Wolves and Deer

Information on the Relationship Between Wolves and Deer
News

Controversial wolf season extended for Prince of Wales Island November 9, 2020 Alaska, Alaska Public Media News
...  island resident hunters said too many wolves were preying on deer... resident hunters and trappers told wildlife managers were under-counting wolves: state and federal officials recently released their fall 2019 estimate of 316 wolves in and around Prince of Wales...

Gorilla warfare November 7, 2020 Alaska, craigmedred.news
... With Sitka blacktail deer overrunning, Coronation Island ... the Alaska Department of Fish and Game 60 years ago decided to try to “balance” nature... released four wolves ...  in December 1967 ... No deer tracks were seen... By the 1980s, the last wolf was gone from the island...

A warm, quiet deer opener north of Duluth November 7, 2020 Minnesota, Duluth News Tribune
... deer numbers have been down for the past decade or so thanks to repeated heavy-snow winters.  “And wolves. The wolves really came in about 10 years ago and it hasn’t been the same,’’ ..,

... Hunters say the wolf population is healthy and blame the predator for keeping down the deer herds. Another view is that deer habitat has been lost to commercial clear cuts, especially on Prince of Wales... officials refused this week to share their numbers with a regional council tasked with advising subsistence hunting and trapping on federal land...

Environmentalists say Washington’s wolf program is broken September 8, 2020 Washington, Heraldnet.com
... The current plan does not account for the declining population of deer and other ungulates that provide food for wolves in the wild, which has knocked the predator-prey relationship out of balance ...The DFW estimates the state’s wolf population grew to 145 animals in 26 packs in 2019..,

... Beavers are so abundant in Voyageurs National Park that they may be helping moose populations by becoming food for wolves... a small and isolated moose population is surviving, even as others in Minnesota have been cut in half or wiped out...

... “we have sporadically observed a small pack of six wolves that appear to have entered northwest Colorado either via the adjacent Uintah Mountains or across Wyoming.” They’ve been eating “native prey, primarily elk and deer. …

Endangered Species petition filed for Southeast Alaska wolves July 15, 2020 KRBD
...  the state doesn’t believe Southeast Alaska’s wolves are endangered...  The Center for Biological Diversity ...  blames the decline in Prince of Wales Island’s deer habitat on the legacy of clear cuts which peaked in the 1980s and 90s...

... Preliminarily, wolf numbers appear to be a major environmental influence that causes the elk herd to abandon the Gros Ventre in favor of the National Elk Refuge... Wyoming Game and Fish officials said it’s undesirable to have wolves push most of the elk out of the Gros Ventre...

Environmentalists renew effort to protect Southeast Alaska wolves June 22, 2020 Alaska, KRBD
... Many resident hunters insist the wolf population is under-counted and blame predators for the decline of the deer population. Conservationists point to the legacy of clear cut logging for the loss of deer habitat...

In Colorado, Wolves Are on the Ballot May 14, 2020 Sierra Magazine
... Initiative 107, a November ballot measure to reintroduce gray wolves west of the Continental Divide... It will be the first time that the reintroduction of wolves anywhere in the United States is decided by popular vote... Today, the International Wolf Center estimates that there are 5,500 gray wolves in the continental United States...

WDFW to start trapping wolves in NE Washington May 1, 2020 Washington, Capital Press
... Fish and Wildlife will put a high priority on putting collars on the members of packs that have a history of attacking livestock or are being tracked for ongoing research into how wolves are affecting its wild prey, such as deer...

... Some residents argue the wolf population is much higher than official estimates and they blame wolf packs for killing deer prized by subsistence hunters... Environmentalists unsuccessfully petitioned the federal government twice to list the Alexander Archipelago wolves as an endangered species...

... Every year, gray wolves kill dozens, if not hundreds, of farm animals in Minnesota. ... in the last decade, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture has paid out an average of $135,000 on about 110 wolf depredation claims each year  ... there do seem to be more wolf kills when the whitetail deer population ... goes down quickly ...

Wolf pack structure is interesting view of a family dynamic February 13, 2020 Minnesota, Minneapolis Star Tribune
... The population of gray wolves, also known as timber wolves, is about 13,000 in the United States, with the majority living in Alaska. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources estimates that there are 2,650 wolves in the state..,

Talking wolves' diets with U of M February 12, 2020 Minnesota, UMN News
... In the winter time, wolves in the Greater Voyageurs Ecosystem ... mainly hunt and kill deer, though wolves do kill the occasional snowshoe hare and, rarely, a moose... During the summer, wolves in our area mainly eat beavers, deer fawns and blueberries ...

Don't be fooled about wolves February 12, 2020 Colorado, Loveland Reporter-Herald
"... the wolf does not belong in settled landscapes... wolves degrade via hybridization with domestic dogs and coyotes into worthless hybrids ... when wolves are introduced into Colorado and are free to multiply, your moose will be exterminated, and your deer and elk will be exterminated ..." [Dr. Geist is a behavioral ecologist and professor ...  one of the world’s most respected authorities on the behavior, ecology and conservation]

North Fork deer herds are threatened January 15, 2020 Wyoming, Cody Enterprise
... decline of the mule deer and white-tailed deer herds on the North Fork of the Shoshone River... attributed to, the harsh winters of 2016-17, and very healthy wolf, grizzly bear and mountain lion populations... The wolves more than any other predator follow the deer to the Central Plateau ...

... Duluth area wildlife managers wrote in the letter to the commissioner, saying they had proposed reserving selected stands of older forest for fisher and marten habitat and winter habitat for deer and moose.  If the DNR plan goes through, WMAs in the Duluth region “will no longer support adequate habitat for many species,'' ....

The price of ballot box biology: Forced wolf reintroduction in Colorado December 27, 2019 Colorado, Tri-State Livestock News
... “If you look at central Idaho, the Lolo Zone, in 1992 there were approximately 10,000 elk there, one of the great established herds at that time,” Holyoak said. “By 2017, the size of that herd was less than 1,900. That’s not solely wolves but that’s adding wolves to a predator mix that’s almost a full menu of predators ...

Should Gray Wolves Be Reintroduced To Colorado? December 5, 2019 Colorado, 
HPPR
... Wolves were last known to be living in Colorado in the 1940s... one of the biologists Mike Phillips, who happens to be a Montana state senator that I spoke with in my reporting, told me he thinks it would probably take around 45 relocated wolves over the period of three years to establish a viable population...

Fewer Yellowstone wolves equals no wolf-on-wolf deaths November 11, 2019 
East Idaho News
... “Project staff detected 151 kills that were definitely, probably, or possibly made by wolves in 2018: 95 elk (62.9%), 25 bison (16.6%), 11 mule deer (7.3%), 3 deer of unknown species (2.0%), 2 coyotes (3.0%), 2 pronghorn (1.3%), 1 grizzly bear (0.6%), 1 mountain lion (0.6%), and 11 unidentified animals (7.3%). The composition of wolf-killed elk was: 22.1% calves, 6.3% yearlings, 22.1% adult females, 37.9% adult males, 3.2% adults of unknown sex, and 8.4% of unknown sex and age.” ...

Caribou numbers up 49 per cent after four-year wolf cull October 8, 2019 British Columbia, Vancouver Sun
... The population of three mountain caribou herds in the South Peace region has risen by 49 per cent just four years into an experimental wolf cull program ... the report concludes “it is highly recommended that wolf reduction continue to be implemented” until the herds are self-sustaining...

... WDFW is beginning a study to collar wolves, cougars, bobcats, moose, deer and elk to track predator and prey interactions. There has been no baseline assessment to understand how a wolf's prey, like deer, elk, etc. have changed as wolf numbers have grown...

... in 1960:  on Coronation Island  ... a high density of blacktailed deer and no wolves... biologists from Fish and Game released two pairs of wolves ... in 1964:  at least 13 wolves...  in 1965:  no sign of deer on the north side of the island ... February 1966:   only three wolves ...wolf scats ... suggesting the animals had resorted to cannibalism ... August 1966:   just three sets of fresh deer tracks... in 1983: no evidence of wolves, but the deer were once again plentiful...

... Washington Fish and Wildlife will again target a wolfpack preying on cattle in the Kettle River Range ... Cattlemen say the wolves have thinned deer herds and turned to cattle for food...

... A 14-year study following 134 tagged mountain lions north of Jackson, Wyoming, found a 48 percent reduction in their numbers.  The researchers found that the combination of the reintroduction of wolves and increases in elk and mountain lion hunting led to the precipitous drop...

... a deer ran across the road ... wolves  ... Johnson was out with his dogs when one of them — Lance — disappeared... by the time I realized he was gone ... That night, Johnson saddled his horse and grabbed his gun. “I was going to kill every wolf in the Teanaway,” ...

Wolf hunting in the West September 29, 2016 Montana, Tri-State Livestock News
... Darby, Montana ... Deer and elk numbers are still down but we’re seeing a slight increase again in the elk... The Fish and Game Department sells an unlimited number of [wolf] tags but there are quotas in some areas; once those target numbers are reached, the hunt is closed...
Research

Wolves preying on beavers in Minnesota reshape wetlands November 13, 2020 
Washington Post
... they tend to hunt alone for smaller prey, including fawns and beavers, in summer. ... “Once a wolf takes out a beaver,” Gable said, “it takes a while for another beaver to return to the site.” ... Wolves preying on beavers profoundly affect northern Minnesota’s wetland ecosystems because dams built by individual beavers — those not associated with beaver colonies — quickly fall apart...

... Early studies claiming evidence that wolves restored Yellowstone’s ecosystem by changing the behavior of elk, their primary prey, were based on observing correlations between wolf presence and the regrowth of plants that had been suppressed for decades by hungry elk... Recent research shows that a number of other factors were involved — and that the presence of wolves alone can’t be expected to restore ecosystems...

JM Fryxell, T Avgar, B Liu, JA Baker, AR Rodgers… - The Journal of Wildlife …, 2020
...  Our results suggest that increased wolf predation risk due to anthropogenic disturbance is of sufficient magnitude to cause appreciable risk of population decline in woodland caribou in Ontario...

... In Canada, boreal caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou) are declining in numbers, in part due to increased predation by wolves (Canis lupus). One management option to reduce wolf–caribou interactions and thus protect caribou is to remove man-made linear features (LFs), structures such as roads, trails, and cut lines, which are used by wolves as traveling paths... 

... a recently published study based on information collected in Yellowstone National Park shows that elk use much the same behavior to avoid mountain lions and wolves... Dan Stahler, Yellowstone Cougar Project manager...

The biological basis for deer hunting October 13, 2019 West Virginia, The Register-Herald
... In 1970, Graeme Caughley suggested that the mule deer population explosion on the Kaibab Plateau was due more to the recovery of the range than to the disappearance of predators. It turns out that while predators were being removed from the area, so were domestic livestock. At least 200,000 sheep and 20,000 cattle were removed at the same time the predators were exterminated. Caughley argued that deer flourished not because predators disappeared, but because the elimination of domestic grazers provided a virtually unlimited food supply for deer...

... 15 years of data collected on Idaho’s wolf and elk population... found that wolves accounted for 32% of identified mortalities for female elk while mountain lions accounted for 35%. That disparity grew when looking at elk calf survival with wolves accounting for 28% of known-fate deaths and lions accounting for 45%...
... a new study has found that the secretive cougar is actually the main predator influencing the movement of elk across the winter range of northern Yellowstone National Park... "Cougars hunted mainly in forested, rugged areas at night, whereas wolves hunted mainly in grassy, flat areas during morning and at dusk" ...

SL Berry, LA Shipley, RA Long, C Loggers - Ecosphere, 2019 Washington
... About 90% of the diets consumed by both deer species consisted of deciduous shrubs and forbs, and they selected many of the same plant species. However, overall diet composition was 38% dissimilar, with mule deer consuming diets that were more likely to contain shrubs with higher levels of tannins and lower levels of dry matter digestibility than diets eaten by white‐tailed deer...

Rancher says wolves driving him off range August 27, 2018 Washington, Capital Press
... he believes predators are turning to livestock because other prey, such as deer, are becoming scarce... Wolves will remain a state protected species until at least four packs have produced pups in the South Cascades ...

Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf Scientist? July 5, 2018 Washington, New York Times
...  [Wiegus] found something unusual: Killing wolves one year was associated with more, not fewer, deaths of livestock the following year. The paper further suggested that killing wolves may cause the increased livestock deaths....  they concluded that Wielgus’s study overlooked a simpler explanation for that rise in livestock depredation: Wolves were proliferating at the time...

Wolf pack moves west of Cascade Mountains for first time in decades April 4, 2019 Washington, Seattle Times
... biologists had documented a pack of the animals living in Skagit County, west of the Cascade crest... at least 126 individuals and 27 packs [total for state] according to WDFW’s latest count ... mule deer have begun to change their home ranges to avoid wolves, according to a University of Washington-led study ..,