Surprise Valley woman says she saw 3 wolves eating deer in her yard
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Chereen Langrill
The Idaho Statesman | Edition Date: 11-14-2004

A Surprise Valley resident called police Saturday after seeing what she believes were three wolves in her back yard.
Mary Hyde was making coffee at about 8 a.m. Saturday when she looked out her window and saw three large animals eating something on the hillside behind Hyde's Southeast Boise home.

"I just looked up at the hill by our fence. I thought it was a dog. Then I saw another one. Then I noticed one was eating something."

The animals were eating a dead deer. Idaho 21 is at the top of the hill, and Hyde wonders if the deer was hit by a car on the highway and then dragged down toward her fence by the predators.

Fish and Game representatives could not be reached for comment Saturday, but federal wolf managers said earlier this year that it is normal for wolves to follow their prey into areas such as the Boise Foothills.

In January, officials said they received scattered reports from people who saw the predators above Lucky Peak and in the Foothills.

Those reports came as deer and elk were migrating from the mountains to the Boise area. Officials said wolf sightings had been confirmed south and west of Boise since 1999.

Hyde said she immediately recognized the animals as wolves and called Boise police. An officer arrived moments after the three animals left, she said.

The officer did not see the animals and was not sure whether what Hyde saw were wolves, Boise Police Sgt. Rigo Delgadillo said.
Police planned to contact Idaho Department of Fish and Game to report the sighting Saturday, Delgadillo said. Usually when such reports come on weekends, Fish and Game representatives don't respond to the calls until the following Monday. That includes reports of dead deer, he said, so the deer carcass behind Hyde's home will likely stay on her property until at least Monday.

Hyde was concerned the deer's presence could bring more trouble. "I think other animals will come here to eat it," she said.

Police did not receive any other reports of wolf sightings in that area Saturday, Delgadillo said.

Hyde, who has lived in Surprise Valley for more than two years, said she has seen a fox and a coyote in her neighborhood, but never a wolf. Another neighbor once reported seeing a cougar, she said.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reintroduced 15 wolves into Idaho in 1995. In 1996, an additional 20 wolves were reintroduced. Since then, the number of wolves in the state has increased to about 362.

There are estimates that with this year's crop of pups, Idaho's wolf population could reach 500.