The email and phone lines have been buzzing about this one.
Last July a ranch hand at the Sun Ranch ran down and ran repeated ran over an injured female wolf, the alpha of the pack. The Sun Ranch on the east side of the Madison Valley has long been favored by many conservation groups as one place where they are trying to do it right. Because the wolf had not chased or attacked the cattle and was in fact moving away from them, they were cited for a violation, an “illegal wolf take” under the current 10j rule.
The 10j rule states that the wolf must be attacking, or actively molesting, harassing or chasing livestock before it can be killed. The method used stirred controversy. The ranch hand did not have a gun. Wolves can also be legally shot for molesting or attacking livestock guard or herding dogs.
Here is the most recent story about it in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. Sun Ranch issued citation for wolf killing. By Scott McMillion. Bozeman Chronicle Staff Writer.
There was a similiar incident this summer NW of Stanley, Idaho when a range rider shot a member of the well behaved Basin Butte Pack after she had crossed private property near cattle, but ignored them. The range rider shot when the wolf had left the private property and was up on the hill on public land. He was fined $275 dollars.
It is not a violation for a wolf to be near or among livestock. Wolf packs pass through livestock all of the time, and they generally ignore the livestock completely. This is considered by most to be good wolf behavior.
The summer before last the Sun Ranch shot several members of the Wedge Pack that had been killing their livestock. I posted their news release about it with favorable comments about the ranch.
This time I will remain neutral.
Here is another story. This one is from a right-wing, fundamentalist, religious-orientated web site. Rancher Kills Wolf to Save Cattle, Violates Endangered Species Act. Randy Hall. Staff Writer/Editor. The employee is turned into the rancher, and they assume the wolf must have been feeding on the Sun Ranch’s cattle.
Lang, the actual rancher, does sound like an OK guy, IMO