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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Wolves attacking, killing hunting dogs

Associated Press

LEWISTON – Mountain lion hunters who use dogs to chase their prey have been losing some of the hounds to wolves this winter.

Steve Nadeau, the wolf coordinator for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game at Boise, said there has been a flurry of hounds killed by wolves in recent weeks.

Wolves do not tolerate other canines in their area and will attack the domestic animals.

Nadeau said one dog was killed recently near Salmon and he has heard of two others in the Clearwater Region.

Kevin Stamper of Grangeville lost Katie, a 2-year-old blue tick/walker hound mix, to a wolf pack in the Service Flats area near White Bird and Grangeville on Jan. 2.

Stamper said he shot his pistol into the air to ward off the wolves and one of his dogs escaped, but he found Katie dead with a bite through her neck and back.

“It was after dark and there were wolves howling all around and this was only three miles from my house. I’ve never seen wolves this low,” he said.

When snow and winter conditions concentrate both elk and wolves at lower elevations, wolves can be a problem. Since being reintroduced to Idaho 10 years ago, the wolf population has increased greatly.

“It’s the chances you take. Everybody knows they are out there. Like it or not it’s something you have to put up with,” Stamper said.

Idaho soon will get more leeway to manage wolves when new rules recently approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service kick in early next month.

The rules allow livestock owners to shoot wolves that are about to attack sheep or cattle, or dogs that guard or herd livestock where they hold a grazing lease.

They do not allow hunters or anyone else to protect their pets or sporting dogs unless it is on private land owned by the pet owner.

Nadeau said any killing of wolves will be investigated to make sure the killing was justified.

If hunters see recent wolf tracks where they are hunting, they should think twice about releasing their dogs, Nadeau said.

“Basically be aware of the potential of wolves in the area and keep hounds on a short leash if possible,” Nadeau said.

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