Wednesday, July 30, 2014

3 wolves killed in Sawtooth Valley

Animals deemed responsible for calf kills

Express Staff Writer

    Three wolves were killed this month by a government trapper due to a depredation incident on a ranch in the Sawtooth Valley, and trapping may continue as the result of additional incidents that have occurred since then.
    Todd Grimm, Idaho director for Wildlife Services, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, said wolves killed a calf on a ranch near Fisher Creek on June 29, and the wolves were killed between July 1 and July 11. He said the first and third wolves killed were caught in traps and the second was shot.
    Grimm said the traps were removed Friday for the time being, but may be replaced due to two additional depredation incidents on two other nearby ranches that occurred on July 18 and July 23.
    “There’s still an open control action,” he said.
    Two of the wolves killed were wearing radio collars installed by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. Jason Husseman, the department’s Salmon Region biologist, said the department had requested that those wolves be released, and department spokesman Mike Keckler said the department’s general policy is “to keep as many collars out there as possible.”
    However, Grimm said the wolves killed near Fisher Creek were deemed too great a threat to livestock to be allowed to go free.
    “The traps were set near the depredation sites,” he said. “The wolves were returning to the sites when they were killed.”
    Grimm acknowledged that the two wolves were probably too badly injured by the traps to have survived if they had been released. He said Wildlife Services trappers generally check their traps every day, partly to reduce the chance of anyone tampering with them, but acknowledged that there’s always a chance that an animal caught in a foothold trap will sustain serious injuries shortly after it’s caught.

The wolves were returning to the sites when they were killed.”
Todd Grimm
Wildlife Services

    Grimm said the agency always puts up warning signs for hikers and pet owners in areas where trapping is being conducted stating that animal capture devices are in the vicinity.
    “We put signs up at all access points,” he said. “If someone goes down a path that’s going to allow them to interact with our traps, they’re going to be warned beforehand.”
    Grimm said suspected wolf attacks are confirmed by a necropsy focused on evidence of subcutaneous hemorrhaging and canine-tooth bite marks. He said the existence of hemorrhaging indicates that an animal was killed while it was still alive, rather than scavenged upon. He said the tooth marks of bears and mountain lions have about the same spacing as those of wolves, but bear and lion attacks usually leave claw marks and evidence of damage to different parts of the body.
    Grimm said that since wolves were reintroduced into Idaho in 1995, there have been 1,717 incidents of depredation on livestock and domestic animals reported statewide by 318 livestock producers. He said Wildlife Services has confirmed 1,100 of those cases, which involved 2,700 sheep, 538 calves, 86 adult cattle, 70 dogs and eight horses or mules.
    He said that since wolves were removed from the endangered species list in May 2011, 325 confirmed depredation incidents have been blamed on wolves, 34 on mountain lions and 20 on bears.
    Local pro-wolf activists have advocated that Sawtooth Valley ranchers undertake non-lethal deterrents to better protect their livestock from wolf attacks. Various methods have been used successfully to guard sheep in the Wood River Valley, though ranchers say the more widely dispersed cattle are more difficult to protect.

Greg Moore:

About Comments

Comments with content that seeks to incite or inflame may be removed.

Comments that are in ALL CAPS may be removed.

Comments that are off-topic or that include profanity or personal attacks, libelous or other inappropriate material may be removed from the site. Entries that are unsigned or contain signatures by someone other than the actual author may be removed. We will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or any other policies governing this site. Use of this system denotes full acceptance of these conditions. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

The comments below are from the readers of and in no way represent the views of Express Publishing, Inc.

You may flag individual comments. You may also report an inappropriate or offensive comment by clicking here.

Flagging Comments: Flagging a comment tells a site administrator that a comment is inappropriate. You can find the flag option by pointing the mouse over the comment and clicking the 'Flag' link.

Flagging a comment is only counted once per person, and you won't need to do it multiple times.

Proper Flagging Guidelines: Every site has a different commenting policy - be sure to review the policy for this site before flagging comments. In general these types of comments should be flagged:

  • Spam
  • Ones violating this site's commenting policy
  • Clearly unrelated
  • Personal attacks on others
Comments should not be flagged for:
  • Disagreeing with the content
  • Being in a dispute with the commenter

Popular Comment Threads

 Local Weather 
Search archives:

Copyright © 2020 Express Publishing Inc.   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.