On July 22, a range rider spotted a wolf feeding on a dead 400-450 lb. calf in a 4,500-acre fenced pasture on private land. Livestock producers reported the sighting to WDFW staff, who conducted an investigation on site.
At the site, WDFW staff noted disturbed ground, unidentifiable tracks, and a blood trail leading to the carcass, along with evidence the carcass had been dragged while fed upon. WDFW staff’s investigation of the carcass revealed hemorrhaging, tissue loss and damage, and tooth punctures through the groin on both legs extending to the hindquarters. Staff also documented hemorrhaging on the rear side of the right front leg. The hindquarters, flank, intestines, and organs were partially consumed. The carcass was removed from the area and buried after the investigation.
The damage to the carcass was indicative of wolf depredation. In addition, location data from the collared wolf in the Grouse Flats pack showed at least one member of the pack in the vicinity during the approximate time the calf died. Based on the combination of tissue damage with associated hemorrhaging and wolf locations, WDFW staff classified this event as a confirmed wolf depredation.
The livestock producer who owns the affected livestock monitors the herd by range riding at least every other day, maintains regular human presence in the area, removes sick and injured livestock from the grazing area until they are healed, removes or secures livestock carcasses to avoid attracting wolves to the rest of the herd, and avoids known wolf high activity areas.
The Grouse Flats pack was involved in three depredation incidents in 2018 detailed in an update on Dec. 11, 2018 and one depredation incident in 2019 detailed on July 12. WDFW includes a summary of all documented depredation activity within the past ten months in every monthly update.