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Wolf Report: Rancher Shoots Wolf

A rancher shoots a wolf on private land, dog owners try to shoot wolves that killed three dogs, and federal hunters fail to finds wolves that may have killed a calf.

On May 16, a rancher near Leadore called federal officials with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services to report that six lambs had been killed in a pasture near his house the previous day.

The rancher had heard a wolf howl near his home early on the morning of the 16th. He hurried outside with his rifle and shot a wolf that was among the rest of his sheep.

A Wildlife Services employee investigated and confirmed wolf depredation on the six lambs.

The rancher also contacted Idaho Fish and Game, and a local conservation officer investigated the shooting. Wildlife Services will continue to monitor this situation. The investigation revealed that two neighboring ranches also have recently lost a cow, four calves and five sheep to suspected wolf predation.

These ranchers were provided information on the 10(j) rule and cell phone numbers of local Wildlife Services employees.

In a separate incident, a rancher near Ellis reported seeing two wolves, a black and a light-colored wolf, in among his neighbor's cows in the same area where wolves had killed a calf about three weeks earlier.

He called Wildlife Services on May 15. Idaho Department of Fish and Game already had authorized the removal of three wolves in the area. A federal fixed-wing aerial hunting crew flew over the area but didn't see any wolves.

Also on May 16, Wildlife Services investigated a complaint of wolves killing three pet dogs a few miles east of Pinehurst. The dog owners also were concerned about their safety because a black wolf had been seen near their property several times during the past few weeks.

Wildlife Services confirmed a wolf had killed the three dogs and provided the dog owners with information on the 10(j) rule and how to protect their remaining dog. That same evening around sundown, Wildlife Services received another phone call from the dog owner who had shot at three wolves when they approached the dog owner's home within 40 yards, showing no fear of people.

Apparently none of the wolves were hit.

Wolves still are protected under the federal Endangered Species Act. But the so-called 10(j) rule, a part of the Act, allows landowners to shoot wolves seen attacking livestock, livestock herding and guarding animals and dogs on private land. The landowners need no prior written authorization, but they must report the incident within 24 hours, and there must be evidence of a wolf attack.

For information about wolves and wolf management in Idaho visit the Fish and Game Website at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/wildlife/wolves/.

Fish and Game officials are working on plans for proposed hunting seasons on wolves, pending their removal from the endangered species list. Actual delisting could be a year or more away. Any wolf hunting seasons would first have to be approved by the Idaho Fish and Game Commission.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service considers the wolf recovered in the northern Rocky Mountains and has started the process to remove the wolf from the endangered species list. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's weekly wolf reports as well as annual reports, can be viewed at http://westerngraywolf.fws.gov/.