Six hunting hounds have been killed by wolves in an isolated location in Madison County over the past few weeks.

The hounds were killed in two separate incidents near White Owl Butte east of Rexburg. In both instances, three hounds were killed. According to Idaho Department of Fish and Game spokesman Gregg Losinski, the houndsmen were using the dogs to hunt for black bears in Game Management Unit 64.

The hounds were allowed to run loose and pursue the bears. But when the hunters caught up with their dogs, the hounds were dead.

“The incidents occurred about a week apart, and each location was about four miles apart,” Losinski said. “By wolf measurements, that’s not very far.”

A similar incident involving wolves occurred in the same area in 2014.

There is no open wolf season right now in Unit 64, but the hunters would have been in their legal right to shoot the wolves if they had seen them harm their hounds. It is rare for multiple dogs to be killed by wolves in such a short amount of time in the same area. But Losinski said that’s one of the risks of hunting with hounds in an area that’s populated with at least one wolf pack, as well as black and grizzly bears.

“Wolves consider any other canines as rival wolves, and in their world, it’s kill or be killed,” Losinski said.