Sep 30

WY: Wolf kill could not be halted

Wolf kill could not be halted

By Richard Reeder

Three wolves have been removed from a pack and killed after they killed two cows about 20 miles north of Cody.

The incident occurred Sept. 14 on a Shoshone Forest grazing allotment belonging to Gerald Schneider of Clark and Bernard Bjornestad of Powell. It’s close to the Natural Corral area near Bald Ridge and adjacent to the Two Dot Ranch.

The attack on the cows was witnessed by an unidentified hunter, who described the incident in a widely distributed e-mail. The hunter said:

“I came upon a herd of cattle running around in a circle and making all sorts of sounds. The herd parted and two wolves popped out to look at me. Just beyond the two was another wolf on the hind end of a cow pulling a chunk of flesh from the cow that was still alive.

“The two wolves ran to my right and stopped about 50 yards away.

“The wolf on the cow jumped off and stood on the road. I charged him with the ATV and he ran to my right and stopped 25 yards away.

“I had my .44 mag and could have popped him, but knowing the penalty for killing a wolf, I pulled out the camera instead and took a picture of him while he was running away.

“I called 911 to get the local game warden, Chris Queen. He called back and was heading to the spot after he finished loading hay.”

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service state wolf manager Mike Jimenez said this pack has a history of creating problems.

“This is the Carter Mountain Pack and it has an chronic history of attacking livestock,” he said. “The pack had three adults and five pups.

“When a pack has a history of problems, we respond aggressively,” he added. “We removed three wolves and believe the pack has two adults and three pups left.”

Jimenez said USFWS responds to the problems under strict guidelines.

“In 1999 well-defined rules were written for us to handle problem wolves,” he said. “Last year we removed 46 wolves with a history of attacking livestock.

“This year we have had fewer problems and removed fewer wolves,” he added. “We have had 17 confirmed cow kills and 177 sheep kills attributed to wolves.”

Jimenez said the hunter acted properly when he encountered the attack.

“In Montana and Idaho, which have approved management plans, he could have shot the wolf,” he said. “Those states have a 10-J amendment that allows for anyone to protect private property when they encounter a wolf attack.

“But because Wyoming has no approved plan, there was nothing the hunter could do,” he added. “If he had shot the wolf, he would have faced federal charges similar to those faced by someone who shoots a grizzly bear.”

Jimenez said situations like this are why the wolf needs to be delisted.

“Right now we’re defending an Endangered Species policy that has been put in place,” he said. “But we support delisting so people can protect their private property.

“This situation is exactly why Wyoming needs an approved management plan to give people the ability to take action,” he added. “We want to see this happen, but it is going to take time to get all the litigation sorted out.”

Game and Fish grizzly and wolf manager Mark Bruscino responded to the incident, but his involvement was limited.

“When I arrived I saw one cow was dead and the other was injured,” he said. “I finished off the injured cow after receiving permission from the owner.

“Then I issued the paperwork for the reimbursement to the owner because we are required to reimburse them for the loss,” he added. “My action was a control action because once we saw wolves were involved, Fish and Wildlife took over.”

Source

Posted in Uncategorized
Sep 29

SE: Two hunting hounds killed by wolves

Two hunting hounds killed by wolves

Roughly translated by TWIN Observer

In 24 hours two dogs were killed by wolves in Värmland. Both of the dogs were hunting hounds and the incidents happened in connection with hunting.

One dog was killed yesterday morning in Forshyttan and the second this morning in Gräsmark. Lars Storm was out and hunted hare yesterday morning when his hound H-markens Vihlda began to shriek.

“I am running toward her and see that two wolves are standing on the path. There was clearly a third wolf, or several which dragged her up through the woods and after 80 meters they left her there. And there she laid dead then,” Lars Storm said.

“One has feared constantly that this would happen. And now it has.”

Två stövare dödade av varg

Två hundar har under loppet av ett dygn blivit dödade av varg i Värmland. Båda hundarna var stövare och händelserna skedde i samband med jakt.

Den ena hunden dödades igår förmiddags i Forshyttan och den andra nu på morgonen i Gräsmark. Lars Storm var ute och jagade hare i morse när hans stövare H-markens Vihlda började skrika.

– Jag springer emot henne och ser att två vargar står i vägen. Det var tydligen en tredje varg, eller flera som släpade henne upp genom skogen och efter en 80 meter så släppte de henne där. Och där låg hon död då, säger Lars Storm.

– Man har ju befarat alltjämt att det här kommer att hända. Och nu har det hänt.

Source

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Sep 29

NY: Adirondack wolves?

Adirondack wolves?

by Gillian Scott

Have you ever seen a wolf in the Adirondacks?

In May 2007, two paddlers from the Schenectady ADK chapter were out on the Hudson, going from Newcomb to North River. As one later related in the chapter newsletter:

Before the trip began, I noted to Horst to keep a sharp eye out for wildlife along the way as sometimes it is possible to spot a moose, as was the case some years earlier on a trip along the Moose River. However, nothing could have prepared us for what we were to see approximately 1 mile upstream of the Cedar River. At this point Horst pointed to something along the shore not 30 feet away. There next to the river was a large GRAY WOLF watching us intently as we floated by. This was definitely a wolf and not a hybrid due to his or her size (huge), color, facial features, and length of legs (very long)! The wolf watched us for a while before sauntering off up the hillside. It was a sighting that neither Horst or I will ever forget.

I thought of this story last week, when I read that scientists from the New York State Museum have determined through DNA testing that some Northeastern coyotes actually crossbred with Canadian wolves as they migrated east from the Great Plains, making them bigger. Is this what the paddlers really saw? The coyotes I’ve seen (mostly off the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail) were pretty distinctly coyote; they looked like a mid-size dog and scrawny.

This article in Scientific American explains the findings. Among them:

Although hybrids are typically less fit than straight species, the story of coywolves in the Northeast might be one of success. Their strong jaws will enable them to eat the deer that are abundant in the area, while the coyote-like ability to coexist with humans could be an advantage that wolves lack.

One author of the study, Dr. Roland Kays, said (in response to an e-mail), that coywolves are larger than coyotes, reaching up to 50 lbs:

Animals often look larger than they really are when you see them in an excited short moment in the woods. … We do have a few records of full-on large wolves, a combination of escaped pets and vagrants from Canada that migrate down. However, our study shows no record that these very-large animals are breeding in NY.

Which I guess leaves open the possibility that the paddlers DID see a wolf. My mother-in-law saw one down in the Catskills on Hunter Mountain more than 30 years ago (it was later shot by a hunter, and its identity confirmed).

If you want to know more about the study, by the way, Dr. Kays will be giving a talk at 7 p.m. on Oct. 28 at the New York State Museum.

Source

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Sep 28

ID: Barker: Wolf-lover urges others to back the hunt

Barker: Wolf-lover urges others to back the hunt

– Idaho Statesman

Long-time Idaho conservationist Mike Medberry says the environmental community is wrong to oppose wolf hunting.

Medberry was one of the people in the 1980s and 1990s who were bucking the trend in advocating for more wilderness, better wildlife protection and strong water quality laws. His message wasn’t popular in the offices of Idaho’s congressional delegation or in the halls of th Capitol.

But Medberry, over time, built a reputation for integrity and affability that overcame ideological differences with Idaho leaders. Idaho Gov. Phil Batt, who stood up to the federal government when it brought wolves into the state, was among his fans.

When reintroduction began, Medberry was in a small minority of environmentalists who wanted the federal government instead to provide better protection to the wolves they knew existed in Idaho already. Now Medberry lives in McCall, and he writes in High Country News’ Writers on the Range News Service that “wolf recovery in the West has been the most successful program ever accomplished under the Endangered Species Act.”

He calls environmentalists, who supported the reintroduction in 1995 and now oppose delisting, “disingenuous.” He knows what they were telling ranchers and other skeptics 15 years ago when they were trying to convince Westerners to accept wolves.

“What Defenders of Wildlife and other groups have done in filing a lawsuit fails to serve the wolves, the integrity of the law and the people of Idaho and the West,” Medberry writes.

He hasn’t softened his environmental concerns. He thinks Idaho and Montana should have clear paths to relisting if wolf numbers drop dramatically. And he doesn’t think the $11.75 wolf tag price honors the millions of dollars American taxpayers paid to restore the majestic predators to the West. He’d charge $150.

But it is time, he said, for conservationists to accept that the loss of a few wolves is the cost of their survival in the West.

Source

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Sep 27

CO: Suspicion Surrounds Colorado Wolf Death

Suspicion Surrounds Colorado Wolf Death

Did the epic journey of a Wolf 341F from Montana to Colorado end at the hands of a human? Officials aren’t saying.

By David Frey

A wolf that wandered from Montana and died in Colorado earlier this year met its end on a hillside about 24 miles north of Rifle, according to government documents obtained by an environmental organization.

Federal wildlife law enforcement officers continue to investigate the death of a Montana wolf that wandered from Montana and died in Colorado, nearly after a year after the wolf’s carcass was collected, raising speculation that the wolf was killed by a human.

“It’s a good question, but I’m not going to answer it,” says George Morrison, Colorado senior wildlife agent for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Morrison confirmed the examination of the body, called a necropsy, had been completed, but he said the results would be closed to the public until agents complete their investigation.

“It could be two weeks or as long as a year,” he says. “It’s important to us not to impede the investigation.”

Wildlife officials have refused to divulge specifics about the wolf’s condition or its final whereabouts. But Rob Edward, carnivore recovery director for WildEarth Guardians, said he discovered its final location through an open-records request seeking information about wolves in Colorado. The documents showed the last location of the wolf to be about 24 miles north of the Western Slope town of Rifle, less than two miles west of Highway 13.

“I have believed for the last couple of months that they definitely have a law enforcement angle on this,” Edward said. “Otherwise they would tell you that it died of natural causes.”

Intentionally killing a wolf in Colorado would be a violation of the Endangered Species Act and state statutes that protect endangered species.

Edward described the site as “within rifle distance of a road.” Maps show the location to be what appears to be a scrub-covered hillside in an area known as No Name Ridge, apparently on Bureau of Land Management land just north of a dirt road called Thirteenmile Road.

“That’s the way the wolves from the Northern Rockies are going to come,” Edward said. “What we have to work on is making those lands safer.”

Known as wolf 341F, the 18-month-old female made headlines for making a 1,000-mile journey from the outskirts of Yellowstone National Park to Colorado. Biologists tracked her movements using a GPS unit in a collar fitted to her neck.

Researchers said she was a member of the Mill Creek pack and wandered from the pack’s location between towns of Gardiner and Livingston, Mont., in search of a mate.

She left her pack in September 2008 and took a meandering path through Wyoming, Idaho and Utah to Eagle County. She crossed back into Wyoming, then back into western Colorado where her collar showed she stopped moving. Biologists responded and gathered her carcass to perform a necropsy.

Native wolf populations in Colorado were wiped out by the late 1930s. The last record of a native wolf killed in Colorado was in 1943. In June 2004, a radio-collared wolf from Yellowstone was found killed by a passing motorist on Interstate 70 near Idaho Springs. In 2007, video footage captured an apparent wolf near Walden.

Officials say among Northern Rockies wolves, 26 out of every 100 wolves are killed, almost all of them shot by animal control officers or poachers. Among lone-dispersing wolves like this one, most are hit by cars or illegally killed.

State law does not call for wolf reintroduction, but it does protect wolves that wander into Colorado.

For wolf reintroduction advocates, this wolf’s death highlights a need for more protections.

“They’re not going to come down here and repopulate the area on their own,” Edward said, “especially if they meet that

Source

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Sep 24

MT: Wolves had no fear, hunter says

Wolves had no fear, hunter says

MICHAEL JAMISON

Missoulian

COLUMBIA FALLS – It was still early, not much past 9:30 a.m., but even in the high country of the Great Bear Wilderness the southern slopes were blistering hot.

“It must’ve been 85 or 90 degrees when I came up over the rise. The wolf pack was just laying there, soaking up the morning sun,” Dan Pettit said.

One of the eight stood, locked eyes with Pettit at 30 yards, “looked me square in the face.

“Opportunity’s a funny thing. Of the four of us in hunting camp, I was the only one with a wolf tag.”

Pettit dropped the wolf – the first killed in the northern wilds of Montana – with a single shot from his .270-caliber rifle.

The crack of the gun filled the tiny basin, a rocky bowl maybe a mile by a mile and a half, but the rest of the pack didn’t bolt. Instead, they moved off about 30 yards and waited.

“They had absolutely no fear of my presence,” Pettit said. He called out to his hunting partners, and as they crashed through the brush the wolves moved off a bit farther, perhaps 100 yards.

“They just sort of stuck around,” Pettit said.

It wasn’t what he expected, but nothing that happened that morning was expected.

“I’ve been hunting this area since I was a kid,” Pettit said, “and I have never seen a wolf up there. I’ve never heard a wolf up there.”

The 44-year-old bought his wolf tag, he said, not to hunt a wolf, but “out of support for the state’s wolf management program. I never expected to shoot one.”

Hunting elk

Pettit and his partners were hunting elk, had packed a couple of horses a dozen or more miles high into the Middle Fork Flathead country, south of Glacier National Park, and had been in a full week.

“It’s my annual vacation,” Pettit said of this early-season wilderness elk hunt. He’s shot four elk out of these mountains in his lifetime, and his partners have taken still more. He figures at least one of them bags an elk in two years out of three.

“It’s more about enjoying being out there than it is about the elk,” he said.

Shooting the wolf was the easy part. The real work was following the rest of the rules, “and I won’t lie to you, that wasn’t easy,” he said.

With wolves fresh off the endangered-species list, and with Montana’s inaugural wolf hunt square in the political crosshairs, state wildlife officials are requiring hunters to register their kills with the quota center within 12 hours.

“I understand the controversy,” Pettit said. “I didn’t want any gray areas.”

And so he lugged the pelt more than three miles back to camp, saddled the ponies and packed back to civilization, fast. He made the call before dark, perhaps eight hours after cresting that sweltering rise.

“I don’t know anything about wolves,” the hunter said. “Zero. I’ve learned more about wolves in this past week than I’d learned in a lifetime.”

He’s also learned more about people, too.

“There are extremists on both sides of the controversy,” Pettit said. Wolves, he said, surely have changed the way deer and elk act in the wilds, and that’s changing the ways hunters must hunt.

“But in that same small basin, on the same morning we saw the eight wolves, we also saw seven cow elk. Right there in the same little drainage with the wolves.

“Do wolves affect elk? Absolutely. But in my opinion, the story of the wolves going into a basin and decimating the elk herd just isn’t true.”

The very next day, in fact, one of his hunting partners shot a five-point bull elk in the same area.

Third wolf shot

The northern Montana area (Wolf Management Unit 1, in state wildlife parlance) has a 41-wolf quota, which totals more than half the statewide quota of 75. Nearly 10,000 permits were sold, and wildlife managers are keeping close tabs on how the hunt is progressing.

The first wolf shot in Montana was taken in the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness, by a man from Roberts. An out-of-state hunter took the second, in the same wilderness.

Pettit’s is the third on record, and the first in the northern region.

The backcountry season is open Sept. 15 through Nov. 29, and the general season runs Oct. 25 through Nov. 29. If quotas aren’t met by then, a winter season will be held in December.

By then, however, Pettit will be well out of the woods, hopefully eating elk steaks while sitting on his new wolf rug.

“It’s at my taxidermist right now,” the hunter said. He’s considering a life mount, but realizes that might be tough, as he packed out only the hide.

“It’s going to make a beautiful rug, anyway,” Pettit said. “It’ll be something to remember, that’s for sure.”

Source

Posted in Uncategorized
Sep 23

MT: Montana wolf-hunt status on web

Montana wolf-hunt status on web

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Park’s has created a Web page to track the harvest status of the state’s first-ever, fair-chase wolf hunting season, which opened last week in some backcountry hunting districts. The general wolf season opener, still about six weeks away, is set for Oct. 25.

The Wolf Hunting Season Status Web page tracks Montana’s statewide harvest quota of 75 wolves across three specifically defined wolf management units, each with its own harvest quota. The site will be updated each weekday at 1 pm. For weekend updates hunters can call 1-800-385-7826 for the latest wolf harvest status and closure information.

Hunters have strict reporting requirements. Upon the harvest of a wolf, hunters must call 1-877-FWP-WILD (1-877-397-9453) within 12 hours to file a report. When a wolf management unit reaches its quota, FWP will close the season there upon 24-hour’s notice.

To find the Wolf Hunting Season Status Web page, visit FWP online at http://fwp.mt.gov/. Click “Montana Wolf Hunt,” then click “Wolf Status.”

Source

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Sep 22

MT: Columbia Falls man kills first wolf in Great Bear Wilderness

Columbia Falls man kills first wolf in Great Bear Wilderness

By MICHAEL JAMISON of the Missoulian

COLUMBIA FALLS – It was still early, not much past 9:30 a.m., but even in the high country of the Great Bear Wilderness the southern slopes were blistering hot.

“It must’ve been 85 or 90 degrees,” Dan Pettit said, “when I came up over the rise. The wolf pack was just laying there, soaking up the morning sun.”

One of the eight stood, locked eyes with Pettit at 30 yards, “looked me square in the face.

“Opportunity’s a funny thing. Of the four of us in hunting camp, I was the only one with a wolf tag.”

Pettit dropped the wolf – the first killed in the northern wilds of Montana – with a single shot from his .270-caliber rifle.

The crack of the gun filled the tiny basin, a rocky bowl maybe a mile by a mile and a half, but the rest of the pack didn’t bolt. Instead, they moved off about 30 yards and waited.

“They had absolutely no fear of my presence,” Pettit said. He called out to his hunting partners, and as they crashed through the brush the wolves moved off a bit farther, perhaps 100 yards.

“They just sort of stuck around,” Pettit said.

It wasn’t what he expected; but then, nothing that happened that morning was expected.

“I’ve been hunting this area since I was a kid,” Pettit said, “and I have never seen a wolf up there. I’ve never heard a wolf up there.”

The 44-year-old bought his wolf tag, he said, not to hunt a wolf, but “out of support for the state’s wolf management program. I never expected to shoot one.”

And yet.

Pettit and his partners were hunting elk, had packed a couple horses a dozen or more miles high into the Middle Fork Flathead country, south of Glacier National Park, and had been in a full week.

“It’s my annual vacation,” Pettit said of this early season wilderness elk hunt. He’s shot four elk out of these mountains in his lifetime, and his partners have taken still more. He figures at least one of them bags an elk in two years out of three.

“It’s more about enjoying being out there than it is about the elk,” he said.

Shooting the wolf, he said, was the easy part. The real work was following the rest of the rules, “and I won’t lie to you, that wasn’t easy.”

With wolves fresh off the endangered species list, and with Montana’s inaugural wolf hunt square in the political crosshairs, state wildlife officials are requiring hunters to register their kills with the quota center within 12 hours.

“I understand the controversy,” Pettit said. “I didn’t want any gray areas.”

And so he lugged the pelt more than three miles back to camp, saddled the ponies and packed back to civilization, fast. He made the call before dark, perhaps eight hours after cresting that sweltering rise.

“I don’t know anything about wolves,” the hunter said. “Zero. I’ve learned more about wolves in this past week than I’d learned in a lifetime.”

He’s also learned more about people, too.

“There are extremists on both sides of the controversy,” Pettit said. Wolves, he said, surely have changed the way deer and elk act in the wilds, and that’s changing the ways hunters must hunt.

“But in that same small basin, on the same morning we saw the eight wolves, we also saw seven cow elk. Right there in the same little drainage with the wolves.

“Do wolves affect elk? Absolutely. But in my opinion, the story of the wolves going into a basin and decimating the elk herd just isn’t true.”

The very next day, in fact, one of his hunting partners shot a five-point bull elk in the same area.

The northern Montana area (Wolf Management Unit 1, in state wildlife parlance) has a 41-wolf quota, which totals more than half the statewide quota of 75. Nearly 10,000 permits were sold, and wildlife managers are keeping close tabs on how the hunt is progressing.

The first wolf shot in Montana was taken in the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness, by a man from Roberts. An out-of-state hunter took the second, in the same wilderness.

Pettit’s is the third on record, and the first in the northern region.

The backcountry season is open Sept. 15 through Nov. 29, and the general season runs Oct. 25 through Nov. 29. If quotas aren’t met by then, a winter season will be held in December.

By then, however, Pettit will be well out of the woods, hopefully eating elk steaks while sitting on his new wolf rug.

“It’s at my taxidermist right now,” the hunter said. He’s considering a life mount, but realizes that might be tough, as he packed out only the hide.

“It’s going to make a beautiful rug, anyway,” Pettit said. “It’ll be something to remember, that’s for sure.”

Source

Posted in Uncategorized
Sep 20

MI: ENDANGERED SPECIES: Gray wolves are back on the list

ENDANGERED SPECIES: Gray wolves are back on the list

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service formally returned gray wolves in the upper Great Lakes region to the endangered species list.

The service made the rule last week as an outcome of a deal made in July with environmental groups when the agency promised to reinstate the wolves’ protected status while considering its next move.

Earlier this year, the government dropped about 4,000 wolves in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin from the list, turning over management of the predators to state wildlife regulators.

Activist groups sued, saying state plans were inadequate and would open the door to future hunting and trapping.

Source

Posted in Uncategorized
Sep 20

OR: Wolves: majestic symbol or bloodthirsty predator? Debate divides Oregonians

Wolves: majestic symbol or bloodthirsty predator? Debate divides Oregonians

By Michelle Brence, The Oregonian

LA GRANDE — Jack London probably never expected “The Call of the Wild,” the title of his classic novel and his term for a wolf’s mournful howl, to become a fracture zone in the urban-rural divide.

But now Oregon and the West have two kinds of people: those who see wolves as symbols of the wilderness and enjoy hearing their cries echo through the mountains — and those who regard them as bloodthirsty predators that need to be kept away from livestock, with guns if necessary.

Hearing wolves “just raises the hair on the back of your neck,” says retired schoolteacher Mary McCracken, 66, of La Grande, who loves listening to them tune up. “It is just a real top-of-the-the-food chain creature.”

Ed Bangs, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s wolf recovery coordinator for the northern Rockies, agrees. In the backcountry, “having big predators around is what makes it wild,” he says of wolves, cougars and bears. “Otherwise, it’s just scenery.”

But La Grande area rancher Sharon Beck says wolves are a threat to cattle, her family’s livelihood. “The only way we are going to make these wolves afraid to come around human beings and livestock,” says Beck, 71, “is (for wolves) to be shot at.”

The issue has come to a head in three states.

In Oregon, federal hunters killed two gray wolves Sept. 5 in Baker County after other measures failed to keep them away from livestock. The young wolves, probably a brother and sister, had killed 27 sheep, a goat and a calf on two ranches since April 10. The hunt was the first authorized for wolves in Oregon in decades.

Idaho and Montana, meanwhile, have organized the first wolf hunts in decades to manage the animals, whose populations have rebounded from the brink of extinction in recent years. Idaho began allowing hunters to shoot wolves Sept. 1, and Montana opened its season Tuesday.

Wolves once ranged North America from the Arctic to central Mexico but by the 1930s, they had been shot, trapped and poisoned to near-extinction in most places besides Alaska, Canada and northern Minnesota. They remained in eastern Oregon until at least 1921, and the last bounty paid for a wolf in Oregon was for one killed in the Umpqua National Forest in 1946.

Gray wolves were reintroduced in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming in the 1990s, and they’re again making their presence felt in Oregon. Some believe they should be left alone, and others insist they have no business here.

Bangs, 58, says where wolves and humans mix, people love or hate them, with no middle ground. Those attitudes, he believes, are a response to myths that have little to do with wolves’ actual behavior.

“Will there be problems?” Bangs says of wolves’ return to Oregon. “Yeah. Will there be tons of problems? No. It won’t have any effect on the livestock industry. It won’t have any effect on hunting.”

McCracken, who loves the “song of the pack,” another Jack Londonism for the howl of wolves, finds the controversy wrenching. She raises sheep as a hobby and admits, “If I were a wolf, I’d kill sheep.” Even so, she says, she wouldn’t kill wolves for that unless her livelihood depended on sheep.

Suzanne Stone, a Boise-based spokeswoman for Defenders of Wildlife, says wolves symbolize the wildness of the American West for many who love them, and account for less than 1 percent of livestock losses in the northern Rockies and Canada.

But Unity rancher Bill Moore, president of the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association, insists that wolves are blamed for only one of every seven cows they kill because the cows’ carcasses can’t be found.

A bigger problem, says Moore, 53, is that wherever wolves roam, cattle fear to venture onto the open range. Cows return to their corrals, a phenomenon now being studied by Eastern Oregon University in La Grande, he says.

Moore, who earned a wildlife biology degree from Oregon State University, also warns that Oregon hikers could be in for a shock. Hikers in the northern Rockies “have had their dogs killed right in front of them” by wolf packs, he says.

As Bangs says: “Wolves view a dog as a trespassing wolf in its territory.”

For Beck, the debate over canis lupus always comes back to ranchers and cattle.

“You just don’t understand the emotional attachment we have to our livestock,” she says. “Yes, we raise them for food. But they are humanely dispatched. They are not tortured and half-eaten alive.”


Gray wolf protections

Gray wolves are protected under the Endangered Species Act across most of the U.S. The wolf was delisted in April in several states in the Great Lakes region and in states including Montana, Idaho and in eastern Washington and eastern Oregon. But Great Lakes-area wolves regained endangered status this month after opponents challenged the delisting in court.

In Oregon, wolves have federal protection in the western two-thirds of the state and statewide protection under Oregon’s Endangered Species Act. Under Oregon’s management policy, ranchers may not shoot wolves without a permit, even when the animals attack livestock. Doing so is a misdemeanor that carries a $6,250 fine, up to a year in jail and $1,000 restitution, said Michelle Dennehy, spokeswoman for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

State policy requires that gray wolves be restored — though not allowed to kill livestock and pets. “As wildlife managers, we are not going to allow high rates of conflict and not respond,” Dennehy said.

– Richard Cockle


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