GRANTS PASS, Ore. – As long as wolves have been making their comeback, biologists and ranchers have had a decidedly Old West option for dealing with those that develop a taste for beef: Shoot to kill.
Due to a temporary court order, Oregon has been a "wolf-safe" zone for the past year, creating a kind of accidental experiment that is challenging the idea that the way to lower livestock attacks by wolves is to kill more wolves.
In Oregon, while the number of wolves roaming the state has gone up, livestock kills haven't. And in Idaho, 2012 saw the number of livestock attacks increase even as more wolves were killed.
That has conservation groups hoping Oregon can serve as a model for other Western states working to return the predator to the wild.