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Wolfer: A Memoir Paperback – April 19, 2012

4.5 out of 5 stars 53 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Carter Niemeyer is an Iowa native and a biologist with two degrees from Iowa State University. He worked 26 years for USDA Animal Damage Control in Montana where he was a trapper, a district supervisor, and the West's wolf management specialist. He retired in 2006 from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as the federal wolf recovery coordinator for Idaho. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 338 pages
  • Publisher: Bottlefly Press (April 19, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0984811303
  • ISBN-13: 978-0984811304
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #839,481 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By R S Cobblestone VINE VOICE on January 28, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As the gray wolf population expands in the West, there are an increasing number of folk who are knowledgeable about wolf biology and wolf management. Ironically, we know much more about wolf genetics, physiology, dispersal, food habits, behavior, and other biological and ecological characteristics (see Wolves: Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation than we know about the interaction of people and wolves.

And where people interact with wolves, and vice versa, is where the rubber hits the road. In this case, the road is wet, the tires bald, and the driving is done by committee, none of which speak the same language. It's not pretty.

In Wolfer: A Memoir, author, wildlife biologist, fur trapper, "G-man," and wolf specialist Carter Niemeyer describes his life, moving from a young "gopher-choker" to the glue that held the western wolf recovery program together.

Niemeyer's evolution as a wolf advocate was slow. The university training for a wildlife manager in the 60s and 70s was very traditional. There was game and non-game. Things that hurt game populations... bad. Things that help game populations... good. Wildlife was a "crop" to be grown and harvested, and the tools were the trap and the gun. Niemeyer was lucky enough to be mentored by some truly outstanding field biologists. And he graduated at a time when, if you weren't a veteran, it was difficult to get a federal wildlife job. Like many budding wildlife biologists, he supported himself with temporary assignments, waiting for his ship to come in. "I'm a skunk trapper from Montana," he once described himself, working on a rabies project. Little did he know what was in store.
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Carter Niemeyer has personally handled 300 wolves and has lived to write about it. Niemeyer quietly, but powerfully adds his deep tracks to a well trodden path of authors telling tales of wolves, wolfers and wolf preservationists that have come before. He has moved for three decades through a landscape fraught with traps of all sort and emerged sane, funny, wise, and boy-curious for more fieldwork. 'Wolfer" lacks the drug-dreamy social-cause poetry of Lopez, the outrage of Mowat, and the subtexts of National Geographic. This book is different from the others; it is authentic. The writer is refreshingly square with the reader. There are no calls for protest, no low blows to wolf managers, no good ole' boy nudges to shoot, shovel, and shut up. The author's lifetime of work amongst toothy wolves, prickly ranchers, hamstrung wildlife managers, misguided politicians, and clueless reporters has, somewhat miraculously, produced benefits to each of the parties involved.
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I received this book as a gift and now frequently give it as a gift! Niemeyer is a great storyteller and has a great story to tell. This book isn't just about his work reintroducing wolves into Yellowstone - it's his entire career history, which includes time spent as a killer, rather than champion, of wolves. Some might say this makes him a hypocrite, but his experiences reveal what a tough battle wolves have faced in the US. I'm certain he's not the only person out there who has been paid to hunt AND help grey wolves.

Perhaps the best part of this book, for me, was Niemeyer's detailed description of everything he did before working with wolf reintroduction. His odd jobs for Fish & Wildlife and other similar agencies produced the kind of stories most people could never tell. I learned a lot about wildlife management in the US and about jobs I had no idea existed. This memoir inspired me to broaden my career considerations. In the very least, I hope it inspires other readers to think a little more about the amazing creatures sharing our world.
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If there's a threat to climate, it's probably from all the hot air circulating over the wolf issue. Carter Niemeyer's remarkable memoir is not only a fun and fascinating read, but injects an all-too-rare note of sanity into the ongoing wolf war. Niemeyer's unique background -- he was a sort of modern-day mountain-man who turned government trapper and varmit killer before experiences, long and varied, brought him to appreciate wolves as they really were, and not as either the crazed killers imagined nowadays by blowhard bloggers, or as the teddy-bear cuddlies imagined by others. Carter seems to see wolves (if I can summarize this) as nothing more nor less than a component of the natural world as God designed it and not necessarily as we would remake it for our own convenience, which often enough turns out to be folly. It would be hard to imagine that anyone on Earth knows wolves better than Carter Niemeyer. But while he may be their best friend, he is no sentimentalist. He recognizes that conflicts do occur when humans jostle for their own place in the natural world, and deserve to have their legitimate needs met, too, in balance with the overall design aforementioned. He points out that wolves do, in fact, kill for a living, and that sometimes, but not always, they kill things we wish they wouldn't. That, as the saying goes, is life. The great thing about Wolfer is its sanity and balance. Niemeyer obviously likes wolves, but he also obviously likes and admires most ranchers and fellow hunters and others who make their living or get much of their enjoyment from the land. So this book will be on my shelf for a long time.
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