The Forest Jobs and Recreation Act passed out of the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee with bipartisan support. Deep thanks to Senator Tester for spearheading this bill.
HOME > Issues > Wildlife
Wolves: Good News for Yellowstone Wolves
Latest News: One year after the loss of several collared Yellowstone wolves during hunting seasons in Wyoming and Montana, the Yellowstone Wolf Project reports that no collared wolves that frequent the park were taken by hunters. Project officials report that Yellowstone now has 86 wolves and had its best pup season yet.
Wyoming closed its hunting season after meeting its quota of 26 wolves in the so-called trophy game zone around Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. Idaho has been more aggressive, to the point of hiring an outfitter to eliminate two packs in the Frank Church-River Of No Return Wilderness in central Idaho. After a public outcry, the state pulled the outfitter out of the wilderness after he killed nine wolves. Idaho has more than 800 wolves and says it wants to reduce the number to 150.
In Montana, you spoke, and the state listened. After receiving more than 25,000 comments in the fall-winter of 2012, including 4,000 from GYC members, the state's Fish, Wildlife & Parks commission significantly altered its wolf hunting and trapping regulations around Yellowstone National Park. The state reduced its quota in two hunting subunits adjacent to the park to a combined seven; previously, the quota was three in one subunit and there was not quota in the other.
Other advances were made: Hunters will not be allowed to hunt over bait, trap sizes will be regulated so that incidental take of such endangered species as lynx and wolverine are limited, and the season was shortened by 15 days from the original proposal (though it will be about six weeks longer than last year).
Overview: Nearly 1,650 wolves roam the Northern Rockies, in 250 packs with more than 110 breeding pairs. About 500 call Greater Yellowstone home and an estimated 80 wolves live within Yellowstone National Park.
GYC continues to monitor wolf numbers in Greater Yellowstone. Meanwhile, Yellowstone wolves are still playing their ecological role.
A report from Oregon State University plant researchers William J. Ripple and Bob Beschta reinforces the belief that the wolf has been the primary factor in the improved health of aspen, willow, and cottonwood trees in Yellowstone National Park's Northern Range. This in turn has benefitted such Yellowstone wildlife as beaver, bison, pronghorn, songbirds, raptors, and trout.
The return of the wolf has changed elk behavior and reduced some herds, but overall numbers remain strong in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. According to Yellowstone biologist Doug Smith, the Yellowstone herds remain healthy despite its smaller size. The number is more in line with historic levels since wolves were reintroduced and grizzly bears and mountain lions returned naturally. Overall elk populations in the states of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming remain healthy. However, elk populations are now more dynamic with the return of large carnivores and elk distribution has shifted to areas of refugia which make them more difficult to hunt. Elk populations are affected by many variables including weather, disease, predation, and human mortality.
Project Goals: The Greater Yellowstone Coalition has consistently worked to find the middle ground on wolf management, to move beyond the ongoing conflicts. We will continue to promote science-based management and increased tolerance for this iconic animal in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.
Photo: Cindy Goeddel Photography.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Donate now and help support our work.
Spread The Word! Tell A Friend About This Issue.
GYC's comments on Montana's 2012 Wolf Hunting Season can be read here.
Download a printable synopsis of our work on wolves here.
Read our statement regarding wolf delisting here.
Read the Idaho Fish & Game newsletter story about wolves and their minimal impacts on elk populations.
Read about the relationship between wolves and ungulates.
See what wolves have meant for local economies.
Get the truth about wolves and livestock.
February 18, 2014 - 'Not a Wolf Extermination Bill': Bill Moves on Despite Protests
February 05, 2014 - Lawmakers seek Endangered Species Act overhaul
January 29, 2014 - Wandering park wolves escape hunters’ bullets
January 28, 2014 - Fish and Game halts wolf hunt in Idaho wilderness
January 21, 2014 - Yellowstone wolves eating more bison