Do States Manage Wolves Better?

Environmental Groups Leave Oregon Wolf Plan Discussions

Decades of experience with wildlife and forestry management shows that state agencies generally produce better results than federal agencies. It’s not that the feds don’t know what needs to be done; it’s that they can’t do anything without getting sued.

Because of the federal court system and federal statutes, it is relatively easy for pressure groups to tie federal agencies in knots. The resulting straight jacket has given us fire-prone, money-losing federal forests, and, federal land wildlife programs that often make no sense.

Because state agencies are not handicapped by these punitive legal constraints, they are more responsive to local citizens who are affected by their decisions. And because 50 states will go at any problem in 50 ways, there is built-in experimentation which results in widespread adoption of innovations that have worked elsewhere.

The synergy of applied conservation is often missing from the federal “one size fits all” approach to management and regulation because so often the rule makers are driven by litigation avoidance, instead of science or common sense.

NOTE: this article was originally published to on January 9, 2019.

Environmental Groups Leave Oregon Wolf Plan Discussions

After months of discussion aimed at establishing an updated wolf management plan in Oregon, several environmental groups say they’re leaving the process. They claim state wildlife officials want to make it easier for residents to kill wolves in order to protect their livestock. “There’s a huge cost. There’s a toll there,” Rodger Huffman, rancher and Oregon Cattlemen’s Association representative, told the Associated Press. “I don’t think anybody can expect to get everything you want, and so to pick up your marbles and say, ‘I’m going home because I’m not getting my way’ is a little bit unprofessional.”

Two of the groups, Cascadia Wildlands and Center for Biological Diversity, previously filed suit against the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife over wolf actions there. A judge dismissed those claims.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife counted 124 wolves during the winter of 2017-2018, marking an 11 percent increase over populations from one year earlier.

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation maintains that wolves should be subject to state management just as agencies manage elk, bears, deer, mountain lions and other wildlife.

(Photo source: Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife)

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