Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017 • ‘Probable wolf depredation’ of second cow in Lassen County

According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s website, two cows were not injured or killed by wolves in two recent incidents in Lassen County. But a third incident from Oct. 16 has been called a probable wolf kill.

A trail camera captured this image of three members of the Lassen Pack of wolves earlier this year. Local ranchers have expressed their concern about what could happen to their livestock when the young pups grow large enough to join the hunt.

According to the CDFW website, a biologist, game warden, wildlife service specialist and a rancher in Northwestern Lassen County discovered the remains of a cow on private land while investigating clustered GPS locations recovered from a female wolf, LAS01F, fitted with a GPS collar. They discovered evidence of both a chase and struggle area. They estimated the carcass was about 22 days old, and “all of its muscle and edible organs were consumed.” The cow’s rumen was located adjacent to the struggle area.

According to the CDFW report, LAS01F was at or near the site 10 times between Sept. 24 and Sept. 26, and the Lassen Pack killed a cow about 11 miles away on Oct. 13.

“Together these factors are sufficient to classify the cow’s death as a probable wolf depredation,” CDFW reported.

Probably not wolf kills
According to CDFW, a local rancher on public land in Western Lassen County reported an injured adult cow while gathering stock from his grazing allotment on Oct. 26.

According to a report on the website, a biologist examined the animal on Nov. 2 and reported,

“The cow had a four-inch-long open wound on the inside of the rear hind leg, above the hock. It also had several longitudinal scrapes on the inside of the lower portion of the same leg. Those scrapes were scabbed over at the time of the investigation. Hair was also missing from the tip of the cow’s tail.”

The biologist determined there was no conclusive evidence of “predator damage,” the wounds inside the leg “do not appear to be predator bites,” but “it is possible the bobbed tail could have been caused by a wolf grasp.”

According to the website, “Wolves generally attack large prey from behind while chasing, and sometimes damage or remove the tail during such attacks.”

The female wolf of the Lassen Pack, LAS01F was in the general area six days before the report, and the pack killed a cow about six miles away on Oct. 13. The cause of death was listed as possible/unknown.

On Nov. 7, CDFW discovered an adult cow carcass while conducting a routine investigation of clustered GPS locations transmitted by LAS01F’s satellite collar.

CDFW reported, “The carcass was found in a naturally bedded position with all legs founded under the body.”

There was no evidence of predation, and it appeared the animal died the week of Oct. 29.

LAS01F was near the carcass five times between Nov. 2 and Nov. 5, and CDFW estimates the cow died the week of Oct. 29.

Wolves killed a yearling about 17 miles away on Oct. 13, and there was a possible depredation about 5.5 miles away on Sept. 24, but there is no evidence this cow died from predation.