Majority have been killed for livestock losses-

Despite controversy over the wolf hunt, about 60% of those killed were because the wolves killed livestock, usually just one or two animals. The large majority of the livestock retribution killing was done by Wildlife Services, not by the owners of the livestock.  I would like to see how many of these depredation incidents were on public lands where livestock are grazed almost for free under the theory that their owners suffer loses from predators and bother from recreationists.

Wolf death tally passes 500. By Matthew Brown and John Miller.  Associated Press writers.

At the end of 2008, the official wolf count in the 3 states was 1650.

The writers data on the Basin Butte Pack is wrong if you believe Lynne Stone. It is good that they acknowledge this.

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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.

32 Responses to Three-state wolf death tally passes 500 for year

  1. avatar Rita K.Sharpe says:

    I would like,also,to know how many of these depredation incidents were on public lands.When it comes to numbers,it is hard sometimes to beleive anyone.Trust is hard to come by.

  2. avatar nabeki says:

    Thi is an outrage. I have been repeating this over and over on my blog. Wolves are being killed on two fronts…the hunts and the shadow hunt carried out by Wildlife Services on the orders of FWP and IDFG.

    Please write the wolf managers, the newspapers, use Twitter and Facebook, anything to get the word out. This has to stop. One third of the Northern Rockies wolves ARE GONE!!

    http://howlingforjustice.wordpress.com

  3. avatar nabeki says:

    They are oveblowing the depredations because they have the wolves collared and track their every move. Over ninety percent of cattle die from reproduction, disease and weather.

    The constant drumbeat about wolves killing livestock just fuels hatred of wolves. In 2005 predators killed just 0.87% of cattle….vultures and domestic dogs killed more cattlle then wolves.

    This is a war on wolves plain and simple. We have to speak out!!

    http://howlingforjustice.wordpress.com

  4. avatar Percy says:

    The taxpayers deserve to know the relevant facts surrounding depredation. What proportion of kills were on public land? What were the financial consequences to each rancher? How many of these ranchers receive government subsidies? What efforts were made to discourage predation before the kills? What is the history of each wolf and pack that kills livestock–were members been killed during the hunting season? Are they dispersing wolves from other packs? Are they old or young, male or female? The effort is useless if the pertinent data are not collected.

    Finally, how much has it cost to kill the wolves that have killed livestock? I bet it costs a hell of a lot more to run a helicopter to kill wolves than a cow is worth.

  5. avatar vielfrass says:

    Serious question – are Midwesterners more intelligent and sophisticated that people in the Rockies? How else can they live side by side with many more wolves than out west without major issues?

  6. avatar Mike says:

    Vielfras – The wolves are hard to see in the northwoods. That’s why they never had to be reintroduced like in Yellowstone. Minnesota was and is a refuge for them and they just went back naturally to Wisconsin and Michigan once the endangered laws kicked in. They can be out of sight in two seconds into deep woods or swamps. Also, the people up north are more tolerant of animals in general than racnhers, you can bet on that. Most of the folks in the northwoods are in logging.

    Based on some of my experience in the northwoods and out west, I can guess that ranchers and wildlife services get away with his because people *let* them get away with it. This wolf shooting program would have been shot down in a fairly liberal state like Wisconsin or Minnesota.

  7. avatar Rita K.Sharpe says:

    Thank You,Mike. Nicely put. I used to live in Wisconsin.

  8. avatar rick says:

    “In 2005 predators killed just 0.87% of cattle….vultures and domestic dogs killed more cattle then wolves.”

    I believe that it is true that vultures and dogs kill more cattle than wolves, but this is nationwide and you have to consider the percentages of cattle that are exposed to dogs and and vultures compared to wolves. I don’t believe that the statistics for dogs that are killed for attacking livestock are kept anywhere. WS often doesn’t get involved with dogs because the livestock owner will/can take care of them him/herself. At least we did when packs of dogs would try to kill our rabbits growing up.

    “Serious question – are Midwesterners more intelligent and sophisticated that people in the Rockies? How else can they live side by side with many more wolves than out west without major issues?”

    I believe that WS in Minnesota killed 133 wolves in 2008. I believe you just don’t hear about it as much because wolves have been in Minnesota for so long and people are used to the idea that wolves are there and wolves are also sometimes going to be killed if they are causing conflicts with humans.

  9. Folks might want to watch the film, Lords of Nature, regarding Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming compared to MN, Wisc, and Michigan.

    http://lordsofnature.org/about.html

  10. avatar Si'vet says:

    Rick good call, % of domestic dogs vs wolf population across usa. Not sure about vulture issue. On another web site someone said domestic dogs must get a free pass when it comes to livestock, I’m pretty sure you and I can agree, that if a farm dog or cat looked cross eyed at a chicken/rabbit or an egg it was GONE, let alone cow or sheep. JB if you can try to get on the chronicle news 1968, 201 sheep killed, all by domestic dogs, every dog with in a 2 mile radius shot, including the sheep’s owners Emma Bakers’. I was in the pickup, caliber .222 swift bullet make Remington, FACT.

  11. avatar Rita K.Sharpe says:

    Thanks,Ralph,for the information.

  12. avatar nabeki says:

    rick..
    “I believe that it is true that vultures and dogs kill more cattle than wolves, but this is nationwide and you have to consider the percentages of cattle that are exposed to dogs and and vultures compared to wolves.”

    Have you checked out AGRO….http://www.goagro.org/…it has all the USDA stats for 05. Nationally in 05 wolves killed 2% of cattle, vultures 5%, felids 8%, domestic dogs 12%, coyotes 51%. That still only constituted 0.18% of cattle deaths. (190,000) There were 104,500,000 cattle grazing that year. 3 million plus cattle died of Respiratory problems, Digestive problems, Calving, Unknown, Weather, Other, Disease, Lameness, Metabolic Problems, Mastitis, Poison and Theft.

    Cattle depredation is an excuse to kill wolves, it’s a red herring. It looks good on paper. “Marauding Wolves Killing Catlle” No details. It’s the same story over and over. One or two cattle deaths and a wolf pack could be taken out.

    What other predator in the three states combined are darted, radio collared, tracked, monitored by airplanes and helicopters like wolves? None. This is a political and cultural war on wolves. It’s not about cows and as long as we keep talking about cows and sheep, instead of what’s best for wolves…the states and ranchers will get away with what they’re doing.

    http://howlingforjustice.wordpress.com

  13. avatar Si'vet says:

    Nabeki, red herring maybe, someone posted what is the cost of killing wolf via helicopter with regards to the worth of a cow. How much does it cost to stamp out a penny. 1 cent??? Welcome to America. How many predators in the lower 48 can run down and eat alive a 1000 lb. animal consistantly. Maybe a “pack of Grizzlies”????

  14. avatar Eric T. says:

    “Over ninety percent of cattle die from reproduction…..”

    So cows are screwing themselves to death?

    Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital. ~Aaron Levenstein

  15. avatar Jay says:

    National cattle stocking rates aren’t really appropriate to describe wolf predation on cattle when wolves are only in a handful of states.

  16. avatar nabeki says:

    Eric T.
    “Over ninety percent of cattle die from reproduction…..”
    So cows are screwing themselves to death?
    ========
    Did you ever hear of pregnant cows dying from complications of pregnancy or calving? That’s reproduction!!

    Those are USDA figures, so I guess you’re accusing the Department of Agriiculture of skewing their own figures in favor of wolves. Fat chance.

    http://www.goagro.org

  17. avatar Percy says:

    Nabeki, you are so right. I just keep wondering what planet these people come from, because I share absolutely nothing in common with them. I have been reading some interesting new books about the mind and psychology lately and the research seems to show that it is genetics that largely drives who we are, and that your upbringing may have little to do with your personality. I wonder if there are some ancient genetic patterns being passed on through some families, that they are predisposed to extreme fear of large carnivores as if we were still helpless Homo sapiens in the stone age.

  18. avatar rick says:

    Have you checked out AGRO….http://www.goagro.org/…it has all the USDA stats for 05. Nationally in 05 wolves killed 2% of cattle, vultures 5%, felids 8%, domestic dogs 12%, coyotes 51%. That still only constituted 0.18% of cattle deaths. (190,000) There were 104,500,000 cattle grazing that year. 3 million plus cattle died of Respiratory problems, Digestive problems, Calving, Unknown, Weather, Other, Disease, Lameness, Metabolic Problems, Mastitis, Poison and Theft.

    The problem with these numbers is that they also include the numbers of cattle in feed lots and dairy cattle. These cattle are very unlikely to have any contacts with predators. I agree that predation is a small loss for most producers and for the cattle industry as a whole. However, it can have significant impacts on individual producers.

    One paper I have seen states that individual wolves are 21 percent more likely to kill cattle than individual mt. lions and 170 percent more likely to kill cattle than individual coyotes or bear. I know that many will have a problem with this paper because of the source, but I will post the link below.

    http://ddr.nal.usda.gov/bitstream/10113/27917/1/IND44175303.pdf

    Nabeki,

    I think Eric T. was joking.

    Finally, as far as the cost of using a helicopter to kill a wolf compared to the cost of a cow, that can be problematic because it can be hard to say how many cattle may have been killed if the wolf was not killed. Trying to calculate the prevented loss makes it difficult to perform a good cost benefit analysis.

  19. avatar jerryB says:

    All the defense mechanisms have been bred out of cattle. Give them back their horns and you’d see far less predation. You wouldn’t see wolves going after Texas longhorns I’m sure.
    A healthy bull elk that stands its ground will in all likelyhood deter an attack.
    It’s criminal for ranchers to send defenseless cows out there with no monitoring and no defense…as Weurthner says..”they’re nothing but picnic baskets”

  20. avatar JW says:

    Todd Grimm, of Wildlife Services in Boise, said advocates “are allowed to rumble, but we still have to solve problems.”

    My advice, is how do we get rid of the $100 Million a year WS budget “problem”. Let livestock owners take care of the issues themselves. Many less wolves will die and maybe less stock will be killed over time?

  21. avatar Rita K.Sharpe says:

    I,too,believe in what Nabeki and what Rick has stated.

  22. avatar Layton says:

    ” Let livestock owners take care of the issues themselves. Many less wolves will die and maybe less stock will be killed over time?”

    Do you REALLY want to do that?? A few ranchhands with a rifle COULD take care of a lot of the problems — they just aren’t allowed (by law) to do it.

  23. avatar JEFF E says:

    Layton,
    On private land yes
    On public land….considering the welfare perks they already get…..youse draw your cards and youse take your chances.

  24. avatar Elk275 says:

    ++All the defense mechanisms have been bred out of cattle. Give them back their horns and you’d see far less predation. ++

    Do you know why cattle are dehorned? One of the reasons is that more cattle can be put in a truck or in the old times a rail car and they are not as likely to hurt each other. All cattle have to be shipped from pasture to feed lot and to slaugher house. There are reasons that things are done the way there are weather we agree or disagree.

    I enjoy being able to buy a top sirlion for $2.99 a pound on special every couple of weeks.

  25. Layton,

    Around the ranch, it’s much better to use the ranchhands with rifles than Wildlife Services.

    The ranchhands are more likely to get the problem wolves. Wildlife Services will kill all of them.

  26. avatar Alan says:

    “Finally, as far as the cost of using a helicopter to kill a wolf compared to the cost of a cow, that can be problematic because it can be hard to say how many cattle may have been killed if the wolf was not killed. Trying to calculate the prevented loss makes it difficult to perform a good cost benefit analysis.”

    Kind of reminds me of that movie, I think with Tom Cruise, called “Minority Report” where people are arrested based not on what they have done but rather on what they might do.
    Perhaps WS should hire psychics to look into the minds of wolves and other wildlife to determine what damage they might do in the future? Wonder what the cost benefit would be if they arrested every inner city kid in the country before they have a chance to commit a crime. Of course it would have to be weighed against those who would become doctors, lawyers, philanthropists etc.
    Regardless of how many pups are successfully reared this year, nearly one third of the known recovered population has been slaughtered. Can you imagine the outrage if any other animal, eagles or grizzly bears for example, were to come off the endangered species list and have nearly one third of the recovering population wiped out within months? I hope the Judge Molloy takes a long hard look at these figures.

  27. Alan,

    About 3 years ago, information from Montana was leaked to me. WS had spent about $100,000 fruitlessly trying to kill a wolf pack. I think is was named “the Phantom Pack,” although I might be wrong about the name.

    I don’t know if they finally killed it.

  28. avatar Rita K.Sharpe says:

    Yes,one third of the recovering population wiped out!!!

  29. avatar nabeki says:

    A New Paradigm For 2010

    1. Pull all public land grazing leases and remove cattle and sheep from them. This is the single biggest obstacle to wolf recovery. Wolves are native to these lands, not cows and sheep.

    2. Stop concentrating on livestock when talking about wolves. It’s a red herring and changes the subject, so the welfare of wolves can be sidetracked.

    3. Appoint people in state wolf management that are looking out for wolves welfare and not ranching and hunting interests. I wonder what the rancher would do if they called the state and got the answer. “Take care of your own investment. We’re not going to use taxpayer dollars to subsidize you business anymore” That’s what needs to happen. Christina Eisenburg would be a terrific choice for a wolf manager.

    4. Stop collaring wolves. It only gets them killed. Nobody knows what other predators are doing only wolves because wolves are wearing radio collars. The state will pounce on them for killing a cow..but a rancher might lose ten cows that same week to disease, weather, coyotes, mountain lions..etc.

    5. Stop the War on Wolves

    6. To wolf advocates. 2010 will be our year. Be strong and get ready to fight the good fight for wolves. The slaughter of wolves for agribusiness must stop!! Be tireless in your advocacy for wolves!

    My Tribute To Wolves This Holiday Season
    http://howlingforjustice.wordpress.com

  30. avatar nabeki says:

    Thank you Ralph for your website and your dedication!!

    http://howlingforjustice.wordpress.com

  31. avatar Marc Cooke says:

    Nabeki, Has many valid points in her argument. I could not agree with her more.

  32. avatar JB says:

    Nabeki: “Have you checked out AGRO….http://www.goagro.org/…it has all the USDA stats for 05. Nationally in 05 wolves killed 2% of cattle, vultures 5%, felids 8%, domestic dogs 12%, coyotes 51%. That still only constituted 0.18% of cattle deaths. (190,000) There were 104,500,000 cattle grazing that year. 3 million plus cattle died of Respiratory problems, Digestive problems, Calving, Unknown, Weather, Other, Disease, Lameness, Metabolic Problems, Mastitis, Poison and Theft.”

    Rick: “The problem with these numbers is that they also include the numbers of cattle in feed lots and dairy cattle. These cattle are very unlikely to have any contacts with predators. I agree that predation is a small loss for most producers and for the cattle industry as a whole. However, it can have significant impacts on individual producers.”

    Rick,

    It is all in how you define the problem. To me this suggests that the problem is grazing cattle in areas that are not conducive to their protection (e.g. public lands). If feedlots don’t have problems with predators, then we should be asking, what do they do differently that allows them to escape predation?

    In regards to Minnesota… There are lots of reasons why you don’t hear about WS activities there–mostly because Minnesotan’s have always lived with wolves and their wolf population is robust. Moreover, 122 wolves represents only about 3.5% of the population (122/3500). If WS agreed to kill no more than 5% of NRM wolves, you can bet you’d hear a lot less complaining!

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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."

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