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Know the West

'I respect wolves. I still don't like them killing our sheep.'


Note: This article is a sidebar to this issue's feature story.

Margaret Soulen Hinson helps run her family's ranch near Weiser, Idaho, northwest of Boise. Wolves have killed 105 of the ranch's sheep since 1995, but Soulen Hinson says:

"In comparison to other predator problems, the wolves have been pretty minimal. We lose way more to coyotes." She explains: "I don't feel differently about wolves than I do any other wild animal. I don't hate them, I don't fear them. I respect them. I still don't like them killing our sheep. They do what's natural to them, and it's natural for them to prey on wild game and livestock.

"Ranchers need to respect what the wolf advocates' values are, and the wolf advocates need to respect what the ranchers' values are. That's the only way you get reasonable solutions for everyone.

"The hard part is, some groups are jumping into the wolf fray and using it as a surrogate to pursue other goals. The ones who call for an end to all public-lands grazing - with them, there is no compromise and no middle ground. They make it extremely difficult for people to work together. I don't think it has to be that big a deal."

Copyright © 2002 HCN and Rocky Barker