Katy Nesbitt
The La Grande Observer

ENTERPRISE — Two Harl Butte Pack wolves were killed this week following a request by a group of Wallowa County ranchers.

According to Michelle Dennehy, wildlife communications coordinator for Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, two uncollared adult wolves were killed by department staff — one Sunday and one Tuesday, on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest east of Joseph.

Seven head of cattle had been killed or wounded by the Harl Butte Pack between July 2016 and 2017. The last two incidents — a wounded calf and a dead calf — were confirmed in a five-day period. One half dozen upper Imnaha River ranchers collaboratively wrote a letter to the state in late July asking that the entire pack be killed. The state announced last week it would attempt to kill two members of the pack to quell the livestock loss.

Dennehy said non-lethal measures to deter wolf/cattle conflict will continue, including human presence, range riders and stock management.

“ODFW will continue to coordinate activities with livestock producers and monitor the wolf pack behavior in response,” Dennehy said.

The Fish and Wildlife said six of the seven wolf incidents occurred where livestock graze in large forested pastures on private and public lands and incidences may continue or escalate despite non-lethal deterrent measures in place due to the history of depredation by this pack.

17911573