Angus calfs run toward another pen during a snowstorm on Don Gittleson’s ranch, Sunday, Dec. 26, 2021, outside Walden. Two cows were injured by a wolf and one of them was euthanized, state officials said Tuesday. (Hugh Carey, The Colorado Sun)

Two cows were injured by gray wolves on a ranch in North Park, and one was euthanized due to the extent of its wounds, Colorado Parks and Wildlife said Tuesday. 

Investigators confirmed wolves were involved based on nearby tracks and scat, and wounds consistent with wolf predation, CPW said.

The cows belong to the Gittleson Ranch east of Walden, where a wolf killed a heifer in December, according to CPW. The same wolf pack, which wandered into Colorado from Wyoming, killed a cowboy’s dog on a nearby ranch on Jan. 9. 

The incidents come days after CPW legalized hazing wolves with methods including rubber bullets or guard animals on Jan. 12. CPW is developing guidelines to reintroduce wolves to Colorado’s Western Slope, with a deadline of the end of 2023. Voters narrowly approved wolf reintroduction in 2020. 

“It’s worth underscoring that this incident is not related to or a result of wolf reintroduction efforts in Colorado,” because the North Park pack migrated into the state on their own, a CPW statement said. 

Colorado law requires ranchers to be compensated for the loss of livestock to predators, including wolves. Gray wolves are considered endangered under state law, and penalties for killing them include fines up to $100,000, a year of jail time and a lifetime loss of hunting license privileges.

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