On July 8, WDFW staff discovered a dead 400-450 lb. calf in a 160-acre fenced pasture while working on WDFW’s 4-O Ranch Wildlife Area. WDFW conflict staff contacted the livestock producer (who has authorization to graze livestock on the wildlife area through a permitted lease with WDFW), and conducted an investigation on site.
WDFW staff’s investigation of the carcass revealed hemorrhaging and tissue damage on the calf’s left side, including the chest and lower neck area, front and back of the front leg, lower portion of the rear leg, and tooth puncture and scrapes on the inside of the lower leg and groin. WDFW also documented hemorrhaging and tissue damage on the calf’s right side, including the chest and lower neck area, rear side of the front leg continuing into surrounding tissue behind the leg, area in front of the rear leg, and the lower half of the rear leg. Most of the hindquarters were consumed. The carcass was removed from the area and buried immediately after the investigation.
The damage to the carcass was indicative of a wolf depredation. In addition, location data from the collared wolf in the Grouse Flats pack showed at least one member of the pack in the vicinity during the approximate time the calf died. Based on the combination of tissue damage with associated hemorrhaging and wolf locations, WDFW staff classified this event as a confirmed wolf depredation.
The livestock producer who owns the affected livestock monitors the herd by range riding at least every other day, maintains regular human presence in the area, removes or secures livestock carcasses to avoid attracting wolves to the rest of the herd, and avoids known wolf high activity areas. Since the depredation occurred, the producer deployed Fox lights in the grazing area and will increase the frequency of range riding until cattle can be moved to a different pasture.
The Grouse Flats pack was involved in three depredation incidents in 2018, detailed in an update released Dec. 11, 2018. WDFW includes a summary of all documented depredation activity within the past ten months in every monthly update. For general information about livestock grazing on WDFW lands, click here.