Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Cove Ranch wolves still on the loose

Kill order still in place after attacks on 3 calves

Express Staff Writer

A gray wolfówith a black coat of furówalks through the Boulder Mountains. Photo by Mountain Express

The wolves that killed at least two calves at a Bellevue-area ranch remain on the run, wildlife officials said Tuesday.

Todd Grimm, Western District supervisor in Idaho for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services, said the agency has not yet trapped any wolves near the Cove Ranch south of Bellevue where three calves were attacked late last week.

"That's not really that strange, because they have such large territories," Grimm said.

Wolf packs run circuits of their territories, and Grimm said it can take anywhere from 10 days to two weeks for the predators to return to a specific area. Grimm said there are no wolves with radio collars in this particular group, making tracking difficult.

"There used to be a pack in that area, but that was before the hunting season," he said. "We don't know what's going on there right now."

The attacks likely occurred late in the evening on June 2 or 3. Two of the calves attacked died immediately, and a third died of its injuries Monday evening. Wildlife Services agents have confirmed that one immediate death and the last death were wolf-caused.

Agents have called the other death a "probable" wolf kill. Idaho Department of Fish and Game has given a 60-day kill order for the wolves responsible. The order expires in early August.

Katherine Wutz:

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