Living with Wolves and No Right of Protection

Imagine one day you were told that by law you no longer can lock your home. As you leave your house, two suspicious people are sitting on your front porch. So you get your kitchen broom and shoo them away. But they are still in front of your house on the sidewalk (legally not on your property). You call the police. They file a report and promise to monitor the situation. You eventually have to leave your home to run errands. When you come back, your computer that you use to run your business is gone. While you are confident that the folks you ran off your porch and who witnessed you leaving are the culprits, the police inform you that they found no fingerprints. Therefore, they aren’t sure if you simply misplaced your own computer.

This is essentially the scenario livestock producers face every day with wolves in Wallowa County and other parts of Oregon, except for ranchers it is even more emotional. It isn’t just an inanimate object that ranchers are unable to protect. They are beloved pets and livestock which ranchers have spent a great deal of their life raising and nurturing.

Casey Anderson of OX Ranch lives on the Oregon-Idaho border. He shared with me a story of just one of the many calves that have been attacked and maimed by wolves on his ranch. The calf received a significant injury to its leg, but after a month of daily doctoring he was able to save the calf. With a crack in his voice, he said that a year later the same calf was killed by a second wolf attack.

Oregon currently has two state-recognized wolf packs and breeding pairs. But according to Russ Morgan, wolf coordinator for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW), 27 wolf sightings were reported in November alone. He would not be surprised if two additional breeding pairs were confirmed by the end of 2010. This is significant because according to the management plan, once there are four breeding pairs for three consecutive years, wolves may be considered for delisting statewide as a protected species. Until wolves are delisted Oregon ranchers have essentially no right to protect their livestock or other property from wolves.

The reintroduction of wolves into Oregon will continue to take an emotional and an economic toll on rural communities, specifically on livestock producers. During the recent five-year management plan review, livestock producers requested amendments that would enhance their ability to protect their livestock. Unfortunately, many of their recommendations were ignored by ODFW.

There are significant impacts to ranchers managing livestock in areas with wolves. The depredation loss of the livestock is just one of several issues that must be considered:

• Inability to protect livestock and pets from wolf depredation in a proactive and preventative manner. Currently, a producer must prove a pattern of livestock loss before a permit can be issued to have the wolf removed through either lethal or non-lethal means.
• Time and financial cost associated with injured or killed livestock. Though a small depredation payment (which is not a market-based value) can be received upon proof of a wolf kill, there is no compensation for an injured animal.
• Inability to “condition” the larger wolf populations that are harassing livestock to fear interactions between humans or livestock through use of lethal or near-lethal deterrents. Currently, a permit must be issued before a rancher is allowed to do anything other than yell or shoot in the air.
• Changes in livestock behavior due to constant wolf harassment which affect weight gains, conception rates, pasture management practices, general animal husbandry and handling practices. These impacts have not been recognized in any formal manner by management agencies.
• Ranchers’ emotional stress from the additional management strain and the financial risks to his business. These are also currently unrecognized impacts.

More than two hundred years ago, James Madison wrote, “The personal right to acquire property, which is a natural right, gives to property, when acquired, a right to protection, as a social right.” Oregon ranchers should have been provided with a number of tools with which to deal with the impacts of reintroduced wolves. For ranchers, no right is as basic as protecting their own livestock from predators. It is absurd that a rancher must witness a wolf “in the act” of attacking an animal on private land and then receive a permit to allow the taking of any action that would cause harm to the wolf. It is rare even to find a carcass from wolf predation, much less catch a wolf in the act.

To allow ranchers to use lethal or near-lethal means on their own property to protect their animals from wolves is essential to a strong wolf management plan, but that has seemed to fall on deaf ears at the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission. In 2011 the Oregon legislature should propose new legislation to address wolf management in Oregon that protects the right of citizens to protect their families and property (including pets and livestock) from wolves.

Karla Kay Edwards is Rural Policy Analyst at Cascade Policy Institute. She has held positions of leadership in numerous organizations focusing on agricultural and rural industries and issues, including the Fresno (California) Farm Bureau, Washington Cattlemen’s Association and the Oregon Department of Agriculture.

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  • Kevin

    Very well Written Karla. Only flaw I see is the failure to mention the other pertinent facts surrounding this complete disaster. The most overlooked fact that is very obvious is that these wolves are not resident, nor native to Oregon. Agreed that maybe some of CL Occidentalis could have ventured as far south as Yellowstone in the past, however history of this sub species being found south of Canada is mostly lore from pro wolf groups. Secondly, very few people are addressing the criminal activities revolving around this entire project. From theft of funds to improper handling of an exotic species paper work involved in transporting across federal and state borders, this whole project is devised with criminal intent. Lastly, few people are writing about the loss of entire ecosystems due to these transplanted wolves. A ecosystem void of prey base is a disaster.

    Please support the only people that can make a difference and help recover our ecosystem to it original condition, meaning before CL Occidentalis.

    Kevin Watson

    • Huardbuddyboy

      Kevin- Foreign wolves! Oh no- the Kenyan Socialist conspiracy has begun! Everyone knows that wolves were transplanted here from foreign lands to undermine the hunters 2nd amendment rights! Call SCI! Call Sara Palin- She will save us from the wolves. I find it facinating how a SHILL for the livestock industry really believes this garbage! How about the livestock operators bury their dead cattle that die through disease , exposure or birth problems

  • Prohuman

    In researching the wolves I came across a very interesting book.
    Animals in the Third Reich: Pets, Scapegoats, and the Holocaust (Paperback)
    Page 75 In 1934 Germany was the first country to put wolves under protection. Wolves were used as a means of demeaning and Tormenting the Jews.
    The top of page 79 in the author own words not mind.
    “The cult of the wolf continued to influence western culture long after the end of the Nazi Regime.” A few paragraph later
    Aldo Leopold went to German in 1935 to study German forestry upon his return the CO FOUNDER OF THE WILDERNESS SOCIETY and Began the work of return of the wolves and other predators based on German example.

    So all the wolf lovers are supporting the whole Nazi thinking here in America. I have read many times from the wolf cult their anti Human stance. This clearly Nazi thinking from calling hunters sub human, to saying hunters should be rounded up in put in camps, to actual death threats, to threats of raping children. This twisted vile evil thinking is found today in the Wolf cult of America. Now you know where the wolf cult and the ideas they are following come from. Nazi Germany!

    • valley person

      Wow…a new record! Liberals are Nazis in the 2nd post! Mazeltov to Prohuman.

    • Johnjohnrwheeler

      You like comparing people to Nazis? Well, tell the whole story, not just Anti-Wolf propaganda.

      Yeah, yeah, Germany was the first modern nation to pass wildlife protection laws in 1934. If you do some research, you will see that Friedrich Nietzsche and Oswald Spengle were the ones who pushed for wolf protection. Both Nietzche and Spengle weren’t exactly Nazi supporters.

      Wolf. Legend, Enemy, Icon
      Rebecca L. Grambo,
      Firefly Books LTD 2008 p.155

      Nazis wanted ELK around as much as wolves! I guess anyone who wants to “Save Elk” and have “hunting reserves” is a Nazi?

      Consider also Walter Schoenichen, an aide to Herman Goering who in his capacity as Minister of the German Forests supervised the “Germanization” of forests in conquered territories. In 1941, the Nazis took control of the Bialowieza forest in Lithuania and they resolved to turn it into a hunting reserve for top officers. Schoenichen jumped at the opportunity to administer this program. This “total landscape plan” would first empty villages and then the unpopulated forest would be stocked with purely “Teutonic” species, including eagles, elk, and wolves.”

      Herman Goering wanted to use the Bialowieza forest for a giant hunting reserve for German elk & bison.

      Nazis liked hunting. Does that mean all hunters are Nazis?

      BOOK FROM 1938 WITH
      The words and music to these beautiful old songs were published in this handsome, rare book following an introduction by Nazi State Hunting Master Hermann Göring, who thought the new generation of hunters in Germany should be familiar with them. Very good condition.


      Communists wanted to to protect game animals. Everyone interested in “saving elk” must be a communist.

      “The Communist Party issued a decree “On Land” in 1918. What’s surprising is that the Soviet government was just as protective of game animals as the forests”
      . Douglas R. Weiner’s “Models of Nature: Ecology, Conservation, and Cultural Revolution in Soviet Union” (Indiana Univ., 1988)


      “The Nazis also sought to protect wildlife. In 1934 and 1935, the focus of Nazi legislation on animals shifted from farm animals and pets to creatures of the wild. The preface to the hunting laws of March 27, 1935, announced a eugenic purpose behind the legislation, stating, ‘The duty of a true hunter is not only to hunt but also to nurture and protect wild animals, in order that a more varied, stronger and healthier breed shall emerge and be preserved.’ Nazi veterinary journals often featured reports on endangered species. Goring in particular was concerned about the near extinction in Germany of the bear, bison, and wild horse and sought to establish conservation and breeding programs for dwindling species and to pass new and more uniform hunting laws and taxes. His game laws are still operative today.”
      “Nazis were wildlife conservationists as they believed in hunting and wildlife management.”
      –Arthur Arluke and Boria Sax, The Nazi Treatment of Animals and People.

      Hunting & wildlife management is associated with Nazis. Does that mean some anti-wolf people are Nazis? Comparing people to Nazis is what unintelligent morons do. They like to equate their opponents with Nazis in lieu of providing rational arguments.

    • Gary

      Hey “prohuman”, is that the first book you read?

      How about this? Nazis loved hunting & “big game animals”!!

      “Goering maintained close ties with zoologists and animal lovers, particularly those interested in big game animals, around Germany. Partly, this was because he was a big game hunter:”
      “Goering reintroduced buffalo and elk to German grasslands”

      Hermann Goering, in his capacity as Reichsforst- und Jägermeister (Reich Master of the Forest and Hunt), was a keen conservationist eager not only to protect endangered species of big game, but ambitious enough to promote attempts at breeding backward in order to restore especially desirable extinct species, including most notably the aurochs (Bos primigenius).

      “In 1939 the local inhabitants of Polish ethnicity were deported to remote areas of the Soviet Union. They were replaced with Soviet forest workers, but in 1941 the forest was occupied by Germans and the Soviet inhabitants were also deported. Hermann Göring planned to create the biggest hunting reserve in the world there.”

      Does this mean hunters are Nazis? No, and not too many people are going around saying that because the only ones who like comparing people to Nazis are morons who are incapable of saying anything intelligent.


      Continue reading on Human Rights group’s explosive Nazis in America report – National Human Rights |

  • rick

    Here is what Dr. Val Geist said,

    It may be worth mentioning that the wolves were actually well on the way from coming all on their own from Canada into the western states. There were wolves killed already south of Yellowstone and that was well before the re-introduction ever took place into Yellowstone. So they were coming on their own and the re-introduction just simply speeded things up.

    Sorry Kevin, but you have no idea what you are talking about and I’m not surprised one bit. People like you have no knowledge what so ever, just lies and misinformation. What it comes down to is this, you hunters are not happy that wolves are back because they are eating elk and deer you fail only belongs to you hunters. Guess what, the wildlife does not belong to you hunters.

  • Kathleen

    cattle are a non native species. Wolves on the other hand have been in North America for close to a million years. I agree with Rick that hunters hate predators and want them eradicated so there can be more game for them. They are crybabies and liars.

  • C Derr

    In response to ricks comments, Dr. Val Geist did not and would not talk about this issue in that context. I have personnaly met and discussed this wolf issue with Dr. Giest and i assure you that he is the foremost authority on wolves in the entire world. You mr rick are full of bull s–t. Know your facts before you blow off unintellegent hot air. I have a small library of writings from Dr. Giest and Dr. Kay. Neither of them speak very well of the wolf in any regard and 90% of the american people know that the whole wolf issue is illegal.

  • Rick

    c derr. Val geist is the foremost wolf authority in the world? haha You know nothing. val Geist ADMITTED wolves were already coming over on their own and this happened before wolf reintroduction. I’m sorry that you can’t handle facts. I see that you can’t even spell correctly.

  • Rick

    This is what happens when someone like c derr doesn’t want to accept the truth, they claim something was taken out of context. He like others cannot accept the truth and that is that dr. geist has said that there were wolves in ys before wolves were reintroduced and they came down there on their own.

  • Mary’s Opinion

    I do not have the expertise to comment on either increasing the wolf population or the control of the wolf population in close proximity to ranches and farms. But I am concerned about unelected and appointed individuals serving in government agencies and on bureaucratic committees who make rules and regulations that endanger the ability of certains groups people to make a living and provide for their families. Sometimes the question “what is most important – man or animal” has to be asked. I’m not saying we should sacrafice our environment or the living things in it. Let’s just ditch the bias and use some common sense when making rules and regulations that can have significant negative impact on human beings.

  • Richard Burris

    I am currently reading a book called “Wolfer-A Memoir” about the life of Carter Niemeyer. He was a government trapper for a number of years. You may want to read it before you jump to any more conclusions about wolves.

  • Mschmalz

    Karla keep up the good work! Well written from the eyes of the rancher & pet owner.

  • reality22

    Kathleen, Plain and simple, the only people left supporting continued protection of this animal are Anti-hunters, donnie molloy and environmental lawyers! The true wolf huggers recognize the limits of this animal and are also calling for management & delisting.

  • Skippadoodoo

    Ranchers have not only a right but an obligation to protect their livestock and pets. That’s what things like electric fences, rangeriders and fladdgery are used for. Wolves kill less than 1% of the livestock in Oregon while domestic dogs kill about three times that number. Not to mention the fact that Bears and Cougars kill more livestock as do disease and illness and yet all I seem to hear about is the BIG BAD WOLF. Protect your livestock and pets by using common sense for pet owners (don’t feed outside or leave out at night unless in a covered, fenced in area , no off leash walks in Wolf country) and Best Management Practices for cattle farmers (bury the carcasses, don’t use open range grazing unless protected by fencing or riders). Ranchers are in the business to grow food just like other farmers. Wolves are part (and should be a part) of the cost of doing business here in the West. That’s the way it was before Wolves were exterminated by the ranching industry before and that’s the way that it should be now. The invasive nonative species (white people and their livestock) that came here from someplace else less than 200 years ago should learn to get along with those indigenous species (Wolves, Bears, Lions, etc.) that have coexisted together here in harmony for thousands of years. And yes cattle farmers need better management tools here in Oregon. The old version (pre 2007) of Rule 10j would work just fine. Humane management is both important and necessary.

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