Wildlife Predator Compensation Program

The Wildlife Predator Compensation Program provides compensation to ranchers whose livestock are killed or injured by wildlife predators.

Compensation is paid only for Compensation is not paid for
Cattle, bison, sheep, swine and goats. Any other animal, including horses, donkeys or exotic animals, such as llamas, alpacas or wild boar.
Attacks by wolves, grizzly bears, black bears, cougars and eagles. Attacks by other types of predators, such as coyotes.
The costs of veterinary care and medication associated with the incident or the loss of an animal, up to the value of the animal based on the average for the type and class of livestock. Incidents of feeding on livestock that had already died of disease or other causes not related to wildlife predation.

To learn more about how to recognize particular predator attacks on livestock, see:

Frequently Asked Questions

I think a predator has killed my livestock. How do I make a claim?

  • Contact the nearest Fish and Wildlife office as soon as possible. The Fish and Wildlife officer may request that you move or cover the carcass to prevent the evidence from being lost to scavenging.
  • The officer will examine the livestock and evidence from the area to confirm whether a predator killed or injured the animal.
  • If the evidence confirms that predators killed the livestock or that a predator kill was likely, the officer will file the claim on behalf of the producer.

How am I compensated when a predator has killed my livestock?

  • For all livestock, compensation is based on the average commercial value for the type and class of animal on the day it was killed.
  • If the livestock killed is cattle of less than one year of age, the producer has the following options:
    • Producers have the choice to accept compensation at the time of loss or
    • Producers can choose to wait until the end of October and receive compensation based on the Canfax average for the month of October, based on an average weight of 550 pounds
  • The minimum payment on a confirmed kill is $400.

How do I know if my livestock was attacked when it was still alive?

  • There may be evidence that the livestock bled from the attack. The blood may be on the body and around the area where it was attacked.
  • Underneath the lacerations and puncture wounds on the hide, the tissue will be damaged, showing bruising or hemorrhaging.
  • The body may be stretched out in an unnatural position.
  • There may be evidence of a struggle, such as broken vegetation or earth that's been torn up.

How do I know if my livestock first died of disease or another cause before a predator fed on it?

  • There will likely be no evidence of bleeding from the spot the predator fed on, or blood may have drained from the body from cavities such as the nose.
  • Underneath the lacerations and puncture wounds on the hide, tissue will not show signs of bruising or hemorrhaging.
  • The body may be curled up with the legs tucked in.
  • Keep in mind that wolves, bears and cougars have all been known to scavenge on livestock carcasses. If you spot such a predator feeding on your livestock, remember that further investigation is necessary to determine when the livestock may have died and what likely killed it.

How do I know if a wolf attacked my livestock?

  • Injuries are most often to the tail, hindquarters and flank, and under and behind the front legs.
  • There may be a long blood trail leading up to the carcass.
  • There may be many wolf tracks around the carcass.
  • Canine lacerations and punctures will be larger than those made by coyotes and the damage to the underlying tissue will be more severe than attacks made by coyotes.
  • When preying on domestic livestock, wolves generally prey on cattle and, on occasion, will prey on sheep.

How do I know if a bear attacked my livestock?

  • Injuries are most often to the withers, spine, neck and skull.
  • The animal, once dead, may have been dragged some distance so the bear could feed under the protection of cover.
  • The carcass may have been covered by earth, leaves, brush and other debris. The tendency to cover prey is more often found amongst grizzlies.
  • Bears may attack all age classes of cattle, swine and sheep. Grizzlies are more likely to prey on larger animals while black bears are more likely to prey on calves.

How do I know if a cougar attacked my livestock?

  • Injuries are most often to the neck, throat and skull.
  • To begin feeding, a cougar will pluck out the hair or wool from the chest area and chew out a clean entryway into the chest cavity.
  • The animal, once dead, may have been dragged some distance so the cougar could feed under the protection of cover.
  • The carcass may have been covered by leaves, twigs and other debris.
  • When cougars prey on livestock, they are more likely to attack sheep, goats, horses and exotic animals.

How do I know if a coyote attacked my livestock?

  • Coyotes may hunt in packs like wolves or as individuals like cougars. They may attack their prey from the rear or suffocate their prey by crushing the windpipe.
  • Because they are smaller animals, coyotes will leave lacerations and puncture wounds that are smaller than those left by wolves or cougars.
  • Coyotes are more likely to prey on smaller animals, such as sheep, goats or young calves.
  • Ranchers whose livestock are killed or injured by coyotes are not eligible for compensation.

Related Information

To download in-depth information about wolf control from The Handbook: Prevention and Control of Wildlife Damage, published by the University of Nebraska, see:

For further information about wildlife compensation regulations, see Sections 11, 14, 15 and 16 of the Wildlife Regulations.

 

Page Information

Updated: Feb 21, 2014