Wolf kill could not be halted
By Richard Reeder
Three wolves have been removed from a pack and killed after they killed two cows about 20 miles north of Cody.
The incident occurred Sept. 14 on a Shoshone Forest grazing allotment belonging to Gerald Schneider of Clark and Bernard Bjornestad of Powell. It’s close to the Natural Corral area near Bald Ridge and adjacent to the Two Dot Ranch.
The attack on the cows was witnessed by an unidentified hunter, who described the incident in a widely distributed e-mail. The hunter said:
“I came upon a herd of cattle running around in a circle and making all sorts of sounds. The herd parted and two wolves popped out to look at me. Just beyond the two was another wolf on the hind end of a cow pulling a chunk of flesh from the cow that was still alive.
“The two wolves ran to my right and stopped about 50 yards away.
“The wolf on the cow jumped off and stood on the road. I charged him with the ATV and he ran to my right and stopped 25 yards away.
“I had my .44 mag and could have popped him, but knowing the penalty for killing a wolf, I pulled out the camera instead and took a picture of him while he was running away.
“I called 911 to get the local game warden, Chris Queen. He called back and was heading to the spot after he finished loading hay.”
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service state wolf manager Mike Jimenez said this pack has a history of creating problems.
“This is the Carter Mountain Pack and it has an chronic history of attacking livestock,” he said. “The pack had three adults and five pups.
“When a pack has a history of problems, we respond aggressively,” he added. “We removed three wolves and believe the pack has two adults and three pups left.”
Jimenez said USFWS responds to the problems under strict guidelines.
“In 1999 well-defined rules were written for us to handle problem wolves,” he said. “Last year we removed 46 wolves with a history of attacking livestock.
“This year we have had fewer problems and removed fewer wolves,” he added. “We have had 17 confirmed cow kills and 177 sheep kills attributed to wolves.”
Jimenez said the hunter acted properly when he encountered the attack.
“In Montana and Idaho, which have approved management plans, he could have shot the wolf,” he said. “Those states have a 10-J amendment that allows for anyone to protect private property when they encounter a wolf attack.
“But because Wyoming has no approved plan, there was nothing the hunter could do,” he added. “If he had shot the wolf, he would have faced federal charges similar to those faced by someone who shoots a grizzly bear.”
Jimenez said situations like this are why the wolf needs to be delisted.
“Right now we’re defending an Endangered Species policy that has been put in place,” he said. “But we support delisting so people can protect their private property.
“This situation is exactly why Wyoming needs an approved management plan to give people the ability to take action,” he added. “We want to see this happen, but it is going to take time to get all the litigation sorted out.”
Game and Fish grizzly and wolf manager Mark Bruscino responded to the incident, but his involvement was limited.
“When I arrived I saw one cow was dead and the other was injured,” he said. “I finished off the injured cow after receiving permission from the owner.
“Then I issued the paperwork for the reimbursement to the owner because we are required to reimburse them for the loss,” he added. “My action was a control action because once we saw wolves were involved, Fish and Wildlife took over.”