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Just How Much Does It Cost to Kill A Wolf? More Than You Think.

Andrew Wetzler

Posted September 11, 2013 in Saving Wildlife and Wild Places

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Yesterday, the Sacramento Bee’s Tom Knudsen released an email from Todd Grimm, Western District Supervisor of Wildlife Services, breaking down the exact cost of killing wolves by shooting them from helicopters.  The numbers were pretty shocking: $865/hour for the helicopter alone (plus housing, food, transportation, per diem, etc.). 

Aerial gunning – shooting animals from a plane or helicopter – is often the preferred means of killing wolves and coyotes in remote areas, whereAerial Gunning (USDA Wildlife Services) it can be impractical to shoot them from the ground and difficult to set and check trap lines.  It’s a far more common practice than most people realize, and very often one subsidized by federal taxpayers.  When state and county governments hire USDA Wildlife Services to perform aerial gunning operations, the federal agency typically covers 40% - 50% of the costs.

Is it really worth over $800 an hour to kill a wolf or a few coyotes?  Probably not.  But the real scandal is that Wildlife Services doesn’t have the first clue.  That’s because, as NRDC laid out in an extensive report last summer, while Wildlife Services does produce cost-benefit analyses, the agency lacks any regulations or guidance to help them do so -- and the studies the agency has produced are often inconsistent with basic federal and academic standards.    

Maybe that’s why counties are increasingly questioning their Wildlife Services contracts and turning to nonlethal methods of predator control, which are better for ranchers, better for wildlife, and better for the bottom line.  Even Wildlife Services is starting to invest more in nonlethal practices.  Because at $865/hour, that math just doesn’t add up.

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Comments

Darlene AbbottSep 13 2013 12:07 PM

So sad,we need our Wolves and wild in this world to keep our Ego System healthy. All animals have a purpose on Earth, we can share and understand them. Please this Earth would be boring with out them. Please save them not kill them , thank you

wind dancerSep 13 2013 07:12 PM

What could be more sad is shooting from the air and maybe,maybe not killing the wolf but laming it and having it suffer for a long time and maybe never finding it for the asshole's trophy wall. Again how lazy if you really want to hunt. I think you are all just awful and barbaric,savage and inhumane killers. I only hope hope the worst thinks ever for your lives and may you never have peace in your life for what you are doing to the wolves. In the Spirit of Crazy Horse
Wind Dancer

Rik WhistlerforWolves Sep 14 2013 01:31 AM

The Wolves where here before us,they are Great Teachers...the Governments and Hunters who made the decision to Slaughter Wolves from a Helicopter are Cowards..
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=91Feh0a8_0o
I will never Give Up the Good Fight...
Save the WOLVES...

Carla Wolf FranklinSep 14 2013 04:38 PM

This is triple the torture on wolves. This is being done then all wolf hunting needs to stop period. Wolf hunters on the ground torture wolves, execute wolves, and wolves are persecuted. This is hate on wolves. I just signed the Animal Bill of Rights and Wolves absolutely need rights. Wolf hunters are hate organizations.

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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