Julians report heavy predator losses
By Jennifer Womack, WLR Managing Editor
Kemmerer – “From docking we were out 716 lambs,” says Kemmerer rancher Dave Julian of his ranch’s losses to bears and wolves this past year. Julian, who ranches in western Wyoming with grazing permits on the Hamsfork drainage north of Kemmerer, is president of the Wyoming Wool Growers Association.
Of one herd where a bear was preying all summer Julian says, “By the time we trailed them out of the forest you couldn’t even bed them down.” He says, “They were the worst lambs we brought off the mountain.” Of 32 kills he attributes to bears he says Game & Fish verified 21 for reimbursement.
Wolves working another herd, he says, killed 22 sheep. Julian says 12 were confirmed kills and six were listed as “probable.” He says, “There’s all this talk of being reimbursed in trophy game areas, but it doesn’t take any time at all before the carcass is completely gone.” There are also the losses that don’t result in death.
For example, he says, the next night the wolves struck another herd further south scattering 800 head of sheep far and wide. “We never did get 80 of them rounded up,” he says noting two days of flying the area.
“We have eight summer herds,” says Julian noting that every herder saw wolves this year. “All of our allotments border each other,” says Julian noting they run from Lake Alice to the forest service boundary north of Kemmerer during the summer months. He says one herder had to yell to scare off a wolf that was pushing a small bunch of sheep.
“Between the coyote, the wolf and the bears it was a terrible year,” says Julian. “If we had years like this every year we couldn’t stay in business.” If you’re able to prove the kill and get reimbursed says Julian, “You get paid for the nice two year old ewe, but receive nothing for all the lambs she would have raised for several years.
“I’m not sure how the stock growers are going to handle this. We have a guy around the sheep every day. Cowmen turn their cows out. I don’t know how they’ll ever get kills verified.”