OPT pack update

Publish date

Since the last weekly update on July 30, there have been two additional depredations investigated and confirmed in the OPT pack territory.

The first was an injured calf that was reported and investigated by WDFW staff on July 31. The calf had wounds on the outer left side of the rear leg. The injuries affected the underlying muscle with bite lacerations on the outer margins of the wound. The combination of bite wounds and lacerations with associated hemorrhaging were consistent with wolf depredation.

The second was a dead cow reported to WDFW staff by the livestock producer on Aug. 5. Staff conducted an investigation the same day. The investigation revealed bite lacerations and puncture wounds on the inside of the right rear leg, left side of the neck, the chest area, throat, top left shoulder, inside right hindquarter, inside back left leg, outside back left leg, center of the back, and the inside right front leg. There was hemorrhaging on the underlying tissue adjacent to some of the bite lacerations and puncture wounds. Staff classified this incident as a confirmed wolf depredation. The injuries appeared to be a week old and the cow had been deceased approximately two days. Due to the inaccessibility of the location and size of the cow, the carcass was left on the landscape.

On July 31, WDFW Director Kelly Susewind reauthorized the lethal removal of wolves from the OPT pack in response to repeated depredation of cattle on federal grazing lands in the Kettle River range of Ferry County under the guidance of the state’s Wolf Conservation and Management Plan and the lethal removal provisions of the department’s wolf-livestock interaction protocol. This is the fourth time Director Susewind has authorized lethal removal in the OPT pack since Sept 12, 2018; three wolves have been removed under those authorizations.

Since the removal of an OPT wolf on July 13, the OPT pack has been involved in nine depredation incidents (three killed and six injured livestock), and a total of 29 since Sept. 5, 2018—depredation activity and agency wolf removals are summarized in every monthly wolf update.

Since the reauthorization, no wolves have been removed; the operation is ongoing. A King County Superior Court Commissioner denied a motion for a temporary injunction that would have prohibited WDFW from lethally removing wolves from the OPT pack. The petitioners have since submitted a motion for reconsideration of that decision. The briefing schedule for the motion ends Aug. 13.

WDFW will keep the public informed about this activity through weekly updates. WDFW will provide the next update on Aug. 13.

Previous updates

2019 OPT pack updates

For a summary of removal operations in the OPT pack during 2018, please see page 37 of the Washington Gray Wolf Conservation and Management 2018 Annual Report. WDFW will provide a final report on any lethal removal operations during 2019 in the Washington Gray Wolf Conservation and Management 2019 Annual Report.

A summary of all documented depredation activity within the past ten months is included in every monthly wolf update.

Packs referenced in this update