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Mexican Wolf A Rural Viewpoint

Reality Bites

Updated 9-06

 

Last evening I spoke with my personal friends, Don and Jeannie Jones of Collins Park regarding wolf depredation on their dairy cows.  Mr. and Mrs. Jones ride all day, every day with their cattle and see wolves in the area regularly.  Don says that he lost 103 head of cattle in 2005, and knows for a certainty that 15 are confirmed wolf kills.  He knows that most of his losses are wolf kills, but has difficulty confirming all, because when a calf is taken, it is taken completely away.  Also, remains he does find are so drastically consumed that it is hard to confirm.  With the number of wolves in the area, he sees on a regular basis, he believes wolves are responsible for the majority of the kills.

 This morning I spoke with Preston Bates of the N Bar Ranch regarding his losses.  Mr. Bates bought his ranch 12 years ago and runs cattle, along with a guest ranch.  This is not a dude ranch, but men and women pay to run his cattle for him.  The cattle were paying his mortgage and the guest ranch part of the business was his profit to keep himself in business.

 From 1999 to 2002 he was seeing a calf production rate of 79%.  In 2005 losses to wolves were reflected in a 49% production rate.  His cattle are no longer paying his mortgage and he was forced to sell 35 high quality cattle horses to cover losses.  Because of the quality of these horses, Preston regularly had a minimum of 10 people, 22 weeks of the year, using his horses and running his cattle.  Because of the forced sale of 35 horses, he now only can accept 4 people a week and spends almost all his time babysitting cattle and calves, against wolves.  His total losses to wolves are 60% of his total income.  He had to lay off 2 employees, one of whom is married with a family of two children.  Preston rides 125 square miles of ranch JUST looking for body parts of cattle and calves.  He makes a 1 hour loop at least 3 times daily. 

 Mr. Bates estimates that his losses reflect in excess of $5000 per month to the economy in Reserve, just from his spending alone.  This community lost 2 paid employees from the ranch who cashed their paychecks at the local bank and shopped in the local community, also.  Mr. Bates spent no less than $5000 himself, shopping at Jake’s grocery store for livestock feed and groceries to run the guest ranch, and made fuel purchases locally.  Those guests and employees likewise spent money in the local economy. 

 Mr. Bates lost 22 branded calves, 35 unbranded calves and 3 cows.  His first losses during calving season years ago, were to the Saddle Pack and Jim Blair suffered losses to the same pack.  Now, Preston Bates is dealing with the Luna Pack.  He began dealing with this pack 2 years ago.  Preston deals with a total of 7-12 wolves in a single day, every day.  Since that time, they have successfully bred and raised 2 yearlings who are now terrorizing cattle and “learning” to hunt.  They are already extremely aggressive.  There are 4 in this pack, alone.  Yesterday, January 26, 2006 he followed this pack all day.  He has come face to face with a male adult IN HIS CAMP.  They are not afraid of him and are aggressive. 

 Mr. Bates feels that it is nearly impossible to get the government to admit when a wolf kill is a wolf kill, because of the 3 strike rule.  Three kills and a wolf must be destroyed.

 Not only is the entire community suffering due to Mr. Bates losses, but the equivalent losses of all the local ranchers, and their employees.