OPT pack has 19 cattle depredations since Sept. 2018…
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife announced that wolves killed three head of cattle in Ferry County after the carcasses were found in a U.S. Forest Service grazing allotment. The livestock producer and ranch staff were looking for a few cow-calf pairs remaining on the allotment along the Kettle Crest when they discovered the carcasses.
They found the carcasses through investigation of wolf location information provided to the livestock producer from the county wildlife specialist. The depredations happened within the OPT pack territory. The livestock producer also experienced wolf depredations by the OPT pack in 2018.
The OPT pack was implicated in 16 total attacks on cattle with three of them being fatal in under two months. The additional deadly attacks put the total depredation total to 19 since Sept. 4, 2018.
No wolf deterrents were in place because WDFW believed the cattle were off the federal grazing allotment. The livestock producer was supposed to have his cattle off the allotment by Oct. 15 but the Forest Service did grant a short extension. Federal rules say that producers can only have cattle on allotments for certain periods of time. The vast majority of livestock had been removed two months earlier.
On Jan. 3, the producer searched the area and found one live cow and two car carcasses. After a WDFW investigation, another cow carcass was discovered close to the others.
The live cow was removed from the area by the producer and was reported to have no injuries.
The damage to all three carcasses were indicative of wolf attacks and wolf tracks were documented. GPS data also showed members of the OPT were in the immediate vicinity during the time of the incidents.
On Nov. 13, WDFW Director Kelly Susewind had paused lethally removing two remaining wolves from the OPT pack that preyed on cattle in Ferry County. WDFW staff was unable to locate the uncollared pack member due to dense forest canopy. Susewind is now reassessing the situation and considering the next steps the agency will take.