Yellowstone workers to kill problem wolf

This would be the first incidence of a wolf being “removed” inside of Yellowstone.

From last weeks wolf report:

A young wolf dispersing probably from the Gibbon Meadows pack chased people on bicycles and a motorcycle on several occasions.  It is unclear how many times as it appears the wolf has been illegally fed and this and other incidences of habituation have gone unreported.  This wolf is considered a human safety threat and active measures to remove it have been ongoing since May 7 without success.  There is no plan at the moment to suspend activities to find and kill this animal because it is considered a threat to human safety.  Again, visitors are advised to not approach wolves or any other wildlife in YNP as it is unsafe and leads to habituated wildlife which ultimately will have to be removed.

Yellowstone workers to kill problem wolf
Bozeman Daily Chronicle

Update: Park officials kill nuisance wolf
Billings Gazette

87 Responses to “Yellowstone workers to kill problem wolf”

  1. Brian Ertz Says:

    i don’t like the phrase “problem wolf” – i don’t think it’s appropriate, honest, nor accurate — wildlife managers that use this phrase give greater insight into their own character than that of the wolf.

  2. JB Says:

    Until we have culture that understands the basics of behavioral ecology, terms like “problem” and “nuisance” will continue to be used by managers to describe animals in these scenarios. The appropriate term–“food conditioned” wolf–is meaningless to most of the population.

    Even Dusty’s summary is a bit misleading. Habituation refers to the process by which a behavioral response to a particular stimulus is decreased or extinguished over time when there are no negative consequences over repeated exposures. Habituation occurs, for example, when wolves learn that fladry cannot hurt them and eventually ignore it. Most wildlife in YNP are habituated to the presence of people. For the most part, this is a good thing! The wildlife ignore people who get to watch them engage in their everyday behavior.

    Food conditioning is a form of operant conditioning whereby a behavior (e.g. approaching humans) is reinforced by a positive stimulus (i.e. food reward). The fact that Yellowstone wildlife are generally already habituated to people makes food conditioning much easier. Animals that approach close to humans (i.e. those that are habituated) are thrown food (positive stimulus) that reinforces the behavior (i.e. approaching people). The end result is an animal that has learned to associate people with food and has modified its behavior in an attempt to get the reword.

    The people who fed the wolf are to blame, though I believe that killing the wolf is the best (for human safety) option.

  3. Ken Cole Says:

    Full disclosure, Dusty originally posted a draft of this story and I edited it. I took the description of the situation from the government’s wolf weekly.

    I also wrote the sub-headline but, if I recall correctly, there have been wolves which have been euthanized for reasons other than this. I don’t recall the reasons but severe mange and capture injury come to mind. I’m not sure about the mange though.

  4. Don George Says:

    Just one question. Why do the reports of this incident say “Yellowstone workers” instead of Rangers are trying to kill this wolf. Do Yellowstone workers carry weapons in the park ? I hope their not using poison or traps or some other method that might harm other wildlife.

  5. Ken Cole Says:

    I presume that it is only the rangers and biologists who would be involved in these actions.

  6. Virginia Says:

    Why can’t they relocate this wolf the same as they relocate bears?

  7. Linda Hunter Says:

    Maybe they should give tourists a simple intelligence test before they are allowed to enter the park.

  8. Ryan Says:


    Because you’ll end up with the same problem where ever its relocated to or it will starve to death.

  9. Jeff Says:

    I realize semantics matters, but how is labeling this wolf a “Problem wolf” incorrect? The refer to bears that raid cabins, cars, or hen houses problem bears…are they not a problem?

  10. Dave Smith Says:

    Jeff–You can refer to bears that get into garbage and other foods as “problem bears” but then when you get rid of the symptom of the problem–the bear–the underlying cause of the problem is still there–the people who let the bear get into their garbage and food.

    Problem bears are kind of like problem lung cancer–it ain’t gonna do you a lotta good to cut out your cancerous left lung if you keep on smoking a pack of cigarettes a day.

  11. ProWolf in WY Says:

    Problem bears are kind of like problem lung cancer–it ain’t gonna do you a lotta good to cut out your cancerous left lung if you keep on smoking a pack of cigarettes a day.

    Well said Dave. Until people learn this this will be an unfortunate “side effect” of national parks.

  12. mikarooni Says:

    Too many false flags flying here. You can’t voice an extreme stance advocating a trumped up need to shoot bears one minute then spout pleasantries about conserving them the next as a means of luring people in.

  13. Dave Smith Says:

    ProWolf–Food conditioning of grizzly bears is far, far, far more common outside of national parks than inside of national parks, including Yellowstone.

    Food conditioning kills bears, and it’s primarily the irresponsible behavior of people outside of national parks that food conditions/kills bears.

    I lived in Yellowstone Park for six years, and developed areas in the park–Old Faithful, Lake, Canyon–are home to thousands of people in the spring, summer, and fall when the bears are foraging. The virtual absence of food conditioning of bears in these mini-cities is a tribute to good conduct by local residents. plus strict law enforcement of “don’t feed the bears” regulations that stop millions of tourists/visitors from feeding and food-conditioning bears.

    Outside the parks, far too many locals behave like yahoos. Do not feed the bears regulations do not exist or can be ignored without penalty by locals and tourists. As a result, far too many food-conditioned bears die.

  14. ProWolf in WY Says:

    Food conditioning of grizzly bears is far, far, far more common outside of national parks than inside of national parks, including Yellowstone.

    I had no idea.

  15. mikarooni Says:

    Both of you, a double, we’ll talk more when I have more time. Until then, readers, closely examine this set of positions and the resulting comments…

    The NRA has moved itself into de facto control of hunter safety training programs, which makes its hunter safety rules a convenient diversionary screen for other motives, including finding a way to discredit the ESA by compromising the rare ESA victory in bear recovery.

  16. Craig Says:

    Get rid of the Bicycles and let the Wolf be!!! Most of these arrogant asses cause 100 times the problems not riding where they should!

  17. Ken Cole Says:

    Frankly, I don’t think the people who have been followed/chased/pursued by this wolf are the same people who conditioned it.

    Are people like those who were fired for peeing in Old Faithful to blame? It happened in the Old Faithful area. Just speculating.

    This also isn’t the first time a wolf has been food conditioned in Yellowstone. People were observed feeding wolves of the Druid Pack years ago and the wolves were shot with beanbags. After that the wolves generally kept their distance from the roads and people.

  18. Dave Smith Says:

    Ken Cole–wouldn’t it make more sense to beanbag the people who were feeding wolves to discourage their bad behavior? Why torture wolves for the misconduct of people?

  19. John d. Says:

    I see a Fraser Island scenario in the works. Lets go hysteria! Lets go!

    Ken Cole – good reasoning.

  20. Larry Thorngren Says:

    A wolf that chases bicycles and motorcycles is food conditioned? It sounds more like this wolf is having fun. Dogs chase cars and bicycles all the time and they do it because they enjoy it. Keep the bicycles out of the area the wolf is in. There was a coyote near Canyon Village a year ago chasing bicycles and no one was feeding him to reward his behavior. I suspect he was killed for this activity. I was in Yellowstone over mother’s day weekend and the rangers in the North end of Yellowstone were being overly agressive toward bears and other wildlife.
    They shot cracker shells at a grizzly that was eating grass 150 yards off of the road to scare it away. I think they did it because they were tired of being on bear duty rather than because the bear or the visitors were doing anything wrong. Another ranger honked her very loud emergency horn at another grizzly that crossed the road.
    The rangers and particularly the biologists just can’t keep their hands off of the animals in the park. I saw the collared alpha female of the Agate Pack and she has lost her pups this year. She was so emaciated that she couldn’t have successfully nursed one pup let alone a litter. Her collar looked way too tight. Putting collars on alpha females that are going to give birth and nurse a litter of pups seems to be more than a little stupid. Yellowstone animals are overmanaged and often studied to death. The MACHO B Jaguar event in Arizona gets repeated here all of the time. Get the collars off and leave them the hell alone!
    I stopped last Wednesday at Centennial Marsh near Hill City, Idaho and there were two female Boise State University researchers pulling female Kestrel Falcons out of their nest boxes and sticking needles into them. The researchers did not wear surgical masks or gloves and one had an open sore on her hand and bird vomit on her sweatshirt.. One of them got very upset when I photographed the event. She will be even more upset when she finds I dropped those photos off at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife, State Fish and Game, State epidemologist and the Governor’s offices. With this kind of careless research, look for the next flu pandemic to originate in Centennial Marsh.

  21. cobra Says:

    Don’t you think it’s kind of a double edged sword. If someone gets attacked in the park by an animal, wolf, bear or whatever it’s seems to be the park that’s found at fault and usually sued no matter how stupid the person was that got attacked. Damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Sounds like a tough spot for the park to be in.

  22. ProWolf in WY Says:

    Cobra, that is definitely the case. But it is ridiculous if rangers are acting the way that Larry said. And Larry, good for you for dropping those photos off.

  23. Marie from Australia Says:

    Hmmm………….it seems that human ignorance strikes again. We have illegal feeding issues in a place called Fraser Island, just off the coast of Queensland. People feed the islands dingos and then of course, the dingos get the blame and are “removed”.
    Why is it that animals are considered the problem when the true problem lies with people?

  24. Peter Kiermeir Says:

    …and of course the Billings Gazette readership does never disappoint: “We told you, first they´ve killed all the elk, now they´re after people!” Even Grave´s “Russian Wolves” pamphlet is cited again. All the stuff you would expect – they are so reliable. Strange, Marion is missing. The situation with these wolves so close to people in Mammoth and Old Faithful Areas is a nightmare. The slightest incidence would feed the anti-wolf propaganda. Looks like a busy season. Hopefully the pack near Mammoth will look for a far off rendesvous site once they are ready to move on.

  25. Ken Cole Says:

    I think people who feed wildlife in the Park should be prosecuted but you have to catch them doing it first. That’s kind of difficult to do. I have told people there to stop feeding wildlife but they usually get angry at me.

    In many people’s mind Yellowstone is a park like a city park is. That means that since they can feed ducks and pigeons in a city park they can feed wolves and grizzly bears in a National Park.

    Larry, I agree with your sentiments to a large degree. I don’t know the solution to this situation after you factor in the hysteria of coward contingent evidenced by the commenters over at the Billings Gazette. As you are well aware though, people do feed wildlife in the Park and the 50¢ solution is the most often one used when problems arise. I would hope that they try to use adverse conditioning towards this wolf but the scenario of a wolf hurting someone would end up hurting more than just this one wolf and the person attacked.

    It’s all nice to say that nothing should be done to prevent something that may or may not happen but is the risk of it actually happening something that we are willing to take? Wolves, as we all know and argue, are not like other wildlife. There is a hysteria about them, they provide an important ecological role, they are managed differently, and they are generally few in number. What would happen if a food conditioned wolf, which appears to be the case in this circumstance, attacks or kills someone?

    I take exception with your comparison of wolves to dogs. They are not dogs. Wolves do not chase people for fun and they should be strongly discouraged from doing so just as we would dogs. Also, wolves should be very afraid of people. People are the most dangerous animals on earth.

    As for dogs that chase people, they are the ultimate example of an animal that has been conditioned to be unafraid of people, and sometimes they kill people.

    I don’t like the options being put forward in this instance but for the sake of wolves in general I think that the risk is too high to ignore this. Closing the area around Old Faithful to bikes is just not a realistic option for this situation. As we both know, wolves can travel long distances and this one would likely find another area to engage in this behavior if it chooses to do so.

    Let’s hope that the wolf stops this behavior and the Park Service doesn’t do anything more but I am in support of killing this wolf if it averts an attack against a human.

  26. Dave Smith Says:

    Mickarooni–still waitng for your facts on my “extreme” stance about the “trumped up” need for hunters in a life of death situation while facing a charging grizzly to shoot the bear with their rifle. What are the alternatives? The hunter will carry his rifle in one hand or both hands, and here are the step by step instructions on how to use bear spray from Ursus International:

    “1) Raise your pepper spray; pull away the safety clip, hold the body of the can in one hand, have the index finger of the other through the hole under the trigger, with your thumb poised above the trigger.
    2) Hold your ground. Try to estimate when the bear is within 20 feet, and bear in mind wind strength and direction
    3) Aim over your thumb, depressing the trigger on the pepper spray ? the jet is quite wide and coloured, so it is reasonably easy to hit your target. You should try to hit the bear in the face with the spray.”

    Mickarooni, most hunters I know have 2 arms and 2 hands, not 3, so using bear spray is pretty much out of the question. It appears that the bear spray cult is nothing but a bunch of fact-free fanatics and extremists, kooks on the lunatic fringe.

  27. Larry Thorngren Says:

    Riding a bike or jogging in areas that have large carnivores like wolves, grizzlies , cougars and even coyotes is asking for trouble. They can’t resist chasing people in these situations any more than your neighbor’s mutt can. Common sense would dictate that you do those activities elswhere.

  28. JB Says:

    Ken, thanks for the reasoned comments. People need to understand the kind of ammunition an actual wolf attack would provide people who oppose wolves. YNP is not going to miss one wolf. In this case, it is better to be safe then sorry. For those that disagree, ask yourself if you’d have the same response if it was a different large carnivore chasing after people (e.g. griz, cougar, black bear).

    It’s always a shame when an animal has to be killed because of stupid people; however, the death of a wolf is far preferable to an attack on a person within YNP.

  29. Jay Barr Says:


    I get the picture that you don’t like radio collars on wildlife, but your continued portrayal of wildlife biologists as uncaring, incompetent, data-mongers willing to sacrifice the health/well-being of the animals is getting old. As for knowing which wolf is going to be reproductive in a pack, and therefore should be excluded from collaring, is seldom know-able, except for maybe in YNP, and even then I doubt that the collar is responsible for that wolf’s “emaciated” condition. Parturition and lactation are costly biological processes and most female animals that undergo them will be less than optimal condition.

  30. Jeff Says:

    I usually have my rifle on a sling over my shoulder, sometimes holding it with one hand sometimes two depending on the terrain and how long I’ve been hiking. I always carry pepper spray hunting in NW Wyoming because of the CHANCE I’ll need it, I’ll take the CHANCE I can use it and save a bear if possible. Am I positive I’ll be able to access and use it quickly from my hip? I don’t know, but considering I missed an elk at 20 feet this fall as it was too close to shoot with a scoped rifle and I knew it was trotting towards me I don’t think I have a good chance of shooting a surprised and charging grizzly at point blank range… Once the elk ran away I was able to drop it with my second shot at 50 yards. I personally carry bear spray because I know if I have it I might be able to use it and if I use it a bear, lion, or wolf might get to live another day. If I don’t have pepper spray on me, lethal defense is my only option and I don’t go in the woods looking to kill anything other than an elk. Pepper spray to me is simply a cheap efficient non lethal option I prefer to have at my disposal when I elect to hunt elk here in Teton County, Wyoming.

  31. JB Says:

    “Mickarooni, most hunters I know have 2 arms and 2 hands, not 3, so using bear spray is pretty much out of the question. It appears that the bear spray cult is nothing but a bunch of fact-free fanatics and extremists, kooks on the lunatic fringe.”

    Oh Christ, are we back to the bear spray bit again?! Time to find a new thread!

  32. Barb Says:

    If humans had more humanity, they would let this animal and animals like it (who have been tainted by human behavior) go to a sanctuary, and at taxpayer expense.

    We really need a federal agency that speaks for wildlife first — not hunters, not livestock, not domestic pets. DOW is a continual disappointment.

  33. Jay Says:

    Larry–thanks for the umpteenth reiteration of the the same rant. Wanna stop harassing wolves? Than take your camera home and leave them alone.

  34. JEFF E Says:

    This wolf has been killed. At least according to this.

  35. JEFF E Says:

    First 8*)

    I could change that 😉

  36. JEFF E Says:

    You so funny

  37. Larry Thorngren Says:

    I have worked and studied around a lot of biologists. Too often when they study an animal, they get this sense of ownership. I worked for a IDFG biologist in Idaho on a bighorn sheep study way back in the 1960s. There were eight wild burros who used the sheep winter range. These were the only wild burros in Idaho. He shot and killed all eight of them and then lied about it. They were eating “his” bighorn’s grass.
    Shortly thereafter I took a graduate course in Mammalian Reproduction at the University of Montana. The professor’s claim to fame was pronghorn reproduction. He shot and killed 200 pronghorn does to look at the developing fetuses in their uteruses for his doctoral thesis. In another class at the same University another prof had us mark captured chipmunks by cutting off their toes.
    When I look on the internet at all of the pictures of Macho B this spring with his foot in a snare and later sporting that giant GPS collar before he died, I can see things haven’t changed much. You must work in Yellowstone. Killed any wolves lately?

  38. ProWolf in WY Says:

    Shortly thereafter I took a graduate course in Mammalian Reproduction at the University of Montana. The professor’s claim to fame was pronghorn reproduction. He shot and killed 200 pronghorn does to look at the developing fetuses in their uteruses for his doctoral thesis. In another class at the same University another prof had us mark captured chipmunks by cutting off their toes.

    Was this all in the same time period Larry? I guess I would be surprised if that still happened today. As far as the burros, that is too bad, but I would be surprised if all biologists are like that. However, I will admit that sometimes I wonder if a wolf or grizzly confirmed outside of its established range should always be reported because there are probably some untrustworthy biologists, not to mention gun-toting rednecks ( and I am not grouping hunters in this categories, just poachers).

    Did anyone else get a chance to read the comments in the Gazette article about the wolf being shot? Some were humorous.

  39. Ralph Maughan Says:

    JB is absolutely right.

    That a wolf would attack a tourist is the answer to the prayers of the anti-wolf contingent.

    This wolf probably became aggressive around people because it was repeatedly fed, but the management decision needed to be the same — to remove it from the wild lethally or otherwise — regardless of how it became aggressive to people.

    In my view there is no reason to criticize park management at all. If you want to hear criticism of the park, you should imagine what you would hear if the wolf got its teeth into the leg of bicyclist.

  40. Elli Says:

    I just came back from the park. Watching tourons (tourist + moron) and photographers behave when wolves are close is absolutely outraging. Instead of putting up more “no stopping” signs – that nobody observes anyway -, rangers should be present and give out tickets non stop – which could help solve the financial problems too.
    These “problem people” are the reason, why I do not come to the park anymore in summer but only in winter and early spring.
    Although there are a lot of responsible photographers and tourists out there, it seems to me that the problem is getting worse every year. I come to YNP since 30 years and I come to watch the wolves since their return. But it never has been so bad as this year. Are we loving the wolves to death???

  41. Peter Kiermeir Says:

    I do only partially agree with blaming the Touron. A species that is basically just not knowing things better. That´s too easy. I also blame partially those who (should) know better and never get tired preaching to know better. The “serious wolf watcher community” beleaguering the wolves in Lamar has it´s fair share of creating and nursing this Lamar Disneyland. The giggle and gaggle of the community of “serious wolf watching” in the Lamar parking lots is unbearable. The only thing missing is a barbecue. And the only reason why there isn´t one is because they have always to be ready to pack in things, mount the car (even better the RV), slam the door shut, fire up and move further up/or down the valley: “Unit xx to Unit xx, off we go, they are in Li´ll Ameericaaaa!” Everything under control of radio collars and homing in devices! So much about wildlife watching ethics! Hit the trails of Yellowstone and avoid the crowds even if this means you don´t see a wolf!

  42. Gerry Miner Says:

    “If humans had more humanity, they would let this animal and animals like it (who have been tainted by human behavior) go to a sanctuary, and at taxpayer expense.”

    I don’t think a wild animal would be very happy living in a sanctuary for the rest of its life. Killing it is more humane.

    And Larry’s comments about biologists feeling ownership for the animals they are studying–your examples are extreme. And biologists who claim ownership over “their” animals are usually ego filled and misspeaking when calling them “my animals”.

    I agree that radio collaring can go too far, and many of the data collected from radio collared animals is simply to satisfy the curiosity of the researcher. However, there is much data that helps the species.

    As for loving our wolves to death? It isn’t as if they are all dying and we have a shortage of wolves.

  43. Jay Says:

    Nope, haven’t killed any lately. Have you harrassed any wolves from densites while trying to get photos lately?

  44. buffalorunner Says:

    Toe clipping, radio & GPS collars, vaginal implants, PIT tags, ear tags, surgically implanted radio-transmitters in fish bellies, immobilizing drugs, artificial contraception, fetal studies, etc….Not much has changed in wildlife biology since Larry’s experience…its all still highly invasive.

    It’s too bad this poor wolf was killed…what a shame.

  45. JB Says:

    “Not much has changed in wildlife biology since Larry’s experience…its all still highly invasive.”

    I think your list of data collection techniques is highly biased. Observation studies are quite common. Moreover, trail cameras, scent posts, hair snags and video cameras are all used more and more frequently to collect data in a non-invasive manner.

    As a photographer, radio collars annoy the Hell out of me; as a scientist, I understand they are absolutely essential to helping us understand the behavioral ecology of elusive species.

  46. Larry Thorngren Says:

    You reallly have it right. You did forget to mention the guy in the little yellow car who dispenses “Rick Radios” to that crowd and also makes them available to a select group of private wolf tour leaders so they can rush from place to place when they get the call. I suspect the private tour operators have to donate to the right fund to get access to the radios.

  47. Dave Smith Says:

    It’s unfortunate the media writes headlines about problem bears/wolves and nuisance bears/wolves because these headlines show bears and wolves in a negative light and there’s no need for it. Why not just say “Park officials kill habituated wolf.”

    Larry T. is 100% correct people asking for trouble by jogging and riding bikes in grizzly country. Last summer, a teen girl got nailed by a grizzly in Anchorage, AK while riding a mountain bike. At night. Next to a stream filled with spawning salmon. Instead of saying, “that was dumb,” city officials decided bears are the problem, and created a new job position: bear cop. Meaning bear killer.

  48. Dave Smith Says:

    On May 30/June1 in Sheridan, WY, the Wyoming dept. of game & fish and the Wyoming Chapter of the wildlife society are hosting a workshop titled “Human/large carnivore conflicts: dealing with the media & the public.”

    I’m pleased that state and federal agencies recognize that perception is everything. I hope they can get the media to stop using pejorative language about bears and mountain lions–and even wolves, which are not slated for discussion.

  49. Ryan Says:

    “Larry T. is 100% correct people asking for trouble by jogging and riding bikes in grizzly country. Last summer, a teen girl got nailed by a grizzly in Anchorage, AK while riding a mountain bike. At night. Next to a stream filled with spawning salmon. Instead of saying, “that was dumb,” city officials decided bears are the problem, and created a new job position: bear cop. Meaning bear killer”

    At what point do you designate people habitat vs Bear large predator habitat? Its been painfully obivious the large carnivoires and humans do not cohabitate well in most cases. Whats worse irrational fear and villifcation of a species or the loss of a few members that create a hazard to man?

  50. dave smith Says:

    ryan–“what’s worse irrational fear and villification of a species of the loss of a few members of the species [bears, wolves, mountain lions] that create a hazard to man.?”

    I reject the way the question is phrased. Don’t villify bears, wolves and mountain lions. The media should not create an irrational fear of bears, wolves, and mountain lions. Go from there.

  51. Mike Says:

    “not to mention gun-toting rednecks”

    Why is it OK to use this type of derogatory language? I find it offensive. I happen to be poor, white and own guns. Does this mean I’m a “redneck?”

  52. ProWolf in WY Says:

    The media should not create an irrational fear of bears, wolves, and mountain lions. Go from there.

    If people would not vilify carnivores like that there would be less ammo for anti-carnivore people.

  53. Layton Says:


    “Gun toting rednecks” is OK and pretty standard around here.

    BUT — in order to maintain the “correctness and harmony” of the blog, PLEASE don’t mention the word “wolfie”!! 8)

  54. Ryan Says:

    “The media should not create an irrational fear of bears, wolves, and mountain lions.”
    Whats the redneck term for this.. (I am a gun toting redneck and Damn proud BTW) S*** in one hand and wish in the other and see what fills up first. What fun is real news, when fear and panic can be spread! Its better to address the issues you can than try to look for unrealitic answers.

  55. ProWolf in WY Says:

    Why is it OK to use this type of derogatory language?

    When I say gun-toting rednecks I mean people who are irresponsible and shoot anything that moves. Notice how it said poachers. I am not talking about people who hunt within the law, nor is there anything about race in there. I also happen to be a white gun owner.

    Sorry if my choice of word offended anyone. 😦

  56. Lynne Stone Says:

    Layton – Good grief.

    If the state of Idaho and its wolf hating governor, IDFG commissioners, and a lot of IDFG staff, has its way, over half the state’s wolf population will be dead by Dec 31st.

    Unless delisting is stayed, you and the rest of your anti-wolf friends can hunt wolves for seven months come this fall in some areas of the state, including most of the SNRA and in Bear Valley.

    Are you happy now that over 400 wolves can be killed by year’s end?

    What will be the excuse that “sportsmen” come up with, once over half of Idaho’s wolves are killed, and “sportsmen” still don’t get their elk?

    Maybe then will you try blaming global warming, the Obama administration, black bears, mountain lions, or what?

    The IDFG and Wildlife Services have made it clear that Idaho wolves are going to be killed for the slightest reason, like “worrying” any rancher, hereford cow or Peruvian sheep herder.

    There are going to be a lot of dead wolves killed for no reason this summer, except that they happened to live in Idaho and are now “managed” (meaning kill a wolf at every chance, kinda like what Ron Gillett wants) by the state.

    And, Layton, please don’t give me any crap about IDFG elk numbers. The Salmon Region came up with ONE elk calf in all of Unit 36 when IDFG flew in January. Baloney.

  57. JB Says:

    “Its been painfully obivious the large carnivoires and humans do not cohabitate well in most cases.”

    Ryan: Actually I don’t agree with this statement. There are over 300 bears living in the Anchorage city limits (60+ griz and 250+ black bear), and other than a few incidents, they have cohabitated with people quite well for the past 2 decades.

    Whether or not the rate of conflict is good or bad is all a matter of perception. People are much more likely to die or be injured in car accidents with moose, deer or other ungulates. Yet no one is calling for their “control.” There is a double standard for carnivores when it comes to tolerable risk.

  58. Craig Says:

    I’m leaving leaving this weeekend for 9 days over in Yellowstone! The worst people I see trying to feed or even pet/get to close to animals is #1 people from out of this county and #2 is people from back East! You get tired of telling them what the rules are and they still don’t listen. They think it’s a big Zoo and they animals are safe to approach!

  59. cobra Says:

    A few years ago we had a young bear, about 180lbs. come into town almost every morning and evening. I had some people renting a house I owned in the same area the bear was using. I stopped by the house one day to see how my renters were doing and make sure everything was working out for them. Whilke talking to the husband he told me about the bear getting into their garbage etc. He said he called fish & game and was told that they had trap set out of town for him and should be able to caprture him in a short time. What the husband told me next I could not believe He said he hoped they didn’t get the bear to soon because he’s been trying to get a picture of his daughters ( age 3 and 5) feeding and petting the bear. He said, he had one good picture of them almost touching it, but the bear wouldn’t let them get close enough to pet it. Man you get some real winners when you have rentals, and thank goodness the girls never got hurt.

  60. Layton Says:


    I’m not going to go into specific quotes on your last outburst — why bother?? It’s the same old blather!!

    Are you REALLY trying to come off with the crying and gnashing of teeth that seems to accompany ANY MENTION of trying to do ANYTHING that resembles some sort of control of wolves??

    I know — I live in Idaho so I’m not as “enlightened” or “aware” or even as smart as people that love the gray wolf and (evidently) don’t have the same feelings for other animals — “feed them to the wolves in the name of the resurrection” seems to be the prevailing rallying cry.

    Tell you what Lynne, I’ll make you a bet here and now that there won’t be half — or any number approaching that — of the wolf population killed. What would that be?? Maybe 500 now?? What would you like for stakes?? Or are you willing to make such a wager??

    If some wolves get killed this summer it will be by OUTLAWS, or don’t you understand the difference between legal hunters and poachers??

    You use the term “sportsman” in a derogatory manner when you don’t flat out use another nasty name. Not many of us subscribe to the church of Ron Gillet or Saveelk.

    Get real!! Quit broadcasting some sort of a nasty doomsday prophecy and see what happens!! Oh, I forgot, you’ll probably be in a courtroom rooting for a high priced lawyer and a hand picked judge to knock down the delisting once again!

  61. Jay Barr Says:

    You cannot legislate common sense and respect and there will always be those that have neither. It’s sad that 1 wolf had to be killed in YNP for this reason. I think ID lethally controlled 80+ in 2008. For as much time and energy that’s devoted to bemoaning this loss on this website, many people could (and might) be writing/calling the state agencies to request explanations on why they are “managing” wolves in they way they are and to express support/non-support of that management. I realize the outcome of such a communication would likely not provide much satisfaction, but in ID there is a new wolf manager who may have a different point of view.

  62. Ryan Says:


    Not so much, there are roughly 80 black bears at most in ANC city limits and maybe 10 grizzs. The population estimate for the anchorage bowl area is 60 brown bears. This a much bigger geographical area. The thing is that nobody knows how many bears are actually there. Human conflicts/bear conflicts have been rising.

    The municipality encompasses 1,958 mi2, including a large state park (773 mi2), two military reservations (118 mi2), a portion of Chugach National Forest (430 mi2), other lands managed by federal agencies (378 mi2), and a large state wildlife refuge. The area occupied by humans is only about 204 mi2 (10.4%) of the total municipality; thus, the city is surrounded on all sides by bear habitat.

  63. Ken Cole Says:

    Jay Barr,

    Could you clue us in to who that new wolf manager might be? I haven’t heard about this yet.

  64. Lynne Stone Says:

    Layton – 94 wolves were killed in 2008 by Wildlife Services – your buddies who enjoy flying around in a taxpayer-paid for helicopter, shooting wolves accused of killing cattle or sheep.

    Among those shot in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area, were members of the Basin Butte and Galena Packs. You will probably be delighted to learn that Wildlife Services isn’t choosy about their shots, and sometimes wounds wolves, like the beautiful wolf that we wolf supporters in the Stanley area had nicknamed “Uncle” — as he was the one who often stayed with the Basin Butte Pack pups when they were young.

    If you can get yourself away from target practicing with your bow and arrow, and come up to Stanley, you might see what’s left of the Basin Butte Pack, and the last wolf you will see as the pack moves along, in a badly crippled adult. Other pack members will stop and go back to him, as he tries to keep up with his pack. He was wounded in a Wildlife Services’ “operation” on the edge of Stanley, on behalf of cattle ranchers, last September.

    Stray dogs are treated better than wolves in Idaho.

    You can see a photo of “Uncle” on Boulder-White Clouds Council’s website:

    As for me being in court with high priced lawyers — well, you can say that Layton, but it isn’t true, I don’t have anything to do with the Defenders et al lawsuit. I will be out in the landscape, trying to scare wolves away from the ranchers, Wildlife Services’ death squads, and the “sportsmen” who have already shot several wolves since the first of the year. You don’t have any idea of what’s going on, and with the number of collared wolves that have been killed in the past months, then there has to be dozens, if not scores of uncollared wolves that have also been killed.

  65. izabelam Says:

    Well, talking about people and animals: I just came back from Yellowstone and ‘stupid’ tourists were everywhere. English are the worse. My husband had to tell few of them back off and respect the request from ranger to move away from the bear.
    The answer was sort of…bloody….that and this.
    Another incident was when a small child was approaching bisons resting in the grass and claping at them.
    I mentiond to his father to keep the kid far from bisons. He jumped to my face with is english accent. We stopped the ranger and asked him to go the the Terrace Springs to check on the people – his answer was – well..natural selection – I have to count bisons.

    And we saw some great rangers who watched for the wolves in the Lamar Valley. They had positive attitude towards wolves.
    Sometimes I wish there was an option to ” remove’ people from YSNP. Problem people should be removed. All means allowed just like some think we should do to wolves.

  66. Layton Says:


    Dammit — every once in awhile you say something that makes sense — but you still want to “lump” me in where I don’t think I belong.

    First of all, what I thought we were talking about here was STATE control, now you go off on Wildlife Services — aren’t they a FEDERAL organization??

    No, I don’t know SPECIFICALLY what goes on in the Stanley Basin, I don’t live/work there. BUT — I do know what happens in and about the Payette Nat’l Forest where I work in the summer. I would think that maybe YOU don’t have that same level of knowledge for this area of the state. I don’t think that makes either one of us bad people, we just have different areas of involvement.

    As for “taking myself away from practicing” — I don’t think I’ll do that just yet, I have a couple of goals in mind for the summer.

    Tell you what tho’ — I’ll take you up on the “come to Stanley” thing, if you mean it. I’d like to see what’s REALLY happening. NO!!! I’m not fishing for where they live, I don’t work that way.

    C’mon, give me a break!! I DO happen to know a couple of guys that work for the feds — one of them has wolf control as his job — but please — don’t lump me into some kind of a “kill for the thrill” bunch. I DO think wolves need to be limited much more than they are now. I DON’T think that they should be allowed to reproduce with no caps the way they are now and I DO think that they are having a terrible effect on our big game populations.

    However, I think that your outlook is pretty well slanted. If these “dozens” or “scores” of wolves were being killed BY OUTLAWS AND POACHERS that I would have some sort of a glimmer about it. I’m usually not naive about that sort of thing. I spend a good amount of time out and about with some of these good old boys and someone would talk.

    Just one more thing and I’ll get off this rant (maybe we could discuss more offline, and I do mean discuss, NOT fight — Ralph could give you my Email address if you want to) — I’m really confused by what you said here:

    “And, Layton, please don’t give me any crap about IDFG elk numbers. The Salmon Region came up with ONE elk calf in all of Unit 36 when IDFG flew in January. Baloney.”

    Maybe a rhetorical question, but are they lying?? If so — why?? Why would they give a grim forecast on elk numbers when they have to know that it will result in less license/tag sales and a big loss in revenue? Do you think that it’s just a big conspiracy, specifically against the gray wolf? That’s difficult for me to believe.

  67. Elli Says:

    Couldn’t agree more, isabelam!

    And as for blaming it on the guides or the “people with the radios” – I’d much rather see tourists in a small group of responsible YNP-guides who know their business and work according to the code of wilderness ethics, than having them all run loose and do what, how and whenever they please. I have never seen any of the mentioned behaviors occur in one of these groups, because the guides take care to teach how to behave around wild animals.

    Also it is not “the people with the radios” who help out with the projects, but those with the scanners who listen into the radios and a conversation that is not for their ears, who are part of the overall problem. If it weren’t for those with 3 to 4 antennas on the roof plus their own radios where they call out information to each other, there wouldn’t be such a run to “Little Ameeericaaaaaaaa” when the call is out.

  68. Larry Thorngren Says:

    With most of the world’s human population living in cities, there is a tremendous need to see wildlife and experience the thrill of seeing them up close. These people are just excited about having that opportunity when they come to Yellowstone. They get so excited about seeing their first bear that they are likely to stop in the middle of the road and leave all four car doors open as they rush to get a better view. Let them enjoy it. If a few of them get butted or bitten they will learn to give the animals more space. They get yelled at by the rangers when they get too close, so they might resent you doing the same.
    With so many bison,wolves and other “wildlife” with radio collars around their necks and elk and coyotes with numbered ear tags in Yellowstone , visitors should be excused for thinking they are on a game farm where the animals are domesticated.
    Your experience with the bison counter is not unusual. There are more animal counters, with un-needed degrees in wildlife management, chasing collared animals in Yellowstone than there are rangers to keep the visitors and animals apart.

  69. Elli Says:

    Thanks Larry for your kind words and your serenity. Once in a while we need to be reminded 🙂

  70. Ralph Maughan Says:


    I had a couple similar incidents. I’ve mentioned the danger to a tourist and then backed off remarking that I want to get a photo of the likely “accident.”

  71. dave smith Says:

    I think it was Tom Robbins who said, “freedom is having the freedom to make mistakes.” Let visitors to Yellowstone make mistakes. I realize their mistakes sometimes include harassment of wildlife. I do want the NPS to try its best to control wildlife harassment. But the NPS can’t be everywhere, all the time, or put up fences along the roads to separate people from wildlife. If people get dangerously close to wildlife and get hurt, “freedom is having the freedom to make mistakes.”

    Whenever I think about all don’t sue me/bear safety literature federal agencies give people I remember visiting a national park on the coast of South Africa where a sign stuck in the sand said: Sharks, swim at your own risk.

    Welcome to Yellowstone. Bears: hike at your own risk.

  72. Ralph Maughan Says:

    Those lawsuits filed by the kin of tourists who should have won the Darwin Award certainly don’t help the situation.

  73. izabelam Says: about having people visiting Yellowstone signing a liability waiver like you sign one when you go horseback riding ???
    I just dont’ like the animal pay the price for the stupidy of the tourists. I know, I have very strong feelings about it. I saw some runners along the road from OF to the Midway area. All the areas around were closed due to bear activity including the boardwalk to Grand Prismatic Pool and people were running on the road— I dont’ get it. So..who will pay the price when the wolf or a bear chases the crazy runner?
    How can we punish wolf or bear for our own stupidty. Help me here. I don’t get it.

  74. JB Says:

    “The municipality’s 285,000 residents share space with at least 65 brown bears and about 250 black bears. The sprawling municipality is surrounded by wild country. Anchorage is next to Chugach State Park, a half-million acre park that wildlife officials have described as a “bear factory.”


    “Not so much”? Sounds like you’ve been hanging around my students! You’re right; I should’ve used the term municipality as opposed to city limits. Also, I recognize that Anchorage is unique for any number of reasons (size being one of them); yet, I stand by what I said. Anchorage residents live side by side with grizzlies, black bear and moose (which are just as–if not more–dangerous). What is remarkable about this is not that attacks occur, but how FEW attacks occur and how little complaining goes on.

    Take a look at this article:

    Notice whose doing the complaining?

  75. dave smith Says:

    JB–Anchorage residents have gone bonkers about a few bear-related injuries last summer. It’s not just the, sorry, redneck element looking for any excuse to kill a bear. It’s also yuppies dressed in their sister’s underpants riding mountain bikes and trail running in prime grizzly habitat. Led by Anchorage Daily Chews outdoors editor Craig Medred, yuppies lead the whining that the city of Los Anchorage needs to kill of few bears based on the theory that bears witnessing the carnage will learn to fear and avoid people.

    After several bear incidents along a trail by salmon spawning stream, one dunderhead trail runner ran past 86 bear warning signs and got nailed by a grizzly. That’s like running across six lanes of traffic on an LA freeway during rush hour and claiming you had no idea you might get hit by a car.

    When it comes to sheer Darwin award winning stupidity, no tourist in Yellowstone can compare to the trail runners and mountain bikers living in Anchorage.

  76. ProWolf in WY Says:

    With so many bison,wolves and other “wildlife” with radio collars around their necks and elk and coyotes with numbered ear tags in Yellowstone , visitors should be excused for thinking they are on a game farm where the animals are domesticated.

    Larry, what is your definition of “so many” animals with collars and ear tags? In the 18 years I have lived in Montana and Wyoming and the countless visits to Yellowstone I have made I have seen exactly three animals with collars, two elk and one wolf. I have never seen ear tags. I will agree though that you make a pretty good point otherwise. 🙂

    Izabelam, I agree with you that the animals should not have to pay for human stupidity. I never have thought of a waiver like you said.

  77. Jay Barr Says:

    No wolves in YNP have been ear-tagged since the originals arrived in /95 and ’96.

  78. Craig Says:

    Lynne, I camp in stanley over 10 times every summer and have for the last 15 years or so. I’ve never seen a Wolf from Bear Valley creek all the way to Washington Basin during the summer.
    Now in the fall, I’ve Seen maybe 4 during Hunting season and as I’ve posted they were on the run long before I got to them! I really doubt there will be anywhere close too 400 wolves shot in the whole STATE!
    Since the Elk population is down so much in unit 36 there are only 2,382 tags available (First time it’s been limited)!. Last year only 1,179 people hunted that unit with an 8% succes rate, I gurantee it will be lower this year because the word is out on how bad the Hunting is up there. You should reald read some of the hunting forums to see what’s going on with hunters.

  79. Craig Says:

    Also a large majority of Hunters up there are from out of state, and with a restricted number ,bad economy and out of state fees going up there will be even less this year than last!

  80. Dusty Says:

    Some bears in YNP have ear tags. There is one black bear sow with at least two, a ranger said she had been in “garbage trouble” which is why she was tagged. I saw her two years ago, she had two cubs with her at the time, some claimed she was the infamous “Rosie”.


  81. Elli Says:

    Bears, Coyotes and Elk have eartags. Elk get the first eartag when they have the first encounter with a twolegged animal or car, the second with the 2nd encounter, and as there are no more ears available, when they have their 3rd encounter and qualify as “problem elk”, the park service is cutting off the antlers.

  82. Mike Ice Says:

    ProWolf in WY

    Apology accepted. Just to let you know, Im pro-wolf too.

  83. Larry Thorngren Says:

    Pro Wolf
    You need to look closer for radio collars. This spring I observed three members of the Canyon Pack near Mammoth, two of them were collared. I saw four members of the Agate Pack near Little America, two of them were collared. One third to one half of all wolves in Yellowstone have collars. Many of them are getting the supersize GPS collars. I think it is standard practice to put a collar on each of the dominant pair in every pack.
    I watched a crew of five park employees near Lava Creek go after a Bison and dart it and put a collar on it. I saw several Bison in the Lamar Valley with collars this spring also.

  84. ProWolf in WY Says:

    Larry, I will take a closer look next time I’m in the park.

  85. Mike Ice Says:

    ProWolf in Wy

    apology accepted…

  86. ProWolf in WY Says:

    Glad to hear you accepted my apology Mike. Speaking of people with guns, I got my applications for antelope and elk in yesterday. I’m sure I’ll get the antelope but the elk is in an area that is hard to draw.

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