Politics and Personalities in Oregon's Wolf Country
Publication Year: 2013
“Just as the humans involved in the wolf debate deserve to be seen as individuals, not stereotypes, so do the wolves. They are not the boogeyman, or storybook monsters aiming to prey upon the young and old. They aren’t cuddly pets or religious icons. They are Canis lupus. Wolves.” —from the Introduction
Teeming with the tension and passion that accompany one of North America’s most controversial apex predators, Collared tracks the events that unfolded when wolves from the reintroduced population of the northern Rocky Mountains dispersed west across state lines into Oregon.
In a forthright and personal style, Aimee Lyn Eaton takes readers from meeting rooms in the state capitol to ranching communities in the rural northeast corner of the state. Using on-the-ground inquiry, field interviews, and in-depth research, she shares the story of how wolves returned to Oregon and the repercussions of their presence in the state.
Collared: Politics and Personalities in Oregon’s Wolf Country introduces readers to the biologists, ranchers, conservationists, state employees, and lawyers on the front lines, encouraging a deeper, multifaceted understanding of the controversial and storied presence of wolves in Oregon.
Published by: Oregon State University Press
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Title Page, Copyright Page, Dedication
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Map of Oregon
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On the last Thursday in April 2012, the Wallowa County Chamber of Commerce hosted a community meeting titled Wolves II: Know the Facts. Perhaps due to the weather, which was cold, blustery, and threatening snow, or perhaps because it was a school night and also calving season, ...
1. Wolves in Oregon
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It’s 5:45 a.m. on the second to last Wednesday in May 2012, and I’m sitting in the parking lot of the Starbucks in La Grande, Oregon, waiting on a text message from the state’s wolf coordinator, Russ Morgan. Morgan had invited me to make the seven-hour drive out from the Willamette Valley to the northeast corner of state this week ...
2. First Meetings
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Morgan is driving in low gear. Half his body is hanging out the truck’s open window, and his eyes are fixed on the small weedy ditch that runs alongside what at one time might have been a logging road. It has been sprinkling on and off, and while the road is dry the ditch is still muddy. ...
3. Getting Organized
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There are twenty-one milk crate–sized boxes of documents stacked like building blocks along the back wall of the third-floor conference room at the ODFW’s headquarters in Salem, Oregon. Every box is bulging at the sides with reams of notes collected from 2003 to 2005, when the planning process for the Oregon Wolf Plan (OWP) was underway. ...
4. Making the Plan
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The La Grande meeting passed largely without incident. The WAC reviewed its operation guidelines and then received briefings on wolf biology and ecology, the temporary federal strategy for managing wolves in Oregon, and historical wolf issues in the state. ...
5. Early Arrivals
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It is the middle of July in a long, hot summer. The calendar says 2008. It has been three years since the wolf plan was signed, and the state has confirmed the presence of only one live wolf. B-300, a radio-collared female from an Idaho pack, was captured on video in January 2008 as she traveled in the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest ...
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It’s just after noon on the last day of August 2012. On the phone Karl Patton’s voice keeps getting louder. He’s spitting his words, and they come through the receiver like verbal battering rams. I turn down the volume and hold the speaker a few inches from my ear. He abruptly stops talking, and I hear him take a deep breath that is almost a sigh. ...
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June 2011 started off with another cow killed by a wolf from the Imnaha pack. A state-issued order for lethal removal of the wolf was delivered on the same day the depredation was confirmed. The ODFW spent the following three weeks tracking and conducting low-elevation flyovers in an execution patrol for any uncollared members of the Imnaha pack. ...
8. The Problems of Retribution
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It’s 6:55 a.m. on April 11, 2012. I’m meeting Rod Childers at the Friends diner in downtown Enterprise in five minutes. I’ve been camping out in Wallowa County for several days, and I spend the extra time tucking in my shirt and trying to get my hair to stop sticking up in the back. ...
9. The Media Circus
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In fall 2011, as Oregon went to court over the proposed lethal removal of the two Imnaha wolves, another wolf story was unfolding. OR-7, a two-year-old male wolf, had left eastern Oregon and was making his way west. ...
10. The Science of Recovery
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There is little doubt that wolves are on the path to recovery in Oregon, but it’s not a done deal. As a species they continue to face innumerable challenges in the state, including the disappearance and loss of individuals, dispersal to other states, and death from both natural and human causes. ...
11. Context Clues
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Oregon was the first state to receive naturally dispersing wolves from the northern Rocky Mountain population in Yellowstone and Idaho. It was also the first state to take a preemptive approach to managing wolves by creating a wolf management plan prior to the arrival of wolves in the state. That’s where the firsts end, though. ...
12. Moving Targets
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My brake line cracked sometime between last night and this morning, but I found out only when I dropped into the Wallowa River canyon heading from La Grande to Joseph, Oregon. Feeling the brake pedal hit the floorboards, I downshifted from fifth to third before slamming it into second. ...
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It took nearly two years but in mid-July 2013 the lawsuit filed in the Oregon Court of Appeals preventing the lethal removal of wolves by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife was rendered moot when the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission adopted a series of new rules and provisions that amend the state’s wolf management plan. ...
Appendix A: Timeline of Events
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Appendix B: 2010 OWP Revisions
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Appendix C: Administrative Documents
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Wolves are not an easy subject in the West, and I am deeply grateful for the many good men and women who chose to wade into the torrent of information and issues to share in the creation of this book. Without Russ Morgan at the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife I would have never gotten off the ground, or into the field. ...
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Page Count: 176
Publication Year: 2013