Thursday, September 24, 2009

Working girls

On Tuesday, we started shipping our lambs to another desert allotment here in western Wyoming, to combine our lambs with that of a friend's, into one large herd. By the time the sale takes place in 10 days, there will be over 2,000 lambs in this bunch. Right now, there are four livestock guardian dogs taking care of the herd, and when we dropped off some of our lambs, I was very pleasantly surprised to see two female guardians we had raised. The big dog is Vega, a 1 1/2 year old Ovcharka (my Rant's sister). The other tall range dog is a short-haired female Akbash. Sweet, beautiful and fierce - good dogs.

That evening, Jim had to walk down the river to retrieve two cows and calves that had crossed over to the other side and had grazed their way down river. As he walked behind them through the thick willows along the riverbank, he found another bear-killed ewe. This ewe had been drug across the New Fork River and deposited in a covey underneath the willows. The carcass was eaten clean.

We honestly believe that the only way anyone will be able to find this bear that's doing so much damage is with scent hounds. But it's illegal to use the dogs on bears in Wyoming - even for our federal animal damage control specialists. Drives me crazy just thinking about it. The only tool I can see working, and it's off limits.


Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about your bear predation problems--is it a black bear or do you have any grizzlies in your neck of Wyoming? If it was a grizzly, would it really be killed if they managed to trap it, or would they try a time or two to relocate it? I'm afraid I'm sympathizing with grizzlies somewhat at the moment, having JUST finished David E. Brown's excellent book on the Southwest grizzlies, now extinct. And I hope that where they remain, even when they do cause problems, those people who must deal with them realize how this area in the Northern Rockies/Plains is the LAST viable population in the U. S., and have sympathy and tolerance for them(and get reimbursed promptly and fully by the government--I'd LIKE my tax dollars to support THAT!). As for not allowing trailhounds to track bear--THAT'S CRAZY! How did being snared or trapped become more humane a means of control than hunting with hounds? And in WYOMING! You guys are supposed to represent the epitome of a Western wilderness state!(at least in my imagination!), and you can't run bear with hounds??!! What CAN you run(if anything) with hounds? Hearing this about Wyoming really suprises me!.....L.B.

mdmnm said...

Good luck w/ your bear problem. Like Lane, I'm really surprised Wyo won't let bears be run with hounds. Seems so counterintuitive. Hound guy runs a bear, find a sow w/ cubs up a couple of trees but knows the predation has been a single bear- leave and momma bear gets on w/ life. Much more targeted than a snare.

That short haired Akbash has a very retriever like head and, without the hair, you can see how rangy those dogs are. Very handsome girl!

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I'd think it would just ruin your day if you went to check the snare and found a cub in it, and suddenly felt hot breath on the back of your neck! Another good thing about harassing bears with hounds is that it IS traumatic, and can drive them right out of the territory if done often enough. Lets see; if I was a bear, what would I prefer? Harassed or dead? Hmmmmmm..... Isn't getting Karelian Bear Dogs and letting them harass bears one of the options out there? I thought I saw this being done on a documentary not long ago; perhaps that was in Montana. If so, how in the heck is that any different than using our own good old U. S. of A. trail hound breeds???....L.B.

Cat Urbigkit said...

I repeat: IT DRIVES ME CRAZY! We still allow bear baiting, but can't run bears with hounds. Grizzlies have no reason to fear us, or to know to leave our stock alone, without us providing some learning opportunities.

Can only run cats with hounds in Wyoming. It's a fine sport, but needs expanded to other species.

Can't use Karelian bear dogs either. The fine folks we know who have a kennel of trained bear dogs in Utah drive their dogs through Wyoming to work bears in Montana - including in national parks.

Did I mention this topic drives me nuts?

We're guessing it's a black bear, but that's just a guess. They still haven't figured out if a wolf is working us too.