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Oregon Ranchers, Conservationists, Agree On Wolf Compromise

Oregon Ranchers, Conservationists, Agree On Wolf Compromise

Uneasy conditions remain between stockmen, critics.

A compromise between Oregon ranchers and conservation groups like Oregon Wild over the state's depredating wolf pack may be uneasy, but for the time being some resolution appears to be reached.

Hopefully, a 2011 lawsuit brought by environmentalists fighting the right of ranchers to kill attacking wolves is now history.

The conservationist suit accusing the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife decision to allow ranchers some leeway in wolf control – including use of lethal protection of their stock – now appears to be resolved.

Part of the resolution comes in the form of a promise by the ODFW to rethink standards under which a wolf may be taken.

As a deadly beauty, the wolf has become a menace to established livestock operations in Oregon. Now, if a rancher finds one chasing cattle, he can kill it without a permit.

The Oregon Cattlemen's Association, involved in the settlement dispute since 2012, issued a statement that it is "content with the settlement that was reached."

While the OCA, ODFW, the Oregon Department of Justice, Gov., John Kitzhaber and the petitioners "worked through concerns towards finalizing a settlement agreement," says OCA Executive Director Kay Teisl, "the cattle ranchers in Wallowa County have suffered several more depredations, injuries of livestock and missing livestock."

OCS Wolf Committee Chairman Rod Childers labels the stricken ranchers as the "unsung heroes of this entire process."

He says the ranchers  "have patiently waited for a resolution to this ongoing wolf depredation problem, and have applied non-lethal measures that were applicable to their operations as directed by ODFW.

"As a rancher, I am relieved to see we now have all the tools in the box necessary for effective implementation of Oregon's Wolf Conservation Plan."

The litigation resolution, which halted the ongoing implementation of the Oregon Wolf Plan adopted  in 2005, "comes at a critical time with seasons changing and depredations again increasing," says Teisl.

OCA is particularly pleased, she adds, that the agreement includes a provision to authorize  permit-less take of wolves that are chasing livestock."

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