Wild game and livestock populations in states with wolf populations are encountering more of the predators as their numbers grow, with ranchers and hunters wondering what’s coming in the future.
One ranch in southeastern Idaho lost 176 sheep in one night recently when wolves stalked, chased and killed them. The dead were part of a herd of about 2,400 sheep.
“Sheepherders for the Siddoway Sheep Co. heard the wolves at about 1 a.m. Saturday but didn’t know the extent of the damage until they saw the sheep piled up on each other at daybreak,” a KTVB.com story said. Idaho Wildlife Services State Director Todd Grimm said it was the greatest loss by wolves ever recorded in one instance in the state.
Most of the sheep died from asphyxiation from being chased. About 10 died from bite wounds and at least one was partially eaten, according to the KTVB.com story.
Wolves are near the top of the food chain along with bears. When they’re running and hunting in packs to feed themselves or young wolves, they’ll do whatever is necessary. That’s just part of nature. Coyotes, with no great threats other than hunters or natural mortality, do the same in the Southeast and are believed to be affecting whitetail deer populations more than thought a few years ago.