Picture of a wolf paw print from Johnny Schmidt.
By Shannon Lukens. WARNING – PICTURES ARE GRAPHIC.
Another apparent wolf depredation incident has occurred in Jackson County overnight. Ranch Manager Johnny Schmidt of the Park Range Ranch discovered one of his calves Saturday morning, barely alive.
“She was way past gone. We put her down.”
Schmidt says Zach Weaver with Colorado Parks and Wildlife came out to perform a necropsy. He confirmed to Schmidt that it was wolves. Steamboat Radio has reached out to CPW via text and email and we have not heard back.
“The CPW officer Zach confirmed, that it was either three possibly four wolves because they were on all four corners of the calf, trying to drag it down. She’s a replacement heifer, about 600 pounds.”
Schmidt says it happened about 100 yards from a house. The ranch Schmidt manages is near Lake John and he says there are houses in the area.
“There’s a lot of houses and a lot of traffic. It’s right off of Lake John Road there. There’s a lot of traffic there. It’s kind of shocking that they’d grab a calf there.”
Here’s more from Johnny Schmidt on how the calf was found Saturday morning.
“This morning, when we went out, it was still dark. We went out and looked and everything looked fine. And we started feeding when it got light I guess and we noticed there were five calves down in the willows. My ranch hand, he went down there and he said, ‘Oh you need to come.’ He’s from Peru. So I went down there and it was like ‘Holy Smokes.’”
Schmidt says he will file to be reimbursed for the depredation incident. There are about 600 calves on the ranch, in a 20-acre pasture. They had just been let out of the pen from being weaned the night before.
The wolves in North Park came down from Wyoming. They were not introduced into Colorado.
COLORADO PARKS AND WILDLIFE PLAN FOR WOLF REINTRODUCTION
The final plan for wolf reintroduction, as approved by Colorado voters, will be available for review on Dec. 9. Here’s more from Colorado Parks and Wildlife, released Friday, Nov. 18. And here is the Link to COMMENT form.
DENVER – The draft Colorado Wolf Restoration and Management Plan will be available for review by the public for the first time on Dec. 9, 2022. Following the presentation of the Plan, the CPW Commission will discuss and take feedback from the public at five upcoming meetings around Colorado.
State statute 33-2-105.8 directs the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission to:
- Develop a plan to reintroduce and manage gray wolves in Colorado;
- Take necessary steps to begin reintroduction no later than Dec. 31, 2023, on designated lands west of the Continental Divide; and
- Pay fair compensation for livestock losses caused by gray wolves
Beginning in April 2021, CPW contracted with Keystone Policy Center to conduct the public involvement effort.
CPW worked with Keystone Policy Center to hold 47 public meetings in 2021, collecting feedback from more than 3,400 Coloradans.
Additionally, CPW appointed two advisory bodies: a Technical Working Group (TWG) (contributes expertise towards the development of conservation objectives, management strategies and damage prevention and compensation planning); and a Stakeholder Advisory Group (SAG) to provide recommendations to staff and the CPW Commission as they took on the drafting of the Plan.
Following the Dec. 9 presentation of the draft Plan, the CPW Commission will discuss and take feedback from the public at five upcoming meetings around Colorado.
“All Coloradans interested in wolf restoration should plan to virtually attend this presentation or view the recording online at a time that is most convenient for you,” said CPW Acting Director Heather Dugan. “Whether you’ve already submitted your feedback to CPW as one of the more than 3,400 Coloradans we heard from at public meetings over the past year or not, we’re encouraging you to look at the draft plan and submit your input at a public meeting in January and February,” Dugan said.
Dec. 9, 2022 – Presentation of the Draft Plan (virtual meeting)
Zoom/YouTube – 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. (approximate)
The draft Plan will be posted online at wolfengagementco.org on Dec. 9, 2022. At the Dec. 9 virtual Commission meeting, CPW will walk through the draft Plan. Time will be provided for Commissioner questions. A form for public comment will be posted at wolfengagementco.org on Dec. 9 and will remain open through Feb. 22, 2023.
There will not be an opportunity for oral comments from the public at this meeting, but the presentation will kick-off the public input process. Five statewide hearings will be held to acquire information from the public to be considered in developing the Plan. The hearing dates and locations are listed below with approximate times:
Jan. 19, 2023 – Colorado Springs – 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Jan. 25, 2023 – Gunnison – 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Feb. 7, 2023 – Rifle – 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Feb. 16, 2023 – Virtual via Zoom – 5:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Feb. 22, 2023 – Denver – 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.
The in-person hearings will begin with CPW providing a brief overview of the plan. All the hearings will provide time for Commissioner questions and discussion.
April 6, 2023 – Final Draft Plan and Regulations (Step 1 of 2) (in-person meeting) Location TBD, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
CPW staff will present the final draft Plan and associated regulations (Step 1 of 2). In-person public comment will be taken in a similar manner to the hearings and online comments may be made through wolfengagementco.org. The meeting will be streamed to YouTube to listen to live or by recording.
May 3 – 4, 2023 – Final Plan and Regulations (Step 2 of 2) Approval (in-person meeting) Glenwood Springs – Times TBD
Commissioners will vote on approval of the final Plan and associated wolf regulations.
Visit CPW’s Stay Informed page and sign up for the Wolf Reintroduction eNews to stay up to date with CPW’s Wolf Restoration efforts.
COLORADO PARKS AND WILDLIFE NORTH PARK UPDATE
Colorado Parks and Wildlife has sent a summary of recommendations for the Colorado Wolf Restoration and Management Plan on Friday, Nov. 18. Here is what they wrote on the North Park pack update.
North Park pack update
CPW received reports on October 14 that three black sub-adult female wolves had been legally harvested in Wyoming. CPW does not have a way to confirm that the wolves killed in Wyoming were part of the North Park pack. However, based on information that has been provided to us and proximity to Colorado, we believe it may have been part of the North Park pack. It is not uncommon for the North Park pack to travel into and out of Wyoming.
CPW will continue to monitor the North Park pack to see what their status is if and when they are next seen in the area. We will be doing our usual on-the-ground surveys and talking with anyone who might see the wolves and be on the lookout for any wolf sighting reports submitted to CPW by members of the public.
CPW biologists confirmed a minimum of two wolves in North Park on October 28, 2022. Wolves were visually seen, though lighting and distance made it impossible to confirm coloration of the animals. In addition to visual confirmation, howling was heard. It was not possible for the biologist to confirm the number of howling wolves.
COLORADO PARKS AND WILDLIFE UPDATE ON MEEKER INCIDENT
Colorado Parks and Wildlife also had an update on the deaths of livestock near Meeker, where they reported 18 calves were killed. CPW now says the initial investigation looked like wolves, but now the deaths could be from something called Clostridial myositis, also known as “blackleg.” Livestock protection dogs could have also caused some of the depredations.
Meeker investigation update
CPW is still investigating the deaths of livestock near Meeker.
CPW Northwest Region Manager Travis Black provided an update to the CPW Commission at its Nov. 18 meeting on a report of dead cattle that came to CPW from a producer in Meeker in early October. You can view Black’s update on CPW’s YouTube channel.
Initial investigations revealed three to five of the initial report of 18 dead calves had injuries consistent with wolf depredation. The deaths are believed to have occurred over an approximately two-week timespan and over a geographic area spanning a few miles. Staff efforts to locate wolves in the area have included flyovers, camera traps, howling surveys and searching for scat and tracks. Those efforts have not turned up any evidence of wolves in the area. CPW has received results from hair and scat samples that were collected during the investigation. None of the samples collected have been determined to be from wolves.
Black said a veterinarian working with the rancher has suggested the deaths could be from clostridial myositis, also known as “blackleg.” Livestock-protection dogs could also have caused some of the depredations.
At the CPW Commission meeting, Wildlife Programs Manager at Colorado Department of Agriculture Wayne East said he would look into seeing if Colorado’s State Veterinarian Dr. Maggie Baldwin could assist with determining the cause of the cattle deaths in Meeker.