16 replies [Last post]
Location: Utah
Joined: 02/24/2003
Posts: 591
Yellowstone Wolf Experiment Out of Control

Give me a break. Wolves have been in North American for centuries and the elk and deer have all survived just fine. They don't do near the damage humans do I'll tell you that right now. I think wolves are a part of nature and who are we to decide they no longer have a place there. Nature has its own balance. Furthermore I do believe that people are overexaggerating the effects the wolves are having in Yellowstone. I was in Yellowstone last summer and saw plenty of elk. Didn't see any wolves chasing them around.

With that being said the wolves do need to be regulated. If studies do in fact show that they are having a significant impact on other species I would be angry if they didn't issue tags and a hunting season the control the population. If a livestock owner sees a wolf endangering his property I think he should have every right to shoot it. My point is there has to be a middle ground. I just will never believe we have the right to wipe a species off the face of the earth. If its wolf habitat they should be there and regulated like any other animal.

expatriate's picture
Location: Arizona
Joined: 10/26/2002
Posts: 3206
Yellowstone Wolf Experiment Out of Control

Ditto. I don't doubt that numbers have dropped since wolves were introduced. But then again, I suspect that Yellowstone's wildlife populations were unnaturally high in the first place because they had absolutely nothing to keep them in balance.

Given that environment, I don't doubt that introduced wolves would reproduce rapidly amid the Yellowstone smorgasbord. Yet as you pointed out, nature has a way of keeping things balanced. If herd numbers drop too far, wolf populations will collapse from lack of prey. If humanity eats all the fish in the sea, we'll just switch to something else. Wolves don't have that luxury, and I challenge anyone to present a case where one native species (man excluded) caused the extinction of another. And yes, wolves count as native because they lived in Yellowstone for eons until recent history.

Lewis and Clark reported an amazing abundance of wildlife throughout the West at a time when wolves were numerous and unrestrained. I empathize with the ranchers and agree that wolves attacking livestock deserve a bullet. But I don't for a minute buy the idea that wolves will wipe out wildlife in Yellowstone.

Perhaps the bigger problem is what the wolf population is going to do when nature's pendulum swings the other way and they don't have enough wildlife to support their numbers anymore. Aside from ranchers outside the park, there's campers and hikers inside Yellowstone, too. I'm not suggesting human predation, but you might see more incidents as wolves go after human food sources.

[ This Message was edited by: expatriate on 2003-03-12 22:36 ]

bitmasher's picture
Location: Colorado
Joined: 02/27/2002
Posts: 2974
Yellowstone Wolf Experiment Out of Control


Getting all of your information from the government is a good way to get biased data...

That is true; however I posted it simply to show that there is a dramatically different view than what the original opinion piece states as fact.

Another example that you don't hear about much when debating wolves is cougars. In most western states and Candian provinces cougars have active populations, CO is estimated at around 3000 cats (10 times larger than the wolf head count mentioned above) and these are "government numbers", so using the logic mentioned above, it is probably considerably higher.

Cougars munch on deer at rates at least equal to the consumption of wolves from what I have read, yet few claim that we should wipe out the cougars because they put to great a load on the game populations. I don't understand why wolves cause such a fuss (even at the relatively tiny numbers mentioned above) when cougars have shown that it is possible to have big prey, big predators, and people coexist.

Location: Utah
Joined: 04/21/2003
Posts: 5
Yellowstone Wolf Experiment Out of Control

Biased data is a problem on both sides. Some of the things that I am concerned about are the safety of those using the mountains. Bears are hard enough to deal with but camping with young children in wolf areas is not something I would be interested in.

Another is the fact that the hunting community has spent a lot of time and resources to insure the existence of wildlife through programs such as the RMEF. The biggest killer of wildlife is the lack of winter range that has been consumed by the human race. Hunting provides the revenue that is needed provide the resources to support wildlife. Hunting also provides a controlled method to manage herd sizes. The herd benefits and the hunters benefit as animals are not wasted to winter kill. Introducing wolves will reduce the hunter population and in tern the revenue. Pressure from predators like wolves and from the human consumption of winter range put the game animals right in the middle of a vice which they are bound to loose. Few game animal hunters will be interested in predator hunting. If game animal numbers are significantly reduced hunters will abandon the sport and the loss of revenue will be great.

I think everyone is going to loose in this deal.

Joined: 04/22/2003
Posts: 19
Yellowstone Wolf Experiment Out of Control

You won't see anything new in this post, and I tend to take the middle gound approach.
First I support limited Wolf re-introduction of the native strain - someone pointed out that the Rocky Mountain Wolves and the Canadian Wolves have some significant differences (namely size and hunting styles) IF this is true the Canadain strain should not have been introduced.
Numbers quoted from any source need to be examined very carefully, but I have to agree with arguement that if the Wolf wipes out all game in it's range, why does Alaska and Canada offer such great hunting opertunities?

No doubt an increase in predator populations will effect game populations, and as wolf numbers increase hunting of wolves should be allowed.

Ranchers hate predators, and if my livinghood depended on my stock not being eaten then I'd hate them too. Ranchers should be allowed to protect their stock, and game officials must be aggresive in taking care of problem animals.

Location: Lewiston, Idaho
Joined: 04/23/2003
Posts: 4
Yellowstone Wolf Experiment Out of Control

Listening to the "facts" quoted by both sides of the wolf reintroduction issue, a person has to be carefull not to accept the stated "facts" as the whole story.

One good example would be the numbers of "confirmed kills" by wolves. The numbers provided by the government are gleened from various groups doing the research and studies of ungulate and livestock predation by wolves. The real truth that most of these researchers admit is the "fact" that their numbers, with regards to predation, especially with calves, do not tell the whole story. They admit that, due to the fact that wolves will often completely devour a calf, leaving no portion for confirmation of kill, many wolf kills go unrecorded. In certain areas here in Idaho where the wolves have been reintroduced, the confirmed kills by wolf are not that high, but the "unexpained" deaths, or dissapearances, has gone up a bunch. Go figure.

I really don't like the reintroduction but for a differrent reason than some. The reason I don't like it is because I see the real possibility that our states will not be given the opportunity to manage them. I am concerned that the ungulate populations will take a hard hit before there is any real management. I may be wrong here, and I hope I'm worried for nothing.

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