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

Gray wolves the wilderness classroom

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

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

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


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

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

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

The deadline for providing comments is Friday, February 8.


Jay Mallonee
Wolf and Wildlife Studies


Again he received this response:

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


wolf pack in snow first nation

The Inhumanity Of Wolf Management

By Jay S. Mallonee

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

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

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

Who Are The Better Killers?

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

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

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


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

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


Top photo: Courtesy the wilderness classroom

Bottom photo: Courtesy First Nations

Posted in: Wolf Wars, Montana wolves

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

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