MTPR

sheep

A mountain lion, also known as a cougar, puma, or catamount.
(PD)

Since 2007 Montana taxpayers have compensated ranchers when wolves and grizzly bears kill their livestock — to the tune of up to $200,000 a year. Some of that money is also spent on projects designed to prevent predator conflicts. That earns it high marks from both ranchers and conservation organizations.

Last year, state lawmakers voted to add mountain lion-related losses to the compensation list for the first time. The problem is, the program didn’t get any additional funding to do that.

Josh Burnham (CC-BY-2.0)

Regional sheep producers are concerned that fears about their herds transmitting disease to wild bighorn sheep might jeopardize their livelihood.

Last spring, the Forest Service banned domestic sheep grazing on about 70 percent of the Payette National Forest in West Central Idaho to prevent domestic sheep from infecting bighorns.

"We feel it's just a way for environmental groups to try to try and remove livestock from public grounds."

courtesy of Jim Hagenbarth

The settlers who came to Montana relied on livestock for their livelihoods and the lives. More than 150 years later, technology has removed most of us from the ranching life. But not Jim Hagenbarth. Far more than most, he understands the needs, complexities and rewards of ranching.

(Broadcast: Home Ground Radio, 8/19/14)