Gray wolf found shot dead in NE Oregon

This news release is from the USFWS.

It will probably be the Oregon papers tomorrow.


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is investigating the discovery of a dead gray wolf in Union County, Oregon. The animal had been shot, and was recovered on May 25, 2007, from a forested area north of Elgin.

The carcass was badly decomposed when first discovered, making initial identification of the animal nearly impossible. Testing has confirmed that the animal was a mature female wolf, genetically related to the wolf population in Idaho, and that it died from a gunshot wound. Fish and Wildlife Service law enforcement agents are requesting that anyone who may have information regarding the death of this or any other wolf contact them immediately at 503-682-6131.

This is the fourth confirmed wolf to have been found in the state. In March 1999, a radio-collared female was captured near John Day and returned to Idaho. In 2000, a collared wolf was found dead along Interstate 84 south of Baker City, and a wolf without a radio collar was found shot between Ukiah and Pendleton. All three animals were confirmed to have been migrants from Idaho.

“It’s important for people to be thinking about the possibility of wolves in their area and to understand how to respond,” said Russ Morgan, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife wolf coordinator in Northeast Oregon. “It is illegal to shoot a wolf, even one mistaken for another animal. Hunters in particular need to identify their target before shooting because wolves can look similar to coyotes.”

Hunters, livestock producers and others can visit for more information on how to identify wolves and respond to encounters including predation.

Any gray wolf which shows up in Oregon is listed as an endangered species under both state and federal law. Killing an animal protected under the federal Endangered Species Act is punishable by a fine of up to $100,000, one year in jail, or both. Killing a wolf is also a violation of Oregon state game law, with fines and penalties that are assessed by the court. In the unlikely event that a wolf attacks a human, any person may use lethal force to prevent or stop the attack. Such an incident must be reported to the Fish and Wildlife Service, at 541-786-3282, or 541-962-8584; or ODFW at 541-963-2138, within 24 hours. The wolf carcass must not be disturbed.

Individuals who see a wolf, or suspect or discover wolf activity are asked to contact one of the following immediately:

* Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Wolf Coordinator Russ Morgan in La Grande: 541-963-2138

* U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Wolf Coordinator John Stephenson in Bend: office, 541-312-6429; cell, 541-786-3282.

* U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service La Grande Field Office: 541-962-8584.

Experts have long predicted that wolves from the expanding Idaho population would continue to cross the Snake River and enter Oregon. Breeding pairs and packs could also become established.

Although the Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed to remove the wolf from the list of threatened and endangered species in the Northern Rockies, including part of Oregon, the wolf will remain federally listed until that process is complete. The proposal is open to public comment until August 6, 2007, after which comments will be considered carefully and more procedural steps will be completed before a decision is made. Information on the proposal can be found at

Oregon has a Wolf Conservation and Management Plan, created with extensive, state-wide public input and collaboration, which was adopted by the Fish and Wildlife Commission in 2005. More information on wolves and wolf management in Oregon is available on the website:

Update July 13. Here’s the story in the Oregonian. By Michael Milstein. It adds little new information, except that it wasn’t the wolf that has been videoed in the area.

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  1. Peter Kiermeier Avatar

    Seems that Oregan does also not think really positive about those migrants from Idaho!
    By the way, for those interested, I found the following on Billings Gazette today:
    Wolves blamed for calves’ deaths
    By The Associated Press
    DILLON – A Big Hole Valley rancher was issued a shoot-on-sight permit after wildlife officials confirmed a wolf killed a calf on his property last week and probably caused the death of another….the link is:

  2. Mike Wolf Avatar
    Mike Wolf

    The mindset of the person that shoots wolves in Eastern Oregon is pervasive, and the same mindset of the person who shot the wolf not 1/4 mile from my house in what I now call an “Idaho drive-by.”

    These people listen to the governor of Idaho, the ranchers, the Ron Gilettes of this world as if they were their gods; and carry out the ‘orders’ to kill all wolves.

    And the worst of it is, they actually get away with it; thanks not only to ever-weakening policy from DOI, but also due to lackluster enforcement of penalties by judges who favor the mindset of their redneck constituency.

    The west is a terrible place for wildlife, and I truly wish it weren’t so; because its about the only place left in this country for wildlife. I do wish our residents of the west had a more appropriate attitude about their homeland.

  3. Robert Wilcenski Avatar

    Did you know the Bush/Cheney Administration has announced two proposals to jumpstart the killing of hundreds of wolves in the Yellowstone area and elsewhere in the Northern Rockies.
    Officials in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are now seeking public comment on the agency’s proposal to accept Wyoming’s disastrous wolf management plan and to give Idaho and Wyoming vast new powers to kill wolves — even while these magnificent animals remain listed under the Endangered Species Act. The deadline for comments on these two flawed proposals is Monday, August 6th. Please fill out the form at to send your message to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service right now.
    Thanks for your help.

  4. Linda Hunter Avatar
    Linda Hunter

    the only good thing about animals in the west is that there are very few people who actually know what goes on outdoors anymore. . . so, a small pack of wolves lives somewhere in Washington state and no one sees them but a tracker who has been quietly following their progress, who also made the mistake seven years ago of reporting it and got the first group shot and never reports anything anymore. . . so perhaps it is a good thing that lots of people just stay inside and watch the animal planet.

  5. d. Bailey Hill Avatar

    Not surprising about the article in the Oregonian. It’s par for the course, unfortunately. They are quite clueless when it comes to wildlife issues. I am surprised they even put that little bit of info in the paper. At the end of May when the MDOL attempted to slaughter the final 51 bison that were just outside the park, The info was from AP, but the only thing they wrote was that 51 RENEGADE bison were being hazed back into the park, which was not the case at that point. They couldn’t even get info coming “over the wire” correct.

    Here are the essentials to contact the Oregonian:
    Letters via email–
    Please limit letters to 150 words and include your home address and daytime phone number ….OOPS… BUT WAIT! {I have 2 phone numbers and 2 addresses.} Anyone interested???? I would be very happy to facilitate. I have done so much studying and writing today, that I don’t think I could pull anything else out of my brain……

  6. Robert Wiley Avatar
    Robert Wiley

    “The west is a terrible place for wildlife, and I truly wish it weren’t so; because its about the only place left in this country for wildlife. I do wish our residents of the west had a more appropriate attitude about their homeland.”

    You contradicted yourself there Mike. How can the West be such a horrible place for Wildlife if it’s about the only place left?
    I’d say the West is by far the best place for Wildlife and it was even better for Wildlife before this new species of Wolf was introduced.

  7. Mike Wolf Avatar
    Mike Wolf

    No Robert, I didn’t contradict myself; and your statement about wolves says a lot about your “credibility.”

    Attitudes towards wildlife are much better in the upper midwestern (great lakes) states. There, we don’t have people who think that just because the wolf reintroduced is from across the border that its a completely different and inappropriate species. Over there, people think for THEMSELVES instead of letting people like Ron Gilette do the “thinking” for them.

  8. Jim Avatar

    I doubt they introduced a new SPECIES!!!!!!!!! Come on!!!!!!!!!!!! That one really made me laugh. It goes to show the continued ignorance of some people who are against things that are scientifically proven to benefit the ecosystem as a whole.

  9. Peter Kiermeier Avatar

    You´ll often find this “…they came from Canada” thing as one of the core arguments on this famous “Billings Gazette” blog. Is Canada, sandwiched in between Alaska and the “lower 48´s” alien nation? What (sub)species of truly native would have been available to re-introduce after the had been so effectively eradicated? Should we over here say….”kill´em, they are non-native, they came from Poland! ” When I learnt long years ago about the wolf reintroduction my thought was: Hat´s off – over there in America they have achieved the impossible! An example for the whole globe! I was innocent then – if I had only known the human and political nightmare behind!

  10. Robert Wiley Avatar
    Robert Wiley

    “No Robert, I didn’t contradict myself; and your statement about wolves says a lot about your “credibility.”

    It sure looks that way to me. Look up the word contradict.

    This is a new “subspecies” of Wolf sorry to say. “Occidentalis” was never here.
    “Irremotus” and “nubilus” were the two subspecies of wolf that occured here naturally.
    Look it up.

    This is been discussed many time on this blog. The summary is this. There likely never was a sub-species “irremotus.” Wolves in the area were probably a mixture of occidentalis and nubilis. The Northern Rocky mountains don’t have the characteristics for development of sub-species of wolves because wolves have always migrated up and down the Rockies. Even today individual wolves have been tracked moving 500 miles from Canada to Montana and back. You need isolated breeding populations to develop sub-species.

    Wolves from the plains did also migrate into the Rockies and vice versa, and even today a Yellowstone area wolf made it east of Sturgis, SD before it was hit by an vehicle. Others may night not have been hit.

    The wolves that were reintroduced are not particularly large, and in Yellowstone where their weights are most closely measured, the wolves have been growing slightly smaller since reintroduction, probably because living there isn’t so easy any more.

    These ideas have also been posted here and on my old web page many times, and you can find independent confirmations for them too. The science of wolf genetics is advancing rapidly now, and I think the old categories of the past are dropping away and new ones will probably be created.

    So, yes, “look it up.” Ralph Maughan


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan