July 2, 2020

Cowboy Bitten by Coyote/Wolf, Saves Dogs With Rock

Press Release from Wolf Crossing dot Org:

While packing salt to a herd of cattle on Wednesday, a ranch manager in eastern Catron County heard a distressed cow bawling and upon investigation the man and his cow dogs were attacked by what he described as a pack of coy/wolves or coyote hybrids.

“I tied my mules up and went to the fight, my dogs were with me. There were 7-8 animals not including my cow dogs and the cow was still trying to protect that baby calf.” Says the cowboy who didn’t wish to be identified due to past harassment by extremists.

“Two of those animals had my hound dog down and were going to kill him. I didn’t bring my pistol, so I hit one with a rock; the other one bit me on the arm and I think I stuck it with my pocket knife and it let go. I finally got my dogs called back enough to get some control of the situation but those animals weren’t leaving and I was afoot without a weapon.”

The cowboy was able to back out of the scene with his dogs and find his pack mule, but his riding mule had taken off for home in the heat of the moment.

USDA Wildlife services and the Catron county law enforcement were notified of the event and an investigation was launched the next day. Clearly the incident was abnormal for what is described as Mexican wolf behavior. Wildlife Service found bite marks on the dead baby calf measuring 39-40 mm; about average size for Mexican wolves but too big to be coyote size which ranges 27-33 mm.

“There was all sizes of the things, small ones, and a couple big ones too. I thought they were coyotes but close up I didn’t have time to examine them really well, especially with the mess we were in.” Upon his return home the ranch hand found his arm was bruised but his heavy cotton duct, coat stopped any puncture wounds and his injuries were not serious.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife service is in the middle of the annual year end count of Mexican wolves but were not able to identify a pack in the area at the time of the attack, although there are documented collared wolf packs that use the area as territory. The cowboy said none had collars at the time of the incident and no radio collar signal was found in the area the day of the investigation.

Ranchers in the area have been pleading with FWS to begin analysis of the wolf packs on the ranches in the area due to an increased belief that they are interbreeding with coyotes resulting in bigger packs of coyote like animals.

Jess Carey, Catron county wolf interaction investigator, wants the animals involved removed and analyzed due to the aggressiveness and defense behavior of the pack.

“I am not sure what I am supposed to do out here, I can’t take care of these cattle like this with these animals running around attacking the cattle, attacking my dogs, and attacking me. This isn’t what they are supposed to be doing with this program.” Said the cowboy involved in the incident which is still under investigation.

Breeding season for both wolves and coyotes is in full swing and single wolves are making wide circles, actively searching for mates in the Blue Range Wolf Recovery area. Physically it isn’t impossible for Mexican wolves to interbreed with coyotes and in this program, wolves have been documented breeding with domestic dogs at least three separate times.

Caren Cowan of New Mexico Cattle Growers association says, “DNA analysis of the pack responsible for this attack is essential if the Mexican wolf program is to be pursued with any scientific credibility.”

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