Monthly Wolf Report -- January 2018

Publish date

This report provides information about wolf conservation and management activities undertaken by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) from Dec. 22, 2017 to Jan. 29, 2018.

Carnivore Section Update

Wolf biologists spent much of December counting wolves using fixed-wing aircraft, remote cameras, and survey of wolf tracks in known pack territories to collect data for the 2017 wolf survey, scheduled for release in March. They have also been surveying new areas for wolf sign, taking advantage of winter snow-tracking conditions and reports from the public. Once compiled, that data will help to document gray wolves’ recolonization of Washington state.

Wolf biologists also conducted aerial captures on wolves in the Blue Mountains and in northeast Washington during the week of Jan. 15-20. During this effort, they were able to capture and collar four new wolves from four packs, including Stranger, Goodman, Touchet, and Carpenter Ridge.

Proactive Deterrence Measures

Wolf packs in Ferry, Stevens, and Pend Oreille counties

With calving season now underway, WDFW wildlife conflict staff has been working with livestock producers to protect their herds through Damage Prevention Cooperative Agreements for Livestock and WDFW contracted range riders. As part of that effort, staff advised producers about the availability of grants and WDFW wolf deterrent funds for these services.

Most of these efforts were focused in Ferry, Stevens and Pend Oreille counties. Additional coordination will continue with producers and an interested NGO as calving season goes into full swing.

Meanwhile, WDFW wildlife conflict staff initiated planning meeting for the summer grazing season with a private industrial timber company and a statewide conservation group.  Additional meetings with the U.S. Forest Service and area livestock producers will be scheduled throughout the next few months to solidify grazing plans.

Wolf packs in Okanogan County

No change. Collar data indicates the Loup Loup pack is within its traditional territory.

Southwest Washington

Region 5 wildlife conflict staff members continued to meet with livestock producers in Klickitat County to discuss proactive deterrent measures and wolf management for when wolves do arrive in the area. No wolf observations were reported to staff members or via the online reporting tool in January.

Depredation Investigations

Wolf packs in Ferry, Stevens, and Pend Oreille counties

January 22: WDFW received a report of a missing domestic dog in Stevens County suspected to be from a cougar. Conflict staff members assisted WDFW Enforcement and determined a cougar had been involved in the depredation.

Outreach Activities

WDFW Conflict Specialist Heilhecker attended the Methow Valley Ranger District’s livestock permit holder meeting. She provided updates on the Lookout and Loup Loup packs in addition to discussing depredation investigations.

WDFW personnel attended the cooperative resource management meetings with producers in the Methow Valley and staff from the USFS, Washington Department of Natural Resources, Natural Resource Conservation Service, and Okanogan Conservation District. They discussed grazing rotations, infrastructure needs, and wolf activity.

Packs referenced in this update