Issues of concern to people who live in the west: property rights, water rights, endangered species, livestock grazing, energy production, wilderness and western agriculture. Plus a few items on western history, western literature and the sport of rodeo... Frank DuBois served as the NM Secretary of Agriculture from 1988 to 2003. DuBois is a former legislative assistant to a U.S. Senator, a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Interior, and is the founder of the DuBois Rodeo Scholarship.
Friday, September 07, 2012
Fight over wild wolves reignited by plan to kill as many as 4
Marksmen and trappers returned to the woods of northeast Washington this week, hoping to kill more of the gray wolves that have been taking down a ranch's cows. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife sharpshooters are armed with orders to take out up to four of the protected predators in the so-called Wedge Pack, which straddles the Canadian border in Stevens County. But after a grueling summer of losses for a pair of cattlemen already hostile to Canis lupus — and a maddening month for wildlife advocates suspicious that ranchers also want to stoke anti-wolf fever — few think that will resolve this festering standoff. Five years after wild wolves began returning to Washington, a long-simmering conflict between wolves and livestock has exploded with a vengeance. And by most accounts it couldn't have happened in a worse place. "I don't know that I'd call this the perfect storm, but we have a substantial problem," said Phil Anderson, director of the state Department of Fish and Wildlife. Since midsummer, at least 12 cows or calves belonging to Diamond M Ranch owners Len McIrvin and his son, Bill McIrvin, have been killed or injured — two of them just this week. While outside experts aren't convinced all were attacked by wolves, some clearly were. The senior McIrvin, whose family has grazed cattle on public and private land in northeast Washington for more than a century, has long expressed disdain for wolves. He has been unwilling to accept compensation for his dead animals, fearing that would legitimize the predator's protection. At times he has urged state and local politicians to do what they can to make sure the entire pack is wiped out. "Wolves have never been compatible with raising livestock," McIrvin said in an interview. "They have no enemy other than man, disease and hunger, and we've taken man out of the equation." His son, Bill McIrvin, on the other hand, has shown more willingness to find a way to coexist with wolves, but with each passing week his pessimism mounts. "I'd like to find common ground, but at this point it doesn't look good," the younger McIrvin said Thursday. "We just can't operate with the kind of losses we're seeing." Meanwhile, some wildlife organizations, fueled by the elder McIrvin's intransigence, and concerns that the state is responding to political pressure he's whipped up, are pressuring the state to avoid killing wolves...more