From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 3, Number 17 - July 24, 2003
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Cattle-killer destroyed

by Cat Urbigkit

Last Thursday, federal wildlife officials destroyed a male wolf that had been confirmed as killing cattle on several occasions in the last two years.

According to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service report, the Green River pack, which consists of a gray and a black pair with pups, attacked a calf on July 12 on a Bridger-Teton National Forest grazing allotment in the Upper Green River region.

"The calf lived but had its tail snipped off and hindquarters bitten," the report stated, adding that there was no control authorized at that time.

Two other calves were confirmed killed on July 14. According to the report, the radioed wolf pair was involved in calf depredations last year, and the alpha male wolf was shot from the air on July 17.

"If problems continue, the alpha female will also be killed," FWS reported. "We will be attempting to place any sub-adults we can catch in captivity."

Wolf problems have subsided, and bear problems are appear to be quieting as well.

Wyoming Game & Fish Department bear management officer Brian DeBolt said after moving a male grizzly bear out of the Upper Green River region a little more than a week ago in response to cattle depredations, there has been at least one more kill, but the guilty bear evaded capture.

DeBolt said wildlife officials set a trap for the bear, but after three nights the bear didn't return, and the traps were pulled. No further kills have been reported, DeBolt said Tuesday morning.

In other wolf news in the western portion of the state, wolf neck snares with stops were set under an elk-proof fence on a ranch in the Sunlight Basin area where wolves had been coming through and killing livestock. Captured wolves were to be radio-collared and released on site, but over the weekend of July 12, a sow grizzly bear with two yearling cubs came by and one yearling crawled under the fence and was killed by the snare, according to FWS.

WG&F was notified and all snares and traps were immediately pulled, according to FWS.

"We now recognize that wolf neck snares should not have been used in bear habitat when bears are out under any conditions," FWS reported. "Leg-hold trapping will continue to be used for both control and monitoring purposes. The ranch made several modifications to the fence to try and reduce the number of spots wolves can get in, but smaller wildlife can routinely go under the fence in various places."

In the Dubois area, on July 16, two dead calves were discovered on a Forest Service grazing allotment. Grizzly bear and wolf tracks were present. Federal wildlife officials investigated and determined that the two-day-old calf carcasses were wolf depredations.

"An uncollared, suspected sub-group of the Washakie pack that uses this area has been involved in several other cattle depredations," FWS reported. "The two radioed members of the main pack of Washakie wolves have denned some distance away and do not appear to be using the area where the depredations are occurring." Federal officials plan to trap, radio-collar and release a member of the uncollared group.

"It will be briefly monitored via telemetry to make sure no pups are involved and then, if possible, the entire sub-group will be removed," FWS reported.

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