Wolves Worry Dubois Residents

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Dubois residents are taking extra measures to protect their animals and livestock from wolves.

Representatives from the Wyoming Game and Fish Department attended a Dubois city council meeting to provide safety recommendations for concerned residents after multiple sightings of the animals.

"We're starting to see wolves in town and we don't feel town is the place for wolves," said Dubois Mayor Twila Blakeman.

People have noticed wolf tracks through their barns and even by their homes. One resident said he keeps his horses closer to his home and in a group with a mule, which is likely to fight off the wolves. The mayor thinks this is wrong.

"People love their cats and dogs and we don't think it's fair that our animals should have to be on a leash constantly,” said Blakeman.

Brian Debolt, the Large Carnivore Conflict Coordinator for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, said he feels the wolves are following the food.

"Because of the large ungulate populations around, there are a large number of wolves that follow,” said Debolt.

Ungulates are animals like deer and elk, but wolves also prey on other animals.

"They just have babies, and babies, and babies and these babies grow up and they kick them out of the pack and then they go looking for another territory," said Blakeman.

The mayor said other carnivores have come into town but usually those animals are just passing through the area. Game and fish wardens manage the population, which is a reason Blakeman reached out to them.

"In that part of the state, they are in a trophy game area," said Jason Hunter, Regional Wild Life Supervisor for Wyoming Game and Fish in Lander. “We do have a hunting season for wolves with a quota, similar to mountain lion season, so once that quota is reached the season is closed.”

Hunter said people can defend themselves and their animals from the wolves.

"We relayed to that group there that they have every right to remove a wolf if they feel its threatening them, their pet, or livestock," said Hunter.

The mayor said she doesn't think anyone feels the wolves will hurt them, but they are concerned for their animals. Debolt said wolves present minimal danger to humans. He said attacks on people have been due to sick or injured wolves or those fed by humans. He adds people should keep their distance from wolves and control their animals because wolves are extremely territorial.