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Local Ranchers Await Decision On Gray Wolf Protections

PRINEVILLE, OR -- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is expected to release an updated proposal Friday on whether to keep the gray wolf on the Endangered Species list. Under current federal law, wolves in Eastern Oregon are not protected; but west of Highway 395, they are. 

Crook County Judge Seth Crawford says it has a big impact on Central Oregon ranchers, "So there, on the other side of 395, if you see a wolf attacking or eating your livestock, you can shoot it. On our side, you have to sit there and watch this animal attack your animal and there’s nothing you can do but wave your arms and scare it away."

He says the county is working on a plan to help local ranchers develop non-lethal control methods, "Regardless of how that comes down, Crook County’s working on finding the right solution of adding some kind of a service that’s going to help those ranchers. If we’re still listed, it’s going to be a non-lethal situation where they can go out there, cruise the areas and do what they can. There’s some other things about bone pile removal and some other non-lethal things that you can do."

But, Crawford tells KBND News he believes population control measures are needed. "We’re really hoping in our community that they do delist it. And if they do that, then we can start to manage the problem a little better."

The Fish and Wildlife Service initially delisted the gray wolf in 2020. But a court order reinstated federal protections in 2022. 


Photo courtesy Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife

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