Big pile of dead sheep in remote Idaho mountains-

While uncommon, this sort of thing has happened before in Eastern Idaho/Western Wyoming.  It’s not a pretty picture.  One hundred seventy-six sheep lie dead below a rocky slope near Fogg Hill, deep in what is called the Palisades Backcountry in Idaho near the Wyoming border. This is part of the Snake River Mountains, just south of the famous Teton Range.

The sheep apparently were stampeded by two remnant members of a local wolf pack most of which  had already been killed off by the federal government’s Wildlife Services. The stampede took place in the dark, explaining perhaps how the sheep could fall as they ran and end up suffocating each other in a big and  remarkably compact pile.

Reports are that the two remaining wolves from the initial 15-member wolf pack stampeded the sheep (119 lambs and 57 ewes). The sheep suffocated when they stumbled on top of each other while running down the slope. One sheep was partially eaten. Ten others reportedly showed wolf bites

According to the Jackson Hole News and Guide, the damage was $20,000.  The sheep were owned by the Siddoway Sheep Company of Terreton, Idaho.  Terreton is not in southeast Idaho as so many geographic challenged reporters of the incident have written. The incident was not in southeast Idaho either. Terreton is about ten miles south of Montana in northeast central Idaho. The incident was in Eastern Idaho, miles from Terreton.  It was 5 or 6 miles south of the town of Victor. The Siddoways have leased sheep grazing allotments for many years in this general Eastern Idaho area close to the Wyoming border.

The Siddoway Sheep company put out a news release stating “[they] had lost about 250 head of livestock to wolf, bear and coyote depredation since June”.”

Travis Bruner, Public Lands Director, Western Watersheds Project, reported that the sheep company paid $866.70 to graze for three months this summer 2400 sheep in the Forest Service allotment located in the scenic proposed wilderness area. Bruner told the Jackson Hole News and Guide that the low grazing fees and the lack of protection of wolves now allows ranchers to graze predator-heavy areas of the national forests and order the wolves removed by Wildlife Services with only a phone call.

It is difficult to be callous about the loss of so many sheep and so many wolves. Sheep are tender animals, hardly suited to this rugged, wild country in my opinion.  This reporter knows the Palisades Backcountry well after backpacking and writing four editions of The Hikers Guide to Idaho and its successor Hiking Idaho.  Fogg Hill is one of the two times in my life when I got lost. I found my way out after about six hours. It is very confusing country.

The Palisades Backcountry has always been home to bears, including increasing numbers of grizzlies, coyotes, cougar, many elk, deer and moose, and a thriving herd of reestablished mountain goats. In the summer the high country here becomes covered with a dense growth of tall flowers that hide the rocks underneath.

Some reports on this event have been wildly inaccurate. Outdoor Life, for example, wrote, “If you have any doubts about the gray wolf’s hunting ability, or its impact on livestock, you should talk to the sheepherders in Idaho where two wolves recently zeroed in on a flock of 2,400 sheep near Idaho Falls.”

It is strange that anyone should think that finding a bedded herd of 2400 sheep showed profound hunting ability. In addition, sheep are easy to spook, as I found out at age ten when my cocker spaniel encountered his first band of sheep in the northern Utah mountains. He promptly stampeded the herd of several hundred over a hill in front of the sheep herder who fortunately did not shoot my little dog.

Another story called the wolf-killing agency “Idaho Wildlife Services” as though it was a state agency. While their actions might make some believe it is a state agency, they are actually a federal agency — part of APHIS (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) in the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The wolves did not kill 176 sheep. It it an open question if they directly killed any. The wolves did set the sheep running in  the dark. That is why we wrote a slightly different headline than other news media.

Wildlife Services found one more wolf and killed it. Whether they killed any additional wildlife is a matter for  an investigative reporter.

– – – – – – –

Update 8/23

The news reports say that 2400 sheep were bedded down when the incident with the two wolves began. Whenever there is a story about livestock on public lands, it is smart to inquire about what are called the AOIs (the annual operating instructions to the grazing permittee governing the grazing allotment in question).  Jon Marvel of WWP acquired the AOI for the  Siddoway 2013 Burbank  Sheep Allotment from the Palisades Ranger District.

Here is the critical finding. Only 1200 sheep were permitted, not the 2400 that were apparently present to welcome the wolves and that the story in the Jackson Hole News and Guide paper described !

Read this Burbank Allotment (Siddoway) 2013 AOI. Look at the 9th line down.

 

 

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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.

100 Responses to Palisades backcountry wolves chase sheep. Sheep fall on top of each other. 176 suffocate. Updated 8/23

  1. avatar LoneWolf25 says:

    Thank you, Ralph, for this excellent report and for your excellent writing. Obviously no sheep and no cattle should be grazing in this wilderness area, that belongs to native wildlife. It is their home, for which they exist.

  2. avatar Betty Tosti says:

    again the bullies using all tactics to push for more wolf hunting. they are a bunch of liars. sheep and cattle are not native to this area therefore they do not belong there.

    • avatar Kathy McCoy says:

      All I can say is humans are not native to this country either. We alone have done more damage to the ecosystem than any other species. So it is with this thought, do we stop all human contact to these areas? Most, not all livestock owners are great stewards because the land with its vegetation and water is their livelihood

      • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

        Kathy McCoy,

        One of the biggest criticisms that has been made in this instance is that the incentive structure of the situation is bad for the sheep. bad for wolves and for running a sheep business. Travis Bruner, for example, pointed to the absurdly low grazing fees (about a penney a day per lamb or ewe) and the ability to call on Wildlife Services to mount a predator killing operation that costs far more than the government would collect from fees in years. People who had to pay the full cost of a sheep operation themselves would locate in a different area where there sheep were not killed and where native wildlife was not killed, and where the scenery is not crushed down by grazing a mostly inedible tall forb field. Bad incentives make for bad stewardship even if the people are inherently good hearted and rational.

        • avatar Kirk Robinson says:

          Well said.

        • avatar JEFF E says:

          ” the ability to call on Wildlife Services to mount a predator killing operation that costs far more than the government would collect from fees in years”,

          or the value of the loss.

          The operator “could” have been paid outright for the loss, at a less cost to the taxpayer.

          ((((This is the stuff that needs to be emphasized.))))

          Several years ago I brought up the fact in a F&G public forum in Boise, attended by some of our illustrious legislators, that just helo time costs upwards of $1000.00 per hour, but they are so blinded by hate and entitlement that they will throw out the baby with the bath water every time.

          • avatar WM says:

            But does just ignoring the event by giving out compensation (rather than calling in the helicopter with the door gunner), and future risk created by the same -now food conditioned animals- really address the problem – the offending wolves?

            Then there is the reproduction potential of those same wolves, increasing in number and passing on to the new young ones the same livestock taking skills?

            • avatar Kirk Robinson says:

              Good line of argument, WM, but I think it supports a rather different conclusion than the one you select: Sheep do not belong there and the grazing lease system run by the Federal Government should be terminated in places like it. Why should everyone else and the wolves too pay for the loss to this family? Why is Mr. Siddoway so special that we have an obligation to support him, but not he us? Pray tell.

              • avatar WM says:

                Kirk,

                I don’t disagree with you on the idea that those grazing lands ought to be retired, especially given proximity to the Parks, and rapidly expanding Jackson. But there is a fair amount of livestock a few miles to the south in the Star Valley. The presence of problem wolves won’t go away, I suspect.

            • avatar JEFF E says:

              I do not think that paying the operator the cost of the loss (at far less than what it costs to call in WS) is necessarily avoiding the problem; “if” the costs are truthfully represented. one thing that has to be factored in is the cost of public land grazing. My opinion is the obscene low rate more than compensates the operator for losses to predators or weather.

              However a truly problem animal(s)(wolves, coyotes, badgers, squirrels, etc.) should be addressed, lethally, if needed. that is not what this operators thought process is IMO.(wait till insurance companies class predator losses as an “act of god”
              ROFLMAO.)

          • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

            Jeff E.

            Maybe you read his comments in various forums. Carter Niemeyer has remarked a number of times how irrational a number of WS operations he knows about have been — irrational from the standpoint of expenses. Nearly unlimited air time seems to be the most squandered resource.

            • avatar JEFF E says:

              Carter would know.

              By the way, I was at Lead Draw this past weekend and noticed a shooting restrictions post on the reader board, but what do I know.

              • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

                Jeff E.,

                It must be new — the restrictions. We certainly don’t need any sparks in dry vegetation, although happily enough, a cloud formed over Pocatello about 11 AM today. It has rained off and on, and sometimes really hard, all afternoon. This is the first rain all summer at my house.

  3. avatar Kirk Robinson says:

    Clearly it is a mistake to allow livestock grazing in that area. Instead, it is not only allowed but encouraged through artificially low grazing fees. But the old ways die hard when people have economic or emotional investments in them.

  4. avatar carol carraturo says:

    Great article I feel you made the wrong right. The wolves are always blamed for what they have never done. This is their home that they are using for grazing and sheep. I feel they always blame the wolves for all when in essence its them. They always cry wolf. Its a shame the way they are receiving such inhumane cruelty for the price of grazing cattle and sheep. They should be out of there on their own property. This is wildlife country on grazing and sheep country.

  5. avatar Kathrine Jenkins says:

    It’s about time somebody told the truth on this situation. I was sure wondering how a few wolves could kill so many sheep. Nice the way this company can pay such a ridiculous low fee to graze those sheep the whole summer! Must be like the cattle leases on the BLM land–real cheap and get every other animal run off the land that should be theirs!

  6. avatar Thomas Murphy says:

    Well now that most of their pack was killed by the dickheads from WLS the two remaining wolves have to take easy prey due to lack of members in their pack.
    The rancher needs to put deterrents in place to protect the sheep from wolves.

    • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

      Thomas Murphy,

      The two remaining wolves were shot by WLS. Then they caught a third wolf that they didn’t know existed and killed it too.

      It seems to me WLS was making it clear that wolves were going to be completely gone from the area.

      • avatar JEFF E says:

        ..as directed by Senator Siddoway,(funny, when I clicked spell check, it offered “sideways”; out of the mouth of babes!) in my opinion.

  7. avatar Ida Lupine says:

    It sounded from reading the original article posted that removing the rest of this pack was a foregone conclusion anyway, even if they weren’t involved in the recent loss. I do feel badly that so many animals are lost, time after time, wild or domesticated, do to human activities or negligence, whichever the case may be.

  8. avatar alf says:

    I clicked on the “Siddoway Sheep Company” link in Ralph’s post. The link claims the company only employs “0-10″ people, and has an estimated annual revenue of $55,000, both of which are pure BS.

    The Siddoways, not surprisingly, are very well off financially and are very well connected politically — hardly the poor, struggling mom and pop operation they seem to be trying to depict themselves as. Jeff Siddoway is an Idaho state senator, best known for his tendency to introduce self serving legislation and other ethical lapses; and a few years ago, his wife Cindy, was national president of the ASI (American Sheep Institute).

    I don’t know how many bands of sheep they run, but it’s certainly more than one. Even if it was only a single band of 1000 head (the band that had the wreck was said to be 2,400 head), the claimed return of $55,000 on that many head seems to me to be a pretty poor return on the investment and brings into question the viability of the whole operation.

    But with live lambs going in the range OF $115-$120/hundredweight, last I checked, and cull ewes and rams for between about $25 and $35 a head, plus what ever they get for their wool, somebody is being less than truthful here.

    • avatar SaveBears says:

      alf,

      There is a lot of business operations in this country that are not reporting their whole income, I can look through many different types of reports and point out thousands of business venture, both for and non-profit that are bringing in a hell of a lot of money that is either not getting reported, or is being run through the loop hole system.

    • avatar HoofHugs says:

      Interesting. ASI is the group that lobbied the Senate at the last minute preventing a vote to be taken on ratification of the 1992 Convention of Biological Diversity.

  9. avatar JEFF E says:

    Jeff Siddoway, an Idaho legislator, is no respecter of the rule of law in my eyewitness opinion, but the moderators get nervous when I provide details………………,I have absolutely no use for him. He is nothing more than a base hypocrite in my opinion. I suspect it is a family trait in my opinion.

  10. avatar Ralph Maughan says:

    One of the things that so irritated me about the other news reports, and they were from all over the country, was that other than perhaps the Jackson Hole News and Guide, I was the only reporter who had ever been to the area.

    The rest of them except the Teton Valley News and the JH News and Guide didn’t have a clue about the location of the incident, the headquarters of the Siddoway Sheep operation, the towns near the incident, the mountain range, or what it is like, nor the fact that this is part of the Greater Yellowstone country.

  11. avatar Richie G. says:

    Ralph and SB ,for one Ralph is correct no news on what is going on in your part of the country, people at least people I know do not give it a thought about wilderness, you should be angry you have beautiful country, we have come so far from Bruce Babbitt. To Sb in the same vein no body even cares about the underhanded deals being done nobody MSNBC had the Governor of Virginia and his underhanded deals. But again no press about the wilderness of the west. This really makes me sick ,no press Tom Hartman , ED Shultz , Rachel Maddow nobody it’s like this part of the world does not exist. Baucus is leaving and not even a word of his thing on the ESA. Ralph I give you credit for not giving up and You too SN and JB too you guys love your land and you fight for it over and over.

  12. avatar Richie G. says:

    opps not SN SB sorry

  13. avatar WM says:

    Something else to think about.

    Another aspect of this “pile-up,” is the residual public relations of wolf-sheep interactions everywhere. One has to wonder what the Navajo nation sheepherders (or even the Yakamas) think when they hear this on the news.

    It really makes no difference what the true facts are. The story will always be 2 (3?) wolves attack and cause death of 176 sheep (nobody will remember the suffocation part). What will this sort of thing do for acceptance of Mexican wolves in the Southwest? Many Southwest Counties have already weighed in passing ordinances against wolf reintroduction, and its a bunch worse than the ID and WY vitriol from what I understand.

    Don’t know what the Navajo people, or specifically the herders, think, but I expect they aren’t too keen on buying and training expensive Great Pyrenes, Komondors or Turkish Akbash guard dogs, to augment their mongrel herding dogs. Maybe the BIA will start a dog purchase program for them, as Mexican wolves increase in number and range.

    • avatar JEFF E says:

      I don’t think their range will increase anytime soon given the loca residents

    • avatar Jeff N. says:

      The Navajo Nation lies north of I-40, and per the proposed new recovery rules, Mexican gray wolves will not be allowed to reestablish themselves north of I-40 on the Navajo reservation. Not saying wolves won’t get there. The best habitat on the reservation would most likely be the Chuska/Lukachukai Mountains and The Carrizo Mountains in the far northeast corner of AZ, Four Corners area.

      Mojave County is the latest county in AZ to pass an ordinance against wolves reestablishing themselves. But they are just crying wolf.

      Again most of that county lies north of I-40 and the habitat south of I-40 is marginal at best. The small Hualapai range would constitute the best habitat south of I-40, but it is a rather small area and couldn’t support more than a handful of wolves.

      The vitriol in AZ doesn’t come close to matching the vitriol in ID/WY/MT. The same can’t be said for NM. But as lobos increase in numbers and expand their range, I could easily see that changing. It’s not as if rural AZ has a higher threshold of tolerence for wolves, there just aren’t that many wolves yet.

  14. avatar Ida Lupine says:

    The more I consider this, the less I believe it. As I said, from reading the first article it sounded like they were planning on getting rid of this pack anyway, and they needed to make up a reason. Obviously it doesn’t have to be much of a reason, because most of the news media didn’t even care enough to get the information correct. I knew I recognized this name – this was the man who keeps trying to pass any and all legislation to get rid of wolves. I don’t know why the government continually placates these awful people.

    http://jhnewsandguide.com/article.php?art_id=10196

    Remember This?

  15. avatar Dawn Rehill says:

    Crazy, reading this story today, but not surprise with the outcome . This has got to stop with grazing large herds of animals on our Public Lands right in the area of top predators, which are vital to the ecosystem of this area . Damn we should just make this whole Rocky Mountain Region a zoo, cause that what it is becoming .

  16. I thought it was interesting that you said what was left of the pack of wolves were responsible . . does that mean that this was a non-functioning pack of sub-adults just like they tell us might happen if the pack structure is broken down by “management” . . so then, if that is true who removed the rest of the pack? Just some more thoughts.

    • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

      Linda Jo Hunter,

      I would say that the pack and its wolves had been thoroughly disrupted. Whether this made them more or less likely to go after sheep is something I can’t even guess.

      However, it does not require a confused wolf pack to stampede sheep in country like this. Lone bears, cougars, and even thunderstorms have led to similar, though smaller, pileups.

  17. avatar WyoWolfFan says:

    While it is unfortunate that they had a big loss, it doesn’t change my mind that grazing shouldn’t happen on public land, especially 19,000 sheep.

    I also found a few quotes interested. “My husband and I have been fighting this whole issue our entire lives,” she told KTVB. Is this woman 18 years old, since that was when wolves were reintroduced? And this one, “We’re putting out thousands of animals that are just sitting ducks,” Siddoway told KTVB, as she tallied up the wolf kills from the 2013 season.

    Maybe it’s not a good idea to graze sheep on private land.

    Before anyone says anything, I don’t have a problem with the ranching industry in general, I just don’t like that they are allowed to graze livestock on public land that belongs to everyone.

  18. avatar WyoWolfFan says:

    I meant to say ‘Maybe it’s not a good idea to graze sheep on public land.’

  19. avatar Mike says:

    Everyone in this scenario loses except for the ranchers.

    I feel bad for the sheep….bad that they were forced to be in a place they weren’t meant to be.

    The rancher should be ashamed.

  20. avatar Jeff says:

    I hunt this area on the Wyoming side, the sheep mow everything down leaving no feed for elk off the highline trail. I also read they are leaving the sheep carcasses at the site. Bears will feast on rutting mutton and then next year they’ll demand compensation for bear losses.

  21. avatar Ralph Maughan says:

    I updated the story on the dead sheep. I hope folks will be interested. It might be that they were grazing twice the number of sheep they were allowed to by the Forest Service.

    • avatar WM says:

      Ralph,

      Does the term “1200 ewes/lambs,” on line 9 of the Burbank Allotment, mean 1200 animals in total, or does it mean ewe/lamb PAIRS?

      • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

        WM,

        It might mean ewes/lambs. On some email I’ve received there is a discussion about it . . . “For what it’s worth: I think a more accurate ratio for range bands is on the order of about 1.25, maybe 1.5, lambs/ewe.  Two lambs/ewe is high even for farm flocks.”

        Who knows how many sheep and their ewe/lamb ratio was up there? It is extremely unlikely the Forest Services goes up and counts for compliance, especially when they only pay $800 grazing fees for the summer and the FS range officer would only come to grief (politically) by doing this.

        • avatar Sam Parks says:

          The 1200 number refers to ewe/lamb pairs meaning 2400 would not be a violation of their grazing permit.

          • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

            Sam Parks,

            What you write makes sense, but after looking at about five definitions of “AUM” as it applies to federal public lands, what you write appears not to be the case.

            Let me use the Wikipedia because it is so easy for people to find. “On these federal grazing lands, an AUM is the amount of forage needed to sustain one cow and her calf, one horse, or five sheep or goats for a month.”

            The boldface is mine. While it says one cow and her calf, it simply says “five sheep.”

    • avatar Ida Lupine says:

      Yes. Isn’t this an interesting development. Shoot wolves first, ask questions later, I guess it the policy.

      • avatar JEFF E says:

        that has always been the policy.

        There has never been as definitive way to actually target a problem wolf. It has always been a guess and by golly approach.

        what gives a succinct snapshot on governance as a whole.

  22. avatar Steve Clevidence says:

    Sheep will often climb on top of each other in the corner of a fence line suffocating those on the bottom when frightened by a predator, dog, coyote, whatever. Sort of reminds me of humans panicking. How many get trampled in stadiums, buildings when they are spooked. Interesting to note this guy continues to exploit public land grazing.

  23. avatar ramses09 says:

    Bottom line is “Wildlife Services” needs to be de-funded.
    They are nothing but a happy – go – lucky bunch of idiots that LOVE killing our wildlife, with our tax dollars.

    • avatar save bears says:

      Killing is only one part of WS, there are a great number of other beneficial functions they also do.

      • avatar ramses09 says:

        Please, tell me what else that they do. I know people that have been studying & being observant of W/S for quite a long time & they love killing animals.

        • avatar save bears says:

          Been discussed time and time again on here, you might want to use the search function!

        • avatar JB says:

          Read for yourself: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/

          Here in Ohio, WS is on the front line against rabies.

          • avatar Kirk Robinson says:

            JB, personally, I think it is a mistake to make blanket condemnations of the agency. They do some good and necessary things. But, like the wildlife management agencies, in certain important respects the culture still operates with a 19th century mentality. Rabies is a bad thing, since it is lethal. My dog was almost taken from me by Salt Lake County Animal Service because of some misinformation about her having come into contact with a bat in Idaho a couple of weeks ago. Never mind how that misinformation got started, but fortunately we were able to persuade Animal Control that it was false, otherwise she would now be in extended quarantine (up to six months) or dead. Either way, I think that means death.

            Anyway, I think what needs to happen is that WS must change. It should address only wildlife problems that are indeed serious ones, and do it in ways that are humane and don’t favor particular economic interests.

  24. avatar Kirk Robinson says:

    “Here is the critical finding. Only 1200 sheep were permitted, not the 2400 that were apparently present to welcome the wolves and that the story in the Jackson Hole News and Guide paper described !”

    I hope the JHN&G will publish this!

    • avatar SAP says:

      I don’t know the answer, but I’d bet that the permit was for 1,200 ewes, with lambs. Assuming that most of the ewes have lambs at their side, the total number of animals would be close to 2,400. With cattle allotments, the same is usually true — a cow and her calf are counted together.

  25. Let’s say we all leave lamb and wool off our plates. Problem solved. We as the consumer and ultimately responsible for this disaster.

    • avatar Elk275 says:

      Fresh lamb is my favorite meat (except for wild sheep) and I have quit using polypro type garments. Merino wool is the best. Sorry.

      • avatar Kirk Robinson says:

        I have never liked the taste of lamb, so don’t eat it. And I have eliminated wool from my wardrobe with the exception of a couple of suits and some socks.

        For anyone who uses lamb products (meat or wool), there is always the option of insisting on “predator friendly” sheep operations as the source. So for example, my partly wool socks have wool from sheep grown without any lethal control of predators as part of the operation. However, I don’t know if the sheep are grazed on public land. Maybe I’ll look into that.

        • avatar Ida Lupine says:

          How do we find out about predator-friendly wool? (I no longer eat lamb). I love poly fleece too.

      • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

        Elk275,

        I guess it is time for Terry S. to weigh in again about scrapie.

      • avatar SEAK Mossback says:

        Elk —
        I go back and forth about wool versus poly fleece. Both work pretty well here (cotton is plain deadly). My only objection to poly material is if you sit too close to a fire — you can easily become one.

    • avatar Mal Adapted says:

      Again, what fraction of the total supply of sheep products is from public lands? Reducing or eliminating the use of public lands to raise livestock doesn’t mean we have to give up eating or wearing them completely. The public-lands problem is much smaller and more tractable than that, and the benefits of reserving public lands for native species are large.

      • avatar Robert R says:

        Mal turn around is fair play where is your numbers to back it?

        • avatar SEAK Mossback says:

          Here’s just one alternative source to western U.S. public lands sheep — reported at 60 million sheep from a single island nation. That should supply a lot of wool socks and pants.
          http://www.stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/population/mythbusters/3million-people-60million-sheep.aspx

          The argument is similar to the one industrial logging supporters have used for clear-cutting ancient rainforest in this area (which greatly diminishes its value as wildlife habitat by eliminating the understory and reduces snow interception capability for centuries) —Well everybody uses wood products! I’ll take most of mine from radiata pine (also from New Zealand) or pine from Georgia. If I need music wood like a fine guitar top or something else very high quality, then cut an ancient Sitka spruce — but don’t cut an entire hillside at once (or spend $40 million in US tax dollars annually to build roads to it). Sheep grazing in prime public alpine and riparian areas appears a similar activity — very low return (more likely a net public cost when administration and predator control are included) compared with the impact on other potential values.

        • avatar Mal Adapted says:

          Heh, fair enough. I haven’t been as successful locating numbers for sheep as for cows, but I did find some. One of the better sources is Taking Stock of Public Lands Grazing published in 2002 by TM Power, a (now retired) Professor of Economics at U. of Montana. From that document (my emphasis):

          For many of the western states, federal lands provide only a small percentage of the total feed needed to support cattle and sheep herds. California, Washington, and Montana, for instance, obtain less than 10 percent of their cattle and sheep feed from federal lands. Colorado, Oregon, and Wyoming obtain 20 percent or less of the feed for their livestock herds from this source. Overall, the eleven western states obtain only about a fifth of the feed needed to support their beef cattle and sheep herds from federal lands (see Table 1). From a national perspective, the reliance on western federal lands is dramatically lower: only 4 percent of the feed consumed by beef cattle is provided by grazing federal lands.

          Prof. Power didn’t provide a similar number for sheep, but if cattle and sheep together obtain only a fifth of their feed from federal lands in the eleven western states, then it’s less for sheep alone.

          I also found this 1992 report from the New Mexico Extension Service. Its focus is on New Mexico, and again the numbers are clearer for beef than for sheep; but for both together,

          19% of the total annual forage demand in the 11 western states and 13% of the demand in the 14 western states was met from federal land.

          So, is that close enough as an upper bound, Robert R? Thanks for keeping me honest, BTW 8^).

  26. avatar Dooks says:

    I find it odd that nobody is focusing on the fact that the shepherds heard the wolves the night before, but did not investigate until the next day. It seems like someone really dropped the ball, especially for an area where wolves are known to reside.

    • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

      Dooks,

      In retrospect, it might well be that the sheepherders were inattentive in the Palisades case because they thought Wildlife Services was (or maybe had) taken care of the local wolf “problem,” explaining their slow reaction.

      On mountain pastures like this sheep have to be watched constantly or they end up dead for one reason or another.

      The statistics over the years show far more sheep being killed by local carnivorous wildlife than cattle. The same is true with weather related deaths and poison plants.

      • avatar Robert R says:

        Ralph it’s ironic you mention weather related deaths. I once witnessed some sheep that were under a big cotton wood tree that got struck by lighting. The result was twenty one dead sheep.

  27. avatar Louise Kane says:

    http://www.jhnewsandguide.com/article.php?art_id=10196
    jackson Hole paper reporting
    9 of the wolves killed were pups
    what a disgusting response
    killing wild animals because sheep stampeded in their presence in areas they should not really be grazing
    predator policy has to radically change

    • avatar Mike says:

      This is some sick, twisted shit.

    • avatar Rancher Bob says:

      Louise
      If you had been keeping up this pack was to be removed before the stampede. As for the pups would you rather the rest of the pack removed and the pups left alone?
      Problem is once a pack chooses livestock over natural prey the only way to stop them is to kill them all and let another pack replace that home range. It’s like welfare of sorts very seldom do they go back to work.

      • avatar Immer Treue says:

        RB,

        As much as I hate to do so, I think I have to agree with you on the pack removal.

        In the same breath, I wonder how much Siddoway has really done to prevent this from happening. With delisting, as others have said, it’s easier to call in WS, and more spent on WS than in actual damage done by wolves, in most cases.

        • avatar Rancher Bob says:

          Immer
          In Montana livestock owners pay over half of WS budget and I think Idaho is close to the same. Dealing with WS isn’t that easy, it all take’s time and money away from other duties.

          Nice job on the photo cam going have to ask what kind of dog food you use, around here dog food is only good for attracting skunks and bears.

          • avatar Immer Treue says:

            Rancher Bob,

            Dare I give my secret away? Suffice it to say it was old stuff my dog would not eat when he was sick. Had foxes on it almost every night. Lets also say that there was sign of wolves coming through that particular spot. And as mentioned, that game/trail camera is a tool Those in the past never had. Tips the balance in trappers favor.

            • avatar Rancher Bob says:

              Immer
              Not much need for trail cameras here as wolf trapping starts December 15, usually we have snow by end of November. Plus once hunting season starts cameras are illegal for scouting in Montana.
              A local was using a trail camera and a grizzly didn’t like something about the photo and reduced camera and corner post to small scraps of litter. Enjoy the weekend.

      • avatar Mike says:

        Wolves shouldn’t be published when hillbillies ram their sheep into remote areas.

        you may have a point about “killing the pack” when there are depredations on the rancher’s property. But that’s it.

  28. avatar Ida Lupine says:

    Terrible. This rancher is an Idaho state senator, as was Peavey. Conflict much? The convenient way around regulations to allow more animals to graze, to my mind, is what made the panicked stampede worse, and the government lackeys turn a blind eye.

  29. avatar Louise Kane says:

    anyone know if this is true?

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    RECENT PETITIONS

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    FOLLOW US:

    Fight Idaho Legislature’s Proposal to Use Dogs as Wolf Bait
    BY SARA STAVILE
    Target: Idaho State Legislature
    Goal: Don’t allow domestic dogs to be used as live bait for wolves.
    The recovery of wolf populations in North America has been seen as nothing short of a small miracle. However, the lives of wolves and their domestic counterparts are now threatened by a new law in Idaho.
    The Idaho State Legislature has recently passed a law that ranchers can now use domestic dogs as live bait in order to lure wolves into their pastures. Using dogs as bait will allow the ranchers to kill the wolves which are supposedly threatening their livestock.
    Domestic dogs are not the only animals which could be used as bait—sheep and goats could be used as well. Using these creatures as bait also exposes them to intense psychological trauma. It is entirely possible that the animals could die from stress before a wolf even comes near them.
    The law also has devastating consequences for the wolves. This species was just taken off the endangered species list in December 2011, because the North American population was on the road to recovery. Allowing ranchers to kill wolves will cause the numbers to drop drastically once again. The law also allows the ranchers to use specialized technology in order to kill the wolves. Night vision goggles can be used to track the animals, and airplanes can be used to shoot the wolves from above.
    This law endangers the lives of both domestic and wild animals. Tell the Idaho State Legislature that this law legalizes cruelty to domestic animals and will send the North American wolf population back to the brink of extinction.

    • avatar Rancher Bob says:

      On one hand protect wolves but not the giant octopus. Seems like a little pick’n and choose’n again.
      “Allowing ranchers to kill wolves will cause the numbers to drop drastically once again.” Right, like we make up a major part of the population and don’t have nothing better to do than just shoot wolves.
      “Using these creatures as bait also exposes them to intense psychological trauma. It is entirely possible that the animals could die from stress before a wolf even comes near them.” My favorite, because they must some how know what is going to happen when the wolves arrive.
      Does anyone have a link to this bill or even a bill number?

  30. avatar Louise Kane says:

    sorry that the copy picked up the non wolf related stuff
    my apologies

  31. avatar WyoWolfFan says:

    Regarding the use of dogs for wolf bait, what did the Idaho legislature do before wolves were reintroduced? It seems like they focus on wolves more than anything.

    • avatar Robert R says:

      WWF says, Regarding the use of dogs for wolf bait, what did the Idaho legislature do before wolves were reintroduced? It seems like they focus on wolves more than anything.

      WWF so does everyone here!!!! No different.

      • avatar Kirk Robinson says:

        Not quite. Both address a number of issues besides wolves. Anyway, people who participate here do so because of their interest in the issues, wolves being a prominent one. I doubt if most legislators seek election because they want to get rid of wolves. Though I wouldn’t be surprised if in Idaho that is true of some of them.

        • avatar Robert R says:

          Kirk I would say 80% wolves the other 10% livestock and other issues 10%.
          What is mentioned the most, wolves and ranchers/agriculture which all tied to public land and wolves. I’ll get criticized but you don’t see an uproar for any other animals.

      • avatar WyoWolfFan says:

        What I mean is they seem to focus on getting rid of wolves more than anything else. If they spent half that energy on other issues it could be a great state to live in.

  32. avatar Ida Lupine says:

    The 1200 number refers to ewe/lamb pairs meaning 2400 would not be a violation of their grazing permit.

    So when are they considered individual animals? Only when they go to market? They don’t remain lambs forever and are weaned at some point? Convenient rules to allows the maximum number of sheep for the lowest grazing fee is something the government should not allow. But then these particular sheep ranchers are in a position to influence and make the rules, it would appear. If there are any problems, just take advantage of the depredations reimbursements and wolf removal policies. The longer you live on the planet, the less naïve you become.

  33. avatar CodyCoyote says:

    Siddoway Sheep Comnpany must feel they are on a roll here.
    They are franchising ” Wolves killed our Sheep” scenario into other states , claiming that wolves took 8 of their sheep from a PUBLIC LAND grazing allotment in Wyoming over a 1-day period. ( Story published August 30 )

    http://trib.com/news/state-and-regional/wolves-suspected-in-sheep-deaths-in-wyoming/article_bff35f47-be39-5573-ae5e-b4cc373fa2fb.html

    • avatar CodyCoyote says:

      I meant to type 10 day period.

      The incident occurred on the Bridger Teton Forest near Hoback Junction south of Jackson Hole.

  34. This overstocking and trespass of livestock is occurring all over the West and shows who is monopolizing the public lands. It must be stopped. The wolves are not the problem here, they are trying to restore the natural balance. Idaho must not continue to rashly blame and exterminate them. This is so wrong

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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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