Back to News

Colorado doesn’t want wolves


Gray Wolf
Photo credit: Shutterstock

Hunters and ranchers who call the Centennial State home have a message for those who want wolves to return: no thanks. Last week, during the First Conservation District’s Annual Meeting and Banquet held in Moffat County, Colorado, the audience listened to Denny Behrens, Colorado director of Big Game Forever, give a presentation on wolves, resulting in a collective opinion among the 65 attendees that wolves are not welcome.

As goHUNT previously reported, while wolves may be native to the Centennial State, many Coloradans don’t want them.  Last January, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission (CPWC) voted against the reintroduction of both Mexican wolves and gray wolves after a lengthy debate with ranchers, hunters, farmers, wildlife advocates and other residents. However, in mid-December, the Sierra Club held a meeting in Colorado to re-open the controversial issue and discuss reintroducing wolves to the state. Over 100 people attended and the discussion “brought an outcry from ranchers and other opponents of the reintroduction,” the Craig Press reports.

Gear Shop - Shop Now

While there have been sightings of gray wolves within the state, Colorado Parks and Wildlife follows the 2016 CPWC resolution, which orders that the animals be left alone as long as they do not cause any problems. Colorado wolves are protected under the federal Endangered Species Act.

Those against reintroducing wolves to the state say that the animals would impact elk, deer and moose herds as well as cause major livestock depredation. During his presentation, Behrens suggested that wolves would also “serve as a vector for rabies and hydatid disease,” which is a tapeworm infection. As the presentation concluded, Behrens encouraged county commissioners to oppose the wolf reintroduction like the Moffat County Board of County Commissioners already has.


Log in or register to post comments.

ron K. - posted 8 months ago on 03-16-2018 02:40:11 pm

Need some more data Larry?
Read Montana and Idaho annual wolf reports, every state with wolves has a annual report.
Start with 2009 where 38% of the packs living in Montana killed livestock, mostly on private lands.
In 2009 just over 500 wolves killed over 300 head of livestock and as science based research has shown those 300 head are less than 20% of the total livestock killed. Meaning just over 500 wolves killed over 1500 head of livestock.

In the fall of 2009 Montana started hunting wolves. Currently ranchers hunt problem wolves 365 days a year. Wildlife Services hunts and traps problem wolves 365 days a year. Hunters hunt wolves 7 months and trappers trap wolves 2 months. So yes the number of livestock confirmed killed by wolves has decreased by about 30%.
Now while you can post links better than me doesn't mean you're telling the truth. Even your own links prove you lie and as any child caught in a lie you blame the other person and make excuses about being to busy. Typical

ron K. - posted 8 months ago on 03-16-2018 11:14:18 am

Your first lie Larry was to claim no factual data to back up claims.
Second lie was ranchers are compensated for their losses when several science based research projects have proven less than 20% of wolf kills are compensated.
Third lie was to claim wolves haven't decimated any elk herds when the number of herds reduced by one tenth includes several herds including Yellowstone. Where people like you claim the reduced elk numbers was a good thing and it couldn't have happened without wolves.
Fourth lie was proven by your own link, where if you read your link it claims coyote numbers have rebound.
Fifth lie was to claim that wolf losses to the entire state of Montana when wolves live in a fraction of the state.
Just because your ignorant of the facts doesn't mean you know the truth. If wolves were confirmed to have killed over 300 head of livestock and those confirmations make up less than 20% of total depredations wolves killed over 2 head of livestock for every known wolf.
Clearly you proven you are not capable of reading you can't even correctly quote me when the words are still in print.

Let's add when wolf lovers get caught lying they start hurling insults and claiming they are too busy for discussion.

Larry T. - posted 8 months ago on 03-15-2018 02:11:09 pm

Not a single lie in my post, Ron, and you failed to discredit any piece of it. I directed you to data; you countered with none of your own. You simply make up a number "about 20% of the real number killed" and provide zero data to support your baseless claim. That, my friend, is the very definition of a lie. The worst years, yes, happened when there were 500 wolves who took 300 cattle. Your math is terrible. That's less than 1 animal per wolf. Don't make up your bullshit facts and then try to call other people liars. Grow the hell up and show some data to support your BS or shut the hell up.

And Ronnie, what has the number of depredations been like since that all time high? What's the average per year? Heck, what's the average number of total complaints - including those unverified - that occur each year? I've provided the data for you already. Are you capable enough of reading it?

Again, grow up and don't spew your ridiculous bullshit then have the audacity to call other liars. That's blatant hypocrisy and I frankly am too busy for such childishness. I expect better of this community.

I do talk to Yellowstone researchers - I'm a biologist. I know exactly well how coyotes are doing, and they're not at pre-wolf levels. Look up the data yourself. This isn't difficult.

ron K. - posted 9 months ago on 03-06-2018 11:57:45 am

Larry starts with the usual wolf lover lies and old data.
The worse years of Montana wolf killing livestock just over 500 known wolves were confirmed to have killed over 300 head of livestock. About 20% of the real number killed or over 2 head of livestock for every known wolf.

They point to the wood river project as an example. A project on the very edge of known wolf habitat.
They use elk harvest numbers after states started aggressively managing wolf populations.
Nature/ Rethinking-predator-legend-of-the-wolf
NY Times Is-the-wolf-a-real-American-hero (Links included)

As far as the coyote numbers well Larry is using really old data, talk with any Yellowstone biologist and coyote numbers have rebounded in Yellowstone to pre wolf numbers.

Larry T. - posted 9 months ago on 03-06-2018 08:30:55 am

Things to remember about anti-wolfers, unfortunately, are that they often speak from raw emotion and anecdote with no factual data to back up their claims. For instance, you can easily find data on wolf-cattle interactions, including both verified kills and all complaints, even those unverified. Data from Montana is the best comparison for Colorado - roughly the same number of cattle (2.5 million) and habitat that could support about the same number of wolves. Looking for a ten year span, in the very worst year, even if all REPORTED cattle losses to wolves were actual kills, those losses still amounted to 0.01% of the state's cattle population. And the ranchers were compensated. Data from Montana's Annual Wold Report

In other areas - like Idaho's Wood River area - a few measures to reduce wolf predation has dramatically lowered predation from all animals, wolves included. In the meantime, Idaho elk harvest numbers are better than ever.

Wolves do not decimate elk herds, either. In Idaho, as mentioned, elk hunters are having more success than ever.

Meanwhile, some people who are bad at math will try to say wolves decimated Yellowstone herds. Did wolves have an impact? Absolutely. But somehow people tend to completely forget that elk numbers were much lower a couple of decades BEFORE the wolves were reintroduced, had started declining long before the wolves came back, and that the wolves themselves didn't exist in high enough numbers to make any meaningful impact until nearly a decade after reintroduction.

Oh, and the negative impact wolves have on coyote numbers is well-established. This is a really simple ecological relationship that is common among organisms which have niche overlap and compete for resources.

ron K. - posted 9 months ago on 03-05-2018 04:23:27 pm

Things to remember the wolf lovers will tell any lie to get their wolves and then spend every dollar they have to protect wolves from human management through endless lawsuits.
What have we learned in Montana and Yellowstone.
Wolves don't control coyote numbers, Yellowstone coyote numbers are near pre wolf numbers.
Wolves are more likely to kill livestock than any other predator. 30-100% of Colorado's wolf packs will be involved in killing livestock each year. 2016 57% of Oregon's wolf packs killed livestock. Less than 20% of livestock killed by wolves are ever confirmed.
Wolves will more than decimate some elk herds. Calf recruitment will fall to the single digits per 100 cows. Research shows cows abort calves.
Most of the research out of Yellowstone in the early years has been debunked. Wolves did not make the trees grow.
There will not be any large ecological benefits to wolves in Colorado.
There is nothing wolves did in Yellowstone human hunters couldn't have done cheaper without the losses to ranchers.
Wolves are the greatest challenge to hunt and that is the only thing I can say as a benefit to having wolves.

Larry T. - posted 9 months ago on 03-03-2018 07:26:32 am

Also, can I just quickly say how nice it is to have a civil conversation? I've seen the comments sections on other wolf-related articles quickly devolve into name-calling shouting matches. This site is great.

Larry T. - posted 9 months ago on 03-03-2018 07:25:26 am

@Eddie Why does it surprise you so much? It honestly didn't me. Several different polls but together by different organizations over the past ten years have repeatedly found majority support for the animals, and that number has grown. This didn't surprise me - remember that the majority of the population lives in the Denver area, Denver has had a huge influx of residents in the past ten yes, and it's been growing increasingly liberal during that time as well.

Chris S. - posted 9 months ago on 03-02-2018 08:07:44 am

@Eddie K., your comment about small sample surveys being potentially misleading has some merit. For sake of conversation, we'll just focus on sample size effects (we could also discuss many other things, like design effects, etc.) Small samples have a greater margin of error, than larger samples. Your Trump example is interesting and has been the topic of much good debate. I think some would argue that the polls did what they were designed to do....predict the popular vote. Perhaps pollsters should do a better job of translating popular votes to electoral votes?

Eddie K. - posted 9 months ago on 03-02-2018 07:38:49 am
Southern Colorado

@Chris S., BUT, small sample surveys can also be extremely misleading and/or flat out wrong, depending on how much effort and thought is put into collecting the samples. A prime example would be the 2016 presidential election, where Trump had no chance per numerous small sample studies. @Larry, there is absolutely no way 70-75% of Coloradans "want" wolves here, more likely "want wolves or have no opinion on wolves"

Chris S. - posted 9 months ago on 02-27-2018 05:30:04 pm

@Hugh M., regarding your comment...."most likely 99% of the residents weren't polled so that tells you how effective that is." Sample surveys are predicated upon a random selection of the population of interest. (in this case, residents of Colorado). If done properly, even a small sample of say, 500 to 1,000 residents, would have been sufficient. It is extremely unlikely that either the state of Federal gov't would have paid for a 1% sample (which would have been nearly 57,000 residents). Nor, is it necessary.

Having said that, we don't have wolves in Texas, so I don't have a dog in the fight. Best of luck with your crusade to keep them out.

Larry T. - posted 9 months ago on 02-27-2018 05:20:33 pm

There's plenty of room for wolves. That's not to say there wouldn't be conflict - not at all. I'm a hunter and from a ranching family. I'm not ignoring reality on the subject, though I obviously have a different final opinion than you two. And to be clear, I respect your opinion, I simply disagree.

A poll which assesses the attitudes of people from across the state (as the one I'm referencing does) is about as unbiased as it can get, a viewpoint strengthened by the fact that successive polls have continued to show the same result, except that support has actually continued to slowly grow from the mid 1990's to today. No doubt a large reason for that is city swelling - the state is getting more liberal in populace. There's no denying or hiding from that fact.

As for lions and bears - we have between 3,000- 6,000 lions and roughly 12,000 bears. Certainly not too many for our ecosystems, not by a long shot. We've got roughly 250,000 elk and more than 500,000 deer.

Cory F. - posted 9 months ago on 02-27-2018 09:49:41 am
La Veta, CO

Hugh you're exactly right (even though I would say the left leaning is more central than eastern) but I know us in the southern part of the state do not want the reintroduction of wolves either. Those polls (like most polls) can be very misleading.

Hugh M. - posted 9 months ago on 02-27-2018 08:55:07 am
Grand Junction

Larry, most likely 99% of the residents weren't polled so that tells you how effective that is. I know for a fact the majority of the western half of the state is opposed, we just happen to have a very left leaning tree hugging majority on the eastern side of the state, and in places such as Crested Butte, Aspen etc... We don't need wolves, we already have way too many bears and lions.. we don't need more predators..

Larry T. - posted 9 months ago on 02-27-2018 07:08:03 am

Polling shows that 70-75% of Colorado residents, do in fact, want wolves. So the title is simply wrong - Colorado wants wolves, and a minority subset of the state does not.