gray wolf


Gray wolves are back in Western Oregon, which is celebrated by conservationists. 

Not everyone likes the return of wolves to the region, but they have to live with it.  And living with the wolves and not killing them to protect livestock is an ongoing goal of several organizations. 

Oregon Fish & Wildlife is responsible for wolf management; the Jackson County Stockmen's Association wants its members' livestock free from wolf attacks. 

Randy Wolf (his real name) is with JCSA and a member of the Jackson County Wolf Advisory Committee


Trying to keep wolves away from livestock is a constant challenge.  And news reports tend to focus on permits issued to shoot wolves. 

But there are many more approaches considered for keeping wolves away from cattle and sheep... including breeding big dogs.  Some breeds--we're talking big, wolf-sized dogs--have protected herds for centuries. 

So the National Wildlife Research Center in the Department of Agriculture spent several years studying the effectiveness of several large dog breeds in keeping wolves at bay. 

The early years of gray wolves returning to the region are proving to be interesting, to say the least.  Wolf packs are now established west of the Cascades in both Oregon and California

In fact, not long after Oregon wildlife biologists got a radio collar on female wolf OR-54 of the Rogue Pack, she left for California and stayed there for a while.  She's since returned. 

We gather workers from Fish & Wildlife in both states for some updates on wolf management and its many challenges. 

Erich Ferdinand, CC BY 2.0,

You know how people always say you should not run from a dog that appears threatening?  That's because the dog is more likely to run after you if you create a chase situation. 

And it's apparently just as true of wolves as it is of dogs. 

Mark Coats is a rancher in the Tulelake area, just as concerned as any rancher about the rise of wolves in the region.  He offers advice through the web at Rancher Predator Awareness, including ways to train cattle not to run when confronted by predators. 

Public Domain

The return of wolves to Oregon has resulted in both exhilaration and exasperation. 

But also a sense of wonder.  Any creature gone from the landscape for decades draws notice when it is detected again in the woods nearby. 

One Oregon wolf (NOT OR-7) drew a particular sense of awe for his sheer size.  OR-4 is the subject of a recent story in Outside magazine


"Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly," Billie Holliday and others once sang.  They might have added "wolves gotta hunt." 

And that particular action brings wolves, now reestablishing their range in our region, into conflict with humans.  Not face to face, but in predation of valuable livestock owned by humans. 

The conflicts have the full attention of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the National Wildlife Research Center of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 

That's where Dr. Julie Young works to reduce human-wildlife conflict. 

California Fish and Wildlife

The world-famous wolf who has several names and answers to none of them has a new one: Grandpa.  OR-7, also known as Journey, is the famous wandering gray wolf who moved to our part of the world and found a mate and started a family. 

Now one of OR-7's offspring is the male head of the recently discovered Lassen pack, California's second known wolf pack (the Shasta pack is the other). 

This is just the latest step on wolves reestablishing a presence on their historic range, a range from which they'd been absent for most of a century. 

Public Domain

Wolves came a long way in a human lifetime.  In Oregon, the last bounty for killing a wild wolf was paid out in 1947. 

60+ years later, OR-7 captured the attention of the state and nation, as the first wolf known to be living free west of the Cascades since the time of extermination. 

OR-7 is one of the key characters in Brenda Peterson's book Wolf Nation: The Life, Death, and Return of Wild American Wolves

California Completes Wolf Management Plan

Dec 20, 2016
Oregon State University

The state of California started making plans for managing wolf populations before wolves even showed up. 

Then OR-7 wandered through a few years ago, making it clear that wolves would arrive sooner, rather than later. 

Evidence shows that there are resident wolves in California as of a year ago.  And the Wolf Plan is finished. 

Tracking The Wolf Recovery In America

Oct 19, 2016
Public Domain

Gray wolves can't seem to stay out of the news in Oregon, and with good reason: they are growing in number. 

The effects are not always welcome: the Rogue Pack, OR-7's pack, gets the blame for recent livestock attacks in the region. 

Wolf biologist Richard Thiel has studied wolf recovery in other parts of the country; Beckie Elgin advocates for wolf recovery closer to home. 

VENTSday: Violence + Wolves

Jul 19, 2016
Shay Sowden/Wikimedia

Scarcely a day goes by without some horrific act of violence--with multiple deaths--making the news.  Your reaction to that violence is our key topic on VENTSday this week. 

For an alternative, tell our audience your feelings about the proposal to removal federal protections for gray wolves. 

VENTSday removes the guests and puts listener comments front and center on The Exchange. Once a week, it's all about you... we plop a pair of topics on the table, post a survey on our Facebook page, and open the phone lines and email box for live comments.

The topics can range from presidential politics to how you spend your days off. Got an observation or opinion? Share it with the State of Jefferson on VENTSday.

Not One, But Seven Wolves In California

Aug 21, 2015
California Fish & Wildlife

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife says cameras have captured images of five endangered gray wolf pups and two adults in Siskiyou County.

The CDFW had previously collected evidence suggesting at least one wolf has traveled into southeastern Siskiyou County.

Oregon's Wolf Plans Considered

May 11, 2015
Public Domain

The fate of the gray wolf stands in sharp contrast to that of the northern spotted owl. 

While conservation groups seek to move the owl from threatened to endangered, the gray wolf could move in the other direction. 

But are a few dozen wolves in Oregon enough to consider a stable population?  Under the current rules, yes. 

Russ Morgan is the Wolf Coordinator for Oregon Fish & Wildlife

The New Wolf Census: 77

Mar 2, 2015
Oregon Fish & Wildlife

The latest gray wolf census just arrived in Oregon, and it shows exactly what scientists expected: more wolves. 

At an estimated minimum census of 77, it's not like there are wolves in every backyard. 

But the number is enough to concern livestock owners, yet still low enough that groups like Oregon Wild want wolf protections to continue. 

Jackson County Considers Wolf Damage Payments

Feb 4, 2015
Public Domain

Not so long ago, there were no wild wolves in Jackson County.  There are still fewer than a dozen, say wildlife officials. 

But Jackson County commissioners are considering setting up a system to compensate ranchers for livestock losses to wolves. 

Rob Klavins at the group Oregon Wild is experienced with such systems from his work on wolf recovery in Northeast Oregon. 

More Wolves, Fewer Restrictions In Oregon

Feb 2, 2015
Oregon State University

OR-7 is a trailblazing wolf.  Now other wolves have followed him from Northeast Oregon to establish new home territories in our part of the country. 

In fact, there are enough wolves in Eastern Oregon now (7 breeding pairs) for the state to change wolf protections. 

Cascadia Wildlands and other groups continue to push for wolf protection. 

OR-7 And Future Management Plans

Sep 9, 2014
Oregon Fish & Wildlife

It's been a very big year for Oregon's rock-star wolf, OR-7. 

The wolf that roamed as far afield as California and Nevada returned to Oregon, found a mate, and fathered the first wild wolves born west of the Cascades in generations. 

New test results indicate OR-7's mate is also from Oregon, putting a "girl next door" spin on the new family. 

OR-7 And Friends: Wolf Management Goals

Jun 25, 2014
Oregon Fish & Wildlife

Right between Mother's Day and Father's Day, wildlife officials confirmed that Oregon's most famous wolf is a father. 

OR-7, the wandering wolf, found a mate and is rearing pups in the Cascades. 

The news punctuated a busy period for wolves in both of our states. 

California wildlife officials announced endangered species protection for gray wolves... even though none are known to exist in the state. 

US Fish and Wildlife Service

It’s been ninety years since the last native California wolf was trapped and killed. Last week, Oregon wildlife officials announced that OR-7, the wolf they’ve tracked wandering in and out of northern California, had found a mate and fathered a new litter in southern Oregon.

That news contributes to the growing sense that it’s only a matter of time till wolves re-inhabit the Golden State. Against this backdrop, California wildlife officials extended endangered species status to the gray wolf.

Keeping Wolves On Track To Recovery

Mar 17, 2014
Oregon State University

Oregon's Fish and Wildlife Commission got a recent report on the success of wolf management in the state.

And the process of wolf recovery appears to be going relatively well, even in the eyes of some environmental groups.