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Rogue Pack blamed for steer killing

A yearling steer in the Fort Klamath area of Klamath County was reportedly killed and partially eaten by wolves from the Rogue Pack, according to a livestock depredation investigation by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The incident was reported Friday afternoon, July 17, when the remains of a 725-pound yearling steer were found in a private 750-acre grass pasture owned by Jim Popson.

According to the official ODFW report, “portions of the left front leg and rear flank had hide and soft tissue consumed, but the carcass was otherwise intact. The yearling was estimated to have died within 18 hours of the investigation.”

During the investigation, “Fresh wolf tracks were present at the scene but no attack scene was found. The carcass was skinned and portions were shaved. Numerous pre-mortem tooth scrapes 1/8- to 3/8-inch wide and up to 4 inches long were present on the hide of both hind legs above the hocks, inner hind legs and groin, and right front leg near the elbow. There was pre-mortem hemorrhaging and tissue trauma extending up to 2 inches into the soft tissues of all four legs.”

According to the finding, “The pre-mortem injuries are clear signs of predator attack and the size, location and severity of the bite injuries are similar to injuries observed on other cattle attacked by wolves. This depredation is attributed to wolves of the Rogue Pack.”

The Rogue Pack, which was initially recognized in 2014 in the Southern Oregon Cascades, included OR-7, who paired with a female and produced three pups that year after leaving his pack in northeastern Oregon in 2011.

The Rogue Pack has since grown, with new pups on an almost yearly basis, and has been credited with numerous livestock killings in northwestern Klamath County, especially near Fort Klamath, and eastern Jackson County. The pack has historically been found on Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest and Fremont-Winema National Forest lands on both sides of the Cascades and adjacent private lands.

Other Oregon wolves, including several of OR-7’s offspring, have been reported in far Northern California. If he is still alive, OR-7 would now be 11 years old — old for a wolf, according to ODFW biologists. He was fitted with a GPS collar but it has not functioned in years. Because no Rogue Pack member has an active collar, state and federal biologists have had to monitor the pack using trail cameras.

Reach freelance writer Lee Juillerat at 337lee337@charter.net or 541-880-4139.

Wolf OR-7 was caught on a remote camera on public land in western Klamath County Oct. 23, 2016.