First Idaho Wolf Kill


Robert Millage with the first Idaho wolf killed in a wolf season in 80+ years

I was shocked to see Fellow blogger and Idaho photographer, Robert Millage’s, name gracing the front page of our local newspaper upon my return to civilization following my recent elk hunt. Robert is an Idaho boy like myself, but lives 5 hours away. So what is it that prompted his name to grace the pages of not just our newpaper, but as far reaching as being contacted by Sportsman’s Channel, Field & Stream, and NY Times? Robert was the first to connect on Idaho’s first wolf hunt in more than 80 years.

The wolf has created a major stir in the western states. Ranchers claiming they are killing livestock at alarming rates, hunters are up in arms that wolves are making the elk a relic of the past, and those trying to defend the wolf are claiming the packs are just doing what they’ve done for years before humans got involved. Management of the wolf was given back to the states this year, and Idaho was the first state to open a wolf season. Barring an overruling, Idaho will allow the killing of 220 wolves this year. But no one will get the distinction – for better or worse – of shooting the first as Robert.  In speaking briefly by email with Robert, he informed me he’s gotten overwhelming support from fellow hunters, but the wolf defenders have left messages on his phone, sent nasty emails, etc.

It’s been said that the wolf is one of the most difficult animals to hunt because of their keen nose, but also because of their intellegence. They’re a predator that flat out knows how to survive. Robert called a pack in with coyote distress calls knowing that wolves will make short work of a coyote in their territory. This female led the pack and he shot her at 25 yards:

Imagine a pack of 10 or so. Because of their size they can wipe out game herds rather quickly.

Because of their size and their preference to hunt in packs, wolves can wipe out game herds rather quickly.

Those teeth mean business.

Those teeth mean business.

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35 Responses to “First Idaho Wolf Kill”

  1. Terry on September 7th, 2009 7:53 am

    I am so relieved that the hunt has actually opened without another injunction. I hope that other western states with wolf issues will stand up to the antis and begin to manage the problem that has come from the reintroduction of these wolves. It is the only way we will be able to maintain our big game herds and ensure hunting for future generations.
    Congrats to Robert!

  2. Robert Millage on September 7th, 2009 8:29 pm

    Thanks Tom, it has been an interesting few days to say the least…..I owe you some gun writing, am thinking wolf guns……….

  3. suzee on September 8th, 2009 7:49 am

    Congratulations!! I’m sure that was an adrenaline filled hunt! My hats off to you for calling the pack in… and to shoot it at 25 yards! I’m sure that is the best way to hunt for them… if you have the nerve to do it! Some might wonder why you waited till it was 25 yards away… we’ve hunted for whitetail in an area not too far from you … and 25 yards is often the longest shot you will get because there’s so much old growth timber! I don’t know if I’d have the guts to do something like that!… I’m sure glad you did… the wolves have really been hard on the moose population in that region of Idaho. Thanks for doing your part to help!

  4. T. Michael Riddle on September 8th, 2009 11:47 am

    Excellent piece of journalism, keep up the good work on informing people of the “Real” story!

    best, T. Michael

  5. Arthur on September 8th, 2009 6:39 pm

    That guy must have nerves of steel. I can’t believe he shot her at 25yds. I think something would have shot out of me first.

    Very cool, though.

  6. Kevin Paulson on September 9th, 2009 1:14 pm

    Awesome Pictures.. Awesome Wolf!!!! So glad to see them being managed by sound scientific management!!!!!

    Robert, You can hunt with me anytime!!!

  7. Kirstie Pike on September 10th, 2009 11:13 am

    Great article!

  8. walt morris on September 29th, 2009 6:54 pm

    congratulations on a job well done. it is really too bad that this gov’t boondoggle had to take place. the elk herds are doomed even with a wolf season. the game dept is claiming a 12% survival rate for calves and we need 30% just to maintain. so few elk are surviving that it is only a matter of time until they are nearly extinct.

  9. Kelly on October 19th, 2009 10:57 pm

    I dont see how people can blame the declining moose/elk/whatever herds on just wolves. Especially hunters. When wolves hunt they go for the weakest animal they can find because they know that’s the one they have the best chance of bringing down. When hunters go out they certainly dont look for the weakest one. They look for the biggest set of flipping antlers out there so they can go home and show it off. Well, that moose or elk with biggest antlers will also be the strongest one out there. So, I guess he wont be getting any and giving his “strong” genes to the next generation. The next generation is going to be weak because all of the wimpy guys with the one crappy antler got all of the action. And that’s not the wolves fault.

  10. Figgis on October 28th, 2009 5:26 pm

    The “real” story, right. The opening of this wolf hunt is a travesty of American conservation history. It’s a shame it wasn’t enough for us to wipe them out the first time. I have no respect for anyone with a wolf-hunting license. It’s a double-standard hunters like to abide by: you claim to be predators in the natural order, but then devastate other predators who effectively keep the balance in their ecosystem. God forbid another predator should kill elk and deer — the very animals you claim are kept in balance by hunting. If this hypocrisy wasn’t so tragic, it would be ludicrous. You obviously haven’t been part of the scientific team following these wolf packs, the families, the pups, many of whom will be orphaned when members of their pack stray outside the safe bounds of Yellowstone Park. Of course, the social structure and well-being of animals outside of humans probably has no relevance for you. It’s sad beyond measure what we humans do in the course of our perceived hegemony over this planet.

  11. First Idaho Wolf Kill | Sundance Safaris on October 31st, 2009 4:47 am

    […] This article by: […]

  12. from Europa on December 9th, 2009 8:25 am

    You are Killer! Total-killer. Geo-terrorist, and… and… idiot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. Stormy Wilson on December 9th, 2009 1:30 pm


  14. Shaun Schon on December 24th, 2009 3:44 am

    Couldn’t agree more with Figgis! Hopefully Bob will feel more like a man now that killing an animal with a weapon compensates for his lack of testosterone. Let’s put Bob in a forest with no weapons and see how well he stands up, and if he really has any balls. Maintaining the natural order my ass. Humans have been a threat to every other species for decades now, and the wolves have most certainly not. They are a part of the natural ecosystem and help maintain it, they just don’t fit into human interests. If you’re hunting to maintain the delicate ecosystem and prevent wolves hunting other species, then maybe we should begin by hunting humans instead since they pose the biggest threat to the environment. Besides we’re just about as populous as bloody rodents.

  15. Stacey Huston on December 24th, 2009 9:15 am

    I find it quite entertaining that those who are posting these anti hunting comments stay hidden? Only one has a profile link.. that goes no where
    If you feel so strongly about the wolf issue then stand in the open where all can see you, we do.. don’t hide behind the internet.
    I work in wildlife rehab.. I am also a hunter~ I have my own opinions on wolf hunting~ but if I disagree with someone I have the “balls” so to say to look them in the eye and discuss things like a human being…Shuan.. I live in the wilds.. I spend many hours in the woods with and without a weapon.. and I stand up quite well.. how about you? Doesn’t take testosterone.. takes experience not just reading things in a book or the news paper. As well as knowing and acknowledging both sides of the issue not just the one you feel fits your agenda the best.

  16. Hawk on December 24th, 2009 9:31 am

    I am amazed at the ignorance spewed forth from the mouths of so called environmentalists. The problem with saying wolves only kill the weak is wolves kill anything weaker than themselves. Everything with a heartbeat is weaker than the wolf pack except the grizzly. Wolves do kill for fun, they often slay weaker beasts for the thrill of the chase and left unmanaged will destroy the very habitat they rule. We hunters are well aware of our role as fellow predators and unlike the wolf we manage our habitats and care about our impact. granted there are some hunters without honor and ethics, I assure you.. rarely will you hear a hunter say something like ..KILLHUMANS to get their point across. We as hunters and ethical, honorable human beings value life and the beauty of all things wild, through our management efforts the wild places still exist. Hawk

  17. Hawk on December 24th, 2009 9:38 am

    OH and shaun schon.. I have been thrust into the wilderness .. willingly.. for six months during a Montana winter and survived off the land.. so am well aware of the rigors of being at one with nature,I am a conservationist, hunter and naturalist.. Your ignorance and blatant disregard for fellow humans is the reason I believe that the wolf is in danger… They are eating themselves out of their own ecosystem, and must be managed through selective harvest before it is too late for their own survival.I would refrain from speaking up about this issue until you get your facts straight. hawk

  18. Cory Glauner on December 24th, 2009 10:01 am

    Nobody appreciates the wildlife and wild places more than hunters do. The anti’s hide in obscurity and throw insults and hatred.

    Hunters don’t hide from their heritage. We embrace our natural desire to hunt. After all, we’ve been doing it for thousands of years.

  19. Terry Mayfield on December 24th, 2009 10:19 am

    shaun schon, check out this web site.

  20. Marc Reindell on December 24th, 2009 10:25 am

    We did a blog post on Robert Millage right after he harvested the first wolf this season. As a site that focuses on predator calling we were intrigued by his story as no one has been able to hunt the wolf for such a long time, we were curious about his calling tactics.

    We received several negative comments on our blog after posting the story. I replied to each individual by the “name” they chose to use when submitting their comment. I did not post their comments on our blog.

    These people that wish for the death or in some cases, more horrible events for hunters, have no spine, they hide behind the anonymity of the internet and feel safe spouting off their rhetoric when in fact they have no idea of which they speak.

  21. Billy B on January 1st, 2010 10:41 pm

    Robert Millage, and other wolf hunters, are a disgrace.

  22. Bastien on January 5th, 2010 6:05 am

    Kill a wolf because it’s eating mooses is totally ridiculous, wolves are in way of extinction, and expose it on internet is “pueril”. Like old safaris in africa.
    So your just a kind of looser.

  23. Tom Sorenson on January 6th, 2010 9:38 pm

    Just a reminder – if you want to post comments contrary to the views expressed on this site, first of all, find a different site if you don’t like what’s here,Secondly, the first swear word you use will get your comment deleted rather quickly. Keep it clean. Have deleted several comments where people have gotten stupid with their words.

  24. Dakota Perkins on January 10th, 2010 7:23 pm

    Dude, nice wolf!!!… a pretty good size too. Congratulations! Must’ve been an exciting hunt! Again, Congrats!

  25. Doug Deiler on February 18th, 2010 5:36 pm

    Good job!!! Can’t wait till we have a season here in WI.
    Just read about your hunt in Field and Stream, awesome.
    Again congratulations

  26. Dennis on February 24th, 2010 10:27 am

    Instead of 75 feet away with a high powered rifle,why not try and face them without a firearm and see what kind of “MAN” you really are you weekend warrior wannabe hunter Oh that’s right it wouldn’t be fare. Get a clue and learn about sterilization (for you not the wolf) and Guarenteed this will be a better world

  27. Tom Sorenson on February 24th, 2010 12:22 pm

    Brilliant – and original, Dennis. No hunter has ever heard that argument before! Please educate yourself on hunting before you spout off. Thank you.

  28. Heiko Varschen on April 7th, 2010 7:39 am

    Shame on you! And shame on all others who can’t wait to do the same. Wolfs keep nature in balance, not humans! You destroy it. And you even have a picture of it. Feeling strong now, right?

    @ Cory Glauner: a thousand years ago they had to hunt to survive. Now they hunt for fun. For the kick. Times have changed, stop finding despicable excuses for your weak intelligence.

  29. Tom Sorenson on April 7th, 2010 7:56 am

    Heiko – Where did you get the opinion that wolves keep nature in balance? Evidence would support the fact that wolves do the exact opposite – they destroy the balance in nature. It’s rather simple – they have no natural predators, except humans, so obviously, if left to their own devices they will – and have – destroy all other wildlife. This is not opinion, this is fact. Look at these numbers, bearing in mind that the wolves were introduced here in Idaho in 1994.

    and from this link: comes this quote:
    “In the Lolo Elk Management Zone in the Clearwater Region, however, predation by wolves is responsible for most of the deaths of adult female elk and more than half of the deaths of six-month-old calves.”

  30. Shaun Schon on April 20th, 2010 4:09 am

    First of, I’d like to say that I’m not a fake poster, but I don’t have my own website and dont intend to create one simply to prove I’m genuine. I’m not some vegetarian nut, and I do apologize for my harsh comments earlier, but I did find the whole article and photograph to be distasteful. I don’t believe that hunting is some great evil that many so called environmentalists like to portray it to be, but they are no the ones to upset the balance of nature the way many of you portray them to be. I don’t appreciate this demonizing of the species. Nature has always found a way to maintain a balance without our intervention, so don’t give me that bull about trying to maintain the balance of nature. If the wolf population is a problem then relocate them. There are plenty of animals rights activists, many of them looney, who would contribute generously to the effort. I have a problem of over population of humans in the area I live in and it’s affecting the balance of nature. Over a hundred species of birds and mammals are directly threatened, so should we introduced natural predators to prey on humans? I don’t deny that hunting is natural and I believe it was something fundamental to our evolution, but I have my doubts about the kind of hunting we’re talking bout here. Besides there is no glory, honor or fairness in killing an animal simply out of vengeance or for pleasure. From many of the comments supporting hunting of wolves I see these sentiments. Traditionally we hunted for food, and members of my family also hunted for food.
    I wont say all, but a few of the responses that my comment provoked were quite interesting, and I do accept my ignorance (to some extent) as compared to a few of you. My uncle was a hunter however, and I have spent a good deal of my youth with him, so I am no stranger to hunting. I do agree that I will need to do more research, but I also firmly believe that if its out of interests of conservation there are better ways to go about it.

    Quote Hawk: “We hunters are well aware of our role as fellow predators and unlike the wolf we manage our habitats and care about our impact. ”
    Really??? We humans have sure done a great job of preserving our habitat and minimizing our impact. We’ve only wiped out a few forests, polluted a few water bodies, made a few holes in the ozone layer and so on. It’s got to be the wolves that have a more damaging impact on nature than us humans right?

    Quote” granted there are some hunters without honor and ethics, I assure you.. rarely will you hear a hunter say something like ..KILLHUMANS”

    So its dishonorable and unethical to say ‘kill humans’ but its okay to say kill wolves or any other species that you see fit to be killed? Does this stem from some misplaced sense of superiority? DO you believe your species to be more important that all the others in the animal kingdom? Somehow humans only value life when it’s human life.
    I did find some of your info interesting though and I shall try and do some research myself.

    Terry Mayfield, sick sensationalism and cheap gimmickry don’t account for much. I could send you links and photographs of a lot more disturbing scenes, with humans as the perpetrators of cruelty on other humans. No species is capable of greater cruelty, and that too intentional.

    From what most of you seem to be saying it would appear that wolves have no role in nature and are in fact like a plague, when that couldn’t be further from the truth. Maybe wolves are a problem cause they’re hunting livestock that hunters would normally hunt, depriving you of a good hunt. Here are some findings from Yellowstone and Olympic national parks
    You can mail me at, if you have doubts about my being a real person.

  31. Tom Sorenson on April 20th, 2010 7:24 am

    Shaun –

    I have a very real problem with your argument – you claim that humans have a “misplaced sense of superiority” I don’t understand why that is misplaced? I, and most people, value animal life, but we’re also aware that human life IS more valuable than animal life, and to belive otherwise is scary.

    You claim you’re not a vegetarian nut – so I have to assume then that you eat meat – and if you eat meat, but believe animal life to be just as sacred, or even more so, than human life – that scares the willies outta me…it’s like saying canabalism is ok.

    Anyways – it’s a rather pointless argument. We’re not changing our minds, and I don’t reckon you’ll be changing yours anytime soon. So why argue about it? Like I said before, if you don’t like the views expressed here, look somewhere else – you’ll feel better not getting all worked up over contrary views. If we spend all our time angry at people who believe in something different than what we believe in, we waste our life.

  32. Jeff Sorenson on April 22nd, 2010 3:38 pm

    The idea that wolves go after only the weak and sick animals is a big myth. I remember when I was younger and we had a livestock farm. At that time we were raising sheep. We had about 300 or so that year. We also had a dog named Andi. Andi was a Great Pyrenees. She weighed about 80 to 90 pounds. Since we had gotten her as a pup she had spent all her time with the sheep that we had. If they went somewhere she went along with them. She was a great guard dog who seemed to think of the sheep as her family. One day we went looking for her because we could not find her. All we found of her was some of her fur and signs that she had put up a great fight with the animals that killed her. The next week we had a trapper from the state come in and he trapped nine wolves in the middle of our pasture. Now she was not the sick or the lame, she was preventing them from getting to the livestock they wanted so they killed her. So if you think that wolves only kill weak or injured I am here to tell you that you are sadly mistaken.

  33. Sonny Culkin on May 3rd, 2010 4:32 pm

    Haha, you guys are idiots.
    There’s plenty of states without any wolves, why couldn’t you move them?
    FYI anyone who think elk or over harvested or livestock is being killed “at an alarming rate” should look at facts
    I think you “civilized people” need to sort out your facts.
    Number one, the elk population may be smaller, but way more healthy, fecundity and recruitment is higher than ever, and trophy animals are much more common, as i’m sure you know wolves prey on the weak as nature intended.
    Number 2, feral dogs and coyotes (mainly feral dogs) kill way more livestock than wolves. When wolves come back, those animals will go down – overall this means that LESS livestock will be killed
    Number 3, livestock are more likely to be killed by tb which are from ELK, not bison.
    Number 4 it is immorally wrong to believe that you as a creature yourself has the right right to try and push a species to extinction, first it was genocide of the native american indians and now specieside of the wolf and coyotes if you could.

    Wise up and face facts, you are a bad person if you believe that a wolf hunt is called for, give one good reason why natures balance should not be restored in other states?!

    Oh and any politician out there, why did you do this? I mean it’s the educated people who vote not these illiterate apes :-)
    Oh and this is not a grind on hunters, this is aimed at the people who think “wolves are so bad” etc etc

  34. Sonny Culkin on May 3rd, 2010 4:35 pm

    lmao, and shaun you must be an idiot you have singled out lines of his argument and extrapolated on them way beyond anything he mentioned.
    would you like me to send you a coloring book to keep you busy?

  35. Tom Sorenson on May 3rd, 2010 4:48 pm

    Sonny, You mention facts, but then you don’t site sources….that’s called opinion.

    I live with wolves, Sonny. You can’t argue that point. It’s easy to sit from a distance and say, “this is what I’ve read about wolves, etc, etc…” But a totally different thing to watch them, watch their effect on livestock (you are supremely foolish to believe they only prey on weak – nay, that’s idiotic, and grossly shows that you in fact don’t know anything about wolves outside of what you’ve read about them from biased sources.)

    This conversation hits too close to home and I’m weary of responding to people who have no clue – comments closed.