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Wolves: the other side of the story from someone who has studied them

Canis lupus occidentalis which also goes by the Mackenzie Valley wolf, the Alaskan timber wolf, the Canadian timber wolf, or the rocky mountain wolf, was classified as a gray wolf subspecies in 1829 by Sir John Richardson, M.D. It is one of the largest wolf subspecies in North America.

There was a dispute which occurred prior to wolf reintroduction into Yellowstone Park, and now as you have heard, Plumas County. Trust me, despite what you have been told, there were breeding pairs of wolves in Yellowstone before the 1995 reintroduction. The new species of wolf introduced into the Yellowstone is NOT the same species of wolf found there 150 years ago.

There was a battle to determine which wolf to introduce into the Yellowstone Valley. The new wolf is larger and eats more elk, not necessarily deer. Environmentalists determined that the original Yellowstone wolves were similar to Canis lupus nubilus, a subspecies already present in Minnesota, and that the Canadian animals proposed by Brewster and Fritz were of the subspecies Canis lupus, occidentalis, a “significantly” larger animal. The rationale behind Brewster and Fritz’s favor was that wolves show little genetic diversity, and that the original population was extinct anyway. This was contradicted by Nowak, who contested that Minnesotan wolves were much more similar in size and shape to the original population than the proposed Canadian wolves. He conceded that Canis lupus, occidentalis was probably already migrating southward (into the U.S.) even before human intervention.

The final use of Canadian wolves for the reintroduction was not without criticism: from the American Society of Mammalogists pointing out that the wolves used for the introduction were 30 percent larger than the original park wolves, and were adapted to much colder climates.

Finally, the society questioned the legality under the Endangered Species Act of “recovering” a taxon (family) of wolves, by expanding their historic range. This would be a less similar type, when more closely related founder stock still remained available. The larger wolf was transferred to Montana, and now Plumas County. The Mackenzie Valley wolf weighs from 100 to 145 pounds. They can reach speeds of 40 mph, and travel 70 miles per day. They’ll have 4-6 pups, they mate in February.

They certainly have created a dilemma for local hunters and we appreciate being able to kill predators. Ranchers are losing sheep and cattle because environmentalists can’t keep a good wolf confined to Yellowstone Park. On your own, research the ranchers’ livestock losses in Idaho and Montana this past year. Research the size and eating habits of these wolves. Suggestion … Don’t walk unarmed in the woods of this County. They do not scare off like a mountain lion or a bear. A single adult wolf will attack you and a pair will make it that much easier.

There are more than 3,500 wolves spread over five Western States and we are hunting them down like the vermin they are. Government Fish and wildlife, have played with Mother Nature and you know what happens when you do that … unintended consequences. Well, we can lay those consequences on the environmentalist’s uneducated doorstep, as we predator hunters clean up your mess.

You think a wolf kills for food? It also kills for sport, only one out of four kills is ever eaten, the other three ELK or animals are for training their offspring; how to kill. On March 24, 2016, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) confirmed that 19 elk were killed by wolves at a feed ground near Bondurant. According to Mike Jimenez, the Northern Rocky Mountain Wolf Coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, surplus killings are rare. He doesn’t leave his office very much. Environmentalists conveniently want you to ignore that “surplus sport” killings occur all the time, they just aren’t witnessed by their lackeys. They haven’t a clue or knowledge about this predator; they want to play Mother Nature. Wolves do make great rugs and winter coats though.

When the first adult is taken down by one of these creatures; you will know how a rancher feels to lose his sheep, cows and pets to wolves. The northwestern wolf has been responsible for a few, but notable attacks on humans, with at least two fatal attacks in the 21st century in which both victims were partially eaten: in 2005, a man was killed in Saskatchewan, Canada; in 2010, a woman was killed while jogging near Chignik Lake in Alaska.

After several court challenges wolves were successfully delisted from Endangered Species protections in Idaho and Montana (2011). Hunters and trappers killed 206 wolves in Montana during a winter harvest that ended in May 2015. In Idaho’s wolf kill season, 170 wolves were taken as of January 2016. Great job hunters and trappers, you may be saving just one life! The Elk herds and cattle ranchers appreciate your efforts.

19 thoughts on “Wolves: the other side of the story from someone who has studied them

  • This reminds me of something called “the overwhelming urgencies of
    belief.” Our predispositions are powerful. There are always beliefs that we wish to reinforce. The author reminds me of “That’s my wolf story, and I’m stickin’ to it.”

    In reality there are no subspecies of wolves. Naming of nature is an artificial system developed by Linnaeus over two centuries ago. The system works well until you get down to subspecies. Wolf populations have not been isolated enough to not interbreed and the genetics are not different enough. Wolves always get around mountain ranges, rivers and are not topographically isolated. The best genetics show a continuum of change. The Mexican wolf can interbreed with the Artic wolf. Nature is always…

  • Among the numerous errors or fabrications in this piece is that native wolves were present in Yellowstone at the time Canadian wolves were translocated to the park. From 1975 to 19977, independent biologist John Weaver spent 12 months in the field, traveling 2,700 miles on foot, skis, and snowshoes on trails, game trails, ridges, and stream courses for wolves, tracks,or scat. He broadcast 1,400 wolf howls, baited trail cameras at seven locations in the park, and flew 30 hours, trying to detect wolves. Besides, since 1964, 1,800 in hours logged by other biologists they saw no signs of wolves. He concluded in his 1978 report, the Wolves of Yellowstone, that there were no wolves present, and recommended they be restored.

  • Years post-introduction, genetic studies of hundreds of Yellowstone wolves failed to identify one wolf not related to those translocated from ten Canadian packs. Had native wolves been present, their DNA would have been observed in the large samples studied. Wolves dispersing from the packs brought to the park would have been eager to link up with any wolf already present. Also, weights of every wolf translocated in 1995 and 1996 were taken: The 31 wolves ranged from 72 to 130 pounds; average 93 pounds. Among 2,580,909 tent campers in developed campgrounds and in the backcountry from 1995 to 2015, no camper was injured by a wolf. Eight wolves have shown boldness; all but two were hazed successfully, and two were euthanized.

  • The Spokesman-Review of 2/17/10 reported that rumors of 150-pound wolves abound in the Idaho Panhandle, but most of the wolves taken by hunters are much smaller.
    Adult females averaged 86 pounds, according to Idaho Department of Fish and Game officials, who also included the weights of wolves struck by vehicles in the survey. For adult males, 101 pounds was the average. The exception was a 130-pound adult male killed in Boundary County.
    Ronald Nowak studied 580 historic skulls of full-grown male wolves. Nowak concluded that North America had five subspecies of gray wolves. Two subspecies had historic ranges in Idaho – the Rocky Mountain wolf and the Great Plains wolf, and they interbred.

  • We let ranchers graze their herds on public lands for pennies. We support ranchers by greatly subsidizing the grains and fodder they use to feed their cattle. We support ranchers in hundreds of ways large and small. We do not need to kill wolves to help rancher’s bottom line, we have already given them more than enough.

    Statistically, it is much safer to live near wolves than it is to have a neighbor with a dog- the idea that wolves pose a serious danger to people is wacky. We would save more human lives by killing the cattle, since they kill 22 people every year.

    Wolves have as much a right to exist in northern California as Elk, and suggesting that we should slaughter wolves to protect people is asinine.

    • Doc Broggs, you are totally correct. In fact, we do not have more buffalo in the country because the government wants to save the land for cows to graze. They also fear contamination of a cow disease from the buffalo to the cow, which apparently has never happened. I do not understand how people can graze a cow in the forrest, or these public lands, and then be in shock that a wolf attacks. That would be like living near the airport and then complaining about the noise from airplanes. The article above is full of emotion and no facts.

    • Neal and Doc Boggs, you are dead on. Thanks for refuting the lies and propaganda from Saxton.

  • We all know that WY / Yellowstone had multiple OR7 back before the illegal reintroduction of wolves. One of those wolves was killed by Ed Bangs project coordinator of the illegal reintroduction. Why did he kill it? Because, it would have totally exposed what they had done with the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone and ID as Illegal and shut down their tax dollar sucking ($60 million) reintroduction program. So they killed it claiming that it had “Dog genes” further investigation was covered up. .Bangs broke the law and should have been prosecuted. Judge Downes agreed that the introduction of the Canadian wolves was “unlawful”. The whole reintroduction of wolves into Idaho and Yellowstone was a farse…..

  • I’m guessing that Mr. Saxon did most of his “studying” bellied up to the bar with his cronies. Almost all of the arguments he presents are easily refutable by existing science.

    It is gratifying to see that this newspaper has readers with actual knowledge pushing back on Mr. Saxon’s viewpoint.

  • Wow – so many experts! Before you feel so safe around wolves, remember there was a reason why Europeans eliminated them in Europe. Then read the official report on Candace Berner, killed in Alaska:
    Then read the CBC article about the death of Kenton Carnegie:
    Suffice to say there are also reports attacks that were near misses. However those reports are always disputed by the animal rights armchair experts!

    • Thank you for sharing the official report on Candace Berner’s wolf attack. My husband and I were teaching in Chignik Lake when it happened … it was horrible.
      There were several key factors contributing to the wolf attack. For one, Candace was running alone, away from the village in a snowstorm. She was also only about 5 feet tall. However, I always comforted myself with a bit of pity about how starved the wolves were in March since the regional caribou didn’t come down to our area anymore. The report you shared stated that this WASN’T TRUE.
      The female wolf whose DNA was found on Candace’s body was killed and examined, and the results stated that she was perfectly healthy and in good weight.
      Facts do matter. Please be cautious.

    • David, We will not see an outright borage of wolves killing people…… why? Because habituated wolves are killed immediately. Yup, depredating and habituated wolves STILL need to be killed. We can learn a lot about wolves and the need to manage them by looking at Minnesota. In Minnesota HUNDREDS of wolves have to be killed EACH YEAR in order to keep, them out of trouble. Yup, the year before the first wolf hunt in MN they almost reached 300 wolves killed for these issues! All on the governments dime! Those that call to “save the wolves” know full well of this inevitability of having to kill them….YET wear wolves on their sleeve in order to get the gullible to press their “donate now” buttons.

  • Yes, wolves can interbreed with other species of wolf. They can also interbreed with dogs which have been domesticated for thousands of years – unless they eat them first! Just because they can interbreed with other species doesn’t make the Canadian wolf the same as the wolf which used to inhabit Yellowstone! The fact is a species of wolf which never inhabited Yellowstone was introduced and is spreading all through the NW, including California! It’s only a matter of time before they reach Arizona, New Mexico and all points between! Sooner or later — there will be cases of wolves killing humans in the lower 48 states – you can count on it!

  • Shoot-shovel-shut up.

    Don’t think for a second Wolves just wandered in here. They were introduced.

    • “Shoot-shovel-shut up.” – wow, how disgusting…

      The reality is that the wolves, bears, owls, frogs, etc. were *here* in America before humans were… I would say the ‘humans’ were ‘introduced’.

  • I think that wolves have been doomed forever since the “big bad wolf” fairy tale. Fact, no wolf has ever killed a human. They don’t even attack them. Fact: Each Yellowstone wolf is worth $1million to the local economy. Fact: Wolves are necessary for a healthy ecosystem. Fact: Causes of cattle death: #1 disease #2 Domestic dogs #3 Wolves. What’s the difference? Ranchers are reimbursed for loss of livestock by wolves. Not so much #1 and 2. The lies and myths of wolves is widespread and based on misinformation and fear. Don’t get confused by the “these are not the same wolves in Yellowstone” BS. If you look at the Elk Hunt statistics the herd is healthier because they were overpopulated and had to be killed by Rangers. Wolfs bring…

  • No doubt there would be scores more dead humans if our ancestors hadn’t shot up lots of good ammunition ridding us of North America’s Wolf population. And the same goes for Wolverines. I care a lot about our children and obviously, Wolves and children just don’t mix and they never will. It’s not a issue of who was here first as the Wolves we’re seeing are being introduced.
    If you want to live dangerously why not try hiking around the Serengeti with a T-Bone tied around your neck?

    I’m with Rick. Shoot, shovel and shut up.

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