WDFW’s 2017 Wolf-Livestock Interaction Protocol prescribes a variety of management actions designed to influence pack behavior with the goal of reducing the potential for recurring depredations on livestock while continuing to promote wolf recovery.
On July 20, WDFW notified the public that nonlethal deterrence measures were not achieving that goal in the Smackout pack territory, and that the department’s Director had authorized incremental lethal removal of wolves to address recurrent depredations.
That approach consists of a period of active removal operations followed by an evaluation period to determine if those actions changed the pack’s behavior. Between July 20 and July 30, the department removed two wolves from the Smackout Pack, then initiated an evaluation period July 31 to assess the effect of that action on the pack’s behavior.
Continued deterrence efforts
The type and scale of deterrent measures on the ground have not changed since the August 24, 2017 update. WDFW continued to work with area producers and range riders to evaluate the status of deterrence measures and carnivore sign in the area of livestock.
The department has not documented any wolf depredations by the Smackout pack since the evaluation period started. (The last known wolf depredation was July 22.) The evaluation period is ongoing. When the cattle begin grazing on the non-fenced portion of the allotment, the department will have more certainty in assessing if the goal of the protocol has been met (see August 24 update). Per the protocol, the department may consider initiating another incremental lethal removal period if a wolf depredation is documented during the evaluation period.