Wolf kills hit Bondo

BONDURANT – The first wolf-killed livestock of the year was reported on Saturday, April 22 in Bondurant and confirmed by the Wyoming Game and Fish (G&F) as occurring in the Pinedale region.

A second new calf was confirmed as a wolf-kill Saturday morning, April 29.

With wolves delisted from federal protections and their management returned to Wyoming last Tuesday, following a court order, that predation report could have fallen to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). But Wyoming Game and Fish (G&F) has provided FWS with a large enough support role in the past two-plus years to take authority for this recent incident.

“It is an odd situation,” said G&F large carnivore biologist Zach Turnbull, of the timing. “Ultimately, we’ll handle this situation and take care of it with the state’s authority and … be monitoring these situations.”

Turnbull had verified the depredation of a yearling calf but pointed out state regulations prevent releasing details that could identify a livestock owner. He did say the predation occurred on private property.

“Yes, it was the first kill in the (G&F) Pinedale Region and the trophy-game area,” Turnbull said.

A Bondurant livestock owner, asking that his name not be used, independently confirmed the kill of the yearling heifer on ranch property. The same person reported the second kill early last Saturday in a different location but apparently by the same black wolf, which was seen both times. The owner saw the wolf dragging the tiny calf away from the rest of the herd; it dropped the carcass and ran off, he said.

As of last Tuesday afternoon, April 15, Wyoming’s wolves were moved to G&F management – but G&F now only has authority in the trophy-game and seasonal trophy-game areas that surround Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks (as well as the Wind River Indian Reservation).

Otherwise, under Wyoming’s plan, gray wolves fall into the predatory animal area.

Turnbull and other G&F biologists confirmed wolf and grizzly kills for the FWS, and will continue in the trophy-game area. G&F also compensated livestock owners for confirmed wolf kills under FWS and that continue in the trophy-game area, he said.

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