The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife publishes reports detailing the wolf conservation and management activities undertaken by the department. Click on the title of an update below to see the complete article.

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Salmon researcher is safe after encountering wolves near den site

July 13, 2018

Salmon researcher is safe after encountering wolves near den site

A state fire crew retrieved a U.S. Forest Service salmon researcher in Okanogan County yesterday after she climbed a tree to avoid a wolf that was displaying behaviors that she considered threatening.

The incident response involved several state, federal, and local agencies, including the state departments of Natural Resources (DNR) and Fish & Wildlife (WDFW), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), U.S. Forest Service (USFS), and the Okanogan County Sheriff’s Office. A DNR fire crew extracted the researcher in a helicopter dispatched through a multi-agency fire center in Colville, while WDFW enforcement personnel were preparing to hike to the scene.

WDFW Acting Director Joe Stohr said the incident took place in a region of the state in which wolf recovery and management actions are led by USFWS, because gray wolves are protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. USFWS is leading a follow-up investigation into the incident and agencies’ response.

Stohr said it appears the researcher was close to a wolf denning site or rendezvous area, and that it is common for wolves to bark, howl, and approach people or other animals when protecting their pups. He said some initial reports stated incorrectly that the researcher was in a developed campground. In fact, the site is several miles from either a designated campground or maintained road.

“We are relieved that the researcher was brought out of the area safely,” Stohr said. “We’re still working to confirm details of the incident, but the most important element is that she was unharmed.”

Stohr said when WDFW staff in the area learned of the situation, they quickly assessed various response options and supported the decision by USFWS that the helicopter operation was appropriate.

WDFW wildlife managers in April identified the area where the encounter took place as a likely denning site for the Loup Loup pack, which includes at least one adult female and one adult male. The department notified USFS officials in the region at that time.

Here is information shared on Friday, July 13, by USFWS:

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is pleased at the successful rescue of the individual, and commends the quick action of our partners in their rescue efforts.

On July 12, 2018, a seasonal U.S. Forest Service employee completing research surveys in the Okanogan Wenatchee National Forest encountered two adult gray wolves from the federally listed endangered Loup Loup pack.

The individual was safely extracted, uninjured, by helicopter from the location the incident occurred.

Prior to the incident, the individual observed wolf tracks and heard yipping and barking for a period of time before the wolves approached.

After unsuccessful attempts to scare the wolves away (including yelling, waving and deploying a can of bear spray in the direction of the wolves) the individual climbed a tree and used a radio to call for assistance.

A Loup Loup pack den site is in the vicinity of the site where the incident occurred, and GPS collar data from the early morning of July 12 shows at least one adult wolf from the Loup Loup pack in close proximity to the area where the incident occurred.

US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) biologists believe the location is a “rendezvous” site, and the wolves were likely acting in a defensive manner to protect offspring or food sources. Rendezvous sites are home or activity sites where weaned pups are brought from the den until they are old enough to join adult wolves in hunting activity.

USFWS and WDFW biologists will continue to monitor the GPS collar data for the two adult wolves and will hike into the site on July 13 to further investigate.

Gray wolves are currently listed as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act in the western 2/3 of Washington. The USFWS is the primary agency responsible for managing wolves in the federally listed area, and coordinates closely with WDFW to implement the state’s Gray Wolf Conservation and Management Plan.


Packs Referenced: Loup Loup

Monthly Wolf Report - June 2018

July 2, 2018

This report provides information about wolf conservation and management activities undertaken by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) from June 1-30, 2018.

 

Statewide wolf capture, survey, and management

Wolf surveys

Wolf biologists spent time trapping in the Togo pack area and successfully captured and collared an adult male wolf from that pack. New wolf activity was also reported in the old Profanity Peak territory, so wolf biologists scouted, set traps, and succeeded in collaring an adult male wolf. Trapping efforts then shifted to the Lookout Mountain, Huckleberry, and Grouse Flats pack territories, but no wolves were trapped. Wolf biologists also spent time scouting the Beaver Creek, Five Sisters, and Leadpoint pack territories for future trapping efforts over the next few weeks.

Wolf biologists also followed up on reports south of I-90 in the central portion of the state, but were unable to find any wolf tracks or sign in the area. The department encourages the public to report sightings to https://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/gray_wolf/reporting/. These reports can be very helpful in locating new packs on the landscape.

Outreach activities

Wolf biologists gave a presentation at the Game Management Advisory Council in early June, providing an update on the status of wolves in Washington and answering questions asked by the group.

Biologists also reviewed and provided comments on web pages currently being developed for a new Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife website, currently under construction.

 

Proactive deterrence measures

Grazing

Through mid-June, livestock producers had moved more than a thousand cow/calf pairs onto state and federal grazing allotments. Cattle are also grazing on private pastures across District 3 in the southeast corner of the state. These allotments and private pastures fall within the territories of the three known wolf packs in that management district.

Wildlife conflict specialists started working with the state and federal range managers prior to the grazing season to share information and determine steps that could be taken to minimize wolf/livestock conflict. That coordination has included adjusting grazing allotment schedules to avoid cattle grazing close to possible wolf denning sites. Wildlife conflict staff members have also been working closely with producers to implement other measures to avoid conflicts, including range riding, human presence, and the relocation of salt sites across the area.

Most of the cattle herds are under daily monitoring at this time. Wildlife conflict staff members will continue to work closely with producers and range managers and monitor cattle and wolf movements thorough the grazing season. At this time, no wolf/livestock conflict has been reported.

Northeastern Washington coordination

District Wildlife conflict staff members continued to meet and coordinate with livestock producers, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), university researchers, and other nonprofit organizations in northeastern Washington. This coordination will continue throughout the summer grazing season. Information on changes to the data sharing program, Damage Prevention Cooperative Agreements for Livestock, WDFW contracted range rider deployment and request for qualifications, and wolf high use areas was shared.

Deterrents

A variety of nonlethal deterrents were deployed, including:

  • Carpenter Ridge – range riding and department presence

  • Dirty Shirt – range riding and human presence

  • Goodman – WDFW presence

  • Huckleberry – range riding and fox lights

  • Leadpoint – human presence and fox lights

  • Old Profanity territory – range riding and fox lights

  • Smackout – fox lights, fladry, air horns, pyrotechnics, range riding, and a RAG box

  • Stranger – range riding, continual improvements on calving locations, and fox lights

  • Togo – range riding and securing calving locations

Range riding activity in most packs was provided by Damage Prevention Cooperative Agreements for Livestock, agency contracted range riders, and two non-government organizations (NGO), as most large grazing locations are being stocked with cattle at this time. Department staff members have also been spending time on allotments assisting range riders in coverage. Along with the specific deterrents listed above, sanitation (removal of dead livestock) has been occurring on an as needed basis. Direct hazing of wolves occurred in both Dirty Shirt and Smackout.

Kittitas County

Permit grazing for cattle and sheep has been initiated in the Department of Natural Resources’ Teanaway Community Forest and the USFS Swauk Permit Range, both of which encompass the Teanaway Pack’s known territory.

In the Teanaway Community Forest, cattle movements and behavior have been monitored by the producer and WDFW. Salt locations, cattle movements, calf weights, and range conditions were discussed daily or weekly among the producer and the department. Inspections of cattle use areas are conducted a least three days each week to record injured, sick, or missing cattle, as well as general herd condition and stress level. Cattle are currently grazing or directed away from within 1.3 miles of the denning sub-basin. Salt has been placed away from the denning sub-basin and at least 2.6 miles away. At least twice weekly, searches of the areas containing wolves and cattle are conducted to monitor interactions. No negative wolf and livestock interactions have been observed or reported. Active range riding will begin July 1.

In the Swauk Permit Range, sheep were placed east of the known pack territory boundary. A sheep herder, herding dogs, and guard dogs reside with the sheep. No negative wolf and livestock interactions have been observed or reported. Active range riding will begin July 1.

 

Depredation investigations

King County

June 6: WDFW investigated a dead calf in King County. After the depredation investigation, physical and eyewitness accounts led to the determination that the calf was likely killed by a domestic dog or coyote.

Depredation timeline

Requested by the Wolf Advisory Group at the last meeting. Updates will be provided in each monthly wolf report.

Crossed out entries are no longer within the 10-month window, and no longer count towards depredation totals as outlined in the Wolf-Livestock Interaction Protocol.

Pack

Date of depredation

Depredation type

Proactive Nonlethals

10-month window

Consider lethal removal

Sherman

(1 known animals)

July 12, 2017

Confirmed kill (#1)

Y

May 12, 2018

No collar on the known individual in this area.

 

July 21, 2017

Confirmed injury(#2) (#1)

Y

May 21, 2018

 

 

August 24, 2017

Confirmed kill (#3)  (#1)

Y

June 25, 2018

 

 

August 29, 2017

Confirmed kill (#4)  (#1)

Y

June 29, 2018

Removed 1 wolf on Sept 1, 2017

Smackout

(6 known animals)

July 18, 2017

Confirmed injury (#1)

Y

May 18th, 2018

1 collar currently in the pack

 

July 22, 2017

Confirmed injury (#2)  (#1)

Y

May 22, 2018

Removed 2 wolves – July 2017

 

Oct 9, 2017

Confirmed kill (#3)  (#1)

Y

Aug 9, 2018

 

Leadpoint

(2 known animals)

Aug 30, 2017

Confirmed kill (#1)

Y

June 30, 2018

Collar malfunctioned – April 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

Little Butte, Blue Mtns (Unknown which pack)

Sept 2, 2017

Confirmed injury Calf and cow pair (#1)

Y

July 2, 2018

Mother cow/calf = 1 event

 

Not associated with Tucannon Collar Locations

Togo   

(2 known animals)

November 2, 2017

Confirmed injured calf (#1)

Y

Sept 2, 2018

Caught in the Act – 10/27/2017

Collared adult male wolf in this area.

 

November 8, 2017

Confirmed Kill (calf) (#2)

Y

Sept 8, 2018

 

 

May 20, 2018

Confirmed Kill (calf) (#3)

N

Mar 20, 2019

 

Ferry, Stevens, and Pend Oreille counties

Cow calf bones in Pend Oreille County
Calf bones discovered in Pend Oreille County
and classified as an Unconfirmed Cause of Death
  • June 2 – WDFW investigated a report of a sheep depredation in Ferry County. It was determined that the sheep was killed by a cougar.

  • June 11 – WDFW investigated a horse depredation in Ferry County. The horse’s injuries were determined to be structural.

  • June 12 – WDFW investigated a goat depredation in Stevens County. The goat was determined to have been killed by a cougar.

  • June 16 – WDFW investigated a goat depredation in Stevens County. The goat was determined to have been killed by a cougar.

  • June 18 – WDFW investigated a report of a missing dog in Pend Oreille County. Due to the domestic dog not being found, this investigation was classified as an Unconfirmed Cause of Death.

  • June 20 – WDFW investigated a report of calf depredation in Pend Oreille County. Based on the age of the bones, the investigation was classified as an Unconfirmed Cause of Death.

  • June 22 – WDFW investigated a report of two sheep dead in Ferry County. The sheep were determined to have been killed by a cougar.

  • June 22 – WDFW investigated a report of sheep depredation in Ferry County. The sheep was determined to have been killed by a cougar.

  • June 22 – WDFW investigated a report of calf depredation in Stevens County. After the investigation it was determined to be an Unconfirmed Cause of Death.


Packs Referenced: Beaver Creek, Carpenter Ridge, Dirty Shirt, Five Sisters, Goodman Meadows, Huckleberry, Leadpoint, Profanity Peak, Sherman, Smackout, Stranger, Teanaway, Togo

WAG Meeting set for July 10, 2018 in Ellensburg

June 14, 2018

This is a notice to inform you that the next Wolf Advisory Group (WAG) meeting is July 10, from 1 - 6:00 p.m. and July 11, from 8 a.m. - 3 p.m. There will also be an open-house style public comment period on July 10 from 11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., prior to the WAG work session. The WAG agenda will be posted on the department’s website (here). 

The meeting will be at the Kittitas Valley Event Center, Heritage Hall (901 East 7th Ave., Ellensburg, WA. 98926). The WAG work session will open to the public to observe and will follow the same format that we have used in the past, including public comment opportunities at the end of each day. 


Monthly Wolf Report -- May 2018

June 1, 2018

This report provides information about wolf conservation and management activities undertaken by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) from April 30 to May 31, 2018.

Statewide Wolf Capture, Survey, and Management

Wolf surveys

Wolf biologists spent time trapping in the Huckleberry pack territory, but despite locating wolf sign and activity they were unable to capture any wolves on this attempt. Biologists will be scouting for sign and attempting to trap in the Lookout, Grouse Flats, Beaver Creek, and Togo packs over the next month. They will also be scouting areas with recent wolf reports in the central and south Cascades.

WDFW and Ferry County have documented wolf pack activity in the historic Profanity Peak area. Department staff members are working with livestock producers to develop proactive nonlethal deterrent measures in preparation for the grazing season.

Outreach activities

Wolf biologists attended the Wolf Advisory Group (WAG) meeting in Spokane at the beginning of the month. WAG members discussed the best approach to reaching out to a broader audience of Washington’s citizens in an effort to incorporate new ideas to help guide the future of wolf management in Washington.

Wolf biologists joined a field day activity with middle school students to discuss wildlife and carnivores in the Teanaway Community Forest. They also joined in a discussion with personnel from Wolf Haven International to answer questions about wolf management and recolonization in Washington.

Okanogan County

No no wolf-livestock conflicts were reported in Okanogan County during May. Collar data indicates the Loup Loup pack is within its traditional territory. Wildlife conflict specialists gathered input from livestock producers with active agreements regarding potential changes to the wolf location data-sharing program.

Proactive Deterrence Measures

Kittitas County

Permit grazing livestock have been removed from the Teanaway pack territory for the winter season. No conflicts between wolves and livestock have been reported.

Ferry, Stevens, and Pend Oreille counties

District wildlife conflict staff members met and coordinated with livestock producers, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), and other nonprofit organizations in northeastern Washington. This coordination will continue throughout the summer grazing season. Information on data sharing, Damage Prevention Cooperative Agreements for Livestock, WDFW contracted range rider deployment and request for qualifications, and wolf high-use areas was shared (e.g., potential denning locations).

Nonlethal deterrents were deployed in the following pack areas:

  • Huckleberry (e.g., increased range riding on large private pastures).

  • Profanity (e.g., fox lights and range riding).

  • Smackout (e.g., fox lights in multiple locations, fladry, air horns, pyrotechnics, and increased human presence).

  • Stranger (e.g., increased human presence around calving areas and improvements to calving pastures to keep out predators).

  • Togo (e.g., increased range riding efforts and securing calving locations).

Range riders are ramping up activity this month. Range riders under contract with WDFW and two non-government originations account for most of this activity.

Depredation Investigations

Ferry, Stevens, and Pend Oreille counties

May 9: WDFW looked into a report of missing cattle in Stevens County. No evidence of the cattle was discovered.

May 17: WDFW investigated a dead calf in Stevens County. After the depredation investigation, it was determined the calf had been killed by a black bear. A bear trap was deployed after a hunter was not successful in removing the bear. Trail cameras captured the bear in the area, but the trap was unsuccessful.

A calf carcass discovered in Stevens County killed by a black bear
Partially consumed calf carcass

 

May 20: WDFW investigated a dead calf in Ferry County. After an investigation, it was determined to be a Confirmed Wolf Depredation. Coordination with the livestock producer on range rider efforts and other deterrents was discussed.

May 21: WDFW investigated a report of dead sheep in Stevens County. The investigation determined that a cougar had killed the sheep. A trap was set, but it was unsuccessful.

May 25: WDFW investigated a report of a dead calf in Stevens County. Wolf tracks and one collar location were indicated at the scene. After the investigation of the calf carcass, it was noted that wolves had scavenged on the calf, but there were no indicators that wolves had killed the calf. The depredation investigation was categorized as an Unconfirmed Cause of Death. The producer continues to use human presence, fladry, and trail cameras. The department provided the producer with fox lights, air horns, pyrotechnics, and a WDFW contracted range rider to help reduce wolf activity.

A calf carcass discovered in Stevens County that was determined to be an Unconfirmed Cause of Death
Calf carcass among the grasses and brush

May 26: WDFW investigated a report of a dead calf in Stevens County. The calf was placed in a squeeze shoot for examination, and based on the superficial wounds, it was determined these injuries would be classified as a Non-Depredation. Due to wolf activity in the area, fox lights were placed at the pasture edge.

A three-month-old calf after a depredation investigation in Stevens County
Calf awaiting examination in a squeeze chute


Packs Referenced: Huckleberry, Profanity Peak, Smackout, Stranger, Teanaway, Togo

WDFW confirms wolves caused calf's death in northern Ferry County

May 24, 2018

WDFW officials have confirmed that one or more wolves caused the death of a calf whose carcass was discovered May 20 in a federal grazing allotment in northern Ferry County, within the Togo wolf pack range.

A woodcutter working in the area said he approached a gate that separates U.S. Forest Service land from private property, where he heard a cow bawling and saw a black wolf running from the area where the calf was found. The woodcutter reported the incident to the producer, who had seen the calf alive earlier in the day and who then found the carcass and reported the incident to WDFW.

A WDFW official arrived later on May 20 and conducted an investigation with help from a wildlife specialist employed by Stevens and Ferry counties.

The investigators found that the calf had bite lacerations and puncture wounds to both rear quarters, upper rear legs, neck and sternum, consistent with predation by a wolf. Hemorrhaging was visible near the bite wounds and was also found in the left front armpit, where no lacerations or punctures were visible. Evidence indicated the calf was alive during the depredation event.

Based on all available evidence, WDFW classified the event as a confirmed wolf depredation by one or more members of the Togo pack. The incident represents the third confirmed depredation involving the Togo pack in the past seven months.

In this case, the producer deployed one proactive deterrence measure – checking on his cattle daily.  The WDFW wolf-livestock interaction protocol identifies the expectation of at least two proactive deterrence measures.

Department staff and the producer discussed additional deterrent strategies (including the use of fladry and Foxlights) but agreed the use of range riders would be the most effective additional deterrent, given that the cow-calf operation takes place in an unfenced allotment in rugged terrain. Later on May 20, the producer deployed a range rider and made plans to rotate several riders from the Northeast Washington Wolf-Cattle Collaborative and WDFW to provide ongoing daily or near-daily coverage.

The presence of the Togo pack was confirmed during the WDFW annual wolf population survey in late 2017, following a series of events in October and November that coincided with multiple wolf sightings by local residents.

On Oct. 27, 2017, a livestock producer shot and killed a wolf that was in the act of attacking his livestock in northern Ferry County. In early November, WDFW confirmed two additional reports of wolf depredations on livestock in the same area. The information gained from those investigations suggested the presence of a new wolf pack. Additional details appear in WDFW’s Nov. 9, 2017, wolf update and the November 2017 monthly update, available online at https://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/gray_wolf/updates/update_on_washington_wolves.pdf.

The pack was officially named in March 2018 after Togo Mountain, southeast of Danville near the U.S.-Canada border.


Packs Referenced: Togo

Wolf Update -- May 18, 2018

May 18, 2018

Thurston County Superior Court Judge Chris Lanese today dismissed the case filed by the Center for Biological Diversity and Cascadia Wildlands challenging WDFW’s 2017 lethal removal decision concerning wolves in the Sherman pack.  The judge ruled that the case was moot because the lethal removal authorization was no longer in effect and, as such, the court could not provide effective relief. 

Based on the Department’s most recent annual survey in December 2017, the Sherman pack no longer exists.

At the judge’s request, WDFW committed to providing one business day (8 court hours) advance public notice prior to initiating lethal action on wolves, so the public has the opportunity to seek relief from the court.  The judge said this requirement will remain in place until the issues raised in the case are finally adjudicated. WDFW already gives advance notice to the public before taking lethal action on wolves.

Both wolf depredations on livestock and the lethal removal of wolves are serious matters that affect a diverse array of Washingtonians in different ways.  The Department will continue working with a diversity of Washington’s citizens and communities on wolf conservation and management.  

The Department will also continue to implement the Wolf Conservation and Management Plan and wolf-livestock interactions protocol, which emphases the proactive use of non-lethal deterrent measures to reduce wolf-livestock conflict, and only consider lethal removal of wolves if those non-lethal tools fail.


Packs Referenced: Sherman

Monthly Wolf Report -- April 2018

May 3, 2018

This report provides information about wolf conservation and management activities undertaken by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) from March 31 to April 30, 2018.

Proactive Deterrence Measures

  • Wolf surveys: Wolf biologists conducted field surveys to locate activity centers for wolves in an effort to start trapping and collaring wolves later this spring and early summer. Those biologists have also been prepping equipment and gearing up for another field season.

  • Upcoming grazing season planning: Conflict staff members and a WDFW-contracted range rider met with U.S. Forest Service personnel from the Tonasket Ranger District to plan the upcoming grazing season. They discussed wolf denning, grazing rotations, communication, and nonlethal deterrence measures.

Outreach Activities

  • Wolf biologists presented an update on the conservation and management of wolves in Washington to the Upper Snoqualmie Elk Management group in North Bend and the Kittitas Audubon Society in Ellensburg. They will also present a similar update to WDFW hunter education instructors meeting in Wenatchee at the end of the month.

  • Wolf biologists spent a day talking to students at the Walter Strom Middle School for their annual career day.


Wolf Update -- April 30, 2018

April 30, 2018

This notice is to inform you that the next Wolf Advisory Group (WAG) meeting is this Tuesday, May 1, from 1:00 to 6:00pm, and Wednesday, May 2, from 8:00am to 3:00pm. The WAG agenda is posted on the Department’s website (here). The meeting will be at Hotel RL in Spokane (303 West North River Drive, Spokane, WA 99201).  The WAG work session will be open to the public to observe and will follow the same format that we have used in the past, including public comment opportunities at the end of each day.  There will also be an open-house style public comment period on May 1 from 11:00am to 12:30pm, prior to the WAG work session.  


Monthly Wolf Report -- March 2018

April 2, 2018

This report provides information about wolf conservation and management activities undertaken by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) from Jan. 30 to Feb. 27, 2018.

Statewide Wolf Capture, Survey, and Management

2017 annual wolf report

Early in the month, wolf biologists finished some annual track surveys in various areas around the state, assessing minimum numbers of wolves in known pack territories. Wolf specialist Maletzke presented the minimum count and a number of other summary statistics related to the status of wolves to the Fish and Wildlife Commission on March 17, 2018. Wolf biologists also spent time writing and editing the 2017 annual wolf report, which is due to be released on March 30, 2018.

The state was home to at least 122 wolves, 22 packs, and 14 successful breeding pairs in 2017, based on field surveys conducted over the winter by state, tribal, and federal wildlife managers. The full 2017 annual wolf report can be found on the WDFW website here.

Gray wolf and three pups

Wolf Internal Group and Wolf Advisory Group meetings

Wolf biologists attended the wolf internal group (WDFW staff members) and wolf advisory group (WDFW staff members and external stakeholders) meetings to discuss topics on wolf conservation and management in Washington.

Inter-state wolf discussions

WDFW's carnivore section manager and the statewide wolf specialist are attending a meeting at the end of the month with wolf managers from other northwest states and jurisdictions to discuss similarities and differences in their approaches to wolf management.

Wolf packs in Kittitas County

Collar data shows the Teanaway wolf pack in normal areas for this time of year. There was one reported incident of domestic dogs trying to engage wolves in the pack territory. No injuries to domestic pets or wolves were reported or suspected, and collar data shows the wolves moving away from that area.

Legislative updates

  • One-time funding of $183,000 from the state general fund was provided for WDFW to implement Engrossed Substitute House Bill 2771, which calls for conducting an Environmental Impact Statement for the translocation of wolves. In addition:

  • One-time funding ($100,000 GFS) was provided to WDFW for the implementation of nonlethal deterrence measures in Fiscal Year 2019. In addition:

  • One-time funding ($80,000 GF-S) was granted for the Department of Agriculture (WSDA) to work with the Sheriff's Departments of Ferry County and Stevens County in cooperation with the WDFW on wolf management activities.

  • Funding ($172,000 GF-S) was provided to the University of Washington to conduct a three-year study of wolf use and density in the South Cascades, as well as the impact of wolf recolonization on the predator-prey dynamics of species previously inhabiting the area.

More information on these legislative items can be found here.

Proactive Deterrence Measures

Wolf packs in Ferry, Stevens, and Pend Oreille counties

District wildlife conflict personnel continued meeting with livestock producers, range riders contracted with WDFW, non-government organizations, and a conservation resource management group to discuss upcoming plans for late spring and summer. District staff members and WDFW-contracted range riders also worked with landowners on calving operations. Increases in human presence and deployment of foxlights were used in areas that wolves were frequenting near calving operations (Leadpoint, Sherman, Smackout, Stranger, and Togo).

Depredation Investigations

Wolf packs in Ferry, Stevens, and Pend Oreille counties

On March 17, WDFW staff members investigated a report of a dead cow and calf in Stevens County. The investigation determined it was an Unknown Cause of Death due to the lack of predator signatures on the carcasses. However, coyote tracks were identified in the area.

On March 20, WDFW staff members met with a livestock producer in Pend Oreille County who had two young calves go missing within a week. After a field search that lasted several hours, the calves were not discovered. One set of cougar tracks was noted in the general area.


Packs Referenced: Leadpoint, Smackout, Stranger, Teanaway, Togo

Wolf update -- March 20, 2018

March 20, 2018

Address correction for Wolf Advisory Group meeting

This notice is to inform you that the next Wolf Advisory Group (WAG) meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, March 21, from 1:00 to 6:00pm, and Thursday, March 22, from 8:00am to 3:00pm.  The meeting will be at Hal Homes Community Center in Ellensburg (209 N Ruby St., Ellensburg WA). The WAG agenda is posted on the Department’s website (here).

The WAG work session will be open to the public to observe and will follow the same format that we have used in the past, including public comment opportunities at the end of each day.  There will also be an open-house style public comment period prior to the WAG work session, from 11:00am to 12:45pm.  


Wolf update -- March 12, 2018

March 12, 2018

This notice is to inform you that the next Wolf Advisory Group (WAG) meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, March 21, from 1:00 to 6:00pm, and Thursday, March 22, from 8:00am to 3:00pm. The WAG agenda will be posted on the Department’s website later this week (here). The meeting will be at Hal Homes Community Center in Ellensburg (501 N Anderson Street, Ellensburg WA, 98926).  The WAG work session will be open to the public to observe and will follow the same format that we have used in the past, including public comment opportunities at the end of each day.  There will also be an open-house style public comment period prior to the WAG work session, from 11:00am to 12:45pm.  


Monthly Wolf Report -- February 2018

February 28, 2018

This report provides information about wolf conservation and management activities undertaken by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) from Jan. 30 to Feb. 27, 2018.

Statewide Wolf Capture, Survey, and Management

Wolf biologists continued to conduct winter tracking surveys and telemetry flights to count wolves in each of the known wolf packs across northern and eastern Washington. These minimum counts of wolves for each pack will be available in the annual wolf report, which will be published in late March or early April.

Biologists also spent three days in a helicopter attempting to capture and collar additional wolves in several packs in northcentral and northeast Washington. During this operation, they were successful in capturing and recollaring one wolf in the Loup Loup pack and one in the Dirty Shirt pack, as well as collaring a new individual in the Carpenter Ridge pack.

Wolf biologists spent some time drafting the annual wolf report and wolf update presentations for upcoming meetings of WDFW’s Game Management Advisory Council and the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission. Those presentations will include information on the minimum counts of animals in each Washington wolf pack, records and costs for various management activities, counts of depredations, and wolf mortalities. Presenters will include WDFW biologists, conflict specialists, and other staff members from around the state.

Wolf packs in Okanogan County

Collar data indicates the Loup Loup pack is within its traditional territory.

Wolf packs in Kittitas County

Region 3 Wildlife Program and Enforcement personnel conducted several searches for new wolf activity in multiple areas of District 8.

Proactive Deterrence Measures

Wolf packs in Ferry, Stevens, and Pend Oreille counties

District wildlife conflict staff members continued to meet with livestock producers, WDFW-contracted range riders, NGOs, and a conservation resource management group to discuss upcoming plans for late spring and summer. They also discussed the upcoming wolf annual report, potential changes to the wolf collar data sharing program, and funding for deterrent actions. Additional meetings with producers, range riders, NGOs, and grazing allotment managers have been scheduled and will continue through the spring.

Conflict staff members also worked with WDFW wolf biologists regarding reported wolf sightings throughout the district.

Wolf packs in Kittitas County

Permit grazing livestock have been removed from the Teanaway pack territory for the winter season. No conflicts between wolves and livestock have been reported.

Depredation Investigations

Wolf packs in Ferry, Stevens, and Pend Oreille counties

On January 29, WDFW received a report of a sheep carcass in Stevens County. Staff members noted coyote, bobcat, raccoon, and raven activity near the scene. But due to the lack of soft tissue remaining on the sheep carcass, the cause of death was determined to be unconfirmed.

A sheep carcass discovered and investigated in Stevens County

A sheep carcass discovered and investigated in Stevens County

Outreach Activities

Okanogan County

Conflict staff members met with a livestock producer and a U.S. Forest Service biologist to discuss proactive deterrent measures, the data sharing program, and wolf management.


Packs Referenced: , Dirty Shirt, Loup Loup, Teanaway

Monthly Wolf Report -- January 2018

February 1, 2018

This report provides information about wolf conservation and management activities undertaken by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) from Dec. 22, 2017 to Jan. 29, 2018.

Carnivore Section Update

Wolf biologists spent much of December counting wolves using fixed-wing aircraft, remote cameras, and survey of wolf tracks in known pack territories to collect data for the 2017 wolf survey, scheduled for release in March. They have also been surveying new areas for wolf sign, taking advantage of winter snow-tracking conditions and reports from the public. Once compiled, that data will help to document gray wolves’ recolonization of Washington state.

Wolf biologists also conducted aerial captures on wolves in the Blue Mountains and in northeast Washington during the week of Jan. 15-20. During this effort, they were able to capture and collar four new wolves from four packs, including Stranger, Goodman, Touchet, and Carpenter Ridge.


Wolf track in Carpenter Ridge territory.


Photo from flights over Dirty Shirt territory.

Proactive Deterrence Measures

Wolf packs in Ferry, Stevens, and Pend Oreille counties

With calving season now underway, WDFW wildlife conflict staff has been working with livestock producers to protect their herds through Damage Prevention Cooperative Agreements for Livestock and WDFW contracted range riders. As part of that effort, staff advised producers about the availability of grants and WDFW wolf deterrent funds for these services.

Most of these efforts were focused in Ferry, Stevens and Pend Oreille counties. Additional coordination will continue with producers and an interested NGO as calving season goes into full swing.

Meanwhile, WDFW wildlife conflict staff initiated planning meeting for the summer grazing season with a private industrial timber company and a statewide conservation group.  Additional meetings with the U.S. Forest Service and area livestock producers will be scheduled throughout the next few months to solidify grazing plans.

Wolf packs in Okanogan County

No change. Collar data indicates the Loup Loup pack is within its traditional territory.

Southwest Washington

Region 5 wildlife conflict staff members continued to meet with livestock producers in Klickitat County to discuss proactive deterrent measures and wolf management for when wolves do arrive in the area. No wolf observations were reported to staff members or via the online reporting tool in January.

Depredation Investigations

Wolf packs in Ferry, Stevens, and Pend Oreille counties

January 22: WDFW received a report of a missing domestic dog in Stevens County suspected to be from a cougar. Conflict staff members assisted WDFW Enforcement and determined a cougar had been involved in the depredation.

Outreach Activities

WDFW Conflict Specialist Heilhecker attended the Methow Valley Ranger District’s livestock permit holder meeting. She provided updates on the Lookout and Loup Loup packs in addition to discussing depredation investigations.

WDFW personnel attended the cooperative resource management meetings with producers in the Methow Valley and staff from the USFS, Washington Department of Natural Resources, Natural Resource Conservation Service, and Okanogan Conservation District. They discussed grazing rotations, infrastructure needs, and wolf activity.


Packs Referenced: Dirty Shirt, Goodman Meadows, Loup Loup, Stranger