This report provides information about wolf conservation and management activities undertaken by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife from Nov. 14 to Dec. 22, 2017.
Carnivore Section Update
On December 11, WDFW published a news release on two suspected wolf poaching cases in northeastern Washington. Both investigations remain active, and anyone who might have relevant information is encouraged to contact WDFW at 877-933-9847 or 360-902-2936.
In December WDFW wolf biologists began their work surveying the state’s wolf population. The results from the surveys will be published in the annual wolf report in March. Biologists participated in flights over northeast and northcentral Washington, as well as Skagit County, to locate and count additional wolves traveling with collared wolves. The biologists will also be working with WDFW personnel, other agencies, community members, and tribal biologists to conduct surveys to determine wolf numbers in packs where no collars are currently deployed.
Wolf biologists also worked with other WDFW personnel to complete the Sherman pack lethal removal report (https://wdfw.wa.gov/publications/01949/). They also corresponded with several landowners to request access to areas where wolf capture/collaring work with a helicopter is expected to occur this winter.
Smackout Pack – Caught in the Act Lethal Removal Update
WDFW donated several wolf specimens to the Burke Museum for education and display. One of the specimens was the adult female wolf that was lethally removed by a range rider on June 30, 2017, while in the act of attacking livestock within the Smackout pack territory. While conducting the necropsy on this wolf, state biologists determined that this female had produced pups based on the observed swollen uterus and placental scars inside the uterus.
Proactive Deterrence Measures
Ferry, Stevens, and Pend Oreille counties
WDFW personnel continued ongoing work with producers throughout northeast Washington on the implementation of proactive deterrence measures. These measures can include year round deployment, deterrents associated with specific events (e.g. when calves are born), or deterrents geared towards periods when livestock are on large summer/fall grazing allotments. To that end, WDFW has picked up deterrents from large grazing allotments and distributed other deterrents to calving pastures where recent wolf activity has been reported. This time of year, WDFW personnel work on tentative deterrent placement for the upcoming spring/summer seasons and coordinate with producers on ways to improve field work.
There has not been a WDFW-confirmed wolf sighting in Klickitat County since 2014. However, staff members occasionally receive reports submitted across the county and follow up on them if the reports appear credible. Despite the lack of confirmed sightings, Wildlife Conflict personnel meet with livestock producers in the area to prepare for the time when wolves do arrive in the region. At these meetings, Wildlife Conflict staff members review historical range riding activities in Klickitat County, funding for wolf-deterrent measures, the role of wolf deterrent measures in livestock husbandry and wolf management, WDFW’s response to livestock depredations, and compensation for those depredations. Additionally, Wildlife Conflict staff members have also been discussing local wolf sighting reports and information from the local ranchers concerning potential wolf activity on their grazing allotments within, as well as outside of, the county. The Wolf Advisory Group (WAG) process and membership was also discussed at length with the producers during these meetings. WDFW will continue to work with Klickitat County livestock producers to incorporate proactive deterrence measures into their livestock operations.
Collar data has shown the Teanaway wolf pack in normal areas for this time of year. WDFW personnel performed routine communication with producers in the area and there is no significant wolf activity to report. Open range livestock have been removed from the pack territory.
Ferry, Stevens, and Pend Oreille counties
On December 11, wolf biologists investigated an adult cow carcass while on patrol with WDFW Enforcement. Based on the evidence at the scene (tire tracks, knife marks on the hide, head cut off, no hemorrhaging in areas associated with a wildlife depredation), it was clear this was not wildlife-related.
On December X, Department personnel conducted a depredation investigation on a calf. Based on the investigation, it was classified as an unknown cause of death. No bite marks, lacerations, or hemorrhaging were found. The ears and nose were chewed off. The animal had largely been consumed, but all leg bones were intact, as was a large portion of the rib cage. Three legs were still attached to the carcass. Several piles of coyote scat and multiple coyote tracks were found. The area around the carcass was matted down. Stomach contents and an ear tag were found within the trampled circle. It did not appear the carcass had been dragged any significant distance. There were multiple dog tracks and a possible wolf track on the road that led to the dead calf, and a trail camera was present along the road.
Lincoln, Spokane, and Whitman counties
Three presentations were given to environmental advanced placement classes at Mead High School about the history of wolves in the west and in Washington, and how wolves are managed in Washington.