As a wilderness outfitter in Wyoming during the past 35 years, I have observed a wide range of wildlife issues throughout the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem. I am proud to call this land my home and work with regional, state and federal officials on wildlife and its habitat. It is especially exciting to see the conservation success of the wolf and grizzly bear recovery efforts under the Endangered Species Act. During the past 20 years the gray wolf has re-established its niche as an essential species here. Likewise, the grizzly bear has slowly rebounded under ESA protection for almost 40 years, despite the pressures of habitat and food declines.

However, some folks seem confused by the facts, because they apparently have already made up their mind. It's embarrassing that Gov. Mead and other wildlife critics are so uninformed that they allege that wolves are "decimating" the elk, even though science has proven otherwise. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department and other agencies' data has demonstrated that a sound predator/prey balance has been reached during the past few years. WYGFD even reported that Wyoming elk hunters killed a record number of elk in 2012. Elk hunt annual reports show that favorable conditions, long seasons and the growing elk population all contributed to licensed hunters killing the highest number of elk ever: 26,385 -- a success rate of 46 percent.