The history of wolves in Montana is a bloody one

Jan 15, 2014

As we reported earlier this week, a new article on the history of the eradication of wolves in Montana points out the state once was home to hundreds of thousands of wolves.

Wolf hunter Barney Brannin posing with part of the Cripple Foot pack taken on the Waite ranch in winter 1924-1925
Credit Montana Historical Society

The current population of 600-plus, is a tiny fraction of the number of wolves that used to roam Big Sky country, before wolves were exterminated in the 1920's.

"In 1899...over 23,000 wolves were killed in Montana in that year alone."

University of North Texas historian Michael Wise authored the article on the elimination of Montana's wolves, published in the winter issue of "Montana, The Magazine of Western History". In this feature interview, Wise talks with News Director Sally Mauk about the rise and fall of the wolf in Montana. The rise began in the mid-19th century, when hunters began slaughtering bison for their fur.