Economics of Wolves

Elk herds have a way of growing too large when the majestic mammals are not hunted or reduced by meat-eating predators like wolves. In some areas it is difficult to maintain elk herd numbers.

In Idaho, wolves have been successfully introduced and they love elk steak. Hence they efficiently reduce the size of elk herds–too efficiently in the Lolo wilderness panhandle, according to Idaho Fish and Game wildlife managers.

Why not just let the wolves “naturally” reduce the elk herds? The simple answer is wolves don’t PAY TO HUNT!

Wolves wouldn’t accidentally shoot other hunters, there wouldn’t be as many divorces, people wouldn’t have to call in sick when they were really hunting, there wouldn’t be so many searches for lost hunters, and there would be fewer gas guzzling 4WD pick ups on the road.

The GUARDIAN realizes there is sound economic reasoning for killing wolves to protect the elk so we can charge hunters to kill the elk and make money for Idaho.

How about this money maker plan? SELL wolf hunting licenses to the highest bidder! The tourism promoters could run national ads in the outdoor magazines:


“For only $25,000 YOU could have a hunt of a lifetime. Join the manly few who have a chance to kill a wolf.”

Wolf reintroduction worked well. Can we look toward wooly mammoths being cloned from the DNA found at Tolo Lake near Grangeville?

Comments & Discussion

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  1. lib.Redneck
    Jan 13, 2006, 8:57 am

    Guardian, You are right. The wolves don’t provide the money that big game hunting provides. Fish and Game tries to create and maintain a balance of game animals for hunters. If they didn’t, they’d be out of a job. They do provide other services but essentially they are a management system that helps to create hunting and fishing opportunities in the state. Like other growing organizations they have become PORKERS. Look at their list of permit charges and fees. You actually have to pay MORE to hunt with a bow or a muzzleloader instead of a rifle. Enough complaints. IDFG does a good job within its bureaucratic boundaries.

    Idaho, since before the name was coined, has always had wolves; even up to the day of USFW introducing a non-native species of wolf to Idaho. The wolf that was introduced to Idaho was a Canadian wolf. They are a different sub-species than the wolves that populated Idaho (pre-rancher era). The illegally introduced Canadian species behaves differently than a native Idaho wolf. Canadian wolves are opportunistic feeders and they were set free (introduced by USFW) in Idaho where F&G had worked for years to try to control predation and maintain a favorable balance for hunters. The Canadian wolf was the unknown variable. In a comparison, USFW unleashed a large number of pike in a someones backyard fish pond.

    O.K., some are saying, “but Ryan, the wolf was extinct in Idaho. We helped to bring balance in the forest.” NEWSFLASH! Humans play GOD with our forests and our waters. We don’t need to strengthen the numbers of predators in our forest. The bears and cougars are doing a heck of a job without the wolf.

    “But Ryan, they were extinct, they deserve to be part of the forest.” Extinct?-NOT TRUE. As a young boy growing up in the Clearwater National Forest I, along with others on the trip, saw a wolf across the Northfork of the Clearwater River in 1986. My family and I watched it trot off near Weidas Creek. Extinct, no. Smart enough to stay out of sight, yes. That was a Idaho wolf. Not a cattle, sheep, elk, sport-killing Canadian wolf.

    Thank you F&G for understanding your purpose and taking the management of wolves from the Feds.

    -Guardian, don’t knock the the hunting, 4WD people. Not all of us choose to hang out at coffee shops and be urbanites.

  2. junkyard dog
    Jan 13, 2006, 11:19 am

    This situation kinda of reminds me of a animal control problem I had with several of my neighbors. One thought it was cute to feed his backyard squirrels. Within a couple of years, we went to having 2 friendly squirrels to about 200 agressive little monsters who did unbelievable amounts of damage. Another decided to have an open platform bird feeding station…within a matter of weeks, the songbirds left and were replaced with about 50 nasty crows & magpies (straight out of a Hitchcock movie.) Then there’s the neighbor who started feeding feral cats and went from one mangy old cat to about 150 he was feeding nightly.

    And don’t even get me started about my goofball gun control European relatives who convinced my Dad that shooting rockchucks was “against the laws of nature”.

    Anytime you introduce an animal into an area where there are no natural predators and unlimited amounts of food, there’s going to be a problem. I’m also glad that at least F&G is taking control of the problem, but have to admit, I like the idea of $25,000 wolf tags….as long as they don’t take the proceeds and start a squirrel/feral cat/magpie reintroduction program.

  3. The whole subject of micromanaging wild life leaves me scratching my head. I believe ranchers “encouraged” wolf populations to retreat farther into the wilderness, which makes sense for them, and probably for those of us who buy meat. Later the hunters found it not to their liking to compete for elk with the wolves.

    When supporters of plans to bring wolves (and grizzlies) from Canada came up with the “reintroduction” programs I was really confused. I have never heard what the argument is in favor of bringing them here. Were they in unfavorable habitat in Canada? Did the Canadians want them gone? Do wolves care for Idaho more than, say, Wyoming or Montana?

    What was totally predictable is what is happening now. Ranchers are unhappy, hunters are unhappy, we have spent a gazillion dollars hauling the animals around, putting tracing devices on them, counting them, and now these “fortunate” animals will be shot. If I were a wolf, I would have preferred Canada.

    Please would someone out there explain what is the reason for this nonsense.

  4. I was fortunate enough to own an Idaho outdoor newspaper when the Can. Wolves were invited to Idaho. We printed many articles both pro and con on the matter, and our editorial position was “but what about the Idaho Native Wolf”?
    I grew up in McCall, Idaho. My dad was a back country pilot, and we flew into the wilderness area frequently. Anyone who believes there “were” no Natives wolves or grizzlies – is/was either ignorantly duped by someone’s political agenda or led around by the nose by their party’s political agenda.
    I am so angry over this issue it drives me insane. Coffee-cup enviromentalists, dress up like they’re in the wilderness at 40 below 0 and sit on their tender tushies at Moxie coffee and pat themselves on the back for finally restoring wolves to central Idaho.
    I would like to feed these retards to the wolves they brought here. I hope to God when the wolves realize that humans are tasty, hairless and easy to catch – its these same coffee-cup liberals they drag down and tear to shreds.
    God knows the native wolf we HAD has most likely been torn to shreds and rendered extinct – in the name of sound environmental doo-gooderism.
    Yes I am a hunter, a fisherman, and to some probably a redneck, but I have more environmental realism in my pinkie than the phoney armchair environmentalist watching channel 4 and patting his save-the-enviroment-conscience with his checkbook so some concrete-jungle charleton back east can sit at Coffee Central and lead them around by nose from their laptop. Stupid arrogant retarded doogooders! You have destroyed a native species in the name of saving it! Good work MORMONS! If you really want to do the right thing – destroy/remove these Canadian wolves, and help restore the very, very few remaining on the West side of the Snake River. Then you will have a truely noble conscience worth patting at your local coffee house.
    – Kik

  5. Dave;
    I,ve posted 3 comments but I’ll try again.
    the FEAR OF WOLVES is a neuro-pschotic condition probably started by an overwhelming love ,adoration of cowboy hats,bright red f-150’s that make a LOT OF NOISE ( making them more macho) and possibly Pabst blue ribbon beer…

  6. I have been reading this blog for a long time and up until now have refrained from posting. My tongue bears the scars to prove it.

    However, as an Idaho native entering the world of Senior Citizenry, I am always amazed when my knowledge of Gem State history is enhanced.

    I did not realize until reading the post from Kiknowl that MORMONS were responsible for the demise of the native Idaho wolf and introduction of the Canadian subspecies.

    Wow. Could it be that playing fast and loose with “facts” like that led to the demise of his onetime Idaho outdoor newspaper?

  7. Muck Raker,

    The demise of my newspaper had to do with the fact that I sucked at ad sales. After 5 years it wasn’t making enough money to justify keeping it going. It could have/should have – but my sells skills were weak at best, and I know that.
    What everyone else reading these posts noticed, that you did not, was not a fast and loose game with the facts, but rather the fact that I made a typo. It was supposed to say MORONS, not MORMONS.
    And I find it quite concerning that the only thing you found of substance in my whole post – was the typo, which you failed to grasp. Certainly, people like you are the reason we have an illegal introduction of a non-native species destroying the native species (and everything else) in the name of restoring the native species.
    Its like dumping several hundred gorrilla’s into a forest of fledgling chimps and patting yourself on the back for restoring the natural balance of the monkey population. Meanwhile the gorilla’s hunt down and kill the remaining chimps.

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