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 sheepâ€”most of them lambsâ€”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 sheepâ€”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.
In October 2012, Hill and his hunting group were tracking a bear in Wisconsinâ€”in an area familiar to themâ€”with the use of their hound dogs, when one of the dogs got separated from the group and was brutally killed by a pack of wolves. The dog was a 1 1/2 year old female Treeing Walker and was killed in Douglas County. Read the full story at Petersen's Hunting.
Siddoway Ranch in southeastern Idaho was shocked in August 2013 after 176 sheep were killed by two wolves, according to KTVB in Boise, Idaho. Check out the full story at Petersen's Hunting.
Therein lies the problem. When wolves are left unchecked, they can, and do, decimate ungulate populations to the point where few animals are left. All those folks who say they only kill the sick and weak have never watched a pack of wolves eat a healthy, mature bull caribou alive as I have. They have never seen the trail of death a pack of wolves leaves behind as it kills to teach its pups how to hunt, or just for fun, eating little of the animals whose lives they have just ended.
"Iâ€™ve seen where wolves have killed Dall sheep rams at the top of the mountain in the deep snow of spring, watched them chase mountain goats along the tree line of a Southeast Alaska forest in August, and shred a cow elk in the Yellowstone basin," Robb said. Read the full story at Petersen's Hunting.
Dennis Nitz, a Wisconsin native and one of five people to kill a wolf in 2012 during the stateâ€™s first annual season, said he received death threats within minutes of posting his photos of the wolf to Facebook. Nitz was one of over 1,000 people to receive a permit, while over 20,000 people applied for the right to hunt wolves this year. Read the full story at Petersen's Hunting.
If anything, the alarming dingo problem is a foreshadow of things to come in the U.S. if wolf and coyote numbers arenâ€™t effectively managed. As is the case stateside, Australian animal rights activists paint the dingo in an almost exclusively rosy light, even blaming the death of children in dingo attacks on the parentsâ€™ lack of situational awareness. Read the full story at Petersen's Hunting.
In 2012, the Minnesota Supreme Court rejected an effort by the Center for Biological Diversity and Howling for Wolves to stop the hunt from taking place. Despite their claims that Department of Natural Resources officials didnâ€™t adequately consider public opinion in the matter, Chief Justice Lorie Gildea thought otherwise. Read the full story at Petersen's Hunting.
It seems that Pearce, from Idaho, just doesnâ€™t care. On an archery elk hunt this past weekend near Clayton, Idaho, Pearce spent almost an hour calling in elk, only to find himself surrounded by a pack of wolves. As at least five wolves circled him, one made it within 40 yards. Thatâ€™s when Pearce decided to turn the tables on the pack. Read the full story at Petersen's Hunting.
Noah Graham, 16, found that out personally when a wolf attacked him in Minnesota while he was camping with his girlfriend. Real the full story at Petersen's Hunting.