On October 27, Oregon State Police and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife were notified an elk hunter killed a wolf in Union County.
The 38-year-old man told police he was hunting elk alone when he saw some type of animal moving around him. Shortly thereafter, he saw three animals he assumed were coyotes. One of them began running directly at the man while the others moved around him.
The hunter said he began to scream at the one running toward him. He then shot and killed it in fear for his life. The other two disappeared from sight after the single gunshot.
The man believed the animal was a coyote until he returned to the site with fellow hunters. They concluded it was, in fact, a wolf. The hunter then contacted OSP and ODFW.
An investigation concluded the wolf was 27 yards away from the hunter when it was killed. The carcass was seized for later examination.
Police said based on the evidence, there will be no charges at this time, and it’s believed to be an incident of self-defense. OSP said under most circumstances, it’s illegal to kill a wolf in Oregon.
According to ODFW, this is the first instance of a wolf being shot in self-defense in the state since wolves returned to Oregon in the 1990s.
“Dangerous encounters between wolves and people are rare, as are such encounters between people and cougars, bears and coyotes,” said Roblyn Brown, ODFW Acting Wolf Coordinator. “They will usually avoid humans and leave the area when they see, hear, or smell people close by. If you see a wolf or any other animal and are concerned about your safety, make sure it knows you are nearby by talking or yelling to alert it to your presence. If you are carrying a firearm, you can fire a warning shot into the ground.”
ODFW determined the 83-pound wolf was part of the OR30 pair of wolves roaming northeast Oregon.
© 2023 KOBI-TV NBC5. All rights reserved unless otherwise stated.