My morning started way too early this morning and I’m breaking my no talky before coffee rule so be warned.
I understand, no really I understand, I’m not just saying that I really do understand how absolutely devastating it is to have your livestock killed by predators. I’ve had it happen. It sucks, it makes you angry and it’s costly. I don’t want anyone to have to deal with that. But I also understand that is one of the cold hard realities of being a rancher. Animals die. Animals get killed and sometimes animals disappear and you never know what happened to them.
Apparently (not yet confirmed) last night two calves were killed by wolves in the Kettle range. I am sorry for the loss the rancher suffered and I’m sorry for the work it caused the range riders. And I don’t want to diminish their pain or their loss in any way. But using their misfortune and loss to stir fear, anger and hate about wolves is misguided at best and as far as I’m concerned unacceptable from an elected official, Joel Kretz.
So lets gets some fact out this morning.
– 9 head of cattle were killed last year by wolves
– 6 head of cattle were injured
– $85,000 was paid to ranchers for direct and indirect losses.
I couldn’t find the exact number of grazing permits issued in the 7th but there are tens of thousands of cattle and sheep grazing on public land where wolves are present.
15 head of livestock and 1 injured dog do not constitute a problem that should cause our elected representative to encourage people to “get western”.
Wolves are not our enemy and they are not the problem. They are one solution to maintaining a healthy rangeland. As a rancher I understand that apex predators are necessary and vital to creating and maintaining a healthy and sustainable rangeland where cattle and sheep can graze for generations to come. I want to protect my way of life and our heritage and eradicating apex predators will do neither.
I know it’s not exciting to respond to issues with a cool head, a measured response and a workable plan but that’s what I learned from my grandfather. He was able to make a living and leave a legacy for his family as a farmer and rancher so I think I’ll follow his lead. Not some part-time rancher, part-time politician who wants to “get western” on the hard working people of the WDFW.