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David Sparks Ph.d Confirming Wolf Kills
by David Sparks Ph.d, click here for bio

Program: Idaho Ag Today
Date: October 09, 2018

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Since wolf populations soared to more than 1,000 animals by 2009, wolves have killed more than 700 cattle and 550 sheep in Idaho, impacting a total of 412 different ranchers statewide. 

Rural county after County have “chronic livestock depredation” issues, according to state and federal officials. Last year, the number of confirmed wolf depredations in Valley County more than doubled from 17 to 38 after Cascade rancher Phil Davis and IRRC staff met with ranchers to discuss the different kinds of depredation that can take place. Davis has had at least one mother cow killed by wolves in which there were no outward signs of trauma on the exterior of the animal – until a necropsy was performed by Wildlife Services – and then wolf bite marks and hemorrhages proved that it was a wolf kill.

Davis, who has had more than 60 wolf kills on the family’s private land since the mid-1990s, was surprised by the incident. “That’s the real sickening part about this, they say they’re not surplus killers, they don’t kill for sport, what do you call this?” Davis said. “Of our six depredations in 2017, three of them were full-grown cows. So they’re getting more bold, more adept at it, and they’re killing cows, not just calves now.” 

Wildlife Services plays a critical role in protecting Idaho cattle and sheep ranchers from continued livestock losses, as does state-managed hunting and trapping of wolves. The Idaho Wolf Depredation Control Board, with funds from the Idaho Legislature, supports Wildlife Services’ control work to protect ranchers from continued wolf kills.  

If ranchers suspect that wolves have killed their livestock, they should call federal APHIS Wildlife Services to report the incident, 208-378-5631, and request a local trapper to investigate. Or, call your local IDFG office. 


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