Possible Wolf Sighting in Central Oregon

A wolf in the Cascades?

Possible Wolf Sighting in Central Oregon | KOHD.

Photos of what appears to be a black wolf and its tracks were taken near Highway 20 at Santiam Pass in the Cascade Mountains.

Santiam Pass is between Bend and Salem, Oregon.  Here is a link to Google Maps showing the general area.






  1. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    I think it is generally accepted that a fair number of lone wolves now inhabit NE Oregon and probably one or more packs.

  2. Ken Cole Avatar

    Obviously the interesting thing about this story is that the location of the sighting is far from any known wolf populations. This wolf, if it is in fact a wolf, likely had to cross some pretty inhospitable country to get to this location.

    I wonder if there will be more to join this wolf to start a population of wolves in the Cascades of Oregon and into northern California.

  3. JimT Avatar

    I wonder, if you are a wolf lover, if it is smart to go public with sightings…sigh. I wouldn’t, but that is just a private opinion. I may contact a trustworthy biologist, but I am just afraid at this point that sightings like this just invite the yahoos to that general area to dispatch them to get out of ESA and fed involvement.

  4. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears


    Reported or not, I can assure you, those that live and work there, probably know it before the people who want them there, they spend way more time out in the field that many of the nature people or the biologists most of the time..

  5. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    It’s best to tell the authorities in places with good legal protection like this part of Oregon. All of the protection offered by the Endangered Species Act and Oregon State Law protects any wolves here. There is no “experimental population” stuff or 10j rules.

  6. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears


    I agree 100%, there is a different set of circumstances in that area the changes the rules on management of wolves..

  7. timz Avatar

    “I wonder, if you are a wolf lover, if it is smart to go public with sightings…sigh. I wouldn’t, but that is just a private opinion”

    I reported my first wolf sighting about 5 years ago and got a nice e-mail from Curt Mack. I would never do it now however, don’t trust F&G. May not matter howver, 2 were collared in the last group.

  8. JimT Avatar

    I think TimZ echoes my thinking. Even with Oregon FG not as rabid as the folks in Wyoming, New Mexico, Montana and Idaho to see all wolves dead; even with the full legal protections of the ESA….that part of Oregon has its share of anti government folks who would see the wolf as a catalyst for more private property issues, more restrictions on individual liberties, etc. It is a gorgeous area, used to be pretty empty until Bend exploded with ski developments and the assorted stuff that comes with it.

    I would love to know how they are getting there if Ralph is right about multiple but isolated packs. I just think with all the trouble we have had with the experimental population agreement and the resulting history showing the grazing, and to some extent the sport hunting, industries really just want to kill them off; they have no intention of sharing the habitat. We are going through this here in Colorado with some talks about reintroducing wolves to Rocky Mountain National Park, probably centered in the area where Mark Udall is proposing a wilderness be established. But, there are elk everywhere, including over a thousand by some estimates within the city limits of Estes Park, so it would only a matter of time before wolf conflicts would show up, and the demonization would start all over. I am of two minds about reintroduction these days given our experiences in Axis of Extirpation…~S~

  9. DanielP Avatar

    Yeah, that photo on KOHD looks more like a small bear than a wolf. Where’s the tail?

  10. JB Avatar

    A black wolf running the gauntlet to new, unoccupied territory…reminiscent of #253’s trip to Utah.

  11. faith Avatar

    hey, I think I remember you guys. I recognized Ralph’s name. I’m the same 13 year old girl a year ago wo camre on wanting to help wolves, right a book on them, and study more about them to help raise their population for Oregon. But now of course, I’m 14. E-mail me if you want Ralph but please on nonsense. > faith_arrant@hotmail.com

  12. jdmac Avatar

    I know that the wolves are here. 2 years ago I saw one in the dense timber west of the Hwy 20 and 22 junction. People try to tell me that it was a coyote but I had a real clear look at from about 50 yards away. It would have been a world record if it was a coyote. Plus coyote’s don’t leave tracks the size of my palm. By the way we have been hearing them for about 5 years now up there.

  13. GAS Avatar

    While conducting wildlife surveys in Crater Lake National Park (CLNP) on 2 Sept 2009, I found hundreds of what I believe to be wolf tracks along an Umpqua NF dirt road (on the extreme NW corner of CLNP. I am an experienced biologist with quite a bit of tracking experience. The forepaws were 5.5-6 inches long and 4.5 in. wide. The hindpaws were smaller than the forepaws, but much larger than any dog track I have ever observed. The substrate was hardpacked dirt with about 0.25 in. of “dust”. I slammed my palm into the road and noted that the soft dust did not increase the true size of my hand when I placed it back into my hand print. No human tracks or other canid tracks were found at least 500m along the road from where the first tracks were observed. The CRLP wildlife biologist has submitted track photos to the ODFW and to a wolf expert in Wyoming (Mike Jimenez). Their initial reaction was that the tracks were made by a wolf. This location is approximatley 80 miles south of the supposed wolf photographed at Santiam Pass in Feb. 2009. The tracks were near the headwaters of the Rogue River.

  14. Rider Avatar

    As far as wolf sightings hwy 20 area of the Oregon Cascades. I knew of a hybrid breeder east of Sweet Home. I don’t know if he still has his operations going but at one time he had a pretty large population of wolf dogs on his property. The sightings could very well be some of his animals that got away.


Ken Cole is a 5th generation Idahoan, an avid fly fisherman, wildlife enthusiast, and photographer. He is the interim Idaho Director for Western Watersheds Project.

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Ken Cole