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Wolf-Friendly Businesses in Silver Gate and Cooke City, Montana

In November of 2018, the beloved wolf 926F was shot and killed in the tiny town of Silver Gate when she crossed outside the boundary of Yellowstone National Park. She was the alpha female of the famous Lamar Canyon pack. Like many visitors from around the world, we knew and loved her from wolf watching in Yellowstone. Our closest and most memorable wolf encounters were with this beautiful bold female (see photo below).

926F alpha female wolf Lamar canyon pack, Yellowstone National Park
926F, alpha female of the Lamar Canyon Pack, killed November 2018

She was shot on the Bannock Trail, a residential street in Silver Gate just outside the northeast boundary of the park. In the wake of this tragic killing a great controversy began to stir in Silver Gate and the neighboring town of Cooke City.  Should a no-hunting zone be instituted around these towns? (Or more specifically a ban on wolf hunting and trapping as proposed by Montana Senate Bill 185, see bottom of this post.) Most residents and business owners in Silver Gate and Cooke City support the hunting ban, and only a small minority do not.

Our goal here is to compile a list of businesses who have confirmed they are in support of a ban on wolf hunting and trapping around Silver Gate and Cooke City. WE DO NOT CONDONE A BOYCOTT OF SILVER GATE AND COOKE CITY. This would simply harm the majority of residents and business owners who love and support wildlife and the natural Yellowstone ecosystem.

If you’re one of the people who has considered boycotting these towns, please read our companion article Town of Silver Gate Caught in the Crossfire After Wolf Shooting right now. It will give you an insider’s view of how this is affecting the pro-wolf majority in Silver Gate and provide you with some more effective ways to support the ban on wolf hunting.

This list was only created to help wolf-supporters choose which businesses to support when they visit the Silver Gate and Cooke City area. We love Silver Gate and intend to stay there every time we visit Yellowstone. 

Several people have been working toward compiling this list and it will be an on-going process as we acquire more information. If you are a business owner in Silver Gate or Cooke City and would like to publicly proclaim your support for the no-hunting zone for wolves, please do so in the comments below or contact us to be included on this list.

Thank you for supporting wildlife friendly businesses (and pro-wolf businesses) in Silver Gate and Cooke City.

Wolf Friendly Businesses in Silver Gate, Montana

(Keep in mind, this is an incomplete list. These are just the businesses who chose to respond to our request. Last update March 5, 2019)

The Log Cabin Cafe pro wolf business in Silver Gate
The Log Cabin Cafe, a great wildlife friendly option for dining and lodging in Silver Gate!

Wolf Friendly Businesses in Cooke City, Montana

We haven’t begun to compile this list yet. It is a slightly larger town with a lot more businesses, so please give us time as this list develops.

More About the No-Hunting Zone Controversy in Silver Gate and Cooke City

It should be noted that it was a Cooke City resident (and business owner) who killed the wolf in Silver Gate, not a Silver Gate resident. However we do not support the idea of boycotting the town of Silver Gate or Cooke City. The majority of residents and business owners were appalled by this killing. It would be unfair to harm them because of a few individuals in the area. Instead, we should support the businesses who do support wildlife and a no-hunting zone around Silver Gate and Cooke City.

It is also important to note that 926F, like her famous mother before her (known as 06), was hunted legally (according Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks) in the state-sanctioned Montana wolf hunt. Many contended that the hunt was illegal (involving two-way communications and that she was shot in the road.) After further investigations, the Montana FWP states they have not found enough evidence to rule the hunt as illegal. If somebody does have further information to assist in the investigation they can reach the agency’s 24-hour tipline at 1-800-TIPMONT.

We won’t be getting too deep into the larger issue of whether a legal wolf hunt should be allowed at all in Montana but I will say that I don’t believe it makes sense for conservation or for humans financially. For example, according to Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks: “During the 2017-2018 wolf season, 255 wolves were harvested: 65 percent hunting, 35 percent trapping. Approximately, $380,000 was generated for wolf conservation and management by wolf license sales.” On the other hand, a study called “The Economics of Wolf Recovery in Yellowstone National Park” by University of Montana researchers concluded that visitors coming from outside Montana/Wyoming/Idaho were spending $35.5 million dollars a year specifically to see or hear wolves in the park. Wolves are clearly worth more alive than dead.

926F alpha female wolf of Lamar Canyon Pack, Yellowstone National Park
In honor of 926F, also known as Spitfire

Montana State Senate Bill 185

This week, Senate Bill 185 was rejected by the Senate Fish and Game Committee. The bill, introduced by Senator Mike Phillips, would have banned wolf hunting and trapping in two wolf management zones adjacent to the Yellowstone National Park northern border. Zones 313 and 316 include the Gardiner area and the Silver Gate/Cooke City area. Each of these wolf management districts had a state-sanctioned hunting quota of 2 wolves per year. Even though support at the public hearing last week in Helena was 3 to 1 in favor of the bill, the committee voted 9 to 1 against it. Now it will be two years before the bill can come up again in state legislature. Linda & Nathan Varley, owners of Yellowstone Wolf Tracker were some of the locals who went in support of the bill. Their facebook post from earlier today sums up the situation well (see below)

For information about how you can support the bill to ban wolf hunting around Silver Gate and Cooke City, please read our companion article Town of Silver Gate Caught in the Crossfire.

Hal Brindley at the Antarctic Circle

Hal Brindley

Brindley is an American conservation biologist, wildlife photographer, filmmaker, writer, and illustrator living in Asheville, NC. He studied black-footed cats in Namibia for his master’s research, has traveled to all seven continents, and loves native plant gardening. See more of his work at Travel for Wildlife, Truly Wild, Our Wild Yard, & Naturalist Studio.

William Wolfe

Sunday 3rd of April 2022

I didn't know they allowed radio communication between hunter's to kill a wolf.

michele bullock

Saturday 15th of January 2022

Time for an updated list? I just visited and did not spend any money In any business I didn’t know their support status.

cristina garcia

Tuesday 25th of January 2022

We definitely need a little update! Thank you so much for supporting wolves and people that love them!

Hannah Jones

Sunday 9th of May 2021

Thank you for giving importance to these wolves that made Yellowstone their home. I'm happy to read these kinds of articles that support not only the businesses but also protecting animals like wolves. I hope that soon more people be like you that supports " no trapping and Hunting" for wolves and other animals. Thanks for sharing. It's indeed great content!

Audra Conklin Taylor

Saturday 18th of January 2020

Hi Hal~ Being a full time resident who lives between Silver Gate and Cooke City, I lived through every part of the killing of 926F. I know all the people involved and it happened where I play with my dog almost every day. I am also the only permitted wildlife guide out of the NE Entrance (there are no “free guides” offered as stated above, just the complimentary use of spotting scopes in Silver Gate). There are some comments I’m reading here that are based on truth but not completely factual. It’s actually taken me this long to read through online comments as it’s been such a painful topic creating much division in the community. As I draft a letter for the upcoming issue to lower the wolf hunting number from 2 to 1 in our districts, I came across your article. In case you decide to write a follow up, I invite you to contact me. Thank You! Audra Conklin Taylor Lamar Valley Touring Silver Gate/Cooke City, MT

Hal Brindley

Tuesday 21st of January 2020

Hi Audra, thanks so much for your comment! We are not planning a follow up so please do comment here again with any corrections to facts listed in this article. As for the free guide mentioned, we were referring to a printed guide booklet (some photo-copied pages) not a human guide! We look forward to hearing more information from your inside perspective and we will update our article accordingly. Thanks again! -Hal

Tina S.

Friday 6th of September 2019

The only reason I drove from Southern California to Yellowstone where my family and I spent A LOT of money buying goods from small business throughout the park and surrounding area, and it was because we came to see wolves that are ALIVE. They are one of the biggest draws to the park. I will not spend one dollar at any establishment in Silvergate, Gardiner, Cooke City that supports trophy hunting wolves. I can understand hunting for food where the animal doesn’t die in vain, but trophy hunting serves no purpose. Wolves are worth more alive than dead and as I return to YNP, I will not give a penny to those supporting wolf hunts. I went wolf watching five days out of the six I was there, purchasing goods only at the businesses that are wolf advocates. I came to see live wolves, not taxidermy ones.