Wolves: Only lazy ranchers blame predator

“The solution to stop the livestock killings by wolves is simple: A $50,000 fine given to each livestock owner who allows wolves to kill their livestock.”

Every once in awhile you come across a Letter to the Editor that just really hits it out of the park:

Wolves: Only lazy ranchers blame predatorMissoulian LTE

133 Responses to “Wolves: Only lazy ranchers blame predator”

  1. James Mars Says:

    The idea of a ranching operation that doesn’t have at least one person at a time watching the cattle seems like a ridiculous state of affairs. And I’m not just talking about preventing wolf habituation to and predation of cattle.
    Coyotes, dog attacks, weather, thieves, treatable cattle illnesses, are a few things that come to mind.

  2. Ryan Says:

    Brian,

    I have an issue with this, first off the signed name has no record of land ownership MT which give the author about zero credibility. The management of this site wouldn’t have posted this LTE if it was by one of our posters and not a “rancher”. I’m suprised its gone to this, its credibility is right up there with toby bridges 200lb wolves..

  3. Elk275 Says:

    I just called the Missoulian Letters to the Editor. They did verify that he is a person. There has been several calls questioning whether he is “all hat and no cow” or is he the real McCoy. The editior plans future verification and is going to contact him.

    I think that he is “all hat” and his hat is a beannie.

  4. Ann Sydow Says:

    Is it really that unbelievable that even a single rancher would. Stand up for wolves? I’ve met several people myself who had cows and also were all for co-existence. Why is it so hard to believe?

    • Save bears Says:

      Ann,

      It is not hard to believe at all, I know several ranchers that are willing to co-exist with wolves and do every day..this particular person claiming he is a rancher in the Duck Lake area, is not holding water, no record of land ownership, and nobody contacted in the area knows him, now they may own big tracks of land, but ranching is really a pretty small community, so draw your own conclusions..

      • Daniel Berg Says:

        The name “Bert Bentley” screams pseudonym to me. The only question at that point would be whether he was actually a rancher or not.

      • Save bears Says:

        Based on phone calls and land ownership records, as well as the way he wrote his LTE, my guess would be NOPE, no way no how…I know just about all of the ranchers in that area, because when I was with FWP, we did surveys and feasibility studies about Bison in this area, and met just about every single rancher in the area, and all of them I called, said, nope never heard of him!

      • jon Says:

        I remember a while ago when I stated on here that a rancher in Stevensville Montana didn’t mind wolves and was willing to co-exist with wolves and actually wanted more wolves in his area. Some on here questioned that and gave me shit for bringing it up. Turns out the guy posts on here from time to time and is good friends with Jerry Black.

      • Save bears Says:

        Jon,

        You don’t get shit because you show there are ranchers that are willing to co-exist, you get shit, because you keep regurgitating things and acting like you know what your talking about..you brought the shit up about Goofy in Idaho, which we have ALL agreed on, he is a nut case and should have been thrown in jail for his crime..

        You get shit, because you only know Montana and Idaho by pictures, you have never been on the ground here, and those are your words…

      • jon Says:

        Oh, I am sorry sb that I never had the privilege of visiting Idaho or Montana. You know sb, not everyone lives in Montana or Idaho.

      • Elk275 Says:

        Jon

        Where ever you live it is no more than a 3 day drive. Mike does it every year. From Chicago to Billings is 24 hours. Every year hundreds of non resident hunters make the drive. JUST DO IT.

      • jon Says:

        I live in Maine elk.

      • Save bears Says:

        Jon,

        No need to be sorry, but just remember, you know less than us that do live here, recreate here and work here, your information comes from the news, not from experience, and you can visit anytime you want, many of us on this very website have offered to host you and show you around….

      • Save bears Says:

        And Jon,

        The only cost to you would be the travel to get here, we have all said, that we would foot the food bill, the tour bill(take you around) heck we can even go the National Parks, no cost to you…I have a three bedroom home, you more than welcome to stay in, my wife is a heck of a cook as am I, you would basically be here on a free ride!

  5. Nancy Says:

    Bert Bentley said: I’ve run herd on thousands of acres directly east of Glacier Park and we never lost one head of livestock because we were there 24-seven.

    Did I miss something here? Where in that statement (or anywhere else in the article) did Bert claim to be a rancher? He ran herd on a bunch of cattle. I’ve met alteast one Bert since I moved to Montana and he also “ran herd” for one of my ranching neighbors when they pushed their cows up to public lands for the summer.

    • Save bears Says:

      Nancy,

      I called everybody I know in the area, they know of no Bert Bently, either as a landowner or a hand on a ranch..this guys is not what he claims to be..

      • jon Says:

        sb, is it possible at all that this Bert bentley could be helping out a rancher friend?

      • Save bears Says:

        Jon,

        Nobody has heard of him, do you realize how big these ranches are? I am sure, that if he was working on a ranch somebody would have at least heard of him, but I called everybody I know in the area, which goes from East Glacier to Choteau, down to Great Falls and in between, nobody has heard of this guy.

        It seems after my conversation with the Missoulian today, they are also questioning who and what the motives are behind this LTE, as Elk found out also, this guy is a plant and I suspect, it was not even sent from a Montana address…some here really want this guy to be real, but I think you may be disappointed…

      • Nancy Says:

        And given the “hunt” thats on to find him right now SB, I’m not sure I’d use my real or full name, not unlike so many, my self included, on this site who feel the same way he does about wolves.

      • Save bears Says:

        Ok Nancy,

        I would only say, did he know there would be a hunt for him, when he wrote the letter?

      • Elk275 Says:

        It is editorial policy the one must use their real name and a verifed address. With the use of cell phones anything is possible.

      • jon Says:

        So that settles it, this guy is real.

      • Save bears Says:

        Nobody said he wasn’t a real person Jon, the question is, does he ranch or ride as a ranch hand, you did notice the Missoulian is going to contact him to provide verification..?

        Your the one that said you didn’t care if he was real or not…

  6. jburnham Says:

    Hit it out of the park? Which part? He took a valid point, that livestock often go untended for long stretches, and buried it under a pile of B.S.

    More gas on the fire anyone?
    “…you’re more likely to be permanently injured from riding on Flathead Lake in a boat with drunken elected officials…”

    Dubious, unsupported claims?
    “The elk population has fallen in western Montana because of poachers.”

    Misplaced appeal to science. The latest ruling was about interpreting the law, no science involved.
    “Judge Donald Molloy used scientific facts to make his ruling.”

    He stuck it to the ranchers all right, but is this the type of rhetoric wolf and ESA supporters really want to identify with? I’m with Ryan, no better than Bridges.

  7. jon Says:

    sb, I don’t care if he is real or not, but elk said earlier that he contacted the missoulian and they said Bert Bentley is a person. Take that as you want.

    • Elk275 Says:

      They have confirmed that he is the one that sent the letter to the Missoulian. After my conversation and several others they are going to contact him again and ask for verification of his claims. Time will tell.

      • jon Says:

        Well elk, if that happens, find out what you can about Bert Bentley because I would like to know if he’s affiliated with any ranchers in Montana.

      • Elk275 Says:

        Since Save Bears has also contacted the Missoulian, I am going to let him follow up with in the next several days. Saves Bears is more diplomatic.

      • jon Says:

        OK, please do sb. I would like to find out the deal about this Bert Bentley guy.

      • Save bears Says:

        Elk,

        Based on my conversations today, it seems quite a few are trying to ascertain if this person is a rancher, including representatives from some of the environmental groups..

  8. Save bears Says:

    He may very well be real, I never said he was not, but he is not a rancher east of Glacier Park, and his rhetoric is just as bad as the anti-wolf side.

    Now of course, I knew for a fact, you would not care, he struck a cord with you, you liked what he said, of course it was just as bad as those on the other side, that say poison them, gut shoot them, just don’t say anything when you do..

    You are just as bad as the haters, only 180 degrees opposite, and that is the fucking problem with this mess!

    • Save bears Says:

      And one big key is “You don’t care if he is real or not” That speaks volumes Jon…

      • jon Says:

        Maybe he is not a rancher, but I believe he may help a rancher out. I really doubt someone would write a letter to the missoulian under their real name and than lie about being a rancher. It would make more sense to do it under a false name. That is just my opinion.

      • STG Says:

        Save bears, why do you posture so much? Your hostile comments about jon are getting tiresome and add nothing to the discussion.Give the guy a break!

      • Save bears Says:

        STG,

        I only comment is the like manner in which I am addressed, if you don’t like, then my only suggestion is us the sense you were born with and don’t read it..

      • Save bears Says:

        And I am not sorry to say, I will never give someone a break, that has never experienced the stuff they profess to love and know about, you can’t understand living here, recreating here, or understand without actually being here for at least a small amount of time..

      • Daniel Berg Says:

        SB,

        Jon should take up the offers he’s had to have a hosted trip in Montana someday. He would most definitely not regret his visit to the state.

        I do think you can have a strong passion for wildlife even in areas you haven’t been. It’s true that actually being there gives you a different perspective and more of a sense of legitimacy in the eyes of some, but a love of the wilderness and a passion to support its preservation based on your own beliefs is not necessarily limited to the areas where you have actually been.

    • STG Says:

      I found it rather refreshing.

  9. jon Says:

    sb, I don’t agree with some of the things that Bert said. You need to stop assuming shit. As bad as Bert may seem to people like you, he will never compare to the likes of Toby bridges who preaches poisoning of wildlife. People like Toby Bridges are vile.

    • Save bears Says:

      Jon,

      What would people like me be?

      I have condemned Bridges, Gillette, and any of the other zealots, as I have condemned people on the pro side that lie, now you can get as pissed as you want with me, but I am in the middle and see the bullshit on both sides of this issue for what it is, Bullshit..

      And Jon, based on your postings over the last couple of days, I didn’t assume anything…I would never think to make an ass out of you and me..

    • jon Says:

      sb, I never said anything about this Bert Bentley guy. I just said he was a rancher and that’s it. I just posted the link to his letter yesterday and that’s it. I disagree with a few of the things he said in his letter.

      • Save bears Says:

        Jon,

        Just a few messages ago, you said “I don’t care if he is real or not” So you did in fact say something about this “Bert Bently” Guy…and now, you seem irritated, because the possibility exists that he is not a Rancher…?

      • jon Says:

        If he’s not a rancher so what sb? How is that supposed to make someone irritated? If he is a rancher good, if he isn’t, that’s good as well. As I said, I find it a little odd that someone would write to the missoulian under their real name and talk as if they are a rancher when they are not. T

      • Save bears Says:

        Jon,

        You said it, not me, but I have seen many on the anti side, also write letters claiming one thing and they turn out to be something else..and when it comes down to is, bullshit is bullshit, no matter what side it comes from..it does neither side any good…I think no matter what side your on, the goal is a solution to the void that has happened…

      • Elk275 Says:

        Jon and et al

        Google the Missoulian. On the home page is the most popular and click on the tab most commented. There are 44 comments on this letter. About 65% are anti wolf and 35% are pro wolf, but there are comments from writers who currently live in the area and have never herd of Bert Bentley.

  10. Save bears Says:

    I will continue to follow up, and I would encourage you to as well Elk, this kind of stuff from either side, does nothing to bridge the canyon that is between both sides on this issue, a lie is a lie, no matter which side makes it..

  11. Brian Ertz Says:

    Trying to delegitimize the merit of a proposition by attacking the name behind it has always been the tactic that folk who have little more take.

    The merit of the argument has nothing to do with who wrote it.

    The argument’s got merit.

    • Save bears Says:

      I strongly disagree Brian, I have no problem with his poaching position, but his ranching position is way out of reality…especially if it proves true, he is not what he claims, it is extreme positions like this that continue to keep both sides at each others throats..

      • Save bears Says:

        Just to add, I hope if the Missoulians investigation proves he is not what he says he is, both sides will be able to understand that being on the extreme side of this issue will not solve anything.

      • Brian Ertz Says:

        i’d also like to add that trying to delegitimize the merit of a proposition by attacking its projected position on some contrived political spectrum has always been another tactic that folk who have little more take.

        The merit of the argument has nothing to do with where it lies on a political spectrum.

        The argument’s got merit.

      • Elk275 Says:

        What merit is a $50,000 fine for wolves attacking livestock on private land?

      • Brian Ertz Says:

        it points out the absurd notion that the wild ought be accountable to alter its behavior around some rancher’s self-interested sense of entitlement not to do what darn near every other business must do ~ take responsibility.

        it points out the irrationality of the current economic behavior ~ namely, that ranchers have no actual economic incentive to prevent livestock depredation because the government will do it for them if they just keep whining along with the rest of their ilk ~

        ~ Moral Hazard ~
        government (& groups like Defenders of Wildlife w/ their compensation program) removing all real economic incentive to adjust husbandry practices to accommodate the wild undermines any potential for co-existence from the get-go and has just fueled ranchers’ sense of uber-entitlement to have the rest of the world accommodate their every whim – OR – it will be literally gunned down from an airplane.

        ~ the irony of Elk275’s suggestion that wolf advocates’ might not be in favor of private property rights is palpable when you think about often we see ranchers et al waving the banner of private property rights while sticking out their hand whilst whining & sucking their thumb for another government hand-out to either compensate them for their negligence/losses to the wild (often of which is on their use of PUBLIC land for a fraction of market), or to demand that that public land wild space be altered/domesticated/controlled/killed with PUBLIC dollars to accommodate their “private property right” to grow livestock.

        $50,000 fine would be closer to a reasonable solution because it would be a giant slap in the face resembling any other normal free-market circumstance most business are subject to that said : “That’s your investment ! you’re responsible for it ! If it doesn’t make it, you’re responsible for your negligence via economic consequence ” that the current contrived system ranchers have propped up for themselves is unable to effectively communicate.

        p.s. – your “private land” modifier is a straw-man you’ve added ~ i’m not principally interested in keeping it erected …

      • Elk275 Says:

        Brain

        The wild in the land left when the United States of America issued a patent for the land to the patentee.

    • SAP Says:

      Brian – I take Mr. Bentley’s argument to be that there is some relatively straightforward way of preventing livestock losses to wolves.

      Mr. Bentley attempts to establish his experience and authority to advise us on this topic with his claim to have “run herd” over east of Glacier Park.

      I disagree that anyone has found straightforward methods to prevent wolf predation on livestock. If Mr. Bentley has new information or revelations, he doesn’t elaborate beyond his statement that being with the cattle “24-seven” prevented losses.

      Granted, the letter-to-editor format imposes great constraints, but I think Mr. Bentley’s argument here rests greatly on the notion that he is an authority due to his alleged experience. So, if he’s NOT really an authority, he doesn’t really make much of an argument.

      I don’t know what being with the livestock “24-seven” means to Mr. Bentley. I know that there is no generic pasture, no generic wolf pack, no generic situation. Maybe he was in a place where it was easy to see all the cattle, or a place with plenty of roads for patrolling. In other situations, even being out there constantly is not going to be enough to prevent predation.

      We may not agree on everything, Brian, but I at least admire your intellectual honesty in stating plainly that you want most (all?) western ranching to end. I disdain those who claim ranchers ought to be able to live with wolves, yet offer no meaningful solutions other than sound bites or ruinously expensive ideas.

      • Brian Ertz Says:

        i think we may be confusing mr. bentley’s intention with the allusion to grazing cattle – it doesn’t look to me like the merit is contingent on the whether that fact is true or not — though it is remarkable how much criticism he is subject to given his position that is critical of the great cowboy sense-of-entitlement.

        i wonder whether mr. bentley would be subject to such criticism of the authenticity of his identity if he were to be bitching about how unfair the wild is ?

        the argument makes sense whether mr. bentley is a rancher, cowboy, wall-street trader, inmate, or clown.

        i’ll grant that this conversation over the authenticity of his identity has illustrated the great degree to which the western cowboy myth takes itself supremely seriously ~ and the insane double standard that is immediately applied …

        why not just give the guy the benefit of the doubt and focus on the merit ?

      • bob jackson Says:

        SAP

        “No straight forward methods to prevent wolf depradations???

        Yes allow all cattle to keep their horns, keep the males and their balls and allow them to form up in role defined (like in protection) extended families and there WILL be straight forward methods in place to protect against predators.

        It happened for two hundred years with wild cattle in this countries SW. These spanish cattle from what is now Florida flourished and expanded all the way across the SE to Texas and beyound. This is with wolves, lions panthers, bears and humans being around.

        Just give any herd animal its rightful means of species ingrained protection and it will do it. The first place to start is public lands. Require all cattle grazing there to possess this basic animal requirement.

        And what will the ranchers do? Scream bloody murder…but they are the very ones who deformed and splintered this animal(s). There should be no way they are to be compensated for any loses to wolves. And to set this scenario up only takes three to four generations of cattle. And the cost is minimal. Just hold back family members instead of those ten percent replacement heifers and ta da you have it in 12-15 years.

        Forget the range rider. It is fraught with human error. Nature isn’t.

    • Elk275 Says:

      Brain

      Why should a man/women be fined $50,00 for a wolf killing livestock on private land? If the land is private and 2/3 of all land in Montana is private then that land can and should be used as the owner see’s fit with some exceptions. If I was caught killing or trying to steal cattle should the landowner be fined $50,000. I might get shot and if a wolf is killing cattle it should be shot.

      I am starting to believe and so are others in my neighborhood, who work in the environment field, that there is a number of anti private property contributors to this forum.

      • Save bears Says:

        Count me in your neighborhood Elk…

      • Brian Ertz Says:

        yes Elk275 ~ i enjoy how you prop up a supposition that i never alluded to (i.e. private/public), proceeded to shoot it down (without the need to substantiate even the inferred right referred to, no less) and subtly suggest that i’m a socialist (or don’t recognize the apparent right to exterminate wildlife as a contrived private property right).

        … i suppose that’s supposed to render my opinion regarding wildlife politics without merit as well ?

      • Ryan Says:

        Me too.

      • Elk275 Says:

        Brain

        I never implied that you were a socialist, but I do believe that there are people who are upset about how people manage there property and its effect on wildlife and are jealous about how much property one owns. I am one of those people, too, we all are.

      • JimT Says:

        I don’t think it is anti private property per se. ; I think it is a view that recognizes that never in the history of private property since it was first conceived legally in England was there ever a completely unfettered private property right. There has always been an inherent recognition of mutuality and restrictions in the common law concepts of nuisance, trespass, and the covenant of quiet enjoyment. One could have have, under the old common law, that the ranchers, by not taking steps a reasonable man would take, or be assumed should take, to protect his livestock, they are creating an attractive nuisance and should be held accountable for the effects of creating such a nuisance. Statutory law now has subsumed alot of the common law concepts, but the basic notion of having to mitigate your actions on your land so as to not cause harm to neighbors or society is still valid. And if wolves are federally protected, creating a situation whereby the wolves are in enhanced states of risk and danger should be subject to review and possible punishment, regardless of whether it is activity on state, federal or private lands.

      • JB Says:

        “I am starting to believe and so are others in my neighborhood, who work in the environment field, that there is a number of anti private property contributors to this forum.”

        Count me among them. Private property rights in this country have been taken waaaay too far. As a hunter you might be interested to know that people once had the right to hunt on any private land that was not developed or in agricultural production. And yet, the same people who continually complain about a being excluded or forced to pay a fee to hunt private lands are among the first to advocate in favor of greater protections of property “rights”.

        With that said, I don’t think livestock producers should be fined for losing sheep or cattle to wolves. However, I do think they should be fined when their negligence in dealing with their livestock on public lands results in an endangered animal (or entire pack) being exterminated. I’ll add that I don’t think this should apply simply to livestock producers; if your behavior results in the death of wildlife on public lands, you should be held accountable, regardless of your occupation.

      • Save bears Says:

        JB,

        You might wan to qualify your statement:

        “if your behavior results in the death of wildlife on public lands, you should be held accountable, regardless of your occupation.”

        I can honestly say, that my behavior has on several occasions resulted in death of wildlife on public lands! But I can say, I have been held accountable, especially if I cooked the steaks wrong!

        LOL

      • SEAK Mossback Says:

        Property rights in Montana can seem a bit extreme from some perspectives. Elk will probably remember the incident at Point of Rocks Lodge on the Yellowstone many years ago. A young woman desperate to get somewhere wrote a note to the owner describing her intentions and posted it by the door, then got in his jeep and drove up the driveway onto the highway. On hearing his open Willys jeep depart, he ran out with his 30-30 and shot her in the back, killing her. The jeep ran off into the river anyway. I heard he never saw the inside of a courthouse. In Montana, it seemed, property rights could sometimes trump the right to life.

        I had to chuckle when we had a Montanan, decked out for deer hunting, tiptoeing down the beach from town looking nervously up into the woods. His lace-up leather boots helped give him away (instead of our ubiquitous cultural footwear that seems to be worn nowhere else in the world). He was looking for a section of public property he’d investigated on a map that came down to the beach and inquired where it was, which was almost impossible to determine with no fences or no-tresspassing signs. We told him “Just go into the woods anywhere — all anybody asks down here is you have the courtesy not to walk by right past our windows.”

      • Elk275 Says:

        That was Max Chase who shot her. No one ever heard a thing after a few days.

      • JB Says:

        I believe Montana has also had some issues with some well-known residents trying to exclude anglers from rivers on/adjacent to their property; in fact, I think we discussed it in depth here on this blog? We have created defacto privatization of fish and wildlife resources by emphasizing private property rights to the nth degree.

        Increased private property rights -> less access for hunters and anglers -> less hunting/fishing -> fewer dollars for conservation

        – – – – – –
        SB:

        I thought it was obvious that I wasn’t talking about legal hunting?

      • Save bears Says:

        JB,

        Lighten up, I was just messing with ya!

      • JB Says:

        Sorry; sometimes it’s hard to tell when people are joking and when they’re being serious.

      • JimT Says:

        SEAK Mossback,

        A “little” extreme?

        I suspect that this was more than a theft issue; this was also covered by the deadly force statute and law in Montana as well. If so..and he got off when he wasn’t in any kind of personal risk, nor was there any reasonable suspicion he would be given the note or the circumstances, Montana’s law IS a bit extreme if it allows the use of deadly force in those circumstances.

        I had a constitutional law professor who was from the back hills of Kentucky. Great stories…but one concerned the custom of “hail the house.”. It was well known to the residents at that time (40s) that you yelled at the house and then waited because if you went up and knocked on the door, someone was likely to shoot you.

        I would hate to think that if my car broke down in Montana, I would be shot by someone if they were the paranoid type, and all it took was some statement that he thought I was coming to harm him…

        I might check out the language of those provisions if I lived there…;*)

      • Elk275 Says:

        JB

        I have to go downtown. Montana has had residents and non resident landowners (Jim Kennedy a son of the Cox’s sisters in Alanta, Forbes estimated net worth 10 billion, the Ruby River) try to exclude the public from rivers and streams. Montana has the best stream access laws in the United States. Colorado and Uath they have some of the worst. There latest law allows access from the county road right-aways.

        I would like to see other state enact similar laws, Alberta copied Montana’s law.

  12. SAP Says:

    Even if this guy did “run herd” (seems like he mixed up the terms “ride herd” — which is a specific task involving moving cattle from point A to point B — and “run cattle” — which is a catch-all term for keeping cattle on pasture somewhere and all the activities that entails), he seems a little preachy and unwilling to consider that sometimes wolves are just going to kill livestock, in spite of good intentions and hard work

    The only certain method is to bring livestock into some kind of wolf-proof structure (6 foot high electrified fence, or a building) when wolves might be a threat.

    Apart from the expense of even having such a structure (can you imagine a building large enough to comfortably house 500 cow-calf pairs?), there’s the animal stress and disease potential associated with putting them into and keeping them in the structure, plus the labor involved if the operator had to move them from a distant pasture to said structure. She wouldn’t get anything done besides moving them to and from the building/wolf exclosure.

    Being with them “24-seven” sounds great until you’ve tried it. Put 400 head in a 500 acre pasture and go out there at night — you’ll realize that that many cattle can more or less disappear in a pasture that size. Patrolling may or may not keep wolves away, and the poor soul who has to be out there at 0300 with a spotlight isn’t going to do much productive besides nighthawk duty.

    • Brian Ertz Says:

      ugh … gosh-gollie — it’s just such hard, gruelling work ! not fair ! … seems like if it’s that difficult to accommodate livestock grazing given a wild environment, maybe rather than managing, controlling, killing, sterilizing, etc. the landscape to accommodate such an economically irrelevant land use, we should admit that livestock grazing ain’t appropriate on that particular land …

      problem solved

      • SAP Says:

        I’m not looking for sympathy, Brian, just emphasizing that there is no straightforward, certain method of preventing wolf predation on livestock. No need to be uncivil, is there?

        Mr. Bentley wrote: “we never lost one head of livestock because we were there 24-seven.” He is attributing an outcome to something he/they did. He does not elaborate on what they did, when they did it, whether there were a lot of wolves active in the area, and so on.

        Even if we accept his implied claims of authority based on having managed cattle near Glacier, his main argument could be invalid because some other factor caused the outcome of no losses. But that doesn’t stop Mr. Bentley from jumping to the conclusion that everyone else just needs to try harder, like him.

      • SAP Says:

        & again, I’d rather see someone come right out and say they want ranching to go away (as you do), than to continue to obfuscate the real conflicts with unsubstantiated, ill-informed assertions about what ranchers coulda shoulda done to prevent losses to wolves.

      • Brian Ertz Says:

        i can certainly respect that.

        i don’t believe there to be much of any controversy about whether or not a herders’ presence on the landscape would significantly contribute to minimizing the potential for a predation event to take place. It would. the fact of the matter is, the vast majority of ranchers (at least on the public lands that i’m familiar with) turn their cattle out and are frequently absent for extended periods of time – we’re talking weeks if not months. that’s the rule (not the exception) as I’ve experienced it in idaho.

        the point the author is trying to make is that it’s more profitable for ranchers to be at home, with their cattle unattended, whining & moaning about how unfair the wild is to their politicians and local WS reps, then to be out on the landscape with their livestock at night. That’s a problem that needs fixed.

      • SAP Says:

        Actually . . . it’s all in the details: juxtaposition of cattle to herder to wolves; density of cattle; terrain; class of cattle; predisposition of particular wolves to hunt cattle instead of native ungulates. All these factors contribute to whether a herder’s presence makes a significant difference. I know of some operations that have herders on site a lot and still have problems. I know of a handful that do as you describe — cattle unattended for weeks on end — and some do just fine. I attribute their “success” to having old, experienced cows.

        I agree with you that current incentive structures and social pressure are stacked against people figuring out how to adapt. Why bother if — as some have blatantly said — they just have to take a couple of kills so they can get WS airborne?

      • Ralph Maughan Says:

        SAP,

        Regarding public lands ranching and your request for a clear statement, look at https://wolves.wordpress.com/2010/10/04/wolves-only-lazy-ranchers-blame-predator/#comment-119463 of mine below

  13. SEAK Mossback Says:

    I admire those who come up with creative, effective ways of non-lethally protecting their livestock — but it doesn’t seem that bone-headed easy like this guy lets on. The wolf is stealthy, big brother to the coyote. Admittedly, I live in a forested area but in recent weeks the local wildlife biologist and his assistant have been run kind of ragged responding to wolf calls in different neighborhoods. They’re there just outside the porch lights one minute and Fido gets a quick trip to the here-after, but before any plan can be laid or implemented they’ve melted back into the brush and the same thing happens the next night a half mile away. They’re very good at the game, just like those Yellowstone coyotes.

  14. Larry Thorngren Says:

    I have to agree with Bob Jackson on requiring cattle on public lands to have their horns still on them. Putting polled or dehorned cattle in areas where there are predators puts them at a great disadvantage.
    We had both horned and polled cattle on our farm when I was young and the horned ones would stand and dare our dogs to come close when we moved them, while the hornless ones ran and got their heels nipped and bloodied.

  15. Cheryl Says:

    I am always amazed how up in arms folks get when someone states an OPINION…..Isn’t that what a letter to the editor is? He is not a columnist stating a fact. He is someone who wrote a letter stating an opinion.

    Everyone is just too freakin’ ready to fight all the time. Get over it.

  16. Virginia Says:

    After reading all of the remarks on this particular topic, I think SAP is accusing the wrong people of being uncivil. What is the point of the use of profanity and attacking others for their views and making accusations which do not further the discussion, but only denigrate it? If you can’t be civil, keep your remarks to yourself!

  17. Ralph Maughan Says:

    Cheryl,

    I will give my opinion on this and try to give a few facts.

    A rancher shouldn’t be fined for losing livestock to wolves. In addition, losses may or may not be due to laziness.

    However, as Larry Thorngren indicated above, the cattle put on public lands are weak, can’t defend themselves. They can only be protected from predators by making the land tame and uninteresting, which the western livestock industry has been trying to do for many years.

    A person who runs on public lands and has avoidable losses might just be lazy, but many of these operations are so marginal that they can’t afford to hire someone to watch, or even watch themselves because they are trying to hold body and soul together working their second (their income producing) job.

    The western livestock industry has not only tried to tame our wild country, but pull subsidy after subsidy from the federal and state governments to try and make public land grazing economically viable.

    If wolves are enough to put them out of business, it might be fortunate — motivation to change jobs and make a decent living. It would be beneficial to the rest of us too.

    • SEAK Mossback Says:

      Unfortunately, I have to agree on all points. There is arguably some surplus forage at higher elevations beyond what limits wildlife, but to utilize it with livestock at a density that would be acceptable from the perspective of other uses would only make it that much more economically difficult to protect against predators. I’m sure others here who have walked in these mixed open and timbered areas, or hunted elk there, and noticed the sharp contrast in vulnerability of elk versus cattle that have been bred for generations to accentuate meat production (and have had their horns cropped). Alertness and speed develop to some extent over the season (they will eventually see you, stare bug-eyed and blunder off), but it’s still no comparison. If I was a wolf in such a situation, I wouldn’t waste time on elk or deer . . . . what’s most impressive is that so many in those areas leave cattle alone for more difficult prey.

      Trying to guard livestock in those areas won’t work economically or practically without expensive government help continually trying to remove all wolves that make the switch, which will never end unless aversion to cattle and sheep can be bred into their genes. It boils down to either trying to raise something gnarly enough to stand a better chance with predators or to vacate public grazing and leave the forage to ungulates that can be hunted, which may not benefit the average consumer as much but still produces tangible economic value. One problem I see, however, is that if operators are not grazing as much up on summer range, the lower range that may be more limiting to species like elk , may also be hit harder, year-round. That further emphasizes the need to protect and further acquire winter range — something that really came home to me on a recent Yellowstone trip, looking down out of the Park, across the Forest and checkerboard and into those private valleys — particularly the Forbes Ranch and places in Tom Miner Basin where I got my first deer and my brother his first elk in the 1960s. Somehow, some of those key winter areas right next to the boundary of the park should have been acquired and turned to wildlife use in the intervening years. The handling of bison by the government is despicable as many here have said, but is really not satisfactorily solvable until there is more room for them outside the park where they could also be hunted to some extent to stay within range capacity and offset some of the pressure on and about elk.

    • JimT Says:

      It still boggles my mind, after living in the East, West, Mountain West, Pacific Northwest, and San Diego area, that public land ranchers are the only group that feel and think they are entitled to a particular living, and that the Feds and the state governments should go along with this ad nauseam. And they are the penultimate hypocrites because they are right in bed with the Sagebrush Folks who want the Feds to go away…except for the paychecks.

      Ralph is correct…if the margins are that thin that they can’t make a living without federal welfare…socialism in the parlance of the Tea Kettle folks…they should get out of the business. And again, one stat I would love to know about is how many of these ranches are family, and how many are corporate. I have more patience with private land family ranchers, and they are the ones most disadvantaged by the current subsidy system. Amazing.

    • Ryan Says:

      ” that public land ranchers are the only group that feel and think they are entitled to a particular living, and that the Feds and the state governments should go along with this ad nauseam”

      JimT,

      Your kidding right, there are a multitude of groups out there.

      Here are a few:
      Commercial fishermen
      Loggers
      UAW auto workers
      and I’m sure the list goes on and on..

      • Ralph Maughan Says:

        Ryan,

        None of these groups dominate an entire culture like the livestock associations of the marginal rangelands of the arid and semi-arid West. Of course, you are right that there are other groups the feel entitled to a particular kind of living. Most do not, however.

        Have you ever seen a story that said, “He was a third-generation pharmacist, a good, but hard way of life. Many people’s lives depended on his correct interpretation of prescriptions, attention to dangerous drug interactions. One mistake could kill a customer and destroy their family, etc., then one day . . . “

      • SAP Says:

        I think the last pharmacy drama I can think of was “It’s a Wonderful Life” . . .

      • Save bears Says:

        There was a tragic pharmacy drama a few years ago on the OR coast, where there was a mistake in a generic prescription and it cost a young man his life..

      • Ryan Says:

        Ralph,
        Loggers do in many area, Commercial fishermen sure a hell do in Alaska and other areas, farmers, and many UAW are all multi generational. They do dominate the culture of the areas they are present.

  18. REChizmar Says:

    Great stuff people — Elk you took some heavy punches, but you’re still standing. On a lighter note, and amazingly, it seems no one has tried to capitalize on SB’s kind offer of room, board and wife’s cooking — am I missing something??SB, you may see me on your porch next week so beware!!

    • Save bears Says:

      Tell Ralph to give you my email, and just let me know when your coming and I will tell you how to get here!

      • REChizmar Says:

        That is mighty kind of you SB, thanks. And one good offer of kindness deserves another — I would like to accept your invite; however, I have learned it is not courteous to unleash my soon-to-be-tomorrow 2 yr. old son on the unexpected!! There is much talk about on this blog about the destruction/carnage caused by wolves and roaming cattle, but my little one is his own self-contained wrecking crew … and I love every … well almost … every minute of it. Perhaps when he becomes more “civil” we’ll take you up on your offer. Until then, 2 weeks from now we’ll try again to tire him out daily by letting wonder up “them hills” from Teton Village. And if you or anyone from the blog is in the area that week, I’ll buy the beer at the Mangy or Dornans – that’s the best I can do for now!

    • JimT Says:

      I would, but I know folks in Montana, but bless his old fashioned sense of hospitality.

  19. Tim Bondy Says:

    The $50K Fine idea has merit? To me the fastest and surest way to get ever wolf killed is to tell ranchers this idea has merit or should even be considered becoming “a law”.

    Every rancher in Montana would be actively hunting wolves just to avoid a $50,000 fine. OTOH, maybe Montana ranchers wouldn’t mind if this merit-less idea became law. Within 5 years there wouldn’t be any wolves to worry about.

    But this is just my opinion. I’m sure people smarter than me have thought this idea out and see things differently.

    • JimT Says:

      I think the point is not so much the amount of the fine, or if there should be a fine. I think these kinds of proposals are born from the reality that there is no affirmative duty, no sense of responsibility by most ranchers to protect their herds, particularly cattle. I think sheep are easier when in small numbers.

      It just seems to offend the notion of common sense that all of the obligations shouldn’t fall on the wolves, for pete’s sake. Ranchers would go a far way towards eliminating knee jerk hostilities if they started to take responsibility for preventing their cattle from being essentially staked out meals for the wolves. A BMP kind of thing, not mandatory, but certainly rewarded if cattle are killed..umm, harvested…;*). Maybe these ranchers are the only ones to get compensated if wolves kill their cattle or sheep. Maybe ranchers who don’t do these things are fined, or permits suspended if they haven’t effected protective measures within x number of months. ..There are ways to tie this to the behavior of the ranchers, giving them the choice for the losses due to wolves…which, as far numbers goes, are a much smaller percentage than coyotes or disease or bad management practices–remember the cow in the water ditch picture?

      • Elk275 Says:

        It is not only cattle being kille but wolves reducing hunting opportunities. Wolves are not going to kill all of the elk but they are going to reduce the numbers so the fish and game department are going to have to adjust seasons which means a reduction in tags, either sex hunting and length of season.

        I wanted wolves and I still do but I want to always have my traditional 5 week elk hunting season with tags over the counter. When the fish and game has to adjust the season downward and reduce the bag limits because of wolves then there is a problem. That problem is starting to occur in several area already.

        This is way there is a movement to change the ESA. It will be modified not changed.

      • SAP Says:

        JimT & others interested in the incentive structures in livestock-carnivore management: This is the abstract of a presentation from a conference last week in Fort Collins; sure, it’s on the other side of the world, but comparisons are always interesting:

        “Compensation Schemes in Kenya: Simplistic ‘Mitigation’ Exacerbating a Complex Problem ”
        Mordecai O Ogada (Panthera, , USA)

        Presented in:
        Human-Wildlife Conflict: Livestock Predation & Human Safety
        Tuesday, September 28 at 10:00am – 12:00pm, Room: Conference Center Hall B

        Livestock depredation has recently become a serious challenge to conservation of wild carnivore species in Kenya. Lions bear the brunt of this conflict due to their prominence our national psyche and the proportion of livestock they take. In the past, the government compensated people for livestock lost to wild carnivores, but this scheme was discontinued in the 1990’s due to corruption and management problems. There has since been a policy vacuum on how to deal with the problem. This study compared livestock depredation in 3 areas of Kenya namely, Laikipia District, The Mara Conservancy, and Mbirikani/Amboseli. In these areas there was no compensation, cost-sharing mitigation measures, and straight monetary compensation respectively. Our research found that the lowest number of lion killings (0.0033) per head of stock lost in Laikipia where they were responsible for 72% of stock losses and there was no compensation. This compared favourably to 0.0161 killings per head of livestock in Mbirikani/Amboseli where they were responsible for only 12.4% of losses and there was straight monetary compensation. Our findings strongly discourage compensation in this form and suggest a closer examination of the human dimensions of livestock depredation.

        https://securereg.mauconsulting.info/HD/abstractdisp_popup.php?useprikey=Y&prikey=5&id=328

      • Ryan Says:

        SAP,

        The only thing in Africa that has saved predators/ wildlife with any real success is trophy hunting because it has given the wildlife value other than food.

      • jon Says:

        Trophy hunting is unsustainable not to mention unethical to a lot of people. people have a serious problem with hunters shooting animals for sport.

        http://news.bbc.co.uk/earth/hi/earth_news/newsid_8993000/8993557.stm

      • Save bears Says:

        Interesting that would appear in a UK news source, beings the English are the ones that started the whole “trophy hunting” sport several hundreds of years ago..

      • Ryan Says:

        Jon,

        We’ve been through this before, and you can cut and paste whatever you want to support your opinion. The fact remains, countries in Africa that allow hunting have higher populations of animals, including predators, than those that dont.

        Here are your two options, based on what is happening in Africa now:

        1. Rampant indiscriminate bush meat hunting/poaching which, for example, has reduced Kenyas total animal population by more than 70% outside the parks.

        2. Few rich dudes come and selectively kill a few critters, spend a bunch of money and provide jobs for the local economy, all the time giving the wildlife value and encouraging conservation.

        Do you want whole populations to get whiped out or a few people go kill a few critters for sport? Which is worse?

      • Elk275 Says:

        Jon

        Read the entire reports. There are 2 or 3 reports which are 100 pages plus. I do not have the time to read them. The dislike in the UK for hunting is not about hunting but about social class or the have and not haves.

      • jon Says:

        The lion population in Tanzania is in decline because of trophy hunters. Tanzania supposedly has the highest lion population. Trophy hunting is just another threat that is threatening the whole lion population. You will be foolish to think otherwise. Sport hunting is also very unethical. I don’t expect you to agree with this, but there are by far many more people out there that will agree that trophy hunting is distasteful and unethical. That is exactly why people are trying to get it banned and I hope it does get banned.

      • Ryan Says:

        Jon,

        So what you are saying is that you prefer that uncontrolled bushmeat poaching to take all of the animals in Africa, because you don’t like trophy hunting? The better good be damned if it doesn’t agree with your values?

        BTW, there is no population study on tanzania and lions that supports your claims.. Go ahead and cut and paste the Packer study, which makes assumptions, but has no hard data.

        “Sport hunting is also very unethical”

        Why? Dont need a cut and paste, would like your opinion?

      • Ralph Maughan Says:

        My view is that African trophy hunting has its controversial aspects such as killing the biggest males, the fact that it is mostly a rich person’s sport and so forth, but the bush meat is what bothers me.

        It’s pretty clear that bush meat is how AIDs got started. I don’t like any killing of great apes for sport or food because I think it has been proven that they are self aware beings like ourselves. Eating them is like cannibalism, IMO

      • jon Says:

        Ralph, trophy hunting does not stop poaching. Poaching is and will continue on no matter what. You will always have poachers. Trophy hunting is just one of the many things that are putting certain animal species at risk. trophy hunting is really no different than canned hunting. One animal will never win against a trophy hunter with his high powered rifle and his armed safari guides standing right beside him. Wildlife should be treasured, not killed to be hung on a hunter’s wall to show off to his hunting buddies. Some don’t even get why a lot of people are pissed off and disgusted by this type of behavior and that disturbs me.

      • Elk275 Says:

        Ralph,

        Bush meat comes from the natives hunters in Central West Africa, hunting and selling monkey meat. Apparently it is being illegal imported in the United States for West Africa migrants.

        Modern safari hunters do not hunt or kill apes, I have never seen where an ape is on a license. The Central Africa Republic and The Cameroon are open to hunting, they do not have apes on the license. These are countries where bush meat is hunted and always has been hunted by the local tribes. When hunting all hunters must have a native game scout that keeps tract of what has been shot, wounded or lost.

        As far as only wealthy hunters being able to hunt, I am not wealthy but I worked hard and saved my money and was able to go. Only wealthy people can go to Antarctic or hire a guide to climb Mount Everest, unless they set a goal, work and save and then they can go. Not everybody will be able to go regardless of how hard one works, that the way it goes.

        Most safari hunters want the biggest and best male; the reality is that most will shoot a representative species. The next time I go to Africa hunting it will be a cull hunt where I will not be able to take the trophies home and the trophy fees are a faction the cost. Bring home the trophies cost almost as much as the hunt.

      • jon Says:

        Elk, what animals have you hunted in the past when you went to Africa and what animals do you plan on hunting on your next trip to Africa?

      • Elk275 Says:

        Jon

        I can disgust you all it wants, but it is not going to stop. There are no animals that I can think of in North America that are currently endangered because of trophy hunting. Trophy hunting has done more good than ever bad.

        Take mountain sheep, every year the Foundation for Wild Sheep auctions a tag from each state with sheep. The Montana sheep tag goes between $200,000 to $300,000 each year. Ten percent of the that money is retained by the foundation and 90 percent goes to the state for the benefit of wild sheep. I wonder how many non hunting wildlife organizations can raise that type of money in one night let alone one year.

      • jon Says:

        Yes elk, I know it won’t stop, but that is not going to stop me from speaking my opinion none the less. There are a lot of things that are wrong in the world and we need to make some of those things right. It will be a very difficult challenge in doing so.

      • Elk275 Says:

        My only trip to Africa I shoot a zebra, gemsbok and springbok and missed a kudu. My next trip will depend upon what I can afford. Right now I am a little light, on October 15, I will be floating after I pay the IRS. I am not going anywhere for a while because I did not pay quarterly. Anymore questions?

      • Ralph Maughan Says:

        Elk275

        Thank you the information about bush meat.

        I didn’t think great apes were legally hunted anywhere. Glad to hear that is true.

        I wanted to weigh in on my perspective about the kind of animals that should not be hunted for sport — those that are self-aware.

      • Ryan Says:

        “trophy hunting does not stop poaching”

        Jon,

        Some of the money spent goes directly to pay anti poaching task forces and rangers. Everyone has a vested interest in protecting the wildlife when they have value.. No trophy hunting in many areas means the wildlife has no value, you think what WS does is bad, its nothing compared to the natives in africa with their bush meat operations.

        As elk mentioned their is no hunting of the great apes for trophies, (i don’t think it was ever popular). The great apes make up less than 1% of the bushmeat trade, every animal including lions are not safe from it.

      • JimT Says:

        ELK 275,

        Wanting things to be like they were is part of the transition process of accepting wolves. It WON’T be the way it was. The process is restoring a key predator to an ecosystem from which it had been missing for scores of years. It will take adjustments by the natural inhabitants of the land as well as humans who interact with it in various ways. As you say, they will not kill off the elk, not even close. And it will require some adjustments by folks like you, perhaps even experiencing a larger challenge to getting your elk every year.

        But the posture of the state authorities and the anti wolf groups is simply too extreme. We can dance around the agenda here with nice words, but the bottom line is that they want the wolves gone..period. They want things to go back to the way they were, when only human benefited activities are allowed or shown incredibly large deference. So long as that attitude and unrealistic attitude remains, there is going to be strife.

      • JB Says:

        Everyone who is interested in the role of sport hunting in wildlife management should read the latest issue of the Wildlife Professional, especially Jim Peek’s article (A Model Dilemma, p. 64). It can be found here:

      • Elk275 Says:

        Jim T

        It will be interesting, but I think that there is going to be a change in the ESA or a modification. The bills have been introduced, the country is turning to the right and who knows whats going to happen in three years. Personally I do not think that it is possible to restore western eco systems back to what you envision. Things have changed.

        I was talking with a friend of mind this morning who has about 13,000 acres on the edge of the Missouri Breaks and the CMR wildlife range. His land is in a very large grazing district with about 40% federal and 60% private. The private land owners have the trump card over the federal government. With the grazing district the BLM can access there lands anytime with a grazing district the BLM would be locked out of thousands of there acres with a helicopter.

        He also ownes a small parcel on the CMR which controls access to thousands of acres of public land. The BLM has to secure permission to cross his property to access their lands. The BLM wanted to get permission every year for the year, but he made them call each time. The general public has always been allowed to cross his lands.

        Why is it your way? You want to restore the western eco systems but not everyone wants what you want.

    • Ralph Maughan Says:

      Read SAP’s comment below.

      Yes, it would be counterproductive to fine ranchers money if they lost livestock to wolves.

      On the other hand, direct experience with Defenders of Wildlife’s compensation program and studies, such as SAP comment below, make it clear that compensation to livestock owners for lost livestock does not help conserve wolves, or any other predator of livestock.

      • Tim Bondy Says:

        Ralph:
        Wasn’t some kind of compensation program used in what I call the “collective bargaining agreement” to get all parties to allow the Yellowstone wolf reintroduction?

      • timz Says:

        Here we go with the phantom “agreement” thing again.

      • jon Says:

        I wonder why to this day that anti wolfers continue to believe there was some sorta agreement or deal made to have only 300 wolves in the 3 states, 100 in each state when there wasn’t.

      • Save bears Says:

        Because they have misunderstood the guidelines stated to start the delisting process.

      • Ralph Maughan Says:

        Tim Bondy,

        Defenders of Wildlife announced they would pay livestock owners for all confirmed wolf losses and half for probable losses. They did it for 15 years.

        It wasn’t part of any “deal” though. They just thought it would build acceptance of wolves among livestock owners. On the surface, it might seem that it would, but there is no evidence that it helped at all even after hundreds of payments were made.

      • JimT Says:

        ELK 275,

        I guess it is not really my way I am advocating for, but the baseline of health for the ecosystems we all depend on for life and sanity. The traditional extractive uses of ranching, mining, lumber, oil and gas have skewed things for scores of years now to the detriment of the healthiness and diversity of the ecosystems of the West. Add in the present and future impacts of climate change, and you get a system that needs to be restored to balance by the very folks that threw it out of balance. The wolf restoration in a predator niche is just one part of the larger concern.

        Bottom line? Humans do not want to give up the tremendous boons they have had, even for the health of the land they claim to love so much, and don’t want to admit that things have been out of whack in the West for way way too long. I guess I look at things from the perspective of first, what is best for the ecosystem and how much damage are human activities doing to prevent the health and/or restoration of that ecosystem. Second, I think you try and work out a way that human activities can continue, but with the first concern as the overriding criteria.

        As far as the ESA goes, I think you would find some surprising degrees of agreement that the ESA could use some changes even among environmental folks like Michael Bean, the dean of the ESA. But the change is different from what the current kneejerk advocates are proposing. From a scientific stand point, it makes sense to protect area from an ecosystem point of reference instead of going individual species by individual species. But, to be honest, any good faith effort by environmentalists to try and improve the effectiveness of the Act will be seen by the traditional extractive and benefited industries as an opportunity to gut it. The risk is too great. And I think ultimately that is why this latest effort will go down. It is by no means a perfect approach, but it is the one we have and things are too polarized right now to risk it.

      • Elk275 Says:

        Jim T

        ++don’t want to admit that things have been out of whack in the West for way way too long.++

        You are from the east, if things are out of whack in the West for way way too long, I would think that things in the east have been out of whack for at least twice as long. Therefore the east needs twice the TLC as the west and maybe energies that have been used in the west should be refocus back east. Just a though.

      • JimT Says:

        ELK 275,

        I think I related a story about this native nonsense on an earlier post, so I won’t bother pointing out its limitations here.

        I have spent most of my adult life living in various parts of the West, and I think it gives me valuable perspectives and points of reference about common problems related to the Western ecosystems. I was taught that the more information one can bring to a problem, the better your chances of crafting a successful solution to the problem.

        Your pointing out the fact that an accident of history brought civilization and its impacts to the East coast before the West means relatively little. The problems of the East are different from the West in large respects and require different approaches and solutions. How your view of the East is relevant to the health of Western ecosystems escapes me.

        My great hope since I have been living in the West and consider myself a Westerner at heart is that the West would escape the mistakes made by the East folks..the destruction of habitat, the wasting of resources, the tremendous and irreversible changes for the worse to the environment upon which we all depend for life. When I see the actions of the extractive and benefitied industries and their proponents here repeating the same mistakes..it has always been a motivating factor to fight it. That isn’t going to change.

    • JimT Says:

      The problem with comparing the programs in Africa to any efforts here is that the economy is in complete shambles in most of these places; life is hard and often subsistence level, and the pressure to poach for ivory or rhino horns is tremendous. We don’t have that situation here at all. What we have is a group of ranchers who are taking Federal money, and disparaging the efforts to restore a western ecosystem’s most critical inhabitants, all but opening advocating for another effort to have wolf extinction happen all over again.

      Now, if you could close off the international market for these items…mainly China and Japan (these countries always seem to be in the middle of wildlife controversies–whales, dolphins, bear parts, walrus poaching…), then you might be able to manage a controlled access market that would be sustainable, and aid the local inhabitants to live a better ilfe.

      • william huard Says:

        And to add Jim T, you get into the whole cultural argument when you tell the Chinese that these tiger and bear parts that have been used for hundreds of years to make their lives healthier should purchase organic and synthetic alternatives. Countries have put millions of dollars toward tiger protection, but until the demand in China is cut off the only tigers that will survive in the wild are those found in protected reserves. I am not convinced that giving an animal monetary value will diminish poaching. That was an insidious spin that the trophy hunting community like SCI has devised to justify the killing of all species for sport. They may know the price of every animal they kill but they know the value of none.

      • william huard Says:

        There have been studies out there that have found some of the trophy ivory and rhino horn that is taken in trophy hunts actually ends up in the black market, so who is right?

      • Elk275 Says:

        william huard

        That is right. There are East Asians who are going to South Africa and shooting privately owned white rhinos on private farms for the purpose of taking the trophy horn home and reselling it for more than the trophy fee.

        I believe that there is a ban on East Asians hunting rhino in South Africa.

      • william huard Says:

        Elk 275
        I am wondering how this ban on East Asians hunting rhino would be enforced? I’m assuming these private ranches offering rhino for sale have already demonstrated they are willing to do anything for the US dollar by the way they allow “hunting” of species like canned lions for example. Kind of like the US Chamber taking foreign money- we should just trust they are doing the right thing?

  20. Angela Says:

    I don’t care who the writer is. The point is that most of these ranchers seem to think that killing wolves is the only solution, but it isn’t a solution at all. How much effort goes into actively protecting their stock? I do not buy the argument that it can’t be done. I think there needs to be ongoing research on using working dogs. After all, this is what they were selected for: protecting free-ranging livestock from predators.
    http://www.shepherds-rest.com/


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