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Montana, Idaho hunters to set sights on gray wolves

GraywolfAP Hunters in Montana and Idaho will seemingly become the first to legally participate in gray wolf hunts in the lower 48 states since the animals were removed last May from the endangered list throughout much of the Northern Rockies.

A quota of 75 wolves has been set in Montana, with hunting season scheduled for September. Idaho's quota, as yet undetermined, will be larger.

The hunts will face legal challenges by environmental groups but wildlife managers in both states have argued that hunts are a critical means to prevent the predators from becoming too numerous and posing a larger threat to cattle and sheep.

In a story in the Idaho Statesman, Montana wolf biologist Carolyn Sime said, "You either eliminate all the wolves or you eliminate all the livestock."

There are an estimated 1,350 wolves in Montana and Idaho. Lawsuits by environmental groups regarding the predators' removal from the endangered list are pending.

Doug Honnold, an attorney for Earthjustice, told the Statesman: "We don't think hunts should be allowed until there's a legitimate recovery." That group awaits the Idaho quota announcement before determining its next course of action.

Gray wolves once thrived across the lower 48 but were decimated by hunting, trapping and poisoning in the early 1900s.

-- Pete Thomas

Gray wolf photo by Associated Press

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Comments (13)

R u going to eat them? If not why would u kill them they r gods creatures just like u and we cant kill u so y kill them if u dont want them move them somewhere else just dobt kill them for the fun of it it is wrong and u no it is

Here is a link to some wolf "sport killing"

Hey all you fools who are against management, how many wolves should we have before management tools are in place? Why don't we take a few of these wolves and smack them in your back yards? I'll bet you’re not from either of these states. Once it was your domestic pets and animals getting mauled by the wolf you might have a different outlook on the issue. Here is a link to a news article where wolves near Dillon Montana killed 120 sheep in one attack and ate none of them. http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2009/aug/28/wolves-kill-120-sheep-near-dillon-mont/

We as locals should have a say so in the issue. Nobody wants to totally wipe them out but for god sakes lets be open to the idea of management. It might be hard for you to believe but these ranchers develop a deep love for their animals when they drag ass out of bed everyday to feed and care for them.

And before you accuse we Montanans of being a bunch of uneducated rednecks you better check your facts because we score higher in standardized testing for schools than all but 2 states.

The problem is not with our gray wolf population. The problem is with cattle. There are way to many herds of livestock that are destroying natural vegetation and ruining the ecosystem of the forest and desert. We need more wolves; lots of them and less cattle and sheep. Ranchers are compensated for any losses from a wolf (by the way coyotes kill 45% more horses and cattle than a wolf does.) Wolves conserve; coyotes kill for pleasure often leaving the whole carcass..does this make sense?

Why was there never a vote in Idaho on the wolf reintroduction? Why were we told we could control the the population within 5 years of reintro? Why were we told they only kill and eat the sick and the old? Reports in one community(near Kethum, Idaho) tell of one pack killing 32 elk in a two month span. Nineteen of those were calves. In no way are you able to sustain a healthy herd losing that many calves. Let us not forget about the mountain lion they left gutted on a hillside durin their killing spree. Seems like the bleeding heart enviros do nothing but tell lies. Have we forgotten how much revenue hunting brings to the western states? Our priorities are all screwed up. Why would we lower the number of cattle? Is the population who have to eat going down? What next, stop farming?
Here`s an idea, put wolves in EVERY state, NO VOTE! Plant a pack in Washington D.C., L.A. & N.Y.. The only states that will be allowed to hunt wolves will be Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. The plan will make believers of all within 14 years!
People are taught that these are warm and fuzzy dogs. I have news for you, Take your dog for a walk and see how warm and fuzzy they are.
Am so tired of readin pro-wolf comments from people who not only live far from the problem areas but have no experience. No knowledge other than the _____ they read in pro-wolf literature.
It`s time to control their population just like we do any other predator.

If every protester would come to Idaho and spend one week with me working in the woods, they would agree that there was a wolf problem here. I can take you 10 miles from my house and can show you recent wolf kills or I can take you into the back woods and show you the same thing. They are everywhere here. I seen my first pack of wolves in 1991 and they were tall and skinny. These wolves now are tall and fat. I think they are eating very well! I know see more wolf tracks in a given day than elk. That is pathetic. Yes we have a problem!

Other than the warm fuzzy feeling that you get for saving a wolf what have you accomplished? Sport hunting is just as valid of a sport as hiking and hoping to see a wolf. Why does your sport trump my sport? Idaho will not hunt from planes or allow poison but fair chase only. I know wolves are smart and many people both sportsmen and wolf lovers think that the 220 wolves will be killed. I would guess that we (the sportsmen of Idaho) would be lucky to see 100 wolves taken. Hunting keeps the herds at scientific levels.. wolves don't care what level herds are and will move on to the next abundant herd once they have wiped out the herd in their area. Elk and deer bring millions to Idaho wolves take millions out.. I hate to break the news to people but the dollar is what keeps the United States alive and affords us the opportunity to enjoy our own sport no matter what it is.

I invite all of you to a week in the back woods of Idaho. Along with that, I invite you to bring your children or grandchildren to join you. I promise you will be amazed at how fast you'll feel like your no longer safe, you'll fear for yourselves and your loved ones, just like we do every time we let our kids go out to the bus stop in the morning. These savage wolves do not fear humans, in fact they would prey on humans with any chance they got. And to those of you that point your ridiculing fingers at Idaho and Montana, you need to really 'figure it out.' Wolves are over running the herds and killing for sport. We're losing livestock and fearing for whats around the corner. Wolves ARE a problem! And Idaho and Montana are the only 2 states willing to stand up and do something about it.

Great News!

@ Ross - people have been living where we live for over 8,000 years (or do you not count our native ancestors who also killed wolves?) According to your statement, people should be forced to live a certain way - yet you also say you don't want anyone to tell you how to live. Ironic to say the least.

I'm curious, how many years of study have you done? How much field work? How many encounters have you had with wolves? Or are you another "expert" with no expertise? I suggest the reintroduction of wolves to California - so you folks can enjoy them up close.

And wolf pups are still dying at an alarming rate from a yet unknown disease...
I love the "Wolves belong in the wilderness, not in our towns" quote. How much "wilderness" is going to be left with the ridiculous rate of the human population growth? How about, "Towns don't belong in the wilderness"? The animals were here first, adapt to them instead of killing them all off and driving them into smaller and smaller areas, just like what happened to the Native Americans.
I also love the, "People who don't live with wolves shouldn't dictate how we should deal with them!" rant that pops up on every single article on the issue. These are quite often the same people who demand that their religion determines what should be illegal/banned and how everyone else should be forced to live. And I really don't care how it affects you, because the wolves were there first and have every bit as much a right to live there as you, -arguably more, if you refuse to cohabitate.

@ Crash Burn - I don't see much science in your statements. Groups that rely on donations to further their cause are "political".

I find it curious that people who do not have wolves living near them seem to think they know so much more than the folks who do live with wolves. They also seem to think they know more than scientists who have spent years in the field studying wolves.

I'm pretty sure there was at one time in history, a healthy population of wolves in the LA area. Do you think it would be prudent to have wolves living there now?

This is a complete capitulation to ranking interest period. It has no scientific merit. The statement you are referring to is a political one and not a scientific one. Wolves have been decimated from the lower 48 and these practices are designed to keep it that way so they do not spread throughout their natural habitat. This is not science. This is not what God intended. This is the greed and arrogance of man at its worse.

Ms. Sime's quote was taken out of context:

"Without hunting or another means to manage wolves, she added, "you either eliminate all the wolves or you eliminate all the livestock.""

You also left out THE most important point:

""It's hard for people to grasp that you could go out there and shoot 30 percent of the wolves and still have a growing population," said lead author Layne Adams, a wolf researcher with the U.S. Geological Survey. "People don't tend to recognize how prolific wolves are.""

With 88 documented packs having an average litter size of 5, the population has grown approximately 440 wolves just this spring. All available prime habitat has been occupied and as pack numbers increase, territory in the wildland urban interface become occupied. This leads to habituated wolves who are not afraid of humans and increasing numbers of conflicts with pets.

Wolves belong in the wilderness, but not in our towns.


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