Elk NetworkColorado Confirms First Wolf Kill of Livestock in Decades

General | December 21, 2021

12/22/2021 update:
After an initial investigation, Colorado Parks and Wildlife wildlife officers are confident in confirming a wolf depredation incident has occurred on a domestic calf in North Park.

Just after 9 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 19, a CPW District Wildlife Manager (DWM) received a report of a calf carcass on a ranch in Jackson County.

The DWM responded and conducted a field investigation and necropsy on the carcass of the calf to look for evidence of pre-mortem wounds.

“The results of this investigation indicated wolf tracks in the immediate vicinity of the carcass and wounds on the calf consistent with wolf depredation,” said CPW Area Wildlife Manager Kris Middledorf.

CPW will handle reimbursement of the incident under its current game damage process as if the depredation occurred by mountain lions or bears. CPW is in the process of formalizing an official process for damage by wolves.

“CPW is working on draft regulations for the Commission’s consideration on hazing for these naturally migrating wolves in the state,” said CPW Director Dan Prenzlow. “Our goal is to provide producers with resources to minimize the likelihood of conflict or depredation as we work to create a statewide wolf restoration and management program as directed under Proposition 114.”

Here is the initial story posted on 12/20/2021:
Wildlife officials in Colorado are investigating whether the predation of a 500-pound heifer is the state’s first confirmed case of a livestock kill by wolves in more than half a century.

The Colorado Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) says it happened near Walden, a small town just south of the Colorado-Wyoming border approximately 145 miles northwest of Denver.

“If it is determined to be caused by the wolves that have naturally migrated into the state, we will compensate the landowner through our current game damage program,” Rebecca Ferrell, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) spokesperson, told the Coloradoan.

An elk hunter captured video of the Colorado wolf pack and posted it on Facebook in October 2021.

“At first it was exhilaration to see them because I’ve never seen a wolf that close and especially because they aren’t really around here much,” Chris Chirichetti II told the Coloradoan at the time. “It was a pretty cool experience, and then it hit me they were running right where I was about to hunt.”

When asked about the recent predation, Chirichetti said he was not surprised because the wolves were stalking cattle when he first saw them.

The CCA called on CPW’s Wolf Restoration and Management Plan to specifically address several issues including “lethal and non-lethal methods, including hazing, of wolves for conflict minimization; a guaranteed funding source that allows Colorado Parks and Wildlife to fairly provide the needed tools for prevention and compensation from wolf impacts; (and that) impacts from wolves go beyond livestock death and injury, to include more far-reaching impacts on livestock performance, such as loss of pregnancy, weight loss, imbalanced range usage, etc.”

(Photo credit: Colorado Parks and Wildlife)