Central Oregon Daily▶️ Bentz seeks actual costs of wolf reintroduction on Oregon cattle ranchers

▶️ Bentz seeks actual costs of wolf reintroduction on Oregon cattle ranchers

▶️ Bentz seeks actual costs of wolf reintroduction on Oregon cattle ranchers

There have been nearly 500 confirmed kills of livestock animals since gray wolves returned to Oregon nearly 30 years ago. Oregon 2nd District Congressman Cliff Bentz held a listening session Thursday in Prineville to learn the direct and indirect costs to cattle ranchers.

There have been five confirmed kills of livestock by wolves in Crook County. Because gray wolves west of Highway 395 are still listed as endangered species, there’s not much ranchers can do about it.

East of Highway 395, where the wolves are no longer listed as endangered, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife actively manages the apex predators and allows ranchers to kill wolves that attack livestock.

“The cattle are going to where ever they can get to be safe. You are having to deal with that,” said Shawn Samuels. “Our guys are out working, doing their best riding the range. We’ve got to ride the range a whole lot more than before. We can only cover 50-60 miles a day.”

Bentz asked ranchers to quantify their losses.

Not just the number cattle killed by wolves, but also the losses of production and revenue due to lower pregnancy rates, and lower weights of cows running for their lives.

“We’ve had so many ranchers come in and tell us about animals they’ve lost,” said Crook County Judge Seth Crawford. “They are seeing animals not being able to be managed by dogs. They are seeing lower pregnancy rates, lower weight. It’s something that’s really hurting the cattle industry in Crook County. For the congressman to come here and listen to our concerns is very helpful.”

During an upcoming hearing in Washington D.C., Bentz intends to demonstrate how much wolves are actually costing ranchers in Oregon.

“The numbers I’m looking for are how many cows are lost, how many calves are lost but more to the point: How the psychological impact on your herd drives down birth rates, and the cost of having to hire people to ride around your herd on tens of thousands of acres to try to make sure wolves don’t kill your crop.”

Bentz believes rural Oregon cattle ranchers are shouldering an unfair burden of the cost of reintroducing wolves. He wants all endangered species act protections for wolves removed so they can be managed by state wildlife agencies.

Click here to view Oregon’s Wolf Conservation and Management Plan.

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