Byron Cole, part-time federal trapper and resident of Badger, shared his experiences in trapping the biggest pest that cattle farmers have to deal with: Canis Lupus, the Gray Wolf.
Wolves have been on the federally protected list for years. From about 2012 to 2014, they were taken off the endangered list, and a lottery license system was set up so that they could be hunted by the lucky few who got a tag. The number of wolves was a little over 4,000 in 2012, according to the DNR website, and the hunting season was set for October through January. In 2014, Judge Beryl Howell ruled against the removal of the wolves from the endangered species list. Since that time the wolf population has grown, but it is hard to pin down the exact size of each pack and how many packs there are.
“In the spring when the wolves have their pups, the size of the pack doubles,” Cole says, “but only about 20-30 percent of the pups will survive the year.” Cole has been the part time federal trapper since September 10, 2010. His part time title means that he traps from April 1 to the end of October each year. The counties that he covers are Lake of the Woods, Roseau, Beltrami, Marshall, and Kittson. But Kittson County is the only county that has a special law to help cattle farmers regain some of their losses to the wolves.
For more on this story, see this week’s edition of the North Star News!