Senator Doug Whitsett
Klamath Falls, District 28, 2/18/11
Whitsett bills addressing
livestock predators: wolves, coyotes,
Russian news media is reporting the
extreme end-game that results from the
introduction and failure to control
timber wolves. They report that a
Siberian town of 1,400 people has been
terrorized for the past three weeks by a
pack of 400 wolves. Residents are
describing the siege as an “animal
apocalypse”. In the Verkhoyansk region,
“everyone who can hold a rifle is
mobilized to fight wolves”.
Starting February 18, 2011, authorities
in Slettas, Norway are currently
providing free transportation for school
children who live more than 800 yards
from their bus stop in order to protect
them from wolves. Their representative
in Parliament said “it has gone too far
when we have to drive children to school
for fear they will meet a wolf pack on
An experimental population of Canadian
Gray Wolves was introduced into
Montana’s Yellowstone Park in 1995.
They were subsequently listed as
endangered species, functionally
preventing their unrestricted
reproduction and migration.
During the past 15 years, they have
reproduced and migrated to populate
Montana, Wyoming, Idaho and parts of
Utah with several thousand of these
vicious, imported predators. In those
states they have decimated the elk, deer
and moose populations as well as causing
extensive mortality and other related
losses to their livestock industry.
Most recently the Canadian Gray Wolves
have migrated into northeastern Oregon.
Last Tuesday an Enterprise cattle
rancher found two of his cows that had
been killed by wolves in the most cruel
way imaginable. The wolves had dragged
the heavily pregnant cows down by their
hamstrings without inflicting a killing
bite wound. These sadistic creatures had
then proceeded to eat the still living
cows from behind, ripping their live
calves from their reproductive tract,
and partially consuming the still living
fetuses. Wildlife Services, U. S. Fish
and Wildlife Services and the Oregon
Department of Fish and Wildlife have all
confirmed that the cows and their calves
were killed by wolves.
The interaction with wolves began in
Oregon starting back in March of 2010.
Agencies have confirmed at least 11
cattle kills in Oregon. Another 23
calves and 9 cows are missing and
presumed lost to predation. It is
difficult to document livestock killed
by wolves on rangeland because these
cattle are often not seen by their
owners for weeks at a time. If the
remains are found the evidence required
to confirm a wolf kill is usually long
It is even more difficult to quantify
the losses sustained from herds being
hazed by wolves. That constant fear of
being attacked causes loss of gain,
failed reproduction, and selective
exclusion from grazing areas.
Both state and federal law prevents
livestock owners from using lethal
methods to protect their livestock. It
is hard to imagine the frustration and
rage experienced by a livestock owner
when they know that their livestock is
being cruelly attacked but they are
prevented from protecting those animals
by draconian federal and state laws.
Neither state nor federal governments
reimburse the livestock owners for their
losses. Privately funded reimbursement
programs have proven inadequate and
unreliable. Some of these private
programs appear to purposely mislead
both the public and the livestock owners
as to their scope and benefits.
After fifteen years of virtual unchecked
wolf predation, Democratic Montana
governor Brian Schweitzer has finally
Last week the governor sent a letter to
Interior department Secretary Ken
Salazar expressing his frustration at
the lack of any federal results that
recognize Montana’s rights and
responsibilities to manage its wildlife
and to protect its domestic livestock.
The Governor informed the Secretary that
livestock producers who harass or kill
wolves attacking their livestock will
not be prosecuted by Montana, and in
fact, will be directed not to
investigate or cite anyone protecting
livestock. He further informed the
Secretary that in the most adversely
affected Bitterroot Valley he has
instructed his agencies to cull these
wolves by whole-pack removal to enable
elk herds to survive and recover.
I have introduced two bills in the
current Legislature to address the
predation problem in Oregon.
SB 583 prohibits Oregon State Fish and
Wildlife commission from listing gray
wolves on the list of Oregon threatened
or endangered species. This will prevent
Oregon from having more restrictive
regulations concerning control of wolves
than the federal regulations in the
event that wolves are again removed from
the federal endangered species list.
SB 584 requires that a specific
percentage of money received from
issuance of hunting licenses tags and
permits be paid to the counties where
the licenses, tags and permits were
issued to be used for predator control.
Funding for predator control has been
systematically reduced at the national,
state and county level for at least the
past decade. We cannot expect to control
predation on our wildlife and domestic
animals without funding the effort. This
bill would establish a dedicated stream
of state funding to address the issue.
Predation by coyotes and cougars has
been an escalating problem on our
wildlife and domestic animals for at
least two decades. The migration of
wolves into Oregon is rapidly
intensifying that crisis.
I believe that the time to take action
is now before we are forced to take up
arms to protect our communities and our
Both SB 583 and SB 584 were assigned to
the Senate committee on the environment
and natural resources. Neither bill has
yet been scheduled for a hearing.
Please remember, if we do not stand up
for rural Oregon no one will.