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You pose the question -- should ranchers be able to protect their property? Well, what about when their property is on our property?
Grazing on public lands is the epitome of the tragedy of the commons.
Our public lands are owned by all of us - hunters, hikers, city folks, ranchers, doctors, fishermen, and janitors. Not just a small number of cattlemen who profit off our public land.
If it comes down to them, their cows, and a welfare-supported industry vs. the vast majority of landowners (the public) and native wildlife, I vote for the latter. Wolves are more valuable alive than dead - According to a report by the University of Montana wolf related-tourism brings in $70M annually that wouldn't be spent there otherwise. Say nothing of our multi-billion dollar outdoor recreation industry.
As Mr. Sprout said on your show a few weeks ago "no, ranching isn't profitable. But it's what we do." Sounds more like a lifestyle choice than a real industry. His family may have been here since 1860 but wolves, elk, trout, and coyotes have been here a lot longer.
As your questions demomstrate, ranchers have done a good job framing the argument here. They won't show you a picture of a dead gut-shot wolf or post this on OPB, however it did appear on an Idaho website where wolves are now a "game species":
"We need to get the word out to hunters this fall, always aim for the guts untill you see one you want on the wall then go for the vitals on the last one and tag it. The rest will simply run off and become food for the other critters. Together we can ruduce there numbers in a hurry...read the regs. they say you cant kill a wolf doesent say anything about shooting'em"
posted 4 years ago
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