Late last week, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife gave approval to a plan to kill wolves from the Horseshoe Pack.  ODFW said non-lethal measures failed to stop depredations in Umatilla County, leading to the authorization.  The agency will provide a limited duration kill permit to the impacted producer that is valid until October 7th, and allows them or their agent to take up to two wolves.  The producer requested the permit after ODFW confirmed two depredation events on a private land grazing allotment within three weeks, resulting in two dead calves.  That level of depredation meets the definition of chronic livestock depredation under Wolf Plan Rules.


Lethal take can be authorized by ODFW in chronic depredation situations when there is significant continued risk to livestock present in the area and non-lethal preventative measures were used prior to depredations.  This livestock producer has employed human presence as a means of discouraging wolf depredation within this pack area.  Specifically, the producer has conducted frequent checks on cattle in mornings, evenings, and occasionally through the night in this pasture. In addition, the producer has camped in the area with cattle for more than 40 nights to provide substantial monitoring of the herd.  The producer has also hazed wolves in the pasture on multiple occasions, including when a wolf was actively pursuing cattle.  Despite these efforts, two depredations have occurred, and evidence suggests that wolves will continue to interact with cattle in this pasture.


Under the rules, there can also be no identified circumstances on the property (such as bone piles or carcasses) that are attracting wolves. The Department searched the immediate area for any bone piles, carcasses, or other attractants during their investigations and found none.  Lethal action is authorized with the goal of putting an end to the chronic depredation, but the livestock producer will also continue to use nonlethal measures to reduce conflict.


Based on the 2021 minimum count, the Horseshoe Pack consists of 3 adults and 5 yearlings (born last year). One of the wolves in this pack currently has a working GPS collar. It is currently unknown if there are pups in the pack and if so, how many.


The kill permit allows the producer or their agent(s) to shoot two wolves in the pasture where the recent depredations have occurred.  Use of the kill permit by the producer is expected to add to the ongoing human presence, which simultaneously serves as a nonlethal deterrent to help further reduce the risk of further depredation.


While the producer’s permit is for two wolves, ODFW has authorized the take of up to four wolves from the Horseshoe Pack to end depredations. Agency staff have no immediate plans to assist in lethally removing wolves but may take action if the situation escalates.


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