WDFW’s 2017 Wolf-Livestock Interaction Protocol describes tools and approaches designed to influence pack behavior with the goal of reducing the potential for recurrent livestock depredations while continuing to promote wolf recovery.
On August 25, WDFW notified the public that nonlethal deterrence measures were not achieving that goal in the Sherman pack territory, and that the Director had authorized incremental lethal removal of wolves as another tool to address recurrent depredations.
The approach taken consists of a period of active removal operations followed by an evaluation period to determine if those actions changed the pack’s behavior. Between
August 25 and September 1, the department removed one wolf from the Sherman pack. On September 2, WDFW initiated an evaluation period to assess the effect of that
action on the pack’s behavior.
Range riding activity continues in the grazing allotments used by the Sherman pack, including those allotments that experienced a wolf depredation. The producer rotates WDFW contract range riders throughout the grazing allotments to maintain human presence around the cattle.
The range riders have patrolled the area since May 9, before the cattle were turned out, to check for carnivore activity, proactively increase, and regular human presence and to report cattle information (locations, injuries, etc.) to the producer. Five people, including the producer, his family, and employees, also work cattle throughout the allotments. The range riders share any noted wolf activity in the area or changes in cattle behavior with WDFW.
The department has not documented any wolf depredations by the Sherman pack since the evaluation period began, with the last known wolf depredation on August 28. The evaluation period is ongoing. Per the protocol, the department may consider initiating another incremental lethal removal period if a wolf depredation is documented and likely occurred during the evaluation period.