Coyote trap snares Imnaha wolf pup

February 27, 2013 10:00 am

by KATY NESBITT / The Observer

WALLOWA — An Imnaha wolf, inadvertently caught in a trap, was released unharmed Tuesday afternoon on a Wallowa County ranch.

While checking traps set for coyotes on private land, a trapper discovered the 10-month-old female. Out of cellphone range, he drove directly to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife district office in Enterprise for help. Pat Matthews, acting district biologist, and Fred Steen, Wallowa County chief deputy, accompanied him back to the wolf. 

“The trapper did everything he could to save this wolf’s life,” Matthews said.

The young wolf was tranquilized, weighed and measured while Roblyn Brown, the agency’s wolf coordinator, joined them from La Grande to outfit her with a GPS/VHF collar.

Matthews said the collar is a new style from a different manufacturer than the ones already used on Northeastern Oregon wolves and stores data, transfers data and can be picked up with a radio receiver.

Russ Morgan, wolf biologist for Oregon, said it is unfortunate when inadvertent trapping happens, but when it does, it’s important that all the right decisions are made so the wolf can be released unharmed.

“In this particular case the person did the right thing,” Morgan said. “Time is of the essence and it worked out well for the wolf and for us. He did a fantastic job and responded immediately.”

In December 2011, a trapper found a wolverine in his bobcat trap in the Wallowa Mountains. He called for help from the Enterprise Fish and Wildlife office and the wolverine was released unharmed. Last fall, a Walla Walla Pack wolf was caught in a trap set for coyotes in Union County. He, too, was collared and released.