Oregon ranchers declare war on wolves

The alpha male in Oregon's Imnaha wolf pack. PHOTO COURTESY OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE.

Cattle industry asks lawmakers to OK wolf killing 

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — The cattle industry’s pathological war against wolves continues in Oregon these days, where — according to the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association — wolves are “terrorizing” the eastern part of the state, “ravaging, ripping flesh and gutting the gentle cattle.”

To keep this in perspective, consider some of the stats: In 2011, wolves killed 25 cows, while 55,000 were lost to weather, disease and thieves in 2010. In the rare instances in which livestock are lost to wolves, ranchers are reimbursed at fair market value by Oregon taxpayers.

So along with ramping up the woe-is-me rhetoric, the cattle industry is pressuring Oregon lawmakers to pass legislation that would allow the state to kill the surviving members of the Imnaha pack of endangered gray wolves. This pack was the first to return to Oregon in more than 60 years. One of its members recently trekked to California, gaining fame as Wolf OR7.

Oregon wildlife officials had planned to shoot two wolves in the pack, but were blocked by a lawsuit filed by conservation groups, who want the state to balance requirements to protect endangered species with the needs of the cattle industry. At issue is whether Oregon has the legal authority to shoot endangered species.

The new legislation is aimed at circumventing the Oregon Endangered Species Act and could open the floodgates for similar measures to eliminate safeguards for wildlife that is unpopular with livestock, logging, and development interests.

“The overwhelming majority of Oregonians are thrilled to have wolves back in the state,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The Oregon Cattlemen’s legislation is clearly out of step with public opinion and should be rejected.”

There are currently four packs of wolves in Oregon, with a total of 29 wolves protected under the state’s Endangered Species Act. In 2005, the state adopted a wolf-management plan that allows for wolves to be killed in response to livestock depredations, but only after nonlethal measures to solve problems with depredations have been used.

In September 2011, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife ordered the killing of the alpha male and a yearling from the Imnaha pack. This order followed the killing of two wolves from the pack earlier in the year and would have left only the alpha female and a pup to survive the winter.

The conservation have repeatedly requested documents from the Department of Fish and Wildlife demonstrating that nonlethal measures sufficient to solve depredation problems had been employed, but to date have not received anything of substance.

“Under the wolf plan, shooting endangered wolves was supposed to be the last resort — not the first option,” said Steve Pedery, conservation director for Oregon Wild. “We worked hard to develop a wolf plan that balanced wildlife conservation with the legitimate interests of ranchers, but the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association and other anti-wildlife groups are refusing to honor their end of the bargain.”

The Oregon Cattlemen’s Association has opposed, and sought to undermine, the state’s compromise wolf management plan since its inception.

“This isn’t the first time the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association has tried to legislatively undermine wolf protections in Oregon,” said Josh Laughlin, campaign director with Cascadia Wildlands. “We hope the Oregon legislature will stand up for Oregon’s recovering native wildlife and oppose this extreme wolf-killing legislation.”


18 thoughts on “Oregon ranchers declare war on wolves

  1. Perhaps if the cattle association took some of the monies spent on bribes of local government peoples and hired a few more cowboys to ride out there on the range, which are probably on public land, then that 25 cow figure might just be zilch.

    1. I agree. Maybe we should add some more economic perks like: double the value of the amount given to the “injured” rancher for loosing his cow to a wolf, and cutting the amount that he has to pay for grazing cattle on public lands. Us taxpayers in Oregon have lots of money we can shove their way.

    2. Norman is right, and just what do you think was done back in the day when there were thousands of wolves and ranches were at a all time high? They atleast had some respect for the wildlife instead of killing everything in sight. They hired more ranchers to watch their cattle. Oh I forgot we didnt have corrupt govt, politicians,with money backing the ranchers, having the wolves delisted so they can issue the ok for them to be shot and killed so when they get down to a bare few they can have them relisted for a big fat grant. We are well aware of how all this works.

  2. Oh I agree, Get Some Cowboys out there watching those cows, Get Some Herding Dogs, Instead of paying for dead cows that are probably diseased more then wolf kills and start paying for the land you grazing your cattle on. that truly belong to the wild animals not your dumb steroid shot up cows,. wolves have been in this country longer then white man or your cows.

  3. I live in the “eastern part of the state” – in wolf country. Wolves are not terrorizing anything out here- we never even see them. This wrongful persecution is not based in reality of any kind. Livestock producers just need to practice better animal husbandry- protect your animals. Leave the native wildlife and public lands alone!

    1. They wont stay on public lands! And if the ranchers had dogs the wolves would kill them like they did in Idaho. You need to get focused. Caint wait to hear what you have to say when they come
      into a small town school yard and do what they do best..

  4. I don’t remember anybody asking me to wiegh in on weather or not it was a good idea to bring back wolves to Oregon. You people look at wolves as a cute really big dog. Its one thing to encounter a Bear, or a Cougar.! They travel by themselves but its another story when you are surrounded by a Wolf Pack!!! What’s going to happen if these wolves show up in a school yard? Are you willing to go to jail for the wolf killing someones child? You caint blame the wolf for doing what comes natural can you???? I work for the state out in the woods and im not allowed to carry a gun to protect myself from crazy people let alone wild animals.! And I can say its unnerving to get out of a vehicle in the middle of the night to relieve myself or to help a stranded motorist. You want wolves and grizzly. ? Put them in a zoo where they are protected and taken care of and quit screwing with peoples lives!

  5. In reply to two comments I see on this article, I would really like to hear about it when the wolves actually do kill someone… Because they won’t. I doubt they’d even come close to terrorizing a “small-town school yard.” If you look at statistics, you are more likely to be killed by a domestic dog than a gray wolf in your lifetime. Please, people, find some common sense and don’t listen to pop-culture myths any more.

    1. Oh yes they will kill humans a case on the East Coast of Hybred Coyote Wolf cross killing a hiker in a park and the lady in Alaska give me a break they are not afraid of humans and they would kill a small child given the right set of circumstances.

      1. Oh my lord. Just because ONE WOLF killed a woman, does not mean it is AVERAGE. It reminds me of this guy who wanted a new subspecies because he saw a huge intelligent wolf. Gee, I saw bigfoot yesterday, so it should be a species!

  6. The loss of our right to protect our personal property is a right we should all be able to exercise. When a wolf is killing livestock right in front of the owner and all they can do is hope to scare them away and bury the kill something is wrong. If someone is ever killed and i agree the chances are slim would anyone watching that happen be expected to simply stand and shout and leave their gun in its holster. We have wolves now and wil have them but not just wolves 200 pound McKenzie River Wolves not the wolves that roamed our area in the past. These wolves are big and kill for a living. Managment is not just standing by and watching events take place but trying to limit the bad and that may mean killing a killer on ocassion. When there is a pack in Forest Park living on dogs and cats get back to me on how we should protect them then.

    1. In Oregon, they CAN kill wolves who are killing livestock or harassing them, but only if the rancher has taken non-lethal preventative measures. They are honestly whining over nothing, except maybe for the fact that they only want to kill wolves, to kill them, and their cattle have nothing to do with it. Otherwise, they would be killing them legally and not be whining.

  7. Could you please give me a link to what study says that wolves killed 25, and what study said that 52,000 were lost to said causes. Its not that I don’t believe you, its that I’m doing a report and would like to cite the study, but I can’t if I don’t even know what/where it is. I’ll post it if I find it, but so far I’m finding nothing…

  8. IM NO PETA SUPPORTER NOR A TREE HUGGER BUT LETS BE HONEST HERE WOLVES ARE A VALUBLE SOURCE TO THE ECOSYSTEM!. ILL TELL THESE DUMB FARMERS HOW TO SOLVE THERE CATTLE LOSS . ITS CALLED A ANATOLIAN SHEPHERD/Kangal DOG(mullock mastiff breed) PUT 2 OF THESE BIG BAD BOYS ON THE FARM AND YOUR PROBLEM WILL BE GONE ! Trust me I know I have one. I let him loose on the land and hes killed a couple of coyotes and ran off the black bears here. and he roams the acreage constantly guarding and the best part is he’s MORE nocturnal look ’em up if you dont belive me. But then again farmers probably just like to collect the goverment money from a loss cow and b@#tch and complain.

  9. A better management plan for the cattle would avoid a lot of trouble for the farmers and wolves.Mobile fencing and patrols are part of this and have been tested in another state with a good result .The problem for the farmers seems to be money ,they are simply blinded by greed and lack common sense.Wolves are needed for a good balance in the eco system and were there long before the farmers moved in on their habitat.They can live in harmony,but only when the farmers wake up and realise that their stupidity won’t get them anywhere apart from a lot of criticism .

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