Research Offers 10 Reasons for Managing Wolves

MISSOULA, Mont.—Science-based field research, funded in part by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, is yielding solid data on why gray wolves in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming should be managed by state wildlife agencies.

Wolves have been on and off endangered species lists in recent months. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has repeatedly announced at least partial delisting and state-based management via regulated wolf hunting. But, each time, anti-hunting groups have blocked the effort with lawsuits.

“List, delist, repeat. It’s become an endless cycle driven by those who profit from legal uncertainty over gray wolves,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “Tying up this issue in courts defies a proven conservation system that is extremely successful at balancing predatory species within biological and social tolerances.”

The Elk Foundation has long funded scientific research on topics surrounding elk and habitat. Universities and state and federal agencies apply for RMEF research grants and conduct the projects. Researchers present results to peers at professional conferences. New understanding leads to better management strategies for all wildlife in elk country.

Here’s a sample of findings, from many different research projects, that support the Elk Foundation’s position that wolves should be managed this fall via state-regulated hunting.

1. In the northern Rockies, original wolf recovery goals for population size and breeding pair
estimates are now exceeded by over 500 percent and 333 percent, respectively.

2. Wolf populations in Montana are increasing 10-34 percent annually.

3. Wolves are the top predator on adult elk, especially bulls. Bears take more calves, but at least black bears can be scientifically managed via hunting.

4. Cow-calf ratios are commonly lower in areas with both bears and wolves.

5. Between November and April, wolf packs in Montana kill 7-23 elk per wolf.

6. Since 2000, elk numbers across non-wolf western states have held relatively stable, while elk populations across Idaho, Montana and Wyoming have dropped a combined 4.2 percent. In
many local areas, elk reductions have been dramatic and significant. Wolves are a factor, affecting not only elk numbers, but also their distribution, movement and behavior.

7. Elk hunting adds nearly $1 billion per year to the U.S. economy.

8. Hunter opportunity is being reduced to counter declining elk populations in Idaho.

9. A fully restored—but still federally protected—population of keystone predators is complicating and hindering elk management, as well as conservation itself.

10. In 1907, only 41,000 elk could be counted in the U.S. Leadership, stewardship and funding from hunters restored elk to their current population of more than 1 million. It’s this resource that made wolf recovery possible. Yet hunters and state conservation agencies are being victimized by continuous delays in wolf management.

Allen encouraged Wyoming and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to work together on a mutually agreeable wolf management plan. This would remove one of the obstacles that conservationists can actually control, enabling regulated wolf hunting alongside Idaho and Montana, he said.


  • http://www.huntwolves.com bison83

    Wolves are a predator, like coyotes, like mountain lions, like black bears, and a stable population can be maintained by hunting them as has been proven with all of these species. Last time I checked there was no limit on bear or lion tags, but they are quite plentiful in Idaho and Montana. People who assume wolves are going to be wiped out by a state run hunting season are sorely mistaken. Just becasue Idaho sets a quota of 518 wolves, it doesn’t mean 518 will be killed. People don’t give the wolf much credit for being able to survive. They were only eradicated in the 19th century when poisoning was allowed.
    For the people that understand the importance of a season, not only to control the population, but to form a coallition of hunters who now want to wisely manage and conserve a new game species, please vist http://www.huntwolves.com for information about the new wolf hunts.

  • http://longrangeshooter.com Sean

    I agree 100 percent
    I think a very small percentage of the 518 will actually be killed, probably in between 100 and 200 with Idaho and Montana combined.
    I went to the website you listed and it is a very informative site.
    Is it yours?

  • http://http://http://http://www.LongRangeShooter.com Mike

    It is interesting to me to se ethat they want 518 taken and then only allow 220 tags to be purchased statewide. Usually, there is only 18-29% filled…Sooooo, why the lag tag allance then? :{)

  • http://survivaldigest.com Chad

    How about we parachute hunt them?

  • Amanda

    You people should be ashamed of yourselves.The number has to rise,it’snowhere near what it should be. Just let them live their lives. They are magnificent animals that deserve a chance at life just like we do. I’mno tree-hugger, but I do believe in saving the wild wolf from extinction.

  • http://longrangeshooter.com Sean

    They are far from extinction.
    That’s why the COURT a approved a season on them
    Do you think that they would if it was going to wipe them out?
    Most people I see that leave a comment like that live in the city and don’t spend any time in the woods with wildlife. I have seen them all from Elk, Deer, Moose, Bear and wolfs and there are plenty of them and most of them have been being hunted sense before you and I were born. So I am going to trust the people that have managed wild game longer then we have and know what they are doing.

  • Rob

    To leave the wolf alone like Amanda Says would over time kill every animal (Elk, Deer, Moose, Big Horn Sheep, Mountain Goat & Small Animal) Living in the mountains with them. The wolf is to me the perfect killing machine. Not only do they have size they have extreme smarts when it come to taking down their prey. I can understand people standing up for the wolf. But don’t ever tell me your doing a good thing by standing up for the wolf when by doing so alows MANY different animals to die.