Wildlife officials in Oregon have approved a kill permit to a livestock producer who has lost calves to a wolf pack in the northeast part of the state.
On Aug. 24, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) issued a permit to a rancher who lost a 300 lb. calf on a U.S. Forrest Service grazing allotment in Wallowa County. The five month old calf was found by a range rider on Aug. 20 in the morning. By the time the calf was discovered its internal organs, the right eye, the majority of muscle tissue on the left front leg and left rear leg, and some muscle tissue from the right rear leg had been consumed.
ODFW officials estimate the calf had been killed on Aug. 19 during the night. They confirmed it was a wolf after finding five tooth puncture wounds through the hide on the back of the hind legs.
The wolves responsible for the death came from the Chesnimnus pack, which had killed three calves owned by the same rancher in June. After those first livestock depredations a kill permit was issued to the rancher on June 21. However, no wolves were killed with the original permit before it expired on July 10.
The Chesnimnus pack also attacked a 350 lb., 4 month old calf in late July and the calf was found on Aug. 1. The calf was able to be removed from the pasture and was expected to heal.
Following the latest case of livestock depredation a new permit was issued allowing the rancher or an ODFW agent to shoot one wolf on the public land his cattle graze. The permit expires on Sept. 24, 30 days after it was issued. The ODFW permit requires the producer to continue using non-lethal measures to prevent conflict and not to use attractants for the wolves.
Non-lethal practices have been used by the rancher since June. The practices have included an increase of human presence with people camping out at night near the cow-calf herd, removing injured animals from the pasture, and placing cameras to monitor wolf movements and changing the location of cattle based on information acquired.
ODFW has monitored the presence of the Chesnimnus pack since June and have found the wolves in the area throughout July and August. There is a plan to place a radio collar on a member of the wolf pack when the opportunity presents itself, helping better monitor the pack’s movement.
At the end of 2017, ODFW reported that there were at least 124 wolves in Oregon. This is the highest total reported by ODFW with the population rising year-over-year since 2009 when there were just 14 wolves in the state.
A map showing the locations of Oregon’s wolf packs can be seen below: