WDFW Confirms 1 Kettle Calf Depredation, Says Other Unknown

Washington wolf managers are finally confirming a wolf or wolves from the Sherman Pack killed a calf in northern Ferry County earlier this month, but the remains of another found nearby were too far gone to determine cause of death.

WDFW says it’s the first depredation by the pack, and comes at the beginning of the grazing season and two weeks after new state wolf management protocols went into effect in this country.


Earlier this week local state Rep. Joel Kretz (R-Wauconda) had told a reporter it was a confirmed depredation, but it wasn’t until very late this afternoon that WDFW publicly stated that.

The dead calves were reported June 12 by a range rider, and a pair of WDFW staffers reported to the BLM grazing ground “shortly after sunrise” the following day, though the agency has been criticized by Kretz for not arriving sooner to view the evidence.

According to WDFW, the Sherman adult male’s collar showed it in the area between June 3 and 11, and the intact calf’s carcass had “injuries [that] consisted of bite lacerations and puncture wounds with hemorrhaging associated with those bite wounds. The injuries to calf were consistent with a wolf depredation.”

The other calf’s remains were 150 yards away but skeletal in nature and scattered over dozens of yards, too little for investigators to make a determination, so it went down as unknown.

WDFW reports the livestock producer turned their cattle out to graze on private land on May 24 and uses five agency-contracted range riders who began patrolling the area May 9.

The Sherman Pack consists of at least a male, whose mate died in March after getting hit by a vehicle traveling along Highway 20, and an adult female.

They’ve apparently been sniffing around Kettle Range country formerly occupied by the Profanity Peak Pack, seven members of which were lethally removed last year following depredations not far away as the crow flies. WDFW says there are no signs of a den or rendezvous point nearby. Telemetry shows the collared Profanity female was “sporadically” in the area of the latest depredation June 5-7, but that all signs pointed to the Shermans, according to state wildlife managers.

The two calves’ carcasses have since been removed, as the area will see high use by cattle during the grazing season. Range riders will continue to patrol here, WDFW says.

Under the agency’s new protocols, just three depredations, including one probable, in a 30-day period, could lead to the beginning of lethal removals. Last year it was four confirmed.

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