SALEM — A rancher in Wallowa County has asked state officials to kill wolves from the Harl Butte pack after an investigator confirmed wolves killed a calf.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife tells the Capital Press that it received the request Friday and will decide in the coming days.
A Fish and Wildlife investigator determined the calf of about 450 pounds died around July 21 and was mostly consumed by the time it was discovered.
State officials say they found bite marks on the carcass and wolf tracks in the area. A GPS tracking collar also showed a wolf was within 200 yards of the carcass four times from July 21 to July 25.
Fish and Wildlife said it has confirmed six attacks on calves by the Harl Butte pack between July 2016 and July 22, 2017, including a calf killed on a private pasture in April.
On July 21, another calf was found alive with multiple bite marks. That attack and the successful attack both occurred on grazing allotments in public land.
Under Oregon's wolf management rules, Fish and Wildlife can authorize killing wolves if there are two confirmed livestock killings by wolves in the area or one confirmed killing followed by three attempted attacks, Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman Michelle Dennehy said.
But management rules also include a requirement that the person requesting wolves be killed show that non-lethal protection had been unsuccessful. The person must also show that nothing was done that attracted wolves to livestock.
In Washington state, officials on July 20 authorized killing some members of the Smackout pack after confirming that the animals had repeatedly attacked livestock in Stevens County. One wolf was killed last week, and that removal operations are continuing, the Department of Fish and Wildlife said Thursday.