It’s a lie that wolves don’t kill just for fun

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Dale T
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It’s a lie that wolves don’t kill just for fun

Postby Dale T » Thu Apr 07, 2016 1:15 am ... 679c9.html

Cowboy Common Sense / By Maury Jones | 3 comments
On March 23, 2016, a pack of wolves descended on a herd of elk near Bondurant and slaughtered 19 elk, including 17 calves and two pregnant cows.
The wolves ripped the fetuses out of the cows’ bellies and ate them. Evidence suggests the fetuses were ripped out while the cow elk were still alive, as it appears the cows got up and walked a few feet before collapsing from loss of blood and succumbing to merciful death. The unborn calves were the only thing the wolves ate. What a tragic wanton waste of beautiful elk.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service calls this 19-elk slaughter a “surplus killing.” That implies the wolves accidentally killed too many. Nonsense. It was a thrill kill. Just having fun. This mass slaughter is not an isolated instance. It is not rare. This killing gained notoriety because of the sheer numbers of elk killed.
In preparing this column I interviewed several elk feeders, those who feed bales of hay on the state-run feedgrounds. Part of their job is to pick up dead elk from the night before and drag them to the “bone pile.” They record it and the details are kept on file.
One morning I helped feed elk on the Camp Creek Elk Feedground. We picked up the carcasses of two elk killed by wolves during the night. Feedground Manager Russell Chadwick reported several instances of wolves killing multiple elk and eating just a few bites. In a two-week period in 2014 wolf sport killing totaled 11, seven, seven, six and five elk. This isn’t unique to feedgrounds. A couple of years ago a thrill kill of 12 elk by wolves occurred west of Jackson on the Reynolds ranch. A ranch employee reported the Fish and Wildlife Service investigator said it wasn’t unusual to see wolves do this.
Another feeder told me, “Often wolves grab an elk by the flank and rip off a big chunk and the guts spill out. The elk drags the guts until it dies from loss of blood.”
It is a fairy tale that wolves kill only the old, sick, and lame and that they eat all they kill. That lie has been promulgated so long that some people actually believe it. The morning I helped feed, there was a very skinny cow elk standing off to the side. I asked what was wrong with her. They explained she had a broken leg and had been there all winter. I asked why the wolves hadn’t killed her. They replied they didn’t know, only that the wolves won’t touch her.
In one herd there is a bull elk that has an injured leg and walks with difficulty. The wolves left it alone all winter. Finally a wolf ripped some hide off that injured leg but didn’t kill it. Why haven’t the wolves killed that bull? Good question. That is another evidence of the fairy tale-lie I mentioned earlier. Slower elk, perhaps older or not in good health, are easier for a wolf to catch, but to then say this is proof that wolves target only the old or sick or injured is simply not true.
One elk feeder told me with tears in his eyes that he would occasionally arrive in the morning and an elk would be there without a face. The wolves would run an elk out into the deep snow until it was totally exhausted. Then the wolves would eat the lips and nose off the elk, not bothering to kill it.
Wolves killed about 75 elk on the McNeel Elk Feedground this winter and wasted most of the meat. In contrast, by law human hunters must preserve all edible meat. With a 30 percent hunter success ratio in that area, elk permits should be reduced by 225 to account for the decrease in elk lost to wolves, Game and Fish official John Lund told me. By crunching the numbers, wolf predation cost Game and Fish $55,013 in lost license fees on that one feedground this winter. You don’t care if the Game and Fish budget is hurt by wolves? You should. That income pays for game management for all Wyoming wildlife, including non-hunted species such as the black-footed ferret, wolves and grizzly bears.
The Wyoming Game and Fish Department has stated, “Wolf presence can be ecologically compatible in the Greater Yellowstone Area only to the extent that the distribution and numbers of wolves are controlled and maintained at approximately the levels originally predicted by the 1994 Environmental Impact Statement —100 wolves and 10 breeding pairs.” Wyoming maintains that the Fish and Wildlilfe Service “has a permanent, legal obligation to manage wolves at the levels on which the wolf recovery program was originally predicated, the levels described by the impact analysis in the 1994 EIS.”
There are almost 400 wolves in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Yellowstone alone, having 104 wolves and 11 breeding pairs, satisfies the science behind the EIS criteria for introduction of this “experimental nonessential” population of wolves. To keep from further violating the law and further impacting the environment, the number of wolves in this ecosystem above 100 should be removed. That would be the first step in returning balance between wolves and their prey species.
Remember, life is always better when viewed from between the ears of a horse. Contact Maury Jones via email at The opinions of columnists who appear on these pages are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of the publisher.
Ignorance and not getting involved is the biggest enemy to a Houndsmen!
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Re: It’s a lie that wolves don’t kill just for fun

Postby mondomuttruner » Fri Apr 08, 2016 12:56 am

Good read Dale, thanks.
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Re: It’s a lie that wolves don’t kill just for fun

Postby Bon Plott » Mon Apr 11, 2016 5:44 pm

that is great they determined acceptable numbers,100 wolves and ten breeding pairs, Im no mathmatician but to me that is alot of wolves looking for thier own territory to breed. I never gave them to much thought until several years ago when we started to hear of them killing bear hounds in michigan. Our local paper had an article last week confirming wolves on Wellsley Island, nothern new york. they will have to eat the coyotes first as the whitetail herd has already been decimated by deer management permits and over predation

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