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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: DISTURBANCE ASSESSMENT AND MITIGATION OF GREAT BASIN RANGELAND

Location: Northwest Watershed Management Research

Title: Spatial-temporal interactions of beef cattle and wolves on a western Idaho rangeland

Authors
item CLARK, PATRICK
item Williams, John -
item Chigbrow, Joseph -
item Larson, Larry -
item Johnson, Michael -
item Rimbey, Neil -
item Crane, Kelly -
item Ndzeidze, Steven -
item Johnson, Douglas -

Submitted to: Oregon State University Extension Publications
Publication Type: Experiment Station
Publication Acceptance Date: November 1, 2010
Publication Date: December 31, 2010
Citation: Clark, P., Williams, J., Chigbrow, J., Larson, L.L., Johnson, M.D., Rimbey, N., Crane, K., Ndzeidze, S.K., Johnson, D.E. 2010. Spatial-temporal interactions of beef cattle and wolves on a western Idaho rangeland. Oregon State University Extension Publications. BEEF051:1-10.

Interpretive Summary: The frequency, duration, and intensity of beef cattle-gray wolf encounters on rangelands may impact cattle resource use patterns, activity budgets, and stress and productivity levels. Little is known, however, about the spatio-temporal interactions between cattle and wolves on the northern Rocky Mountains and Pacific Northwest rangelands. Ten mature, lactating beef cows from a herd of about 450 cow-calf pairs and 1 wolf from a pack of 13 wolves were GPS collared and tracked concurrently from 23 May to 30 November 2009 to evaluate their movement patterns and interactions. The wolf had a much larger home range (211 mi2) than cattle (24.5 mi2) and was within 550 yd of collared cattle 783 times during 137 days of interaction. GPS tracking collars were determined to be an effective tool for detecting cattle-wolf interactions on rugged rangelands and may hold promise for helping reduce management conflict.

Technical Abstract: The objective of this experiment was to detect and evaluate interactions between free-roaming beef cattle (Bos taurus) and wolves (Canis lupus) using GPS technology. Ten mature, lactating beef cows from a herd of about 450 cow-calf pairs and 1 wolf from a pack of 13 wolves were GPS collared and tracked to determine spatial movement and interactions. Between 23 May and 30 November 2009 the collared 41 kg (90 lbs) male wolf occupied about 54,600 ha (211 mi2) of land while the collared cows occupied about 6,500 ha (24.5 mi2) during the grazing season. The wolf traveled an average of 18 km/day (11.3 mi/day) while collared cows traveled about 11 km/day (6.8 mi/day) on average. The collared wolf was recorded within 500 m (547 yd) of a collared cow 783 times during 137 days of interaction. Collared cows and wolf were within 250 m (273 yd) of each other 244 times and within 100 m (109 yd) 53 times during this same period. The wolf was in close proximity to cattle mostly between 10 PM and 6 AM. Interaction sites were mapped and compared to locations of confirmed wolf depredations. Proximity to roads or human habitations did not appear to exhibit any effect on the spatial location of wolf-cattle interaction or wolf depredation sites. It appears that human presence alone is not a strong deterrent to wolf depredation.

Last Modified: 9/10/2014
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