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After three depredations, rancher gets go-ahead to kill one wolf

WALLOWA COUNTY, Oregon — The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has announced they will give a kill permit to a rancher in Wallowa County after he requested lethal removal after three of his calves were injured by wolves in his pasture last week.

The permit will allow the rancher or his agent to kill one wolf on the privately owned pasture he leases and his adjacent public land allotment. The permit expires July 10, when he removes his cattle from that pasture. ODFW staff also has the authority to kill the one wolf.

A wolf or wolves in the Joseph Creek area in the Chesnimnus Unit injured three calves in the same privately-owned, open land pasture of the rancher’s over three separate incidents during a three-day period last week. ODFW confirmed the injuries as wolf-caused during two investigations on June 13 and 14.

The area where the depredations occurred is within the Chesnimnus Wolves area of known activity. Three wolves were counted in this area at the end of 2017, but ODFW reports there are no working collars in this group, so it is unclear if the wolves involved are new wolves using the area, or remnants of the Chesnimnus Pack. ODFW is working to learn more about these wolves and will place a radio collar on a wolf if there is an opportunity.

Livestock producers must be using non-lethal methods and document unsuccessful attempts to solve the situation through these non-lethal means before lethal control can be considered. Also, there can be no attractants on the property (such as bone piles or carcasses) that could be attracting wolves.

ODFW did not identify any attractants on the property when investigating the depredation incidents. In terms of non-lethals, the producer has been checking livestock repeatedly since they were placed in pasture earlier in June; maintained human presence around the cows/calves including checking them during the night; penned the cows/calves in a smaller area after the first two depredations; removed injured livestock from the pasture to avoid attracting wolves; monitored the area for wolf sign and changes in cattle behavior; and arranged for an agent to spend several nights with the cattle after the first depredations.

Authorizing incremental take and providing a kill permit is typically the first step ODFW takes when livestock producers using non-lethal measures cannot stop losses and ODFW believes depredations will continue. In this case, ODFW says one or more wolves are routinely using this area and cattle will be at risk in this pasture until July 10.

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