Claim of self-defense in Oregon wolf killing draws skeptics

Hunter claimed self-defense after shooting, killing wolf

PORTLAND, Ore. -- A retired federal wolf biologist said he is skeptical about the claim a hunter made, that he killed a wolf in Northeast Oregon in self-defense.

Carter Niemeyer spent decades in the woods of the Northwest, sometimes trapping and collaring wolves.
   
For the last 16 years of his career, he was a wolf management specialist and wolf recovery coordinator.
He said its not normal wolf behavior to charge at humans.

“One hundred percent of the time, I’ve seen wolves break off the minute they, they're aware they're dealing with a human being,” he said. “They're gonna turn and run.”

Brian Scott said he was elk hunting by himself on Oct. 24 in Northeast Oregon, when three animals approached him. He told an Oregon State Trooper that he believed they were coyotes. He said two seemed to be moving around him when a third ran right at him. He said he was terrified for his life and shot at close range.

He also went back to his camp, told his hunting partners what had happened and they all concluded he’d shot a wolf.

Then he reported it to the state police.

While the trooper’s report said the wolf was shot in the right front part of its body, evidence pictures released by his own agency suggest otherwise. An entry wound appears to go in mid body on the right and exit near the front shoulder on the left.

The retired biologist says if the pictures show what he thinks they show, there is a problem with the hunter's story.

“It’s almost indicative to me that the wolf, instead of running at the individual, was actually somewhat facing away from the guy,” he said.

It has wolf advocates, like the Executive Director of Oregon Wild, up in arms.

“The photos seem to contradict what the police report says and I think the public deserves an explanation of why that is,” said Sean Stevens.

Stevens points out at least nine wolves have died under suspicious circumstances in Oregon since 2015. He is calling on Governor Kate Brown to urge the OSP to re-open the case.

“We are calling on the governor to look more closely at this incident and more broadly at wolf recovery in Oregon and make sure ODFW puts us on the path that most Oregonians want to be on,” he said.

The hunter did not return a request for comment on this story. Oregon State Police did not return either of two calls also asking for comments and clarification.

© 2017 KGW-TV


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