Rancher, Wallowa County Commissioner
OSU Extension Officer
Wallowa County, Oregon
Todd Nash and Rod Childers are both cattle ranchers who have struggled to maintain their lifestyle after the reintroduction of wolves into Oregon, and Todd was elected in 2016 as a Wallowa County commissioner. John Williams is a recently retired Oregon State University Extension agent, and has conducted research on the impacts of wolves on cattle.
Todd and Rod have both experienced cattle losses due to wolf attacks, yet they remain committed to finding a civil and creative solution to the problem of wolf depredation on cattle. While the ranchers expressed their frustrations with the management of the species, they have accepted the wolves’ presence, but desire permission from the state and federal government to defend their own property. John’s research sheds light on how wolves impact cattle in ways other than plain depredation: an encounter between the two species can cause PTSD and create long-term behavior problems in cattle. John adds another dimension to the ranchers’ solution: he wants to normalize the killing of “problem wolves” by expanding wolf populations. This would allow ranchers like Todd and Rod to eliminate wolves that threaten their cattle and purge the wolf population of behaviors that bring them into conflict with humans.
By: Cindy Abrams
Photos by: Ethan Thomas and Mitch Cutter