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Thread: they only kill what they eat.......right............

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    rattler's Avatar
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    they only kill what they eat.......right............

    Wolves kill 120 sheep at ranch near Dillon


    By EVE BYRON of the Helena Independent Record | Posted: Friday, August 28, 2009 6:30 am |

    HELENA - While the debate about how many wolves are enough to ensure a healthy population will again come to a head in a federal courtroom Monday, a Dillon-area ranch is picking up the pieces from the largest known wolf depredation in recent history.

    In a highly unusual move for wolves, they killed about 120 adult male sheep in one incident on the Rebish/Konen Livestock Ranch south of Dillon last week.

    That compares with a total of 111 sheep killed by wolves in Montana in 2008, according to Carolyn Sime, the statewide wolf coordinator for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

    "This is one of the most significant losses that I've seen," Sime said. "That situation is really unfortunate."

    Suzanne Stone with Defenders of Wildlife added that in the 20 years she's been working toward ensuring healthy wolf populations, this is the first time she's heard of such a mass killing.

    "I've heard of bears or mountain lions doing that, but what usually happens is the sheep panic and jump on top of one another or fall into a ditch and suffocate," Stone said. "I've never heard of any situation where wolves killed so much livestock in such a short period of time.

    "... This is the most extreme case I've ever heard about."

    The ranch has suffered confirmed wolf depredations twice in three weeks. In late July, three wolves - two blacks and a gray - killed at least 26 rams. The gray wolf was lethally shot by a federal wildlife manager, and one of the blacks was injured. They thought that would scare off the rest of the pack.

    Last week, wolves struck again. This time, they took out 120 purebred Rambouillet bucks that ranged in size from about 150 to 200 pounds, and were the result of more than 80 years of breeding.

    "We went up to the pasture on Thursday (Aug. 20) - we go up there every two or three days - and everything was fine," rancher Jon Konen said. "The bucks were in the pasture; I had about 100 heifers with them on 600 acres."

    He had some business to attend to in Billings, so Konen told his son to be sure to check on the livestock while he was gone.

    "He called me, and said it was a mess up there. He said there were dead bucks all up and down the creek. We went up there the next day and tried to count them, but there were too many to count," Konen recalled.

    "I had tears in my eyes, not only for myself but for what my stock had to go through," he added. "They were running, getting chewed on, bit and piled into a corner. They were bit on the neck, on the back, on the back of the hind leg.

    "They'd cripple them, then rip their sides open."

    Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has taken the lead in wolf management from the U.S. Department of the Interior's Fish and Wildlife Service, and the state agency has a "memorandum of understanding" with the federal Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services to provide damage management services when livestock are killed by wolves.

    After the dead sheep were found, Graeme McDougal with Wildlife Services flew in a small plane over the sheep pasture, looking for the one or two remaining black wolves to complete the control work requested by Montana FWP. Within a half-mile of the sheep pasture, he spotted the Centennial pack of three adult gray wolves and five pups.

    McDougal shot and killed the one uncollared adult wolf, but wasn't authorized to remove any more wolves.

    This was the first known depredation incident for the Centennial pack in 2009.

    Konen doesn't want to wade into the debate over the reintroduction of wolves in the Rockies, but said that in his opinion, it's time to stop managing wolves and start controlling them.

    "My bucks were on private ground, in a pasture where we've been pasturing them for 50 years. The wolves were intruders that were in the wrong place," he said.

    Wolves were recently taken off the list of animals protected under the Endangered Species Act, and both Montana and Idaho have instituted hunting seasons for them this year. Idaho will allow 265 wolves to be taken by hunters, in a season that starts Tuesday. Montana will allow 75 wolves to be taken, with the season starting Sept. 15.

    Montana is home to an estimated 500 wolves, while Idaho has at least 850. Wyoming also has wolves, but they remain under Endangered Species Act protection.

    In Stone's opinion, hunting wolves could create even more problems for ranchers.

    "If the adults are shot, then the young ones are dispersed too early," Stone said. "Young pups on their own might turn to livestock to survive, and that's not a good situation for anybody."

    Her organization has put out a book to educate ranchers on proactive steps they can take to prevent livestock loss, like hiring range riders, hanging "fladry" - closely spaced cloth - on fences, and minimizing attractants such as dead carcasses.

    Defenders of Wildlife has spent more than $895,000 since 1998 to help pay for installation of nonlethal methods to prevent conflicts.

    Since 1987, they've also made 885 payments totaling $1.35 million to ranchers to compensate for livestock killed by wolves.

    In Montana, the Legislature has earmarked $150,000 to compensate ranchers for livestock lost to wolves, and U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., co-sponsored a bill that includes $5 million in federal funding over five years for depredation losses.

    George Edwards, state livestock loss mitigation coordinator, said the Rebish/Konen Ranch probably will receive $350 per dead sheep.

    But he added that the loss is more than just monetary to ranchers.

    "The compensation still doesn't make up for the loss by any means," Edwards said. "The rancher still needs to make up his breeding stock, and people in town may not realize the attachment livestock folk get to their animals. The emotional toll it takes is just indescribable."
    cervid serial killer
    Know guns, know peace, know safety. No guns, no peace, no safety
    I didn't get stimulated but he kept his promise on change, that's about all I got left!
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  2. #2
    herenorthere's Avatar
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    Things happen. Most people don't become serial killers and most wolves don't either. Working border collies are known to occasionally lose it and start killing sheep too.

    By the way, I can't believe how much he'll be paid for those sheep. The prices for sheep in this week's CT ag report top out at around $160 and I can't believe they're that much more valuable in MT. Back in the day shepherds and dogs kept sheep (mostly) safe, but that guy makes a lot of money when wolves attack.
    Bruce in CT

    Madness is something rare in individuals — but in groups, parties, peoples, ages it is the rule. Friedrich Nietzsche

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    rattler's Avatar
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    what were killed werent market sheep......they were the breeding studs of the operation.......havent been around sheep as im in cattle country but a breeding bull is worth a hell of alot more than a market steer......my uncle had to turn one of his bulls into hamburger a couple weeks ago due to a broken leg.....he aint happy.....had it been one of the steers it wouldnt have been a big deal hell had it been a steer i woulda paid market price for it to fill my freezer........
    cervid serial killer
    Know guns, know peace, know safety. No guns, no peace, no safety
    I didn't get stimulated but he kept his promise on change, that's about all I got left!
    http://www.wolfpointherald.com/--http://www.safety-brite.net/

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    herenorthere's Avatar
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    That seems like a lot of studs for one ranch, which is why I figured the sheep would have (mostly) gone to the auctions, after any keepers were pulled out. The rancher is basically being bribed to accept losses from wolves. Are guardian dogs used much in MT? After a lot of training and the extra cost of caring for them, dogs can encourage predators to look elsewhere for supper. But a generous guvmint payment doesn't help motivate a welfare recipient to make an extra effort, whether the welfare recipient lives in the inner city or owns a Montana sheep ranch.
    Bruce in CT

    Madness is something rare in individuals — but in groups, parties, peoples, ages it is the rule. Friedrich Nietzsche

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    rattler's Avatar
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    guard dogs are used some but with the real large flocks they only help so much.....plus you need more dogs than are in the pack of wolves.....most sheep dogs, even the large protective breeds tend to only win on 1 on 1 fights......one dog against 2 or 3 wolves winds up dead nearly every time......most the real large breeds were bred for protection against bears as even in europe there has been more pressure on helping bears than wolves, and thats a 1 on 1 fight.....and the goal isnt to kill the bear its to run it off.....going to take time to come up with ideal guardian dogs against the wolves.....for years ranchers have been using llamas and burros because the main threats have been coyotes and mountain lions.......llamas are darn effective against 'yotes and burros are effective against the cats.....some losses still happen but they are limited......a pack of 100 pound plus wolves is a whole different threat, one thats not been a real threat in most places where sheep and cattle are raised in 100 years......

    this individual has been working for decades on a full blown breeding project.....he wasnt doing what most due and just running one breed, he was working to tailor a breed specifically to the area for the best results on the land he has......some ranchers here do the same thing with cattle, alot of ranchers dont run pure breeds, they run crosses that are better adapted to our low rainfall(which means sub par grazing) and bitterly cold winters.....here a few guys run pure Charolais or black or brown Angus but they are in the minority.........which means for the most part your running your own breeding program.......

    ---------- Post added at 12:14 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:03 PM ----------

    and for the record the above isnt really atypical of wolf behavior.......the wolves they introduced evolved chasing caribou......they run an animal down, eat the choice bits and run down the next.....why eat the tough parts when the cuts yah real like are on the hoof near by? in lean times they will devour the entire animal......in good times they eat the best parts and leave the rest for the crows.......a pasture full of sheep? easy targets? contrary to what Disney says, animals will kill to just to kill and not just to eat aswell.......
    cervid serial killer
    Know guns, know peace, know safety. No guns, no peace, no safety
    I didn't get stimulated but he kept his promise on change, that's about all I got left!
    http://www.wolfpointherald.com/--http://www.safety-brite.net/

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    swords's Avatar
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    That's $100 more than the social security death benefit. You can't even legally cremate someone for $250! lol!

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    herenorthere's Avatar
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    Making a kill has costs to a predator, both because of the energy expended and because of the risk of injury. The costs are multiplied by the presence of guardian dogs, llamas, or whatever and that's enough to reduce predation from a wholesale slaughter of 120 to the occasional loss of one. Which would have reduced the guvmint check from $42,000 to $350.

    I apologize for my lack of sympathy - I've been trying real hard to see this differently because I admire people breeding for their little piece of the world, whether its sheep in MT or corn in VT. But the rancher had a reasonable option for reducing predation, apparently didn't spend the time or money to do it and is rewarded with a check for more than the market value of his loss. That's a classic example of moral hazard and is no different than subsidizing insurance for oceanfront houses in hurrican country or increasing welfare checks for having more babies. People tend to think of only as the latter as being welfare queens but they all are.
    Bruce in CT

    Madness is something rare in individuals — but in groups, parties, peoples, ages it is the rule. Friedrich Nietzsche

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    rattler's Avatar
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    what other option could he have? there really arent any dogs around to protect against wolves anymore especially large ones........they havent been needed in over 100 years anywhere on the globe........most the wolves in other agricultural areas run about the size of a large coyote here.....maybe 60 pounds 70 on the heavy side.......the 100 to 150 pound.....up to 170 pound.....wolves they reintroduced have not been in any major agricultural area in the world for over a century.......for a century individuals have only had to guard against lone or pairs of 30-60 pound coyotes or solitary mountain lions or solitary bears......a pack of 3 and up of animals that are twice the size of a big yote that are used to working as a team.......tell me what a guy is supposed to do, they will eat the burro's that are effective against mountain lions, they will eat the llamas used against yotes half the size or less of the wolves.........there are no guard dogs that are effective against a pack of wolves......what could he have done?
    cervid serial killer
    Know guns, know peace, know safety. No guns, no peace, no safety
    I didn't get stimulated but he kept his promise on change, that's about all I got left!
    http://www.wolfpointherald.com/--http://www.safety-brite.net/

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