Living with Wolves: An Oregon Field Guide Special

Slow progress for Oregon’s wolves

Oregon Field Guide recently broadcast a special about Oregon’s wolves and how they are dealing with people and how people are dealing with them. It has been a tough road for the wolves there and many wolves have been killed by the government on behalf of livestock interests and by poachers. One of the biggest difficulties faced by the wolves is the presence of livestock and the sense of entitlement felt by ranchers who think they deserve a predator free landscape.

Living with Wolves: An Oregon Field Guide Special
Oregon Public Broadcasting.



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  1. jon Avatar

    Thanks for posting that Ken. I just got done watching it. I am very happy that wolves are back in Oregon even though they have a lot of obstacles to face. Has anyone found out why the range rider jason Cunningham just quit? Also, I want to wish a very happy thanksgiving to everyone who posts on this blog. Enjoy your holiday tomorrow!

  2. Larry Thorngren Avatar

    I enjoyed the program. I thought it gave a balanced view of the problems and progress of wolves in Oregon.

  3. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    I’m glad Ken found it and posted the link. It made me feel good to watch it.

    I spent a month in that area this summer. I didn’t see wolves, but certainly appreciated the country. There are a lot of good places for wolves there, but Keating certainly isn’t one of them (I went out of my way to visit the place).

    The biggest environmental problem I saw was the terrible effects of the wet winter and spring with the massive runoff in May and June. It devastated stream after stream.

  4. Rita K. Sharpe Avatar
    Rita K. Sharpe

    Thank you,Ken,for the posting.Everyone have safe and pleasant holiday.Happy Thanksgiving.

  5. Trent Avatar


    I do not believe many wolves have been killed in Oregon. Three wolves have been killed in Oregon two by the government and one by a criminal. The two wolves killed by the government were not associated with a pack, were young and continued to kill livestock. The one wolf shot by a criminal was part of the Wenaha Pack and had not killed livestock.

    I think it is important to be very clear on the facts. Using the word many, to me, indicates more than three and can give a false impression of what is really going on.

    Long live the wolf in Oregon,


    1. Taz Alago Avatar
      Taz Alago

      In addition to the 3 wolves you mentioned Trent, one was shot in 2007 in the same region where the Wenaha wolf was killed. Another died on I-84 near Baker City a year or two earlier. That’s 5 out of a population that peaked this summer at 20.

      As far as I know, Jason Cunningham quit after his relationship with his official employer Todd Nash soured. He was very popular with the media and was on good terms with local pro-wolf activists. The range rider program was funded by Defenders and 4 other Oregon conservation organizations, and included contributions from Wallowa and Baker County residents. The program continued until the cows came off the allotments last month.

      The same partnership of organizations with the addition of CBD combined to raise the $2500 reward offered by the USFWS to $10,000 for info on the Wenaha wolf killing.

      One of the main points made in the OPB wolf special was the expectation of economic benefits from the wolves of Wallowa County: eco-tourism. The Oregon Wild tourist group featured in the film and local activists all had dinner one night in Enterprise: 23 pro-wolfers, many sporting Imnaha Pack t-shirts, at a Wallowa County restaurant! Who would have believed it?

      One last note: although the Defender’s depredation compensation program was closed everywhere else, it remains in effect in Oregon, compensating ranchers for loss and injury to stock, including coverage for “probables” as well as confirmed wolf depredations.

      1. Trent Avatar

        Yes, you are correct, but since wolf packs have been established during the last two years three wolves have been killed.

        I spent several days and nights in and around the Imnaha Unit this year. Three night in early July, nine nights in mid September, four nights in mid October and four nights in November. I was able to find some wolf sign and I think a wolf elk kill. What is amazing to me is the amount of cattle being grazed in the area with no wolf- livestock conflict all summer. I hope next spring it will stay that way. I wish I had the $ to buy up all the private land around the Zumwalt and Clear Lake Ridge to avoid any future wolf- livestock conflicts.

        Wallowa County has the potential to make a lot of $ if the wolf is supported. There are many locations that could offer excellent wolf viewing.

        I don’t think the compensation program should continue, as I do not believe it gives some ranchers the incentive to change their practices to avoid wolf- livestock conflict.


  6. Randy Avatar

    Nice write-ups on the Oregon Wild Wolf Rendezvous and Hiking With Oregon Wolves by Oregon Wild’s Rob Klavins can be found at their blog:

  7. Taz Alago Avatar
    Taz Alago

    Yeah, the compensation programs are hard to swallow for some, but a political necessity. The compensation is payed only to ranchers who have cooperated with non-lethal management methods (however reluctantly), so it does give an incentive to try something other than the standard technique: killing.

    I heard numerous figures for the number of cows on the FS range inhabited by the Imnaha pack: I think 3500 pair is pretty accurate. Some of the ranchers up there have never, and even now do not, count their animals when they go on the range.

    There was some hunter-wolf interaction up there this fall with wolves drawn to gut piles and hanging meat, but the wolves never approached closely. Once they caught the human scent, they left.

    I’ve seen this pack, and they’ve treated me with only a casual look before trotting on down the trail.

    1. Trent Avatar

      That is great that you have seen them- I have been trying. I and two of my friends were lucky enough to see wolves in Yellowstone up close during a double elk kill on Specimen Ridge about three years ago. I was no more than 20 yards away from what at the time was the Agate Creek Pack of 16. It was an amazing experience and the wolves did not even care about our presence until we decided to take a look at one of their elk kills after they were done feeding. Even then the wolves just watched from about twenty yards away in the timber except for, what I think was, the alpha wolf and he managed to sneak up behind us to about thirty yards and watched us. When we noticed him we moved away from the elk kill and he ran back to his pack.

      Hoping to see the Imnaha Pack soon,



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Ken Cole