Two members of the Mill Creek Pack shot by landowner after killing 16 sheep
Two wolf pups from the Mill Creek Pack were shot last Friday night shot by a landowner in the Paradise Valley south of Livingston. The pack had returned to near where it had recently killed 15 sheep and later one ram (Jim and Betsy Melin's ranch).
A neighbor of the man who had lost the sheep shot 2 of a group of 3 Mill Creek wolves. Eight other members of the pack were nearby. The size of the pack had not been known due to an absence of radio collars, but after the shooting of the 2 wolves it has a least 9 members. One member was radio collared this summer, no. 271F, she is thought to be the alpha female.
A permit had been granted to shoot two wolves after the pack returned to the area several times. This was at least the 4th time the pack had returned to the private pastures in the area.
It is good to see livestock owners taking care of a problem rather than relying on the federal government, although the owner of the sheep was quoted as wanting the government to do the work from a helicopter. One trouble with that is a helicopter operation costs more than the lost sheep, and the government has, several times in the past, shot more than just a couple wolves when it has mounted aircraft operations in the Paradise Valley.
The Mill Creek Pack is thought to most likely have been founded by former Rose Creek wolf 78F and an uncollared male in 1999. 78F whelped a litter of 5 in YNP in 1999. Then they traveled northward. She was illegally killed in Mill Creek late in 1999. This is about 30 miles north of Yellowstone Park in the Absaroka Mountains. She had the only radio collar, but reports of wolves in the area never stopped and the pack is probably all or part of her descendents.
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Copyright © 2002 Ralph Maughan
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Ralph Maughan PO Box 8264, Pocatello, ID 83209