Killing wolves could hurt, not help, livestock, study finds

If you believe this study, even for a minute, you need to read Michael Coffman’s article, Secret Science, in the Winter 2014 edition of Range Magazine. Coffman reveals the gory details of corruption, manufactured data, junk (un-replaceable) science, embezzlement, and revolving door cronyism  between the EPA and radical environmentalism’s non-profit NGOs. It will forever shake your confidence in government funded “science.” — jtl

By Rob Chaney via Missoulian (rchaney@missoulian.com)

Shoot a wolf, kill a cow?

That’s the counterintuitive outcome of a look at 25 years of wolf management statistics in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming by a Washington researcher wondering how wolf populations might affect his state.

“People are afraid of grizzlies, black bears and cougars, but the wolf thing is really different,” said Rob Wielgus, who’s been studying how predators and people interact since 1981. “But some people hate wolves. It’s way dirtier, way more vehement topic. But in Washington, we decided that wildlife management should be science-based rather than volume-based. We thought, let’s use science rather than the litigation route.”

Washington currently has about 50 wolves and three breeding pairs in the state. Those wolves still enjoy federal ESA protection in the eastern two-thirds of the state. Last year, the state legislature provided about $600,000 and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife chipped in another $80,000 for a risk analysis from Wielgus at Washington State University.

“With bears and cougars, when you kill an adult male, three young guys come to the funeral and you end up with more animals than you started with, along with more complaints and attacks on livestock,” Wielgus said. “In the past study, we found for each cougar we killed here, it resulted in 50 percent more livestock depredations the following year.”

Using statistics from Montana, Idaho and Wyoming wolf management, Wielgus found a similar pattern with wolf kills. For each wolf killed, the number of livestock attacks the next year went up 5 percent. That pattern held until wolf shooters took out at least a quarter of the local population, when livestock kills stabilized.

And Wielgus found another intriguing impact of shooting problem wolves.

“For each wolf killed, the probability of getting an increased number of breeding pairs is 5 percent – the exact same number as the livestock depredation increase,” Wielgus said. “Instead of one breeding pair, you might get two or three.”

Wielgus suspects the two trends go together because wolves with litters of new cubs tend to stick to a limited range. If that hunting area includes cattle and sheep, the wolf parents stay focused on the domestic targets instead of following wild game.

Wolf policy director Suzanne Stone of Defenders of Wildlife said the study dovetailed with results she’s seen on a seven-year project protecting sheep herds on about 1,000 square miles of public grazing land in central Idaho.

“Where we’ve had a continuous presence protecting more than 20,000 sheep, we have lost 28 sheep to wolves in seven years and we have not had one wolf killed,” Stone said. “We’ve had higher loses to coyotes, bears and lions. And we’ve spent less in one summer than what (federal) Wildlife Services spent in 10 days killing two wolf packs in the Lolo District of the Clearwater National Forest.”

Wielgus’ study looked at 25 years of wolf data in the three states. But there’s a lot more work to do. For one thing, that time period ends just as Congress removed wolves’ Endangered Species Act protection and allowed states to offer sport hunting seasons on the predators. Before that, most wolf killing had been done by either the affected landowner or government wildlife managers.

Wielgus also wants to drill into more specific examples of how a particular pack or ranch was affected by wolf removals.

“The (Washington) Legislature tasked me to look at a bunch of things,” he said. “Pack size, composition, residency time, prey base, vegetation, the time of year cattle are put out – an entire suite of variables. We’re just beginning a multiyear investigation.”

At the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, spokesman Ron Aasheim said the results of state hunting seasons appear to be reducing livestock depredations. So far in 2014, archery and rifle hunters have taken 90 wolves. Trapping season for wolves in Montana opens Monday.

Research out of Canada also appears to support the value of non-lethal control methods. Wielgus said the ranching traditions there have kept wolves part of the picture.

“Down here (in the United States) when we got rid of the wolves, the cowboys went bye – we forgot how to be cowboys,” he said. “In Alberta, cowboys and range riders never went away. It appears you could pay a cowboy or take your losses – maybe it’s a wash in the end.”

Copyright 2014 missoulian.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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BookCoverImageMurray N. Rothbard was the father of what some call Radical Libertarianism or Anarcho-Capitalism which Hans-Hermann Hoppe described as “Rothbard’s unique contribution to the rediscovery of property and property rights as the common foundation of both economics and political philosophy, and the systematic reconstruction and conceptual integration of modern, marginalist economics and natural-law political philosophy into a unified moral science: libertarianism.”

This book applies the principles of this “unified moral science” to environmental and natural resource management issues.

The book started out life as an assigned reading list for a university level course entitled Environmental and Natural Resource Economics: The Austrian View.

As I began to prepare to teach the course, I quickly saw that there was a plethora of textbooks suitable for universal level courses dealing with environmental and natural resource economics. The only problem was that they were all based in mainstream neo-classical (or Keynesian) theory. I could find no single collection of material comprising a comprehensive treatment of environmental and natural resource economics based on Austrian Economic Theory.

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About Land & Livestock Interntional, Inc.

Land and Livestock International, Inc. is a leading agribusiness management firm providing a complete line of services to the range livestock industry. We believe that private property is the foundation of America. Private property and free markets go hand in hand—without property there is no freedom. We also believe that free markets, not government intervention, hold the key to natural resource conservation and environmental preservation. No government bureaucrat can (or will) understand and treat the land with as much respect as its owner. The bureaucrat simply does not have the same motives as does the owner of a capital interest in the property. Our specialty is the working livestock ranch simply because there are so many very good reasons for owning such a property. We provide educational, management and consulting services with a focus on ecologically and financially sustainable land management that will enhance natural processes (water and mineral cycles, energy flow and community dynamics) while enhancing profits and steadily building wealth.
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2 Responses to Killing wolves could hurt, not help, livestock, study finds

  1. p says:

    Thank you for sharing the Range article Jimmy. For the most part I believe in working with my wild neighbors rather than hunting them down. Have seen overpopulation of rabbits and how that would affect everything else when coyotes were virtually eliminated area wide. Have also seen what a big bear can do a thick oak door with pregnant sows on the other side. There has to be balance in all things and what is done needs to be in accordance with the kind of land, what’s present and what your livestock is. Like my big LGD’s for goats and sheep, with mules and donkeys for larger stock that tends to be gentler rather than like canyon bred king cattle. There’s other combinations that work and am always looking to learn something new, but this just my 2 cents Jimmy. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • “There has to be balance in all things…”

      But there is not. The “imbalance” is introduced through government funded research that is junk (not replicatable because they refuse to share original data because it doesn’t exist and never did) and various and sundry other lies and interventions that always have unintended consequences. The only reason government exists is to continue to exist. Solving problems is NOT in any government functionaries’ best interest.

      Get the government out of the way and you would be free to “work with (your) wild neighbors rather than hunting them down” (you could even own a grizzly farm if you wanted) as long as you did it on your own property and with your own money. Then, if you were successful, others would follow. If your weren’t you would go broke and those resources (land and capital) would be acquired by better management.

      There are no limits to the human mind. Free the creative spirit and get out of the way because “things” are about to happen.

      Like

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