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Read & React: Wolves Kill 176 Sheep; Largest Attack in Idaho History

by Dylan Polk   |  August 26th, 2013 15
Siddoway sheep

(Photo by Cindy Siddoway)

Think reintroduced wolves aren’t causing a big problem for ranchers and farmers? Think again.

Siddoway Ranch in southeastern Idaho is reeling after 176 sheep were killed Saturday after being chased by two wolves, according to KTVB in Boise, Idaho.

In what’s being called a “freak incident” by wildlife officials, a flock of 2,400 sheep—most of them lambs—was grazing on public land in the Caribou-Targhee National Forest when they were pursued by two wolves. Most of the sheep had been trampled or asphyxiated, huddling together in a large mass near a rocky ridge line. Fewer than 10 sheep were bitten, and one was partially consumed.

Wildlife officials say it is the largest loss by wolves in state history.

According to Todd Grimm, director of Wildlife Services for the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Boise, attacks like this are uncommon, as wolf packs tend to scatter sheep, not concentrate them.

“I would consider this a freak incident,” Grimm told KTVB. “We have had some pile ups from time to time, and most of those are because of black bears, and even [mountain] lions.”

Whether it’s common or not, it’s bad news for the Siddoway family.

“My husband and I have been fighting this whole issue our entire lives,” Cindy Siddoway, whose family owns the ranch, said. “We’re putting out thousands of animals that are just sitting ducks.”

The Siddoways own over 19,000 sheep, and each animal is valued at $200 a head, according to USDA loss compensation. Total damage for the Siddoways would then amount to about $35,000. Unfortunately for the ranchers, it doesn’t just stop at sheep—the family has also lost a few Great Pyrenees guard dogs and a horse to wolf attacks in the last few months.

Perhaps worst of all is that the Siddoways may not be compensated. KTVB reported no herder has been compensated through Idaho’s compensation program in the last two years. Though the money is available, lately it has been tied up in sequesters.

Along with the mounting financial losses, the Siddoways will be forced to deal with the wolves by themselves.

Of course, this isn’t the first time wolves have caused problems. Last October, we received a series of graphic photos after a wolf pack had killed a hunting dog in Wisconsin. Wolves aren’t the only ones wreaking havoc either, as canine cousins like coyotes and wild dogs have been reported decimating deer populations and livestock. Wolf hunting has also created quite a stir, with opposition going so far as to send death threats to hunters who take wolves.

 

  • rc

    Here’s the deal . . . 2 wolves pursued probably one animal and the herd did panic and trampled each other . . . it IS a freak accident . . . Wolf numbers are NOT out of control . . . Idaho has some of the highest wolf hunting and kill numbers in the country! And definitely the most cruel and horrific methods of trapping and baiting of wolves in this nation as well. Ranchers do know what they are up against grazing herds on wild land and wild animal territory. It happens. Wildlife officialls need a better management plan right next to the ranchers need to take better precautions on wild lands. Period.

    • BulSprig

      Hey Avatar, get your numbers straight, Idaho has an very high Density of wolves. The number shot, and trapped do not equal the numbers needed for maintenance. In other words if the remaining females only averaged 4 survived pups, (average litter size is 7) the population will increase by approx. 28%. Reality numbers are closer to 42%. Read that to mean the population is yet to reach management levels. It will likely take several more years of hunting, and trapping to get things in balance. And trapping is not cruel, and unusual, that pretty much shows your an emotional infant.

      • Justice

        Where do you get off saying trapping is not cruel??? If not let’s get you stuck in a trap then. You sound like one of those people who are just plain mad at the world and think it and everything else owes you something. And no I’m not a city slicker. I live in a remote area and enjoy and respect the wildlife around me. People fear what they do not know so baloney to raazorblade (figures you”d have a name like that)!!! All you animal haters and hunters will get your’s in the end when you stand before the Lord and have to account for your actions or the evil that comes from your hearts.

        • odie11

          If you trap, you can easily put your hand in a leg-hold trap and not have a damaged hand. If you’re not a city slicker, then you would have known that. And you can easily educate yourself on traps by watching a couple of YouTube videos. I’ve released numerous country dogs waiting patiently in a trap because they were roaming when they should not have.

          I am assuming you got your self stuck in a Leg Hold trap then? –LOL!!

          Get this thru your head–YOU ARE A METROSEXUAL. I don’t care where you live. I happen to live in the country. I too love animals. But I would never be stupid enough to say that today’s traps are “cruel.” “Cruelty” is what an animal has to go thru every day in fighting for survival. Either it works, or it starves.

          My guess is that you are one of the growing Americans that don’t have to do anything but is still fed by the “guv’ment.” If you actually had to work for the food you had to eat, you would be singing a different tune real quick.

          You sound like a woman. Women always have solutions to problems–they just can’t seem to figure out how to do it themselves–they make great politicians however, because they have all the solutions but none of the skills required to implement them.

          • fedupofidiotslikeu

            ok please can u just shut up now and go die some where so no one will need to hear you or see you? i got a headache just from reading your dumb words. relieve us all from your burden please. humans and animals. die.

      • havesensehaveaheart

        no, it actually shows your a freaking emotionless psycho who was probably beaten as a child and thats why you grew up to be such a fucked up heartless son of a bitch.

  • howler1968

    Here’s the deal……sheep are herd animals. When a predator or two or more stalk and pursue prey that are herd animals the prey react as a mass. It’s the way the most will survive. You see it in fish shoals as well when predatory fish attack.

    But these sheep are private property. The essential part of a family’s existence and livelihood. You may not like public grazing but it is legal. Sheep people by and large are not rich and labor way beyond a normal work week in all types of weather. It is honest work.

    These folks have even employed guard dogs to protect their herds and lost those investments to the wolves. These folks have played by the rules by and large. It is the wolf supporters who have not played by their rule by and large when loss reimbursements are delayed or denied.

    If wolves and grizzly bears are to be re-inserted into their historical ranges then all historical ranges should be used. The California griz comes to mind…..let’s plop breeding pairs of grizzlies all along the west coastlines. Even the Los Angeles basin was a grizzly bear haunt.
    Period.

  • raazorblade

    About 20 miles from where I live here in Montana a SINGLE wolf got into a flock of sheep one afternoon last summer and killed 22 of them and ate NONE. It was no freak accident. Wolves are land sharks that go into a kiling frenzie and kill for sport. Only the idiot city slickers think they are so loveable….it is like I read once. The people who love wolves do not know them and the people who know them HATE them.

    • Shooter

      It Dieing time again ! Shoot them, shovel them, and shut up

    • odie11

      No one with any knowledge of wolves thinks they are “lovable.” What we do think however is that like– Humans–, they are an alpha predator. And like humans, they have their own versions of sociopaths. And you are correct, sometimes Wolves kill for sport–because they can–just like humans and hunting for that Trophy Rack.

      But the difference is that we don’t attempt to kill all humans because they are not hunting for meat but rather ego. That makes wolves just a little more “civilized ” than humans.

  • odie11

    I hate reading these kinds of stories. It pits one group against the other. Funny how this article does not talk about what people (i.e. the herders) that had responsibility for their flock were doing while all this was going on. My guess is that there was no one around supervising the stock. The family owns 19,000 sheep–that’s a lot of sheep for one family…then perhaps the definition of ” family” is more along the lines of the mafia?

    This argument is supposed to be over. We decided a long time ago that if you live in rugged wilderness areas, you take what comes along with it. The other alternative is to close off all BLM land to ANYONE for ANY purpose other than Hiking, Hunting and Trapping.

    That would mean that the BLM should shut off all grazing and other private land use.

    We cannot have it both ways. Either you want wilderness, or you don’t. I am totally empathetic to landowners that suffer depredations by wild animals–they should be compensated. I really don’t get Washington or Advocacy Groups demanding that people living in certain communities abide by the desires of those living outside their communities–this idea defies the very definition of Home Rule.

    But when it comes to public land, that changes. Americans have already made those decisions–we want wilderness.

    It is very clear that this family has done VERY well by taking advantage of Federal Land Grazing Rights. To now use an very unusual incident to promote an agenda is low brow.

    These kinds of stories do nothing to either enhance or illuminate the debate. They consistently leave out the majority of the facts in order to fuel a preconceived agenda. I like my facts straight–without someone promoting a point of view. As a citizen of the USA, making a value judgment is MY JOB, not the writer’s.

    I’m convinced that these kinds of stories fall under the control of States Rights–unless we are talking about Federal lands. At that point we need to balance the interests and goals of the Feds with the right of local people to live in peace and harmony with their environment.

    And just as in a family in which we have the 4 year old fighting with the six year old, we can’t have it both ways. If the squabbling continues “Mommy,” is going to make a decision that neither child will like.

    When you look at the total federal budget, the amount of money kicked into the BLM for grazing rights is chump change. Sure, the USA can eliminate all grazing rights on federal land. But that will put the entire economies of some western states into a tailspin.

    But if you think that cannot or will not happen, think again. We live in a Democratic Republic. That means that usually the majority rules. Consider the fiasco with Wild Horses and Donkeys. That scenario now has the various special interest groups attempting to figure out ways of dealing with the ever increasing number of horses on BLM lands. As of this writing, we cannot even sell horse meat to European countries because “Animal Lovers,” cannot stomach the idea of seeing horses sold for meat. Tens of Thousands of wild horses languish in huge pens in which the BLM has to feed them for “ethical” reasons, while no one wants these animals and causing and even greater strain on the taxpayer.

    Given the history of our federal incompetence, I envision the same scenario here–a solution that will not be a solution but will ultimately make everyone even more unhappy.

    • rockymtnman

      where did you get VERY WELL from? you say we decided this long ago. was that when all the wolves where shot out,or when a few(minority) decided to reintroduce them? I say give blm land to states ,sell it or pay states property taxes.grazing is part of multiple use,and grazers don’t control access.just having to deal with the feds should be worth a discount on fees. you are right about horses though,every one is about 1500 meals to people that actualy need the protein,and usa is about the only country that doesn’t eat them. onother case of a loud minority getting its way,evan though they are wrong.

      • odie11

        I think anyone that is handling 19,000 sheep as in the article is a pretty big rancher. The fact is we don’t know the whole story.

        We did decide this a long time ago when the various states and feds decided to bring back the Wolves, the Grizzlies and other endangered wildlife. The country as a whole agrees that they want wilderness.

        And maybe you might like to look up Siddoway Ranch, since it is a large family business which just happens to be owned by a Senator from Idaho.

        You may also want to follow a link at the Idaho Reporter where numerous Idahoans are chiming in with comments that the Siddoway Ranch allows their dead sheep to just lie there and thereby bring in more predators so they can collect more government subsidies. I mentioned above something didn’t smell right with this article, and now I know that it really reeks.

        According the the Idaho Reporter comments, Siddoway Ranch pulled in $923,000 in subsidies as of 2012 and pays an average of 27 cents per sheep per month for grazing rights. So that would be a grand total of $3.24 per year to graze one sheep. That is a pretty good return on a $200.00 per sheep.

        Yet their animals go for $200.00 on the hoof. If you think that is a fair amount to charge a customer and a fair return on the American Taxpayers investment, then you and I would differ.

        I not a big fan of corporate farming, and this is just an example of the kind of misuse of government land that I and many people like me find offensive. I feel for ranchers that have to deal with predators–but this time it looks like the wolf is something other than a wolf.

  • Guest

    Odie 11′s comments on this set-up job of a “story” are spot on. This is not responsible journalism, not even close. If Petersen’s Hunting wishes to editorialize about wolves, do so — but this article indeed “didn’t smell right” to me either. Kudos to Odie 11 for setting the record straight. There still remain responsible standards for animal husbandry versus the neglect thereof. “And maybe you might like to look up Siddoway Ranch, since it is a large family business which just happens to be owned by a Senator from Idaho.

    “You may also want to follow a link at the Idaho Reporter where numerous Idahoans are chiming in with comments that the Siddoway Ranch allows their dead sheep to just lie there and thereby bring in more predators so they can collect more government subsidies. I mentioned above something didn’t smell right with this article, and now I know that it really reeks.

    “According the the Idaho Reporter comments, Siddoway Ranch pulled in $923,000 in subsidies as of 2012 and pays an average of 27 cents per sheep per month for grazing rights. So that would be a grand total of $3.24 per year to graze one sheep. That is a pretty good return on a $200.00 per sheep.

    “Yet their animals go for $200.00 on the hoof. If you think that is a fair amount to charge a customer and a fair return on the American Taxpayers investment, then you and I would differ.

    “I not a big fan of corporate farming, and this is just an example of the kind of misuse of government land that I and many people like me find offensive. I feel for ranchers that have to deal with predators–but this time it looks like the wolf is something other than a wolf.”

  • Steve Wilson

    These liberal scum who advocate for should supplement their pay checks to ranchers who’s livestock and income that is being lost in $$$$. Otherwise, they have no say on “fairy ideals” on some matters.

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