Wolves have a place in wildlife balance but often cause problems for ranchers.

Wolves have a place in wildlife balance but often cause problems for ranchers.

Wolf predation a serious problem for ranchers

Predation by wolves continues to be the biggest cause of cattle losses in the Cariboo-Chilcotin, B.C. Cattlemen’s Association says.

Predation by wolves continues to be the biggest cause of cattle losses in the Cariboo-Chilcotin, according to Kevin Boon, general manager of the B.C. Cattlemen’s Association which represents about 1,150 producers throughout the province.

“In that area it is our leading cause of death and cost to our producers,” Boon said during an interview for Cattle Country.

In some cases ranchers are seeing a 10 to 15 per cent loss of their calf crop to wolf predation in a year, Boon noted, adding he knows ranchers in the Big Creek area that have lost close to $50,000 due to cattle loss. Theirs are not big operations and would be in the 200 head range, he added.

He described the existing compensation program available for ranchers as a drop in the bucket.

“In order for us to get compensation we have to verify a kill and and the type of predator that did the kill,” Boon explained, noting often it’s difficult to find remains, because of the large areas of land the cattle are using.

“If a pack of wolves kill a calf it’s gone overnight,” he said. “They pretty well eat everything and scatter the bones so it’s hard to confirm what we suspect it is.”

Boon estimated that less than five per cent of kills are actually verified.

Dealing with predation is a top priority for the association and one of the most difficult things to obtain constructive results from.

Back in 2003, the association started a program where it hired contractors to remove the offending wolf or pack after a kill was verified.

When the funding ran out five years later, they started another program that “mirrored” the first one, but funding again dried up in 2011.

“At that point the government turned it over to the Conservation Officer Service to look after, removing some of these wolves or predators, because we do have issues with bears and cougars as well,” Boon said.

The government implemented a predator control co-ordinator for the province. “It’s been run by one of your local conservation officers Darryl Ashworth for the last few years and he’s done an exemplary job. One of the things he’s done is be a liaison between the ranching community and the CO services,” Boon said.  “He created predator conflict committees to discuss issues in specific areas and ways to approach the problems.”

The committees also co-ordinate training for ranchers on how to trap and how to verify a kill.

“He’s trained over 600 ranchers to be able to do the verification process themselves and it’s worked very well,” Boon added of Ashworth’s efforts, saying both sides have benefited because the COS is strapped for resources as are ranchers.

The association has also encouraged trappers to remove more wolves, gaining some limited success.

“It’s not necessarily targeting the wolves, but it is targeting areas where there are high populations,” he said of the trapping program. “It has helped, but at the end of the day the amount of wolves being removed is far less than what the birth rates are.”

Wolves continue to expand their territories and with the effects of the mountain pine beetle opening up more areas for harvesting of timber, wolves have the ability to travel farther and quicker.

Ranchers aren’t out there to kill all the wolves, but want to bring a balance back and are hoping the government’s Grey Wolf Management Plan can be put in place in the region.

“In the programs we run we’re very targeted so if the wolves aren’t bothering us we leave them alone because for the most part if they aren’t killing our cattle they are keeping the wolves that would out because they are very territorial,” Boon said.

 

Just Posted

Email letters to editor@wltribune.com
LETTERS: Congratulations to Romeros on JUNO Award win

Fame has not made them more aloof, as it does to some

Jim Hilton pens a column on forestry each week for the Williams Lake Tribune.
FOREST INK: Agroforestry alternative to some commercial forest practices

We do need to seriously look at some of our practices

2021 graduate Annaliese Hunt-Owega with Burton Astleford in advance of the Reverse Grad Parade held Saturday, June 12 in Williams Lake. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Jenna Harvey. (Photo submitted)
RCMP looking for missing woman between 100 Mile House and Williams Lake

Jenna Harvey was last heard from a week ago and claimed to be hitchhiking north

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Williams Lake’s Robert Webster, who helps operate the organization’s Parking Lot Clothing Drive, and Angela Kadar, executive director, collect clothing at BBBSWL’s new, permanent cargo trailer location at the Williams Lake Stampede Grounds infield. BBBSWL will be at the infield parking lot from noon to 1 p.m. every Tuesday until the fall collecting soft goods including men’s, women’s and children’s clothing, outerwear, boots, shoes, hats, mittens, scarves, ties, socks, purses, wallets, bags, bedding, towels and jewellery. Kadar thanked the Williams Lake Stampede Association for being so accommodating and for allowing them to use the space to park the trailer. (Greg Sabatino photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Williams Lake Parking Lot Clothing Drive gets new, permanent location

BBBSWL will be at the Stampede infield parking lot from noon to 1 p.m. every Tuesday

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

Most Read