The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is funding a $1000 ‘bounty’ per trapped and killed wolf in Idaho

And no, even though it seems like this would be news from 1919, it’s happening today, in 2019. In fact, the following propaganda poster was just posted by the “Foundation for Wildlife Management” on their Facebook page yesterday:

I could find no information indicating that this up-$1,000 ‘bounty’ – I mean “reimbursement” – per trapped and killed wolf wasn’t available if the wolf was trapped and killed on federal public lands throughout Idaho, including deep within federally designated Wilderness areas. If that’s indeed the case, how in the world can the U.S. Forest Service and other federal land management agencies allow a $1000 bounty per dead wolf on America’s federal public lands, especially within Wilderness areas?

Even if federal public lands are excluded from this $1000 wolf-bounty trapping “contest,” how in the world can a group like the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game fund the bounty? It must be legal for IDFG to do this. How the Elk Foundation thinks funding a $1000 bounty on wolves in the year 2019 is ethical, scientific or follows the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation, which the RMEF claims to follow, is a mystery.

I did notice on the Foundation for Wildlife Management website that they claim that in 2018 they got a $25,000 grant from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. They also claimed that this was the third year in a row they got $25,000 from the RMEF, meaning a total of $75,000 given by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation in three years.

According to the Idaho rangeland commission, wolves have killed 700 cattle and 550 sheep in Idaho since 2009. That works out to roughly 77 cattle and 61 sheep killed per year by wolves, through-out the entire state of Idaho. There are roughly 2.6 MILLION cattle and sheep in the state of Idaho. That means that over the past decade wolves have killed approximately 0.005% of all cattle and sheep in the state. How many cattle and sheep were killed in Idaho over the past decade by natural causes, including weather? How many were killed by domesticated dogs? Or by disease and malnutrition? How many of the 2.6 million cattle and sheep in Idaho were killed in slaughter-houses over the past decade?

For comparison, the last intensive wolf count in Idaho was done in 2015 when officials said the state had an estimated 786 wolves in the entire state. That’s also the last year Fish and Game was required to do that type of count after wolves were removed from the Endangered Species List.

Erik Molvar, a Laramie, Wyoming-based wildlife biologist and Executive Director of Western Watersheds Project, had this piece published in the Idaho Statesmen last October, which sheds some more light on Idaho’s supposed “wolf problem.”

The Cattle Association neglects to mention that Wildlife Services, the federal agency tasked with killing native wildlife for the agriculture industry’s benefit, has been actively promoting a program of exaggerating wolf kills by classifying dead livestock lacking any bite marks as wolf kills. This is an agency struggling to justify its own existence, inflating wolf-kill numbers to create an artificial crisis. Color us skeptical, and we would be happy to take the association up on its offer of joining them out in the field.

Between July 2017 and May 2018, this federal agency spent over half a million taxpayer dollars and killed at least 53 wolves in Idaho to avenge livestock depredations, despite mounting scientific evidence showing that predator killing doesn’t reduce livestock losses.

Moreover, most of Idaho’s beef cattle get shipped off to feedlots at year’s end, and from there, to the slaughterhouse. Since beef cattle are bred and raised to be killed, it is hard to ask the public to accept that in rare instances when a cow ends up on a wolf’s menu rather than a human one, that this is somehow unfair and represents a moral outrage. Much less a reason to try to kill the “offending” wolf, or any other wolf they can find, in retribution.

We humans should try harder to fit in with the natural order of things. If livestock are to be pastured in the untamed West, a few losses to the native predators is just part of the cost of doing business. Cattle and sheep would be much happier and more productive grazing on pastures with deep soils and abundant rainfall east of the Mississippi, instead of damaging the arid lands — and fragile fish and wildlife habitats — of the West. And in these more ecologically suitable areas for non-native livestock, cattle and sheep producers can find pastures far from the nearest wolf, if wolves are really an overwhelming concern.

Nonlethal methods to discourage wolf predation on livestock are also a workable alternative. In the Tom Miner Basin of Montana, just outside Yellowstone National Park, cattle producers have avoided high levels of predation by native wildlife despite burgeoning populations of both wolves and grizzly bears.

The West is a wild and untamed place, and Westerners like it that way. We are hardy, self-reliant folk who aren’t afraid of “the big bad wolf” of fairy tales. In fact, wolves, grizzly bears and other native predators are an important part of that untamed legacy. We neither need nor want a taxpayer-subsidized agency to kill off our native wildlife.

I couldn’t agree with Molvar’s sentiments more. Should America’s public lands and Wilderness areas be places for native wildlife, or should they be places where private ranchers let their cows and sheep graze for literally pennies on the dollar? According to the BLM, “the Federal grazing fee for 2018 will be $1.41 per animal unit month (AUM) [a cow and her calf, or five sheep] for public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management and $1.41 per head month (HM) for lands managed by the USDA Forest Service.” [Update: The federal public land grazing fee for both 2019 and 2020 was reduced to $1.35 per AUM, the lowest fee allowed.]

Besides, if as the Foundation for Wildlife Management claims, “Wolf numbers are so high the #1 killer of Idaho wolves is now other wolves”….You’d sure think you won’t need to offer trappers up to a $1,000 reimbursement to trap and kill wolves across the state, including on lands that are owned equally by everyone in America.

And just how many mighty hunters walk and drive around Idaho with high-powered rifles (including a lot of AR-15s, and other assault-style weapons) every year during hunting season? I bet the success-rate for elk hunting in Idaho is much, much greater than the success-rate for wolf-hunting. How can that be if the state is crawling with wolves, which have supposedly eaten all the elk? There has got to be tens of thousands of elk and deer hunters in Idaho who are also carrying a wolf tag. Why can’t they find the wolves? Maybe it’s because there are only about 800 wolves in the entire state of Idaho and the wolves kill a tiny, tiny fraction of the cows and sheep in the state, often times when the private livestock is grazing on federal public lands and Wilderness areas, at less than $1.50 per month per animal unit.

Then again, Idaho is (in)famous for being a state where a lot of people talk about the SSS when it comes to wolves: “Shoot. Shovel. Shut up.” So maybe there are actually a lot less wolves in Idaho, then the official count in 2015, which put their numbers at approximately 786.

That poster at the top of this post was put up on the Foundation for Wildlife Management’s Facebook page last night. One of the first comments on that FB post is the following image. It hasn’t been removed, but it’s gotten a bunch of likes.

You can respectfully let the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation know how you feel about this issue by calling 800-225-5355. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game can be reached at 208-334-3700.

P.S. According to the Dictionary, the definition of “bounty” is: a sum paid for killing or capturing a person or animal.

89 thoughts on “The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is funding a $1000 ‘bounty’ per trapped and killed wolf in Idaho”

  1. Why is it, on all the most crucial, consequential and controversial issues on public lands(i.e. the use of GMO crops, biocides, offroad vehicle wreckreation wildfire, wildlife, and forest management of public lands, etc.) the USDA sides with privatization, outsourcing and corporate interests while disregarding all meaningful short and long term public interests?

    • I just spent 4 days elk hunting…I didn’t see or hear any elk or deer, but called in 14 wolves on various set-ups… It’s obvious to me that there is a wolf problem in Idaho

      • The author doesn’t know, understand, nor care that the wolves released here in Idaho are not native. In fact these wolves have killed off the native wolf. These Arctic wolves have killed off the majority of the elk population, but who cares about something that can benefit so many with it’s delicious and healthy meat, when we can have terrorizing predators escorting us everywhere we go.

        • Howdy Jack. “Arctic wolves” were not “released here in Idaho.” That’s just made up fantasy. Fact is, wolves were never completely removed from Idaho. According to the Idaho Dept of Fish and Game, a total of 35 wolves were released into Idaho in 1995/96. I hunt elk in Montana. I hunt elk within habitat occupied by both wolves and grizzly bears. I seem to find plenty of success, and also enjoy time in the backcountry. I seriously doubt that the “wufs” have eaten all the elk in Idaho. According to IDFG there are 120,000 elk in Idaho.

          • Matthew Koehler, yes they are in fact Gray Wolves…a.k.a.Timber wolves which are only native in Alaska, Canada, and parts of Northern Montana(seldom). The prairie wolf is native and much smaller. The Gray Wolf is the largest of the species and the most dangerous to humans. There are many documented attacks on humans unless you are getting your sources from the liberal news media which would tell you, “You’re ok to be in the midst of a pack with your family in tow… They are more scared of you then you are of them….Liars!!!!!

            • This was actually an entertaining comment, Mr. Anonymous person. Most everything you say here is just simply not true. You claim “There are many documented attacks on humans unless you are getting your sources from the liberal news media which would tell you” so it should be easy for you to share with us hundreds of supposed documented wolf attacks on humans, right?

                • Thanks ‘som sai.’ Not sure if “wikipedia” is part of the “liberal news media or not.”

                  I did notice that the Wikipedia entry stated: “In the half-century up to 2002, there were eight fatal attacks in Europe and Russia, three in North America….”

                  Ok, so 3 fatal wolf attacks in the entire U.S., Canada and Mexico during a 50 year period, that ended in 2002.

                  For whatever it’s worth, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, from 2000 to 2017, stings from bee, hornet and wasp were responsible for 1,109 deaths, or roughly 62 fatalities each year.

                  Bee afraid, bee very afraid.

                  • Yo, that’s hilarious. Don’t like the stats so you move the goalposts, so typical. Any mouse said attacks, not fatalities, and on humans, not on humans in places where there are no wolves. Remember, they were almost extinct here! Still on the endangered list.

                    In France, 7600 fatalities on record, that’s on record, and only fatalities. 721 fatalities in one province in one year in India! Frankly I’d be more impressed if you just said, “wow, guess Any Mouse had a point, I’d no idea”. Comparisons to anaphylactic shock from bees not so much.

                    Look at the references to the article. I’ll bet it was written by the International Wolf Center.

                    There’ve been lots of attacks in N American alone, just last summer at a campground in a popular National Park in Canada.

                    As long as you are countin here’s the list for NA

                    And worldwide
                    You have to scroll quite a ways to get down to 2017.

                    Thankfully, here in the US, we have firearms, and anyone who feels threatened is legally able to shoot the dang thing. Might be time for another bat signal to the Wildlife News.

                    • Some might say that it must be really tough to go through life so scared of 5,000 wolves living on 3,119,884 square miles within the lower 48 states. “Som sai” you better just lock your door and stay inside. Thanks again for a good laugh!

                      P.S. How many people in the United States of America have been killed by a wolf in the past 20 years?

                    • Thanks Kevin. The 2010 fatal wolf attack was in Chignik, Alaska and the 2005 attack was in Points North Landing, Saskatchewan, Canada. According to that link, in the past 75 years there have been a whopping two fatal wolf attack in the entire USA AND Canada.

              • First of all Matthew please forgo the ad homs directed at me. I don’t say things about you, why to you say bad things about me, insinuating I’m fearful etc, surely adults don’t need to talk that way. Thank you in advance.

                Comments seem to have drifted over right wards and discuss things not brought up in Any Mouse’s comment. Lets step back. Anymouse said “There are many documented attacks on humans” You Matthew said “it should be easy for you to share with us hundreds of supposed documented wolf attacks on humans, right?”

                That’s exactly what I did for Any mouse with a link, I linked to thousands of wolf attacks on humans. Obviously, Anymouse was demonstrably correct and you Matthew were demonstrably incorrect. Whether this is due to willful ignorance, a reluctance to admit you were wrong, or simply because you are misinformed from reading deceptive and misleading media, there’s no way to know. What I do know is that rather than admit your mistake you continue to pull the old move the goalpost thing. Now we are down to 20 years in N America, next maybe the past few months in Massachusetts?

                Go ahead Matthew when most people speak mistakenly they admit it. Do the right thing.

                • According to your wikipedia link: In the past 75 years there have been a whopping two fatal wolf attack in the entire USA AND Canada.

                  Also, speaking of wikipedia:

                  Typically, between 30 and 50 people in the US die from dog bites each year, and the number of deaths from dog attacks appear to be increasing. Around 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs every year, resulting in the hospitalization of 6,000 to 13,000 people each year in the United States (2005).

                  • This is what you said, “it should be easy for you to share with us hundreds of supposed documented wolf attacks on humans, right?” to Any Mouse, I linked to thousands. We can go round and round with issues not discussed, like that young school teacher run down and eaten, or the truce in the first world war when both side took time off to shoot all the wolves eating the wounded alive, but what is under discussion here is your refutation of the statement by any mouse. I linked, do you still deny that many people have been attacked by wolves? Or are you going to admit you were wrong? Give it up why not. Every time you post I’ll simply repeat Any Mouse’s assertion, your refutation, and my link to factual statistical demonstrable support that Any Mouses statement is true, with links and footnotes from the most reputable wolf researchers on the planet.

                    PS you say thousands bitten a year from the domestic version Canis lupus familiaris. Yup.

                    • Sorry, anonymous som sai, but when I wrote “it should be easy for you to share with us hundreds of supposed documented wolf attacks on humans” I think most anyone would realize that we are talking about the modern world, in the United States, not talking about what happened in France in the late Medieval period and Renaissance from the year 1200 to 1700. But, sure, 750 years ago wolves attacked people in France. It was a big mistake for me to not acknowledge that fact. I will try and do better in the future. But seriously….

                      Anyway, I do suggest that if you are so afraid of being attacked by wolves that you refrain from going outside. That’s not an “ad hominem attack” in any way, shape or form, as you suggested, but just some common sense, if as you like to believe, wolves are currently attacking lots of people all over the place.

                    • Matthew, Any Mouse hasn’t returned to the discussion, so no reason to address him/her. We are talking in the past 5 years, not medieval times. Let’s review.

                      Any Mouse said “There are many documented attacks on humans”

                      You said, “it should be easy for you to share with us hundreds of supposed documented wolf attacks on humans, right?”

                      I provided links, and not to just medieval times, actually there were 200 attacks in the past 5 years by my counting. That’s your hundreds. ten years would probably show twice as many, bearing in mind many attacks are unreported.

                      Insinuating fear of wolves is a common tactic of wolf advocates. Advocates also use the deceptive meme, and I quote from the link, “the pro-wolf lobby aimed to change public attitudes towards wolves, with the phrase “there has never been a documented case of a healthy wild wolf attacking a human in North America” (or variations thereof[a]” You’ve been repeating a variation of that meme in this discussion, it’s not at all accurate, it’s misleading and even dangerous. Wolves seldom attack people, especially in N America where we have guns and a long history of shooting wolves, but wolves do sometimes prey on and eat humans, even in N America and there have been hundreds of attacks on humans in recent times. Like in the past 5 years.

                      I’d urge you to thoroughly read the Wiki article and follow the links. Much of the writing is by the world’s most respected wildlife biologists and many references are to the widely recognised foremost wolf researchers.

        • Jack, welcome to this blog! I realize that people have strong feelings about issues, but we don’t go in for name-calling here so I deleted the last few words in your comments.
          (Note to others, we are not perfect about doing this but that doesn’t mean we don’t try).

      • This last Elk season I spent 2 weeks looking for Elk. I have responsibly hunted since I was a teenager. I have never had so little evidence of Elk (traveled 700 miles in the woods this season). 2 tracks 100 miles from each other in areas that used to be flush with Elk. Several of these areas became Wolf highways over the last 8-10 years. The wolves have moved on and only moose and elk carcasses were found this hunting season. No bear, no elk, no deer and no moose sign. This was my personal experience.

      • I didn’t realize that hunting was how we performed scientific inquiry. You went to an area to hunt where historically there are high numbers of prey animals, correct? Well, those prey animals were never there prior to the eradication of the American grey wolf. He’s back. You may want to modify your hunting habits accordingly.

  2. I don’t think that there are GMO crops on public lands. Citizens are on both sides of the wolf issue. Ranchers are not necessarily corporate. What biocides?

    • Think again, Sharon. Here’s the documentation.

      Trump administration lifts GMO crop ban for U.S. wildlife refuges

      The Trump administration has rescinded an Obama-era ban on the use of pesticides linked to declining bee populations and the cultivation of genetically modified crops in dozens of national wildlife refuges where farming is permitted….

      The rollback, spelled out in a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service memo, ends a policy that had prohibited farmers on [National Wildlife] Refuges from planting biotech crops – such as soybeans and corn – engineered to resist insect pests and weed-controlling herbicides.

      That policy also had barred the use on wildlife refuges of neonicotinoid pesticides, or neonics, in conjunction with GMO crops. Neonics are a class of insecticides tied by research to declining populations of wild bees and other pollinating insects around the world.

      • Thanks Matthew. Perhaps I shouldn’t have engaged in a comment while I’m on the road and not in a position to immediately reply. I am delighted that you provided Sharon with the authoritative substance of my comment.

        It strikes me however, as odd that the process of commenting doesn’t logically lead to a personal search for answers to questions as they arise. Afterall, we can enter a few search terms which would easily answer most any basic question.

        Yet it’s clear here, we often don’t.

        We are of course commenting from the basis of personal experience constructing and reporting from a particular worldview. As an oldgrowth dependent resident of the Tongass National Forest, i hunt and fish for most of my annual needs for protein.

        Based upon that 35 year history of dependence on ecological integrity, i find the predator control mentality arising predictably from state and federal mismanagement practices resulting in loss of ecological integrity. The blame game predictably ensues.

        From this point of personal experience i’m quite struck by the similarities between anti-predator worldviews and racism/fascism/xenophobic worldviews. All persist to embody hate and blame and denial of basic cause/effect relationships.

        Wolves, of course, are recognized as keystone species playing key roles affecting the capacity to sustain ecological integrity, resilence, and dynamic equilibrium. So of course, when wolf populations get reduced to sub optimal levels or worse, extirpated, that this would lead to cascading trophic consequences across the ecosystems they inhabit.

        Understanding the difference between symptoms of a problem and causes of a problem become key to problem-solving. However until we personally ask a question and seek the answers rather than decrying each other for defending antithetical perspectives, opinions are unlikely to get altered.

  3. So many lies about wolves. Pure junk science. This organization just making unsubstantiated claims that with a little research can be disproven. More and more people are sick and tired of this BS. Every year people are eating less beef in order to stop supporting the ranchers who are ruining our West by having our wildlife killed off. People are rising up against trapping as well. Tired of the lies and the arrogant greed driven mindset. Wolves are not killing off your herds of elk and deer…hunters are and difficult winters and habitat loss are but hunters and trappers are too bloodthirsty to educate themselves to the truth. Do your research….So much ignorance and trappers are the absolute scum of the earth. Trapping and torturing and then killing these frightened animals. Such sadistic people. It’s disgusting. #BoycottBeef #BanTrappingOnPublicLands #EndTheWarOnPredators

  4. So much for the statement that they don’t hate wolves and would love to find a better approach to the rancher/wolf conflict. The truth is now out . The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has lost all credibility and can now be seen as the hostile group that would gleefully destroy the recovery of a species.

  5. This article is full of misinformation. It’s not a bounty or a contest. It is reimbursement only. We gave had this program in place for years. That means you get reimbursed for the amount of money you spent hunting or trapping a wolf up to a $1000. A wolf population that is 400% over management levels and historic levels.
    Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is a supporter of this and a portion of their money goes to the reimbursement.
    Other organizations support this because it is based on sound science based wildlife management.
    Wolves continue to decimate moose, elk, and deer herds in Idaho and in some areas that have reduced the ungulate population so much the wolves are now killing bears, beavers and just about anything else they can get a hold of. Wolves are not in the least bit endangered as there are over 50,000 between the lower 48, Alaska and Canada and can have as many as three liters per female wolf per season.
    From your article though I do see that you care about facts.

    • Sorry Steve, but your comment is full of misinformation.

      Yes, I called it a bounty. According to the Dictionary:

      boun·ty: a sum paid for killing or capturing a person or animal.

      Seems accurate. I also realize it’s not a “contest” which is why I put “contest” in quotes. Based on your comment that appears to be the extent of “this article is full of misinformation.” And you know what? I can live with that. Snowflake, much?

      Could you please provide scientific evidence that the current wolf population in Idaho is 400% over historic levels, as you claimed? The last intensive wolf count in Idaho was in 2015 when officials said the state had an estimated 786 wolves at the end of the year. That’s also the last year Fish and Game was required to do that type of count after wolves were removed from the Endangered Species List.

      There are also an estimated 6,376 wolves in the lower 48 U.S. States, with the vast majority of wolves (4,222) estimated to live in the western Great Lakes States. The entire Northern Rocky Mountains is estimated to have about 1,766 wolves.

      • Your headline:

        “The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is funding a $1000 bounty per trapped and killed wolf in Idaho”

        I don’t see any quotes there, and you know full well that most people never get past the headline. That’s unethical. But so is distorting the facts, and you don’t seem to have any problem with that in the rest of the article.

        You imply that the $1.41 per month per AUM grazing fee is intended to somehow be market pricing for grazing, and is woefully below market standards. That’s untrue. The USDA itself says that grazing fees are intended to cover only administrative costs, not market value for rented private land grazing.

        You also rely on the statistics for wolf predation on livestock reported by the federal government. You ignore the fact that the standards for proving that livestock predation was the result of wolf activity are so stringent that only small percentage of wolf kills are reported as such. You seem to think that a few thousand dollars in losses to a family rancher are somehow no big deal, when the reality is that most family ranchers have second jobs because they only make a few thousand dollars in profit each year.

        The rest of your article is similarly cavalier with the facts, in some cases simply ignoring the truth in favor of repeating the enviro-extremist echo chamber drivel.

        • Wow, John Price. You’ve really packed a ton of misinformation into your comment.

          As I pointed out already, the dictionary definition of a bounty is: a sum paid for killing or capturing a person or animal. The “WANTED” poster clearly says “Get reimbursed up to $1000 per wolf.” The poster clearly says: “Funding by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.”

          Next, I most certainly did NOT imply that the federal grazing fee of $1.41 per month per AUM is “intended to somehow be market prices for grazing.” I actually implied just the opposite, that the private ranchers pay pennies on the dollar for grazing their private cows and sheep on America’s public lands and within America’s Wilderness areas.

          Regarding your statement that “The USDA itself says that grazing fees are intended to cover only administrative costs.” Here are some facts about that, you’ll see the federal grazing fees DO NOT actually cover administration costs.

          Next, your claim that I “rely on the statistics for wolf predation on livestock reported by the federal government” is totally false. If you actually read what I wrote, I said: “According to the Idaho rangeland commission…” That’s a state agency based in Idaho.

          So, that pretty much covers your entire comment John Price…I almost want to say that your comment is “repeating anti-wolf extremist echo chamber drivel”…but I won’t.

      • Matt, you purposely use catch phrases to bias and mislead. You are not objective in your reporting, you desire to advance your own ignorance.
        It’s obvious you don’t live in Idaho or Montana, and you’re oblivious to the documented carnage of the wolves on the ungulate population.

          • Idaho Native here . Hunting is a way of life for my family. My wife is native American and we have very strong values and respect for our wildlife and teach those standards to our kids. We do not buy beef. We eat only wild game that God has put on this earth for us. From head to tail. No waste. With that said. For the last 10 years i have seen the wolves that are NOT NATIVE !and WHERE INTRODUCED! Destroy our elk and Deer populations drastically! We need programs like this or there will be no game left. Elk and Deer have enough pressure from hunters . Wolves hunt them 365 days a year. Theses wolves are taking food off our dinner tables! And I’ve been on several wolf kills. They don’t lick the plate clean like i teach my kids. They leave wasted meat and move to the next vulnerable prey. Please keep this Bounty going! Thanks for all donations towards this cause. Anyone that doesn’t believe we have a wolf problem in our state try taking your dog for a walk in the woods late at night and see what happens..

            • Howdy Justin. I also am an avid hunter of deer and elk in Montana. My wife and I also have very strong values and respect for wildlife. Anyone who takes a dog for a walk in the woods late at night, as you suggested, may encourage a wide variety of wildlife. If you don’t accept that fact, perhaps go move to a big city somewhere, or stay out of the “wood late at night.”

              Also, seems like quite a few dogs are getting trapped by all the traps that trappers put across our public lands, so if you walk with you dog late at night in the woods, look out for all those traps hidden near trails, near roads and near streams. Also…this:

              Missoula man says wolf hunter shot, killed pet malamute

              Dog, mistaken for wolf, shot and killed by teenager in North Idaho

              ‘Wolf’ shot by Lolo resident was a dog hybrid (notice the mighty “wolf hunter” in his slippers)

            • Justin I sympathize, my family also eats deer and elk for our red meat, and we eat it most nights. For some hunting is a tag they can buy or something they “do” like go camping, no need to carry out an animal if they don’t shoot one. For people who put a couple carcasses in the freezer every year it’s a little more serious.

              I buy a couple gift memberships to RMEF every year as well as my own, because because the RMEF the largest and most respected conservation org in the west. Not only do they reimburse people who help in the scientific management of out of control wolf populations but they also fund research on elk and also the animals such as wolves that prey on elk. When I read of someone doing an interesting study I usually look at who funds them, usually the RMEF is one of the orgs.

              Besides wildlife management, and funding things like controlled burns that benefit many species they also buy land and give it to the people of this country. They buy land that becomes new National Forest, BLM, or Wilderness. I lose track of how many millions of acres they have either bought or improved over the years, as a matter of fact it’s their primary purpose. RMEF also works quietly without a lot of fanfare, making friends to work with rather than making adversaries. I swear if most orgs screaming about the critter de jour would spend a little less time in front of their computers and a little more time actually doing something the world would be a better place, and quieter.

    • “…Wolves…can have as many as three “litters” per female wolf per season.” Is a preposterous statement. Evidently caring about facts is something for which you are incapable.

  6. This shouldn’t surprise anyone. The RMEF went down this path nearly 20 years ago:

    “‘Wolf reintroduction is the worst ecological disaster since the decimation of bison herds,’ RMEF Director David Allen said, as he claimed that wolves are ‘decimating’ and ‘annihilating’ elk herds. ‘To keep wolf populations controlled, states will have to hold hunts, shoot wolves from the air and gas their dens,’ he said.”

    Read More:

    • The following comment about the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation was made by Carter Niemeyer in regards to the piece written and posted above by David Stalling.

      For those who may not know, or remember, Carter Niemeyer was the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s wolf recovery coordinator for Idaho until he retired in 2006. Niemeyer was also an expert government trapper.

  7. RMEF makes no secret of how it feels about wolves (though I wonder how loudly they display this in their family-friendly national visitor center in Missoula). Here’s RMEF’s position on wolves from their website:

    They argue that wolves should be managed by states the way they manage other species. That means maximizing revenues from game species, which creates an incentive to provide large numbers of the species. I don’t think that is what they have in mind for wolves.

    RMEF has also been involved in litigation to remove wolves and grizzly bears from protected status under the Endangered Species Act.

    “how in the world can the U.S. Forest Service and other federal land management agencies allow a $1000 bounty per dead wolf on America’s federal public lands, especially within Wilderness areas?” They do have the authority to stop wolf hunting on federal lands, but realistically they won’t do that unless they are required to by something else. The Wilderness Act is one possibility, if they are managing for unnatural predator/prey relationships in wilderness areas. And if they depress wolf populations too far, they could become Forest Service “species of conservation concern,” which would require the agency to do what it can to reduce threats to the species.

  8. Whiny ranchers are demanding the government pay full compensation for the loss of stack yards, fencing, loss of harvested crops, reduced production, fence damage and crop reestablishment or any other losses caused by wildlife, like elk. Cowboys whine about the compensation given for predation losses. There is a better way, buy out the whiny multimillionaire ranchers, get rid of the livestock, replace with elk.

  9. Gosh, ranchers are just greedy and hunters are ignorant? Some how I think it is much more complex than that. We already have cougar, and I am not to excited about the prospect of having wolves. I got to see 4 large bull elk on the way to town the other day.

    • As an avid backcountry elk/deer hunter myself, I feel pretty comfortable talking about hunting and making observations about other hunters. Certain hunters rarely get out of their big trucks or stray too far from their quad or a road, but the majority of these hunters also never seem to get an elk, which of course has nothing to do with their lack of hunting ability or lack of effort, nope, it’s clearly because the “wufs” ate all the elk.

  10. Good !!
    It’s about time the elk herds get some help, before they’re entirely gone !
    And apparently the moderators of this group have forgotten that ranching / raising livestock, built the country !
    There’s a very good reason why the wolves were exterminated in the past , and a very good reason now,
    ( after they were illegally reintroduced ) to manage them aggressively, so they don’t wreak the havoc they are so prone to, on wildlife and livestock !

    • I don’t know about Idaho, but in many places, there are too many elk (I’m talking about NE Oregon). There are supplemental feeding programs for them run by the state.

    • What a load of BS!
      Although I live in the UK, I have studied Wolves and Mountain Lions for many years, and on my many visits to the States, I have never met such animosity and hatred towards Wolves and myself.
      “Idaho for Wildlife,” and other so called organisations purporting to support Wildlife just want to kill as many Wolves, Coyotes, and other Apex predators as they can.
      Wolf predation on cattle are negligible, but according to the ranchers, predation is rife. Utter BS!
      Wolves help keep Deer and Elk herds healthy, as well as being good for the ecosystem and the environment, (ref: Yellowstone.).
      Anyone can kill an animal whilst hiding undercover with a high powered rifle.
      I am totally fed up with all you “great white hunters” and scummy trappers.
      How about you tell the truth. It doesn’t hurt!!

    Let’s look at ranching in the West……Public-land grazing is an American anomaly. In a culture and economy of free enterprise, it is the nation’s most conspicuous and extensive flirtation with socialism.
    Western ranchers have been engaged in a concerted assault on wildlife of all kinds since cattle first came to the West after the Civil War. Historically they knew the damage they were doing to land, water, and wildlife. A review of western history will show they just didn’t care to do anything about it.
    They now get the use of OUR public lands for essentially pennies on the dollar compared to the costs on private lands; they get to ignore the environmental restrictions on their permits virtually without monetary or economic penalty; they are not held to any kind of restoration standards for the damage their cows cause to watersheds, riparian areas and trout spawning streams; they get to practice sloppy livestock management practices with respect to the safety and welfare of their cattle, they use excessive amounts of water for their animals and their forage, and they get paid off when wolves act like wolves.
    It’s astonishing that the taxpayers continue to put up with this system of “welfare ranching”.
    Somehow, we forget that we are under no obligation whatsoever to subsidize peoples lifestyles, particularly when those lifestyles are so ecologically, economically, and politically damaging. If people want to run cows in the West, then let them do it without public subsidy. A good start would be to eliminate publicly funded predator control and subsidized grazing.
    The real problem is that the West IS NOT ecologically suited for livestock production…PERIOD!!

    • Jerry, it sounds like you are against grazing livestock on public lands.
      “They now get the use of OUR public lands for essentially pennies on the dollar compared to the costs on private lands; they get to ignore the environmental restrictions on their permits virtually without monetary or economic penalty; they are not held to any kind of restoration standards for the damage their cows cause to watersheds, riparian areas and trout spawning streams; they get to practice sloppy livestock management practices with respect to the safety and welfare of their cattle, they use excessive amounts of water for their animals and their forage, and they get paid off when wolves act like wolves.”

      I think that you are critiquing the range management programs at the BLM and FS and saying that they are not doing their jobs. Of all these statements, though, the one I wonder about is “using excessive amounts of water for their animals and their forage”. Cows only drink so much and hay only absorbs so much water as it grows. Can you explain more about what you mean?

      Also you made a pretty overreaching statement “The real problem is that the West IS NOT ecologically suited for livestock production…PERIOD!!” I live surrounded by hundreds of thousands of acres where private people graze livestock because the land is not suited to much else. Maybe Colorado is not “the west”?

      • Sharon…The total amount of water needed – to produce one pound of beef is 1,799 gallons of water; one pound of pork takes 576 gallons of water. As a comparison, the water footprint of soybeans is 216 gallons; corn is 108 gallons.Dec 16, 2013

        In Montana over 7000 miles of streams are dewatered each year to provide water to grow cows and to provide water to grow forage for cows. That’s over 90% of all water used for irrigation.

        Lifestock grazing East of the Mississippi is much more efficient(more cattle are raised in Florida, Mississippi, etc than in the West) BECAUSE IT RAINS AND GROWS MORE FORAGE.

        • Jerry, those figures assume one standard set of practices. We don’t know whether a specific ranch follows the practices used to calculate those numbers.
          It sounds like you are talking about private ranches without federal leases (7000 miles of streams). It sounds like you are asking folks in eastern and central Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska and so on to make a living doing something else.
          To my way of thinking crops should be grown east of the Mississippi BECAUSE IT RAINS AND IT IS WARM ENOUGH TO PROVIDE A VARIETY OF FOOD CROPS.

          • Sharon, I’m sorry, but I don’t believe that figure that both Jerry the USGS provided “assume one standard set of practices” at all.

            Even at a pro-meat, pro-rancher “meat mythbusters” website it claims that it takes 441 gallons of water to produce one pound of boneless beef. The stat comes from the American Farm Bureau Federation. I’m pretty sure they DO NOT “assume one standard set of practices” but come up with an average. Why is this such a hard concept to grasp?

        • To decide that number they made a variety of assumptions, usually about what the cattle are fed on site and at feedlots. The USGS calculated a generic number which is probably not applicable to National Forest kinds of operations.

          But don’t take my word for it, here are their own caveats (from the same page)
          “Estimates vary a lot due to different conditions of raising cows.The number also varies depending on how far back in the production chain you go. It takes a lot of water to grow grain, forage, and roughage to feed a cow. Water is also needed for drinking supplies as well as for servicing the cow. Per kilogram of product, animal products generally have a larger water footprint than crop products.”
          Source: Water Footprint

          Picture a cow-calf operation where the cattle graze on grass on the Forest. Is that “using” water? Yes, but if they didn’t graze, perhaps there would be more shrubs that use even more water than the grass. And tall grasses not grazed might be more fire-prone when they dry out…

          Then there’s the flood- irrigated hay produced in the summer that they eat in the winter. I’m sure that there are some losses from the stream but not sure anyone’s ever measured them. And then there’s grass and grain finished and how much grain. Different ranchers have different approaches. So basically, no, we don’t know.

          My original point was that how could we know if they use “too much” if we don’t know how much they use?

          • “So basically, no, we don’t know.”

            No Sharon,
            We “basically” know the knowns voluminously documenting the water footprint of agribiz meat production in America. It is reasonable to extrapolate. No amount of dissembling demanding an absolute figure to cite can magically provide an escape clause for such production-dependent-upon -taxpayer subsidies occuring on federal (public) lands with a demonstrated history of mismanagement by the agencies in charge.

            • David, you are talking about some abstract (agribiz) business and I am talking about real people with real practices that differ even among themselves.

              Would you agree that recreation on federal lands are also supported by taxpayer subsidies? Why are some enterprises OK to subsidize and not others?

              • Sharon: You realize that even cows or sheep that spend a couple of months a year grazing on federal public lands (for literally pennies on the dollar, in terms of fair market value) also spend the rest of their lives living “on the ranch,” where in many cases they are eating heavily irrigated crops or from heavily irrigated fields, right?

                Also, I’m honestly shocked that you seem to have never heard that eating a pound of beef is literally one of the most water-intensive foods you can put into your body.

                • I have heard that. But I think it depends on the practices used.

                  And I don’t believe in selecting one of the many economic activities that people engage in (that provides food) and singling them out as wasters of water…
                  I could think non-food gardens (including roses) are wasters of water. I could think keeping pets is a big waste of water (some even eat beef products!).

              • Sorry Sharon,
                Cant buy it— (literally, because I refuse to eat beef serviced through agribiz markets, and their CAFOs—and figuratively, because those hopelessly and infamously deregulated suppliers dominate USA meat propuction and the USDA routinely fails the American public at assuring we dont get sick and die from eating “USDA Inspected” meat produced by agribiz and their suppliers).

                Subsidies are appropriate when a full accounting of ALL THE COSTS to the taxpayer, especially those costs associated with asset-stripping and degradation of public landscapes, degradation of ecosystem services and their continued ecological integrity — get factored into the analysis of cost/ benefit.

                Unfortunately, captured agencies routinely fail at regulation, enforcement, and administration— BECAUSE they’re captured, and because both reigning political parties embrace neoliberalism which functionally, means their exists no opposition party to neoliberalism (deregulation, regressive tax policy, privatization of public resources and utilities, corporate outsourcing of government functions, depradation of the middle class etc.,etc. ) in the US.

                To sum it up, the US political system and premises as a constitutional republic are not only ‘dead meat’, but they won’t sustain life or the social contract. It parasitizes and depradates the electorate their planet and their children.

  12. There is research (e.g. Biological Conservation 198 (2016) 93-103) demonstrating that wolves contribute to vegetation recovery by reducing elk herbivory in riparian areas within Yellowstone National Park. In turn, improvements to riparian vegetation result in improvements to water quality and watershed health. Wolves are a beneficial component of a tropic cascade.

  13. They are God’s Creatures.
    And we shall not kill and hurt, but show compassion and care.
    Our life is short also, let us take the chance, do good, stop the violence (‘God is Love’) and support the vegan lifestyle.
    He is the beginning and the end, one day we will die also.

    • How in the world do you quote parts of the bible and completely ignore Genesis 27? Using ‘God is Love’ as a motivation to go vegan is a long stretch.

  14. Just so everyone knows, a comment made here by a log-home builder in Montana was moderated and removed. The comment advocated for “S, S & S.”….”Shoot, Shovel and Shut up.”

  15. Elk are doing fine in Montana:

    “But monitoring data from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks tell a different story. “We’re counting about the same number of elk we did over the last 30 years,” says Neil Anderson, a wildlife program manager for FWP based in Kalispell… Anderson didn’t present Wednesday, but did answer questions. He and other FWP officials were booed by the crowd at a previous meeting in Trout Creek, according to a report in the Sanders County Ledger.” (I guess they weren’t interested in facts.)

    In some places, elk are doing more than fine – “In Hunting Districts 411, 511 and 530 around the Snowies the elk population is estimated at about 7,300. That figure is 918 percent over the population objective of 800 elk.”

    • Thanks for posting this official info Jon. Plenty of easy to find and accurate information about elk numbers is available on-line. Given the fact that most all elk hunters in Montana are given the opportunity to purchase two elk tags every year (and basically allowed to hunt elk with a rifle for about 4 months out of the year because of early and late “shoulder seasons”), I’m not sure how anyone could consider the current state of elk hunting in Montana as anything but the Golden Age.

      • Circling back to wolves, cattle on public lands in proximity to wild ungulate herds–

        It’s also important to remember the role of wolves in managing wild ungulate populations exhibiting diseased and genetically-impaired individuals, especially during an increasing incidence of chronic wasting disease (CWD) and its crossover prion variants, Mad Cow Disease (BSE), and Creutzfeld-Jacob disease (CJD).

        I recall it was a Colorado research facility being where CWD was first documented.

        selected following excerpts from:
        Where do prion diseases come from?

        Mad cow disease (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), also transmitted by prions, is widely believed to stem from the cost-cutting practice of feeding cows to cows. Similarly, CWD may have man-made origins.

        Captive deer operations are a main source of CWD due to their concentration of animals, “communicability window” (from trophy stock trading and escaped animals) and questionable feed sources. In a four-part expose, the Indiana Star revealed how “the pursuit of deer bred for enormous antlers and shot in hunting pens” on trophy farms is spreading CWD at an alarming rate.

        Infected sheep may also be to blame. In the mid-1960s, the Department of Wildlife ran a series of nutritional studies on wild deer and elk at the Foothills Wildlife Research Facility in Fort Collins, Colorado. Soon after the studies began, however, Foothills deer and elk began dying from a mysterious disease.


        Here are some things you can do to help address the overall problem:

        • Call for an end to game farms. Deer breeding and “trophy farms” are a $4-billion/year industry. Farmers operate canned “hunts” in which bucks with trophy antlers can fetch six figures. Customers are guaranteed a kill, and the animals are sometimes drugged. Deer farm operators also sell antlers, velvet, urine and meat.

        • Protest the widespread trapping and killing of wolves. Wolves serve the important ecological purpose of culling diseased deer from the herd––a function which is lost when they are hunted and trapped.

        • Call on the CDC to require autopsies on people whose death certificate reads “Alzheimer’s disease” or “dementia.” Many of these people, especially deer hunters, actually have died from CJD but are buried or cremated with no disclosure. The public deserves to know these risks, which can be transferred through surgical instruments and bodily fluids.
        (end quote)

        There’s too much valuable information to fully list in this link above, but it definitely elevates the discussion of science-free, state and federal predator control programs eliciting unintended consequences.

        In fact, the article provides a whole other dimension of the phrase “food for thought” stemming from predatory control

        CJD btw, is an extremely unpleasant process to witness a person dying from, not to mention the experienced agony of the afflicted person.

        • These comments are spot on. It is interesting to look at the differences in how prion diseases in cattle (BSE) have been dealt with in the UK, where infected animals have been destroyed and prevented from reaching market as recently as last year, and in the US. This link to the USDA BSE surveillance program, especially in times of federal government shutdowns, does little to reassure consumers that the beef they are buying has been tested and is free from BSE.

  16. The following was just posted on a facebook discussion by Carter Niemeyer. According to his bio: “Carter Niemeyer retired in 2006 from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service where he was the wolf recovery coordinator for Idaho. As an expert government trapper, he was a key member of the federal wolf reintroduction team in Canada in the mid-1990s….Niemeyer has been a trapper, hunter, and wildlife proponent his entire life. Wolves, he believes, add to the outdoor experience, and people who see or hear them should consider the experience thrilling. Wolves do not, as many believe, kill everything in sight, destroy their own food supply, or lick their chops at kids waiting at bus stops. They are simply predators like lions and bears, and anyone who believes otherwise is, well, wrong.”

    I’ve been “doing” wolves for 32 straight years – I use the term delusional to describe anyone who still subscribes to the misinformation that wolves are causing any detrimental affects some 30 years after their reestablishment in the Northern Rocky Mountain region of the US. No they are not a threat to people, no they won’t attack your pets unless YOU allow your pets to be unattended in wolf territory and, no, wolves have failed to reduce elk numbers in Idaho, Montana or Wyoming except in a few select locations (where fire suppression is a worse enemy of big game). Otherwise, it is the BEST of times for elk in northwestern US. And as for livestock, wolves kill below .5 of a percent of livestock (again much of the livestock killed is unattended by humans and left to their fate by ranchers who put them out on public lands, like the good ole days, and hope the stock come home in the fall weighing 200+ pounds and fed on the public lands at a rate of $1.35/AUM. By the way a friend points out, try feeding a gerbil for $1.35 a month……..The embellishment and BS about wolves is about as worn out as our national political system – ALL needing monumental repair.

    • You definitely do not get out in the wilderness , I have hunted and packed into northern Idaho for 40 yrs, and have meet locals that lost pets and livestock to wolves, and there is game until that were loaded with elk and deer that have no game at all. Are refuge in northern Idaho that wintered game are depleted to just a few animals, so sit back and blow smoke up some one else’s ass.

      • You definitely do not know a thing about me, Todd A Harkness. I’m a success backcountry elk and deer hunter that fills my freezer hauling out animals from the wilderness (where wolves, grizzly bears, and mountain lions live) on my back.

        “blow smoke up some one else’s a**?”

        Are you five years old, Todd A Harkness? Sharon doesn’t tolerate that type of language on her blog, so let’s see what she says about it.

      • Todd, I realize from reading many comment boards that calling people names, impugning their motives and all that is common. Here it is not OK. You and Matthew have different experiences, and people feel strongly about wolves. Thank you for sharing your experience. Here we would leave out the “you definitely don’t get out” and the “blowing smoke.” Thanks!

  17. Update: The Idaho Department of Fish and Game Commission just voted to allow an individual hunter to shoot up to 15 wolves a year and the same individual could trap 15 wolves a year. The number of tags apply statewide, including deep within Wilderness areas and other wild public lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management.


    “The Idaho Department of Fish and Game Commission voted to increase the maximum number of wolf tags Jan. 23 for individuals.

    The maximum number of wolf tags available for one person to purchase is now 15 hunting tags and 15 trapping tags for the 2020-2021 season.

    The changes to the allowable tag numbers for wolves applies statewide, simplifying the wolf hunting and trapping seasons and rules.”

  18. As a hunter myself, I find it absolutely disgusting and unethical that the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation supports Montana Fish, Wildlife and Park’s proposal to let individual hunters and trappers kill 10 wolves per year in Montana. This proposal would include allowing an individual hunter or trapper to kill up to 10 wolves per year within iconic Wilderness areas, like the Bob Marshall, Great Bear, Mission Mountains and Cabinet Mountains Wilderness.


    “We would be very supportive of those expanded seasons and larger amount of take,” said Blake Henning, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s chief conservation officer. He said that the hunting and conservation group’s members “would support these additional opportunities, and we want to support our members.”

  19. How about we let the fish and game do their job. If they’re allowing the R.M.E.F.
    do this its probably because there are to many wolves and not enough wolf hunters. The wolves have to be managed just like the deer and elk. This is how conservation works. I say keep up the good work R.M.E.F.

  20. I left Facebook after being threatened by wolf killers.

    Nothing would make me happier the Yellowstone erupting and putting Idaho in low earth orbit.

    Eating any kind meat will give you heart disease eventually – don’t believe me ? – ask any Cardiologist.


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