Wickiup Wolves?

Are there wolves in the Cascades of Oregon?

This story came up in a Google Alert today and the first half of the article talks about radio tagging salmon, an interesting story but the second part of the article talks about an entirely different subject: wolves in the Oregon Cascades.

Over the last few years there have been a number of reported sightings of wolves in Central Oregon west of Bend. Are these truly wolves or could they be escaped pets? Certainly wolves could make the trek there from Idaho and there is a lot of wild country and a prey base that could support wolves here but are they there now?

On the air, alive and well from a fish’s stomach.
Bill Monroe – OregonLive.com






  1. JimT Avatar

    If they are, keep quiet about it and leave them alone. We talk about loving our parks to death. I think sometimes we can love our favorite species to death as well with studies and management. I am hoping they are smarter about it than they have been in the Unholy Trinity of Livestock States.

    Keep good thoughts for tomorrow that Doug Honald has a good day before Judge Malloy..

  2. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    There are and they are moving south from Canada along the

  3. Cris Waller Avatar

    I’d like to point some of those wolves in the direction of the Toutle River drainage and show them all of the nice fat Mt. St. Helens elk there! That area really could use some wolves…

    1. WM Avatar

      Jeff E,

      Actually there are not wolves at St. Helens, as I said before on another thread. I just got off the phone with one of the biologists at the Monument, who stated in no uncertain terms, that there are no wolves at St. Helens. They have no sightings, confirmed or otherwise (nor does WA Div. Wildlife. Suspected sightings by untrained visitors have been, as best they can be determined, are coyotes, or in a couple of instances wolf-dog hybrids that somebody bred and turned loose.

      And, please do not say it is some kind of covert cover-up. There are scientists crawling all over that mountain all the time, the landscape is open and the elk are there, with no drastic changes in behavior. It would be extremely difficult to keep under wraps.

      Will they show up in future years? Count on it.

      The story of the Wickiup Reservoir wolves is more perplexing.

    2. Save bears Avatar
      Save bears


      Did you happen to get the Biologists name? Just curious.

    3. JEFF E Avatar
      JEFF E

      I have never said that any thing is being covered up. Please do not try and put words in my mouth. I am saying that wolves are moving down the Cascades and have been for a couple of decades. Other trained individuals, some who also post on this blog have also supported that position.
      From North Cascade NP where wolves with pups were sighted on multiple occasions as far back as 1990 to Wickiup Or. is about 450 miles. Right down the Cascades.(past MT.St H)
      From the New Meadows area of Idaho to Wickiup is about 400 miles across the State of Oregon and is much more problematic for a wolf to traverse IMO.

    4. WM Avatar


      Mitch Wainwright at the Monument (360-449-7800). I also mentioned in passing your apparent observations to the contrary, elsewhere on the GP Forest. And, I think I mentioned before on the other thread that I used to hunt elk just north of Mt. Margaret and the Green River, near Vanson Pk. and saw no sign of wolves. Don’t know what to say. You saw what you saw.

    5. Save bears Avatar
      Save bears

      Well WM,

      I do consider myself a trained observer, but perhaps we are seeing coywolves, the possibility exists that cross breeding could also be occurring in the western US..

      Maybe Jon, could jump in here and add his thoughts..

    6. WM Avatar

      Jeff E,

      I certainly wasn’t accusing you personally (sorry if it seemed that way), but wanted to diffuse a likely comment I knew was coming. I even mentioned on the other thread why some officials might want not to confirm.

      I do agree, and think I said so, that distances and obstacles like the Columbia/Snake would likely not stop migration of dipsersers, eventually. I am still a bit skeptical of where things are today, the more I research it. As we know, however, things can change quickly.

    7. JB Avatar

      Does this have to be an all or none question? I would not be shocked to learn of a lone disperser in the Cascades. A lone animal would be much less likely to be detected or cause any of the changes in behavior WM anticipates.

      Such a disperser was caught in a coyote trap in Utah in 2002, and I have spoken with many others who believe they have seen or heard wolves in Utah (including a WS trapper).

    8. WM Avatar


      Given the biologist’s comments about pesky commercially bred wolf-dog hybrids that were the rage for awhile, until the idiots who bought them figured out they were very difficult to keep then turned them loose, that could be a more plausable explanation for what you observed.

    9. WM Avatar


      You’re right. I should have said, “..most likely no wolves at St. Helens.” If you look at the earlier thread, I was taking the position that it was not such a big deal for one or more dispersers to head south along the Cascades. I may have over-reacted after talking with the St. Helen’s biologist.

    10. Save bears Avatar
      Save bears


      As a former government biologist, I think more of what we may be running into, is, until one confirms 100% that there are wolves in this region, we are going to continue to see complete denial on the part of the government, which I would not be surprised, with everything going on in this particular wildlife issue, it would be a political as well as an agency bomb shell to have an employee come out and say, yes, there are wolves in this area..


      Unfortunately with wolves, it is going to be a all or nothing issue for many years to come as it has been in the past, it is just to politically volatile to allow science to prevail..

      I personally am not against or for them in this area, but would be really interested in seeing the behind the scene reports that happen in every agency..

    11. WM Avatar


      Of course I could be wrong on all this – wolves in the Cascades have their advocates, and people see what the want to believe (not necessarily what they see). Gotta remember this is original Bigfoot or Sasquatch country. Roger Patterson lived in nearby Yakima, and he and others who observed evidence of, or actually saw the elusive beasts did most of their research in the South Cascades. Well, me, I haven’t seen one in the last twenty years, or so, but I know they are still out there.


  4. Chris Harbin Avatar
    Chris Harbin

    Does anyone know if this part of Oregon is more amenable to having wolves than eastern Oregon?

  5. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    The two corridors I was speaking of; down the cascades, or accross Oregon.

    Inaddtion and off topic this website is amazinig, check it out.


  6. Trent Avatar

    I do not believe there are wolves in the cascades yet! Maybe there might be a wanderer, but I doubt it. I am a native Oregonian and have spent much time in the Central Oregon Cascades and I can assure you there is not the prey base in this area to support wolves. Also, this is a very accessable area for humans and the area becomes a small town during the summer months. I do not think wolves would want to be around that. The cascades of Oregon are unique because of the accessability for humans to access most of it. The Southern Oregon Cascades have less access and there is more public land, so if a wolf pack did exist in the Oregon cascades it would probably be in the South. NE Oregon and the mountain areas North and South of Hwy 26 East of Prinville, Oregon are the other most likely places for wolves to inhabit.

    That is my two cents,


    1. JEFF E Avatar
      JEFF E

      No doubt the population in Oregon at this point only consists of dispersions and or wanderers. My position is the Cascades lends more readily to natural migration/expansion,(which is what I believe to be happening) while the across the state route would be more of the occasional long distance wanderer.

  7. monty Avatar

    I agree w/most of what Trent has written. For the previous 20 years I have lived adjacent to the 3 Sisters wilderness, the largest unfragmented landscape in Oregon. For the previous 5 years, since I have retired, I spend 3 to 4 days a weeks hiking & “tracking wildlife” in the wilderness & adjacent areas. We have a healthy lion population that is supported by reasonable deer numbers & a fair # of elk. However, most elk are found to the west on private forest lands where they do more clearcutting. I am always looking for scat & tracks & have not seen any sign that I believe to be wolf (Wickup Res is about 20 air miles to the southeast). This is not to suggest that I am the final word about the presence (or not) of wolves because there are 10’s of thousands of acres of trackless dense westside forests. If wolves were to “arrive in numbers” they would compete with the cougar for the prey base. I will keep looking. (the good news for predators is that this portion of west side Oregon is devoid of livestock as this is “tree growing ground”.

  8. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    I hope there are wolves there and I hope if and when they show up they get left alone. I think it would be crazy if they made it down to California. It would be neat to see wolves in the most populated state in the nation.

  9. jon Avatar

    I believe wolves in the future will make it to Cali.


    1. jon Avatar

      Check out this story.


      Video included.

    2. ProWolf in WY Avatar
      ProWolf in WY

      Thank-you for that article. I would love see wolves restored to the area in Oregon and California mentioned and in the Southern Rockies like they mentioned.

  10. Ken Cole Avatar

    I’m a little dubious that wolves could make it across the Columbia River and the highways on either side of it. It’s not impossible but it seems highly improbable.

    If there are wolves, naturally occurring, then I think they likely came from Idaho. The photo that was publicized in February of 2009 of the critter near Santiam Pass looked awfully wolf-like to me.


    1. ProWolf in WY Avatar
      ProWolf in WY

      Ken, would wolves not be able to migrate from Canada along the Cascades? I would think Idaho wolves would not be likely to migrate to the Cascades.

    2. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      The place where Idaho, Oregon, and Washington come together is a good crossing point, and Oregon has a lot of relatively empty country from the Blue Mountains all the way to the Cascades, although there are a lot of livestock here and there.

      I just got from that area today. Been there and in WA state for 2 weeks.

    3. JEFF E Avatar
      JEFF E

      Can’t agree with you here Ken, for example there are a number of events along the Columbia of contests to swim the Columbia, some with a minimum age of 10 years old.


      and there are tons more references.
      A Nez Pearce guy I work with tells me that it was nothing for a bunch of teenagers to swim across and back when he was growing up.
      a wolf wouild need nothing more than to have the imputus to want to be on the other side.

    4. JEFF E Avatar
      JEFF E

      another one, young as 12 yrs.

    5. WM Avatar

      Jeff E, Ken,

      My wife has done the swim in one of the organized events. They take about 200 swimmers on a commercial paddleboat from Hood River, OR, and drop them off at the mill at White Salmon in WA. on the other side. BPA, upstream, at The Dalles Dam stops bypassing water, to slow the current and reduce turbulence, and everybody swims across and exits the water at the downstream Hood River motel for refreshments. I have been a spotter for the event in my sea kayak. I can paddle across without going diagonally in less not much more than 10 minutes, if I recall correctly, and have done it even when the Dalles Dam is generating electricity full bore to keep those air conditioners in CA going during summer.

      The Freeway on the OR side would be a slight deterrent, but not insurrmountable.

      A wolf would have no problem at this point on the river, which is actually about where I would predict a crossing.

    6. JEFF E Avatar
      JEFF E

      In looking at the river it looks like there are several places that would be possible places to cross. And at best there may be only one or two successful attempts every other year give or take, so it is not like lemmings going to the sea.
      Who knows, maybe Chromosome X from the cascades will meet up with Chromosome y from Idaho and live happily ever after.


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