People are visiting our Central Point, OR archery store to ask about the new wolf population growing in Oregon. Some even ask about hunting wolves. Going through dense game regulations is never fun for anyone, but if you are caught breaking the law, ignorance is no excuse. Here are some of the questions bow hunters often ask—and the answers you need.
Is it legal to hunt wolves?
It is not legal to hunt wolves. They are listed as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA).
Can I hunt for wolves in order to protect livestock?
No. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) recommends non-lethal or preventative measures to keep wolves away from livestock. It is advised that you remove any bones or carcasses immediately when an animal dies, use electrified fencing and monitor cattle grazing positions so wolves do not target them.
If these non-lethal methods prove not to work, then you can file for authorization to use lethal force. You will need to document all previous attempts to control wolf access to livestock and show why those methods failed to work.
When will wolves lose their protection under the ESA?
Removing endangered status does not depend on the number of wolves in the state. It measures the potential to replenish the species. The standard for removing wolves from ESA protection is four breeding pairs present in eastern Oregon for three consecutive years. A breeding pair is one adult male and female who produce a litter, with at least two of them still surviving by December 31 in the year of their birth.
Other factors are also considered based on habitat, current threats and any other details related to the species. The ODFW performs regular status reviews to monitor and manage the wolf population. As research develops, considerations to delist wolves from the ESA can be addressed in a public forum.
How many wolves are in Oregon?
Numbers are speculative, but there were at least 77 wolves in Oregon in 2014. That included nine wolf packs and eight breeding pairs.
Are wolves a threat to humans?
There have been no wolf attacks against humans in Oregon. Dogs, however, are another matter. It is recommended that you monitor your dogs or equip them with a belled or beeping collar, as there are conflicts between wolves and domestic dogs.
Are there any circumstances in which I can shoot a wolf?
It is unlawful to shoot wolves unless you are defending yourself or another person. There are certain exceptions for protecting livestock, but that requires an advance authorization.
Shooting a wolf is a Class A misdemeanor that results in a $6,250 fine and one year in jail. If you shoot a wolf west of Highways 395, 78 and 95, you are also in violation of the ESA and can face stringent penalties, including a fine up to $100,000 and one year in jail.
Southern Oregon Archery, LLC is your local archery store in Central Point, OR that can offer guidance for your hunts around the area. That includes not just finding legal game but also how to be careful and follow regulations. Visit us today to prepare for your next hunt.