Wolves kill 14 sheep in year’s first taking in Washington

Wolves killed 14 sheep in northeastern Washington this week, state Department of Fish and Wildlife officials said Friday.

Agency field staff confirmed that one or more wolves from the Huckleberry Pack in southern Stevens County killed 12 sheep on Monday and two more on Tuesday on private property off Springdale-Hunters Road.

The attacks just north of Blue Mountain and about 2 miles north of the Spokane Indian Reservation are the first confirmed losses of livestock to wolves this year in Washington.

About 1,800 sheep are being grazed in the area under a lease with the Hancock Timber Co., which owns the land, said department officials who verified the attacks.

The state is working with the operator to move the sheep to another grazing allotment and remove the sheep carcasses to avoid wolves returning to the kill site, said Madonna Luers, department spokeswoman in Spokane.

Agency staffers are on site with the sheep and are prepared to haze away any wolves that might return, she said, adding that a contract range rider will also be on the site for up to a week while the sheep are moved.

The sheep producer may be eligible for compensation for the sheep lost to the wolves, she said.

Nine other sheep were reported killed in the area on Sunday, but state investigators could not confidently determine what killed them.

The Huckleberry Pack has at least six members, including a breeding pair and the radio-collared male, Luers said.

The pack, named for nearby Huckleberry Mountain, has not been associated with livestock attacks before this incident, she said.

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Rich Landers

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