A photo of a gray wolf courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Wolves are coming; Regional meeting held in Quincy to alert ranchers

An all-star team experienced in ranching with wolves came to Quincy on Friday, Nov. 18, to give a workshop put on by the California Wolf Center.

The three primary take home messages passed on at the meeting were:

– Get ready, gray wolves are definitely migrating back into Lassen and Plumas counties and they won’t be going away once they get here.

– Wolves do not kill people.

– Ranchers can continue to profitably raise livestock around wolves if they learn how wolves operate, study their movements throughout their range and adapt their herding skills to those movements.

Extinction of wolves

Gray wolves used to live throughout North America from the Arctic Circle down to Mexico and from the Pacific Ocean east to the Atlantic Ocean.

By the 1940s, however, gray wolves had been exterminated from throughout the lower 48 states, with the exception of northern Minnesota.

The last native wolf killed in California was killed in 1925 in Susanville.

Gray wolves, however, are smart, adaptive, have large litters and are highly mobile.

Wolves begin to migrate out of their home territories when they are 2- to 3-years-old, and when wolf populations begin to exceed the carrying capacity of their prey.

One radio-collared wolf was recorded to have traveled 700 miles in just three months.

Wolves reintroduced

The travel route from September 2011 to March 2012 of a single male gray wolf (OR-7) radio-collared in Oregon. OR-7 ended up back in Oregon in March 2013 where he started a pack. The male of the gray wolf pair that is living in Lassen County was sired by OR-7. Photo from Wikipedia article: OR-7
The travel route from September 2011 to March 2012 of a single male gray wolf (OR-7) radio-collared in Oregon. OR-7 ended up back in Oregon in March 2013 where he started a pack. The male of the gray wolf pair that is living in Lassen County was sired by OR-7. Photo from Wikipedia article: OR-7

In the mid-1980s, gray wolves began migrating south into Montana on their own from Canada, where they had continued to live in high numbers.

At the time, gray wolves were listed as an endangered species in the lower 48 States. This led to the idea of bringing in additional gray wolves from Canada in order to augment the numbers already in the northern Rockies.

In 1995-1996, 31 gray wolves were introduced into both Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho.

Enough of the wolves survived that they started breeding. Within just a few years wolves were dispersing out of Yellowstone and central Idaho into surrounding areas.

By 2011, wolf populations had stabilized in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. By 2015, there were 316 packs (but only 114 breeding pairs) in Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Washington and Oregon.

Earlier this month, a male and female wolf were confirmed to be living in Lassen County. It is only a matter of time before wolves start to populate Lassen and Plumas counties. Carter Niemeyer, a famous wolf expert who spoke at the workshop, estimated that northern California has two to three years to prepare for the arrival of wolves.

How afraid should we be of wolves?

Carter Niemeyer speaks at the workshop put on by the California Wolf Center on Nov 18. Niemeyer spent 30 years studying gray wolves.
Carter Niemeyer speaks at the workshop put on by the California Wolf Center on Nov 18. Niemeyer spent 30 years studying gray wolves.

Little Red Riding Hood aside, wolves are mostly afraid of people. They don’t want to get hurt either.

Niemeyer noted once they are sure a human is present, ‘wolves usually put their tails between their legs and slink away.”

Niemeyer said that gray wolves recognize their traditional prey (deer, elk, moose and buffalo) and that is what they hone in on, unless they happen to come across a safe opportunity involving livestock.

There have been only two people killed by wild wolves since World War II: one in Alaska and the other in Saskatchewan, Canada. Niemeyer believes that the death in Alaska was probably caused by a bear rather than by wolves.

To put things into perspective, Niemeyer noted that the migration scenario for wolves in recent years is not that different to what has happened with coyotes over the past 30 years.

Once found all over North America and then removed from throughout much of their range, coyotes have come back. They have adapted to both old and new environments, including suburbs and the edges of cities,

Now, coyotes are once again found throughout the lower 48 states and we have gotten used to that.

Niemeyer criticized the state of Wyoming, which fought wolf reintroduction. This resulted in numerous lawsuits, he said, which are still playing themselves out, and the wolves became established anyway.

Niemeyer felt Wyoming’s initial response only prolonged the time it has taken the state to adapt to the reestablishment of wolves.

How can ranchers coexist with wolves?

This article is one of two in a series. Next week we will outline some of the actions that ranchers and others can take to greatly reduce or eliminate losses from wolves.

Timothy Kaminski, who has worked closely with ranchers in Alberta, Montana, Wyoming, Oregon and Idaho, said at the workshop that “Seven of 10 ranchers don’t believe that just killing wolves is the solution.”

“Ranchers need help. They want information,” said Kaminski.

“Believe it or not” Kaminski added, “there is a solution. And it doesn’t take a lot of bells and whistles to be successful.”

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48 thoughts on “Wolves are coming; Regional meeting held in Quincy to alert ranchers

  • December 2, 2016 at 5:48 pm
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    I was born on the Plumas National forest where wolves had been eliminated. Their return is cause for celebration and hope that they will help balance the ecosystem and add biodiversity. Many ranchers and hunters are open to these top predators returning. California can be a model for wolf recovery—the world is watching. http://www.BrendaPetersonBooks.com

    • December 7, 2016 at 5:46 am
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      No, thanks.

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  • December 3, 2016 at 5:36 am
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    Obviously, everyone that wants to see wolves reintroduced into California are vegetarians. They have decimated the Elk herds in the Yellowstone, killed hundreds of sheep in Idaho and cattle. Are you nuts? You can’t hunt mountain lions, and along with bear, coyotes and now wolves…protecting livestock is a 24 hour job. You’re putting the rancher out of business. I’m standing with the rancher….I will shoot wolves as easily as I shoot coyotes and I will hunt wolves the same way I hunt coyotes. Thanks for giving us more varmints to hunt. SSS…

    • December 3, 2016 at 1:44 pm
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      Just wandering in? Not buying it. The Lassen Wolves do not have DNA. that matches Wolves from Oregon, Washington or Idaho. It seems obvious they are being secretly and intentionally reintroduced. Seriously… No Wolves in CA. for 70 years and suddenly there are Wolf families thru out Northern California? Imagine that.

      Do as the Alaskans do. Scatter a few Joslins.

    • December 4, 2016 at 1:12 pm
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      That’s my issue too, it’s not so much the wolves themselves it’s the fact that they will be forced on us in numbers higher than historic levels and we will have NO say in that.
      There will be no management offered, just religious fervor for blindly protecting.

      Well I also don’t care for the fact that they kill the piss out of dogs, including livestock guard dogs.
      Don’t buy into that Project Coyote safe space garbage.

    • December 6, 2016 at 11:44 pm
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      So many untruths here Trent. Yellowstone has benefited ecologically from the wolf reintroduction. BTW, it was man who hunted the wolf and, almost the bison to near extinction. Paybacks a bitch I guess. But at least you’ve now admitted on social media your proposed illegal wolf management plan.

      • December 6, 2016 at 11:56 pm
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        What part of “Not the same species” do you NOT understand? Are you trying to play Mother Nature? You’re not qualified…..You don’t ranch or own a ranch anywhere. Illegal hunting of these varmints?…I’d post this in the New York Times, if it were cheap enough to do so. I will kill them, when I see them or call them in. You can abort babies and you don’t think twice about it, I can kill wolves, the same way…BTW, I am not alone when it comes to killing or hunting these predators…this I know. Once again, I could care less about your stupid laws. Oh, the Yellowstone has less elk since the wolf was introduced…don’t tell me how great the Yellowstone has been since the wolf. More grass, more trees, more coyotes…big deal. How about 10,000 less elk? Sport killing?500 sheep and cattle killed? You’re uneducated…you just want to see the cute little wolf pup you snowflake.

        • December 6, 2016 at 6:54 pm
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          Do you not realize that by shooting and eliminating wolves you play Mother Nature yourself? You are a non native predator introduced into another’s environment. Perhaps not this sub species was native but wolves are native to this area. Maybe you know this individual but this baby talk of yours is classic Trent Saxton in turning the volume up to 11 in your arguement with limited info as to your audience. These wolves prey on the weaker and older and effectively make herds healthier. I have found having several livestock guardian dogs keep my flock safe even with mountain lions and bears cruising through. They’re also big, white and fluffy. Love them. Too much anger Trent.

          • December 6, 2016 at 9:04 pm
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            They will be hunted and shot regardless of your “emotional” argument.
            You don’t plea for the life of the aborted fetuses, how sad of a human
            you must be…just the wolf, interesting. You must have voted for
            Hillary…how out of touch you are. I’m not angry…just determined to tell the truth, using facts…not someones emotions, based on pseudo-science.

          • December 7, 2016 at 6:22 am
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            Well, I can see that you are obviously rational and un “emotional”. Presuming someones political affiliation by unrelated comments disproves anything else you could say at this point, so goodbye.

          • December 7, 2016 at 3:22 pm
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            Wolves are worthless vermin pest. That is called a fact.

          • December 10, 2016 at 12:52 pm
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            My family and I have been ranching in Montana since the late 1880’s.
            Don’t be throwing your “Whining” comments at me…you’re not qualified
            and I don’t know how big your ass is…butt I can imagine you fill the
            saddle. I’m still killing every wolf I see…to each his own.

          • December 13, 2016 at 1:21 pm
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            Rancher haha! Everyone knows you live at Lake Davis. Do much ranting, I mean ranching up there? Nope, seems your time is best spent whining about liberals and calling women fat if they don’t share a profound fear of wolves with you. You must have learned that one from your new prez, orange Hitler. Your blatant ignorance is the same reason why your white ass will long be exstinct, while the wolf thrives on for many generations.

            I’m sorry about your man parts, they must be tiny(snicker)
            One must ask, Have you ever been able to satisfy a woman once in your life?

          • December 13, 2016 at 6:03 pm
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            You don’t have the slightest idea what I own you dumb fuck…or where, until then I will be shooting wolves when I see them…I am so glad you will… or might be suffering under the Orange Hitler…you made my day…LOLOL

          • December 13, 2016 at 6:38 pm
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            Oh how wrong you are. Remember, it’s a small community. I hope you do something stupid like that anyway. Then we can take your guns. And thanks to your written confession a self defense story will be completely out of the question.

            Edit: also I already took a seen shot of all your post and fowarded them to a friend with fish and game. She was very interested:-)

          • December 14, 2016 at 6:52 am
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            Oh, pleassssssse take this as a screen shot too…….First….I could give a shit…forward her this…The fish and game department is full of dykes and fags…High school grads…that couldn’t get a job in the private sector. I will still kill every wolf I see…in any state…even the pups. It would be like abortion to you…who cares? right?
            Tell her that you are a Mewling Quim and of little importance, besides being gutless and self important. As far as this “small” community….(I’m chuckling) who cares what these inbred, pukes have to say…They’re not even on the same playing field with me…you’re just an emotional, big mouth, without back up…You lost, we won, get over it. Oh, read today’s paper…LOLOL you’re still a fucked up Troll, and getting boring. Orange Hitler?..it’s real obvious you lack an education too….(I can’t stop laughing) How’s your trailer holding up in this weather? Did you run out of Meds?

          • December 14, 2016 at 9:27 am
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            Say Hi to Mike for me….I am so hurt…I need a safety zone, a time out, a crying room, perhaps a primal scream. Liberals are such snowflakes…Are you finished Trolling? I’ll let you have the final, final, word… What fun it has been 🙂 ….(;) head

          • December 14, 2016 at 11:26 am
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            What you need is a phychiatric ward. Grown men playing army man is about as pathetic as it gets, dude. Sixty seven years of pent up anger, sad. It’s very obvious you are over compensating for something in your life. Maybe it’s the fact that your a latent homosexual, just saying.

          • December 14, 2016 at 8:01 am
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            A new comment was posted on plumasnews
            Visit Trent Saxton’s profile

            Trent Saxton
            Oh, pleassssssse take this as a screen shot too…….First….I could give a shit…forward her this…The fish and game department is full of dykes and fags…High school grads…that couldn’t get a job in the private sector. I will still kill every wolf I see…in any state…even the pups. It would be like abortion to you…who cares? right?
            Tell her that you are a Mewling Quim and of little importance, besides being gutless and self important. As far as this “small” community….(I’m chuckling) who cares what these inbred, pukes have to say…They’re not even on the same playing field with me…you’re just an emotional, big mouth, without back up…You lost, we won, get over it. Oh, read today’s paper…LOLOL you’re still a fucked up Troll, and getting bor ing. Orange Hitler?..it’s real obvious you lack an education too….(I can’t stop laughing) How’s your trailer holding up in this weather? Did you run out of Meds?
            9:52 a.m., Wednesday Dec. 14 | Other comments by Trent Saxton

            Reply to Trent Saxton

            Trent Saxton’s comment is in reply to @Hailstorm:

            Wow, nice meltdown, lol. I guess we can add homophobia to your list of deplorable character traits. I would’ve thought you’d a happier person after the election. Nope, I guess it doesn’t matter who’s prez, you’ll always be lonley and miserable .

            Keep up the good job, I’ll bet when taborski sees this you’ll never have another letter to the paper printed again. Thank goodness it’s been a long time coming, see you around:-)

          • December 7, 2016 at 5:50 am
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            I’ll speak very quietly. We are not an introduced predator; we were here about the same time grey wolves sent the dire wolf to extinction. No, no, we have a long, long history with wolves, they compete with us for game, and for our own livestock. We aren’t able to kill mountain lions thanks to know nothing bleeding hearts, now we’ll have yet another predator in an area with too little food. Problems are inevitable. No, thanks, send them to LA.

        • December 7, 2016 at 6:09 am
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          Ranching isn’t “mother nature” either. It’s the epitome of imposing our will on the land.
          Your concerns are all purely self interest. Why so concerned about elk over other species? Is it because you want to kill them yourself? Humans are the top predator, not wolves. Before wolves, elk herds were culled for no other reason than “keeping their numbers in check’. The numbers now reflect a truer balance of “mother nature”.
          Not that you care, you are clearly an all or nothing nihilist.

          • December 7, 2016 at 3:21 pm
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            Ranching feeds America. Hell even the caveman figure out you have to kill wolves to protect your food supply that is called common sense. Wolves are worthless vermin pest equal to rats. They overpopulate just like rats, they destroy their food supply just like rats, they spread diseases just like rats. No wonder the DemocRATS love them.

      • December 7, 2016 at 5:47 am
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        The hype about Yellowstone is badly overplayed because it is written by pro-wolf people. Do some research: the wolves in Yellowstone have had a mixed effect, and haven’t brought back the streams as people hoped they might.

        • December 7, 2016 at 3:23 pm
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          Yes and the corrupt National Park Service had 129 beaver live trapped and released them in the park. Then they said look wolves are magical the beaver returned. The gullible city people believe it like mindless gullible sheep.

  • December 4, 2016 at 1:10 pm
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    Laws, dope growers and now wolves.
    I had hoped to one day come home and live my life with my dogs how I saw fit to do so.
    Because in my years away I’ve come to realize there’s no place like home.
    That can never happen anymore and that makes me very heartsick.

    • December 6, 2016 at 11:39 pm
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      You do realize your dogs descended from wolves, right? What makes your pets more special than a keystone species. I guess your a glass half empty type.

      • December 6, 2016 at 6:02 pm
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        What? No kidding? I never knew!
        Fascinating!

        lol

        Hmmm, nothing makes them more important, nor are wolves anymore important than any other species (sorry) but that still doesn’t make the issue anymore candy coated in my opinion.

        And no, I’d actually say I’m more of a realist.

  • December 4, 2016 at 10:10 pm
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    Nothing good will come of the re-population of the wolf in California. The perfect predator pit is happening and an already struggling deer population will take the brunt of it. Years of wildlife management will be for naught.

    • December 6, 2016 at 8:21 pm
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      I don’t think the deer population is struggling around here. A quick check of graeagle meadows on any afternoon typically sees a herd of a dozen or more peacefully eating the fairways. The deer population is so out of control cal trans has erected fence along the 89 between Sierraville and Truckee to stop their biggest threat – bumpers.

      • December 7, 2016 at 5:53 am
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        Graeagle meadows! That isn’t natural habitat! Do some research; the herd on the east side of the mountain is in very poor shape, with drought increasing, there will be fewer deer yet. Graeagle!

        • December 8, 2016 at 12:33 pm
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          grass or planted turf, why quibble over “natural” ?
          One is a functional substitute for another,
          so- U can vilify environmentalists, misappropriate their ecological preference.

          Trump loves golf courses, and will dine at The Elks club to be “one of the boys”.
          I’m sure your Cowboys don’t complain about petroleum astroturf…

          • December 9, 2016 at 7:19 am
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            First off, I am an environmentalist, I’ve been arrested protecting old growth and I’ve written on climate change and the Anthropocene; I understand complex ecologies. I’m pretty sure my credentials on this are better than yours. This is just a bad idea. You really want wolves taking deer on Graeagle golf courses? How many wolves do you think the golf courses could support?
            I think this: you are just jumping on what you think is the right bandwagon.

  • December 5, 2016 at 1:28 am
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    OMG the whining in these comments is too much. My husband and I are ranchers and our cows calve in areas with coyotes, bobcats, mountain lions etc… and we have few problems. Take care of your livestock, learn to share the land wildlife and stop crying for gods sake. It makes ranchers look like big ass babies.

    • December 6, 2016 at 2:15 pm
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      Very well put Keli Hendricks, they live off of instilling fear… and the ones doing all of the whining… have no business in Ranching or Animal Husbandry

    • December 7, 2016 at 5:52 am
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      No, no it doesn’t. This forces people with land to put up with a pointless social experiment. There were never many wolves in California, even when there was enough feed for them. If the numbers get as high as people hope, you’ll lose cattle.

    • December 7, 2016 at 3:44 pm
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      Clearly you have never dealt with wolves. Ranchers have been driven out of business. Grow up and face the real world.

  • December 7, 2016 at 5:45 am
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    Another problem we don’t need, and no, they aren’t going to thrive here, and if they do, we won’t. Wolves are not endangered, there are grey wolves all over Alaska, Canada and Russia. No, thanks.

    • December 10, 2016 at 5:00 pm
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      Hum, lot’s of people thriving in Alaska, Canada and Russia with wolves. They are part of our world. Yes there are problems, but that is a fact of existence. We can make peace do our best with those that share our world and try to find solutions or we can whine about our circumstances. Frankly I would rather have wolves than deal with drive by shootings on a daily basis . We are lucky we live where we do, and should be thankful. I’ll take wolves over some of the crazy people that inhabit our planet

      • December 10, 2016 at 6:13 pm
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        They are allowed to kill wolves; we would not be. I don’t think it is a choice between drive by shootings and wolves, I think it is a choice between wolves and no wolves. The mere fact that there are so many gray wolves just means we don’t need them here.
        In Alaska, Canada, Russia and other places where there are wolves there is a healthy ecosystem and plenty of room. We don’t have that.
        There is no reason for us to accept wolves.

  • December 7, 2016 at 9:23 am
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    – Wolves do not kill people. They are cute and cuddly creatures. Herbivores I heard. Totally harmless. Wink wink.

  • December 7, 2016 at 3:19 pm
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    Carter Needlemeyer is pimping wolves to get rich. He does nothing but spread lies and propaganda. Wolves destroy the ecosystem that is fact. They drive Americans out of business. But when you greedy anti Human wolf lover you hate people and love to see them suffer so you pimp wolves. I can’t believe these con artist are not in prison for fraud.

    • December 8, 2016 at 12:36 pm
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      U come across as an unstable, raging, anti-scientific head case.
      Many of your statements are just not factual.
      And, though i am familiar with and support healthy grazing,
      we can easily survive on less beef.
      & less of your “beef”

      • December 8, 2016 at 12:52 pm
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        Maybe you should go back and finish 3rd grade learn how to spell the hard words like You correctly.
        Anti junk science. Real science has proven the wolves are vermin pest that destroy the ecosystem. Did you read the science warning from the Canadian wolf biologist? They said don’t bring the wolves down to the lower 48 they will destroy the ecosystem and spread disease like rats?
        Oh BTW dumbass little boy I don’t raise beef. If you want to eat less beef goody for you. Here’s a cookie little boy and gold star. I don’t need some communist do gooder like you telling me how to live my life.
        Come back meathead after you learn how to read the science report on wolves. You know not the fake junk science these idiots are pimping but real reports about the dame wolves do. But you sound like gullible suckers that believe in fairy tales that wolves are magical. What is the old saying asucker born ever minute thanks for proving that is correct.

        • December 8, 2016 at 2:21 pm
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          What’s up with the vitriol? So you get to use BTW and they can’t use u. I’ll assume you know how to spell by the way. You shouldn’t criticize other people for the same actions you do. And what about these communist? So to sum these arguments up if one is open to reintroducing wolves then you are a communist, baby killing, Hillary voter who can’t spell, probably didn’t get enough participation trophies, but you did eat enough beef. Great just great.

          • December 8, 2016 at 3:26 pm
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            How many account do you have? What is with all the different names?
            No you are communist scum cause you want to tell other people how to live their lives. Who the hell are you, some piss ant nobody, with 2 fake account, telling people what they should eat or not eat? Are you really this stupid in person? I spelled everything correctly you must be Hillary voter normal liberal that lies all the time. Yes mindless liberal living in the city love wolves.
            I prove you wrong instead of being adult and accepting facts you throw a little girls fit. I believe you’re the one crying about your participation trophy. Clearly you’re a clown.
            What a child you are. Now grow up wolves are nonessential worthless vermin pest that spread disease like sewer rats. Something a mindless LIBERAL DemocRAT like you would love.

  • December 11, 2016 at 7:47 am
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    As a resident of Plumas County, I will be happy to welcome these majestic animals to our mountainous county. Predator species like wolves are crucial for a balanced ecosystem, as are mountain lions, foxes, etc. It’s a particularly malignant form of irrational hate that is leading to the brutal killing of these beautiful animals in other states, and reasonable people here in Plumas need to reject it. If ranchers take basic measures to protect their herd, then we can all coexist. Humans are not gods who have the right to decide who lives and who dies on this planet- let’s have some humility here. The authorities have my full support in tracking down, arresting, and imprisoning anyone illegally shooting these protected animals. How would you feel if you were really hungry and someone set out a tasty sandwich for you, and then lay in wait to shoot and kill you? That is the morality of allowing ranchers to shoot predators. I’m sorry, but losing 1% of your herd to wild animals when you are working in a wild place is not a disproportionate number. It’s the cost of doing business and we should not allow state-sanctioned murder as a permissible response. Let’s get Grizzly bears back in Plumas County too- they belong here, and are even on our state flag. If wild animals like grizzlies and wolves are not allowed to live and thrive in a wild place like Plumas County, then where on Earth can they live? We need to unite around respect for our predator species. Those who are threatened by the idea of a couple of wolves living in the wildest parts of our county should move to the city if they don’t like the mountains and the creatures who inhabit them.

  • December 13, 2016 at 1:28 pm
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    *does

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