If we told you that a pro-wolf group donated giant flailing inflatable tube men to a rancher to protect his cows from wolves, you would probably call it fake news. But that is exactly what happened in Oregon. And, as many would have guessed, the tube men failed to keep the wolves away.
Ted Birdseye owns a ranch in southern Oregon that borders Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest. In January, after his guard dog and 7 calves were attacked by the Rogue pack, Birdseye received two used-car-lot-style inflatable tube men to deter the wolves from coming onto the ranch. They were donated by the environmental group, Defenders of Wildlife, who help Oregon rancher’s use non-lethal forms of wolf hazing.
While Birdseye was initially optimistic, their effects were short-lived and the depredation has begun again.
“The dancing men have, essentially, failed,” Birdseye said. “Those wolves were within 40 yards of them. Those things were dancing away, and they just ignored them.
Birdseye did not let the inflatables run 24/7 because he did not want the wolves to become desensitized to them. The morning of the attack, his dog’s alerted him to the wolves around 4 AM. He turned on the inflatable men and drove his four-wheeler around the cattle. But as the sun came up, he spotted 2 wolves running through the fields and another near his residence. Shortly after, he found the dead calf.
It is the 12th death blamed on the pack since September.
“I don’t know what we’re going to do now,” Birdseye said. “I had all my hopes in those dancing men.”
“It’s the same old story, and nobody has had a real answer.”
This is just one of many examples showing why wolf management needs to be turned over to the states. While the trump administration has proposed delisting the gray wolf, there will likely be years of lawsuits that keep it from happening.
Do you think ranchers should be forced to take non-lethal measures to protect their herds?