The Honorable Kate Brown
Governor, State of Oregon
State Capitol Building
900 Court Street NE, 160
Salem, OR 97301
The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) would like to go on record as supporting HB 4040—as approved by the Oregon State Legislature—to ratify and approve the decision by the State Fish and Wildlife Commission to remove Canis lupus from the state’s list of threatened or endangered species.
The reintroduction of gray wolves in the Rocky Mountain West has adverse effects on elk, deer, other wildlife and livestock when not properly managed and controlled. RMEF staunchly supports wolf management in the form of hunting and trapping, especially in undermanaged predator populations that have a more significant impact on elk and other wildlife. Biologists agree there is no science to refute the viability of managing wolves as with other species. Additionally, there is overwhelming science from multiple states and Canadian provinces that supports proactive management and control of wolf populations administered by state wildlife agencies.
Please consider several important reasons for supporting this legislation.
- Gray wolves have already re-established populations in Oregon. State wildlife managers announced in early February the state’s wolf population now exceeds 100 animals—up from the 2014 minimum population of 77 wolves
- Wolves have significant impacts on elk, deer, other wildlife and livestock in western states—all factors critically important to Oregon’s landscape, recreational value and economy
- Judging from our experience in other western states, wolves impact wildlife populations, distribution and behavior—often in negative and undesirable ways.
- The distrust of state wildlife personnel and science by some groups is unfounded and unwarranted. Western state wildlife agencies provide the most successful model of managing ALL wildlife species. We strongly urge you to allow these professionals to do their jobs.
This legislation is the right move as Oregon wolves are recovered. This bill will allow the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) to follow its wolf management plan—which provides protection both from and for wolves down the road.
According to the ODFW Wolf Plan, any take of wolves is tightly regulated. There is no general hunting season of wolves allowed in any phase of the current plan. Wolves in the western two-thirds of Oregon will continue to be protected until they reach the conservation objective of four breeding pairs for three consecutive years.
You will certainly be pressured by other groups to veto this bill. Many of them view this issue as a fundraising tool and file lawsuit after lawsuit to gum up the process of proper, balanced wildlife management. The hysteria over delisting is based primarily on ideology and fundraising. State wildlife managers need to be allowed to do their jobs in looking out for what’s best for wildlife.
Please understand our position on this issue does not come without serious consideration of the science of wolves and wolf management. In fact, we have invested more than $930,000 in grants to leading universities, state and federal wildlife conservation agencies and tribal agencies for independent research on this subject, and wolf management overall.
Please sign HB 4040 into law.
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this important issue.
M. David Allen
President & CEO