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OR-54, a daughter of OR-7, was collared Oct. 3, 2017. [USFWS photo]

Rogue Pack fingered for new livestock kill

BUTTE FALLS — The killing of a cow calf last week at a Butte Falls-area ranch has been blamed on the Rogue Pack, in part because of data from a recently collared female member of wolf OR-7's family.

The 250-pound calf was found dead Thursday morning by rancher Ted Birdseye on his 276-acre ranch near Medco Pond between Butte Falls and Prospect.

Wolf tracks in the chase area and the sizes of tooth scrapes and bites on the carcass led to the case being labeled as a wolf kill, according to a livestock investigation report by Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife biologists.

Fresh wolf tracks were observed around the carcass and throughout the pasture, the report states.

Global-positioning system data from a collar worn by OR-54, a young female in the Rogue Pack, showed it was less than a mile away from the carcass earlier in the day the dead calf was found, the report states.

OR-54, who likely is a female from OR-7's 2016 litter, was captured and collared Oct. 3, in Klamath County's Wood River Valley, the eastern portion of the Rogue Pack's home range, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

It's the first GPS data collected on the Rogue Pack since OR-7's GPS collar failed two years ago.

GPS data also show that OR-54 was within two miles of the carcass throughout late Wednesday and early Thursday, the report states.

Birdseye said his wife heard what they thought was a livestock attack Wednesday night, and he investigated but did not find any evidence until the following morning. Birdseye said he also heard wolf howls the previous evening and that wolves have been a regular visitor to the area.

"They howl off and on," Birdseye said. "Three months ago I had two right outside my back door, 30 yards away."

The case represents the first confirmed livestock kills by a wolf or wolves since collared wolf OR-25 was fingered for the killing of a young calf on private land in the Red Blanket Creek area near Prospect in February 2017. Data from OR-25's GPS collar confirmed its presence at the kill site, ODFW reports state.

The Rogue Pack previously had been blamed for three livestock kills in 2016 in Klamath County. While GPS data was not available on the Rogue Pack's movements at that time, they were known to frequent that area, ODFW reports state.

— Reach Mail Tribune reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470 or mfreeman@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MTwriterFreeman.

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