Crying Wolf? A Spatial Analysis of Wolf Location and Depredations on Calf Weight

Canadian Resource and Environmental Economics (CREE) Annual Conference, Vancouver, 28-30 September 2012

Joseph P. Ramler, Mark Hebblewhite, Derek Kellenberg, and Carolyn Sime

“Using a novel panel dataset of 18 Montana ranches from 1995-2010 and combining it with spatial data on known wolf pack locations and satellite generated climatological data, we estimate the spatial impact of changing wolf pack locations and confirmed wolf depredations on the weight of beef calves. We find no evidence that wolf packs with home ranges that overlap ranches have any detrimental effects on calf weights. However, ranches that experienced a confirmed cattle depredation by wolves had a negative and statistically significant impact on calf weight across their herd, possibly due to inefficient foraging behavior or stress to mother cows. The costs of these indirect weight losses are shown to potentially be greater than the costs of direct depredation losses which have, in the past, been the only form of compensation for ranchers who have suffered wolf depredations.”