Compensation rules for depredation incidents

Sheep, cattle, or horses killed or injured by bears, cougars, or wolves may be eligible for compensation using state funds. Compensation for other animal losses depends on availability of federal or private funds.

The claimant is required to provide documentation that includes the commercial value of the lost livestock, an estimate of the percentage loss of value for the injured livestock, and a completed claim form. State law requires that only claims of $500 or more may be filed with the department for compensation from state funds.

For confirmed depredations by wolves, the owner will be paid for verified losses on acreage of less than 100 acres. The owner will be paid an amount of twice the verified losses on acreage greater than 100 acres. Payment at twice the verified losses assumes that multiple animals are missing.

For depredations classified by WDFW as “probable” wolf depredations, the owner will be paid for the verified loss, no matter the acreage.

Steps for submitting a claim

The claimant is responsible for determining the amount and value of livestock lost or injured. WDFW is responsible for determining the cause of the livestock loss. The compensated value of the loss is set by WDFW in consultation with recognized livestock organizations and the state Department of Agriculture.

To submit a claim for compensation, the claimant must complete the following steps:

  • Notify WDFW within 24 hours of discovering a livestock attack.
  • Protect the carcass to avoid scavenging and allow investigation to be completed by WDFW or its designee as to the cause of the death or injury.
  • Request a claim form within 30 days of discovering the loss by contacting the Wildlife Program in writing, by phone, or via email:
  • Submit a completed claim form within 90 days of notifying WDFW of the loss. A completed form includes a depredation claim eligibility checklist to show proactive measures in place, estimated value of lost or injured livestock, proof of ownership of lost or injured livestock, report of any related insurance policies, and signature.

WDFW will notify the claimant upon completion of the evaluation. The claimant has 60 days to accept or appeal the offer for settlement of the claim. Any disagreements between the claimant and WDFW over the livestock loss value may be settled through an adjudicative proceeding.

These rules are authorized by state law under the Revised Code of Washington (RCWs 77.04.012, 77.04.020, and 77.04.055) and Washington Administrative Code (WAC 220-440-010, 220-440-020, 220-440-170, 220-440-180, and 220-440-230).