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Arizona Wolves On The Rise

It seems this topic gets very little attention and I must admit that I don’t know much about the actual impact the wolves are having on game animals in Arizona and New Mexico. That said, I’d love to hear your opinions on this wolf recovery program and the effects it is having on the ungulate population of the Southwest. 

Mexican Gray Wolves have expanded their population by 24% since last year and now total an estimated minimum of 163 animals. An interagency aerial count combined with tracking collar studies and other field research revealed that the wolves are distributed quite evenly between Arizona and New Mexico. 

The wolves have expanded for the second year in a row with more breeding pairs raising more pups and agencies aiding in the expansion of established packs via “cross fostering” a practice that takes pups from other areas or packs and plants them in other packs to be raised. 

Growth for this wolf population has been progressive over the past decade with more and more wolves populating the landscape of the Southwest every year. This growth is due in large part to the science based conservation efforts of an inter-agency task force called the Interagency Field Team or IFT. The IFT is responsible for monitoring wolf populations, encouraging and aiding dispersal of genetics, and a captive breeding program that supplements established wolf packs and expands wolf range. The IFT operates under the Mexican Wolf Recovery Plan, whose goal is the return of the Mexican Wolf to populations that can be “accommodated with the subspecies’ historical range in the southwestern United States and Mexico.” 

“In addition to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Arizona Game and Fish Department, partners in the recovery program include the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish (NMDGF), USDA Forest Service (USFS), USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services (USDA-APHIS WS), White Mountain Apache Tribe (WMAT), Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and the U.S. National Park Service (NPS).

For more information on the Mexican Wolf Recovery Program, visit the USFWS Mexican wolf website (www.fws.gov/southwest/es/mexicanwolf) or visit the Arizona Game and Fish Department website on Mexican wolves (www.azgfd.gov/wolf).”

Arizona Game & Fish Dept. · 5000 W. Carefree Hwy, Phoenix, AZ 85086

(602) 942-3000 · www.azgfd.gov

About Todd Helms

Todd Helms

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11 comments

  1. This past September I spoke to a USDA employee, as he was getting out of the truck with collar-tracking equipment to monitor wolves. Someone had put out in a podcast that Mexican Gray Wolves feed mostly on Coues deer. This sounded ridiculously odd so I asked the wolf-tracker. He said that 80% of their diet is elk. He also said that they’re constantly having to “haze” the wolves out of town and ranch areas back to the specific areas they want to keep them. He also did confirm that they unfortunately do end up eating livestock too.

  2. Corona is/ will impact the economy. Wolves will destroys the elk populations and the economy!!! Small towns will be hurt the most!!! This bullshit form the Sierra club needs to stop now!!!

  3. We need wolves expanded like we need covid19 expanded, one more thing wrecking us!

  4. Shoot shovel shutup

  5. Cmon – makes perfect sense ! Introduce top tier predators en-masse, protect them from being hunted, they drop game populations to un-/nonhuntable levels. Reduce tag allocations and after 10-15 years u lose a large population of hunters forever. Then the few hunters left are such a small population with no clout – then eliminate all regulated big game hunting – that can happen faster than persons realize – kind of like a disease getting into human population ! Where have we seen that recently? No one imagined covid – you don’t imagine the rapid way this Wolf “virus” will spread and what it can do ! An ounce of Prevention is worth a pound of cure ! Happy trails – the end is coming – fast, faster !

    • When modern man first came to the America’s wolves had already been here for thousands of years and game populations were numbered in the millions. If we want to blame someone for declining game numbers look in the mirror.

      • Quite the opposite ! Those in the mirror – Hunters only have increased game populations in USA, Africa, etc. I don’t see same logic applied to increasing Bison – why the wolf an animal with no value – like the mosquito. The wolf lost out, only losers can relate to losers. Ignorance shines in those that get a feeling of seeing a wolf in the wild such pretty fuzzy pelts make a nice coat.
        Those of us that have shot dozens and dozens in Alaska understand – nothing better than to fool a pack of wolves and take out the dominate bitch! At some point soon persons will be wacking wolves down there in that lower 48 cess pool. Go Get em and Enjoy the shooting Boyz !

  6. check this out, Stopthewolf.org for efforts to stop the forced reintroduction of the gray wolf into Colorado.

  7. I live right in the middle of this wolf reintroduction in Alpine, Arizona. I see these so-called mexican wolves on a regular basis. They are no more mexican wolves than a malamute is a northern wolf. I shot a mexican wolf back in the 70’s and the Arizona Game and Fish was paying $35 for each wolf killed. Now we are paying up to $1,000,000 each to bring them back! These new wolves are nowhere near what I shot back then. The one I shot could have easily killed an elk, and these new wolves can’t even kill a deer by themselves. They released wolves years before they informed the public. This new increase in the population is due to them releasing more wolves throughout a bigger range. What they haven’t told people is that they have released many, many more in southern Arizona and New Mexico. My son and I got within 25 yards of 2 young wolves down in Bisbee, Arizona 4 years ago and I got within 5 yards of a grown wolf walking down a highway in Safford, Arizona 4 years ago. They have their input meetings years after the fact to appease people and make us think we have a say in what goes on. As for affecting the population of deer and elk and antelope, I can assure you that the elk are killed en masse, not by the wolves, but by the wolf staff! We found where they had killed 11 cow elk and left them for a couple of young wolves who were living within the town limits. I have a friend who works for the US F&W, and he was ordered to shoot down 7 big bulls and leave them for the wolves. The wolves can’t kill on their own, except for the killing of cattle, especially calves. Their heliport is in my back yard, and they spend millions of dollars supposedly monitoring these animals and putting more out there. Why don’t we stop spending tax payers money on predators that we will eventually have to shoot later and get paid for it.

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