A calf was confirmed killed by a wolf south of Big Timber today, prompting Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) to authorize the removal of one wolf in an effort to halt further depredations.
The depredation took place in the Moccasin Lake pack’s territory. Based on evidence at the depredation site and recent intensive monitoring by FWP and others, FWP authorized USDA Wildlife Services to remove one wolf and a permit was issued to the landowner where the depredation occurred.
The ranch is part of a “turbo” fladry research project, being conducted by USDA Wildlife Services, FWP, Utah State University, and local livestock producers. “Turbo” fladry consists of electrified flagging and fencing installed around pastures. This type of electrified barrier combines a wolf’s natural fear of new objects with electricity to further discourage them from crossing into a pasture with vulnerable livestock - The aim is to proactively deter livestock depredation before it occurs. However, in this instance the calf killed was not in the fladry pasture at the time of the depredation.
This ranch is also part of a range rider program, but the riders don’t begin until first week in June. “This area will always have some level of wolf activity and the landowners there are working hard to minimize the risk of depredations,” said Carolyn Sime, FWP Statewide Wolf Coordinator.
This pack, like many others in Montana, has lived near livestock for years, but does not routinely injure or kill livestock. “In southwest Montana we often see an increase in depredations this time of year because calves are so vulnerable. That’s why we work closely with livestock producers to do everything we can.”
Working closely with landowners, FWP uses an incremental approach to address confirmed livestock kills. FWP will continue to work with area landowners to reduce depredation risks and monitor the area for wolves. Because wolves can inhabit places in Montana where people live, work and recreate, FWP’s wolf management responsibilities include helping landowners safely reduce livestock-depredation risks and conflicts. Wildlife Services investigates livestock depredations and carries out field responses at the direction of FWP.
Landowners who suspect wolves to be the cause of livestock depredations should immediately contact their local USDA Wildlife services agent to report the incident.
To learn more about Montana’s recovered wolf population, visit FWP online at www.fwp.mt.gov/wildthings/wolf, where visitors can also tell FWP when they see wolves or wolf sign. The information helps to verify the activity, distribution, and pack size of Montana’s recovered wolf population. You will also find information on the 10(j) rule and where it applies.