On November 6, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) submitted a letter to the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission recommending that the Commission proceed with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (ODFW) request to remove the gray wolf from the state endangered species list.
On November 9, the Commission followed the suggestion from ODFW and the sportsmen’s community and voted to remove wolves from the state’s endangered species list at a vote of 4 to2. The decision means that ODFW will be able to move forward with implementing the next phase of the state’s Wolf Plan, which was developed in 2005 after extensive outreach and discussion among a wide range of interests. The wolf population in Oregon has exceeded the benchmarks outlined in the Wolf Plan, demonstrating that a delisting was warranted and that ODFW is capable of managing the species into the future. Delisting wolves in Oregon gives the state greater flexibility to establish and achieve management objectives that will help to mitigate predation on wildlife and livestock while ensuring healthy wolf populations.
ODFW has noted that Oregon’s wolf population “Is projected to continue to increase,” and “The overall probability of extinction is very low and genetic variation is high.” Delisting gray wolves in Oregon keeps within the tenets of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation, which aims to utilize the best-available science when determining management goals and methods for a particular species. This science-based ethic has driven hugely successful efforts to restore key wildlife species across the United States, including white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, and numerous waterfowl species, among many others.
Safeguarding hunting opportunities in Oregon will ensure that all Oregonians will continue to reap the economic and conservation benefits provided by the state’s hunting community. Approximately 196,400 people hunt in Oregon each year, generating $248 million in annual economic activity in the state and accounting for over 3,700 Oregon jobs, in addition to providing over $27 million per year in state and local tax revenues.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?