An elk hunter reported shooting a wolf in Eastern Oregon, saying it charged him, according to the Oregon State patrol.
It is the first time that a wolf has been reported to be shot in self defense in Oregon since the animals began returning to the state in the late 1990s.
A 38-year-old man from Clackamas, Ore., was hunting elk alone in Union County when he repeatedly noticed some type of animal moving around him, he told law enforcement officials, according to police reports.
A short time later he saw three animals, which he thought were coyotes.
When one ran directly at him, he screamed at it and then, fearing for his life, fired one shot at it, according to accounts in police reports. The animal died and the other two animals disappeared.
When the man returned to camp he told the hunters there that he had shot something, possibly a coyote. His fellow hunters went to take a look and concluded it was a wolf, according to the state patrol.
They will usually avoid humans and leave the area when they see, hear or smell people close by.
own, acting wolf coordinator for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
The man who shot the wolf then notified the Oregon State Police and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. It was about 11:30 a.m. on Oct. 27.
State investigators determined that the hunter was 27 yards from where the wolf carcass was found when he shot.
A state biologist said the wolf was an 83-pound female associated with the OR30 pair of wolfs in Union and Umatilla counties. An initial examination did not indicate the wolf was a breeding female.
The Union County District Attorney’s Office does not plan to prosecute, believing it to be an incident of self-defense, according to the Oregon State Police.
Shooting wolve in Oregon is illegal except for self defense or in certain instances in which livestock are being killed.
Dangerous encounters between wolves and people are rare, said Robyn Brown, acting wolf coordinator for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
“They will usually avoid humans and leave the area when they see, hear or smell people close by,” she said.
People who are concerned for their safety if they see a wolf or other animal, should talk or yell to alert the animal. A warning shot also may be fired into the ground, she said.