SE Montana blizzard kills far more livestock in 2 days than Montana wolves in a year

Of course wolf “depredations” are somehow special. Will the blizzard story last more than a couple days?

Calf losses said to be in the thousands with reports still coming in.

For comparison, cattle losses to wolves in Montana in 2008 totaled just 77 dead with a couple dozen more “probables.”

I bring this up because I participated in a forum about wolves last night at Idaho State University. Several panel participants and folks in the audience tried to convince us that that 96 cattle lost in in Idaho in 2008 was some kind of big deal. We kept saying “no,” the big deal was weather, disease, poison plants, rustling. etc.

Story: Ranchers count up losses to weather. Snow in Montana’s southeast hit during calving, lambing. By Lorna Thackeray. Of The Gazette Staff

April 25. Update: As I predicted, this story didn’t last. Do a web search in news, it is already hard to find the story.

Yet Another Bighorn Sheep Related Bill

Just introduced today.

A new bill was introduced this morning which appears to replace SB 1175.  The bill is virtually identical to SB 1175 except for the following changes:

S1232 F&G, bighorn sheep relocation

(E) The Idaho department of fish and game: (1) shall develop a state management plan to maintain a viable, self-sustaining population of bighorn sheep in Idaho; and (2) within one hundred twenty (120) days of the effective date of this act will cooperatively develop best management practices with permittees for their federal and state grazing allotments that include or adjoin core populations of bighorn sheep as determined by the department. Upon commencement of the implementation of best management practices, the director shall certify that the potential risk of disease transmission, if any, between bighorn and domestic sheep is acceptable for the viability of the bighorn sheep core population. The director’s certification shall continue for as long as the best management practices are implemented by the permittee. The director may also certify that the potential risk of disease transmission, if any, between bighorn and domestic sheep is acceptable for the viability of the bighorn sheep core population based upon a finding that other factors exist, including but not limited to previous exposure to pathogens that make separation between bighorn and domestic sheep unnecessary

This is the previous language from SB1175

(E) Should any bighorn sheep graze, stray or drift upon, or in close proximity to, any private, state or federal lands that have any domestic sheep use, or have any domestic sheep allotments administered by the bureau of land management, the U.S. forest service or the Idaho department of lands, the director shall relocate or control the bighorn sheep to ensure that appropriate separation between the bighorn sheep and the domestic sheep is maintained, unless the director certifies that the risk of disease transmission, if any, between the bighorn sheep and the domestic sheep is acceptable. This certification may be based upon:
(i) An agreement regarding a separation strategy between the bighorn sheep and the domestic sheep entered into by the owners of the domestic sheep and the director or his designee; or
(ii) A finding by the director that the bighorn sheep have already been exposed to certain pathogens that makes separation between the bighorn sheep and the domestic sheep unwarranted.

Update: Idaho Legislature considering a compromise to keep sheep collaboration alive
Rocky Barker, Idaho Statesman