The Rogue pack has traveled into Klamath County, Ore., with a confirmed livestock kill in Fort Klamath on Sunday, according to Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife officials.
Fort Klamath rancher Bill Nicholson found a dead, 730-pound yearling steer in his grass pasture Sunday morning, the first wolf depredation of the year in the county, and the eighth on his ranch over the last three years.
ODFW officials are camping on the property to monitor the wolves and attempt to redirect them from the area.
“We think there’s probably five or six of them,” Nicholson said.
“They heard howling last night,” Nicholson added.
Nicholson said the wolf kill occurred earlier in the year than he’s experienced, with previous depredations occurring in the fall.
The animal was found with most of the muscle tissue of the upper right hindquarter consumed, with the remainder of the carcass and hide largely intact, according to the ODFW investigative report. It is estimated the animal died overnight.
Tooth scrapes were found on the inside and outside of both hind legs above the hock, as well as behind both elbows, with 3-inch tissue trauma.
“The premortem bite scrapes and muscle tissue trauma are clear signs of predator attack and the size, number and location of the bite injuries are similar to injuries observed on other cattle attacked by wolves,” according to the report.
Nicholson’s property in Fort Klamath is designated as an Oregon Century Ranch. His grandfather bought it in the 1890s.
He’d like to do something about the impact to his Angus cattle, though he knows wolves are on the federal endangered species list. So it’s not a simple resolution.
“I think you should have an opportunity to at least protect your livestock,” Nicholson said.
ODFW makes the call on lethal removal of chronically depredating wolves if livestock producers want to be financially compensated by the Oregon Department of Agriculture, the report said.