get me wrong, if the wolves actually do become overpopulated than minimal hunting should be in place. I don't think their population is anywhere near that right now.


I am largely ignorant about western wolf issues with ranchers, so I will ask the obvious question and wait for the rolling eyes:

Why not just let ranchers shoot the wolves that show up on their property? No one else. Just the rancher, on his land, against the predator on his land. No hunters, no season, no going into the wilderness - just ranchers shooting pests on their property.

michael crandall

I'm no where near anti hunting but I have a question. Other than population management, why would someone hunt predators (wolves, coyotes, bobcats, etc.)? Can you eat them?


I believe this would cause three problems. First, there will be jealously by some hunters saying that...Why should ranchers have the right hunt wolves but no one else can.
Second, the rancher may take it upon himself to become a "wolf vigilante" shooting every wolf they see even if it isn't on their property. They'll throw it in the back of the pickup, and say it was on their property.
Third, wolves can't read "keep out" signs. They may wonder onto the ranchers property looking for game or whatever, with no intentions of killing livestock, or no livestock around, and the rancher shoots them any way.
It is a good idea, but too difficult to monitor.

Neil Smith

I agree with Matt. The ranchers have had their way for far too long and they have spoiled some of the most beautiful land and trout waters in this country.


Now don't get me wrong I have nothing against ranchers as my family are ranchers, and many ranchers are very good people. They are just trying to make a living, and they have a very important job. One of their calves getting killed isn't just peanuts. It's like the cost of someone bashing in the windshield, and slahing all the tires on your pickup. The problem is many ranchers don't understand the ecology, and importance of wildlife. Work with the ranchers not against them on this issue. I also like the idea of livestock reinbursements. There is common grounds. On another note many ranchers are the first to let someone hunt on their property to protect their fields and hay crop. It's good for hunters, wildlife professionals and ranchers to work together.

as moeggs

Michael Crandell, there are many reasons to hunt predetors such as the ones you listed. Yes, one can eat them. One can wear their fur. And it's population control.


I am ignorant of the rancher wildlife issue. Not a problem in my part of the country. Hope I didnt offend Matt Mallery. Sounds like an inflammatory subject though. I try to educate myself more on the subject. Thanks to all for the information.

Matt Mallery


The probelm is that most grazing is done on public land. That is, land that you, I, the rancher, every wolf hater and San Francisco vegan animal rights activist all own. I should not say that is a problem. I feel blessed to live in the USA rather than Europe or some place were hunting is for the elite few. But many people with opposing views have a say in how land is used. Most western ranchers actually own very little land but rather, get grazing permits from the Feds.


It's nice to hear some intelligent solutions are being sought and offered. Thanks for sharing that interesting information.

Matt Mallery


Not offended at all. We all want a solution to this and sharing ideas is where it starts.


I live in Idaho. I hunt in Idaho. I see the affects of having wolves killing and eating the game that I would normally have the opportunity to harvest. The ranchers are surely losing stock too. If the kill is not found or can't be proven to be wolf kill, they get nothing. If a season is offered to shoot wolves in Idaho, I will participate - for the ranchers and for the elk and deer herds. We will never eradicate the wolf.


I live in Idaho. I hunt in Idaho. I see the affects of having wolves killing and eating the game that I would normally have the opportunity to harvest. The ranchers are surely losing stock too. If the kill is not found or can't be proven to be wolf kill, they get nothing. If a season is offered to shoot wolves in Idaho, I will participate - for the ranchers and for the elk and deer herds. We will never eradicate the wolf.


For those who like these wolves so much, come here to the west and take them home to your state. Catch and relocate as many as you want!!!! Then in 5-10 years you can start asking where your game you like hunting has gone. You have mentioned and bad talked ranchers and stockmen, who have been hurt by wolves being reintroduced in the West. But we are also seeing numbers dropping in deer and elk heards. Not only that makes finding game harder to hunt, but wolves also taking away from enjoyment and financail means of the sport. Sportsmen & women won't spend money for tags & licenses, and equipment; which means our game department's bugets will fall. Also many outfitters are feeling the impact the wolves are having on the wildlife they have clients trying to hunt. You even have to watch yourself and family at places you many want to go fishing. I tried to take my family someplace new to fish this past spring, and came across fresh wolf tracks. And with reports from other areas about wolves chasing people from fishing holes and lake areas, these tracks put fear into my wife for our family. So when someone says how great it is to have wolves around, more than likely don't have wolves in their state. If I remember correctly, when the government brought the wolves back to the intermountain west, they didn't ask the people of Idaho, Montana, & Wyoming if they wanted wolves or not. Just some tree huggers who thought it would be great to listen to the howling of the wolves. Now the wolves are top of the food chain. So bring on the tags for the wolves, so we can thin them out, and hopefully start restoring our game numbers to pre wolf days. Remember, wolves don't kill their food, they eat it alive!!!!!!!!

Most predatory animals eat there food alive you moron. They have no thumbs, thus they cannot start a fire to cook with.

God everybody knows that.


"Just some tree huggers who thought it would be great to listen to the howling of the wolves."

Thats why they did it huh?

"these tracks put fear into my wife for our family"

So how many people have been killed by wolves there - huh?



First, I would like to see some evidence that wolves are reducing the elk and deer populations. It has been proven over and over again that wolves actually make healthier wild ungulate populations.
Second, I'd like to see any reports/evidence you can find of a wolf killing a person.
Good Luck!

If numbers are brought forth showing population estimates in correlation with their homerange being too numerous than I too support the hunting of the wolves.

WA Mtnhunter

Since most of you experts and authorities on all things environmental probably live more than a thousand miles from any western wolf/elk population, why don't you advocate for issues for which you can provide more than just an uninformed opinion?

Does "All hat, no cattle" sound familiar?

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