Year of Award


Document Type

Professional Paper

Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Name

Resource Conservation

Department or School/College

College of Forestry and Conservation

Committee Chair

Don Bedunah

Commitee Members

Matthew McKinney, Seth M. Wilson


Blackfoot Watershed, husbandry practices, livestock, non-lethal conflict mitigation, northern gray wolf, range rider


University of Montana


The recent recovery of wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains (NRM) was met with opposition from the ranching communities throughout Montana. This was not surprising, due to the fact that wolves are feared as a predator of livestock and therefore represent a direct economic loss for ranchers that experience depredations by wolves. Wolves are also revered as a native predator that have top down effects upon natural prey species. This in turn affects the web of plants and animals that make up natural ecosystems. This fact, as well as the strong emotional connection that some stakeholders have to wolves creates a tense value laden debate when wolves come into conflict with humans. Non-lethal conflict mitigation tools have been developed, funded, and implemented in several communities throughout the NRM; in hopes of decreasing the polarization that once ruled the debate between the stakeholders. Montana ranchers have always been fiercely independent, yet many have found themselves partnering with conservation organizations to experiment with a new model of predator management that includes non-lethal tools. This literature review highlights the effectiveness, limitations, and local applicability of various non-lethal tools. A case study of a collaborative program is also included that was developed in the Blackfoot Watershed of western Montana. Wolves, livestock and people will continue to interact in the NRM, finding a way to reduce the conflict will help assure long term solutions that respect all the values placed on wolves.



© Copyright 2011 Peter Douglas Brown