How many elk do wolves kill in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem?

William Hanson (live2hunt)

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Steve Rinella recently pointed to a study that said mountain lions account for 30% of calve death and wolves only 10%, I think those were the numbers anyway. His assessment seemed rather Pollyanna towards wolves favor imo as he didn't take into account the toll wolves take on full grown elk.

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BigAntlerGetter

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If you guys are on eastmans forum at all there has been a huge debate over this exact article for days. Many people using facts from all kinds of sources. But my finding on the facts is that many of the articles that are pointing to wolves as good are written with a biased opinion from a environmentalist. Ones that point towards wolves being bad are more from a conservative opinion. There isn't many unbiased articles written. But there is a lot of good reading material that points in all kinds of directions of elk mortality, eco system destruction, eco system benefits, and all that.

I have been in the debate pretty constantly, stating my opinion and facts.
 

Where's Bruce?

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The only good wolf is a dead wolf. Previous generations understood this, our current generation is just plain stupid.
 

COlineman78

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But my finding on the facts is that many of the articles that are pointing to wolves as good are written with a biased opinion from a environmentalist. Ones that point towards wolves being bad are more from a conservative opinion. There isn't many unbiased articles written. But there is a lot of good reading material that points in all kinds of directions of elk mortality, eco system destruction, eco system benefits, and all that.

I have been in the debate pretty constantly, stating my opinion and facts.
There have been several ecological benefits since they have been returned to the park. While I think their population must be kept under control their are benefits to having them as part of the ecosystem. The first several years after re-introducing them is going to be hard for the prey species as they learn to adjust to a new predator, but eventually things will steady out. The problem that the other side fails to understand is that the only natural way of predator population control is when they kill enough of their prey species to no longer support their populations and they start starving to death because there aren't enough elk or deer. Hunting for population control is the most humane and will result in the most healthy ecosystem.
 

Where's Bruce?

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There have been several ecological benefits since they have been returned to the park. While I think their population must be kept under control their are benefits to having them as part of the ecosystem. The first several years after re-introducing them is going to be hard for the prey species as they learn to adjust to a new predator, but eventually things will steady out. The problem that the other side fails to understand is that the only natural way of predator population control is when they kill enough of their prey species to no longer support their populations and they start starving to death because there aren't enough elk or deer. Hunting for population control is the most humane and will result in the most healthy ecosystem.
That's the most assinine thing I have read here lately. You cannot keep a wolf population under control. Once the wolves have decimated the prey animals in their area, they move on, reproduce and continue to wipe out another area. Wolves do NOTHING positive for the carrying capacity of a region, they are a threat to prey animals and humans and will thrill kill whole herds of animals just for the fun if it. 19 elk in a night dead and none of em eaten. Dozens of sheep killed, none of em eaten. Horses killed, none of em eaten. Go do some ADC work on a ranch and come back and tell us all about the benefits wolves provide.

Access Denied (This link works)

Wolves kill 120 sheep at ranch near Dillon | Local | missoulian.com

Pack of wolves kills horse near Darby | Montana & Regional | missoulian.com







Previous generations were right to wipe wolves out. Common sense is not common enough.
 
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Gehri1tm

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Where's Bruce your comments about wolves make them sound like some super alien that doesn't live within the laws of nature. Wolf packs don't kill all their prey and simply move on. Wolves maintain territories that exclude other lone wolves from trespassing. And yes there is valid science that demonstrates that wolves have a role in maintaining ecosystem functions, and often a greater diversity of prey animals. The key is to maintain healthy populations of prey and predator. Aldo Leopold understood those concepts almost a century ago. I'm a wildlife biologist who's worked with wolves and wolf-livestock losses since 1991 so I'm speaking from a common sense and practical knowledge standpoint.
 

elkguide

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I can only speak from personal observation.

When I was working/guiding in the Thoroughfare area in Wyoming, just South East of the Park, prior to the Canadian wolf introduction, we would see grizzlys regularly, along with an occasional wolf. Sheep, moose, deer and elk were also seen regularly. Perhaps the elk were overpopulated for the area, as it was not unusual to see 40 - 50, even 100 elk a day.
By the early 2000's the moose were gone, only the occasional deer, rarely a couple of sheep would be seen and we were seeing a few elk. One of my hunters asked me on day 5 of an 8 day hunt, if we were on a predator hunt or on an elk hunt as we had only seen 3 elk but we had seen 9 grizz and 15 wolves.

10 years after the introduction of the Canadian wolves we could go two entire 8 day hunts and not show our hunters a single elk, bull, cow or calf. So if that was the intent of introducing a new species of wolf to the lower 48, that is eliminating the native populations of Moose, Sheep, Wolves and almost eliminating the deer and elk populations, then success has been achieved.
 

Where's Bruce?

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I can only speak from personal observation.

When I was working/guiding in the Thoroughfare area in Wyoming, just South East of the Park, prior to the Canadian wolf introduction, we would see grizzlys regularly, along with an occasional wolf. Sheep, moose, deer and elk were also seen regularly. Perhaps the elk were overpopulated for the area, as it was not unusual to see 40 - 50, even 100 elk a day.
By the early 2000's the moose were gone, only the occasional deer, rarely a couple of sheep would be seen and we were seeing a few elk. One of my hunters asked me on day 5 of an 8 day hunt, if we were on a predator hunt or on an elk hunt as we had only seen 3 elk but we had seen 9 grizz and 15 wolves.

10 years after the introduction of the Canadian wolves we could go two entire 8 day hunts and not show our hunters a single elk, bull, cow or calf. So if that was the intent of introducing a new species of wolf to the lower 48, that is eliminating the native populations of Moose, Sheep, Wolves and almost eliminating the deer and elk populations, then success has been achieved.
I am what ya call a destination hunter, I travel to different states to hunt all the time. I am frequently talking to outfitters, guides, GWs, meat packers, horse packers and taxidermists to learn about a variety of hunting opportunities. The common thread in many areas dealing with the exploding wolf population is the severe reduction of prey animals and increase in wolf tracks. Even Lake of the Woods has been decimated by wolves recently. There's good reason for delisting wolves. To argue against delisting em is to deny reality.
 

BigAntlerGetter

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I can only speak from personal observation.

When I was working/guiding in the Thoroughfare area in Wyoming, just South East of the Park, prior to the Canadian wolf introduction, we would see grizzlys regularly, along with an occasional wolf. Sheep, moose, deer and elk were also seen regularly. Perhaps the elk were overpopulated for the area, as it was not unusual to see 40 - 50, even 100 elk a day.
By the early 2000's the moose were gone, only the occasional deer, rarely a couple of sheep would be seen and we were seeing a few elk. One of my hunters asked me on day 5 of an 8 day hunt, if we were on a predator hunt or on an elk hunt as we had only seen 3 elk but we had seen 9 grizz and 15 wolves.

10 years after the introduction of the Canadian wolves we could go two entire 8 day hunts and not show our hunters a single elk, bull, cow or calf. So if that was the intent of introducing a new species of wolf to the lower 48, that is eliminating the native populations of Moose, Sheep, Wolves and almost eliminating the deer and elk populations, then success has been achieved.
As a business owner in the outfitting world and as an outfitter in Colorado, also an outfitter in the area they are looking at reintroducing wolves this is my exact worry. My entire life and business relay off of elk and deer hunters, with minor bear, sheep and goat hunts. Do I support the reintroduction? Not at all, do I support wolves if they migrate on their own? Yes, if they make it here on their own then so be it. But what's going to happen to my business with a wolf reintroduction? As said above from a previous guide it could really hurt, my hunters don't always come out to harvest sometimes it's just the time in the woods, but once my hunters quit seeing animals to harvest it hurts myself. One of my biggest questions is success ratios and opportunity ratios, I sell my Hunts on opportunity since success is sometimes detoured from client mishaps. But If I can't have even opportunity ratios it really hurts me. I also look at what will happen to my summer business of horseback riding, we constantly worry about bears or lions ruining a horseback ride since horses don't like them, so adding another predator can make it worse.
Yes I look at his a lot from a business standpoint but I also lok at this as a hunter, outdoorsman and horseback rider. It's dangerous all the way around. I wish there was a statistic that showed injuries to outdoorsman from a wolf presence, whether it be running from a pack, camping and getting scarred to the point of leaving or horses freaking out and causing injuries to themselves or riders.. there may not be any wolf kills to humans in many many years but how about injuries sustained from these animals?
 

Where's Bruce?

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Another factor of the elk decline is the lack of calves. Montana State University published a study suggesting that the mere presence of wolves stressed the elk, leading to poor female health and fewer pregnancies. Wolves don't have to kill more elk to cause a bigger decline...their very presence causes a decline in the number of births. it is likely the same is true of moose and other prey species favored by the big canines.

And to those who would dismiss opinions "because they are based on financial gain" from guides/outfitters in the region I say this...those who are driving the wolf reintroduction (which in itself is a lie cuz this species of wolf was not there previously, smaller wolves were) are receiving millions of dollars in grants. You think money isn't a motivator on both sides? Ha!

Yellowstone had tens of thousands of elk before the wolves were brought in, now there's a few thousand left. Rationalize the benefits of wolves all you like, they are a detriment. I'll say it again. Common sense is not common enough.
 
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BigAntlerGetter

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1994 Yellowstone winter elk study put elk herd numbers at 18,500 2014 had winter elk herd numbers at just 4500. Wikipedia has a write up on the wolf reintroduction to Yellowstone, about how the wolves saved the beaver. But what happened was the wolves hit the valleys for prey, that began stressing the elk in the winter and pushing them into the wooded areas, which saved the willows and saved the beaver. But that statement right there stressed the elk to change their habits is a huge thing.

Everyone knows about the Gunnison basin this year and the harshness of the winter, now how bad would the winter kill have been with wolves pushing deer and elk around to eat? We as outdoorsman can't hit the wintering grounds during this time of year to keep a low stress on the elk and deer. How do they plan to keep the wolves from stressing herds? Their plan is to reintroduce wolves to the Maroon belles snowmass wilderness area, that almost directly connects to the ragged wilderness and Gunnison national forest. The wolves are gonna follow the elk.

I agree with where's Bruce? Both sides are fueled financially, whether you are an outfitter, rancher, hunter, CPW, USFS. Or your an environmentalist who just wants the wolf "back" although they won't have to live with them. They just think they are pretty, and majestic and need to come back since they were here once to rebalance the eco systems.
But my biggest opinion on why they want wolves back is the wolves will bring all ungulate numbers down to projected numbers therefore it takes away the need for hunters. Since they hate hunting so much this is a win win for them
 

Where's Bruce?

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I too have long suspected the wolf project to be part of an anti-hunting agenda designed to bring ungulate numbers down to justify restriction of tag issuance however...if that's true the ungulates will be done for because the wolves will wipe em out before dying of starvation or turning to domestic animals, trash and ultimately human prey (as they have in India). Controlling wolves is a fantasy.

CNN - Man-eating wolves terrorize Indian villages - July 22, 1997
 
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BigAntlerGetter

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Completely agree, I'm not much of a government conspiracy guy, but Agenda 21 shows a part in it of using wolves, to push people to the big cities and out of the country areas. Idk about all that stuff but wolves will hunt and kill til there is nothing left then move on. Every single biologists research shows this, they hunt til there is nothing left then they move to a new area expanding territory. Are they going to stop when the CPW says herd numbers are at quota move on to the next herd? Hahahaha the environmentalists seem to think that's what's gonna happen
 

ozyclint

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for give my ignorance as i know next to nothing about this but how were wolves 'managed' in the days before columbus? were the ungulate numbers lower than they are now meaning balance was achieved with less wolves? i imagine you have a similar situation we have here with kangaroos. there is more now than there ever was before european settlement because of habitat changes brought about by agriculture. there is now more grazing area available due to land clearing and water availability with dams etc allows them to graze areas that might have been out of reach during dry times.

is the ungulate population higher now than it was before white man?
 
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