Cowboy Summit 2018
April 25, 2018
Ranchers came together for a day long summit to work with one another and Legislators with a full agenda and discussion of goals for Wolf Management. Good progress was made and plans for achieving those goals were put in place. The Cattle Producers of Washington and the Washington Cattlemen’s Association, along with the Washington Farm Bureau hosted and were led by Steve McLaughlin of the Northern Wolf Coalition.
Though I have no “skin in the game”, as a long-time observer of the management of wolves in Washington State, it is clear a better functioning management plan is needed and must be enacted as soon as can be done. Wolf management must focus on the protection of the property rights ranching families have in livestock and grazing rights. The respect for those rights will become balanced with the concerns for wildlife, both ungulate and wolf. Citizens’ Alliance for Property Rights supports the actions that have been planned at this summit.
The coalition of men and women attending this summit are more than capable of carrying out the goals of improved wolf management for their regional concerns, and ultimately a better state-wide plan should be a result of implementing the goals of the summit.
A brief highlighting of the results of the summit includes a comprehensive data collection and development strategy has begun and will be completed which will be capable of an ongoing compilation of data and statistical analysis, which was guided by testimonials of ranchers who have experienced wolf depredations and provided what works, what doesn’t, recommendations. An especially heart-warming and at the same time heart wrenching speech was provided by the young and dedicated Hannah McIrvin describing the history and future hopes of the McIrvin family in providing the product of their ranch for the people of Washington. Also planned is outreach and public education, and specific actions to achieve goals moving forward. This is an inspiring time for those who have suffered heartache, loss and depredation from wolf management and wolves, the hard work of making concrete improvements is under way!
In-depth discussion was had on current tools and practices of wolf management, how well those tools work, what works best, and what improvements can be accomplished. Local control is a must in ensuring the success of these tools which include non-lethal measures, range-riding, collar data, and determining and confirming of depredations.
Attending Legislators provided discussion about current and possible future law-making, what improvements can be made in wolf management both short and long term. All present were grateful for the attendance of Representatives Brian Blake, Tom Dent, Joel Kretz, Matt Manweller, Jacquelin Maycumber, and Matt Shea. Also attending were Senators Mark Schoesler, and Keith Wagoner, the support of these legislators is valued and appreciated.
This coalition effort to balance and correct the goals, objectives, strategies, and tasks of the Wolf Conservation and Management Plan of Washington State includes the Washington State Sheep Producers, Washingtonians for Wildlife Conservation, and the Hunters Heritage Council.
Cindy Alia, Citizens’ Alliance for Property Rights