Wolves kill dogs. It’s a simple fact that was overlooked
in the wolf reintroduction scheme, but it’s become
heartbreakingly too familiar to many ranchers, pet owners
and hound hunters in the region.
The environmental impact statement for the wolf reintroduction
program had little to say about wolves preying on dogs,
other than to note that it would be "a fairly uncommon
event" and was expected to be "very infrequent."
That’s no comfort for those who have such an experience.
Because it’s become an all-too-frequent
event that wolves kill hunting dogs, each winter, press
issued by state management agencies like this one from
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, issued Dec. 1, 2006:
Mountain Lion Hunters Need To Be Aware Of Wolves On the
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, Dec. 1, 2006
With the winter season for mountain lion hunting with hounds
opening Dec. 1, lion hunters need to be wolf-aware to avoid
conflicts between hounds and wolves.
"Wolves look at all domestic dogs as competitors," said
Carolyn Sime, FWP wolf coordinator. "Competition for
territory, food or a mate drives wolves to be aggressive
Sime said that in Montana only a few cases of wolves killing
domestic dogs are reported each year, though some incidents
may go unreported.?Mountain lion hunting hounds could risk
a wolf attack if houndsmen release them to track lions
for long distances in wolf territory.
The risk is compounded by the fact that the Montana lion
harvest and chase season is open during the wolf-breeding
season, which generally begins in February. At this time,
wolves are especially territorial and aggressive toward
any canid—wolf, dog or coyote.
While one can’t fully protect lion hunting dogs from
wolves, lion hunters in states where wolves are well established
have developed the following precautions that can reduce
the hunting dog’s exposure to wolves.
* check the area for wolf sign. Don’t
release hounds if there are fresh wolf tracks, a recent
wolf kill, or
wolves howling nearby.
* release hounds only on fresh mountain lion tracks to
shorten the chase time.
* use bells on hound collars and yelling periodically to
signal a human is with the hounds.
* run more hounds to discourage lone wolves from attacking
* use radio telemetry tracking collars to help relocate
lost dogs quickly.
* howl to see if any wolves in the immediate area respond.
If they do, hunt elsewhere.
* use protective dog vests. The vest may shield hunting
hounds from a wolf attack long enough for the hunter to
reach the dog before a wolf can kill it.
* use spiked collars. Spikes have helped reduce injuries
in some wolf attacks on herding and guarding dogs in Montana.
* be aware of wolf pack locations in Montana.
A map is available on the FWP web
site. Mountain lion hunters need to keep in mind that federal
determine what a lion hunter can do to protect hounds
during a wolf
Regulations differ depending on whether the incident
takes place in the endangered area (north half of Montana)
the experimental area (south half of Montana) and whether
the encounter takes place on public land or private
Using dogs to help protect livestock from
2010 Article in Sheep & Goat Research Journal
- by Cat & Jim Urbigkit
Expanding large carnivore
populations pose new challenges for livestock owners to protect
their herds from predators while abiding to the laws that
protect some of these predator species which are under federal
protection. Some sheep ranchers have used specially-bred
livestock protection dogs as a non-lethal tool to help protect
their herds from wolf predation. Cat and Jim Urbigkit, ranchers
in Big Piney, have co-authored a paper on the use of livestock
protection dogs (LPDs), which was recently published in Sheep & Goat
Research Journal. “The number of LPDs killed by large
predators is increasing,” they wrote. “We conducted
a literature review to identify LPD breeds that may be more
suited for use around large carnivores, such as gray wolves.” Click
on this link for the PDF
of this article (8 pages, 1590K)
Wolf/Dog Conflicts (By Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale
Online!) The Idaho Fish and Game Department has issued
a caution to recreationists headed to the mountains
with their family dogs, noting that "with the
growing wolf population in the backcountry, they may
be heading into trouble."IF&G notes that while
it's impossible to completely eliminate wolf/dog conflicts
in wolf habitat, precautions when walking dogs or hunting
hounds include...(click on link for more on this story)
Dog Brochure Reducing Conflicts Between Dogs and
Wolves in Idaho (253K, 4 page PDF)
and Hunting Dogs in Wisconsin - A Guide for Reducing
Conflict between Wolves and Hunting Dogs (780K,
2 page PDF)