May 9, 2022 |
Wolves are again active on ranches in Northern Colorado frustrating ranchers there. After several weeks passed with no reported sightings or livestock depredations, female wolf 1084 and her pack have reportedly been marauding livestock herds near Walden.
Rancher Don Gittleson, who lost three cows and a dog to the pack since before Christmas, told the Fort Collins Coloradoan that he lost two more calves last month. However, Colorado Parks and Wildlife has not confirmed either calf was killed by wolves, although one was dragged underneath a fence line.
The pack has grown to eight wolves after 1084, a black and gray-colored wolf, is believed to have given birth to a second litter. Her mate was involved in the infamous collaring incident in February of 2021. After M1021 was hit with a tranquilizer dart, he ran into Wyoming. Colorado wildlife officials caught up to him in Carbon County. They captured, collared and released M1021, who returned to the pack in Walden.
A video posted to the Bigfoot 99 Facebook page shows three wolves, believed to be part of the pack, chasing pronghorn across Colorado Highway 14 on a ranch near Walden. The video was posted on May 5th by Walden resident Matt Shuler, who said he had received it from a friend.
Pictured above: A female gray wolf known as F1084 from Wyoming’s Snake River pack.
Wolves are protected in Colorado. Ranchers cannot shoot the predators. The Walden pack has hit at least two ranches less than miles from each in northern Colorado. Photographs from one of the predation shows the pack mauled a pregnant cow, tearing off its hind legs and leaving it to die on winter ground. Adam Van Valkenberg, president of the North Park Stockgrowers Association, told Steamboat Radio in March that ranchers are frustrated and looking for solutions.
Until the first incident was reported in mid-December, wolf attacks had been unheard of in Colorado since the 1950s.
The first wolf pups born in Colorado in 80 years were discovered north of Walden last spring. Wolves usually have their litter in mid-April. Pups emerge from the den in late May. F1084, who is originally from a pack in Northwest Wyoming, is suspected of having a second litter this spring. Travis Duncan with Colorado Parks and Wildlife told Bigfoot 99 that she has been positively identified as a collared Wyoming wolf.
While Colorado wildlife officials have declined to confirm whether the recent dead calves are the work of the wolf pack, Walden ranchers are certain about what happened. It’s calving season. Kim Gittelson, whose ranch has been hit twice before the latest attacks, told Steamboat Radio that she has no doubts.
Gittelson said frustration is running high. None of the hazing strategies suggested by Colorado Parks and Wildlife is serving as a deterrent. The wolves are growing unafraid.
The wolves returned the next night and dragged off a calf. Meanwhile, the State Line Ranch on the Wyoming Colorado border has also lost a cow to the wolves. Colorado Parks and Wildlife confirmed in March that wolves were responsible for injuring a nine-year-old, 1,200-pound cow so badly it had to be euthanized. A ranch hand there reported the pack took down and gutted an elk on Easter Sunday 200 yards from the ranch house.