Confirmed wolf depredation on private land in Stevens County

Publish date

On June 12, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) staff investigated a report of two cow carcasses discovered in Stevens County by ranch staff. One carcass of an adult cow was discovered on June 10 and another was discovered the following day about a quarter mile away. Both cows were grazing on private leased property within the Wedge pack territory.

The first carcass was scavenged but mostly intact. No hemorrhaging was documented on the skin; possible hemorrhaging was noted on the distal portions of the right rib bones, but no bones were broken. Despite a thorough investigation, no sign of injury by wildlife was located and the cause of death for this cow was unconfirmed. The carcass was scavenged on by bears, turkey vultures, and coyotes based on sign and a trail camera placed by a Stevens County Special Deputy.

The second carcass was mostly intact with some scavenging identified. Bite wounds were documented on the tail, both rear legs, right elbow, and throat. Hemorrhaging was noted at all locations accompanied by bite wounds with varying degrees of severity. Based on the combination of bite wounds with associated hemorrhaging and wolf sign in the area, WDFW staff classified this event as a confirmed wolf depredation. It was evident from sign and scavenging patterns that the carcass had also been fed on by bears.

Proactive, non-lethal deterrents (range riding, human presence, monitoring via trail camera, and hazing of wolves when seen) were in place at the time of the depredation. The carcasses were left to be scavenged and will be monitored near daily for further interactions as cattle are no longer in the area. Trail cameras were placed on the carcasses to continue to monitor activity.

Packs referenced in this update