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Rancher Takes Different Tack on Wolf Depredation

posted Mar 17, 2018, 8:12 PM by chloe owens

1/16/2018, by Lee Juillerat, The Capital Press

Rancher takes different tack on wolf depredation

The recent killings of three calves by wolves in Jackson County, Ore., probably by members of the Rogue Pack, hit close to home for Mark Coats, who advocates a predator awareness program he believes can reduce such incidents by wolves, coyotes and other carnivores. Coats, who has cattle operations in Siskiyou County in far Northern California and Klamath and Jackson counties in Oregon, said the attacks happened on a neighbor’s land. “My cows turned out fine,” he said. “I’m confident in my cows’ ability to stand off predators,” explaining he routinely takes steps to retrain his herds. Coats doesn’t necessarily like it, but he accepts the fact that wolves have become a fixture in Oregon and parts of Northern California…Over the past six years Coats has been studying and implementing new ways of preventing cattle deaths by predators, including wolves, coyotes and mountain lions. He has been working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on creating a predator awareness program he believes can successfully reduce or eliminate predation deaths. “What they need is the individualized chase,” where a wolf or wolves isolate a cow or calf from the herd, then chase, immobilize and eat the animal, which is often still alive. “We’re trying to interrupt that. That is the key.” The key, he believes, is training cattle to gather in herds when threatened by wolves or other potential killers…oats said various studies, including research done in Yellowstone National Park, show threats can be reduced or eliminated if cattle are taught to group together and not to flee or run…“When wolves confront livestock, they (livestock) get fearful for their lives. Once they reach the group, the pressure is relieved. A defensive standing posture will defer wolves. What we’re encouraging is a defensive posture of moving to the herd.”… “We’re encouraging something that’s been un-encouraged for years,” Coats said of training cattle to respond to threats by forming groups. “Keep it tight, keep them in a herd, in a defensive posture. They’re in that group for a reason.”