Category Archives: Headlines

(OSP)

Reward Offered For info On 6-point Elk Found Dead At Jewell Meadows

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE OREGON STATE POLICE FISH & WILDLIFE DIVISION

Oregon State Police (OSP) Fish & Wildlife Division asks for the public’s help for information to identify the person responsible for the mid-September unlawful killing of a large bull elk on the Jewell Meadows Elk Refuge in Clatsop County. A reward of up to $1000 is offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction in this case.

(OSP)

(OSP)

On the morning of September 15, 2014, OSP was notified of a dead 6-pont bull elk at Jewell Meadows Elk Refuge. The elk appears to have been shot with an arrow during the hours of darkness late September 14 or early September 15. OSP Sergeant Joe Warwick said the suspect shot the elk from the area of Beneke Creek Road.

The reward of up to $1000 is comprised of $500 from the Oregon Hunters Association Turn-In-Poacher program and $500 from the Oregon Hunters Association Clatsop County Chapter.

Anyone with information regarding this case is asked to contact Sergeant Warwick through the Turn in Poachers (TIP) hotline at 1-800-452-7888. Information may be kept anonymous.

(OSP)

(OSP)

A LEMON LIME SUPER BAIT GOT THIS BIG VERNITA BRIDGE UPRIVER BRIGHT TO SNAP FOR KRISTIN TAYLOR IN MID-SEPTEMBER. SHE REPORTS FISHING THERE "AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE" DURING THE FALL CHINOOK RUN. (WRIGHT & McGILL/EAGLE CLAW PHOTO CONTEST)

Columbia, Hanford, Yakima Salmon Fishing Reports (10-1-14)

THE FOLLOWING REPORTS ORIGINATED WITH WDFW BIOLOGIST PAUL HOFFARTH AND ODFW BIOLOGIST TANNA TAKATA AND WERE SENT BY PSMFC BIOLOGIST JOE HYMER

Columbia River Angling report

SALMON, STEELHEAD, SHAD

On the lower Columbia this past weekend there were 660 salmonid boats and 83 Oregon bank anglers counted from Bonneville Dam downstream to Tongue Point on Saturday’s (9/27) flight; and 233 Oregon boats at Buoy 10.  Anglers at Buoy 10 averaged 6.3 coho and 0.12 Chinook caught per boat.  In the gorge, boat anglers averaged 0.96 Chinook, 0.09 coho and 0.02 steelhead caught per boat, while anglers in Troutdale averaged 0.13 Chinook and 0.02 coho caught per boat.  In the Portland to Warrior Rock area, boat anglers averaged 0.13 Chinook and 0.05 coho caught per boat, while anglers fishing Warrior Rock to Tongue Point averaged 0.42 Chinook and 2.33 coho caught per boat.  Bank anglers fishing in the gorge averaged 0.17 Chinook caught per angler.

Gorge Bank: Weekend checking showed eight adult Chinook and three jack Chinook kept for 47 bank anglers.

Gorge Boats: Weekend checking showed 54 adult Chinook, 11 jack Chinook, three adipose fin-clipped adult coho and one adipose fin-clipped steelhead kept, plus two jack Chinook and two unclipped adult coho released for 56 boats (179 anglers).

Troutdale Boats: Weekend checking showed six adult Chinook, one jack Chinook and one adipose fin-clipped adult coho kept for 46 boats (95 anglers).

Portland (Sauvie Island) Bank: Weekend checking showed no catch for eight bank anglers.

Portland to Warrior Rock Boats: Weekend checking showed 14 adult Chinook, 10 jack Chinook and three adipose fin-clipped adult coho kept, plus three unclipped adult coho released for 112 boats (261 anglers)

St. Helens to Westport Bank: Weekend checking showed no catch for four bank anglers.

Warrior Rock to Tongue Point Boats: Weekend checking showed 22 adipose fin-clipped adult coho kept, plus five adult Chinook and six unclipped adult coho released for 12 boats (27 anglers).

Estuary Bank (Tongue Point to Clatsop Spit): No report.

Estuary Boats (Tongue Point to Buoy 10): Weekend checking showed 518 adipose fin-clipped coho kept, plus 13 Chinook and 184 unclipped coho released for 111 boats (315 anglers).

STURGEON

Lower Columbia River: Catch and release only.

Sturgeon creel sampling summaries and catch estimates for Bonneville, The Dalles, and John Day pools: WDFW Mid-Columbia River mainstem sport sampling summary<http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/creel/region5/>

WALLEYE

Gorge: Weekend checking showed no catch for one boat (two anglers).

Troutdale: Weekend checking showed seven walleye kept for one boat (three anglers).

Hanford Reach Fall Chinook Fishery: September 22-28

Harvest and effort continues to increase in the Hanford Reach fall Chinook fishery.  An estimated 3,407 boats fished for salmon in the Hanford Reach this past week.  WDFW staff interviewed anglers from 779 boats (1,999 anglers:13,126 pole hours).  An estimated 5,729 adult chinook and 752 jacks were harvested this past week.   Boats averaged 1.9 chinook per boat.  Staff also interviewed 212 bank anglers (1,097 hours) fishing for salmon at Ringold with 27 chinook harvested. Anglers are also finding a few coho in their catch!

There were an estimated 9,146 angler trips for fall Chinook in the Tri-cities this past week.  Fall Chinook counts at Bonneville Dam have declined to less than 10,000 adult chinook per day but harvest should continue to improve as more fish move into the Reach.

A LEMON LIME SUPER BAIT GOT THIS BIG VERNITA BRIDGE UPRIVER BRIGHT TO SNAP FOR KRISTIN TAYLOR IN MID-SEPTEMBER. SHE REPORTS FISHING THERE "AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE" DURING THE FALL CHINOOK RUN. (WRIGHT & McGILL/EAGLE CLAW PHOTO CONTEST)

A LEMON LIME SUPER BAIT GOT THIS BIG VERNITA BRIDGE UPRIVER BRIGHT TO SNAP FOR KRISTIN TAYLOR IN MID-SEPTEMBER. SHE REPORTS FISHING THERE “AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE” DURING THE FALL CHINOOK RUN. (WRIGHT & McGILL/EAGLE CLAW PHOTO CONTEST)

Yakima River Fall Salmon Fishery: Update Sept 22-28

This past week WDFW staff interviewed 136 anglers fishing for salmon in the lower Yakima River with 29 adult chinook and 5 coho harvested.  Chinook are finally beginning to show and the fishing is picking up quickly. Anglers averaged a chinook for every 10 hours of fishing (38 hours per fish the week prior).  Fishing should continue to improve each week through the end of the season on October 22.

An estimated 242 salmon were caught this past week (209 fall Chinook and 33 coho) bringing the season total to 307 salmon.

Umpqua Coho Quota Caught (Say That 5 Times Fast)

Tomorrow’s the last day to retain wild coho on the Umpqua River.

ODFW is closing the fishery after Oct. 1 as biologists believe the quota of 2,000 fish will have been met by dusk.

Boat and bank anglers have had a good season thanks to a strong early run to the Ump, but this year’s cutoff point is also 1,000 fish less than 2013′s because fewer wild coho are expected back.

“It’s nice that we are having a strong run to help keep the population healthy, while at the same time providing a great recreational opportunity for anglers,” said district fisheries biologist Laura Jackson.

In recent years, ocean conditions have been good for Oregon Coast wild coho stocks, and inshore work has improved their spawning and rearing habitats.

The Umpqua is now just one of three Oregon Coast systems governed by a catch cap. The others — Beaver Creek near Newport, and Floras Creek and New River near Bandon — don’t open till Nov. 1.

While there are restrictions on how many wild coho can be retained by anglers, there are no longer quotas on the Alsea, Coos, Coquille, Nehalem, Nestucca, Siletz, Tillamook and Yaquina Rivers, and Tenmile Lakes.

The Umpqua remains open for Chinook and adipose fin-clipped hatchery coho under permanent regulations.

BOB LOOMIS OF MACK'S LURE DOWN IN WENATCHEE SHOWS OFF A QUARTET OF BREWSTER POOL SOCKEYE. (JOHN KRUSE, NORTHWESTERN OUTDOORS)

Eastside Sockeye Catches Set New High Marks

If I’m reading ol’ Phil Anderson’s report to the Washington Fish & Wildlife Commission correctly, this past summer saw high marks set for Upper Columbia and Lake Wenatchee sockeye harvests since at least 2004, and most likely before.

According to the director’s report, 30,638 of the Okanogan River-bound reds were caught between Priest Rapids Dam, on the Columbia above the Snake River turnoff, and Chief Joseph Dam, as far up the crick as the fish can go without help of that new salmon cannon.

BOB LOOMIS OF MACK'S LURE DOWN IN WENATCHEE SHOWS OFF A QUARTET OF BREWSTER POOL SOCKEYE. (JOHN KRUSE, NORTHWESTERN OUTDOORS)

BOB LOOMIS OF MACK’S LURE DOWN IN WENATCHEE SHOWS OFF A QUARTET OF BREWSTER POOL SOCKEYE. (JOHN KRUSE, NORTHWESTERN OUTDOORS)

That’s roughly 3,000 more than were hauled in during 2012′s run, which had been the record until this year’s 614,000 sockeye showed up at Bonneville.

It also illustrates how the fishery has blown up in just the past 10 years as improved water management, as pointed out on our Facebook page, as well as habitat and hatchery work on the BC side of the Okanogan and ocean conditions have really helped the salmon out. In 2004 and 2005, when summer Chinook were, er, kings of the fishery, a mere 112 and 187 sockeye were kept, respectively.

As for Lake Wenatchee, Scott Fletcher et al kept 15,447 sox, over 3,300 than the previous high mark of 12,107, also set in 2012.

That Chelan County mountain run also set a record, with 99,888 counted at Tumwater Dam this year.

CATCH STATS FROM WDFW DIRECTOR ANDERSON'S REPORT TO THE FISH AND WILDLIFE COMMISSION LAST WEEK SHOW THE RISE OF THE UPPER COLUMBIA'S SOCKEYE FISHERY.

CATCH STATS FROM WDFW DIRECTOR ANDERSON’S REPORT TO THE FISH AND WILDLIFE COMMISSION LAST WEEK SHOW THE RISE OF THE UPPER COLUMBIA’S SOCKEYE FISHERY.

The director’s report also reveals that while the Upper Columbia’s summer Chinook catch of 6,699  was among the highest back to 2004, the harvest was also the lowest, 2,116, as it’s now completely a marked-selective fishery for kings.

(BREWSTER SALMON DERBY)

SUMMER CHINOOK ANGLERS HAVE TO PICK THROUGH MORE KINGS TO FIND KEEPERS THROUGHOUT THE COLUMBIA THESE DAYS, BUT THEY’RE STILL OUT THERE. COREY MAYNARD TOOK FIRST PLACE IN THE ADULT DIVISION DURING THIS YEAR’S BIG BREWSTER SALMON DERBY WITH THIS 21-PLUS-POUNDER. (BREWSTER SALMON DERBY)

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Comment Period Extended On Puget Sound Hatchery Plans

Federal salmon overseers have tacked an additional month onto the comment period for revisions to Puget Sound hatchery salmon and steelhead management plans.

Originally, the deadline to submit comments on the state’s and tribes’ draft environmental impact statements for clipped Chinook as well as steelhead, coho and other programs was Oct. 23, but it’s been moved back to Nov. 24, the National Marine Fisheries Service announced late last week.

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Explains NMFS, “The resource management plans are the proposed frameworks through which the co-managers would jointly manage salmon and steelhead hatchery programs in Puget Sound while meeting conservation requirements specified under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The plans describe over 100 hatchery programs and evaluate their effects on Puget Sound Chinook and summer chum salmon populations protected as threatened species under the ESA. The plans also describe the scientific foundation and general principles for continued innovation in response to new information. Individual hatchery and genetic management plans (HGMPs) for each of the hatchery programs are appended to the plans. The HGMPs describe each hatchery program, including specific measures for research, monitoring, and evaluation activities that would guide future program adjustments using adaptive management.”

It was the lack of HGMPs for numerous Puget Sound winter-run steelhead programs that led to this past spring’s lawsuit against WDFW by the Wild Fish Conservancy.

That was settled out of court, at the price of the loss of most of this year’s smolt release, and $45,000 to the plaintiffs. WFC has since gone on to sue the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and has another case against the National Park Service in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

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Falcons vs. Coho

It was Woodinville High against the coho yesterday, and both sides can claim victories of sorts.

While guide Derek Anderson of Screamin’ Reels (class of 1991) worked Puget Sound to good effect (and got his clients into a stray whale sighting), three other Falcons were up in the Snohomish River chasing its notoriously lock-jawed silvers.

My buddies Eric Bell and Greg Olenik, both 1990 grads of the 4A school in the KingCo Conference, put in a full day’s float, launching at Lewis Street at Monroe and taking out at Douglas Bar near Cathcart, and came away with a pair of coho.

SNOHOMISH RIVER COHO. (ERIC BELL)

SNOHOMISH RIVER COHO. (ERIC BELL)

Greg caught his wild 5- to 7-pounder early on in the Skykomish with a plug and Eric lost a nice one just before the trib dumps into the Snohomish.

“Right at the boat — caught me by surprise. My drag was too tight and he broke me off. A good fish too, with a plug in his face,” he reports.

They were using Wiggle Warts in blues and greens, Eric says.

“Just casting like we were fishing for bass, in the frog water, around boulders and logs, in the nasty stuff.”

Further down, at Thomas Eddy, he redeemed himself with a hatchery hen.

“Didn’t see too many caught, but everyone we spoke to said they caught fish,” Eric says.

Along the way they saw guide Scotty Landis, who was also in our class, and his 22-foot green-flame-pimped Thor.

“We ended the day three for four. Tough fishing in the Snohomish . Not a lot of fish around compared to what there should be,” Scotty reports.

As for that aforementioned coho victory, today Bell’s wearing a falcon-talon-like pair of scratches in the back of his skull.

“After I recorded the fish on my punch card and stood up to resume fishing, I felt a blow to the back of my head, my hat came off, but I stayed on my feet,” he says. “Greg got me with the plug when he made a cast. First time either of us have been struck. So I reached back and saw blood — wasn’t a lot, but I was bleeding. Greg rescued my hat; the plug was still in it. I have two punctures and rips in my scalp. Very lucky that it tore out instead of piercing me. Two hooks on his plug were bent pretty good. It didn’t really hurt. It gave the people on the bank something to talk about: ‘I saw this guy in a drift boat catch a fish and then his buddy beat the hell out of him with a plug.’”

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HUNTING "WAY BACK IN" WITH HIS BROTHER, CHAD HURST NAILED THIS NICE MULE DEER DURING MID-SPETEMBER'S EARLY RIFLE SEASON IN SELECT WILDERNESSES. (CHAD HURST)

High Buck 2014 Report

The annual High Buck Hunt once again saw a few deer come out of Washington’s backcountry.

Dale Wick late last week reported that Icicle Outfitters packed out eight bucks as well as a bear from the Alpine Lakes, Henry M. Jackson and Glacier Peak Wildernesses.

Chad and Kyle Hurst, friends of Northwest Sportsman contributor Jason Brooks, also pulled a buck and a bear out the woods of western Chelan County.

HUNTING "WAY BACK IN" WITH HIS BROTHER, CHAD HURST NAILED THIS NICE MULE DEER DURING MID-SPETEMBER'S EARLY RIFLE SEASON IN SELECT WILDERNESSES. (CHAD HURST)

HUNTING “WAY BACK IN” WITH HIS BROTHER, CHAD HURST NAILED THIS NICE MULE DEER DURING MID-SEPTEMBER’S EARLY RIFLE SEASON OPEN IN SELECT NORTH CASCADES AND OLYMPIC WILDERNESSES. (CHAD HURST)

While this summer’s big fires have long since simmered down, the upper Entiat River drainage, a prime area during the Sept. 15-25 High Hunt, is closed from Burns Creek upvalley, and is expected to stay closed during the general rifle hunt next month, according to Wick.

A part of the Little Wenatchee River basin and all of Chiwaukum Creek are also under closure orders.

Wick reports that the number of hunters his outfit packed in dropped because of the fires.

“It could have been much worse but many of our regular clients chose to hunt new spots. Hunting spots for the first time is always challenging and results in harvest rates that are not close to normal.  In addition to that, nearly everyone who normally hikes or pack themselves in for the High Hunt ended up going to the spots that were open. That causes far more hunting pressure in those areas,” he emailed.

A DANDY MULEY FOR A HIGH BUCK HUNTER EARLIER THIS MONTH. (VIA ICICLE OUTFITTERS)

A DANDY MULEY FOR A HIGH BUCK HUNTER EARLIER THIS MONTH. (VIA ICICLE OUTFITTERS)

Another of Northwest Sportsman‘s spies reports tough hunting east of Stevens Pass, and passed along some thoughts on summer’s weather and its impact on this season:

“When one considers the climate we had this summer — hot and dry with virtually no precipitation, add in the fires, and the climate regime really only having changed Tuesday with the equinox storms beginning to roll in — it doesn’t surprise me that I’m not hearing about bucks being observed, killed or personally observing them myself,” noted Mike Quinn, a hardcore backcountry buck hunter with numerous trail cams in the woods. “My game cameras went dead in mid-July, meaning, just does and fawns coming in every few days and perhaps a bruin wandering in every couple of weeks. The big bucks have vanished. Not surprising. They’ll start showing up again at the end of this month (if we get weather; snow at 5,000 feet elevation).”

And almost like clockwork, snow — at least the chance of it — is in the forecast for the last days of September.

The High Buck Hunt is only open inside the boundaries of select wilderness areas, including Pasayten, Mt. Baker (new this year), Glacier Peak, Henry M. Jackson, Alpine Lakes, Colonel Bob, Buckhorn, Mt. Skokomish, The Brothers and Wonder Mountain, and the Lake Chelan National Recreation Area.

In other High Buck Hunt news, last week we reported on the official outcome of the investigation into the hunter-killed wolf in the Pasayten Wilderness north of Harts Pass and Slate Peak.

THE A-TEAM WILL LIKELY GIVE AN A-OK TO ODFW'S HALIBUT PLANS, THANKS TO THE LARGEST QUOTA OFFERED SINCE 2008. ADAM AND ANNABELLE STARK CAUGHT THIS PAIR OUT OF GARIBALDI LAST SEASON. (WRIGHT & McGILL/EAGLE CLAW PHOTO CONTEST)

ODFW Asks Anglers For Thoughts On 2015 Halibut, Rockfish Seasons

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FISH & WILDLIFE

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is asking sport anglers to speak up and help shape the 2015 Pacific halibut and groundfish seasons.

“This is an opportunity for sport anglers to provide their input on proposed changes to the Pacific halibut catch sharing plan and sport groundfish regulations for 2015”, said Lynn Mattes, Project Leader for Recreational Groundfish and Halibut.  “There are new halibut proposals for Oregon as a whole, as well as each subarea.”

A PAIR OF FLATIES FOR ADAM AND ANNABELLE STARK. (WRIGHT & McGILL/EAGLE CLAW PHOTO CONTEST)

A PAIR OF FLATTIES FOR OREGON ANGLERS ADAM AND ANNABELLE STARK. (WRIGHT & McGILL/EAGLE CLAW PHOTO CONTEST)

In addition to halibut, ODFW is asking anglers for their input on changes to the management of nearshore rockfish species. The federal quota for nearshore rockfish will be reduced 26 percent next year and anglers will be asked to weigh on a variety of alternatives for responding to the decrease.

Anglers wishing to participate in the season-setting process may do so in one of two ways: Attend one of four public meetings scheduled in October, or complete an on-line survey.

The four public meetings will all start at 7 p.m. and will be held:

·         Monday, Oct. 6 at the Holiday Inn Express, 204 W. Marine Dr. in Astoria,

·         Tuesday, Oct. 7 at the ODFW Marine Resources Program main office, 2040 SE Marine Science Dr. in Newport (webcast available, see details below)

·         Wednesday, Oct. 8 at the Best Western Beach Front Inn, 16008 Boat Basin Rd. in Brookings

·         Thursday, Oct. 9 at the Red Lion Hotel, 1313 N. Bayshore Dr. in Coos Bay.

Those who can’t attend a meeting can still participate in the season-setting process through on-line surveys – one for halibut and one for bottomfish. The surveys can be found at:

·         Halibut survey

·         Groundfish survey

“There is no substitute for getting together and discussing the issues,” Mattes said. “But we realize many people may not have time to attend a meeting, which is why we’re using the online surveys to augment the public meetings.”

WEBCAST DETAILS

The Newport meeting will be webcast for those who cannot attend a meeting in person, but would still like to hear the discussions.

Join the meeting at:  https://www4.gotomeeting.com/join/738420615

·         Use your microphone and speakers

·          Or, call in using your telephone.

o   Dial +1 (872) 240-3312

o   Access Code: 738-420-615

o   Audio PIN: Shown in the GoTo Meeting dialogue box on your computer screen after joining the meeting

·         Meeting ID: 738-420-615

SANDY RIVER ANGLERS HAVE BEEN GREENLIGHTED TO RETAIN A THIRD FIN-CLIPPED COHO THIS SEASON, THANKS TO STRONG RETURNS. (TERRY OTTO)

Coho Limit Upped Around Portland

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

On the heels of outstanding coho fishing in the ocean and Columbia River, metro-area anglers will get their chance at excellent coho fishing as the run enters the Sandy, Clackamas and lower Willamette rivers over the next few weeks. In anticipation of strong returns, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announced today that the daily coho bag limit in these areas will increase to three fish effective Sept. 26.

According to Todd Alsbury, ODFW fish biologist, the increase from two to three hatchery coho per day was prompted by surveys and trap counts indicating strong returns to Portland area rivers.

On several days over the past week more than 250 adult coho passed North Fork Dam on the Clackamas River and numbers are increasing daily over Willamette Falls, Alsbury said. In addition, anglers targeting coho salmon in the lower Clackamas and Sandy rivers this week have caught a fair number of fish, providing more evidence of strong returns of hatchery coho this year.

SANDY RIVER ANGLERS HAVE BEEN GREENLIGHTED TO RETAIN A THIRD FIN-CLIPPED COHO THIS SEASON, THANKS TO STRONG RETURNS. (TERRY OTTO)

SANDY RIVER ANGLERS HAVE BEEN GREENLIGHTED TO RETAIN A THIRD FIN-CLIPPED COHO THIS SEASON, THANKS TO STRONG RETURNS. (TERRY OTTO)

“We were expecting a strong return of coho this year,” Alsbury said. “However, we’re excited to see a return that should far exceed our expectations.”

 

Beginning Friday, through Dec. 31, 2014, anglers may retain three adipose fin-clipped coho on the lower Willamette, Sandy and Clackamas rivers and on Eagle Creek, a tributary of the Clackamas River. This temporary rule does not apply to areas above Willamette Falls where the coho bag limit remains two adipose or non-adipose fin clipped coho.

Anglers are reminded they are still subject to combined daily limits of two other popular fall fish – steelhead and chinook salmon, which vary from stream to stream. Regulations also require the use of barbless hooks when fishing the lower Willamette River or Clackamas River below Hwy 99E. Anglers should consult the 2014 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations for more information on regulations, seasons and bag limits for steelhead and other salmon species.

A TRAIL CAM SHOT CAPTURED A MEMBER OF THE PROFANITY PEAK PACK. (WDFW)

Ferry Co. Wants State To Hunt Down Profanity Wolves

Taking the three-strikes-the-whole-team’s-out approach, a Northeast Washington county is calling on the state to remove a new wolf pack in the wake of a trio of confirmed cattle depredations earlier this month.

It’s the latest salvo from politicians and ranchers in this part of the state with 11 known packs, including three that have killed over 24 sheep and a dozen and a half calves and cows since summer 2012.

“The Ferry County Board of Commissioners request that the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Washington State Fish and Wildlife Commission, and the Governor of the State of Washington take every step necessary to remove the Profanity Peak Wolf Pack immediately,” reads a resolution signed by Mike Blankenship, Brad Miller and Brian Dansel, who is also the local state senator.

A TRAIL CAM SHOT CAPTURED A MEMBER OF THE PROFANITY PEAK PACK. (WDFW)

A TRAIL CAM SHOT CAPTURED A MEMBER OF THE PROFANITY PEAK PACK. (WDFW)

The wording was discussed during a meeting this past Monday in Republic. While following Stevens County’s lead of passing resolutions about WDFW’s “failed” wolf management and constitutional rights, Ferry County commissioners purposefully kept theirs “sweet and simple.”

“Hey, we’ve got a problem here, guys, let’s fix it,” said one in describing the tone of the message being sent to Olympia.

They claim that WDFW is “deviating” from its wolf management plan in Northeast Washington because it isn’t removing packs after depredations.

Maybe so, but the agency’s Lethal Removal Protocols lay out a series of events that lead to incremental removals.

"WE ARE NOW ON THE FLOW CHART," SAYS WDFW'S WOLF MANAGER.

“WE ARE NOW ON THE FLOW CHART,” SAYS WDFW’S WOLF MANAGER.

There must be at least four separate depredation incidents — anything from a single wounded calf to a pile of 12 dead sheep can count as just one event — and nonlethal measures must be in place beforehand and during the events before shooting wolves is even considered.

In the case of the Huckleberry-sheep situation, WDFW gave the go-ahead to the herder and state staff to take out up to two wolves approaching the flock after the fourth confirmed depredation, and then following the fifth, deployed the chopper. Five more dead and four injured sheep turned up before one wolf was killed.

WDFW’s wolf braintrust is in a big meeting with the rest of the state’s Canis-obsessed crew today, but by my unofficial score, I’d say the state won’t be sending up the Wildlife Services gunner on a Profanity hunt before Diamond M’s preventative tactics are clarified and at least a couple more confirmed depredations occur.

Ferry County commissioners worry about where the pack will go as the McIrvins bring their cattle out of those hills, but their real concern is probably, what happens should the longtime local ranching family pull their operation out of the region?

One of the area’s economic lifebloods, the importance of ranching was noted by WDFW director Phil Anderson recently.

“The livestock industry is huge to the employment of Ferry County, Stevens County, Okanogan County, Pend Oreille County, those areas up there, and I don’t mean to miss other areas where it is as well,” he said during an interview on TVW last week.

He said that in practically the same breath as the one in which he also worried that the relationships needed to keep wolf recovery, outdoors lifestyles and rural economies all viable are beginning to fray.

They’re being purposefully torn by some of the participants, including even the more moderate wolf groups who howled about the “catastrophic” loss of the Huckleberry female — that earned a surprisingly strong response from Anderson and WDFW — and the northeastern corner.

“Local wolf control is the only solution,” claimed Scott Nielsen of the neighboring Stevens County Cattlemen’s Association in a press release out today.

They’re calling on the state’s help now, but during Monday’s meeting, one Ferry County commissioner said, “This is phase 1. If we don’t get a favorable response and we get no action down the road, we’re going to have to go one step further.”

The Profanity Pack consists of three adults and three pups that live in remote, thickly wooded country at the north end of the Kettle Crest and nearby valleys. It’s possible they were the unconfirmed Boulder Creek Pack that was on WDFW’s wolf map in recent years, though a state wolf worker suspects that those might have just been Wedge Pack on a walkabout. They were discovered earlier this summer after a dead pup was reported. Trail cams were set up at the scene, and those recorded the adults and pups. The killing of a cow and a calf led to WDFW to announce the pack.