17 Nov 2008, 1:45pm
Deer, Elk, Bison Wolves
by admin

Montana FWPD Wolf Management Fiasco

The following letter was written by Allen Schallenberger, wildlife consultant in Sheridan, MT, and former (retired) wildlife biologist for the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Dept. Mr. Schallenberger has contributed guest essays to SOS Forests [here, here]. This is his first at Wildlife and People.

Open Letter from Allen Schallenberger to Jeff Hagener, Director, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Dept., Helena, MT.

Dear Jeff:

We have large problems in the wolf management program here in Montana. Speaking for some of the organizations copied below, we believe we have a wolf diva rather than a Montana public servant running that program.

The legislature passed requirements for the Dept. to monitor wolf packs and report their locations. That is being done very poorly. To go to wolf monitoring on your website you must click on wild things, threatened and endangered species, gray wolf, wolf conservation and management, wolves in Montana and the Northern Rockies and then finally the buried wolf monitoring.

You will find that flight reports are mixed from 2007 and 2008 in a haphazard manner. That makes it very difficult to find the current flight data. No information is usually given on who made the flight, observer and pilot, flight and weather conditions, elevations used to search for animals in the mountains and other useful records such as areas not covered well or not at all. Instead the catch-all phrase “radio not heard” is used which covers a multitude of aerial coverage errors by the Dept. Animal locations are often to general to have any meaning and there is no effort to accurately identify drainages with the same names.

Your supposedly weekly wolf report often comes out bimonthly or monthly and is not timely. Inaccurate information and current and past history is put out for public education and often not corrected.

Let’s take the Freezeout pack for example. That pack over the years has killed hundreds of domestic livestock and big game animals and appears to be responsible for the elk leaving the Blacktail and Robb-Ledford Wildlife Management Areas in winters since at least 2003. This spring it was decided to eliminate that pack after it killed many domestic sheep. At the time it consisted of about two or three adults and seven pups after three adults were removed this spring. The wolf diva put out a news release saying that the pups would have to be killed before the adults. To this date we have not had an accurate report of what happened to that pack and if all the members have been killed.

You report all the livestock verified killed and there may be eight to 10 times that amount based on detailed studies. You and the wolf diva present very little information on the big game animals killed by wolves, the effects on our game herds and where we are headed in the future. Also you have not told the public how elk herds and their distribution are affected by wolf harassment and predation. You have not provided an accurate assessment of how this is affecting hunters, ranchers, businesses, private and public land use. You have not come up with information on how closely wolves are tied to brucellosis and other disease problems. Recently a news release by the Dept. quoted a warden saying we should be outraged by the one moose shot and killed and left on the ground near Boulder. We are outraged that Dept. employees are not more concerned about the thousands of big game animals and livestock killed by wolves and the other problems wolves cause.

After reading the wolf reports it appears that many young women without much experience or appreciation for our big game ungulates are being hired by your Dept to work with wolves. Some appear to excel in taking pictures of fuzzy pups and showing them to school kids. FWP is pumping the press and public full of false propaganda not backed by wildlife science or wolf history.

You could learn much from Alaska, Canada, Russia, Idaho and Wyoming wolf managers about wolf impacts. Quit saying wolves can kill and eat all the big game animals they want. Those animals are the property of the people of Montana who entrusted you with active, scientific wildlife management. Provide us soon, accurate information on numbers of each game animal species killed by wolves and the herds adversely affected by wolf kills and harassment.

Please respond soon on how you are going to improve the wolf management program. If that does not occur, our legislature should provide you detailed guidance.


Allen Schallenberger, Experienced wildlife biologist and concerned sportsman

cc — Gov. Brian Schweitzer, FWP Commission, Rep. Diane Rice, Rep. elect Robert Wagner, Senator elect Debbie Barrett, Senator Joe Balyeat, Montana Shooting Sports Association, Friends of Northern Yellowstone Elk, Inc., Montana Bowhunters Association, Montana Outfitters and Guides Association, Beaverhead Outdoors, Skyline Sportsmen, Anaconda Sportsmen, Tobacco Root Archers, Foundation for North American Wild Sheep, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Montana Wool Growers, Montana Stockgrowers Association Western Ag Reporter, Billings Gazette, Bozeman Daily Chronicle, The Montana Standard, Missoulian, Daily Interlake, The Great Falls Tribune, Helena Independent Record, numerous ranchers and sportsmen

18 Nov 2008, 7:38am
by Can We Trust How Wolves Are Being Managed In Montana Or Other States? - Black Bear Blog - Black Bear Blog - The Politics of Hunting, Fishing and the Outdoors. Protecting our American Heritage.

[...] like to learn a bit more about Mr. Schallenberger and read more of some of his writings, Mike at Western Institute for Study of the Environment, has a bit [...]

1 Dec 2008, 6:42pm
by Concerned hunter and sportsman

I have hunted in Montana for over 20 years and I have not had a hunting season like this. I must ask the question: have the wolves eaten the vast majority of deer and elk in the northwest region of Montana? I spent many hours out in the woods this hunting season with little luck… little luck even seeing one or two deer. You might say I am a bad hunter… could be, but I have talked to many other hunters and have heard the same thing. I believe that if FWP (could call them Fish,Wolves, and Parks) does not get a handle on the wolf population we as hunters will not need to buy hunting tags… there will be nothing to hunt.

19 May 2010, 10:55pm
by cp kallister

To the Concerned Hunter. Maybe we ran them all over before you arrived. How could you go hunting and not see a deer or an elk. I saw herd after herd of them last fall. They are everywhere. One more thing. I like seeing them.

To Mr. Schallenberger. I agree that wolf populations should be controlled on an as needed basis. No argument with that.
On the other hand, Montana isn’t all yours. Many of us like the idea of wolves being part of the Montana landscape. They have a place in it and it is my hope that when all is said and done that we have wolves as well as bears, elk, moose, etc.
The anti wolf program here attempts to go too far.



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