From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 6, Number 19 - August 3, 2006
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Wolf depredations continue

by Cat Urbigkit

Joe Sampson, who runs a small flock of sheep on his private property north of Cora, had a wolf killing his sheep within 50 yards of his house three times in less than a week. The last such event was last Wednesday night, July 26, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has now issued Sampson a shoot-on-sight permit to kill the large wolf should the opportunity arise.

In an interview Monday, Sampson said the first night, the wolf killed a lamb. The kill site was 75 to 100 yards behind his barn, and there was little left of the lamb but the hide. Two nights later, the wolf killed a ewe just 50 yards from his front door, again consuming most of the carcass. The wolf soon returned, attacking, but not killing, another ewe.

Federal control authorities have attempted to kill the wolf, but have not been able to at this point. Sampson does not find fault with the USDA Wildlife Services animal control specialists called in to resolve the problem.

“They are very helpful,” he said, “but it’s always too late.“ These guys are good, they call you right away, but they don’t live here.

“If I had the right to shoot the wolf when I saw it, it would be gone,” Sampson said.

The Sampsons see various wolves in the area on a fairly regular basis. They now lock their sheep up at night in a corral next to the house.

This isn’t the first time the Sampsons have had problems with a wolf in their sheep. It’s been about four years now since a lone wolf repeatedly returned to the Sampson property, harassing and killing the sheep until it was finally killed by federal officials. But the damage had been done.

“We had the worse lamb crop we ever had,” Sampson said. The pregnant ewes were terrified, he said, and as a result of the predation stress, some re-absorbed their fetuses.

“We lost two-thirds of our lambs that year,” he said. “That’s something they can’t compensate for. It’s really devastating.”

Sampson said that private property owners with livestock should be able to shoot wolves on their property.

“We need more leeway in dealing with these wolves, especially on private property,” Sampson said. “It’s going to be a rough situation.”

Sampson’s certainly not the only person in the area having wolf problems. FWS reported that in July, wolves were confirmed as killing eight calves on the Upper Green River grazing allotments. Four wolves have been killed by Wildlife Services so far, but depredations continued. Control is still ongoing to remove all remaining pack members.

Also, according to the FWS weekly wolf report, last Thursday a Wildlife Services specialist examined a dead heifer near Daniel and recorded it as a probable wolf kill. Control is ongoing.

See The Archives for past articles.

Copyright © 2002-2006 Sublette Examiner
All rights reserved. Reproduction by any means must have permission of the Publisher.
Sublette Examiner, PO Box 1539, Pinedale, WY 82941   Phone 307-367-3203