Oregon’s fledgling wolf population reached a new milestone last year, producing enough new pups to push the state’s total wolf count into the triple digits. Wolves throughout Oregon are delisted from the state Endangered Species Act (ESA). Wolves are still protected by the Wolf Plan and Oregon statute.
This increase in the wolf population is causing damage to local ranchers as reports to attacks on livestock have increased at a problematic rate. For the first time, Oregon is considering allowing ranchers to kill the wolves under a “limited duration wolf kill permit,” rather than rely on state officials.
Special Wolf Kill Permit
Environmentalists worry that issuing a special permit to hunt wolves would create a financial incentive for Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) to allow more opportunities. But environmental groups strongly oppose any public hunting of the state’s roughly 150 wolves. Idaho has a more robust wolf population than Oregon but also has legalized hunting. Somewhere between nine and 14 wolves have been illegally killed in Oregon since 2007, according to police reports and ODFW data. That number may be higher, given most of the wolves tallied were wearing radio-collars.