Wildlife Services has high average non-lethal record for all animals, but not for large carnivores-

Lately there has been a lot of media critical of USDA-Wildlife Services; often called by its critics something like “the federal government’s wildlife killers.”  In an effort to mount a defense the Service has pointed out that 80% of its interactions with wildlife are non-lethal.  They say, for example, that they scare away birds rather kill them most of the time Maybe so.

However, while the “80% argument” might be correct, its critics are not thinking about magpies or blackbirds.  They are thinking about middle sized and large carnivores such as coyotes, wolverine, wolves, foxes, bears, cougar and bobcats. The Natural Resources Defense Council pointed out today that when it comes to the carnivores, 98% of the “interactions” with the Service ended up with dead carnivores.

For example, take yesterday’s story about 1000 sheep wandering the mountainous Idaho backcountry with no herder, just one guard dog. Wolves killed 4 of the defenseless sheep.  The Wildlife Service’s proposed response, “open-ended” killing of wolves in the area.

NRDC’s story. Torturing Statistics: Wildlife Services’ Big Carnivore Kill Rate is 98%. Melissa Waage’s blog.

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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.

11 Responses to USDA-Wildlife Services manipulates stats to downplay their use of lethal control of wildlife

  1. avatar Jon Way says:

    This story and George W.’s story just posted (7/13/12) illustrate the complete hypocrocity of the conservative right. Then Rancher Bob will chime in and make fun of me for not providing any stats and just blowing smoke while these 2 stories tell it all.

  2. avatar Rancher Bob says:

    Jon Way
    It’s just too easy to make fun of you when you follow the wildlife news talking points. Let me list some mistakes you make.
    First you continue to claim all ranchers are the same, I’ve had a lot of jobs before I started ranching and ranchers are all different individuals who ranch for different reasons. Have different views on government and wolves.
    Second USDA wildlife services is a program available to any person who is having problems with wildlife.
    Third all animal owners in the state of Montana pay a tax on those animal be they chickens goats or cows. That money collected by the county, makes up about half of Montana’s WS budget. Most Montana ranchers pay way more into WS than they get in services, but you won’t hear that at wildlife news.

    Lastly and the most funny and what really shows how much you know, is that some of us can’t wait for WS closes it’s doors. There is a army of hunters, trappers, and biologist waiting to fill the void. They are already testing the market. If you really had a clue you would be in Washington begging for WS funding.
    What do I know I’am just a dumb rancher who doesn’t know anything, right. I’ll leave you alone now and you have a good summer.

    • avatar Nancy says:

      “First you continue to claim all ranchers are the same, I’ve had a lot of jobs before I started ranching and ranchers are all different individuals who ranch for different reasons. Have different views on government and wolves”

      Got a really good chuckle out of that comment RB 🙂 Having lived around the “ranching” community for a few years. Did you finally settle down (after all those jobs) as a result of marrying the rancher’s daughter?

      Had to ask, been known to happen out here… although more so with the ladies looking to capture the hearts (and bank accounts) of some rich rancher’s son.

      But honestly RB – don’t you and your local assembly of friends, down at the local watering hole, feedstore or coffee shop – pretty much “bundle” everyone with an opposing view regarding wildlife, habitat, as those “fricken” envionmentalists – trying to destroy our way of life?

      Just curious…..

      • avatar Rancher Bob says:

        Nancy
        To answer, I did marry a ranchers daughter, but after college we went out into the world made some money then came back and started this ranch with some partners.
        No we don’t bundle all you fricken people together, we have reeducation programs for them. Seriously.
        I don’t see you as a environmentalist anyway Nancy, you just want Montana to be big park maybe throw in a few Indians. 🙂

        One other thing did some research for you, called the Forest Service, from what they told me there’s about one million acres in the Beaverhead national forest with out grazing permits. Maybe this is the year you find some.

        • avatar Nancy says:

          “there’s about one million acres in the Beaverhead national forest with out grazing permits”

          So how much of that million acres set aside (out of 3 million acres total) do you suppose is continueous, high mountain meadows RB?

          Or is it like a patchwork of barren areas, steep drainages and forests, (clogged with deadfall) scattered amongst the other 2 million acres, set aside for grazing permits?

          • avatar Barb Rupers says:

            Rancher Bob
            There are about 2 million acres of the Beaverhead NF that is in wilderness and only half of that is without grazing permits?

            That doesn’t seem like wilderness to me if cattle are roaming around munching on half of it. Possibly this was a “compromise” because of prior use before wilderness designation?

            • avatar Richie G says:

              The government yields too ,much to much to ranchers because they have the money. Lobbying should be outlawed for all,environmental,land owners, medical, energy,everybody.

  3. avatar ice says:

    Rancher Bob
    What’s your view on government and wolves? “All animal owners in montana Pay tax On those animals be they chickens goats or cows.”.. …. what’s your point? I pay tax on everything I purchase and or own but get no government service in return. I want the government to come fix my truck cuz I pay tax on it. Please talk about welfare ranching and subsidies. You and every other rancher should not be “entitled” to government handouts. It’s your business not the governments. Do you run livestock on public property? What a scam that it is… And explained to me how the county government gives the federal government money? Cuz I work for the federal government and no county gives my agency money. Just wondering how that works? Oh and to let you know I hunt and I am a conservative, I just despise government handouts welfare subsidies entitlement excetera. Oh and John Way the liberal left Are a bunch of hypocrites too. What has your Obama administration done for wildlife? Just sayin..

    • avatar JB says:

      “I pay tax on everything I purchase and or own but get no government service in return.”

      Roads–the interstate highway system, railroads and public transit, schools and higher education, police protection, national defense, museums, national parks and monuments, habitat for the wildlife you hunt (via CRP and other programs), wetland protection and restoration, scientific research, public health, air, soil and water monitoring, social security, medicare, etc.

      Really? You don’t get any of that stuff?

      • avatar Salle says:

        JB is right, and clearly this harkens back to a current presidential campaign fiasco misinterpreting what the president said recently, “…you didn’t build that” by which he meant all the roads, highways, schools, designation of national forests grasslands and parks where many graze their cattle (for personal profit and gain at taxpayer expense,I might add) etc..

        I guess, then, the point would be that those who complain about their not getting extra money because they are “ranchers” using the public lands should not be complaining. It’s surely a case of favoritism and special treatment that ice might object to… I do. And on that point I agree, ranching is a business and, in fact, a business that you would not have been able to keep operating nor inherited from past generations had the damned government, ie. “we the people” not prepared the environment for you to succeed by laying waste all the indigenous people and wildlife that inhabited these places before any of you came out west of the Mississippi River. Another factual point is that if the damned government or “we the people” weren’t paying your way now, you would not be in that business in the western mountainous region period, since the land was never appropriate for these exotic invasive species that you put there and maintain with government assistance.

        The manner in which APHIS/WS obtains county funding for predator killing is pretty clearly explained in Carter Niemeyer’s memoir, Wolfer if anyone cares to read it.

  4. avatar Richie G. says:

    YES OBAMA HAS DONE NOTHING FOR WILDLIFE CORRECT,I been saying that all along,but Mitt would be worse, that is for sure,in fact I would rather have Hillary,at least Bill might convince her to side with wildlife the way he did.But all in all this is wide open land,some ranchers try and work not to kill wolves or to a minimum,with electric fences,flags, bigger dogs and just patrols,why can’t other farmers do the same. No they just want to graze free and clear, no effort whatsoever. So what if a cow dies by the cold who cares ,the government will pick up the tab.

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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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