In this post from his blog, From the Wild Side, long-time backcountry hunter and western outdoor writer David Stalling strongly criticizes recent state-sponsored wolf-killing programs in Idaho.

“We reached the old wolf in time to watch a fierce green fire dying in her eyes. I realized then and have known ever since that there was something new to me in those eyes, something known only to her and to the mountain. I was young then and full of trigger-itch; I thought that because fewer wolves meant more deer, that no wolves would mean hunters’ paradise. But after seeing the green fire die, I sensed that neither the wolf nor the mountain agreed with such a view.” — Aldo Leopold, 1949

We Americans, in most states at least, have not yet experienced a bear-less, eagle-less, cat- less, wolf-less woods. Germany strove for maximum yields of both timber and game and got neither.”  — Aldo Leopold, 1935

“A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.”– Aldo Leopold, 1949

2014: Idaho Fish and Game recently hired a bounty hunter to try and eliminate two packs of wolves in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, one of the largest wilderness areas in the United States. Idaho hunters have organized wolf-killing competitions and killer co-ops to pay trappers to kill wolves. The state legislature and governor declared wolves a “disaster emergency” and have allocated $2 million to killing wolves. More recently the department conducted secretive aerial shootings of wolves from helicopters with no public knowledge or input and spent $30,000 to kill 23 wolves. Idaho Fish and Game is doing this and more in an ongoing effort to appease many ranchers and hunters to protect livestock and maintain artificially high and unhealthy numbers of elk for hunters to shoot at.

One of the cornerstones of our “North American Model of Wildlife Conservation” — which hunters and hunting-based organizations love to tout and claim to support — is that wildlife, all wildlife, be managed based on good, sound science.  That good, sound science shows that the return of wolves to much of the western United States has resulted in significant overall, long-term benefits to wildlife and the habitat that sustains them — including the species we love to hunt. (Check out: “How Wolves Change Rivers.”)

Credit USFWS
Credit USFWS

Elk populations are increasing in most of the West. In Idaho, the fish and game department is expanding elk hunting to reduce elk populations while simultaneously killing wolves under the guise of protecting and boosting elk numbers. Where elk populations do appear on the decline there are plenty of factors to consider in addition to wolves: Changes in habitat; the previous existence of artificially high elk populations at levels beyond the viable carrying capacity of the land; lack of mature bulls and low bull-to-cow ratios in herds (often resulting from early season hunting and too much hunting pressure on bull elk) which influences the timing of the rut and breeding behavior, the timing of spring calving, and often results in increased vulnerability of elk calves to predation; influence of other predators including mountain lions, black bears and grizzlies; unanticipated impacts of various hunting regulations and hunting pressure, and changes in behavior and habitat use by elk in the presence of wolves. And more.

Where I hunt, the growing presence of wolves has changed the behavior and habits of elk. Elk bunch up more for safety, and move around more to evade and avoid wolves. They are a lot more wary. I have adapted and adjusted to these changes and have no problem finding elk.This is part of the beauty and value of hunting within wilderness — to adjust, adapt and be part of the landscape; to be, as my friend David Petersen put its, part of the “bedrock workings of nature.”  We render the wilds a diminished abstract when we alter it to suit our own needs and desires and, in the process, make it less healthy and whole. There are those who espouse the virtues of backcountry hunting and yet seem apathetic or supportive towards the destruction of backcountry integrity. Those who understand the wilds know how critically important predators are to the health of the land; to remain silent about the nonscientific, politically-based killing of wolves in the wildest of places is to be complacent towards the degradation of what we claim to cherish.Yet hunters, in general, hate and blame wolves for pretty near anything and everything including their own lack of skill, knowledge and effort in hunting elk. Science is shunned and ignored. David Allen, the executive director of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation,  a national hunter-based conservation organization, claims wolves are “decimating” elk herds and calls wolves the “worst ecological disaster since the decimation of bison” despite research funded by the organization that shows otherwise. Most of what many hunters claim to know and understand about wolves and wolf and elk interactions is based on myths, lies and half-truths; they rapidly and angrily dismiss logic, facts and science as coming from “anti-hunters,” “wolf-lovers” and “tree-huggers” from “back East.” Most hunter-based conservation organizations and state agencies avoid the topic for fear of being pegged “one of them.” Many actually help perpetuate the lies and half-truths to boost and maintain membership. Some try to come across as reasonable by stating that they think wolves should be managed just like other wildlife, such as elk.

Credit NPS
Credit NPS

But wolves are not elk; being a top predator they have altogether different, and self-regulating, reproductive and survival behaviors and strategies. “Other” wildlife, such as elk,  are managed based on science — based on what we know about behavior, ecology, breeding behavior, habitat use and selection and other factors. Wolves are being managed purely based on politics driven by ignorance and hate.  Many hunters and others in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho long advocated for the delisting of wolves from the Endangered Species Act and turning management over to the states. It happened. And now these states — particularly Idaho — are doing what they can to kill as many wolves as possible, science be damned.

Idaho is proving over and over that their state cannot handle the scientific, sustainable management of wolves. No public agency should have the power to decide such things as Idaho Fish and Game is doing with so little public accountability and oversight. They are acting on behalf of a small, but politically-influential segment of our population based on pure politics, lies, myths, misconceptions and half truths about wolves and ignoring what we do know about wolf biology, ecology, behavior and interactions with and impacts to elk.

Credit NPS
Credit NPS

As an avid and passionate hunter in Montana (who has killed and eaten 26 elk over the years) I am absolutely disgusted that no hunter-based conservation organization — most of which claim to support and defend sound, science-based management of wildlife — are speaking out against this slaughter which is a clear violation of the North American model of wildlife management these organizations claim to uphold. At best, many hunters and hunting-based organizations are remaining silent for fear of being ostracized; at worst, most hunters and hunting organizations are supporting this. More and more I feel like an anti-hunter who hunts. It’s embarrassing, appalling and outrageous.

Even groups I support and respect, including Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and National Wildlife Federation are ignoring and avoiding this clear violation of science-based wildlife management and our North American Model of Wildlife Conservation they claim to uphold and defend — I can only assume as to not upset their membership base. As Aldo Leopold so aptly put it more than 50 years ago: “The sportsman has no leaders to tell him what is wrong. The sporting press no longer represents sport; it has turned billboard for the gadgeteer. Wildlife administrators are too busy producing something to shoot at to worry much about the cultural value of the shooting.”

I am growing increasingly disgusted and angry towards my so-called fellow hunters, and most hunter-based organizations, for continually talking “Aldo Leopold” and the “North American Model” out of one side of their mouths while ignoring or even supporting this sort of political, nonscientific “management” of a critical keystone, umbrella wildlife species that plays a critical role in shaping, maintaining and influencing healthy wildlife and wildlife habitat for all species — including the species we love to hunt and the habitat that sustains them.

This is one of the flaws of our current and mostly good system of wildlife management in which states generally have full authority over managing their wildlife. State fish and game departments, such as Idaho Fish and Game, are overseen and controlled by state politicians and game commissioners (who are often ranchers and hunters) appointed by politicians — and the hunting and ranching industries have more influence over state decisions than others. Aldo Leopold, widely considered the “father” of modern wildlife management, warned against such things more than 50 years ago. A recent report about the flaws of the North American Model summed it up this way: “The scientists also express concern that the interests of recreational hunters sometimes conflict with conservation principles. For example, they say, wildlife management conducted in the interest of hunters can lead to an overabundance of animals that people like to hunt, such as deer, and the extermination of predators that also provide a vital balance to the ecosystem.”

It needs to change.

More than half a century ago Leopold wrote: “I personally believed, at least in 1914 when predator control began, that there could not be too much horned game, and that the extirpation of predators was a reasonable price to pay for better big game hunting. Some of us have learned since the tragic error of such a view, and acknowledged our mistake.”

We still haven’t caught up to Leopold.

If we hunters truly believe in sound, science-based wildlife management, the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation, and the ideas and principles preached and promoted by the likes of Aldo Leopold, then it is time to speak up.

You can read more of David’s writings at his blog, From the Wild Side.

Stay Informed!

66 comments on “Killing Wolves: A Hunter-Led War Against Science and Wildlife

    1. Get out and see for yourself. Not just rhetoric from those who profit from suing the government. I could care less about seeing a wolf, that should not be there in the first place, but I do enjoy elk and moose. Or should I say I used to. Look at the figures of what happened to Yellowstone elk and moose. Then take several thousand of your yearly income, and burn it. Then watch your little dog torn to pieces in your yard. And since I know you do not own any livestock, see what happens to something you really love with its guts dragging on the ground. Then you may understand what you pathetically support. But I doubt it.

      1. “but I do enjoy elk and moose.”

        You think that moose isn’t going to stomp your dog to death like you would that flaming paper bag on your doorstep? POOPSHOES.

        “see what happens to something you really love with its guts dragging on the ground”

        I’m sorry about your girlfriends pomski, truly. But I hate to inform you that your emotions are driving your thought processes. You should work on that. MISLEADING VIVIDNESS

        And are you honestly trying to form an argument against canus lupus by attempting to trigger our emotional attachments to canus lupus familiaris? Most people are here because they love not just dogs but…LIFE. Did you know that your girlfriend’s shredded pomski evolved from that vermin that put a small dent in your wallet? You better build a fence, ASAP, or M13 rapists wolves are going to come and gut your herd. BUILDTHEWALL

        “Then you may understand what you pathetically support”

        You are so very badass. MAKEAMERIKKKABADASSAGAIN

        1. Go vote for Biden and keep your mouth shut stupid. Your childish attack on those who know first hand what is really happening to wildlife might get someone who is killing wolves to kill twice as many as we paid them for! DA of the day: you are the winner.

      2. “but I do enjoy elk and moose.”

        You think that moose isn’t going to stomp your dog to death like you would that flaming paper bag on your doorstep? POOPSHOES.

        “see what happens to something you really love with its guts dragging on the ground”

        I’m sorry about your girlfriends pomski, truly. But I hate to inform you that your emotions are driving your thought processes. You should work on that. MISLEADING VIVIDNESS

        And are you honestly trying to form an argument against canus lupus by attempting to trigger our emotional attachments to canus lupus familiaris? Most people are here because they love not just dogs but…LIFE. Did you know that your girlfriend’s shredded pomski evolved from that vermin that put a small dent in your wallet? You better build a fence, ASAP, or M13 rapists wolves are going to come and gut your herd. BUILDTHEWALL

        “Then you may understand what you pathetically support”

        You are so very badass. MAKEAMERIKKKABADASSAGAIN

      3. I you are growing life stock don’t be surprised when something else besides you wants to eat it. That is no excuse to go on a rampage for a wolf doing what is natural to it and mass murdering all wolves.

      4. Cry wolf, maybe you should build a wall and take your dog inside your house asshole. Wolves deserve a right to exist just like everyone else. You raise your cattle just to kill them and were suppose to feel sorry for you. Your just a blood thirty murderer.

    2. Yes we must save these wolves.they help with over population.they help us in great ways.without them food chains will crumble into dust

  1. I hope that Stalling’s well-reasoned, urgent and heartfelt message will be read, appreciated and acted upon by the individuals and agencies whose job is it to concern themselves with the well-being of our wild places.

  2. Humans are such a disappointing species! We rape this planet, kill its life forms without regard and never learn from history. This sick and depraved state of Idaho is a shining example of everything that is wrong with humanity. The entire population of that state combined still would not add up to a triple digit IQ so its no surprise that the real science of this issue is way above their collective heads! This toilet of a state is why the Wolf must be kept on the ESA list and those found killing wolves illegally need to face federal felony charges.

    that walking pile of excrement that calls himself governor is a sociopathic moron unfit to govern a cat box, let alone a state. I live in Washington state and have totally boycotted Idaho and have urged my friends and family to do likewise. When enough right thinking Americans with morals cut off all economic support of that disgusting state, maybe legislative change will begin. Do not give Idaho any tourism, boycott their goods and totally sanction them economically!

    wolves, cougars, bears and other targeted creatures have more right and serve more purpose than any human living in Idaho!

    1. I live in Idaho and fight for the wolves the best I can. Some of these people here are so misguided and truly believe wolves are vermin. The first year wolves were delisted there were 25,868 tags sold to kill wolves here in Idaho. Otter was the first to buy a tag. He leads this to keep popular among ranchers and hunting outfitters. People have complained because Otter would much rather spend so much money to kill wolves than put money into our schools. Some people don’t say much about protecting wolves because they are worried about retaliation from hunters and ranchers. These hunters get really violent on the conversation. Been there and done that with these wolf haters. These people lack so much empathy when it comes to all predators not just wolves. This includes hawks, eagles, coyotes, badgers, and Otter just approved 100,000 dollars to kill 4000 ravens because they are classified as predators and they eat the eggs of sage grouse. Hunters claim it’s the ravens fault that there are less sage grouse. So they will poison them, then this will in return poison many other species of wildlife.These people don’t understand the necessity of predators. As far as elk, only certain areas is their population low and it is not caused by wolves, people over hunt and take the best and leave the sick to re-breed and make more sick, so their numbers drop. And lets not forget the overgrazing cows do on wild lands, that should be for wildlife only. Lazy ranchers who don’t want to do it the right way. They have no clue on how to manage any wildlife here, so I so truly agree with you on their stupidity. I fight on a daily basis for the wolves here in Idaho, and yes I do get a lot of flack for it, but I believe in what is actually right. They are so wrong in their mind sets. Nature is nature and humans need to stop trying to control what is allowed to live in it, this is what will destroy our world. When you destroy nature you are essentially destroying all forms of life. Eventually it will show.

    2. Humans kill wolves and for what, games? These hunters said they want to kill wolves because these wolves are vicious and kill other animals for fun, aren’t we the same!? They hunt for survivals, they avoid human’s appearance and some whose called themselves humans still want to find and hunt wolves? Creating hunting games on the name of protecting the wildlife? Humans have came too far and they’ll regret of their actions someday!

    3. Please do boycot Idaho! You Washingtonian pukes are nothing but a leach on the ass of Idaho. Stay the hell at home and mind your own business and try fixing that Libtard state you call home.

      1. Idaho sounds like is full of shits like you. And I would want to not get involve but shits like you ruin the world and everything in it.

    4. So so so true I really agree we should some how bring the wolves somewhere where they would be safe like yellow stone but at least less of the wolves will be killed

  3. Good morning,sorry but i’m french and i don’t speak very well the english! Lol,but i want to say,we MUST save the wolfs!!!! VERY IMPORTANT!!!!! Beautiful and the
    y are wonderful and marvelous!!! THANKS

    1. Just like the eco terrorists that brought them back in, you don’t have to live with them. If you and all like yourself would take that into consideration, you would hate the disease riddled vermin as much as those that DO have to deal with them. Watching wildlife herds it took years to build be decimated, to have to get up in the morning and see a calf, sheep, lamb, pet dog, horse, or a pasture littered with dead animals of any kind, is a horror I wish upon you. Live with the devastation or shut up.

        1. One of the larger “ecologists” lies. Ranchers are compensated for only a very few of the losses, and then not true value. You get tired of feeding tree huggers pets.

          1. wolves are beautiful creatures and have their place in this land just like you. You are growing large numbers of life stock and want to complain about an wolf doing something natural to them. Doesn’t give you the right to go on a rampage against them

    2. You’re French! Worry about French shit! Those of us dealing with wolves are tired of them and the liberal dipshits backing them! The worst mistake F&G has ever bent over for! Gut shoot them wolves so you don’t have to waste a tag!

  4. Thank you both for your courage and integrity to speak out against this tragedy unfolding in Idaho. I hope that your leadership will inspire others like you to reject the persecution of wolves here. I’ve spent the last 26 years working to restore wolves here and, in the early days, Idaho hunters supported the restoration of wolves because they largely understood and valued the role that wolves fill in culling disease and weak animals from our wild ungulate herds. Having a weapon and a hunting permit does not make someone a true hunter. To me, the wolf is a true hunter and doesn’t need an ATV, high powered rifle, and GPS to prove it. And killing off 60 percent of our wolves in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness is a flagrant abandonment of any ethical wildlife management principles. Elk are not cattle and should never be treated the same way.

    1. How much time have you spent in the Frank Church? There are 10 times the targeted number of wolves that the reintroduction program called for. You have watched too much National Geographic because wolves are indiscriminent killers that kill for the thrill of killing.

    2. Ha ha frank church with 4 wheelers. Lady you can’t handle the church. Floating down a river means nothing trying hiking big creek and being surrounded by wolfs every night traveling alone to fish. You people make me laugh you don’t fly in to loon or make the effort to understand what the real church is

    3. So we can blame you in a profound part of the destruction of the wilderness elk herds? It’s amazing how narrow a thought process can become once you watch a Disney movie!

  5. Thank you for this brave and insightful article. The way we treat wolves reflects the way we treat the natural world. If we cannot treat the wild wolf with respect, we cannot treat the wilderness with respect.

  6. David, thank you for this well written and comprehensive post. Hopefully, those individuals and groups responsible for wolf management will listen. The people of the nation have clearly let our state and federal representatives know that it’s not time to delist wolves. They clearly still need federal protection.

  7. Unfortunately, the Az Legislature is taking up the stupidity of Idaho and trying to kill of our highly endangered Mexican Wolves of which there are only about 35 in this whole freaking state. Its disgusting what money will buy.

  8. I have always believed that hunting is a privilege, and a badge of honor earned. The hunter must have the upmost respect for the wilderness, the animal being hunted, and the animal just being viewed. Hunters should be eyes and the ears of the forest along with other outdoor enthusiast who can report back what is happening instead of force what they want to happen. We are all only visitors and should not change natures balance to encourage a need of one animal over another. David has truly earned his badge. I hope that someday these other hunting groups that David has mentioned will be brave enough to have a voice to right this wrong.

  9. Only us and could cause the destruction and extermination of animal species. We should be conserving all life big or small and their habitats have an impact on our planet.

  10. As a former hunter and current avid fisherman, I fully support the insight shown by David Stallings. When you’ve spent many weeks in the outdoors, as I have, you begin to realize that all creatures have their place, and are there for a purpose. Beyond that, as I get older, I realize that we humans are part of a grand system that is both beautiful and balanced. Idaho has lost its way, and is being driven by people who simply don’t understand, both the beautiful place they live in, and the important role wolves play in their state. Hunters generally are good people, but they lose sight of the balance between prey and predator, and support policies that will ultimately cause them credibility loss. Hunters need to realize they, too, are predators, and they need to be more willing to let other predators exist along with them. If they don’t, society will stop them from doing what they love. The end of ungulate hunting might be a positive step for wildlife.

    1. If more ethical hunters would step up and we could save the coyotes here in Georgia unfortunately they stand with each and will not speak against the killing contests here.

  11. Anyone who lives in a state with wolves knows the truth about the devastation that the overpopulation of wolves has brought to our neighborhoods. The Frank Church Wilderness is destroyed, wolves are killing everything and 80% of them have Hydatid disease. If you don’t live here how can you judge this disaster? This is not a Disney movie …I am not a hunter, but I will not accept wolves threatening my family, horses and dogs lives….

    1. I think it’s a shame that people haven’t evolved enough to know that all this killing of OUR wildlife has been fruitless and devastating. If only people would educate themselves and stop believing what ignorance they have come to know through whatever or whomever keeps telling lies about the natural world.

    2. Lori, I live in a state where wolves were repopulated due to their endangered status. Now Wisconsin has what should be a healthy wolf population. Sadly, what i see here and in many other states is the purposeful encouragement of wolf growth so that hunting could resume. Over 100 years ago we hunted the North American wolf population to near extinction and now we have successfully re-introduced the wolf for the purpose of killing them again. Time and again research has proven wolves are not mindless killers and, in fact, provide a significant ecological balance to nature. Wake up and see the beauty of nature as something we must steward and live in balance with.

    3. Lori-
      It is humans that are overpopulated – 7 billion and counting. We are encroaching on Wolves’ as well as other animals’ habitats. We as a species need to learn to live with them. It is laughable that you think a few thousand is overpopulated. What is next, are we going to start building floating cities in the future and start killing more sharks than we already are?

  12. @Lori from Idaho, do you know that Hydatid is not a disease but a tape worm infestation. For the tape worm to mature it needs to go thru a canine be it wolf coyote or dog then thru a ruminate. The only way you will get this zoonotic infestation is if you handle or eat shit. … so make sure you wash your hands and consult with your vet if your dog in contact with feces or carcass so you can have a good deworming program. Additionally since I haven’t heard of wolves rampaging neighborhoods I am pretty sure they’re not running down your street. And last but not least when has Disney ever shown wolves in a good light… Watch Beauty and the Beast and more recently Frozen.

  13. Lori, it is sad that you feel that way. If you looked at the hard science there is no evidence of wolves destroying anything. That is the exact kind of thinking that is being discussed in this article. There are many people that live in wolf zones that speak up for wolves, and speak up for the science that should be behind their management. Wolves are not overpopulated. There are under a few thousand wolves in the entire western region, and when you compare their numbers to other predator numbers it doesnt even come close. I would encourage anyone that is doubtful to do the research and find out what science is saying.

  14. We the humane, the caring, the compassionate must continue to sign petitions, write letters and send emails to our legislators, and demonstrate peacefully to speak out for the animals, the ocean, the forests, and our beautiful Earth! We need to talk to our family and friends to increase our numbers. It is our responsibility because we see and cannot ignore what is happening around us.

  15. Although I am completely against any kind of hunting I agree with what David says in this article. Somehow “hunters” have lost their way, become completely disconnected from what they say they cherish – the earth, the outdoors – and we must ask why. Is it a changing psychological make up of the human being as we know it? Is this segment of the human population (hunters) so empty of soul that they feel the need to kill to satisfy that emptiness? Is this in turn fuelled by the media with those ghastly hunting shows that glorify killing for the sake of killing, to prove your manhood, to get a trophy, claim your prize before they’re all gone, anyone can do it, after all it’s your land, your right? Is it just plain ego, greed and narcissistic arrogance? What the h is going on?

  16. I don’t see how anyone could kill these beautiful creatures some of them look like a German Sheppard.I think that there certain individuals that have weapons and just can’t wait to use them they want to kill anything , the real sport would be for them to hunt each other man with a gun against man with a gun the poor wolf or animal doesn’t have one

    1. And there in lies the problem. They are NOT a german shepherd. they are NOT warm and fuzzy, they are killing machines, and not too discriminatory. Like a disease, they spread. The more there are, the more the treehuggers want. Enough is never enough. Sorry to say, socialists, the “wilding” of America will never happen. Thank God.

  17. My children see all this mass killing and ask me Why! How do I answer that? I happened upon this web site and had to comment. Some hunters they can’t tell a wolf from a coyote anyway, so just kill. It seems like we are back in the dark ages or something here. No, I don’t live out west on a ranch, no I don’t know about having livestock but what I do know is it is out of control and needs to stop. Seems we just like to slaughter what we don’t understand. I had the opportunity to look into the captive eyes of a she wolf. There was no menace just a haunting wildness. We wiped out the buffalo, exploited the native american, kill our wildlife, we can’t even do right by our fellow humans.

    We need to pay attention to what we have before its gone.

  18. I do live near one of these reintroduction ranges not as close as I would like but still close enough to see effects from it. These animals are important for keeping down the population of other animals that give us problems like sick foxes and coyotes and diseases from deer and other hunted animals leaving healthier animals in the regions. And why can’t we regulate the population like we do with deer and other game animals. you can’t just go shoot which ever one you feel like or else they all disappear.

    1. Educated people and wolves can co exist perfectly. Wolves do not see us as prey. It’s ranchers and trophy killers who are the problem. Get healthy. Stop buying cattle and sheep products. Grow a heart and kick thrill killers out.. and there will not be a problem.

    2. Probably where you live used to be WOLF COUNTRY. So maybe you should think about moving somewhere not in North America.

    3. There is little more to say. It has been proven that wolves are GOOD for the environment. Trophy hunting is a useless ego gratifying activity that causes harm to the environment and especially the wolves and other animals that are already threatened by irresponsible, shortsighted selfish people many of whom are engaged in another worse greed driven atrocity called factory farming and ranching. It must stop. It is the only way forward. Thank you.

  19. What is wrong with some people that they like to shoot and kill animals? That is not a sport. It is despicable! And don’t get me started on “…but we eat the meat so it’s OK.” We don’t need to eat meat at all! Besides, it’s never considered OK when an animal kills a human even in self-defense or defense of their young. No, we go after it and kill it, because it might now be a “man-eater”—even though humans are not on any animal’s list of favorite foods. We have treated animals with so much injustice over the centuries. We move in, take their land, take their food/prey, and kill them, simply because we can. Animals have shown much more tolerance, patience, mercy and justice toward us than we have toward them. Nature has balances and self-corrects—as long as humans don’t interfere. “Wildlife management”? What qualifications have we shown that we humans are capable of doing this effectively? If wolves managed us, they would be more fair, and probably more tolerant.

  20. This article is hypocrisy at its finest. You complain about the lack of science driven management, when in fact, this is science driven management. Your article wreaks of emotion. Calling out the conservation organizations that stand for science-based management does nothing to further your agenda than to show your emotion based perceptions and pre-conceived notions on management issues.

  21. I see the comments by people who are idealistic, self centered, and have no idea what it is to ranch in the first place. The hamburger that they eat, DOES NOT come from a grocery store. Ranchers feed elk in the winter, as a matter of course. Ranchers maintain streams, springs, and water tanks that water all wildlife. Ranchers maintain grasslands that all eat, not just cattle. Wolves are NOT dogs, nor are they warm and fuzzy face lickers. The devastation of something you watch grow up and nurture die with its guts hanging out is far from pleasant, and not just an economic loss. I see a lot of “I live in the city” ignorance in the comments, and it is sad. Sportsmen contribute far more than ANY environmental groups to the conservation of species, and in FACT, money was illegally appropriated from a Sportsmans fund to re introduce the vermin in the first place. Fact. There ARE NO LAZY RANCHERS. What a rancher does before you have your first coffee break, is more than most people do in a full day by a long shot, EVERY day. Rain or shine, hot or cold, they are taking care of animals of one kind or the other. If ranchers do not take very good care of their environment, they are no longer in business. PERIOD. What do all of the snide commenters on this site do for wildlife on a daily basis, much less contribute in losses that they may if they are lucky, be compensated on a one to five, one to seven basis or less. How many of you would contribute THOUSANDS of dollars every year out of your own pockets to further your love of vermin, the wolf? I daresay none.

  22. I do not live in Idaho but Oregon has a wolf problem now also. Last year year while hunting up in the wild Snake River area I had some friends that were elk hunting got into an area where a wolf pack lives , was surrounded by them growling and snarling and had to get back to back with guns drawn and back out of the area . Said it was the creepiest and scariest thing ever . I know hunting mule deer last year over one the Imnaha River there were very few deer in the woods , but drive down the road where the ranchers live at dusk and herds I’d mule deer and elk could be seeing in their fields eating . Never saw any of this before they brought the wold back . They have at least 2 if not 3 packs living up there . It talks about brute beasts in the Bible that meant to be killed and destroyed and that is all a wolf is . They not only kill to eat but because it is in them to hunt and kill. I personally want them gone

  23. In Portugal and other countries in Europe wolf and livestock have coexisted for millenia largely because of breeds of protective cattle dogs that have been selected through the ages for that purpose. The shepards put the puppies living with the herd and they grow up seeing the herd as their family and protect it against robbers and predators. Studies have shown that wolf killings in herds guarded by these dogs are 90% less than in unguarded herds. Check breeds like the Serra da Estrela Dog, Mastin Espanol, Anatolian Shepherd…

  24. The moose population in Minnesota is next to nothing. Climate change is the reason. Really? On Isle Royale just east of Minnesota the moose population has exploded. There are no moose on the island. So what does the DNR do. Instead of having a special moose hunt, they are putting wolves on the island. Already one wolf died from the drugs they put into it. Another wolf left the island when Lake Superior froze.
    Have a special moose hunt! Hunters will receive great tasting meat. The moose population will be balanced, the DNR will take in money for other project.

  25. I spend at least 150 days a year in the back country of Idaho. I do not get my information second hand but speak from firsthand experience.I have personally found and examined dozens of wolf killed Elk,Deer and Moose.I have seen firsthand how the ungulate’s are being decimated in the back country of Idaho. Where we once had thriving Elk herds there are very few.It is not a habitat issue, there plenty of food, water and cover. The decline only came after the Wolf. Now the farmer’s and ranchers are dealing with large herds of Elk destroying their crops and damaging their fences because the wolves have pushed the Elk out of the back country where they are finding safety from the wolf. Idaho is maxed out on wolves. Hunters in Idaho have never killed in any year as many wolves as have been born in said year. The average pack size is 6 and the average litter is 7. The wolves being born in Idaho are being dispersed to other states. One of the biggest killer of wolves right now is other wolves. Wolf packs need large areas to roam and when they come in to contact with another pack they kill each other. We here in Idaho are not stupid as some of you have commented. Some of us are very well informed and know from experience what the wolves are doing. God gave man dominion over the animals and it is man that needs to manage the wolves and wildlife.Right now Idaho has a huge wolf problem. Short of a disease striking the Idaho wolf, we will always have plenty of wolves in Idaho. Less than 1 percent of wolf hunters will have success bagging a wolf . They are extremely wary and very difficult to hunt. Therefore I strongly support Idaho’s ability to manage wolves. I support the hunting and trapping seasons we have and think more needs to be done to bring reasonable balance to this issue. There is much more I could say about this, but that’s enough for now.

  26. Game management. If 1500 wolves in Idaho is not enough, then what number is? Who would you employ to decide what numbers are sufficient? Probably game management professionals and biologists (ie fish and game) that specialize in such matters! Would you prefer they go unchecked until they inevitably have an eventual self-depredation and starve to death since they killed too much of their own natural resources? Large swings in elk and wolf populations are prevented by management objectives in both species. Trust your game management officials and if you truly care that much become one yourself and make a real difference. Idaho fish and game do not want to kill all the wolves, and if you can’t tell they are having a hard time even killing a few hundred even with million dollar budgets. I have been around more Idaho wolves in the backcountry than most, and I do have a true love for their presence in the ecosystem. If it came down to wolves or no wolves I would say stop hunting them. But this is a complex ecosystem that needs to be managed for lots of considerations, not only wolves thriving. Personally I have a bit of an existential crisis when deciding to hunt wolves or not. I admire wolves in all their natural beauty, but I also see that we are predators as well and bring balance to the ecosystem. Game management.

  27. Wolves have their place. But if I am on a hunt, and I am attacked by wolves, those wolves are dead. End of story. The reason is because wolves are predators. Wolves are not domesticated dogs. They are a wild dangerous animal that can not be domesticated.

    Wolves are the absolute worst when it comes down to them being over-populated and they start moving into human territory. They will kill anything, especially in a pack. This includes pets, farm animals of ALL sizes, babies, children, and in some cases adults.

    They are dangerous.

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