Montana Reports Large Increase in Non-Wolf Livestock Predator Kills

--Chad Love

While the debate over wolf management continues, the state of Montana is reporting a large increase in the number of non-wolf predations on livestock.

From this story in the Great Falls Tribune:
_The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services bureau in Montana said there has been a dramatic increase in the number of calves, lambs and adult sheep killed by coyotes, grizzly bears, black bears and mountain lions. The report released Saturday shows sharp increases between 2006 and 2010, with coyote kills of calves jumping from 111 to 1,348. The director of the bureau said that the increases are due to the agency focusing on wolves, and that the presence of wolves limits ways officials can deal with other large predators. Director John Stueber said coyotes can't be killed with pesticide because it poses a risk to federally protected wolves. He also said grizzly bear populations are large enough so that bears are moving back onto the plains inhabited by livestock. The report said grizzlies killed 29 adult sheep in 2010, up from two in 2006.
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Your thoughts? Is a new varmint rifle in anyone's future?