First-Ever Wolf Hunt in the Lower 48 Captured on Film to Air on Sportsman Channel

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Sportsman Channel Confronts the Polarizing Issue of Wolf Management Head-on with Big Game Hunter & Conservation Historian Randy Newberg

The first-ever televised wolf hunt in the lower 48 will air exclusively on Sportsman Channel, the leader in outdoor TV for the American Sportsman, when “On Your Own Adventures” tackles the issue of wolf management head-on with its two-episode series that is equal parts education and adventure. Big game hunter and conservation historian Randy Newberg, along with hunting partner, Matt Clyde, will try to outsmart this most intelligent predator—and explain the reasons why wolf management is necessary—during an 11-day grueling spot and stalk wolf hunt. The series airs August 16 at 9pm ET/PT and concludes on August 23 at 9pm ET/PT.

“I don’t hate wolves. I’m glad they are here and never want wolves to disappear. But they need to be managed and be brought in somewhere close to the numbers promised when the Feds reintroduced the wolves,” said Newberg. “We can’t stand on the sidelines. As hunters, we must do our part to help manage wolves, the same as we manage every other species. We are giving viewers the facts behind the issues and hope it’ll provide insights.”

The wolf was reintroduced in 1995 in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming from Canada. These reintroduced populations were agreed to be “non-essential and experimental” by Federal agencies. However, it took eight years in the courts until Congress intervened; allowing individual states to manage their own wolf populations. “Everyone agreed that the states could have their own management plan, and delisting would start once their wolf population reached 100, and 10 breeding pairs, in each state,” said Newberg. “In Montana, we now have some 700 wolves.” In March, 2011, a bill introduced by Senator Jon Tester (MT) and Congressman Mike Simpson (ID) was passed, allowing for state control of wolf management. Many states now have their own wolf hunting seasons; Montana and Idaho seasons started in 2011 and other states, like Minnesota and Wisconsin, will have their first this winter.

Today, there is a division between people wanting to manage the wolves and pro-wolf groups. Wolves have had localized impacts on other species, as expected. Hunting of wolves is part of the state wolf management plans and part of the agreement that allowed wolves to be reintroduced in the Northern Rockies. Some now want to change the promises made to the states, promises made when wolves were placed on the landscape.

Wolves are hard to hunt, and it’s even harder to keep their numbers down. The animals are prolific breeders, with a breeding pair producing up to six pups in one year. Newberg explains in Montana they harvested 176 wolves last winter, but the population still grew by over 100 wolves. And the more humans hunt them, the smarter they will get to our ways. Due to wolves, the elk herd around Yellowstone has experienced an 80 percent reduction where the anticipated wolf impact was estimated to be a 25 percent reduction.

“Hunting is an essential management tool of any game or wildlife species and we don’t view wolves to be any different from that,” said David Allen, president of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF), who worked in conjunction with Newberg’s team on the hunt. “Those who are pro-wolf advocates are so anti-hunter they can’t see the forest from the trees. The hunter will be the long-term answer to the survival of the wolves. I know it sounds ironic to them, but it’s a fact. The subject is only emotional to those who don’t base it on science.”

“There are thousands of wolves in the lower 48 and we are going to hunt these wolves and we are going to manage them like every other species. These wolves will never disappear,” said Newberg. “But we will manage them to a number that locals find tolerable, and closer to what was promised the states as incentive to sign on to this reintroduction process. Nature doesn’t balance itself in the happy manner some would like to fantasize. Hunting is a critical part of a properly balanced system. If you are going to manage wildlife you can’t just manage the prey species you have to manage predators too.”

Just 90 miles out of Newberg’s backdoor in the Gallatin National Forest in southwest Montana, the two hunters immediately follow a large group of elk that are migrating out of Yellowstone National Park for the winter. The two-part series explains much of the history of the reintroduction of wolves and how a hunting season became possible. But viewers will also see how much work Clyde and Newberg put in just to stalk one, lone, wolf. The men stretch their hunting over an 11-day period as they run into fast moving wolves, confusion if the animal is coyote or wolf, changing winds and other hunters, showing how wolf hunting is one of the most difficult and adventurous hunts.

Watch Sportsman Channel on DISH (available in HD), DirecTV, AT&T U-Verse, Verizon FiOS or check your local cable listings. Additionally, go to http://theSportsmanChannel.com and enter your zip code in our channel finder. Don't have Sportsman Channel? Contact your cable operator today to request it.

About Sportsman Channel:
Launched in 2003, Sportsman Channel, and Sportsman HD, is the only television and digital media company fully devoted to the more than 82 million sportsmen in the United States, delivering entertaining and educational programming focused exclusively on hunting, shooting and fishing activities. Sportsman Channel reaches more than 31 million U.S. television households and is available in HD, visit sportsmanhd.com for more information. Visit http://www.thesportsmanchannel.com, follow on Twitter, @SPORTSMANchnl (twitter.com/SPORTSMANchnl) and Like on Facebook, facebook.com/sportsmanchannel

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