Tag Archives: Non Lethal wolf management

Wisconsin’s Gray Wolf Will Likely Pay the Price for Sheep Farmers’ Mistakes!

Non lethal wolf management can work, but only if everyone is onboard. Recently a sheep farm in Northern Wisconsin’s wolf range lost a number of sheep to wolves. Several factors contributed to the loss. For one, the farmers locked up the expensive guard dogs at night fearing the wolves would kill them. Then the farmers slept through the night not even hearing the penned up guard dog’s alarm barks. This is the second time, 2016, that predation has occurred on this sheep farm. Now due to these mistakes anti wolf politicians will have a field day crying-big-bad-wolf again.

This is not the first time this Sheep farm as had wolf depredations.

“This is the second time the Caniks have suffered a large loss of sheep from their farm. In 2016, wolves, potentially of the same pack, killed 17 of their bighorn sheep, valued at $1,200 each. After that depredation, the USDA Wildlife Service installed two miles of fladry — a string of colored flags that move in the wind — accompanied by electric fencing around the perimeter of the pasture. That fencing had not been installed yet this year when the attack happened Monday.” Source

“All 17 (killed in 2016) were a variety of bighorn sheep, being raised to breed and give birth to more bighorns. The Caniks sell the bighorns to hunting clubs and game preserves across America, helping those organizations stock their lands for trophy hunters.” Source

The couple kept their expensive guard dogs penned up at night.

But if you live in wolf range, are a sheep farmer, one shouldn’t lock up the expensive guard dogs at night. Using non lethal wolf management requires being proactive. That means establishing methods early on before predation occurs. It seems obvious in this case the farmers have made the mistakes this time, and you can bet the wolf pack will pay the price. Pay the price for the mistakes made by these sheep farmers, who lost Big Horned Sheep being raised for canned hunting in 2016. Again, they cry wolf!

“Evidently we were sleeping too sound and didn’t hear the dogs,” Paul said. “They usually bark loud enough to alert us whenever the wolves are around.”

USF&WS is preparing to delist wolves in the Lower 48 states.

Make sure you get your comments in regarding USF&WS proposed delisting of Gray wolves in the Lower 48 states. Click here to make your comment.

And the public comment period has been extended to July 15, 2019.

Letter to the Editor – Brodie Farquhar: Wolves, humans can coexist

Source: Steamboat Today 

Dear Editor,
My compliments to Jim Patterson for his “Crying Wolf” feature Sunday. It was well done and covered the basics of the issue. I appreciate this, because I’ve covered wolf recovery issues for Wyoming news media for much of the past decade.

I want to bring up some additional facts and perspectives, to give Steamboat Today readers a broader understanding of wolf management in the United States.

For example, there are about 4,000 wolves in the Great Lakes area, and the presence of wolves does not produce the sheer panic, fear and hatred that is common in Rocky Mountain communities. My research and interviews with wolf biology/policy experts in the Great Lakes states indicates that, because Great Lakes wolf populations were never eradicated, residents are accustomed to wolves and don’t get freaked out as the population of wolves has grown. There is an over-abundance of deer in those states, and plenty of prey for wolves. Predation on livestock has been minimal.

If wolves ever become established in Northwest Colorado — a matter of when, rather than if — they have some daunting challenges to overcome.

First, there’s the gauntlet to be run between protected ground in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks and the habitat of Northwest Colorado. Wyoming’s policy and cultural attitude about wolves comes down to protected status in the parks, permitted hunting in a buffer zone near the parks, then a kill zone in the rest of the state.
By kill zone, I mean kill them anywhere, anytime, by any means, by anyone, for any or no reason. That’s the official policy, which has not changed and has been repeatedly struck down in federal courts.
That policy, enunciated by the legislature, the governor and wildlife agency is a direct reflection of the core culture found in the agricultural community — known as the Three S’s:
Shoot wolves (or kill them by any other means).

Shovel them deep, hiding the evidence from the feds and environmentalists.
Shut-up about any wolf killings, aside from winks and nods at the coffee shop or bar.
I suspect the Three S’s have been in operation for some time in northwest Colorado. Informally, regional ag interests have no interest in having wolves set up in local forests or wilderness areas. Poisons, traps and rifles are all used on any young wolves, male or female, looking to find a new home and pack.

It really doesn’t have to be that way. Defenders of Wildlife has worked for decades on non-lethal techniques to discourage wolves from preying on livestock. Where ranchers and wool growers have adopted these non-lethal approaches, there have been encouraging success stories, with fewer deaths among livestock and wolves alike. Wolves do learn, and there are alpha wolves out there who avoid livestock and people, enforcing that avoidance among juveniles.

Techniques include the use of range riders, guardian dogs, electric fencing and estartlement tools such as bright lights, loud sounds and flapping strips of plastic called fladry.

It hasn’t been perfect, but neither has it been all-out war on wolves with excessive damage to wildlife and habitat. Yellowstone National Park has gone from being over-grazed by elk before wolf restoration, to healthier habitat and greater wildlife diversity with the return of wolves. It is called the trophic cascade effect by biologists. Generally, wolves can help create a healthier, more diverse habitat, without wreaking carnage on livestock flocks and herds. Maybe, Patterson could do a Sunday feature on non-lethal techniques.

Again, good job.
Brodie Farquhar


Featured image by John E Marriott Photography

The Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife’s focus continues to be on non-lethals first. With the evidence suggesting deterrents are effective.

Source: East Oregonian – Workshop focuses on wolf management in Eastern Oregon by George Plavin

Despite killing four wolves from the Imnaha Pack earlier this year for repeatedly attacking livestock, the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife reiterated the value of non-lethal deterrents during a workshop Friday in Pendleton.
Eastern Oregon ranchers and county officials gathered at Blue Mountain Community College to hear presentations on the science and economics of dealing with wolves. The workshop featured speakers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services. ODFW also provided an update on the state’s Wolf Conservation and Management Plan, which is now up for review.
Roblyn Brown, the department’s acting wolf program coordinator, said the wolf population is growing rapidly in Oregon — there were at least 110 wolves counted by the end of last year, compared to just 14 in 2009. Yet the number of confirmed attacks on livestock has stayed relatively flat, which Brown said is due in part to the use and effectiveness of non-lethal tools.
“We’re figuring things out,” Brown said. “Non-lethals can absolutely work in certain situations.”
The most important thing, Brown said, is for ranchers to make sure they clean up their bone piles to avoid attracting wolves onto their property in the first place. Things like fladry fencing, range riders, guard dogs and alarm boxes can be effective deterrents, at least temporarily, if they’re used correctly.
Ranchers are doing a much better job now than they were when the plan was first implemented, Brown said. The number of confirmed wolf depredations was even down slightly in 2015, compared to 2014. But non-lethals don’t work every time, which is why Phase II of the wolf plan allows wildlife officials to selectively kill problem wolves.
In the case of the four Imnaha wolves, Brown said there were a number of factors that prompted ODFW to use lethal control. First, the wolves had apparently changed their behavior and started moving outside of their usual territory. Second, the group’s alpha female had a back leg injury, which could have prompted the group to target easier meals. Finally, non-lethal deterrents had proven ineffective in keeping wolves away from sheep and cattle.
Brown compared that to another series of attacks last year by the Mount Emily Pack on sheep in the Umatilla National Forest. All five of those incidents came against a single band of sheep, and by the time the producer asked for lethal control, Brown said non-lethal tools had started to work.
“ODFW will evaluate each situation when they’re making a determination about when to go to lethal control,” Brown said.
The agency’s focus, however, continues to be on non-lethals first. With the evidence suggesting deterrents are effective, the workshop shifted to community-wide models for rural areas where wolves are re-established.
Suzanne Asha Stone, senior Northwest representative for the conservation group Defenders of Wildlife, pointed to a few successful programs across the West — most notably the Wood River Wolf Project in central Idaho, where there’s the largest concentration of domestic sheep in the region.
Stone said the program pulls together ideas and funding from ranchers, agencies and wolf advocates alike to implement non-lethal solutions. More groups are starting to take this approach, she said, because it makes more resources more broadly available.
“The challenge is that it really requires a lot of good communication,” Stone said.
Between 2008 and 2015, Stone said they’ve had anywhere from 10,000 to 23,000 sheep on the land, yet they’ve only lost 30 of the animals to wolves over that period.
“Some of our best solutions have come from that mix of people that don’t usually talk to each other,” she said.
Stone said she was encouraged by how county wolf committees were working together to ensure ranchers are compensated for dead or missing livestock due to wolves. Both Susan Roberts, of Wallowa County, and Jerry Baker, of Umatilla County, were on hand to discuss how their committees reach out to producers and submit applications for state grants.
Regardless of each individual’s opinion on wolves, Roberts said they have learned to check their attitudes at the door. Producers, meanwhile, are getting better at documenting everything, which means they stand a better chance of getting a slice of the funds.
Baker also emphasized the need for ranchers to provide as much documentation as possible to the committee. He said the county has developed a positive relationship with ODFW, especially when it comes to implementing non-lethal deterrents.
“I know the range riders have helped a lot, if they’re in the right place at the right time,” said Baker, who himself is a livestock producer. “I think we’re learning as we go.”


Featured image is a John E Marriott photograph