Montana FWP Seeks Halving Bitteroot Wolf Pack

Send by email Printer-friendly version Share this

Under the Endangered Species Act states can petition the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to remove wolves if it can be demonstrated that they are unacceptably impacting elk or deer herds. Montana, like Idaho in that states "Lolo" zone, will seek to have 12 wolves removed from the West Fork of the Bitterroot.

The Missoulian has a write up on the FWP's request to the FWS. Mike Thompson, the FWP's regional wildlife manager in the area, said that in the past two years the cow/calf ratio in the area was nine to 11 calves per 100 cows. A minimum of 25 calves per 100 cows is necessary for a sustainable population, according to wildlife biologists.


hawkeye270's picture

In a 400 level Natural

In a 400 level Natural Resource History and Policy course at CSU last year I had to debate wolf reintroduction to Rocky Mountain National Park in front of 400 people. I think you guys know which side I was on. One of my case studies that I used to make my point was the Lolo elk herd. At that point I believe their cow/calf ratio was slightly better than that but it was still horrible. It was one of my more powerful arguments and people seemed to get it when you show a graph of that herd's population decline. I can not believe that the cow/calf ratio has dropped to that level... that is disturbing and I sure hope that they are able to control that specific wolf pack... and the rest of the packs for that matter. I have read papers that claimed that even 20 calves per 100 cows can sustain a population but they are even below that.

The good thing is that since the elk population has been decreased so much, that when the wolf population is finally brought in check, the elk population will respond quickly. Because there will be so many resources out there for elk to take advantage of there will be a big pulse in the elk population size. They are a prolific species and if that wolf population is halved... than they will respond and you boys that hunt that area will finally get back to some good hunting. It will take a few years but it will happen fairly quickly in the grand scheme of things.

CVC's picture

Based on the gestation

Based on the gestation period, number of calves per mother and the mortality rate of calves, how long will it take for the herd to rebound to acceptable levels?


ecubackpacker's picture

We all agree the wolf

We all agree the wolf population is out of control and the states need to be given control of managing them. The Fed's are currently managing, or maybe lack of managing,  them under the ESA.

Gatorfan says hopefully the uproar will get the Fed's to step-up and do the right thing, relinguish management of the wolves to the states. But, it doesn't work that way with the Fed's. They have all the power and they know it. A little bit of uproar from the states and citizens is like me trying to out box Ali. I can't do it. He wouldn't even feel my punches. The gov't is in control and will be until they see fit to relinguish control to the states. You can't bully the Fed's. All it takes to shoot down any attempt by the states to gain control is one the gov't that wants the wolves to remain protected.

A side note in the article calls for the increased harvest of cougars and bears to combat the falling recruitment rate. It's a same other species, who have been well managed in the past, have to suffer because of the wolves.

That's the result of the Gov't having too much control in states and our lives.

Ca_Vermonster's picture

It's happening in Yellowstone

It's happening in Yellowstone too.  The elk population is taking a huge hit from the increase of wolves.  It will keep becoming a problem until they let the states take measures intot heir own hands.  I think it's a matter of trust.  The Feds think that the states will wipe out the wolves.  However, even though he history of hunting shows that we almost killed many species, i.e. elh, bison, etc., to extinction, the development of modern day game management agencies have brought all these animals back.  A well regulated hunting season will ensure that human and wolf interactiopn, other herd (elk) impact, and the health of the overall wolf pack, will bne protected and looked after.  We're pretty good at "balancing" nature these days.

CVC's picture

It seems pretty simple to

It seems pretty simple to me.  There has to be lots of scientific data to provide information on the size and number of packs to ensure the viability of wolves in a given area.  Just require the states to maintain a viable pack size to ensure that the wolves are not killed off. 

gatorfan's picture

Seems like there is a ton of

Seems like there is a ton of simultaneous pressure from multiple states being put on the federal government about the wolves.  I would imagine that with the detailed information that is being provided about the desimation of the deer and elk herds, there will be changes coming up quick!

I hope, for you guys that live and hunt in wolf country, that they change their minds and tactics soon!

CVC's picture

The news about the low

The news about the low cow/calf ratio is disturbing and I hope Mt is allowed to halve the wolf pack to reverse the damage being done to the elk herd.  I wonder how long it will take for the elk herd to recover from the low cow/calf ratio?