Wolf tourism comes to Eastern Oregon

Result is typical split between those who benefit from tourists versus agricultural traditions-

With wolf sightings on the decline in Yellowstone, Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana as their populations are decimated as a matter of policy, it is hardly a surprise that those who want to see wolves are now beginning to seek out Eastern Oregon where wolf numbers are growing pretty fast.  Wolves are also now more accessible to folks who live in Portland, Bend, Eugene, etc.

It appears that many of those who are not in agriculture, especially not in livestock, are enjoying the growing number of wolf tourists. Those who hold to “traditional” agricultural values, find the presence of wolves alarming.  This is the same pattern as played out around Yellowstone Park, etc.  The livestock industry strives to maintain a stranglehold over the rural and small town economy.

Yes, the livestock folks can be quite aggressive toward those locals who disagree with them. Folks may recall our Eastern Oregon story from 2011. Social conflict disguised as conflict over wolves heats up in NE Oregon.

The details of wolf tourism in Eastern Oregon are discussed in this Oregon Business article.







  1. zach Avatar

    It baffles the mind that most of the people want the federal government out of their business when it comes to their property but they have no problem using their local government to infringe on others.

    The people in Eastern Oregon also complain about “a lack of a viable economy”. They get people in who are going to spend GOOD money on these tours and pay a decent sum in taxes and they want to shut it down. It’s hypocrisy and total BS.

    Eastern Oregon residents seem to hate that the west side of the state decides most of the outcomes politically in Oregon, but they also tend to forget that the majority of their beef ends up on Portland shelves. There are a lot of agreements with a lot of natural food markets and regular super markets with Eastern Oregon ranchers to carry their beef if they practice “sustainable” ranching practices.

    Some of the smaller markets who carry there products are going to start demanding better wolf tolerance in the future. I cannot offer you written proof of this, I however worked in one of these companies for many years on the sustainability side of things and this is where they’re headed. The customers want this in the area, and that is going to drive some of these principals. These companies work with ONDA and several other Oregon non-profits as well as the ranching community and I guarantee that changes will have to be made.

    Oregon is not like other western states when it comes to wildlife management. They are not perfect, but they are also not Idaho.

  2. Barb Rupers Avatar
    Barb Rupers

    I considered going on that tour in June; had I not just been to Idaho I probably would have participated. Zumwalt Prairie is another destination in that area I plan to visit.

    Perhaps the fladry used to deter wolf predation is the wrong color since canines do not “see” red as we do; better perhaps if yellow or blue. Red is also one of the first colors we lose sight of as light dims.

    This shows the light spectrum as most humans see it and contrasts it with how dogs probably see it. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/canine-corner/200810/can-dogs-see-colors

    1. Immer Treue Avatar
      Immer Treue


      Good post. When one thinks in evolutionary terms, producing color vision in most canids would be a waste of energy. The woods of MN are a sea of green and gray. When Winter is here, some would say most of the year, a bit less green and an awful lot of white. To boot, if wolves are more active at night, their world is an ocean of shades of gray and black. Red is unknown.

      So red fladry may as well be gray.

      1. Barb Rupers Avatar
        Barb Rupers

        or Yellow – blue

        1. terry clark Avatar
          terry clark

          i , think all this is so stupid, many countries live with wild animals on their doorstep, we even in germany feed them through the winter,how many excuse some has to find to get all this sorted. a wolf is a wolf , if he is hungry he goes fishing like a bear or gets a bird, not often they take livestock, the human can help themselfs by building higher fences, getting dogs and their many other ways to keep away from the wild, the wolves like to live in peace and left alone, he human just tries to get a tick and has nothing to do than hunt them down. all this closure of parks was not neccesary,and i think some people need to be sitting down and sorting this mess out , for both sites animals and humans, its true the state gets mill of$ from the wolves, so hopefully something positive get sorted with the right people, not trigger happy tucks.

  3. zach Avatar


  4. TLM Avatar

    It doesn’t matter what color the fladry is, its the flapping in the breeze that is supposed to be a deterrent. However wolves soon figure it out if the deer and elk don’t tear it down first.

  5. Ida Lupine Avatar
    Ida Lupine

    This is very exciting. I hope it gets good support. It’s a good example of compromise, where everyone wins, including the wildlife.

  6. Immer Treue Avatar
    Immer Treue

    Don’t know how Oregon will handle the future, but the same problem as Yellowstone faces looms if and when wolf hunting begins in Oregon. Folks will know general areas in which wolves live, some wolves will become “habituated” to humans as benign, and will meet their demise accordingly.

    Not trying to rain on the parade, but if wolves are metaphorically geese laying eggs of gold ($), they better produce more money than what goes out , and surpass that taken in by Oregon’s Fish and Game (forgot proper name) departments.

    1. Immer Treue Avatar
      Immer Treue

      That taken in for wolf licenses.

    2. zach Avatar

      There’s going to be a long, up hill fight and a long time before any public hunting of wolves is going to happen.

      We should not underestimate the Portland status quo.

  7. Barb Rupers Avatar
    Barb Rupers

    Here is the text of the Oregon wolf management plan as released on July 19, 2013: http://www.dfw.state.or.us/OARs/110.pdf

    1. Immer Treue Avatar
      Immer Treue


      Once/if the “federally protected” disappears, so will the protection with which it goes.

  8. WyoWolfFan Avatar

    If only these western states could see the benefit of ecotourism as well as hunting and agriculture then maybe some real compromises would be made. Until the ranching and hunting lobbies release their stranglehold on the legislature I’m not holding my breath.

    1. Nancy Avatar

      “Until the ranching and hunting lobbies release their stranglehold on the legislature I’m not holding my breath”

      Totally agree WyoWolfFan.

      1. WyoWolfFan Avatar

        I also should have added when more residents in these states start living in the 21st century that might also help.

  9. Johanna Duffek-Kowal Avatar
    Johanna Duffek-Kowal

    It’s usually the livestock industry opposing the presence of wolves and calling for hunting seasons on them – DESPITE the proven fact that the indiscriminate killing of wolves tends to INCREASE livestock depredation instead of solving the problem! You also don’t “teach them a lesson” by KILLING them – the hungry survivors often enough don’t have an alternative to preying on sheep, as the remainder of the pack is too weak to take on elk or deer. So, hunting wolves not only does NOT solve the problem, but more often than not is PROCUCING IT! Moreover, if we look at the REAL numbers – as opposed to what some people claim… – livestock depredation by wolves is so insignificantly low it would not even be mentioned by anybody if it weren’t WOLVES. I mean, come on – feral dogs and human THIEVES are doing more damage than that! And I just don’t want to know how many cows are shot by “hunters” mistaking them for elk… especially if those cows are grazing on public wildlands.


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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