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Old 03-25-2014, 11:34 AM
 
Location: Orange County, CA
3,727 posts, read 5,430,414 times
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While wolf predation impact on livestock may be exaggerated, the cattlemen do have some valid complaints. Animals, including domestic ones, will adapt anti predator behavior after being hunted for a period of time. Cattle have become more alert, wary, and wilder. They are running more, which does mean less feeding time, thus weight loss. Cows are defending calves more, counterattacking wolves after their young. Steers and particularly the tough bulls, are usually bypassed, because they can defend themselves, but still they are running more to avoid the wolves.

One of the problems, unfortunately, is that domestic livestock are easier prey than are the wolves natural prey, and a few of them seem to be taking advantage of this. A 600 pound heifer is a much easier target than is a 600 pound bull elk. The elk is much faster, usually able to easily outrun the wolves, far more dangerous, able to kick or gore a wolf to death, while the heifer is slow, and has little defenses. Bison can be very aggressive toward predators, often standing their ground rather than running.
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Old 03-27-2014, 10:40 AM
 
Location: Duluth, MN
527 posts, read 997,275 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by branDcalf View Post
"And just an FYI - but there are several programs that compensate ranchers and cattlemen for livestock lost to wolf predation. So it's not like wolves have ever been a major threat to their livelihood. An inconvenience, maybe, but that's about it."


Wolf predation of cattle affects calf weight in Montana -- ScienceDaily

The above link describes the economic impact of wolf harassment on calves that results in low sale weight. It also cites the rate at which a rancher is reimbursed for a cow killed by a wolf. Average $900. Not quite half of what a decent cow brings and doesn't compensate for future calves the cow might have had.

Then there is a emotional impact on ranchers and workers. Many of you won't understand or believe this but ranchers and workers treat their animals humanely. We like our cows. We don't like to see one even ill. To find one that thrashed around while being eaten alive just hurts. And it's not easy to have to shoot one that is laying there moaning with its' back end, nose and some of its' stomach eaten out.

All adds up to quite a bit more than "an inconvenience."
Like anything else, there are more factors to a given issue than just one - and as has already been pointed out, there's more going into low calf weight than wolf predation.

Also, I think that "average" payment balances itself out when you consider the fact that wolves habitually take the weak, slow, and infirm animals - the ones they can get the easiest. That means they kill a lot of cattle which might never even make it to market.

It may be more than an inconvenience - perhaps that was the wrong term to use. That's IF every livestock owner has the emotional attachment to their animals which you claim (though I haven't really seen it here: I've seen people upset over potential lost revenue, basically).

However, it's still a far cry from the image that's always portrayed: of livestock owners on the verge of financial ruin, specifically because of wolves and nothing else. That was my point (which I didn't make very clearly)

To be fair, I don't see many livestock owners claiming that. I think it's just a tactic used by the anti-wolf crowd because it's a more sympathetic arguing point than their main one: that wolves compete with hunters for trophy game animals.
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Old 03-27-2014, 01:29 PM
 
Location: Type 0.7 Kardashev
10,576 posts, read 7,636,943 times
Reputation: 37555
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beenaroundabit View Post
Like anything else, there are more factors to a given issue than just one - and as has already been pointed out, there's more going into low calf weight than wolf predation.

Also, I think that "average" payment balances itself out when you consider the fact that wolves habitually take the weak, slow, and infirm animals - the ones they can get the easiest. That means they kill a lot of cattle which might never even make it to market.

It may be more than an inconvenience - perhaps that was the wrong term to use. That's IF every livestock owner has the emotional attachment to their animals which you claim (though I haven't really seen it here: I've seen people upset over potential lost revenue, basically).

However, it's still a far cry from the image that's always portrayed: of livestock owners on the verge of financial ruin, specifically because of wolves and nothing else. That was my point (which I didn't make very clearly)

To be fair, I don't see many livestock owners claiming that. I think it's just a tactic used by the anti-wolf crowd because it's a more sympathetic arguing point than their main one: that wolves compete with hunters for trophy game animals.
One note:
The wolves really aren't competing for the trophy elk. Wolves seek easy prey that is less likely to injure or kill a wolf during the take-down. In so doing, they take animals that may well die soon whether by wolf predation or otherwise. And by taking the less fit, as in general they do, the elk gene pool is improved.

The hunter going for the trophy does not do this. He seeks the trophy, as likely as not on a fit elk in its prime, an elk that still has a valuable genetic contribution to make to the local population. As often as not, the deep concern expressed for the health of the elk herd is actually deep concern for the quality/quantity of the sport hunt.

I think you know all of this, so I don't pretend I'm telling you anything you don't know - just thought I'd put it out there for anyone else passing through this thread.
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