By Mark Heinz, Outdoors Reporter
A landowner recently killed some wolves in the Gros Ventre mountains after they killed two foals and injured three other horses, a Wyoming Game and Fish agent said.
Wolf attacks on horses are rare, Dan Thompson told Cowboy State Daily in a Friday email. He’s the large carnivore specialist for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.
“We rarely see depredation on horses from any of the large carnivore species” like bears wolves or lions, he said.
A number of factors come into play in the low predation of horses by wolves, including horses’ size, behavior and the fact that many horse owners corral their animals at night, Thompson said.
Horses also have a well-earned reputation for viciously defending themselves and their young against predator attacks, he said.
Special Killing Permit Issued
The landowner was issued a special permit to kill the wolves, which Game and Fish sometimes will approve for landowners who lose stock to the predators.
The agency isn’t releasing any specifics about the case, such as the date or exact locations where the wolves were killed, how many wolves were killed or the landowner’s name, Thompson said.
The general area where the wolves were killed also is in a region of Wyoming where hunters with wolf licenses may hunt and kill them.
“We try to direct hunter harvest into areas of depredation when applicable, but we also have the ability to issue those lethal take permits as part of statute and regulation if asked once we verify depredation,” Thompson said.
“The permit allows us to designate the area the permit is applicable and target specific depredating animals,” he added. “In this instance, the subsequent removal of depredating wolves resulted in a cessation of further depredation.”
Elsewhere, hunters have killed 10 wolves so far during the fall wolf hunting season, Thompson said.
Wolf management in Wyoming varies by region.
Inside Yellowstone and Grand Teton parks, they are considered a protected species and may not be hunted.
In some areas adjacent to the parks and in the wider Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, wolves may be hunted only with licenses and during designated hunting seasons. Around the rest of Wyoming, wolves may be killed on sight at any time.