Looking Back: Remembering The Sage Creek Pack..

May 27, 2012

The Sage Creek Pack was eliminated by aerial gunners in 2009.  It was a huge loss. Yellowstone wolves are genetically isolated, the  Sage Creek Pack could have provided them with important genetics but that means nothing to the wolf killers. Wildlife Services was aerial gunning wolves even as the first wolf hunt was taking place outside the park, which decimated the famed Cottonwood pack.

“The Sage Creek Pack roamed the Centennial Mountains between Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho – precisely in the area that could alleviate genetic isolation through the influx of wolves from Idaho and the possibility (for now, lost with the pack’s demise) of yearlings making their way into Yellowstone.”

Sage Creek Pack Wiped Out By Aerial Gunners in Montana

October 9, 2012

Aerial gunners wiped out the remaining four members of the Sage Creek Pack, which will serve to further genetically isolate Yellowstone’s wolves. The Center for Biological Diversity issued a statement concerning this outrageous event. This pack was originally targeted because it killed ONE SHEEP!!

“The initial cause for the destruction of the eight-member Sage Creek Pack was its predation on a single sheep on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Sheep Experiment Station, which grazes thousands of sheep on more than 100,000 acres in Montana and Idaho”

It always comes back to grazing livestock on public lands and who pays the price? The Wolf!

Montana FWP recently closed the backcountry area WMU-3 (which encompasses the wilderness outside of Yellowstone) in part due to the loss of nine wolves in that area, including the Cottonwood Pack. This pack was part of ongoing research on Yellowstone’s famous wolves. The hunts eliminated the pack because buffer zones were not in place for the wolves, who can’t read boundary signs. Their only crime was leaving the protection of the park. So that’s two wolf packs gone in a matter of weeks. One lost to hunters and the other to FWP aerial gunners.

For Immediate Release, October 9, 2009

Aerial Gunning of Wolf Pack in Montana Isolates Yellowstone Wolves, Undermines Recovery

SILVER CITY, N.M.— This week’s aerial gunning of the last four members of the Sage Creek wolf pack in southwestern Montana contributes to the genetic isolation of wolves in Yellowstone National Park – even as, on Thursday, the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks commission suspended the public wolf-hunting season near Yellowstone in order not to isolate the national park’s wolves.

Said Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity: “We are saddened by the loss of the Sage Creek Pack. Suspending the permitted wolf-hunting season near Yellowstone will not be enough to save these animals as long as the U.S. Department of Agriculture continues to gun down entire packs from the air.”

The initial cause for the destruction of the eight-member Sage Creek Pack was its predation on a single sheep on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Sheep Experiment Station, which grazes thousands of sheep on more than 100,000 acres in Montana and Idaho.

In 2007, the Center for Biological Diversity and Western Watersheds Project sued the sheep station for its failure to disclose the impacts of, and analyze alternatives to, its operations, which has occurred in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act. The sheep station settled the lawsuit with an agreement to disclose and analyze and to decide its future via a public process.

“The USDA Sheep Experiment Station is undermining gray-wolf recovery and should be shut down,” said Robinson.

Genetic isolation of the Yellowstone wolves, which may be exacerbated through the federal killing of the Sage Creek Pack, is at issue in a lawsuit filed by the Center for Biological Diversity and allies seeking to place wolves back on the endangered species list after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed them from the list this spring. Such genetic isolation was part of what led a federal court, in July 2008, to order the relisting of wolves after a previous delisting action.

The Sage Creek Pack roamed the Centennial Mountains between Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho – precisely in the area that could alleviate genetic isolation through the influx of wolves from Idaho and the possibility (for now, lost with the pack’s demise) of yearlings making their way into Yellowstone.

A 1994 environmental impact statement on wolf reintroduction to Yellowstone and central Idaho identified genetic exchange between sub-populations as key to wolf recovery.


Top photo: kewlwallpapersdotcom

Photo courtesy James Balog/www.goagro.org

Categories posted in: aerial gunning of wolves, biodiversity, Wolf Wars, Yellowstone Wolves

Tags: wolves or livestock, aerial gunning of wolves, wolf intolerance

14 Wolves Aerial Gunned In The Lolo….

Idaho can’t seem to stop killing wolves.  In early February, according to an IDFG press release,  Idaho Wildlife Services swept down in their aerial gunships and slaughtered 14 innocent Lolo wolves. Their excuse?  What else? Blaming wolves for elk declines in the Lolo, even though elk have been declining in the Lolo long before wolves were reintroduced.

This is the height of wolf breeding season. How many of those fourteen wolves were pregnant?  Killing two birds with one stone? Did they wait until breeding season to wipe out the next generation of Lolo wolves along with their mothers?

From The Wildlife News

Idaho Department of Fish and Game Spends $22,500 to Kill 14 Wolves in the Lolo Zone

By On February 22, 2012

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game issued a press release this afternoon stating that in early February, USDA Wildlife Services killed 14 wolves from helicopters in the Lolo Zone.

READ MORE: http://www.thewildlifenews.com/2012/02/22/idaho-department-of-fish-and-game-spends-22500-to-kill-14-wolves-in-the-lolo-zone/


Is this killing spree ever going to end? Just yesterday the Idaho Senate Resources and Environment Committee voted to send Siddoway’s “Wolf Killing Live Bait” bill to the full Senate for a vote.

“The bill would let livestock owners whose animals are molested by wolves shoot the wolves from motorized vehicles, powered parachutes, helicopters or fixed-wing planes, by night or day, using rifles, pistols, shotguns, or crossbows, night scopes, electronic calls, and traps with live bait.

On top of that we have the latest horror of 14 dead Lolo wolves. 321 wolves have been killed in the hunt, which doesn’t end until March 31, 2012 and stretches until June 2012 in the Lolo and Selway zones.

Idaho is a killing zone for wolves.  The persecuted animals need their federal protections back and the way Idaho is killing wolves, it won’t be long before wolves are relisted.  The state is proving it CANNOT and SHOULD not be allowed to “manage” wolves.

February 23, 2012 in OutdoorsIdaho

Aerial gunners kill 14 wolves in North Idaho



Senate Resources Committee endorses night, aerial wolf kills, live bait use for ranchers



Photo: Courtesy the Missoulian

Posted in: Wolf Wars, Idaho wolves, Aerial Gunning of Wolves

Tags: Lolo wolves, Aerial gunning, 14 Lolo wolves dead, Wolf Wars, wolf scapegoating

Alaska Fish and Game Wipes Out Collared Wolf Pack From National Preserve

March 19, 2010

Alaska won’t stop killing wolves.

Alaska Fish and Game wiped out all four members of the collared Webber Creek wolf pack that ranged in Alaska’s Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve. They were part of a sixteen year ongoing research project by the National Park Service.

Alaska is killing wolves to boost numbers of moose and Fortymile caribou. This is a waste of wolves’ lives and outdated wildlife management. Are they living in the 1950′s up there?

The Alaska Fish and Game wolf executioners agreed they wouldn’t kill wolves collared by the National Park Service biologists. So much for giving their word.

Wolves that use the preserve are dropping like flies. The autumn 2009 count was 42 wolves, by February that number had dropped to 26, the largest single decline in 17 years. There should be an immediate halt to the wolf killing anywhere near the preserve.

From the News Tribune:

“A possible collar malfunction or other problems prevented staff from identifying the collared wolves,” the department said in a statement Thursday.

Collar malfunction?  I was born in the dark but it wasn’t last night.

The Webber Creek mother and father were recently collared. Apparently the shooter did see the collars but shot anyway, according to reports.

“Causes of the tracking problem are being investigated, according to the statement.

Dudgeon said he’d spoken to James on Wednesday night.

“My understanding from the phone call last night was that the shooter, whoever that person was, did see the collars,” Dudgeon said. “They were aware of the collars.”

The Fish and Game statement began by saying the department was “concluding a successful three-day field operation in the ongoing Upper Yukon Tanana wolf control program.” The operation began Tuesday and the statement said that nine wolves were killed during the first two days.

The program will resume with the next adequate snowfall in the area, according to the statement. The wolves are tracked in the snow using fixed-wing aircraft, and Fish and Game employees then come in and shoot the wolves from helicopters.

There are five areas of Alaska where the state has authorized predator control from the air by private pilots and gunners in order to boost key populations of game. The Fortymile area is the only of the five where Fish and Game also uses helicopters with its own employees to fly in and shoot the wolves.

Fish and Game said it “continues to coordinate” with National Park Service staff to minimize the impact of the effort on the wolf study in the Yukon Charley preserve. The study has been ongoing for 16 years, and the “alpha male and female” killed had been recently fitted with collars.

Dudgeon said he would be asking the department exactly where the wolves were killed and why. He said he’d asked Fish and Game not to kill any collared wolves, as well as any other wolves in the same packs.

Dudgeon said he made the request because of population numbers for wolves using the preserve. He said 42 wolves were counted in the fall and 26 in February. Wolves always die over the winter, but it was the biggest drop since the preserve started monitoring in 1993, he said.

He said Fish and Game agreed not to kill collared wolves and take no more than seven from the biggest packs that move in and out of the Yukon Charley preserve.

The National Parks Conservation Association, an advocacy group, called Thursday for an immediate suspension of the wolf killing around the Yukon Charley preserve. The group said it shouldn’t resume until the Park Service is satisfied a healthy wolf population is assured.

Wolf advocate Rick Steiner called the killing of collared wolves “disgusting and shameful” and said the program should be halted. The Board of Game authorized predator control after hearing from local residents and hunting advocates.

This is the second year in a row the department has used helicopters to kill wolves in the area of the Fortymile caribou herd. Fish and Game reported killing 84 wolves in the aerial program last year.”

Alaska has a reputation for treating it’s predators like vermin. It’s clear when it comes to predators, Alaska caters to hunters and trappers, the rest of the wildlife viewing public be damned.

The Webber Creek wolves resided in the Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve. Alaska Fish and Game agreed they would leave the collared wolves alone, yet the wolves are dead.

Please contact Governor Parnell to express your outrage.

Friends of Animals has called for a boycott of Alaska due to the terrible decision by Alaska’s Board of Game to extend trapping into buffer zones around Denali National Park. 

This is just another reason to avoid Alaska. Is there no end to their sanctioned wolf slaughter?

Contact Governor Parnell…..CLICK HERE

Alaska Governor Sean Parnell
State Capitol
P.O. Box 110001
Juneau, AK 99811
email: governor@gov.state.ak.us
web: http://www.gov.state.ak.us


Boards Support Section
P.O. Box 115526
Juneau, AK 99811-5526
(907) 465-4110
(907) 465-6094 FAX


Collared wolves killed during predator control

 By SEAN COCKERHAMPublished: 03/19/1012:38 am | Updated: 03/19/1012:38 am


Wolves with radio collars for research killed during Alaska predator control culling

The Anchorage Daily News
By Sean Cockerham |


Posted in: Alaska’s wolves, aerial gunning of wolves, gray wolf/canis lupus

Tags: collared wolves, aerial gunning of wolves, Yukon-Charley National Preserve,  wolves in the crossfire, Alaska Department of Fish and Game

Wolf Wars Part 2…..Wolves Under The Gun In Montana And The Rest Of The Northern Rockies!!

A hearing was held in Helena on March 5th.

Maybe you missed it but if you care about wolves you should pay attention.

The hearing was attended by Montana FWP, Wildlife Services and the Environmental Quality Council.  

Apparently it was concluded Montana has too many wolves. After more then 500 wolves lost their lives in the Northern Rockies in 2009 and the Idaho hunt still continues, there is a cry for more wolf killing from ranchers, hunters and wolf haters. I have never seen anything like this.

Montana, the fourth largest state, with a land mass of 147,165 sq miles, can’t accommodate 450 wolves. 

Montana is 255 miles wide and 630 miles long and has a tiny human population of 967,440, ranking Montana 44th in the nation. Here’s a map of the HUGE state of Montana that can’t accommodate 450 wolves. 

Why? Because most ranchers and hunters don’t want them. Everyone else be damned. You could spend all day pointing out that wolves kill very few livestock. That ranchers lose most of their cattle, over ninety percent to weather, disease and reproductive issues, yet it wouldn’t make any difference because people who hate wolves aren’t interested in facts. They’re interested in getting rid of wolves and repeating the same tired stories about dwindling elk herds and livestock losses. 

Their very own Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation trumpeted last spring in their press release, that elk were flourishing.  Montana’s elk population grew 66% since 1984, Idaho’s 5 %. Hunters ask me where I get these numbers, don’t they read their own hunting organization numbers?  Apparently not.

In contrast to Montana, Minnesota has  3000 wolves. That’s right, THREE THOUSAND!! 

Minnesota is the 12th largest state with a land mass of  79,610 square miles, 250 to 300 miles wide by 400 miles long. A state almost half the size of Montana, with over 5 million (5,266,212) people can accommodate 5 times more wolves than the HUGE state of Montana.  

Furthermore, 40% of all wolves in Minnesota live in the Northeastern part of the state, which means 1200 wolves live in just one area of the state. Yet the entire state of Montana can’t live with 450 wolves.  How pathetic is that? 

If wolves are delisted in Minnesota they would not allow a wolf hunt for five years or maybe never. Yet Montana and Idaho couldn’t wait to get wolf hunts going mere months after gray wolves were delisted and had not been hunted in the lower forty-eight since 1974.

Minnesota’s Wolf Policy States:

There will be no public hunting or trapping seasons for wolves for at least five years. The endangered species act requires the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to monitor wolves in Minnesota for five years after delisting to ensure that recovery continues. 

(Why is this not being taken into consideration in the Northern Rockies?)

In fact the Great Lakes Region, which encompasses Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan has a total population of over FOUR THOUSAND WOLVESYES FOUR THOUSAND WOLVES.  

Michigan and Wisconsin each have approx. 600 wolves. Minnesota, 3000 wolves.


Wisconsin: Total land mass 65, 498 total square miles, 260 miles wide, 310 miles long.  Human population 5,363, 375.  Gray wolves 600.  Wisconsin has 5 times the human population of Montana and more wolves.



Michigan: Total land mass 97, 990 square miles, 386 miles long by 456 miles wide with a human population of  10,045,697.  That’s ten times the human population of Montana.  Gray wolves 600.  Michigan has more wolves then Montana in a smaller land mass with many more people.

Here’s a map of the two regions:

NORTHERN ROCKIES: 1500 wolves    


Looking at the above statistics between the two regions don’t you find it unbelievable that the Northern Rockies, which includes the states of Montana, Idaho and Wyoming, with their tiny human populations and huge land mass, can’t handle 1500 wolves?

Compare the Northern Rockies to the Great Lakes Region.


Somehow the people of the Great Lakes Region are able to live in relative harmony with 4000 wolves. I’m sure there are conflicts but they do co-exist with a very large population of wolves. 

Yet the Northern Rockies gray wolves, a much smaller population, who have hundreds of thousands of acres of public land on which to range, are being being hammered from all sides. It’s almost laughable if it wasn’t so tragic. 

Why are Minnesota farmers and ranchers able to live side by side with wolves while the West remains so intolerant?  This question can be answered by watching Lords of Nature, which should be required viewing for all who want to understand this dynamic and care about our native carnivores.

Especially important, wolf advocates must continue to speak out about the positive effect wolves have on the ecosystem.  A new study conducted on Isle Royale demonstrates how wolf/moose predation helps enrich the soil. 

 “,,,,,carcasses of moose killed by wolves at Isle Royale National Park enrich the soil in “hot spots” of forest fertility around the kills, causing rapid microbial and fungal growth that provide increased nutrients for plants in the area”  Science Daily November 3, 2009

Even though it’s been demonstrated over and over that wolves and other apex predators are necessary to a healthy environment, the same old, tired rhetoric about them continues to be repeated. This is directly related to the chokehold the livestock and hunting lobbies have on state game policy and why state game agencies should not be managing predators.  It shows the absolute intolerance of wolves in the Northern Rockies and the dismissal of other groups such as Wildlife Watchers, who want to view wolves and wildlife alive, not dead. 

Photo: Courtesy National Geographic

We are relegated to sitting helplessly by while the states kill our wildlife in the interests of agribusiness and hunting. The wants of the few trump the wants of the many. The West’s public lands do not belong to just ranchers and hunters, they belong to all Americans and frankly this American is tired of seeing wildlife treated with so little respect and eliminated for agribusiness.

Wolf advocates and Wildlife Watchers must be more vocal. We can’t be silent any longer. Remember:

If the wolf is to survive, the wolf haters must be outnumbered. They must be outshouted, out financed, and out voted. Their narrow and biased attitude must be outweighed by an attitude based on an understanding of natural processes……David L. Mech

These are the Nation’s wolves and wildlife, yet we have almost no voice in how they are managed. I and others have already called for a boycott of Idaho potatoes and other products, maybe it’s time to do the same in Montana. What other recourse do wolf advocates have then the power of the pocketbook, since nobody seems to hear us no matter how many letters we write or phone calls we make? 

The media feeds into the anti-wolf propaganda by constantly reporting on wolf depredation as if it was so widespread when they know,Wildlife Services knows, Montana FWP knows and IDFG knows that the main predator of cattle is not the wolf but the coyote and yet even the littlesong dog kills so few cows. 

Predation on livestock is a red herring.  Yes wolves kill livestock but in very small numbers and most is due to poor animal husbandry practices by ranchers that have no incentive to change their ways since Wildlife Services acts as their own private wolf extermination service, courtesy of the taxpayer.  How many Americans know there is a federal agency that kills off our native carnivores and other wildlife for agribusiness?

Turning back to the March 5th Helena meeting, it seems war has been declared on wolves in Montana and the Northern Rockies in general. Wildlife Services will have carte blanche to kill wolves without getting approval from Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks:

From the Missoulian:

In a hearing before the Environmental Quality Council, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks director Joe Maurier said federal Wildlife Services agents no longer need FWP authorization to kill wolves at or near confirmed livestock depredation sites.

The agents also will be able to immediately kill any wolves that are trapped when they return to those sites to feed on dead livestock.

Not only is Montana FWP going to allow WS to kill more wolves without first getting a directive from them but Joe Maurier, Director of Montana FWP stated:

“he expects the wolf hunting quota to be increased next season from the initial statewide quota of 75 as another way to lower the wolf population. Initial estimates put Montana’s wolf population at 500 animals this year, which is about the same as last year.”

This is not unexpected. Wolf advocates knew the states would show their true colors. I believe Montana kept their hunting quota low due to the ongoing delisting litigation. The longer this drags on the bolder anti-wolf policies become. This is why wolves need protection under ESA because the states cannot be trusted to manage them. The fact Wildlife Services has now been given increased power to kill wolves is a tragedy for wolves and the people who care about them. 

What next?  Will they be adopting the Wyoming shoot on sight plan?  At least Wyoming was honest and didn’t pretend they wanted to have a healthy wolf population.  They said outright they wanted wolves listed as predators with the ability to shoot them on sight in most of the state.  Idaho and Montana on the other hand, led everyone to believe they would be responsible stewards “managing” wolves. Well the blinders are off.

A special insincere thanks to Interior Secretary Salazar for unleashing this upon wolves by delisting them. Wolf advocates thought the election of  President Obama would put to rest the wrong headed Bush administration policies and wolves would remain protected. Instead what did we get?   Delisting of an animal that was already exterminated from the West once by the same thinking that is rampant here in the Northern Rockies today. 

Look at the sad situation the Mexican gray wolf is enduring. Only 42 animals survive in New Mexico and Arizona.  New Mexico only has fifteen of those wolves. Who is responsible for this? It’s the SSS crowd who can’t tolerate even that tiny number of wolves. Are poachers caught and prosecuted to the full extent of the law?  I think not. 

Wolf advocates and all who care for wildlife wait patiently for Judge Molloy to rule on the delisting litigation. I sincerely hope his decision comes soon because wolf hatred is mushrooming exponentially.  How much worse can it get for wolves if this continues?  Nobody knows but what is happening in Montana and Idaho looks very similar to the persecution wolves endured in the 19th and 20th centuries.  SHAME!!!

The new new cause de jour of the anti-wolf crowd is the tapeworm scare, Echinococcus Granulosus. 

Even FWP has dismissed this as being of little concern and so have biologists. Yet the anti-wolf crowd will throw everything at the wall to see what sticks.


Tapeworm in wolves causes stir, but biologists say there’s little to fear

  Posted: Wednesday, January 27, 2010 12:00 am


Wolf advocates predicted the hysteria and persecution wolves would be subjected to  if they were ever delisted and now it’s playing out just as we thought.  Wolves need ESA protection to survive and flourish.  They cannot withstand the climate of hate that is closing in on them. 

Who will speak for them?  Will you?

“Raven, a Gray Wolf who resides at Mission: Wolf, greeting a visitor enthusiastically”

*Italics Mine

Wolf Photos: Wild Wolf Photo Journals, Wikimedia Commons

Posted in: gray wolf/canis lupus, aerial gunning of wolves, Montana wolf hunt, Wildlife Services War on Wildlife, Wolf Wars

Tags: Wildlife Services, wolf intolerance, wolf myths, wolves or livestock, ESA Lawsuit wolves

For The Fallen 500….You Are Not Forgotten

Over 500 hundred wolves died in the Northern Rockies in 2009 and the killing continues. Hunted, persecuted, eliminated for livestock, we who love you won’t forget you and will continue to fight for the rights of your brothers that remain

For The Wolves, For The Wild Ones,



Wolves: The Persecution Continues

Persecution is the systematic mistreatment of an individual or group by another group.  Sound familiar? Wolf persecution is the systematic mistreatment of wolves by humans.
“Wolves have suffered more inhumane treatment and loss of range and populations than any other predator. The history of their survival and disappearance in various parts of the world is a reflection of the overwhelming importance of people’s attitudes toward animals. When emotions, especially fear and negative superstition, rule people’s minds, wolves can be destroyed on the basis of ignorance about their real threats to people and livestock. On the other hand, when people are aware of biological facts about the wolf and its ecological role, behavior, value to ecosystems, and the truth about its history of not attacking people, prejudices tend to dissipate. Native Americans had a natural affinity and respect for wolves, calling them “brother.” The wolf’s very survival as a species depends on its being treated with tolerance and respect. Gradually, this is happening in many parts of the world. Education and a change in government attitudes in many countries are needed to conserve this species, along with better ways of raising livestock.”

American wolves have been persecuted for hundreds of years. In the 19th century cowboys would rope wolves and drag them on horseback over rough terrain until they were dead or use them for target practice. They were trapped for their pelts, poisoned with strychnine, which causes extremely painful convulsions before death.

Ranching has always been at the center of wolf hatred and intolerance in the West.
“Wolves natural prey of mule deer and elk had been hunted out so they turned to livestock as the only large prey available and, in doing so, became the target of ranchers’ wrath. Western ranchers, like many livestock owners in Europe, believed that they should be able to release cattle to roam free without herding them into shelter at night. This situation had existed in Western Europe after large predators were eliminated from all but the most remote areas. In their new ranches, allocated to them by the government, ranchers sought to recreate the European model. This required the destruction of large predators.”

Ranchers convinced the feds to launch an all out wolf extermination program and by the 1930’s, 95 percent of gray wolves were gone from their range in the lower forty eight. The landscape was sanitized of predators. No stone was left unturned. Hunters would comb an area and set out poisons even in areas where there were no livestock. They earned points for each wolf  killed. Sound familiar?  Eerily similar to predator derbies. Men that earned fewer points could be fired, they were expected to eliminate all wolves in the territory they were assigned.

“The Forest Service and the Bureau of Biological Survey used poisons and traps to kill adult animals and many cruel methods to kill the pups in dens in their efforts to try to exterminate the wolf. In 1907 alone, the Forest Service killed more than 1,800 Gray Wolves and 23,000 Coyotes, among other animals (Laycock 1990). After the US Congress authorized the first substantial appropriation for hiring government hunters in 1915, federal wolf-control programs achieved an unprecedented level.”

Even though wolves were gone from the West the persecution continued in Alaska. They were shot, hunted from airplanes, chased for miles before being gunned down. If they couldn’t shoot the wolf from the air the plane would chase it to exhaustion, then land. The hunter would walk right up to the weakened wolf and shoot it point blank.  Just like shooting fish in a barrel.  Laws were passed to stop the practice of aerial gunning but became unenforceable. Wolves continued to die.

in Alaska in 1995. An entire wolf pack was chased by snowmobiles and shot dead.

“Brenda Peterson, an eyewitness to one of these hunts, described it, and photos taken of the event documented the wolves being chased into a tight group and killed. Six black wolves, an entire family, died “splayfooted against one another,” having run for their lives at a gallop of 35 miles per hour as the snowmobilers herded them into a terrified, dense mass, and then shot them at point-blank range.”

To this day, even with a ban on aerial gunning, the feds have found a loophole in the law. Wolves are gunned from the air in Alaska, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. Wildlife Services is still killing wolves for the livestock industry, just as their predecessors  did over a hundred years ago.


The sad legacy of this intense persecution still drives wolf management. Entire wolf packs are targeted if a few cows or sheep are killed yet wolves are not the main predator that kill cattle and sheep, it’s the coyote. And even coyotes kill very few livestock compared to cattle mortality from other causes. Over ninety percent of cattle losses are due to weather, calving and disease. Wolves actually help to keep coyote numbers down, since they are natural enemies. Better that coyotes are controlled by wolves then killed in cruel predator derbies that mimic the wolf extermination practices of the early 19th century.

The conundrum is wolves should be admired for their devotion to family and pack. Wolves will lay down their lives for each other. They will howl mournfully when federal agents wipe out members of their pack. Wolves mate for life, are dedicated to their young, puppies are revered by all pack members. The characteristics that people admire in dogs: loyalty, playfulness, devotion are even more prominent in the wolf. Wolves are smarter then dogs, their brains are larger. They solve problems, trust each other, work together to survive and provide for their families. All attributes we cherish. Yet no other animal has been hounded, tortured and despised like the wolf.

“Throughout the centuries we have projected on to the wolf the qualities we most despise and fear in ourselves.” -Barry Lopez

And so it goes….click here


Reference & Quotes:  The Endangered Species Handbook

Posted In: Wolf Intolerence, Wolf Wars, aerial gunning of wolves

Tags: wolf persecution, Wildlife Services, wolves or livestock

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has”….Margaret Meade

Make A Difference For Wolves!!


Interior Department’s decision imperils wolves, Endangered Species Act

By Jamie Rappaport Clark
Friday, January 1, 2010


Note:  This is a good editorial from Defenders but the author only mentions wolves killed in the hunts.  The author states there are 1350 wolves remaining from a population of 1650.  The figure is really 1136 and declining.  Another 81 wolves are left to be killed in Idaho and Wildlife Services is gunning for wolves in 6 different packs in Montana.  

More then 500 wolves are dead in the Northern Rockies, 214 killed in the combined hunts and 300 wolves lost to Wildlife Services, poachers, ranchers and natural mortality.  Wildlife Services is as big a threat to the gray wolf as the hunts.  We can’t forget that and should include it any discussion concerning the slaughter of America’s wolves.

Posted in: Wolf Warriors, wolf recovery, gray wolf/canislupus

Tags: wolf recovery, stand up for wolves

Montana FWP Thinks 2009 Wolf Hunt ‘Good Day For Montana’


I was shocked by the headline in the Missoulian, “FWP says 2009 wolf hunt ‘a good day for Montana’, quoting Carolyn Sime, Montana state wolf coordinator.  FWP even released a report on the hunt.  Apparently, the devil is in the details. 

Of course they’re going to be thrilled with themselves, they planned the hunt mere months after gray wolves were delisted. What are they going to say? We did a miserable job and 203 wolves are now dead in Montana between the hunt and wolves killed by Wildlife Services? 

The wolf population in the state, before all the killing started, was approx. 450-500 wolves. Is anyone considering the Montanans that are wholly against the wolf hunts? That we consider this slaughter plain and simple in the name of hunting and ranching. That over FORTY PERCENT of Montana’s wolves are dead and Wildlife Services isn’t done yet?  There are kill orders out on 22 more wolves from five packs, if they haven’t been killed already. No, the Montana hunt and shadow Wildlife Service hunt was not a wonderful success. FIVE HUNDRED NORTHERN ROCKIES WOLVES ARE DEAD.

This statement from the article caught my eye. “Others worried about the potential to wipe out entire packs.” How many packs of wolves has Wildlife Services taken out this year? I can name the Sage Creek Pack, the Big Hole Pack the Centennial pack AND they are gunning for the Mitchell Mountain, Battlefield and Pintler packs. Visit my wolf pack memorial page to see how busy they’ve been. Wildlife Services gunned down twenty seven members of the Hog Heaven Pack last year. TWENTY SEVEN WOLVES. Nine entire packs were wiped out in Montana in 2008 by WS on the orders of FWP. Are people living in dream land concerning what is happening to wolves in Montana and the Northern Rockies in general?? We didn’t need a Montana wolf hunt. WS killed more wolves this year then the hunts. The combination of the two was a double whammy to wolves. This is why State Fish and Game Agencies shouldn’t be managing wolves.

It’s a grim time for Montanans who care about wolves and it’s certainly a disaster for wolves. What in the world is there to celebrate or be happy about concerning wolves?

Posted in: Wildlife Services War on Wildlife, Montana wolf hunt, Wolf Wars, aerial gunning of wolves

Tags: Wildlife Services, Montana wolf hunt, gray wolf/canis lupus, wolves or livestock

Who’s Minding The Wolves?

December 29, 2009

George Wuerthner, as always, makes sense on wolves.  He makes sense on so many things. In this compelling article, from April 09, he examines why Fish and Game Agencies are just not good at managing wolves and other predators. He believes predators are treated differently.  That even though they’re not being exterminated outright they are persecuted and their ecological role minimized. (Although with the recent loss of 500 wolves in the Northern Rockies I’m not so sure they aren’t trying to wipe them out or “manage” them down to such low levels their presence will be minimal)

George says:

“In the past month or so, helicopters with gunners skimmed over the Alaskan tundra and forests shooting wolves to “protect” caribou herds. In Nevada, the state Fish and Game agency wants to kill more mountain lions to increase mule deer numbers. In Idaho, the Idaho Game and Fish wants to kill more than a hundred wolves in the Lolo Pass area to benefit elk. In Maine, the state agency encourages hunters to shoot coyotes to reduce predation on deer.

Without exception, state game and fish agencies do not treat predators like other wildlife. Even though state agencies are no longer engaged in outright extermination of predators, persecution and limited acceptance of the ecological role of predators is still the dominant attitude. State wildlife agencies only tolerate predators as long as they are not permitted to play a meaningful ecological role.”

He points out predator numbers are held in check to provide hunters with increased hunting opportunities. And hunter’s attitudes toward predators haven’t seemed to change much in the last hundred years, even though our understanding of their importance is light years ahead of what it once was. It’s as if time is standing still.

“In general, they seek to hold predator populations at low numbers by providing hunters and trappers with generous “bag” limits and long hunting/trapping seasons. For some predators, like coyotes, there are often no limits on the number of animals that can be killed or trapped. The attitude of many hunters towards predators is not appreciably different than what one heard a hundred years ago, despite a huge leap in our ecological understanding of the role top predators play in the ecosystem.”

Further, he states it’s not in the game managers’s interest to promote healthy populations of predators since they compete directly with hunters for the same prey.  Wildlife agency budgetsdepend on money hunters bring in through licensing fees.  Who’s interests are they going to look out for? I think we all know the answer.

“Beyond the general hostility towards predators that many hunters hold, state wildlife agencies are not the objective, scientific, wildlife managers that they claim to be. Wolves, mountain lions, bears, and other predators are a direct threat to state wildlife budgets because top predators eat the very animals that hunters want to kill. Because state wildlife agencies rely upon license sales to fund their operations, maintaining huntable numbers of elk, deer, moose, and caribou is in the agencies’ self interest.”

George makes the point he’s not anti hunting and in fact is a hunter himself  but believes hunters are not above being criticized, especially for their attitudes and actions toward predators.

He states  predators are not like other games species, they play a major role in healthy ecosystems and have organized and highly developed social structures that state game management agencies are not prepared to deal with.

“Before anyone accuses me of being anti hunter, I want to make it clear that I hunt, and most of my close friends hunt. We value the wildlife success stories created by past and present wildlife agencies actions. And to give credit where credit is due, hunters and anglers have been responsible for many successful wildlife recovery efforts, and through their lobbying efforts, sweat, and money, they have protected a considerable amount of wildlife habitat across the Nation for many wildlife species, not just the ones hunted. Well known early conservationists and wilderness advocates like Theodore Roosevelt, George Bird Grinnell, Charles Sheldon and Olaus Murie were all hunters. But that doesn’t mean hunters are beyond criticism when it comes to wildlife management policies, particularly when it comes to predator policy.”


“With the delisting of wolves by the Secretary of the Interior Salazar, several states are poised to begin managing wolves. Proponents of wolf control suggest that Americans should let state wildlife agencies manage predators “just like other wildlife.”

The problem is that top predators are “just not like other wildlife”.  Indeed, the play a crucial ecological role in maintaining ecosystem stability and integrity.  In addition, predators, more then most other species, have well developed social structures that demand s much more nuanced approach to human/wildlife relationships then most wildlife agencies are prepared to deal with, much less acknowledge.”

When was the last time you heard anyone in state wolf management talk about the importance of wolves as top line predators who contribute to the health of ungulates or trophic cascades?   BUT Montana is participating in a three year trophic cascade study, led by the wolf researcher Cristina Eisenburg.  The study explores the effects of wolf predation on biodiversity and maintaining aspen ecosystems which are critical habitat for beavers, songbirds and other animals.  Interestingly enough, the study will conclude in 2010 and the question Montana is asking is if a moderate wolf presence could effect this change?  In other words, how many wolves can we get away with to trigger trophic cascades? 

Now you know Montana knows wolves have a positive effect on the environment they inhabit, what they do with this information remains to be seen.  Judging from the 2009 death toll of wolves, it doesn’t look promising.


“Much recent research has demonstrated many ecological values to predators. As top-down regulators of ecosystems, predators like wolves, mountain lion, and bears help to reduce herbivore numbers to slow or reduce over-browsing or overgrazing of plant communities. 

Perhaps more importantly, predator shift how prey animals use their habitat. For instance, it is well documented that the presence of wolves in Yellowstone has changed how elk use the landscape, with less browsing on riparian vegetation as one consequence.

But wolf-induced habitat shifts by elk has had other benefits as well. Since the road system in Yellowstone tends to follow the river valleys, movement of elk away from streams to adjacent uplands increases the likelihood that a certain percentage of the animals will die further from a road. This has important consequences for grizzly bears that have been shown to avoid feeding on carcasses located close to roads. Finding even one more elk carcass in the spring in a place that is “safe” for feeding is like winning the lottery for, say, a mother grizzly with several cubs to feed.

Some scientists have even postulated that wolves may ameliorate the effects of climate change on scavenger species by providing carrion throughout the year.

Predators can also limit the effects of disease, like chronic wasting disease found in elk, deer, and moose since infected animals are more vulnerable to predators.

The presence of a large predator has a cascading effect on all other predators as well. For instance, the present of wolves results in fewer coyotes. Since coyotes are among the major predators on pronghorn fawns, presence of wolves, has led to higher pronghorn fawn survival.

And because of the single-minded bias of state wildlife agencies for maintaining large numbers of huntable species, they fail to even ask whether predation might have a positive influence on ecosystem sustainability.

For instance, in certain circumstances, top predators like wolves, bears, and mountain lions will hold prey populations low for an extended period of time, especially if habitat quality is marginal for the herbivores. These “predator sinks” provide the long term “rest” from herbivory pressure that plant communities may require on occasion to reestablish or recover from past herbivory pressure. Almost universally when predators begin to “hold down” prey populations, state agencies want to kill them so the targeted populations of moose, caribou, elk, deer, or whatever it might be can “recover.” That is the justification, for instance, for the proposed slaughter of approximately 100 wolves near Lolo Pass by the Idaho Fish and Game. 

Unfortunately for predators if their numbers are sufficiently high for them to have these ecological effects on other wildlife as well as the plant communities, state wildlife agencies tend to view them as too high for their “management objectives.”

Predators also have complex social interactions which game managers seem to ignore. It’s the wolf is a wolf is a wolf approach. Or to put it another way, if you wipe out a wolf pack another one will take it’s place, so what’s all the fuss about, completely ignoring the importance of pack hierarchy, cohesion and social relationships within the pack. In fact the attitudes of wolf managers seem downright unconcerned with the high death toll. Wolves will just make more wolves they say, when in fact nobody really knows what the effect the  high death rates of 2009 will have on the Northern Rockies wolf population. 

In fact, by reading the wolf reports published by the state, it shows alphas are often targeted when a pack kill order is issued to Wildlife Services.  Could we conclude they know by killing alphas it will assure the entire wolf pack will dissolve?  It’s hard to believe state game managers hold such harsh attitudes toward wolves who’s interests they are charged with. 

The killing of alphas has a profound effect on the pack.  Remember the Yellowstone Cottonwood Pack?  Alpha female 527f, her mate and daughter were all killed in the opening days of the Montana wolf hunt.  527f was shot a mile outside the park boundary, she faced her killer, not suspecting she was about to die. A few Cottonwoods are reported to have survived but for all intents and purposes the pack is gone.


“Wolves, mountain lions, bears, coyotes, and other predators all possess such intricate social relationships. Yet I have never seen a single state wildlife agency even acknowledged these social interactions; much less alter their management in light of this knowledge.

I won’t dwell on it here, but top predators have sophisticated social interactions that state wildlife agencies completely ignore in their management. For the most part, state agencies’ management of predators is based on numbers. If there are enough wolves or mountain lions to maintain a population, and they are not in any danger of extinction, than management is considered to be adequate.

The problem is that top predators have many social interactions that complicate such crude management by the numbers.

Many social animals pass on “cultural” knowledge to their young about where to forage or hunt. Researcher Gordon Haber has found that some wolf packs in Denali National Park have been passing on their prime hunting territory from generation to generation for decades.  Loss of this knowledge and/or territory because too many animals are killed can stress the remaining animals, making them more likely to travel further where they are vulnerable to conflicts with humans.

For instance, predator control can shift the age structure of predator populations to younger animals. Since younger animals are less experienced hunters, they are more likely to attack livestock than older, mature predators. (Young animals are more likely in rare instances, to even attack people. Nearly all mountain lion attacks are by immature animals.)

Furthermore, predator populations that are held at less than capacity by management (i.e. killing them) also tend to breed earlier, and produce more young, increasing the demand for biomass (i.e. food). Both of these factors can indirectly increase conflicts between livestock producers and predators.”

It’s understood predators take the old, the weak, the sick. They don’t prey on the healthiest animals because they’re harder to bring down. When you get kicked in the ribs every time you eat breakfast you don’t look for the strongest animals to eat.

Doug Smith, the famed Yellowstone wolf biologist, noted wolves are classic sorters and sifters. They will often lope through a herd of elk like they don’t have a care in the world but what they are actually doing is looking for weakness. When they find it they suddenly turn deadly and even if the targeted animal tries to hide in the herd, the wolves will always find them. Hunters on the other hand take the best and biggest animals, the ones who’s genes will be sorely missed.


“Despite the self-serving propaganda coming hunting groups that hunters are an adequate “tool” to control herbivore populations, research has demonstrated sufficient differences in the animals selected by predators compared to human hunters. In general, hunters take animals in the prime of life, while predators disproportionally take out the older, younger or less fit individuals. As poet Robinson Jeffers has noted, it is the fang that has created the fleet foot of the antelope.

Human hunting has other long term genetic consequences as well. As was recently reported in PNAS, sustained human hunting has led to universally smaller animals, as well as other suspected genetic impacts that may affect their long-term viability.”

George lists the reasons why wildlife agencies just don’t cut it when “managing predators. It’s not hard to conclude where game management priorities lie.


“Despite the long history of hunter conservationists, when it comes to predators there are two major reasons for the failure of state wildlife agencies to adopt objective and biologically sound predator policies. The first is that most hunters are ecologically illiterate. Though there are some sub-groups within the hunting community who put ecological health of the land first and foremost, the average hunter cares more about “putting a trophy on the wall or meat in the freezer” than whether the land’s ecological integrity is maintained. The focus is on sustaining hunting success, not ultimately on the quality of the hunting experience, much less sustaining ecosystems as the prime objective. Such hunters are the ones using ORVs for hunting, use radio collared dogs to “track” predators, object to road closures that limit hunter access by other than foot, employ more and more sophisticated technology to replace human skill, and not coincidently they tend to be the hunters most likely to be demanding predator control.

On the whole, I have found most state wildlife biologists to be far more ecologically literate than the hunters and anglers they serve. In other words, if left to the biologists, I suspect we would find that agencies would manage wildlife with a greater attention to ecological integrity. 

However, curbing such impulses by wildlife professionals are the politically appointed wildlife commissions. While criteria for appointments vary from state to state, in general, commissioners are selected to represent primarily rural residents, timber companies and agricultural interests—all of whom are generally hostile to predators and/or see it as almost a God-given requirement that humans manage the Earth to “improve” it and fix the lousy job that God did by creating wolves and mountain lions. 

The other reason state agencies tend to be less enthusiastic supporters of predators has to do with funding. State wildlife agencies “dance with the one that brung ya.” Most non-hunters do not realize that state wildlife agencies are largely funded by hunter license fees as well as taxes on hunting equipment, rather than general taxpayer support. This creates a direct conflict of interest for state wildlife agencies when it comes to managing for species that eat the animals hunters want to kill. Agency personnel know that the more deer, elk, and other huntable species that exist, the more tags and licenses they can sell. So what bureaucracy is going to voluntarily give up its funding opportunities for “ecological integrity?”

Adding to this entire funding nightmare for agencies is the decline in hunter participation. There are fewer and fewer hunters these days. Many reasons have been proposed for this—a decrease in access to private lands for hunting, decrease in outdoor activities among young people, and fewer young hunters being recruited into the hunting population, a shift in population from rural to urban areas, and a general shift in social values where hunters are held in less esteem by the general public. Whatever the factors, state wildlife agencies are facing a financial crisis. Their chief funding source—hunter license tags sales are declining, while their costs of operations are increasing.

This creates a huge incentive for state wildlife agencies to limit predators. Most agencies are beyond wanting to exterminate predators, and some even grudgingly admit there is some ecological and aesthetic value in maintaining some populations of predators, but few are willing to promote predators or consider the important ecological value of predators in the ecosystem.

Yet these inherent conflicts of interest are never openly conceded by the agencies themselves or for that matter few others. It is the elephant in the room.”

The bottom line? George asks if we need to manage predators at all? Why are wolves being treated as if they are dangerous criminals?


“With the exception of killing predators in the few instances where human safety is jeopardized as with human habituated animals, or to protect a small population of some endangered species, I find little good scientific support for any predator management. Predator populations will not grow indefinitely. They are ultimately limited by their prey. Leaving predators to self-regulate seems to be the best management option available.

In general, predators will have minimum effects on hunting. Even now in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho, most elk populations are at or above “management objectives.” Climatic conditions and habitat quality typically have a far greater impact on long-term viability of huntable species than predators.

Arguments that people will “starve” if they can’t hunt are bogus. Alternative foods are usually far less expensive and more easily acquired than a moose or elk. Furthermore, in our society where food stamps and other social security nets are available, no one will starve for want of an elk dinner or caribou steak.

In my view, we need to restore not only token populations of wolves to a few wilderness and park sanctuaries, we ought to be striving to restore the ecological role of top predators to as much as of the landscape as reasonably possible. While we may never tolerate or want mountain lions in Boise city limits, grizzly bears strolling downtown Bozeman or wolves roaming the streets of Denver, there is no reason we can’t have far larger and more widely distributed predator populations across the entire West, as well as the rest of the nation. But this will never happen as long as state wildlife agencies see their primary role to satisfy hunter expectations for maximized hunting opportunities for ungulates like deer and elk rather than managing wildlife for the benefit of all citizens and ecosystem integrity.”


Why State Fish and Game Agencies Can’t Manage Predators

 By George Wuerthner, 4-17-09



State Wildlife Management: The Pervasive Influence of Hunters, Hunting, Culture, and Money


Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Posted in: biodiversity, wolf recovery, aerial gunning of wolves, Wolf Wars

Tags: gray wolf/canis lupus, wolves in the crossfire, trophic cascades, trophy hunting wolves

Published in: on December 29, 2009 at 1:12 am  Leave a Comment  

Legacy Of A Lost Wolf

An op-ed  in the Washington Post today concentrates on the beleaguered Mexican Gray wolf, who needs help desperately but the writer also mentions Wildlife Services formerly Animal Damage Control, who kills hundreds of thousands of animals each year for agriculture.  They’ve wiped out almost 300 gray wolves in 2009 alone in the Northern Rockies.  They didn’t do this on their own, their kill orders came from IDFG and  Montana FWP  to benefit the livestock industry. 

Between Wildlife Services, the Idaho and Montana hunts, poaching, the SSS crowd (Shoot, Shovel and Shutup, for anyone who hasn’t heard this term)  and general wolf mortality, the death toll in the Northern Rockies has hit 500 wolves out of a beginning population estimated between 1500-1600 wolves.  That’s one-third of the wolf population gone!  Montana has killed 203 wolves from a population of 450-500, that’s almost half Montana’s wolves, wiped out. This is unprecedented and they’re not done yet. 

“In Western states, ranchers run cattle on hundreds of millions of acres of federal lands, supported by subsidies that as of 2005, according to a Government Accountability Office report, cost American taxpayers $123 million annually. Most disturbing to me is the Agriculture Department’s euphemistically titled “Wildlife Services” program, also operated largely for the benefit of ranchers. In 2008, this program exterminated 124,414 carnivores such as bears, wolves, foxes, coyotes, bobcats, raccoons and cougars via cruel methods including leghold traps, aerial shooting and poisoning.”

Please write and speak up about the killing of  wolves for agribusiness.  Whoever you know, if you have connections to the media, etc. any influence you might have to get this story out about wolves being slaughtered in the Northern Rockies, please use it.  If the powers that be don’t feel any push back from the public they won’t have any impetus to change.  Wolves are dying, we can’t let them fade away without fighting for them!!


Legacy of A Lost Wolf

By Betsy KarasikSunday, December 27, 2009



Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Posted in: Wolf Wars, aerial gunning of wolves, Idaho wolf hunt, Montana wolf hunt, Wildlife Services War on Wildlife

Tags: wolf intolerance, wolves in the crossfire,  Wildlife Services


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