406-793-3900 | info@blackfootchallenge.org

04
Oct

Riding the Fences

Riding the Fences: Listening and learning as a means to safely live with grizzly bears

Written by Jessianne Castle of the Grizzly Bear Collective. This is an excerpt from the full blog post originally published at grizzlybearcollective.com.

David Mannix, who is also a member of the Blackfoot Challenge Board, agrees with Stone. He and his family operate the Mannix Family Ranch which dates back to 1882. “I was a lot more anxious 15 years ago than I am now simply because I think I can see a way forward. I think we’ll be able to maintain our livelihood. Ranching is a stewardship of the resource with a strong leaning for profit. We need to make a profit so we can be here for another generation, another decade, another year.”

Mannix says ranching and living around predators can incite fear and anxiety. There are legitimate human safety risks as well as threats to livestock. He says mothers worry about their children playing in the yard and ranch hands are at risk of stumbling upon a bear while checking cattle or fixing fences. He describes having to euthanize a calf that was mauled by a bear or wolf pack. “You might feel like a failure in your husbandry of that calf. Emotionally it is a big deal because the stress affects you every day and just a few people shoulder the vast majority of that problem. We need ways to empathize with each other rather than throw rocks at each other.” 

You might feel like a failure in your husbandry of that calf.
Emotionally it is a big deal because the stress affects you every day
and just a few people shoulder the vast majority of that problem.
We need ways to empathize with each other rather than throw rocks at each other.
” -David Mannix

The Blackfoot Challenge provides information, programming and assistance on a voluntary basis to anyone in the watershed that wants to get involved.

Wildlife Coordinator Eric Graham has been with the organization since 2013 and says the wildlife program has evolved based on the needs of landowners and ranchers. In addition to carcass pick up, he assists with electric fencing around backyard attractants like gardens, chicken coops or beehives, as well as livestock areas such as calving pastures. The Blackfoot Challenge also oversees a range rider program where staff monitor a particular cattle herd while it is turned out on summer pasture on private land or grazing leases on state or federal land. These range riders check for signs of predation on cattle by wolves and grizzly bears and report findings back to the ranchers so that they can make informed cattle management decisions. Additionally, the increased human presence when range riders regularly monitor cattle may deter carnivores from preying upon the livestock.

Graham says all of these tools have to be adapted for the particular landowner and situation in order to have the most success. “I always say I ride the fence. I don’t come in with a certain frame of mind. Instead, I meet with a rancher and I listen a lot. I listen to their concerns and needs. Sometimes you’ve got to take it slow.”

“I always say I ride the fence. I don’t come in with a certain frame of mind.
Instead, I meet with a rancher and I listen a lot.
I listen to their concerns and needs.
Sometimes you’ve got to take it slow.”
-Eric Graham

Click here to read Jessianne’s full article and hear from other members of the Challenge’s wildlife conflict reduction team.

You are donating to : Greennature Foundation

How much would you like to donate?
$10 $20 $30
Would you like to make regular donations? I would like to make donation(s)
How many times would you like this to recur? (including this payment) *
Name *
Last Name *
Email *
Phone
Address
Additional Note
paypalstripe
Loading...