From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 3, Number 41 - January 8, 2004
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Wolves kill cattle

by Cat Urbigkit

Wolves are confirmed to have recently attacked cattle near Cora and also near the Colorado border at Wamsutter, according to federal officials.

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, on Dec. 24, two calves were killed on private land near Cora. The agency reported, "The ranch has state elk feedgrounds at each end and the pack of four wolves (including one radio-collared Teton pack disperser) moves back and forth between the feedgrounds and through abundant cattle."

On Jan. 1, another calf was killed on the ranch and FWS reported that the rancher was given a shoot-on-site permit for two wolves. In addition, USDA Wildlife Services may initiate lethal control on the wolves.

According to FWS, Wildlife Services has confirmed that wolves killed several beef cattle in the Wamsutter area. It appears that one or two wolves were involved in the killing and Wildlife Services animal damage control specialists have been authorized to remove up to two wolves from the area, which is not far from the Colorado border.

Rancher Charlie Juare said when he began gathering cattle on the checkerboard area of the Red Desert north of Wamsutter right after Christmas, two extremely crippled cows were found, as well as other stiff and sore cattle.

Injuries to the cattle include having their tails chewed off near the backbone and severely infected wounds to their front legs at the elbow. All the affected cattle are bred yearling heifers weighing about 900 pounds at this time of year.

One of the cows couldn't get up and subsequently died. Federal wildlife officials skinned her carcass and discovered trauma associated with wolf predation. A second cow was killed as well.

"We had two that wouldn't get up anymore," Juare said. "About 10 or so had no tails, and we've still got a few more in the barn that are hobbling along."

Trying to gather cattle that have been subject to predation has proven to be difficult as well, with spooky cattle that don't want to be handled, Juare said.

"They're pretty rank," Juare said.

Shane Christian of Pavillion, who runs cattle with Juare, said at least one of the cattle attacked by wolves belongs to him, but the final counts haven't been made.

"They're scattered all over creation down there," Christian said. "They don't really want to herd back up."

Juare said having wolf depredation at any time of year is a new experience, but brings a dread of calving, which begins in April.

Juare said ranch workers have not seen nor heard of any wolves in the Pavillion area.

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