( Thomas Kitchin, Tom Stack & Associates)

     If Randy Kruger could get the knack of it, chances are he might become the most convincing teller of tall tales that Wyoming has ever known. Both hands stuffed in his high-pocket jeans, his mountain-peaked sidekick hat perched squarely on his head, he looks down a little shyly and speaks in a gently quiet tone gilded with just the hint of an embarrassed smile. You can't rattle Randy from that calm demeanor and you just can't help listening to him.

     Trouble is, Randy Kruger can't lie. He's had absolutely no experience with it in his 40-plus years and won't see what good it could do him now.

     Friends say Mike Jimenez isn't much different. He's never out to fool or cheat anybody, they say, and even apologizes when he forgets to hold the door for the guy behind him. Jimenez, like Kruger, has a reputation as a real nice guy. But Jimenez couldn't qualify as a truly convincing teller of tall tales either. He woks for the federal government, and that alone would ruin his amateur status.

     These two men met face-to-face last Valentine's Day on the milk chocolate LU road alongside Gooseberry Creek, 10 miles west of state highway 120. Kruger was in his pickup on his way back from Meeteetse to the neat little bungalow where he lives while working his father-in-law's Larsen Ranch.

      That time of year, before the ruts get bad, it's a smooth rolling ride past the LU corrals and onto other fences that mark the start of the Larsen. There's not much doubt that it's private property.

     "I came down this little hill and I saw these two men crouching in the brush down here sorta underneath the road," remembers Randy. "I kinda figured they were horn hunters, you know, so I stopped to see that they were up to and tell them it was private land. When they saw me pull over, they crawled right up out of there and shook my hand just like they were happy as the dickens to see me. They just acted guilty as hell, like all horn hunters do when you catch 'em, but then this fella, Jimenez, said they were with the government and they'd caught there wolves...."  

     "I was just amazed," Kruger says. "I'd never seen a wolf up close before, and these were big animals. I walked down there and took a hold of one of them and, hell, his leg was about as big as my arm--a big, downy looking animal. I got pretty angry, I guess, and told these guys that this was our calving area and we were expecting maybe 1,200 cows in here in the next few days. I just didn't think it was right that they'd be putting wolves in here on private ground.

    Jimenez, a U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service wolf-recovery biologist, and the man with him who identified himself as Wes Livingston, said they had captured six wolves that day, releasing one with a radio collar and losing another that escaped. Then they dragged the 120-pound wolves off the road into the brush so the sun would not affect the wolves' eyes, which remain open while the animal is tranquilized. Jimenez said they were just waiting now for the chartered helicopter to refuel and come back to pick them up. All this time, he said apologetically, they thought they were on federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) ground.

     It's certainly true that Randy just hasn't had much practice with lies, but even to him the story nervously told by Jimenez didn't seem quite right. Kruger had neither seen nor heard a helicopter while he was driving up the road, and the spot where Jimenez said they landed was just about in the center of an angle of low power lines that cross the road north and west, hardly a choice landing zone for even a daring pilot.

    "It was damn upsetting," Kruger says, still speaking just above a whisper. "Sort of made me damn mad, but at the same time I figured that if these were government men, I can't tell them to get the hell out of here."

    Instead, Randy went for the little automatic camera he had recently begun carrying. Livingston scrambled out of the way like a shadow, but Mike Jimenez, still nervously trying to be accommodating, posed alongside the dazed wolves. Randy took a couple of pictures, then headed on to his cabin, unsure of what he could do about the strange encounter. He would find wolf tracks in the nearby pastures the next day.

    The thing about whoppers, as any good teller will attest, is that you can't just leave them open-ended unless you're prepared to top it with an even bigger one. A couple of Fish & Wildlife agents in the Pacific Northwest tried it that way two or three years ago when they were accused of "planting" lynx fur from a taxidermy exhibit on fences to prove the cat was re-establishing a habitat.

    The question for caught-in-the-act Jimenez was just that was he trying to prove with this phantom helicopter raid on Gooseberry Creek. Holding out on pending charges of trespassing by the federal agents, local authorities in Park County, Wyo., are still waiting to sort out all the many answers to that one in search of what's most believable.

    You could probably start by taking Ed Bangs' word for it that he'd like to work himself out of a job. The federal government's main man on wolf recovery since Bruce Babbitt put him up to it a decade ago, Bangs warned from the start that wolf packs could never be limited to the confines of Yellowstone National 

Park and would much sooner than later find easy pickings among the "slow elk" herds of cattle and sheep ranches in Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming.

    For the last two years at least, that has proven to be the blood-smeared truth, both in wolf-gutted livestock and federally killed wolves. What Bangs wants to even up the slaughter is a delisting of the Northern gray wolf as an endangered species, leaving management of the packs up to state law within a sustainable number of surviving species.

    Bangs anticipated that he could go back to his old haunts in Alaska by at least the end of last year with agreement from Idaho and Montana to accept a vaguely described management plan making it possible to hunt wolves like other "trophy" big game. The snag came when Wyoming went politically incorrect on him and refused to accept wolves as anything other than predators-the same in the Cowboy State as coyotes or stray cats and liable to be shot anytime they posed a problem.

    It could be just a semantic difference, After all, in some spots of the windswept prairie below the Tetons there are still some people who use "gay" when they mean to say they're just happy. But nowadays when it comes to wolves, and policies to control them, "predator" is considered no longer appropriate anywhere else but Wyoming. Until the Wyoming legislature can be brought around in its next 45-day session, there is no deal on delisting.

    So Bangs and his federal program stays on, these days killing more marauding wolves than freeing any mating pairs. "I'm a little tired of it." Bangs admits.

    Down the line a bit, Mike Jimenez works for Bangs, and has earned a reputation as the team's best sharpshooter. Once, in a Davy Crockett Feat, he is said to have tranquilized eight wolves with only seven darts. He has plenty of targets in his Wyoming range where, until maverick politicians go along with the federal program, the whole state is considered wolf habitat.

    But beyond the proper nouns and the pumped-up reputations, there is a long brooding underbelly in Wyoming's relationship with federal land masters that is also in distress these days.

    While the wolves of Gooseberry Creek made headlines at the end of winter, the slowly rising focus of ranchers and other land interests was surfacing to face the behemoth BLM itself, particularly in the Worland region covering the wild traces of the Big Horn Basin spilling south out of Yellowstone.

    This, curiously, is the region where Jon Marvel and his fanatical campaign against grazing in the West chose to concentrate their efforts last year, targeting at least two key ranchers they could portray in a media campaign as "the worst" and the "most renegade" stock growers in the state. (See "A Mad Tea Party") 

    Like other states, Wyoming has its own social divisions that need to be understood. Cheyenne, for example, is considered by folks upstate in Wyoming to be actually a part of Colorado, Casper is thought of a s brooding bed of liberal misinterpretation. The population is still so small, and still so scattered among small towns, that most of Wyoming trusts more in the breakfast talk at the local cafe than they do in the morning's canned news. Talk around the tables is about Marvel's Western Watershed Project's rumored influence on the Worland BLM.   

    Since the Worland office's direct conflict with BLM Director Kathleen Clarke last year over their particularly hard-nosed attitude toward Thermopolis rancher Frank Robbins, a ground swell of support for Robbins and other grazers put under federal pressure has emerged not only among ranchers, but from local politicians and businessmen who view with alarm the odd collage of interest between BLM bureaucrats and Marvel's info-gathering minions loose on their college breaks.

    Formed by Park County Commissioner Tim Morrison and Worland farm implement dealer Clay Gibbons, "Guardians of the Range" has brought together an assortment of cattle and sheep ranchers as well as some businesspeople to question how the federal government is living up to its own rules. Gibbons, an amateur scholar of western lore and history and a part-time auctioneer, got the idea for a roundtable of local interests while on his way to Cheyenne earlier this year for reenactment of the hanging of Tom Horn. His letter, sent out to a few of his own customers and friends, brought a surprisingly considerable response, some of it critical from neighbors preferring not to make waves, but more of it from ranchers and others volunteering to help.

    They come from the little towns like Meeteetse, Ten Sleep and Otto as well as from the bigger centers of Sheridan, Worland and Thermopolis.

    "We know we have one thing in common, and that's our way of life tied to grazing and ranching as the heart of our economy," says Gibbons, whose father first formed Worland's largest farm and ranch supply business more than 50 years ago. "The Worland office [of the BLM] has taken us for granted for too long. Now we want some questions answered by them-starting with their relationship to the antigrazing crowd." 

    Ironically, the two-million-acre region administered by Worland started out as the model of federal and local cooperation to manage the Wild West's grazing practices. It was the first such grazing region established after the 1939 Taylor Grazing Act and. for a time, it had a proud record of ranchers and federal range conservationists working together to bring better management-and peace-to the abundant unfenced federal lands of the Big Horn Basin.

    But Bruce Babbitt called the shot in the early '90s when he declared that here, as elsewhere, his administration intended to crack down on the "apparatchiks" of the ranching industry. Forced herd reductions, seasonal restrictions, and the reintroduction of predators were just part of the policies that soon faced the more than 200 permittees using Worland-administered federal land.

    Elsewhere in this issue, Interior Department Assistant Secretary Lynn Scarlett promotes the Bush-Norton administration of current BLM policy as the "four Cs-Conservation through Cooperation, Consultation, and Communication." But Scarlett admits  that when she came into the Department after 2001, what she found among the bureaucracy was more commonly what she called the "four Ps-Prescription, Process, Piecemeal, and Punishment."

    She missed one at Worland. It was called "Payoff."

    Sources close to the Worland BLM headquarters have told RANGE that the 70-some federal employees there vied for cash incentives awarded for exceptional work, including catching more ranchers in violation of grazing regulations. The sources also say that younger employees of the office especially had developed a "collegial" relationship with Marvel's Western Watersheds' group, passing along information on range conditions.

    The combination of range incentives with nagging environmental litigation, sources say, made Worland once the advocate model of cooperation, an ever more present example of adversarial confrontation. So much so, that BLM Director Kathleen Clarke at one point ordered the office to take a more compromising attitude in regulating even the actions of Robbins himself.

    Janine Terry, the public affairs officer at Worland, would not deny that cash beyond their salaries was awarded to BLM employees, but she recoiled in shock at the suggestion that awards were issued for anything other than exemplary work in improving public use of the BLM property. She refused, however, to allow the magazine to examine the records of such payouts, citing possible legal implications.

    RANGE filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the records, and following that formal action received a six-page document listing scores of cash awards to Worland BLM employees over the last three years. The secretive payoffs awarded "on the spot" in amounts up to $910 and amounting to $1,500 or more with state office approval came from a discretionary "labor budget afforded to each BLM region. Worland employees were awarded $184,350 in addition to their salaries between 2000 and 2004. A spokesperson for the department said that was "in line" with other BLM regional expenditures in Wyoming.

    Even as RANGE was making inquiries, inside sources say, much of the day-to-day work in the Worland office was absorbed in copying data and information demanded by legal requests from the activists Western Watersheds Project.

   Eager to cooperate, but unwilling to be specific, Worland BLM spokeswoman Terry turned back almost every question about enforcement and the Worland office's rumored ties to antigrazing activists as being "a possible legal matter." It is the "Robbins Factor" of the Worland BLM bunker.

    Starting with Frank Robbins' own lonely clomp around the office on his mule 21 days in 2002, the bland tan building of the BLM in Worland has frequently been the site of demonstrations. Ms. Terry seems to regard them as nothing special in the usually sleepy small railroad town with a cattle-drive-sized main street that adds to its sort of empty appearance.

    "We get along well with everybody," Ms. Terry says. "I believe we have a great relationship with everybody who comes to this office." Last year, the field manager in charge left his job, and has not yet been replaced. The acting manager is Ms. Terry's husband.

    Whatever goes on in its administration, however, it truly is not all an us-against-them attitude at the BLM in Worland. When Clay Gibbons brought together the first meeting of his Guardians group at the Office Lounge restaurant just down the street, one BLM officer with experience in the region stopped by to share some burn plans being developed in a part of the rangeland. It was a cordial gesture, meant to be friendly. But when the BLM officer in charge found out about it, he reprimanded the employee for associating with Gibbon's group.

    "Well, that person showed them some things that weren't ready yet for publication," Terry explained. "He shouldn't have done that. It wasn't a reprimand, just a reminder.

    They get along with everybody at Worland. Well, everybody except maybe Frank Robbins, who is still using his considerable Alabama-earned fortune to sue the BLM, and even to bring racketeering charges against its Worland agents.

    Robbins' years-long battle over a forced federal easement through his High Island HD ranch has concentrated on many of the same questions of whether the Worland office was acting on some special agenda. As the Worland office stalled, Robbins' demands for information went as far as the federal district court, where Presiding Judge William F. Downes hit the roof. While declining to award Robbins damages, he issued a stern letter to the Worland BLM office and instructed that it be posted where all the employees there could see it.

    "May we photograph that?" asked RANGE of get-along-with-everybody spokeswoman Terry. "No," she said.

    Okay, we already knew what it said anyway, and two weeks later, another BLM representative called to say the message of Judge Downes would be sent in the slow mail.

    "...Arrogance of authority, and indifference to citizens legitimate interests, even the appearance of such vices, should be avoided by public servants. The BLM's conduct in this matter is troubling to this Court and it will not soon be forgotten. A matter of this nature involving this agency should not appear on my desk again," the September 2002 letter from the highest-ranking federal judge in Wyoming said in part. He also directed that it be posted where it could be seen by everybody in the office. The bunker mangers assumed that didn't include visitors.

    "We have a great relationship with everybody...," said Ms. Terry. She meant so long as they avoid the "Robbins Factor."

    And that, oddly enough, brings us back to the wolves and those two basically honest men-Kruger and Jimenez-meeting each other last Valentine's Day along Gooseberry Creek.

    Among the official versions offered in Jimenez's behalf as to what put him on the Larsen Ranch that day-a Saturday, by the way-is that Jimenez was in his office in Lander, Wyo., when he heard from a pilot just cruising around out of Cody who had just spotted a running pack of six wolves near Meeteetse that he was certain was from the larger pack know to have been around Dubois since 1998. "Let's get 'em," Jimenez is depicted as saying in his enthusiasm to make a dateless weekend of it

    Now you need your maps. If you think of the main roads forming roughly the shape of a buffalo with Lander as the southern tip of its nose, it's a little over 100 miles as the crow flies between there and Cody, on the northern hump. Dubois is on the southwest edge, about where a front hoof might be, and Meeteetse, roughly where the wolves were said to have been captured, is at least another 70 miles northeast of there. No wonder Jimenez looked tired when Kruger found him, and no wonder the wolves needed a rest after running at least 50 miles out of their normal range. There's no doubt they could do it. Wolves run about 10 miles an hour and can go all day. They prefer chasing, however, to being chased.

    So, in that version, Jimenez and his pilot just lose track of where they are in a wild flight barely 40 feet above the forest, which very nearly runs the chopper out of gas before they can tranquilize and collar four of the six Dubois wolves about 70 miles east of where they should be. Oops, the official version admits, they were on private ground, but nobody was sure because the GPS unit in the chopper wasn't working that day.

    As that version goes, Jimenez was certain all along that the wolves would head back to their own range near Dubois, but he wanted to attach radio collars to them he had the opportunity. They landed on the road, the story goes, because it was the nearest flat spot, power lines notwithstanding, and dragged the wolves out of the chopper and into the gulch so they would be cool and out of the sunlight. Jimenez was just waiting for the animals to wake up and the refueled helicopter to come back and get him and Livingston when up drove Randy Kruger.

    And sure enough, within a couple of days after the incident, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service agents reported that the wolves were back around Dubois and even seen loping down another rancher's road in the higher timber they prefer.

    "Well, I guess if they say so," says Kruger. "I did see the tracks going that way. But I still wonder why they would put them in our calving ground instead of up on the mountain someplace." He says Mike Jimenez called him on the phone a day or two later just to apologize again.

"Sounds like a nice fella, anyway," Kruger agrees.

    When RANGE went back with Kruger to look at the spot, their clearly appeared to be a much better landing zone in a grassy flat away from the power lines, but across Gooseberry Creek from the convenient road. Jimenez returned our call about that, but he and Livingston and spokespeople at the helicopter charter all said they couldn't comment on a possible legal matter.

    There is, however, at least one more version of what happened that day. Between Dubois on the west and Meeteetse on the east ate the Owl Creek Mountains. That's where Frank Robbins' High Island Ranch is located. Robbins said a Wyoming game and fish agent reported to him that eight wolves were taken off the Owl Creek allotments that weekend by a helicopter backed up by a truck. It would be a rough couple-of-hours trip across hot springs in between, but trucking four wolves to Gooseberry Creek would be possible and might help explain why Randy neither heard not saw a helicopter before coming upon the two men in the draw about three p.m. that Valentine's Day.

    A week later, for unclear reasons, the state agent said he wasn't sure about that story after all. Was it somehow yet another convoluted twist in a BLM grudge against Robbins? Whether that makes sense or not, it belongs among the tall-tale collections that wolves just seem to create, Red Riding Hood-style, without hardly trying.

    In Helena, Mont., meantime, Ed Bangs has a Headache.

    It is that in-between time around West Yellowstone, when the heavy snows are done and the drifts start melting out of the north side shadows. Between winter and the return of tourists after Easter. Early calving time.

    In the Madison Valley of Montana, romantically famous for the river that runs through it, rough-hewn locals have the brightly painted tourist lures like the Ennis Cafe and the Long Branch saloon all to themselves for a change. And the conversations usually all start the same way, "So, what d'ya hear about the wolves?"

    In the last week of February, as the season's final big storm blew itself out in sheets of snow, the Sentinel pack came cruising in from the white-chocked Madison mountain range. They followed an incredible herd of elk that some locals say numbered as many as 9,000, strung out in close groups along the grass hills and coulees like something from the African veldt. It was far too many elk, but game officials in the previous season had offered double tags on cows, sent out alerts, and practically begged for more hunters. "We almost stopped people driving through to see if they wanted an elk permit." admits one state official. It was hopeless. The herd grew bigger still. The Sentinel pack had easy pickings among the elk, but its taste apparently ran for variety to beef.

     In his place along Bear Creek, Todd Durham had trouble sleeping. He could sense the tension among his cattle filtering into the fenced calving grounds only a muddy ice-stiff 100 yards or so behind his home. 

His wife Barbie needed rest before the morning would take her to her daily job in Sheridan, Mont., 70 miles away. 

He tried not to disturb her or their two kids, but he knew Barbie was at least as restless as was he. Something was in the air.

    Finally, just before first light, Todd could wait no more. He headed out through the darkness, toward where the old barn matched in an angle with his calving area. Barbie, he realized, was walking close behind him.

    Todd could see the heaving sides of heifers before he could make out their full shape. The thin light showed a reflection of mucus dripping from their noses and the skidding tracks through the mud confirmed they had been run back and forth in the large pen. He spotted four dark shapes darting in and out among the rumps  of the cattle at almost the same time as did the kids' Australian shepherd, Squirt, which had followed them from the house. In an instant the small dog was off, racing after some suicidal instinct to protect the cattle. The wolves immediately turned from their game in the pasture and attacked the dog, killing Squirt before he could even finish his brave little dash.

    The Durhams didn't lose any cattle but their neighbor, Gary Clark, had watched only two days before as four wolves fed off a 600-pound yearling only 250 yards from his front door. At least three more cattle in the Madison Valley would be killed in quick succession, and Barbie was particularly distressed when she discovered that the wolves were marking with their urine on a snow bank where her children frequently played just behind the house.

    "I guess I just started calling everybody," Barbie recalls. "I think I was dialing up numbers I don't even remember now. But something had to be done."

    It's a line by now familiar even among urban Americans-"shoot, shovel, and shut up"-and it gets used a lot in mostly remote parts of the West like the Madison Valley. But it's still mostly bar talk, even there. Todd Durham could have done it after they killed the dog, but he didn't want to shut up about it. He wanted Ed Bangs to know, and so did most of Madison County, including the county commissioners who publicly accused federal officials of dragging their feet in managing the predatory packs.

    "So, what d'ya hear about the wolves," began the usual conversation at the Ennis Cafe that following Friday. "Well," said one with closer ties, "the feds shot four of 'em on Clark's place last night."

    Bangs had not waited long to send out his best shooters, but the federal wolf master was angry. He accused someone unknown in Madison Valley of scuttling his best plan to deal with the whole pack at once by capturing one wolf and then freeing it with a radio collar that would lead his gunmen to the rest of the pack.

    The wolf was captured and freed, but the helicopter that took off in pursuit soon over took the radio signal on a high meadow where the animal lay in a patch of  blood-smeared snow, still alive but barely moving. Evidently, somebody decided not to wait for the feds to do the job.

    Grumpy as that made him. Bangs did oversee the killing of 11 wolves in two packs in the Madison Valley during the next week. The last to die was the wounded wolf, found only four miles from where it was first seen in a bloody snow patch. 

    "It's kind of a hard thing," says Todd Durham, "but we've told them all along that wolves don't belong here and we've got to be able to protect ourselves." Todd ranches along with his father Pete, who has been in the Madison Valley more than 70 years.

    Up until these last couple of years, Pete had never seen a wolf there. "Oh, I know it's not over," he says. "The wolves will be back. It's not so much them that scares us as it is the people who don't seem to know what a predator really is. I kinda go along with the way Wyoming sees it."

    Scientists figure that out of those first of wolves that Bangs began releasing in Yellowstone in 1995, not more than one or two are still alive. They've been identified as victims of illegal shootings, depredation by the feds themselves, killed by their own packs or by falling in hot springs or hit by cars. One was buried in an avalanche. But their descendants number in the hundreds. According to federal sources, since 1995, the wolves have killed at least 278 cattle, 792 sheep, and 60 dogs in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. About 200 wolves have been killed in the same period.

    Ask Ed Bangs and he's honest enough to tell you that the experiment ought to be over. The wolves are there to stay so long as the people of Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana will tolerate them. Only, Bangs, stuck now with the dead end of his job, looks forward to a time when they don't call him about it anymore.

.

Randy Kruger

(Photo by Tim Findley)

"I'd never seen a wolf up close before, and these were big animals."--RANDY KRUGER

(Photos by Randy Kruger)

U.S. Fish & Wildlife biologist Mike Jimenez was found with four tranquilized wolves in a ditch on the LU's private property, next to the ranch's calving grounds. When rancher Randy Kruger (top) drove by, Jimenez claimed he and Wes Livingston of Hawkins & Powers aircraft charter company were waiting for a helicopter.

 

 

(Photos by Randy Kruger)

If the feds' helicopter had landed on the yellow flat above and not where the power lines crossed, which is where the two men said it came in, they would have had to drag four wolves through Gooseberry Creek to get to the shade in the ditch. That's about 480 pounds of tranquilized canine. Randy Kruger points to the place he found the two men and the wolves. BEFORE: Frank Robbins, Wyoming rancher, is having nothing but trouble with the Worland BLM.

 

 

(Photo by Tim Findley)

 

( Thomas Kitchin, Tom Stack & Associates)

Gray wolves in Canada, same type of critters that were drugged and transported to Yellowstone National Park by Bruce Babbitt in 1995. Ed Bangs, below, head of the wolf recovery program for the Bureau of Land Management, warned from the beginning that wolf packs could never be confined to Yellowstone and would soon be feeding in the cattle and sheep ranches of Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming. These vicious predators are already out of control. Bangs now kills more wolves than he saves and wants to take them off the endangered species list. He would just like to get back home to Alaska.

 

Ed Bangs

 

Clay Gibbons, above, farm implement dealer, has been serving the people of Worland, Wyo., for decades. With Park County Commissioner Jim Morrison, below, he formed Guardians of the Range to help ranchers and to figure out why the federal government is not living up to its own rules.

(Photos by Tim Findley)

 

( Thomas Kitchin, Tom Stack & Associates)

Gray wolves devour a white-tailed deer. They prefer slower moving cattle and sheep, especially the young ones.

 

 

(Photo by Tim Findley)

Janine Terry, public affairs officer for the Worland BLM, refused RANGE the right to check employee records for "cash beyond salaries."

 

(Photo by Tim Findley)

Montana Rancher Todd Durham enjoys a light moment. He's usually not so happy after seeing cattle decimated by wolves. His neighbor's 600-lb yearling (below) fought for her life against a pack of wolves as shown by her skid marks in the snow. 

 

(Photo Courtesy of Durham Ranch)

 

(Photo Courtesy of Durham Ranch)

Click to enlarge

 

 

 

(Copyright Doug Gaskill)

Wolves care for their young but prey upon others, occasionally killing members of their own pack. 

Soft as they look, they are wild and vicious.

 

The map shows a large area of Wyoming. How (and why) the Dubois wolves ended up in Meeteetse, about 70 miles to the northeast and across a mountain range, is a matter of contention. FWS has several explanations. (John Bardwell Illustration)

 

 

Barbie, Pete Durham's daughter-in-law 

 

(Photos by Tim Findley)

Pete Durham (above) had never seen a wolf in Madison Valley until recently. Now they're too close to daughter-in-law Barbie's house and children.

Covering this story, Tim Findley bought a silverbelly Stetson hat, got two flat tires and speeding ticket in Wyoming. "It was a trap!"

   

Summer 2004 Contents

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