In their anti-wolf resolution, Montezuma commissioners express many of the misgivings I heard before wolves were returned to the northern Rocky Mountains.
The commissioners see wolf predation as a serious problem for wildlife (game). Here are elk harvest figures since wolf restoration:
Wyoming: 1995 elk population, 103,448; 1995 elk harvest, 17,695. 2017 elk population, 104,800 (31% over objective). 2017 elk harvest, 24,535, average hunter success rate, 35%
Montana: 1995 elk population, 109,500; no harvest data for 1995. 2018 elk population, 138,470 (27% over upper objective). 2017 elk harvest, 30,348.
Idaho: 1995 elk population, 112,333; 1995 elk harvest, 22,400. 2017 elk population, 116,800 (18 elk units at or above objective, 10 units below for a variety of reasons); 2017 elk harvest, 22,751.
Bottom line: In all three states where wolves were restored in 1995-96, statewide elk populations have grown, and harvests have increased.
Here are livestock depredation data from a 2015 report:
There were about 6,000,000 cattle in the northern Rocky Mountains in 2014. The 140 cattle taken by wolves made up 1 in 43,000, or 0.000023% of cattle in the states.
There were about 825,000 sheep in the NRM in 2014. The 172 sheep taken by wolves made up 1 in 4,800, or 0.000208% of sheep in the states.
On human safety: From 1995 to 2018, Yellowstone hosted 101,070,722 visitors, none of whom was injured by a wolf. Among 2.7 million tent campers in Yellowstone from 1995 to 2018, no camper was injured by a wolf.
Norman BishopBozeman, Montana