Gone hunting wolves


By the time you read this blog, I will be on my second day of hunting gray wolves in Montana. An old friend of mine in Livingston introduced me to some ranchers in Paradise Valley to write a story of their hunt. We will be trudging through a wilderness of snow on horseback, hoping to “get lucky”, you might say. Luck, I’ve found, is at least 50 percent of hunting anyway -- for wolves, it’s probably closer to 80 percent.

That’s not to say wolf hunters this year have been unsuccessful. Looking through wildlife agency websites for Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, hunters have recorded fairly significant kill numbers. All this occurs as wolf reintroduction, “the greatest success of the Endangered Species Act”, enters a new era -- one I'm hoping to explore in my story on the topic. The survival of America’s gray wolves now rests in the hands of state wildlife agencies and sportsmen, who have supplanted environmentalists as their diligent guardians.

Some statistics to date:

Hunters in Montana have harvested 84 wolves as of Thursday afternoon, out of a population of at least 650 statewide. Different this year compared to the last is that there is no statewide wolf harvest limit. In 2011, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks set a harvest quota of 220 wolves, but even though hunters had a 46-day extension, they only killed 166 wolves by the end of the season in mid-February. Another difference: This 2012 season allows trapping in Montana for the first time since wolves were delisted. From December 15 through February 28, trappers will be able to snatch three pelts apiece.

Idaho doesn’t have a state bag limit either, and their season starts earlier and ends later. Last year, with a population estimated around 746 wolves, hunters and trappers killed a combined 349. Trappers are typically more successful than hunters, but there are fewer of them, as Jason Husseman, regional wildlife biologist for Idaho Department of Fish and Game told me.  Roughly 1,000 trappers took the state's mandatory trapper license course this year, compared with over 100,000 hunters that head out into the woods, many of them looking for wolves. So while trapping may be an easier way to kill a wolf, there just aren’t as many people doing it … so far.

Wyoming is the state environmental groups worried about the most during the height of the wolf de-listing wars, and was the last state to get approval for a wolf hunt.  Wolf advocates worried the state would kill off their population with lax regulations. Depending on how you look at it, they may have had reason to fret. The state designated wolves “predatory animals” except for within four management units, plus Yellowstone National Park and the Wind River Reservation. As predatory animals, wolves can be killed, year-round, without a license. On the other hand, some say the majority of Wyoming’s wolf population is located in the management units, which all have quotas, and the rest of the state isn’t inhabited by wolves. It’s tough to gauge who’s right at this point. So far 37 wolves have been harvested in the management units; the total quota for the units is 52. Outside the units, 19 wolves have been killed to date.

If you’re hankering to kill a wolf and you live outside one of these states, I'd recommend taking your gun to Idaho. They only charge non-residents $31.75 for a wolf tag. Montana's fee is $350 (compared to $19 for locals) and Wyoming charges $180 (residents pay just $18). Either way, you’re going to have a tough time. Wolves aren’t easy to spot. I’m sure I’m finding that out by now.

Neil LaRubbio is the editorial fellow at High Country News. His Twitter handle is @VictorAntonin.

Photos provided by Wade Richardson.

Matthew Koehler
Matthew Koehler
Dec 03, 2012 11:10 AM
"Sportsmen"...the "diligent guardians" of wolves? As a backcountry elk hunter (with a full freezer) I have to say...Whatever.


For Immediate Release: Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Grassroots Conservation Organizations Sue Feds for Delisting Wolves in Wyoming

Robert Struckman
Robert Struckman
Dec 03, 2012 02:31 PM
Hey Neil,
Nice column. Damn, that's a lot of wolves killed in Idaho last year.
Laura Patterson
Laura Patterson Subscriber
Dec 03, 2012 03:38 PM
If they keep those numbers of wolves killed that high year after year, the population is going to be in trouble, I would think and de-inlisting them is going to boomarang.
Michael Kirkpatrick
Michael Kirkpatrick Subscriber
Dec 04, 2012 01:12 AM
Whoa... Did I accidentally log in to Field and Stream? Safari Club? This is a strange promotional choice for HCN. Why exactly are we being encouraged to hunt wolves?
Stephanie Paige Ogburn
Stephanie Paige Ogburn Subscriber
Dec 04, 2012 10:03 AM
Hi Michael -- let me explain. Since wolves are no longer endangered in these states, hunting wolves is now legal and is part of the management strategy of the state wildlife departments, who are now responsible for their wolf populations. This is a controversial issue -- particularly around that removal of the ESA status and the hunting/trapping management limits (or lack thereof). We think this is a topic worth covering. Our reporter, Neil LaRubbio, is going out on a hunt as a means of investigating this management strategy and exploring who participates in it, what is it like, and what it means for wolves. He's a hunter, too, and although he has some qualms about hunting wolves, also wants to see what the appeal is. This journalism technique is frequently referred to as immersion or experiential journalism -- participating in the activity as a way of evaluating and writing about it. Neil is not encouraging others to hunt wolves, but is pointing out where it is legal and what the relative price tags for doing so are in the various states. - Stephanie Paige Ogburn, online editor
Matthew Koehler
Matthew Koehler
Dec 04, 2012 01:32 PM
Given the tremendous amount of anti-wolf rhetoric and outright hatred of wolves expressed publicly by many hunters in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming doesn't anyone think for even a second that the wolf-harvesting totals from hunting and trapping are anywhere near the actual number of wolves killed?

Have we forgotten how many people in these parts openly advocate a SSS (Shoot, Shovel and Shut-Up) approach to wolf "management?" Heck, even a county sheriffs department in Idaho held a SSS raffle fundraiser this year (See: http://voices.idahostatesma[…]hovel_angers_wolf_advocates).

How many more wolves in the northern Rockies have been killed, beyond the official tally, by these SSS agents stalking the mountains and forests?

It's common knowledge that during any given hunting season scores and scores of elk and deer are wounded or killed by hunters, never to be found. How many more wolves, beyond the official tally, have been wounded and/or killed by hunters, but were never found and officially reported?

Have we forgotten that some anti-wolf activists and websites were alerting the public to the fact that "Right now, Xylitol (an artificial sweetener toxic to all canines) is being used to reduce wolf populations." How many wolves died because of this?

There is simply no way that the official wolf-kill total provided by these state wildlife management agencies constitutes all the wolves killed by hunters and trappers in any given season. Something to keep in mind....Thanks.
Mark Rozman
Mark Rozman
Dec 04, 2012 07:28 PM
After spending 45 days hunting in Wyoming's Wyoming Range, I saw 0 wolves, but plenty of tracks and 5 fresh Bull Elk killed by wolves, probably 2 to 5 wolves.Very distinctive kills. No mistaking these. Their hunting skills significantly improve mid-winter, long after the hunters are gone. They were there before the reintroduction efforts and will be there long after we're gone. Don't fret.
Kristi Lloyd
Kristi Lloyd
Dec 04, 2012 10:18 PM
A few things need to be cleared up here. Regarding luck in hunting. Wolves are lucky in hunting about 20% of the time. A far cry from 80%. Hunters are now the diligent guardians of wolves? How so? By killing them? By disregarding science and wildlife agency's own biologists? Doesn't seem very guardianish to me. Yes, trapping is very successful. I recently watched a WI trapper who had a wolf in a trap. He videotaped this wolf for over 5 minutes while it was barking furiously. WI law says trapped wolves are to be immediately dispatched. So, here is a trapped wolf, barking its head off, while a trapper's buddy is videotaping it, and even though the wolf cannot lunge at the trapper, who is cautiously walking up to it with a handgun aimed at the wolf, gets within 10 feet of it and finally kills the wolf. Then promptly laughs about it and continues videoing the dead wolf. Pretty easy to kill a wolf when it can't escape and can be shot at close range. Yes, that is sure to create a high success rate. Baiting also helps ensure success. WY was the last to delist the wolves, but WY is the reason that the wolves in ID and MT were put back on the Endangered List in 2009. The USFWS deemed WY's plan of shoot-on-sight as too drastic and a judge ruled that MT's and ID's wolves were not a separate population and the wolves in all 3 states were once again covered by the Endangered Species Act. Fast forward 3 years...the wolves in MT and ID were stripped of their protection of the ESA after a rider, an attachment was included in the Budget Bill. Usually riders are attached because they are not solid enough to stand on their own as a bill. This was a political move to get the wolves off the List. It had nothing to do with overpopulation, public health issues, or that wolves had been deemed recovered by biologists, wildlife researchers. It was pure politics...D-MT Sen.Jon Tester got this bill written with the help of R-ID Rep. Mike Simpson. The Dems had (and still do) the majority in the senate and to keep that majority, they backed Tester's rider-bill 81-19. Yet WY's wolves were not affected by this. WY's wolves were taken off the Endangered List Sept. 30 of this year. The hunting season began the very next day. WY's wolves were delisted because of politics, once again...Sen. John Barrasso would not approve of Dan Ashe for head of the USFWS unless the wolves in WY came off the Endangered List. Of course, Barrasso is backed by ranching associations and hunting orgs. So a deal was struck between Gov. Matt Mead and Sec'y of the Interior Ken Salazar. To fix that pesky drastic wolf management plan, there was a small change made to the very same original plan that was rejected by the USFWS in 2009. A trophy zone and a quota was added. The quota was set at 52...significance of 52? Who knows. The trophy zone is regulated, license needed to hunt wolves in it. The rest of the state---shoot, trap, poison, kill pups in the dens and any other creative ways humans can think of to kill wolves in the rest of the state outside of Grand Teton Park, Yellowstone and the Rockefeller Pkwy. Again, nothing scientific about WY's wolf management plan, just as in ID, MT, WI (who is fighting to be able to use dogs to hunt wolves, bad idea. In WI wolves can be hunted day and night from Sept. thru Feb. Yeah, a lot of science went into that plan). Biologists in WI were ignored, in fact, told to keep their mouths shut about WI's wolf hunt. Tribes in MN and WI were ignored, no input from them was needed apparently. WI did eventually "give" 41 wolves to the Ojibwe Tribe who said they would not hunt those wolves. Wolf management is being done by politicians who are backed by well-financed hunting and ranching organizations, period. Does anybody think politicians know ANYTHING about wildlife management? I don't think so. At the time of the delisting of the wolves in MT and ID, WY had an official population of 321. Would 321 frogs be too many? Would 321 deer be seen as too many, in need of management? 321 of anything too many? Even the vaunted RMEF (Rocky Mt. Elk Foundation) said that WY's elk herds are at or above objectives and hunts should be very successful...in some areas elk is so plentiful that hunters can take up to 3 elk! Again, regarding hunters and "sportsmen" as the guardians of wolves---in Idaho a dead wolf can be used as bait to lure in other wolves to be killed. Traps can be left unchecked for up to 72 hours...which means a trapped wolf can languish in a trap for up to 3 days before it gets a merciful gun blast to the head, or gut, and finally bleeds out. No food, no water, a lot of pain, shock, exposure...yes, very guardianish. In MT, there is NO time limit for trappers to check their traps. To Matthew K.---two dogs are known to have been poisoned by xylitol in ID. One died, one got to the vet in time to be saved. Three dogs in MT have been caught in traps. So far. One trapper was actually cited for having his traps illegally placed. That is a first. So, good luck to this author who wants to contribute to being a guardian of wolves by playing "sportsman".
Carole Richmond
Carole Richmond
Dec 05, 2012 01:20 AM
This country eradicated wolves in the Lower 48 some 70 years ago, then allegedly learned from its mistakes and worked to recover wolves. Now that they have become established, they are being eradicated all over again? Why? Is this what we worked for? Wolves are being eradicated throughout their range: British Columbia, Alaska, Alberta, the lake states, and the Rocky Mountain States. If wolves can’t survive in wolf country, where can they survive? Even the wolves of Yellowstone are being killed. It seems that nothing has changed; nothing has been learned. There is no science behind the delisting and hunting of wolves. It's all complete bull. Some 20 years ago, I worked on wolf conservation for several years and I assure you that what is happening now is not wolf management. In fact, wolves don’t require management unless they want to move into town. They are quite capable of taking care of themselves. To recover wolves, we simply need to manage the prey base upon which they depend by creating more or less habitat. This was the Indian way. This means managing predator and prey as a unit. We have plenty of wilderness and ideal wolf habitat in the Rocky Mountain States where wolf recovery can take place, but leaving wolves alone to live in peace is apparently not part of the plan. The humans in charge have no concept of what a functioning ecosystem is, of what a magnificent animal the wolf is, and of their responsibility to the public at large, the majority of which want the wolf protected. They are driven solely by hatred of wolves and their knowledge extends only to various ways of killing wolves: aerial gunning, trapping, poisoning if they can get away with it, poaching, and shooting. These people are throwbacks to a time that was supposed to have ended. The hunters are the dregs of humanity. Is there anything redeeming about the photo you have published of dead wolves hung by their snouts? All I see is murdered wolves and a pathetic human who wantonly destroys life simply because the law allows it. Stephanie Paige Ogburn, your comments reveal someone with very little maturity, judgment, or understanding of the wolf wars. What exactly do you expect will be learned from this assignment that we don’t already know? HCN would provide a far more valuable service by writing about the war on wildlife, and specifically the war on wolves, which is the real story.
Robb Cadwell
Robb Cadwell
Dec 05, 2012 05:01 AM
I can't believe Neil is getting paid, what next, an experiential report on microbreweries?

Good luck Neil, take lots of photos.
Bob Ferris
Bob Ferris
Dec 05, 2012 10:32 AM
There was a time--not that long ago--when the majority of hunters could also be considered conservationists. These hearty souls learned hunting ethics from their fathers and uncles and generally looked down on trophy hunters, sign shooters, and others who just simply thought that owning a gun or set of traps was the sum total of the exercise. I grew up in this ethic and we valued the rare glimpses of predators without resentment and through binoculars rather than scopes understanding and appreciating our respective roles. Had someone shot a coyote, fox or bear during our trips, future invitations would not be forthcoming. We also spent time enhancing and caring for habitats as the necessary flip-side of our activity. We were not entitled to success, we had to earn it. That is a far cry from what I am reading here and that saddens me. Hunting with a big "H" as I grew up with was so much more than shooting everything that moved because it was legal. Unfortunately too much of what we now consider hunting is marketed by the likes of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and Safari Club International. That is too bad because somewhere along the way both those organizations failed to capture what hunting and hunters could and should be.

Bob Ferris
Cascadia Wildlands
Martha Geoghegan
Martha Geoghegan
Dec 05, 2012 11:16 AM
Carole Richmond and Bob Ferris, thank you for your excellent comments stating the feelings of all of mature, respectful humans who want to save our world. Humans seem to have become hell-bent on destroying anything they personally have no use for or that takes away from their almightly dollar. It is indeed a sad article to read from HCN, with no opposing view or mention of the information that the two of you graciously gave us. The cold-hearted cheeriness of Neil LaRubbio is appalling. These animals are our dogs' ancestors and have lives and children just as we do. For this and many other activities we should be ashamed. Humanity is reaping what we sow quietly but it is gathering force. I fear we will wake up after it is too late.
Jodi Peterson
Jodi Peterson Subscriber
Dec 05, 2012 11:40 AM
Thanks to all for your comments on this brief blog post. Before drawing conclusions about our coverage of this important issue, you may want to read some of our previous stories, both news and opinion, about wolf management:

Sincerely, Jodi Peterson, HCN Managing Editor
Bob Ferris
Bob Ferris
Dec 05, 2012 12:18 PM
@Jodi. Yes,certainly HCN has and continues to have excellent and insightful coverage on this topic which is much appreciated, but this piece feels different in many ways. It glorifies and tacitly promotes an activity that is problematic on a number of levels. I suspect that many of us who are longtime readers and fans of HCN are struggling with how exactly to provide constructive criticism in this instance. Our own prejudices and personal groundings absolutely affect our ability to do this in balanced manner, but I believe that many of us are trying and still find this piece wanting in terms of balance, rigor and journalistic distance.
Adam Neff
Adam Neff
Dec 05, 2012 12:39 PM
As another hunter weighing in I tend to think that although we sportsmen (and women) aren't perfect, we're pretty much the chosen method for wildlife management. I find it hard to imagine, as some have implied, that hunters should be allowed to kill deer and elk but not be allowed to kill predators, like bears, cougar, etc. The two best meats I've ever eaten were cougar and bear (huckleberry fattened). Are we going to be great at managing populations to perfectly match natural conditions? Heck no! But at least we try, at least we're doing something. Nobody in good conscience can say that watching an animal starve to death during the winter is a most humane way for that creature to die, which is where I think hunting has its place. I think it's really too bad when people knock on us hunters as somehow being less of a conservationist (or good person for that matter) because we support managing/hunting all of our big game species. In my view, as long as you respect the animal, use as much of it as you can, and abide by fish and wildlife laws and general human ethics then you're doing no wrong, and in a lot of respects doing more that those sitting behind a desk criticizing the actions of others (and yes, I do see the irony that I am currently sitting behind a desk as I type this).
Bob Ferris
Bob Ferris
Dec 05, 2012 02:37 PM
@Adam. I hear and respect what you are saying here, but there are some other issues to consider. First, I come from a hunting culture but am also a wildlife biologist and I have yet--regardless of what David Allen at RMEF says--seen evidence that indicates that there is a pressing need to manage wolf populations anywhere. (This is different from saying that wolves can be managed and sustain hunting pressure.) And I agree that some hunters do indeed hunt predators such as bears to eat them but that is really not what we are observing nor what we are hearing in terms of wolf hunter motivation. For instance, I seriously doubt our friend pictured above is thinking "I cannot wait to get these wolves home to eat them." His motivation and that of others stems from myths created by anti-wolf factions who are convinced--in the absolute absence of supporting, causative evidence that indicates that a reduction of wolf numbers is going to result in benefits for elk or hunters. All of this is important as we look at projected hunting pressure on wolves and consider differences in wolf tag demand presented by hunters like yourself who might like to take a wolf to eat and those who have been sent on a holy crusade by orchestrated campaigns driven by unfounded supposition and outright misinformation. Look at the number of wolf tags issued Idaho versus the population and then compare that to the ratio issued for elk. That is not a biologically defensible approach by any measure,it is driven by this artificially created hysteria. If everyone was like you we would not have a problem, but that is simply not the case.
Jesse Tigner
Jesse Tigner
Dec 05, 2012 04:17 PM
I love wolf coverage at HCN. I like the stories themselves, blogs or news, which I find often offer interesting perspectives and enlightening new information. Really, though, what I love about the wolf coverage at HCN is the comment section and reader-posts that follow the stories (sorry HCN staff…).

I think what I like best are the outer-space comments written with such certainty. There’s something about wolves that really brings out those kinds of comments – already there are some posted here.

At any rate for those who feel the sky is falling, here’s something to consider: where I live in SW Alberta wolves were once extirpated as a result of poisoning. However, once poisoning was stopped, wolf populations rebounded and packs again established themselves in the region. That population has persisted (albeit at low numbers and in small packs) despite a number of ongoing threats. In this part of the province there is a pretty low social carrying capacity for wolves stemming from a number of reasons including significant and consistent cattle depredations and plain old dislike of wolves. As such hunting for wolves is quite liberal, far more so than anything seen in MT, ID, or WY. Here the wolf hunt is open in essence whenever any other big game hunting season is also open. Thus it varies somewhat between WMUs, but in WMU where I live, for example, the legal hunt begins on September 1st and runs until June 15th – that’s 9.5 months. And, there’s no bag limit. And it’s free.

On top of that trapping is allowed (although I don’t know the regs there), and the locations of most rendezvous and den sites are not secret making pack elimination readily feasible.

But still, there are wolves in SW AB. We heard some howling in the back yard a couple weeks ago.

So here’s my contribution the fiery rhetoric: when you’ve got something “factual” to say, try citing it with a reputable source. Preferably a peer-review and or a primary one. Otherwise, SHUT. UP.

And, oh yeah, good luck on your hunt!
Adam Neff
Adam Neff
Dec 05, 2012 04:20 PM
@Bob. Do I understand you correctly that from your perspective as a biologist hunting predators isn't the issue, it's that the wolf populations aren't yet great enough to justify the amount of hunting (quotas) being allowed? If so them I certainly can support your stance. I don't know enough to say if you're right or wrong, but at least it's a logical point of view. I still personally believe that if a State wants fewer wolves that's they're decision to make, as long as they maintain a minimum population to continue the species existence I don't have much against it. I sense my State (Washington) will likely manage them through hunting as soon as they can claim the population has met the recovery objectives.

On a side note has anyone ever eaten wolf or coyote? I've never shot one ('yote) because they just don't look like they'd be tasty, but I certainly willing to give one a try if I hear they're edible.
Bob Ferris
Bob Ferris
Dec 05, 2012 05:05 PM
@Adam. I think that I am always uncomfortable messing with predator populations. I've looked at too many studies where control actions have had no effect or negative effects on biodiversity. My degree of discomfort changes depending upon species and intensity. A cougar or black bear here or there is not a problem but the larger canids have been shown to be more complicated in terms of side impacts--particularly with intense pressure or non-selective measures like poison or trapping. In terms of the numbers, the recovery goals are minimum numbers and would not be defensible using minimum viable population analyses which would likely put those minimum numbers much higher.
Jodi Peterson
Jodi Peterson Subscriber
Dec 06, 2012 09:13 AM
@Bob et al., I'd like to stress that this article is just a brief blog post, not a journalistic story appearing in our magazine. It's a quick update on wolf hunting season and a notice that a reporter is going out to write a story; he's approaching it with an open mind and isn't condoning (or condemning) the hunt in advance, he's going out to learn and gather facts. Our magazine stories are exhaustively reported and extensively edited; we work hard to ensure that they're balanced and accurate. Please reserve judgment until you have read the actual magazine story that will come out of Neil LaRubbio's reporting trip. Thank you for your interest in HCN and for your comments; we appreciate hearing from our readers! Sincerely, Jodi Peterson, Managing Editor
Deb O'Neill
Deb O'Neill
Dec 06, 2012 02:46 PM
Kristi- MT does have a time restriction on checking traps. They must be visually checked every 48 hours.
Shayan Ghajar
Shayan Ghajar
Dec 06, 2012 04:45 PM
Will HCN run an article on non-lethal management strategies with proven track records? Why not elevate the debate from the entrenched "kill the wolves" vs "screw the ranchers" dichotomy by presenting a third route that can please both parties?

Livestock guardian dogs have a proven track record on multiple continents, in multiple studies, and with multiple types of livestock operation.

Here are some articles to get you started:

Rigg, R. (2001). Livestock guarding dogs: their current use world wide. Canid Specialist Group. Retrieved from http://canids.org/occasionalpapers/livestockguardingdog.pdf

Urbigkit, C., & Urbigkit, J. (2010). A review: the use of livestock protection dogs in association with large carnivores in the Rocky Mountains 1. Sheep and Goat Research Journal, 25, 1–8.

Webber, B. L., Weber, K. T., Clark, P. E., Moffet, C. A., Ames, D. P., Taylor, J. T., … Kie, J. G. (2012). Movements of Domestic Sheep in the Presence of Livestock Guardian Dogs. Review at the Journal of Rangeland Ecology and Management. Manuscript Number REM-S-12-00018. Retrieved from[…]/LGD-SheepMovements.pdf
Jodi Peterson
Jodi Peterson Subscriber
Dec 07, 2012 02:47 PM
@Shayan, thanks for the suggestion, and we've covered nonlethal control of wolves for many years now. A few links:
HCN on nonlethal wolf control (essays, stories and letters dating back to 1995)

Thanks for commenting. Best, Jodi Peterson, Managing Editor
Robb Cadwell
Robb Cadwell
Dec 07, 2012 06:17 PM
One of the most fun things for me from HCN on the issue, was this pod cast done by Cally Carswell. http://www.hcn.org/[…]/audio-high-country-views-episode-5 Expecting to hear drawn out Rs of western Montana instead I heard the hills of Tennessee or Northern Alabama (you'll understand if you listen).

The interviewee as well as sounding great was articulate, informed, and insightful about what is good and even great in hunting wolves. Cally had great follow up questions that elicited greater understanding for this listener. An intermountain Terry Gross?
Shayan Ghajar
Shayan Ghajar
Dec 07, 2012 10:32 PM
Mrs Peterson, I found only ONE mention of livestock guardian dogs in those articles, and it lumped them together with llama and donkeys. It's really worth its own article. I've talked to a number of ranchers about these dogs, and I can guarantee some are getting them and most are interested. For the record, I am not in the business of breeding them or selling them, or affiliated with anyone who does. I am training to be a range ecologist, and I see overwhelming evidence of the efficacy of these dogs. These are well-meaning riders with beanbag guns, and they aren't a scheme to pay ranchers per head lost to wolves.

These dogs work. They are worth covering. And none of the articles you linked were about them. I guarantee your readership would be interested--one of the top comments, if not the top comment, on the facebook feed linking to this article was about these dogs.
Shayan Ghajar
Shayan Ghajar
Dec 07, 2012 10:33 PM
*These AREN'T well-meaning riders with beanbag guns :-) Pardon the omission.
Brandon Breen
Brandon Breen
Dec 10, 2012 08:13 PM
"If you're hankering to kill a wolf..." Huh. Perhaps like one might have a hankering for an ice cream cone? A little more respect for these animals, that some would call our brothers and sisters, would be much appreciated.
Charles Fox
Charles Fox Subscriber
Dec 12, 2012 12:00 PM
Are you going to eat that? Calling it a hunt is pretty pathetic. It's a slaughter.

No species stands a chance of survival in the presence of self-indulgent, heavily armed killers. It is painfully obvious that, if allowed, the haters and killers of wolves will put the wolf right back under ESA protection. Given the northern Rockies bloodlust, the ESA is absolutely unavoidable. There are just too many pesky people who want to save species from extinction.

Try to remember that wolves belong on this land, cows do not.
Mary Able
Mary Able Subscriber
Dec 13, 2012 02:56 PM
I, too, have very uneasy feelings re the participation of HCN in this wolf hunting activity. In fact, after writing that sentence, I have crossed over being uneasy to being upset. Yes, I will read the article when it appears, as Ms. Peterson asks. It just seems like the "flavor" or "enthusiasm" of the author is over the top. My husband and I were lucky enough to be in Yellowstone NP when the wolves were released in 1995...and in subsequent visits, it has been magnificent to search them out, find them and watch them doing their thing. How can anyone possibly hate them? The root of this problem lies in the de-listing. I was most interested in Kristi's post in which she described in great detail the blackmailing of politicians to achieve the de-listing. I checked the abc news report to see firsthand what was said and by whom. As a consequence of all of this, my husband and I have written and/or called our senators (Boxer and Feinstein), Ken Salazar, Jon Tester (!),Dan Ashe and President Obama. FYI, there is currently a petition on whitehouse.gov seeking to have Obama rescind the de-listing which was the rider in the budget bill that Kristi mentioned in her post. Please, if you care about this issue, go to: http://wh.gov/X1LX and sign the petition. The time limit is up tomorrow, Friday the 14th. Many more signatures are needed to meet the number required for it to be submitted to the White House. Please consider forwarding it to your friends. Thanks.
Chris Deets
Chris Deets
Dec 20, 2012 05:08 PM
I agree that hunting of wolves should at some point be part of a sound management plan; they play a key role in their ecosystems, but any animal population will grow to unsustainable level if something does not check their growth. I have heard so many comments though from people who just hate wolves and want them destroyed. I have heard from ranchers in Montana who pass around ways to hide the bodies and circumvent the tracking collars when taking them illegally, from others who want to shoot them in the gut so there would be maximum suffering, who can't believe there are ANY restrictions on hunting, etc. I never hear these comments about deer, elk, or even mountain lions or bears. So it does seem there is a qualitatively different feeling toward wolves vs. other game animals on the part of a lot of people. It would be nice if we could get away from that. If you want to hunt wolves (legally), do it out of respect, not fear and hatred.

Also, I understand wolves are much easier to hunt in the winter since they show up easily against the snow.
Don Lyons
Don Lyons Subscriber
Dec 23, 2012 05:15 PM
As a wildlife management professional, I appreciate HCN's efforts to present many sides of the wolf issue. While we might debate the merits of this particular blog post from Neil LaRubbio, I think many readers would benefit from hearing well-reasoned perspectives from hunters much more often in the pages of HCN. Hunters can often exert considerable influence over wildlife management policy and their views should be heard and understood by everyone seeking solutions.
Justin Taylor
Justin Taylor
Mar 30, 2014 04:33 PM
I'm a Montana resident and I do my part in helping control the Wolf population. I laugh every time I hear these people Bo-hoing over the Wolf. Do your homework b4 you start preaching. They can have 2 litters of pups a year and can repopulate faster than most animals. I'll keep buying my 5 tags a year and with any luck I'll fill each tag
Jodi Peterson
Jodi Peterson Subscriber
Mar 30, 2014 04:41 PM
Thanks for the comment Justin. To clarify, a female wolf is not physically capable of bearing more than one litter of pups per year. A pack of wolves may raise more than one litter in a year, but each litter has a different mother. Regards, Jodi Peterson, Managing Editor