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An alternative to wolf depredation
Crook County resident Carroll Asbell makes his case for using stock guard dogs at a recent wolf forum
Stock dogs are an alternative to killing wolves that Prineville resident Carroll Asbell is advocating.
November 19, 2012
For many, the wolf predation issue is an emotional one, but for Carroll Asbell it is purely a business problem.
Asbell recently gave a presentation at the forum sponsored by the Crook County Wolf Depredation Committee at the Crook County Open Campus. Like the other speakers, he addressed some recommendations on nonlethal methods of deterring wolves — but with a different spin on the topic.
His main talking points involved a defensive solution to wolf predation with the use of stock guard dogs. Not just any dogs—but animals that weigh more than 200 pounds with a bite force in excess of 700 pounds. The bite force of a pit bull is 235 pounds, and a wolf is 406 pounds. A lion has 691 pounds of biting force. Asbell remarked that breeds such as the Turkish Kangal, the Yugoslavian Sarplaninac, and the Tibetan Mastiff have been used in Europe for centuries to guard livestock.
Asbell’s background as a business consultant in construction litigation led him to view the problem of wolf depredation from a different perspective.
“I got into this just like I did in any other problem in the litigation end of construction, and looked at it from three standpoints: political, legal or contractually, and practical. The deeper I got into this, the more fascinated I became,” he commented.
He has analyzed the problem, and though he doesn’t have a board of directors to report to, he has made several presentations to various groups that are interested in hearing about the topic of wolf predation and the defensive measure of guard dogs.
“Why would any rational, reasoning rancher/businessman contemplate participating in a costly, proposed program for predation loss reimbursement without considering investing comparable time and money in a centuries-old proven method to protect stock against wolf, bear, and cougar losses?” challenged Asbell.
He added that the dogs are protective of their humans, stock, and territory. They are night stalkers, and live with the livestock, watching during the day and patrolling at night, usually in pairs.
“We have been studying wolves — for a maximum amount of time — here in the United States for 15 years,” Asbell went on to say about the knowledge of wolves in the United States.
Although Asbell says that a rancher cannot be prosecuted if a guard dog kills a wolf while protecting their livestock, this was not a claim that could be substantiated by press time. Guard dogs are, however, part of the wolf depredation plan by Oregon law.
“A guard dog program would be a long-term, learning exercise that would take time, money, and cooperation between producers,” he concluded.
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