Calf’s wounds caused by wolf attack

Written by Katy Nesbitt/The Observer May 13, 2013 12:14 pm

A calf injured by the Imnaha wolves was discovered Thursday afternoon. (Courtesy photo)
A calf injured by the Imnaha wolves was discovered Thursday afternoon. (Courtesy photo)
 

A wounded calf found on the Imnaha Highway Thursday night was determined to have been wounded by the Imnaha wolf pack.

County Commissioner Susan Roberts said a range rider employed to look for signs of wolf-caused livestock kills reported a calf that “looked like it had been chewed on,” prompting an investigation. The dead calf had been fed on, but showed no signs of being killed by wolves. However, another calf walking along the highway with its mother was seen limping and had an open sore on its hip.

The next day the calf’s owner saw its injury and called for an investigation. Neither the rancher nor a Wildlife Service’s agent were able to catch it, so Fred Steen, Wallowa County Sheriff Office’s chief deputy, brought his horse down to the ranch along Little Sheep Creek and roped it as it headed up Three Buck Canyon.

“It had a pretty good sore with small maggots on it,” Roberts said.

Pat Matthews, the acting district biologist for the state, investigated the injury and determined it was wolf caused. The 125-pound calf was treated with antibiotics for the infection, Roberts said.

This area of Wallowa County has been regularly used by the Imnaha pack for the past four years. According to GPS collar information, members of the pack had been in the vicinity of the injured calf prior to the attack.

This past winter a young, female member of the pack was caught in a trap set for coyotes on the same ranch. She was collared by Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and released unharmed.

In March 2012, a bred heifer was discovered on the Little Sheep Creek ranch with bite marks and had to be euthanized. It, too, was determined to have been attacked by a wolf. Two other cows, according to Rod Childers, Oregon Cattlemen’s wolf committee chairman, were also confirmed to have had wolf-caused injuries, but survived.