Wolves attack cows on ranch again

marksjeep

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None of the articles mentioned a thing about rolling up shop, moving out, or the sky falling.

From the article discussing the first cow kill linked in the above article:
Gittleson, the rancher whose heifer was killed, is willing to give it a shot. He’s skeptical of hazing wolves — he says he’s concerned they’ll eventually learn ranchers are more bark than bite, and grow emboldened.

But in the meantime, he’s trying other methods. He’s sending his cattle back out to graze alongside horses, who he said “would kick the head off” a wolf.

Still, he said the distance between wolf advocates and opponents is going to be tough to cross.

“A lot of the pro-wolf folks don’t understand livestock,” he said. “But, that’s probably the other way around, too. People on the livestock side could stand to be better educated. Our sides don’t necessarily trust each other, but I’m trying to be level headed. Did I vote for this? Nope, but that’s how elections work. I’ve got to learn to live with it.”

Gittleson said since the news broke about his heifer, he’s been playing phone tag with a wildlife advocate who wants to break bread with him.

“I don’t know if we’ll see common ground or not,” Gittleson said. “But if I don’t try, then I know we won’t.”


I take it at face value. A rancher who is trying to adapt his business model to a new normal, the presence of a new predator with which he has very limited options to work with in mitigating risk to his business. Seems pretty reasonable to me.
 

Bambistew

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Ranchers are rational actors, it's not like they have some sort of pathological wolf hatred, they have a business. Colorado losses to predators are little under 5% of total losses, (remainder, disease, falling off a cliff, etc). In Wyoming predator losses are around 20%. Confirmed vs actual losses are anywhere between 1/7 to 1/20, they can forget being compensated. Losses come directly from the bottom line. https://denver.cbslocal.com/2011/05/17/ranchers-cattle-losses-represent-lost-profits/ I'm not a rancher, not even rancher adjacent, but I'd think the extra losses, and the effort to employ all the non lethal measures would be plenty enough to cause many to simply sell out to some developer of ranchettes.

Unlike bears and cats wolves can double in population every couple years given plenty of foot and habitat. You're probably familiar with the concept of exponential growth from covid. This Walden pack is the first pack in CO, I think our wolf plan calls for the importation of 200. Doubling gives you 400, 800, 1600.

As for anthropomorphising dogs, ever read a dog thread on here?
So what you're saying is that the amount of livestock lost to predators is a very, very small portion of all losses and won't have any sort of effect on a ranch making or breaking it? I know a lot of ranchers who have lost animals to wolves, they're still in business. The ones that aren't saw the $$$$ in their land that was gifted to them, and sold out for an easier life.

If they reproduce at that rate, in 10 years you'll have 200,000 wolves! Heck yeah! That would be more than double the NA population.

The wolves decimated the elk in MT, WY and ID to the point the Fish and Game had to start handing out 2-3 elk tags. I guess in an effort to try and starve them out? Why haven't the wolves just taken over all 3 states, corner to corner?

Rhetoric aside, the focus needs to be on gaining some sort of management over the wolves at some level that is sustainable. Stop worrying about them being introduced or them killing a few cows. Its a done deal, their coming. I sadly don't see any bright future for hunting in CO, wolves or no. At some point there will be an initiative to ban all hunting, and it will pass.

My limited understanding with following the wolf reintroduction since the early 90s. Is they have a core area/range per pack, and that is the limiting factor on population size. They don't tolerate other packs in their areas very well, with or without ample food. Here's an example. The Western Arctic caribou herd lives in an area roughly the size of CO, and comprises of about 250,000 caribou, and maybe 5,000 moose (less this year). Wolf hunting and trapping is allowed, although few are taken (statewide we kill/trap about 1200, out of a total population of 12,000+/-). There is maybe 800-1000 wolves that live in this area. The wolves have not decimated that herd, and are not the controlling factor of its existence. Weather and food availability seems to be.

I'm not arguing that wolves won't effect ungulate populations, I 100% agree they can and do have an effect in some areas, and there are certainly areas whey they can depress populations at very low levels, but it won't be everywhere or statewide. Change sucks, and its stupid that they were introduced via the ballot, but the sky isn't falling.

What is the estimate on total sustainable wolf populations in CO? I haven't read anything about it. I'll bet its not more than 1500 at most. There is too many people, too much development, and not enough refuge for the population to explode to some super high level.
 

one ate E grain

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Do you have any citations for 20% losses? Wyoming uses a 3.5x multiplier when calculating game damage payments.
I went back and looked at my source, it looks like 9.5 due to all predators, and 19% of those are wolves.

In Wyoming, officials attributed 9.5 percent of the cattle and calf losses to predators. Of those, wolves accounted for nearly 19 percent, and bears almost 16 percent.

https://denver.cbslocal.com/2011/05/17/ranchers-cattle-losses-represent-lost-profits/ I've only read of one scientific study in David Mech's "Is Science in Danger of Sanctifying the Wolf", and he mentioned 1/7 of wolf predations are quantifiable. I could imagine a way to get numbers with a control group vs a herd left to wander as is the norm. Not sure there is funding. Whatever the number is, it's low enough that many don't bother.

My 200 number was from memory, sounds like I was wrong, I haven't followed the issue closely as I already know the ending.

Edited to correct the parts I was wrong on lol.
 
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one ate E grain

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Bambi, on the contrary, I was showing that losses are significant enough to cause concern. I have a business, and my business is small, a lot of these ranchers are a lot smaller than me. If they lose 5% or 10%, that's significant to them. Hunting fed my family since the kids were infants, now it's just a hobby. For ranchers wolves threaten their livelihood. I think all the lazy farmers and ranchers left a long time ago, seems like I never meet any. The ranchers still left seem to work harder than me, all that pushing alfalfa out the back of pick ups and breaking the ice to make sure the cows have water. Cold out too.

One truism about wolves is that places that have them, don't seem to like it much. It's been a long time since they brought them to WY, ID, and MT.
 

Zach

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I imagine a similar response if you made a pro-wolf declaration at a cattleman’s associate meeting.
You'd get a bigger response by declaring a "meatless" day...

and I don't think most will get their panties in a wad as much as you'd like to think. Is it a concern, no more/less than any other predator, at least the ones I know feel that way.
 

Zach

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So what you're saying is that the amount of livestock lost to predators is a very, very small portion of all losses and won't have any sort of effect on a ranch making or breaking it? I know a lot of ranchers who have lost animals to wolves, they're still in business. The ones that aren't saw the $$$$ in their land that was gifted to them, and sold out for an easier life.

If they reproduce at that rate, in 10 years you'll have 200,000 wolves! Heck yeah! That would be more than double the NA population.

The wolves decimated the elk in MT, WY and ID to the point the Fish and Game had to start handing out 2-3 elk tags. I guess in an effort to try and starve them out? Why haven't the wolves just taken over all 3 states, corner to corner?

Rhetoric aside, the focus needs to be on gaining some sort of management over the wolves at some level that is sustainable. Stop worrying about them being introduced or them killing a few cows. Its a done deal, their coming. I sadly don't see any bright future for hunting in CO, wolves or no. At some point there will be an initiative to ban all hunting, and it will pass.

My limited understanding with following the wolf reintroduction since the early 90s. Is they have a core area/range per pack, and that is the limiting factor on population size. They don't tolerate other packs in their areas very well, with or without ample food. Here's an example. The Western Arctic caribou herd lives in an area roughly the size of CO, and comprises of about 250,000 caribou, and maybe 5,000 moose (less this year). Wolf hunting and trapping is allowed, although few are taken (statewide we kill/trap about 1200, out of a total population of 12,000+/-). There is maybe 800-1000 wolves that live in this area. The wolves have not decimated that herd, and are not the controlling factor of its existence. Weather and food availability seems to be.

I'm not arguing that wolves won't effect ungulate populations, I 100% agree they can and do have an effect in some areas, and there are certainly areas whey they can depress populations at very low levels, but it won't be everywhere or statewide. Change sucks, and its stupid that they were introduced via the ballot, but the sky isn't falling.

What is the estimate on total sustainable wolf populations in CO? I haven't read anything about it. I'll bet its not more than 1500 at most. There is too many people, too much development, and not enough refuge for the population to explode to some super high level.
To your point, it's just my tin foil hat conspiracy theory that placing wolves back in CO is a cog in the endgame of ending hunting. Let "nature" police itself is a feeling I get from the pro crowd.
 

wllm

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Oh, she meant to say "hobby-rancher, when the weather is nice" ;)
By that yardstick there are maybe a dozen “ranchers” in the county.

Plus it feels a little ridiculous to say that people who own cows, or work with livestock, or identify as ranchers because they come from multi-generational ranching families don’t count.

My FIL owns about that much land has cows on his property, has a registered brand, and would kick your ass if you said he wasn’t a rancher.
 

Bambistew

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My FIL owns about that much land has cows on his property, has a registered brand, and would kick your ass if you said he wasn’t a rancher.
We've nearly a dozen brand I'm my immediate family. No one likes wolves any more than they like any other predator. They've lost many cows to wolves as well as all kinds of other predators.

Matter of fact my cousin just smoked a couple wolves yesterday, along with a few coyotes. Just another day on the ranch.

@one ate E grain I see what you're saying, but wolves are not going to put ranchers out of business by killing a cow now and then. They are not losing 5-10% to predators, that's what percentage of all deaths are predator related.

I grew up on a "ranch" as well. We lost more sheep to domestic dogs than predators combined. A golden retirver can't take a bullet very well, by the way.
 

Oak

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I went back and looked at my source, it looks like 9.5 due to all predators, and 19% of those are wolves.



https://denver.cbslocal.com/2011/05/17/ranchers-cattle-losses-represent-lost-profits/ I've only read of one scientific study in David Mech's "Is Science in Danger of Sanctifying the Wolf", and he mentioned 1/7 of wolf predations are quantifiable. I could imagine a way to get numbers with a control group vs a herd left to wander as is the norm. Not sure there is funding. Whatever the number is, it's low enough that many don't bother.

My 200 number was from memory, sounds like I was wrong, I haven't followed the issue closely as I already know the ending.

Edited to correct the parts I was wrong on lol.
The number they’re not telling you there is how many total are lost. It says 9.5% of losses are attributed to predators and 19% of that 9.5% is wolves. So if a rancher loses 100 cattle a year, 10 are from predators and two of those 10 are from a wolf.
 

LuketheDog

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By that yardstick there are maybe a dozen “ranchers” in the county.

Plus it feels a little ridiculous to say that people who own cows, or work with livestock, or identify as ranchers because they come from multi-generational ranching families don’t count.

My FIL owns about that much land has cows on his property, has a registered brand, and would kick your ass if you said he wasn’t a rancher.

I wasn't broad-brushing that one, it was just for Ms. Donovan, she's more of a farmer than a rancher anyway. My adopted (sort of) grandad was the same as your FIL, he only had about 200 acres left and was mostly retired but still owned a few head of cows and some horses he let us use for roping, toughest guy I ever met. He was still more of a rancher than the folks who came up from the city and bought a couple thousand acres to play cowboy.
 

wllm

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I wasn't broad-brushing that one, it was just for Ms. Donovan, she's more of a farmer than a rancher anyway. My adopted (sort of) grandad was the same as your FIL, he only had about 200 acres left and was mostly retired but still owned a few head of cows and some horses he let us use for roping, toughest guy I ever met. He was still more of a rancher than the folks who came up from the city and bought a couple thousand acres to play cowboy.
I think you're probably right about her ranch, but I really don't have a dog in that fight and am 100% not the person to hold up the who is a rancher yard stick. More I'm pointing out if we have a yard stick then use the damn thing on everyone who makes the claim.

My more general criticism, and not specifically of your comment but this thread and the lion one, though your comment is related, is of the idea that:

"Folks are moving here, bringing their politics with them, and voting/passing legislation that reflects a lack of understanding of culture of the state and interests of it's citizens."

But then voting for western transplants purely because they have an R behind their name without for a second considering their platform or positions.

If one doesn't like a candidates positions don't vote for them; if Donovan has bad positions on predator management, call them out specifically.
 

YoungGun

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But then voting for western transplants purely because they have an R behind their name without for a second considering their platform or positions.
Say it louder so the folks here in Montana can hear it. Gianforte- from California, but slap an (R) on there, ignore the policies, and then complain when elk management is slapped in the face. Rosendale- from Maryland, again slapped that (R) on there, and received his votes. Meanwhile, a guy like Tester, who's a native Montanan and (was) a farmer until holding office, probably has more aligned core values with the majority of Montanans, but still faces criticism because of that (D). I swear, if people looked past the letter after a candidates name, we as sportsmen would be in a better position on many fronts (Unless you own your ranch/ranchette, then you might be worse off).
 

marksjeep

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There is one reference to yuppies, and one to political and demographic trends. Hardly the same shit show that the lion thread has devolved into. I mentioned Donovan for one reason alone, to highlight that painting ranchers as irrational actors and harboring some sort of pathological wolf hatred, is perhaps a stretch. She is clearly rational and her last wolf proposal certainly did not result from a pathological hatred of them. I don't apply yardsticks to who is rancher, either. She calls herself a rancher, I take that at face value. Her last wolf proposal seemed to me (personal opinion) to be one of the most rational, well balanced, and manageable proposals put forth. And I supported it regardless of her political affiliation or mine.

The topic of a pack of wolves taking up residence in the state, and beginning to have an affect on locals who live and work there, seemed relevant to the public land/diy hunting mantra of HT. That's why I posted the article. The livestock attacks getting press will affect how people vote on these issues, and how their representatives in the legislature vote on them. While SB22-031 does not deal with wolves, it does deal with management of predators. Any press these livestock killings get can/may affect votes on that turd. And that will affect us, as hunters.
 

LuketheDog

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I think you're probably right about her ranch, but I really don't have a dog in that fight and am 100% not the person to hold up the who is a rancher yard stick. More I'm pointing out if we have a yard stick then use the damn thing on everyone who makes the claim.

My more general criticism, and not specifically of your comment but this thread and the lion one, though your comment is related, is of the idea that:

"Folks are moving here, bringing their politics with them, and voting/passing legislation that reflects a lack of understanding of culture of the state and interests of it's citizens."

But then voting for western transplants purely because they have an R behind their name without for a second considering their platform or positions.

If one doesn't like a candidates positions don't vote for them; if Donovan has bad positions on predator management, call them out specifically.

Agree with you. I don't vote for people because of who they claim to be, I really try to look at what they do. She's not a bad person and has some ok positions on things I care about, like the 2nd Amendment and wolves (sort of), but definitely guilty of redefining herself based on whose vote she needs at the moment, whether it's the Vail-skier-pro-wolf-reintro character or the Carhartt-wearing rancher. Her husband worked for Gov. Hickenlooper, and if I recall when he stepped down his goal was to become some sort of political consultant/lobbyist and turn the 'ranch' into a high-priced wedding venue. Ranching is definitely not a main job for them, it's a pastime, therefore I question their real commitment to helping people who have more skin in the game.
 
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