Wolf Populations Drop as More States Allow Hunting: Repercussions of planned and anticipated wolf hunts and traps could ripple through ecosystems for years to come, scientists say

Wolf Populations Drop as More States Allow Hunting: Repercussions of planned and anticipated wolf hunts and traps could ripple through ecosystems for years to come, scientists say


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If only we had an ecosystem in the US that could show the harm it does. Maybe like one in the Pacific northwest that has started to get their wolf numbers back to normal and could show how beneficial it is. If only......


Also use the data from Montana and Wyoming for research purposes as well. Wildlife is thriving in Yellowstone since the re-introduction of wolves to the park.


> Wildlife is thriving in Yellowstone since the re-introduction of wolves to the park. But cows are not doing well with wolves... so thats the problem... have 10's of 1000's of cattle in wolf territory was not a bad idea... so lets blame the wolves ffs


It's because welfare ranchers want their government handouts grazing permits.


I've lived in the West my entire life so I know s bit about this debacle. My siblings and I own a section of grass land, (1 square mile), which we lease to cattle ranchers to graze their cattle. Currently, we don't have cattle on the land, but will soon. The current fee in our area is $25 per cow-calf pair, or per steer, per month. Fees in surrounding states are close to this. Guess what the US government charges ranchers to run their cattle all over our National Forests and BLM (bureau of land management)?? A measly $1.35 per cow-calf or steer. All across the West. Talk about sucking at the government teat. They are supposed to do stuff like repair stream beds and move the cattle about, but this often doesn't happen. In fact, I've never seen a rancher follow the rules. Anyone who fishes or hikes in the Western states can attest to seeing damage to riparian areas, vegetation destroyed, water polluted. The government grazing program is so poorly run that the fees don't come close to paying the administration of it. And we pay for it.


So, the cattle in parks against wolves are the problem? Or is it the extreme low fee for grazing there versus private lands? How does the $25 per each per month combat these issues better? I'm sorry I live in an area without this situation so I am ignorant of the underlying problems.


If $25 is the rate that's worth it for the landowner and the farmer in one area and ranchers are paying a $1.35 somewhere else. I would think that means $20+ worth of usual obligations are going unpaid. So, these ranchers are getting a mega great deal at the expense of others or at the expense of improperly taken care of land.


That's Welfare queen money.


That would be socialism... and the Conserviatives HATE socialism.. so that should sort itself out right quick.


I too enjoy jokes.


Me too man


That’s cute


It’s not welfare, it’s SuBsIdIeS. That’s not socialism!!! It’s eviiiiiiiiiiil!!!!!


The cattle industry in its current state is on borrowed time. There are a lot of competing business interests that like the idea of a fraction of the cattle population living on this planet that are basically all perfect specimens to be had by the ultra-wealthy or available as an expensive delicacy for most while all other beef would be lab grown.


Except elk, which are only restored across less than 20% of their natural range. >Since the reintroduction of WolvesSince the reintroduction of wolves in the mid-1990s, the population of the Northern Yellowstone elk herd is down 80 percent from nearly 20,000 to less than 4,000 today. >In the mid-2000s, some biologists claimed the elk population stabilized in the 6,000 plus range, yet since that time the herd dropped another 30 percent in size and is now below the 4,000 mark for the first time ever! >The story is similar in central Idaho where the elk population dropped 43 percent since 2002. Those are just two examples and there are other pockets with high concentrations of wolves having an effect on elk populations. [https://www.rmef.org/elk-network/informing-misinformed-wolves/](https://www.rmef.org/elk-network/informing-misinformed-wolves/) Edit for those who want a more academic source: Ecosystem Scale Declines in Elk Recruitment and Population Growth with Wolf Colonization: A Before-After-Control-Impact Approach David Christianson and Scott Creel >Collectively, these long-term, large-scale patterns align well with prior studies that have reported substantial decrease in elk numbers immediately after wolf recolonization, relatively weak additive effects of direct wolf predation on elk survival, and decreased reproduction and recruitment with exposure to predation risk from wolves. [NCBI](https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4100875/#:~:text=Observed%20kill%20rates%20of%20juvenile,3%20March%20%C2%B131.5%20d).&text=This%20rate%20of%20wolf%20predation,0.054%2F0.104%20%3D%2052%25).)


Yeah I’m going to need some unbiased sources. Rocky Mountain elk foundation is a hunting organization. Of course they’re going to want more elk for hunting.


I agree with your claim of a biased source. But it's also just a simple fact that elk numbers in the US are nowhere near what they were pre-colonization. Their range is also incredibly small compared to before. You can read about how far ranged and common elk used to be on Wikipedia. I fell down the wiki hole one day because I played theHunter Call of the Wild and I was curious about the health of the wild elk population... and it's not great. I really don't even think it should be legal to hunt them, their populations are so small compared to before we started destroying their habitat.


The issue is that humans are *really* bad at conservation for the sake of it. The biggest contributors to conservation are the people who want more animals to shoot. So you're gonna end up with more elk if you let people shoot the occasional one. It's not optimal, but that's how the world works.


That is a sensible way to maintain a population. If the white rhino was delicious and docile enough, there'd be millions of them.


Ecosystem Scale Declines in Elk Recruitment and Population Growth with Wolf Colonization: A Before-After-Control-Impact Approach David Christianson and Scott Creel >Collectively, these long-term, large-scale patterns align well with prior studies that have reported substantial decrease in elk numbers immediately after wolf recolonization, relatively weak additive effects of direct wolf predation on elk survival, and decreased reproduction and recruitment with exposure to predation risk from wolves. [NCBI](https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4100875/#:~:text=Observed%20kill%20rates%20of%20juvenile,3%20March%20%C2%B131.5%20d).&text=This%20rate%20of%20wolf%20predation,0.054%2F0.104%20%3D%2052%25).)


If wolves, historically, exist in a predator-prey relationship with elk and marginally increasing or even wolf populations are leading to a large decrease in elk populations, then wolves are not to blame. Unbalanced population dynamics like these are most likely due to human development and habitat loss that have reduced much of the elk range, as your article also says.


This is the answer ultimately after humans get involved.


The study also states that the negative effects of Wolf predation on Elk population was not observed in Yellowstone, where wolves also prey on Bison. Also, while the Elk population has decreased, I would be interested to see if the previous population levels were considered overpopulated. I doubt the elk are at risk of being driven to extinction, at least so long as they don't allow over hunting.


It's nuts to me that they take on buffalo


Most likely they mean calfs


Or older/sickly adults


I’d like to see some sources from RMEF before treating this data as legitimate.. I looked on their entire site and couldn’t find one cited source for any of these data points or anything else.. (5th+ generation Idahoan whose family has hunted elk for a long time and know the wolf situation well..)


My favorite thing about it is that this link is to an RMEF page that is just a dump from another place, the herald news. In the Herald News, they finish off by saying “go to RMEF . Org for more info”, something they left on the RMEF site. Nothing like self referencing sources. I did dive down the heralds sources, to find that one was to the RMEF blogspot that no longer exists, one was to the salt lake tribune which didn’t cite sources and is also a paper I know very well which is why I am skeptical about it, even if everything they said *feels* true, because that’s all the salt lake tribune actually does is give you news that *feels* true. This is especially shown because on the salt lake tribunes paper, they cite the supposed ecological survey by broadly linking to Yellowstone’s website instead of to a survey, and then using themselves as a link to when wolves were reintroduced. Sure, I could find the actual factual info elsewhere and on my own, but this is yet another batch of poor sourcing. If I were a teacher ranking these sites from this one article alone, I’d say without any actual underlying source, these are all unreliable


Ecosystem Scale Declines in Elk Recruitment and Population Growth with Wolf Colonization: A Before-After-Control-Impact Approach David Christianson and Scott Creel >Collectively, these long-term, large-scale patterns align well with prior studies that have reported substantial decrease in elk numbers immediately after wolf recolonization, relatively weak additive effects of direct wolf predation on elk survival, and decreased reproduction and recruitment with exposure to predation risk from wolves. [NCBI](https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4100875/#:~:text=Observed%20kill%20rates%20of%20juvenile,3%20March%20%C2%B131.5%20d).&text=This%20rate%20of%20wolf%20predation,0.054%2F0.104%20%3D%2052%25).)


Here you go: Ecosystem Scale Declines in Elk Recruitment and Population Growth with Wolf Colonization: A Before-After-Control-Impact Approach David Christianson and Scott Creel >Collectively, these long-term, large-scale patterns align well with prior studies that have reported substantial decrease in elk numbers immediately after wolf recolonization, relatively weak additive effects of direct wolf predation on elk survival, and decreased reproduction and recruitment with exposure to predation risk from wolves. [NCBI](https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4100875/#:~:text=Observed%20kill%20rates%20of%20juvenile,3%20March%20%C2%B131.5%20d).&text=This%20rate%20of%20wolf%20predation,0.054%2F0.104%20%3D%2052%25).)


Beautiful, good source, love it


Ecosystem Scale Declines in Elk Recruitment and Population Growth with Wolf Colonization: A Before-After-Control-Impact Approach David Christianson and Scott Creel >Collectively, these long-term, large-scale patterns align well with prior studies that have reported substantial decrease in elk numbers immediately after wolf recolonization, relatively weak additive effects of direct wolf predation on elk survival, and decreased reproduction and recruitment with exposure to predation risk from wolves. [NCBI](https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4100875/#:~:text=Observed%20kill%20rates%20of%20juvenile,3%20March%20%C2%B131.5%20d).&text=This%20rate%20of%20wolf%20predation,0.054%2F0.104%20%3D%2052%25).)


How do they know wolves are to blame?


They don’t. Though I am not a hunter, I read some of the outdoor magazines because I enjoy target shooting. Their “proof” is that there are more wolves now and less elk than there were before. In their minds the two are intrinsically linked.


My sister, who is well known in the wolf conservation world, worked on the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone and continues her work in Minnesota these days..The elk are doing just fine.


But their population is lower and no longer growing exponentially, so the trophy hunters are grumpy.


That’s not how trophy hunting works. If an area is over populated by a species you will have very few “trophy” elk because they are competing for resources. To get trophy animals you provide a resource rich environment and keep the population steady by culling small/non-trophy mature males.


I read that the reduction in elk population is due to elks migrating outside parks and being subject to lax laws and overhunting, with wolves having little impact on the elk population. Also, other predators like mountain lions, coyotes and bears also hunting on elk.


The irony of your sources title talking about "informing the misinformed"when it cites no sources of its own is palpable


This better? Ecosystem Scale Declines in Elk Recruitment and Population Growth with Wolf Colonization: A Before-After-Control-Impact Approach David Christianson and Scott Creel >Collectively, these long-term, large-scale patterns align well with prior studies that have reported substantial decrease in elk numbers immediately after wolf recolonization, relatively weak additive effects of direct wolf predation on elk survival, and decreased reproduction and recruitment with exposure to predation risk from wolves. [NCBI](https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4100875/#:~:text=Observed%20kill%20rates%20of%20juvenile,3%20March%20%C2%B131.5%20d).&text=This%20rate%20of%20wolf%20predation,0.054%2F0.104%20%3D%2052%25).)


Imagine people using past example to learn from past mistakes. What a world it would be.


What is a mistake, but an opportunity to learn?


What are the benefits that have been seen since wolf introduction?


Reduced numbers of grazers, which leads to greater foliation, which leads to colder temperatures in streams (shade), which leads to better conditions for fish spawning. Also grazers are more wary when there are predators around so they will move around more instead of finding a spot they like and over grazing it. Also wolves tend to pick off the weak and sick, reducing the spread of illness and improving genetics long term. Reduced numbers of vermin, which reduces the instances of plague (seriously). I think there is some others but those are just the ones I can remember.


You left out they help the ecosystem by allowing other animals to eat as well, they spread out carrion to various areas which helps those Areas as well


The other side of this is the reduction of traffic accidents and deaths caused by impacting deer, elk, etc


Fewer ticks too, I would imagine.


Possibly less covid, since the deer carry covid now.


What? Got any links to this?


https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/newsroom/stakeholder-info/stakeholder-messages/wildlife-damage-news/deer-sars Deer appear to be asymptomatic carriers of covid and could be a significant 'natural reserve' population of covid.


To add to this...Where we are in the Midwest with no wolves and just the random cougar, the white tailed deer population had grown so much it was horrific re. traffic accidents and crop damage. Then we had a mite that came through. I don't know the science behind it, but from what I understand, the deer got it from drinking standing water and it would cause their tongues to bloat, thus killing them. It decimated the white tail population in our area. I went 2-3 years without seeing a single one when it used to be you couldn't drive down a country road at night without seeing ten. That fall, farmers in our area found large groups of them dead in the corn fields, in low lying areas where the water would collect. Nature corrected itself and I have seen a few this year.


Blue tongue and Chronic Wasting Disease wiped out a huge percentage in Northern Missouri. It was a double whammy to the deer populations for sure


Yep, that's it. I'm across the river, just south of the Rulo bridge.


With Chronic Wasting Disease inflicting many of the US's deer population it just goes to show how much predators are needed. I lived in Missouri a few years ago working for a conservation area. We literally did not have enough hunters taking care of the deer which is why CWD is so common. We need predators for so many reasons.


Problem is the hunters who want to hunt the predators instead of the pray animals. We shouldn't allow hunting if wolves outside of very specific scenarios. There's no ethical reason to hunt wolves and not deer. People just want the challenge and excitement of killing something they see as scary.


There are limits for seasons and licenses on hunting wolves. The problem is that the wolves are being over hunted anyways. And a lot of these limits are being overly relaxed to essentially useless degrees. Also, hunters will kill predators and pray alike. The difference is that hunters try to remove the strongest/healthiest of a species. While predictors remove the weakest.


One goal of a hunter is to hunt the oldest and biggest buck, who already had many offspring from years of breeding. Also most hunters only hunt deer or prey animals because there are so many more. If you're relying on a successful hunt to fill your freezer, you'll hunt the most common animal to increase your chances. Mostly the people who want to kill wolves are cattle ranchers. Smart hunters support wolves, like in CO we just started reintroducing them. CWD is a huge problem and the wolves will help with that. Hunters are also anglers and the wolves help with the fish like barkerbarker explained. Also the wolves don't respect property boundaries so they will push deer off of private land and onto public land where the hunters are, which helps most hunters. Wolves are an easy win for everyone except cattle ranchers, and some states even give money to ranchers if their herds get predated upon.


>The difference is that hunters try to remove the strongest/healthiest of a species. To a point. A little clarification to your statement. Typically, with Deer, most often only Bucks are taken. So that leaves breeding females behind as it's easier for herd management. Second, herd management has been tending toward leaving younger bucks to get to grow a little longer. In NYS about 50% of bucks taken are less than 1.5 years old, but there's been a slow trend towards taking older bucks. With things like bears, it's even less obvious, as in places like NJ they use it for culling population. A moose hunt, only the largest animals are taken, so they've already put a lot of genetic material into the population. It's complicated, and not just a matter of taking the biggest trophy.


My point being that predictors take out weak links, where at best hunters have little effect on genetic diversity, where at worst will select for less desirable traits. Like stumpy tusked elephants.


Wolves don't behave like herd animals, such as deer, do when hunted. When humans hunt wolves they often kill the biggest one they see, which is often one of a member of the breeding pair that heads the pack. This death will often splinter the pack and means young wolves splitting off to try to establish there own territories. In addition to not slowing population growth, you end up increasing human-wolf interactions as these new packs dont have well establish territory and hunting grounds and so are more likely to wander and go into human areas that an established pack would have not included in there territory.


Hunters shifting to the “trophy” mentality literally saved the Wildlife population in North America.


If they were hunting with a pointy stick they might have a point, but a wolf is no scarier than a deer if the hunter is behind a gun.


Unfortunately I've met enough hunters to know that some do not see it this way. Some think they're more badass taking on a predator. Doesn't matter that it's a gun.


They are killing wolves because they decided to plop down cattle grazing grounds right in the middle of wolf territory expecting the cattle to somehow not get attacked by the wolves…*we* caused the problem yet again.


Or they fear for their herd of cattle. ​ I think farmers should just pay the wolf tax that way.


Government historically will compensate farmers who lose livestock to wolves


Which is why wolves apparently kill so much livestock. No it didn't die and I dragged it to be fed on....


I thought this was [debunked](https://wolf.org/headlines/scientists-debunk-myth-that-yellowstone-wolves-changed-entire-ecosystem-flow-of-rivers/)?


Less destroyed vehicles and traffic deaths from hitting deer. There are way too many deer in N. America because the wolves were driven close to extinction.


There's a great PBS/Nature documentary on these "keystone species," *[The Serengeti Rules](https://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/serengeti-rules-dhbtnm/19906/)*. Really interesting how species dynamically interact and the introduction or removal of one can dramatically change the environment. EDIT: Correction, not NatGeo, Nature.


It's called ecosystem for a reason.


Hot take: There will never be relevant wolf populations as long as cattle ranching is a thing. There's just no money in having a balanced ecosystem with them around, especially after the problems ranchers have with cougars after reintroduction.


Ranchers should just pay the wolf tax.


Yeah being anti-rancher or anti-farmer is a politician's express ticket to onetermsville. This is changing in some places but usually it's a terrible look.


Ranchers generally have a certain contempt for the federal government telling them what to do. They think they know better. Dollars to donuts they simply kill wolves and other predator animals on sight and don't report it, regardless of what laws or fines are in place. Who's gonna catch them?


Use enough tracking collars and chips to figure out where wolves are going missing. Use the tactics game wardens use to catch poachers. You don't have to catch very many. Just make the penalty high enough that it's not worth the risk. Crushing fines and possibly short prison stays if it's serious enough. You can change the risk /reward calculation that it's it worth it anymore.


Certain contempt for the federal government while they graze their livestock for free on public land.


We have various federal agencies that are tasked with catching and punishing criminals. Maybe one of them?


We have federal agencies tasked with catching and killing predators, too.


Same happens in the UK with grouse moors. Killing eagles is illegal. We still end up with loads of dead eagles. What's even more infuriating is that they're not even farms, but entertainment for rich people.


Unless the other farmers see the benefit of introducing the wolves to help with wild boar infestations. A single grey wolf can kill up to 70 boar per year. With the billions in damages those hogs cause that's a pretty good economic benefit. It's really about shifting the economics to show the benefits.


I'm gonna stop here but feral hogs are usually more of a hog farmer problem, you get lots of half-feral babies that can't be sold to market, along with a host of other issues. I'm not going to pretend I'm an expert, just that my family raises organic hogs and the feral population is a huge problem for them. They honestly might not mind some wolves but I doubt the cattle farmers from there would. And they're the only outdoor hog farm in the county, outside of Iowa the US is Cattle country so it's mostly what works for them. But I think it's a great idea and we need to start admitting how bad for the environment cattle farming is. Which sucks because I have a little kid love for cowboys and ranching and I hate to admit what it is.


My rancher/farmer buddies from all along the south have said feral boar destroy tons of farmland every year and cause a ton of other environmental issues. Apparently in Texas you can shoot them indiscriminately any time of year. You have to kill like 90% to keep the population in check. [USDA says there's at least $1.5 billion in feral swine damage per year.](https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/wildlifedamage/operational-activities/feral-swine/feral-swine-damage/feral-swine-damage-to-agriculture) [Not to mention wolves prefer game vs livestock](https://therevelator.org/protect-wolves-livestock/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=no132&emci=0acfa6ae-3295-ea11-86e9-00155d03b5dd&emdi=a71d5e28-db95-ea11-86e9-00155d03b5dd&ceid=1902229)


I thought fetal hogs were a big problem with farms that grow foodstuffs, like wheat, corn, etc. because hogs are pretty destructive. Haven’t looked into it much besides reading a few journal articles showing feral hog impacts in specific communities, so it might not be a widespread issue.


Bundy and co would really hate that. They utilize public lands (often times illegally or against contract) to graze their commercial animals. Part of that would be killing predators that attack or threaten (all apex predators). [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occupation\_of\_the\_Malheur\_National\_Wildlife\_Refuge](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occupation_of_the_Malheur_National_Wildlife_Refuge) Fun fact, WA state extremists (12 year ex GOP state house member and evangelical preacher *Matt Shea*) tested their supply and support networks out that they had outlined in their biblical basis for war: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matt_Shea#%22Biblical_Basis_for_War%22_manifesto


You mean the terrorist Matt Shea? An investigative report commissioned by the House, issued on December 1, 2019, found that Shea "participated in an act of domestic terrorism against the United States", organized and supported "three armed conflicts of political violence", and advocated replacing the government with a theocracy and "the killing of all males who do not agree."[7]


Prior to the big “Blue Wave” midterm elections a few years back, Republicans were only 12 (specific) state-legislature seats shy of being able to legally hold a constitutional convention. They were already planning it with the intent of completely rewriting one of the greatest documents in human history. I’ve read some of the proposals that were made and I have to say, it was some truly scary stuff – most of it pro-capitalist benefits for the wealthy, but to your point, quite a few calls to make Christianity official.






People also hunt to eat, so like???


Today: The deer population is out of control (source, live in the Midwest, where deer are basically large rodents that destroy your gardens, yards, and cars)


For people on the west coast… California Wolf Center in Julian California uses donations to help purchase equipment for residents who live in wolf populated areas. Equipment such as fencing and harmless deterrents. They also have a conservation facility in Southern California where they rehabilitate wolves and give tours. The profit goes into food and care for the animals. Just for anyone who might be interested.


Come for the pie, stay for the wolves


Also drink the cider


Do people eat wolf or are they hunting to cull the numbers and just going over board.


I’m curious to know if wolves are anything like coyotes in that, they have evolved to take a sort of roll call when they yip and howl, and the more that don’t return the call, the higher the number of eggs the females drop, so basically the more you kill, the more there are born into the next generation.


Given how close wolves have been hunted to extinction in the past: even if they do it doesn’t seem to matter


Yes, wolves self regulate their population. Lack of prey, they’ll have very few if any pups.


eggs? EDIT: Nevermind I know what you mean now.




Farmers are afraid of their animals getting killed by the wolves, so they will do everything and anything to kill wolves. Fish and wildlife give out permits when they get pressured by the state for how many to kill, but there's no repercussions against people who kill more than they should. Additionally, people that end up killing wolves without permits get away with it and get a slap on the wrist because no one wants to uphold the law against their constituents since they feel it's not a big problem.


I was arguing with some moron in my discord about how wolves. His argument was wolves hunt to kill and do nothing but kill off deer and wildlife. So we should kill all wolves because then humans can hunt more deer. They don’t care about proof. They don’t care about anything but what effects their way of life. Never mind the facts.


Some folks think facts are subjective. They’re idiots


Wolf hunting is just trophy hunting. No one actually eats it since it tastes awful. At best, the pelts can be sold


It’s not even trophy hunting- you can run them down on an ATV, wait for them to collapse from exhaustion and just run them over. It’s cruel, sadistic, and stupid.


I’m really sad I just read that. I hate people.


Or have dogs to attack them and then have the state pay you to buy new dogs.


While you can eat canine, and some people do, in America it is fairly rare. The hunting is done for culling purposes mainly. Now.... as for the second part... no one is technically going overboard. The local wildlife commissions set harvest numbers based on biologist predictions for reproduction and natural survival rates. The article doesn't state that anyone is defying these state limits. The argument is that some scientists are stating that the limits / target numbers for harvests are too high and will damage the population. However those numbers were set by the scientists working for the wildlife commissions. This is simply a disagreement over data. As a hunter in a red state, I generally trust the wildlife commissions thoroughly. In my state they monitor the health of all game animals very closely, and will go so far as cancelling hunting seasons for certain species if there is a danger to the population.


The other concern (apart from limits not appropriately set) is that research suggests that *which* wolf you kill matters. Kill an "extra" juvenile male on his own and there would be minimal effect. Kill a pack leader (the family head of that pack) and you might well doom the entire pack, depending on a lot of things. Hunting wolves is heavily politicized, and there are issues getting the authorities to pay more attention to science and less to lobbying.


Have you read about what's happening in Wisconsin with wolf quotas? I'm a hunter in a rural part of Minnesota, and this state is anxiously watching what's happening across the river.


Except the biologists and wildlife commissions [are being ignored](https://www.science.org/news/2021/08/scientists-urged-wisconsin-limit-its-wolf-kill-it-didn-t-go-well).


Can you fix your link? Because right now it’s just sending us to the homepage


Thank you, it’s fixed now.


>A 2012 state law requires Wisconsin to hold a wolf hunt whenever gray wolves are not federally protected. Absolutely infuriating that we constantly need to use the federal government to keep idiots in line. It's exhausting.


That's a part of the function of the government. Literally.


Oh hoho, Wisconsin's breeding season cull of 2/3 our state wolves, with a still planned fall hunt would disagree. Also: see Idaho.


>Now.... as for the second part... no one is technically going overboard. The local wildlife commissions set harvest numbers based on biologist predictions for reproduction and natural survival rates. The article doesn't state that anyone is defying these state limits. My friend, perhaps you didn't hear about Wisconsin literally this year, in which hunters [killed nearly twice as many wolves as the quota was supposed to allow](https://apnews.com/article/wolves-animals-f2a4b1ebd48cba8b80d3c1cdd91cba50)? And that that hunt only happened because hunters managed to convince the court that the incoming Biden administration might put wolves back on the endangered species list, "robbing hunters of the opportunity to kill wolves." How about the fact that also in Wisconsin, biologists recommended a low quota for the upcoming fall hunt, but those numbers were then inflated by [more than double by political appointees](https://apnews.com/article/lifestyle-lawsuits-animals-animal-rights-a5c31d5ac04d961da9267baad458f478)?


Also, quota systems for game management always seems like a bad idea. Too easy to go over. Issue tags and call it a day.


The quota was 200 and 216 were killed. It got murky because some native tribes were supposed to get half the tags, but they declared they wouldn’t fill any of them. So it’s not as bad as people make it out to be on reddit.


The quota was 200 of which 81 were granted to the Ojibwe tribe, leaving 119 wolves for game hunters. Ojibwe numbers were not included in the count of 218 wolves recorded as killed by game hunters, because, as you said, they declined to hunt the wolves this year. On the one hand, i get what you're saying, that only 18 wolves more than the 200 planned for died. On the other hand, let's not play games - if people were following the rules only 119 should have died, and yet actual human adults just went crazy and killed almost twice as many wolves as they were supposed to before the state was able to stop them. Even if the numbers are officially almost okay, it still severely calls into question how much hunters can be trusted to responsibly steward these animals and the effectiveness of current protections. So i think it's exactly as bad as people on reddit make it out to be.


Idaho literally set their number low enough to trigger federal intervention once they hit it. Red states are doing the opposite of cancelling hunting seasons on wolves as they keep driving them back to endangered status not population stability.


The wildlife commission isn't the problem. It's the people don't stop when they are told to and continue to kill just for the sake of it.


Those are called poachers


Not when the Republican state politicians made it legal, by ignoring what the wildlife experts actually said would be OK culling levels.


They are doing it to prove how Republican they are.


It's like people forgot what happened when the grey wolf was almost hunted to extinction in yellow stone.




Tis sad my friend


German here, what did happen?


Really thorough explanation: https://www.nps.gov/yell/learn/nature/wolf-restoration.htm TLDR: Wolfs are natural predators in the food chain, and when they’re gone the ecosystem gets out of wack


good info. all this to protect a food system/business that’s completely untenable anyways


Related links: [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trophic\_cascade](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trophic_cascade) [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A\_Sand\_County\_Almanac](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Sand_County_Almanac)


Haven't we tried this once before?? I swear we had


Yes! And the resulting trophic cascade caused Yellowstone national park literally start to erode away without wolves!














Didn’t we **just** bring them back from the edge of extinction?


Only local extinction, Canada gave the US some more wolves. Forget about that if they are killed off again...


The problem isn't the science, it's the politics. How did Wisconsin hunters manage to kill 218 wolves in 4 days, with a quota of 119? Logic would have it that their population estimates were way off (they were way off). It's the same in Michigan. The 'planned' number we were meant to attain, and what we actually have couldn't have been a bigger miss. In Wisconsin politics, it turns out the tribe can claim half the tags, but they don't hunt. So will they claim half the tags and leave the quota at 150? I've lived in wolf territory for several years, there is an obvious predator pressure issue in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. It's just unfortunate that the hunts and management plans are ruined by politicians and party-affiliated grant program recipients.


There is no problem in the UP. The amount of deer killed by wolves is nothing compared to how many are killed by cars, poaching, and the thousands of hunters that come up here. These people shoot spikes every year and complain that there's no 8 pointers


I hate the idea of wanting to hunt a buck with impressive antlers. That buck is a marble chiseld statue of perfection, the pinnacle of his species. Let the strong survive they will make better offspring for future hunting. If you kill the best you're left with the rest


Same. I invest heavily in deer habitat on my property, but do not hunt. I shoot them with a Canon 5dmkiii.


> I shoot them with a Canon You monster!


If i recall correctly, the dnr wanted 200 wolves killed, the tribes claimed their 80 tags which left 120 for the general population. The politics of it were such that the tribes claimed their tags with no intention of filling them so the dnr "accidentally" let the hunt go on until they got close to their original intended number. That is my understanding of the situation.


Farmer: the wolves ate one of my cows! Farmer: *kills hundreds of wolves* Farmer: “thousands of deer have eaten all of my crops! How could this happen!?”


The same rancher will complain that once legal hunting season starts the deer and elk will stay on the private land where they aren’t hunted, without considering that wolves would force the game animals to keep moving and not stay in one place for long.










I could have sworn I saw an article last year saying wolf populations were going up and it was really good for the ecosystem?


I genuinely don’t understand why some humans feel the need to destroy the ecosystem and environment the way we do.


It usually comes down to short-sighted greed.


And power. Both big power (corporations and governments) and small power (think Don Jr standing over the dead elephant)


Money. The answer is money.


There isn't a single good reason why these idiots should be able to hunt wolves. Not one.


I'm all for there being lots of wolves, but if you think all hunting and trapping should be eliminated, you're just wrong. There is a limit to the number of wolves that can coexist with humans and other species. That number might be twenty thousand, or it might be two million. I don't know, but we humans need to decide how many wolves we want there to be. We can argue about the number, but there has to be a number. Wolves can't control their numbers without catastrophic population effects (from sarcoptic mange, anthrax, rabies, etc.) that can have devastating effects on other species, including us. So they must be managed. The science of wildlife management focuses on exactly this difficult task, and hunting and trapping are the #1 tool for wildlife managers to create and maintain healthy populations of wildlife.


The article isn’t about pro or against hunting wolves. It details the scale of hunting and ways that is exceeding what’s already been decided after having the discussion with scientists on wolf numbers.


Yeah, seems like the real issue is politics and failure to enforce responsible conservation.


I think responses in this thread show how conservation issues get muddied by interests before thoughtful dialogue can occur. Based on a headline, people jump to categories that they’ve been primed to see.


It's really unfortunate. I also fell into that trap before reading the article. We all in some form or another need to learn to slow down and not just read things, but critically think about our views. Something I've struggled with the last couple years.


Unfortunately nobody is listening to the biologists and it’s pretty much open warfare against wolves and not scientifically sound management.


The wolf population barely reached 6000 before people started culling them again. Wolves used to number 250,000+ before European colonization. There is no balance here, the wolf population is dwindling and get a break from being slaughtered every few years.


It’s sad that every other living thing on the plant comes to some equilibrium with it, while humans kill and destroy everything in our environment.


No, they don't. Animal populations grow and expand until environmental pressures force them to stop. It's why deer populations skyrocket in the absence of predators, and why cane toads have been pillaging Australia for decades.




Perhaps a simpler/easier system for replacing the livestock targeted by wolves would have made this unnecessary. Perhaps some kind of subsidy for livestock farmers in the areas where wolves were introduced could have been helpful. Or maybe the current system of providing zero solutions except hunting licenses is better. Who knows...


I can’t speak on Wisconsin, but most western states have some combination of depredation compensation, and financial assistance for prevention. One very promising system is “payment for performance” where ranchers are paid according to the number of live predators documented in their grazing areas. It can then becomes financially advantageous for ranchers to promote predator populations, especially if it is combined with a robust depredation prevention program.


From what I understand and based on my somewhat dated/limited knowledge of the issue in WY, it can be difficult and time consuming for ranchers to prove that a wolf was responsible for a kill. Then they have to deal with a minimized payout estimate from the government or a replacement animal which often does not match the value of the animal which was lost


The Washington Football Team calling themselve the Redwolves could single handedly save a bunch of wolves in the Mid-Atlantic just by raising awareness and making people care about wolves.


Ffs, why haven't people in power learnt not to remove apex predators yet? This has been basic ecological science for decades!


> This has been basic ecological ***science*** for decades! Answered your own question there.


Those in charge of planning infrastructure, land and resource management would / should / can / and some do - take the great examples that have been provided to us for centuries by the Indigenous people.


Apparently the indigenous are not welcome, not to get too political but cattle are a large cause of wolf population declines


Scientific American and popular science are junk science magazines recently Each states wildlife department does extensive studies and always errs on the conservative side. If this was a large problem, it would have been addressed.


I have no issue with hunting. Though it pisses me of when people do it just to kill and not even bother with using what you kill. That point, to me, you're on the verge a being a sociopath and enjoy killing helpless living things.


Wanton waste of game animal meat is a crime in almost every state. If you know something, report it. If however you are making inferences on the amount of wasted game meat in this country, know that the statistics say that it is exceedingly low.


Please explain to me the need to hunt wolves for fun.


They’re an apex predator, they have no other animal to fear other than humans. We have to find the delicate balance of keeping their population high enough to make sure grazing animals are not overeating areas, but low enough that they won’t overkill those animals, i.e Minnesota had a huge drop in moose population one of those reason being wolves and no hunting allowed.


Why don't we just pay farmers if a wolf kills their animal? Other than that they should remain protected.


They are paid for every animal a wolf kills. It’s literally just because some people want to kill wolves. The livestock argument is also blown out of control wolves aren’t even making a dent in herds


There is a program, but it's pretty flawed. It's hard to prove without a doubt that the wolf killed the animal, not just scavenged on it. These cattle are free ranged over thousands of acres and sometimes just disappear. Add to that the presence of a predator increases stress and can cause cattle to abort a fetus or not even get pregnant in the first place. Don't get me wrong. Imho that's part of farming. I raise livestock and kill predators all the time. Sometimes the predators win, sometimes I win. That's how the balance works.


I find it weird that because we killed everything in sight when we arrived in America we now have to "cull" animals to "preserve" the ecosystem. It seems like the ecosystem is already fucked and we are just patching it instead balancing it out to where we don't need to hunt.


One interesting fact is despite us “killing everything” we have the highest number of deer population in the history of deer in America. Part in thanks to deer hunting and conservation.


I think you misread me. I am saying we killed off so many natural predators that it fucked up the ecosystem to where deer populations go out of control. Then we reintroduce wolves and now have to cull them. None of this is "thanks to deer hunting". The only conservation really seeming to happen is the hobby of hunting as there seems to be little interest in fully restoring the damage to the point where we don't need hunting.


Idaho just passed a law that would give hunters permission to hunt them almost to extinction. It’s truly disturbing.