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Avoiding Conflicts with Wolves

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Wolves (Canis lupus) are highly skilled hunters and prey primarily on sick and/or injured ungulates such as deer, elk, moose and bison. Wide scale predator control efforts into the 1970's eliminated wolves from much of the Lower 48 State of America. Gray wolves are still fairly abundant in Alaska and Canada, however. They are starting to make a comeback in parts of the U.S., including Montana, Wyoming and Idaho, due to a government program aimed at recovering wolf populations in the Lower 48 States.

If you recreate in areas where wolves are present, or if you have a home or ranch in wolf country, the following information will help you to avoid unpleasant encounters with these amazing predators.

Please keep in mind that wolves are usually shy and avoid contact with people. Nonetheless, it is wise to understand a bit about wolves and how to avoid potential conflicts with them.

  • Wolves do not normally attack humans, but they may attack if they feel threatened or if they are sick or injured. If you see a wolf, do not approach it.
  • DO NOT FEED DEER AND OTHER WILD ANIMALS. Feeding deer and other wildlife can create an unnatural concentration of animals that wolves prey on and may therefore attract wolves.
  • Wolves may perceive dogs as competitors and may attack to remove a perceived threat or competitor. Therefore it's a good idea to keep a close eye on your pets while you're camping, hunting or recreating in wolf country.
  • Be careful chaining pets in wolf country. Dogs or livestock that are tethered can not escape or defend themselves against wolves. Enclosed dog runs can help keep your pets safe in wild areas.
  • If you keep livestock in wolf country, electric fencing around sheep bedding areas, calving grounds, livestock pens, etc. can deter wolves from these areas. Electric fencing has proven to be effective in deterring wolves from llamas and other livestock in Montana and Wyoming.
  • You may also consider using a livestock watch dog such as the Great Pyrenees.
  • If you have a wolf or wolf pack frequently your property, contact the local Fish and Game Department so they can monitor the animals' locations.