Back to News

Oregon ranchers say wolves should be delisted


Oregon Wolf
Photo credit: Shutterstock

Oregon ranchers are fed up with wolves and they want them delisted. During a recent seminar hosted by Oregon State University’s Klamath Basin Research and Extension Center, the topic of delisting the predators continued to overshadow other non-lethal wolf management methods. Speakers from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and OSU Wallowa County Extension Service highlighted “nonlethal wolf deterrents and how the predators impact the health and behavior of livestock,” the Herald and News reports

Under the state’s wolf management plan, livestock producers must try non-lethal methods like using range riders, burying bone piles and hazing before turning to lethal removal. While problem wolves have been lethally removed from the Harl Butte Pack and the Pine Creek Pack for continued livestock depredation, wolves will likely retain federal protections despite conversations in 2015 that considered delisting them.

Gear Shop - Shop Now

During the seminar, livestock producers asked how many wolves were necessary to call the species recovered in order to delist them in Southern Oregon. According to Elizabeth Willy of the FWS, “there is no specific number” and “the matter is left to the discretion of federal regulators.” Willy acknowledged the previous attempt to delist the wolves failed and was defeated in court. Right now, Willy said that FWS is “trying to figure out what the next steps are to move forward with evaluating the population status.”

However, even if wolves are delisted, ODFW’s Tom Collom says that doesn’t open up the doors for ranchers to cull them. Wolves would still be regulated by state officials and killing would only be allowed “in instances of chronic depredations.”

While attendees aired their grievances for coexisting with wolves, most left frustrated. Many felt that non-lethal methods were futile against aggressive wolf packs. Yet, delisting them isn’t an option for now. Do you think there are too many wolves in Oregon?


Log in or register to post comments.

ron K. - posted 8 months ago on 05-10-2018 06:00:49 pm

Gil B.
You had it all going well until the, "having a balanced ecosystem", part. The more one studies wolves the more one comes to understand, wolves don't do anything special in the ecosystem. They chase animals and kill animals, there is no great plan in action. All most every early study out of Yellowstone has been disproved by additional research. The wolves did not make the trees grow or change the river. We don't find any research coming out of Canada showing their ecosystems that have always had wolves are healthier than US ecosystems without wolves.
Now if your concern is a complete ecosystem.

Gil B. - posted 8 months ago on 05-09-2018 04:30:27 pm
San Francisco, CA

Hi @Ron K.
Appreciate your willingness to discuss this topic. I don't believe I'm the person to say there are or are not 'too many' wolves in Oregon. This is a multi variable problem and a change to any single variable may impact the resource in positive or negative terms depending on point-of-view. Of course, balance is achievable if each side takes into account the economics of livestock kill (and resulting impact of the overall herd weight after such predation takes place) and having a balanced eco system (one that supports all types of wildlife, not just the ones we enjoy hunting/eating).

Of course this is simply my opinion. I found the book I recommended below to be very educational. This topic becomes emotional for many. When emotion trumps logic (on either side of the debate) it is not good for wolves and it is not good for those who make their living off the land as ranchers.

I personally don't mind that some of us hunt these animals. If biologists determine the health of the packs supports hunting of wolves I'm in support of those who hunt them. On the flip side I do not agree with those who suggest the only good wolf is a dead wolf. My disagreement with this kind of thinking is twofold. First, I'm not for the eradication of the wolf in the lower 48 (the reintroduction rights a wrong). Second, I'm a proponent of hunting and think of myself as somebody who might help to educate non hunters about hunting by sharing my personal experiences and thoughts on public lands, conservation and eating healthy wild game. The majority of non hunters (especially those who may have some amount of negative bias) will not view comments like the one below as coming from somebody who is a steward of our lands and its wild inhabitants.

Words matter. But, again, this is simply my opinion.

Kevin L. - posted 8 months ago on 05-09-2018 04:19:44 pm

Thanks Brady. The opposing views is fine, but not the vile hate and foul language.

ron K. - posted 8 months ago on 05-09-2018 11:23:41 am

Do you think there are too many wolves in Oregon??

What do the numbers from Oregon's annual wolf report tell us?
2014 33% of Oregon's wolf packs were confirmed to kill livestock.
2016 57% of Oregon's wolf packs were confirmed to kill livestock.
2017 66% of Oregon's wolf packs were confirmed to kill livestock.
Notice any trends Oregon?
From Oregon's 2016 annual report, over 50% of Oregon's wolves lived on private land.
71% of the confirmed depredations occurred on private land.
These are confirmed depredations that science has proven only make up less than 20% or 1 in 5 of all wolf kills.
The numbers don't lie Oregon has made a huge problem out of the wolf issue, by thinking they could manage wolves differently. Problem is wolves act the same every where they go and the only way to change wolf behavior is by killing some of them.

Gil B. - posted 8 months ago on 05-09-2018 10:15:45 am
San Francisco, CA

@Joseph T and @Patrick K This debate is something that greatly interests me. As a child I grew up in Oregon during a time that wolves were absent from the landscape. I remember, at that time, reading about conflict between those agencies that reintroduced the wolves in the lower 48 and the ranchers who opposed the reintroduction.

Recently, while in Boise for the 2018 BHA Rendezvous, I picked up a book called Wolfer: A Memoir. The book is written by a government trapper who oversaw the wolf reintroduction. The book covers the events leading up to reintroduction and, in a balanced way, addresses some flaws in the anti-wolf and wolf-at-all-costs arguments.

In politics the sweet spot generally exists somewhere in the middle, and I assume the same can be said for wolf policy. Personally, I'm happy they are back and count my one an only sighting of a wolf in the wild as the pinnacle of my outdoor experience.

Brady Miller
Brady M. - posted 8 months ago on 05-09-2018 09:20:46 am
Las Vegas, NV
goHUNT Team

You're very welcome, Mathew! We have some tools in place to prevent random spammers. But those anti-hunter ones can still slip through and make comments since they are real people and not bots. But we remove them if they post straight hate. I assure you that we read every comment on the website; articles and unit profile comments. So hateful comments are and will never be tolerated. Hope you have a great day!

matthew a. - posted 8 months ago on 05-09-2018 12:34:02 am
Tampa, FL

Brady, glad to see Go Hunt staff is actively screening for anti-hunters. I think they are attempting to use this powerful tool to negatively impact our community. This is the 3rd time I've read anti-hunting sentiments on here - Merci Beacoup for removing @Kevin

Brady Miller
Brady M. - posted 8 months ago on 05-08-2018 03:43:52 pm
Las Vegas, NV
goHUNT Team

@Kevin - That user has been deleted. Thanks for reaching out. We 100% agree with you!

Jake A. - posted 8 months ago on 05-08-2018 03:21:55 pm
Bend, Oregon

Wolf reintroduction is an emotionally charged topic. Osama H posted with raw emotional nonsense. We hunters need to keep the emotions in check while advocating for wolf management. Most of us respect and relate to wild wolves, but know management through limited hunting tags and seasons is the way to achieve balance. Human hunters have been on the wild landscape for many thousands of years. Total removal of us as ethical predators in managing rapid growing wolf populations is not natural. The current wolf situation in Eastern Oregon is out of balance. The keystone predator, which is we humans since the advent of the atlatl, are left on the sidelines with our hands tied. It's time to unleash a few of us and open up a limited wolf hunt in Eastern Oregon. I'd pay to enter that lottery tag drawing!

Joseph T. - posted 8 months ago on 05-07-2018 10:17:48 pm
Eagle, Idaho

Eastern Oregon is now, where Idaho was in 2007-2009. It's is a critical place to be. The people (Ranchers and other conservative working class people) have spoken. These Wolves must be managed. Big +1 to every individual who can adequately and safely Shoot, Shovel, and Shut-Up. These dog's shouldn't be there in the first place. If it's any consolation, in the last several years since Idaho opened season, the conflict has quite dramatically reduced. From pure war-zone in 2008, to somewhat reasonable living with a respected managed species today. In 2008 We were forced to be carrying side-arms and rifles every single day during regular ranch chores (in the field fencing, or working cows) and having Wolf encounters 120-180 days out of the year. Today there's rarely a conflict, and only encounters a few times per year. Oregon it's on you. Stand up for your people and start killing the bloody beasts.

Kevin L. - posted 8 months ago on 05-07-2018 09:51:43 pm

Hey goHunt, might be a good idea to give Osama his money back. That kind of sentiment and language doesn't belong here.

Patrick K. - posted 8 months ago on 05-07-2018 12:27:19 pm
Fort McDowell, Az

the only good wolf is a dead wolf