Killing Wolves For Fun And The War On Wolves….

As 2011 draws to a close I’ll be revisiting a few of my early posts from 2009, when the first wolf hunts were taking place in Montana and Idaho, after the Obama administration delisted them in the Spring of that year. This was the first time wolves were hunted in the lower 48 since the last wolves were wiped out in the 1940′s.

Since 2009 the state sponsored  hunts have gotten bolder and more brutal,  with the inclusion of traps and snares, even bringing Alaskan trappers to kill wolves in Idaho’s Lolo and Selway zones, with the addition of aerial gunning.  All to harass and kill wolves who’ve done nothing wrong except try to exist.

In 2009,  wolf advocates were awaiting Judge Molloy’s decision, would he relist wolves?  The ruling came  in August 2010. Wolves were relisted in the Northern Rockies!! But the victory was short-lived.  Thanks to Jon Tester D-MT,  who inserted a wolf delisting rider into the Senate budget bill, wolves were delisted  and the bill was signed into law by President Obama. Wolves are now paying with their lives for that betrayal.


Killing Wolves For Fun & The War On Wolves

November 9, 2009

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 ongoing wolf hunts in Montana and 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 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 over 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 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 influence on  how our wildlife is managed?

Although predators control ungulate populations, the states aren’t comfortable with that because they cater to the hunting and ranching lobbies, who bring millions into state coffers. This creates a conflict of interest.  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 in 1995-96.  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.

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 declining, 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 Yellowstone’s Cottonwood Pack, was gunned down a mile outside of the park, along with the Alpha male and her daughter, when the Montana hunt began.  This decimated the Cottonwood Pack and halted important research into some of Yellowstone’s most famous and studied collared wolves.

Trophy hunting of wolves only inflames passions and hatred of wolves. 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 rifles or high-tech bows 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 (Photo: Nature Online)

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 the Arapahoe and Shoshone tribes.  They’re managing to coexist very well with wolves 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.”


Why State Fish and Game Agencies Can’t Manage Predators

 By George Wuerthner, 4-17-09
minn gray wolf
Top Photo: kewl wallpapers
Bottom and Middle Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Posted in: Wolf Wars
Tags: trophy hunting wolves, wolves in the crossfire, Wildlife Services, Obama administration de-listing, Druid Peak Pack

The URI to TrackBack this entry is:

RSS feed for comments on this post.

20 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. That’s very interesting to read it thanks!


  2. Nothing much more disgusting that smiling people posing with the bodies of the animals they have killed. Presumably it makes pathetic human beings feel powerful.


  3. My fear is that killing wolves is going to become a “season” of hunting annually, like “deer season”, etc.
    Please check out the new video Carol, Rutha, and I made on U-tube with an attached link to a new petition on Both the video and the petition are named: Wolves – The Last Stand.


    • Linda…That is something we have to work on, have you noticed how they are systematically moving to delist all wolves across the country. We do not want wolf hunts period, especially anything permanent. I will definitely watch your video. I’m very excited about OR7, I think he can do much for wolves.

      For the wolves, For the wild ones,


  4. I am tired of these people who get a kick out of killing. They kill a wolf and use it as a trophy. Or they take it’s pelt off and leave the body to rot and other animals to eat.
    When will this all stop????????????????????


  5. So far, Wisconsin has not mentioned a wolf hunt . They just want to remove problem wolves without permission from the Dept of Int. The problem is the Conservation Congress, the so called advisory to the DNR. These people are never happy unless they have plenty to shoot at. I loathe them because they think they speak for all of Wisconsin. Send letters to the editor and don’t be kind . Be firm ,informed and precise.


    • Sorry to tell you this Bobette but the Center for Biological Diversity was quoted saying: Wisconsin plans to cull its (wolf) population by half.

      For the wolves, For the wild ones,


  6. I live in Idaho and I volunteer at the Wolf Education Research Center where are wolves are safe. I thank the Great Spirit everyday for that. I smudge and I pray for the wolves that are being hunted and the Great Spirit is not happy that brother wolf is being hunted and killed. What I don’t understand is where are the Native tribes? They are not stepping in and helping stop this slaughter, does the government have that much control over the tribes? If so that is scary. We must be strong and unite and show we will stop this killing. Thank you for your article it was very educational and appreciated.


  7. Hello
    I’m from England and as such I cannot relate personally to what is going on over there in your struggle to overcome those whose selective prejudicial ego-led interests seek to murder once again an animal that has been demonised for hundreds of years. Is it possible that those seeking to revive this needless killing have not been informed by their parents that those well known stories, ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ and ‘The 3 little pigs’ were in fact fairy tales and not to be taken them literally!
    Of course though I am not ‘involved’ with wolves here, as we have none, I do feel somewhere down in the pit of my soul at least a little shiver of responsibility for what is happening, as back in history after we had extinguished the wolf (and many poor people) from our own lands in what is referred to euphemistically in 1984 ‘Doublethink’, as the ‘Highland Clearances’, (This in Scotland) the same thought process that applied there was then exported via our ancestors to the United States.
    So you guys are not just fighting against people who have a lust for killing an animal to satisfy their testosterone fuelled desires, but you are fighting against the heavy ghost of history that still stalks the mountains and prairies of the USA.
    At the risk of perhaps repeating something that may have appeared on this blog before, there is a paragraph that appears in a book written by Milan Kundera called ‘The unbearable lightness of being’.
    I quote;
    ‘True human goodness can manifest itself, in all its purity and liberty, only in regard to those who have no power. The true moral test of humanity (the most radical, situated on a level so profound that it escapes our notice) lies in its relations to those who are at its mercy: the animals. And it is here that exists the fundamental failing of man, so fundamental that all others follow from it’.
    In 1894 a man called Ernest Thompson Seton lured trapped and killed a wolf called Lobo. He sat down later and with a heavy heart wrote many words about it, but the most significant word he wrote was the simplest yet the most profound. ‘WHY?’ He had an epiphany and went on to become a founding father of conservation and the leading light in founding ‘The Boy Scouts of America’ and a believer in the preservation of Native American (hope that’s the correct phrase) culture. Seton’s own thoughts he summarised thus,’
    “Ever since Lobo”, Seton later wrote, “my sincerest wish has been to impress upon people that each of our native wild creatures is in itself a precious heritage that we have no right to destroy or put beyond the reach of our children.”
    We are, as the old medieval philosophers said ‘sub specie aeternitatis’, ‘under the gaze of eternity’ and as such we all have our part to play, as E.F. Schumacher said many years ago,

    We can, each of us,” he wrote, “work to put our inner house in order.” The guidance for this task, he concluded, should not come from the state, or from science and technology, but from humanity itself, “the traditional wisdom of mankind”


    • Hi Les,

      Thank you for your solidarity, it’s so true that wolves have been subjected to terrible persecution for hundreds of years. You outlined it very well. If Seton could overcome his hatred for wolves anyone can. He overcame it by seeing the amazing connections wolves have for each other. It moved him so much it finally unlocked his compassion.

      I’m always amazed by these transformations, which tells me that if people actually strive to discover the true nature of wolves, they would immediately be converted.

      I love this quote so much I put it on the front of the blog:

      “Hope has two beautiful daughters: their names are anger and courage. Anger that things are the way they are. Courage to make them the way they ought to be….St. Augustine”

      For the wolves, For the wild ones,


    • Absolutely great comments!


  8. me too. i am from israel, and i have a lot of admiration for your struggle. i send your blog to friends and put in animal forums and such. although it’s heart breaking to read these things it is also very important and a little comforting to know thatthere rae people like you – for us people who think animals have rights – and ofcourse for the wolves that you love so much


    • Shalom orna…Thank you for your support for the blog and wolves. It’s very exciting to know this blog is circulating around Israel. The reach of the Internet is truly amazing.

      For the wolves, For the wild ones,


  9. Another educational article Nabeki …. thanks.


    I can’t copy paste/post the images. Someday I’ll have a website I can link to.
    Today is part of yesterday. I had time and access to a machine and so worked straight through from yesterday afternoon until this afternoon on a large unbandy photo (laden) article ‘Who Speaks For Wolf’ before going to my place of employ. I was going to call it ‘my’ article but it’s not. There would be no such article but for the histories, the photo campaigns, advocates’ blogs like this one, the many organizations that run non stop, maturity to the grave, and have for centuries in support of kindness, abstension and reason. Nor is the comparison of First Nations and Wolves, and other top predators, but somehow especially wolves, lost on me. Today I entered a map of U.S. Government planned bison kills for in that way were both First nations and wolves killed. And I am very glad that Nabeki takes a stand on trophy hunting and sports hunting. I’m pleased to read here, Kundera’s very attractive quote. I could never figure him out. After Karenin’s Smile, a chapter in the Incredible Lightness of Being, I so name it, he’d better be vegan else he’s a class manipulator. The right number of takes, for other than subsistence hunting is zero. There’s hate, pass time of dominionistic userous, materialistic and commodifying men. All were victims before they themselves, bullied and postured, hyped on their own adrenalin, on their way to rage addiction. Such men saliently represent my spiritless culture. They live by guns, summoning all the transparent mechanisms of compensation and reciprocal escalating abuse. These are sport hunters. Together with those tragic failed women who are emancipated only in so far as they are just like men (or who otherwise, tragically go to any length to gain attention) the Palins and Sheas, they are gross ridiculous parodies of success and lethal, as they would have us know, shooting pups, ripping open a seal fresh out of water to gorge and smear on bleeding flesh in sight of the press, or if you’re a man to mutilate and post trophy photos of your victims. And so as not to close in anger, I’m remembering a report I read a year or more ago made by scientists while working on board a research vessel in the Antarctic. They happened to witness the allomaternal care of a seal pup caught out of distance from the safety of its ice flow. A baleen whale rolled onto her back, scooped up the pup with her fins depositing the frightened thing on her belly while a hungry odenticente circled in persuit of a meal. There the pup stayed a full twenty minutes, if I remember well. The whale lolled on her back, until it was safe for the seal to make it alone to its mother and solid ice. Love I think you call it. Unknown to those who kill for sport. And indeed probably never experienced by them, not really, not even the love of their dogs who they typically abuse. I’ve met more than one gun dog rescued from its owner.
    For the wild ones


  11. Just curious, could you eventually write an article on the threats that wolves in other parts of the world face? Like, for example, on how the endangered wolves of the Middle East – the Arabian Wolf (Canis lupus arabs) and the Iranian Wolf (Canis lupus pallipes) – are unprotected throughout most of their range (and are still shot on sight in much of their range), and of how the rare Iberian Wolf (Canis lupus signatus) is still hunted in parts of Spain. I know that this blog is about the (North American) Gray Wolf (Canis lupus occidentalis and Canis lupus nubilus), but I think that it would be neat if you could raise awareness about the other subspecies/species of wolves that live throughout the world (which, I must say, are much more endangered than the Gray Wolf).


    • I think that’s a great idea, but this isn’t my blog.

      Nabeki, what do you think??? Raising awareness for all of the wolves that live in & around Mother Earth is a wonderful idea. I know we probably can’t do to much – but we can still be a voice. Letters & e-mails.


      • Carla and ramses,

        I do occasionally cover other wolf sub-species around the world, IE: the Swedish wolf disaster, Russian wolves (who literally have zero protection, except from small groups of devoted activists), Middle Eastern wolves, etc. I’d love to spend more time on their plight but it’s been so crazy the last year, wolves being hunted, hundreds dying, that I find so little time for anything else but yes I would like to do more for other wolf sub species!!

        For the wolves, For wolves around the world,


  12. I just wanted to get an OK from you Nabeki ~ if I have time & come across anything I’ll post it.


  13. But your right, this past year has been all about the wolves in the USA.
    But thats not to say other countries are less important. 😉


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: