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Pack of 7 wolves slain after killing cows

Associated Press

POLARIS - A federal wildlife official has shot and killed a pack of seven wolves responsible for killing cattle in southwestern Montana.

Graeme McDougal of the U.S. Wildlife Services first spotted the pack just east of Polaris on Jan. 15 from the air.

The wolves were believed responsible for killing cattle in the Big Hole Valley in December, but McDougal didn't have a chance to shoot.

This week, while searching for coyotes in the same area from a helicopter, McDougal spotted a dead calf and a rancher nearby waving at them. After landing and talking to the rancher, McDougal was able to shoot one wolf on Tuesday.

Later, Fish and Wildlife Service officials approved killing the rest of the pack. On Thursday, McDougal spotted the remaining six wolves east of Polaris in the Grasshopper Valley and shot all of them.

Joe Fontaine, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife wolf project leader for Montana, said the wolves that were killed included an adult pair and five yearlings.

The Big Hole and Grasshopper Valley areas aren't a good location for a pack of wolves, Fontaine said. Most of the elk move out of that area, and there are lots of cattle, he said.

Fontaine said he's not sure where the wolves came from, and it wasn't until last March that his agency was able to confirm that they were even in the area.

He asked that people report wolf sightings.

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