By Shannon McKone on Monday, May 2nd, 2022 in More Top Stories Northeastern Oregon News
WALLOWA COUNTY – (Release from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife) ODFW has authorized lethal action and will provide a kill permit to a livestock producer, allowing them to take up to two wolves until May 24, 2022.
The producer requested the permit after ODFW confirmed two depredation events by the Chesnimnus Pack in three days on their public land grazing allotment, which resulted in three dead calves. That level of depredation meets the definition of chronic livestock depredation under Wolf Plan Rules (minimum of two confirmed depredations in nine months). Find more information on the depredations and investigations on April 25 and 27 here.
Lethal take can be authorized by ODFW in chronic depredation situations when there is significant risk to livestock present in the area and non-lethals were being used prior to depredations.
The producer has a history of using non-lethal methods on their pastures within this pack area to deter wolf-livestock interaction, including employing a range rider funded by a non-profit organization. The producer and range rider used spotlights, radios, foxlights, and human presence at night and during morning and evening hours (and sometimes all day) to maintain a human presence to deter wolf-livestock interactions in previous years. To deter wolves recently, the producer has increased the amount of time humans are spending in the area. The producer spent several nights in the pasture with his cattle following the first depredation and attempted to haze wolves out of the area on April 26 by shooting in the air over eight wolves he encountered in the pasture. Despite these efforts, wolves have continued to visit and have killed additional calves.
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.
The Chesnimnus Pack currently numbers at least 8-9 adult and yearling (born last year) wolves, and their breeding female may be in the den located far from the depredation site. None of the wolves currently have working GPS or VHF collars.
The kill permit allows the producer to shoot any two wolves in the pasture where the recent depredations have occurred. A reduction of two adult or yearling wolves would not be expected to impact the pack’s breeding success. Pups and the breeding female typically remain in the den until later in the summer and would not be targeted by this kill permit. 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.
Another update will be posted about this permit only if wolves are removed or the permit is re-issued.