Monthly wolf report- May 2024

Publish date

This update provides an overview of gray wolf conservation and management activities in Washington during May 2024. 

Program updates and coordination 

  • WDFW is accepting limited applications for statewide contracted range riders in the 2024 season. Visit the Contracted Range Rider RFQ page for applications and contract updates.
  • Due to a directive from the fiscal years 2024-2025 budget provisos, WDFW is working to transition a majority of contracted range riding in northeast Washington to Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) grant funded local non-profits providing those non-lethal deterrent services. WDFW will continue to offer Damage Prevention Cooperative Agreements for Livestock (DPCA-Ls) in areas where these services are not provided and as funding allows. WDFW-contracted range riders will only be employed when a clearly identified gap exists that cannot be covered by one of the non-government groups providing range riding, or under a cost-sharing DPCA-L.   
  • WDFW encourages anyone who might have relevant information on poaching to report it confidentially by calling WDFW's poaching hotline, 877-933-9847, or by texting a tip to 847411. Gray wolves are listed as endangered under state law throughout Washington. In the western two-thirds of the state, they are also listed as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act. Under state law, the illegal killing of a wolf or other endangered fish or wildlife species is a gross misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000. 
  • WDFW continues to support the Conflict on Workinglands Conservation Innovation Grant (CoW-CIG) research team’s evaluation of the effectiveness of range riding at reducing conflicts between livestock and carnivores. The Conservation on Working Lands Conservation Innovation Grant (CoW-CIG) is a collaborative team consisting of livestock producers, Western Landowners Alliance, Heart of the Rockies, Defenders of Wildlife, Wildlife Services, and other state and federal wildlife agencies, and Utah, Colorado, and Montana state universities. The team is tasked with evaluating the effectiveness of several nonlethal tools at reducing conflict between livestock, wolves, and grizzly bears.   

Outreach and education  

A wolf biologist gave a presentation to On Track Academy in Spokane, WA to 10th - 12th graders on the ecology and status of wolves in Washington.       

Current population status and proactive conflict mitigation 

The year-end minimum population count for 2023 was at least 260 known wolves in 42 known packs including at least 25 successful breeding pairs. Annual wolf population surveys are conducted in the winter because wolf populations experience the least amount of natural fluctuation during this time. Counting the population at the end of each year allows for comparable year-to-year trends at a time of year when the wolf population is most stable. Read the 2023 Annual Wolf report for more information. The year-end minimum population count for 2024 will be released in April 2025. 

Reports of remote camera images or videos, wolf tracks, or sightings from the public are extremely helpful in locating previously undocumented wolf activity and potential new packs on the landscape. Please take photos of wolves or wolf sign (learn how to differentiate between wolves and coyotes; use some way to measure the size of a track) and upload them to the wolf reporting page.

Definitions: A “pack” is defined as two or more wolves traveling together in winter, and a “breeding pair” is defined as at least one adult male and one adult female wolf that raised at least two pups that survived until December 31. In any given year, the number of packs will always be greater than or equal to the number of breeding pairs. The known territories and more information for each pack can be viewed by clicking the pack name.  

Beaver Creek pack 
No activity to report.   

Big Muddy territory 
No activity to report. 

Butte Creek pack 
No activity to report. 

Carpenter Ridge pack 
No activity to report. 

Chewuch pack 
WDFW biologists conducted monitoring activities in this pack territory.  

Chopaka pack 
No activity to report. 

Columbia pack 
No activity to report.  

Couse pack 
WDFW biologists trapped in this pack but were unsuccessful in capturing a wolf. 

Diobsud Creek territory 
No activity to report. 

Dirty Shirt pack 
WDFW biologists captured and collared one wolf in this pack territory.  

Dominion pack 
No activity to report.  

Five Sisters pack 

WDFW biologists captured and collared one wolf in this pack territory.  

Goodman Meadows pack 
No activity to report. 

Grouse Flats pack 
WDFW biologists captured and collared 2 wolves in this pack territory. However, one of the wolves died, which was likely related to the capture. The carcass was submitted to the Washington Animal Disease Diagnostics Laboratory (WADDL) lab at Washington State University for further testing to determine the cause of death. Preliminary results of the necropsy found a markedly reduced intestinal length consistent with rare reports of congenital small bowel syndrome in domestic dogs and may explain the low body weight and body condition score in this wolf. The histologic examination (examining tissue under a microscope) found no evidence of aspiration pneumonia or gastric damage associated with the noted gastric foreign body, and the histopathology does not identify any infectious, inflammatory, or abnormal and excessive tissue growth conditions in this wolf. However, examination was complicated by by breakdown of tissue from decay after death. While findings of a markedly shortened intestinal tract and presumed secondary poor body condition, it is unknown if these factors were related to poor recovery from sedation.  

Huckleberry pack 
No activity to report.  

Leadpoint pack 
No activity to report. 

Lookout pack 
WDFW biologists conducted monitoring activities in this pack territory. 

Loup Loup pack 
No activity to report. 

Maverick pack 
WDFW biologists conducted monitoring activities in the pack territory. 
Mt. Spokane pack 
No activity to report. 

Naneum territory 
No activity to report 

Napeequa pack 
No activity to report.  

Navarre pack 
WDFW biologists trapped in this pack but were unsuccessful at capturing a wolf.  

Onion Creek pack 
No activity to report. 

Ruby pack 
WDFW biologists conducted monitoring activities in this pack territory. 

Salmo pack 
No activity to report.  

Scatter pack  
No activity to report. 

Sherman pack 
WDFW biologists captured and collared two wolves in the Sherman pack territory this past month.  

Sullivan Creek pack  
On May 16, WDFW staff determined a calf was killed in a probable wolf depredation event. 

On May 25, WDFW staff investigated a dead calf in a different portion of the Sullivan Creek pack territory than where the depredation occurred the previous week. The calf was likely killed and did not die from natural causes. However, damage to the carcass does not match the typical characteristics used to help determine whether a bear, cougar, wolf, or coyote killed the calf. Therefore, the cause is unknown. 

Other Monitoring Activities Statewide: 

WDFW biologists conducted monitoring activities in the former Teanaway and Naneum pack territories. In addition, biologists spent time checking cameras and switching SD cards/batteries in the White River area in Pierce and King Counties.   


  • One wolf mortality was documented in May in the Grouse Flats Pack territory (see above under Grouse Flats pack).  
  • As of the end of May, WDFW has documented four wolf mortalities in 2024. 

Depredation activity 

In general, about 80% of known wolf packs in Washington have not been involved in any documented livestock depredation in any given year. 

WDFW staff documented one probable depredation event on livestock by wolves in May. The average number of depredations for the month of May is 2.2 based on depredation records from 2019-2023. 

Please report any suspected livestock depredations or the death or harassment of wolves to the WDFW Enforcement Hotline at 1-877-933-9847

Below is a summary of packs with documented depredation activity within the past ten months (some packs have depredation history prior to the current ten-month window; this timeframe is considered based on guidance from the wolf-livestock interaction protocol (PDF)). 

Pack Depredation date Depredation type Proactive non-lethals Ten-month window Agency lethal removal actions 
Columbia  9/10/23 Confirmed injury of 2 calves Yes 7/10/24  
Dirty Shirt collar/Dominion Pack 8/28/23 Confirmed mortality of calf  6/28/24  
Grouse Flats 9/8/23 Probable mortality of calf Yes 7/8/24  
 10/25/23 Confirmed injury of an adult cow Yes 8/25/24  
Onion 5/12/23 Probable injury of dog  N/A N/A  
Smackout 9/1/23 Confirmed injury of cow that later died Yes 7/1/24  
Scatter 10/7/23 Confirmed mortality of calf No 8/7/24  
Sullivan Creek 12/14/23 Confirmed injury of adult cow Yes 10/14/24  
 5/16/24 Probable mortality of calf Yes 3/16/25  
Couse Pack 7/31/23 Probable mortality of calf Yes 5/31/24  
 8/15/23 Confirmed mortality of calf Yes 6/15/24 Adult male and yearling female removed on 8/26/23 
Undetermined pack (Stevens County) 8/12/23 Confirmed injury of calf Yes 6/12/24  
 9/5/23 Confirmed injury of calf Yes 7/5/24