Action Taken Against Stock Killing Wolves in Oregon

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife recently approved lethal action after four depredations in 14 days by Lookout Mt. pack in Baker County.

Action Taken Against Stock Killing Wolves in Oregon

Lethal action has been approved in response to livestock-killing wolves in Oregon.

The ODFW has authorized lethal action and will provide a kill permit to a livestock producer who requested the option after ODFW confirmed that the Lookout Mt. pack killed or injured four of their cows in a 14-day period (July 14-26, 2021). Three of the cows were 850- to 950-pound yearlings. The pack has been determined to be chronically depredating and presents a significant risk to livestock in the area. 

The permit allows the livestock producers or their agents to kill up to four uncollared wolves in a designated area (a mix of private land and public land where they have a grazing permit) where wolves are determined to be a significant risk to livestock. The permit expires August 21 or when livestock are removed from the area, whichever comes first. ODFW staff may kill wolves included in the permit to assist the producer. 

Under the Oregon Wolf Plan rules, livestock producers must be using and document non-lethal methods appropriate to the situation before lethal control can be considered. Also, there can be no identified circumstances on the property (such as bone piles or carcasses) that could be attracting wolves. 

ODFW found no attractants during its investigations of depredations. The producers have been implementing non-lethal measures for years and since January, 2021, these measures included night checking of calving cows, use of rag box, placing calving cows near the house and barns in small 30-acre pastures, hazing wolves out of the calving areas, burying dead calves and cows and frequent communication with ODFW on the wolves’ location.  Since cattle were placed in the large rangeland pastures, the livestock producers have checked them frequently, placed cows in specific pastures based on wolf activity and recorded and communicated wolf presence to ODFW and neighboring producers.  Since the depredations started on July 14, producers have increased their human presence, hazed wolves using firearms, removed injured livestock from pastures and shifted cattle to pastures with less forage available to try and prevent further conflict. 

The current Lookout Mt. wolves were first documented in 2019 and were documented as a breeding pair for the first time in 2020 (meaning they had two pups that survived through the end of the year). Four wolves including two pups were documented at the end of 2020 (these pups would be yearlings now) and seven 2021 pups were observed in May. Currently both adult breeders have functioning radio collars (a VHF and GPS collar). 

Lethal action is authorized with the goal of putting an end to the chronic depredation, but livestock producers will also continue to use nonlethal measures.

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