Following instructions on the claim form, the investigator shall notify the United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services, within 48 hours, or as soon as practicable, that an investigation of livestock loss has been initiated. The investigator shall investigate the loss in a timely manner and shall make a finding in writing on the claim form regarding whether the livestock was destroyed or crippled by a wolf, and the owner's eligibility for compensation under parts 1515.3000 to 1515.3800. Such a finding shall be based upon physical and circumstantial evidence including: the livestock carcass presence and condition; animal tracks; the number and location of animal bites on the carcass; the area of the state where the loss occurred; sightings of a wolf in the area; or any other circumstances determined to be pertinent by the investigator. The investigator shall submit the signed claim form to the commissioner at the earliest opportunity. The absence of any affirmative evidence may be grounds for denial of a claim.