Cattleman: 'I've always respected wolves – until now'

Every once in awhile it’s good to take a look at a really biased piece about wolves to attempt to better understand.  This one’s from Sweet :

Cattleman: ‘I’ve always respected wolves – until now’

It’s often good to ask, ‘What emotional or mythical mechanisms does the writer and/or cattleman of this piece use to compell the audience ?’



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  1. John Avatar

    “not being able to protect his cattle”

    Has this person ever heard of livestock guardians?

  2. dbaileyhill Avatar

    a quote:
    “They’ve [wolves] done things to this calf that isn’t ethically right to me.”

    This is laughable to the point that i am speechless….

  3. dbaileyhill Avatar

    Maybe we could subsidize hunting for wolves and give them guns to kill their prey?

  4. Jim Avatar

    dbaileyhill, you beat me to the punch! That quote was hilarious. It just cracks me up thinking of ethical and unethical wild animals.

  5. catbestland Avatar

    Or, we should put them on prozac and send them to violence councilling.

  6. catbestland Avatar

    It absolutely must be one of our highest priorities to pass some kind of law to require that ranchers must provide someone to ride herd on their livestock. I’m sure there is some program that will help them. Most of the predator losses could be avoided at very little cost comparatively.

    Another problem could also be resolved with the same effort. Cattlle are constantly breaking through fence and grazing where they should not be grazing. Either on protected lands or the private property of people who don’t want them there for various reasons. Eventually, as more and more people purchase existing ranchlands, who have no intention of ranching, the practice of letting ones cattle run amuck unattended, will have to stop. The sooner the better.

  7. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    The trouble with Western cattlegrowers that run on public range is they think it should be as safe as a fenced pasture in Ohio.

    Unfortunately it has been their 100 year effort to make the Western mountain and plain country as safe and as boring as that fenced pasture to detriment of wildlife and anyone who likes the outdoors.

    That goal is what is not ethical.

  8. catbestland Avatar


    That is exactly correct about the fence being SO detrimental to wildlife, especially the young. In my opinion, barbed wire fence is one of the most unethical rudenesses ever forced upon western landscapes.

  9. atlas Avatar

    why not bye some llamas or a sheep dog.

  10. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    Llamas are not effective against wolves. They get eaten.

    Sheep dogs are highly effective against the larger problem of coyotes. They also repel bears and cougars.

    Sheep guard dogs are effective if deployed in sufficient numbers. However, the dogs require food themselves, and they are as large as a wolf — lots of food.

    Most people don’t realize this, but often the herders with permission slaughter some of the sheep and feed them to the dogs!

    The most important aspect of wolves and domestic sheep is the herder himself. Wolf advocates would do well to befriend the herders. Where this has been done, good results often follow. Of course, the herders’ employers often don’t like this. Many herders are left on purpose completely dependent and penniless while in the United States. Otherwise, it is thought some will abandon the herds and look for more remunerative jobs. I think in general the large sheep growers don’t want the herders interacting with others because the result could be support for improving their life on the range. What if the herders organized to improve their conditions?

    Cattle require attention too. They should not be allowed to just wander and expect them to be safe and also not to ruin the streams and the range. As Jon Marvel has said the problem with cowboys is there is not enough of them out on the range “cowboying.” My observation is the ranchers sit around in the cafe drinking coffee and complaining about the government and their employees (the actual cowboys) rather than watching their herds on the open range.

  11. outsider Avatar

    ralph do you have proof of “Most people don’t realize this, but often the herders with permission slaughter some of the sheep and feed them to the dogs!” If you do that could be huge in showing how they a speaking out of both sides of their mouths

  12. Salle Avatar


    I have also been told, by herders and others, that they will feed some of the sheep to their guard dogs. “There is a pecking order there.” I was told by someone familiar with the practice.

    Kind of makes you wonder about some of the predation claims… and then about the complaints that predations are not validated as wolf kills in every case of canid predation.

    There’s more than just wild canids out there eating domestic sheep.

  13. Peter Kiermeir Avatar

    Having just returned from a trip to our “german wolf country” (lot´s of paw prints from a really large male and a good howl just before midninght) I´ve also heard some fresh infos about the guarding dogs yet unknown to me. Here, about 40% of the dogs have to be returned because they just do not work! Breeders are contracted to take back these dogs and supply another one, free of charge. And, I was shown a picture of “Anton”, one of the most capable dogs around! Recently “Anton” was found out on the pasture, totally exhausted but alive. Anton had fought off wolves the whole night and he lost only two sheep from a herd of 300! You need two or three dogs to really protect a large herd of sheep.

  14. jimbob Avatar

    Ralph, excellent point about ranchers wanting the Western range to be as safe as Ohio. THAT is the problem! One would think we would learn from the mistakes of Europe or the mistakes from the east that made our lands sterile. Killing all of the “dangerous predators” and other wildlife and allowing every piece of ground to be snapped up as private property is no way to live and no way to ensure a future for all generations. I’ve lived in the midwest and don’t want to go back!

  15. vicki Avatar

    when in grade school I asctually was taught that the west was not settled or tamed by cowboys or sttlers…it was settled and tamed by barbed-wire.

  16. Barb Rupers Avatar
    Barb Rupers

    “subsidize hunting for wolves and give them guns to kill their prey?” Defend your right to arm bears!

  17. outsider Avatar

    salle, ralph I’m just not sure, lambs have to be worth around 100 a head, a bag of cheapo dog food is under 15, you can feed a lot of dog food compared to killing and feeding sheep, not saying I don’t belive you just saying it doesn’t make sense to me, and would need to see more proof before I would beleive that

  18. Jay Avatar

    I believe the sheep that get fed to the dogs are the ones that, as Ed Bangs phrases it, were walking around looking for a place to die, and were successful in that endeavor. I don’t think they slaughter sheep to feed them, just the faulty ones that tipped over.

  19. Mule Avatar

    Prime habit has been saturated in Idaho. See map:

    We have enough wolves in Idaho, when will enough be enough? Its time to start managing them like our other large predators.

    Folks camped half a mile down the road last summer had wolves attack in the night. The guard donkey was found still alive, and partially eaten. The mare was able to fight off the wolves and saved her baby:

    Those of us who live in the wildland-urban interface are in the impact zone. We do not advocate “slaughter” of wolves. Let the wolves have the wilderness, they belong there.

  20. John Avatar

    The wolf population in Idaho has stopped growing. In fact thanks to people wanting petty revenge and hamming it up in much the same way you have just quoted, they are in decline.

    I don’t see people saying such emotionally charged things for the pregnant she-wolf run to exhaustion and shot dead in Alaska last year, or the pups sport hunters shot between the eyes at nigh on point blank range last month.

  21. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    I agree with Mule that prime wolf habitat in Idaho is largely filled, and the end of wolf population growth, and maybe the small decline, is largely the natural end of population growth that comes with every expanding species.

    It could be that the peak would have been about 200-300 higher were it not for the poor wolf management by Idaho Fish and Game and illegal killings.

    By “poor wolf management” I mean that fact that cattle and sheep operators have been allowed to go back sloppy practices with the result being dead livestock and then dead wolves when the better result could have been fewer dead sheep and cattle and fewer dead wolves.

    Wyoming’s population peak is clearly artificial with much wolf habitat left in the southwest and west central parts of the state.

    John is right about the petty revenge.

    Mule is not correct about letting wolves have the wilderness if he means the rugged peaks because that is not good wolf habitat in Idaho, Canada, Alaska or anywhere else. Wolves subsist on elk, deer, and moose, not bighorn and mountain goats.

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Brian Ertz