On June 5, a Cattle Producers of Washington (CPOW) range rider discovered an injured calf on a privately owned pasture in the Togo pack territory. On June 6, WDFW staff responded to the report and investigated the calf’s injuries.
Upon investigation, WDFW staff documented injuries consistent with a wolf attack, including bite marks, punctures, lacerations, and a large infected wound on the hamstring. WDFW staff discovered several bite marks that had consistent spacing and canine measurements to those made by a wolf. The calf was tender and sensitive around the wounds and some swelling indicative of hemorrhaging remained around the lacerations. The punctures and lacerations had healed by the time the investigation was performed and indicated the calf had been attacked roughly one week prior to the investigation. The time between when the injury occurred and when the range rider discovered it was likely associated with the injury being difficult to see. The injured calf is expected to make a full recovery and was returned to the range and reunited with its mother. Range riders will continue to monitor the calf as well as the rest of the herd.
WDFW staff confirmed wolf depredation as the cause of the calf’s injuries. The livestock producer who owns the affected calf had several proactive, nonlethal deterrents in place, including delayed turnout of calves (to coincide with deer fawns, and elk and moose calves becoming available as prey), monitoring for sick/injured livestock, carcass sanitation, and human presence around calving areas. In addition, multiple range riders from WDFW, CPOW, and the Northeast Washington Wolf-Cattle Collaborative have been deployed in the area since prior to turnout, providing daily coverage. A range rider also periodically camps out with the cattle, and on two occasions woke up during the night to haze wolves away from cattle by spotlighting, yelling, and shooting a firearm into the air.
The livestock producer, WDFW staff, and range riders discussed potential reactive deterrents, and agreed to maintain or increase the capacity of range riding efforts to help maintain daily presence.
The Togo pack has been involved in seven depredations in the last 10 months. Previously, on Aug. 9, 2019, WDFW Director Kelly Susewind reauthorized the lethal removal of wolves from the Togo pack territory in response to repeated depredation of cattle on grazing lands in the Kettle River range of Ferry County. WDFW did not remove any wolves under that authorization and until the incident detailed in this update, no depredations were documented in the pack territory since Sept. 11, 2019. A summary of activity in the Togo pack territory in 2019 was provided in the last Togo pack update provided on Oct. 18, 2019. Depredation activity and agency wolf removals are summarized in each monthly wolf update.
WDFW staff are discussing how to most effectively address this situation; Director Susewind will also assess this situation and consider what action to take.