Rob Klavins, Oregon Wild’s presence in Wallowa County, pictured with Wally Syke’s dog on a bumpy ride through the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest (Andrew Theen/Staff)
In response to wolf advocates saying more could be done to protect livestock in Wallowa County, Nash asked, “Who’s going to pay for that?” Maybe the advocates should cover the cost of adding range riders or cowboys, he said. “In those cases, if they want to see that happen, maybe they should pay.”
But Klavins and Sykes, the wolf advocates, say ranchers have options. They could, for example, keep younger animals in more protected areas before turning them loose to graze.
Klavins said it comes down to whether cattle or wolves belong in wild areas. He sees no incentive for Nash or the other ranchers to change. “You run your cows the same way you’ve always done it,” he said, “and every time you lose a cow to a wolf, now you get a compensation check and a dead wolf.
“What is your incentive to change?”
Brown, the state’s wolf coordinator, said ranchers could put out older calves. They could also delay putting cattle out in the forested lands until elk and deer fawn have moved into the area.
“These are management decisions that they have to make,” she said.