Contact: Aoibheann Cline, Western States Coordinator
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Commission adopted an updated Wolf Conservation and Management Plan during a Commission meeting on June 7.
The Commission heard testimony from 44 people and reviewed thousands of public comments before making its decision to allow controlled take of wolves though limited, regulated hunting and trapping.
The wolf population in Oregon has increased in numbers and expanded its territory over the past decade. Biologists estimate there are now at least 137 wolves in Oregon, an increase of 10% over the last year, across the state. The wolf population increase has resulted in an increase in wolf attacks on livestock by 65%.
Wolves in Western Oregon remain protected under the federal Endangered Species Act, however in Eastern Oregon where wolves are already delisted, and managed by the state, lethal taking of wolves is permitted following “chronic depredation,” which is the equivalent of two-livestock attacks within a 9-month period. Previously, chronic depredation allowed for taking of wolves following two attacks in an unlimited amount of time.
Hunting of wolves will now be permitted as a management tool to address continued wolf-livestock conflicts. The Commission also clarified the “use of controlled take as a management tool requires Commission approval through a separate public rulemaking process.”
Additional items discussed at the Commission meeting included allocation of big game auction and raffle tags, and proposed changes to 2020 big game hunting regulations to improve and simplify the Big Game Hunting Regulations.
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?