- Associated Press - Saturday, February 22, 2014

BAKER CITY, Ore. (AP) - Wolves have killed a deer and ate an elk in Baker County this month, but it’s unknown what pack they belong to and where they are now, an Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist said.

Biologist Brian Ratliff told the Baker City Herald (https://is.gd/x2amFa ) that a group of four wolves killed a female deer on Feb. 7 near Ruckles Creek, about 10 miles east of Baker City. Nine days later, wolves ate an adult cow elk near Durkee.

No attacks on livestock have been reported.

State fish and wildlife officials don’t know where the wolves came from or where they are, and there have been no sightings reported in either area, Ratliff said.

He could pinpoint the time the wolves killed the deer because the agency and Oregon State Police investigated a report of dead golden eagles near Ruckles Creek on Feb. 6, Ratliff said. The next morning, officials found the dead deer and tracks from four wolves in the snow.

“The deer was not there the day before,” he said.

The dead cow elk was on Bill Zikmund’s irrigated grain field about a mile north the Durkee exit on Interstate 84. A neighbor alerted him that a dead animal was in the field and birds were circling the carcass.

Zikmund and his wife, Vivian, found the carcass when they rode their side-by-side four-wheel ATV to the site.

“They had pretty much eaten the whole thing,” he said. “The bones and the hide was about all that was left.”

Russ Morgan, the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s wolf program coordinator, said it’s possible the wolves are the same animals that had been living in the Medical Springs area for most of January. Ruckles Creek is about 16 miles south of Medical Springs. The cow elk carcass was found roughly 16 miles southeast of Ruckles Creek.

Wolf packs can cover those distances easily, sometimes in less than a day, Morgan said.

Scat samples collected near Medical Springs were tested for DNA, and results showed at least two of the wolves that left tracks came from the Imnaha pack in Wallowa County, Morgan said.

Zikmund said neighbors who have cattle are worried about the wolves, especially with calving season underway.

Zikmund, however, said he would like to see a wolf.

“But we’re a split household,” he said. “My wife definitely is not liking having them here.”


Information from: Baker City Herald, https://www.bakercityherald.com/

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