WOLVES AT THE DOOR
By Tim Findley
Twenty-three-year-old Jeston Cundall looked out that February
morning in 1996 from the apartment he and his new bride shared
above the spectacular Lost Trail arena, out across the snowy nearest
pasture to where one of their cows had died the day before. His
days work was before him, and Jeston was planning in his mind
when, strangely, the dead carcass seemed to be moving, as if it
were being pulled by something. Jeston raced down the steps and
toward the fence for a better look. Unbelieving of what he was
seeing, he shouted back for his wife, Sharee, who had been raised
in this country. It was Sharee, in her natural youthful enthusiasm,
who first made the identification. Watching wide-eyed with her
husband at the stark contrasts between snow and shapes, she said
to him, Holy cow, its a wolf!
Jeston took a better look through the fixed scope on his .22 magnum.
Not just one wolf, but two, a female and a large male, were dragging
the 1,200-pound cow toward the distant fence. In that fateful
moment, Jeston only watched through his scope. The rifle remained
Some will tell you there always have been, and always will be,
wolves in this part of Montana northwest of Kalispell and only
60 miles south of the Canadian border. Look an old-timer like
Bud Elberud in the eye and he might deny ever having come on one
close enough to be bothering his cattle, but he leaves no doubt
about what hed do if he did. Then again, he says, I wouldnt
even tell my wife about it.
Certainly there were wolves here when Pleasant Valley was first
settled in the 1890s. In those days, one or two professionals
were likely to be kept busy hunting down marauders of all sorts,
including wolves, grizzlies, coyotes and mountain lions. Even
though they certainly never took them all, by the mid-1970s, wolves
and grizzlies were both on the endangered species list and protected
from a bullet by a potential $100,000 fine and jail time for anybody
who even took a wild shot. After that, the code here, as elsewhere
in the West, was shoot, shovel, and shut up. The wolves were
assumed to be gone, moved north into Canada where in the presence
of packs thought to total some 50,000 or more, ranchers still
have a legal right to protect their herds. Around here, nobody
said much about them.
Lost Trail Ranch is a consolidation of at least two former homesteads
in this lush valley that once almost had itself a town made up
of outlaws, renegades and railroad hands who built the near-forgotten
line meant to connect Kalispell and the tiny town of Marion with
Libby to the west. It was a much calmer and spectacularly beautiful
place when a rich Los Angeles developer enthralled by his experience
on a dude ranch bought the Lost Trail and its 8,000 acres as an
intended gift for his pre-teen daughter in 1990. He acquired two
stately mansion-sized Victorian houses along with the broad soft
green pastures fed from the headwaters of the Fisher River all
the way up to the tree lines owned by the Plum Creek Timber Company.
It was an achingly beautiful place and the new owner, Dick Randall,
set about adding to its charm with miles of new fences and gate
posts, fresh bright paint on all the buildings, restored cabins
with new foundations and even what he called a calving shed
that was the size of a respectable county arena, replete with
Randall is the grandson of one of the pioneer cattlemen who first
brought white face steers to Texas, but he is a developer, not
a rancher. Even as the obvious economic anchor to the entire valley,
Lost Trail was meant by the owner to be a working view estate
where the real chores were handled by a manager.
In Wheatland, Wyo., Jerry Cundall and his family could not boast
of quite so opulent arrangements, but theirs was a comfortable
place built up by Jerry and his father after they moved on from
their original land in Nebraska. Jerrys wife, Sherma, had grown
up on her familys own ranch east of Walsenburg, Colo. By then,
the Cundalls had four strikingly handsome children, three boys
and a girl, each of whom expressed their own special interest
in livestock and agriculture. They were a strong family with values
as simple and sturdy as the rural West where they all were raised.
But on two separate ranches in Wyoming they found themselves in
conflict with corporate and government interests meaning to gain
control over the water.
It was almost by coincidence of friends who knew friends that
after two failures in finding a manager for Lost Trail, the rich
developer was led to a perfect match in an entire family willing
to take over operations of his Montana treasure. To the Cundalls,
it was an unimagined dream come true. They were promised the job
would last at least 10 years and that their entire family would
find the perfect setting for the ambitions they all shared.
Jerry set about to build the kind of cow-calf operation the owner
wanted, improving on the year-to-year grazing leases on 20,000
acres of the neighboring Plum Creek timber land. At its peak,
before environmentalist pressure demanded reductions on the leasehold,
the Lost Trail ran about 900 head. Young Jeston and his bride
found managing the horses and the nearby pastures perfectly suited
to their interests. His sister, Cheyenne, soon to go off to college
back in Wyoming, delighted in working with the livestock. Teenager
Josh Cundall loved the tractors and machinery, and even more than
that his seemingly endless solitary treks on hunting or fishing
trips in all directions. Jade, and his wife Molly, kept an interest
in the haying and daily operations. Their mother, Sherma, was
perhaps happiest of all with her grandly preserved double-storied
and porched home, around which she carefully planted and nurtured
a brightly blooming showplace garden. It was perfect.
Wolves had almost nothing to do with it. In 1989, before the Cundalls
arrived, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service had stunned the neighbors
in Pleasant Valley by announcing that a pack of wolves had formed
there, by natural recurrance. Doubtful ranchers were informed
that the animals would be monitored and that any losses would
We tried to tell them it wouldnt be good for any of us or for
the wolves either, said Martin Anderson of the Big Meadows cooperative
which borders Lost Trail, but there wasnt a damn thing we could
do about it.
Within months, the wolves had caused the predictable trouble.
Between September 1989 and June 1990, at least 13 calves and two
cows in the valley were acknowledged by federal authorities as
having been killed by wolves. There is a story frequently told
in Pleasant Valley of one older rancher who spotted a wolf on
the frozen surface of Dahl Lake and fired a shot over its head.
To the ranchers shock, instead of running in the opposite direction,
the frightened wolf ran directly at the rancher and then cowered
down at his feet. Around the same time, a rancher thinking he
was aiming at a coyote killed what was up to then one of the largest
wolves recorded within the lower 48, a 130-pound male.
Concerned by the loss of livestock, federal authorities set up
traps to capture, without harming, the wolves in Pleasant Valley.
A group of environmental activists, some on trail bikes, moved
into the valley behind them and sprung every trap they could find.
Even so, all of the wolves said to have recurred in 1989 were
dead or relocated by federal authorities by the time the Cundalls
arrived at Lost Trail in 1990.
Five years later, the winter of 1995-96 would carry on with some
of the deepest snows and continued high water in local memory.
State and federal officials agreed with the account of locals
that the exceptionally heavy winter had seriously depleted the
population of white-tailed deer in the regionthe most likely
natural prey of wolves. Yet it was in the coldest midst of that
winter when Jeston Cundall and his holy cow bride spotted the
wolf pair in a pasture barely 100 yards from the barn. Officially,
the government and animal rights activists pronounced that this
pair had simply migrated down from Canada. If so, they had blundered
into a range made by that years winter less likely than in many
years to provide their natural food source.
Does it add up? Does it make sense? I dont know, said Jerry
Cundall. It was up to Jerry to make the decision after his son
first spotted the wolves dragging away a dead Lost Trail cow.
He didnt think about it for long, and he didnt discuss it with
some of his older neighbors before Jerry instinctively followed
his honest streak and reported the wolf sighting to Montana Fish
Well, said Bud Elberud, it might not have been the smartest
thing to do, but I guess I understand it. Cundall himself acknowledges
that if he had known what was likely to happen otherwise, he might
well have decided to deal with the wolves himself. But with his
call to authorities, the bureaucratic wheels were put in motion.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife experts, using a helicopter and trackers,
set up new traps for the wolves. They captured the female in what
was meant to be a non-injuring leg snare, but by the time they
found her she had already tried to chew her leg free.
So, one day, Carter Neimier [Fish & Wildlifes wolf expert] drives
up and says hes got the wolf, remembered Josh Cundall. He asked
if Id like to see her, and I said, Sure, and I followed him
down to his truck. He had the wolf on the front seat, right beside
him. She was drugged, but I still thought that was pretty crazy.
He just said they were easier to control that way.
The wolf, found to be pregnant, was treated for her injuries and
then fitted with a radio tracking collar and released back into
Pleasant Valley to whelp her pups. Without really meaning to,
Jerry Cundalls honesty had virtually assured the return of a
wolf pack to Pleasant Valley.
If it were only just about wolves and letting them find their
share of nature, there is probably no one familiar with this region
of Montana who would object to seeing more of what is already
a cherished wild all around them. If it were even that wolves
behaved in much the same way as they do in Canada where the sight
or scent of two-legged beasts sets them fleeing, perhaps the arguments
would be lessened. But the wolves of Pleasant
Valley seemed to understand the difference south of the border.
Ellen Hargrave, a wise-cracking 60s survivor out of Kansas who
still rolls her own with Zig Zag papers, today operates the Hargrave
Cattle and Guest Ranch with her equally unceremonious husband,
Leo. They run some cattle on the 1,400 acres, primarily for the
dudes, but seriously enough to make an income. The first time
her foreman, Ryan Reynolds, came upon the big black wolf, it was
after dark and he just kind of stumbled up to it near the calving
corral. I saw its eyes first, and then it just stood there and
snarled at me, said Reynolds. Another employee, a young woman
given to nature trails, came across one of the wolves on the road
one evening. She stopped and got out to look at it, and that
wolf just stopped and looked right back at her, said Hargrave.
In almost no encounter of the many told by neighbors around Pleasant
Valley did the wolves seem at all impressed by two-legged creatures.
Through that summer of 96, and on into the next two years, the
wolves were spotted occasionally. The Cundalls at Lost Trail began
adding up the disappearances among the herd at the end of each
grazing season22 cows and 30 calves were missing by the time
the snow began flying in 1998. Other outfits told of similar losses13
calves off the Baker place, three cows and seven calves off Bob
Monks range. Some losses are always expected, but this many seemed
extraordinary. The wolves, apparently indifferent to human presence,
were seen even near the small elementary school in the valley.
Like others in the ranching families, Martin Anderson of Big Meadows
insisted that his 10-year-old step-daughter not play on the nearby
hillsides any more.
Any wolf-lover anywhere will tell you its myth. Wolves arent
killers, they will say. The wolves just hunt for survival, and
only among the weakest animals, probably most likely to die anyway.
Friends of wolves will tell you they pose no threat to humans.
By the official records of federal authorities, the alpha pair
which appeared in Pleasant Valley in 1996 produced only one pup
that season. The deer population was slow to recover from the
hard winter, adding to the predators difficulties. By early winter
1997, the pack was said to consist only of three adults and one
pup. In 1998, with officially still a paucity of natural prey
in the region, the pack was reported to have had a large litter.
By then, Sherma Cundall had other worries on her mind. The promise
of 10 years or more on the Lost Trail was beginning to fade with
Randalls own financial problems in Los Angeles and with his concern
that his daughters love of the ranch itself might lead her away
from better ambitions. In any case, the Montana Power Company
had recently evidenced interest in Dahl Lake, a shallow, algae-clogged
pond at the eastern extreme of the ranch that was slowly evolving
into a peat bog. It was fenced from the cattle and generally unused,
but it was large enough for the power company to have interest
in saving it as wetland which could serve as mediation for what
the government said was loss of wetland created by the companys
dam on Flathead Lake to the southeast. Dahl Lake alone might have
been no great loss to the magnificent expanse of Lost Trail, but
the absentee owner saw in the power companys offer a $5 million
chance to dispose of it all.
That was Sherma Cundalls biggest worry. She kept a diary as she
saw it moving closer and closer to the same nightmare her family
had experienced before in Wyoming. The power company didnt want
a ranch. It wanted to be off the hook with the federal government.
When the deal was made with the Lost Trail owner to buy the place,
the power company wouldnt even listen to the Cundalls when they
suggested other buyers. Montana Power wanted only to sell the
whole place, the last great working ranch in western Montana,
to the United States Fish & Wildlife Service, which had no intention
of going into the ranching business. The Cundalls would have to
More packing today, books and things, begins Shermas diary
on January, 11, 1999. Jeston and two friends walked out behind
the barn and discovered 10 wolves eating a roping calf. They ran
them up the hill and then left. Later, Don Bernal from Libby and
his son and two other relatives came up to rope. All 10 wolves
were back in the corral and had attacked the pen of calves. One
calf was completely eaten and only his carcass remained. The second
still alive, but so badly ripped up he had to be shot, and a third
had teeth marks all over his rear and was so sore he could hardly
walk. Jeston doctored him and he seems okay now....
For the few remaining months the Cundalls were still in charge
of Lost Trail, the wolves seemed almost to sense that it was ending.
From Shermas diary, January 15:
The wolves came back, killed and ate another 450-pound calf in
the same pasture after running the whole bunch through the fence.
All 10 wolves were still there when the boys went to do chores
Although they had never informed the Cundalls or anybody else
in Pleasant Valley about it, federal authorities knew the pack
now numbered at least 13 individual wolves and presented a formidable
threat to all the livestock in the valley.
The wolves have nothing to be afraid of, Sherma wrote. As a
result they just trot off and watch us. It makes for great picture
taking, but it is very unnerving to say the least!
Now, the sightings in Pleasant Valley and nearby Lost Prairie
took on more disturbing proportions. Calves and cows were being
attacked in winter pastures, virtually at the doors of every ranch.
The Cundalls had brought from Wyoming their two Great Pyrenees
dogs, gentle white giants known to protect sheep and cattle herds.
Jerry Cundall made a point of bonding the two dogs, Rush and
Marta, to the herd, and up to now they seemed to be a deterrent
to the wolves.
But the winter of 1998-99 would be drastically different. We
became very concerned for Rush and Marta after the January incident,
Sherma wrote. They would be no match for 10 wolves. Several times,
the dogs showed up at the house or barn, exhausted and very visibly
terrified.... On one occasion, the male would not even leave the
porch for three days....
There was still more to trouble the people of Pleasant Valley
that winter. U.S. Fish & Wildlife had moved with surprising bureaucratic
speed to produce its report on what it now called the proposed
Lost Trail National Wildlife Refuge. The feds had made a show
of inviting all the ranching neighbors to scoping meetings where
their views could be heard and squeaked onto butcher-paper tablets
by the felt tip of a facilitator, but most of the ranchers knew
the futility of that exercise. Now they were being presented with
a federal report on the options that left only one really likelyLost
Trail, the economic engine of their valley, was to be a federal
refuge, returned, somehow, to a more natural condition. Already,
a former federal bison manager had moved into the big main house
and evicted the Cundalls to the apartment over the arena-sized
Wolves were only one species the new federal managers proposed
to protect by their new refuge. There were also grizzlies which
occasionally passed through the range, and eagles, and lynx. And
now, for the first time, there appeared the surrogate species
being used throughout the Pacific Northwest much as the spotted
owl was to halt logging. These headwaters of the Fisher River,
the federal report said, were home to the threatened bull trout.
At Big Meadows, Martin Anderson expressed it to the nodding agreement
of neighbors around his kitchen table: Who in their right mind
would want the federal government for a neighbor?
Still, even if anything could be done to save Lost Trail, in that
winter the battle was more concentrated on saving the herds.
Joe Fontaine [of Fish & Wildlife] and his crew came up the 18th
[of January] with plane and helicopter and removed four of the
wolves to Spotted Bear, wrote Sherma Cundall. Upon arrival here,
they announced that the pack was located several miles to the
west of us, eating on an elk calf. When they got there to examine
the kill, it was not an elk calf but a 600-pound Big Meadows calf....
Federal authorities could no longer deny that the wolves were
feeding on cattle. They distributed radio trackers to some of
the neighbors so they could monitor the presence of the pack.
Bob Monk was among the first to receive one. Monk, 79, has lived
in the valley since 1946. In 53 years, he had only seen two wolves,
but by that point, the indirect damage done to his, and his wife
Donnas, future was even greater than a seasons loss of calves.
At my age, I make my most reliable living by leasing out pasture
to others who bring their cattle in. Its a fair income, keeps
us going. But word gets around about the wolves either taking
cows or running them through fences. Nobody in their right mind
is going to bring their cattle up here.
At Lost Trail, they began calving on February 13. Just five days
later, Sherma Cundall glanced out her window and saw Marta, one
of their Great Pyrenees, running toward her with a terrified look
in her eye. Sherma and Jestons wife, Sharee, went out to the
fence where the other dog, Rush, was barking frantically at something
to the north of him. And there they were, not 300 yards away,
wrote Sherma. Six wolves, two of them dragging a newborn calf
under the fence.
There was nothing they could do except to take pictures and shout
at the wolves in hopes of frightening them off enough to recover
the dead calf as evidence. The wolves didnt go far, and the Cundalls
could see them on the hillslope watching calmly as Jerry covered
the calf remains with a tarp. As evening fell, Jerry Cundall moved
all the cows and heifers into a corral, except one cow which had
only dropped her calf late that afternoon and was not yet ready
to move. She had bedded the calf down between a large rock and
a tree for some protection. Jerry drove out in his pickup just
after dark to check on them and found two wolves lunging and harassing
the cow. Not until Cundall was within 50 feet of them did the
wolves even pay attention to his spotlight.
With Shermas help carrying the calf, Jerry walked the cow back
to the barn. By morning, they found her weak and bleeding from
the mouth. She died that afternoon. A vet who examined her found
her lungs had burst, probably from terror and shock. The calf
died the next morning.
Now with their own government- provided monitor, the Cundalls
kept track of the pack that remained almost continuously within
half a mile of their house. Federal authorities responded by saying
they had shot and killed one young female and two males. That
left three wolves, including the alpha pair, still within easy
monitoring range. The cows and calves, needing to be turned out
to the drier hillside, remained in the wet pen.
The answer provided by the United States was a siren hung from
a tree that periodically sounded by a timer, and a curious little
propane-powered cannon that the Cundalls were advised to fire
off now and then in various directions. That February and March,
Pleasant Valley echoed with booming retorts of cannon volleys
and the penetrating periodic whine of the siren. It terrified
the dogs, which hid in the barn. The wolves ignored it.
Some of the older folks told us that the wolves might be attracted
by the shots, said Jerry. They get used to thinking it might
mean someone has brought down some meat.
But by then, the absence of game in Pleasant Valley was evident
to everyone, and it could not just be the winter that was to blame.
At least 70 head of cattle were killed or missing. Defenders of
Wildlife, which supposedly compensates ranchers, has so far only
agreed that there is evidence to pay for three.
It was demeaning just trying to talk to them [the Defenders]
about it, said Ellen Hargrave.
Finally, in late April, the last three remaining wolves were killed
by federal Animal Damage Control shooters. The Cundalls took time
out in May to attend the graduation of their daughter from the
University of Wyoming. They had much work ahead of them. The federal
government had given them until June 1st to be completely out
of Lost Trail. They planned to move to a nearby academy for troubled
youth, where Sherma will teach, but for a few weeks the entire
family will have to live in a motel at McGregor Lake. Josh, who
so loved the tractors and his treks in the woods, plans to look
for a job as a hand in Wyoming. Jeston and Sharee will look for
work around Kalispell. Jade and Molly havent decided.
Was it all just coincidence, just another sign of our changing
times? Did the wolves just find their way from Canada and, as
the feds describe it, recolonize Pleasant Valley? Maybe, but
Bob Monk shares the story of being approached repeatedly in 1983,
five years before that first pack appeared, by representatives
of The Nature Conservancy wanting to buy his wetlands. The report
of Fish & Wildlife on Lost Trail Refuge reveals that, unknown
to Dick Randall, federal authorities had identified Dahl Lake
as a site for preservation in 1985, well before it was supposedly
found by the power company.
In the map of their proposed new refuge, Fish & Wildlife marks
Lost Trail like a large puzzle piece filling in a blank space
of formerly private land between Kootenai National Forest on the
north and west, Lolo National Forest on the south, and Flathead
National Forest on the east. The proposed action to create the
refuge, says the federal report, is to mitigate damage elsewhere
and, to restore floodplain acreage to its historic role; and
to enhance the survival prospects of endangered and threatened
species in the area.
From the time The Nature Conservancy made its overtures to Monk
in 1983, to the surveys of possible wetlands in 1985, and up until
1989 when most local ranchers believe a pack was reintroduced
in the valley by federal authorities, no wolves had been seen.
Was it merely coincidence that at the start of the second term
of a Babbitt and environmentalist Interior Department, Canadian
wolves decided to recolonize Pleasant Valley during its worst
winter in recent memory?
In the week of May that the Cundalls were gone for their daughters
graduation, Martin Anderson and at least two others in the region
spotted that lone black wolf again in the open meadows. As usual,
the animal seemed unafraid of humans.
Lost Trail was the last large ranch of its kind in western Montana.
It cannot be replaced and is unlikely now to ever be restored
by anyone with enough care for the land to see that the grass
will not be overgrown and left to strangle or that the fine fences
and carefully-tended buildings will not fade, or, as the government
has already planned for some, be torn down.
Jerry Cundall will try to maintain 150 head he has left on his
year-to-year grazing lease with Plum Creek, but its doubtful
how long that can last. As a working ranch, Lost Trail is over
and done, and with it, perhaps, the heritage of all Pleasant Valley.
Im disappointed, admitted Dick Randall, but the truth is I
dont know anyone who could have made it work to produce an income
in these times....
For lots of reasons, some of them economic, some of them political,
times have changed in western Montana. Old-timers, both here and
elsewhere in the West, will assure you of one thing, however:
There will always be wolves.
Tim Findley lives in rural Nevada and raises little more than
a few vegetables and a large lawn, along with some occasional
Whats wrong with this picture?
Scott Dieringer is being chased by wolves.
by Linda Dieringer
Only 100 yards or so from his own house and corral outside Morenci,
Ariz., Scott Dieringer jogs back toward his photo-shooting wife,
Linda, with three wolves closing in on his heels.
Dieringer had already watched his four young dogs be cowered and
chased back by the wolves. He had fired a round from his 30-30
over the heads of the unflinching wolves that continued to move
closer to his calving pen. The only thing that seemed to work
was for him to start yellingsqualling as he calls itand run
at them, picking up rocks to throw along the way. At this point,
he was out of rocks.
All three wolves wore bright orange collarsMexican grays released
by the federal government as part of their recovery program
in this part of the Southwest.
But thats not really whats wrong with this picture. The wrong
is in how irresistible we all find this imagelike something darkly
medieval come back to life in the forest. Wolves. The very sound
of the word conjures up images from the imagination. And thats
whats wrong with this picture, because it epitomizes the image
of wolves as a return to wildness that is at the heart of federal
reintroduction programs in Arizona and the Northwest.
People in cities who especially fancy themselves lovers of wildlife
have taken to wearing the image of wolves on their chests as T-shirts.
On their coffee cups. On their computer mouse pads. Wolves to
them somehow signal freedom from fear. They would imagine their
own thrill at being in Scott Dieringers boots in this photo,
even if they would never have such actual courage.
Never mind that there are other photos of mutilated calves and
other livestock, such as the torn up carcass of Dieringers own
calf that federal authorities tried to suggest later was attacked
by an eagle. Never mind those gory scenes. Wolves, city folks
and federal agents will tell you, do what wolves must.
Perhaps nowhere else is the conflict between the meaning of those
two images more controversial and important than in Yellowstone
National Park, the portrait preserve of the West as it supposedly
once was. Wolves had not been seen there since 1926 until Interior
Secretary Bruce Babbitt proudly, and defiantly, led the reintroduction
of 15 pen-raised Canadian wolves into Yellowstone in 1995.
Today, there are at least 115 adult and yearling wolves in at
least 11 packs in and around the park. Total numbers, including
cubs and packs released nearby in Idaho, amount to over 300 well-fleshed-out,
meaty, fat wolves, said Recovery Coordinator Doug Smith, as he
delighted in reporting the birth of some 50 new pups in the first
weeks of May. The new best selling attraction in Yellowstone Park
and its souvenir shopsthe wolvesare reaching their biological
maximum according to Smith, and must expand their territory.
Ed Bangs, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service wolf recovery team
leader who seems these days to appear everywhere in the Northwest,
openly worries about potential federal court orders to remove
the wolves from Yellowstone. I dont know where wed put that
many wolves, he said.
Wyoming Federal Judge William Downes ruled in 1997 that Babbitts
reintroduction of the wolves in Yellowstone violated the intent
of the Endangered Species Act, but Downes court order to remove
the wolves has been challenged by Babbitts lawyers, and the issue,
dragging through federal appeals on its inevitable way to a Supreme
Court decision, is far from being resolved. In the meantime, the
wolves grow meaty and fat from their success among Yellowstones
mysteriously declining elk population and predation that federal
authorities and environmentalists generally deny is taking any
big toll on nearby domestic livestock.
Complaints have also begun to be heard from legitimate hunting
outfitters in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, who have been told by
Bangs that the decline in the elk population may just mean they
will, hes sorry, have to go out of business.
Smith, the federal recovery coordinator, suggests the wolves have
already filled their habitat in Yellowstone, but he points out
that there are 17 million acres of national forests near the park.
Bangs, the real wolf expert on the team, admits that wolves could
probably only use less than half that habitat. Sooner, rather
than later, Bangs admits, the wolves will be living on or near
And then, one wonders, will the photo of Scott Dieringer hot-footing
it back up his ranch road seem so thrilling? Or will it send a
chill to those who think about their own animals, or their own