So here’s a first for me: I got to send in a wolf sighting report to the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Department! I didn’t actually see the animal that laid down these tracks, but I was fortunate enough to find them while they were still quite fresh! The animal was moving actively about a campground in the Ochoco National Forest of Central Oregon, not far from areas of the Wallowa-Whitman wilderness, where wolves are frequently spotted. 

Note that the tracks are clearly from a large canid (3.5" long and 3" across) with clear claw marks, and a single-tracking pace. It’s possible that these are from a wolfdog, as Jude himself makes very similar tracks, but if that is the case, then the animal is running at large, as there was no recent human activity in the area aside from my own boot-prints, and those of my adventure buddy, Andrew. 

Coyote tracks were nearby, so the differences between the two animals’ spoor was very evident. 

In memory of Leonard “Kop” Kopcinski. The world has lost a rockhounding legend.

Thunderegg from the Lucky Strike Mine, Crook County, Oregon.

#rockhoundingoregon #rockhounding #rockhound #rockhunting #agatehunting #thunderegg #thundereggs #oregon #oregonstaterock #staterock #nature #exploreoregon #luckystrikemine #ochocos #crookcounty #agate #agates #rockcollection #geology #minerals #gem #rocknerd

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Traveling with dogs that eat a raw diet can be a little tricky. So when we stumbled upon a roadkill deer on our drive through the wilderness, I pulled over and cut the back strap out. The next morning, as we drove past the carcass again, I spotted several eagles feeding on the unfortunate deer. 

I only had a short amount of time to hit the brakes and shoot some drive-by shots with the 300mm lens. Here we see a sub-adult in flight, and a mature male on a distant tree. 

Missing Oregon wolf located after four year disappearance

By Elizabeth Materna
Elizabeth is a public affairs officer for the Service’s Oregon field office.

After disappearing from view about four years ago, gray wolf OR-3 was recently photographed by a private trail camera in the Cascades of northern Klamath County, Oregon.   OR-3 was the third gray wolf to be collared from the Imnaha Pack in northeast Oregon in February 2010 and his last detection was in the Ochoco Mountains in September 2011.  It was widely believed that OR-3 had died, so his being captured on the trail cam is thrilling news.

Photo by Washington Department of Wildlife

“It exciting to have OR-3 back on the radar,” said John Stephenson, wolf biologist for the Oregon State Office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.   “We plan follow-up to see if he’s still around and if he has any company.  There have been other wolf sightings in the same area, so it’s possible he has a pack of his own. “  

OR-3 is the older brother of OR-7, with one year separating the siblings.  OR-3 was the first to disperse from the Imnaha Pack. OR-7 later gained fame when he made the long trek to California before returning to southwest Oregon, finding a mate and starting what has become the Rogue Pack in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest. It’s pretty remarkable that both OR-3 and OR-7 have dispersed to the same general area in the southern Cascades some 450 miles from their birthplace.    

A remote game camera snapped this photo of OR7 captured on May 3, 2014 in eastern Jackson County, Oregon. Photo by USFWS.

The reappearance of OR-3 is another in a series of incremental increases signaling that wolves are coming back strong in Oregon, just as they are across the West.  Wolves have made their way from central Idaho to the Cascades in a relatively short time period and now, after being absent since the mid-1940s, they are re-inhabiting this mountain range.    

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I did not have enough free time for this, but after doing a layover of an Oregon map with a map from Gravity Falls (It fits pretty close; Corvallis is farther north and La Grande is obviously way farther north), I’d guess that the Bill statue, if true to the map, probably lies in the Deschutes National Forest (I doubt it’s in the Ochoco National Forest simply because there are no waterfalls in that area). I stretched the map to better fit La Grande, but that brought Gravity Falls over Madras, which is way more desert-y than forest-y. There is also a really gorgeous waterfall called the tumalo waterfall (pictured above) that kind of resembles the one in the cartoon (there aren’t many choices for waterfalls in Central Oregon). The clue we received of Bill’s statue (also above), while blurry, looks like it’s surrounded by Sword Fern, which is common to the area. It’s also possible that the statue isn’t anywhere near the mapped area, or is on private property somewhere. But if Bill’s location is remotely accurate on the map and findable via hike, I’d probably start around there.

tl;dr If the map is accurate, Bill Cipher’s statue is probably in the Deschutes National Forest. 

(I hope so; I grew up there.)