ODFW and USDA Wildlife Services at war over cause of death calves killed by wolves
ODFW stands by original assessment contradicting WCSO, Local Vets and WSU reports that calf was killed by wolves ENTERPRISE, Ore – May 16, 2010, the Wallowa County Sheriffs Office received a call from local rancher Kirk Makin that one of his calves was found dead on one of his summer pastures. He believed that the calf had possibly been killed by wolves that were frequently in the area. The calf carcass was located in the Chesnimnus area approximately 35 miles north of Enterprise, Oregon.
USDA Wildlife Services along with Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) were notified. Wallowa County Sheriff Fred Steen and Marlin Riggs, USDA Wildlife Services, responded to the scene investigating and removing the carcass as evidence. Marlin Riggs, USDA Wildlife Services confirmed the carcass as a wolf kill.
On May 17, 2010, ODFW personal examined the same carcass and stated it would not confirm the kill committed by wolves. The main contention was that of “trauma” to the carcass. Other signs of wolf activity near the carcass was documented by ODFW. The carcass was subsequently examined by local veterinarians and Sheriff Fred Steen who requested tissue samples to be sent to Washington State University Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory in Pullman, Washington. The results from WSU’s pathologist showed that the calf did sustain bruising that occurred prior to death plus bruising consisting with bite wounds.
WSU’s report seems to contradict the conclusion of ODFW’s report. ODFW previously disputed the trauma (as defined by bleeding or bruising which can only occur if the calf was still alive while being attacked) giving that as the reason for not confirming this calf as a wolf kill.
The Wallowa County Sheriffs Office and USDA Wildlife Services stand by their their assessment that this calf belonging to Kirk Making was killed by wolves.
Up to today ODFW has confirmed 5 out of eight killed calves by wolves, USDA Wildlife Services has confirmed eight out of eight.