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 non-lethal 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.
That approach 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, then initiated an evaluation period September 2 to assess the effect of that action on the pack’s behavior.
Range riding activity has continued in the grazing allotments. The producer rotates 2 to 3 WDFW contract range riders throughout the grazing allotments to maintain human presence around the cattle. The range riders started patrolling the area on May 9, before the cattle were turned out to check for carnivore activity and to proactively increase regular human presence. They have continued to patrol the area occupied by cattle on a near-daily basis, and communicate frequently with the producer. In late July, three additional range riders began rotating shifts patrolling the surrounding grazing allotments. Five people, including the producer, his family, and employees, also work cattle throughout their allotments and noted wolf activity in the area. Any changes in cattle behavior or carnivore activity have been shared with WDFW.
The department has not documented any wolf depredations by the Sherman pack since the evaluation period started. (The last known wolf depredation was 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 during the evaluation period (i.e. a fresh depredation, not one that likely occurred during or before the removal period).
Addenda to Monthly Report
The following information has been added to the Monthly Report posted September 14.
Non-lethal deterrence measures employed by the producer who owned the livestock involved in the confirmed wolf depredation on August 31 in Stevens County included:
Proactive measures: The livestock are in fenced pastures near a residence that is rented out by the livestock producer. The livestock are checked daily by the producer, his family, or the individuals that rent the house near the pastures. Department staff notified the producer when the collared wolf from the Dirty Shirt pack dispersed to the area. At that time, the department’s contracted range riders began monitoring livestock on nearby allotments where the producer also owns and grazes livestock. The individuals that rent the nearby house then also started to periodically use a spot-light at night check on the livestock.
Responsive measures: After the confirmed wolf depredation on August 31, FOX lights were installed along the west edge of the grazing pasture where wolves would likely approach from, and in the middle of the same pasture where the livestock bed at night. FOX lights were also installed on a second pasture about one mile away, where the producer has additional livestock. The department’s contracted range riders also increased human presence around the producer’s livestock on nearby grazing allotments.
Also, the confirmed wolf depredation event on September 5 in Asotin County was by one or more wolves in the Tucannon Pack.