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Wolf depredations plague Oregon producers in August

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This month, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife confirmed 13 wolf depredations on livestock. Two of the most recent depredations occurred last week by OR103 in Klamath County on a private land allotment in Doak Mountain.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife investigated the depredations on August 17. The calves were located on the same 36,000-acre private allotment between Klamath Falls and Rocky Point.

ODFW staff found the carcass of a 250-pound calf with organs and muscle tissue torn from the hindquarters and removed from the carcass. Just days before, on August 13, wildlife staff had photographed a calf with injuries attributed to wolf depredation in the same allotment as the carcass. Both depredations were attributed to OR103.

»Related: Gray wolf is safe, What about our cattle?

OR103 is an adult male captured initially and GPS radio-collared southeast of Bend in February 2021. Oregon Wolf Education shared on social media that OR103 had repeatedly been hazed away by wildlife services prior to the depredations. 

California Wolf Foundation posted an update on OR103 on their Facebook last week writing, “OR-103, who had previously been Californian’s known lone (and injured) wolf residing in Siskiyou County returned to Oregon recently. He’s been back up there since July.” The post continues, “Due to his injury, OR-103 had numerous conflicts with livestock in California. As a lone injured wolf it is more difficult for him to hunt natural prey.”

Wolf depredations are assessed when the wounds’ severity, size, and locations are consistent with injuries to calves attacked by wolves. 

Other depredations during August include:

  • Four lambs in Umatilla County by the Ruckel Ridge Pack
  • One 700-pound heifer calf euthanized due to injuries in Klamath County by the Rogue pack
  • One 425-pound calf with severe tissue damage injuries indicative of depredations by the Ukiah Pack in Umatilla County
  • One adult female goat was injured by the Bear Creek Pack in Wallowa County
  • One 900-pound yearling steer was killed by the Rogue Pack in Klamath County
  • One 675-pound steer euthanized due to injuries attributed to the Rogue Pack in Klamath County
  • One 500-pound calf was injured with over 50 pre-mortem bite scrapes attributed to the Lookout Mountain Pack in Baker County.
  • One 425-pound calf depredation was attributed to wolves of the Horseshoe Pack in Umatilla County.

ODFW estimated a wolf population of about 175 as of winter 2021. Numbers are subject to change based on evidence collected over the winter. Current non-lethal measures recommended and in practice to manage wolf-livestock conflicts are to reduce attractants such as bone piles or carcasses, erect barriers such as flandry or fencing used to deter wolves, livestock protection dogs, and hazing methods such as deploying range riders, hazers, or herders. The department also lists human presence and changes to husbandry as non-lethal control methods.

»RelatedWisconsin farm family talks about living a wolf-attack nightmare

After over a half-century of absence, the gray wolf’s reintroduction to Oregon has been an issue of contempt amongst livestock producers and wolf proponents. The impact of wolf presence on livestock is still under debate, as producers argue that wolves pose threats through livestock depredation, but stress on stock, loss in gains, and the loss of income beyond just one single animal.

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