Lassen County livestock have enjoyed a safe summer from wolves, but on Friday, Sept. 4, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife reports two confirmed wolf kills during the month of August. File photo

Yearlings killed in Lassen County near Westwood

Wolves killed a 550-pound yearling cow on private land in Western Lassen County Saturday, July 13 and fatally injured a 600-pound yearling and injured three other yearlings in Western Lassen County Sunday, July 14. Both attacks occurred near Westwood.

According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife website, a ranch hand observed a wolf feeding on a carcass about 2 p.m. July 13. Investigators from CDFW and the United States Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services examined the carcass about 4:30 in the afternoon. They determined the “location and nature of the wounds are consistent with those typically found when wolves attack livestock.”

Those injuries included “external scrapes with significant subcutaneous hemorrhage” on both rear legs and the yearling’s back and “significant subcutaneous and muscular hemorrhage” on the right flank. The investigators reported the injuries occurred “while the animal was alive and the wounds were consistent with those typically found when wolves attack livestock.”

The breeding female of the Lassen Pack was observed feeding on the carcass about 2 p.m., but she left when the ranch hand approached. She was feeding on the carcass again when investigators arrived about 4 p.m.

“Based on the condition of the carcass, the yearling was killed by a wolf or wolves earlier on July 13,” CDFW reported.


July 14 depredation

On Sunday, July 14, CDFW staff discovered a 600-pound yearling in a pasture with open wounds that appeared to consistent with a wolf attack. On Monday, July 15, a ranch hand found the animal dead, and CDFW and WS staff investigated the carcass that evening.

The ranch hand and investigators observed two other injured animals — tooth scrapes on their hind legs and one had scrapes on its right flank — in the same pasture. The ranch hand examined the wounds and determined the animals were better left alone, so investigators did not examine them more closely.

Then on Wednesday, July 17, ranch employees discovered another injured yearling in the same pasture with “swelling and apparent tooth scrapes/rakes on the front of its right hind leg.”

The rancher moved the herd to a pasture nearer the ranch headquarters, and potential actions to deter additional attacks are being explored, “but options are limited in the immediate area due to pasture sizes and configuration.”

The animals’ wounds “were consistent with a predator attack,” and “the injured animals were found in an area frequented by the Lassen Pack.”

According to the CDFW website, the July 13 attack occurred about “600 yards away.”