Washington WDFW Director Authorizes Removing Wolves From 2 Packs Preying On Cattle

Wolves Kill Sheep
Washington WDFW Director Authorizes Removing Wolves From 2 Packs Preying On Cattle

OLYMPIA, Washington – -(AmmoLand.com)- Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) Director Kelly Susewind today authorized the use of lethal measures to remove wolves from two packs that have repeatedly preyed on cattle on grazing lands in northeast Washington.

The two wolf packs subject to lethal action are the Smackout pack in Stevens County and the Togo pack in Ferry County.

Susewind authorized the removal of one or two members of the Smackout pack after WDFW field staff confirmed that the pack preyed on five cattle since Aug. 20. Four heifers were killed and one calf was injured in those attacks on privately owned pastures.

The pack includes four or five adult wolves and no known pups, said Donny Martorello, WDFW wolf policy lead.

Martorello said the latest depredations were confirmed in the last week, crossing the threshold for considering lethal action under WDFW's wolf-livestock interaction protocol. Under that policy, WDFW can use lethal action to deter wolves if department staff documents three predations by wolves on livestock within 30 days, or four within 10 months.

“The purpose of this action is to change the pack's behavior and deter continuing predation on livestock,” Martorello said. “That strategy is consistent with the guidelines established by the state's Wolf Conservation and Management Plan and the department's protocol.”

Susewind also authorized the removal of the remaining members of the Togo pack, which has accounted for the death or injury of six cattle over the past 10 months in Ferry County.

On Sept. 2, the department removed one male wolf from the pack after documenting six depredations by the pack, then suspended that operation to determine whether it would deter further attacks.

On Nov. 1, WDFW staff confirmed another injury to a calf by the Togo pack, prompting Susewind to reauthorize removing additional wolves from the pack. The Togo pack consists of one female adult wolf and two pups.

Because the affected cattle are on private land, Susewind issued a permit to the rancher allowing him, his immediate family or his employees to kill wolves if they enter the private fenced pasture where the livestock are located.

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

Consistent with WDFW's wolf-livestock protocol, the ranchers whose cattle were killed or injured by the two packs have employed range riders and other non-lethal measures to deter predation by wolves, Susewind said.

“Authorizing the removal of wolves is one of the most difficult decisions I've had to make in my professional career,” he said. “Our department is committed to working with a diversity of people and interests to find new ways to reduce the loss of both wolves and livestock in our state.”

As of the first of the year, the state was home to at least 122 wolves, 22 packs, and 14 successful breeding pairs, according to an annual field study conducted by state, tribal, and federal wildlife managers. That compares to 27 wolves, five packs, and three successful breeding pairs documented in 2012.

For more information about the director's authorization, see Update on Washington wolves at https://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/gray_wolf/.

  • 17 thoughts on “Washington WDFW Director Authorizes Removing Wolves From 2 Packs Preying On Cattle

    1. Just wondering, doesn’t the author know the difference between sheep (in picture) and cattle? Show them with what they are killing ffs!

    2. Boy that’s a good idea, pamper the wolves who’s natural feasting is other animals, including humans. Next they will try to teach them to eat sticks and twigs instead. Washington people do you realize what your taxes are paying for? I don’t think you are getting your money’s worth in more than one area.

      1. Pamper the cattle and sheep ranchers grazing their livestock on public land and destroying wildlife habitat for $1 per acre grazing fees.
        Smart management.

    3. I cannot comprehend Susewind’s hand wringing over making the decision. Either address the problem or you become part of the problem. Setting a limit of how many losses a farmer or rancher must asborb is asinine. A family farm with a few beef cows would be wiped out under protocol, a 200 cow dairy operation would not feel it as much.
      As for myself, after the first livestock kill the ‘deterence’ measure would already be implemented at 3,000 fps.

    4. I think non lethal methods should be employed to solve this problem. Why not use tranquilizer dart weapons. Re-locate the pack , save the wolves & livestock. After all the wolves need to eat too.

      1. You really are not cognizant about Wolves at all! Please leave the decisions to the people on the ground, better yet why don’t you go camping out there. Pretty sure you’ll change your mind!

      2. There’s a very distinct reason these wolves were almost extinct. The very same reason they’re being “removed” now.
        I used to go hunting by myself in those areas. I had no fear of any of the wildlife. Respect, but not fear. Now, with wolves, which are pack hunters, I stay away from those areas. Man cannot change nature.

      3. There IS the solution… RELOCATE THEM TO RICHARD REVOIR’S homeland and if he has a fenced in yard make sure you deposit them INSIDE his fence. Let us see how Richard proposes to reasons with carnivores and his pets.

    5. It is currently trendy for some states to re-establish their wolf populations, but nobody seems curious as to why our ancestors killed them off in the first place. We’re going to have to learn that lesson all over again.

    Leave a Comment 17 Comments

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *