Wolf hunting

Wolf hunting

Wolf hunting is the practice of hunting grey wolves "(Canis lupus)" or other lupine animals. Wolves are mainly hunted for sport, for their skins, to protect livestock, and in some rare cases to protect humans. Wolves have been actively hunted since 12,000 to 13,000 years ago, when they first began to pose threats to livestock vital for the survival of Neolithic human communities. Historically, the hunting of wolves was a huge, capital and manpower intensive operation, requiring miles of netting, specialized net-carts and big drying sheds for storing and drying nets. The threat wolves posed to both livestock and people was considered significant enough to warrant the conscription of whole villages under threat of punishment, despite the disruption of economic activities and reduced taxes.cite web | url= http://wolfcrossing.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2007/10/carnegie-no1.pdf
title= Statement by Valerius Geist pertaining to the death of Kenton Carnegie | publisher= Wolf Crossing| accessdate= 2008-09-17|format=PDF
] The hunting of grey wolves, while originally actively endorsed in many countries, has become a controversial issue in some nations. Opponents see it as cruel, unnecessary and based on misconceptions, while proponents argue that it is vital for the conservation of game herds and as pest control.cite web|date=2000|title=Game board says yes to aerial shooting of wolves|publisher= alaskawolves.org|url=http://alaskawolves.org/Blog/DF21F183-DA44-432D-8F73-D9C8DC0BE859_files/Alaska%20Peninsula%20wolf%20control,%20FDNM,%20ADN.pdf|accessdate=2008-04-23]


Western Europe

In A.D. 46-120, the first wolf bounty was reportedly opened when Solon of Athens offered five silver drachmas to any hunter for killing any male wolf, and one for every female. [http://www.wildrockiesalliance.org/issues/wolves/articles/history_of_bounty_hunting.pdf.] cite book | author= L. David Mech & Luigi Boitani | url = | title=Wolves: Behaviour, Ecology and Conservation | year=2001 | pages= p 448 | id= ISBN 0226516962 ]

In England of 950, King Athelstan imposed an annual tribute of 300 wolf skins on Welsh king Hywel Dda, an imposition which was maintained until the Norman conquest of England.cite book | author = Buczacki, Stefan | title = Fauna Britanica| year = 2005 | pages = pp.528 | id = ISBN 0600613925 ] The Norman kings (reigning from 1066 to 1152 A.D.) employed servants as wolf hunters and many held lands granted on condition they fulfilled this duty. There were no restrictions or penalties in the hunting of wolves, except in royal game reserves, under the reasoning that the temptation for a commoner to shoot a deer there was too greatcite book | author = Griffin, Emma|url = | title = Blood Sport: Hunting in Britain Since 1066 | year = 2007 | pages = pp.296 | id = ISBN 0300116284 ] . King Edward I who reigned from 1272 to 1307 ordered the total extermination of all wolves in his kingdom and personally employed one Peter Corbet, with instructions to destroy wolves in the counties of Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Shropshire and Staffordshire, areas near the Welsh Marches where wolves were more common than in the southern areas of England. James I of Scotland passed a law in 1427 requiring 3 wolf hunts a year between April 25th to the 1st of August, coinciding with the wolf's cubbing season. The wolf became extinct in England during the reign of Henry VII (1485-1509). It is known that wolves survived in Scotland up until the 18th century. Mary I of Scotland is known to have hunted wolves in the forest of Atholl in 1563. The last wolf in Scotland was supposedly killed in 1743, by an old man named MacQueen of Pall-à-Chrocain in the Findhorn Valley of Morayshirecite web | url = http://www.wolfsongalaska.org/disappearance_of_wolves.html | title = The Disappearance of Wolves in the British Isles | work = Ivy Stanmore | publisher = Wolf Song of Alaska| accessdate = 2007-09-27]

Ireland throughout most of the first half of the 17th century had a substantial wolf population of not less than 400 and maybe as high as 1000 wolves at any one time. Although the Irish hunted wolves, it is evident from documentary data that they did not see the same need as the English to exterminate the wolves. Although wolves were perceived as threats, they were nonetheless seen as natural parts of the Irish landscapes. The level of rewards and bounties established by Oliver Cromwell's regime after the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland attracted a few professional wolf hunters to Ireland, mostly from England. Politically, the prospect of numbers of armed Irish roaming around the country hunting wolves was not acceptable, given the ongoing conflict between the Irish and the new English settlers, so it was seen as much safer for the English authorities to encourage men from their own country to deal with the wolf problem. Wolves were exterminated from Ireland in the late 1700s, most likely 1786, cite web | url = http://www.ucd.ie/gsi/pdf/33-2/lupus.pdf| title = A geographical perspective on the decline and extermination of the Irish wolf canis lupus | work = Kieran R. Hickey | publisher = Department of Geography, National University of Ireland, Galway | accessdate = 2007-09-12] In 9th century France, Charlemagne founded an elite corps of crown funded officials called "Luparii", whose purpose was to control wolf populations in France during the Middle Ages.fr iconcite web | url = http://www.loup.org/spip/L-histoire-du-loup-en-France,400.html | title = L’histoire du loup en France: Chronologie d’une destruction| work = Ivy Stanmore | publisher = Loup.org| accessdate = 2008-02-28] Luparii were responsible for the initial reduction of wolf populations in France, which would become decimated in later centuries. The office of luparii is today known as the Wolfcatcher Royal. On 9 August 1787 the office of luparii was dissolved due to financing issues during the French Revolution but was reinstated twelve years later by Napoleon. After the Revolution ended, wolf hunting was no longer an activity reserved for the aristocracy. Wolves could be killed for monetary rewards equivalent to a month's pay. From 1818-1829, 14,000 wolves were killed each year. This high kill rate coincided with the increased distribution of flintlocks. At the dawn of the 19th century, there were up to 5000 wolves in France, a number which was reduced to half that amount by 1850. By 1890, the wolf population had been reduced to 1000 animals, and further fell to 500 in 1900 due to increased usage of strychnine. The First World War allowed wolves some respite, though by the time it ended, the population was estimated to be between 150-200 animals. The last confirmed French wolf kill occurred in 1937. With the extinction of the wolf in metropolitan France, the office of Wolfcatcher Royal was modified in 1971 and now serves an administrative function regulating vermin and maintaining healthy wildlife populations.cite book | author = Thompson, Richard H.|url = http://www.amazon.com/Wolf-Hunting-France-Reign-Louis-XV/dp/0889467463| title = Wolf-Hunting in France in the Reign of Louis XV: The Beast of the Gévaudan| year = 1991 | pages = pp.367 | id = ISBN 0889467463]

Wolf bounties were regularly paid in Italy during the 12th and 13th centuries and as recently as 1950's. Gian Galeazzo Visconti himself offered ten Imperial currencies for every wolf killed.it iconcite book | author = Baldi, Gianni|url = | title = Il Libro della Caccia| year = 1967 | pages = pp.316 | id = ] Italian wolf hunters lacked the organisation or determination of their French counterparts, having not formed any special hunting teams. Wolves were exterminated from the alps in the 1800s, though they were never fully exterminated in the peninsula.

In Switzerland, conflicts between humans and wolves reached a peak in the 16th century, amid largescale deforestations. Wolves became extinct in Zürich in 1684. They were later exterminated from Appenzell Ausserrhoden in 1695, and Schaffhausen in 1712. The last known traces of wolves in central Switzerland date back to 1707 in Zug, 1753 in Uri and 1793 in Glarus. Wolves became extinct in Engadin in 1821. Between 1762 and 1842, 80 wolves were recorded to have been bountied in Vaud. Wolves were further exterminated in Valais in 1870, Ticino in 1872 and Solothurn in 1874. Wolves occasionally migrated to Switzerland in small numbers in the early 20th century. In 1908, a wolf was shot in Ticino, and a further two were killed in 1914 in Lignerolle.it iconcite web | url = http://www.kora.ch/pdf/docus/docwf_i.pdf | title = Documentazione Lupo | work = | publisher = Koordinierte Forschungsprojekte zur Erhaltung und zum Management der Raubtiere in der Schweiz| accessdate = 2008-10-01]

In 19th century Spain, the Principality of Asturias passed an act between March and December 1816 paying out bounties for the death of 76 adult and 414 young wolves at 160 reales for an adult wolf and 32 for a wolf cub. The hunting of wolves represented a considerable source of wealth for local populations, with the "lobero" or wolf-hunter being a respected county figure. [ [http://www.iberianature.com/material/wolf.html Iberian wolf - Wolves in Spain ] ]

Sweden's first wolf bounty was opened in 1647. Hundreds of Sami extirpated wolves in organised drives. In the 1960s, wolf numbers rapidly declined with the onset of snow mobiles used for hunting. Sweden's last wolf was killed in 1966, after which, the species was declared legally protected and eventually recolonised the area.

Norway followed a similar pattern as Sweden, with its last wolf being killed in 1976, before becoming being protected and eventually recolonizing the area.

Eastern Europe

In Czarist Russia, before the Emancipation reform of 1861, wolf hunting was done solely by authorised firearm holders, usually police, soldiers, rich landowners or nobles. Serfs began hunting wolves after their emancipation in 1861, though rarely with success, as civilian firearms were highly expensive, and the cheaper ones were usually primitive and unable to bare the heavy ammunition necessary to kill wolves. Upon learning of the frequency of attacks on livestock and humans, the Czarist Ministry of the Interior sent agents to Western Europe in order to learn how the people there dealt with wolf problems. Upon returning, the Ministry of Internal Affairs developed a plan in 1846 to deal with wolves involving the opening of wolf bounties and appointment of government hunters. Each hunter was given jurisdiction to hunt in one district, with more than one for large areas. Hunters were given 3 rubles for each male wolf killed and 1.5 for each cub, with a tail presented as proof. Each hunter would receive an annual salary of 60 rubles a year, provided he kill 15 adults and 30 cubs a year. Peasant hunters however were rarely rewarded, due to corrupt bureaucrats stealing the money. In 1858, after paying $1 250 000 for over a million wolves in Central Russia, officials became suspicious, and discovered that some hunters bought wolf pelts for low prices, cut them up and handed them to magistrates as wolf tails. In the latter years of the 19th century, Russian hunting societies began an energetic campaign against wolves. In 1897, members of the Moscow Hunting Society killed their first 1000 wolves, though the number of professional wolf hunters at the time was rather low.After the October Revolution, the newly formed Soviet government worked heavily to eradicate wolves and other predators during an extensive land reclamation program.cite web | url = http://www.wolfsongalaska.org/wolf_russia_history.html| title = "Hunting A History of Wolves in Russia" | work = Evgeni Okhtin| publisher = Wolf Song of Alaska | accessdate = 2007-09-12] In 1917, Lenin himself promised his followers that if the Communists won power they would hunt down the last wolf.cite web | url = http://www.mongoliatoday.com/issue/5/wolf_jasper.html| title = "Hunting Outlaw or Hunting Wolves" | work = Jasper Becker | publisher = Mongolia Today| accessdate = 2007-09-12] Government officials instructed the Red army to exterminate predators on sight; a project that was carried out very efficiently. During the Eastern Front, when the Russian government focused its attention on repelling the Nazi invasion, wolf populations were given some respite, and actually increased, though after Germany's defeat, wolf exterminations resumed. With the end of the war and the onset of aerial hunting, the USSR destroyed 42,300 wolves in 1945, 62,700 wolves in 1946, 58,700 wolves in 1947, 57,600 in 1948, and 55,300 in 1949. From 1950 to 1954, an average of 50,000 wolves were killed annually. In 1966, wolves had been successfully exterminated in 30 oblasts of the RSFSR. During this time, wolf depredations had dropped by a factor of ten. However, with the publishing of a Russian translation of Farley Mowatt's fictional book "Never Cry Wolf", wolf hunts decreased in popularity. Amid public outcry, Czarist and Soviet records of wolf attacks on both livestock and people were ignored and wolf hunts decreased in number, allowing wolves to multiply. 15, 900 wolves were reportedly culled from the RSFSR in 1978, compared to 7900 two years prior. With an increase in population, twice as many wolves were culled in the 1980s than in the prior decade. Wolves became extinct in Wrangel Island in the early 1980s.cite web | url = http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/animals/features/284feature1.shtml | title = In defence of Russia's wolves | work = | publisher = bbc.co.uk| accessdate = 2008-04-22] In 1984, the RSFSR had over 2000 wolf hunting brigades consisting of 15, 000 hunters who killed 16 400 wolves. Overall, the Soviet Union culled over 1 500 000 wolves for a cost of 150, 000, 000 rubles on bounties alone. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, many wolf bounties were lowered or dropped altogether. Wolf hunting continues in Russia, at the expense of individual hunters rather than the government.ru iconcite web | url = http://gazeta.aif.ru/online/aif/1102/07_02| title = Волки: серое нашествие | work = | publisher = Аргументы и факты | accessdate = 2008-08-14]

In the Lithuanian SSR, the hunting of wolves was formally permitted all year long with killing cubs in their dens and payment of monetary rewards. The number of wolves in those times in Lithuania fell to about 20-40 individuals. [http://www.lcie.org/Docs/Regions/Baltic/Budrys%20wolf%20lynx%20in%20Lithuania.pdf]

In Communist Romania, up to 2,800 wolves were killed between 1955-1965. During the reign of Nicolae Ceauşescu, a reward equal to a quarter of a month's pay was offered to rangers killing wolf cubs. Full-grown wolves killed by any method at all resulted in as much as a half-month's pay.cite web | url = http://www.anglianwolf.com/d_front_page/articles/conservation/carpathians2003/carpathians2003.htm | title = Wolves in the Carpathians | work = Mary Gray | publisher = Anglican Wolf Society | accessdate = 2007-06-15]

In Croatia, between 1986 to 2004, 115 wolf deaths were recorded, of which 54% were due to shooting. During that period, the number of dead wolves found ranged from 0-15 annually. The lowest kill rates occurred in the late 1980s, early 1990s, coinciding with the start of the Croatian War of Independence in the former state. [ [http://www.life-vuk.hr/wolf_in_croatia.htm Conservation and management of wolves in Croatia ] ]


In India, Hindus traditionally considered the hunting of wolves, even dangerous ones as taboo, for fear of causing a bad harvest. The Santals however considered them fair game, as with every other forest dwelling animal.cite book | author = Maclean, Charles | title = The Wolf Children| year = 1980 | pages = pp.336 | id = ISBN 0140050531] In 1876, in the North-West Provinces and Bihar State of British India, 2,825 wolves were killed in response to 721 fatal attacks on humans.cite book | author = Knight, John | title = Wildlife in Asia: Cultural Perspectives | year = 2004 | pages = pp.280 | id = ISBN 978-0-7007-1332-5 ] Two years later, 2,600 wolves were killed in response to attacks leaving 624 humans dead.cite book | author = Bright, Michael| url = http://www.amazon.com/Man-Eaters-Michael-Bright/dp/0312981562 | title = Man-Eaters| year = 2002 | pages = pp.304 | id = ISBN 0312981562] Wolf exterminations remained a priority in the NWP and Awadh through to the 1920s, due to the fact that wolves were reportedly killing more people than any other predator in the region. Female cubs were bountied for 12 Indian annas, while males for 8. Higher rewards of 5 rupees for each adult and one for each cub were favoured in Jaunpur. In Gorakhpur, where human fatalities were highest in summer, the reward for an adult wolf was 4 rupees, with 3 for a cub. Acts of fraud were quite common, with some bounty hunters presenting golden jackals or simply exhuming the bodies of bountied wolves and presenting them to unsuspecting magistrates for rewards. Overall, it is thought that up to 100,000 wolves were killed in British India between 1871-1916.Before the onset of the Meiji restoration period in 1868, wolves had a benign rather than noxious place in Japanese culture and folklore. Wolves were however occasionally hunted. Wolf bounties ("shōkin") first appeared in Morioka where horse predation by wolves was frequent. Domain lords would pay 700 mon for males, and 900 for females, though peasants received much less. Wolves in Japan became extinct during the Meiji restoration period, an extermination known as "ōkami no kujo". The wolf was deemed a threat to ranching which the Meiji government promoted at the time, and targeted via a bounty system and a direct chemical extermination campaign inspired by the similar contemporary American campaign. Starting August 1875, the Iwate Prefecture government offered bounties ("shōreikin") of 7¥ for male wolves and 8 for females. In 1878 in Sapporo, it was decided to set higher bounties for wolves than bears in order to further motivate the ethnic Ainu people into killing wolves, which were once considered sacred to them. Hokkaido experienced significant development during this period and the Hokkaido Wolf also suffered from resulting environmental disruption. [Brett L. Walker, [http://www.historycooperative.org/journals/eh/9.2/walker.html "Meiji Modernization, Scientific: Agriculture, and the Destruction of Japan's Hokkaido Wolf,"] "Environmental History", Vol. 9, No. 2, 2004.] The last Japanese wolf was a male killed on the 23 January 1905 near Washikaguchi (now called Higashi Yoshiro). The carcass was bought by a man working for the Duke of Bedford, and was subsequently put on display in the British Museum of Natural History.

In the Mongolian People's Republic, the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party organised two national wolf hunting weeks, one in March and another in December. Anyone who killed a wolf and presented a pair of ears as proof was rewarded with a sheep and some felt. Each May, the government commanded the populace to scour the countryside for wolf lairs in an effort to exterminate wolf cubs. When the inhabitants of a district believed it had destroyed its last wolf, the local government would proclaim a public holiday. Records show that up to 5,000 wolves were taken annually in the early 1930s. 4000-4500 wolves were killed annually in Mongolia in 1976.

In the Kazakh SSR, some 1,000 professional hunters killed thousands of the wolves yearly to collect government bounties. In 1988, just before the Soviet economy collapsed, the hunters killed 16,000 wolves.cite web | url = http://www.nwf.org/nationalwildlife/article.cfm?issueID=115&articleID=1473 | title = Is Kazakhstan Home to the World’s Largest Wolf Population? | work = Christopher Pala | publisher = National Wildlife Federation | accessdate = 2007-09-28]

North America

In the majority of Native American hunter-gatherer societies, wolves were usually killed for body parts used in rituals, or to stop them raiding food caches, though some tribes would raid wolf dens for pups when wolf populations became to large for the Natives to live with. This also served as a method of aquiring food, as wolf cubs were considered a delicacy. Native Americans were aware of the dangers of habituated wolves, and would quickly dispatch wolves following them too closely.cite web | url= http://wolfcrossing.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2007/10/carnegie-no1.pdf
title= Statement by Valerius Geist pertaining to the death of Kenton Carnegie | publisher= Wolf Crossing| accessdate= 2008-09-14
] Active hunting of wolves was rare because many tribes believed that such an act would cause game animals to disappear or bring retribution from other wolves. The Cherokee feared that the unjust killing of a wolf would bring about the vengeance of it's pack mates, and that the weapon used for the deed would be usesless in future unless exorcised by a medicine man. However, they would kill wolves with impunity if they knew the proper rites of atonement, and if the wolves themselves happened to raid their fish nets. ["The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion", by James George Frazer, James Frazer, George Stocking, Penguin Classics, 1996 ISBN 0140189319] When the Kwakiutl killed a wolf, the animal would be laid out on a blanket and have portions of its flesh eaten by the perpetrators, who would express regret at the act before burying it. The Ahtna would take the dead wolf to a hut, where it would be propped in a sitting position with a banquet made by a shaman set before it. When men from certain Eskimo tribes killed a wolf, they would walk around their houses four times, expressing regret and abstaining from sexual relations with their wives for four days. Young Apaches would kill wolves, cougars or bears as a rite of passage. [Geronimo, "Geronim His Own Story: The Autobiography of a Great Patriot Warrior", Plume, ISBN-10: 0452011558] Although some of the first European colonists travelling to North America would report back that wolves were more populous in the New World than in Europe, writings from the Lewis and Clark Expedition indicate that wolves were seldom seen except in aboriginal buffer zones.cite web | url= http://rliv.com/pic/LewisClark.pdf | title= Were Native People Keystone Predators? A Continuous-Time Analysis of Wildlife Observations Made by Lewis and Clark in 1804-1806 | publisher= The Ottowa Field-Naturalists' Club| accessdate= 2008-09-23]

After the European colonization of the Americas, the first American wolf bounty was passed by the Massachusetts Bay Colony on November 9 1630. Further wolf bounties opened in Jamestown, Virginia on September 4 1632 and in other colonies. Payments to white settlers included cash, tobacco, wine and corn, while Native Americans were given blankets and trinkets. A New Jersey law started in 1697 stated that any Christian who brought a wolf carcass to a magistrate would have been paid 20 shillings, while a Native American or black would have been paid half that much. It later became customary for Native Americans to provide two wolf pelts a year without payment. In 1688, a Virginia law abolished the requirement of tribute in wolves to be paid in accordance to the number of hunters in each tribe, demanding 725 hunters to kill 145 wolves a year.In the 19th century, as the settlers began increasingly moving west in pursuit of more land for ranching, wolves were becoming increasingly more hunted as threats to livestock. In 1818, a “War of Extermination” against wolves and bears was declared in Ohio. Iowa began its own wolf bounty in 1858, with Wisconsin and Colorado following suit in 1865 and 1869. Wolf pelts soon began to increase in demand as American beavers began to scarcen from overtrapping. In the 1830s, a wolf pelt was worth only $1, doubling in the 1850s. Records of the upper Missouri outfit of the American Fur Trading Company indicate that 20 wolf pelts were shipped downriver in 1850, with 3,000 being shipped three years later. Civilians turned Bounty hunters known as “Wolfers” began killing ungulates in large numbers as bait, poisoning the meat in hopes of attracting unsuspecting wolves. It is estimated that by the 1870s, 100,000 wolves were killed annually. In 1915, federal authorities began a poisoning program of their own, resulting in the extinction of wolves in Yellowstone National Park in 1926. [ [http://www.angelfire.com/mi4/polcrt/NewEngTimeline.html Courtly Lives - New England Timeline ] ] [ [http://www.all-creatures.org/aw/art-wolfnation.html Wolf Nation: From the Brink of Oblivion and Back Again? - Articles from Animals in the Wild: Wildlife Photography by Jim Robertson ] ] American wolf hunts peaked in the 1920s-30s, when up to 21,000 were killed annually. After World War II, wolves were seen less as varmints and more as big game trophy animals.

The first Canadian wolf bounty was offered in 1793 in Ontario and Quebec. Wolves became rare in Eastern Canada by the 1870s, becoming extinct in New Brunswick by 1880, in Nova Scotia by 1900 and had disappeared from Newfoundland by 1913. Full-scale eradication programs did not peak in western and northern Canada until the 1950s, when resource development brought more people into originally sparsely populated wilderness. cite web | url = http://www.wolfsongalaska.org/two_countries.html | title = Wolf Song of Alaska: A Tale of Two Countries | author = Amanda Hillwood | publisher = Wolf song of Alaska | accessdate = 2008-05-04] A government backed wolf extermination programme was initiated in 1948 after serious declines in caribou herds in the Northern Territories and a rabies concern due to wolves migrating south near populated areas. 39,960 cyanide guns, 106,100 cyanide cartridges and 628,000 strychnine pellets were distributed. Up to 17,500 wolves were poisoned in Canada between 1955 to 1961. In the mid-50s, wolf bounties were dropped in the western provinces in favour of hiring provincial hunters. Quebec's wolf bounties ended in 1971 and Ontario in 1972. Overall, 20,000 wolves were bountied between 1935-1955 in British Columbia, 12,000 between 1942-1955 in Alberta and 33,000 between 1947-1971 in Ontario.Unlike wolf populations in the Lower 48 states which declined steadily as settlers moved west, the Canadian wolf population fluctuated between growth and decline, largely due to the fact that the human population in Canada never reached the same level as in the Lower 48, thus leaving large areas of land free for the wolves. [ [http://www.wolfsongalaska.org/two_countries.html Wolf Song of Alaska: A Tale of Two Countries ] ]

Unlike European wolf hunts which were usually reserved for the nobility, North American wolf hunts were partaken by ordinary citizens, nearly all of them possessing firearms, thus the extermination of wolves in the lower 48 states was carried out in far less time than in Europe. cite web | url = http://www.aws.vcn.com/wolf_attacks_on_humans.html | title = Wolf attacks on humans | author = Mader, TR | publisher = Abundant Wildlife Society of North America | accessdate = 2007-05-31]

Wolf hunting today


In Norway, in 2001, the Norwegian Government authorised a controversial wolf cull on the grounds that the animals were overpopulating and were responsible for the killing of more than 600 sheep in 2000. The Norwegian authorities, whose original plans to kill 20 wolves were scaled down amid public outcry. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/1165501.stm BBC News | EUROPE | Snow hampers Norway wolf cull ] ] In 2005, the Norwegian government proposed another cull, with the intent of exterminating 25% of Norway's wolf population. A recent study of the wider Scandinavian wolf population concluded there were 120 individuals at the most, causing great concern on the genetic health of the population. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/4194963.stm BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Norway to kill 25% of its wolves ] ]

Under the Berne Convention wolves in France are listed as an endangered species, and killing them is illegal, though official culls are permitted to protect farm animals as long as there is no threat to the species in its entirety. [ [http://www.wolfsongalaska.org/gray_wolf_europe_cull.htm Wolf Song of Alaska: France's Bardot Demands EU Action on Wolf Cull ] ]

Though wolf populations have increased in Ukraine, wolves remain unprotected there and can be hunted year-round by permit-holders.

Bulgaria considers the wolf a pest animal and there is a bounty equivalent to two weeks average wages on their heads.cite web | url = http://ukwolf.org/uk-wolf/71 | title = Bulgaria | work = | publisher = | accessdate = 2007-09-10]

With the exception of specimens in nature reserves, wolves in Belarus are largely unprotected. They are designated a game species, and bounties ranging between 60 and 70 Euros are paid to hunters for each wolf killed. This is a considerable sum in a country where the average monthly wage is 230 Euros. [http://www.wolf.org/wolves/news/iwmag/2006/fall/wow_belarus.pdf]

In Russia, government-backed wolf exterminations have been largely discontinued since the fall of the Soviet Union. As a result, their numbers have stabilized and are increasing, though they are still hunted legally. According to Alexander Tikhonov, head of the Department of Hunting Resources "the more wolves you have, the more problems there are." His department currently licenses a national bag limit of up to 14,000 wolves annually, with permits given to hunt even within nature reserves. Currently, Russia is the only nation where poison is legally used to kill wolves. The government licensed a fluorine-acetate-barium compound and distributed it through hunting associations.


Since the fall of the Soviet Union, wolf hunting in Kazakhstan has decreased in profit. About 2,000 are killed yearly for a $40 bounty, though the animal’s numbers have risen sharply.

Wolf hunting has become a fashionable past-time for Mongolia's new capitalist rich, particularly around Ulaanbaatar. It is currently illegal to shoot animals from helicopters or jeeps, though many rich hunters do not pay attention to this, including the lawmakers. For Mongolian nomads, hunting wolves is more than a rich man's hobby because of evocations to the wolf's role in their mythology. Most post-Soviet Mongols have reverted to the traditional belief that to kill a wolf in January, or even to see one, brings good fortune for the whole year.

In 2006, the government of the People's Republic of China began plans to auction licences for foreigners to hunt wild animals, including wolves which are the only carnivores on the list of animals that can be hunted. The licence to shoot a wolf can apparently be acquired for $200. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4775335.stm BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | China to promote wild animal hunt ] ]

North America

Montana has an official wolf-hunting season, contingent on wolves being taken off the endangered species list by the federal government. The wolf hunting season's opening date coincides with the big-game hunting season, but is extended to one month. Hunters are permitted to take wolves with both firearms and bows. [ [http://www.helenair.com/articles/2008/02/20/top/52lo_080220_wolves.txt helenair.com ] ] The number of licenses issued to wolf hunters is unlimited, though the state has a quota for the number of animals that can be killed. Officials recommend a quota of about 130 wolves. The plan calls for an annual limit of one wolf per hunter. [ [http://www.greatfallstribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071221/NEWS01/712210320/1002 Great Falls Tribune - www.greatfallstribune.com - Great Falls, MT ] ] In Alaska, it is illegal to shoot a wolf with a .22-caliber rifle because wolves are classified as big game. [http://www.wolvesgonewild.com/?p=130] quote|Alaska Governor Sarah Palin tried in 2007 to have the state pay $150 for every wolf killed, but the state superior court shot that down as an illegal use of bounty payments, which were outlawed in that state in 1984 [ [http://www.slate.com/id/2199140/ Alaska Governor Palin criticized for approval of outlawed $150 bounty on aerial-hunted wolves & bears.] .

An estimated 15% of Canada and Alaska's wolf population of 6,000-7,000 is harvested annually. Ontario ceased its wolf bounty system in 1972, though retaining a year round open season for wolves.


The Grey Wolf "(Canis lupus)" is the largest member of the canidae. Though once abundant over much of North America and Eurasia, the grey wolf inhabits a very small portion of its former range because of widespread destruction of its habitat; in some regions it is endangered or threatened. Considered as a whole, however, the grey wolf is regarded as of least concern for extinction according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. Wolf weight and size can vary greatly worldwide, tending to increase proportionally with latitude as predicted by Bergmann's Rule. Wolves are usually hunted in heavy brush and are considered especially challenging to hunt, due to their elusive nature and sharp senses.cite web | url = http://www.albertabushadventures.com/wolf_hunting.html | title = Alberta Canada Wolf & Coyote Hunts with Alberta Bush Adventures Hunting Guides | work = | publisher = Alberta Bush Adventures| accessdate = 2007-09-27] Grey wolves are notoriously shy and difficult to kill, having been stated to be almost as hard to stalk as cougars, and being far more problematic to dispatch with poison, traps or hounds. Wolves though generally do not defend themselves as effectively as cougars or bears. Some wolves will evade capture for very long periods of time and display great cunning. One specimen nicknamed "Three Toes of Harding County" in South Dakota eluded its pursuers for 13 years before finally being caught.cite web | url=http://www.aws.vcn.com/wolf_myth_legend_misconception.html | title = The Wolf: Myth, Legend and Misconception | publisher = Abundant Wildlife Society of North America | accessdate = 2008-07-10] Another wolf nicknamed "Rags the digger" near Meeker, Colorado would deliberately ruin trap lines by digging up traps without tripping them.cite web | url = http://www.internationalwolf.net/wolves/news/iwmag/2000/winter/outlaw_wolves.pdf | title = Legends of the "Outlaw Wolves" | work = | publisher = International Wolf Centre| accessdate = 2008-07-12] In Sport hunting, wolves are usually taken in late Autumn and early Winter, when their pelts are of the highest quality and because the heavy snow makes it easier for the wolves to be tracked. Adult wolves are usually too fast to be overtaken by wolfhounds, but not for well conditioned horses, especially in thick snow. A shot wolf must be approached with caution, as some wolves will play possum. Accounts as to how wolves react to being trapped or cornered vary. John James Audubon wrote that young wolves typically show little resistance to being caught, whereas older, more experienced wolves will fight savagely.cite book | author=Audubon, John James | title=The Imperial Collection of Audubon Animals | year=1967 | pages=p307 | id=ASIN|B000M2FOFM ]


Wolves are commonly hunted for their fur. The color of a wolf's fur can vary, although grey is the most common color. Wolves have two kinds of hairs; an outer coat of long, stiff hairs called "guard hairs" and an "undercoat" of soft fur which grows thick in the winter and helps to insulate their bodies from the cold. The five inch (127 mm) long guard hairs which are shed in spring and summer are waterproof, keeping the wolf's underfur dry and warm. The fur of the undercoat may be nearly two and a half inches thick and help keep a wolf warm even in temperatures reaching 40 degrees below zero.cite web | url = http://www3.cesa10.k12.wi.us/clustera/multimedia/altoona/solfest/fur.htm | title = Wolf fur | work = | publisher = Big, Bad Wolves: Lessons in Tolerance| accessdate = 2007-09-27] Wolves in warm climates have shorter guard hairs and less dense underfur.cite book | author = Lopez, Barry |url = http://www.amazon.com/Wolves-Men-Barry-Lopez/dp/0684163225/ref=pd_bbs_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1203514926&sr=1-2 | title = Of wolves and men | year = 1978 | pages = pp.320 | id = ISBN 0743249364] In some areas of medieval Europe, pelts were the only considered practicality of wolves. Pelts were usually made into cloaks or mittens, though not without hesitation, due to the wolf's foul odour. Wolf pelts were important to many Native American tribes and considered by some to be powerful medicine. Sacred articles were wrapped in wolf skin and some tribes also wove wolf and American bison hair together in small blankets. Native American hunters used wolf pelts as disguises to allow them stalk close bison herds. The bison were accustomed to having wolves walk among them and did not fear wolves unless they were vulnerable because of disease, injury, or if guarding young. Wolf pelts were also valuable as clothing, objects for trade and for ruffs or coats. They were also used in ritual dances and worn by some shamans, or medicine men. Tundra-dwelling wolves are especially valued, as their pelages are more luxuriant than those of forest dwelling wolves, sometimes selling for twice as much. Females typically have smoother coats than males. Ethiopian wolves are not usually exploited for fur, though there was an occasion in Wollo in which wolf skins were used as saddle pads. In the former Soviet Union, between 1976 and 1988, 30,000 wolf pelts were produced annually. Recent statistics from CITES indicate that 6,000-7,000 wolf skins are internationally traded each year, with Canada, the former Soviet Union, Mongolia and China being the largest exporters, and the United States and Great Britain being the largest importers. Today, wolf pelts are still valued for parka trim, fur coats and rugs. The production of wolf pelts is still an important source of income for Arctic communities in Alaska and Canada.

Ritual and traditional medicine

In Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome, wolf flesh was a main ingredient in unguents used to ward off evil. When applied in the form of a powder, the wolf unguent would be used to cure epilepsy, plague and gout. Powdered wolf bones were used to cure chest and back pains, broken bones and strained tendons. Wolf teeth, particularly the canines, would be perforated and used as talismans against evil spirits. This practice is thought to fall back to the Paleolithic, as shown by some prehistoric grave sites showing numerous wolf tooth charms. It continues in some areas of rural France, where it is also thought that wearing a wolf tooth offers protection from wolf attacks. The tongue, when cooked with flour and honey, was traditionally used as a remedy for epilepsy and as a guarantee of good luck. The eyes of a wolf were traditionally thought to give courage to children and render the user partially invisible. The liver was particularly prized for medicinal and ritualistic purposes. When cooked or desiccated into a powder and mixed with certain ingredients (flour, wine, water, blood, urine etc.), wolf liver was said to cure epilepsy, edema, tachycardia, syphilis, gangrene, vertigo, migraines, verucas and dysentery. Wolf penis supposedly cured impotence. Wolf blood was used for gout, period pains and deafness. The paws and fat of a wolf were sometimes used to ward off evil, or facilitate the transformation of a werewolf. Wolf dung was used against colics. The milk of a she-wolf made the drinker invulnerable, while eating the heart of a wolf gave the consumer courage in battle. A wolf's tail, while used for warding off evil, was also used as a love charm. The head of a wolf, if hung outside a house, would deter wolves, robbers and evil spirits. When reduced to powder, a wolf's head could be used against toothache and joint pains.fr iconcite book | author = Marillier, Bernard |url = | title = Le Loup | year = 1997 | pages = pp.205 | id = ISBN 9788871362809] In the cultures of certain Native American tribes, wolf body parts were considered important additions to certain rituals. Pawnee warriors, known as Wolf People, dressed in wolf skin cloaks when scouting or hunting. Nez Perce warriors wore wolf teeth pushed through the septums of their noses. Cheyenne medicine men wrapped wolf fur on sacred arrows used to motion prey into traps. Arikara men wove wolf fur with bison fur in order to make small sacred blankets. Nuxálk mothers painted wolf gall bladders on their young male children's backs, so they could grow up to perform religious ceremonies without making mistakes as hunters. Hidatsan women experiencing difficult births would call upon the familial power of wolves by rubbing wolf-skin caps on their bellies. In Mongolian folk medicine, eating the intestines of a wolf is said to alleviate chronic indigestion, while sprinkling food with powdered wolf rectum is said to cure haemorroids.cite book | author = Severin, Tim| url = http://www.amazon.com/Search-Genghis-Khan-Exhilarating-Horseback/dp/0815412878/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1203514977&sr=1-1| title = In Search of Genghis Khan: An Exhilarating Journey on Horseback Across the Steppes of Mongolia | year = 2003 | pages = pp.280 | id = ISBN 0815412878] There are not many traditional uses for Ethiopian wolves, though their livers may be used for medicinal reasons in northern Ethiopia.cite web | title = Ethiopian wolf | work = | publisher = Canids.org| url = http://www.canids.org/species/Ethiopian_wolf.pdf | accessdate = 2008-04-23]


It is rare for wolves to be hunted for food, though historically, people have resorted to consuming wolf flesh in times of scarcity, or for medicinal reasons.

Most Native American tribes, especially the Naskapis, viewed wolf flesh as edible but inadequate nutrition, as it was not a herbivore and thus did not possess the same healing qualities thought to be distinct in plant eaters. The mountain people of Japan once ate wolf meat in order to boost their courage, though they commented that the meat was tough. Mountain dwelling wolves known as "yomainu" were considered poisonous.cite book | author = Walker, Brett L. | title = The Lost Wolves Of Japan | year = 2005 | pages = pp.331 | id = ISBN 0295984929] During the European colonization of Western America, wolf meat was considered "not usually eatable", though fair game for a hungry man. However, Martin Schmitt argued that references to the consumption of wolf meat at the time may have actually been on coyotes.cite book | author = Schmitt, Martin| url = http://www.jstor.org/pss/1498034| title = "Meat's Meat": An Account of the Flesh-Eating Habits of Western Americans | year = 1952 | pages = pp.19 | id = ] During Vilhjalmur Stefansson's Arctic expedition in 1913, George H. Wilkins sampled cooked wolf meat and commented that it was "fine eating" and noted a resemblance to chicken. [ [http://www.civilization.ca/hist/cae/foo90e.html Civilization.ca - Canadian Arctic Expedition - Food ] ] According to Maneka Gandhi, wolf meat is a major source of trichinellosis. [ [http://www.bihartimes.com/Maneka/animalmeateating.html Dangers of Animal meat eating ] ] Wolf meat is considered haram under Islamic dietary laws (Sahih Muslim, no: 1934) [ [http://www.central-mosque.com/fiqh/fhalal1.htm The Fiqh of Halal and Haram Animals ] ]


Wolf hunting historically gave rise to a vast vocabularly

*Berkut: A tame golden eagle used to hunt wolves in Central Asia
*Grand vieux loup: An old, solitary male wolffr iconcite book | author= Rousseau, Élise | url = | title=Anthologie du Loup | year=2006 | pages= p 319 | id= ISBN 2603013351 ]
*Loup Chevalier: A wolf which regularly attacks horses
*Loup lévrier: A wolf exceptionally fast in the chase
*Loup Moutonnier: A wolf which regularly attacks sheep
*La Louveterie: Wolf hunting
*Louvetier royal: Modern day offshoot of the "luparii". Now serves an administrative function regulating vermin and maintaining healthy wildlife populations
*Lovière: A wolf den
*Luparii: An elite corps of crown funded officials called whose purpose was to control wolf populations in France during the Middle Ages
*Lycisca: A wolf-dog hybrid
*Outlaw wolf: A wolf which regularly killed livestock in America
*Wolfer: Both professional and civilian wolf hunters who operated in North America in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
*Wolfhound: A dog bred or trained to hunt wolves


Aerial hunting

Aerial hunting involves the tracking of wolves via a small airplane or helicopter and is considered by many to be the most effective method of wolf hunting. It was frequently used in the Soviet Union during its wolf control campaigns, starting in 1946 when the Chief Directorate of Aviation received reports that pilots flying at low altitudes often saw wolves frequently. Polikarpov Po-2s and Antonov An-2s were the most frequently used models. The normal protocol was for the pilot to search frontally, and the shooter sideways. 70%-80% of wolves were first sighted by the pilot. Rocket guns would be fired into dense brush in order to scare wolves out into the open. Markers were thrown at the site of each kill for later collection. Actual shooting was done from the rear cockpit or left side when at a distance of 18-20 metres from the quarry. An experienced shooter could spot a standing wolf a kilometre away at heights of up to 100-140 metres. Most wolves were killed when the planes flew at speeds of 70 to 85 km/h. Carcasses could be tied to the fuselage or wings of the plane. The rear cockpit could hold 4 wolves, while the shooters cockpit could hold 2. The load limit of a Po-2 was 2 men and 5 adult wolves. Aerial hunting has been discontinued in the former Soviet Union due to budget restraints. Wolf hunting is still practised in the U.S state of Alaska, though it is illegal to shoot wolves from the aircraft. Instead, the wolf is pursued to the point of exhuastion, and shot from the ground. [ [http://www.wolfsongalaska.org/wolves_humans_hunting.html Wolf Song of Alaska: Wolf Hunting ] ] cquote|Congress passed the Federal Airborne Hunting Act of 1972 [http://www.fws.gov/le/pdffiles/Airborne%20Hunting.pdf Federal Airborne Hunting Act of 1972] , which made it illegal for hunters to shoot animals from a plane or helicopter. The federal legislation does have a [provision] for predator control, permitting state employees or licensed individuals to shoot from an aircraft for the sake of protecting "land, water, wildlife, livestock, domesticated animals, human life, or crops." [http://www.slate.com/id/2199140/ Background] Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska in 2007 approved to use this provision in the law to shoot wolves and bears while flying for the purpose of protection of property [ [http://www.slate.com/id/2199140/ FAHA Synopsis.] . cquote|A kill of 124 wolves would thus translate to [the survival of] 1,488 moose or 2,976 caribou or some combination thereof.~Craig Medred [http://www.adn.com/news/alaska/wildlife/wolves/story/410461.html/ Aerial wolf killing benefits Caribou and Moose Population]

Hunting with dogs

Several dog breeds known as wolfhounds have been bred for the purpose of hunting wolves, though conventional hunting breeds have also been used. According to the "Encyclopédie, ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers", wolf hunting squads in France typically consisted of 25-30 good sized dogs, usually grey in colour with red around the eyes and jowls. The main pack would be supplemented with six or eight large sighthounds and a few dogues. Wolf hunting sighthounds were usually separated into three categories; "lévriers d'estric", "lévriers compagnons" or "lévriers de flanc" and "lévriers de tête". It was preferable to have two teams of each kind, with each team consisting of 2-3 dogs. It is specified that one can never have enough bloodhounds in a wolf hunt, as the wolf is the most challenging quarry for the hounds to track, due to its light tread leaving scant debris, and thus very little scent. This was not so serious a problem in winter, when the tracks were easier to detect. Each bloodhound group would be used alternatively throughout the hunt, in order to allow the previous team to recuperate. Dogs used in a wolf hunt were typically veteran animals, as younger hunting dogs would be intimidated by the wolf's scent."Chasse du Loup", "L'Encyclopédie, Diderot et d'Alembert, 1751-1780] In his book "Hunting the Grisly and Other Sketches", Theodore Roosevelt wrote that greyhound crossbreeds were a favourite of his, and wrote that exclusively purebred greyhounds were unnecessary, sometimes to the point of uselessness in a wolf hunt. Some bulldog blood in the dogs was considered helpful, though not essential. Though he considered the use of dogs as the most effective means of wolf hunting at the time, wolves were nonetheless extremely dangerous opponents for the dogs.cite web | url = http://www.fullbooks.com/Hunting-the-Grisly-and-Other-Sketches3.html| title = "Hunting the Grisly and Other Sketches" | work = Theodore Roosevelt| publisher = | accessdate = 2007-09-12]

According to the "Encyclopédie", because of the wolf's feeble scent, a wolf hunt would have to begin by motivating the bloodhounds with repeated caresses and the recitation; "va outre ribaut hau mon valet; hau lo lo lo lo, velleci, velleci aller mon petit". It was preferable that the area of the hunt contained no stronger smelling animals which could distract the dogs, or that the dogs themselves were entirely specialised in hunting wolves. Once the scent had been found, the hunters would give a further recitation in order to motivate the dogs; "qu'est-ce là mon valet, hau l'ami après, vellici il dit vrai". The scent was usually found at a crossroad, where the wolf would scratch the earth or leave a scent mark. The two teams of "lévriers d'estric" would be placed at seperate points on the borders of the forest, where the wolf was expected to run to. The "lévriers compagnons" would be concealed on either side of the path which the wolf was expected to run through. The "lévriers de tête", which were the largest and most agressive, would initiate the chase once the wolf was sighted, and manoevre it toward the other waiting "lévrier" teams. Once the wolf was apprehended, the dogs would be pulled back, and the hunters would place a wooden stick between the wolf's jaws in order to stop it injuring them or the dogs. The hunt master would then quickly dispatch the wolf by stabbing it between the shoulder blades with a dagger.

Dogs typically did not readily eat wolf curée, therefore it had to be prepared in a special way in order for the dogs to accept it. The carcass would be skinned, gutted and decapitated, with the entrails placed in an oven. After roasting, the entrails would be mixed with breadcrumbs and placed in a cauldron of boiling water. In winter, they would then be mixed with 3-4 lbs of fat, while in summer, two or three bucketloads of milk and flour was applied. After soaking, the entrails would be placed on a sheet of cloth and taken to the dogs whilst still warm.

Hunting with eagles

The use of raptors in the hunting of wolves is mostly exclusive to Central Asia. The "berkut" is a type of Golden Eagle which the Kyrgyz people have traditionally used to hunt wolves. In the past, wolf pelts provided material for clothes crucial for the survival of the nomadic people in the severe colds. The eagles are used to immobilise the wolves by placing one foot at the back of the neck and another at the flank closer to the heart and lungs. Hunters usually only use eagles against cubs, seeing as an adult wolf can cripple in combat even a highly experienced eagle. Losing even one toe or talon will significantly lower the eagle's ability to tackle prey. Only a minor injury to the sinew of a foot may leave the eagle incapable of further hunting. As a wolf is capable of resisting even the best-trained bird, the falconer always keeps near, ready at the first opportunity to help the eagle. However this is done carefully, as the wolf, sensing human presence, fights desperately to tear loose from the bird’s talons, and the eagle can be severely injured. Because of the violent nature of their work, eagles trained to hunt wolves have shorter life spans. [ [http://proeco.visti.net/naturalist/falconry/geagl.htm Golden Eagle ] ]


The use of heated box blinds is a popular method of wolf hunting in modern Alberta. Bait stations are set in advance of the hunt, with blinds being erected in the more frequented spots. The method was developed as a response to the fact that finding wolves on foot was almost always a pure luck scenario, due to the wolf's elusiveness. Shots are usually fired when the wolf is convert|200|yd from the blind. [ [http://www.abhunting.com/wolf-coyote-hunting.asp Winter Wolf Hunts Alberta Canada Wolf Hunts Coyote Hunts Alberta Wolf Hunting Outfitters Guides ] ]


Calling is a traditional wolf hunting method of Mongolia. The hunters go to the place where the pack is located early in the morning and will imitate a wolf's howl. The hunters howl in unison with the wolves and wait for the animals to come to them. Mongolian wolf hunting is usually done with the assistance of local herders. [ [http://www.budgettours.mn/id37.htm Wolf hunting ] ]


In modern European Russia, a traditional wolf hunting method involves encircling the located wolf pack with a 3-5 kilometer (2-3 mile) long tether, having small swatches of fabric stitched to it every few feet. The fabric is usually red in order to be easier spotted over the background of snow by the guides. Since it retains a human scent for several days, wolves tend to stay within the encircled area. When the hunters arrive, the pack of wolves is already “flagged”. [ [http://www.russianhunting.com/wolf-hunting-in-russia/ Russia Wolf Hunt ] ]

Knife traps

The Native Americans used two kinds of knife trap. One method was to encase a sharp blade in fat and frozen upright on a block of ice. The wolf would cut itself while licking the blade and bleed to death. The other method was a baited torsion spring which when triggered, would stab the wolf in the head.

Trapping pit

Across the top of the trapping pit was a thick stick or pole, and on this was fastened a plank, which covered the top of the trap. On one end of this plank was a piece of venison, and on the other a stone. The way the trap was meant to work was this: The wolf would come to the venison, and just as it got on the plank to eat it, the plank would turn, causing the wolf to fall into the pit. The weight of the stone at the other end would bring the plank up again, ready baited for another wolf. [Ranger, Robin "Wolves and Foxes" Sunday-School Union 1866]


Modern wolf hunting has become a controversial issue in some countries.

=Livestock and crop da

Opponents have argued that at least in North America, wolves contribute little to overall livestock losses. In 1986, for example, Minnesota's wolf population consisted of 1,300–1,400 wolves, with an estimated 232,000 cattle and 16,000 sheep within Minnesota's wolf range. 26 cattle, about 0.01% of the cattle available were killed during that year, while only 13 sheep were taken, around 0.08% of the sheep available. cite web |url = http://www.wolf.org/wolves/learn/intermed/inter_mgmt/depstat.asp | title = Wolf Depredation | publisher = International Wolf Center | date= August 2005] Jim Dutcher, a filmmaker who raised a captive wolf pack, observed that the wolves were very reluctant to try meat that they had not previously eaten or seen another wolf eat before, possibly explaining why livestock depredation is unlikely except in cases of desperation. [cite web | url=http://www.amazon.com/Wolves-Our-Door-Extraordinary-Couple/dp/0743400496 | title = Wolves at our door | publisher = Touchstone | first= Jim and Jamie| last= Dutcher | date = 2002| accessdate = 2007-02-27]

Wolf hunting proponents have drawn attention to the fact that wolves will on occasion commit acts of surplus killing when within the confines of human-made livestock shelters. Rare incidents of surplus killing by wolves in Minnesota are reported to leave up to 35 sheep killed and injured in flocks and losses of 50 to 200 birds in turkey flocks.cite web | url= http://http://www.wolftrust.org.uk/a-d7-depredation-surplus.html | title= Wolf Depredation | work= | publisher= Wolf Trust |accessdate= 2007-10-17] While loss of livestock by wolves makes up only a small percentage of total losses in North America, surveys in Eurasia show some instances where wolf predation was frequent. Between April 1989 and June 1991, 21,000 sheep and goats plus 2,729 cattle were killed in Greece, with 5,894 sheep and goats and 880 cattle in 1998.cite web | title = Conservation Action Plan for the golden jackal (Canis aureus) in Greece | work = | publisher = WWF Greece | url = http://www.lcie.org/Docs/Action%20Plans/Greece%20Golden%20Jackal%20Action%20Plan%202004.pdf | accessdate = 2007-07-31] In 1987, Kazakhstan reported over 150,000 domestic livestock losses to wolves, with 200,000 being reported a year later. In some areas of the former Soviet Union, wolves cause serious damage to watermelon plantations. Wolves will usually only take ripe melons after giving test bites, which can render even unripe fruits worthless for future consumption. Sometimes, up to 20% of the total watermelon crop can be destroyed on one raid.

Wolves and game herds

Wolf hunting opponents have argued that wolves serve vital functions in areas where they are sympatric with game herds. By culling unhealthy animals, wolves allegedly keep game herds healthy. Opponents state that without wolves, prey populations swell unnaturally, unbalancing ecosystems whilst simultaneously sapping wildlife management resources.cite web | url= http://missllorosenvironmentalscience.com/work/Wolf%20Re%20-%20Introduction.DOC | title = Activists cry "Pro-wolf" | publisher = National Wildlife Federation | accessdate = 2008-04-23] In the Iberian Peninsula for example, conservationists consider wolves to be beneficial because they keep wild boar populations stable, thus allowing some respite to the endangered capercaillie populations which suffer greatly from boar predation [ [http://www.iberianature.com/material/Wolves_boars_capercaillie.htm Wolves, boars and capercaillie ] ] .

Proponents for wolf hunting often point out the apparently adverse effects large wolf populations have on game herds. An example occurred in 2008, in which the Alaska Board of Game approved plans calling for department staff to shoot wolves from helicopters on the southern Alaska Peninsula under the pretense of assisting the survival of the Southern Alaska Peninsula Caribou Herd. Wolves were allegedly responsible for a dramatic drop in the Southern Alaska Caribou Herd's population, which once numbered up to 10,000 in 1983, only to drop to a population of 600 animals in 2008. Wolf predation was also believed to be responsible for virtually no calves surviving for the two years prior the culling plans, despite a 70% pregnancy rate. In the former Soviet Union, depending on the locality, a single wolf can consume 90 saiga, 50-80 wild boar or an average of 50 domestic or wild caribou annually. A pack of 2-5 wolves will often kill 2 caribou every three days. Further reports from the former Soviet Union indicate that rather than prey on exclusively sick or infirm prey, wolves seem to attack young or pregnant animals far more frequently, regardless of their sanitary state. In the Nenetskij National Okrug, wolves were shown to select pregnant female domestic caribou and calves rather than infirm specimens, with some reports showing that wolves bypassed emaciated, sickly animals in favour of well fed ones. Large numbers of wolves have also been blamed on the decline of critically endangered saiga antelope herds in Central Asia. During the late 1950s and early 60's when the Soviet Union used poison to effectively bring down wolf numbers, the number, as well as the range of moose, wild boar and red deer increased. Caspian seals were valued as fur bearers in the Soviet industry, and in a three week period in February 1978, wolves were responsible for the wanton killing of numerous seals on the Caspian sea near Astrakhan. Between 17-40% of the seals in the area were estimated to have been killed, but not eaten.

Wolves and the spread of disease

Some hunt proponents argue that large numbers of wolves are central to the spread of numerous infectious diseases due to their nomadic nature. Diseases recorded to be carried by wolves include rabies, brucella, deerfly fever, listerosis foot and mouth disease and anthrax. Wolves are major hosts for rabies in Russia, Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq and India. Wolves in Russia have been recorded to carry over 50 different kinds of harmful parasites, including echinococcia, cysticercocci and coenuri. A 10 year study in the former Soviet Union showed that in some regions, every successful wolf litter in spring coincided with an 100% increase in cestode infections in moose and wild boar, with some specimens sporting up to 30-40 cysts. It also showed that where wolves were absent, the number of cysticerosis infected wild ungulates was much less. Despite their habit of carrying harmful diseases, large wolf populations are not negatively influenced by epizootic outbreaks as with other canids, and thus some hunting proponents argue that disease cannot be a guarantee of naturally controlling wolf numbers.cite book | author = Graves, Will |url = http://www.wolvesinrussia.com/ | title = Wolves in Russia: Anxiety throughout the ages | year = 2007 | pages = pp.222 | id = ISBN 1550593323]

Attacks on humans

The absence of a global review, and the language barrier having partially hindered the flow of international information has led some international groups to level criticism at some wolf advocates, claiming that they have extrapolated America's general lack of negative experiences with wolves to the rest of the world, whilst ignoring the differing histories and cultures which lead to diverse interactions with the animals.cite web | url= http://www.nina.no/archive/nina/Publikasjoner/oppdragsmelding/NINA-OM731.pdf | title= The Fear of Wolves: A Review of Wolf Attacks on Humans | publisher= Norsk Institutt for Naturforskning | accessdate= 2008-06-26] Hunting proponents argue that wolves with no negative experiences of humans are more likely to encroach upon human settlements and attack people, citing for example the differences in attitudes toward the public distribution of firearms in America and Eurasia as examples as to why nations on both continents have differing accounts of wolf aggression. Hunting wolves is reasoned to maintain shyness in wolves, a fact which is correlated by modern accounts demonstrating that wolves in protected areas are more likely to show no fear toward humans than ones in areas where they are actively hunted. Historical and recent accounts indicate that individual wolves or wolf packs that turn man-eater typically do not stop their depredations until hunted and destroyed.

Notable wolf hunters

*Ivan IV Vasilyevichcite book | author = Troyat, Henri | title = Ivan le terrible | year = 1993 | pages = pp.284 | id = ISBN 2080644734 ]
*Mary I of Scotland
*Antoine de Beauterne
*Jean Chastel
*Jack O'Connor
*Theodore Roosevelt
*Ernest Thompson Seton


ee also

*Beast of Gévaudan, a famous episode of wolf-hunting
*Hunting of Jean-Baptiste, a notable wolf-hunt from 1780
*Hunting license
*Wolf attacks on humans, some of which have spurred hunts


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  • Wolf of Soissons — The Wolf of Soissons was a man eating wolf which terrorized the commune of Soissons northeast of Paris over a period of two days in 1765, attacking eighteen people, four of which died from their wounds. The first victims of the wolf were a… …   Wikipedia

  • Wolf of Ansbach — The Wolf of Ansbach was a man eating wolf that attacked and killed an unknown number of people in the Principality of Ansbach in 1685, then a part of the Holy Roman Empire. Initially a nuisance preying on livestock, the wolf soon began attacking… …   Wikipedia

  • Wolf's Head, Wolf's Heart — infobox Book | name = Wolf s Head, Wolf s Heart title orig = translator = author = Jane Lindskold cover artist = country = United States language = English series = Firekeeper Saga genre = Fantasy novel publisher = Tor Fantasy release date = 2002 …   Wikipedia

  • wolf's-head — ˈ ̷ ̷ˌ ̷ ̷ noun Etymology: Middle English wolfesheved, from Old English wulfeshēafod, interjection used in wolf hunting and in pursuing an outlaw, literally, head of a wolf, from wulfes (gen. of wulf wolf) + hēafod head more at wolf, head 1.… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Wolf reintroduction — involves the artificial reestablishment of a population of wolves into areas where they had been previously extirpated. Wolf reintroduction is only considered where large tracts of suitable wilderness still exist and where certain prey species… …   Wikipedia

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