Oregon governor confident with wolf-killing investigation
SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has expressed confidence in the investigation that ended with no charges against an elk hunter who told police he killed a wolf in self-defense.
More than a dozen conservation groups urged Brown to reopen the investigation into the Oct. 27 shooting west of La Grande.
Brown told the groups in a reply last month that she consulted with the agencies involved in the investigation — Oregon State Police, Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife and Union County District Attorney’s Office — and has confidence in their findings, the Capital Press newspaper reported Wednesday.
“While Oregon is working toward wolf recovery, any wolf mortality is a serious concern that deserves a full and rigorous investigation,” Brown said.
The hunter, Brian Scott, told investigators that he was alone when he saw three animals he believed to be coyotes. One of them charged, forcing him to shoot.
Scott said he returned to camp and told fellow hunters what happened. He said he was unsure if he shot a coyote, so he returned to the scene and discovered it was a wolf. He reported the killing to police.
Investigators determined that the wolf was 27 yards (24 meters) away when the hunter fired.
The conservation groups argue that the bullet passed through the wolf’s shoulders, perhaps indicating that it was standing broadside to Scott and not charging. Scott has said he cannot explain the trajectory, and does not know if the wolf veered sideways before he fired.
Steve Pedery, conservation director for Oregon Wild, said the group will continue to pressure the governor and agencies regarding wolf poaching investigations.
“We now have, I think by anyone’s standards, an epidemic of wolf poaching around the state,” Pedery said. “That’s a situation that should be deeply concerning for anyone who cares about wildlife in this state.”
Brown pointed out in her letter that it’s illegal to kill a wolf for sport in Oregon.
“Too many wolves have been found shot in Oregon where the shooters have not been identified,” she wrote.
Information from: Capital Press, http://www.capitalpress.com/washington