Montana “Management Agencies” Called Out On Wolf Killing Practices….

Gray wolves the wilderness classroom

Jay Mallonee, a Montana wolf biologist, with over twenty years experience studying wolves,  has been trying to pry answers out of Montana wildlife agencies for years.  He asked them to explain their wolf counting methods and how they came to the conclusions they did, since he believes their methods are seriously flawed and they have no idea how many wolves actually reside in Montana.

His published paper, Hunting Wolves In Montana, Where Are The Data?   received this response from wildlife managers:

He wrote to them again, including a CC to Governor Bullock,  still searching for answers on why they are killing wolves.


From: Jay Mallonee <>
Subject: ActionLine article about Environmental Assessment
Date: January 27, 2013 10:02:57 PM MST
To: Mike Volesky <>,

Enclosed is a PDF of my next article for Act’ionLine, the magazine published by Friends of Animals.  For the past two years I have been a contributor to this periodical in which I have written about my 20 years of researching wolves, both in the wild and captivity.  Therefore, the subject of wolf management constantly comes up.  The article is a partial review of the environmental assessment your agency co-authored entitled “Gray Wolf Damage Management in Montana for the Protection of Livestock, Other Domestic Animals, Human Safety, and Other Resources.”

Last year I published a scientific paper that reviewed the data in the annual reports provided by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.  Their reasons for killing wolves were the same reasons used in your environmental assessment, none of which were plausible or based in science, as MFWP has always maintained.  My article will be seen by the nation within the next month or so, and I wanted you to have the opportunity to comment on it beforehand.  Perhaps you will finally provide some reasonable explanation as to how you justify the killing of Montana’s wolves based on the reasons you present.  If you do chose to make comments, please provide evidence of your claims, such as data, data collection methods, scientific methodology to determine if your premise is accurate, etc.  My opinions in the article are based on the information provided in the environmental assessment.  Therefore, if you have comments such as, “You are wrong,” or “We disagree,” they will not be taken seriously unless substantial proof is provided.

The deadline for providing comments is Friday, February 8.


Jay Mallonee
Wolf and Wildlife Studies


Again he received this response:

What should Jay conclude from their silence?  What do you conclude? That their data is flawed? That they have no sound reason for killing wolves? That wolves are suffering and dieing in Montana for nothing?


wolf pack in snow first nation

The Inhumanity Of Wolf Management

By Jay S. Mallonee

It seems that wolf management agencies have circled the wagons to produce a new government document that tries to justify the killing of wolves in Montana, over problems that barely exist. Their Environmental Assessment (EA) is entitled “Gray Wolf Damage Management in Montana for the Protection of Livestock, Other Domestic Animals, Human Safety, and Other Resources.” The title implies that wolves have created enough property damage and safety threat to justify management unity to deal with these “problems.”

Although local tribes and the Department of Agriculture gave their input, the main architects of the EA are the two agencies most responsible for wolf management. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (MFWP) creates and carries out state management policies, and the federal agency Wildlife Services (WS) does the killing. This organization has been criticized recently for their excessive slaughter of wildlife throughout the country. The EA provides the public with several potential alternatives for future wolf management, all involving varying degrees of WS involvement. As stated in the EA, the preferred option is Alternative 1, which is to continue with current management practices: kill many wolves in response to damage caused by only a few. This includes a 6-month public hunting season that involves trapping.

Last year I published a scientific paper that reviewed the government’s data on wolf management in Montana and their reasons for hunting wolves: reduce livestock depredation, and concerns about the wolves‘ effect on prey populations, especially elk ( researchpapers.php). Their justifications were proven to be statistically insignificant and were not consistent with their claim that science was used to reach management decisions. The EA is another version of the same thing, and describes a system in which wolves are a crop to be harvested for revenue and killed for sport. This mindset is at the core of wolf management. It uses little science and by ignoring the most current information about natural processes, wolf management fails to promote the conservation of intact ecosystems. Studies on animal emotions and intelligence are also ignored and wolf management produces an incomprehensible amount of suffering in our forests. Using the EA, let’s examine why this is true.

Who Are The Better Killers?

Those who oppose wolf management have often used morality as the basis of their arguments. They believe it is inhumane to kill wolves unless absolutely necessary, if at all. Given that hunting and trapping seasons are now in place, apparently MFWP and WS are not concerned about the morality of killing wolves. However, in the EA, they comment about wolves being taken inhumanely.

The EA states that lethal wolf management would occur regardless of whether WS is involved. Alternative 2 would require that WS use and provide advice on only nonlethal methods, although MFWP, tribes and private property owners could still kill wolves. Wildlife Services also states that the public could use less humane methods due to their frustration toward wolves and inexperience. Therefore the preferred method is to change nothing, meaning keep Alternative 1. As a result, WS would continue to remove problem wolves using the following methods: foothold traps, snares, ground shooting, denning (removing pups from the den by using “approved methods”), chemical immobilization with euthanasia, and aerial gunning.

Apparently WS believes they are better killers than a bigoted public. This coming from an agency that keeps track of the wolves they kill with symbols on the side of their planes. I would consider all of these methods to be inhumane. Even euthanized wolves had to be caught, either by foothold traps, snares, or chased down by aircraft. And it is not only physical suffering that wolves must contend with. My research has shown that the mental anguish from being chased by aircraft and shot produces its own unique suffering, such as post traumatic stress.


From post-traumatic stress in a captive wolf to breaching whales in the Bering Sea, Jay Mallonee has studied the behavior of numerous animals. Through his business of Wolf and Wildlife Studies, he has researched the Fishtrap pack in northwest Montana for a decade and has written several scientific publications. Jay also wrote . . . Timber — A Perfect Life, an account of his sixteen-year relationship with a profound canine companion.

Please visit Jay’s website to read the full article!


Top photo: Courtesy the wilderness classroom

Bottom photo: Courtesy First Nations

Posted in: Wolf Wars, Montana wolves

Tags: Jay Mallonee, wolf and wildlife studies, Hunting Wolves in Montana, Where Are The Data?, how many wolves in Montana?, The Inhumanity of Wolf Management

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34 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Reblogged this on Exposing the Big Game.

  2. Why can’t we just leave these animals alone? When man is involved everything has to suffer..Makes me sick.. I will never visit Montana, NEVER! I’ll never spend one cent of my hard earned money visiting there…They can kiss my grits!

  3. This is an excellent, extremely informative article… I would guess that every state that utilizes “wolf management” is giving the same bogus data… And all of them should be made to provide concrete evidence to back up their bogus claims. Every single one of them! I also feel, that it’s time, we argue the point. That just as with lawyers and judges and doctors. Who cannot take certain cases because there may be a conflict of interest. I believe that these agencies, DNR, Fish & Wildlife etc… there should be a rule, that if you are a hunter. There is a conflict of interest. Therefore you cannot hold a position in these organizations. We are currently working on the wolf issue in Wisconsin. And it is extremely frustrating, that the deciding factors are all made up of hunters or ranchers.

  4. Thank you for writing this, Jay and for posting it, Nabeki. The day is coming when genuine science, a deep respect for ecology and biodiversity, and truly humane ethics, will control wildlife policy. We wolf defenders are bringing that day closer. We will prevail sooner than later as long as we stay strong, keep fighting and keep spreading the truth everywhere and to everyone. The sleeping national media will be awakened soon and will finally do its job by reporting on this massively criminal animal cruelty and abuse to all of America and the world. And then we will finally and permanently stop this long criminal American persecution and massacre of wolves and all other native wildlife. It will be a great day for wolves and all the continent’s native wildlife and all decent human beings. And mark my word, it’s coming, due to our unwavering love and respect for wolves.

  5. Nabeki,
    Jay Mallonee and I are fighting for the same cause.
    On May 22, 2012, I attended a Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Hearing in Missoula and asked Commissioner Spencer how his agency determines the number of wolves in the state? He replied that “he sends teams out to count wolf footprints and to look for other signs that wolves leave behind”.
    On July 13, 2012, my Letter to the Editor in the Missoulian was published. In “Wolves: FWP inflates population,” I questioned this method of determining the number of wolves and responded that the prints could have been made from the same wolf in a different location, from a wolf that is deceased, or from a domestic dog with a similar print.
    On Sunday, July 15th, I had a mob of men with guns close to my home. They did not disperse until 2 County Sheriffs appeared and instructed them to leave.
    I was surprised by this reaction as I was challenging FW&P practices and not criticizing hunters and the current wolf hunt.
    I believe the mob acted as they did because they know that the number of wolves in Montana is far less that the number estimated by FW&P. It also does not take into account the wolves killed by Federal Wildlife Services, by ranchers on their property, and by poachers.
    From the beginning, this wolf hunt has been based on inaccurate information and wolves should not have been removed from The Endangered Species List.
    Toni Stark
    Truth About Wolves

  6. Stay safe, Tony Startk, And stay strong.. You are so very important to us and to the wildlife. You can never know how many people you have influenced and in that regard how many wild ones you have saved. You letters and writing are remarkable. Many people agreed with you. The people who threatened you have no imagination. They have very small minds and are threatened with the truth. The truth will come and bite you on the ass and they know it. I wish so much I could be in Montana and help you but I don’t think I could stand the pressure you must be under. I would be in fist fights at the grocery store. My bumper stickers would get my car’s windows shot out. All I can do is give to the HSUS and make them know I want all of my donation spent on the law suit. Good luck. Hang in there.

  7. Toni, I tried to write directly to you. Please take reasonable measures to protect yourself. No one here wants you to get hurt or too stressed out. You are brave to see this through for the wolves. You might consider using a “pen name ” when contacting unfriendly public media? Get an out of town post office box rather than your actual address. Lock your vehicle in a garage. Get some cans of wasp spray and keep them by your doors.(cheaper than “bear mace “) works good to stop a hound attack on your pets. Glad you are OK!

  8. Do you all think it is possible that the wolf reintroduction was allowed by the elitist class and their political lackeys just so it could come to this situation? So the heartless rich could go shoot wolves? How else to get around the ESA but help just to kill in the end? Has anyone else had this disturbing thought? There are even some in the Native Community who fear for the safety of their children after seeing this renewed genocide on wolves. This has gone too far when people have to worry about their kids because there are state licensed killers stalking the woods! I am so disappointed in this administration that I have no words for them… or money either.

    • Melody…I think the capitulation that occurred before wolves were reintroduced helped bring about this outcome. Wolves were listed as experimental and not fully protected under the ESA, the original plan was for 10 breeding pairs and 100 wolves per state, a non viable population. Now eighteen years later Idaho, Montana and Idaho are falling back on that “plan”. That was the first big mistake, because that gave Wildlife Services the ability to kill wolves. The livestock reimbursement plan was ridiculous, it turned welfare ranchers into victims, when clearly wolves are not a problem. Lastly their delisting in 2009 by the Obama admin. was the nail in wolves’coffin. There hadn’t been organized wolf hunts in this country for eighty years.

      For the wolves, For the wild ones,

      • Nabeki, thank you for your reply. It has been over 20 years since I rescued my first wolf. I had thought for a while that things were going in the right direction but the speed of the turn around is too severe to be just stupid people in positions of power, I can’t not believe it was not planned. Not by politicians, they don’t care about animals. They care about votes. I suspect the usual power and money junkies. The out of balance ones to whom no living creature means anything to. They have the urge to kill, not to eat but to watch something wild and free and beautiful die at their pleasure. No different profile than a serial killer. Then they go back to their life in expensive suits and say what fun they had in the Rockies to those they wish to impress. I used to be employed by people like that. They only care about themselves. The one I worked for and his guests shot about 75 to 100 migrating geese in Denver, Co. They cut out the livers and threw the dead bodies in a bunch of 55 gal. barrels. Those were the same bunch that had expensive horses they could not ride just for the 7 year tax write off then. Sounds like just more corporate welfare, western style. Now wolves pay the price and it’s cattle more than horses but all the same tax loophole (they paid for) game that they play. Nothing really changes. It is always greediness. In order to make changes, we must know what we are up against. I think the crickets chirping means us. That we are nothing but bugs making noise while there is no wolfsong at sundown. That is my literal read on it. Might be a reality check for them? Bugs don’t vote. We do.

    • I had *not* thought of that, Melody! But now that you mention it…why not? They think their way through everything that prevents them from killing and will pull out all the stops at every opportunity. Have to admit, they are clever. But we are learning. And we are growing. And we *will* be heard.

  9. I conclude, from their silence, that they believe they are above the law.

    • exactly .. as if their massacre is somehow doing us a favor.

  10. Actually they are totally abiding by the law…the law sucks

  11. Oh AMEN on that…NEVER EVER will I visit this state and contribute to their finances…

  12. Their silence is proof of their dishonesty, corruption and lies. They have no legal scientific data backing their slaughtering of the wolf. Jay Mallonee knows this. They know he knows this. It’s a typical ploy of what the guilty do in our court system….”plead the Fifth”!

  13. Excellent excellent article .. we must find a way to communicate this expert knowledge to the masses! Thank you Jay Mallonee and Nabeki for sharing this. I pray for the safety of every wolf pack out there :'( It saddens my heart that the anti-wolf groups find it to be their job to manage wolves when the natural ecology of nature has a good job in handling the course itself.

  14. Gail, don’t feel bad you didn’t see the dirty conspiracy in all of this. You do now. It’s a difficult learning curve because you have to take your mind into places animal lovers don’t naturally go. The evil ones who are too smart to get caught most of the time…sadistic sociopaths.
    They buy up the best of the sneaky DC lawyers and lobbyists and craft legislation in their own best interest. Then they wait for a bill that must be signed and they tack it on after midnight when nobody is looking. They put benefits for the lesser wise common man into it and make it look like they are trying to help the downtrodden folks who shoot a deer to feed their kids (fuzzy science such as less wolves, more deer) The bribes are paid. The people are fooled long enough to enact legislation. Then when no one expects it, the “small print ” no one read or understood kicks in and these power junkies get to go kill apex predators to prove they are (in their mind) superior beings. The way to out them is to insult their intelligence. But that is the most dangerous of games to play. Best to use professionals. We can’t match their money but we can create a “paradigm shift list” All the names, numbers, websites on both sides and in the middle. And you need the rare person who understands and wants to help and is smart enough to anticipate and prepare for every possible scenario thrown at us. It is most difficult to undo things not anticipated once they have been done. This is our situation I can write. I am not the only one. The simple, boiled down truth is we must all do what we know to do best. And that we must face hard truths.

    • You said it all right there in a nut shell! If we ALL work together… we can beat them!

  15. Nabeki, the number of wolves killed in the Wyoming predator zone has not changed in a long time according to your information. Are the 32 wolves killed there the true number or have they just stopped reporting the deaths?

    • Judy…I believe they are not being reported..there is no way the numbers have stayed the same all this time. Their really is no requirement except to report a wolf dead within 10 days and I don’t think it’s being reported. Lord only knows the tortures of the damned those wolves are going through in the Wyoming kill zone. It makes me sick. I hope the lawsuit is successful. But we have to do more than file lawsuits, we have to be seen and heard and stand up to these bullies who’ve hijacked wolves and other wildlife.

      For the wolves, For the wild ones,

  16. Dawn, yes. You are correct. At least I believe and pray for the wolves that we can save them.
    It has been my experience that we must join with other likeminded people and fight together. Work together. Share wise, lawyers and staff, experienced in this type of work. I cross pollinated and learn as I go. I have some ideas. I won’t post publically. If Jay and Nabeki want to e mail me, I will tell them privately. It would be unprofessional and rude to pass on certain info in public and the last thing I want to do is give a heads up to those who think they got the drop on us. Nabeki, if you need my e mail address say so with contact info. I do have a major new idea that might work and people who can pull it off. Everyone, thanks for reading my posts but mostly for taking the time to learn how to save endangered, beautiful animals. The world would be a sad place without the songs of wolves!

    • I would love for you to include me in that email…. my email is included in this blog when I signed up. I am with an international organization that might also be able to help.

    • Has everyone seen this?

      Congress wants wolves off endangered species list

      And the so called “Sportsmen” I mean “killers” are pushing hard, to make this go through…..

      I also came across this post in a forum:

      The Senate announced the introduction of The American Big Game and Livestock Protection Act (S.249). This bill, follows S. 3919 by returning management of wolf populations to state wildlife agencies who were so instrumental in recovery of wolf populations. Returning balance to the ecosystem will not only benefit America’s Big Game and Livestock resources, but also ensure balanced levels of wolf populations under state wildlife protections.
      The original cosponsors of this legislation are: Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Michael Enzi (R-Wyo.), Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), John McCain (R-Ariz.) and James Risch (R-Idaho). Very much like H.R. 509 introduced last week in the House of Representatives, S.249 bill would prevent further litigation and pre-empt existing lawsuits related to state wolf populations.
      This legislation is officially endorsed by Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife, Congressional Sportsmen Foundation, Mule Deer Foundation, Wild Sheep Foundation, National Trappers Association, Safari Club International, U.S. Sportsman’s Alliance, National Rifle Association (NRA), American Farm Bureau, American Sheep Industry Association, National Cattleman’s Beef Association, Public Lands Council and many other livestock and wildlife conservation organizations.
      Please take a few minutes and make a phone call or send an email of support to our friends in Congress who are working so diligently to obtain passage of this important legislation. Phone numbers and emails can be found on at on the “how you can help” page.
      Working together as a nation of united sportsmen to support our champions in Congress we can be successful in this important endeavor.

      • It’s a never ending assault on wolves Dawn and if wolf advocates don’t unite to fight this and make lots of noise we will continue to be marginalized and wolves will continue to be slaughtered.

        Thank you for sharing.

        For the wolves, For the wild ones,

    • I would love to hear your ideas Melody…I’ll send you an email, I can already see it with your blog post.

      For the wolves, For the wild ones,

  17. Nabeki, I got your e -mail and wrote back. Let me know if you get it or don’t because I have a cheap tablet and it works but very poorly.
    Dawn, excellent list. Thanks for gathering that info. I can’t see your e -mail address. Send me a fb friend request and maybe we can make that paradigm shift list I spoke about earlier? Shining the light of day on the wolf killers can only help.

    • Hi Melody… I just sent you a message on facebook…. you will probably find it in your “others” folder…. Dawn

      • Dawn, am working on a cheap tablet. Not full fb features so ask Nabeki for my e -mail address. My laptop is being repaired. It may be a while before it gets fixed? I do want to talk to you, just being careful of my address. I don’t have a website.

  18. [...] Montana “Management Agencies” Called Out On Wolf Killing Practices…. ( [...]

  19. Dawn, please try again. I am thwarted by a tablet is not smarter than a fifth grader :-) Your list is amazing in that it defines perfectly the wolf haters and their greedy, greasy palm politicians.

  20. Not answering a biologist’s questions over the statistics and the methods used to gather them is a clear sign that the MFWP is not basing their wolf hunt off of sound science!

  21. If you are against any form of cruelty towards any kind of animal, you should do a web search on “Veganism”, learn what Veganism is, and try it. Veganism is NOT a diet. Veganism is, in my opinion, the answer to a HUGE percentage of the problems in the world, including the one presented on this page.

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