Wolves

new.gif (26402 bytes)Siskiyou County comments: Petition to List Gray Wolf under the California Endangered Species Act;

new.gif (26402 bytes)Wolf looking for love finds none in California  The California Department of Fish and Game is to report to the commission during its Aug. 8-9 meeting in Ventura on whether protecting the wolf is warranted.

new.gif (26402 bytes)Supervisors decline to vote on ordinance to outlaw gray wolves in county ; Siskiyou supervisors asked to outlaw wolves; board takes no action on new proposal

  new.gif (26402 bytes)Petition to List the Gray Wolf (Canus Lupis) as an Endangered Species Under the California Endangered Species Act; Enviros petition to protect wolf as endangered in California

new.gif (26402 bytes)Feds Plan to Strip Endangered Species Act Protection From Gray Wolves Across United States

DFG Wolf website
DFG initial determination that petition to list under CA Endangered Species Act May be Warranted

Places for Wolves Defenders of Wildlife page 22 
Oregon/CA could support an estimated 1,450 wolves on 13,224 sq. mi of habitat - including most of Siskiyou County

"68 Mackenzie Valley wolves captured in Alberta, Canada were released in Yellowstone in January 1995 and January 1996 over the strong objections of the people who actually lived there – farmers, ranchers, sheepherders, and other land owners and homeowners.

"Predictably, with few predators and lots of prey, the wolf population exploded, expanded into other states, and depleted deer, elk, caribou, moose and big horn sheep. "(Defend Rural America)

"Wolves carry several zoonotic parasitic diseases of world-wide concern.  Although these diseases are frequently downplayed by the wildlife agencies and wolf introduction proponents, they can be very debilitating to humans and domestic animals.  Some of these diseases can take ten years or more in your system before they begin producing symptoms, and a disease like human cystic hydatid disease can mimic other medical problems, and take even more years before finally becoming diagnosed and treated.  Others have tremendous health and economic impact consequences for ranchers and farmers." (Trademark America)

"...In December the program issued it’s first lethal control order after a female wolf with a long track record of livestock depredations and human habitation was found circling a private home at regular intervals where small children were exposed to her close presence.... The remarkable thing about this control action is the fact that despite dozens of human safety encounters since the beginning of the program many of which involved their attraction to children, this was the first time the agency admitted lethal control was warranted for human safety reasons." (Wolf Crossing)

See attached webpage on the fraud behind Canadian wolf introduction in the U.S. West

rdbar.jpg (10843 bytes)

Gray Wolves in CA (excerpts)

Although gray wolves formerly inhabited California, their historic abundance and distribution is unclear (Schmidt 1991, Shelton and Weckerly 2007). While there are many anecdotal reports of wolves in California, specimens were rarely preserved. The historic range of the wolf in California has been reported to include the Sierra Nevada, southern Cascades, Modoc Plateau, Klamath Mountains, and perhaps the North Coast Ranges (Stephens 1906; Grinnell et al1937; Hall 1981; Paquet and Carbyn 2003). However, Schmidt (1991) concluded that wolves also “probably occurred in the Central Valley, the western slope of the Sierra Nevada foothills and mountains, and the Coast Ranges of California until the early 1800s, although their population size is unknown and may have been small.“

2.2 Anecdotal Observations

Writings of early California explorers, settlers, and naturalists often refer to wolves. These descriptions were often accompanied by little detail and it is likely that many accounts are either erroneous or unfounded. Coyotes (Canis latrans) were often referred to as wolves or prairie wolves in California and other western states in the late 1800s and early 1900s (Grinnell et al.1937, Bruff 1949), and coyotes in the Sierra Nevada, southern Cascades, and Klamath Mountains were frequently called gray wolves or timber wolves (Grinnell et al 1937)

Based on available information, including known misidentifications, there is little credibility in many of these reports. An example of such an account is found in an 1827 journal entry describing life near the San Gabriel Mission (Los Angeles County): “Still at the Mission...Myself and Mr. McCoy went up into the mountains to see if we could find some dear [deer]; I saw two and wounded one, killed a wolf and two ducks...” (Rogers 1918). As no description of the wolf is presented, and no evidence from other parts of the journal indicated the author was familiar with coyotes, it is impossible to determine if the author was referring to Canis lupus or   Canis latrans

Dixon (1916) described fruitless efforts to obtain wolf specimens for the University of California: “For several years past the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology…has endeavored to corroborate reported occurrences of timber wolves in California, but without obtaining a single specimen. Several quite convincing reports of such captures have reached the Museum from time to time, but whenever the skin or skull was secured, the animal always proved to be a large mountain coyote…”Except for the few cases where authors specifically mentioned both wolves and coyotes, or provided additional information suggesting their wolf observations were authentic, the anecdotal observations described in early writings must be treated with some skepticism. Additional anecdotal records are summarized and described in Appendix B.

2.3 Museum Specimens

DFG is aware of only two museum verifiable specimens of naturally-occurring wolves from California. Both are males located in the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology (MVZ) at University of California, Berkeley (Jurek 1994). One specimen was collected in the Providence Mountains, San Bernardino County, in 1922(Johnson, et al 1948). It weighed roughly 100 pounds and apparently was caught in a steel trap, “while pursuing a bighorn sheep” (Grinnell et al 1937).Johnson et al (1948) noted that “This is the only record known to us of the occurrence of wolves in the Providence Mountain area, or, for that matter, anywhere in southeastern California. “ Based on an examination of the skull, the authors concluded that this animal was more closely related to southwestern

 The coyotes inhabiting these montane habitats tend to be larger and have thicker fur than their lowland conspecifics, and some taxonomists have recognized this larger race as the mountain coyote (canis latrans lestes). subspecies than wolves from Oregon. Given taxonomy currently proposed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) (2011c), this animal may have been a Mexican Wolf (Canis baileyi ).The other specimen was collected in 1924, near Litchfield, in Lassen County. It was fairly old, missing a portion of a hind leg, and was emaciated. Though it weighed only 56 pounds, it was estimated that in good condition it would have weighed approximately 85-90 pounds (Grinnell et al 1937).In 1962 a wolf was killed near Woodlake in Tulare County. Since wolves had not been documented in California for nearly forty years, this incident generated considerable interest and speculation whether a small resident population still existed in California (Ingles 1965). This was an adult male weighing only fifty-six pounds. A study was conducted comparing the skull of this wolf to other specimens at the MVZ (McCullough, 1967). The researcher concluded that the available evidence suggest this animal was introduced into California and most closely resembles wolves found in Southeast Asia, particularly Korea. Lastly, the Department is inquiring about a reported wolf specimen having been killed in 1959 in California near the town of Verdi, Nevada. As of this writing, there is no conclusive evidence on the species of animal taken.

 2.4 Summary of California Distribution and Abundance

The available information suggests that wolves were distributed widely in California, particularly in the Klamath Mountains, Sierra Nevada, Modoc Plateau and Cascade Mountains. Most of the anecdotal observations are ambiguous as to whether the observer was reporting a wolf or a coyote and the physical specimens are very few in number. These facts are most consistent with a hypothesis that wolves were not abundant, even though they were widely distributed, in California

Wolves in Oregon: Bigger, badder than before?

Extinction of the CA gray wolf

http://www.klamathbasincrisis.org/wolves/letters/greywolvesinCAbyFoley011012.htm

http://www.californiawolfcenter.org/learn/wolves-in-california/

 

Siskiyou County 2001 resolution regarding reintroduction of wolves

WEBSITES

new.gif (26402 bytes)http://www.dfg.ca.gov/wildlife/nongame/wolf/

Warning - Most of these videos are graphic

Independent film documents impact of wolves;
Why ranchers and pet/livestock owners oppose wolf protection, (graphic)
Wallowa, ORVideo (graphic)
Washington Wolf Info. (graphic video of calf attacked by wolves)
Three cows, two pregnant killed by wolves in Wallowa County over Thanksgiving (graphic video)
Wallowa County loses Annie a Riding and Pack Mule to Wolves (graphic video)
Fatal Wolf and Coyote Interaction – this is how wolves kill other canines (video)
Crying Wolf (movie)
Yellowstone is Dead (video)
Big Game Forever (video)
Wallowa County Wolves (video)
Aspen Pack Necropsy (video graphic)
Catron Co. (Middle Fork) NM (graphic)
Sky Country Journal Video: Wolves in Paradise A War Report
Local Outfitter loses mule to wolf attack – ODFW calls probable, USWS and WCSO confirm video
Wolves killing the young and healthy
The killing sport (video)
wolf depredation Video
Children encircled by Mexican gray wolves 2007 (video)
Horse named Six killed by Aspen pack (vido graphic)
Imnaha Pack Keeps Killing more Cattle (video)
Wolves blamed for killing livestock in foothills  (video)
Ravalli County Commissioners Meeting (video wolf impacts on business)
Defend Rural America (audio interviews)
Delist Wolves
Life with Wolves
Oregon Wolf Education Organization
Oregon Cattlemen's Assoc.
People Against Wolves
Wolf Task Force (Trademark America - coordination)
Wolfcrossing
Abundant Wildlife Society of North America
Klamathbasincrisis.org
Wolf Wars
Gray Wolf News
New Mexico Federal Lands Council
Wolves Gone Wild
Oregonians for the Right to protect People, Pets and Livestock from Wolves
Montana Cattlemen's Assoc.
Montanans for Multiple Use
Oregon Wolf News
Trademark America Wolf Coordinating
Various Livestock Assoc.

NEVER AGAIN -

More than the loss of big game animals to wolves;
More than the loss of all sorts of livestock to wolves;
More than the loss of all manner of dogs to wolves; 
More than the loss of safe hunting, trapping, and fishing opportunities to wolves:

Indeed, more than the loss of anything except human lives to wolves or the role of wolves as vectors of diseases and infections that threaten the lives of humans, pets, livestock, and other wildlife  --- those last two sentences say it all about why wolves should NEVER be a federal responsibility and why the first and foremost responsibility of state government regarding wolves must always be to provide the sort of wolf presence, if any, desired by LOCAL COMMUNITIES. 

When any government imposes wolves, in this case by force, on local communities it not only disregards why this country was founded; it violates and destroys the very basis on which this country was founded.  When The Declaration of Independence (written to explain to all Colonists during the Revolutionary War why we were fighting) states that “all men” “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights” such as “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” and “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed” it undoubtedly meant to make any governmental action such as wolf imposition unjust and therefore impossible.  This woman has had her “Life, Liberty and pursuit of Happiness” not only threatened, she has had her “unalienable Rights” endowed by her “Creator” severely diminished forever by an unjust government.

Consider just a tiny fraction of all the limitless “Nevers” she faces in addition to those two she mentions in those last two sentences.
 
“Never” again to:

- Go outside your home, alone, at night.
- Let dogs out alone at night.
- Let children walk to neighbors or to school, alone.
- Let children camp in the yard.
- Let children go fishing or camping or trapping alone.
- Let children take out the garbage at night.
- Sit on your porch alone in the evening.
- Carry in groceries (the smells) alone.
- Go anywhere without a cell phone.
- Treat a dead cell phone battery as a minor inconvenience.
- Let kids play in the dirt in the yard (potential disease infections like anthrax and Neospora caninum.)
- Let the dog lick your kid’s face or sleep with them (again many diseases).
- To think you shouldn’t (or don’t need to) carry a gun.
- To think you could kill a very dangerous and deadly animal threatening you or your family without risking jail, a fine, and the loss of more rights.
- Experience the peaceful and safe rural environment that you and your parents once knew.
- To look at your children and grandchildren and believe you are leaving them a world and Country as good as or better than the one left you by your forbearers.

May Our Creator helps us all as government, utilizing unjust “power”, seeks to deny our unalienable Rights. Especially those of us living in rural America.

Jim Beers
30 November 2010

Jim Beers is a retired US Fish & Wildlife Service Wildlife Biologist, Special Agent, Refuge Manager, Wetlands Biologist, and Congressional Fellow. He was stationed in North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York City, and Washington DC.  He also served as a US Navy Line Officer in the western Pacific and on Adak, Alaska in the Aleutian Islands.   He has worked for the Utah Fish & Game, Minneapolis Police Department, and as a Security Supervisor in Washington, DC.  He testified three times before Congress; twice regarding the theft by the US Fish & Wildlife Service of $45 to 60 Million from State fish and wildlife funds and once in opposition to expanding Federal Invasive Species authority.  He resides in Eagan, Minnesota with his wife of many decades.

 

http://www.klamathbasincrisis.org/beers/never_wolfaccount113010.htm

Wolf Encounter – Saturday, November 27, 2010
Name: Karen Calisterio
Time: Approximately 4:35 PM
Place: 1519 Moses Mountain Road, Tensed, Idaho 83870 (Driveway)
Conditions: Dusk, snowing, snow covered ground
Details:

About 4:30 PM, I, Karen Calisterio, and my husband, Ed Calisterio, arrived home from Coeur d’Alene to find our driveway too deep in snow to drive our car in without risking getting stuck. My husband decided not to take a chance and went to a friend’s house nearby (about 3-1/2 miles) to borrow his plow to clear the driveway. I was tired and wanted to go on home while he did this so I said I would just walk up to the house while he went to get the plow. Our driveway is about 1/3 mile long from mailbox to house. I had walked up our driveway before and had my snow boots on and a warm coat so figured I would be fine.

I was carrying my large canvas purse so checked the mailbox, put the mail in my purse and started up the driveway. I was about of the way up the driveway when I heard my phone ringing in my purse and tried digging for it but couldn’t find it in time to answer it. From my call log on my phone that call came in at 4:33 PM. After standing there for a few minutes fumbling through my purse to find my phone, I saw it was a friend and figured I’d just call them back when I got to the house as it was getting dark. I decided to put my phone in my pocket so I wouldn’t have to dig for it again in case Ed needed to call me for any reason.

As I started up the driveway again, I saw, what I thought was 2 dogs at the crest of the driveway before it turned to go to the house. At first I thought it was my 2 dogs, but they seemed too big to be my dogs. I thought well maybe because I’m looking uphill at them and its getting dark they just look bigger. However, they just stood there and didn’t bark which I thought was odd behavior for them. They usually bark at everything. I called out to them but they didn’t respond like my dogs normally do and they still didn’t bark, but they started walking towards me. Then suddenly I saw 2 more coming with them and instantly said to myself, “oh shit, I don’t have 4 dogs, these are wolves”.

I grabbed my phone out of my pocket and called my husband in a frantic and said, “get back here fast, there are wolves in the driveway and they’re coming towards me.” He said to keep my phone in my hand, don’t panic and he was turning around to come back. This call was placed at 4:37 PM and lasted 27 seconds. For a second, I started to turn and run back down the driveway then thought, “I don’t think I’m supposed to run.” Then I started crying, saying to myself, “I don’t know what the hell I’m supposed to do”.

I turned back around so could keep watching the wolves and walked backwards as fast as I could. They kept coming towards me, but they didn’t appear to be running. It was getting dark fast. At 4:39 I tried calling a neighbor but he didn’t answer. At 4:40 my husband called back and said that while he was rushing to get back, he slid into a ditch and was stuck at the bottom of the mountain and had help coming and would be there as fast as he could get there and to stay calm. This call lasted 11 seconds.

The wolves then went into the bushes. I couldn’t see them anymore and I couldn’t tell where they went or what they were doing. At 4:41 he called me again to make sure I was still ok and I stayed on the phone with him for 30 seconds. My phone was nearly dead and I was trying to preserve all the battery I had. It seemed like an eternity and I was scared to death that the wolves had circled me in the surrounding bushes. I had a long wool coat on and remember thinking, “I wonder if that would protect me from their sharp teeth”. I prayed and I cried.

At that point I really thought I was going to be eaten alive. At 4:43 I finally reached another neighbor by phone who said she’d be there as fast as she could get there. I stayed on the phone with her for 43 seconds. She came quickly and I could see her lights coming but it seemed like an eternity. I started moving as fast as I could to the end of the driveway hoping they’d be afraid to attack me if they heard her coming.

At 4:49 PM my husband called me back but it went straight to voicemail. At 4:53 I called my husband and told him that the neighbor had got their and that I was safe and that she had 4-wheel drive and was taking me to the house. He said that he was on his way up the hill with the friend who was bringing the plow but said he’d have to go back down and get the car after they plowed the driveway and made sure I was ok.

As my neighbor was driving me up the driveway to the house we could see all the tracks in the headlights. You could clearly see how far they had advanced towards me before going into the bushes. When I got to the house I found my dogs to be under the house. It took quite a bit of coaxing to get them to come out.

When my husband and another friend got there, they plowed the driveway on their way up but said they saw the tracks going off to the side. My husband got his 4-wheel drive pick-up and went back down to pull the car out of the ditch and a neighbor drove my car home. It continued snowing.

We went down with a flashlight and guns and tried to see if we could tell where they went or where they came from but the snow had covered most of their tracks, there were tons of tracks going in all directions but not well defined, mostly indentations in the snow at this point since so it had continued snowing. I was hoping to be able to tell if when they went into the bushes had they circled me or had they taken off.

Our hayfield is a frequent wintering ground for area elk as it borders forest land. Just a few days before Thanksgiving, we had counted about 40 head of elk in the field next to our house at dusk. We also have a large pond on the lower side of our driveway where the deer and elk water. We think it was the elk herds in the area that may have drawn the wolf packs in.

This was the most frightened I can ever remember being. I will never walk to my mailbox again. If I breakdown I will never leave my car.
 
Scott Rockholm

 

 

A ranch family's Mexican gray wolf story

Tim Steller, Arizona Daily StarArizona Daily Star | Posted: Saturday, December 17, 2011 5:00 am | Comments

The Center for Biological Diversity and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service put out press releases Thursday about the shooting Wednesday of an endangered Mexican gray wolf in New Mexico.

Those releases (here's the center's, and the service's is attached) deal with the issue of the shooting of the wolf, but they didn't get into the detail of what led to the shooting.

Crystal Diamond, who lives at Beaverhead Ranch near Winston, N.M., wrote an account and released it through the New Mexico Cattle Growers Association, a longtime opponent of the government's wolf reintroduction program. Her story is attached as a pdf and copied here:

Collared Wolf at Beaverhead

Crystal Diamond’s Encounter

Tuesday December 13, 2011

I returned home to Beaverhead after being gone for several days with my 2 young daughters, Cayden (age 3) and Reece (age 2). My husband was away from home and scheduled to return Thursday. On the drive back I had passed my father-in-law who informed me that a wolf had been sighted at our Beaverhead Headquarters earlier that morning in the horse corrals & harassing our peacocks. The wolf had been chased away.

Arriving at Beaverhead, I drove up to the main headquarters to speak with U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) representatives already there. They stated that they were aware of the wolf sighting and would return in the morning.

I drove directly to my home, reversing my truck up to the front porch. I unloaded both of my children from their car seats and placed them on the front porch which runs the entire length of my house. I began unloading groceries and luggage from the bed of my truck walking in and out of the house with the front door wide open.

The dogs played rambunctiously around my vehicle and around the yard. I gave little attention to the commotion of the dogs and continued to unload my truck. My daughters were still outside when I walked back out my open front door to see my neighbor speeding up my driveway hollering out his window. He yelled for me to take the girls inside while pointing to the dogs who were roughhousing with a collared wolf no farther than 35 feet from my 2 year old daughter.

I grabbed my girls and ran inside slamming the door behind us. My neighbor asked for a rifle to haze the wolf and took off running in its direction. Within minutes I heard a gunshot. I waited about 15 minutes before locking the children in the house and walking up over the hillside to locate my neighbor. I was yelling for him as loud as I could.

Topping out over the hill approximately 100 yards from the house -I saw the wolf stopped and staring about 50 yards in front of me. Screaming, I ran as fast as I could back to the house. Apparently, as my neighbor ran up over the hill to haze the wolf she had circled back around, beating him back to the house. It was soon completely dark & we were unable to see any further than the glow of my porch lights. My neighbor instructed me to remain inside the house with my children and dogs and not to open the door at anytime during the night. 

My overhead porch light, two motion lights, and a brightly lit holiday porch decoration were left on. Most of the inside lights were on, including our Christmas tree in the front window. Music played as the girls ran around the house up until bath time at 6:30 p.m.

I had just placed them in the tub and walked directly to the recliner in the living room just feet from the front window. I was on the telephone when I looked over my shoulder to see the wolf staring back at me . . . her nose pressed against the window pane. I jumped up and stepped away from the window. She remained at the window watching me for just the few seconds before I ran out of the living room into the bathroom where my children were.

I called my husband on his cell phone who at this time was on his way home. Throughout the evening my male border collie whimpered at the front door aggressively trying to get out. Both dogs paced the house on high alert all night.

At my husband’s request, my neighbor returned to my house. He sat on my front porch with nothing but a blanket, camera, & gun in freezing temperatures until midnight when my husband returned home. At that time, they noted all the tracks on and around the front porch and attempted to preserve several tracks by placing bowls and cans over the prints. Preserving all the tracks would be impossible, as fresh snowfall began to cover the ground.

Wednesday December 14, 2011

Our neighbor returned to our house around 7:30am. Together with my husband, they went to take photographs of the wolf tracks they’d tried to preserve the night before. New wolf tracks in fresh snow were everywhere - all around the children’s play yard in the back of the house, leading up to and on the front porch, in the front yard, and in the driveway. Based of the location of tracks, they determined the wolf spent most of the night within 50 yards of the house.

USFWS, Catron County wolf investigator, and Catron County Commissioner all arrived around 8:00am. Using tracking devises, the wolf was determined to be with a quarter mile of the house. I was assured that the wolf would be removed.

Pressure from heavier-than-normal vehicle traffic and people on the ground, had pushed her as far as two miles from our house throughout the day.

Later that evening, the wolf was returning to our home and was put down by Wildlife Services. She was euthanized on private property 150 yards from my house. I was notified by Wildlife Service Officers that the wolf had been removed and would no longer pose a threat to me or my children. Words cannot express my overwhelming sense relief when I received the news.

My daughters and I had literally been held prisoner in our own home for over 24 hours. It’s difficult to describe the terror of a predator so fearless and eager to get in my home. My responsibility as a mother is to keep my children safe at all times. For a period of time, that God- Given Right was stripped away. The thought of “what might have been” consumes my every thought.

Thank you to USFWS for resolving this issue in a quick and effective manner. Thanks for the swift action of Wildlife Services and the professionalism of their officers. And most of all, thank you to a neighbor who placed the safety of my children above his own. Without his watchful eye, the events of my story may have very easily had an unforgivably tragic ending

 

 

Student's death confirmed as continent's first fatal wolf attack (Canada)

rdbar.jpg (10843 bytes)

Wildlife Special Publication, ADF&G/DWC/WSP-2011-2

Findings Related to the March 2010 Fatal Wolf Attack near Chignik Lake, Alaska

Lem Butler, Wildlife Biologist, ADF&G

Bruce Dale, Wildlife Biologist, ADF&G

Kimberlee Beckmen, Wildlife Veterinarian, ADF&G

Sean Farley, Wildlife Physiologist, ADF&G

DNA samples confirm wolves killed Southwest Alaska teacherDNA samples confirm wolves killed Southwest Alaska teacher At least two wolves chased down and killed a teacher who was jogging on a road last year (2010) outside a rural Alaska village, according to a report released by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game final report on fatal wolf attack near Chignik Lake

rdbar.jpg (10843 bytes)

Wolf Attack!
Wolf Attacks on Humans
The Danger of Wolves to Humans
Wolf attack on miner (video account) National Geographic
Wolves become increasingly violent towards humans, pets Three women and leashed dogs threatened by pack
Wolves kill Montana guard dog
Woman charged by wolf while elk hunting above Eureka Meadows
Gray Wolf//Timberwolf threatens human life
When do wolves become dangerous to humans?
B.C. Senior Survives Wolf Attack
Habituated Wolves Pose Real Threat to Humans
Wolves- When Ignorance is Bliss
Wolf threat in Fort Nelson B.C. (children sledding)
Wolf attacks on humans (Wikipedia)


 

 

Grant County ranchers contemplate living with wolves By Scotta Callister

(Part One of a series – See more coverage in Special Sections-Wolves at the Door)

JOHN DAY - Grant County ranchers last week got a glimpse of the future: living with wolves.

 

"We are in the process of sharing our wolves with the rest of the state," Wallowa County Extension agent John Williams said at a Dec. 8 meeting in John Day.

 

The Grant County Stockgrowers invited Williams and rancher Todd Nash to relate their experiences from Wallowa County, Oregon's primary portal for inmigrating wolves. The meeting drew about 60 people, mostly ranchers, to Keerins Hall on the fairgrounds in John Day.

 

Williams noted that the wolves that moved in from Idaho several years ago have been reproducing, and the 2- and 3-year-olds are dispersing to find new homes.

 

Unfortunately, he added, "the wolves we're sharing, are wolves that have learned to kill livestock. And once they get a taste for it, that's what they want."

 

Williams updated the progress of a couple of recent travelers. OR-7, a young male, recently roamed to Southern Oregon and is believed to be settling near Crater Lake National Park. Another disperser, OR-3, moved west to Wheeler County this year and was last detected north of Prineville - with a partner, he said.

He and Nash said Wallowa County ranchers began reporting livestock losses to wolves in 2009, but confirmation of kills has been controversial. In many cases, with state and federal wildlife agents disagreeing in many cases.

 

Williams said that in 2010 alone, the Wallowa County ranchers tallied 33 calves missing, nine cows missing, 11 confirmed calf kills and two confirmed cow kills.

 

Meanwhile, Oregon's wolf plan limits the response by ranchers. If they see a wolf chasing or tracking livestock, they can try to scare it off - fire shots in the air, make noise, or confront the wolf - but not hurt it. If wolf activity becomes persistent, producers step up the harassment - but only with a permit, and only in certain, verified circumstances.

 

A couple of people at last week's meeting asked about lethal response, with one suggesting that a ".30-06 bullet is the answer." However, the speakers warned against an illegal "shoot, shovel and shut up" response.

 

Wolves in Oregon are protected by the state endangered species act and, west of Highway 395, by the federal endangered species act.

 

"I don't want to hear about citizens in the state of Oregon going to jail for shooting wolves," said Williams. The situation in wolf communities is emotionally charged already, he said, and seeing a neighbor jailed for shooting a wolf would only make things more difficult.

 

Other ranchers suggested that with wolves here or on the way, the focus should be on finding a way to live with this new challenge.

 

What to do

 

Nash and Williams offered tips, urging the ranchers to:

• Carry a camera to document any kills, suspicious injuries or tracks.

• Take notes and keep records - of cow numbers, animal weights, locations, time spent checking cows, and any efforts to ward off wolves through nonlethal means.

• Be alert for odd activity in the herd: nervous behavior, signs of stress, unusual patterns of movement.

Nash also said to watch for "tight-bagged" cows - a sign that its calf is missing. Traditional signs of predation - the presence of crows, magpies, eagles and other carrion feeders - also are clues.

• If a cow or calf is found dead of a suspected wolf attack, follow certain protocols. Notify the sheriff, who will contact wildlife officials - either the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife or U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services. Cover the carcass to protect it from scavengers, who might destroy the signs of predation, and stay away from the site as much as possible to avoid contaminating the evidence.

 

Williams also urged county officials to get ready for wolf issues. Under a new law enacted by the legislature, counties that want to see compensation for their ranchers must set up a committee that includes one commissioner, two ranchers, two wolf reintroduction supporters, and two business people. The county needs to establish procedures to deal with wolf kill confirmation and compensation issues, he said.

 

What to expect

 

Williams noted an ongoing research project that is examining wolf-livestock interactions on six ranches in two states. The research is confirming many of the things "cowboys already know" about wolves, but documentation is important as the data will help guide decisions about wolf management, he said.

 

He and Nash shared some information about wolf behavior they've gleaned from research and personal experience.

 

Nash's first brush with wolf depredation was in May 2010, when he went out to check his cows in the pasture. He saw a tight-bagged cow and couldn't locate her calf. On a second trip to the field, he found remains of the calf.

 

He followed the protocol, calling Wallowa County Sheriff Fred Steen, who called in wildlife officials to investigate.

 

"It's important to set it up as a crime scene," he said, urging that Grant County residents work with their sheriff, Glenn Palmer, in the same way.

 

Williams said wolf kills can be difficult to prove - sometimes the carcass is never found. In others, parts of the carcass or stripped bones may be left.

 

Wolves don't always discriminate between meat and hide, Nash said - "they'll eat it all."

 

The two men said a mark of wolf depredation may be the fierceness of the attack. A body may have legs missing or pulled out of the hip socket.

 

"Wolves have tremendous jaw strength - 650 pounds of jaw strength per square inch. A grizzly bear has 450 pounds," Nash said.

 

In some depredation cases, the cow survives - at least for a time. The worst scene so far for Nash was the discovery of an attack on an 8-year-old 1,450-pound heifer owned by a neighbor. The wolves "took the calf right out of her while she was still alive," Nash said.

 

The cow, downed and severely wounded, had to be shot.

 

The costs

 

Nash and Williams stressed that production losses go beyond the death of a cow or two. For ranchers, the most serious impacts may show in the temperament of the herd. With wolf presence, cows may become unmanageable, lose weight, abort their calves or suffer from respiratory distress, he said.

 

If the cows become aggressive toward cattle dogs, that's another tip-off that the problem is wolves.

 

All of these impacts are costly, but can also be hard to pin on wolves. That makes compensaton iffy, at best.

 

"The real big issue in compensation is that only one in eight animals (killed) ever gets found," said Williams. "And remember, losses are the smallest part of your costs in dealing with wolves."

 

Elsewhere

 

Williams said people question why Canada's had wolves for years and the ranchers there seem to live with them, "so why can't you?"

The difference, he said, is the way livestock attacks are handled in Canada. He said that when wolves kill livestock there, officials go after that wolf immediately.

 

"They track and kill that wolf and every wolf that's with it," he said. "They don't allow that transfer of ‘let's kill livestock.'"

 

Not all wolves develop a taste for livestock, he noted. He believes that as in Canada, Oregon needs to be able to kill some -strategically, leaving alone the ones that don't go after livestock.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife recently issued a kill order for two problem wolves from the Imnaha pack, but environmental groups obtained a stay from an appellate commissioner to stop the action. The Oregon Cattlemen's Association currently is considering a petition for reconsideration.

 

ARTICLES/REPORTS

Free Hit Counter                                   
free hit counter

<