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Elk WILDLIFE DIVISION
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Wolf  Human Interactions

What hikers and wildlife viewers need to know

Howling Wolf

Keep Wolves Wild

Wolves generally avoid human interactions, unless they have become acclimated to people. Please do your part to keep wolves where they belong—in the wild.

  • Don’t feed the wolves. Wolves are wary of people; they can lose their fear of humans by becoming used to them.
  • Don’t feed other wildlife. Deer and small mammals can attract wolves, cougars and bears.
  • Feed pets indoors. Never leave food outside.
  • When camping, secure all food from wildlife and sleep away from cooking areas.
  • Keep dogs leashed when outdoors.
  • Steer clear of pups and any young wildlife—mother is likely nearby.
  • If you hunt with dogs, avoid known areas of wolf activity. Check for wolf tracks and sign before letting dogs loose.

Encountering a Wolf

In the unlikely event that a wolf threatens a human, here is what to do:

  • Stay calm.
  • Back away slowly while facing the animal.
  • Leave the wolf a way to escape.
  • Pick up small children without bending down.
  • Raise your voice and speak firmly.
  • If the wolf approaches or acts aggressively, wave your arms and make yourself look larger. Shout, make noise and throw any available objects.
  • In the unlikely event that you are attacked by a wolf, fight back. Try to remain standing and use rocks, sticks, tools, camping gear and your hands to fend off the attack. Keep the animal away from your neck and head.

Finding a Wolf Carcass

In the event you find a wolf carcass, please take the following steps.

  • Do not move or disturb any evidence.
  • If possible, cover the carcass with a secured tarp to preserve it.

Call USFWS or ODFW immediately. Timely investigation is necessary to confirm the cause of death.

 

Wolf Interaction: Hunters

Hunters should report wolf sightings, sign or activity online at ODFW’s wolf website

Wolves are protected throughout Oregon. It is not legal to shoot one, except in defense of human life. Report any incident with a wolf to the police or ODFW (541-963-2138). 

Conflicts between wolves and people are more likely to occur when wolves are habituated to people, infected with rabies, or when domestic dogs are present.

Wolves and hunting dogs: Reducing conflict

Wolf coyote identification
Click image to enlarge

Wolves are by nature extremely territorial and guard their territory from other canids, including coyotes and domestic dogs. Hunters who use dogs should take steps to limit potential conflicts between their dog(s) and a wild wolf.

Keep dogs within view.

  • Place a bell or a beeping collar on wider ranging dogs.
  • Talk loudly to the dog or other hunters or use whistles.
  • Control the dog so that it stays close to you and wolves associate it with a human.
  • Place the dog on a leash if wolves or fresh sign are seen.
  • Remember, it is NOT legal to shoot at or attempt to injure or kill a wolf even if it is attacking your dog.

Wolves vs. Coyotes

Wolves and coyotes can look similar, especially wolf pups in the mid-summer and fall. Use this graphic to distinguish between wolves and coyotes.

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