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Wolves In Oregon

Gray wolves are currently protected statewide through the Oregon Wolf Conservation and Management Plan. West of Oregon Highways 395/78/95, they are also federally listed as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act. It is unlawful to kill any wolf in Oregon, except for livestock producers in certain situations.

In December 2015, Oregon’s wolf population consisted of a minimum of 110 wolves, including 11 packs in northeastern Oregon and 1 pack in the southern Cascades. As of August 2016, wolves are resident in portions of Baker, Grant, Lake, Jackson, Klamath, Umatilla, Union, and Wallowa counties, but wolves or wolf sign could potentially be observed anywhere in Oregon.

Wolf Sign

Please report wolf sightings or sign online at www.odfw.com/wolves.

Dog, coyote, and cougar paw prints can be mistaken for wolf tracks. Adult wolf prints are much larger than dog and coyote prints. See graphic below.

Wolf scat varies widely, depending on diet. Wolf scat is often cord-like and may contain hair and bone fragments. Wolf scat diameter ranges from 0.5 to 1.5 inches, but is usually greater than an inch. Wolf scat generally tapers to a point at one end.

The howls of wolves tend to be long and drawn-out as compared with the shorter, higher-pitched yapping sounds made by coyotes. Howling is a normal part of wolf communication and does not indicate aggression. Wolf vocalizations can also include growls and barks. Barks are not necessarily a sign of aggression; they may indicate a den or feeding site is nearby. Like other Oregon carnivores, wolves tend to be very timid and avoid detection by humans. See the graphic below to help identify wolves vs. coyotes.

Reduce Conflict Between Wolves and Hunting Dogs

Wolves are by nature territorial and guard their territory from other canids, including domestic dogs. Hunters who use dogs in wolf country can take the following steps to limit potential conflicts between their dog(s) and a wolf:

  • Keep dogs within view.
  • Place a bell or 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.

Feral Swine

Feral swine are an invasive non-native introduced species in Oregon that destroy important wildlife habitat and may prey on livestock and native wildlife, with potential to transmit diseases to wildlife, livestock and humans.

Feral swine are included in the Oregon Invasive Species Council’s list of “100 Worst List” to keep out of Oregon. It is very important to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, the US Department of Agriculture and the Oregon Department of Agriculture to eliminate this invasive non-native species before they become established.

It is legal to hunt feral swine year round on public land with a hunting license and there is no harvest limit. On private property, feral swine are defined as a “predatory animal”. Hunting feral swine on private land does not require a hunting license, but you must have landowner permission to act as their agent. It is your responsibility to determine if any swine found meet the definition of “feral swine”(see definitions page 94).

Drought, Fire and Hunting

ODFW will not close hunting seasons as a result of fire danger or active fires. Fire danger or active fires may cause Rd closures or result in use restrictions that impact camping, burning, wood cutting, hunting and other activities. When drought leads to severe fire danger, hunters may not be able to camp in their favorite camp site, may have to hike farther to reach favorite hunting areas, or may have to hunt new areas. Those that traditionally cook with open fires should prepare to cook with gas stoves. In the unlikely event that all access for hunting in a hunt area has been closed as a result of fire danger or an active fire, ODFW will evaluate the situation after the season(s) closes. If ODFW determines hunters lost their opportunity to hunt, a number of options may be available to provide compensation. Available options will depend on the season, timing, duration and extent of fire related impacts for individual hunts. For information on fire restrictions and closures of private land, visit Oregon Department of Forestry Fire Restrictions and Closures page (http://www.oregon.gov/ODF/Fire/Pages/Restrictions.aspx).

Hunting and ATV’s
Responsibility or Regulation?

The Choice is Yours! Nobody likes regulations; but if irresponsible ATV use continues to cause unacceptable impacts, then regulations will become necessary to ensure protection of public lands. A better alternative would be for ATV users to recognize the impacts their activity can cause and voluntarily take steps to reduce those impacts. ATV users are not unique in this respect – as more and more people use public lands for recreation, the potential impacts of these activities are growing fast.

Road Closures

There are a number of reasons why some modes of travel are restricted on public lands. Reasons for restricting travel include:

  • Wildlife and Habitat Protection
  • Minimize Conflict Between Users
  • Public Safety
  • Resource Protection
  • Legal Mandates
  • Fire Protection

Oregon Off-Highway Vehicle Laws

All ATVs operating on public lands must display an Oregon ATV Operating Permit. Please refer to the Oregon Parks & Recreation website for more information: www.oregon.gov/OPRD.

Permits can be purchased over the telephone, through many Oregon State Parks and Recreation Dept. offices or at one of their 200 vendors. A current vendor list is available online at www.oregon.gov/oprd/ATV/pages/permit_vendors.aspx. For more information or to purchase a permit over the telephone, call 1-800-551-6949.

Refer to page 27 of this publication for hunting and ATV regulations.

Reduce ATV Impacts

What you can do to reduce ATV impacts:

  • Know the vehicle use regulations for the area you are hunting and respect road and area closures.
  • Avoid the use of ATVs in wet areas or during wet conditions. Even though the lighter weight and low-pressure tires reduce impacts, ATVs can still do serious damage to wet areas.

US Forest Service
(USFS) Motor Vehicle Use Plan

Statewide, the USFS is shifting to new Motor Vehicle Use Plans for each Forest. Under these plans, roads are closed unless designated open on the USFS Motor Vehicle Use Map. In the transition there will be situations where an existing Cooperative Travel Management Area (TMA) open road system does not exactly match the new USFS Vehicle Use Map.

Unless the USFS or Department has vacated a TMA agreement, the TMA as described in the Big Game Regulations remains in affect. As part of the TMA, or for administrative purposes, roads may be posted as closed in addition to those designated as closed on the USFS Motor Vehicle Use Map.

The Department will be working with the USFS and OSP at State, Region, and District levels for smooth transitions to the new USFS Vehicle Use Plans.

Interesting Facts

  • Since 1995, the number of All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) in Oregon has increased fivefold. There are now over 129,000 valid ATV Operating Permits in the state.
  • Studies have shown that the harvest of bull elk increases with increased hunter access. Eventually this can lead to reduced hunter opportunity.
  • Elk use declines in areas with adjacent roads open to motorized vehicles.

Objects And Cultural Sites

Many Indian artifacts and all Indian burial sites are considered sacred within Oregon’s Native American culture and serve as important links to the past. The Oregon Legislature has recognized the importance of these sites and artifacts by passing laws that specifically protect these areas and items. Digging up cultural sites is against the law. Taking human remains or sacred objects from a site can lead to serious penalties. State and federal laws covers both private and public land in Oregon. The state law can be found in Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS) Chapters 97, 358 and 390.

If you should find any Native American artifacts while out hunting, stop and look around. Remember, don’t disturb these sites. Respect and honor these sites for what they mean to Oregon’s Native Americans and to Oregon’s rich cultural background.

Identification of wolves and coyotes

Remember, wolf pups in the mid-summer and fall can closely resemble coyotes, and it can be difficult to tell them apart. While hunting coyote in wolf country, you should not shoot unless you are sure of your target.


  • Weight: 15-30 Pounds
  • Shoulder Height: 1 1/2 Feet
  • Snout/Muzzle: Long and Pointed
  • Ears: Long and Pointed


  • Weight: 70-100 Pounds
  • Shoulder Height: 2 1/2 Feet
  • Snout/Muzzle: Large and Blocky
  • Ears: Short and Rounded

A Wildlife Area Parking Permit is Required

Display your parking permit at wildlife areas

Don’t forget to display the parking permit that comes with your hunting license on your vehicle at the following wildlife areas:

  • Coyote Springs
  • Ken Denman
  • EE Wilson
  • Elkhorn
  • Fern Ridge
  • Irrigon
  • Jewell Meadows
  • Klamath
  • Ladd Marsh
  • Phillip W. Schneider
  • Power City
  • Sauvie Island
  • Summer Lake
  • White River
  • Willow Creek

A free annual permit comes with the purchase of an annual hunting license, combination license, or Sports Pac. All other wildlife area users need to purchase a permit. Permits are available where fishing and hunting licenses are sold and on the ODFW website (www.odfw.com).

HUNTERS: Return Radio Transmitters

Radio transmitters used on deer, elk and other big game animals are property of ODFW. These transmitters store valuable information and are re-usable. It is legal to harvest an animal with these transmitters. Please call your local ODFW office if you harvest an animal with a transmitter or find a transmitter.

We thank you for your cooperation.