Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Wolves kill cattle in Absarokee area; Wildlife Services looks to eradicate pack

Two yearling heifers were killed by wolves near Absarokee on March 25, prompting Wildlife Services to set leg-hold snares near the cattle carcasses.
The same Rosebud pack killed a yearling on a neighboring ranch along Fiddler Creek at the base of the Beartooth Front two months ago, according to John Steuber, state director of Montana Wildlife Services. The pack was also blamed for killing two calves last year — one in May and one in July.
Two wolves in the pack were killed by Wildlife Services after the January depredation. Since the pack continues to kill livestock, Wildlife Services will attempt to eradicate the entire pack.
"At this point, they all need to be removed," Steuber said.
Despite the removals, the pack grew from three to six members as other wolves have migrated in, he said.
At the end of 2015, Fish, Wildlife and Parks reported that 44 cattle had been killed by wolves in Montana, 14 were injured and nine were probably killed by wolves but it couldn't be verified. Wolves also killed 21 sheep and two horses. Livestock deaths by wolves were up from 2014 when only 35 cows, six sheep and one horse were killed.
In response to the 2015 livestock deaths, Wildlife Services killed 32 wolves while landowners shot 10. Another nine wolves died from other causes.
In 2014 Montana's wolf numbers were down to 554 wolves in 134 packs. Between the 2013 and 2014 hunting seasons 213 wolves were killed by hunters.

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