Carcass Management

Historically in many cases when an animal dies, the carcass is left where it is. Some ranchers would move carcasses to a bone yard - a specific area on the property where all dead animals were brought. A wide range of wildlife would be attracted to these carcasses, from scavengers like vultures to predators such as wolves and grizzly bears. 

 Photo by Louise Johns

Photo by Louise Johns

In 2014, we began managing carcasses and carcass areas when animals died in close proximity to our livestock. In some cases we remove carcasses from our livestock pastures to keep from luring predators into the area. However sometimes the terrain is too rugged to move a carcass very far in which case we either move the carcass to a cattle-free area of the Basin, move cattle out of areas where carcasses are present and/or closely monitor herds of cattle near carcass sites. 

In addition, we are working to eliminate bone piles from the Basin and as a possible result of these efforts, we have seen no depredations from wolves or bears related to carcass presence (in the past many bear depredations have been closely related in space and time with carcass accumulation).

Through these efforts we have the potential to minimize our influence on how predators behave and move across the landscape. Ideally, this practice will encourage bears and wolves to seek out wild prey and food sources instead of relying on areas used by livestock.