State wildlife agencies wait to take over wolves. 2007 also saw record number of wolves killed in the region. By Mike Stark. Billings Gazette Staff.
The record number of wolves killed did seem to reduce reduce, or was at least associated, with fewer losses of livestock in Wyoming. Sheep are more likely to be killed than cattle. Of course they are smaller are worth less. Stories rarely mention that a high percentage of the dead cattle are calves, and usually late winter, spring and early summer calves — small or smallish.
I need to calculate the rates, but my perception is that in Idaho the livestock losses per wolf are consistently lower than in Wyoming and Montana, probably due to the larger cow-free backcountry.
Except for an occasional large sheep kill, I must admit my perception is that wolf losses are trivial and the perception of high losses is an opinion artifact created by the livestock industry and politicians. They can tell me 75 cows is a lot of cows, but then I know they were mostly calves and Western Montana is a huge place, but if you report each lost calf and a tearful livestock operator (at least while the video is recording) . . . “how I loved that little gal. Now she’s hamburger (Ooops, I mean she was viciously hamstrung),” it will have the desired effect.