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Discussion Topic: On Hunters, Researchers, and Wolf 527

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November 02, 2009

Discussion Topic: On Hunters, Researchers, and Wolf 527

By Dave Hurteau

On October 3rd, a hunter bagged a female radio-collared wolf in Montana’s backcountry. And on October 25, the Los Angeles Times made her a celebrity, with the back-story provided by the collar she wore.

From the Times, in case you missed it:

Wolf 527 was a survivor. She lived through a rival pack's crippling 12-day siege of her den.

When another pair of wolves laid down stakes in her territory, she killed the mother and picked off the pups while the invader's mate howled nearby in frustration and fury.

It’s all very dramatic and--no surprise--has caused quite a stir. But even as Yellowstone wolf biologist Doug Smith argues that the shooting of collared wolves does adversely affect research, he was shocked by the national sensation surrounding wolf 527 and remains in favor of the hunting season. Meanwhile, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wolf-recovery coordinator Ed Bangs, flatly says the loss of wolf 527 is no big deal.

From the Billings Gazette:

The loss of two collared wolves out of a park population of more than 120 wolves in 12 packs was deemed insignificant by Ed Bangs, wolf recovery coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

"It's not a big deal," Bangs said. "Certainly from a research standpoint, you'd like them all to stay alive."

The loss of the wolves is biologically inconsequential, he said, since wolves die all the time and packs dissolve.

Smith disagrees, saying the loss does affect the park's research, though not critically.
 

Comments (20)

Top Rated
All Comments
from Walt Smith wrote 4 years 24 weeks ago

Congradulations to the successful hunter on a fine trophy, hopefully many more hunters get to experience the same adventure!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Diehl wrote 4 years 24 weeks ago

It's make an interesting full body mount if you could leave the radio collar on it.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from MLH wrote 4 years 24 weeks ago

I thought these were balanced enlightening articles. The more I read and hear about the western wolves the less I think my opinion counts. I don't have to live with them. Wolves are working their way down state through Michigan. And, with first and second hand experience with those, my opinion will be meaningful.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from idahooutdoors wrote 4 years 24 weeks ago

Turning the wolves into mythical creatures, or giving them human personalities is exactly what these groups and writers love to do...they think it will get more support for anti-hunting....easy to get the general public to sign off on hunting blood thirsty killers, harder when the general public thinks they are something human like etc.....

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from thuroy wrote 4 years 24 weeks ago

It sounds like one was an actual reporter and the other writer spends time writing books with Fabio on the cover.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Carney wrote 4 years 24 weeks ago

And so, just what is so hard about putting another radio collar on another wolf? There're plenty of wolves to collar for research and plenty to hunt.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from babsfish4life wrote 4 years 24 weeks ago

News in the Los Angeles is so important to all of us anyways. I love how California is the state to cry up a storm about how everybody is terrible with their animals. What state has probably the worst record for their big game herds? What state doesn't give a rip about their steelhead and salmon populations? Oh yea, California. I may take that state seriously if they fix their own fish and game problems first.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bryan01 wrote 4 years 24 weeks ago

If you're doing research on wolves, it would seem to me that you would want the wolves that you are following in your study to experience the full range of outcomes - including a representative sampling of wolves that are killed by hunters.

+6 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 4 years 24 weeks ago

I wonder what kinda stir would it make, if I came across one of those radio collars and tossed in the back trailer of a 18 wheeler going to the other coast? I can see the Biologist looking at the satellite map wondering what was going on!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ed J wrote 4 years 24 weeks ago

Clay , probably the same interest as the guy who was studying the mountain lions in the Blackhills of SD. One was killed in sw OK where it was hit by a train. Another one the transmitter quit working while the lion was in Ontario north of lake Superior. That one went through my yard in central ND. He was here for a couple of days but I never saw it.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from guncrazy74 wrote 4 years 24 weeks ago

I would say what a slap to the face of all the people who have banded waterfowl and got info for migrations from.... People that shot the birds!!! I know a radio collar and catching a wolf are no doubt more expensive but damn people, data is data when it comes too science. Instead of a hue and cry or even saying it doesn't effect the population the science behind that tagged wolf just generated a lot of info. You wanna see what happens too that wolf in it's life well there is just one more piece of data for the study that wasn't available before. If I were conducting the study I would have interviewed the hunter and tried to get all the info that person can tell you. Weight, condition of the animal, habits and where and when it was taken. Sounds like they are missing out on the data any waterfowler can tell you helps generate useful info on a species. Glad ducks and geese aren't so cute and fuzzy for people to get outraged!!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from muskiemaster wrote 4 years 24 weeks ago

every time I read about wolf hunting I have to say what I'm about to say right now. Wisconsin where is your wolf season! I can't wait for it we have a pack that's been roaming around our land and neighboring land that could use a little whack and stackin'

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from albertahunter wrote 4 years 24 weeks ago

Here in Alberta few years back there was a herd of collared elk they had transplanted or something. anyway the reasearchers were a bit confused as to why the elk were hanging around one area and when they cheked out why it was just a pile of collars and heads. poachers or aboriginals had easy hunting anyway.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Justin D wrote 4 years 23 weeks ago

THis a funny Story! Well I know the wolves that run through the town i live in, and where i hunt do not have radio collars. Actually out of the 37 wolves that i have seen this year none of them had collars. The Fish and game in all of the states cant keep up with the wolves. Some of the Idaho wolves have been seen in oregon, washington, and They have been seen on I 84 Near Caldwell running acrross the highway. Its a lie about how they only have 5 to 8 pups. I know because My family had a high breed wolf that had 13 pups. People Should really get out and find out the truth about these killing machines!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from NikkiM wrote 4 years 21 weeks ago

I stumbled across this website when doing some reading on the fate of wolf 527.

I personally believe hunting is fine if it's essential - whether for food or protection. I don't condemn the wolf for it, so how can I condemn you?

Easily actually. Hunting for sport? Celebrating slaughter? Hunting isn't a sport. In a sport, both sides know they're in the game. Does anyone or thing dying in a hail of bullets have a "sporting chance"?

Our remote ancestors hunted to survive. Then they set up farms.

"That is what civilization is all about - farming replacing hunting.” (French diver and explorer Jacques Cousteau).Isn't it time to catch up?

Start a hobby. Read a book. Take up a real sport. Come out from behind your guns and pit your wits and your strength against another human being (if you must).

Ah, but that would require courage (and muscle tone beyond the trigger finger).

As you're American, I dug into the bible for a quote:
Genesis 2:15
"The Lord God placed the man in the garden of Eden as its gardener to tend and care for it."

You're fired.

-4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Tonya Payne wrote 4 years 21 weeks ago

What? You didn't know that nature was a Disney movie? Surely those wolves talked... or chased Snow White or Little Red Riding Hood or something. {/sarcasm}

I find that the people who are against hunting, are those who have never really dealt with nature, or witnessed it's wrath. They live in a high rise condo, or in a suburb, and may have been to the country once or twice or may have taken a stroll through the woods, but they've never really had to live in or with nature. They have about as much respect for nature as a poacher. It's really the same thing, merely expressed a different way.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Joseph Bishop wrote 4 years 21 weeks ago

If you would finish the book of Genesis you would see that we actually are no longer in the Garden of Eden, and there are guards at it's gate to prevent us (Humans) from re-entering it. I didn't have to dig into the Bible for that info I have it in my head.

Most people on here actually work there body and mind when the go out and pit themselves against nature.

And as for hunting not being a sport cause both sides don't know that they are in the game. You must not have a clue how nature works. Every creature that operates in a natural environment knows the game. It's called survival and they do it by any way they can. Every creature knows if it lets it's guard down for too long or ignores the wrong sign that it may not have a chance to repeat the mistake. So don't tell us about something you can't even understand.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from NikkiM wrote 4 years 21 weeks ago

Interesting feedback. Thank you. I do want to point out though that it's not just disney-watching, condo-dwelling city folk who hate hunting (and buy their meat nicely processed and packaged at the supermarket). Although I'm of English descent, I grew up on a farm in Namibia (google it - African country above South Africa). Watching antekope die during droughts, seeing jackals gather round to chew the tongues off helpess calves while they're being born ...cheetah cubs killed by lions in the endless competition for finite resources. Oh, I know nature is no picnic.

What I can't understand, is why anyone would turn this savagery into a game. Why not just watch a cheetah in full run (the final dramatic burst before a kill) or a kudu in full jump (google it - a beautiful African buck and amazing jumper!)to appreciate the raw and unforgiving power of nature. Why kill it and stick it on a wall? It just seems the crudest form of possession.

And if you feel the need to kill, perhaps a psychologist could help.

Kind regards and best of luck.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from big al wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

Sadly, Ed Bangs, wolf recovery coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, comments were taken out of context. Ryan Counts of Pray, Montana who killed wolf 527 is not a hero, but someone caught up in the hunter mentality that fears competition. Kill a wolf, we can have more elk to kill is not nature's way. The LA Times article exposed the world to what is going on in Idaho and Montana and people are starting to realize that God's will is being threatened. 507 clubs honoring Counts killing of a wolf that was not troubling any livestock and was a leader, are sending money to influence the federal government to place the wolves back on the endangered list. However, that never stops those hunters who don't obey the law. I have seen their work in the ditches where they have thrown wolf pups and anything else they feel the need to slaughter. The bottom line is that hunting for meat is fine in season, leave the wolves to mother nature.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from jamesti wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

wolves are like any other wild animal. because we insist on building thing in every bit of open space we can find, we have to manage the wildlife to keep them from overpopulating and suffering. if you put an expensive radio collar on any animal, you know the risk of wasting your time and money because there is always the chance of it being taken by hunters. as long as the wolf was taken legally and fairly, there should be no problem. nikki, you should learn more about these things before just jumping into them.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from big al wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

The slaughter of Wolf 527 by Ryan Counts of Pray, Montana was self-serving. He is hunting guide. Killing is what he lives by and a dead wolf may mean more elk. What Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho need to do is ban elk hunting for a few years. Of course they won't. Can't make money on licenses.

As for Jeep Dud, your comment about animals knowing the game and not letting their guard down; must be nice to know an animal can guard itself from a high powered rifle that can kill it from over 300 yards away. I have even seen wolves killed with semiautomatic rifles.....sounds like those wolves just weren't protecting themselves.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from Bryan01 wrote 4 years 24 weeks ago

If you're doing research on wolves, it would seem to me that you would want the wolves that you are following in your study to experience the full range of outcomes - including a representative sampling of wolves that are killed by hunters.

+6 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Diehl wrote 4 years 24 weeks ago

It's make an interesting full body mount if you could leave the radio collar on it.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from babsfish4life wrote 4 years 24 weeks ago

News in the Los Angeles is so important to all of us anyways. I love how California is the state to cry up a storm about how everybody is terrible with their animals. What state has probably the worst record for their big game herds? What state doesn't give a rip about their steelhead and salmon populations? Oh yea, California. I may take that state seriously if they fix their own fish and game problems first.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from MLH wrote 4 years 24 weeks ago

I thought these were balanced enlightening articles. The more I read and hear about the western wolves the less I think my opinion counts. I don't have to live with them. Wolves are working their way down state through Michigan. And, with first and second hand experience with those, my opinion will be meaningful.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from idahooutdoors wrote 4 years 24 weeks ago

Turning the wolves into mythical creatures, or giving them human personalities is exactly what these groups and writers love to do...they think it will get more support for anti-hunting....easy to get the general public to sign off on hunting blood thirsty killers, harder when the general public thinks they are something human like etc.....

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from thuroy wrote 4 years 24 weeks ago

It sounds like one was an actual reporter and the other writer spends time writing books with Fabio on the cover.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Walt Smith wrote 4 years 24 weeks ago

Congradulations to the successful hunter on a fine trophy, hopefully many more hunters get to experience the same adventure!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Carney wrote 4 years 24 weeks ago

And so, just what is so hard about putting another radio collar on another wolf? There're plenty of wolves to collar for research and plenty to hunt.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 4 years 24 weeks ago

I wonder what kinda stir would it make, if I came across one of those radio collars and tossed in the back trailer of a 18 wheeler going to the other coast? I can see the Biologist looking at the satellite map wondering what was going on!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ed J wrote 4 years 24 weeks ago

Clay , probably the same interest as the guy who was studying the mountain lions in the Blackhills of SD. One was killed in sw OK where it was hit by a train. Another one the transmitter quit working while the lion was in Ontario north of lake Superior. That one went through my yard in central ND. He was here for a couple of days but I never saw it.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from guncrazy74 wrote 4 years 24 weeks ago

I would say what a slap to the face of all the people who have banded waterfowl and got info for migrations from.... People that shot the birds!!! I know a radio collar and catching a wolf are no doubt more expensive but damn people, data is data when it comes too science. Instead of a hue and cry or even saying it doesn't effect the population the science behind that tagged wolf just generated a lot of info. You wanna see what happens too that wolf in it's life well there is just one more piece of data for the study that wasn't available before. If I were conducting the study I would have interviewed the hunter and tried to get all the info that person can tell you. Weight, condition of the animal, habits and where and when it was taken. Sounds like they are missing out on the data any waterfowler can tell you helps generate useful info on a species. Glad ducks and geese aren't so cute and fuzzy for people to get outraged!!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from muskiemaster wrote 4 years 24 weeks ago

every time I read about wolf hunting I have to say what I'm about to say right now. Wisconsin where is your wolf season! I can't wait for it we have a pack that's been roaming around our land and neighboring land that could use a little whack and stackin'

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from albertahunter wrote 4 years 24 weeks ago

Here in Alberta few years back there was a herd of collared elk they had transplanted or something. anyway the reasearchers were a bit confused as to why the elk were hanging around one area and when they cheked out why it was just a pile of collars and heads. poachers or aboriginals had easy hunting anyway.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Justin D wrote 4 years 23 weeks ago

THis a funny Story! Well I know the wolves that run through the town i live in, and where i hunt do not have radio collars. Actually out of the 37 wolves that i have seen this year none of them had collars. The Fish and game in all of the states cant keep up with the wolves. Some of the Idaho wolves have been seen in oregon, washington, and They have been seen on I 84 Near Caldwell running acrross the highway. Its a lie about how they only have 5 to 8 pups. I know because My family had a high breed wolf that had 13 pups. People Should really get out and find out the truth about these killing machines!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Tonya Payne wrote 4 years 21 weeks ago

What? You didn't know that nature was a Disney movie? Surely those wolves talked... or chased Snow White or Little Red Riding Hood or something. {/sarcasm}

I find that the people who are against hunting, are those who have never really dealt with nature, or witnessed it's wrath. They live in a high rise condo, or in a suburb, and may have been to the country once or twice or may have taken a stroll through the woods, but they've never really had to live in or with nature. They have about as much respect for nature as a poacher. It's really the same thing, merely expressed a different way.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Joseph Bishop wrote 4 years 21 weeks ago

If you would finish the book of Genesis you would see that we actually are no longer in the Garden of Eden, and there are guards at it's gate to prevent us (Humans) from re-entering it. I didn't have to dig into the Bible for that info I have it in my head.

Most people on here actually work there body and mind when the go out and pit themselves against nature.

And as for hunting not being a sport cause both sides don't know that they are in the game. You must not have a clue how nature works. Every creature that operates in a natural environment knows the game. It's called survival and they do it by any way they can. Every creature knows if it lets it's guard down for too long or ignores the wrong sign that it may not have a chance to repeat the mistake. So don't tell us about something you can't even understand.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jamesti wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

wolves are like any other wild animal. because we insist on building thing in every bit of open space we can find, we have to manage the wildlife to keep them from overpopulating and suffering. if you put an expensive radio collar on any animal, you know the risk of wasting your time and money because there is always the chance of it being taken by hunters. as long as the wolf was taken legally and fairly, there should be no problem. nikki, you should learn more about these things before just jumping into them.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from big al wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

The slaughter of Wolf 527 by Ryan Counts of Pray, Montana was self-serving. He is hunting guide. Killing is what he lives by and a dead wolf may mean more elk. What Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho need to do is ban elk hunting for a few years. Of course they won't. Can't make money on licenses.

As for Jeep Dud, your comment about animals knowing the game and not letting their guard down; must be nice to know an animal can guard itself from a high powered rifle that can kill it from over 300 yards away. I have even seen wolves killed with semiautomatic rifles.....sounds like those wolves just weren't protecting themselves.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from NikkiM wrote 4 years 21 weeks ago

Interesting feedback. Thank you. I do want to point out though that it's not just disney-watching, condo-dwelling city folk who hate hunting (and buy their meat nicely processed and packaged at the supermarket). Although I'm of English descent, I grew up on a farm in Namibia (google it - African country above South Africa). Watching antekope die during droughts, seeing jackals gather round to chew the tongues off helpess calves while they're being born ...cheetah cubs killed by lions in the endless competition for finite resources. Oh, I know nature is no picnic.

What I can't understand, is why anyone would turn this savagery into a game. Why not just watch a cheetah in full run (the final dramatic burst before a kill) or a kudu in full jump (google it - a beautiful African buck and amazing jumper!)to appreciate the raw and unforgiving power of nature. Why kill it and stick it on a wall? It just seems the crudest form of possession.

And if you feel the need to kill, perhaps a psychologist could help.

Kind regards and best of luck.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from big al wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

Sadly, Ed Bangs, wolf recovery coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, comments were taken out of context. Ryan Counts of Pray, Montana who killed wolf 527 is not a hero, but someone caught up in the hunter mentality that fears competition. Kill a wolf, we can have more elk to kill is not nature's way. The LA Times article exposed the world to what is going on in Idaho and Montana and people are starting to realize that God's will is being threatened. 507 clubs honoring Counts killing of a wolf that was not troubling any livestock and was a leader, are sending money to influence the federal government to place the wolves back on the endangered list. However, that never stops those hunters who don't obey the law. I have seen their work in the ditches where they have thrown wolf pups and anything else they feel the need to slaughter. The bottom line is that hunting for meat is fine in season, leave the wolves to mother nature.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from NikkiM wrote 4 years 21 weeks ago

I stumbled across this website when doing some reading on the fate of wolf 527.

I personally believe hunting is fine if it's essential - whether for food or protection. I don't condemn the wolf for it, so how can I condemn you?

Easily actually. Hunting for sport? Celebrating slaughter? Hunting isn't a sport. In a sport, both sides know they're in the game. Does anyone or thing dying in a hail of bullets have a "sporting chance"?

Our remote ancestors hunted to survive. Then they set up farms.

"That is what civilization is all about - farming replacing hunting.” (French diver and explorer Jacques Cousteau).Isn't it time to catch up?

Start a hobby. Read a book. Take up a real sport. Come out from behind your guns and pit your wits and your strength against another human being (if you must).

Ah, but that would require courage (and muscle tone beyond the trigger finger).

As you're American, I dug into the bible for a quote:
Genesis 2:15
"The Lord God placed the man in the garden of Eden as its gardener to tend and care for it."

You're fired.

-4 Good Comment? | | Report

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