All across North America, efforts are underway to restore wolf populations. Much of the press has painted a rosy picture of co-existing with wolves. For another opinion, I talked with ethologist Dr. Valerius Geist. Val has published 17 books on wildlife and large mammals (humans included) and served 27 years as a professor at the University of Calgary.

During some 50 years in the field, he had observed wolves on many occasions. “My early experiences with mainland wolves indicated that they were inquisitive, intelligent, but shy and cautious. During my academic career and four years into retirement I thought of wolves as harmless, echoing the words of many North American colleagues. I was wrong!”

He changed his mind when he retired to Vancouver Island in 1995, where he and his wife found themselves living with wolves as neighbors. He relayed some of his first-hand experience with them to me:

The meadows and forests near our home contained about 120 blacktail deer and half a dozen large male black bears. In winter came some 60 to 80 trumpeter swans, large flocks of Canada geese, widgeons, mallards, and green-winged teal. Pheasants and ruffed grouse were not uncommon. In the fall of 1995 I saw one track of a lone wolf. Then in January 1999 my son and I tracked a pair of wolves in the snow. A pack arrived that summer. Within three months not a deer was to be seen, or tracked, in these meadows–even during the rut. We saw deer at night huddling against barns and houses, where deer had not been seen previously. For the first time deer moved into our garden and around our house. The damage to our fruit trees and roses skyrocketed. The trumpeter swans left. The tame geese and ducks avoided the outer meadows and lived only close to the barns. Pheasants and ruffed grouse vanished. The landscape looked empty, as if vacuumed of wildlife.

Eventually the wolves became even more of a problem. Geist explains: “These wolves progressively became bolder, seeking out human habitation, killing and maiming pets and livestock, and inspecting and confronting humans. No attacks on humans materialized by ‘our’ wolves after they began approaching us, for they were shot. A predator control officer trapped others.”

After the first “misbehavin’ pack” was eliminated, a second one moved into the area a couple years later, and a similar pattern unfolded. Geist found the behavior of both packs followed a similar seven-stage habituation pattern when wild food runs out and they are close to people.

  1. Within the pack’s territory prey becomes scarce not only due to increased predation on native prey animals, but also by the prey evacuating home ranges en masse. Wolves increasingly visit garbage dumps at night.
  2. Wolves in search of food begin to approach human habitations at night. Their presence is announced by frequent and loud barking of farm dogs.
  3. The wolves appear in daylight and at some distance observe people doing their daily chores.
  4. Small-bodied livestock and pets are attacked close to buildings, even during the day. The wolves preferentially pick on dogs and follow them right up to the verandas of homes. People out with dogs find themselves defending their dogs against wolves.
  5. The wolves explore large livestock, leading to docked tails, slit ears, and hocks. Livestock may bolt through fences running for safety. Wolves become more brazen and cattle or horses may be killed close to houses and barns. Wolves may follow riders and surround them. They may mount verandas and look into windows.
  6. Wolves turn their attention to people and approach, initially merely examining them closely. They may make hesitant, almost playful attacks, biting and tearing clothing, nipping at limbs and torso. They withdraw when confronted. They defend kills by moving towards people and growling and barking at them from 10 to 20 paces away.
  7. Wolves attack people. These initial attacks are clumsy, as the wolves have not yet learned how to take down the new prey efficiently. Persons attacked can often escape because of the clumsiness of the attacks. A mature, courageous man may beat off or strangle an attacking wolf. However, against a wolf pack there is no defense.

Val met Dr. Robert Timm at the University of California at Davis, who has been studying coyotes targeting children in urban parks that act in virtually the same manner.

Geist’s habituation model has been translated into Swedish, Finnish, and German. It has become known in Finland as “Seven Steps to Heaven.”

“A century ago North America’s wildlife was largely decimated and that it took a lot of effort to bring wildlife back. When predators are scarce, and herbivores are abundant, wolves are well-fed. Consequently they are very large in body size, but also very shy of people. Wolves are seen rarely under such conditions, fostering the romantic image of wolves prevalent in North America today. However, when herbivore numbers decline while wolf numbers rise, we expect wolves to disperse and begin exploring for new prey. That’s when trouble begins,” Geist says.

Former Alaska wildlife biologist Mark McNay and others have established that there have been wolf attacks on people in Canada, historical and recent. On November 8, 2005, a 22-year-old geological engineering student at the University of Waterloo, Kenton Joel Carnegie, was killed by four wolves at Points North Landing in northern Saskatchewan. This was the first direct human fatality from a healthy wolf attack in North America in recent times to receive an investigation. Geist was an expert witness in the inquisition. Val says that the four wolves that attacked Carnegie had long been observed by others, were garbage-fed, and four days earlier attacked two employees of the camp who beat back the wolves.

Candice Berner, a 32-year-old school teacher, was killed on March 8, 2010 by wolves in the village of Chignik Lake on the Alaska Peninsula. These wolves were also habituated to garbage.

Val says that wolves learn differently than dogs:

They learn by observing, and they also are insight learners. They can solve problems by observing, such as how to unlock a gate. In some studies of captive wolves researchers have found that wolves and coyotes not only learn to open their own cages, but those of others. With these intelligence traits wolves also develop an ability to assess the vulnerability of prey. For example, the sight of a human, walking boldly and carrying a firearm, will give them enough information to know that the potential prey is not vulnerable.

How did North American scientists ever conclude that wolves were no threat to people? Geist responds:

They were unaware that starting in the 1800s, tens of thousands of trappers in Canada and Alaska were killing every wolf they could, legally and illegally, while predator control officers also removed wolves. Aerial poisoning and shooting campaigns were carried out and wolves were free to be killed by anybody. Little wonder wolves were scarce, very shy, attacks on people unheard of, livestock losses minimal, and wolf-borne diseases virtually escaped notice. In the absence of personal experience, they chose to disregard the accumulated experience of others from Asia and Europe.

I asked Val to look into his crystal ball and predict what he saw as the future fate of wolves for North America.

He said that wolves throughout North America will come into contact with millions of coyotes and feral dogs–the numbers of which are much higher than any previous time in history. The wolves will kill some of the dogs and coyotes, but others will breed resulting in hybrids. In short, pure-bred wolves in the wild will become a thing of the past.

His second prediction was on hydatid disease:

The most important thing about the fate of wolves is hydatid disease. The threat scenario involves ranch dogs feasting on gut piles left by hunters or winter-killed elk and deer whose lungs and liver are infected with hydatid cysts. Deer and elk infected with cysts try to crowd in on private ranches trying to get away from wolves. A ranch dog gulping down the cysts will have mature tape worms in his gut within seven weeks or so and will then pass the deadly eggs in the ranch yard, kennel, veranda, and so on. People will bring infective eggs on their shoes into the house. Carpets and furniture will soon be hosting live, infective hydatid eggs. Children will be specially affected. Cysts take about a decade to mature. I will take at least another decade for cysts to grow to orange or grapefruit size in people. Nobody is facing up to the disease threat.

He added, “I do not think wolves have a happy future in the Lower 48.”

Image courtesy Valerius Geist

What's Your Reaction?

[reactions id="334778"]

129 thoughts on “The Future of North American Wolves, Interview with Dr. Valerius Geist

    1. Excuse me..But you people hung on every word when he told you wolves were harmless.Now you turn on him like a rabid…wolf…Figures!

      1. Problem with them turning on him – He Learned the Truth,, something they don’t want to know. Truth hurts them otherwise they would not be so quick to jump on their bandwagon against him…He is one of many Knowledgeable people that have learned from experience – something others do not > they are in a rut so to speak > unable to learn and advance in their knowledge of the subject they profess to know so much about.

    2. He’s one of the worlds leading researchers on the deer family… very smart guy… im not anti wolf by any means but i have listened to this man speak at University… if he says something people should listen… 50 years of research over you being a couch potatoe or weekend warrior mean what?

  1. And this is why Geist has lost credibility in the scientific circles. And was recently being disqualified by a Canadian Judge from giving testimony on wolves. Wolves don’t hunt people. Wolves regulate their numbers based upon food sources, as evidenced in Yellowstone. If wolves had decimated the herd of ungulates years ago, then why did Lewis & Clark document great numbers of elk, bison and wolves co-existing all across the plains? And why did the number of elk in Montana go from approximately 88,000 in 1995 to over 143,000 last year as reported by USFWS? And why did Wyoming have a record number of bull elk harvested last year, for the third year in a row, per Wyoming’s Game & Fish? It’s because the wolves feed on the injured, sick and unhealthy ones, leaving the healthy ones to propagate. And tell me why my dog and cats haven’t been killed by the wolves out my door here in Yellowstone?And why was the depredation losses from wolves on cattle reported to be less than 0.04%, when pneumonia alone kills over 26% annually? It’s exactly this kind of myth and misinformation, that is perpetuated by articles such as this, that gives the wolf a negative image. Please report facts. Thank you.

    1. One problem is that when wild wolves were tamed decades ago by the process of putting them into a room, and having a person sit quietly in the room with them (a process that takes months), they went through a sequence of behavior very much like Geist’s habituation description (livestock attacks etc that don’t apply excepted), but after the nibbling and nipping and tugging at clothing (When “confronted” they reverted in behavior and became much more scared and resistant to taming) they displayed friendly socialized behavior to the humans involved, and a willingness to transfer that trust to other humans. Not the “Wolves Attack People” theoretical prediction he makes.

      1. So YOUR theoretical solution is for the rancher to run out with a doggie bone treat instead of the shotgun when he hears something stampeding his livestock in the night. What Disney movie did you see this in?

      2. No, I simply pointed out that when Dr Geist’s thought experiment had already been carried out i real life, that it ultimately had the opposite final effect than the one that he hypothesized. I think you’ve got a problem with your reading comprehension here.

    2. Thank you Dr. Geist for speaking the truth, plain and simple. I appreciate it. I live w/wolves also and know that you are speaking the facts.

      Kat: How many books have you published or how many years have you been a professor at a prestigious college? Do you live w/wolves?

      Do you also know how many buried people were dug up and eaten along the Oregon Trail. Probably not. I don’t think there were “tons of elk” back in the Lewis & Clark journey. I think you should tell the two people who are DEAD, killed by wolves that wolves do not hunt people. There are numerous attacks on people that are not published and I personally know of at least 30 dogs killed in the Pacific Northwest by wolves, that doesn’t include all the sheep, mules, horses and cattle. Since wolves do have collars they are proven to stock and observe humans, waiting, watching…they may not be hungry enough yet but if they saw a human who was vulnerable they would attack, kill and eat I have no doubt. We have way less cattle die of pneumonia than are killed by wolves…again, I live w/wolves and we are currently at stage 5. Not a pretty picture for us or the wolves.

      Please report the facts, thank you.

      1. I forgot one thing. Wolves killing only the sick and weak is also an out right lie. They have killed a 15 year old healthy mule and several healthy thriving cattle, sheep and horses as well as very healthy dogs. They do like to prey on elk calving grounds as well as cattle calving pastures if you want to count that as the sick and weak. 😛

      2. Dogs tend to pack kill livestock, you checked the neighbor’s Australian cattle dog for tell tale signs too?

      3. As like ANY predator, they are opportunistic killers… they are not going to stop chasing a herd because there appears to be no weak, old or unhealthy animals for it to prey on… they will single out a healthy animal just as quick as an unhealthy animal for food. Sure, the percentage of successful kills may go down, but it will NOT stop them from killing healthy animals… some people are a special kind of stupid.

      4. Wolves will go after the ones they think they can get. Dinner is dinner. It doesn’t take science, to tell me that at wolf will eat what it can, just like any other animal it has to eat to survive and the easier it comes, the better. They will eat what they can and the rest is consumed by the bears, eagles, ravens, magpies, coyotes, fox and various insects, in completion of the circle of life. One in four hunts are successful for the wolf; a wolf needs to eat about every 4 days, consuming as much as it can in one meal, since the bear will be coming for the carcass soon; a wolf lives an average of 4 years in the Park, since every time it goes to hunt. It could be kicked in the jaw and unable to eat or a broken rib punctures a lung, or wolf on wolf attacks over turf, limit the survival time averages. See YNP Wolf Project for details. Other than the years of wolf study in Isle Royal, Michigan, the YNP wolves are the most studied wolf anywhere in the world and I’m pretty sure that the experts here know what they are documenting.

      5. So the seeing of unhealthy bone marrow in an elk carcass, killed by wolves, is a sign of a healthy animal? I watch wolves daily and have for over 7 years. I have studied with the Wolf Project of Yellowstone during this time. Once watched the wolves single out a cow elk that ran into a gang(yes gang, not herd is the correct biological term) of about 1000 elk. Upon necropsy, the abscessed tooth that clearly was infected into the jaw bone and the absence of health bone marrow were documented. Wolves will kill to eat, just like any other animal. It’s well documented that they do go after the old, sick and weak, as the chances of success are a little better than one out of four hunts being successful (see YNP Wolf Project reports for this documentation). It’s also well documented that the elk caves are being taken by the Grizzly Bears in the Park, since the introduction of Lake Trout has severely damaged the population of Cutthroat Trout, the fish that the bear’s have always dined on in the spring, is not present in enough numbers and has reached a historical low. Coyotes are the biggest killer of elk calves in the west. But, a wolf will have an elk calf, if the opportunity presents itself. Look up the book YNP-Resources and Issues, or the Wolf Project of YNP if you wish to see the scientific documentation of what I speak of. I work with the biologists here and know that the scientific method is utilized.

      6. I live with wolves out my door and do personal field research on them weekly. I worked in medicine with my biology degree, retired and now get to enjoy the field studies with the Park Wolf Research Program. Wolves will eat and do a lot more good when they take out the old, infirm and weak, leaving the healthy prey species to propagate. Double the numbers of elk in Montana now, since the wolf reintroduction and the third year in a row, for the record number of elk taken in Wyoming, according to USFWS.I don’t think you have personal knowledge about the “bodies dug up and eaten by wolves on the Oregon Trail,” but I could be wrong, since you are way off base here. Wolves might watch people, not “stalk” them, guess you info came from the movies. Until recently, there never was a reported, unprovoked,attack by a wolf in America, in all recorded history-go ahead and do some research. USDA is who reported the 0.04% of livestock lost to wolf depredation and over 26% lost to pneumonia-go ahead and pretend that they are wrong too. Education is a key to understanding and it appears that you wish to continue to believe myth and misinformation. Go right ahead, but don’t criticize what you do not know.

    3. The reintroduced wolves are NOT, I repeat NOT, the same sub-species of wolves that were nearly eliminated in the 70’s and 80’s. To think they are is making an acute mistake and false pretense of equality with the same smaller sub-species of wolves Lewis and Clark encountered. The predator impact of the different and larger sub-species is also huge and in and of itself will create it’s own demise by decimating it’s food source(s). Rest assured I will shoot every wolf I see in any state I hunt, but the real impact will be the starvation it brings to itself by eliminating it’s own food source(s) if disease doesn’t kill it off first. Hunters will have minimal impact, if any on this latest iteration of wolves in the lower 48. If you are someone with the infatuation and romanticism of the wolf, you have clearly never encountered one in the wild either in direct encounter or observation of a pack hunting and kiling… bone chilling and eerie don’t do justice for a description… the soul less eyes are FAR from romantic when it peers into your eyes and sees it’s next turd making meal.

      1. So true, grey wolf versus timber wolf, you state the truth, and the best way to rid a wolf is with a snare, they learn to leave metal traps alone, kill em like the old guys used to, they did a great job at it SNARES

      2. Guess you didn’t read the Environmental Impact Statement, sent to Congress, prior to the reintroduction in 1995. It was because of the “good old boys” extirpation of the wolf, that the over grazing of Yellowstone began and the Park suffered for it. Rangers used to have to cull out elk every year, as one can only graze so many animals on the land, before supplemental feeding begins or starvation ensues. I saw elk, deer and other species starving here as a child. I now see a healthier Park, than ever in my 58 years, Park and the wolf is the reason. Which is why I advocate for science and education over myth and misinformation. Trapping is a barbaric and non-discriminatory practice and we are heading towards a point in history, where it will become illegal. If you think otherwise, there’s an offer of $20,000 to anyone who will place their limb in a trap-look online for how you want to go about it, so you can document it and collect the reward. I dare you.

      3. Rick, I watch the wolf everyday in Yellowstone. I am an elk hunter from ranching homesteaders to this area. It’s not a romantic thing, it’s biology and the study of what is seen and documented. Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks reported a doubling of elk numbers this year, since 1995 reintroduction of Canis lupus, the very same Canis species that was documented here in the extensive volumes of the Environmental Impact Statement submitted to Congress prior to the reintroduction. It’s in The Library of Congress and online if you want to spend about a month reading it. Don’t assume. Learn. And while you are at it, look up the concept of Trophic Cascade, it is well documented that all species have benefitted from the presence of wolves. It has surprised me that what I have seen with my eyes, is nothing less that astonishing. To see the over grazed Park turn into a lush, and vibrant Park, with the balancing of Nature done by the wolf. I have been around this Park for over 58 years and never has it been as healthy as it is now, and the wolf is a major factor in this. Where wolves are present, there isn’t the Chronic Wasting Disease, which is one that will threaten the entire species. One will have to be more engaged in actually hunting the elk where wolves are present, they are moving more and eating less in one area than before the wolf returned. Wyoming just had the 3rd record year for the number of bulls taken in the hunt. Myth and misinformation are a real problem with the uneducated. The research is online. Feel free to enlighten yourself.

      4. I am skeptical to say the least, but I also know especially in my home state of Oregon, the “biologists” have horribly mis-managed both the deer and elk herds, the introduction of an apex predator will take its toll as well before animals get used to them around. You make some good points and have a refreshing attitude more so than most “pro-wolf” folks… I’m stuck in Afghanistan until August of 2014, and plan on hunting in Wyoming that fall, I will hopefully get to experience the increased elk numbers in person.

      5. Thanks for your service Rick! When you get to Wyoming look me up and I am more than happy to take you into the Park. Do you have you hunt scheduled yet? Stay in touch and I will help you out if you want.
        I too saw the mis-management in Oregon, where I did most of my elk hunting. I’ve heard from Biologists from the Scandinavian area, that because of hunters taking out the biggest bull Moose, that what’s left are the lesser bulls to propagate the species. And it’s become very apparent, to them, that the days of the record bull Moose are over. Makes sense that if any animal is over hunted to the point that the lesser animals are left to breed, this is what happens. Over hunting of any species, is but one factor in the equation. Many of the Outfitter’s in this area are paid big bucks to guide someone on an elk hunt and people who do this want the trophy bulls, so we are often loosing the biggest ones to this. There’s also weather related issues, like the winter we had a couple of years ago, that hit, what the biologists call,”Redline,” in early January, where the snow was so deep that the animal can’t move it to forage. We had bodies of all kinds of animals surfacing that spring. And then there’s habitat issues. More and more of the “wild places” are being developed, leaving less suitable habitat for the animals. So many factors involved and it does fascinate me, how everything is effected by everything else.

    4. Karen sorry but your facts are wrong, look at birth rates and the impact of wolves on elk, or calves that survive the first year of life in areas of Montana and Wyoming where wolves were reintroduced. Ask the governor of Montana why wolves are free game in northern Montana were they are killing livestock at alarming rates, or why compensation for livestock is no longer being given for wolf predation. Simple, it cost to damn much. Live out west and don’t preach from San Francisco or New York on something you can’t see or possibly relate to!

      1. Don’t know if I should waste my time on someone who can’t even get my name right to begin with. I live in Yellowstone and volunteer work with the biologists, who are researching the wolf. Look up the USDA report on predation on livestock by wolves. According to USDA, it’s around 0.04% lost to a wolf and over 26% lost to pneumonia. It’s even less when predator friendly methods of ranching are utilized. I am from a ranching, homesteader to the Northern Rockies family and I am an elk hunter. Compensation for wolf predation was handed over to the states from Defenders of Wildlife, when the states demanded to be able to manage wolves on their own in 2011. States wanted to “manage” the wolf, so they get to, the whole package. The Governor of Montana will corroborate this.

  2. Excerpts from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s ParasiteFlyer.pdf document:

    In humans, hydatid cysts usually develop in the liver or lungs, and there are several treatments for the disease. Throughout the world, most human cases occur in indigenous people with close contact with infected dogs.

    Where the parasite is found in wolves and wild ungulates, most wildlife management and public health agencies consider the public health significance and risk to be low. […] Gloves should also be worn when handling dog or wolf feces.

    What is the significance of Echinococcus granulosus to wildlife and livestock?
    Based on available information, the health risks associated with Echinococcus granulosus to wildlife and livestock is low. Heavy infections may be related to poor body condition. In ungulates, the presence of large numbers of hydatid cysts can lead to respiratory difficulty. The presence of hydatid cysts in livestock at slaughter is generally not of concern, and if present, is trimmed from the edible product.

    So, don’t play with or eat wolf and doggie poop and you’ll be fine.

    1. Or eat berries, or Mushrooms…or drink from a mountain stream…or go for a ride on a dusty road…or let your kids play in your yard where a wolf has crapped…or play with an outside dog…or …or …or…..Who is going to be responsible for EG deaths Norm???..You???….You should be held responsible since you do nothing but spew lies about how safe these vermin wolves are!…

      1. You’re not listening. It doesn’t happen, like the raccoon roundworms not infecting people and not causing the extensive brain damage they “could”. Even if it did, coyotes whose intestines have been reported carpeted with the worms by biologists dissecting them – where wolves had been extirpated for decades – or foxes, also a definitive host, would be the likely source of the infection. But that isn’t an issue, because – it doesn’t happen, in general. Where cases occur, the recommendation: “In this context, risk would be most effectively curtailed by preventing consumption of infected cervid viscera by domestic dogs.”

      2. Norm, there are two confirmed cases here in Idaho, and both were not around dogs, were around wolves. Get your facts straight!!

      3. I will do my best to help prevent such by repeating the US Center for Disease Control’s Cystic Echinococcosis (CE) FAQs:
        In North America, Echinococcus granulosus is rarely reported in Canada and Alaska, and a few human cases have also been reported in Arizona and New Mexico in sheep-raising areas. In the United States, most infections are diagnosed in immigrants from counties where CE is endemic. Risk factors for human infection include uncontrolled dogs living closely with people, uncontrolled slaughter of livestock, and unsanitary living conditions.

        Can cystic echinococcosis (CE) be prevented?
        If you live in an area where Echinococcus granulosus is found in sheep or cattle, take the following precautions to avoid infection:
        – Wash your hands with soap and warm water after handling dogs, and before handling food.
        – Teach children the importance of washing hands to prevent infection.
        – Avoid ingestion of food, water or soil contaminated with stool from dogs. This might include grass, herbs, greens, or berries gathered from fields.
        – Don’t allow your dogs to wander freely or to capture and eat raw meat from sheep, cattle, pigs, and goats.
        – Don’t home slaughter sheep and other livestock.
        – If you think your pet may have eaten infected meat, consult your veterinarian about the possible need for preventive treatments.

        I’ll take it that the beneficial effects of my repeating CDC’s advice should cover me for any liability, on balance. The CDC doesn’t seem too concerned with preventing wolves, and they’re the experts on infectious health hazards, particularly the threat of them becoming widespread.

      4. The CDC are experts at propagating what our liberal ignorant government wants them to propagate, the truth is usually not included.

  3. Only an ignoramus could make a comment like the “guest” above. No wonder he didn’t post a name to his ad hominem attack. Dr. Geist is extraordinarily well regarded in the wildlife conservation world. Cougars didn’t start attacking pets, children and joggers in California until State officials removed their fear of humans by outlawing all hunting of them nearly 30 years ago. Anti-hunters don’t begin to understand the natural world. They’ve never witnessed — as I have — a wolf kill a caribou, for pure sport, and then abandon the carcass without taking a single bite.

    1. It’s you rednecks who don’t understand the natural world. You say we don’t understand the natural world yet you fault a wolf for killing a caribou, it’s natural prey. You are a frigging moron. That caribou that the wolf kill provides food for many scavengers.

      1. Junebug
        We rednecks have spent a lot of time in nature, something
        that nero8888 and guest have obviously not done. I don’t fault the wolf for killing the caribou. I fault him for not eating the caribou, all
        of it like do the bears, cougars and coyotes.
        I also fault the National Fish and Wildlife Service for introducing this
        new 120 pound killing machine into our once great elk and deer hunting areas in
        the northwest. We have always had the timber wolf in Idaho,
        a little 40 pound guy that ate all of what he killed. He lived in balance with the other
        animals. This new 120 pound beast is the
        Canadian Grey that was imported from the far north. They are sport killers. They kill everything in their path eating a
        bite once in a while when hungry. I am
        an elk hunter (was past tense nothing to hunt anymore). Being a hunter means that I brag a lot. So let me say this, I usually see 100 plus
        elk during a season and have been successful every year until last year. I only saw 15 elk last season with no success
        due to the wolves. Two years ago in
        February just east of Potlatch, Idaho
        a bull elk was spotted standing in the snow next to the highway. His head was down with his belly ripped open
        by the wolves. He was standing there left to die with his feet tangled in his
        own guts. All of you wolf lovers are
        very sick people. It is time that you pulled your out from you know where so
        that you may see the light.

      2. You are a dumb redneck. If the wolves don’t eat the caribou, who cares? Other wild animals will. Misinformed dumb redneck. You hunters are very sick people. inbred redneck trash,

      3. Have you ever read the documentation sent to the Congress prior to the reintroduction of Canis lupus, aka, gray wolf, to Yellowstone? Unlike humans, the gray wolf does not recognize any borders. Yes, the first 14 wolves were from Hinton, Alberta area, since all the gray wolves were extirpated in the lower 48 by the 30’s. There are 3 species of wolf in the lower 48-The Red Wolf of the Carolina’s area; the gray wolf of pretty much all of the lower 49 prior to extirpation; and The Mexican Gray Wolf of our SW. Any 40lb, what you call, “Timber Wolf,” was probably a sub adult, since the average size of Canis lupis is around 80-100 libs, or pretty much the size of a large dog. Wolves are know to kill and then return to the kill to eat later, after they are sure that a bear won’t take it away from them. I volunteer with the Park biologists, studying wolves. I am also an elk hunter from ranching homesteaders to the Yellowstone area and I don’t have a problem bagging an elk at all. One has to get out of their truck and actually go hunt for them now, since the wolf will keep the elk moving. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks just reported the doubling of the elk population this year since 1995’s reintroduction of the wolf. And Wyoming just had the 3rd record year in a row, for the number of bull elk taken last year. Killing is never an easy thing to see, but every animal has to eat to survive. If humans were hunters, they would have an understanding of what it takes to put meat on the table, is far from going to the local grocery store and picking up a package, without all the gore. Animals kill to eat, humans are the only species that “sport hunts.” I’ve seen it here, where someone from a city comes here to hunt the elk and takes only the trophy head, leaving the meat to rot. If you want to talk about an animal killing for fun, look first at the human.

      4. Before you get too busy bashing “redneck hunters” keep in mind we pay the majority of the costs to preserve your precious wolf habitat. I also find it preposterous that the majority of “wolf lovers” live in the city and dictate to people who are actually affected by wolves, how they are supposed to live and are supposed to just “deal with it”. There’s a reason there population has been kept in check. Just ask that Canadian student. Oh wait……

      5. Look at them whine when a little ol’ coyote comes down for a snack in their subdivision!

      6. Most hunters don’t kill for sport. Most hunters kill for food. Elk and moose numbers in Idaho are way down because of wolves. Moose numbers in Montana are going down fast because wolves tip the balance of predator/prey. Numbers of elk in and around Yellowstone NP have taken a nosedive because of wolves, which may benefit the ringed aspens and beaver dam numbers for a while. Wolf numbers increase? Wild hooved ungulates decrease. Wild hooved ungulates decrease? Humans have less to hunt. Humans have less to hunt? Hunting itself decreases. Eventually, a non-hunting public may be lulled into banning the weaponry and the hunts, which, imho, may lead to privatization of our often-taken-for-granted public lands. Do you want to have to apply to Exxon or Microsoft for a permit to float or camp in the middle of The Bob Marshall Wilderness? Overall, the animals and especially Nature itself will make fools of us all.

      7. Most wolves kill for food. If elk and moose numbers are way down, too bad. Wolves, bears, and cougars all gotta eat. All them dead elk and moose benefit all wildlife.


      9. Junebug
        nero8888, I don’t understand what pleases you about some non-resident, non-native planted Canadian Grey wolf destroying our wildlife (that is yours and mine). At Kamiah, Idaho the forest is now totally void of all wildlife. There NO elk, moose, deer, coyotes, timber wolves, rabbits, badgers, grouse, nothing except a few bear and fewer cougars. The wolves have killed of all of the food supply. Notice I said “kill” not eat. The grey wolf is a sport killer. They kill everything in their path. If they ate all of what they kill we could co-exist with them. The cougars have nothing to eat at Kamiah so they are now gone. Stupid ner08888 please explain to me why I now have to pack a gun to go huckleberry picking or fishing. You have probably never been out of San Francisco or where ever.

      10. nerro8888
        I am not believing lies. I live in North Idaho and not in San Francisco like you. I spend a lot of time out in the woods or I use to. Now there is no reason to go hunting anymore. I do pack a S&W 45 Long Colt for my wolf protection when I go fishing. My information is first hand and not from some “save the animal magazine” like you. Why don’t idiot types want to save the wildlife? The answer to that is …. take away our wildlife and we will have no need to go hunting, hence no need for guns. My guns is what you folks really want anyway. I work for a living unlike you my hand is not out for a government check.

      11. Most of the people on here are college educated, probably world travels and have good jobs or own their own businesses. Where do you get off calling anyone ignorant or a redneck. Just because you think no one in the West has any brains makes you the moron. So, guest, I understand your passion for your cause but, you are the one that is really uninformed and uneducated. If all you can do is come up with derogatory remarks, while the rest of us look at the science and have a vast amount of experience with the creatures that you obviously do not have then your arguments fall on deaf ears.

      12. I would disagree about the level of education based on the quality of writing of many of the posts. The name calling and all CAPS is an easy way to spot the less educated.

      13. Not true Liliq, there have been very few around the lower 48, we did have the Timber wolf here in Idaho until the Grey was introduced and now they are all gone, thus eliminating what was once native here. You are correct though that they are world wide, they are in Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and most of the other “stans”, Germany, France, Italy, Canada, and Alaska etc. So many environmental and wolf advocate groups though will try to convince folks that they were or are near extinction, which of course is not even close to true. The original wolf in Idaho, for instance usually had on or two pups each year, and after a year or two the adults ran the teenagers off, so there were usually only three or four at most in a pack. As you probably know the average litter is around ten for the grey. It used to be believed that only the Alpha male and female mated each year, but we have after ten years of study here in the west that all females that are of age to breed, do so, thus the greater than expected proliferation of the ones introduced here in the Greater Yellowstone area. We have learned lots over the time since introduction.

      14. I know right? How ya doing Norm? Good to see you on here educating these wildlife hating rednecks.

      15. The timber wolf is the gray wolf. You are so misinformed, it’s laughable. Get a clue you stupid redneck.

      16. citation for the recent extirpation of the Timber wolf please. I think I read that it has been gone for quite awhile.

      17. Canis lupus is Canis lupus. There are 3 species of wolf in the Lower 48: the gray(Canis lupus) and the Arctic Wolf is a subspecies of the Gray; the Red Wolf of the Carolina’s area(Canis rufus, formerly know as Canis lupus rufus) and the Mexican Gray( Canis lupus baileyi), also considered to be a subspecies of the Gray Wolf. The name “Timber Wolf” is a slang term. Your right, a lot has been learned from the reintroduction of the Gray Wolf to Yellowstone. What I have a hard time understanding, is why folks like you are continuing to perpetuate myth and misinformation, despite all the documentation available. I am a hunter from ranching pioneer families to the Yellowstone area. I live here and can tell you that I’ve studied with and learned much from the biologists here.

      18. No they are not world wide. There are none in a lot of places including Washington DC. There are only rattle snakes in DC. We the people put them there. Dont confuse the different wolf species. The timber wolf eats what he kills. The grey wolf just kills for sport.

      19. No Norm, not at all, you need a science and biology lesson, two different although related species.

      20. Canis lupus occidentalis is the actual grey wolf subspiecies, The McKenzie Grey wolf, that was actually introduced into the greater Yellowstone Basin, Typically weighing in at 70 to 140 lbs, I have personally seen one dead one that was 156, and there were two larger ones in that pack. The largest in the McKenzie Valley was recorded at 176 lbs. I heard that just before I left N.Central Idaho that the Fish and Game here weighed one in at just under two hundred l bs. If you took the time to actually look up the, Eastern Timber wolf subspieces you would actually find there is a subspieces that is different, weighing less and less aggressive. It is , as all subspiences are , a direct decendant of the old original grey wolf, but through inter breeding and even cross breeding with coyotes developed into a much smaller subspieces. As of 2005 there were 27 subspieces of the Grey Wolf identified with the McKenzie wolf actually being one of the 27. Again, it doesn’t take much research to actually find all this out. There are Eastern Greys. Eastern Timber, Western Timber, Mexican, and even in the south of the USA a red wolf subspecies. Come on, Norm , surely you can do better than this, but at any rate it’s obvious to me that you really don’t care to dig into anything beyond what you want to believe in, so I’m done, I actually have much more to do. And, I need to get it done so that I can hopefully get to go out in a few weeks and kill 5 of the wolves here and fill my tags. My legs are long enough already, so go pull someone elses!! 😀

      21. The so-called wolf subspecies do not correspond with even the local size ranges or frequency of color phases, Oldtimer. The “subspecies” of wolves blend into each other, and the designation is partly a political tool now; they’re damn well blended enough that south of tundra types, they all possess the black color phase inherited from Native American tribes’ dogs. They mix quite thoroughly over time. Canis lupis occidentalis is considered the subspecies present in the Great Lakes area as well and Canis lupis lyacon a conveniently invented distinction to excuse not protecting wolves in the rest of the eastern US. Doesn’t take much research, no. Red wolves are considered a different species, possibly originating from a coyote/Canis lupis mix but as uniform as purebred dog breeds are now.

      22. I’m glad you finally agree that there are many sub species. Now, back to the original problem, we are over populated with the wolves, we have surpassed the 350 minimum numbers by nearly 10 fold, they are producing faster that they can be limited to smaller numbers, they have killed far more that ever anticipated, the wolf advocate groups have quit paying ranchers for losses, so where do we go now? What ideas might you have. The science is showing now that many are dying of the “mange” diseases, and sometime entire broods of pups are dying, and this is attributed by science studies, to over population. I am not an expert on that so I refrain from comment, nor have I done much research on it. We have a genuine problem out here, it is changing the way we do many things. We have lost millions in income that in the past we spent for instance on bring back the wolverine, Idaho has had a huge project, in conjunction with the University of Idaho to bring back mating pairs over the last 5 years. We also use the sportsman funds to reclaim and buy up lands with water, tom protect and have worked extensively on heling the dying breed of white wild swans in a comeback. We also have had a great success , as a state project, to bring about a great change in the sandhill crane population. Our latest project if the Sage grouse rehabilitation. They are dying out because of loss of good habitat. We have been raising chicks, planting sage brush and other natural desert plants for their survival. We also have been replanting sage and buck brush. We have had in the past thousands of sportsmen who volunteer on weekends to help accomplish this. Most of the cattlemen and ranchers out here are really truly stewards of the land. They lease federal lands to graze on and know that the more they take care of it, the better it is for all. Most of the people out here crying about the loss of big game are really concerned about a way of life for Idahoans, and the future of these animals for their kids and grandkids. I hear people who think all that these folks are , are rednecks, uneducated etc. The man who actually runs the sheep ranch that lost 127 sheep last week during a wolf attack, is college educated. I know this because Norm because I went to college with him. I also went to college with one of the largest cattlemen in the state, and know another from college that has a ranch nearly as large. Most of the people out here have some sort of education past high school. Many have traveled the world and have lived elsewhere and retired out here. They are just as passionate about their side of this cause as you are. Try to understand the huge change we had had to suddenly come to grips with. We haven’t had a large amount of wolves here since the mid 1930’s when the oldtimers here killed them all off. I saw 2 wolves in the late 60’s and heard them howling another time after that, so there were some still around. They didn’t do a lot of damage and were tolerated. hopefully you have a little more insight on us “redneck” types out here, and by the way, we have a large percentage moving here from the bigger population areas all across the nation. Most of us could have made a ton more money by moving to other more populated states after college, but I’ve been to most large “US cities and I prefer to live here, even in Idaho’s capital of around 380,000, the third largest city in the NW., it still seems like small town attitudes. And yes we have had wolves come into the city here, and yes we’ve had kills here of sheep on the outskirts of Boise, and some pets taken, so we are not immune. Take guy, I have learned stuff in our conversation, hopefully you too. I admire your passion, and maybe someday we can all get this figured out so that you wolf advocates, and us non wolf advocates, and wolves, deer, elk, and moose are all happy!!

      23. We’re overpopulated with inbred rednecks such as yourself. Get over it you stupid redneck, the wolves will manage the elk, deer, and moose herds from here on out.

      24. Oldtimer, There are different subspecies, but the grey and the timber aren’t it. They ARE the same scientifically.
        As far as wolves taking more than their fair-share of wild game animals, I’m just not sure their numbers are sufficient to impact the wild game numbers negatively. There may be other factors at work here, but I just don’t know for sure.
        I try to keep my mind open and ready for new ideas and info. So right now I’m sort of on the fence so-to-speak, about this issue.

      25. You and good ol junebug are the morons that need lessons. A timber wolf is a gray wolf you you moron. There are two SPECIES of wolf, the gray wolf and the red wolf. Consider yourself now educated you cretin.

      26. Nero, there are 27 identified subspecies of the grey wolf. , as of 2005, anyway, maybe more identified in the last few years. The subspecies transplanted her was from the McKenzie wolves, and is one of the 27, there is speculation that the red wolf actually has more coyote genes that the grey genes. Dogs and coyotes and other mixed breed greys have inbred for hundreds of years, creating different colors, different sizes, different traits. The strain or subspecies we had here were small, usually mated for life, had very small broods, usually only a couple of pups, and the only two I saw while I fought fires during summers after college, then 5 years as a survey engineer crew chief, were not aggressive and were tolerated by everyone out here, and the people around always thought they were great to see or hear. Now to make a point, I am not a redneck, I live in the city, I have a college education, and was a successful banker, the CEO of two different electronic companies. Most of us out here are in that category. The man who owns the sheep ranch that lost 127 sheep to a wolf attack last week also is a college graduate, I know because I went to college with hi. I know two of the largest cattle ranchers here in Idaho, with thousands of acres each that also are college educated, because I went to college with them also. Most of the folks on here that are passionate about the wolves on both sides are well educated on the whole. I have been to most of the major cities in America and travel outside the USA. I am not ignorant and as a college professor once told me if you have to resort to name calling, cussing or putting others in a particular category, instead of having an intelligent discourse, then you, yourself , are probably the one that is uneducated and ignorant. We , unlike you choose to live here, many of us like the state because we don’t have to deal with ignorant people who have only ever lived in a city. We are telling you of our experience with these newly introduced wolves and how much trouble we are having interacting with them. They have been thrust upon us by folks like you that don’t have to contend with them and the consequences each day. We haven’t had wolves in the state or, basically the entire Yellowstone Basin since the 1930’s. Most folks here struggle with the change, and since the initial goal was 350 wolves and now is almost ten times that many in our state, what would you have us do? Most folks here will stay within the law and hunt them and trap them during the seasons, but at this point several thousand in all three states are willing to risk their hunting priveledges to “shoot, shovel, and shut up, killing every one they see. In order to get past this we need to have some sort of a plan that makes everyone happy, your side, my side, the wolves side, the elk, deer and moose side. Since the elk has almost disappeared the state license and tag sales are down to almost nothing. You might say good, but you also don’t understand the consequensces. We have used that money to bring back the almost totally gone wolverine. We have had an extensive program to get breeding pairs back into their original habitat, working with Idaho game biologists, volunteer, and the University of Idaho. We also used the money in the past to bring back the moose to Idaho, and again they are in jeopardy. We also used that money to buy up and reestablish wetlands for migratory and native birds. We used the money to successfully reestablish the sandhill crane population and the white swans in southern Idaho. At on e time the black tree squirrel was almost gone from our woods and that money was used to successfully bring back them so that we now have many. We also used the money from the system to replant sage and buckbrush to bring back the Ruffled grouse , because so much of their habitat was destroyed by lightning strike fires on our deserts in western Idaho. We brought back the Ringtailed pheasant, after their habitat was eliminated by poor farming practices. So the money lost from elk and moose hunters has a really detrimental affect on so many other species. You may think we are just a bunch of idiots out here bu I think we have more interest in the stewardship of the lands and wildlife than folks like you ever even thought about.

      27. Wrong, there are five now. This isn’t about subspecies. It is about species. if the timber wolf is not a gray wolf, what species of wolf is it?

      28. No, I just read the research article and there are 27. It definitely is a descendant or relative of the grey, I don’t believe anyone has ever doubted that, That still doesn’t answer the question of where do we go now to resolve this to all of our needs or at least to some sort of compromise. I really think we would all be better off to do so. It’s just like the African lion, the cougar, the panther etc, they are all more than likely descendants of the good old sabre tooth tiger, but different.. You are right about the fact that it shouldn’t matter, but it does to lots of folks, so again I challenge you to come up with some ideas to make everyone happy, including the wolf!! 😀

      29. Meh. Game agencies could actually scientifically manage wolves if they wanted to, but it simply isn’t in their culture. They insist on treating wolves as if they were ungulates, but killing wolves at random would rarely prevent their packs from reproducing, running wolf whelping rates per adult up instead, smaller packs less likely to risk removing other smaller packs, running these basic wolf self-regulation mechanisms backwards.

        Locally in Michigan the DNR is trying to ease into what the official policy states (not in one place) will have to be a >30% kill of the adult wolf population a year in order to meet the goal of reducing wolf populations at all, with a quota of 43 wolves for 2013 to desensitize the public and set a precedent first. Shooting them at random, with the policy admitting that this won’t do anything to reduce their population growth except over a considerable time, in the eighth of the Upper Peninsula where wolf densities are deemed too high by them.

        They COULD, however, trap or otherwise remove some, say, 16 or so of the smallest whole breeding packs of wolves in the areas, totaling that 43, and IMMEDIATELY relieve any density problem by assuring there are some 80-100 fewer hungry pups born in the spring. The smallest packs because that would allow more in the quota to be removed, and allow the larger ones to stay robust and grow and do more population control of small packs and dispersing wolves trying to make new breeding packs, and have fewer pups per adult by being mostly non-breeding wolves. Not the bogus pseudo-science game agencies use to justify running natural wolf reproduction controls, however well they might work, totally bass-ackwards, so the wolves would have to change, work hard to compensate for those agencies driving up their birthrate by simple math.

        No compromise makes anyone happy, certainly not sport hunters who effectively can’t manage wolves that way, nor those who would not see them removed at all. It would actually accomplish something, and be a method of controlling wolf population growth. To answer your challenge completely, the wolves it would make unhappy would not be around, and none of the others would be grieved by seeing local competition removed. From their point of view, I can only imagine “Excellent! That darn pair was breeding way too fast, like COYOTES, four times as fast as our pack of 8 just trying to keep pup survival up with our losses! Feeding a whole pack of pups for just two wolves!”

        If it helps your comprehension, think of the wolves as deer, and this as running a doe season for them instead of a buck season. Reducing the number reproducing instead of driving it up by removing non-breeding animals, and making room for more that will have young. Is that too big a mental jump?

      30. You sure are an internet tough guy and a special kind of stupid… one can only hope YOU haven’t bred more spawn into this world… 100 wolves would be more welcome than your ignorant rhetoric.

      31. Oldtimer, you are DEAD WRONG. Scientifically they are both Canis lupus genus and species, (therefore of the same species).
        I live in an area known for good elk hunting, and I sometimes hunt them. I’m no animal rights advocate. I am an avid outdoorsman and I know what the heck I’m talking about!

      32. Most wolves kill an animal and eat the ass out of it, and some entrails, and then in general leave. Then other scavengers come along and eat. Then they get the Hyditad disease, then they die, and another scavenger eats their bodies and then they get the disease. Nice huh!! These wolves were never here before and we have way to many now. The effect on the west is tremendous. Who cries for the tens of thousands of elk killed over the last ten years, or the moose that are almost gone. Hunting tag sales by out of staters here in Idaho are almost gone. These fees have always paid for wet land development, habitat improvement, wolverine and other nearly gone species recovery etc. No one seems to care about the hundreds of other affected wildlife species.

      33. BTW, Oldtimer, the only animals that can be infected by eating ungulate carcasses are the same coyotes and foxes which also carry the tapeworm as well as wolves. In which case the source of the parasites is almost certainly the local foxes and coyotes themselves.

      34. Uh, no, Oldtimer. You don’t understand the tapeworm life cycle at all. That is the stage of the disease that becomes worms in the intestines – and only in those definitive wild and domesticated canid hosts, where sexual reproduction occurs and the eggs are produced. Eating the carcass of the intermediate host in which they develop does NOT allow the cysts to form other cysts.

        Does not happen, Oldtimer. You need a few basic biology lessons.

      35. Again, Norm not true mostly, anything can get it, and yes your are correct, you can’t get it by eating the meat, but it’s not just in dogs. Every wolf killed in Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Montana, and Wyoming is checked for the disease, we have 48 hours to notify Fish and Game. They are also no asking us to report any cysts found in the intestines with the worms, and to not eat the Heart, Liver etc, and to pour gas on the gut piles and burn thoroughly. They knew all this before the original wolf captured in the McKenzie area and were supposed to have inoculated them. There is no record of them doing so, but they claimed they did. The last bull I helped gut didn’t have any this last year. But again the Fish and Game strongly suggests we wear surgical gloves when doing so. Not a bad idea anyway. .

      36. Your really a disgusting immoral person…..Guest! Looks to me like you have raised the wolf above god and people there pets and livestock as your worship idol the wolf is put on it’s pedestal…….

      37. So that’s why Montana’s Fish Wildlife and Parks reported the double of elk population since the reintroduction in Yellowstone in 1995? And why Wyoming’s Game & Fish reported a third year in a row for the record number of bull elk taken in the hunt last year? The documentation is online, if you care to become educated on this. As is the documentation, of the grizzly bear, switching it’s spring time diet from the rapidly decreasing Cutthroat Trout to elk calves. The Cuts are becoming more endangered since the introduction of the non-native, Lake Trout. Bigger fish eat smaller fish, just in case you didn’t know, Nemo. Another factor, and a big one at that, is the winter a couple of years ago. We “Redlined, ” meaning the snow became so deep in early January, that the Elk an Bison couldn’t move enough snow to forage. Bodies surfaced all spring that year. There’s much to learn and a lot is available online. Each year, the studies are published here. See the publication, “Yellowstone Resources and Issues,” put out by the Park Service annually. There’s always going to be folks on the polar opposites in any issue, but most folks are reasonable and look at all the info before drawing conclusions. It’s hard for some to come to terms with science and fact, when it comes to the myth and misinformation being perpetuated by those without a broad knowledge base, or driven by fear and greed.
        I am a hunter from ranching pioneer families to the Yellowstone area and a college educated biologist.

    2. Cute, you go from defending the idiot immediately into lies like his about not hunting cougars resulting in previously nonexistent cougar attacks occurring. Just say it and it happens! Ignore that instead, where cougar hunting occurs depredation and approaches to humans actually increase drastically. Says enough for your endorsement.

      1. I’ll let an intelligent reader think about what that says for the version of “truth” spoken of.

      1. I have, and no most of the time they don’t return, they just kill another one. One $10,000 bull was left with just the anus eaten into and some guts pulled out, while it was alive. It was hamstrung by the wolves so it couldn’t run. The body was left alone from mid Sept, until the last time I saw it in late November, and nothing ate it, so it just laid there rotting!! Most of it was still intact this summer when I rode by. Just the skin sagging into the cavity, but still about the same as in November.

      2. That’s what we are trying to tell you, the above mentioned animals are the first thing they either kill or run out of their territory, again you fail to grasp the entire concept, and again you fail to understand that we live here, we play her, and we see this in person, we know, not read about it in some pro wolf magazine.

      3. Bullcrap again. Wolves now “kill or run out of their territory” all the smaller scavenging animals that benefit from their kills? Obviously a concept you strive to ignore, beyond failing to grasp.

        Sorry, Oldtimer, wolves don’t have an infinite amount of spare time and energy to waste carrying out your fantasies for you.

    3. Grizzlies kill for sport, so we must annihilate the Grizzly because they kill for sport. Predatory birds kill for sport, your kitty cat kills for sport, so do most dogs.

    4. As for Cougars having a learned ‘removal of fear’ some 40 years ago in Covina CA, a cougar was seen by a sunbathing woman lapping water from her inground pool approximately 20 feet away from her lounge chair. She was a tad upset, but not eaten by ‘the deadly predator’
      Don’t scream and run and you won’t sound like maimed prey.

    5. Did you stick around long enough, to wait for the wolf to return to eat the Caribou? Often a wolf will leave a kill and return later, when not threatened by the presence of other predators and/or humans.
      Dr. Geist has lost his credibility among many researchers, who have worked with him, since it appears that the Doc is being paid to publish unsubstantiated data. I am a hunter and I live with wolves out my door. I volunteer with the Wolf Project Biologists in Yellowstone. It’s very apparent that the environment suffers when the apex predators are not present upon the landscape – see the term, Trophic Cascade, to understand. And it’s also very apparent, that nature does nature best, when not interfered with by humans, thinking that they know better. The earth was designed to be a co-existant place for all living things and humans, sadly, are the one species that the world would be probably better off for it’s absence.

  4. It amazes me how quickly a discussion about wolves morphs into illiterate name calling. Dr. Geist has not lost credibility, only to those who espouse to the worn out and now disproven “science” of wolf management.

    There’s very few people anywhere who have much knowledge of wolf history (world wide), North America, the lower 48 and regionally. But that doesn’t stop people from being “experts.” Wolves don’t “regulate” anything. That is proven to be false and proven by the person who started the claims about trophic cascades – David Mech. Dr. Mech is a good man and admitted his error with ecosystem self regulation. The problem I have is that he hasn’t done enough to correct the damage done and thus, thousands of people, many commenting on this article, are still feasting on old information. Time to move on.

    I would like to also correct a couple of errors posted here in addition. It is easy to exclaim the rise in elk populations in some places. I will not waste effort here in challenging those estimates in populations. I will say factually that the same fish and game departments that have stated rises in total elk numbers statewide, also do not hesitate to state sharp declines in those areas where dense numbers of wolves exist. That is fact and that is why rational wildlife managers are seeking ways to manage/control wolf numbers and too many of the predators are not good for any part of the ecosystem.

    Secondly, I’m not sure whose version of the journals of Lewis and Clark one commenter referred to but there is absolutely nothing written in those journals, or the journals kept by members of the expedition besides Lewis and Clark, that indicate that great numbers of elk, buffalo, etc. coexisted with wolves. To have extracted that conclusion from the documented history would require quite an imagination. If one were to thoroughly study the journals, as has been done more than once, any conclusions might reveal just the opposite.

    The greatest presence of any canine species during the Lewis and Clark expedition was dogs that the explorers traded with the Indians in order that they would have something to eat.

    It is not necessary to attempt to destroy Dr. Geist’s credibility because you don’t agree with him. Simply provide documented proof that he is wrong.

    Historically in this country, we have no long term history of wolves, but it exists in places all over the world. I dare say that in the Americans’ brainwashed ways of thinking, we look down our noses at history from around other parts of the world probably for much the same reason some in the comment section feel the need to name call and demonize someone or something they choose to disagree with.

    History is loaded with factual accounts of wolves and the diseases they carry. Discounting all of it because you don’t like rednecks is pretty ignorant. Last I checked Third World countries were populated with human beings, that is God’s creations. Instead of discounting the value of that life, intimating a careless attitude toward canine disease infected people of lesser stature in the world, I think it important to research and understand why E.G./human Hydatid disease is found more prevalently in other places than here and learn something from it. Instead of advising people not to eat doggie poop, rational thinking seeks a broader and more thorough understanding in order that we don’t repeat the same mistakes if and when our wild canine species in this country continue to grow, seemingly unchecked.

    Dr. Val Geist is a remarkable scientist and the author is not too shabby himself.

    1. Dr Val Geist is considered a remarkable scientist by those who don’t care about anything but his validating their and others’ superstitious fears and dread of wolves. Just so remarkable that he can come up with the kind of scary story that validates the fear and hate, making them true, so so beautifully true, that they cannot be assailed, certainly not on the mere basis that Dr. Geist has no support for his theories except among the nonscientists whose fears he validates.

      1. I am reminded of an old saying “don’t confuse me with the facts, my mind is made up !!”
        To ignore the research and views of one who has had 50 years in the field both studying and living with wildlife is to be closed minded to anyone’s opinion but their own.
        I don’t see a lot of hope for someone that rejects any other view that does not align with theirs.

      2. Yawn. We aren’t talking research or views based on the data from research. We’re talking wildass speculation of “wolves attack people” and long trains of speculation about ranch dogs feeding on wildlife carcasses, their feces being tracked into homes, etc, unlikely undetected epidemics of growing tapeworm cysts where everybody involved is infected at the same time so the actual disaster can not be detected until too late. With Dr. Geist’s warnings, watch out using tests for any hidden problems, just in case something that never happens to wolf researchers handling wolf feces for analysis, etc? No, of course, the only solution is to eliminate the wolves! That’s like saying we should eliminate raccoons because their roundworms can cause severe human brain damage, the eggs extremely resistant to destruction and persistently infective… but as a rule, no one ever seems to be infected.

        Expert on deer. Whee. The late Dr. Linus Pauling, only winner of two unshared Nobel Prizes, then becoming a promoter of orthomolecular medicine, vitamin C megavitamin therapy, dietary supplements, and ending up considered one of the biggest sources of quack medicine in history along with his early acheivements.

      3. Whatever Doctor Norm !!!!!
        I know for a fact that after spending 50 years hunting in the mountains of Western Canada I have seen a decrease elk and deer wherever the wolf population has increased. Coincidence ???
        But of course once the elk and deer are gone the wolves will just change their diet to berries and not go looking for easier prey closer to civilization to feed their increasing numbers.

      4. That seems to be what you feel they are feeding on now. That is the usual refrain: “We’ve got a zillion wolves around and they need to be thinned, because they’ve eaten all the deer! What will happen when they stop eating all the air, or grass, or whatever?!?”

        Then in the real world we get places like Minnesota, where the out of control whitetail population living with 3000 wolves had to be cut 25% by the MDNR, and it was the wolves that responded to sport hunters harvesting the surplus deer by expanding their territories to encompass more area, and with a wolf population drop of about 25%, the deer controlling the wolves, the other way around not happening.

  5. I hunt around outer-suburban Philadelphia, can’t get too far out due to work pressures, and see mostly deer and squirrels around there, so I follow these posts about wolves and feral pigs from an interested distance. The only pressure on deer populations in SE PA are from cars at dusk…seasoned drivers learn to slow down and scan the sides of the roads as the sun goes down. As is often the case with thee conversations you see several educated or thoughtful persons developing the ideas: the best of the internet, what we all hoped for for it. Open forums and minimal restraints. Then you have name-calling and “dumbass” and “redneck moron” and all that. It does not make you look in any way smart to the rest of us, and perhaps you were or wish you were the bully in the high-school hallway who everyone else fawns over or cringes away from, or you have the anonymity of the internet to hide from, and you’re a 60-year old bitter housewife or a 12-year old giggling kid…God knows. But could you trolls step aside and let some intelligent discourse happen? Maybe? Nero8888: who are you? What do you do for a living? What’s your purpose in life? What motivates you? What matters to you?

    1. I am a retired banker and businessman in Idaho, . I grew up in rural Idaho hunting and fishing there. I moved to the city after college and worked for many years, getting to take a week or two each year to hunt with my Dad, brother and kids and nephews and nieces for meat. We always had great success and ate well throughout the winter. Now I’m retired and have spent a lot of time in Northern and Central Idaho. The elk, moose and to a large extent the deer, are pretty much decimated where I have experience in daily interaction. Not just hunting but ATV’ing, hiking, fishing etc., I have experienced wolves running through our camp, and at night circling our RV’s. Usually in packs of ten or more. The idea that they are only killing the sick and week is an old wives tale. The Yellowstone research done by professors at Montana State University indicates that there is great worry that the elk gene pool is being adversely affected by the mass killing of the prime bulls. The Hydatid problem does affect humans, two verified and reported cases of human infection here in Idaho this year. None were around dogs, nor sheep. Both were around wolves.

      The other myth about wolves helping the environment in general is also untrue to some extent. Carrying these worms and thus leaving scat, poop for those who aren’t familiar with the term, invites every species to be infected. The kills , eats usually only a small amount of the animal, leaves saliva and scat behind, every animal that comes into contact with it is subject then to infection, Ravens are the first to come to the carcass, eagles, hawks, owls, other small meat eaters like coyotes, and then larger animals like the cougars and bears, all leaving scat behind. Soon you have blue birds , robins, and on and on. The Idaho Fish and Game recently in their Big Game Guide has cautioned all hunters to wear surgical gloves while gutting their kills, and to inspect the guts for the balls of worms or cysts of worms. Then report it immediately and burn the gut pile completely. Several elk and deer and moose have been reported to the Fish and Game . Last week I saw that a wolf pup died of the disease in Oregon, and the rest of the litter may be adversely infected.

      In Idaho there was supposed to be 350 wolves as the average goal when introduced. This year the count was around 1750, before the new litters were born, bringing the unofficial siting accounts above 2000. Research recently published shows that the old idea of only the ALPHA male and female breeding is false. As more research is done on wolves by scientist, who before never had a population large enough in the Us to study, shows many old ideas to be false. The study shows that other males and females are breeding thus the unexpected and unprecidented growth rate in a very short time period causing the overpopulation.

      Since this article above there have been three confirmed human kills. One was a lady biologist studying the wolves in the upper mid west, two in Alaska , a lady school teacher killed while jogging, and another man killed while jogging and walking. Wolves have attacked man , mostly kids in Russia, China, Afganistan, India, Pakistan, Korea and dozens of other countries including Europe for over a hundred years. Most Idahoans aren’t against a small population of the wolves, but they feel they are out of hand. It’s just a matter of time before someone else, including kids, will be attacked and probably killed. Those of you who are so totally blind to facts and studies and cannot accept the facts without name calling and doing your own research, not that of phamplets handed out or enviornmentalists only articles, but true honest research, looking to see who the studies were financed by, and who the authors actually are and their backgrounds are illiterate even though you can read. Look at both sides of the issues and give both side honest evaluation without name calling. Listen to the people living with these creatures, and why would you think they are illiterate rednecks? Most of the folks I know in these small towns have gone to college and are really very literate, and just because they choose to live, work and play somewhere other that a big city doesn’t mean they are illiterate rednecks. And just because you live in a big city doesn’t by any means , mean you are smarter or better than they are. Shame on you for even thinking you are. And yes, there are some illiterate or not college educated folks, living and working in businesses like farming, ranching, logging, lumber mills and the like here , but let me clue you in, it doesn’t mean they are dumb.

      1. We don’t have dog packs here in Idaho. I have never heard of one anyway, and I’ve been all over the state both in my profession and my recreation. As far as regular dog bites from domestic and deaths, very few if any deaths reported here from either animals or humans. I can’t think of any I’ve seen reported over the last ten years. I have never heard of any dog packs predating on livestock, we just don’t have wild dog packs here, I doubt you would see them in any other western state either, especially now that wolves are populating the entire state from border to border. That is the very first thing a wolf pack will do , eliminate all dogs from their territory. They have even come into tents and RV camps and killed them. Those that hunt bear and cougars with dogs have lost many working and expensive dogs. Many people who used to take their dogs hiking now leave them at home. Campers who have dogs, bring them into their campers and RV’s at night or put them in kennels.
        As far as predation on Cattle, and Sheep , the wolf kills, and grizzly kills were at first supposed to be paid for to the owners, by a group of wolf advocates. It was like pulling teeth to get the money, then after about three years they just decided to ban the project. The federal government then took it upon themselves to pay. They were not given enough money to pay out for the losses. The government is behind about 6 months paying for rancher losses in 2012, and has no money left for the last 6 months of 2012 and 2013. What most people who aren’t around ranches don’t get is that it isn’t just the initial kill loss for the rancher, Liliq. For instance , a heifer is killed, she may or may not have been pregnant. Say she wasn’t, so you have the original loss , whatever the prevalent per pound rate is on the market. That is what the rancher gets, or used to. Now they don’t get any money for the next years calf she would have had. They also won’t get any money for the two she and the calf she raised when she comes into heat. That’s three losses over three years, you take it down the road for ten years and you see that the losses are well above $50k just from that one loss to the wolves. Last year I know of a smaller rancher losing three to wolves, all verified. One was a ten thousand dollar bull, so you have that loss plus all he might have sired, plus two more heifers and their linage. Do you know of a business that every year incurs that kind of loss that can stay in business long? It’s tough enough to have had losses to bears and cougars, and now they have to endure another predator who is probably the best hunter and smartest animal out there.
        Now think of the State of Idaho as a “rancher” dealing with the tremendous losses of our elk, and moose. People came from all the states and around the world to hunt here, including many in the state that needed that little extra meat to survive each year. We have lost over a ten year period around 50,000 elk or more, and thousands of moose. We went to great pains to bring the moose back, and we had enough that as a hunter one could get a drawn tag, like a lottery, for one bull in each persons lifetime, and since maybe only 200 or 300 tags were available it was a great feat just to get drawn. Now we are having this year to stop that program. They elk are getting that way also. In the Chamberlin Basin behind McCall , Idaho ten years ago there were an average of ten thousand elk. There were ten licensed outfitter and guides working in the basin. Todays official count is around 1750 elk, and all ten guides are out of business. This is just one small region in Idaho. It takes three calves per ten cow elk just to maintain a herd, the Greater Yellowstone area, including the park, Idaho , Wyoming and Montana, hasn’t seen three per ten on over the last 5 years, meaning that if we leave the current circumstances in place, our elk herds will continue their demies. The losses for our economy of the state are in the millions, and lots of that was used to fund programs like bringing the wolverine, who is almost gone from ‘Idaho, and other like species, back. It paid for wetland recovery, and habitat recovery from fires for mule deer, and in our deserts for the almost gone grouse and other numerous wildlife programs that most people wouldn’t pay to fund.
        Hunting the wolves to get the predation rates back in line isn’t working either. In order to do so we tried just hunting them. They reproduced far more offspring each year than were killed, and the packs continued to grow, we now have about 2000 more than the original target amount here in Idaho. With the continued growth Idaho opened a trapping season, and then went from being able to kill one, the next season, Two years after the initial season because a liberal judge stopped the next years hunt thus increasing the numbers, two, and this last year to five, and still they are increasing their numbers. So anyway we can get them in line would be welcomed if you have any ideas. We would love to safely trap them and send them wherever you might want them.

      2. If you aren’t dumb, why do you have to resort to such utterly petty complaints as wolves carrying the dog tapeworm?

        And why aren’t you explaining what you mean by people being “around wolves”? And, of course, not around the coyotes and foxes that carry the worm as definitive hosts?

        Face it, you have only this one pseudoscientist quack to worship. No actual expert will come near this idiot, simply because he is an idiot. He will, of course, be happily hired by laymen who sing his praises for telling them what they want to hear.

        You’re blindly following a radical cult leader and hate propagandist. Or deliberately trying to spread the same deception, doesn’t really matter whether you are being stupid or a vicious and cowardly attacker of the voiceless like Geist, in the final analysis.

      3. May I suggest you do a little research of your own and discover who Dr. Geist is and what his credentials are. You are digging yourself into a rather deep hole here with your own astounding ignorance.

      4. That particular worm was NOT around until they dumped an invasive species of wolf on people!! Not in the lower forty eight states, The wolves brought this horrible disease to Idaho. Not fox, not dogs, but wolves. Name calling idiot. I believe someone who has documented and studied them for forty years more than I believe the propaganda hate spewing liberals who have probably never lived in a rural area. Otherwise, they would realize what they are doing to destroy our communities!!

      5. They didn’t even test them for that worm when they dumped them off in Idaho!! Over 60 percent that were finally tested had the disease and they have spread it to the deer, elk, and moose.

  6. Notice how the liberal, on the first comment, began the conversation with name calling and trying to discredit any other view point. The author has “gone fringe” and anyone who agrees with him is a “dumb-ass redneck. Typical left wing tactics when they have no intelligent argument to make or the desire to do so. Just cast all adversaries as non-entities and push ahead in telling them how to live.

    1. Junebug
      Oldtimer and Mdb, I agree. Consider that the Canadian Grey Wolf is not a reintorduction but a brand new species to Idaho. The National Fish and Wildlife planted them just out of Bovil, Idaho (and other places) without lawful aurhority. The tenth amendment says that powers not given to the government is reserved by the states and/or the people. Who gave them permission to plant these killing machines out here? I say we plant rattle snakes in DC, but then that would not be a new species. That place is full of rattles from the top down.

      1. Junebug
        It was just reported that wolves killed 176 sheep in the Teton valey of SE Idaho. The wolves only ate one and left the other 175 for the bear and ravens. What do you wolf lovers think about that ? Who is going to take up a collection to pay the farmer for his losses? nero888, how about you? Is this okay?

      2. I heard the wolves killed at most 5 sheep, the rest piled up on each other running downhill and suffocated. They do that for bears too, and sometimes spontaneously where confined. Sheep are stupid, and wolves can’t be held responsible for that.

      3. Evidently not very acquainted with sheep. I have never seen sheep in my neck of the hill-covered woods run down hill and pile up not top of each other. Though not particularly bright, even sheep are not that stupid. Sheep do pile up under some circumstances and suffocate but that only occurs during blizzards when they drift with the storm until encountering a fence which blocks further forward movement. The snow then drifts over them and they become entombed in the snowdrift and suffocate. As for Dr. Geist, he is one of the most widely published and widely respected wildlife biologists on the planet. You may not agree with him, but there is a good chance that it may be that you don’t know as much as he does.

      4. Since wolves range across state borders, of course the Federal government is involved in their regulation.

        So, the Feds should never, ever, been allowed to run predator control activities in the states, by your theory, that power being “reserved to the states and the people”? You “constitutional empowerment” guys are a real laugh. I saw one who claimed that the third amendment forbade the federal government “quartering” wolves on private land, because wolves are part of the federal militia, and because they consider in woods they own, or even live near, to be “in their home”. Hilarious.

    2. Mdb, it is the wolf hate propagandists and pro-hunting radicals who would destroy constitutional government itself in order to achieve their goals. Wyoming passes laws specifically prohibiting revealing what the state is doing to wolves, even statistically, to the public; those striving for the rights to wreck Michigan’s healthy, self-regulating packs’ ability to control their own population and replace it with a slaughter of 30% or more of the wolf population there weep and moan about how unfair it is for the voters there to have a different opinion and sign veto resolutions, and the legislators using wolf hate campaigns as a populist election tool respond by passing a law PROHIBITING THE VOTERS FROM VOTING on the matter.

      Forget the facade of being anything but the radical movement you are. You’re either too stupid to realize the implications of NO ONE qualified agreeing with this nut case, or deliberately spreading lies yourself.

    3. I agree. Val Geist has studied wolves for forty years so I think he would know a thing or two. I believe him more than I would believe some left wing idiot that hasn’t a clue what they are talking about and believes everything they read from their left wing propaganda papers.

  7. “However, against a wolf pack there is no defense.” So the wolves killed off all the poor helpless humans thousands of years ago, because humans could not defend themselves from the wolf pack menace?
    Why is it that historical perspectives are never permitted in these tales of woe? Siberians used to carry meat in the sleds to throw to the wolves as a routine habit. Others practiced awareness of their environment so they did not become lunch meat. Our collective predecessors survived wolf packs.

    1. True Liliq, but thousands world wide were killed. according to Russian and other biologists. We have had three human kills here in the Alaska, Canada and Great Lakes area this last year. Just this week Minnisota had their first wolf attack on a young teenager sleeping in his tent in the middle of the night. It took quite a few staples to close his scalp. Just imagine that the wolf had gotten the throat instead. Eventually they will run out of food in the west then what…..? I for one always carry now when I’m out there, not only for wolves, cougars and bears but the idiots that we have in this country also. I hate having to do that but one should be cautious. It wasn’t thousands of years ago that wolves killed humans, . The documentation in many European countries is there from the 1800’s and early 1900’s also. Also lots of instances in 1800 Canada and Alaska.

  8. If you people like wolfs so much lets put a few in your back yards to test his theory on if the’ll attack domestic animals or—- people!Every one I see disappears and I would like to know where the USFWS gets there information from, on there 143000 elk count Mt. The wolves have all but cleaned out the elk in Yellowstone and Gardner area I know i’m from Mt.

  9. Wonder how much he paid to have a guided elk hunt? A hunt in Montana is around $10,000. For a biologist to loose credibility among his peers, takes a lot of misreporting of data. Bet he got this hunt as a gift, for trying to substantiate the myths and misinformation surrounding the wolf, or he’s on some anti wolfer’s payroll.

  10. “However, when herbivore numbers decline while wolf numbers rise, we expect wolves to disperse and begin exploring for new prey. That’s when trouble begins”

    So… how about we stop killing all the herbivores and leave some for the wolves? Seems like we created (or contributed greatly) to this problem.

  11. I think all the wolf defenders should go sit in a tent where the wolves are and be the “Wolf Whisperer” I would love to see their results.

    1. Well dani I’m a hunter who “respects” wolves and I’ve done exactly what you suggested for over 40 years in western Canada. Wolves howling all around me on many occasions and not once did I feel threatened. Why? Because the BS put forth by some of the uneducated clowns on this forum along with that of the delusional Dr Geist….are just that. BS. Geist can at least be excused for prophesizing and accepting money for his opinions. Some others here? Well lets just say the US Education system doesn’t work well for all apparently.

  12. Unfortunately for the wolf and more so for the people that will be affected, the Endangered Species Act has been terribly misused, according Sen. Jim McClure, Democrat, who worked on the bill, and it was not intended to be misused the way that it is being used today. The consequences will be devastating as local health officials beginning mapping and documenting the spread of the hydatid cysts from wolves to the livestock that will be consumed by the public. Thanks to modern DNA technology and phrenology, the evidence is rapidly being produced and will hopefully help save the lives of people who may become infected with the cysts, including those who support large wolf transplantation and protection.

  13. Yet, I have not heard of one single attack on humans, as he claims in steps 6 and 7. I do believe an attack is inevitable, but how can he say he has observed it? I can understand steps 1 thru 5. Seems logical. I personally like the idea of some wolves out there. I would love to experience them in the wild. They will, do need to be controlled.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *