Idaho Mountain Express: Wolves kill sheep east of valley - Depredation event was first of season

Two sheep were killed by wolves in the mountains east of Ketchum on Tuesday, Sept. 23. The deaths were the first depredation event of the season in the Wood River Valley.

Idaho Wildlife Services Director Todd Grimm said traps were set out to catch the wolves, but were removed Friday morning as the sheep band was leaving the area.
Grimm said a bear had taken over one of the kills and was caught in a trap Wednesday, but was released without serious injury.

Suzanne Stone, Northern Rockies representative for Defenders of Wildlife, said herders had informed her organization that a bear had been following the band for about a week. However, Grimm said Wildlife Services had determined that the sheep were killed by wolves.

The sheep band was in the area covered by the Wood River Wolf Project, which attempts to prevent predator-livestock conflicts through nonlethal deterrents. Stone, who serves as project manager, said about 30,000 sheep graze in the area.

“Two [killed] sheep out of an entire field season is remarkable,” she said.

Stone said she thinks this may have been the second most successful season since the project began in 2008. She said that during one of those years, no sheep were killed.

Stone said the project would be wrapped up for this season on Oct. 1.