State’s wolf management plan should give ranchers a way to protect their livestock

­­­ A new predator has been introduced into Northeastern California, and thanks to the state’s fish and game commission’s listing of the grey wolf as an endangered species, local ranchers have few options to protect their livestock.

“The gray wolf listing amounts to bad science, bad policy and bad law,” Pacific Legal Foundation attorney Damien Schiff said in a press release earlier this year.
PLF represents the California Cattlemen’s Association and the California Farm Bureau in a civil lawsuit filed against the California Fish and Game Commission last January in San Diego Superior Court.

“California bureaucrats managed to label the gray wolf as ‘endangered’ only by ignoring the wolf’s populations outside California.” Schiff said. “This deliberate undercounting is more than irresponsible, it’s flat-out illegal.”

The lawsuit challenges the listing because it’s based on flimsy evidence, regulators undercounted the wolf’s numbers and the gray wolf (actually a native of Canada) should not be covered under state law.

Dave Daley, CCA president and a Butte County cattleman, said this lawsuit is necessary for ranchers to ensure the humane treatment of their livestock.

“Under California law, you can’t even pursue a species that is listed as endangered,” Daley said. “If a rancher sees a wolf attacking one of his or her calves, he or she can’t even chase the wolf away without breaking the law. Ranchers are not seeking open season on wolves, we just want sensible wolf management that also allows us to protect our livestock.  That will require delisting the gray wolf.”

Lassen County rancher Richard Egan, who has seen evidence of The Lassen Pack at his leased public land allotment near Moonlight Valley, the first wild wolves living in Lassen County since the last one in the state was shot and killed near Litchfield in 1924, said he doubts a rancher would ever actually witness a wolf attack on his livestock. Egan said it’s much more likely the rancher would simply find a carcass the predators had abandoned after a meal.

According to the state’s wolf management plan, wolves prefer to prey on elk and secondarily deer, but the plan acknowledges, “Although livestock losses from wolves in California are expected to occur on large ranches and public land grazing allotments, wolf-related losses may also occur on smaller parcels in rural residential areas. Many Californians reside in such areas, often located on deer winter ranges and/or adjacent to public land or private forest and rangelands.”

As the lawsuit from the cattlemen and the farmers argue, these wolves being introduced into the state are not the native species of wolf historically found in California, so it’s difficult to understand how or why the state would list them as an endangered species — especially given their large numbers in other states and in Canada. Some even wonder why the state would want to introduce this once eradicated predator back into the state in the first place.

While no one — not even the threatened ranchers — is calling for the wholesale slaughter of wolves, any plan for the management of these creatures must give the ranchers the right to protect their livestock and their livelihoods.

15 thoughts on “State’s wolf management plan should give ranchers a way to protect their livestock

  • September 22, 2017 at 3:19 pm
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    Because the wolves have a right to live here. They were here long before man killed them all. Grey wolves have been in North America for over 700,000 years so I am not sure where this attorney is getting his untrue data. This why they are endangered because man killed them all. There has to be so many packs before they will be changed to not in danger. What gives you cattlemen the right over them? Keep your cattle where they belong, in a confined area and take precautions, dogs, llamas, donkeys, etc. and you can live with the wolves just fine. It is amazing that wolves are back in California the way God intended. They are a necessary predator for every state. They thin the animals they prey on and are a necessary part of the ecosystem, the way God intended before man decided to kill everything they did not like. It does not matter what is happening in other states or how many wolves there are there, it matters what is happening here, and how is that illegal? They are endangered, especially because of the cattle industry and other killers to wildlife.

  • September 22, 2017 at 3:37 pm
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    No, it is wrong. The wolves should have never been eradicated in the first place. How about have some dogs that specialize in protection of cattle inorder to make the cattle not such easy prey. I am tired of people not trying to coexist with the animals we share this planet with. We are encroaching on their territory and yet we deem them the enemy.

  • September 22, 2017 at 3:40 pm
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    This is ridiculous. Cattle are non-native and should not take precedent over the return of an essential native species. I am confident my home state of California will continue doing the right thing.

    Ranchers can protect their livestock by avoiding known wolf territory (which at this point there is very little) and being proactive about removing carcasses and other wolf attractions.

  • September 22, 2017 at 3:42 pm
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    I think rhetoric like this is dangerous. Wolves are essential to our biodiversity. You are trying to incite anger by referencing population numbers outside of your area. You want to establish policy that will inherently be abused. We have already seen other abuses get slapped with measly $100 fines with the “atta boy, keep shooting.”

    On a personal note: I find your statement, “introduce this once eradicated predator back into the state” entirely offensive. It is my personal opinion that the eradication was a crime to begin with.

  • September 22, 2017 at 4:17 pm
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    Wolves were put here many thousands of years ago and are native to many states. Cattle on the other hand are not native and do not belong on our public lands destroying everything. When cattle over graze the lands the ungulates that the wolves normally hunt move on. Wolves with young pups who cannot travel but still need to eat will take down cattle. The answer is for ranchers to keep their herds on their own fenced land and protect them with many non-lethal measures that work…or get out of the ranching business! The rest of us are not given land at nearly free to run a business on top of being paid for losses! Stop whining ranchers and suck it up…it’s the cost of doing business! We eat far too much beef anyway…not healthy.

  • September 22, 2017 at 4:30 pm
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    These wolves in Calif came here all on Thier own, as they have the right to.
    Ranchers cattle are a parasite , introduced for profit.
    Not a native species, and disrupt the environment they now exist on.

  • September 22, 2017 at 4:41 pm
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    This is a disappointing editorial filled with misinformation. These Lassen pack wolves have lived in the region for more than two years, and not a single instance of livestock depredation has been recorded. California’s wolf plan does include provisions for lethal removal of depredating wolves, once the population reaches certain milestones that will ensure such removals will not threaten the very survival and recovery of wolves in California. These wolves have not been introduced to California, they are naturally expanding down from Oregon. They are indeed the same species and subspecies of wolf that was found here previously. A 2012 study of historic wolf specimens found that the wolf killed in Lassen County in 1924 shared the same genetic markers as wolves currently repopulating the Northern Rockies. Link: link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10592-014-0687-8

  • September 22, 2017 at 5:11 pm
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    It is totally wrong to allow cattlemen and ranchers to kill wolves. They need to purchase a Llama, or donkey and they will have no problems with wolves.

    Without wolves and other large predators, ecosystems can go wild. Scavengers thrive when wolves are around, such as ravens, magpies, eagles, weasels, chickadees, and more than 445 species of beetles. Wolf kills are also good for the soil. They enhance levels of nitrogen and other nutrients. Wolf kills feed more animals than hunting by humans,, since wolves scatter their carrion over the landscape. Wolf kills benefit three times more species than human hunting skills. Chronic Wasting Disease is a major threat to deer in the west. Wolves can help by reducing sick animals’ lifespans, in turn limiting the amount of time they can spread infections. In addition, wolf tourism is an economic boon. We have a number of wolf sanctuaries in this state which bring in tax dollars because of the number of people visiting them.

  • September 22, 2017 at 9:33 pm
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    Their are many ways to protect livestock .Wolf rangers ,large guard dogs not leaving carcass of dead animals around to attract wolves. Wolves are so important to a balanced eco-system.They are endangered and need our protection for future generations to appreciate and enjoy.

  • September 22, 2017 at 11:09 pm
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    Their Lawyer is an IDIOT not to mention that he is a FOOL that does not have a CLUE when it comes to listing of animals on the Endangered Species Act Population in a State compared to the Nation and Canada!

    There are other methods to deter Wolves from killing their livestock! Educating the Ranchers as to how important Wolves are to their habitat! And by killing a member of their pack has a devastating affect on the packs ability to hunt their preferred prey! And be the cause of further predator attacks, on their livestock!

  • September 23, 2017 at 9:14 am
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    Ranchers should not need to host predators on private property. Maybe wolves should be relocated to Golden Gate park in San Francisco where there are not livestock to kill.

  • September 24, 2017 at 1:41 am
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    Because the wolves have a right to live here. They were here long before man killed them all. Grey wolves have been in North America for over 700,000 years so I am not sure where this attorney is getting his untrue data. This why they are endangered because man killed them all. There has to be so many packs before they will be changed to not in danger. What gives you cattlemen the right over them? Keep your cattle where they belong, in a confined area and take precautions, dogs, llamas, donkeys, etc. and you can live with the wolves just fine. It is amazing that wolves are back in California the way God intended. They are a necessary predator for every state. They thin the animals they prey on and are a necessary part of the ecosystem, the way God intended before man decided to kill everything they did not like. It does not matter what is happening in other states or how many wolves there are there, it matters what is happening here, and how is that illegal? They are endangered, especially because of the cattle industry and other killers to wildlife.

  • September 27, 2017 at 6:09 pm
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    I can’t believe this. What’s wrong with people? Greed is all I see in this read. I’m saddened that this is even possible. Cows are everywhere, all over the place, getting in roads, getting stuck somewhere dying on their own. Wolves aren’t the problem here, people clearly are.

  • October 1, 2017 at 4:33 pm
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    More wolves, more mountain lions, very few deer left; so what do you think these wolves will be eating?
    Brilliant.

  • October 4, 2017 at 7:49 am
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    “A new predator has been introduced” This statement is incorrect.
    A predator has RE-introduced itself to its natural range.

Comments are closed.