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Home arrow News arrow Local News arrow Dead calf deemed 'probable' wolf kill

Dead calf deemed 'probable' wolf kill

A dead calf found Sept. 11 in Wallowa County’s Rail Canyon was determined
a “probable” wolf kill yesterday afternoon.
 
Rancher Todd Nash was riding horseback through a pasture at noon Tuesday
when he found a calf that appeared to be mostly consumed. Nash estimates 300 pounds
of the 400 pound calf had been eaten.
 
Veterinarian Dave Schaffer estimated that the calf had been killed within 24
hours of its discovery.
 
Nash said his dogs discovered the rumen pile, contents of the calf’s stomach, and
the calf was found several yards down the hill.
 
The cattle had been checked four days earlier and are in the area of the Imnaha
Pack home range.
 

Until this summer, more than 40 livestock producers received daily
text messages with information from the Imnaha Pack alpha male’s collar. Since mid-
summer, text messages no longer give specific location of the wolf, but a “polygon” or
area within the pack’s range. Commissioner Susan Roberts had polygon maps printed
and distributed to producers.
 
Nash said he was not checking his cattle because of a text message, but was on a
regular ride through the pasture that has about 60 cows and calves.
 
An Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist found a fresh set of tracks from a single wolf, 4” long
x 3.5” wide, about 200 meters away from the carcass. No tracks or sign of wolves was
found at the scene of the dead calf, though such sign may have been obscured by the
large number of cattle using the area around a water trough.
 
A USDA Wildlife Service’s report said both rear legs had large canine bites at the
hocks and ankle with hemorrhaging under the skin, “typical of a wolf”.
 
Two pieces of hide were removed for testing at the University of Idaho to try and
determine if there was DNA evidence of wolf predation.
 
The state report said most of the muscle tissue had been consumed, though some
muscle remained above the pelvis, the head and upper neck, and most of the muscle
between the ribs. The skeleton was intact and articulated, with the exception of the right
front shoulder, which was missing entirely.
 
No GPS collared Imnaha Pack wolf locations or any other telemetry locations
have occurred recently in the area of this calf. Most recently, a Grouse Creek Ranch cow and calf pair
were found with wounds 10 miles from the calf carcass. The state determined the calf
had been injured by wolves while the cow was determined a “probable”.
 
The estimated value of the calf is $785. Nash is entitled to half of that value as it
was determined a “probable” wolf kill by the state agency.
 
The county’s compensation program will pay for Nash’s calf from state and
federal funding. A separate, private fund will pay for the DNA testing at University of
Idaho.
 
Nash has had several depredation investigations over the past two and a half
years; many of those were confirmed. His rangeland has been occupied by the Imnaha Pack.
 
“Everyone thinks OR-4 (collared alpha male) is the bad boy of the pack and this
is his territory. There are other wolves here and other ‘bad boys’ like they are on the
Zumwalt running through Casey Tippetts’ place.”
 
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