Oregon Department of Fish and Wildfire crews were call to a trio of depredations in the Deer Creek area of Wallowa County over the weekend. It started Saturday morning, when a hunter came across a dead 700 pound calf (calf A) in a 15,000 acre forested private land allotment. Later that afternoon, another nine-month old calf, of nearly the same size (calf B), was found nearby. Investigators determined the first calf died 72 hours prior to investigation, while the second was killed roughly 48 hours before being discovered.
Portions of the remaining hides were shaved, calf B was skinned, and both carcasses were examined. Calf A had a 3 inch by 6” area of pre-mortem bruising on the underside of the hide on the right hind leg above the hip. Multiple pre-mortem tooth scrapes up to ¼” wide with an associated 2”x5” area of bruising on the underside of the hide were found on the lower neck. There were also multiple ¼” wide tooth scrapes and 1” wide tooth tears on the inner hind legs and groin. Calf B had more than 30 pre-mortem tooth scrapes and punctures up to ¼” wide on the back of the hindquarters above the hocks, groin, right jaw, and right elbow. Associated hemorrhaging and tissue trauma was at least 1 ½” deep. The pre-mortem bite wounds on both calves indicate attack by a predator and the size, location, and/or severity of injuries are similar to other confirmed wolf attacks on older calves.
On Sunday, a cattle producer found a similar sized nine-month old calf. The carcass of that calf was skinned and examined. There were more than 20 pre-mortem tooth scrapes and punctures up to 3/8” wide found on both hindquarters between the hocks and anus. Underlying tissue trauma and hemorrhage extended up to 2” deep. There were similarly sized pre-mortem tooth scrapes and punctures located behind the left jaw. The premortem tooth scrapes and punctures, hemorrhaging, and muscle tissue trauma are indicative of a predator attack. The size and location of the bite wounds and severity of trauma are similar to those observed in other older calves attacked by wolves.
All three depredations have been attributed to the Clark Creek Pack.
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