Oregonion 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.



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.

Be a Voice for the Gray Wolf

81 wolves, still too many wolves for Oregon Fish and Wildlife.
URGENT: Oregon’s wolves need our help, Wolf Advocates!
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Commission is proposing to remove its small population of 81 gray wolves from its Endangered Species List!
Please email
Subject: ODFW: Please consider keeping Oregon wolves listed

Be a Voice for the Gray Wolf's photo.
Be a Voice for the Gray Wolf

15 hrs · Edited ·

URGENT: Oregon’s wolves need our help, Wolf Advocates!
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Commission is proposing to remove its small population of 81 gray wolves from its Endangered Species List! Please email the ODFW Commission BEFORE its Friday, November 9th Commission Meeting in Salem. Info & sample letter below. Please share! Howls of thanks!

Email address: odfw.commission@state.or.us

Subject: ODFW: Please consider keeping Oregon wolves listed

Message: Dear Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Commissioners,

I’m writing the Commission today to request that the ODFW Commission keeps gray wolves listed on Oregon’s Endangered Species List.

The wolf delisting proposal is purely political; the recommendation appears to not consider any scientific data collected from independent biologists (who do not agree with the delisting proposal).

Oregon’s fragile population of a mere 81 wolves cannot currently withstand delisting. It would be disastrous to prematurely yank gray wolves off Oregon’s Endangered Species List.

I’m urging the Commission to conduct a solid, peer-reviewed scientific analysis on the gray wolf population in Oregon before it makes its final decision on the gray wolf delisting. Until such thorough analysis is provided, I’m asking the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Commissioners to keep Oregon wolves protected.

Thank you for considering my heartfelt request.



ODFW Gray Wolf Delisting Proposal Press Release:

Paul Ryan And Friends?

Just wondering… (with the KKK-type hoods, there’s no way to know for sure)…

Newly elected Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Paul Ryan wields the speaker's gavel for the first time on Capitol Hill in Washington October 29, 2015. REUTERS/Gary Cameron1384140_564330240283396_857016214_n

When Geraldo comes to town: KKK fight put Janesville in national spotlight – See more at: http://www.gazettextra.com/20150803/when_geraldo_comes_to_town_kkk_fight_put_janesville_in_national_spotlight#sthash.veQaCYNi.dpuf

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Marcia Nelesen
August 31, 2015
 Janesville has found itself in the national spotlight repeatedly through its history.

The hometown boy is serving his ninth term representing the First Congressional District and is also the chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee. He captured the world’s attention when he became the 2012 Republican vice presidential candidate.

Oregon Wildlife Officials Won’t Allow Killing of Wolves

Oregon Wildlife Officials Won't Allow Killing of Wolves

Wildlife officials won’t allow people to kill wolves in eastern Oregon’s Mount Emily pack despite five confirmed attacks on a sheep herd this summer.

Jeremy Bingham of Utopia Land and Livestock formally requested permission to kill the animals that he says are “massacring” his sheep, reported the East Oregonian, but the department turned him down.

The pack killed at least seven sheep and a guard dog in June and August, but the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife said non-lethal control measures have worked since the last attack, according to department spokeswoman Michelle Dennehy.

Although the state wolf recovery plan allows “lethal control” of wolves after two confirmed livestock losses, non-lethal measures must prove unsuccessful before killings are authorized. In this case, wolves have not killed any livestock on the property since the end of August, Dennehy said. Bingham did not request lethal control until nearly a month after the last livestock attack, she added.

The wolves also have to be present routinely on the property and propose a significant risk to livestock for the state to authorize killing them. In this case, Dennehy said, the wolves have moved to the central and southern part of the range, and the sheep are in the northeastern edge.

In addition, Dennehy said, the seasonal use on the rancher’s grazing allotment ends Oct. 19, so the sheep will be gone from the range in a couple of weeks.

The department hasn’t authorized killing any wolves since there were two in 2011.

“We are sorry your experience with Oregon’s forest lands has been problematic this year,” wildlife biologist Mark Kirsch wrote in a letter the department sent to Bingham. “It is our hope you complete your grazing season with no further loss.”

Bingham does have the right to use lethal force if a wolf is caught in the act of biting, wounding, killing or chasing his sheep or dogs. This does not require a permit from the state.

Bingham called the officials dishonest and told the Capital Press that “the only interest to them is that the wolves eat the economy of Eastern Oregon.”

He said he’s followed the state guidelines even while losing an estimated 100 ewes to wolves over the past two years. In addition to the guard dog killed this year, two were injured last year and another disappeared and is presumed dead.

“We have not harmed any wolves but we are not in the business of sacrificing assets to feed (the wildlife department’s) pet dogs,” Bingham told the Capital Press by text.

There aren’t wildlife department reports to corroborate all of Bingham’s claimed losses, but he said he didn’t report many of the attacks. According to the East Oregonian, other farmers suspect wolves kill many more cattle and sheep than are confirmed by the state.

The Department of Fish & Wildlife follows a strict protocol to confirm wolf attacks, including an examination of wounds and measuring bite marks and tracks.

Let’s Clean Up Our Language…Cigarettes come in packs, wolves come in families!

by Oliver Starr

Like all of you, I was overjoyed to hear the extraordinary news that a new wolf family has made California their home. For the first time in nearly 100 years the howls of WILD WOLF PUPPIES are gracing the slopes of Mt Shasta! How fitting that such a picturesque location would host such an important guest.

But my joy quickly turned to dismay when I saw that once again, as a community, we are making a mistake in our collective use of language and this mistake is harming wolves.

People that know wolves are well aware that groups of wolves are families — not “gangs of associated animals”. The term “pack” as defined by Webster’s provides many meanings for the word; most of them negative, none of them having anything in common with the reality of wolves: http://www.dict.org/bin/Dict…*

When we use the term “pack” to refer to wolf families, we “de-humanize” the species and we diminish what they are. The use of the term “pack” when applied to wolves is not only biologically inaccurate, it plays into the hands of those that hate them. It’s one thing for “Wildlife Services” to say, they’re eliminating the Wedge Pack, then if they told the truth and said they were going in to kill the Wedge Family of Wolves.

Even as I write this, I am watching tweets appear announcing the “Shasta Pack” in Northern California, I’ve received at least half a dozen emails from NGO’s and seen more news items than I can count announcing the same thing.

But imagine the even more positive nature of this news if the headlines read like this instead:

“California Welcomes Shasta Wolf Family as Species Gains Ground in West”

“CDFW Reports New Wolf Family Confirmed Via Camera Trap: Meet The “Shasta’s”

“Shasta Family: newest wolves to grace the Siskiyou…”

It’s a small change in language but one that gives a vastly different impression. It’s also a distinction that’s factually true. We can help the wolf by taking control of this language and consistently bringing this point home.

I know there are many others among you that share this conviction, one I owe to the late Gordon Haber. So for Gordon and for the wolves, let’s take back the dialog and welcome all wolf families, but most especially the Shasta Wolf Family, home.


First Wolf Pack in Decades Spotted in Northern California


California Wolf Pack

Now Playing: Teen Pulls Wolf’s Jaws Off His Head With Bare Hands

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California has its first wolf pack since the state’s gray wolf population went extinct in 1924.

State and federal authorities announced Thursday that a remote camera captured photos earlier this month of two adults and five pups in southeastern Siskiyou County.

They were named the Shasta pack for nearby Mount Shasta.

The pack was discovered four years after the famous Oregon wandering wolf OR-7 first reached Northern California.

Karen Kovacs of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife said it was an amazing accomplishment for gray wolves to establish themselves in Northern California just 21 years after wolves were reintroduced in the Northern Rockies.

Those wolves eventually migrated into Oregon and Washington before reaching California, where they are protected by federal and state endangered species acts.

Just where these wolves, all black in color, came from will have to wait for DNA testing on scat at an Idaho lab, but it is likely they are a continuation of the increasing numbers of wolves migrating from Oregon’s northeastern corner to the southern Cascade Range, Kovacs said.

Though the wolves have been spotted by local ranchers tending their herds, there have been no reports of wolf attacks on livestock, Kovacs said.

Kirk Wilbur, government affairs director for the California Stockmens Association, said ranchers remain worried about the potential for losing animals to wolves as their numbers increase.

Amaroq Weiss, of the conservation group with Center for Biological Diversity, said she was more worried the wolves could fall victim to hunters as hunting season gets underway.

Anticipating that wolves would migrate into the state, California declared them an endangered species last year, but the state Fish and Wildlife Department does not expect to have a management plan in force until the end of this year, Kovacs said.

The department has no goals for how many wolves might eventually live in California and no idea how many once lived in the state, she added. California’s last known native wolf was killed in 1924 in neighboring Lassen County.

There are at least 5,500 gray wolves in the contiguous 48 states, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

A win for Idaho wolves‏

From Defenders.org

The Idaho Fish and Game Department has announced that no wolves will be killed in the federally-protected Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness during the winter of 2015-16.

The announcement comes after a lawsuit brought by Defenders and other conservation groups to stop the killing of wolves to boost elk populations in federally-protected wilderness lands like Frank Church Wilderness.

The Frank Church Wilderness is the largest national forest wilderness area in the Lower 48 States and a core habitat for gray wolves in the western United States. I know you share my view that wilderness should be managed as wilderness, not as a game farm for favored hunters and commercial outfitters.

The state has previously planned to kill up to 60 percent of the wolves living in Frank Church, in large part to artificially inflate elk numbers for hunters. Those wolves can breathe easier for another winter after this latest decision.

Still, it’s important to remember that this reprieve is only temporary and that we must remain vigilant in our efforts to defend wolves in Idaho.

But thanks to you and your support, Defenders will continue to work tirelessly to protect wolves throughout the Lower 48.

Thank you for your compassion and your continued partnership!

copyrighted wolf in river

Oregon’s Famous Wolf Welcomes More Pups


  • July 13, 2015

Oregon’s Famous Wolf Welcomes More Pups

Around this time last year, wolf advocates celebrated news that after traveling thousands of miles alone looking for love and a new home, Oregon’s famous lone wolf OR-7 had found a mate and welcomed a litter of pups into the world.

Now wolf advocates are celebrating confirmation that not only are the three known pups who were born last year thriving, but the family, now formally known as the Rogue Pack, has welcomed yet another litter this spring.

Remote cameras caught last year’s pups playing in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest in late June and officials collecting the cameras found pup scat in the area, which led to the recent confirmation of

Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/oregons-famous-wolf-welcomes-more-pups.html#ixzz3gvsOokze

Wildlife Services kills 5 wolves



A gray wolf patrols its territory in the mountains of Idaho.


Wednesday, July 8, 2015 4:00 am

Idaho Wildlife Services has killed five wolves due to two incidents of sheep depredation that occurred on BLM land at the head of Croy Canyon and two incidents of cattle depredation that occurred on private land about 10 miles northeast of Fairfield.

Wildlife Services director Todd Grimm said the Idaho Department of Fish and Game confirmed that wolves had killed a ewe and a lamb on May 26 and a second ewe on June 3. He said the department confirmed a wolf kill of a calf on June 24 and a probable wolf kill of a cow on July 3.

Grimm said three wolves were shot on May 28 and two were shot on June 4.

He said the sheep were attended by herders and guard dogs, but said he did not know whether any scare devices were employed. He said the agency does not release the names of livestock producers whose animals are involved in depredation incidents.

Local wolf advocate Lynne Stone, director of the Boulder White Clouds Council, said the wolves were part of the Red Warrior pack, which had been viewed by people this winter on the hillside opposite the Warm Springs base area. She said that at that time, the pack consisted of nine wolves, though the alpha female died before the depredation incidents occurred.

“These wolves were in a great place with lots of wild country,” she said. “Then in came the sheep and we lose the wolves.”

Stone contended that Wildlife Services was “jumping the gun” by using lethal means before giving other methods a chance to scare off the wolves.

“When one ewe and one lamb get killed, they go in with their airplanes and shoot the whole pack,” she said. “We’re not going to have wolves in Blaine County if this is what the sheep industry and Wildlife Services are going to continue to do.”

Grimm said that elsewhere in the state this season, Wildlife Services killed three wolves due to depredation incidents in the Pahsimeroi Valley and three near Cascade. In February, the federal agency killed 19 wolves in the Lolo zone in northern Idaho at the request of the Department of Fish and Game to boost a declining elk population there.