When I read an article that says “we have to get a handle on the livestock predation issue,” I wonder if the writer means domestic dogs or coyotes. I am not speaking tongue in cheek since the USDA’s livestock predation reports list those two as the biggest killers of sheep and cattle, of course after disease, that is number one.
As I read further I see the hysteria over wolves and denial of facts is alive and well. On occasion I read statements such as the following, “My husband and I are cattle ranchers in California and our cows calve in pastures with coyote packs, mountain lions and other predators, and we use only nonlethal livestock protection methods.”
Idaho ranchers seem to not accept even statements by fellow ranchers that nonlethal predation methods work. Many ranchers that use my taxpayer dollars to feed their cattle on my public land do not want to invest anything in protecting their business as other businesses do when conditions change (when wolves appear on the landscape).
My tax dollars also pay the federal Wildlife Services to kill predators (along with thousands of unintended birds and mammals) for the ranchers.
No, I am not an Idaho resident but my tax dollars are. Thankfully, most of us are capable of caring about more than ourselves and our immediate surroundings. If we care enough to keep open minds and practice responsible, competent livestock management, we can learn to how to ranch peacefully alongside predators.
I will expend all the energy available to me to see that goal is reached.