Utah…”No Wolf Zone”?

I read an opinion piece in the Salt Lake Tribune concerning wolves return to the state. It’s been years since canis lupus roamed their native lands in Utah, they were extirpated from most of America, save a few pockets of wolves in Minnestota. But in order to make it to Utah they have to cross the “no wolf zone” in Idaho and Wyoming. No easy task since two wolves, trying to set up shop in Utah, were recently killed for livestock depredation. I always take these reports with a grain of salt because I know and the “wildlife managers” will admit, if asked, that wolves are a mere blip concerning livestock losses. But it always seems to make front page headlines in the local media, because people have a politcal agenda to advance.

The writer summed up their feelings about wolves in Utah this way:

We sympathize with ranchers in northeastern Utah who fear ongoing losses of livestock if wolf packs take up permanent residence. But we remind them that the state, upon investigation and confirmation that a wolf was the culprit, will pay depredation claims. And we encourage them to explore nonlethal methods of safeguarding flocks and herds, including alarm systems, fencing, lighting and the timely removal from the range of dead and dying animals that can attract wolves.

As for hunters, they’ll have to share their bounty with wolves if the animals gain a foothold here. But nimrods will also benefit from a healthier population of game animals, as wolves cull old, weak and sick specimens and improve the genetics of the herds.

For the rest of us, the return of the wolf promises a welcome return to the natural order — a healthy ecosystem, an apex predator in place, silent nights punctuated by eerie howls. The gray wolf should be allowed to reinhabit its old haunting grounds.

Basically the author is saying “suck it up hunters and stop whining”. You can’t get your way all the time, wolves belong to all Americans not just you and your cronies in the state game agencies.

Wolves remind us of places wild and free. None of us wants to think everything in the world has been tamed. We need apex predators to do their job and keep ungulate herds healthy and in so doing, bring a wildness to the places they inhabit.

I’m proud to say I live in wolf country. Wolf song piercing the night  gives me comfort, I’m lucky to be here where canis lupus calls home. But wolves are threatened by upcoming hunts in Montana, especially in Northwestern Montana, where 122 wolves are slated to die at the hand of a hunter’s bullet or arrow, more then any other area of the state.

I have no doubt, wolves being the tenacious creatures they are,  will one day inhabit Utah and hopefully the rest of their native habitat, lost to them by the brutality of man.

Now if only they can run the gauntlet though Idaho and Wyoming.


Wayward wolves

Updated Jul 28, 2010 03:25PM

Salt Lake Tribune Opinion


Photo: Top photo courtesy dcofotom.
Bottom Photo Courtesy kewl wallpapers
Posted in: Utah wolves, biodiversity, Wolf Wars
Tags: No Wolf Zone, Utah, gray wolf, disperse, wolf intolerance
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Published in: on July 30, 2010 at 1:48 pm  Comments (22)  
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  1. Nice to see an article that sily says “wolves are back-this is a good thing overall-so learn to live with them and quit your whining”

    • I agree Ann, I love that the author told the hunters off. It’s about time, they have been whining about wolves for years and it’s always about them, as if the world revolves around hunters, they are a tiny group of people compared to wildlife watchers.

      For the wolves, For the wild ones,

  2. [...] This post was Twitted by crystalwolflady [...]

  3. When it is said that there are 122 wolves slated for extermination do they take into account that wolves have complex communities of wolves? Certain lead wolves and breeding pairs are criticaly important to the survival of the wolves.

    And is it reasonable to believe that given the hostility that the hunters espouse toward this animal,that they will stop at shooting 122 wolves? There is a common belief that these hunters can do whatever they want with “their” animals. If necessary they will simply shoot whatever they see, shovel, and shut up… often with the blessing of the USFWS.

    And, who or what agency determines the number of animals that exist and how many should be killed? If the source is the USFWS, this agency has been arguably one of the loudest advocates for the destruction of the wolves. We believe that it is selfish interests (mining, oil, timber, and some hunters that just want to use their guns on something) that are pushing their agenda by creating many of the outrageous stories about the evils of the wolves.

    • Hi Carl and Janice,
      Yes Montana divided the state up into units and have quotas for each area. Northwest Montana is the hardest hit with 122 wolves slated for slaughter. Here’s the chart. I going to do a post on this plan. They are treating wolves like pests to be eradicated.

      186 QUOTA: 2010 statewide quota of 186, partitioned into proposed 14 individual WMUs (Legal Descriptions in Appendix I).
      Wolf Management Unit

      Northwest Montana

      Purcell –WMU 100………18

      Salish –WMU 101……..22

      North Fork Flathead –WMU 110…….2

      Lower Clark Fork –WMU 121…….19

      Flathead –WMU 130……..9

      Bob Marshall –WMU 150…….5

      Lower Clark Fork –WMU 200……..22

      Blackfoot –WMU 290 (subquota of 3 in deer/elk HD 280)……..15

      Northcentral –WMU 400…….10

      Northwest Montana Total…….122


      Western Montana

      Bitterroot/Upper Clark Fk –WMU 210…….21

      Big Hole/Tendoys –WMU 300…….5

      Western Montana Total…….26


      Southwest Montana

      Highlands/Tobacco Roots/Gravelly/Snowcrest –WMU 320…….10

      Gallatin/Madison –WMU 310…….15

      Southcentral Montana (subquota of 3 in deer/elk HD 316) –WMU 390…….18

      Southwest Montana……..38

      STATEWIDE TOTAL……..186

      Basically since wolves were delisted and their care was handed over to the states, things have gotten so much worse for them.
      Last year we lost 500 wolves in the Northern Rockies. This year could be a whole lot worse if they are not relisted because they will have two hunts to contend with, the “legal hunts” and the shadow hunts by Wildife Services. Montana is working hand and glove with the feds. I believe Liz Bradley is a collegue of Ed Bangs because she worked with him at USFWS before she moved over to Montana FWP. They’ve made it clear they want to reduce the wolf populaton and have started to use the outdated numbers of 150 wolves and 15 breeding pairs. There were approx 520 wolves in Montana at the end of 2009, they count them like they are terrorists. There is no where near that number of wolves in Montana now because Wildlife Services has been killing entire packs for agribusiness.

      They need to get fish and game agencies out of the predator “managing” business. They obviously have a conflict of interest and are “managing” wolves for hunters who pay the licensing fees that pour into the state’s coffers. The states are proving they cannot look out for the interests of wolves or any predators for that matter.

      For the wolves, For the wild ones,

      • What’s even more disgusting if that’s even possible is that they don’t even count all of the wolves killed by wildlife services.

      • So true Jon. Wildlife Services conducts shadow wolf hunts. The people that do the dirty work at Wildlife Services are more then likely trophy hunters that get paid for killing wolves.


  4. So awesome post..
    Wolfs must be back it is time hunters back off for good..

    • Thanks Vasileios. Unfortunately Utah is not a friendy wolf state. It’s the influence of the Cattlemans Assoc and SFW, among others.


  5. One of the most common argument with hunters is: “you don’t know anything because you don’t hunt.”

    The disgusting display so commonly portrayed by those that do hunt, especially by those that hunt for entertainment, give a very good picture of the activity after the euphemisms and PR drivel are done.

    When wolves hunt its a necessary struggle for them. When humans hunt its a stroll through the woods. When wolves hunt, the only enjoyable part is eating the prey.
    When humans hunt, the fun part is pulling the trigger…err…I mean…being out in the woods.

    • When hunters kill predators like wolves for sport, I don’t even call that hunting. It’s killing plain and simple. There is no hunting involved. You find the wolf and you shoot it with your high powered rifle with a scope from a safe distance away. I mean come on, what wolf is going to win against that? here is a good recent article.

      F&G: Wolves not causing most elk losses
      By Laura Lundquist – Times-News writer | Posted: Saturday, July 31, 2010 1:20 am
      Related Links

      Fish and Game newsletter
      Wolves have long been blamed for elk deaths in Idaho. But research is showing the predators have gotten a bum rap.
      In its August newsletter, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game summarized recent elk studies and found only a minority of elk populations are declining and wolves are culprits in few.
      A third of elk populations are increasing even though wolves have been in Idaho since 1995. Though statewide numbers have dropped some, claims that wolves are wholly responsible for declining elk populations aren’t holding up.
      Craig White of Fish and Game said the agency’s wildlife division conducted elk studies in 11 of the 29 state elk management areas between 2005 and 2008. The sample included five of the six areas in the state with declining populations. White said biologists tried to collar approximately 30 female elk in each area, but didn’t provide exact numbers.
      “We selected areas we thought would be representative for a snapshot of what was happening across the state,” White said.
      Biologists found that wolves killed significant numbers of collared elk in only one area, the Lolo zone along U.S. Highway 12 in north Idaho. Over the three years, the report claims wolves killed 20 percent of the Lolo sample, or about six elk. Three-quarters of the collared elk survived, less than Fish and Game’s survival goal of 88 percent.
      White said deteriorating habitat in the Lolo zone has contributed to declining elk numbers since at least 1988, before wolves entered the picture. The population dropped by 40 percent during the severe winter of 1996-97 alone. Bears and cougars also kill many elk. Just across the border, Montana biologists are starting a similar collaring study in Ravalli County, where one factor of elk decline may be high human population growth.
      The report said wolves caused the highest number of deaths in two other areas with declining populations. But in the Smoky Mountain zone west of Ketchum, where wolves were said to have killed 5 percent of about 30 collared elk, other predators and hunters together killed 7 percent. The Sawtooth zone, west of Stanley, had similar results.
      Conversely, the report showed that hunters were the biggest cause of elk kills in two other areas with declining populations: the Pioneer zone east of Ketchum, and Island Park near Rexburg. In the Island Park zone, hunters killed 17 percent of collared elk while wolves killed none.
      White said Fish and Game ran a shorter study starting in 2008, collaring 6-month-old calves in just the Lolo and Sawtooth zones. In both areas, wolves killed around a third of the calves. But in the Sawtooth area, only one-third of calves survived, meaning other factors were also to blame.
      The conclusion that wolves don’t have a greater effect on elk runs counter to the expectations of many. In July 2009, an informal Fish and Game survey of 2,500 out-of-state hunters found that three in 10 didn’t plan to visit Idaho because of the perceived effect of wolves on elk populations.
      In the late ’90s, even ecologists like Scott Creel of Montana State University expected wolves to kill a lot of elk. But after eight years studying the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem where wolves are numerous, he’s learned that other factors are more likely to reduce elk populations.
      Before wolves were reintroduced, elk populations were larger and elk stayed in the open, which is what hunters got used to, Creel said. Now, he said, elk may be acting like they did before wolves were eliminated.
      Given time, Creel said, he thinks both populations would stabilize. He noted population sizes are only considered “good” or “bad” based upon arbitrary ideas of what the size should be.
      “No predator has ever eliminated its food,” Creel said. “Change is always the most dramatic at the beginning, then population numbers settle.”

      • Yet the grey wolf is still blamed for declines in ungulate populations by the hunting community and the F&G don’t do jack to say that isn’t the case. Mark Gamblin attested many times that the presence of the wolf in the lolo area was the primary reason behind the decline in hunting opportunity.
        So in light of this evidence: what hypocrisy! They still put the quota up and allowed all manner of nefarious methods so some airhead can kill wolves. Their reason: Because they are affecting hunting opportunity and attacking farmer’s livestock.

        Wrote several times to Mark Gamblin about the wolf myths, either he didn’t have an answer or was too thick to understand the question. Or maybe he had a political muzzle on. The question was: If the IDFG is determined to educate the public about wolves, why are there still myths of killer 300lbs Canadian Grey Wolves around?

      • And of course the wolf haters were commenting about the article, saying the study was bogus because they want to continue to demonize wolves. This study does not advance their agenda. To me the best part of the study is that it aggravates the anti wolf crowd.


      • John, I don’t know if you remember a case in Idaho that happened back in 2008 where 2 or 3 mountain lion kittens had to be euthanized because their mom was constantly pursued by hound hunters trying to tree her and shoot her. mark Gamblin said that most hound hunters trap mt. lions in trees to get a picture of them, not shoot them which is untrue and a ridiculous claim to make. Mark Gamblin is not the person to ask about wolves. He knows nothing. I mean who would make an absurd statement like that? That hound hunters don’t shoot lions they trap in trees, they take pictures of them?

      • Thanks so much Jon for posting this. Of course we always knew wolves were not decimating elk populations. There were 105,000 elk in Idaho at the beginning of 2009, sounds like lots of elk to me. We should be asking the questioin why one animal is preferred over another one? Or why elk numbers are constantly bumped up to make hunters happy? I think there are other people in the state of Idaho besides ranchers and hunters.


    • The best response to hunters love of killing stuff as some kind of conservationism, is Paul Watson’s quote: “You can’t love nature with a gun”


  6. John, those myths will always be around because they originate and come from the wolf hating people themselves, most of them hunters. I contacted a # of wolf specialists in the recent past and they know that these wolf myths that are put out there by wolf haters are untrue and unproven. These myths of the 200 pound wolf has never been proven and believe me, the wolves “harvested” killed in the hunts were nowhere close to 200 pounds. If you ever come into contact with one of these wolf haters in the public and they tell you these wolves are supersized 200 pound monster wolves, ask them for proof. They won’t be able to give you any. it’s always I saw a wolf from a distance and I assumed and judged it to be 200 pounds. They will say something like that. They will believe only what they want to believe. They buy into the misinformation given to them by wolf hating sites like lobowatch.com and saveelk.com No matter how many facts and truth you give to this wolf hating people, they will only believe what they want to believe regardless of the truth.

    • Some of the tales are quite humorous,
      Like the kid who was chased up a tree by a pack of wolves, saved by his uncle wielding a chainsaw. Why is it always the uncle? Do wolves just hate the brother of the kid’s father/mother for some reason, did the uncle skip on the tab he promised to pay at the bar a few nights before? And bus stops, what’s with that? Do wolves just loiter around bus shelters waiting for the school bus or something? Are people so fearful and stupid that they would pay some paranoid weird looking fella [producer of Undue Burden] in the hopes that his affiliates from Wolf Crossing would build wolf proof bus shelters for their kids? Heck if they can build that kind of thing, why don’t they help the farmers they claim to support and build wolf-proof enclosures for livestock?

      • Yes, that guy who made undue burden, his name is Bruce Hemming and talk about a paranoid freak that really hates wolves. He has said that 130,000 Michigan deer hunters have quit hunting because the wolves killed all of the deer. If he actually did some real research, he would know that MI deer hunters kill more deer than wolves. Again, it’s always assuming something to be true on their part. If guys like Bruce had their way, there would be no predators allowed to live. People like him, all they want is an overabundance of elk and deer running wild on the landscape. I am sure this is because they want to shoot them.

      • Now that’s funny John..


  7. Even if the report says that wolves are not to blame for the decline of elk numbers,but habitat and hunting is the main cause,they,most likely,won’t beleive it.They all run to some sight that supports their beleifs,like save an elk or lobo watch.They are entrenched in their beliefs that the elk belongs to them for sport and food and wolves or any other predator is taking away their hunting opportuities.At the present moment,if the judge does’t stop it,the hunt will continue and the wolf supporters will have to fight on.Wolf haters will continue to search for data and people that supports any (untrue) fact that prove that wolves are the sole reason for the elk decline.

    • Rita…I’m still trying to figure out why the average person should care how many elk there are on the landscape? I love elk but I’m getting sick to death of talking about them. I like beavers, racoons, deer, porcupines, wolverines, mountain lions, grizzly bears, black bears and wolves just as much as elk. Of course the state game agencies have a list of “good and bad animals”. The “good animals” are the ones they protect so hunters can kill them and the “bad animals” are the ones that compete to hunt the “good animals”. They’ve turned our forests and wild lands into one big zoo. The whole system needs to be re-vamped.


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