Wolves kill dog at Wyoming ranch

spectr17

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Wolves kill dog at ranch

By BUZZY HASSRICK, Cody Enterprise

Wolves killed a small dog on a ranch west of Cody on Dec. 2.

"It sure was a cruel death," said Mooncrest Ranch manager Dick Geving about the demise of "Digger."

He suspects wolves kept the cattle and elk herds disturbed on the Shoshone Forest this summer and took numerous calves of both species.

Working with Mooncrest is Mike Jimenez of Lander, wolf project leader for Wyoming with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He's monitoring the situation and is sympathetic about the ranch's losses but wasn't notified about them until the dog's death.

"We don't kill wolves for killing dogs," he noted.

Digger and "Moss," ranch owner Bob Model's border collie, had headed down the ranch road up Rattlesnake Creek about 1 p.m., about 15 minutes ahead of Geving. He stopped his truck within 30 yards of the site of "two wolves standing over the dog."

Although Digger was still breathing, his entrails were gutted. Geving didn't have a gun, so he grabbed a hammer.

The wolves moved off about 80 yards while Geving "took care of the dog." Moss had taken off or probably would be dead, too.

Digger was a 5-6 year old Beagle from the Humane Society of Park County, Model recalled. A shy puppy at first, he "became loving and friendly."

"I was upset and don't like to think about it, but those things happen," he said.

Model had been hearing wolves all summer but hadn't seen any, although some of his crew had. He said the predators are prevalent.

"They're all over here," Model said about the area below Trout Peak and Pat O'Hara Mountain where Mooncrest has Shoshone Forest leases.

Until this summer Mooncrest had lost only one cow on its leases, a possible grizzly predation,Geving says.

The cattle came off the summer leases shy 19 calves, Geving said. He had no evidence since the predators left no bones "or even ear tags."

Cattle compensation requires evidence, Jimenez noted.

"We don't pay for pets," he added, only herd dogs.

Jimenez visited Mooncrest Dec. 10 and issued a permit for Geving to shoot wolves with "bean-bag" (padded shot gun) ammunition to chase them from the ranch. He cited scientific data from many agencies, including Game and Fish, showing elk cow-calf ratios are growing and wolves have an "insignificant impact on a large scale."

"We give intense attention to small-scale problems," Jimenez added.

Three ranchers were compensated for calf losses on Bald Ridge and Pat O'Hara, where "we had people camping to watch," he reported. One of the yearling wolves suspected of taking those calves was shot and killed Oct. 1 by a federal official on the lower Mooncrest.
 

Zeke

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Who was here first? The wolves and Indians or us? We herded up all of the Indians and took away their way of life, then about killed off all of the wolves. Now, theyre finally making a comeback and we start shooting them again. Let nature run its course.  Z
 


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