Or you can let someone else do the asking by purchasing products that sport the Predator Friendly® label, a certification that must be earned. Every producer undergoes a yearly audit to show compliance with strict standards on wildlife conservation and predator coexistence. The producer must maintain and enhance wildlife habitat, employ a mix of nonlethal methods, and quickly change management practices when smart predators decide to take a new approach.
Predator Friendly ranchers use some of these nonlethal methods:
- Using guard animals such as llamas, donkeys, and dogs
- Scheduling pasture use when predation pressure is low
- Grazing cattle with smaller livestock to protect sheep, goats, and calves
- Timing calving and lambing to avoid predation risk
- Lambing in sheds, secure fenced lots, or protected pastures
- Making frequent and unpredictable patrols in pastures
- Protecting vulnerable animals by fencing out predators
- Learning the ecology and habits of area wildlife
Here's how being predator friendly works for Becky Weed and Dave Tyler in Belgrade, Montana. On the website of their Thirteen Mile Ranch, they state,
"Our principal protection against native predators are our guard dogs and llamas and our own vigilance; because we have chosen not to use lethal control methods against coyotes, bears, wolves, mountain lions, our ranch is certified as 'predator friendly.'"
My introduction to the Predatory Friendly brand came during the first winter that Mary and I lived and volunteered at the Lamar Buffalo Ranch in Yellowstone's wolf country. We each bought from the Yellowstone Association store a wool hat made by a local Predator Friendly business. We so loved the hat's warmth and comfort at twenty below zero, that we bought more for our friends. I loved telling them, "No predators were harmed in the making of this hat."