22 May 2010, 10:37pm
Latest Wildlife News
by admin

Wolves take calves from inside barn pen

AG Week, May 17 2010 [here]

FARGO, N.D. — Gary Leonhardt says he’s seen the height of boldness.

Officials have confirmed that two wolves came onto his farm near Waskish, Minn., three miles east of Upper Red Lake. They crawled through a cattle gate and went into his cow barn to kill three of his newborn calves.

“I’ve never seen that before, never heard of it,” Leonhardt says.

Leonhardt is happy with quick responses from federal wildlife officials, who say wolf complaints this year are running about double the normal amount because of an unusually early spring that makes deer harder for the wolves to catch and kill.

Leonhardt hopes get state compensation for the calf loss, a total of about $2,100. He’s a bit worried about the timeliness of the compensation, considering Minnesota’s budget woes.

Leonhardt says the whole things surprised him.

The majority of Leonhardt’s cows are out on pasture now, but he’s still feeding hay on those pastures for another couple of weeks. About 30 of his cows have not yet calved.

At 7:30 p.m. May 10, he put three newborn calves in a calving pen in his barn.

“One of the calves was 3 days old, the other two were a day old,” says Leonhardt, 59. “Their mother was on the other side of the gate. I turned the mothers out to eat and have water for the night. Then I’d turn the calves back out in the morning.”

At 6:30 a.m. May 11, when Leonhardt went to the barn to let them out, all thee calves were dead — gutted or torn in pieces. Tracks told him there were two wolves — one with paw prints 4 inches across and then a smaller wolf had prints 3 inches across.

The cattle gate allowed less than a foot between the bars. He’d left the solid door open on the north side of the structure for air circulation. On the south side of the barn were the mothers and the cows that hadn’t yet calved. … [more]



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