From The New Yorker:
The gray wolf prefers to eat fleet ungulates—elk, deer—but when Europeans arrived in America with livestock its menu expanded. A wolf that cannot find its favored meal may turn to cattle and sheep. Livestock producers and big-game hunters have considered wolves an existential threat since Colonial days. In 1634, a tract called “New England’s Prospect,” by William Wood, described the animals as “the greatest inconveniency,” noting that there was “little hope of their utter destruction, the Countrey being so spacious, and they so numerous.”
Idaho has plenty of cattle and elk, both of which generate a lot of profit: the cattle industry is worth nearly two billion dollars, and the state collects about six million dollars a year in hunting fees—about ninety thousand people hunt elk. Of the Western states, Idaho has long had a reputation as the most hostile toward the gray wolf, a once endangered species; it’s legal to slay pups in their dens there.