Someone's upset about wolf harvest but not me!

robby denning

Staff member
Feb 25, 2012
SE Idaho
I just got this in an email from a very reliable friend, Lou Griffen, who stays up on this stuff. I don't have time to research who Ken Cole or "The Wildlife News" is, but safe to say they are mad that we were so effective in killing wolves this last season in Idaho.

I say Yipee! We're just playing catch-up from all the years the wolves were allowed to explode as an unmanaged big-game species. I'm sure all the pro-wolf groups are getting this press release, so thought we should stay up on it, too:

Wolf mortality in Idaho, a final toll. 48 – 59 percent of Idaho wolves killed in one year.
By Ken Cole On May 7, 2012 · 40 Comments · In Idaho Wolves, Wolf Hunt, Wolves
The Wildlife News has finally obtained all of the records of documented mortality for wolves from April 1, 2011 up to April 1, 2012. This information tells a grim story about what the toll of handing over management to the State of Idaho has been on the Idaho wolf population. All told, based on some estimates made using the data, under state management, 721 wolves, or 59% of the wolves, were killed in the year running from April, 2011 – April, 2012. Even if you use only documented mortality, without estimating additional, unreported illegal take or other causes of mortality, then 492 wolves, or 48% of the wolves, in Idaho were killed.
I have made previous, and very similar posts based on preliminary information but this post is based on all of the wolf mortality information that the Idaho Fish and Game has for the period of time. The information contains critical information about the number of wolves killed which had radio collars. Using the official estimate of 746 on December 31, 2011 as a benchmark I was able to make some educated guesses about the full extent of undocumented mortality.
Using only the documented mortality it appears that, at the beginning of April, 2011 when pups were born, there were 1030 wolves and by the same time this year, before pups were born, there were 539 wolves in Idaho.
Undoubtedly there was more undocumented mortality than what is reported here. Using numbers estimated by comparing the proportion of wolves killed in the hunt that were wearing radio collars to the number of wolves killed wearing radio collars, I estimate that, rather than the 16 wolves reported to have been illegally killed, there were actually 100 wolves killed illegally because 6 of those were wearing radio collars. The number of wolves that died (9) from unknown causes contained 5 radio collared wolves which, using the same ratio, would have resulted in an additional 80 wolves. The number of wolves that died from natural causes (5) consisted of 4 collared wolves, which, using the same ratio, would have resulted in an additional 66 wolves. Under this estimate it appears that, at the beginning of April, 2011 when pups were born, there were 1217 wolves and by the same time this year, before pups were born, there were 496 wolves in Idaho.
The wolves killed under the “Control by Government” (75) label included those killed by IDFG (20), USDA Wildlife Services (48), and by Idaho County Deputies (7).


Well Known Rokslider
Rokslide Sponsor
Mar 8, 2012
How in the world is there any science in his guesstimates? Pure speculation to stop the hunts.


Feb 24, 2012
Thats the thing about numbers, anyone can use them :) sounds like there are still about 450 to many wolves in ID based on his stats.


Well Known Rokslider
Feb 28, 2012
Northern Idaho
Muleyhunter, you're not alone there. From my reading it seems like a lot of these so called "wolf advocates" (like Ralph Maughan, retired Idaho State University Professor) are just that, wolf advocates without any concern regarding the truth or science. Many have absolutely no wildlife experience and are only concerned about writing to persuade other people, who know nothing about the situation, to support their position, regardless of whether or not there is any truth in the writing. It is hard often to find anyone in the debate who puts out the facts and then lets people decide for themselves. Regardless of what the true numbers of wolf kill were over the past 12 months, it would seem that the numbers of actual wolves living in some areas of Idaho are/were far greater than what has been reported.

It is my opinion only from what I have witnessed in our area in the last 5 yrs, that I think the dramatic increase in wolves would have started to plateau soon as they saturating some areas, destroying their preferred food source. So, this past hunting season may have saved many wolves from significant food stress and even an ultimate crash in some areas. Many of these wildlife advocates really don't know about boom and bust cycles of old...or even realize that their 5,000 square foot house sits in the middle of a prior big game travel way between otherwise geographically isolated areas of suitable wolf/big game habitat, or sits in the middle of prime big game winter range.


Well Known Rokslider
Apr 27, 2012
I see that he is selectively trying to use the IDFG data to support his cause. There seems to be a focus to discredit the IDFG estimate on how many wolves have been killed this past season. However he fails to acknowledge that the original population estimate was very conservative and low to begin with. He uses this data as a "benchmark" and then manipulates the kill data to make a higher percentage. Maybe the original population is 5 times higher then we think, more like 3700. This would make the percentage of wolves that where harvested quite a bit lower.

I don't see any "educated guesses" in this article just "academic guesses"

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