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Wolfer: A Memoir
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Wolfer: A Memoir

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4.12  ·  Rating Details ·  105 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
His plan was to stay in Iowa, maybe get a job counting ducks, or do a little farming. But events conspired to fling Carter Niemeyer westward and straight into the jaws of wolves. From his early years wrangling ornery federal trappers, eagles and grizzlies, to winning a skinning contest that paved the way for wolf reintroduction in the Northern Rockies, Carter Niemeyer ...more
Paperback, 374 pages
Published December 4th 2010 by BottleFly Press
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Robin Mullet
Jan 13, 2011 Robin Mullet rated it it was amazing
(Caveat: Carter Niemeyer is a friend.) All of us who know Carter have been waiting for this book. It is written in a voice that is uniquely this man. I liked the technique of the "Unchapters"- just separating parts of the book by photographs. Carter not only tells some of the inside story on wolf reintroduction and recovery, but issues an honest, hard look at the USDA's Wildlife Services, and the atmosphere within that organization. It won't make him more popular with some folks, but the ...more
Peacegal
Jan 17, 2013 Peacegal rated it liked it
3.5 stars -- What happens when a government trapper decides he doesn’t want to kill wolves, but rather conserve them?

Carter Niemeyer is, first and foremost, a trapper. He has been hunting and trapping since childhood, and the first half of this book is a log of his many wilderness adventures, most of which involve killing large numbers of animals.

I found myself having to take periodic breaks from all the killing and read some much lighter fare, which isn’t something I commonly do. At the same t
...more
Pamela Okano
Oct 14, 2016 Pamela Okano rated it it was amazing
This is a must read book for anyone interested in wolves or endangered, threatened, or otherwise vulnerable predators. The author is a wildlife biologist, but he's not your usual wildlife biologist--he started his career as fur trapper. Through a long career, he was involved in most, if not all, of the major wolf reintroductions in the West. Originally part of the federal govt's wildlife control agency, he eventually went on to USF&W, which emphasized conservation more than killing. That ...more
Heather
Jun 21, 2014 Heather rated it really liked it
I have heard of Carter Niemeyer whenever wolves come up for many years, and this year had the chance to hear him speak in person, as well as in a great interview on NPR. I have great respect for him, and the role he played in wolf management and reintroduction, so I was very interested to read this book. That said, I found it a tough read in places. This is informative, and tells a hard truth about the internal politics and sometimes screw ups that were at play in the agencies he worked for over ...more
Honey Grodt
Nov 08, 2015 Honey Grodt rated it really liked it
When I decided to read this book, I had to make the conscious effort to do so with an open mind. I tried to keep my opinions of the actions of the author in check, as I do not agree with the way the government branches he worked for conduct business. I am so glad I was able to do it, because reading about Carter Niemeyer's life was worth it.

Carter grew up in small town Iowa and attended Iowa State University, just as I did, but there is where our similarities end. I have always been a conservat
...more
DeLene Beeland
Dec 26, 2012 DeLene Beeland rated it really liked it
One element that shined through again and again in this book is Niemeyer’s use of language and anecdote. He has a folksy way of telling stories that I assume is similar to how he talks in real life. This narration brings the reader into his world of rural landscapes and small towns. You feel wrapped up in his life as he is re-telling it to you. Another element that I appreciated was his use of detail. In the author’s note, Niemeyer tells us that he kept copious records and field reports from his ...more
Steven Howes
Jun 15, 2012 Steven Howes rated it it was amazing
Wolf reintroductions back into the continental US was, and still is, an extremely controversial issue, especially in the states where they initially occurred (Montana, Idaho, Wyoming). Such introductions were the basis for Nicholas Evans's novel, "The Loop" which is one of the best books I have read. This book is a detailed description of actual events that took place during wolf reintroduction as experienced by the author while employed by USDA Animal Damage Control and US Fish and Wildlife ...more
FrankO
Oct 23, 2011 FrankO rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nature, memoir
The author grew up in Iowa where he really enjoyed trapping animals. Then he got a job in Montana for Animal Damage Control (later renamed to Wildlife Services), an agency in USDA, that was supposed to deal with predators that allegedly killed livestock. Early in the book there's a picture of Niemeyer with scores of pelts from the coyotes that he killed. He later represented Animal Damage Control when wolves were making there way from Canada into the states, sometime before the reintroduction. ...more
Jenny Niemeyer
Jan 07, 2011 Jenny Niemeyer rated it it was amazing
Shelves: editors-pick
I was the editor for Wolfer by Carter NIemeyer.

Carter has been in the wolf business a long time - longer than anyone in the West. It's a weird thing, the relationship between wolves and people, but Carter seemed to have a knack for bridging the gap between those who can't quit fighting over this iconic animal. His stories were so crazy that they had to be true. So many people told him, "hey, you ought to write about that," that he started taking them seriously. In 2007 I sat him down and told hi
...more
Catherine
Jun 10, 2013 Catherine rated it liked it
I must admit, I was slightly disappointed with this book. As an avid wolf fan and being excited to read about the exploits of a federal trapper who was 'pro-wolf', the amount of detail covering the politics outweighs the actual re-introduction and conservation of these beautiful animals. Don't get me wrong, I realise that the politics is important to the story, and needs to be there, but I feel personally that words are wasted on the rigmarole going on in the offices of the big-wigs, rather than ...more
Lindsey
Jan 31, 2012 Lindsey rated it liked it
I found this book incredibly informative and indicative of the current wolfmania. I read it because NE OR is presently "dealing" with several packs of wolves that have migrated from Idaho, but anyone who has an interest in wolves, ecology, ranching, or just land use rights in general would get a new perspective from this book. Niemeyer is one of a kind - he has truly "been there" for the whole of wolf reintroduction in the Western United States. It's not a book written for the sake of beautiful ...more
Lori
Jul 07, 2011 Lori rated it really liked it
My daughter is the reason I even read this book -- she met Mr. Niemeyer as part of her National History Day project on the wolf controversy here in Idaho. So after that meeting I was very intrigued by his line of work and this memoir did not disappoint. Such a great way to read and learn about the big mess that's been made out of one of the most misunderstood and villified animals we humans have encountered. If only our elected officials and federal and state agencies could adopt the same ...more
Bruce
Aug 13, 2012 Bruce rated it really liked it


I enjoyed this book a great deal, learned a lot about wolves and people, laughed more than a few times and shook my head with recognition of bureaucratic BS that Carter lived with and fought through. While I don't know Carter I do know others who had careers with public land management agencies who always maintained high principles and who could deliver bad news as well as good. I have high respect for the Carters of the world.
Jean
Jul 20, 2011 Jean rated it really liked it
Interesting book that really describes the history of wolves in the US during the 1980s and 1990s through reintroduction. I liked how blunt Carter Niemeyer is, though the writing is not very refined. His personal reflections on wolves and the ethical problems associated with predators is very informative. I learned quite a bit about predator control programs in Montana and strongly recommend this book if you want to understand how predators are treated in the US.
Woody
Aug 20, 2013 Woody rated it it was amazing
A fascinating, insightful perspective on wolf management issues written by a trapper turned conservationist. Niemeyer devoted 32 years to hands-on predator management in Montana and Idaho. He spent much of his career in the vortex of the wolf reintroduction controversy. In fact, he caught and transferred most of the wolves that were re-introduced to Yellowstone National Park. Anyone who wants to gain a better understanding wolf issues should read this book.
Barbara
May 16, 2015 Barbara added it
Shelves: animals
I can't believe I actually enjoyed reading a book by a guy who loved to "plonk" prairie dogs.

True account of the guy who ended up being Montana's only "wolf guy" - the one who determined which livestock were actually killed by wolves (lots fewer than the ranchers claimed) and deciding whether ranchers got compensated for the kills.
Trustno1k
Dec 05, 2011 Trustno1k rated it liked it
I really enjoyed this memoir. I decided to read it after reading Shadow Mountain. I have a fasination with wolves. If you like or dislike wolves, this is must read because it really gives you a true education of just how much wolves have impacted our ecosystem...past and present. Is the wolf an animial we can live without? You be the judge after reading this book!
George
May 15, 2011 George rated it it was amazing
This is a fascinating read, a book written by a former "animal control" agent for state government. If you care about wolves, this is a must read, as it sheds light on the complexities of wolf reintroduction.
Jay
Apr 20, 2012 Jay rated it really liked it
Carter Niemeyer isn't a writer. He makes that pretty clear from the start and it shows in the way he assembles his thoughts. That said, Niemeyer has a unique voice and any structure problems he has just lend themselves to that voice.
Slyv
Nov 22, 2012 Slyv rated it liked it
If you don't know much about the animal Damage departments in MT and ID, and the history of the ranching lobby, this is an eye-opener. This is a biography about a man who started his career shooting "varmints", and finally, was a part of the re-introduction of wolves to Yellowstone.
Travis Gahm
Mar 16, 2013 Travis Gahm rated it it was amazing
Must read for wildlife advocates. Carter provides insight into wolf reintroduction from the front lines.
timv
Jan 19, 2013 timv rated it it was amazing
great Storytelling by a dyed in the wool field scientist. Also a great inside story of the Wolf Reintroduction to Yellowstone, Idaho, et cetera. unique book. loved it.
Ashley
Ashley rated it it was amazing
Oct 17, 2015
Julie Hall
Julie Hall rated it really liked it
May 18, 2013
Shelly Williams
Shelly Williams rated it it was amazing
Aug 28, 2016
Tammy Krueger
Tammy Krueger rated it liked it
Jun 27, 2014
Frank
Frank rated it liked it
Jun 22, 2013
Linda Hunter
Linda Hunter rated it it was amazing
May 25, 2014
Susan Spidle
Susan Spidle rated it really liked it
Apr 27, 2011
Jeff Line
Jeff Line rated it really liked it
Nov 28, 2013
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​Carter Niemeyer retired in 2006 from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service where he was the wolf recovery coordinator for Idaho. As an expert government trapper, he was a key member of the federal wolf reintroduction team in Canada in the mid-1990s. Carter is an Iowa native, but adopted the West as his home in the early 1970s. He has two degrees from Iowa State University and is a Wildlife ...more
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