Jackson Hole Wildlife Safaris: Wildlife Watching as Business
Image by Thomas D. Mangelsen
“This first hunt devastated the wolf watching and photography industry in Jackson Hole and shattered the potential for this multi-million dollar industry to flourish! That winter the wolves vanished from sight. They started hunting and moving at night and were being especially careful to avoid being spotted by people. That winter (2012/13) our guides and guests only saw wolves twice in the entire season! Their disappointment was palpable and our loss of revenue dramatic. Not only was this an entirely new dimension to the wildlife related tourism industry in Jackson Hole, it also coincided with our slow seasons, a time when valley businesses struggle to make sales, fill hotel rooms, restaurant seats and certainly sell wildlife safaris. It was an amazingly sudden shift and a lesson to be learned about our wild neighbors. They are smart! The wolf packs that we are starting to know didn’t lose that many members to the hunt but they saw enough of their family killed to completely avoid us. This negative conditioning will most certainly have an impact on our ability to watch and photograph these wolves for years to come. ….
Did you know that the wolf hunt in 2012 and 2013 cost Wyoming Game and Fish nearly a half million dollars each year (before it was shut down this year by a DC judge)? Did you know that wolf watching in Jackson Hole was on track to be a 35 million dollar a year business before the hunt? Here’s the truth based on the best available information!”