ODFW officials confirm the wolf attack in Umatilla County (photos below)
UMATILLA COUNTY, Ore. — Like many others, Mark Lane is simply trying to grow his business.
Lane’s business is cattle ranching in Eastern Oregon. Compared to other ranchers, he may not have the most cattle. In fact, the 42-year-old has 47 pairs of cattle (one cow and its calf).
“I’m slowly trying to build my herd,” he said.
However, Lane’s business took a hit last week when one of his cows was the victim of a wolf attack, a depredation confirmed by Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife biologist Mark Kirsch.
Lane said the three-year-old cow, worth approximately $2,200-$2,800, was found by his father-in-law in a Umatilla County field on June 11. The cow had been last checked on three days prior, making the window of the Umatilla Pack attack sometime between June 8 and and when it was found June 11. Two wolves — OR-14 and OR-23 of the Umatilla Pack — were tracked via GPS to be within the same pasture in the morning of June 9, according to an ODFW report.
When he first saw the cow, Lane wasn’t sure what to think.
“It kind of grossed me out,” he said.
According to an ODFW investigation into the matter, “multiple large-carnivore bite wounds” were found on the cow’s right-side flank area and on both hind legs between the hock and rump. The exposed bite caused muscle tissue damage on the left hind leg, which was “especially severe,” according to the report. Lane said on top of that, the skin under the utters has started to deteriorate.
After assessing the damage to the cow, Lane had to develop a plan.
“I wasn’t sure what to do next,” he said.
Lane contacted Kirsch, who later arrived to inspect the cow before making the decision that the cow was a victim of a wolf depredation.
“She’s still alive. I don’t know how, but she is,” Lane said of his cow. “I’m still doctoring her.”
The Umatilla Pack has depredated livestock irregularly since 2012, according to the ODFW report. However, on June 13 — two days after the wolf depredation on Lane’s cow — ODFW officials confirmed a wolf depredation of sheep in a pen less than one mile from the same pasture. In that incident, seven sheep were killed and five more were injured.
“These are serious predators that need to be dealt with in a serious manner,” said Todd Nash, the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association Wolf Chairman.