Wolves continue to attack cattle in Northeast Washington, with two depredations by the Togos and Smackouts in recent days leaving WDFW mulling what to do next with both packs.
State wolf managers report that the former pack, in northern Ferry County, injured a calf on Oct. 26, while the latter took down a heifer on Halloween, the third cow killed by the northern Stevens and Pend Oreille Counties wolves in the space of two and a half weeks and fourth overall since midsummer.
That now could trigger incremental lethal removals under the agency’s protocols.
“Director Susewind is reviewing the details of the four depredations by the pack and is considering next steps,” a WDFW statement out this afternoon reads.
The Smackouts have been the subject of intense range-riding and other nonlethal efforts to keep cattle and the pack from tangling for several years now, but in mid-2017 two of its 13 to 15 members at the time were taken out following four depredations in a 10-month period.
As for the Togos, on Oct. 19 WDFW sent out what was to be the last update for the pack after 42 days passed without any known depredations and the removal of the alpha male in early September to change the wolves behavior.
Despite a subsequent attack, WDFW took no action because the agency’s options were poor — the pack included the alpha female and two juveniles.
But the state also said that lethal removals could resume if there was another attack.
Wolf-cattle conflicts have mostly occurred during the summer grazing season on federal allotments, but have also taken place afterwards, typically on private ground.