Outdoors blog

Wolf collared in Washington trapped, killed in Idaho

As of fall 2011, five breeding gray wolf packs have been documented in Washington state. (Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife)
As of fall 2011, five breeding gray wolf packs have been documented in Washington state. (Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife)

WILDLIFE -- Many of the wolves in northeastern Washington moved in naturally from Idaho.  But the Gem State is a dangerous place for the wolves to return.

A radio-collared wolf from the Diamond Pack in east-central Pend Oreille County was killed Dec. 20 by a trapper in North Idaho a few hundred yards east of the stateline.

Trappers have reported taking at least six wolves in the Idaho Panhandle during the state's first trapping season, which started Nov. 15 and runs through March 15.  Hunters have reported taking 28 wolves so far this season in the Panhandle, counting the one checked in at Coeur d'Alene on Tuesday.

Statewide, hunters have tagged at least 173 wolves in Idaho so far this season and trappers have reported taking 24.

The wolf trapped Dec. 20 was one of four Washington wolves wearing radio collars to track the movements of the Diamond Pack, which wanders along the stateline, as well as the Salmo Pack that roams the boundary with Canada.

"We will get the radio collar back," said Madonna Luers, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Spokeswoman in Spokane in an interview with Andy Walgamott of Northwest Sportsman Magazine.

Meantime, here's the latest Idaho Panhandle wolf report posted Tuesday evening by Jim Hayden, Fish and Game regional wildlife manager.

Wolf Harvest

Checked another wolf today, so we’re at 28 wolves taken in the Panhandle via hunting, and 6 via trapping.  By this date two years ago, we had taken just 13 wolves.  (In fact, the 14thwolf didn’t come until Feb. 2.)  We ended up with 24 legal wolf kills two years ago (there were also 4 illegal kills added for a total of 28). 

So, we’re taking more wolves than we did two years ago, even if just hunting is considered.  Will we have more wolves at the end of the season than we did two years ago or less?  There might be plenty of folks willing to say they know.  I’m not one of them.  There are just too many unknowns – did we take more wolves simply because there are more around?  Are hunters more effective than they were two years ago?  Both?  Neither?

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Rich Landers
Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.

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