Ranchers in Western states say they're hopeful the removal of gray wolves from the federal endangered species list will make it easier to hunt the predators and stem losses of cattle and sheep.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service earlier this month formally lifted federal protections for more than 1,300 wolves in Montana, Idaho, Oregon, Washington and Utah. That will allow hunting of the carnivores that ranchers say have taken a steady toll on their livestock over the past two decades.
Tex Marchessault, a cattle rancher near Dillon, MT, says he's lost several young cattle over the years, and other livestock have been injured in attacks. Government trappers killed a six-wolf pack on his land a few years ago, but another pack soon took its place.
"Let the public know what kind of killers we're faced with," Marchessault says. "They're killers and that's the way it is."
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