From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 5, Number 18 - July 28, 2005
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Wolves & grizzlies killing cattle

by Cat Urbigkit

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reported Monday that there have been numerous incidents of wolves killing cattle in Sublette County in the last week.

FWS reported that USDA Wildlife Services personnel confirmed that an unmarked group of wolves killed an 800-pound steer on July 18 on private land near Daniel.

"This is the same area where the Daniel pack was removed for depredations last year," FWS reported. "The ranch manager reported seeing a female and eight pups in the area." Although FWS's Mike Jimenez flew the area for missing radio-collared wolves, none were found.

"We requested access to radio-collar and release wolves onsite so we can locate the pack, but the landowner didn't want to be involved with any release of wolves on his property," FWS reported. "No further control will be conducted unless there are other depredations. We will continue to monitor the situation and look for other opportunities to trap and collar wolves in this area."

On the same day, Wildlife Services investigated and confirmed a report of dead calves in the Upper Green River region of the Bridger-Teton National Forest, reportedly near an active wolf den/rendezvous site. On July 19, Wildlife Services personnel returned to investigate and confirmed a second dead calf at that same location. This new wolf pack consists of four adult and four pups, FWS reported. On July 22, Wildlife Services used a fixed-wing aircraft to shoot a two-year-old non-breeding female wolf. FWS reports that control has ended unless there are other depredations.

In addition, the dispersing Druid pack wolf, re-collared by Jimenez in Grand Teton National Park a few weeks ago, has moved south and was within a mile or so of the wolf shot last Friday, FWS reported.

"He has not been involved in any of these depredations," FWS reported.

On public land near The Place, Wildlife Services confirmed a calf depredation by a wolf on the allotment on July 19.

"It was likely killed by a lone un-collared wolf that has been reported in the area," FWS reported. A day later, Wildlife Services investigated another dead calf in the same vicinity that had been scavenged by a wolf but was not killed by predators. Again, "The situation is being closely monitored."

In other federally protected predator news, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department is closely monitoring grizzly bear activity in the Upper Green River region. WG&F's Mark Bruscino noted that last week, two cattle kills were discovered. One was little more than a hide, while the second confirmed kill was a walking wounded animal that had to be destroyed.

With no fresh carcasses from which to concentrate control efforts, no trapping or capture was attempted, Bruscino said.

"We're up there monitoring the situation in cooperation with the cattle producers," Bruscino said. "A lot of attention is being paid to it right now."

Bruscino noted that cattle-killing behavior in grizzlies is generally limited to a few bears, usually adult males.

"So oftentimes, removing the offending bear, or a few offending bears, solves the depredation problem," Bruscino said. "The bears that don't kill cattle are allowed to remain on the national forest."

Four grizzlies have been removed from the Upper Green this grazing season.

There does seem to be a lot of bear sign in the Upper Green River cattle allotments this year, Bruscino said, but natural food sources appear to be good. It appears to be an excellent year for whitebark pine cones, which become a major bear food source after mid-August.

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