Cost of controlling Buffalo Ridge Pack revealed

The killing of the Buffalo Ridge Pack in Idaho prompted an inquiry bringing forth some interesting information about the cost of wolf control.

The information is in a letter by Gloria Carlton in the most recent Idaho Mountain Express.

I wonder what the dollar loss of livestock to the rancher (said to be Wayne Baker) was and the cost of measures that would have made the pasture less attractive to wolves?*

I imagine direct expenditures by conservation groups to keep this wolf pack out of trouble plus volunteer time was easily $50,000.  The efforts were mostly in Squaw Creek where the pack denned each year and was quite easy to see in the winter until about the end of May.

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* Note it was never proven the Buffalo Ridge pack killed the several small calves that were confirmed to be killed by wolf. The East Pass Creek pack is in the area and their are other scattered wolves.

Posted in Wolves, Wolves and Livestock. Tags: , . Comments Off on Cost of controlling Buffalo Ridge Pack revealed

Hailey resident questions the economics of killing of the Buffalo Ridge Pack

This open letter to Cal Groen, director of Idaho Fish and Game, was published in the Challis Messenger today.

Cost of control. By Gloria Carlton

Story of Buffalo Ridge Pack is told in word and photo

According to Ed Bangs and observations on the ground, probably all of the Buffalo Ridge wolf pack near Clayton, Idaho have been now been shot for repeatedly picking off a few tiny cow calves born in the bone chilling winter and pastured next to the vast central Idaho wilderness.

Lynne Stone of the Boulder White Clouds Council has created a photo essay on this predictable but avoidable tragedy. It’s truly disheartening for those who might think these matters can be solved proactively in a way that keeps both wolves and livestock alive rather than opt for dead wolves, dead livestock, and bruised feelings.

Buffalo Ridge Wolf Pack Under Siege. Sunday, Feb. 24 2008. By Lynne Stone.

Stone updated the story today (see her explanation among the comments below on this post). Five Wolves are “Lethally Controlled”
By Lynne Stone. Feb. 26 -28.

For a long time this wolf pack was the easiest one to see in Idaho. This backwards direction of Idaho’s newly found wolf management and Wildlife Services, the federal agency that seems determined to lock the states into 1920s style thinking about predators, is likely to be repeated many times in the near future.

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My earlier story on this. Buffalo Ridge Pack to be wiped out, classic example of what’s wrong with Idaho state wolf management.

Buffalo Ridge Pack to be wiped out, classic example of what’s wrong with Idaho state wolf management

On Friday, Ed Bangs reported the following.

On the 17th, ID WS confirmed that wolves from the Buffalo Ridge pack killed 2 calves and injured another on private land near Clayton. On the 18th, ID WS confirmed that the wolves killed another calf on the same ranch. There were four or five sets of wolf tracks at the scene and the telemetry signal of one of the collared wolves from the Buffalo Ridge pack showed that he was still in the immediate area. WS has already removed 3 members from this pack in the last 3 months after previous depredations on the same property. Further control efforts are being planned.

They never name the ranch where these events transpire. Federal regulations prevent that, but everyone knows it’s the Broken Wing Ranch near the confluence of the East Fork and the Main Fork of the Salmon River a few miles downstream from the hamlet of Clayton.

Over the years, probably more wolves have been killed due to “depredations” on the Broken Wing Ranch than any in Idaho. Does this mean that the owners are heartless wolf haters? Not at all. That’s the story, and that’s why Idaho state wolf management is so faulty.
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Idaho Fish and Game news release on wolves

I just got this. “Buffaloed” posted part of it as a comment. I am putting all of it up.

The “control” of the Buffalo Ridge Pack is a total outrage and a preface to what we will see with total state control. This has been one of Idaho’s most visible wolf packs, and one that has stayed out of trouble.

The dead calves were no more than a day or two old and might have been stillborn. The owner, and apparently some others nearby, has them on rented pasture, he his cattle calve in late December and early January. Temperatures in the area have been -20 degrees F.

For these small calves four wolves were killed by Wildlife Services. I have heard that Curt Hurless (recall the recent article on him and Lynne Stone?) knows that the Buffalo Ridge Pack was not even in the area when these calves were supposedly killed.

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IDAHO FISH AND GAME
HEADQUARTERS NEWS RELEASE
Boise, ID

January 28, 2008

Ed Mitchell
208-334-3700

Wolf report: wolves spreading?

Another Idaho wolf has wandered into eastern Oregon – this one a radio-collared female wolf from the Timberline Pack.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife biologists just found the two- to three-year-old wolf in the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest near the Eagle Cap Wilderness Area. The biologists had received reports of wolf activity in that area and were searching for missing wolf radio-collars from Idaho.

Idaho Fish and Game biologists had put a radio-collar on the wolf – identified as B-300 – northeast of Boise in August 2006.

Oregon biologists observed only a single wolf. But it was the fifth confirmed wolf to be found in Oregon.

In March 1999, a radio-collared female was captured near John Day and returned to Idaho. In 2000, a collared wolf was found dead along Interstate 84 south of Baker City, and a wolf without a radio collar was found shot between Ukiah and Pendleton. In July 2007, a mature female wolf was found dead from a gunshot wound in Union County.

All four wolves were from Idaho.

Wolves in the Eagle Cap Wilderness and other parts of eastern Oregon and Washington are included in the northern Rocky Mountain wolf population. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced its intention to remove this population from the endangered species list. A final rule is expected on February 29 and would take effect March 29.

Wolves would remain on the list in the rest of the two states.

In Idaho, four wolves from a pack that has killed at least two calves have been shot. This pack has been implicated in several depredations on cattle over the last few months.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services confirmed the Buffalo Ridge pack killed two calves in December on private land near Clayton.

Aircrews killed three gray wolves in December. In January, they shot a fourth wolf from the pack along the East Fork of the Salmon River near Clayton.

Wolf biologists estimate the wolf population at the end of 2007 is about 730 wolves in 82 packs with 43 breeding pairs. Federal agents confirmed wolves killed 52 cattle, 170 sheep and six dogs. A total of 76 wolves were confirmed dead – 43 killed by federal predator control actions, seven by ranchers, and 26 died of other causes.

Meanwhile, research in Yellowstone National Park shows that early winter wolf predation fell back into its typical pattern of nearly all elk. Kills were about 40 percent calves, 40 percent bulls, and 20 percent old cows. The composition of prey varies from year-to-year and is probably related to relative vulnerability because of environmental variables, such as drought, forage quality, snow depth and time of year.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service considers the wolf recovered in the northern Rocky Mountains and has started the process to remove the wolf from the federal endangered species list. The Fish and Wildlife Service’s weekly wolf reports as well as annual reports, can be viewed at http://westerngraywolf.fws.gov/.