In the first-ever investigation into the shooting of a wolf in self-defense in the state of Oregon, it has been determined the hunter won’t be prosecuted. Although it’s illegal to shoot a wolf in the state, they can be shot if a human life is in danger.
The 38-year-old hunter was in the northeast part of the state on an elk hunt when he noticed movement from an animal that had been circling him. Not long after, three animals that the hunter thought were initially coyotes appeared and rushed toward him. He shot the one directly charging him once and killed it while the other ran away.
The following is a detailed account from Oregon State Police:
The hunter, a 38-year-old male, from Clackamas, told the trooper he had been hunting elk alone, when he repeatedly noticed some type of animal moving around him. A short time later, the hunter observed three of what he assumed would be coyotes. He said at one point one of them began to run directly at him, while another made its way around him.
The hunter stated he focused on the one running directly at him. He began to scream at it, and fearing for his life shot it one time. He said what he still believed to be a coyote died from the single shot. He stated that after the shot the other two disappeared out of sight.
The hunter said he returned to his camp and told fellow hunters what had occurred. He said he was still uncertain if what he shot was a coyote. He said they returned to the location and came to the conclusion it was a wolf. The hunter then notified ODFW and OSP.
Further investigation at the site of the shooting indicated the hunter was 27 yards from where he shot and where the wolf died. The wolf was seized and later released to ODFW for examination. The Union County District Attorney’s Office was consulted regarding the investigation and based upon the available evidence the case will not be prosecuted as this is believed to be an incidence of self-defense.