Man’s best friend defends Montana herd

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Livestock near Wisdom, Mont. have protection on the ranch in the form of smaller four-legged animals.

Dogs at Ruby Ranch protect cattle from wolves outside the perimeter of the ranch. Ranch owner Heidi Hirschy says she’s lost 17 cows to wolf attacks between April 2009 and April 2010.

The six guard dogs protecting the ranch in the Big Hole Valley are not aggressive, but instead are bred to be neutralizers according to 5/R Stock Dogs Herdsman Marvin Dunster. According to, Dunster breeds five types of dogs to fit producer’s needs. He says his dogs are bred for intellect, not aggression against wolves.

Hirschy has lost only one animal since bringing the dogs onto her ranch and is considers adding a few more dogs to help cover the property.

Montana State University and Utah University are researching the guard dog model as are other state wildlife organizations.

States with heavy wolf populations have allowed farmers to trap and hunt wolves attacking livestock and have also operated programs reimbursing producers for lost cattle.

Do you rely on your pets in your daily farm activities? Send a picture of your pets on the farm to and we'll post them to our facebook page.

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New Jersey  |  February, 03, 2013 at 07:06 AM

For years I've been telling my friends out West that there are much more humane methods of controlling wolves than hunting them down and killing them. They think I'm a bed-wetting liberal, but I'm actually a conservative who happens to love and respect animals. I hope they read this; it wouldn't serve any purpose to e-mail this article to them - they wouldn't read it.

Craig A. Moore    
Billings, MT  |  February, 04, 2013 at 09:15 AM

Hey Jersey Joe, how about we send a couple hundred into your area and see how your ideas on wolf management works out. And you ought to see what it looks like when a pack of wolves come up on just one of these dogs. (Hint, it is really red looking.)

Carlyle Holman    
Saint Joe In.  |  February, 04, 2013 at 10:20 AM

Well said Craig! I don't understand the relocating of animals to new areas. The DNR has brought Badgers, Cougars and Bobcats into our area. I have Grandchildren with animals that have came up missing. I wish the DNR would put them in there back yard. I quess it is another case where the Goverment knows best.

central fl  |  February, 04, 2013 at 11:23 AM

Maybe Jersey Joe could see fit to pay us are losses out of his own pocket and see how it effects his bottom line. When it comes to their own money they would sing a completely different song I dont think he he a bet wetting liberal sounds more like a bleeding heart liberal to me -----Just my 2 cents.

Georgia  |  February, 04, 2013 at 07:09 PM

I kinda like survival of the fittest....except now we have all these endangered species that are fit to live without gubment protection...kinda messes up Darwin's "theory" on origin of the species don't it....or perhaps not...if we protect those who are not fit to survive what does that do to the rest of us ... in nature when the weakest don't survive that makes us all stronger ... ie more resources for the dominant species...when you start dicking around with nature - you just create more problems ! of course thats about all the gubment is good for !

idaho  |  February, 04, 2013 at 10:28 PM

Why can't we relocate wolves in cities instead? Mainly in the wolf hugging liberal cities. Why do we have to bare the brunt of THEIR love affair with wolves?

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