Remembering The Hog Heaven Wolf Pack…

WolfPack5-1

UPDATE: October 23, 2009

It will be one year this December that Wildlife Services gunned down one of the largest wolf packs to roam Montana in recent memory, in all, twenty-seven wolves.

Here’s a look back at the doomed wolf pack. Read it and please vow to work harder than ever to stop the slaughter of wolves by Wildlife Services.

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Hog Hell: The Demise of the Hog Heaven Wolf Pack

October 23, 2009

In 2008, Montana, Idaho and Wyoming killed 245 gray wolves in the name of ”livestock depredation”.

Twenty seven of those wolves were members of the Hog Heaven Wolf Pack, residing southwest of Kalispell, Montana, in the Browns Meadow/Hog Heaven area. They had been accused of preying on a few calves, some llamas and a bull.  The decision was made in November 08 to take out the entire pack.  Eight members of the pack had already been shot from the air by Wildlife Services.

In a three-day period, December 3rd, 4th and 5th of 2008,  the remaining 19 members of the Hog Heaven pack were gunned down, an almost unprecedented event, causing public outrage. Many articles were written  and opinions voiced, opposing the action. FIFTEEN PUPPIES AND TWO BREEDING FEMALES were among the slain.  The Hog Heaven pack was “the seventh entire wolf pack to be killed by Montana in 2008.”

The zero tolerance wolf management plan is just plain wrong and senseless, especially since cattle deaths by wolves are minimal.  Domestic dogs killed five times the number of cows than wolves in 2005.  I don’t see Wildlife Services taking out Labs and Huskies from the air?

The average number of cattle losses specific to wolf predation in these States is less than 0.7%.  This compares to an average of 1.6% of cattle losses due to predation by coyotes and an average of 90% of losses due to non-predator related causes such as health problems and disease.”

*The National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), reports on cattle losses in the lower 48 States every five years.  Nationally, health issues such as respiratory problems, digestive problems, calving complications and disease were overwhelmingly the most significant causes of cattle death in 2005.  (The year for which we have the most recent detailed data.)”

“Only 0.11% (about 1/10 of 1%) of all cattle losses were due to wolf predation in 2005. Coyotes killed 22 times more cattle than wolves killed that year.  Domestic dogs killed almost 5 times as many cattle, and vultures killed almost twice as many cattle as wolves did in 2005.  Theft was responsible for almost 5 times as many cattle losses as were lost by wolf predation.”

The Hog Heaven pack was special, one of the largest wolf packs ever recorded in Montana, (the once mighty Yellowstone Druid’s had 37 members at their peak).

Instead of trying non-lethal methods to preserve the pack, the state  eliminated them!  AND this all happened while wolves still had ESA protection!!

The anti-wolf crowd wants you to believe wolves are hanging around ranches waiting to prey on livestock, when in reality most of the miniscule depredations take place on our vast public lands, where cattle and sheep are left unprotected.

George Wuerthner, the famed ecologist, calls cows, “walking picnic baskets”. What would you do if you were a predator surrounded by an ocean of cattle and sheep?  Would you munch on them or go after more difficult prey? We already know the answer. Yet the wolf pays the ultimate price for lazy, sloppy ranching practices and the federal government’s refusal to pull public land grazing permits, even though cattle pollute streams, trample riparian zones and over graze the land.

Wolf supporters realize the unfairness of what’s happening.

In 2008, when the Hog Heaven pack was lethally removed, people spoke out:

“Gunning down an entire pack of wolves — a species that is supposed to be protected under the endangered species act — borders on criminal,” said Jerry Black of the Missoula group Wildlife Watchers.

“We are outraged by this senseless slaughter of one of nature’s most majestic animals.”

Added Whitefish resident Roger Sherman: “It seems to me the so-called ’scientific management’ of wolves boils down to simply killing them to conciliate the livestock industry.”

“Brian Vincent, communications director for the group Big Wildlife, insists that the elimination of the Hog Heaven Pack could have been avoided.”

“Why should an entire pack of wolves pay the fatal price for a situation that could probably have been avoided?” he said.

“Both agencies are acting like it’s the Wild West with all guns blazing.”

Yellowstone_Wolves

It’s too late for Hog Heaven, they’re not coming back. This unique pack, with two breeding females (which is very rare) and fifteen pups, numbering 27 total members, was wiped out by Wildlife Services. before Montanans could react. Is it any wonder wildlife advocates question the motives behind so many wolves losing their lives for so little reason? Why are the lives of predators held so cheaply?

If the failed policies of the states and feds to “manage wolves” continue, it’s certain they will never fully recover. We’ll be left with fragmented populations of wolves, genetically isolated, constantly under the gun.

What’s behind the intolerance of wolves?  It’s certainly not because they’re killing large numbers of livestock, wolf predation on livestock is minimal.  It’s not because wolves are decimating elk populations. Elk in Montana and Idaho are strong, with numbers way up.  Idaho has 105,000 elk and Montana numbers are even higher at 150,000 plus.

Yet the war on wolves continues. This year the Sage Creek Pack and Yellowstone’s Cottonwood pack were gunned down, one wiped out by Wildlife Services and the other shot in the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness at the beginning of Montana’s wolf hunt.  They join the Hog Heaven Pack and many others in the ever-increasing death toll of gray wolves.

Will it be Hog Heaven or Hog Hell for wolves in the Northern Rockies?

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Wildlife managers are endangering wolves

Wolf photo: Wikimedia Commons
Categories posted in: Wolf Wars, Public Land Degradation by Livestock
Tags:  gray wolf, wolves or livestock, wolf intolerance, Wildlife Services, Hog Heaven Wolf Pack, National Agricultural Statistics Service
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16 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I teared up as I read this. It is horrific what some humans think they have the right to do. They think that because they can, it is right for them to take out anyone who gets in their way.

    What will it take to teach everyone that the world is not here solely for their abuse?

    • Hi Anna,
      I completely understand, this was a very sad story. WS gunned down FIFTEEN PUPS, who were born sometime in May of 2008. They couldn’t have been more then 6 months old and not involved in any hunting activities. The pack had two breeding females, mother wolves, which is very rare. Yet they coldly and calculatingly killed them all. How can they live with themselves? Who kills puppies?

      Thanks for reading and caring about wolves!!

      For the wolves, For the wild ones,
      Nabeki

    • The farmers and ranchers blame the wolves for the loss of their livestock. There is no proof that the wolves have attacked the livestock.
      Wild dogs which have been left behind because the hunters could not get them to come to their call. Wild dogs kill just to kill. The wolves only kill to feed the pack. They hunt deer,moose,rabbits,elk,
      antelope and bison. They pick ou t the ones which are sick or old. They do get the young too.
      The hunters want the wolves killed because they blame them for the loss of wildlife. Too bad.

  2. I believe the hunting of wolves is wrong and there is nothing you can do about it as long as ranchers see them as a problem I believe in hunting for survival not for sport. Those who hunted the wolves did only for sport and not because they had something to protect.

    • Sarah Palin put out a reward of $150 for the left front leg of any wolf killed in Alaska. Ask Defenders Of Wildlife.

    • Ken, With a due respect, I could not disagree more with your statement that there is nothing you can do about it. “Hope” is a form of paralyzes and will bring about the inevitable conclusion. Standing up and taking charge in a proactive manner will bring about the change we seek. It is already evident that the pro wolf movement has had an impact. Do you think for one moment that wolves would still be amongst us if there weren’t people towing the line for wolves. I don’t believe for one moment that we are where we want to be…but we are heading in the right direction.

  3. I want to thank you for what you are doing. Wolves are a family oriented family pack.
    Farmers and Ranchers along with the Hunters are to blame for the loss of wolves.
    There is no proof that the wolves are killing the farmers and ranchers livestock. The hunters leave their dogs when they do not return to their call.
    I have seen this with my own eyes. The wolves only hunt to feed the pack. Dogs kill just to kill.

    • Your welcome Barbara. The state game agencies should not be in charge of large carnivores. There is a conflict of interest. Wolves, bears and mountain lions should be in allowed to do what they were put on this earth to do. The haters argument is there isn’t enough space anymore for them to live naturally. But there seems to be plenty of space for enormous deer and elk herds. Such hypocrites.

      N.

  4. I want to get a non-profit organization started here in El Paso, TX. It will cost me $48 for a license.
    I plan to start one next month. Anyone who want to help please contact me at 68wolflady@gmail.com. Thank you very much for the work you are all doing.

  5. Horrible! I would even say that it is likely all the predations stats are inflated with their own dogs and deadstock being fed upon by coyotes and wolves being a larger number in theses statistics. Especially coyotes as they would have a hard time with any bigger than a calf but will come close and feed on unprotected ill or dead animals and then are blamed for the death either by mistake or deliberate for compensation.

    • I wouldn’t put anything past them Paul!

      N.

  6. I…I’m speechless. Not even the Daily Interlake, one of Montana’s newspapers, told about the heartless killing of the 15 pups and the two breeding females. It’s rare, indeed, and we should’ve been proud to have a pack to have such a rarity. Having a pack to match the Yellowstone’s Druid pack should’ve been a honor. Now…it’s too late.

    I went to a wolf meeting in 2010. I felt like a wolf before a firing squad. Everyone was anti-wolf. One lady voiced what they wanted to do was a wolf witch hunt. I wish I knew about this. They mentioned this at the meeting and how it had to be done. It makes me sick to me a Montanan with such acts going on.

    I’m a wolf activist, heart and soul, in Montana and will always be one.

    • Northwestspiritwolf…The Hog Heaven Pack slaughter broke my heart. They were one of the largest packs ever to inhabit Montana and now they’re gone. They killed twenty seven wolves for agribusiness. What did those pups ever do to anyone? Most of the pack was killed in November, some even earlier…the pups would have been six months old or younger. A tragedy.

      So good to hear from a wolf activist in Montana. I know there are many, just like there are all across the West, America and the world. We’ve found our voice.

      For the wolves, For the wild ones,
      Nabeki

  7. i dont understan why dont people just leave them alone they were here long before us they should be free do go where they want when they want

    im also glad that there is still some more activity

    wolves always
    helen

    • We’re trying Helen and building a very large community of wolf advocates, now we have to find a way to harness all this energy. I’m working on that.

      For the wolves, For the wild ones,
      Nabeki

  8. they should leave the wolves alone. they dont harm anyone, they should,nt kill them for no reason, they cant survive if they get killed. they also should be a protected or endangered species. they are a truly and magnificent animal.


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