Former Routt County rancher isn’t opposed to shooting predators, but speaks out against killing wolves in Wyoming

Born and raised on a Cherokee reservation in North Carolina, Gray Bear owned Sleeping Giant Ranch in Routt County from 2002 to 2017 and now owns a hunting and fishing lodge in British Columbia.Canada.

The Canadian province, larger than the countries of France and Germany combined, is a place where conservationists estimate a population of about 8,500 gray wolves lives.

Speaking by phone Thursday, Gray Bear said the wolves have taken an average of 1.5 horses a year from his property in north-central British Columbia and that on occasions when he has caught wolves in the act, he has killed the predators.

It happened just last year, when he returned to his ranch to find a mother wolf and three cubs cornering a mare and a foal in a round pen outside his house, he recalled.

Without a gun at hand, the former Routt County resident used his hickory stick to hit one of the young wolves over the head, stunning the animal into submission before retreating to the mother wolf.

At the same time, Gray Bear said, his dog, a German shepherd and trained service dog, went around and broke the neck of one of the other young wolves, killing the wolf instantly.

“The other wolf cub escaped,” said Gray Bear. “I had a dead foal lying there. I had a mare whose right inner hind knee was torn open – there is still a serious scar there. I had a few yearling stallions there with bite marks on their feet and hips, and then I had a mare with bite marks and cracks in her throat.

Gray Bear said he took a gun from his house and “finished off” the young wolf he hit with his cane. The mother wolf and the other young wolf ran away, but the farmer said he knew they would come back and spent the rest of the night and the next day “with a gun and a spotlight at the ready.”

“The alpha wolf, the male, was quite smart and he stayed just at the edge of the forest and I could see him… but I could never get a shot at him for the first three days, so I took the mother wolf and everything. take the puppies over there and put them in a pile,’ said Gray Bear.

“I waited and it took me three days, and finally he went out and got his nerve and got brave enough to go out there and start sniffing, and that was the last thing he would ever smell. I got rid of the whole pack,” he added. “That was a situation.”

Gray Bear, nearly 2,000 miles away, speaking from a landline at his Gray Bear Ranch and Lodge in north-central British Columbia, news from Northwest Colorado continues to follow. He has killed wolves before and is admittedly deeply opposed to the wolf reintroduction underway in the state.

The state’s gray wolf reintroduction program was approved by voters in 2020, and Colorado Parks and Wildlife worked with wildlife officials in Oregon to begin translocating 10 wolves to the state in December.

Since then, CPW has acknowledged at least seven reported wolf depredations in Apriland said one of the reintroduced wolves died of natural causes.

But make no mistake: Gray Bear in no way supports how a Wyoming man acted in February after hitting a young gray wolf with his snowmobile. before deciding to muzzle the animal and parade it around a local bar in the city of Daniel before killing him later that night.

The February incident, first reported by WyoFile.combecame national news and sparked global outrage and wildlife advocates to call for a tourism boycott for the entire state of Wyoming.

Wolves can be killed at any time and without justification in zones covering about 85% of Wyoming, a state with the least restrictive predator killing laws.

Wyoming wildlife officials eventually issued a summons to the man, Cody Roberts, charging him with a misdemeanor charge of possessing live wildlife and imposing a $250 fine..

The Sublette County Sheriff’s Office has since launched its own investigation into Roberts for possible animal cruelty charges. The investigation is ongoing.

Gray Bear is a rancher, a man who has killed not only wolves but other predators, including a grizzly bear that he dispatched with a pipe after discovering it was attacking his horses. But he has signed a petition pleading with authorities to charge Roberts with animal cruelty.

“It’s not that I’m against catching predators; I am absolutely and completely against the cruelty this idiot has shown,” said Gray Bear. “What he did is within legal limits in terms of taking down the wolf. If he had sent the wolf away immediately, nothing would have been said about it, but to do what he did after running him over, that’s just unconscionable, that’s not human. That’s just wrong.”

This story comes from Steamboat Pilot & Today.