Wolves from the Lookout Mountain pack have injured a calf in a private pasture in eastern Oregon, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife reported Aug. 16.
A biologist from the agency confirmed that wolves had wounded the 5-month-old, 500-pound calf.
The rancher who owns the calf found the injured animal on Aug. 15 in the Little Lookout Mountain area.
An ODFW biologist who examined the calf found more than 50 bite scrapes, measuring up to 3 inches long and a quarter-inch wide, on the calf’s left and right hind legs above the hocks. The bite scrapes were at the edges of a 4-inch by 4-inch open wound that was up to 2 inches deep, according to the report.
The biologist estimated the calf had been attacked 10 to 14 days earlier.
“The severity, size, and locations of these wounds are consistent with injuries to cattle attacked by wolves,” the report states. “This depredation is attributed to wolves of the Lookout Mountain pack.”
In 2021, after wolves from that pack killed at least nine head of cattle and injured three others, ODFW employees killed eight of the estimated 11 wolves in the pack.
Last fall the agency believed that the pack, which roams the area between Highway 86 on the north and Interstate 84 to the south, consisted of just two wolves — the breeding female and one juvenile (now a yearling) born in the spring of 2021.
Brian Ratliff, district wildlife biologist at ODFW’s Baker City office, said this spring that an adult male wolf, about 3 years old, joined the breeding female at the end of January 2022. ODFW officials captured the male on Jan. 31 and fitted it with a radio tracking collar.
Ratliff said it appeared, based on movements from the breeding female, that she had mated and had pups this spring.
The male wolf was found dead in the Little Lookout area about three weeks ago, Ratliff said on Wednesday, Aug. 17. It’s not clear how they wolf died, but there was nothing suspicious about the circumstances to suggest someone illegally killed the animal, he said.
With the breeding male dead, Ratliff said he believes the pack consists of the breeding female, the yearling and most likely an unknown number of pups born this spring.
Ratliff said the female’s movements, returning frequently to the same location, suggests she had a litter of pups and that they remain in a den.
The recent attack on the calf is the second confirmed depredation by the Lookout Mountain pack in 2022.
In early June ODFW biologists concluded that wolves from the pack had attacked and injured three calves in the Daly Creek area, east of Little Lookout Mountain, in late May.