Colorado fears blizzard may kill thousands of cattle.

This is just in from the Denver Post.

Effort to save cattle begins. By Steven K. Paulson. The Associated PressIn October 1997 a Colorado blizzard killed 26,000 head of cattle. It cost the owners over $28 million dollars. I said at the time, it would be a one week story. It was. Now something similiar may, unfortunately, be underway. It too will be a short story despite the immense cost.

That brings us back to wolves. I bet the death of 30 cattle by wolves will generate more media attention.

Everyone should use this story and the story of 1997 when some politician starts talking about how ranchers can’t bear the enormous toll of wolves.

Update Jan. 3. The new estimate is that 340,000 !! cattle are threatened by this blizzard.

Latest update. Bailing out trapped herds. Ranchers, Guard rush food to snowbound livestock in S.E. Colorado. State agriculture officials worry the toll may outpace the blizzard of 1997, in which 30,000 animals were lost. By Erin Emery. Denver Post Staff Writer



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  1. Alan Avatar

    It harkens as well to what I like to call the “shark-bite syndrome.” A great white (or some other shark species) bites a Caribbean swimmer. FOX News (and other cable outlets) go gah-gah over the story, stampeding each other to the beach where the sordid details take on a life of their own amidst stunt reporting.
    Meanwhile, across the country, dozens of people will have suffered dog bites, with at least a handful having to endure rabies shots.
    Dozens, if not hundreds, of cows and sheep will likely perish from this weather event, but wolves, not the weather, will get all the negative press.

  2. Joe James Avatar
    Joe James

    Alan is 100% correct. I live in Florida and every time some tourist gets bitten by a shark or an alligator the press goes insane. It’s simply the fact that human beings have lost their ability to accurately assess risk.

    I know people who refuse to swim in the ocean b/c they are afraid of sharks…an utterly ridiculous fear in 99% of the time. Those same people think nothing of driving through downtown Miami at night while talking on a cell phone after having had a few drinks at the night club.

    You tell me which activity is the more dangerous of the two!

  3. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    Maybe a “little” tounge in cheek here but don’t be suprised when every rancher in Colorado has documented proof that they were running 75,000 head of prime corn fed Angus beef only days from sending to the butcher. ;>}

  4. Rob Avatar

    Ranchers may not be able to bear the financial loss of a blizzard such as this. All this says is that ranchers cannot bear the “ADDITIONAL” financial burden because of the wolves.

    I have a great idea. Send all those dead cattle to a freezer and dish out a dozen dead cattle every day to the wolves then the ranchers won’t lose any more to the wolves. Great idea if there was a freezer large enough for 340,000 cattle then we could feed those wolves forever and ranchers would not have to worry any more about losses to wolves!

    On another note. I am always amazed at all the negativity to ranchers and land owners. Are you ‘self proclaimed’ conservationists the only ones who can do anything right when it comes to topics of wolves and public lands?

  5. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    You have used the term landowner in a great many of your posts. I am also a land owner. I along with the rest of Americas citizens own all of the public land in the United States. And as a land owner I am demanding that I receive fair market rates for grazing exotic invasive introduced species on my land (that would be cows and domestic sheep). If that would be financially impossible then the owners of those animals, as private landowners, should restrict there business to that private land. If a percentage go out of business, well then, welcome to the free market form of capitalism that most other business entities operate under.

  6. Rob Avatar

    Actually I am using the term livestock owner as one who grazes his animals on public land. I am not referring to the landowner in general.

    So if you demand fair market rates for grazing exotic invasive introduced species then why are you barking up my tree. Tell that to your congressmen and those who make/change the laws. I’m sorry but I cannot do anything for you.

    It sounds like you need to be paying your fair share for trampling on public land since you ride your 4-wheelers, motorcycles, SuVs, pack your horses, lamas, and even hike and camp on public land which also damages the land. Not much difference in the damage done just that it is done by different mechanisms; humans, motorized vehicles or animals.

    If you demand fair market rates for grazing then I can demand fair market rates for you as an outdoorsman who hikes, bikes, and drives your vehicle on public lands. Either way, they all damage public lands one way or another and everyone should pay, not just the livestock owner who grazes on public land. Sure you pay your taxes but the livestock owner pays his taxes and also pays for his animals to graze.

  7. Rob Avatar


    I hardly think that there will be any businesses in Colorado that go out of business due to this blizzard. However, livestock owners have lost thousands of animals which probably will put many of them out of business. So your assessment that all business are prone to the same influence factors that livestock owners face are not correct.

    So what do you think fair market rates for grazing exotic invasive introduced species should be?

    You know, just llik your claim about exotic species, ranchers can also state the same about the wolf since most of them have never had to deal with this introduced animal until 10-years ago. Sure, the wolf was here in the early 1900s but most of these ranchers were not. So your claim of an introduced exotic species is no different except they have to put up with all the political crap and financial loss from an animal that wast reintroduced for which they had little control.

  8. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    I have no more sympathy or tolerance for those who abuse the land by any other means. The biggest difference is that I do pay for what I do on public lands with not only taxes and various fees but also contributions of time and money to those causes that I find most enjoyable and of interest to me. My family also follows that line of thinking. For example one of my daughters spent this past summer in Alaska 200 miles from any place working 12 to 14 hours a day tagging spawning salmon in rivers. Another one spent a summer in Hawaii tagging and tracking Leatherback turtles. Both of these activities paid only room and board with a small stipend. I paid for the rest. I have done similar things throughout my life. What have you done lately.

  9. Rob Avatar

    You know you are really startilng to annoy me. Ranchers pay for all the fencing materials, troughs, piping to transport water from streams to troughs, and repeatedly have to fix and repair all the damage to them at their expense. They pay for what they do on public lands with not only taxes and various feed but they also contribute a great more deal of time and money to those causes that they find enjoyable and of interest to them. So do not say their is a big difference. If there is a big difference then it is that they spend more money to maintain public lands than you ever will.
    I’ve said this before and I willl say it again. If you want the way public lands are managed then go whine to your congressman and get the regulations changed.

  10. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    If you can find a few minutes in your busy schedule please check out the photo essay on Slickspot Peppergrass and maybe educate all of us on all the maintenance being done on public lands. Maybe a photo by photo dissertation would be most effective. Obviously I must be missing something. Please pontificate.

  11. Rob Avatar

    No need to when your already bull-headed. I have no desire to argue or try to make personal attacks as you have done as in comment #8. If I mention what I have done in my past as you state It will put you to shame when it comes to my profession to help solve the giobal warming issues and the ecological issues we currently face. These are much bigger problems than cattle on public lands.

  12. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    I applaud your work on helping solve the grave ecological issues facing all of us. As I am certain you are an accomplished researcher and stay abreast of all current events in this arena could you give your valued opinion on the post within this blog of 1 December 2006, titled ” Rearing Cattle Produces More Greenhouse Gases than Driving Cars, UN report warns.
    In Anticipation,

  13. Rob Avatar

    I have read that research. However, did you know that cattle are not humans. They do not think or reason or have the capability to solve the ecological problems we now face.

    You, on the other hand, if you use half your brain can do things that can help slow down and maybe even reverse some of these issues. If you and billions of other people car pool, ride buses, bikes, walk, etc. etc. then this can only help to slow the progress of global warming. Do you think cattle can reason this and quite expellilng methane gases? Therefore, you have to do your part, not cattle.

    My question is why are you even raising this cattle issue about greenhouse gases. Americans need to quit whining about this since they have no control over it and do all in their power to be more environmentally friendly. There is much you can do, which you probably are not, to slow down many of these environmental/ecological issues. Imagine the impact that could have if millions or billions of people took heart to this and did all they could to be more environmentally friendly.

  14. matt bullard Avatar
    matt bullard

    Rob said, “Americans need to quit whining about this since they have no control over it and do all in their power to be more environmentally friendly. ”

    What?!?!?!?! You have got to be kidding, right? Americans do all they can? We have no control? That is just plainly absurd, since I see so very few, myself included on the days I am not riding my bike to work, carpooling or taking public transport here in Boise.

    And to suggest that it is the cow’s fault for expelling so much methane because they don’t have the ability to “think or reason” is strange, since it is us who create the demand that prompts so many of them to be raised! I think the point was that perhaps we should think not only about carpooling, but also about the affects that our appetite for beef has on global warming.

    I don’t think global warming will be stopped if we all quit eating beef, but I do think that we American’s can do a LOT more that we are, collectively, to address, heck, even ackowledge, that this is a problem of human cause and perhaps one that can be solved by us as well.

  15. Rob Avatar

    No, Matt you are not correct. Global warming will not stop with just the elimination of the cattle industry. That will certainly help.

    As I said in the previous post, You need to be more proactive in your everyday habits by making every effort to reuce your personal reliance upon the vehicle. Did you also know that the dryer you use to dry your clothes contributes enormous amounts of carbon dioxide to the environment, as does the automobile. If, as you state, we already are doing all we can does that mean you have switched to a hybrid electric car? I suppose not so we are not doing all we can.

    In summary, global warming is here to stay even if we stop eating beef. There is too much dependence on coal, gas, diesel and other petroleum products to ever eliminate global warming. However, by reducing our consumption we all can contribute and possibly even reverse this trend.

  16. Rob Avatar

    OK Matt, so I acknowledge that our appetite for beef is human caused. Since that is out of the way are you and all americans really doing all they can to slow down or reverse global warming. Maybe they do in Boise but everday when I see the the traffic conditions in LA, SLC, Seattle, Denver, NY, etc. there are millions of cars on the road. Most of these are single passengers. Hmm, what about carpooing or using public transportation.

    My only point is that we are not doing all we can as you state. We can and need to do more and the nice thing about it is that you can also do your part.

  17. matt bullard Avatar
    matt bullard

    Did you even read my post, Rob? I said “I don’t think global warming will be stopped if we all quit eating beef”.

    Also, I said that I ride my bike to work (when conditions permit). My wife and I use the dryer for aabout 50% of our clothes – the rest get hung, even in winter. I think it is kind of pointless to use this forum to “call out” people you don’t know regarding what we may or may not be doing to reduce our impact. I would be happy to elaborate further on what I do to reduce my impact, but that is hardly the point.

    Furthermore, I did NOT state that we (Americans, collectively) are doing everything we can to address this issue. You said in post 13, “Americans… do all in their power to be more environmentally friendly.” I find this to be patently false, given my own observations of human behavior. We do a lot, but it is far from enough.

    I think we are actually arguing over nothing, because it does appear that you and I agree on this point from your post 15, “There is too much dependence on coal, gas, diesel and other petroleum products to ever eliminate global warming. However, by reducing our consumption we all can contribute and possibly even reverse this trend.”

  18. Rob Avatar

    You did state in post 14 and I quote, “Americans do all they can”. So why did you then contradict yourself in post 17 and say “I did NOT state that Americans are doing everything we can to address this issue” This certainly is a conflicting statement. And if you did not use the dryer at all then I might believe you that you are doing all you can on your part.

    I was only raising the issue that more needs to be done. We need to not only worry so much about the cattle issue but also about our over all dependence on the household appliances, automobiles, and other items that contribute to global warming. I did not attack you personally onlyl trying to make a point. Sorry to took it differently.

  19. Rob Avatar

    Matt, in post 13 I did write “Americans need to quit whining about this since they have no control over it and do all in their power to be more environmentally friendly”.

    My apology as I read further this did not read come across the way it was suppose. It would be more clear if I wrote “Americans need to quit whining about this since they have no control over it. They need to do all in their power to be more environmentally friendly.

    I did not mean that they are doing all they can to be environmentally friendly although that was how it appeared as I read more closely.

  20. matt bullard Avatar
    matt bullard

    Regarding post #18 – Rob, I did not state “Americans do all they can”, I actually asked a a rhetorical question, “Americans do all they can?” Check it out – big difference.

    As for the dryer issue, you are barking up the wrong tree. I’m quite sure I am not doing all I can. But I do feel comfortable that I am doing far more than the average. From the tone of your post, sounds like you are too. Congratulations to us – hurray!


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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