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Rogue Pack makes Thanksgiving Day kill in Jackson County

BUTTE FALLS — The Rogue Pack of gray wolves has made its way back to Jackson County and continued its pattern of killing cattle.

The pack created by the now-dead wolf OR-7 was blamed for a Thanksgiving Day kill of a year-old cow in the Rancheria area east of Butte Falls.

The heifer was on private grass pasture about a quarter-mile from the rancher’s home. The carcass was discovered with the entrails and part of its hind legs consumed, according to a press release from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The injuries were consistent with previous livestock kills by wolves in the area known to be Rogue Pack habitat and thus was attributed to the pack, the press release said.

The Rogue Pack had recently been in the Wood River Valley area of western Klamath County, on the eastern edge of the pack’s known range, according to agency reports.

But the pack has been known to cross the Cascade Mountains crest and move into eastern Jackson County in late fall, said Steve Niemela, ODFW Rogue District wildlife biologist.

“It’s sort of been their natural pattern over the past years,” Niemela said.

The pack’s matriarch, known as OR-94 based on the GPS-transmitting collar she now wears, was not in the immediate area of last week’s kill, Niemela said. However, it is not unusual to have members of the pack hunt independently and then regroup later, he said.

The Rogue Pack is now blamed for 37 livestock or dog kills since 2016, and the recent kill was its third last month.

The Thanksgiving predation was preceded by two cattle kills confirmed Nov. 9 in the Fork Klamath area.

The pack now has killed six more livestock animals than the Imnaha Pack, which was blamed for 31 attacks between 2011 and 2016 in northeast Oregon, ODFW data show. The Imnaha Pack was led by OR-7’s father, OR-4.

The latest livestock kill comes a month after the Trump Administration moved to strip gray wolves of federal Endangered Species Act protections in the lower 48 states, but the decision has yet to take effect.

Unlike wolves in northeast Oregon, Gray wolves in Western Oregon are listed as endangered under the act. Conservation groups have pledged a court fight over the delisting.

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

Wolf OR-7