There is no single solution to raising livestock around predators. Yet a range of practices, from the simple to the complex, can make doing so feasible. By observing area wildlife and varying practices to fit changing conditions, a wide range of producers have innovated means that work in their environs.
Tools that have had proven their worth around wide-ranging species such as grizzly bears and wolves follow below.
Electric fences have proven their worth in protecting vulnerable livestock, including calves and lambs, from wide-ranging predators. Electric fences can also be used to deter grizzly and black bears, among other species, from a wide range of attractants such as apiaries, fruit orchards, livestock food and garbage.
With proper maintenance and monitoring, an electric fence can be an important component of non-lethal deterrence.
Download Practical Electric Fencing Resource Guide
(Living with Wildlife Foundation)
Download How to Build Fence with Wildlife in Mind
(MT Fish, Wildlife and Parks)
Fladry, a word borrowed from Polish, simply means a line of flags on a rope. Originally used as a tool for hunting wolves, fladry has now been adapted to prevent conflicts between wolves and livestock. Put off by the motion and brightness of the flags, wolves shy from crossing a properly maintained fladry barrier, often for long enough to keep calves and lambs away from harm.
A University of Calgary study showed that wolves may avoid a fladry barrier for as long as 60 days. An electrified version of fladry, called turbo fladry, is now being studied. While it requires an investment in set up and maintenance, fladry can be highly effective during sensitive time periods, such as calving and lambing seasons.
Livestock Carcass Removal
As grizzly bears emerge from dens each spring, their hunger drives them to lower elevations to search for food, which can bring them into contact with ranches in the Northern Rockies, where calving season is in full swing.
Ranchers have typically deposited deceased livestock in carcass dumps on their property. These dumps may lure bears and wolves to ranches, where they are more likely to prey on calves or find other attractants. Removing carcasses from ranches during the calving season is a practice that is proving effective in reducing human-bear conflicts in Montana, Wyoming and beyond.