Dave Talbott is a small Wallowa County rancher running approximately 60 head of cattle. He supplements ranching with mechanic work and leasing pastures. In a tragic turn of events his wife Crystal was life flighted to Portland earlier this month suffering a severe stroke. (She is in her 50’s).
Thankfully Crystal is recovering but I imagine Dave nearly had a stroke last week when he went out to check his cattle and found 2 wounded cows, 1 calf missing and one bred heifer so badly injured she had to be euthanized.
Her calf was already dead inside of her. The infamous Imnaha wolf pack strikes again! According to a neighboring rancher I spoke with that attended an emergency Oregon Fish and Wildlife meeting, Dave will only be compensated for one wolf kill thus he is left with the vet bills for the wounded cows and receives nothing for the missing calf.
Given the cost of life –flight, add medical bills coupled with losing valuable cattle and his situation is simply devastating. In an odd “Job-like” twist of fate, Dave also received income from renting his pasture to the to the local packer whose mule Annie was killed by wolves.
Given the size of Dave’s herd and the killing of the mule it is heart breaking to see how one pack of wolves have taken their toll on this ranching family.
Wallowa County Ranchers are beginning to move cattle to summer pastures and have requested emergency action to capture and remove the Imnaha wolf pack yet despite what I’ve been told were some tears from the commissioners upon hearing Dave’s story, they still refuse to take any action.