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Fourth wolf kill found near Fort Klamath

Herald and News by Lee Juillerat 10/30/18

The number of cattle believed killed in the Fort Klamath area by the Rogue Wolf Pack now totals four.

Officials from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, who over the weekend confirmed the killings of three yearlings found over a three day period last week, are awaiting confirmation of a fourth animal found dead Friday morning. The first three yearling calves were found Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings on Wood River Valley ranch lands owned by Bill Nicholson leased to DeTar Livestock of Dixon, Calif. The fourth was discovered Friday on neighboring land owned by Roger Nicholson, Bill Nicholson’s cousin.

Bill Nicholson said ODF&W personnel are taking turns camping in a field where they are using non-lethal methods, including large bonfires, strobe lights and the firing of cracker shells, to try to deter wolves. One camper reported hearing howling and distressed bawling about 1:30 a.m. Friday morning, but no noise has been reported the past few nights.

“Everything is quiet now,” Nicholson said Monday.

Two remote cameras are being used to help track possible movement and five traps have been set in hopes of capturing and collaring wolves with tracking devices. Efforts at tracking wolf movements have been frustrated because none of the Rogue Pack wolves, including OR-7, have operating collars. Nicholson said the number of wolves in the valley is uncertain because one camera picked up six, including OR-7, while five were seen by another camera in a nearby field at about the same time. OR-7 has a collar but it is no longer transmitting signals.

In 2016, when four grazing cattle were attacked and eaten alive by wolves, ODF&W and other game biologists also stayed overnight in an effort to deter wolf predation. At the time, one wolf had an operating collar that helped track the pack’s movements.

On Saturday, when ODF&W biologists visited the Nicholson ranch, it was determined one steer had been attacked and was bleeding when it was dragged 500 feet to a ditch, where it died of its wounds.

Until last week it was believed the Rogue Pack was on the Jackson County side of the Cascades. In September it was determined a large dog guarding cattle near Prospect had been killed by a wolf. Before the recent killing, the last confirmed cattle attacks by the Rogue Pack was in January, when two calves were killed two days apart near Butte Falls.

Based on the ODF&W findings posted on its website, a dead 600-pound calf, carcass A, that was found Wednesday was intact but open at the abdomen with evidence of feeding on the right flank. Examinations of two other dead calves from the same pasture, which had been buried but were unearthed, determined that wolves fed on the flank of carcass B, which was found Tuesday, while a third, carcass C, had been mostly consumed and probably died Monday.

Physical evidence indicated a struggle/kill scene for carcasses A and C, which included blood spray, and pooled blood. According to the report, “There was a trail of blood and rumen for 50 feet ending at carcass A. Carcass A was skinned and partially shaved, revealing numerous quarter-inch wide bite scrapes on both armpits, the hind legs above the hock, flanks and the groin. Deep underlying tissue damage with associated premortem hemorrhaging was evident under the bite wounds.

“Calves B and C were skinned, revealing premortem tissue trauma on the hind legs between the hock and anus, and behind the elbows. These injuries are clear evidence of predator attack and the size, location, and severity of bite injuries are similar to injuries observed on other calves attacked by wolves.

“Remote camera photographs,” the report says, “show Rogue Pack wolves 2.5 miles from the pasture on (Tuesday). The Rogue Pack has depredated on this property before. Since the evidence shows that each calf died on a different night, these are considered three separate incidents of depredation.”

Details of are available at the ODF&W Wolves and Livestock Updates website at http://dfw.state.or.us/Wolves/wolf_livestock_updates.asp



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