The Harney County District Attorney will decide whether a man that shot and killed a wolf in Eastern Oregon will face charges.The man, who was not named, shot and killed the wolf OR22 on Oct. 6 while hunting coyotes south of Prairie City, according to the Oregon State Police.
Wolves are protected by the state Endangered Species Act throughout Oregon and it is unlawful to shoot one, except in defense of human life.
The man met with Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife personnel and OSP near Prairie City. The body of the deceased wolf was recovered from private property in that area.“Hat’s off to him for turning himself in,” OSP public information officer Bill Fugate said. “He’s a true sportsman in that he made a mistake and reported it.”
OSP completed an investigation and delivered a prepared report to the Grant County District Attorney's office for review. However, the Harney County District Attorney has taken over the case.
OR22 was a male wolf that had dispersed from the Umatilla River pack. He attracted some attention after arriving in Malheur County when several farmers and irrigation ditch workers spotted him laying in a wheat field west of Adrian on April 21, according to the Capital Press.
Philip Milburn, a district wildlife biologist in ODFW’s Ontario office, told the newspaper OR22 had been spending time west of Adrian for more than a week and even swam across a canal in front of some ditch workers.
The shooting comes at an important juncture in the management of wolves in Oregon. There are 85 known wolves in the state — although most believe there are closer to 100 to 110. The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission is due to make a decision about whether to remove wolves from the state endangered species list in November.