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.

Available updates: 2018 | 2017 | 2016

2018 Updates Expand All | Collapse All

One ‘OPT pack’ wolf removed, one more cow killed

September 18, 2018

On September 16, a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife marksman shot and killed a juvenile member of a wolf pack currently occupying the Old Profanity Territory (OPT) that has repeatedly preyed on cattle on federal grazing lands in the Kettle River Range of Ferry County.

The young wolf, weighing 50 pounds, was one of four pack members spotted that day by a WDFW helicopter crew. Identifying adults and young wolves from the air is difficult this time of year due to the size of the animals.  

On Sept. 12, WDFW Director Kelly Susewind authorized “incremental” removal of wolves from the OPT pack, after confirming that one or more pack members killed one calf and injured five others from Sept. 4-7 on a U.S. Forest Service (USFS) grazing allotment.

One day after the juvenile wolf was removed, WDFW confirmed that an adult cow was killed by wolves in the same general area. WDFW staff investigating the cow carcass determined that it was likely killed prior to the removal of the wolf.  The department is currently working to determine the next option to deter wolf depredation by the OPT pack under the current incremental removal action.

This action is consistent with the state’s Wolf Conservation and Management Plan and wolf-livestock protocol, which allows the department to take lethal action after confirming three depredations by wolves on livestock within 30 days or four within 10 months.

The series of depredations from Sept. 4-7 met the first criterion, in addition to a requirement in the protocol that non-lethal deterrents were in place, but did not prevent conflict between wolves and livestock. Non-lethal deterrents employed by the livestock producer whose cattle were killed or injured by the OPT pack include:

  • Using range riders to keep watch over his herd.

  • Calving outside of occupied wolf range

  • Delaying turning out cattle until July 10 – a month later than usual – when calving is finished and the calves are larger and less prone to predation.

  • Removing or securing livestock carcasses to avoid attracting wolves to the rest of the herd.

  • Removing sick and injured livestock from the grazing area.


Last Updated: Sep. 18, 2018 12:23 PM

Judge denies temporary injunction for OPT wolf removal

September 14, 2018

A Thurston County Superior Court judge has rejected a request for a temporary injunction that would have prohibited the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) from lethally removing wolves from a pack in Ferry County.

As a result, the department can remove wolves from the Old Profanity Territory pack as authorized Sept. 12 by WDFW Director Kelly Susewind. Information about the authorization appears in a separate update.

Two organizations, the Center for Biological Diversity and Cascadia Wildlands, sought the injunction several hours after the department announced Susewind’s authorization.

Judge Murphy said the petitioners had not met the criteria for temporary injunctive relief under the state Administrative Procedures Act. However, she said the court would expedite a hearing on the merits of the petitioners’ underlying complaint.

Susewind authorized “incremental removal” of wolves from the OPT pack after WDFW staff documented the pack’s involvement in six confirmed livestock depredations since Sept. 4, 2018. Under WDFW’s wolf-livestock interaction protocol, the department can consider and take lethal action if department staff confirm three predations by wolves on livestock within 30 days or four within 10 months, in cases where non-lethal deterrents have not prevented wolf-livestock conflict.

Incremental removal is defined by both the protocol and the state’s Wolf Conservation and Management Plan as the removal of one or two wolves, followed by a period of evaluation to determine whether the action has changed the pack’s pattern of predation.


Last Updated: Sep. 14, 2018 1:24 PM

Togo wolf pack reaches 7th depredation

September 13, 2018

On Sept. 7, 2018, the department documented a new depredation on livestock by the Togo pack on a U.S. Forest Service grazing allotment in Ferry County, resulting in an injured calf. That brought the total number of confirmed depredations by the pack to seven since November 2017.

When the WDFW field staff confirmed the latest depredation, the department was evaluating the pack’s behavior after lethally removing the adult male wolf on Sept. 2, 2018. That action was taken according to the lethal removal provisions in the department’s wolf-livestock interaction protocol, which allows the department to consider taking lethal action against wolves when department staff confirm three predations by wolves on livestock within 30 days, or four within 10 months.

With the confirmation of a sixth depredation on Aug. 18, 2018, the Togo pack’s behavior met both of those criteria. Two days later, WDFW notified the public that non-lethal measures had not deterred the pack from preying on livestock and that the WDFW director had authorized incremental lethal removal of one adult wolf to help change the pack’s pattern of behavior. 

Under that authorization, the department removed one adult male wolf from the Togo pack on Sept. 2, 2018, and initiated an evaluation period of the pack’s behavior. Following the wolf’s removal, WDFW estimated the pack included one adult female and two pups.

The Wolf Conservation and Management Plan and the department’s protocol indicate that post-removal evaluation period should consider any depredations that take place after one or more wolves are removed from a pack. WDFW determined that the seventh depredation by the Togo pack is new – not one that likely occurred during or before the removal period – allowing for the removal of additional wolves from the pack.

In the current situation, there is no clear path for removing the remaining adult female in the pack to address the repeated depredations without the risk of orphaning the pups.  The department will continue to evaluate the situation, and will continue to work with the producer to implement non-lethal deterrents. 

Meanwhile the livestock producer involved has continued to employ proactive non-lethal deterrence measures including:

  • Keeping cattle on private fenced lands.

  • Checking on the cattle multiple times every day during feedings.

  • Removing sick or injured cattle from the area to avoid attracting wolves.

  • Using range riders periodically in 2006 and 2017.

  • Receiving locations of nearby collared wolves via WDFW's Sensitive Wildlife Data Sharing Agreement to avoid conflicts between wolves and cattle.


Packs Referenced: Togo

Last Updated: Sep. 13, 2018 4:08 PM

WDFW director authorizes lethal action against Old Profanity Territory wolf pack

September 12, 2018

WDFW Director Kelly Susewind today authorized department staff to lethally remove wolves from a new pack that has repeatedly preyed on cattle on federal grazing lands in the Kettle River Range of Ferry County.

WDFW staff have confirmed that on six separate occasions since Sept. 4, one or more members of the Old Profanity Territory (OPT) pack killed one calf and injured five others on a U.S. Forest Service (USFS) grazing allotment.  The pack occupies the same general area as the Profanity Peak pack in 2016.

Five of the OPT depredations are described in a Sept. 11 report available below. The sixth incident, confirmed after the report was published, resulted in an injured calf, which has been removed from the grazing allotment with its mother.

Susewind authorized “incremental” removal of wolves from the pack, consistent with the state’s Wolf Conservation and Management Plan and the lethal removal provisions of the department’s wolf-livestock interaction protocol. Both the plan and protocol define initial incremental removal as meaning one or two wolves.

Under the protocol, WDFW can consider lethal action against wolves if department staff confirm three predations by wolves on livestock within 30 days, or four within 10 months. Depredations confirmed by WDFW in the past week meet the first criterion.

Based on a recent court order, the department must provide one business day (8 court hours) advance public notice before initiating lethal action on wolves. Consequently, the department will initiate lethal removal efforts no earlier than the afternoon of Thursday, Sept. 13.

WDFW will use humane lethal removal methods consistent with state and federal laws. The objective is to use the best methods available while considering human safety, humaneness to wolves, swift completion of the removal, weather, efficacy, and cost. Likely options in this case include shooting from a helicopter, trapping, and shooting from the ground.

As called for in the plan and protocol, incremental removal includes periods of active removals or attempts to remove wolves followed by periods of evaluation to determine if pack behavior has changed.

The department documented the presence of the pack in May and notified the public on June 1. The affected livestock producer and USFS were also notified. Recent surveys indicate the pack includes three or four adult wolves and two pups.  Wildlife managers have monitored the pack’s movements since June, when the adult male was captured and fitted with a tracking collar.

The protocol requires livestock producers to employ specified non-lethal measures to deter wolves from preying on livestock before WDFW will consider lethal action. In this case, the producer employed several approved deterrents:

  • Using range riders to keep watch over his herd.

  • Calving outside of occupied wolf range

  • Delaying turning out cattle until July 10 – a month later than usual – when calving is finished and the calves are larger and less prone to predation.

  • Removing or securing livestock carcasses to avoid attracting wolves to the rest of the herd.

  • Removing sick and injured livestock from the grazing area.

Between Aug. 20 and 26, before WDFW had confirmed any depredations by wolves, three dead calves were found on the grazing allotment. The cause of their deaths could not be determined because most of their flesh and hides were gone.

At that point, the range riders increased their patrols and helped the producer attempt to move the livestock away from the area where they suspected wolf activity.

The producer is continuing his efforts to move the cattle, and WDFW deployed Foxlights to deter wolves from preying on those remaining at the site.

The goal of lethal removal as described in the Wolf Conservation and Management Plan is to manage wolf-livestock conflicts to minimize livestock losses without undermining the recovery of a sustainable wolf population. The purpose of the OPT lethal action is to change wolf pack behavior to reduce the potential for continued depredations on livestock while continuing to promote wolf recovery. More information is available online at https://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/gray_wolf/livestock/final_protocol_for_wolf-livestock_interactions_jun012017.pdf.

Consistent with the terms of the plan and protocol, the rationale for lethal removal of OPT wolves is as follows: 

  1. WDFW has documented six wolf depredations by the pack within the last 30 days. All of the incidents were confirmed wolf depredations, which resulting in one dead calf and five injured calves.  All six depredations in this area occurred since Sept. 4.

  2. At least two (2) pro-active deterrence measures and various responsive measures, put in place after the initial depredations, have failed to meet the goal of changing pack behavior to reduce the potential for continued predation on livestock;

  3. WDFW expects depredations to continue based of the history of depredations;

  4. The department has documented the use of appropriate deterrents and has informed the public in a timely manner, as described in the protocol. 

  5. The lethal removal of wolves is not expected to harm the wolf population’s ability to reach recovery objectives statewide or within the state’s eastern recovery region. Comparing the actual level of wolf mortality to that modeled in the Wolf Conservation and Management Plan (appendices G and H), actual average wolf mortality is about 8.6 animals or 11 percent of the estimated population from 2011-2018. This level is well below the 28 percent baseline annual mortality assumed in the wolf plan model before any simulated wolf removals, which incorporates a 30 percent lethal removal mortality in addition to the baseline mortality.  The modeling assumed the regional wolf population was at the regional recovery objective. In fact, the wolf population in the eastern recovery region has increased to more than three times the regional recovery objective.

The Department will keep the public informed about this activity through weekly updates, and will issue a final report on any lethal removal actions after the operation has concluded.

"This is a very difficult situation, especially given the history of wolf-livestock conflict in this area," Susewind said. "We are committed to working with a diversity of stakeholders in a collaborative process to seek other creative and adaptive solutions to prevent future losses of wolves and livestock."

The presence of the OPT pack was documented after WDFW completed its annual survey of the state’s wolf population in March. The survey identified 22 wolf packs and a minimum of 122 wolves. Annual surveys have shown the population growing at a rate of about 30 percent each year.

More information about wolf management actions and the Old Profanity Territory pack is available below.


Packs Referenced: Profanity Peak

Last Updated: Sep. 13, 2018 4:37 PM

Multiple wolf depredations by wolves in Ferry County documented by WDFW

September 11, 2018

On September 5-7, 2018, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) documented five livestock depredations by an unnamed wolf pack in Ferry County (see update on June 1, 2018, here). The wolves are occupying the same general area as the Old Profanity Territory (OPT) in 2016 and the northern portion of the Sherman pack territory in 2017. WDFW officials confirmed that one or more wolves from the OPT pack were responsible for the deaths of one calf and injuring four calves on a U.S. Forest Service grazing allotment.

Identifying the new pack

The department documented the presence of a new pack in the area in May. The department notified the producer and shared the general location of the suspected den site with them. The department notified the public about the unnamed pack on June 1, 2018.  The estimated pack size from recent surveys indicate the OPT pack has three to four adults and likely no more than two pups.

Implementation of non-lethal deterrence measures

Given the history of wolf-livestock conflict in the area, the department coordinated with the producer and a WDFW contracted range rider on the deployment of non-lethal deterrents for the 2018 grazing season. That plan included:

  1. Using range riders,

  2. Calving away from areas occupied by wolves,

  3. Delaying the turnout of cows and calves until July 10, so calves are larger,

  4. Removing or securing livestock carcasses that may attract wolves, and

  5. Removing sick or injured livestock from the grazing allotment.

The department believes the use of range riders is one of the best proactive deterrents for this particular operation and the remote, rugged, large acreage open range country. A typical day for a range rider includes locating livestock, checking them for stress or injury, moving the animals to different locations (if agreed to by the producer) based on grazing needs and/or carnivore activity, locating smaller groups of livestock that may wonder too far from the rest of the herd or desired grazing locations, and communicating with the producer and WDFW regarding livestock behavior, predator signs, depredations and other relevant information.

Even though grazing allotments can cover thousands of acres, livestock movements are associated within smaller pastures and usually reflect the type of forage available at different elevations. Range riders focus their activities in the areas where the livestock are actually present. Areas where wolf-livestock conflict occurs is usually smaller than the full allotment, and wolves can be effectively influenced by the presence of range riders.

From fall 2017 through the 2018 grazing season, WDFW contracted for range riding services in this area. Range riders started in April 2018 patrolling the allotments where cattle were going to be turned out, checking for predator sign.  Range riders spend five days working in April, 24 days in May, and 54 days in June (note, multiple range riders sometimes work on the same day). Range riders worked other allotments during some of these days as well.  After turnout, range riders worked 64 days in July (range rider days are not available yet for August and early September). The department verifies the provision of range riding services through field inspections and phone conversations, and receives monthly logs from WDFW range riding contractors.

The producer’s calving operation takes place in the Columbia Basin, away from the allotment and from the territory of other wolf packs. The cow-calf pairs are trucked to the allotment, where they are released for the grazing season, which runs from May through September/October.

The producer calves early so calves are larger, and delayed the turnout of livestock until July 10, 2018 (normally June 1st turnout when calves are generally larger -- over 200 lbs.), and ungulate fawns/calves are on the landscape to provide alternate prey for wolves.  WDFW personnel who worked in the area confirmed cattle were present on the landscape consistent with the date described by the producer. 

Time line of events

On June 2, 2018, WDFW staff trapped and placed a Global Positioning System (GPS) collar on an adult male wolf in the OPT pack.  By utilizing the GPS point locations during the month of June and most of July, WDFW determined a possible den location on United States Forest Service (USFS) grazing allotment, north and adjacent to the allotment where the depredations occurred. Range riders began receiving location data from the collared male wolf starting around July 23, 2018 and utilized this information to check for wolf activity.  GPS location data from the collared male wolf suggested a possible rendezvous site had been established by the pack about two and a half miles northwest of the den location during the first two weeks of August.  This location was north of the allotment where the wolf depredations occurred.  By mid-August, the GPS locations from the collared male suggested a high use area, most likely a new rendezvous site, roughly five and half miles southeast from the previous possible rendezvous site.  This area is located in the grazing allotment where the wolf depredations occurred.  The identified high use area of the OPT pack was in an area where the livestock have been grazing within the allotment.  Based upon this information, WDFW staff ramped up coordination with the producer and contract range riders to manage the potential for wolf-livestock conflict.

The Ferry County Wildlife Specialist started going to point locations of the collared OPT male wolf after the removal of the Togo wolf.  He found a calf carcass on August 20th, which was determined by WDFW staff to be an unknown cause of death.  A WDFW contract range rider located two calf carcasses on August 26th and after investigation, were determined to be an unknown cause of death. The August 20th depredation remains consisted of a portion of one leg bone, portion of lower spine and pelvic bones and one hoof.  No meat remained and bones were chewed into smaller pieces.  Remains of this calf were left on site.  The August 26th depredations were of two carcasses.  Carcass one remains were chewed up rib bones, leg bones, small portion of hide, portions of head and jawbone.  The leg bones and small portion of hide was removed from the landscape and soaked in water for further investigation.  No meat remained on the rib bones or head and jawbones and were chewed up so left on site.  Carcass two remains were portions of a head and jaw.  Remains were left on site as no meat remained and it was chewed up.  All three depredations were unknown cause of death.

Little wolf sign was present in this portion of the grazing allotment prior to cattle turnout (July 10, 2018), although GPS locations of the collared male started to accumulate in this area around the middle of August.  Range rider presence increased in this new high use area checking cattle behavior (evening, night, and daily) and monitoring salting sites for cattle activity.

In both cases, these carcasses were found by range riders actively following collar locations to ascertain if there was an increase in wolf-livestock overlap to monitor and respond to the potential for wolf-livestock overlap and then taking action to reduce the likelihood of conflict.  While finding carcasses after they have been scavenged might suggest lack of diligence, the opposite is true here.  This landscape is vast and finding a dead calf is not easy.  Often it is based upon smell after decomposition begins, or the presence of scavengers is noted.  Also, a carcass can be reduced to a bone pile relatively swiftly.   

After the August identification of dead calves and the GPS collar data locations demonstrating high wolf/livestock overlap, the producer and range riders responded by ramping up their presence, including range rider shifts throughout the day and during nighttime hours.  The producer and range riders started to started push livestock west towards adjacent grazing allotments August 21st and that effort continues.

The observed activity was in an area where the prior Profanity wolf pack (in 2016), and the prior Sherman wolf pack (in 2017), previously depredated on cattle.  Data collected in August of 2018 reflected this was a new high use area in mid-August by the current OPT wolf pack.  WDFW contract range riders reported little wolf activity in this area prior to cattle turnout July 10, 2018. 

Salt licks are located throughout the grazing allotments in approved locations by the USFS.  Salt licks are present in the current location of the cattle and in multiple locations throughout the grazing allotments to assist in moving and holding cattle in new locations.  Livestock have grazed these allotments for generations (75 years), with salt blocks in the same location every year to assist with cattle movements. 

In conference with the producer, the department discussed whether salt blocks should be removed from locations with high wolf-livestock overlap as this has been a concern in past wolf depredation scenarios in this area.  They concluded that this would likely be of little help in the present circumstances.  Even when salt blocks are moved, cattle continue to visit and linger at these sites due to the amount of salt in the ground from years of salting.  The herd memory of salt blocks also tends to home them to these sites, and if salt blocks are missing, the experience is that cattle actually linger while searching for the salt blocks. 

Furthermore, the presence of salt blocks at alternate locations means there may be other reasons cattle return to an original location rather than being attracted to the salt blocks alone.   The grazing pattern is to start cattle in the lower country and move to the higher country towards the end of summer and early fall.  The producer and range riders continue to push cattle west towards the adjacent allotments with approximately 20 head of cattle remaining in the high wolf use area.

Wolf depredation on livestock

On September 4, 2018, range riders contacted the Ferry County Wildlife Specialist, who coordinated with WDFW staff about two injured calves in the OPT pack area.  WDFW staff investigated on September 5, 2018 and confirmed the injuries on both calves were caused by wolves.   That afternoon, a dead calf was located in the same vicinity of the other injured calves and an investigation by WDFW staff confirmed wolves had killed it. 

  • Depredation #1: The calf suffered bite lacerations and puncture wounds to the right hindquarter, hamstring, and flank. Bite lacerations and puncture wounds were also present on the left flank and just above the left hock. Locations of injuries are consistent with wolf attack on cattle. Based in the evidence and factors from the investigation, WDFW staff conducting the investigation classified the injured calf as a confirmed wolf depredation.

  • Depredation #2 – The calf suffered bite lacerations and puncture wounds to the left hindquarter and the front shoulder under the leg. Locations of injuries are consistent with wolf attack on cattle.  Based in the evidence and factors from the investigation, WDFW staff conducting the investigation classified the injured calf as a confirmed wolf depredation.

  • Depredation #3 – The dead calf had bite puncture wounds and hemorrhaging to rear right leg. Multiple sets of wolf tracks present at the carcass. Multiple wolf-livestock interactions occurred near carcass.  Based in the evidence and factors from the investigation, WDFW staff conducting the investigation classified the dead calf as a confirmed wolf depredation.

On September 6, 2018, another injured calf was located and the subsequent investigation by WDFW staff confirmed that wolves had injured it. On September 7, 2018, range riders located a fifth calf and WDFW staff also confirmed that the calf had been injured by wolves in the OPT pack.  One injured calf was removed from the grazing allotment.  Further medical attention was not needed for the remaining injured calves. The September 6 confirmed wolf mortality of a calf remains were placed in the Department of Transportation Trout Lake carcass pit.

  • Depredation #4 - The calf had bite lacerations and bite puncture wounds to both hindquarters and groin areas. On right rear leg, hemorrhaging to underlying tissue as indicated by swelling and limping. Location of injuries consistent with wolf attack on cattle. Based in the evidence and factors from the investigation, WDFW staff conducting the investigation classified the injured calf as a confirmed wolf depredation.

  • Depredation #5 - The calf had multiple bite lacerations to the rear legs with most of the injuries on the inside of the legs. The most severe injury was on the rear left leg. The calf had multiple puncture wounds and a large lump of swelling on the leg.  Necrotic muscle tissue caused by the bite was removed.  Based in the evidence and factors from the investigation, WDFW staff conducting the investigation classified the injured calf as a confirmed wolf depredation.

Responsive deterrence measures

Responsive deterrent measures were implemented after the first known depredations including increasing the number of WDFW contract range riders focusing on the high wolf-livestock overlap area, spending additional time at salting areas within high wolf -livestock overlap area, and continuing to attempt to push cattle to different allotments.  

Fox lights were placed at two salting areas September 9, 2018 and two at a cattle-gathering site on September 10th.  Fox lights have not been utilized at salt sites before, so department staff thought this would be a responsive deterrent measure to attempt even though the majority of the cattle are being pushed to neighboring allotments.

The depredations in this area happened in quick succession, and department staff have spent several days gathering information, assisting the producer, providing reports, and considering next steps.


Packs Referenced: Profanity Peak, Sherman, Togo

Last Updated: Sep. 11, 2018 12:00 PM

WDFW evaluating 5 confirmed wolf depredations in northeast Ferry County

September 7, 2018

Between Sept. 5-7, WDFW documented five confirmed wolf depredations on calves in the territory formerly occupied by the Profanity Peak pack. The depredations resulted in one dead and four injured calves. 

Local WDFW staff are working to document the details of those depredations and identify additional non-lethal measures to deter further wolf depredations.   

WDFW Director Kelly Susewind said the situation is evolving quickly, and more details will be provided early next week on the depredations, the deterrent measures used in the area, and the department’s response.

The department estimates the new pack has three or four adults and two or three pups.


Packs Referenced: Profanity Peak

Last Updated: Sep. 7, 2018 12:00 PM

Monthly Wolf Report - August 2018

September 7, 2018

This report provides information about wolf conservation and management activities undertaken by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) from August 1-31, 2018.

Statewide Wolf Capture, Survey, and Management

Outreach, Collaboration

Wolf biologists attended a meeting with the Inland Northwest Wildlife Council in Spokane, WA to discuss carnivore management in Washington.

The statewide wolf specialist also co-presented an introduction to the science of wildlife management discussion to the Fish and Wildlife Commission in Olympia on August 10, 2018. The presentation was based on information shared during a previous discussion held during the Wolf Advisory Group meeting in Ellensburg, WA in March 2018.

Wolf biologists also presented to the Wilderness Awareness School group of about 30 students while they were on a field trip to learn about tracking, wildlife, and outdoor skills in the Teanaway Community Forest.

Outreach

District 1 Wildlife Program staff members gave a presentation entitled, “Recreating in Bear, Cougar, and Wolf Country” to a local chapter of Backcountry Horsemen. Topics covered in the presentations included basic biology, ways to avoid conflict, and how to act during an encounter.

Wolf Surveys

Wolf biologists spent a portion of the month scouting and trapping in the Grouse Flats, Wedge, and Togo pack areas, but unfortunately they were unable to capture a wolf during these sessions. While trapping, they spent time scouting and running remote cameras in the Togo pack area to get a better idea on the number of animals in that pack. They also spent time scouting areas in Okanogan, Chelan, and Kittitas counties for evidence of new packs establishing based on observation reports from the public. Possible wolf tracks were located in the Nanuem canyon, north of Ellensburg. Wolf biologists will continue to monitor the area with remote cameras and track surveys to try to confirm any wolf activity. They also placed cameras in the Tanuem and near Stampede Pass south of I-90 to follow up on reports in the vicinity, but no evidence was found of wolves utilizing this area.

For those recreating or hunting this fall, if you happen to see wolf tracks, catch a glimpse of a wolf, or get pictures or videos of wolves, or capture remote camera images while you’re out enjoying the outdoors, please report and upload them to https://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/gray_wolf/reporting/. This information is incredibly helpful to assist in locating new wolf activity and potential new packs on the landscape.

Kittitas County

Permit grazing for cattle and sheep is active in the Department of Natural Resources Teanaway Community Forest and the United States Forest Service Swauk Permit Range, both of which encompass the Teanaway pack’s known territory.

  • Sanitation measures for both cattle and sheep have been undertaken in the pack territory during August.
  • Range riders, producers, and WDFW are present throughout the pack territory on a daily basis monitoring livestock behavior. One injured calf and several injured or sick sheep were removed from the pack territory in August.
  • Wolf movements this month have been recorded by collar data, remote camera, and several visual, audial, and telemetry contacts.
  • Based on new data and supported by new wolf sightings and contacts, cattle and sheep were moved almost continuously during the month of August to avoid wolves.
  • At least two cougar depredation events were documented in August, resulting in the loss of two sheep.
  • Two separate livestock depredation events were attributed to wolves during August:
  1. On July 30, 2018, WDFW was contacted by an agency range rider about an injured calf on a grazing allotment in the Teanaway Community Forest. That same day, WDFW conferred with the livestock owner, who indicated he would find the calf and then contact WDFW. On August 1, 2018, the livestock owner called WDFW and stated he had found and recovered the calf. Department personnel and the livestock owner examined the calf to determine the cause of the injuries. During the examination, staff documented bite lacerations on the calf and also identified recent wolf activity in the area. Based on that evidence, they confirmed that the injuries to the calf were caused by one or more wolves from the Teanaway pack. Due to the extent of injures to the calf, it was immediately removed from the grazing allotment. Meanwhile, the livestock producer and his range riders pushed the cattle to a different area of the allotment. Throughout the grazing season the producer has used a variety of deterrent measures to protect the livestock. The producer does not conduct calving operations in the wolf territory. Following turnout, he has removed sick or injured cattle from the allotment and deployed up to four range riders each day to help check the cattle. The producer has moved cattle and salting locations to avoid both the wolf denning area and a wolf rendezvous site. The producer has increased human presence in the grazing allotment and conducts nonlethal hazing of wolves detected near cattle. Cattle will remain in the pack territory until early October.
  2. On August 11, 2018, WDFW was contacted by an agency range rider about a potential wolf depredation on a U.S. Forest Service grazing allotment in the Teanaway pack wolf territory in Kittitas County. Later that day, WDFW documented one deceased adult sheep, one injured adult sheep, and verified an additional missing lamb. During the investigation, staff documented bite lacerations and puncture wounds with associated hemorrhaging on the hamstrings, flanks, left and right groin, and udder of one adult sheep and on the hamstrings of the other adult sheep. Wolf tracks and telemetry signals of collared wolves in the Teanaway pack place wolves near the injured sheep and the sheep carcasses. Based on that evidence, WDFW confirmed that the cause of the deaths and the injuries was a depredation by one or more wolves from the Teanaway pack. Due to the remote location and rugged terrain, the adult sheep carcass was left on site. Meanwhile, the livestock producer and his sheepherder, aided by an agency rider, moved the sheep to a different area of the allotment. Throughout the grazing season the producer has used a variety of deterrent measures to protect the sheep. He delayed entry onto the allotment until July, after wild ungulates are born. A sheepherder stays with the sheep at all times, accompanied by five herding dogs and three guarding dogs. The sheep are gathered tightly together each night and guarded by the dogs, the sheepherder, two Foxlights, and a Radio Activated Guard (RAG) programmed to trigger when a collared wolf approaches the sheep. Additionally, sick and injured sheep are removed from the allotment. The sheepherder, range rider, and WDFW actively haze wolves with human presence, air horns, and gunfire when they are detected near the sheep. The sheep were moved out of the Teanaway Pack’s known territory on August 28.

 

Proactive Deterrence Measures

Okanogan County

A WDFW conflict specialist loaned a RAG box to a conflict specialist in Region 3 for use in the Teanaway pack territory.

Contracted range riders continued coordinating with livestock producers to monitor livestock within the Loup Loup and Beaver Creek pack territories. The Lookout pack territory is closed due to the Crescent Mountain fire.

Ferry, Stevens, and Pend Oreille counties

District Wildlife Conflict personnel continued to meet and coordinate with livestock producers, the United States Forest Service, university researchers, local Sheriff office staff, and other non-profit organizations in northeastern Washington. This coordination will continue throughout the summer grazing season. Information on the data sharing program, Damage Prevention Cooperative Agreements for Livestock, WDFW Contracted Range Rider deployment and training of new contracted range riders, wolf high use areas, and depredation investigations was shared.

A variety of nonlethal deterrents continued to be deployed in Carpenter Ridge (e.g., range riding and WDFW presence), Dirty Shirt (e.g., range riding and human presence), Goodman (e.g., WDFW presence), Huckleberry (e.g., range riding, fox lights), Leadpoint (e.g., human presence and fox lights), the Unnamed pack using the old Profanity territory (e.g., range riding and fox lights), Smackout (e.g., fox lights, fladry, air horns, pyrotechnics, range riding, and a RAG box), Stranger (e.g., range riding, continual improvements on calving locations, and fox lights), and Togo (e.g., range riding and removal/treatment of sick/injured).

Range riding activity in most packs was provided by Damage Prevention Cooperative Agreements for Livestock, WDFW contract range riders, and two non-governmental organizations on most large grazing location. WDFW 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 Smackout and Togo this month. Finally, cattle are coming off the range due to foraging drying out and wolf activity. Some cattle will be coming off the range as part of their grazing agreements within a month.

WDFW has also been coordinating with both Ferry and Stevens’s counties on responses to depredation investigations by a legislator funded special deputy. A depredation training and weekly check-ins were set up for the coming months.

District staff members are also reviewing feedback from stakeholders on the content of the monthly reports to provide pertinent details from those groups.

 

Depredation investigations

Okanogan County

On August 21, 2018, WDFW investigated a report of domestic dog depredation in Okanogan County. After the investigation, it was determined there was not enough evidence to determine cause of death. Trail cameras were place on the property in an attempt to document any additional incidences.

Ferry, Stevens, and Pend Oreille counties

This is a partial list of depredation investigations conducted in District 1.

August 8 – WDFW investigated a report of a cow carcass in Ferry County that was determined to be a confirmed wolf depredation. The Togo pack collar was in the area when the depredation was suspected to have occurred.


Packs Referenced: Beaver Creek, Carpenter Ridge, Dirty Shirt, Goodman Meadows, Grouse Flats, Huckleberry, Leadpoint, Loup Loup, Smackout, Stranger, Teanaway, Togo, Wedge

Last Updated: Sep. 7, 2018 12:00 PM

Adult male wolf from Togo pack killed in lethal removal action

September 2, 2018

On Sept. 2, 2018, a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) marksman fatally shot the collared male member of the Togo wolf pack, which has repeatedly preyed on livestock in northern Ferry County.

WDFW officials said the wolf, which was wearing a radio collar that provided location data, was shot from a helicopter this morning within the pack’s territory east of Danville, just south of the U.S.-Canada border.

Wolf managers will perform a necropsy on the wolf’s carcass as soon as possible. Meanwhile, field staff will continue to monitor the Togo pack’s activities and work with the livestock producer to prevent further conflicts.

WDFW personnel on foot attempted to locate the wolf on Friday evening, Aug. 31, following the expiration of a temporary restraining order that had prevented the wolf’s removal. They returned to the area on Saturday, Sept. 1, but did not see the animal either day.

On Aug. 23, a livestock producer reported shooting the collared wolf in self-defense while checking on his cattle. A WDFW wolf biologist and a county wildlife specialist located the wolf on Aug. 27 and reported the animal’s left rear leg appeared to be broken. Officials said today the dead wolf’s left rear leg was injured.

Wolf managers have confirmed the pack’s involvement in six separate depredation incidents since last November, including three in the month preceding Aug. 20, when WDFW Director Kelly Susewind authorized the lethal removal under the terms of the department’s Wolf Conservation and Management Plan and its wolf-livestock interaction protocol.

More information about the pack and events leading to the lethal removal is available at https://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/gray_wolf/updates.php.


Packs Referenced: Togo

Last Updated: Sep. 2, 2018 12:00 PM

Judge’s decision permits WDFW lethal removal of Togo wolf

August 31, 2018

OLYMPIA – A Thurston County Superior Court judge today issued an order permitting the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) to initiate lethal action to remove the adult male wolf from a pack that has repeatedly preyed on livestock in northeast Washington.

WDFW Director Kelly Susewind welcomed the decision by Judge Carol Murphy to deny a request for a preliminary injunction by two environmental groups, the Center for Biological Diversity and Cascadia Wildlands, which would have prohibited the wolf’s removal. In rejecting the plaintiffs’ request, Murphy said they had not met the legal standard required for her to issue an injunction.

As a result, a temporary restraining order issued by the court on Aug. 20, which has prohibited WDFW’s lethal removal action, will expire at 5 p.m. today.

Consistent with the department’s wolf-livestock interaction protocol, Susewind authorized WDFW staff to kill the adult male member of the Togo pack after investigators confirmed the pack had been involved in six livestock depredations in the past 10 months and three in the 30 days preceding Aug. 20.

A rancher said he shot at the wolf, which has been fitted with a GPS collar, in self-defense on Aug. 23. WDFW staff have confirmed the wolf sustained what appeared to be a broken leg, although it has remained mobile.

Susewind said the department would implement the lethal removal action upon the expiration of the temporary restraining order, based on the recommendation of WDFW wolf managers, who said:

  • There is no evidence to indicate the pack’s behavior – the killing of livestock – will change.
  • While the male wolf is injured, the adult female may have trouble feeding both the adult male and her two pups unless she continues to prey on livestock.
  • It is more difficult for wolves to successfully capture wild game animals, such as deer and elk, than cows and calves.

More information about the Togo pack, including reports of the investigations into six livestock depredations attributed to the pack, are available at https://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/gray_wolf/updates.php.


Packs Referenced: Togo

Last Updated: Aug. 31, 2018 12:00 PM

WDFW finds Togo Pack wolf injured after reported shooting

August 28, 2018

On Aug. 27, four days after a Ferry County livestock producer reported shooting at a collared adult wolf in self-defense, a WDFW wolf biologist and a county wildlife specialist located the animal – injured but mobile – in the Togo pack territory in northeast Washington. Radio signals and recent GPS locations from the collared wolf led biologists to the vicinity where they saw and identified the wounded animal as the adult black male from the Togo pack.

The wolf biologist got within approximately 20 yards of the injured wolf and saw that its left rear leg appeared to be broken below the knee. Within seconds, the wolf ran into a wooded area. A remote camera in the area showed that the adult female from the Togo pack had been nearby the night before.

Based on their experience with other animals, WDFW wolf managers believe the injured wolf has a good chance of surviving, and the department will continue to monitor its movements. If the wolf does not remain active, the department will consider whether it should be euthanized.

The department is also continuing its investigation into the shooting incident.  Additional information appears in four earlier wolf updates on the Togo pack, all of which appear below.


Packs Referenced: Togo

Last Updated: Aug. 28, 2018 12:00 PM

WDFW investigating reported shooting of wolf from Togo pack

August 24, 2018

WDFW is investigating a report from a Ferry County livestock producer who said he shot at an adult wolf in self-defense on Aug. 23, 2018. The incident occurred within the Togo pack territory in northeast Washington.

WDFW staff traveled to the scene early this morning (Friday, Aug. 24) and spent more than two hours investigating, but did not find evidence that the wolf had been shot. The producer told WDFW staff he shot at a black, collared wolf, which matches the description of one of the members of the Togo pack.

WDFW staff said they received data this morning indicating that the wolf was alive. The wolf’s collar is equipped with a mortality indicator that sends an email to WDFW wildlife managers when a mortality is detected.

The producer told WDFW staff he was responding to collar data indicating the wolf’s presence near his livestock. When he searched the area, he said he saw pups and heard barking and growling, and said he shot at the adult male as it barked and approached him. Afterward, he reported the incident to the Ferry County Sheriff’s Office, which notified WDFW staff.

Vocalizations by wolves are not uncommon when people approach wolf pups, and adult wolves often attempt to escort perceived intruders away from areas where pups are present. While these behaviors are not necessarily predatory in nature, they can feel threatening.

The investigation is ongoing, and more information will be provided as it is confirmed.


Packs Referenced: Togo

Last Updated: Aug. 24, 2018 12:00 PM

Livestock injury and mortality investigations associated with the Togo wolf pack

August 22, 2018

The following reports document the six confirmed wolf depredations to livestock by the Togo pack from November 2, 2017 to August 18, 2018. This information supplements the information provided to the public about the Togo pack on this site August 20, 2018. Download reports.


Packs Referenced: Togo

Last Updated: Aug. 22, 2018 12:00 PM

Judge issues temporary restraining order prohibiting Togo lethal removal

August 20, 2018

OLYMPIA – A Thurston County Superior Court judge on Aug. 20, 2018, issued a temporary restraining order prohibiting the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) from lethally removing one or more wolves from the Togo pack in northern Ferry County.

Earlier in the day, WDFW Director Kelly Susewind had authorized the staff to take lethal action in response to multiple confirmed livestock depredations by the pack since last November, including three confirmed incidents in the last 30 days.

Judge Chris Lanese granted the restraining order sought by the Center for Biological Diversity and Cascadia Wildlands, which filed the request for injunction following Susewind’s authorization of lethal action. The judge said the plaintiffs’ complaint met the criteria for a temporary restraining order under the state Administrative Procedures Act.

Lanese told WDFW and the plaintiffs to return to court on Aug. 31 for a hearing on a preliminary injunction, to determine whether to replace the restraining order with a longer-lasting court order.

In announcing his decision, Lanese specified that his ruling applied only to the Togo lethal removal decision.


Packs Referenced: Togo

Last Updated: Aug. 20, 2018 12:00 PM

WDFW plans to take lethal action in response to depredation on cattle by Togo wolf pack

August 20, 2018

On August 18, 2018, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) documented the third wolf depredation by the Togo pack within the last 30 days, which is also the sixth wolf depredation by the pack within the last 10 months. For the most recent depredation, WDFW officials confirmed that one or more wolves were responsible for injuring a calf on a U.S. Forest Service grazing allotment in Ferry County. The recent depredation has prompted Director Kelly Susewind to initiate the lethal removal provisions of the Wolf Conservation and Management plan (Wolf Plan) and wolf-livestock interactions protocol (Protocol).  

The six depredations by the Togo pack include: 

Depredation #1 - November 2, 2017

On November 2, 2017 WDFW was contacted by a livestock producer (herein Producer 1; note Producer 1 is a family operation with multiple owners) in Ferry County about an injured calf that was discovered less than three miles from where the unmarked female wolf was killed under caught-in-the-act authority on October 27, 2017 (see November 9, 2017 public update at https://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/gray_wolf/updates.php?year=2017). A WDFW contracted range rider heard that there was a possible injured calf a day prior, but the calf could not be located at that time. Once the calf was found, it was taken to a holding pen for the investigation. The Ferry County Sheriff and WDFW management staff were notified and on November 3, department staff investigated a reported livestock depredation.  A Ferry County Officer was also in attendance for the depredation investigation.

The calf had injuries to both rear flanks and on both rear legs between the pin and hocks. Injuries on the rear flanks included bite lacerations and puncture wounds. Hemorrhaging was noted near bite lacerations in all four locations. After the wound was cleaned and dead tissue was removed, significant hemorrhaging was noted inside the wound, specifically around the wound margins. After a field examination of the injuries to the calf, it was determined to be a Confirmed Wolf Depredation. The determination was based on evidence and recent wolf activity in the area. Repeated reports from Producer 1 and WDFW contracted range rider included recent wolf howls, tracks, scat, and cattle grouping behavior in the pasture where the injured calf was located.

Proactive non-lethal deterrence measures - In this incident, Producer 1 met the expectation of deploying at least two proactive deterrence measures suitable for the operation, which were best suited for the operation and for a sufficient amount of time for the measures to be effective.  Those included:

  • Producer 1's cattle were on private fenced lands,
  • Producer 1 checks on the cattle multiple times every day during feedings,
  • Producer 1 removes sick or injured cattle from the area,
  • Producer 1 also used range riders periodically in 2017 (as well as 2016), and
  • Producer 1 also received locations of nearby collared wolves via WDFW's Sensitive Wildlife Data Sharing Agreement.

Responsive non-lethal deterrence measures - After the investigation on November 3, WDFW staff and Producer 1 considered potential responsive deterrent measures consisting of fladry, fox lights and increased range riding activity. The producer decided to move cattle to a different private large fenced grazing pasture, utilize fox lights and agreed to increase range rider activity. 

Depredation #2 - November 8, 2017

On November 8, WDFW was contacted by Producer 1 and he reported a calf carcass that was discovered while moving cattle in a different private large fenced grazing pasture. The calf was tarped by Producer 1, a hired hand, and range rider for the pending investigation. Wolf tracks were reported at the scene. The Ferry County Sherrif and WDFW management staff were notified that field staff were responding to conduct a depredation investigation per the 2017 Wolf-Livestock Interaction Protocol On November 9, WDFW conducted an investigation, accompanied by a Ferry County Deputy and WDFW Contracted Range Rider. After a field investigation and necropsy of the calf carcass, it was determined to be a Confirmed Wolf Depredation. The determination was based on bite lacerations with associated hemorrhaging, signs of a struggle near the calf carcass, large canid tracks near the calf carcass, recent wolf activity in the area, and the confirmed wolf depredation on November 2 in the area.

Proactive non-lethal deterrence measures - In this incident, Producer 1 met the expectation of deploying at least two proactive deterrence measures suitable for the operation, that were best suited for the operation and for a sufficient amount of time for the measures to be effective.  Producer 1 continued using the following non-lethal deterrence measures:

  • Cattle on private fenced lands,
  • Checked on the cattle multiple times every day during feedings,
  • Removed sick or injured cattle from the area,
  • Utilize fox lights ,
  • Used range riders periodically in 2018, and
  • Receiving locations of nearby collared wolves via WDFW's Sensitive Wildlife Data Sharing Agreement.

Depredation #3 - May 20, 2018

A woodcutter reported the incident to the producer (herein Producer 2), who had seen the calf alive earlier in the day and who then found the carcass and reported the incident to WDFW.  The incident was on a federal grazing allotment in northern Ferry County, in the same vicinity as the November 2 and 8, 2017 wolf depredations.  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. 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, indicating the calf was initially alive during the encounter, was visible near the bite wounds and was also found in the left front armpit, where no lacerations or punctures were visible. Based on all available evidence, WDFW classified the event as a confirmed wolf depredation by one or more members of the Togo pack (note, the area was confirmed as the Togo wolf pack territory from surveys conducted in February 2018).

Proactive non-lethal deterrence measures - In this incident, Producer 2 did not met the expectation of deploying at least two proactive deterrence measures that were best suited for the operation. Producer 2 deployed one proactive deterrence measure, which was checking on his cattle daily. 

Responsive non-lethal deterrence measures - Department staff and Producer 2 discussed additional responsive 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, Producer 2 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.

Depredation #4 - August 8, 2018

On August 8, 2018, WDFW was contacted by a wildlife specialist employed by the Stevens and Ferry County Sheriff's Offices about a potential wolf depredation on a U.S. Forest Service grazing allotment in the Togo pack wolf territory in Northern Ferry County, near Danville.  Later that day, WDFW staff documented a deceased adult cow.  The owner of the livestock is Producer 1.  During the investigation, staff documented bite lacerations with associated hemorrhaging, signs of a struggle down a steep hill and around the cow carcass, and recent wolf activity in the area.  Based on that evidence, they confirmed that the death was a depredation by one or more wolves from the Togo pack.

Due to the remote location and rugged terrain, the cow carcass was left on site.  However, Producer 1 and his range rider -moved the cattle to a different area of the allotment.  The cow was turned out as part of a cow-calf pair, but Producer 1 and range rider were not able to locate her calf. 

Proactive non-lethal deterrence measures - In this incident, Producer 1 met the expectation of deploying at least two proactive deterrence measures that were best suited for the operation and for a sufficient amount of time for the measures to be effective.  Throughout the 2018 grazing season Producer 1 used a variety of deterrent measures to protect the livestock. Producer 1:

  • Delayed turnout until late June so the calves would be larger,
  • Used Fox lights on his private pasture to deter wolves,
  • Following turnout, he removed sick or injured cattle from the allotment,
  • Deployed one or more range riders each day to help the producer check the cattle, and
  • Moved the cattle when necessary out of areas with higher wolf activity to minimize interactions between wolves and livestock.

Responsive non-lethal deterrence measures - After the investigation on August 8, WDFW staff and Producer 1 considered potential responsive deterrent measures and decided additional range riders would be the best option for their operation. 

Depredation #5 - August 9, 2018

On August 9, at about 9:30 p.m., the department was contacted by a WDFW-contracted range rider about another potential wolf depredation in the Togo pack area that injured a 350-pound calf owned by Producer 1. Producer 1 and range rider moved the injured calf, and the cow that accompanied it, from the allotment to a holding pen at their residence.

On August 10, WDFW staff and the two counties' wildlife specialist examined the cow and calf. The cow did not appear to have any injuries, but they documented bite lacerations to both of the calf's hamstrings and left flank, and puncture wounds and associated hemorrhaging to the left hindquarter and stomach.  Based on the evidence and related factors, the investigators confirmed that the calf's injuries were the result of a wolf depredation and classified the event as a confirmed wolf depredation. The cow and injured calf were kept at the holding pen for monitoring.

Proactive non-lethal deterrence measures - In this incident, Producer 1 met the expectation of deploying at least two proactive deterrence measures that were best suited for the operation and for a sufficient amount of time for the measures to be effective.  Producer 1 continued using the following non-lethal deterrence measures:

  • Used Fox lights on his private pasture to deter wolves,
  • Removed sick or injured cattle from the allotment, and
  • Deployed one or more range riders each day to help the producer check the cattle, and
  • Moved the cattle when necessary out of areas with higher wolf activity to minimize interactions between wolves and livestock.

Depredation #6 - August 18, 2018

On August 18, WDFW staff received a call from a wildlife specialist employed by the Stevens and Ferry County Sheriff's Offices about another potential wolf depredation in the Togo pack area that injured a 450-pound calf owned by Producer 1. Producer 1 and range rider moved the injured calf from the allotment, and the cow that accompanied it, from the allotment to a holding pen at their residence.  USFS District Ranger was notified of the depredation event. WDFW staff conducted a field examination of the injured calf with the help of a squeeze chute. Present during the examination were the producers and counties’ wildlife specialist.

On August 18, WDFW staff and the two counties' wildlife specialist examined the cow and calf.  The injured calf had bite lacerations and bite puncture wounds to the outside lower left hindquarter, the left hamstring, the inside of the left hock and the groin area. Adjacent to the bite puncture wounds on the hamstring and groin was hemorrhaging to the underlying tissue as indicated by severe swelling. Infection had also set in on two of the bite puncture wounds. The bite lacerations, bite puncture wounds and tissue hemorrhaging adjacent to the puncture wounds are consistent with a signature style wolf attack on cattle. Investigators confirmed that the calf's injuries were the result of a wolf depredation and classified the event as a confirmed wolf depredation.

Proactive non-lethal deterrence measures - In this incident, Producer 1 met the expectation of deploying at least two proactive deterrence measures that were best suited for the operation and for a sufficient amount of time for the measures to be effective.  Producer 1 continued using the following non-lethal deterrence measures:

  • Used Fox lights on his private pasture to deter wolves,
  • Removed sick or injured cattle from the allotment,
  • Deployed one or more range riders each day to help the producer check the cattle, and
  • Moved the cattle when necessary out of areas with higher wolf activity to minimize interactions between wolves and livestock.

As a result of these events, the guidance provided in the Wolf Plan and Protocol the minimum threshold has been reached for consideration and possible implementation of lethal removal the Togo Pack. WDFW Director Kelly Susewind has authorized lethal removal of wolves from the pack, consistent with the Department’s Wolf Plan and Protocol.

The goal of lethal removal from the Wolf Plan is to manage wolf-livestock conflicts in a way that minimizes livestock losses, while at the same time not negatively impacting the recovery or long-term perpetuation of a sustainable wolf population. Building on that, the purpose of lethal removal in the Togo pack is to change wolf pack behavior to reduce the potential for recurrent wolf depredations on livestock while continuing to promote wolf recovery (see Protocol). Consistent with the terms of the Wolf Plan and Protocol, the rationale for lethal removal in this case is as follows:  

  1. WDFW has documented three wolf depredation by the Togo pack within the last 30 days, which is also the sixth wolf depredation by the pack within the last 10 months. All six of the depredation events were confirmed wolf depredations ( resulting in two dead calves, one dead cow, and three injured calves). The three most recent depredations occurred over approximately a 10 day period, AND
  2. At least two (2) proactive deterrence measures, and responsive deterrence measures as deemed appropriate, have been implemented and failed to meet the goal of influencing/changing pack behavior to reduce the potential for recurrent wolf depredations on livestock in 5 of the six events, AND
  3. WDFW expects depredations to continue based of the history of depredations and the appropriate non-lethal measures having been deployed resulting in no change of wolf behavior , AND
  4. The Department has documented the use of appropriate deterrence measures and notified the public of wolf activities in a timely manner as outlined in the Protocol.  WDFW provided updates on November 9, November 15, December 6, 2017 and  May 24, June 1,  2018, August 11, and August 13, 2018 with information on all wolf depredations on livestock in the area, AND
  5. The lethal removal of wolves is not expected to harm the wolf population’s ability to reach recovery objectives statewide or within individual wolf recovery regions. Comparing the actual level of wolf mortality to that modeled in the Wolf Conservation and Management Plan (appendix G and H), actual average wolf mortality is about 8.4 animals or 10% of the estimated population.  This level is well below the 28% baseline annual mortality assumed in the wolf plan model before any simulated wolf removals, which incorporates a 30% lethal removal mortality in addition to the baseline mortality.  The model was conducted assuming the regional wolf population was at the regional recovery objective. The wolf population in the eastern recovery region has more than doubled the regional recovery objective.
  6. As mentioned earlier, Director Susewind has authorized an incremental removal of pack members from the Togo Pack. The last estimate of pack size during August was 2 adult wolves and an unknown number of pups. The Department expects to begin the effort after 8 business hours following this public notice.  The removal effort will likely continue for a two-week period or less. 

The Department will use humane lethal removal methods consistent with state and federal laws. The objective of the methodology is to use the best methods available while considering human safety, humaneness to wolves, swift completion of the removal, weather, efficacy, and cost. Likely options include shooting from a helicopter, trapping, and shooting from the ground. 

Per the Wolf plan Protocol, WDFW’s approach is incremental removal, which has periods of active removals or attempts to remove wolves, followed by periods of evaluation to see if the goal of changing pack behavior was met. The first incremental removal will follow the provision of the Protocol in section 7.  

The Department will keep the public informed about this activity through weekly updates. The Department will provide a final report to the public on any lethal removal action after the operation has concluded. 


Packs Referenced: Togo

Last Updated: Aug. 20, 2018 12:00 PM

Togo pack update

August 13, 2018

Over the weekend (August 11-12), WDFW staff deployed remote cameras in the Togo wolf pack area to help determine the number of wolves in the pack.  They also set traps in the area in an effort to capture and radio-collar additional members of the pack. 

WDFW Director Kelly Susewind said he wants as much information as possible on the developing situation before he considers further action. 

There have been five confirmed depredations by the Togo pack in the last 10 months, as described in the August 11 update.  In four of the five incidents, producers had used at least two pro-active preventive strategies to deter wolf predation as called for in the WDFW wolf-livestock interaction protocol.  Livestock producers in the area are continuing to use non-lethal deterrents to help reduce the likelihood of further wolf depredations.

To date, the Department has documented at least two adult wolves in the pack. The pair produced an unknown number of pups this spring. WDFW staff captured an adult male on June 2, 2018, and fitted it with a GPS collar. The collar provides location data that has been shared with livestock producers and county officials. WDFW has also received reports of a third adult wolf with the pack, but has not confirmed its presence.

The Department will continue to closely monitor the situation in the Togo pack and work to collect more information on the pack’s composition and movements.


Packs Referenced: Togo

Last Updated: Aug. 13, 2018 12:00 PM

Additional depredations documented by Togo wolf pack

August 11, 2018

On August 8, 2018, WDFW was contacted by the wildlife specialist employed by the Stevens and Ferry County sheriff’s offices about a potential wolf depredation on a U.S. Forest Service grazing allotment in the Togo pack wolf territory in Northern Ferry County, near Danville.  Later that day, WDFW staff documented a deceased adult cow.  During the investigation, staff documented bite lacerations with associated hemorrhaging, signs of a struggle down a steep hill and around the cow carcass, and recent wolf activity in the area.  Based on that evidence, they confirmed that the death was a depredation by one or more wolves from the Togo pack.

Due to the remote location and rugged terrain, the cow carcass was left on site.  Meanwhile, the livestock producer and his range rider pushed the cattle to a different area of the allotment.  The cow had been turned out as part of a cow-calf pair, but the producer and range rider were not immediately able to locate the calf.  They are continuing to search. 

Throughout the grazing season the producer has used a variety of deterrent measures to protect the livestock. He delayed turnout until late June so the calves would be larger and used Fox lights on his private pasture to deter wolves. Following turnout, he has removed sick or injured cattle from the allotment and deployed one or more range riders each day to help the producer check the cattle. They have moved the cattle when necessary.

On August 9, at about 9:30 p.m., the department was contacted by a WDFW-contracted range rider about another potential wolf depredation in the Togo pack area that injured a 350-pound calf owned by the same producer. The producer and range rider moved the injured calf, and the cow that accompanied it, from the allotment to a holding pen at their residence. 

On August 10, WDFW staff and the two counties’ wildlife specialist examined the cow and calf. The cow did not appear to have any injuries, but they documented bite lacerations to both of the calf’s hamstrings and left flank, and puncture wounds and associated hemorrhaging to the left hindquarter and stomach.  Based on the evidence and related factors, the investigators confirmed that the calf’s injuries were the result of a wolf depredation. The cow and injured calf were kept at the holding pen for monitoring.

The latest incidents bring the total number of confirmed depredations by the Togo pack to five in less than 10 months, including two in November 2017 and one in May 2018. Those incidents were reported in earlier WDFW wolf updates. In four of the five incidents, producers had used at least two pro-active preventive strategies to deter wolf predation as called for in the WDFW wolf-livestock interaction protocol.

The Department first suspected the presence of the Togo pack in 2016, and the depredations in November 2017 provided further evidence of a pack in the area.  The pack was confirmed during the department’s 2017-18 winter surveys and was named in March 2018.  The pack’s discovery is discussed in the department’s August 2, 2018, update, available online at https://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/gray_wolf/updates.php.

Based on the winter survey results and recent trapping activities, the department has documented at least two adult wolves in the pack. The pair produced an unknown number of pups this spring.  The Department captured an adult male on June 2, 2018, and fitted it with a GPS collar which provide location data that has been shared with livestock producers and county officials. WDFW has also received reports of a third adult wolf with the pack, but has not confirmed its presence.

Due to uncertainty about the number of adults in the pack, and the importance of receiving ongoing location data from the collared adult male, WDFW Director Kelly Susewind directed the staff to work through the weekend to attempt to confirm the number of adults and learn as much as possible about the pack’s activities before he considers further action.

WDFW will provide another update early next week.


Packs Referenced: Togo

Last Updated: Aug. 11, 2018 12:00 PM

Monthly Wolf Report - July 2018

August 2, 2018

This report provides information about wolf conservation and management activities undertaken by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) from July 1-31, 2018.

 

Statewide Wolf Capture, Survey, and Management

Outreach, Collaboration

Carnivore section staff members attended the Wolf Advisory Group (WAG) meeting on July 10-11 in Ellensburg. Information on the WAG agenda and meeting notes can be found at https://wdfw.wa.gov/about/advisory/wag/.

The carnivore section also assisted the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), United States Forest Service (USFS), and Okanogan County Sherriff Office in responding to a human wolf encounter in the Loup Loup pack territory. Updates can be found at https://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/gray_wolf/updates.php?year=2018.

Wolf Surveys

Wolf biologists spent time trapping in Leadpoint and Beaver Creek pack territories this past month. They spent time scouting in Five Sisters, Huckleberry, and Lookout pack territories and worked with the Stevens County Wildlife Specialist to locate activity in the Wedge pack. Wolf biologists also scouted areas in the North Central part of the state searching for signs of wolves in areas where we do not have confirmed packs. They checked remote cameras and searched for tracks and signs in the area.

Wolf biologists also assisted local district biologists in Skagit County, checking cameras in the area to see if any other wolves accompanied the collared wolf in the area. So far, this wolf still appears to be traveling alone.

Wolf biologists also followed up on some reports in the central portion of the state but were unable to find any definitive tracks or signs in the area they searched. They placed some cameras and will check them for any activity later in the summer.

Any reports of wolf tracks or sightings from the public are incredibly helpful to assist in locating new wolf activity and potential new packs on the landscape. Please report sightings to https://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/gray_wolf/reporting/.

 

The following information is related to the Togo pack and supplements information provided in the November 2017 and May 24, 2018 updates

In 2016, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) biologists suspected that there may be pack activity in what is now considered the Togo territory in 2016. Initially, collar data from the Profanity Peak pack during that year seemed to indicate that Boulder and Deer creeks formed a distinct boundary along the northern edge of the Profanity territory. Typically, such a clear demarcation of a territory boundary is consistent with a neighboring pack defending its own territory and keeping other wolves out.

In addition to collar data from a neighboring pack, there had been reports circulating in that area that a couple of people had seen wolves north of Boulder Pass, but those could not be verified during the summer or autumn of 2016. During a Ferry County Cattlemen’s meeting in December 2016, while WDFW discussed wolf activity and deterrent strategies with local livestock producers, one producer reported hearing wolves north of Boulder and Deer creeks, and relayed that his livestock had behaved differently during the summer grazing season. The producer also indicated that he had already been discussing nonlethal deterrents with a WDFW contracted range rider, had been checking his cattle regularly, and had been vigilant about removing sick or injured livestock from the range.

After these reports, WDFW spent time in the winter of 2016-2017 in that area looking for signs that might indicate pack activity. However, no pack activity was detected that winter. Although there was no confirmation of pack activity through winter track surveys, WDFW continued to follow up on reports and spend time in the area.

Even with an established pack, it doesn’t necessarily mean the department will be able to document pack activity. The average pack territory size in Washington is about 350 square miles. It can be challenging to document packs even when they are present, especially for smaller sized packs.

During the 2017 grazing season, a WDFW contract range rider worked on and off with the producer to look into reports of wolf activity and agitated cattle behavior. However, WDFW was unable to document any verifiable pack activity. During the fall of 2017, non-governmental organization (NGO) range riders were deployed to the area as well.

On Nov. 2, 2017, WDFW was contacted by a producer about a potential wolf depredation occurring north of Boulder and Deer creeks in the same area where WDFW wolf biologists suspected, but had not yet confirmed, any pack activity. During the investigation (which confirmed the injuries as a wolf depredation), the producer and a WDFW contracted range rider relayed hearing wolf howls and seeing tracks (of what was believed to be multiple wolves) and scat in the pasture where the depredation occurred. Additional assistance to the producers, including daily checks of the cattle, was provided with increased range rider presence until the cattle were moved to winter range. The injured calf was left at a pen away from the large grazing location for monitoring.

On Nov. 8, 2017, WDFW was contacted by a producer about another potential wolf depredation occurring in the same general area as the confirmed wolf depredation that occurred six days prior. During the investigation, WDFW confirmed the depredation as a wolf kill due to the location and severity of the injuries, in addition to wolf tracks (of what was believed to be multiple wolves) and signs of a struggle in the snow at the scene. After this depredation, range riders from both WDFW and a NGO continued in the area daily until cattle were moved. The calf carcass was removed from the grazing location.

After these two confirmed depredations in the autumn of 2017, WDFW wolf biologists spent additional time during the winter of 2017-2018 in this area trying to confirm the presence a wolf pack. In February 2018, WDFW was able to confirm (through tracks and scat) that at least two wolves were traveling together and had been using the area north of Boulder and Deer creeks consistently. The signs encountered while confirming this pack spanned a wide area stretching across the kettle range from just west of Laurier and Orient, Wash., to east of Danville, Wash., and from the Canadian border south to Boulder Pass. During these surveys, there were also fresh and older tracks discovered along the edge of the pasture where the second depredation occurred.

After confirming the presence of two adult wolves traveling together and using an area consistently in winter, WDFW included the Togo pack in the Washington Gray Wolf Conservation and Management 2017 Annual Report.

On May 20, 2018, WDFW received a call from a producer regarding a potential wolf depredation north of Boulder Creek and within one mile of where WDFW had found the tracks and scat used to confirm the Togo pack. During the investigation, WDFW learned that a witness had seen a black wolf leaving the scene. WDFW confirmed the dead calf as a wolf depredation due to the injuries present and signs at the scene. This producer deployed additional human presence, and range riders were also deployed to the area. Shortly after the confirmed wolf depredation, the producer was able to create a pasture off the allotment to confine the cattle until calves could grow a little more.

On May 24, 2018, a WDFW wolf biologist went to the area and was able to locate a significant amount of wolf signs (typically associated with denning activity during this time of year) roughly halfway between the location of the May 20 depredation and the depredations in November 2017. The following day, the biologist was able to track a single wolf from the vicinity of the depredation (within 0.25 km) to within 0.5 km of the area of high wolf use discovered the preceding day.

On May 29, 2018, the same WDFW wolf biologist began capture efforts in the area, and on June 2, 2018, a black adult male wolf was caught and collared in the same drainage as the depredations occurring in November 2017. The collar data indicated that animal was consistently using the high wolf use area detected through tracking on May 24, and was using the same areas where the WDFW wolf biologist had discovered wolf sign during February 2018.

 

Proactive deterrence measures

Kittitas County

Permit grazing for cattle and sheep is active in the DNR Teanaway Community Forest and the USFS Swauk Permit Range, both of which encompass the Teanaway pack’s known territory.

  • Sanitation measures for both cattle and sheep have been undertaken in the pack territory during July and calf weights now average over 200 pounds.
  • Range riders, producers, and WDFW are present throughout the pack territory on a daily basis monitoring livestock behavior. No sick, injured, or missing livestock animals were observed or suspected in the pack’s territory.
  • Wolf movements this month have been recorded by collar data, remote camera, and several visual and audial contacts. Early in July, the pack was observed in several dispersed locations of one or two adult wolves in the center and western parts of the known pack territory. In late July, several indicators showed the pack traveling together for at least several days, as well as pup movement. All indications appear to suggest the pack has vacated the denning sub-basin and moved to a separate rendezvous site some distance from the denning area.
  • Based on new data and supported by new wolf sightings and contacts, cattle have been moved and several salting locations have been removed at least one half mile or more away from the new rendezvous site. The area will be monitored for wolf activity and periodically searched for cattle that re-enter the area. Any cattle that move back into the area will be moved until it is determined that the rendezvous site has been abandoned by the wolves.
  • In the Swauk Permit Range, sheep were moved into the northern edge of the known pack territory boundary. A sheepherder, herding dogs, and guard dogs reside with the sheep. No negative wolf and livestock/dog interactions have been observed or reported. Cougar and bear conflicts have occurred in the permit range area within the last month. Active range riding in that area began June 26.

District 3 (Asotin, Columbia, Garfield, and Walla Walla counties)

Through the month of July, WDFW wildlife conflict specialists continued to work closely with producers across District 3 to implement preventative measures on private, state, and federal grazing pastures and allotments encompassed by the three known wolf pack territories in District 3. Due to above average spring forage growth, many of the cattle herds grazing on federal allotments were able to be held longer on their initial grazing allotments than expected.

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife conflict specialists continued working closely with the USFS range manager for the Umatilla National Forest to adjust grazing schedules and monitor cattle movements in an attempt to help reduce possible wolf-livestock conflict. As of mid-July, most of the cattle grazing on USFS allotments have been moved to new pastures within their allotments, and producers have continued to implement preventative measures while working closely with WDFW wildlife conflict specialists. Throughout District 3, producers have range riders deployed to check cattle daily. There are also two WDFW conflict specialists monitoring wolf movements and cattle behavior and movements throughout the pastures and allotments. Also, WDFW wildlife conflict specialists have been working with producers to update Damage Prevention Contracts for Livestock (DPCA_L) to help with the implementation of preventative measures across District 3. No wolf-livestock conflicts have been reported in District 3 at this time.

District wildlife conflict staff members continued to meet and coordinate with livestock producers, USFS, university researchers, and other non-profit organizations in northeastern Washington. This coordination will continue throughout the summer grazing season. Information on changes to the data sharing program, DPCA_Ls, WDFW contracted range rider deployment and training of new contracted range riders, and wolf high use areas were shared.

A variety of nonlethal deterrents continued to be deployed in Carpenter Ridge (e.g., range riding and WDFW presence), Dirty Shirt (e.g., range riding and human presence), Goodman (e.g., WDFW presence), Huckleberry (e.g., range riding and fox lights), Leadpoint (e.g., human presence and fox lights), the old Profanity territory (e.g., range riding and fox lights), Smackout (e.g., fox lights, fladry, air horns, pyrotechnics, range riding, and a RAG box), Stranger (e.g., range riding, continual improvements on calving locations, and fox lights), and Togo (e.g., range riding and securing calving locations).

Range riding activity in most packs was provided by DPCA_Ls, WDFW contract range riders, and two non-government organizations on most large grazing locations. WDFW has 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 again this month.

WDFW has also been coordinating with both Ferry and Stevens counties on responses to depredation investigations by a special deputy. A depredation training and weekly check-ins are set up for the coming weeks.

District staff members are also reviewing feedback from stakeholders on the content of the monthly reports to provide pertinent details from those groups.

 

Depredation investigations

Ferry, Stevens, and Pend Oreille counties

July 21 – WDFW investigated a report of calf depredation in Ferry County. The calf was determined have been killed by a cougar.

July 24 – WDFW investigated a report of sheep depredation in Stevens County. After the investigation, it was determined that at least eight sheep were a Confirmed Non-Wolf Depredation involving coyotes.

Non-wolf depredation of a sheep in Stevens County
A sheep depredation classified as a Non-Wolf Depredation involving coyotes

 

July 29 – WDFW investigated a report of a cow depredation in Stevens County. After the investigation, it was determined there were no signs of a wildlife depredation and it was classified as an Unconfirmed Cause of Death.

July 29 – WDFW investigated a report of domestic dog depredation in Pend Oreille County. After the investigation, it was determined that a cougar was responsible for the loss of the domestic dog.


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

Last Updated: Aug. 2, 2018 12:00 PM

Wolf Advisory Group conference call

July 31, 2018

This notice is to inform you that the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and Wolf Advisory Group (WAG) have a conference call scheduled for Tuesday, July 31, from 10:00 am to 11:30 am. The conference call is open to the public to listen to from a second muted line. The conference call and PIN numbers for the public were posted on the WAG website (https://wdfw.wa.gov/about/advisory/wag/) on Monday, July 30.

During the July 10-11 WAG meeting, WAG members created a draft timeline/sequencing of items that they envision being involved in during the development of a post-delisting wolf conservation and management plan. A picture of the draft timeline is included below, as well as a draft electronic version. The purpose of the conference call is to review the draft electronic version of the timeline to make sure it accurately portrays the draft timeline created by WAG members. The draft timeline (electronic version) will then by shared with the Fish and Wildlife Commission during their August 10-11 meeting.

WAG chart for the Fish and Wildlife Commission
Draft timeline for the post-delisting wolf conservation and management plan process

 

 

 

Outline of wolf plan process
Draft timeline in electronic form

Last Updated: Jul. 31, 2018 12:00 PM

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

Last Updated: Jul. 13, 2018 12:00 PM

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

Last Updated: Jul. 2, 2018 12:00 PM

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. 


Last Updated: Jun. 14, 2018 12:00 PM

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

Last Updated: Jun. 1, 2018 12:00 PM

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

Last Updated: May. 24, 2018 12:00 PM

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

Last Updated: May. 18, 2018 12:00 PM

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.


Last Updated: May. 3, 2018 12:00 PM

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.  


Last Updated: Apr. 30, 2018 12:00 PM

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

Last Updated: Apr. 2, 2018 12:00 PM

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.  


Last Updated: Mar. 20, 2018 12:00 PM

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.  


Last Updated: Mar. 12, 2018 12:00 PM

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

Last Updated: Feb. 28, 2018 12:00 PM

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

Last Updated: Feb. 1, 2018 12:00 PM