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How an Oregon rancher is dancing away the wolves

It’s a new ritual for a southwest Oregon rancher. You might say he’s trying to dance away wolves.

“At 7:30 or 8 o’clock, I go out and start the generator, turn the light on, and the dancing man is out there dancing around in my pasture,” said Oregon rancher Ted Birdseye.

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A dancing man. You know, one of those inflatable, flailing figures you usually see at used car lots. Last Saturday, Birdseye set up a giant lime green inflatable dancing man in his pasture.

It’s his latest effort to deter a pack of protected gray wolves that keep attacking his animals. He already lost five of his calves, a guard dog, and a lot sleep.

“Because these wolves will howl and then the dogs will go ballistic, and you get up and jump on the quad, go out there and make a circuit, come back in and crawl into bed and try to go to sleep, and of course you don’t,” he said.

“So many wolf advocates say ‘what a majestic animal,'” Birdseye said. “And it’s true they are a majestic, fascinating predator. But they kill for a living. And they don’t kill nice and clean.”

He says the idea for a dancing man came from a group called the Defenders of Wildlife. They sent two dancing men to his ranch.

“It’s been about five days since the wolves have been around the place,” Birdseye said.

Though, he’s not sure if the wolves have been around when the wacky dancing man has been up. So he can’t speak to its effectiveness just yet. He’s waiting to see how things work out. What he does know is that he has finally gotten a good night’s sleep.

Coincidence? Or maybe not such a wacky idea after all.

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