Colorado rancher says wolves have started attacking, killing his cattle again


Miles Blumhardt, Fort Collins Coloradoan

May 6, 2022


Wolves are believed to have killed at least one calf and caused the death of another in Colorado's Jackson County in recent days, despite a night watcher looking over the herd.


Rancher Don Gittleson, who had already lost three animals to the pack, told the Coloradoan about the most recent attacks. They have not yet been confirmed by Colorado Parks and Wildlife.


The pack, which consists of eight grown wolves and includes a female that is suspected to have given birth to her second litter northeast of Walden, has been present on and around the ranch. The wolves had not attacked the Gittlesons' cattle since the family lost one calf and two pregnant cows to the wolfpack in December and January. One of the cows and a calf were killed by the wolves. The other cow was injured so badly Gittleson had to shoot her.


Volunteers have been helping the Gittlesons with night watch over their registered Angus herd since those deaths, which were all late at night.


"Not exactly sure what happened but I suspect they got ahold of the calf and drug it through the fence because there were marks and the mother went across the fence and chased after them,'' Don said of the first attack. "Nobody realized they had come in there that night.''


He said the wolves were back the next night when his wife, Kim, was on night watch. She heard the wolves and shot into the air to chase them off but the wolves returned again the following night.


He said the wolves got into his calving pasture between lights meant to scare them off. 


"They got ahold of (another) calf, and the cow was after the wolves when I drove over to them and honked the horn and they chased off,'' he said. They still haven't found that calf.


He suspects a third calf he lost died from lung damage caused by being chased by the wolves...


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