If this is as bad as it gets, wolves are not much of a problem-

Over a number of months a pair or wolves killed $5-6 thousand worth of sheep and goats owned by farmer near Reeds Point, Montana. The story is mostly interesting because it was so hard for Wildlife Services to get these wolves even with all of their high tech.

I suppose this was a serious matter in a state where the wildlife agency sees it acceptable to kill a pack of 27 wolves because they killed a handful of livestock, some of them sick.

How much did Wildlife Services spend to kill these two wolves, the last one of which was shot from a helicopter last Friday?

How much did you lose in your retirement account last year?

How much do you owe on your overpriced student loan(s)?

How much did your health insurance not pay on your serious, or even not so serious illness (assuming you have any health insurance)?

How much are you out because you lost your job?

Has the news media done a story on your personal struggles?

Why does the government waste money on things like this, and not help you?

News story in the Billings Gazette. Elusive, destructive wolf killed. By Brett French.

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

9 Responses to "Elusive, destructive wolf killed"

  1. avatar ERIC says:

    How much did Wildlife Services spend to kill these two wolves, the last one of which was shot from a helicopter last Friday? TOO MUCH

    How much did you lose in your retirement account last year?
    NOTHING, ALTHOUGH THIS IS NOT APPLICABLE TO THE ARGUMENT
    How much do you owe on your overpriced student loan(s)?
    $65,000 DOESN’T MATTER
    How much did your health insurance not pay on your serious, or even not so serious illness (assuming you have any health insurance)? $4000 DEDUCTIBLE

    How much are you out because you lost your job? STILL GOT MY JOB

    Has the news media done a story on your personal struggles? NOT SIGNIFICANT TO SOCIETY OR ANYONE OUTSIDE OF MY FAMILY

    Why does the government waste money on things like this, and not help you? BECAUSE BEAUCRACY DOESN’T REASON. NEITHER DOES YOUR ARGUMENT RALPH. IF YOU SERIOUSLY WANT TO ARGUE ABOUT MONEY, CHANGE YOUR TOPIC TO INCLUDE SERIOUS WASTE. NOT THIS MEANINGLESS PISSING CONTEST INVOLVING WHO IS THE BETTER PREDATOR, MAN OR BEAST.

    A DEAL IS A DEAL, WHY SHOULD EITHER SIDE COWER WHEN THE OTHER RE-NIGS ON THE DEAL? IF YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND, TRY. IF YOU DO, THEN I AM SCARED OF YOU

  2. Eric,

    Don’t use CAPS. I warned you about that when I let you comment.

    You are right that these things are not worthy of news. That’s why I compared them to something even less worthy — the story about this farmer losing 30 sheep or goats.

    I don’t know what you are writing about when you say “a deal is a deal;” and I don’t think you are scared, just breathing hard. 😉

  3. avatar Mike says:

    All good points Ralph. A complete waste of time and money.

  4. avatar outsider says:

    I would look at it from a compleatly differnt angle. According to the article,

    “Svenson had tried without success to keep his sheep safe by using lights, noise makers, herders, night patrols and guard dogs. Two of his guard dogs were attacked and injured by the wolf on New Year’s Eve.”

    Isn’t this what we want livestock owners to do, take resonsibillity for their livestock? This guy could have just SSS and yes it would have saved a pile of gov money, but instead he tried all the above deturents. And this time non of them worked, but what about next time, if theres a chance that they would work don’t we want people trying them firsts? We should be applauding this mans willingness to break from the shoot first ask questions and try deturents later.

  5. avatar Bonnie says:

    At the risk of starting a fight, I think that in this instance, the wolf may have needed to be removed. Granted, I only have the information that appeared in the article to go by, but if this preditation was occuring on private land, and if the rancher wasn’t doing things to attract wolves such as leaving dead sheep lying around, and if he was trying to alleviate the problem using guard dogs, extra herders, better fencing, etc., and if all the dead sheep and goats were really killed by wolves, then I would say that this particular wolf had become habitated to preying on sheep and goats and needed to be killed.

    I love wolves. I love going to Yellowstone and watching wolves and think that they are a force for good in the environment. While I sympathize with people’s desire to protect their private property, I don’t think that wolves should be killed for preying on livestock on public land. IMO anyone grazing on public land takes that risk when they turned their livestock out. It should be part of the cost of doing business, just like losses due to bears, cougars, rustlers, poisonous weeds, and bad water.

    I wish that Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming would get their acts together and come up with a workable management plan that would treat the wolves like any other preditory game animal. With a legal hunting season, then all the wolf haters could buy a permit and go out and shoot one (if they could find one). Personally, I’m betting that within a few days, it would get real hard to spot one. As long as the hunters were not allowed to bait them or hunt from the air, I think they would probably kill fewer wolves than Wildlife Services does. This would also probably lessen my chances of seeing a wolf in the wild anywhere but in a national park, but I’d gladly trade that for a wider acceptance of wolves in general.

  6. avatar Jon Way says:

    I agree with both Ralph’s and Outsider’s comments. What a waste of gov’t money… But it is good the rancher tried to prevent the predation, based on the article. In that case, on private land, he should’ve had a permit to do the job himself (ie, kill the predating wolf).

  7. I agree with a lot of the comments made.

    Yes this pair of wolves is the kind you terminate. This is also about as bad as wolf predation on livestock gets — $6,000 direct loss plus time. This article, and others even more, makes too much about small losses compared to the losses millions of other people suffer. That’s why I asked all the rhetorical questions.

    The real story is that it took Wildlife Services so long to get the wolves because they usually kill them very quickly with all of their high tech tools. It would be interesting to find out the tricks the wolves used. I think a lot of people have some sympathy for what are literately the underdogs.

  8. avatar Brooke Funk says:

    Good points all of you.

  9. avatar Chris H. says:

    This does seem to be a case in which the removal of these wolves were necessary. In addition to Ralph’s point regarding the inherit waste of tax dollars of Wildlife Services (as well as any environmental or civil damage by poisons or traps), one could also point to the number human lives lost due to aerialwildlife control. Idid not check the numbers but I believe it’s about 15 or soin ten years. Is that really worth the subsidation of the ranching industry? Especially given the number of lethal methods of removal at their disposal. This dos not even consider the legal or social cost of those families that lost fathers or mothers by this

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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