Remember how I said the federal delisting of wolves in the Northern Rockies would change management in eastern Oregon? One big difference is that ranchers can now apply for “caught in the act” permits to kill wolves that are attacking livestock. Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announced today it has issued eight of these permits. That’s on top of the two wolves the agency is already planning to kill.
I remember a rancher at the wolf bills hearing in Salem saying that having the permits under state management in the past was more of a psychological comfort than anything else, because it’s rare to actually catch a wolf in the act.
Michelle Dennehy of ODFW said the state issued nine of these permits last year, and none of them were used. “The purpose is to give landowners a chance to protect their property,” she said. “They’re not going out looking for wolves.”
More on the specific requirements of the permits from ODFW:
ODFW has issued eight “caught in the act” permits to livestock producers that have requested one, including two that lost livestock to Imnaha pack wolves in the past several weeks and a third that lost livestock in the past year. All have livestock operations in the area that the Imnaha wolf pack is using.
The permit allows the holder (or an appointed agent) to kill a wolf that they see “in the act of biting, wounding or killing livestock” on property they own or legally occupy.
If the permit holder kills a wolf, it must be reported within 24 hours. The wolf’s carcass must not be removed or disturbed so ODFW can complete an investigation. (ODFW must confirm the wolf actually wounded livestock so there must be fresh evidence of a wolf’s attack - visible wounds on livestock, tracks showing a chase, etc.)
The livestock producers that have been issued permits have tried non-lethal methods such as fladry, range riders, bone pile removal, hazing, and belated turnout to avoid wolf predation this year.
ODFW will issue additional “caught in the act” permits to landowners that request one who meet the requirements: livestock operations in area of Imnaha wolf pack, use of non-lethal methods to stop wolf-livestock conflict, no identified circumstance attracting wolf-livestock conflict.
Permits expire at the end of particular grazing season, when a livestock owner moves their respective livestock out of Imnaha pack area (might be mid-summer for some or late fall for others).