Assessing factors that may predispose Minnesota farms to wolf depredations on cattle

Wolf (Canis lupus) depredations on livestock cause considerable conflict and expense in Minnesota. Furthermore, claims are made that such depredations are fostered by the type of animal husbandry practiced. Thus, we tried to detect factors that might predispose farms in Minnesota to wolf depredations. We compared results of interviews with 41 cattle farmers experiencing chronic cattle losses to wolves (chronic farms) with results from 41 nearby matched farms with no wolf losses to determine farm characteristics or husbandry practices that differed and that therefore might have affected wolf depredations. We also used a Geographic Information System (GIS) to detect any habitat differences between the 2 types of farms. We found no differences between chronic and matched farms in the 11 farm characteristics and management practices that we surveyed, except that farms with chronic losses were larger, had more cattle, and had herds farther from human dwellings. Habitat types were the same around farms with and without losses. The role of proper carcass disposal as a possible factor predisposing farms to wolf depredations remains unclear.

Author L. D. Mech, E. K. Harper, T. J. Meier and W. J. Paul
Year 2000
Secondary title Wildlife Society Bulletin
Volume 28
Number 3
Pages 623-629