Monthly Wolf Report -- May 2018

Publish date

This report provides information about wolf conservation and management activities undertaken by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) from April 30 to May 31, 2018.

Statewide Wolf Capture, Survey, and Management

Wolf surveys

Wolf biologists spent time trapping in the Huckleberry pack territory, but despite locating wolf sign and activity they were unable to capture any wolves on this attempt. Biologists will be scouting for sign and attempting to trap in the Lookout, Grouse Flats, Beaver Creek, and Togo packs over the next month. They will also be scouting areas with recent wolf reports in the central and south Cascades.

WDFW and Ferry County have documented wolf pack activity in the historic Profanity Peak area. Department staff members are working with livestock producers to develop proactive nonlethal deterrent measures in preparation for the grazing season.

Outreach activities

Wolf biologists attended the Wolf Advisory Group (WAG) meeting in Spokane at the beginning of the month. WAG members discussed the best approach to reaching out to a broader audience of Washington’s citizens in an effort to incorporate new ideas to help guide the future of wolf management in Washington.

Wolf biologists joined a field day activity with middle school students to discuss wildlife and carnivores in the Teanaway Community Forest. They also joined in a discussion with personnel from Wolf Haven International to answer questions about wolf management and recolonization in Washington.

Okanogan County

No no wolf-livestock conflicts were reported in Okanogan County during May. Collar data indicates the Loup Loup pack is within its traditional territory. Wildlife conflict specialists gathered input from livestock producers with active agreements regarding potential changes to the wolf location data-sharing program.

Proactive Deterrence Measures

Kittitas County

Permit grazing livestock have been removed from the Teanaway pack territory for the winter season. No conflicts between wolves and livestock have been reported.

Ferry, Stevens, and Pend Oreille counties

District wildlife conflict staff members met and coordinated with livestock producers, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), and other nonprofit organizations in northeastern Washington. This coordination will continue throughout the summer grazing season. Information on data sharing, Damage Prevention Cooperative Agreements for Livestock, WDFW contracted range rider deployment and request for qualifications, and wolf high-use areas was shared (e.g., potential denning locations).

Nonlethal deterrents were deployed in the following pack areas:

  • Huckleberry (e.g., increased range riding on large private pastures).

  • Profanity (e.g., fox lights and range riding).

  • Smackout (e.g., fox lights in multiple locations, fladry, air horns, pyrotechnics, and increased human presence).

  • Stranger (e.g., increased human presence around calving areas and improvements to calving pastures to keep out predators).

  • Togo (e.g., increased range riding efforts and securing calving locations).

Range riders are ramping up activity this month. Range riders under contract with WDFW and two non-government originations account for most of this activity.

Depredation Investigations

Ferry, Stevens, and Pend Oreille counties

May 9: WDFW looked into a report of missing cattle in Stevens County. No evidence of the cattle was discovered.

May 17: WDFW investigated a dead calf in Stevens County. After the depredation investigation, it was determined the calf had been killed by a black bear. A bear trap was deployed after a hunter was not successful in removing the bear. Trail cameras captured the bear in the area, but the trap was unsuccessful.

May 20: WDFW investigated a dead calf in Ferry County. After an investigation, it was determined to be a Confirmed Wolf Depredation. Coordination with the livestock producer on range rider efforts and other deterrents was discussed.

May 21: WDFW investigated a report of dead sheep in Stevens County. The investigation determined that a cougar had killed the sheep. A trap was set, but it was unsuccessful.

May 25: WDFW investigated a report of a dead calf in Stevens County. Wolf tracks and one collar location were indicated at the scene. After the investigation of the calf carcass, it was noted that wolves had scavenged on the calf, but there were no indicators that wolves had killed the calf. The depredation investigation was categorized as an Unconfirmed Cause of Death. The producer continues to use human presence, fladry, and trail cameras. The department provided the producer with fox lights, air horns, pyrotechnics, and a WDFW contracted range rider to help reduce wolf activity.

May 26: WDFW investigated a report of a dead calf in Stevens County. The calf was placed in a squeeze shoot for examination, and based on the superficial wounds, it was determined these injuries would be classified as a Non-Depredation. Due to wolf activity in the area, fox lights were placed at the pasture edge.