The proposal would allow special permits to be issued for wolves that have caused significant livestock damage or major declines in game populations.
Oregon is mulling a proposal that would make many hunters and ranchers happy and, by extension, make anti-hunters and environmentalists livid.
The state has proposed issuing problem-wolf permits, allowing hunters to take wolves that cause livestock damage or major declines in game populations. No hunting season would be enacted, yet environmentalists are opposing the measure because they believe it will pave the way for a wolf season.
Portland’s NBC affiliate KGW News reports that the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife proposed the measure to provide a cost-effective management tool for the state’s roughly 150 wolves. The state currently pays wolf biologists to shoot problem animals if a population reaches “Phase III” of Oregon’s wolf management plan—seven breeding pairs for three consecutive years. This ensures the wolves are not unsustainably harvested but predation is kept in check.
The plan reads:
When Phase III is reached, non-lethal techniques will remain the first choice of managers in dealing with conflicts. However, more emphasis may be put on lethal control to ensure protection of livestock if it can be demonstrated that non-lethal methods are likely to put livestock at substantial risk. In areas where chronic wolf problems are occurring, wolf managers may seek assistance from private citizens through special permits for controlled take to resolve conflict. In addition, liberalized options for lethal control by livestock producers will be considered in consultation with wolf managers in circumstances where such activities can enhance the probability of relief for the livestock producer.
Those techniques, both lethal and non-lethal, put a strain on the state and its taxpayer-provided dollars.
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