Wolf depredation on livestock in Minnesota

Resource Publication 145


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Depredation by wolves (Canis lupus) on cattle, sheep, and other livestock in Minnesota currently is a minor problem except to a few individual farmers. Indices to the seriousness of the problem are available only from recent years, so historical trends cannot be detected. From 1976 through 1980 the number of farms in the wolf range suffering verified losses to wolves ranged from 9 to 19 (mean of x = 13) per year out of about 12,230. From 1977 through 1980, the highest cattle losses claimed by farmers were 0.45 per 1,000 cattle available in 1979; the highest sheep losses claimed were 1.18 per 1,000 available in 1980. Many claims of losses (especially of calves) are based on missing animals, and few wolves are involved in the verified losses. Most losses occur in summer when livestock are released to graze in open and wooded pasture. Herd management practices, such as calving in forested or brushy pastures and disposal of carcasses in or near pastures, are responsible for many instances of wolf depredation. Failure to distinguish wolves from coyotes (Canis latrans) has contributed to an exaggerated view of the importance of wolves as livestock predators. Recently the number of wolves killed in depredation control has declined, whereas the number of livestock killed has remained fairly stable. Results of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's depredation- control program in 1979 and 1980 suggest that highly restricted trapping, coupled with other management methods, has potential for reducing both livestock losses and the number of wolves that need to be killed.

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype Federal Government Series
Title Wolf depredation on livestock in Minnesota
Series title Resource Publication
Series number 145
Year Published 1982
Language English
Publisher U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Publisher location Washington, D.C.
Contributing office(s) Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Description 11 p.