Grey Wolf Photo Credit: Tobias Knoepfli (iStock).

Photo Credit: Tobias Knoepfli (iStock).

According to officials, clues left behind show that a wolf has killed a dog in northern Colorado's Jackson County.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife received a report of a potential wolf depredation incident involving two border collies on January 9 from a ranch in Jackson County. One dog was killed and the other was injured.

Upon investigation, a CPW authority found wolf tracks in the area and wounds on the deceased dog that were determined to be consistent with those of a wolf attack.

This killing comes weeks after Colorado Parks and Wildlife confirmed that a wolf killed a domestic calf near the town of Walden in late December, also in Jackson County – the first confirmed wolf-livestock killing in Colorado in at least 70 years. In that case, wolf tracks and wounds consistent with a wolf attack were also used to confirm the kill, exemplifying a concern shared by many Colorado ranchers regarding wolves' potential impact on the livestock industry.

Though grey wolves don't typically look at domestic dogs as a source of food, the species will attack pets in some situations – often when they seem to feel their territory or livelihood is threatened. Wolves can exhibit a similar behavior toward unknown wolves they encounter.

While formal reintroduction of wolves into Colorado has yet to begin, a lone wolf pack was discovered in Colorado in early 2020, having naturally migrated from a bordering state. Prior to the presence of that pack, a wolf population was absent from Colorado since their eradication in the 1940s.

Gray wolves are considered a state-endangered species and as a result, they can not be legally killed for any reason other than self-defense. Because of this rule, livestock producers are unable to kill wolves that may be preying on their animals without risk of serious consequences, including fines up to $100,000, a year of jail time, and a lifetime loss of hunting privileges.

In cases where a wolf kills livestock, Colorado Parks and Wildlife reimburses the livestock provider under an existing game damage process. This reimbursement program does not seem to apply to working dogs killed by wolves.

A wolf-specific process for compensating in the case of depredation is being formalized as part of the gray wolf reintroduction plan. A summary of the ongoing planning process related to wolf depredation compensation, along with information about upcoming meetings on the topic, can be found here.

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Director of Content and Operations

Spencer McKee is OutThere Colorado's Director of Content and Operations. In his spare time, Spencer loves to hike, rock climb, and trail run. He's on a mission to summit all 58 of Colorado's fourteeners and has already climbed more than half.


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(7) comments


Wolves will dessimate the livestock on the and the brunt of the cost will be in the ranchers which is probably the end game anyway.


When a wolf kills a cow or killed a dog, OMG! The media makes it out to be the end of the world. What people forget and what is never mentioned is that your best friend, canine companion bites about 4.5 million people a year resulting in about 800000 hospitalizations. Dogs kill approximately 30-50 people a year.dogs kill approximately 17,000 other dogs every year and they approximately 22000 head of livestock every year! So, I’d say people should be more concerned with loose dogs than a wolf!


I've had a concern that CO (the entire west?) is too disgustingly developed for wolves. Another sign of our dismal fate in the Anthropocene.


Dang wolf's! They done killed my property! Got no business being on my land killing my property


And thanks to all who voted to re introduce wolves into Colorado, there will be more livestock killed on the western slope. Such a shame. And I guess there’s no need to introduce wolves because they are already here as proved by this article. But ranchers and residents do not need more.


Who’s bright idea was it to bring back wolves? There’s a reason we don’t want them, they kill livestock and pets! Why are we okay putting a burden on our Ranchers when they’re the ones feeding us? Makes no sense!!



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