Washington wolf trappers have captured another, this one in Pend Oreille County yesterday morning.
At least the 11th so far this year that’s been collared and released by state and tribal biologists, the 68-pound yearling female was caught in an area between the known Smackout Pack territory and a suspected pack in the Ruby Creek drainage.
“Only time will tell it it’s a Smackout or lead us to a new pack,” said Madonna Luers, a WDFW spokeswoman in Spokane.
A photo by Rich Landers of the Spokane Spokesman-Review, who was in on the capture with Scott Becker and broke the news, shows that it wears a black coat.
That could link it to the Smackouts of western Pend Oreille County and central Stevens County, or it could be a disperser. One of last year’s Huckleberry Pack of southern Stevens County was black.
GPS data should show its wanderings and pack affiliations.
WDFW previously reported 10 other wolves had been caught, collared and released between February and mid-June of this year — two in Diamond, also in Pend Oreille County, three in Smackout, two in Huckleberry, and three in Teanaway of Kittitas County.
One of the Teanaways, a 47-pound female, subsequently died. We’re still awaiting word from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service on cause of death; the state preliminarily put it down as a mountain lion kill.