- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 3, 2015

MEDFORD, Ore. (AP) - With seven wolves known to be in southwestern Oregon, Jackson County is working on becoming the first county on the west side of the Cascades with a means of paying livestock owners for losses and subsidizing preventive measures such as installing fences and alarm systems.

An advisory committee recommended the county create a wolf depredation committee to qualify for state grants. The county commission meets Thursday to consider the recommendation, the Medford Mail Tribune reported Tuesday (http://bit.ly/1K7si1z ).

Eleven Oregon counties east of the Cascades have wolf committees.

The state Department of Agriculture awarded about $150,000 last year in eight of them, most of it for prevention.

Nearly $17,000 went to cover confirmed or probable livestock losses due to wolves.

State figures for 2014 showed 18 sheep and four cattle confirmed killed, and others injured.

The descendants of Canadian wolves trapped and released in Idaho and Yellowstone National Park in the 1990s have moved into Oregon, most in the northeast corner.

But the noted wandering wolf OR-7, his mate and three pups live northeast of Medford near the Sky Lakes Wilderness. Two more wolves are reported southeast of Medford.

So far, there are no documented instances of wolves killing cattle.

Among the tactics for discouraging wolves are range riders who can use horses or ATVs, a practice that also deters rustlers, said Rodger Huffman, a rancher and program manager for predator control and animal identification with the Oregon Department of Agriculture.

Collared wolves can emit signals that set off loud security alarms installed by ranchers, he said. The concept is to spook them away.

Ranchers who sign up for notification programs can receive phone calls, text messages or emails alerting them to wolves in the area.

Huffman said he breeds his own cows so they give birth earlier in the year, giving calves more time to grow larger and become more likely to survive a wolf encounter.

Although effective against coyotes, guard dogs are often killed by wolves, who view them as competitors for territory, he said.

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Information from: Mail Tribune, http://www.mailtribune.com/

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