The real animal danger to recreationists now back in the high country

Sheep guard dogs return to central Idaho for summer-

The Idaho Mountain Express has an article today about how recreationists, bikers especially, should be aware of and deal with danger of sheep guard dogs. And we thought the danger was wolves! 😉

Domestic sheep return to local ranges. Recreationists should be prepared for possible run-ins with grazing bands. By Jason Kauffman. Idaho Mountain Express Staff Writer.

The Mountain Express circulates in south central Idaho.  The danger from guard dogs is, of course, general throughout the mountains of the West.  One biologist I knew in Eastern Idaho always walked with pepper spray in one hand and a club in the other when near bands of sheep.





  1. Chris Harbin Avatar
    Chris Harbin

    Strangely enough, the comments in the newspaper were somewhat balanced – though I doubt for long.
    I wonder what the reaction would be if an evironmentalist used the anti-wolf vigilante comment. You know, where someone says that if a hunting season/quota is not established then people will just go to the SSS scenrio.
    Someone could say if they don’t stop grazing sheep (or cows) on public lands then we will just go SSS. (I gotta admit though I would be inclined to remove the “S” in the case of cows. I think there are probably lazy slob environmentalists too.)
    Regarding the anti-wolf vigilanteism, I know people probably do feel that way, and that’s O.K.. But to iterate it, use it as a threat, or actually do is just not acceptable. Nor should it be. Consequently, those people should be called out by those who may agree but would not resort to that.
    I know that at this point such action was not proposed in either the story or comments, but I would not be surprised to see it’s ugly head rise up. I HAVE seen it by several posters on different issues on this blog.

  2. SEAK Mossback Avatar
    SEAK Mossback

    Actually, these issues (including potentially eco-terrorist attack – although poison rather than SSS) played out a couple of years ago in the French Alps where hikers have been mauled by great pyrenees dogs and 17 guard dogs for flocks were poisoned with pork laced with anti-freeze or slug bait. This article points toward either “ecological extremists” or local tourist-related businesses whose revenue is hurt by publicity.
    A second article hints at a faction of local herders who may be angry that some operators are trying, with some success, to adapt to infiltration of wolves back into the Alps rather than consistently reject and combat them in every way possible.
    From the hiker’s standpoint, it seems like an issue similar to bears – information and avoidance. In towns in the French Pyrenees where sheep herding has an extremely long history, they distribute pamphlets advising what to do when you see a Great Pyrenees dog that looks very similar to the pamphlet advising what to do if you see a brown bear (one of the 20 or so in the entire range).


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Ralph Maughan