Senate OKs new bill to help resolve sheep conflict

Will this save the collaborative group?

Bighorn Sheep © Ken Cole

Bighorn Sheep © Ken Cole

The new bill, SB1232, passed the Senate but will it save the Bighorn Sheep Domestic Sheep Advisory Group? Some of the members of the advisory group are saying the new bill interferes with what the group was formed to do and is still bad for bighorn sheep. Will the advisory group continue?

Senate OKs new bill to help resolve sheep conflict
Associated Press

Changing attitudes stymie elk managers

As elk hunters in Montana let out a bellow for wolf “control” right alongside their friends in other western states – elk distribution and populations in Montana demonstrate a soaring population of elk in areas – enough so that ranchers are getting fed up with elk depredation on cattle forage.

Changing attitudes stymie elk managersHelena Independent Record

Soaring population

Elk populations are soaring in some areas and a concern that other management techniques — changing hunting seasons, instituting more areas where only antlerless elk can be hunted or even something as drastic as using sharpshooters to cull herds, similar to what’s been done to deer in Helena, or paying people to hunt — might be necessary in the future unless something is done now.

The article also hits on a key demographic change in the West ~ people are valuing wildlife more and more, and the old-line adversarial relationship to the natural world (what some folk call the “Livestock Culture of Death”) is waning.

Another article via the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) looks at populations throughout the West :

Elk Populations SoaringNew West, Guest Column

Population highlights among top elk states: California, Nevada and New Mexico experienced the greatest increases with growth exceeding 100 percent. Colorado, Montana and Utah herds are 50-70 percent larger. Oregon and Wyoming are up 20-40 percent.

The article demonstrates that it’s chiefly habitat conservation initiatives and management regimes with regard to take of elk that RMEF attributes to having had such an impact on elk numbers.

Clearly hostility toward wolves, and other predators, is being fomented by something other than sound reasoning and data which would suggest wolves will wipe out all of the elk herds.