A multiyear U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service study of wolves in the winter in the Gros Ventre drainage shows they rarely kill more than they need to eat and do not prey on moose in excess, researchers say.
Mike Jimenez, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Wyoming wolf management project leader, called the low incidence of such killing “surprising.” He released highlights of the study to the News&Guide on Monday.
“We thought if there is ever a place you would document surplus killing, these feedgrounds would be the spot,” he said. “To us, what was surprising was we just did not document it that often.”
“All the cases were in March or late February,” he said. “That coincides [with] pups right when they become yearlings. They’re coming into their own.”
U.S. Fish and Wildlife researchers and Grand Teton National Park are conducting a similar study on two wolf packs that winter around the north end of the park. The first year’s data is available at
Researchers caution that the data in the Grand Teton study is preliminary and based on only one year’s observations.
Jimenez did not know when the study on Gros Ventre predation would be released. Those interested may contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Surprising, they say. All this time, the wolf took the blame and the wolf management project leader didn't know.
Jimenez said instances of wolves killing more than they needed to eat were difficult to measure accurately, because some wolves tended to abandon carcasses that were disturbed by humans.
“Some wolf packs, if we messed with the carcass at all, they’d never come back,” he said. “Some wolf packs [couldn’t] care less.”
Interesting so the number of surplus kills would even be less than the study indicated which was low anyway because of the fact that they carcasses were handled by humans. I know our Wolves won't eat food that anyone other than the BD and I have touched. Ask Musher Maggie! I also wear disposable gloves when I prepare their meals in case I have a scent on me that would deter them from eating.
Interesting that they conducted the study in an area that they were confident would produce many surplus kills. I hope Molloy is presented this study.