Wolves killed a 400-pound calf Monday on the 4-O Ranch Wildlife Area above the Grande Ronde River in Asotin County, according to a report from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The department posted information about the killing on its website Friday. According to the report, the calf was in a 160-acre fenced pasture and discovered by an agency worker. An investigation showed hemorrhaging and tissue damage, including tooth puncture marks on the calf’s chest, neck, groin and legs that is consistent with wolf depredation. Most of the hindquarters of the calf were consumed. The carcass has been removed from the area and buried.
According to the report, the agency’s investigation also found that a member of the nearby Grouse Flats pack that is wearing a satellite collar was in the area at the time of the killing. Agency officials classified the killing as confirmed wolf depredation, making the owner eligible for compensation.
According to the report, the owner, who has a cattle grazing lease on the wildlife area, employs a range rider to monitor the animals regularly, checking on them at least every other day. The report also indicates the owner maintains a human presence in the area, avoids areas known to have high wolf activity and quickly disposes of any dead cattle to avoid attracting the predators.
Since the dead calf was found, the livestock owner has deployed wolf deterrent measures, such as randomly flashing lights, and has increased the frequency of the range rider patrols.
The Grouse Flats pack was involved in three depredation incidents last year. Packs that are involved in four depredations within a 10-month period can be lethally removed, according to the state’s wolf management plan. However, two of those three depredations fell outside of the most recent 10-month period, meaning the pack would have to kill two more times within the window before lethal removal could be considered, according to state policy.
Wolves in Washington are protected by the state as a threatened species, but wolves in the eastern third of the state are not protected by the federal Endangered Species Act.
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