The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will allow a Baker City area cattle rancher to kill up to two wolves attacking his herd. The wolves are part of a new pack, dubbed the Pine Creek Pack. ODFW said those wolves killed three calves and injured four more over a two-day period. Wildlife officials say the pack roams along the Idaho state line and has eight members, including five yearlings, a breeding male and female that may be pregnant.
Wolf advocates blasted ODFW’s decision and called it cruel to single out the pack when the breeding female was pregnant. “We should not be killing wolves, especially a pregnant female, in the midst of a poaching epidemic, and using a wolf management plan that expired three years ago,” said Oregon Wild executive director Sean Stevens.
There are believed to be about 112 wolves in Oregon, mostly in the northeastern corner of the state. The rancher has until May 4 to kill up to two wolves and Oregon wildlife officials can also kill them if they encounter them. Ranchers must prove they have tried non-lethal methods to scare the wolves away from their herds and must document livestock killings by wolves to get approval to kill them. They must also not have any bone piles or carcasses in the range that would attract wolves.
ODFW said the rancher had used pens, range riders and had fired weapons in the air to scare off wolves. Data taken from the wolves’ collars show the animals “have a pattern of routinely using this property at this time of year and many producers are getting ready to place cows on the neighboring pastures soon.”
Wolves returned to Oregon about two decades ago after being wiped out by bounty hunters in the state 70 years ago.
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