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January 2007
NM Family's horse killed in his own corral (Miller family)


The Millers are a ranching family within the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area in western New Mexico. On 9 October 2006, a wolf (presumably the alpha male of the Aspen pack) attacked one of their dogs in the presence of their young daughter who had gone outside to tend to their horses. On 9 January 2007, one of the Millers horses was killed by the Aspen Pack. Adequacy of the response by the Interagency Field Team (IFT) tasked with managing day-to-day activities on the ground has been questioned by others in the area.


The IFTís response in consistent with Standard Operating Procedure 13.0: Control of Mexican Wolves. Following the dog incident, the IFT met with the Millers, discussed management options, and provided them with a radio receiver to alert them when wolves were present. We believe the Millers were relatively satisfied with this approach. Following the horse depredation, the IFT met again with the Millers and recommended the following: use the helicopter that was already in the area for the annual census to attempt to capture and remove the Aspen male. If not successful, the IFT would immediately move to intensive monitoring and hazing efforts. The IFTís recommendation is more aggressive than called for in SOP 13.0, but this was considered warranted based on the continuing pattern of nuisance behavior by the Aspen male. The IFT made 2 concerted attempts from the helicopter to catch the Aspen male last week (18 and 19 January), neither successful.

Trapping at this time of the year was not seen as an option because of winter storms making the area periodically inaccessible, difficulty with trapping in the snow (freezing traps, drifting), inability to target a single animal, and danger of injury or death to any animal trapped. IFT personnel remained in the area of the Millerís ranch through the week-end to haze wolves if they showed up.

They also placed 2 radiocollar-activated noise and light (RAG) boxes in the vicinity of the ranch. A third unsuccessful attempt to aerially capture the Aspen male was made on 23 January. The only uncollared Aspen animal seen turned out to be a female pup of the year. The IFT will maintain a presence in the area and continue hazing as previously agreed upon. The IFT has been in daily communication with the Millers, apprising and coordinating appropriate responses. One response currently under discussion is the deployment of electrified flagging (turbo fladry) around the vicinity of the house The Millers have indicated they understand the hazing process and will continue to work with the IFT to stop the nuisance behavior by whatever means prove most effective).

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