They’re big, hairy, and get a bad rap in fairy tales; wolves are back in Central Oregon.
Recently, a couple are being spotted frequently in Camp Sherman country, and are becoming local celebrities.
“Really exciting to see it because I know that we don’t get to see that everyday,” said Brook White, who was camping near Camp Sherman.
White and her family came across a wolf Friday morning while searching for new camping spots.
“Well there was campers right there and he (the wolf) saw me and took off running,” White said.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife began spotting wolves on their Jefferson County trail cameras as early as March 30th and received sighting reports in August of 2021.
“It’s light colored,” White said “It’s bigger than a dog.”
“I haven’t heard of it in years, even being around the area and just recently the wolves have been being seen and they’re making a comeback which is really good,” said Chris Woods, a fly fishing guide at Camp Sherman’s camp store.
A 9.4 mile-wide region of the Metolius Basin is the estimated use-area for the wolves, with two determined to inhabit the region.
“So I’m assuming it’s the same one,” White said “It’s the only one that I’ve seen, it’s been always by itself.”
Because wolves follow their food, animals like deer and elk, there’s no telling how long they’ll stay in the area, or if they’ll stick around permanently.
“I hope they come back and their populations come back, that we have a safe relationship with them and no one gets hurt or they don’t hurt the wolves,” Woods said.
If you’re camping in the area and see a wolf, leave it alone.
“Don’t chase it, don’t try to feed it,” Woods said.
The ODFW suggests to make a small sound so they know you’re there.
Once they see you, most wolves will run away.
“I’m not really scared of it,” White said “We’ve camped around here a lot and haven’t had to worry about it.”
In 2021, 176 wolves lived in Oregon at minimum, two more than in 2020.
As for wolf mortalities; 26 were killed in 2021.
That’s up from 10 in 2020.