The Umatilla River wolf pack killed three sheep and injured another last week near Weston Mountain, according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

In January, ODFW adopted “Phase Two” wolf management practices for Eastern Oregon. The rules give managers more flexibility to decide when to kill problem wolves that prey on livestock.  

Russ Morgan, wolf coordinator for the state, said it’s unlikely that ODFW would use lethal control on the Umatilla Pack.

“There has not been a depredation of this pack for some time,” said Morgan. “We are in phase two of our rules and that does have a different criteria for when lethal control of problem wolves is an option, but we’re really not at this stage yet with this pack.”  

Morgan said that overall, ranchers are reporting fewer livestock kills by wolves. That might be in part because non-lethal deterrents are working.

Later this year, Oregon will consider whether or not the gray wolf should be removed from the state endangered species list.