I-90 Roadkill Was A Wolf — And It Had A Gunshot Wound

Federal wildlife managers confirm today that the canid struck and killed this past spring on I-90 west of Snoqualmie Pass was indeed a wolf — and also said that it had been shot at some point in the recent past.

(WDFW)

(WDFW)

The adult female was found along the westbound lanes of the interstate in eastern King County on April 27 near the Tinkham Campground exit, between mile posts 41 and 42.

Some folks had reported seeing a wolf in that area before it was roadkilled.

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THE LOCATION ALONG I-90 IN EASTERN KING COUNTY WHERE THE WOLF WAS HIT. (WDFW)

WDFW staffers recovered the carcass and turned it over to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, which took it to a government forensics lab in Oregon where it underwent numerous tests to determine cause of death — blunt force trauma — and its true species, which was, indeed, a gray wolf.

Exams also “revealed evidence of a previous gunshot injury in a rear leg.”

A USFWS press release didn’t offer any more thoughts on that angle, but asked whether the evidence was a bullet lodged in the leg or bone or muscle damage, spokeswoman Ann Froschauer said that according to the official report, “there was evidence that the animal had been shot in the weeks prior to being struck by the vehicle, and was healing.”

She said no bullet was recovered.

Last fall the Teanaway breeding female was shot by a poacher. However, that pack wears the classic gray coat.

A black-coated Smackout Pack wolf was illegally killed in northern Stevens County, in February 2014.

Dark-colored wolves exist elsewhere in Eastern Washington, Northeast Oregon, and beyond.

USFWS noted that dispersing wolves often travel long distances, and that can raise the odds of getting hit by vehicles. This particular lupus was the fourth known to have been roadkilled in Washington since 2007.

It may or may not have been the same animal that was sighted in late April as far west as the town of Snoqualmie. If so, it might have actually been headed back east before getting hit.

Nonetheless, it was also hailed as the first on the Westside, though a pack has haunted the Hozomeen area of upper Ross Lake, in the Skagit Basin, for several years.

Wolves are still listed as a federally endangered species in the western two-thirds of Washington, and are state-listed as endangered everywhere.

While the eastern third of the state hosts at least 13 packs at last count — unofficially there’s 14 with the Huckleberries now divided into two groups — there are only three packs in the western two thirds, where a minimum of eight successful breeding pairs are currently needed to reach minimum state recovery goals.

“The number of confirmed wolves in this part of the state remains very low seven years after the first pack was confirmed in the Cascades. There’s a strong argument to be made that illegal wolf killing is at least partly to blame for their slow recovery in the Cascades, delaying progress towards state wolf recovery goals. Goals that wildlife conservationists and the majority of hunters are anxious to meet,” said Chase Gunnell, a spokesman for Conservation Northwest.

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16 thoughts on “I-90 Roadkill Was A Wolf — And It Had A Gunshot Wound”

  1. Only 4 killed in Wa …..Except for the wolf that was roadkill on Trinidad hill outside Quincy Wa the end of April 2015. WDFW are still denying that one.
    The only problem was, people I work with took pictures of it and someone else I know saw a WDFW truck pick up the carcass. It was a radio collared wolf too.
    My only guess they don’t want people knowing about that one, is they don’t want to tell the people of Grant County that they are there now too. I can’t wait for someone to “accidentally” shoot one thinking it’s a really big coyote and then they get jacked up by WDFW over it.

    1. I inquired about this last spring. Here is the response of WDFW’s Jim Brown, Region 2 manager:

      “No, there was no found, nor reported, nor picked up by WDFW, wolf kill on Trinidad hill. If there was, I would know, and we would not hide it from the public.  If one shows up in downtown Moses Lake, in Grant County, I can assure you we will “admit it” to the public.  Every, and I mean every wolf incident or killing like this is public information unless there is a criminal cause, in which the release may be limited only because of the needs of an investigation.”

  2. Please, shot by a poacher? Where is your proof? Come on liberals…could of been a land owner in Ellensberg and Winthrop areas protecting cattle. There is no proof so why assume? I don’t agree to poaching and I believe all their hunting and fishing rights should be taken away.

    1. That wolf that was “poached” in teanaway was protecting their livestock. I live in cle elum so I heard all the rumors. Person who shot it has not been found or convicted, but from the town gossip someone’s livestock were being killed and wdwf wouldn’t do anything about it… truth to it? I am unsure. There are a lot that are pretty ticked about them reintroducing wolves here. I too, am not too thrilled. Had a pack stalk us while camping.

  3. Good point Steven (poacher ? ) yes could of been a camper , hunter , rancher anyone protecting their animals or family members from being ate alive ! And that liberal stuff about most Hunters like the wolves ? Like most gun owners want more idiot background checks against honest folks right ! No hunters hate wolves because they eat deer and elk and our dogs Alive !! That’s why they were killed off with Grizzlys too !

    1. Ron, have you read a lot of attacks of humans by wolves as you mentioned (“protecting their animals and family”), because I haven’t. Wolves do eat deer and were doing so for a long time. It used to be hunting deer was for food only. Now its for the head, the trophy. So hunters need to face reality. They are hunting for the right to show a deer head in their living room.

      1. I disagree with your comment. I don’t think most of us are “hunting for the right to show a deer head in” our living rooms. Yes, a small percentage are out for trophies, but that’s not the motivation for most hunters. It’s more about meat, tradition, heritage and the companionship of Deer Camp. If we get a wallhanger, awesome, but it’s really the experience. Also, backstrap just tastes a lot better than antler.

        AW
        NWS

  4. This article does not say anything about the Tinkham roadkill wolf being shot by a poacher. It just says that the animal had been recovering from a gunshot wound.

    The wolf shot by a poacher was from the Teanaway pack.

    “Last fall the Teanaway breeding female was shot by a poacher. However, that pack wears the classic gray coat.”

  5. I know they say solved aren’t this far west bug last year about 30 miles southeast of Buckley up past Greenwater off FS70 I was walking with my do along the river and ran Afros fresh wolf tracks. They measured as big as my hand. I took pictures and then inquired with the Rangers office in Enumclaw and also Washington fish and wildlife and xhowed the pictures. I was told that yes, it was known there was a wolf in thd area perhaps a lobo or a couple but they did not report it because I was told they were afraid itvwouldvstirvpeople up and they would go out shooting.
    So if anyone wants to see thd pictures I would be happy to provide them. Wolves are here in this area whether anyone wants them of not.

  6. “Goals that wildlife conservationists and the majority of hunters are anxious to meet,” said Chase Gunnell, a spokesman for Conservation Northwest.”

    What majority of hunters have they been talking with? Every hunter I’ve heard or read discussing this thinks they are a bad idea.

  7. WDFW needs to get it together. This is NOT the first western wolf.
    We had an entire pack in our elk camp several years ago in the Mossyrock GMU. We reported it to the fish and game officers in Morton. We gave them the gps coordinates to our camp and invited them to come see the evidence firsthand. They never showed up, even though they said they would.
    They did however tell us that they had numerous reported sightings, but unless someone had a picture or a carcass to prove it.
    Maybe WDFW should actually focus on management and less on writing tickets.

  8. People , I was just thinking , I don’t like the use of the word poacher when it comes to the killing of a wolf , It sounds like a word Anti gun owner s , Anti hunters and liberals would like to use to make any gun shooting hunter look bad ! Wolf Equalizer !! Sounds more hunter friendly to me. ! Let’s not give them any more of an edge than they have ok ? Poaching an animal for food or profit , a game animal would be poaching ! I say put him on Equal Ground !! As the animal he just ate alive huh ? Oh well it works for me !

    1. I disagree. This isn’t political. This is about the current law and the current definition of poaching. Until the brain trusts at Merriam-Webster, Collins, American Heritage, etc., etc., etc. change the definition, poaching is the illegal killing of any wildlife — game, protected or otherwise. As much of a pain in the ass these wolves are turning out to be, and as dubious as the benefits of having several dozen of them pooping and scaring the deer and elk across 68,000 square miles of Washington, we cannot condone killing them unless they are attacking a person, livestock or pets, or there is an open hunting or trapping season, all per state laws. Then they’re fair game with the appropriate tags during the open season. We as hunters stand to be among the most impacted by the recolonization of wolves. However, we do not need to give away the high ground of our regard for wildlife of all stripes and shades and wild places, or the immense good we’ve done for all of it over the decades, by playing word games or seeming to condone it. Illegal killing is poaching.

      AW
      NWS

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