Bill brings some logic to problem

By Observer editorial July 01, 2013 10:32 am
The action by the Oregon Senate Thursday to green-light a new bill regarding wolves is a good step toward resolving a lingering problem for many counties on the eastern side of the state.

The bill — approved by a 30-0 vote — places into law a series of provisions from a settlement that gives the state more leeway to begin managing wolves when they attack livestock. The bill is the result of a compromise pact between cattlemen, the state and conversation groups and delivers the first real blend of common sense and logic into an issue fraught with controversy. Essentially the bill crafts a new set of mandates where killing wolves are a last resort but also delivers to ranchers’ broader discretion when they catch a wolf attacking their stock.

Under the provisions of the bill, ranchers would be able to kill a protected wolf if the animal is caught in the act of biting, wounding or killing one of their livestock. Wolves could also be put down if found guilty of “chronic predation” on livestock but only if all nonlethal methods have been tried and exhausted.

“This bill protects ranchers against wolf predation while still giving wolf populations a chance to recover,” said Sen. Bill Hansell, a Pendleton-area Republican told The Oregonian.

Gov. John Kitzhaber is expected to sign it once the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission approves other provisions of the settlement.

Oregon has been barred for the past year and a half from killing wolves while the Oregon Court
of Appeals considered a lawsuit filed by
conservationists.

The bill probably doesn’t give everyone what they wanted but it does bring a sense of logic — something that has been missing for a long time in the ongoing wolf debate — to an ongoing problem for Eastern Oregon ranchers.