Wolf foes, friends have their say
Citizens speak out about wolf management at ODFW
management was at the top of the Oregon Department of Fish
and Wildlife (ODFW) Commission hearings Friday at the
Running Y Ranch Resort.
Brown, acting wolf program coordinator, told the gathering
there are 112 known wolves in Oregon, comprising 11 packs
and eight breeding pairs. She noted that population growth
has slowed, but added that severe winter weather,
particularly in Eastern Oregon, inhibited wolf count
has been seven known wolf deaths in 2016, three of which
were collared wolves, she said. Of these, three were removed
by ODFW due to excessive depredation in Eastern Oregon, one
was shot by a rancher while caught in the act of killing a
sheep, and two others are still under investigation.
called wolf depredation management the highest priority of
the department, totaling 67 investigations last year. She
said depredation incidents are down since wolves were
re-introduced in 2009.
current Wolf Management Plan, established in 2005, creates
rules for monitoring and managing wolf populations, as well
as steps to take when livestock losses occur as a result of
a wolf attack.
Additionally, every five years the plan is reviewed in
detail. It is structured on a three-tier basis, Phase 3
being the most stringent rules due to large populations and
depredation incidents, which allows under certain
circumstances lethal enforcement to manage wolf populations.
Phase 3 is currently in effect in Eastern Oregon, while
Western Oregon — including Klamath County — remains in Phase
1. In the Phase 3 areas, wolves have been de-listed as an
than 40 organizations. alongside private citizens provided
testimony, both in favor and opposed to the draft plan.
particular point of contention was a change in confirmed
wolf depredation instances defining chronic wolf depredation
for elevation from Phase 2 to Phase 3 status, set at three
or one confirmed and four probable rather than the current
established level of two confirmed or one confirmed and
three attempted. Opponents to the draft plan urged that the
current levels be maintained.
know that for each confirmed wolf kill there will be seven
other livestock losses, so producers must absorb 21 losses
before wolves are removed,” said John O’Keeffe, Adel-based
rancher and president of Oregon Cattlemen’s Association.
“Wolves are now part of the landscape, they are here to
stay. Now it’s about managing a species that is significant
on the landscape, not a small number newly placed. It’s only
right that management goes under a new set of rules.”
the changes proposed in the plan is a clarification of
conservation population objectives, not as a representative
of a desired population level nor a minimum; population
analysis when a zone is elevated in Phase status, strategies
for radio telemetry of radio collars in phase 3 areas,
removal of a specific number requirement for wolves in a
pack to be collared, and adds specific certification and
procedures required before hunters and trappers can be used
for population control.
effort to increase communication and collaboration, the plan
also implements a citizen advisory group intended to improve
the overall management of wolves.
believe there are more wolves than are being documented,”
said Greg Roberts, chairman of the Jackson County Wolf
Committee. “We encourage cameras and surveillance. The Rogue
Pack has been without a single functioning radio collar for
the last two years, and we have been begging to get collars
into the pack to get a better idea of areas that the pack is
urged non-lethal efforts to be prioritized for management
while making efforts to limit wolf and livestock
“Killing wolves will not help sell more elk tags,” said Nick
Cady, director of Cascadia Wildlands. “Why give authority to
kill up to 22 percent of wolves in the state under revised
spoke in more generalized and pragmatic terms, pleading to
change policies that for years have allowed willful
environmental destruction and adverse impact on ecosystems.
“Ecosystems are being destroyed daily, and sprayed with
poisons,” pleaded Diana Larson emphatically, a Myrtle Creek
resident. “I love nature more than humans, and nature and
all of her children cannot speak for themselves. I scream
inside for the ignorance and complacency of people. The
environment has been suffering for the sake of ranchers for
decades. Bullets and poisons are cheap, it takes motivation
to make people do things the hard way.”
urged more local control authority, and some hunting
enthusiasts suggested hunting of wolves to be permitted
going forward. General season hunting is outlawed under the
current plan, also upheld under the revised draft plan.
concern is depredation of wildlife and game animals,” said
Mark Wilcox, a Klamath Falls resident and self-described
avid outdoorsman. “I think there should be hunting on
Program Coordinator Russ Morgan stressed that the draft
presented is a first draft and subject to change.
don’t always get to collar every wolf we want, and we don’t
get to capture every wolf we want,” Morgan explained. “We’ve
collared more wolves this year than ever before. We don’t
have breeding pairs collared in every pack, we’re trying to
balance out everything.”
decision about the wolf plan was made at the hearing,
pending an additional meeting scheduled for May 19 in
Portland at the Embassy Suites Portland Airport. A final
hearing for the draft management plan has not yet been set.
In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C.
section 107, any copyrighted material
herein is distributed without profit or
payment to those who have expressed a
prior interest in receiving this
information for non-profit research and
educational purposes only. For more
information go to: