Steve Banks of Cowley spotted what appeared to be an adult wolf approximately 10 miles north of Cowley on Gyp Springs Road in the early evening on Friday, June 1. The dark colored animal ran across the road around 200 yards in front of his vehicle and then disappeared into the brush.
Banks has seen wolves before and was able to observe the animal long enough to be fairly confident that it was a wolf. After the sighting, he got out of his vehicle and surveyed the area and found a recent deer kill and what appeared to be wolf tracks near the site of the kill. He also noted the tracks extended along the dry creek bed and took pictures of the prints.
“I could see where he killed the deer and then there were drag marks on the ground where it looked like he dragged it about 35 feet down into a ditch,” said Banks. “The deer was partially buried in dirt and you could see where he had eaten part of it. What was really interesting is that he made a hollow area underneath the carcass, where he could crawl under the deer. I’ve never seen anything like that up close before. It was really interesting to look at.”
“I have no doubt that Steve is credible when he says he saw a wolf,” commented Big Horn County Sheriff Ken Blackburn. “There is no doubt in my mind that Steve knows what a wolf looks like.”
According to game warden Jim Hobbs, it is possible that wolves could travel through the area where Banks was driving his vehicle. Hobbs noted that wolves are “protected” and since this particular wolf was outside of city limits, there is no reason for alarm or concern.
“It’s nice to know when they are closer than normal. The ranchers appreciate knowing that, but just because we see one doesn’t mean there is necessarily going to be a problem,” explained Hobbs.
Banks noted that there are ranches in the area where he saw the wolf, with livestock such as goats and cattle grazing in nearby pastures.
By Patti Carpenter