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Three wolves killed by GNWT officials
Three wolves killed by GNWT officials

April Hudson
Northern News Services
Thursday, November 24, 2016

Three fresh wolfskins are being sent off to market after officers with the Department Environment and Natural Resources in the Deh Cho destroyed three wolves just outside Fort Simpson.

NNSL photo/graphic

Trapper Carl Gaule helped to skin three wolves at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources warehouse in Fort Simpson. - April Hudson/NNSL photo

The wolves, deemed to be problem animals, bring the total of wolves destroyed in the past couple months to five.

Two local trappers, Troy Ruttle and Carl Gaule, took on the unsavory task of skinning the animals in the department's warehouse - a notoriously smelly job that became even smellier when one wolf's stomach was accidentally punctured.

After skinning the creatures on Nov. 16, Ruttle and Gaule said they would be washing the pelts, attaching them to a stretcher board and drying the skins inside-out.

Ruttle said the wolves were taken outside the main village, up the hill near the landfill. One of the wolves was missing part of its front left paw, which he said was likely due to a snare.

Reports of wolf sightings around the village are nothing new, but Marti Lys, a renewable resources officer with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, said sightings usually happen more in January and February rather than this early in the season.

"There's wolves around here at all times of the year, really, but the only time they come into town is when they're hungry and they know they can get an easy meal," she said.

Although Lys said the department doesn't know how many wolves are in packs near the community, Ruttle said there had been around 15 wolves spotted near the sand pit past the landfill.

He said another pack across the river could be even larger.

Gaule said some of the wolves appeared to grow bolder this year and some of the community's dogs had already been taken.

The pack near the landfill, he added, has been around for a while.

"I've been trying to snare them for the past few years," he said.

Lys said the department has recorded one instance so far this year of a dog being taken. Only the tail was left behind.

"That was in the campground, probably over a month ago now," she said, adding any wolf attacks on dogs should be reported to the department immediately.

"We need to know where they are, where they're hanging around . So far we've taken five wolves in the last month and a half, so that should help bring the numbers down. Hopefully they will develop a fear, knowing that they are being hunted, and then they'll stay away."

While wolves don't normally venture into the village, Lys said the department advises anyone walking around Wildrose Acres or off the island to carry a stick and keep their dogs on a leash when taking them for walks.

She also encourages residents to keep garbage in bins and not leave meat outside to freeze.

Residents may also want to consider bringing outside dogs inside at night, she said.

"Even if they are on a leash outside, they're a potential snack for wolves," she said.

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