The management of large carnivores remains a contentious issue in many countries. Among the most contentious management options is ‘tolerance hunting’, or the killing of predators to increase tolerance among groups of people who do not accept the presence of these animals [1,2]. In [3,4], we used Bayesian state space models to evaluate the hypothesis that liberalizing culling of wolves changed wolf population dynamics from 1995 to 2012, and concluded it slowed growth, which we inferred was owing to increased poaching. Olson et al.  and Stien  re-visit our paper and we address their criticisms below.