October 5, 2009
Dealing with wolves on an Oregon ranch
On Good Friday morning three generations of Jacobs got to experience firsthand the havoc two wolves could wreak.
Just a two-minute jaunt from our sleeping households, four of the five documented wolf attacks occurred on what we call the "Home Ranch," a 640-acre chunk of farm and pastureland, just a part of what we make a living on in this high desert country.
From that day in April until today, Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife and Animal Damage Control confirmed 29 lambs, a pet goat and one calf killed on two ranches. This act stirred and spread the hotbed of debate in our small ranching community of Keating Valley to the Legislature in Salem and beyond.
We not only suffered the loss of these confirmed cases, but that of five more non-confirmed kills on both the Moore Ranch north of us and our own ranch. Our livestock has been harassed and chased through fences, and now our dogs display behavior that signifies "Beware, 'they' are out there!" We have tracked the wolves coming right down the road by our corrals behind my mom and dad's house. The feeling of being watched for a weak spot in the line is not a pleasant one.
It’s easy to be hundreds or thousands of miles away and support the current rules that don’t allow ranchers to protect their livestock or themselves from wolf attacks. But until you are in the position of going to bed every night wondering if your livelihood will still be there when you wake up, you probably can’t understand what that’s like. So even though these wolf advocates don’t seem to care about these affected families, they should at least read this account of the fear and agony this is causing.