Montana and Idaho Close Two Wolf Hunt Kill Zones Today

the wolf hunt


Montana FWP closed the North Fork of the Flathead sub-unit wolf  kill zone.  The area had a quota of two wolves, which was reached today.  Three wolves were also poached in that area and FWP did not re-adjust the quota downward after the poaching incidents, as many people felt they should.  But then even talking about numbers of dead wolves is a grim business. 

In Montana, 59 wolves have been shot and killed by hunters, since the wolf hunt started on September 15, 2009, not including the three poached wolves.  Nineteen more wolves will lose their lives before the guns are silenced and the hunt is over.

We can’t bring the dead wolves back but we can work to see this doesn’t happen again next year.   Because the Obama Administration went forward with the delisting of gray wolves in the Northern Rockies, they are now being hunted, mere months after losing their Endangered Species protections.  I’m extremely disappointed in this administration for the actions they took to endanger gray wolves recovery.  So much for Obama’s campaign mantra of “Yes We Can”…it should have been… “Business As Usual“.  Shame!


Wolf hunt closed west of Glacier National Park after Monday morning kill at Big Creek



Idaho closed the McCall-Weiser wolf kill zone after the quota of 15 dead wolves was reached.  This is the second wolf kill zone to be closed out of twelve.  Idaho set a quota to kill almost one fourth of their wolves this hunting season.  220 wolves will die from a population of approx 850 to 1000.  

98 wolves have died since wolf hunting season opened in Idaho on September 1, 2009.  122 more wolves will lose their lives in Idaho before the hunting season closes.  Idaho’s wolf hunt continues until March 31, 2010, right through wolf mating season.  Double whammy for the wolves who’ll be trying to survive, mate and dodge hunters bullets!! 

The hunts in Idaho and Montana were the result of pressure from ranchers, hunters and outfitters to reduce the wolf populations even though wolves kill very few livestock and elk are thriving in both states. The hunts fly in the face of science and common sense but the wolf is a political football used to flame passions and advance political agendas.  Shame again!

Wolf season closes in McCall zone

NOTE:  I’ve purposely made a point to call the areas or zones the states have mapped out for killing wolves, exactly what they are, kill zones.  You won’t ever hear me use the word  harvest, which is FWP’s euphemism for killing. 

Photo: Wikemedia Commons

Categories posted in:  Idaho wolf hunt, Montana wolf hunt, Glacier National Park Wolf Wars

Tags: Idaho wolf hunt, Montana wolf hunt, wolf intolerence, wolves in the crossfire

Killing Wolves For Fun & The War On Wolves


yellowstone wolf runnintg

Wolves have been accused of it but the predator with the reputation for killing for sport isn’t the wolf, it’s man.

I’ve often asked myself why people trophy hunt, this is especially relevant since wolves are firmly in the cross fire, with the ongoing wolf hunts in Montanaand Idaho.

Wolves aren’t being hunted for food.  Hunters are making a personal decision to go out and kill a wolf just because it’s there.

Over 26,000 wolf tags were sold in Idaho alone to kill 220 wolves and Montana sold thousands to kill 75 wolves.  A little over kill, don’t ya think?  Add to that the hatred some people feel for wolves,  it makes for an even scarier and mean spirited climate.

alaskan wolf shot by aerial gunner

Alaskan wolf shot by aerial gunner

Even before the wolf hunts began the air was charged with anti-wolf bias. The governors of Montana and Idaho inserted themselves into the negative wolf rhetoric.  Governor Brian Schweitzer of Montana made a questionable statement about federal Judge Molloy, who is presiding over a lawsuit brought by environmental groups to reverse the recent wolf delisting.  The plaintiffs were asking for an injunction, to stop the wolf hunts, while the merits of the case were being decided.  Governor Schweitzer stated:  “If some old judge says we can’t (hunt wolves), we’ll take it back to another judge.”  That was a totally indefensible remark for the Gov to make. Gov “Butch” Otter of Idaho went one better.  Back in 2007, before wolves were even delisted, he stated in front of a rally of camouflage wearing hunters, he was prepared to manage the wolf population down to just 100 animals. He went even further stating “. “I’m prepared to bid for that first ticket to shoot a wolf myself.”

Should the executive officers of Montana and Idaho, use the wolf as a political football by posturing to ranching and hunting interests?  What chance does the wolf have to be treated fairly when even the governors  make those kinds of statements?

The “management” or killing of wolves is sanctioned by the states of Montana and Idaho but exactly who is this benefiting?  Certainly not the ninety percent of the non-hunting public.   Wolves and other predators are being “managed” for the benefit of a few interest groups, mainly elk hunters, ranchers and outfitters.  The rest of us, who want to view wildlife in their natural state, which means “not dead”, don’t seem to count.  Our wildlife is being slaughtered for the benefit of a few. That is inherently wrong but it continues because hunting and ranching interests have powerful lobbies that seek to influence policy and it works! Unless and until the politics of the usual are replaced with the policies of change, America’s predators will suffer.

hayden pack wolves

wolf photo: SigmaEye Flicker

Montana and Idaho and others have decided which wildlife they consider important and which are disposable.  Predator management is just a euphemism for killing them.  Millions of taxpayer dollars are spent on tracking, collaring and lethally controlling predators and other wildlife by cruel means, IE, poisoning with 1080 compound, M44s, denning and trapping.  Most of the killing is done by Wildlife Services, which is an arm of the USDA.  The lethal control of wolves is not supported by the majority of Americans but we have little input in the decision making process.  Why does the non-hunting consumer have so little input into how our wildlife is managed?

Although predators can control ungulate populations, the states aren’t comfortable with that because they cater to hunting and ranching lobbies, who bring millions into state coffers.  creating a conflict of interest for state game agencies who manage predators like the wolf.  Wolves compete with hunters for the same prey.  The budget of state game agencies depend on hunter licensing fees.  Is it any wonder we are having wolf hunts and wolf “management”?

As soon as predators, like the wolf, start to increase in number, the call rings out for them to be managed.   “In 2008, wolves are known to have killed fewer than 200 cattle and sheep in Montana, and 100 wolves were hunted down in response.” 

How can anyone defend that kind “managment”? Yet Montana and Idaho contend their wildlife management practices are grounded in science.  I would like to see the science that backs wiping out 100 wolves for the death of 200 livestock?

In January 2008, before the current delisting took place, FWP issued new revised rules concerning the “management” of  gray wolves, who had been reintroduced to Central Idaho and Greater Yellowstone.  The new rules state the feds and tribes can kill more wolves if they become a “threat” to game animals and private property.  So once again FWP is “managing” for the benefit of the few ignoring the wants of the many.  How shocking.

Have you ever visited Yellowstone National Park and watched the Druid Peak Pack?  They were literally the super stars of Yellowstone, sadly the pack is plagued by mange, their numbers dcclining, yet we are caught up in wolf hunts, which threatens them and other wild wolves in the park.  Already the famed Alpha female, 527F, of the park’s Cottonwood Pack, was gunned down a mile outside of Yellowstone, along with the Alpha male and her daughter, when the Montana hunt began.  This basically decimated the Cottonwood Pack and halted important research into some of  Yellowstone’s famous, studied, collared wolves.

Trophy hunting of wolves only inflames passions and hatred of wolves in some quarters.   I won’t call trophy hunting a sport.  It’s an unfair game where the hunted aren’t acquainted with the rules. The only way it could be considered fair is if you placed the “hunter” in the woods without their high powered rifle or bow and have them run up against a wolf with their bare hands, you know, Mano y Mano. How many “brave” hunters would be out there killing wolves for fun in that scenario?  I say the number would be ZERO.  Killing for sport is a cowardly exercise that features an uneven playing field between hunters and the hunted,  just to get a cheap thrill and rush of testosterone (yes most hunters are men).  How skillful and brave is it to kill an animal, hundreds of yards away, that has no fighting chance against you, with a scope and high powered rifle? Trophy hunting gives all hunting a bad name!!   It’s blood lust pure and simple.  Wolves shouldn’t be subjected to this in the 21st Century.  We’ve already exterminated them in the West once, are we aiming for round two?


Lobo wolf wars

The most encouraging words come from Richard Baldes, a Shoshone and former Fish and Wildlife Service biologist on the Wind River Indian Reservation, inhabited by Arapahoe and Shoshone tribes.  They are managing to coexist very well with the wolf and welcome Canis Lupus.  He explained the tribe’s views to High Country News in 2008:

“The tribes’ management plans are pretty simple. “The Wind River Reservation is somewhat of a sanctuary,” Baldes tells me from his porch at the foot of the Wind River Mountains. Much as they do with the Nez Perce Tribe in Idaho, which was instrumental in the original reintroduction, wolves play an important role in the lore and religion of Shoshone and Arapahoe people. Wolves represent a social role model, for starters: “They take care of the family,” Baldes says. “The aunts and uncles take care of the young, and they also take care of the old.”
The obvious parallels between government efforts to eradicate wolves and past efforts to eradicate Indians aren’t lost on Baldes. In fact, the resurgence of wolves is a powerful metaphor on the reservation. “The Creator put them here for a reason,” Baldes says. He chuckles to himself about the raging controversy. “People have made the issue with wolves much more complicated than it needs to be,” he says. “It’s just a nice feeling to know that these animals are back and that they’re going to be here to stay. I don’t see any reason why they won’t be here forever.”
running wolf
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Why State Fish and Game Agencies Can’t Manage Predators
By George Wuerthner, 4-17-09
minn gray wolf
Photos: Courtesy Wiki Commons, Sigma Eye and James Balog 
Categories posted in: Wolf wars, wolves under fire, 
Tags: trophy hunting wolves, wolves in the crossfire, Wildlife Services, obama administration de-listing, Druid Peak Pack
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