Monday, March 20, 2023

WOLVES: The damage they do

| May 28, 2021 1:00 AM

A recent letter to the editor stated that wolves are good for Idaho. I think that depends on which side of the fence you’re on.

The reality is grizzly bears are expanding, and wolves are flourishing but at what cost?

I know of an Idaho ranch family, who used to sell enough hay to pay their fertilizer bill and another family who has an excess of 250 elk that roam their property frequently. Figuring what an elk consumes, that amounts to more than 3,000 pounds of roughage a day, feed that would normally be used for cattle.

Wolves have pushed herds into the lower lands, impacting grazing and land owners. New science tells us of fetal programming, in which elk, deer, cattle, sheep, and other livestock that are pressured by wolves have stresses that we are just beginning to understand.

Cattleman sell their calves according to weight, hence lighter calves and lambs at sale date obviously bring less. Fetal programming tells us that unborn livestock is also impacted by the stress of their mother’s being stalked by predators. Lighter birth weights, premature births, and not breeding back are all factors to be considered.

We all signed up for 750 wolves in the greater Yellowstone area. Idaho alone is estimated to have 1,500, not to mention Wyoming, Montana, Oregon and Washington. Fish and Game and land owners need tools in their tool box to better manage high numbers of wolves.

This letter alone does not do this topic justice, nor does it list the real impact that this predator has on livestock producers.


Twin Lakes

(Mr. Scarcello is Kootenai County Predator Control, Animal Damage Board Member for the 10 northernmost Idaho counties.)

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