A third Baker County rancher has had cattle attacked by wolves from the Pine Creek pack near Halfway.
Biologists from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife confirmed that wolves attacked a calf belonging to Barry and Shella DelCurto of Halfway early Wednesday.
Barry DelCurto said he found the six-week-old, 150-pound calf Wednesday morning in the North Pine Creek area about 10 miles east of Halfway. He said he moved his cattle on Sunday to an allotment that includes both private and Forest Service land east of the Wallowa Mountain Loop Road and north of Highway 86. The herd consists of about 128 cow-calf pairs and a few cows, DelCurto said.
He said he’s “pretty optimistic” that the calf will survive.
“He seems to be recovering pretty well,” DelCurto said.
DelCurto said a veterinarian who treated the calf told him the greatest threat to the animal, once it survived the initial trauma of the attack, is infection.
ODFW biologists who examined the calf on Wednesday found open wounds on its front and rear legs. The location and size of the wounds “are indicative of wolf attack,” according to the investigation report.
Brian Ratliff, district wildlife biologist at ODFW’s Baker City office, said the GPS collar on OR-50, the Pine Creek pack’s alpha male, showed the wolf, at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, was less than two miles north of where DelCurto found the injured calf the following morning.
DelCurto said he also noticed one of his cows with a “tight bag” — a swelled udder indicating the cow had not been nursing its calf — on Wednesday and Thursday.
He said he couldn’t find that calf either day.
This morning the other wolf in the pack that has a GPS and radio transmitter collar was in the Fourmile Gulch area about eight miles southeast of Halfway, Ratliff said.
That wolf, a female, was in the private pasture where wolves killed three calves and injured four others belonging to Chad DelCurto in early April.
See complete story in Friday's Observer