Saturday, October 22, 2016

ODFW confirms depredations by Chesnimnus, Imnaha pack wolves

By Steve Tool
Wallowa County Chieftain
Published on October 21, 2016

On Oct. 13, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife confirmed a wolf depredation on a calf in the Grouse Creek drainage area on public land southeast of Joseph. According to the report, a rancher moving cattle in the area noted wounds on the back legs of a 500-pound calf on Oct. 12. The rancher trailed the calf and other cattle to a private pasture. On the following morning, the ODFW examined the calf and determined its wounds were about a month old.

The department noted bite wounds on both hind legs above the hocks with the wounds mostly healed but with evident scarring, though some flesh remained exposed. No physical evidence of wolf presence was found since the exact location of the calf at the time of injury was unknown.

Previously, ODFW confirmed a wolf depredation in an adjacent pasture on July 15 and also confirmed a pair of wolf depredations on Sept. 28 and Oct. 6 approximately 8 miles to the north.
Also on Oct. 13, the ODFW confirmed a separate wolf depredation it investigated Sept. 6 in the Devils Run Creek drainage area. During the morning of Sept. 4 an archery hunter heard a bawling sound and walked toward it. Shortly afterward, at about 7:15 a.m., the hunter observed six wolves jumping around an object on the ground. 

Returning to the site with a camera at about 7:30 a.m., the man found a dead, 1‐month‐old calf where the wolves had been. The livestock owner and ODFW were contacted two days later and ODFW immediately investigated the site. Although lacking a carcass, drag marks suggested the calf had been moved to another location and consumed. 
ODFW didn’t receive the hunter’s photographs until early October. Those photos show a gray wolf walking near a group of bunched‐up cows and close‐ups of the dead calf with minimal feeding in the flank area. ODFW confirmed the location of the photographs.

As evidence of wolf depredation, ODFW cited wolf tracks observed at both the struggle and carcass sites. Seven separate blood stains also were found on the ground 8‐15 yards east of where the hunter found the carcass. That indicates a struggle site where the calf bled prior to death, and matches the hunter’s testimony.
The photographs show blood stains in the calf’s jaw and throat area with no apparent open wound or feeding activity, which indicate a premortem injury, ODFW said.

Additionally, GPS radio collar data for wolf OR-42 showed its location as approximately 600 yards east of the carcass site at 3 a.m. Sept. 4, approximately 350 yards northwest of site at 6 a.m. and approximately 600 yards east of the site at 9 a.m.

OR-42 is a member of the Chesnimnus Pack.


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