Sleeping Child wolf pack (near Sula, MT) put down after much unsuccessful hazing
At first there were eleven wolves and 3 were killed after repeated attempts to haze them from livestock on private land in the East Fork of the Bitterroot River. The attacks continued and the pack did not follow elk into the high country. As a result the remaining eight were (are) being killed.
I'm a strong advocate of hazing as first choice. I know Wildlife Services folks generally would not bother, but earlier this year, Montana FWP was very successful hazing a pack uphill in the Wall Creek area near Ennis.
Here is the story. " Eight wolves shot near Sula." By Nick Gevock of The Montana Standard.
The wolf population has increased markedly in SW Montana in recent years. Early predictions were that it would never have more than a pack or two.
Here the the news release from Montana FWP. It was put out on August 2.
Region 2. 3201 Spurgin Road · Missoula, MT 59804
Contact: Vivaca Crowser, Information Officer (406) 542-5518,
Carolyn Sime, Wolf Program Coordinator (406) 461-0587,
Wolf-Related Livestock Depredation Confirmed East of Sula
A wolf-related livestock depredation was reported east of Sula, Montana on August 1. USDA Wildlife Services investigated and confirmed that one calf was killed by wolves on private land.
Since May, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks and USDA Wildlife Services have documented other confirmed wolf kills on private land in the area and at least two instances of adult wolves chasing horses near ranch buildings. A combination of non-lethal activities by FWP and area landowners and the incremental lethal removal of three adult wolves in the Sleeping Child Pack have not stopped the depredations. FWP authorized the removal of the rest of the pack.
The Sleeping Child pack consists of three adults and seven pups. The pups are still localized at rendezvous sites this time of year, but are big enough to travel short distances to scavenge livestock killed by adults. FWP recently documented pups traveling with the adults near livestock. This raises concerns that pups are learning to recognize livestock as a food source.
"This recent incident brings the total losses to two yearling steers, two calves, and one dog, plus two injured calves," said Carolyn Sime, FWP wolf program coordinator. "FWP mounted a significant field effort to closely monitor wolf activity and increase human presence near the livestock, and to harass wolves out of the area. FWP also hauled away two yearling steer carcasses that died of natural causes to eliminate the attractant. However, the pack has keyed into livestock repeatedly and did not follow wild prey to higher elevations this summer," she said.
Under the federal regulations in effect in the southwest Montana experimental area, lethal control efforts can be authorized for a total of 45 days. Efforts could extend out to September 14, but are expected to wrap up sooner.
"We regret that livestock have been lost and that we had to make this difficult decision," says Mack Long, FWP Regional Supervisor in Missoula. "Part of what is required to help wolves fit back into the Montana landscape is striking the balance between finding ways for livestock and wolves to coexist and judiciously applying lethal control for problem animals."
FWP 's federally approved wolf management program aims to conserve and actively manage a recovered wolf population in a manner similar to the way Montana manages lions and black bears. More than 256 wolves--in about 46 packs and about 19 breeding pairs--inhabit Montana. Montana seeks to maintain a benchmark of 15 breeding pairs of wolves in Montana.
The public can help FWP monitor Montana's wolf population by reporting wolves or wolf sign on line at www.fwp.mt.gov/wildthings/wolf, mailing a pre-printed postcard available at all FWP offices, or calling the nearest FWP regional office or Carolyn Sime, statewide wolf coordinator, at 406-444-3242. Data gathered from the public helps FWP document wolf activity in new areas. It also helps FWP confirm pack size and wolf distribution.
Return to Ralph Maughan's wolf report