26 Apr 2010, 2:12pm
by admin

Three wolf packs in SW Montana to be eliminated

By Nick Gevock, Montana Standard, April 25, 2010 [here]

BUTTE — Federal trappers killed four wolves this month from an area of the Big Hole Valley that has repeatedly seen attacks on livestock.

The four wolves come on the heels of five others that have been lethally removed over the past three months from the Miner Lakes and Bender packs, as well as any wolves remaining from the Battlefield pack that was taken out last year, said Carolyn Sime, wolf program coordinator for the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. …

Sime added the control actions are ongoing, but trappers have been unable to locate and kill all the wolves.

Since the beginning of the year nine cows or calves have been killed by wolves in the Big Hole. The attacks have been especially concentrated in the west side of the valley.

State officials authorized the removal of the Miner Lakes pack, which had grown large and been estimated to contain around 15 wolves. And last year the Battlefield pack that lived west of Wisdom was authorized for elimination after repeated attacks.

Trappers killed all but one of the pack and the lone survivor was believed to have joined the Miner Lakes pack. But attacks on livestock continued west of Wisdom.

The issue boiled over last fall when rancher Fred Hirschy, who has lost cattle to wolves repeatedly, closed off part of his ranch to public hunting.

Sime said the continued attacks highlight the challenges of managing wolves in the Big Hole Valley. The Bender pack quickly moved into the area where the Battlefield pack had roamed after it was removed. …

She said a higher quota is justified because even with a record number of wolves killed through control actions and an additional 72 taken by hunters, the wolf population continued to grow. … [more]



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