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Wolves Delisted! What Now?

On November 3rd the Trump Administration officially removed the gray wolf from the ESA, thus turning over all management to state and tribal agencies. This move comes in the wake of fully recovered and burgeoning wolf populations in the Great Lakes and Rocky Mountain West. States such as Wyoming, Idaho and Montana will now have total and complete control over their wolf populations and I think that is a good thing! 

I do think that wolves are here to stay and I don’t mind that, in fact I like the fact that they are an established part of the West once again. However, we as states, the folks with the most skin in the game, should be the people in charge of managing not just wolves but grizzlies too but I’ll save that rant for another day. 

We know what is best for our landscapes and the management of the animals on them. Western states with active wolf management plans have proven themselves to be excellent stewards of large canines and this ruling is a huge win. 

However, it does muddy the wolf reintroduction waters in Colorado. That state’s wolf ballot initiative has passed and reintroduction of gray wolves to Colorado will soon be a reality, or will it? 

With the removal of Federal protection comes the removal of Federal funding and it is dubious that Colorado possesses the means to support a full on wolf reintroduction effort. This is a hurdle the state will have to overcome if they are to truly restore wolves to the western slope. Colorado is facing down a major resource crisis and adding wolves to the pot may very well prove too much as management will rest solely upon the state. 

One thing is for certain, the removal of the wolf from the ESA is a step in the right direction for wolves and the people who are directly impacted by them. Now it’s the grizzly’s turn. 

Todd Helms

About Todd Helms

Todd Helms

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41 comments

  1. I could NOT agree more Todd! It’s time for wildlife biologists to manage wildlife and NOT the tree huggers in BIG cities!!

  2. The sad thing is what will Biden do with Wolf/Grizzly politics and policies?

  3. I agree it’s about time they leave the wolves future to the states. As for Pres. Biden I think he will be busy trying to clean up the mess.

  4. It is my understanding that the federal government currently pays for all the legal costs on both sides when they loose a lawsuit. Do the individual states fall under that same legal loop hole? If not, this alone may stop some of the lawsuits.

  5. I realize that this will be an unpopular post. I vehemently disagreed with the re-introduction of the wolves in the beginning. Our ancestors had good and sufficient reason for wiping them out. Bringing them back was huge mistake. The packs have devastated the wildlife herds, deer, elk etc. The predation of sheep and cattle will increase once again. The first human killed by a pack will soak the hands of those who forced this on us. It’s inevitable. Here’s hoping that they can be hunted to extinction again.

    • Couldn’t agree more! Another example is the MMA of 1974 where Sea Lions, Seals, and Orcas were protected until they threaten Salmon, Steelhead, and Sturgeon. Need I go on?! Don’t think so. You get the picture.

    • The people who voted for this don’t live in the area where the wolves will be introduced. Animals and people who may be killed by the wolves are a small price to pay for their emotional satisfaction of having wolves back on the landscape.

  6. It’s not unpopular with me.
    I agree 100%
    Good Riddance, I say
    We can live just fine without wolves

  7. Jerry Gallimore II

    Not sure how its going to turn out here in Colorado, but I think the decision would have been better left to the wildlife biologist then your average uneducated voter who voted for the reintroduction because they thought that wolves are “cute”.

  8. Just like the Nez Perce Indians. They killed over 30 trophy bulls this fall and only took the head, straps and hindquarters. When I say trophy, I am talking about 400-320 bulls. They sell the heads to liberal owned resorts and lodges and feed the meat to their dogs. They are just as bad or worse than the wolves. They disrespected their ancestors. This inturn reduced all legal hunting tags in the area for people who pay the fees to sustain these herds. Racism is disgusting.

    There are far too many people starving on the planet for these rituals and travesties to continue. Mexicans aren’t given free reigns on the wildlife in Texas, Arizona or New Mexico so why are the tribes allowed in the northern states. Nor are the Africans, eskimos or any other native. This is racism at its worst.

    One step at a time. Exterminate the wolves and then take all these poaching rights away from the racists and tribes. Our governor has destroyed the trophy bull elk blue mountain area with his wolves. We lost 3600 elk in 3 years due to his ineptness. Used to see herd of 60 to 70 giant bulls. Maybe see one now if the wolves aren’t chasing it.

  9. The biggest problem is the biologists work for the state. Their input and data has been trumped by the greed of the states governors and the federal money they get. Our local wardens and biologists are against the wolves but are told to shut up or go find another job.

    Until an unbiased group takes over these responsibilities the greed will continue to control the destiny of our ungulates.

    Each hunting unit should control their own seasons and quotas, with data from the locals, not some idiot in Olympia or Seattle.

  10. All they have to do is stop and look at what the wolves have done in the Yellowstone area… The Data is there… Wolves are already impacting elk herds… People really need to look at what they are voting for and not just vote blindly.

  11. He’ll yeah Jim Bob, let’s exterminate them! Like our fire fathers did to… oh wait, bison, elk, deer, turkeys, predators…. Yeah boys, let’s repeat the actions of generations past because that worked so well! Give us the controls, so we can manage the game with our bias(selling deer and elk tags)we think we know what we’re doing more than the people that disagree with us, so we must be right! Failure to learn from history will surely be our demise. Why do you think controls were taken from the states to begin with, because thinks we’re better than ever? No. Keep up the great work fellas, I’m sure you’re smarter(and more disconnected to the land) than your forefathers.

    • Our forefathers killed off the wolves for a reason Andrew. I guess you like wolves more than hooved animals. I guess we know who you voted for. Slow Joe & Heels up Harris.

  12. Hahaha yeah and they killed off the bison too. Great point James. Knuckle draggers to the rescue! Kill em all!
    Maybe read a book from the time of poisoning predators to exterminate them for historical reference? Oh, I know one! Sand county almanac- but I’m sure a father of conservation ( that preserved our hunting rights) will be too liberal of a perspective for you to comprehend as well.

    • History says they killed the bison to control the savages. Go read a book and educate yourself.

      • Thanks Randy, perhaps you can recommend one that you’ve read that you can quote that supports a single cause of bison pop destruction? You are partially correct, killing for fur trade, sport shooting and Natives food resource destruction all led to the near extinction of bison. And those were all actions that humans took to manipulate and profit from a resource, however short sided it may have been at that time. Time to learn from rather than repeating mistakes.

  13. Good news all the way around. We just finished a hunt in Idaho and had to deal with a wolf pack working the same hunting area we packed into. The first night woken up at 1:00 AM to wolves howling in our camp area with 10 head of pack and saddle horses and mules in hobbles grazing around camp. We secured the stock. But going out on our first hunt the next morning, encountered the pack working our chosen area. Their presence effected the entire hunt in a negative way. The elk were on high alert, and moved as high as they could get and many moved out of the area. 1 small bull was taken, 3 of us had tag soup as a result, hunting in a known prime area!
    Let the states govern this apex predator or we’ll loose our elk and deer herds, and I can’t imagine that happening!!

  14. Nock nock, the states DO have control of management in Idaho, Wyoming and Montana… The problem is, too many ungulate hunters don’t make any effort to harvest the predators. You have the opportunity to hunt and kill wolves, yet you complain about their impact on your elk hunt. Did any of the hunters harvest a wolf? buy a wolf tag? Seems like everyone likes complaining about a symptom instead of taking responsibility. Shit, I mean there’s even organizations offering USD bounty for killing wolves to incentivize hunters to try to hunt wolves, and still quotas are left unfilled.

    • Sounds like you know it all. You can not hunt wolves with guns because they have been educated. Trapping and poisoning is the only path forward. You must go through rigours courses and be a full time trapper now adays to kill a wolf in those states you know so much about. Go read your history books. That is how they were eradicated originally. Eventually they used buckets of blood with baseball sized sponges to kill them.

    • We all had wolf tags and are members of 4FWM. Randi’s statement is so true, this apex predator, doesn’t respond well to calls and knows hunter’s equal rifles. Trapping and other means of control are needed. Rarely will a wolf give you the “opportunity” you refer to for harvesting.

  15. Large carnivores are a key component to ecosystem function and health 24/7 365, not just for a week long elk hunt. Maybe that’s why one of Eastmans main sponsors- Sitka Gear -supports conservation grants and research of key indicator species of ecosystem health and resilience.

    Take a look>

    https://www.sitkagear.com/inside-sitka/montana-state-university-ecosystem-grants?utm_campaign=20201119_bc_content_combo_inseason_fullprice_consumer_msugrantfeatureseverydaycollectiongradienthoodyjetstreamvest_notest&utm_content=touchpoint_1_20201119_bc_content_combo_inseason_fullprice_consumer_msugrantfeatureseverydaycollectiongradienthoodyjetstreamvest_notest&utm_medium=email&utm_source=zaius

    • Wake up Andy, how easy do you think it is to kill wolves?? That is why at the tax payers expense ID fish and game has to thin them out by renting a helicopter and shooting them.

  16. Good news. Thanks.

  17. The ones that I feel sympathetic towards our the ranchers that wake up in the mornings wondering how many calves or lambs they have lost, they turn in a claim and if they can prove it was wolves guess who pays…..

  18. Lotta polarizing viewpoints and of course facts and truth vary accordingly ! Suffice to say we all agree management is key and everyone seems to agree with that ? The “how” is now the issue ! Unite around the how – wolves are likely not going away again. After hunting and trapping many dozens while I was in AK for years – you lower 48 folks have much to learn.
    The best thing we all can do is help and become part of the solution – a “wolf hunting group” similar to Mule Deer foundation etc, with educated members and a solid plan , néed team work to help manage this ! Again these ultra smart animals are here to stay – let’s figure out how many should comprise carrying capacity – give n take ! Everyone that commented cares in 1 way or another – perspective or opinion aside ! Pull together and organize ! Hint – see what happens when people organize an – Black Lives Matter ! “The balanced ecosystem matters” let’s get it in the middle ! X number of wolves and an organized entity with tons of data and a plan that puts the wolf where and how many we want and still keep good Huntable #s of elk deer etc and reduce rancher loss. I’m sure someone will now stab away.

    • Orion, totally agree. Thanks for sharing your perspective as another individual with first hand experience of both wolf hunting and wolf management. Better to not move backward(poisoning and extermination) but rather use the progression of what we’ve learned to create better management in the future with sound science and a unified effort. Thanks again for sharing.

    • GREAT point Orion!

  19. Unfortunately those that want them live in the city and those that do not want them have to suffer. I can no longer let my dogs out at night or my grandchildren in the daytime because of Andrews wolves. Thx for ruining our livelihoods. Typical liberal comments. Eat their shit and like it or they will cancel you.

    • Randi, you eat pieces of shit for breakfast?! hahah, it’s honestly disappointing that I even have to respond to this. Try this on for size bud, Born in Idaho, only lived in rural Idaho, MT and WY my entire life. I’m a registered republican from a family of cattle ranchers that dealt with wolves from day one, yep, the origins of ‘smoke a pack a day’. Seriously, listen to what has happened in the last 25 years. You’re repeating the same historical monologue from fearful and uneducated individuals during the original reintroduction in ’96. Where are those peoples voices now? They’re silent because they were proven wrong with provable data, not broad scale assumptions. There are ways to navigate this issue without backtracking to ’96, it’s time to move forward. Don’t be afraid of the boogie man in your closet and the monsters under your bed.

  20. I respectfully disagree. As I posted in my first comment, the ancestors had good and sufficient reason for exterminating the entire population. Poisoning, trapping, shooting until they no longer exist in the wild is the ONLY way to solve the problem permanently.

    • Michael, thanks for the respectful disagreement. I think the damage that targeted poisoning of wolves and bears did to the trophic chain of all predators, birds, aquatic systems etc was why poisoning was outlawed. Same goes for lead shot for waterfowl. Remember DDT, the dust bowl etc? both historical screw ups on behalf of humans. I’d hope we could avoid repeating those mistakes, unless we want to have history repeat itself.

      • The ban on DDT was based solely on Rachel Carson’s false statements in her book “Since Silent Spring”. The ban directly resulted in millions of deaths due to malaria and other insect borne diseases. The dust bowl was caused by poor farming methods that stripped the topsoil and deforestation. As for poisoning, I might agree with not doing that but I still want to see the wolf populations eradicated, in toto.As I have posted already, the people who advocated for this disaster will have the blood of the first human child killed by a pack.

  21. Not sure Andrew knew during WWI the soldiers took breaks from killing each other to kill the wolves that were eating the wounded as they were struggling to live? And yet he still would rather have history repeat itself? Get ready war is coming to his country plenty of food for his wolves then.

  22. Todd Helms article above is fact filled. The win in all this is/was delisting !!! That’s a Big Win ! Without the delisting everyone’s hands are tied, ranchers, Hunters, State Wildlife Agencies. Delisting – the delisting opens the door for management, if they (wolves, grizz) are on the list you have nothing to say and nothing you can do, the animal is provided “ Extreme protections “ !

    With delisting it opens the door to do something.

    Something Legal, not illegal.

    Go ahead and poison and illegally shoot wolves – if ur that ignorant you are also ignorant about how good Wildlife Crime Investigators are now! Foolish to even consider outlaw measures – why not just say – smashing a business window and burning down a business is a solution to Black Lives Matter, completely irrational.

    The day Wolves ended up on a Ballot for public vote was really the issue, it was sure to pass ! That’s over, it passed – they will expand wolves – legally using a process. That’s a fact! Too many wolves are a bad thing, that’s a fact. Should we have 1 wolf or 1,000? That’s now the issue we need to focus on ! Zero is not an option – clueless voters decided for us already that some # is going to happen, fact !

    What is the Number is Now our issue ! What is the number and “Where”. What is meant by where ?

    As bison in Yellowstone were not wanted outside the Park- do we want them outside the introduction area ? If they leave that area can they be managed ? My point is “Organize” and work towards a plan that “we” can have management in our hands “with” State Game Depts !

    We can and must manage it, we have to show we can by being Organized and educated not emotional ! Time for emotion was when it hit the ballot and before votes were cast. Now it’s on to Organize and Manage! Manage what was dropped on us by the ignorant out of touch Voters, not bad people just clueless and had no business being in the decision, but they were and won. Just like every wildlife aspect that ends up on a ballot.

    If you really want to fix this find a legal way to keep this off the ballots and out of Courts ! Legislation that only allows State Wildlife Agency’s to figure this out not Voters.

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