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The toll of Colorado’s wolf war: Rancher says Grand County on edge after wolf kills

via FOX
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A Colorado rancher detailed the stress of ongoing wolf depredations on his cattle operation in Grand County.

Conway Farrell said five of his cattle had been killed by wolves in the last 11 days, including one the morning of the interview, bringing local ranchers to their “wit’s end.”

“Yeah, I’m pissed,” Farrell said. “Everybody up here is getting edgy and at our wit’s end. All of the headaches and stress you normally have, especially during calving season, and then to throw this all on top of it? It feels like you’re getting slapped in the face every freakin’ minute.”

He criticized the disconnect between wildlife officials and ranchers, as well as Governor Polis and CPW Director Jeff Davis for not removing the two wolves responsible as identified by their collars.

Farrell described spending long nights monitoring herds and missing time with his young children due to investigating kills.

“We can’t even go to school to pick up our kids without running into one of these guys,” Farrell said. “We see them in the grocery store and everybody is sitting there trying to act fake and like we are all happy, yet what’s going on behind the scenes every day is as disturbing as heck.”

“I don’t believe in stress, but I’m starting to,” Farrell said. “You just get up and go to work. Yeah, you got problems but you fix them every day. But they have us to where we can’t fix the problem we have. We feel it’s completely based on decisions getting shoved down the local wildlife officers’ throats from the governor’s office.”

With calving season demands, he said the added workload from wolves indirectly contributed to additional lost cattle.

While using non-lethal deterrents provided, Farrell argued they only displace wolves temporarily and don’t solve the problem.

“I have a 3- and 5-year-old that I haven’t been able to spend hardly any time with the last two weeks unless they can come ride around with me to feed cattle,” he said. “I have 600 cows down here that I’m responsible for and I’m not able to provide the animal husbandry to these cattle that they need. I can’t do my job because I’m up there looking at wolf kills and trying to chase them off.”

“By me not being able to be down here, I lost a calf that cost my family $1,800,” he said. “Two days later I take the 2 a.m. to daylight shift watching our herd and I have a $3,000 cow die. I’m not getting compensated for that. These are all the impacts people don’t see.”

Ranchers want the two depredating wolves lethally removed as tensions rise over the impacts on their livelihoods.

“Another layer of stress is moving those cattle right to where we have been having all the wolf issues,” Farrell said. “Once they get up there, we know we will have even more troubles. But we can’t change our whole operation because there’s wolves on the landscape. We have to try to deter them. It’s just going to be a wreck up there in the next month but we have to get these cattle off these meadows so we can get irrigation going and start raising hay for next year.”

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This article was originally published at Publications approved for syndication have permission to republish this article, such as Microsoft News, Yahoo News, Newsbreak,...