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Is Oregon divided over gray wolves?

Oregon wolves

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Oregon Governor Kate Brown recently “corrected” the state’s stance on delisting wolves. According to the Jackson Hole News & Guide, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) Director Curtis Melcher had written in support of delisting gray wolves in the Lower 48 and that the Mexican gray wolf “no longer meets the definition of an endangered or threatened species under the Endangered Species Act” earlier this month; however, his letter resulted in criticism and quick action from Brown and other state representatives. Brown wrote to U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt in order to “clarify and correct” Melcher as she said that Melcher’s viewpoints didn’t reflect that of the state.

“The state of Oregon and its agencies do not support the delisting of wolves from the federal Endangered Species Act across their range in the 48 contiguous states,” wrote Brown. Further, she pointed out that the ODFW had been notified that its support of the delisting was “incorrect.”

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Other state representatives, including Rep. Earl Blumenauer, weighed in on Melcher’s letter, stressing that Melcher had “abdicated his mission to protect fish and wildlife,” according to the Jackson Hole News & Guide.

“I am ashamed by your willingness to throw an incredibly important predator species under the bus in favor of a few private interests that clearly have a different mission than your agency,” Blumenauer wrote to Melcher in a letter.

Yet, it appears that ODFW stands by Melcher’s opinion. When contacted, ODFW spokeswoman Michelle Dennehy said in an email that “Melcher’s bullet points…speak for themselves on wolf recovery.” Dennehy is referencing the current wolf population (137 wolves as of 2018) and 10% increase in the number of wolves since 2017. Melcher’s letter also stated that “Oregon is committed to gray wolf conservation while minimizing livestock losses,” the Jackson Hole News & Guide reports.

The state currently has a draft wolf plan, which states its goal as “[t]o ensure the conservation of gray wolves as required by Oregon law while protecting the social and economic interests of all Oregonians.”

6 Comments

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Fredrick W. - posted 5 months ago on 05-26-2019 07:56:38 pm

I've lived in Oregon all my life and have to laugh at the Liberal crats that think they know better than anyone else. If they want wolves in the state then ODFW need to transplant a few packs to the West side. Then in a year or two ask them how they like them. Yea, wolves are nice to watch as long they are in someone else's back yard.

Scott B. - posted 5 months ago on 05-26-2019 07:40:47 pm
Newman lake
goHUNT INSIDER

Hey Oregonians, if you vote Kate Brown out, you have a better chance of fixing your wolf problem, seems the ODFW supports delisting them. Hats off to Mr. Melcher for getting the word out, being a biologist and all, I am sure he has facts to support his decision. No big shock to those of us that support ODFW by purchasing our tags and licenses, that the wolves have make a remarkable recovery, just head into the Eagle Cap Wilderness for a week of mule deer hunting and you will see what a remarkable job the wolves have done to clean up the dismal deer population. I have hunted the Eagle Caps for 30 plus years, pretty sure last year was my very last.... Well, until you vote Ms. Brown out and fix the predator problem!

David C. - posted 5 months ago on 05-26-2019 07:26:51 pm
goHUNT INSIDER

Oregon has a wolf problem that is so far out of the original goals, and ODFW will not acknowledge just how much the population has exploded. The liberal goals to use the wolves to decimate big game populations are being met at an alarming pace, and at the expense of the sportsman. There are documented wolf depredations as far across the state as Halfway Oregon, all the way to Curry County, and they still want to say that management objectives haven’t been met! Our big game populations will most likely never recover with these apex predators running unchecked across Oregon along with cougar numbers that are at an all time high, thanks to no dogs allowed for hunting cougars.

Eric C. - posted 5 months ago on 05-17-2019 11:31:59 pm
goHUNT INSIDER

I was strongly considering leaving California for Oregon, but it's becoming more apparent that the grass isn't greener on the other side.

Mike R. - posted 5 months ago on 05-17-2019 04:38:36 pm
goHUNT INSIDER

Once again the liberal left ignores the science of conservation. They know more than than the wildlife biologists who are educated and have bots on the ground. The enviros shut down logging by using the ESA. It's a a scam they have been perpetuating for years, making a mockery of the ESA' spirit. Next think you know they will be telling us the science of gender isn't a thing either.....

Brian M. - posted 5 months ago on 05-17-2019 10:59:08 am
Elgin, Oregon
goHUNT INSIDER

Absolutely, I'm an Oregonian, and its been lib for a while, but the pace of Oregon's decline has become much faster lately. I think the only reason Oregon still tolerates us hunters and recreationalists is because they need our $$$. Once they don't need our $$$, then our hunting heritage will be over.