JOSEPH, Ore. – Ranchers in remote areas of eastern Oregon say they're skeptical about a state program that promises to compensate them for cattle killed by gray wolves.
Among those ranchers is Denny Johnson, who has raised cattle for 32 years at the foot of the Wallowa Mountains. He blames wolves for the deaths of five of his cattle, including one valued at $5,000.
He and other ranchers say the state may be downplaying wolf attacks to avoid having to kill the predators, increasing the likelihood of steep financial losses on their farm.
State wildlife officials say their investigations of wolf kills are accurate, and Oregon will compensate ranchers for confirmed kills.
Wolves have moved into the Northwest since being reintroduced in the mid-1990s in Idaho and Yellowstone National Park.