Likely wolf found dead in northern Utah coyote trap

An adult male canid, probably a wolf, was found dead in a coyote trap in Box Elder County in northern Utah. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced it today. They are doing a DNA test. Wolf biologists have hundreds of blood samples of Yellowstone and Yellowstone area wolves, so they can tell if it is a wolf and if it came down from Wyoming. They might even be able to trace it to a certain wolf pack.

While a dead wolf may seem like bad news, the good news is they continue to make it to Utah. Eventually packs will form. In fact, I think there was a pack in the Bear River Range several years back, but I haven’t heard anything lately.


An article giving more information has appeared.

“Rare wolf pays visit to Utah, dies in trap. Discovery, second in Utah since ’02, revives talk of recolonization.” By Joe Baird. Salt Lake Tribune.

So, it was in the hills north of Tremonton, Utah. That’s not far from where a wolf was shot by a man from Pocatello — shot almost on the Utah/Idaho border several years back. In both cases the route down from Yellowstone is not so clear as it is for a wolf that shows up in the Bear River Range, which is more to the east.
Could be a wolf migrating down from Central Idaho.







  1. Mills Avatar

    Exciting news to have another documented wolf in Utah. Its really the first solid evidence since 253M showed up in 2002.
    Back in 2002 there were several reports of wolf tracks and wolf howling in the Bear River Range near Hyrum, Utah. However no actual sightings were ever reported.
    However, it is interesting that Defenders of Wildlife have compensated ranchers in Utah for losses due to wolves. The entire report can be viewed at:
    And here are the payments for losses in Utah:
    October 2001 – Tremonton, UT (GYE) $1,400.00: 18 lambs
    September 2003 – Dutch John, UT (GYE) $4,700.00: 1 boer buck, 9 bred nannies
    February 2004 – Hyrum, UT (UT) $1,830.00: 15 sheep
    If these events did occur in Utah, they certainly didn’t get the coverage one would expect.

    I checked with Defenders of Wildlife on these payments. Suzanne Stone told me that other than the sheep at Hyrum, UT (actually they were killed in Blacksmith Fork Canyon area), the payments were for killed livestock in Idaho or Wyoming, but the owner lived in Utah. Ralph Maughan

  2. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    That is certainly good evidence of wolves in Utah.

    I have little doubt that there was a pack several years ago that ranged between Monte Cristo Ridge and Wolf Mountain at the south end of Cache Valley. It’s interesting how often wolves return to areas named after them. There is a reason for the old names.

  3. Kate Tyler Avatar
    Kate Tyler

    Ralph – any more news on why the wolf died in a coyote trap?

    Perhaps the weather was hot, no shade, no water — all potential reasons a canine could die in a trap. How often do trappers have to check their traps in Utah?

    This time of year the only reason someone would set coyotes trap would be to “protect” livestock. But beef calves are too big for coyotes to take. Lambs are still vulnerable to coyotes. Was this near sheep – on private or public land?

    Seems there are lots of missing answers to this wolf getting killed in a trap.

  4. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    No news I have heard, but I think the wolf was in the Clarkston mountain range, a place where no one would expect a wolf and coyotes would be casually left to die in the traps.
    I will try to find out more.

  5. Cry Wolf Avatar
    Cry Wolf

    Hi Guys and Gals, I am not really sure if this posting is appropriate for this website but I thought I just wanted to let you guys all know that while ridding our ATV’S were we started out from Logan Canyon to hardware ranch/ monte cristo area last year 2006 Two including myself had spotten what we at first thought was immpossible to be a wolf. we had stopped in a more secluded part of the atv trail to have some lunch when a couble of us heard what seemed to be crowling. I looked around and couldnt see anything because of the tick forest trees that sorounted us. I had told my friends to be quiet and sure enough we had heard it again and then me and a friend of mine saw it. It was about the sice of a german shepard and had shiny silver fur. As we watched this animal we had noticed that it was circling us and we got so spooked by it that we cut our lunch short and left the animal be. I honestly dont know if it was a wolf but after coming home and checking the internet it was a possibility. I dont believe it was a coyote because it was shiny silver in color. Any ideas of what it might have been and why it cyrcled us ? Thanks


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan