Author Archives: stevenscountycattlemen

SCCA opposes grizzly bear recovery (for the third time)

SCCA recently submitted comments to the National Parks Service opposing a recent proposal to reintroduce Grizzly Bears to the North Cascades. This is the third time SCCA has spoken up against this idea and we will continue to do so until this terrible idea is finally dead.

Below are our comments:

 

This is formal comment from the Stevens County Cattlemen’s Association to record our opposition to any reintroduction or “recovery” of grizzly bears into Washington State. We have previously submitted our opposition to this wrongheaded proposal in 2015 and 2017. Unfortunately the idea does not seem to have died, so we are again submitting our grave concerns about this idea.

Over the last four years since NPS first put the grizzly bear recovery plan out to the public, the dangers posed by encouraging the proliferation of predator species have moved beyond the realm of theory.

As the Grey Wolf has saturated the landscape of Eastern Washington it serves as a poignant example of why predators should not be reintroduced to the landscape. As their numbers have climbed, the amount of conflict between wolves and livestock, as well as wolves and people, has also increased.

Along with annual cattle attacks, wolves have also regularly threatened people. From treeing a woman in Okanogan County to menacing a hiker in Stevens County, wolves are not showing a fear of people and are regularly encroaching on homes and domestic animals and the consequences are serious. Wolves have attacked domestic animals and are also pushing other predators, like cougars, closer to backyards and pastures. Grizzly Bears, with their imposing size and often aggressive behavior, will create similar conflicts with humans, especially in orchards and feedyards as they look for food.

The result of these negative, albeit predictable encounters, with wolves has been that residents of Eastern Washington live in a state of cautionary fear and the state has been forced to remove wolves that continue to attack livestock.

The public backlash has been considerable, with residents feeling apprehensive and anxious for their children and pets. Trust in the state agency that is tasked with managing the wolf has dwindled and local sheriffs have been forced to take on wildlife management tasks.

With this example clearly in front of us, it is stupefying to consider that NPS thinks increasing the number of grizzly bear won’t have a similar dismal result.

In addition this rationale for rejecting plans to reintroduce the grizzly, it is important to note that such actions would be in violation of state law. RCW 77.12.031 notes that, “Grizzly Bears shall not be transported or introduced into the state.”

The legislators of Washington, on behalf of the people of Washington, have already clearly spoken on this issue. We did not want grizzly bears reintroduced in 1995 when the legislation when it was written, in 2000 when it was revised or in 2015 or 2017 when NPS again forwarded this idea.

SCCA stands in firm opposition to any efforts to recover or reintroduce the grizzly bear. We do not want another predator, with the help and protection of government agencies, to do any further harm to the residents of Washington State.

Regards,

Scott Nielsen

SCCA President

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2019 Fat Stock Sale a success

2019 Fat Stock Sale a success

Over 100 youth participated in SCCA sponsored event

The Stevens County Cattlemen’s Association (SCCA) is proud to report the closure of another successful Fat Stock Sale at the Northeast Washington Fair. The Aug. 24 event pulled in a record $196,495 that was distributed to the 127 youth selling at the event. Animals sold at the event included 63 swine, 18 sheep, 6 goats, 2 rabbits and one chicken.

The Fat Stock Sale, sponsored by SCCA, gives young people in the Eastern Washington community the chance to raise an animal for the fair and make money by selling it to members of the public, according to SCCA President Scott Nielsen. Both individual buyers and businesses often participate in the sale, creating a positive, competitive market environment at the auction.

“We are pleased to be able to again report that the sale was a success and that young people had a chance to participate in raising and selling livestock,” said SCCA President Scott Nielsen. “When young people have this opportunity, it can encourage them to think about their future in the industry. We need more ranchers in this country.”

 

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SCCA offers reward for info on retaliatory cattle kills

$15,000 reward for info leading to conviction

The Stevens County Cattlemen’s Association is offering a $15,000 reward for information that leads to a conviction of those responsible for shooting, killing and maiming cattle in Stevens County. Several cattle have been shot and left for dead since the situation with the Old Profanity Wolf Pack worsened earlier this summer. State wildlife managers recently renewed the kill order for the pack after they have continued to attack and kill cattle, despite non-lethal deterrents and the removal of one wolf. As Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) plans to remove more wolves from the pack, SCCA is concerned this will cause extreme environmentalists to retaliate by harming cattle.

Since cattlemen in Stevens County began to experience consistent wolf attacks in 2012, cattle have been the target for malicious opportunists who are shooting cattle while they are grazing near public roadways. The animals are often shot at random and left to die.

“We recently had cattle shot at various locations in the county this summer. We believe the cowards taking these actions are doing so in retaliations for state managers deciding to remove problem wolves,” said SCCA President Scott Nielsen. “If you don’t agree with the wolf management, there are a number of ways to engage on the issue. Shooting or harming cattle will not bring about any management changes and it is a wrongheaded way to act.”

Nielsen noted there are several radical environmentalists promoting harming cattle as retaliation on social media sites.

“The people promoting this kind of tactic are desperate actors who do not care who or what they hurt in the name of their cause. We are serious about making sure these people are held accountable and that’s why we continue to offer this reward,” Nielsen related.

Nielsen said SCCA will pay out $15,000 a year for information leading to a conviction related to the cattle deaths. Those with information regarding the attacks on cattle are encouraged to call the Stevens County or Ferry County Sheriff’s offices or call SCCA directly at 680-3497.

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Cattlemen, wildlife group sponsor billboard

Groups urge calling sheriff if a predator attacks

A pair of local organizations concerned with the climbing numbers of predators in Stevens County have recently sponsored a billboard urging residents to call their local sheriff if they experience a predator attack.

The Stevens County Cattlemen’s Association, in partnership with the Northeast Washington Wildlife Group, recently sponsored a billboard along HWY 395 with the messaging, “Predator attack? Fight back! Call your local sheriff!”

SCCA President Scott Nielsen said the message is needed so citizens understand their best resource for addressing predator attacks is the local sheriff, not the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife.

“We know that WDFW has a very different mandate than the local sheriff when it comes to public safety,” Nielsen related. “When WDFW approaches a situation where a predator has attacked or threatened domestic animals or a person, their first response has often been to blame the person for not doing enough to prevent the attack. This is a problem, especially as predators in the area are becoming more aggressive.”

Nielsen noted an elected sheriff has a mandate to protect public safety and is not quick to blame the affected person but rather how to remove or alleviate the threat.

“We have a much higher confidence in our local sheriff’s ability to recognize and respond to a public safety threat than a group of unelected agents in a wildlife-focused agency,” said Nielsen.

Northeast Washington Wildlife Group Chair John Magart said his group also lacks confidence in WDFW’s response and wants to see changes to predator management.

“Our group supports local control by the Sheriff for predator attacks because the WDFW has a history of doing nothing except chastising the victims of these attacks,” Magart noted. “In the past WDFW has been slow to respond to depredation attacks if they respond at all. The sheriff is an elected official who is responsible for public safety whereas the WDFW say they are not. The local sheriff has firsthand knowledge and local resources to take care of public safety and depredation issues in a timely fashion without rhetoric and blaming by WDFW.”

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Old Profanity Wolf Pack Needs to be Culled

SCCA disapproves of “incremental” wolf removal strategy

A recent announcement by the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife that it plans to “incrementally” remove wolves from the Old Profanity Wolf pack is not being welcomed by the Stevens County Cattlemen’s Association who believes the pack needs to be culled.

The Old Profanity wolf pack has attacked over 20 cattle in the last year, killing at least 13. The recent WDFW removal order from WDFW is a continuation of an effort last year to remove the pack due to its chronic pattern of attacking cattle, despite numerous non-lethal methods taken by producers.  However, WDFW only removed two wolves last year.

WDFW cites their “incremental” removal policy is done in an effort to “change the wolves’ behavior.”

However, WDFW’s efforts are actually ensuring that chronically depredating packs are never fully removed and can rebound to create more damage for ranchers, according to SCCA.

“We are having more problems than other states with wolves because we are allowing cow-killing wolves to breed,” said SCCA President Scott Nielsen. “This ‘incremental’ approach has not worked from the beginning and is still a failed policy.”

In addition to the hardship and economic damages wolves are causing ranch families, Nielsen said the wolves are changing the behavior of other predators in the area, including bears and cougars.

“We are seeing increased numbers of bears and cougars coming down into people’s pastures and near their homes looking for an easy meal due to the increased competition from wolves,” Nielsen explained. “This situation means that if you live in rural Washington, you live in fear. You don’t go out into the woods or by rivers and meadows without something to defend yourself. You worry about your kids and pets outside. This is wrong—our residents should not have to live this way.”

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SCCA Awards 2019 Scholarships

The Stevens County Cattlemen’s Association recently awarded two local students with $500 scholarships to help fund their college educations. Awards were given to Josie Nielsen (left) and Larissa Sweat (right). Nielsen, the daughter of SCCA President Scott Nielsen (pictured center), plans to attend Whitworth University this fall to pursue a B.A. in Primary Education. Sweat, the daughter of SCCA Treasurer Larry Sweat, plans to continue her college education at Eastern Washington University, pursuing a B.A. in Secondary Education. SCCA provides annual scholarship opportunities for youth in the community, encouraging young people to make a difference in the world with the values and work ethic they learned from ranching.

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Predator problem? Call your local sheriff FIRST

Cattlemen urge public to call law enforcement for wolf, cougar concerns

The Stevens County Cattlemen’s Association (SCCA) is urging Eastern Washington residents that are experiencing problems with predators to call their local sheriff first, before calling the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW.)

SCCA notes that the local sheriff has a mandate to protect persons and property, unlike WDFW who is managing wildlife as its priority. WDFW will often fault the public or the landowner for not doing enough to prevent predator attacks instead of managing aggressive wildlife. The difference in perspective has led to some questionable actions by WDFW, according to the cattlemen.

“In the recent incident in Stevens County over Memorial Day weekend, a man was forced to shoot a wolf that threatened his daughter and himself while they were hiking. WDFW did not notify the local sheriff of this incident. When WDFW did share information with the sheriff’s office, the names of those involved were redacted. The agency also suggested the man didn’t need to defend himself and downplayed the seriousness of the situation. This is not acceptable,” said SCCA President Scott Nielsen. “There have also been incidents where WDFW is confirming and then later denying that livestock injuries were caused by wolves.  Other predator issues, like cougars, are also not being fully addressed.”

Nielsen noted that the Stevens County and Ferry County Sheriff’s Offices now have a special deputy dedicated to working on predator issues, giving residents an extra resource that based in the community. Special Deputy and Wildlife Specialist  Jeff Flood has been hired by Stevens and Ferry Counties to address predator issues.

“In our experience, local law enforcement has always been behind the people in this county and is most interested in their safety and welfare. If we don’t involve our sheriff in all predator incidents, we are removing accountability for WDFW,” said Nielsen.

In addition to providing accountability, the local sheriff can ensure that an accurate record of an incident is being created for local law enforcement, according to Stevens County/Ferry County Special Deputy Flood.

“If the public doesn’t call the sheriff’s dispatch first, then no local record of a predator incident is being created. Having an accurate record available for law enforcement is important for the sheriff’s department to protect public safety,” Deputy Flood related.

Flood said residents with any predator concerns, including wolves, should call the Stevens County dispatch at 684-2555 or Ferry County dispatch at 775-3132. Residents of either county can also call 911 and ask for a sheriff’s deputy to respond. Flood can also be contacted directly at 680-6431 or via email: jflood@stevenscountywa.gov.

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2019 SCCA Banquet coming up Feb. 9

MARK YOUR CALENDARS! The SCCA banquet is coming up on Saturday, Feb. 9 at the Colville Community College. Social hour at 5pm, Prime Rib dinner at 6pm. Tickets are $30 per person. Don’t miss out!

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NEWA Fair Fat Stock sale hits record

Over $180,000 raised for local youth

A youth livestock sale sponsored by the Stevens County Cattlemen’s Association (SCCA) recently put over $180,000 in the pockets of youth exhibitors at the Northeast Washington Fair, setting a new record for sales. The 2017 sale logged in at $131,000, making for a nearly $50,000 increase.

A number of market weight animals were featured at the 2018 sale, including 40 beef, 68 swine, 15 sheep, 10 goats and two rabbits.

The annual event managed by SCCA allows youth showing their market weight animals at the fair to sell them during the event to both businesses and private buyers.

SCCA President Justin Hedrick said SCCA supports the event every year by organizing the sale, contracting with an auctioneer and doing the bookkeeping for the sale. He said the event encourages youth to think about their future in the livestock industry.

“Showing an animal at the fair takes months of hard work and preparation. These kids really have to invest their time to do a good job. Being able to sell the animal at the fair shows them that hard work pays off,” said Hedrick.

Hedrick said the sale wouldn’t be a success without the support from the community.

“We had over 80 buyers this year that made the event successful by showing up and purchasing the animals,” said Hedrick. “Making a new record for sales this year is great and we really appreciate the support from the community.”

 

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SCCA increases reward for info on cattle deaths

Reward leading to conviction now at $15,000

The Stevens County Cattlemen’s Association recently increased the reward amount they are offering for information that leads to a conviction of those responsible for shooting, killing and maiming cattle in Stevens County. Since cattlemen in Stevens County began to experience consistent wolf attacks in 2012, cattle have been the target for malicious opportunists who are shooting cattle while they are grazing near a public roadway. The animals are often shot at random and left to die. SCCA suspects the attacks are being carried out by those who may be upset about environmental issues, including the current conflict with wolves. An anonymous supporter from Western Washington recently donated $10,000 towards the reward in an effort to catch those responsible.

“We have been running a reward ad for the last several years to try and catch those who are responsible for this,” said SCCA President Justin Hedrick. “No matter how you feel about wolves or any cattle related issue, it is cowardly and cruel to take it out on an animal.  We are working with local law enforcement on this issue and have accepted the donation to increase the reward amount.”

Hedrick said SCCA will pay out $15,000 a year for information leading to a conviction related to the cattle deaths. Those with information regarding the attacks on cattle are encouraged to call the Stevens County or Ferry County Sheriff’s offices or call SCCA directly at 680-3497.

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