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La Grande Observer 12/22/14

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Home arrow News arrow Local News arrow ODFW adopts new rules

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ODFW adopts new rules

SALEM — Temporary administrative rules for killing wolves attacking livestock became permanent Friday at the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting in Salem.

The commission adopted new rules for the Oregon Wolf Conservation and Management Plan, based on legislation and a legal settlement from last spring. The new rules allow livestock producers to kill wolves “caught in the act of biting, wounding, or killing livestock,” or to chase wolves under certain circumstances, without a permit. Previously, a permit was required.

Livestock producers had been working under a temporary version of these rules since the first of October.

Todd Nash, Oregon Cattlemen’s Association wolf committee chairman, attended the meeting and said he is pleased with the decision. 

“This is the final closure of the lawsuit,” Nash said.

For almost four years Wallowa County ranchers who graze cattle in wolf territory have been issued what had been referred to as “caught in the act” permits. Now, ranchers who see a wolf  or wolves chasing, biting or killing livestock or stock dogs, as described in the wolf plan, can take lethal action.

For at least the next year, Eastern Oregon remains under Phase 1 of the Oregon Wolf Plan. Phase 2 goes into effect as early as 2015 as long as four breeding pairs are found to have two surviving pups next year. Phase 2 already allows for permitless take.

“I’m really happy with the outcome of the decision,” Nash said. “When ranchers are allowed to kill wolves to protect their livestock, they will feel differently about wolves.” 

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