Large Reward Offered For Info On Wolf Shot In Stevens Co.

A $7,500 reward will be offered this afternoon for information leading to a conviction in the case of a wolf found dead under “suspicious circumstances” in northern Stevens County earlier this month.

“It died as a result of a gunshot wound,” reported Capt. Dan Rahn of the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife late this morning on the results of an autopsy performed this week.

While wolves in this part of Eastern Washington are federally delisted, they remain under state endangered species protections statewide.

The collared female wolf was found Feb. 9. It was one of three Smackout Pack wolves that were captured and given tracking devices in February 2013. The pack broke up last summer, then reformed, but this animal was traveling by itself in this particular area, according to WDFW.

Rahn says anyone with tips can call agency’s poaching hotline (877-933-9847), report on the agency’s website, or call the Spokane office (509-892-1001) during business hours.

The reward is being funded by Conservation Northwest, which has strong ties to the Smackouts and the range-riding program used the past two summers to prevent wolf-livestock conflicts on a local rancher’s grazing allotment.

Wolf collars are “used to guide the conflict avoidance activities of a range rider funded by Conservation Northwest and WDFW, and featured in the Spokesman Review. The collars are also used to trigger the wolf-scaring sounds and lights of Radio-Activated Guard (RAG) boxes stationed near livestock grazing areas,” the organization said in a press release.

Rich Landers at the Spokane paper reports that wildlife officials can’t recall such a large offer for info on a poaching case in Eastern Washington; a search of our archives turned up $5,000 for a spree deer-killing incident in western Lincoln County that occurred last February as well as offers of $2,500 for trophy bucks. Over $20,000 was offered for four bald eagles shot last winter in Snohomish County.

The wolf is at least the fifth in Washington to die or disappear under suspicious circumstances. At least two were illegally killed by the Bill and Tom White of Twisp, the collared alpha female of the original Lookout Pack unexpectedly went off the air in spring 2010, and a carcass was found in the upper Skagit River basin. Four others have wandered into Canada and been legally killed, trapped or lethally removed for livestock depredations.

Shooting a wolf attacking livestock or pets is allowed without a permit from WDFW in the eastern third of the state; they must be reported within 24 hours. Illegally killing one is punishable by up to a $5,000 fine and or a year in jail.

In early March, WDFW will post its 2013 year-end wolf population estimate.

5 thoughts on “Large Reward Offered For Info On Wolf Shot In Stevens Co.”

  1. well with everyone around here being told they are seeing coyotes Not wolves, maybe someone believed Fish and Game for once in the fact that they were seeing coyotes not wolves in the area,, and that happened was someone shot at a coyote not a wolf. Maybe just maybe Fish and Game needs to start believing people instead of trying to make a person see something other than what is reality.
    Now really who is to blame –

    1. If This person truly thought they were shooting a coyote they should have instantly reported this kill once they realized (and this would not be hard) to wdfw. Also, they should not be taking shots at such a distance to which they cannot define there target, or at any distance without clearly defining there target.

  2. Said person has done you a favor. If you do not start looking at the problems Idaho is currently experiencing, you will recognize far too late how difficult wolf populations are to control, and Washington too will experience drastic revenue loss and devastation of your big game populations. I understand the law is the law, and is to be followed… im simply suggesting to change your laws before its too late. I pray for your sake that you dont wait too long as we did. Best of luck! JW

    1. Thanks for the advice, JW. Here’s the rub: Our state’s political climate is not Idaho’s. It’s fairly unlikely that the wolf plan will be amended to lower successful breeding pair goals or break the eastern third of the state into its own recovery region. That means our best chance to get there is to deal with the expanding numbers of wolves. This lone Smackout female that was shot COULD have been a candidate for translocation — moving wolves around inside the state to another recovery zone — to speed up meeting the target numbers. That’s a very loaded subject, however, and wildlife officials and the state Wolf Advisory Group are currently better defining when and how translocation can occur. It would be one way to relieve pressures in Northeast Washington, but hunters and residents elsewhere in the state will want to be part of the discussion.

      AW
      NWS

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