Washington wolf managers will target another pack in the state’s northeast corner that they say has killed three calves and injured nine more in less than two months.
WDFW Director Kelly Susewind this afternoon authorized removing one or two members of the Leadpoint Pack of far northern Stevens and Pend Oreille Counties after proactive nonlethal measures failed to stem attacks and his staff concluded there were no more reasonable tools to use and that the pattern would continue.
“While not an easy decision by any means, there is a balance that must be achieved when it comes to wolves, humans, and livestock co-existing,” said Susewind in a press release sent out at 5 p.m.
The Leadpoints are considered to be a “large pack,” with at least five to seven adults and six juveniles.
Their 11 overall depredation events – including seven in the past 30 days – have occurred in a private pasture “along the valley bottom, adjacent to a road, with dispersed residences, and with frequent human presence,” and affected one livestock producer.
After they began in June, state staffers, Ferry/Stevens County Wildlife Specialist Jeff Flood and a Cattle Producers of Washington conflict monitor put up fladry and flashing lights around the pasture, but according to WDFW, “Wolves were soon documented crossing under the fladry.”
That led to deployment of a radio-activated guard, or RAG, box, still more fox lights and hazing attempts.
In early August, wolves struck again, killing one and injuring three calves, and they subsequently returned in the week since then.
WDFW’s announcement, made on the eve of a mandatory furlough day, triggers an eight-hour court challenge window.
It also comes the same week that Susewind decided to potentially eliminate the Wedge Pack, just to the west, following chronic depredations in spring and summer, the removal of one wolf, but continued attacks on calves.
Taking out members of both packs “should not negatively impact the ability to recover wolves in Washington,” WDFW states in authorizations for each operation.