The Wolf That Changed America
Wolf Wars: America's Campaign to Eradicate the Wolf

Wolves have been feared, hated, and persecuted for hundreds of years in North America. Before the arrival of Europeans, Native Americans incorporated wolves into their legends and rituals, portraying them as ferocious warriors in some traditions and thieving spirits in others. European Americans, however, simply despised wolves. Many, including celebrated painter and naturalist John James Audubon, believed wolves ought to be eradicated for the threat they posed to valuable livestock. This attitude enabled a centuries-long extermination campaign that nearly wiped out the gray wolf in the continental United States by 1950.


Origins of Wolf Hatred

In the New World, two top predators – wolves and men – that otherwise would have avoided each other clashed over livestock. In Vicious: Wolves and Men in America, Jon T. Coleman writes:

Wolves had a ghostly presence in colonial landscapes. Settlers heard howls, but they rarely spotted their serenaders. The fearsome beasts avoided humans. People frightened them, and colonists knew this: “They are fearefull Curres,” reported Thomas Morton in 1637, “and will runne away from a man (that meeteth them by chance at a banke end) as fast as any fearefull dogge.”

Because humans and wolves frightened one another, they logically avoided confrontation, opening space between the species. But that space closed when European colonists brought horses, cattle, sheep and pigs with them over the perilous journey across the Atlantic. Without these animals – sources of food and transportation for the European settlers – the colonies would have failed. But because most early colonial communities were small, livestock often grazed on the periphery of the settlements with little protection. Their pastures abutted and bled into the wild, exposing the animals to hungry wolves in search of prey. Wolves quickly learned that docile cattle and sheep made easy meals. Suddenly, colonists found their livelihoods in danger, and they lashed out at wolves, both with physical violence and folklore that ensured wolf hatred would be passed down from one generation to the next.


Amateur and Professional Wolf Baiting

The campaign to eradicate wolves in North America began with private landowners and farmers baiting and trapping wolves. Often, colonists turned wolf baiting into both sport and protection for their livestock. Jon T. Coleman describes an incident that took place in the winter of 1814 deep in the Ohio River Valley, in which John James Audubon assists a farmer as he mutilates trapped wolves.

During the fall, a pack of wolves had robbed [the farmer] of “nearly the whole of his sheep and one of his colts.” For him, it made sense to devote his winter labor to digging pits, weaving platforms, hunting bait, and setting and checking his traps twice daily. The animals had injured him, and “he was now ‘paying them off in full.’” Audubon’s reaction to the slaying of the wolves is less understandable … The ingenious pit traps amazed him, as did the fearsome predators’ meek behavior and the childlike glee the farmer took in his work. The violence Audubon witnessed, however, did not shock him. Watching a pack of dogs rip apart terrified and defenseless animals was a “sport” both he and the farmer found enjoyable.

Further west, in Yellowstone National Park, wolf baiting and hunting had become a lucrative profession. Paul Schullery, in his guidebook to Yellowstone wolves (The Yellowstone Wolf: A Guide & Sourcebook), describes the profession and the devastating affect it had on the Yellowstone wolf population: “At least as early as 1877, ungulate carcasses in the park were poisoned with strychnine by free-lance ‘wolfers’ for ‘wolf or wolverine bait.’ By 1880, [Yellowstone National Park] Superintendent [Philetus] Norris stated in his annual report that ‘…the value of their [wolves and coyotes] hides and their easy slaughter with strychnine-poisoned carcasses have nearly led to their extermination.’”

In the Southwest, as settlers depleted bison, elk, deer, and moose populations – the wolves’ natural prey – the predators turned more and more to picking off livestock. In states like New Mexico where cattle ranching was big business, ranchers responded by turning to professional wolfers and bounty hunters. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reports, “To protect livestock, ranchers and government agencies began an eradication campaign. Bounty programs initiated in the 19th century continued as late as 1965, offering $20 to $50 per wolf. Wolves were trapped, shot, dug from their dens, and hunted with dogs. Poisoned animal carcasses were left out for wolves, a practice that also killed eagles, ravens, foxes, bears, and other animals that fed on the tainted carrion.”


Government-Sanctioned Wolf Extermination Programs   


Government wolf trapper

Towards the end of the 19th Century, wealthy livestock owners increased both their demand for wider grazing ranges and their influence over policymakers in Washington, D.C. In 1885, the federal government established the U.S. Bureau of Biological Survey, initially chartered to research insects and birds. However, the livestock lobby quickly diverted the Bureau’s attention to wolves. Stockowners complained that their land was infested with wolves, calling them “breeding grounds.” They demanded the federal government secure their land for safe pasturage.

In 1906, the U.S. Forest Service acquiesced to the stockowners and enlisted the help of the Bureau of Biological Survey to clear cattle ranges of gray wolves. In other words, the Bureau became a wolf-extermination unit. Bruce Hampton writes in The Great American Wolf:

That same year [1906], bureau biologist Vernon Bailey traveled to Wyoming and New Mexico to investigate the extent of wolf and coyote depredations. Upon Bailey’s return to Washington, D.C., President Roosevelt invited him to the White House to see what he had learned. Although there is no record of their conversation, immediately following Bailey’s meeting the President, the Biological Survey recommended that the government begin “devising methods for the destruction of the animals [wolves].”

By the middle of the 20th Century, government-sponsored extermination had wiped out nearly all gray wolves in the Lower 48 states. Only a small population remained in northeastern Minnesota and Michigan. Yet the Bureau of Biological Survey was still disseminating anti-wolf propaganda as late as 1940. One poster from the time read:

According to estimates of stockmen [the Custer Wolf, pictured in the poster] killed $25,000 worth of cattle during the seven years he was known in the vicinity of Custer, South Dakota … A local bounty of $500 failed to secure his capture. A Department hunter ended his career of destruction by a skillfully set trap. Many notorious wolves are known to have killed cattle valued at $3000 to $5000 in a year. More than 3,849 wolves have been destroyed by the predatory animal work of the Department and its cooperators since the work was organized in 1915.

It was not until the late sixties, when a greater understanding of natural ecosystems began changing attitudes in the scientific community and the National Park Service, that the plight of wolves in North America began to improve.

In 1973, Congress gave gray wolves protection under the Endangered Species Act. According to Douglas Smith and Gary Ferguson, in Yellowstone National Park, where the last gray wolf was killed in 1926, “the entire [gray wolf] restoration program was guided by directives contained in the Endangered Species Act – a law created to ground a decades-old cornerstone of science that says the healthiest, most stable natural systems tend to be those with high levels of biodiversity.”

Since then, wolf populations throughout the country have increased. In 1995 and 1996, researchers in Yellowstone National Park released 31 Canadian gray wolves back into the wild. The event was hailed as a testament to the conservation movement’s efforts to revive wild wolf populations in America. Yet antiwolf attitudes persist. Shortly after the release of the Yellowstone wolves a hunter shot and killed Wolf Number 10. Smith and Ferguson write about the incident: “As disturbing as the shooting itself was, more unsavory still was the reaction of a handful of locals who cheered the killing, calling it an act of heroism.”

Photos © Arizona Historical Society



Coleman, Jon T. Vicious: Wolves and Men in America. New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 2004.

Hampton, Bruce. The Great American Wolf. New York: Henry Holt and Company, Inc., 1997.

Robinson, Michael J. Predatory Bureaucracy: The Extermination of Wolves and the Transformation of the West. University Press of Colorado, 2005.

Schullery, Paul. The Yellowstone Wolf: A Guide & Sourcebook. Worland, Wymoning: High Plains Publishing Company, Inc., 1996.

Smith, Douglas W. and Gary Ferguson. Decade of the Wolf: Returning the Wild to Yellowstone. Guilford, Connecticut: The Lyons Press, 2005.

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Gray Wolf Fact Sheet. [updated January 2007; cited November 2008]

  • virginia sabourin

    an excellent article on mankinds threat to the wolf and nature itself. I think we should respect the wolf and help them as much as possible to expand their territory and pack growth…but the cattlemen have more money and power… is very, very sad how we are killing off many species of wildlife with our pollution and greed for land and money…there is no profit in helping the wolf….very sad indeed…

  • steven

    The wolf is a noble beast that must be protected.

  • Floyd Bond

    The wolf is part of our ecosystem. We simply cannot wipe out the wolf without having seriuos affects on our own lives.We should be very thankful we have national parks like Yellowstone and people such as Doug Smith and others who work everyday very hard for the conservation of our wolves.It is very sad that there are still people that believe the wolves should be wiped out.

  • Anne

    Destruction of the earth, partly by eradicating a creature, the wolf, that has always been a vital part of the ecosystem, is extremely ignorant and borders on insanity. Take a long, hard look at what all the invaders to Indian land have done. The Indians always respected and loved the Earth and all its inhabitants, and had a deep understanding of the role all beings, plant or animal, played in the balance. When there’s nothing else to destroy, that makes them feel so empowered, what will they do? Destroy each other, I presume. Humans that remain ignorant need to become aware of the fact that some things are irreplaceable and all the money in the world won’t matter. This will inevitably affect humans, as all the other destruction of the Earth has. There are other ways to protect livestock, besides gunning down innocent wolves, who are living by instinct, that is necessary to their survival.

  • val

    The show on Nature was touching and informative. I have enjoyed peoples comments too. Please tell anyone you know about the wolfs place in the environment.

  • Cheryl Crone

    The assault against wolves comes from many different facets. This is a nation of laws. It seems to me nobody wins unless the law is on your side—including the majestic wolf. We need federal laws to override Alaska, Idaho, Minnesota that continues to have bounties on wolves. We also lack concerned and knowledgeable political leadership. One issue that puzzles me is the sport hunter, and the rancher, Ernest T. Seton was able to resolve the issue of killing wildlife .I pray others will too. Put away their pride and have an image and reputation to be proud of.
    We need the scientific data that Doug Smith and people like him collect to prove the positive impact wolves have on our ecosystem.
    Now with Thanksgiving Day very near I am thankful for the awakening that the wolf is a treasure,and needs and deserves respect and protection. Thank-you PBS for being part of the enlightenment.

  • Refugio Gonzalez


  • Heather

    The issues surrounding wolves is a tough one for me and I put my thoughts out there in hopes someone can relate. I am a land manager for the government. I work with ranchers all the time. Their first argument is usually that the wolves don’t belong because they are not native to a given area and their supplemental argument is the mannner in which the wolves prey on their livestock. They say they are doing the humane thing for all prey of wolves by killing them. The bottom line is though that the wolves hurt ranchers financially. From a land management point of view, what may financially hurt a rancher is not necessarily the governments problem. But then there is this belief that livestock benefit the land and that rest can hurt the land so therefor land managers are asked to build relationships with the rancher. I personally do not believe in predator control for ecological reasons but to ranchers it economically necessary. What most people do not understand is that government agencies like USFS and BLM were created to regulate, not eliminate, grazing of livestock. It has always been biased towards livestock producers. So the question is, why aren’t people looking at changing the goals of government land management?

  • samantha

    i think we should be kind to the wolves

  • Ben wood

    I think wolves shouldn’t be In Idaho they are killing all the farmers livstock and costing them lots of money

  • Randy

    Most of you must be from the city and went to a art store seen a picture of the majestic wolf bought it and think its wonderful, well when it gets to the point that our kids can’t play in the back yard without a parent watching over them with a high power rifle because wolf packs are in the area were we live tell you what you deal with the drug dealers and rapist best you know how and we will deal with the wolfs best we know how.

  • Hidden

    People who kill wolves are lupifobic the people who hate wolves that posted here are stupid and should hide under rocks and die. 10 years I’ve been around wolves and they don’t harm anyone unless you prevoke them
    the Ranchers and such want people to hate them because they are greedy!
    My family has ranched some generations and we only had problems with coyotes
    as to Randy I have the impression you are from the city because wolves that attack children from backyards have serious problems
    A mountain lion or bear possibly but a wolf?
    NO! ya know what? No! Just no!
    Bad case of Lupiphobia there!
    as to Refugio Gonzalez thank you your post is one of the most sensible! It speeks volumes

  • Elizabeth

    I’m sorry, but I don’t know if I feel comfortable letting people like you “deal with the wolfs best [you] know how” if you can’t even write a simple comment intelligently. It is people like you that aid in the misunderstanding of such beautiful creatures.

  • Brad Fowler

    I am a sportsman who lives in Idaho and I have to admit that I felt the reintroduction of the wolf was unnessisary. I signed every anti-wolf paper that was placed in front of me, and I believed every thing that was told to me by my “friends” concerning how the wolves need to go away. It wasnt until I started to look into the issues myself that I started to have an understanding as to why they were being brought back. I can tell you all about why, but that will not do any good as it would only create more ignorance. Study it for yourselves. But do not look to the standard sources (ie defenders of wildlife, or Outdoor Life magazine) because they may have some of the facts, but they let emotion in with the facts to influence the opinions of the readers. The unbias data that comes from the biologists is the only place to find all of the facts. Doug Smith in Yellowstone National Park is a good place to start.
    Once you have an understanding of these animals then you can share your knowledge. Have your opinions, but base those opinions on the facts.
    Dont call me pro wolf, but I am pro wolf hunting. And it is not because I hate them, It is because I have sought out the facts, and I do respect them as an important roll player in the ecosystem.

  • Greg wolf

    heh, that’s awkward if your last name is wolf at that time

  • An Easy Four Bucks

    [...] Idaho’s state government a few bucks. The program obviously has some folks in a lather, as history shows that rapacious hunting was responsible for the gray wolf’s longtime residency on the [...]

  • dean morgan

    hi im from wales in the uk, ive had a special affinity for these beautifull animals for all y life! never seen one live but plan to visit canada next year! we really must ensure this animal survives, everything we kill and persecute will be to our detrement! the wolf is our brother as is mother earth and father sky! and brad as i respect your opinion i believe its man who has to go away! the indians lived with the wolves and survived that was until the introduction of european man the great white hunter! mans reign on this earth is allmost over cherish what we have before its too late!

  • wolf

    just kill em all

  • Hay jo

    Gray wolves are not wanted by most hunters they only kill for sport and need to lower their numbers unlike the native timberwolf in montana who got wiped out they only kill for fun not for food so i say get ridd of them

  • nikki72

    All of the fuss the ranchers make about wanting to protect their livestock and land is stupid. I have read how they have allowed the abuse of their own livestock occur during the birthing and aftyer birthing tactics (separation of calves for milk pro and veal production), countless trips to the slaughterhouse (packing them in), at auctions (hardly any muscle mass because of vitamin deficiencies and injuries), and many other ways pain has been inflicted upon the livestock. Now, the ranchers and farmhands are screaming about how the wolves are attacking their livestock and causing pain upon them (their pocketbooks). It is apparent that it is all about making a buck, staying comfortable in the life some were probably born into, the prejudices that many of them continue to harbor and were most likely born into from long ago, and staying rich. Hey, that land that many are on, was land deliberately stolen from the Native Americans who were able to live in peace and harmony with the various predators and grazers. Why do these people have so much trouble living in peace and harmony with other people and wildlife?

  • Jack

    We have wolves in Michigan that are believed to have migrated from Canada. I don’t understand, if these magnificent beasts are necessary [thus ESA full protection], why are they not relocated to the Detroit Metro Parks? Could it be because the wolves would thin out the excess deer population, and excess golfers? The protectionists seem to demand the beasts be protected every where but where the protectionists lives! Maybe we should relocate all the protectionists to New York City where they can live with Dave Letterman’s super rats!

  • Jim

    We did fine without them for close to a century. Our forefathers knew what they were doing when they eradicated them. I live in wisconsin and was no longer able to calve cows on pasture. Yesterday we walked trough a 40 and found 4 fresh wolf kills on deer. They are not cute little puppy dogs. I think the next move will have to be to live trap some and release them in the cities-that is their native territory also.

  • sally

    I hate people who hunt yet I have always wanted to go hunting and I want a Cabela’s hunting game. I like almost all animals yet I want to hunt. I am so weird.

  • Marc McFarland

    I’m shocked and appalled by the ignorance of some people(Ranchers & Hunters), I’m from Arizona, not back east or a big city, and even I have eyes and ears and can see whats happening. We the human race have drastically and radically altered our planet and it’s natural ecosystems. So much so that we do not have long on this earth. The really sad and disgusting part is not our own extermination but the fact that when we go, we will take almost every other living thing with us. After we are gone the only things left will be rats and roaches. Ever played the X-box game, “Fallout 3;” The wasteland: That is what our world will look like very soon. Even still, even with the ignorance of the human race, even if it is already to late, I think we still must try.

    One angry Biology student

  • tahseen

    we should conserve them and not do the same mistake again about diminising them.

  • NoWolves

    I find it interesting that some people are so blind to this animal…. The top six states with these killers now have over a million dollars in depredation and depredation management per year per state…. This is something that someone is going to have to pay! (Federal taxes/State taxes/ Private funding /general hunting funds/ ranchers / farmers etc) . As they continue to expand in marginal(at best)habitat there will be more of the same. It won’t take many wolves in Colorado to chew up another million. There’s talk of eating up another million in Maine and Washington. To these pro-wolf groups its wolves at any cost. When you get to a point where they become unbearable and it’s ridiculous not to thin them, you have the state and general hunting funds ranchers & farmers holding the tab because the Federal funding and private(pro-wolf) groups are trying pulling their funding!

  • Alice

    Ranchers just need to deal with it, its not their land, its the wolves land, if you don’t like it, get your filthy cows, sheep or whatever and get out. And if a wolf gets your stock, well good for it, its their land after all.

  • George Bush

    Stupid ignorant Evil people are much more detrimental to society than wolves. Granted, the MOST evil people are very intelligent, I believe a wolf cannot be “Evil”.

  • Native

    When man invaded the wolves habitat, killed the animals they hunted for food without giving any thought to what the wolves would eat in order to survive? In Genisis it tells that God created the animals before he created man. So He must have considered them the animals a necessary part of His plan for the earth. It is also written in the Bible that ‘God LOVES the animals” and that they animals groan in their desire for the time when Jesus will return and all those people that committed all these sins against them shall be put in the lake of fire along with satan. Then the lamb shall lie down in peace ‘beside’ the lion, etc. If anyone would take the time to think of anything besides their own selfish desires they would see that all the animals lived in harmony, they all must have eaten grass, (yes even lions, tigers, etc) because it states that the first time blood was shed was when animals were killed to cover Adam and Eve after they realized they were naked.
    I say that to say this-the animals have just as much right to be here as man. Man bowed his knee to the devil when he disobeyed God. Jesus came that man could be reconciled unto God and thus regain the same position as Adam and Eve had before the fall. How about thinking on that before killing and trying to exterminate any animal. God put them here! Who are you to try to eliminate them? Learn to live in harmony with the animals that God put here. He had a reason for creating them and placing them in the earth before he created man. Maybe it is becaused they are needed to keep the earth’ life cycle in ‘balance’, etc. Get a grip!!!

  • Harold james Iverson

    Let us stick with what the original plan, it was to reintroduce wolves to the park at a set number. The wolves have been having a buffet and leaving the park. Like the coyotes, bobcats, lions etc., there is a season off the park. The naturalists or self proclaimed, think this is just fine. Look at the small towns around the park that have lost trade due to the wolves. You may have the money to sit at home and write your senator, etc, I don’t. I have to work harder now and doing what I do not like just because I can not take people hunting anymore. The money that hunting brings in by far exceeds that which the wolves do. Stick with the plan and keep the numbers where you said they would be, not take over the west again. I personally have no problem shooting one in my hunting district, I will take the fine and fight and make headlines across at least three states. You huggies may think this world is all bunnies and soft toys. Go back to CA, WA, OR and raise them there, you came here remember! This is the way of Northern tradition, our families, not yours, lived here and made a living with the wildlife and the people. The wolves and you new comers have far out outdone your welcome. Harold James Iverson

  • PurpleWolf

    I’m amazed as I sit here and read these posts. Maybe the wolves that are there now ,are not from native wolves. This country and greedy ranchers hunted these animals to near extinction. Truly they were here first. NOT so sorry or sad about people not being able to hunt. Are you hunting to feed yourself, or to hang a trophy? I realize that with out ranchers raising cattle and etc. their would be less food in the stores, but there should be a balance. Defenders of wild life organization has paid out millions of dollars in compensation to ranchers. That doesn’t come from taxes, those monies. it come from donation from individuals. yellowstone has benefited in numerous ways from the reintroduction of the gray wolves. Take a look at the reports. No we dont think this world is all bunnies and soft toys! But you can not wipe out an entire species and think there will be no ill effects. Wise up!

  • deadwolf

    Too bad the whole truth about how the USFWS “borrowed” money from the Pittman-Robinson Fund to transport wolves from Canada to Idaho when there was a population of rocky mountain wolves already located in Idaho. This was against the Endanged Species Act, introducing a sub-species when viable members of the local population were still living in a suitable habitat. As to what is “natural” who is to say in the grand scheme of nature what is really “natural” in that habitat is constantly changing for predators and prey alike. Most wolf-lovers have never seen one, and do not realize the damage that TOO MANY can do. And before anyone jumps me for stating the obvious, let me state I have tracked them and seen many on my land, and a few are ok. It is the attitude that none should ever be destroyed, no matter how much damage is done, that irks me.

  • RedWolf

    I agree with purple Wolf. Ranchers have been compensated for any losses attributed and verified by experts that wolves killed the livestock. The wolf is a key animal in the ecology. When they are present, interesting things happen. In yellowstone the beavers have returned. Why ?? Deer being wise to the reintroduction of wolves have stopped eating the young cottonwood trees at the stream edge. Open land is risky so the deer stay in woodlands. And the beeaver has trees to build a lodge and store his winter food. Where deer increase and wolves are absent the ecology gets out of whack. From beavers to trout damage is done. Predators like wolves are really critical to the health of our land. They hunt the old, the young and the diseased. And when they leave a kill other animals feed on the left overs. As for hunting humans. There is no record of an attack of a wolf on a human. There were some reports in the dark ages, but that is now considered a result of rabies.
    They are loyal to their pack, very social and do not build bombs or go on suicide missions. For a neighbor I think I’d rather have a wolf….

  • biologist and consultant

    Have some patience.
    As we try to restore ecosystems and bring the earth back to a healthy dynamic equilibrium we need to realize that it will be a long process and that changes in OUR behavior will be required while we let the earth find a balance. Reintroduction of extirpated species is necessary in many areas, but where they have been removed for a long time, it will take years for the natural order of things to return. I have worked in cities and the wild areas of western Canada and those areas in between. People need to stop worrying about the problems and think of long term solutions. You might think of yourself once in a while as being the problem, so think of how you might be able to change your behavior to fix it.

    A great example: I have a friend with a little dog (a punter I like to call them). She called me one day asking how to get rid of a bald eagle nesting on her property. “that awful thing might eat my dog!” I told her that maybe she should be more mindful of her dog….it is poorly trained and she never picks up after it. She is the one who chose to live in a wooded area where eagles nest, and it was her choice to buy a dog that could fit in a purse.

    Read up (not from the mass media please), and educate yourself. I have lived and camped and played in bear, cougar, wolf, and coyote country all my life. I have had encounters with all of the above, and none of them bad. A bit of education can go a long way.

  • MoneyTaker

    I find it very interesting the leading ProWolf groups out there are all loaded with solicitation for support and donations. Lobbying isn’t free, I understand there would be a need to raise funds. But why all the hype about an animal?

    What about the child that is suffering in every city in america? I believe your all riding the wrong horse in the RACE to be Right!

    The time, effort and fight for a fricken animal isn’t nearly as crucial as a child. Too bad there self centered groups can’t put that same kind of commitment and energy into our own human race!

    But if you want, I’ll take your money and make sure another child can eat tonight, rather than clough up our court systems with tax payers money with lawsuit after lawsuit.

  • woodsman

    …….and the Iroquois said “Who here speaks for the wolf” ie. nature. read “Last child in the woods” by Richard Louv. Wolves, nature, people, children, all benefit together. Lets remember, who gave us, the god given right to eradicate other species when infact a diverse, nnatural ecosystem is a benefit to all, includig us. Look after nature, “speak for the Wolf” and we,at the sametime look after ourselves.

  • mike lead

    It seems that greed and only greed is the main killer, more cattle ,more land , more money ,more wildlife killed
    (wolves) I think you must fight fire with fire that way you should WIN. Unite someway buy the land keep it as a wolf reservation. Thousands of sq miles or acres IT IS POSSIBLE . It just takes the same money and determination that the greedy people have.I doubt it will ever happen but IT IS POSSIBLE. CONGRESS!!!!! INDIAN RESERVATIONS?????? WOLVES ?????? SO MUCH IS BEING TAKEN AWAY AND DESTROYED FOREVER. WHY CAN’T THESE GREEDY RICH-CARELESS FOR WILDLIFE HUMANS SEE ???????????? WE NEED EACH OTHER.

  • Kely

    This has torn my heart out. I thought that we had learned our lesson , and that killing wolves to extinction was an ugly part of our past. I guess not enough of us have learned. The Cattlemens Association is brutally powerful and responsible for this. I have quit eating beef. I won’t contribute to who is buying politicians with no soul. My families history of vacations to Montana, and Wyoming have grounded to a halt.

  • Natural World vs. Modern World

    It is amazing that people on both sides of this argument can be so utterly uninformed. Achieving a basically unaltered ecosystem from before non-native humans entered the area is impossible but look at all the areas hurt by the extermination of one species. Many areas that once had native packs are over run by their normal prey particularly dear. And their competitive predators that have not been exterminated run wild in many places. My own hometown has some major coyote problems that would not be as significant if they were in competition with a wolf pack. Also wolves kill for food alone, unlike coyotes which will slaughter everything insight.

    Having grown up around farms I know the damage a wolf can do. Especially a hungry wolf. Shoot near it. It will run. If you are being attacked (which is unlikely considering unless it has rabies wolves are more afraid of you than you are of it), defend yourself. Choose where you want to spend your money. Either focus on replacing the losses of the livestock killed or set a night guard on your cattle and other stock. That job was not too good for people before this time. Someone will do it. And then right the expense off as a business expense.

    Attempting to maintain a balanced ecosystem is important especially for the natural world. Remember your livestock isn’t native to this country either and most likely neither are you. Since that is the case perhaps you should be more grateful that we are even allowed to coexist and someone in the government did not just take your farm so the original wildlife can repopulate. Work together to create a balance of reintroduction and safety.

  • Free

    I mean seriously how many live stock can the wolf kill from one rancher????? There part of this beautiful land for a reason, i’m sure they don’t kill for fun,sport,trophy heads ect….like sick humans do….and the good book says take only what is needed to feed your faimly,well wolves have babies just as we humans do….so why don’t we start doing away with humans then we won’t need all the beef to feed them,,,,,Humans know better, animals do it to survive…..I think it’s gonna be a sad,sad,day when we all pay for what we do……like hurting,killing gods creatures…..plant’s & vegatation were put here for a reason……… why can’t people just look at the spirit of the wolf there sheer beauty……how would people feel if humans killed there dog’s,cats for getting in there trash or eating birds from there bird houses,ect……..would’nt be to happy so its just like killin the wolf god’s most awesome creature only because there doing what natures tells them to do ( FEEDING THERE FAMILIES )…………

  • jack sprat

    Anne, please give up the Myth of the Noble Indian. It’s not only nonsense, but racist nonsense. In point of fact, it was the Indian who exterminated the mega fauna of the Americas. Much of what you would no doubt praise about their otherwise low impact on the environment is no more than a consequence of outdated technology. Shoot, the minute the Plains Indian could steal a few horses, his use of them both to prey on the buffalo and to make war on his neighbors began to ramp up. There’s no reason to think that the same arc that occurred in the Eurasian temperate zones would not have occurred in the Americas. Conquest eventually leads to consolidation, which frees up an idle class. In turn, agriculture becomes desirable to feed the increased numbers, which in turn increase the wealth of the ruling class. Eventually, specialization is affordable, accelerating the process by accelerating technological change. It’s a positive feedback loop and we’re off to the races. Until, of course, the numbers no longer match up at all well with the available sustenance. Thus, the history of Oceania, of Madagascar, of the Eurasian Steppes. Waves of increase, alternating with waves of dying. Sometimes, given man’ particular nature, as a matter of fatal and deliberate resignation, as in Rwanda. Everybody gradually becomes aware of the Hobbesian truth of things, one day people shrug and say “Let’s rock!” Which, in many cases, is precisely what they used to slay strangers, friends, brothers, mothers, sons. Solely on account of their relative height. Elsewhere, it might have been eye color or religion or matrilineal descent.

    There are no better humans, not when considered in large groups. When push comes to shove, only those who shove back will live to write the myths and lies that we call history.

  • Barbara Bussell

    I am so tired of hearing and reading about our beautiful creatures the Wolves being killed. Native American Indians loves this earth and it’s creatures. They respect this earth.
    I do not understand why people now think that the only good wolf is a dead wolf. Come on get wioth the program. 51,000 cattle in 2010 died fron natural birth, dieases, butchered, and poision weeds. Not by the wolves.

    Look at the way the Wolves take care of their packs. Better than some people take care of their own families.
    I could go on and on. Wake up you ranchers and sports hunters.

  • stephen urbina

    when i was a ittle kid my first book i ever read was whitefang from then on i became fascinated with wolves but 2 hear that the gov @ that period of time allowed wolves 2 die because of livestock disapearing iz plainly stupid if the wolves food base is deer elk mice etc, stop killing their main source of food that like a dog eating your food on the table because you ont feedyour dog regularly it will still ur food

    and im guessn people dont understand it still they probably still killing wolves as of today its such ashame of such idiocy

  • Jeanius

    Tell that to the south Australians where wolves(Dingoes) are extinct because of farmers requests and power in the government. And it looks like nothing will change for the poor dingo. It too was villianized to further agendas.

  • Roxie Harrington Aka Sierra

    Wolf Wars: America’s Campaign to Eradicate the Wolf (PBS Nature Series)
    Thank you for this recommendation! Howling for Wolves and The Wolf Army is my Causes. I am proud to be a soldier of the pack. Speak loud, stand proud, we will win this fight, our beloved wolves need us.

  • Cookie

    To Refugio Gonzalez:

    You want to quote scripture than look at all of it “God gave man dominion over the earth and all of it’s creatures” He also gave us the knowledge to know what to do when our food source is in danger this has to do with more than just money although money is involved.

    Don’t act like a Bible expert quote all of it not just what YOU want to so you can prove YOUR point. There is a time when we need to exterminate and a time when we need to protect. Human needs supersede some of nature, and even nature gets rid of useless animals insects other species.

  • June

    Wolves only killed about 0.01% of cattle available and 0.03% of sheep in 1986 when the wolf population was at about 1300-1400 in Minnesota (way more than the amount of wolves in Idaho at present which is at around 570). Also, in Idaho we have The Wolf Depredation Compensation Program (Idaho Wolf Depredation Compensation Program – 2011 I understand that losing livestock costs you money, but you also have to understand the wolves that eat livestock are generally one or two individuals who are outcasts of a pack, fending for themselves which is not something they’re used to. Of course, there are exceptions to this like anything else. But condemning an entire group of animals based on political or personal opinion (which is quite obviously the way they do things in Idaho) is ridiculous and uncalled for. Also, I have no sympathy for hunters who hunt for sport and are angry with wolves because they’re “taking all our elk”. That is false; first of all, the biggest dent in elk and deer populations is from humans and it doesn’t make sense that wolves would eat all of the deer or elk because they need them to survive themselves– unlike us who have places like Wal-Mart and CostCo to shop for food (again, there are exceptions to that– there are people who hunt for sustenance). It is human interference in this relationship that causes the crashes of prey populations.
    So give them a break, they’re trying to survive in areas where they’re habitat is being taken over by humans and they also have to compete with humans who have increasingly more powerful ways of killing their prey.

  • John Ryan

    Hahah stupid hunters in America. Why kill them? Couldn’t they afford to get a large fence? Pathetic. I hope you americans have learned a lesson. Always killing things, then after you endanger them in your country, you seek help from Canada. Taking 31 wolves. Pfft. Should be grateful. Why didn’t ” the hunters” kill the deer and ungulates themselves? They kill things, what’s the difference, from killing wolves? That would have balanced the number of ungulates.



  • Sacredwolfe

    nice to know that some people actually care about these beautiful creatures…they need our help…wolves are more civil than man itself and that is a fact we all should know, man has a thign with destroying whats beautiful like forest and lakes and animals what has this world come too wolves are families think of how they feel when they see there family in trap or dead on the ground…i dotn know how man can be so heartless

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