SALEM, Ore. – The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has issued a finding of a confirmed kill by wolves versus livestock in Umatilla County, and a finding of a “probable kill” involving a calf in Wallowa County.
The Walla Walla Pack is believed to be behind the sheep attack on private land near the south fork of the Walla Walla River. On the evening of May 20, a herder noticed a disturbance in a band of sheep. He investigated and found one dead lamb and four wolves. One of the wolves had a sheep in its mouth. The next day, he reported the incident to the livestock owner who called ODFW to investigate.
Investigators reported a drag trail with small bits of bone, blood and wool in it. The top of the drag trail had a scuffle area consistent with wolf predation. The sheep’s remains were at the end of the trail. In addition to the eyewitness report. ODFW reports that OR-40, a radio-collared wolf with the Walla Walla Pack was within 50 yards of the area early in the morning, following the attack.
The “probable” wolf attack occurred on private land in the Mud Creek drainage in Wallowa County on Monday. ODFW reports that a landowner found the remains of a mostly-consumed dead calf that had been alive the previous evening. Investigators examined the carcass of the six-month old calf the day it was reported, and estimated it had been killed the night of May 22 to the early morning hours of May 23.
The investigators found blood stains in the grass indicating an attack scene, but report there was no definitive evidence that the predator that killed the 150-pound calf was a wolf. The report does point out that the feeding patterns on the calf indicated a predator with large teeth and the remains appear similar to other calves that have been consumed by wolves.
In addition, wolves of the Shamrock Pack were in the area. OR-23 was just 0.6 miles north of the carcass site at 7 a.m. Monday, and OR-41 was three miles north of the carcass on the night of the predation.
“The crushing of carcass bones, along with the large amount of carcass material consumed in a short period of time is similar to that observed on other confirmed livestock depredations by wolves,” the report states. “This combined with the known presence of collard wolf OR-23 0.6 miles north of the carcass the same morning the carcass was found, are adequate to indicate the probable cause of death as wolf depredation.