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March 7, 2014 in Outdoors
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After wolf tracks and scats indicated a wolf or wolves were regularly using an area of national forest southwest of Ione, Wash., Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife biologists posted signs warning the public that they were setting traps in the area near Ruby Creek in June and July 2013.

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After weeks of effort, wildlife biologists checking their sets find a black-phase gray wolf in a leg-hold trap on national forest land southwest of Ione, Wash., on July 15, 2013.

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Cattle false-charge a black wolf in defense of their calves after it’s caught in a leg-hold trap set by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife research biologists. The cattle were shooed away to protect the wolf until it could be tranquilized and moved.

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Washington Fish and Wildlife Department wildlife biologist Scott Becker prepares a tranquilizing drug to be injected in a gray wolf captured in a trap so it can be fitted with a GPS collar and released. The wolf was caught on July 15, 2013, in a trap set by wildlife technician Gabe Spence.

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A black-colored gray wolf in a leg-hold trap snaps violently at its rear haunch as Washington Fish and Wildlife Department wildlife technician Gabe Spence, left, uses a pole to inject a tranquilizer. Technician Trent Roussin had distracted the wolf from the right. Once subdued, the yearling female wolf was fitted with a GPS collar and released. The wolf was caught on July 15, 2013 in a trap Spence had set in Pend Oreille County.

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A gray wolf is removed from a leg-hold trap after it was captured and tranquilized in Pend Oreille County by Washington Fish and Wildlife Department research biologists.

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Water is poured on a female yearling wolf’s thin summer coat to cool its body temperature to safe levels after being trapped and tranquilized by Washington Fish and Wildlife Department wildlife biologists.

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The yearling female wolf is determined to be about 15 months old judging from the wear on its teeth. The wolf was trapped by Washington Fish and Wildlife Department wildlife research biologists in Pend Oreille County.

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Washington Fish and Wildlife Department wildlife seasonal wolf researcher Gabe Spence of Twisp punches ear tags into a wolf caught on July 15, 2013, in Pend Oreille County.

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Other than slight swelling to its right-front paw, this gray wolf suffered no obvious or lasting damage after being caught July 15, 2013, in a leg-hold-trap set by Washington Fish and Wildlife Department technicians so it could be fitted with a GPS collar.

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If you find a canine track 4 inches or longer in the wilds of Eastern Washington, it’s likely to be a wolf, says Scott Becker, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife wolf biologist. “If it’shorter than 4 inches, it’s something else,” he said.

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Washington Fish and Wildlife Department Wildlife wolf biologist Scott Becker records data on a yearling female gray wolf captured in a trap so it can be fitted with a GPS collar and released. The wolf was caught on July 15, 2013 in a trap set by wildlife technician Gabe Spence, right. Technician Trent Roussin, center, is preparing the collar while Spence attaches ear tags.

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A GPS collar is fitted on a tranquilized wolf by Washington Fish and Wildlife Department Wildlife wolf biologist Scott Becker.

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Blood is drawn from a tranquilized wolf as part of the work-up by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife researchers after it was captured in Pend Oreille County.

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A yearling female wolf is weight at 68 pounds by Washington Fish and Wildlife Department wildlife biologists after it was captured in a trap so it could be fitted with a GPS collar and released.

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Although a mask protected the eyes of a wolf as it was examined by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife biologists, a lubricant is applied because the tranquilizing leaves the wolf’s eyes open but unable to blink.

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A yearling female gray wolf is hauled to a safe release site as it begins waking from the effect of tranquilizers in the back of a Fish and Wildlife Department pickup. It had been captured and fitted with ear tags and a GPS collar on July 15, 2013, in Pend Oreille County.

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A yearling female gray wolf is carried in a tarp to a safe release site as it begins waking from the effect of tranquilizers. It had been captured and fitted with ear tags and a GPS collar on July 15, 2013, in Pend Oreille County.

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A yearling female gray wolf is hauled to a safe release site as it begins waking from the effect of tranquilizers. It was licking its lips and nose indicating the drug was wearing off. It had been captured and fitted with ear tags and a GPS collar on July 15, 2013, in Pend Oreille County.

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A yearling female gray wolf is set in the shade by Washington Fish and Wildlife Department biologists so it can continue waking from the effect of tranquilizers before taking off on its own again.

Rich Landers photo

A yearling female gray wolf is set in the shade by Washington Fish and Wildlife Department biologists so it can continue waking from the effect of tranquilizers before taking off on its own again. It was holding its head up and licking its lips and nose indicating that the drug was wearing off.

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Just hours after a gray wolf was captured, fitted with a GPS collar and released by Washington Fish and Wildlife Department biologists, the bumper sticker on a vehicle 40 minutes away in Colville indicated there are some people who don’t appreciate the recovery of wolves in the state.

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The Ruby Creek Wolf with ear tag No. 47, was monitored regularly after being captured on July 15, 2013, and fitted with a radio collar. That monitoring eventually helped Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife biologists determine the wolf’s range and the habitat it prefers during different times of the year. It also showed that the yearling female was running with at least one other female wolf. The result was the confirmation of a Ruby Creek Pack, one of four new wolf packs confirmed in Washington in 2013.