From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 4, Number 16 - July 15, 2004
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Wolf control ordered

by Cat Urbigkit

A beef calf was killed by wolves on a grazing allotment in the Upper Green River region of the Bridger-Teton National Forest on July 7, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. USDA Wildlife Services personnel confirmed the loss and found a radioed black female with an un-collated black male near the depredation.

FWS reported: "She may have just picked him up as she was near the Teton pack earlier this month, but had been seen alone until this latest flight. They are both whitening/graying because of suspected advanced age and she does not have pups. She has been involved with numerous cattle depredations for at least the past two years and all three of the males she has associated with in the past were killed because of chronic livestock depredations."

The male wolf was shot and killed from aircraft on July 8, but the female wolf was not killed at that time. Wildlife Services personnel had been asked only to remove any un-collated wolves found at the latest depredation site, so they did not shoot the female since they needed to confirm that FWS wanted the female removed as well.

FWS reported, "When we found out she was involved in more depredations, we requested Wildlife Services remove her too, as soon as practical."

Wolf depredations continue in other areas of Wyoming, Near Meeteetse, a pair of radio-collared wolves with four pups killed four adult beef cows on private lands.

FWS noted: "This was a very unusual depredation since calves were also in the same area but only the cows were killed. ... The cows' gut cavities had been opened up, but they were not extensively fed on."

Because livestock are abundant in this area and native prey are not, and multiple adult cattle were killed, Wildlife Services was authorized to remove the radioed alpha male. If depredations continue, all the remaining pack members will be removed, FWS reported.

The Washakie wolf pack near Dubois was confirmed as killing six beef calves early this month. Three wolves in this pack have already been killed and FWS has ordered that three more un-collated wolves be shot out of this pack, which would leave two radioed adults and seven pups.

On June 20, a Johnson County-hired coyote trapper/control agent reportedly incidentally took a wolf with M-44s set for coyotes on private land south of Ten Sleep. He immediately contacted Wildlife Services and they got him in touch with federal law enforcement agents. The investigation is continuing. It appears that 11 sheep were killed by what, at the time, was thought to be a dog in the same area a few days earlier. FWS reported. After the wolf was found dead, the Wildlife Services specialist went to the area, examined evidence and confirmed, from a wounded sheep that had recently died from its injuries, the depredations were likely caused by wolf attacks.

Wolves have been making their presence known in neighboring states as well. Wildlife Services personnel from Utah reported that the same sheepherder who lost sheep to wolves two years ago east of Ogden, Utah, reported that he heard two wolves howling near his camp on June 20. He hasn't reported any suspect wolf-depredations and Wildlife Services will continue to monitor the situation, FWS reported.

FWS reported that a sheep producer experienced severe depredations on a band of sheep near McCall, Idaho, on the evening of June 29 on state land. Wildlife Services confirmed that at least 46 sheep were killed, 19 injured and several head were missing after the attack by wolves, probably the Cook pack. When all was said and done, the number of dead sheep totaled 70 head. The wolf pack moved on, so were spared lethal control.

An Idaho county commissioner and his ranch hand were each fined $750 in the shooting death of a radioed wolf from a pack in Idaho. The wolf, protected under the Endangered Species Act, was found dead by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service enforcement officers May 25 on the 6,000-acre ranch north of Cascade after Nez Perce tribal biologists detected a mortality signal from its radio-collar, FWS reported. The ranch hand told officers he shot the wolf May 24 while it was running away from a herd of cattle, but did not report the shooting until contacted by law enforcement agents, FWS reported. No depredations were involved in the case.

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