Tone down the rhetoric: Ranchers will still get money for livestock losses

Defenders of Wildlife answers Butch Otter’s “political grandstanding”-

The writer of the Defender’s response is Rodger Schlickeisen, president of Defenders of Wildlife.

Ranchers will still get money for livestock losses. Rodger Schlickeisen guest editorial in the Idaho Statesman.

I can’t help but compare Otter’s red-faced response on this relatively small amount of money to his lack of concern for all people who have been thrown out of work, especially those jobs over which he has influence, such as public school teachers.

Posted in cattle, Idaho, politics, Wolves. Tags: , . Comments Off on Tone down the rhetoric: Ranchers will still get money for livestock losses

Defenders ends wolf depredation payments

All Defenders payments for dead livestock ends in September-

It really seemed like a good idea.  Wolves will kill some livestock, but a public spirited conservation group will pay generously for all verified losses and even 50% for unverified, but probable losses to wolves.

Defenders has been paying these claims for well over 15 years now. In my opinion, however, the program did not work if their intent was to generate public support or prevent opposition to wolf restoration. Defenders own studies showed that the program did not build support for wolves among livestock owners.

In retrospect, it is easy to see why it failed.  Livestock owners hatred of wolves is not based on the economic value of their losses.  If the losses were heavier, it might have been welcomed, but in most cases the person who lost stock could pretty easily afford to absorb the loss.  As a result, they could turn down the compensation, or maybe even accept it, but vent their spleen anyway. In a few cases it is clear that owners who welcomed a payment were pressured not to apply for one.

Defender’s program will be replaced by a federal/state compensation program recently set up by law by Senators Tester of Montana and John Barrasso of Wyoming. It is less generous, however. Under the new program there has to be a proven loss and states have to pay 50%. The later won’t be hard to achieve at least in Idaho, the legislature will be happy to cut the benefits of blind old people or those tax-sucking school children to pay for the livestock.

Conservation group ends wolf predation payments. Associated Press (as printed in the Seattle PI)

Idaho Fish and Game Commission to weigh traps, bait in wolf hunts

Of course, if wolves attack cattle because they have run across dead cattle and got a taste, they are shot by Wildlife Services.

Now Idaho Fish and Game Commission is happy to let wolves become habituated to baits so they can be easily “hunted.”  Those wolves that don’t take the set baits will be much more likely to attack cattle in the future. This method of hunting then means more cattle will be killed. What a self-perpetuating system!  Are the commissioners just stupid or intentionally setting up conflicts?

Idaho Fish and Game to weigh traps, bait in wolf hunts. Becky Kramer. The Spokesmen Review.

Ashley Judd Slams Sarah Palin For Promoting Aerial Killing Of Wolves

Judd helps kick off Defenders Action Fund’s new web site,

Ashley Judd Slams Sarah Palin For Promoting Aerial Killing Of Wolves. Huffington Post. Marcus Baram.

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Reaction to the latest try to delist wolves-

Here are links to a number of reactions-

Story. Gray wolves to lose endangered status. Story in the LA Times by By Jim Tankersley
Story. State left out of wolf move. By Cory Hatch. Jackson Hole Daily.
Update story. Last word on wolves is yet to come. Bush removes protections in most of the Rockies, but the Obama administration could reverse the decision. By Rocky Barker. Idaho Statesman.
Update story. Last year the Greater Yellowstone Coalition (GYC) was widely criticized by other conservation groups for their view on delisting. Here is what they said this time. Green groups will like it more. I got this copy from a TV news story.

Idaho wolf update Sept. 26 – Oct. 17, 2008. Phantom Hill wolf-sheep project worked!

Here is the latest wolf news from the Idaho Fish and Game Department-

It looks like efforts to keep the Phantom Hill wolf pack from killing domestic sheep in the headwaters of the Big Wood River/Boulder/Smoky Mountains north of Ketchum, Idaho was highly successful. Only one sheep was killed by a wolf during the summer through the end of the grazing season. Many sheep graze this scenic mountain area.

This major project was conducted by “Four producers, USFS, USDA Wildlife Services, IDFG, Blaine County Commission, and Defenders of Wildlife.”

I should add that the Wolf Recovery Foundation, of which I am President, gave this effort a major (for us) monetary contribution.

Ralph Maughan

– – – – – – – – –

To: Idaho Fish and Game Staff and Cooperators

From: IDFG Wolf Program Coordinator, Steve Nadeau
Subject: Status of Gray Wolf Management, Weeks of Sept. 26- Oct. 17, 2008.

New: FWS – Northern Rocky Mountain Wolf Status (WY, MT, ID): The U.S. Federal District Court in Missoula, Montana, issued a preliminary injunction on Friday, July 18, 2008, that immediately reinstated temporary Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves in the northern Rocky Mountain DPS pending final resolution of the case. This includes all of Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming, the eastern one-third of Washington and Oregon, and parts of north-central Utah.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Idaho wolves, Wolves. Tags: , , , . Comments Off on Idaho wolf update Sept. 26 – Oct. 17, 2008. Phantom Hill wolf-sheep project worked!

Enviro Group Expands Palin Wolf-Hunting Policy Ad Buy

Defenders raises a million dollars for more of the ad on Palin’s wolf hunting policy-

From the Washington Post. By Juliet Eilperin. Enviro Group Expands Palin Wolf-Hunting Policy Ad Buy

I notice it is slightly modified from the previous ad.

Defenders of Wildife gives Montana a grant and Montana takes over wolf compensation

Here is the version of the story from the Missoulian. State set to take over wolf kill payments. By Perry Backus of the Missoulian.

“Over its 20-year history, the Defenders of Wildlife have made 276 payments to Montanans totaling more than $317,000 for 336 cattle, 689 sheep, 16 livestock dogs and 15 other animals, including mules and llamas”

$317,000 over 20 years. I read that and I am shocked at how little direct economic damage wolves have done. Some might say $317,000 is a lot of money, and yes, consider this . . . if you extrapolate, then over 200 years wolves might do over 3-million dollars damage, and 2000 years, 30-million dollars.

Defenders expects, and Montana says they will use part of the state fund to provide for new mitigation efforts that help keep wolves separated from domestic animals. This in fact might be the least cost solution, especially when social conflict is factored in.

When a popular wolf pack is terminated by the government because of minor livestock losses, and especially when there are volunteers or people that would work for expenses or a small stipend to patrol and keep wolves and livestock apart, citizens can make the killing of that pack quite costly.

Right now we stand at the brink of an era of decreasing conflict on this issue, working these problems out, or one of escalation of ill feeling. I’m not just, or even especially writing about Montana.

Addition: Montana wants to build this fund up to $5-million, which is far more than any conceivable losses from wolves given the 20-year record above. This means they should have plenty of money to employ people and techniques to keep wolves and livestock apart — fewer dead cows and sheep, and fewer dead wolves. I think a majority of people would find this to be a better solution than to have to compensate after the fact.