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Rogue Pack kills again

Gray wolf OR-7’s Rogue Pack apparently has left Jackson County, but wildlife biologists say the wolves have taken their taste for beef with them.

The pack was blamed for killing and partially eating a 730-pound steer discovered dead Sunday in a private pasture near Fort Klamath, near the eastern edge of the pack’s known territory, according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

It is the 13th livestock or dog death attributed to the Rogue Pack, but the first since March 23, when a 400-pound calf was killed at the Boundary Butte-area ranch of Ted Birdseye, who has suffered all but two of those previous livestock losses.

Birdseye said he hasn’t heard a single howl since his last encounter on his 276-acre ranch sequestered amid private timberland tracks and near a previously known denning site for Western Oregon’s most famous and, in recent years, infamous wolf pack.

“It’s been pretty dang peaceful,” Birdseye said Wednesday.

“I hate to push them off and become someone else’s problem, but I’m glad they’re not here,” Birdseye said. “But they could easily come back.”

The Rogue Pack and other wolves in Western Oregon are federally protected as endangered species under the federal Endangered Species Act.

State and federal wildlife biologists have been trying to trap one of the Rogue Pack wolves in order to fit it with a GPS collar for tracking purposes, but they have not been able to do so.

OR-7 gained international fame for its trek from northeast Oregon to southwest Oregon and Northern California before it found a mate and settled in eastern Jackson and western Klamath counties.

In recent years, however, the pack’s livestock kills have made it notorious as the largest inflicter of livestock predation in Oregon in 2018, with its 11 livestock and dog kills nearly twice that of any other Oregon pack.

In Sunday’s case, the yearling steer was likely killed late Saturday or early Sunday morning. Its upper hind quarter was consumed but the rest of the carcass was largely intact, according to the ODFW livestock depredation report.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470 or mfreeman@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MTwriterFreeman.

OR-7's Rogue Pack is blamed for killing another cow, this one near Fort Klamath. File photo