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Colorado confirms wolf depredation incident in Jackson County

GUEST AUTHOR: Dave Shaffer

According to a Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) news release, https://cpw.state.co.us/aboutus/Pages/News-Release-Details.aspx?NewsID=8030  CPW wildlife officers are confident in confirming a wolf depredation incident has occurred on a domestic calf in North Park, near Walden Colorado.  Walden is located at the confluence of numerous GMUs in northwest Colorado less than 20 miles South of the Wyoming border.

On Sunday, Dec. 19, 2021 a CPW District Wildlife Manager (DWM) received a report of a calf carcass on a ranch in Jackson County. The DWM responded and conducted a field investigation and necropsy on the carcass of the calf to look for evidence of pre-mortem wounds. “The results of this investigation indicated wolf tracks in the immediate vicinity of the carcass and wounds on the calf consistent with wolf depredation,” said CPW Area Wildlife Manager Kris Middledorf.

Today, gray wolves remain a state endangered species, and wolves may not be taken for any reason other than self-defense. Illegal take of a wolf may result in a combination of penalties, including fines of up to $100,000, a year of jail time, and a lifetime loss of hunting license privileges. 

However, Proposition 114, a ballot initiative directing the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission to develop a plan to introduce gray wolves onto the Western Slope of Colorado, passed on November 3, 2020.  

Proposition 114 directs the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission to:

  • Develop a plan to reintroduce and manage gray wolves in Colorado;
  • Take necessary steps to begin reintroduction no later than December 31, 2023, on designated lands west of the Continental Divide; and
  • Pay fair compensation for livestock losses caused by gray wolves.

Based on public feedback and CPW’s expertise in developing wildlife management plans, the Commission is moving forward with a strategic phased approach that will facilitate robust stakeholder engagement in the early stages of the planning process.  CPW has formed a Stakeholder Advisory Group (SAG) to oversee wolf reintroduction and management in Colorado. The SAG will represent diverse wolf management interests that will convene to support the development of the gray wolf management plan for Colorado. 

Schedules and agendas for upcoming Parks and Wildlife Commission meetings are available on the Commission Meetings page https://cpw.state.co.us/aboutus/Pages/CommissionMeetings.aspx .

To stay updated with any current developments, visit CPW’s wolf management page https://cpw.state.co.us/learn/Pages/CON-Wolf-Management.aspx .

Sign up for CPW’s Conservation eNews and follow us on social media to receive email updates concerning wolf management https://cpw.state.co.us/aboutus/Pages/socialmedia.aspx .


Historically, gray wolves inhabited most of Colorado, but were extirpated. The last known resident wolves in Colorado were in the 1940s until the most recent discovery of two separately migrating wolves – one in 2019 and the other in 2021 – that produced a litter of pups in northern Colorado in 2021.

CPW typically fields around 100 sightings per year. However, wolf reports are typically not considered reliable without strong supporting evidence. Confirmed or probable wolf dispersals into Colorado have occurred in 2004, 2007, 2009, 2015, 2019, 2020 and 2021.

Although CPW cannot provide a specific population number for wolves currently in Colorado. As many as six congregating wolves have been identified by CPW staff, but that does not mean that is a definitive number of animals on the ground in the state.

So the question is, why “reintroduce” wolves when they seem to be doing it on their own?

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  1. Charles McMurrough

    It is expensive to trap and move wolves. if left alone they will repopulate the areas where livestock and game are. the hunters who contribute millions to fish and game each year will taper off, the government will use our tax money to pay the ranchers for cattle killed. Sounds like an expensive mistake.

  2. I cannot believe the voters don’t take into consideration, the ranchers and there fear of losing animals. Just imagine checking on your livestock every morning to see if everything is ok, not alone how riled up they are.

  3. Colorado Resident…and it’s ridiculous how it got passed. Literally 2 counties voted in Favor of it. BOULDER AND DENVER counties. That’s it. But those are the two biggest population centers and the people who like to watch them on TV and have never been on the western Slope. Same people who complain that coyotes ate their Shitzu and that think hunting is like Rocky Mtn National Park and the Elk just walk up to the car. But somehow they are the only ones in state that matter now when it comes to voting.

  4. The problem is the people least affected by the wolves are the ones who voted for the reintroduction, the ones who live in the bigger cities where the wolves will never live,sounds like we need to just release wolves in Denver and Boulder

  5. Caleb Huthmacher

    Here’s another fun fact: this will be funded by money raised from the sale of hunting and fishing licenses unless the bill mentioned in the article below is passed.

  6. Timothy McKnight

    Must be from the same group who proposed reintroducing grizzly bears, here, in Pennsylvania. Fortunately, never went anywhere.

  7. Just cant understand how stupid everyone is.. Gray Wolves used to be here.. They were eliminated completely and don’t exist anymore. We then brought Canadian timberwolves down into the states and now call them “gray wolves” so that it sounds like we’re RE-introducing them. We’re not! We’re bringing bigger wolves that have never existed on our landscape and they’re having a ball down here with a free for all on our smaller wildlife. Animals are bigger the further from the equator they are. It’s bogus to relocate them so far south and this will become a disaster for us all.

  8. They want to reintroduce wolves simply because it makes them feel good…about themselves.

  9. If we have to release wolves then let’s spay and neuter them. If you think about it, what better way to control the population. We do it with fish all the time.
    This is a subject that should only be done with wildlife managers, not voters. Voters should not have any say, as they know nothing about the full ramifications of it.

  10. Charles McMurrough

    Why spend the time and money to Spay and Neuter. Just shoot them in the head, done

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