Wolves nail some lambs in Oregon

First confirmed loss of livestock in Oregon has livestock association upset-

Although no wolf packs are confirmed yet in Oregon, it looks like at least one is present despite years of reports and illegal shootings of lone wolves. The usual suspects are agitating for the removal of these wolves.

Wolves kill 23 lambs on Oregon ranch. By Mark Furman KVAL.com Staff
Update. I see that the Associated Press has decided to caption the photo in the link above as “Camera captures wolves killing lambs in Oregon.” But that’s not what the photo shows. It clearly shows one wolf gingerly sniffing a dead lamb.

Ranchers cry for wolf hearings. AP
Ranchers say ‘rogue’ wolves must go. By Ed Merriman. Baker City Herald.

Once again private compensation for losses to wolves is not good enough. They want to reach in the taxpayer’s pockert for their losses. The truth is they don’t like to ask a conservation organization, no matter how willing they are to pay; and they especially don’t like to ask a woman.

In Oregon, sheep and lamb losses to predators in the most recent NASS annual report are as follows:

This is for one year.

Coyotes = 5,700
Cougar = 1,200
Dogs = 700
Eagles = 200
Bears = 100



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  1. Linda Hunter Avatar

    OK the article says they are not saying these wolves in the picture are the wolves that killed the lambs . . so the lambs are killed and they put up a camera and leave them out in the field. What if a pack of dogs killed the sheep? I guess I just think that the evidence is totally circumstantial and that the headline is misleading as they really don’t know what killed the lambs and didn’t eat them. The wolf looks like it is looking the lamb over to see if it is a trap, which in a way it is. Media loves to jump to conclusions and it is to the detriment any “side” of wildlife issues.

  2. Jay Barr Avatar
    Jay Barr

    The article states that wolves have been confirmed (by authorities with experience in determining such things) to have killed the lambs. I think the article is trying to imply that the wolves caught on film may be other members of a potential pack/group and these 2 came later to investigate.

  3. kt Avatar

    … Er … Does anyone really believe there were 200 domestic sheep/lamb losses to eagles in Oregon?

    Do they consider scavenging afterbirth a “kill”?

    What is alarming is that if ranchers are reporting eagle “kills”, it also likely means some are killing eagles …

  4. Layton Avatar

    If there are “no confirmed wolf packs in Oregon” Where did this come from?? I got it from one of the articles mentioned in this thread.

    “Last July, wildlife officials confirmed the existence of a wolf pack with pups in a forested area of northern Union County, north of where the lamb were killed this week. This was the first evidence of a wolf pack and wolf reproduction in Oregon”

    “What if a pack of dogs killed the sheep?”

    Then I think the “experts” would have said so — they certainly aren’t quick to identify kills as being done by wolves in other places.

    C’mon, those nasty old redneck hunters and the like have been saying there were wolves in Oregon for a few years now. Of course it’s all “anecdotal” — do you reckon the picture is faked??

    I’ll bet it’s a conspiracy!! 8)

  5. Jay Avatar

    Kind of like Bob Jackson’s “anecdotal” evidence of significant wounding loss the other day, which you dismissed out of hand? So his experiences are nonsense, but hunters are experts? That’s pretty hypocritical Layton.

  6. Brian Ertz Avatar

    “It’s like a chicken-killing dog, you can beat it over the head with a dead chicken, but it’s still a chicken-killing dog.”

    i guess i hadn’t thought about it that way …

    wolves are wolves, if they’re caught in the act on private land and not protected by a state or federal law… whatever I guess… these are protected, those livestock are the rancher’s responsibility – one should take care of their property especially if it’s so important as to whine “livelihood” as is done so frequently. when i owned a business, i’d oil my tools so they wouldn’t rust, and locked them up — i’d never think to blame the rain. it seems to me the wolves served up a lesson – and it’s spreading to other ranchers – take an inventory of your operation cause there’s a natural world out there. It’s arrogant and outright obnoxious to expect or demand that the natural world will be accommodating. That’s why compensation programs are weak – the economic term is that they set up a “moral hazard” :

    (economics) the lack of any incentive to guard against a risk when you are protected against it (as by insurance)

    They wrongly entertain and encourage the belief that it is a wolf’s fault when a wolf kills livestock. Plus, as over a decade of experience has demonstrated – compensation doesn’t work, they resent wolf advocates for it.

    retributional killing of the wolves doesn’t seem right to me either. how do they know it’s the right wolf ? can one teach a wolf, by killing it, that killing a tasty, poofy, abberation of nature such as a lamb is wrong ? Seems pretty instinctual to me – I guess I can sympathize with the wolf more than the rancher.

    how many guard dogs were there and were they barking ?

    can someone tell me where to find e a study on whether compensation programs are effective at decreasing intolerance for wolves ?

  7. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    Let’s see:
    24 lambs killed
    Rancher wants 7300 to cover loss from Defenders
    That’s $304 per lamb.
    Today’s Market average for choice live lamb, $99.40
    don’t you just love rancher math.

  8. Ryan Avatar


    I do, Golden eagles regularly prey on Big Horn sheep lambs, I wouldn’t see why they wouldn’t take advantage of land maggots. Although I would bet that some predation that was blamed on Golden eagles could actually be from ravens.

  9. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    I think all canids feel (know) that when they see domestic sheep, they are supposed to do something.

    Dogs are not neutral when they see sheep. Dogs that have never seen sheep will bark and probably chase them. Border collies will move them around. Large dogs like Great Pyreenes will protect them if trained, but untrained probably will kill them and eat them. Sheepherders often slaughter sheep to feed the guard dogs.

    Coyotes will kill and eat them. So will wolves, but do think sheep may be one species that wolves will sometimes kill without eating, although I have no proof. Perhaps though it is because they are so weak and vulnerable. It’s like killing mice, which I have seen wolves do out of what looks like boredom, while sitting around at the rendezvous or den site.

    Of course dogs kill sheep and abandon them as the statistics on the deaths or Oregon sheep show.

  10. Ryan Avatar


    As an Ex sheep rancher once told me, the only thing sheep are good at is dieing.

  11. DB Avatar

    It was no effort for those wolves to kill the penned animals, so they did and could eat on the kills for weeks or months if need be. It would takes much more effort and risk to kill deer or an elk and having done so would not likely continue expending energy needlessly.

  12. Layton Avatar


    “Kind of like Bob Jackson’s “anecdotal” evidence of significant wounding loss the other day, which you dismissed out of hand? So his experiences are nonsense, but hunters are experts? That’s pretty hypocritical Layton.”

    No Jay, I don’t think so. On one hand, Bob’s observations included only a small, select group of hunters that have the $$ to use outfitters and are admittedly NOT inclined to be very good hunters — plus that, he had NOTHING to back up his opinion.

    OTOH, hunters, hikers, and all sorts of outdoor users in Oregon (a BROAD cross section) have been saying that they have seen wolves — which has been denied by the wolf advocates. Now there is irrefutable PROOF (pictures even) that shows wolves basically “in the act”, plus the “expert” testimony of all sorts of people that make their living doing this kind of investigations.

    I don’t think the two situations are even remotely similar.

    However, if Bob were to come up with ANY KIND of evidence to back up his claims of 40% wounding losses (or was it “over half”??) I would listen.

  13. Barb Rupers Avatar
    Barb Rupers

    “It’s like a chicken-killing dog, you can beat it over the head with a dead chicken, but it’s still a chicken-killing dog.”

    I once had a border collie that killed some of my domestic ducks. I tried the dead “duck” around his neck cure but it didn’t work. What did work was to put rocks in a pop can and rattle it loudly on his ribs whenever he looked like he was interested in killing. He learned quickly and never killed another duck; additionally I could prevent most unwanted behavior by just saying “Do you want to be canned?”.

  14. JB Avatar

    “can someone tell me where to find e a study on whether compensation programs are effective at decreasing intolerance for wolves ?”

    Key quote: “People who had been compensated were more likely to vote for reducing the wolf population than those who had not been compensated (Z = −2.58, p = 0.01) (this latter group included people who filed an official complaint but were not compensated and those who reported a loss on our survey but did not ever officially file a complaint). Similarly, those who had received compensation replied that they might shoot a wolf they encountered while hunting deer slightly more often than those who were not compensated (n = 57 compensated, n = 46 not compensated, Z = 1.85, p = 0.065).”

    From: Naughten-Treves, L., Grossberg, R. & Treves, A. (2003). Paying for Tolerance: Rural Citizens’ Attitudes toward Wolf Depredation and Compensation, Conservation Biology, 17(6) 1500-1511.

    Abstract:As wolf ( Canis lupus) populations recover in Wisconsin (U.S.A.), their depredations on livestock, pets, and hunting dogs have increased. We used a mail-back survey to assess the tolerance of 535 rural citizens of wolves and their preferences regarding the management of “problem” wolves. Specifically, we tested whether people who had lost domestic animals to wolves or other predators were less tolerant of wolves than neighboring residents who had not and whether compensation payments improved tolerance of wolves. We assessed tolerance via proxy measures related to an individual’s preferred wolf population size for Wisconsin and the likelihood she or he would shoot a wolf. We also measured individuals’ approval of lethal control and other wolf-management tactics under five conflict scenarios. Multivariate analysis revealed that the strongest predictor of tolerance was social group. Bear (Ursus americanus) hunters were concerned about losing valuable hounds to wolves and were more likely to approve of lethal control and reducing the wolf population than were livestock producers, who were more concerned than general residents. To a lesser degree, education level, experience of loss, and gender were also significant. Livestock producers and bear hunters who had been compensated for their losses to wolves were not more tolerant than their counterparts who alleged a loss but received no compensation. Yet all respondents approved of compensation payments as a management strategy. Our results indicate that deep-rooted social identity and occupation are more powerful predictors of tolerance of wolves than individual encounters with these large carnivores.

  15. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    Could you cite where wolf advocates deny any wolves in Oregon?
    On the contrary I believe most if not all WANT to see wolves in Oregon, Washington, Utah, Nevada, Colorado, etc, etc, or as the law says, “restored over a significant part of there historical range”

  16. JB Avatar

    Forgot the punchline: The existing scientific evidence–which, admittedly is slim–is that compensation programs do NOT increase tolerance; in fact, it appears as if they actually decrease tolerance.

  17. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    Thanks for finding that paper. I know that Defenders did their own study (unpublished) and found similar results for the Mexican wolf area.

    My suspicion that private compensation didn’t improve tolerance was one reason for my caustic comments introducing this post.

    Was the Wisconsin paper above about a private or a state-funded compensation program?

  18. mikarooni Avatar

    I wish you people would quit referring to sheep herders as “ranchers.” A rancher is a cattleman and true cattlemen hate sheep and sheep herers and they actually hate for many of the same reasons that even the most diehard anti-grazer hates them or would hate them if he or she knew more about them. Cattle can mow a pasture to within an inch or two of the ground; but, that does not kill the grass outright unless it is allowed to continue to the point of starving the plants’ ability to recover. On the other hand, sheep have a mouth configuration, thin lips and teeth that project forward, that almost guarantees that they clip the root crown and kill the grass plant outright in one bite. Sheep carry a range of diseases that make cattle look downright therapeutic, from scrapie (prions that we now know cause both CWD and mad cow) to bronchial, nasal, and lung parasites and bacteria that are guaranteed lethal to native sheep even at long range. Sheep herders are ranchers about the way “ranch mink” comes from a ranch or “free range chicken” comes from the open range. I’m not suggesting any let-up in bashing real ranchers; there is plenty of “fair fight” bashing to be done and plenty of bloodcurdling insults that can legitimately be hurled. It’s just that lumping real ranchers with sheep herders is going too far, an unfair low blow so to speak.

  19. Brian Ertz Avatar

    wow, unless there are better studies out there that suggest otherwise, it appears that if we are to be taken seriously when we insist that best science be applied to management of wolves, then we need to be consistent and be willing to swallow our own pill. it appears that the studies show that compensation programs don’t do a dang thing – except perhaps make the person receiving them feel vindicated in their sense of being victimized by the natural world – which should be a bad thing. i would suspect that compensation programs similarly communicate to the general public that ranchers are victimized by wolves, after all – conservationists and/or government programs are admittedly taking financial responsibility for such. that implicit suggestion is counter-productive – and practically, there’s still the economic principle of the “moral hazard” involved.

    perhaps we could send a similar implicit suggestion (but more productive and positive for wolves) to the general public by compensating the wolves for the public service of applying the influence of the “trophic cascade” to livestock on public landscapes – pushing the stock around and off the riparian areas – thus, encouraging restoration of willows, aspen, grasses, beavers, fisheries, wildlife habitat – big game habitat.

  20. JB Avatar


    It was a state-funded program: Wisconsin DNR has paid for damages caused by any threatened or endangered species since the early 80s. I’m aware of the Defenders study. Though I don’t think it was as rigorous as this study, it seems to tell a similar tale.

  21. Layton Avatar

    Jeff E.

    How about the first statement on this thread??

    Doesn’t it say that “no wolf packs are confirmed yet in Oregon”?

    Haven’t there been??

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar


      I just found this at the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife web site. . .

      “WOLF PACK CONFIRMED: A wolf pack that includes both adults and pups was confirmed in a forested area of northern Union County on Friday, July 18, 2008. This is the first evidence of multiple wolves and wolf reproduction in Oregon since wolves were extirpated from the state back in the mid-1940s.” More information. July 18, 2008

  22. jerry b Avatar
    jerry b

    If anyone has the illusion that compensation brings about good will, attend any watershed, FWP, hunting, fishing etc meeting in places like Philipsburg, Hamilton, Wisdom, Seely Lake, Ovando, Superior, or any western Montana rural community and listen to the comments about “Defenders”. They’re not well thought of to say the least, in fact, it’s real ugly! I’ve suggested that Defenders send a rep to some of these meetings to get an idea of where they stand. Haven’t seen one unless they’re undercover.

  23. Layton Avatar


    I think that is the same quote I referenced in my first post on this thread.

    Right again. Layton
    . RM

    . . . and here is still more. Wolves prowl, howl, don’t growl

  24. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    and what does the rest of the sentence say.
    Anecdotal supposition is fine to a point and then it must be confirmed.
    Just because a fact is missed or overlooked does not necessarily mean that it is being denied.
    Now if you had linked the article above that Ralph found and then we all said “no way in hell” then that would be denial.
    sorry I was not right on top of an answer but I’m getting my motorcycle tuned up. supposed to be nice for a few days.

  25. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    Do they consider scavenging afterbirth a “kill”?

    Any predator in a pasture within 1 mile of livestock is automatically killing it.

  26. Layton Avatar

    Jeff E,

    Drop me an Email will you?? The current address I have for you won’t work.

  27. Ryan Avatar

    I guess what needs to be looked at s well in this argument is per capita killings. Wolves per capita are much more involved in livestock killings than any other species.

  28. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    More so than coyotes and dogs?

  29. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    where do you get your data?

  30. Ryan Avatar

    Jeff and Pro,

    Common sense, There are maybe 20 wolves in OR, Almost a wolf per lamb loss rate, There are thousands of coyotes and twice that many dogs. Its pretty simple science.

  31. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    I thought you meant nationwide Ryan.

  32. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    That probably right, Ryan, but statistics based on small numbers are not very meaningful.

  33. Ryan Avatar


    Its true across the entire west though as there are a disportionate number of wolf losses compared to population. Per Capita, wolves will in general have more livestock losses than other species. On a side note, this was one of my biggest concerns with wolves being reintroduced to oregon. Oregon does not have the wild ungulate populations to support wolves, our herds have been in a state of Decline since the early 90’s.

  34. Jay Barr Avatar
    Jay Barr

    Wolves have not been reintroduced to OR.

  35. Ryan Avatar

    I know that Jay, I was at most of the ODFW wolf meetings and herd them say that there were no wolves here at that time (about 4-5 years ago). When they were reintroduced into Idaho, they were effectively reintroduced into OR as well.

  36. Brandy Avatar

    Are you all stupid? Has anyone ever tried to run a ranch? You have to be able to use YOUR land to help feed your animals which in many cases are ranchers Livelihood and sometimes the only thing that feeds them and their families. There must have been a reason why the wolves were taken away before and why would you think the ranchers do not have a right to be upset about possible loss of their livestock by wolves? Especially when they have no right to kill the predators in order to save their livestock? Get a clue


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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