Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Wolf killed west of Ketchum

8 wolves killed in region this season

Express Staff Writer

Eight wolves have been killed so far in the Wood River Valley region this season, including one from the Warm Springs pack northwest of Ketchum.

A Big Game Mortality Report from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game states that the Warm Springs wolf, a 100-pound, gray, 2-year-old male, was killed near Warm Springs Creek on Sunday, Feb. 24.

Lynne Stone, local wolf advocate and founder of the Boulder-White Clouds Council, said the wolf was likely part of the Warm Springs pack, which gained notoriety last summer when a pup from the pack was found by campers on Warm Springs Road. The pup now lives in Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Va.

“[It’s] a shame these wolves are being killed,” Stone said. “Maybe they all should have gone to Virginia. The puppy that was saved is going to probably die of old age.”

This would be the first wolf killed from the Warm Springs pack this season, which was estimated to contain two adults and several pups last fall.

Randy Smith, big game manager for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game’s Magic Valley Region, said the other wolf killed in the area since the last count in January was an adult killed near Elk Mountain in the Little Wood River drainage.

The wolf season is open for one more month in the Southern Mountains Zone, the region that encompasses Ketchum, Hailey, Bellevue, Sun Valley and Carey. Smith said the number of wolves killed this year in the zone has been well below last year, when 24 wolves were killed by March 31.

‘We harvested a lot more wolves last year in the Southern Mountains Zone,” he said. “I was expecting about the same or maybe a little slower, because we have fewer wolves, and the wolves, having been hunted last year, would be a little harder to take.”

Smith said the low snowpack might have allowed elk to become more disbursed than usual this year, which could have had an impact on wolf density.

So far this season, hunters in Idaho have killed 169 wolves and trapped 76. Last year, hunters and trappers killed a total of 379 wolves. The season remains open until March 31.

Kate Wutz:

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