Western Exposure

Yellowstone Park’s celebrity wolves are dying in Montana’s wolf hunt; state reconsiders tactics

By October 13, 2009March 19th, 20154 Comments

rita_hibbardweb13The wolf hunt in Montana hasn’t gone as planned, with wolves in the state’s wilderness area along the northern border of Yellowstone National Park taking the brunt of the hunt.

Nine wolves have been killed there, in a small area of the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness. Four of those wolves were from the park’s Cottonwood Pack, including the pack’s breeding female. Hunting was suspended last week after state wildlife commissioners became concerned about the heavy killing in the area, Associated Press reporter Matthew Brown reports.

 Wildlife advocate and blogger Matt Scoglund says the wolf hunt was wrongly designed from the start. If the state didn’t want to kill wilderness wolves, it shouldn’t have opened up the backcountry to hunting more than a month before the other areas of the state, he writes. The result has been the deaths of some of the state’s celebrity wolves, including some radio-collared wolves that were part of Yellowstone’s important wolf studies, and some that have been featured on PBS and Discovery Channel programs.

 Yes, I’m talking about the Yellowstone wolves that bring people from all over the world to Yellowstone, where wolf-watching tourists annually spend about $35 million in the region. Some of those wolves are being harvested by firearms just outside the northern border of the Park in the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness.  Without a no-hunting buffer zone around Yellowstone to protect the Park’s famous packs, this was inevitable.  It will be interesting to see what effect the poorly planned hunt has on Yellowstone’s wolf-watching tourists, not to mention the wolves themselves. 

 In addition, critics point out there is no livestock in the wilderness area, meaning the killing of wolves there gives little help to ranchers suffering sheep or cattle losses from predator wolves.

“We’ve missed the mark a little this first year,” said Carolyn Sime, lead wolf biologist for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Shooting a wolf, particularly in the sparsely vegetated Absaroka-Beartooth area, was proving easier than expected, she told the AP.


Wildlife commissioners now will consider how to handle the public relations debacle. They could change the state’s seasonal quota of 75 wolves, or close the hunting season for good in some areas.

Rita Hibbard

Rita Hibbard



  • hugh poland says:

    shut er down !!!!!!!!!!!!!politics-politics-politics !!!!!!!!!

  • John H. Judge says:

    I am a Montana landowner and avid hunter for deer and game that can be put on the table. I grew up hunting in Ontario Canada and continue hunting here in New England and New York State. Wolf meat is not normally put on the table. yes the Koreans eat dogs but thats not part of our culture.

    I think shooting the wolves in Yellowstone Park and surrouding area should not be shot and the hunt stopped. Yes sometimes a few cattle are lost outside the park and yes good managemnt is important but now is not the time. We are not overrun with wolves!


  • Lisa Kelly says:

    I am heartbroken over this recent turn of events. I saw the wolves on the Discovery Channel. This is just politics as usual to benefit the priviledged few. Those wolves had families and may have mated for life. Shooting them is so wrong. It is hard to get the whole story down here in Florida. Thanks for the info.

  • James Marsh says:

    Horrible mistake of government..fools

    Ranchers fence in your livestock, keep a pack of dogs, the wolves won’t go near your dog pack area (government help the ranchers pay for natural wolf defense, not wolf murdering)

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