On Aug. 3, WDFW staff responded to a report of an injured calf in a private pasture within the Leadpoint pack territory in Stevens County.
An investigation revealed fresh puncture wounds and lacerations consistent with injury by wolves, including massive swelling on both hind legs indicating significant tissue damage. The combination of bite wounds and lacerations with associated swelling are consistent with a confirmed wolf depredation. The livestock producer brought the calf to a veterinarian for treatment. The veterinarian’s examination determined the calf’s right hind leg was fractured and that the calf would likely not survive. The livestock producer removed the injured calf from the pasture and moved it to the ranch headquarters for intensive care and monitoring. The calf later died.
WDFW staff investigated and confirmed additional depredations by wolves resulting in one dead and three injured livestock in the same pasture today, Aug. 7. The details of these events will be provided in a forthcoming update.
The livestock producer who owns the affected calf had several proactive, nonlethal deterrents in place, including calving away from areas occupied by wolves, choosing not to utilize a USFS public grazing allotment, delaying turnout of calves (to coincide with deer fawns, and elk and moose calves becoming available as prey), removing sick/injured livestock from the pasture, carcass sanitation, allowing steers to heal after castration before releasing onto pasture, human presence around livestock, and using Cattle Producers of Washington (CPoW) range riders.
Following depredations reported on June 26, WDFW staff (including conflict specialists, wolf biologists, and district/wildlife area biologists), the Ferry/Stevens County Wildlife Specialist, and a CPoW range rider organized a coordinated work party to put up fox lights and over a mile of fladry along the several-hundred acre pasture. Wolves were soon documented crossing under the fladry, and WDFW staff deployed a radio-activated guard (RAG) box and more fox lights as additional deterrents. WDFW staff also attempted to haze wolves thought to be using the private pasture.
Excluding the depredations confirmed today, WDFW has documented five depredation events resulting in one dead and five injured livestock since June 19, 2020 attributed to the Leadpoint pack. WDFW staff are discussing how to most effectively address this situation. Director Susewind will also assess this situation and consider what action to take.