To the Editor:
I had decided not to comment on Wally Sykes anymore, because I believe it gives him more standing than he deserves. However, the fact that Wally is happy with the compensation plan, so therefore ranchers should be, proved to be too much for me to remain silent.
Come stand in my shoes, Wally, I believe I have invited you and many others to do just that. The first year that we experienced wolves on our privately owned grazing ground, we turned out our cows later, because traps were being placed on our ground for the sanctioned capture of wolves. Our children had paid for a Hawaiian vacation for my husband and I for our 40th wedding anniversary. We had hay fed to our cows for an additional month while we were gone, so that we did not have to turn our cows out without us being there to watch them. I guess we could have given up a once-in-a-lifetime vacation instead.
The next year we camped with our cows for a month and a half. Our grandchildren enjoyed the trek out every evening and listening to the wolves howl at night, but our fuel costs were horrendous, not to mention the stress to our cows as they crowded around our trailer for protection. Our ground was overgrazed in one pasture, because they would not spread out in their normal grazing pattern, because of the wolves presence.
We got to see OR-7 up close and personal in our cows and another wolf came within 500 feet of us while circling one of our calves.
After seven days a week of feeding cattle daily during the winter months, we look forward to a brief break before we start haying and irrigating. In May our oldest grandson will graduate from high school in California. With the wolves close again and turnout time approaching, we will again be faced with the decision of what to do with our cows. We have calculated wolf costs to be around $15,000 now and we have had the good fortune of not having lost an animal.
So happy that the compensation plan is working well for Wally!