WASHINGTON:  Wolf depredation in Garfield County

WASHINGTON: Wolf depredation in Garfield County

A range rider reported a dead 450 lb. calf in a fenced pasture on private land. Livestock producers reported the calf to WDFW staff, who conducted an investigation on site.

At the site, WDFW staff noted multiple wolf tracks along with evidence the carcass had been dragged while fed upon. WDFW staff’s investigation of the carcass revealed hemorrhaging, tissue loss and damage, and dislocation and chewing of bone joints. The rear half of the calf was mostly consumed. The carcass was removed from the area and buried after the investigation.

The damage to the carcass was indicative of wolf depredation. In addition, location data from the collared wolf in the Grouse Flats pack showed at least one member of the pack in the vicinity during the approximate time the calf died. Based on the combination of tissue damage with associated hemorrhaging, wolf tracks, and wolf locations, WDFW staff classified this event as a confirmed wolf depredation.

The livestock producer who owns the affected livestock monitors the herd by range riding five days a week, maintains regular human presence in the area, uses Fox lights in their pastures, removes sick and injured livestock from the grazing area until they are healed, removes or secures livestock carcasses to avoid attracting wolves to the rest of the herd, and calves away from known wolf high activity areas. Calves are typically at least 200 lbs. before turnout.

The Grouse Flats pack was involved in three depredation incidents in 2018 detailed in an update on Dec. 11, 2018, and two previous depredation incidents in 2019 on July 8 and July 22, totaling four in approximately 10 months. WDFW includes a summary of all documented depredation activity within the past ten months in every monthly update. WDFW staff are discussing how best to address this situation; Director Susewind will also assess this situation and consider next steps.