Oregon passes controversial plan to set the stage for trophy hunting of wolves

By on June 11, 2019 with 33 Comments

Oregon has just made it easier for trophy hunters and trappers to go after the state’s small population of wolves.

In a move strenuously opposed by scientists, environmentalists and animal protection groups, the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission on Friday updated its Wolf Conservation and Management Plan, opening the door for the trophy hunting of wolves in areas of the state where they are no longer protected under the federal Endangered Species Act.

There are just 137 known wolves in Oregon. The population is still in a fragile state of recovery after decades of indiscriminate hunting and trapping that had essentially wiped out Oregon’s wolf population. It was only 10 years ago that the first wolf returned to the state. Making it easier to kill these gorgeous American native carnivores at this time makes no scientific sense and it could very well drive them once more to the point of extirpation.

The commission’s final decision was influenced by a small but belligerent lobby of trophy hunters and trappers, and built on exaggerated claims about livestock conflict. The major cause of livestock mortality in Oregon and elsewhere ​come from illness, birthing and weather problems and theft. In fact, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show that wolves were responsible for only 0.04 percent of cattle and sheep losses in the Northern Rocky Mountain states, including Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming, in 2014 and 2015. An analysis of this data by HSUS researchers earlier this year showed that even these small numbers were highly exaggerated by the USDA.

The best available science shows that native carnivores like wolves keep ungulate herds healthy by removing the sick, weak, and old animals. They rarely prey upon the prime-age breeding animals favored by hunters. Yet, the plan also ​falsely asserts that killing wolves boosts deer and elk populations. On the other hand, as I recently wrote in a blog, keeping wolves in their native ecosystems maintains the natural balance and removing them can lead to an explosion of the populations of other predators, like coyotes.

What is also of great concern to us is that Oregon’s plan allows for cruel trapping. The state does not specify trap check requirements for wolves and animals caught in traps can suffer for days or even weeks, eventually dying of predation, dehydration, starvation or extreme temperatures. These inhumane devices are also highly indiscriminate and can snare family pets and other wildlife, including endangered species.

Indiscriminately killing native carnivores is typically an ineffective and costly approach to address livestock conflict and research shows it will ultimately fail as a long-term strategy. Non-lethal alternatives to predator removal, including simple deterrence methods like fencing, guard animals, range riders, and noisemaking and fladry devices to protect livestock, are more effective strategies for keeping conflicts low.

Oregon’s plan is especially problematic because it comes at a time when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has already proposed stripping gray wolves of federal protections across the lower 48 states. If that proposed rule passes, trophy hunters and trappers could be free to go after wolves anywhere in the state. Oregon’s Gov. Kate Brown has voiced her opposition to the national delisting, but we are disappointed that her office failed to demand that the state’s own agency maintain protections for wolves.

America’s wolves are not a tool for politicians and wildlife officials to appease trophy hunters and trappers. A majority of Americans — and Oregonians — do not support the trophy hunting and trapping of wolves, and would much prefer to see these animals alive and thriving in the wild than as a trophy in someone’s living room. We still have an opportunity to influence our federal government to do the right thing by not delisting wolves from the Endangered Species Act. Help us end the war on wolves by submitting a comment and by telling the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service you oppose this scientifically unsound and politically motivated rule.

Public Policy (Legal/Legislative), Wildlife/Marine Mammals

Subscribe to the Blog

Enter your email address below to receive updates each time we publish new content.


Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Virginia Stovall says:

    Why wolves and the collection of animal heads and skins is both primitive and disgusting….you people turn my stomach….LIVE AND LET LIVE!!!!

    • Cindy Lunceford says:

      I agree, the wolves are beautiful animals, they have the right to be on this earth like humans…they have beating hearts and lungs to breath air, and families too…live and let live, I agree

  2. Simon wicker says:

    Please rethink this policy. Wolves are not man eaters. They are shy highly intelligent animals with a incredible sense of family and social living.
    In the name of God please dont fo this. Man is too fond of wiping wildlife out and for no real reason.
    Thank you

  3. Jolene laurie says:

    Don’t destroy,our wolves,it’s not right,they deserve to be here,leave them alone,don’t destroy what god has made,

  4. Tonia Neal says:

    We the people need to leave wild life alone!! I do not support this dislisting of the wolves!! Please don’t let the trapping & hunting of God’s creatures go on!!

  5. Robert S Walker says:

    I think this is so off from anybody who loves .

  6. April Moon says:

    They need to let the wolves alone, period. They are critical for the environment and well being of every other creature on earth. DO NOT do this. Not only is it barbaric it’s murder, plain and simple. Think of your karma people. If trophy hunters want trophies let them hunt each other!

  7. Rebecca McCrary says:

    Please do the right thing by not delisting the Wolves from the endangered species act. This war on Wolves needs to end.

  8. Ann Frances says:

    It would be nice if the article were more specific about exactly what changes were made. I browsed some other articles, and I take it that the change is wolves will be able to be killed more easily for cases of livestock depredation. I also don’t think it is good to again villainize the coyotes, saying their population will explode if they are not kept in check by wolves. This is the argument so many people have for having no respect for the lives of coyotes, where there are still contests to kill them and no bag limits or closed seasons in all states, although I did find out recently New York and New Jersey do have closed seasons on coyotes. Finally, with the Trump administration, there is fat chance of wolves not being delisted.

  9. Xila Bravo says:

    I am highly against the killing of any wild animals. Wolves especially have been almost eradicated due to the ignorance and barbaric nature of mankind. When you mess with the balance of nature everyone pays. Look at the history of Yellowstone and the reintroduction of wolves. Livestock is the down fall of this planet, not wolves who keep it in balance.

  10. Shirley Rodgers says:

    PLEASE, do not kill our Wolves!! They are so Important to our ecosystem and Environment!! They have families, just as we do!! Please, have a Heart!! We have the Circle of life! Everything lives and dies naturally!!!

  11. Charlotte Ringler says:

    Stop killing our wolves they are needed to keep balance

  12. Catherine Pleak says:

    This has to stop as it’s been proven that wolves balance the environment!

  13. Sarah Atkins says:

    I 100% oppose this! We need to protect and restore the natural ecosystem of our country, rather than destroy it for the sake of belligerent trappers who need an ego boost from killing endangered animals. Please do the right thing.

  14. Joan Graham says:

    God created wolves like all other species to serve a purpose in Nature’s balance. Honor and respect that wolves were put here for a purpose and respect and protect them.

  15. Britnie says:

    I oppose the hell out of this!!!! What makes it ok to do this to these beautiful animals?!? What the hell is wrong with some of you people thinking that this is ok?!?!? It’s NOT! I mean seriously, are you fricking blind?!?!…. Wolves DO help the ecosystem, and they DO help keep other animals, both herbivores and carnivores, in check!…. They go after your livestock, so what. You’ve moved into THEIR home, hunting THEIR food, giving them an open invitation to food to YOURS. Don’t be so stupid and naive with your double standards!…. They are not evil! They are just trying to live and get by, just like the rest of us! Instead of trying to be the world’s top Apex predator and trying to kill off everything and eliminating any species, how about you grow the hell up, and realize that the Earth is for ALL of us, both humans AND animals, not just the human race! I’m human, but I have more compassion then you murderers! I swear, while everything around us is evolving, the human race is devolving. And you know, that’s not something to be proud of… Stop killing wolves!!! Stop killing Earth’s animals!!! Stop moving into their space, claiming their home and food, expecting that it’ll all be fine!!! They are living, breathing, intelligent animals, just like us, and they deserve to be here, if not more than us!!! They don’t go around killing off entire species, like humans do!!! Do you have any bloody idea of how crazy and evil that it makes us all look?!?! Stop killing them, you psychopaths!!!

  16. Steve Lloid says:

    Do not make sport out of killing wolves. While some hunting is necessary trophy hunting is NEVER ok. It’s sick.

  17. Sharon McCreery says:

    The Oregon wolves should not be delisted from extinction let them all live on this earth forever!

  18. Linnea says:

    I don’t live in Oregon but I oppose any type of trophy hunting.
    You’re worried about about your livestock maybe you should be more concerned about nature around you. You probably sell your livestock and it’s sent to China to be processed .

  19. Jill Nelson says:

    This is so wrong! Not what the majority of the people want! This should be a ballot issue!

  20. steve says:

    So what can be done? This appears to be goning on in several states.

  21. Moira says:

    This is an absolutely disgusting idea

  22. Christina mann says:

    Please stop, please, you’re just futhuring the destruction of our planet!!!

  23. Portia Woold says:

    I’m going to say it here and now: An internal investigation should be done on the elected officials who approved this legislation. Are they socializing with trophy hunters? Do they enjoy fancy dinners at restaurants because they are just “friends?” Are they being invited to parties and outings by trophy hunters under the rouse of friends? Something smells here and it is likely one of the elitist hunting groups currying favor with elected officials. These are wiley, cunning sociopaths who will stop at nothing to kill. When and I ask when will they be exposed for corruption?

  24. Aldo Roosevelt says:

    While I love wolves and want to see them succeed, I have a few concerns about the wolf population growing unchecked.

    Wolves kill dogs. It’s a simple fact that was overlooked in the wolf reintroduction
    scheme, but it’s become heartbreakingly too familiar to many ranchers, pet owners, and hound hunters in the region.
    Wolves consider dogs a territorial threat and may attack and kill them.
    Wolf attacks on dogs have been documented in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming,
    Washington, Oregon, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Alaska.

    Wolves were introduced into Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho in 1995/1996. In the 1990’s the West Yellowstone elk herd was estimated at 19,000 head and had plummeted to ~4,900 in 2015. Idaho’s Lolo elk herd was ~13,000 head in 1994, and was reduced to ~1,945 by 2016.

    “Idaho’s Rangeland Resource Commission says wolf attacks on livestock in Idaho hit a record over the past year, and they’re anticipating more this summer. From January to June of 2018, state and federal authorities documented 61 confirmed wolf-livestock kills, the commission said Tuesday, and over the fiscal year that ended in June confirmed wolf-livestock kills on a record 113 different Idaho cattle or sheep ranches.” Idaho Press – July 24, 2018

    Officials with the Montana Department of Livestock believe that, for every “verified” wolf kill, most of which must be verified by a DNA lab if any remains are found, another seven head of livestock killed by wolves go unreported.

    Again, I love wolves and believe they’re absolutely majestic and beautiful creatures, however, I believe we have to use common sense with our approach to wildlife management and take other factors into consideration. I want to see the wolf succeed and I want to see other wildlife such as deer, elk, bears, moose, coyotes, etc. succeed. I also want to see people’s pet dogs protected as well as rancher’s livestock.


    • Katie Kulten says:

      Oh, Aldo. With a last name like yours and a descendnnt from the trophy hunter who first called it conservation, it’s no wonder you always question HSUS. I think you are a troll from Boone & Crockett.

      • Jim Edick says:

        Why are you calling Aldo a troll? He has stated statistics. He has expressed his concerns in an open minded way. He never called anyone names. His post is full of understanding, and he expresses concerns on both sides. There’s no hate in his post. You on the other hand have not provided stats or any value to the discussion. You provided an insult to his name and labeled him a troll. Wow, well thought out post, you must be proud. I live in Idaho, I know the full and accurate story of wolves. I’m not against wolves, they are beautiful animals. At the same time, I agree with Aldo, I have a deep rooted fear for my dogs anytime I go camping. There have been dogs killed in the foothills of Boise where my wife and I walk our dogs. I have spotted a wolf on the backside of Bogus Basin Ski lifts two summers ago. You literally look down on the city from there… Do before you pop off on calling someone a troll, due a little research. It’s easy to google, honestly, a child can google the information. Dogs killed by wolves. It’s in the Idaho Statesman. There’s plenty of dogs, horses, sheep, and cattle that have been killed by wolves. The resort town of sun valley has plenty of stories there as well. So his concerns are justified. That doesn’t mean there’s a need to killing off wolves. We can all coexist, and Idaho is proving it. Look at the Idaho wolf population for the last 25 years. It’s at a very healthy base since the introduction of hunting. All animals are thriving not. That’sa fact, do your research instead of feeding off your own emotions.

  25. Monica Etzweiler says:

    Please leave these beautiful creatures live!! Do not take their lives just so you can have bragging rights of how you killed an innocent animal!! Humans can be the most evil to our beautiful animals, that were given to us to watch over and care for! Greed and people who only care about themselves are taking over this world!! We need to see more caring people in this world…and so far all I see just about each and every day is the news and social media full of cruel and evil acts on children and animals! When is it ever going to stop?? Where is our humanity??

  26. Jordan says:

    Agreed we can’t let this happen

  27. Chasles Mullens says:

    They will not let bring back dead terrorists as trophies, in fact they frown on even taking pictures of them. In fact I find it quite disturbing that you would even suggest such a thing.

  28. Maria Soto says:

    All oreganos you need to flood your governor office and tell her to fight for our wolves if she cares to listen to the people that put her in office. Everyone’s voice needs to be heard!!!
    These trophy hunters and cattle ranchers only care about one thing MONEY!!!! These people are blood thirsty murderers. In God’s name please stop this.

  29. Rob says:

    Excellent idea!
    In this time of crisis who cares about wolves, they will survive on their own.

Share a Comment

The HSUS encourages open discussion, and we invite you to share your opinion on our issues. By participating on this page, you are agreeing to our commenting policy.
Please enter your name and email address below before commenting. Your email address will not be published.