Oct. 3, 2022
On Sept. 26, WDFW confirmed a probable wolf depredation on a calf in the Smackout wolf pack territory in Stevens County. In total, WDFW has documented six wolf depredation events in that wolf pack territory since Aug. 17, 2022. Three different livestock producers were affected, five calves killed, and two injured.
In early September, WDFW authorized lethal removal for the Smackout pack following the initial depredations, which all happened in a very short timeframe. A juvenile wolf, suspected of being from the Dirty Shirt pack but traveling on the edge of the Smackout pack territory, was removed on Sept. 8, 2022 under that authorization.
Following that lethal removal, WDFW did not document any wolf depredations in the Smackout pack territory between Aug. 31 and Sept. 26.
WDFW staff discussed the Sept. 26 depredation and use of non-lethal measures in this pack territory. Because the Smackout pack was involved in a series of depredations earlier this summer, lethal removal was once again considered. The Department reviewed the situation and Director Kelly Susewind decided not to initiate lethal removal at this time. This decision was based on:
- Despite no wolves having been removed from the Smackout pack, there were no known or documented depredations for 26 days. That contrasts with five mortalities and two injuries confirmed within two weeks during August, and
- While the affected producer was utilizing two or more proactive deterrence measures and responsive deterrence measures at the time of the Sept. 26 depredation, it was determined that additional non-lethal deterrents can be utilized, including increased range riding, the deployment of a radio activated guard (RAG) box, and the installation of foxlights to scare off wolves.
If additional depredations occur, lethal removal may be considered again. In the meantime, the Department will continue to:
- Coordinate with livestock producers, Northeast Washington Wolf Cattle Collaborative (NEWWCC), and Cattle Producers of Washington (CPoW) to continue daily to near daily range riding presence in pastures and allotments with livestock (especially near wolf activity centers) and continue to document range riding activities.
- Work with the producer who recently experienced depredations to deploy deterrents such as Foxlights and/or a RAG box to help inform the producer and range rider(s) if wolves are in the area and to serve as scare devices for wolves.
2022 Smackout pack updates
Packs referenced in this update