March 10, 2016

Oregon Legislature Ratifies Decision to Delist Oregon’s Wolves

On March 2, the Oregon Legislature passed House Bill 4040; a bill that, if signed by the Governor, will ratify the decision made by the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission (Commission) in November of 2015 to remove the gray wolf from the state’s endangered species list.

HB 4040, sponsored by the Oregon House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, passed on the House floor on February 12 with leadership in the Oregon Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus submitting a floor letter in support of the bill. As noted in the floor letter, the bill will do nothing to “prevent the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission from making necessary adjustments to the Oregon Wolf Conservation and Management Plan.” After passing in the Oregon Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources on February 23, the bill passed on the Senate floor last Wednesday, March 2 by a vote of 17-11 with two Senators excused from voting.

In November of 2015, 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. The Commission followed the suggestion from ODFW and the sportsmen’s community and voted to remove wolves from the state’s endangered species list, meaning 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.

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?

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