Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Hunter's Story Does Not Hold Up

courtesy: Oregon State Police
Update: An Oregon "meat hunter" shot an killed Oregon Wolf OR-25* last month while hunting near La Grande, Oregon.  He claims he saw what he claims were three coyotes together which fits the observations of a young female associated with a wolf pair in Union County known as OR-30. One wolf charged him, so from a distance of 27 yards, he raised his rifle and shot it in self defense.  The Oregon State Police accepted his story with little investigation of the facts.  No necroposy was performed and the body disposed of before any independent analysis could be performed. Perhaps the state police were anxious to close the case quickly because of an institutional bias for which law enforcement agencies are well known.  The district attorney for Union County also refused to prosecute the case.

Photographs of the dead wolf show that the animal was shot in the side, with the exit wound at the left front shoulder. This fact would directly contradict the claim that the animal was coming directly at the hunter.  An experienced wolf biologist who has worked for the state said the shot was well placed, indicating a stationary target, not a running snap shot. The wolf was a small female about 83 pounds, one that would have almost certainly have fled from an armed human, as would coyotes. Nor was she suffering from any obvious diseases such as rabies.  It is illegal to kill a wolf in Oregon except in self defense or if there is substantial evidence of wolf predation on livestock. The Oregon Wolf Coalition has asked Governor Brown to reopen the investigation to determine what actually happened. The Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife is expected to release its new wolf management plan for public comment shortly.

*correction: OR-25 was wolf living in southern Oregon killed on October 29th. He was wearing a radio tracking collar. He was dispersed from the Imnaha Pack in northeastern Oregon as a yearling. OR-25 was four and a half when he was poached. Because he lived in the western third of the state, he was both supposedly protected at the state and federal levels of government. The state police is offering a $5000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the poacher.

OR-23, also wearing a tracking collar was killed by gunshot in Wallowa County near Cold Springs on November 14th. The state police is asking the public for information about this illegal taking. If you have information about this poaching incident call 1-800-452-7888 and leave an anonymous tip.