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Harl Butte Pack: Additional lethal take authorized
ODFW confirmed an additional two depredations by the Harl Butte Wolf Pack in the past few days, during investigations on a dead calf on private land on Sept. 29 and an injured calf on private land on Oct. 1.
ODFW will now authorize additional incremental lethal take of up to four wolves from the pack, which may be killed either by ODFW staff or by livestock producers affiliated with a local grazing association who will be provided with a limited duration lethal take permit. The permit is valid until 10/31/2017 and allows them to kill wolves in pastures on public or private land currently occupied by their livestock.
The Harl Butte pack is currently estimated at nine wolves (six adults and three wolves born this past spring). The younger wolves are likely to weigh between 50-60 pounds by this time of year while adult wolves generally weigh 70-115 pounds. Any wolf in the pack may be taken under the lethal control authorization.
ODFW has removed four adult wolves from the Harl Butte pack since Aug. 3, when it first authorized lethal control after non-lethal measures failed to prevent wolf-livestock depredation. The fourth wolf was killed Aug. 25. “With continued non-lethal measures by the livestock producers throughout the grazing season, we were hoping to see depredations stop after removing four wolves. And six weeks had passed with no depredations since mid-August. Unfortunately, it didn’t last,” said Roblyn Brown, ODFW acting wolf coordinator. “Grazing season is not over and these cattle will be on public land until Oct. 31 and private land even later depending on the weather.”
“As wildlife managers, we are responsible for balancing the conservation of wolves on the landscape with our obligation to manage wolves so that damage to livestock is limited. We need to take further action with this pack,” said Brown.
Livestock producers in the area have continued to use non-lethal preventive measures to limit problems with wolves. These measures include: increased human presence during daytime hours and spending nights outside to protect cattle from wolves; grouped cattle into one pasture instead of several; removed horses from a pasture after ODFW observed a wolf interacting with the horses; and a county and a volunteer range rider have patrolled the area and hazed wolves away from cattle.