Arrow-right Camera

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Cloudy 35° Cloudy

Outdoors blog

Wolves kill more cattle in northeastern Washington

Map updated in June 2016 shows known territories of confirmed wolf packs in Washington. (Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife)
Map updated in June 2016 shows known territories of confirmed wolf packs in Washington. (Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife)

UPDATE, Sept. 30, 5 p.m. -- The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife announces that on Sept. 29 WDFW staff, using a helicopter, lethally removed one more adult male from the pack. This brings to seven the number of wolves lethally removed in response to the pack’s repeated depredations on livestock. The effort continues.

ENDANGERED SPECIES -- Two Washington wolf packs have made documented kills on livestock in northeastern Washington recently.

The attacks have been attributed to the Smackout Pack on the Stevens-Pend Oreille county border area as well as the remaining wolves in the Profanity Peak Pack of Ferry County.

The Washington Fish and Wildlife Department targeted the Profanity Peak wolves for extermination in August under an approved protocol after several livestock attacks had been documented. Only six of the pack's 11-known wolves had been killed in the rugged brushy terrain north of Sherman Pass before the helicopter gunning operation was halted.  

State workers have resumed their hunt, said Donny Martorello, WDFW wolf policy leader.

On Wednesday, WDFW wolf experts investigated a reported cattle depredation in the Smackout wolf pack area and concluded there was enough evidence to say the calf was probably killed by wolves.  The livestock in this Colville National Forest are being tended by a conservation group's range rider program that's been successful for years in thwarting wolf attacks.

Another attack on a calf, apparently on an adjoining allotment used by a different rancher, was listed as wolf-probable on Sept. 21.

"The livestock producer has maintained sanitation by removing or securing livestock carcasses, and had deployed a range rider at the start of the grazing season," Martorello said, noting that the Sept. 21 incident was the first confirmed wolf depredation in the Smackout pack area this calendar year.

On Tuesday, department staff confirmed a wolf attack and injury to a calf in the Profanity Peak wolf pack area. "That brings the total documented to 14 depredation events on livestock in the pack area since July 8, including nine confirmed and five probable," Martorello said. The livestock, which are tended by range riders, are on a Colville National Forest grazing allotment.

A report on the status of the effort to eliminate the Profanity Peak Pack will be release Friday, he said.

On September 21, the Spokane Tribe of Indians reported a wolf harvest on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Both the Spokane and Colville Tribes allow limited wolf hunting for tribal members on reservation lands. Wolves remain protected from hunting in Washington outside the reservations.

Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

Follow Rich online:

Go to the full Outdoors page