KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. — The body count for calves on one Klamath County ranch is now up to four as of last week — all the work of a local wolf pack, according to officials with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW).
On October 24, officials came to the ranch in Wood River Valley to investigate reports of calves that had been killed by wolves. Three calves were killed over a three-day period, ODFW officials concluded, and their wounds were consistent with wolf attacks.
"These injuries are clear evidence of predator attack and the size, location, and severity of bite injuries are similar to injuries observed on other calves attacked by wolves," ODFW officials observed in their report. "Remote camera photographs show Rogue Pack wolves 2.5 miles from the pasture on 10/23. The Rogue Pack has depredated on this property before."
The "Rogue Pack" describes the progeny of a well-documented male wolf known as OR-7, who trekked across Oregon and into California before settling into Southern Oregon. Wildlife officials believe that OR-7 recently sired his fifth litter of pups.
Three days after the first investigation, on October 27, ODFW investigators were called back to Wood River Valley for another calf believed to have been killed by wolves.
"This depredation was attributed to the Rogue Pack," ODFW reported.
ODFW wildlife biologist Tom Collum says personnel are taking turns camping in a field near the ranch, and they are using non-lethal methods to deter the wolves — including sirens, bonfires, strobe lights and cracker shells.
Officials are also checking remote cameras daily to track movement. They have set up traps to capture wolves, so they can place tracking collars.
As recently as August, ODFW issued kill permits to a rancher in Wallowa County following months of depredation. There has not yet been any indication of employing lethal methods in the Klamath County case.
In September, wolves reportedly killed a guard dog at a cattle ranch near Prospect in Jackson County. There have been no recorded investigations in that area since.