Bighorn Sheep Threaten Western Way of Life ?

Over at the Western Watersheds blog, there is an important story how sheep growers are organizing to hit back at the slow recovery of bighorn sheep. Oh! Not to speed it up, but to stop it and reverse it.

Domestic sheep are lethal to bighorns because domestic sheep are full of diseases. Bighorn are also worth a lot more economically than domestic sheep are on these marginal rugged rangelands.
This summer Western Watersheds Project and Advocates for the West probably saved all of the bighorn in Hells Canyon from incursions of sheep bands by making sure the US Forest Service lived up to the orders of the courts and kept them apart.

Bighorn Sheep Threaten Western Way of Life? WWP blog

As a sidenote, I think ranchers are gearing up for a major assault on Western Wildlife, not just wolves, but many other species too.

For those hunters who say wolves have decimated the Yellowstone elk herds, did you notice the Montana Stockgrowers Assn. has slipped back into their pre-wolf stance that Yellowstone Park has TOO MANY ELK!



  1. d. Bailey Hill Avatar

    It’s infuriating that *certain* ranchers protocal seem to be widely accepted, so they change the story whenever it’s
    convenient to support their selfish, greedy ways.
    Are there not others who get angry about this bs??
    It aggravates me to no end that they keep crying wolf, {pun not intended}, and that this minority continues to get away with it at the expense of anything else!!! They are only a miniscule group!! Yet, as with bison, so becomes the wolf and bighorn.

    Are they attempting to wreck and destroy all they can before action is taken to stop them?? It’s as if they want to go out with a huge bang before they expell their last breath? {figuratively}

    Ignorance is NOT bliss for those who know better.

  2. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    In fact, western ranchers have been engaged in a concerted assault on wildlife since cattle first came to the west after the Civil War. It’s my own view that it’s time to declare war on the livestock industry and stop all this brown-nosing “collaboration and consensus” bullshit that so-called conservation groups like the Greater Yellowstone Coalition have pursued with the cowboys for the last decade. Kudos to the Western Watersheds Project for holding the line when other groups have fled.

  3. Mack P. Bray Avatar
    Mack P. Bray

    Robert, I agree – it’s time to get the goddamn cows and sheep off AMERICA’S public lands. Exactly how do we wage war on the livestock industry? I’m enlisting but can’t find an officer to sign me up.

    Jon Marvel is making history and I hope someone is documenting his story.

  4. be Avatar

    the adversarial approach works. period. it works for wildlife and the public interest, even if it cannot be said to work for the warm feelings of politicians, fundraisers, or extractive industry. that it is regarded with such controversy is testimony to it effectiveness.

    those willing and able to hold on have my admiration – and it appears the admiration of folk that know and are on the ground…

    most importantly, from my perspective, in this particular instance the bighorn sheep are indebted a great deal to the folk willing to acknowledge that unless an equal voice is willing to step up ~ Livestock will stand unopposed – and wildlife will get the short end. FS was certainly wibbly wobbly…

    that’s the thing i don’t quite get. “Jon Marvel” ~ WWP, BFC or “environmentalists” are always characterized by the media, by politicians, or even inferentially by the fundraising letter i received from a fellow ‘conservation’ org – as the folk stirring the controversy. why are the folk that hold the public interest hostage not the ones that garner such attempted marginalization and ire ? i think i’ll send a letter back.

    i think that the ‘war’ will be on ~ and i think that the truth about a lot of the interests involved ~ including the ‘collaborate over conservation’ crowd will continue to be exposed to an ever larger degree ~ especially when Livestock over-reaches and demands a greenwashing to such a degree that can’t be ignored… too much time riding the winds makes for an atrophied ability to stand against them… that’s what makes integrity a winner in the long run…

  5. d. Bailey Hill Avatar

    About the bad rap that environmentalists get. It is my understanding that in the early 1970’s the government began a campaign to paint anyone tagged enviro both extremist and at the root of any controversy. The enviro’s wanted to stop “progress”, take away folks freedom’s. The enviro’s were all against the “American Way”. {And we know which segment of the population this was directed at}. The stigma has unfortunately stuck. I think it became like a tradition that anyone concerned about conserv and environ are THE trouble makers. It is so engrained that when the term enviro is heard it is automatically thought of as negative and people close their minds. It is impossible to have a conversation with them.

    As be referred to integrity I agree— I believe it is extremely important to act with integrity at all times. when the dust settles those folks with integrity will be the ones left standing.


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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Ralph Maughan