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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21 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. What is the practical use for a wolf skin in this day and age when far warmer fabrics are made? What is the practical use of a wolf skin on the floor, their skull on a table or a tooth on a flimsy bit of sting/leather? Does it make the person feel ‘cool’ or something?

    The wolf is a beautiful animal, but not just because of its fur. Their true beauty lies in their effortless movement, their social gestures, the raw power in every muscle while hunting and their visible intellect. To get that perfect photograph, to capture that split second that embodies these qualities shows more respect and admiration than possessing a lifeless rag or piece of bone.


    • Two wolves were poached/killed in NE Washington late last winter. One was black, the other a creme colour. I and several witnesses saw them over a period of a couple months, heard their howls at night, and a very upstanding source in the community said his wife saw one of them one day from about 50 yards. I heard the shots that killed them, and watched as after the shots, 1st the black one disappeared. About a week later, shots again, and the creme coloured one disappeared. WA fish and game were called, and they seemed more interested in talking about one of our kids ducks then the wolves. Even as I was speaking to them, they interupted me and said to the kid: “You like your chickens and ducks, don’t you?” As if a veiled accusation against predators, or justification of their deaths. Let me inform you the wolves came right to the fence where the chickens reside with our own dogs, and did no harm. We often would see them in the early morning, passing through peacefully.
      We co-existed with them months, they were like family. Walked our dogs along the perimeters of about 5 acres around our place, let them “mark”, and the wolves stayed outside that invisible line and never approached the fence again. The some idiots murdered them. Impotent people can’t live with wolves, resourceful and intelligent people can. These wolf killers are in the Orient/Laurier area of WA state, so keep your eyes out for the new pack in the area by closely monitoring any mishaps.


  2. Hi John,

    There is no rhyme or reason to it except some people like killing. That’s the only thing I can come up with. The wolves and their prey lived quite nicely together before we showed up. We don’t need wolf hunts but unfortunately for the wolves and for us the states aren’t run by environmentalists or folks that enjoy their wildlife living and breathing. The only way to change this is through the political system and education.

    Have you watched the videos from the International Wolf Center? Some really cool stuff, even if they are captured wolves.


    • I’ve heard plenty of excuses from saving herbivores to humans ‘playing their role in nature’. Perhaps the most confusing are these two, when placed side by side:

      1. Urban development encroaching on wildlife habitat means there is less food to go around and thus ‘control’ needs to be carried out to prevent starvation.
      2. Urban development increases animal food supplies (in the form of garbage) – which causes a dramatic increase in the number of predators to the point where they will eradicate their natural prey if they are not hunted.

      I haven’t seen the videos yet but I will definitely take a look.


      • Hi John,
        It’s a Catch 22 situation for wolves. BLM is pulling the same “magic trick” against our wild horses. There are only 33,000 wild horses grazing public lands, some of them trace their DNA back to Cortez but they are subjugated to the “needs” of millions of cattle. Ranchers are complaining to Interior that food sources are finite and horses are competing with cattle. Who do you think is going to lose this battle, wild horses or ranchers? The BLM has rounded up 30,000 wild horses that are sitting in holding pens, most of them not adoptable because, well they’re wild. Wild horses are being treated to the same crazy upside-down world reasoning that wolves are up against. How can they win when the priority is to keep the supply of Double Cheeseburgers coming? It’s all about cows and hunting.

        For the wild ones,


  3. wolves are not being killed as a sport but becouse they kill for a sport and wiping out our elk herds!


  4. Hi Brad,You might want to check out this piece of imformation: There is a good piece about elk by Jack Ballard:Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. To me, the elk are doing fine.


  5. I have even seen people claim wolves eat elk alive.
    Such bull….


    • Yes, noname…apparently they think predators should tip toe up to their prey and tap them on the shoulder, politely. If the prey aren’t interested in being eaten then wolves or any predators must move on. Of course I’m kidding but for grown people these wolf haters are clueless.



  6. Oh and~just to add, only an idiot who runs on bigbadwolf stories will believe that a wolf kills for pleasure or sport. It is all for survival. Even if they dont eat all the kill, they could have been scared off or just-well-FULL!

    Let’s face it people, WE are the only animals that hunt for sport.DEAL WITH IT!

    I know some wolves may comit “crimes” such as attaking a human or a dog. We attack and kill animals everyday. But then a wild animal attacks us, and all hell brakes loose! It isn’t a one way street people. Deal with it.

    It makes me sad that we humans ruin everything we touch. Wolves didn’t need “control” many many years before when we humans were still monkeymen in caves, and they dont need it now.

    So a few elk die, I love elk too, but wolves need to hunt them.

    And what about “God’s creatures”!?
    God never created an evil creature, and wolves are not evil.

    And if you hunters could sell those wolf skins and skulls that are so valueable in auctions, well than sell them so you can afford to BUY A DAM FENCE!
    And you wonder why wolves are always killing your “precious” mindless slaughter-house animals.

    If we humans just got ate by sabres before we could evolve to be planet killing monsters, then wolves would probabley be on top, where they deserve to be.

    And I am NOT really trying to insult ANYONE, but this has gone way too far and this crap is making me really angry right now….


    • Well said noname. I think many of these people have never set foot in the woods.



    • i agree 110 % with you this is cruel, this isn’t just happening to wolves it’s happening to the majority of animals on this world. I’m a christian and it makes me sick that wolves are seen as evil creatures, they are beautiful animals along with the other animals that god created they don’t deserve to be slaughtered like pests and it infuriates me when hunters or wolf haters say they’re pests because animals weren’t made to be pests to the world, they were made keep nature balanced and to keep it going.


  7. Wolf is a beautifull animal i cant understand why they kill them…The wolf for me, is the animal more inteligent and sweet of ever!
    But the man will see it just when they will be dead and nothing will bring them back.

    I feel so sorry for all wolfs because they first lived in peace and for no reason man began to kill and hunt them!…

    Sometimes i thing i prefer to die that see this happening…Cause the fault of the suffering of this animal is our!…Just our ..we are the murders here and now whe cant change the past…and the future…i cant imagen


    • `we are the killers and now we*****


    • Hi Roby,
      I understand your passion and sadness about what is happening to wolves but wolves have many, many supporters like yourself. We have just begun to fight for their rights.

      For the wolves, For the wild ones,


  8. wolf management predator management I agree predator should be managed start with the worst predator humans we kill everything including each other even this great planet is slowly being destroyed by us we act as if the world is ours to do as we like mother earth is here for all living things not just us I feel shame to be human like an infection or a bad disease we invade and destroy


    • Not all humans are the same, there are good folks around. There are people who risk their lives just to supply food, shelter and medical care in poorer countries or disaster/war torn areas, wildlife carers and the people in emergency services – to name only a few. They are the unsung heroes and heroines, so don’t count humanity short on its positives.


      • Well we have proof there are good people, just look at this blog. We all care for animals, not just wolves. It’s true there are wonderful people that care, the problem is most of our wildlife is controlled by state game agencies that profit off their lives. I never realized what a stranglehold they have on them but that is the major problem we’re facing, besides the ranchers. We have a state game agency that’s taking sides with special interest groups. How disturbing is that?



    • This is a taboo subject that most humans don’t want to talk about, but the fact is we are destroying the planet and wildlife. Wildlife is going to suffer tremenedously because of human overpopulation and human encroachment. Apparently, there are too many wolves and not enough people according to some. There are 6 billion humans on the planet and probably maybe 70,000 wolves, around that and wolves are supposedly the overpopulated ones. John is right, there are good people, but I must say I am truly ashamed of my species as a whole and the disgusting things they do to the planet and to wildlife.


  9. What to do? How does the silent majority make itself heard?


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