The General Recreation Page will feature activities that everybody enjoys doing in the outdoors of Southern Oregon. That will vary by season. But, we will give you a lot of information on all kinds of ways that you can get out and enjoy the great outdoors in this special part of the world that we live in.
RECREATION INFORMATION -
For right now, this is going to be information about wolves -
I attended a workshop last Saturday in which information about non lethal ways to deal with wolves for livestock owners was presented. However, a lot of that information could apply far more generally. We have a reality now which cannot be wished away. Wolves are going to be here. They are not going to be eliminated. In fact, it is very likely that we were told a fib when it was stated they had been wiped out. Especially now as we learn about how far wolves will disperse when seeking out new territories. Oregon was ALWAYS within range for dispersing wolves from Canada. We know that now.
Here are the BIG takeaways to remember where it comes to wolves.
#1 - Human presence beats ALL deterrents! But, does that mean being there physically in person? No. We heard from a rancher who runs animals in Northeastern Oregon in area with LOTS of wolves that "human presence" takes on many different meanings. Physical. Having radios going with music and talking. And, the method that got laughter in the room......peeing wherever you go. Literally. He says that they do this every time they get out of the truck, or whenever the call of nature happens wherever their animals are. It DOES establish the presence of humans. Whatever works right?
#2 - if you have an animal or animals that pass away, do NOT just let their bodies lie on the surface, or shallow bury the bones. You MUST burn that carcass, or DEEP bury it. Hauling it to landfill would be a great option too. We heard that wolves have dug down at least two feet in snow to recover bones or parts of carcasses they could smell. They WILL dig them up out of the ground too. And once you train wolves that they can get easy meals in a location, they will keep coming back to check it out. And then they start noticing what else is there.....like your live animals. And then trouble really begins. It has been documented here in Oregon that many times when issues with wolves developed, the first thing that drew them to the area was what are called bone piles. Those HAVE to go!
#3 - patterns of animals. Your animals have patterns. The wolves do too. For example, we know that the Mil Mar Ranch down here in Jackson County is going to have issues from October through March in terms of when depredations are most likely to occur. This has been seen in other areas too. Learn the patterns of when trouble is most likely to develop and then work out your strategy to deploy methods to meet those challenges. Make it tougher for the wolves not easier. One great example, keep your animals bunched in groups. Best way to do it that is to feed them right at dusk, in open portions of pastures not near the edges. By training the animals that feed is going to be in certain spots, you train them to go where they are less prone to attack. And, you have them grouped. And grouped is a big thing. Especially for cattle, but also for sheep and goats. Wolves operate on trying to get an animal singled out and running. If you can get animals grouped up out in the open...the wolves do not gain their first two advantages.
#4 - LEARN wolves! As rancher Cameron Krebs put it so perfectly......learn the enemy. A BIG mistake being made is that too many people are not learning how the wolves really operate. And so they are not learning what kinds of things that are non lethal could be used to help keep wolves, (and other predators), away from livestock. And it works! Doing study is a key component to this. And. regardless of what you chose to use for a non lethal method, make sure you train your animals to it and get them comfortable with it before you need to use it to deter wolves. You need your animals calm. And if they are used to things that make noise, wave, and all kinds of other things including fencing...then you are going to have a higher chance of success in repelling the wolves. Before I forget, it is even possible to train sheep to become accustomed to things like charged protective fencing if they realize that means safety. And, it works. But, you do have to put the time in to work with your animals and learn what will make that work.
And the final thing is.......adapt. The wolves adapt. The deer and elk will adapt. Humans however have a real hard time of letting go. "It worked for my Grandpa", or "My Dad has always done it this way." is going to be a way to get beaten. Learn the new ways of doing things. Change your thought process. This by the way also goes for hunters right now too. For as much as wolves are getting blamed for what is happening with the deer and elk, the reality is the deer and elk adapted and changed where and what they are doing. Humans are not doing it. And because they are not......well, you can figure this out. Adapt and be successful, or keep trying to do it the same old ways and being frustrated.
It is a whole new landscape out there. The wolves are here to stay. Ranchers and ranching are here to stay. There is a flat finality to that difficult for some to accept. Those who are adapting and trying new ways of doing things are being successful. It can be done. But, in the end this is not about the wolves. It is not about the deer, elk, or livestock. It is about the humans. Because everything else out there is learning and adapting. The humans are way behind the curve. But, it was great today to hear from some of the people who are getting on top of the adaptation process and proving it can be done. Without having to kill a thing or to give up their ranching lives.
The population of wolves in Oregon is strong and continues growing. The MINIMUM total of wolves documented now is up to 137. Again, this is a MINIMUM or least number. All the experts in the room yesterday agreed that there are very likely many more wolves than that out there on the landscape. But trying to find them and get them documented is a very large task. Help from the public is going to be critical in helping them find all the wolves in Oregon.
If you see a wolf, find tracks you think are wolf tracks, or you hear howling....please use the form at the link to report that. https://www.dfw.state.or.us/wolves/wolf_reporting_form.asp
This provides them with clues on where to start looking. Get pictures or recordings of howling if you can. If you take pictures of tracks you think are wolf tracks, always provide something for scale in those photos. BIG dogs can put down large tracks too. And by the way, use this guide to help you determine if you are looking at a wolf if you see a large canine that might be one. https://docs.google.com/…/1FAIpQLSeHL-OELiIAlFmaQM…/viewform
We are now up to three breeding pairs/packs of wolves in the Cascades. The White River Pack up near Mt. Hood has pups with them. The new Indigo Pack in Eastern Douglas County also has pups with them.
The Rogue Pack with the very famous OR 7 as the alpha male has not produced pups this year. And this is the first real indication of the very elderly status of both OR 7 and his mate. OR 7 is now 10 years old. That is REALLY old for a wolf. His mate is also elderly. She is believed to be around 8 years old. Where once she was a black wolf, she is now turning white due to her age. There are still three other wolves with them that may be pups they have raised. So for that reason, even though they have not produced pups this year, the Rogue Pack is still a pack as defined by the laws set forward in the Oregon Wolf Management plan.
The future of the pack is now clearly in question. OR 7 and his mate are on the decline. Old age is having it's way with them. This also may be a reason why they have become the predators of livestock that they have, especially at the Mil Mar Ranch. The age of the alphas is forcing them to look for easier targets of opportunity. Typically what has happened within wolf packs will be the ascendecy of subordinates replacing the alphas. Or, the pack may fragment.
And this may already be happening. There is a group of wolves now in an area with Prospect on the south side, up to the Crater Lake National Park area, and then to the west in the Umpqua Divide. This is known as a wolf activity area. They are doing work right now in that area to try to get total numbers established, and to also see if there are pups with that group of wolves. There have been reports that wolves have been seen in the top of the Elk Creek drainage. This could be that group. But, work is going to to establish that. And, they are working to see if these are pups from the Rogue Pack that are establishing their own territory and thus becoming their own pack. That has already been well documented. So far the first pack of wolves that have been proven to have Rogue Pack bloodlines in them is the Lassen Pack down in California. The alpha male of that pack is from the Rogue Pack up here. That has been proven by DNA.
There is another wolf they are really hoping to find. It is the first one that has arrived in the Coast Range in Coos and Curry Counties. That wolf was captured in game cams on two different occasions. And, it is likely the wolf responsible for attacks on livestock near Langlois multiple times. But, that wolf does not have a collar. It has not been seen in months on game camera footage anywhere in the Coast Range. They are also not finding tracks. It is possible it may be in the really tough to access country of the Coast Range. Or, it may have moved on out of the areas it had been in. Where it went....nobody has any idea. As was stated somewhat humourously yesterday at the workshop, biologists have found that the Ocean is a very effective barrier that the wolves cannot cross. But, the key thing is...wolves could now be present in EVERY part of Southern Oregon and Northern California. ALL OF IT! Just because they have not been documented in an area does not mean they are not there. This is another reason why your reports to ODF&W and to Cal Fish and Game are so critical.
Here is another missing wolf they are looking for. OR 44 is a wolf that has a collar on. They had tracked him to Siskiyou County all the way from Northeastern Oregon. He had a special affinity for the mountains between the Scott and Shasta Valleys. He would frequently return there. We KNOW a big part of that attraction was that he had found carcasses and bone piles on a ranch in that area. In fact, that ranch had put game cams on a carcass. They got pictures of OR 44 at that carcass. Why would they not take care of a carcass and put cams on it? I believe they were looking to see bears. Because in one of those photos a HUGE black bear was on the caracass while OR 44 was seen in the background waiting. Again, you just cannot do that anymore in Southern Oregon and Northern California. You cannot leave carcasses out for whatever reason. You cannot have bone piles on the surface or shallow buried. Those things WILL draw wolves in. Going to happen. Anyway...OR 44's collar has stopped working. They have no clue where he is now.
And, in Northern California there is an entire pack of wolves that disappeared from view three years ago now. For two years the Shasta Pack had been documented. They had been producing pups. Every wolf in that pack was a black wolf. But, none of them had collars. For whatever reason they left the area they had been in...and nobody has any clue where they have gone off to. It was like the Earth just swallowed them up. These last two reports I am giving you about OR 44 and the still missing Shasta Pack is being done to emphasize the fact that wolves could be anywhere now. You need to be thinking that way. And, if you have animals, you need to adapt everything you are doing to make them less of a potential target for wolves.
If you think that all Wildlife Services does is kill animals, and that they want to eliminate the wolves and other predators, get ready to have that belief blown up. It was announced at the workshop that Wildlife Services has now hired a dedicated NON Lethal Methods specialist to work here in Southwestern Oregon and also in Klamath County. The special point of emphasis is going to be working to reduce wolf conflicts. But, this specialist will be working to deter predation from all predators. This is a very welcome addition to our area. And, it proves that just going out and killing is not at all what Wildlife Services does. I have always been very irritated by that. It was a work of fiction spun to be "truth" by the animal rights crowd. But, now we have sterling proof to show that was a lie. Yes, Wildlife Services will do removal if that is the only way to resolve the situation. In the case of wolves in Oregon west of Highway 395, removal is NOT an option at all. In all parts of California removal of wolves is not an option at all. Even with species where removal is an option, it is still the last resort.