Hunting Wolves in Montana – Where Are The Data? by Jay S. Mallonee

Hunting Wolves In Montana – Where Are The Data?

Jay S. Mallonee
Wolf & Wildlife Studies, Kalispell, MT 59901

Abstract: Management agencies have claimed that the recovery and public hunting of wolves is based in science. A review of their statistics demonstrated that data collection methods did not follow a scientific protocol which resulted in flawed and often incorrect data. Consequently, agencies do not know the total number of wolves in Montana, a major reference point used by wolf managers. Therefore, the quotas proposed for public wolf hunts are completely arbitrary, and management decisions in general have not been based on facts. This has produced a wolf management system that lacks scientific perspective and does not utilize what is known about the wolves’ role in sustaining healthy ecosystems. Instead, the absence of verifiable data suggests that management decisions are often based on opinion and politics rather than science.




Published on November 11, 2011 at 4:23 pm  Comments (19)  

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  1. Dear Mr. Mallonee, Your research is phenomenal. I thank you for it. I hope you don’t mind my using it for some newspaper articles. I will send you copies. My local paper has run an anti wolf article so I would like to claim equal time. I saw your article in the Friends of Animals magazine and it was everything I needed for a little article with a link to the FWP’s own ridiculous data. Thank you! Just bought your book, Timber. Hope it doesn’t make me cry too much. Nancy Shinn


  2. I lived in Montana and there were really not that many wolves outside of yellowstone. Though the wolf has had an amazing comeback I dont believe we are to the point of being able to kill them. Makes me sick


  3. I thank Dr. Mallonee for writing this fantastic scentific article on why the Wolf Hunt is unsustainable.

    I almost gave up on wanting to be a Biologist yessterday because I was under the impression that they didn’t really care about the individual lives of the animals and were all pro-hunting and trapping. But I guess I was wrong, and I’m glad I was. I thank Dr. Mallonee for letting me know that there are caring Biologists out there, and for helping me regain my desire for wanting to become a Biologist, which has been my lifelong dream.


    • I think the key for any biologist is independence Carla and that’s not always easy. Jay is doing a terrific job.

      For the wolves, For the wild ones,


      • That’s what I realized. Jay is doing a wonderful job with it and he is now, to some extent, my idol. But the question is: how do you become an independent biologist?

        By the way, do you know of any other scientific articles that are about how wolf hunting – or predator hunting in general – is ecologically harmful? Cause I’m writing an essay on why wolves should not be hunted, and I want to use as many scientific articles as I can for my research and evidence.


  4. PLEASE read, confirm and RT this article on twitter and Fbook?
    The link between the USDA and NCBA is critical in the ranchers war on wolves in the (neanderthal) Western US. Asking that orgs and wolf advocates FOIA each western state to get the truthout.

    Thanks for
    reviewing. NNG
    Corrupt USDA conspired to funnel hundreds of millions in taxpayer money to beef industry lobbyists
    Monday, September 03, 2012 by: J. D. Heyes

    (NaturalNews) It may be hard to associate “corruption” with a U.S. government agency (insert dripping sarcasm here), but it’s true: Sometimes those stewards of our tax dollars don’t spend them very wisely.

    At least, that’s what cattleman and rancher advocate Michael Callicrate is alleging in a federal suit he has filed against the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which he says illegally funneled hundreds of millions of dollars to beef industry lobbyists.

    Callicrate also named USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, as well as the Centennial, Colorado-based Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board and Beef Promotion Operating Committee, and the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, reported Courthouse News Service.

    Callicrate is the owner of Ranch Foods Direct, a Colorado Springs-based “meat packing facility and local farmer’s retail market delivering healthful, high quality, naturally tender meats and foods to consumers direct from the ranch,” according to the company’s website.

    Hundreds of millions in political payoffs?

    In his suit, the plaintiff asked the court to stop payments to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) under the “Beef Checkoff” program, claiming the taxpayer-funded subsidy is in violation of the Beef Research and Information Act of 1985.

    The law was initially passed in 1976 to allow the beef industry to compete better in the marketplace. Under the law, the secretary of agriculture has authority to run a Beef Promotion and Research Order, which is financed by charging beef ranchers $1 per head of cattle. The Beef Checkoff generates about $80 million annually, according to reports.

    However, the act “prohibits the use of Beef Checkoff funds for influencing governmental action or policy,” the complaint states. Callicrate says even though the beef association is largely a policy and lobbying organization, the organization has received some $200 million in the past six years from government agencies under the Department of Agriculture. He said an independent audit of the association found a number of examples where it used the money for lobbying.

    “The audit evaluated a small portion of NCBA transactions charged to the Beef Checkoff in FY 2008, FY 2009, and the first five months of FY 2010, ended February 28, 2010,” the complaint says. “Specifically, the audit investigated only 45 expenditures and 25 employees’ time sheets for five months.”

    The suit continues, “According to NCBA’s Forms 990, NCBA had total expenses of $110,412,425 in 2008 and 2009, and of that $72,833,595 (approximately 66 percent) came from the Beef Checkoff. However, only a minuscule 45 transactions that occurred during this period were audited by the independent auditor. If the average expense evaluated by the independent auditor was $1,000, the independent auditor examined approximately $45,000 of transactions. This tiny fraction – less than one percent – of the NCBA’s Beef Checkoff funds revealed numerous expenditures that violated the Act.”

    Irreparable harm

    The rancher advocate says the audit has only turned up claims the report turned up what he described as “the tip of the iceberg,” and that as a result of it, “NCBA agreed to return the checkoff fund over $216,000 to settle claims of unlawful expenditures.”

    The suit claims that Callicrate and fellow small-to-medium sized independent ranchers will be irreparably harmed if payments to the NCBA continue.

    The suit does not seek a “temporary injunction,” which would force the government to suspend its programs until the court rules. Rather, the suit will allow the government to continue operating in a “business as usual” mode until the court rules, which Callicrate hopes will then become a “permanent injunction.”

    According to his website, Callicrate, of St. Francis, Kan., is an “an independent cattle producer, feedyard owner, business entrepreneur and political activist” who addresses “the rural, social and cultural impacts of current economic trends.”


    Learn more:


  5. While the ranch movement wants the feds out of their lives, it doesn’t include ranchers walking away from the subsidies and cheap allotment fees. The entitlement that all life revolves around their cattle is strange. IE If a motorist hits a cow in open range the rancher is compensated for 3 generations. Hmm How about a lawsuit demanding each wolf eradicating state to recompense the wolf recovery program for 3 generations?

    Since wolves are being slaughtered legally now, there is no need for the subsidies and allotment fees need to be much higher.


  6. So, I’m totaling about 52 wolves killed in the three state area so far. Since wolves kill about 22 elk per wolf per year, that means that there will be about 1100 elk that are not brutally torn to shreds by wolves in the next year. And if we assume that each wolf would have lived, on average, another 5 years; then we have so far saved the lives of 1100 elk. And that is not to mention the moose and other wildlife that have been saved.


  7. Dr. Mallonee talks about the additive effects of wolf hunting. But it is also known that there are additive effects from wolves hunting elk. Research has shown that hunting elk causes them to disperse from meadows to forested areas in an effort to avoid being found by wolves. But living in forested areas means that the elk have to live on poorer fare. The result is that they go into winter with less fat reserves and many more starve before spring. Living on poorer fare also causes the elk to have less calves.


  8. Writting from spain…
    Just came actos tus blog. Terrifying wats happening with wolfs in there… Hope you can stop the killing somehow.

    In the north of Spain we are also struggling against wolf hunters! They shall survive!


  9. Mallonee’s excellent work is referenced in “Northern Rocky Mountain Wolves: A Public Policy Process Failure
    How Two Special Interest Groups Hijacked Wolf Conservation in America”
    By Wendy Keefover • WildEarth Guardians

    Click to access Wolf_Report_20120503.pdf

    Since Wendy, of Wild Earth Guardians, has put together a readable and comprehensive study of the problem, including some magnificent photos, I hope you can add a referral on the site here.
    I’ve found the statistics and graphs by the National Agricultural Statistic Service to be useful important information for individuals and groups to present in defense of wolves. Their own presentation is less easily grasped quickly.

    Personally, looking at psychological aspects of the vilification and pleasure-killing of wolves and other carnivores, I can only come to generalized conclusion that the power of guns lends to absolute corruption of individuals in many cultures. Speaking with hunters, I have so far failed to find any insight into why they regard it as sport. A commonality is that they cognitively trace their practice to idealized relationship with a cultural past which they imagine and revere.

    My own insides twist and I lose heart on efforts for effective wolf protection due to seeing the recent support of MI senate for hunting and killing the few wolves on the Upper Peninsula, as well as the sudden increase in the same fever in Provincial governments in Canada. What this means to me is that the entire political and cultural frame imposed on this beautiful land and its innocent living beings, is gravely flawed.

    I must emphasize that ranching in the West could not exist until railroad building made it profitable. Ranchers are not truly rural people, but have been an intimately urban cultural phenomenon since their beginning.

    The psychology of hunting for sport is aberrant in other ways beside that which I’ve mentioned. Humans seek to establish social dominance through many ways, and gunners gain a peculiar hormonal benefit by killing. This is a problem of our species, which I won’t go into right here.

    Lately, I’m looking at what have been termed wolfers, in the Northern Plains, recently: these individuals made a living on bounties following the period when the buffalo (and pronghorn, and other ungulates) were killed in such masses that a temporary surge in plains wolf number resulted from the carrion left by shooters. That was all tied in with the “opening” of the Western Plains and valley areas for private enterprise. The wolfers migrated with the settling and ranching population, as the wolves had no longer their natural prey, and initially were forced to choose domestics. This way of thinking (and of making income) existed until about 1964, well within the lifetime of many present wolf-haters.

    It seems that the European culture brought with it to North America a fear, hatred, and invasive, “developmental” financial attitude toward what Dave Foreman has defined “self-willed” land.
    The people back East have almost no real wilderness, and their relationship with the Earth lacks the intimacy of those of us who were free to explore wild places, and grew to love every being, without judgment.

    I have recently lost heart to seek answers to change that failure of understanding, due to certain personal relationships with wolves; Yet I ask that no one gives up effort -.and, Nabeki, thank you for your work here


  10. This article was extremely useful for me when I was writing my essay on why wolves should not be hunted (which has yet to be published, due to me not having much time for editing it). I thank Dr. Mallonee very much for writing this peer-reviewed, scientific journal. Finally, some scientists are speaking out against this unscientific slaughter! Rest assured, I will be one of them once I’m out in the field, though I’ve already been doing this for almost 2 years now. I hope that the wildlife managers who support this hunt read Dr. Mallonee’s journal, and come to an understanding of why wolves should not be hunted!


  11. @Vsalukitiloreber I believe your comments are hypocritical. Elk and wolves have been surviving together for millenia, just as other species have been. Your bogus concern for elk is really about preserving elk for you to hunt. Ultimately killing off wolves will result in chaos within the system and far fewer ‘game’ for you to hunt. No animal should be hunted to extinction. That was not God’s plan and it shouldnt be yours either.


  12. Wow that was written extremely well and had really good information. I’ve done tons of research on wolves and the effects of them being hunted and this is by far one of the best papers ever done. Thank you for putting this info out there. I would love to show this to the idaho, montana, and wyoming wildlife services!


    • Jay is amazing and he knows his stuff. He’s called MT FWP out many times. Their way of dealing with his truths is to ignore him…which shows me they have no answers to anything he is challenging.

      For the wolves, For the wild ones,


  13. Here is another article which I feel applies to this thread. It’s a great view please watch !


  14. I see a number of comments thanking Dr. Mallonee for his work.
    In order to help you understand that he is an independent wolf biologist highly underfunded, who could do so much more with your help, I suggest you go to:
    Where he has only been able to raise about $225 this year.
    I gave what I could, and hope to give more soon, and I hope that you also can show your gratitude there.

    Because we, each and all, differ in our attitude toward wolves from the common Euroamerican $ uber alles exploit everything and kill everything not perceived to contribute to our social status gain through $, here is an article on some of the history and difficulties in understanding those who have moved into the rockies in this case, who are averse to the return of the Wolf:

    Human Culture and Large Carnivore Conservation in North America
    Stephen R. Kellert, Matthew Black, Colleen Reid Rush and Alistair J. Bath
    can be accessed at

    I note that what might be called relative ethics, is demonstrated in a supposedly pro-ungulate – elk, in this case – comment above.
    I believe that we can infer that the man pitying the elk above, probably has his gunsight on one or more this fall, himself reducing their population, even while he drives his huge gas-guzzling pickup out where he will not have to pack elk meat on his back.

    I would remind all, including the disingenouous, that massive numbers of humans with guns are the primary force of elk reduction on earth, and are extremely recent in their dispersal into North America.
    Did you know that elk once lived coast-to-coast, in large numbers in the habitat available, , much of which is now gone due to that invasion, and to the arrogation of land, nearly forever, insofar as we are concerned by cement, asphalt, buildings, roads.

    Since the domestic elk faction of the North American human population is extremely strongly organised, I hope that those who do NOT want to see the wasteful, tragic, and continual deaths of the Native wolf, also coalesce and create strong groups preventing this future.
    Never give up, and should you value this other wild being, do what you can to express your values.
    Most field biologists understand the tragic loss mounting every day, and Dr. Mallonee is certainly one of them.

    There are extremely few wolves in the Northern Rockies , far, far short -thousands short – of their ecological carrying capacity. It is up to YOU to help change the humaN SOCIAL CARRYING CAPACITY FOR WOLVES, BY SUPPORTING SOUND INFORMATION THROUGH SCIENTISTS INDEPENDENT OF “MANAGEMENT” AGENDAS OR MANDATES
    Excuse my caps lock slip – I don’t want to stop and retype.
    I wish you well.


  15. I first became aware of Mr. Mallonee’s work when I read his luminous book, Timber. What a portrayal of love and devotion. Thank you for speaking up for wolves. I have read all of your wolf research because of your book on Timber. So you see she is still with you.


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