Saturday, May 28, 2011

USDA setting traps after wolves kill horse in Darby

Posted: May 28, 2011 
by Irina Cates (KPAX News)
     USDA setting traps after wolves kill horse in Darby
  • USDA setting traps after wolves kill horse in Darby
DARBY- A Darby rancher is mourning the loss of his horse Jack, after wolves chased him down and killed him.
"It's hard to believe that two days ago I was giving Jack treats and now he looks like that. Because somebody thought we had to have wolves around here," says Paul Shirley who owns the Two Feathers Ranch.
Shirley tears up when he talks about his horse Jack. He says he's heart broken over losing his pet.
"They ran Jack right through the fence and killed him over on the other side," Shirley said. "The day he was killed was his 13th birthday."

Shirley says he is seeing a difference in the behavior of his animals out in the pasture. Not all the horses come up to him when he's petting them and giving out treats, but after the wolf attack on Jack, their behavior changed.
"Every single horse came up and just nuzzled me and wanted to be petted a little bit. They knew what had happened and I guess that they wanted to let me know that they knew," Shirley said.
He also says the cattle stay close to the house, which they almost never do.
"Fish, Wildlife and Parks has gave us permission to set the traps and we have the government trapper here doing it.," says Jeff Rennaker, Two Feathers Ranch Manager. "We're setting foot-hold traps. The wolves are coming through the fence in a spot up here over to the horse. They've got to step in the right spot."
"We're going to do what we can do to eliminate any wolves that come anywhere near any of our animals," added Shirley.
The USDA trapper says he saw two distinctly different wolf paw prints after setting the first set of traps and at least one of the wolves missed the trap by inches. The dead horse is being used as bait with traps set up around it to catch the predator.
And when it comes to the wolf population, Shirley says he thinks it probably helps to thin them out.
"The problem with de-listing is that it's a political issue. It's not a nature issue and anytime you have politics, you're going to have compromises. Sometimes those compromises are decent and work out, sometimes they don't, but we're going to do what we need to do here-and that's kill as many wolves as we can," Shirley said.
Since Friday night, the USDA increased the number of traps on Shirley's ranch, hoping to catch a wolf on the second try.