Wolf Killing Time Upon Us Once Again

Echo NPS

Echo murdered by trophy hunter – 2015

Sadly it’s wolf killing time again in Montana and Idaho. They’ve suffered under the Obama admins. delisting since 2009. Thousands have died and continue to be murdered by trophy hunting thrill killers. Montana now allows individual ranchers or farmers to kill up to 100 wolves annually.

“Private landowners may kill up to 100 wolves a year they believe are threatening livestock, dogs or people under a new state law that doesn’t count toward Montana’s wolf-hunting season.”

The good news is Wyoming, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan wolves are once again protected under the ESA due to a ruling in December 2014 by “U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell.  Judge Howell stated their removal from the ESA was “arbitrary and capricious” and violated the federal Endangered Species Act.”

Federal judge: Great Lakes wolves return to endangered list

By John Flesher, Associated Press5:52 p.m. EST December 19, 2014

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — A federal judge on Friday threw out an Obama administration decision to remove the gray wolf population in the western Great Lakes region from the endangered species list — a decision that will ban further wolf hunting and trapping in three states.

The order affects wolves in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin, where the combined population is estimated at around 3,700. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service dropped federal protections from those wolves in 2012 and handed over management to the states.

U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell in Washington, D.C., ruled Friday the removal was “arbitrary and capricious” and violated the federal Endangered Species Act.

Unless overturned, her decision will block the states from scheduling additional hunting and trapping seasons for the predators. All three have had at least one hunting season since protections were lifted, while Minnesota and Wisconsin also have allowed trapping.

More than 1,500 Great Lakes wolves have been killed since federal protections were removed, said Jonathan Lovvorn, senior vice president of the Humane Society of the United States, which filed a lawsuit that prompted Howell’s ruling.

“We are pleased that the court has recognized that the basis for the delisting decision was flawed, and would stop wolf recovery in its tracks,” Lovvorn said.

“The science clearly shows that wolves are recovered in the Great Lakes region, and we believe the Great Lakes states have clearly demonstrated their ability to effectively manage their wolf populations,” Shire said. “This is a significant step backward.”

Wolf advocates applauded the ruling Friday.

“We filed the lawsuit to relist the Great Lakes population of wolves,” said Jill Fritz, coordinator of Michigan’s Humane Society of the United States. “It was based on the assertion that the Great Lakes states had proven they could not responsibly manage wolves when they were delisted in January 2012.”

Jodi Habush Sinykin, an attorney for Midwest Environmental Advocates, which supports science-based wildlife management, said the decision should serve as a clear signal of caution to people who would destroy the nation’s wolves.

Minnesota Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Landwehr said agency attorneys will study the ruling before determining its effect on state wolf policy.

“On face value we’re very surprised. We didn’t even know it was coming to a conclusion here,” Landwehr said. “It’s an unusual turn of events.”

Lansing State Journal reporter Louise Knott Ahern contributed to this report.


Click HERE to read the court’s decision!


USFWS wants to delist gray wolves across the lower 48, which would put all wolves in serious jeopardy. USFWS can’t protect wolves now, while they’re still listed, as Echo’s death  and many other gray wolves, who continue to be poached, affirms. The USFWS repeatedly allows trophy hunters to use the tired “I thought it was a coyote excuse ” when poaching endangered wolves. But that comes as no surprise.  Do you think the USFWS gives a damn about wolves or their protection?  They’re too busy looking out for  agribusiness interests, not wolves

So the never-ending battle for canis lupus continues. Montana and Idaho wolves are once again running for their lives.




Idaho – 4

Montana – 12

Wyoming (Protected ESA)

Wisconsin (Protected ESA)

Minnesota (Protected ESA)

Michigan ( Protected ESA)


Oregon – 2 (‘Sled Springs Pair’)

Utah – Echo

Illinois – 2

New Mexico – 1 Ernesta AF1126


North Carolina – 1 endangered red wolf shot by landowner


Photo: Echo – Courtesy NPS

Posted in: Wolf Wars, Montana wolves, Idaho wolves

Tags: ESA, gray wolf hunt, Montana, Idaho, Judge Howell, Echo, wolf persecution, wolf hunts, ‘Sled Springs Pair’, wolf poaching, thrill killing, Ernesta AF1126

1827 Dead Wolves -Northern Rockies/Great Lakes 2013/early 2014

gray wolf USFWS

Update: November 21, 2014

Putting this all together, adding the current 2014 wolf mortality numbers of 443, plus the 1827 wolves killed during 2013/early 2014, minus the 11 wolves who died of natural causes, adds up to 2256  wolves killed between January 2013 and November 21, 2014. They were wiped out by hunters, poachers, Wildlife Service control actions, ranchers and accidents. I believe the numbers are much higher than this. Many more wolves have been killed illegally and will never be counted, so we can only speculate on those numbers but I’m sure they’re not insignificant.

 In less than 23 months over 2200 wolves have been killed! This is an absolute outrage. Wolves cannot sustain these high mortality rates. Something must  be done to stop the carnage.

In the coming days I’ll be exploring a way in which wolf advocates may be able to challenge this slaughter. It’s been written about and discussed but hasn’t been tested.


November 20, 2014

My previous post dealt with the ongoing number of wolves killed in 2014. This post deals with total 2013/early 2014 wolf mortality in the Northern Rockies/Great Lakes.  It’s a huge number! A slaughter!  What’s behind this madness? It’s certainly not because wolves are harming humans or are a threat to the livestock industry.

From Wildearth Guardians:

Livestock Losses


Myth:  Wolves, coyotes, mountain lions, bears, and others kill lots of cattle.

Truth:  Less than a quarter of one percent, 0.23%, of the American cattle inventory was lost to native carnivores and dogs in 2010, according to a Department of Agriculture report.

The government’s own data show that the real killers of cattle are not a few endangered wolves or other wildlife – it’s illness and weather.  Yet, the predation myth has directly contributed to a federal, 100-year, paramilitary assault on millions of native carnivores.

The livestock predation myth is a big lie imposed on the American public. While lethal predator control does little to help the fat cats of agribusiness, it ensures that the USDA-Wildlife Services stays in business. While the feds assault millions of our native wolves, bears, cougars, and coyotes, the true cattle killers are illness and weather.  The Wildlife Services’ lethal predator control program must end, and the taxpayers, wildlife, and wildlands will reap the benefits.

Read the full report here

Wolves are being wiped out in record numbers, driven by a hate filled anti-wolf movement Their numbers are small but unfortunately for wolves, the haters dominate policy in wolf states. They also have powerful allies, like The Safari Club, The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Sportsman for Fish and Wildlife, Cattlemen’s Association, etc.  The profit motive is also driving the killing machine. State fish and game agencies win in two ways, a top predator is killed off to inflate ungulate numbers for their customers, the hunters and the state makes money off the sale of wolf hunt tags. Wolves are also the target of ranchers, Wildlife Services and poachers. Anywhere wolves turn,  they’re in danger. Even Yellowstone National Park wolves aren’t safe. Many collared park wolves have been shot by hunters when they step one toe outside the park. The most famous wolf in the world, the Lamar Canyon alpha female, better known as O6 (her birth year), was killed by a hunter’s bullet.

No wolf is safe in America.


Northern Rockies: 2013 Wolf mortality

Northern Rocky Mountain Wolf Recovery
Program 2013 Interagency Annual Report


Northern Rockies or NRM -2013 Wolf Mortality

In 2013,  922 wolves were killed in the Northern Rockies. This USFWS chart, shows the breakdown of  wolves mortality in each state. Hunting (Harvest), Control, Human (Poaching/Accidents), Natural Causes, Unknown.

Wolf Mortality Chart NRM 2013

Idaho – 335 wolves

Montana – 473 wolves

Wyoming – 109 wolves

Oregon – 3 wolves

Washington – 2 wolves


Total 2013 Northern Rockies:  922 dead wolves



Great Lakes -2013/early 2014 Wolf Mortality

Unlike the Northern Rockies, the Great Lakes states combine 2013/2014 wolf mortality  numbers.  In my previous post I did not include the 2013/2014 wolf hunt mortality numbers in that total.



2013/2014 Hunt 238 wolves (previous hunt in 2012 killed 413 wolves)

2013/2014 Control Actions 127 wolves killed (previous control actions in 2012 killed 295 wolves)

*No numbers for poaching, accidents or natural mortality

Total wolf mortality Minnesota 2013/2014: 365 wolves



Wolf hunt 2013/2014: 334 wolves

Control actions 2013/2014: 65 wolves

Total wolf mortality Wisconsin 2013/2014: 429 wolves



Wolf hunt 2013 : 23 wolves

Control actions: Since there’s no breakdown on the number of wolves killed in control actions between 2012-2013 I’m going to half the 73 control action numbers to 36 for 2013.

*No numbers for accidents, poaching or natural mortality.

 Total wolf mortality Michigan 2013: 109 wolves


Great Lakes/Total Wolf Mortality 2013/early 2014 – 903 wolves



March 2013, 1 radio collared female wolf, from Wisconsin, found dead


North Dakota

1 year old male wolf killed by a deer hunter -2013



Total wolf mortality Northern Rockies/Great Lakes – 2013/early 2014

1827 dead wolves!

whats waiting for wolves 1


Top photo: USFWS

Bottom Photo: Idaho Wild Wolf Images Copyright 2011

Posted in: gray wolf, Wolf Wars, Animal cruelty

Tags: Idaho, Montana, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois, North Dakota, Washington, Oregon, wolf hunts, wolf poaching, wolf persecution, wolf slaughter

No Justice For Journey’s Brother, OR9?

OR9’s mother B-300 (Sophie) and  one of OR9’s brothers (ODFW)

 Oregon wolf advocate, Taz Alago, had something to say about the way OR9’s death was handled:

“The picture of OR9, bloody and dead, is a punch to the stomach… unless you’re like his killer. Then the ugly picture is something to brag about.

For those following the troubled saga of the Imnaha Pack, the image of this dead wolf was something half-expected ever since he swam the Snake into Idaho, a dread fear come true.

Idaho is one of the worst states for predators, a hell-hole for anything but elk, deer, moose and cows. In Idaho you can kill wolves with huge leghold traps, neck snares, neck-breaking Conibear traps, arrows, guns, even

You can hunt coyotes and foxes from ultra-light aircraft. A bill is proposed to allow the same for wolves, with the added treat of allowing live bait for wolf trapping (dogs are mentioned).

OR9 was the brother of Journey (OR7), now famous for his long trek to California, first wolf there since 1924. His natal pack has produced some intrepid wolves, although now it’s diminished through dispersal and death, and it’s always under threat from the inexorable pressure of area ranchers to kill wolves for their depredations.

The way he holds OR9′s body shows his contempt for this wolf and I guess he feels the same about all predators – these vermin who challenge his “dominance.” Rifles and traps against flesh and blood.

There’s no way to adequately punish this killer because hunting wolves in Idaho is legal, but make no mistake this person was a poacher: his $11 wolf tag had expired. Idaho Fish & Game let him off with a warning but I think we should hold their feet to the fire and treat him the same as they would an elk poacher.

I think IDF&G shrugs off any action as long as it kills wolves.

So let’s all call Virgil Moore of the IDF&G at 208-334-3771 and tell him to prosecute OR9′s killer.

It’s the least we can do.”

Taz Alago, NE Oregonian


For my two cents, the excuse this person gave, for killing OR9 with an expired tag, was lame and didn’t hold much water.  There is something called “Ignorantia juris non “, which is Latin for  “Ignorance of the law is no excuse”.  What if this had been a 7 point bull elk instead of a wolf? Would he have gotten off with a warning? 

  Idaho’s governor, Butch Otter,  is making a joke out of this, so apparently the state isn’t taking Or9’s death seriously.

“Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter feels so bad about an Oregon gray wolf killed in Idaho that he has offered to repay his neighbors 150-fold.

In a tongue-in-cheek letter this week to Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber, Mr. Otter “apologized” for the loss of the wolf and said he would happily replace it with 150 wolves from Idaho, just to make things right.

“In an effort to be a good neighbor and help Oregon maintain and increase its wolf population for the preservation of the species in your state, I am offering to send you 150 wolves from Idaho,” said Mr. Otter, a Republican. “Idaho has more than a sufficient number, in fact many more than the federal government originally required we have, and can spare a few.”

Mr. Kitzhaber, a Democrat, hasn’t taken him up on his offer. Asked whether the Oregon governor had a response, spokesman Tim Raphael said, “No, we don’t.”

Idaho gives Oregon ‘apology,’ gets no snarling over wolf



Prosecute poacher for illegal killing of Oregon wolf OR-9



Male wolf OR-9 from Imnaha pack killed by Idaho hunter with expired tag

Published: Friday, February 10, 2012, 1:22 PM     Updated: Saturday, February 11, 2012, 10:40 AM



Photo: Courtesy ODFW

Posted in: Oregon wolves, Wolf Poaching, Wolf Wars

Tags: OR9, wolf poaching, Taz Alago, Oregon wolves, Imnaha pack , wolf dispersal, IDFG, Virgil Moore

Please Sign For Finnish Wolves…

Finland’s tiny wolf population is critically endangered. Poachers are further decimating wolf numbers.


Finland’s wolf population has collapsed.

The total number of wolves has fallen by more than a hundred compared with the peak years, and the Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute’s (RKTL) fresh report with regard to the number of wolf packs and couples occupying the country does not show any signs of recovery.

The wolf population seems to have decreased even from the estimate from last year.

The estimate with regard to the autumn’s wolf territories is based on wildlife observations and a questionnaire sent to game management districts.

Researcher Samuli Heikkinen from RKTL emphasises that the figures will become more precise and complete with the coming of snow-cover. That is when the wolf counting will commence in earnest.

But the trend is heading downwards.

Whereas in 2005 there were an estimated 250 wolves in Finland, there were only 150-160 individuals left at the end of last year.

In the mid-1980s there were a minimum of 300 wolves in the country.

Based on the latest observations, there are 14 wolf packs in Finland, which translates to between 150 and 185 individuals.

“The number is more or less the same as last autumn, but if the cubs are included the population has decreased to some extent”, Heikkinen explains.

The packs are approximately in the same areas as before, but from some areas they have vanished.

For example the packs that used to reside south of the city of Oulu have disappeared, as has the pack that used to live in the northern part of Satakunta Province.

“Even from the eastern province of Kainuu, where wolves are more commonly found, one pack seems to have vanished”, Heikkinen says as he examines his map.

“The situation for the wolf is lamentable. The population has diminished dramatically from the peak years”, maintains Sami Niemi, a senior official at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

When the management plan for the country’s wolf population was drawn up in 2005, the minimum number of packs for a sustainable situation was set at 25. At first the population did grow, and in 2007 as many as 37 packs were counted.

The latest population estimates show, however, that the management plan’s objectives have not been reached.

Presumably illegal hunting is to blame for the population collapse.

“The population was on the increase when the so-called population management shootings were commenced. The permissible hunting was dimensioned conservatively with respect to the growth rate of the wolf population. At the same time, however, the illegal hunting of wolves is suspected of having increased. Presumably, in some areas people’s tolerance limits were exceeded”, Niemi analyses.

Now the hunting of wolves has been curbed and permits are granted only in exceptional cases where the animals have caused extensive damage or where there is a so-called “troublemaker” individual in the area.

For the current hunting season 22 permits have been granted, primarily in the reindeer husbandry areas and in Eastern Finland.

Last year 37 permits were approved.



Help Finnish wolves. Please read and sign this petition.

It states:

“Sign the petition to save the wolves! We are collecting signatures until the spring of 2011. The signatures will be presented to the Finnish Minister of Agriculture and Forestry.”

Click here to sign.

*There have been problems reported with the petition. Some comments haven’t gone through. If it doesn’t work the first time, please try again.



Finnish Large Carnivore Research Project



Photo: Courtesy Ilpo Kojola

Posted in: Finnish wolves

Tags: Finnish wolves critically endangered, wolf poaching, Finland

Published in: on January 24, 2011 at 2:48 am  Comments (15)  
Tags: , ,

More Dead Wolves…

Does it ever end? I’d like to wake up someday and hear good news about wolves. That all the haters had a change of heart and realized wolves were a vital part of our ecosystem, just like our other apex predators. But alas that would take a miracle.


Two Wolves Shot in Northwest Montana; Reward Offered

U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials are looking for information about two wolves found dead in the Flathead National Forest.

By New West Staff, 11-16-10


From the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service:

On Nov. 6, 2010, two wild gray wolves were found dead in separate locations on the Flathead National Forest in northwestern Montana. One wolf was found dead along Coal Creek Road, while the body of the other dead wolf was recovered in the Miller Creek area. Both animals appeared to have died as a result of gunshot wounds.

Killing a wolf is a violation of the Endangered Species Act.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the agency responsible for enforcing the Endangered Species Act, is investigating the wolves’ deaths. There is a reward of up to $2,500 is for information leading to the identification and prosecution of the person or persons involved in the killing of these wolves. If you have information regarding this case, please contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Great Falls, Montana at 406-761-2286.



Wolf Warriors will be taking donations for a reward to catch these wolf killers. We will be posting the information on how to donate very soon.

For the wolves, For the wild ones,


This little Oregon Wenaha male wolf was shot dead soon after he was collared.

In Memory Of All The Wolves Killed For Nothing.

Photo: Courtesy Defenders of Wildlife

Posted in: Wolf Wars

Tags: wolf poaching, North Fork of the Flathead, USFWS, ESA, apex predators, reward

Published in: on November 17, 2010 at 11:19 pm  Comments (35)  
Tags: , , , , ,

Controversy Surrounds Wolves Poached In North Fork

Three wolves were poached in the North Fork of the Flathead recently but the quota of allowable hunted wolves was not changed in response to those illegal acts.  Montana FWP defended their non-action on the premise that wolves die from lots of things so they just worked the poached wolf numbers into general wolf mortality.  Sorry I’m not buying it.  Three wolves were illegally shot and the guy that shot two of them, Randy Houk from Columbia Falls, Mt,  got off with a fine.  He didn’t lose his hunting license, because supposedly he cooperated with authorities.  So what, give him a gold star and still take away his hunting license.  Altogether five wolves were lost in the North Fork.  Two to hunting and three to poaching.  Why not stronger poaching consequences?

There are two North Fork wolf packs that den in the relative safety of Glacier National Park, the Dutch Pack and Kintla Pack.  Before wolf hunting started these packs were safe to roam, as wolves have been doing in the North Fork for the last thirty years.  Unfortunately, like Yellowstone’s Cottonwood Pack, they don’t read signs and regularly cross back and forth across park boundaries.

Why are wolves being “managed” as replaceable units with the “wolf is a wolf is wolf” approach? The loss of alphas can destroy a pack, as we saw in the recent slaying of Yellowstone’s Cottonwood alphas.  Defenders of Wildlife spoke out on this issue stating poached wolves should be counted in the quota. 

In the meantime wolf hunting marches on with 98 dead wolves in Idaho and 64 + 3 poached wolves in Montana.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Categories posted in: Glacier National Park, Montana wolf hunt, North Fork,

Tags: wolf poaching, Montana wolf hunt, gray wolf

Wolf Hunts…..Ignoring the Science?

soda butte yellowstone national park

Wolf photo by SigmaEye on Flickr

The drama wages on, it’s Wolf Wars, Part Two.  We exterminated them in the West once, is this the sequel?

Three wolves were poached in the North Fork of the Flathead in Montana, close to Glacier National Park.  Everyone was expecting the quota numbers to be adjusted downward but they would be wrong because you see it’s all about the numbers.  Wildlife “managers” like Sime states Montana researchers have tracked wolves for a long time and know what they’re doing.  They have mathematical models they’re following about how many wolves we can afford to lose. Apparently, according to FWP, 5 to 8 percent of Montana’s wolves are killed by humans each year, so these poached wolves are just added to that percentage.

Disposable?  Convenient huh??


“On average, Sime said, people kill between

5 percent and 8 percent of Montana’s wolf population each year. Armed with that data, and with total wolf numbers – births, deaths, dispersals, arrivals – wildlife managers used computer models to “create a range of scenarios” that simulated the state’s first-ever fair chase wolf hunt.

At one end of the modeling spectrum was a quota of about 200, and at the other was no hunt at all. They landed, finally, somewhere in the middle – a statewide hunting quota of 75. That’s about 15 percent of the state’s estimated 550 wolves.

The two wolves poached by the Columbia Falls man, as well as another poached in the same general area, had already been accounted for in Montana’s “biologically conservative” system, Sime said.”


That really makes me feel confident. Apparently the “wolf managers” are so busy calculating numbers of dead wolves they might be missing out on the research that does not support the hunts as a way to “manage” them.

It turns out, older wolves are not great hunters.  Apparently wolf hunting skills peak at age two to three,  by age four, wolves are considered old.


“Shortly after gray wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in 1995, Daniel MacNulty was puzzled by something. The breeding pair in one of the packs frequently stopped during their elk hunts to rest. “They sat on the sidelines while their offspring did the work,” says MacNulty, an ecologist from Michigan Technological University in Houghton. “After their kids made the kill, they would amble up to feed.”Laziness? Not at all. The two were almost 5 years old, which MacNulty has learned is fairly old age for wolves. His new study is one of the first to look at the effects of aging in predators, and it raises questions about current methods of controlling wolf populations.

alpha female yellowstones hayden valley pack SigmaEye

(Alpha Female Yellowstone Hayden Pack: Photo Sigma Eye Flicker)

Nulty has followed 94 radio-collared wolves in Yellowstone for 13 years, closely monitoring their hunts for two 30-day periods during each of those years. His research on these individual canids shows that wolves age rapidly. Indeed, by age 2 they’re in their hunting prime, drawing on youthful endurance and sudden bursts of speed to take down elk. But just as quickly, they lose that talent, MacNulty’s team reports online in Ecology Letters. “Wolves are old when they’re 4,” he says. The median life span for wolves in Yellowstone is 6 years, although some have lived as long as 10. Those older wolves manage to survive because the younger ones in their pack pick up the slack, killing elk and letting all the pack members feed. Older wolves are also heftier and may come in at the end of a hunt to use their weight to help pull down the elk, says MacNulty.

As one might expect, aging predators are good news for prey. The wolves’ kill rate on elk in Yellowstone declined significantly as the number of geriatric hunters in the wolf population increased. And that could have cascading effects on the ecosystem. For instance, elk may linger and browse on woody plants when elderly wolves are around. More browsing could slow the recovery of willows and aspen trees, which have come back since the wolves’ reintroduction.”


So it seems the indiscriminate hunting  going on will have the opposite effect of what “wolf managers” are aiming  for,  pun intended.  With the killing of older wolves and alphas and disruption and chaos in packs, younger and younger wolves will be filling the gaps, increasing the chances of livestock depredation.

The whole livestock issue is just another reason to kill wolves, I’m seriously tired of hearing about cows.  It’s not as if these animals are rancher’s beloved pets.  They’re raised to be eaten and suffer a cruel death when sent to slaughter.   Ranchers are also reimbursed by the feds and Defenders of Wildlife for every confirmed wolf kill.  But wolves kill such a small percentage of livestock,  yet all we hear about is wolf predation, when it’s weather, calving and disease that are responsible for over 90% of cattle losses. As for predators, coyotes kill 20 times more cattle then wolves and DOMESTIC DOGS kill FIVE TIMES  more cattle then wolves.  But of course those numbers fall on deaf ears because when it comes to the wolf, facts don’t seem to matter.

The killing of Yellowstone’s Cottonwood alpha’s, at the beginning of Montana’s hunt, was the result of poor planning, IMO.  How can you not know hunters were going to line up at the park boundaries, waiting for Yellowstone’s wolves to cross over, which they routinely do, since they can’t read signs.  Because of that, Yellowstone lost collared wolves,  that were part of ongoing research, especially the Cottonwood alpha female, wolf 527F.

yellowstones 527

(Wolf 527F while tranquilized, before her death)


“Wolf 527 and her daughter, 716, originated from two of the best-known packs in Yellowstone’s Lamar Valley, the scene of numerous documentaries. For years, the movements of the Lamar packs have been monitored by biologists equipped with radio tracking devices and powerful spotting telescopes.

“They sold this wolf hunt in Montana and Idaho as controlling the predation on cattle and what-not. Well, these wolves aren’t touching cattle. They’re feeding on elk. They’re doing what they’re supposed to do,” said Tom Murphy, a wildlife photographer who has been documenting the Yellowstone wolves.

“This is the home ground of all of them, the nursery, the definition of what a healthy ecosystem looks like,” he said. “And it drives me crazy that (hunters are) standing on the boundary of the park … and killing the ones with radio collars, that people watch every day.”

The demise of 716, often known as Dark Female, was reported Sept. 29 in a blog posting…….. Five days later, she followed up with another item, this time about 527.”


“The loss of 527F leaves a hole in research that had been under way at the University of Minnesota and elsewhere, said Daniel MacNulty, a U of M research associate.

“The gold standard in studies of animals in the wild is being able to repeatedly measure the same individual over time,” MacNulty said.
Knock out one or more of those individuals from a study, and years of work documenting behavior from reproduction to hunting success also is lost..
The re-introduction of wolves in Yellowstone in 1995 provided an unprecedented opportunity for such studies. Relatively large numbers of wolves could live there through natural life spans that weren’t disrupted by hunting and other outside pressures.”
Cutting edge wolf research is at odds with the approach  of  “managing” wolves by  hunting them.
“Members of the commission and state wildlife managers have acknowledged a mistake in the decision to open early season hunting next to Yellowstone,”…….
The Yellowstone wolf project, partially funded by a $480,000, five-year National Science Foundation grant, isn’t the only study adversely affected by the hunting, Science says. The slaughter of the Yellowstone wolves also is a blow to a host of studies into elk management, ecology and other subjects.
Big bad wolves? Not the old ones
A study MacNulty and his colleagues at the U of M have just completed is an example of the kind of research Science says could be jeopardized. The research team is from the College of Biological Sciences’ Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior at the university. MacNulty also is connected with Michigan Technological University in Houghton where scientists study wolves on Isle Royale National Park.
 “It is well known that wolves prey on elk. This is one of the first field studies to gauge whether age of the wolves makes any difference. The researchers spent more than 13 years following 527F and dozens of other radio-collared wolves, observing their hunts from airplanes and taking various measures of their physical abilities.
Their findings in a nutshell: Wild wolves — like great human sprinters, NBA stars and competitive swimmers — need to score while they are young, because they peak early.
“By age one, they are quite effective hunters,” MacNulty said. “Wolves don’t live very long so there is a lot of pressure from an evolutionary standpoint to quickly develop an ability to hunt in order to feed themselves and their offspring.”
Unlike mountain lions — with their short snouts, powerful muscles and retractable claws — wolves need speed to bring down their prey.
“They lack physical characteristics to kill prey swiftly, so they rely on athletic ability and endurance, which diminishes with age,” MacNulty said. “They’re like 100-meter sprinters. They need to be in top condition to perform.”
Although most wolves in Yellowstone live for about six years, their killing ability peaks when they are two to three years old, the U of M team found. After that, they rely on younger wolves to share their kills.
In other words, the higher the proportion of wolves older than three, the lower the rate at which they kill elk.

So why were these wolves killed?  Supposedly the hunts are all about teaching the big, bad wolves a lesson about preying on cattle but what was 527F doing?  She was standing a mile outside the park boundaries in the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness. Facing her killer, I’m sure she had no idea she was about to be shot to death.  She had survived so much in her seven years. She was a “good” wolf, who was very reclusive, hard to find.  She was minding her own business. Yet she’s dead along with her mate and daughter, wolf 716, essentially decimating the Cottonwood Pack.  For what?  So someone could get a cheap thrill killing a wolf?  Or we could read more stories about guys chasing wolves on ATV’s and blowing them away with Remington 300 rifles?

Yellowstone Hayden Valley Pack Member
Even though research points to leaving wolves alone to live out their lives,  letting nature balance itself, it seems the people running this “dog and pony show” are going in the opposite direction.
“Most managers who want to boost numbers of elk and deer think all you need to do is kill wolves,” ecologist Christopher Wilmers of the University of California, Santa Cruz told ScienceNOW. “But this study shows you’re probably increasing your problem, since you’ll end up with younger wolves that kill more prey.”

That’s because when a pack vanishes or is weakened and loses its territory, he says, younger wolves often move in.

“You’re better off leaving the wolves alone,” Wilmers said.


Contrary to all the good science, which concludes  indiscriminate  killing of wolves, with no regard to age or status in the pack, is a mistake, we are still marching forward with these misguided hunts.

The question has to be asked, what are the hunts really all about?

Wolves are not the problem, people are the problem. It’s the human self righteous attitude, that we alone are soverign over this earth, that we have the right to destroy anything that gets in our way.  That is the problem.

The intolerance and arrogance are astounding.  I’m sorry if I’m not interested in mathematical models concerning killing wolves. Is anyone in “wolf management” thinking about pack structure, the loss of alpha’s, the loss of pups or the killing off of older wolves?  Where is this dialog among people coordinating the hunts?  All I hear from the “managers’  is numbers, numbers, numbers. They pronounce  it won’t make any difference, that the NUMBERS are insignificant.  I”m wondering insignificant to who?  Certainly not to me and other wolf supporters.  We view these hunts with heavy hearts.

“Biologically, [the loss] has no impact, since wolf packs turn over all the time,” Edward Bangs, wolf recovery coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Helena told Science. “It doesn’t make any difference to wolf conservation or wolf research.”


It all seems to be taken so lightly, what’s a few hundred wolves, give or take a few? It’s as if wolves have no social structure or life at all.  That if you kill one wolf another will automatically take it’s place,  Ignoring the intricate bonds that hold wolf packs together. Ignoring Yellowstone wolves had a 27% decline  in 2008.  Ignoring the fact the Druid Peak pack lost all their eight pups. Ignoring the fact  the Druids and other Yellowstone packs are plagued with mange. Yes, individual wolves matter!  Wolves are not indestructable.  They’re not as adaptable, as say coyotes.

I hope the NRDC and Defenders of Wildlife make a big impression with their wolf ads in Times Square and the New York Times, to let people back in Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Virginia, South Carolina and the rest of America know they’re out here in the West killing wolves AGAIN. in the name of ranching and hunting interests.   Maybe then other voices will be heard, ones that don’t have a vested interest in dead wolves. That think having wild wolves inhabiting their Western home range is something to cheer about.  People that see the wolf as an Icon of the West representing  freedoms we’re quickly losing, not a pest to be eradicated.  Then,  just possibly, the guns will be silenced!!


Ageing wolves ‘lose their bite’


Categories posted in: Montana wolf hunts, wolf wars, Glacier National Park, Yellowstone wolves

Tags: wolf poaching, Montana wolf hunt, wolves in the crossfire,  Yellowstone wolves

%d bloggers like this: