Check out these 5 stories grabbing attention this week.
The National Park Service says there is no legal basis to keep horses and longhorn cattle that roam freely in the North and South Units of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.
Officials during a Thursday night virtual public meeting that included about 160 participants also said there is no ecosystem benefit to keeping livestock in the western North Dakota park.
“There really is no clear basis to support livestock at the park and to put it directly, we are charged with paying tribute to Theodore Roosevelt’s conservation legacy, not his ranching legacy,” Park Superintendent Angie Richman said. “His conservation legacy grew from a desire to protect and preserve land and ecosystems as close to their natural state as possible before the impacts of colonization.”
Roosevelt hunted and ranched in the North Dakota Badlands before moving on to the White House. He founded the Boone and Crockett Club, a hunting and habitat conservation group that still exists today.
The park is looking at three alternatives to address the livestock herds and consider the role that they have on native species and the prairie ecosystem. The options include eliminating or reducing the horses and cattle.
The first alternative would reduce the horse herd from 186 animals to 35-60.
The second alternative, which would remove all livestock within two years, would include live capture of the horses; American Indian tribes would be given first opportunity to receive them. Those not taken would be given to other groups or sold to the public. The cattle would be gathered, donated to authorized groups or sold to the public.
The third alternative involves capturing the horses, giving tribes first opportunity to purchase them, implanting contraception to prevent future breeding, and allowing the reduced herd of non-reproductive horses to live out their lives in the park. Cattle would be gathered and donated to groups or sold to the public.
A Baker County committee on Thursday, Jan. 12 awarded $15,115 to three ranchers to compensate them for expenses they incurred last year trying to protect their cattle from wolves.
The county’s Wolf Depredation Compensation Committee had its annual meeting at the courthouse.
The committee reviews requests from ranchers for compensation for cattle killed or injured by wolves, and for their efforts to avoid wolf attacks. That generally involves hiring a “range rider” to patrol areas where cattle graze.
The committee approved these awards from the county’s prevention budget: • Barry DelCurto, Halfway, $7,765.
• Stan Gulick, Halfway, $4,500.
• Warnock Ranches, $2,850. The ranch is based in Maupin, south of The Dalles, but runs cattle in Baker County.
The committee also agreed to apply to the state for compensation for two ranchers who had wolves killed or injured — $1,800 for Earl Andersen, who had a heifer killed, and Carlton Andersen, who had a calf injured.
Both are from Ontario and own cattle that graze in Baker County.
The committee, in addition to applying for $2,800 for those two ranchers, will also ask the state for $60,000 for future requests for range riders and other prevention tactics.
Ranchers losing cattle and sheep to coyotes and foxes want to be able to hire out-of-state aerial hunters statewide to protect their livestock, and the state would like to be sure drones can’t be used to spot or hunt game in Montana, according to two bills that saw their first committee hearings Thursday.
“While other predators get a lot of the headlines, predation by coyotes is still the No. 1 depredation issue for landowners across the state,” said Department of Livestock executive director Mike Honeycutt in one of the hearings.
But the bill allowing out-of-state aerial hunters is being amended to stay in line with federal reporting requirements, Honeycutt and the bill’s sponsor said at the onset of its first committee hearing this week.
Hearing sparks questions on wolves and infrared drones
The bill on drones also ran into immediate concerns at its first hearing Thursday over questions on whether it would allow people to hunt wolves from the air and when drones could be used.
Senate Bill 84 was requested by the Department of Fish, Parks and Wildlife and is sponsored by Sen. Bob Brown, R-Trout Creek.
It would make changes to further clarify in statute that hunters cannot use aircraft to spot or harass animals. The bill would add Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) – commonly known as “drones” – to the definition of “aircraft.”
4. The latest drought monitor had some good news and bad news. The good news first: The dry conditions in Ohio and Indiana has improved.
And due to the severe storms in California, the drought in the majority of the state has been downgraded to severe.
The bad news: The drought in parts of Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas remains in extreme or exceptional condition.
There's nothing worse than hating your day job. You dread going to work, you feel like your life has little purpose career-wise and it's just not a fun way to live. This is why we have so much sympathy for adorable Winnie seen below.
TikTok user @Winniethecattledog has one job to do and nope, she ain't doing it. Listen, we can hardly blame her because what she is supposed to do is something she's afraid of and welp, we must protect her at all costs! Watch the following video to see what we mean!
TikTok users absolutely adore Winnie with @Chick posting, "My red cattle dog was sooo scared of cows too, she was like no thanks I’ll be a cuddly inside dog instead." @Sammi replies, "It’s called work anxiety, don’t worry bud, we all get it."
@Bray hilariously comments, "Bro lied on his resume." @Andrea adds, "When you apply but didn't think you'd actually get the job." @Kara types, "She’s like “excuse me you want me to do what now?" LOL!
Okay so since being a Cattle Dog is out of the question, may we suggest other jobs for Winnie? How about cuddle bunny? Professional TV watching assistant? @Faganash's dog is all ready FIRED from that position because they type, "This made me laugh so hard. My golden is afraid of the opening credits of Yellowstone." Sorry! We cannot hire you for professional TV watching assistant if you hate Yellowstone!
And those are 5 headlines, you don't want to miss this week.