A Wallowa County cattle rancher shot and presumably seriously wounded or killed a wolf June 25 in the act of chasing livestock. It is the first incident of its kind in Wallowa County and the second in Oregon.
The rancher and his wife, who chose to remain anonymous, said they had suffered numerous instances of wolves harassing their cattle. The couple saw a wolf chasing a herd of cows on June 25 on a public land allotment in the Wallowa Mountains.
The rancher called county commissioner Todd Nash, who is chairman of the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association Wolf Committee, for advice. Nash told the rancher he could legally shoot the wolf. The man did and the animal limped away.
Nash and Wallow County Sheriff’s Office chief deputy Fred Steen, who later contacted Oregon State Police, responded to the scene. The team did not find the wolf and further investigation indicated the rancher acted within his legal rights.
The rancher’s identity was not released.
“This is just to show you can do this and have anonymity,” Steen said. “It’s absolutely legal to do such and we’ve always believed it’s the rancher’s right to protect his livestock as private property. People need to know this is an option.”
In a separate incident the ODFW investigated a June 21 reported suspected wolf depredation in the Chesnimnus Creek Drainage. A citizen found a dead bull on an active U.S. Forest Service grazing allotment and notified authorities. The department contacted the rancher who leased the allotment and investigated. The ODFW found the bull died of causes other than wolf depredation, noting the lack of wolves in the area and no evidence of premortem injuries, although some postmortem scavenging had occurred.