BUTTE FALLS, Ore. – A Butte Falls rancher says his cattle are being terrorized. He’s tried almost everything to stop the problem to no avail.
The Mill Mar Ranch has been around for about a decade, but it wasn’t until recently that they’ve been invaded by pests. Rancher Ted Birdseye is hoping an Ashland Wildlands Center will have the solution he’s looking for.
The ranch has a pest problem. Birdseye says he’s tried almost everything from guard dogs to flags. He’s even gone as far as setting up an inflatable air dancer.
“Two of those dancing men like they have on those used car lots that kind of wiggle and waggle and generators to run ’em and we thought that would be the silver bullet,” Birdseye said. “It wasn’t.”
“We gotta figure out something to keep the wolves from comin’ in and killin’ cattle,” he said.
Birdseye says the infamous “Rogue Pack” has been treating his property as a free buffet for three years.
“I’m not raising cattle to feed the wolves,” he said.
The wolves have made their home beyond the trees of Ted’s ranch, hunting cattle, and dogs all over his 276-acre property.
“It’s hard to explain the emotional part of it, you put your whole effort into producing something an animal or a product,” he said.
Ted says he’s been reimbursed for the nine calves and two dogs he’s lost to the pack.
“You lose stuff that meant more than just the money,” he said.
But now, it’s starting to take a toll on his family.
“They see death they see it all the time and they become hardened to it, and I don’t want my kids to become hardened to it,” he said. “I’d like them to have some emotional feeling so on and so forth, but this is their reality.”
It’s not known how many wolves are in the rogue pack, but wildlife teams know it includes “OR-7”. The first wolf to set foot in Oregon and California in nearly a century.
“Most of the wolves that occurred here are from OR-7’s pack, the rogue pack,” K.S. Wild Executive Director, Joseph Vaile said.
The wolves are a protected species, so Ted has been trying to find non-lethal ways to protect his farm and family. That’s where K.S. Wild comes in.
“They’ve come up with a plan to build a fence to protect the pasture where the livestock is and keep the wolves out of the pasture,” Vaile said.
But Vaile admits, it’s not a guaranteed solution.
“We’re trying our best we’re trying new things and we’re trying to work together as a community to find a solution,” Vaile said.
Ted says he’s thankful for the community support to end his pest problem and he hopes the fence will work better than past attempts.
K.S.Wild is funding a majority of this project through grants, but they’re asking for donations to fund the remaining $6000. To find out how you can get involved visit their website.
Devin Gooden graduated from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication with a Master’s degree in Sports Journalism.
She has spent most of her life in Atlanta, Georgia and received her undergraduate degree from the University of Georgia in Business Management.
When she’s not reporting, Devin practices yoga, reads thriller novels and loudly cheers for her beloved Georgia Bulldawgs.