After Wyoming Says No To Giving Wolves To Colorado, Montana And Idaho May Also Refuse

Colorado still needs wolves for its planned reintroduction program, and after having getting a solid “no” from Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon, it’s not looking like Montana or Idaho will provide any of their wolves either.

Mark Heinz

May 21, 20233 min read

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Colorado may have gotten ahead of itself in planning to reintroduce wolves there.

Gov. Mark Gordon earlier this month said that he’ll flatly refuse to provide any Wyoming wolves for Colorado’s reintroduction program.

On Friday, Montana officials told Cowboy State Daily that state doesn’t plan to offer wolves anytime soon either, and the response from Idaho was lukewarm as well.

That’s despite the fact that the recently approved Final Colorado Wolf Restoration and Management Plan states that the preferred source of wolves be from other Northern Rockies states.

Seems Colorado officials didn’t ask those Northern Rockies states first if they’d be willing to part with wolves for Colorado’s plan.

‘No Active Negotiations’

Any talk about sending Montana wolves to Colorado remains purely “theoretical” Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks spokesman Greg Lemon told Cowboy State Daily.

“We are not in any active negotiations to translocate any wolves from Montana to any other state,” he said.

And there wasn’t any indication Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte had the possibility of sending wolves to Colorado on his radar, Kaitlin Price, a spokesperson for Gianforte, told Cowboy State Daily.

Madison Hardy, a spokeswoman for Idaho Gov. Brad Little, told Cowboy State Daily the same — there hadn’t been any indication about whether Little was considering providing wolves either.

Wyoming Wolves ‘Unsuitable’ For Colorado, Gordon Says

In a statement earlier this month, Gordon said he doesn’t want to send wolves to Colorado because he thinks they’d inevitably end up crossing back into Wyoming.

“Our border with Colorado is an unsuitable area for wolves, and that would mean more human conflicts. Resolution of conflicts is almost always deadly to wolves,” Gordon said.

Wyoming rancher and former state legislator Pat O’Toole recently told Cowboy State Daily that he worries about the trouble wolves might cause on his property, which straddles the Wyoming-Colorado state line.

However, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Department still hopes to have “conversations” with the other Northern Rockies states about getting some wolves, agency spokesman Joey Livingston told Cowboy State Daily on Friday.

"While there have been no formal conversations on source populations, there have been informal discussions with northern Rockies states and CPW will continue these conversations now that the Final Colorado Wolf Restoration and Management Plan is approved. These conversations will occur over the next few months,” he said.

The plan is to start reintroducing wolves to Colorado by the end this year, and gradually release more there over the next few years.

“It is anticipated that wolf reintroduction efforts will require the transfer of about 30 to 50 wolves in total over a three- to five-year time frame,” Livingston said. “It is desirable to source wolves from the northern Rockies states — like Idaho and Montana — or other suitable donor sites — Oregon, Washington, as recommended by the Technical Working Group — with assistance from other state wildlife management agencies."

Colorado’s wolf reintroduction program was initiated by Proposition 114, which barely squeaked by Colorado voters in 2020 by a margin of 50.91% to 49.09%.  

Mark Heinz can be reached at

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Mark Heinz

Outdoors Reporter