This story appeared Oct. 6 and is fairly moderate in tone, despite the headline — “their struggle” isn’t much compared to the multitude of other things that kill cattle and sheep.
Montana’s Department of Fish and Wildife and Parks, which does just about all on-the-ground decision making about wolves today, is also moderate. Montana’s Department and its commissioners are much more inclusive, willing to try new things, and open to the public than Idaho. I won’t even talk about Wyoming’s Game and Fish Commission where total darkness reigns.
The odd thing is this, despite Idaho’s harsh rhetoric, and backward ranchers with political pull, Idaho has far more wolves than Montana, kills fewer wolves than Montana, and in many years has fewer so-called “depredations” on cattle and sheep (note that I am being conscious of George Wuerthner’s article on language that I posted today).
So I am puzzled.
Wolves in the fold: Ranchers struggle to co-exist with an old Montana predator. By Kim Briggeman. The Missoulian
Related story. Wyoming wolf conflicts decline: Aggressive control actions limit livestock kills. By Whitney Royster, Casper Star Tribune. When you factor out the large number of wolves in Yellowstone Park, a much higher percentage of wolves are killed in Wyoming than in Montana or Idaho by the government — in this case the federal government.
Another puzzle, does killing a lot of wolves improve the political situation with ranchers? Are they going to be more pleasant in Wyoming now, or does that kind of management just raise their expectation level? The question needs to be asked and answered, and wolf conservation groups decide their tone in the future on the basis of the answer.