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Who's Afraid of the Big, Bad Wolf?

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Photo by Michael Lorenzo Photo by Michael Lorenzo

The bogeyman of the woods is less dangerous than dogs, rustlers and fairy tales

On March 6 of this year, former rancher turned U.S. Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar of the Obama administration, upheld the Bush administration’s eleventh-hour delisting of gray wolves from the U.S. Endangered Species List. In Idaho our governor, Clement Otter, immediately chimed in, reiterating an earlier assertion that he wanted to be the first to get a wolf hunting tag. Governor Otter’s statement is the capstone of a concerted effort over the past few years, by a variety of “stakeholders,” to paint wolves as the ultimate bogeyman in the woods.

Bonner County’s Daily Bee, probably unwittingly, has been an instrument of this ongoing vilification campaign. Articles in the Daily Bee concerning wolves over the past year have ranged from utter non-stories to outright demonization. In December there were two wolf-related stories. The first one could be summarized entirely, with no other substance, as an Idaho Fish & Game supervisor offering his opinion that “we simply can’t keep piling wolves on top of each other.” The second story featured several paragraphs on a woman who heard noises in the wood, speculated that it was wolves killing a dog and therefore brought her dogs indoors. This was reported as news despite the fact that no missing dogs were reported and that an IDFG officer could find no evidence of either wolves or a dead dog.

A January 25 article in the Bee featured one-liners from IDFG director Carl Groen, Senator Jim Risch, Rep. Walt Minnick, and Governor Otter about the pressing need to kill wolves. A February 13 story reports on a man who spotted a “big black thing” near his dog kennel and fired on it after concluding that it was a wolf. The investigating IDFG officer could not confirm much of anything and was of the opinion that the reported behavior was “more dog-like than wolf-like.”

This ongoing history of wolf vilification is at least 5,000 years old. It began when humans first domesticated livestock. Wolves, quite obviously, found the livestock to be easier prey than chasing down their wild cousins. Evidence of this human-wolf vendetta is readily seen in something as commonplace as children’s stories—stories such as Little Red Riding Hood, The Three Little Pigs, The Boy Who Cried Wolf, or Peter And The Wolf. This primal fear of wolves manifests itself in modern-day wolf “management” plans dictated primarily by ranchers and secondarily by hunters. The irrational hatred of wolves is promulgated by the vitriol of modern-day anti-wolf prophets, such as Ron Gillette, who spout babble such as “wolves are the most cruel, vicious animal in North America... the only predator that eats its prey alive because they like the taste of warm blood!”

Incredibly, ranchers in states with wolves are either ignorant or misinformed of the relatively limited extent of wolf predation. According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, in 2005 only 0.11 percent of all cattle losses in the country were due to wolf predation in 2005. In the same year attacks by domestic dogs and theft by rustlers were each responsible for five times as many cattle lost as those killed by wolves. In states with wolf populations, an average of less than 2.5 percent of sheep loss was due to predation by wolves. IDFG themselves state that in 2008 wolves were only responsible for killing 212 sheep in Idaho. This figure is a mere 2 percent of the 10,900 total sheep killed in Idaho 2004 (2008 sheep kill totals are unknown).

While wolves remained on the Endangered Species List ranchers anywhere in the United States who had losses due to wolf-predation were able to receive compensation from the Bailey Wildlife Foundation Wolf Compensation Trust run by Defenders of Wildlife. In neighboring Montana, the Montana Department of Livestock has picked up the Defenders compensation program for losses in Montana. An identical program in Idaho would cost the state a pittance—but apparently not a pittance that the rancher-controlled legislature wants to endorse.

The Idaho legislature, controlled both by ranchers and by people beholden to the interests of ranchers, has, instead, come up with a management plan whereby wolves will be arbitrarily maintained at levels of 500 to 700 wolves in the state. Sadly, IDFG as the enforcing organization is beholden to hunters who provide almost 98 percent of IDFG’s operating budget. It appears, based on what I heard at the Sandpoint public hearing last year, that most hunters view wolves both as competition and as yet another animal that they can shoot for “sport.”

IDFG’s wolf management plan is not based on an objective analysis of carrying capacity, nor of the role of wolves in the context of a balanced ecosystem, nor on an objective poll of the general populace’s attitudes towards wolves. What hunters’ desire is what IDFG strives to provide. It is revealing that, this fall, IDFG is going to open an unheard of seven-month hunting season on wolves—this for an animal fresh off the endangered species list. In the Lolo Pass area alone, IDFG is planning to virtually exterminate wolves with a plan to kill 100 wolves—supposedly to protect elk. It is readily apparent, as writer George Wuerthner observes, that “state wildlife agencies are not the objective, scientific, wildlife managers that they claim to be” and that they “only tolerate predators as long as they are not permitted to play a meaningful ecological role.”

According to the US Fish & Wildlife Service (and IDFG) the current population of about 5,500 gray wolves in the continental U.S. is “healthy.” Apparently an increase in the numbers of wolves will result both in dramatic reductions in populations of elk, deer and moose and harm the overall health of wolves themselves. It is worth observing that estimates of the pre-Columbus gray wolf population in the U.S. range from one million to 1.5 million. A “healthy” 5,500 wolves is a mere 0.4 percent of that original population. By contrast the pre-Columbus population of white tailed deer is estimated to have been about 30 million and today at about 25 million (83 percent). The pre-Columbus population of elk was estimated at 10 million and today at one million (10 percent).

In his superb book, Where The Wild Things Were: Life, Death, And Ecological Wreckage In A Landscape of Vanishing Predators, science writer William Stolzenburg lays out 100 years of painstaking scientific observations that convincingly demonstrate how crucial top predators, such as wolves, are to the complete well-being of ecosystems—including healthy populations of deer, elk, and moose. Famed ecologist Aldo Leopold poetically wrote “just as a deer herd lives in mortal fear of its wolves, so does a mountain live in mortal fear of its deer.” Leopold’s words are borne true as observations at Yellowstone National Park demonstrate that the diversity of species and the overall health of the flora and fauna in the Park has dramatically increased since the reintroduction of wolves over ten years ago. It should seem glaringly obvious that IDFG’s, or indeed, any state wildlife management agency’s predator management plan, is a very poor substitute for of millions of years of co-evolution.

Finally, it is worth noting that in the past 300 years there have been a sum total of four possible wolf-related human fatalities in the United States—all of them prior to 1911. By comparison there are 4.7 million dog bite victims annually in the U.S. with 33 fatalities in 2007 and 23 in 2008. It is also worth noting that despite 5,000 years of demonization about 60 percent of Americans do not perceive wolves as the ultimate bogeyman in the woods and are in favor of rational wolf recovery. Sadly, the opinions of those 60 percent are hardly ever heard because they are neither hunters nor ranchers, but just ordinary people.

To learn more about wolves visit the International Wolf Center  which provides objective educational programs on wolves.


Stephen Augustine is a member of the Northern Rockies Wolf Group. Wolf photos by Michael Lorenzo, used with permission.

Subscribe to comments feed Comments (16 posted)

Matt Haag 05/17/2009 19:43:02
Mr. Boggs - you've asked some great questions. To really understand why we have the wildlife diversity and the challenges of wildlife management today one has to look at the history of wildlife conservation.

If I may, I would like to answer some of your questions.

1- I don't have exact numbers of the percentage of Idaho resident hunters nor ranchers. However, the national average is about 10% of the population are hunters, much greater for anglers. I should be able to find those numbers for you though. As far as ranchers, I think the only people that can define that would be the IRS.

2- I would have to disagree with you that the Idaho legislature is anti-wolf. I would also argue that the majority of hunters are not anti-wolf. The newspapers would like us all to think that there is a dichotomy with wolf opinions to create stories. Some newspapers only print articles such as Mr. Augustine's or Mr. Gillette's. We've heard enough from the extremists, and very little from the middle.

3 - I would really hesitate to categorize people as pro-wolf or anti-wolf. Again these are the extremists. So I don't think there are percentages or numbers for you to find. Can a person be pro-wolf and desire mangagement through hunting? Of course. The wolf tag they purchase will pay for the conservation of wolves. For example I believe CBear the above blogger is a perfect example. Personally, I beleive the wolf to be a magnificant animal, as I do will all of our wildlife. I'm pro-elk and I buy a tag every year.

4 - Your last question requires a very involved response! After the over harvest of North American wildlife at the turn of century laws, seasons, habitat, and reintroduction of species was on the forefront. How was this funded? A bill Sponsored by Senator Key Pittman of Nevada and Congressman A. Willis Robertson of Virginia and signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on Sept. 2, 1937, the Pittman-Robertson Act created a 10% excise tax on sporting arms and ammunition. A few years later the tax became 11%-generating $150 million in funds each year. Numerous species including migratory birds, elk, deer, antelope, wild turkey and many other species were rescued from the endangered list and are now not only surviving, but thriving. Those monies were given to the states to protect our wildlife. It was the original "pay to play" through hunting licenses and tags. An absolute success story that continues today. While people like Mr. Augustine call the USFWS and IDFG self important , the reality is that those agencies have created the wildlife diversity we have today from hunting licenses, tax on hunting equipment, and volunteer hours from hunters. When is the last time you've heard of a self imposed tax? Self importance???

I've gone on enough. If you're interested in a discussion please email me at matt.haag@idfg.idaho.gov.

For a link to IDFG position on wolf management:

Jerry R. Boggs 05/17/2009 10:13:24
Well, an interesting conversation between Stephen and Matt, one that covers many points of contention, both scientific and not.

Here's a big concern of mine that does not seem to be addressed. I admit that I do not yet have the data on this but it would seem reasonable to conclude that most of the citizens of Idaho are neither hunters nor ranchers. Yet the entire Idaho legislative intent and executive implementation seems to be anti-wolf. If someone knows the percentages of citizens pro and con this issue, I'd appreciate receiving them. On this issue, at least, and for most of conservation, I am concerned that the majority of Idaho citizens have no representation within their state! How has this evolved?
CBear 05/16/2009 14:46:49
Well, Mr. Augustine,

First, let me say I have read Stoltzenburg's book, and listened to him lecture on the topics in it. I think he has a more balanced view than you seem to suggest by your own interpretation. He acknowledges the risk associated with predator reintroduction and the tradeoffs associated with man's presence. I do not think he would find your comments all in line with his. He, I suspect, would debate the numbers of wolves that are desirable in various geographic regions. He sems like a reasonable guy, but then he doesn't live in the West, either. He calls Virginia home, and maybe he and the folks there would like some of their own.

Curent update - It seems your wolf buddies in Yellowstone have started chasing motorcyles and bicylists near Old Faithful (Jackson Hole Daily 5/16/09). Park rangers are getting ready to dispatch one of them before it takes a human down - pitty the jogger who attracts attention.

Whether you agree with it or not, there have been valid reasons why humans have "persecuted wolves" for centuries. It is not just fairytales that create these perceptions. It is not just European cultures.

And, I take exception to your villianization and conclusions on why people hunt. Many, in fact, do so for numerous other reasons than "blood sport." I have hunted elk for over thirty years in several Western states where I have grown up, attended college and graduate school. Most people hunt as an opportunity to get out in the fall weather, see the colors change and the sometimes unpredictable weather, with even the risk of getting lost or injured. Some are fortunate enough to do it for the family gathering and friendship that ties generations. And, of course, there are those who do it for sustanance, and the food bounty of the successful hunt. There is a sense of fulfillment and spiritual meaning that I expect a vegetarian may not understand.

I would be interested in knowing more about your organization "Northern Rockies Wolf Group." How large is your group, do you have a website or other way of exchanging information?

And, by the way I read recently that man was designed (by God or evolution depending on your leaning) to be more of an omnivore (including meat) due to the size and shape of our teeth, and the fact that the enamel is thinner than those animals that eat primarily vegetation and the dirt that sometimes accompanies such a diet.
Matt Haag 05/15/2009 15:58:11
Stephen -

My intentions were never to attack your character, I apologize. I must have done a horrible job explaining myself regarding the vegetarian comment. It was only meant to draw parallels between the importance of a garden to a vegetarian and the opportunity to harvest clean elk meat in the wild to a hunter. I am too a gardener but not a vegetarian, so I see your point on relevance.

I was sincere with my invitation to come to work with me. Somethings are better discussed in person and what better environment than in the woods. You know where to find me.

Stephen Augustine 05/15/2009 15:22:27
Matt, I feel that we are, sadly, crossing the line into character assassinations at this point.

Even though it is relevant to me on a personal level there was no call to bring up the fact that I am a vegetarian. I can only guess that you were bringing it up to somehow diminish my credibility (most gardeners that I know are non-vegetarians).

You have implied that I am not a "true conservationist" when I never claimed to be one. Moreover, I doubt that there is even such a thing as a "true conservationist" or that anyone would know what that is.

You seem to imply that I'm an armchair activist because "I've never seen you out there". Out where? Are there specific GPS coordinates that you're looking for? It's laughably petty. But you know what, I'd actually love to go out with you into the field some time.

I'm sorry that you take offense that I might be paying some portion of your salary for non-game conservation. Point well taken though, I will seriously start thinking about buying hunting licenses this coming season.

In the meantime, thank you for protecting the animals.
Matt Haag 05/15/2009 11:01:35
Stephen, allow me set some things straight.

First you do not pay my salary, license dollars pay 100% of my time, gas and equipment. I'm a little ticked that you use that line as well. Non-game license plates and non-game donations are just that, non-game. Meaning hunters and anglers pay all the bills, not you. If you would like to pay part of my salary and donate to a great cause, go buy a hunting license.

Secondly, I did read the book. Great points for discussion, interesting viewpoints, but not science. The work did not cite any peer reviewed journals, nor was based on the scientific method

I didn't say you were vegetarian, you did in one of your editorials. I was making a comparion of working land on a small scale to wildlife management. I don't care how or what methods you chose to garden, you are still manipulating the land for an outcome. We all do it.

Now it's a beautiful day - I'm off to the "wilderness" to protect the animals. Maybe you sould come with me sometime - I've never seen you out there.
Stephen Augustine 05/15/2009 10:24:33
Thank you for your opinions Mr. Haag, which, in my opinion appear to be simply more opinions. If you think that what I I have written is a collection of rhetoric and "misguidings" then obviously there is no chance of
dialogue at all. Here are a couple of recent examples of how, in my mind, IDFG does not seem
interested in the viewpoint of wolf advocacy groups:

1. The Northern Rockies Wolf Group (NRWG) has invited IDFG to its events to be a participant in activities such as
being a panel member on open discussion. Last November IDFG did in fact send a representative who was a
participant in a respectful and informative NRWG panel discussion. It appears that as a consequence of that attendance several hunters complained to IDFG and subsequently IDFG has stated that they will in no way be associated with NRWG or be seen with us. It is worth noting that IDFG directory Carl Groen, however, did attend the vitriolic and rhetorical anti-wolf gathering in March in Hailey, Idaho where Idaho's most prominent wolf extermination proponent, Ron Gillette, egged the crowd on in a manner worthy of nazi-era gatherings (http://wolves.wordpress.com/2009/04/04/big-antiwolf-meeting-tonight-in-hailey-id/). How is this "working together"?

2. Two months ago, I sent you, an IDFG employee, an email where I recommended William Stolzenburg's book, "Where the Wild Things Are" (http://www.amazon.com/Where-Wild-Things-Were-Ecological/dp/1596912995) as an excellent resource on 100 years of science behind apex predators, such as wolves, and why apex predators are crucial to the entire well being of ecosystems. Your specific response to the book, without having read it, was "Mr. Stolzenburg has the luxury of philosophizing about wildlife management without the constraints of legislators, environmental groups, and public opinion.". If you had read the book you would find out for yourself that there was probably about 5% philosophizing and 95% science. Yet, it appeared that you were dismissing it out of hand. That is, you had made up your mind about the book, about Stolzenburg, and me from the outset. Where then is the "working together"?

You mention that I am vegetarian. Why, yes, and very consciously so. Other readers might be wondering why this is relevant to this discussion. I'll propose one reason why: neither the elk nor the wolves are directly under assault because of my choices. Elks are hunted either because hunters are into blood "sport" or because they want the meat. Wolves are primarily vilified and "managed" because of the concerns of ranchers. Ranchers keep livestock so that people can eat meat and dairy products three meals a day. I choose not to participate in this area of conflict that is primarily as a consequence of non-essential desires.

If you are comparing my small garden to wilderness where elk and wolves roam then that does not inspire any confidence in me that you are able to see the forest for the trees. However, if it means anything to you - it's a completely organic garden and apart from accidentally chopping up worms I do nothing to "rid" the garden of "pests" either real or imaginary. It is nothing more than human hubris that presumes that wilderness and wild things need human "management". In fact I most emphatically disagree with that presumption. If you would like an example of that go and visit the area around Chernobyl (yes, the nuclear disaster) and see how the wildlife that has returned is managing itself perfectly well in wonderful balance. We, as a species, are newcomers to ecosystems where flora and fauna have co-evolved for tens of millions of years perfectly well without USF&WS, IDFG, and other such self-important agencies. Despite your claims, I don't find any compelling evidence that "sportsmen" are the salvation of either elk or wolves.

Lastly, I would like you to know that as a member of the 60% who are in favor of wolf recovery - I contribute to IDFG's non-game conservation program both through wildlife vehicle license plates and with a donation on our tax returns (come on over if you want to see our tax return). So, I pay your salary Mr. Haag and I too "foot the bill". This does, however, raise a more important issue and that is why are animals that are in the public domain primarily managed at the behest of hunters? There is something direly wrong with the way that the present system is constructed. Wilderness and all creatures that live in them should be managed for the benefit of all people - not just hunters. There are many people who have an interest in animals that do not involve killing them. Ideally, the system should make everyone should pay for conservation of public lands and public animals and everyone should have a say in how creatures should be "managed" (or not).
Trish Gannon 05/15/2009 08:38:00
Let me come to the defense of Stephen here, and explain why I chose to publish this article.

First, I have no problem with wolf reintroduction. We live in a world where part of the natural order is predator/prey - and that includes ourselves. The great thrust of what Stephen wrote addresses the fears and misconceptions that many Americans bring to the table in any discussion of wolves - which his examples of local press illustrate beautifully.

I also have no problem with hunting - even wolves, though I must admit I don't understand the concept of 'sport' hunting at all and I can't imagine eating a wolf. But as a society (and maybe even as a species) we have not yet evolved beyond cats... we take enjoyment in killing, and that's just a brutal, natural fact.

My concern, which is expressed by Stephen's article, is at what level do we have a sustainable population of wolves? Personally, I don't believe we're there yet. Agency documents show three local packs with an estimate of 16 wolves - if IDFG is correct in their estimates, then no, I don't think it's time to open wolves up as targets for sport hunters. Respectfully, Matt, because I do respect very much the job you do in our woods, science did not make this decision - it hasn't driven decisions in the US in quite some time. Politics made the decision. You are correct in saying management is the key - the question here is whether we're even at a level where management should be considered.

Matt Haag 05/15/2009 07:38:53
Unfortunately, these types of articles are based on emotions and no science. A collection of rhetoric and misguidings. There's never anything positive that comes of articles constructed like yours Mr. Augustine. True conservationists and sportsman work together to solve problems and find viable solutions. They look at the positive rather than point fingers from outside the ring.

In years to come we will look back and find a great success in the wolf introduction BECAUSE of hunting seasons. The black bear and mountain lion are examples of success stories,both listed as big game animals in Idaho, both thriving with viable populations. Ask California or Oregon how successful a ban on mountain lion hunting is working.

The key to succuessful wildlife management, is just that, management. Mr. Ausgustine, I know from previous articles that you are a vegetarian. I see you work diligintly in your garden once in a while. Are you getting rid of pests, enriching the soil, or manipulating plant growth? I would think so because if you didn't you wouldn't have a successful garden.

Don't forget that if was not for sportsman dollars in Idaho there would be no elk, in other words no wolf food. So the 60% of americans that you refer to are not the ones footing the bill. In addition, can you not be a hunter and for wolf introduction and management? I deal with sportsman everyday, and an overwhelming majority like the idea of wolves in the woods, they just hate the idea of unmanaged ones.
CBear 05/14/2009 06:12:14
Robert since aboutBunch,

I supported wolf reintroduction, and may be counted in statistic you quote, which seems a bit high. However, I supported the agreed numbers in the 1994 EIS prepared by the USFWS, that lead to the release of the experimental population wolves (65 if I recall correctly, plus the migration into MT from Canada) The wildlife agencies of ID, MT and WY all supported the reintroduction, on the caveat that when certain population objectives were met, the states would take over management. So, in effect, the statistic you quote was valid at one point and may be true today. BUT, it does not mean that everyone who supports reintroduction does so without control of the numbers of wolves or the areas into which they migrate.

And by the way, not all aeas where wolves are migrating are public, you uninformed pinhead. Wolves occupy huge acreages of private timber land in ID, and rangeland in MT and WY (even though about 48% of the state is federally owned).

You probably have not been around wolves much, if at all, in person, as some of us have. If you had, you may very well have a different view, and that likely explains your miserable smart-ass comments.

Wolves need to be managed like other wildlife - prey and predators - and you are likely in for a very big surprise after these federal lawsuits run their course.
Robert since aboutBunch 05/13/2009 10:16:12
All you wolf haters might as well get used to the wolves. 65-70 per cent of americans supported wolf reintroduction and want the wolves returned to the wilderness. The lands where wolves were reintroduced are public lands belonging to all americans and we have a say in what happens there. Other than the fact that I personally like wolves I have no stake in their presence while wolf haters are only concerned about their own selfish desires for hunting opportunities and a few dead livestock. Wolves were made by God as part of his creation they deserve to be here as much as any other living things. You're outnumbered, you can bluster and bitch all you want but you're still gonna lose.
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CBear 05/13/2009 08:04:56
To Robert Hoskins,

If you are going to ask a narrow,uninformed question, I will give you the answer you deserve. Wolves, by a substantial margin!

Wolves are in their habitat 24/7 -365 days per year. And from the previous post you know a wolf will consume 8-23 elk per year. Elk (or deer) are a major part of wolf diet October through May. Most hunters are not guided as your post suggests. Hunters of bull elk (and mature bulld are larger than yearling spikes) in the woods for a discrete period mostly in October and early November, depending on method (bow, muzzleloader, rifle). Hunter success rate for mature bulls is about 7-12 percent. Of course, no hunting is allowed in National Parks, and only a few hunters get to true wilderness areas, which cover large acreages at higher elevation. Wolves will kill lone bulls in winter - their pack method of attack differs from cows or calves.

According to chief Yellowstone NP wolf biologist, Dan Stahler (2006) covering 1995-2004 winter studies, wolves select for mature bull elk about 43 percent of the time, which is the most of any elk catagory (bulls, cows, calves, old cows). One may reasonably extrapolate these numbers to other geographic areas.

And last, information which goes beyond your question. Wolves also particularly like very young calves that have just been born. They do not discriminate between male or female, and this is affecting population dynamics in many areas. Calf survival rate has been significantly reduced, and in areas of Idaho are approaching a level 20/100 cows, that hunting has been reduced, and there is a campaign to reduce wolf numbers - See Lolo and Clearwater, Dworshak Wolf studies b y ID Game and Fish.

What amazes me is that people like you pose questions like this (badly, I might add), fed by the incredibly biased information that Defenders of Wildlife and other wolf advocacy groups.

Furthermore, livestock losses are not always compensated. There is a very rigorous process that is required to submit a claim - the claimant needs to locate a carcass, prove conclusively the death was wolf caused. Easy, you may say, but on open range where livestock is raised a carcass may be in the woods, a draw or creek bottom and never found. If found the remains may be so badly decomposed that determinig cause is impossible. Last, not all livestock is killed - they can be harassed or so nervous they do not feed, which results in weight loss which is NOT compensated.

It is rags like this paper which do a disservice to objective review of the reintroduction of wolves to the West, which by the way are multipylying at a net rate of about 24% per year.

I do not agree with the author of this piece, who is clearly uninformed.
Robert Hoskins 05/12/2009 08:54:02
Wilderness Muse

One question: who kills more mature bull elk--commercially guided hunters, or wolves? There's only one right answer.

Wilderness Muse 05/11/2009 11:53:57
Why don't we just relabel this article " How to Prof-wolf advocates lie with statistics." If the estimates of wolf population compiled by US Fish & Wildlife and the states of ID, MT and WY are correct, there are about two to four times as many wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains in 2009 than in 2005. This is a net increase that accounts for the fact that wolf populations have increased about 24% per year, with a number of problem wolves being killed for chowing down or harassing and senselessly killing livestock of all kinds. Two wolves migrating to Oregon just two weeks ago are responsible for surplus killing of 22 lambs - those are livestock they did not eat.

The reason there are so many dog bites is there are millions of dogs, you idiot!

The author conveniently fails to mention a young geology student was killed in Ontario Canada by wolves in 2005. This story is recounted in a November 2008 issue of Sports Illustrated. There are lots of incidents involving wolves harassing or even attacking humans or livestock around the world that go unreported.

Wolves have no fear of humans. Earlier this year Yellowstone National Park biologists started using paintball guns on wolves killing elk near employee housing at Mammoth Hot Springs, Park Headquarters. In late March a wolf pack killed a cougar less than a mile from a subdivision in McCall, ID.

An adult wolf will kill 8-23 elk per year. These elk are not always the old or weak, as wolf advocates would have you believe. Montana and Idaho game officials confirm many are young healthy calves, while being birthed or shortly after they are born. Wolves also kill mature bull elk. All of this has adverse effects on elk (and deer) population dynamics.

In short, don't BS the public, Stephen. There is a place in the West for wolves, but the states need to manage their numbers just as they do all other wildlife. Curious how wolf advocates like to distort truth whenever they can.
TLM 05/11/2009 10:01:27
Are you a biologist? Or just another blogger? Have you studied the carrying capacity of the land? Where the heck are we supposed to fit all the wolves? Do you realize that all the prime habitat is occupied now and wolves have moved into the marginal habitat occupied by humans? Why should the rural residents of Idaho provide domestic animals for wolves to eat? Have you ever tried to prove wolf depredation? Do you realize that only ranchers receive compensation IF they can prove it was a wolf? Have you ever had wolves attack your pets? Have you ever even tried to report a wolf sighting? Have you had a pack of wolves in your yard after your animals?

Try answering some of those questions before you repeat more rhetoric from DoW. Talk to the people who have experienced depredation. Its not just ranchers and hunters that have been impacted. You won't read about the dogs and horses killed in our area in a newspaper, it goes unreported and FWS doesn't include the numbers in their reports either.

Some of us view wolf-huggers as more dangerous than the wolf packs. The pen is mightier than the sword. Wolves do belong in the wilderness, but they don't belong in our towns.
Clay 05/11/2009 07:50:00
[quote] By comparison there are 4.7 million dog bite victims annually in the U.S. with 33 fatalities in 2007 and 23 in 2008.[/quote]

Just a note about dogs,bites and the extremely rare fatalities because some dogs are also being "demonized".

The figure 4.7 million dog bites comes from a telephone survey.
At least 90% of all dog bites are classified as minor.


[quote]..There is no national system in the United States for tallying reports of dog bites. The often-repeated numbers that inspired some to declare a dog bite “epidemic” were estimated on the basis of a telephone survey conducted in 1994. From among the 5,328 persons who responded to this survey, interviewers obtained reports of 196 dog bites within the previous 12 months. (Only 38 of those sought medical attention).*

Alarmists quote the numbers extrapolated from this 14-year-old telephone survey as evidence that dogs are a growing threat. However, communities across the country report the good, less publicized news that actual (not estimated) reports of dog bites are decreasing, and have been for years....[/quote]

Re Canine fatalities
Although tragic they are extremely rare.
There are estimated to be 75 million dogs in the U.S.
There are ~ 15-30 fatalities per year which means that 99.99996% of dogs don`t kill.

For documented Research on dogs and dog bites visit
National Canine Research Council
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Stephen Augustine is a member of the Northern Rockies Wolf Group

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