Washington Wolf Killed In Idaho Last Week; Final 2011 Population Estimate Due Out In Early Jan.

When Washington puts out its year-end wolf count early next week, the tally will be one fewer than it might otherwise have been.

A radio-collared member of east-central Pend Oreille County’s Diamond Pack was killed in North Idaho on Dec. 20.

WDFW spokeswoman Madonna Luers says that the Idaho Department of Fish & Game contacted the agency to report the legal take by a trapper.

She describes the kill site as “300 yards inside the Idaho border.”

“We will get the radio collar back,” she adds.

Until now, there were four collared wolves in Northeast Washington, one in the Salmo Pack of extreme northern Pend Oreille County, three in Diamond.

One collar has apparently malfunctioned, Luers says, while two still work; one is worn by the Salmo wolf, the other by the Diamond’s alpha.

The dead wolf was a female, one of two collared females in the pack. Luers did not have an age on the animal, but one was collared as a yearling in 2010, according to the July 2011 draft of the state’s wolf management plan.

The kill came to light through WDFW’s legislatively mandated Dangerous Wildlife Incidents Report, which began posting wolf encounters earlier this year. It also tracks cougars and grizzly bears, but not black bears.

Now that wolves are delisted in the Northern Rockies, Idaho is holding hunting and trapping seasons through March 31. As of yesterday, 195 have been killed, 173 by firearm hunters, 22 by trappers.

Of those, a total of 31 have been in the Panhandle Zone, which borders Washington as well as Montana and British Columbia.

Most of the Diamond Pack’s range is in Washington, but it roams into the Gem State as well.

“They’re in and out of Idaho all the time,” says Luers.


An Idaho pack known as Cutoff Peak uses a sliver of Washington as its territory.

When WDFW issues its final 2011 wolf population estimate next month — possibly as early as Tuesday, Jan. 3 — in all likelihood the Diamond Pack will be listed as 10 strong, based on an aerial survey and count done in the middle of last week.

At the end of 2010, it had 12 members, according to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

WDFW will also come out with figures for the new Teanaway Pack of Kittitas County and Smackout Pack of Stevens County, as well as the Lookout Pack of Okanogan County.

And there is strong evidence of wolves on the Washington side of the Blue Mountains, including “multiple wolves running together.”

Since July, hunters have been keeping track of sightings around the state and while that tally runs far higher, the state’s working wolf population estimate has been a minimum of 25 to 30 adults and yearlings, a figure that probably will go up as it does not count pup production.

WDFW will also determine how many breeding pairs were successful this year. A successful breeding pair is defined as an adult male and adult female and two pups living to year’s end. Diamond, Smackout and Teanaway were known to have pups in 2011.

(We’re checking on a rumor that two Teanaway wolves were killed recently; “We’ve heard it and are looking into it,” said WDFW Capt. Richard Mann in Yakima this afternoon; he termed it a fourth-hand rumor.)

There are at least two other radio-collared wolves in the state: the Lookout alpha male and its daughter, the Teanaway alpha female. A third radio-collared wolf, the Lookout alpha female, mysteriously disappeared in spring 2010.

Earlier this month, the Washington Fish & Wildlife Commission approved a final wolf management and recovery plan.

Next up is a U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service decision on whether or not wolves in the western two-thirds of the state should be federally delisted like those in the eastern third. That is expected to come out in late February. WDFW officials told the commission that the Feds were more likely to proceed to statewide delisting if WDFW had an approved management plan.

“There is a specific review process for such actions and to predict what might come out of such a proposed action would be pre-decisional and therefore inappropriate for me to speculate upon,” USFWS spokesman Doug Zimmer in Lacey told me afterwards, adding, “But having an adequate state management plan is certainly a helpful step to meeting downlisting or delisting criteria. Much, much, more positive than not having such a plan.”

In other regional wolf news, OR-7, the far-traveling member of the livestock-killing Imnaha Pack, is in California. The latest population estimate for Oregon is 25 wolves.

17 thoughts on “Washington Wolf Killed In Idaho Last Week; Final 2011 Population Estimate Due Out In Early Jan.”

  1. Do you agree with the illegal killing of wolves? Hunting-washington.com has hunters on there talking about poaching wolves and being happy when wolves die. Is this how a typical ethical hunter acts like? All of the comments made by hunters on the hunting-washington.com website talking about poaching and illegally killing wolves will be turned in.

    1. No, I do not agree with the illegal killing of wolves. You will note previous coverage on this blog about cases of illegal killing of wolves in Washington.

      Please also note that some on Hunting Washington have become more proactive in not condoning the comments of a few.


  2. No I do not think sportsmen want to go and poach all the wolves … Most of us do not want them .. would you rather see elk and deer roaming around or the wolves… Wolves will seriously raise heck on the elk herds in Washington and sportsmen do not want that to happen …some of us eat wild game and depend on it to feed our families …All we want is sound management of the wolves … It will not take long before we have more wolves than we want …JUST US IDAHO AS THE EXAMPLE …

  3. You will find the below disclaimer readily available for viewing on Hunting-Washington.com

    Hunting-Washington does not condone the illegal killing of wolves or any other wildlife. An organized and civilized society must have laws and those laws must be enforced for a society to remain organized.

    It has been the policy of Hunting-Washington to allow most civil discussions. Moderators will sometimes remove comments they find and judge to violate forum rules especially if comments are unsuitable for family viewing or discussion on this forum. When comments are found that suggest illegal activity they are usually left on the forum so that law enforcement can monitor such activity.

  4. anonymous you are being untruthful….

    I own http://www.Hunting-Washington.com and this is our policy on illegal activities:

    Hunting-Washington does not condone the illegal killing of wolves or any other wildlife. An organized and civilized society must have laws and those laws must be enforced for a society to remain organized.

    It has been the policy of Hunting-Washington to allow most civil discussions. Moderators will sometimes remove comments they find and judge to violate forum rules especially if comments are unsuitable for family viewing or discussion on this forum. When comments are found that suggest illegal activity they are usually left on the forum so that law enforcement can monitor such activity.

    Everyone has agreed to the Forum Rules when signing up to use this forum. Please note the following excerpt from the first sentence of the Forum Rules:

    “You agree, through your use of this forum, that you will not post any material which is false, defamatory, inaccurate, abusive, slanderous, vulgar, hateful, harassing, obscene, profane, sexually oriented, threatening, invasive of a person’s privacy, adult material, or otherwise in violation of any State, International, or United States Federal law.”

    With all that said, I would gladly buy the gentleman trapper a beer for legally trapping that wolf in Idaho and I wish him future success on his trapline.

    On another note, there are nearly 200,000 hunters who purchase hunting licenses in Washington. We only have about 10,000 members on our H-W forum, yet our members have documented well over 100 wolves from member sightings and many of those are substantiated by photos, videos, and a near attack on a member.

    The WDFW only has one moderately successful trapper to confirm all these wolves. No wonder WDFW only knows about 25 to 30 wolves. I guess it really doesn’t matter whether the Washington Wolf Mismanagement Plan calls for 15 or 100 breeding pairs if the agency doesn’t have the personnel to monitor wolf numbers.

    1. Thank you, Dale, for an even better, clearer statement of Hunting Washington’s position inre the post of Anonymous — whomever that might actually be.

      I have absolutely no problem with the legal killing of wolves — which this case was — and the removal of wolves confirmed to have attacked and/or killed livestock.

      And you are absolutely correct on the need for WDFW to put more people in the field to find wolves AND, just as important, develop better baseline information for ungulate herds sure to be affected by wolf recovery, especially in Northeast Washington. The former I plan to blog about; the latter is addressed in our January issue.


  5. To anonymous:

    I am a deer and elk hunter. I am happy when I hear about a wolf being killed legally. I also find myself not being terribly troubled when I hear about a wolf being illegally killed. Reason being is that the WDFW wolf plan is laughable and wolves should not be protected like they currently are; they are off the ESA list for the eastern 2/3 of WA.

    Wolf populations in WA will explode whether or not people are allowed to shoot wolves. The population of wolves does not need any help by way of not allowing the taking of wolves by hunting.

    In Idaho, they are not able to control the population by trapping and hunting……..they have to go to aerial gunning. I doubt that in WA we will ever allow trapping or aerial gunning. So, if some people show a little happiness when they hear about a wolf being killed in WA, I hope you can understand why they are happy.

    1. Clarification: Wolves were federally delisted in the eastern third of Washington, not two-thirds. It’s possible that the process to federally delist them across the entire state will begin with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s decision on their status in late February. They would remain under state protections, however, until statewide recovery goals are met.


  6. I look forward to your articles Andy. FYI – The Kalispell tribe wants to do a moose survey and a wolf survey, as soon as possbile. The WDFW should be encouaraging help from the tribes since they are broke and can’t seem to hire enough qualified personnel to monitor wolves in the state.

    I am of the opinion we at least need to know where our moose herd is at now. As you are probably aware, moose herds have been impacted even heavier than elk herds in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming, they just don’t get as much press as the elk do. I am truly concerned about the future of Washington’s moose and caribou.

    For the record, I am not entirely against wolves, I advocated 6 to 8 bp’s because I know WDFW will not be on top of the true numbers, and I think 15 bp’s could be sustained in Washington if there were only 15 bp’s. The biggest problem is the inability of WDFW to monitor wolf numbers, they are broke, they treat people who report wolf sightings poorly, I know this because I was treated that way trying to report wolves that attacked my neighbors dogs, therefore who knows how many wolves Washington will end up with and the agency will think we need more wolves to reach the 15 bp’s required by the plan. That is why I have a problem with wolves in Washington. The biggest problem is the inability of WDFW to monitor them.

    Right now we have a rancher near Colville missing 27 head of cattle. His neighbor is also missing cattle. The same rancher had the first confirmed wolf kill several years ago. I have at least a dozen reported sightings of wolves in GMU 105 in the last year where he lives, yet the WDFW does not list any wolves in GMU 105. The WDFW needs to get with the program or they are going to have a full scale revolt on their hands and I would not blame anyone who is having their living taken away for taking action.

    There are wolves in nearly every northeast WA GMU, for WDFW to say there are only 25 to 30 wolves in the state is laughable at best. How can they not expect ridicule. Another example: WDFW is still saying there are only 2 wolves in the Lookout pack, yet residents are seeing 4 to 5 in a pack at a time on winter range at Carlton, and at the same time wolves are being seen upriver in another pack.

    My apologies for the rant.

  7. Mr. denney. I am not being untruthful. I have seen NUMEROUS comments on hunting-washington.com with hunters talking about illegally killing wolves. The question is when you know your website is being monitored by Washington deparment of fish and wildlife, do you think it’s wise for hunters to talk about killing wolves illegally on a public website? Comments supporting illegal killing of wolves is going to cause a backlash against hunters. It seems like you hunters are your own worst enemy. Ethical law abiding hunters would not have comments about illegally killing wolves remain on their website. If hunters want to co ntinue to make threats of illegally killing wolves on hunting-washington.com, just understand you are being watched by many people and any threats from hunters about killing wolves in WA will be sent to the appropriate authorities. By letting comments remain about illegal activity, you are making all ethical hunters look bad.

  8. To those that condoned the trapping of a Washington wolf in Idaho I hope that you never find yourselves walking in the woods and stumble upon a trap. Death from bleeding, dehydration and starvation can take as long as 10 days. Not a pleasant and painless way to go.

  9. The wolf issue gets so much attention by hunters for one reason. LACK OF TRUST! Attitude is a reflection of leadership. The WDFW & USF have provided very little positive leadership regaurding the documentation and management of wolves… If you search the Hunt Wa topics about wolf sitings you will see a PILE of 3rd party documentation ( Seattle times, PI articles ect.) that wolves have been here since the 70’s. By thier very nature they are difficult to document. I have personally seen wolves in the Skagit valley, and have seen a pic taken of a whole pack her in the valley. (the Valley is in NW washington) The WDFW just dismissed the pics of the pack, documentation of the time location, pics of tracks with size refernces ect…. This is NOT just a bunch of E Wa ranchers that are upset at the lack of action by our WDFW…
    Why would a hunter think the WDFW has thier best intrest at heart if they would not accept the help offered in documenting wolves by tribes?

  10. There are many of us on http://www.hunting-washington.com who not only don’t condone illegal hunting and poaching, but cooperate with law enforcement to catch and prosecute these wildlife criminals. I personally feel that in light of the wolf programs in place in ID and MT and the problems they’re experiencing there, that our wolf program is drastic and will eventually hurt the animals that it’s designed to recover, the wolves. In addition, once you get past the emotions and the opinion that wolves are cuddly, big dogs, you realize that we may see a drastic decline of in the populations of other animals. To pick one wild animal over another for protection is not conservation or recovery. It’s irresponsible game management. WA hunters have worked very hard, harder than all other groups of people together, to bring back our wild game populations from the brink of extinction. Our wildlife in WA flourishes. The concerns you hear from hunters about the introduction of wolves stems from this fact. We’ve worked very hard at conservation and are afraid our efforts of the last 100+ years may be wasted.

    1. Just got back to a computer after a day away — it is the weekend and holiday, after all, and that’s why comments made didn’t immediately appear — so have approved numerous new comments.


  11. I think we have an example in Ron’s words above how emotions with wolves tend to get carried away and things are said just to be said — but thankfully are rarely acted upon.

    They’re also symptomatic of the reintroduction of wolves, which has caused far more frustration, aggravation and divisiveness for our region in the short and medium term now than I wonder was ever imagined. I mean, yes, it’s interesting that there are now more beavers and bison at Yellowstone than in 1995, but outside of those 2,000 square miles or however big the park is, wolves have made the protection of wildlife and wild places a tougher go across the million square miles of the West now that hunters and the animals-rights folks are at each others’ throats.

    Maybe we’ll never get along, but meanwhile the houses go up on the deer winter range and pronghorn migration corridors are studded with gas wells. What’s the good there for what we both love?

    As for Washington, now that wolves are here in pack-sized groups — WDFW compiled records in 1994-95 of hundreds and hundreds of sightings, tracks, howls, etc., in the 1900s up to that point, and there are dozens upon dozens more reports from the 2000s in the draft management plan — it is more imperative than ever for us hunters and ranchers to CONTINUE to report everything we see, no matter how we feel about the agency.

    Not every wolf will mean a pack — witness the journey of OR-7 clear across Oregon, a trek that could have left folks believing there was a pack in all seven of the counties it crossed before dipping into California — but every little bit helps create those “clusters” of sightings that lead WDFW to send out their trapper.

    And while some hunters recoil at the thought of spending ANY money on wolves, it is now more important than ever to support efforts to find more dough for population monitoring — more trappers, more collars, more biologists, and more information put out the public.

    I mean, as much as I enjoy this job of finding nuggets out about Washington wolves — the trapping of the one that started this whole spiel was, in essence, the first legally taken Washington wolf that I’m aware of — the department has to do more than put some dots on a map with links to press releases and post a couple pics on the various packs and leave it up to me to ferret things out.

    They also need to be watched more carefully than ever to make sure they’re living up to the approved plan and doing right by the herds. Hear about WDFW poo-pooing a sighting? Tell me. Hear about WDFW dragging their feet on ungulate studies? Tell me. I’ll look into it and continue reporting on wolves in Washington here and in the mag. That’s my New Year’s resolution.


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