On Sept. 28, a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) marksman shot and killed an adult female member of a wolf pack that has repeatedly preyed on cattle while occupying the Old Profanity Territory (OPT) in the Kettle River Range of Ferry County.
The wolf was one of two pack members spotted that day by a WDFW helicopter crew. The adult wolf is believed to be the breeding female. WDFW previously removed a juvenile wolf from the OPT pack on Sept. 16.
WDFW Director Kelly Susewind authorized “incremental” removal of wolves from the OPT pack Sept. 12 after confirming that one or more pack members killed one calf and injured five others from Sept. 4-7 on a U.S. Forest Service (USFS) grazing allotment.
One day after the first wolf was removed, WDFW confirmed that an adult cow had been killed a few days earlier by wolves in the same general area. Then, on Sept. 21, WDFW confirmed five additional livestock depredations (that likely occurred 5-7 days earlier) by the OPT pack, bringing the total to 12 wolf depredations. The five most recent depredations were confirmed injuries to calves.
The remaining wolves in the OPT pack appear to be an adult male and one juvenile, although the juvenile was not seen during the removal operation this week.
The livestock producer who owns the affected livestock continues to use contracted range riders to monitor his herd, is removing or securing livestock carcasses to avoid attracting wolves to the rest of the herd, is using foxlights at salting locations in high wolf use areas, and is removing sick and injured livestock from the grazing area until they are healed. The majority of the producer’s livestock will be moved off federal grazing allotments to adjacent private grazing lands by mid-October.
WDFW’s approach to incremental removal consists of a period of active operations followed by an evaluation period to determine if those actions changed the pack’s behavior. The department has now entered an evaluation period.
If WDFW documents another livestock depredation and confirms that it likely occurred after today’s action, the department may initiate another lethal removal action following the guidelines of the Wolf Plan and 2017 Protocol.
WDFW previously provided information on the wolves from the OPT on the following dates:
Sept 7, 11, 12, 14, 18, 25.