Rural Oregonians and conservationists have very different ideas about how the state should manage its gray wolf population. Tensions between the two groups have been building for over a decade.
And according to a recent release from an Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife Trooper, an Eastern Oregon man took matters into his own hands last month and illegally trapped and killed a wolf.
The trooper who found the dead wolf—a nine-month old female—determined that she had been caught in a foothold and then shot in the spinal column with a "small caliber bullet."
David M. Sanders, 58, of Elgin, admitted to having set the traps and shooting the animal. He now faces two misdemeanor charges—one for setting unbranded traps and one for the "unlawful taking of wildlife."
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife guesses that the young slain wolf was the offspring of a new pair of breeding wolves found this year in the Umatilla National Forest area.
She represents at least the fifth recorded inadvertent trapping since Oregon began licensing trappers in the late 2000s. However, in the previous four cases, ODFW was contacted and the wolves were safely tracked and released.