All right, stand down, Fairview Fannie, the big dog’s resuming his seat on the The Daily Howler‘s Washington Wolf Beat …
(And JUST as I was about to start working on that little thing we call What Pays The Bills And Allows Andy To Write Ad Naseum (And Nauseatingly) on Wolves.)
1) WDFW says the latest two dead calves found in the Wedge were killed by wolves.
The carcasses were found on Diamond M-owned land this Wednesday. One was intact, the other eaten.
“We marked ‘confirmed’ on both individuals,” said the agency’s wolf policy coordinator Steve Pozzanghera this morning, “recognizing that there will be some question about confirming on an entirely consumed carcass.”
He pointed to the pattern of depredations in the Wedge, GPS data from the collared alpha male of the pack that put wolves in the area, and follow-up work at the scene.
Pozzanghera said at the end of the day, WDFW considered it a kill rather than a calf that had died of other causes and then was subsequently fed upon by wolves.
The other dead animal had more clear cut indications of wolf attack.
“Multiple canine puncture wounds, drag marks following puncture wounds, wounds in the right areas — the rear flanks, groin, lower front leg,” said Pozzanghera.
That makes for a minimum of 12 Diamond M cattle injured or killed since mid-July and blamed on the Wedge Pack.
There are worries that more have been hit but not found yet. The fall roundup may tell an interesting tale.
“Even with the latest confirmed calf kills the lethal removal effort continues to target up to four wolves utilizing the same level of WDFW staff,” Pozzanghera said.
2) Speaking of, state sharpshooters set up at the scene of the dead calves Wednesday night and yesterday morning but were unsuccessful in their bid to reduce the pack’s size.
The slow hunting continued last night and this morning.
“No wolves have been killed as of right now,” Pozzanghera said at 9:35 or so this morning.
WDFW took out a nonbreeding female in early August, and one pup it caught and ear-tagged in mid-July was found dead last month of unknown causes.
The alpha’s locational device is aiding in the hunt.
“We continue to believe we will be successful based on collar data,” Pozzanghera said.
3) State managers are also actively sharing that information with the Diamond M.
4) The next iteration of WDFW’s wolf pack map will show nine light blue dots, the latest also in a place there wasn’t a grey dot before.
Light blue dots stand for confirmed packs, grey for suspected ones.
The latest confirmed pack is the Strawberries, which is what the Colville Confederated Tribes are calling some number of wolves running with the 104-pound female they caught on the northwestern side of their reservation last Sunday.
That means there are nine confirmed packs in Washington — seven in the northeastern corner alone — and possibly as many as 13, based on suspicions there are four additional packs in the state, though the Hozomeens, Boulder Creeks, Ruby Creeks and Touchets have yet to be officially confirmed.
This year has seen the confirmation of the Huckleberry, Wedge and Nc’icn Packs as well as documented reproduction by the Diamonds, Smackouts, Huckleberries, Wedge and Teanaways. It’s highly likely that one of the two Colville reservation packs (Nc’icn is the other) has had pups as well.