When Grizzly Meets Calf – Not a pretty picture

We helped one of our riders push cows to a different grazing area in the Teepee Creek allotment the end of July.  It was a beautiful day.  The cows were gathered from a large area in small bunches and pushed toward the new grazing area. The beautiful day quickly turned, let’s say, not so beautiful. So let’s start out with a pretty picture…

My fellow ranchers Gina Feltner, Bob Klaren & Taylor Selby push through the wildflower-dotted meadows up to Teepee Creek Ridge.

On our way down the mountain we ran into a neighbor who found one of my calves killed by a grizzly bear. (To learn about the value of a calf, read this great article on the Economics of Ranching). Remember all the ranting I did in one of my posts about grizzly bear problems…this is why I holler.

He was verified by the Fish & Game Department as being killed by a grizzly. Notice how this is a nice big calf and NOT some weak, little, sick calf like some people would have you believe predators always eat. Typically a griz will bite the calf (sometimes they kill full grown cows or yearlings as well) across the withers (front shoulder area) and puncture the lungs and other vitals in this manner. Then they will proceed to eat them, sometimes burying part of the calf and coming back later. When they are done the calf will be completely skinned. The wolves will find the bones and crack them for the marrow inside. If the animal was killed by wolves they will often show bite marks around the flanks, the tail may be chewed off, the nose will be bitten and chewed on, and often the rectum is pulled out (the wolves often pull out the rectum while the animal is still alive).

The type of trauma on the hide proves the calf was killed by the bear. This little fella didn’t die on his own for a bear to find him later. He met a brutal death.

The Green River Drift is the largest continuous operating cattle drive on federal land in the United States today.  Some of the cattle travel as far as 75 miles from the home ranch to the summer grazing allotment. These ranchers know how to properly manage the land and care for their animals while persevering through a myriad of challenges.  This drive and the ranchers involved in it are endangered because we are not allowed to adequately defend our property.

Ok, ranting session over. I’ll leave you with a pretty picture…

Ranchers Charles Price, Bob Klaren & Gina Feltner move cattle up Teepee Creek.

From RealRancher Kent Price – Daniel, WY

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