WDFW is confirming that a calf was attacked by a wolf earlier this week in northern Stevens County, the scene of numerous depredations last summer that led to the removal of a pack there.
Steve Pozzanghera at the agency’s Spokane office says the 100-pound, 1-month-old male subsequently died after the attack that was reported on Monday.
He says state biologists confirmed it as a wolf depredation yesterday.
It occurred in the Deep Creek area, on private land that ranges from open grass to borders of brush and thick timber, and was investigated by the county sheriff as well.
WDFW’s depredation report states:
Classification justification: Significant traumatic injuries consistent in location and severity with wolf attacks confirmed in same area in 2012 grazing season. Orientation and location of injuries not consistent with predator signatures of bear or felid species. Injuries severe enough to exclude coyote predation.
Additional comments or notes: Owner informed investigators that his cattle broke out of the allotment and private ground boundary fence and came to the ranch on Saturday, July 20th. While fixing the fence from the cattle break out, owners heard a single wolf howl at 4:55 PM on Monday, July 22nd. The howl came from the east and up the slope of McKinley Mt. owner also informed investigators he lost 12 calves in 2012 instead of the usual 1-2 over the years.
Northwest Sportsman understands the calf was owned by a neighbor of the McIrvins, whose calves and cows were targeted by the Wedge Pack last July, August and September before WDFW sharpshooters killed six members over three days of air operations.
Another was shot in August, and a pup of the pack died after being released from a trap.
Wolves were reported back in the area later last year, and at some point over the winter, WDFW reconfirmed that there were at least two in the Wedge. Whether they were members of the original pack, or a Wedge 2.0 is unclear.
Two weeks ago a McIrvin calf, this one only three days old, was killed inside an enclosure and within 200 yards of “human presence,” but could not be confirmed as a wolf attack because it was almost entirely eaten.
Other than that, the Washington wolf scene has been quiet, though there are hints that things are heating up. The latest WDFW Wildlife Program report (July 8) acknowledges the nonconfirmation did not go over well:
Wolf ManagementDistrict 1: Specialist Shepherd finished and submitted a depredation report concerning the Diamond M calf from July 3. The report was submitted to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and the Stevens County Cattlemen’s Association. Conclusions were not agreed upon. Specialist Shepherd inspected and learned the Tiger Hill grazing allotment with a contract range rider and a retired Forest Service employee who knows the area well. Many groups of cattle were observed and it was agreed they are spread out and isolated and will be difficult to monitor. The radio-collared male from the Smackout pack has recently spent significant time in the area. Specialist Shepherd attended the Wolf Advisory Working Group meeting held in Ellensburg as an observer. Specialist Shepherd deployed a remote camera in the Pinkston Creek area where a wolf was sighted near a residence. Specialist Shepherd retrieved a remote camera in the Addy area where a wolf was sighted near a residence and chased a dog. District Biologist Dana Base provided advice after a sighting of a wolf that came into a citizen’s yard near Gillette Lake that was getting “very close” to the homeowner and pet domestic dog.
Region 2: Wolves: No activity is being reported in the Wenatchee pack. Biologist Becker has been searching areas along the Kittitas and Chelan County borders to no avail.
Region 4: North Cascades Wolf Monitoring: Biologist DeBruyn reviewed hundreds of images from trail cameras retrieved last week from northeastern Whatcom County. No new wolf images were recovered, but lots of wildlife and recreational use was documented
The report also contains this unusual incident:
District 3 [BLUE MOUNTAINS]: District Biologist Wik was contacted Saturday evening by Officer Vance, Columbia County, about a reported depredation of two domestic dogs on Saturday morning. The reporting party stated his two dogs were attacked on Skyline Drive at his cabin, with one dog being killed and the other injured. The reporting party stated that the event was captured by his four trail cameras. After investigation by Enforcement in Columbia County and Tri-Cities, it appears this may be false reporting. Enforcement is currently handling this.