Wolves and wild horses
Mad Jack Hanks
That big, bad wolf that terrorized Little Red Riding Hood and the Three Little Pigs was the same wolf that lived under my bed when I was a child (maybe 4) before the big war ended. I would have my mom look under the bed, gentle readers, to double check for me when she tucked me in. She assured me he was not under there. I would clutch my paint hoss, my stuffed horse covered in camo with mop strings for his mane and tail and buttons for his eyes. I knew the wolf would be back and my paint was my only comfort.
I am not fond of wolves or wild horses. Let me see your shocked face.
This column is a follow up on last weeks when I wrote that there were some folks that wanted to reintroduce 500 wolves back into Colorado. At the turn of the century there were quite a few wolves in the area west of Steamboat Springs. I have a big book with lots of photos of ranchers and trappers and their trophies of wolves and lions they had harvested. As a matter of fact there is a band of wild horses west of Meeker, Colo., as I write. My son spotted them while antelope hunting one year. It appears that there is just adoration for anything wild unless it is taking money out of your pockets. You will hear how wolves and wild horses are good for our eco system. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Wolves reduced a herd of over 9,000 elk down to 4,000 in short order. Wolves are killers. They are terrorists that kill, kill and almost never consume all that they kill unless it is a lone victim. There were 167 sheep killed as they were run over a bluff by wolves and how many did they consume? Three. A herd of bull elk, 89 to be exact, were wiped out by a pack of wolves. If you are a rancher a 2 percent death loss is acceptable under most circumstances. Four percent starts to make you a little nervous. How does 10, 20 or 40 percent strike you. It strikes you hard and some ranchers have just had to throw in the towel. When livestock were killed in Idaho the ranchers were paid for the “wolf kills” if it was determined that it was wolves. They were paid until the wolves got to be so numerous that they were delisted and could be hunted or trapped and then the payments stopped. If wolves are reintroduced into Colorado there will be no hunting or trapping or harassing of these killers.
Meanwhile back at the ranch … wild horses, in my view, are worm infested, paddle footed, broom tail destroyers of the range land.
Yes, I know they run on public lands, at least most of them do. Last count I believe that there was in excess of 47,000 wild horses and many of those in confined feed pens. What’s wild about that? A horse nips the forage off at the base of the plant. He tromps around on it until there is nothing left and if public lands suffer from lack of rain or whatever, the horses move onto private ranch lands thus putting more pressure on ranchers. If you ever viewed the documentary “Unbridled” you missed a range expert in Nevada showing a dead wild horse that had eaten sage brush to stay alive and twisted up his insides and he died.
I rest my case and I rest my keyboard. This column is my opinion and mine alone derived from what I have absorbed over the years on these matters. I spent close to 40 years a’horseback looking after livestock from the Mexican border to the Rocky Mountains.
So there ya have it. Remember to check yer cinch on occasion, speak up about issues that concern you, and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.
By the way I do have some calendars left if you want to jump in. THANKS! ❖
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