Wolves kill numerous sheep near Burgdorf, Idaho

9-19-2003, updates 9-30, 10-3

It had to happen sometime. In recent years, despite the growth of the wolf population in Idaho, livestock depredations have become so few they hardly make the news any more.

While this doesn't seem to have hit the media yet, this week a pack of 4-5 wolves attacked sheep east of Burgdorf, Idaho and killed 52. This was on top of several recent depredations in this area of the Payette National Forest.. The total number of sheep killed now is over 100.

Reports are the wolves were not deterred by guard dogs or gunfire. The dead sheep apparently belong to several public land operators including Carlson Livestock. The latter was showcased a couple years ago for their massive and effective use of Great Pyrenees guard dogs,  greatly reducing not just wolf kills of sheep, but also a reduction of depredations from coyotes, bear, and cougar, which in total were far greater than wolf kills.

So far Wildlife Services has shot one wolf and plans to shoot at least one more. They are authorized to kill the entire pack. One pup has been trapped and collared. A second pup pulled out of trap. Today a Wildlife Services agent saw 2 or 3 pups, but was unable to shoot any adult wolves.

This is in the area long claimed by the Idaho wolf-who-went-to-Oregon, B45F, a beautiful female who was returned to Idaho after her controversial capture in Oregon. She and her apparent mate were thought to have never had pups, but her radio collar died a year ago. It is not known if this is her pack, or if she is even with this pack of wolves.

The Burgdorf area is in Western Idaho, north of McCall.

Update 9-30. This is preliminary, but I've head another dozen sheep have been killed. What's interesting is no major local media have picked up this story, although I hear the anti-wolf folks are trying to gin up some interest. Some guy named  T. Allen Hoover has written "The Burgdorf Massacre."

Update Oct. 3. The usual anti-wolf suspects have been trying hard to stir the pot with this story. I was told a TV station in Boise was one of their goals. They finally got it. "Wolf Kill Has Idaho Ranchers Demanding Re-introduced Wolves Removed." By Jon Hanian, Idaho2News. Unfortunately, for Gilette and crew, it is a balanced report.

Now this is funny, but also sad. A number of government people told me anti-wolf leader Ron Gilette was up the area where the dead sheep were, stringing up police tape so it looked like a crime scene and it could be used in a video to further their organization's purposes. His disruption of the wolf control activities made it so Wildlife Service found it useless to try to catch and kill the wolves, so they packed up and left. Thanks to the disruption of the anti-wolf folks this pack, which should be killed, will likely be around next summer to generate so more publicity for them.


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Copyright 2003 Ralph Maughan

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