Friday, April 17, 2009

When To Shoot a Wolf

April 13, 2009 photo, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Two wolves standing over 2 dead sheep, previously killed by these same wolves in Baker County, Oregon

I have not been shy about the stupidity of shooting wolves on National Forest lands in order to protect sheep grazing allotments on those lands. It is stupid, stupid, stupid.

Sheep on National Forest land costs U.S. taxpayers more money than they bring in, and if there is one place in the world where wolves should be allowed to run free, it's in our National Forests, on BLM lands, and in our National Parks.

That said, there is a place to shoot wolves, and that is when they venture on to private property and begin a campaign of systematic stock predation.

I have always said so, and I say it again now.

Oregon has had wolves for over a decade, and there has never been any stock lost -- until now.

Recently a small contingent of wolves in Baker County, Oregon has discovered that sheep are nothing more than lamb chops on the hoof. In less than two weeks, 23 sheep have been killed on a single ranch.

Proper response: a bullet to the brain of the offending wolves.

No debate, not question, no protest.

Wolves have their place and their rights, and so too do stock owners. Both sides need to have a place where they can live in peace.

The rules of engagement are not hard to discern: Get sheep out of public lands and get wolves out of private lands when they threaten ranching stock.


retrieverman said...

Remember what Edward Abbey wrote about grazing on public land. It was the "most sacred form of public welfare" in the country. (I can't find the direct quote).

There are set of people in the northern Rockies who are so anti-wolf that I think they are a bit unbalanced. I can send you some videos-- one fellow claims that wolves will dig up grizzly bears and eat them.

Yes, wolves kill stock. They kill dogs. That's what they are.

But surely we can live with an animal that usually avoids us like the plague-- because we are their worst plague. I've never known another species in nature to do what we've done to wolves-- just kill as many of them as cruelly as possible. I know lions and spotted hyenas are often against each other in nature, and introduced species have caused extinctions. But what we've done to the wolf has been greatly enhanced by our own perverted imaginations. This is truly disconcerting if you think about it.

Yes, we'll have to manage their numbers eventually. North America is not the vast wilderness it once was, and human enterprise has a place on this continent. But there has to be place in this country for both of us.

3Laiki said...

Recent article from my alma mater on how permitting hunting of wolves may help protect them...

yucatec said...

Dear Patrick,
Since sheep guarding dogs are more than 95% effective deterrng coyote and wolf attacks (stats from the USDA Idaho research facility), only stupid ranchers don't use them. I suspect such a rancher here.

In 99 I attended a Va Sheep Breeders meeting where the state (coyote) trapper was looking for his yearly grant. Leo Tammi - then president- suggested they buy every sheep farmer inm Virginia a guard dog with the money, instead. Nope. Kill'em.

Donald McCaig

sassanik said...

Its weird, its been known for some time that wolves were migrating into Oregon from Idaho. A farmer that close to the border, you would think he would have dogs protecting his herd.

They have not confirmed a breeding pair yet (I think) so there are not many wolves in Oregon.