Outdoors

Deaths of 5 wolves worry Yellowstone wolf-watchers

FILE - In this August 2012 file photo provided by Wolves of the Rockies, the Lamar Canyon wolf pack moves on a hillside in Yellowstone National Park, Wyo. As the progeny of wolves reintroduced to Yellowstone and central Idaho in 1995 and 1996 spread across the West, an accidental experiment has developed. A temporary court order has made Oregon a wolf-safe zone, where wildlife agents are barred from killing wolves that attack livestock. Over the past year, the numbers of wolves has risen to 46 in Oregon, but livestock attacks have remained static. In neighboring Idaho, the number livestock attacks rose dramatically as the numbers of wolves killed by hunters and wildlife agents also increased. (Wolves Of The Rockies)
FILE - In this August 2012 file photo provided by Wolves of the Rockies, the Lamar Canyon wolf pack moves on a hillside in Yellowstone National Park, Wyo. As the progeny of wolves reintroduced to Yellowstone and central Idaho in 1995 and 1996 spread across the West, an accidental experiment has developed. A temporary court order has made Oregon a wolf-safe zone, where wildlife agents are barred from killing wolves that attack livestock. Over the past year, the numbers of wolves has risen to 46 in Oregon, but livestock attacks have remained static. In neighboring Idaho, the number livestock attacks rose dramatically as the numbers of wolves killed by hunters and wildlife agents also increased. (Wolves Of The Rockies)

HUNTING —  Wolf-watchers say they’re concerned that hunters participating in Wyoming’s second annual wolf hunt may have killed five members of the Lamar Canyon Pack, a well-known wolf pack whose territory includes part of Yellowstone National Park.

Officials with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department say it’s impossible to determine if the two male and three female wolves were members of the Lamar Canyon Pack. The five were killed in a hunt area northeast of Cody over three days in mid-October.

Recent counts put the number of wolves in the pack at 11, meaning almost half the pack might have been killed.

State law prohibits Game and Fish employees from disclosing details about wolves killed in Wyoming’s annual wolf hunt. That includes the specific locations where wolves are killed and the wolves’ age, coloration and breeding status, the Jackson Hole News & Guide reports.

Regardless, Game and Fish officials can’t determine the identity of the wolves killed for certain because the wolves weren’t among those in the region that are wearing radio collars, department spokesman Alan Dubberley said.

“There’s no way to know. We just don’t have that information,” Dubberley said.

Wolves of the Rockies President Marc Cooke said he sought the identity of the wolves killed from Game and Fish officials but didn’t get any answers.

“They might as well face the reality that there’s a good possibility that wolves killed were from Yellowstone,” Cooke said.

The hunt area had a limit of four wolves. The five killed exceeded that by one. Last year, hunters were allowed to kill up to eight wolves in the hunt area.

This year’s statewide wolf hunt limit is 26, down from 52 last year. The wolf hunting season began Oct. 1 and ends Dec. 31 with the exception of a hunt area south of Jackson where hunting began Oct. 15 and ends Dec. 31.




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Rich Landers

Rich Landers’ Outdoors blog


Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.


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