Wallowa County Sheriff’s Office and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife investigated a suspected wolf depredation to a 350-pound calf outside of Wallowa on June 20. Fred Steen, chief deputy for the sheriff’s office, said he harbored no doubts that a wolf was responsible for the kill. Steen added he did not speak for the ODFW.

The calf in question belonged to Max and Jean Mallory, who live on Promise Road just north of Wallowa. The suspected kill was on private property about eight miles from the Mallory Ranch where the family leases pasture.

Both the ODFW and WCSO performed a necropsy and the investigation on scene. “There’s no doubt in my mind that the calf was killed by wolves,” Steen said.

The Mallorys had moved cattle from one pasture to another and a calf got left behind. They returned to the pasture the following day and found the calf. While Max Mallory went after the calf on horseback, his wife opened the gate. As Max Mallory herded the calf to within about 50 yards of the gate, in the words of Mallory, “There was a gray wolf waiting for us. He looked us over for awhile and trotted out of sight. Needless to say, I didn’t get the calf out the gate after that.”

Both Jean and Max Mallory went to the herd and cut out the calf’s mother and another pair and drove them back through the gate as encouragement to the lone calf. By that time it was dark and the Mallorys could hear the lone calf had found its mother. “We assumed everything was going to be all right,” Max Mallory said.

It wasn’t.

Jean Mallory and some help returned to the area two days later to move the two pair back with the herd and found the dead calf. It was nearly three-quarters eaten. They called the authorities.

Pat Matthews, district wildlife biologist for the ODFW, said after the initial investigation the suspected depredation was handed over to the La Grande ODFW office for further investigation.

LATE UPDATE: Max Mallory told the Chieftain Tuesday that he had received a call from Matthews informing him that ODFW has confirmed the calf as a wolf kill.

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