GoFundMe Page Set Up for Man Shot in Sweden Hunting Accident

By TWC News Web Staff
Thursday, February 23, 2017 at 05:55 PM EST

SWEDEN, N.Y. — A fundraising page has been set up for the man seriously injured in a hunting accident in the Town of Sweden earlier this week.

Monroe County Sheriff’s investigators say Brett Blackburn was hunting coyotes with his son in a field off South Lake Road in Sweden when he accidentally shot Robert Williams.

Blackburn told investigators it was dark and he mistook Williams for an animal, firing his rifle once and hitting the Byron man in the abdomen.

Williams remains in guarded condition at Strong Memorial Hospital.

The GoFundMe page, started by Williams’ sister, says most people can recognize him by his “big heart, infectious laugh and relaxed demeanor.”

She says she wants to help her brother, who has a wife and 2-month-old baby, with the now-mounting hospital expenses.

Brett Blackburn was arrested and arraigned on second-degree assault charges for the shooting. He has since posted bail.

Workshop offers insight into hunting coyotes and other predators

“You’re hunting the animal that normally does the hunting,” Andrew Kenner of Jackson, Missouri, said. “They’re the top of the food chain for a reason.”

Kenner, who belongs to a Facebook group for predator hunters in Missouri, said coyotes can remember individual calls. If they see the hunter before he can shoot, Kenner said, coyotes will never respond to that call again.

“Whenever you see them, that’s about the only chance you will have,” Kenner said, “because after that, they will learn exactly what’s going on.”

Different techniques for calling coyotes, foxes and bobcats — from hand calls to electronic versions — will be one focus of a workshop from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.

The workshop will also go over the limits and regulations for hunting coyotes and other predators. Camouflage and scent control will also be discussed.

The Missouri Department of Conservation is hosting the workshop to teach people how to call coyotes and other predators, such as foxes and bobcats, at the Missouri Department’s regional office in Columbia.

The workshop is free and open to anyone 11 years or older. To reserve a seat, call outdoor skills specialist Brian Flowers at 815-7901 ext. 2867 before the workshop begins. Openings are subject to availability.

About 60 people attended last year’s predator hunting workshop, and a similar turnout is expected Wednesday.

Flowers said predator hunting isn’t an activity where someone can go out and be successful quickly. It requires dedicating time to learning the ins and outs.

“It’s not something that is easy,” Flowers said. “I think that’s why folks want to seek out information and knowledge about it.”

 Regulating the predator population through hunting has environmental benefits.

Flowers said problems that can arise from an uncontrolled predator population include the spread of disease among the predator population, the displacement of predators into urban areas because of overcrowding and the attack of farmers’ crops and livestock due to a shortage of food.

Missouri residents must possess a small game hunting permit to hunt coyotes, foxes and bobcats.

The Department of Conservation encourages hunters to make use of the hides of predators they kill.

Kenner skins the coyotes he kills, and then gives the fur to someone who will tan it, or he tans it himself.

“Before you go on a coyote hunt, you want to have everything lined up in terms of what you’re going to do with the coyote,” Kenner said. “That way you’re not just shooting an animal and letting it lay.”

Supervising editor is John Schneller.

First West Virginia coyote hunt draws hundreds but not without controversy

http://www.wsaz.com/content/news/First-Annual-West-Virginia-Coyote-Hunt-draws-hundreds-412105473.html

KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) — This weekend marked the first West Virginia Coyote Hunt. It ran from noon Saturday to noon Sunday, as hunters across the state checked in at Cabela’s in South Charleston, then hunted coyotes for a maximum 24 hour period.

Men and women from across the state, as well as bordering states participated, according to organizers.

Shannon Sizemore of Team Fur Seekers, out of Cincinnati, Ohio, organized the contest. Sizemore is a native of Big Ugly, West Virginia and says his roots run deep here.

“Comraderie and the atmosphere here, it’s phenomenal, I mean this is what I wanted,” he says. Sizemore says his goal was to teach and educate the community that coyotes need to be hunted regularly in order to help control the population, that often preys on a range of animals, including deer, turkey and even household pets.

“With coyotes having no natural predator, it’s a problem. It’s going to take it’s toll if people don’t start hunting them,” he says. “For whoever says this is a blood bath, it’s nothing about going out and killing coyotes this weekend. It’s teaching and learning them what we can do to prevent what’s going to take place in the future if we don’t do this.

Organizers say approximately 500 hunters participated from 135 teams. Approximately 40 coyotes were killed during the 24 hour sporting event, and nearly $11,000 was awarded in prizes.

“It’s about the atmosphere, the camaraderie. Spending time with your family, your friends, your children. That’s what hunting is about,” Sizemore says.

Sizemore says the coyotes would not be disposed of properly and fur will be used.

The Humane Society of West Virginia condemned the contest, referring to it as a “blood bath.” They released a statement saying “Allowing this blood sport to continue gives hunters and wildlife agencies a black eye and sends a dangerous message to our youth that killing is fun. Gratuitously slaughtering animals for thrills and prizes is unethical and out of step with our current understanding of ecosystems and the important role each species plays.”

Should the gray wolf keep its endangered species protection?

Gray wolves

Dan StahlerGray wolves are currently protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (and are not always gray).

Research by UCLA biologists published today presents strong evidence that the scientific reason advanced by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to remove the gray wolf from protection under the Endangered Species Act is incorrect.

A key justification for protection of the gray wolf under the act was that its geographic range included the Great Lakes region and 29 Eastern states, as well as much of North America. The Fish and Wildlife Service published a document in 2014 which asserted that a newly recognized species called the eastern wolf occupied the Great Lakes region and eastern states, not the gray wolf. Therefore, the original listing under the act was invalid, and the service recommended that the species (except for the Mexican gray wolf, which is the most endangered gray wolf in North America) should be removed from protection under the act.

A decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to remove the gray wolf from protection under the Endangered Species Act may be made as early as this fall.

In the new study published in the journal Science Advances, biologists analyzed the complete genomes of North American wolves — including the gray wolf, eastern wolf and red wolf — and coyotes. The researchers found that both the red wolf and eastern wolf are not distinct species, but instead are mixes of gray wolf and coyote.

Bridgett vonHoldt and Robert Wayne

Reed Hutchinson/UCLA
Bridgett vonHoldt and Robert Wayne in 2009.

“The recently defined eastern wolf is just a gray wolf and coyote mix, with about 75 percent of its genome assigned to the gray wolf,” said senior author Robert Wayne, a UCLA professor of ecology and evolutionary biology. “We found no evidence for an eastern wolf that has a separate evolutionary legacy. The gray wolf should keep its endangered species status and be preserved because the reason for removing it is incorrect. The gray wolf did live in the Great Lakes area and in the 29 eastern states.”

Once common throughout North America and among the world’s most widespread mammals, the gray wolf is now extinct in much of the United States, Mexico and Western Europe, and lives mostly in wilderness and remote areas. Gray wolves still live in the Great lakes area, but not in the eastern states.

Apparently, the two species first mixed hundreds of years ago in the American South, resulting in a population that has become more coyote-like as gray wolves were slaughtered, Wayne said. The same process occurred more recently in the Great Lakes area, as wolves became rare and coyotes entered the region in the 1920s.

The researchers analyzed the genomes of 12 pure gray wolves (from areas where there are no coyotes), three coyotes (from areas where there are no gray wolves), six eastern wolves (which the researchers call Great Lakes wolves) and three red wolves.

There has been a substantial controversy over whether red wolves and eastern wolves are genetically distinct species. In their study, the researchers did not find a unique ancestry in either that could not be explained by inter-breeding between gray wolves and coyotes.

“If you did this same experiment with humans — human genomes from Eurasia — you would find that one to four percent of the human genome has what looks like strange genomic elements from another species: Neanderthals,” Wayne said. “In red wolves and eastern wolves, we thought it might be at least 10 to 20 percent of the genome that could not be explained by ancestry from gray wolves and coyotes. However, we found just three to four percent, on average — similar to that found in individuals from the same species when compared to our small reference set.”

Red wolf

Dave Mech
Red wolf

Pure eastern wolves were thought to reside in Ontario’s Algonquin Provincial Park. The researchers studied two samples from Algonquin Provincial Park and found they were about 50 percent gray wolf, 50 percent coyote.

Biologists mistakenly classified the offspring of gray wolves and coyotes as red wolves or eastern wolves, but the new genomic data suggest they are hybrids. “These gray wolf-coyote hybrids look distinct and were mistaken as a distinct species,” Wayne said.

Eventually, after the extinction of gray wolves in the American south, the red wolves could mate only with one another and coyotes, and became increasingly coyote-like.

Red wolves turn out to be about 25 percent gray wolf and 75 percent coyote, while the eastern wolf’s ancestry is approximately 75 percent gray wolf and 25 percent coyote, Wayne said. (Wayne’s research team published findings in the journal Nature in 1991 suggesting red wolves were a mixture of gray wolves and coyotes.)

Although the red wolf, listed as an endangered species in 1973, is not a distinct species, Wayne believes it is worth conserving; it is the only repository of the gray wolf genes that existed in the American South, he said.

The researchers analyzed SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms) — tiny variations in a genetic sequence, and used sophisticated statistical approaches. In the more than two dozen genomes, they found 5.4 million differences in SNPs, a very large number.

Carla Schaffer/AAAS
Genomic sequencing reveals that red wolves and eastern wolves are hybrids of gray wolves.

Wayne said the Endangered Species Act has been extremely effective. He adds, however, that when it was formulated in the 1970s, biologists thought species tended not to inter-breed with other species, and that if there were hybrids, they were not as fit. The scientific view has changed substantially since then. Inter-breeding in the wild is common and may even be beneficial, he said. The researchers believe the Endangered Species Act should be applied with more flexibility to allow protection of hybrids in some cases (it currently does not), and scientists have made several suggestions about how this might be done without a change in the law, Wayne said.

Co-authors of the study include lead author Bridgett vonHoldt, an assistant professor at Princeton University and former UCLA graduate student and postdoctoral scholar who worked in Wayne’s laboratory; Beth Shapiro, UC Santa Cruz associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology; Jacqueline Robinson, a UCLA graduate student in ecology and evolutionary biology in Wayne’s laboratory; and Zhenxin Fan, an assistant professor at China’s Sichuan University, who was a visiting graduate student in Wayne’s laboratory.

The research was funded by the National Science Foundation, the Turner Endangered Species Fund, the Wilburforce Foundation, and the Morris Animal Foundation.

Delisting wolves was a mistake (OPINION)

http://www.projectcoyote.org/delisting-wolves-was-a-mistake/

by | Nov 24, 2015 | Notes From the Field |

The decision by the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission to delist wolves from the state’s Endangered Species Act protection was based on faulty science and political expediency. The biggest problem is with the department’s criteria for delisting — more than four breeding pairs of wolves for three years in a row— is that it fails to ensure full restoration of the wolf across the state. Many outside scientists, including myself, feel the small population of 80 to perhaps as many as 100 wolves statewide is hardily sufficient to guarantee a robust and speedy restoration of the species.

A hundred or fewer wolves may preclude the extinction of the species, but it does not restore the ecological function of the wolf. And restoring the ecological function of the species should be the prime goal of any conservation effort. Precluding extinction is a very low bar and does not serve the people of Oregon, the wolf or our ecosystems.

I did an analysis of the potential for wolf restoration in Oregon back in the 1990s and concluded that the state could easily support 1,500 to 2,000 wolves. Others have reached similar conclusions. Restoring wolves across the state so that they are functional members of the wildlife community should be the goal of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

If, hypothetically, elk were the species under consideration and were protected under the state’s Endangered Species Act, I can almost guarantee you ODFW would want way more than 100 individuals before they would recommend delisting. They would want to see elk restored across the state.

Wolves are in a sense a “keystone” species that influences ecosystem health. Having a token population of wolves is not the same as having a functioning ecosystem member. Wolves not only eliminate weaker prey individuals but can shift habitat use; for instance they can reduce elk and deer foraging on aspen, willows and other browse species in riparian areas. Wolves can also affect the distribution and numbers of other species. Where wolves are present, there are often fewer coyotes. Coyotes kill the smaller Sierra Nevada red fox that is just hanging on in the Cascades. Restoration of wolves could thus assist the recovery of the red fox.

The rush to delist wolves is driven by false perceptions of wolf impacts on livestock and big game populations. Out of 1.3 million cattle and 195,000 sheep in the state, only 114 domestic livestock have been confirmed killed by wolves since the first wolves appeared in the early 2000s. Comparisons between Montana and Oregon are often made by ODFW. Using Montana, in 2014, the state’s 600 or so wolves killed 35 cattle and six sheep out of a total of 2.5 million cattle and 220,000 sheep respectively, By comparison, non-wolf losses accounted for 89,000 deaths. And though six sheep were killed by wolves, some 7,800 sheep died from other causes, like weather.

Wolves are simply not a threat, or even barely a factor, in the economic viability of the livestock industry.

The idea that hunting will be negatively affected across any significant portion of the state is also unlikely. Between 2009 and 2014, all wildlife management units (WMUs) of northeastern Oregon with established wolf packs had increasing elk populations, and two of the four (Imnaha and Snake River) were above the established management objectives for elk since wolves became established (ODFW data).

A similar situation exists in Montana, where elk numbers grew from an estimated 89,000 animals in 1992 (Montana Elk Plan) to 167,000 elk today (Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, 2015). If this is what you get with wolf predation, I think most reasonable hunters would agree we could use more wolves in Oregon!

In the end, ODFW capitulated to mythology and false fears of hunters and ranchers without providing context and did not meet its wildlife responsibilities under the public trust doctrine to work diligently for full restoration of the ecological function of the wolf.

George Wuerthner lives in Bend.

Comments regarding the proposed delisting of gray wolves in Oregon from Adrian TrevesProject Coyote Science Advisory Board member

News from Project Coyote

The news was shocking – a coyote in Los Angeles, gunned down by a sniper on a residential street. As reported on July 1st in the Los Angeles Times, the gunman shot the coyote in the city’s Silver Lake neighborhood, in what the Times called an act of “coyotecide.”

As Los Angeles’s Animal Cruelty Task Force looks into the shooting, and the Department of Animal Services investigates, Project Coyote is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspect(s) responsible.
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Our reward offer is helping to generate news coverage about this act of barbarity, while exposing the stark reality that coyotes are the target of so much hatred and violence and have no protections as afforded their domestic cousins.

Had the killer shot a domestic dog, it would be considered a felony under state anti-cruelty laws. 

Ironically, just last week Project Coyote’s Southern California Representative, Randi Feilich testified before the Los Angeles City Animal Welfare Committee in support of a proposed non-lethal coyote management plan being considered by the Committee. The plan emphasizes public education and coexistence. At the meeting, Feilich offered the support of our Coyote Friendly Communities program, which provides tools and expertise to peacefully live with coyotes and other wildlife.

Since the shooting, media coverage has increased public awarness of the cruelty suffered by coyotes and other wildlife, as well as the threat this poses to human safety.

Please help us prevent such senseless acts and help us change laws so that coyotes are no longer treated as vermin that can be killed in unlimited numbers. 

With your support we can continue to equip communities across the country with the information, support and tools they need to live peacefully with wild animals who also call this planet home.

donate now

Howling Coyote Mom Killed in Seattle

 


A Seattle neighborhood is divided over a coyote pack that was recently killed.

According to USDA APHIS, someone asked for them to remove the coyotes. Other neighbors are horrified.

“It was howling. It was crying. It was moaning. It was horrible,” Nancy Bagnulo said.

Early Tuesday morning, several people woke up to gunshots near the Talaris conference center in Seattle’s Laurelhurst neighborhood.

Bozena Jakubik left her house to see what happened, noticing a white truck driving off. Daylight revealed more of what she’d heard overnight.

“I saw this huge stain of blood coming from the exit of her den,” she said.

According to USDA, three coyotes were killed.

“Wildlife services received a request to assist in the management of several coyotes near the Laurelhurst neighborhood in Seattle. The coyotes had become increasingly aggressive toward people and pets in the area,” Jeanine Neskey said.

The coyotes were killed on the Talaris conference center property. The center did not return phone calls asking for comment.

Neighbors said the coyote had pups, and by simply leaving her alone, they never had an issue.

“I’m bothered by the fact we weren’t given the notice or chance to weigh in on this decision,” Janice Sutter said.

According to USDA, someone requested their services. They worked for 3-nights, and used a call box, which is a device that mimics animal distress sounds and attracts coyotes.

“The thing that bothers me mostly is that they’re baiting them. I just don’t think that’s right,” Linn Blakeney said.

“I like the coyotes and it just makes me sick,” David Barnes added.

Wildlife officials believe there are no more coyotes left in this spot, but neighbors worry there may be a pup remaining.

“I’ve seen him running frantically out on the property and calling and crying and looking for his family,” Jakubik said.

Nancy Bagnulo and others say, they like living here because it’s a little bit of wild in the heart of a city, and that means learning to live together.

“If not, there’s not going to be any wildlife left. It’s just going to be people. And who wants that, really?” Bagnulo said.

Copyright 2016 KING

Take Action to Protect Our Nation’s Wildlife

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HUMANE ALERT
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Take Action to Protect Our Nation’s Wildlife
Dear Jim,

The U.S Fish and Wildlife Service is still collecting public comments on a proposed rule to limit predator control activities on Alaska’s National Wildlife Refuges. At stake is an opportunity to stop:

• brown and black bear trapping
• brown bear baiting
• the killing of black bears, wolves and coyotes in their dens
• the aerial gunning of bears

Please send a message to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in support of the proposal.

Coyote Chronicles

FEBRUARY 2016

Yesterday Project Coyote and allies filed suit in Oregon challenging the authority of the USDA Wildlife Services program to kill any of the approximately 81 remaining gray wolves in Oregon. The legal challenge comes just weeks after a federal court ruled that Wildlife Services’ controversial wolf killing program in Washington is illegal.

Earlier this week Project Coyote NH/VT Representative Chris Schadler testified before the NH Fish and Game Commission challenging a proposal to open a season on bobcats in New Hampshire which would allow hunting, trapping, baiting and hounding of a species that has been protected statewide since 1989.

Also on Monday evening, on the opposite coast, Project Coyote representatives and supporters testified at a Wolf Conservation Planning meeting in Sacramento, California pressing for a science-based approach to wolf recovery in California and a plan that recognizes the ecological importance of these apex predators.

Across the country we continue to press for better protections for our important apex predators while we work with communities to promote coexistence through our Coyote Friendly Communities and Ranching With Wildlife Programs. Read more about these efforts below. And please join us in celebrating our first honoree for Project Coyote’s Wildlife Stewardship Award – former President of the California Fish and Game Commission – Michael Sutton.

For the Wild,
Camilla H. Fox
Founder & Executive Director


Lawsuit Challenges Wildlife Services’ Authority to Kill Wolves in Oregon

As states take over management of wolves, USDA Wildlife Services is the go-to federal agency for lethal wolf control. Project Coyote and allies challenged the authority Wildlife Services to kill any of the approximately 81 remaining gray wolves in Oregon. Represented by the Western Environmental Law Center, our complaint contends that Wildlife Services failed to explain why killing wolves on behalf of livestock interests should replace common-sense, proactive and nonlethal alternatives such as those reflected in the Oregon Gray Wolf Management Plan. The National Environmental Policy Act requires both this analysis and public disclosure. In Oregon and Washington, Wildlife Services completed vague plans to target wolves for livestock depredations but failed to justify why nonlethal alternatives would be inadequate.

Read More


Grant McComb rallies youth to support wolves in California

Protecting Wolves in California

Now that wolves are protected under the CA Endangered Species Act and the first breeding pair has been established in the state since their extirpation in the 1920s, the state is developing a state Wolf Conservation Plan that will guide management decisions as gray wolves recolonize their native home. However, the current plan could lead to the removal of vital protections for wolves before the state’s wolf population is stable. As a member of the CA Wolf Coalition, Project Coyote has joined with our allies in pressing for a strong plan that emphasizes proactive recovery, best available science and innovative approaches to conflict mitigation. CA residents: if you’ve not already commented, please take a moment to submit an online comment to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife urging them to follow through with strong safeguards that will protect wolves across California for generations to come (comments accepted until Feb. 15th).

Comment


Bobcat © Daniel Dietrich

The bobcat is the most widespread wildcat in North America. But by the 1980s, their numbers throughout much of their historic range had dwindled due to bounties, hunting and trapping. In 1989, the bobcat became a fully protected species in New Hampshire. In October of 2015, pressure from the hunting and trapping lobby resulted in a NH Fish and Game Commission vote in favor of initiating rule-making to establish a bobcat hunting, trapping, baiting and hounding season, to include the issuance of 50 permits (for NH residents only) via a lottery system. In her testimony before the Commission, Project Coyote’s Chis Schadler stated “As a conservation biologist I can state that there is no biological reason to hunt the bobcat, or any other predator; predators regulate themselves,” as reported by NH Public Radio.

Read More


Marilyn McGee leads a presentation on coexistence.

Through our Coyote Friendly Communities and our Ranching with Wildlife programs Project Coyote works with communities across America to promote coexistence and reduce negative encounters between people and wildlife both in urban and rural landscapes. Our representatives provide presentations and workshops on topics from Living with Coyotes to Understanding Native Carnivores, Ranching with Wildlife and Hazing Coyotes. In San Francisco, Project Coyote’s Gina Farr recently provided a workshop about coyote hazing for city residents. Camilla Fox will provide a free presentation – Wild Things: Co-Existing With North America’s Native Carnivores – at the Presidio’s Officers Club on Feb. 4th (more info. here). Project Coyote NM Rep. and East Coast Representatives Chris Shadler, John Maguranis, Stacey Evans and Marilyn McGee are providing presentations across the Eastern Seaboard, promoting Project Coyote’s mission and message of compassionate coexistence..

Find an event near you


Camilla Fox presents Michael Sutton with Project Coyote's Wildlife Stewardship of the Year Award

Project Coyote’s Wildlife Stewardship of the Year Award

Michael Sutton, former President of the California Fish and Game Commission, was honored with Project Coyote’s 2015 Wildlife Stewardship of the Year Award for his exemplary leadership in promoting compassionate conservation, stewardship and peaceful coexistence between people and wildlife in California and beyond. Sutton is a social entrepreneur and internationally respected conservation leader who has worked at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, National Audubon Society, World Wildlife Fund, and the David & Lucile Packard Foundation. Governor Schwarzenegger twice appointed Sutton to the California Fish & Game Commission, where he served from 2007-2015. He was instrumental in creating the nation’s largest network of marine protected areas. He was elected President for two years and presided over the Commission’s action to list the Gray Wolf as endangered in California, ban wildlife-killing contests statewide, and implement legislation prohibiting the use of toxic lead ammunition for all hunting.

See Sutton in Action

OTHER NEWS

LookingRight_AdeleBrand_coyote

Inside the US agency charged with killing a ‘mindboggling’ number of animals

After anti-government protesters took over Oregon’s Malheur National Wildlife Refuge earlier this month to support two ranchers convicted of arson, it emerged that the convicts, Steven and Dwight Hammonds, had received thousands of dollars in financial support from the federal government. Read More

FKR-CC-ChuqVonRospach-Bobcat-square

How cruelty killed the bobcat

You’ve probably never seen a bobcat. It’s an elusive creature that’s about two to three times the size of a house cat – a feline with distinctive spotted fur that’s coveted around the world. Read more

Oregonion who shot wolf faces criminal charges

http://www.capitalpress.com/Oregon/20151116/oregon-man-who-shot-wolf-faces-criminal-charges

Eric Mortenson

Capital Press

Published:November 16, 2015 3:15PM

Courtesy of Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
OR 22, a male wolf that separated from the Umatilla River Pack in February, is pictured walking through a Northeast Oregon forest on Jan. 26. A Baker City, Ore., man who reported he shot the wolf now faces criminal charges.
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Although not a factor in the criminal case, the shooting happened as Oregon wildlife officials were deciding to take wolves off the state endangered species list.

 

A Baker City, Ore., man who told state police and wildlife officials that he’d shot a wolf while hunting coyotes on private property has been charged with killing an endangered species.

Brennon D. Witty, 25, also was charged with hunting with a centerfire rifle without a big game tag, Harney County District Attorney Tim Colahan said Monday. Both charges are Class A misdemeanors, each punishable by up to a year in jail and a $6,250 fine. Witty will be arraigned Dec. 2 in Grant County Justice Court, Canyon City.

The shooting happened in Grant County; the neighboring Harney County DA handled it as a courtesy because his Grant County counterpart was acquainted with the hunter’s family and wanted to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest.

The incident happened Oct. 6, when Witty voluntarily notified ODFW and Oregon State Police that he’d shot a wolf while hunting coyotes on private property south of Prairie City. Police recovered a wolf’s body on the property.

Oregon’s action to remove wolves from the state endangered species list has no apparent bearing on the case. Wolves were listed under the state Endangered Species Act at the time of the shooting; the ODFW Commission on Nov. 9 removed wolves from the state list. Regardless, they remained on the federal endangered species list in the western two-thirds of the state.

The wolf was identified as OR-22, a male that has worn a GPS tracking collar since October 2013 and dispersed from the Umatilla Pack in February 2015. He was in Malheur County for awhile, then traveled into Grant County. Wildlife biologists don’t believe he had a mate of pups. Young or sub-dominant wolves often leave their home packs to establish their own territory and find mates.

OR-22 was the third Oregon wolf known to have died since August, when the Sled Springs pair in Northeast Oregon were found dead of unknown cause. The state now has a minimum of 82 wolves.