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'Surplus' killing wolves slay 73 elk in three months

This winter, western Wyoming's grey wolf population has been quite active, especially now that its at the largest size it's ever been. In late March, the Rim Pack on the south side of the highway near Bondurant killed 19 elk at a feeding ground overnight. That was the largest single killing at at the Wyoming Game & Fish's McNeel feeding grounds over the winter. In total, that elk herd suffered 72 deaths by wolves from January through March of this year. A 73rd elk was reportedly killed in April. WGFD Regional Wildlife Supervisor John Lund said that the amount of elk killed at the feedgrounds was "well above normal." "This number is a minimum, as it only includes elk killed on or in the immediate vicinity of the feedground," Lund added. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northern Rocky Mountain Wolf Coordinator Mike Jimenez that the Rim Pack has been exceptionally active this year, calling the amount killings at McNeel "fairly high." The Rim Pack is made up of 7-9 wolves. In addition to the high elk hunting numbers, the pack was also responsible for one livestock depredation. Jimenez said USFWS removed one wolf from the pack after it took the livestock. On the other side of the highway near Bondurant, the Dell Creek Pack has been responsible for about 10 livestock killings this winter. Jimenez has confirmed that the USFWS plans on eliminating the pack due to the chronic nature of its attacks on cattle. He said that despite the availability of elk in the area, the pack continued to target calves. The USFWS began by taking 5 wolves from the roughly 16 member pack. However, the livestock killings continued and more wolves were taken. There are currently 5 or 6 left, and the rest will be taken out as well, but the animals have reportedly learned to avoid the aerial gunners. Last year, Jimenez said the USFWS took 54 wolves from Wyoming's population, and meanwhile the species population has continued to to grow to its highest level since reintroduction . He says the agency does it best to hit a management balance that protects both ranchers' property and wolves. *photo shows the 19 elk killed in one night* #buckrail #county10 #reboot #news